Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Well, well, well… There goes another year. I say it every year, but wow, time does fly. I kicked off the year with sadly, not a lot of reading, but it was because of a good cause. On holiday, there is very little time to pick up a book, and being overseas most definitely did not help. But, of course, being a bookworm I am, I started as soon as I could.

So, with 2016 just about over, let’s look back at some highlights:


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“The wand chooses the wizard, Mr Potter…” – Mr Ollivander

Having the opportunity to see the Warner Bros. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, will always be one of the favourite memories. While there, I was able to purchase my very own wand.


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Still overseas, while in Italy, it was hard to find books written in English. Well, here I am, after we finally spied a little store, housing a box full of them.


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I finally got to see it!! I know, it’s not related to books, but it was too big of a thing to not share – because, come one, it’s the Eiffel Tower.


lifeline-bookfest

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Next exciting thing of the year – Lifeline Bookfest!! I go to at least one of these a year, usually more. (in fact there’s one coming up on Jan 14-26. YAY) This one would’ve had to been the biggest haul yet though, with the spoils of the day coming to 90 new books.


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On the 6th September 2015, I met the wonderful Cassandra Clare, meaning I had the 1 year anniversary this year. She’s so awesome!!


 

supanova

Again, this isn’t directly related to books, but Supanova was just too awesome!! I went with my group of Whovian friends, to meet the amazing Dr Who star Michelle Gomez, but everything there was awesome. I’ve never seen so many people cosplaying, or just generally interested in all the different things, and fandoms that I like.


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And, last, but certainly not the least important, was the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’m sure all Harry Potter fans, myself included, were thrilled to see this ‘textbook’ become not just an amazing movie (which I saw twice, and absolutely LOVED), but the start of the next series.


So, as you can see, it has been a pretty awesome year for me, and I hope everyone else has had one just as great. I must say, I did not get as much reading done as I’d hoped, but it has most definitely become a new year’s resolution – READ MORE BOOKS!! I hope everyone has had a wonderful year, had a Merry, Merry Christmas, and happy new year to everyone!!

IMG_2374.JPGThe Christmas book haul for this year, including two Dr Who books, the first two novels from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, a cool looking book, Literary wonderlands, by Laura Miller, and Footnotes from the world’s greatest bookstores by Bob Eckstein.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Graeme Smith

Author: Jane Austen & Seth Graeme-Smith

prideandprejudiceandzombiescoverGenre: classic, dystopian, Horror/zombies, Humour

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899779-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies


Thoughts:

I’m going to start off with a statement that might be quite shocking to some readers: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice or any other Jane Austen books. I know, I know, how can I call myself a bookworm, when I haven’t read the classics, but I’d just never gotten the chance. So when I spied Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought I might give it a try…

Because I only had a vague idea of who the characters were, and what was going to happen, most of the events were new and exciting. Especially the new zombie scenes, that were dotted all over the place, filling the classic novel with horrifying ‘unmentionables’ or ‘dreadfuls’, as they were called in the book.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

I think that the zombie aspect was a very interesting idea, (that Jane Austen would never have seen coming), and in the very few, short scenes where they featured, it was a fun, yet horrifying read. But they did only feature in a few very short scenes. If you are going to introduce a whole new aspect to a classic novel, especially one as big as a zombie apocalypse threatening England, then it needs to actually play a big part in the story. The changed characters were perfect for it, but the scenes where they had to showcase their skills just weren’t there. Instead, the book kind of seemed like a spin-off Pride and Prejudice, with a few random scenes where they killed some zombies… then back to normal Pride and Prejudice again.

“Elizabeth lifted her skirt, disregarding modesty, and delivered a swift kick to the creature’s head.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

In saying this, they did begin to feature more toward the end, which made it a little better. I think that incorporating a topic so different from the original story might have proved a little difficult to Seth Graeme-Smith, and it seemed unnecessary or not important.

“The business of Mr. Bennett’s life was to keep his daughters alive. The business of Mrs. Bennett’s was to get them married.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

The language used for the book and characters was still the original formal polite speech, but this time mixed in with some funny sarcastic humour, spoken both by characters, and the author of the book as well. This made it quite entertaining, and had me snorting sometimes.

Why should you read it: I don’t know whether to recommend it to Jane Austen readers or not. You could find it quite hilarious, and enjoy the spin-off, but then you could also feel like it was a silly, unnecessary book. It’s not a bad book, and I enjoyed reading it, and getting an understanding of the story-line, but I also wouldn’t read it again.

Rating:star_rating_3-5_of_5

 

 

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Author: Ray BradburyFahrenheit-451-original-cover.jpeg

Genre: science fiction, classic, dystopia

“Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.”

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17470674-fahrenheit-451


Thoughts:

“It was a pleasure to burn.”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

This 63-year-old classic is definitely not a disappointment. Ray Bradbury has masterfully crafted this novel, using almost more figurative metaphors than words, to create the dystopian setting and story. The first line (above) is considered one of the most interesting first-liners ever, and I think the whole story can also be added to that category.

“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

While it was quite confusing at the start, the language used and the general setting, did start to make sense after a while. With virtual ‘families’ living in the walls of your house, society eats up the words and news that is delivered to them. Little do they know it was just a pretence to get them all doing and thinking the same thing. And the only people that see this for what it really is, are the few outcasts that haven’t already been killed. The main protagonist, Guy Montag, being among them. The only thing that makes him different, is that he is a fireman, doing the exact job that all of them hate. Once he meets one particular person, and sees one particular thing, Montag realises that he is doing the wrong thing, and Fahrenheit 451 is about his struggle to understand society and let other people understand what is really happening.

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

It is a very interesting book, with a very interesting take on the future of society. The scary thing is, with all the new technology of late, it very nearly could become true. We are starting to rely very heavily on technology, just as the characters in this book do, and if it is taken away from us, we find we can’t function, just as they do as well.

It’s the same with computers becoming ‘smarter’ or more ‘independent’. The earplugs in everyone’s ears in the novel, deliver messages and news to everyone in the city, putting words and thoughts in their mouths and heads, and this doesn’t actually sound too far from the future.

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

So, while I don’t think I can say that I enjoyed reading it, it certainly wasn’t a bad book, and it really made me think. It is definitely an amazing book, and very well written, with some very important messages.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

Why should you read it: I think everyone should read this book, just because it is an important classic that carries a big message behind its words. But, if you’re not one for metaphors, or a dystopian setting, this probably isn’t the most enjoyable book for you.

Rating: I don’t actually think I can rate this one, just because it was so interesting and strange. While I didn’t exactly enjoy it, I don’t think it deserves a low rating, because it is amazingly written and thought out. For a classic, I think I’d have to give it  5 stars, even if I probably wouldn’t read it agin.