Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Loot!

It's just occurred to me that it's Sunday (even though, as I think we all know, the days between Christmas and New Year don't even count really) so this is kiiiind of a Sunday Sundries post except not because I'm basically going to show you the books I got for Christmas and not even show you what people from the internet got me because that stuff is back at my actual residence and I am at my parents' still and also I suuuuuck.
I know, Skarsgard. I know.
But that's ok! It's all good! I can show you all my other books! Now, the deal with this Christmas was this. I am a very poor person, so I had to do things like make my parents buy me a TV as my Christmas present way back in September so I could watch TV with my housemates, you know, ever, which was actually a dumb thing to do because I now never watch it because Shakespeare has enveloped my whole life. Nonetheless, that was my Christmas present from them (mainly...) and then things happened like I wore a hole in the bottom of my favourite converse (dark blue low tops) and saw a unicorn jumper online that was very expensive but which I neeeeeded (and which I am now wearing. Because life is good.) 

There is totally a point to all this aside from my desperate need for STUFF, SO MUCH STUFF; and that is this: I didn't really ask for that many books for Christmas. To be even more specific, I actually did ask for quite a few books for Christmas, but ten of them were fully Shakespeare plays that I actually need for the new term and so weren't massively fun presents at all. What do 10 Shakespeare plays look like all stacked on top of each other (asked no one ever)? Sort of like this:
Try to contain your excitement, people.

Anyway. So like I say, I didn't ask for all that many other books, but fortunately for me, my mum got a mini-ipad this year and discovered Amazon wishlists, so she got me a couple of books that I didn't even ask for, and my sister got me about three that she chose herself, so it ended up being pretty decent for books. Take a peek: 
So here's what was on my list and I very luckily got: The Clothbound Madame Bovary (sooooo pretty), Yes Please by Amy Poehler (aka one of the greatest people in the world), Life, Art, Words, which is a biography of Tove Jansson (aka the lady who drew the Moomins aka those guys I go on about all the time), and Homemade Decadence, Joy the Baker's second recipe book. ALL VERY EXCITING!

Here are the books I wasn't expecting: I got a Nutella recipe book SHAPED LIKE A JAR OF NUTELLA from my sister who I don't think knows how many times I looked at that book and wanted to buy it but didn't because I'm poor... But she did a good job anyway!
Side Nutella story- I told my mum that Selfridges were selling personalised Nutella jars (you queue up and tell them what to put on the jar and they print you a label and whatnot) and that I wanted one so she got me a jar of Nutella for my Christmas stocking and stuck my name on it with little letter stickers. Not in a straight line. Not exactly what I wanted, but cheers, mum!
Back to the books.... My sister also got me two Breaking Bad book because the girl knows what I want from life- one is called Breaking Down Breaking Bad, which looks like a kind of exploration of different themey things from the show, and the other (SO EXCITED) is Breaking Bad and Philosophy, which is SO my thing, was in fact on my Amazon wishlist but she didn't know it, and OH MY GOD. How would I not want to morally philosophise about basically the greatest TV show ever? Exactly. 

My Auntie got me a sewing book which is totally Relevant To My Interests, even if I don't have a whole load of time to sew at the moment *looks longingly at the end of March* and will totally be useful for things like making a baby bib from a bandanna (Yessssssss!) My mum's wishlist wanderings hit total paydirt- She got me a Murakami (A Wild Sheep Chase) AND a Tove Jansson book for grown up people, A Winter Book, which feels seasonally appropriate. Aaaaand basically yes, I am pretty spoilt. Is that a problem? (Not yet).


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

RIP IX BOOK 4: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I'm not sure how ridiculous it is to post an RIP review two months after the event ended, nor am I sure how wise it is to try and remember what actually happened in the book three months after I read it, but nonetheless, let's have a go. Almost immediately after reading Gone Girl, I ordered a three book bundle thing of Gillian Flynn's for basically a fiver, which included Gone Girl but £2.50 is still a pretty good price for a book so I got it anyway. I say immediately after because, the more I think about Gone Girl, the less I think I actually liked it so much as I thought it was immensely readable (which isn't a bad thing, at all) but still, I was left with these Gillian Flynn books.

So, I read Sharp Objects. And it is better than Gone Girl. See: finishing it 3 months ago and still thinking it was pretty great. The story is based around Camille Preaker, a journalist who is asked to return to her hometown to cover the murders of a couple of girls, and really it's about her fucked up family, and her fucked up self. I think Flynn is really good at writing characters who aren't really likeable- there are points where you do feel for Camille, but there's just enough cutthroat ambition and general nastiness about her that it's impossible to really like her.

But she's just the start of it. There's also her weirdly smothering and then pushing away mother, her half-sister who is out of control but also extremely childlike in front of their mother, and a motley assortment of townspeople who don't really like or trust Camille. Everyone is kind of exceptionally nasty, and it's difficult to know who the murderer is because everyone seems like they could probably be capable of it.

So, yeah. This is a crime thriller as well as a fucked up family saga, and whilst I am of course not going to tell you who the murderer is (duh), I am going to moan about Flynn's writing style. So, I feel like there is a point at which the plot is pushed a certain way, and there isn't really any wiggle room within that interpretation for believing anyone else is the killer. This is fine, and it generally makes you feel really smart that you've figured it out, but then Flynn will put in a twist that means everything you've been told before is invalidated, and it's just like 'SURPRISE! This happened!' without any real basis for it. To me, this just feels like sloppy writing practice. Of course it's going to be surprising, because there is nothing else anywhere to have really made it likely, so instead of being shocking, it just kind of makes me roll my eyes and sigh a little bit because what was the point of all that, then?

This is kind of how I felt about Gone Girl too, in the end, but the reason it doesn't make me hate Sharp Objects beyond all else is because I think there is enough else here to make it an actually decent book. The creepy family ties, the fucked up protagonist, and I haven't even mentioned the attractive cop and the drugs and the reason the book is even called Sharp Objects... There's quite a lot going on here, is what I'm saying. It hasn't made me jump up and down and want to marry Flynn or anything, but there is some very good stuff here, plus it has made me want to read Dark Places, so good work, Gillian. Good work.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sunday Sundries: Merry Christmas/I'm Not Dead!

Guyssssssssssssssss! Hello.

I know, I know, I've been gone for like a month. I SAID I KNOW. The thing is, December. It's an arsehole of a month when you already have the tiniest amount of free time in the world, because that free time needs to be spent doing things like finishing up Christmas shopping and writing cards that make you sound totally sane really late at night (tiredness is worse than drunkness for me, is what I'm saying) and wrapping presents and getting shitfaced on free wine at your work Christmas party and attending birthday parties for five year olds selfishly born in December...

I haven't stopped all month, is what I'm saying. Except to sleep, which is, as I'm sure we're all aware, amazing.

So, news. Um. Uni is finished for Christmas which is amazing except that I have to try and remember that I do have to write 10,000 words (minimum! Excluding Bibliography!) so actually I should be working harder than I did for the whole term... But having weekdays off (actually off! Nowhere I have to be!) is making me slightly giddy so I need to really knuckle down to that... After Christmas. Mwahahaha.

Hmmm, I can really tell I haven't written anything bloggish for ages, because I am struggling to remember how to do this when words used to fly out of my fingers. I probably should have restarted with a survey or something, those are always good! And yet, here I am. So I was watching Donnie Darko last night whilst making essay notes (Yes! Notes! Progress!) and I heard the best thing I've ever heard and assumed there must be a gif AND THERE IS:
I just want to use it all the time because I want to be reading all the time and arghhh, why can't I just do that? Shakespeare is why. The motherfucker. I've asked my mum to get me one of the books on my Christmas list (cause I get parental presents on Christmas morning) just so I can essentially spend all of Christmas reading a non-school book and luxuriating in it. Of course, I'm much more likely to be talking to my family, watching the children be adorable, and crying quite a bit (first Christmas without my nan is going to be ROUGH) but still some reading will be done and it will be glorious.

A quick note on that crying thing: really the only two things I want for Christmas are 1) to have my nan back for it, and 2) to have more time. BOTH OF THESE THINGS ARE IMPOSSIBLE, I realise, so it's sort of difficult to get excited about the most magical time of the year when you actually want things that are magic. It sort of takes away from it when you don't get those things so you know the magic actually isn't there. I'm doing ok though, and I just hope we can all keep it together on Christmas Day. I know we'll be trying, anyway.

SO. Sorry to be a downer in my first post of December (!!!) and, if I don't see you again before (totally likely) then have the best Christmas and a Happy New Year (I want to do an end of year survey thing so I want to be back before then, but who knows? This is me we're talking about). I love you all dearly and you are the greatest people. Hugs and kisses all round!