Reading & Writing

Reading and writing have always been large parts of my life so it seemed to make sense to give them a home of their own on this site. I’ll be sharing my book reviews and snippets of my own creative writing …when I feel brave enough 😉

The Lions of Al-Rassan

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. As with all of Kay’s writing, every sentence is a joy to read, somehow seems effortless and light, but, yet, because of the precision and eloquence, you can’t help but acknowledge it must’ve been created with great care. I think I first read this about 20 years ago and every time, I am impressed by how he’s managed to weave nuanced themes such as the struggle between self and cultural/religious identity into such a compelling narrative. It’s the kind of book you could give to anyone and they’d be able to enjoy it simply for an entertaining and moving tale, but also, if they were so inclined, for the quality and beauty of the writing and all that lays beneath. 

Though it is something of alternate historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, it really is a book I have and continue to recommend to people who generally don’t read within these genres. 

Interestingly, when I went to post this review this on Amazon.co.uk, I came across a very old review of mine. I’ll include it here so you can see, another decade on, my opinion still hasn’t changed:

 

8 July 2009

‘A great story, powerful, beautiful, and written with eloquence. I read it for the first time about ten years ago and it immediately became my favourite book. The story and characters stuck with me; I found myself thinking about modern situations and history in changed ways. I just finished a re-read – it stills resonates. I recommend it and Guy Gavriel Kay’s other works whole-heartedly.’

Inktober Day 19: Owl

An owl we saw at the Hawk Conservancy Trust awhile back. If you’re into birds at all and are ever near Andover in the UK, it’s well worth a trip. Not entirely happy with how this drawing turned out (partly down to execution on my part and partly to using a new paper that I won’t be using with ink again), but sharing anyway as I’m behind on my Inktober pieces 😉

Inktober Day 15: Athenian Owl Tetradrachm

Small drawing (5cm x 5cm) of a coin that I recently saw and loved at the British Museum. It’s an Athenian Owl Tetradrachm dated from 460-404 BC. Obviously I found the owl cute, but I also very much like that Athena’s owl is a symbol of wisdom.

Inktober Day 14: Kyoto Street Scene

Drawn from a photo I took in Kyoto in 2015. This took me longer than I’d have liked (largely due to lack of time!), so I’m behind again on my Inktober drawings. Though that’s the case, I’m very much enjoying this process; I may not be posting every day, but I am drawing every single day and do plan to have 31 drawings by the end of the month 🙂

Playing Catch-up (i.e. Inktober 5, 7, & 8)

I haven’t been that well the last few days and the cat integration project has been intensive (we are making progress!) so I fell behind on my Inktober drawings. Was never going to be able to do four detailed ones in one day to make up time, so instead, here are three 5 minute sketches and now I can move on to today’s… after I have a nap ☺️

Peacock Feather

Bottle from The Yamazaki Whisky Library

Pumpkin for Canadian Thanksgiving

Inktober Day 6: Kyoto Neko

A quick ink and Copic drawing of a tiny ceramic maneki neko we bought in Kyoto. If anyone knows of somewhere we can find these specific little guys (see second photo) online, I’d love to know! They came in many poses and we should’ve bought more when we were there! ☺️

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💡Lesson learned from this piece: blot Copic Markers before drawing with them if it’s been awhile since you used them!!! I did this drawing twice; the first time, when I started to ink the red for the ears, it soaked the paper, spread and ruined the drawing 😐

Inktober Day 3 (on Day 5 ☺️): Tanuki in Takayama

Based on a photo I took in Takayama a couple years ago. I converted the little tanuki statue into a real tanuki (at least I hope it looks like that!) Those in the know, will spot the eight symbol on the sake bottle and the straw hat.

💡Lesson learned from this piece: Think about how much time I have before starting a piece with a deadline 😋

Inktober Day 4: Cat’s Eye

0F11ECAC-62EA-49E8-AA77-56C59E84560B.jpegI bit off more than I could chew on Day 3 by starting a drawing I didn’t really have time for and then having a migraine thrown into the mix, so I spent a lot of Day 4 working on Day 3. Rather than being down a day on my drawings, I drew this quick cat’s eye (Ponzu’s to be precise!), which took twenty minutes. Day 3’s drawing will be posted tomorrow along with whatever I come up with for Day 5. 

💡Lesson learned from this piece: I think I feel a greater sense of freedom with smaller pieces as I don’t have so much time invested in them. I should carry that feeling into bigger pieces.