Quote for Thought: Bicycle

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“To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them.”

Angela Carter, “The Lady of the House of Love” from The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

A random little quote I wanted to sheare with you. I’ve recently read Angela Carter’s short story collection, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, and I’m amazed by her writing. It’s brilliant. Her stories are dark, I’d even use the word disturbing, and each of them takes fairy tale imagery and makes something completely new out of it. For some reason, this quote stuck with me, even though there are so many wonderful ones. Maybe because it speaks of something mundane, almost random and not connected to fairy tales at all, but it’s still great. And it works great within the story, which I highly recommend. 🙂

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The Ice Queen

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I have nothing against princesses,
I like the sound of crackling fire,
and I’m very fond of cats,
but it doesn’t mean I don’t see
when injustice is being served.

Why are wolves always hunted
yet you forgive your cats
for killing birds and little mice
and bringing them as gifts?
Why is ice considered cruel
when fire can hurt as well?
Why are queens always evil
and princesses you root for?

I write my own fairy tale,
and I create a powerful queen
a woman needs not be weak
nor act sweet and for rescue wait
if she wants to be a heroine.

So I bestow on her a gift of ice,
ice-cold eyes, a power to create,
she will freeze you if you dare
in a tower lock her up,
she will make you disappear
before your wicked curse is uttered.

A magic mirror in her possession,
but who’s the fairest she doesn’t ask,
she uses it to uncover lies,
to see where’s a need to fight,
defend herself and all she loves,
a crown of ice on head held high.

She runs in the company of wolves,
with them she is always free,
she howls proudly at the moon
and hunts those who deserve it;
little girls that carry baskets
are not always what they seem,
sometimes a poisoned apple
and hidden thorns lie therein.

A queen, not a princess,
powerful and not naïve,
clever and not benign,
her touch so cold that it burns,
but that doesn’t mean she’s cruel.


Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The Classics Book Tag

I first saw this tag on booktube, but it’s been around on blogs, too, so I thought I might do it. The original tag can be found here. Anyway, I thought it would be fun, so even though no one tagged me I decided to do it so that you can get to know me better and hopefully some discussion may arise. Feel free to comment! 🙂

1. An overhyped classic you really didn’t like:

Don Quixote, I don’t even have to think about it! I really, really, really don’t like it. And it is said to be the best novel ever written! The novel is picaresque, and it’s an ironic portrayal of chivalric romances, so I should have liked, but no. I do get that it’s metaphoric and all that, but I found it too repetitive, the same things being said time and time again but in a different way, and I didn’t care for it at all. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, I don’t know…

2. Favourite time period to read about:

I can’t really say that I have a favourite time period to read about. I really like reading about the Middle Ages, and I have recently read The Decameron by Giovanni Boccacio, which was written in the fourteenth century, and am currently reading The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which is a retelling of the Arthurian legends. I also like to read about the Celts, but I haven’t read a lot about them so I hope someone can recommend something to me. I would certainly suggest reading Ellen Evert Hopman’s books, Priestess of the ForestThe Druid’s Isle, and Priestess of The Fire Temple because they are interesting but also very informative.

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I also like the beginning of the 19th century (Mary Shelley, Bronte sisters etc.) and modern books which take place in the Victorian era.

3. Favourite fairy tale:

Probably Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, though it makes me so sad… I have a soft spot for animals.

4. What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read yet:

I wish I’ve read more Dickens, I’ve only read Oliver Twist and Great Expectations so far. I must admit I’m not really drawn to Dickens’ novels… But I’m most embarrassed that I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 because I’m sure I would love it. The thing is, I grew up with different classics here in Croatia, a lot of Russian and French literature, so I haven’t read as many American and English classics as people form English-speaking countries have. I studied English in college though, so I caught up with a lot of them, but I feel that the modern classics weren’t mentioned a lot, and I’m trying to read them as I feel I really should, considering my education. Oh, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, that’s something I definitely should’ve read by now!

5. Top 5 classics you would like to read soon:

Well, Fahrenheit 451 and Lolita for sure, The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens because I think I might enjoy this one, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut because I liked the other two of his books that I’ve read, and Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates because I’ve heard great things about it.

6. Favourite modern book/series based on a classic:

I’m not really sure I know one, so I’m going to cheat a little on this one. Terry Pratchett’s books are quite intertextual, so Wyrd Sisters has a lot of references to Shakespeare, while Witches Abroad references fairy tales.

7. Favourite movie version/tv-series based on a classic:

BBC series are always good, but everybody knows that. I liked the first season of Penny Dreadful, a series that features all the most famous horror characters – characters from Dracula, Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and his Creature etc. But the second season is not that interesting I have to say…

And I would like to add something, as the question about fairy tales reminded me of Disney, I have to say that I love Tangled and The Emperor’s New Groove! Oh, The Emperor’s New Groove, only watching the trailer makes me feel so happy! 🙂

8. Worst classic to movie adaptation:

There was never a good Frankenstein… I liked how the creature was portrayed in Penny Dreadful, though.

9. Favourite editions you’d like to collect more classics from:

I have to say that I like my simple black Penguin Classics, white Penguin Modern Classics and Oxford Classics. All of these are beautiful in their simplicity, and I actually prefer paperbacks because I find them more practical. And I do like how these editions look an the shelves. In an ideal world, I would collect the Barns and Noble classics which are just too pretty, though quite huge and I guess hard to read from… But I would just look at them and enjoy. XD

10. An underhyped classic you would recommend to everyone:

I’m not sure if it’s underhyped, but I don’t see a lot of people talking about it – The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I really loved this novel. I would also recommend The Decameron, which I’ve already mentioned, especially if you’re interested in the middle ages and the Italian Renaissance. It’s basically a collection of short stories sou you can’t always pick and chose a few if you don’t want to read it whole.the age of innocence

EDIT: How could I forget The Song of the Nibelungs! Shame on me, because it’s great – a medieval German saga about the hero Siegfried in which Siegfried is not really the main character… Lovely 🙂

Does anyone want to do this tag? Feel free to do it! 🙂

Quote for Thought: Don’t Forget You’re a Beautiful Swan

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain in a swan’s egg.

Hans Christian Andersen, “The Ugly Duckling”

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Picture taken by me in Bled, Slovenia.

I like how several Hans Christian Andersen’s tales deal with characters who are different, cast out, or don’t belong in their environment – “The Ugly Duckling”, “Thumbelina”, “The Silver Shilling” to name a few. And in the end, all of those characters find happiness. It is hard to be different or misunderstood, but if you are a beautiful swan inside, it eventually always shows on the outside. Everybody deserves to be who they truly are, and we should all think twice before judging someone. If anyone struggles with similar problems, I hope you these quotes might give you at least a little strength.

“All my troubles were ended, joy came back to me, for I was of good silver, and had the right stamp, and I had no more disagreeables to endure, though a hole had been bored though me, as through a false coin; but that doesn’t matter if one is not really false. One must wait for the end, and one will be righted at last – that’s my belief.” said the Shilling.

Hans Christian Andersed, “The Silver Shilling”

On New Books and Book Buying

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As the title says – I’ve bought some new books today. Buying books always makes me happy, so I felt inspired to write a random post about them. Since I read The Golem and the Djinni few days ago, I’ve only been reading a book for my Swedish classes. I study Swedish in a school for foreign languages and it’s my third year there so I’m quite proud that I’m able to read an entire book in Swedish. And this is our second one! 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to buy something to read so, without any high expectations, I went to a bookstore. The first book I got is The Uninvited by Liz Hensen. I actually noticed Anna Dressed in Blood by Kandale Blake first and was almost certain I would buy it, even though the paranormal romances aren’t really “my cup of tea”. I somehow thought it might be interesting, but I wasn’t sure. (If anyone’s read it, I would really like to know what you thought of it.) And then – this book stole my attention. On the cover, it’s compared to Kazuo Ishiguro, and I loved Never Let Me Go, so I decided to give it a go.

The Uninvited is supposed to be a “part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare”, creepy and thought-provoking. And I hope it will be, because covers sometimes lie.

“A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires.

An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong.”

As I said in one of my previous posts, I like a bit weird, even disturbing fiction, so you can see why I had to grab this book.

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The other book I bought is The Collected Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Andersen. I wanted something like this for a while, and I found this nice, inexpensive edition. I already have the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe from the same collection and I’ve seen several others, but this is the first time I’ve come across this one. I don’t actually like these but, chunky books because it’s quite hard to hold them and read, but sometimes they are a great solution, especially when it comes to short stories. The book also looks pretty, and it’s a great collection, I can’t even count all the fairy tales which can be found in it. The Illustrations are black and white, and a bit dark, but they somehow suit the tone of Andersen’s tales as they some of them are quite bleak. I’m just so happy to have this edition in my possession! 🙂

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This is basically how I buy books. First I try to find the books I’ve heard of and want to read. Sadly, where I live the choice of books is quite limited so I usually don’t find any of those. And only one bookstore has books in English, and I don’t like reading translations if I can read the original. So, if I really want to read something, I order it online. Therefore, I usually just look around, and if I have the time I do it for a very tong time. I admit, I completely lose sense of time when I browse through bookstores and that can sometimes be annoying to people who happen to be with me. But, what can I say, everyone has their own little obsessions. 😉 I wish I had more choice, because to me online orders are simply not the same as shopping at a bookstore. I don’t know why, but I like spending time there – alone, or with someone equally enthusiastic to discuss books and possible buys.

In the end, here are my two lovelies, from the same collection. I might add another one to my bookshelf, sometime in future.

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