Carenza’s Quote of the Day 25/07/2015

“It was as though a thousand age-old fears woke and struggled for supremacy in his brain.”


My First Tag Post: The How I Read Book Tag

Okay, so I’ve never done a tag before but this seemed like a good place to start and writing it now I’m actually quite excited!  I found this tag by The Bookie Monster so a big thanks to them!

1) How do you find out about new books to read?

Well, I often like to miander around Waterstones and literally judge books by their covers. Yeah, yeah, I’m a shallow book reader. As I explain in my review, I came across The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul  in WHSmiths and thought “oh my goodness that cover is so adorable I bet it’s so quaint and sweet!!” without actually taking notice of the big clue as to why I was totally wrong: Kabul! However, despite this massive oversight, it is one of the best books I have ever read and it’s absolutely wonderful.

In other cases, books are either recomended to me (by friends and teachers) or bought for me by my dad as lovely little surprises! Two of the best surprise books were The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide (expect a review for this when I’m done with it) and The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (for which, I have realised, I have not yet written a full review…expect that one too!!) which also had wonderful covers. I just cannot read a book unless it’s pretty! I’m sorry…ugly books deserve a chance too!

2) How did you get into reading?

Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. There was a breif period in Year 4 when I had grown out of books aimed at my age group and couldn’t find anything that was good enough for me. Like many people my age, Harry Potter saved me from that dark, bookless time and I quickly got back on track.

Before that, there were a couple of series that I really liked. One of them was a bit Narnia-esque and the other was Geronimo Stilton, the story of one adventurous little mouse. If you have young kids I would absolutely recommend it!

3) How has your taste in books changed as you’ve gotten older?

Well, I wouldn’t say that my preferences have changed so much as I’ve aged and the genres I’ve always loved are now age appropriate. I’ve always had a “darker” taste in fiction than most of the people my age. I’m not talking about blood and guts, zombies everywhere and bowls in jars on mantel pieces kind of “dark” because, frankly, if it’s unrealistic it doesn’t even faintly appeal to me. I mean, I’m all for magical realism but anything past that and it doesn’t grip me at all. Having said that, when it’s fantastical and set in a different world such as Discworld or Middle Earth I am totally engrossed. There’s a fine line and maybe that’s hard to describe without completely contradicting himself.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like to be hit hard in the face with the harsh realities of the world found in books such as To Kill A Mockingbird and A Thousand Splendid Suns but I also like to escape into an entirely different world where hobbits fly on the feet of giant birds and suitcases trot alongside their owners. I think that’s what I’ve always wanted from books but only now can I read them without being overly distressed by what I read.

4) How often do you buy books?

Surprisingly, not that often! Having been a Literature student for the past two years and, in the last year, having to learn quotes for The Bloody Chamber, Frankenstein and Macbeth of by heart, I’ve been unable to remove myself from those texts so have, therefore, been unable to read the books I want to. However, most of the books I have lined up to read have all been gifts from my dad or my boyfriend.

For my eighteenth birthday, last September, I asked my boyfriend for a couple of books I fancied reading and, being the excessively generous guy he is, he practically bought a library for me. From that point on I have been inundated with books and it’s glorious! My dad also buys me books…not because I ask for them, just because he sees them and thinks I’ll enjoy them! You could say I’m rather spoiled in the book department but that will all change if I get to Uni (to study Scandinavian Studies and English Literature at Edinburgh) because then books will be my largest expenditure.

If I ever do buy books I tend to buy them online and second hand. I did this for all my Literature texts and I still do it now I’m finished. I usually buy them on eBay through World Of Books; the books are always in an amazing condition considering they’re second hand and besides, I love to read pre-loved books! In my Literature class some people were totally shocked (and a bit offended it seemed) by the fact my books looked kind of battered but I think it adds to their character! If a book doesn’t look like it has been read then what’s the point?

5) How did you get into book reviewing?

I’ve always fancied the idea of blogging but, frankly, my life isn’t interesting enough for any old blog so I needed to find a purpose behind it. One of my career goals/ideas is to become a journalist of some sort and one of the best ways to demonstrate your writing ability is to create a blog, maintain it and consider it a part of your portfolio. At first I was using Blogger but, to be honest, I feel like the quality is somewhat lacking on Blogger and I couldn’t have an unattractive blog, I just refuse!

So, anyway, I suddenly realised that I do have something interesting to write about: books! And so, here I am!

6) How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

As I was talking about The Hobbit earlier, I’ll use it as my example here. The Hobbit is an absolutely amazing read in which I was totally engrossed from start to finish…but the ending was somewhat disappointing. Of course, at the time, this was devastating. However, in retrospect I don’t think I was so much disappointed by the ending, but more by the fact that story itself had ended. I had the same feeling with To Kill A Mockingbird but Go Set A Watchman may make up for that (expect a review for that by the way – it has been preordered and I intend to devour that book and not sleep until it’s finished…and then possibly be even more disappointed that it’s all over). To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve come across a book I’ve been totally blown away by due to some amazing ending, but more because of the preceding events that make it hard for me to let go when the characters’ lives stop in time while mine goes on. Why must books end?!

Having said all that, the ending to A Thousand Splendid Suns was absolutely phenomenal. I’m not saying whether it’s happy or sad!! But it was incredible! I will say that I cried but I sobbed all the way through that book so that’s probably no indicator as to whether the ending is happy or sad.

7) How often do a “sneak peek” at the end of a book to see if there’s a happy ending?

Never. The writer has written their work with care, attention and, most importantly, gripping suspense. Why would I rob them, and myself, of the gently crafted effect the author intended?

I hope you enjoyed my very first tag!

If you want to hear about the reviews coming up, follow me on twitter: @CarenzaReads

Reviews to look forward to this summer:
Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee
The Rabbit Back Literature Society – Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide

Happy reading,
Carenza x

My Wish List of Literary Goodness

Well gosh! All my school work has got right in the way of my blogging. Sigh….

So, to recommence my blogging:

Okay, so Christmas is coming up which means I will receive what I like to call “book money”. Before getting a paid job (I volunteered at a charity shop for a while, which also had the perk of first pickings on the 50p paperbacks!) I was reluctant to spend much money on books. It isn’t that I thought they weren’t worth it…but they can be rather pricey! However, with a paid job, and the post 18th birthday substitution of presents for money, I now feel like £7-£10 isn’t that bad for something which will probably momentarily change my life.

That may seem hyperbolic, it may not. I think we all know book lovers can get a bit weird about their relationship with words on pieces of paper bound in a delicious parcel of glory; once opened, you hope it will never close…evidently, I am no exception.

Anyway, wish list!

– One Day by David Nichols
I know it’s an oldie (ish!) but I just adored Starter For Ten. The film of One Day, unlike that of Starter For Ten, I thought was fantastic. I have been informed by somebody who has read One Day that the character of Emma was wrongly depicted but, as I was completely ignorant to that fact, I just loved it. However, Anne Hathaway’s struggle to maintain a northern English accent, as a northerner myself, did strike me as somewhat hilarious but she tried, she really did.

-The House on Carnaval Street by Deborah Rodriguez
Well, as is evident in my first post (which nobody has viewed so go read it!) I absolutely adore Rodriguez. Her writing style is just lovely and, due to her experiences of the themes she includes, they have a beautifully personal touch. I can say no more. I’m just so excited to get this book.

-The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
So, my lovely boyfriend bought this book for me. Therefore, my actual wish is for some time to read it! I love Carter and to see more of her work would just be wonderful but, as outlined in the beginning of this post, Sixth Form is just taking over my life. Being a literature student is obviously wonderful, but it is tainted by the fact I am restricted to the texts I am studying. Any other reading makes you feel so utterly guilty, as though you’ve wasted time reading. It is very sad.

I do hope my wishes come true this Christmas, and I hope yours do too!

Happy reading,

Carenza x

A Remembrance Day Observation

With winter fast approaching, and George Ezra bursting through my 80s-style headphones, all senses but sight were numbed and I couldn’t help noticing the events around me.

11/11 – Remembrance Day, it becomes less poignant with each generation. It’s not that it’s less important…it merely becomes harder to truly embrace it the less you can relate to the initial devastation.

I live in a small, Northern town – bursting with good ol’ fashioned community spirit – and the WWI memorial is a token of that attitude. Engulfed in red rings, the memorial stood beside an elderly gentleman, calmly appreciating the statue and the people it represents, with a melancholy curl in his lips. As I skimmed my gaze over the poppy climbing out of the Girl Guide’s plant box, I noticed a toddler grin uncontrollably as I watched her say, “pretty flowers” – completely silently through my beret-and-headphones combination.

As I watched this scene unfold – whilst clutching onto my Literature folder, hugging it, trying to stay warm on my brisk walk to college – I began thinking about the solemn, yet content smile on the man’s lips and the innocence of the little girl who is yet to know the significance of the “pretty flowers” and the sad tales they represent.

The girl will eventually grow to become aware of why the poppies are there…and the man will die knowing he is proud of the men who fought to save us. Will the girl ever have that same sense of pride? One day, will she be resting her eyes against that same memorial, reminiscing about the years gone by and how time has changed since then? On one level, I hope she can remain happy. I hope that innocent grin will find its place in many more aspects in her life. However, on another level, I know what a shame it would be for the poignancy of those men’s deaths to ever be forgotten.