Doric poetry II

Fit like iday, lads and lassies? (How are you today, boys and girls?)

Hello everyone 🙂

Some of you may remember my post about the books of Doric Poetry that I own, titled ‘Fit Like, Yer Majesty’, where I discussed Doric and how it played a part in my cultural upbringing as a Scot from the North East of Scotland. In that post I also wrote out one of the poems from this book in the original Doric, and purely for my own enjoyment, I translated it into proper English. Some people commented that they had enjoyed this post, and so I thought I might post the occasional poem every once in a while! Without further ado, here we go!

A Sailor Caad Danny by Jim Bremner

There eence wis a sailor caad Danny, 

There once was a sailor called Danny,

Fas skill at the helm wis uncanny;

Whose skill at the helm was uncanny;

Wi his captain in fear.

With his captain in fear.

He approached the Broch Pier,

So the mannie said, “Danny, ca canny!”

So the man said, “Danny, take it easy!”

 

It’s not that bad, see? That is quite an easy poem to translate, but some of the ones in this book I even struggle with! Comment and let me know if you enjoy these posts, as I am loving giving you guys a taste of my heritage! 🙂

 

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Imperium (Cicero #1) by Robert Harris

Hello!

Another Sunday, another book review. Some of you may remember me posting about what I was currently reading a few weeks ago. During exams I could only read dribs and drabs of this book (despite wanting to power through the whole thing), but as soon as my exams were over I sat down with a cup of coffee and read the second half of this book.

If you are unfamiliar with this book or what it is about, here is a brief synopsis:

When Tiro, the confidential secretary (and slave) of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually propel his master into one of the most suspenseful courtroom dramas in history. The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island’s corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Marcus Cicero — an ambitious young lawyer and spellbinding orator, who at the age of twenty-seven is determined to attainimperium — supreme power in the state.

Of all the great figures of the Roman world, none was more fascinating or charismatic than Cicero. And Tiro — the inventor of shorthand and author of numerous books, including a celebrated biography of his master (which was lost in the Dark Ages) — was always by his side.

Compellingly written in Tiro’s voice, Imperium is the re-creation of his vanished masterpiece, recounting in vivid detail the story of Cicero’s quest for glory, competing with some of the most powerful and intimidating figures of his — or any other — age: Pompey, Caesar, Crassus, and the many other powerful Romans who changed history.

Robert Harris, the world’s master of innovative historical fiction, lures us into a violent, treacherous world of Roman politics at once exotically different from and yet startlingly similar to our own — a world of Senate intrigue and electoral corruption, special prosecutors and political adventurism — to describe how one clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable man fought to reach the top.

This book was recommended to me by a great friend, and I can safely say it is up there as one of the best books I’ve read in 2016. Actually…it may be the top of the top! I loved it! I am not much of a reader of historical fiction, and in particular when real life events are fictionalised. I also should mention that before reading this book, I had no knowledge of Ancient Rome.  However, I found this book so captivating and thrilling.

Robert Harris’s account of Cicero’s journey from senator to consul in Ancient Rome is inspired and littered with real facts, speeches and events. This journey, is told from the perspective of Cicero’s slave, Tiro. The novel takes the form of Tiro looking back on his time with Cicero from his old age (he was thought to have lived to be roughly 100 years old). Tiro, we know to have been real as he is often mentioned in letters written by Cicero which were preserved. From his perspective, he recounts the events and the dramas of politics in the Roman Republic.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading from Tiro’s perspective, as I thought that, knowing Cicero as well as he did, and on a level that not many could say they knew him, it meant he could showcase Cicero in all his forms and paint him in an honest light. And rightly enough, Cicero is shown in all his forms; confident, vulnerable, selfish, passionate etc. Tiro provides an account which does not mask any of Cicero’s flaws, but it is still apparent his devotion to his master. Cicero, at points was not a very like-able character, but in my opinion, his determination and vulnerability were endearing.

I found also, that as Harris based so much of the story on actual events and existing information and speeches, the story almost tells itself. Harris lends his eloquent and captivating writing style to the already intriguing story of the savagery, corruption and drama of Ancient Rome. My only issue with this book, is that it took me a while to read as I was constantly looking up meanings of certain words pertaining to the structure of the political system, and names of figures that appeared in the novel at different times (I continued to get Crassus mixed up with Catulus until near the end of the novel). However, the frequent stopping to process what I was reading was useful as it meant I took my time with the story and could really engage myself in the world. Here are a few of my favourite descriptions and quotes from the book:

“I pictured his quick thoughts running ahead in the way that water runs along the cracks in a tiled floor – first onward, and then spreading to either side, blocked in one spot, advancing in another, widening and branching out.”

“So I followed him in, and was privileged to hear Anthiochus of Ascalon himself assert the three basic principles of stoicism- that virtue is sufficient for happiness, that nothing except virtue is good, and that the emotions are not to be trusted- three simple rules, which, if only men could follow them, would solve all the problems of the world.”

“And looking back on it, and trying to fix precisely what it was about him which made him so disconcerting, I think it was this: his indiscriminate and detached friendliness, which you knew would never waver or diminish even if he had just decided to have you killed.”

“By this time tomorrow, I remember thinking, the voting on the Field of Mars would be well underway, and we would probably know whether Cicero was to be consul or not, and in either event the sun would shine and in the autumn it would rain. I lingered in the Forum Boarium and watched the people buying their flowers and their fruit and all the rest of it, and wondered what it would be like not to have any interest in politics, but simply to live, as the poet has it, vita umbratilis, ‘a life in the shade’.

Overall, I loved this book. I found it fast paced and exciting. There are two more books in this series, and I can’t wait to read them. I have already started Lustrum! I would recommend these to anybody who enjoys a story they can really sink their teeth into.

I hope you guys enjoyed this book review. 🙂

What I’m reading this weekend.

It’s the weekend! And seeing as I’ve been lying in bed, neglecting responsibility and reading for the past hour or so, I thought I could do a weekend reading update!

I’m currently 90 pages into Lustrum by Robert Harris (as I mentioned in my summer TBR), and it is really getting exciting! It picked up with the excitement on which the first book ended, and I’m loving it. My fascination with the Roman Republic is ever growing.

What are you guys reading this weekend? 

Liebster Award

 

liebsteraward

Hello all!

This is not so much a book related post, but more of a fun way of recognising  bloggers. My best friend Holly, from dasilvax.com nominated me for this tag; the Liebster Award! Holly has a great blog, and does regular beauty and lifestyle posts. She is also pretty much the person who inspired me to start blogging again, and thanks to her motivation I’m having a really great time!

Basically, the aim of the Liebster Award is to give you guys an insight into my life and I’ll be answering 10 questions which Holly has given me. Once I’m done, I’ll be nominating 5 other bloggers and giving them 10 questions to answer, and so on and so forth!

Let’s get cracking! Please note, this is a long post… I’d suggest getting a cuppa first.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

1) Bookworm (duh)

– I mean, why else would I be here?

2) Creative

-I love to create things, whether it be creating content on this blog for people to enjoy and engage in, or in terms of my artwork. I’ve been creating art since I can remember, and I am constantly trying to better myself and improve my work. As well as my artwork, I love writing and crafty projects.

3) Passionate

-This might sound a silly one, but there are so many things in my life that I feel passionate about; art, books, doing things to make myself happy, university, academia…the list goes on. Anything that I truly care about I tackle with all the passion that I can muster, and this drives me to do better and be better.

What is your all-time favourite movie?

This is an impossible question! I have favourite movies from different genres, and these are subject to change all of the time! I might do a more in-depth post in future on my favourite movies, but for now I’ll give a list of a few that I really love:

-Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

-ANYTHING DISNEY (but more specifically, Pocahontas or Winnie the Pooh)

-HARRY POTTER, HARRY POTTER and….HARRY POTTER (the 3rd movie is my favourite)

-Jurassic Park

Are you more of a night owl or a morning person?

Holly will know the answer to this already, but I am most definitely a night owl! I am not very good at falling asleep, and so it is not uncommon for me to be awake in the early hours of the morning. I spend that time reading, listening to podcasts, looking things up on my phone, or sometimes just thinking. I am prone to distraction during the day, and tend to get most productive at night-time. I wish I was a morning person, but c’est la vie!

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

There are too many people who inspire me day-to-day, but there are three in particular who I would be a criminal not to mention:

First is my mum. My mum and I are quite close, and although sometimes we may fight or argue, she is always there for me and always seems to know what I need. She gives me advice, and has done so much for me that I can’t quite articulate how grateful I am for that. My mum is also just one of the kindest and most generous people I know. She cares so much for people and always tries to do right by others and will bend over backwards for her family and for anyone.

Secondly, is my friend Lexy. Lexy was actually one of my teachers throughout my time at secondary school (she taught me Religious, Moral and Philosophical studies and Philosophy), but she has become one of my dearest friends and since I’ve known her she has inspired me. Lexy is a truly selfless, caring, genuine, open-minded and non-judgemental person. To me, she is an example of how I’d like to be. She cares deeply about all numbers of things, and has her own, educated views, but never comes across as patronising. She treats everyone with respect and always does whatever she can for other people. I know for a fact the impact that she has had on not just me, but lots of other people. I am privileged to have her as a friend, and am inspired by her every day to learn more and THINK. She always encourages people to do what is right for themselves and encourages people to have their say.

Thirdly, is Maya Angelou. I would never normally include a celebrity or famous person in this list, but Maya Angelou is an extremely important figure to me. I knew of her, but not properly until the beginning of last year. I picked up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and became transfixed with her and her life. I am in the process of writing an author spotlight post about her, but it is not only her writing that has inspired me. She had such a thirst for life, and although she faced many a trial and tribulation, instead of letting these experiences break her, she let them add to her strength and to the strength of others. She made no secret of the decisions she made in life; the good or the not so good. She gave and continues to give people hope and advice, through her work and her interviews and such. I’ve read all of her autobiographies, most of her essays, and her poetry, and through these I have learnt so much, in particular about respecting myself and about rising and making it through hard times.

If you could be any animal what would you be?

I’d probably be a cat, because I’d be able to lounge around and be waited upon. Either that, or I’d be some sort of primate.

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Oh… a good question. I didn’t anticipate how difficult this would be to answer.

*insert 20-minute discussion on the topic with my mum*

I came to somewhat of a conclusion. There are a handful of celebrities I could say I’d swap with, or people already dead, or people with cool jobs, lots of money etc. However, I think that would in a way depress me, as with the celebrities I may find out things of their lives that taint my perspective of them, or living such a privileged life would make me not want to go back to my own life. So, I think I would actually swap with someone underprivileged, to see what life is like in that regard. Not only would this make me more grateful, but I suppose it would also give me an in-depth view of the help that people like the homeless need. That answer may sound cliché, but that is my stance.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

-Getting into university

-Creating and maintaining a secure and happy and positive circle of friends and loved ones

-Speaking in front of over 100 people at the end of my 6th year of secondary school (for someone as socially inept and as scared of public speaking as me, this was a special milestone and a nice way to end my 6 years of secondary school)

What are your 3 top fears?

-Failing

-Not seeing enough of the world

-Moths (ew)

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

I could say the obvious; buy myself a house as well as homes for my loved ones, or donating to charity…but I’d ALSO want to travel the world, create a library similar to that in Beauty and the Beast, and have an art room in my home.

What do you love most about blogging?

It gives me something to do in my free time, and a way to get my thoughts out. I love books so much, and they have and will continue to change my life, so it is lovely being able to share that passion with other, really awesome people!

_________________________________________________________________

WOW, that was a ride! I hope you have made it to this point, apologies for the length.  Now I have to come up with 10 questions myself, and I will nominate 5 bloggers below to answer them!

  1. If you could interview anyone, dead or alive…who would it be?
  2. What is your favourite book?
  3. What is your favourite way to spend a day?
  4. Where is your favourite place to read?
  5. Tea or coffee? Or neither?
  6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  8. What qualities mean the most to you in a person?
  9. What is your secret talent?
  10. If you could drop everything right now, and go anywhere, where would it be?

 

I NOMINATE:

lifeisabookblog -this lovely lassie followed me on Sunday, and upon having a nosey of her blog I would love to know her answers to these questions. I loved her post titled Finding the Time in particular!

jadecranwell -I followed Jade not long after I started blogging again, and I love her blog! She does a good mixture of reviews, tags and other posts (sometimes on Yankee Candles…yay!).

baffybasics- this is a wonderful poetry blog I have recently discovered! Great poetry and great content!

Katedoublebooked- in-depth and insightful book reviews. What more could you ask for?

areadingwonderland -TBRs, book tags and most importantly…Harry Potter references! Give this girl a read!

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post. 🙂

Summer TBR: Reading ALL the books.

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, as of this past week, providing I haven’t failed any of my exams and don’t have to resit, I AM FREE FOR SUMMER. HURRAH. HURRAY. WOOHOO. YUSS. And with summer comes a few things; long lies, late nights, sunny days, sunburn and lots of reading time. I have compiled a list of books that I want to read over the summer. This is quite an extensive list, and I’ve no idea whether I’ll conquer all of these or not (some are admittedly quite chunky). But, I do have about 4 months to get them read! With that being said, there are a few I’ve prioritised over the others. Now, let’s crack on, shall we?

Here is the almighty pile…….

This pile is missing two books, which I own as ebooks opposed to in physical form. Thus the TBR is as follows:

  • Lustrum and Dictator by Robert Harris

-These are the second and third books in Robert Harris’ series following the Roman politician, Cicero. I finished Imperium on Saturday (a review will be up this coming Sunday) and I loved it! I’ve already started Lustrum, and am about 20 pages in. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into these two books. To make things better, a close friend of mine is reading Lustrum at the same time, so we are going to be in constant discussion I think.

  • SPQR by Mary Beard

-I bought this book  when I started Imperium, and quickly realised my knowledge of Ancient Rome was little compared to my interest in it. This is meant to be an accessible and easy to read history of Ancient Rome, and I can’t wait to get into it. As it is non-fiction, and quite a chunky book I think I may read this bit by bit in conjunction with other books over the summer.

  • Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by David Miller

-This is another non-fiction read, which I was gifted by a close friend. It is as I understand it, a brief introduction to political philosophy and its importance in society, discussing democracy, dictatorships and other aspects which may influence politics such as feminism and multiculturalism. It is quite short, but I imagine it will also be quite a dense read.

  • The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

-This is a really short book (which I think might boost my 52 book long Goodreads goal for 2016). It follows a crumbling marriage of a couple, and how a cat which turns up daily at their doorstep brings happiness into their life. It sounds sweet and has been described as profound…plus, who doesn’t love cats?!

  • Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

-You may have seen this in my themed book haul I posted a couple of weeks ago. This book sounds absolutely fantastic. It sounds hilarious, and like it will have quite a bit of food for thought. It follows two Greek Gods (Hermes and Apollo) and the 15 dogs they choose to give human intelligence capability to. Again, this is a short read, and one I feel I could get through pretty fast. And…who doesn’t love dogs too?!

  • The Humans by Matt Haig

-I read Reasons to Stay Alive by Haig earlier this year, and it along with Imperium hold a special place as top books of the year so far. I found his writing to be beautiful and emotive, and so I am all too eager to read his fictional stuff. This book touches on mental health, and the impact that a dog has on the main character’s life. Dogs again, hehe, I love them.

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

-So, I am a hardcore Potter fan. I have been since I first picked up The Philosopher’s Stone, and will be until I die. I have reread the series numerous times, but it has been a couple of years since I last did that. I’ve found that small details have slipped my attention. And so, I reread the first 3 this year, and got 75 pages into the 4th just before exams. I am hoping I can get back to this soon. I also have the audiobook, which is narrated by Stephen Fry…so if I find myself pushed for time to sit down and read it, I will listen instead!

  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien

-I am lumping these together as I am not sure how many I will get to this summer. However, I want to at the least, finish The Hobbit. I have heard too many good things about the books to leave the series untouched. I know so many people who love them and I want in on it!

  • East of Eden by John  Steinbeck

-BACK STORY. I love John Steinbeck. I have only read Of Mice and Men and The Pearl by him, however I love his writing and the feeling his books give me reserve him a space as one of my favourite authors of all time. I started reading East of Eden and got 200 (ish) pages in, but I stupidly began it during a busy spell at university, and could not dedicate the time to it (it is a VERY large book). Therefore, I am planning on starting it from the beginning and finishing it if it is the LAST THING I DO.

THERE WE HAVE IT! My stupidly long TBR for summer. I will keep you posted on my progress. Have you guys got a summer to read list? What is on yours? Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know!

🙂

Things!

Hello all 🙂

I have been planning and writing blog posts now that I have more free time. And I thought I’d give you guys a snippet of what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up! I’ve spent the past couple days with my notebook making lists and ideas for this  blog. 


*insert artsy photo of my blogging notebook, my snack of choice and a cup of coffee*

ANYWAY:

In the coming weeks….there will be:

  • A review of Imperium by Robert Harris
  • A summer TBR
  • Some more Doric poetry
  • The Liebster award tag
  • A post about my artwork (something a little different which I hope you guys will enjoy)
  • A review of Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig and a discussion of mental health
  • My favourite movies
  • Audibooks discussion
  • Kindle vs books discussion 
  • An author spotlight on Maya Angelou

How does all that sound? Is there anything else you guys would maybe like to see? Let me know! 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/communist philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union.

I read this book in one sitting, as it is extremely short. But wow, what an impact it had.

This book shows and mocks political systems in a way that is accessible and captivating. I found the plot of this book extremely interesting and the characters fun to read about. It was impossible to put down as you watched the equal, seemingly democratic system of the farm fall apart and become a very brutal dictatorship. Orwell mocked the idea of equality by demonstrating the destruction of a societies ideals in the form of the 7 commandments. We watched each commandment being broken one by one, to the point where a once seemingly fair and just society falls apart to become a regimented society run by the few elite.

Orwell demonstrated how masses can be manipulated and told what to believe or how to act so easily. It shows the overwhelming power a minority can have, which to me was fascinating. I loved reading further on and seeing everything coming apart.

After finishing this book I sat and did nothing but think for a half an hour or so, about how things could have been different if one animal had spoken out, or why the leaders behaved as they did. This book leaves you thinking, in a way I did not expect it to. It has left a big impact on me.

All in all this book was a really fast paced and enjoyable read. As my first Orwell novel I am extremely excited to see what else he has to offer. This was a 5 star read for me and something I think everyone should read. It shows all the problems of politics but in a way that is simple and easy to understand. It shows how easy it is to revolt, to manipulate, to be manipulated and much more.The writing is not overly difficult, but provides a satirical and accessible account of the downward spiral from democracy to the tyranny of a minority. Excellent.