Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh Hi Friday!

This week has been one of those weeks - I don't know how time has passed but somehow it has. There's just six hours of work between myself and the weekend; a day spend with my sisters, Halloween and Foals. Nice.

This week's blog hop asks:

 " What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

Hot! A gorgeous old worldy library, preferrably with a ladder to reach the highest books (I am quite short, after all).

In the mean time, I might have to settle for this bookcase wallpaper:

Friday is payday, and that means cake. I can't wait - even though the supermarket is outside, through the rain.

P.S Don't forget to try your chances at my giveaway! Win a copy of Mercury Falls! Clickety click the link and get in with a chance of winning :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

For Review: Big Fish ~ Daniel Wallace

Tim Burton has always been a hero of mine, so it was only natural for me to see his making of Big Fish. I absolutely adore the film and everything about it - the role of storytelling, the hints at the fairy-talesque, the colours and the sounds and everything that makes Burton Burton. Like several books I've recently reviewed, I loved the film first then went for the book.

Daniel Wallace's Big Fish is almost a different story from that of the film. The main elements of the story are the same: Edward Bloom is dying, and his son William wants to learn more about his father before he passes away. William narrates his father's incredible tales while thinking about his relationship with his dad. It makes for a gorgeously tender story; touching and amusing all at once.

It's a short novel, but William is coloured through his descriptions, and likewise his father is created through the stories told. The characters are all beautifully presented in such a short space of time. Edward Bloom claims to have met giants, bought towns and saved women turned fish in lakes - and yet unlike Tim Burton's more fantastical film, Wallace's novel is touched with more elements of reality and it's far easier to imagine that Edward's stories might be true.

In such few pages, Big Fish does a great many things. The characters are huge, the stories are intense, the relationship between father and son is complex, and there's always the question between reality and fiction. Ultimately, it's a charming little read; both book and film are a must.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hoppy Friday!

Another Friday, another book blog hop.

This week's question:
"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

My sofa is definitely my favourite place to read. If I had a garden, I'm sure I'd have a lovely seat there, but I don't so reading happens in the living room. I have a gorgeous quilted blanket that my mum made for me, and I like to curl up in the corner of the couch with some cushions. Or I can stretch out and lie down. That, and the couch is close enough to the kitchen for tea trips.

Where's good for you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Review: Mercury Falls ~ Robert Kroese: And Giveaway

Angels have always been a huge interest of mine, and all things eschatological are fascinating whatever the weather. So when I was offered Mercury Falls featuring angels and their meddling plans with the Apocalypse, I was instantly sold.

Mercury is a free acting angel, neither particularly on the side of Heaven or the side of Hell. Ultimately, he enjoys living on the human plane so much that he'd rather that it wasn't blown to smithereens. When he meets Christine, a series of heavenly and unexplained circumstances leads them to saving the life of the Antichrist. Lumped with Karl (in his late thirties, still living with his mum, junk food lover), they travel across the universe and encouter archangels, cheribum and Lucifer. Christine, a mortal journalist, and Karl, the Antichrist, have a lot to learn and contend with. Anyone who's read anything involving angels, demons, the end of the world, or a series of books called Harry Potter is sure to enjoy this.

The End of Times is often a very doom and gloom subject, but thanks to the lovely Mercury, much of the novel is lighthearted and very funny at times. After all, it's impossible not to be endeared by an angel building snowmen when the world is on the brink of BOOM. However, the novel was particularly confusing at points - pages of technical angel babble which seemed like explanation for explanation's sake. Or maybe it wasn't confusing, just a bit boring. I wanted more story, not a science lesson. That said, they were few and far between. Where I was mislead, was in the blurb and the cover of the book - both were clearly made by someone who had read only the first few chapters. There's all this focus and chat of Mercury playing ping-pong, which is does, but bar the start of the novel it's only mentioned briefly once or twice. It would have been wise to suggest a different book cover.

That said, the text itself is great and made a very enjoyable read. Kroese has offered a very entertaining and warming story that involves the entire universe and a whole heavenly host of fantastic characters.

So. The giveaway.

I have one ARC copy of Mercury Falls to give away to one lucky reader! Hurray! Fancy your chances? Follow or subscribe and leave a comment with your email address so that I can be in touch!

Happy commenting - and do feel free to spread the word!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 19 Oct

" 'Okay, but this guy is clearly not the actual Antichrist. Look at him.'
     Karl was a heavyset, balding man in his late thirties, with pasty skin and a dull look in his eyes. He had the look of someone who spent most of his time playing video games in his mother's attic, probably because he did, in fact, spend most of his time playing video games in his mother's attic."

From an uncorrected proof of Mercury Falls, by Robert Kroese.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Say 'Shotgun', You Say 'Wedding'.

Many thanks to Book'd Out who recently awarded me with the Versatile blogger award. Hoo-ha!

The conditions of this award are that all recipients must:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award
2. Write 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award

So here goes!

1. Twinings English Breakfast tea is currently my poison of choice.
2. I recently quit the job I love to spend more time on writing my novel.

3. I'm writing a novel.
4. Ridiculous obsession with nail varnish - I find it impossible to leave Boots without a brand new colour!
5. I'm going for my first ever massage/facial/manicure/pedicure on Wednesday!
6. Romeo and Juliet is my least favourite Shakespeare play. I hate Romeo.
7. It's six o'clock and I could kill for some tea and chocolate right now.

15 excellent bloggers? See here:

Ta da! xo

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: Z

Enough said.

Thoughts for the next round?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For Review: Invisible Monsters ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Fellow Palahniuk fans (of which I know none in real life) often cite Invisible Monsters as being their favourite Chuck book. Naturally, it's full of those wonderful things that Palahniuk deals with so well - realistic reality, the tragic and ridiculous events of life, and the various ways that people function and cope.

Beautiful and glamorous, the model heroine has her face severely disfigured following an incident in her car. Without a jaw, the protagonist isn't mute but she can no longer communicate by speech. Feeling perhaps more than a little sorry for herself, she narrates her story as she meets Brandy Alexander - every bit as beautiful as she remembers being herself. Brandy insists that the past is irrelevant; what is important is creating an identity and a life for ourselves. So the narrator heroine is named Daisy St Patience, and she embarks on a road trip with Brandy, and fellow traveller Seth, around the USA and pulling stunts to steal drugs to sell.

Palahniuk's characters and plots are never completely linear, but in Invisible Monsters he offers pieces of a puzzle for the reader to stick together. The narrative jumps from past, to present, to past, to past, to further past, to present. The characters in this novel are complex on a whole new level - not only must the reader figure out the head of the narrator, but there are the lives, motives, sexuality and gender of all the other characters to get around. Amazing. It's confusing at points, and definitely raises eyebrows.

But my GOSH! That ending! So supreme! I say ending, but really it was the last third of the book - everything started to become slightly clearer, but that's not to say everything made sense. Lack of catharsis is always a friend of mine. But this, whoa, this really had my head reeling. Maybe I'd missed something, and in hindsight there were teeny little details that I did notice, but made nothing of. But I was hit with this incredible wrapping up, a gradual peeling back of layers and discovery that completely warped the way I'd perceived the characters, the way I'd read the story.

SO. Get in there. Palahniuk is the master. After Haunted, this is definitely my favourite. Nothing is as it seems, and if you don't know this now, you certainly will after reading Invisible Monsters.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Crossing the Bridge - This Writer Needs Stepping Stones!

So I've hit that 45,000 mark - midwayish/justoverhalfway. I'm so excited. I've got characters that feel very real to me, and the novel looks like it's really going somewhere. But.

I have this desperation to keep writing, a need to keep it going - but where to? I know exactly how the last however many thousand words are going to go. The ending is definitely in sight. But I'm so lost about how to bridge between what is really looking like Part One and Part Two. I've got as far as I could, but I'm a bit stuck!

So far I've been working chronologically, mostly because that's just how my brain works. Could it be worth just skipping a few chapters and just going for the end?

Time to take the day off from writing - I'll come back to it next week. I'm halfway through Invisible Monsters so I might pay a little extra attention to see how a master does it.

For Review: A Clockwork Orange ~ Anthony Burgess

Like so many (possibly too many) books, I add them to my list after seeing the film. A Clockwork Orange is one of those cult things - the film, the book, people dressing up as Alex and his droogs for Halloween. Finally coming round to reading the book was very exciting!

In all honesty, I was slightly worried about all the different slovos used in the book. I thought I wouldn't understand, but really it was surprisingly easy. Burgess created his own nadsat speech for Alex but it goes on so seemlessly that it ends up feeling so natural. Sure, in the first few pages there was getting used to certain words, but on only one or two occasions did I feel that I had to sit and figure out what was meant.

Still, the narrative moved so quickly that it wasn't an obstacle in any way. 15 year old Alex enjoys nothing more than being a criminal - stealing, violence, rape. It's all fun and games until someone gets killed. Alex is arrested and spends a difficult time in prison. That is, until he becomes part of a government experiment to reform criminal youths. Subjected to what is essentially brainwashing, Alex is 'cured' but has then to contend with who he is in the outside world.

Alex narrates the story in retrospect and yet, while I expected the narrative to be quite gruesome, the way that he details events is all the more shocking for the bland, matter-of-fact use of words. His tone is rather playful, and yet he's discussing red red krovvy, and the old in and out. It's distrubing in its own ways, but was really fascinating to read. I was completely hooked.

As for Alex himself, I'm definitely fan despite what he's done. Perhaps it helped being told from his point of view, but I was so sympathetic of what he went through under reformation that his past began to matter less and less. But that's forgiveness, I suppose, and that's what Burgess did so well - a clever social and moral commentary - who or what is evil?


For Future Reference: vocabulary from Alex's nadsat.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Poem of the Month: September

It's October already, can you believe it? In this city it certainly feels like it. The leaves are blowing off the trees. At the nursery I work at, a two year old girl asked me to, 'Fix it.' I get a cosy autumnal feeling from this poem.

This Room

by John Ashbery
The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.

We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.