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Alexander the Great

Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

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Congratulations on the birth of your goddaughter! I hope she can come home soon.

 

Great reviews for the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children books. I looked at them a while ago and you've made me really want to read them again!

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23 hours ago, Hayley said:

Congratulations on the birth of your goddaughter! I hope she can come home soon.

 

Great reviews for the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children books. I looked at them a while ago and you've made me really want to read them again!

 

Thank you! She's doing well - she came from under the lamps, her values are getting better, she's drinking very well. She can even go from 30cl to 45cl. Unfortunately, she has to stay in hospital until Saturday because she's on antibiotics. It's hard for my sister too - Jeanne was born at 2.07pm on Friday and they took her to the neonatal unit on Saturday not long before lunch, so she hasn't had her baby girl with her for even 24 hours. The hardest part is not being able to hold her. They can touch her and even feed her, but not hold her in their arms. Also, my sister was supposed to leave the hospital today. Since Saturday, her boyfriend's been sleeping at the hospital as well. They prolonged it for a day, but tomorrow my sister has to move to a different room (she breastfeeds and if she has to go home, she'd have to drive for 30 minutes every 3 hours to hand them a bottle of her milk so that would be insane, so she gets a room there). 

 

I'll be so glad when she gets to go home. I saw her on Friday and held her then, and yesterday I got to see her at the neonatal care unit and put my hand on her head. Not sure when I'll see her next. I miss her :( She is so tiny and so lovely.

 

@frankie Fan zones at festivals are a rip-off, but I'm pretty sure if Epica or Lacuna Coil were playing, I'd probably pay the surplus. Kind of hypocritical, I know! As much as I love Rammstein, I wouldn't pay it for them, though.

 

Library of Souls is a really good book, there's the familiar mix of action and really building a universe, with characters you root for. But my little Peanut is on my mind all the time and I'm having a hard time concentrating. The books are totally worth checking and unless something goes very wrong with this last instalment, I'm sure I'll be recommending them a lot.

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She's doing great, my sister even got to hold her today which is exceptional for a baby in neonatal care. If all keeps going the way it does, she should be able to have Jeanne with her in the room this weekend and go home on Monday.

 

I can also focus on reading more now :) Loving Library of Souls so far!

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Jeanne is home since Monday. I saw her on Tuesday and she's doing well ❤️

 

Library of Souls review

 

Library of Souls is everything its predecessors were, but bigger and better. The adventure is top-notch - there is a lot of action, but also time for the characters to reflect on the events. I was surprised at the nuanced view on this new world, intrigued by the many layers and possibilities. It's hard to say something about this novel without spoiling the fun, and also because everything I could say is so particular to this novel. The ending was very satisfying as well.

 

This trilogy definitely goes on my list of favourite books. I will reread and recommend this to everyone. Go and read this! It's amazing!

 

Only downside: it's that kind of book you don't want to be over, and when it is, you feel so sad and lost that you've had to say goodbye to these people. I hope Riggs will write more about these people and this world, the possibilities are endless!

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I have the week off work starting on Monday and I'm looking forward to getting a lot of reading in. I read after work and sports, but it's nicer having more time for it so I don't have to stop reading so much. This week is the only holiday I'm allowing myself - we only get 20 days, 2 of which we already have to take to bridge gaps with holidays on Thursday and on Tuesday. I also counted yesterday and 5 of my 20 days go to Epica - either seeing them, or seeing them so far away it's best to take the next day off because I get home so late.

 

I also look forward to get some more running in. For my birthday, I got a gift card and money for Runner's Lab to get a new pair of running shoes, which I did last week. I love getting new running shoes there because they do measurements and they watch the pressure and set of your feet on a computer and explain and I'm just a huge nerd really. Anyway, I was talking about it to my therapist the next day - she's a runner too, but is healing from a knee injury. She always has great suggestions and she always manages to talk sense into me about the running. It helps me a lot that she knows exactly what I mean, and what I need. She said she bought a Bluetooth headset in Runner's Lab, with bone conduction. So you don't put it in your ears, but in front of them, and the sound travels through your cheekbones. Your ear remains exposed, so you can still hear the sounds of cars and traffic and such when you go running and it's better for your hearing. I got to try it out today (I run without music on Wednesdays because it's not very sociable in a running club) and it was awesome.

 

During my week off, I also want to listen to a lot of music. I'm really a lot into music. And listening to EpicaLacuna Coil, Vuur, Disturbed, and others I find myself playing the air guitar so often it makes me want to be able to play the guitar!

 

Also, very unexpectedly, Simone's (singer of Epica) liked three more tweets, always makes me super happy!!!

 

But - books!

 

After Library of Souls, I needed a rebound. The entire Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy was so intense, so invigorating and moving and utterly fantastic that I needed a completely different book to follow up. 

 

Sickened review

 

Sickened is a memoir by Julie Gregory in which she describes recollections of her life with a mother who suffers (and made Gregory suffer) from Münchausen by proxy. Without a doubt, it's terrible what she went through. Her youth was so terrible that if this were a work of fiction, I would probably feel like it was too much, just not possible. Knowing it all really happened really gives me pause. The child abuse Gregory faced went much further than the Münchausen.

 

It was hard to read, because of the content, but at the same time I couldn't put it away to go and do or watch something else. As long as I was reading it, it felt like doing that would be dismissing this. I felt nauseous at times, felt like I didn't want to read on, but had to.

 

However, toward the end, it felt more like Gregory was writing therapeutically. The reflections and metaphors became a bit much.

 

I realise she is no professional writer, but as a whole, it felt very unhinged. There was no structure, no build-up, no context. Just a series of paragraphs, vaguely linked. I think it would have worked even better if it was written as a story, with characters you feel a connection to, or at least get a sense of. That would have made it cut even deeper and linger longer.

 

 

 

Edited by Alexander the Great

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I hope you have a great time during your week off :)! The Bluetooth headset sounds different, I've never heard of such a thing being possible :o. Amazing.

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On 15.7.2017 at 1:19 PM, Alexander the Great said:

She said she bought a Bluetooth headset in Runner's Lab, with bone conduction. So you don't put it in your ears, but in front of them, and the sound travels through your cheekbones. Your ear remains exposed, so you can still hear the sounds of cars and traffic and such when you go running and it's better for your hearing. I got to try it out today (I run without music on Wednesdays because it's not very sociable in a running club) and it was awesome.

 

Wow, that's amazing! I've never heard of such a thing. :o  Your therapist sounds awesome, I'm so happy you have such a good connection :)

 

Also, happy to hear Jeanne is home and doing well! :smile2:

 

On 15.7.2017 at 1:19 PM, Alexander the Great said:

Sickened review

 

Sickened is a memoir by Julie Gregory in which she describes recollections of her life with a mother who suffers (and made Gregory suffer) from Münchausen by proxy. Without a doubt, it's terrible what she went through. Her youth was so terrible that if this were a work of fiction, I would probably feel like it was too much, just not possible. Knowing it all really happened really gives me pause. The child abuse Gregory faced went much further than the Münchausen.

 

It was hard to read, because of the content, but at the same time I couldn't put it away to go and do or watch something else. As long as I was reading it, it felt like doing that would be dismissing this. I felt nauseous at times, felt like I didn't want to read on, but had to.

 

However, toward the end, it felt more like Gregory was writing therapeutically. The reflections and metaphors became a bit much.

 

I realise she is no professional writer, but as a whole, it felt very unhinged. There was no structure, no build-up, no context. Just a series of paragraphs, vaguely linked. I think it would have worked even better if it was written as a story, with characters you feel a connection to, or at least get a sense of. That would have made it cut even deeper and linger longer.

 

Great review! I read the book some years ago. I found the topic very interesting, it's the first one I've read about Münchausen by proxy. I can't remember in detail what I wrote about it on here but I'm thinking I probably felt the same way about it as you. 

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@Athena The headset is terrific indeed! I've had a chance to try it out a few times and I love it.

 

@frankie I have a great connection with her. She's on holiday now and I'm not seeing her for about four weeks - due to my specific issues, it's about the worst thing for me, but she's available through email and has replied to my emails frequently, so I know I'm very lucky.

 

Sickened wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but didn't really live up to its full potential for me.

 

The Dark Room review

 

The Dark Room tells three stories of people living in 20th century Germany: Helmut, a young man living in the 1930s who isn't allowed to participate in the war due to physical issues. Lore, daughter of Nazi parents who has to lead her siblings to safety after her parents were taken away by the Allied. Mischa, a teacher in 1990s Germany who has questions about who his Nazi grandfather really was. 

 

It took some time to get used to Seiffert's spare prose, but this worked very well with the subject matter. The author's voice is detached, but doesn't shrink back from anything and is not cold either. The three protagonists aren't related and never meet during the story - something many authors would probably not be able to resist. We get a glimpse of these lives, of what it's like for German people dealing with what happened. We don't get all the answers - they don't either. There is much confusion and the line between guilt and innocence, between awareness and ignorance is very blurry. This book will stay with me and I'll certainly be recommending it.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin review

 

It took me a while to get used to the writing style, but I did feel like the read was worth the effort in the end.

 

This is not an easy book to read. There are no characters I could relate to, or even liked. The sentences are long and feel quite artificial at first. I considered giving up on it, but then decided against that because the content is compelling, there's no denying that.

 

This book is written in the form of letters written by Eva, whose son committed a high school massacre, to her husband. As someone else said - while every letter starts with "Dear Franklin" and reads like a letter, at some point it turns into prose. Eva's memory of events that happened years ago seemed too detailed to be credible, which is why this would have worked better as a regular book. It wouldn't have been so glaring, wouldn't have required quite so much suspension of disbelief.

 

I have mixed feelings about the book. As I said, it took me a while to get used to the style and I'm not entirely sure what I feel about this book. It's not a book I feel sad to be finished with, but it's not bad either. I do feel like it's one of those books you can only really judge after having finished it. At first, it seems boring and pretentious - but it's worth it to stick with it until the end. Because even though I didn't like any of the characters and even though Eva attributed characteristics and intent to her son at an age where he surely was too young to even be capable of that - this is a riveting read. It's unlike any other book. You're not really supposed to like any of them, I think.

 

I thought the juxtaposition between Eva and her husband, Franklin, was intriguing. Whereas Eva would see evil in her son at every turn, to the point where as a reader you start to question just how truthful her memories are - Franklin bends over backwards to make excuses for his son, refusing to believe he could ever do wrong. I've felt exasperated at both, but mostly at Franklin. Then again, we only get one side of the story and it's Eva's.

 

The twist in the end I only saw coming about a page and a half before it was explicitly stated - and it really turns the book around. If there's such a thing with a book like this, it did have a satisfying and interesting end.

 

In a way, the book is like Kevin a bit - impossible to really like, impossible to feel attached to, impossible to feel relaxed around. But it's so different, so intriguing, that you can't just put it down and walk away.

 

I'd recommend this book, but not to everyone.

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Great review! I've recently read Columbine by Dave Cullen, and this novel might be interesting to read now. I've had the book on my TBR for years but I've never got to it. I fear it might be a difficult read, because of the topic but also because of the way the narrative is set up. And now I'm scared of the long sentences, too :D 

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8 hours ago, frankie said:

Great review! I've recently read Columbine by Dave Cullen, and this novel might be interesting to read now. I've had the book on my TBR for years but I've never got to it. I fear it might be a difficult read, because of the topic but also because of the way the narrative is set up. And now I'm scared of the long sentences, too :D 

 

I have that book and was thinking of reading it next because of this! The book I'm reading now is one I borrowed from a colleague, though, so I'm taking that first.

 

There are some allusions to Columbine in We Need to Talk About Kevin. The long sentences make for difficult reading at first, but you do get used to it and the experience is worth it. Of course it's not exactly a beach read. I did like how atypical Eva, Kevin's mother was - and how unapologetic yet remorseful she was.

 

My reading's been downhill a bit because I'm not doing well mentally and my therapist's on holiday so I'm not seeing her for about four weeks, when usually I see her every week. And stuff like this is at the root of my issues - her being away. I can mail her and she answers but last week, she had some issues and couldn't get mails out when I was at my worst. I'm at the halfway point now. I hope I feel better soon.

 

An Epica song during spinning class and the teacher liking it so much was awesome, though (we got to put in requests).

 

Lots of changes at work and people being on holiday doesn't help either. I need for things to be the same as usual, I don't deal well with change at all :( I'll be glad when this is over, my therapist back, work back to normal.

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1 minute ago, Alexander the Great said:

 

I have that book and was thinking of reading it next because of this! The book I'm reading now is one I borrowed from a colleague, though, so I'm taking that first.

 

There are some allusions to Columbine in We Need to Talk About Kevin. The long sentences make for difficult reading at first, but you do get used to it and the experience is worth it. Of course it's not exactly a beach read. I did like how atypical Eva, Kevin's mother was - and how unapologetic yet remorseful she was.

 

What a coincidence that you have the book, and Columbine is alluded to in WNtTaK! I think I should take a look at my bookcase and find my copy of it so I can read it soon. 

 

Not a beach read, that's for sure! I'm on my summer holiday and I was just thinking the other day, reading Columbine, that it's not really a typical holiday read :D

 

1 minute ago, Alexander the Great said:

 

My reading's been downhill a bit because I'm not doing well mentally and my therapist's on holiday so I'm not seeing her for about four weeks, when usually I see her every week. And stuff like this is at the root of my issues - her being away. I can mail her and she answers but last week, she had some issues and couldn't get mails out when I was at my worst. I'm at the halfway point now. I hope I feel better soon.

 

An Epica song during spinning class and the teacher liking it so much was awesome, though (we got to put in requests).

 

Lots of changes at work and people being on holiday doesn't help either. I need for things to be the same as usual, I don't deal well with change at all :( I'll be glad when this is over, my therapist back, work back to normal.

 

I'm sorry to hear your reading's not going so well, and that it's a tricky time for you at the moment :(  Are there any self-help books your therapist has suggested that you could try and read, or do some exercises? Hang in there, buddy, you're half way there :)

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@frankie Interestingly, what made me pick up WNtTaK is that a few years back, I was obsessed with Columbine, wanting to understand, to grasp it. I was especially intrigued by Klebold, as Harris always seemed like the lost case between the two of them. Then discovering Nightwish' "The Kinslayer" was about Columbine, when I was so into Nightwish, was almost creepy. I just went and read your review of Columbine. I hope I can find the book by Sue Klebold that you mentioned, as well.

 

My therapist didn't mention any books and I think really her being away is one giant exercise. She did very much stress she would still be available and I could mail her all the time and she'd get back to me. She knew I'd panic and when and she told me before she even left how she would help me through that from on her holiday. But it still sucks. I do realise I'm very lucky with her!

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1 hour ago, Alexander the Great said:

@frankie Interestingly, what made me pick up WNtTaK is that a few years back, I was obsessed with Columbine, wanting to understand, to grasp it. I was especially intrigued by Klebold, as Harris always seemed like the lost case between the two of them. Then discovering Nightwish' "The Kinslayer" was about Columbine, when I was so into Nightwish, was almost creepy. I just went and read your review of Columbine. I hope I can find the book by Sue Klebold that you mentioned, as well.

 

I agree, it's much harder to understand what Klebold was thinking. Or rather, how he ended up going along with Harris. I feel like neither of the books have been able to make any sense of it. But can it ever really be explained, I don't know. 

 

I had no idea Nightwish have done a song on Columbine! Interesting... 

 

1 hour ago, Alexander the Great said:

 

My therapist didn't mention any books and I think really her being away is one giant exercise. She did very much stress she would still be available and I could mail her all the time and she'd get back to me. She knew I'd panic and when and she told me before she even left how she would help me through that from on her holiday. But it still sucks. I do realise I'm very lucky with her!

 

You're right, her being a way is one giant exercise! You'll be proud of yourself once it's over :)

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14 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

My reading's been downhill a bit because I'm not doing well mentally and my therapist's on holiday so I'm not seeing her for about four weeks, when usually I see her every week. And stuff like this is at the root of my issues - her being away. I can mail her and she answers but last week, she had some issues and couldn't get mails out when I was at my worst. I'm at the halfway point now. I hope I feel better soon.

 

An Epica song during spinning class and the teacher liking it so much was awesome, though (we got to put in requests).

 

Lots of changes at work and people being on holiday doesn't help either. I need for things to be the same as usual, I don't deal well with change at all :( I'll be glad when this is over, my therapist back, work back to normal.

 

Good luck :(. It's hard when things change, I don't deal well with change at all either, so I understand if it's hard for you. It's hard as well when a therapist is on holiday, if you're used to seeing her every week. Good luck and hang in there! :empathy:

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Sorry to hear you've been having a bit of a tough time without your therapist. But as you say, you're at the halfway point so you're getting there! I hope you feel better soon, too.

 

I tried to read WNtTAK years ago, but couldn't get into the writing style. I might have to give it another go.

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Thanks to the support here and some mails from my therapist, I have been getting back into my reading and finished my book! 

 

Also nice was Simone Simons (singer of Epica) liking some of my tweets again. Always makes me so damn happy. Those of you who know me a bit will know I'm a huge Epica/Simone Simons fan :) Also, my goddaughter is one month old today so we went over and I got to hold her and changed her diaper for the first time. Little girl stole my heart.

 

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

 

This is a collection of stories about Dunk, a hedge knight and his squire, Egg, set Westeros about 100 years before the events in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Westeros is still under Targaryen rule.

 

I liked these stories as an expansion of the world we knows from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Whereas that series is mainly focused on lords and ladies from the important Houses and their children, and on political intrigue, these stories show us what life is like in this verse for "smallfolk". I've seen people say the characters are a bit flat, but I do think Dunk is very interesting and shows some growth. The stories aren't overly complicated, but we do get a bit of history. What I also liked about these stories is the nuance they show, that grey zone between right and wrong. 

 

This is an enjoyable read for any Game of Thrones fan and an excellent way to dive deeper into Westeros and its history. If more stories are published, I hope to be able to read them!

 

My only criticism is the repetition of certain phrases, over and over again, which were driving me crazy by the end, namely:

 

- "a clout in the ear"

- "oak and iron, guard me well, or else I'm dead, and doomed to hell"

- "Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall"

- "Tanselle Too-Tall she was called, but not too tall for me"

 

I did notice this in the later novels in A Song of Ice and Fire as well - constant repetition of certain phrases or words. 

 

But that really is my only criticism. A nice read to take your mind off things, to lose yourself in.

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I saw my therapist this week, it had been about a month. I'm really glad she's back!

 

The Sherlockian review

 

The Sherlockian is part historical fiction, part detective/mystery and part historical detective/mystery. Two stories are being told simultaneously, the end of the story in the 19th/20th century eventually blending with the start of the story in the 21st century. These alternating chapters worked out well for both stories. I think if both had been told linearly and one behind the other, it wouldn't be as gripping.

 

I like the meta in the novel - Harold White mulling over the mechanics of a good detective/mystery, while being in that kind of story himself. 

 

The characters weren't badly written, but didn't feel very real to me. They seemed a bit flat, hard to imagine as actual people. They weren't horribly written or boring, they're just quite forgettable and bland. It's really the plot that keeps one reading. It also does have one hell of a twist near the end - the kind that makes you want to start reading again with this new knowledge.

 

I would recommend this as a holiday read. The author has a nice writing style, which a clear diversity in the way he writes the 19th/20th century chapters and then the way he writes the 21st century chapters. I don't regret reading this or owning this, I might even re-read in a few years, but it's not mind-blowing or life-altering.

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12 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

I saw my therapist this week, it had been about a month. I'm really glad she's back!

 

I'm glad she's back :). I have an appointment with mine next week (she was on holiday for 3 weeks), and the week after I have a phone appointment with my psychiatrist (he's been away for 4 weeks).

 

How is your goddaughter?

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On 12-8-2017 at 9:50 AM, Athena said:

 

I'm glad she's back :). I have an appointment with mine next week (she was on holiday for 3 weeks), and the week after I have a phone appointment with my psychiatrist (he's been away for 4 weeks).

 

How is your goddaughter?

 

How are you dealing with their absence?

 

She's doing much better, thanks for asking :) She's having a lot of cramps which makes it hard for her to sleep, but it's normal at her age.

 

I will post a proper review later, but I just finished my book. It's 1:50 am and I'm crying my eyes out. I'd spoil a very important part of the story, but it just punched me in the gut. Hit too close to home, was too unexpected. I can't remember last time a book made me cry like this - tears streaming down my face, choking up, trying not to wake anyone up, physically unable to keep reading but also having the need to continue for my own sanity. I even mailed my therapist in the middle of the night. This is too gut-wrenching. I wasn't ready. 

 

I wasn't even going to finish my book. It accidentally happened.

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6 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

How are you dealing with their absence?

 

She's doing much better, thanks for asking :) She's having a lot of cramps which makes it hard for her to sleep, but it's normal at her age.

 

I will post a proper review later, but I just finished my book. It's 1:50 am and I'm crying my eyes out. I'd spoil a very important part of the story, but it just punched me in the gut. Hit too close to home, was too unexpected. I can't remember last time a book made me cry like this - tears streaming down my face, choking up, trying not to wake anyone up, physically unable to keep reading but also having the need to continue for my own sanity. I even mailed my therapist in the middle of the night. This is too gut-wrenching. I wasn't ready. 

 

I wasn't even going to finish my book. It accidentally happened.

 

I find it helps me to write things down that I bothering me or that I feel like writing about. It also helps me to talk to my boyfriend, my best friend and certain family members. Spending time with our animals helps too (dogs, chicken, goat). It also helps that my therapist and psychiatrist have both told me who I can contact / what number to phone, in case I do want to talk to someone. I don't know those people they referred to, but they have told me who to contact or what number to phone if I want to talk while they are on holiday. So it helps me to know that there is always someone.

 

I'm glad your goddaughter doing much better, I hope the cramps go away soon.

 

Wow, it sounds like that book made an impression on you. That happens on occasion (for good or worse :(). I'm sorry it made you feel so bad :(.

 

 

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