Friday, 20 February 2015

Friday Memes and Johnson's 'Rasselas'

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowJust another Friday and I'm sharing a read with you that I'm really looking forward to it! But before that, let's get on with some of the memes. Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This week's question was suggested by The Realm of Books:

Do you like fantasy or realistic books?

Although this is a really interesting question, there is something in it which I fundamentally disagree with. This is the idea that fantasy literature isn't realistic. Realism is something which authors achieve not through the setting but through their character descriptions, I believe. You can set a novel in downtown New York in early 2015 and still write an utterly unrealistic novel because none of your characters feel real. But no one is going to say that Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings or Arya in Game of Thrones aren't characters experiencing real emotions and that the Deadly Marshes aren't inspired by the real battlefields of the First World War. There is nothing unrealistic about fantasy literature! But if we're going purely by genre in the sense of Fantasy or Realism then I'm obviously on the Fantasy front.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This week's question was suggested by Elizabeth over at Silver's Reviews:

Is there anything that makes you not return to a blog or not want to look at it even for the first time?

I try to give every blog a chance because, as I said last week, every blog is someone's way of expressing themselves. However, there are simply certain things which I don't enjoy as much. Partially I may not like a certain type of books in which case I won't constantly come back checking for reviews. On another level, I will stop reading and not return if I can't read the font, or if there is a lot of clutter which makes it hard for me to find what I want to read! But I will give everything a try!

This week I'm using one of my University reads for the next week: The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abssinia by Samuel Johnson. I quite like Johnson at times, so I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in this one. Book Beginning is hosted by Gillion over at Rose City Reader and Friday 56 by Freda over at Freda's Voice.

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics)Rasselas and his companions escape the pleasures of the "happy valley" in order to make their "choice of life." By witnessing the misfortunes and miseries of others they come to understand the nature of happiness, and value it more highly. Their travels and enquiries raise important practical and philosophical questions concerning many aspects of the human condition, including the business of a poet, the stability of reason, the immortality of the soul, and how to find contentment. Johnson's adaptation of the popular oriental tale displays his usual wit and perceptiveness; skeptical and probing, his tale nevertheless suggests that wisdom and self-knowledge need not be entirely beyond reach.

'Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia.' p.1
I love this beginning. Johnson is such a dramatist and when he speaks to the reader I can't help but listen to him and be impressed by what he says!

'The daughters of many houses were airy and cheerful, but Nekayah had been too long accustomed to the conversation of Imlac and her brother to be much pleased with childish levity and prattle which had no meaning. She found their thoughts narrow, their wishes low, and their merriment often artificial.' p.56
I know how Nekayah feels because once you go away and learn new things, returning to your previous life and friends can be difficult. Maybe Nekayah is being a little bit harsh though!

So, how do you feel about Rasselas? Equally in love with Johnson's writing style as me?


  1. Your book quotes are over my head, I hate to confess. Sigh. I hope you enjoy the book. I'd have to read it with a dictionary nearby. Here are my quotes of the week.

  2. The book doesn't sound like its for me, but I hope you are enjoying it. As for as my reading, I love fiction. I want to travel to new worlds and meet new 'creatures' and people. Happy travels to you. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes

  3. I like your answer! I kind of took "realistic" to mean it feels real. So I said I like both. Which is what Urban Fantasy is!

    Here's my Follow Friday

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  4. I'd have to be in the right frame of mind to pick up a Johnson novel...These days I'm into lighter fare.

    My Friday post:

  5. I haven't read any true classics in such a long time that the prose takes me a minute to read. I do love his way of speaking though. Enjoy your reading!

  6. LOVE the descriptive writing style!! It's exactly what my blog post is about for today. Happy weekend!

  7. Ohhhh....I forgot about the small font. That does make it an unfun experience. (not sure unfun is a word, but everyone will get the idea.) :)

    Clutter deters me from returning too. Sometimes I can't find what I am looking for.

    Great answer.

    Thanks for your answer.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

  8. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Johnson's words, but I'm not sure I'd be able to wade through the whole book. Guess I'm lazy! I really prefer a lighter, funny story (preferably with a little romance). But that's why we have bookstores and libraries full of all kinds of books, isn't it?
    My Friday post features CHRISTMAS CRACKER.

  9. To much clutter does it for me too. And too much clutter means a slow blog which is a no no for me. :)

  10. I totally agree with what you say about how Fantasy is not realistic. So much of my favorite Fantasy is rooted in history and even logic. And I absolutely agree about how the characters make a book feel real. Good call!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  11. Ao passar pela net encontrei seu blog, demorei algum tempo a ver o conteúdo, gostei e é um daqueles
    blogs que gostamos de visitar.
    Eu ficaria alegre se me desse a honra da sua visita e se poder ler um pouco do que escrevi.
    Tenha muita paz e saúde.
    Sou António Batalha.

  12. I agree! I think the F&F question was a little misleading this week. I think "contemporary" would have been a better way of putting it than "realistic." Great answer!

    Here's my F&F!

  13. I was thinking the same thing Tracy said - contemporary is a much better and easier way to word it. But between the two, I love fantasy.
    New follower.
    My FF:

  14. Fantastic way of describing being fake. LOL Love it!
    Happy weekend!

  15. It sounds like she needs to find that young girl buried deep inside and be a bit carefree herself. She comes off as somewhat judgemental.
    My 56 -

  16. This is not a book for me, either. I hope you enjoy it.

    The Picture.

  17. I like chick lit, romance, especially rom com, but some time I want to read something different as fantasy.
    Silvy @Books are my life

  18. I am a Paranormal freak but I also love some great romance anything from historical to erotic so I guess both would be my answer.

    My FF

    Followed via GFC