Friday, 16 January 2015

Books I Want To Read This Year

I have, probably stupidly set myself the task of reading 40 books in 2015. Last year, I managed a hefty 27, but I am upping my game this year. I've come to realise that I spend too much time engrossed in social media and not enough time in the world of a book. It's the 16th January and I'm in the midst of reading my 4th book already this year. Just over 2 weeks into the year and I'm so lost into fictional worlds that I never want to leave.

So here are my top 5 books that I want to read this year:

1. Anne Frank's Diary - This book was one of the most memorable books of my childhood, I actually believe if I remember correctly, it was one of the first books I ever read. At the age of 8, I was reading about Anne's experiences in a Nazi grounded society and I loved it. I definitely want to read it again.

2.  The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell - Every time I find myself in a bookshop or online browsing for books, I always find myself drawn to this. The cover is absolutely beautiful and that's 100% an okay reason to buy a book...
3. Yes Please by Amy Poehler -After reading Lena Dunham's 'Not That Kind of Girl' I have found a brand new love for autobiographical hardbacks. This one by Amy I have noticed has been heavily recommended by so many fellow readers (noting that she is one of the stars of the absolutely hilarious show Parks and Recreation) and I am dying to read it, especially after experiencing the wonders of Lena's world. There's just something so soothing and calming about reading about other people's opinions and mistakes that makes me feel so much better about myself and the things that happen to me. 
4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - I am so utterly in love with Flynn's writing style. I have read both Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, so beautifully written and abstract. I wouldn't normally reach out for a crime novel, they just never really appealed to me, but since reading these two books I crave more. Flynn's plots are so intriguing and also very graphic, some bits actually make me wince but nevertheless I finish the books in awe at the marvels of Flynn's mind. In fact, after finishing Sharp Objects recently, I actually screamed... I didn't expect the ending and I was feeling both amazed and distraught. Dark Places is begging to be brought by me and find it's place in my book collection among it's other siblings. 

5. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - This book is currently one of the books that appears at the front of a bookstore on promotion and my eyes dart towards it all the time. I pick it up, read the blurb and ponder over buying it. After reading Gillian Flynn's novels, I have found another new love of crime based novels and I can't resist a story about someone going missing - thrilling, intriguing and always leaving me wanting more. 

Well, there you go. There's my top 5 books for me to read this year. I could have probably made the list with at least 50 books... I have an ever growing wishlist that is urging me to purchase all, but unfortunately my bank account and masses of coursework and revision don't agree. I long for the days where I'm no longer in education (not wishing my life away, I thoroughly enjoy education and adults do say that your school years are the best years of your life) and I can read all the time without worrying about failing my A-Levels. But until then, I'll battle through the collection of books that's expanding in my room (I don't even have enough room left in my bookcase anymore, now you know I have a problem) and pretend I don't have loads to do, just so I can leave reality for a fictional world just for a few hours every day. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Christmas 2003

I don't recall many Christmas memories, I have what you call a short term memory or just a very selected memory. I don't remember what I had for dinner last night but I can tell you what somebody said to me on the 23rd September 2011...

The one day of festivities that stands out to me is Christmas Day 2003. I'm not entirely sure why, I think it has to do with the fact I had one of those disposable plastic cameras in my hands; the times when digital cameras merely existed and if you wanted to have your photos as physical possessions, you had to make a trip to Boots and pay to have them developed. I kinda wish that method of technology was still popular.

Christmas Day 2003, I was 7; very nearly 8 years old. I lived somewhere different to where I live now, I lived in a tiny and bitterly cold flat in a run-down part of my hometown. Pink, fluffy carpets and tattered black velvet sofas graced our living room, not forgetting the out of date single glazed windows. But nonetheless, it was Christmas Day and according to the keepsake photos I and my family captured, it appeared that despite the coldness of our home, I still excitedly jumped around in my deep purple satin pajama bottoms. I should highlight the fact I didn't wear a shirt all day... The photos are definitely for family laughs only. It was acceptable though, I was 7 years old and clearly not going through puberty.

Being the very experienced photographer I was, I snapped a photo of one of my sister's Christmas presents. It was my sister's first Christmas, a moment for my parents to remember, but causing havoc behind the scenes was me, running around joyfully at the aspect of Santa having been the previous night. The present that I captured was a helter skelter framed toy, made of plastic and vividly coloured. The frame came with plastic balls that would then spiral around the plastic tunnels. My mum must have photographed a precious moment between me and my sister. The photo is me and her lying on the floor watching the plastic balls spiral around the tunnels and fall to the ground with a kerplunk!

That year, I received my first Walkman. A Walkman is essentially what an iPod is now, however this device was massive and not very portable... The size of a CD, heavy and silver. Lots of buttons and a miniature screen to tell me what track number I was listening to. I spent all day (topless still) with this Walkman sat on my lap with headphones listening to my favourite CD's; which back then probably was Now 53 or Westlife. I had a creepy obsession with Westlife as a child, I'm leaving that down to my mother who was also obsessed and forever replaying their albums on our stereo.

To end the day on high, I then proceeded to sit at our dinner table with my new prized possession - still listening on repeat to Westlife, whilst I avoided the gross looking and smelling vegetables and tucking into the turkey and pigs in blankets. I guess you could say this is where it all began... The beginning of unsociable times that would lead to my teenage years being hidden away either with a book or headphones in, blocking out the world!