Radiating brilliance –
Purity in plumage
Recalls halcyon days.
Radiating brilliance –
Radiating brilliance –
Purity in plumage
Recalls halcyon days.
Books and emoji’s – two of my favourite things! I really couldn’t help but do this one, which has us pair an emoji of our choice to a book it brings to mind. I believe I first came across this particular tag over on Ragan’s YouTube channel and as always, I invite anyone to take part or share their answers in the comments.
1. A book that made me happy: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
This graphic novel was just a ton of fun. The story was cool with just the right amount of creepiness and the art style was awesome. I’m excited to see more of Brosgol’s work.
2. A book that I love: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
There are plenty of books I could have chosen for this but I wanted to try and pick one I haven’t mentioned much on my blog before. This story is mysterious, poignant and charmingly whimsical. I love books that blur the line between fantasy and reality, which Gaiman made look easy here.
3. A book that shocked me: The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
I cited this book as part of an English dissertation back in the day and I can tell you that repeated readings and closer analysis only make this disturbing little book all the more unsettling. The characters’ actions become dark and twisted yet we still find ourselves routing for them, and it’s this juxtaposition that I think makes it so unnerving.
4. A book that confused me: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I deliberately didn’t look into anything about this book as I’d heard that was the best way to go into it. Admittedly I didn’t see the twist coming, but it took the story in a totally unexpected direction and so despite being interesting and very well written, it ended up being nothing like what I had anticipated or hoped to find. Also, if someone could please explain what all that stuff with the puppet was about, I’d be grateful.
5. A book that I couldn’t connect to: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Everyone will tell you that this book hinges entirely on one twist. Sadly, (and without wanting to sound smug) I correctly guessed the twist by page 4 and this stopped me from feeling like I could ever fully connect to the plot or its strange characters.
6. A book with dreamy writing: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Okay, so I’ll admit that I have mentioned this one in a couple of tags already but it really has been a grower for me. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to appreciate its depths, not least the beautiful writing style.
7. A book that made me sad: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
No tag is complete without a mention of Mr Ness somewhere. Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I’ll say is a certain something horrible happens to a certain adorable character that just gave me all the feels.
The greatest of afflictions flows within my veins
No cure as yet discovered by even sharpest brains.
It feasts within the mind, corrupts the purest heart
Invites pain into all our lives, to each and every part.
You see, it shows no mercy – to man, nor child, nor woman
The biggest flaw in each of us is simply being human.
I cannot lift my voice beyond the fear,
a screaming, swirling storm of expectation.
The threads of cowardice they bind my lips,
this cage of my own making locks it in.
But trembling, wary whispers laced with truth
can drown a chorus made from bellowed lies.
A tonic in a sea of putrid falsehoods
born in stubborn heart; freed in valiant verse.
For even when my tongue abandons hope
these stanzas gift escape to unseen pain.
The bloodiest of archives for my eyes
to cleanse my wounded spirit of this life.
I haven’t been tagged specifically in this one, but I’ve seen it in a few posts and videos recently and thought it looked like lots of fun. As always, I’d love to hear what your responses would be either in a post of your own or simply in the comments below. Right – let’s get started!
Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover?
I always read the synopsis as well before I buy a book but when I’m browsing I definitely am drawn to a pretty cover. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer caught my eye and better yet, it went on to become quite possibly one of my favourite books.
Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you bought because of the summary?
I bought The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey after reading the synopsis. I didn’t look into any reviews because it seemed deliberately mysterious and I want to go into it blind. I still haven’t got to it yet but I’m still very much intrigued (so no spoilers please!). It reads as follows:
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
It’s short; it’s ambiguous; it grabs your attention. Essentially, it’s everything I love in a synopsis.
Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing?
I’m definitely going with The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton for this as I read it last month and adored the writing style. Some of it was so poetic it just seemed to flow off the page. Here is one of my favourite excerpts:
“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth—deep down, I always did. I was just a girl.”
Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?
It feels redundant to pick Harry Potter because I don’t think anyone can resist the charm once they first experience Hogwarts in all its glory. I’ll opt instead for The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.
Ness’ writing is wonderful. The way he tackles some themes so powerfully and others so subtlety is sublime. Plus his characters are brilliant and the plot is electric. I laughed, I cried and I couldn’t wait to get to book two.
Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night?
I remember not being able to put down Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s a true life holocaust story told in the form of a graphic novel. The plot shifts between the past and the present, as Art interviews his father about his wartime experiences, which shows excellently the long lasting effects of his traumas. The art itself is modest in a way, but highly effective, with its most famous feature being the use of mice to represent the Jews and cats in place of the Nazis, which is genius in its simplicity.
Phase 6 – Always on my mind: A book you could not stop thinking about?
Out by Natsuo Kirino took a long time to process. The plot is dark and twisted yet utterly gripping. Kirino is often called the Japanese Queen of crime and from this book I can see why. It cleverly examines Japanese culture and makes bold statements about gender roles, violence, sexuality, loyalty and society at large.
Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book which you love the way it feels?
I have a penguin hardback classics edition of Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (one of my favourite classics of all time). It’s slightly textured with no dust jacket, has a ribbon page-marker and a simple yet pretty cover.
Phase 8 – Meeting the parents: A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?
Well, one of my own of course! 😉 After that, I’d suggest A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (preferably the illustrated version). It’s about life and death, so is relevant to everyone, and if you aren’t moved by it at least somewhat I’d question your humanity.
Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?
I don’t re-read very often to be honest, because my TBR is constantly growing with new titles, but Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is my favourite children’s classic and I adore it. I’ve read it a few times but not for a while so I’m hoping to revisit it again soon.
Phase 10 – Share the love: Who do you tag?
Everyone! I really enjoyed this tag and would like to see lots of people getting involved.
As part of the celebrations for #NationalPoetryMonth, the Kindle version of my poetry book, Seeking Solace, will be on sale from today until Friday 17th. It will be just 99p in the UK or $0.99 in the US, making now a great time to pick up a copy if you are at all interested.
The poems in Seeking Solace were written to be both approachable and relatable, so whether you are new to the genre or looking to expand your collection, I hope you will find something that speaks to you. In either case, there seems no better time to explore the form than during National Poetry Month.
In way of an excerpt, here are a few visual quotes to whet your appetite.
Huge thanks to anyone who gives the book a chance and if you enjoy it, a brief review goes a long way towards helping a writer out. Happy reading!