Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday 26th Feb

"They head for Buckingham Palace, and see waving above it the red, white and blue, while the rest of us order dansak from the Tandoori Palace, and see Simply Red, White Lightning, and Duncan from Blue." (10)

- Charlotte Street ~ Danny Wallace

Sunday, February 24, 2013

For Review: What is the What ~ Dave Eggers

It's been all quiet on the blogging front here, due to editing a novel and teacher training. Besides my readathon, I've had very little time for personal reading. So I've been making my way through What is the What for a while, but I've really enjoyed it.

Based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, What is the What follows the story of a Lost Boy, displaced from his village in Sudan during a time of political unrest. On his walk to find peace, Achak treks with thousands of other boys across a country that is dangerous with threats of militia,  wild animals, and uncertainty. The journey is a constant struggle for survival, and even settlement has its daily fears and concerns. Eventually, Valentino is given a place in America as a refugee, but the land that was supposed to mean peace, happiness, and every success, proves to be far from ideal.

That's a lot of story to pack into 535 pages, even with the tiny font. But behind Achak's adventures is Eggers, directing his life in a way that is fast paced and easy to read, even in the most difficult places. From front cover to back, I learned a lot. Call me ignorant, but I didn't know about any of this. Of course I knew things about the unrest in Africa, but nothing about how it happened, or why, and certainly very little of child soldiers, or Lost Boys. What is the What explains the history, the politics, and the religious affairs. At points this was quite dense, and a lot to take in all at once, but perhaps easier for someone who knows more on the subject that I did.

Bigger than this is Achak's story - full of death, starvation, lose of faith in humanity, regaining faith, losing faith, heartache, trauma. So many heartfelt, terrible things, and Valentino pulls through. America isn't the haven that he expected it would be, and actually I was more horrified to learn about the discrimation and difficulties received there than of the malnutritioned desperation of Sudan. This isn't an old biography, Achak arriving in Atlanta in 2001, Eggers book first published in 2006. That people can be so backward and unfeeling in such recent years (and the horror to think that racial/refugee discrimination still happens so blatantly and in positions of authority) disturbs me.

But for all the horrific instances in this book, there's a steady strand of love and redemption. The hope that Achak has for himself and for others, and the hope that I had for all the people that were introduced throughout the story, keeps the story moving. Eggers' narrative pushes and pulls with an authentic voice, and the result is a biography that is hopeful and enduring.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

24 Hour Readathon v.2

24 Hour Readathon v.2 is complete!

Money raised: £160
Pages read: 1341

All my thanks to you for supporting my readathon and the Scottish Association for Mental Health!

Lots of love xo

18:00 - 00:00The last two and a half hours were so slow - an epic battle against sleep: triumph!

Pages read:
No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July
What is the What - Dave Eggers (48 pages)

12:30 - 18:00
Reading been slowing the past few hours - lots of caffeine needed!

Pages read:
No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July (38 pages)
True Things About Me - Deborah Kay Davies
Elsewhere:Here - Short Stories

Beverage Support:
2 mugs of tea
1 espresso
250ml energy drink

06:00 - 12:30
Whoo hoo! I have hit £160 donations! Thank you for your help! Let's see if we can push it higher!

Pages read:
Elsewhere: Here - Short Stories (85 pages)
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood
Diary of a Bad Year - J.M Coetzee

Beverage Support:
1 mug of tea
1 coffee

00:00 - 06:00:
Pages read: Girl Meets Boy - Ali Smith;
Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martel
Diary of a Bad Year - J.M Coetzee (23 pages) [And I'm glad I decided to read this one earlier in the day because there are pages where there are three different narrative threads going on at once!]

23.50 - Okay, had about 4 and a half hours of sleep (guesstimation, as I know I didn't sleep well with the hours that I had, but likely it was less that this), had a quick shower, and now with a large mug of tea and a bowl of bran flakes. Here we go!

It's nearly time! In five minutes I am going to bed, so that I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to begin my readathon at midnight (GMT).
The rules of the readathon are - read, always read. Even when eating or drinking, I will be reading. Constantly. The only time I get to put a book down is when I need to wash my hands. That is all.

This will be where I make my updates on my progress, and I will give myself a quick minute every six hours to do so. I won't have time to be constantly tweeting the action, so any support that can be done on my behalf would be much appreciated.

So here it is. 17.09 on 10 Feb 2013. This is the page to make donations - so far I've made £140 of the £150 target, but I'd love to push that further! Thank you so much for all your support so far - so much love goes out to you for it!

Now it's bedtime. Back in seven hours for the main event!

Friday, February 08, 2013

I Read Warm Bodies

There would normally be a review here, but I wrote my review and gave it away to another website, so it should be available there soon.

Meantime, I thought I'd say that I read Warm Bodies and loved it. It was just a gem of a book - fast paced, endearing, and a lot of fun. I'd heartily recommend it to any reader that enjoys a bit of zombie action. As for the film...

...if I was Isaac Marion I'd be devastated. It just doesn't look right. He's likely made a healthy pocketful of money from it (and good for him, I say!) but.. I wonder if it's really what he wanted. For a start, it looks like it's the wrong tone. At least, from the trailers and the way it's been billed, it just doesn't feel like the book felt. That and, I might as well admit to this now, I kind of fancied R. However, this was no doubt in part due to the fact that he was described as wearing a suit in the book. Not a red hoodie and a pair of jeans. Why the change? I don't even know.

It's all a bit unfortunate, really. If I had seen the trailer first, then I don't think I would have bothered picking up the book. Thankfully, I read the book first, and it was great. In fact, Warm Bodies was on my TBR and I made a point of reading it before the release of the film for these very reasons. I think I'll stick to this way of doing things - as with Great Expectations, it seems to work in my favour.