Books, Recountings

recountings: LET THERE BE BLOOD!

Red Rising is like Jane Eyre but without:

  • Mr. Rochester
  • Jane Eyre
  • Wives In Attics
  • St. John Rivers (THANK GOODNESS.)

(So basically … it’s nothing like it … but still … )

It does, however, feature a character who decides upon a course of action … and keeps to it. Darrow has a plan, and my word, does he carry through with it.

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I am rereading the book series because a) it is one of my favourites and b) Iron Gold is soon to be released.

THE WORLD 

I adore the world building that Brown has put into his work – there’s a colour coded class system, heavy Roman influences, and an utter ruthlessness that permeates through the upper levels of society.

It’s fascinating. And maddening. (The Reds. Oh the poor Reds. That particular plot twist was ruined before I first opened the book – it was written on the back cover. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. I WOULD HAVE ENJOYED THAT TWIST.)

THE CHARACTERS

Occasionally, I grow frustrated with myself; I have this desire to write insightful, intellectual posts analysing books in an interesting fashion. To say: THE MAIN CHARACTER WAS AWESOME!! rather puts a halt to this urge.

Oh well.

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But it is true – I find the main character, Darrow, to be quite something. The bee’s knees, so to speak.

Why?

  • He isn’t a wimp
  • Much like Jane Eyre (an analogy that I refuse to regret) he sticks to his guns. To put it more bluntly – he is like a rocket of justice that WILL NOT be swayed by the winds of opposition and peasant feelings. He’s got his mission and by golly, he’s going to do it.
  • He is like a legend of old; the whole business of ‘The Reaper’ sends shivers down my spine. (Okay, that is a tad dramatic. But to put in my mindspeak: THIS. IS. AWESOME!!!!!)
  • He has a conscious. A heart.

Sevro … is still a creepy, lovable character. The bromance is strong and it does me weathered heart good to see it.

‘I killed their pack leader,’ Sevro says when I ask why the wolves follow him. He looks me up and down and flashes me an impish grin from beneath the wolf pelt. ‘Don’t worry, I wouldn’t fit in your skin.’

As for the others? I’ve read the trilogy, I know what happens and I’m bracing for impact.

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I am, however, secretly hoping that some things will change with this reread. But don’t tell anyone that.

THE PLOT

With this second read, I think I burned myself out a little, fried zee little grey cells. I binged this book in one day.  I looked at its sequel – Golden Son – and left it on its shelf (I know, le gasp, how could I not continue?!) my brain was that fried.

I tried to appreciate Eo (Darrow’s wife); I understood her a little more but … her *spoiler* still seemed somewhat flimsy. But I could feel Darrow’s motivation so much the better for it.

Some people have compared Red Rising to The Hunger Games. I’ve never read The Hunger Games (HEATHEN!) so I wouldn’t know. I can tell you, however, that this entire book is brutal, ruthless, bloody, and unforgiving.

And I love it.

“Tactics win battles. Strategy wins wars,” I say.
“Oooo. I am Reaper. God of wolves. King of strategy.” Mustang pinches my cheek. “You are just too adorable.”

goodreads // kindle


PS. Suzannah Rowntree, from Vintage Novels, has a Proper Review right here. I always find her reviews on books that we’ve both read to be thought provoking; here she puts her finger on some of the issues in the book that I appreciate. (And expresses them in a far more lucid style.)

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Books, Life, On Writing

Life, On A Different Continent

So. I’ve quit my job and left England. I’ve been planning it for a while, but quite frankly I’m stunned that I’m actually here in Montreal, Canada. This is happening.

I’ve been working for the greater part of a year to able to afford it, jamming in as many shifts as I possibly could, and neglecting my writing horribly.

But, no more. No more, I say.

ERM, WHY?!

Just why did you leave your own country? and WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU ABANDON ALL YOUR BELOVED BOOKS?!!! are perfectly legitimate questions to ask.

And I have answers:

  • I want to spot a lumberjack in its natural habitat. (The border official was like: ‘in Montreal?? Yeah. No.’ But you know what? I live in hope. Desperate, terrible hope.)
  • It’s time for me to speak fluent French. (Why didn’t you just go to France? I hear you ask. WELL EXCUSE ME FOR TAKING THE LONG WAY ROUND! THIS COUNTRY HAS MAPLE SYRUP!!! MAPLE. SYRUP.)
  • It was time to live on a different continent.
  • Why not?
  • I have a kindle. It was – and I am being perfectly serious right now – very hard to leave my books behind. But at least I have SOME books with me. Even if they are ebooks. Even if I can’t sniff ’em.

WHAT NOW?

I write. I write as hard as I can. This is the time to catch up on all the projects I haven’t finished.

And yes, I can hear select members of my family sniggering a continent away. My writing is a bit of running joke, you see. The joke being that I never finish a novel and have at least ten books on the go.

I would like to point out that a) Rome wasn’t built in a day, b) genius takes time, and c) there is nothing wrong with elongated multitasking. Nothing.

WHAT ABOUT THIS BLOG?

My aim is to go back to posting once a week – recountings of books, detailing what I’ve been up to (so far, I’ve set a house alarm off, explored some of Montreal, and have heard a report THAT THERE IS A LIBRARY NEARBY! WOOP!) and perhaps attempting to keep you enthralled with updates on my SO TOTALLY GOING TO BE FINISHED projects.

adieu for now!

Books

how to bookworm when you’re busy

Recently, it’s been taking me much longer to finish a book. I’m claiming ‘Being Busy’ as my reason. However, I am still reading. And here’s how.

OLD FAVOURITES

I may not be finishing new books, but I am reading scenes and passages and chapters from some old favourites. And yes, this isn’t adding any extra stats to my goodreads account, but I don’t mind. I find it comforting, and enjoy revisiting past adventures.

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DON’T BE NEKKED

Out to the dentist? Take a book. Working? You have a lunch break. Take a book. Traveling? Take a book. Take THREE books! (No. FOUR!)

Quite frankly, without access to a book, I feel rather naked. I don’t like feeling naked in public. So I take a book. Logic.

(This advice is followed by: and then read the book you brought with you.)

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PFFT. WHO NEEDS SLEEP?

Sleep is important. Very important. Don’t skimp on it. Or read. That’s good too. In my experience, the two don’t go together very well.

It’s like an equation:

Read a lot = sleep little.

Sleep a lot = read little.

As a bookworm, I’ve read into the wee hours countless times. I’m not too proud of it – I wouldn’t have to wear so much concealer if I got a proper eight-hour hibernation session in. But, what can you do? Sacrifices have to be made.

… and I’ve been making them since I was a wee teen and read G A Henty into the small hours. Followed by countless other books, including the Patty Series? (I can’t remember. It’s been awhile and there was a love triangle and she chose Bill. I approved. But then there was a paragraph where she regretted her choice. Bam! Such betrayal. Pfft, Bill. You could have done better. Me, for instance.)

It’s a habit. A bad one. But when you’re gripped by a book, what’s to be done? Go to sleep? No. Nope. You have to finish it. Or at least, you have to try.

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(There’s a balance somewhere; I’m attempting to find it.)

To read more, you have to make time for it. But I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how much reading you can fit in. Even when you’re busy. Take a book. Don’t be naked.

Happy reading!

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!

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.

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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.

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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.