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Showing posts from June, 2014

Homemade Heart-Shaped Bookmarks

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I have always adored these heart-shaped bookmarks, so last night I made a bunch.
The last time I made bookmarks was a few years ago and these hearts are nowhere near as cute. But they are impossibly easy to make - just glue the top half of small heart on a larger heart for the first. Or - you can paste the top half of a cut out of a heart on a same sized heart to get the golden one. Quick and useful. The golden one will highlight your page number or title! The other one, well, it'll make even Marlowe seem cheerful and that's saying something!

Do you have any DIY bookmark ideas? I could use a little something-to-do.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (which, incidentally, J. K. Rowling loved) is a re-imagining of the Trojan war from the point of view of Patroclus, whose minor appearance in the Iliad has the greatest consequences. (If you don't know what I'm talking about stop reading when I say, "Spoiler!")
Overall impression: I'd rate this booka 3.5 / 5. It's an engaging read, recommended to those interested in Greek or Trojan mythology. That being said, there are countless interpretations of the Iliad, and it may be unfair to expect it to do something that hasn't been done before. It's not a retelling. It rarely strays from the original, but will be a good introduction to the myth. 
Summary: As a young boy, Patroclus is one of the princes present at the time when the beautiful Helen chooses to marry the red-haired Menelaus. Along with the other warrior men, Patroclus takes the oath, proposed by Odysseus, to honour Helen's choice and defend her husband a…

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

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Reminiscent of: The Gold Bug by Edgar Allan Poe, The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
We learn of great things by little experiences. The history of ages is but an indefinite repetition of the history of hours. The record of a soul is but a multiple of the story of a moment. The Recording Angel writes in the Great Book in no rainbow tints; his pen is dipped in no colours but light and darkness. For the eye of infinite wisdom there is no need of shading. All things, all thoughts, all emotions, all experiences, all doubts and hopes and fears, all intentions, all wishes seen down to the lower strata of their concrete and multitudinous elements, are finally resolved into direct opposites.
Summary: Malcolm Ross, a young barrister, is summoned by his lady friend Margaret Trelawney, when someone attempts to murder her father. Mr. Trelawney is an Egyptologist, and his house is filled with curios, from gruesome sarcophagi and mummies to ornate trinkets. 

Top Ten Books On My Summer (sort of) TBR List

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This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic requires a little revising around here. I should call it Top Ten Books On My Monsoon TBR List, because summer is finally dwindling to that much awaited end. When it stops being so excruciatingly hot and at last rains, I'd cuddle with a blanket and a cuppa, and spend my time reading:
Books I've bought recently, but haven't got around to reading:

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - The book is apparently about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. I'm a sucker for Troy retellings. When I read that Rowling recommended the book, I had to buy it!

2. Farthing by Jo Walton - After I read Tooth and Claw by Walton, I was recommended this, and I jumped at the chance of reading an alternate history novel.

3. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett - I have loved the Moist von Lipwig books so far (Going Postal and Making Money) and can't wait to read about the new trains in Discworld.

Classics that would make the perfect rainy …

John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore by Angela Carter (from American Ghosts and Old World Wonders)

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When I discovered that Delia at Postcards from Asia and Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat were hosting the Angela Carter Week from 8th to 15th June, I immediately signed up.
Then I skipped off to Wikipedia and saw, alongside that interesting picture, that she was an English writer known for her feminism, magical realism and picaresque writing. I later also came across an interesting interview of A. S. Byatt, in which she describes her first meeting with Carter, with whom she became great friends, and admits:
"...About five years ago she (Angela Carter) said that she had realized that she was a writer because of fairy tales, because she was hooked on narrative as a child, not by realist novels about social behavior or how to be a good girl, but by these very primitive stories that go I think a lot deeper. It wasn't until she said it that I felt empowered..."
American Ghosts and Old World Wonders by Angela Carter is a stylish book, a little slow but avant-garde. I've r…

Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night by Shelly Lowenkopf

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About the book: Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night brings a number of Shelly Lowenkopf’s previously published short stories together in a single volume. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they’ve burned out in San Francisco and L.A. Yet there’s no safe haven anywhere. Interwoven into Santa Barbara’s picturesque setting, the people in these twelve stories reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another
My thoughts: Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night will make you appreciate short stories. I've only been reading collections and anthologies for a few years now, but this will definitely make it to my top favourites. Only the other day I read this blog post about Hemingway's iceberg theory, and it sort of applies to Shelly Lowenkopf's writing: …

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.

You know, I'd decided to stay away from horror and the resolve seems to have lasted barely two months and about twelve books. I suppose Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier isn't horror in the strictest sense, it's a mystery and a romance; but it is ruthless, daring, packed with haunting emotion and brutally honest; which makes it everything I wished to avoid about horror and am glad I didn't.
Summary: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." This is definitely one of the most iconic book beginnings ever. Right from the very first words, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier maintains an engrossing style. The book begins with our narrator giving us glimpses of her life in the present in a hotel, with her h…