Numbers

I have never had a head for numbers. You may have realised that I am more of a words kind of girl. ūüėČ That doesn’t mean that I am not fascinated by numbers though – even if I can’t always add them together very well ūüėČ For this reason, I would like to say that is why I was drawn to reading the book Numbers by Rachel Ward. But I was bought it randomly by my sister and her boyfriend for Christmas – random, just as numbers can be.

Numbers is a trilogy¬† – Numbers 2 Chaos and Numbers 3 Infinity completing the trio. So far, I have read the first two. And they are fantastic. Full of drama and twists and turns. And, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover and all – but they are pretty ace too. Numbers also litter the pages and I swear I could see numbers along the closed pages when the book is shut – but I wasn’t sure if I was going a little crazy like the characters and thinking I could see numbers ūüėČ

The first in the fantastic series….

But I haven’t told you enough to make you want to pick up a copy yet. In the first book, Jem is a troubled teenage girl and she can see numbers. In people’s eyes. It is a date. Of when they are going to die. As soon as I read that on the blurb, I was intrigued. I like psychological plots and I knew this would be one. Like, would she ever tell someone their number? Could she save lives? Will she find out her own number? It is compelling stuff because if you think about it, we all have a number. A death number. Without being too morbid, we are all going to die some day. But we don’t think about it because there is no point. We don’t know when it will be. Even if¬†we have¬†a terminal illness, we don’t know the exact day. Would you want to know? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I would be terrified of that day getting nearer. We all like to believe that we have a long stretch of life in front of us and maybe that’s what gets us from day-to-day.

But Jem does know. She sees a number each time she looks at someone, meaning that a lot of the time she doesn’t want to look people in the eye. She is a typical teenage girl in that she avoids eye contact and is awkward in social situations. She is not so typical for the reasons though: She not only sees the date that will end a person’s existence but she has lost her mum to drug addiction, she has no other family and gets shoved from foster home to foster home and she has no friend in the world. Depressing yes¬†– so maybe not get it your teenager to help cheer them up ūüėČ

It is however action packed and this begins when she meets Spider. Jem is a small, delicate, white girl. Spider in strong contrast is a tall, black, gangly bloke. They are opposites, yet find that one thing in common. They are both outcasts and both lonely.

The plot thickens when Jem and Spider are out for the day. Hanging out in London like teenagers do, they want to go on the London Eye but realise it’s too expensive. Jem quickly realises this is meant to be, as all the people around them, have the same death number. The date of that day. She manages to convince Spider, without telling him why, that they need to go. Minutes later, the London Eye explodes. Taking lives and reinforcing the fact that the numbers must be true! But they are seen running from the London Eye just before the explosion and the police think they are responsible for it. So they go on the run.

I won’t give more away but it all gets very intense as these two naive teenagers go on the run. Spider steals cars yet he has never driven one before. The whole country knows their faces so they have to keep hidden. And remember, as soon as Jem looked Spider in the eye, she knew his number. And she knows his fateful day is going to be soon. So it’s all about can she change his number? Can they stay hidden from the police and the press? Or is she going to have to come clean about her number visions?

It really is an amazing story and they are believable characters. Spider’s gran adds a lot of humour and wackiness¬†to the story, whereas Karen, Jem’s foster Mum brings in the realistic and sensible elements – and tries to bring in some stability for Jem.

I’ll discuss the second book in a separate post – but if you like drama, action and romance, then this book is a great combination of all three! ūüôā

XSXS

A Hole lot of Digging!

Afternoon folks, To link to my post from last Saturday, Adding Fuel to the Feminist Fire…which seems to have provoked quite a debate so check it out… I have been doing what some would call ‘manly’ chores/jobs/roles or whatever you want to call it. If you see the comments on that previous post, I think the conclusion seemed to be that there are no rules for what jobs people do in a household… but it comes down to the individual and what their skills are. Well I am not brilliantly able at gardening, physical lifting or anything manual to be honest but I had a go! Today, I was sawing branches off trees (I got a bit saw happy actually!), digging roots up and lifting huge slabs and any other junk that seem to be left by the previous owners…

I turned into a teenage boy for an hour actually… No my voice didn’t get hoarse and deep and I didn’t suddenly develop certain male parts or the urge to look at women in bikinis (I could have just put Club land on if that was the case!)‚Ķ I just quite enjoyed digging holes! I told myself I needed to get the roots up from the plant we have taken up and that I needed the turn the earth over and also check what was under there (still no dead bodies!) BUT really I was just enjoying seeing how far I could dig down. The memories of making mud pies as a small child returned to me. I have never understood why I ever chose to make mud pies. In most ways I am such an indoor girl and always have been. I loved Barbies, reading, dressing-up and all of that but it seems there is this grubby, outdoorsy type in me that resurfaces every so often!

I think, today, I was also influenced by my current read. Remember how I said on Wednesday (in my post That Stinging Feeling) that everyday things can remind of¬†us of ¬†literature?¬† Well, currently I am reading Holes by Louis Sachar. The pupils in year 8 at school study it and I haven’t read it yet so thought I would over summer. Yes, I’m lucky that as a teaching assistant that is as far as my summer work and preparation goes really! In the book, which I am very much enjoying, a group of teenage boys are at a juvenile detention camp and have to dig holes everyday, five foot deep and five foot wide. So I am not sure if me digging today was influenced by me reading the book or by doing that it made me think of the book! Such a circle of life and literature isn’t it??

The kids in the book have to get up at 4.30 am everyday and once they start digging their hole, they don’t stop – only for a quick lunch break and for drinks – it is¬†in a desert setting and the sooner they finish their hole, the sooner they can get out of the blazing orange rays.¬† The book has a lot more to it than that with themes of teenage rebellion, families, racism, religion so do take a look! I haven’t finished it yet… I was hoping to today but the garden has made a bigger hole in my day than planned ūüėČ

Anyway, as I was doing the garden, I pictured these fictional teenage boys and how they had to keep going in sandy, dry, boiling, strict and thirst desperation conditions and it helped me to keep going! My small garden of a semi-detached property had no comparison to the setting of the book but still… I thought if they can manage that for a full day everyday then I can clear this corner of the garden! And I did it! Yay! It’s looking more like an actual garden¬†each day!

Digging ‘holes’ also got me thinking about when we say it to people or we say it ourselves. The metaphor we use for basically saying things we shouldn’t!! Haha. We end up digging further than planned or we have to talk the talk and butter people up by digging ourselves out of the hole! I had to do that last night. I told you, I went to see the friend who got engaged. She loved my post about it (Two hearts, Two rings) but we were afraid that her fianc√© wouldn’t approve of me writing about it. Last night, I decided to apologise to him for the post and explain. Turns out he didn’t know about it anyway.. as my friend so subtlety told me as I started talking…. TOO late. I was in a hole. I then had to explain about my blog and the fact I had written the post. Then I said how I agreed with her choice on it –¬†then I thought; ‘Dammit, he will think I was insulting him if I was on her side!’ So I ended up digging a little further!¬† To dig¬†myself¬† out of that one. I had to say that I also used lots of examples and I looked at the male opinion and everything. Argh. To climb out of the hole completely… I even offered to delete the post… and stop writing my blog and keep my pen and typing fingers prisoner forever more (Ok that last bit was an exaggeration!) he said he was ¬†fine about it.. But I don’t think he has read it yet! Eek… and now I’ve told you all this, I may have more holes to dig out of tomorrow haha!

So people, be careful what you say and if you need to take out your frustration… then dig a real hole (it also comes in handy for hiding in!)

If I have offended anyone then please comment at the end and I’ll happily ‘dig’ myself out of it!

See you tomorrow (I hope!)

P.S – you’ll be glad to know that I have stood up to the cats. I have taking back my butt (of the water kind ūüėČ ) and I scared away the horrible hisser cat.. with some of the advice from yesterday, so thank you!

XSXS

Hungry for a good read?

Happy Sunday everyone…. I thought that every so often I would write a book review (in my own fashion.. as it may be more of a persuasive ploy rather than giving too much away)¬†as part of my blog….obviously this depends on how quickly I read books. I very often have my nose in one but sometimes it takes me a while to finish them, especially when I’m back at school (I am on book overload then with students and the last thing I want to do when I get home is read!)

But you know when you’ve read a fantastic book and all you want to do after you’ve finished read it is to recommend¬†it to someone?… or tell a non-reader (yes, sadly they aren’t¬†extinct yet)¬†all about it in hope that it will encourage¬†them to appreciate the written word? (rather than watch the blasted film!… which I do want to see but I always read the book first!) It’s like you peel your eyes away from last paragraph and look up and the world is still moving, people are doing day-to-day stuff and have no idea that you have just been to a world of literacy genius.. and they must understand this, they must!! I have this little fantasy that I walk up to friend straight away, hand them the book and simply say, ‘You have to read this!’ Sorry, I can’t do that on here…. and I have to know you really well to lend you my books… they are like my babies ūüėČ

The Hunger Games, for those who don’t know, is a trilogy and has been made into a recent film (which as I said above, I haven’t seen yet but am looking forward to seeing it portrayed¬†on the screen when it is out¬†on DVD in¬†September). If you think to yourself ‘Nah, not my kind of thing,’ please don’t stop reading because I thought the exact same thing. It is not normally my kind of read as it is quite action based (I normally¬†prefer romantic/relationships/everyday life kind of stories) but it is truly fantastic. I whizzed through the three books very quickly (for me) and the first one (which in my opinion¬†is the best..but the other two are also vital thirds to the exciting plot) I started about a month ago whilst we were at school still. I took it with me to work¬†as I neared the end and read it at break and lunch (noooo¬†not in lessons as I am, of¬†course, a professional ūüėČ ) I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened at the end of that first volume.

As I said I normally prefer books that are based on reality but every now and then I love it when an author creates a whole new world that is so believable that you want to find out more and more about it…like Harry Potter for example. I am so jealous of J.K Rowling for creating that whole world that circles around Hogwarts and the new language that she created and renaming us as ‘Muggles’… fantastic. I may have to kidnap her and pick her brains or put a spell on her or something.

Hunger Games isn’t as punctuated with¬†happiness (in between¬†all the Voldermort visits I mean) as Harry Potter.¬† Suzanne Collins has created a dystopian¬†society called Panem¬†which consists of twelve (or does it??) districts and the Capitol. Why did I choose to read this book? Well besides me thinking it was food related¬†(haha only kidding) I was fascinated by the fact that all these people get put into an arena for¬†‘The Hunger Games’ and only one can survive. I am not best interested in blood gore or fighting (which there is plenty of for you violence and guts lovers out there) but I am intrigued by human behaviour¬†and relationships and thought ‘how can they kill each other?’ And the blurb¬†already tells us that Katniss¬†Everdeen, the main character, sacrifices herself to take part in the Games in order to save her sister. I thought she obviously cares a lot about her family and I also knew there was a love interest (from seeing the film trailer, I must admit!) and I was intrigued to see if they would be in the Games too and how would you choose between yourself and killing a loved one? It is gripping stuff.

Katniss, is the kind of character I normally detest. She is stubborn, impatient, rebellious and has two guys fighting for her affection (we all hate girls like that right?). She is also athletic, brave, gutsy and extremely logically clever… which are all things I am not… so I found it very difficult to identify and empathise¬†with her to begin with. But Collins does such a superb job of letting Katniss tell this story that we are instantly on her side; we have her back…. even if other characters (who¬†she thinks she can trust) don’t.

We know that Katniss survives the¬†Hunger Games in the first book of the same title… mainly¬†because she in mentioned in the¬†blurb of the second book (so I’m sorry if that’s something you try to avoid to do…but I haven’t really given anything away here).¬†When I started reading the second book, Catching Fire I was a little dubious and thought ‘Well she has survived the Games…now what?’ Well there is a huge twist in this¬†book and the action is even thicker. The third book, The Mocking¬†Jay¬†then concludes with a war between the rebels and the Capitol….. has all this been the cause of Katniss’ actions? Who will survive? Time will tell….but life for Katniss will never be the same again… god I sound like the Games announcer.

You meet many amazing characters… Peeta¬†(who I imagine to be an absolute God.. so I hope the screen version doesn’t disappoint!), Gale (who I imagine to look the rough and ready type), Haymitch¬†who spends his whole time in the three novels drunk (my kind of character!), the stylist team who are very visually interesting and¬†you need to take with a pinch of¬†salt,¬†President Snow (bit of a Snape, you’ll see), Prim (the sister, who comes across as a girl who seems far too nice to have even survived in this society at all) and many more… but these are the ones who stood out the most for me.

The plot is so juicy with many turns and twists… there are birds that repeat your every sound, lethal monkeys, bloody rain¬†(as in red droplets not ‘oh rain again!’), deathly fog, lightning… oh and a great shortage of food and water (oh that may explain the title a little ;-)) so it isn’t¬†just each other that they need to watch out for!

Katniss¬†and Peeta keep asking….¬† Real or not Real? You may want to ask yourself this as you read….

One more thing… if you need another reason to read… is the love story… who will Katniss¬†end up with; Peeta¬†or Gale? If any? This is one of the main themes I was always enthralled by… and it definitely does get resolved and it is very worth the wait!

Action, love, hunger… what more could you want?

Rememebr……..’If We Burn, You Burn With Us!’

Happy.. or not so happy… reading!

I’ll be moving onto 50 Shades of Grey next.. (well after I read a couple of books for school)…. I’ve waited for some of the hype to die down and listened¬†to all the¬†¬†and opinions and now I want my own. It’s the fastest selling paperback¬†of all time.. so yes I definitely want to form my opinion on it and yes don’t worry¬†I will share!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS