Lady Chatterly’s Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover - Penguin Essentials (Paperback)

by D.H. Lawrence

Published: 1928 in Italy and 1960 in the UK

By: Tipografia Giuntiaz and Penguin

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Synopsis: Constance Chatterly is happily married to her husband, Clifford, until he is left paralysed from the waist down after World War 1. As Clifford distances himself physically and emotionally, Connie begins an affair with the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. This banned book explores the relationship between an upper-class woman and a working class man and, for the time, was controversially sexually explicit.

What I loved

The writing. I think Lawrence is terrific. His prose is so lyrical and imaginative it’s like reading poetry. But it’s also like reading poetry in that you really  have to concentrate (at least I did) to follow the plot. I found the same when I read ‘Sons and Lovers’ but it never diminished my enjoyment of the story.

💀 Bad Bits 💀

I thought the ending was a bit of an anti-climax. But I appreciated that Lawrence doesn’t always go for the big drama. He’s more interested in how the character’s will deal with the situation. It would have been nice for something dramatic to happen though – maybe someone dropping their cup of tea in shock?

🌟 Cherished Characters 🌟

I liked Connie. She saw through all Clifford’s friends pretension and the emptiness of the aristocratic life. She gave up security and habit for sensuality and passion. You go girl!

 

🐙 Magic Moments 🐙

All of Lawrence’s writing. It’s so lyrical. 

🐋 🐋 🐋

Silver bear

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Imperium and Lustrum

Imperium - Cicero Trilogy 1 (Paperback)      Lustrum - Cicero Trilogy 2 (Paperback)

By Robert Harris

Published: 4th September 2006 and 8th October 2009

By: Hutchison

Rating: 👑 👑 👑 👑 👑 👑 👑 👑

Synopsis: The first book in the trilogy, Imperium, deals with Cicero’s rise through his prosecution of Verres, his pursuit of consulship and the beginnings of his dealings with one of his greatest foes, Catilina. The second book, Lustrum, sees Cicero juggle his consulship and go head to head with Catilina, the consolidation of power shared by the trifecta of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus and the cutting loose of the ridiculous but highly dangerous Clodius.

💜 What I loved 💜

I’ve probably mentioned before that this is my favourite era of ancient history. It’s so relentlessly fascinating so I’m glad Harris was able to do it such justice. Luckily, Cicero is so accessible through the mountains of writings he left  and his unmatched rhetoric and Harris paints a well-rounded character who is just and principled but still has human vices. The giants of history: Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus (among others) become human and step out the pages of history books, warts and all. And of course, the traditions (and failings) of politics seem unsettling familiar as they are governed by ego, self-interest and pandering to the lowest common denominator.

💀 Bad Bits 💀

Given the time period, there are no main characters who are female. We see hints of strong female characters with Terentia (Cicero’s wife) and Aurelia (Caesar’s mother) but they are never fully explored. It would have been great to have seen more of their reactions to the Clodius scandal at the Bona Dea (Clodius infiltrates a women’s only ritual – it’s pretty funny!)

🌟 Cherished Characters 🌟

It’s hard to choose as I feel I know all these ‘characters’ so well. Cicero’s legendary words and oratorical skills, Caesar’s audacity and intelligence, Pompey’s opportunism and Crassus’… money? I’ve never liked Crassus…

🐙 Magic Moments 🐙

The entirety of the Catiline conspiracy. Cicero’s finest hour!

🐳 🐳 🐳

Gold bear award

🐝 Top Ten Tuesday 🐝

I’ve decided to muscle in on The Broke and the Bookish‘s fantastic Top Ten Tuesday meme! This week it’s…

🌈 Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed 🌈

My goodness! Two months since I last blogged. Whoops. I do have an excuse though – I’ve just come back from travelling around Europe. It was incredible. Nine countries, twelve cities, one backpack and I still managed to come home with five new books! There are some seriously great English bookshops to be found on the continent, but that’s for another post time! On to TTT. I struggled quite a lot for this topic. I only tend to re-read books I adore and my judgement first time round seems to be pretty sound but the more I thought about it the easier it got! Anyway, onto number one…

The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Salinger’s book is notoriously divisive so you probably won’t be surprised to see it here. I read it when I was a whiny teenager and liked it. I didn’t love it but it seemed to strike a chord with my self-centred, ‘misunderstood’, hormonal self. Fast-forward ten years and all I want to do is give Holden a good slap. Pull yourself together lad!

🐝

Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

This is a book I believe I would feel differently about if I re-read it. I read it as my last Jane Austen book and I think I rushed through it, being so familiar with the plot (I’m a big fan of the Emma Thompson film.) I found it so-so but I think I would definitely enjoy it more if I gave it the proper time it deserved.

🐝

Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A book I had to start multiple times, my first outing with Wuthering Heights was unsuccessful. I got too scared at ghost Cathy at the window and Joseph’s practically impenetrable Yorkshire vernacular completely put me off. Needless to say I persevered and Wuthering Heights is now one of my favourite books!

🐝

The Fellowship of the Ring

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I’d just come off the back ‘The Hobbit’ and was super excited to carry on to Lord of the Rings, so I jumped straight into Fellowship and was horrified to discover I was bored. I trudged through the first couple of chapters but eventually gave up. It was years until I picked it up again after watching the film; a big regret of mine as I always like to read the book before I watch the film. As it turns out, Fellowship is my favourite book in the trilogy.

🐝

1984

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1984 by George Orwell

The daddy of dystopia. I read it in school and hated it. Well, I liked the rat bit. Luckily, people kept being shocked at me hating it and I was persuaded to read it again. I’m so glad I did. It’s dystopian government is terrifying and it’s the believability of the whole thing that makes it so superlative.

🐝

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling (illustrated edition)

We had to study Philosopher’s Stone in English and it genuinely one of my fondest school memories. It wasn’t a big deal then and only a handful of people had even heard of it. I read the first chapter and my immediate thoughts were ‘stupid’ and ‘boring.’ I can barely stand to write what I thought back then! I continued to think this until the chapter ‘The Vanishing Glass’ when I quickly got sucked in (like so many others) and Harry Potter became the series that defined my childhood.

🐝

Catch-22

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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

From a book I have literally spent years starting and stopping and being confused as to why people love it so much to being one of my all-time favourite books. I plan to write a review soon so not much more to say but if you are struggling with the opening chapters, please persevere. I promise it’s worth it!

🐝 🐝 🐝

Please leave your TTT link in the comments! Looking forward to reading them again ☺

🐝 Top Ten Tuesday 🐝

I’ve decided to muscle in on The Broke and the Bookish‘s fantastic Top Ten Tuesday meme! This week it’s…

🌈 top ten books I love but feel like I haven’t talked about enough 🌈

So many lovely books, so little time! Inevitably, you end up talking about the most popular books and some of your other favourites get left behind. So, today is for them.

Watership Down

Watership Down (Paperback)

Watership Down by Richard Adams

When I talk about my favourite books of all time, this one is definitely in my top five. Although it is a children’s book, I only read it recently but I was so blown away by the adventure and morality in this book about rabbits. It had been in my to ‘to be read’ pile for as long as I can remember but I had always been put off by the animated film version I’d seen when I was younger. Seriously, harrowing doesn’t even come close (but it’s also super good!) But I’m so glad I put my fears aside and read it. It’s a long time since a book left me genuinely breathless with excitement but I definitely stayed up until the wee hours to find out what would happen to Hazel and his warren.

🐝

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar (Paperback)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The book I read just before Watership Down left a profound mark too. Poignantly published just a month before her own suicide, the semi-autobiographical tale by Sylvia Plath documents a young woman with the world seeming at her feet. She’s attractive, incredibly intelligent and gifted but suffers from severe depression. Plath tackles isolation, depression and suicide honestly and her writing reflects her own immense gift for poetry. A must read.

🐝

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials: Including All Three Novels: Northern Light, the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass (Hardback)

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

With Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings being as popular as they are, it’s sometimes difficult for another fantasy series to get a look in but ‘His Dark Materials’ really is up there with the best. Controversially, the trilogy deals with Miltonian themes of Christianity, Original Sin, multi-universe theories, particle physics and philosophy among other cerebral themes. Pullman invites children to ponder these adult themes while they follow Lyra and Will in a story filled with adventure, betrayal and sacrifice.

🐝

The Secret History

The Secret History (Paperback)

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History is recent Pulitzer prize winning Donna Tartt’s first novel and what a début novel! A terse thriller, narrator Richard reveals from the outset that one of members of an elite Classics group (of which he is part of) has been murdered. The novel follows Richard and the five other  Ancient Greek students and slowly reveals the details of the murder as well as the life of Richard’s peculiar classmates. Donna Tartt is a Pulitzer winner for a reason. If ‘The Goldfinch’ is looking a bit too big and scary, I highly recommend you start here!

🐝

Adrian Mole

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 (Paperback)

The Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend

This is the series I’ve read more than any other (even Harry Potter!) It’s just so accessible, side-achingly funny and touching. Written in diary form, we begin with Adrian when he is 13 (and 3/4) years old and follow his teenage dreams of marrying childhood sweetheart, Pandora, and becoming an accomplished writer. Through the subsequent books we follow Adrian as he grows up, has children, a number of failed marriages and is completely unable to fulfil his dreams. It may sound depressing but no other books have ever made me laugh so much! Even the final book, where Adrian develops prostate cancer is addressed with wit and tact. Sadly, Sue Townsend died in 2014 so we’ll never know how Adrian’s story ends…

🐝 🐝 🐝

I’m really looking forward to hearing your unsung favourites so please leave a link in the comments to your TTT!  

 

🐝 Top Ten Tuesday 🐝

I’ve decided to muscle in on The Broke and the Bookish‘s fantastic Top Ten Tuesday meme! This week it’s…

🌈 Top ten characters everyone loves,

but I just don’t get 🌈

It’s been 3 weeks since I posted (yeesh) but I have recently just moved from Korea back to Wales (UK) so I’m allowing myself some slack. Moving continents is HARD. Anyway, I’ve struggled quite a bit with this topic – hate is such a strong word! As such, some of the characters are just characters who everyone loves and I find annoying. So let’s start with the controversial one… 

Hagrid

Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series. Illustration by Jim Kay.

I don’t hate Hagrid! Repeat – I don’t hate Hagrid! I love how integral he is to Harry and his loyalty to Dumbledore but his constant crying drives me loopy! There’s a time and a place Hagrid.  That and the whole ‘Buckbea… I mean Witherwings…’ debacle. Siiiiiigh.

🐝

Snape

Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. Illustrated by Jim Kay.

I actually think Snape is one of the best written characters in the series and he is consistently one of the (if not the) most interesting characters throughout the seven books. That being said I take serious umbridge (sorry) at the whole ‘Always.’ things that seems to reduce people to tears. Yes his devotion to Lily was moving and he was incredibly brave but he was a callous bully too. And I’m not even talking about Harry. What grown man wants to rip apart a kid with so little self-confidence like Neville? Maybe you should’ve rethought your kid’s name, eh Harry?

🐝

Peeta

Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I know, I know. The whole point of Peeta is that he is kind and just and an all-round good guy. And I like that about him. I really do. But what drives me mad is his seeming complete ineptitude. Where most of the characters are self-sufficient, it seems Katniss spends half her time protecting, rescuing or worrying about Peeta’s safety. Come on Peeta! Get it together!

🐝

Holden Caulfield

Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I know that Holden is hated just as much as he is loved and I definitely fall in the former camp. Whining, moaning, self-centred, thinking he’s a special snowflake; he is the paragon of ‘Whining Teenager.’ In fact, when I myself was a whining teenager, I kind of liked him. Says it all.

🐝

Amy March

Amy March in Little Women by Louise May Alcott

I hate Amy. I can’t stand her. She burned Jo’s book. I don’t care that she was little when she did it. It was so malicious. I’ll never forgive Laurie for marrying her!

🐝 🐝 🐝

Please leave a link for your TTT in the comments!

🐝 Top Ten Tuesday 🐝

I’ve decided to muscle in on The Broke and the Bookish‘s fantastic Top Ten Tuesday meme! This week it’s…

🌈Top Ten Historical/Future Settings You Love🌈

What an intriguing top ten this week, combining two of my favourite things: books and history! I have in fact just finished reading some historical fiction so this is particularly apt. Right then, let’s dive in…

Ancient Rome

Dictator - Cicero Trilogy 3 (Hardback)

“Dictator” Book 3 in the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris

The book I’ve just finished reading was set in Ancient Rome around one of my all time favourite time periods; The fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Julio/Claudian line. It’s so so SO interesting filled with devious politics, great leaders, assassins, affairs and everything else juicy under the sun! Also, the Romans are so essential to Western culture, everyone should be acquainted with them just a little bit more.

Recommended in this period:

The Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris (review coming soon)

The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough

The Complete Poems by Catullus (Warning! Catullus can be pretty graphic!)

The Aeneid by Virgil

🐝

Ancient Greece

 

The Odyssey - Penguin Clothbound Classics (Hardback)

The Odyssey by Homer

Sensing a theme? Yep, I’m a classicist (I study Ancient Greek and Roman civilisation) and proud! I always found the myths and legends from Greece so exciting and I loved those stop-motion films about Perseus and Jason and the Argonauts so it was no surprise I ended up studying them in university. Once again, Ancient Greece was so influential in creating our culture. It is veritably the cradle of the Western World. A wide variety of literature has its roots in Ancient Greece and so many adventure books owe much to the daddy of them all, The Odyssey. And the myths, wow. They are just so exhilarating, with mythological animals, great heroes and flawed gods and goddesses. I could literally extol their virtues all day so I’ll end here!

Recommended in this period:

Greek Myths by Marcia Williams (My first myth book! Suitable for young children)

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths (beautifully illustrated)

The Odyssey by Homer

Stung with Love: Poems and Fragments of Sappho by Sappho

🐝

Tudor England

Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Hardback)

The Complete Works by William Shakespeare

I actually haven’t really read any books set in this era (other than Shakespeare and contemporaries) but I find the whole time frame quite captivating! The War of the Roses, Henry VIII and his wives and Elizabethan England. Yes please!

Recommended in this period:

Anything by Shakespeare (King Lear and Macbeth are my personal favourites and Twelfth Night for something less depressing)

Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

The Thomas Cromwell Trilogy by Hilary Mantel (currently on my TBR)

🐝

 

Dystopian Futures

Nineteen Eighty-Four - Penguin Modern Classics 277 (Paperback)

1984 by George Orwell

Come on. Admit it. Who doesn’t love a dystopian future? To begin with, I actually didn’t. I read 1984 as a teenager and found it quite dull and didn’t really touch on the genre again until the Hunger Games when dystopian futures became all the rage again. I enjoyed the Hunger Games immensely and then read Ender’s Game which I devoured. Cowed, I cautiously made my way back to 1984 and discovered it was so masterful I wanted to go back in time and give my teenage self a slap for dismissing it so easily. I’m certainly not tired about reading how adverse the future is and look forward to the trend continuing!

Recommended in this period:

1984 by George Orwell

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (currently on my TBR)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (currently on my TBR)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (currently on my TBR)

🐝 🐝 🐝

I really enjoyed this topic this week. Please comment and leave a link so I can take a gander at your TTT!

The Hobbit

The Hobbit (Hardback)

By J.R.R.Tolkien

Published: 21st September 1937

By George Allen and Unwin

Rating: 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲 🐲

Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit, happily living an unremarkable life in the Shire when he bumps into the wizard Gandalf. Soon, he is hosting a tea party for 13 dwarves and the wizard and planning to steal the precious hoard of the great dragon, Smaug. Disgruntled Bilbo tries to usher out his guests as soon as possible but soon finds himself caught up in their adventure as the expedition’s official ‘burglar.’

💜 What I loved 💜

I first read The Hobbit when I was 10 and it has stayed as one of my all time favourites. My brother highly recommended it to me and my mum warned me not to read it (she can’t stand Tolkien, the philistine!) but I’m so glad I took my brother’s advice. The story is pure adventure from start to finish. Tolkien creates worlds like no one else; every song, every character, every place has a rich backstory for you to emerse yourself in. Don’t even get me started on the majestic depth of the languages he created!

 I don’t find the story drags at all throughout the book (which I find happens occassionally in Lord of the Rings – don’t hate me! I still think it’s amazing!) and Bilbo excells as the voice of reason amongst desperate, vengeful or greedy men, dwarves and elves. The real highlight for me is the ‘Riddles in the Dark’ chapter where we are first introduced to Gollum and he and Bilbo go head to head in a riddle contest. It’s amazing how something so mundane sounding could have me literally chewing my nails in suspense but Tolkien cracks it completely!

💀 Bad Bits 💀

If I had to be super super pernickity, I would say that there are probably just too many dwarves for you to feel a real emotional connection to anyone of them individually (except perhaps Thorin.) 

🌟 Cherished Characters 🌟

Bilbo: The heart of the story. Bilbo is definitely a reluctant burglar, but damn, he gives it his all when thrown into that situation! He is loyal, brave and above all wants peace and prosperity for everyone, be they dwarves, elves or men.

Gandalf: The head of the story. Let’s face it, reclaiming the Lonely Mountain is Gandalf’s plan and he is the one that sets it in motion. He is shrewd, witty, has an arm length’s list of useful contacts and sees the heroism in Bilbo, long before he himself is aware of it.

Gollum: The villain? Gollum is such a fascinating creature. He lives on a lake in the Misty Mountains and likes to strangle and eat any unwitting goblins who come his way. He is pretty repulsive when we first meet him, intending to murder and eat Bilbo and contanstly talking to himself. But when Bilbo sees him sobbing over the loss his one love, the ring, we feel the same pity that Bilbo does. Who is this creature who lives isolated in the dark whose one precious possession is nothing more than a hunk of metal?

🐙 Magic Moment 🐙

The whole ‘Riddles in the Dark’ chapter. It’s just spectacular.  

🐳 🐳 🐳

Gold bear award

🐝 Top Ten Tuesday 🐝

I’ve decided to muscle in on The Broke and the Bookish‘s fantastic Top Ten Tuesday meme! This week it’s…

🌈 Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR 🌈

I actually have a valid excuse for not posting for a while! I’ve just come back from a holiday to wonderful Cambodia. I spent a week temple hopping, hiking and and horse riding and a week in the Elephant Nature Park’s Cambodia sanctuary looking after overworked and mistreated elephants. It was pretty much paradise! I urge anyone who interested in interacting with elephants ethically (no riding, no bullhooks) or even to learn about the shocking treatments elephant’s must go through to make them ‘tame’ to check out the literally astonishing work they do in Thailand and Cambodia. 

Anyway, swiftly on to this week’s TTT. It’s good to be back!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings - Penguin Clothbound Classics (Hardback)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

For someone with a degree in English, I’ve read criminally little of Dickens. This year it will change and I fully intended on getting lost in this little one next Christmas!

🐝

Ted Hughes Bestiary

A Ted Hughes Bestiary: Selected Poems (Paperback)

Selected poems by Ted Hughes

I love animals and I love Ted Hughes. Nuff said.

🐝

Anything by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (Paperback)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’ve only ever heard highly superlative things about Gaiman’s work and I look forward to finding out for myself!

🐝

Anything by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Paperback)

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Ditto Patrick Ness!

🐝

Anything by Terry Pratchett

Mort: Discworld: The Death Collection (Hardback)

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Ditto Terry Pratchett! There’s a whole Discworld series out there for me to get my teeth into and I seriously have to stop dragging my feet!

🐝

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm (Paperback)

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Embarrassingly, this has been on my TBR list for at least 5 years! It’s getting so ridiculous now something has to be done. Maybe I should even make it my next book?

🐝 🐝 🐝

Ok, that’s it for this week! Shoot away with your links in the comments to I can read your TTT!

Dracula

Dracula - The Penguin English Library (Paperback)

 

by Bram Stoker

Published: 26th May 1897

by Archibald Constable and Company

Yippee – There’s also a 49 p Kindle edition!

Rating: 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿

Synopsis: The seminal work on vampires introduces us the to the daddy of them all; Dracula. Jonathan Harker is a lawyer who travels to Transylvania to oversee the Count’s legal practices. At first pleased with his host’s manners and courtesy, he soon learns he is being held captive by his peculiar patron. When Harker narrowly escapes back to London, he hopes it is the last he’ll ever see of the unearthly Count…

💜 What I loved 💜

Vampires are now so ingrained in the collective human psyche that it feels like there is not much more to know about them (I loved Buffy as a child so am quite versed in vampire lore) or they’ve been diluted and just aren’t scary anymore (looking at you Twilight). However, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually found Dracula to be quite chilling and really enjoyed it as a thriller. You actually feel dread and frustration when you know exactly what is plaguing the characters but they themselves are so oblivious to it!

💀 Bad Bits 💀

I can’t think of anything that jumped out to me but I do wish the women had had a bit more to do rather than be victims! Of course, that’s looking at it through twenty-first century eyes, and I appreciated that Mina made a concerted effort to place herself within the action but I just wished there could have been more!

🌟 Cherished Characters 🌟

Van Helsing couldn’t have been more different from his movie version! I like this one more; in my mind he is like a jovial old Father Christmas who kicks arse and beheads vampires in his spare time. Old school.

🐙 Magic Moment 🐙

“But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over the dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.

What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature, is it in the semblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of.”

I just thought this part was so immensely creepy and Harker’s realisation at his predicament is a catalyst for him learning more about the Count’s paranormal ways.

 🐳 🐳 🐳

Gold bear award