Books

there were no dragon illustrations

Glorious news! I can now spell ‘prejudice’ without the help of spell check. It – and this will blow your mind – doesn’t have two d’s.

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND

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I can’t read Alice In Wonderland right now – the artwork in my library edition is off-putting.

It’s just not pretty and my books must have:

  • epic dragon illustrations
  • pretty illustrations
  • no illustrations

… but I’m going to push through. Probably. Or I’ll put it on my kindle and read it without any drawings whatsoever.

SHADOWSONG

30694168.jpgOnce upon a time, I read Wintersong. The front cover was pretty. The sequel has just landed in my kindle because I rather thought that though I disliked the first quite intensely, it made me think about validation and where we draw it from.

Perhaps this sequel would give me an issue to ponder, was my line of thinking. But then I read the introduction and it had a trigger warning for suicide ideation, and said that this book was the author dealing with her monsters.

It’s not that I have anything against authors fighting their demons through the written word, it’s just that I never think ‘well, gee, let me read about someone fighting their demons in a book duology that I liked just as much as I like liver and onions.’

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LADY JANE GREY: NINE DAY QUEEN OF ENGLAND

388656Fun fact: I once saw the back of the author’s head. (It was, I rush to assure you, attached to the rest of her body.)

Now, I have a reread of My Lady Jane planned for this year, but it is comparatively flippant to the actual reality. (Flippant, but hysterically funny.)

I rather hoped the ending would change, but apparently history is set in stone and you can’t change it.

Lady Jane’s letter to her sister had a quote that quite struck me:

‘Live still to die … and trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life; for as soon (if God call) goeth the young as the old: and labour always to learn to die …

She was sixteen years old, and that letter was the last she ever wrote.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice before. Yes, yes – I’ve watched the movies, the T.V shows … all of that jazz, but I’ve never read the actual book.

But it has now been consumed, and it is with great astonishment that I discovered that it was quite wonderful. Just as good as everyone said it was. I am now eating enormous quantities of humble pie.

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Behold, my pride – it has toppled! My years of prejudice have taken a bruising fall! And yes, I shall admit it: Mr. Darcy is very romantic.

(Is it better than Georgette Heyer’s books though? Hmm …)

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Books

traumatised by books

Words are powerful. Books are powerful. (I would love to say that’s the reason I called my blog ‘of words and books’ but it isn’t; I was just trying to keep my bases covered. I know. Genius.) They can give hope, inspire us, change us, aid us in rising above the ordinary to perform the extraordinary.

They can also install a crippling – crippling! – fear of everyday objects.

THE WITCH

My uncle and aunt’s copy of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a well-worn and battered paperback. I read it, in the quiet, sitting on the attic stairs. A dedicated bookworm, even at a young age.

Was I entranced? Did I fall in love with Narnia and the adventures of the Pevensie siblings? I’m not sure. I grew fascinated with Turkish Delight, I remember that. I still am a little.

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i mean, i wouldn’t betray my siblings for it, but still

Usually, I think, after reading about Narnia, you’d want to open every wardrobe door ever. Just in case. Just to see. You’d hold your breath a little and reach in, past the coats … just to make sure. Maybe, just maybe, adventure was waiting for you, just beyond your fingertips.

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But me? OH HECK NO.

Coming into the room? The doors are open?! Close them. You know. Just in case.

Open the doors to retrieve clothing? Better make sure those doors are closed.

Going to bed? CLOSE DEM DOORS!

The illustrations … they’ve stuck with me too

I can still almost see what I feared the most – the White Witch, bursting through my white wardrobe doors on a chariot drawn by snarling creatures, arm raised with whip in hand, her expression most terrible.

I thought she was waiting behind the wardrobe. Waiting for me to forget to close the doors. Waiting for that sliver of light to appear. Waiting for me.

So the wardrobe doors were shut, lest worlds seep through and threaten my very existence.

THE CORPSE

One would think that one fear from the literary realm would be enough; one burden to haunt a little girl was sufficient. An active imagination is somewhat of a curse and a blessing … and occasionally a hinderance to visiting the bathroom.

At night, I wasn’t afraid of the toilet, or of the windowsill, or of the mirror from which my dark reflection would glance back. But rather, what might be laid out in the bath, waiting for me, morgue blue, eyes wide, and really quite dead.

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As the audiobook was playing, I’d stare at this cassette cover. Slowly, a fear of the possible contents of a bath sprung forth

Whose Body? is a delightful book – I’ve since reread it. I wasn’t terrified in the least. But to a young girl who listens avidly as an innocent person walks into their bathroom and discovers a A RANDOM CORPSE IN THEIR BATHTUB … well it didn’t take long to connect the dots.

  • My house had a bath
  • My house had a roof
  • Ergo, my house could have a corpse

[LOGIC STRIKES AGAIN!]

It was terrifying. Answering the call of nature at night became a fraught experience. Even when it wasn’t night-time, a suspicious glance at the bath first just had to be given. To make sure, you know.

I knew how it could be done, you see. Someone could – quite legitimately – drag a corpse over the rooftops and dispose of it in our tub: they would, perhaps, start at our next door neighbour’s roof with the body and then jump across to our’s. Then with gymnastics worthy of an Olympian, they’d climb through the narrow slit of the bathroom window with the body and deposit the body in our bath.

And there I would find it.

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Gradually I grew up and forgot to be afraid, but I shan’t forget those nighttime trips and those quick, fearing glances at the bathtub, and that moment when you’d hopped into bed, well you’d better get out again – the wardrobe doors were cracked slightly open.

Sticks and stones may break bones, but words will invoke wardrobes and bathtubs and they will always haunt you.

Or at least, they will until childhood slips away little by little.

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

the bookworm’s guide to reading on a budget

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I’m currently Saving Money For The Greater Good Of My Future. It’s a trial, but I’m just about bearing it. Here’s how …

The Open Library

for those who like to enjoy the wonder of the library from the comfort of their home (AKA those who avoid other humans at all costs)

You have to sign up for this website, but once you’ve done it – huzzah! You’ve entered a secret cult of booklovers and teadrinkers just accessed a library with zonks worth of books that are yours to read FOR FREE!

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Project Gutenberg

for those who do not wish to sign up for anything. and like older books. you rebels you.

I’ve spent countless hours using this website. In fact, I read the great majority of G.A Henty’s books on Project Gutenberg and I regret nothing; for now I, too, can write a tale of an honest looking youth – not handsome, mind – around the age of fifteen who is VERY VERY COURAGEOUS! and has MUCH PLUCK! (not the kind of pluck one would do on a chicken’s feathers) and lives an exciting life interspersed with a droning, monotonous voice that says Lord So and So moved his armies to such and such a place in the year something or other.

(If you have ever read a Henty, you will appreciate the very great wit which I have just employed. Probably.)

I also read The Rose-Garden Husband, discovered what a love triangle was (SPOILERS: the heroine chose Bill. Or was his name Bob?), and found Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of the Lammermoor to be disgustingly miserable.

Also – it’s been over eight years and I still can’t spell Gutenberg correctly. I add an extra ‘u’.

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LibriVox

for those who cannot afford Audible. and don’t mind listening to strangers talking. for hours.

LibriVox is the spoken form of Project Gutenburg Gutenberg. Some of them are awfully good. I once tried to persuade my brothers that The Scarlet Pimpernel was a magnificent book of magnificent proportions.

It is, and it was, but I didn’t realise that a) Marguerite had so. many. emotions and b) the emotions took up such a great deal of space. I had to reassure my poor brothers that the really AMAZING AND AWESOME PART was coming up soon. It did not, in fact, come up soon. It was at the end of the book. They were not overly impressed.

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The Library. Your Local Library.

for those who are willing to leave the shelter of their homes in search of books. introverts around the world salute you.

I have nine books out right now. Nine. One of which is the hefty five book trilogy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Do you know how much money that would have cost me to purchase? A fortune. A massive fortune.

Do you know how much money I spent? Nothing. NOTHING.

I ordered a book in the other day – instead of buying the ebook version for £4.74, I spent 45p ordering it. FORTY-FIVE PENCE.

It is a universal truth that libraries make you feel good about yourself. They are peaceful places – unless there is a mother and child group in the children’s section. In which case you will be serenaded by the sweet, sweet sounds of The Wheels On The Bus (Go ‘Round and ‘Round). 

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Since making the agonising decision to save money on books (it is painful, I can assure you) no less than THREE books have been published by authors I quite enjoy. But if one must have principles, one should probably stick to them. I am using three libraries – my personal one (if I can call my kindle collection, and bookshelves that), my local one, and the online version.

It can be done, my friends. It can be done.

happy reading!

I think I just rambled, Life

the bookworm’s guide to makeup

*** Warning: This Post is Novel Length ***

According to YouTube, you must have mountains of products and more skill than Da Vinci himself just to complete a ‘simple and everyday’ makeup look.

I do not claim to be good at makeup. I am a bookworm and I’ve always had a fear that too much makeup would make me look like a clown. However, I am now happy with what I do and wish to help you navigate the treacherous waters of the beauty world.

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allofitIngredients:

Concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and lipstick

brushes to apply eyeshadow and blush, fingers

courage

a clean face

Chapter One // In Which The Black Bags Disappear

The average Bookworm can often read into the wee hours of the morning. How can she combat the dire side effects? It’s quite simple. Honesty is all very well, but black bags? The Bookworm can hide it. As she hid – and devoured – those books underneath her covers when the lights were out.

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The Bookworm mustn’t feel the need to draw triangles, squares, or complex and bewildering mathematical formulas underneath her eyes. She should take a finger, put concealer on that finger and apply it. (The finger should preferably be her own). She should continue until the black bags are subdued.

eyelinerChapter Two // How The Thing Is Done With The Thing

The eyeliner should be gently applied to the waterline. The Bookworm uses her eyeballs to read, so caution should be taken. The eyeliner is not a sword, she is not a Viking, and her waterline is no monastery full of monks.

BACK UP PLAN: If the Bookworm does poke her eye out, she is reminded that audiobooks are popular nowadays.

A NOTE: The fabled ‘cat’ look, while it looks fabulous, requires plenty of practice. Without this, the liquid eyeliner will be wielded in an attempt to look like a magnificent cat, and the result will resemble a panda. A depressed panda.

eyeshadowChapter Three // Her Eyes Were Shadowed. Literally

The author used to go for the blue or green look. She was under the impression that it complimented her eyes. Today, she goes for the more neutral colours. Four of them, in fact. She likes to live dangerously.

Dabbling is advised for the Bookworm. Fun ought to be had. One can always erase one’s mistakes. The author hides the fact that her hand-eye coordination hasn’t improved since her toddler years by using the lighter colours to erase the wandering effects of the darker bronze.

de-wandsChapter Four // Wafting Spider’s Legs

Apparently, the Bookworm shouldn’t keep one wand of mascara for too long. It’s considered unhealthy. Unfortunately, the author ignores this sage advice and keeps one old mascara, and one semi-old mascara. She thinks it makes a difference. What is health when one’s eyelashes flutter like beautiful feathers in a spring breeze?

Step one: apply the thickest wand first, and – here the Bookworm is given a bit of advice from Doctor Who himself – DON’T BLINK. The Bookworm’s bootiful makeup will be ruined and she will either have to:

a) do difficult and complex damage control

or

b) pretend she was going for the ‘random bit of black on eyelid’ look the whole time.

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Step two: use the other wand next. This is logic. Pure and simple.

Step three: the Bookworm should stop before her eyelashes resemble spider’s legs. If they do, the Bookworm must pretend that she meant them to resemble spider’s legs. Spiders are part of nature and nature is beautiful. Her eyelashes are beautiful, beautiful spider’s legs.

blush2Chapter Five // The Permanent, Yet Charming, Blush

Blushing, in novels, is often considered cute. Blushing, in real life, is an evil, awkward and embarrassing thing. As a human who can turn red enough to make a tomato jealous, the author hates blushing. However, she slaps blush on her face. To be contrary is to be human.

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The Bookworm mustn’t apply over apply. The ‘oh, yes, I am not a pale hermit but am a charming person with a youthful glow’ effect is wanted. The Bookworm is not trying to convince everyone that yes, she has seen the sun recently and ‘look at this – my fabulous sunburn’.

lipstickChapter Six // The Accidentally Painted Tea Cup

The Tea Drinking Bookworm’s relationship with lipstick is a disappointing one. It’s not it, it’s her. Drinking a lot of tea is generally a deterrent to lipstick longevity. At work, however, the Tea Drinking Bookworm should give herself leave to wear a little of it.

Lipstick should be applied carefully. If the lipstick is red, the Bookworm is given leave to pretend she is a femme fatel. A mirror, or a companion, should be used to check whether any lipstick has stained her teeth.

The End

If the Bookworm wishes to branch out into foundation and highlighter and eyebrow colouring and who knows what else, she ought to do so. Experimentation can be marvelous fun.

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think of it as reading a new genre

The author will be over here, trying not to poke her eye out with a mascara wand, and being pleasantly surprised at how little she resembles a clown. A panda? Sometimes. A clown? Never.

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