The ‘All About the Reading’ – Tag

I’ve just stumbled upon this tag watching one of my all time favorite booktubers and since I’m only reading books these days (haven’t watched a new film in months), this tag spoke to my soul. Before I begin with the questions, I tag everyone who is keen to answer some or all of those questions.

You can watch the video that inspired me over here: Why I Read | All About the Reading Tag by Books by Leynes.

All about the Reading – Tag

1.What do you look for most when you pick up a book? A) A beautiful writing style B) A character driven story C) A plot driven story
When I pick up a book, the only thing I initially look for is, as in the case of Leynes, that it tells me something I don’t know. Whether it is telling me an adventure I haven’t read about yet, a way of portraying characters and their developments, or a unique way of writing, I want to be exposed to new ideas. The rest, plot, character construction, or quality of writing style comes later.

2.What are your pet peeves in books?
Plot holes and authors making use of tropes out of sheer laziness. If you’re using tropes to dismantle them or as a form of satire, then that is awesome. However, if you’re using a trope because you can’t think of another way to describe a character or scene, then that is lazy.

3. If you could print one quote on your wall, which one would it be?
As I’m looking around my room, I’m realizing that I already have a quote in my room, however, it is not on my wall. A while ago, I painted the famous line “Not all those who wander are lost” from Tolkien’s poem about Aragorn on a pillow. There are two reasons why I chose this rather overused line. For one, yes I’m a basic white girl that likes to travel so as a basic white girl I have to do what we all basic white girls do, find some ‘inspiring quotes’, plaster them on an lovely, but basic looking image and pretend that this alone will make things ‘good in life’. Ok, all jokes aside, my life was never straight forward with a clear and easy ‘graduating from school to find a job, buy a house and have a family’ -type of path. My life has been and still is a zig-zag journey leading me, sometimes, back to where I’ve already been. So that line is just a nice reminder that its OK to not have a straight forward life path. Anyhow, I digress.

20180525_103656

4. Which genre would you like to explore more?
Ancient literature, non-fiction, and folk tales from all over the world. As I’ve said, I want to be exposed to new ideas and I’ve been neglecting those three genres way too much.

5. Was there ever a movie adaptation you liked better than the book?
Oh, that is a touchy subject. For one, I have to out myself as a member of the minority that doesn’t think that “the book is always better than the adaptation”. Having said that, I’ve been avoiding some of the recently released adaptations so I’m not very up-to-date. Now to answer the question, I have to admit that I enjoyed Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels more than I enjoyed the actual novels.

6. If one of your favorite books would be adapted or get a new adaptation, which book would it be and which role would you like to play?
That is an oddly specific hypothetical scenario, but here we go. If The Lord of the Rings ever receives a new adaptation (I’m looking at you, Amazon), I’d love to play a random Hobbit in the background or alternatively an Orc. Honestly, I really don’t care about what I’d play as long as I’d be a part of it. I’m not an actor, nor do I possess any talent in that regard what-so-ever so just give me a random role as an extra Mr. and Mrs. Amazon. I’m willing to play an Orc in exchange for coffee.

7. A hyped book you wouldn’t recommend at all?
A recent disappointment was Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London. Several of my friends love this series while I was utterly bored and annoyed.

8. A book that highly influenced your life and way of thinking?
Similar to the Youtuber Leynes, where I found this Tag to begin with, I have to say Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. The ability to lure the reader into such a story, and even make the narrator seem likeable at times, just by through Nabokov’s stunning use of works is one of a kind and deeply affected me on how to see and interpret novels.

Now, this is not a single book, but rather than an entire genre, but non-fiction books deeply affected me and the way I read. When growing up as a kid, I’d either read fairy tales or non-fiction books. It got to a point where I was so intrigued by what non-fiction books could teach me that my father only got me non-fiction books as birthday presents for several years. This, I guess, explains why I’m putting such an emphasis being exposed to new ideas when reading books, fiction and non-fiction, in general.

9. Are you a fan of re-reading books, do you do it often?
I love re-reading books, especially my favorites. It allows me to either re-live an adventure or re-evaluate what I’ve read in a new way.

10. Which book title could easily be the title of your life?
I really like the title of Witi Ihimaera’s play Woman far Walking.

11. Which book should be required reading for everyone?
None, to be honest. What is ‘required’ to read as a means of learning changes all the time and far too often ‘required readings’ in school consist mostly of books by dead white men.

What about you? How is your reading going so far in 2018? Leave a comment down below.

 

Selfmade ‘Today in Middle-earth’ – Moleskine Journal

Several years ago, Moleskine release some beautiful Hobbit edition of its notebooks. As a lover of Moleskine notebooks and all things Tolkien, I had to get one too. While I loved every notebook in this Hobbit series, I settled for this notebook in pocket size.

Yet, until recently, I didn’t knew what to use it for. I wanted to use it for Middle-earth related stuff, but I was also too afraid to use it in case I ruin it. You know, the usual struggle every stationery lover has.

P1130532

A few days ago, as I was thinking of #middleearthmarch I somehow got THE IDEA: Why not use that Hobbit Moleskine notebook to write all Middle-earth dates down?

If you’re like me, March will make you wonder ‘What exactly happened that day in Middle-earth’? The entire year is filled with important days in Middle-earth, but March is, without a  doubt, one of the busiest months in Middle-earth. So whenever I wanted to know what was ‘going on’ in Middle-earth, I’d search the internet. Now, I don’t have to browse the world wide web, I can just grab my Middle-earth Calendar notebook and look up what is going on.

How I created my ‘Today in Middle-earth’ Moleskine Notebook

The most pressing question some of you now might have is ‘Where did you get all the dates from’? The best resouce on the internet is, by far, The One Ring.Net’s ‘Today in Middle-earth Calendar’. It is the most extensive and structured calender I’ve seen so far. No need to reference dozens of different hopepages anymore.

P1130539

Section 1: LOTR events month on two pages

For my own, analogue version, I created two sections. A ‘month on two pages’ featuring Lord of the Rings Events only and a ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section featuring all dates and events. The LOTR  events only section allows only for the most important event on each day. It serves me as a quick overview. My ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section is the one section I’ll use as a detailed account of events.

P1130540

Section 2

P1130543

My system of colour-coding events

In order to make things organized and clear, I’ve decided to colour-code the events in my ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section. Black stands for events  significant to LOTR, blue are events of importance to The Hobbit and purple encompasses miscellaneous events such as Tolkien’s birthday. All in all, I used up about two-thirds of my notebook. Depending on your handwriting or added decoration, it my be different for you if you decide to re-create it.

P1130546

Section 2: ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’

I’m not gonna lie, at times it felt tedious to write everything down. However, for the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the process. I’d put on Middle-earth inspired music and pretend to be a Gondorian historian. Now that I’m finished I’m desperate to re-read LOTR again!

Have you done anything similar? If now, what do you think of my little project? Leave a comment down below!

5 Fandom Friday: Five Villains We Secretly Love

Whether they are physically alluring, compelling to watch, or simply misunderstood, we all secretly have villains that we actually root for.

We’re keeping up with the spirit of Five Fandom Friday with our own prompts, and this week, we are daring to admit to Five Villains We Secretly Love! Do you see any of your favorites on our list?

#1 – Lucius Malfoy

Harry Potter Series

Maria: Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny Lucius’ evil side, I’m also not sugarcoating his views. In our world, he’d be an arrogant racist, and I’m all against that. Having said that, I cannot deny that Movie Lucius is such a dandy that he is almost on parr with Gilderoy Lockhart. Everything about movie Lucius in the early films is just so extra, so over the top that I cannot help but love him and feel for his character in the last films as his life starts to unravel.

#2 – Eris

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Lily: I loved the movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas when it came out, but it wasn’t entirely because of the heroic deeds of the protagonists. Eris, the goddess discord, was so entrancing to watch that I was always excited to see her. This is largely due to the interesting effects used to create her smoky appearances and movements (Eris is a combination of a hand-drawn character with added 3D effects).

She just wants to add a little chaos into the world, and she happens to use mortals as her playthings. But if you use her own rules to beat her at her own game, she accepts it…rather gracefully.

#3 – Wilson Fisk

Daredevil

Lily: The first time we meet Wilson Fisk, he is about to put himself out on a limb to ask a woman out on a date. He’s nervous and vulnerable, and I instantly felt empathy for him. His backstory is revealed throughout the first season of Daredevil, and we learn that a catalyst for his violence was wanting to protect his mother, a noble motivation. In his mind, he is the hero — like Matthew Murdock, he sees himself as the caretaker of his city. He just turns into a scary, calculating rage monster to make his vision happen.

#4 – Bart Curlish

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Lily: She’s crazy. She’s erratic. She’s hilarious. She’s deadly. Bart Curlish is the opposite of Dirk Gently in that she’s a holistic assassin and is meant to kill whomever she kills. And she has killed a lot of people. But never the wrong person.

Just like Eris, I was always looking forward to when this character would show up, even if her motive (“Kill Dirk Gently”) runs counter to the rest of the show. Honestly, sometimes I really wished for her to fulfill her mission just because I wanted her to have that win.

#5 – Gollum/Sméagol

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings

Lily: When we first meet Gollum in The Hobbit, he’s a menace and an obstacle to be overcome (though the riddle game between Gollum and Bilbo is my favorite scene in the whole Hobbit movie trilogy). It’s in The Lord of the Rings that we become sympathetic towards him, or at the very least, can find him pitiable. He is single-minded from the moment he sees the ring, but it is his moments of compassion for Frodo that hearken back to the simple creature he was before the One Ring corrupted him. However, without that corruption, he would not have been able to empathize with Frodo.

He’s a complicated character, to be sure, but when people ask me about my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings, Gollum is always in the top ten.

 

Did we leave any of your favorite villains off of our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments who we missed!

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!

If We Were Having Coffee | June 10th, 2017

Welcome back to another ‘If we were having coffee’ -post were we pretend to meet up for a coffee to catch up with each others lives.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve re-read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Two Towers back to back. Right now, I’m still reading The Return of the King and I’m having all the Middle-earth feels. This is the first time that I not only re-read these books back to back, but also the first time I re-read these books in the same year. Usually, I’d read one of them (LOTR counting as one) in a certain year, then the next year another book. I’m so deep down the Middle-earth rabbit hole, I’ll probably read Beren and Luthien right after ROTK, once I get my hand(s) on Beren and Luthien (no pun intended….I’m one-handed myself, but I feel like writing “Once I get my hand on it” sounds odd or could appear as a typo so I tend to use the plural form when writing this phrase….but I digress).

 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how, now that I’m not saving up for a trip, I’m spending most of my money on my geeky collections. Well, primarily my Tolkien collection (Although, I’ve also have a few items on my wishlist for my Harry Potter and X-Files obsession) I’ve got 3 Middle-earth related books in the mail already, waiting on 3 more to arrive in the next few days while also having pre-ordered 4 of the 6 LOTR Funkos. The remaining two, I’m planning on pre-ordering with the next paycheck. Sure, for some hardcore collectors, this seems like nothing, but to me this is a huge deal. In the last 4 years, I’ve been saving all my paychecks for one trip or another (A semester abroad, Belgium, twice to London, and a trip to New Zealand). So having the luxury to devote my time and love on my collections makes me go overboard a bit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how much I struggle with keeping up with geeky TV shows, movies, and books. There are so many franchises out there that are on my ‘to read’ or ‘to watch’ list that I don’t even know where to begin. Just to give you an example, I’ve watched a few episodes of the first season of Breaking Bad when it came out and I still haven’t finished watching the rest of it to this day…and the show ended in 2013! So what do I do instead? Re-watch movies and TV shows and re-read books I know by heart already. Which brings me to….

xfiles

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you, that I’ve been re-watching The X-Files from season 1 (once again) and now I have this urge to talk about it. I’m thinking about analyzing a few episodes here and there on this blog, such as the Pilot (there is so much I could say, argh!) and I’m wondering if people would be interested? The plan wouldn’t be to analyze every single episode of every single season (ain’t nobody got time for that!). Instead, I’d just pick a few episodes here and there that I loved, that frightened me or that, for some other reason, made me want to discuss them. So what do you say, Yay or Nay? Let me know!

So, how has 2017 been so far for you? Should I analyze and discuss my favourite X-Files episodes? Leave a comment down below!

Favourite First Lines in Books

A while ago, I stumbled somewhere in the depths of Youtube upon people sharing their favourite first lines in books. I was intrigued and started to wonder about my favourite first lines. What makes a first line great? Why do we memorize some first lines forever and forget others? To me, a good first line is a combination of poetic beauty of words and a clever introduction of the world within the book. There are, of course, countless books with great first lines, but today I want to share with you four books with my favourite first lines.

P1080408b

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

Of course, I had to start with The Hobbit. Apart from my obvious obsession with Tolkien’s Middle-earth, The Hobbit’s first lines are just beautifully written. The first line is simple, yet intriguing. It immediately makes you wonder who or what a hobbit is (assuming you never heard of them before). The second line tells you a great deal about what hobbits are. At this point, the reader may still doesn’t know what a hobbit is, but the reader does know already that hobbits love comfort and that food plays an important role in their lives. The simple sentence structure draws you in and before you know, you’ve already finished reading the first chapter.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonesense.”

Similar to The Hobbit, the simple sentence structure of Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone makes you jump from sentence to sentence until you reached the end of the first chapter without knowing it. An interesting aspect about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is that it doesn’t start with its main character. When reading the book title, you’d expect anything, but to start with the most non-magical characters in the novel. Instead of introducing the readers to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, the novel takes the readers by the hand and allows them to experience the wonders of magic through Harry gradually.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

If it weren’t for Nabokov’s beautiful poetic style, Lolita would’ve probably not be as controversial as it is. Let me explain. If Lolita were written by a less talented author, it may have received temporary attention but would’ve been put off as ‘disgusting trash’ and eventually forgotten. However, because of Nabokov’s talent, the reader cannot help, but feel drawn into the mindset of Humbert Humbert. The reader is torn between the reality of an, mildly put, “inappropriate relationship” and the poetic beauty of the novel. Only because the reader is able to relate to Humbert to a certain degree (however small that degree may be), has Lolita become so controversial.

In addition to the poetic beauty of those lines, this short passage reveals a lot about the narrator. First of all, the reader learns that this is a first person narrator. This is insofar significant because it already tells you not to believe everything unquestioned as first person narrators are always very unreliable. Secondly, this passage, explaining in great depth how the name Lolita is formed when speaking, indicates that the yet unnamed narrator not only love Lolita, but that he is unhealthily obsessed with her. Lastly, it also reveals that the narrator is aware that his love or obsession with Lolita is inappropriate by explaining that she is his sin.

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

“He walks down the street. The asphalt reels by him.
It is all silence.
The silence is music.
He is the singer.
The people passing smile and shake their heads.
He holds a hand out to them.
They open their hands like flowers, shyly.
He smiles with them.
The light is blinding: he loves the light.
They are the light.”

I started to read The Bone People a while ago, but I still haven’t managed to finish it. Not because I don’t like it. Quite the contrary, this novel is one of those you have to put down once in a while to appreciate the words you just read. As beautiful these first lines are, as unable I’m able to express my feelings for them. Hulme’s usage of metaphors is stunning. The reader has no idea who this character is and what this is all about, but the reader is drawn into the novel nonetheless.

As said earlier, there are countless other books with great first lines such as Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, or Barry’s Peter Pan, but these four are my absolute favourites. Each of these four entries mesmerized me and let me forget my surroundings as early as the first sentence.

What are your fist lines in books? Do you agree with my analysis of these entries? Leave a comment down below!