Words for the Week: O


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘O’. 

Opsony (noun): Any food eaten along with bread.

So, any food, then. To my delight, it turns out that food can be split into two categories: bread, and not-bread – otherwise known as opsony. Excellent. 

Oubliette (noun): A secret dungeon with only one access point, usually hidden, through a trapdoor at the top.

It’s worse that that, though. Because oubliette is derived from the French word oublier, meaning ‘to forget’. So it’s literally a hole at the bottom of your house that you’d imprison people in and then forget about them. Heck. I once crawled into one in a castle in France. Won’t be doing that again. 

Onshooty (adjective): Shropshire. Of vegetables: coming up irregularly in the rows. It feels like a dialect compound word, and it’s delightful. Someone turn this into a metaphor for a life circumstance so that I can say it in conversation and feel clever. Synonym for ‘unpredictable’? Or ‘not dependable’? 

Oobit or woubit (noun): Derbyshire, Durham, Northumberland, Scotland. A ragged, unkempt, hairy person. It’s an extension of the name of the long-haired caterpillar of the tiger-moth, also called a ‘woolly bear’ (wolbede in Old English, simplified to oobit). 

I mean. Hairy, and sounds like hobbit. Also connected to Old English. Definitely no chance that JRR Tolkien knew about this one when he came up with the Shire. Nope. No chance at all.

Owdrey (adjective): Exmoor. Overcast, cloudy. 

I love this one, because it’s another word that sounds like something that has no sound. Do you know what I mean? You can practically feel the weight of the rain-clouds overhead. Beautiful. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

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Cover Characteristic: Trains

Cover characteristic is a meme from Sugar & Snark. Each week on Sundays they post a characteristic and choose five favourite covers with that characteristic – I’m posting on the Thursday after for now because I already have a Sunday post! If you want to join in and share your five favourite covers with the week’s particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in the Linky on the original post page, so we can all visit!

This week’s characteristic is trains. I think we can all predict my first pick… Continue reading

Review: Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac


Goodreads summary:

A post-Apocalyptic YA novel with a steampunk twist, based on an Apache legend. 

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones — people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human — and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets — genetically engineered monsters — turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero. 

Review:

Wow. I mean. Wow. 

Killer of Enemies is a knockout of a book. The post-apocalyptic world is hostile and full of genetically engineered monsters. No-one would stand a chance if they didn’t have a unique set of skills. Lozen isn’t a willing monster-hunter. Her family are held hostage every time she goes out of the compound on a mission from a One. But she does have what it takes to stay alive. More than that, she hopes and plans to one day free her family, and go back to the lands they know and loved. 

Lozen herself is what makes this book. She is a warrior and a tactician. But she is also a daughter, and a sister. She keeps a lot of herself hidden from the Ones who rule the compound that keeps her family safe – well, safe from the monsters outside, anyway. So a lot of what we get to know about her through the first person narrative is hidden from everyone else. We are offered a unique perspective on this world, and it exceeds expectations. 

Lozen is connected to her past and her traditions in a way I don’t think I’ve read before. In some ways, a lot of my recent reading has been about tradition and beliefs: Binti and When Dimple Met Rishi come to mind. But Killer of Enemies isn’t about uniting the old with the new. Lozen’s traditions are urgently relevant to her life now, and her history comes alive in a slow, mesmerising unfurling that captivates the imagination. It’s real. 

But Lozen isn’t just acting for herself, or her family. As the novel moves forward, she begins to realise that something bigger than her is beginning. And she will need every bit of knowledge and history and skill to survive what comes next. Killer of Enemies is spectacular, and I will definitely be picking up the sequel.

Representation:

Lozen and her family are Chiricahua Apache, Native Americans. The author is Native American.


Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac was published in September 2013 by Tu Books. 

Words for the Week: N


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘N’. 

Newel (noun): 1. The central post of a flight of stairs that supports winding stairs; 2. The top of bottom post supporting a stair-rail. Derived from Old French nouel ‘knob’ from Latin nodellus, diminutive of nodus, ‘knot’.

You know how much I love obscure technical words for things. Mental note to use this in a book – I’m really enjoying its specificness. 

Noctivagous (adjective): Wandering in the night. Derived from Latin nox ‘night’ and vagari ‘to wander’.

I wonder if there’s a verb version of this? I’d love to stick it into a piece of writing, but the adjective form feels a bit smug to me. Anyway, night words always sound great. 

Numinous (adjective): 1. Awe-inspiring; evoking a spiritual response; 2. Inducing a sense of a deity’s presence.

Somehow, I had always assumed that this was a night word too – maybe because of its closeness to ‘luminous’. I’m having trouble now mentally connecting it to its real meaning. The closest I can get is night-worship. 

Nazzard (noun): Cumberland, Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire. A silly, insignificant, mean person. 

“As with other nouns beginning with ‘n-‘ or ‘a-‘, people often couldn’t decide where to draw the line between the indefinite article and the noun: is it a nazzard or an azzard?” Another example of this is ‘apple’ – originally ‘napple’ until spelling was standardised and the ‘n’ at the end of ‘an’ moved across the space. It’s a cool language thing, and a cool word.

Noof (adjective): Scotland. Sheltered from the weather, snug; neat, trim. The later-developed verb form, noofan, means ‘to enjoy oneself leisurely’. Etymology unknown. Could simply be a word that developed out of a noise – in this case, a sound expressing satisfaction.

Sound words are also my faves. It’s that sound you make when you sit down in your favourite chair at the end of the day with a beverage and a book. Why did we ever adopt hygge? We already have a word of our own – well, Scotland does, anyway. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

100th post! Meet the Blogger

Hello, folks! I’ve been running this blog for just over a year now, and today is my 100th post!

I initially started with the intention of cataloguing my reading for and experiences at YALC 2016. I enjoyed connecting with other readers and writers, but since I’d started blogs before and never managed to stick with them, I wasn’t making any big commitment to a long term project.

But YALC was fun, and I was going to a couple of other book events over the summer, so I thought I’d stick with it for now at least, have some fun, and see where I got.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I realised I wanted to make a proper go of it. I started scheduling posts in advance, interacting more with the online book community, and committed myself to several year-long reading challenges to pull me through any potential slumps.

And now, here we are. 100 posts in, over a year blogging, and I’ve met so many great people, and read so many amazing books. So I thought it would be nice to do a meet-the-blogger post to celebrate my milestone. Thus: here are some things about me! Continue reading

Review: The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell


Goodreads summary:
Fourteen-year-old Quint Verginix is the only remaining son of famous sky-pirate Wind Jackal. He and his father have journeyed to the city of Sanctaphrax – a great floating rock, bound to the ground below by a chain, its inhabitants living with their heads literally in the clouds.

But the city hides a dangerous secret: deep inside the great rock, something horrible lurks. With his father away, Quint may be the only one who can save Sanctaphrax from the dreaded curse of the gloamglozer . . .

The Curse of the Gloamglozer is the first book of the Quint Saga – first trilogy in The Edge Chronicles, the internationally best-selling fantasy series, which has featured on the UK and the New York Times best-seller lists and sold more than 3 million copies. There are now 13 titles and four trilogies in the series, but each book is a stand-alone adventure, so you can read The Edge Chronicles in any order you choose. Continue reading

Words for the Week: M


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘M’. Continue reading

Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor


Goodreads summary:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive. Continue reading