Books, Life

parlez-vous français?

At the moment, I’m trying to polish up my rusty French. I learnt a phrase many years ago, my French tutor – Babette – taught it me and it rather fits my present situation:

Je parle français comme une vache d’espagnol

(‘I speak French like a Spanish cow.’ *heavy sigh* … and that’s insulting to the cow who would probably form a perfect ‘moo’ in the passé composé, dang it.)

I have less than two months to become moderately fluent in French. I’m not worried. Nope. For I? I have a plan.

MY VERY GENIUS PLAN THAT MUST NOT BE QUESTIONED AND IS OF COURSE GOING TO BE VERY EFFECTIVE:

  1. Watch TV shows WITH FRENCH SUBTITLES.
  2. Or just watch French T.V shows
  3. Listen to French music.
  4. Listen to and read the Bible in French.
  5. Make good use of Duolingo (le garçon est grand!!)
  6. Study old coursework.

Just watch, I’m going to be so very fluent. I’ll be able to tell anybody that my hat is coloured black and pink and my boots are big and just where is the Tourist Information Office and did you know I like a cup of tea with milk?!!

And then they will reply.

And then, like a snail being chased down by a glacier, I shall be doomed.

BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING

hitchhikersThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was hysterical in places – I say ‘in places’ because I was trying to read the. entire. trilogy. of. FIVE. books. and you can get book tired sometimes; sprain the ol’reading muscle.

The whale, the mice, and Marvelous Marvin were true highlights.

Also, the Vogons.

“You can’t throw us into space,” yelled Ford, “we’re trying to write a book.”

“Resistance is useless!” shouted the Vogon guard back at him. It was the first phrase he’d learned when he joined the Vogon Guard Corps.”

Also, I loved that bit with the thing that Arthur Dent accidentally keeps killing and it’s getting so angry with him and he’s just staring at it thinking ‘… you what?’ and then Arthur falls towards the ground and misses and starts flying.

Also, the whole sandwich making business.

9357704The Great Gatsby was … sad. That quote near the end pretty much sums it up:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

Poor old Gatsby.

‘They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’

I’ve started rereading some of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters and my word, I really do love them. I want to have the complete series on my bookshelf, but I can’t gather them around me like newborn kittens just yet.

Ah well. I’d better go – there’s a late shift with my name on it and I need to get ready.

happy reading!

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I think I just rambled, Life

THINGS. ALL THE THINGS.

I haven’t posted for a while. BUT I HAVE MY REASONS. In the last few weeks of non-posting, I’ve:

  1. worked
  2. gone to London
  3. seen Wonder Woman

DISCHUFFED WITH WORK

I’m using the word ‘dischuffed’ from now on. Recently at work, a darling Joanna Lumley lookalike used it, and I’m in love. That is all. (And I’m not dischuffed with work; I just wanted to fit the word in somewhere.)

As September looms and an uncertain certain future shines, not on the horizon, but straight into my eyes. (IT BURNS!) I’ve been taking as many shifts as work can throw at me. Consequently, it’s hard to find time to do things. When you get home from a long shift, you don’t think:

MY GOSH LET ME HAVE MOOOOORE THINGS TO DO RIGHT THIS MOMENT!

You want to wind down. You want to relax. You don’t want to plunge into other things. AND THAT’S MY EXCUSE. And I’m sticking to it.

onthetrain

I GO TO LONDON. BECOME METROPOLITAN. TRY TO BREAK INTO M&S.

I travelled down to London via train. I’ve learned a lot about trains since my first solo trip on one – apparently, it’s not enough to get the right platform, you also have to wait for the right train. All trains arriving at platform 6A, for example will not go to the same place. This was quite the surprise.

In London, I …

  • worked out how to navigate the Underground (occasionally by accident)
  • found Grosvenor Square (definitely by accident)
  • did not locate any Heyer heroes (a grave disappointment)
  • was mistaken as a businesswoman by a banker #dubiouslyproud

Also in London, I strode jauntily down Oxford St, a spring to my step. I was a queen in a beautiful flowy dress. I was in London. Red buses were going past. Life was good. I strode up to the steps to M&S (opposite Selfridges? Or was it …?!). I reached the doors. I attempted to open the doors. The doors did not open.

I forgot that there are such things as opening times and slunk off like a shamed hedgehog to the side doors which were suddenly open because I … had arrived at 8:59 and … and then it was 9:00am and … *heavy sigh*

But as a side note, the M&S staff are lovely and I wanted to hug them and squeeze their London out of their cheeks.

atthestation

THE WONDER OF THE WOMAN

One day, I was fed up with scrimping and saving. So, in rebellion against saving sprees, work, and denying myself books (FOUR WEEKS WITHOUT BUYING A BOOK. THIS CANNOT KEEP UP MUCH LONGER!!), I went to watch Wonder Woman. It’s got some epic moments. Some hilarious moments. Some touching moments. I enjoyed it.

BUT I HAVE AN OBJECTION.

The mustache.

It was terrible.

Honestly, I like facial hair. If I was a man, I’d have a glorious, glorious beard. However … the mustache? No. No. A thousand times, no.

Kill it with fire.

TO END

Today is my day off. This is a good thing, for sometimes a bone deep tiredness takes hold; the sort that almost makes you finish a tannoy at work with:

Goooood evening, ladies and gentlemen,

blah blah blah. blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Thank you for shopping at such and such.

Amen.

 

Books, Recountings

recountings: the cover is pretty though

Some books and I get on very nicely; if they were a person, we could have tea and crumpets and bemoan the weather together quite cheerfully. I didn’t like Wintersong. There will be no tea and crumpets.

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Liesl likes to compose but her dreams in that direction are fading. But then her sister gets nabbed by the Goblin King and Liesl must save her. She does so, but runs smack into Angst! True love! (And dishes of eyeballs.)

SOME POSITIVES

  • Jae-Jones is a talented writer and can turn a phrase quite nicely.
  • The front cover is excessively pretty.
  • I liked the feel of the book. The font was a nice size and the spine was lovely and soft, but not too soft.
  • The ending, Liesl was able to take a stand as her own person. Huzzah for character growth.

LIESL NEEDS VALIDATION

Whether it be from her family, or the Goblin King himself, Liesl looks to others for validation; for her worth.

Yes, in the end, Liesl is able to walk away …

Elisabeth, entire.

… which is brilliant, but the path to her arriving at such a conclusion was fraught with looking to others to validate her worth. I thought this to be odd. For you see, it’s really best not to look to others in order to best view ourselves.

Like, no. Find your own mirror.

THE SETTING WAS NOT MINE SCENE

I didn’t like the Underground. The very idea of being stuck underground is an awful, no good thought. If there was a choice of: ‘would you like to go to the Underground Kingdom which is full of ILLUSIONS!!! And goblins and dishes that look nice but are actually eyeballs and lots of gothic weird and wonderful things OR paint a country house in the shade of eggshell from top to bottom’ I would choose the country house.

(I hate painting. And country homes are huge. And their ceilings are massive and, being no Michelangelo, I loathe painting ceilings. I’d still chose it though. Every time.)

THE ROMANTICLE ROMANCE

The Terrible Sorrow, Pain, and Heart-Wrenching Love that Surpassed All Others was ‘meh’.

I’m sorry. I didn’t get it; I did in that I understood the plot, but my emotions were never invested or in danger of sending streaming rivers from my teary ducks.

WRONGLY FILED

Look, unless YA fiction has greatly changed whilst I wasn’t looking (which is possible. I look away for long periods of time), I think this book is in the wrong category/genre. There are scenes that shouldn’t be classed as Young Adult. New Adult – yes. Mills and Boon – that too. But Young Adult? No. Nope. IS THERE NO INNOCENCE LEFT IN THIS WORLD?

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THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CAST

… were selfish and horrible and unlikable. The sister. The brother. The parents. All of ‘em. Apart from the Goblin King. Maybe. I can’t remember – I was going to reread this book, just to make sure but after deep thought and momentary reflection, I decided … nah. Life is too short.

TO CONCLUDE

If you’ve read Wintersong and enjoyed it … than that’s wonderful. I’m pleased for you. But as for me? No. I didn’t like it. And that’s okay too. It’s good to have differences of opinion and books you don’t like. If we all liked the same thing, why, the world would be an astoundingly boring place.

In the future, if I ever feel the pressing urge to read about goblins, I shall pick up The Hollow Kingdom.

But take a character I didn’t much like, pop her in a setting that depressed me, add in a huge dollop of romance that felt more ‘meh’ than a cardboard sandwich, and we find ourselves with a book that simply wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Thank you and goodnight.

Books, Life

films swooning (and Wodehouse)

I’ve just finished a long week of work. My brain is a little frazzled and glitchy, but that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll survive. (BUT WILL EVERYONE ELSE? HUH? HUH?!)

musick

My place of work is less than ten minutes away, and on the way there, I find myself listening to a few songs of Imagine Dragons – chiefly, Bleeding Out.

I’ve got the lyrics mostly memorised. Which means I can sing every other line. I’m dreadfully pleased with myself.

(I’m not entirely sure what the song is about – someone bleeding out? Probably. Maybe?)

benchingarden

reading

I’ve finished Ukridge (NOT pronounced Uk-bridge. Learn to read, Ness) by P.G Wodehouse. I have to say three things about this book:

  1. Ukridge is infuriating in that you want to hate him, you know you ought to hate him … but you can’t quite bring yourself to say that he is the most loathesomely selfish character in the history of ever.
  2. He has little redeeming qualities, other than being a creation of Wodehouse, and so therefore, inherently funny.
  3. Corky needed a romance, and a medal for being such a good friend – for valiantly attempting to intercede with Ukridge’s aunt on his behalf, for putting up with Cecil, and yes – even and especially Ukridge himself.

Cecil, by the way, is a young boy who wants to see the sites of London. And by ‘sites’ I mean ‘the sites where all the gory murders have taken place’.

Then, again, Cecil’s was not one of those personalities which become more attractive with familiarity. I should say at a venture that those who liked him best were those who saw the least of him.

Wodehouse always comes out with these one liners that catch you off guard and induce great merriment:

“”I’m not saying that Cecil doesn’t take a bit of knowing. He’s the sort of boy you have to be patient with and bring out, if you know what I mean. I think he grows on you.”

“If he ever grows on me, I’ll have him amputated.”

watching

Recently, I watched Last Knights and honestly … this movie. Why? Why was it made? When was it set? What was its point?

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“Why’d you put us in this film?!!”

I just … they took all the cultures and put them in a blender, added tons of epic high fantasy stills from DeviantArt, grabbed Morgan Freeman and gave him Wise Man Dialogue and *boom!* a movie. And then – just to make it that more interesting, they shoved in so many fade to blacks, it’s like the movie is constantly swooning.

Oh, and the hero? No reason to like him. No reason to sympathise with him. GIVE ME REASONS TO CARE MOVIE! But they gave me none. Zilch. Nada. They made him irredeemable and then *haha* just pretending.

But no. OOOHHH NOOOO!! THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DO IT MOVIE! THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DO IT! No. There is a line, movie. You just nuked it. It’s glass now. GLASS!

And the final shot? THE FINAL SHOT?!! He closes his eyes … and everyone sighs with relief. The movie is over. The ending wasn’t so-

BUT THEN!! His eyes flash open and it’s like the character is like:

OH SHOOT! THE OVEN! I FORGOT TO TURN IT OFF!

BAM!

*fade to black*

Books

recountings: hook, captain of respawning

*** Avast ye! LOTS OF MANDATORY PIRATE TALK. There be slight spoilers ahead. Arrgh***

As time as gone by, I’ve found my feelings about the book become more ‘meh-ish’. One of the plot lines left me feeling vaguely disappointed – as if someone had promised me a huge heaping of ice cream and I’d been given a block of cheese instead.

Now I like cheese (Not blue cheese. Blue cheese is evil), but when you’re anticipating ice cream … it isn’t quite the same thing.

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THE PLOT

I’ve always liked Peter Pan because there’s something swashbuckling about him, and also he wears the Lincoln green of Robin Hood. So there’s that. However, what if Peter Pan was the villain? What if Captain Hook has been cursed to play the villain in an eternal, pointless war for a group of malicious little boys?

HOOKED ON RESPAWNING

(did you see what I did there? *wink wink wink*)

Hook cannot die. Well, he can. But he can’t die die. (There is a difference.) Like a video game character, he respawns. He has been slain by Peter Pan and his lovely group of boys countless times. I liked this (I assure you, I am no sadist.) It makes for a truly interesting character; a character who has died over and over, who knows the part he has to play, who has the lines all rehearsed, and who is utterly sick and Very Done with it all.

No one has ever cried for me before, not the Wendys, nor generations of Lost Boys, nor any of the children to whom the story is so often told.

They always cheer when Hook dies.

THE PAN IS A PAIN

Peter Pan is evil. There. I said it. And Peter Pan does not receive the comeuppance I wanted for him. In fact, his actions – thoughtless and lacking in knowledge of this is bad don’t do it – are hideous. It’s the very lack of awareness of the wrongness of his actions that is so chilling.

And he doesn’t get what’s coming to him. It’s sort of brushed off. This did not please me. I was the opposite of pleased.

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HOOK, STUCK IN A GROOVE

Hook has been stuck in Neverland for two centuries – he’s tried everything in an attempt to leave, with no success. But oh wait, he hasn’t. It takes the arrival of Stella Parrish (GASP SHE IS A WOMAN GROWN!!!) to send events into a new direction. What I couldn’t understand was this: if you have two hundred years to think of plots and plans to leave SURELY YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF NEW AND VARIED PLOTS!!

Now granted, if it was me stuck in Neverland (PLEASE NO) for centuries, yes – this would be a likely scenario. My brother says (to paraphrase) that I’m not lacking in intelligence – it’s just that I don’t use it. The obvious questions are never obvious to me. I have ‘The Blindingly Obvious Blinders’ on. It’s tragic.

But this is Captain James Benjamin Hook who actually is a pirate. Who has sailed the world. Surely, surely he would not have such blinders on. Surely he would ask more questions and not just settle into a groove that is LITERALLY KILLING HIM.

But he isn’t, and he is.

And this frustrates me.

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TO SUM UP BADLY

In short, Alias Hook is a new, extremely intriguing take on the world of Peter Pan. Jensen has woven a terrible mythos into Neverland, and formed Captain Hook into a character you can truly sympathise with.

The book is definitely not Young Adult – there is language (well, of course there is. But y’know what I mean) and the Fairy Revels are … ah-hem … are not Young Adult. At all.

I liked the ending and the idea of Hook having to play the part of a villain. However, I found Neverland to be claustrophobic (as I’m sure Hook did) and Peter Pan should have been flayed alive by malicious pineapples probably.

Thank you and goodnight.