Quote Challenges – Favourite First Lines: Day 2

Hello all! I’m not going to preamble too much today- just tell you that I’m doing an extended version of the quote challenge, picking from my favourite first lines 😀 Here are the rules (I’m mostly ignoring):

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to Angelica @The Book Cover Girls– I love Angelica’s entertaining reviews- she’s definitely inspired me to pick up so many good books (and warned me off reading some, which I’ve then read, and found that, yes, they were indeed shockingly bad *coughs* Foxhole Court *cough cough*). So if you haven’t been over there- go check her out!

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Ah Rebecca is one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read- and all of that is captured in the evocative first line. This just so happens to be my mum’s favourite. She couldn’t wait for me to read it and was always telling me how poetic the opening was… she was right of course.

I tag:

Way Too Fantasy, Meltotheany and Ally Writes Things

Out of interest- have you been inspired by a parent to read a book? Which was it? Let me know in the comments! And see you all tomorrow!

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“What would the world be like without Captain James Hook?” Villains I Can’t Live Without

I wasn’t actually planning on making this post… Somehow though, I couldn’t let my thoughts rest after talking about why villains are the greatest and I started mulling over which crooks are the very best at being bad guys…

AKA what villains could I not live without? Well, I’m here to tell you which baddies are some of my faves:

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Captain Hook– there’s a very obvious reason why I named Hook in the title of this post- he’s probably one of the best villains of all time! (not just because I love the movie Hook) As a man who grew into a tyrant, he is the perfect foil for someone who doesn’t want to grow up at all. There is no better symbol of what a person can become if they let their worst impulses get the better of them. Indeed, what would the world be like without Captain James Hook?!

richard iii

Richard III– I’m mostly trying to avoid putting anti-heroes on this list, because then I really could go on forever. Still, out of all Shakespeare’s villains, this is the one I find most compelling. I especially wanted to mention him, because I was reading the most incredibly thoughtful post a couple of days ago from Cameron @Here Be Wyverns (seriously recommend checking it out), where he described how you can’t make someone less villainous with a backstory and, well, I thought that’s it exactly. Characters like Richard III are a great example of this- they’re the sort where you see where they’re coming from and yet it’s impossible to excuse their actions. Plus I had to include dear old Richard; he’d have got the hump if I didn’t 😉

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Joffrey Baratheon– GRRM has created some of my all-time favourite villains- yet I don’t think there’s any that I loathed more than Joffrey! (and that’s saying, especially since Ramsay Bolton was in the running!) One of the reasons he’s my pick is not only because he’s one of the first big bads in the story, he also somehow managed to get a lot of the action rolling by being such a vicious idiot. Also, as Drew pointed out in my why I love villains list, he’s a very notable villain- this one’s for you Drew 😉 I don’t think I can formulate the words “I love Joffrey as a villain” though- he’s not even remotely lovable.

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Cathy Ames– aside from how much I love her introduction, she’s one of the most spiteful, vicious characters in literature. I love to loathe her.

 

 

 

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Lydia Gwilt– it’s fairly simple why Armadale is one of my favourite classics: it has one of my favourite villains. I adore this femme fatale- she’s not one to be underestimated.

 

 

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Mrs Danvers– MRS DANVERS IS EVIL. That is all. (Seriously, I’ve hated this woman since I was 10)

 

 

thewitchesThe Grand High Witch– I always get the heebie jeebies whenever I think about the Witches- those long nails, bald heads and basically the fact that she’s pure evil made me terrified of her- arghh- like I said I don’t like to think of her!

 

doomspellDragwena– it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I read this trilogy, I will always be terrified of the witch characters in Doomspell. With extra sets of teeth and a snake wrapped around her neck, there’s something endlessly ominous about her.

 

 

MissPeregrineCover (1).jpgHollowgast– that name is pretty genius, embodying a period of time and sense of dread, and subsequently demonstrating some of the inventiveness that made this series so powerful for me. I don’t always find myself fearing generic monsters in books, however, there’s something so unsettling about the creatures in Peculiar Children.

i see you sauron

Sauron– a lot of people would perhaps argue that Sauron is more of a force of evil and so not the best villain. However, not only is he creepilicious as a dark force overshadowing Middle Earth, having read the Silmarillion now, I can see how fully fleshed out he is, well, minus the actual body 😉

dolores umbridgeDolores Umbridge– more sinister than Voldemort, more unsettling than the Dementors, Umbridge definitely takes the biscuit for being my most hated Rowling villain. There are no words to describe how much I loathe this woman.

 

smaug 4Smaug!!! I was desperately trying not to include two Tolkien villains- but I can’t help it! I pretty much love all of Tolkien’s baddies, nonetheless, Smaug takes all the gold medals for being my favourite fictional dragon.

 

And finally some “you know who” villains ie ones that would be spoilery to name:

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gone-girl-PB

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So what do you think with my list? Agree or disagree with any of them? And who are some of your favourite villains? Let me know in the comments!

All-Time Favourite Classics #1

Well hello! After my post the other day, where I showed off my bookshelves, and just generally talking a lot about books I love a lot recently, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite classics. Now of course, I quickly realised that there was no way I could do this in a single post, so decided to turn this into a mini-series. I’ve arbitrarily decided these posts will go out on Tuesdays for four weeks (basically because I wrote four posts before deciding to put a lid on it) so that’s what you’re getting… for now 😉

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Obviously, this list is not the “best” classics- just books that hit me on a deeply personal level. Nor is it a “finished” article: a) because I’ll be adding to it as I read more and b) because there were books that are hovering just outside the list and I’m always careful about saying whether a book is something I love vs a favourite. To my mind, it takes a significant amount of time and emotional connection for a book to be established as a favourite.

In the interest of keeping this list to a reasonable length, I also won’t be including: fantasy, sci fi, non-epic poetry, literary fiction or basically any other genre fiction. This is not a comment on whether they are/could be classics- only that I would prefer to talk about them in other lists- in fact I have a favourite fantasy list which I *definitely* plan on adding to with new favourites at some point cos they’ve been mounting up.

Lastly, before we get into this week’s selection, I’ve split these vaguely based on theme and don’t be alarmed by the fact there’s an uneven number each week (even after everything I’ve just said, I didn’t want to be stuck with silly, self-imposed rules)

Okay, rather long winded preamble- let’s get started with my rather romantic first set of favourites:

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_coverEmma– what could I actually say about Emma that hasn’t already been said? There’s a reason why this has been dubbed the perfect novel: the character growth, the plot structure, the romance, the friendship and the lessons that are so subtly woven into the story. I could go on, but the reason why this hits a personal note for me is that this was the book that made me appreciate Austen’s humour (though it was not the first Austen I read) and it’s because of this that I came to love all her work. I also happen to think Mr Knightley is the most appealing of all Austen’s love interests- sorry Mr Darcy fans 😉

 

little womenLittle Women– oh gosh, this book gives me the warm fuzzies whenever I think about it. There’s so much to love about it- the romance, the heartbreaking ups and downs of the story, the characters- however one of the biggest elements which always strikes me with this story *has to be* the family dynamic- the March sisters really capture that feeling of sisterhood.

 

i capture the castleI Capture the Castle– speaking of families and relationships, this one is slightly more dysfunction. Still, this quirky coming of age story is set in a crumbling castle and will always have a place in my heart (and inspires me to one day live in my own derelict castle… even though I hate the cold… whatever it’s a nice dream 😉 )

 

rebeccaRebecca– so, spoiler alert, next week I’ll be doing more gothic-y themed books and this book could certainly compete there. However one of the best things about this book is the romance- no not the romance between the unnamed protagonist and her new husband- but the ongoing romance with his dearly departed wife. I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read it, but this book illustrates what it feels like to be a third wheel… even though the third person in the relationship is in fact already dead.

 

wuthering heights bookWuthering Heights – speaking of more gothic-type books, this certainly has that feel some of the time. Yet it also is one of the most intense romances I’ve ever read. Now, I will admit that there are some faults on a structural level- however the heart of this book is one of the most sublime, passionate affairs I’ve ever read. And yes, Heathcliff and Cathy are horrible people- that’s half the point- their sole redeeming quality is there love for each other (well, it’s also their doom, so there’s that)

 

jane eyreJane Eyre– we can’t speak of one Bronte sister without mentioning another, and this book is wonderful in a different way. Of course, the main characters are flawed, but they’re not totally unlikeable; there are elements of destructive love, but it’s not the end of the world (mostly); and I can safely say the structure is tidier. And, above all, the romance still captures my imagination (that and the mad woman in the attic)

 

tess of the d'urbervillesTess of the D’Urbervilles– however if you’re looking for something slightly more on the tragic side- look no further. It’s such a sob-worthy story, from beginning to end. Poor Tess can’t catch a break. This is the book that made me fall in love with Hardy’s bleak, fatalistic outlook and visualistic world. Yes, I admit it, I’m somewhat pessimistic and this appeals to my dark side.

 

romeo-and-juliet-one-sheetRomeo and Juliet– speaking of star crossed lovers- where would we be without the ultimate ill-fated duo? (still referring to Tristan and Isolde no doubt, but I digress) I have two reasons for adoring this play: 1) the language and 2) the play with genre (yes I’m a dork)- it’s a fairly straightforward ploy of tricking the viewer into thinking it’s a comedy and then *BAM* Mercutio gets it and we’re into tragic territory. Simple, yet genius.

 

persuasionPersuasion– a slightly more romantic Austen, I read this one last in my Austen journey, and it’s always competing in my mind with Emma for the position of favourite Austen (incidentally most Austen books could have ended up on this list). Unrequited or long lost love really gets to me, so I found myself crying when they kept being frustrated in their romance (yes, I know it’s not a sad book, only the heightened romantic feel gets to me, cos I’m a sap)

 

midsummer night's dreamMidsummer Night’s Dream– this was my first ever Shakespeare play and can always put me in a good mood. Lighthearted and fun, there’s a spirit of mischief in the air. One of my absolute favourite things about it though, is how Helena’s story in particular captures that feeling of being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. It’s still just as poignant as ever.

 

Importance_earnest_dvdImportance of Being Earnest– and let’s round this off with the play that is the most fun of all! Why do I love it? Because this is Wilde at his wittiest and honestly this can still make me laugh, no matter how many times I hear the jokes (I also highly recommend the 1952 movie version)

 

 

Hope you enjoyed that- I loved making it. Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! And I’ll have another one of these next week…

Unforgettable Bookish Memories Tag

Well today is pretty unforgettable for me because this my 500th post and I just saw that I reached 2500 followers– so first of all THANK YOU ONE AND ALL for following in the first place, sticking with me for all my ramblings, and for just being your *amazing* selves!

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I was tagged for this a while ago by the wonderful Lisa @A Book Calls, the creator of this tag (and all round blogging brainiac- seriously her discussion pieces are great!), and I just thought it would be a lot of fun to do!

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No. 1: The First Book You Ever Read (Or Was Read To You)

Gosh, I’m afraid I don’t remember the first book that was read to me or the first book I ever read. Here’s a selection of picture books I remember liking:

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All highly recommended for little ‘uns.

No. 2: The First Book You Ever Bought With Your Own Money

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Nicola and the Viscount– I bought it cos it said “by the author of PRINCESS DIARIES”- being a barely literate child I thought that meant it was the Princess Diaries (emphasis on the barely literate part). I ended up liking it more than I ever liked Princess Diaries- so I guess that’s a win?

No. 3: A Book You Stayed Up All Night Reading

Every good book ever 😉 But I’ll go with this one:

we were liars

No. 4: What Book Or Series Will You Never Forget?

hitler's canaries

I just checked goodreads and this only has a thousand ratings?! OH MY GOODNESS THIS BOOK IS SO UNDERRATED- WHY?!?! Based on true events, this is one of the best stories of humanity and hope I have ever read. It also comes with some intense *feels*, so get your tissues ready.

No. 5: A Book You Frequently Think About

man's search for meaning

Because I think the philosophy espoused is so powerful and positive and it’s just a wonderfully impactful book. It also doesn’t hurt that its philosophy has permeated into a lot of work I admire.

No. 6: A Scene That Has Haunted You For Years After Reading It

jude

The *one* from Jude the Obscure– if you’ve read it, you know the scene. If you haven’t read it if you want to be slightly mentally scarred, I guarantee you’ve never read anything like it.

No. 7: An Unforgettable Character

rebecca

Rebecca- which is possibly an odd pick cos she’s not really in the book- but we get so much characterisation through third parties that she grows into an enigma that she starts to overshadow the heroine… Gothic genius at its best.

No. 8: A Book That Changed Your Opinion About Something

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a single book that’s changed my opinion drastically- I feel like books are better at *waking you up* to things you didn’t know and help you fine tune your thoughts. So with that said, I’m going with:

noughts and crosses

I was about 11 when I first read it and this made me aware of things I had no idea about. I was actually discussing with a friend just a couple of days ago what a remarkable book this is- if you want a book about putting yourself in other people’s shoes then this is nothing short of perfect. It’s still one of my favourite books from childhood and something I definitely recommend for people looking for speculative YA.

No. 9: Share Another Random Bookish Memory 

When I first saw this question I had *no clue* what to answer, so I started casting my mind back and back… and I stumbled on a memory of the first time I read the Hobbit. Now, everyone knows I loved that book. It had everything I ever wanted in a book: dragons, adventure, elves, wizards, eagles! Picture me, a young and immature ape of about 9, so enraptured by this magical world that I couldn’t think of anything else. All I wanted to do was jam my head back between the pages of a book and read MORE. My mum, however, didn’t think it was good for me to be cooped up in doors, so she dragged me out of the house to go for a walk and we ended up in a little wood near where I lived. Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Tolkien based a lot of the landscapes on England, so naturally when I was out and about in something resembling a forest… I yelled “OH MY GOD THIS IS MIRKWOOD!” and ran off into the trees. I never came back 😉 (at least my mind didn’t). The end.

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With that- I tag:

Sam, Noriko, Katie, Beth, Nel, Book Beach Bunny, Liis, Mischenko, Step into a Book World, KellyLiterary Weaponry and Stephanie

And anyone else who wants to do it! Do you have any random bookish memories? Let me know in the comments!