Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Book Thief

If you haven't read this book yet then seriously, what are you waiting for?

Sorry? What was that? You don't like breathtaking, life changing novels? Ah,that makes sense then, as you were.

I speak therefore the the other 99.9% of you. Please read this book. Actually, don't just read it, DEVOUR it.

Set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death, it is surprisingly uplifting, mostly due to the amazing character development and unbelievable skill of Markus Zusak's writing.

Here are a few examples of delicious, sad and inspiringly yummy quotes -

"Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain" *swoon*

"He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of the trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection" *omg*

Ooooo, oooo, one more....

“It's hard to not like a man who not only notices the colors, but speaks them”*agreed*

I have just realised I could go on all night, but I doubt that would hold anyone's attention for too long, so I urge you to put it on your TBR list. You can thank me afterwards, if you like.

Friday, 25 November 2011

A geeky post, if you don't mind

I make no secret of the fact that I love ebooks, to be honest most of the time I am using an ereader - I have a HP Touchpad and an Iphone. I use the Stanza and Kindle app's and I think both are great. However neither of them are able to use all formats of ebook; for instance Kindle doesn't read epub files, which is annoying because most of the books I can get are in this format.

If you are finding this a pain too then I really recommend using Calibre, a piece of software that you download to your computer that converts files into the format you need them in.

Here you can see that I was able to get hold of a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude by the marvelous Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but it was in Epub format (top left).

All I needed to to was select which format I wanted it in, in this case I was putting it on my Kindle so I went for Mobi (top right), and hit o.k and TA - DA! All ready to transfer using my iTunes!

This isn't an advert so I am not going to go into it any further than I have, but you can download it HERE if you so wish!

Bookworm Bitches Night

So, tomorrow night I am going to be taking part in Bookworm Bitches readathon at Goodreads - A night where we try and read as much as we can and post up our progress.
I had thought I wasn't going to be able to take part in this months, because I had family coming over, but now I am free!!(I still love you Family, honestly)

Depending on what I can get "hold" of, (as in download, not shoplift), I will be reading one of either -

I actually can't wait.

It was good.....Seriously.

Seriously....I'm Kidding - by Ellen Degeneres

I started reading this book because a) I like Ellen and b) It's on the December reading list for one of my book groups at Goodreads.

First off, don't read this book if you want to get all serious and deep and want to find out about her sexuality and what it was like being Dory, because she isn't kidding when she says she is kidding (which is a shame, because Dory is absolutely my favourite forgetful fishy hero).

It's a page turner because you feel like you are watching a stand up show, or alternatively reading the notes from about a year in therapy. I loved the wit, the observations, in fact, I wanted to be Ellen by the time I had finished reading it.
I tend to laugh at things pretty easily, so I laughed while reading this book, much to the dog's bemusement. (My dog believes I am only allowed to laugh at her dragging her back legs and vajazzle across the living room carpet). This book was equally funny and in some cases funnier than my dogs attention seeking side show.

One little annoyance I had, although it's not the books fault, was that I read it in HTML format (because someone sent it to me that way) so it hurt my eyes and I felt like I had to finish it IMMEDIATELY!
It's the sort of book you need to have in your toilet, for guests to read, so hopefully I will get a physical copy of it soon. (Are you listening Mr Claus?)

Quote from the book:

"Many of them ask questions that not only seem unnecessary but, to use a technical term, are also bonkers. I won’t say the name of the magazine (it sounds like “Pin Style”) I stole from my dentist’s office but there was a poll in it that asked readers, “How far will you take the season’s hot shade of green?” Thirty-nine percent of people said “All the way,” 37 percent said “Halfway,” and 24 percent said “Just a hint.”
Now, here’s my first question: What?! How far will you take the season’s hot shade of green? What does that mean? What does it mean to take green “all the way”? Like, to the prom? Are you going to settle down and have children with the color green? And look how close it is between “All the way” and “Halfway.” There’s only a 2 percent difference. I’m surprised we didn’t hear about that on the evening news.

(I am going "All the way" case you were wondering)

A lack of Thanks being Given

Here in the UK we don't "DO" Thanksgiving, but it would be nice if you we have a day where we were all reminded about the little things in life that pass you by without even noticing.

I guess I am lucky that I have a life rich enough for things to pass me by, but in all honesty, I think many people are turning into whinge bags over nothing.

Here are a few things that I was or should have been grateful for yesterday, Thanksgiving.

I am grateful that my daughters made it to their exam and that they both did well.
I am grateful that my dog didn't urinate in the hallway, because that is very annoying.
I am grateful that I had a nice snooze in the afternoon, uninterrupted by workmen being noisy outside
I am grateful that I had a lovely chat with one of my best friends on skype, and that he let me boss him around, which was fun.
I am grateful that I was wearing clothes when my next door neighbour knocked on my kitchen window and waved at me.
It's 7am now and I am grateful for the hour of silence I have had before I wake my little ladies up for school....tick tock.
I am grateful I have electricity, food, warmth, family, choices, income, health....maybe these things should have come first?....hmmmmmmm.

Beeep Beeep. Alarms! Sorry, but no-one is ever going to make me grateful for those!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Starting Today....Finished Today!

I had only just finished the second book in this trilogy, Catching Fire, but I could't wait to find out what happens to our little heroine, Katniss. I guess you can infer from that that I enjoyed this series of books; which I did, immensely. However, as the story has unfolded I have become more and more infuriated with Miss Everdeen and her glaring inability to read situations correctly. She has a annoying habit of gauging everyone's opinions of her as negative and is always assuming the worse outcome, unless, of course, something bad IS about to happen, and then she assumes the best.
While these personality traits worked just fine in the first book, when Katniss was young, niave and had been thrown into unexpected situations (you kinda had to feel for the girl) , by the time you reach this last installment it's wearing thin.
I found that Katniss didn't seem to grow in any tangible way emotionally, despite us having to go along with her second guessing every single one of her actions (unless she should have done -then she was spontaneous) and overthinking her relationships.

Basically, the girl needed a lot of things spelling out to her and it all became a little on the predicable side of realistic.

That being said, I had to carry on reading, there was no way I was leaving the Peeta and Gale story without an ending! I wasn't as bothered about the love triangle aspect, I just wanted to know they were both ok.

The ending was reminiscent of Harry Potter, I didn't feel it needed the quaint round up, presented with a ribbon on top.

But please don't let this review stop you from jumping into the books, they are really good.
I know I should qualify that with a reason, but to be honest I am too tired after dealing with the frustration of Miss Everdeen to talk about how engaging the first few books are. But, let me put it simply, if that's ok with you? - I read this series in a couple of days because I couldn't put them down, even though I wanted to shake the central character, which has got to be a first for me.

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”

Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I am too young to remember those words....

...."Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin" when they were spoken on the radio by the BBC at the beginning of "Listen with Mother". However this was familiar to my parents, both of whom grew up in the 1950's, so it was second nature to them to begin any bedtime story when reading to my brother and I in the 1980's. Those words always made me snuggle down deeper under the covers, stop any fidgeting and made me feel safe and secure.

Hear it here

My mum would read Jane Austen and other classic novels, my favourite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice, and I often wonder if it's the memory of it being read to me that makes me love it so much. My Father would read us fantasy but more often than not he would tell us made up horror stories, which weren't really a sleep aid, but I loved them all the same.

My mother was and still is a bookworm, my father was less so given his dyslexia and lack of reading opportunities as a child. But he understood the importance of it, and I will never forget him reading The Hobbit to us.

My parents instilled of love of books in me that I have carried throughout the rest of my live. Now I am in my 30's I realise it's one of the most precious gifts they could have given me. Something I HOPE that I have given my children too.

So, my blog is in dedication to them; a "thank you" for surrounding me with books, a homage to all the hours I would spend sitting on bookshop floors waiting for my mother to decide which books we were taking home that day and an apology for all the late library book fines I managed to collect throughout the years.