book tag · books · Tag

♫♪ The Music Book Tag! ♪♫

Music Book Tag.png

It’s Monday! (unenthusiastic woo!) So I thought i’d do this fun tag which I saw over on Alex a.k.a coffeeloving bookaholic’s blog (She has a wonderful bookish blog, check it out!). The tag asks you to choose books which reflect the artists vibe or tone. Honestly, I never thought i’d be thinking about Taylor Swift or One Direction on my blog which is why I thought this tag was such a stand out to me!

The rules:

  • Link back to me as Bookchanted, as the creator of the tag. I want to read your answers y’all!!
  • You can use the graphics if you want
  • Tag at least four other people!
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

1. Ed Sheeran: An adorable book that left you feeling warm and fuzzy.
The BFG  When I think about it, I honestly don’t remember the last time I read a book that left me feeling warm or fuzzy, so i’m choosing a book I remember loving as a child. I legit thought the BFG was responsible for all the dreams I dreamt right up until I was around 9 years old.

2. Taylor Swift: A book with way too much drama to keep track of.
Ulysses This book is over 900 pages! Is that enough of a reason? I actually read around half of this book but in non-sequential order for a couple of my university seminars; with that being said, I should be able to name at least more than two plot points.. but I can’t.

 

3. Zayn Malik: The broody, mysterious character you totally fell for.
Mr. Rochester I’ll admit that part of my attraction towards this character is because I watched an adaptation alongside reading this book. Mr Rochester, might be (I think) my very first introduction to broody Victorian men.

4. Jelena: A ship you really wanted but it never sailed.
Jacob and Bella (Twilight saga) Team Jacob all the way! I fully stand by my 15-19 year old self they will always be my OTP (One True Pairing). Other than the other guys ‘allure’ I still don’t understand the attraction or decision Bella made.

 

5. Fall Out Boy: A series that just keep getting better and better.
Harry Potter series This is probably the only series that i’ve re-read more than twice. I love that there’s still new information being released about the world and the characters. I’ve also grown to appreciate the books more as an adult.

6. Halsey/Demi Lovato: A badass female character you really admire.
Lydia Carrington – Despite being in the thick of  a murder scene, she remains level-headed throughout and takes charge of a group of mostly men. She’ s also quick-thinking, caring, extremely observant and doesn’t stand for any nonsense.

 

7. One Direction: The romantic, cheesy book you couldn’t help but love.
The Fault In Our Stars – One of the few teen romances that I genuinely loved reading from start to finish. The story is both lovely and heart-breaking. The protagonists are sweet people in terribly unlucky positions but the story still manages to make you smile.

8. Adele: A book that delivers a really powerful message.
1984 This is about as powerful of a book with a message as you can get. Orwell is giving us a warning against the progression of totalitarianism and is informing us on the importance of our basic personal right the freedom to think and therefore be. Did you know that The UK has 1% of world’s population but 20% of its CCTV cameras?

9. Miley Cyrus: A book/series that exceeded your expectations.
Northanger Abbey – I wasn’t the biggest Austen fan, actually, i’m still undecided as to whether I truly am but I was surprised when I ended up really enjoying this book. I think it had to do with it being influenced by the Gothic genre which is one of my favourites.

10. Katy Perry: A book/series that didn’t live up to the hype.
The Girl on the Train It was marketed as the next ‘Gone Girl’  it wasn’t. Though it had the potential to be a very good story it wasn’t as engaging or interesting as I was led to believe it would be… it’s still a good read though.

 

Would you pair any of these books with these artists?
What book(s) would you pair them with? Let me know, i’m curious! 😀

I tag any of you reading this who want to give it a go… Yes, you!

 

GraceSign

 

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Book Reviews · books · Literature

An Unbearable Journey! ..The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: Book Review

Spoilers ahead, featuring a few unavoidable grievances about the film adaptations.

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I first attempted reading The Hobbit around 7 or 8 years ago but never really got into it. I then gave it a second go shortly before the release of the first Hobbit film (I still don’t understand why a 364 page book was split into 3 films) and again I wasn’t able to get through more than a chapter or two. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I decided to pick up The Hobbit again and this time, give it a real go, and I have to say this book isn’t at all what I expected.

Synopsis: The Hobbit is J.R.R. Tolkien’s introduction to the spectacular world of Middle-earth. It follows the adventures of a reluctant hero – Bilbo Baggins, who accompanies the wizard Gandalf and 13 Dwarfs on a quest to regain their lost Dwarven kingdom from evil dragon Smaug

It’s been long while since i’ve read any high fantasy novels and this one definitely took some getting used to. Despite being familiar with the world (mostly through The Lord of the Rings movies) I really didn’t know what to expect and by that I mean Tolkien’s writing. For starters, i’d forgotten that this was a children’s book. The opening chapters make this quite plain in both the tone and writing style which was both simple and easy to read. Moreover the style of the book also lends itself better to be read aloud – because there are so many names, locations and creatures to remember, I found myself often re-reading sentences or going back to check if I had missed something. Not to mention the songs throughout, which again I think would be more appreciated by a younger audience.

Another major thing which caught me of guard was the journey itself, which takes up pretty much the entire book. I’d based my expectations for this part of the story on the films, which was my mistake because it really made me wonder why this book was titled The Hobbit: There and Back and Again when really it should have been called The Hobbit: An Unpleasant Journey or The Hobbit: An Unbearable Journey or The Hobbit: A Journey I Could Have Avoided If I Had Just Listened To My Own Advice And Stayed At Home.. as we’re so often reminded by the protagonist. It’s literally the worst journey I’ve ever read about – setback after setback with only very few triumphs. I suppose it does show the amount of tenacity the characters have, but for a children’s novel the story itself is rather bleak.

Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?

I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly fond of the main characters. Bilbo I liked because we spent the majority of the novel through his point of view, I found even Gandalf to be annoying at times. What’s more I didn’t think I would come across a character that could surpass the broody, A Song of Ice and Fire’s (Game of Thrones) Jon Snow but the character of Thorin Oakensheild – King and leader of the dwarfs, I think definitely takes the cake. On a more positive note, the world building is truly fascinating and the different beings and creatures we’re introduced to throughout the novel make you want to learn more about their history and how they came to be – it’s things like this that really bring to the forefront Tolkien’s extraordinary ideas and the depths to his imagination.

Lastly, (and this is me just being nit-picky) I was really looking forward to reading about Legolas who appears in the adaptations, unfortunately, there is no Legolas… none at all. If by chance you haven’t read The Hobbit or seen any of the Hobbit films, I would advise you to read the books first before seeing any of the films.

Overall, though I liked learning more about Middle-earth, The Hobbit was not quite the enjoyable read I was expecting it to be.

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3/5
books · Literature

October Recommendations – Monsters in Literature! 👽 👻 🦇

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October is officially here and for many of us that means getting into the spirit of Autumn/Fall or if you love Halloween, getting prepped to do all things scary and spooky (I like doing a bit of both). At first I was going to make a list of book recommendations based on the gothic and horror genres but I thought about it and decided to focus on the thing that really stands out to me when I read these books – the monsters.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen some of these monsters in films/television and they’ve contributed to my interpretations of them. Nonetheless their vivid descriptions give the reader the opportunity to create their own terrifying monsters with their imagination. Below is a list of books with monsters that I found to be both intriguing and scary to read about.

*Note* I did plan on putting images or gifs of these monsters throughout this post but they’re too scary to look at for more than a few seconds.

Dracula

WEREWOVLES Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The event of becoming a werewolf in this world is painful and traumatising. The pack mentality is also very intimidating especially because you read about it from the protagonist’s point of view who is a human. They’re also not the friendliest bunch in either human or wolf form.

VAMPIRES Dracula by Bram Stoker

The build-up of the narrator’s fear throughout this book is intense and you feel it from the get-go. Dracula himself isn’t as imposing as you think but the little things like not having a reflection, turning into a bat and having secret passageways are described a lot more sinisterly and makes you feel uncomfortable.

Moreau

BASILISK Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling

I would rather face Dementors or Umbridge or even the Hungarian Horntail than a Basilisk! It sneaks around in pipes, is 50 foot tall and can kill with only a glance. Its presence throughout the book is shrouded in mystery especially when we learn that Harry can hear it speak and move when nobody else can. 

GHOSTS The Turn of the Screw – by Henry James

While the ghosts, though frightening, don’t actually do anything, the effects they have on the living characters end up being both catastrophic and irreparable. Because only certain characters can see the ghosts, we’re left to guess whether they’re real or just a figment of the characters’ imagination.

HUMAN – ANIMAL HYBRIDS The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells

This book creeped me out when I first read it it reminded me that vivisection is a very real thing in our world. Imagining what these hybrids both looked like and what they must have gone through at the hands of Dr Moreau is unimaginable.

frankenstein

A MONSTER Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R.L Steverson

Mr Hyde is the alter ego of Dr Jekyll. Hyde’s physical appearance reflects his sinister character; the most disturbing thing about this ‘monster’ is that it implies that we are all in some way suppressing our own true nature it may not be as severe as Jekyll’s but it’s definitely somewhere in there, waiting..

THE MONSTER Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein’s monster is many things, he is intellectual, compassionate and longs for acceptance, however he is also menacing, driven by vengeance and a crazed killer. Personally, despite being more familiar with its visual adaptation, I found Shelley’s descriptions to be even more chilling.

So there it is, enough monster Lit to keep you occupied for the month! 

Which of these monsters do I find most frightening?
Though I wouldn’t fancy being bitten by a vampire or basilisk, ghosts scare me the most – nobody would believe you and you can’t exactly get rid of them with a wooden stake…

Which of these monsters frighten you the most? And do you have any Monster Lit recommendations? 🙂

books · Life · Literature

⊘ Banned Books Week 2017 ⊘

September 24th – 30th

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Books are books but we can’t ignore their influence and power.

I’ve never really thought about why books have been banned, growing up the only book that I knew of being banned or challenged was the Harry Potter series and while looking through my bookshelves to see how many banned books I owned, I found that I had more than I expected – a lot more than in the image above. Some of these books actually still remain on banned or challenged lists around the world, which really puts into perspective just how much words can influence people.  

Here’s a list of a couple of banned books that I picked out:

  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison
  • Fanny Hill: Or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure – John Cleland
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling
  • Holes – Louis Schar

    Was challenged for being too violent and inappropriate for its intended age group.

  • Snow Falling On Cedars – David Guterson
  • The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

    Its challengers cited violence, sexually explicit content, religious viewpoint and underlying political themes.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

Was banned in some parts of the world for its negative portrayal of colonialism.

  • Ulysses – James Joyce

 

If you’ve read or been reading a banned book this week that hasn’t been mentioned in the list above please let me know in the comments below. My TBR (To Be Read) is disappearing at a faster rate than I expected!!

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame”.
― Oscar Wilde

“Yes books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas”.
― Pete Hautman

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance”.
― Laurie Halse Anderson

 

book tag · books · Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Feature Characters With Interesting Jobs!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is books that feature ______ characters: where you decide on which type of characters you want to talk about.  For my first ever (and slightly late) Top Ten Tuesday Challenge, I decided to go with Ten Books That Feature Characters With Interesting Jobs! So, without further ado and in no particular order…

1. Jonas – A Receiver of Memory
(The Giver by Lowis Lowry)
In a world where order and sameness is paramount, The Receiver holds all the memories of pleasure and pain – every single bit of it and it’s Jonas’ job to receive said memories from Jeff Bridges a.k.a The Giver behind him there.tumblr_ovlmqznYGJ1vc2a1oo1_500


2.
Tonks – Auror, OOTP – Advanced GuardMother… all by age 25. Despite the climate of the Potter books, I wish I had my life half as well as put together by her age. Plus she can use her ability as a metamorphmagus, which comes in handy.
(Harry Potter series by J.K)Rowling)giphy

3. The Seeker
(The Host by Stephanie Meyer)
Her calling is to search for and track down humans who have managed to avoid host implantation… her job becomes more interesting when it is revealed that she, like the protagonist has failed to subdue her own host.


4.
Robert Langdon – Professor of Religious Iconology and Symbology
(Dan Brown novels)

For a made up profession that’s set in the real world and contains real world information, it’s pretty impressive. Though from time to time, it requires you use Google to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.
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5.
Katherine Solomon – Noetic Scientist.

(The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown)
This character studies a Science that I didn’t know existed until I recently read The Lost Symbol. It’s wild! It involves the study of the mind and the potential of our consciousness.


6.
Professor Trelawney – Divination Teacher

( Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling)
This probably wasn’t the subject or teacher you might have chosen as most interesting but I think in a world where flying cars, floo powder and thestrals exist, that the wizarding world should be more accepting to the study of Divination.
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7
. Commander Paylor – President of Panem formerly Commander of district 8
(Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins)
She was a front-line, bad-ass rebel leader and now she has control of the new world order and it must be, considering the grave history of their society, both a complex and challenging job to do.
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8.
Newt Scamander – Magizoologist
(Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander – J.K. Rowling)

It takes a great amount of time, patience and dedication to do what Newt does. Not to mention the guts you need to have to handle the likes of an Erumpant, Myrtlap, Occamy and Thunderbird!


9.
Arya stark – Apprentice of the Faceless Men
(A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin)

On the outside it may look like a cool ‘how to train to become a bad-ass assassin club’ but really it requires that you have more than the average amount of dedication and grit to be able to survive the tasks and missions they ask you to do.tumblr_o76bg60lnT1ulrwa3o3_500


10.
Bilbo Baggins – ‘A Burglar’

(The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien)
His small size, quick thinking, oh and a certain magical ring make him the perfect ‘burglar’. His tasks have included: fighting giant spiders, breaking out a dozen dwarves and verbally sparring with a dragon – definitely not my kind of job.

 

I really enjoyed making this list! Do you have a TTT? Post in the comments section below! 🙂

Book Reviews · books

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol 🗝 : Book Review

Spoiler free!

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Prior to The Lost Symbol, the only book I’d read by Dan Brown was The Da Vinci Code. I was aware of the controversy surrounding the plot and I even had people suggest that I not read it I went to a Catholic school so I could understand why those trying to deter me did so. But curiosity got the better of me and I like a good story, so the inevitable happened. I ended up really enjoying The Da Vinci Code, I don’t think I’d ever read a book that merged so much fact and fiction, based it in reality and made me think beyond my imagination. The Lost Symbol offered something similar so naturally I was very interested.

Before I get into my review let me give a brief summary: The story follows Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building by his mentor Peter Solomon – a prominent Mason and philanthropist. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn – his mentor has been brutally kidnapped and Langdon is forced into a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, freemasonry and unseen truths… all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date.

 Now… Where. To. Begin… Firstly, this book is not for the faint-hearted, it’s one that requires a more than average amount of time and attention. There is a lot of information thrown at you, some which is useful in furthering the plot, some that you may be familiar with if you took a history or a religious studies class and some that requires you to have Google search open by your side. With that being said, one of my favourite things about this novel is the way Brown combines historical facts with fiction. Because he includes real organisations, artwork, monuments and most importantly real places he writes in a way where there is just the right amount of plausibility that the reader begins to question where the fact begins and the fiction ends.  

“Language can be very adept at hiding the truth”.

Despite the unusual circumstances, the characters are both well written and realistic. The mystery itself was solid and I remained engaged for most of the book. Again, Brown is incredibly good at using historical facts to move the plot forward, however, he tends to incorporate them to serve as cliff-hangers (and there are many) – which despite their momentary intrigue do not always payoff as the game changers we are led to believe that they are.

One of my biggest criticisms is the length of the book – it easily could have been around 150 pages shorter. For me, its lengthy feel is due to Brown’s inclusion of so many POV characters. For example: Brown will write one POV chapter about a character finding out about a plot point and then write another chapter about another character also finding out about the same plot point but under slightly different circumstances – he does this multiple times throughout, and at times with several characters which makes the story feel repetitive.

I have long since stood by the saying – “A story is only as good as its villain” – In this case the antagonist has a lot more of a presence than I’m used to, which for me made the character, though impressive in his execution, even more unlikable. Is he intriguing? Yes. But is he compelling throughout? No. – This was pretty much how I felt about the book overall.

Don’t get me wrong, The Lost Symbol is fascinating and interesting and thought-provoking and i’ve definitely learned things from this book, that I otherwise would have never looked up on my own (not to mention the plot twist which I did not see coming) but this unfortunately doesn’t supersede some of the issues I had with the book.

If you’re interested in semiotics, noetic science, linguistics or US history, then The Lost Symbol will definitely be a treat. If not, make sure you have Google or whichever search engine you prefer to use by your side!

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3.4 / 5
Book Reviews · books

It’s Sherlock Time! A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle: Book Review

Mild spoilers ahead…

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I usually have trouble separating characters from their on screen counterparts, especially if i’ve enjoyed watching them. In this case however, I was surprised to find that my imagination for the most part remained intact and was not clouded by the faces and performances of the most recent iteration, à la the BBC series. With that being said, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into – I thought, I knew the story and well… I was wrong! Going forward I need to remember that the word adaptation can be presented in the loosest of ways. I implore you do the same.

A Study In Scarlet (1887) is Arthur Conan Doyle’s first book in the Sherlock Holmes series. It introduces readers to the pairing of our narrator Dr John Watson and the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes who shortly after becoming acquainted, are summoned to a South London House by the news that a man has been found dead. This grim discovery is complicated further by the complete absence of wounds on the body or signs of a struggle and the word “RACHE” – German for ‘revenge’ – being written in blood on the wall. The only piece of evidence to accompany the scene is a woman’s wedding ring. 

The book, not including the intro, is only 141 pages long and within them Doyle manages to produce a multi-layered story with an intriguing set of characters. As well as his coherent and well structured writing style, the intricacies of his characterisation of Sherlock and hence his deductions make you wonder whether Doyle himself were a detective at some point during his life. Sherlock is impressive as is Watson’s ability to be endearing; moreover, while the narrative is written to adhere to our two protagonists adhere, Doyle is also able to –  however small of a role – provide the reader with just the right amount of characterization to have you both care and understand their motivations. 

“One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.”

During the second part of the book there is a huge jump in narrative voice and setting which completely caught me off guard. It’s jarring because it has almost nothing to do with either Sherlock or John, the story instead shifts from a Who narrative into a Why narrative, and though it eventually ends up tying up with the overall plot, it feels like you’re reading an entirely different novel.

Overall, I found myself rather enjoying how Doyle decided to write this book. Despite being presented as a detective story, it is in fact, one of revenge and in writing these two contrasting but connecting parts, Doyle rather inadvertently asks for you to choose which account you prefer and whether the crime can be now viewed as justifiable. To make the decision somewhat challenging he writes them in a way to leave the reader to decide whether certain characters should be viewed as perpetrators or victims. As for me, I like both parts equally the same, was the crime justified? Perhaps. The outcome implies a more objective resolution but really it’s up to you to decide. 

If you want to get into detective fiction, I highly recommend you give A Study in Scarlet a read!

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4 / 5