Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mini Reviews (4)

Mini Reviews

The Horologicon - Mark Forsyth.
I am absolutely full of adoration for this book- the wordy-ness of it, the wittiness of it and the joy I had whilst reading are all things I still am filled with happiness when thinking about. Do not be deterred because you think this is a book about words and that's not really something you're interested in, because this is an absolutely incredible book; it gives suggestions on how your day might be playing out, as it is chaptered for every hour, starting at the hour before dawn and ending the hour before the hour before dawn (if I remember correctly) and though my day is vastly different from that of spending your last hour at work deciding that, seeing as you haven't done anything worthwhile yet, why start when it's almost over, I enjoyed it all the more for the difference. The words I learnt, and will continue to learn as I pull out the book on any and all ocassions to find the perfect word, are extraordinary and I end with this- Bumbershoot.
Rating: Big expolsion MIND BLOWN.
There are words for almost every situation and many I am confident (and hope) that I will never find myself in- it reads like an incredibly amusing story and narrates a life I wonder just how many people, other than the virtually self confessed author himself, truly live. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

The Etymologicon - Mark Forsyth.
Published by Allen and Unwin Australia. (Thank you for this review copy!)
I'm currently reading the Etymologicon and decided to write my review whilst I still am reading it, instead of waiting until I've finished, because I'm having a unique experience whilst reading it.
This is the first book in the 'wordy series' and it's the second one I decided to read- after the sucess I found with my massive enjoyment of The Horologicon I couldn't not want to read this, also- and I'm finding it... difficult. There is no lack of the wit I loved so much in The Horologicon, I've already gracefully snorted to myself whilst reading at least once, but I've been reading this for well over a month and am still an embarrassingly short way through. Like, I'm not even 100 pages through. I definitely am finding it more difficult due to the lack of definite chapters- whereas with the other book I elected to read at least 1 chapter a day, the 'chapters' in this are 1-4 pages long and end on a half page, and so I haven't been able to let myself settle into the flow, because it feels like it keeps getting interrupted. And yet, if I only read one section a day it stops the flow even more dramatically, because each section leads into the next. So I'm at a stallmate, and that makes me sad.
Rating: Hmm...
I will not give up, but I don't know if I'm eventually going to settle into the rhythm or of I'll have to pull myself along uncomfortably and never really become attuned to it. I hope I do find a way to better emerse myself, but even if I don't I won't be giving up. The Horologicon has given me endless hope and I know it's going to be worth it, one way or another, even if it's not so clear at the moment. Those are your words of wisdom for the day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Get to know a blogger {6} Delaney from The Awkward-ness.

{Get to know a blogger is a new feature I'm hosting on my blog during 2013- every fortnight, if I can, I will be posting a Q&A with a blogger, and together we can get to know just a little of the awesomeness that surrounds those in the blogging community. I think it's going to be fun.}

This week I'm featuring Delaney from The Awkward-ness.

*Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
I'mmm....awkward. C:

*Describe your blog in 5 words.
AFDALKJFSLAKAFDLJAS (translation: totally awkwardly nerdy!)

*Has blogging changed anything about you?
Of course it has! It has changed how I look at books, how I read books, how I smell books, and how I LOOK at books. It's all very strange stuff. 

*Please describe the awesomeness of blogging in three words. (Hyphen’s may be used to cheat.)
(why you only let 3 words TT___TT) Little/big-community, awesome-ness-spilled-everywhere, da-yes. 

*What author/book/both have you found since you started to blog, that you can’t get enough of?
O___O I'm a freelancing reader for a reason. 

*What is one thing that people might not know about you?
*scratches head* Last year in 7th grade, being in Drumline changed me. 

*What is the first book you truly loved. Like Darcy and Lizzie LOVE.
I'll have to say Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (GO READ IT PEOPLE!) because when I finished that book, I adored it. And I feel like it's a book i've loved for so long (still do). <3333 (Oh and Howl's Moving Castle, Speechless too, and Notes from an Accidental Band Geek, don't care how much it's a mid-grade, it's so much fun to read; Just Listen, mmm, maybe more)

*What fictional character do you think most resembles you?
Francesca in Saving Francesca. ^^ Read the book. 

Delaney, thanks for answering my questions! (She has a super, super fun blog, which I recommend you all check out immediately.)

Follow Delaney (everywhere)-

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Books for when you're... (8)

Each fortnight I will showcase 1-2 books that I think would be fantastic reading if you're going through a  certian emotion/stage in your life.

Books for when you want a character with a hobby that they LOVE.
This week I'm posting four books instead of the regular 1-2 with the ocassional 3d, but I'm giving vastly shorter wordage on why they're chosen so I think it's okay.
I always love it when you start to read a book and then you find out that one of the characters has a hobby and they're passionate about it and then you end up being able to connect with them so much better for it. Here are four of my favourites- a special mention goes to Sam in Life in Outer Space, for script writing, but I couldn't fit another book in.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Why I chose this book:
Well it's a not a hobby in the theme of the others, but Hazel loves to watch America's Next Top Model and mentions of it are dotted throughout the book- one of the models not making it through, watching hours of the taped programme- and it's quite an important part of the story for me. I wasn't quite sure how it fit, initially, but now I don't think I could have the book without it- Hazel is passionate about it, and I love that.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Why I chose this book:
Kami Glass has showed up in so many of these recently- she's so cool that it's no wonder! Kami's passion is Reporting, and she starts a school newspaper, bringing in her friends to help with different sections, as a way to use her passion. It is a massive part of the book and the very first pages start with her reading some of her work- it immediately captured by attention and I adored the fact that she would stop at very little to get the story.

Why I chose this book:
Gerald Durrel is passionate about animals, and it's something he never 'grew out of' as his family hoped he would- the "& Other Animals" part of the title is refrencing all the amazing expeditions he goes on and I really enjoy reading about the animals he finds, and often catches. Also the fact that he calls his family animals in the title is the best of bests. 

All This Could End by Steph Bowe.
Why I chose this book:
I chose this book mainly because of Spencer, but perhaps a little because of Nina, too- Nina's hobby, the thing she does so she doesn't have to think about robbing banks, is collect what she calls "pointless trivia" and she only names a few pieces of trivia throughout the book but it is the best pointless trivia I have ever heard. Spencer loves forgotten words, as I mentioned in my review (LINK REVIEW), and that's a hobby/passion that I share and there are some really beautiful ones that are shared throughout the book.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mini Reviews (3)

Mini Reviews.

Your Skirt's Too Short - Emily Maguire.
I really enjoyed the first half of this, it went in to some really interesting factors and points about the way women are perceived and the fact that you don't have to do certain things or act a certain way to have the rights to the same choices as anyone else, male or female, and it made lots of thought provoking points; I found it easy to go into and was immediately held by the writing and points made, but, unfortunately, at the halfway mark the points made felt like they were for a different audience- it's mentioned that mostly mid-aged teenagers will be reading it, but the detail that was gone into was not, in my mind, for teenagers- it felt as if it was written for a fairly universal age group to begin with and then just went off to a recommended adults-only area and I didn't find myself connecting with the points made any more. I ended up skipping over the majority of the second half, and strangely I found that another person on goodreads makes exactly the same point. Interesting...
Rating: Hmm...
I was really enjoying it but then it got, for me, overly detailed on some unpleasant procedures and subjects- the transition was unexpected and the writing + subject felt like they changed and I no longer felt I could connect, unfortunately.

The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery.
Published by Wordsworth Classics.
I read The Little Prince in two days, and when I began it I believed I would finish it off in a day and it would be very quick, so when it took me a little longer I was faintly annoyed, until I continued to read and I realised that I didn't want to finish. I didn't want to read it in one day or in two days or in two weeks- I wanted to be able to read the story for as long as I possibly could, but at the same time I needed to finish it, I needed to know that happened and I loved every moment of it.
I had heard quite a lot about the book, but had never read it myself, so I bought a copy of the French edition and later the English, and I truly wish it was a book I read as a child because I think it would have affected me greatly.
It is a brief story, but I felt like it never lacked in detail or emotion, and there is a lingering feeling of wishing one could read it again afresh, and the knowledge that it will be a forever favourite.
Rating- Big Expolosion MIND BLOWN.
I was blown away by how incredible this was, touching me so much more than I could ever have imagined and immediately becoming a prominent favourite.
Tears and feels, basically.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wildlife by Fiona Wood...

Title- Wildlife.
Author- Fiona Wood.
Publish date- June 2013.
Publisher- Pan Macmillan Australia.


What I thought:
Wildlife has been recommended for fans of John Green, and books that are recommended to "readers who like/love/enjoy" a certain book/author always make me a little scared, because if that is an author I really appreciate/love's work then I don't want to already be comparing this new book to that, because how can any book level up with one of your favourites in all the ways you might hope?
It's happened a few times and has never resulted in anything excellent, but I am incredibly pleased (and a little surprised- this is John Green after all, one of my all time favourite writers and also someone whom I admire greatly) to say that Wildlife, if it didn't quite meet the John Green level of excellent, was very enjoyable.

I'll quickly go over the main things I didn't like-
1. I'm not a fan of the cover- it suits the storyline well and I can only assume it's supposed to be Sibylla and Lou which would be fine except they never are mentioned as sitting down together like this, which seems like a small thing but it bugged me so much. Also they are surrounded by trees whilst camping, so that is also something I don't like. It just didn't click with me and if I saw it in a store I would most likely not be interested.

2. The synopsis- both online and on the back of the book. It is perfectly accurate in it'sway, but I just really do not like the way it is presented. It sounds a little like the character of Sibylla is going to be whiney and that the whole thing is "typical youth", of which neither are really true.

3. It being recommended to fans of John Green- I just wish books were recommended to people who enjoy specific things and not matched against someone else's writing style, particularly when that person has had major sucess. A peeve, I guess.

4. Holly- oh my! I know she was crucial to the storyline (Sibylla's best friend) but she was so horrible and it just sickened me to read about her. Never have I wanted to slap someone so hard as I did her- and Sibylla, too, for putting up with her so readily.

Now, the rest-

The characters
Sibylla is interesting; she's never been interested in joining, or noticed by, the popular group, but that all changes when she models for a billboard and becomes a magnet for all of the attention. Instead of embracing her choice to do the modelling for the excellent money and ignoring all the falsities that come with it, she finds herself with a boyfriend- the boy she's been in love with for years- and ends up gravitating towards all that she has never really desired. 
She complains about the billboard, not liking the attention it brings her but neither rebuking that attention and she does damage to friendships blindly, but most of the time I felt that she was a quite nice character. She's written honestly and her thoughts, for the most part, and true and sweet and she is kind. But she can also be blind.

Lou is the other main character, part of a switching POV, and she I liked a lot more- she is written very differently, and I enjoyed that difference; she isn't interested in joining in or letting people know about her past, but when she does let someone in she showed a new side of her, and though she is a difficult character with a view on grief that has been seen before, she bought a fresh angle to the story. She has some beautiful dialouge and monolouge and also a lot of brilliant one-liners.

The storyline- is fairly simple and enjoyable; told clearly and with a appreciated lack of confusion. Unfortunately towards the end there were a few plot twists that I thought could have been incorporated differently instead of being almost thrown in- the twists themselves worked well, but the way they were introduced felt rushed and I didn't feel it made the plot flow very well.

The setting- of spending a term in the bushlands of Australia isn't one I thought too much about beforehand, but now am surprised I took to so well- there was a (for me, glorious) lack of australian slang, something that would have really put me off, and all the walking and talk of gross instant camp food and campfires and sleeping bags really made me desirous of a few days trekking through bushland, which, let me tell you, has never been something I've been overly keen on. It's also something I haven't done in years and I never imagined a book could make me want to take the activity up again. It's incredible and scary.

This novel is... sweet. It's got moments of stupidity between characters and mistakes are made and people are awful in it (really it's mostly Holly) and they are confusing and don't say what they mean all of the time, but it is... searching for a word I find heartfelt. It is surprising and honest and heartfelt.

Rating: Excellent-
I wouldn't recommend it to people who like John Green and I'm not going to say it's the best book I've ever read and that it's going to change the world (it seems hard to imagine that there will ever be such a book) but I would recommend it to people who want to read about, as the best part of the cover tells us, characters who loose themselves and find themselves. The new selves are undoubtably different and there isn't a lack of mistakes made, but for that it's... real.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for this review copy!