27 Feb 2017

Let's talk La La Land


I'm kinda happy I didn't stay up to see the organizers' major screw up with the Best Picture award at the Oscars. I was up until 4:30 a.m. but then I got bored, because the show wasn't that great (I realized I'm not a fan of Jimmy Kimmel) and I had to get some sleep before my afternoon class. As it turned out I was right to do that. I think I couldn't have slept a wink if I saw the Best Picture part live...

I wanted La La Land to win. I enjoyed that movie immensely and I want poeple at Hollywood to make more good musical films. We haven't got enough of them. And Emma Stone is amazing, you go girl!

I haven't seen Moonlight yet but I'm sure it deserved the award and of course now it's on my watchlist.

But back to La La Land. There is still cause to celebrate, since the picture won 6 Oscars, including the one for Original Song. Now, to keep the matters bookish while I pay tribute to the creators and the film this is what I'll do:

I'll tell you which three songs I'm the most fond of from La La Land and then I'll let you know which book's imaginary tracklist could include them in my opinion.

You can access La La Land's full soundtrack on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmKlaGpmYig&t=1528s&spfreload=10

Let's start with this year's Best Original Song:

City of Stars

 The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan


Everyone needs someone because we cannot truly be happy alone – that's the message of City of Stars.

In Terence Rattigan's drama, The Deep Blue Sea, Hester Collyer has a home and a husband, yet she feels lonely. One day a Royal Air Force Pilot sweeps her off her feet and they start a turbulent affair. However, both Freddie and Hester come close to breaking point as the consequences of their relationship catch up with them.

I chose this book to go with this song for two reasons. One, I think Hester's dilemma coincides with the message of the song, and two, because the love story and the ending are very similar to what we see in La La Land.

A Lovely Night  

Stardust by Neil Gaiman


Since I'm not someone who appreciates instalove, the slowly developing romance between Mia and Sebastian just seemed right to me. The relationship starts off on a wrong foot? Even better. 

Do you remember the story of the boy who promised his love a shooting star and then found himself falling in love with said star? Yvaine and Tristran's relationship didn't start out very well either, but of course they ended up together later.

The playful teasing in A Lovely Night reminds me a lot of Tristran and Yvaine's conversations and of course the mention of night and stars in the song makes it an even better fit.

Audition (The Fools Who Dream)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Gatsby's character influences how Nick Carraway thinks about life, just like Mia's aunt had an impact on Mia's way of thinking. Not to mention the American Dream connection...

These were the songs that captured me from La La Land.
Which songs did you like in the movie? Are you satisfied with Moonlight's victory?

26 Feb 2017

Book Photo Sundays #1

 

The goal of this book meme is to basically just post up a photo of the various books you have read or your book hauls on your blog and link back to Rabbit Ears Book Blog so everyone can check out your wonderful book photos!  You can get your book photos through your Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Iphone or any other account where you can get your photos!

My photo is of a recent read: Daredevil: A Man Without Fear 
by Frank Miller, Illustrated by John Romita Jr.


I started reading graphic novels and comic books lately and, since this week I rewatched the Netflix show with my boyfriend, I thought Daredevil would be a fitting subject for this meme. I also wanted to show you my Funko Matty, 'cause he's adorable.

Today's question:
Who's your favourite superhero?

Happy Sunday, happy reading! 

24 Feb 2017

Remembering John Keats

'But what, without the social thought of thee,
Would be the wonders of the sky and sea?'

Yesterday (23 February) marked the 196th anniversary of the poet John Keats's death.


He lived only 25 years but with his poems he granted himself immortality. The saddest thing is that he never believed anyone will remember his words. And here I am in 2017 writing this post and there are many many people out there who think of him fondly because his poetry changed their lives in some way.

 Since he and his work is very close to my heart I won't let this day pass without leaving my favourite Keats poems here for you to read. 

Follow the links to read the whole poems.


 'I met a Lady in the Meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light
And her eyes were wild –'


'Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!'


'O fret not after knowledge. I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge! I have none.
And yet the evening listens.'


'– then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.' 


'Awake forever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever – or else swoon to death.'

 Would you like to know more about the man and his poetry?

Read his letters!

A couple of beautiful segments:

'I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute.'
To Fanny Brawne

'I can scarcely bid you good bye even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow.'

To Charles Brown (written shortly before he died)

(Goodreads)

Watch a film!

The last poem I mentioned above (Bright Star) became the title of a movie starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw (IMDb). If you don't know anything about Keats's life this can be a good place to start especially if you enjoy period dramas and romantic films. Although it only covers the last one or two years of Keats's life and concentrates mostly on his love story with Fanny Brawne, it doesn't fail to convey some of the philosophy behind his poetry either.


Check out the trailer:


Read a book!


This is my Keats Bible, everyone should have one.

Keats by Andrew Motion

A biography of Keats.

Young Romantics by Daisy Hay

This is not only about Keats but you can get an idea how the Romantics worked as a group and how they drew inspiration from each other's work. If you are intrested in the social life of the Romantics (Keats included), this is the book you are looking for.

Visit Keats House!




If you you are in London and have an afternoon to spare, visit the house Keats shared with the Brawnes and his friend Charles Brown (who was also a poet). 

For me it was a very special and emotional experience for personal reasons, but even if you don't know much about Keats, you can still enjoy the peace of the House and its garden. Plus you can learn a lot about his life there if you care to join a guided tour.

Website:  follow this link
Address: Keats House
10 Keats Grove
Hampstead
London NW3 2RR

Right then, I hope some of you will run and read some Keats now.
Who's YOUR favourite poet? What's YOUR favourite poem? I'm dying to know, please leave a comment below!

Book beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 #1

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules:

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56 % in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

The chosen book is my current read:

by Chrys Cymri

  
Synopsis:

Bishop Nigel smiled at me. ‘Holy water doesn’t harm vampires. Which is just as well, as it would make it impossible to baptise them.’

When I was asked by a dragon to give him the last rites, I never dreamed it would lead to negotiating with his cannibalistic family or running from snail sharks. Life as the priest of a small English village is quite tame in comparision. At least I have Morey, a gryphon with sarcasm management issues, to help me. And if all else fails, there’s always red wine and single malt whisky.

As if my life weren’t complicated enough, a darkly beautiful dragon named Raven keeps appearing where I least expect him, I’ve met a handsome police inspector who loves science fiction as much as I do, and my younger brother is getting into trouble for trying to pick up vampires.

That’s what happens when you’re dealing with an incredible and dangerous parallel world full of mythical creatures. And I have to learn to navigate it all without losing myself, or my brother…


Book beginning:

Vicar arrested for drunk driving is not the sort of headline my bishop wants to read about his priests. 

Not indeed. This is an ambiguous start; this book could go down drama lane with a first line like this, but it does no such thing. So far it is laughing-out-loud hilarious.

The Friday 56:

'I'd better let you go.' Then he hesitated. 'I know this is bad timing, but I was wondering. The Odeon's showing the first Star Wars film next Tuesday.'
'Not The Phantom Menace?' I groaned. 'I can't stand Jar Jar Binks'.
'No, no the original first one. A New Hope. I was wondering... we could see it together.' 

There are lot of popular culture references scattered on the pages and I think that's totally cool.

What are you reading at the moment? What's your favourite humorous book?  Please leave your comments and links below.

22 Feb 2017

Review – The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

Title:
UK: The Painted Man (Demon Cycle #1)
US: The Warded Man
      
Author: Peter V. Brett

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human members dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night. 

My Thoughts:

Imagine a world where you have to hide behind wards every night because demons rise from the ground once the daylight disappeared. Your line of defence is made up of mere drawings that can fade or can be covered and still; those scribbles protect your life. Don’t leave your home. Don’t step over the circle. Never let the night find you on the road without necessary equipment. If you don’t obey these rules you’re as good as dead.
 
The Painted Man follows the story of three demon attack survivors: Arlen, Leesha and Rojer. We see them first as children and we stay with them as they learn the tricks of their profession. One of them has a mission, another a village to look after and the third lives to entertain the crowds but all of them end up becoming something more than they aspired to be.

But how can a Messenger, an Herb Gatherer and a Jongleur make a world haunted by corelings a better place? First they have to make their hands dirty with the enemy’s blood.

This book deserves all the praise because it is not a horror story yet sometimes it chilled me to the bone. It wasn’t the demons that scared me to be honest, but the people and what fear did to them. I think the biggest message of the story is that the greatest enemy is fear and if you defeat it, you are capable of anything.

The character that is the main advocate of this lesson is Arlen and that’s why he becomes the real protagonist of the first book. I liked him but I confess sometimes he seemed unnecessarily reckless to me and there were a few times I didn’t understand his decisions. I was happy with the development he went through close to the end of the book though, I liked the man he became eventually.

Leesha and Rojer were also very likable but I can never resist a woman with a strong will so I would call Leesha my favourite. She’s also very sensitive and in connection with this let me mention that Peter V. Brett writes emotions very well. He lets women cry, he lets little boys and men cry. Like every writer should.

I am satisfied with the world-building too because we get glimpses of how a village and a city looks like, we get a picture of how people alter their living environment in order to be able to defend themselves against every kind of – wind, rock, wood, water and sand – demon. I enjoyed the part that was set in a desert the most.

In short, I’m glad I put this book on my TBR and I count myself lucky for coming across it in a small bookshop in London. Book two, here I come!

Goodreads | Amazon

Next in the series:

The Desert Spear


Look at that cover! Isn't it gorgeous??

21 Feb 2017

The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag

This tag has been going around in the community for a while and although I wasn't tagged, I'm doing it anyway, because it sounds fun. 

The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag was created by Nathan Hale and you can view the original video here.

Rules:

1. Pick any five books randomly (or not randomly, your choice)
2. The first name you see when you flip open the book on a random page will be the person who is the answer to the question.
3. Each book must answer two questions.

My book choices:



The results:

1. The first person to die:  

Claire

She would have been a valuable team member. Not a promising start...

2. Who is the person you trip to get away from the zombies?

Geillis Duncan




I can live with that. I do the team a favour with this otherwise horrible deed.

3. Who is the first person to turn into a zombie?

Achilles

And he kills us all. End of story. Duhh, we are not exactly lucky so far.

4. Who is the person that trips YOU to get away from the zombies?

Hector

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?



T.r.a.i.t.o.r. 
Hector is a favourite of mine. This hurts a lot.

5. Who is the idiot of the team?

Karou

I can't see this. What's going on?

6. Who is the “brains” of the team?

Izîl

He can certainly be brave if the situation calls for it, but is he clever as well? It would turn out.

7. Who is the team’s medic?

Atticus



Yes!! This sounds right.

8. Who is the weapons expert?

Dill

Do you have your slingshots ready, guys?

9. Who is the brawler?

Tristran



Good!
At least I would have someone to snuggle up to at night when we'd be on the road and hear the zombies shriek far away. I have a slight crush on him, okay? He can brawl as much as he wants.

10. Who is the Team Captain?

Tertius 

Not for long. I have the feeling he would become a victim long before we others would.

My reflections:

WE ARE DOOMED. It was nice knowing you, guys. The only reason maybe some of us have a chance is that Atticus is our medic. We would vote him Team Captain after Tertius dies and hope for the best.

What do you think of my zombie apocalypse team? Would you like to create yours? I tag everyone who reads this post, so go ahead! Leave your links and comments below :)

19 Feb 2017

Favourite first sentences

 I strongly believe first sentences can be the early indicators of one's future relationship with a book. 

Along with the cover this sentence makes the first impression on the reader and sets their reading mood, that's why writers usually try to come up with something memorable, something unique.

However, in my opinion sometimes a first sentence doesn't have to be anything out of the ordinary to grip one's attention. We are so different from each other and we go through many different phases; our life and mood, our feelings change all the time. 

Just like there are books we find at the right time during our life, there are first sentences too that effect us positively just because they pull the right strings at the right time in our souls.

There can be many different reasons why we call a first sentence our favourite. In this post I would like to show you some of my top book beginnings and give a little explanation why they are important to me.


1. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

This is an unconventional fairy tale beginning and let me state here I don't like fairy tales much. Then why do I list this as a favourite first sentence? Because as I mentioned it is nothing like any other fairy tale start. No princes or princesses, no castles. Just a strange creature who lives in the ground. I think it was enough to win the readers' attention when the story wasn't as widely known as it is today and it still remains a fun first sentence.

2. "My sister Greta and I were having our portrait painted by our uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying."


Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

A shocking start to a superb novel about love, loss, grief and friendship. I love how this sentence represents both life and death and the importance of capturing certain moments in our lives.

3. "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."


Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

This is a first sentence I think one can truly appreciate after reading the book, but it is perfect to set the atmosphere. Fear is a keyword here. There is fear of merging and fear of the city, Los Angeles. This sentence brings a lot of questions with itself and hints that the book won't only focus on the protagonist but on a group of people, on a generation that has a choice to make.

4. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I don't think this one requires an explanation. I like the familiarity of it. There isn't a bookworm on the planet that doesn't know this first sentence.

5. "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." 


 Their Eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

 Zora Neale Hurston's beautifully poetic prose grips you in the very first sentence and doesn't let you go. Her mastery of the language is amazing. In her case it is not only the first sentence that is memorable but many others too.

 So these are some of my favourite beginnings. What are your favourite first sentences? Please, tell me in a comment below.

18 Feb 2017

Stacking the Shelves #3


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week.

This week I received two physical copies through the post, both of them I ordered online:

Title: El Príncipe de la Niebla (The Prince of Mist)

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Synopsis:

In 1943, Max Carver's father a watchmaker and inventor decides to move his family to a small town on the coast, to an abandoned house that holds many secrets and stories of its own. Behind the house Max discovers an overgrown garden surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. In the centre is a large statue of a clown set in another six-pointed star.

As the family settles in they grow increasingly uneasy: Max’s sister Alicia has disturbing dreams while his other sister, Irina, hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. With his new friend Roland, Max also discovers the wreck of a boat that sank many years ago in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach.

As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called the Prince of Mist begins to emerge...

The Prince of Mist is the first book in Carlos Ruiz Zafón's middle grade series called Niebla (means fog or mist in Spanish). I've decided to start this series because I absolutely adored The Shadow of the Wind find my review here and I think it's time for me to start reading in Spanish as well (I've done a language exam but I've still got a lot to learn).

The three books in the series:

Title: Joseph Severn A Life: The Rewards of Friendship

Author: Sue Brown



Joseph Severn was a painter and a very dear friend of John Keats. I have a personal little project in progress that is about discovering those people's life and work that gathered around Leigh Hunt in the 1810s and thus were part of the literary/art circle of the era. I have mentioned before on this blog before that I love the Romantics and this purchase is just another proof of that.






This is my haul for now. What books did you put your hands on this week?
And another question for today:
Have you ever read a book in a language that is not English and not your mother tongue?
 

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