Discussion, life

I Miss Reading

I miss reading.

Not the kind of reading where you skim over your Twitter feed or the kind where you submerge your novel in a plethora of sticky notes because your grade depends on it.

I miss the kind of reading that nullifies your world until there is just you and the book.

The turn of each crisp page, the weight of the book in your lap, your shoulders and eyes begging for a rest- all these things seem irrelevant. Because it’s the stories I miss. It’s the people.

Reading gave me the freedom to explore not just countries but universes. It made me feel eager to pack my suitcase and escape to these worlds yet, just the mere act of reading made me feel like I was co-existing with these characters and that was plenty for me.

I miss the quiet that followed the conclusion of each book. Where I was left alone to ponder. What are these characters doing now? I’d wonder. I’d sit there in awe of all the feelings that a book is able to imprint upon you. How do words have so much power? they’re just lines on paper after all.

What I miss the most is the stillness that came with reading. In a world full of chaos, I had something that let me feel at peace and it made me feel alive.

I miss reading.

Discussion

5 Reasons I Hate Reading Reviews

The irony ins’t lost on me considering this blog is primarily for reviewing books. but there is just something about book reviews and film reviews that repeals me and I’ve managed to condense this feeling into five justifiable reasons.

  1. Spoilers

This is my number one fear when it comes to reading reviews. Although many writers do specify if the post is going to have spoilers, my mind always remains skeptical.

what if there are spoilers?

what if the writer hasn’t been discreet enough?

Would I still want to read the book after it’s ruined for me?

I know some people would go ahead with reading a book regardless but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

         2. Influence

Now, reviews generally provide an opinion right? my overly absurd brain is always under the threat that if I read a review of a book that I’m eagerly awaiting to read then I won’t go into the book with a fresh mind, I’ll be influenced by the opinions of the person who wrote the review. Now this has sometimes worked in my favour as after reading a review I picked up things in the book I wouldn’t normally have.

Likewise, if i read a review after I’ve read a book and formed my own opinions it can give me another perspective but it also makes me doubt my understanding of the book.

          3. Boredom

Okay let’s be brutally honest here. If I typed in “Mockingjay Part 2 review” in Google how many infinite number of results will pop up?

And you know what? they’re all gonna be the same, Long paragraphs or overloaded with GIFs and there is nothing original about the formatting of a review. I usually skim over review posts. YOU don’t even fully read my reviews and I know it and I understand. It can get so boring sometimes.

           4. Repetition

This is following along with the boredom. Reviews are repetitive. Especially when it comes to a super famous book that has been hyped about forever. Unless you can bring a completely unique perspective and take on the book, I guarantee you 99% of the reviews will look the same. Just to clarify, with “unique perspective” I don’t mean slandering the book just to stand out. Honest opinions are still valued people.

            5. Reviews are rarely helpful

When I’m looking for a new book to read , which is rarely a case these days considering I have no time. but anyways, when looking for a new read or recommendations I head to Goodreads and check out their ratings or I ask around my friends. What I’m getting at is, I rarely make a judgement of whether to buy a book or not based on a review I’ve read. And I guess part of it is because I’m aware a review is just one slice of opinion which it’s up to me whether to take into consideration or not.

Of Course I do realise all the upsides to reviews which is why I continue to write them but I just believed this unpopular opinion had to be discussed. I’d love to hear your point of view on this matter so let’s keep the discussion going in the comments.

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Book news, Discussion

8 Game of Thrones Season 7 Predictions that MUST happen

I guess we’re all still recovering from the epic finale which I recapped here but I don’t know about you but my brain is already running on overdrive about what is going to happen next season. With only 13 episodes left until the show wraps up for good I believe season 7 will be one hell of an action packed adventure.

Jon Snow

As was so obviously revealed in the season finale, Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and let’s be honest, the father must be Rhaegar Targaryen. This means that Jon is a Tagaryen and thus has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne!

I’ve seen a few theories floating around the internet that Jon’s name isn’t Jon but rather he has a Targaryen name. Hmm could it be Aegon? Aerys? who knows.

Cersei Lannister

So far no one has managed to stay on the Iron Throne long without getting killed so we can only assume Cersei is destined for doom especially because of all the hatred surrounding her. As for Cersei’s death, I have two predictions:

Dany and Cersei have a showdown where Dany either kills Cersei herself or one of the Dragons does.

Or Arya makes her way to King’s Landing, since Cersei is on her list of people to kill and Arya kill Cersei which would be a pretty sweet revenge for the Stark’s!

Nonetheless, Cersei is cornered, the Ships are coming with Dany and the dragons, considering Varys went to see the women in Dorne along with house Tyrell, I believe Dany and Dorne and house Tyrell will ally to take Cersei down and everyone in Winterfell hates Cersei too.

We are in for one epic battle!

Bran and the Wildlings

I’m guessing Bran is making his way back to Winterfell because I can’t see him going back anywhere else.

As for the Wildlings I think they will be left to dealt with for season 8 because I can see an epic Wildling battle happening which will just be too hectic and we need Dany’s dragons to burn the shit out of the Widlings and ahh!

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Book reviews, Discussion

6 Revealing Truths About Persuasion

Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last finished novel and after reading it recently, I was left with a few things to reflect upon.

People can have life-changing influences over your decisions 

Anne Elliot, our heroine, gets talked out of her engagement at a very young age by a mother-like figure in her life. All throughout the novel she keeps getting talked into or out of whether to pursue a relationship with a man or not. The main message I got out of this is:

How many times have we let people in our lives, friends/acquaintances make our decisions for us or influence our decisions in life to a great degree?

And it’s not until Anne starts to listen to her own instincts that she realises that she is the best judge of what is good for her or not.

It’s always best to trust your instincts 

Carrying on from the above point. Anne is possibly my favourite Jane Austen heroine, she has a sound mind and judgement which she learns to occupy throughout the novel.

Her instincts draw her towards certain kinds of people, good people, and once she stops worrying about not living up to other people’s expectations and just doing what she believes is right, things start falling into place in her life.

True love withstands all 

This one I’m not particularly rooting for however, it is one of the biggest and cheesiest aspects of the novel. Anne and her love interest Captain Wentworth have been separated eight and a half years after breaking off their engagement.

Circumstances happen to bring them together and their love stands the test of time, it stands the test of distraction by other potential lovers and it stands the test of vanity- Anne is considered to have “lost her bloom” at the time the novel is set yet, Mr. Wentworth still finds her beautiful.

On rationality & resentment 

Anne and Captain Wentworth both have opposing responses to their broken off engagement. While Anne accepts her lost chance and has a more rational approach to things, Captain Wentworth cannot help but be angry and resentful of the circumstance and Anne even.

I personally believe Anne’s rational approach is the better option because resentment leaves you in despair and agony.

On appearances & vanity 

Vanity is a huge aspect of the life of the Elliots, Anne’s family, though Anne is the odd cookie who isn’t vain at all and is super down-to-Earth about her beauty. Keeping up appearances and being pretentious for the sake of a profit, romantic or otherwise is also a scheme a few characters in the novel occupy.

The novel in its conclusion leaves you with the impression that being pretentious and vain, in the end, leaves you with nothing basically.

So don’t be pretentious and vain guys

Anyways, I didn’t just wanna do any old book review on this novel as it left me with a lot of thoughts jumbling about so I hope this persuaded you enough that persuasion is worth a read!

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Book news, Discussion, Film review

Shadowhunters TV Show | First Impressions

I wasn’t initially planning to watch the TV Series after being disappointed with the film back in 2013. However, I’ve been hearing that it’s actually an okay TV show so I decided to check it out for myself.

The show begins featuring Jace, Alec and Isabelle following a Demon into the club Pandemonium and I’m surprised to find that my attention is caught. Although, not the most amazing Pilot episode I have ever watched the show seems to hold a lot of promise.

The casting consists of some very attractive people. In terms of acting however, I find Clary and Jace to be a little melodramatic. Isabelle and Alec I can tell with certainty are good actors and Simon promises to be a strong role in the future as well.

The special effects are satisfactory and don’t contain any of the cringe-worthy moments that the film had thank God.

In terms of the book, the show seems to be following the story line very closely which I’m glad about. The Mortal Instruments definitely seems more suited to being a TV show than it does to being a film, just because there are so many elements and arcs.

In all honesty the Show does appear to be a bit flat however, I can tell it holds great potential and it really has the ability to take flight in the next few episodes.

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Book reviews, Discussion

Discussion | The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Upon finishing what turned out to be quite a sad novel and reading some great analysis on Sparknotes (come on we all do this!) I just wanted to discuss a few quotes and things that caught my attention in the novel.

There’s no point reviewing the novel. I mean it’s French. It’s Revolutionary and I bought it outside of Notre-Dame in Paris, of course I loved it.

Time is the architect, people are the mason

The book explores Roman, Greek, Gothic and all types of art and architecture. What I take from this quote is that, it is time that gives a building or a painting it’s true character and value, people are simply the builders but it is time that is the true artist.

Our fathers had a Paris of stone, our children will have a Paris of plaster

The first thing that came to mind upon viewing this quote was, plaster of Paris? does that hold any significance to this quote or am I just being weird?

Anyway, Victor Hugo scarily predicted the change Paris was going to undergo after the revolution, important ancient buildings were torn down to make way for Boulevards and the commercial Paris of today. Although important structures still remain in the city, Paris has lost a certain permanency through its continuous renovation and rebuilding.

Civilization always begins at theocracy and ends at democracy

I like this quote because of how true it rings. Time and time again, basically every civilization has begun with theocracy and has ended up today in democracy which I believe is the better way.

Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, it strikes its roots deep into our whole being, and frequently continues to put forth green leaves over a heart in ruins. And there is this unaccountable circumstance attending it, that the blinder that passion, the more tenacious it is. Never is it stronger when it is most unreasonable.

That quote resonates with me so much. It especially reminds me of unrealistic crushes over hot guys in YA novels. No but seriously, Victor Hugo appears very wise when it comes to all matters of love and undesirable lust.

Those are all the quotes that I wanted to discuss today. There is of course the astonishing symbolism between our protagonist Quasimodo and Notre-Dame. Quasimodo’s ugly, laughed-upon exterior yet his pure heart resemble the nature of the Gothic church which has become one of the most famous landmarks in Paris thanks to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

About the book

Title: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Author: Victor Hugo

Genre: Classic

Synopsis: 

In the vaulted Gothic towers of Notre-Dame lives Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer. Mocked and shunned for his appearance, he is pitied only by Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy dancer to whom he becomes completely devoted. Esmerelda, however, has also attracted the attention of the sinister archdeacon Claude Frollo, and when she rejects his lecherous approaches, Frollo hatches a plot to destroy her that only Quasimodo can prevent. Victor Hugo’s sensational, evocative novel brings life to the medieval Paris he loved, and mourns its passing in one of the greatest historical romances of the nineteenth century

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Discussion

Books I’ve Given Up On

I’m the kind of person that likes to see things through the end, well, at least when it comes to books, but there are certain books on my bookshelf that defy these rules.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

One of the first books I remember giving up on.

Reason: I had a problem with the way the series was written from the beginning, so by the time I got to the last book and realised I wasn’t going to get any satisfactory answers, I decided it really wasn’t worth reading on.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

This one I haven’t so much given up on, rather I’ve set it aside. Some of the concepts are difficult to grasp but when I do have time to sit down and properly read, the books is quite fascinating

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Reason: It’s a very difficult text to interpret and I simply do not have the time it’s demanding from me to sit down and properly read it so.

Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes

As you can imagine, being the complete collection, there is quite a lot to read. I have read a few stories but it’s just been sitting there on my shelf collecting dust really.

Those are all the books I have given up on, I feel like it’s not a lot and I should keep it that way I guess.

Do you give up on books or do you see things through to the end?

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Discussion, life, Uncategorized

Loss of Innocence

I recently finished reading The Catcher in the Rye for school and as with any book read in school we have to write an essay.

One of, if not THE, central message of the novel is ‘losing your innocence’ and diving into adulthood from childhood, which got me thinking what does loss of innocence actually mean?

If you look at the definition of innocence, it’s often associated with purity or being naive.

And I think children are very pure, in the sense that they don’t let external factors affect their opinion of someone or something.

To illustrate my point, if Little Jhonny thinks you’re a bad man he’s going to say it (that’s a very bad example) but I believe children are very perceptive when it comes to differing right from wrong. There are no grey areas. It’s just black or white

But as we get older we’re taught to process our thoughts and process what we’re going to say. I can’t just blurt out every single thing I think of someone, but as a child you can get away with that. Which leads me to the question

Is what we say or express actually a representation of ourselves or is it mostly a product of our environment?

There’s comes a point, I guess adolescence would be a perfect example, where we stop being completely and truly ourselves and becomes this thing called a part of society. We conform to opinions and behaviours and music tastes, not entirely but still.

And I guess that’s what loss of innocence means: losing yourself.

NOTE: This post may or may not make sense or be highly accurate, but just my opinion, just throwing it out there.

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Discussion, life

Discussion | Could YA Have A Negative Influence?

Recently. I’ve noticed that the best friend has started saying this particular line to me quite often:

“It’s not like that. You read too many books. Gosh”

This is usually in reply to my random perspectives on life.

Which got me thinking. What if the books I read have started influencing me? I mean what if they’ve warped my perspective about something?

Now of course, considering I read so many books it’s a given that they’d influence me in some way or another. But what  if they’ve started affecting my take on life, like majorly?

Let’s take love for example, literally every fictional novel I have ever read has some kind of romance in it. And I’ve noticed that, particularly in YA, love is this huge philosophical thing, it’s exaggerated really but being a teenager and being easily impressionable, I see it as this huge powerful event that’s gonna knock the wind out of me and the universe will collapse unto itself or something.

So has my reading resulted in me forming unrealistic expectations of love? Have I formed an idea that true love looks like Augustus and Hazel or Anna and Etienne?

That’s the other thing about YA, it sets this unrealistic bar for what boys should be like. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re all looking for an Augutus Waters or Chaol Westfall to stride in and sweep us off our feet.

I’m not trying to single out YA as the culprit of unrealistic expectations,  I mean everything from TV to Disney Movies to Instagram has us forming unrealistic expectations about everything, not just love.

I guess at the end of the day, we have to remember that, that particular representation of love in the novel is the author’s idea and experience.

And the best way is to just not be so gullible,get out there and discover your own idea of love or anything really through experience.

Apologies if this post was a bit vague or sounded too much like an “inner ramblings of a teenager” rather than a bookish discussion. But yeah it’s been plaguing me

Do you think books set unrealistic expectation?

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Discussion

Discussion | Reading In A Different Language

As many of you may or may not know, I learn French in school and English isn’t my first language which means I have the pleasure of reading books in different languages.

We’ve recently been studying The Little Prince in French. Basically what we do is, we read the French version then we switch to the English translated version and I’m really enjoying it.

What is it that makes me enjoy a book in a language I can barely understand? Why does the translated version seem so faithful?

What elements of a story need to stay consistent from language to language to make it so faithful?

Well I’m about to tell you that:

1) The overall message/motto of the story

2) The author’s writing style

3) Accurate representation of the character

This post is going to be split into two parts to avoid mumble-jumble

Part One: I discuss how each of those elements in The Little Prince make it such a good translation

Part Two: I discuss what if my blog were translated into another language?


 

Reading The Little Prince in Two Different Languages

What makes it so good? let’s discuss

1) The message remains consistent

The Little Prince is basically an exploration into human morals and character. It’s about what we think is important in life and what is actually important in life.

I believe every story has a meaning and you take the meaning away and what do you get? nothing, it’s just a bunch of words on a page isn’t it? The meaning is like the skeleton, it holds everything together, it brings everything together which is why it NEEDS to be there.

2) The author’s writing style

Of course you can’t exactly replicate someone else’s writing style, translation’s complicated like that. But what you can do is try to get the gist of the writing in as much as possible. I mean if something is supposed to be serious and important in the story then you have to try and get that across.

The Little Prince is highly metaphorical and they’ve done a good job of acknowledging that.

You have to remain faithful

3) Consistent Characterization

Characters for me are one of the three most important elements of a story.  Again, the translation has to meaningfully represent the character. Whether it be Little Prince’s cuteness or Lizzie Bennett’s witty banter it has to remain the same for the story to be a successful, faithful translation.


I recently discovered Smartling, a translation software company. that basically translates web content into different languages for effective communication.

So hypothetically, if my blog were to be translated into another language what’s to remain consistent?

1) The Theme of my blog

I feel like this is really obvious but , it’s about books and my love for literature so that’s got to be there. Particularly with book reviews, the translation has to be able to accurately represent whether I liked a book or not.

2) My Style

I’m quite a chatty person on this blog so I’d want that to stay consistent but sometimes I write serious stuff too so that’s got to come across. Basically my voice has to stay consistent is what I’m saying


Translation is really amazing when you think about it. I mean I’d never be able to read The Little Prince properly if it wasn’t translated into English and what if I’m denying people access by having my blog in just one language?

So I now pose the question to you

If you were to read a book in another language what aspects would you want to stay consistent?

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