We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The End of Paris in July :(

It has been really fun incorporating French things in my blog posts this month. Thank you Thyme-for-tea and BookBath for coming up with this wonderful theme!!! So to end off on a Parisian note, here are some pictures of the City of Lights which I am sure inspired the brilliant U2 song City of Blinding Lights...

Friday, 30 July 2010

1. I feel like having pancakes.

2. I should phone Shaun to catch up.

3. Do I really have to wait 2 years before I can go to China?.

4. Most people are completely unique.

5. It's hard to know how much to spend on a gift

6. Diamonds and Hearts follow suit.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to just taking it easy, tomorrow my plans include reading Salinger and Sunday, I want to phone Pride!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Some Shakespearean insults

There is no doubt that Shakespeare was a master wordsmith. Not only are his sonnets and plays amazing, but his insults are first class!!! I thought I would entertain you with some of them, truly brilliant!!!

  • Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death
  • Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat
  • No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip, she is spherical, like a globe, I could find out countries in her
  • Thou lump of foul deformity
  • Thou unfit for any place but hell
  • He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not, the ape is dead
  • You kiss by the book
  • Why he's a man of wax
  • You should be women and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so
  • Whose horrible image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs
  • You egg, you fry of treachery
  • Fit to govern, No, not to live
  • I had rather be a toad, and live upon the vapour of a dungeon, than keep a corner in the thing I love for others uses
  • Damn her, lewd minx
  • You have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness
  • I do not like your look, I promise thee
  • You Banbury cheese
  • King Urinal
  • She's a great lubbery boy
  • Thou disease of a friend
  • It is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice
  • Your means are very slender, and your waste is great
  • You are as a candle, the better part burnt out
  • I think he be transformed into a beast; for I can nowhere find him like a man
  • Away!, Thou art poison to my blood
  • As I told you always, her beauty and her brain go not together
  • I'll pray a thousand prayers for your death
  • Come, you are a tedious fool
  • He is deformed, crooked, old and sere, ill faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere, vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind, stigmatical in making, worse in mind
  • Were I like thee, I would throw away myself
  • Would thou were clean enough to spit on
  • I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands
  • Thou art like the harpy, which, to betray, dost with thine angels face, seize with thine eagle's talons
  • Your peevish chastity is not worth a breakfast in the cheapest country
  • He is open to incontinency
  • A knot you are of damned blood suckers
  • Thy mothers name is ominous to children
  • There's many a man hath more hair than wit
  • If thou art changed to aught, tis to an ass

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Snacking whilst reading...

As I mentioned in an earlier Paris in July themed post – after reading Chocolat I found myself liking to snack whilst I read. I’ve noticed that I tend to favour chocolaty snacks so I thought I would share my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, which happen to be one of my favourite snack foods!

So here goes...

  • 125g margarine – softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups of flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee – slightly crushed
  • 125g chocolate chips

i. Cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy
ii. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence
iii. Combine the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture
iv. Stir in the chocolate chips
v. Roll little balls and put them on a buttered baking tray press the little balls of dough slightly
vi. Bake at 180°C for 8-10 minutes or for 10-12 minutes if you prefer a more crisp cookie

Bon Appétit!!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent

I never knew that there would be such a backlash in works inspired by the Harry Potter Series, but that just shows how ignorant I have been about the series. Yesterday when going through my Harry Potter Fan-Fiction folder I found a trilogy with a prequel inspired by the Harry Potter Series, but with a different twist. It is a reader called Psychic Serpent that started writing these stories offering alternative plots to the 5th, 6th and 7th Harry Potter books.

As I am relatively behind in my reading, I cannot yet tell you what these stories are about, though I can add the summary offered by the author.

Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent

Spoilers: The first four canon books.

Summary: In Harry’s fifth year he gets a snake with the Sight; Hermione’s torn between Ron and

Harry, who’s torn between her and Ginny, who’s torn between him and Draco Malfoy, who’s torn between her and loyalty to his father. Voldemort may be trying to recruit Harry now instead of killing him, and there are giants and house elves and a Duelling Club, oh my! Warning: sex, sexual tension, angst and tragedy.

Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions

Spoilers: The first four canon books plus Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent.

Summary During his fifth year, Trelawney did a Tarot reading for Harry. She told him he would have to make a choice that could “change the world as we know it.” At the beginning of his sixth year, Harry chooses, and the world does change. Does it change for the better? If he wants, can Harry change it back? Or is giving Harry exactly what he wants Voldemort’s ultimate revenge?

Harry Potter and the Triangle Prophecy

Spoilers The first four canon books, the schoolbooks (Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the

Ages) plus Harry Potter and the Psychic Serpent and Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions.

Summary: Harry’s seventh - and final- year of school. In a time of uncertainty, the Muggle world has found a source of comfort and stability. Only Harry suspects that it isn’t safe. Wizards are more concerned about themselves than Muggles since Voldemort’s return, but are only Muggles at risk? Will anyone listen to Harry? He must decide whether Draco Malfoy is ultimately friend or foe and discover the identity of the Daughter of War and get her help in defeating Voldemort; and finally, Harry must decide whether to make a sacrifice that will change him – and the wizarding world – forever.

So before anyone gets angry at the author thinking how cheeky it is to use already established characters and story lines, this is offered:

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

So let’s not judge a book by its seemingly plagiarised cover!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

One Hundred Years of Solitude

It's an absolutely scandalous thing,but this is the second book that I am reading for the month (I know I can hear your gasps). I was supposed to read it last year for Modern Fiction but it just got too confusing with all the other books I had to read. So I am reading it again, and without any pressure to have to finish the book I am really enjoying it. Garcia Marquez is a true master at story telling. I will be blogging about the book soon, I just thought I would put some pictures of the books covers up for the time being.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bananafish Part II

Seymour Glass suffers from psychological trauma after the war – this could be what I expect is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but Seymour’s behaviour with Sybil and his resultant suicide would suggest that Seymour suffers from something much worse than PTSD. Perhaps Seymour – like Holden Caulfield – suffers from depression.

Seymour is greatly affected by the little girl – Sybil – that he spends a great deal of time with on the beach. He enjoys spending time with her and perhaps even other children because they are still so innocent and still believe that the world is all rainbows and unicorns. This allows Seymour to immerse himself in this world of fantasy and enables him to escape the harsh reality that he encountered when he was fighting in the war; the very war that destroys Seymour. Sybil is untainted by the world, her innocence is untainted and she is able to understand Seymour better than anyone else that he knows. She represents what he wishes to retrieve but Seymour is so tainted by what he has seen that his innocence has been lost forever.

Seymour’s wife Muriel is one of the many things that send Seymour over the top – pushing him towards his eventual suicide. Muriel epitomises the very things that Seymour detests – she is concerned with the superficial and mundane things that Seymour finds so tedious. This is why Seymour looking at Muriel before he shoots himself is so poignant. Muriel represents the things that Seymour wishes to reject – adulthood and superficiality – which is why it comes as little surprise when in Raise High the Roof beam we discover that Seymour had doubts about getting married.

Sybil’s innocence in her belief in the Bananafish and then actually seeing a Bananafish is what sends Seymour over the top – her innocence reminds him of how his innocence can never be restored and that kills him – leading him to his suicide. Sybil pronouncing Seymour Glass as ‘see more glass’ is very relevant in this story as she wants her mother to see more into Seymour; since she understands Seymour in a way that adults cant. Sybil sees more of Seymour than any other adult. Seymour’s suicide is his escape from an oppressive adult world which he inhabits as an outsider.

The title A Perfect Day for Bananafish is as pertinent as the symbolism in the story itself. Seymour makes up the Bananafish – saying that it is a fish that engorge themselves on bananas and then die of banana fever. Seymour is the Bananafish – he has had enough of the greed and materialism that go hand in hand with adulthood – his mental state is akin to banana fever and that is what kills him much like it does the Bananafish.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Friday fill-ins

1. This is what life does. It lets you get all cocky and arrogant and then it kicks you in the face.

2. So why not just appreciate the moment?

3. Upon reflection I realise that it is time for change.

4. I have not had chocolate for quite a long time.

5. Later, you wake up and the sun has set

6. I want to sail off to the far and boundless sea.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, tomorrow my plans include doing very little and Sunday, I want to watch Pride and Prejudice!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I still have to read this book, but for the sake of Paris in July, I’ll still talk about it as I frequently watched the animated movie after it came out in 1997. Everyone knows the story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Quasimodo the Hunchback who rings the bells of Notre Dame every day who helps to offer sanctuary to Esmeralda the Gypsy who has to flee. Quasimodo who is nothing but kind to Esmeralda is rejected by her for a good looking fellow. I hated Esmeralda when I watched this movie as I just could not understand how she could be so mean to someone who was so good to her. But maybe I’ll feel different when I watch it again? Or maybe reading the book will change my perspective. Or maybe I’ll still be the same principled person I was then or will I be the Bohemian that Moulin Rouge sculpted?