Wednesday, 21 December 2011

'The Hobbit' trailer has landed!

The trailer for 'The Hobbit' was released and I do not think I can describe my excitement! It is simply amazing! It is just great so see Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett in their old roles again and it looks like the new cast is brilliant. And may I warn you before you start watching the glory below that from 0:52 on the Dwarfs start singing their song and it is very haunting. It seems to be a mix between those Christian hymns and old heathen songs. I absolutely love it.

Also, the settings look beautiful again, especially the darker ones. And I am really happy Ian McKellen has such a big role! I realise that for many people it will not come near the book and that it will add new fuel to the debate about how movies are ruining books for people etc, but as a true fan of the books I just love seeing them come alive, even if it is not how I would have done it! There should be room for everyone's interpretation, n'est pas?

So, how excited are you? And isn't Martin Freeman a perfect Hobbit?

Friday, 16 December 2011

This Friday...

... will be my last in the UK, for this year! I'm leaving for the Netherlands to celebrate Christmas and New Year! What are your plans?
Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read. This week's Follow Feature is Once Upon A Time.

When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)

Eeerm, depends on what kind of book it is. I always keep books that were sent to me to review, because often the books aren't published yet and the author doesn't want it to be given to others. Books I personally buy I usually keep , unless I try to get my sister or my friends to read them. 

Book Beginnings is hosted by A Few More Pages.  
This week I chose 'Only You Can Save Mankind' by Terry Pratchett. If you have not read anything by him you really should, because he really has a great writing style with a lot of wit.

'Johnny bit his lip, and concentrated.
Right. Come in quick, let a missile target itself - beep beep beebeebeebeeb - on the first fighter, fire the missile -thwump - empty the guns at the fighter - fplat fplat fplat fplat - hit fighter No. 2 and take out its shields with the laser - bwizzle - while the missile - pwwosh - takes out fighter No. 1, dive, switch guns, rake fighter No. 3 as it turns fplat fplat fplat fplat - pick up fighter No. 2 in the sights again up the upcurve, let go a missile - thwump - and rake it with - '
Well, this will definitely take some time to get used to. Although the fight sounds are slightly over to top they do make sense if you say the out loud! (Don't try this at work, you will look silly!)

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice
'He switched off the screen and turned his ship away from the fleet. He half expected the Captain to send some fighters after him, but she did not. She didn't so anything.'
So, what do you think? Don't hesitate to leave a link in the comments!
And a happy weekend everyone!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday's Blog Exploration

It is another Friday and we are getting closer and closer to Christmas. I just realised, starting this post, that I forgot posting about Sinterklaas. I really wanted to because I love it, but I was so busy celebrating and unwrapping presents :P

First up: Book Beginnings, hosted by A Few More Pages
My dad bought himself a copy of Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead', which got me really excited. I always told myself I should read more early 20th-century writing, because it is truly different from contemporary literature. Also, Rand is a terribly interesting writer. Here are the first sentences:

TheFountainhead.jpg'HOWARD ROARK LAUGHED.
He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays.'

Is that not simply some oft he best writing ever? And those capitals are her capitals.

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

'But he'll say that he's very sorry, only the commission has just been given to Guy Francon. And you'll go home, and do you know what you'll do there? You'll cry. You'll cry like a woman, like a drunkard, like an animal. That's your future, Howard Roark. Now, do you want it?'

Now I am really intrigued at what is going to happen in the book!! Aaaargh my dad needs to finish it now so I can start reading it!

This weeks' Follow Friday question has to be one of the easiest ever. (Hosted by Alison Can Read)
Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book/s do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

Eerm, I don't like telling people what to do, so I'll just make some suggestions.

  1. Harry Potter: most definitely a book you should read. Also, a great book to read to your kids and I say this from experience. 
  2. The Lord of the Rings: I think that if you have a liking for dramatic, epic stories you should definitely read this. It is not only a great story, but once you read it you will start to see how the fantasy-genre developed.
  3. The Angel's Game/ The Shadow of the Wind/Prince of the Mist: you are really missing out if you have not read anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon you are definitely missing out. If you don't like massive use of adjectives or a lot of pathetic fallacy (weather reflecting a character's mood) then maybe this isn't your writer. But if you have a taste for epic romances, thrilling adventures and amazing twists then you should definitely start reading these books: NOW.
  4. Nineteen Eighty-Four: Suggested by my friend Sophia, who is hilarious, check her out on Youtube!!! She says it is a brilliant book that has changed the world. Apparently it is also magical. I guess she'll have to give it to me for Christmas because I have not read it yet. Also, Orson Welles is pretty good anyway. (Sophia is caressing a pickled egg, should I worry??)
  5. Persuasion: This is one Jane Austen's lesser known works, but my favourite, next to Pride & Prejudice. Anne Elliot is one of her best heroines even though she is perhaps a bit weak compared to modern day heroine.
  6. Wuthering Heights: this is my favourite Bronte-book. Although 'Jane Eyre' is good, I think 'Wuthering Heights' is much more passionate and the lovestory between Catherine and Heathcliff is just enticing. I don't want to go into more detail because otherwise I will never be done!
  7.  Iliad: when it comes to massive and world changing works this is pretty much it. The mistake many people make and that I can get very annoyed about is that people think the Iliad is about Helena and Paris. The story of the Trojan War is indeed about those two, but the Iliad is only about Achilles and stops once he dies. Nice to have cleared that up! :)
  8.  The Hungry Catterpiller: another Sophia favourite.She still holding her egg! HELP??!?? (Seriously though, check her out on Youtube!

    Check out some of my posts this week:

    So, how about you? Favourite books??

Thursday, 8 December 2011

'We Need To Talk About Kevin' by Lionel Shriver

I was invited by Tea Time with Marce to join in on his discussion of 'We Need To Talk AB#bout Kevin' and I thought I'd toshare an essay I wrote on 'Kevin'. I shortened it, so it should be readable! Sorry if it's too long for a Friday ;)

It could be said that ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ revolves around the issue whether parents are responsible for a child’s actions. Many psycho-analytical theories have focused on the mother as being the parent who is most responsible for a child’s optimal development, the first being Sigmund Freud. One of the most influential however might be Melanie Klein’s theory. She argued that the mother was the most important person to a child because she was its prime nurturer and that any of its future problems were related to bad nursing experiences. In an article in the Guardian Shriver gives her opinion on this stream of psychology, saying how she was surprised to find out how nowadays parents are blamed for all of their children’s actions. Motherhood, but also parenthood in general, almost becomes a burden and you are not even allowed to complain about it. In the novel Franklin seems to share these thoughts, thinking it inexcusable to complain. Eva however, in Shriver’s words ‘allows herself to say all those things that mothers are not supposed to say[1]’.   
In order to perhaps understand how Shriver presents motherhood it is important to look at how Eva talks about being a mother and her child. Perhaps Shriver thought of Melanie Klein’s theory when writing Eva and Kevin’s trouble with nurturing. : ‘Sucking is one of our few innate instincts, but …his head lolled away in distaste.’ Eva sees it as her duty to provide for Kevin, he however refuses her which causes her to connect feelings of ‘suffering’ and ‘defeat’ with him from the very beginning of their relationship. She calls him a ‘writhing creature’ and almost cannot bear the sight of him. Before giving birth she and Franklin had had endless discussions in which they had discussed the possibility of having a child. In these conversations Eva had said: Motherhood, now that is a foreign country.’. What she meant was that it would be something new, something different but also something terrifying. Eva did not travel because she liked it so much but because she had set herself the challenge of travelling and had to go though with it. From the beginning what attracted her to motherhood was its ‘insurmountability’. To her it really was a foreign country and she felt ‘cheated’ at it being so. Maternal feelings did not come natural to her yet she could not say so, which represent Shriver’s view of a ‘gag law’ on parents about the bad sides of parenthood.
 Motherhood is presented in two different ways in the novel. On the one hand there is the relationship between Eva and Kevin which is, as I described above, a torture for Eva. On the other hand there is Celia, Eva’s daughter. In contrast to Kevin, Celia was completely Eva’s decision. Having Kevin was a reaction to a need of Franklin’s and Celia is a reaction to her need to connect to someone in a loving way. . For once Eva can be a normal mother and she does not have any of the problems she so painstakingly explained when Kevin was still a baby. However, even though Eva seems to be “doing everything right” as a mother Celia still has her faults. She is almost too dependent. Perhaps Shriver is trying to show that in the end as parent you have a limited influence on your child.

Throughout the entire book there is a constant debate between nature and nurture. Is Kevin born evil and was there nothing Eva could do? Or was he an innocent and ruined by the fact that Eva was not loving enough? Melanie Klein would argue the later, however there are also other opinions. In ‘Savage Spawn’ Jonathan Kellerman defends the opinion that some children are simply born evil and should be locked up ‘till they die’[2]. In the aforementioned Guardian article Shriver tells us she can remember being a ‘conscious agent’ and knowing exactly what she was doing. This would lead us to belief she also thinks some children know very well when they do something wrong and therefore choose to be evil and that parents cannot be blamed for everything their children do. This idea is also  represented in Ian McEwan’s novel ‘The Good Son’, in which a son starts showing psychotic and evil behaviour. Interestingly, motherhood is also important in this novel because in the end the mother has to choose between her own evil son and her good nephew. She chooses the latter. This also calls for the question whether a mother is responsible for her son’s evil actions. In contrast to this mother Eva seems to take responsibility for her son’s actions, even though she spends the entire novel making excuses. What does it say about McEwan’s novel-mother that she chooses the other “good” son and what does it say about Eva that she keeps on playing a “good” mother by visiting Kevin?

What do you think? Hop over to Marce's to share in the discussion-fun!

[2]  Jonathan Kellerman: ‘Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children’. Ballantine Books (1999)

Friday, 2 December 2011

First Friday of December!

Another Friday means more blog hopping!!!
This weeks Follow Friday (hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee) question is...

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

Well, it all depends on the genre. To be honest, if we take books in general I have one MASSIVE pet peeve: I do not like paranormal fiction. I am not one of those hardcore Twilight-haters, I just do not think most of the books are that original. Plots are often the same and although entertaining, I like to be surprised by a book. 

Next to that I do not really like those books with love at first sight. That is just not what usually happens. Also, love-triangles are a bit overused. Sometimes they work, as in 'Never Let Go'. But the typical boy meets girl, boy leaves, girl turns to boy 2, boy 1 comes back and girl cannot choose is overdone!!

Book Beginnings is hosted by A Few More Pages

I just started reading 'Asenath' by Anna Patricio. Here are the first few lines. 
'The Nile had just flooded, leaving the ground moist, rich and black. The children of our riverside village, I among them, frolicked about in the cool, gooey earth. In the distance, the ancient river circled the land, glittering with a thousand tiny dancing lights from the sun-god's Boat of a Million Years.'

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post on Freda's Voice.

I slightly cheated because the book I am reading doesn't have more than 56 pages, so this is the 15th. This is from Page 15 in 'Aslauga's Knight' by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque.
"I make known to all," she said, with solemn earnestness, "that according to the just decree of my imperial uncle, this hand can never belong to a vanquished knight, however noble and honourable he may otherwise have proved himself."
What about you? Anything you do not like about books? Don't forget to follow FF Feature Fic's Book Reviews!  Comment your link and I'll come and visit you! :)