A Book Lover’s Post

I think it is safe to say that everyone who writes, loves to read. Yet,  I am not sure if this is the same vice versa. My collection of books keeps growing and growing and I have just noticed that my new Xmas reads will not fit on the book shelves. My boyfriend has tried to aid this problem by buying me a Nook this year. I love it and it is a modern gadget that can make searching for books and reading them exciting. It is also just plain easier at times as you can hold it with one hand… it holds hundreds of books so you don’t have to carry them. However, I have told him, and I will tell you that I will not stop buying real books by my favourite authors. I love to look at them on the shelf and love the process of selecting one to read. Buying books is also a hobby, as I love to search old book shops and charity shops for books I have not heard of or ones I have not read by favourite authors. I love the smells of old books (and new books), the different covers (I have 4 different versions of Pride and Prejudice) and I just feel my house is not a home without a multitude of bookshelves… even though, I am not sure my boyfriend agrees with this!

I have a book diary. As I mentioned yesterday (https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/scared-of-a-word), I love notebooks and writing thoughts in them. Well, I also like diaries. As a teenager, I used to write in a diary on a daily basis with all my thoughts and observations of the day. (See my post: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/to-my-14-year-old-self/). As, you have gathered, I also love books. So to have a diary to record my thoughts about books is just genius. My friend bought it for me a couple of years ago and I love it! I record various lists of books I have read in my life so far, that year, need to read, want to read and books I should read before I die. Only a true book lover will understand the use of the verb should. How can you call yourself a book lover if you haven’t read the works of Austen, Shakespeare or Dickens? Some may disagree and think that reading should be about what you want to read. I agree in a way and I do, mostly. But there are these works of fiction that I just feel I need to have an opinion on  – can’t believe I’m about to mention this in the same paragraph as Dickens and co, but that is why I read 50 Shades. I wanted to know what all the hype was. So, some of these famous (or infamous) books may be on my ‘to read list’ for many years to come (for example War and Peace –  I mean, it’s just so long isn’t it?!) But hopefully I will get there one day.

This is the copy I own… a beautiful way to record your passion for reading….

I definitely recommend a book diary. You can also record notes about the books you have read, who recommended it to you and who you then recommended it to. You can note down good book sites, shops and reading groups. In mine there is an A-Z of books you have read so you can add to it from year to year. It is also full of quotes about reading and books and I read them again and again whenever I come to use it.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from The Book Lover’s Diary:

‘There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep on growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have much more money in the bank today; but I would not be richer.’

(Pete Hamill, D’artagnan on Ninth Street: A Brooklyn boy at the library.)

This is me… or it will be one day! Long live books in all forms! Happy reading… and recording!

XSXS

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My Final 50 Shades of Freed Opinion

Well guys, I have read the third and final book in the 50 Shades trilogy. 50 Shades Freed, I enjoyed. I am trying to work out if it was a good book, though, or if I really enjoyed it because it was the first book I read on my Nook (I’m loving how Nook rhymes with book by the way!) I think it is part novelty factor that I was excited to read it each time. I kept joking that ‘I was going to bed with my Nook!’ You can’t deny it doesn’t automatically remind you of nooky! Haha.

Anyway, to the book itself… in its fine ebook form. I enjoyed the story of this one, as predictable as it was. It had a happy ending, which i do admit, for the characters in it I wasn’t expecting but it is a generic ending overall. There was some twists and turns, which I admit did keep me page turning (with a flick of the finger on my Nook) and yearning to read on.

I hate to say this though… I got bored with the sex! For starters, they do it far too often. How often can it be physically possible?! And one point they do it again 5 minutes after… I mean I know Mr. Grey is young but he isn’t 18 anymore! And as for Ana, surely she would get sore, thrush or something with the amount of times they do it?! You never hear the words ‘sorry love, I’m not in the mood/I have a headache/let’s just cuddle.’ Ana says at times when they have had arguments that they need to have sex because ‘it is what they do.’ It is almost like sex is a barometer in their relationship and tells them that all is okay. When you think of it like that then maybe all our relationships are like that. So, yes I felt myself skimming across the sex scenes because I felt there could be no news way for them to do it and the author was certainly not going to bust out that thesaurus to write it in different ways (I discovered this after book 1).

But, as ever, I did enjoy the depths of Christian and finding out why he is the way he is. I really liked him as a character in the end and in this book it was Ana I was more frequently annoyed with. Sunbathing topless, driving a jet ski, going out drinking without calling him when her husband is so needy, clingy and paranoid. It was like she was deliberately trying to piss him off. At least we understand why he is like that. I enjoyed finding out more about his past and I also thought it was a nice touch how the book started and ended with Christian’s perspective (rather than Ana’s like the rest of the book) as it showed both sides to the two characters we had come to know.

So if you have read the first two books, then this is worth a read to complete your sexy trilogy. If you enjoy the sex parts then definitely read this one as it has a lot of raunchy bits – much more then the second book. It isn’t amazing writing; it isn’t portrayed to be. But a holiday read, a sunday afternoon read or a new Nook read.. Yes.

Now which book to read on my Nook…. I must remember that you do actually buy the books. It is easy to forget when a book is on your screen ready to read within seconds of a few touches and clicks.

XSXS

Goldilocks and the Three Pigs

Sunday afternoon should be story time…. I hope to read a little more of some books on my new Nook later. In the meanwhile, I thought I would share with you a story I have started to write. My boyfriend’s sister is always talking about fan fiction on the internet and how it mixes two well known stories or characters together. She likes reading about Harry Potter mixed with the world of Percy Jackson. I decided to mix two well known children’s stories together. I became fascinted by this at Uni actually when we studied Angela Carter and she created more adult versions of certain fairy tales. I haven’t decided how sinister mine is going to get yet. See what you think… any suggestions welcome:

Goldilocks and the Three Pigs

With her blonde, curly hair blowing in the breeze, Goldilocks strolled down the lane leading from the bottom of her garden. She was finally allowed out again. She had been grounded since the bear incident. She was a curious, inquisitive girl and it always got her into trouble. She had only wanted to see the three bears’ house and exploring their various chairs and beds had been fun! The porridge had been disgusting though!  Yes, her parents hadn’t been happy with her and she hadn’t been allowed to leave the house on her own, until that moment.

She had permission to walk into town and buy some sweets from the local, traditional sweet shop. All children saved their pocket money in order to buy a small bag of sweets from there at the weekend. They tasted great and were brilliant value for money. Goldilocks had been warned, though, to steer clear of the local wolf. The wolf was a nasty creature, who came after animals and humans. Under no circumstances should Goldilocks talk to the wolf, her parents ordered. The wolf tended to focus on certain groups or families at a time and make their lives a misery. A while ago it had been a local family who had a daughter with a red cape. That hadn’t ended well. Goldilocks wasn’t scared though and the town was busy so surely nothing could happen?

As she came close to the main high street, she realised she had forgotten her pocket money! How could she buy sweets without any money? She felt very upset and froze on the spot and started to cry a little. She also felt annoyed at herself and very sad that she couldn’t get her sweets. Then, she saw a flash of dark, grey fur out of the corner of her left eye. It was the wolf! He had crept around the corner and was now stood next to her on the pavement. Goldilocks quickly hit her running tears away  with the back of her hand and obediently turned away as not to speak to the wolf.

            ‘Little girl, stay and listen to me,’ the wolf purred.

            ‘I have to go. I have no money and my Mum and Dad said I can’t talk to you’, Goldilocks babbled.

            ‘Well, I don’t know your parents and I don’t think they know me, so it seems a little unfair for them to say that, don’t you think?’ he said in a sickly, sweet voice.

            ‘That is true’, Goldilocks agreed ‘but I don’t know you either and I shouldn’t speak to people I don’t know.’

This girl was cleverer than the wolf has anticipated. He would have to be extra sneaky to gain her trust and win her over.

            ‘Shame about your money,’ he said, changing the subject. ‘The sweets are amazing from that shop at the end of the road.’

            ‘Yes, that’s what I was meant to be getting,’ Goldilocks said glumly.

            ‘Well, what would you say if I bought you all the sweets you could eat? If you do a little job for me?’ the wolf was almost whispering by this point.

The little girl’s face had lit up when he said this but by the end of his suggestion, her expression was just full of confusion.

            ‘Let me explain,’ he spoke calmly, ‘there are three pigs, who have been spreading rumours about me. They are three brothers and the rumours are probably the reason your parents warned you against me. The Hamsons, they are called. I want to teach them a lesson but they always keep a good look out for me. They would never suspect you. The youngest brother, Porky, has just made himself a house of straw. I want to destroy it.’

The curly haired girl trembled and fear came into her eyes. ‘I can’t do anything bad, I’ll get into trouble.’ She mumbled.

            ‘Your parents would never know and neither would anyone else.’ The wolf soothed.

            ‘Then why don’t you do it if no one will know? You just said, they won’t recognise me so you must be thinking they will see me!’ Exclaimed the fearful girl, who wished she had ran home for her money the moment she had realised. At the exact same moment, the wolf was feeling rather irritated at the girl’s intelligence and wished that he had approached someone a little more naive like the Jones’ girl who lives near the woods. Another girl in a red hood, like the one he had captured last month, would have been ideal too.

‘Well they would know it was you about the house, but they wouldn’t know you had done anything wrong. I can’t even go near their houses without them calling the town police.’ He said as calmly as ever.

‘Oh right,’ she said, still seeming a little unsure. ‘What would I have to do?’ She looked very nervous that the wolf would have felt sympathy, if he was capable of that feeling that is. ‘Would I have to set the house on fire?’ She asked. The wolf’s eyes lit up as the fire would. He hadn’t even thought of that!

‘Well yes, I think that would be the best way. I would try and blow it over but I’m getting old now and don’t have a lot of puff.’

 

….. that is as far as I have got. It is written in child-like form really. I may make it more adult like and think of a sinister ending. Any thoughts?

XSXS

This is interesting and ties in nicely with my post on another horror of Jekyll and Hyde in https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/good-vs-evil/ 🙂

the.soft.anonymous

When it comes to horror stories, Frankenstein is probably the most famous of them all. Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece has sent shivers of fear through generations of readers, inspired countless adaptations, and become the gold standard for tales of terror and suspense. It’s a story that becomes even more unsettling, though, when you realise it was inspired by twitching corpses, violent volcanoes and disturbing nightmares…

Mary Shelley’s famous novel barely needs an introduction. Its protagonist, Dr Victor Frankenstein, is fiction’s original ‘mad’ scientist, dedicating himself to chemistry at university so that he can learn how to create life out of inanimate matter. The being he cooks up, however, is repulsive:

“His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, ……

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Writing in Progress

Hi guys,just a quick post to show you a link to my new facebook page called ‘Writing in Progress.’ It is handy to jump to older blogs linked with their pics and also to see other extracts of my writing that I will be posting.

https://www.facebook.com/writinginprogresssamanthagray9

Cheers,

XSXS

Good Vs Evil

Last night, I went to see Jekyll and Hyde, a production put on by the Burton Operatic Society, and it was fantastic! This is not really a review but I will encourage any of you that live in the midlands to go and see it. The leads were amazing with very strong singing voices and the portrayal of the story was brilliant. All the cast, band and people backstage did a wonderful job. I always enjoy these shows and it is great to see one of my good friends come alive on stage… not that she doesn’t seem alive the rest of the time, but you know what I mean 😉

I loved the depiction of good and evil within the production like where Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée was up high getting ready for bed in her angel like nightie and in contrast at the same time, Lucy was down below being amorous with a man…very devil like. And Jekyll himself, at the end, was torn between his two selves and kept rapidly turning his head from ‘Jekyll’ to ‘Hyde’ and this was shown by his change of hair (half up for Jekyll and down for Hyde, which I thought was very clever!) and the colours of light blue/red. The language too… when Jekyll says to his fiancée ‘Night, my angel.’ and she replies ‘Night, my devil,’ very good hint at the future!

The production got me thinking about the idea of there being Good and Bad within all of us. Do we agree with this? Nobody is perfect so we all have good points and faults. But would we go as far to say that there is evil within us? If the evil within you became a person in their own right then would they be as sinister as Mr Hyde in the story? Would they go around killing people? It is an interesting thought that there are two sides to us. But I am not sure it as simple as that because like we are all different then surely we have different amounts of good and bad too.

Do we get murderers, rapists and paedophiles because they have more evil in them than good? I think probably so. I think it is a battle between the angel and devil we always see on TV but not literally. We have these two urges in our mind that represent good and evil and one will win. This explains why bad things get done and whilst some people are mostly ‘good’ but have their moments of nastiness…. human nature I guess. To back up with a little solid psychology theory: Freud’s structural model of the psyche can help us a little here. He believes that there are three parts to our brain to make up our personality structure; the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego. The Id is what controls our instant gratification driven by what Freud calls the ‘Pleasure principal’. So when you just ‘need’ that chocolate bar then it is your Id that is winning the battle there….. I wish mine was a little more strong-willed! The Ego is based in reality (Reality Principle) and what should happen according to the situation but still getting what you want in the end. The Super-Ego is related to our morals, fighting the Id and acting on what is right for what we believe in. That is very simple summarising of it and I’m sure there is more to it. But if we take this and think of a situation where we really dislike someone and want to shove the ice-cream they are eating into their face… the Id will be all for this and doing it there and then, the Ego would want to punish the woman but maybe through another way? Or nick her ice-cream when she goes to the loo? The Super-Ego would then rationalise it all and think there could be a better way to deal with it as shoving food in her face would be wrong. So imagine these three battling it out and depending on who we are, how we have been brought up and what morals we have then who knows who will win? Someone with a bigger Id could be more evil maybe, every nasty, negative thought is acted on impulsively. This is just a thought of mine anyway, it could explain a lot.

I also think, that as humans, we are all capable of killing someone. This thought first came to me years ago when I studied Shakespeare’s Othello and Othello is a calm, gentle man and is driven to kill his own wife because doubts and rumours are planted his mind by the villain Iago that his wife has been unfaithful. Can we all be driven to killing someone? I’m not saying that if our mates tell us our partners are cheating when we will go and murder them but this example made me think about it and how a calm, gentle man was pushed to the limit. If we had family members who were killed, would we not want to kill the killer? We could all be in a situation where we want revenge and could be pushed and driven to acting in this evil way.

And yes we all have some good in us too… as hard as it to believe with some people as they keep it very well hidden! Tell their Id to go away 😉

A nice topic that ties in nicely with Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone… hope you get treated and not tricked this evening!

XSXS

Time to Write

I actually felt really excited to write tonight. That is the reason for writing a blog, I realised. The want to write. That yearning to get your ideas out there. I mentioned a few days ago that I had been thinking about rejigging my blog or starting a new one. I am not going to do anything just yet as I am going to follow some advice that I read in a fellow blogger’s post. It is important to read blogs as much as write them. The advice that I read in Christian Mihai’s post ‘The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging,’ that said no matter what you write or how often, you should stick it out for a year. So that is what I plan to do and then decided on an extra blog or whatever. I will reblog his post actually after this as there are some great tips for bloggers in it.

The reason that I get excited about, well words really, at this time of year is because the clocks change. Time changes. It reminds me of one of my favourite lines from a poem. Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mean Time:

‘The clocks slid back an hour

and stole light from my life’

I love this and it shows how that one hour can make such a difference. Every year when we put the clocks back I look at this poem. I go into my study and dig out my poetry collection also named Mean Time. I studied it at A level and it is a great collection of poetry. I sometimes get it out when the clocks go forward to and remember the reverse of how we gain light. I always remember which way round with the old saying ‘Spring forward, Fall back.’ Using the Americanised word for Autumn of ‘Fall’ helps me to remember that along with the leaves falling off the trees, the clocks fall back an hour. Yes, they slide back as Duffy so brilliantly puts it. They steal light from our life. The nights get darker. Funnily enough, the Britons always think of the positive in this case of ‘oooh we get an extra hour in bed!’ The bright side of a situation?! Mmmm very unlike us!

Duffy’s poem is quite depressing really but has some very interesting ideas about life and time. She says ‘these are the shortened days’ meaning that in general life is short and her references to death; ‘we will be as dead, as we know’ and ‘endless nights’ tell us that death is forever. It is life that has the time limit. Very depressing thought in one way but makes sure we make the most of life, I guess. She also talks about if the sky could lift one hour away from her life then that hour could have been full of angry words to her lover and that could have been the hour that was taken away; ‘If the darkening sky could lift/ more than one from this day/there are words I would never have said.’ It would be great if we could choose which hour of life got taken away… or which hour we gained. At A level we looked at the different meanings of ‘mean time’. Like it can mean ‘mean’ as in average. Average time. Life is just average. Or it can mean ‘mean’ as in cruel and that life is cruel to us. Very interesting poem and I recommend you take a look.

But in the mean time, what will you do with your extra hour?

XSXS

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