Tuesday, 31 January 2017

'The man is not rich because he is honest'

So I've started following the news a bit more regularly now, even though I know it is going to be full of awful things that mostly revolve around Donald Trump. As it's only been a couple of weeks since his inauguration, I was a little naïve and did not expect the amount of shit that has cropped up over the past few days in such a short space of time.

Anyway following the news that Trump is reducing the funding for Family planning, I expressed my extreme disappointment on Facebook. I got a couple of responses. The female response was supportive of my disgust. The male response was to point out to me that Trump was kindly not making abortion legal, instead he was just reducing funding. But that was okay, because charities could pick up the slack from the government would not provide. He followed the argument with the fact that he hoped there would be an exception for cases involving rape victims. I pointed out how impossibly ridiculous this was. He concluded that a large percentage of rapes do not end in pregnancy anyway. Surely it cannot be just me that thinks this is the wrong attitude to have? Perhaps it is my own fault for sharing my views, and posts, on social media outlets like facebook. But to say that cutting funding for something as essential as abortion was okay because most rapes do not end in pregnancy? Utterly ridiculous!

Additionally, this was the picture that was tacked on to this headline across facebook. Why is it okay for seven white men to decide anything about female reproductive organs?! I keep coming back to that interview I watched between Emma Watson and Caitlin Moran a couple of months ago, in which it was stated that because women are no longer being burnt at the stake there is no better time to be a woman. It is easy to argue that because of this, it is not a good time to be a woman at all and before I thought about it I had resided myself to that point of view. But when I thought about it, I realised that being a woman is pretty damn good right now. I think about all of those women that marched last week, across the world! All of those women that stood up for equality. That makes me proud to be a woman. I am just so sorry that we are still being attacked like this.

Then we have a Muslim ban that is meant to last for 90 days in favour of protecting American's from terrorism. He has banned people from seven mainly Muslim countries entering America, halts refugee admissions for 120 days and his actions are also preventing Syrian refugees seeking asylum in America for the foreseeable future. Now my favourite reaction videos and posts across the internet are the ones that question what all of the fuss is about. They state that it is 'only 90 days', suggesting that it is nothing to worry about. You are wrong if you think this will stop at 90 days. Instead, this feels like just the beginning. Yesterday I came across posts from people like Mo Farrah, a hugely influential figure that was afraid that he would have to inform his children that their parent may not be able to return home for a while. This was heartbreaking! Obviously his voice was heard, because he is Mo Farrah. But god only knows how many more people we have not heard in the wake of this disaster. The people that will be prevented from going back to their jobs, and face losing their homes as a result. President Trump stated that he wished to make America great again. I just wonder if this is what classifies as great? Fear does not equate to greatness, and I would have thought that was self explanatory.

At this moment in time there are more people across the world, not just Americans, that are more afraid of Donald Trump than of terrorism.

Additionally, protests are occurring within the UK once more in order to prevent Trump arriving in the UK on a state visit. I watched an interesting debate, that was streamed on Facebook yesterday, from the houses of parliament in which one lady compared Trump's actions to that of the basis for the holocaust. There were comments from facebook users adjoined to the video and they continued to flood in as I watched. The general consensus was that Trump should be banned from the United Kingdom, because of everything that he has done thus far. But I was surprised by the odd comment that drifted in that suggested this debate was not only pointless, but pathetic and childish. People suggested that the issues shouldn't be debated at all, that we should just let him enter our country on this state visit. I wondered about these individual reasons for feeling as though there should be no debate.

She states that 'the holocaust did not begin with the gas chambers'. But Boris Johnson responded with the fact that comparisons such as these trivialise the holocaust. However I don't think she was necessarily comparing the holocaust and the sheer magnitude of it. But she did make a valid point that the holocaust started long before gas chambers were involved. It started with prejudice, discrimination and segregation, which is a fair judgement. She simply expressed a fear that this situation could escalate, a fear that I am sure many of us are beginning to share by now.

However, Theresa May still refuses to prevent Trump from entering the UK due to a belief that a visit is in our best interests. I am not so naïve to think this is not the case. I am able to see why she believes it may have some benefit. But when one million people are petitioning online to prevent something, and more protests are taking place outside of Downing Street, you have to wonder what is more important.

Ellen DeGeneres put the Muslim Ban into terms that even Trump may actually understand, using the plot of Finding Dory.

I hope that despite all of this, you have a lovely week.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Monday Rambling.

Just a brief one as I'm making a mad, last minute, dash through Robinson Crusoe after leaving the book at my moms last week. I'm almost half way through!

Last night I went along to a poetry slam as part of the Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival. It was my first time at a slam, and the atmosphere was amazing! It was a sold out event and I really didn't know what to expect. I saw fifteen local poets read some amazing pieces. There were a range of topics; capitalism, Trump, bombings, one individual's womb.

I wish I had gone to more of the festivals events this weekend but the two that I did go along to, I loved!

The other half of my weekend has been spent reading and researching for university. I am already up to my neck in realist novels, and Shakespeare.

However, tomorrow I am determined to make some progress with Caraval! I've had it for five days now, I am not back at work for another two weeks and I've still yet to make a decent start with it. Very frustrating. I keep putting it in my handbags to take with me, but it doesn't come out again until I get home.

More later guys. Expect some Trump related posts!

Have a great day!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Debut Novels with James Hannah and Catherine O'Flynn

Initial reaction? Wow! For the past hour I've sat listening to Catherine O'Flynn and James Hannah talk about writing. I'm currently on my way home and I feel inspired and refreshed and suddenly like I have so much to say. I wish I'd taken notes! Regardless, this post is going to be full of gushing and I am sorry!

First of all, they are so humble and down to earth and lovely. I felt quite nervous when I arrived, as this was new territory for me. I've been to these sorts of events before with Jennifer Niven, but half the time I'm too caught up and starstruck (and emotional) to actually take any notes. I'll admit that shyness got the better of me. I had quite a few questions to ask. But when the time came, my voice failed me.

Regardless, the Q and A was led by my lecturer and he did a wonderful job! I had finished James Hannah's debut novel this week and was super excited to go to this event and I was not disappointed. Both Catherine O'Flynn and James Hannah addressed topics such as rejection in the long process that seems to be publication. O'Flynn admitted to having a selfishness about her writing, in that she only writes for herself. She described being unable to write according to a schedule and feeling as though her writing fell flat, and lacked something, when she did try to adhere to a schedule. Having experienced this it was refreshing to hear that to write when one felt like writing, and not before, was okay.

The pair agreed that when writing they found themselves coming back to the same sorts of subjects, for example O'Flynn addressed the fact that all three of her novels focussed on themes such as loss, a sense of place, and the past. But the thing I found remarkable about this was that they both agreed it was okay. Hannah used a wonderful phrase. He said that in writing, you find the limits of yourself. I thought that was a pretty wonderful way to describe it. It made me see writing differently, as if it were an exploration of the self.

Hannah also pointed out that you write bits of yourself into your work, and I've encountered this idea before amongst authors. I remember Jennifer Niven saying, back in November, that she writes little bits of herself into all of her characters. They are all a part of her. It was lovely to see that this was a common theme. Following this, O' Flynn expressed the sentiment that her first novel, What Was Lost, embodied a part of herself. She meant that she'd sometimes read it back, and whilst wincing as one often does when reading something they've written,  and she would realise that she had a clearer outlook then. That through her past novels, she was able to see a change in herself. I liked the idea of a novel, a piece of work, embodying a part of oneself. It made a novel seem like a snapshot; a record of old outlooks, opinions and thoughts.

Hannah, in reference to his own book, stated that his protagonist was unlikable. But I think that's what I found so endearing about Ivo. The fact that he was unapproachable and unlikable, but then I was privileged enough to see the character interact with characters like Amber, and Mia in his memories. Reading these interactions made the walls he put up a little more destructible. I like that about him.

Hannah warned that a writer should not give his work to their friends to read, for the first time. That if you did, you had to ask the question of why you are asking them to read it. 'Do you want to impress them? Do you want to depress them? Or do you want to sleep with them?' Now this had me laughing. But it's true! A member of the audience pointed out that he had given his work to his friends to read for the sake of an ego boost.

They discussed the importance of research, questioning whether or not it was important. O'Flynn described her own process of research. She discussed trying to figure out what kind of novel she wanted to write, rather than researching settings and things alike. She expressed the idea that sometimes research can put you off writing a novel in that the facts seem so perfect that you don't wish to disturb them. Hannah suggested that research was both important and unimportant. Though it was pointed out to me that I should ignore that, I shall remember that argument and it may come in handy as a student.

In short, this talk was insightful, and inspiring. It was a lovely Friday night! This is the kind of world that I want to be a part of; of literature, and research and academics. It is safe to say that after having stopped any creative writing for a long time, the talk tonight has made me want to go back to it. I feel a new notebook coming on.

I apologise for my gushing. Have a lovely weekend folks!


Just a quick one as the reason I came into university today was to get on with some serious reading, whilst working my way through Joni Mitchell's discography (I am now in love).

So I've managed to fight my way through Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and finally finished it this morning, despite having to stop every couple of pages to laugh. My favourite alterations included Mr Collins being gay, Mr Bingley being gay and Lydia. Just, Lydia. I struggled to work out if this was meant to be serious? I felt as if it straddled the line between serious and silly. My particular favourite part was when Wickham informs Lizzy that Darcy supposedly runs a brothel in London, and Lizzy's response is essential 'oh shit!' However, her reaction is immediately followed by her 'thinking with fondness of the sheep that grazed in the surrounding countryside'. Then, she blushes and lowers her eyes to Wickham's crotch. I think this is one of the funnier retellings I've come across in the last month. Though it is not one that I would willingly pick up again. I can't wait to start Caraval when I get home today.

Anyway I will leave you with a picture of the majority of my Austen collection, featuring at least one copy of each of Austen's novels alongside a number of retellings and sequels that I've collected over the past month. I think Lydia has to be my favourite. There is also a colouring book!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Fairy Loot!

I was woken up this morning to a delivery of Fairy Loot! It took me a while to find my keys but I eventually got the door open, and got ahold of the box. I think this was the first time that I have been at home to receive it. Normally, I end up getting a card through the door cause I've missed it by a few hours. I was not disappointed this month! I was so pleased with the box that I decided to post an unboxing here. Let's start with the first picture I took of the box. I love the minimalist design of these boxes. They're so lovely. I apologise in advance for all of the pictures.

So the theme for this month was Mystery and Mischief, and Fairy Loot used influences such as Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland and The Night Circus in order to construct this box. The element of mystery was a funko mini mystery. The company sent out both Harry Potter mini mysteries and Game of Thrones. I received a Game of Thrones one. I honestly couldn't tell you the characters name, having not seen Game of Thrones but the little figure was adorable anyway. (I think my mom is taking it off my hands).

The next item I came across was a candle that was inspired by this months book, and the author named the candle! It came in a little tin and smells beautiful! I have a small collection of bookish themed candles that I still haven't burnt, so this will probably join those for the time being. The tin itself reminds me of the circus.

Following this was a beautiful necklace. The pendant was a rose, and the clasp resembled a cute little padlock. It was novel inspired and will probably make more sense to me after reading the book, but very pretty all the same!

Other items included an Alice in Wonderland bookmark, which was absolutely beautiful and very good quality! There was also a signed letter from the author, a  small Passenger notebook, a collection of other book marks, and a hard back copy of How to Think Like Sherlock by Daniel Smith. Two books in one box made me so happy! Fairy Loot boxes include so many fantastic items.
There were other items such as a pillow case! It featured a lovely quote from The Night Circus! I absolutely love it.

This brings me to this months Fairy Loot book. We have the highly anticipated Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Not only is this cover absolutely gorgeous, but it isn't due to be released for another five days which means that Fairy Loot subscribers get to read it early! It definitely sounds as though it was inspired by The Night Circus, which I love anyway. I am so excited to read this. I intend to start it tonight after finishing my current read.

 I've spent my entire day at home today, trying to finish Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. I have to keep stopping to laugh. I have McCall's Emma to finish now, and I've finished all of the Austen retellings/sequels I have on my list for now. I may need to do a google search to find some more! I've had zombie versions, erotic versions, modern retellings,  and murder mysteries. I don't think anything has even come close to the original. I think tomorrow I may do an evaluation of all of them.

I've also been preparing for my university modules today, I reread The Tempest in preparation for my Shakespeare class next Wednesday. I'm so excited to carry on with The Realist Novel and my Shakespeare classes. Let's hope this streak of motivation continues long enough for me to start training for The Race for Life, as a friend and I signed up yesterday!

I'm going to a talk with James Hannah tomorrow night and I am so excited! I finished The A to Z of You and Me yesterday and I adored it. I'll probably be back here tomorrow night after that!

See you folks then!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Back to the grindstone...

As much as I love university, being here till 8pm on a Monday is very much not my idea of fun. I have just returned from my first class of the second semester and whilst most of my class mates appeared to be nodding off, I was in my element. The realist novel was entertaining and very interesting to me, I found it easy and amusing applying it to different aspects of Pride and Prejudice. I don't relish the thought of my first exam at university but I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the semester. I still have two classes to go, however.

How far did I get with Hamlet? I think I made it to at least Act 2- I can appreciate it I just don't think that I am meant to find it amusing. It's hard not to laugh when the Ghost, who has announced his return to purgatory about six pages previously, 'cries from under the stage, Swear!'

I can't say that today has been all bad, I mean between 4pm and 5pm I was researching the realist novels, whilst listening to 80's Madonna. I don't care what anybody says, Vogue will always be one of my favourite songs. I also came across Joni Mitchell's version of Big Yellow Taxi! I call that a successful day.

To read or not to read...

Well today marks my return to university, which is nice. I have come in early to start the reading that I perhaps should have started earlier. I started with Hamlet, and I bought new highlighters. However I've read about nineteen pages then started this blog post. This is not going well.

In the last week I have managed to read a total of eight books! I finished the Harry Potter series. I felt as though Deathly Hallows was rushed, though definitely emotional.

I also got a hold of Veronica Roth's new release Carve the Mark! I finished it inside of twenty four hours. In comparison to her Divergent series, it was a slow burn. There were more chapters from Cyra's perspective, and it took me a long time to appreciate her character. The book itself was absolutely beautiful! I took off the dust jacket to read it, and found the cover was embossed with a map! It was a gorgeous hard cover.

Anyway, for a good twenty four hours I found it difficult to start a new book! I tried to finish Caitlin Moran's most recent book, Moranifesto. But in light of recent events, I found I wanted to read something by her that was more Trump focused. I tried a number of YA novels that were stocked up on my kindle. Nothing grabbed my attention. In the past twenty four hours I've read more openings to novels than every before. Instead, I found myself starting James Hannah's The A to Z of You and Me. I'm only in the first chapter, but so far so good. It's the first opening that really grabbed my attention. We'll see how this goes and pray that it does not distract me from Hamlet too much.

Happy Monday folks.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

'Hell hath no fury like 157 million women scorned'.

Just a brief one for tonight.

I had a conversation with a couple of friends today about sexism and how relevant it still was within our society. The male half of these two friends argued that it was less relevant. Whilst the female half argued that we would never overcome it. I think that it is still very much relevant. The glass ceiling still forces women down.

These campaign posters are so powerful. It's hard to pick a favourite. I like the one with the suffragettes because it is true. To use a cliché amongst the young; same shit on a different day. Varying degrees perhaps, but still as oppressive and painful.

I've seen posts today, on social media, stating that these protests and Marches that are happening across the world make the women involved look like trash. They state that there are more important issues to be addressed than the prejudices of one man. I beg to differ. Because it is not just one man. You are ignorant to think that this prejudice is confined to one country, to one ignorant white man. You are wrong. It is these issues and prejudices that surround us all. Men and women, united.  And these women are not trash. I was disgusted at this sentiment. These men and women are brave. They represent a new generation, despite the fact that they are a mixture of young and old. I am incredibly proud to be a part of it.

I was going to apologise for another politically focussed post. I was going to say that I will stop blogging about issues such as these eventually.  But I realised, after expressing these feelings on social media and talking to other people, that I should never have to apologise for it. I will never apologise for it. Not talking about sexism and this glass ceiling means they have won. Awareness of things is so so important. I'm a huge advocate of mental health awareness, and of feminism. I will not be silenced and neither anybody else.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Love Trumps Hate

After yesterdays awful, nationalist speech from President Trump, I've woken up to a very Trump focussed social media. I'm still shocked. There are so many memes floating around the internet. There are also a number of women's marches happening throughout the UK, and America. Demonstrators are marching in order to highlight issues that they feel are being threatened by a Trump presidency. There is so much support from stars such as Charlotte Church, Lily Allen,  and Alexa Chung. They will be at marches today.  I also found a beautiful post from my all time favourite person, Jennifer Niven. The support has been overwhelming and that's made me so happy to see. That is the kind of beautiful change that I want to see in the world.

Whilst disgusting tweets such as these make me hate Piers Morgan even more, seeing pictures like the one on the right make me realise that love is so much more powerful than hate, and prejudice. I am so proud to be on the right side. There are those that will allow todays marches, and protests, to divide them in terms of gender, and race. But the whole point is to remain united. An organiser at a London march stated that "those who shout the loudest are often the most heard", whilst women and men of all ages joined together. I couldn't have said it better myself.

However, one of my favourite signs said:

'Hell hath no fury like 157 million women scorned'.

I think the crowds from yesterday, or rather a lack of, in comparison to the people that gathered in support of Obama just four years ago speak for themselves. Hate is so much smaller in its numbers.

I really wish I could have been involved in a march today, but sadly I am unwell in bed. I am so so happy to see all of these beautiful people that have decided to unite, all over the world, today.

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Not with a bang, but with a whimper...

I will try to keep this brief, for fear of ranting.

Okay, currently I am sat on the floor waiting for the inauguration to begin. I am scrolling through twitter whilst waiting, and my god there are some very mixed views! Some are referring to today being on the 'right side of history', stating that this is the start of a journey to make America great again. There are those that condemn this view, referring to Trump as a racist. A lot of these tweets include mentions of The Hunger Games as a consequence of this choice of leadership. Whilst Obama, by many, is viewed as the change that the world needed.

Whilst I'm not American, I am still... weary, shall we say. I felt even more daunted by Trump after seeing a video comparing Obama and Trump's attitudes to their daughters. Trump stated that if Ivanka Trump weren't his daughter, he'd probably be dating her. Meanwhile Obama states that seeing his daughter wearing heels for the first time, was 'jarring'. I think we have two very different men here, and to say that they will have different attitudes about the governing of America is an understatement. Ivanka Trump has been described as intending to fulfil the role of the 'first daughter' throughout Trump's presidency whilst his wife stays back in order to raise their son. Melania is described as having taken 'a back seat' in comparison to Ivanka, however both encourage Trump to abstain from Twitter.

'We will follow two simple rules: buy American, and hire American'.

My particularly favourite tweet was one that stated that 'Trump's family looks like [a] poster for 'White America', all fake and overly privileged. Except for Baron, he looks sad'.

And this one...

Speeches of equality are being given and they are honestly laughable. The very sexist and racist president of the United States of America does not embody any of these views, or qualities.
Donald Trump states that 'we are transferring power from Washington D.C. back to you, the people'. I refuse to believe this. But my personal favourite was that there was 'no room for prejudice', how can you not realise that your entire campaign was based on such things? The scent of hypocrisy was strong, and sickening.

I'm now watching Trump supporters say that his speech was inspiring and powerful and they thought he had some good ideas. I don't remember him telling his audience how he was going to achieve this supposed greatness. Trump, you are laughable. Commentary refers to the speech as a telling off  for both the previous presidents and the audience. The BBC regard him as someone that is inconsistent, and unpredictable. Someone that is known for changing his mind and they give the example of his frequently changing views on abortion.

Though the differences between Obama's character and Trump's are clear, I think the numbers of attendance today speak for themselves.

On the left, we see Washington full of spectators ready for Obama's 2009 inauguration. On the right was the view of Washington today.

Meanwhile, Washington is being destroyed by protesters. And I, for one, was sad to see the Obama's leave the White House who, as it was pointed out, have left without a scandal of any kind.

However I will say that Michelle Obama's face was definitely my favourite thing about today. She was just as emotional and disgusted as the rest of us. That much was clear right from the very beginning with the Tiffany &co. box.

I leave you with a Pixar gif that I think expresses today quite accurately. I have nothing more to say. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Last Beginning.

It is once again time for my evening rambling, something that has come to be rather regular since I started my time off.

Today I started, and finished The Last Beginning by Lauren James. I needed something light after Death Comes to Austen Pemberley. I needed something that wouldn't make my brain hurt, so naturally I turned to a book about time travel. I have no common sense, I can assure you.

However, I managed to finish the novel in one sitting. It was the sequel to the very confusing The Next Together, which followed one couple, Katherine and Matt, across three different timelines as they continually attempt the save each others lives at the point of a major event in history. Lauren James' earliest time zone in this novel is that of 1745, in Scotland, and the latest is 2040, which depicts Kate and Matt having to expose the British government and their secret biological weapon.

The Last Beginning, however, was a good sequel. It was narrated from the point of view of Clove, Kate and Matt's daughter. This sequel explained everything that I was confused about in the first novel, which was basically everything. Time travel is complex. Especially when 1745 Matt met 2040 Kate, and yet they were still in love. However, it was a little overwhelming because I felt it was fast paced. I don't know if that's because I managed to start and finish the novel in one sitting or not. I don't know. Perhaps Death Comes to Pemberley has made me overly critical of everything. McCall's Emma certainly isn't getting any better now I am over half way through. I am beginning to lose all faith in Austen retellings and sequels.

However, I am onto the final Harry Potter book now; Deathly Hallows. I hope to finish it by tomorrow afternoon. I'm enjoying the empty afternoons that mean I get to curl up with books and just read. Though I am missing university a little bit now.

Tomorrow I intend to finish a read through of The Tempest in preparation for my Shakespeare module.

Just a short one tonight. I have a lot of thoughts about Trump to present to you guys, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

Good night folks.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Death Comes to Pemberley

I finally finished this awful book! I am so happy!  I picked it up today and thought that surely the last hundred pages, or so, could not be that bad.  Especially after the first couple of chapters literally consisting of a rehashing of Pride and Prejudice. Well, I take it back. It was so bad that I started to dog-ear (yes, I dog eared! No, I do not do this often!) the pages that featured things that were exceptionally bad.

Such thing included Darcy's appreciation of the cleverness of 'Simon Cartwright's management of the prosecution', thank you very much for your approval Mr Darcy. P. D James managed to take away everything that I found endearing about his character and make him even more arrogant than Austen. However, this arrogance was then suddenly contrasted by his consistently sudden need to be in the arms of Elizabeth. But how lovely of him to state that 'he could not regret his marriage' to Elizabeth, despite the fact that it went against every value that he had been raised upon. At least he acknowledges the 'happiness that he had never thought possible'.  Good lord.

Additionally, Elizabeth's response to her father's arrival was awful. She runs toward her father exclaiming 'Oh father, how good to see you!' I found myself consistently rolling my eyes by this point. I started to wonder if P.D James had read any of Austen's works! Much more of the death of Austen's beloved characters than Captain Denny.

When Wickham's true crime came to light, as usual, I wasn't surprised. Darcy appeared to be though! To have used a fake name, and identity, in order to seduce a lonely young woman is hardly surprising for Wickham. Darcy seems so naïve that I felt sorry for him! The most amusing, if you can call it that, part was Wickham's confession that he used the name of 'Frederick Delancey' in the name of having 'always liked the idea of those initials'. It is as if James felt it necessary to be explicit all the way through. She has no subtlety. I felt as though I was being underestimated. In this case, it seems as though she felt readers needed reminding that Wickham was jealous of Darcy, and had a lifelong feeling of inferiority in comparison to him. Whether or not she meant Wickham to appear sarcastic or not is unclear. Perhaps he was mocking Darcy. But by this point I just couldn't wait for it to be over. I simply didn't care. I can't help feeling as though I missed a trick? Surely it couldn't have been this bad.

Also, Mr Alveston asks the most ridiculous questions; 'I suppose you never told Louisa your true identity?' Oh my god. I was losing the will to live by this point. Wickham points out that this would have been 'folly' and I couldn't have agreed more. This novel, for want of a better phrase, was shocking.

Though I didn't believe that Wickham had killed Captain Denny, I was a little disappointed by the actual murderer. But the less said about that the better.

However, when P.D James started including characters from other Austen novels such as Persuasion and Emma, I had no idea what to say. I simply cannot be the only one that noticed this appalling detail?! I've been scrolling through reviews all evening; curious. And I have found no mention of this! This was the element of her writing that infuriated me the most! To suggest that Colonel Fitzwilliam is related to Mrs Goddard, and then to include mention of Harriet Smith, Robert Martin and Mr and Mrs George Knightly! What on earth? There was also a mention of Anne Elliot in an earlier chapter. Crossing these characters over made it feel even more like a work of fanfiction.

oh! I haven't yet mentioned my favourite part. I found it absolutely hilarious that a novel as depressing as this ended with pregnancy! Yes, that's right! Elizabeth is having another baby! Despite both Husband and Wife complaining constantly throughout the novel that they never see each other. And of course, because the unbelievably happily married couple already have two little boys (that we never see), they're having a girl.

This was the first book on goodreads that I rated with a single star. I think even Eligible got three! Surprisingly, this novel made me appreciate bad novels such as Eligible. It is safe to say that I found myself more upset by the complete destruction of Austen's characters. All I can say is thank god it was Mr Bennet that appeared unexpectedly, rather than his wife. I think I'd have burned the novel straight away if she had. Ouch.

All in all Death Comes to Pemberley was slow and boring and I would not touch P.D James with a bargepole, ever again.

Finally finishing this novel was a blessing and I feel a huge sense of relief now. Afterwards I lost a game of scrabble to my younger sister. I suppose you can't win them all.

Good night! I hope you all have a lovely day.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A little bit of everything...

Perhaps I am not as terrible with trains and travel as I thought. I made it there and back, it was relatively simple. I know it is only Birmingham, it's hardly a major achievement. But I am wholly unfamiliar with trains, and leaving Wolverhampton, unfortunately. I really need to start travelling more, and getting out of Wolverhampton. Anyway, the day was wet and dark but very entertaining. The catch up and lunch were lovely. However I did spend a small fortune on clothes and books that I probably did not need at all.

I managed to finished A Quiet Kind of Thunder today. It wasn't extraordinary, I didn't cry as I thought I would. But the concept was lovely, and I loved reading a book about a girl called Stefanie even if it were the wrong spelling. The novel made me feel content, and it featured some lovely characters. I was happy when Tem became angry at Steffi, because the characters were starting to feel a little too content with things. For example, Steffi's mother, father and step-mother are all very close. They are neither angry, nor disappointed when she makes her way to Scotland without telling anyone where she is (she is seventeen years old!).The concept of the three adults sharing dinner together was interesting. Mostly because it is something I am unfamiliar with It seemed a little too nice. However, Barnard's treatment of anxiety and panic attacks was comforting. The issues were treated with respect, but weren't avoided. Steffi's experience was relatable in parts, and it was refreshing.

However I now feel as though I am in a bit of a rut. I need to start reading Great Expectations for my class in Semester Two. The plan is to finish Death Comes to Pemberley, and Alexander McCall Smith's Emma and then move on. I have so many books and series to finish!

Death Comes to Pemberley is taking an awfully long time, despite only having a hundred pages left. I'm sick of hearing about Elizabeth longing for time alone with Darcy. The fact that P. D James is trying to replicate Austen's style is really starting to piss me off. My mission for tomorrow is to try and finish it. However, McCall's Emma is getting interesting. Isabella's courtship seems to take up a lot of the narrative thus far. And Emma's character is even more insufferable than in the original, so there is that. She is not even endearing. She is vicious. On occasion, it is amusing. But I'm feeling a little disheartened at the moment. It feels like a very long book at the moment.

Additionally, Fairy Loot is arriving sometime this week! I am looking forward to it, and praying I'll be at home to get it and not have to wait twenty four hours till I can collect it from the post office like normal. I'll post an unboxing as soon as it arrives!

It is now ten to one, so I'm going to put the laptop down. Probably more tomorrow.

Good night folks.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

A week off!!

So not only am I off uni for a week, I am also taking some time off work. I am off for three weeks. Which feels like forever at the moment. I am a free woman.

What have I done so far? Well since breaking up from university I have purchased a new blanket and two new books; The One Memory of Flora Banks and A Quiet Kind of Thunder. Both new releases.

Anway, yesterday evening I bundled myself up in a blanket and finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I loved it. The book, as always, contained so much more detail than the film. I finally realised that after Malfoy's boring speech explaining how he got the Death Eaters into the castle (yawn) and Snape arrives, Dumbledore is not asking him for mercy. instead, Dumbledore is asking Snape to kill him. However I feel as though there is more to the story and after a short break I'll be starting Deathly Hallows.

However, after I finished Half Blood Prince I started The One Memory of Flora Banks. It took me three hours and I have finished it. It was interesting, and startling.  Some unexpected twists and turns, though it was quite obvious that there was a secret.

Flora Banks is quite unique. She has a perfectly 'solid' memory until the age of ten, when her family is in a car accident. However, she is told that she developed a brain tumour. She is told, by her parents, that the removal of the brain tumour meant that the doctors removed her short term memory with it. But this is something Flora lost in the accident. Anyway, Flora cannot maintain memory for more than a few hours at a time. She hasn't been able to since she was ten, and she is now seventeen. However, she kisses a guy (Drake) and manages to remember it the next day. This is the start of an adventure to the artic for Flora, and I just wish we'd seen more of it! Floras impulsive personality alongside her condition made me feel exhilarated and yet anxious! I felt as though I was her mother! But God, I resented her mother for keeping Flora contained. I despised Drake and even Paige at times. The ending was ultimately unsatisfying- I hated this particular cliff hanger. I put it down feeling a little disheartened.

Since then I have been reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. So far I've got to page 97. I am content. The cover is beautiful and the concept is lovely. Barnard is doing a wonderful job. Some parts are clichéd (taglines, especially) but it's an easy read. I'm quite happy with it. Some of the chapters that are focussed on anxiety are very detailed and I feel that Barnard did them justice. I will give a review, probably, later on. After Death Comes to Pemberley.

I doubt I'll manage to finish it tonight and I am off to Birmingham for the day tomorrow so it will be going with me. I'm meeting an old friend; I haven't seen Katie for about three years. I'm so excited! But I should say that I am terrible with trains, purely because I never go anywhere! Well I'll let you know how it goes!

Currently I am at a loss for what to do without university work. That seems strange, I know. But university is kind of like a break from reality. I only have to worry about deadlines when I'm at uni. Nothing else. It is a strange sort of peace.

I still have Death Comes to Pemberley to finish and I wanted to start Great Expectations soon. I'll get there.

Have a lovely week guys.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Yes, another post...

Deeply apologetic for this largely irrelevant post. I will probably delete it later.
After my terrible review of P.D James I finished my second assignment! One more to go! I get to go to bed before 2am!!

Rewarding myself with a better standard of book than P. D James and some relatable Sherlock gifs (I think I'm obsessed)

Good night guys.

Death by yet another Austen sequel...

Okay. I hold my hands up. I was warned and I went ahead and read it anyway. I should have listened to the advice I was given and I fully deserve an 'I told you so'. The worst part is that I'm not even finished!

Let's observe my goodreads posting for the day:

I've been updating my progress throughout the day, documenting my discontent as I've progressed. And before anything else, here we have a couple of my favourite quotes!

'If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride had been subdued and prejudice overcome?'


Oh! Then there was this!

'...but I think we can look to the ladies for this. Isn't that what they see as their function, to clean up the mess we make of our rooms and sometimes of our lives?'

Do I even need to say anything?!

Well P. D James, all I have to say is that I didn't think anybody could make Eligible appear half decent. You've made me appreciate Sittenfeld's attempt at modernising Pride and Prejudice. So I guess that's an achievement. At least Eligible had me laughing.

The writing is awful. The characterisation is even worse. Lydia's complete hatred for Elizabeth is almost painful to read. I am praying that Mrs Bennet doesn't make an appearance because I seriously don't think I can handle much more. The prologue was horrific. Honestly, I felt like it was Pride and Prejudice in five seconds. This feels like really bad fanfiction. I just want her to put these much loved characters down! Stop messing with them. You are underqualified!

I rolled my eyes at comments such as 'Elizabeth gave a cry of delight and, with Georgiana following, ran to the front door'. The ridiculous conversation between she and Colonel Fitzwilliam regarding Wickham was ridiculous. He asks Elizabeth if Wickham is still not accepted at Pemberley, then informs us that he is already aware of why this is, due to being Miss Darcy's guardian. For gods sake.

Quite frankly, everything about this book is driving me nuts. Even Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship is pissing me off.

After a quick google, I found a list entitled 12 'Pride And Prejudice' Retellings Even Serious Jane Austen Fans Will Love and it was one awful list. It started with Eligible, included what looked like a couple of chicklits, and ended with Death Comes to Pemberley, and Bridget Jones' Diary. I am fine with Bridget Jones. However, it did remind me of a book I read about a year ago... Austenland by Shannon Hale.

I re-read it this afternoon and realised why I'd disliked it so much. The premise is interesting, I guess. I don't know if it is meant to be ironic but Jane Hayes is literally the type of woman that Jane Austen was poking fun at in her books. There is a part in which Jane Hayes is depicted undergoing the realisation that rather than fitting the role of Elizabeth, she is more like Mrs Bennet. Maybe I'm being cynical after reading over 100 pages of P.D James. Either way, wow.

I will, of course, post a full and even more detailed review when I finish the book. I'm trying to get through it quickly, so I never have to look at it again!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Death comes to Austen?

Against my better judgement I have decided to purchase Death Comes to Pemberley. I have already been warned, and on my own head be it. I will post a review soon. I am interested to see which is more painful, P.D James or Sittenfeld's Eligible.

Today's purchases include Hamlet (two editions) and some very pretty vintage editions of Austen's Emma! No such thing as having too much Austen. I think I have three copies of each now. Is it safe to consider myself Austen obsessed now?

I started the day watching Meryl Streep's speech from The Golden Globes last night. She managed to criticise Donald Trump, rather severely, without even mentioning his name. Like Michelle Obama, she gave a speech that promoted unity. A true united front. I couldn't fault her for that. She spoke of a united front, particularly, between Hollywood and the press. She discussed what Hollywood was constructed of; 'a bunch of people from other places'. She stated that 'if you kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts!' She laughed at this, and I was fist pumping the air at 8am this morning. Meryl Streep, you broke my heart with your speech and empowered me, simultaneously. She confirmed that 'violence incites violence'. It is a little shocking to think that this still needs to be repeated in order for it to be regarded as a universal truth. However, some still remain not only ignorant of it but accepting of it. It broke my heart. Meryl Streep presented a painful reality to me. Yet, she instilled hope in her words. Streep made me feel very differently about Hollywood today, and its potential.

What made me laugh was Trump's response to Streep's criticism:

"Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes"'.

Quite simply, I have nothing to say. I am disgusted. I think this statement speaks for itself.

It is now five in the evening and I am still at university. A little tired but still working on an essay that questions feminism in the Bond franchise. Almost, almost there. Wish me luck!

More later!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Late night rambling...

Once more I am here due to a need to escape my academic insecurities that, as usual, have emerged after five hours of writing and rewriting. It is five past one in the morning and I don't think I could possibly have anything interesting to say. It is freezing cold and I've decided to end the day watching Sherlock. Episode three of the first season. Life currently feels like Sherlock sitting in his pyjamas, shooting at a random wall. A little ridiculous and yet amusing. However, my episode of Sherlock is almost finished, and my fairy tales essay finally complete. I've decided to order a collection of Sherlock Holmes novels, purely out of interest. Thank god for next day delivery.

I cannot wait for the first semester's assignments to be over, simply so that I can read! My to be read pile is crying out for me to start it this year! My December to be read list did not go very well. I don't think I'm very good at working to a schedule. I've been thinking about all of the things I want to do this year. I definitely need to get my passport! I am eager to start travelling (wandering like Jennifer Niven's Violet and Finch). I've been thinking about Ireland.

I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I'm finding it very difficult after watching the film for the first time a few days ago. Dumbledore's death (spoiler alert?) was awful. I'm not ready to experience it again so soon. But I am just as in love with Rowling and her wizarding world as ever. Alongside this, I have started another Austen Project novel; Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. So far so good! After Eligible I'm keen to return to Austen, to correct the wrongdoings done by Sittenfeld. The very thought of reading anything more by her makes me shudder. I've been meaning to try Death Comes to Pemberley. However after catching bits of the ghastly television series, and reviews from trusted Austen lovers, I am inclined to avoid it.

Anyway, I saw a post on 'book riot' entitled 'retro rereads'. The idea is that every month, I pick a book I want to reread. That way there is a balance between new books to read, and books I want to reread. I always feel guilty for rereading, as though I'm not reading new enough books. I think this will be quite difficult to stick to. However I am willing to give it a go. I tried starting a list to follow for the year. But I'd rather just pick a book as I go along. This month, I decided to start small with The Perks of being a Wallflower. Beautifully inspiring, although the film made something painfully beautiful clichéd and awkward. My favourite line, and probably the most popular:

'We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve'.

This is definitely a sentiment I am beginning to understand.

I ended my week whilst watching Michelle Obama's emotional departing speech. I have never admired her more than I did whilst watching that. She urged young people to 'not be afraid', to hope and to use education in order to access society. As a means to obtaining a voice. Her voice wavered with the threat of an onslaught of tears. She displayed such a belief in hope, in young people, and in change. It was beautiful. Perhaps this is just me being soppy again. There is much to fear, but her belief in the power of hope enabled me to see past them.

Forgive me for having absolutely nothing interesting to say this evening. My brain has been fried by a revolting mixture of university and McDonalds (see what I did there?) I also blame falling down the stairs, twice, this week.

I don't think I shall ever subject you to my late night ramblings again. Deeply apologetic!
Good night.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Eligible; a review...

'This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.' (Goodreads)

This version of the Bennet family is one I wish I hadn't met. Mr Darcy was even more of an arsehole. Mr Bennet was called Fred (possibly one of the must amusing and yet horrifying additions). Lydia married a transsexual. Jasper. What? Even worse than Wickham's character. Much less endearing. Sittenfeld wasn't kidding, first impressions can be deceiving! I thought, 'yay! A modern Austen retelling!' What could go wrong, right?


It took me a good ten minutes to stop laughing after 'want to go to my place and have hate sex?' I was appalled and yet I couldn't stop laughing. Sittenfeld's characters have no tact! The very fact that Darcy and Liz were having hate sex every so often ruined the dynamics of their relationship for me. The tension between them was lost. There was no fire.

Then there was the declaration of 'love' but then again, it's 'probably an illusion caused by the release of oxytocin during sex'. Don't go overboard on the romance Darcy. At least Austen's Darcy was willing to admit he loved her, even if it was against his better judgement. Austen's much loved declaration of '"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you” became:

'You're not beautiful, and you aren't nearly as funny as you think you are. You're a gossip fiend who tries to pass off your noisness as anthropological interest in the human condition. And your family, obviously, is a disgrace. Yet in spite of all common sense, I can't stop thinking about you'.

I honestly have no idea what to say to that. It didn't seem as though Liz Bennet did either. Following this was Eligible. Which I believe was modelled on Love Island? What irritated me was Chip (I mean really?! That's the best you could do?) Bingley's openness about the experience. The infuriating bit was that god awful wedding of Jane and Bingley's. A reality show wedding.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies irritated me, and this was a hundred times worse. I lost count of the amount of times Mrs Bennet (who, by the way, was even more insufferable than in Pride and Prejudice) requested that Jane's baby be passed off as Chip's on Eligible.

Additionally, the relationship between Mr Bennet and Elizabeth pained me. Or rather, a lack of a relationship between them. Though I felt he saw Elizabeth's point of view and accepted her help, I felt he disliked all of his daughters equally. That Elizabeth was no less important to him than the others. That made me feel a little bit uncomfortable and unsatisfied. Sittenfeld has missed so many emotional connections between characters.

I didn't mind Liz's portrayal but wondered what on earth she was thinking with seeing Jasper. What a jackass! Was the fact that he kept calling her 'Nin' when trying to excuse his appalling behaviour meant to be endearing and acceptable?

Whilst writing this review I've been scouring Goodreads, interested in the opinions of others. I have found a shocking amount of reviews that rate it with four and five stars!! These reviews refer to it as 'witty' and 'amusing'. Amusing, I will allow. But witty? Where?!

However, it was definitely amusing. I found it an easy read because of it's humour. But I didn't feel as though I was laughing with her, or appreciating her work. Instead, I felt as if it were a joke at her expense. This was been one of the worst novels I've read in a long time. I'm still looking forward to Alexander McCall Smith's Emma. Nothing can be as bad as Eligible.

At the end of the day who doesn't love a book that defines the title on the cover for you? Good lord.

Once Upon an essay...

I've settled myself at university for a few hours. After three hours of writing about fairy tales, reading the words 'once upon a time' even once more may well send me over the edge. I've found myself more drawn to blogging and procrastination than ever. It's really nice to be back, and to see some familiar faces. I am currently surrounding by library books covering everything from fairytales, to feminism, to James Bond. I also have a satirical screen play to write.

I finished Eligible a couple of days ago. It was the first book on my Goodreads list for this year. I'll be posting a review in a couple of days. My amusement and sheer horror cannot be kept in. First Mr Bennet's name being Fred, hate sex between Elizabeth and Darcy, and Lydia marrying a transsexual. Good god.

I'll save it for my review, anyway. I have so much to say that it requires it's own post.

Anyway, I had settled into the new year now. I've dyed my hair, cleaned out my Filofax and bought some new inserts, and have almost finished my assignments. So far, the worst thing to happen to me is dropping my phone on my nose whilst trying to text and rest at the same time. I've learnt my lesson. Don't lie on your back and text, folks. It hurts!

Anyway, back to Sherlock. I just started series one. Benedict Cumerbatch is very pretty and a very good Sherlock.