Monday, 23 November 2015

The Grownup | | Book Review

"Let's start with the blood tickle" 

In true tradition of the psychological thrillers Gillian Flynn creates after her award winning three novels; Gone Girl (Best-selling, now made into a gripping movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) Dark Places and Sharp Objects. The Grownup follows suit but in short story form, this is a book to read if you don't have time for full length novels but perhaps not a book to read late at night; it's light, thrilling (obviously) and ends on a cliffhanger. All readers love a good cliffhanger until you realise there isn't a second novel or there's very minimal chance of picking the author's brain.

The opening sentence is shocking, vulgar in the best sense but you are must be used to this if you're familiar with Flynn's style of writing. She doesn't sugar coat her words, the stories are raw, jaw-clenching and somewhat, filthy. Flynn clearly has no issues with controversy topics, she writes about women who are sex workers, women who aren't scared of male oppression and masters the art of psychologically investing you. 

Allowing readers to develop an attachment to characters is exactly what Flynn does, you'll feel a cluster of emotion and feel slightly dazed towards the end. A tale of three main characters: the unnamed narrator who works as first, sex worker and secondly, as psychic in a demoralizing work place, Susan: the woman she meets during a psychic interaction, a woman she becomes highly invested with and Miles: Susan's suspected demonic stepson.

Without spoiling this beautiful piece, this is a ghost story that'll leave chills down your spine but with the addition of manipulative characters, further leaving you wondering who is the suspect and who is the victim! Flynn's style of writing develops her character with such high complexity, her words will make you doubt your original thoughts and question your sanity. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

University Woes

I imagine that many of you have been or will be in my situation - applying to university.

I have dreamed of going to university since I was very young (Probably around 8) and for an 8 year old that seems like an extreme dream. Now it's finally here, I'm finally in the process of applying, I'm absolutely terrified. Last night I sent off my application. I've chosen my five universities, I've written a pretty mediocre personal statement that unfortunately doesn't tell my chosen universities that I can sit and spoon a jar of peanut butter in one sitting or that I can successfully rap Super Bass by Nicki Minaj. What it does tell them however is I'm enthusiastic about books and reading, I mean when am I not reading a book? and I write, I write a lot. 

All I have ever wanted is to make a difference on someone's life through my writing, I can't even begin to explain how I feel when someone reads my work and has the most loveliest compliments (I'm open to criticism too, that's how writing works) It means the most to me when someone likes my words. Written word is the only way I can convey any meaning. I don't know how to talk properly about issues that matter however writing makes it possible. At the minute I'm going to label myself as a writing wizard, I'm writing a story and I've fallen in love with the male character I created (Ugh. Writer's problems. This guy doesn't exist, only in my imagination, he has a nice face though? He likes books? and cake?) I can't stop writing. It's a rewarding feeling to write, to sit and write for hours and lose track of time. It's comforting and it takes me away from my hectic life just for a little while. It's even more rewarding for me because the writer's block has been real recently but my head has been swimming with ideas for my plot and new characters. I. Just. Love. Writing. 

This blog made an entrance into my personal statement and I'm aware anyone can read this but knowing specifically the people who are deciding my life for the next 3/4 years are reading is daunting. Maybe now is a good time to censor my blog and make sure there's nothing dodgy...

I'm an anxious person. After sending my application form, I cried. I sat in front of my laptop and cried. I'm not sure whether it was relief because for the last 6 months I've been going to open days, re-searching universities and trying to muster a list of things I'm reasonably good at or whether I'm scared. I'm going for the latter. I worry about portraying myself as arrogant but I know I'm intelligent (In English that is, I know nothing about general knowledge except turtles don't have teeth). I work hard and never give myself credit for it. 

It's taken a lot of time to get where I am now. I'm worried that my efforts won't be worth it, I'm worried that I won't get any offers or I won't even like the concept of university. This is the typical "I'm applying to university based anxiety"

Everything I've typed already is negative, basically me in a nutshell (Oh look, she's still going) but I am excited for university. I am excited to learn. Education is important to me because I love learning - give me all the knowledge about words, books and authors!!! Please!!! I once told somebody that I'm not going to university for the experience, I'm going to learn and their response was "I've never heard anyone say that before" I think that says a lot about me as a person.

I want to move out of my town, I want to meet new people, I want to live independently and I want to poorly manage my money. My chosen universities are no where near home but I'm ready for it. I'm nearly 20 years old, I'm no longer 15 and relying on my mum for everything. I like to pretend I'm ready to become a FULL TIME ADULT. In reality I sometimes manage to burn porridge, I've only just learned how to use a washing machine without mixing the colours of all my clothes and I can't make beds so this time next year when I'm at university be ready for various complaints that I'm sleeping with no bed sheets or no cover on my duvet, I'm serious... I'm awful. 

The stress that has come with my uni application is enough to make me never get out of bed again. Deep down I know it'll be worth the crying, the essays and the caffeine induced nights but right now, I'm unsure. I'm unsure if I even want to go. Has society just drilled into my brain that I must go to university? That I must get a degree to get a job? That I must be in painful debt? 

The government is to blame. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Grammar: Know Your Shit or Know You're Shit | | Book Review

"I love learning about grammar, spelling and porcupine rodeos" 

Sounds bizarre and hilarious, right?

True. This book will teach you the in's and out's of grammar - you will probably become a "grammar fanatic". If you find yourself annoying your friends by correcting their grammar, then I'm 100% certain this book will make your friends hate you just a tiny bit more... But it's okay because is there anything better than fancy, correct grammar? No. 

Learning grammar sounds boring however this trendy, pocket sized (Depends on the size of your pocket, women don't get the privilege of many pockets) manual will teach you an enjoyable lesson. You won't feel like you're back in GCSE English reading Of Mice and Men!  You'll learn about word classes (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc.) where to correctly place punctuation and the weird, wonderful and confusing ways of the English language.

Why does there have to be several similar sounding words with different meanings? Who hates the English so much that 'their' 'there' and 'they're' exist?

The graphology of the text is aesthetically pleasing with a colour palette of hot pink and black. Not all straight-forward writing - you'll find charts explaining grammar terms more efficiently. Helpful tips on what to do and what not to do and how to prevent yourself from embarrassment with incorrect grammar.

Interesting facts about the history of English, where the terms "upper class" and "lower class" lettering came from (This bit will make you think 'who are we letting be in charge of creating the rules for language?') and inspiring quotes from famous authors.

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master"
- Ernest Hemingway. 

You will close this book feeling fascinated that our language is so mind-blowing and complex. A humorous, informative read that will dramatically improve your quality of writing.

 I lied slightly when I said GCSE English is behind you, because nearer the end of the book there's a testing section. Test your brain on whether (or is it weather?...) you know your shit or you're shit!

Note: I frantically re-read this and checked my grammar. The irony if I've made a mistake. If you notice a mistake please don't break my fragile word loving heart by telling me. K thanks.