Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)
I’m not a fan of romances, but it turns out there are some I can’t help but adore. Romanticism and the Victorians take the stage this time! (Tbh, most of these are not healthy at all.)
1. Catherine and Heatcliff (Wuthering Heights)
So much angst in this one! Both Cathy and Heathcliff have their issues, and they are not exactly likable (especially Heatcliff). However, they are well-rounded, complex characters and they have reasons for their actions, though that doesn’t necessarily justify them. This love story is more than a love story, and that’s what made it a classic.
2. Lestat and Louis (The Vampire Chronicles)
Don’t you dare tell me theirs is not a love story! And it’s angsty as hell. Louis is angsty in general, actually. XD
3. Batsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak (Far From the Madding Crowd)
This is the only positive one on this list, I think. XD The relationship between these characters develops slowly, and unlike most Victorian male characters, Gabriel is actually a nice guy.
4. Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky (Anna Karenina)
There is so much pain, misfortune and angst in this love story… Most of you probably know what happens but I’m still not going to say much, because I don’t want to spoil anything to anyone. This book is wonderful, and it rings very true even today. I do have some problems with Tolstoy’s portrayal of an “ideal” love – Kitty and Levin – but I’ll leave that discussion for another time.
P.S. I actually really liked the 2012 film with Keira Knightley, though most people seem to disagree. The fact that it was filmed in a theatre is a nice way to express how people wear masks and play the roles they are supposed to (actually the roles the society expects of them). It was very artistic.
5. Werther and Lotte (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
Werther’s one-sided love for Lotte was the one that started (or at least made popular) a lot of literary tropes, so I had to include it. Readers identified with Werther so much that many young men comitted suicides just like he did – yes, a wave of suicides happened after the publication of this book. Sometimes the influence of books can be horrible. And even though Goethe strongly criticized the Romantic movement later on, he still said:
It must be bad, if not everybody was to have a time in his life, when he felt as though Werther had been written exclusively for him.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if you agree with this. 😉
Honourable mention: Countess Ellen Olenska and Newland Archer (The Age of Innocence)
Apparently, I don’t like romance at all! I wouldn’t call this relationship romantic, but it is very angsty – and I really wanted to include it so I’m putting it as an honourable mention. Newland falls for Countess Olenska, or to be more precise he becomes obssesed with her. She knows their relationship is doomed, but cannot help falling for him, too. Tragedy ensues…
What did you think of these books? Do you find these angsty couples as influential as I do?
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
This quote really rings true to me. Most people see the bad things that are going on, but choose to ignore it. Especially if it’s something that’s happening to someone else. While I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale, some parts reminded me of the famous WWII-related poem by Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
And, in the end, what can one little voice do? How can I stop something that is so much larger than me? That’s a question no one really has an answer to. Turning the head away is the easy way. It gives us the comfort of not being seen, the freedom to live on, without danger.
We were the people who were not in the papers. We were the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
I’m not an optimist, or an idealist, so I can’t really find a good answer to all of this. To be honest, sometimes I don’t have faith in people, at all. But, hopefully, everything that’s going on in the world right now is not leading to another horrible period in history. And hopefully, we will always be able to speak up when we feel the need to.
Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small.
It’s an interesting topic, so let’s get started:
1. Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice
First of all, I LOVE the first three books of The Vampire Chronicles. Love them to pieces and always will. The fourth one, Tale of the Body Thief, was not that good but, though I had some issues with it, it didn’t disappoint me completely. Memnoch the Devil was quite bad… And that made me so sad. From the day I read it, I decided to treat The Vampire Chronicles as a trilogy, because it really went downhill for me. Still, Lestat is amazing, so everything is forgiven. XD
2. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I loved The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, so when the third book in the series came out I was more than excited. Though The Prisoner of Heaven ties up the two previous books, it wasn’t as magical as they were. It was, and I’m so sad to say it, quite boring…
3. The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I didn’t expect much of this book, but when I started it I though I might be wrong. It seemed it would be interesting. And then – it wasn’t. I don’t care about the forbidden love of the two main characters! I wanted magic, and danger, and mystery! But a forbidden love story was all I got.
4. The Fire by Katherine Neville
This book is a sequel to The Eight, a book I found very interesting. It is a perfect example of why I prefer standalones to series. This sequel was completely unnecessary. And boring. Though I read these books quite a lot of time ago, I still remember the general storyline of The Eight, but I have forgotten what happens in this one. I only remember the disappointment.
5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I really though I would love this one. The premise seemed great, and many people love it. In the end, I didn’t like it at all. Reading it was a painful experience to me and I almost didn’t finish it. Don’t hate me, please!
Twittering Tales challenge is hosted by Kat Myrman at like mercury colliding… The goal is to write a twitter-length story, in 140 characters or less. You can see the challenge HERE. Here’s my response to this week’s photo prompt:
“It’s done. You broke it,” she wept.
The tone of her voice hit him like a punch. It sounded like she wasn’t talking about the glass anymore.
In collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, this week’s topic is to talk about your favorite science fiction and fantasy books of all time. I was hard to choose just five, but here are my picks. Also, I mostly like the not-that-traditional approaches to both fantasy and science fiction so these might not be exactly what you are expecting. Still, I think they fit the category:
1. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is amazing, and I love his Discword series, though I have many more books to read from it. Small Gods is my favourite so far, and it is one of the books in Discworld series that can be read as a standalone. It’s both fantasy and satire, with Pratchett’s incredible wit and humour.
2. Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding
The Ketty Jay is a flying steamship, and her crew are pirates. Well, sort of. This book is part steampunk, part fantasy, part science fiction, but mostly adventure and fun! I love it, and the characters are amazing, deeply flawed but still lovable.
3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
This is a very unique book. It’s a retelling of several tales from the Russian folkore, all put into one strange but beautiful story which tackles many different themes. This book is hard to describe, but I found it incredibly interesting, and Valente’s writing is great.
4. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
In this book, the main character, Lady Trent, basically lives my dream. She goes on an expedition to study dragons. The way in which dragons are portayed here is exactly how I imagine and like them – they are intelligent, magnificent animals. They are not evil (I really don’t like when dragons represent evil and have to be slain), nor do they speak human language. They are just a part of the world, living their own lives in their own way.
P.S. The gif is from Pete’s Dragon, a wonderful Disney movie that made me cry.
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Yes, I know what you are thinking: Do you have to include Frankenstein in every list you make?! Well, I guess I do. Come on, this is the book that started science fiction! How can I not include it? Also, it’s perfect.
Honourable mention: Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This series is a honourable mention because I still haven’t read The Conjuring of Light, but I can’t wait to! Shades of Magic took me by surprise – I liked it more than I thought I would. I think what I liked most are the characters, and the unique world. Vicious is another amazing book from this author, which combines science fiction and superheroes, and deals with the notion of good and evil. Highly recommend that one, too.
Another honourable mention: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Not in the top five only because I think everyone’s heard of it and it does not need introduction. However, this book is a gem! It plays and jokes around with fantasy themes, the characters are more than memorable, and it’s really a fun story.
This was a great topic, so you have to forgive me for mentioning more than five books. 😉 Can’t wait to read your posts, I really need more recommendations!
Twittering Tales challenge is hosted by Kat Myrman at like mercury colliding… The goal is to write a twitter-length story, in 140 characters or less. You can see the challenge HERE. The photo this week was so beautiful! Here’s my response:
Fire and Smoke
Matches burn slowly, as smoke dances around. She burned up quickly, in the outburst of once tamed anger. Her smoke swallowed all it touched.
In First Person is a monthly meme here on Books and Hot Tea. Every first of the month I talk about a certain lifestyle topic I’m passionate about. Feel free to leave comments and chat with me!
Yes, I know today is the 2nd of March, so this is the first time I’m doing this meme and I’ve already failed. XD Anyway, for my first In First Person post I decided to talk about – big surprise! – tea. It is very fitting, considering the title of my blog. 😉 I’ve talked about tea before, but I’ve learned more since. And I’ve tried more teas. Now, let’s end this too long introduction, and start with the topic.
I’ve been a tea drinker for years. I haven’t started drinking tea because of its health benefits, though in my family tea was mostly reserved for the times you were sick. I simply loved the taste and the smell. It made me warm when I was cold and it made me feel cosy when I was tired. People are mostly coffee drinkers here in Croatia, but I never liked the taste of coffee. So, no, I never drink coffee. I also don’t drink my tea with milkmi. Until lately, tea with milk was even considered strange in Croatia. xD I usually drink mine with just some lemon since I don’t like honey in tea (this is something people find strange).
When I say the word “tea” I mostly think of tea made from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Those are white, green, yellow, oolong and black teas. Other herbal teas are made from different plants and these include Rooibos, Mint, Chamomille, Nettle, Sage and many others. There are also different fruit teas, which I jokingly call “hot juice”. (It sounds less disturbing in Croatian…) The tea plant teas are the ones I will talk about in this post.
Black tea is probably the most popular type of tea. It’s the most oxidized kind, and it’s completely fermented. That makes it the strongest in flavour and darkest in colour. It contains most caffeine, but caffeine level can vary quite a lot in different kinds of black tea since it depends on the part of the plant used and the brewing technique. The caffeine levels in tea can boost your blood pressure, but the effect doesn’t last long, and can help those with low blood pressure when they suffer for dizziness. The antioxidants in black tea are proven to strengthen your immunity, improve metabolism, and lower the risk of a stroke and heart attack since they help you fight high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When it comes to taste, black tea is usually too bitter for me (especially since I don’t drink tea with milk), but I adore Earl Grey tea – a tea blend which is flavoured with the oil of bergamot. The flavour and smell of bergamot is lovely! And it really makes the tea taste less bitter. Nowadays, there are also green tea variations of Earl Grey, and though not traditional, they’re very good, too.
Another kind of fermented tea is Pu-Erh tea. Pu-erh traditionally begins as a raw product known as “rough” and can be sold in this form or pressed into a number of shapes and sold as “raw”. Both of these forms then undergo the complex process of gradual fermentation and maturation with time. This is the type of tea I haven’t tasted before except blended with another kind of tea, so if you have, I’d like to hear what you thought of it!
Oolong tea is the next type of tea when it comes to the level of fermentation. It’s higher in the level of antioxidants than black tea. The general rule is – the less the tea is fermented, the more antioxidants you get from it. Oolong has all the health benefits of black tea, but it’s even more powerful. To learn more about this typoe of tea, you can visit Oolong Tea Community.
Oolong tea is said to be most varied kind of tea when it comes to taste, so I’ll leave it to you to try it. 😉 I only tasted it once, to be honest, because it’s not very popular where I live, so suggestions would be appreciated.
Green tea is less oxidized than black tea and it belongs to the group of teas that are not fermented. This means that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea, so you get even more health benefits from it. Green tea helps with prevention of some types of cancer, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s disease. It boosts your metabolism and lowers your cholesterol level more than black and oolong tea. It’s also frequently used in cosmetic products. Because of the antioxidants it contains, it’s a good anti-inflammatory agent, it rejuvenates the skin, and has a sun protective effect. The non-fermented teas are generally great for skin health. And for your liver, too.
Green tea tastes a little grassier than black and oolong tea, which is something not everyone’s a fan of. Since I always drink my tea with lemon, I don’t have a problem with grassines. The lemon really helps tone it down, so I suggest you try it as well.
Matcha tea is a kind of green tea that is finely ground in a green powder. The green tea used to make matcha is shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing. It contains more caffeine than green tea. The match powder is used to make green tea ice-cream and other green tea foods.
Sencha is also a type of green tea, from Japan.
Now, another type of tea I’d like to mention here is gunpowder tea. To make this type of tea, each leaf is rolled into a small round pellet – its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea or oolong tea, but the rolling method maked its taste stronger, which differentiates it from other green and oolong teas. It can also have a “smoky” flavour, which is fitting when you consider its name. XD
Yellow tea is another non-fermented tea. It’s processed in the same way as green tea, but the drying process is longer – damp leaves are left to sit and gain yellow colour, which gives it a different taste and smell. It’s made from the buds of the tea plant, before they turn to leaves. Yellow tea has the same amount of antioxidants as green tea, and similar health benefits. However, it’s taste is milder and much less grassy.
I love the taste of yellow tea! I remember how sad I was when my mother almost forbid me to drink it once. She said her friend drank a lot of yellow tea to lose weight, and it did help, but a little too much. She lost too much weight in a short time and had many health issues because of that. Yellow tea is often used for losing weight (and it helps with body fat and metabolism), but it can’t do that kind of damage to you. The woman from the story was probably on a strict diet. My mother also realized that, and now I can drink yellow tea again. 😉
White tea goes through minimal oxidation during processing and is one of the non-fermented teas. Similarly to yellow tea, it is made from the buds and leaves of the tea plant, and the buds give it its white colouring. Its taste and smell are similar to that of green tea, but a little milder, and less grassy. It contains the most antioxidants, so it is the best “cleaner” of the liver and your entire body. It is great for the skin, helps fight tumors, and since it has the least caffein so it’s great for good night sleep, and can even help with headaches. White tea is my favourite! I love its mild taste.
Now, if you want to experiment, there are so many different blends of teas out there. If you don’t like the taste of any of these teas, but like fruit teas, try a blend! I currently have a white tea and cranberry blend in my cupboard, and the cranberry really changes the taste. However, I prefer teas blended with flowers ond herbs. These change the taste less, but give a wonderful smell to your tea and make it more flavourful. My favourite is a tea called The Rose of Orient from a local tea shop, a blend of green and gunpowder tea with jasmine, marigold and rose. It smells and tastes wonderful! I suggest to try, explore, and enjoy the journey! 🙂
Now, there are many other herbal teas, so maybe next time I’ll talk about those. This post is already so long! Thanks for reading and happy blogging! 🙂
This week’s topic, as the title says, is to choose five fictional careers you’d want to have. This one was a bit hard for me, since there are not many truly fictional careers in the books I’ve read. In the end, this is what I came up with:
1. Magizoologist (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Do I even have to explain this? Studying magical creatures is the best! Also, this means I’d be a witch, and that’s something I really want to be. 😉
2. Dragon naturalist (A Natural History of Dragons)
This career is similar to the previous one. In the book, Lady Trent goes on an expedition to study dragons. I love dragons, and I would love to do the same!
3. A member of the Ketty Jay crew (Tales of the Ketty Jay series)
An airship pirate? Count me in! Yes, the characters of this series get in a lot of trouble, and the captain doesn’t always know what he’s doing, but as the story progresses they really become one big family. And everyone is crazy in their own way. XD
4. Digidestined (Digimon)
I’m not sure if this can be considered a job, but Digidestined are children chosen to travel to the Digital World and raise their Digimon. Together, they fight the evil Digimon that threaten the Digital World. I loved Digimon when I was a kid, more than Pokemon. It had a better and more complex story, and I was never really comfortable with the idea of Pokemon fighting one another for no apparent reason… Anyway, I’d love to have a Digimon friend. 🙂
5. Antari (Shades of Magic series)
Not really a career either, but Antaris who have the rare ability to travel between different worlds are often “employed” by the rulers of Londons to carry their messages. Now, I have to be careful with this one, because it’s dangerous. I have to admit I’m not quite sure if I really want this, but I do love magic and the idea of travelling between worlds is a very appealing one. To be honest, I didn’t know what to put as my last pick, it was between this and being a superhero but “with great power comes great responsibility” and I’m not sure if I want that kind of pressure. XD
So, those are my picks. What do you think, would you like to have one of these jobs?