On re-reading

I’m re-reading my all-time-favourite novel again at the moment: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas. I’m not entirely sure why I love it so much, just that I do. And each time I read it, I find more and more to love.

Take, for example, this segment:

“The two friends sat down to dinner; but as they were eating, Albert could not refrain from pointing out the marked difference between the respective merits of Signor Pastrini’s cook and the one employed by the Count of Monte Cristo; and indeed, honesty obliged Franz to confess, despite the reservations he still seemed to have on the subject of the count, that the comparison was not to the advantage of Signor Pastrini’s chef.” (p. 401)

and this, four pages later:

“The two friends did not presume to repay the count for the luncheon he had given them: it would have been poor jest to offer him, in exchange for his excellent table, the very mediocre fare that made up Signor Pastrini’s table d’hote. They said as much openly and he accepted their excuses with evident appreciation of their thoughtfulness.” (p. 405)

What gorgeous writing! Wouldn’t you agree? That first sentence, in particular, is 73 words long!!!

And have a fantastic, literary week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Best night EVER!

Friday night. The not-too-distant past. Sons of Korah, Australian Christian band, playing at Lifepointe Baptist church at Buderim.

SOOOOO worth the almost-20-year (yeh, you read that correctly) wait to see them live.

They were BRILLIANT! Their technical expertise was beyond compare. Such timing, such accuracy – they were so ‘tight’, it was – truly – incredible. As in, the “real” meaning of that word. Beyond belief.

It’s been years since I’ve been so ‘swept up’ in the moment. But that concert did it for me. I was alive 🙂

[I wonder if that’s how God feels, looking down on us with such delight?! A beautiful thought!]

Anyway, I just wanted to share this memory with you today. And if you’re interested in their music, try here. I’d recommend their initial album, ‘Light of Life’ as a great starting point!

And here’s praying that you have a inspired week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

 

 

My take on the latest, greatest picture book…

I was given a stack of Picture Books recently, asked to read them, and give my opinion. Smiling, I agreed. Who doesn’t like picture books?

And although there were a couple that I recommended the library in question *not* purchase, one of the books in particular hit me as not only extremely well-written (and illustrated, of course) but with a clear message, subtle yet necessary, and BRILLIANTLY executed.

I don’t review books often – not because I don’t read (my 2016 Goodreads challenge is sitting steady on 77 books completed, of the 104 I set myself) – but because I don’t want to embarrass myself again with a recommendation for a book I’ve fallen in love with… which I later find out to be pretty much a blatant rip-off of an earlier novel which I’d never read. [This situation occurred earlier this year, and boy! was I mad when I discovered the original…]

But back to the picture book: my latest, greatest, most favourite of all picture books that I discovered this week is: THE FABULOUS FRIEND MACHINE by Nick Bland.

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Yes, that’s a chicken, looking at an iPad. No, I won’t give away any more than that.

If you’ve read this book already, you’re smiling right now; I know. Me too.

If you *haven’t* read it – go find yourself a copy and READ IT NOW. You won’t regret it, I promise. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll probably say to yourself after, ‘I know people who need to read this book’. And you’ll tell them. The way I’m telling you.

Please, please, please, if you know of any parents, or teachers, or librarians, please let them know about this book. I can’t stress enough how much they’ll love it. Try it, and see. Bet you I’m right!

And, as always, have a lovely week 🙂

— KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #12

Book #12 continues the fantasy genre for this week’s #blogjune posts. The Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer, is my ‘go-to’ example of magical races surviving undetected on modern-day Earth.

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In a similar vein, of course, are the more-well-known Harry Potter and Twilight series’.

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But as much as the Rowling and Meyer series’ are extremely well-written, I prefer the wit of the Colfer series. I found the mix of criminal masterminds with LEP Recon rather clever. Or perhaps it’s just the intricacies of the dwarf digestive system that amuses me.

Have you ever read them? What did you think?

And, as always, have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

 

30 must-read books – #9

I can’t remember my first time reading Obernewtyn – I think I may have been twelve or thirteen at the time? I recall I’d recently read Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah – and preferred the Carmody story immensely. The ones that followed, just as much.

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Fast forward to 2015. Carmody finished the series! And seriously, reading the final sentence of Book 7, decades later and what felt like hundreds of thousands of hours of time spent with these characters? It was TOTALLY worth it.

Because of ALL my reading, every single book I have ever read, THIS SERIES has the final sentence to end all final sentences.

You don’t see it coming.

But when it does, it’s PERFECT!

(And yes, I’m well aware I’ve used excessive capitalisation in this post. And you know what? I don’t regret it. Whenever I write a final sentence now, I think of hers. That sentence of hers is my penultimate example. Trust me – if you’ve read the series from beginning to end – you’ll agree with me!)

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

30 must read books – #8

So today marks Day 8 of #blogjune, and the eighth book of thirty in this series of ’30 must read books’ which I’ve chosen as my theme. For the past 7 days, I picked ‘literary’ titles – from Dumas and Austen, to the 40+ Biblical authors and Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Edith Pargeter, and Jane Yolen.

Jane Yolen’s work also marks a shift, in content, into the fantasy / sci fi realm, and it in this realm which I’d like to spend the next 7 days.

Beginning, of course, with Raymond E. Feist, and the ‘Riftwar’ cycle which started with Magician.

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Magician was my introduction to fantasy, as a 13 year old wide-eyed kid. A good friend of mine from a community orchestra we were in introduced us – and it was a match made in heaven. I devoured it, as well as the other two in the Riftwar saga, Silverthorn and A Darkness At Sethanon, faster than I had ever read anything ever before.

I then moved into the following three, set on the opposing world of Kelewan, and co-written by Jenny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire, and Mistress of the Empire, and loved them just as wholeheartedly.

What a fantastic introduction to fantasy it was. And it’s a love that exists through to today.

What about you? What was your first fantasy novel?

And have a lovely day!
— KRidwyn

 

 

 

 

 

30 must-read books – #6

#bj6I first encountered Ellis Peters as a teenager; with the highly entertaining character Brother Cadfael my introduction not only to the world of monks, but also to the historical crime genre.

Pictured is Book 6 in the series of 20, and my favourite as it introduces Cadfael’s son, who quickly became the most swoon-worthy of swoon-worthiness; the epitome of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ in my teenager mindset.

But as much as I love these stories, I cannot in good faith include them in this list of 30 must-reads. But that’s only because they are eclipsed by her Heaven Tree trilogy, written under her own name, Edith Pargeter.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.27.16 pm Some would say that these three (The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed) are not as refined as the Cadfael series, being her earlier work, before her writing style matured. I utterly disagree.

I love, love, love this trilogy. And count myself blessed to have discovered such gorgeous, literary writing, at such a young age.

So – any Ellis Peters / Edith Pargeter fans out there? And which series do *you* prefer?

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #5

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From one French author, Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo (my book #1) to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables as book five… is there a pattern here?

Who knows. But what first intrigued me about this work was the style. I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I describe it as ‘character based’ not ‘plot based’. As in, the entire first BOOK is taken up with in-depth descriptions of a family of characters who, in the grander scheme of things, end up being far more ‘minor’ than ‘major’.

Wow. That’s SUCH a mind-blowing idea in today’s fast-faster-fastest ‘get to the point’ ‘well there goes five seconds of my life that I’ll never get back’ culture.

And I love it!

Why not indulge in the language? In the formation and communication of thoughts, of ideas? Why not relish the slower pace, and luxuriate in the words, in the sentences, the vocabulary, the style?

You’ll need a spare few hours. But in my opinion, well worth them.

Would you agree, dear reader?

Have a lovely day!
–KRidwyn

 

30 must-read books – #4

#bj3And again, another collection. Yes, I’m a bit of a cheat, aren’t I? Sorry!!!

As a high school English teacher for more years than I dare count, I’ve studied and taught my fair share of these. My hands-down favourite is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Who could resist the fun of Puck?! I grin, thinking about Shakespeare smiling while first drafting the ‘head of a donkey’ section. What went through his head, I wonder?

So, how many have you read? And which is your favourite, dear reader?

Have a great day!

— KRidwyn