Category: For Fun

Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett

So… WordPress very kindly informed me that my last post published this morning, Down the TBR Hole #5 was my fiftieth blog post! Hasn’t that gone pretty fast?!
I decided, in order to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share with you my top 5 quotes by one of my favourite authors. To be honest, it isn’t just his ability to put pen to paper and write hilariously witty novels, all the while administering a good kick in the teeth to social issues like racism, sexism and corruption that I love. It was his attitude to life I admire.
Some of you may not know about Terry’s background.
At primary school he was told he would never amount to anything and as a teenager he left school with no qualifications. It must have been difficult to make your way through life with nothing to testify your ability. You certainly couldn’t do it now.
Whilst he had taken an interest in writing from a young age, he worked in a library before he started up in journalism. It was through his journalism role that he handed over his manuscript of The Carpet People to Peter Bander van Duren, which became his first published novel.
The point I am making is this. Terry was a grafter. He was by no means defined as (though I dispute) intellectually exceptional and he had far less of an education than the vast majority of people, but did he let that stop him? No. His determination is what inspires me. Just because he didn’t have an education, it doesn’t mean he didn’t know his shit. Here are just a select few of the things he had to say about life:-
Terry Pratchett insanityTerry Pratchett knowledge and ignoranceTerry Pratchett Light & DarkTerry Pratchett Open Mind QuoteTerry Pratchett Wisdom quote
These are just a select few of my favourite quotes – and there are plenty of them. Punch it into Google (other search engines are available) if you don’t believe me.
If we can all adopt a little of Pratchett’s attitude, I think the world will go a long way. Wouldn’t you agree?
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Special Post – My favourite books!

Hi everyone!!
At the time you are reading this I am probably running into as many shops as physically possible, dragging my mum in tow, before our shopping trip has to come to an inevitable end. *sigh* Admittedly, I’ll probably be just as knackered too!
In my absence I didn’t want to see you disappointed, so I have prepared a post featuring two of my favourite books/series – the first being my favourite book out of the selection I have read this year so far and secondly, my favourite series of all-time. Let’s get started!!
 

Favourite Book of the Year

When I decided this was the kind of post I was going to be writing I knew exactly which book I was going to be featuring in this section.
I love books that tackle major issues in society and challenge our views, be that past or present. Whilst today I would LIKE to think there is far less discrimination going on than in the 1930’s, truthfully that’s not the case. Instead of hatred being aimed at individuals based on race, today religious discrimination is huge. I don’t condone it at all. I can understand why people might come to the conclusion that all individuals of a minority group behave in the same way as a select few that do end up on the news, having committed awful acts or crimes, but if you do this, you are wrong.
We should not tar 99% of the population of the minority group with the same brush as the 1% of individuals who take the views of their religion to the extreme. That isn’t fair. If you stop to take a look you will find that that remaining 99% are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Seriously.
Let’s think of it another way and use another common misconception to bring this a little closer to home. British holiday makers are often accused of being drunken troublemakers. I have absolutely no doubt that in holiday resorts a large percentage of the drunk and disorderly individuals arrested are British. Yep. That’s not to say ALL British are drunks. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a drink this year, and if I had to have a finger cut off for the number of hangovers I have had, I would still have all of them.
Now I’ve gotten that little rant over with, I can tell you which book it is that has really made me feel so passionately about this.
Green Mile
Yes folks, it’s The Green Mile by Stephen King. If anyone is interested in reading my review of this book, it can be found here.
 

Favourite Book(s) – All-time

So, having thought about this I truthfully cannot pin this down to one book, but rather a series. It’s probably a predictable answer as well, but it’s the truth!!
My favourite series of all time has to be the A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin!

Whilst I have other books that I have rated five stars over the years, this is the only series I have gone back to read again in it’s entirety (as much as possible anyway). I found it amazing that upon reading the first book again, it’s actually quite easy to understand. Thankfully, the plot building and diverging happens gradually so as not to throw you into the deep end of a pit of sharks… not immediately at least!
I don’t know what else I can add other than that series is amazing (and I’m obviously not the only one to think so!) and that I can’t wait for the next book.
No really, I can’t. Not only that, we are potentially having to wait until 2019 for the final season to air on TV?! I’m going to have to find another TV or book series as a crutch to keep me going until then!!
What is your favourite book or series? Do you agree with me, or do you have another?
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The Diary

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of getting myself into a routine of sitting down and to write. It didn’t overly matter what – it was the setting aside time that was the goal.
We all lead very busy, fast paced lives. I work thirty five hours a week, or doing the nine to five, as it is called. I also live by myself, so inevitably all those wonderful household jobs we love fall on me to do. Not only that, there’s people to see and things to do, so how do we find the time to manage everything?
On top of everything else, I initially set myself the task of twenty books this year. This is a goal I had never reached before. Circumstances meant I wasn’t spending much time at home in January; between going to work and visiting a close relative in hospital, my life was hectic. It was the reading habit I developed during this period that helped me knock my reading target out of the park. I had very little free time but I made the most of it. I needed something to relax and help me wind down at night to get to sleep. Reading served both purposes.
It was in April when I decided to start a blog. I wanted to take the plunge to write and I wanted to challenge myself further in terms of reading, so naturally my thoughts wandered to the idea of a book blog. There are many books blogs out there and I love to browse them myself in any free minutes I get. It was hardly an original idea, but the best way to inspire myself to write is by doing it about something I know and love.
I am pleased with how well I have taken to blogging as well as managing my extra reading; over the past few weeks I have really gotten to grips with it. I regularly post three times a week, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No longer am I depending on having read books so I can write a review post. I have been inspired by the many other book blogs out there to write book related content as well as reviews and that makes it easier to post consistently.
I am the type of person that needs organisation in order to see something come together, and that is how I have managed to pick my blog up and get it into shape. Yes folks… I got myself a diary. I was fortunate enough to decide to get one a few weeks before the start of school term, so I have an ACADEMIC for a full year instead of a few months! My projects are running January to December in my head so I’ll have to make the switch at some point though.
So this is what my diary looks like this week, for anybody interested.
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As well as the practicality of a structured diary, I love the use of colour, so I use different colours depending on the task:-

  • Yellow – books I have started
  • Green – books I have completed
  • Pink – Blog related taks
  • Orange – Other writing related taks

In the back of the diary I also have a full list of the books I have read this year, and it looks like this:-

When I said I loved colour, I really wasn’t kidding.
I have fallen in love with the idea of bullet journals, but at the moment I don’t think I could juggle creating this as well as the reading and writing. Perhaps this is something to consider further down the line.
What I do know is this – the blog has helped my reading. Looking at that list above I can tell when I started the blog as the books I choose to read become for diverse. Yes, I still read a lot of Pratchett and other series that I have started, but they are more spread out and I try a few different books in-between.
The diary, since I started it has in turn been a great help to my blog. On the 22nd August, four months on from starting the blog (or thereabouts) I hit the milestone of fifty followers – I know that because I popped that little achievement in the diary!! I know I’m hardly a high flyer on the follower count, but I’m still pleased all the same. At that point I began posting regularly as opposed to sporadically and in just over three weeks, I now have just shy of seventy. Again, not huge, but a definite improvement in such a short time.
It’s safe to say that keeping myself organised is paying off for me. I’ll be keeping up the diary and the regular blogging.
I’m interested to know how you keep up your blogs. How do you plan ahead? Do you plan ahead, or post in the spur of the moment. It will be interesting to compare how different bloggers manage the workload.

Milestone! 

Hi everyone!!!
Thanks to you all, I now have fifty followers 😊

Source: Giphy
It’s a little victory I know, but it’s one I’m proud of. When I started this blog, much like other projects I wasn’t sure if I would keep it up or see it through. So far I have, and it is spurring me on more than ever to keep up with my reading challenge and to keep writing on a regular basis.
Once again I’d like to thank you all for your likes, support and comments! It means a lot to me 😊

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

Interim: Book Theme Analysis

Whilst I am working through my reading list for this month I have had something on my mind… And it something I wanted to share my opinion on.
This year I am endeavouring to read a variety of new books as a part of my book challenge, including new authors, different genres and also some classics.
My reading list has a couple of what I would define as classics on my list; namely Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird are coming up shortly. I also have plans in the not too distant future to read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. Anyone in my generation (and in the UK particularly) will probably recognise these as the types of books that are currently studied in high school English lessons as part of the literature curriculum.
For the most part I loved school and particularly English. I left with pretty decent grades at both GCSE and A-Level (not top grades of the class – but still to be proud of) but I can safely say that since leaving school probably about 80 per cent of the topics we covered have gone straight out of my head. Never have I had to analyze a poster or piece of writing based on the themes of gender or power and the development of language in children is not something I have ever had to consider since I left that exam someday in June four years ago.

Never, in the four years since leaving school, have I had to tear a book to shreds by over-analyzing it and by God am I thankful for small mercies. 

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I’m a great book lover. I love to read… Probably more than a large percentage of the general population, but it is the repeated assignments students have to complete discussing and scrutinizing  philosophical themes of books that really gets my goat.

I’m telling you now from first hand experience, the only thing that achieved for me was getting a grade B in English Literature and a loathing of classic books. 

I can hand on heart say that I enjoyed ONE book I studied at school… and that’s a shame.
As it happens I have come to realise the reason I disliked the books so much and I’ve overcome it by revisiting them. The books themselves aren’t at fault; its the way the “messages”, themes and concepts are mercilessly rammed down your throat by the teachers and the curriculum that takes all enjoyment out of reading them. Not only that, you then have to regurgitate all that crap onto paper in horrendous detail.
Yes books have messages, I’m not denying that for a second. To take Of Mice and Men as an example, it is fair to say that the book overall explores theme of the American Dream and how unattainable it is; the Green Mile by Stephen King highlights racial inequality.  On the other hand, arguing the presence of red curtains representing a character’s desire, promiscuity or lust… Now that’s a bit excessive. It is the over-analysis that I loathe and making kids read so in depth into the smallest, pettiest little details is what I think saps all the joy out of a book. To my mind it is a crime to inflict this on the youth of today and the future.
Yes, discuss philosophical themes, but know where to draw the line. I’m sure authors didn’t even intend half of the rubbish that gets analysed today. Please, for the love of all things sacred, for the love of our beautiful language and the joy of literature, make it stop.
I know I am not the only person to think this. As ever, I’d love your thoughts too. Do you think the education system has gone too far?

Little Indulgences

Hello everybody! Just a quick post whilst I am in the middle of reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy! As I’m sure you will appreciate this is an incredibly long book, and whilst I have been making progress, it is going to take some time to finish.
I’m currently about a third of the way through the book. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to it, being that it’s not my usual style of read. As it happens, I have taken to it very well, though I attribute that to having watched the BBC’s TV adaptation last year! How do I not watch that I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in the beginning so probably wouldn’t have seen it through.
In the meantime however, and seeing as how it’s payday today I decided to treat myself. What I’m not planning to read any of these books immediately, here are my latest purchases so please watch this space for reviews in the near future!
I would argue that I am a very balanced person on the whole kindle versus book debate. I am not going to lie, I absolutely love my Kindle and that’s how I read predominately. But nothing compares to the feel or smell of a real book!
Having loved my last Stephen King read, the Green Mile, I’ve decided to treat myself to a further three of his books.
I found a recent review for Laini Taylor’s “Strange the Dreamer”, so I want to give this a try too.
I am also making an effort to read more in the way of classics. Whereas some of my peers at school have read “To Kill a Mockingbird”, it is not something I got the opportunity to study.
Last but not least I am trying something new by an author of a genre I am familiar with, being Neil Gaiman and his novel “American Gods”.
I hate to have a review of Leo Tolstoy’s “war and peace” to you before too long, however I’m not going to kill my enjoyment of the book over targets. Having up to my target from reading 20 books this year to 60 (as I finished 20 by the end of April) I have about 32 weeks left this year to read 36 books. With War and Peace going to take me approximately another week to complete I’m going to have a challenge on my hands, but not undoable.
If all else fails, I just have to remember:

It’s a million-to-one chance, but it just might work – Guards Guards by Terry Prachett

In the Beginning…

Every good blog has to start somewhere. It sparks as a result of any one person’s passion and is usually a means of driving themselves further towards their own personal goal(s). Lend me your ears (or eyes) and I will tell you a little of me and my passion in the hope that you either share the dream, or can at least appreciate it.
Ultimately, I wish to have some success in terms of publishing a novel.
I have loved writing from a very young age. Even from the age of five and starting school I loved the writing exercises in which you had to write and re-write letters or words to the correct guideline on the special exercise paper they gave you. Realistically learning to write was made more difficult for me given that I am left-handed. I also went through a phase in high school of using a fountain pen to write, because that’s what all the clever kids did. Not particularly the best move on my part as I had a lot of smudged homework for the first few weeks, but I mastered it in the end.
Thankfully due to technology this is no longer a particular issue. Whilst I  am required to do a small amount of hand writing notes and filling in forms as a part of my job, the majority of the work is computer based. I am actually quite thankful for this, as there is some atrocious hand writing exhibited by people on my team and it actually makes me sad that these particular people are not proud enough to have taken the time or effort to learn to write neatly.
It was during a creative writing module in my GCSE English Class that I found I had a flair and enjoyment to write. So did my teacher, who had a 10 page short story first draft to check and she certainly did not look impressed when I handed it to her; however I  never got that short story back to re-draft. It was submitted as part of my coursework and I got an A grade for it, which naturally I was more than pleased with.
From a young age I was also taught and encouraged by my mum to read and it is something I have always enjoyed. I consider it now to be my main hobby – more often than not you’ll find either a book or my kindle in hand in my free time! In prior years I found I would get the reading bug whilst on holiday and this would continue for a while, but fizzle out after a couple of months. Last year, I set myself a challenge via Goodreads to read 20 books which I thought I could easily achieve. Actually, I didn’t even come close. This year I set myself the same target, and to date (24 April 2017) I have read 19 in full and I am currently reading two further books. I anticipate by the end of April I will have met my target and I have decided I am going to double my target to see if I can read 40 books by the end of the year!
I think the reason behind the surge in my reading this year is because I have decided to put the time and effort into my dream of getting published. In order to find inspiration I am trying to read more books from authors I have not read yet, although at present I am staying within the genre region of Fantasy/Science Fiction/Historical Fiction. These are my particular interest, but I am scheduling in some Thriller/Horror/Suspense books later this year to try to broaden my horizons. I am also writing a number of short stories in order to develop ideas for something that I may wish to publish in the future and as a part of this blog I will also be publishing any short stories I write. I will also be reviewing the books I read so I may even be able to help you find your next book to read as well as collect my thoughts!
If you have any recommendations for any books to read and review I would absolutely love to hear from you! Has anyone set themselves a challenge to read a number of books this year? Please let me know how you are getting on or what kind of books you enjoy. What type of short stories you would like to see here in the near future? I look forward to your thoughts.
If you are still reading here, I would like to thank you for the time taken to read the above ramblings – it really does mean a lot to me! If you have any feedback please get in touch. If you wish to get in touch with me please fill in the form below.
Thank you,
Rebecca