Tag: new-to-me author

First Lines Friday – 26/08/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to another First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Sometimes I like to experiment with something new!

I was inspired to share the opening lines of today’s feature, as I recently received my Illumicrate exclusive edition. The book sounds amazing, and the edition I received is absolutely stunning! I shared a reel last Friday on Instagram of my unboxing, so if you haven’t checked that out, please go and check out my Instagram page.

Without further preamble, shall we dive into today’s First Lines Friday introduction?

 

By the time Professor Richard Lovell found his way through Canton’s narrow alleys to the faded address in his diary, the boy was the only one in the house left alive.

The air was rank, the floor slippery. A jug of water sat full, untouched by the bed. At first the boy had been too scared of retching to drink; now he was too weak to lift the jug. He was still conscious, though he’d sunk into a drowsy, half-dreaming haze. Soon, he knew, he’d fall into a deep sleep and fail to wake up. That was what happened to his grandparents a week ago, then his aunts the day after, and then Miss Betty, the Englishwoman, a day after that.

 

 

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution

Genre: Historical Fantasy / Dark Academia

Pages: 560

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2022

 

 

Goodreads – Babel

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m excited I have received my copy of this book! When I initially signed up for Illumicrate’s book-only subscription, I didn’t know this was going to be the first book I received. However, I’m really excited it is! Fellow bloggers who have read advanced copies of this book have absolutely raved about it. As soon as I heard their thoughts, I knew I had to pick up a copy for myself. That I’ve got my hands on an exclusive edition only makes me happier! I had to feature it in this week’s First Lines Friday post. 

I’m most excited about exploring how the fantasy elements of the book entwine with the element of language and translation. It doesn’t seem to be a superficial element of the plot; if the content of the book has some academic element in itself, then this will appeal to me no end.

I had a place to attend university, but ultimately I made the decision several years ago not to attend. It wouldn’t have been for me in any case, (and in terms of career, I don’t think I could be more opposite in what I do now compared to what I intended to do, but I’m very happy with my decision). I get to explore the attendance of a university through this narrative and it is something that I’m looking forward to.

For readers who enjoy diverse character representation, then this book is right up your street! Written by American-Chinese author R.F. Kuang, this book is mainly told from the perspective of an Asian character. The author herself attended the University of Oxford, and in her exclusive letter included in this copy, she talks about her complex relationship with the institution. Described as both the university of her dreams, and yet also elitist and classist (to name just a couple of its less favourable traits), I hope to see the author’s own experience play out through Robin Swift‘s narrative.

If I go on to enjoy Babel as much as I suspect I will, then I have a number of books that R.F. Kuang has already published but I will be going back and reading. The Poppy War especially appeals to me!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you added Babel to your reading list? Does today’s introduction compel you to do so?

 

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First Lines Friday – 12/08/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my First Lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Sometimes I like to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book that is on this month’s TBR. I wanted to pick it up last month, but I ended up reading another non-fiction book completely on a whim. I am excited for this particular read, and I’ve owned my copy of this book for a couple of years.

Here is today’s First Lines Friday intro: –

 

Most of recorded human history is one big data gap. Starting with the theory of Man the Hunter, the chroniclers of the past have left little space for women’s role in the evolution of humanity, whether cultural or biological. Instead, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the lives of the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence.

And these silences are everywhere. Our entire culture is riddled with them. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics. The stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked – disfigured – by a female shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap.

 

 

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed For Men – Caroline Criado Perez

Genre: Non-fiction / Feminism

Pages: 321

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2020

 

 

Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives.

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.

If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve set myself a goal to read more non-fiction. Invisible Women appeals to me for what I hope are obvious reasons. The issues that this book highlights affect me.

The danger with a lot of the things covered in this book is that the world has been designed not for women, but more so out of negligence to understand our differences from men. It’s these kinds of issues we need to bring to the forefront in order to make changes.

I am more vocal than I have ever been before about things. When I was younger, I used to keep myself to myself. Sometimes it was easier, but other times it meant I was ignored or taken advantage of. I don’t allow that to happen anymore. If I have something to say, I will say it.

I’ll always try to say it in a constructive way, or at least an honest way. Armed with the information in this book, I would like to raise my own awareness of issues experienced by women so that I can help educate others. Who knows, if enough people shout about the same issues, we can encourage positive changes.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Invisible Women; has it caught your interest?

 

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First Lines Friday – 22/07/2022

Hello everyone – happy Friday and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love. They might be books I am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Equally, I can even just experiment with something new in these posts! I make the rules! 

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book I have owned for a very long time and have every intention to pick up soon! I have featured this book in a few posts of late (in my Top Ten Tuesday – Books I was SO EXCITED to get but haven’t read, for example), and it’s playing on my mind how long I’ve had this one. Looking for material for today’s post, I decided to take a look at the opening lines and I was pulled in immediately. I can’t wait to pick up this fantasy novel in the coming months!

Let’s jump into today’s intro!

 

Forest litter crunched under Evnis’ feet, his breath misting as he whispered a curse. He swallowed, his mouth dry.

He was scared, he had to admit, but who would not be? What he was doing this night would make him traitor to his king. And worse.

He paused and looked back. Beyond the forest’s edge he could still see the stone circle, behind it the walls of Badun, his home, its outline silvered in the moonlight. It would be so easy to turn back, to go home and choose another path for his life. He felt a moment of vertigo, as if standing on the edge of a great chasm, and the world seem to slow, waiting on the outcome of his decision. I have come this far, I will see it through. He looked up at the forest, a wall of impenetrable shadow; he pulled his cloak tighter and walked into the darkness.

 

 

Malice – John Gwynne

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: 628

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: 1 Dec 2012

 

 

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

 

My Thoughts…

Malice has been on my TBR since at least 2016 – but realistically longer. That’s the earliest I can recall owning this book. It pre-dates having my blog so I have no means of going back to work out when I obtained my copy of this book.

I did start reading this book, but only very casually. I had picked it up prior to 2016; I distinctly remember packing up the book as part of my things when I left a job in February that year. The book had a paperclip in it as a means of marking the page. To this day you can see the indent of where the paperclip sat for so long, at the beginning of chapter 3 on page 29.

That tells you how far I got!

I have heard so many good things about John Gwynne, and I’ve seen all the books of his that I want to read. Naturally, it makes sense that I start with reading the book I physically own first. Not only that, but Malice is his debut novel and it comes highly recommended! As an epic fantasy with over 600 pages, it is right up my alley!

I plan on reading this book within the next couple of months, and I can’t wait to dive in and tell you what I think. I am really hoping to love this book, because as I said, there are others of his that I want to pick up. But, more importantly in the short term, this is the first part of his The Faithful and the Fallen series. If I go on to love this book as much as I hope, then I have another new series that I can enjoy.

Have you read Malice, or any other books by John Gwynne? Would you recommend them?

 

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