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Happy World Book Day (Armitage Style), Bookworms!

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Happy World Book Day (unless you are either Swedish or British)!

I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing better than to dive between the pages (paper or electronic).

I shall be writing more about the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge I’ve decided to undertake, but today I wanted to have a peek at the books I’ve read because I am a raving loony Armitage fan.

Ya see, Richard makes us better people ūüėČ

One of the first books I read inspired by Richard was Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

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I’ve loved the mini-series dearly since it hit me like a ton of bricks in July 2012 and turning to the book seemed like a great idea to squeeze a bit more from my beloved story.

True, Margaret has raven black hair and Thornton is described as a big unattractive Shrek (not really, but he’s got nothing on Armitage), but there are many delicious goodies that never made it to the TV adaptation.

Another book that I reached for was Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

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Although many of my UK and US friend remembered reading this book as children, I didn’t know who or what a Tolkien was until a friendly American bar owner in Warsaw told me about Gandalf and the world of the rings (while serving my underage a*se a bunch of drinks…).

Since then I feel I’ve done my duty to educate myself with regards to Middle Earth, plus I’m more than a little relieved that I didn’t kill off that many brain cells during my wayward youth…

Another book that I have started reading (and need to finish finally) was a book that Richard himself had often referred to.

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Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour follows the life of Richard III, from his youth to the Battle of Bosworth Field.

I can’t really explain why I’d drop it time after time having read a few chapters, it’s well written and I do have a thing for British history.

Sunne, your time will come…

From the books that are on my list of “to read”:

I’m still not ready to delve into the world of Arthur Milller’s The Crucible.

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I have no doubt that I will weave my way in and out of the story, but for now I shall leave it on my Kindle as a reminder of what’s to come, a source of temptation and delayed gratification till I’m ready to create my own emotional crucible.

Talking about delayed gratification, I haven’t actually got this next book:

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Urban Grimshaw and the Shred Crew by Bernard Hare

I can’t wait to get my hands on this story, although wait I must till the embargo on frivolous shopping passes.

This is just a handful of books that I’ve read after being prompted by Armitage, one way or another.

What have you read as an extension of your Armitage admiring?

Part 2: Trudy’s Pet Peeves

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This is the second day when I’m fortunate enough to welcome North & South continuation writer Trudy Brasure, author of A Heart for Milton and In Consequence.

You can check out Trudy’s previous post here.InConsequenceSmall

I hope you all did your homework from yesterday and have thoroughly researched the answers to the quiz questions!

You can also get your hands on Trudy’s latest book In Consequence which is a corker, so check out the giveaway info ūüôā

and now, here are ….

Trudy’s PET PEEVES regarding¬†North and South

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(John withers away insipid comments with one penetrating stare…)

Mind you, I’m aware that my passion for my favorite book/film can get rather geeky and intense. But I’ve spent the last four years thinking about and discussing Gaskell’s story and characters.¬†Forgive me.

#1 ¬†The constant comparison of Gaskell to Austen and¬†North and South¬†to¬†Pride and Prejudice. Must every story with a failed proposal set in the horse and buggy days hearken us back to Austen’s patented plot? Couldn’t we look at Gaskell’s merits as a writer based on her own style and subject material? Austen and Gaskell aren’t even from the same era for crying out loud! Bronte and Dickens seem more likely comparisons for the passion and social issues dealt with in¬†North and South. I know this annoying occurrence will never cease in my lifetime but …Grrr!

#2 ¬†The half-knowledge behind the oft-repeated fact that Gaskell was rushed to finish her ending.¬†¬†Yes, Dickens forced her to hurry her story’s conclusion during the serial publication of N&S in his magazine. It’s a tasty tidbit of history that sticks in the mind. Poor Gaskell – that mean ol’ Dickens! However, what many don’t realize or remember is that Gaskell went back to add two whole chapters and embellish other sections of¬†North and South¬†before it was published as a book. She left that end scene alone. Hmm…. ( psst! I loved the ending in the book! for more about Gaskell’s ending see my post at WestofMilton here: ¬†LINK)

#3 ¬†That PBS/Masterpiece missed airing¬†North and South¬†in the US. ¬†Will we ever know the mystery behind this omission? I’ve heard a few theories, but I’ll never get over this disservice to the American public. If PBS is meant to bring fine art to the masses, they certainly missed sharing one of the BBC’s finest period dramas…. and the best kiss scene ever recorded on film.

#4 ¬†Interpretations of John and Margaret based solely on the first half of the book/story. ¬†I¬†have to wonder if some people really saw/read the whole thing. Granted that the first half is all spitfire and clashing, but the second half in which each learns to deeply consider the other’s perspective is beautifully, if more subtly, drawn. I can’t fathom that Gaskell intended her characters to stay the same throughout the arc of the story. So pardon me if I disagree wholeheartedly with those that believe that Margaret and John would be forever clashing on ideology and social morality. Where’s the proof of that in the unfolding events, actions, and words of the second half?

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Does this look a girl who still holds grievances about the Master’s character and business practices?

#5 ¬†The lousy introduction to the book in the Penguin edition.¬†This almost ruined my appetite for reading the book the first time around. With a heavy emphasis on sexual symbolism and the power struggle between male and female positions, this analysis of Gaskell’s work sapped most of the deeper meaning out of the story and highlighted the dry, intellectual wrestlings that academics feed upon. I’d like to have it out with Patricia Ingham, Ph. D. on a few of the aspects concerning John and Margaret’s relationship that I feel she interpreted completely wrong.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of¬†In Consequence!¬†¬†The winner will be announced next Thursday.

Now’s the perfect chance to chat with me, ask me something, or (gasp!) disagree with my interpretation of the story and characters. ¬†I’d love to hear from you.

  

Quiz Answers:

1.) Margaret is 18 in the opening scene of the book.

2.) The Lennox family is from Scotland.

3.) Anna Beresford married  General Shaw.                                 ns4-063 damn! missed that one!

4.) Adam Bell.

5.) Bessy

6.) Helstone is not too far from Southampton. It’s mentioned that Mr. Hale walked there once from the vicarage.

7.) George Leonards (from Southampton) had a job as a railway porter at the time of the incident.

8.) Maria and Richard Hale.

9.) False. It’s not possible to draw an accurate calendar of the events as they are indicated in the book. The Thornton dinner is on the 21st of July, yet Gaskell has Margaret going to Marlborough Mills for the water mattress three days later under “an August sun.” Frederick also arrives much too early on the scene after Margaret has written for him. (Where was the Dickens’ editing hand here I wonder. lol.)

10.) Aunt Shaw had a lap dog named Tiny.

11.) Frederick married Delores Barbour.

12.) Hannah reads from the Bible every night to the household. She tries to read from Matthew Henry’s Commentaries as she awaits John’s return from the proposal.

13.) Hannah remembers “a little daughter – dead in infancy.”

14.) False. The Great Exhibition is never mentioned in Gaskell’s work.

15.) True. In the book, Mr. Thornton learns that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.

16.) True. Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog in the book as well.

17.) Thornton saw Helstone on his return from Le Havre.

18.) True. ¬†John attends both Mrs. and Mr. Hale’s funerals without Margaret knowing he has done so.

19.) Mr. Colthurst is a the vaunted guest at the dinner party in London.

20.) d. It has been two years of struggle and heartache since John first declared his love the day after the riot and that private meeting sans Henry in Aunt Shaw’s back drawing room.

How’d you do? Thanks for joining in the fun!

The Book Giveaway is now finished!

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Add a little Steampunk to Your Summer!

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I’m still working on my thesis, but while I’m engaged, let me leave you with some¬†book recommendations.

As some of you might know, I’m an avid reader, but I do tend to fall into one category of books, trying to read everything written by one author that caught my fancy.

Although most of my reading recently concerned my thesis (bless you Henry Jenkins!) or was fanfiction (again, bless you fanfic authors), I have also branched out to Steampunk books.

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For those who don’t know,¬† Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery.

It’s often¬† inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century,¬†in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era, American “Wild West”, or¬†in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use.

It’s often described as retro-futuristic and features anachronistic technologies, with elements of fantasy, horror or supernatural.

It sounds more complicated than it is, I just describe it as a vision of the future in the past.

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I think what draws me most about steampunk books is that they often have a headstrong heroin as the protagonist, one that has fallen upon hard times, struggles with the social conventions, but is resilient and brave.

I guarantee that these books will prove to be the perfect light summer reading!

They are action-packed and offer a delightful way to spend a beautiful summer day.

My choices may be on the girly side of the steampunk spectrum, but I promise you’ll have a delightful time!

Here are just some of my recommendations, so pop on those goggles, tighten your leather corset, get on board the next ornithopter, and set of on an adventure!

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

One of the first steampunk books came my way by accident, or marketing, whichever way you choose to look at it.

I kept passing a poster adverting Soulless¬†on my way to work, and I found the cover intriguing enough to check it out (oh, the power of billboards…).

The series can be described as a  steampunk paranormal romance,  set in an alternate history version of Victorian England where werewolves and vampires are accepted as functioning members of society.

The protagonist Alexia Tarabotti is a woman with several critical problems: she is still searching for a husband, her late father complicates her social standing in a rigid class system, and she feels boxed into the conventions she must abide by.

There’s one more problem namely she has no soul.

The fact that she is soulless leaves her unaffected by the powers of supernatural beings which only further complicates her life.

The plot is juicy, even though I felt that with each book the author loses…errr… a bit of steam.

Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful read, packed with adventure and delicious machinery!

Magnificent Devices series by Shelley Adina

This is another series of books that I found utterly charming.

This steampunk adventure series follows the Lady Claire Trevelyan, born a Blood (aristocrat), but she has the heart, soul, and mind of a Wit (scientist).

The novels are set in an alternate Victorian age where the combustion engine has been a flop and steam-powered devices are capable of sending the adventurous to another city or another continent.

After a number of unfortunate events Claire finds herself the charge of a group of street urchins, and having to battle for survival, a warm meal, but most importantly her freedom.

There are four books published to date, and the whole series will include seven.

Don’t judge the books by their covers, there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and the characters lure you in to the point where you find

yourself rooting for them, even a hen called¬†Rosie ūüėČ

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

If grittier is where you’d like to head, this book is definitely the way to go.
It’s the first novel in Priest’s Clockwork Century setting, although I haven’t gotten around to reading the others.

Here’s the synopsis:

Early in the American Civil War, rumors of gold in the Klondike have brought would-be prospectors to North America’s Pacific Northwest. Anxious Russian investors commission American inventor Leviticus Blue to create a machine which can mine through the ice of Russian-owned Alaska.

Boneshaker, instead destroys several blocks of downtown Seattle and releases a subterranean vein of “blight gas” that kills anyone who breathes it and turns some of the corpses into rotters (non-supernatural zombies).

A wall is erected to contain the gas within the affected part of the city.

I really enjoyed this book because it broke the mold of the other steampunk novels I have read to date.

We still have a strong female protagonist but expect no pretty corsets or charming hats with feathers.

The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley

 

If science is your thing, but you could do without the sci-fi, instead you prefer a good old juicy murder on the side, I highly recommend this series.

It’s not a steampunk series per se, but the teenage protagonist Flavia¬†could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money and displays a love for chemistry and gruesome murders.

Not many 11-year-olds from posh families get to ride the countryside on their bicycle courting danger, but no one does it better than the more than a little annoying, but wickedly funny Flavia.

I loved the first four book and the last one is waiting for me like a delicious dessert!

The final book is yet to be released.

Yummy!!!
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I hope you enjoy my summer reading recs and as I continue reading, I hope to come up with some more ūüôā

Celebrating National Poetry Day with Richard Armitage

To celebrate National Poetry Day in the UK I though it would be fitting to post Richard Armitage reading beautiful poems.

That voice was made to utter sweetness in our ear.

Honey, chocolate, velvet, silk…

Ever since hearing Richard read Yours by Ted Hughes I really regret he never had the chance to play alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia.

I’m convinced he would portray the controversial poet Hughes amazingly.

A girl can dream…

Anyway, here are some of my favorite poems read by Richard.

Please check out the poem that I came across by accident To His Lost Lover by the other Armitage, meaning Simon ūüôā

If there are any other poems you’d like to share please leave the links in comments and I will edit the post with your ideas¬†ūüôā

Tolkien Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Funnies on a Silly Sunday

I find the someecards.com cartoons very funny.

I’m not sure what that says about me, and I think I’d actually care if I wasn’t busy with all the laughing ūüôā

Here are some connected with Tolkien films.

Hope you have a wonderful Silly Sunday!

And here are some other funny finds:

Comixed: But He's a Vampire, Guys!

"The Hobbit": A Total "Lord of the Rings" Ripoff

Can you sing, Master Hobbit?

Old Hobbit Joke ... very old ... getting sort of quondam, and creaky - ackshaly!

Cumberbatch to voice Smaug in THE HOBBIT

While I was looking for ecards I came across this story of school kids  from London releasing their own version of The Hobbit months before the official film premieres.

They even splashed out on a CG dragon!

I though this was a lovely story and reminded me of how Richard Armitage mentioned playing an elf when he was at school.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

While The Hobbit’s away, the Boys will play!

During their time off from The Hobbit my two favorite boys meaning Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner are busy with other projects.

We all know Mr A is busy being a hero in the face of a tornado.

Gary is a type of teacher that I’d like to learn a thing or two from ūüôā

I’ve never wanted to be a teacher’s pet so bad!

Mr Turner is involved in a huge project of the fantasy adaptation of  The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones directed by Harald Zwart.

The movie will be out August 23rd, 2013 and it seems to rival Hunger Games.

He’ll be playing the character of Luke Garroway, the surrogate father to the protagonist Clary Fray played by Lily Collins.

Image taken from cityofbones.com.

One thing I know is that he’s sporting a bushy beard (that’s so hot right now…) and he seemed to have chopped off the lovely locks and has a shorter do that looks a bit like a weird afro.

Not passing judgement till I take a closer look.

Wouldn’t hurt if I could run my fingers through it, but I’m guessing security would knock me down ūüôā

I believe he should keep his hair longer!

While you still have it, you should embrace it!

The book series already seems to have a huge following, although prior to the casting announcement I had never heard of it before.

I can’t lie, I read the first book in the series, meaning City of Bones,¬†to see how big Aidan’s part is, and it’s quite impressive and exciting.

I have difficulty with recommending the book wholeheartedly.

This Young Adult Urban Fantasy is a bit na√Įve and predictable, and I felt the writing wasn’t the best, however the story is interesting, and I can’t wait to see how it’s interpreted on film.

There were moments where a twist in the plot was revealed and I could have sworn it was so obvious I thought every reader would take it as a given.

In some cases I thought the twist had already been introduced.

Then again I read lot of Agatha Christie, so I’m always spoiling plots ūüôā

If you want something young and fluffy, this book will tick the boxes.

If you merely want to see Aidan prance around in glasses, wait patiently for the movie next year.

The Value of each page of a Tolkien Book

On hearing there was to be a third Hobbit movie, my best friend Max asked if we’ll have to fly to each premier.

I could see him calculate the costs, and the number he got wasn’t to his liking.

What can I say?

Sometimes admiring Richard Armitage¬†doesn’t come cheap, especially if you add up the DVD Boxsets,¬†Audiobooks¬† and such.

Over at Set Phasers to LOL, they’ve decided to estimate how much each page of a Tolkien book is worth.

According to them, it goes like this:

how much money is tolkien's writing worth per page

I’m crapaloo at numbers, and I never seem to have money, so I don’t really worry about figures, but this is how I see it:

The estimated cost of each Hobbit film:

Richard Armitage playing the sexiest dwarf in the history of Middle Earth in three 3D films:

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