Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August Book Haul

To say I enjoy books would be an understatement, surely if you are a reader, follow me on social media accounts or are simply my friend, you will understand my love for the English language, fiction and writing, oh and pretty much everything bookish. 

This month I have exceeded myself and bought 9 books in one week.

One week.

Crazy. Mental. Losing the plot.

Here's a lil summary of a few of them!

They have been piled next to my bookcase ready to be organised and slotted into my shelves by the colour of their spines. Oh boy.

That's the most exciting part about getting a new book - first, what colour is its spine?

Yellow? Okay, lets find the yellow section.

What shade of yellow? This means comparing the already existing yellow books and finding its place on the colour scale.

A process I take very seriously.



The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson.

Published in 2010 this is Nelson's debut novel. A story of American young girl Lennie experiencing high school whilst struggling to cope with the sudden death of her older sister. A piece of fiction looking at grief, loss and romance. I am looking forward to read this young adult novel after reading I'll Give You The Sun also written by Nelson. 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness.

Ness in my opinion has a growing reputation in the young adult community, yet this is my first book ever purchased by him. If I am honest I've read synopsis' of the novel and I'm not entirely sure of its plot or themes so the plan is to jump in the deep end, read it and be pleasantly surprised.

Purity - Jonathan Franzen.

Discovered this beauty through a Booktuber, fell in love with the colours on the cover and added it to my reading list. Described as a novel intersecting several stories of different characters from varying ages and backgrounds, this seems a book that is right up my street, despite its thickness (I find thick novels quite scary so stepping out of my comfort zone) it's a mix of different stories and lives.



Dear Amy - Helen Callaghan

One of my favourite genres is psychological thrillers, novels that keep me gripped and unable to put it down until it's finished. An agony aunt called Margot Lewis receives a letter for her advice column, the letter is not your usual agony aunt criteria, instead, it's chilling, scary and urges you to keep reading and discover what might have happened to this pleading young woman. The sticker on the cover "If you liked The Girl on The Train you will love this!" had me put it in my basket, I enjoyed the suspense and shocking plot twist of The Girl on The Train so, I guess now, I have high expectations.

A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara 

This has been on my reading list since it came out, previously avoiding it because of its length, ugh what is that all about?? Need to get over my fear of lengthy novels, however on a FOOD shopping trip I happened to disappear into the book aisle of Tesco' and found A Little Life. After hunting down my family again I was greeted with "Bet you were in the book section!" Oops. It follows the lives of four friends in New York City after graduating. A spectacular tale of friendship, career building, sexuality, love and addiction.

Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author by Paul Ewen

A novel exploring what it is to be an author in 21st century, documenting a series of events at real author events that the author has fictionalised. Never before have I heard of this until I came across a box of books reduced to sale prices in Waterstones, if I'm honest, I was drawn by it's black cover and its focus on writing and being an author (My ultimate ambition and goal for life).

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Shakespeare: Staging The World by Jonathan Bate and Dora Thornton 

An absolute prize possession I also found in the box of books reduced to sale in Waterstones. From studying English Literature at A-Level like most literature students I have developed a taste for Shakespeare. He's fantastic, a legend among writers, an inventor of language and all those wonderful insults "Thou art as loathsome as a toad".  This beauty is an illustrated collection of objects showing how Shakespeare developed the stage for art, performance and literature among creatives and writers. I am sure I squealed at the till and cashier when she placed it delicately in a bag for me.


Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Parts One and Two - A script written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by J.K Rowling

Last but not least. *SCREAMS* This is maybe every child of my generations dream, new Harry Potter material, however it has gathered mixed reviews. Spoken about as the 8th instalment to the Harry Potter series, 19 years after the battle of Hogwarts. You remember where the last book left off right? 19 years later, the trio with their families sending their own children off on The Hogwarts Express just like they had so many years ago. The Cursed Child is Draco Malfoy and the trio's children experiencing Hogwarts and magic. OBVIOUSLY. I have already read this before this haul goes live, being the potterhead I am I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It's a script, not a fully planned novel so yes, it's different and intended to be seen as a performance rather than read as a play, it's like reading a Shakespeare play, it's a little confusing until you see the real life production on stage with real actors and emotions.


What books have you been loving this month? Any recommendations? 

Would you like a longer review of any of these books mentioned? Let me know!!!

I hope now after reading this you treat yourself to a few books, you know? You deserve it. 




Friday, 12 August 2016

Friends, coffee and Wagamamas

Cathartic is the word to describe the day I have had. I woke after a restless 3 hour sleep, feeling groggy and unmotivated for my plans - dragged myself out of bed nonetheless, ate a healthy breakfast and had a mug of coffee. 

Avoiding phone calls is my speciality but I am glad I answered the phone today. It was my therapist. 

After 8 months of seeing two therapists, engaging in both one to one and group sessions and finding myself coming home with piles of handy documents about managing panic, anxiety and depression, my last session is booked for next week. 

In my therapists words "You have changed your life".

I am happy, so happy to be doing well, to have someone else validate my progress and motivate me to keep getting out of bed in the morning, to keep running, to keep breathing and to keep making plans to see friends. I am overwhelmed by emotions, you know when you just cry tears of genuine happiness? That is me right now, especially when the first person I told was my best friend (More below) and her telling me how proud she is boosted my happiness a little more.

To continue the day on a high I met with Emma. I met her during my A-Levels at college and we go together like strawberries and cream. She's my little pink cupcake.



After not seeing her in two months it was wonderful to catch up over a meal at Wagamamas. FYI this was my first visit and on entrance the smell of noodles was incredible. We ordered a starter to share of steamed vegetable gyozas and juices to drink - mine was called Positive (Definitely a representation of my emotions and attitude to life) made of pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. For mains I ordered yasai yaki soba, minus the egg and it was fantastic - noodles with mushrooms, beansprouts, peppers, spring onions, shallots and pickled ginger. Will 100% be visiting again!



Emma is also a book worm so an adventure to a book shop was always on the cards. I picked up a couple of YA books on her persistent recommendations - The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

We found ourselves in Topshop, my all time favourite high street store and I fell in love with Beyonce' recent clothing line Ivy Park, I'll be treating myself soon to some new gym wear. Emma being one of my best friends and all, and what with us moving to different locations for university next month we're going to be apart.

However, you know those best friend necklaces you'd buy your constantly changing best friend in primary school? We got those! Ours are the Yin Yang symbol split into two, she got the Yin (The black side with a white spot) and I got the Yang (The white side with a black spot). The necklaces are dainty and delicate. I'm not massively a fan of wearing much jewellery because it's a lot of fussing about and fiddling, idk I find rings and bracelets all annoying, but this is a sentimental necklace so it's a keeper!

Yummy food and clothes shopping aside it was a lovely day, one to treasure forever.

In all the day ended with my sister and I outside in the garden at 12am giggling and attempting yet failure to watch the meteor shower. Damn clouds. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Girls - Emma Cline | | Book Review

The Girls being Emma Cline's debut novel, Emma is twenty seven and from California. 

First impressions from the cover is a feeling of summer beach vibes with faded colours, similar to a Polaroid photo, however contrasting the darkness portrayed throughout the novel. It contains a misty air, an unsettling atmosphere that leaves you physically unable to put it down, each page leading you wanting more, craving more information, a power surging through your body to find out about The Girls.

Set in California, flashing back from Evie's childhood in 1969 to the present day and remembering what happened. Her adolescence filled with sex, drugs and odd friendships. 

Cline's style of writing is intriguing, compelling, powerful and rich.

It explores girlhood and womanhood, how women are treated in society by men. If looked upon in a feminist perspective, which I did because lately I've been hunting for books with feminist themes so slightly obsessed, then this book is a strong representation of the patriarchy in society. Cline's vague way of describing men and their power, especially over the girls, highlighted by the staring, the gaping at the female body and how susceptible it is for women to experience this uncomfortable ogling. Although there's the other side, Evie is a girl who doesn't particularly get much attention, she's not an IT girl and any sign of attention from anyone is appreciated, yearned for even. 

Continuing its exploration of girlhood it delves into sexuality and it becomes the centre attention, the act of sex detailed in erotic ways so easily, so safely that is normal and it reminds you that a girl masturbating is normal. (Yes feminism working!)

The story of Evie going off the rails as such, she finds herself fascinated by a unconventionally beautiful group of girls. Meeting Suzanne, Donna and Helen, the main girls of the group, the most important anyway. She is struck by their ways of live at the ranch and is pulled in by their cult like forces. The ranch becomes a safe haven until it turns sour.

Cline builds up to the climax, hinting continuously throughout the narrative to an act of violence and perhaps, satanic rituals.

She creates suspense, as you read you will feel it in your bones that a dreadful event is approaching, you will be gripped by the storytelling.

Favourite bit? Cline's talent of description.

Favourite character? I felt attracted to both Evie and Suzanne despite their completely opposite personalities. I could see parts of myself in Evie, but I loved the mysterious ways of Suzanne.



Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Happiness

Happy. 

I am genuinely happy within myself for the first time in a while.

Depression does this excruciating thing of telling you life will not get better or you will not get out of the hole you're currently in.

Depression lies. Remember that.

Depression strives for you to become the shell of the person you used to be. You forget who you are. You don't feel real. You float through the days in an emotional pain that is difficult to explain.

On the bad days She, the depression nags at my brain telling me tomorrow will be worse, the next day after that will be terrible. Life is going to be bleak for the rest of your existence. 

Liar.

I am out of the dark (or out of the woods if you're a T Swift fan) and it feels wonderful. My concentration levels are high, I can read a book and fully concentrate on the words and I can watch a two hour film without getting distracted. Silence is enjoyable because my own mind is now quiet. I am calm and content. 

Falling back in love with exercise has happened, I mean, I never felt out of love with running, my motivation to get out of bed was zero. Urges to run come every day however when you are trapped in your mind and you can't physically do anything exercise is a no-go. 

I can run! My legs can run! My body hasn't forgotten how to function, how to keep going one foot in front of another and how to allow oxygen into my body and brain. 

Euphoric feelings burst through me after a run. It is rewarding. I am on top of the world after I run. 

I like feeling sweaty, only in the context of running or general exercise. I like going back into the changing room and physically being able to see the evidence of a run, the dripping sweat, strawberry red face and damp clothing. I like replenishing my body with water and a carby meal.

Things are coming up Milhouse...

Blog post ideas are sprouting left, right and centre, notes everywhere in numerous notebooks. Results day is soon and now it's August I can officially say I will begin university NEXT MONTH. Much excite.