1984 – REVIEW TIME

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1984 by George Orwell
Read 27th February 2017.     4 // 5 stars.

I’ve been gone for a little, studying and assignment-ing away. However, I took a little break to record my thoughts on this stunning book, one that I’d been wanting to read for a very long time.

This book is a stunning commentary on humanity. I read it in one sitting, and I’m still slightly in awe of its power??? I was quite honestly glued to the page.

My favourite thing about this book was undoubtedly the fact that it makes one think – about the human condition. It presents a very negative view on humanity. Thankfully, as a Christian I know that should I be put in the same situations as Winston was, I would stand my ground. However it was still good to read this book and see life from another’s point of view.

This book is powerful. It made me question my own reality. For a moment there I caught myself wondering if, after all, we would be a stronger society without love. It is a question that Lauren Oliver tried to answer in her Delerium series, and one that many others have also tried to answer. 1984 says that we would be. We would be stronger. We would be completely united as one. Our only loyalty would be to the Government. While (of course) I disagree with this view of humanity, I do agree that we would be stronger.

I suppose as humans we have to decide between retaining our individuality, and being strong as a society. I choose retaining our individuality. But, if a group of people (such as there are, in the world today) were to choose the latter, it would require uniting together to oppose with them. In the end, then, life goes on. And we go on with it.

If it weren’t for the fact that I believe in a God who is greater than the human condition, I would be quite discouraged by this book. But in some sense it was just reaffirming what I already believed; that humanity is messed up.

So those are just a few of the scattered thoughts that I had whilst reading this great book. There were a couple of things that brought the rating down from five to four stars; namely the emphasis on sexual pleasure. Maybe I just can’t relate to this, but it did seem to me a little unnecessary that there was such a large emphasis placed on it.

img_0581Additionally, I think that this book is not really meant to be read as a story. I think that the author intended us to think when we read it, to discuss it, to ponder it and the themes it presents.

Have you read this book?

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂

Fangirl – REVIEW TIME

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 
Read February 4 – 6 2017.     3.5 // 5 stars.

I fangirled over this book. Yet, I didn’t obsess to the level that I was expecting myself to. I surprised myself by reading it and thinking – I feel a little let down? I had ridiculously high expectations for this book and I feel like not all of them were answered.

What I liked.

  • It contained Fanfiction!! I mean, when you think about the high amounts of fanfiction on the web, it’s a bit ridiculous that most books ignore its existence!! As someone who’s read and written (sssshhhh) a lot of fic, I resonated strongly with Cath’s joys and frustrations.
  • The relationship that the book was centred around was quite adorable. I squealed a lot. Also, thanks to Cath’s nature, there wasn’t much more than kissing, for which I was very thankful for.
  • The characters were all well-developed and not wooden. They were all different, which = good book.
  • It was a very realistic book. (more on this later!)
  • It literally had so much nerd culture that my heart was rendered incredibly happy! The fanfiction, the fangirling, the midnight book releases – perfection.

what i didn’t like.

  • The book had some things missing. This is perhaps a little hard to explain, but the ending wasn’t resolved to a place that I’d like it to be. There were some scenes that could have been taken places, but weren’t, and therefore seemed rather unnecessary. The ending bugged me.

(and that was about it!)

There is one more thing I’d like to mention. Rainbow Rowell’s writing style is centred around realism. She writes in the real world – there isn’t always a happy ever after. The ending isn’t always fully resolved. It’s a very different writing style, and it does take a lot of getting used to.

I’ve heard someone say that you either like her books, or you don’t.

I personally enjoy her work. I think it’s different, and refreshing. I think that people go into her work not realising that it will be different, and that’s where the crux occurs. This was -slightly- me in Fangirl.

I kinda forgot it was written by the same author as Eleanor and Park???

Anyway, I went into it thinking that maybe there’d be a fully satisfying happy ending, and while it may have been happy it didn’t fully satisfy me. There were parts that I would have appreciated the inclusion of. There were some scenes that I don’t think were necessary, despite it being realistic. I thought that the book was too long.


img_0581And, in the end, I am not a romance reader – I’m a sword buckler, classics, fantasy world reader. And so I think that this book did quite well to entice me as much as it did! It’s certainly well written, and the writing was stunning.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Keep smiling,

Emmeline 🙂

HOW TO TELL YOU HAVE A READING SLUMP + reading updates

I figured I hadn’t done some reading updates in a while, and then realised I’ve read less books than I usually would. AHH WELL, said I, LET’S DO IT ANYWAY.

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Have you ever wanted to know if you have a reading slump? Well, here’s a simple formula.

BOOKS YOU’VE READ SO FAR THIS MONTH
__________________________________________

AVERAGE BOOKS YOU READ THE LAST FEW MONTHS

In other words, divide the books you’ve read by the books you read last month. If your top number is very low compared to the rest, chances are you’ve either been really busy, or you’ve got a reading slump on your hands!

I decided to test this formula on myself, and it confirmed a sneaking suspicion I’ve had for a while.

Jan – 12

Dec – 19

Nov – 11

Oct – 17

Add the above together, and we get 59.

Now we divide 59 by four, and we get 14.75. (BUT LET’S ROUND IT UP TO 15 BECAUSE MATH.)

So my average book reading count over the last four months is fifteen books. NOW LET’S USE MY FORMULA.

3 (books I’ve read)
________________________
15 (average books read)

… well that’s wonderful isn’t it.

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So if you didn’t get any of that (BECAUSE WHO NEEDS MATH TO READ) it means that I’m a third into the month, and I haven’t read anywhere near my usual amount. I mean, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a reading slump, but those three books I did read were a struggle. I really had to force myself through them.

And that’s not how I like to read!

Anyway, what were those three books?

// Books I’ve Read So Far This Month //

The Loaded Dog (Henry Lawson) – 3 // 5.    I enjoyed this short story. It was well plotted and the characters were all well written in the short space that they were allowed! I didn’t like the racism and sexism that crept in, but obviously it’s over a hundred years old so unfortunately that’s what we have to expect. How I wish it wasn’t so!

Alice in Wonderland  (Lewis Carroll) – 4 // 5.    I’ve always loved Alice in Wonderland. A couple of years ago I got to play Alice in a drama performance. This just grew my love of this book, and when I got a new edition the other day, I knew I had to reread it! The book itself is extremely crazy and random, and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to. I think that it was because the plot felt a little less tight than some other books I’ve been reading lately? Obviously that’s just part of the nature of the book, but it did take away a little of the magic of the story for me.

Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) – 4 // 5.     This book was incredibly enjoyable (I fangirled every few pages), and yet I still felt a little bit let down? I think it was because I didn’t like the ending, nor some of the themes present. I know that it’s all part of the author’s writing style, but I did feel that the end was very anticlimactic. Particularly with the whole Nick storyline. Anyway, if you’ve read the book you may know what I mean. I greatly enjoyed it, but I didn’t think it was brilliant.

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I do have a few reasons for this mini reading slump that I am currently experiencing.

A) I’ve been super busy lately, and struggle to find time to read. YEAR ELEVEN, MAN.

B) The internet is distracting?? I just get distracted really easily, okay, and I know this isn’t a proper excuse.

C) My life has changed a lot lately, and I kinda use my spare time to process and cope and get my brain going again. Which is a good thing, I think.

SOOOOO I’m not too sad that I haven’t been able to read properly for a while. Because sometimes I just need to make sure that I’m okay first?? I think I’ll dedicate the rest of this month to working myself out and getting properly mentally prepared for the rest of 2017.

(is it just me or where did January go???? Like seriously.)


img_0581So how are you guys? Do you have any recommendations for getting out of a reading slump?????? Cause I may desperately need your help soon, if this gets any worse. I don’t want to pressure myself but I do miss reading.

Love,

Emmeline 🙂

MY SIX MONTH BOOK BUYING BAN! (rip me)

So I decided to go on a book buying/borrowing ban, until either my birthday in August or until I’ve read all the unread books in my bookshelf.

I think this is a suitable time to shout HELP into the void.

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In some ways this was a random, impromptu decision, but in others it was well thought out and considered. I’ve known for ages that the ratio of unread books in my shelf was growing steady larger, and I knew that I would have to do something about it. THEN when I went out and bought 40+ books from a second hand sale, I knew that my TBR was really getting out of hand.

So here’s a short list of WHY I’M DOING THIS.

  1. the unread books in my shelf will squash me if I don’t.
  2. there are lots of books that I may never get round to reading unless I make myself, because libraries are distractions.
  3. I really want to read above mentioned books.
  4. my broke self can’t afford to keep up with my book-buying habit.
  5. please see number one.

My life right now is filled with regret every single time I glance at my shelf, upon which I have placed a pile of read library books in front of the unread books on my shelf.

So here’s what I’m banning myself from.

  1. libraries.
  2. bookshops.
  3. secondhand sales.
  4. borrowing from friends.

FOR……

  • six months, i.e. until my birthday because hopefully I’ll get new books.

OR….

  • until I’ve read all the unread books in my bookshelf.

Surely that won’t be that hard? Surely. *future me cries in the distance*

At the present time, I have three library books that I am planning on reading (I borrowed them before deciding on this whole ban thing) before officially starting my ban. They are the three books in the Raven Boys series, and when I saw all three of them on the library shelf next to each other in order my heart broke and I simply had to borrow them. I’ve only read the first one and can’t wait to try the rest!

SO that’s that! Six months of no buying or borrowing.

BUT WAIT.

I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE MADE TWO EXCEPTIONS.

(woops)

My Exceptions, Or the Two Books I Plan On Buying Despite My Ban:

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J Maas. It comes out May 2nd and I’m sorry but I’m not waiting until my birthday to read it.
  • Berin and Luthien, by JRR Tolkien. It comes out May 4th and I’ve been looking forward to it for a very very long time! The book was edited and put together by Tolkien’s son, and I’m extremely excited to read it. MORE TOLKIEN GIMME PLEASE.

BUT APART FROM THOSE TWO I am not planning on buying any more books!



img_0581Fingers crossed that I’ll make it through the six months! I think the hardest thing will be no library visits, as I love my library. But no. I will last. I will prevail.

Have you ever done a book ban?

From a determined bookdragon,

–Emmeline 🙂

January 2017 WRAPUP

I read twelve books this month.

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Once (by six awesome authors) – 5 // 5

The Star-Touched Queen (Roshani Chokshi) – 2 // 5

A Court of Thorns and Roses ( Sarah J Maas) – 4 // 5

Reread: To Love a Sunburnt Country (Jackie French) – 4 // 5

Reread: The Ghost by the Billabong (Jackie French) – 3 // 5

If Blood Should Stain the Wattle (Jackie French) – 4 // 5

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Reread: The Adventures of Milly Molly Mandy (Joyce Lankaster Brisley) – 5 // 5

Reread: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

Reread: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

Reread: We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea! (Arthur Ransome) – 4 // 5

Whisper To Me (Nick Lake) – 3 // 5

The Loaded Dog (Henry Lawson) – 3 // 5

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I really feel like I have a reading slump coming on. You know that feeling? I actually felt like that at the beginning of the month, but I stubbornly pushed through. I think it’s because I read so much in December. Now I feel like I’m tired of reading before I’ve even started.

img_0581Does anyone have any good tips to survive a reading slump?

Keep smiling,

–Emmeline 🙂