Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Nutcracker and Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann

For reasons, I've started reading Nutcracker and Mouse King, which most of you will recognise as the famous ballet.

I borrowed this from the NLB eReads program, and I just realised this book contains two versions of the story - the original and the French retelling. I'm looking forward to seeing how different they are!

My teaser:

"Marie supposedly is still queen of a land where you can see sparkling Christmas Forests everywhere as well as translucent Marzipan Castles - in short, the most splendid and most wondrous things, if you only have the right eyes to see them with. 
And that was the tale of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King." 
What is your Teaser Tuesday?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

I haven't read Kristin Hannah's books lately, but when I first started blogging (I took a look, and I can't believe my reviews were so sparse and short last time! But that's for another blogpost - how reviews change :p), I went on a Kristin Hannah kick. I think it started when I went to the US and came back with a bunch of her books. So far, my absolute favourite book of her's is Magic Hour.

But this isn't a review of Magic Hour. It's a review of Fly Away, the sequel to Firefly Lane. And, for some reason, I don't think I've read Firefly Lane, although the title sounds really familiar to me.

Fly Away looks at what happens to a friendship when one of the two dies. Tully and Kate are best friends, through life's ups and downs. But then, Kate dies from cancer. Before that, the two had a two year quarrel, which I assumed was the focus on the book but wasn't (I guess that was the subject of Firefly Lane). The book looks at how Tully and Kate's family falls apart following Kate's death, as a critically-ill Tully tells Kate what has happened. At the same time, Kate's husband Johnny habours a grudge against Tully (I'm not too sure why, but I think it's about the quarrel), and tries to raise his three kids successfully. Tully's mother is trying to recconect with the daughter she believes is going down the same dangerous path she went. And Tully's accident is what brings them together.

I must say, this book kept me near tears from the start. I was actually reading this on the way to golf, which explains why I didn't actually cry. Any other time, and I think the waterworks would have flowed.

This book covers a whole host of issues, from abusive relationships, to grief, to parenting. I find it a complex novel, and I loved how all the characters existed in this web of relationships, instead of several different subplots. If you like character-driven novels, you'll probably like this.

I'm torn between wanting to pick up Firefly Lane, and not wanting to read it, for fear that it'll be spoilt because of this book.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quotetastic Saturday: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I was going to post more about WriteOn today, but they're having this "interview an editor" thing going on, and I want to see what happens before blogging more about the site.

So instead, I present another one of the quote posters that I made recently:

This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books: Fahrenheit 451. My other two favourite quotes from the book are:

"It was a pleasure to burn."
"I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane."

If I took the right photos, I'll definitely pair them together. If you really like this poster and want a hard copy, I present my Zazzle store (I chose the cheapest option for this poster, but it turned into a custom size, so I can't do anything about the price). Feel free to click on the link and look around :D
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 Poster
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 Poster by SweetTeaandFiction
Check out more Ray Posters at Zazzle
TODAY (18/10/2014) ONLY: 10% off when you quote WEEKENDS4FUN at checkout

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm Translated and Edited by Jack Zipes

I think everyone has heard of The Brother's Grimm. But what I didn't know (and what you may not know), is that the most commonly found versions of their fairy-tales are the heavily edited ones. The first edition of their fairy-tales were the least edited of them all. And this book is the first ever English translation of the first edition of the fairy tales.

But mind you, these fairy tales are not meant for children. Several of them are quite gruesome, like "The Children Who Played at Slaughtering", and in the original versions of tales like "Hansel and Greta", the antagonist aren't the stepmothers but the natural mothers of the children.

Reading this book left me inspired. When I say inspired, I mean that I was inspired with the possibility of re-telling this stories. Let's face it, fairy-tales can be retold (you can see my Fairy Tales Retold Challenge posts for reviews of such books). And in their original forms, the fairy tales are short and full of space for a re-telling. I actually bookmarked several tales which I would like to try retelling some day.

Apart from the stories, I really enjoyed reading the preface. Like my Teaser Tuesday quote, the language of the preface reminds me of G.K. Chesterton. Another quote that I really like is:

Every day affords individual people moments when they can shake off everything that is false and can view things from their perspective. 

And another one:

Everything beautiful is golden and strewn with pearls. Even golden people live here. But misfortune is a dark power, a monstrous, cannibalistic giant, who is, however, vanquished, because a good woman, who happily knows how to avert disaster, stands ready to help. 

The last forty or so pages are scholarly notes on the fairy-tales, and literature students may be interested in reading them.

If I saw this book in a bookstore, I would definitely buy it. And if you like fairy tales, I highly recommend you buy this translation.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.