Thursday 28 April 2011

Literary Blog Hop April 28- May 1

Literary Blog Hop

Woohoo, the Blog Hop's back! This is all very exciting stuff! Hosted, as ever, by the fabulous The Blue Bookcase, this fortnight they ask:

Discuss your thoughts on sentimentality in literature. When is emotion in literature effective, and when is it superfluous? Use examples.

First of all, I really really recommend that you read Ingrid's answer to this question back at the host site, because it is pretty awesome and mine is going to be less highbrow, mainly because I'm scared of the question because it sounds like an essay question, and I don't want to answer them anymore! But I'll try it my way anyway.

I basically think that there is a difference between sentimentality and emotion (when in doubt, challenge the question...) in that sentimentality is often irritating and hinders at least my enjoyment of a novel, whereas emotion, used correctly, can be the most wonderful thing about a novel. I think most important of all is how a novel makes you feel, and if the author tries too hard to make you feel a certain way, then I end up feeling a little cold, whereas if what the characters are going through affects you because it is so well written, and contains just the right amount of pathos, then that is just perfect, and I will pretty much want to marry that book!

So, examples. Ingrid used the example of Lady Chatterley's Lover, and I would extend that to include D H Lawrence's novels in general- he knows exactly the right words to use to tug on at least my emotions, and I am always left a little breathtaken by the beauty and emotional depth of his writing, something which he manages without ever becoming too over the top or deliberately playing to the most base of our feelings. This is possibly not the best example to use though, since I know that certain people *ahem* Frances *ahem* really really dislike old DH and think he's basically a big drip. But each to their own I suppose!

I've been trying to think of an author who succumbs to sentimentality, and I have to say I'm struggling. I know I've experienced it before though, just, it seems, not for a long time. But I know exactly what it's like. It's where the characters go through emotions that have been so heightened by the author that they become ridiculous, and then have no effect on the reader at all (other than noting how ridiculous they are). I would imagine that this is a really easy trap to fall into, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to read, and doesn't reveal anything about the human condition, which is something that I consider it really important for literature to do.

So authors, please avoid the trap of sentimentality, and try to keep it real- history will appreciate you for it, and I will thank you kindly for it.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

A to Z of Authors

One of my favourite blogs is What Red Read, mainly because its author is an amazing writer, but also because she writes about Shakespeare quite a bit in her aforementioned amazing writing. She has also introduced the world (or, ok, me) to another list that I can make and feel all joyous about- and this one's really a great one (trust me, you'll love it!) So, what I'm meant to do is pick authors with surnames starting with each letter of the alphabet that are also my favourites. I'm going to say it's pretty unrealistic to think that I'm only going like one author from each letter, but I'll try and at least pick authors that I like. Or have at least read! So, here goes:

A- Paul Auster
B- Emily Bronte (sorry Charlotte!)
C- Stephen Chbosky
D- Emily Dickinson
E- Jeffrey Eugenides
F- F Scott Fitzgerald
G- Arthur Golden
H- Nick Hornby
I- Kazuo Ishiguro
J- Henry James
K- Stephen King (obviously)
L- Harper Lee
M- Margaret Mitchell
N- Vladimir Nabokov
O- George Orwell
P- Sylvia Plath
Q- Thomas De Quincey (This counts as a Q, right?)
R- Salman Rushdie
S- John Steinbeck
T- Leo Tolstoy
U- John Updike
V- Kurt Vonnegut
W- Tennessee Williams
Y- Richard Yates
Z- Benjamin Zephaniah

There are clearly no authors whose surnames begin with X, right? Lesson learned- change surname to Xylophone, write novel, and you'll be everyone's favourite 'author-whose-surname-begins-with-X'! But this was a pretty fun list to make, I suggest you try one too!

Devouring Books: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Whilst reading Middlesex, I felt like I'd been a little rough on Eugenides when I reviewed The Virgin Suicides- one book I didn't like does not a bad author make. Going into Middlesex with relatively low expectations, then, I really wasn't expecting such an epic novel- and epic is really the only word to describe this extraordinary book. I was honestly hooked from the very beginning, and I pretty much loved everything about the story, and now I understand why people like Jeffrey Eugenides so much!

Everything you need to know about Middlesex is really detailed on the very first page, but it's not something you realise unless you look back to the beginning at the end and have a little gasp as you realise that everything the narrator mentioned actually happened, and how interesting each of the little events really is. Middlesex is really really difficult to describe in a sensible coherant way, whilst also making it sound interesting and avoiding spoilers. But I'll have a go anyway!

Middlesex is probably the most aptly named book I've ever read, since it is narrated by a hermaphrodite, essentially someone who is middle-sex. It also happens to be the name of the house the family move into in the middle of the novel, but that's almost incidental to the meaning it holds for me. Our narrator has the peculiar position of being both an omniscient narrator and a character in the novel, a position that can be difficult to straddle, but one that Eugenides manages to pull off almost effortlessly. The novel, then, is based around the hermaphrodite status of our narrator, but this, again, is more of an excuse rather than anything for the epic scope of this novel, spanning 2 continents and 3 generations, as it means that the narrator can track the journey of their pesky gene, but the things that happen to this family are much more interesting than the gene status of one of its members.

There is so much to love about this novel, the family events that you can relate to as, if not being entirely the same as things that have happened to your family, then that are told in the same way- the anecdotes in the novel being as homely and lovely as if they had been told in your own living room (which, I suppose, they may have been depending on where you read this book!) This is not to say that the novel is all sunshine and flowers (and if it was, I probably would have liked it much less) and there is in fact a great deal of tragedy in the novel, which is not that surprising considering that the family is Greek! But in this, it is very true to life- no life is ever completely perfect, and this novel realises and reflects that in the events that it retells.

In spanning two continents, Middlesex begins in what is technically Turkey, I believe (I'm a little sketchy on the details here!) and then goes on its great voyage to America, where most of the novel takes place. As just a personal preference, and I'm not saying that this is a fault with the novel at all, I didn't really like or, I suppose connect with the part that took place in Turkey at all. I think the problem here was threefold, in it being an unfamiliar setting, an unfamiliar era, and an unfamiliar event (the Great Fire of Smyrna... yep, me neither!) to me, all of which left me in a certain state of confusion, especially since the novel is initially set up as being in America, and I love me some American goodness! But, as I said, this is not a fault of the novel, but I guess a fault of my own brain, and to be honest it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the novel at all. So if you're like me, at this point of the novel I would urge you to keep going!

So, overall, Middlesex was not at all what I was expecting from the author of what I found to be an iffy novel, and I was blown away by what he was capable of. I urge you to read Middlesex, and I assure you that you won't at all be disappointed!

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesdays seem to come around a lot quicker than they used to these days... I'm not sure if this is just a reaction to a 4 day weekend (because if it is, I'll be having the same problem next week, the only reason you gotta love those Royal Weddings :D) or if it's because I have an actual job now, but it's definitely something- Tuesdays creep up on me and very nearly pass me by! But not this week, pesky Tuesdays! Hosted as always by the awesome The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is really pretty fun, even though I may have taken 'mean' and subverted it to 'pure and complete evil' in some of these cases... but you can tell me what you think at the end!

Top Ten Mean Girls in Books

1. Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- This girl really takes mean to a new level. Her all consuming jealousy and cruelty of spirit make her the ultimate villain for this amazing novel, and you'd never think someone so beautiful could be so evil... (well, I definitely could believe it since a lot of real life beautiful people I've known have been complete bitches. But there you go.)

2. Kate from East of Eden by John Steinbeck- To be fair, Kate's biggest enemy in this story is herself, but she definitely does a lot of damage to a lot of other people in the course of the novel. In the course of the film she also manages to fuck up James Dean, and that I simply can't forgive her for. Stupid evil woman! (my reviews of the book and film can be found here and here).

3. The wives from A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood- Because, seriously, if you're involved in one of the most female unfriendly societies ever imagined by a human brain, would you just stand by and let everything happen as disgustingly as it does because you are fortunate enough to be married to one of the evil overlords of the whole society? I think not, and if all the wives had stood up to their husbands, surely none of it would have had to happen? Just something I think about all the time...

4. Curley from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck- I understand that Curley's not a woman, but I'm pretty sick of Curley's wife being blamed for all the shit that goes down in this story, so I've decided to blame him instead. Had he treated his wife better, she wouldn't have craved affection from another male... and so on (I'm sure you know the story, and if not, you should really read it guys!)

5. Rose from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith- Let's face it, Rose is basically a bitch of epic proportions- she is so unbelievably selfish that it's kind of hard to comprehend how a person could be that way. She does improve slightly towards the end, when she makes the right decision, but pretty much... she's a bitch!

6. Rebecca from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier- Conspicuously absent from this story told by the second wife of Rebecca's husband, maybe I'm being unduly harsh on Rebecca, since she doesn't get the chance to tell her side of the story. If you want a villain who is present in the novel, however, Mrs Danvers is a pretty good mean girl too.

7. Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey- I mean, seriously. Mean doesn't even come into it, as the Nurse is just completely and utterly evil, and a little bit insane to boot, if you ask me (she likes to be in control a little too much, you know?) She's also basically a murderer, so, yeah. She's pretty mean!

8. Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen- I have a feeling Jane likes her little lady villains a bit too much- Isabella is the perfect example of a manipulative girl who pretends to befriend our beloved heroine but is actually no good for her at all, and in fact cares only about herself. If this is too harsh on the young lady then I apologise, but she's really one of the first characters I thought of when this top ten came up.

9. Scarlet O Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- I think you can still appreciate and love Scarlet O Hara whilst also realising that, really, she is a complete and utter bitch. I mean, Regina George has nothing on this chick. She continually pretends to like Melly whilst actually hating her a great deal of the time, plus she marries her sister's beau! What the hell?! Even Regina wouldn't sink that low....

10. Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams- I'm not sure if you would describe Blanche as actually mean, but she's certainly not someone you'd relish spending too much time with- oscillating between over-confidence and neediness, she's so unbelievably neurotic and annoying that I wouldn't even know how to deal with her. Not that this excuses Stanley's actions in any way, but really you've got to feel sorry for Stella, haven't you? STELLAAAAAAAAAA! (Sorry).

So that's my top ten- any mean girls that you can think of that will make me go 'Oh yeahhhhhh, she's a right bitch!'? Let me know in the comments.

Monday 25 April 2011

Devouring Books: Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

Never has the title I give my reviews been more apt than it is today- I quite literally devoured Sweet Valley Confidential in a day (as in, within 24 hours rather than in a literal day) and, in the process I became about 12 again. I'm not sure if it's possible to completely love a book for nostalgic reasons, whilst also being underwhelmed and sort of depressed by the actual writing itself? If so, that's totally where I am right now!

To be completely fair, I suspect that the writing has always pretty much resembled that of Sweet Valley Confidential, and I just never noticed because I was young and foolish and didn't have a degree in English or anything silly like that. Apart from that though, there were other things I didn't like so much about the book- Pascal clearly has her favourite characters (Elizabeth, mainly, but also Bruce Patman and I think Stephen, to a lesser extent) and then she has characters that she really can't seem to stand- Enid Rollins and Winston Egbert to name but two, and Jessica is clearly her least favourite twin! There is also the bizarre choice she makes in having Elizabeth be a theatre critic, even though she has never really shown any interest in the theatre- surely there are other things to write about in New York City?

But still. While there could be more action in Sweet Valley (most of the things that actually happen in the present happen to Elizabeth in New York) the book is such an amazing nostalgia trip that, if you're a fan of the series, or even just love to hate it, you will probably completely love this book. Despite some interesting relationship decisions that I'm NOT going to tell you about because they're pretty juicy, and Pascal's clear and bitter hatred for certain characters, everyone is basically exactly as you remember them from Sweet Valley High. If these books were real life, this would be considered a bad thing- surely you're meant to mature some from high school?- but since this is exactly how we remember the characters to be, anything else would surely be a disappointment.

Having said that, I feel that there are certain parts of the Sweet Valley canon that Pascal disapproves of, since she chooses to brush over a variety of different events. Chief among these is the entire Sweet Valley University series- new characters from SVU are completely left out, and relationships that, understandably, fell apart in the SVU series are rekindled as if nothing happened, the most conspicuous of which is Elizabeth and Todd's relationship which seemed to be pretty much over (i.e. they hadn't spoken to each other for 2 years) but apparently this book decides to mention such things briefly and then move swiftly on to the way Pascal wants things to be now. In a way, though, everyone changed in the Sweet Valley University series a great deal more than they do in this book, and Sweet Valley Confidential is, in a way, a regression back to high school for everyone, rather than showing them moving on as it sort of claims too.

I feel like I've been overly harsh on this book, and if that's the impression you've gotten from this then I want to apologise profusely. What you've gotten are the after-thoughts of a bit of a reading snob (in the nicest possible way!) whereas, during the reading, none of these things really mattered to me, and I was just giddy being back in a Sweet Valley dreamworld where any problems that anyone has are solved by the end of the book, and everything becomes sunny and wonderful again. Its a nice place to escape to, and more importantly, it remind me so much of a time where the most fun I could possibly have was go to a library and pick up a newly in Sweet Valley High book. If anyone can tell me how to get back to that time, please let me know and I'll take you with me! And we can read Sweet Valley High books forever and dream of moving to California, and having a twin.....

Sunday 24 April 2011

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday

I wasn't going to take part in these blog hops this week because I hadn't gotten any new books and, really, who wants to read someone going "yeah, I didn't get any new books *sigh*" etc? BUT then my sister came through for me and bought me something for easter that she knew I would appreciate very very much...

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal!!! YES! I have probably mentioned this before but I was a complete Sweet Valley nerd when I was about 10 (until... well, I sort of haven't yet grown out of it!) probably because I was vicariously living through them, and imagining a high school experience that was significantly cooler than my own. I also spent hours pondering how awesome it would be to have a twin, who could protect me from my older sister's tortures! But anyway... I don't know if you've heard about this book, but it's basically set 10 years after the end of the Sweet Valley High series (ignoring those senior year books that I was so incredibly excited about when they came out, and also those 2 years of Sweet Valley University books that I read, were there any more?) and shit has gone down and it's all pretty freaking awesome and exciting! I've already read a significant portion of it today, and I can't even tell you how many times Jessica and Elizabeth's beauty has been emphasised, or how terrible the writing really is- and yet I still love love love them all, because they are a really important part of my reading history! So I am at the extremes of excitement to finish this and discuss it with all of you right here! When you promptly unfollow me because such a low level of literature is not exactly what you've come to expect from me... and yet I will still be loving SVH forever!

This is clearly my most exciting mailbox ever! I'm sure you'll all agree... How about you? Any Sweet Valley devotees out there who have read this yet? Tell me all about it in the comments!

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren, every Sunday.
Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their houses last week. You can view the touring blog list at the Mailbox Monday blog for upcoming months.

Friday 22 April 2011

Devouring Films: The Social Network

Ah, The Social Network, how do I love thee? In spite of my new found ambivalence to Facebook itself, (it turns out, the people I have actually met in my life? On the whole, they're not that interesting. And some are downright obnoxious! But I digress) I adore the film about its creation like nobody's business. Whether I like it or not, Facebook has, as the film suggests at its heart, changed the way we communicate and socialise, possibly forever, or until the internet explodes or something. This is clear in our everyday lives even not online- the film makes a big deal out of people saying "Facebook me", and I doubt there is a young person left who hasn't said this at least once, and a little while ago, I found myself saying to my friend "Ooh, I must post these videos on your wall", a phrase that, not so very long ago, would have sounded completely ridiculous, and not a little confusing. Things certainly have changed from when I was a kid, when videos were things you put into a machine and watched a film on, and even DVD was a foreign concept. Everything seems to have speeded up at a ridiculous pace...

Speaking of things moving at a ridiculous pace, The Social Network has basically the fastest moving dialogue of any movie I've probably ever seen- its closest relative is probably The West Wing, which is unsurprising since Aaron Sorkin is the writer of both- and oh boy, do I love him! If I could marry his writing, then I probably would. The words are what make the film what it is, from making Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) go from arrogant to vulnerable within minutes, to making Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) seem like a complete and utter douche. It's so wonderful that I can't really say enough nice things about it, you really just have to see the movie to get a full idea of the pacing and wonderousness of the writing. Its the kind of thing that simultaneously excites me and makes me want to give up, because nothing I ever do will be as good as the writing in this film. But still, I will endeavour and go on! How noble of me...

The first time I realised that this film was going to be a really big deal, rather than just a regular sized deal, was when The New Yorker dedicated literally five pages to their review of it (most films are lucky to get one) and I was going back and forth on whether or not to write my own review because, let's face it, enough nice things have been said about this film already! The New Yorker makes it sound like more than just a film, and more like a masterpiece of epic proportions, and if they were the Academy, I think I know which would have won the Oscar for best film (they were not so impressed by The King's Speech). The thing is though, I'm not so sure that they're right. Don't get me wrong, The Social Network is a GREAT film, and one I think you should definitely watch, but The New Yorker seems to think it revolutionises film in the same way that Facebook revolutionised communication. And whilst I really do think it is a film that everyone should see and be awed by, I don't think it is all that revolutionary- it's just an incredibly well written, well directed film, that is incidentally about something that changed the world. I don't think, however, that this film does that too.

But really, who needs a film to do that? To be spectacularly entertaining, and informative to boot, is surely enough for any cinema goer? There is also the added benefit of those lovely Hollywood casting people making a bunch of geeks (and I say this with love, I am one such geek!) far easier on the eye for the rest of us than, say, a documentary on the making of Facebook would have been, but I suppose that's kind of beside the point really!

Everything that needs to be said about this movie really has been said already. So, maybe for the first time, you should probably believe what you read, and just see the damn movie already! And, if you're wondering why this review is so disjointed, it's because it was written in conjunction with Facebook. If that's not irony, then I'm not really sure what is...

Bloggity Hoppity Boo

Yeah, I'm running out interesting titles for Friday Blog Hops, but you know, a Cinderella reference? Always good. I'm adding a new meme to my repertoire this week, mainly because my blogging bff Jenn takes part in it and that's a good enough reason for me! Also, it's fun.

So, first up, is #fridayreads, hosted by Jenn (a different one!) at The Picky Girl, where we say what we're reading over the weekend for a bit of escapism from the drudgery of everyday life. This weekend, I'm still going to be working through The Stand by Stephen King, something which I've been doing for a pretty long time now, but I'm definitely going to try and tackle it for reals this weekend (it is 4 days long, after all!) and get through a significant chunk of it. And, as for escapism- have you ever read a Stephen King book? It doesn't get much further from the real world than that (and hopefully it stays that way!) So, basically, yeah. The Stand. I'm on it!

This week's question at Crazy-for-Books is: If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?
Book Blogger HopOk, this question was so written for me. I literally do this all the time- even if I've just started reading a book by an author and immediately love it, I always search for basically everything they've ever written. This is why I have a quest to own all Stephen King and John Steinbeck books, why I do own pretty much everything George Orwell and Shakespeare ever wrote, and why I have so many unread books by authors I have only read one book by. I am so mental about this that I even have books by authors I'm not sure if I like all that much- I really can't decide which way I go on Annie Proulx (other than that I loved Accordion Crimes) and yet I own all her books but two. Yes, I am insane. But that's how I roll!
And Parajunkee's View asks: What is on your current playlist right now?
Ooh, a non book question! At the moment, I'm basically listening to Edith Piaf a fair bit, as well as the new Foo Fighters album, and I'm constantly listening to Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne and Jeff Buckley.

And that's about that! Just as a personal blogging resolution as well, I'm definitely going to try and get back into the swing of things this week- I have 3 reviews to write, and they're all going to be totally awesome! I promise! But hopefully this will keep you going for now, and keep me going too...

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Yaaay, my favourite blogging day ever is here again! Thanks, as always, go to our hosts, The Broke and the Bookish, especially this week since I get to pick my own Top Ten! Well, I say I get to pick it, but what I really mean is that it's a top ten tuesday rewind, so I get to pick a list from those that happened before my little blog ever even existed. I spent a surprisingly/embarrassingly long time choosing which to do (there are a lot of great choices) but it really came down to only one- and I think the choices will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about me. So, here it goes:

Top Ten All Time Favourite Books

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee- I just always come back to this book-it deserves to be cited in almost any situation, and it is just indispensable to my life- absolutely amazing and unmissable. You can read my review of it here, for more ridiculous gushing about it.

2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck- I really don't know why or when I first read this book, but I'm so glad I did. There is nothing not to like about the novel- it is a fight against social injustice, a rallying call to arms, all mixed in with a story about a family just struggling to survive. It is simply perfect, as most of Steinbeck's novels tend to be!

3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath- It may have made me think I was going crazy, but The Bell Jar remains one of my favourite novels of all time- it's just such a perfect portrait of a person falling apart, but other than that it is astonishingly well written, and unstoppably heartbreaking.

4. Angels in America by Tony Kushner- I do just go on about this play all the time, but it honestly just is one of the best things I have ever seen, read, or had any contact with ever. It is funny, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and manages to marry fantasy and reality so well together that it is practically seamless. I think if you see this, you will be changed in at least some small way.

5. 1984 by George Orwell- Because, when you live in a pretty unjust society yourself, it's nice to be reminded that things could always be worse. A bit, anyway...

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky- I've literally only just read it, but it is already one of my favourite ever novels- the narrator is wonderfully innocent, and I really really felt a connection to book. A perfect tale of teenage woes, but also a great deal more than that. I've reviewed it here.

7. It by Stephen King- I could basically pick nearly any Stephen King novel (Bag of Bones, Desperation and the whole Dark Tower series are also favourites) but It is just perfect in the way it portrays childhood friendships, and the way that, once you get back together with childhood friends, it's like nothing has changed at all. It also has basically the scariest monster of any King book I've read so far, which is really all you need from the King of horror.

8. The Hours by Michael Cunningham- I can't remember why I even picked up this book (possibly because a film was made of it where Nicole Kidman had a fake nose) but I am so glad I did. A complex story spanning 3 eras and 3 different but equally amazing women, it has a very well deserved place on my list.

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott- This is probably the book that could most easily be replaced on my list, but that doesn't mean I don't completely love it. The very first classic I can remember reading and adoring, and I still sort of want to be Jo, even though, I fear, I am a bit more of a Beth. But at least I'm not Amy.

10. Harry Potter by JK Rowling- Even though I'm probably not supposed to like them, I can't help but being completely and utterly in love with the entire Harry Potter series. I've basically never been so utterly sucked into a fictional world like I have Hogwarts, and, had the inevitable ending happened, I would have lost all faith in all things forever. As more of a cultural thing, I just love that Harry Potter has made so many people fall in love with reading, possibly again, or possibly just for the first time, setting up millions of kids for a lifetime of bookishness. And could any life be better?!

That was my rewind- I'm so excited to see which top tens you all picked, and all the bookish fun that Tuesdays bring! 

Friday 15 April 2011

Hip Hip Hop and You Don't Stop

I have been a bit of a blogging failure this week, mainly because I've been a reading failure too... So to make up for it, I'm going to participate in some blog hops again this week! Woo! If you've just found me through a blog hop, welcome! And please feel free to have a look around, and see if there's anything that you like the look of...
Book Blogger HopSo, this week, Crazy-For-Books asks: Outside of books, what is your guilty pleasure?
To this, I can but reply that nobody should ever feel guilty about pleasure! But I guess my biggest guilty pleasure is staying in my pjs and watching American TV programmes in bed that we haven't got over here in the UK yet (United States of Tara and True Blood, I'm looking at you...) because it totally makes me feel all ahead of the curve, and in the case of Tara, ahead of everyone else in the country (except my friend Frances with whom I used to watch it) because I'm not even sure they know it exists!

And, Parajunkee's View asks: Do you have anyone you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.
I would say that I can pretty much discuss books with any of my friends, and they won't shun me or chase me with sticks for it! But it really depends on the book- there will be some books that only I have read, and so I pretty much just discuss them here on my blog, but when I've read a book that a friend has also read, then watch out for me not shutting up. Ever. Also, having done an English degree, I have pretty much discussed the crap out of books with everyone on my units, as well as my long-suffering fellow University survivor, Frances- just ask either of us about Pamela by Samuel Richardson, and you'll be met with groans of horror and a very stern dressing down of that awful awful book. And I will love it.

So these are my answers, how about you? Are you hopping today, or do you just love me so much that you can't bear to be away from my blog for more than a few hours? Because that's ok if you do, messages of undying love are always appreciated!

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Oh yeah, we all know what today is... My favourite meme of the week! This week's list is actually my second attempt, since the first one contained books that had already been made into movies- I should probably check those out, huh? In making this list, though, I had some pretty mixed feelings that will probably become evident to you as you read it- it's a sort of painful, 'well, yeah, I would like to see these in movie form, but only if they have the best ever director (i.e. myself) making them. Which sounds a little egocentric, but nonetheless it's how I feel- these movies would have to be exactly like I've seen the book in my head, or they'd end up on my top ten worst book to movie adaptations list (which, I don't think has been done yet, but could be an idea for a future TTT? Just a thought...) But anyway, I'll tell you my list, and you can tell me what you think!

Top Ten Books I'd like to see turned into movies

1. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster: Just because, I'd really like to see how they pull it off- it's such an intricate, well-crafted, and often surprising set of short stories (that all intertwine) that I can't even begin to imagine it fitting together on the big screen, but I'm sure there's someone who could...

2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: This replaced We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, because apparently someone made that already! I'm not even halfway through Middlesex yet, but already I can see its cinematic potential- the deceptions, the family drama- it's all so awesome and secretive, and definitely suited for a film.

3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: I'm pretty sure this could only be made by someone who has experienced depression, and even then, I'm not sure it could be done the way it should be. There's nothing quite like your first reading of The Bell Jar, and I'm not sure if a movie experience could measure up to it.

4. Midnight's Children/The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie: Just because I think it would be a really hilarious impossible task to give someone, and the resulting movies would probably be the biggest messes ever- this is not to say that there is anything wrong with the books, because they are utterly amazing, I just think that they might be unfilmable!

5. Maus by Art Spiegelman: I'm not really sure about this one either, because while I think it would be incredible, a moving picture cartoon would possibly be a) crappy, or b) completely disrespectful. Done well though, I think it could be really really good and classy. But I could be wrong.

6. I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill: Seriously, this book is so creepy that it sort of gives me chills of horror. Get two amazing child actors, and you could have a surprise hit on your hands with this tale of random and unfair persecution.

7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon: I'm not sure this could be done properly either (do you see a pattern here) but I think if it could it would be a really good British film, and one that raises awareness of autism and its effects on everyone surrounded by it, which can only be a good thing. However, since it is narrated by an autistic teenager, I'm not sure how they could properly get across his complete state of mind.

8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I just love everything about this book, the characters, the plot, everything. I think this could potentially be an amazing film, as long as there is the right casting and the right setting.

9. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: A lush setting that would look amazing on film, and the story is pretty complex and amazing too. I just think it would translate really well to film, especially if my brain is any indication.

10. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: A book that left me in tears because of the sheer horror of the situation, I think it needs to reach a larger audience, so that they can understand what an extreme, anti-female policy can eventually lead to (hint: it's not so good). This is, however, another book that could potentially be ruined by film, so it would have to be done sensitively and really really well (preferably by me!)

So, yeah. That's my top ten. How about you? Any books that you couldn't bear to see on film because it would just be too awful? Any you think would be a really good idea? Let me know in the comments!

Monday 11 April 2011

Readalong for April- Lady Chatterley's Lover

Soooo, this post is a little bit/exceptionally late, especially considering it's been in my drafts for a week, at which point it was already late! But anyway, let's ignore all of that, let bygones be bygones, and I'll state my intentions to you plainly and clearly.

What I intend to do is participate in A Literary Odyssey's readalong for April, which is of the wonderful, amazing D H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. Yes, I have read it before, but so long ago that all I can remember of it was that the 'shockingly offensive and debauched' sex scene was actually exceptionally disappointing. So, to the reading place where people read I go! Considering the lack of punctuality surrounding this post, I'll probably actually get round to reading the book in about June. And then blogging about it in August. So, yeah. Expect very little from my participation, and you probably won't be disappointed! But I will get to it eventually...

If you want to take part go over to A Literary Odyssey and sign up, and even if you don't, you should probably go there anyway, because Allie's blog is totally awesome, and something you should be reading all the time (which I do. Which is why I may never get round to Lady Chatterley!) I've chatted to her some on twitter too, and she is seriously the nicest, so what are you waiting for? Go! Read! Thank me later.

Devouring Films: Coco Avant Chanel

Wooo, the film reviews are making a comeback. I feel like I haven't watched a film in an exceptionally long time (mainly because I turn on a computer and my brain is sucked into it for about a million hours), so I feel pretty happy having just finished Coco Avant Chanel. Plus, as an added bonus, it's a French film, so I even got to read at the same time! This wasn't exactly helpful when I tried to text during it though- I may have had to rewind (or whatever you do to a disc) quite a few times...

The main thought in my brain during the film, apart from 'wow, french sounds so pretty...' was, 'oh my God, how skinny is Audrey?!' I mean, really, I'm kind of worried about her! Is it just me, or did she used to have a little bit of meat on her bones, say in Amelie (which is one of my very favourite films)? I've just realised how disgusting and sexist it is of me to treat Audrey as an object first, and as a woman second, and for that I apologise, I'll get onto her acting later, but I wouldn't have brought this up if I didn't think she was actually far too skinny to be healthy- does anyone else feel this way?

But anyway. On the whole I pretty much liked Coco Avant Chanel- it was French, there were clothes, and Coco Chanel seems like someone I would get along really well with- she's sort of moody and quiet and brooding, but if you get on the right side of her she'll be your friend forever. This is where I talk about Audrey's acting ability- she's pretty incredible. Every feeling is portrayed on her face; you know when she is bored, when she is ecstatic, and every emotion in-between, and the woman has range too- Coco couldn't be more different than Amelie, say, and yet you completely believe and love both characters, practically forgetting that the same actress plays both.

The plot is pretty straightforward- ambitious girl dreams of escaping her life of poverty and moving to Paris, by way of a rich gentleman, and an Englishman who works for him. Emancipated it is not exactly, but Chanel has little other choice, and it is fair to say that she holds her own amongst these men who pay for her. At times I was reminded of Anna Karenina, in that Etienne is an integral part of French society that reflects so well the Russian society in Anna Karenina that I disliked so much. This is perhaps why some of the film felt hollow to me, because the world portrayed is one in which nobody does anything of any use- as Coco says disdainfully at one point, "Nobody here works,"a position so far removed from how she sees her life going.

Since this is a biopic, it is difficult to criticise the plot in itself, since (I assume) these are the things that actually happened. I could only really be critical if I was an expert in Chanel studies, which, I assure you, I'm really not! One thing I would question, however, is the choice of the filmmakers to focus on Chanel's early life. I realise that the film is called Coco before Chanel, and so that's what they're going to be looking at, but at the end there was a little 'oh yeah, Coco worked for the rest of her life, competing with men' blah blah blah, when all they've actually shown in the film is how dependent she had been on men (albeit also being an incredible personality, and having strong convictions). I guess what I'm basically trying to say here is that they could have looked at at least a little bit of that strong woman stuff, rather than just focusing on her dependency. But I guess that's just me being picky and feministly crazy...

So yes. On the whole I would recommend Coco Avant Chanel, because it's entertaining enough and Audrey Tautou completely shines, as she always does when she's in a film (yes, I have a little bit of a girl crush on her). It's not the most intellectually taxing film, and it won't keep you on your toes or anything like that, but it's perfect for a bit of light entertainment. As long as you like subtitles.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Mailbox Monday/ In My Mailbox: Birthday Spectacular Edition!

So, yesterday was the read-a-thon, which was pretty much a megafail for me, which I sort of knew it would be because it was my birthday and all, and few opportunities for reading could be found without someone suggesting that maybe I should be at least looking at the people who were nice enough to buy me lovely things. And then I slept through the last 11 hours of the damn thing! (Birthdays make me tired, especially when I have a bit of a breakdown on them.) But, anyway! We shall not dwell on the failures of the past, but look forward to the victories of the future! Yes! (and there's another read-a-thon in October, I believe, and I am so totally on that!)

Speaking of victories, yesterday was, at least, a bit of a book-win for me! I got 9 books in all, and these form the entire content of my mailbox Monday/IMM this week. Here they are in all their glory:
I so admired the stacks of read-a-thon books (the rudimentary first step that I didn't even take, and probably should have indicated my read-a-thon fail likeliness) that I just had to take my own stacks of books picture! Since my camera is of shocking quality, and is something that I should have perhaps had replaced through the wonder of birthday presents, you probably can't see all/any of the book titles. But fear not! I am here to narrate this wondrous photo!

So, starting from the bottom, we have Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip. I shouldn't really have to explain why I wanted this, but lets just say that if you don't think Moomin and the gang are completely adorable, then we probably can't be friends- I have a framed drawing of Moomin that I did myself in my room, and a Moomin cushion that I made myself (with some pretty significant help from the incomparably talented Frances) and I am about the least artistic/crafty person in the world- this is how dedicated I am to Moomin. Also, the quotation on the back of the book is "I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes, and dream!" which is about the nicest thing ever! If you're still unconvinced with Moomin and his amazingness, then I'll let you know that Alexander Skarsgard plays the voice of Moomin in 'Moomin and the Comet Chase', which, as a combination is so much cuteness that I could probably die!
Ahem. That's probably enough Moomin love for now. Next up from my apparent obsession is The Hummingbird Bakery's new recipe book, Cake Days, which I am pretty excited to bake just about everything from, and which looks even better than the original Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook which I got for my 20th Birthday! Mmmmmmm...
Next up is The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir, which, I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain to you, but if you want a quick description: Feminism=yay!, women=yay!. As for the rest, I'm not really sure, because I got it out of the Uni library once, started reading it, then remembered that I wasn't doing a Womans Studies degree (if one can even do such a degree in England) and had to set it aside, permanently and with a huge sigh because I had to do actual work. But now, my time has come!
The teeny book resting on top of Simone is Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters by John Steinbeck, the most expensive teeny book ever, but one I had to have to get nearer to finishing my Steinbeck library. Also, I really really like reading the private letters and things of celebrated people, as if it will give me the key to their excellence, and hence the way I can unlock my own. This is always the hope anyway, not that it's happened yet- I'm still holding out hope though!
Next up is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, a book which I asked for purely on the basis of an amazing review on a blog that I now can't remember (although if you've written an amazing review of this book, then it's probably yours!) Days after it being ordered, however, I read a pretty mixed review of it on another blog... So I guess I'm going to have to read it and tell you whether it is really good or not!
The dark book on top of Betty is The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster, an author who I have been in love with since I read Moon Palace, and who really never gets old for me. The Invention of Solitude will be the first of his non-fiction that I've read though, so I guess anything could happen to my opinion of him!
Above Auster is The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat By Oliver Sacks, a book that I can still remember my college Philosophy teacher recommending when I was 17, and a perfect example of how much I rely on the advice on teachers who I still think of as knowing way more than me, even on something as personal as book choices. I have also read an article by Sacks in The New Yorker that was exceptionally well written for someone with an MD, and so that spurred this book choice for my birthday. Also, the title is clearly just hilarious!
Above the good doctor (don't worry, I'm nearly done!) is The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (guess who that's by) which is a bit of an odd choice by someone who claims not to like poetry as I always do. But, then again, I do constantly backtrack on this also, and it goes something like this "EURGH, I hate poetry! Except for Dickinson. And Whitman. And I guess Wordsworth. Oh, and Shakespeare was a pretty good poet too. Oh and I LOVE The Rime of the Ancient Mariner..." and so on. So yeah, I guess I sort of do like poetry...
And, right on top of the pile is Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, just because 1) I love me some Joyce, and 2) I love Marilyn Monroe, and I'm pretty sure this is sort of a fictional biography-ish thing about her, which is something I've never really had any experience of before. But I'm excited to give it a try!

Phew! That was pretty exhausting! But yeah, these are my birthday books, and I love them all already. Expect excitable reviews in the near future, and never again for me to have such a full mailbox! How about you? Did you get any exciting books this week? Or, even better, anything to do with Moomin?! Let me know down below!

Friday 8 April 2011

Read-a-thon for charity

As I've been saying for a while now, the read-a-thon (my very first!) is tomorrow, as is my birthday (it's probably too late to send presents now, but I'll accept late gifts, I'm not fussy!) Since it is my birthday, I'm going to try and do as much reading as I can, but also will be spending some quality family time too, especially since some of my family members will be going to America relatively soon (please read this for more information on that, because it's really important).

So. Because of this, and because all I really want for my birthday is for Jacob, and his parents to live comfortably and not to have to suffer any more than is necessary, I would love if you could sponsor me to read lots and lots of books. This will help to prove my theory that books are more important than just in providing entertainment, and it will help in real life terms as well, in helping Jacob get better. Please, if you're in the position to, think about donating just a little to help this immensely brave baby. Thank you, and if you're participating in the read-a-thon too, then good luck! If you make it through the whole 24 hours, I will be extremely impressed with you!

Wednesday 6 April 2011


Please direct your attention to the top right hand corner of my blog. That right there is a donation button, and I'd like you to give it your full consideration. I fully understand that times are hard, and spare money is pretty hard to come by these days, and I will still love you if you ignore that little button completely. All I ask of you is you attention, just for few minutes, while I tell you why I am asking for your help.

This is my cousin Gemma.
We have always been insanely close, and my sister, her sister and I grew up together, in childhoods I can only describe as perfect. I have seen her grow into such an incredible and strong woman that I can hardly believe I get to know someone so incredible. I am in awe of her. Here's why. In December 2009, Gemma had a baby. 
This is Jacob. Is he, or is he not the most beautiful baby you've ever seen? To say we were excited about his arrival would be an understatement, because he is the very first of his generation, the first great-grandchild, the first baby I've ever really had proper contact with. I love him so much! In June last year, Jacob was diagnosed with a brain tumour. To call this a shock would be a complete understatement. I think we've all been in shock ever since then.
This kid is incredible though. He has been through 10 rounds of chemo so far, and a huge operation to remove the tumour, which also involved removing a large part of his skull. He has been unbelievably brave, in the face of unthinkable circumstances, and we are all so proud of him already. His progress has been incredible in spite of his condition, and we long and hope and believe it will continue.

The next step of Jacob's journey is one for which we are seeking your help. Along with his mum and dad, Jacob is flying over to America, Florida to be exact, to get Proton treatment to try and make sure that the malignant and unfeeling cancer that has invaded his innocent body is destroyed once and for all. While the NHS is paying for the flights and Jacob's treatment (which is amazing, and one of the very reasons that it cannot be destroyed), there are still living expenses to think of that will obviously stack up over the 12 weeks that they need to stay there. If you can, and if you feel comfortable doing so, I would be so grateful if you could donate anything that you can afford, so that we can get Jacob better. 

I obviously understand if you don't want to, and I think you're amazing just for considering donating. I don't even know how we're going to all get through those 12 weeks, but if the finances are taken care of, we can all just focus all of our attention and good vibes onto Jacob, who deserves to get better after spending most of his life fighting this terrible insidious disease. We believe he can beat it, and with your help, we can help make things just that little bit easier for everyone involved.

Thank you for reading. If you don't feel like you can donate, but you have some rich friends, please pass this onto them for their consideration, and feel free to tweet about it on twitter. Anything you can do to help will be so much more than I could ask for, and thank you for reading down to this point.

I managed to get a donate button in my post too, thanks to my extremely good friend Frances :)- So you can click where you like, really.

Also, if you want to read more about Jacob and his struggles, please go to his Daddy's blog, and read his very moving post too.

Devouring Books: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

I love Alan Alda. It's a new feeling I've developed, having watched multiple episodes of M*A*S*H and fallen in love with his witticisms and adorableness. My previous exposure to him before this was through The West Wing, where he played a totally old man Republican, running for President. While I couldn't support him in his bid, being a total liberal Goddess (and in love with Josh, to boot), I did enjoy his adorable old man-ness and not-too-conservative brand of Republicanism. Let's just say, the US would be better off with him in charge than with the psychopathic Sarah Palin. But that's not a difficult thing to say about anybody.

Anyway, enough about The West Wing! It's amazing, we all know that, and yet it only merits about a sentence's mention in Alan Alda's autobiography, which is really only a testament to how interesting his life and career has otherwise been, and, possibly, how obsessed I am with The West Wing. But anyway. Alda dedicates quite a lot of his memoir, not to his glittering fame and successful career, but to his childhood and his life outside of the public arena. I think this is a relatively realistic thing for him to do, since most of us don't define ourselves by our careers, but rather by the things we do and the relationships we have with our parents, relatives, and friends, since these are the things that really matter in the end. And oh my, what a life Alda has had.

Growing up with a father in showbusiness, and a mother with schizophrenia, means that Alda was quite a strange young boy (by his own admission) and both of these factors have affected his life to an unknowable degree. His father's taking him to shows means that he grew up with the desire to be a performer, to entertain people and make them laugh; something that he sees as such a natural trait that he refers to all non-entertainers as civilians, clearly separating himself from the majority of the population. His mother's mental illness has had perhaps less of an obvious effect on him in terms of the trajectory of his life, but it is clear that it has permeated everything that he does- at one point he mentions his fear of becoming like his mother, but I think it is clear that, having dealt with someone not in her right mind, Alda has developed his own mind to have a greater deal of empathy and understanding with others, and also to think a lot more deeply about things than other people might (although this, of course, may have nothing to do with his mother whatsoever!)

One of the things that most struck me about this book is just how well written it is. I found this pretty unfair- I mean, the guy is a pretty talented actor, and he's hilarious, AND he's a good writer? How much talent can one person be allowed to have?! But really, I must stop having these petty jealousies, and just appreciate that Alan Alda exists as a writer to entertain the world, but also to make you think. This book is, in fact, perhaps not as funny as you would expect it to be (although, don't get me wrong, it's still funny) and it is a lot deeper than you might be expecting, which, in my opinion, makes it much better than if Alda had just played the fool throughout, and pretended that every incident of his life was hilarious. Because that's impossible, and that's not the way life goes. 

The title of the book, while pretty hilarious, and not a little bit huh?-ish, actually leads to one of the most important things that I've taken away from the book. The message is basically this- you shouldn't try and hold on to what you've lost, because you're liable to ruin even the memory of the thing. This is quite a poignant message, in that you can't get back what you've lost, but it's also a sort of inspiring one- you can't turn your back on change, you just have to let it happen, and let yourself go along with it, and eventually it'll feel ok. This is something that I have found notoriously difficult- change leaves me in a state where I don't know what to do, or what I even want anymore, and that's something I'm really trying to work on, because, otherwise, quite frankly, I'll never do anything. Which wouldn't be good.

Wow, this post has taken a bit of a gloomy turn, which honestly is down more to my state of mind at the moment (not very good) rather than the book itself, which was actually pretty funny, touching and amazing. So please ignore my pity party, and go and read the book! Because it is wonderful. I've also been informed that there is a sequel of sorts to Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself; which, just from the title, sounds hilarious, and something I need to read immediately. So I'll be off to do that then!

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Love to Change

Ok, so you've come here looking for a top ten. And normally, I'd be happy to oblige. I LOVE LISTS. This blog started with about 3 lists in a row, and I willingly and lovingly compile my top ten tuesday lists every week (feel free to search through my blog to find them if you have a total itch for some listing action- my personal favourites are this, this one, and oh yeah, this one right here).
Here's the thing about this week's top ten though. I know it's a cliche, but I really and truly believe that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.  I have often found that doing so leads to disappointment, when a beautiful cover yields an unworthy book, or when a really boring cover has put me off a wonderful book, that I have only turned to when all my other reading options have been exhausted. I do, of course, have some favourite book covers (I prefer the nel edition book covers of Stephen King books, for example, and I adore the penguin classics with silver covers that I don't think they do anymore), but on the whole, what I'm really looking at is what's in-between the covers. Just like with people, it's what's on the inside that counts, even though that doesn't mean that you can't appreciate the cover, I really don't think it matters that much.

Monday 4 April 2011

24 Hour Readathon

This Saturday marks two very important occasions- 1) My 22nd birthday, for which I am unable to muster up any enthusiasm at all; and 2) Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon, for which I am marginally more excited. In recognition of this, I plan to read for most of the day, smile nicely and open presents for as long as that takes, and then go back to the reading, and hopefully forget how OLD I am getting! I've never really done anything like this before, (not reading and ignoring my family, I've done that plenty) so I'm quite excited for all the reading I can get done, which is obviously good for all you guys too, for all the reviews I can post after this Saturday- we're all winners really!

If you're interested in taking part in the read-a-thon, just click on the link above and sign up for it- we can all read in tandem and imagine that we're part of a big web of loveliness and stories- wouldn't that be nice?!

Sunday 3 April 2011

Mailbox Monday/ In My Mailbox

Made it to the library this week, which was a totally good thing because I didn't buy a single book! Not even one! This may have had something to do with the fact that I was working 4 days out of 5, but who's counting? I can definitely show self-restraint by myself, anyway! So, the books I got from the library this week were:

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda
I have developed this disturbing (for me) crush on Alan Alda because I have been watching quite a lot of M*A*S*H repeats with my dad of late, and he is hilarious and warm and amazing in it. This is disturbing to me only because I mainly think of him as Arnie Vinick in The West Wing, where he is an exceptionally old man, and a Republican to boot. So. Not. Sexy. Ignoring that though, when I saw his autobiography in the library, I knew I had to read it, and considering that I am already well over halfway through it, in a week where I really haven't felt like reading, is a testament to how good his writing is, and how interesting his life has been. Expect a review of it this week.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
I can't get over how much I love Margaret Atwood, on the strength of The Handmaid's Tale alone (so spectacular, read it immediately!) I also have Alias Grace waiting to be read, but in the back of my mind I was pretty sure that I had read at least something good about The Blind Assassin (I'm a little fuzzy on the details) and so I checked it out of the library pretty sharpish. Even if I completely made up that good review of The Blind Assassin, it's still Margaret Atwood, so how bad can it be?! Not bad at all, if you ask me!

Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver
Let me preface this by saying that I really don't like Jamie Oliver- he's a British chef and he really just bugs the hell out of me, for reasons I can't explain and really aren't his fault, but it's the truth, and I'm sorry about it (in the same way I am sorry about my Gwyneth Paltrow hatred- it's irrational, and she really was quite funny on Glee, but I just don't like the woman!) But anyway. Having said all that, I got this out of the library, mainly because of my America-obsession, but also to see if there were any noteworthy recipes I could copy out and make (I don't really buy cookbooks because I'm cheap...) Having gone through the entire thing yesterday, I'm pretty assured that there aren't really any, but I found a few recipes I can have a go with so that works for me!

So, these are the books I had experiences with this week- how about you? Hope you all got lots of goodies! On a side note, next Saturday is my Birthday, so my IMM on Sunday is really going to be very exciting, since basically all I've asked for is books! Yay for birthdays!

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren, every Sunday.
Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their houses last week. You can view the touring blog list at the Mailbox Monday blog for the upcoming months.

Friday 1 April 2011

Hip Hip Hippity Hop

Friday! Finally! Now I know what everyone's talking about when they love Friday being here, having just done my first week of (proper) work. It's nice to have 2 days off ahead of me, especially when I have kayaking to deal with next week (don't ask me what this has to do with my job, because the answer is nothing. But I still have to go). But anyway, ignoring all that, I'm going to answer the questions posed by today's blog hops. Because I can.

Today, Crazy-for-Books asks:

Since today is April Fools Day, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone, OR that someone has played on you?

Ahh, I see what she did there! I don't really remember ever playing a good prank on anyone, although I did once draw a crack on my nan's bathroom mirror in soap, because I'd seen it in a magazine, and I'm not sure anyone even noticed! On me, though, I have two awesome ones- at my school when I was about 10, the teachers told us that the caretaker had lost a contact lens in the hall and we all had to get down on our hands and knees and search for it. Which, of course, we all did, being good children, and then they were like, 'OK, stop... APRIL FOOLS!' It was sort of annoying, but sort of hilarious too. And then, last year, my friend told me on Facebook chat that she was pregnant, and I was completely flustered and didn't know what to say (type) at all, and then she was like 'DURRR, not really!' It was her first and only successful April Fools joke, which I think says a lot about me!

And, now, Parajunkee's View asks:
What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving?
I love all my books! I would never deny them my love! But seriously... I guess I don't want to admit that I love Danielle Steel books- it's nothing against her, or people who do openly love her, but she's really very trashy. I haven't actually read a Danielle Steel book in years, but they were part of the reason that I became addicted to reading (along with the Babysitters Club, and Sweet Valley High). Either her, or Virginia Andrews- I was way into her books when I was 12, which is pretty disturbing considering the amount of incest and rape in basically all of them. They are ridiculous, but sort of amazing. At least when you're 12, and she seems to be your library's favourite author. I just realised that I didn't actually answer the question, but most Danielle Steel and Virginia Andrews books are pretty similar, so you get the basic idea, right?!

So those are my answers, how about you? I have been a shamefully poor blogger this week, I realise, mainly because I have been working and trying not to die, and then coming home and dying for the evening. I'm just trying to adjust and balance things a little bit better, then I'll be back in full working order. I hope. Hope you've all had a good week!