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See. Think. Write.

Moving mountains

Book Quote

Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows. That is what writing is about. Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself. There, that is writing’s location and aim. But how to get there?

– Excerpt from A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Behind the Scenes – My Book Review Process

Today I decided to share with you how I go about writing my book reviews.

Contrary to what some may think, it’s not an easy task. As you’ll see in the steps below, it’s quite a time-consuming process.

So, without any further ado, here we go…

Step 1: Reading attentively – Being fully focused on what I’m reading, and present in the moment. I’m always on the lookout for text that catches my eye, whether it’s a new word, literary devices (e.g. similies, metaphors, etc.), or a sentence/phrase which I find interesting, so that I can include it in my post. I also take note of important parts in the book that I’m reading; topics or subjects which I can then elaborate on when I’m writing.

 

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I also like to write down the page number so that I know which page to go to if I need to see that piece of text again.

Step 2: Keep-ing notes – My preferred tool for taking notes? None other than Google Keep. It’s quick, handy, efficient, and, well… cool! This means that whenever and wherever I’m reading, I need to have my mobile phone with me. (Yes, even if I’m reading in the bathroom). In the event that I don’t have my phone with me, I just resort to the classic pencil-and-paper method.

 

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I usually pay little to no attention to sentence structure and punctuation. Whatever pops in my head, I put into writing right there and then, leaving things such as commas and periods out (unless absolutely necessary).

Note: Some content has been struckthrough so as not to reveal too much information which will be in the actual review.

Step 3: WARNING: INFORMATION OVERLOAD – When my Keep notepad starts to fill up, I transfer my notes here. This way, since I’m working on a bigger screen, I am able to keep my writing more organised and plan out my review better.

Step 4: Chi ri-cerca trova – The most exciting part of the review process. Research. I spend hours poring over different types of content, such as author interviews, articles, and sometimes even other reviews.

Step 5: Collection of all material and starting to write.

Step 6: The finishing touches – The editing process. Deleting, adding, replacing, redacting, summarising, re-structuring, paragraphing, spell-checking, punctuating. Probably the least enjoyable step, but feeling satisfied, at the same time, knowing that my review is almost finished.

Step 7: Proof-reading 1.

Step 8: Aesthetics – The fun and creative part. Adding the ‘Featured Image’, any gifs, emojis. Adding my star rating. And “signing” my name at the very bottom.

Step 9: Proof-reading 2, 3.

Step 10: Content with the content, and publishing.

 

– Preston

Life Update: The Final Whistle, A New Beginning, and Upcoming Posts

A big chapter in my life has officially come to an end.

After three years, and 328 matches, I’ve decided to call it a day, and hang up my refereeing boots.

As I wrote in my letter of resignation: I greatly appreciate the various different opportunities and prestigious match appointments that the Malta Football Association have given me during my time as a match official.
Refereeing for the past three years has helped me build a stronger character, and also taught me skills which I shall carry throughout my life off the field of play. However, I feel that this is the right time for me to move on and pursue other opportunities.
I wish the MFA, and all the other match officials, success for future seasons.
… But as one door closes, another opens.
I have now started a new adventure with an online gaming company called Evolution Gaming, working as a card shuffler.
And if you think that sounds like a walk in the park, then think again.
Yes, a shuffler’s job is exactly that: to shuffle decks of cards. Eight of them, to be exact. But it is a job which involves a great deal of precision, patience, and responsibility, since players are spending lots of money on games. And even the slightest mistake can prove to be costly. Speed and dexterity are also vital, as things can get very busy during peak hours.
Although I only just started working at Evolution around a week ago, I can already see and feel the difference. A workplace where I feel safe and appreciated for what I do. A place where I am constantly motivated and encouraged by my colleagues.
In the third and last part of my update, I wanted to let you guys know that I’m slowly working on my next book review. Because of work commitments, though, the reading-writing process has paused for a while.
In the meantime, though, I’m also working on a post showing how I go about doing my book reviews – the planning, structuring, and writing processes. It should be up this week, so stay tuned, ladies and gents!
– Preston

Words of the Day

desiccated (adjective) – Dried or dehydrated

Example: Without water, the crops quickly became desiccated.

 

obstreperous (adjective) –  Noisy and difficult to control

Example: Since the defendant was obstreperous during the trial, he was kicked out of the courtroom by the judge.

 

ignominy (noun) – Public shame or disgrace

Example: Unsure as to whether or not she could face the ignominy of being demoted, Karen quit her job.

 

stasis (noun) – A period or state of inactivity or equilibrium

Example: The settlement meeting reached a stasis when the divorcing husband and wife stopped talking to each other.

 

Knausgaard on Eyes

The only thing that does not age in a face is the eyes. They are no less bright the day we die as the day we are born. The blood vessels in them may burst, admittedly, and the corneas may be dulled, but the light in them never changes. There is, in London, a painting which moves me as much every time I go and see it. It is a late self-portrait by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt,_Self_Portrait_at_the_Age_of_63
Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 by Rembrandt (1669)

But what the painting portrays is the older Rembrandt. Old age. All the facial detail is visible; all the traces life has left there are to be seen. The face is furrowed, wrinkled, sagging, ravaged by time. But the eyes are bright and, if not young, they somehow transcend the time that otherwise marks the face. It is as though someone else is looking at us, from somewhere inside the face, where everything is different. One can hardly be closer to another human soul.

– Excerpts from A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Quote

Meaning requires content, content requires time, time requires resistance. Knowledge is distance, knowledge is stasis and the enemy of meaning.

– Excerpt from A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review – “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.

———-

General thoughts

Whilst this book was not much of a page-turner, it did keep me interested just enough to read on until the end, which is actually where (ironically) most of the palpable suspense begins.

I was also rather disappointed with the book’s “fear factor”, since certain moments (the “dream scene”, in particular), which should’ve been scary, seemed quite comical. In comparison to Blatty’s The Exorcist it is nowhere near as chilling. I’d say it is more absurd than scary, with occasional WTF moments which make you go:

wedding-crashers-wtf

The movie

Exactly after I finished reading Rosemary’s Baby, I watched the 1968 film as part of my research for this review, and for better story visualisation. It is very rare for me to watch a horror movie, so this goes to show you how tame it really was. Rather than there being jump scares, it focuses more on psychological fear.

A perfect example of this is the part when Rosemary (Mia Farrow) takes her first glance at the baby. This is her reaction in the movie:

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Not once do we see what the baby looks like. Judging from Rosemary’s facial expressions and reactions, though, we can only imagine how shocking and terrifying the experience was.

Meanwhile, in Levin’s novel, we get a full, detailed description. (Which I will not divulge due to spoiler reasons).

The two combined, admittedly, made this scene all the more creepy.

Interesting facts

The novel (and movie) takes place between the years 1965 and 1966. It was during this time that LaVeyan Satanism was founded by the American occultist and author Anton Szandor LaVey. The year 1966 was proclaimed by him to be “the Year One”, Anno Satanas—the first year of the “Age of Satan”.

Lesser magic is the practice of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour (or “wile and guile”) to bend an individual or situation to one’s will. This is probably the kind of magic which is used in the book.

Aleister Crowley is mentioned in Ira Levin’s novel. He was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. Crowley was denounced in the popular press as “the wickedest man in the world”, and a Satanist, although he’s always denied that he was one.

Producer William Castle wanted to display a grotesque-looking baby at the end of the film when Mia Farrow looks at her child. But director Roman Polanski (and the other producers) vetoed the idea, and opted for a more ambiguous scene.

In 2014, a two-part four-hour TV miniseries adaptation of Ira Levin’s best-selling horror novel of the same name was released. It stars Zoe Saldana as Rosemary Woodhouse, and Patrick J. Adams as Guy Woodhouse. Unlike earlier versions, it is set in Paris rather than New York. The work, however, was not well received by critics, many of whom said that it was stretched to fill two two-hour time slots.

In conclusion…

Steer clear of nosy, creepy-ass neighbours.

 

My rating:

3-5-stars-1024x238

 

Words of the Day

iniquity (noun) – Extremely unfair or immoral behaviour

Example: My grandmother, who grew up in a small town where people never locked their doors, saw big cities as dens of iniquity because of their crime rates.

onerous (adjective) – (of a task or responsibility) Involving a great deal of effort, trouble, or difficulty

Example: When Jack agreed to help his father cut the grass, he did not realize the chore would be so onerous.

Did You Know?

Since I turned twenty-two earlier this week, I thought it’d be appropriate to write something about birthday traditions.

During my stay in Canada, back in January, I was invited to a birthday party and witnessed this Indian tradition for the first time – the feeding of cake.

After ‘Happy Birthday’ is sung, and the cake is cut, the person whose birthday it is will then cut a small piece of cake and feed it to each guest with a fork (sometimes even by hand). They usually start with closest family members, then move on to everyone else. Once everyone has had a bite, family and guests then take turns in feeding the birthday girl or boy (who could also be adults) in return.

So, what does this gesture mean, you ask?

Well, it is simply a big sign of love and respect towards that person.

After all, everybody deserves to be treated like a king or queen at least once every year, right?

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