Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

First I’ll apologize, because I am hastily throwing this together in the early hours of the morning not having gotten enough sleep last night.  I think this week’s topic is supposed to be “inspiring” quotes- but I’m not sure how many of those I have laying around so I’m just going with general favorites, and hopefully I can give the spotlight to some books I don’t discuss as frequently.

“I may have to eat you, you unfortunate young macaroon.” -China Mieville, Kraken

“…but politicians run all the big scams. Government’s the thief of all time. That’s why it tries so hard to catch thieves—it doesn’t like the competition.” – Jeff VanderMeer, Acceptance

“In my experience men are curiously blind to aggression in women. They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles—or they prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?” -Pat Barker, The Silence of the Girls

:”I call death onto those who don’t know a child when they see a child. Men who think they made the world out of clay and turned it into their safe place, men who think a woman wouldn’t flip the universe over and flatten them beneath it. I have enough bullets for all of them.” -Maria Dahvana Headley, The Mere Wife

“I think there is no person, myself aside, so hated by the ambitious of this world as Bryar Kosala, since those who fight viciously to grasp the reins of power cannot forgive the fact that she could rise so high and still be nice.” – Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning

“They say: only exceptional people can cross the borders. The truth is: anyone can cross, everyone has it in them. But only exceptional people can bear to look it in the eye.” -Naomi Alderman, The Power

“The operating theory—lacking any other credible explanation—was terrorism. The president had disappeared to a secure location but had responded with the full force of his Twitter account. He posted: “OUR ENEMIES DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY STARTED! PAYBACK IS A BITCH!!! #Denver #Colorado #America!!” The vice president had promised to pray as hard as he could for the survivors and the dead; he pledged to stay on his knees all day and all night long. It was reassuring to know our national leaders were using all the resources at their disposal to help the desperate: social media and Jesus.” -Joe Hill, Strange Weather

“What if he killed millions? I can guarantee you such a person would not be considered a murderer. Indeed, such a person may not even be thought to have broken any law. If you don’t believe me, just study history! Anyone who has killed millions is deemed a ‘great’ man, a hero.” -Cixin Liu, Death’s End

“Money is life. Poverty kills.” -Nick Harkaway, Gnomon

“Some places, though, were very strict about recompense and fairness. Very serious about resource management, and they considered music to be a resource like any other. Wouldn’t want anyone to get more than they’d earned, because that was what doomed the old world.” -Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless

That’s it!  Leave me a link to your Top Ten Tuesday below so I can marvel at all your fabulous quotes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Audiobook Narrators I wish I Had

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I might not make it to ten this week- but I’ll try.  This week’s topic was an Audio freebie.  To be honest, I’m a terrible listener.  Typically I save audiobooks for nonfiction or short stories.  That way if I miss a few things it’s not detracting from my enjoyment.  That’s all a very long way of saying: I struggled with this.

Before I figured out what a terrible listener I was, I considered an Audible membership.  As I was checking out what they had on offer, I discovered Sean Bean’s name as a narrator for an abridged version of one of the Richard Sharpe novels.  I would have been all over that book… if it had been the full version.  But it got me to thinking about how enhancing the audiobook experience would be if there was an honest to goodness actor behind the voices. Thus my topic: Actors I wish were readers.

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Sean Bean.  He narrated that first Richard Sharpe novel because he actually played Richard Sharpe in a miniseries (above).  I’ve yet to read or watch either.  But I would really, really love if he would narrate Cornwell’s other series- The Saxon Stories.

Roger Clark.  If you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption 2 yet: A) go play it! (what’s wrong with you?) and B) the voice acting is phenomenal.  Imagine my surprise when the cowboy extraordinaire got up to accept the award for best voice acting and his accent was… Irish.  (What?!)  I’ve never read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, but RDR2 made me want to read it.  Even better if it was narrated by Arthur Morgan himself.

Nolan North. Anytime I pop a new game into my PS4, fire it up, and hear North’s voice, it immediately puts a smile on my face.  I would recognize his voice pretty much anywhere.  To me, he will always, always be Nathan Drake, but I’d love for him to extend his talents elsewhere.  I think he’d make a fantastic Jackal of The Grey Bastards, even though it wasn’t my favorite book.  Otherwise I’d love him for him to read any book with Drake-esque characters.

Roger Craig Smith. If this name is not familiar, don’t feel too bad.  I had to look it up.  He is the voice actor for Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze.  Revelations wasn’t even a good game, but it still managed to make me ugly cry.  If someone could go ahead and hire Smith to read the entire Greatcoats series to me… That’d be great.  Thanks.

Claudia Black.  She plays both Morrigan in Dragon Age 1 and 3, as well as Chloe Frazer in Uncharted, and her voice is heavenly.  It’s soothing and sultry and leant itself to two of my favorite female video game characters of all time.  As for books I’d like her to read, really anything, but I think she might be good for Circe by Madeline Miller or The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

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Joaquin Phoenix.  There are too many reasons to list here as to why I adore Joaquin so much.  Of course, my favorite performance will forever be: Emperor Commodus from Gladiator.  I’d love for him to read The Iliad or The Odyssey, or any of Shakespeare’s tragedies.  Hey- I can dream right?

Honorable mentions: Idris Elba (I wanted to add him, but I couldn’t think of a good book to pair him with, something punchy and hard hitting and set in London), Matthew McConaughey (probably any John Grisham novel ever written but I’ve never read Grisham), James Earl Jones because why not?, and Gideon Emery (the voice of Fenrir in Dragon Age 2).

What about you?  Do you have the perfect narrator for a book?

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me 2018 Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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10. Elizabeth Bear – In 2018 I read my first Elizabeth Bear book.  She’s a fairly prolific author, dabbling in both sci-fi and fantasy, and every book description I have read of her’s sound incredibly original and creative.  The book I read was Carnival (review here).  Carnival was pretty complex and very confusing at times, but I really loved the world building and I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

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9. Nick Harkaway – I read Harkaway’s Gnomon last year and I’m still not sure what to make of it.  I will say that I think Harkaway is really, truly, incredibly brilliant.  He does not spoon feed his readers.  It’s sink or swim.  But Gnomon puts a very different feel on the tried and true dystopian genre.  It felt a lot like a 1984 retelling wrapped up in a murder mystery plot.  I am both excited and dreading reading another book from this author. (Review for Gnomon here.)

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8. Pat Barker – I’d never heard of Pat Barker until I heard about The Silence of the Girls.  This book, though it wasn’t quite a five star read, has haunted me the past few months. I can’t get it out of my head, and I feel like that’s the true marker of a great book, one that stays with you.  I do hope I can check out some of Barker’s other work.  Unfortunately, I might be waiting a while because so far all I’ve really seen from her is WWI fiction, and that’s a period of time I tend to avoid when reading.

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7.  P. Djeli Clark – I read the novella The Black God’s Drums in the fall, and absolutely fell in love with the characters, the world building, and the setting.  Clark is releasing a new novella in February called The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  I would love to see what he can do with a full length novel.

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6.  John Kessel – Kessel is the author of The Moon and the Other which I read last spring.  I think this would make an excellent book club read because there was just so much to dissect and discuss.  I am planning to read Frankenstein this year (for the first time!) and it looks like he has written a Frankenstein retelling called Pride and Prometheus.  I hope I get a chance to check it out (especially since Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorites.

5. Nnedi Okorafor – I read Okorafor’s Akata Witch last year and I think it was a great way to be introduced to her.  The content wasn’t too dark (and I understand that her adult novels feature some trigger heavy content) and yet the novel didn’t feel too young for me to enjoy.  The world building was phenomenal and the characters likable.  I have added Akata Warrior to my TBR and also went on to read Lagoon last year and enjoyed that one also.

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4.  Madeline Miller – My review of Circe is fairly recent so I won’t rehash all the details, but I did love Miller’s writing, will heartily recommend her, and definitely be reading her other work.

3. Mary Robinette Kowal – One of my favorite reads of the year was Kowal’s The Calculating Stars.  It’s a science fiction story that I think could be enjoyed by almost everyone.  Although I didn’t enjoy The Fated Sky as much, I’m still eagerly looking forward to reading more about The Lady Astronaut of Mars.

2. Ian McDonald – Two of my favorite reads last year were written by Ian McDonald: New Moon and Wolf Moon.  I rated them both four stars, but I’d give the series as a whole five stars.  (Don’t ask I’m strange.)  The series is so incredibly epic, with a huge cast of characters, political intrigue, sexual and racial diversity, I recommend it to everyone I can.  Book three is due out this year and I can’t wait!

1. Jo Walton – She is the only new-to-me author with three books on my read list.  I read her Thessaly series this year and devoured all three of them within a month.  It’s a genre bender, containing aspects of mythology, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and philosophy.  I’ve been nervous to try some of her other work because I’m not sure anything else could live up to the expectations set by this series, but I’ll get there. (Reviews for books one, two and three.)

Honorable mentions (in no particular order) to: Malka Ann Older, Carrie Vaughn, Brian K. Vaughan, Jeff VanderMeer, Ann Leckie, Mira Grant/Seanan Mcguire, and Susanna Kearsley, whose work was also outstanding.

What about you?  Who made your list? Leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to come check them out!

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

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Rating: ★★★★

“…grief’s only ever as deep as the love it’s replaced.”

Guess we’ll go ahead and get the content warnings out of the way: rape, PTSD, death of children, suicide, graphic violence.

This is largely a re-telling of Homer’s Iliad. It takes place during the nine year long siege of Troy. Briseis is wife to the King of Lyrnessus (I’ve probably spelled that wrong- apologies). We meet her just as the city is about to fall. She watches from the battlements as Achilles rages his way into the city. Someone jump from the battlements, preferring death to slavery. Briseis does not jump. Instead she is given to Achilles, yes that Achilles, as his war prize.

This book has a far different feel than you might expect. The past tends to be romanticized, the war, the glory of it, the conquering heroes. But Briseis, once a queen, now a slave tells this story, and nothing about it is romantic. I won’t lie- you sort of expect it at some points, but I think it’s on the reader- not on the author. Briseis never makes her story an easy one to hear. She is always reminding the reader what she endures. What she must go through to become a person again.

“…and no girl ever dressed more carefully for her wedding day than Achilles for the battlefield…”

But this is just as much Achilles story. Achilles, son of Peleus, leader of the Myrmidions. Achilles, whose only weakness is his heel. Great Achilles, hero to all Greece. In The Silence of the Girls, he is still all those things, but he is also many other things. I don’t know if he could be described as being obsessive, but he seems delusional at times. He also seems to have some kind of Oedipus complex. His thoughts and thought patterns are sometimes disturbing. And he was absolutely fascinating to read.

“I was invisible except in bed. In fact, I’m not sure how visible I was there, except as a collection of body parts.”

Briseis’s character was also fascinating, and felt very real. She struggles a lot to come to terms with the fact that she comes to love some of these men, but can never forget what they did to her home, her father, and brothers. She also can’t reconcile their enslavement of her.

The setting was sometimes difficult to imagine. She kept talking of huts in the same breath as verandas and compounds. They didn’t seem to go together (though in the beginning she does say the huts are not really huts). The book could be slow at times. You don’t witness much of the battles. It is largely a character driven novel.

Additionally the ending was unsatisfying and left me feeling sort of confused about my feelings overall for the book. Parts of it are uplifting- reminding us there can always be something to laugh about, that the shared experiences of women can be a uniting factor even if personal differences stand in the way of friendship. Larger parts of it were just tragedy- about the horrors of war, the silence of women, and all voices that can’t always speak for themselves, the dangers of allowing petty differences separate us.

It was beautifully written though and I found it hard to put to down. Highly recommend to fans of historical fiction or historical fantasy.

“…in my experience men are curiously blind to aggression in women. They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles—or they prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?”