29 Oct 2014

UPDATE: Top 14 Books That Must Be Read in 2014

I wrote this post way back in January outlining the books I decided I definitely had to read this year. I did my last update in July, so I thought it was time for another update. In July, I'd only three of the 14 books so let's see where I'm up to now!

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I finally finished the last two books off, and it was a great feeling. I can't even begin how great it was to finally move this onto my 'read' shelf.

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I still haven't read this one. To be honest, I haven't even thought about it since I did my last update. I still want to read it, but it's not on the top of my list.

3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I've read this one too - woo! I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good as I was expecting.

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
5. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
6. Legend by Marie Lu
I'd finished these three last time, so I won't go into detail about them.

7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I finished this one last week. It was just beautiful.

8. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
I haven't progressed any further with this since my last update. I'm still stuck on page 300 or so, but I will get it finished this year!

9. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
Still haven't picked this up...

10. The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier
Or this one :(

11. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I have, however, finished this one. I really liked it, and the movie too.

12. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I'm actually terrified to read this.

13. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
I still don't have a copy of this book, but I do have it on hold at the library. Hopefully I can get to it soon.

14. Paper Towns by John Green
Still haven't read anymore of this either.

So I've read seven of these books now, which I'm pretty happy with. I've just realised that I'm probably not going to make it through the other seven books by the end of the year but I'd be happy to get through just one or two more of these. I won't be doing another update on this list until the end of the year. I'll see you all next time!

27 Oct 2014

REVIEW: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Genre: Classic.
Publication Date: 1996 (first published 1963)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Format: Paperback
Pages: 234
Rating: 5/5

We follow Esther Greenwood's personal life from her summer job in New York with Ladies' Day magazine, back through her days at New England's largest school for women, and forward through her attempted suicide, her bad treatment at one asylum and her good treatment at another, to her final re-entry into the world like a used tyre: "patched, retreaded, and approved for the road" ... Esther Greenwood's account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing.

I don’t remember how I discovered The Bell Jar, but I know it’s been on my TBR for the longest time. I’ve checked it out from the library two times before and I always returned it unread for some reason. I don’t know why, but I do know that I regret that because I totally needed this book in my life.

I think it’s actually become one of my favourite books of all time, and definitely one of my favourite classics. There are so many reasons I love this book. Firstly, the writing – it’s just beautiful. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it’s amazing. Some of the ideas and events in this book are quite confronting at times, but the language is so beautiful that I didn’t feel like I was reading about such a heavy subject. I feel I should probably mention at this point, that this is my first experience of reading Sylvia Plath (and now I love her). Back to the heavy subjects- I think they were expressed really well in the book. I’m sure you’re all aware of Sylvia Plath’s own history of depression, so it makes sense that it was written so realistically.

Finally, I want to talk about Esther Greenwood – the narrator. The Bell Jar is semi-autobiographical, so it makes sense that Esther is quite realistic, but I found that I could connect to her a lot more than I anticipated. There are a few superficial similarities between us – we’re the same age, both writers etc. but there’s a deeper level to it to. Esther doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, and I was feeling the exact same way only a few months ago. She’s definitely not a role model for how to sort your life out or anything, but it’s a nice reminder that you’re never really alone- there’s always someone who feels the same way you do, even if she’s just a character in a novel.

Tell me your thoughts about The Bell Jar, if you’ve read it or suggest where I should go next with Sylvia’s works. If you haven’t read any Sylvia, you should definitely try her out.

Also, I decided to post this review today because it would have been Sylvia’s eighty-second birthday today. So Happy Birthday Sylvia!

25 Oct 2014

Author Facts About: John Green

  1. John Green has a stable of unicorns he feeds with goldnuggets he pulls out of the ground like carrots.
  2. John Green doesn’t sleep.
  3. John Green has never had to deal with ads while watching web videos. He squints his eyes when they start and they immediately turn themselves off.
  4. Kryptonite is actually John Green.
  5. An intergalactic treaty was signed by the leaders of all the major galaxies agreeing to leave Earth alone as long as John Green is alive. Little do they know, he’ll live forever.
  6. John Green knows who shot Tupac and Biggie Smalls. He made sure justice was served.
  7. One drop of John Green’s blood makes any wish come true. Too bad he’s never bled.
  8. The original title of Interview with a Vampire was Interview with John Green, before Anne Rice got scared and claimed the biography was a fictional novel.
  9. Mosquitos hide from John Green.
  10. The human brain is 75% water. John Green’s brain is 75% jet fuel.
  11. The day John Green was born, his doctor retired, stating that his career had reached its pinnacle achievement.
  12. The three most spoken English phrases are “Hello,” “Stop,” and “John Green Saved Us!”
  13. In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born near John Green.
  14. Dueling is legal in the United States as long as one of the parties is John Green.
  15. It is biologically impossible for a rose to smell better than John Green.
  16. John Green can live for three years without eating. And then all he needs is one rasher of bacon.
  17. NASA uses videos of John Green doing push-ups as part of its training program.
  18. It’s not impossible for John Green to lick his elbow. He does it all the time.
  19. Michael Jackson learned how to do the moon walk from John Green after seeing him at a party.
  20. John Green’s bones are stronger than concrete. Heavier, too.
  21. John Green karate chops a block of word to create 7.5 million toothpicks whenever he’s running low.
  22. A strand of John Green’s hair is one of the ingredients in dynamite.
  23. Mice have a phobia of John Green.
  24. In every episode of Seinfeld there is a picture of John Green somewhere.
  25. Everyone but John Green lives about 80 milliseconds in the past, because that’s how long it takes our brains to process information. John Green lives in the future.
  26. Over 30% of Twitter accounts are fake accounts created by the FBI and CIA to spy on John Green and monitor his social networking activity.


24 Oct 2014

UPDATE: A Break from Blogging

I'm sure most of you know by now that Chami is doing her final year of school. Her exams are about to start, so naturally she's not going to be active around here.

There will be a few of you who will already know this (and I couldn't have made it through this past week without you), but I lost my beautiful mum to cancer yesterday. As you can probably guess, I'm not really feeling up to blogging right now.

I don't know how long this break is going to be for, but I've been looking into get some people to do a few guest posts so that this blog isn't completely inactive so we'll see how that turns out. There are already a few posts scheduled, so I hope you enjoy them.

Thank you.

23 Oct 2014

Cover Comparison - Great Expectations

Welcome back yet again for another installment of Cover Comparisons! If you haven't seen one of these before, Cover Comparisons is a (sort of) monthly post that my wonderful friend, Ebony of Daring Damsels and I do, in which we pick out a bunch of different covers of a certain book and then compare them. Today, we're looking at Great Expectations by Charles Dickens here and Melina Marchetta covers over on Ebony's blog. If you'd like to see the other ones we've done, then you click here to see Jane Eyre, The Diviners, John Green and Wuthering Heights. Now, onto those covers!

Ebony: I just love these editions! I really, really adore this one in particular. I think the colours work well together, and that they suit the story. However, it wasn’t until I saw it in real life that I fell in love with it - the internet just doesn’t give it justice.
Ely: I actually really like this one. I like the colours and just the design in general. I’m sure the pages are absolutely beautiful too.

Ebony: For a people cover, this isn’t too bad. However, it’s certainly not a cover I’d pick up in a bookstore...the lady looks quite awkward. As does the man, come to think of it.
Ely: I love this adaptation- it’s definitely my favourite out of the ones I’ve seen. This cover, however, is terrible. It just looks weird – I don’t even know where to begin.

Ebony: I usually like these editions, however this one I do not. I’m just not a fan of those two shades together. However, it may look better in the flesh… 
Ely: I don’t really like these editions at all. I know some people love them, but they just aren’t my thing. Plus, this is so bright for such a gloomy novel. 

Ebony: Oh - this is one of my favourites of these editions! The navy/dark blue with the white chandelier pattern - I just love it. It may even be my favourite edition that we’re comparing today… 
Ely: This is probably my favourite one out of all of them. I love the shade of blue – it’s a little bit reminiscent of the TARDIS, and I think the contrast of the white is amazing.  

Ebony: I quite like the simplicity of this cover. It just doesn’t look like a book cover though… 
Ely: Originally, I liked the simplicity of this cover but now that I’ve looked at it a couple of times I’ve decided that I just don’t like it. 

Ebony: I like the concept of these covers, but I can’t get behind the colours used for this one.   
Ely: What is with those colours? I swear sometimes they pick out the weirdest colours for classic books. 

Ebony: This is nice, but I’d prefer more of the darker blue than the lighter blue. 
Ely: I do love this one too. What can I say? I like blue covers. Plus, it’s just so simple yet beautiful at the same time.

Ebony: Ooh, I really like this one! I don’t feel as though it suits the story however.  
Ely: I don’t completely hate the design of this one- I like what they’re going for and it makes sense with the story. Not so fond of the text though.

Ebony: This is the edition I own, and I really don’t like it. Just no.  
Ely: Nope. Nope.

Ebony: Um. Okay. I don’t like this cover. It looks as though it’s about Greek mythology or philosophy or something similar.  
Ely: I get that the drawing is probably supposed to be Miss Havisham, but it just looks weird.  

Ebony: I know lots of people love these editions - I think they’re okay. This is perhaps my most favourite though. I don’t know why, I just love it.  
Ely: Is there something about Great Expectations that just screams BLUE to cover designers? Okay, so I quite like this one personally. The illustration is kind of exactly how I picture Pip to look.

Ebony: Just no.  
Ely: So I understand the thinking behind this cover, but it’s nothing great. It doesn’t draw me in at all.

Ebony: Overall, my favourite is definitely the clothbound. Followed closely by the Barnes and Noble edition and the English library edition.
Ely: I can’t really pick a top favourite, but I love the Clothbound, English Library and Splinter editions slightly more than the others…I think.

Thanks Ebony for being so patient with me even though it took me forever to get this post organised!