In First Person: My Favourite Films

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In First Person is a monthly meme here on Books and Hot Tea. Every first of the month I talk about a topic that is not related to books. Feel free to leave comments and chat with me!


Is this possible?! I actually posted In First Person post on time!

Well, happy September, people! Autumn is coming and that makes me really happy. 🙂 But, now, I’ll talk about something completely unrelated to that.

If you remember, in last month’s In First Person, I talked about films I like to watch when I just want to relax and have some fun. As much as I like the films on that list, those are not necessarily my favourites. But the films I really love are not always suitable for a cosy evening, as they can be quite disturbing. You’ll soon see why.

Before I start, I also want to stress that I’m not a big film lover. Everyone loves films, at least a little bit, but I’m not a big “movie junkie” and there are many classic films that I haven’t seen (yet). And the same is true for tv shows. I just don’t watch as many as other people seem to, and I get bored if there are too many seasons of a show. Reading one book takes a lot more time than watching one film, and since reading is my preferred free time activity, I just try to find time for it, which means something’s got to go. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate film as an art form. And I think these films truly are art:

Pan’s Labyrinth (original title: El laberinto del fauno)

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IMDB description: In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director & Writer: Guillermo del Toro

There are many layers to this film. Pan’s Labyrinth is a blend of dark fantasy, drama, and historical genre. It’s magical and creepy, but also very realistic and sincere. It’s very powerful and it disturbs me every time I watch it. And it looks beautiful!

Black Swan

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IMDB description: A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Another beautiful but disturbing film on the list. I’ve heard complaints about it not representing the lives of ballet dancers realistically, but I don’t think that was the point of the film. It is about ballet, of course, but more than that it is about a person who struggles with her own ambitions, jealousy, and expectations. It’s more psychological than anything else, and I think it was done great.

Mr Nobody

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IMDB description: A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible.

Director & Writer: Jaco Van Dormael

This film is about much more than you might guess form the description. It’s surreal at times, but everything makes sense in the end, which is not always the case with similar films. It’s a bit hard to explain without ruining it, so I won’t say much more.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignnorance)

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IMDB description: A washed-up actor, who once played a famous superhero, attempts to revive his career by writing and starring in a Broadway play.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (he’s also one of the writers)

Birdman is a thought-provoking film which deals with the schism between Broadway and Hollywood, without taking sides, or promoting just one view. Every character is well-developed and interesting, with many flaws, but also some virtues. It is about art, and what art really is, but at the same time it portrays the lives of actors and people around them in a realistic way. The acting is great, and the choice of Michael Keaton for the main role was perfect and even metatextual in a certain way. (What’s even more interesting is that he recently played another “birdman” – Vulture – in Spider-man: Homecoming :P)

I’ll end the list here, even though there are more great films out there, because there four really stan out to me. Apparently, I love films which are strange, but not completely, if you even understand what I’m trying to say. XD

What kind of films do you like? What are your favourites? And do you have any recommendations for me? 🙂

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The Blogger Aesthetic Award

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First of all, I have to then the lovely Rachel @paceamorelibri for this fun tag! ❤ You can see her post HERE. I have already done this tag some time ago, and you can see that post if you want to, so I decided to do something different this time – I decided to use just my own photos. I chose some which I think reflect my aesthetic the best. Hope you’ll like them! 🙂

The Rules:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favourite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

The Tips:

My Aesthetic:

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Since I already tagged some people last time, I won’t do it again, but if you want to do this fun tag consider yourself tagged! 🙂

Happy blogging, people!

One Lovely Blog Award

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I was nominated by the lovely Rachel @paceamorelibri for this award – Thank you so much! ❤ People, go check out her blog if you haven’t already! She’s great!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate at most 15 people.
  • Tell your nominees they’ve been nominated for one lovely award.

Facts about me: 

Is it just me, or is it very hard to talk about yourself? XD Well, these are some facts I came up with:

1. I recently adopted two chinchillas! It’s the most important thing that has happpened to me lately and I’m so happy! 🙂 My country, Croatia, recently passed a law that forbids farming animals for fur (finally!) Our animal rights group, Animal Friends Croatia, helped the chinchillas find their new homes. Sadly, only one farmer actually gave his chinchillas for adoption. 😦 I hope others will follow. Anyway, I adopted two girls – Kira (Valkira = Valkyrie in Croatian) and Seffi (Persephone). Here’s a picture of Kira, on the day I adopted her:

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2. I LOVE to travel! I wish I had the means to travel even more. I also collect postcards.

3. And yet, I love being home. I’m not a very outgoing person, and I don’t like crowded places. I like spending time with the people closest to me. Or alone. Alone is also fine. I have my chinchillas and my books for company, so I’m never really alone. 😛

4. I’m a pacifist, and yet I’m strangely obsessed with swords. I actually own a replica of a medieval sword, my parents brought it to me from Spain. I just adore it, it’s one of my most prised possessions!

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5. Actually, I’m obsessed with all things medieval, from the very early middle ages to the Rennaisance. My MA thesis was on medieval literature and my professor was a bit confused by my choice. XD

6. I also love all things Gothic. This includes not only the literature, but also the subculture and music. I don’t consider myself a goth, I’m a blend of few things actually. XD But I do mostly wear black.

7. I have a poster of John William Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shalott” in my room. I love the painting and the poem.

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And that’s it! I’ll nominate a few people now, but no pressure to actually do it. :*

Sophie @blameitonchocolate

Stuart @alwaystrustinbooks

@thequirkybooknerd

Chelsea @spotlightonstories

Azia @amwillisjournal

 

 

 

Inside & Out Book Tag

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First of all, thanks to Anna@mybookishdream for tagging me to do this. It was really fun! 🙂 Anna has an amazing blog, I truly recommend you all to check it out!

I know I wasn’t as active lately, but I just had so many things to do… I also adopted two chinchillas a few days ago and they have to adapt so I’ve been very focused on them. I don’t want the introduction to be too long, but I’ll explain a bit more at the end of the post, if anyone’s interested.* So, let’s get to my answers:

1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Well, it really depends, there are all kinds of summaries. I don’t think they give up too much information, but sometimes they can be misleading, which I find annoying. There are also some books with no information about the story whatsoever, and that’s really horrible. How am I supposed to know if I want the book or not? XD Solution: Google. But it’s still annoying. Why not put at least a teeny-tiny description?

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2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

A nice paperback. I prefer paperbacks to hardcovers, but I don’t like the really small ones, with tiny letters. I have nothing against e-books, but if I really like a book I want to have a physical copy. And audiobooks are just not for me, sadly. I cannot concentrate on them at all, my mind just wanders off. Physical copies are just the best. 🙂

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3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

I do sometimes underline a quote I like, but that’s mostly it. Lately, I decided to start writing down my thoughts on Goodreads, so we’ll see how that goes.

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I don’t care about the gender of the author. Why would I? And wouldn’t that be a bit sexist? I read the books I think I would enjoy, that’s the only criteria.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Oooo, reading the last page… I used to do that a lot when I was a kid, though it’s not really a logical thing to do. XD Sometimes I would get nervous something would not go the way I wanted it to, so I’d read the last page in hopes it will console me. I’m sure you know thet feeling. When you read something and it makes you anxious…

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6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Organised bookshelves. I’m running out of space so they’re not as organised as I would like them to be. The way I arrange my books may seem random, but it makes sense in my mind.

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7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I haven’t. I can be drawn by the cover, but I would never buy a book without checking what it’s about. I’m not that rich. XD

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Stay in, definitely. I rarely read outside. I like to spend time in nature, but I’m not the kind of person who takes a book, sits on a bench, and reads. I like to be at home, preferably in bed.

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And that’s it! I will tag some people, but of course, don’t feel obligated to do the tag. 😉

Sarah @betweenthepages

Marie @marieslibrary

Shanah @bionicbookwormblog

@ignitedmoth

@ardentattachments


* My country, Croatia, recently passed a law that forbids farming animals for fur (finally!) Little, fluffy chinchillas are safe now. A local animal righs group is now trying to find people to adopt the chinchillas. Sadly, only one farmer actually gave his chinchillas for adoption. 😦 I hope others will follow. Anyway, I adopted two girls – Kira (Valkira = Valkyrie in Croatian) and Seffi (Persephone). They are beyond adorable, but still very scared, poor babies…

Books and Hot Tea Got a Redesign

I wasn’t sure if this needed a post, but in the end I decided to do it. I’ve been trying to make my blog look better for a while now, but it never turned out the way I wanted it to. Now, I think I’m quite satisfied with it, though I’m not very good at this stuff. XD

First of all, I want to introduce you to Sheila the owl, my new mascot. 🙂

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Sheila was a template I found on pixabay.com (a great place to find free stock photos!) and then I just adjusted her colours. Owls were always a symbol of wisdom (and bookishness – if that’s not a word it should be) so she is perfect for this job! Sheila will be featured in my memes, such as Captured Moments and Quote for Thought. I also created a banner for the Top 5 Wednesday posts since I’m planning to do these regularly (maybe not every Wednesday, but most).

I am also planning to introduce a new monthly meme called In First Person, which will be posted every 1st day of the month. In these posts I will talk about a theme that I found interesting that month, something new I discovered, and mostly about things that are not related to books, because sometimes I want to talk about some other things as well. Once a month will be enough for that I think. This is Books and Hot Tea after all. 😉

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This means I will also be following a certain schedule:

  • On Mondays I will post a Quote for Thought or a Captured Moments post – in case I go on a trip or somewhere interesting. Sometimes, a tag/award post will be posted on Moday instead of those memes – if there is one to do.
  • Wednesdays are reserved for Top 5 Wednesday.
  • On Thursday, Friday or Saturday I will post a piece of writing (Twittering Tales and more).
  • In First Person will be an additional post.

So, this means posting three days a week. Well, at least for now… We’ll see how it works. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Sometimes, I might skip a post or so.

I’m also using a new theme – Misty Lake. I’m very satisfied with this one!

And that’s it! Happy blogging, people! 🙂


 

My Top 10 Books of 2016

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Hi people, and I wish you all the best in the new year! ❤ I came back from my trip to Austria and I’m planning to share some photos with you, but I took so many so I need some time to pick and choose. Until then, let’s get back to talking about books!

The start of a new year usually means making new plans for some new beginnings, but it is also the time when we reflect on the year that has passed. I’m not really the new-years-resolutions kind of person, but I do like to reflect on the books I’ve read. XD I was really looking forward to this post, since I had no idea which books I would choose before checking my Goodreads account. Yes, I was certain I would include a few books that immediately came to my mind when thinking about this post, but there are also some I read early in the year and almost forgot they were actually read in 2016. Let’s get to the list (in no particular order):

1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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I read this one in January. I should’ve done it a long time ago. This is an epistolary novel told through the eyes of Celie,in her own words and broken language, but it also speaks about the lives of African-American women. It’s very sad, raw and real.

2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang 

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A strange book, in the most wonderful sense of the word. Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. That’s how the book starts. What follows is much bigger then anyone would expect. The book tackles so many issues, and all of them are hidden inside of a short, but amazingly captivating narrative.

3. Alice by Christina Henry

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Speaking of strange… This adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is extremely dark and violent, but I loved it so, so much. The way in which Henrry uses the well-know characters to make something completely new is done very well!

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Another book I should’ve read a long , long time ago… I’ve read some of Plath’s poetry, but this book always somehow remained one of those I wantd to read, but never actually did. I’m so glad I finally read it. Plath’s prose reads almost like poetry, and the emotions this book evokes feel very, very real.

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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“Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

Hosseini’s writing is beautiful, and his stories are very emotional. It hurt to read this. I cried. And I loved it. And amazing tribute to the suffering of Afghan women, and an interesting story as well.

6. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

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I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about Russian folklore, but I have read some Russian fairy tales. This novel takes them all, and mixes them into an interesting, strange, dark and often confusing story. Confusing in a good way. I loved this book! It was unusual, which is always good, unpredictable, and magical.

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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This is now my favourite Gaiman novel. The world he creates in Neverwhere is wonderfully dark and fun at the same time, and the characters are intriguing. And the ending was great! Escapism at its best. XD

8. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Next two books on the list are graphic novels. I don’t read these as much as I should, especially since the two I’m going to mention were more than amazing. Persepolis is not only interesting, it taught me a lot about Iran, its history and present.

9. Watchmen by Alan Moore (Author), Dave Gibbons (Illustrator), John Higgins (Colorist)

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Yes, I should’ve read this a long time ago, too. Watchmen is an amazing graphic novel! It poses so many questions other superhero graphic novels don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I like superheroes, but this is so much more than a superhero story. It’s gritty, dark, and very realistic.

10. Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

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Now, something completely fun! I’ve read the first two books in the series this year, Retribution Falls and The Black Lung Captain, and I’m definitely going to read the next two soon. If you want a fun steampunk adventure with interesting characters you’ll love despite all of their faults – this is a perfect series for you! I mean – airship pirates! Who doesn’t want to read about airship pirates? 😉

Have you read any of these book? Did you like them, too?

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Villains #t5w

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My second Top 5 Wednesday post and I’m already in love with them. Such simple and fun posts! This week, we were supposed to choose 5 favourite villains. It was recommended not to mention any Harry Potter characters, since everyone would use those, and I agree with this recommendation. It’s better to find out about some new characters and books. My choices for this Top 5 are a bit unconventional, since I realized most of the books I like don’t really have a villain. XD

Here are my top 5:

1. Rachel (My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier)

Rachel is such an intriguing character, and throughout the entire book you keep wondering what her actual plans and feelings are. And the most amazing part is that after the ending you’re not even sure if Rachel was a villain or not. I don’t want to reveal too much (though maybe I already have) but the ending is amazing! 🙂

2. Lord Ruler (The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson)

It’s interesting to see how Brandon Sanderson makes a character interesting without actually letting the character appear too much in the book. Even the identity of Lord Ruler is uncertain for quite a long time. And yet, he affects quite a few characters in the book, who start to question their own motives and decisions in comparison to what he did. They even start to ask themselves if Lord Ruler did the right thing after all.

3. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis)

I like it when the main character is a villain! There are some books in which you don’t realize this until the end of the book, and it comes as a surprise, and your mind is blown, and it’s amazing! XD (I won’t name the books because that would spoil them completely.) Anyway, American Psycho is not that kind of a book. Patrick is obviously insane. And though some parts can be hard to read, I think that the novel is magnificently written. Patrick’s attention to detail and his perception of the world were very interesting, despite the fact that his mind is not a nice place to dwell in.

4. Carmilla (Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu)

I like Carmilla more than Dracula. Sorry, not sorry. This classic vampire tale always reminds me why I love vampires so much. Carmilla is so mysterious and intriguing, you actually want to believe she’s not evil.

5. Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)

Who is the villain – the monster or its maker? As someone said:

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Hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

P.S. I don’t actually do these posts in any particular order, it would probably make me crazy… XD So, these villains are all equally great to me, each in his/her own way.