Category Archives: Book Talk

I’m not a huge fan of the ‘I’m still here/alive!’ blog posts. Mostly because I seem to do so many of them, and also because it just highlights how long it has been since I last posted.

I mean, six weeks? Really? I’m sorry, Internet.

The domain for my blog is due for renewal, and I was ‘this close’ to cancelling it altogether.

I’m not going to, but I do want to make the next 12 months worth my while, you know?

I’ve only been blogging for 2.5 years, and when I’m in it, I really enjoy writing and sharing my experiences here.

But lately, I just haven’t been motivated to do so.

Don’t take it personally, I haven’t had the motivation to do much.

I mostly blame the addition of a brand-new library in my neighbourhood. (Although, I’ve somehow found the motivation to write book reviews *looks sheepish*)

I was seriously like a kid in a bookstore when it opened. Or me, 20 years ago. And I’ve been reading my butt off ever since. Except that’s totally not a thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s getting bigger.

I have been reading SO much. I’m talking four books in the last month. That’s like a book a week, you guys. That is more than I read for the entire five months prior!

Anyways, the strangest part is that I actually have things I want to talk to you about.

For example, I was able to cross another ‘Thing‘ off my list. Can you guess which one?!

I still want to talk about my other Disney Animators’ Collection Doll.

I have a bunch of photos from different ‘weekend adventures’ that I think are worth sharing, but which have been sitting in my camera for months.

My partner and I spent a gloriously relaxing long weekend up in the mountains in June for our anniversary.

And, we got engaged!

So yeah, there are lots of wonderful things to stick around for. Just bear with me, while I find my feet here again.

It’s kind of like riding a bike, but without the uncomfortable seat or helmet hair.

Thing 26

Thing 26: Write a Short Story

It’s no surprise that I enjoy writing.
It was always one of my favourite things to do at school, and my English grades were by far my best.
I remember one time when I was about 8 or 9, getting told off by my teacher for writing too much!
Rude.
Apparently I was only supposed to do one page, and instead wrote three.
Do you know how hard it was to cut all those words back down?
My story of the best Christmas ever went downhill real quick.
And PS, I’m so sure she never said we were only allowed to write one page.
Following instructions was always a strength for me.

Anywho, fast-forward 20-odd years and I still enjoy writing, and still feel like I often write too much.

Over the years I have thought of, and started writing actual stories, but they never went very far.
Coming up with story lines is fun.
Writing the first few paragraphs is great.
But putting everything together, creating an interesting tale with twists and turns and descriptive sentences is hard.

So this is still a work in progress.
For a start, I have no idea what kind of writer I would want to be anyways.

And secondly – I feel like short stories are almost harder, you know?
You’ve got less time to capture the audience, hook them in and then somehow throw them off right at the end.
#toohardbasket

So I will leave you with a snippet of something I put together a while ago:

“Well?” Sarah asked, nervously fingering the edge of the teal duvet. All she wanted was for her little sister to be happy in the outfit she had chosen for her, and not make a scene. It was no use asking for Ashley’s input when it came to dressing up or looking feminine – she just had no clue whatsoever! So it had been up to Sarah to pick everything, from the hair and the makeup to the dress itself. She had been nervously watching Ashley look herself over, waiting for her to complain or state how much she hated something; but all she did was stare, wide-eyed at her transformation, and Sarah was sure she had seen a hint of a grin forming.

Candles for Book Lovers

It is no secret that I love to read.
And some of you may even know about my love for candles.
So when I stumbled across Frostbeard Studio on Etsy, I had to find out more!
Making handcrafted pottery and soy candles for nerds and book-lovers alike, Frostbeard is cute,  quirky and totally original.

Many of their candles have been created with popular books in mind – Harry Potter, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones to name a few.
And if you’re favourite book isn’t featured, you could always go for a scent that book lovers can relate to, such as Bookstore or Oxford Library.

As a HUGE Harry Potter fan, it was a no brainer for me to get Butterbeer and Dumbledore’s Office; – and I believe they even have Hogwarts House flavours too, which aren’t online yet.
I almost bought The Shire or Winterfell, but as Old Books was the first candle I saw and got me to their store in the first place, I decided to go with that instead.
Besides, who doesn’t love the smell of an old book?!

Frostbeard1
It’s a good thing I’m not into Doctor Who or Sherlock Holmes, or my decision would likely have been even tougher!

Continue reading Candles for Book Lovers

The Casual Vacancy

**Spoiler Alert!** (Have always wanted to write that, haha)

IMG_0770

After what feels like a life-time, last week I finally finished reading “A Casual Vacancy” by JK Rowling. Seriously, it took me FOREVER! Which is totally unusual for me. Once I get into a book, I devour it and could happily wile away the hours reading. Which, I think, is part of the problem here – I never really got into this one. Sure, there were points where I was all “ooh, what happens next?!”, disappointed that my lunch break had ended; but those moments were few and far between (and let’s be honest, it was probably more to do with the fact that I couldn’t be bothered going back to work, than I wanted to keep reading). Mostly I only read this book so I could finish it and move on to the next one on my list (a gripping Tasmina Perry chick lit, and don’t even look at me with those judgy eyes – Tasmina has not let me down yet!) Look, I didn’t hate this book, but I just didn’t really like it. I am allowed to say that right?!

I am a huge JK Rowling fan, having read all Harry Potter books multiple times over and loving every second of them! The way JK can draw me in and keep me hooked for seven entire books is an amazing skill – and I totally respect and admire her as a writer. There wasn’t one book I didn’t enjoy, not one moment that I wished for it all to end. Heck, if she said she was going to write an eighth, I’d be first in line to grab a copy! And I know I’ll totally read them all again and again.

But, I knew going into this that Casual Vacay (bear with me, I totally call it this in my head) was an adult book, set in “the real world” and nothing like Harry Potter; so I wasn’t expecting wizards, magic and teenage angst. Instead I was expecting a bit of drama and politics, spoken in a much older voice. What I feel like I got, were too many characters; a bunch of story-lines that didn’t really flow or explain themselves; adult angst and a doozy ending. Also, many of the characters were teenagers, but not likeable ones. In this case, it most certainly wasn’t me, it was her.

Don’t get me wrong, all-in-all it was okay – I like how she changed character voice often, but still kept each one intact and consistent, and some of them had decent back-stories, which I found interesting. I also liked “The_Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother” parts and enjoyed reading the chaos that ensued after each post. However, most of the characters made me mad at one point or another, and all the talk about The Fields vs Pagford just annoyed me. I was bored by the politics and bored by the older characters in this book.

If I had read the back of the book and didn’t know who the author was, I wouldn’t have read it at all. I know you’re not meant to judge a book by it’s cover, but in the words of Shania Twain, “that don’t impress me much!”. I only read it to begin with because JK had written it. I only finished reading it, partly because I did want to know what happened, but mostly because I don’t like leaving a book unfinished – it feels wrong to me!

I would totally give JK another chance when/if she writes another book, because I know how amazing she is, but this one really didn’t do anything for me. It left me feeling a bit angsty and empty, and not wanting more at all.

I hope she writes more books, really I do, but I just feel like this one wasn’t for me.

 

“Meeting” the Man behind the Book

Today I was looking for information on the new Kingkiller Chronicle title (The Doors of Stone) because I remembered that I thought I had read somewhere it was due for release next month. It’s not, and there’s no release date for it yet, but during my search I stumbled upon the author’s blog.

First of all, I’m impressed that a dude who writes for a living has the time/motivation to keep a blog at all, but also his words are magic. Patrick Rothfuss writes like a river flows – gentle, slow but full of purpose. I absolutely loved reading both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Mans Fear and I cannot wait to read The Doors of Stone – I know he’s good. But these stories came from his brain – he can write what he wants and we’ll get sucked in, anticipating the next adventure, hungry for the next chapter – it’s a given. The books are amazing and the story is captivating. But it’s not a real story.

His blog on the other hand, is real. He let’s you in to his life, talks about his partner and son, his projects and all the while you’re lost in the words he has written, as if its another of his wonderful stories and not about a trip he took to the supermarket. I knew he was good, but now I realise the man has a gift! And I’m so glad he can share it with us.

If you haven’t read The Kingkiller Chronicles yet, I seriously urge you to give them a go. And if you think they’re not for you – read his blog – this particular entry really warmed my heart and gave me the motivation to write again:

http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2013/02/concerning-love/

Ideas are churning in my brain and future blog posts are on the horizon. Sure, I’m no Patrick Rothfuss, but I do enjoy writing and want to get better. The only way for me to do that is to keep at it.

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

For Christmas this past year I was lucky enough to receive the second installment of “The Kingkiller Chronicles” by Patrick Rothfuss, called ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ (thankyou soo much!!). I read the first book a couple of years ago and have been dying to keep reading and finding out more ever since.

But, because it had been a few years, I really wanted to read the first one, The Name of the Wind again, so the story would be fresh in my mind. I read this in 2009, when we last came to Australia, funnily enough. So when we went back to Christchurch a few weeks ago, it was one of the first things I grabbed from our storage unit.

I am now about halfway through, and am loving it all over again! For those of you who haven’t read this yet, or even heard about it – find a bookshop, library or good friend and get your hands on this book. Seriously. Critics have called it “Harry Potter for Adults”, and i tend to agree. It has the magic and fantasy, the ups and downs of emotion and suspense, the good vs evil battles, but it goes even further – it’s much darker, and nothing is sugar-coated at all. I am hooked once again.

Without going into too much detail, it is about a young, intelligent, inquisitive boy named Kvothe. Raised in a Travelling performers troupe, his early years are happily spent going from town to town entertaining crowds and learning wonderous tricks, stories and life skills from his parents and various interesting people he meets along the way. One night, his whole world is turned upside down as an evil force known as The Chandrian destroy everything he has ever known. Left on his own, with little more than the clothes on his back and brain full of everything he has ever learnt, Kvothe then has to make his own way. His life is not easy, and he really struggles with what has happened and how he can seek vengeance on the people who did this to him. For a while, he leads a pretty terrible and unsavoury existence, but eventually his luck changes and he heads in the right direction by going to The University, which has been his life’s dream. Being much younger than everyone else, he gets himself into much trouble proving his worth. The story is told by Kvothe himself.  As an adult, he has been known by many names – The Kingkiller being one of them – and this is his chance to tell his side of the story.

The books are big. Like huge, but they make for easy reading, and each chapter is only a few pages long. The way Mr Rothfuss writes keeps you wanting more, and more. I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to see what the second one has in store for me.