Tag Archives: Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fictional Crushes

15 Mar

I am going to totally have fun with this one!

1. Aragorn II  – The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien

Anybody who is introduced into a work of fiction as Strider has got to have something good going for him. And he proves himself to be such a gentleman as well as a nobleman to the end, if a little rough around the edges at times.

2. Mr.Darcy – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

He is the character that I loved to hate, which just turned into love by the time I finished the book. Through his arrogance, superior attitude, and aloofness lies a genuine man, wanting to simply win the heart of the lady he loves, but being greatly misunderstood in the process.

3. Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding

Maybe this one has a lot to do with the portrayal of Mark Darcy by Colin Firth, but there is something about the quintessential Englishman that is so hard to resist.

4. Atticus Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The appeal of Atticus is in his character, and his moral standing – how he teaches his children, and his stand for what he believes in,and his refusal to back down from what he feels is most important to him.

5.Zorro – Created by Jonathan McCulley and serialised in pulp fiction

This may also have a lot to do with Antonio Banderas’ portrayal in the movie, but there is something incredibly attractive about a man who risks it all for what he believes in. It also doesn’t hurt to be good looking, fit, passionate, and a gentleman all rolled into one – it is hard not to have at least a little crush on Zorro.

6. Lestat de Lioncourt –  The Vampire Chronicles -Anne Rice

The original irresistible vampire. Intense, intelligent, sensual, yet vain, insecure, and evil ( he is a vampire after all), what’s not to love? Well, maybe the vampire part, but when he’s also six-foot tall and blonde, I can overlook that part!

7. Guy Montag – Farenheit 451  – Ray Bradbury

Mostly because he has the whole futuristic ‘fireman’ thing going on, even if in this dystopian society his main task is devoted to the burning of books.

8. Noah Calhoun – The Notebook -Nicholas Sparks

Who wouldn’t want a Noah in their life, loving and loyal through the years until the very end. Allie is one lucky woman to have found such a man, despite the many trials and tribulations of their love.

9. Westley  – The Princess Bride – William Golding

Described in the book as being quite a catch, I love a good-looking man in any story.

10.Trip Fontaine – The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides

Everyone needs a ridiculously good-looking, loping, kinda- hippy teenage crush, and Tripp Fontaine is mine.

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree….who??

10 Mar

By Nick HornbyI have finally finished this! It didn’t take me so long, it’s just that I found this to be so entertaining, I quite simply didn’t want to put it down! I had my reservations when I first picked this up – while I love Nick Hornby and was thoroughly engrossed by the genius of High Fidelity and the sweetness of About A Boy, I hadn’t known he could write so well, apart from fiction, let alone heard of the Polysyllabic Spree ( the odd-numbered, white-robed, often naked, board members of UK literary review magazine the Believer, who seem to really have it in for our boy Hornby – suspended writer, anyone?). What this book is is essentially a collection of the column articles that Hornby writes for the Believer from September 2003 to June 2006, reviewing the books he has read that particular month, as well as listing all books bought, those not read, and those abandoned in fits of rage and frustration ( and can’t we all relate to this one!).

Among these pages, I found many books to inspire my own reading journey – I even made a list of all the ones I am adding to the wishlist! ( Not added here otherwise we’d be here into next week!). Hornby’s commentary on what he has read has this effect – fast-paced, witty,downright funny ( I even found myself laughing out loud in places, and I NEVER do that!) , and sometimes you just don’t quite know whether he is being serious…or just pulling your leg ( I strongly suspect the latter). The books he loves, he LOVES, and the ones he doesn’t…well, he’s not allowed to mention by name ( Believer rules!), so we never find out which ones they are, though he does drop hints, in the hope he’ll give the game away! From reading biographies and writer’s collected letters ( Dylan Thomas, Anton Chekov, and Phillip Larkin to mention a few, along with an abandoned biography of George ‘ Dubya’ Bush – I don’t blame him ), to serious books such as Jonathan Lehman’s The Fortress of Solitude, True Notebooks byMark Salzman, What Good are the Arts by John Carey, and a lot of Charles Dickens and J.D Salinger, to his repeat reading of Quitting Smoking – The Lazy Person’s Guide!, there is much to be found between these pages ( he even has me convinced me I really, really need to read The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson’s paranormal-meets-military book on combating the War on Terror!) . But the highlight for me? Hornby and his take on the Motley Crue autobiography The Dirt . Uncoventional, unexpected, hilarious, and very rock and roll, read his review and weep. With tears of laughter.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books about books, willing to open their mind to some interesting book choices, by one hell of a reviewer who is thoroughly amusing, and will keep you entertained until the last page.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Dynamic Duos

8 Mar

Partners in crime, BBF’s, or power couples – here is my Top Ten!

1. Romeo Capulet and Mercutio – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Their ‘bromance’ lasted to the end, when Mercutio is unceremoniously slain by Tybalt and dies in Romeo’s arms.

2. Inigo Montoya and Fezzik – The Princess Bride by William Golding

An unusual pairing, they make for great partners in crime and adventure.

3.Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty – On the Road by Jack Kerouac

My favourite dynamic duo in one of my fave books ever, they traverse 1950’s America, living the epitome of the Beat movement.

4. Perry Smith and Richard Hickock- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

These partners in crime committed one of the most atrocious murders in Arkansas, Texas, and by writing about the murder of the Clutter family, Truman Capote spawned the famous non-fiction novel genre.

5. Raoul Duke and Dr Gonzo – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Driving to Las Vegas in a stupor of alcohol, drugs, and sheer dumb luck, this dynamic duo and partners in crime are unforgettable.

6. Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee – The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

As with Romeo and Mercutio, their ‘bromance’ also lasts the distance in a very different kind of way – through battles, adventure, and destroying that ring, their friendship remains strong despite all the adversity and trials it endures.

7. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley – HP series by J.K Rowling

Their friendship lasted through 7 series of books, and at the end of the last book, we are told, way into adult life as well. Like Froddo and Sam, these two were made for each other.

8. Mad Hatter and the March Hare – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Just as insane and delirious as the other, this dynamic duo suit each other to a T.

9. Mole and Ratty – The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

Possibly two of my fave literary characters, these two share a special connection, and have wonderful adventures together by the river bank, seeing the big wide world, and attempting to stop Toad from getting into trouble.

10. Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings – Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie

Captain Hastings is to Poirot who Watson is to Sherlock Holmes. While he did not feature heavily in the Agatha Christie books, it is obvious he and Poirot shared a special bond, with Hastings helping to solve many a case, and lending a hand when needed.

Another Month, Another Book or 4….and a magazine!

3 Mar

So, here is my reading list for the month of March. I admit I didn’t get to read all the books on my list for February – I’m still working my way through the Nick Hornby book The Complete Polysyllabic Spree ( which is an awesomely funny book about….books and reading – I’m so glad I stumbled across it!).  This month, while this list may be a little ambitious in the amount of books I am going to attempt ( for me anyway – I’m a sloooowww reader), I have chosen them according to how I am feeling today – inquisitive, thoughtful, in need of a little creative inspiration, and in the case of the last book, just plain curious!

1.  Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon – Melissa Anelli

I have chosen this book because of my love of the HP series, and even though I have read and re-read the series, I need to get another fix – and this book comes as close to a fix as I am going to get. Written by the woman – or ‘webmistress’ as the blurb describes her -of dedicated Potter website The Leaky Cauldron, and an intro by J.K Rowling herself, this promises to be a good read.

 

2. The Witch of Portobello – Paulo Coelho

Since reading Like The Flowing River last month, and finding a lot of inspiration between its pages, I am going to try and read at least one Coelho book per month. I love his work that much! And if I keep it up, I will have read his entire backlog of books by the end of the year – a bigger geek than me you will not find!

 

3. A Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami

I always wonder why I haven’t read more of his books – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of my favourite books ever, and After Dark kept me awake on one of my many long-haul flights around the globe. So I’ve added this one – the New Yorker describes it as both a detective novel and screwball comedy in same sentence, and when the character list on the back cover  includes a young girl with exquisite ears, a run-away friend, a right-wing politician, an ovine-obsessed professor, and ( the clincher for me) a manic-depressive in a sheep outfit, you could say I’m more than sold on the book.

4. Wondering If You’ll Ever Meet Him: A Revolutionary Approach For Putting The Date Back Into Dating – Ryan Browning Cassaday and Jessica Cassaday Ph.D

This will get read out of curiosity. Having already read such books as He’s Just Not Into You ( the movie was so much better! Thanks Bradley Cooper and Justin Long!), and Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus, and not really getting much out of either, I don’t know what I’m expecting. But I’m a single woman, so I figure  another book about dating can’t hurt. Not much anyway.

 

5. The lastest issue of Lonely Planet magazine!

Simply because I need to get my monthly fix of beautiful places to add to the wish-list!

 

 

 

Have any of you guys read any of these books? Any comments you’d like to share?

Top Ten Books I just HAD to buy….But are still sitting on my bookshelf

1 Mar

I am guilty of buying too many books that I fully intend to read at the time, but that always end up on the shelf. Here is a list of my Top Ten.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

The idea of the story interests me – the length puts me off. I just look at it, and it makes me want to put it straight back down again. Pretty illustrations though.

2. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

For the same reason as above. I would love to get past the fear of the length of it – I am no stranger to long and complex books when I have the time to read them ( Don’t start what you can’t finish! My brain screams at me ) but this one also evades me. Maybe it’s not the length. Maybe it’s the subject matter.  I was drawn to buy it by it’s iconic opening line ‘Call me Ishmael’ , which I think is one of the best opening lines in English literature, despite never having read past page one.

3. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

I bought this on recommendations from everyone and his dog. And can’t seem to get past the end of chapter one (which ends with a scene that totally killed whatever I thought the book had going for me, sorry!). One day I will read this just to say I read it, but for now, back to the shelf it goes.

4. Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind – Graham Hancock

I bought this because it looked so interesting, with it’s pretty cover, colour photographs of shamanic paintings, and it’s fascinating subject matter. Again, the length of it has stopped me ever reading it. I’ll take it down every once in a while, maybe one day I’ll get around to actually opening it and reading those first words, in the hope they will sweep me through it’s 800 odd pages swiftly and without ( too much) pain.

5. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

I guess I bought this just because it was sold shrink-wrapped in plastic, and I was asked for ID at the sales counter! I had every intention of reading it, until I randomly opened the book and read the scene where a poor dog gets both paws crushed by the main character. That was all I needed to read to put the book away for good.

6. The Fabric of the Cosmos – Brian Greene

The only reason I haven’t read this is because I sent my copy back home to Australia when I landed in the UK before I’d had a chance to read it! Quantam physics, cosmology, time, space, and the mysteries of the universe are a secret interest of  mine, so I have every intention of digging up a copy of this soon, along with his preceding work The Elegant Universe for a quick re-read. Fascinating.

7. The Second Sex – Simone De Beauvoir

I bought this in a market stall at the Waterlooplein Martket in Amsterdam, and was just excited to have found a book in English! I intended to start reading it on the (short) flight back to Scotland, but somehow never got around to it.

8. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

I recently read his Notes From A Big Country, and found him to be a thoroughly entertaining writer – it’s taken me so long to discover I actually like his work.

9. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

I am a BIG fan of Margaret Atwood. Her novel, The Blind Assassin blew me away the first time I read it years ago, and ever since then I have enjoyed everything she has ever written without complaint. So it was only natural I bought this, I have just never read it.

10. The Almost Moon – Alice Sebold

Like Margaret Atwood’s book, I have no idea why this is on my list or why I’ve never read it. The Lovely Bones is one of my favourite books, and her autobiographical book Lucky is an inspirational story which engrossed me so much I read it in one sitting. I’ll get around to this one, one day.

Top Ten Love Stories

16 Feb

Sorry this is a little late – it was written on Tuesday, but due to my internet connection dropping out last night, it has had to be a Wednesday-post-pretending-it’s-Tuesday post. Here are my Top Ten Love Stories, I hope I can be forgiven for making it Wednesday instead!

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mark Darcy captured my attention during high school English Literature. And though I struggled with the book then, subsequent readings were a lot more enjoyable, and ignited  my own literary love for the pair.  And when I watched the BBC mini-series, with Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, that love was cemented in more ways than one.

2. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

A bit of a cliche, but still the best and original story of ill-fated love ever told. Great, intense characters, and the tragic ending always moves me. I won’t write too much about this one, as I’m sure it will feature on nearly everybody’s lists!

3. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

Not the wholes series of course, cos that would be silly! But the romance between Hermoine Granger and Ron Weasley. The ‘tension’ between these two builds and culminates through out the Harry Potter series, and I was so relieved to find out that yes, they do end up together happily ever after in the last book.

4. The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The close relationship between Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee proves that ‘bro-mance’ was alive and kicking even way back then.

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary / The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy, a love story for the modern woman who has given up all hope of finding love, and when she goes, finds herself navigating a whole different set of issues which she’d never considered ( jealousy, anyone?) And I LOVE the movie adaptations, possibly even more than the books! A lot of that has to do with Mark Darcy, played again by the delectable Colin Firth ( he has managed to get two mentions in this blogpost!)

6. An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

This story is beautiful, centering around two musicians, Michael and the love of his life, Julia, who he lost and now whose love he is trying to reclaim, despite the fact she is now married and has a child. Other setbacks also abound to make the plot even more intense and dramatic. Told against the background of Schubert’s classical music compositions, it is a love story that pulled my heart strings in a way that not many novels do.

7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. I admit I didn’t immediately like this book when I first read it, but it has grown on me over the last few years, and I can now see it for what it is. It is tragic, like most literary love stories, but this one kills me when Catherine dies, leaving Heathcliff alone without ever realising their need to be a proper couple.

8.The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is one of my favorite books, and the love between Daisy and Gatsby I used to dream about back in high school. I always get annoyed at the fact Daisy married Tom Buchanan just because of his ‘old money’ wealth and status, and not because of her true feelings for Gatsby. I have heard they are making a movie out of the book – in 3D. Call me a cynic, but here’s to the death of another classic novel.

9. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The story of unrequited love between the beautiful and gifted Christine, and the mysterious,elusive , and at times, scary Erik, a.k.a the Phantom of the Opera. This was always doomed from the start, and was never going to work. Tragic to the very end.

10. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

This is one of those quirky romances tucked away between an even quirkier story you come across every once in while in those gems of classical novels. The Master is a tortured genius who pens a manuscript on the story of Christ and Pontus Pilate, and on the rejection of the novel, burns the manuscript and goes off the rails for while, so to speak. His faithful lover Margarita sticks by him and her belief in him, thus sparking a surreal and fantastic adventure for both her and her lover. Complete with Satan, a gun-toting demon cat, and a plethora of other colourful characters wrecking havoc in modern-day Russia, this is not an obvious love story, but one that I enjoyed nevertheless.

The Rose and The Bees

9 Feb

A rose dreamed day and night about bees, but no bee ever landed on her petals. The flower, however, continued to dream. During the long nights, she imagined a heaven full of bees, which flew down to bestow fond kisses on her. By doing this, she was able to last until the next day, when she opened again to the light of the sun.

One night, the moon, who knew of the rose’s loneliness, asked: Aren’t you tired of waiting?’ ‘

Possibly, but I have to keep trying’.

‘Why?’

‘Because if I don’t remain open, I will simply fade away’.

At times when loneliness seems to crush all beauty, the only way to resist is to remain open’

( From: Like the Flownig River by Paul Coelho)

(Photo : http://costelodc.wordpress.com/tag/black-and-white/)