The Errant Bookshelf

Challenging Literary Conventions and Structural Integrity since 2011

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Gracious, soft-voiced girls, who were brought up on memories instead of money.

F Scott Fitzgerald —The Ice Palace

I’ve never actually read this book, but I think this quote might just have convinced me.

Filed under F Scott Fitzgerald The Ice Palace

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Giveaway Winner

Firstly, let me say thank you to everyone who entered the contest, to the new followers who’ve joined us this year, and all the others who have been here since the start. I would love to give something away to everyone, but unfortunately only one can win.

Congratulations to lameyxx, who has won the giveaway this year.

See you all next time, and keep on reading!

Filed under giveaway blogiversary

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Life is a city where time has given up on itself so there are no beginnings and no end. His life is the same dry verse of a broken record spinning endlessly between a needle. The same lines over and over. A bad habit. Wine is poured into the glass of the only other woman at the table. She arrived late, after Henry, and is the only other person there who hears the music the way he does, who understands it not as a sound, but as a place beyond language. They are two solitary notes of the same score and come from a place where one plus one is one. But only one of them knows this.
L (and things come apart) by Ian Orti

Filed under L (and things come apart) Ian Orti

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Guys, the Blog is Two Years Old!

Yes, The Errant Bookshelf is officially two years old today! We have certainly come a long way since Jan. 20th 2011, in the number (and quality) of reviews as well as in number of followers. For that, I thank you guys for staying with me and being great.

In honour of the blogiversary, here’s a link to the first review I ever did, the one that started it all.

Here’s to another great year!

Filed under blogiversary two years!

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Giveaway News

Because I’ve only gotten two entries for the giveaway, I’m going to keep it open until the end of the month. As you’ve probably noticed from my lack of blogiversary material posted, I’m going to drag that out too. So keep entering!

Filed under giveaway blogiversary

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Let’s Talk About Poetry

You sea! I resign myself to you also - I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,
We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you.

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

I’m not going to put on literary airs for you guys — I used to hate poetry. This was way back from when I first learned about it right up until probably when I took Sixteenth Century Literature in University and we talked about sonnets for four months. Now, this may be in part due to the fact that I thought poetry had to rhyme and had to be about trees or love and nothing else.

However, as you get older and start actually reading poetry you realize that certain things deserve to stand on their own, but don’t have enough in them to be made into a short story or novel or anything other than a poem. So yes, poetry is necessary. The litle snippet I posted above is one of my favourite verses from poetry because it’s exactly what I said: one moment that would be lost in a larger work but in and of itself isn’t enough to constitute a whole work of its own. Never mind that it is encased inSong of Myself, which is pretty long for a poem — just this piece of the poem I love for its simplicity.

Now, keeping in mind that the first time poetry became a thing for me was when I was reading it in very fancy early modern English (shakespeare, anyone? Sidney?) and most of it had to do with adultery and courtiers and things I know very little about. However, it remains that the things I loved about those poems were how totally they captured one single moment in time, or one single thought — I mean, in Astrophil and Stella there was a whole sonnet about the moment Stella looked at Astrophil —one look, and there was a whole poem about it. This moment in a novel or a story can be easily lost because of how much lies before and after it. The mass of words and ideas in these cases can allow small moments to get lost very, very quickly, which is why we need poetry to pull them out and shine a light on them.

Other favourites include the last, say, ten lines fromSex Without Love by Sharon Olds, which I’m not going to post here because it’s kind of explicit — I don’t like the explicitness, but I really like how she talks about almost the transcendentalist nature of one’s own sensations of pleasure. I also really likeEnivrez-vous by Charles Baudelaire, which translates to Get Drunk, and which has been translated into at least English if not many other languages. However, as the original is in French, I’m not going to post it here either.

Do you guys have any favourites?

Filed under poetry Walt Whitman Song of Myself Charles Baudelaire Enivrez-vous Get Drunk Sex Without Love Sharon Olds blogiversary

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I’m going to make a wild assumption here in saying that most of us readers are probably also writers. This is by no means gospel, but I’ve found that oftentimes the same people who love to read are those who love to write. That in mind, here are some photos I’ve found over the years with some great quotes about reading and writing.
None of these photos are mine, and I found them largely on tumblr. I don’t remember where, but if they are yours and you object to their use here, just let me know.

Filed under blogiversary writers writing advice

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Anonymous asked: The book giveaway is open internationaly? :)

I’m going to say yes, but with the stipulation that if the postage is going to be, like, a hundred dollars, we’ll work something out.

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Acquiry

I read Divergent last year and loved it, so I was excited for the second book in the series to come out so I could continue following Tris on her journey. However, the jacket description kind of turned me off initially, so I waited a couple months before buying Insurgent, then another month before actually reading it. Not that it sounded bad, but it sounded like Tris and Four spent the entire time beyond the fence leading up to a heartwarming moment where Tris becomes all she can be by embracing her Divergence…yeah. However, that was foolish of me.

The Book

Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 525

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

The Plot

The plot of Insurgent was, like Divergent before it, pretty linear in nature. It progressed from where Divergent left off, with Tris and Four on the run from those who want them dead. It then leads up to their eventual reclaiming of their faction and the planned retaliation against Erudite — the faction that attempted to enslave an entire society in the first book. I can’t talk too much about the plot because Insurgent is the kind of book with twists and turns at every corner, and I don’t want to ruin anything for any of you. I will say that one of the things I enjoyed about Insurgent was how through the course of the story the lines between factions were blurred over and over. If you read Divergent, you’ll know that the factions are very clearly split up and very, very different. The fact that members from all the factions comingled and worked together through the course of Insurgent serves to emphasize Tris’s Divergence, which I thought was kind of…poetic. A Divergent person is someone described, basically, as having aptitudes for several factions instead of just one — Tris, for example, has aptitues for Erudite, Dauntless, and Abnegation (don’t quote me, I’m going from memory). If the point of Insurgent was for Tris to use her Divergence to her avantage, then I really liked how that Divergence was made manifest through the ways in which the factions all worked together.

The People

One of biggest pet peeves with sequals is how characters often seem unaffected by things that happened in the first book(s). That said, Roth did exactly the opposite. At the end of Divergent, there is a big battle resulting in the mass killing of almost a whole faction, Tris is forced to kill one of her good friends, and her family dies. As I’m sure we can imagine, those kinds of events would change all of us. I really admired how Roth confronted the aftermath of those events in Insurgent, making Tris more vulnerable than she had been in the first book, chiefly because of the things she’s seen and done since we first met her. There are moments in Insurgent where Tris is physically unableto take certain [life saving] actions because of mental blocks that she’s created because of the trauma that came out of that final battle in Divergent. Had Roth portrayed Tris — not only Tris, but a number of the characters — as a person who could just rise above and put all these wrongs out of her mind in order to do what needs to be done, I don’t think I would have been as happy with the book as a whole. While I felt bad that Tris had to deal with these things while simultaneously resolving the conflicts born in Book 1, I liked that she was this real person with real vulnerabilities and real problems instead of a machine who doesn’t feel things unless it’s convenient.

The Verdict

While I think thereĀ could have been a few improvements to Insurgent, in all I thought Roth did an excellent job of taking the story where it needed to go. The plot was fast paced and remained consistently interesting throughout, and the characters remained real, three-dimensional characters who took action and, above all, felt what needed to be felt.


Filed under Veronica Roth Divergent Insurgent 8 blogiversary