Watch this space! Fish and Books etc. is back, with a bang! The blog's undergoing a major overhaul, and you are cordially, delightfully, welcomed back to the renovated blog on the twenty-third of October, at around 8 pm (London), 9 pm (Stockholm), 12:30 Sat. midnight (Kolkata) or 3 pm (New York)! Welcome back!
The first week back after the break has been good, despite being extremely tiring! A while ago I finished Necropolis, an excellent book by Anthony Horowitz. Necropolis is Horowitz's latest book, released the day before Hallowe'en last year. It is the fourth book in the Power of Five series (or The Gatekeepers in the USA) - based on an unfinished series by Horowitz called Pentagram. The series follows five teenagers - Matt, Pedro, Scott, Jamie and Scarlett - who are the eternal Five, and they must protect the world from the Old Ones; the previous inhabitants of Earth, who are attempting to reclaim their territory. In the previous books the Old Ones have tried to enter the Earth through different gates; so far in Lima (Peru) and Yorkshire.
In this book we get to know the last one of the Five; Scarlett Adams, from Dulwich, a sleepy London village-like suburb. Her world is turned upside-down when strange things start to happen - she dreams of the Dreamworld, a supernatural world in which the Five meet, and on a class trip to St Meredith's church, she finds a door which leads to a monastery in Ukraine, where she is locked up and is prepared to be taken to the Old Ones. She finds out that she is one of the Five, and horrible events begin when she is summoned to Hong Kong by her father, who works for Nightrise - a company which works for the Old Ones. Hong Kong is a city which is plagued by a mysterious pollution, and the whole city is dying. There is no colour, no enjoyment - practically no life; hence the title of the novel. The city is controlled by the Old Ones, and she literally walks straight into their trap. She finds out that there is an organisation that has been protecting her since her birth, but she is eventually captured by the Old Ones. Three other members of the Five are frantically looking for her, and they are also trapped in Hong Kong. In the Dreamworld, Scarlett has seen a dragon storming towards Hong Kong, and the dragon's breath* becomes a reality - she can control the weather... The dramatic ending and escape of the Five is a real cliffhanger, and really, really leaves the reader wanting more.
Necropolis (the Greek for City of Death) is one of those books that you pick up and can't stop reading - it is filled with continuous adventure and is absolutely fantastic. Horowitz is one of my favourite authors, and I was really chuffed when I found a signed copy of the book in Waterstones! But it's a real disappointment to hear that Horowitz is planning on releasing the next (final) book in a few years! If you do decide to read the series, I hope you enjoy it!
*Dragon's breath is a Chinese metaphor meaning storm.
3/01/2009 05:57:00 pm
I was rummaging through my inbox the other day, and I found a few poems that I had written last year - or was it the year before that? I thought that it'd be a good idea to publish them here - I mean, why let them grow old and dusty? They have a Swedish translations accompanying them. So, here is a selection of the best ones!
Running out into a clear midsummer's sky,
As the sun sets, I decide without a sigh,
That I will be gone, forever more,
Every single memory, develops with a sore.
Tonight, as dark as the sky may be,
Nothing can hinder me from being able to see,
The sights of the world, the lost old tales,
Tonight is the night, when I set my sails.
I'm not waiting, I've made up my mind,
I'll walk into the sunset, leave everything behind,
Even dark forces cannot stop me now,
I'm escaping tonight, that is my vow.
Jag rymmer inatt (Swedish version)
Jag springer ut på en midsommarnatt,
Vid solnedgång, har jag bestämt att,
Jag ska iväg, jo, rymma ska jag,
Alla de minnen försvinner idag.
Inatt är mörkheten en melodi,
Inget kan hindra mig från att bli,
Den som ser världens underverk,
Den som är där, den som går förbi.
Jag väntar ej mer, det är avgjort,
Jag lämnar allt bakom mig, jag springer dit fort,
De mörkaste makterna stoppar mig ej,
Inatt väntar hela världen på mig.
Traveller of the world
The world is just a ball,
Spinning in my hand.
Never let go,
I move from land to land.
I never use a compass,
My mind will lead the way.
Whatever comes before me,
Will pass me everyday.
Nothing will deceive me,
I'll always carry on.
A traveller of the world,
Nothing will be gone.
Världsresenären (Swedish version)
Världen är en kula,
Som snurrar i min hand,
Taget aldrig släpps,
Jag flyttar land till land.
Jag litar ej på kompass,
Min själ leder vägen,
Vad än vågar hindra mig,
Går jag förbi trägen.
Inget kan bedra mig,
Jag fortsätter oömt,
Som en världsresenär,
Inget blir bortglömt.
All of the ways one attempts to prevent,
Saying farewell, not to self-torment,
Can be of use, but are doubtful too,
Just have a look from all points of view.
Wherever you are, on our Earth or not,
Leaving whatever can make you distraught.
Not all the time, you're never in debt,
But just think again, don't ever regret.
Emotional feelings through the air fly,
The one who feels that their friendship will die,
Always is wrong, that I can reveal,
Love and friendship always has a seal.
Wherever you find yourself, here or there,
Your brain will work, it is not rare,
That memories roll themselves to and fro,
They can't be avoided, so brightly they'll glow.
You're never to worry, you're never alone,
All of the memories will brightly be shown.
In tricky situations, all you need to crave,
Is a clear image of the final wave.
På alla sätt man försöker förhindra,
Att säga farväl, att smärtan ska lindra,
Kan fungera bra, men kan funka dålig',
Var vänligen se, en tår är ej tålig.
Var du än finns, på Jord' eller ej,
När någon lämnar påverkar det dig,
Inte alltid, men några gånger,
Är det bra att tänka, fyll dig ej med ånger.
Emotionella känslor genom luften flyr,
När vänskap blir gammal, så kan man bli yr,
Om man tror vänskap dör, har man fel då,
Att splittra upp vänskap kan aldrig gå.
Var man än befinner sig, här eller där,
Hjärnan fungerar, och den alltid bär,
Minnen som rullar sig upp och ner,
Undvika de ej, de är mycket mer.
Oroa dig aldrig, det behöver du ej,
För alla minnen visar upp sig,
I svåra lägen, i hjärtan, i vrån,
Kommer en tydlig bild av sista hejdån.
I hope you liked my poems!! I think that I'll write a review of Anthony Horowitz's excellent 'Necropolis' soon. Please leave comments and suggestions, and come back soon!
2/23/2009 09:20:00 am
Step by step: My last-minute spectacular, colourful, simple-but-sweet, bold (easy) Valentine's Day card!Categories: cardmaking, festivals
Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and love is in the air. I think that expensive presents are not as spectacular as something that you've made all by yourself. I mean anyone can send a box of chocolates from the other side of the world if they want; there's nothing to it - just buying a box for a few pounds and sending it off. There's nothing more thoughtful than a home-made card. This card is perfect for these credit-crunched times, but you really do have put effort into it - it took me 2 hours (but that's only because I had to think of how to do it as I went along). Here is my very own Valentine's Day card step by step guide. It takes less than an hour to do (so you'll still make it in time for tomorrow), and it's perfect for anyone. You don't need any special materials, I think you can find most of these things in your house - it's simple but sweet. If you decide to do it, good luck, and please leave comments! Remember, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.
- A ruler, a pencil and a pair of scissors
- A 20 x 7.5 cm ready-made (or hand-cut) beige or white card
- Liquid glue and a glue stick
- Gold card (6.5 x 6.5 cm), red glitter and red glitter glue
- 4 different colours of glitter glue with matching card (the glitter glue should preferably be a bit darker than the card)
- Ribbon (about 1.5 cm thick)
- A gold and silver pen
- Thick cardboard (or a Pringles tube)
- Double-sided tape (optional)
- Decorative bits and bobs (such as a shiny paper butterfly, rub-on letters and heart stickers)
1. Cut out two 7.5 cm pieces of ribbon and glue them to each side of the card. Print out (or draw) a heart which is about 5.5 cm at its widest point and 3.5 cm from the deepest point at the top to the lowest point of the heart. Cut it out.
2.In the centre of the 6.5 cm x 6.5 cm gold card, use a tip (such as that of a 'closed' pen or a pencil with no led) to engrave a marking around the heart. Cut out a square inch piece of thick cardboard (or, since I couldn't find any, a Pringles tube).
3. Then, fill the engraved area with liquid glue and red glitter. Stick the piece of cardboard with double-sided tape (or glue) to the centre of the main card, and then use another piece of tape/glue to stick the gold card on.
4. Draw and cut out four different coloured hearts (about 3 cm at their widest point and 3 centimetres from the deepest point at the top to the lowest point), and arrange them as you wish on either side of the main heart. It will look nice if they overlap the ribbons on each side.
4. Stick the hearts on with the glue stick, and border each heart with glitter glue of the corresponding colour. Now you can decorate the rest of the card. I drew a few stars with the gold and silver pens. I used some rub-on letters to write 'LOVE' in the top left-hand corner, and stuck two heart stickers beside it.There is a paper butterfly in the top right-hand corner. I have written the name of the recipents and 'Happy Valentine's Day' on the bottom of the card.
If you'd like to adhere to old tradition, remember to not write your name, and just end with a 'Love, from, ???'. I'd just like to say that the the picture of the card doesn't do it justice. In reality it really looks stunning - especially with the sparkling glittery heart. I suppose it isn't a magnificently intricate design; it's simple but sweet. I also made some biscuits (not cookies) for Valentine's day using ASDA's 'decorative biscuits' recipe; I just used a heart cutter instead of the Christmas cutters. I am going to decorate them with red icing and silver balls. I'll update this post with pictures of them soon.
2/13/2009 05:35:00 pm
Here's the continuation of the synopsis and prologue of my novel Database of Death; which follows James Turner as the one who notices unearthly modification of history. I hope you enjoy it!
James woke up, only to find himself in a hospital ward, with a unknown face staring at him. The unearthly room had a spotless, white ceiling which seemed to shine in the bright light. He had to squint to see anything, but everything was blurry, and it felt as if he bore the world on his shoulders. This, in more than one sense, was true. He was scared. Was this really a hospital? Had he been kidnapped? Slowly, his eyes began to focus, and soon he could see again. He tried to sit up, and noticed that all of the broken bones and splinters he had been left with when the library caved in on him had disappeared. Now, his injuries consisted of nothing but a few minor scratches on his leg.
"James? James?" The nurse talked with a soothing voice, and he looked down at him curiously.
"Where am I? What happened?" James croaked. He had not yet regained full strength, and was unable to move properly. He looked around, but his whole body ached. His head hurt, and his legs still felt numb.
"Don't strain yourself," said the nurse. He had dark brown hair and observant green eyes. He headed towards the door and said, "Don't worry, your parents are outside. I'll tell them to come in."
James was still bewildered. It must have been a coincidence. He must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe he had lost his memory. No, he remembered it so clearly; being in the library, the ceiling caving in on him, the film he was going to watch with Alex... It was in the back of his mind, but it was still there. His mother came into the room. She was a tall, strict-looking woman, but she was very kind. She had always loved him very dearly, read him bed-time stories and helped him with his homework... it was terrible to think that he was so close from losing his life. But according to the evidence, he wasn't so close from losing his life. His mum rushed over to embrace him.
"James! We were so worried! It was horrifying to think that such a terrible thing happened to you!" The tears streamed down her face.
"Don't pressurise him. He's still very weak. It seems as though he tripped over, perhaps on some ice, outside that shopping centre on George Street. We think that he suffered a concussion. But he'll be OK soon." The nurse's attempt to comfort James's mum was not very successful.
By then James's dad had entered the room too. He was rather short, and wore a striped purple t-shirt. He had also been very worried.
James interrupted. "No, that didn't happen! I was in the central library! I think the whole library collapsed. You know, the library on George Street!" His parents both looked at him, puzzled.
"James, there is no library on George Street," his dad said discreetly.
"But I was in there, borrowing some books! I'll show you my bag!"James exclamed. He pulled his bag towards him, and opened it. It was empty. "What's going on?"
"I'm sorry, Mr and Mrs Turner. Short-term memory loss is one of the side effects of concussions. His mind is playing tricks on him." The nurse's voice had a queer robotic concernedness to it.
James was perplexed. Suddenly he wasn't sure of anything; he was dazed. Something mysterious was going on.
At that moment, a few hundred miles away, Shakti Jones grinned. Her little experiment had worked. Now, there was no stopping her - she had discovered the world's best kept secret - a secret involving paranormal energy. She had gained access to the Database of Death.
I hope you like the story so far! Come back soon for Chapter 2. Please leave comments and suggestions!
2/07/2009 05:49:00 pm
For the last few weeks I've been following a 2008 BBC TV series; that the Swedish TV company SVT bought recently. It's called Merlin, and it's a fascinatingly magical series, based on the character of Merlin featured in the ancient Arthurian legend. So far I've watched three episodes, and they have all been very good. I suppose at times the graphics can be a bit Powerpoint Bollywood, but with such great storylines, this is no problem at all.
The first episode introduces the mythical wizard Merlin, and his arrival in Camelot. He is a remarkably talented sorcerer who keeps his magic secret after learning the laws of magic in Camelot. Magic was banned in the kingdom by Uther, the king, twenty years ago, due to its harmful effects. He meets the intelligent physician Gaius, who helps him sort out his 'new life' in Camelot. At the beginning of the episode, a man is killed as part of a death sentence for using magic in Camelot. His mother intends to take revenge, by morphing into a performer who was meant to sing in the big 20-year celebration feast. At the last moment, she tries to kill Arthur using magic, but Merlin prevents her by pushing Arthur out of the way. As his 'reward', he gets to become Arthur's servant. He finds out from the last dragon in the kingdom that his destiny is to protect Arthur. He becomes Arthur's friend from this point on.
The second episode is about a sword-fighting tournament, in which one of the knights, Knight Valiant has a magic serpent-shield to kill his opponents. As Valiant is about to kill Arthur (who is considered the best in the kingdom), Merlin cautiously manages to reveal the serpents, and Arthur claims victory.
In the latest (third) episode, Merlin and Gaius defeat an afanc, a clay monster imposed by the evil witch Nimueh, who infests Camelot's water system. Those who drink the water die. Gwen, someone who he supposedly fancies, plays a big role in this episode and Morgana gains knowledge of his secret.
Over all, I think this TV series is very exciting and it's definitely something to watch - the BBC has really succeeded with making a magical series, based on an collection of old, fictional tales. I intend to watch every single 45-minute episode in this 13-episode series. Due to its popularity, the BBC has decided to make a second series to be shown this year! That I am really looking forward to, and I would recommend this series to anyone!
2/01/2009 06:39:00 pm
Imagine that you had the power to change history. To change what's happened, what's happening now, and what's going to happen. The greatest power mankind has experienced. Shakti Jones, a run-of-the-mill schoolchild suddenly finds herself with access to the database. She starts modifying history, convinced that her actions are benifiting the world. James Turner is the only one who notices. He must take action before the world's fate ends up in the wrong hands, and time runs out. He must destroy the Database of Death. Wikipedia. Gone bad.The Wikipedia-gone-bad concept is quite terrifying. I haven't planned the story much yet, but I've got the basic outline above. But things are bound to change, and Database of Death is a working title. I've got the first draft of the prologue below. I probably won't update it often, maybe every once in a while. Enjoy, and please leave comments and suggestions!
James thanked the librarian and left the room. He placed the three 400-page science-fiction books in his bag, and headed to the staircase. He received a text from Alex, his best friend, asking him where he was. James replied; saying he would be down as quick as possible. He had promised Alex that they'd watch a film, and it was starting in fifteen minutes. He hastily began to descend from the third floor. But suddenly, before anyone could notice, the ceiling came hurtling down at an unimaginable pace. James gasped for breath. He had become immobilised, and an unbearable sensation of numbness and pain snaked from his heart outward, through every vain, to each and every millimetre of his body, like a terminal virus. The sound of the crash was deafening, and it felt as if his mind had been blindfolded. Not soon later, as he lost consciousness, the whole world darkened and eventually vanished. The following series of mysterious events would leave him as the only one who knew the secret. From this moment on, James's life had changed forever.
1/24/2009 08:55:00 pm