I think it a slight flaw of the school system to make books that are as boring as hell compulsory (actually Hell would probably be a bit more exciting, all fiery and whatnot). Why? Do these people like torturing kids? Do they get a perverse pleasure out of turning our brains to goo?
Answer: yes. Yes they do.
This book can be summed up as so:
– Coconuts fall from trees
– Jane Austen is cool but radical
– Midwifery is a hazardous occupation
– Crocodiles put a stopper on the imagination
– Canberra is thrilling
– Women who bake bread for their husbands are not feminists
– Nothing that Fay Weldon says can be taken at face value
I will now go off to hide this book in corner and proceed to forget it ever existed. 🙂
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Author: Ralph Ellison
Description: With the same intellectual incisiveness and supple, stylish prose he brought to his classic novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison examines his antecedents and in so doing illuminates the literature, music, and culture of both black and white America.
His range is virtuosic, encompassing Mark Twain and Richard Wright, Mahalia Jackson and Charlie Parker, The Birth of a Nation and the Dante-esque landscape of Harlem—“the scene and symbol of the Negro’s perpetual alienation in the land of his birth.” Throughout, he gives us what amounts to an episodic autobiography that traces his formation as a writer as well as the genesis of Invisible Man.
On every page, Ellison reveals his idiosyncratic and often contrarian brilliance, his insistence on refuting both black and white stereotypes of what an African American writer should say or be. The result is a book that continues to instruct, delight, and occasionally outrage readers.
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And that is to say, how do I even begin to explain Entwined?
I’ve grown accustomed to the constant shit storm that seems to blow my a way 90% of the time that I read a YA novel, so, suffice to say, I was more than surprised when reading Entwined.
The novel is based on the fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, or, The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces, but with, as all YA novels promise in their usually lacking summaries: A Special Twist!
I have come to fear the words, ‘a’, ‘special’, and ‘twist’, separately, but especially together. Because this usually tends to translate to: author-takes-cool-original-idea-and-mutilates-it. So when I discovered le special twist in Entwined, and got past the summary and began to understand what this book is actually about, I was sold.
To get to the point, Entwined takes the fairy tale, and adds some shit. The twelve princesses (all named after flowers and alphabetically from birth – a very helpful tool when it comes to remembering them all) lose their mother at the beginning of the book, catapulting them into mourning, making them even more distant to the King/Papa, and of course making them all very sad. But the real turning point is when you realize that because of mourning (which usually lasts for a year) no dancing is allowed. This is when shit gets real.
These girls love to dance. They love to dance. So this is simply one rule they will not abide, even if it means taking, er, magical passageways through their fireplace to break it. Enter plot, stage left.
So they meet this guy
Creeper Keeper, and, well you know the rules. Too good to be true, etc., etc. Also, let me say how relieved I was when Keeper wasn’t a serious love interest. He is a crazy, sadistic fuck, and Dixon keeps it that way. I was also happily surprised by how quickly Azalea realized this, mainly because the protagonists reaction times in most YA novels to danger is worryingly slow. But not Azalea, nope. I adore her.
The plot moves swiftly along, allowing some things that should always happen in novels to take place. For example: Character Development. Ah, the characters. Definitely the best part of this book.
I loved every last one of the sisters. It’s hard to give twelve girls the same amount of page time and development, but I swear, you feel like you know every last one of them. I can still, months after finishing this book, recall all of their names and likes and dislikes and character traits. That is incredible. Dixon did, however, focus on the three eldest sisters (Azalea, Bramble, and Clover) primarily, but this is due to the accessibility/depth allowed by their relative maturity and–romance!
There is nothing that pisses me off more in YA novels or frankly any novel than cringe-y romances, so when I say I loved every last romantic subplot in this book, I mean I loved every last romantic subplot in this book. They’re perfectly subtle, and they’re endearing in well drawn ways; they are also perfect devices when it comes to the development of Azalea, Bramble, and Clover. Usually, I would be a bit hesitant about the romantic plot driving the young girls’ personal development, but it’s done thoughtfully here, and in no way favors the male characters or the girls’ connection to them over the girls themselves.
On a side note, I adored the Clover and Fairweller romance. Definitely my favorite one of the bunch. Something about them just got me, I’m not sure what it is exactly. Possibly because I’ve always had a major soft spot for romances with men like Fairweller? Very cold and composed (actually Dixon makes you suspect he might be a bad guy for a minute, which is fun) but when you see him with Clover he’s just…wonderful. And I’ve always loved relationships like that, where being with the person you love truly does make you a better and more likable person. It was very Austenian, as were many parts of the novel, and it’s a thematic homage Dixon does well. Also, he is a bit old for her, and I have a weird tendency to enjoy May-December romances (they may not be that far apart in age, though. From what Dixon tells us, Clover is in her mid-teens and Fairweller is probably in his mid-late twenties?) when done correctly. And it is. It’s done so perfectly well. And yes, I’m fangirling over these two, but I really do love them – every scene with them was a delight, as were the family members reactions to the relationship.
What I also loved about the romances is that they take a backseat to the princesses’ relationship with the King, which made me laugh, cry, and get goosebumps, sometimes all at the same time. Needless to say, it was just lovely.
The writing was also quite nice. It flowed smoothly, although it was a bit vague for my taste, lacking description at times, but I did enjoy that Heather Dixon wasn’t describing what everyone looked like and what clothes they were wearing every other page. The novel could also probably use some cutting, but I never found myself bored, so I guess that’s not the greatest crime.
To continue to ramble about characters I love, now: One great thing about all the girls is that they’re self-respecting and tough in their own ways. You mainly see this with Azalea, Bramble, and Clover, but it is definitely conveyed that none of these girls are absolute wall flowers (haha, pun!). For instance, Clover, shy, stuttering, beautiful Clover, stands her ground to Fairweller when it comes to their getting married (yes, I’m back on Clover and Fairweller). As much as she wants to elope with him, there is absolutely no way she’ll marry him unless her sisters are there. That was also a great part of that romance. I’m not a fan of of female character progression revolving around a man, but with Clover it was so well done. Especially when you find out that she has had a crush on him for years now (which I figured out pretty early on – there is a really delightful hint, actually – but I can see how you could miss it) and when she’s telling Azalea why she loves him and all the things he’s done for their family that are so loyal and how he’s really a very kind and generous person, oh, god, it was beautiful. I was just so darn endeared by this whole book, it was almost upsetting.
There are many moments like this that show strength of character with Azalea and Bramble as well, which, really, I could go on about for days. But yeah. Great characters.
Basically, just read this book. The world Dixon creates for you is beautiful and chilling, the characters are lively and interesting, and the prose is a cut above the rest (mainly in YA terms, but I’d say Dixon definitely has a knack for storytelling). I loved it, and plan on rereading it, possibly more than once.
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Griffiths And Mulumbu To Start
Celtic would be looking to get back to winning ways in the Scottish Premiership this week against Kilmarnock after they played out a timid goalless draw against St.Mirren last weekend. The Hoops did secure a narrow win in the Europa League so the mood should not be too dark when Brendan Rodgers’ men take on their rivals at the Rugby Park.
Hearts sit on the top of the table and have already opened up a 5 point lead in horse betting online this time. Celtic cannot afford to drop any points this weekend so one can expect Rodgers to field a strong side even though they played a tough midweek fixture against Rosenborg. Also, keeping track of this and any other match in the Scottish Premiership can be done by going to bet live stream and live football streaming.
Kristoffer Ajer wasn’t fit enough to be in the matchday squad in the last game, and it is unlikely that the centre-half would be ready by Sunday for the league encounter against Kilmarnock. Jozo Simunovic is also sidelined for this game as he is yet to recover from his injury. Olivier Ntcham is suspended as he saw a red card against St.Mirren. Apart from that, Rodgers would have a strong squad to choose from for this match.
Celtic’ Predicted Lineup VS Kilmarnock
Craig Gordon continues to be the no.1 choice in goal for Rodgers, and the Scotsman would be happy that he has managed five clean sheets in a row now. A lot of credit for that needs to go to the Bhoys defence. We expect Rodgers to go in with a back three for this game.
Filip Benkovic should start in the back three, and he is slowly starting to fit in Celtic’s setup. Dedryck Boyata and Jack Hendry should be the other two centre-halves starting in a defensive wall of three.
Kieran Tierney will almost play as a left winger. Rodgers’ side would be expected to have plenty of possession, so Tierney wouldn’t be doing much of his defensive duties. In the central midfield, Youssouf Mulumbu can get his first start of the season as Ntcham is suspended. Captain Scott Brown should partner him in the centre. Out on the right, Ryan Christie could start ahead of James Forrest who could be rested for this game.
Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor will have the creative onus on their shoulders, and the duo will mostly play in the attacking third of the pitch.
Leigh Griffiths scored the solitary goal against Rosenborg after coming on as a substitute. The fact that he wasn’t involved much in the last game could mean that he could be given a start in this league game. We expect him to start over Odsonne Edouard as his confidence would be high after rating your all-important winner within the Europa Group.
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