The Sunday Post #11: Take Me Back to the Madding Crowd

Hi guys, how’s your week been?

I read… Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent:
Blurb: Dahlia 16 sees her face in every crowd. She’s nothing special—just one of five thousand girls created from a single genome to work for the greater good of the city.
Meeting Trigger 17 changes everything. (…. )When Dahlia can’t stop thinking about him—when she can’t resist looking for him, even though that means breaking the rules—she realizes she’s flawed, too. But if she’s flawed, then so are all her identicals. And any genome found to be flawed will be recalled.

It was pretty good. Nothing super new or exciting but interesting YA dystopian for a change. I read 2 so-called classics: I read and reviewed The Decameron by Boccaccio and then I read

Far from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

description

Far from the Madding Crowd made me internally yell “take me back to the madding crowd”… So…For starters, I didn’t like the setting very much. It’s very rural and there is a lot of countryside and sheep and descriptions of nature. And I felt like there was too much of it. Like enough already with birds signing for the whole chapter.

Then the plot. Ah, there’s not much to the plot because descriptions nature takes too many pages… Basically, the plot focuses on Bathsheba and who she’ll marry because apparently, she’s the only female in 50 km radius. 2 stars because what I did like was the humor and maybe some ironic undertone. How people far from madding crowd live, how all the characters had very fascinating fun names: Katniss Everdeen Bathsheba Everdene, Boldwood, Angel Gabriel Oak, Francis Trojan Horse Troy, Fanny Hill Robin…

Enough of classics for me for now.  Finally, a little bit of nonfiction. Funnily devastating Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.What else…I joined a book club. Only once a month which is pretty good schedule for me. I updated my laptop (never update anything) and now it doesn’t recognize headphones…

What have you done? What you have you read?
//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

How-To Fight Buggers

“Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

 

Ender’s Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth’s future, the novel presents an imperilled mankind after two conflicts with the alien species called “buggers”. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including Ender Wiggin, are trained from a very young age through increasingly difficult games.

“I don’t care if I pass your test, I don’t care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won’t let you beat me unfairly – I’ll beat you unfairly first. ”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

About the plot: After certain events, Ender is offered a place in battle school located in earth’s orbit. Ender’s life in Battle School is a difficult one, he is isolated from his fellow recruits and given tasks that are increasingly difficult. The cadets of the school participate in competitive war simulations in zero gravity and we learn soon that Ender quickly masters whatever simulation he participates in, he is a strategic genius. He seems to pass every simulation, every game there is…
But the simulations aren’t quite what they seem…

At first, it was hard for me to get into this book because main characters seemed too young and too cunning and they’re sent to learn how to fight when they’re 6? Yet that’s what we do, right? We screw things up or in this case aliens has screwed everything up and then send kids to fix everything.

“Peter, you’re twelve years old. I’m ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

I got into this book quite quickly. I liked Ender a lot. He’s smart, he does not want to cause any harm, yet he will do what has to be done. His brother Peter is a ruthless sociopath and his sister Valentine is compassionate and kind. Ender is somewhere in between. I also liked the plot, even if the battle scenes were a bit boring from time to time. Also, the narration wasn’t too clear, however, somehow it suited the book well.

In the end, I guess why I rated this book so high was because of how humans had encountered alien life form. Buggers came and then there were many wars and there was no common language or understanding between the two species. And now, 30 years after this book, would we understand aliens or would we end up in Ender’s Game?
5/5 stars

How- To Read Ender’s Game
1. 
If you liked this, there’s more.  3 books worth more. While I was a fan of two first books in Ender’s Quintet, I had quite big difficulties finishing the last two books.
2. 
If you don’t like war fiction, I don’t think you’ll find this too exciting. Moreover, everyone in this book manipulates others and so it certainly does not present you with best human characteristics.
3.
There is a film adaptation from  2013. Written and directed by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Ender.

Have you read this? Thoughts? This post is a part of a very happy event called scifi month. Check it out.

Cover image by: Gwydion M. Williams, Post pictures: Ender’s Game Fromic Fight on VimeoEnder’s Game Formic World Fight on Vimeo.

Top Ten Unique Book Titles

As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Unique Book Titles

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Why I like it: It’s creative. Androids look like human but what kind of dreams do they have? Do they dream of sheep? This is somehow very clever title.
2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury / Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Why I like these two: They are just iconic titles. A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. And Fahrenheit 451 is a pretty genius title for a book where the books are burnt.


3. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Why I like it: Let the Right One In…not the wrong one. Except that in this book it’s kind of the wrong one anyway.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Why I like it:  It’s a combination of something beautiful, yet devastating. There’s all this beautiful, amazing light and we cannot see it.
5. By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
Why I like it: There’s a surprise in the title. Anything could have happened. For example, By the River Piedra, there were birds…or maybe a boat? But this makes you wonder that who is crying.
6.  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Why I like it: Because it’s odd. It’s like something has gone terribly wrong with the orange and it is now half clockwork.
https://thefloatinglibrary.com/2009/04/20/a-clockwork-orange-resucked/
“I do not think so because, by definition, a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State.”



7. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Why I like it: You can guess that it will be a wild ride ahead.
8. Tales of Ordinary Madness by Charles Bukowski
Why I like it: Madness is ordinary. Or is there something mad with the ordinary?
9.The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Why I like it: Because I don’t quite get what it means but because it’s obviously meant for me. You know.
10. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Why I like it: The symbolism goes over my head (if I didn’t catch it). Knife is obviously not only a knife. It’s a decision

Happy TTT! What are the most unique titles you’ve encountered? Do you like these?

Ten Book Recommendations For Horror Junkies

I’m so happy TTT is back! As always, Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc. I decided to go with horror. I love horror, don’t you? As a warning, this list might include many works by Stephen King. And I might add some suspense and thrillers here too.

1.Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
“Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.”― Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis holds a very special place in my heart as it was the first book by Stephen King that I read. I don’t think it’s his scariest books but it is definitely creepy. And what it doesn’t have in scariness, it has in depth.

2. IT by Stephen King
“We lie best when we lie to ourselves.” 
― Stephen King, It

IT is just a masterpiece. It’s scary and a book that makes you really uncomfortable. Also, some disturbing events makes you wonder why they were written in the book in the first place.

3. The Outsider by H.P Lovecraft

Best Lovecraftian horror I have ever read.

4. The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala

“You’re all sitting here wondering what Granny Hatchet does. Granny Hatchet kills children.”
― Marko Hautala, The Black Tongue

I bet you didn’t know that we Finns write horror too. Black Tongue is something I would describe with a word odd.  It has good descriptions and interesting story.

5. Duma Key by Stephen King

“Life is like Friday on a soap opera. It gives you the illusion that everything is going to wrap up, and then the same old shit starts up on Monday.” 
― Stephen King, Duma Key

This, again, is one of my favorite ones by King. You’d think you get what’s coming but I didn’t guess and that was pretty exciting.

6. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
“The mad sometimes drilled holes in their own heads to let the demons out. To relieve the pressure of thoughts they could no longer bear. Jude understood the impulse. Each beat of his heart was a fresh and staggering blow felt in the nerves behind his eyes and in his temples. Punishing evidence of life.”
― Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box

Joe Hill writes as perfectly as his father.

7. The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
“Awareness of insanity does not make one any less insane. Awareness of drowning does not make one any less of a drowning person–it only adds the burden of panic”
― Guillermo del Toro, The Night Eternal

Vampires. Better-made vampires.

8.  Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist
“We are always in a certain amount of pain. There is chafing somewhere, and if it isn’t in our body, then it’s in our mind. There’s an itch, all the time.”
― John Ajvide Lindqvist, Little Star

Creepiest girl (have I over-used that word already) in literature ever.

9. Jaws by Peter Benchley
“The great fish moved silently through the night water.”
― Peter Benchley, Jaws

I wasn’t really even afraid of sharks before reading this.

10. Watchers by Dean Koontz
“It’s so damn hard to bloom… to change. Even when you want to change, want it more than anything in the world, it’s hard. Desire to change isn’t enough. Or desperation. Couldn’t be done without…love,”
― Dean Koontz, Watchers

I really liked Travis and Einstein.

Happy TTT! What are your recommendations and for whom? Have you read any books out of my list?

Eragon

“First, let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered… . Give men your ear, but not your heart. Show respect for those in power, but don’t follow them blindly. Judge with logic and reason, but comment not. Consider none your superior whatever their rank or station in life. Treat all fairly, or they will seek revenge. Be careful with your money. Hold fast to your beliefs and others will listen.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Eragon is the first novel in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Shortly about the plot, the book tells the story of a farm boy named Eragon who lives in a small village in the kingdom of Alagaësia. In the very beginning of the book, Eragon finds a mysterious stone. Or so it appears until Eragon realizes it’s not a stone but an egg. A dragon egg which should not be possible as dragons have long disappeared from Alagaësia. The reason for their extinction is a dragon rider Galbatorix who killed all the dragon riders and their dragons and crowned himself king. Of course, Galbatorix soon finds out about Eragon and Saphira and wants to hunt them down.

“The greatest enemy is one that has nothing to lose.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon

I first read Eragon when I was 13 and back then I was immediately hooked by this story and it’s just impossible not to adore Saphira. I was so enamored with her, that I used her name + some characters as my first nickname in various internet pages. Reading and reviewing Eragon now, ten years later, is harder than I expected. There are issues with Eragon and you have to keep in mind that Christopher was only 15 when he wrote Eragon (I was so jealous of that fact). Sometimes the pace of the book is very fast and sometimes one event seems to go on for tens of pages. Writing is a bit clumsy and there are grammatical errors.

“It’s amazing that a man who is dead can talk to people through these pages. As long as this books survives, his ideas live.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Where the magic of Eragon lies, is the interaction between Eragon and Saphira.  Their relationship is everything you want a creature and a human to have. And I love how they’re similar, yet different in many aspects and how they grow in the story.

5/5 stars

How-To Read Eragon
1.
If you love Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance or Earthsea series, I’m sure you’ll adore the Inheritance Cycle. There are similarities between this one and LotR that may annoy some readers, yet I think that if you read enough of books, you’ll see that there are nothing but similarities everywhere. 
2.
This is a wonderful read for fantasy lovers and especially for dragon lovers. Though the length of the book is not very easy.
3.
You can read a sample chapter of the book by clicking here.
4.
There’s a movie adaptation yay. The movie got mostly unfavorable reviews. I just don’t get why they always fail with movie adaptations of great books like this.
5.
 Eragon is the first part of the Inheritance Cycle, so if you liked this, you’ll have 3 more books to go.

“Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Have you read Eragon? Who is your favorite dragon in literature?