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Books and Reading Life Stuff

I Did a Jane Austen Thing

Ask yourselves this: what’s the one thing that can get an introverted book nerd to leave the house in coronatimes?

If your answer was A Jane Austen Thing, you would be correct.

It’s been a long time since I did a coronavirus-related post, and that’s partly because for the past few months, things in Croatia seemed to be going okay. Sure, our case numbers were rising, there were quite a few outbreaks in nightclubs and bars and officials hurriedly appearing in the media blaming young people for being… well, young people, but for the most part we were enjoying the summer, travelling, seeing friends. Apart from the fact that we had to don masks whenever we entered a shop, life seemed to have more or less gone back to normal.

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Life Stuff Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

Usually when I’m not banging on about books or studying on this blog, I’m writing long Back from the Dead posts to explain why I’ve once again slipped off the face of the planet. If you’ve read any of these posts, you’ll know that the excuse I usually use is that I have so much work to do that I don’t have time. Either that, or I’m just super lazy and unmotivated. And while the latter excuse is definitely one hundred per cent accurate, the truth is that I do also have a (very) few other things that occupy my time other than work and books. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is about non-bookish hobbies, I thought I’d share a few of them with you, although honesty forces me to admit that I ran out of steam at about No. 3 on this list and couldn’t think of any more things that I enjoy doing, so I proceeded to either a) make stuff up, or b) fantasise about the stuff I would do if I were wealthier, cooler, smarter, and had more time – or indeed an entirely different personality.

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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Super Long Book Titles from My University Essays: Being a Short and Incomplete Historie of the Ridiculously Verbose and Unnecessarily Long Titles of the Tomes Brought Forth for Studye During My Younger and More Academic Years, Written in the Yeare 2020

I’ve been out of academia for a while now, but if there’s one thing that I remember about being at uni, it’s the fact that there is a lot of reading. And I mean a lot.

Sometimes that reading is fascinating, sometimes it’s decidedly not (I’m looking at you, Jacques Lacan, you bastard). I’ve already written a list of top 10 books I think every lit major should read, and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a great chance to revisit my university days once more. As soon as I saw the topic was extremely long book titles, the reading I did at uni immediately sprang to mind. Because if there’s one thing academics love, it’s a nice, long, and juicy title.

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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things

Should the Narnia books be read in chronological order or in publication order?

The Narnia books were a massive part of my childhood. I read them and re-read them, listened to radio dramatisations, and anxiously awaited the release of the movies, long after the age where this sort of feverish devotion to a children’s series might have been deemed acceptable.

So naturally the question of whether they should be read in chronological order or publication order is one that I feel I have to weigh in on, and since that’s the theme of this week’s Classic Remarks, well, here I go.

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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten Favourite Quotations

If you’re anything like me, you keep a notebook of your favourite book quotations. It’s a fancy book, perhaps gilded or with some nice patterns on it, because as we all know, pretty covers make books just a little bit more interesting. (Incidentally, the same rule applies to all of the following: movie posters, mediocre wine, cheap t-shirts, and all the men you met before the age of twenty seven.) But sometimes there are also some incredible quotations inside those covers. I’m using today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt to explore some of my favourites.

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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things

Thanks, Davie – A Classic That Changed My Life

I haven’t written about Dickens very often on this blog; in fact, I feel like I’ve downright neglected him. And because this week’s Classic Remarks prompt was about life-changing classics, I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about one of my earliest encounters with classics, and finally give poor Charlie a bit of facetime on this blog.

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Books and Reading Forgotten Classics Reviews

Welcome to the Sci-Fi Machine: The Machine Stops (1928), by E.M. Forster

There’s a lot of people out there who are doubtful about sci-fi. Isn’t it all weirdly phallic spaceships flying about and aliens shooting at each other using an assortment of weapons that look like someone took the contents of a kitchen drawer and went bananas with a can of spray paint and some furniture polish, they wonder? And, yes, there is that. But kitchen utensils notwithstanding, I’ve always been an unabashed lover of the genre. So it was a source of endless delight to me to discover that one of my favourite early 20th-century writers had written a short story set in a dystopian world run by something known only as the Machine.

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Books and Reading Prompts Memes and Other Fun Things Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books with Colours in the Title (Plus! A Lot of Really Bad Colour Puns)

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time again. Because today’s prompt was delightfully open to interpretation, I decided to think long and hard about how I could be creative with it.

But after about two minutes of strained cogitation I decided that was too difficult, so I just combed through my Goodreads list until I found ten books with colours in the title. So here they are. Forgive me if my choices come a little… out of the blue. I hope I won’t come out of this too red-faced. Then again, I’ve always been a bit of a black sheep.

(WARNING: there will be a lot more of this. I make no apologies. I’m just showing you my true colours.)

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Classics Club Challenge Reading Challenges Reviews

A Heterogenous Superfluity of Trisyllabic Utterances: The Portrait of a Lady (1881), by Henry James

Ladies and gentlemen, pray mind the spoilers!

Oh my poor, poor Classics Club list. I made it in 2014 and infused it with all the optimism of my more youthful days. I was convinced I would read 100 classics (including such hefty tomes as War and Peace and Ulysses – ah the vanity of youth) in four years. Five years on and I’ve made it about 10% of the way through that list. So I’m guessing I’ll be done with it sometime around my sixtieth birthday. Hooray for me!

This book was #61 on that list, and since I somehow associated the month of March with E.M. Forster books about Italy (I read Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room With a View in some long-ago March and since then the association has been fixed in my brain), I thought I’d read another classic that features Italy heavily. Well, last March I managed to make it about five chapters into The Portrait of a Lady before giving up. This year I was determined to make it all the way through.

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Reviews

Sexy Vampire Fun: Carmilla (1872) by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Be prepared for sexy, sexy vampire fun. Oh, and spoilers.

If you know anything about vampires in folklore and fiction, you will probably know the following:

  1. The vampire myth developed somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was all about fears of the dead coming back to life and visiting their family members to make life difficult for them, and also, because we’re dealing with Folk Legends, may have at least partly been invented by women eager to cover up the fact that they’d been fooling around with other men after their husbands had shuffled off this mortal coil. Folk legends can be so quaint and innocent and lovely like that.
  2. Surprisingly, the vampires of ancient folk legend rarely actually sucked blood. Which basically means that they more or less just… sucked.
  3. Vampires did not, under any circumstances, sparkle.