taketimetoshine: (Have The Answer)
I'm not doing very well at posting one of these a day but I'm still working slowly through the questions... I suppose the important thing is that I'm still going, rather than how quickly I get through them.

I'm not sure I can pinpoint a single favourite book but I utterly loved The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Family, adventures, a dog, picnics, ginger beer... That was the life I wanted as a child and I loved every single things those four children got up to. Looking back at them as an adult, there's a lot of eye-opening and facepalming at what they were allowed to do, but then it was a different time, wasn't it?

I mean, a character called Dick has a completely different connotation nowadays!

Then again, it could be interesting, in the hands of a competent author, to see an updated 21st century version of Julian, Dick, Anne, George, Timmy & their adventures. Purely for curiosities sake.

But, really, nostalgia is where its at
taketimetoshine: (Stitched Heart)
Oh. Wow. Where to even start? I've already talked about so many writers that I love - CS Lewis, George Orwell, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Rachel Vincent, Suzanne Collins... there are so many amazing writers out there that trying to narrow it down is next to impossible.

But, since I have to narrow it down, I'm going to say Kelley Armstrong.

I read Bitten for the first time in my mid-teens and suddenly as well as having fantasy, there was this whole new world of urban fantasy - werewolves living in my world. And, as the series went on, not just werewolves but witches, sorcerers, necromancers, ghosts, shamans, demons and vampires... Strong and interesting lead female characters, amazing family groups - both blood and otherwise. I love the whole intricacy of the plots threaded through the individual novels and the linking of the series as a whole. I love the world she made and the characters that populate it.

And now, ignoring my to-read pile and my 101 Things In 1001 Days reading goals, I have this itching to start from Bitten and work my way through the whole universe again
Though, to be fair, there are a number of those goals that the series would fit under...
taketimetoshine: (Pink Flowers)
I have to admit, my gut reaction here would be Harry Potter. I would love to be a Witch and attend Hogwarts - although preferably in a time of peace. I'd rather have not been a student when Harry was there... think how interrupted my education would have been.

Imagine walking down Diagon Alley and buying school supplies. Catching the Hogwarts Express. Being sorted (preferably into Gryffindor, thank you). Meals in the Great Hall. Playing Quidditch. Learning Transfiguration, Defence Against Dark Arts, Charms, Potions, Astronomy, History Of Magic, Herbology, Arithmancy, Diviniation... The Forbidden Forest. Hogsmeade.

I think it would just be wonderful!
taketimetoshine: (Winter Warmth)
This is a really tough one to answer. It's hard to judge how much a book has been read by the public without looking at sales figures, and whichever book I choose is probably being read by many more people than I think! So, I’ve decided to just pick an author that I love, because you always want your favourite writers to be read more, right?

One author I love who I don't see mentioned anywhere near enough is Jim Butcher. He's probably best known for The Dresden Files - a series of contemporary fantasy/mystery novels about private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, who is the world's only "consulting wizard," accepting supernatural cases from both human and non-human clients, as well as the Chicago PD's Special Investigation unit. As the series progresses, Dresden takes on an increasingly important role in the supernatural world at large as he works to protect the general public, making it difficult for him to get by as a working wizard and private investigator. He finds himself facing off against an increasing variety of creatures (including other wizards), while facing the realization that his various cases may all be tied together behind the scenes and that his role might be even greater than he's willing to admit.

Butcher also writes a fantasy series called Codex Alera, the coming-of-age story of a young man named Tavi in the realm of Alera, an empire similar to Rome, on the world of Carna. Every Aleran has some degree of command over elemental forces or spirits called furies, save for Tavi, who is considered unusual for his lack of one. As the aging First Lord struggles to maintain his hold on a realm on the brink of civil war, Tavi must use all of his intelligence to save Alera

I haven't read it yet but he's also started a new Steampunk series called The Cinder Spires. The first book, The Aeronaut's Windlass, came out in September 2015.
taketimetoshine: (Stitched Heart)
Half-way through the meme and honestly, this was a lot harder than I imagine it would or could be. It's been interesting though, and it's got me blogging on a fairly regular basis so I'm pleased with how well it's working from that respect.

A thought provoking book? Hmmm....
"Big Brother Is Watching You..." It was chilling the first time I read those words and they seem to be more and more fitting as time goes on - much more so than they were in 1984, even more so than 1949.

The world created by Orwell is fascinating and so plausibly and realistically portrayed that I felt, not like I was reading a fictional novel, but a real, non-fiction account of what actually happened in 1984. That’s how believable Orwell’s writing was. I think what may have added to the depth of the dystopian world created in 1984, as opposed to other dystopians I have read, was that there was a solid political background and reasoning given for how things were the way they were.

I found it absolutely fascinating to contemplate some of the concepts of the 1984 world. Could it really be possible to keep a whole population docile by limiting their vocabulary, thus not giving them a means to express any disagreement or dissent? Could it really be possible to effectively wipe out everyone’s memory of the past by continually changing it to fit whatever version of events the government wished to tell? Would people actually accept this? Would they, or the majority at least, remain oblivious to what the government was doing?

This dystopian world that Orwell created is one of the most shocking I have read about, and it is made all the more terrifying by how realistically it is portrayed - and becoming.
taketimetoshine: (Have The Answer)
Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series.

It's almost cliche to say it but she reminded me a lot of me - plain looking, intelligent, hard-working, studious, bookish... I loved seeing a character with her conscience and compassion, her responsibility and her steadfast devotion to the rules. She was determined and focused and so strong, despite her insecurity and fear of failure. Yet, despite her confidence and her abilities, she was never arrogant and would always help her friends.

I would love to be as brave as her - even when she was scared and panicking she was still able to find the reserves to carry on, to win.

I could carry on for hours as to why I love Hermione, why I think she's an incredible female character and role model but I won't!
taketimetoshine: (Make Love Not War)
It doesn't matter how many times I read it, My Sister's Keeper makes me cry my heart out. We're talking full on ugly face crying, the hitching sobs, the whole works. It really moves me.

I'm a big fan of Jodi Piccoult, I have to say, and I enjoy the fact that she often deals with controversial but very much realistic storylines, and with the media hype surrounding genetic engineering and designer babies, this book was no different. I loved how it gave insight into the minds of people involved in such issues, from the parents of the sick child, and specifically that of the designer child, born with the knowledge that only they have the power to save their sibling, and the responsibility and heartache this brings.

My heart goes out to Anna, to Kate (who, for some reason I always want to call Becky), to their parents. It's absolutely heart wrenching - as well as disturbing and painful and completely engrossing. It's a very intense book that raises some interesting points about the ethics of the issues involved, in a realistic and empathetic setting and takes great pains to spell out that there's no right and easy solution to the situation
taketimetoshine: (Have The Answer)
A nice and depressing topic here. A book that disappointed me. It took me a while to think of one but I guess the answer really has to be The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

I read the blurb and was really intrigued.
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

Then I read the first page of this book and thought it would be a good read. The language was beautiful and the writer clearly has talent but... well, if you've read the blurb then you've basically read all you need to know about it!

All I wanted to know about was what happened to Phoebe. The chapters about her life were interesting but I would have liked to have seen more. Norah's life was so boring I didn't care about her, and nothing was resolved whilst David was alive, so what was the point of having them in the book? More could have been made of that side of the plot if David actually met his daughter and Norah found out whilst he was alive. Paul doesn't even get a voice until near the end of the book.

It really was a shame :(
taketimetoshine: (Believe In Love)
Animal Farm by George Orwell

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
I first read this in school and it didn't appeal to me in the slightest. World War II political satire featuring animals? Oh yeah, that was going to be so good.

Except that it really was. It was so worth the read, and the more times I've read it and the more I understand about the politics of the era, the more amazing it is.

It is such a simple political allegory to follow! However, the simplicity of the text is not to be criticized, because it actually highlights Orwell's genius! To be able to so concisely write about revolution (with particular reference to the Soviet revolution) and yet make it comprehensible to people of varying reading age/ability, backgrounds, and education is remarkable. This is a story with a point - a warning - about particular aspects of revolution, totalitarianism and fascism, and yet both a 10 year old and a 60 year old can get message through the same enjoyment. Like the book or not, it should be recognized for that great feat at least.

I did enjoy it, a lot. The accompanying appendixes were also interesting - an insight into what Orwell thought about the censorship of his novella at the early stages of publication, and about literary censorship in general - as well as an interesting personal foreword that Orwell wrote for editions for displaced Ukrainians living in camps in Germany.
taketimetoshine: (Believe In Love)
The Hobbit.

I first read it when I was a child, maybe 7 or 8 years old. I've read it pretty much every year since then so I've read it a good 20+ times.

I never get bored of it. I always always forget something, or discover something new, or rediscover something I thought I'd forgotten.

It's the book that made me fall in love with reading.
It's the book that made me fall in love with fantasy, that made me fall in love with magic, that made me fall in love with adventure
It's the book that made me realise what amazing and fantastical worlds could be found between the pages of a book.
It's the book that gave me awful night mares as a child
It's the book that makes me want to become a writer.

I really can't say anything less, and I have no doubt I will continue to re-read this every year until I'm dead

June 2016

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