Author: fantasyst95

Reading List: August 2017

We are officially into August and into the height of Summer! I will always associate August as being Summer as that is when I used to go on holidays with my mum and dad and of course, school was out. For me, it was the best time of the year.
So this month I’ll be starting by finishing the last book of my July list, being A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I didn’t quite get to finish it since Magician took me a little longer than anticipated to read.
Here is a list of the other books I am planning to read this month. If any of these catch your eye please look out for my reviews of these books as well:-
1 Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett
Lords and Ladies
GoodReads – Lords and Ladies
Yes guys, I’m going back to one of my favourite authors this year and one of the best (and longest) series of books I have read. This also features some of my favourite characters on the Discworld, including Granny Weatherwax and her coven of witches! I love the escapism you get whilst reading of the wild adventures of the Discworld, yet somehow when the book is finished you realise that between all the magic and lunacy (and it’s hilarious lunacy at that), there is something you can take away from the book that really smacks of the world we live in. I daresay the madness isn’t as far from the world we live in as we would like to think… expect Earth isn’t transported through space and time on the back of a giant turtle of course.
2 River God – Wilbur Smith
River God
GoodReads – River God
My granddad used to read a lot of Wilbur Smith, apparently. I only found this out fairly recently, having stumbled across a newer release of his in a local bookshop with my mum in tow. I think the book we stumbled across was called Pharaoh. I also share a lot of my reading “ventures” – for want of a better word – with a colleague of mine and when telling her about this I found out she too had read Wilbur Smith and enjoyed his books. We have similar taste in books so at that point I decided to give this a go. It’s completely new to me, but I’m excited. It’s also for me a way to get closer to my grandad. Sadly all of my grandparents are no longer with us, so if I can take the time to enjoy the things they did I see that as one of my ways of remembering them.
3 A Tale of two Cities – Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities
GoodReads – A Tale of Two Cities
I hold my hand up and say I have never read any Charles Dickens – not even A Christmas Carol. It’s one of those films I like to try to watch every year, as well as Miracle on 34th Street (but it has to be the 1994 version with Richard Attenborough as the man in red). I think I have just committed myself to reading the book this year out of shame!! As much as I say I have never read any of the works of Dickens, I’m not saying I am unfamiliar either; I have never taken the time to appreciate these works is all. Whilst I am finding myself with an appreciation for classics, I’m jumping right in to read as many as I can.
4 The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory
Lady of the Rivers
GoodReads – The Lady of the Rivers
I love history and I think I pretty much always have. Whilst the potential was always there my real love for the subject was kindled by two excellent teachers we had at our high school, husband and wife – they were a load of fun. They had done well for themselves, even have written textbooks distributed around schools on the subject, but equally they were the kind of teachers that would happily let you watch a film and where necessary narrate the historical context of what was going on. There was also the bread sticks too…
I have digressed from my point slightly. As I have said, I love history, but whilst I was at school I didn’t get the chance to study the Wars of the Roses… which is silly really because that is far closer to home than the likes of the Cold War and America from 1920-45.
I have heard great things of Philippa Gregory as a historical writer so this should be a great indulgent read. My sister also managed to buy me the second book of the series, The White Queen, for a pound just a couple of weeks ago. Saving money on book buys is always a bonus!!
5 Extracted – R R Heywood
extracted
GoodReads – Extracted
This book caught my eye as it also has some element of history involved. I will openly admit in the past I haven’t been inclined to read much in the way of science fiction. In fact I think my sci-fi library goes as far as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The War of the Worlds and some short stories by George R R Martin. My dad is definitely a science fiction lover by comparison. I can’t explain what it is, but a lot of the time, I can’t take to them. It’s funny really: you would think my love and purpose of reading as a form of escapism would allow me the greater ability to stretch the imagination in order to read these books. A lot of the time however I am not inclined to read it, with a few exceptions. I’m making one for this book however, so fingers crossed I haven’t made a mistake.
6 Pet Sematary – Stephen King

Pet Sematary
GoodReads – Pet Sematary
I add this last book to my list tentatively, as I may not get to finish it this month, but I’ll sure as anything give it a try! Horror is also a new genre for me to read; I have steered clear of horror as I absolutely detest horror films. To set the record straight, this is not because they scare me… I think they are so predictable they don’t scare me at all. I’m hoping with writing it will be more suspenseful rather than cheap shots at scaring people by having something jump into the camera for a quick “thrill”. Do me a favour… this is not entertaining at all. I’m also trusting that dipping my toes in the water with a Stephen King novel will be a safe way to start exploring – I already know I like his writing style!


So that is how I’ll be spending my free time this month – I’m sure keeping busy! As well as all this reading you can catch me here with updates as to how I am getting along.
Has anyone else read any of the books listed above? If so, what was your verdict?
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Review: Magician – Raymond E Feist

Good evening everybody!

It’s Sunday night again, and many of us have the joys of going back to the daily grind tomorrow. On a slightly more positive note we’re not quite there yet, so let’s enjoy the time we have 🙂 I’m going to have a few posts coming up in the next few days, including my monthly profile of the books I intend to read; I have another review coming up after this for A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (I finished that this morning) and I’ll also be reviewing my TBR pile once again in the next few days… I hope you’ll stay tuned!

 

GoodReads – Magician

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. His courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, but he was ill at ease with normal wizardry. Yet his strange magic may save two worlds from dark beings who opened spacetime to renew the age-old battle between Order and Chaos.

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t know about any of you my fellow readers, but I have a habit of staying up past my bedtime when I am extremely close to finishing a book. Magician is the first (and largest book) of the Riftwar Saga trilogy, being 841 pages in itself whilst the remaining two books add up to this together. At approximately 11pm on Thursday night, I knew I had 60 pages left to read in order to finish this book, so I WAS going to finish this book. I packed up from the front room, made my lunch ready for work the next day and made myself ready to read the home stretch whilst sat in bed.

I finished reading this book, brushed my teeth and got into bed at 12:45am 🙂 It’s a good job I’m a night owl anyway – I don’t need much sleep. It was absolutely worth staying up late to finish.

I read Magician before a number of years ago, not long after I had started working full-time and I was still living with my parents. I bought the further two books in the trilogy after reading and enjoying it, and that was back in January 2014. I still haven’t read these yet and that is why I wanted to re-visit the first book and refresh myself before I tried to read these.

I get the sense that Magician was written with the potential to be a standalone book initially. It isn’t like most books in that it doesn’t leave with some cliffhanger to draw you on to the next one. Certainly, there are plenty of things that could be picked up, revisited and elaborated on if the fact it was going to be a series was in doubt at the time of writing. Equally if Raymond E. Feist had never got the chance to write nor I the chance to read the last two books of the series, it wouldn’t be the end of the world either. From my perspective, Magician could exist as a standalone book. I’m glad it’s not though…just saying.

The book begins with us learning about Pug, a small orphaned keep boy who is effectively raised by his best friend’s parents. Every boy progresses to manhood at the point of the Choosing, in which they are apprenticed to a variety of crafts. Pug finds himself apprenticed to the great Magician Kulgan, and is elevated into court as reward for a courageous feat to save one of the royal family.

Pug struggles to find his way in this new life, but all is about to be turned on its head when Pug and Tomas, his best friend, find a foreign ship smashed against the rocks near castle Crydee.

Kelewan is a distant world from Midkemia; its people having fled from the Enemy through a rift in time and space onto this world. The Tsuranuanni have a vastly different social system and live in the harsh conditions of the world they are forced to live on. They greatly value the precious metals available on Midkemia, and after discovering this world quite by accident, events lead to war spanning years as the Midkemian’s fight against these new invaders.
Yet Kelewan also has something that Midkemia is lacking; the knowledge Pug needs in order to train in the Greater Path of magic. In training to do so, he becomes the Master Magician he was destined to be.

If I have one criticism of the book, it’s that I found the part of Pug’s education in the higher arts to be very lacking. It was almost like the need for Pug to be educated was merely a stepping stone in order to carry on with the rest of the book so a couple of chapters were stuck in to acknowledge the fact. I would have liked to see more development here personally. I don’t feel that this detracts from the book at all, what is written is well done and flows nicely.

It’s a bit cliché if anything, but I don’t mind that so much once in a while.

Down the TBR hole – #1

How many of us have so many books on our lists, compiled in various and completely different places that we lose track? *raises hand*
I’m very guilty of this. I have a list that I have made since starting this blog of books I am reading and in what order. I also use Goodreads and I have books on there that I marked for the TBR pile in 2014 and am yet to even plan touching. I’m also sure books have made it onto my Kindle and escaped both of these lists entirely too.
I have decided it is time for a spring clean, and this meme/tag, whatever you wish to call it was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story for this purpose.
It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Without further ado, here are the first few books on my list –
1.The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan
the eye of the world
Verdict: KEEP
So, I was first introduced to this series via a friend whilst at school, and by one of my not normally bookish friends at that. I don’t know if she read all of the series, but she has definitely read a respectable number of them. That for me gives the book some credit.
I also happened to try a sample at some point (I added this book to my TBR nearly three years ago, so I cannot be precise as to when) and whilst it was okay and perfectly readable, it clearly didn’t entice me to drop everything and read every single one there and then. A lot of reviews complain/whine criticise that it is very Tolkien but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my mind. I’ll keep it as it has potential, but I won’t be fast tracking it up the TBR pile.
 
2. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
Assassins Apprentice
Verdict: KEEP
I have only very briefly tried to read this once before. I bought an e-book version of this back in June 2014 and I started to read it one day on my iPhone. I must have been really bored and without much else to do because I know I cannot read more than one thing at a time properly. I marvel at anyone who can manage this without getting things mixed up or forgetting one book whilst becoming engrossed in another! I personally like to read, binge and indulge in one book and them move on to the rest… but that is just my preference.
I need to give this book a chance on its own and not treat it as a second, casual read when I’m bored.
 
3. The Black Prism -Brent Weeks
The Black Prism
Verdict: KEEP!!!!
I absolutely forgot I added this book/series to my TBR… how rude. I read Brent Weeks’ The Way of the Shadows book series years ago and added this one after discovering those. And then I just went and forgot about it, didn’t I?! Having looked at some reviews I have seen one that indicates this series is even better than the other one I have read, so in that case, I am definitely putting this high up on my TBR!
 
4. Among Thieves – Douglas Hulick
Among Thieves
Verdict: GO
I probably decided to read this because Brent Weeks has an endorsement on the front. I added the book to my TBR the same day I did The Black Prism, so I wouldn’t be surprised. Having re-read the synopsis I have decided that I’m not completely against reading this book. It’s kinda my thing, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to read right now. I’ll probably end up re-adding it to the TBR at some point in the future, but for now, it’s coming off.
5. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief) – Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief
Verdict: GO
Evidently the day I set up my Goodreads account I decided I wanted to read books from every dishonest and less than reputable perspective going. Basically a guy who believes he is a good thief is plucked out the the prison to go and retrieve an artifact for a King, by the looks of the synopsis. Truth be told I’m not entirely sure why I added this… I love the fantasy genre but I’ll openly admit I’m a sucker for some complex politics or something interwoven deep within the plot that causes twists and turns. Call me unfair if you will but this seems a bit basic to me, and other Goodreads reviewers agree that this isn’t the best of the series so I’ll give it a miss.


 
So that’s all for now guys!! I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have! I’m going to try and post these fairly regularly in order to get my TBR all tidied up and hopefully you’ll find some books that you like the sound of too! I’ll tidy my list up and make you look bad adding to yours! haha!
Also a quick update, I’m now about 75% through Magician by Raymond E Feist so expect a review soon. I set a target to have read two additional books after this one this month but I was being too ambitious in light of the fact I finished early last month. The way it is going, it looks like A Handmaid’s Tale is going to be my first read of August instead… please don’t be disappointed!!
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*Credit to Amazon for the use of images*
 

Review: Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien 

I would just like to wish everyone a pleasant weekend from over here, in the not so sunny climes of the island upon which I live. As I am typing this, the view outside my window is far less picturesque than the rolling, lush green hills of the Shire, but never mind. For what any of us lack in gorgeous countryside and dazzling sunshine we have in imagination!!
It’s a good job really… We only get a couple of weeks a year that can constitute as a summer so we take whatever we can get!
Moving along, I wanted to share with you my thoughts as to my latest read, being the last installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Return of the King. Admittedly I was apprehensive about finally reading this book; I was concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the hype around it. I think that is a real danger with any book, film or TV program when it becomes so popular.
 

GoodReads – Return of the King
I was glad to see that a lot of my time wasn’t wasted in the set up of where Gandalf and company left off in The Two Towers. I was concerned that this wouldn’t have led to anything particularly consequential given that I would argue this was the lesser important side of the two perspectives we read. Here we get to see the raw power of Mordor and the vast numbers fighting for Sauron.
I don’t know about anybody else, (with the exception of my dad, as I’ve discussed this with him) but I found this last book to be really dark, and it made it difficult to read; like someone condemned takes their next step more begrudgingly to their doom, each page turn was more difficult than the last. I was determined to finish. I waited with bated breath for events unfold, hoping against hope that little Frodo and Sam made it!
I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book, but what I will say for its difficulty to read (that’s just one – well two opinions anyway) it is spectacular. It was worth the perseverance and I was not disappointed by the end. It’s a little sad, but it felt like it ended as it should have, even though you would never have anticipated it in the beginning.
Now I’ll have to catch upon the films, because I am a firm believer that the books are better and must be read first. I have made a few exceptions:

  • War & Peace – because I would never have understood the book without watching it first
  • A Handmaid’s Tale – I did actually try the book a few years ago but didn’t finish it
  • Game of Thrones – purely because I don’t have a choice and I’ll be damned if I get behind! I’m sure there are plenty of people who agree with me on this one!

That’s all for now guys! I’m presently half way through reading Raymond E Feist’s first installment in the Riftwar Saga, Magician. This is a re-read from a few years ago, as I have the next two in the series to read but admittedly I’ve forgotten what happens!
This has also brought my round to thinking about having a tidy up. I need one comprehensive reading list, so I’m going to be tidying up my TBR “pile”. I’ve found a lovely book tag dedicated to the task which should make the task of deciding easier! I look forward to seeing you then!
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Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Hi all!

I know I promised this review sooner, and I apologise. I’m a slacker.

Truth be told, my time has been taken up with reading Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I’m trying to space my reviews out so they aren’t too infrequent, in relation to how far I am through the next book, but this has taken me longer than I expected to read.

Stardust
GoodReads – Stardust

Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

 

My Thoughts…

To be perfectly honest I only picked up this book because I have heard such good things about the author. The story is based around a young man who runs off to retrieve a fallen star for the sweetheart of the town, after she promises to give him his greatest desire if he succeeds. Of course, his wish is to marry this beautiful girl. Prior to this promise, he had once or twice sat in a tree looking through windows at her. Not at all creepy…

Now call me a cynic if you want, but I’m not for all this mushy stuff. At the proud age of 22, I can testify that nobody has come to sweep me off my feet. No Prince, Page or Peasant has promised to fetch me a fallen star, bottle up the northern nights or whisk me off into the sunset for my happy-ever-after. What have all these bitches got that I haven’t?! Destiny. Whilst these ladies fulfill their destinies, promising their lives away to the heroes of these grand fairy tales I sit here typing away…

As much as I criticise, the book was well written. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the plot outline was original because it isn’t, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Tristran, the young man in question, in order to retrieve the fallen star must pass the Wall between this world and Faerie, a land of all things magical. But the fallen star has drawn the interest of others too; withered witches require the heart of the star to restore their youth. The Star holds an amulet, cast into the sky by the Lord of the Stormhold on his deathbed and is the cause of her fall. Each of the surviving sons of the Lord searches for this amulet to claim the lordship, and so is their invested interest in her movements.

For a fairytale story, it is actually quite gruesome. This doesn’t particularly bother me as it happens, (I’m a die-hard Game of Thrones fan so I can’t be squeamish) but I’m not sure that it entirely fits. By all means, the fighting of the brothers of the Lord of Stormhold seems entirely reasonable. We know one brother is particularly keen on bumping the others off. That’s fine. The witch and one of the sons of the Lord of Stormhold fighting with each other as they both need something of the star. Not unreasonable. The graphic descriptions though – not so much. Not for me anyway. This is also very graphic at the beginning; it’s not a bedtime story for the children folks!

My favourite thing about the book is Neil Gaiman’s writing style – it is this that saved the book from being a write off for me. Despite not being a great lover of the plot it hasn’t put me off reading his other books. I bought a copy of American Gods not that long ago; that will definitely be more to my taste, so I’m looking forward to reading that one in September (or thereabouts).

One thing I have decided, having read some other reviews on this book… I will not be watching the film. I thought this was lovey-dovey, sickly sweet and vomit-inducing romance, but if anyone, ANYONE, makes me watch that film, I cannot be held accountable for my actions.

Review: The Last Wish – Andrej Sapjowski

Hi guys!
So today I’m bringing you a review of Andrej Sapjowski’s book, The Last Wish. Please, never ask me to even attempt to pronounce this author’s name! My Polish is not up to scratch at all… and by that, I mean it’s totally non existent 🙂
All joking aside, this is the first book I have read of this series and it is one I am adding to my TBR. It seems to me lately that the pile does not go down – for every book I read I’ve added three more!
The Last Wish
GoodReads – The Last Wish
Geralt of Rivia wakes in the temple of Melitele, having been grievously injured. In order to recover, he stays at the temple under the protection of Nenneke. She attempts to persuade him to be entranced, in order to understand what afflicts him so, but he refuses on the grounds that he cannot be hypnotised and lacks faith in her God. Instead he reflects on past events that have lead to his appearance at the temple.
It is through these reflections that we learn of Geralt, his past and his profession. He is a Witcher. As a child he was trained and mutated to develop the supernatural abilities required to fight the various monsters that plague the planet and human existence, but not necessarily to slay them. He is also trained how to reverse the many spells or curses that may have been placed on people.
He battles a striga and restores a seven year old child (presumed dead) to its father; he encounters the lord of an abandoned mansion that can control the house with his will alone. His lady friend is a bruxa, a kind of vampire like creature that uses song to manipulate people. Morality and “deciding the lesser evil” challenges Geralt at times along the way, and a simple fishing trip and the releasing of a Djinn brings the Witcher into the clutches of a powerful sorceress.
I think the moral of these tales is this: not all is as it appears to be. That which appears sinister may not be at all and not all that appears fair is good.
All in all, I have enjoyed the book… but I have one observation. Pretty much all the monsters/individuals possessing the power of magic or Geralt ends up fighting (as they are monsters) are women. Not necessarily a criticism at this point in time, but an observation. I hope to see a little more diversity in “The Sword of Destiny”, which is the second book which prequels the main book series.

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In the brief time that I spoke to you last I have also managed to read Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. I will be releasing the review of that within the next couple of days! Until next time,
Rebecca

Book Tag – My Life in Books!

Hi everybody!!
So I’ve seen this tag going around a little bit and decided that I should let you all know a little bit about me, instead of just what I’m reading at the moment 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
 
A book for each initial:-
R – The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson
E – Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini
B – Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
E – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
C – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
C – A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin
A – Animal Farm by George Orwell
 
Age – Count your age along the bookshelf:-
Mother Tongue
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Whilst I was still at school I was planning on going to University to study in Linguistics after taking a gap year, however by the end of A-Level exams I got thoroughly fed up. I got into full-time work and four years on I’ve never looked back. I still love the subject and am fascinated in the psychology of learning languages etc, but uni life would not be for me. It would require socialising for starters…
 
A book that represents a destination you wish to travel to one day:-
So I’m pretty boring in that I don’t really have anywhere I specifically want to travel to. If I had to pick anywhere, I would probably say Italy (and that’s not purely for the pizza/wine I promise!) I had to look up a book for this section and I’ve actually found one that I’m interested in reading, being The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis.
The Borgia Bride.jpg
 
Favourite Colour:-
Less vehemently so than when I was younger, I have to say my favourite colour is purple. Everything in my bedroom used to be purple… like EVERYTHING! I’m for boring beige now, but it’s different when you’re an adult.
Mistborn
For this one, I chose Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I love this series. Somehow I’m yet to finish it. So many books, too little time! I appreciate this is an old cover, the more modern version is blue. I like blue too!
 
Fondest memories of:-
This one is an absolute no-brainer for me. I have read the books in this series twice, all the while waiting for number 7 to be released. They are full of action, back-stabbing, court intrigue and outright war and I absolutely love it! If anyone hasn’t guessed, I’m talking about A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin.
A Game of Thrones
 
Most difficult to read:-
This one isn’t particularly difficult for me to decide either. I did actually force myself to finish this book, although I shouldn’t have bothered. I clearly didn’t get anything out of it because I cannot remember what happened! I even attempted a re-read and got fed up again, so it’s fair to say this one isn’t for me. In theory, I should love it – I love other books with similar themes. I. Cannot. Get. Into. This. One.
This is The Darkness that Comes Before by Scott Bakker.
The Darkness
 
 
Book on my TBR list that I will get the greatest sense of accomplishment from:-
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Later on this year I plan on taking on this behemoth of a book – all 1,376 pages of it! My longest read so far (this year and all time) is War & Peace at just over 1,000 pages, so if I can manage to read both of these and meet my reading challenge target, I’ll be chuffed with myself.
I’m excited because although I haven’t read much Stephen King, I love what I have read. So this is a fairly new author and definitely a new genre for me too…
I’m not making things easy for myself… am I?!
 
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about me! Being new to blogging and having a few new followers I think it would be good to get to know each other a little more. I won’t tag anybody but if this inspires you to give this tag a go, consider yourself tagged! Drop me a line in the comments so I can see your answers 🙂
 
Rebecca

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I managed to sneak this book into my June Reading List, having managed to get through all my planned reads ahead of schedule. I won’t keep you all from browsing too long  – a short review for a short book!

Animal Farm
GoodReads – Animal Farm

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

 

George Orwell has a remarkable ability of understanding society. Not only does he understand it – he tears it apart into little pieces, personifies (or rather animal-ises) all these elements and writes it down in simple terms for us all to see.

I am surprised I wasn’t made to study this at school – I know some other classes did, but not mine. It’s the perfect kind of book to pull apart and analyse to death! It’s one of the few books I would argue that was written for this purpose.

Orwell’s satirical approach to reflecting the nature of our society is very accurate. Much like animals, we are divided by our abilities and are expected to produce for what we perceive to be our own benefit. Money is always short, but the Leader never wants for whiskey. The Commandments are set and then the benchmarks moved to suit when the need arises. Hopes and dreams for a better society always remain dreams, yet somehow we never give up hope all the same.

This is a very quick and easy read, and it is a good eye-opener. I rate this book 4/5 stars.

 

Reading List: July 2017

As if July is here already?! The year is flying by… it’ll be Christmas before we know it!
No seriously, it really will. Hate me for saying it as much as you wish…
 
Let’s tactically cast away those worries for another day. The most planning ahead I am doing extends as far as the end of July and working out how many books I can cram into the month… so without further ado here is the list for my July reads:-
 
The Last Wish – Andrzej Sapjowski
The Last Wish
GoodReads – The Last Wish
I first came across the character of Geralt and the concept of the Witcher through the first game of the series. Admittedly, I haven’t played too much of it as my laptop is getting somewhat ancient compared to modern tech and it doesn’t even run it very well, but I know enough of the character as a foundation for the book. I’m being adventurous for me as this will be the first book I read from the Polish writer too, so fingers crossed I fall in love with this one and that’s another series to add to my TBR!
 
Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Stardust
GoodReads – Stardust
I have heard amazing things about Neil Gaiman. He has also co-written books with other authors I love so whilst I have not read any of his books yet, I’m trusting Terry Pratchett in that he recognised a good author when he saw fit to write Good Omens with him. They were also good friends if I recall the documentary I watched about Terry earlier this year. This will be another first for me.
 
Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King
LOTR Return cover
GoodReads – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
I cannot wait to finish this trilogy… I recently finished “The Two Towers” and absolutely loved it. Tolkien’s writing isn’t the easiest to read if you aren’t in the mood – one lapse of concentration can get you lost; equally, he can have you completely enraptured in the world of Middle-Earth! I’ve managed to steer clear of the books, films and my equally fanatical friends so I don’t actually know how it ends – I’m probably one of a minority of the population! Not for long…
 
Magician: Apprentice – Raymond E Feist
Magician Apprentice
GoodReads – Magician: Apprentice
This is actually going to be a re-read for me. I must have initially read this book maybe three or four years ago – I cannot recall. I remember I was living with my parents still, but that is about all. It is such a lengthy book and I have had the next two in the series to read for years as well, but I can’t move onto those because I genuinely don’t recall what happened in the first one…
Oops! I was obviously paying a lot of attention, wasn’t I?!
 
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange
GoodReads – A Clockwork Orange
I remember seeing this in a guide-book of books to read before you die; it’s only when I saw one of the versions of the book cover again I recognised it! I truly don’t know what I’ll make of this one – it tells the tale from the perspective of Alex, a 15-year-old boy institutionalised. It discusses morality and freedom, and the effect of “reforming” these individuals. It isn’t the sort of thing I would automatically pick up, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons and so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
 
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
GoodReads – The Handmaid’s Tale
Has anybody else been watching the series on Channel 4?! If not I implore you, even if you don’t like the book, or books in general, please give it a try. There have been a few classic books which have made it onto the TV screen, in an attempt to target the likes of my generation, including War & Peace on the BBC last year. All I will say for the last scene of the last episode aired on Sunday just gone; I’m glad I didn’t have to watch that whilst living with my parents… parents and “intimate” scenes are just completely awkward.
Normally, I don’t watch things before I read the books. I have actually tried this book in the past and didn’t get on with it. I think it is a maturity thing now that I can appreciate classics more so I’m going to re-try this one.
 
So there you have it – I hope you look forward to the reviews as much I do reading these!
Until my next review, happy reading!
Rebecca  🙂

Review: To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

GoodReads – To Kill A Mockingbird

Tom Robinson’s a coloured man, Jem. No jury in this part of the world’s going to say, “We think you’re guilty, but not very,” on a charge like that. It was either straight acquittal or nothing.
Atticus Finch

To Kill A Mockingbird is undoubtedly one of the most influential books of all time in highlighting the racial inequalities known especially within southern states of America. Harper Lee has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird and a further book, Go Set a Watchman was published in 2015, some 55 years later.
I’ll be perfectly honest, this book isn’t at all what I expected. I hadn’t even realised that the story was narrated from the perspective of two young children until I actually opened the book. Truthfully I didn’t think I would get on with this, but actually it was perfect.
Jem (Jeremy) and Scout (Jean Louise) have been raised in the small, largely peaceful town of Maycomb by their father, Atticus Finch. Atticus is a lawyer by profession, but when Atticus takes on his biggest case there is much controversy and trouble for the Finches.
The story is narrated by Scout, who is the tender age of nine in that fateful summer of 1935, in which Tom Robinson is on trial for the rape of a white woman; and her father Atticus is defending him. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t confident that I would like the way the story is narrated by a child, but it is done very effectively. I was wrong to doubt.
Whereas adults quite often are prejudiced and are willing to turn a blind eye to what they know is wrong, children on the other hand are blank canvases. The world is black and white – they haven’t yet learned to see the shades of grey we are willing to paint in between depending on what suits us. They also ask a lot of questions. We’ve also come across those kids, you know the ones… that say anything that comes to their mind. Apparently as I kid I embarrassed my parents by declaring loudly at a supermarket checkout that it smelled very badly right behind the culprit – otherwise known as the Great Unwashed since.
Shameless. My parents are able to laugh about it now. It was true… I just wasn’t afraid to say it.
This to my mind is in direct contrast to the attitudes of adults, who are to willing to allow such segregation and injustice to happen, and it is refreshing to hear people asking the right question – why. Atticus is a fantastic character, who implores his children in times of difficulty to walk “in the other person’s shoes” to try and teach them about perspective. Atticus is like a father to anyone and everyone, and he has many lessons to teach us all. The struggles of morality and conscience also afflict him; despite fighting a losing battle, he couldn’t sleep at night if he didn’t defend the man.

There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads – they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.

Thankfully the general attitude is society is a little better than it used to be, but we have a long way to go. Fear sets in deep. What is said out in public and that behind closed doors can be very different.
Racism makes me angry. Sure, there are times when we can’t help but make prejudgements –  it’s part of our natural survival instincts. It is when these prejudgments are made without cause and we act negatively towards that person (directly or indirectly) – that is what is disgraceful.
I hope through education we an break this awful cycle; if all children had parents like Atticus Finch the world would be a much better place.