Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New year, new nothing!

In wild contrast with how I feel about christmas, I hate new year with a passion.

I'm not wild on change (see previous posts for more of my not keenness on change) and beginnings scare the heck out of me so new year with the newness and the resolutions and the get togethers and the "new year new me" and "remove toxic people from your life!" stuff makes me ever so slightly hugely anxious.

Mostly because I'm terrified people will find out I am a toxic people and I'll be left.

Joy, right?

Only this year we're having a quiet family thing and by quiet I mean it is now quarter to midnight and I'm sitting in my room watching Supernatural (season 9 on the 6th January! YAY!) with my parents downstairs and my sister off at a party. So if it got much quieter the apocalypse would have occurred.

I also tend to break resolutions like I'm being paid to do so. And I've tried and tried and basically this year I'm not bothering.

Ooh, fireworks. Already?

Ruffelina's not a fan by the way, but she can cope more or less once she's used to them. We have neighbours who love their fireworks so that works out quite well for us.

So next year I suspect I'll be the same old me.

Ah well.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

'Tis The Season book tag

Ok, I have decided to do the 'Tis The Season book tag from booktube. Because why not, I ask you? Why not? Also it's Christmas Eve Eve and I've finally worked out how to schedule posts which has taken out so much anxiety. 

There's a list of questions. I wasn't officially tagged by anyone but a bunch of people said 'If you want to do this tag I CHOOSE YOU!' so...


1. Do you have a favourite Winter read?

I do! I love The Hobbit. Not a traditional winter read but I tend to come back to it around christmas time. I also love love love The Chronicles Of Narnia and I'm plotting a reread of some of them (Or all of them!) In the new year. My parents bought me the book of all the stories one year and it weighs a ton. I mean that in a good way. So much stories!

2. Find a book with blue on the cover


I chose The Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce. If you've read before you'll know of my deep and abiding love for her writing, especially the Emelan books. Here's a picture to show you the covers I'm talking about in all their blue glory. These  books are about four kids who have bad pasts who come to Winding Circle which is a temple, after being 'discovered' in various predicaments by Niko. There they find...well, what they need really and they become a family. Each has a subtle sort of magic which is occasionally not so subtle. These books are wonderful. Good for any time of year but they're set in the summer which is good for the winter when you need warming up! (My copies don't match but they still count. Because I think it should.)










3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree

I'd like to use The Language Of Others by Clare Morrall as the star on my mythical christmas tree for a few reasons. For one it reminds me of how I feel at this time of year. Every year there is what I call The Inevitable Christmas Meltdown (one reason I don't decorate my room) and I have to run away because it's so overwhelming. The story follows a woman throughout her life, her childhood and onwards where she has a son and a husband. SPOILER ALERT If you've read the book you'll know what I mean when I say that Asperger's is part of the reason she feels this way. I don't know if I have Asperger's - it's been suggested more than once and we did look into it and the questionnaire said no, but it keeps cropping up so there's that. Even the image on the cover reminds me of a lot of times around christmas when I was small. But I relate a lot to this book at this time of year. Equally as I have no friends or family with Asperger's I have no idea if this book is accurate or not so I'm not going to say anything in that direction. But like I said, this time of year I feel very much like the book describes. 

Also it's yellow. I like yellow. 




4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a Winter vacation!

Ooh. This is hard. I think it goes without saying that Panem is out of the question! I think I'd pick The Old Kingdom from Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. More specifically I'd choose the library of the Clayr in Lirael. Again, I relate a lot to Lirael. Especially the library element! I'm a big fan of libraries. Especially ones where... well, I'll let you read it. But suffice to say I carried this book in my school bag for more than a year so my copy is falling apart. I might not quite fit with the Clayr but I have a huge desire to see their library. 

5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your Winter vacation

Another hard one. I think I'd pick Clare Waverly from Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. She might be a little... not sure of people. And I can't cook but I'm always interested in that kind of magic. Plus I get the feeling she'd (pre-book at least) enjoy a quiet  christmas! Plus the Clayr would probably love her magic and cooking and all those things. And as I'm assuming Lirael will be there because it's her world we three could have a quiet magic tea sipping time with The Disreputable Dog and now I really want to reread Lirael and Garden Spells and and all the books... 


6. Name one book on your Wishlist this year

One book on my wishlist this year is Neil Gaiman's Book of Death companion to The Sandman series (Twelve books!) It's a graphic novel all about Death. Death is a woman, which I like. A friendly woman who hugs people and Dream says (SPOILERS AGAIN) she is much kinder than he is. 

I'm not sure why but I love that. Also someone did a fanart of her and Sherlock which I love but can't find right now. Of course that assumes she actually meets Sherlock and stuff but I'm willing to suspend the disbelief. Part of me really hopes Neil Gaiman is some kind of prophet or something and this is actually who Death is. That is how much I love her. 


7. Favourite Holiday drink, treat, & movie?

My favourite holiday drink has to be hazelnut hot chocolate. 

And I'm not sure what my favourite treat would be. I like mince pies but they're not my favourite... Tin of roses? Wll they're not tins any more. They're plastic pots with an alarm on them. It's a very low tech alarm but when you open the box it sounds like you've unleashed some kind of noise making monster. Fortunately you can put the lid on more or less quietly, but you can't have a chocolate without the entire northern hemisphere (or, if you're from the southern hemisphere, that one) being alerted that you will shortly be enjoying chocolate. Personally I enjoy seeing the christmas pudding on fire. When else do you get to set fire to food? Maybe that counts as a treat. Oh I know! I love the feeling when someone opens a present and it's just what they wanted and you can see them going YAY! That is my favourite christmas treat. 

As for movie I'd have to say Ballet Shoes. (The book is better.) But the film is pretty good. Admittedly the ages don't match up and there's a love interest (not for Posy, Petrova or Pauline mercifully) but I still love it. Not as much as the book but if you have a spare couple of hours and feel like Ballet Shoes but you can't finish the book in that time you have an answer. I love when Pauline does her maudition piece with Puck. And the way they all band together and things. My favourite character is Petrova though. I love her perseverance and generosity. And it shows you can be good at something with no natural talent! We don't get enough of that, I think. 

And that's it! 

Merry christmas, if you want to do this tag tell everyone I tagged you if you feel like it! 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

At first I didn't like this book much at all. I got about halfway through and stopped... But I picked it back up again last night and took it into the bath (I read better in the bath. I have no idea why, it just happens. I swear if reading in the shower was an option I'd get so much done. But it's not so I can't. Sads.) and while I was in the bath I flew through it. Then I took it to bed and flew through the rest of it.

At the beginning it felt a lot like another dystopian story. Maybe I'm just too quickly post divergent but maybe I'm sort of done with dystopian books right now. Either way I muddled along. I didn't connect to Lena very well possibly because aside from certain obvious things like running I have a lot in common with her. I'm neither naturally rebellious or the type of person who upsets the status quo, but Lena ends up doing both by the end of the book. Lena is a good girl. She gets good grades, she does what is expected of her... I was forcibly reminded of school where I was that girl. And then everything fell apart. For Lena it falls apart in the best way. Even though, you know, it's a disease and suchlike.

I carried on my theme with the nonverbal character, Grace. I love her to bits and I hope she turns up again. I liked that Grace not talking wasn't an enormous plot point although (SPOILER ALERT) I found her talking at the end of the book a little unrealistic. In a high stress situation like that...

I probably have too much of a 'me' hat on thinking about that point though so I'll leave it be.

So at the beginning, the first half I honestly thought I wouldn't get the rest of the series. I've been looking at Delirium for a long time, I was a little disappointed after all I heard about it that it turned out I could take or leave it.

Like I said in my review of Landline I'm not much for love stories. I don't know why, they just irritate me a little, but this one was more story than love story. Sure, boy meets girl, but it's a story about love. And as someone who tends to at least think 'I love you' a hundred times a day I'm very interested in love. Especially platonic and familial love. And there was plenty in this book. Because while the 'cure' ensures you'll never fall in love in a Romeo and Juliet head over heels sort of way it also blocks out (and this is the part I didn't realise until I was almost done) the love between friends and family.

It's not that they don't care any more. They're just detached.

But it creeps me out. A parent not loving their child? That's just... ugh. And it messes with my brain. I might be irritated by love because it gets everywhere, it's all over music and books and movies - they put a love interest into Ballet Shoes for the love of Maude - but honestly a world without love is frankly creepy.

Then again a lot of the 'love' in the songs, stories and films is about sex and we all know that's a different kettle of gerbils all together. Although they do get so tangled sometimes  it gets confusing.

I can kind of understand why, on the back of the book, it is compared to The Handmaid's Tale. But for me it wasn't that. I can see the similarities a little. But it didn't do that much for me. Mind you, The Handmaid's Tale freaked the heck out of me in every way.

So I think I'll carry on with this series, but not for a while. I want to know what happens but at the same time I have a TBR pile, and I want to get through it a bit. I haven't really decided what to read next, I'll just see what I feel like. Part of me wants to start The Hobbit on christmas eve, just because, but I don't know what will happen.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tonight is the longest night.

Tonight is the longest night. 

Official I don't celebrate solstice, because... There isn't really a because. We just don't. But I love the idea of it. 

Tomorrow the day will be a little longer. 

The night is always darkest before the dawn. 

Maybe it's good that some things never change. 

Have a wonderful night whatever you celebrate. 

Memories, Mix Tapes and The Hobbit Audiobook.

You know what would be cool?

If on itunes or something you could make a playlist, then pay for it and send it to someone.

No addresses or 'is this illegal' panic attacks needed!

Ok, it would probably not be cheap. But at the same time... like a mix tape. I've always wanted one of those. I don't have a tape player, but still... I like the whole idea of them.

The closest thing to a mix tape I ever got was a CD my friend's dad burned of S Club Seven in year two.

I don't know what it is but the idea is so cool! I mean by the time I was old enough to care we were already on to CDs and stuff but I do remember tapes more or less... and then turning them into CDs so they wouldn't get chewed up yet again.

And more recently buying the audiobook of The Hobbit on download so I can listen to it again - It's the 1968 version with all the voices - the BBC 4 radio play? Some people don't like the voices and think they're silly but they're brilliant and they sing the songs all the way through and Bilbo talks to the narrator and and and just...

I love it.

I must have listened to it a hundred times when I was little (looking at the release date I must have been five or seven at the time)  - I remember the day we got it before our holiday. I remember because I remember my mum being really, properly thrilled to see it. And my sister was still a little on the young side so she said I could buy another Mandy Hope book (does anyone else remember those? There was a book and a tape together so you could read along.) or she'd buy me The Hobbit. And I weighed up the hours of entertainment available to me and the fact I wanted to see how awesome it must be and came to the conclusion that it would be the better plan. And I'm so glad.

Right now if I honestly can't sleep properly it's the thing I put on. It's comforting and I'm not sure if it's the humour or the memories or just that it's absolute perfection that makes it so wonderful.

The first half is my favourite, I have to admit. I've listened to the first half more times than the second half purely because I'm usually asleep by then.

Mysteriously one person who reviewed it was outraged all of the characters had British accents. I don't understand that.

Also I read on pinterest someone floated the idea of Sir Ian McKellen reading The Hobbit. As an audiobook.

I may have squealed a little. Not that it will actually happen but still...Cool idea.

I also have The Lord Of The Rings as an audiobook but - shame of shames - I haven't listened to it. I kept starting and getting lost and I was in the middle of The Gift and... I'll try again.

...I'm going to need to clear some space on my ipod.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Now it really is christmas (or the winter festivity of your choice.)

So I saw the coca cola advert!

It was on facebook but it totally counts.

I was also watching Ratatouille with my sister and came to the conclusion that I'm in fact a lot like Linguine.

For many reasons. One of them is that I can't cook. Like at all. I used to cook, but then anxiety got the better of me and now no. Not so much with cooking. I can toast a crumpet if it really comes down to it (my favourite is with smokey cheese spread and butter! Yum...) but actual cooking, using an oven or microwave or stove or... lets leave the list there and I'll assume you get it.

Ooh kettles! I can't use kettles. That's a pain and a half.

But the main reason I'm like Linguine is that I am totally that clumsy. I am a disarrayed human being. I am positively precarious. I fell up stairs today.

I'm all wobbly and overexaggerated in the way I move too.

So christmas! Christmas will be fun. And by fun I mean painful. But good. And by good I mean good. You know when something's painful but it's a good pain? Like cracking your knuckles or No One Is Alone from Into The Woods? (I seriously got sniffly when I listened to that the first time.) (And the second time.) (And every moment after.)

That's christmas for me.

My tactic is to escape at some point, de-christmas and chill for a little bit. Just because it's so overwhelming. The feelings and the lights and the sounds and the expectations and the family and the smells and the cooking and the presents and wow, everything. Everything is too much at once. And I love christmas, I love all the little bits, Even carols even though I can't sing any more and they make me well up. But all at once? No. Too much of a good thing.

I mentioned before this is our first christmas with Ruffelina, right? That will be interesting. We already bought her a gift and a special christmas dinner so hopefully she'll enjoy herself.

Also I love Captain America and I overshare. Has anyone noticed that?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I'm not usually one for love stories but I seem to have got into Rainbow Rowell's books. 

I enjoyed Landline. I didn't enjoy it as much as other people did but I liked it. My personal favourite thing was him calling her Sunshine. That made me smile on the inside. And possibly the outside, I can't remember. 

And Noomie and Alice. They were lovely. And Heather. 

I liked a lot of things. 

I have to say I wasn't wild about Neil I thought he was a little bit... I don't know. Passive aggressive maybe? He didn't seem to fit with the rest of the characters quite but then we didn't see that much of him in a way. We saw a lot of one version of him... but I didn't mind that version so much. You'll see what I mean if you read it. Or if you have read it! 

I really like Rainbow Rowell's dialogue. I kept having to close the book to giggle! She has characters who talk the way I wish I could, all clever remarks and happiness. Even when she's sad, the dialogue is chatty and warm and lovely. 

I have Fangirl on my TBR pile as well! I'm looking forwards to that. I used to write a lot of fanfic, and I still read quite a bit. If anyone's interested I particularly like ysabetwordsmith's Love Is For Children series about the Avengers. And her footnotes are fantastic! 

Back to Landline. 

I liked the ending, but it did feel like it dragged ever so slightly but then the-place-she-was-in-right-before-the-end will do that. I'm always, always there for about eleventy hours longer than I'd like to be. Even if we're just picking someone up! There's no way I'd like to be there any longer than necessary. Which is one reason the end dragged a little for me I think. 

I kept finding myself trying to 'save' it for a rainy day. Which is amusing because I live in England. Where it's been grey and cold and overcast for weeks now! And trust me, if there's anything I save for a rainy day it's this time of year I need it. Which is why I keep Ballet Shoes and The Secret Garden and The Sisters of The Quantock Hills on my book case. Because sometimes you just need the books you loved when you were younger. (I didn't read Ballet Shoes until I was in high school because a friend told me and told me and told me about it and I only wish I'd read it sooner. I did ballet until I was 16 and loved it until I was 14, which is another story for another time.) 

I need those books especially around christmas. I love christmas, but it's stressful. The people and the expectations and everything are just so much to deal with. And I love giving gifts but I worry endlessly over it. I worry a lot. 

Next up is Delirium by Lauren Oliver! 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Merry Christmas... more or less.

We all know it's never christmas until it's been yelled at you by Noddy Holder. And it just has been so it's officially christmas! (We're still waiting for the coca cola trucks but they're usually late to the party in my life because of the amount of telly I don't watch.)

Christmas is tricky. I love it to bits but it's the time of year I miss people and have to do things and anxiety and and and... There's so much stuff.

So.

Much.

This is the first christmas with our dog, Ruffelina, so it should be interesting. So far she seems unphased by our dragging a cut tree into our living room and making it light up and stick balls she can't play with on it.

My sister, Offspring #2, hung the lights on the tree this year, while Ruffelina and I boogied on down to some christmas music. Well I boogied. Ruffelina lay in my lap and stared at me as I moved her paws around. She might not be well versed in christmas, but she is well versed in me.

And we went to get christmas ornaments because in our house it is A Tradition (or treedition, as Offspring #2 likes to say) to buy a new bauble, dangly thing, tree-hanger-on-object each year. This year I got a bell (which will be handy for alerting us if Ruffelina happens to be in the room and the tree happens to faint) (Ruffelina, I am hoping that won't happen, make my dreams come true.) And Ruffelina came too and she was so good she got rawhide when we got home. There were crowds and small children and all sorts of smells and sounds and distractions and she still listened to me and sat when I asked and everything!

So now we're out of rawhide.

Kind of.

I bought some of those smartbones things? But what Ruffelina really likes is the turkey and cranberry rawhide a well known pet shop not a million miles from us stocked at the beginning of the holiday season, so I'm going to try and get my hands on some more.

(We did buy her a GIANT turkey rawhide bone for christmas but shhh, secret.) (I know you shouldn't give her rawhide too often because it's a treat and not necessarily the best in the world so she's had three in about two months and she won't be eating her christmas present in one go. And we always keep an eye on her and she chews happily until she can swallow easily, so no worries there.) (Well I do worry, that's why I wrote that whole thing, and I don't want anyone else to worry but this is all basically 'I freak out about everything' territory so... moving on.)

So now it's christmas. How did that happen?

(Ooh and in case it's not officially christmas for you yet... here.)

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

So I finished hollow city. 

Even though she's not so much a prominent character I think my favourite is Fiona. 

Maybe it's just because of the situation in in with my speech and lack thereof but I seem to connect with nonverbal characters HARD recently. (Sandman from Rise of the Guardians? I'm looking at you.)

The talking thing isn't recent by the way. It's been three and a half years, but it still hurts like the first day. Knowing Fiona and what she's going through... Doing all that without speaking and still being adequately represented must be really hard especially with such outgoing characters like Enoch and Emma around her. So if you're Ransom Riggs and you happen to be reading this, although there's no reason for him to, (but this is the internet so who knows?) I think that was done beautifully. Also thank you. Although it's never addressed as selective mutism and might not be I think it... If you want to have that feeling or assumption you can. 

Nonverbal characters are strange. They're both rare and plentiful in books. And the reasons for their muteness are either all or nothing; they're the entirety of the book (largely traumatic mutism) or none of it. 

I loved the way Fiona not speaking was a non-issue. 

I love Emma too. Her feisty, oddly knowledgeable spark is really something. 

And I love Jacob. 

I love them all really (including Sam and Esme!) except... Enoch left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't dislike him exactly. He was just negative. I guess it's hard for a negative character to really be hugely likeable but he definitely added to the story in his way. I thought his scene with Esme was really touching. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was eerie and enjoyable and I didn't think it was slow at all, I've read some people did.  I loved the premise and the characters and the story and I cannot wait for the third book! 

I also love that moment where the title makes sense. 

For some reason that's one of my favourite parts of book reading, especially if there's a title like Hollow City which makes sense on the surface as well as having a deeper in story meaning. 

I am in love with reading, always have been but I'm so so grateful my ability to read has come back. 

All in all I loved Hollow City and found it enchanting in a dark way. Like the later use of poly juice potion in Harry Potter.  It was that kind of feeling if you know what I mean. 

I looked all over but I couldn't find another person on the Internet who feels like I do. Which is odd for me, I generally have very... Well my opinions are very rarely unpopular. So it was a bit of a surprise! But I still think it was a pretty reasonably paced read, even if it wasn't super fast. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely read it again. (After I reread Miss Peregrine of course.) And the third book is out next year! I'm really looking forwards to that. I'll probably reread before then.

Next up, Landline by Rainbow Rowell!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce

I just finished The Will of the Empress.

It's perfect.

Utterly and completely perfect.

I finished a good half of it today because it's wonderful. The friendship blossoms (eventually. Looking at you, Briar,) and the writing is done spectacularly. Those people I knew when they were ten are grown up and it feels right.

I was a little apprehensive at first. I like the bond they had as kids and I like their friendship and I like them. I don't like how they grew apart, but they had to to grow more. Travelling changed them all and it didn't. at the same time. They're grown up with all the complicated, messy feelings that come with it and they make sense too. Watching them grow... It's completely unlike I expected it to be. I don't have an ounce of that initial resentment left.

In a way I didn't want them to grow up. I wanted more stories of them at Winding Circle, stuck in an eternal loop, never aging. Things, even when they were not awesome there, were stable. Then they left. And I was shaken by that because I don't like change.

Seriously. Ask anyone. Change and  I are not BFFs. I'm water. It is oil.

But this change has been years and several rereadings in the making. At first I didn't realise the Circle Opens books even existed. (They totally do. They are, in case you don't know too, Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire and Shatterglass. We start with Sandry. Don't we always?) And I read these books since... well, forever. (Ok maybe not forever. But long enough that Briar, Tris, Sandry and Daja were the people I got to turn to when I was feeling awful, as much as I turn to Harry Potter and sometimes more.) (Please, nobody kill me for that last statement. I love Harry, I do. But occasionally I need four ten year olds with the subtlest of magics. The kind of magic that you can almost kid yourself you have.)

And then when I did know they existed (Maude help me) I didn't want to read them.  Because, like I said, me and change? Not so much with the friendlies. And then I talked myself into reading them. And it was weird seeing each one alone, but somehow although they didn't seem the same (four years had passed, so duh past me. Duh...) they were still Sandry, Daja, Tris, and Briar. And I liked them fine. But these later books, they were even better. The group comes back together and they have to hammer out the kinks in their relationship. They have to remember who each other are.

That's powerful.

Often when we grow up and grow apart those relationships remain strained. This book is not like that. Four people who were closer than siblings work things out and get back to that magical place.

PS, if anyone's reading this and wondering why I posted about ten times in one day: I can't get the flippin schedule to work so I decided to clear my drafts and start again. This is starting again.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Battle Magic, Eleanor and Park, Divergent

I read Battle Magic! Ages ago now! I loved every word. Every one. Even the really mundane ones like 'at' and 'the'. every letter was a symphony of Briar and Rosethorn and Evvy.

Admittedly some pretty horrible things do happen but it doesn't make it any less awesome. If anything it adds to it. And I also read Melting Stones, also by Tamora Pierce, No Briar in that one, but I still loved it. I love her books, which is why (after a brief detour around Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Eleanor and Park and the Divergent trilogy, which I'll get to in a minute,) I am now in the middle of The Will  of The Empress. (I have to say I was a little heartbroken that they weren't as close as they were straight away.) (But then I am absolutely head over heels in love with the entire Circle of Magic series.) I'd say yes, they are billed as kid's books but they definitely grow up with you.

Also you learn kind of... words from different languages completely by accident which is entirely too cool.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children was incredible. Definitely up there for 'favourite book I read this year' with a few others. I loved the time travel element which was unusual because normally I'm not a time travel person (except The Time Traveller's Wife. For some reason that book gets me every time.) but it managed to be super fun and non cheesey. Which I thoroughly appreciate. Miss Peregrine does indeed, run a home for peculiar children and a guy called Jacob has a grandfather. And that's all I'm going to say on the subject. The photographs really add something as well, especially as the book has them as a key piece of evidence. They're real photographs too, collected by real people! They're not made up especially for the book. That... I love that. I have Hollow City next on my TBR pile. We visited Waterstones and I may have inadvertently bought more books than I meant to. Admittedly, that's four. But two of them are hardback so they count an extra half at least!

You remember what I said before about never buying hardbacks? Well, for Miss Peregrine I totally do. And the other one in case anyone is interested, is Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

Eleanor and Park on the other hand I didn't really... it was compelling. Really compelling. And as I've bought Rainbow Rowell's two other books (Landline and Fangirl (I used to write fanfic. Terrible, embarrassing fanfic I hope no one ever sees, But that one appealed to me purely on the fanfic front.)) I did enjoy it. But I did read a couple of reviews mid way through which didn't like it at all and somehow that put a damper on the rest... I just hate to disagree I guess. Eleanor lives with her mother, siblings and er... mean, stepfather while Park lives with his mum, dad and brother next door to his grandparents. They sit together on the school bus purely out of lack of seats and they're funny together. So I liked the book. I liked other books more, but I liked the book.

Divergent. Oh my word, there were feels. I mean this will make no sense if you haven't read it, so it's not so much a spoiler. Part of me wants to know which faction I'd be in and I'd guess at Amity,.. See  above comment vis a vis not disagreeing. Divergent has a very Hunger Games feel to it (I'm still kicking myself that I gave those books to Offspring #2. But I was so upset at the end I just couldn't. You know? You know, right?) but it's also very different. Plus there's the whole lack of the reality tv aspect. I mean it's dystopian. But at the beginning it doesn't feel dystopian. It just feels like 'this is the way things have always been' and there's no brewing rebellion or disgruntled citizens as much as The Hunger Games. But it has a very similar vibe. I read Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant in a matter of days (I finished Divergent in an evening, Because I have no sense of self control.) and I just had to know what happened next. I thought Allegiant was the slowest to get going of the three books but it was still really good. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about Allegiant. But to me it was a good end to a good series. As far as the word 'good' can describe the Thing that happens. In that it was in character, and,,, and it made total sense. I didn't enjoy it but it felt necessary. And I did cry.

Now... I have an empress to get back to.

The travelling, the hobbies and the breathing.

Just coming back from visiting Offspring #2 at uni. Not my offspring you understand, I am Offspring #1. The elder by three years. Offspring #2 is a much improved formulation of the same two batches of genes.

Secretly  I'm a little jealous I'm the prototype while she's the fancy new and improved version. But what are you going to do?

We visited a hobby craft! I think this is a Brit version of hobby lobby. It. Was. Glorious. They had diy fairy lights! And hair chalk! And beads! Candle making stuff, soap making stuff, knitting things, cross stitch, stuff your own teddy bears... The only thing I didn't find was things for spinning like mawata or drop spindles but it is a kind of obscure hobby (that I desperately want to try). 

I want one. 

At home we have the range but unless you'reinto paper crafts it's kind of limited. They have the deco patch boxes but not the paper, huge packs of thread but no individual skeins... It's awesome for browsing and general craftiness but occssionally my soul yearns to make a candle. And not from a kit either. Especially not one with those wax globs. 

I'm not talented in the crafty department but I do it anyway, sometimes. I like to knit. I'm beginning my first ever sock!  (Why knit socks? WHY NOT, I ask you. Why not?) 

Anyway I'm typing this in the car because it's too dark to read (finished Miss Peregrine's home For Perculiar Children on the way here. I love it. I now have a great and passionate need for Hollow City.) and hoping we stop for McDonald's. Because while we finished lunch three hours ago I'm already peckish. For vastly unhealthy food.

The other night at three am when no one is a rational anything I completely forgot my dog. I was that out of it. 

Lexi sleeps in my room with me but in her crate. So at night the only one following me around is me. 

So I came back from getting a drink and heard BREATHING. 

BREATHING. IN MY ROOM. 

I freaked out. 

Fortunately I remembered just as I put my hand on my parents door handle that I have a dog. 

I forgot my dog. 

This is an example of how three am tricks you. 

Books, Boooks, Booooks.

I think big books are like geology and The Shawshank Redemption.

It's all about pressure and time.

I have mentioned before that I love to read. I loooove to read. There is nothing better than escaping into a new world (because this one sucks, on occasion). So now I can read what I'm doing is read, read, read. I desperately want to read more. Why can't I walk the dog and read at the same time? I seriously want that.,

The thing is although I have HOLY MAUDE bookshelves that make people go HOLY MAUDE I don't have room for all of my books so I have to get rid of some.

Excuse me while I go and hide under furniture while wailing (and reading because Battle Magic). Battle Magic is going really well. I was less than halfway through this morning and now I'm more than three quarters done now!

Sorry to go on but this a big, hue breakthrough for me. Like I said, I love Tamora Pierce's books and most of them aren't huge so they were doable while I'm not feeling great but this one is much bgger and the pages are really thin and it's a hardback (I never buy hardbacks unless they're second hand. Ever. I see book videos of people who have all hardbacks and gaze in awe. It's embarrassing.) which means it's even bigger and I was quite daunted because... it's big.

I mean it's not massive compared to Order of The Phoenix, but what is?

I also tidied my bookshelves at about two am last night so now I have a bit more room and I'm contemplating some kind of book get rid of spree. Not because I don't adore the books I have but I want so. many. more.

I also sorted out a TBR pile. Oh sweet Maude I shouldn't have done that. Because now, although it's only four books long, I want to read them all. Plus the next two Circle books. Plus the Immortals Quartet. Plus Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. Plus Sophie's World. And more.

So it's not four books long after all

OH Warbreaker. I really want to read Warbreaker.

The four books, in case any one is interested are: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Eleanor and Park, Mermaid Chair and The Colour Master. (That last one doesn't have a u in it. But my Brain is pernickety that way.)

Oh, and Battle Magic made me cry this morning.

Emelan

I love to read. That's one thing you really need to know about me. Right now I'm reading Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce.

I adore Tamora Pierce's books.

When I was really really awful I couldn't read at all and honestly it was the worst thing. I have bookshelves full of books and I've been a lifelong reader and I couldn't read a thing. It. Was. Horrendous. Admittedly part of it was my eyes. My stupid, stupid eyes. Not only could I not concentrate, I didn't realise that part of it was that I couldn't flippin see. I have no idea how I didn't realise that. But then we got me a reading lamp I adore and new glasses that fit and make words clear and I was really scared that dspite these things I might still not be able to read.

But then I got back into Tamora Pierce.

I read her books first when I was... twelve or so? I think. And I fell in love with her worlds - she has two. Tortall and Emelan. If you're interested in Mark Reads, he's doing Emelan right now and he's hilarious and fabulous about it. Tortall has more books and the first one I read was  Page, which was about the first (known) female page and all the everything she had to go through. And I loved it. (Even though it was the second book in the series but you know what? Never mind. It totally didn't matter.)

And I was in and out the library borrowing her books. That they even had them is a mystery to me because I've never seen her books in book shops over here in the UK... Actually no, I tell a lie, I found a couple in a really awesome second hand book shop we go to sometimes. But honestly they're all second hand off amazon and only one set matches and I love my copies so much.

So then I remembered Emelan.

Interestingly I have called all my fictional places Emelan since I read the first series - The Circle of Magic. Even when I forgot where it came from.

And I started to reread.

And it was slow going. Not because the books are any less awesome - they definitely stand up to being grown up with - but because of my depression and anxiety. But I didn't stop. I kept going.

And then it turned out she'd written more about Briar, Tris, Sandry and Daja. Not only in The Circle Opens, but in two other books about Briar and his new student Evvy and teacher Rosethorn (I love me some Rosethorn) and one where they get together again. So off I went to Amazon and promptly bought copies of those.

I buy books a lot. Mostly second hand, I like the feeling they've had a history and I also like the prices.

But I read and I was transported. I read from the very beginning. And I saw everything in a whole new way, and it was perfect. Before I saw a good story, Now I see a good story but also some really good things about class and race, sexism... and they're not preachy either.

They are rated as young adult books. I think. Or children's, but they're honestly not that way when you read them. I can genuinely say I am desperate for more. I highly recommend them to people of... well, any age really.

And now I've finished The Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens and I'm partway through Battle Magic. I'm reading them in chronological order. There's a choice with the newest three - you can read them in order of publication or you can mix it up a bit and read them in the order stuff happened,

So here's a little bit about it.

The characters. There's four brilliant teachers, who all have different teaching styles and four children who all have their own set of problems. And I use the word 'children' reluctantly because although it's technically accurate after all they've been through... They are and they aren't. They've all had to grow up really fast and in a way the books show them learning to be themselves. And how to be a family.

And it showed me a lot about myself too. For example.

It is ok to be Tris and be prickly - people can still love you that way.

It is ok to be Sandry and use your good fortune to your advantage when helping others.

It is ok to be Daja and look at your culture and differ from it.

It is ok to be Briar and use all your wit and cunning.


It is ok to be who you are, no matter what may have happened in your life.

Say something, I'm giving up on you.

Say something, I'm giving up on you.

Words cannot begin to describe how much I hate that song. I really, truly hate it. It's stuck in my head and I don't know what to do about it but honestly? At this point in my life I could really do without the insinuation that non verbal equals non caring.

Or just that if you don't talk screw you.

Either one works.

This probably has something to do with the fact I haven't got a lot of sleep recently and I'm irritable and lonely and grumpy and everything is ALL WRONG.

You know those days?

I'm six seconds away from a real, honest to goodness meltdown. Just out of sheer frustration. I want to talk. I want to communicate and I want to have people like me. I want I want I want.

And I can't do any of it.

There are two people I can communicate with. I can't even talk to this blog right now. To put this in perspective the date is now 18th November 2014. It's about ten AM. And yet another draft is about to hit the pile for when I'm strong enough.

I'm sorry to whine.

I feel like I'm in Monsters Inc. "Put that feeling back where it came from or so help me-!"

Of course then you have to sing the song but it's been usurped by 'say something, I'm giving up on you.'

I might not say anything.

Please don't give up on me.

Booktube

I really want to do a booktube channel.

There are several reasons why this will not happen.

Reason 1) Voice.

I don't have one.

Reason 2) Camera.

Not only do I not have one, I'm terrified of them! GAH.

Reason 3) Editing

What is this... editing? How do you do it?

All these things are pretty key to making youtube videos... and none of them are exactly my forte.

I'm just better written down and written down I'm not great. So instead I want to read more. And write more. I haven't blogged properly ever. So... youtube? Not my thing. But I'm watching a lot of booktube videos, hauls, reviews, the whole shebang (I love and adore that word. Shebang.) and wondering hwo to translate them to page without it getting boring and to be honest I can't. So instead I'm going to carry on!

That thing I posted before about Tamora Pierce? I'm going to write about books if I feel like it.

I'll write about SM if I feel like it.

The two may come together in some kind of octopus of love and issues.

I'm going to carry on being me.

(While secretly wishing I could do all those things I mentioned above).

Because what's life without a little fantasy?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Certain certainties

There are certain universal truths in life, not only limited to death and taxes.

For example everyone - and I do mean everyone, without exception - is afraid of The Thing. 

And where The Thing is ranges from place to place culturally. For example, here The Thing is under your bed. But in other places The Thing is in your closet or in the shadows or just plain there. The Thing changes. It's not even a real solid picture in your mind. Or worse, it changes. It's The Thing and everyone from the smallest child to the most grown up adult knows about, has experienced and is continuing to experience The Thing. 

It might not be very often at this stage in life. At this stage in life, logically, there's no reason for The Thing to exist. 

That doesn't mean we aren't afraid of The Thing. 

And occasionally The Thing still makes an appearance. Nobody is a rational adult at three am after a nightmare. 

Worse, it could be the middle of the night and everyone is asleep but you. And you are having a night when you're hazy with lack of sleep, you aren't a rational adult then. That's why shopping channels and Amazon one click exist. 

Not that The Thing cares if or not you just impulse bought a treadmill. The Thing will always be there. Waiting. 

There are certain certainties in life and The Thing is one of them. The Thing is terrifyingly constant. And we all pretend we've grown up and grown out of The Thing, especially when there are children around, but the truth is your Thing is like your shadow. 

Of course over time people push The Thing to the back of their minds. They buy double beds, and those double beds have space underneath. And there we have drawers and spare bed linen and blankets and things, because clutter is unsightly. 

Or is it? 

Of course the adult front of your mind says "A-hah. Storage solutions, very handy, never too much storage." But in the back of your mind there's a tiny voice. And that tiny voice thinks that the drawers are a good idea. Because then it's easier to tell yourself there's nowhere for The Thing to hide. 

The Thing doesn't occupy physical space, you realise as you lay in bed at three am with the clock ticking too loud and someone fast asleep beside you and you are too afraid to move in case The Thing takes it as an invitation. The Thing waits. Let's you do everything to keep The Thing out. And comes anyway. 

The Thing is certain. The Thing will always wait for you. 

Goodnight.