Saturday, 18 February 2017

Wintersong

Happy Saturday folks! I know it's been a couple of days but the late shifts at work have been killing me. After having a month of early nights, being at work until half past twelve hurts.

When I've not been at work, I have spent the past couple of days reading Pride and Prejudice again with the help of index tabs. Rereading it for an assignment only makes me realise how much I love it. I've bought more than a couple editions of this book this week, and will post pictures as soon as they arrive. I also found that amazon sells the Barnes and Noble cloth bound classics set of the complete works of Jane Austen, and they come in a sleeve! The set is officially at the top of my wishlist, and £65 is definitely a bargain for such a beautiful set of books.

Yesterday I finished Wintersong. It was one of the best things I've read this year but apparently it was based on the film Labrynth (which I will admit that I have not seen!). For me, it felt like a fairy tale. It was sorrowful and full of angst to begin with and though the angst was present throughout, the novel became more seductive and sexualised. The book could have been split in two halves, the tones are so different. The first half of the book feels like a game between our protagonist and the Goblin King. Whilst the second half is much more sexualised, emotional, and there is much more in the way of character development. The protagonist is Liesl and she is the 'ugly', underappreciated sister in possession of a great musical talent. I felt a bond form between Liesl and I. I felt her insecurities, her pain and I fell in love with the Goblin King's character at the same time as she did.

I loved this novel, and I was screaming by the time S. Jae- Jones ended it on a cliff hanger! But I am temporarily pacified with the news of an eventual sequel.

I hope you guys have had a wonderful week and are ready for another one. Why is February going so fast? I know it's a short month but this is ridiculous.

More soon folks!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Careers week!

So I yesterday I went back to work, and over my month off work I have managed to grow out my nails. My hands now look tidy and feminine (I hope). And yet yesterday I realised that having decent nails makes me completely useless! I am unable to do anything with my hands! I can't press down the options on the lids for hot drinks, or open bags of chicken. It made my job harder but it was entertaining. The return to work certainly was interesting, but the less said about that the better.

Today I actually took part in careers week, rather than sitting at home and planning essays. It was so so nice to see three years worth of students represented by the crowd that gathered today. It was a really lovely atmosphere and there were a good range of talks and activities today. I went to a workshop on dissertations, and oh my god was it helpful! I feel so much less anxious about it now, and I'm really excited about getting started! The masters degree talk, however, was a different story. I feel like there is a lot to think about, personally, surrounding a decision on that. I find myself needing to find an action plan, rather than a decision.

What am I doing now? I am spending the evening with Austen, rereading Pride and Prejudice in order to plan for my essay. Studying Austen only seeks to give me a reason to reread her novels again, and again. I love it! I have index tabs ready.

Anyway, today saw Philip Pullman's announcement of a follow on book to His Dark Materials! I am so excited for this! But it seems to be neither a prequel nor a sequel- instead, Pullman is referring to the follow up as an 'equel'. I cannot wait to be reunited with Lyra, in October with The Book of Dust. I hope that the cover is as beautiful as some of the His Dark Materials covers.

I hope you're all having a lovely week.

I'll be back soon, folks!




Monday, 13 February 2017

Happy Valentines day

Happy Valentines guys.

Let me start by saying that I do not mean to sound bitter at all, that I am totally cool with being alone (now that I've said this, you will automatically presume I'm covering for the opposite).

I have discovered links to pages, they've been shared on facebook, appeared in my suggested ads, entitled '17 reasons why every single girl hates Valentines day!' Wondering what these 17 reasons could possibly be?

Look no further...

I am not going to inflict upon you a link to this god awful list. So, I'll provide you with some of the particularly funny reasons. But first, The Metro did a wonderful piece over the weekend on the best bad valentines day card. This, was my particular favourite. 'I guess I like you more than the rest of these insufferable
shits'.

To kick us off, it is presumed that the holiday reminds me that I am alone. As if I have forgotten. This implies the usual; sad and desperate and lonely. But also that the holiday throws me into a deep state of depression on account of me being alone.

Following this, it assumes that because I am single on Valentine's day must mean that I detest public displays of affection. This seems logical, right?!

Not only that, but there are no restaurant reservations! God damn the influx of couples that are taking over all of the restaurants within the city. In Wolverhampton this means Nandos, and The Little Desert Shop. However, not to worry! The article also stated that if I happen to feel the urge to leave the house alone on Valentine's day, I shouldn't. Why? Because people will think that I am easy! I will be a target for all kinds of attention.

Then there's the resent. I will automatically start to blame everybody else for my loneliness. God help my friends that are happy in a relationship. I will apparently be on the warpath. Then, to deal with my loneliness and jealousy I will start to comfort eat. Though take out is clearly off the menu because all of the restaurants are booked! Much too busy to accommodate a single person.

So apparently, Valentines is a roller coaster of emotions that will turn me into a fat, resentful spinster.

Fact: I am not fat, nor resentful, nor a spinster. I am single. I do not hate valentines day, but rather I am confused by it. And I am not fussed whether you wish to engage in PDA or not.

I do think that the holiday is very trivial and over-commercialised. Would I still think this is the case if I were the other half of a couple? Who knows. I fear we may never know.  But one thing I am sick of is the various adverts for discounted roses (how to do Valentines on a budget, good god). Even Aldi are jumping in on it! Though if you are interested in doing Valentines on a budget, a friend informs me that Asda are selling pizza with pepperoni shaped like hearts, you are all welcome.

After asking a friend how on earth I went about writing a post on Valentine's day without sounding bitter, she encouraged me to embrace the bitterness and proceeded to tell me that she and her boyfriend hated valentines day together. They celebrated a couple of days early and walked around the shopping centre mocking pieces of Valentines day merchandise they saw. I loved that. They don't need to subscribe to the pressures of the day to know that they love each other and were a brilliant example that couples feel the same! You go Hayley and James. Her thoughts on Valentines day:

'Valentine's day is a sham excuse for people who don't try all year round to be like oh hey I got you this card and these almost dead roses just so they can be [an ass] the rest of the year'.

An article pointed out to me, over the weekend, that this is the wrong way to argue against the holiday. Apparently it's a cop out for spinsters. I don't know. I'd personally rather a guy remember my birthday.  Buzzfeed, however, provided a great list of things that explained why Valentines day sucked! Interesting fact, the condom and home pregnancy test industry make more money on Valentines day than ever.

So in the course of this blog post I have discovered that it is a commercial holiday, it is stressful for both genders (and the single), expensive, and ridiculous.

I figure I'll have convinced you of one of two things by now:
1) That Valentines day is a pointless holiday.
2) That I am sad, bitter and lonely.

If it happens to be the second option, why not celebrate valentines day with a showing of Fifty Shades Darker? You know, the film that is said to 'dominate Valentines day'. Nothing screams of love and romance more than Fifty Shades of Grey. ('You know, the domestic abuse promoting, child abuse involving, absolute shitshow of a love story'-  thank you Hayley).

I give up.

Well, happy holidays folks. I still plan on spending tomorrow evening watching Clueless and reading Everyday Sexism, alone. I hope you have equally wonderful evenings.

I leave you with this link; 6 Netflix movies that will make you happy to be single.








Monday Mornings and sexism...

Happy Monday, folks. I hope that you're all wonderfully happy about the start of yet another week.

Today is my last day off and I am spending it planning out some assignments and reading Everyday Sexism. I finished Bracken's The Darkest Minds last night and rated it 3 stars. I was not impressed. The concept was interesting and Ruby was a wonderful character. But I found it hard to follow. The romance between Liam and Ruby lacked depth, I think, and I wasn't emotionally invested in them as a couple. I'm beginning to think that I prefer fantasy as a sub-genre for YA. I am very disappointed with The Darkest Minds and I hope that Passenger is better.

So, following this dissatisfying read I proceeded with Bates' Everyday Sexism. I am twenty pages in and completely in love. It is brutally honest and makes me uncomfortable at times, in the best way. I am currently reading a chapter on whether women are 'asking for it'. 'It' meaning rape, and sexual assault. Bates' quoted women such as Joanna Lumley and I was heartbroken. Lumley was a woman I spent my childhood watching in documentaries as she travelled across the globe. I was fascinated by her. But to read her agree with this absolutely broke me. To say that women should not be going out dressed like 'hussies' knowing that they are vulnerable to attacks of this nature. Anything could happen to them. She, and other men and women, suggest that women should be careful about what they wear, where they walk whilst wearing it, how they behave. That we should live in fear of men that will 'rape you, or they'll knock you on the head or they'll rob you'.

I am not so naïve to know that this isn't a view that is taken by many. But for other women to think this? Never in my life have I been so embarrassed of my own sex. Why on earth is this being debated?! The victim is never to blame and I was deeply troubled that there are those that think differently.

I dread to think of all the times that I have gone to university in short skirts, or low cut tops, or occasions when I've been to parties in similar outfits. What have women thought of me? Have they thought that I would be asking for it, if I were to be attacked sexually or otherwise. That's horrific.

A running theme throughout this book seems to be a correlation between lacking a sense of humour and feminism. On the numerous occasions in this book when a woman has attempted to stand up for herself, and protest sexism, she has been accusing of not having a sense of humour. She is accused of not being able to deal with banter. One entry summed this up perfectly. It stated 'you complain, they try to silence you. You shout so as to not be silenced, they role out the mad-woman clichés. Lose Lose'. It is true. Bates points out that sexism is invisible and not taken seriously and I couldn't agree more.

I started this book irritated that it was a book about sexism, and yet seemed to only feature arguments from women. However after just a flick through, I found that I was wrong. This book is so powerful and I am not even half of the way through yet. I spent the few pages I have read of this book, cringing and wincing. It was physically painful to read. But I am enjoying it, because it's hard hitting and revolutionary.

I will of course post a full review when I finish the book!

Okay, I have a favour to ask! I need serious reading recommendations! It may not seem like it but I feel as though I am in a reading rut. I'd be so grateful!

Have a lovely week guys!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

New books, and a new Darcy

So today marks the beginning of my last weekend off work, and I am determined to make the most of it. That being said, it is mid afternoon and I am still in bed. But in my defence I am still working on an assignment. I do want to add though that I have a cold, and I realised that I take my nose for granted. I really do not appreciate the benefits of clear nasal passages often enough and would really enjoy it if it's full function was returned to me, pretty soon.

Okay, amidst the assignment writing I have been preparing for Valentines day. Tuesday 14th marks my official return to work, after a whole month. After my shift is over, I intend to reward (yes, reward myself for going back to work) myself with a take out and Clueless, or both versions of Pride and Prejudice (1995 and 2005). Though I did read an article this week which revealed that 'Mr. Darcy looked like a shorter version of Napoleon', rather than Colin Firth. I included the comparison pictures above. I thought it was brilliant. But I'm afraid that Colin Firth will always be Darcy for me.

Anyway, my preparation includes online shopping for new books. I am treating myself to a copy of Laura Bates' Everyday Sexism. After all, what says love and happiness better than a book about sexism?! It is an amazing project that Laura Bates set up back in 2012 after being harassed on public transport in London. There is a website, and this book. It's arriving tomorrow and I'm so excited! I will post a full review as soon as I have finished.

At this point, the words that spring to mind for readers are probably 'pathetic'. If it helps, I have also ordered a brand new copy of Pride and Prejudice with a pretty pink vintage cover. I gifted this edition as a Christmas present last year, but it is gorgeous! It will match my edition of Emma. So I did try to be romantic in my choices of literature.

I also pre-ordered a new YA novel that is being released in ten days time entitled Long May She Reign. It sounds absolutely brilliant! Oh, and on Kindle I purchased Wintersong. Yet, another YA release. But it was inspired by Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market and I just couldn't resist. It sounds beautiful.

Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds is not going well. I am thirty percent in and I just don't feel as though I'm enjoying it. I don't want to give up this late into the game, but I had such high hopes. This is the first Bracken novel I'm reading and I am struggling. I wonder if Passenger will be any better. I sure hope so.

Have I succeeded in making myself sound sad and alone yet?

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and if I don't post before Tuesday (which is unlikely) I wish you all a very happy Valentines day whether you are alone or loved up! x

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Midnight rambling...

Good Morning, I guess, all! It is exactly two minutes past midnight right now and I am still awake. I've finished working on my forum post for my assignment after ignoring it this morning and deciding to count how many books I had, instead. Interestingly, I found that I now own 336 books. That's before unpacking boxes that also contain boxes. I really didn't think that I had hit 300 yet. I'm so excited to move house at the end of the mouth, I get the joy of packing them up into many boxes and then unpacking and rearranging them. Oh and buying a new case!

I've been working all day on this forum post, aided by Alanis Morissette's cover of Crazy from The Devil Wears Prada soundtrack, and a selection of Madonna songs. I like Seal, but there's something about this cover that I fell in love with. I've switched between working in bed, and working at university and back again. It has been a good day.

This week, I actually started my February reading list, would you believe! I started Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds. I have felt consistently anxious whilst reading this, and I've only got about half of the way through so far. Every time I think that Ruby and I can start trusting a group of people to get us out of this dangerous and strange camp, I feel as though I am being laughed at by Bracken. She is constantly introducing new and untrustworthy groups to save Ruby. There is no peace to be found in this novel as of yet. It seems to be exploiting the traditions of the YA dystopian genre, and using its traditions by the bucket load. At times it can be overwhelming. I plan on finishing it though.


Today, I realised the lost perks of anonymity. Whilst I was writing this post I began to consider it ten fold. For instance what not to do on a date would have been a very helpful thing for me to publish before hand, for people to consider at all. Giving some thought to this would have been of some benefit to me today.

But I have been productive today, I think. Expect more politics tomorrow.

One last thing; thank you all so much for such a positive response to my piece on anxiety. It was a huge deal to me and I am so so grateful.

Hope you're all well, goodnight x

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Falling for Shakespeare...

So after yesterdays cleaning bug, the kitchen and my bedroom are now spotless. But I did manage to fall down the stairs in the process of tidying the kitchen. Now my back is in complete and total agony. This is not making today fun, at all. I cannot get comfortable or concentrate for the life of me.

I have been awake since ten past five when the dog jumped on me. I've developed a cold over night and yes I am having a complain this morning. I am now enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and attempting to construct a plan for an assignment that is due in three days.

Shakespeare lecture was enjoyable and I'm spending my afternoon preparing for a forum post assignment. I just wish more people would contribute. Shakespeare is daunting and it is a Wednesday morning. But the language, and multitude of plots are so interesting to me. Perhaps I am just a complete nerd.

Though I promised Sophie and Amy a mention, on the account of it being very cold in that class room.

Just a short one! I hope you are all having a lovely week, folks.