Saturday, 15 November 2014

#16 // Blogging Friends

I have blogging acquaintances; people whose blogs I read, who maybe pop by mine occasionally. People who know me from just any other mackerel in the sea (don't know where than simile came from). However, the thing that really makes the blogosphere for me is my blogging friends. 

There are some people who I've been blog-friends with for a long time. People who can I fangirl with in cap-locks; brilliant gals with great blogs who I love even for never having seen their faces. Of course, as in the real world, blog friendships can change and develop; obviously, when people stop blogging, the link is severed, and other times you and another person can just fall out of contact. Today I thought I'd take a look at my 2 and a half years of blogging, and my friendships over that time: and what better way than through the vehicle of Liebster awards?

Liebster: German. "Sweetheart, beloved person, darling." Naturally, not everyone who nominates me for a Liebster award sees me as their sweetheart/beloved/darling (that would be weird) but it is a compliment to pay to those you nominate. I recently (and when I see recently, I mean five months ago) received my sixteenth Liebster award, but my first hailed from a long time ago ... 

Date: 28th June 2012
Post: 'The Liebster Blog Award :)' Hmm, my post titles were great back then.
Nominated by: Neevie @ Totally Neevie
My first nominator, Neevie and I were good blog friends back in the day (ie, 2012). I don't know what's happened to her since, though. Is she still around? Are you still here?

Date: 2nd July 2012
Post: 'The Liebster Blog Award, Second Time Round :L' Another great title, not
Nominated by: Jasmine @ Ebony Black Lines
Jasmine, another of my first blog pals .... and then, PLOT TWIST, she reinvented her blog, stopped writing under her pseudonym and became Hawwa @ It Was Lovely Reading You! Who, I'm happy to say, is still a great friend. 

Date: 3rd July 2012
Post: 'The Liebster Blog Award, Round It Comes Again :L'
Nominated by: Sophie @ A Day Dreamer's World
Sophie is still an active blogger with a flourishing book blog, but, sad to say, we are not the blog pals we once were.

Date: 4th July 2012 (yes, there was a time when I would post three award posts three days in a row. Yes, I am ashamed.)
Post: 'Yes I Have Another Liebster Blog Award! :D' 
Nominated by: Jessica @ Written Paintings
No longer an active blog, unfortunately. 

#5 and #6
Date: 17th July 2012
Post: 'Two More Liebster Blog Awards?? :D :D' why did I used to put smileys in my post titles and think it was OK??
Nominated by: Ella @ Everything Ella - I don't think this blog is active anymore - and Mars @ Inkdropperr - the blogger who became Marian, changed her blog several times, and now blogs at Ivory Clouds!

Date: 25th August 2012
Post: 'I'm So Sorry For Neglecting You!!'
Nominated by: Abigail @ BookAnAppointmentWithBaaWisdomBooks
A book blog, no longer active :(

Date: 15th November 2012
Post: 'In truth, it was only a matter of time ... '
Nominated by: Seana @ The Totally Insane Writer
Seana is, of course, still one of my best blog friends!

Date: 7th February 2013
Post: 'Seriously! That's So Sweet and Liebster!'
Nominated by: Seana @ The Totally Insane Writer
The number of awards and tags Seana and I have given to each other in our blogging years could drown a small city. 

#10, #11 and #12
Date: 21st July 2013
Post: 'If hipsters are hip ... '
Nominated by: Abbie @ Ruby Slippers in Wonderland, Molly @ Ramblings of a Youtube Addict and Marian @ Change of Perception 
None of these blog friends are active anymore apart from, of course, Marian, under a different blog.

Date: 13th September 2014
Post: 'Liebsterified.'
Nominated by: Aliyanna @ Scribbles of a Catholic Girl
A relatively new blogging friend!

Date: 8th October 2014
Post: 'Quickfire'
Nominated by: Amy @ The Blog Hermit
I first met Amy a looong time ago, when she blogged at Life of an Awkward Donkey, and we are still friends to this day!

I'm 94% there are a few others, but I can't find them just now. You get the picture: there have been many blogging friends that are no longer active, but there are also some v. great gals who have been friends for all the time I've been blogging. At the risk of being cringey, I'd like to thank Sea, Marian, Hawwa and Amy who, as shown by this list, have been pretty amazing. There are more, too (July, I'm lookin' at you), but I'm just thinking about the Liebster List for now. You guys are very, very liebster indeed.

OK, this got more emotional than expected. 
Really, I just wanted an excuse for that picture/pun.

But whatever.

Now - because you're not getting out of this post yet, oh no - it's time for .....

Nominated by: Ely @ What Can I Say?
A new blog friend! Thanks so much for the award.

1. Do you think owls are over-rated or do you think they're cute?
They are cute. But they are also overrated. 

2. Sunflowers or roses?

Roses, 100%. 
3. Do you wear your watch on your right wrist or your left?
I don't wear a watch.

4. Do you make friends easier with guys or girls?
Girls, I think.

5. Do you like watching movies at the theatre or at home on your couch better?
Hmm. Depends on my mood. Obviously the cinema = effort, whereas staying at home = no effort. But I do like a trip out. Fun fact, I'm about to go and see Mr Turner.

6. Middle name?

7. Are you a fan of impromptu dance parties?

(That is to say I'm a fan of impromptu dance parties with a very few select people or else no I definitely will not dance.)
8. What color are your bedsheets? (I'm running out of ideas here...)
White. I'm so boring.

9. Pen or pencil?
Pen. Though I generally draw in pencil.

10. Favourite band/artist?

Choose one you've not heard of and give it a listen. There may be three Ed Sheeran in there. What? He is my future husband, after all.

11. Which do you like better--Snoopy or Linus from Charlie Brown?

I feel like I'm missing something here.

Nominated by: Lauren Stoolfire @ Always Me

1. If you could date one character from a book, who would it be and why?
I ... well. It would probably have to be Gilbert Blythe, not gonna lie. Because he's just pretty perfect.

2. You're stranded on a desert island and are only given three books for entertainment.  What are they?
Harry Potter series, because I love them. What can I say?? Georgia Nicolson series, because they're hilarious -- I've not even read them all yet, so it would be fun to read the last four, and reread the first six. Then I'd want to pick a series I've not read yet: currently I really want to read the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen; Maggie Stiefvater's other series about from the Raven Boys Quartet (which I'm reading); the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson; the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor; the Bartimeus trilogy by Jonathon Stroud; and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. I don't know which I'd choose! I'm also reading A Song of Ice and Fire, and those books are looong, and I've only read the first two -- so those would keep me busy!

3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
I don't really watch films adaptations of books, now that I think about it - I haven't seen The Book Thief, or How I Live Now, because frankly I tend to steer clear of my favourites books' movies. However, I do enjoy the Narnia films. Also Les Mis - though I've not read it!

4. What was your favorite children's book?
I loooved the Pure Dead Magic series by Debi Gliori, and the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. ALSO:

Please tell me you also read this when you were little, cause if not your childhood was seriously devoid.
5. What is one genre you usually don't read but have enjoyed in the past?
Sci-fi. I love the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, like, a lot. I know it's only farcical sci-fi, rather than something hardcore, like, for example, Dune, but I dunno. It seems like a read a lot of a genre -- fantasy, classics, contemporaries, historical -- or I don't read it at all. I don't think I've ever read a crime novel (for adults) or a steampunk. Or a paranormal romance, that I can think of. 

6. What is your favorite classic book?
OK, this is the question! How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn; Adam Bede by George Eliot; everything by Jane Austen; the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier; Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. And more. There are too many.

7. If you could have one book that releases in the next year early, which would it be?
As you can probably see from my looong list of series I want to read in question 2, I'm not really reading any series as they're coming out at the moment, and I can't think of anything else. There is Department 19 book 5, but I've not even read Zero Hour yet (though I did get it out of the library yesterday - so frikking excited!!!). 

8. What was one book series that left you disappointed?
The Hunger Games trilogy. I loved the first two books - really, I thought they were brilliant - and I was so excited for Mockingjay, but in the end, just ... meh. That was my only real reaction. Meh. 

9. Who's your favorite "lesser known" author? // 10. What's a book that you love, but no one else really knows about?
I'm going to group these questions together. I really don't know - I mean, what books do other people know about?? Have you read Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker or Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler? None of these are books I've heard anyone talk about in the blogosphere, though I'm sure they're pretty famous. Just curious. 

Wow. That was a looong post. It got a lil bit nostalgic. Sorry about that. TO CONCLUDE:

1. Thanks for being my blogging pals! You are a fab lot.
2. When did you start blogging? Do you have some long-term friends?
And a few of my award questions - because I tag you, right now, to do these in the comments:
3. Pen or pencil?
4. If you could date one character from a book, who would it be and why?
5. What was your favourite children's book?
And lastly, because I'm curious to know: have you read any of the books I listed in question 9/10? 

Emily x

Monday, 10 November 2014

I Do Not Cry At Books (or, why last month was an exception to that rule).

This post would be titled October Reads but since we're already one third of the way through November (how? It was only just summer) we'll just say "books I've been reading recently" and have done with it.

Anyway, now onto the topic of crying at books. Do you? I don't. I cry at films (a lot) but books? Never. The Book Thief: I didn't shed a tear. Any Harry Potter: I was dry-eyed as ever. The Fault in Our Stars, A Game of Thrones: nothing. Maybe I'm just a heartless witch, I don't know. You guys know how much I obsess over books, and I do feel it deeply when those nasty authors do their terrible things (George RR Martin, I'm looking at you), but for some reason, I don't cry. Until mid-October, there was only one book in the world I'd properly cried at:

I don't know why I cried so much. I loved this book ... I guess I just related to the main character a lot. Have you read this? I haven't met anyone else who has ...
But that is off-topic. The point is, I don't cry at books. And then ...

Dear People Who've Not Read Skulduggery Pleasant,
Yeah, you can read this letter/review, but you won't really know what's going on. I suggest (and by suggest, I mean command) that you get out the house right now and down to the library/bookshop/someone's house from whom you can steal and read this series now. Do you know what you are doing by not reading this series? You're denying yourself joy. Just go. You don't even have to comment. I won't be offended. Go now. 

Dear Derek Landy,
Are you an angel or a demon? I love you. I HATE you. I especially enjoyed the fandom references. 

Dear Skulduggery,
I've been reading these books for quite some time, and it really crept up on me how I feel about you. I didn't realise until this last book. I love you. There, I've said it. I have many favourite fictional characters, but you, my friend, are up there at the top. 

Dear Valkyrie,
You have the best best friend in the world, do you know that? You're also pretty awesome yourself. Hang onto the people you love, Valkyrie.

Dear Ghastly,
I love you. That is all.

Dear Tanith,
Tanith, there's not much I can say to you that's not spoilers, but I'll send you a personal letter.

Dear Fletcher,
Fletch, we've had our differences. You can be pretty annoying and I don't love your hair. But you are great. Really.

Dear Gracious and Donegan,
You guys rock. I would totally buy your books!

Dear Dexter, Saracen and Anton,
You guys rock also. 

Dear Person Whose Name I Can't Reveal Because That Would Definitely Be A Spoiler,
I hated you, once. But we came a long way.

Dear Desmond,
Oh, you make me laugh.

Dear Vaurien,
Vaurien, the way of a Killer Supreme is not the way. You will learn, my favourite zombie.

Dear Clarabelle and Thrasher,
I would be your friend, I promise.

Dear Gordon,
We all know you are secretly Derek. Don't stop writing!

Dear Ending,
I seriously need someone to talk about this with. 

Dear Feels, 
I'm sorry for everything I've put you through. Such is the life of a bookworm.

Dear Tear Ducts,
You wept for The Dying of the Light. Know that Emily does not cry at books. This is a momentous occasion. 





Now I'm going to do a couple of mini-reviews as if my life, loves and feels are not totally at the mercy of some fictional characters.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

London, Paris. The French Revolution. Secrets, lies and family ties; a world bathed in blood and chaos. 

Before this, I had not read any Dickens, and I have to say I was feeling a bit dubious. Dickens is long, I thought. Dickens will be hard, I imagined. Will I even enjoy it?

Yes. Yes I did. A Tale of Two Cities was a stunning book: prose, plot, character, pace, it had it all. Classics can be scary, I know, but they are classics for a reason. This book gripped me and took me and shook me around; it broke my heart and didn't let me go until the last page had been turned and I was sitting, breathless, skin covered with goosebumps and the plot twists and characters and stunning writing still burning in my mind. Read it. You will not regret it. 

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life's end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?" 

My favourite passage. 

Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery

The third book in the Anne of Green Gables series. Do you know that I love this series? Well, now you do. I love this series. 

In this third installment, Anne is at college. Lots of very exciting things happen and I was made very happy indeed (necessary, after The Dying of the Light). I won't give spoilers, but here, in the midst of a month that I always feel sorry for because it gets quite cast aside by a consumerist society obsessing over the materialistic, let's-eat-processed-food-and-buy-each-other-things-we-don't-need-fest once known as Christmas, is an appropriate quotation:

It was November - the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. 

So tell me: do you cry at books? What was the last book you cried at? Have you read The Dying of the Light? CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE ENDING??? Also, if you would like to fangirl with me over A Tale of Two Cities or Anne of the Island .... please do!

Emily x

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Remember, Remember

... to post? To read the blogs you follow? 

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but life, you know? 

"What life?" I hear you snarkily reply. WELL ...

~ I saw Ed Sheeran. That's right. That singer-songwriter who I may or may not be completely in love with and actually love far more than the majority of real people in my life? I saw him in concert.
"Well, Emily, and was it the best night of your life and did you fangirl and scream and sway and just die inwardly multiple times?"
Why yes, followers, it was, and I did.

When he started playing this one .... oh my. Oh my oh my oh my.

~ I went on a weekend to Loch Lomond with some friends!

I do not own this image. [source]
Britain is an incredibly beautiful place. I am so proud of my nationality and so glad to live somewhere with places like this. Seriously. Where else could anyone rather be?

~ On this weekend away, we studied Jonah.

And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4 v 10-11
For me, such an affecting passage. It was an amazing weekend of teaching; I am very blessed with youth leaders who spoke on the four chapters over four seminars.

~ I also dressed up as Jack Sparrow. It was exciting. I had a sword, and my hair was in 21 plaits. (Not 2. Not 12. 21.)

I don't have a picture, but I looked so much like this you could barely tell the difference ..... ;)
(What do you mean, you see through my ruse to post Johnny Depp at everyone possible opportunity? Nothing of the sort!)

Apart from that, I've been doing school. Macbeth essays. Maths. Spanish. Latin. History. Art. All that jazz. That's really why I've been out of the blogosphere for a little bit.


Now it is time for October's roundup.

Monthly Roundup // This Month's Hearts // Best Book of September -- in which I lamented the fact that September had gone so fast. Now it's Guy Fawkes' night. What is happening to the time?

Quickfire -- a Liebster Award from Amy, and a Sunshine Award plus a Very Inspiring Blogger Award from Seana. Thanks, gals!

Your Top Ten Favourite Classics (and you've not even read them yet) -- I compared YA books to classics, to give you a little nudge in the right direction if you don't know where to start in the scary world of classic literature.

At laaast // a little haul, and more than a little fangirling. -- I celebrated finally being 16 and shared my birthday haul, as well as fangirling over Skulduggery Pleasant book 9. I've still not spoken about that much on this blog. A post will come.

Let's Talk About BOOKS ... -- I received the Book Life Tag and the Book Cake Tag from Lauren @ Always Me. In short: I talked a lot about books.

Beautiful Books: Plotting (ahahaha) -- I rabbitted on about my book in the NaNo edition of Beautiful People. Are you doing NaNo this month? Good luck!

Loony Blurbs: Stars, Darkness and Parallel Parking -- I linked up with Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer for this hilarious meme! Did you link up? Tell me!

Art Tuesday: Manchester Gallery // Inspire Me -- I shared some of the amazing art - chiefly landscapes and portraits - that I saw in the Manchester Gallery.

This Month's Hearts. 

~ Ed Sheeran. We already talked about this one. Give me a minute.

~ Loch Lomond // Jonah

~ Skulduggery Pleasant book 9. I can't talk about this or I'll break into cap locks. Post on its way.

~ Singapore! I had an amazing trip with my mum to meet Arthur, my nephew, in this incredible Asian metropolis. Definitely a post in a pipeline about that one!

~ I wrote some of my novel .... not a lot, though. It wouldn't win any prizes. But I wrote it, anyway, and that's what counts. I just need to keep going (and stop wasting my life on the Internet, you feel me?). 

~ I had a reunion with friends from summer. Exciting.

~ I had my first foray into Dickens, with A Tale of Two Cities. It was fantastic. More on that at another point.

~ Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery! This book made me very, very happy. 

~ Music-wise: aside from Ed, I've been loving Radiohead (I'm always loving Radiohead).

Possibly the most depressing song ever.

Also revisiting some old Jake Bugg.

~ Ooh, and I'm going to see the Punch Brothers! :D

Posts I've Loved

This is a pathetically small list this month. Normally I add posts to this draft throughout the month and then do a sweep to add in things I've missed, but right now I quite want to go to bed so no sweep today. Here is my pitiful offering:

The 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me tag has been going round - my favourites have been this one and this one.

Treskie @ Occasional Randomness did the Liebster award (share the award-love!). She also taught us some German. 

Mahri @ Fire, Fleet and Candelight came back - !!! - and she posted a list of brilliant words

Mariah @ Godwottery Shenanigans did a wonderful post on natural magic in terms of Christianity.

Maybe I'll come back and add to this at some point. I'm sorry for not mentioning you! I love you!

Book of the Month

You know I can't talk about this.

That's been my October! Speak to me: have you done a round-up post? Link me up! What's the best book you read last month? What concerts have you been to see recently/who are you excited to see? Tell me ALL the things!

I shall hopefully be back on consistent posting soon. (Fun fact: I just mistyped 'back' as 'book'. This is an accurate summary of my life.)

Emily x