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Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

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8 hours ago, Athena said:

 

Awesome :lol:!

 

I picked him up after work - it was a 9k drive home, ideal test ride! It's awesome, I love him ❤️

 

Really liking my book too - Before I Go to Sleep. It's quite intense, though. I wouldn't call it a relaxing read so far.

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On 16.9.2017 at 9:07 PM, Alexander the Great said:

 

On 19.9.2017 at 1:30 PM, Alexander the Great said:

 

I name most of my stuff. My previous bike was named Vincent.

 

... only now do I realise Vincent is the name of Simone's son, and Isaac is the name of one of Epica's guitarists XD

 

I'm picking up Isaac tonight!

 

:lol::lol: I wonder why you didn't name the bike Simone :giggle2:

 

Happy riding, Alexander! :D

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1 hour ago, frankie said:

 

:lol::lol: I wonder why you didn't name the bike Simone :giggle2:

 

Happy riding, Alexander! :D

 

My bike's a boy :D And I have a colleague named Simon, so that'd be slightly odd. Also, my bike's just such an Isaac.

 

Thank you! I rode him home on Tuesday, haven't been able to ride since. This evening, I took him for a small tour in the neighbourhood. Then into the next neighbourhood. Then up to my old school and back. Accidentally. Isaac was happy to be out!

Edited by Alexander the Great

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9 hours ago, frankie said:

 

:lol::lol: I wonder why you didn't name the bike Simone :giggle2:

 

Happy riding, Alexander! :D

 

My parents' car is called Simone, or actually: SiMOne (an abbreviation for something) :).

 

8 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

Thank you! I rode him home on Tuesday, haven't been able to ride since. This evening, I took him for a small tour in the neighbourhood. Then into the next neighbourhood. Then up to my old school and back. Accidentally. Isaac was happy to be out!

 

I'm glad you're liking the bike so far :).

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10 hours ago, Athena said:

 

My parents' car is called Simone, or actually: SiMOne (an abbreviation for something) :).

 

 

I'm glad you're liking the bike so far :).

 

What kind of car do they drive?

 

Today, I had to bring a book back to the library. Usually, I'd have taken my car, but now I took my bike - and then rode on, I just can't get enough!

 

Before I Go to Sleep review

 

Christine wakes up every day without any knowledge of her current life. She wakes up knowing who she is, but not that many years have passed since the last memory she's retained. During the day, she can make and retain memories, but once she goes to sleep, she forgets everything. Only to wake up the next day, thinking she's a child, or twenty years old - not realising she's 47, or that the man next to her she doesn't recognise is her husband.

 

This novel had a slow start for me. It was very intriguing from the beginning, but I had a hard time relating to the main character. However, the concept was so interesting that it kept me reading. Because of Christine's condition and the fact that the novel is written from her point of view, we really only focus on two other characters besides Christine.

 

The main questions are obviously "What happened to Christine?" and "Who is telling her the truth?" Besides these questions, I think the author did a good job exploring more questions about the consequences of Christine's condition and the impact of it, without slowing the story down.

 

Roughly from the middle of the book onwards, it became a bit more plot-driven and the pace was considerably faster than it had been before. Unputdownable, one surprise to the next. In all honesty, it was a bit of a letdown that I saw every plot twist coming a few pages before they were revealed. So I was never completely surprised - but I did like the guessing, thinking about different possibilities, going through the story in my head to see how they fit in.

 

As an author, it must be very difficult to determine how to end this. I think the ending was very well and delicately done.

 

 

 

 

On to It by Stephen King!

Edited by Alexander the Great

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15 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

What kind of car do they drive?

 

A Tesla S :).

 

15 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

Before I Go to Sleep review

 

I have this book on my TBR, glad you liked it :). Great review!

 

15 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

On to It by Stephen King!

 

I hope you enjoy this :)! The fall / autumn seems the best time to be reading a book like IT.

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3 hours ago, bobblybear said:

I enjoyed Before I Go To Sleep as well.  I hope you like IT - it's my second favourite King book. 

 

Before I Go To Sleep is quite atypical - and it's astounding as a debut. Many authors who have been publishing for years wouldn't manage it. 

 

I'm really enjoying IT so far. I loved Under The Dome as well - I love long novels set in a town where we get to know the stories of all different kinds of people. 

 

Something terrible happened yesterday, though. Because we have a lunch break of an hour on Fridays and because a lot of people either go out or they stay at work but are really busy on their phones, I like to take my book. A colleague said that she didn't understand I wanted to read a book that big and that she wouldn't have the courage to even start. Okay, I can respect that, we're all different. But then this newish guy, when he asked what book I was reading and I showed him, he made these big eyes and said: "What? Why would you read that - just watch the movie!"

 

... my heart, fellow book-lovers. My bleeding heart. As if reading the book and watching the film is the same thing. As if reading the book is a chore. As if... well, I can't begin to explain how equally baffled I was by the utter ignorance of that question. This guy got his Master's degree in Laws. He should have some sense, no? Seriously. I just can't.

 

In other news, Epica's American tour came to an end yesterday and I'm so glad they're coming back home to Europe. This will probably sound silly, but I do have attachment issues for complicated reasons and it's part of why I see my therapist - and even she agreed on Monday it'll put my mind at ease when they get back. I just always get really nervous and anxious when they leave for other continents. So I'm glad for that. Even happier that I get to see them live twice in two weeks ❤️

 

Also thinking of getting a tattoo. Something that refers to my love for books/reading and also my love for metal music. I don't really have any ideas though.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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11 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

Something terrible happened yesterday, though. Because we have a lunch break of an hour on Fridays and because a lot of people either go out or they stay at work but are really busy on their phones, I like to take my book. A colleague said that she didn't understand I wanted to read a book that big and that she wouldn't have the courage to even start. Okay, I can respect that, we're all different. But then this newish guy, when he asked what book I was reading and I showed him, he made these big eyes and said: "What? Why would you read that - just watch the movie!"

 

... my heart, fellow book-lovers. My bleeding heart. As if reading the book and watching the film is the same thing. As if reading the book is a chore. As if... well, I can't begin to explain how equally baffled I was by the utter ignorance of that question. This guy got his Master's degree in Laws. He should have some sense, no? Seriously. I just can't.

 

:o?! How rude of him. Some people can just be.. Ugh.

 

11 hours ago, Alexander the Great said:

In other news, Epica's American tour came to an end yesterday and I'm so glad they're coming back home to Europe. This will probably sound silly, but I do have attachment issues for complicated reasons and it's part of why I see my therapist - and even she agreed on Monday it'll put my mind at ease when they get back. I just always get really nervous and anxious when they leave for other continents. So I'm glad for that. Even happier that I get to see them live twice in two weeks ❤️

 

I hope you have lots of fun seeing them live in two weeks :).

 

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On 01/10/2017 at 9:30 AM, Athena said:

 

:o?! How rude of him. Some people can just be.. Ugh.

 

 

That really is bizarre. :eek:

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On 04/10/2017 at 6:18 PM, Little Pixie said:

 

That really is bizarre. :eek:

 

Sadly, not really.  That's a fairly typical response nowadays.  There's a whole generation growing up who simply don't have the mental resilience to concentrate and focus on anything like reading for any length of time.  For instance, hardly any of the children recently going through my class have read Harry Potter - they've all got the story through the films. They and an older group are used to a highly graphical environment, and used to constantly changing images.  Their minds need constant re-engagement.  As a result their minds often work at a fairly superficial level and struggle in so many situations.  Interestingly, even talking to my 25-year old son, who whilst brought up in the internet age is a regular reader, he tells me that there's a generation younger than him who simply don't read because they are permanently on their phones etc.  I was travelling into Leeds during the rush-hour a few days ago, and all the books/Kindles were being read by 'older' (30+) commuters.  I didn't see a single younger one doing so, unless they were reading on their phone, but looking at thumb movements I didn't spot one likely to be.

I'm not saying Alexander's individual was that young - he may not have been - but there are a lot of people around in the same position.

I wouldn't be shocked: TBH I'm desperately sorry for people like that as for me it shows a mental deficiency that they are barely aware of, but which impoverishes them on so many levels.

Edited by willoyd

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Yes it'll be interesting to see how they all fare when they have to go into the real world and maybe do something that doesn't involve following instructions on a screen all day.  Mind you on the bus I do see some younger children reading books, so there's hope......

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8 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

Sadly, not really.  That's a fairly typical response nowadays.  There's a whole generation growing up who simply don't have the mental resilience to concentrate and focus on anything like reading for any length of time.  For instance, hardly any of the children recently going through my class have read Harry Potter - they've all got the story through the films. They and an older group are used to a highly graphical environment, and used to constantly changing images.  Their minds need constant re-engagement.  As a result their minds often work at a fairly superficial level and struggle in so many situations.  Interestingly, even talking to my 25-year old son, who whilst brought up in the internet age is a regular reader, he tells me that there's a generation younger than him who simply don't read because they are permanently on their phones etc.  I was travelling into Leeds during the rush-hour a few days ago, and all the books/Kindles were being read by 'older' (30+) commuters.  I didn't see a single younger one doing so, unless they were reading on their phone, but looking at thumb movements I didn't spot one likely to be.

I'm not saying Alexander's individual was that young - he may not have been - but there are a lot of people around in the same position.

I wouldn't be shocked: TBH I'm desperately sorry for people like that as for me it shows a mental deficiency that they are barely aware of, but which impoverishes them on so many levels.

 

That`s interesting, though really sad. :( It`s the lack of empathy that gets me : Why make someone feel bad because they`re different to you ? :117:

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22 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

 

That`s interesting, though really sad. :( It`s the lack of empathy that gets me : Why make someone feel bad because they`re different to you ? :117:

 

We're living in an increasingly polarised world: we are exhorted to empathise with celebrities by media that always seem to want to know how interviewees are 'feeling' (the most inane on this front being sports interviewers where the interviewee's feelings are all too obvious!), something that first really came to prominence with the hysteria surrounding the death of Diana, but at the same time we are dealing with generations who increasingly get their news, social interaction etc second hand through social media, and who therefore struggle to learn to genuinely empathise, increasingly removed as they are from everyday face-to-face contact.  Anybody who is in anyway different to the mob's norms, outside the 'tribe', is particularly vulnerable.  One only has to look at the amount and intensity of abuse thrown at people over social media when they deviate from those norms to see where real empathy is in danger of going (this is something that even primary schools have to deal with all too regularly now).  Part of the reason for the rise of populist politicians.

Sorry if I sound cynical! I probably am!

Edited by willoyd

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I totally agree with you Will, especially when the slightest, most inane thing is posted on social media (eg I'm in Costa having a latte, who cares! I don't), or people get torn apart for merely expressing an opinion, sometimes on the most mundane of subjects.  which is why I don't do social media very much,.

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21 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

We're living in an increasingly polarised world: we are exhorted to empathise with celebrities by media that always seem to want to know how interviewees are 'feeling' (the most inane on this front being sports interviewers where the interviewee's feelings are all too obvious!), something that first really came to prominence with the hysteria surrounding the death of Diana, but at the same time we are dealing with generations who increasingly get their news, social interaction etc second hand through social media, and who therefore struggle to learn to genuinely empathise, increasingly removed as they are from everyday face-to-face contact.  Anybody who is in anyway different to the mob's norms, outside the 'tribe', is particularly vulnerable.  One only has to look at the amount and intensity of abuse thrown at people over social media when they deviate from those norms to see where real empathy is in danger of going (this is something that even primary schools have to deal with all too regularly now).  Part of the reason for the rise of populist politicians.

Sorry if I sound cynical! I probably am!

 

The part highlighted has been driving me mad for years. It's such a poor question for an interviewer to ask and yet it seems to be the go to question in almost all interviews. I am increasingly becoming convinced that modern media and specifically social media is eroding society. In recent years I have become concerned that my ability to concentrate on something is getting worse and I have come to the conclusion that social media is part of the reason why. I was an early adopter of most of the big social media platforms and thought that they would be a good thing but now I am convinced the opposite is true. It is a huge shame because it could be used for good.

 

I found myself checking my phone for updates constantly and whenever I had 5 minutes free I would get my phone out. This can't be right, and while I am sure some people can use social media sparingly, I have to accept that I can't and I have a problem. I deleted my Facebook account years ago because I didn't like the way it was heading. I removed Reddit from my phone 2 weeks ago because I would look at it first thing in the morning, last thing at night and constantly during the day. I think this week I am going to delete Twitter and then after that Instagram will probably go as well. It is a shame because Twitter used to be a great way to keep updated on news and niche things I was interested in but all this has been monetized and hijacked to create clicks and likes. Notifications are a really intrusive and yet almost every app on your phone wants you to turn them on. I notice that this is now build into web browsers as well.

 

I also find that I can't watch breaking news anymore because the news channels get stuck in a constant loop of reporting the same thing over and over again in the need to be the first to bring a development. Linking back to the 'how do you feel' thing with interviews, the news will report on tweets and interview 20 people who were in the area who have the exact same story to tell with nothing new to add, which I find infuriating. I agree 100% with you regarding elections and the like becoming nothing more than a popularity contest along the lines of xfactor or big brother. I am convinced that recent big elections and referendums were won on social media engagement and that the vast majority of people didn't bother seeking out information on what they were voting about. I really do despair with the way the world is going.

 

Rant over :giggle2:

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On 6-10-2017 at 10:26 AM, willoyd said:

 

Sadly, not really.  That's a fairly typical response nowadays.  There's a whole generation growing up who simply don't have the mental resilience to concentrate and focus on anything like reading for any length of time.  For instance, hardly any of the children recently going through my class have read Harry Potter - they've all got the story through the films. They and an older group are used to a highly graphical environment, and used to constantly changing images.  Their minds need constant re-engagement.  As a result their minds often work at a fairly superficial level and struggle in so many situations.  Interestingly, even talking to my 25-year old son, who whilst brought up in the internet age is a regular reader, he tells me that there's a generation younger than him who simply don't read because they are permanently on their phones etc.  I was travelling into Leeds during the rush-hour a few days ago, and all the books/Kindles were being read by 'older' (30+) commuters.  I didn't see a single younger one doing so, unless they were reading on their phone, but looking at thumb movements I didn't spot one likely to be.

I'm not saying Alexander's individual was that young - he may not have been - but there are a lot of people around in the same position.

I wouldn't be shocked: TBH I'm desperately sorry for people like that as for me it shows a mental deficiency that they are barely aware of, but which impoverishes them on so many levels.

 

This guy said to me that I probably read all the Harry Potter novels as well, then. I said something along the lines of: "Of course I did! Have you read them?" and then he responded with: "No, I've got all the dvd's." And his tone implied that both have to be mutually exclusive.

 

Granted, this guy is 23. But since he's got a Master's degree in Laws, one would think he has the ability to concentrate and wouldn't be so short-sighted. He's not a bad guy, not at all, and we do get along. His views just baffle me sometimes - and make me feel old too, when I'm only 26 myself!

 

On 6-10-2017 at 3:02 PM, Madeleine said:

Yes it'll be interesting to see how they all fare when they have to go into the real world and maybe do something that doesn't involve following instructions on a screen all day.  Mind you on the bus I do see some younger children reading books, so there's hope......

 

That's an interesting remark... I work at a judicial officer's office and he's just started his training. He's been with us for a month now and I have noticed that he does struggle as soon as he's confronted with a situation that doesn't fall strictly within his guidelines. Hoping for him that he'll learn, though, or he won't make it.

 

On 7-10-2017 at 4:33 PM, willoyd said:

 

We're living in an increasingly polarised world: we are exhorted to empathise with celebrities by media that always seem to want to know how interviewees are 'feeling' (the most inane on this front being sports interviewers where the interviewee's feelings are all too obvious!), something that first really came to prominence with the hysteria surrounding the death of Diana, but at the same time we are dealing with generations who increasingly get their news, social interaction etc second hand through social media, and who therefore struggle to learn to genuinely empathise, increasingly removed as they are from everyday face-to-face contact.  Anybody who is in anyway different to the mob's norms, outside the 'tribe', is particularly vulnerable.  One only has to look at the amount and intensity of abuse thrown at people over social media when they deviate from those norms to see where real empathy is in danger of going (this is something that even primary schools have to deal with all too regularly now).  Part of the reason for the rise of populist politicians.

Sorry if I sound cynical! I probably am!

 

By now, I feel a little bit weird thinking about my new colleague so much on the weekend :P But I can't help but read this and think that all of it really applies to him. It baffled him that another colleague of mine took a photography class. He didn't see how one could learn to take photographs - it's just pressing a button, right? My colleague and I were surprised, but then she explained the things you learn in a photography class - but he still didn't get it. "Especially with phones nowadays, you just take a picture..." I hope for his sake that if he doesn't expand his mind, he'll at least learn to shut up instead of always putting his foot in his mouth :D 

 

9 hours ago, Madeleine said:

I totally agree with you Will, especially when the slightest, most inane thing is posted on social media (eg I'm in Costa having a latte, who cares! I don't), or people get torn apart for merely expressing an opinion, sometimes on the most mundane of subjects.  which is why I don't do social media very much,.

 

I'm on social media, but mostly to follow the lives of people I know and care about - I'm bad at keeping in touch because I always feel awkward in social situations - and also to follow artists I admire or like etc. But I've never posted an opinion on social media for that very reason. I also don't like the fact that it'll always follow you.

 

8 hours ago, Brian. said:

 

The part highlighted has been driving me mad for years. It's such a poor question for an interviewer to ask and yet it seems to be the go to question in almost all interviews. I am increasingly becoming convinced that modern media and specifically social media is eroding society. In recent years I have become concerned that my ability to concentrate on something is getting worse and I have come to the conclusion that social media is part of the reason why. I was an early adopter of most of the big social media platforms and thought that they would be a good thing but now I am convinced the opposite is true. It is a huge shame because it could be used for good.

 

I found myself checking my phone for updates constantly and whenever I had 5 minutes free I would get my phone out. This can't be right, and while I am sure some people can use social media sparingly, I have to accept that I can't and I have a problem. I deleted my Facebook account years ago because I didn't like the way it was heading. I removed Reddit from my phone 2 weeks ago because I would look at it first thing in the morning, last thing at night and constantly during the day. I think this week I am going to delete Twitter and then after that Instagram will probably go as well. It is a shame because Twitter used to be a great way to keep updated on news and niche things I was interested in but all this has been monetized and hijacked to create clicks and likes. Notifications are a really intrusive and yet almost every app on your phone wants you to turn them on. I notice that this is now build into web browsers as well.

 

I also find that I can't watch breaking news anymore because the news channels get stuck in a constant loop of reporting the same thing over and over again in the need to be the first to bring a development. Linking back to the 'how do you feel' thing with interviews, the news will report on tweets and interview 20 people who were in the area who have the exact same story to tell with nothing new to add, which I find infuriating. I agree 100% with you regarding elections and the like becoming nothing more than a popularity contest along the lines of xfactor or big brother. I am convinced that recent big elections and referendums were won on social media engagement and that the vast majority of people didn't bother seeking out information on what they were voting about. I really do despair with the way the world is going.

 

Rant over :giggle2:

 

All of this!

 

 

I finished It today. Read the last 500 pages in two days, so my mind's a tad too fried to be writing a review, but I will soon!

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Can only agree with all you say Brian!

I do do Twitter, the only social medium I've got my head around, but I've deliberately limited it to my birding.  I only post on that subject, and, with a couple of exceptions (mostly family), only follow those who post about local birding.  It means my twitter feed is pleasantly manageable and provides genuinely interesting (for me) reading in the evening.  Only way I can cope, because I know it could so easily get out of control.

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On 9-10-2017 at 7:32 PM, willoyd said:

Can only agree with all you say Brian!

I do do Twitter, the only social medium I've got my head around, but I've deliberately limited it to my birding.  I only post on that subject, and, with a couple of exceptions (mostly family), only follow those who post about local birding.  It means my twitter feed is pleasantly manageable and provides genuinely interesting (for me) reading in the evening.  Only way I can cope, because I know it could so easily get out of control.

 

I'm similar on Twitter - I only follow bands I like and people/accounts related to books/reading and running. It's a calming place that way.

 

It review

 

Long overdue, but finally I read Stephen King's famous novel, It. For me, this was a truly gripping tale.

 

First starting to read this novel, I told my friend about it. She said that this is way too scary for her, and I told her quite confidently that books are never scary to me. It wasn't even a lie - I've genuinely never had nightmares or been jumpy because of a book. After seeing a horror/thriller film or tv series, yes. Never after a book. Suffice to say, It changed that. My dad has a bit of parking my car in such a way that I had to step over a sidewalk sewer to get inside. After a week of reading, I had to ask him if he could please park it further forward or backward...

 

It is not a simple horror story. It's actually quite complex - It appears differently to every character, depending on what their worst fear is. This is further magnified by how very different all of the seven children are. I liked how they all worked together, how well they matched. We spent enough time with each character to get to know them, to see them as kids and then as adults - to really get a grasp of their lives. But never too much time with any specific character, which is a feat with so many of them! My only 'disappointment' was Beverly Marsh. I feel that something is just off about how she was as a kid vs how she was as an adult. It didn't really seem right or credible to me.

 

The 'true' form of It was also a bit of a letdown to me, perhaps because I felt it was quite vague - but maybe that was the point. I like how this novel explores the DNA of fear and courage as well.

 

The non-linear storytelling was interesting. King experiments with different styles and points of view, but not in a jarring sort of way. It's always very clear where we are in time, and who we're reading about. Reading King is always traveling, and in this case that includes time travel. It's a long read, one to get lost in. One that I'm sure I will re-read and discover new things in every time. I'm glad I purchased this one.

 

 

 

 

Now I've started reading The Returned by Seth Patrick. This novel is based on the French tv series Les Revenants, which I adored.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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@Athena The only thing that kind of bothered me about It was the prejudice concerning heavy metal - the guys who attacked the gay man being heavy metal fans, and the way in which King drew a very clear parallel there. It bothered me because really, most people who listen to metal are so open-minded and continuing the prejudice is such a shame.

 

The Returned review

 

The Returned is based on the French tv series, Les Revenants, which is one of the best tv series I've ever seen. Because of this, I can't express an unbiased view. I've seen the series three years ago - long enough to forget exactly what happened, but to still know who the characters were and how it all looked, so to say.

 

A good thing, too. Because while the novel was gripping, the author doesn't bother much with descriptions. I'm not a fan of the pages-long descriptions of Nature some authors go for, but Patrick really lacked in this department. All we basically know about the town is that there's a lake, a lot of pines, and a valley. The same goes for the character - their appearance is hardly ever described. Even if it is, their hair colour is about the most we get. Because of this, it didn't feel as if he was writing his own story. Which it obviously isn't, but you'd expect a twist, I think. I also thought it was odd he would talk about Monsieur Costa and Madame Payet, but then refers to parents as Mum and Dad. 

 

The story itself is very intense, of course. Atypical, too, for the genre. I remember thinking this about the tv series as well - how different it would be if it was American. The story is what kept me reading. The characters draw the reader in as well - they're all so different and so imperfect. Especially with the short chapters and the change in point of view, it was quite unputdownable. But I don't know how much of that I can attribute to Seth Patrick. 

 

I would recommend anyone who read this and liked it to see the original tv series as well. The atmosphere is amazing.

 

 

 

I've started reading The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here, I found myself in the library with exactly one minute to find a book to take home. I have no idea what to expect!

 

I'm seeing Epica live on Tuesday and Wednesday. Considering I've seen them so often now and that I've seen them four times this year, it's crazy, but I'm nervous as hell and looking forward to it so much.

Edited by Alexander the Great

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I loved the first series of The Returned, but gave up on the second one, and there was an American remake which was Ok.  Not sure if they made a second series of the US version.

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On 15-10-2017 at 1:13 PM, Madeleine said:

I loved the first series of The Returned, but gave up on the second one, and there was an American remake which was Ok.  Not sure if they made a second series of the US version.

 

The first series was so superb, it would probably be hard to follow up on that. I'll still watch the second series because I want to know how the story continues - but thank you for the warning, now I won't be so disappointed if I don't like it :)

 

I don't know if any of you have ever experienced this, but the book I'm reading now is giving me some issues. The author is clearly talented. She knows how to tell a story and I like how the vocabulary is quite rich, but she never goes over the top with it. The problem is the characters. I just can't get into them. I don't necessarily dislike them, and they're not flat either. But I keep thinking I should probably feel for them, and I just can't.

 

Saw Epica twice this week. It was SO much fun. I left very early for Leuven because I've never been there. I spent about an hour drinking a coffee, charging my phone a bit. I'd seen some people waiting at the venue, wearing Epica shirts, so I joined them. There were about eight of us for a while there and I started talking to them. Then the next day, for Antwerp I left very early because I know traffic is horrible. As expected, it took me twice the supposed travel time to get there, but I was still pretty early and the same people were there.

 

I was on the second row in Leuven, managed to take some great pictures and videos. Had a great time with my new friends, after the show as well. I also met and talked to Mark, Laura and Marcela from the support band (Mark is also the founder, guitarist and main composer of Epica). They were all so nice and talkative. I even had a great chat with the merch lady! Also got some pictures with Mark, Laura and Marcela.

 

Then in Antwerp, I was on the first row. It was splendid, I had the time of my life. They played Fight Your Demons off their new EP for the first time ever live - got to capture it on video entirely. At some point during Unchain Utopia, Simone looked straight at me (I was first row and there was no mistaking it), then held her mike out to me (luckily from the stage so nobody could actually hear me!). I felt a bit unwell after the show, but my new friends took great care of me. Then I went inside again and Mark and Merel from MaYan were there. Mark was super nice - he remembered me from the day before. I was looking at the cd's on the MaYan merch stand and he saw me debating which to get, so when I said I couldn't choose, he remembered that the day before that, I'd told him I already bought the MaYan cd's. "So you obviously need this one," he said while holding out Laura's cd. Laura's his girlfriend, so he wasn't being all that subtle, but I wanted the cd anyway. 

 

I also talked to Merel, the guitarist for MaYan. Got a great picture with her too. She was very nice and quite chatty as well. I told her that the girl next to me, one of my new friends, had come all the way from Korea. She kind of knows this girl from Delain (her main band) and MaYan shows - she knows her face and that she came from Korea for these shows. After the MaYan concert, Merel had tried to give her the setlist, but the guy next to her grabbed it out of her hands. She couldn't help but cry, because last year, Merel tried to give her her guitar pick and the same thing happened to her - the guy next to her went out of his way to snatch it away from her. Our other friends got a setlist from someone else and gave it to her, but she's a massive Merel fan, so obviously she wanted that one. I then politely explained to that guy that this girl's a big fan and would he mind swapping the setlists. He didn't mind at all - he basically just wanted one, didn't much matter which band member's it was. I told Merel about this, and that's when it became clear she knows the girl came from that far away. This girl had to catch a tram back to the hotel, so she didn't get to meet her, and Merel seemed a bit bummed I think. But I told her this girl will be going to the next three shows and also the Delain show next week. I was quite sure Merel would try to do something for her. Then today, one of my new friends said that Merel managed to give this girl her guitar pick in her hand. She was super happy, of course!

 

Also talked to the merch lady again and that was great fun. Simone liked my tweet about the merch I got - a beanie and wristbands. She's been liking every tweet regarding my EpiCollection ever since I first tweeted about it, so I love that. Then she also liked my tweet about the show, which had four pictures. She saved one of these pictures to her phone, zoomed it a bit and put a filter on it, then posted it on her Instagram Stories. I loved that.

 

Last night, I also tweeted a short clip which shows first Mark and Isaac headbanging simultaneously, next to each other, in the same headbanging style. Then Mark walks away, Simone walks over to Isaac. He's playing the guitar, she plays the air guitar. Then, without even looking at each other, they start headbanging at exactly the same time, in exactly the same headbanging style (different from the one Mark and Isaac used earlier), and stop at the exact same moment. So I tweeted that and added the text: "Isaac, Mark & Simone of Epica introduce the new Olympic disciple: synchronised headbanging". At lunch today, I had loads of Twitter notifications. Weird. I look at the tweet - 68 likes. Hm, that's a lot, don't usually get that much. I go to Simone's account - she retweeted it! This is the second time she retweets a tweet of mine about a show when she normally almost never does that! 

 

This is the picture I took and also a screenshot of her Instagram stories. I searched for ages to see if maybe someone near me had the same picture, but I couldn't find one posted anywhere, and I've compared the pictures endlessly. They look the same to me, just zoomed and a filter. Also judging from the quality, it has to be the same device.

 

22656209_10155724655178389_1847032704_n. 22657202_10155724654663389_1708616192_n.

 

So I am SO excited right now. You guys have no idea. Can't wait to see them again in Lille, meet the band in person again, and see my new friends again.

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