Wednesday, 4 June 2014

May Reads

As you (should) know it is the 4th of June. This means four things:

1. I went back to school on Monday. We have started our Higher timetable (which means that, now that exams are over, we no longer do the subjects we have dropped but instead begin with the timetable we will be using when we come back after summer for Fifth Year). This means four Art, History and Latin periods a week - whoop whoop! - but also four periods of Maths. Hard maths. Maths that many of my friends have dropped now that it is no longer compulsory. Maths that is not going to get any easier ..... ~runs into corner and cries~
School is its usual joyous self. Yesterday a third year (that is, Year 9, or I *think* ninth grade in America (I'm not sure), basically a fourteen-year-old) asked me if I was a second year. I said no. She asked me if I was in first year. I killed her curtly told her that I was in fact the year above her. Then I went home and cried ... not really. But seriously do I look like an eleven year old?? D: D:

2. Piece of trivia for you all: today is my doll's birthday, as assigned by me when I got aged five or six. So technically she should now be thirteen or fourteen ..... but logic and dolls don't tend to mix.

3. It is supposedly now summer. Although, looking out of the window now at the light drizzle (UPDATE: since I wrote that it is now pouring it down) that drenches this Scottish scenery, I am frankly not so sure.

4. May just finished .... which means that, as is the New Thing on Emily Etc., I will be reviewing the books I have read this month! I used to do quite a lot of book review posts but I don't think you guys were that into them (be honest) so now we shall have only one a month.

And so ... the books!

1. Adam Bede by George Eliot 

A tale of a quiet country village called Hayslope somewhere in the Home Counties, where the eponymous character Adam lives with his brother and parents. The story begins as a young woman named Dinah arrives in the village. 

... I am aware that this may not sound very exciting, so I've taken a bit off Goodreads: "While Adam Bede represents a timeless story of seduction and betrayal, it is also a deeper, impassioned meditation on the irrevocable consequences of human actions and on moral growth and redemption through suffering."

Yup. You said it, Goodreads. 

I absolutely loved this book. It was so well-written and beautiful, and such a great plot! It starts a little slowly - I must admit that in the first chapter or so I was like "what is this weird old book my brother has sent me??" - and initially I found the fact that most of the characters speak in dialect quite annoying. HOWEVER it gets very exciting quickly, and soon you are completely lost in the story. I would 100% recommend this for anyone ... if you think Jane Austen is too tame, try this book. If you think Charlotte Bronte is too gothic, try this book. It is kind of halfway between the two .... basically, you should read it!
Here are some quotations for you:

It was a still afternoon - the golden light was lingering languidly among the upper boughs, only glancing down here and there on the purple pathway and its edge of faintly sprinkled moss; an afternoon in which destiny disguises her cold awful face behind a hazy radiant veil, encloses us in warm downy wings, and poisons us with violet-scented breath.

But the first glad moment in our first love is a vision which returns to us to the last, and brings with it a thrill of feeling intense and special as the recurrent sensation of a sweet odour breathed in a far off hour of happiness. It is a memory that gives a more exquisite touch to tenderness, that feeds the madness of jealousy, and adds the last keenness to the agony of despair.

There are faces which charges with a meaning and pathos not belonging to the single human soul that flutters beneath them, but speaking the joys and sorrows of foregone generations -- eyes that tell of deep love which doubtless has been and is somewhere, but not paired with these eyes -- perhaps paired with pale eyes that can say nothing; just as a national language may be instinct with poetry unfelt by the lips that use it.

a terrible scorching light showed him the hidden letters that changed the meaning of the past.

She had no tears this morning. She had wept them all away last night, and now she felt that dry-eyed morning misery, which is worse than the first shock, because it has the future in it as well as the present. Every morning to come, as far as her imagination could stretch, she would have to get up and feel that the day would have no joy for her. For there is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and to have recovered hope.

THE WRITING. Just read the book.

2. The Miracle of Miss Willie by Alma J Yates

Daniel, BB and Jefferson are the most notorious teenage troublemakers in their little town of Snowflake, Alabama - but when Miss Willie, a charming young English teacher, arrives in Snowflake the three of them are instantly taken by her and they undergo what could be called ... a miracle. (See what I did there?)

I have Bella Rose from To Say Nothing of Reality to thank for pointing this book my way - I impulsively bought it off on Amazon after reading this review of hers. You should check it, not least for some awesome fan art drawn by Treskie
Now I say: thank you Bella! I'm not sure if this book is even still in print but I'm so glad I bought it because it was a simple, heartwarming story of love and friendship, of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Miss Willie is just the best, and I absolutely loved the other three main characters. The Miracle of Miss Willie is an extremely powerful book and I would definitely recommend it!

3. Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

The fifth and final book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book (unless you count And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer. Which I don't. Not that I have anything against Eoin Colfer. But since the book is by Eoin Colfer and not Douglas Adams, I really can't count it as part of the series). 

I don't think I'm the only Guide fan who feels that, after the absolute total and utter side-splittingly brilliantly funny genius of the first book ..... the series went a little bit downhill. Don't get me wrong. I still love them, and they do remain funny (if not as funny as the first laugh-at-loud installment), but the plot reaches a farcical pitch that I'm not quite sure about.

HOWEVER. I love Arthur and always will. He is just the epitome of Britishness. I shall quote now a conversation between him and Trillian:

" 'Well, you look well on it.'
'I feel well. You look well.'
'I'm well. I'm very well.'
'Well, that's good.'
'Nice of you to drop in.'
'Well,' said Arthur, casting around himself. Astounding how hard it was to think of anything to say to someone after all this time. "

This is just perfect. SO TRUE.

Aside from that. The ending ... it was ... well. It just goes to show, just because a book is generally light-hearted in tone doesn't mean it can't rip you to shreds at the last second!

Overall, this is definitely not at the shining pinnacle of glory of Hitchhiker's Guided to the Galaxy, but I would advise sticking the series out.

Hope you enjoyed these little reviews, and I wish you a happy reading month of June! Another end-of-the-month style post is coming soon.

Emily x


  1. Hahaha, your blog posts always make me laugh. Although I'm sorry a fourteen-year-old thought you were eleven.

    Also, you have good taste in books. And I didn't realize you were on Bloglovin', so I shall now hop my way over to your "Follow" button.

    1. Thanks Lydia! I too am sorry. And angry. Mostly angry. I MEAN REALLY.

      Thank you! I am on Bloglovin, after a scare about a year ago (you may remember) when we were told that GFC was closing down ..... it didn't. But I am on Bloglovin. Are you? :)

    2. Oh oh oh I just worked out what's going on, the reason I'm not getting your posts is because I didn't know you'd moved! But I understand now, and I have refollowed :D

  2. dude dude dude i realllllyyyyyy want to read mostly harmless - and severely need to read the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy..

    also, may i ask why you're doing maths? the very subject makes me sigh - let's just say that mathematics and i shall never be best friends.

    amy // The Blog Hermit

    1. dude dude dude you severely do!

      You may ask .... and so may I ... but who can find the answer?? Basically, parents. And teachers. And the general chorus of UNIVERSITIES WANT A MATHS HIGHER! It's not my choice, I'm afraid ... and definitely not my wish!!!

  3. Ah, sounds like a good month in books! I STILL need to read the first Hitchhiker's Guide, but I have also got the impression that the series goes a little downhill after that. I still definitely want to read the first one at least though. Someday!

  4. You definitely should - it is genius.

    Thanks so much for the follow! :D


Thanks for commenting! :)