Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list took me hours. I wanted to include the quotes where the characters talk about books, and I kept getting distracted and reading past them and then to the end of the chapter before I noticed.

Mattie Gokey in A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

My head felt giddy and light, like the time Minnie and I filched brand from her father’s cupboard. Only this time it wasn’t alcohol I’d had too much of. It was books. I should have stopped after Zola and Hardy, but I hadn’t. I’d gone right on like a greedy pig to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Songs of Innocence by William Blake, and A Distant Music by Emily Baxter.

Cath Avery in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“How many people do this?”

“Write Simon-slash-Baz? Or write Simon Snow fanfiction?”

“Write fanfiction.”

“God, I don’t know. Thousands and thousands.”

“So, if you didn’t want the books to be over, you could just keep reading Simon Snow stories online forever…”

“Exactly,” said Cath earnestly. She’d thought Levi must be judging her, but he got it. “If you fall in love with  the World of Mages, you can just keep living there.”

“I wouldn’t call that living,” Regan said.

“It was a metaphor,” Levi said gently.

Tessa Gray in Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

“I’m not sure a book has ever changed me,” said Will. “Well there is one volume that promises to teach one how to turn oneself into an entire flock of sheep-”

“Only the very weak minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry,” said Tessa, determined not to let him run wildly off with the conversation.

“Of course, why one would want to be an entire flock of sheep is another matter entirely,” Will finished. “Is there something you want to read here, Miss Gray, or is there not? Name it, and I shall attempt to free it from its prison for you.”

“Do you think the library has The Wide, Wide World? Or Little Women?”

“Never heard of either of them,” said Will. “We haven’t many novels.”

“Well, I want novels,” said Tessa. “Or poetry. Books are for reading, not for turning oneself into livestock.”

Juliette Ferrars in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I spent my life folded between the pages of books.

In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

Meggie Folchart in Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

He was probably right, but there was another reason why Meggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarrelled with her, clever, powerful friends — daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored while Mo cut leather and fabric to the right size, and re-stitched old pages that over countless years had grown fragile from the many fingers leafing through them.

Marie-Laure LeBlanc in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure reads Jules Verne in the key pound, on the toilet, in the corridors; she reads on the benches of the Grand Gallery and out along the hundred gravel paths of the gardens. She reads the first half of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea so many times, she practically memorizes it.

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the globe . . . The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it. It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.

At night, in her bed, she rides in the belly of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, below the gales, while canopies of coral drift overhead.

Rose Casson in Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

I cannot read Morte D’Arthur and never could: the bits I knew about had been read to me by Indigo. Still, I had to do something to pass the long long stretch of morning before it was time to go Christmas tree shopping. So I picked up The Once and Future King and found the first page.

Kay was there, and Arthur and Sir Ector. They were talking and I could hear. It was like walking into a strange room and finding it unexpectedly full of your friends.

It was hours later when I put that book down again, and the drumming had stopped and the telephone was ringing and my brain had the sort of dazed feeling you get when you wake from a very vivid dream.

So that’s what they were talking about, Saffy and Sarah, and Kiran and Molly and Miss Farley and Daddy and Indigo and Sarah’s parents and even the Unloveable Mr Spencer.

Reading!

Gilbert Norrell in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

“I have his book here.” Mr Norrell stood up and fetched it from the shelves. But he did not give it to Strange straightaway.

After a short silence Strange said, “You advise me to read this book?”

“Yes, indeed. I think you should read it,” said Mr Norrell.

Strange waited, but Norrell continued to gaze at the book in his hand as though he were entirely at a loss as to how to proceed. “Then you must give it to me, sir,” said Strange gently.

“Yes, indeed,” said Mr Norrell. He approached Strange cautiously and held the book out for several moments, before suddenly tipping it up and off into Strangc’s hand with an odd gesture, as though it was not a book at all, but a small bird which clung to him and would on no account go to any one else, so that he was obliged to trick it into leaving his hand. He was so intent upon this manoeuvre that fortunately he did not look up at Strange who was trying not to laugh.

Mr Norrell remained a moment, looking wistfully at his book in another magician’s hand.

But once he had parted with one book the painful part of his ordeal seemed to be over. Half an hour later he recommended another book to Strange and went and got it with scarcely any fuss. By midday he was pointing out books on the shelves to Strange and allowing him to fetch them down for himself. By the end of the day Mr Norrell had given Strange a quite extraordinary number of books to read, and said that he expected him to have read them by the end of the week.

Samwell Tarly in A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Samwell Tarly sat hunched over a table in a niche carved into the stone of the wall. The glow came from the lamp hung over his head. He looked up at the sound of Jon’s steps.

“Have you been here all night?”

“Have I?” Sam looked startled.

“You didn’t break your fast with us, and your bed hadn’t been slept in.” Rast suggested that maybe Sam had deserted, but Jon never believed it. Desertion required its own sort of courage, and Sam had little enough of that.

“Is it morning? Down here there’s no way to know.”

“Sam, you’re a sweet fool,” Jon said. “You’ll miss that bed when we’re sleeping on the cold hard ground, I promise you.”

Sam yawned. “Maester Aemon sent me to find maps for the Lord Commander. I never thought . . . Jon, the books, have you ever seen their like? There are thousands!”

Henry DeTamble in The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (There’s another quote I wanted to put here, but it was far too spoilery, so I chose this one instead, although it’s not as good.)

I find coffee in the fridge, and find the coffee maker, and start the coffee. While I wait for it to brew, I peruse Henry’s bookshelves. 

Here is the Henry I know. Donne’s Elegies and Songs and SonnetsDoctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe. Naked Lunch. Anne Bradstreet, Immanuel Kant. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and ExperienceWinnie the Pooh. The Annotated Alice. Heidigger. Rilke. Tristram Shandy. Wisconsin Death Trip. Aristotle. Bishop Berkeley. Andrew Marvell. Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries.

I hope that wasn’t too many long quotes. I don’t like cutting people off when they’re talking about books!

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Top Ten Recently Acquired Books | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Recently Acquired Books | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I learnt two things compiling this week’s list. Firstly, my book buying ban is going really well (for me): to get to the book I bought ten purchases ago I had to go all the way back to 3rd May. Secondly, I’ve been reading books shortly after buying them lately. This is sort of a good thing, but at the same time, there are 30 or so books in my tbr pile that have been gathering dust for six months or longer now, and I feel guilty about them. So, let’s get into the list. I’ll start with the most recent acquisition.

titan's curse

S

readyplayerone

theelementsofeloquence

18630542

strange

allthelight

saga

seaofmonsters

messenger

Bookish Bingo: Ready For Spring | Wrap-Up

Bookish Bingo: Ready For Spring | Wrap-Up

bookish bingo aprjun complete

My first ever bookish bingo card went pretty well, I thought! This was the card for April, May and June. It was originally posted on Great Imaginations, but hosting has now moved over to Pretty Deadly. I’ll list the qualifying books I read below. I’ve been pretty terrible at reviews lately, so if you’d like to know what I thought of any of these, or which I would recommend, just leave me a comment. I have many opinions and I like to share them!

Forgotten Friday Pick – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Aussie Author – Sabriel by Garth Nix
Reread – A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Classic – Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Yellow Cover – A Study in Sherlock edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
April, May, June Release – The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
High Fantasy – Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Parental Relations – King Lear by William Shakespeare
Bullying – Wonder by R. J. Palacio
WWII – All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Horror – Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Thieves, Assassins, Pirates – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Parallel Universes – A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Green Cover – Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
#weneeddiversebooks – Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
Illustrated Cover – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Part of a Trilogy – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Nonfiction or Memoir – The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth

All The Light We Cannot See | Review

All The Light We Cannot See | Review

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goodreads ~ buy it

Plot
In 1934, a six year-old French girl goes blind. A seven year-old German orphan boy pulls his sister in a wagon to see the mines where their father died. In 1940 her father carries her out of Paris, and he answers exam papers: “Where was your grandfather born? What color are your father’s eyes? Has your mother ever worked in an office?”. In 1944 she huddles under her bed. Five blocks away, he stumbles into a dark cellar. Both of them are fiercely intelligent, but neither of them know how to stop the war from dragging them into the dark.

Style & Pacing
The story moves around in time, but in a way that is easy to follow. One thread begins in 1934 and move forwards from there, the other charts the events of a few days in August, 1944. Eventually the two meet, and then we are given a few brief insights into the later lives of the major characters. The plot moves slowly, but it doesn’t stagnate. Things happen slowly because Doerr describes them in great detail, letting us get to know the characters and understand them, allowing us to see them grow.

Characters
It came as a surprise to me, but by the end of the book, my favourite character was Werner. He doesn’t always make the right choices, but he isn’t evil: he knows things are wrong, but he doesn’t know how to fight his whole country. He wants to be a scientist, but he doesn’t want to think about the results of his work. I liked Marie-Laure a lot too, but she doesn’t develop as much, and she’s just a little too perfect. Easy to empathise with, but not as fascinating. Of the side characters, my favourites were Frau Elena and Madame Manec, the latter especially. Without her refusal to give in, Marie-Laure certainly would have.

Writing
This is probably the strongest element of this novel. The language is elegant and fluid. Doerr uses the beauty of his language to make the horror more shocking. Death described carefully and poetically forces the brain to picture everything in precise detail. The writing is also powerful in the parts of the book which discuss science and the natural world, as well as when letting us understand how Marie-Laure experiences a world she cannot see.

Quotes
“Artillery has stopped for a moment, and the predawn fires within the walls take on a steady middle life, an adulthood. The western edge of the city has become a holocaust of crimson and carmine from which rise multiple towers of smoke. The largest has curdled into a pillar like the cloud of tephra and ash and steam that billows atop an erupting volcano. From afar, the smoke appears strangely solid, as though carved from luminous wood. All along its perimeter, sparks rise and ash falls and administrative documents flutter: utility plans, purchase orders, tax records.”

“Twenty-two paces to the intersection with the rue d’Estrées. Forty more to the little gate. Nine steps down and she’s on the sand and the twenty thousand sounds of the ocean engulf her. … Her bedroom fills with pebbles, seaglass, shells: forty scallops along the windowsill, sixty-one whelks along the top of the armoire. She arranges them by species whenever she can, then by size. Smallest on the left, largest on the right. She fills jars, pails, trays; the room assumes the smell of the sea.”

“Metallic, tattered mponlight shatters across the road, and a white horse stands chewing in a field, and a searchlight rakes the sky, and in the lit window of a mountain cabin, for a split second as they rumble past, Werner sees Jutta seated at a table, the bright faces of other children around her, Frau Elena’s needlepoint over the sink, the corpses of a dozen infants heaped in a bin beside the stove.

Similar Books
The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak
Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson

May Book Haul

May Book Haul

maybookhaul

New acquisitions!

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
fire study

This is the third book in Snyder’s Study Series, so it’s difficult to say much about it without spoilers. Yelena, former poison taster for the emperor, will be refining the skills she learnt in Magic Study (I’m not going to tell you what they were, but the title is kind of a clue), as well as balancing her life between the land she was born in and the land she was brought up in. In the second book my favourite character was largely absent, so although I enjoyed watching what Yelena was getting up to, I’m hoping he’s back for this one, because I missed him and his excellent snark. This was originally a trilogy, but Snyder has recently continued the series, which is awesome, because it means that I can read this as soon as I like and there will still be more.

Cress by Marissa Meyer
cress

This is another third book in a series, in this case, The Lunar Chronicles. Cress is a computer programmer working for the villain of the series, Queen Levana, and her story is a retelling of Rapunzel. Based on the previous books, I believe that Cress will be joining Cinder, Scarlet and the love interests they’ve collected along the way, and continuing the fight against the Queen and her supporters. As her story gets more involved, I’m interested to see how Meyer balances the fairytale retelling aspects against the sci-fi. Cinder held more closely to Cinderella than Scarlet did to Little Red Riding Hood, and I can understand why that would happen as Meyer’s story continues and gets more complex.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
girlwhocircumnavigated

This is the story of a girl called September is taken by the Green Wind to Fairyland, which we can assume she circumnavigates in a ship of her own making. That’s almost everything I know, because that, alongside the title and cover, was enough to convince me that this book needed to be in my life. I imagine it as whimsical and beautiful, like The Graveyard Book, possibly in part because of the Neil Gaiman blurb on the front. I sort of want to read it right now, this second. Since I’m writing this way in advance, I may well have read it by the time you’re reading this.

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
messenger

Ed lives a totally normal life which appears to be headed nowhere in particular, until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. Shortly afterwards, someone starts sending him on missions to people in need of aid. While he’s pleased to be helpful, he’d also really like to know who he’s working for. I bought this book mostly because I really loved The Book Thief. This sounds like something completely different, but since I mostly fell for Zusak’s writing style, I’m happy to give it a go. The synopsis makes it sound a lot lighter than The Book Thief, so I’m not anticipating getting my heart ripped out this time.

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
seaofmonsters

I feel like it’s time to head back and see what Percy Jackson and the other inhabitants of Camp Half-Blood are up to. I haven’t really looked into the plot of this one at all, because I already know that these books are entertaining light reading with satisfying plots and good writing, and that’s all I really need to know to hand over my money.

Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
saga

Everyone has been telling me to read this graphic novel lately. Two people from opposing sides of a war fall in love and have a baby, and chaos and drama ensues. I’ve heard that there’s a space opera kind of feel to this, which sounds like fun, and also that all the characters are well drawn (metaphorically and literally). It sounds sort of Whedonesque, which I can always get behind. I’ve also heard that there’s a lot of adult content, so if this story sounds good to you, use your discretion about whether that’s something you’re comfortable with. I think it’s graphic sexual content, rather than graphic violence, but don’t quote me on that, and look for a second opinion if you need to know. On other hand you might be like me, and count this as another point in it’s favour. Bring on the sexy times!

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
allthelight

I don’t often read straight-up historical fiction, but Regan from PeruseProject loves this book, and it recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, so I thought I’d give it a try. It follows a blind French girl in WWII, and a young Nazi with a special assignment to complete. I think it’s probably going to do irreparable damage to my feels, but I can forgive that because the cover is gorgeous.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
strange

This is an unusual fantasy book. On the one hand, it’s a meticulously researched historical novel, with footnotes and all, set in England in the early nineteenth century. On the other hand, it’s all about the exploits of a handful of magicians who are not making the slightest attempt to stay undercover, and those footnotes I mentioned refer me to books such as The History and Practice of English Magic, and A Child’s History of the Raven King. Clocking in at over a thousand pages, this is going to take me a while to get through, but it’s got another of those encouraging Neil Gaiman blurbs on the front, and the BBC are about to start airing an adaptation, so I think it will be worth my time.

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
18630542

Katie’s life was going pretty well, until it… Wasn’t. The world seems to be conspiring against her: her relationships and career are going down the drain. Fortunately, a stranger shows up with some (literally) magic mushrooms that can give her a second chance. But now Katie doesn’t want to stop until everything is not just better, but perfect. This sounds like it’s going to be a cute little book with some important undertones about life and responsibility and mistakes and stuff. Also, it’s extremely pretty. It’s not clear above, but the dust jacket is shorter than the book, and the blue sparkly bit at the top is uncovered. I posted a few naked hardback pictures on twitter.

The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth
theelementsofeloquence

A lot of the reason I got excited about this book is that it’s so pretty. The gold parts are all raised up from the page, and when you look closely at the green background it looks like leather. The insides are pretty special too, though. Forsyth takes the reader through the rhetorical devices used (consciously) by Shakespeare and (subconsciously) by modern pop stars. Every chapter describes a different device, and gives examples of it’s use.

Ready Player One by Ernest Kline
readyplayerone

I’ve heard a lot about this book, and I don’t think any of it is bad. It’s a sort of mash up of a dystopian and a treasure hunt. In the future, the outside world is more or less destroyed, and everyone lives their lives in an MMO. When the owner and creator of said MMO dies, he leaves everything to whoever can follow the clues he’s left in-game. The book follows a guy whose whole life is about solving this puzzle before somebody else beats him to it.