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!

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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, 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!