Lost in Translation

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Apparently when they translate a book into a different language, they change quite a few things, including titles and character names. For example:

Original English Version:
"Hallo!" said a soft and musical voice above his head, and Terence, looking up, saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen—a girl he would have been frightened of except that her blue eyes looked sad, and sadness was something Terence knew about.
-Eva Ibbotson, Which Witch?

German-to-English Translation:
"Hello," said a soft, musical voice, and Leonardo looked up. In front of him stood the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, a girl who might have frightened him but for the sad expression in her blue eyes. He knew about sadness.
-Eva Ibbotson, The Mystery of the Seventh Witch (Das Geheimnis der Siebten Hexe)

I still don't understand how Terence translates to Leonardo, though.


Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

>> Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Stone Goddess
by Minfong Ho

Just because a book isn't well-known doesn't mean it's not well-written.
The Stone Goddess is one of the most powerful, moving books I have ever read. It really left a deep impact on me with the story of a family in Cambodia caught up in a cruel regime.
When the Khmer Rouge takes over Cambodia, Nakri and her siblings are sent to a brutal labor camp where they are treated little better than animals. They are forced to work hard labors on empty stomachs, and are harshly punished for the slightest disobedience. The only thing that keeps them going is their love and passion for dance. And even when it finally all ends, the surviving family members must regroup and enter the safe, but unfamiliar territory of America.

The most terrifying, heart-wrenching thing about this story was that it was all true. The Sokha family may have been fictional, but the terrible things they endured actually happened. It was an emotional roller coaster, filled with love, loss, hope and sorrow. This book had me sobbing.

But despite all this, the Sokha family moved on. It was hard but they did it. And that itself was a triumph.
It also really changed my view of life. All of my problems and my worries are minuscule to what the Cambodians went through. I have never known starvation and loss. They were so grateful for things I take for granted, like safety, a home, and enough food to eat. It really puts things in perspective.

Yet beneath all the sorrow, there is an undercurrent of hope which not only makes it a thought-provoking read, but a satisfying one. Like all books, it wasn't perfect, but it sure came close to it. It was an amazing book and worth every printed page.

Objectionable Content: None

Related Reads:
Chinese Cinderella-Adeline Yen Mah
A Single Shard-Linda Sue Park
Esperanza Rising-Pam Munoz Ryan


Character Questions

>> Saturday, June 18, 2011

Though I wasn't necessarily tagged, I simply had to do this questionnaire I got from All That is Gold (who got it from Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden).
I decided to question one of my many villains, and he's as shallow and despicable as can be expected.
I left some parts of his speech blank, as I don't want to give anything away.
As you can probably tell, I did not enjoy his "company" one bit.

Do you want a hug?
M: What is this?

Do you have any kids?
M: (laughs, then sees my expression. Sneers) You’re serious?

Have you killed anyone?
M: Ask a stupid question…

Love anyone?
M: Myself.

What is your job?
M: (examines fingernails) Captain of a ___ ship and the soon-to-be ___ .

Favorite season?
M(sighs): Lame question, let’s move on.

Who’s your best friend?
M: I don’t have friends. Only slaves.
Celtic Traveler: Get over yourself.

M: Slitting throats, torturing ___ in my spare time.
CT: You disgust me.
M: I try.

What are you going to do when this tag is over?
M: Run the crew ragged, probably yell at someone.

What is your eye color?
M: Grey.

Are you good? Or bad?
M: Oh, I’m very, very bad.
CT: At last we agree on something.

What is your greatest fear?
M: I’m not scared of anything.
CT: Except of losing your power.
M: (frowns) I suppose so...

What do you think of your parents?
M(sneering): My parents were common. I rose above them in the world, no thanks to them.

Any siblings?
M: No.

Was it fun to answer all these questions?
M: (glares) A little tedious, perhaps…

Do you have any weaknesses?
M: No.
CT: Besides being an evil, heartless scumbag, you mean.
M: I wouldn’t call that a weakness.
CT: I would.

Your favorite element?
M(maniac gleam in his eyes): Fire.

Do you care what others think of you?
M: No. Are we almost done?

Your theme song?
M: “Would You Mind if I Killed You” by Within Temptation.

What’s your species?
M: Human.
CT: Oh, I wouldn’t call you that.


The Return of the King Quotes Part 1

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Picture by Alan Lee
'I did not hinder it, for generous deed should not be checked by cold counsel.'

'But now everything seems to have slowed up again.'
'Only because everything is now ready,' said Beregond. 'It is but the deep breath before the plunge.'

'A pawn did Gandalf say? Perhaps; but on the wrong chessboard.'

'What do you fear, lady?' he asked.
'A cage,' she said. 'To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.'

'Tell me,' he said, 'is there any hope? For Frodo, I mean; or at least mostly for Frodo.'
Gandalf put his hand on Pippin's head. 'There was never much hope,' he answered. 'Just a fool's hope, as I have been told.'

Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before: Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!/Fell deeds awake, fire and slaughter!/spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,/a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!/Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'
Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'

Over the field rang his clear voice voice calling: 'Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!' And with that the host began to move. But the Rohirrim sang no more. Death they cried with one voice loud and terrible, and gathering speed like a great tide their battle swept about their fallen king and passed, roaring away southwards.

'"For thus is it spoken: Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn."'

'Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get!'

'I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.'


What the Heck?

>> Thursday, June 9, 2011

There's a book I've been wanting to read for a while now. It's called "13 Treasures" by Michelle Harrison.
But after researching about it, I think I'm going to have to get a hold of the British edition before I consider some serious reading.

In an interview, the English-born author discussed the differences between the American edition and the British one.
The title, for one thing. In Britain, the original title is "Thirteen Treasures," not "13 Treasures".
Personally, I want to know why. Do the editors think Americans find numbers more eye-catching? Being American myself, I couldn't care less whether it was "13" or "Thirteen". So why did they change it?

Ms. Harrison went on to say that in the US edition, the prologue was cut out! Why? (I seem to be asking that a lot.) Is there some sort of conspiracy against giving Americans the entire book? What can possibly be in the prologue that we can't handle?
Another thing they did was change the characters a bit, and tone down an entire chapter to be "less violent". Oh, and they took out a mention of suicide.
I'm not saying that I absolutely adore violence. It's just...it's part of the book, right? Shouldn't it stay in the book?

I can understand changing a few things in US editions, but this seems just ridiculous. It's almost as if they don't want us to read it. I wonder if they've been doing this to other British books. You know, books that I've actually read.
Have I been missing out on more than I know?

That's just jolly unsporting of them.


Book Tag

>> Saturday, June 4, 2011

Got this tag from All That is Gold, and I simply had to do it.

1. A fictional character you identify with and why.
Cornelia from Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters. She's shy and enjoys large books, words, and stories of far-off lands. Just like me.

2. Your earliest memory of reading or being read to.
My father reading a picture book to me.

3. Your favourite book aged 9 ½, or 13 ¾, whichever you remember best.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

4. The book that’s been on your shelves the longest.
The New Horizon's World Guide.

5. A book you acquired in some interesting way.
Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. It originally belonged to a library, who caught me in the act of underlining my favorite quotes. It was discarded and I promptly paid for it.

6. A book with a story for you, that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time).
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Reminds me of me and my sisters when we were kids. We played pirates and other games of imagination.

7. What fictional character are you (secretly) in love with.
Dustfinger from the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke.

8. The last book you acquired, and how (begged, bought, borrowed?)
King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green, bought for only five dollars at my local Barnes and Nobles.

9. Your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next.
Vampirates: Tide of Terror by Justin Somper. I last read Robinson Crusoe and I'll be reading The Travels of Marco Polo next.

10. What author do you own the most books by and why?
Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. There's thirteen, after all.

11. Do you own multiple copies of any book? What are they? Why do you have multiple copies?
The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket. I bought my first copy and many of my relatives sent me multiple ones.

12. Book borrowing – do you use the library? Do you prefer to try before you buy? What about lending your books to friends? Are you a good borrower, do you remember to return books?
I use the library. And of course I read a book before I buy it. My vast collection often is begged to be borrowed, but I'm usually hesitant as few books ever return... Actually, right now I'm waiting for my copy of Martin the Warrior to be given back. I think I'm pretty good about returning borrowed books.

13. Do you reread a lot? Why (not)? Name a book you have reread many times.
Only if it's a stupendous book. The book I must have read the most is Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. My paperback copy of it is falling apart because I've read it so much.

14. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

15. Do you recommend books to other people? If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
Yes, I recommend books. But if I could get everyone I knew to read just one book, it would be The Book of Mormon.

16. Adaptation: What book would you most like to see made into a film? Do you like to read the book first or see the film? Any books you have read after seeing the film version?
I would like to see a well-made, non-musical version of Les Miserables. (Pleeeeease!) And I usually read the book before I see the film. But to my absolute horror and despair, I waited until after the film to read The Lord of the Rings. I won't be making the same mistake with The Hobbit.

17. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Le Morte D'Arthur. Seven-hundred pages, and all without proper punctuation!

18. Your favourite book series and your favourite book out of that series.
I'm torn between The Lord of the Rings and Redwall. Out of LOTR, it's The Fellowship of the Ring; Out of Redwall, it's Mossflower.

19. Your favourite picture, junior fiction and Young Adult books.
My favorite picture book of all time is Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems. Favorite junior fiction is Redwall, and favorite YA...Well, does The Lord of the Rings count?

20. Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise.
When the good guys are benevolent toward the bad guys and let them live to wreck even greater chaos!

21. A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.

22. Your "comfort" book.
The Fellowship of the Ring (This is just getting ridiculous...)

23. Favourite book cover including a picture!
Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper.

24. Favourite fictional relationship (romantic, friendship, familial).
Decisions, decisions. Luckily I have a favorite couples list. Let's see, I'm going to have to say Allan a Dale and Ellen from Robin Hood.

25. Most annoying character ever.
Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice. His irritating behavior is legendary.

26. Most quotable novel or 5 of your favourite quotes from any books.
The novel I quote the most is either Inkheart or (surprise, surprise) The Lord of the Rings.

27. Any five books from your "to be read" stack. What makes you select a book for your “to be read” stack?
The Art of War for Writers, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Travels of Marco Polo, and The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.

28. Some firsts: First book you remember loving/being obsessed with. First book that made you cry. First book you gave to someone else as a gift.
The first book I ever obsessed over was The Lord of the Rings. The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques was the first book that made me cry. And for my sister I got Stories of the French Revolution by Marcelle and George Huisman.

29. Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Either Dustfinger from Inkheart or Gandalf (I'm not even going to bother mentioning what he's from.)

30. The End: do you prefer everything tied up or to be able to 'make up your own mind'? What is the worst ending to a book you have read? And the best? (careful, spoiler tags!)
I prefer everything to be tied up, but not everything perfect. The worst book ending I ever read was in Bright Shadow by Avi. Everyone died and nothing got accomplished. My favorite book ending was probably in Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary. There was a huge, explosive plot twist that literally took my breath away.


I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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