Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Grapes of Wrath, The Conclusioning: "The break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath."

Well. I don't know about you guys, but after I finished The Grapes of Wrath, I sure felt completely drained. That last section is just unrelenting awfulness, huh? Like... you feel like we've already had some dismal times, but nope, just had to throw a stillborn baby in there, didn't ya Steinbeck?
Let's see... So, the peach farm. That seemed like a pleasant place to work and live, huh? 'Oh hey, you can have this money while you're being scabs, but as soon as we PUT THESE DAMN REDS BACK IN THEIR PLACE, you've got to accept a pay cut. It was just kind of like the culmination of all the things Steinbeck's been warning us about all the time, and it. Is. Bitter.

And then Casy came back!
And it's like oh YAY, everything's going to be ok because my favourite character except Ma is back and he will MAKE SOCIALISM HAPPEN, only, no, wait, look, instead let's club him to death and get Tom in terrible trouble!
Do we feel like this is some kind of massively downer message from Steinbeck like 'yeah, I really want socialism to happen. But it's never going to happen, is it?' (God, Steinbeck, stop trying to make Socialism happen. It's never going to happen.) Or is it just meant to be like 'that dead guy was really nice and only tried to do good things for everyone, so we should RISE UP and be like him!' I don't know. All I know is that I did not like it! I never do.

I actually kind of misremembered that they snuck Tom out of the peach farm place and then he hid in those woods, because I thought he sort of ran off into the night a la Connie a few chapters back. But nope, he hid in the woods near some boxcars for no discernible reason (oh wait, were they going to have him back in when his face healed? But wouldn't everyone have still been like 'Where the hell did he come from?!') and then STUPID Ruthie went and told on him. I seriously... Like, I like the kids for the moments of comic relief they bring to the novel, but Ruthie is SUCH a cow and she really needs a good talking to! And Ma's just like 'oh... never mind. She's just a kid.' And yeah, she is, but she's also a dickhead and needs to be spoken to!

Anyway... So Tom had to leave. Which was totally sad, but hey! He's going to take on the Socialist cause! (I think) You know that whole speech he gives that reads kind of lamely? Well, in the movie, it sounds totally awesome, and not just because it's coming out of Henry Fonda's mouth. This is where I was going to link you to a youtube video of said awesome moment, but I can't find one. So you'll have to take my word for it. Instead, I offer you what I can only assume was Alice's reaction at Al Joad's marriage announcement:
Which, brings us neatly to the final scene. Which I know we're going to talk about, but I don't really want to. The thing is, it's so... creepy and beyond what we normally expect that the natural reaction to it is EURGH, which I do ALWAYS have and I fully blocked out the ending for probably the first 3 times I read it, but of COURSE I'm going to have to defend Steinbeck here like I've been doing for four weeks (you guys all love when I invade your comments and defend Steinbeck, right? I knows you do!). BECAUSE yes it's creepy and gross, but if you think around it and not about IT then it's a kind of wonderful thing for Rosasharn to do (and sort of makes up for her being a WHINY SHREW for the entire book) and Ma approves which is just GREAT, and then also... It's meant to be gross. It's meant to be like, no things AREN'T supposed to be this way, but look at the lengths people have to go to just to eat! WHAT IS UP WITH THIS SHIT?

Also, I think there's something about hope and survival against all odds in there, but who can really say?

So. It seems about right to wrap things up about now, so GUYS! You did it! (I assume). You read The Grapes of Wrath!

And sadder and wiser women we will rise the morrow morn. Or something. But yeah, I hope y'all got something out of it other than 'I wish Steinbeck would stop being such a damn red' and also, if you needs some more Steinbeck, imagine that in every bookshop you go into, I am SHOVING you towards East of Eden. But The Grapes of Wrath will remain an important book in my reading history, and I've come to believe it even bestowed me with some important Socialist ideals that will never go away. So NICE WORK, Steinbeck! *thumbs up at my indoctrination*

THE END (link up below, my pretties)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Devouring Books: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

"He had never heard anything like it before. You don't cry like this. You're not allowed to cry like this. You die if you cry like this."

I've been meaning to read Let The Right One In for a couple of years now, but I somehow just never got round to it. It's weird, because it's something my friend Christina is always telling me to read, and it involves Sweden and vampires, and the combination of those two things always ends up being my favourite thing:
But yeah, somehow this just ended up staying on the shelf (or, more accurately, in the bottom of my wardrobe) for a while. But now it has been read, and all the world did rejoice!

So. Eric Northman does not appear in this book. I know. I KNOW. What is the point of even being Swedish and writing about vampires, if the greatest Swedish vampire of all isn't included? It's just like... Whatever. 

I'm going to start again. 

So, Let the Right One In is a vampire novel, but also it's a really novel vampire novel- I feel like I've said before how much I enjoy it when authors add new things to the vampire canon (like, artificial blood substitute drinks, and having a soul makes you good, and, well, being super emo about being a vampire...) and Let The Right One In does that in a number of different ways that I don't really want to tell you about because, hey, you want to discover them for yourself, don't you? You surely do! Although, let's just say that saving someone you love after they've been bitten? Maybe not the best thing you can do.

There are a LOT of different characters in Let The Right One In, a lot of things going on at once, and it's not always clear who you're supposed to be rooting for; or how everyone fits into the bigger picture. This is both a blessing and a... non-good thing, in that, hey, I don't really want to be told who to root for, and I don't even know if I'm sure now if what happened should have happened, and I like that. But then there are a lot of characters introduced who seem like they're going to be important and then turn out not to be (I'm thinking specifically of Tommy right now) or, it's not even that they're not important, but that their stories just aren't properly ended, which kind of bugs me. The fact that I want to know about what happened to them? The mark of a good book.

I read this over two weeks, because of reasons, and I would recommend NOT doing that if you want to read it. I mean, it was still a good read, but I'd kind of forgotten details and who was friends with who, and there's a kid called Tomas and one called Tommy and that got confusing, and I'd just say... aim to read it in less time. Which is probably good advice for any book, but still. The fact that the movie(s) have been such a big thing is kind of annoying too, because the word vampire doesn't appear in this book until the middle. And even though you can kind of guess what's going on before that, it would still be a lot more effective, atmosphere-wise, if you didn't know at all that it was about vampires (the blurb DOES NOT help, either). But I guess that's the price you pay for something having become popular and you having not read it for ages after you got it. Hmph.

Now, since this was my very last RIP read of the year (my tenth, I might add. Wow.) I should probably ask myself the question 'Do I feel lucky?' I mean 'Was this book scary?' and you know what... Yeah. It was. Kind of. I mean, it wasn't so scary that I couldn't sleep, or that I couldn't read it before bedtime, but it was definitely gory enough, and creepy, and also at one point this guy shits his pants with fear, which is both disgusting and... Understandable, in his circumstances. I'd say it's maybe more thriller-y than horror, but it's hard to define in any way because it really has everything- Paedophilia, vampires, murders, blood, bullying, hospitals, glue sniffing, alcoholics, useless parents, and even, in the strangest of places, love.

I'll bet you never knew Sweden was so dark.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday Sundries: Workety Work Work

Happy Sunday guys! I'm kind of understanding this weekend thing more now that I have a job again, so yay to weekends! Not... that I did anything with my Saturday other than watching Girls and knitting and writing blog posts. But still! These are things I enjoy! A lot.

So, it's weird. Because I'm working part time (2-6pm, daily) I theoretically have time to do things in the day, but it's kind of like... it gets to 1pm and I haven't done anything and then I have to have lunch and leave, pretty much. This is mainly because I'm really bad in the mornings, but also because I haven't really settled into this new schedule of things, and I guess still subconsciously think that I will have the afternoon to do things (this is when I used to like blog and read blogs and read and stuff, is why I'm bringing this up) and... I do not. So, OBVIOUSLY the answer to this is to get my shit together and get things going in the mornings (and getting up earlier... Wednesday I woke up at like 10.45am, which is clearly NOT OK) and yeah. Get stuff done.

But it's like, the things I haven't been getting done have been RIDICULOUS because I wrote this blog post about Haworth I think last weekend, and then just kept forgetting to post it until Thursday, which is just stupid! So... I'm going to get my shit together and try not to be stupid! I just need time and a new brain...

So, yeah. I'm slightly overwhelmed by the change in schedule, but I'll be fine. I did manage to fit in an opticians appointment and lunch with a couple of my friends in the mornings before work, so... it's not like I haven't done anything! And yesterday I finished my first book in 2 weeks, I'm aiming to finish The Grapes of Wrath today... Shit is happening. Just... slightly slower than usual. I'll get better at this schedule thing, I swear! (This is mainly for me rather than for you guys. I should probably shut up now.)

So! It's a bit of a short one this week, but I don't really have anything else to tell you! I got two exciting packages in the post this week, so that was awesome, and I've realised that I have no suitable officewear, so it's a good job I don't work in a formal office! All of this feels really boring (except for the packages, they were awesome!) so tell me, TELL ME about your week please? It was good? I sure hope so!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

Hey, you know what time it is? Time for me to give away another book!
Since I gave away a zillion books a week or so ago (this was not the best thought out of my actions) I'm just giving away one book today to one extremely lucky winner, cause you know what that book is?
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins! (The internet didn't have any big pictures of it, which is why the cover is all blurry and all. Stupid internet). I only discovered WILKIE (as he is so epic that he can only be referred to in all capitals) this year and already I've read 3 of his books and he's a firm favourite of mine. The Woman in White was my first, so if you've never read WILKIE before then this is an awesome, nay, the only place to start.

I know you're dying to read it now, so here's what you have to do. Don't worry about being a follower or anything like that (although, you know, don't feel like you can't follow... do what your heart tells you to) but leave me a comment with your email address (seriously, if you don't leave your email address, I'm not even entering you, because that shit tires me out) and some kind of reason why you're awesome and so will be able to appreciate the awesomeness of this book. Sounds good? I know. A free book! *ADDS* This giveaway is open internationally, and will close at 12pm on 31st October (known in the normal world as Halloween).

Annnnd, that's about all I have to tell you! Make sure you go and visit all the other giveaways, and have fun hopping! Over and out.

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Read in a Single Sitting
  3. Ephemeral Digest
  4. My Devotional Thoughts
  5. Devouring Texts
  6. Tony's Reading List
  7. Nishita's Rants and Raves
  8. Too Fond
  9. The Parrish Lantern
  10. Kristi Loves Books
  11. The Book Club Blog
  12. Sam Still Reading
  13. Silver's Reviews (USA)
  14. Bibliosue
  15. Heavenali
  16. Under My Apple Tree
  17. Misfortune of Knowing (North America)
  18. Lena Sledge's Blog
  19. Lost Generation Reader
  20. Seaside Book Nook
  21. The Relentless Reader
  22. Rikki's Teleidoscope
  23. Monique Morgan
  24. That READioactive Book Blog
  25. kaggsysbookisahramblings
  26. Ragdoll Books Blog
  27. Kate's Library
  28. The Book Garden
  29. Uniflame Creates
  30. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  1. Ciska's Book Chest
  2. The Book Divas Reads
  3. Alex in Leeds
  4. Simple Clockwork
  5. Bluestalking (USA)
  6. Fresh Ink Books
  7. Sweeping Me
  8. Giraffe Days
  9. Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book (USA)
  10. Books Thoughts Adventures (USA)
  11. emmalikestoread
  12. Colorimetry
  13. Page Plucker
  14. Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity
  15. 2606 Books and Counting
  16. Book Nympho
  17. She-Wolf Reads
  18. The Little Reader Library (Europe)
  19. Booklover Book Reviews
  20. Dolce Bellezza

Friday, 26 October 2012

Devouring Books: Burton on Burton

"I never think of things as dark or light. I've always felt that you couldn't even pull apart light and dark, they're so intertwined."

The first thing I'm going to say about Burton on Burton is, if you're looking for some access into Tim Burton's private life (and, let's face it, who isn't? [everyone]) then you're going to be disappointed- there's no blow by blow account of his meeting and wooing Helena Bonham Carter, no deep dark teenage secrets, and you know what? I prefer it that way. It feels like now, we know waaay too much about people in the public eye, when really all we need to know is about their body of work. Which is what Burton on Burton focuses on excellently.

I mean, I'd be lying if I said that the book revealed nothing about Burton apart from his work, but it's almost like... Because the structure of the book is Burton talking about himself and mainly his work, it's like you get to know him through the context of his work. I mean, in the early years section, you find out that he was an awkward, shy, artistic kid who grew up in suburbia, hating it; but that's nothing you wouldn't have been able to figure out by watching Edward Scissorhands, for example. So yeah, there are a few things like that that the book 'reveals', but mostly it's about Burton's work and how he feels about it, which is fine by me. Perfect, even.

So, that's what you don't get. But what you do get is a lot of information about how Burton envisaged his films, what it was like making them, and the strangely disturbing fact that he doesn't like comic books (doesn't he seem exactly like a kid who was obsessed with comic books? Apparently it's because he could never figure out which box to read, which is just adorable, actually!) Add this to the 2 (TWO!) introductions by Johnny Depp, both of which are extremely articulate and just make me go 'Oh Depp, you talented bastard *sigh*'; and to the fact that it stops juuust before his films started becoming very very similar (except for Sweeney Todd, which is awesome) and Burton on Burton becomes a fairly comprehensive, and above all interesting perspective on Burton's films.

A quick note: I read this as a Tim Burton fan, and a seasoned connoisseur of his movies. Apart from his very early work, I think I've only not seen 2 or 3 of his movies, and so obviously getting a behind the scenes, or better, behind the director's eyes look at them was pretty awesome. If, however, you've only seen a few of his movies and want to see more, then this is maybe not the best book for you because spoilers? They're not exactly avoided. A LOT of prior knowledge is assumed with this book, as I guess it would be since, why would you want to read it if you don't like Tim Burton films?, but it's slightly frustrating when you're given almost the entire plot of Planet of the Apes, which maybe you didn't intend to watch, but now you definitely won't because there's no point. This is an actual example, obviously. So yeah, just be aware of that, people, and don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyway. Basically, the end result of Burton on Burton for me has been 'rewatch ALL THE BURTON.' Now, it's been 2 weeks since I read it and, um, I haven't actually rewatched any of the Burton, but hey! I've been busy. So I now have a weekend plan, to rewatch ALL THE BURTON (it is nearly Halloween and all). I'll report back in due course, obviously.

Until then, I'll leave you with some nuggets of Tim Burton wisdom:
  • "I've always felt: how can everybody else want to see it if I don't want to? And if I want to see it, and nobody else wants to, then at least I get to see it. So there's one person who will enjoy it."
  • "I loved Batman, the split personality, the hidden person. It's a character I could relate to. Having these two sides, a light side and a dark one, and not being able to resolve them- that's a feeling that's not uncommon."
  • "[Growing up in Suburbia] You never felt that there was any attachment to things. So you were either forced to conform and cut out a large portion of your personality, or to develop a very strong interior life  which made you feel separate."
  • "I find it darker when there's a light-hearted attitude to violence and it's more identifiable than when something is completely removed from reality. I've always had trouble understanding that."

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Literary Locations: Haworth

Look, I've started a new thing! Kinda. This is just where I'm going to attempt to go places that have a literary background and then talk about them and stuff. Look! Here's one I did already where I went to Jane Austen's House!
When I went to Haworth, I'd just been on about a 6 hour drive to 'The North' (this is literally what the motorway signs say) with my sister. When I say 'drive', I obviously mean that she did all the work because I cannot, but six hours in a car is still tiring even if you're just the passenger. Trust me. So after those six hours, we had a really brief sojourn at our B&B (Barn to Rest, about 2 minutes drive away from Haworth, highly recommended) we drove what turned out to be the shortest distance ever into Haworth. Considering how incredible GORGEOUS the moors are (at least in August) I do completely regret not walking there, so if ever you're staying not too far away from Haworth, go for the walk.

Haworth is so pretty. I can't overstate that. It's kind of nestled in the moors and has cobbled streets (which always trip me up, by the way) and old-fashioned shops, and is essentially what I guess the popular imagination thinks that all of England is actually like. Trust me- basically nothing in the South of England is as picturesque as Haworth, and that's kind of a good thing because I'm not sure my eyes could cope with this amount of constant beauty, and, alternatively, I'm not sure I could cope with my brain no longer processing the constant beauty. Sample conversation with the B&B owner:

Me: It's so gorgeous here!
Her: (offhand) Oh yeah, I suppose it is. Sometimes, anyway.


Anyway. Before I go into how great the Parsonage was (and I thought it was excellent, both atmospherically and information-giving-ly) a note on the weather. The further north we drove and the further we got into Yorkshire, the gloomier and rainier it seemed to get. This prompted me to make an observation on the differences between the writing of the Brontes and that of Jane Austen, which I now believe can be boiled down to this: Austen lived in the fairly temperate weather of the South of England, so rather than feeling gloomy all the time she could just observe social behaviour and roll her eyes at everything. The Brontes? Totally had to cope with near constant cloud and gloom which, admittedly, tends to put on in kind of a less positive frame of mind.

I'm telling you all this because, by the time we got to Haworth? It was gorgeous. Sunny the whole time we were there. The moors were beautiful rather than dark, barren and imposing. It made me happy, sure, but I'm not sure I'll ever forgive the weather for depriving me of some Bronte gloom.

Anyway... moving on from complaining about the nice weather like a crazy person, our first destination in Haworth was, of course, the Parsonage where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte lived for the majority of their lives. It was pretty intense just standing outside it, to be honest- there's a sign on this wall that explains where a gate used to be that the Brontes went through to church, and I had a moment where I could imagine them running through it so they wouldn't be late... like I said, intense!
And then, for a nominal fee (I think, £7? I would probably have paid a lot more, anyway) we went inside the Parsonage and got to have a nose around at everything. And by everything, I mean A LOT of things. Like, the table that the sisters used to sit around nightly and write, which was also in the room Emily died in (nice, I know) and almost directly above it, the room Charlotte died in! As in any place like this, that was once a home and is now a museum, there were a few dud areas (I could have done without the whole room that was just about Charlotte's husband, if I'm honest) but on the whole there was a lot (a LOT) of Bronte memorabilia that I really think is worth seeing for any Bronte fan.
Also there's this creepy-ass statue that I really don't think we need to talk about.

I learnt a lot of new things about the Brontes at the Parsonage, most of which I've now, predictably, forgotten, but one thing that sticks out is this: While all the Bronte siblings are buried in the church, (which we weren't allowed to go in because they were doing building work on it- hmph!) Anne is not because she died in Scarborough, and Charlotte had her buried there because she wanted to save her father the heartbreak of having to bury another child. Which is all very well and good, and I know it doesn't actually make much of a difference, but... It sort of makes me want to cry because I think of Anne being all alone where she's buried, and... *sniff*.

Quick tourist's guide to Haworth- it's lovely and the shops are all set on this MASSIVE HILL which is fine to walk down, but a lot more effort to get back up (as is the way with hills...) but since it's Yorkshire (and please ignore anyone in basically any Bronte novel, Joseph in Wuthering Heights I'm looking at YOU) the people are so lovely and friendly that you don't even care that you can't breathe as you peruse the shops. A word to the wise: if you go to Haworth on a Monday (as we did) everywhere closes at six and some places don't even bother to open. THIS INCLUDES RESTAURANTS. So good LUCK getting fed- we went to this pub that has allegedly stopped serving food (at 6pm! On a Monday!) and where everyone kind of looked like they wanted to kill us, thus making themselves the exception to the 'friendly Yorkshire people' rule! We did eventually get fed in a hotel and it was fine, but my advice to you is this- make your trip to Haworth a day trip, and clear off out of there by about 5pm. So you can get fed somewhere. 

So that's what happened in Haworth. Hopefully this will be useful to someone out there planning to go on a Bronte pilgrimage, but if not then... This is what I did in my summer holidays! It was aces! And I'll say about the only thing I've said for the last few months: I LOVE Yorkshire!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Grapes of Wrath Part 3: "'What ya think everyone else is lookin' for? Di'monds?'"

I've decided to allow myself just one rant this week, so that there's time to focus on the happy things! That actually happened! So here comes the rant to get it out of the way.

Cause, you know, this:
"There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolise. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And the children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot."
So, ok, I know the whole of chapter 25 was basically Steinbeck pushing back against progress, but how progressive is progress really if it can't stop children from dying? It seems clear that something has gone horribly wrong when SO much food is being produced, and then just left to rot because it can't be turned into money, when people are starving to death. I think this just really got to me because it still happens, and honestly, it really shouldn't. I know that in the EU, there are lakes of milk and wine, and mountains of rice, wheat and sugar, because SO much is produced, and it seems RIDICULOUS to me that it can't go to feed people who need it, and it always has. And yes, I understand economically that it isn't a good thing to just give people free food, but fuck economics, fuck 'progress', fuck profits, what about a little bit of humanity?

Rant over. But it still burns in my SOUL.

Now let's talk about crazy religious fanatics! I mean, seriously, horrifyingly scary woman,
Who just goes around scaring pregnant young girls whose husbands have JUST RUN OFF AND LEFT THEM (stupid Connie), telling them that they're sinners and that their babies are going to fall out of them?! Assholes, that's who. Or, also, Clack probably would have done it if they'd spoken of pregnancies and things in Victorian times, which obviously they didn't. I did enjoy her return and Ma's threatening to beat her with a stick (GO MA!) and the way Ma basically told Rose of Sharon that she wasn't important enough for God to be bothered about, which was a pretty refreshing thing to hear from a mother about their kid. I also enjoyed how, in the following chapter, Steinbeck basically made it clear that such fundamentalism provides pleasure for a certain kind of person, which, you know, these poor people deserve in their lives. But maybe not at the expense of other poor people WHO ARE PREGNANT AND VULNERABLE.

Also, this preacher sounds like a douche: "He says 'The poor is trying to be rich.'"
By having nice dances and shit? How fucking dare they?!

Anyway... Did we all notice the nice shift in tone in this section? I mean, sure the preacher (the nice one, our preacher) got carted off to jail, and they had to escape that Hooverville before it got burned to the ground, and those people threatened to kill them if they didn't leave their town, but... The government camp! How freaking wonderful is that place? I surely was amused that the children had never seen a toilet before, and that Ma and Rose of Sharon had a whole excited conversation about the showers, and basically, I wouldn't mind living in one of those camps!

Too bad Connie didn't stick around to see the nice camp, and lasted all of about 2 hours in the Hooverville before running out on his PREGNANT WIFE. For personal reasons, though, I don't exactly mind any of this, because it made for some amusing opinions about Connie being allowed to come out in the open:
PA: "'Well, he ain't no good... all the time a-sayin' what he's a-gonna do. Never doin' nothin'."
TOM: "'She might's well give him up. He's prob'ly studyin' to be President of the United States by now.'"
Fortunately, Rose of Sharon still has Ma (GLORIOUS MA) around, to dole out sage advice, aka things that she should probably already know. You know, like:
"'They's times when how you feel got to be kep' to yourself.'" (Translation: You're not the only one with troubles, girl, buck up!)
"'In a little while it ain't gonna be so bad. In a little while. An' that's true.'" (Translation: Time heals all wounds. This too shall pass.)

At this point, if I didn't actually know what was going to happen, I would be SO optimistic. I mean, sure there's this threat of escalating violence, and sure there've been allusions to children starving (Ruthie and Winfield better watch out!) but ALSO there's been another WILKIE sighting, "'This here's my boy Wilkie'" at which I squealed a tiny bit, and which I choose to take as a good sign, blindly ignoring all I know. For all I know, they changed the ending since the last time I read it. IT COULD HAPPEN!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday Sundries: The STRANGEST Week

This week really has been so odd. It's kind of felt about 3 times longer than usual, I'm not sure I had any idea what day it was at any point, and things have been happening. Like I got a job! YESSSS!
I mean, it's only part time, which isn't ideal, BUT you got to accentuate the positive man! So that's a thing that's awesome, but also SO strange, and it came on the back of two rejections in a week (less than a week, actually. It wasn't fun. And one was a LIBRARY. I mean, come on!) which added to the things I had to do, and then kind of stress about. Whilst also trying to ignore the stressing about them.

Like I said, very strange.

Basically, even though the interviews I had this week only took up about two hours of it, they actually took up all the time from the interviews to the phone calls of DOOM, which meant that it felt like they took up a lot of time, and I was astonished that I still had time to walk (A LOT), cook things and generally function in a life way, because it felt like job things had taken up so much time. Even though they hadn't. There's probably a lesson here about the elasticity of time or something, but whatever, this week just felt waay long.

But then it was all good and I was happy and ALSO I had pizza! With my cousin. Which always makes for the best kind of Friday evening.

So that was a really vague description of my week, I realise, but the thing is, at the time it felt totally stressful and long and like UCK, but now that all the preparing and interviewing and waiting to hear back is over, it's sort of a blurry memory of something that was horrible but is now over. Like that thing with childbirth where you forget it as soon as it happens. NOT that I'd ever compare my week to childbirth... (speaking of which, BEX HAD HER BABY! Go and see!)

And now, for the book news.

Guys, I bought too many books this week. Without even really realising. This is BAD and shouldn't ever be encouraged. But... Do you want to hear about them all? I mean, there are 10 of them. Which is really bad. I should probably be punished. Can you tell how sorry I am? (I'm really not)
So I got Wolf Hall because Hilary Mantel just won her second Booker Prize, which isn't necessarily something that I'm massively bothered by (I mean, Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for Literature and I think we all know how I feel about HER) but it kind of makes me think there might be something in it. I realise that I've been putting her off because she writes Historical Fiction, which is something else I'm not exactly fond of, so... This might sit around for a while. And then I also got Possession, because someone, I believe it was Alice, said it was really good (a theme for this week!) so... We shall see.

In this same escapade I also got The Handmaid's Tale which of COURSE I already owned, but my copy really did have falling out pages and it IS one of my favourite books, so I feel really justified having a nice copy of it. *Looks around for anyone protesting this* *Also remembers why she doesn't do posts like this anymore, gets a formatting HEADACHE*

Anyway... I tried on Friday to go to this book sale that I tried and failed to go to before but it was cancelled (it's very possible I moaned about this at the time) and I failed AGAIN on Friday because I was there at about 11am and it didn't start until 1.30pm, which I was NOT in the mood for hanging around for (there's very little to do in this town, I should add). So, I vowed to return the next day (which I did!) but before that, there was time for a little charity shopping, and

My next Murakami! I didn't have anything with me to read, so I started it while I waited for a train, and,  a mere 22 pages in, there's totally a vagina metaphor. Nice work, Murakami.

And then there was this book sale! In a church! So I consider all books bought as a donation to Jesus. I bought 5 in total, and here are 4 of them:

I didn't even know that Man Walks Into A Room existed, since I thought that The History of Love and Great House were Krauss's only books, so I'm pretty excited about that! The Silence of the Lambs is the other book that's Alice's fault, because she was going on about it this week, and I saw it, and, well, one thing led to another. The Brontes obviously had to be bought because of my Haworth devotion (I've written a whole post about it that'll be going up this week, by the way- exciting times!) and then I got  The Collector because I believe Brenna said nice things about it ages ago, so I thought it was worth a try.

But none of that is as exciting as what else I have to show you! (Isn't this post getting LONG?! Sorry!) So firstly, and slightly less excitingly, the other book I got at the church sale is a signed edition of Checkmate by Malorie Blackman, which I wouldn't normally have bought, but just LOOK at what it says inside:
I mean, I couldn't exactly NOT buy the book that was dedicated to me now, could I? I have to add that I basically read everything Malorie Blackman ever wrote when I was about 10, so... This isn't just some random author! I LOVE HER.

And speaking of love... My sister met Jacqueline Wilson on Friday and I was immensely jealous because she was ACTUALLY my favourite author when I was a child/tween and WHY DON'T I GET TO MEET HER? But I was mainly pacified by THIS:
Which I will cherish FOREVER because omg Jacqueline Wilson! I should add that I've now, in the space of a month, gone from having 0 signed books to having 3, which I think is pretty impressive! But then, I am easily impressed...

Here endeth the book news.

I won't detain you any longer because WOAH that was long, but a quick look at the week ahead: Work! Agh! It's going to be interesting figuring out how to get things done, because I'm normally not much good in the mornings but ok in the afternoons, which is fine for work (which is in the afternoons) but means that I'm going to have to get my act together in the am if I want to get anything done at all. Which I do! But I'm sure I'll figure it out. And either way, y'all will hear about it next week anyway!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Devouring Films: Looper

Please Note: This is going to be more of a recap than a review, so there will be spoilers. So if you haven't seen Looper, I'd probably stop reading now. Also I'd probably get myself to a cinema cause, you know, it's kind of a big deal.
When the casting people involved with Looper approached Bruce Willis for the role of Old Joe in Looper, I wonder how they sold it to him. 'So, Bruce, we won't be asking you to do anything that you haven't done a million times before, just the usual you know, running around and shooting people whilst miraculously avoiding being shot because you're the greatest. You will have to be the older version of this kid, JGL, but don't worry- we'll change his face so he looks like you because let's face it, you're the real hero. You will have to speak like one line of French though. So, whaddaya say?'

How could he refuse?

So, I finally saw Looper yesterday and, despite being snarky about Bruce Willis's role since, come on, he wasn't exactly stretched by it; I was otherwise completely and utterly impressed. It's been added to my 'list of things I was sceptical about but ended up LOVING' which obviously doesn't exist in physical form because who can be bothered? But is still a real thing that applies to a lot of things I see or read. Looper surprised me in ways I wasn't expecting, which meant that it delighted me, as all good cinema-going experiences should (especially ones that cost more than £8. Oy.)

If you'll allow me to get specific, I'll try to explain exactly why I liked it so much. From the beginning, it doesn't feel like a typical action movie; since it starts in a cornfield and things are set up so that the people being killed can't really fight back, there's limited potential for it to be the typical blockbuster-that-makes-me-roll-my-eyes. The action aspect of Looper is what made me dubious about its goodness, so I was really happy that it wasn't just a load of set pieces of shit-getting-blown-up and 20 car chases and people running around shooting each other. There were parts that were like this, of course, but it's not nearly what all of the film is like, which is definitely a good thing.

What I really liked were the small things. How TK is mentioned really really subtly in the in the first 5 minutes of the movie and you don't even notice and then it becomes a central problem, or maybe the central problem. How there's no attempt to really explain time travel and all the paradoxes it creates, but instead a more sensory explanation is given: how it feels to BE the paradox. And maybe above all, I love how this whole dystopian city is created and then practically ignored so that JGL, ostensibly the action hero, can sit in the middle of a cornfield for the majority of the movie. I mean, WHO DOES THAT?! It's unexpected, unprecedented, and awesome.

While we're on the subject of JGL, we need to talk about two things: that face, and how awesome his character becomes. Oh, and Kevin. (Sorry.) But first, THAT FACE! I feel like I know JGL's beautiful face so well (better than I know his full name, if I'm honest) that its BruceWillis-like modifications (which, admittedly, did make him look like Bruce Willis) really freaked me out. I understand why they did it, and I also understand, features-wise, why they modified JGL instead of Bruce (in general, JGL's features seem kind of... smaller? And it's easier to make his features bigger than Bruce's smaller. Or something.) but still... I wanted him to have his face back!

And now, for character development. I feel like, in the beginning, JGL isn't necessarily someone you're sure you want to root for. I mean, he sells his best friend for silver (and how horrific was that?!) and, let's face it, he's a professional killer. It kind of feels, though, that everything else that happens to him in the film means that he has the opportunity to atone for this one action, and to try and stop himself from becoming the bitter self he sees in Bruce Willis. In the end, he's kind of a tragic hero- he sees this one woman willing to die for her son (aside: HOW CREEPY WAS THAT KID?!) and a man willing to kill for his wife, and he knows both that he's never felt this way about another person (see: selling his best friend out for silver) and that he can stop both of these things from happening. So he does, and he saves the world. We hope.

I realise that this is just a ramble-jumble-love thing about Looper, and you know what? I'm perfectly ok with that. I only saw it yesterday and already can't wait to see it again, although I will wait, obviously, because WOAH cinema prices! (I know I sound like an old person. But I hadn't been to the cinema for ages!) But basically, just like every other film I've seen involving JGL, it rocks.

What did YOU think of Looper?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Devouring Books: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

"Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have you trapped into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again."

I read The Haunting of Hill House right in the middle of the Readathon, which is never a good time slot because I tend to remember the book I started with, and the book I finished with, and the rest are kind of blurred around the edges. I enjoyed (and was scared by) The Haunting of Hill House SO much that I'm hoping I'm going to retain it for a while, but in case I don't, I'm reviewing it first! It's the sensible way to go, I think.

Before I read it, I didn't really have high hopes which is weird because 1) I thought The Lottery, the only other thing I've read by Jackson, was excellent; and 2) Stephen King raved about it in Danse Macabre, and, you know, I trust his horror-knowledge! But still for some reason I thought I wouldn't like it, maybe because I was expecting it just to be a fairly straightforward ghost story, which would have been fine, but wouldn't exactly blow me away. I should know by now never to listen to myself, because it was AMAZING.

The premise of the story is that there's this house that this doctor believes is haunted, and in order to test out this theory, he wants to get some psychic-y people together to see if they can 'feel' anything about the house. So far, so typical; only one of the people he recruits, Eleanor, is something of an oddity. She's been kind of cut off from society basically her whole adult life, looking after her sick mother, and as a result:
"Without ever wanting to become reserved and shy, she has spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words."
 So, because of her sad sheltered life, Eleanor sees this whole thing as an adventure rather than as a terrifying terrifying nightmare, and that's really where all her troubles begin.

The characters in this are awesome. Eleanor plays perfectly off Theodora, a very talkative friendly girl who's maybe a bit in love with Eleanor, and Eleanor's maybe a bit in love with her but then there's also this young attractive male (Luke) who Eleanor maybe fancies too, because she doesn't really know enough about herself to have made a decision about this kind of thing. And then their leader is Dr Montague, who endeared himself pretty early on to me by saying that he'd brought Pamela by Samuel Richardson to the house to send himself to sleep. Cause, you know, I HATE that book. But anyway, it's basically these four people and how they interact, and how they react to certain happenings that is really at the core of the book, and so it's really important for them to be as awesome as they are.

I don't really know how much more I can say before we step over into spoiler territory, but here's what I will say- this book is scary, and it's complex, and you'd think that maybe because it's complex that'd reduce some of the scariness because you have to think about it, but it really doesn't! In fact, it's kind of the opposite- because it's complex, you can't be sure what to be scared of, so in the end, you're kind of scared of everything. Well, two things. Maybe. And then, interspersed with this there are instances of humour (there's the servant who says the same things all the time and seems like a robot, and the Doctor's wife turns up at one point and, while she reckons she can talk to the dead, doesn't seem to be able to talk to the living at all) which truly are funny, and also help to make you realise how scared you were in contrast.

I'm not sure that I've really captured how excellent this book really was, but if I say that it's my favourite of all my RIP reads so far (of which there have been 7 or 8) would that help? What about... This is probably my favourite horror-y novel apart from some Stephen King ones? Yeah, let's say that.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Grapes of Wrath, Part 2: "'It don't take no nerve to do somepin when there ain't nothin' else you can do.'"

Before I even say one single thing about this part (GRANMA, OMG!) can I just applaud myself a little on breaking it down pretty well so far? It's like Part 1: Saying goodbye, Part 2: The journey... I'm pretty pleased. The fact that Steinbeck clearly broke down his book pretty rigidly in these ways (at least in the first two quarters) is neither here nor there really.

I mean, I can't even... The inner strength! The commitment to the family! I had remembered that Granma died but not the circumstances until just before they drove off into the desert, and I was just like 'oh NO, I can't read this again. NO!' But of course I did, and there were tears. Mainly at this:
"The family looked at Ma with a little terror at her strength."
Everyone realises how amazing Ma is to have done that, and respects her so much for it. And also for that time when she threatened to beat everyone up with a bit of metal, which was pretty badass.

*Tries to get a handle on all the rest of the journey* Shall we make a little note of who we've gained and lost? So Granma and Grampa are both dead, which I think is a huge loss because how funny were they?! But it's ok, because "'They was too old... They wouldn't have saw nothin' that's here.'" But I'm still sad.
And the freaking DOG got run over, which personally I didn't need, that poor little jackrabbit got squished (technically not part of their party, but still) and Noah decided to stay by the river because he's an odd one. And maybe because Steinbeck decided he had too many characters? (I'm hoping there was a better motivation behind this. And maybe there was!) And then the Wilsons joined them and swiftly left them, and Mrs Wilson is clearly not long for this world: "'I'm jus' pain covered with skin.'" UGH.

Anyway. Getting away from the sads, may I give you some anger instead? As I am whenever I read this book, I'm FURIOUS at the way some people can treat other people. It's not just that the rich just keep all their wealth to themselves and couldn't care less about anyone else (capitalism, I'm looking at you) but that the system is such that, if people (and that's 'the majority of' people) tried to change the system and make it better for the majority, they're going to get slapped down by the government, or, you know, the rich. This is something that comes up more and more as the book progresses, but I think it's worth noting now that Steinbeck seems to be fairly hopeful that things could change, which is why he has Casy around, but as we all know, from, you know, the fifties, the people with all the everything (money, power) would do anything to make sure it all stays the same.

And it's still happening today, and that's why this book is still relevant, and why I'm STILL angry.

So there's that, and there's also this attitude about money that's kind of interesting, in that, the Joads have literally none, and they want to make more, but what little they have, they will share with other people (like the Wilsons) because they know that it's people that matter, and not money. This is true of all the people who are travelling to California, and differs only amongst the poor people coming back from California, who also think that people are more important, BUT know that you can't live without money. And then you've got the people with jobs and homes, who aren't rich but don't know what it's like to be that poor, and because they don't want to find out, they develop a hatred and a lack of understanding for those people who have nothing:
"Them goddamn Okies got no sense and no feeling. They ain't human. A human being wouldn't live like they do. A human being couldn't stand it to be so dirty and miserable. They ain't a hell of a lot better than gorillas... They're so goddamn dumb they don't know it's dangerous. And, Christ Almighty, they don't know any better than what they got.'"
Seriously. And then, there're the rich people who don't even think about the poor people, other than about how much they can exploit them to get the most profits, but Casy reckons that they're pretty deeply unhappy guys (and, come on, they're clearly guys):
"'Fella havin' fun, he don't give a damn [about dying]; but a fella mean an' lonely an' old an' disappointed- he's scared of dyin... If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do'll make him feel rich.'" 
Which is all very well and good, but there are people dying, and he doesn't give a crap, so I'm not exactly going to feel sorry for his inner poverty. But anyway, this reminds me of two things:

1) This conversation I had with my friend Frances where we both said that, if we were rich, we wouldn't just want to keep all the money we had because it would kind of make us feel like crap and so we'd, you know, redistribute the wealth, and also if I had a company, I'd redistribute the profits around more evenly, improving the workers lives, because, you know, people are more important than profits.

There's probably a reason we're both poor, but anyway, I think this is kind of what Steinbeck's driving at here.

2) There's this bit in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof this reminds me of, where the incredibly rich Big Daddy essentially admits that wealth is useless because everyone's got to die and there's kind of nothing you can do about it. I don't really know why this is relevant, except that it's nice having a rich person in literature admitting that money is kind of useless, apart from the things you can do with it. Which can make it the most useful thing (and give you inner wealth. You know.)

I'm going to have to stop before I try and get us to form a gang and start a revolution, but first, a couple of Joad handy household hints:

1) Submitted by Tom: If your hand starts bleeding, you can't go wrong with rubbing a little bit of wee and mud on it. Works a treat!
2) Submitted by Ma: "'Take your breath in when you need it, an' let it go when you need to.'"

Monday, 15 October 2012

The 500th! (There Will Be Books)

Guys, this very post is my 500th post. Let's have a party!
Now, to distract you from the fact that said 500th post has no actual content (I've been busy! Reading The Grapes of Wrath and stuff. Everything else just has to wait), would you like a book?

Several things have aligned for me to make this offer. Namely, the fact that I just realised that this would be the 500th post, the fact that someone told me on Sunday that I now had 200 followers (now 203! What is going on?!) and the fact that tonight, I sorted out some books to, and I have to be honest here, make room for prettier editions of the same books. What can I say, I'm really shallow!

So here's the deal. Many of these books are fairly heavy (well, they're all fairly heavy) so what I'm going to do is have a list of UK only books, and a much shorter list of books I'll send anywhere. I'm going to limit it to one per person, so choose wisely! (Although... ok, you can have a second choice if someone wants the same book as you. But that's it.) And I'll leave this open until, let's say Friday, and then I'll say who's going to get what on Sunday. Sounds fair? Good.

Here's what I need from you: Your email address so I can contact you, your location in the world, and your first and second choice books. And... I don't know, say something interesting too, yeah? Does this all make sense? (Yes Laura!)

Ok, here come the books.

UK Only
The Mill On The Floss- George Eliot
North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell
Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens
Jude the Obscure- Thomas Hardy
Moby Dick- Herman Melville
Mary Barton- Elizabeth Gaskell
Vilette- Charlotte Bronte
Tess of the D'Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy

International (UK People can have these too! Obviously)
Sons and Lovers- D H Lawrence
Shirley- Charlotte Bronte
Silas Marner- George Eliot
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Graduate- Charles Webb
Dracula- Bram Stoker

That's actually quite a lot of books now that I type them out, and good LORD I hope you all don't want one! But seriously, pick a couple, let me know, we'll see what we can do. And hey- thanks for listening to me witter on for 500 posts. You guys are the best.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Hour 24
Guys! It's the last hour! I've been slightly... non good at reading since I woke up, but I'm good with it. I wasn't quite feeling Shutter Island, I think because I'm still pretty tired and the tension wasn't really getting to me, so I put it aside for a bit and started Let The Right One In, which I am liking quite a lot at the moment. 

I believe I am going to my nan's in a little bit, so this will be my last in-readathon update! Who can believe it! When I come back home, I'll try to remember to do a teeny teeny last stats update, but this is basically it! *hugs everyone and refuses to let go*

Oh look, an end of event survey!

1. Which hour was the most daunting for you?
Well, hour 14 was so daunting that I decided to sleep instead, but getting started again after sleep was fairly difficult!

2. Could you list a few high interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?
I really really really enjoyed, and was enthralled by The Haunting of Hill House. And Burton on Burton is EXCELLENT if you're a Tim Burton fan.

3. Do you have any suggestions of how to improve the readathon next year?

4. What do you think worked really well in this years readathon?
Well, for me it was updating less, which sort of misses out on one whole aspect of the readathon, but ALSO lets me read books more. I still don't think I've got that balance right.

5. How many books did you read?
3. But I read from 5. Yay.

6. What books did you read?
The Casual Vacancy, The Haunting of Hill House, Burton on Burton.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Ooooh, TheHauntingOfHillHouseTheCasualVacancyandBurtononBurton. Really, they were all really good!

8. Which book did you enjoy least?
At this point, I'm going to say Shutter Island, but only because I wasn't really alert enough to read it!

9. N/A

10. How likely are you to take part in the readathon again?
It's the most likely thing that's likely to happen in my life. For reals.

Pages Read: 842
Books Finished: 3
Naps: No. But almost definitely later
Snacks: Nah, just had breakfast, which was nice. And some popcorn lip scrub which was also gooood

Hour I-Don't-Even-Know, But Let's Say 21?
So, I finished Burton on Burton last night and it was really good, and I started reading Shutter Island really briefly but I just couldn't keep my eyes open, so sleep it was! And it was gooood. I'm just trying to muster up the energy to read a bit more/get some breakfast/move, at all.

Fun fact: I totally slept on the sofa because I was that tired that I didn't think I'd make it up the stairs! Good call, I reckon.

Pages Read: 729
Books Finished: 3
Naps: Oh, just about a 7 hour one, which I guess most people would just call 'going to sleep'
Calories: None! And I must have burned off ZILLIONS in that sleep, so... Come on, breakfast!

Hour 13
Halfway through and I'm still awake! Woohoo! I've sort of nearly finished Burton on Burton (helped by the fact that there are quite a lot of drawings and photos in it, which is also cool because they're pretty awesome) and after that, I'm kind of thinking... Should I go to bed, or should I power on through and start Shutter Island, and see how that goes? It's a tricky thing, because I'm laying right now and I feel alright, but I got up earlier and I was like 'WOAH, so tired!' You know, like when you've had a few drinks and you think you're fine, and you get up to go to the loo and you're like WOAH I can't walk properly! Only this involves less booze. More reading.

Oh look, a mid event survey!

1. How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
My eyes really hurt! Which I didn't notice until I came on ze computer again, but yeah. Ouch!

2. What have you finished reading?
The Casual Vacancy and The Haunting of Hill House. Working on Burton on Burton.

3. What is your favourite read so far?
Honestly, they've all been SO good. No duds in my readathon pile this time!

4. What about your favourite snacks?
Bluergh, food. But those brownies were disturbingly good.

5. Have you found any new blogs during the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Um... I have been very bad and not very exploratory. But I've been reading!!

Pages Read: 651
Books Finished: 2
Naps: Still none! It's very surprising!
Calories: I had about half a bag of mint m&ms, but I just couldn't. May have eaten too many brownies over the course of one day...

Hour 10
Ok, so clearly I'm NOW getting a little update-happy, but I just finished The Haunting of Hill House, it's nearly an actual hour, so... Here I am. Good GOD that book was creepy. And very very complex. I'm going to have to give it a good thinking over before I can review it, I think! *shudders*

I have no idea what's next, so I think I'm going to have a little blog wander before I choose. Also I should probably go to bed at SOME point... Hmmm. Anyway! For now, reading.

Pages Read: 446
Books Finished: 2
Naps: Obviously not.
Calories: Coke zero vanilla= no calories! Yay! 

Hour 9
Well! I didn't exactly mean to leave 5 hours between updates, but there was reading and food fetching and food eating and then some grudging watching of Strictly Come Dancing, and now it's sort of now! I'm over halfway through The Haunting Of Hill House now, and maaaan, is it creepy! I didn't really realise how much until I had to come upstairs by myself in the dark, and... Yeah. Creepy as hell. But also pretty funny and there is some Pamela bashing, so I basically heart it. 

I've gotta tell you, in spite of my massive break, I am so tired! I kind of feel like I could actually go to bed now, but NO! NO SLEEP! I mean, I am totally going to sleep. But not yet. So I have my vanilla coke and ALSO some mint m&ms to sustain me for a while. It's alllll good.

Pages read: 354
Books Finished: 1
Naps: Still none! Unless you count staring at the telly a nap, which I am pretty inclined to.
Calories: However many are in a meatless chinese feast. Which is quite a lot because, don't they deep fry those spring rolls?

Hour 4
Hour 4 already! Time sure flies when you're reading JK Rowling. So yeah, I just finished The Casual Vacancy and I nearly DIED. I'm not saying any more than that because, you know, I'm sure not EVERYONE has read it yet, but OMG you guys. OMG.

So that's basically all I've done. Apart from eat many many brownies. I'm not sure what I'm going to read next, but I'm leaning towards The Haunting of Hill House or Let The Right One In while it's still, you know, light. I'm such a baby.

Pages Read: 200-ish
Books Finished: 1
Naps: None!
Calories: About a zillion, all from brownies. Mmmm, brownies...

Hour 1
It's a mere 7 minutes away from readathon time as I write, and I'm preeeetty excited! Actually, I'm slightly bored/edgy because it starts at 1pm here, which frankly is waaay too long after waking to wait to read! (And, in fact, I haven't been waiting. So there's that.)
For those of you who were worried about my snacks, fear not for I have made brownies! But first, there will be lunch. Of some kind...
And hey, there are questions! YES, this will make this preliminary thing so much easier! (Also, I'm going to be updating on this post all day, as is my way, so please come here and cheer me on!)

1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
England, specifically Surrey, specifically near some fields. EVEN more specifically, on my bed!

2. What book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
ARGH! I don't know. But I kind of want to say The Casual Vacancy, even though I've already read half of it... But I'm really looking forward to reading more.

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I'm going to say, the aforementioned brownies. And also this can of Vanilla Coke Zero that I paid waaay too much money for because it's all imported.

4. Tell us a little something about yourself
I'm kind of obsessed with Nora Ephron, Russian dolls and Diet Coke. One day, I really hope that Diet Coke will sponsor my LIFE.

5. If you participated in the last readathon, what will you do differently today? If this is your first  readathon, what are you most looking forward to?
Hmm, do differently? I guess, read more readable books, cause I spent a LOT of time last time reading Watership Down, and that was just fairly unpleasant. Also, I want to say I'll stay up later (last time I lasted until hour 13) but I also kind of don't want to... So we'll see!

And that's about it, my computer clock tells me it's 1.01 so... *dives into a pile of books*

Friday, 12 October 2012

Readathon: Preparation Time

I think we all appreciate that a good readathon takes a lot of preparation and compiling of books and shuffling of papers and all that kind of stuff. I don't even know what I'm talking about right now, but tomorrow is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, and look! A pile of books!
When I made this pile, I thought wistfully back to the me of about a year ago who put EIGHTEEN books in her first readathon pile like that was a viable number of books to read! This is definitely more do-able, and I'm still definitely not going to read hardly any of these, obviously. But it's good to have options!

So, allow me to elaborate on ze books. Starting from the bottom there is:

  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling- Which I'm sort of 40% of the way through, and which I intend to read more of tonight, so we'll see how much of that is left to read by tomorrow!
  • Burton on Burton- Because, Tim Burton! And also I've had it for a while now (it even made it into last year's readathon pile!) and I want to read it. Obviously.
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane- This seems like it's going to be a bit of a page turner, which is clearly what a readathon requires. And Alley keeps going on about Lehane all the time, so... I should probably see what she's talking about!
  • Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist- Another leftover from last year's readathon, and a book I am determined to read for RIP this year. So even if I don't read it tomorrow, I will soon.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- Shirley Jackson is pretty awesome. Stephen King says this is good. If I don't read it early, I will not be reading it AT ALL.
  • 5th Avenue, 5am: Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Sam Wasson- There is a story about this book that I will tell below. I've included it in the pile because it's NEW and I'm EXCITED about it!
  • Insomnia by Stephen King- In case all the other books suck and I need to resort to King. Because really, you can't go wrong!
I haven't even thought about snacks because I'm assuming that I'll just mainly have, you know, meals tomorrow, but I believe my mum will be buying hummus, and obviously there will always be diet coke, and really, what more do I need? Nothing.

And now, for a story. Yesterday I was washing up in the kitchen when my dad came in brandishing a parcel at me, about which I was VERY excited because, hey! I hadn't ordered anything! So I obviously opened it where I stood, and found the following:
With a helpful explanatory card from Bex saying that she sent me these goodies (these very very good goodies!) as a thank you for making her baby some hats, and cause I've been having a kind of rough time lately; and I was BOWLED OVER. Like, seriously. Ugh, she's such a lovely, and now everyone knows about it, and you all can know that I LOVE her, as well. (I mean, I already did! But this is like an extra mile of loveliness).

SO! Thank youuuu Bex! Again. And until the END OF TIME.

And that was that and it was the best, and now I get to read ALL day tomorrow, and that's going to be the second best. Pretty awesome, I think you'll agree.