Books, I think I just rambled, Life

being whelmed and getting hitched

reading

I’ve been reading, quite extensively at times. Old favourites, new ones. Gorging on a new-found author. (Erm, not literally.)

Person Sitting While Open the Book

It seems that the closer I come to The Adventure, the more I try to avoid thinking about it. It’s subconscious, I don’t think ‘come now, Ness, let us avoid reality.’ But, it happens. I’m excited about The Adventure, terribly so. Nervous, anxious, itching to get on with it. But staying whelmed by reading.

(That’s the opposite of overwhelmed. I’m giving it a new definition.)

… or I’m reading so much because I am a dedicated bookworm at heart. It could just be that too.

i’m getting hitched

I didn’t know it until last night, but I am well on my way to matrimonial bliss. An Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsman (doesn’t that sound like the setup for a joke?) walked into my place of work.

(Well, I know that one was Irish, one was Scottish, and the other was either English or Irish or Scottish. I’m not sure; the ear I should have for accents is profoundly deaf.)

The probable Englishman (‘my name’s such and such, but you can call me ‘fiance”) admitted that he didn’t have enough cash for a quick elopement to Las Vegas, so the Scotsman gamely stepped up and offered (‘I do‘ he said, clearly foreshadowing our vows).

Woman Wearing Pink and White Low Top Shoes Dancing Beside Man

We’re getting married in Las Vegas on the 12th of September (he was too busy on the 10th) and are going to have matching tattoos, and flame-haired children.

So that’s that sorted, then.

writing

This is a bit embarrassing. I’ve been suffering a mighty writer’s block brought about by three things:

  • Tiredness, due to work
  • A Wish To Read Instead, due to my bookworm nature
  • Lack Of Will Power, I’ve got the word document open often enough – but rarely do I actually, oh, I don’t know, add actual words.

BUT I HAVE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH. (And this is the embarrassing bit.)

I’ve changed the font.

Boom.

I was writing until half one last night/early this morning. AND ALL I DID WAS CHANGE THE FONT.

I just … nope. Why? Why does my brain act this way? Why?! Why couldn’t it have been ‘you must bathe in the milk of a unicorn at dawn when the crow calls twice with lisp and once with a hiccup’ or something like that. But noooo, it turns out that I’m a simple woman with simple ways to get over things: have writer’s block? Change the font. Boom. Done.

I think I’d make a terrible arty book heroine; I’ve no complicated connection to my artistic soul. Fonts. That’s the key. I’m not bitter about it, or anything …

happy reading/writing!

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!

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!

walking in bluebells

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.

hitchhikers

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!

Life

mucking around on boats

I’m on holiday at the moment. After much agonising, I decided which books to take with me (a new-ish release, something of Heyer, and Mere Christianity) and which to leave behind (three other books. It hurt my soul).

At 1:32 in the morning, I jammed some clothes, a handful of odd socks and whatever miscellaneous I could find into a bag. I had priorities. My clothes were not priorities.

thewalkway

One does not think one’s best in the wee hours of the morning. In fact, a life rule of mine is: never think deep thoughts beyond 12:00 at night. I end up coming to the most depressing conclusions and become the single most gloomy hedgehog in the history of ever.

Consequently, as it was late and I’ve established that I don’t think well late at night (I can write, but I cannot think. It is most odd), I forgot to pack certain things.

Things I Tragically Forgot To Take With Me:

  • A blanket. I really could have done with one. (This is England. There is chill.)
  • Aristotle, my bunny. (One always should bring their bunny with them. The fact that I’ve never done it before is beside the point.)
  • Something pretty to put in my cabin.
  • A book by Georgette Heyer; I’m reading a book about her work, but I should have KNOWN this would make me want to read one of her books.

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My ambition this holiday is to finish A Crown of Wishes, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, write a short story and go back to editing Insalted (I brought the manuscript with me. It is heavy. Very heavy.) If my ambition is as lofty as Everest, the reality will probably be as high as a molehill.

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Georgette Heyer’s Regency World is proving to be extremely interesting. For one who thought factual books weren’t her cup of tea, I actually quite enjoy them.

Why I Enjoy Factual Books:

  • They give the illusion that my brain cells are growing in intelligence
  • They intrigue me
  • I can now quote accurate facts. You can’t really say ‘oh, did you know that Lady Jane was actually a shapeshifter? And she survived and had a lovely life with her true love who was a shapeshifting horse?’ because you will receive Odd Looks and people will (for some reason) disagree with you mightily.
  • An example of what I’m learning: the Regency period is considered to be from 1780 to 1830. Oh, I’m going to be quoting that one. If I can remember it.

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happy reading!

OH AND DID YOU KNOW THAT THE REGENCY PERIOD WAS FROM 1730 TO 18SOMETHING?!!!

Books, Life

two lessons learned in april

I was going to do a sort of april round-up/what I did/how I’ve yet to conquer the world post (WHY IS THIS YET TO HAPPEN? Oh. Wait. I’ve got to do something for it? Pfft. Nah. Forget that) but … the best laid plans and all that sort of thing.

Instead, here are two lessons I have learned recently. The world is ever my classroom (or something like that …)

1 // pirates are not my cup of tea

I suppose it’s because there’s only so much adventure you can have when stuck on a boat in a massive stretch of ocean. (And yes, some may vehemently disagree as to the truth of this statement. But I digress.)

Whilst I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora* (I’m actually pronouncing the title correctly nowadays. Clue: it isn’t The Lies of Loch Lomand) I didn’t enjoy its sequel Red Seas Under Red Skies quite as much.

Why?

  • The heist made me feel as though Lynch was going to give me the most marvelous white chocolate cake in the history of ever … but then he didn’t. Instead, he gave me some horrendous milk chocolate sponge abomination.

(Thanks, Scott Lynch. Thanks a lot.)

  • High seas. Ship speak. Me … nope. Look, my Uncle once quizzed me about which side was port and I thought deeply and carefully about the alcoholic substance known as port and why you’d pass it around the table and whether there was a tradition about passing the glass around- I don’t do ship speak. (Port is on the left, I think. Or the right. One or the other. I can never remember.)
  • Once again, I can’t get the title right. So far, I’ve called it Red Skies Under Red Sails, Red Seas Under Red Sails, and Red Sails Under Red Skies. It’s confusing.

But those are mere quibbles. I am still enamoured with the character of Locke. Enough to risk the next novel. Maybe.

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2 // i enjoyed a ya novel

I’m shocked. SHOCKED! I tell you. However, I bought Shatter Me because I suspected it was terribly melodramatic. (I was feeling in the need of something terribly melodramatic.)

And it is.

Ohhhhh it is.

It is the most delicious, melodramatic piece of purple prose I have ever – EVER – been fortunate enough to read, and I’ve read fanfiction. (And written it but *cough* that’s beside the point.)

It’s well done purple prose. It’s creative purple prose. It’s unique purple prose. It’s beautiful purple prose. But it is the purplest prose to have ever posed as prose.

I let myself be gleeful, and I let myself read it. I didn’t take it very seriously, for I’m an old codger and can be as sympathetic as a very sympathetic brick.

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There are issues. I would like to point out to Juliette that not everything is solved, or resolved with tulips. And by tulips, I mean chew lips. (I’m sorry. That was funnier in my head.)

At one point, I looked at myself in the mirror (as all humans have fled my presence, I am left with the companionship of the mirror. It’s okay. I find it to be a very reflective companion) and said:

This is rubbish. I LOVE IT.

Shockingly enough, the mirror did not respond.

*The Lies of Locke Lamora is an adult fantasy novel about thieves. Ergo, there is quite a bit of crass language (thieves do not, as a rule, speak Queen’s English), plenty of guts and gore, and the occasional unsavoury situation. Ye have been warned.