My Kyrosmagica Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

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Goodreads synopsis:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?  

My review:

Mark Watney is a botanist, mechanical engineer, and one of the astronauts on the Ares program, a human guinea pig, alias Astronaut, sent to Mars. Unfortunately Mars isn’t a very good host. Mars plays dirty. Forget sweetness and light. Instead Mars sends a welcoming dose of Category 5 hurricane winds, which pummels the crews MAV  (“Mars Ascent Vehicle”.) The crew make a mad dash for escape. Mark is left behind, with a punctured suit, (no party cocktail stick for poor Mark,) and his crew leave him behind believing him dead. Major guilt trip.  Mark Watney becomes one of the first people to walk on hostile Mars but will he be one of the first to die there?

The Martian is told through two voices – Mark, in log form and the scientists at NASA trying their utmost to save him. On the whole this is done extremely well, and I didn’t find the shift in voices a distraction.

The Martian is anything but boring. Though the title of the book is a little misleading. There are no alien beings in the book. Effectively Mark becomes the Martian, an unwilling inhabitant of Mars, an alien, human species trapped on an unforgiving, and intolerant Mars.

The first line of the book reads: “I’m pretty much fucked.”

Mark is in deep shit, deep Martian shit. Mark has to battle hostile territory, looming starvation,  a plethora of technical, and communication problems. But Mark doesn’t allow the words, “give up,” in his vocabulary. This guy must have been born with a positive stamp on his head. His catch phrase must be, Eliminate Doubt ……..Lock it out! Forget about the Caution!

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I know that some reviewers have criticised this aspect of Mark’s character.

Is he too positive? Shouldn’t he have at least one major melt down? I would counter this by saying that yes, Mark Watney is too positive for your ordinary Joe, but he’s an astronaut, and astronauts are a special breed, heroic in pure essence form. Most of us mere mortals would think twice about getting on a mission to Mars. Mark Watney is believable because his humour illustrates his vulnerable human side. It is this astronaut’s coping mechanism. You know how people respond to stress differently? Some talk more, some less, some speak fast, some tremble, fidget, pee loads, well Mark makes a joke out of his situation, and admits, “I’m pretty much fucked.”

But Mark just wants to LIVE. The desire to live may not be programmed into his astronaut suit but it sure lives within his heart and soul. This is an inspiring tale of trying to overcome all the daunting obstacles to just survive, breathe, eat, sleep, another day. Even if that day is lonely, boring, and full of relentless tasks. When you break it down that’s all that counts. SURVIVAL. He must:

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In fact he kind of sees himself as a James Bond kind of hero.

Loved this quote: “Live another Sol would be an awesome name for a James Bond movie.” Except he’d be Q! “ Live Another Sol! (Starring Mark Watney as …. probably Q. I’m no James Bond.)”

I don’t believe this for one moment, I think he has a secret desire to be James Bond, the returning astronaut hero who gets all the girls. Remember it’s a long time since he’s had female company, this guy is just longing to get l….. back to earth! Oops, nearly slipped my PG rating there.

To counterbalance the seriousness and complexity of the science Andy Weir applies it with a huge dollop of humour. Now, I love a chuckle and this book had me quietly giggling along and smiling like a crazy person so many times.

Mark Watney is just so appealing. You can’t help but root for him. Anyone who has to survive on a potato diet, listen to disco, (which he hates), and run out of coffee, and caffeine pills, deserves a big hug. A huge one. Here Mark.

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With no creature comforts, and an exceedingly boring diet of potatoes, (I really feel for you), he still has the resourcefulness to survive. And joke about it. Way to go.

I have to admit I shed a tiny tear at the end, I just found the ending so poignant.

The Martian would make a great movie. Can you just imagine the 3-D effects? Oh, and the laughter. I’d go. Any takers? I do believe this is releasing this year, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, scheduled for release in November 2015.

So whether you’re a total science geek, a space exploration nut, or just a person like me who appreciates a good book, go buy a copy of The Martian. I was lucky to get my copy for Christmas! Thanks to my lovely daughter.

Heck, I can’t believe this is Andy Weir’s debut novel, such an impressive first novel, having won this year’s Goodread’s Choice Award in the Science Fiction category.

No doubts about it, The Martian has to be a full Martian 5 stars. :

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Authors websites:

http://andyweirauthor.com/

http://www.galactanet.com/

More to come:

I found this quote from Andy on Goodreads: “It’s (his next novel) tentatively titled “Zhek”. It’s a more traditional sci-fi novel, not a deeply technical story like The Martian. Zhek has aliens, FTL travel, telepathy, etc.”

Favourite quotes from The Martian:

“If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”

“I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”

“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command.”

“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.”

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”

“As usual, I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn. But no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen.”

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My Friday Image: The Mysteries of Lock and Key

fitting-374781__180 A key. Just a simple word yet it holds a multitude of possibilities in its grasp, a twist of the wrist enables us  to discover a multitude of hidden, secret, mysterious, places. passage-301439__180

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The Keyhole St Peter’s Basillica, Rome
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St Peters Basilica Rome

A key to someone’s heart? Or a chest of hidden secrets, or a forbidden journey? love-421606__180  The Idea of Order at Key West Have you read The Idea of Order at Key West?  A poem by Wallace Stevens. It begins like this:

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.   
The water never formed to mind or voice,   
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion   
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,   
That was not ours although we understood,   
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

I discovered it quite by chance today while I was searching for inspiring images about the word key. In “The Idea of Order at Key West,” Stevens explores  several interesting themes: art, creativity, imagination and reality.  In the poem the speaker and his friend listen to a woman singing on a beach in Key West. It’s a beautiful poem isn’t it? Here’s the link to read this stunning poem in its entirety, The Idea of Order At Key West by Wallace Stevens: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172206   bar-542568__180 The Key West Literary Seminar

Then the word key helped me to discover The Key West Literary Seminar, celebrating writers and writing. This literary event is held each January, attracting an international audience to hear such writers as Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Billy Collins, and Joyce Carol Oates. Find out more at: http://www.kwls.org/

The title for the 2015 seminar, “How The Light Gets In,” is inspired by Leonard Cohen’s 1992 song, “Anthem”—“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Where will the Mysteries of Lock and Key take me to next?

Ernest Hemingway’s Home
Then my lucky key helped me find out about Nobel prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway’s former home in Key West. It is a National Historic Landmark, Literary Landmark and recorded at the Library of Congress as a Historic American Building It is now open to the public as a museum, populated by as many as 60 descendants of his famous polydacty cats.
Quite fascinating.
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A Polydactyl cat
SIX TOED CAT!
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 This fellow looks up to
 MISCHIEF!
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 We’re just
LOUNGING AROUND!
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 I’ve had too much wine.
 I’M IN DANGER OF FALLING OFF THE TABLE!
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An illustrated Biography of Hemingway’s cats written by Carlene Fredericka Brennan with a Foreward by Hilary Hemingway.
Here’s the link to find out more about the home: http://hemingwayhome.com/
And biography of his life:
Where else could the word key take me?
Piano Keys
Of course, piano keys.
The piano keys are the players rendition of the meanderings of his twisting and turning soul.

piano-315016__180     music-279333__180 Yes, the imagination is meandering way off course now and going wild !

Quotes about keys On the theme of keys here’s a quote from Anthony Liccione: “Don’t try to be the missing key in my life, and I won’t be the unmatched lock, that doesn’t let you in.” Anthony Liccione is a Goodreads author. Here’s a link to his very successful Facebook page on Quotes: https://www.facebook.com/Quotes2Quote?ref=hl

Finally I discovered: Sarah Dessen Lock And Key

th A quote from Lock and Key: “It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered–so many locks not enough keys.” thSUXRGESN Goodreads synopsis of Lock and Key : Ruby, where is your mother? Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give? Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again. I reckon this sounds like a book that I must read sometime, sounds interesting ……………….. A key …………. Yes, there is something very mysterious in this tiny word, isn’t there? Trust me it’s true!

My Kyrosmagica Review of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Goodreads synopsis:

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My Review

If you start Snow Like Ashes and decide to stop reading it I shall have to kill you, no seriously I will have no choice but to find, borrow, or steal Meira’s weapon, a lethal Chakram, and hurl it at you because you will undoubtedly be missing the best part of this wonderful debut novel.

It starts a bit slow, there’s a lot to take in, Sara Raasch fills us in on the details and if you’re not careful you can start to feel you’re eyes clouding over a bit. There’s an information, over-telling overload. But don’t be fooled. It is forgiveable because this is one heck of an exciting read, so stick with it. Boy, does she know how to write a strong female character, as well as interesting supporting characters and those thrilling battle scenes, well you might just find yourself wincing in parts. You can just feel  super pumped high adrenalin charging through your veins!

Main character – Meira

Meira is one of eight of the surviving Winterians characterised by white skin and white hair. She lives in Primoria, a land of eight kingdoms. This orphan may be only sixteen years old but she is used to hardship and warring and sparring with warriors.  This struggle will help her to understand and overcome the obstacles in her way to ensure that her defeated land Winter is once again a powerful kingdom. She learns who to trust and whom to avoid, and she discovers that freedom to choose a suitor is not always a gift that we can all have when political circumstances stand in the way.

The Seasons and The Rhythms

There’s four Season Kingdoms: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, as well as the Rhythms, whose four seasons occur naturally in a typical cycle: Cordell, Ventralli, Yakim and Paisly. The  Season of Winter is as you would expect a chilly, frozen landscape of snow and ice. The thought of this just sends my teeth chattering. In contrast, Summer is a smouldering land of eternal sunshine. Like the sound of this one. Autumn is a kingdom of  fallen, crisp, autumnal leaves.  Spring is a place of  awakening blooms, but instead of gentle flowering, evil lurks in this one. You get the picture? It’s interesting that Sara Raasch chose Spring to be the season of evil,  rather than the more typical choice of harsh, unforgiving, Winter.

Evil King Agra

Spring may sound like a nice gentle season but don’t be fooled. No, sixteen years ago, Spring’s evil king Agra,  stole the magical conduit and brutally conquered Winter, destroyed their magic, and enslaved most of the Winterians in the process, all except Meira, our heroine, Sir, her guardian, Mather, the heir of Winter, and five other Winterians.  The two halves of the magical conduit are useless until they can be joined together, in a magical version of yin and yang. Yes, the clue’s in the wonderful cover of the book itself, you couldn’t get more conflicted yin and yang if you try.

The Former Queen of Winter, Hannah

Meira starts dreaming of the former queen of Winter, Hannah. To begin with she can’t understand these visions. But in time these dream sequences act as a device to explain, and fill us in on details in this great world-building, magical fantasy.

Winter are Tough Cookies

Winter may be a tough old season, and its people are too.  The Winterians have taken one hell of a bashing, and some of them have just about given up. Our heroine Meira along with her seven other surviving Winterians are tough cookies but can they, and Meira in particular, save and restore Winter to it’s former glory?

Mather and Theron

Mather is introduced to us as the heir to the Winter kingdom, but unfortunately The Winter Kingdom is a matriarchy, where magic is passed on through a female-blooded conduit. So Mather may be a well meaning type of guy, but he just isn’t going to be the one to save the kingdom.

But can our heroine Meira save the kingdom? She spars with the men, is as fierce as the next guy, but there are times when her female side comes to the fore. No more so when she finds herself in amongst several warriors sparring with their tops off. Ok, so this kind of hormonal brain activity brings her  down to normal mortal level, rather than kick ass heroine. But is it a bad thing?  Not altogether in my opinion if the ……. yes, you guessed it …… love triangle is done well, and is shirts off, entertaining!  This trio of love entanglement consists of our heroine Meira,  her first love Mather, and Theron the Prince of the Cordell kingdom, who she is forcibly engaged to, an alliance reluctantly arranged by Mather himself. All’s fair in love and war!

Poor Mather you can’t help but feel sorry for him particularly when it becomes apparent that Meira starts to feel a bit of a smouldering attraction to Theron. Who can blame her? In my opinion, Theron comes across better, than Mather. The love interest is undoubtedly a cute well written diversion but it didn’t inspire me or fire me up quite as much as Meira’s  fierce determination, bravery,  and compassion in the face of adversity. As to the battle scenes these were thrilling, I never realised I was so blood thirsty! Meira sets out to find a solution to save Winter, and well let’s just say this young lady sure fights for what she believes in.

My Recommendation

So to sum up, great characters, wonderful world building, and magic. Just love that word, MAGIC, it just rolls of your tongue.  I loved the idea of the seasons, the rhythms, oh and the decay was just fantastic too.  There are a couple of unexpected twists at the end of the novel, maybe not too surprising a turn of events, but I won’t say anymore on that, no spoilers! This sits beautifully as a stand-alone novel but I do believe there is more to come. A sequel. Fantastic. Definitely looking forward to reading more from Sara Raasch.

As to the criticism that Sara Raasch shouldn’t have made the Winterian’s pale skinned, I think this is taking political correctness just a little too far, thank goodness we’re talking about a magical kingdom here, not real life slavery. Oppression is oppression whatever the colour of the person’s skin. So if it’s dudes with white skin, and white hair, being enslaved, let’s rise up against it! I’m with you Meira!

So highly recommended for readers of high fantasy, fantasy, young adult, romance.

My rating:

4.5 stars.

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My favourite quotes:

The descriptions of winter just make you shiver inside!

“It’s so cold that foreigners have to wrap in layers of fur to walk from building to building, while our natural Winterian blood keeps us warm even in the worst conditions. And snow is everywhere, always, so much that the grass beneath it is white from lack of sun. An entire kingdom wrapped in an orb of eternal winter.”

You just can’t help supporting Meira, she’s strong, STRONG, STRONG!!!!!

“I don’t need made-up strength. I’m strong enough on my own—me, Meira, no magic or conduit or anything.”

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”

This is just so poignant!

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

She wants to be kick ass but also wants to be a woman. GREAT!!!

“I wanted to be a soldier. Someone who would earn standing in Winter. Someone Sir would look at with pride. Someone Mather would look at and —”

“I’m at the center of this, a weird possessive feud between the Winter king and the Cordellan prince.”

These simple words are so visually compelling

“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake”

“Fear is a seed that, once planted, never stops growing.”

For those amongst us who can’t resist a bit of well-toned bare skin!

“But I just stand there, eyes narrowing to hide the fact that my initial reaction is to gape at Theron’s bare expanse of glistening skin. He’s shirtless — and it’s clear that Cordell subjects its men to rigorous chest exercises.”

“But everything I want to say dies the instant I see him. Because –mother of all that is cold– he’s shirtless too, with only the locket half dangling around his throat and his freckled skin reflecting the sheen of a good workout. “

Have you read Snow Like Ashes? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

Merry and Magical Christmas Wishes To You

 

 

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A very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year. Have a wonderful time. I’ll be back soon.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Just leaving you with a few cracker jokes:

What do ghosts dance to? Soul music

What do you get if you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite

What kind of pants do clouds wear? Thunderwear

What do you call someone who is afraid of Santa? A Clausterphobic

What’s the most popular Christmas wine? ‘I don’t like Brussels sprouts!’

What happened to the man who stole an Advent Calendar? He got 25 days!

 

 

A Toast To Our Furry Friends at Christmas

 

 

 

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Well let’s get into the Christmas spirit by celebrating man’s best friend

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and our feline friends too.

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So many authors  love cats and dogs, and often play tribute to this friendship by creating animal characters or quoting their love of our furry friends.

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
—Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World)

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'”
Rudyard Kipling (author, The Jungle Book)

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
—Dean Koontz (author, Whispers)

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
Jack London (author, The Call of The Wild)

“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
—John Steinbeck (author, The Grapes of Wrath)

 

In fact some authors love dogs so much that they argue that they are heaven bound.

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“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
—Mark Twain (author, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.”
—James Thurber (author, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)

“Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”
—Anne Tyler (author, The Accidental Tourist)

And these famous actresses adore dogs too!

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“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe (actress, Some Like it Hot)

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“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”
—Elizabeth Taylor (actress, Cleopatra)

http://dogtime.com/25-famous-quotes-about-dogs.html

Dogs and cats are different, no doubt about it, and here’s why!

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential readings for the Nonbeliever

Quotes about dogs on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/dogs

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats are a mysterious folk:

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“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.”  

Sir Walter Scott.

“When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not amusing herself with me more than I with her?”

Michel de Montaigne, French author

(1533-1592)
“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”

Robertson Davies, Playright.

“I gave my cat a bath the other day … they love it. He sat there, he enjoyed it, it was fun for me. The fur would stick on my tongue, but other than that …”

Steve Martin, Comedian

“A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays.”

 

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“A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime,”
― Mark Twain.
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Alexander McCall Smith  seems to want to make his cat the main subject of any photo he appears in, and there are similarly cuddly pictures of PG Wodehouse, Barbara Pym, Robert Graves, Ruth Rendell, Margaret Atwood (with “Fluffy”) and on and on and on.
Nobel prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway’s former home in Key West,  is now open to the public as a museum, populated by as many as 60 descendants of his famous polydactyl cats. Here’s the link to find out more: http://hemingwayhome.com/
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A polydactyl Cat.
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Hemingway cats
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Hemingway cats
My favourite Goodreads Quotes about cats:

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself.”
― Bobbie Anne Mason, Shiloh and other stories

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
Ernest Hemingway

 

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“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
― Jean Cocteau

“Yearning for love made her feel like a cat that was always twining around ankles, meowing Pet me, pet me, look at me, love me.
― Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone

“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing    

Holding this soft, small living creature in my lap this way, though, and seeing how it slept with complete trust in me, I felt a warm rush in my chest. I put my hand on the cat’s chest and felt his heart beating. The pulse was faint and fast, but his heart, like mine, was ticking off the time allotted to his small body with all the restless earnestness of my own.”
― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

On a more serious note, please remember that cats and dogs are for life, not just for Christmas:

Meet the people who give up their Christmas Day to look after cats and dogs

Article from The Mirror: “This year the RSPCA has reported an alarming increase in animals being abandoned across England and Wales – and they expect the situation to get worse over the winter months.

With nearly 2,500 cats and dogs in care this Christmas, hundreds of RSPCA volunteers spend Christmas Day with the animals, getting in extra early to make sure the cats and dogs have a special day.

And it’s lucky that they do, because the RSPCA receives 1,140 calls on Christmas Day putting immense strain on the people who choose to spend their Christmas looking after the animals.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/meet-people-who-give-up-4783124

Links:

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/6-famous-authors-who-wrote-with-their-cats

http://www.buzzfeed.com/harpercollins/16-famous-writers-and-their-cats-9npd

I just love Mogget and The Despicable Dog in Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Trilogy. So let’s end with a bit of fun trivia:

http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Old-Kingdom-Trilogy-by-Garth-Nix-111096.html

Bye!

 

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Jasper and The Magpie

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Jasper really likes shiny metals…He loves that when the sun shines Electrons dance reflecting light. This makes him feel safe and calm, And helps him sleep at night. This fun and though-provoking rhyming storybook will delight anyone with a special interest and encourage readers to be more accepting of difference and unusual passions. The story will resonate particularly with children on the autism spectrum and their friends and family. This book is suitable for ages six and upwards.

Jasper and the Magpie: Enjoying Special Interests Together is a storybook written in rhyme for those  along the autism spectrum and their caregivers, but it would be an excellent book to recommend in general to  encourage acceptance of differences.  I received a copy of this story book from Netgalley, published by Jessica Kingsley Publisher, in exchange for a review.

Jasper has a very strong interest in shiny metals, in fact he even resorts to taking them out of the garbage. His family aren’t happy about him collecting what they consider to be ‘dirty litter’ and they try to replace the shiny metals with other things,  much to Jasper’s dismay, yet Jasper can’t explain why he is so upset.

This is definitely a good book for parents, siblings, and other children to read, to help them understand that yes Autistic children are different but we should do our best to understand and help, rather than hinder them. Possibly it would also be a useful tool, to use in primary schools, as an educational aid to reduce the instances of bullying. If we can educate our young people, in primary, then this should help them to be more understanding adults. This applies to all forms of ‘special educational needs’. I do know of an instance in our family when a family member was teased at primary school because they had some speech problems. If we can reduce the instances of these kind of issues that would be a welcome and positive development for all.  With this in mind I also came across a review of The Wild Book by Margartia Eagle, on the Word by Word blog which may be of interest to families with Dyslexic children:

https://clairemca.wordpress.com

The illustrator of Jasper and The Magpie, Alex Merry, has done a fabulous job. I loved the page with the steps leading up to a massive head, a large pair of shoes left waiting at the bottom, with a colourful, almost jigsaw patterned head at the top.

The accompanying words are great:

“Jasper sometimes found it hard,

To understand what had been said,

To put himself in others shoes,

Or into someone else’s head.

But those that aren’t like Jasper,

Have a problem much the same:

For how can they jump into Jasper’s unique brain.”

The emphasis here is on uniqueness which I think is good.

Overall I enjoyed Jasper and the Magpie.

My rating:

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Author information:

Dan Mayfield is a writer and a musician who has worked with people of all ages  on the autistic spectrum for over 12 years.

http://www.enderbysroom.co.uk/music.html

Publisher:

Jessica Kingsley:  https://www.jkp.com/

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx