The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent’s day hasn’t been going well. He’s been lying in the mud all morning to save his house from being demolished, and then his entire planet has been demolished. He, however, was saved by Ford Prefect from Betelgeuse. Ford takes Arthur on a journey over the galaxy, teaming up with Ford’s cousin to find a supposedly mythical planet.

Yeah, yeah, it’s taken me ages to finally read this book, and I only really read it for my book club. But still.

I still don’t really know why, but I actually expected this to be an actual guide to the galaxy, like JKR’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s not, if you were wondering; it’s an actual book with characters and a plot. (WHICH, BY THE WAY, FINISHED ON A CLIFFHANGER. SO NOW I NEED THE NEXT ONE. (I really have to stop doing this.))

Anyway, onto the actual book. I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I hoped. I tend to read quite fast, but this book forced me to read more slowly because there were so many odd concepts. Perhaps if I were less stressed and more able to be free with my time, I would have enjoyed it more (perhaps a re-read and an updated review in the future??) – which is why I think I boosted the star-rating on GoodReads (4/5), because it’s not the book’s fault.

However, I did like that there was a complete universe in the novel (I mean, obviously there is, but a complete fictional one). The concepts, whilst causing me to read slower, were rather humorous and I enjoyed them.

That’s another thing: the writing style! I really liked it. It was funny, and went perfectly off-topic. There were some great analogies too.

(I finally get all of this and it makes me so happy.)

Whilst I did love the characters and found them interesting, even a bit weird, I found that Hitchhiker didn’t have quite the ‘uumph’ for me that I was hoping for. However, I did still enjoy it and all of the cool creatures, loopy landscapes and baffling plot. Even if you can tell from the adjectives there I’m still not entirely sure what I’ve read…

(I’d recommend this, obviously, for sci-fi lovers, but I think that anyone could like this novel. Aside from my mother (I’ve just asked her.).)

Also, interestingly, I originally gave this a 5 star review on GR. Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood and my memory is suffering from too many grumpy Ancient Roman satirists.

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5 Reasons You Should Attend a Book Club

5 reasons...bookclub

Book clubs. You hear about them, there have been books written about them and to any literary lover, they sound pretty damn cool. Have you ever wanted to a go to a book club, but for some reason you never have? Here are five more reasons for attending a book club which may make you drool so much you actually decide to sign up for one.

  1. New books and book swaps. Attending a book club means you are so much more likely to discover a new book that you love, because hopefully you’ll find a book club of like-minded people! Besides that fact, your book club might be interesting in doing book swaps (for example, everyone brings two books they don’t want, and leave with two other people have brought along – for free!). Free (kinda) books!
  2. A chance to talk about books – aka, fangirling. (And no, you don’t have to be a girl to fangirl!) Mr Darcy finally won you over? That fictional baby was just so cute you have to persuade your SO to let you have one? You can’t get over the fact dragons don’t exist and no matter how much you pray to Santa, he’ll probably never deliver you one? To a “normal” person, these problems may seem, well, odd. But to fellow literary-ists, they’d seem normal! And they’ve probably encountered the same probably multiple times too. You’re in safe hands in a book club.
  3. It’s ok if you don’t want to say anything at all! Some people are scared away from book clubs by the fact they might have to stand up and announce to the world what they thought of it. If you find a good book club (or, indeed, set one up yourself), then chances are you can just sit and listen until your ready.
  4. New friends! Even if you hate the chosen book of the month/week/whatever, you might make a new friend! And the fact that you’re both in a book club means you already have something to bond over. How great?!
  5. Discovering more about yourself. Yeah, this one is kind of cliché, but true. Perhaps you’ll find out that you really like sci-fi, even if you’ve never dabbled in it before. And you might not even find something out about yourself book-wise: perhaps you’ll discover you really enjoy debating, or public speaking, or even scribing!

And here’s a 5 1/2 for those writers out there: yes, it’s great for your writing! More intel on what people do and don’t like, and you may even stumble on a great new idea.

Basically: book clubs rock.

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill

The Coroner’s Lunch

 

Dr Siri Paiboun did not wish to be state coroner for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, but he didn’t exactly get a choice. At 72 years old and with no training, he isn’t the ideal candidate – but he’s the best they’ve got. Well – he’s the only one they’ve got, being the last doctor left in Laos.

It’s all going according to plan until the wife of a Party leader is wheeled in and Siri suspects something is up. Then, Vietnamese bodies have been found, tortured, in the lake, and Siri has to keep his wits about him if wants to both survive and discover what exactly is going on.

The Coroner’s Lunch is the first adult mystery/crime novel I have read, and I really enjoyed it. It’s funny, witty and, obviously, mysterious.

I grew to love the main character, Siri. He is brilliant: clever, talented and funny. And he is experienced, which is what makes the character so well suited to the plot, even if he doesn’t know everything, and thereby discovers it along with the readers. Cotterill has basically created one of the most ideal characters I’ve ever seen for the plot; as opposed to a character who was bent to fit the plot, it’s as if they worked together, which is something you don’t always see.

I loved the side characters as well, from Crazy Rajid to Mr Geung to Dtui. They were all very different but complementary, like the complementary colours in a colour wheel – totally different but somehow go together.

The plot was good, but I did get a little confused as the array of characters was so wide (although this is generally typical for a mystery) and they had rather similar-sounding names, almost all starting with Comrade of Commander. The only ones with unique names were the ones which were central to the plot: Siri, Civilai, Geung and Dtui. I did, however, enjoy the mystery and the crimes, even if it was a bit gross.

Something I didn’t expect in this novel was the large emphasis on the supernatural. Still, I felt this really helped in the novel and I really enjoyed it, even if it did creep me out a bit.

Finally, the writing style, which, although confusing in some places, had the perfect persona. The novel is told from Siri’s point of view, primarily, and Cotterill uses other character’s voices sparingly, only when they are needed. And, by the way, when I say “confusing” I mean “when you read back over the paragraph you realise and it’s great”. Also, it was really funny in places. Example: ‘It was after three, and Siri had been missing for over five hours… The staff consensus was that he was now in serious shit.’(I found it funny, anyway, especially with the scenario: a 72 year old investigating a murder is in trouble because he went missing. Irony? Is that you?)

I would definitely recommend this book for older readers, not so much younger ones (I don’t know why, but I always imagine kids reading this…). It’s the first in a series, and, I have to warn you: FINISHES ON A CLIFFHANGER OH YES (OH NO). (I was, admittedly, rather annoyed by that and need the next one, ASAP.) But yes ,a very enjoyable read, and I will be reading the next.


TITLE: The Coroner’s Lunch
AUTHOR: Colin Cotterill
PUBLISHER: Quercus
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2007
NUMBER OF PAGES: 271
PRICE: £12.99 (hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-84724-069-9
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from library

How To Promote Yourself On WordPress (Well, in my opinion, anyway)

Promoting yourself on WP

I’ve been on WordPress for nearly two years now (doesn’t time fly…) and quite a lot of you awesome people follow me. Sure, not a groundbreaking amount, but I must have been doing something right, mustn’t I?

Admittedly, the title may be a bit misleading, aside from the part in parenthesis: you may have come here looking for some quick, confident way to gain likes, followers, commenters etc. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and I still struggle to completely gain the attention of my audience. But I’m going to share what I’ve done to try and get there!

  1. Use the tags and categories to your advantage. Do you know where these babies are? Have a look at the pictures below and find out which article writing site you have (I don’t really know what to call it) and then fill in the tags as much as you can. They’re used in search engines and on WordPress itself. If you’re not using them, then your blog views are likely to drop. The categories are mainly for your blog itself, but are equally as useful – if someone likes what they read, they’re likely to try and find more, and you want to make their life a bit easier to they stay!
  2. Engage with interesting stuff people want to see. WordPress generally plays host to writing, so if you’re looking to promote your music, unless it’s through writing, you might want to head to Twitter or Tumblr instead. You can write about anything – well, almost anything – though. Your posts can be as long or as short as you like, but unless they’re stories, I wouldn’t make them extensively long!
  3. Post regularly. Yeah, I should probably practice what I preach, I’m terrible at getting this Friday post done. But I do try! As long as your readers know that, and you post about once a week at the least, then they should be content.
  4. Pictures! They break up large chunks of text, and give you something to post on websites such as Pinterest and even Twitter.
  5. Do lists and bullet points and stuff. It breaks up the text which is easy on the eye, and it makes it easier for you to think up content (like me, can you tell?) because once you’ve done, say, 3 or 4, it’s quite easy to get up to 5 in the “Top Five…” etc.

Basically, be yourself. Well, as yourself as you can be online. People will (hopefully) like your voice and they’ll like your posts for the (equally hopefully) friendly tone.

Just have fun on WordPress, or any blog for that matter. Whilst people noticing you is nice, writing for yourself and writing what you love is basically what matters.

Oh and one last tip: read and follow other people! If you’re lucky, they’ll check out your blog too!

The Road Beneath My Feet by Frank Turner

The Road Beneath My Feet

In September 2005, the punk-rock band Million Dead played their final show. Whilst it was the end of the line for this band, it was the beginning of a new journey for Frank Turner. Over 1000 shows (nearing 2000) and 10 years later, he finally stopped for long enough to write this book. Which is a miracle in itself. Even if you don’t include the thousands of miles around the globe he’s travelled, all the tens of people he’s met and the hundreds of sweaty shows he’s performed.

I don’t read a lot of autobiographies, but this one was recommended to me by (and then leant to me by) my boyfriend. And it’s one of my favourite singers. So I kinda read it.

One thing I really liked about this book is that it was written as if it was being spoken. It’s one of those things where you lose yourself in the book, and when you look up you can’t smell the sweat of the stage or hear the roaring of the crowd anymore, and you’re actually just sat on a freezing bus on the way to another long day college. This was the first autobiography that I lost myself in.

I should probably say something about the chapters. They’re not chapters, per se, but told in shows. The shows tell you the stories of the people and adventures around them. He puts in the actual show too, of course, but it’s the stories that tell you what life is like when you’re travelling, which was another thing I wrote in my notes. I’m not a musician, and I have no particular aspirations to be, but this book really tells you what life on the road is like…without actually having to be there.

Another thing I really liked about Turner’s style of writing is the pure, well, Englishness of it all. He would hate me for saying it, but using words like “alas” is just awesome. Frank also swears a lot in his music, so it was bound to be in his novel, which is just a head up if you don’t like that type of stuff, but I found it actually worked really well with it.

Finally, Frank’s passion for music really comes through in his writing, and it’s actually rather pleasant to read; the life and vibrancy he creates in his words really translates into life for the reader.

I would recommend this book to music lovers, and people who like Frank Turner, obviously. This novel isn’t for everyone, so don’t read it if what’s up there doesn’t appease you. Personally, I really enjoyed it, though, and would read another if he wrote a few more.

[Thanks to the awesome Jake for lending me his (signed!) copy! :* Check out his review too!]


TITLE: The Road Beneath My Feet
AUTHOR: Frank Turner
PUBLISHER: Headline Publishing Group
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2015
NUMBER OF PAGES: 272
PRICE: £20.00 (but you can find it reduced in most places because it’s so new)
ISBN: 9781472222015
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: My amazeballs boyfriend

Fractured (Slated #2) by Teri Terry

Fractured

Kyla has been Slated. But now, she’s remembering: something she shouldn’t be able to do. When someone from her past life reappears, she begins to remember more and more. But soon it becomes apparent someone has betrayed her, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Fractured is the second in the series of ‘Slated’. I bought Slated at a charity shop and read it rather quickly, but didn’t think about getting the sequel, so when I saw Fractured in the library I picked it up and read it in two days. In a turn of events, I actually think Fractured was better than it’s predecessor, something I have never encountered before in a series!

I was immediately hooked and remained that way throughout the whole book. Terry has a (rather annoying, but brilliant) habit of leaving chapters on cliff hangers, which meant I’d say, “now, I’m only going to read to Chapter 42…” and… I kind of ended up finishing the entire book.

The array of characters just grew further still, and I really love the differences between them. I’ve found a lot of great books recently, so I’m finding myself repeating a lot of the same things, but this is so true. I had love-hate relationships with some, some I just love, and some were pitied, sympathised with, laughed at. Kind of like real love. And I loved it, of course.

Despite the tension, there were also plenty of shocks. Not to give any spoilers but ohmygoodnesswhatishappeningtothischaracternostopthatbeforeihityouintheface. Which basically summed up my reaction to it.

I lapped up this book like a dehydrated cat to water (even when my cat isn’t dehydrated this is amusing to watch, so that’s my comparison), and it was brilliant. I had to give my library card away (to the boyf so I’ll  get it back, don’t panic! (as I would be if it weren’t him)) to get the last one because it wasn’t in my local library , but I’m so excited to read it! Expect a review of Shattered soon!

And of course I would recommend this, but start from the first: it’ll make way more sense. These books are great for thrills, a little bit of romance (always nice), and a nice story. Perhaps a bit predictable, admittedly, but if you can overlook that it’s not too bad at all.

Find Your Mojo

Find your mojoEveryone takes a knock to their confidence at some point. Perhaps you received a rejection letter or the epic scene in your head comes out a bit limp and lame on paper. You just feel like giving up and crawling into bed with a book and hot cocoa. I mean, that’s fine for a day or two, but after that you need to get up, get out and find your mojo!

Just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean other people won’t either. Did you know that Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was rejected at least once, and the publisher said, “It is so badly written”? Did that stop him? Of course it didn’t, he simply sent it to another publisher and lo and behold, it has now sold in excess of 80 million copies.

If you’re struggling to find the willpower to write more, try finding a competition with either a great prize or a great premise. You want to do well, so you’ll do the best you can; it could be the best entry they get!

Ups and downs are a given in life: what goes up must come down, but likewise what falls down bounces. If you fall to what you imagine to be the bottom of everything, just bounce up again and keep moving forward. Losing your mojo for a day, even a week or a month, isn’t the end of the world, you can always come back to being your old, great self again.

It’s well known that if you enjoy something you’re so likely to do well. You like writing, right, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. So even if one little thing can’t be fixed for the moment, move on until you’ve got a clear enough head to go back and smash it. I mean, not literally, your laptop probably wouldn’t thank you for that.

At least one person out there believes in you, and even if that’s a stranger over the internet (hello!) then surely that’s enough to heave yourself, grab your mojo from wherever it’s lurking and carry on doing what you love?

May The 4th Be With You

Howdy everyone! I hope I find you all well.

Aside from my turning 17 (which was a great day), nothing much else has happened this weekend. What about with you all?

Sorry about no blog posts this weekend, there’ll definitely be some this week! Is there anything you guys want raised?

– Hannah 🙂