Review: On Writing

Posted 20 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By: Stephen King
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

I haven’t read much of Stephen King’s works although his stories are well known and I’m aware of many that he’s written. I’ve often seen On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft in many lists about the craft of writing so it’s long been on my list of books to check out. I suppose after experiencing a bit of a frustrating drought on writing recently I decided to pick this book up to spur my creativity onward.

What can I say about this book? He does a wonderful job of weaving lessons on writing with his own experiences and journeys as a writer, providing examples, and giving sage advice that he had learned over the years. I didn’t know much about Stephen King’s life and how long he had been writing, so I learned quite a bit there as well. For fans and readers of his book, this book is quite the treat in that he gives a behind-the-scenes insight to his novels, where he got some inspiration from for some of his novels, and so forth (I’m always a bit fan of reading the behind-the-scenes stuff). From a writer’s perspective though this book is quite comforting: he’s straight-up about his advice, but at the same time he reminds the writer that you’re writing to write, you’re writing for yourself, that you make the rules because it’s you putting down those words.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading On Writing. Part memoir, part writing advice, an excellent read all around.

Rating: ★★★★★

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 18 September, 2018 by Lianne in Meme / 14 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. In Jaunary 2018 the meme was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic: Autumn TBR List

Happy September! It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these…School is back in full swing and I’m trying to balance it with work and all of my other side projects so yeah, that’s me in a nutshell 😛 Reading time has gone down considerably as a result but nonetheless I’m reading whenever I can (and still picking up books at a faster rate).

In no particular order:

  1. Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward — It’s Bob Woodward writing this and I was curious so yes, will likely read it soon.
  2. Monstress: Haven (Vol. 3) by Marjorie Liu –Yayayayay, my pre-order arrived last week! Can’t wait to read it 🙂
  3. The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien — I almost started reading it when it first arrived but yeah, provided life doesn’t get too too hectic I think I might start reading this sometime in the next few months. Tolkien’s works always make for perfect autumn reading anyhow 🙂
  4. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin — A bit of a cheat adding this to the list, but I actually started reading it a while ago but then I got so busy that I never read any more. But it’s really interesting so far! I just need to sit down and continue reading it, really, lol (and I got the other two books in the trilogy so yaaaaah, I can just blitz through it).
  5. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan — I always associate his books with the summer because I read the previous two books during the summer but this year I just didn’t get around to it (I did however watch the movie!). So for a switch over to some light reading, I might read this.
  6. The World of All Souls: A Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and the Book of Life by Deborah Harkness — The television adaptation airs in the UK now and there’s Time’s Convert coming out today but I also picked up this book some time ago. Her books also make for perfect autumn reading and I heart the trilogy so much.
  7. Miss You by Kate Eberlen — This book was also on my summer list that I just never got around to reading. Maybe if I’m in a mood I’ll start reading this title 😛
  8. Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia’s History by Catherine Merridale — I’m in a bit of a nonfiction mood at the moment so I’m hoping to get through a few of the nonfiction titles sitting on my TBR pile for a while. This is one of those books. I’m looking forward to reading this; I had read one of her other works when I was in grad school.
  9. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai — I keep on saying I’m going to read this book and then I don’t get around to it, lol. Anyway, maybe this season!
  10. Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor — I think his approach to this book was really interesting, examining German identity and history through its inventions and items used. Again, another one of those nonfiction titles that have been sitting on my TBR pile for a while.



And that’s my list of books that I hope to tackle this autumn (provided school doesn’t get a bit much)! What are you hoping to read this season? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: Mikhail and Margarita

Posted 14 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Mikhail and Margarita
By: Julie Kestrom Himes
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It is 1933 and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a mysterious agent of the secret police has developed a growing obsession with exposing Bulgakov as an enemy of the state. To make matters worse, Bulgakov has fallen in love with the dangerously candid Margarita. Facing imminent arrest, and infatuated with Margarita, he is inspired to write his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, a scathing novel critical of both power and the powerful.

The Master and Margarita was never my favourite Soviet novel; I had read it twice and it just never struck me one way or the other. I do however appreciate why it was seen as a sharp appraisal of the Soviet regime and its lackeys and I was curious to read this book because it was looking at the author behind the book and the people he associated with.

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Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Posted 12 September, 2018 by Lianne in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

  1. School’s back! It’s okay…so far. Not terribly freaked out compared to my bridging programme and that orientation from the other university that I was accepted to before Ryerson offered me admission (now THOSE were massive information dumps designed to petrify), but then again these are early days. I reckon things are going to pick up soon enough (Edit: Well, it’s sort of starting too, but at least I’m not as panicked as last year) but for now it’s okay, it’s good to be back at some kind of university setting.
  2. So August was hella busy for me. Work was insane because we’re so short-staffed and it’s summer so many people went on vacation; worked overtime and how many days straight…
  3. …and then I played hard, lol. The latter half of the month was littered with social events: get-togethers, meet-up with friends, a retirement party for some nurses on the other unit I used to work at, another potluck at my home unit…It was crazy, but it was fun. Never thought myself to be a social butterfly but after working all those shifts, yeah, I just want to sit down and chat lol.
  4. So now it’s back to finding a balance between school and work. I’m bummed that my availability is cut in half (not that it stopped me from picking up a shift tomorrow; FAIL) and of course that means that my pay is substantially lower than what it used to be but on the flip side I don’t want to make the same mistake I did at the end of my bridging programme where when I wasn’t at school I was at work and that nearly broke my brain ;_; So yes, trying to find that balance (and sticking to it!)
  5. Books I’m currently reading: I started reading Carolyn Ives Gilman’s Dark Orbit as my transit reading, lol. I’m also reading Francis Fukuyama’s Identity: the Demand and Dignity of the Politics of Resentment, which has been really interesting so far. Oh, and some of W.H. Auden’s poems on the side 🙂 He seems like an autumn-y read to me.
  6. Even though I haven’t been reading as often as I used to, I have pre-ordered a number of new books recently (including what will be my brother’s birthday gift to me, lol (this has been a regular practice for the last few years now lol)) which is pretty exciting. Should however curb back on the spending again since my hours aren’t as much as it used to be and I should try and catch up a bit with my TBR pile…
  7. Curious as I am, I don’t pick up any books about the 45th President of the United States. I did however pick up Bob Woodward’s Fear as, well, it’s written by Bob Woodward. I may actually start reading a bit of it tonight (should I dare).
  8. I caved and bought this knapsack last month. I love it, cannot wait to use it on my next trip 🙂 (I’m still using my Anello knapsack, by the way; I’m just using it for school, which is perfect because it’s quite spacious)
  9. But despite of the busy-ness, I finally released my third poetry collection, With Quiet Ardency! It’s been a long time coming…More info about the book here on my blog in another week or so and it should be available on Amazon, the Book Depository, etc. in a few weeks but in the meantime you can pick up a copy on Lulu.com 🙂
  10. So many book-to-television adaptations coming out soon! For example, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (A+ for using Max Richter’s music in the second half):

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And that’s it from me! How’s your September going? 🙂

Review: The Unwomanly Face of War

Posted 10 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Unwomanly Face of War
By: Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The unforgettable oral history of Soviet women’s experiences in the Second World War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, The Unwomanly Face of War is Svetlana Alexievich’s collection of stories from Soviet women who lived through the Second World War: on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. As Alexievich gives voice to women who are absent from official narratives – captains, sergeants, nurses, snipers, pilots – she shows us a new version of the war we’re so familiar with, creating an extraordinary
alternative history from their private stories.

Published in 1985 in Russia, The Unwomanly Face of War was Alexievich’s first book and a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union, establishing her as a brilliantly revolutionary writer.

Svetlana Alexievich has been on my wish-to-read list ever since I heard she had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her specialisation is oral history in major Soviet events, and I was quite intrigued when I heard that this particular book was published in English a few years ago.

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