review

Some Sex and A Hill by Aran Jones

It’s not what you think! I read this book after seeing it on the Say Something In Welsh website/forum/newsletter. I borrowed it from Amazon Prime to feel less guilty about buying more books.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Aran Jones wrote the course for the popular online Welsh learning system SaySomethinginWelsh.com, and with his close friend Iestyn ap Dafydd he co-founded SaySomethingin.com Ltd.

Tens of thousands of Welsh learners have used SaySomethinginWelsh as part of their journey towards speaking Welsh.

This irreverent (and often downright impolite) book is the story of how Aran himself learnt Welsh.

It involves parties, bad jokes about sex, broken hearts, alcohol, tactical mistakes, moments of joy, tattoos and all the raw humiliation of embarrassing yourself in public – not just once, but over and over again. Some of the painful moments here will be immediately recognisable to all Welsh learners – others might strike them as unnecessary and self-inflicted.

If you’re looking for a calm and thoughtful analysis of different ways to learn Welsh, this is very much NOT the right book for you.

If, on the other hand, you want evidence that Aran has suffered as much as you have at the hands of the Welsh language, and possibly humiliated himself even more (drunken charades, anyone?) then you’re in exactly the right place.

My review

I read the sample of this book and I couldn’t stop reading!

It’s such a funny story about learning a language, the pain and the pleasure. I was laughing out loud to myself. One anecdote that stands out is when Aran was at the Eisteddfod and wanted to buy a jacket potato, he had to ask in Welsh and he was so nervous about it in case the person said something that he hadn’t learnt in his course. Then it turned out they were speaking in English!

This books shows the author’s love for the Welsh language and the aching sadness of a people who have lost their language through the ruling of the English monarchy who outlawed the speaking of the Welsh language as a way of claiming control over Cymru/Wales. If you don’t understand this you will after reading this book.

I read a book once about learning Welsh that put me off! It told me all the horror stories about Welsh speakers not wanting to speak Welsh with learners. I’ve discovered since that this was not completely right!

This book is honest and motivating, a great read for those who want to learn or are thinking of learning. It’s so funny!

I’m looking forward to reading the follow on book once it’s done.

*

If your curious about Say Something In Welsh then take a look at  the website here.

This book is available to buy here from Amazon, ebook or phyiscal copy.

 

8 thoughts on “Some Sex and A Hill by Aran Jones”

  1. Really good job reviewing this book! I’ve never heard of a book where the author teaches readers to learn a language through the use of personal stories. However, it sounds like an interesting concept. Speaking of books, back last May, you wrote and published a post called “My Favourite Literary Character”. In that post, you talked about Lestat de Lioncourt and used your knowledge of the Vampire Chronicles series and films to explain your point of view. For an upcoming blogathon, I’m going to be writing an editorial where I attempt to determine what the net worth of the characters from the ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie are. Because you know these characters better than I do, I was wondering if you would like to provide your insight toward my project? If you choose to do so, I will give you credit within my post. Also, if you do decide to share your knowledge and insight, I have notes for my editorial that I’d like to show you. Is there any place where I can send them, either through email or the comment section?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read the books in years I don’t know how much help I can be. If I can help I don’t mind but I don’t think I’m an expert or anything. You could message me via twitter @Jen_wales the link is in the about me section if you want.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The purpose of these notes is to determine what parts of the source material could be applied to the ‘Queen of the Damned’ film. Even though I plan to not rely too much on the source material because the movie has more differences from it than similarities, I want to know how these characters became wealthy and what they did to maintain their wealth. Some of the information I found came from Vampire Chronicles wiki and some of it came directly from the film/deleted scenes. In my editorial, I will be focusing on ten characters.

        Akasha
        • 1st vampire to exist
        • Born over 6,000 years ago
        • Became vampire in 4,000 B.C.
        • Literal Queen of Egypt (while watching the film, I wasn’t sure if was actual royalty or if she believed she was royalty)
        • First husband: Enkil – married before becoming a vampire, is statue during ‘Queen of the Damned’, killed by Akasha; she gets all his powers, belongings, etc.
        • Second husband: Lestat – forced into marriage (relationships lasts approximately a few hours in movie), makes him her king (how is marriage is royal title made official?)
        • Owns a house on a beach in, I think, California (seen in ‘Queen of the Damned’ film)
        • Dies at the end of film: no pre-nuptials, where’s the will?
        • No known family or off-spring

        Lestat
        • Born in 1758
        • Became vampire in Winter of 1788
        • Marius is his vampire father, does Lestat receive his money?
        • “I’m a lord of a great man” (this is what Lestat tells Marius before he becomes a vampire, is he a literal lord?)
        • Violinist (is he a professional musician?)
        • Joins band named after him: leader of band, makes at least one CD (does Lestat own the masters/copyright to his music?), makes one or two music videos, interviewed by Rolling Stone, hosts concert, but it’s interrupted (do the audience get a refund for their tickets?)
        • Has run-down house (featured toward beginning of the ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie)
        • Married Akasha (forced into relationship) and becomes king (how is this made official?)
        • Makes Jesse a vampire (would she receive his money?)
        • If Lestat and Jesse got married, would they get a pre-nuptial?

        Jesse
        • Early twenties in 2002 (I’m assuming this film takes around Halloween of 2002, based on an advertisement for Lestat’s concert that appeared on the magazine Marius was reading)
        • Apprentice for Talamasca (either has an under-graduate or Master’s degree?), approximate income?
        • Niece of Maharet
        • Can afford to live in London, travel to Los Angeles, and attend Lestat’s concert
        • Would receive Maharet’s money after she died

        Armand
        • Born in 1480, over 500 years old in ‘Queen of the Damned’ film
        • Became vampire in 1497
        • Adopted by Marius (would he receive Marius’ money?)
        • An Ancient (wouldn’t Marius try to make Lestat an Ancient too?), how did Armand become an Ancient?
        • Artist (is he a well-known artist like Van Gogh?)
        • Owns a resort called “Night Island” (was this the building where Lestat became a vampire in the ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie?)
        • Owned Theatre des Vampires, but it got burned down in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ film, in late 1800s (was he able to receive insurance for the property damage and financial losses?)

        Marius
        • Over 2,000 years old
        • I’m a noble by nature” (this is what he told Lestat before Lestat became a vampire, is he a literal noble?)
        • Born in 30 B.C.
        • Child of wealthy man
        • Scholar and chronicler
        • Artist (is he a well-known artist like Michelangelo?)
        • Became a vampire in 10 A.D.
        • Owns building on Mediterranean island in ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie (is this “Night Island”?)
        • Guards Akasha and Enkil in statue form (does Marius get paid to guard them or this is a volunteer position?)
        • Vampire father to Lestat and Armand (Do they receive his money?)
        • An Ancient

        Maharet
        • Aunt of Jesse
        • Was sixteen 6,000 years ago
        • Became vampire in 4,000 B.C.
        • An Ancient
        • Is a witch (how is able to make a living?)
        • Defeats Akasha and becomes statue like Akasha was at the beginning of ‘Queen of the Damned’ film (did Maharet die or simply become a statue like Akasha?)

        Pandora
        • Over 2,000 years old
        • Born a few years after Christ’s birth
        • Daughter of wealthy Roman Senator
        • Used to date Marius
        • An Ancient
        • Gets killed by Akasha (does her belongings go to Marius?)

        Mael
        • Born and became a vampire in 10 A.D.
        • Priest (where did he receive his income?)
        • Gets killed by Akasha (does his belonging go to Talamasca?)

        Khayman
        • Born and becomes a vampire in 400 B.C.
        • 2nd vampire ever created
        • Is an Ancient (he was only vampire wearing white in the group)
        • I believe this character was killed by Akasha (would his belongings go to Talamasca?)

        David
        • Superior General of Talamasca, detective agency created around 500 years after Christ’s birth (what’s his approximate income?)
        • How does he afford to obtain and maintain artifacts?
        • Potentially became a vampire because of Marius at the end of ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie

        In your post, “My Favourite Literary Character”, you referenced the blog, Metaphors and Moonlight. Since it seems like Kristen, the blog’s creator, has read the series and seen the ‘Queen of the Damned’ movie, would it be ok if I showed her my notes as well?

        Like

      2. Marius is not Lestats maker. Umm I’m really more knowledgeable about the books the film has it all wrong. Lestat and the vampires are wealthy due to an accumulation over their long lives. They do no marry. Akasha is probably not even legally a citizen so wills etc won’t apply and she has no money etc she was taken care of by Marius I doubt they even had currency when she was alive. You’d have to ask Kristen if she wants to help. It’d be difficult to get the information you want from the films as they are full of inaccuracies when compared to the books. They don’t tell you how they deal with their money and properties etc over the years but then it’s not something detailed in the books either. But the story is so difference you can’t really put them together either.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you so much for your insight! I thought that because Akasha was royalty and because she was around for a long period of time, she would have accumulated a lot of wealth. But you brought up an excellent point about Akasha being encased as a statue longer than she ruled over Egypt. But if she had any valuable belongings prior to becoming a statue, who would receive those things?

        I was not aware that vampires couldn’t get married. I thought that because of how things like ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Little Vampire’ showed married vampire couples, marriage was an overarching idea in vampire stories. Once again, you bring up a fantastic point that every vampire story is different. Through this project, I’ve discovered that a lot of information is based on guesses and assumptions. However, I’m really looking to seeing how the final result turns out!

        Liked by 1 person

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