Fictional worlds I would like to visit

My absolute favourite thing about fantasy is the fact that everything is possible. A world with different time zones (The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove), a school for criminal masterminds (H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden) or whatever you want. There are fantasy worlds I definitively do not want to visit, but some of them would be a great holiday destination! Here are four fantasy worlds I would like to visit:

Fictional worlds I would like to visit

1. Lyra’s world from His Dark Materials
First of all to I would like to find out what kind of daemon I have. I have wanted to know this for years! But Lyra’s world itself is also an amazing place: it has witches and steampunk elements like the airship of Lee Scoresby.

2. Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings
Who wouldn’t want to visit this world? It has a lot of history and places literally out of this world like the cozy Shire and the beautiful city Rivendell.

3. Fantastica from The Neverending Story
This is basically one of my childhood dreams: stepping in the book I am reading. It would be amazing to be able to do everything you wish! In Bastian version of Fantastica I would like to meet Falkor the luckdragon and visit the ivory tower.

4. Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
I vividly remember the beautiful illustrations in a Dutch edition of this book. Oz would be a nice place to visit with many magical creatures I could meet.

Of course I did not mention the fantasy worlds from books I have not read. But there are probably lots of books on my TBR-list that deserve a place in this list. I am really curious about the world in Every Heart a Doorway and I also need to read A Darker Shade of Magic to discover all the Londons! So many books, so little time!

Five book characters I’d name my cat after

I have finally find time to post something! This post is about two of my favourite topics to talk about: books and cats. I do not have a cat, but fortunately I have Tumblr. So I have an almost daily supply of cute cat photos and crazy cat stories. This blog was still lacking cats, so time to do something about that! I was inspired by the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish. I had never thought about the name of my future cat. Today I discovered there are lots of options, enough to get (at least) five cats! Here are the five book characters I’d name my cats after:

Five book characters I'd name my cat after

1. Issa
Fantasy writers are great in coming up with original names. (Although this sometimes results in strange and unpronounceable names…) It will be no surprise that I love the character names in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Issa would be a beautiful cat name, it sounds nice and also kind of wise.

2. Luna
This one may not be really original, but Luna is one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series. I always liked her name and the fact that it is latin for moon. Luna would be a good name for a white cat with gorgeous blue eyes.

3. Scarlet
The perfect name for a red cat, since it literally means red. I actually know two books with a character named Scarlet: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I would rather name my cat after the main character in the last book, since Scarlet Benoit is a lot more sympathetic than Scarlet O’Hara.

4. Katniss
I would not want to miss the chance to name a cat Katniss! Furthermore it is a great character from The Hunger Games! Or I could name my future cat after an actual cat from that series and call it Buttercup.

5. Bast
It would be quite awesome to name a cat after a cat goddess! Bast was actually worshiped in Ancient Egypt, but she also plays an important role in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.

I love kitties

My top 3 favourite podcasts

A few months ago I discovered the existence of podcasts. Just like books, podcasts can have lots of different subjects. But contrary to books, podcasts can be listened while doing something else. (Technically that is also possible with books, but not always a success…) Podcasts make doing the laundry or other household chores far more amusing! Just install an app (I use Podcast Addict) on your phone or listen via Google Play or iTunes.

For a while I wanted to write a post about podcasts. The Broke and The Bookish happened to do an audio freebie for this Top Ten Tuesday. So the ideal moment to write about my favourite podcasts!

1. Podcastle (link)

podcastle

Every week PodCastle publishes two amazing fantasy stories written by a variety of writers and read by various narrators. I like the fact that lots of different themes and characters are included, main characters can be black or queer and are sometimes even animals. My favourite is Podcastle 413: This is Not a Wardrobe Door. A story inspired by Narnia, written by A. Merc Rustad and read by the full cast.

If you rather listen to science fiction, Escape pod may be more your thing. This is a sister podcast of PodCastle.

2. Clarkesworld (link)

clarkesworld

Actually Clarkesworld is a magazine, but a lot of their science fiction and fantasy stories can also be found in audio form. They have longer stories, some are more than two hours, but most take around half an hour.

The archive is huge, and I have only listened to a few podcasts, but I adored Cat Pictures Please. This is a short story about artificial intelligence with a personality, written by Naomi Kritzer.

3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin (link)

happier-with-gretchen-rubin

In this podcast Gretchen Rubin (you may know her from The Happiness Project) and her sister Elizabeth Craft talk about how to be happier. Every week the two sisters discuss a topic that is often identifiable. I like how honest they are in the podcast by showing that they are just humans who make mistakes too. My favourite episode was Podcast 70: What’s the Best Advice You Ever Got?

Next to this longer episodes, Gretchen Rubin starts every week with a small advice. For example I May Not Be the Best, But I’m Probably Not The Worst.

 

If you like these books, try these tv-series

The idea for this post came from the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish. Today I am again going to talk about television, but this time the topic is TV series. I love to watch them! Sadly I do not have an infinite amount of time, and lots of TV series do have an (almost) infinite amount of seasons. Therefore I have not watched a lot of different TV series. But I always like those “if you like …, try …-lists”, so I decided to make one based on two of my favourite TV series:

If you like Eragon and Harry Potter, try The Adventures of Merlin

The Adventures of Merlin is of course about the wizard Merlin from the Arthur legends, but instead of old, both Merlin and Arthur are young adults. Just like Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle and Harry Potter, Merlin is still learning to use his magic in the right way. More similarities are dragons and prophecies. All three series are exciting, but also have some funny moments. Merlin has five seasons and a total of 65 episodes.

If you like The Passage, try The Last Ship

Similar to The Passage, an unknown virus killed a large part of the world population in The Last Ship. In the book series as well as in the TV series the military play an important role. The crew of the USS Nathan James a.k.a. the last ship, try to find a vaccine and save the world. The third season just started, and I hope to watch it very soon!

Other TV series I love to watch:

LostLost really is not comparable with any book I have read. In the first episode a plane crashes on a deserted island. A group of people survive and try too stay alive. But lots of strange things happen on the island. Lost has six seasons, and I still have to watch the last two seasons. I am very excited for the end!

Elementary

Elementary can be seen as an American version of Sherlock, although it does not exactly follow the story line. In this version Watson is a woman, and Sherlock works together with the New York City Police Department. But the most important parts of the story are still the same, such as Sherlock his personality and the role of Watson in solving the cases. The differences make the TV series very unique. I just found out the fifth season will be on television next October!

 

The best and worst books made into movies

There are some movie adaptations I absolutely love and some I despise. I compiled a list of three movies I hope to never see again and three that were instant favourites.

The worst

The worst movie adaptations

They are the reason I am a little afraid when I read that one of my favourite books is going to become a movie. I have accepted that movies and books cannot be identical, but the producers of these movie adaptations made a little too much mistakes:

The Golden Compass (2007)
This movie was such a disappointment. It was not the fault of the actors, they did a good job. But the producers “forgot”the religious parts of the book, and that is NOT something you can just leave out. I am also really annoyed by the fact that Miss Coulter has blond instead of black hair. Why didn’t they give Nicole Kidman a wig?

A few months ago I heard that His Dark Materials will be adapted again, but this time as a tv-series by the BBC. I really hope they will do a better job!

Eragon (2006)
I think it is generally agreed that this movie was a big fail. Important parts of the book were left out and the actors weren’t that great. The positive thing is that they did not try to adapt the other parts of the book series.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
I must admit that the scenery in the movie was beautiful. But the idea to turn a book with a little more than 300 pages in three movies is just ridiculous. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on itself was not that bad, but so many unnecessary details were added in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I didn’t even bother to go to the last part.

The best

The best movie adaptations

The producers of these movies did an amazing job. This is how you make a movie from a book:

Matilda (1996)
One of the very few movies that I think is better than the book. Every time this movie is on television I watch it! Even though I have seen Matilda at least ten times (probably more).

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The producers stayed close to the original story, acting was good and the movie was exciting to watch. I still haven’t watched Mockingjay part 1 en 2, but I have high expectations.

The Lord of The Rings (2001, 2002, 2003)
I really admire The Lord of the Rings. It is a wonderful story that inspired many other fantasy stories. Middle-Earth is high on my list of fictional words I would like to visit, and the producers did a great job of portraying it. The actors are also well-chosen. Nobody could play a better Gandalf than Ian McKellen!

Four things books have made me wish to do after reading them

The idea for this post came from the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish. Today I have chosen a topic I missed a few weeks ago. Here are some books that inspired me to want to do certain things:

Four things books have made me wish to do after reading them

Going to a school of magic
Due to the types of books I often read, not all things I want are very realistic. By now I have accepted that I will never get my Hogwarts letter. But I still fantasize about going to a university of magic like in The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss or in the Dutch book De erfenis van Richard Grenville by Natalie Koch.

Being a journalist
I read the Millinnium trilogy by Stieg Larsson while applying for a master in journalism. The books made me want to be a journalist even more! I already saw myself doing detailed research and writing groundbreaking articles. But sadly I was not admitted to the master.

Making November Cakes
Puck Connolly eats delicious sounding cake in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. After reading the book I really wanted to taste it. I even found the recipe for November Cakes. I still have to make them, so maybe this november.

Owning a dragon
When I was younger I read The Inheritance Cycle by Cristopher Paolini. While reading this series I fantasized about having my own friendly dragon. By now I would also be very happy with a cat, but a dragon would still be quite awesome.

A short journey through Europe in books

The idea for this post came from the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish. The original challenge for today was to come up with books set outside the USA. Because I live in the Netherlands, another common setting of the books I read is somewhere in Europe. Therefore I want to take you on a(n) (incomplete) journey through Europe. I tried to choose books in which the setting is well described:

Ireland
We start in Ireland where the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer are set. The home of the young criminal mastermind Artemis is located on the outskirts of Dublin. Another important location in this book series is Haven City, a fairy city that can be found hundreds of miles under the ground.

France & Germany
In the Paris from the 1930s and 1940s lives Marie-Laure from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. She is blind, but can find her way through the city because her father made a wooden miniature of Paris. Meanwhile in an orphanage in Germany, Werner develops a talent for fixing radios. This gives him the opportunity to join the Hitler Youth.

Spain
In Barcelona in 1945, Daniel from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón finds a book on the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. On his quest for the writer he finds out that someone tries to burn all the copies of the book.

Italy
Elizabeth Gilbert has written about her search for “everything” in Eat, Pray, Love. She visits three countries: Italy, India and Indonesia. In Rome she discovers how to enjoy life to the fullest. After reading this part of the book, you will defitively going to want to Italy.

Sweden
The journalist Mikael Blomkvist from The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson tries to solve a mysterious disappearance in Sweden. Help comes from the genius, but misunderstood investigator, Lisbeth Salander

Czech Republic
In Prague lives a girl with blue hair, tattoos on the palms of her hands and sketchbook full of strange creatures that actually exist. Of course I talk about Karou from the a-ma-zing Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. By the way, (not entirely) accidentally I visited Prague after reading these books. It really is a beautiful city!