Monday, January 21, 2013

The Rights Of Women

** FROM WORKS (1825) **
Yes, injured woman, rise, assert thy right!
Woman! too long degraded, scorned, oppressed;
Oh born to rule in partial law's despite,
Resume thy native empire o'er the breast!
Go forth arrayed in panoply divine,
That angel pureness which admits no stain;
Go bid proud man his boasted rule resign
And kiss the golden sceptre of thy reign.
Go gird thyself with grace, collect thy store
Of bright artillery glancing from afar -
Soft melting tones thy thundering cannon's roar,
Blushes and fears thy magazine of war.
Thy rights are empire: urge no meaner claim -
Felt, not defined, and, if debated, lost;
Like sacred mysteries which, withheld from fame,
Shunning discussion, are revered the most.
Try all that wit and art suggest to bend 
Of thy imperial foe the stubborn knee;
Make treacherous man thy subject, not thy friend -
Thou mayst command, but never canst be free.
Awe the licentious and restrain the rude;
Soften the sullen, clear the cloudy brow;
Be more than princes' gifts, thy favours sued -
She hazards all, who will the least allow.
But hope not, courted idol of mankind,
On this proud eminence secure to stay;
Subduing and subdued, thou soon shalt find
Thy coldness soften, and thy pride give way.
Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought,
Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move,
In Nature's school, by her soft maxims taught
That separate rights are lost in mutual love.
** A N N A  L A E T I T I A  B E R N A U L D **  
As much as I felt like there was a strong pull when I first read those words; their relevance today allows me to understand and appreciate the sentiment more.  But their relevance today just shows far we still have to go. 
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Rites by Sophie Coulombeau

Rites is the debut novel of phD student Sophie Coloumbeau; the first winner of Route Publishing’s “Next Great Novelist award” it tells the story of four catholic teenagers growing up together and deciding to make a pact.  A pact to lose their virginity.  A pact which goes terribly wrong.  The likes of Philip Pullman has described the book as “Terrific.  A story that’s intriguing, puzzling, and entirely gripping.”

The story is told in retrospect.  Each of the four, now grown up, looks back on the events of that evening and gives their account of what happened as though they were speaking to an outsider; telling the story to somebody who wasn’t there – the reader.  There is occasional input from the teenagers parents or bystanders but the narrative is focused on the friends: two boys and two girls, Day, Rachel, Nick, and Lizzie how their relationships changed so dramatically when Lizzie may, or may not, have changed her mind about the pact.  Did she or didn’t she say ‘No.’

The novel is anything but a black and white event of an evening.  The cover is the perfect analogy; different coloured threads spanning the whole book, sometimes crossing over, but largely going in different directions.  This is a collection of people’s opinions, looking back many years later, at an event which wasn’t easy to define at the time, let alone when you’re trying to remember.  In what could have been a particularly uncomfortable story to tell; Coloumbeau tells it perfectly – or should I say imperfectly.  The reader doesn’t know who to believe, who to like, what actually happened, each version of events is slightly different from the last – from the cause of some bruises to the colour of their favourite ice lollies.  The reader can take nothing for certain.

Although the novel is primarily about one evening’s events – the lead up and aftermath, it doesn’t get boring, as each character tells their side, and the smallest discrepancy in their testament highlights the lack of narrative.  There isn’t anybody telling you who to believe, who to like, as each chapter is short and snappy – not allowing you to get too attached to one character or version of events before you hear the next one.
She manages to both have teenagers and adults conveyed through the same voice.  These are adults looking back on their teenage self and yet the same problems still annoy them.  The slightest change in allegiance, the flakiness of the young characters can have devastating effects which can be felt immediately at the time as much as when they’re older and looking back at the situation.   All of which makes me agree wholeheartedly with Philip Pullman's description of the novel as 'intriguing, puzzling, and entirely gripping.'
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Book-Lovers Dream..

can someone please make me one of these?

found here.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Resolutions...

How many of you have resolved to 'read more' this year?
I don't know about you but I struggle to 'read for pleasure' simply because I spend most of my days reading something.  I don't give up on reading during the term time. I'm reading essays, plays, novels, poems, and often I won't just read them once, I'll read them twice or thrice over.  Eventually my head is swimming with words and the last thing I want I would be able to do is read for pleasure.
As much as I console myself with that excuse when I find that another term has ended and I have only read books for my course I don't think I am being truly honest with myself.  You see, I suffer from a slight snobbery when it comes to reading.  There are so many 'classics' waiting impatiently on my bookshelves because why would I bother reading something simple, easy on the brain, relaxing even...when I could read a classic.  
It's no wonder I won't do any reading 'for pleasure' when apparently my idea of doing something 'for pleasure' must incorporate education as well.  Or worse still, when I cajole myself for not reading a book quickly enough.  I really do know how to take the enjoyment out of things, don't I?
As I finished off reading Sophie Coulombeau's Rites this week I found that I had actually not only been able to read something in between my various plays and papers for my assignments but that I had enjoyed being able to read something different.  
Isn't it wonderful how much more enjoyable reading becomes when the pressure to read the right thing is off?  
This post is inspired by Casee Marie's wonderful post dedicated to the people who 'wish they read more'.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Letters of Note: Book Coming in 2013...

One of my favourite websites Letter of Note - a compilation of meaningful, heartfelt, and just plain awesome letters of correspondence, is releasing a book in 2013!  You can pre-order your copy from here; it's due to be released in May.  I can't wait until I can leaf through some wonderful letters - there's something about reading a letter on paper rather than on the internet which makes it seem more...real?  Here's one of my favourite letters from the website which was posted in 2012.  I really think we should all start sending letters again, who's with me?

He's called Mick Jagger...

In April 1962, 18 year old Keith Richards wrote the following enthusiastic letter to his aunt "Patty".  Describing amongst other things the moment which would change his life forever - the moment he met Mick Jagger for the first time since being childhood friends.

6 Spielman Rd 

Dear Pat,

So sorry not to have written before (I plead insane) in bluebottle voice. Exit right amid deafening applause.

I do hope you're very well.

We have survived yet another glorious English Winter. I wonder which day Summer falls on this year?

Oh but my dear I have been soooo busy since Christmas beside working at school. You know I was keen on Chuck Berry and I thought I was the only fan for miles but one mornin' on Dartford Stn. (that's so I don't have to write a long word like station) I was holding one of Chuck's records when a guy I knew at primary school 7-11 yrs y'know came up to me. He's got every record Chuck Berry ever made and all his mates have too, they are all rhythm and blues fans, real R&B I mean (not this Dinah Shore, Brook Benton crap) Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Chuck, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker all the Chicago bluesmen real lowdown stuff, marvelous. Bo Diddley he's another great.

Anyways the guy on the station, he is called Mick Jagger and all the chicks and the boys meet every Saturday morning in the 'Carousel' some juke-joint well one morning in Jan I was walking past and decided to look him up. Everybody's all over me I get invited to about 10 parties. Beside that Mick is the greatest R&B singer this side of the Atlantic and I don't mean maybe. I play guitar (electric) Chuck style we got us a bass player and drummer and rhythm-guitar and we practice 2 or 3 nights a week. SWINGIN'.

Of course they're all rolling in money and in massive detached houses, crazy, one's even got a butler. I went round there with Mick (in the car of course Mick's not mine of course) OH BOY ENGLISH IS IMPOSSIBLE.

"Can I get you anything, sir?"
"Vodka and lime, please"
"Certainly, sir"

I really felt like a lord, nearly asked for my coronet when I left.

Everything here is just fine.

I just can't lay off Chuck Berry though, I recently got an LP of his straight from Chess Records Chicago cost me less than an English record.

Of course we've still got the old Lags here y'know Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and 2 new shockers Shane Fenton and Jora Leyton SUCH CRAP YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD. Except for that greaseball Sinatra ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Still I don't get bored anymore. This Saturday I am going to an all night party.

"I looked at my watch 
It was four-o-five 
Man I didn't know 
If I was dead or alive"
Quote Chuck Berry 
Reeling and a Rocking

12 galls of Beer Barrel of Cyder, 3 bottle Whiskey Wine. Her ma and pa gone away for the weekend I'll twist myself till I drop (I'm glad to say).

The Saturday after Mick and I are taking 2 girls over to our favourite Rhythm & Blues club over in Ealing, Middlesex.

They got a guy on electric harmonica Cyril Davies fabulous always half drunk unshaven plays like a mad man, marvelous.

Well then I can't think of anything else to bore you with, so I'll sign off goodnight viewers


Keith xxxxx
Who else would write such bloody crap.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

books for january

New year requires new's a selection of some of the books coming out in January which I'm looking forward to...feel free to add the reads you'll be diving into this new year in the comments.


the twelve tribes of hattie by ayana mathis

Fifteen years old and blazing with the hope of a better life, Hattie Shepherd fled the horror of the American South on a dawn train bound for Philadelphia.

Hattie’s is a tale of strength, of resilience and heartbreak that spans six decades. Her American dream is shattered time and again: a husband who lies and cheats and nine children raised in a cramped little house that was only ever supposed to be temporary.

She keeps the children alive with sheer will and not an ounce of the affection they crave. She knows they don’t think her a kind woman — but how could they understand that all the love she had was used up in feeding them and clothing them.

ways of going home by alejandro zambra


Growing up in 1980s Chile, a young boy plays hide and seek in the suburbs of Santiago with his friends while the adults become slowly entangled in the violence of Pinochet's regime - accomplices and victims of the brutal dictatorship. As the country shudders under authoritarian rule, the boy creates stories of his own to explain the sporadic scenes of violence, the disappearances, and the deafening silence of his mother and father. Until, on the night of the Santiago earthquake, a mysterious girl named Claudia appears among the children and the boy's world is changed forever.

Now, as a young man reflecting on the tragedies of his childhood, he must find the courage to confront as an adult what he could not have known as a child, and to untangle Chile's troubled past. As he struggles to begin a novel which will encompass the clash between innocence and complicity, the boundaries between fiction and reality blur, and the beautiful Claudia comes back into his life.

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