Fourth Anniversary!

This blog is now four months old!

This is exciting, and despite being a mostly absent blog holder, I am still here and thinking about this blog daily.

My dissertation is due in just over 5 weeks, and I’m doing well. I’m slightly stressed out, but I’m looking forward to being able to be back on here and discussing everything book related with you soon!

In the meantime, this blog is going to go back to silent once again. I fear I won’t have a lot of time to read between now and the 21st of September, barring rereading my dissertation, and I doubt a people reading this want to know about Welsh mythology in popular culture.

Thank you for sticking beside me, and I hope to be back soon!

[Book Review] The Shining by Stephen King

the shining

Stephen King is a novelist known worldwide, but The Shining was my first real introduction to his writing.

Following the story of Jack, Wendy and Danny, The Shining takes place at the Overlook hotel, where Jack finds a job as the winter caretaker.

Following their arrival at the Overlook, strange events begin to take place, there’s a lady in the bathtub, a mysterious ballroom party taking place at night, the elevator operates by itself.

The novel certainly promises anticipation in all the right places.

What was most surprising for me, as someone who had previously seen the film but not read the book was the more psychological element of the novel. The novel deals heavily with alcoholism, going in depth with Jack’s struggle, his guilt over hitting Danny fighting against his desire to just drink one more time. I found this perhaps one of the best parts of the novel, watching Jack sink into madness as the ghosts of the Overlook finally took over and he caved into drinking.

Overall, I thought the novel was good, it built anticipation in all the right places and dealt with a lot of issues throughout the course of the novel. Stephen King left no stone untouched, and I did not leave the novel thinking that I’d wished something had been tied up.

Initially, I had expected to be terrified out of my mind, but that did not happen. There were a few moment where I got anxious, particularly the scene with Danny and the fire extinguisher at the beginning. But, it was not the terrified I had been expecting. I find that I did not mind that so much, as I had a lot of enjoyment out of other sections of the novel.

[Book Review] The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis

the meat tree

The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis is part of Seren Books’ New Stories of the Mabinogion, which is a series of adaptations of the Mabinogi, a Welsh myth.

Following the Fourth Branch of the myth, Gwyneth Lewis places her novel in the future, as an Inspector and an Apprentice search a seemingly abandoned earth ship in outer space. On this ship, they discover a VR headset and they discover the tale of the Fourth Branch.

This novel is interesting in the way it’s written and the handling of the myth. Written almost like a stage play, the characters of the novel describe what they see and the conversations around them as they log their adventure onboard the space ship.

Lewis uses the myth to her advantage, and as the characters go further into the VR game, they make discoveries about themselves, and the people who were once aboard the ship.

Gwyneth Lewis really drags in the reader, and makes for excellent reading. It’s exciting, and keeps you going as you try to discover who the mastermind of the VR game is. The novel also tackles themes of feminism, the roles of man and woman, and social hierarchy.

I would definitely recommend this novel, it’s a brilliant introduction to the Mabinogi and a lovely novel in it’s own right.

3 Month Anniversary!

Hello!

So, this book club is now three months old, can you believe it?

I’m currently working through some things, and I promise to come back with a better experience for you all this coming October. I have a few things I want to try out, but until now, I hope you don’t mind my relative absence.

It’s going to be a tumultuous few months, but I’m hoping to come back better than before. It’s going to be weird at first because my life currently revolves around work, thinking about work, and thinking about my dissertation. So, it’s going to be a bit of a shift in nature for me.

I really want to make a good go of this book club. So, hopefully we can achieve that!

Thank you for being patient.

Rebeca.

[Book Review] The Owl Service by Alan Garner

the owl service

The Owl Service by Alan Garner is an modern day ghost story. The novel follows three children as they discover a dinner service found in an attic and unravels a story as ancient as the mountains about revenge.

Taking elements from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, Alan Garner weaves a tale of these children as they learn more about their place in the Welsh country side, where they belong and the history of the Valleys.

The novel is interesting in its uses of the Fourth Branch. Garner takes the Fourth Branch, and uses it’s to its own advantage. I wrote ghost story earlier, and that remains to be true, but it is not a ghost story in the typical fashion, it’s a ghost story in the way that the past comes back to haunt you. Starting from the dinner service, to the murals, to the owls, Garner weaves a tale that not only captures the myth, but also reinvents the myth.

The novels light writing style allows for a quick read, but delivers in Garners vast knowledge of the myth and the Welsh countryside. It is an exciting story from beginning to end, and despite having read the Mabinogi since childhood, I was still left guessing as to what the conclusion to the novel was going to be.

I enjoyed reading this book, it’s an exciting take on an old story.

Have you read The Owl Service? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

[Book Review] The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a pinnacle in the fantasy genre, the eponymous book that came before.

I read this book many years ago. It was actually one of my first books when I was first becoming the reading person I am today.

The Hobbit is a fun book, detailing the adventure of Bilbo Baggins as he treks across Middle Earth to burgle for Thorin and his companions. On this journey, Bilbo learns to overcome adversity and makes friends. He makes new discoveries and learns that sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to new adventures.

J.R.R. Tolkien has a way with words and creating worlds, and it shines through in this instalment. The characters are diverse, and despite this novel not being as heavy as it’s successor The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit has a more fun approach to story telling, woven together by Tolkien’s words and songs throughout.

Overall, I enjoyed rereading The Hobbit. It’s immersive and wonder building leads through many alleys of Middle Earth, and is a great read for all readers.

What do you think of The Hobbit? Let me know in the comments!