DAY 07 of 30-day Book Challenge – Book you can quote or recite

There are many different lines that I can quote from many different books. No single book stands out.
If you had asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have stated without hesitation: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Obviously the only reason I knew it so well was because, as part of a Drama assignment in school, I chose Viola’s long monologue to re-enact. Twelfth Night is my favourite Shakespearean play and I really love that soliloquoy but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single word of it now!

I also impressed (or stunned) a friend once, while we both watched Hammer’s version of Dracula with Christopher Lee. Just to be a know-it-all, I recited, with precision timing, a few lines of dialogue seconds before the relevant characters said it themselves. I dare say, I think I scared her more than the movie did.
The one fictional character I love quoting the most however, is off course the Great Detective himself.
My favourite quote ever is on the mechanics of deduction:

Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

I don’t even have to look that up to check if I quoted it properly. It’s etched in my brain.
I’ll leave you with a few other gems from Mr. Sherlock Holmes: Continue reading

DAY 06 – Favourite YA Book

I really don’t want to come across as a dunce but I’m having a hard time defining what young adult fiction is.
I get the impression that it targets mainly teenagers and the books themselves involve teenagers battling with the trials and tribulations of growing up and other extraneous situations.

Hence Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockheart books are considered YA fiction and therefore one would forgive me for thinking that Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian should be categorized in the same genre as well (Kostova’s heroine reminds me so much of Sally Lockheart for some reason).

Yet I do not see The Historian in the same mold, as say, Twilight. Yes, it’s about vampirism and deals with a young girl trying to find out who she really is, but there’s an intelligence about this book that has been grossly underrated. Fans of vampire literature might have thought it very brave or highly optimistic of Kostova to bring Dracula back to life in this novel but she handled it brilliantly. And coming from me, that’s saying something.
The Historian is very maturely written and has a very adult contemporary feel to it despite the main character being a 16-year-old girl. Therein lies my confusion.

If The Historian can indeed be classified as young adult fiction then I would choose that as my favourite YA book.
Otherwise, to be on the safe side, Harry Potter would be my most obvious and natural choice.

DAY 05 – Book you wish you could live in

I didn’t have to think much for this one either. I really wish I could live in Harry Potter’s world, even with Death Eaters, Dementors and Dark wizards considered (hey cool, alliteration, right there, look!).
And if I had to be transported to the wizarding world right now, I would save my parallel self a whole lot of trouble for, I have everything all figured out.

At Hogwarts I would probably be a Ravenclaw; I would suck at Transfiguration and Potions but be really good at Runes and History Of Magic. Given my predisposition towards bad balance and co-ordination, and motion-sickness, I definitely would NOT be playing Quidditch; although I might be a Weird Sister groupie and possibly a regular contributor to their monthly fanzine.
My pet of choice would be a cat, or two in fact (I could not stand to be parted from either Deucalion or Sir Garfield for too long. I have no doubt they both would fit in quite nicely in the wizarding world. My only worry is that together they might tear the Ravenclaw common room apart).
I hate to admit this but I would definitely take up Divination and maybe Care of Magical Creatures. That last one is a bit naïve of me- taking care of dogs and cats is a completely different ballgame as suppose to unicorns and Hippogriffs, I know.

Generally speaking, my wand would be made of Willow and Harpy’s hair; my Patronus would either be an owl or one of the big cats (maybe a panther or ocelot or something).

As an adult, it’s where I hit a slump. I’d like to think I’d be an Auror but that would be highly pretentious of me. The mere thought that a Dementor might be in the same vicinity as me would be enough to bring me to tears and have me screaming like a banshee. So no, I don’t think an Auror’s life is for me.
I think a more realistic vocation would be a wizarding historian or the like. Me, the successor to Bathilda Bagshot maybe? Equally pretentious but way more realistic methinks.

And knowing me, I wouldn’t be surprised if I married a Muggle or Death Eater, or half-giant-half vampire, just to piss my parents off. I am strange that way.

Okay I lied. Maybe I did think about this too much…

NM 🙂

DAY 04 – Book that made you cry

And the winner is…… Spud!

Wait hold on, I hear you say, wasn’t Spud the one that made you laugh? Er, yes.

You see I’m not sure whether John van de Ruit is a goddamn genius or a flippin’ sadist for having done this. My emotions underwent such an unhealthy fluctuation while reading this book that by the end of it I was convinced I was bipolar.

John Cleese plays The Guv with Troye Sivan as Spud in the movie version of the book

I can only imagine what my poor boyfriend was thinking when, after days of bragging to him about how funny this book is and reading extracts to him, he finds me bawling my eyes out as I try to explain inbetween my sobs that Gecko had died.
Everyone I know who read the book was left more or less traumatised by Gecko’s death. After all the incredible humour we were subjected to, the book ended on such a low, I was left with this incredibly empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

As a result, I officially hate Van de Ruit for having been so so cruel. The bastard.
This however, will not deter me from getting the next two books in the series. Lets hope the madness (and not the sadness) does indeed continue….

NM 🙂

DAY 3 of the 30-day Book Challenge – Book that made you laugh out loud

This was a no-brainer for me.

Spud had me rolling around on the floor with tears in my eyes. Even my cats gave me quizzical looks when I found myself in stitches from reading the antics and quips of the Crazy 8, Wombat, The Guv and off course those parents from hell, the Miltons.

Aaah, Wombat. John van de Ruit really should write a book devoted solely to that mad crone. The Chronicles Of Wombat or something. In fact I don’t care what he calls it, I’d still be the first to go and buy that book. She’s the type of woman you love to read about but secretly relieved that you don’t know in real life. I still cannot believe she was based on an actual person.

The only problem with Spud? The humour only lasts to a certain point. Then the tears of laughter turn to tears of another sort and well, let’s just say I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s post…

NM 🙂

Day 2 – Least Favourite Book

I’m dreading this but it has to be done.

There are too many ‘least favourites’ to name but I will draw your attention to two books.

The Ghosts Of Sleath by James Herbert will always hold a very special place in my heart. Not because I liked it, oh hell no! I absolutely hated it; I found it torturous to read. Ironically I feel very indebted to this novel, simply because it ignited a spark and woke up the dormant writer in me.
As I read it, it made me sigh with frustration so many times I just thought (without trying to sound arrogant) I’m sure I can do better than this. And that’s when I picked up a pen and paper, 8 years after squashing my dream of being a journalist. So the Ghosts Of Sleath actually inspired me but unfortunately not in a way the author would have hoped.

So strange, yet so true.

Another book I was terribly disappointed with was one I read recently: Disgrace by JM Coetzee.
Maybe it’s because I feel embarrassed after I bigged him up in one of my previous posts that my disillusionment with this book is more pronounced. The fact that it was a Booker Prize winner makes it worse. Having read this novella, I now have some doubts as to the credibility of the Booker Prize.
Anyways, award-winning or not, I didn’t learn a bloody thing from this book, apart from the fact that if you’re a young woman in South Africa, living alone on an isolated farm in the middle of nowhere with very little security is not exactly the smartest thing to do. You don’t need someone from Mensa to tell you this.
The ending was also a big letdown. That’s if you can call it an ending. I kept flipping and turning the last few pages, wondering what happened to the rest of the book.

Okay I think I’ll stop ranting now. I have now made my peace with Disgrace. I look forward to Monday’s post. Laughter, they say, is always the best medicine.

NM 🙂

DAY 1 – Favourite Book

Day One of the 30-day Book Challenge and it’s an easy one.

My favourite book ever? This masterpiece:

I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan so this book does it for me. From Watson’s accurate but misinterpreted observations, down to the general helplessness of their client and off course the genius of Holmes himself, all the classic elements of the Arthur Conan Doyle short story seem to extend itself in this novella for our prolonged enjoyment.

There is one difference between the short stories and Hound of the Baskervilles however: and that is that one single mouth-watering scene.

We all know Sherlock has a thing for dramatics.
Apart from The Adventure Of the Empty House, never has there been a scene where the Great Detective makes an appearance (or should I say reappearance) that is more exciting, more riveting, more surprising and just downright more awesome than when Watson is hiding out in a stone hut on the Moor that he thinks is being inhabited by an escaped convict and on hearing footsteps, readies himself and his gun for the criminal, only to be greeted by that familiar voice that says,

“It is a lovely evening, my dear Watson, I really think that you will be more comfortable outside than in.”

Absolute magic.

The 30-day Book Challenge

I’ve decided to take up the 30-day Book Challenge as already completed by my fellow blogger Katy (check out her blog Storytelling Nomad), from whom I stole the idea. Thanks Katy!
So this is it: everyday for 30 days (we’ll make that weekdays excluding public holidays), one post from me regarding my reading history.

The topics are as follows:

Day 1: Favourite book
Day 2: Least favourite book
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud
Day 4: Book that makes you cry
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in
Day 6: Favorite young adult book
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite
Day 8: Book that scares you
Day 9: Book that makes you sick
Day 10: Book that changed your life
Day 11: Book from your favorite author
Day 12: Book that is most like your life
Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you
Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
Day 19: Book that turned you on
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood
Day 22: Book you plan to read next
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene
Day 25: Favorite book you read in school
Day 26: Favorite nonfiction book
Day 27: Favorite fiction book
Day 28: Last book you read
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading
Day 30: Favorite coffee table book

Day One starts tomorrow. Let’s see how well the Gods of Discipline favour me…

NM 🙂