Friday, 24 January 2014

Book Review: The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth

Did you know that the sections of the Bible were named after testicles?
or that people inject sausage poison into their faces to look better?

If you knew these facts then you have obviously read the fantastic The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth.

Having studied linguistics for two years I have become increasingly interested in the history and origin of words, and when I saw this book I knew it was going to be right up my street.

It was both hilarious and utterly informant. Mark's use of tongue in cheek language makes it such a user friendly read. Even the most anti-learning person would be enthralled by this delightful book. You actually learn some mind blowing facts that, one time in your life, might become very useful. Definitely some quotable anecdotes perfect for the dinner table to impress some of your learned friends.

I read this on my Kindle, but I definitely will be purchasing a hard copy. It's a book to last the years and definitely one to go back to. Mark Forsyth has another book called The Horologicon which I have yet to read, but I am aware that there is a "box set" of the two books. It is on my purchase late.

This book is absolutely deserves a 5 star rating. It's would be a great gift for anyone studying English or Linguistics.

Have you read The Etymologicon? What was your favourite word meaning?


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Book Review

After seeing the hype and anticipation about Donna Tartt's long awaited (after 11 years since her last book!) 3rd novel, I was excited yet anxious about picking it up. My god, the front cover is beautiful.

At 700 pages it has to be the longest, and most drawn out, book I have ever conquered and I was very pleased with myself when I had completed it.

With such high expectations and praise created with the book's launch I was expecting to be taken on an exciting thrill ride that would enthral the senses. Unfortunately I was left bored and frustrated.

I gave the book 3/5 stars.

The book had a great plot. Teenage boy is involved in terrorist attack in NYC, his mum dies. He acquires/steals a very famous and expensive painting from the bomb site and his life is changed forever. His life spirals out of control, with drug/alcohol abuse and the criminal underworld just around the corner. With such an intriguing story I expected much more than what I read. I wanted more action, more suspense. All I found was drab, unbelievable twists that were more like a damp squib than a firework.

The main characters became increasingly annoying and very unlikeable. Where at first you feel sympathy for Theo, by the end you just want him to get what he deserves.
The story was full, I mean pages full!, of descriptions of meaningless items and settings. Although you can obviously see a reference and homage to Dickens, this incessant babbling made it such a chore to read. The book could easily have been cut down by 300 words, at least.

This story could have been fantastic, heck it could have been a classic, but I feel that the editor did not really do his/her job properly. Most reviews seem to be popular, so maybe I am in a very small minority who just didn't "get it".

I may return to the book in the future, as I feel it does have more to give.
Have any of you guys read The Goldfinch?
Does your views mirror mine, or were you completely mesmerised by Tartt's work?

Would love to hear your views.


Monday, 20 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge

Last year I completed the GoodReads Book Challenge.
You set yourself a goal of a number of books you aim to read in a year and it keeps progress on how far along you are etc etc.

I challenged myself to read 50 books, and by the 31st December I had actually read 51 books! Score!!

For 2014 I have decided to set a goal of 50 books again. I hope to include a few graphic novels in this goal and maybe even a audiobook or two.

So far I have read 4 books, which is 2 ahead of schedule so it's all looking good.

Have any of you completed a GoodReads Reading Challenge? How many books did you read last year?

If anyone wants to add me on GoodReads here is the link: GoodReads :)

Good Luck!!!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

New beginning. How cliché.

According to Blogger my last post was in September 2013. How shocking is that?
I have no excuse other than my own laziness.

Perhaps I could blame it on returning to Uni in Sept..and being so bogged down with reading for my courses that I just had no time whatsoever to write a blog post.... That would be a complete LIE.

The new year has brought new changes in my life. I have decided to "drop out" of university to begin my working career. I am turning 25 this year, so it's about time I start making a decent wage.

It has taken me longer than the average person to begin this process, most of my friends who graduated in the same year as me have been working for a few years already, whilst I, being the indecisive person that I am, chose to return to studying.

It seemed like the best choice at the time, and although I do not regret my two years studying a really interesting course, I guess it was just a "filler" so I didn't have to think about joining the real world.

Dropping out from University is such an anti-climactic event in reality it seems like such a little occasion. All I did was fill out a form, hand it in, gave over my student card ( more student discount..did I make the right decision?) and leave. That's it. Seems so insignificant considering how life changing this decision can be.

I am lucky to already have a BA in Marketing Management, so it's not as if I have nothing to show for my years at University.

I hope 2014 brings about a change in my life, and I know this won't happen unless I actually do something about it.

I want to write more book reviews, depending on how many I read during the week. I would also like to start selling my crochet creations and start taking on custom orders for people.

Let's see how much of these "resolutions" I actually stick to! Maybe that should be another resolution...stick to resolutions.

Only time will tell...