Monday, 27 February 2017

Another busy monday

Happy Monday folks!

This weekend has been crazy, busy and exhausting. I'm probably being overdramatic but long shifts have meant I've not had time to do anything that I had planned over the weekend. I finished the weekend with a ten hour shift and quite literally crawled into bed last night. So, I have come to university early in order to continue working on my essay for the realist novel. Instead, I am blogging. Three days without blogging is awful.

Anyway, one of my Austen books arrived in the post the other day- Being Elizabeth Bennet. Not only is the jacket absolutely adorable, but its just so entertaining! I started going through it straight away and finished the first run through last night. I ended up following the path of Elizabeth for this first attempt. However I did note that the other options and outcomes were really fun. For example, there was the option to slept with Darcy's gardener. Spoiler alert- surprisingly, you don't get to marry Darcy if you do this! I am so glad that this was recommended to me! I'm now just waiting for Lost In Austen to arrive, which from what I can gather, is more or less the same thing but exciting all the same.

I have, however, managed to start thinking about life after university. I was really keen on a masters degree. I still am. But I am also thinking about a gap year. A rather clichéd gap year actually, full of travelling. I've wanted to do a tefl course for a while now. I don't know. I'd settle for more time to read right now.

Why does time pass so quickly at university and yet so slow everywhere else? Seminar time. See you all later, I hope you have a lovely Monday.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

It is so late

Good morning folks. It is twenty to two at the moment and I've been home from work about an hour. Someday all of these late nights and long shifts are going to be worth it. The night time must make me soppier than I realised.

Anyway, I am currently eating miniature brownies and searching for something to watch. I finished my third (maybe forth) watching of Gilmore Girls in less than six months. I have a whole list of things to watch and yet I am stuck. On the bright side I purchased another new book! And it's another Pride and Prejudice retelling! I don't know why I'm putting myself through another one but this one is from the point of view of Mary Bennet and is called The Forgotten Sister by Jennifer Paynter. I'm writing yet another essay on Pride and Prejudice but this time I'm looking at minor characters and Mary was a huge interest to me whilst planning. I hope this book will be better than some I've read in the past couple of months.

Whilst shopping on amazon, I found an Austen CD. If I'm shopping for Austen themed things, can I write it off as some form of market research? Anyway, it is a collection of BBC Radio dramatizations. They're preformed by actors such as David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch. I dare say that will be arriving later on this week- as soon as I get around to ordering it. The cover is pretty too.

I also have King's Cage to get around to. I think this is the final book in Victora Aveyard's The Red Queen series. I hope the end of this series is as good and gripping as its beginning.

This weekend I plan to watch the episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories with Nigel Farage that I'll miss on friday evening. I can't stand either of them but this twitter promotion made it sound too good to miss. If nothing else it will give me something to rant about. Expect that some time.

As if Nigel Farage and Piers Morgan on the same channel, at the same time, wasn't enough bad news, Wolverhampton has experienced storm Doris today. Nothing has been safe; birds have been blown into my window today, I've heard various people complaining about their bins being knocked over. But by far the biggest tragedy was the death of a young woman caught in Doris' crossfire. She was enjoying a Starbucks with friends when something fell on her. Life really is too short; what a sad, sad loss. My thoughts are with her family.

It's been an interesting day, to say the least.

It is now twenty to three in the morning. I think this is the latest I've been up after work. Perhaps sleep will catch me soon.

Good night guys. Sleep well and have a lovely Friday.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lost in Austen

Afternoon folks, I hope you're all having a good Wednesday!

I haven broken the spending ban that I put myself on (I have no willpower, that much is clear) and have ordered a couple of new books. Arriving on Friday is Being Elizabeth Bennet: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure and sometime next week Lost In Austen will be arriving. I absolutely love adding to my Austen collection. I really need to stop buying books in preparation for moving house, but I figure two more won't hurt right? Shelf space is another story though! I am all for not judging a book by its cover but this is absolutely amazing.

This mornings lecture was really interesting. I will admit that I haven't finished Hamlet; I am almost there but favored finishing Swear on This Life after work last night. I'll finish it in time for next weeks class, I promise. We looked at varying film adaptations of Hamlet and the differences were amazing. I always think it's really clever that they set adaptations in different eras. Some of them are so well executed. We focused on the Kenneth Branagh's version and I really enjoyed it. Since then, I've been sat on the landing at uni.

Well I've been blogging and working on an essay (more blogging than essay) for about three hours now and should probably think about going home. I think I'll dig out a couple of dvds tonight and have a takeaway. I'm on the late shift at work tomorrow so seize the day and all that.

Have a great evening guys. See you tomorrow.

Swear on this life by Renee Carlino

 When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

(From Goodreads)

So I mentioned that a friend had lent me this book last week. I thought it would have taken me much longer to read but I started it yesterday morning before my long shift at work. Just over twelve hours later I had finished it. I was an emotional wreck by the end of it. It had the tone of a Colleen Hoover novel and I fell in love with her last year. It Ends With Us was very similar to Swear On This Life. It was a brilliant book that was written by a woman, about a book written by a guy about a woman. Work that one out! I don't know how Carlino managed it but Jase seemed to have his own style of writing. The different voices were clear and easy to distinguish.

The balance between the present day, and the past was perfect. The presentation of the fact was particularly interesting; it was written into the book rather than through flashbacks. Reading the past in the form of a novel was so much more entertaining and original. I know that I am an emotional sap  but I felt as though I grew up with Emerson/Emiline. Carlino included all aspects of childhood development, especially from a female point of view. It was even more heartbreaking with the realization that Emiline had no mother to guide her through puberty, and through her experiencing with her first love. Instead, Emiline suffers from issues of abandonment. Her mother has deserted her, and her father appears to have given up on life and on taking care of his daughter and even Jase eventually gives up and vanishes from her story.

Trevor was a character I disliked and didn't get on with, and I found myself more uncomfortable with him than with Emi's father. His development seemed a little half- assed? It was obvious that he was just a filler. Trevor stuck by Emiline, and was there for her even though she hid her past from him. He didn't abandon her. However, I felt that he didn't seek to understand her. He seemed to take her at face value, rather than seeking an emotional connection with her. He definitely wasn't bothered about her writing. It felt like a relationship of convenience and made me uncomfortable. It began to appear as though Emi intended to stay by his side due to a sense of duty. I wanted her relationship with Jase to continue. But why? I should have been angry with his character for having abandoned her.

The past, and Jase's writing, definitely had more depth for me. The present seemed less emotional and I struggled to connect with Jase as a character. He seemed much more superficial outside the realms of his novel, and of their shared past. He seemed cocky and arrogant; irritating. Perhaps Emiline hadn't changed as much as Jase had and that's why I preferred her character in comparison.

However, I didn't enjoy the ending to Jase's novel. I did understand that it does have purpose to it though. It was written for the purpose of making Emiline see what she was missing, to warn her that she faced the possibility of a life full of regret. The ending of Carlino's novel wasn't particularly sharp or exciting, and it did feel a little bit rushed and predictable. But it was a happy ending, and it was nice and I wasn't unsatisfied. Emiline deserved a happy ending.

The element I appreciated the most in this novel was the character development. Not all of the characters were capable of change and of redemption. That her dad had changed, and reformed his character was more than enough for me. I didn't need her mother to have done the same, and neither did Emiline. It was very realistic of Carlino.

Overall, I gave the book four out of five stars. The sentiment that life is too short was really well presented by Carlino. Swear on This Life is easily the best book I've read this year, so far. This will be hard to beat.

My favorite piece of dialogue was:
'Jase: I hope it's everything you want it to be.
Emiline: What? [...]
Jase: The rest of your life.
Emiline: [...] Well, we won't really know until the very end, will we?'

Have a lovely day folks.

Monday, 20 February 2017

'Is Elizabeth a Bennet sister?' and other strange questions

So once again it is a Monday (actually twenty past midnight on Tuesday, but it was Monday afternoon when I started this!), and I've spent my day split between sitting on the landing at university and lectures. Today was a pretty good day, and it's been warm. I have seen the people of Wolverhampton wearing outfits constructed of jumpers, jeans and sandals. It is amazing what a couple degrees increase in temperature does. Even I wore shoes that weren't boots, or heeled.

Today I've planned a couple of essays and I am really pleased with them. But I started my day in bed, eating chocolate and reading a good book. I started The Empress of a Thousand Skies last night, and ended up finishing it this morning. Monday mornings are so very peaceful and relaxing; my only guaranteed morning off all week. As for the book, I rated it 4/5 stars. I found myself enjoying it, but felt as though the twist was very predictable. Everything seemed a bit too predictable. It seemed a bit obvious. Regardless, I'm praying that there is a sequel. There are so many unanswered questions.

Monday featured lectures on the world of Austen, and on The Death of a Salesman. The Austen lecture was awesome; there were lots of critics included and absolutely loads of context. Apart from when somebody asked if Elizabeth was one of the Bennet sisters...

An essay idea hit me whilst I was sat on the landing for my Austen essay, I've never been so excited to start writing an essay. Yes, I am a loser. But I've been so productive today and that needed celebrating.

So after uni I went for a drink at a friends house; a couple of glasses of wine might mean that I sleep better tonight. Sitting around singing along to The Script has made my evening.

I read a strange article on The Independent's website today; the headline was 'Spies are 'plotting' to take down president Trump, says former CIA operative'. Maybe I'm missing something but I thought spies implied secrecy? The article discusses the mistrust between President Trump and the intelligence community but this plotting is said to be going beyond their duty and interfering with American democracy. Additionally, a three hour debate took place today to decide whether or not Trump should be granted a state visit to the UK. On one hand, it is obvious to argue that Trump shouldn't be allowed to visit on the basis that he is a 'bully' and a 'bigot' according to a report on The Guardian. However, other politicians argue that we have allowed other tyrants into the UK on state visits before. Perhaps this should stop now? Perhaps we should stop extending the hand of friendship to bullies? But I can understand why this hand of friendship is so important to us. Trade is important to us, and peace is important. I can't help but wonder if to extend the hand of friendship is to be taken for a fool by Trump. More on this tomorrow, I think. It is an interesting debate.

Good night guys, I promise I will post something more substantial this week. Hell, just wait till I start packing up my room to move house. You'll be getting all kinds of crap then. Packing and unpacking books is my favourite. I always forget what I have and get tempted to reread so much.

I'm really saying goodnight now- happy Tuesday folks! I hope you've had equally an equally happy Monday!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

February Fairyloot

So it is that time of the month again! My fairy loot box arrived yesterday morning at half past eight. It actually woke me up in the middle of a lie in after a late shift at work. The guy could not have banged on the door any harder. Anyway, once I got ahold of the parcel, I tried to leave it on the floor and curl up in bed again. However, excitement got the better of me and I opened it. As usual, I wasn't disappointed and it was totally worth a lack of sleep.

So, the theme for this months box was 'emperors and fugitives' and Fairyloot made use of quite a few YA novels this month. Their list of influences and inspirations included Guardians of the Galaxy, Rebel of the Sands, and Illuminae. I'll just state now that I have seen Guardians of the Galaxy once, and haven't read either of the novels. But in the spirit of adventure I decided to continue with my subscription and let the box be delivered.

I absolutely love opening the box and seeing it packed full of purple paper curls, with everything buried beneath them. The element of surprise with these boxes is wonderful. So, the first item that I unpackaged was a very pink and glittery bath bomb. It was called Celestial Gunpowder! I now have a small collection of bathbombs and I am so excited to use it! Okay, next we had a funko pop keyring resembling dancing Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The best parts of that film were Chris Pratt, Groot and the soundtrack. I was so happy that they had included him. He'll be going on my keys, if I have any room.

Following this was a coaster that had a quote on, from Illuminae. It says 'she is a catalyst, she is chaos. I can see why he loves her'. It is beautiful and of a really good quality. I'm saving it for when I move house at the end of the month, though. Fairy loot included another quote item in this months box. It was a pouch featuring a quote from Rebel of the Sands, and reads 'the world makes things for each place'. I love the sentiment; the idea that everything is just as it is meant to be. I'm officially putting the novel on my to be read list because of this lovely pouch.

Other items in the February box included a space girl book mark, a signed letter from the author of this months book, and a beautiful double-sided print of Throne of Glass couple Manon and Dorian. My photos show the Manon side, but they're both amazing!

This brings us to my favourite item from this month. Fairy Loot included a full sized candle in a tin, called Kalusian Sunset. It is inspired by this months novel. The candle itself is purple and it smells so pretty. But the tin was my favourite part. It looks like a fantasy/science fiction sunset and I love it! It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Like the bath bombs, I'm growing a collection of bookish candles. I have several A Court of Thorns and Roses candles, and one inspired by Caraval. I can't see myself lighting them but they are pretty all the same. I really need somewhere to put them. I've included a picture of the Kalusian Sunset tin on the left. I apologise for my terrible attempt at photography.

Okay, this brings me to this months Fairy Loot book. We have Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. Now I have heard nothing about this book, unlike Caraval from last month, I haven't googled it today or searched it on Goodreads and the blurb is really vague. So I know next to nothing about this novel but I'm planning to start this tonight, after finishing Wintersong, and I cannot wait.

I thought I'd include a picture of everything that came in this months box and the pretty cover of this book:

I finished work at half past three this afternoon and I have a to- do list as long as my arm! I have books to read for university and essay plans to do. Despite this, I am actually pretty happy that careers week is over and I have classes at university tomorrow.

I got quite a few recommendations after my request a couple of posts ago. Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive was recommended and I seriously need to get around to finishing it. It is a book that made me feel anxious, all the way through. However, I loved it. Matt Haig has a wonderful style. A friend dropped round a couple of books to my house the other day. These were Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick and Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino and I am so excited to start them. They both sound great.

Another recommendation was Bridget Christie. Now I googled her, and found her quite interesting and I found this extract from her book A Book for Her on the Guardian's website. She is hilarious, and brilliant. Pay day is next week, and I know I'll end up ordering this book.

I hope you have a lovely week guys and I hope you enjoyed this unboxing!

See you soon!

Saturday, 18 February 2017


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

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.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A ridiculously long post about anxiety...

Okay so one of my new years resolutions this year was to try and get less stressed, to try and deal with anxiety better. So far, I think I am doing pretty well. I am getting less stressed at work (significantly helped by the fact that I am in the middle of a month long break from work) and I am trying to take this calm outlook to university. Yesterday a member of staff at university asked me what I thought I could do to make myself worry less, and be a less anxious person. My response was just to refer to myself as an anxious person. I will be happy if I can get through my assignments throughout this semester with less anxiety attacks than previously.

I don't know when my blog got so serious but I think this is something that is worth talking about. A friend and I had a conversation about our anxiety experiences, last week whilst waiting for a class to start at university. I was really proud that we had managed to discuss such an important subject between ourselves, and we realised we had very similar experiences. One thing she did say to me was that admitting she suffered with anxiety now made her less anxious on the basis that she had practised saying it. Talking to her made me realise that I did not need to be anxious about... being anxious.

What is anxiety and what are panic attacks?
Okay. The NHS website defines anxiety as 'a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe'. I think it's quite difficult to explain what anxiety feels like but this definition is pretty good.

Anxiety is an absolutely awful emotion, and it is uncontrollable but not unmanageable. It can occur in response to small issues such as an impending assignment, or having to go to work the next day, and larger issues such as job interviews. I know that we all experience anxiety and I really wish that I was one of the lucky people that are capable of remaining calm and collected most of the time. Instead, I suffer with panic attacks. They happen mostly at night. Anxiety is something that largely stays quiet for me, (a friend referred to it as mutable) as in I don't feel as though I can't get out of bed anymore. I have learnt to manage my anxiety using breathing exercises, and other methods. As I said, I am the most anxious and most prone to panic attacks when my head is tired out, at night. But for the most part, my anxiety is mutable and it is not as much of a problem to me as it used to be. However I do know that reading stuff about other people's experiences with anxiety was very helpful to me, especially when I was younger.

It was this video on high functioning anxiety that I watched last week that inspired me to write about this, and I think it explains what anxiety feels like and some of the thoughts that crop up frequently much better than I could. But I did come across a comparison between several mental illnesses and Winnie the Pooh characters. Of course this takes a little bit of fun out of the books that I loved as a child, but its definitely a plausible theory. Piglet is the figure suggested to represent generalised anxiety. If you don't mind cartoon characters being involved in an explanation of panic attacks and anxiety, then you can watch this video.

Zoella provides a description of what anxiety feels like to her, and interestingly is able to pinpoint where her own anxiety hails from.

“Imagine that your brain is filled with hundreds of filing cabinets full of different information. You have memories, things you’ve learnt..etc. Well, there is this one filing cabinet that stores every panic attack you have. Where you had it, what happened, who you were with, what you were doing, what you were eating, what you were drinking, everything. When you re-enter the same place, with the same people, or do the same thing, that cabinet unlocks, and releases the same adrenaline, and the same emotion. My brain thinks it’s protecting me, by making me “Fight or flight” in the same situation”.

Coping with anxiety?
The video I watched was accompanied by a text post that described high functioning anxiety as 'feeling underqualified' to write a post on anxiety because the individual was coping pretty well with it. But I wonder what is classified as coping. I know that there a certain breathing exercises that help me, and that writing helps too. Writing it down as I am experiencing it is incredibly helpful. Like Zoella, I find that having an idea of how I am getting home from situations is helpful. I, however, do like having set times for things. I don't like having uncertain plans. I find if things are too relaxed and a sitation is lacking set parameters, it makes me uneasy. Different things will work for different people, and I am sure other people will find my comforts quite unsettling. This is okay.

It should be obvious by now that I read a lot, especially YA. It helps me to see my anxiety reflected within novels such as Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places. Niven was able to eloquently express so many of my worries through her protagonist, Finch. That somebody understands enough to write, and have it published, is of a huge comfort.

How can I help somebody with anxiety?
Okay, I have never seen anybody else have a panic attack now that I think about it. But I have experienced panic attacks when I have been in public, and with other people. When I went to Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, I had a panic attack in the middle of H and M, in front of a friend I hadn't seen in years. I was very embarrassed but I can't even imagine what it must have felt like for her to see that. I know I wouldn't have known was to do if I were in her shoes.

I think the worst thing that you can do is be impatient, and intolerant. They will need you to stay calm, and supportive. Often, I just need some room to ride it out. However, supportive for me doesn't mean asking me a tonne of questions. I find that off putting and it makes me feel worse.

The most important thing is to avoid saying 'calm down', or asking them not to be anxious. This, my friend, is incredibly hard to do. How do I go from feeling embarrassed, and panicked, and to be honest like a total failure, to on top of the world and not anxious at all? The simple answer is that you can't and asking somebody who is suffering from a panic attack to not be anxious will only succeed in making them feel like a failure, and weak.

I read Zoella's list of recommendations for this part and number five on this list was my favourite:

'5. Find something positive in every experience. If the affected person is only able to go partway to a particular goal, such as the cinema or out for a coffee, consider that an achievement rather than a failure'.

The reason I have been referencing Zoella so much throughout this blog post was because in order to get this post to a standard I was happy with, I did a bit of reading around online. There are not many helpful and relatable posts around for people who suffer with anxiety. At least, they weren't relatable or helpful to me.

The one thing I did want to say is that you are not alone. I know that panic attacks and anxiety make me feel very alone and isolated, mostly because I find it difficult to talk about. But it is really important to remember that other people go through it. You are not weird, or alone. Panic attacks are so very common. And I have always hated the word normal. I had a teacher in high school that said to me that 'normal is a cycle on a washing machine'. I repeat that quite often, and its really important. There is no such thing as normal.

I know that panic attacks and having anxiety have the potential to diminish confidence and self esteem. But I cannot stress enough that they are manageable, and you are in control. I am guilty of putting myself in situations that I find uncomfortable for the sake of not disappointing other people. But you do not have to force yourself into these situations. To quote Zoella for the last time, 'you and your health are far more important than keeping someone else happy'.

I really hope that some part of this has been helpful. See you later guys, have a lovely evening! x
(Many thanks to the shr-inkingviolet xx)

A post that doesn't mention Trump...

So this weekend was the last one that is not overshadowed by the return to work, and what did I waste my Sunday doing? Finishing Robinson Crusoe. My copy is now absolutely covered index tabs. The various colours have made it look pretty, and also like I know what I am doing and this can never be a bad thing. I am just so excited to start studying Austen on this module.

However, before my near death experience with Robinson Crusoe I spent the night at a friends house. I had a lovely time and, of course, came away with a handful of books. I'm borrowing Catherine O' Flynn's What Was Lost and the most beautiful collection of poetry by Lorraine Mariner. I also gained a copy of The Colour Purple and a book of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy. I was very very happy and
cannot wait to start What Was Lost.

Last night I managed to finish my current read of The Problem with Forever, by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Whilst it was an easy read, and incredibly emotional, it wasn't the best YA I've read. Mallory was a lovely character, with an abusive background and yet she is so so brave. It was
endearing because she is oblivious to it. The character development was wonderful to read and Mallory's character definitely inspires bravery in the readers. The romantic element though, this was where I felt it lacked realism. I want Mallory to grow away from Rider. Sure, they're a lovely couple but I felt that she had more potential alone. I don't know.

What are my plans for today? I want to start planning an assignment, and I want to clean. I've got the bug.

Happy Tuesday to you all.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

It started with The Daily Mail and Kristen Stewart...

Now normally I avoid The Daily Mail like the plague. But I came across this, yesterday, whilst looking at the Trump related news online, scrolling through a mix of headlines from all different websites. Amongst worrying headlines about Trump's daughter and her husband preventing him from signing an 'anti-gay law' and the fact that Trump 'respects' Vladimir Putin. Then I found this ridiculous headline and found it far too amusing to write it off and ignore. Stewart references Donald Trump's tweets from 2012; 4/5 years before he became president. She looks so pleased with herself.

She joked that president Trump didn't hate her, but had instead taken a dislike to her because he was secretly in love with her boyfriend of 2012. At this point I had to google whether she and Robert Pattinson were still together. The fact that they weren't only made it more humourous.I hope think that she is trying to make a point; that Trump is far too invested in celebrity culture, and in other peoples lives. Perhaps she's attempting to prove that he is an idiot, as if we didn't already know. I am at a loss. But the fact that this was included amongst some of the most worrying headlines I've seen, was laughable. I also liked that the Mail refers to her as Steward on occasion, instead of Stewart. An alternative fact, perhaps?

Today, however, I find myself reading more serious articles regarding Trump's rage toward the 'so called' judge that temporarily overruled his travel ban. Once again, we have a blatant display of disrespect from President Trump and after taking my first look at his twitter, I am appalled. His tweets are rude, and they all bloody end in exclamation marks. I feel as though I am being yelled at, whilst reading. Donald Trump headlines the news daily with his prejudice and consistent bad decisions. But nobody has declared him the 'so called' president. It is not okay to disrespect someone's profession purely because they have disagreed with your opinions. The guy literally throws his toys out of his pram on a regular basis!

Now, I like Bernie Sanders attitudes toward Trump, he states that 'we are a democracy, not a one-man show [...] we are not another Trump enterprise.” Sanders fears that Trump's presidency is beginning to head in an 'authoritarian direction' and that much is obvious. I have come to spend so much of my time reading about Trump's latest escapades. My lecturer commented recently that he is currently a part two different time zones; his own and that of Trump. I wholeheartedly agree and am doing this myself on a daily basis now. I have started reading the newspaper, I read twitter responses to Trump's actions and I partake a daily google search.

I am equally appalled by the fact that the vice president opened Black History Month with an appreciation tweet regarding Abraham Lincoln. I watched as a collection of sarcastic responses on twitter unfold. People could not believe Pence had begun Black History Month by calling for the celebration of a white male. How do these people not hear themselves?! What bliss it must be to live in ignorance.

This afternoon I sat in a seminar and we discussed Robinson Crusoe. It is terrifying that we were able to see so many similarities to Trump across literature. Crusoe and themes of colonisation led to a brief discussion surrounding Trump's misguided ideas. I can see Trump in a discussion about Gatsby, in phrases such as 'morally bankrupt'. I see a reflection of Trump and the agony that he inflicts everywhere just lately.

Today, I leave you with another headline I spied today. Trump's team, allegedly, hold their meetings in the dark because they can't yet work the lights in the White House.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. More later on, after my American Literature's class is over.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A long day...

So tonight I planned on starting a new book and curling up in bed early. I went and visited my old high school and I had forgotten how long the days are. A three hour lecture now seems like a long time to me, but I was at the school for around six hours today. I had some things to pick up, and some people to catch up with. I had a lovely day but it reminded me why I categorically do not want to teach secondary school children. Why I ever thought that I would want to is beyond me, and yet I went through high school with this firm belief. I have the most respect for teachers, and training teachers. I think you are so brave.

Anyway, some of my favourite and most dreaded questions are asked when catching up with people. 'What are you doing now', 'How's life'? My responses are always the same; I am still at university, I am still working the same job, I am still doing the grand total of nothing with my life. I can't help but feel that I am wasting time. But what am I meant to be doing at just shy of twenty? All that ever changes is I've got through some more books, but this time I could say that I had started a blog. Conversations normally include what my friends are up to, and me praying that nobody asks about the appalling state of my love life. But so far so good and I enjoyed the visit.

Instead of going to bed early, I've been pottering around on the internet. I've been looking at hotels for a weekend away in April. I'm hoping to go away for my birthday weekend. Really, what I've been doing is avoiding reading the last few pages of Robinson Crusoe. I have returned to a state of irritation with regard to Defoe. It feels so repetitive and dry. I hear Roxanna is better but good grief. I'm sick of getting fifty thousand details about whatever the hell Crusoe is thinking about or building. I am bored! Perhaps I am missing something.

So I found something more interesting to read. I read this article entitled Donald Trump is Not A Romance Novel Hero: An Argument I Never Thought I’d Have to Make. The title sounded so ridiculous that I had to laugh. But then I realised that there were people who actually thought that Trump resembled a romantic hero! Apparently, romance novel readers voted for Trump hoping for a happily ever after. Naturally, I became curious with regard to the reasons that were being given, despite not engaging with romance novels frequently. But it is safe to say that this article stated the obvious.

First of all, apparently romantic heroes dress well. Even the ones that wear suits wear them better than Donald, the article points out. Well I wouldn't have addressed his lack of fashion sense first, though it is true that the suit fitting is so unattractive and unappealing. But this is closely followed by the fact his racist, xenophobic, sexist, islamophobic ideals are not sexy or cute. This is a much better argument for why the guy does not even come close to being the archetypal romantic hero. I know Heathcliff was a bit of an arsehole, but Trump is worlds away from him.

Thirdly, his misogynistic behaviour. Despite not having read a lot of romance novels, I don't remember the romantic hero ever grabbing a woman by the p***y. I read comments that argue Trump resembled Christian Grey, because apparently Fifty Shades of Grey is full of great examples of romantic heroes. I didn't know whether to laugh, or feel disgusted. But the most hilarious part of this article was the comparison between romance novel covers, and Trump's portrait. It was described as being more 'menacing' rather than 'sweet, sexy or cute'! I'd love to meet a woman, other than his wife, that finds Trump sexy or cute!

After reading this, I realised Robinson Crusoe was probably a lot safer and inspired much less anxiety and confusion. The grass is not always greener, my friends. I will take Defoe boring me to death over this any day.

Good night folks.

Friday, 3 February 2017


'Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever' (from Goodreads).

After trying for a week to even start Caraval, I have been sat in the bath for about an hour tonight and have finally finished it! I am so happy and yet so unsatisfied with the ending. This book has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster and I don't know why I expected anything different from Garber's debut. The Night Circus is now frequently mentioned in association with Caraval and I could see the links. However I did feel that Caraval also possessed the element of mystery and craziness that were present throughout Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I am sure we're all aware, by now, of my love of Alice in Wonderland. There are riddles, and lies all of the way through.

Stephanie Garber did an amazing job. From the very beginning, we are warned that we must not get carried away and swept up by Caraval. We are warned that the magic is not real, that it is just a game. I felt as though this warning was not just intended for players like Scarlett. The warning also seemed to apply to the reader. But I will admit to getting carried away. I was swept away by Caraval and did not wish to return to reality. I am suffering with a major book hang over after this one! But it also got me out of a little bit of a reading rut. Caraval is a book that you race through, desperate to find out the fates of chararacters such as Scarlett and Donatella. Yet, I didn't want it to be over. Garber included plot twists at every step of the way to keep my hooked. Caraval was so unpredictable that I really appreciated its mystery. I fell in love with the descriptions of the mysterious location, the boy that falls flies from the first balcony upon their entry, and Scarlett's mood changing dress!

Scarlett was a beautiful character and I fell in love with her. She was genuine, good (though it is pointed out that 'good means different things to different people), and relatable. She was anxious for most of the book, but the game changed her. The development in her personality was lovely to see, I felt as though I was watching Scarlett grow up during the week long adventure. She was the only character that I felt that I could trust throughout the entire novel. I had nobody else to trust or to root for, especially as Scarlett kept writing everyone off as I began to trust other characters. Dontatella is absent for much of the novel, and therefore untrustworthy. Julian is a character that Scarlett repeatedly questions. Her father is scum, who beats Dontatella in order to encourage Scarlett to behave. We know nothing about the Count that Scarlett is due to marry, only that her father has set it up! The rest of the characters seem to be Caraval performers. The novel is based upon rumour, and lies and huge leaps of faith. It was certainly not easy to make any assumptions.

I felt stuck with Scarlett and simply had to trust her judgement regarding legend, her father, and the count. Caraval made Scarlett question herself and I was right there with her. On the surface, it appeared that all she thought about was the impulsive Donatella. But beneath, it was clear that she sought so much more from life. Scarlett only begins to make choices for herself right at the end of the novel, after following Donatella around into Caraval, being forced into an arranged marriage by her father, and accidentally falling in love with the charming Julian.

The bond between the two sisters was truly beautiful to read. Though the story features romance and mystery, the true focus remains on the relationship between Scarlett and Donatella. Following the most painful cliff-hanger I have ever had the pleasure of reading, I had to find out if there was going to be a second book! The good news is that Garber is planning a second novel and the film rights have already been sold! I am so very excited!

Just a short review for today, purely because I cannot bring myself to spoil it for anybody. I recommend this book, wholeheartedly. By far the best book I have read in a long time. Thank you very much to Fairyloot for making it a part of their January box.

Have a lovely evening, folks.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

February; another reading list that I won't complete...

Afternoon folks. I am currently sat at university and I am surrounded by stacks of Shakespeare books. I was sat on the floor in the library this afternoon in the search of new books and have checked out so many books that my back hurts to carry them. I have enjoyed an afternoon of reading about Jacobean courts and King James. Though many of you may presume I'm being sarcastic, I'm not! I'm actually finding Shakespeare pretty interesting and have had a playlist full of Bryan Adams to get me through it. I'm really excited about this module. Having studied Webster's Duchess of Malfi before, I'm dead excited to study it again later on in the module.

I've been working on a post focused on anxiety all day, but it is taking a while and I am spending a good amount of time on it in order to do it justice. But right now all I wanted to do is read Caraval. I am now a good hundred pages in and I love it so far. The characters are wonderful and engaging. I was reading The Night Circus this time last year and whilst Caraval reminds me of that, I think it is easier to follow and there is more of a mystery. It is so unpredictable and I like that.

Anyway, I thought that since we had started a new month that I would make another to be read list for me not to follow. I have the best of intentions when I start these lists, I'm always really determined to actually start and finish them. Okay, obviously I wanted to finish Caraval so I don't think we'll include that in the list.

1. The Journals of Sylvia Plath
2. We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
3. Replica by Lauren Oliver
4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
5. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
6. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
7. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
8. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Then, of course, there is the pile of books I have to read for university. I have Robinson Crusoe to finish this week but I'm enjoying it after discussing it in my first seminar.

I'm going to try and post some more regular reviews as I go along. I'll be back later, I'm going to treat myself to a bath and a couple of hours with Caraval. I hope you guys are having a great day.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Tempest

Okay so I thought I'd record my notes throughout my lecture through a blog post. You'll probably all be breathing a sigh of relief to read something other than rants about Trump. Anyway I am currently watching Taymor's adaptation of The Tempest (2010) in my lecture. I've read The Tempest a few times now and I like it. It's not one of my favourite of Shakespeare's works, I prefer works such as Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night.

Anyway, the film is successful in adapting The Tempest, and the setting was beautiful. Taymor was successful in replicating the effect that Shakespeare's language had created in the text. The dreamlike setting of the island was just as it had been in the text, and I was enthralled. I really liked the use of sudden flashbacks and Ariel's sudden appearances. Ariel's songs were much more sinister than I felt they were in the text. That Ariel was repeatedly fading in and out was interesting and very much added to the setting. It was much more obvious here that he was invisible to the characters, and yet he was omnipresent for the audience. I felt a great sympathy for Ariel and his imprisonment though, perhaps I missed something, but I couldn't really work out why he was still enslaved to Prospera. Regardless, his presence made me feel uneasy and I wondered if that was because of his wispy, and dreamlike form.

The casting was strange to me at first and surprised me. Helen Miren?! I was expecting to see Miranda racing up the incline to plead with a the patriarchal figure of her father. I was expecting Prospero to occupy a male role. Regardless, I like the change and now we have Prospera. With it, I felt the relationship between Miranda and her parent is more entertaining. At times, there is a sense of a normal maternal bond between the two characters which made the character appear much more favourable to me. I detested him whilst reading, I found him overbearing.

However, this endearing and maternal side to Prospera is quickly and frequently undermined by the sinister and manipulative elements of her character. She is marrying her daughter off for her own gain, she enslaves Ariel and has manipulated the entire play since its beginning. I felt that her character was erratic, and her demeanour changes so often it is hard to keep up.  By the end of the play, Prospera has given an emotional soliloquy and I find myself feeling sympathy for her once again. The role of the victim is much more endearing now that the character is female, I think.

The choice of a female casting definitely appealed to be inner feminist, and I loved the alterations to the story of Prospera's origins to include elements of witchcraft. Through flashbacks, we are led to feel sorry for her and her daughter because she has been cast out and usurped by her brother. She has found this island out of what she believed to be providence and the notion of Tabula Rasa is introduced. Again, I felt more sympathy for the female counterpart due to having been cast out with a young daughter. Regardless I appreciated her much more than the original male counterpart. Whether or not I rooted for her, I don't know. I don't think I rooted for anybody really. I didn't take a liking to any of the characters in particular.

Miranda's character is the one that seems a little over the top. She's a kind and sympathetic character but far too naïve for me to root for her. She comes across desperate to have the first man that she comes across, and this irritates me. Though it is understanding. The point was raised that Shakespeare hints at Miranda and Ferdinand having an unhappy marriage due to the fact that Ferdinand cheated at chess. Miranda responds to his cheating with the fact that she would call it 'fair play'. Good god.
Last week I discovered that the word fond once meant to make a fool of oneself whilst having an affection for them, and I very much think she embodies this. I'm sure that she has a good heart, but she falls in love far too quickly.

I loved the casting choice for Trinculo! Don't get me wrong, I do not like Russell Brand at all and rarely do I find him amusing. However, I couldn't imagine anybody else fulfilling the role better than he. Although I do think that he reminded me of Captain Jack Sparrow, which made for a very amusing adaptation of The Tempest.

In short, I did very much enjoy the film and another interpretation of the text. Though I will admit to finding the non-diegetic music disrupting to the flow of the film and this was aided by the rearranging of some scenes. This made it a little confusing in places.

One of my favourite lines from The Tempest is 'hell is empty and all the devils are here'. How very accurate.

Okay, before I go I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that's been reading this! People keep coming to me and telling me that they're reading it and I honestly cannot thank you enough!

Have a great day guys. Expect some more rambling later on.