Saturday 27 April 2013


So so so much later
I came back! Finally... Just to get my excuse in, I was round my nan's where there's no internet until about 4.30, and then when I came home the internet WASN'T WORKING, and then I got sidetracked by sewing and... now it's now. But I still came back, and dammit, I'm going to do the end of event thingummy. So there.

1) Which hour was most daunting for you?
Look, one day I'm really going to do this properly, but this time I got a full night's sleep, so all of the hours were fine. From past experience, though, about 5am (or hour... 17? I guess?) has been the time when I simply have to sleep.

2) Could you list a few high-interest books that could keep a reader engaged for next time?
Harry Potter is always good, and Eleanor and Park was AWESOME. I feel like all the books I read (all 3 of them!) were quite good readathon bookies.

3) Do you have any suggestions to improve the readathon next year?
Only ones for myself, like really try to do a full 24 hours and stuff. Otherwise... Nah, it's allll good.

4) What do you think worked really well in this years readathon?
Um, um, um, I feel like I was less pressurey on myself so reading felt more fun than forced. And um... I don't know, twitter was pretty awesome to be on.

5) How many books did you read?
Well, I finished 3. But realistically, I guess I read 1 and 2/3? Whatever, let's just say I read 3...

6) What were the names of the books you read?
You mean... what were the books called? Ok, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Down Under and Eleanor and Park. I also read a teeeeny bit of Wild, but I can't really count that.

7) Which book did you enjoy most?
Ok, so I'm going to say Eleanor and Park? Two of the books made me cry, which is always good/bad. 

8) Which book did you enjoy least?
Don't be silly, I was reading a HARRY POTTER, a BILL BRYSON and also ELEANOR AND PARK. They were all awesome, obviously.

9) N/A

10) How likely are you to take part in the readathon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will basically always do this readathon, as long as I can. I'm pretty much always going to just be a regular participant, but I would definitely think about hosting a mini-challenge...

There! I'm done! It's alllll over for another 6 months. *Sighs* *Still feels happy*.

Howdy guys! I haven't JUST woken up or anything (that would be silly, it's like 11am!) But I DID only wake up about an hour ago. I had a really nice sleep though, thanks for asking.

Let's see, this morning... Well, I had breakfast! And I have read, ooh, 7 pages of Wild? I'm really doing this morning-thing well. I do have clean hair now though, so there's that! Of course, I have to go out to lunch in FORTY FIVE MINUTES (am I even hungry? I am not. Who books a table at 12pm, I ask you?) so that leaves abouttt... half an hour to read, and 15 minutes to get dressed? 40 minutes to read and 5 minutes to get dressed? I'm sure these ratios are definitely right.

I will be back for the end of event survey, it'll just be later, as in after readathon later. SO have fun for the last hour and three quarters, my lovelieeeees!

Pages Read: 578
Books Finished: 3
Snacks: Well, just breakfast.
Naps: Sort of a 9 1/2 hour one? It was goooood (but I'm still tired. Probably all the brain work.)

Hour 12 3/4
Have finished Eleanor and Park. I have... Emotions I can't even tell you about, because I don't want to ruin anything. But, OMG.

So. I'm totally going to sleep now. Like, proper sleep that is proper. I can't keep up with you crazy kids anymore. BUT I suspect I will be back in the morning, trying to read Wild because it has to go back to the library next week, so. I will be back. Probably.

Pages Read: 571
Books Finished: 3
Snacks: NOPE. Far too late for that kind of thing!
Naps: Just... gimme a minute.

Oooh, wait a minute, there's a mid-event survey. Must do that!

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
My eyes actually really hurt, but I haven't exactly not read books that make me cry, so. I feel like I'd be less tired if I started at like 8am, but yeah. I'm tiiiired.

2) What have you finished reading?
Harry Potter 6, and Down Under, and Eleanor and Park. Jeez, haven't you been paying attention?

3) What is your favourite read so far?
I mean... Harry Potter is Harry Potter, you know? But Eleanor and Park was pretty special. (Ugh, my heart.)

4) What about your favourite snacks?
I had a lot more toblerone than anticipated because it was just so darn tasty!

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Ok, no? BUT I have bookmarked some blogs that I want to go back to and explore a bit, which is almost the same thing? Ish? Whatevs, it's cool.

BEDTIME! See you in 8 or so hours!

Hour 11
Oh man. I barely even wanted to stop reading Eleanor and Park to update (but also I want it to last forever), but here I am! How is everyone doing?

Eleanor and Park. Well. This is a book. I have to say though, that everyone keeps saying that 'it's so CUTE!' which it IS, don't get me wrong, but also... it's kind of disturbing, no? In a kind of domestic abuse-ish sort of way? I'm not saying I don't absolutely LOVE it, but it surprises me that more people haven't said something about it! For me, it kind of makes everything that much sweeter... But anyway.

Pages Read: 474
Books Finished:
Snacks: I had a Cadbury's Creme Egg! But that's about it. I WOULD have some more diet coke, but I think I'm going to go to bed (well... To sleep. I'm totally in bed already) once I've finished E+P, so that seems like a BAD idea!
Naps: Still haven't had any! Apparently this is basically just going to be a normal day with the sleeping and whatnot. 

Hour 8
I haven't done thaaat much reading in the... time since I last updated, but since it's preeeetty much on the hour right now, I thought I'd update anyway. 

Because GUYS. Eleanor and Park. I mean, I haven't read enough of it yet to properly love love it (I'm mostly like 'Guys. Just TALK TO EACH OTHER, PLEASE') But but but but this: 'He had green eyes. And skin the colour of sunshine through honey.' SKIN THE COLOUR OF SUNSHINE THROUGH HONEY. That's just so fucking beautiful I could cry. Keep being awesome, book.

Pages read: 304
Books finished: 2
Snacks: Just had dinner. It was awesome- breakfast for dinner FTW
Naps: Still none! I'm as shocked as you are. I have just found out we're going out to lunch at 12pm tomorrow though, so... sleep and no last hour of reading for me!

Hour 5 1/3
I have finished another book. Life is good. 

That was Down Under by Bill Bryson, and now I want to 1) go to Australia SO BADLY, and 2) massively see Uluru. Like... It's not even a thing I've ever thought about before ever, really, but Bryson makes it sound like a lifetime-must-see thing, so see it I must! A petit break is in order now, I believe, before I start, FINALLY, Eleanor and Park (eeeeee!)

Pages read: 246
Books finished: 2
Snacks: About 3 triangles of toblerone and some veggie gummy sweets? I definitely need some more diet coke though, or I'm going to fall asleep
Naps: Still none, but see above re: sleepiness.
Weather conditions: It's just started bloody raining! Considering it's been hot and beautiful all week, and I THOUGHT I might get to read outside, this makes me sad.

Also I am DOING A CHALLENGE. The hour 5 challenge is a self-portrait, and here is mine:
Can't you just FEEL my E+P excitement?! (my hairstyle is necessary because I get very bad readathon bed hair. It's like an ILLNESS.)

Hour 3 1/4
So I just finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and my heart is broken. I can't even... 

So I'm giving myself some internet time to recover, and then I'm going to read something super duper happy. Where no one dies. Bill Bryson might be the best person for the job, and also if chocolate helps against dementors, then it will help me in my situation too. Hopefully. *cries a bit* (GUYS, I've just realised that in the last readathon, I read The Casual Vacancy first and cried some there, too! WHY AM I SO STUPID?!)

Pages read: 147
Books finished: 1
Snacks: Actually, I had lunch. Hummus sandwich and some doritos. 
Naps: None as of yet. But I did nearly fall asleep just before starting. That was lame.

7-ish minutes to go!
The introductory meme is up, and I am ALL OVER THIS.

1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Surrey, in the UK (not too far from London). Typically it's RAINING and it looks cold outside, so... I'm fine with the reading all day thing.

2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Prooobably Eleanor and Park. But I'm also looking forward to FINISHING books. Because I totally haven't been, lately.

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Toblerone. I just... have to not eat the whole thing. That would be bad.

4. Tell us a little something about yourself.
Uhhhhhm... I think I'm in love with both Neville Longbottom and Severus Snape? It's a little complicated...

5. If you participated in the last readathon, what's the last thing you'll do differently today?
Well, I'm reading books I'm in the middle of, which I haven't really done before, but ALSO I'm just going to go to bed when I'm tired. Cause I ended up sleeping for seven hours on the sofa last time, and WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT, when I could have just been in bed? Exactly.

Guys, guys, guys! It's like 2 and a half hours til the readathon! It's on days like this that I really hate living several time zones ahead of America, because I wake up at about 9, all excited to READ ALL DAY, but realistically I have to wait 4 hours to do so (I KNOW I could just start whenever. But where's the fun in that?) Having said that, if I had to start at 5am like California et al, it would probably kill me. So there are pluses and minuses everywhere.

Anyway! Normally I do a book pile post the day before the Readathon, but as I think we're all aware by now, Friday is Harry Potter Day, and who can be bothered to post more than once per day? Definitely not me. But, here is a glorious stack of books:
(The light is really bad for taking ipod pictures today. Just so you know.) From top to bottom, they are:
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Down Under by Bill Bryson
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I am literally excited by EVERY ONE of these books. Realistically, I want to finish Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (but also I don't, because YOU KNOW), Down Under, and Wild, because it feels like I've been reading them FOREVER and that is not a fun feeling. Other than that, I also really want to get to Eleanor and Park because it seems like it's going to be AMAZING, and while I'd like to read a bit of Les Miserables, I don't know that I will... But we shall see.

Basically I just want to read them ALLLL. And I'll give it my best shot. In about 2 hours (this has taken a surprisingly long time to write...) As for snacks, I did a bit of snack shopping yesterday but didn't really fancy anything (alarming, I know!) Most importantly, I have a BIG bottle of diet coke, and there are Doritos in the house. There's also plenty of fruit, and there is hummus, and I have a fairly big toblerone and also some Cadburys Creme Eggs. So I think I'm going to be ok, food wise. Now just to wait...

Note: I'm going to be updating this post throughout the day, so new things will appear at the top of the post every so often. Don't pretend this isn't exciting!

Friday 26 April 2013

"'Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you Potter?'"

Ooooh, things are really heating up in the Half Blood Prince, huh? And by heating up, I obviously mean that nothing has REALLY happened, but so much has been set up, not just for the rest of this book, but for the last one too. This isn't something I've really noticed before, but this book is really ALL about the final book, isn't it? Piecing together Voldemort's story to lead up to the BIG VOLDY REVELATION, waiting for Malfoy to do... Something, and still trying to figure out if Snape is evil or not. It's all... totally intriguing and mysterious (I mean, less so now that I know what's going to happen, but still) and that's almost better than the BIG things happening all the time.

And. Is it just me, or does this book kind of strip everything down and kind of go back to the basics- awesome and hilarious things happening in lessons, Harry being suspicious of people he doesn't like (reaaally quick note in brackets about the shipping Harry and Draco thing- If Harry secretly loves Malfoy, then he also secretly loves Voldemort.
i.e. I believe that neither of these things are true.) and Snape being ridiculously suspicious again. I feel like all of this is like a reward for getting through the complexness of OotP, and a treat to keep in mind when bad things happen. Which, as we know, they do. Almost constantly. But at least we'll always remember Harry being cheeky in potions, and everyone conjuring birds and failing to apparate and things!  Ahhh, good times.

For me, I feel like the most interesting part of this section (possibly of this whole book) is the piecing together of Voldemort's history. It's interesting, not only because of the things it leads to, but just in itself- born out of a mixture of love and witchcraft, raised by people who were paid to care for him, but not ABOUT him, and given hugely powerful powers that mean he can overcome his beginnings and be something more. It would be SO easy to feel sorry for him (I definitely feel sorry for Merope, but that's another story) but I think that what JK does so cleverly, and actually really subtly, is contrasting Harry with Voldy.

Because just by alluding to the fact that they both have dead mothers, only one chose to die FOR her son, and the other chose to die IN SPITE OF her son, you start to think of the other similarities between them. Both were raised by people who didn't care much for them. Both were told they were wizards at a similar age. Both were (eventually) orphans. And there's so little difference to their origins, that it really comes down to the fact that Harry chooses to be good, and Voldy chose to be bad. But then, it's really not as simple as that, because what Voldy did necessarily affected what Harry chose to do (how could he choose the dark side when that killed his parents?), and actually, both of their personalities seemed to be set before they even found out about their magic-ness.

I... have kind of lost the thread of what I was saying here.
Ok, yes, ANYWAY- the point is that you COULD feel sorry for Voldy, but then you have to take into account that everything he did, he chose to do, when he so easily could have chosen the opposite path, like we've always seen Harry do. Murderous assholes do not deserve our (or Harry's!) sympathy. Or at least not very much of it, anyway.

I think it's time for me to stop rambling and just bullet point a few things. Then I'll leave you all alone with your thoughts.

  • You know when Snape comments on Tonks's changed Patronus? If he KNOWS what I know, then he actually IS an asshole, especially considering what I ALSO know about him. That has actually quite upset me, Snape-wise!
  • "'It's high time your grandmother learned to be proud of the grandson she's got, rather than the one she thinks she ought to have- particularly after what happened at the ministry.'"
I feel like this about Neville AND McGonagall right now.
  • "'Yes' said Harry stiffly. 'Yes Sir.' 'There's no need to call me 'Sir', Professor'" Yes. I approve of this kind of smart-assedness. ALL THE TIME.
  • I am EXHAUSTED by the Ron and Hermione tension. Someone please just get those two together already.
  • "'My mother can't have been magic, or she wouldn't have died.'" This is both heartbreaking, and maybe the most important thing we can know about Voldy. Maybe.
  • Is it wrong to be worried about Malfoy? Because he is acting the way a depressed person would be acting, withdrawing from his favourite activities and not talking to his friends, and... Yeah. If I didn't know what he was up to, I'd feel sadder for him. Stupid Malfoy.
  • Harry asks Luna to Slughorn's party! I love this. LOVE. He genuinely could have taken anyone, but this boy is loyal to his friends. (LUNA!!)
  • Percy is such a DOUCHE making his mother think he was coming home for Christmas when really he was using Harry to get ahead at work. Scrimgeour is also a douche for trying to make Harry do things for the Ministry when the Ministry has never done anything non-damaging for Harry. That was really a very douchey chapter (Fleur didn't even get a Christmas jumper!)
  • I can't understand Harry AT ALL when he says he isn't bothered about apparating. UM... that's teleporting, Harry. That's going places in NO TIME and without any effort. But you 'prefer flying'? WHAT THE HELL?!
  • The love potion bit is very amusing, and possibly even more so in the movie. DAMN, potions are hilarious, why did we never know this before? I blame Snape, frankly!
So. Stuff. I'm discovering more and more that I remember nothing important about this book, cause I don't know what the deal with the cursed necklace is, and I don't really know why Ron is like DYING at this precise moment in the book. But hey, I remember the end. Which is why I'm going to have... Troubles reading the rest of the book. Oh man.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Devouring Books: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

"The one thing I understood for sure was that I didn't understand a thing."

Ohhhh, Murakami. Just when I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I've reached the peak of my Murakami-love, I go and read the book that I'm now thinking of as his Murakami-est- the book that's the perfect distillation of all his favourite themes and ideas and his style, at once mind boggling and insane, but also kind of familiar at the same time? Or... Maybe that's just me.

I think it's going to be pretty pointless to try to describe the plot, because it's always pretty pointless to describe a Murakami plot in any way, but... I'll give it a try? I guess? It starts off, as always, fairly mundanely, focusing on Toru Okada (the narrator for most of the book) a recently unemployed young man with a wife and a house and many meals to make (so many meals... Mmmm, you and your food, Murakami...) who is very very much a typical Murakami hero- passive, quiet, lonely, VERY accepting of the weird things that happen, should I even go on..?

Anyway. Strange things start to happen after his and his wife's cat disappears, he meets not one, but two sets of very odd characters, they say cryptic things and a lot of people (or, at least, a lot more people than really should) sit in wells. I feel like I'm being flippant here, and I really don't mean to be, because I was TRANSFIXED by this book. It was like picking it up hypnotised me and each time I emerged from it, minutes or hours later, I could barely remember where I was. This is the highest praise I know how to give a book, really, and Murakami pretty much always does it for me. 

This time, though, I wasn't just sucked into the book, the book kind of overspilled its boundaries and came with me everywhere I went. And I'm not talking about the physical book (THAT sucker is over 600 pages, so it didn't ACTUALLY come anywhere with me) but more the feel of the book, and the Murakaminess of feeling like, even though I was just walking along the same streets and everything, that maybe they had changed in some sinister and strange way, or maybe there was something or someone odd waiting just around the corner. 

This sounds like a really weird and paranoid way to think, but it wasn't like that- and if you really think about it, the world actually is ripe with potential things that could happen but never do, and sometimes things feel like they've changed even though they haven't because you have changed, and I really think it's basic truths like this that Murakami tries to get to, through his weird and twisted narrative paths. I mean... that's only true sometimes, and I won't even to pretend to know what he's doing the rest of the time, but I think that really is A Thing that he does, and that's why I sometimes feel like people are crazy when they're like 'Murakami is haaaard' because really, he's just going deeply into things that mostly we just ignore, or take for granted.

I'm not even going to pretend that I enjoyed every single second of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, because there were some war history bits that, let's face it, I'm never going to be into, AND there were some downright unpleasant bits that I don't even want to think about ever again. If I'd wanted every single story to be neatly tied up, then I would have been sorely disappointed, but I don't expect that kind of normal crap from Murakami, and neither should you. I don't know what he means by most of it, but I have my own interpretations and my own thoughts, and maybe THAT is what it's all about in the end. 

Or maybe it's all literal, and Murakami's seen some weird shit. How should I know? All I know is that, this has probably just taken the crown as my favourite Murakami so far, and that is a HOTLY contested title, let me tell you. This is awesome, you should read it. Although... Probably not if you're a Murakami first timer. Ease your way into the madness, huh?

Monday 22 April 2013

Monday... Mundries?

Oh guys. I was so not on the ball yesterday. I did consider rushing out a post at like 7pm last night, but then I thought nahhhhh, it can wait til tomorrow (this may or may not have had something to do with the FINAL TWO EPISODES of The Wire that I simply had to watch yesterday). So at least I'm doing it now!
Kurt is unimpressed by my efforts.

So! This past week! I either walked to or from work (or both!) every single day, plus I did walks on Saturday and Sunday and I feel very much like I should applaud myself for this a lot and that's why I'm telling you about it. I mean, it wasn't exactly a hardship considering that the weather was preeeetty nice and I've found a way shorter route than my old one which gets me there about 15 minutes quicker, but STILL. I'm pretty proud. 

I am less proud of the blogging I did last week since, you know, I did no blogging (apart from Harry Potter blogging, of course, but that's pretty much better than 99% of things in LIFE, so of course I did that). I feel like I might have overdone things the week before with the blogging every day and all, but MOSTLY I didn't have anything to write about that involved books, or TV, or movies. (Interestingly, I wrote in my diary a fair bit last week, so... Hmmm. Apparently I was more into real life things for once!)

In fact, if we're going to get real, I'm in a bit of a slump. It's mainly a reading slump, but ALSO I think it might be a bit of a post-birthday slump. It's like that thing where, a good portion of your attention has been focused on one thing for SO LONG, that after the thing actually happens you're a little bit disorientated and like 'oh. What should I be thinking about now, then?' And then THIS is combined with the fact that, not only am I reading about 6 books, but I have things I want to sew, and things I want to bake, and there are TOO MANY THINGS that I want to do, which means that I get kind of stalled and don't do ANY of the things. Which is just really stupid, I'll admit. 

Reading slump specifically, I'm dealing with the dual issues of 1) Having just finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle which I kind of couldn't stop reading and which really really blew me away, even by Murakami standards, and HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO READ ANOTHER BOOK AFTER THAT?, and 2) That old 'having too many books I want to read at once' issue. I mean... I'm hyper-aware now that the 'book excitement' fades after a little while and there are all those books I got for my birthday, plus I might have been charity shopping now that I allow myself to do so again, and just... THERE ARE TOO MANY. On Saturday (because I'm a wild party animal) I rearranged my books so that most of my unread ones are on my main bookshelf, so I can see them all the time and will (hopefully) be more inclined to pick one of them, but then I don't know if that's just made it worse because 'OMG I HAVEN'T READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?!'

(Yes, I am a crazy person. And yes, I could have actually been reading instead of rearranging books. Such is life.)

Anyway. I'm sure I'll get over this soon, probably just by reading Eleanor and Park and going 'I LOVE YOU BOOKS!' and then I'll have another Wind-Up Bird issue on my hands. But anyway. It'll all be ok. And even if it isn't, I'll still be doing book things this week because tomorrow is World Book Night (!!) and I'm giving away copies of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, and by 'giving away' I mean that I'm basically going to leave them places, probably with a note on them, for people to find. I'm considering putting my email address on there so people can email me and tell me what they thought of them, but I'm not sure about that. Thoughts? 

And then, of course, DEWEY'S 24 HOUR READALONG is on Saturday! I mean, I'm not as excited about that as that sentence makes it seem like I am, BUT I am still kind of excited because reading is still pretty awesome, even if I haven't done any substantial reading for a while. Currently I'm so unprepared for it that it's ridiculous, but I'm sure I will have pulled myself together by Saturday so that I can reeeead for 24 hours (or, let's be real, about 12, and then have a sleep, and then maybe another hour or so. But still.) So yeah. It's all going to be fine, and I'm going to ENJOY IT, dammit! 

Have awesome weeks, you lovely people.

Friday 19 April 2013

"'Let us not deprive Molly any longer of the chance to deplore how thin you are.'"

HOW much cheerier is Half Blood Prince than Order of the Phoenix already? VERY much cheerier. And the thing is, things are actually pretty dire in the wizarding world- the Weasleys (and, you know, everyone) is in mortal peril, Tonks is sad for some reason, it looks like Snape is probably evil, Voldy just can't get enough of that tasty tasty murdering AND Malfoy looks like he's going to be really dangerous now, rather than just annoying.

But still. In spite of all those things, and I think this is really a testament to how incredibly depressing the whole tone of OotP is, things are looking up in Harry's brain, which means that things are looking up for us when we're in there. He's decided that Sirius's death is something he needs to move on from and not just LOSE IT over, and that since he could be dead any day, he'd really better live now, and not just shout at everyone a lot. He's older, he's wiser, he's probably sadder, BUT he's a lot less angry. And I really appreciate that.
From here on out, people!
  • If I ever become Prime Minister (which, you know, is clearly going to happen) and the Minister for Magic DOESN'T appear in my office on my first day? I'm going to be PISSED. And I'll probably quit.
  • Scrimgeour seems like the epitome of a wartime leader, but... I'm kind of scared of him. He's a bit... Severe, isn't he?
That... was literally my thought process throughout this whole book and most of the next one. Seriously, guys, I never liked Snape! Until... I did.
  • Wormtail being Snape's servant must actually be very satisfying for Snape, considering his incredible ability to hold a grudge. I want to say 'poor Wormtail!' but, you know, No.
  • "He has fought his way out of a number of tight corners by a simple combination of sheer luck and more talented friends. He is mediocre to the last degree, though as obnoxious and self-satisfied as his father before him." WOAH BOY, does he have Harry's number?! At least with the first part? A bit?
  • "'If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord!'" Yes Bellatrix, dear. Of course you would. Hush now.
  • I greatly enjoy Dumbles coming to pick Harry up (for the first time ever! Such excitement to have a Dumbledore sighting early on!) and everything about his interactions with the Dursleys. It must make him feel preeetty bad about leaving Harry with them though.
  • EHRMERGERD, Voldemort can raise a Zombie Army. Well. That's terrifying.
Like this.
  • Slughorn gets on my tits. I mean, my nerves. He's not coming anywhere near my tits and oh my god, the double entendres are endless. Just... Forget it.
  • So, Molly and Arthur got married last time Voldemort was around? But... How long was he in power? Because Bill is AT LEAST 8 years older than Harry et al, so Voldy was terrorising for 9 years? Or... All the Weasleys except Ron and Ginny were had out of wedlock? SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN!
  • Speaking of marriage... I don't care what anyone says, I think Bill and Fleur are great for each other because they're both just so damn beautiful. GOD, I fancy Bill...
  • "'Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.'" Dumbledore is so wise...
  • I am very into the nostalgia aspect of Hagrid accompanying Harry to Diagon Alley. I am less impressed with Ollivander making wands for the bad people and Florian Fortescue's disappearance.
  • Weasley's Wizard Wheezes is clearly the best ever shop.
  • Romilda Vane is a little turd, and Malfoy is an even bigger one. UGH, people.
And. I know I've read this before, but I genuinely don't know how Harry's going to get out of being stiff as a board (ooer) and invisible on the Hogwarts Express, but I assume it has something to do with Hermione. Because, you know.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Sunday Sundries: 24 Before 25

Well, here it is children! The post I'm sure we've all been waiting for, where I make a list involving things that are actually pretty easily achieved so I can feel good about achieving them throughout the year. Describing it like that makes it sound kind of like a pointless exercise, I realise, and that is STUPID because I actually find 1) the goal setting very useful, and 2) the things on it are things I actually want to do, and this makes it waaay more likely that I'm going to do them. Basically I should just stop being snarky TOWARDS MYSELF.
I will, JGL. I will.
Anyway! This post is basically going to be a big list and then a bonus list, so I'm not going to keep you in suspense any longer. ONWARDS WITH THE LISTING!

24 Before 25
  1. Go vegan for a month- I want to try it, definitely. Aaaand now I have all these vegany books, I think I kind of have to! Even if it is just, you know, February.
  2. Get a Lush Spa Treatment- I clearly mean, 'save all the money ever and get a Lush Spa treatment'. But I reeeeeally want one.
  3. Take a photo-a-day for a year- I have succeeded with this for 6 days already. This is good. Clearly I will keep this going for always. Definitely.
  4. Learn how not to be scared of my sewing machine- I don't exactly know how to measure success with this. But USING IT would be a start.
  5. Learn all the US State capitals- I don't know why. But I want to.
  6. Re-read Gone With The Wind this summer- This is a disturbingly specific goal, but basically I have only read Gone With The Wind once, and it was in the summer and it was WONDERFUL and I kind of want to recreate that. Which could be impossible, but we'll see.
  7. Attempt to do a Couch-to-5k Thing- Look, everyone ever keeps going 'running is awesome!' and I'm like 'is it..?' but I want to give it a try, and I already have a podcast thing, so. This could be the year of running!
  8. Make at least 1 item of clothing- This is connected to the sewing machine thing.
  9. Look for a new job- It's kind of a policy that I don't put anything on this list where the outcome is not entirely under my control. So GET a new job isn't something I can definitely do, but looking absolutely is. (By looking, I mean looking with further action, obviously. Not just, like, 'oh look, a job!' and that's it!)
  10. Read 20 classics from Classics Club list- Weirdly, this is one of the only goals I failed at from the last list. Must do better this year.
  11. Visit another country- This June, it'll be FOUR YEARS since I left England. This is RIDICULOUS. Action must be taken.
  12. Do a pilgrimage to Wilkie Collins' grave- I'm seriously going to do this. I'm going to wear my best mourning clothes and take a tract to put on the grave. It's going to be AWESOME. And weird.
  13. Have (at least) one internet-free day per week- I actually mean this one, and I mean for EVERYTHING except receiving emails and twitter messages (but no actual reading of ALL OF TWITTER). I think it'll be good for my brain. Probably. *clutches at computer like an addict clutching at her stash.*
  14. Get a tattoo- Might happen this year? I have a really good idea, but almost no courage. We shall see.
  15. Go and see Les Miserables on the stage- SO. I made this list aaages ago, and its final version more than a week ago, but for my birthday my sister bought me a ticket to go and see Les Mis in May! So, I know this one is definitely going to happen! Also that my sister buys awesome presents.
  16. Edit my NaNoWriMo and...
  17. Participate in NaNoWriMo again this year- Honestly, of all the things from last year's list, I think that taking part in NaNoWriMo was one of the best things I did. It feels very very achievementy, and it should because you've written a novel! In a month! Regardless of, you know, goodness... So I'm scared to look at what I wrote, but also I really want to, AND I definitely want to do it again this year.
  18. Try 26 new foods- I've tried more new foods since I stopped eating meat (14 months ago) than I have in maybe my whole life. And, I want to try even more! I don't know exactly which new foods they will be, but aubergine, avocado and blueberries are definitely on my list- and suggestions are totally welcome!
  19. Read some Dickens- I'm really throwing down the gauntlet to myself. But this year could be the year for Dickens. COULD be...
  20. Go somewhere new in England- Going to Yorkshire was a roaring success, so this year somewhere new is definitely in order. And I've never been to Derbyshire OR Kent, guys...
  21. Explore the British Museum- I've only been there twice and once was (I shit you not) so that my sister could get things from the gift shop, and the other was to go to a specific exhibition (about Shakespeare. It was awesome.) so I want to go and have a proper nose around. 
  22. Get rid of some stuff- Just, like, in general. Things I don't use, DVDs I don't watch, books I probably won't read again... That kind of thing. I try to do this as much as possible, anyway, but I'm going to try harder still!
  23. Find a book club to join- SCARY but exciting prospect. I'm on the lookout!
  24. Make 12 new savoury dishes- Last year I made 52 new things (to call them all dishes would be kind) but the VAST majority of them were sweet things. I can make almost nothing that would constitute an actual meal, so... This is kind of important!
You all wanted me to explain EVERY. POINT. didn't you? I know you did. Since this is officially my SIXTH POST THIS WEEK (*bows*) you'd think I'd have run out of steam, but apparently nope! Still, that's why you all love me, right?!

FINALLY- I think that sometimes I choose books to read that I'm just reading because I think I might not like them so they'll be able to go, or because I've had it for SO LONG, and that when I do that, I avoid the books that I actually REALLY REALLY want to read because, well, I know I'm going to like them, so they can wait. I want to not do that anymore (or at least to have a better balance or something) so here are 24 books that I really really want to read this year, although it's obviously ok if I don't but I really do want to read them at this present moment. For the sake of simplicity, I'll just call it:

24 Books
  1. The Wind Up Bird Chonicle- Haruki Murakami (I'm actually reading this already. And I just figured out that it's making me have the WEIRDEST dreams...)
  2. My Life in France- Julia Child
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking- Joan Didion
  4. Wild- Cheryl Strayed
  5. What Maisie Knew- Henry James
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte
  7. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
  8. Fingersmith- Sarah Waters
  9. The Railway Children- E Nesbit
  10. Wicked- Gregory Maguire
  11. Middlemarch- George Eliot
  12. Man Walks Into A Room- Nicole Krauss
  13. When We Were Orphans- Kazuo Ishiguro
  14. What I Loved- Siri Hustvedt
  15. The Fault In Our Stars- John Green
  16. Much Ado About Nothing- William Shakespeare
  17. Wallflower At The Orgy- Nora Ephron
  18. Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
  19. At Home- Bill Bryson
  20. America- Jean Baudrillard
  21. Alias Grace- Margaret Atwood
  22. Little Men- Louisa May Alcott
  23. The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
  24. Slammerkin- Emma Donoghue
If you made it through both lists, then you are awesome. You get a gold star, and also I give you this Depp-gif of adorableness. You're welcome!

Friday 12 April 2013

"Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness."

Oh my. I don't know if it's just because I read the whole of the last part of OotP in one sitting that everything felt at the EXTREMES of drama and tension and OMG-ness, or if that's just the way it was for everyone. Because, ignoring Grawp (which is the only correct thing to do, frankly) this whole section was just like action action action DEATH action action DUMBLEDORE CRYING hometime. I didn't really have time to breathe and I was kind of distraught, but at the same time...
It was kind of awesome.

I think we're all aware of my feelings about Sirius at this point, so I shan't labour them now, but I will just say that... I'm not happy that he's dead or anything. I'm not going to dance on his grave or cheer or whatever, because I understand what he means to Harry, and I understand that, on the most basic level, he wasn't an evil character. But I also didn't cry when he died, and there were a few things around it that made me sadder- Neville's courage when he stands up to Bellatrix ('I DOE YOU HAB!'), Lupin's sadness ('It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.') and Dumbledore's solitary tear at Harry's fate.
Not that it's ever a 'what is sadder?' competition, because that sounds like a horrible contest! But in terms of the things that touched me the most, Sirius's death wasn't really up there.

I know there are Umbridge things to discuss (she'll get a bullet point, don't worry) and also McGONAGALLLLL, but for me this part really just boils down to the bit in the Ministry of Magic, and the bit in Dumbledore's office. For excitement (and HORROR) the MoM scenes can't really be matched, but in terms of setting things up for the last two books, I feel like the chapter in Dumbledore's office is really the MOST IMPORTANT EVER. A lot of things are resolved, a full scale character analysis of Sirius goes on, and so many things are set up for the end point of everything.
  • Things that are resolved: Dumbledore has been ignoring and avoiding Harry to protect him (awww), Everyone should always listen to Hermione about everything, especially being nice to house elves, Dumbledore is a massive badass (actually, that's in the chapter before, but isn't it awesome?!)
  • Sirius's character: He was headstrong and brave and not willing to sit around when there might be DANGER, and so he shouldn't have been kept caged up, but ALSO he should have shown respect to those lower than him like he told H+R+H to do in GoF. It's mostly interesting in that, Dumbles says a lot of nice things about Sirius that Harry barely responds to, but the slightest hint of a criticism makes him START THE SHOUTING AGAIN. Which, I guess, is something we already know about Harry since he can't take any criticism of Hagrid and his teaching skills, and it's nice that he doesn't see any faults at all in the people he loves, but also it makes him seem kind of naive and, well, stupid.
  • Setting up for the end point of everything: Well. Surely I don't have to explain this bit. But basically, I remember that reading about the prophecy for the first time made me go 'OMG WHUT?!' Mind. Blown. But also, Dumbledore going through the reasons he kept putting off telling Harry made me WEEP. "'I have watched you struggling under more burdens than any student who has ever passed through this school, and I couldn't bring myself to add another.'"

The part in the Department of Mysteries (which, by the way, is absolutely where I want to work when I grow up, because things that WITCHES AND WIZARDS can't even figure out? YES PLEASE!) is just completely perfect, in that it's confusing and mad and fast, and even though you might not be sure what's going on all the time, that's ok because you still can't stop reading and OMG the Peril! My heart was in my mouth the whole time I was reading, and I knew what happened! I can't even tell you how much I appreciate that Harry and Neville believe that everything will be ok when Dumbles arrives though, because that's how I feel about him all the damn time. I love Dumbles.

Bullet points? Yes.

  • All the exam stuff (remember that? That was totally in this section!) was really well done, I think- as they were waiting for them to start, I could completely remember what it was like waiting to go into an exam, so nice evoking memories work, JK!
  • "No more pretending we care what happens when Jupiter and Uranus get too friendly." heh heh heh.
  • OH MY GOD, how annoying was Harry, running round after his vision and then going 'I don't have anyone to tell!' Literally the WHOLE TIME I was just like 'JUST FUCKING TELL SNAPE YOU IDIOT!' 
  • DOES Harry have a hero complex? I feel like he does want to save people because of some underlying guilt that he couldn't save his parents (or something) but mostly he wants to save Sirius because he loves Sirius, and also how is he supposed to know about the putting fake images in his head thing? COULDN'T SOMEONE HAVE MENTIONED THAT?! (I am actually really pissed off about this)
  • Does Umbridge really get raped by centaurs? Cause... I don't really support that. Even if it is Umbridge.
  • I love that Dumbles calls Voldy 'Tom'. That seems like the right thing to do. Deflating-y.
  • "'I- don't- well-' blustered Fudge, looking around as though hoping somebody was going to tell him what to do." I think this pretty much tells us all we need to know about Fudge.
  • You know how Harry is all like 'I'll never forgive Snape!'? Um... Why? For... doing all he could to try and stop things and locate Sirius and also save the children? All whilst not blowing his cover? Harry is stupid (some more).
And finally- (look out, because I'm about to compliment Sirius here. Ish.) I enjoy Harry's seeking out of Nearly Headless Nick to ask him if Sirius might be a ghost, and Nick telling him that he clearly won't be. It seems to me that being a ghost, and choosing to not move on to whatever's next, and choosing to be a mere shadow is kind of the cowardly thing to do, and whatever else I might say of Sirius, he definitely wasn't a coward. I figure that, choosing to be a ghost would be like staying inside the house, only forever, and that just wouldn't be Sirius's choice. Not ever. I feel like Harry understands that, and if not then he should.  
Is there anything happy at all in the Half Blood Prince?! I really hope so. I think we all need it!

Thursday 11 April 2013

I gots some things...

It was my birthday! It was totally the funnest. And I got some books, if you can even believe it! And now I'm going to show them to you and you'll love it because SHINY NEW BOOKS!

 I say this all the time, but I really really didn't expect to get friends out of blogging (admiring commenters, sure! But ACTUAL friends? No way.) and even when I did have blog friends, I definitely didn't expect those friendships to hop off the screen and through my letterbox, delivering real presents I could hold in my hands. It's RIDICULOUS, and AMAZING, and the best possible reminder that you should always take the risk and do something, because you never know what might happen. BOOKS might happen!

And, books did happen on Tuesday. I guess this post is going to be kind of a showing off/thank you sort of thing, so I'm probably going to be really really nice about various people on the internets, so you should probably look away now if you don't want to be a part of that shit. I mean, seriously. It's going to enter gushing territory, I should think. (Not in THAT way. You pervert.) OK? Are you ready? I know I am.
Firstly (and these are in no particular order, I should add) I got Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott from the ever-so-lovely Bex, and obviously I am INCREDIBLY excited about them both because AVM seems to be all about getting back to nature and eating things you only grow yourself and things, and OBVIOUSLY I need a vegan guide to life because who doesn't?! But these are both very Things I Think About A Lot-esque, and so I'm clearly going to eat them right up (gettit? Cause they both involve food! No?)

And then... Miss Ellie COMPLETELY outdid herself and blew me away with FOUR books (Bad Ellie! But also, so so good Ellie...) and I'm RIDICULOUSLY excited about all of them. To continue with the good eating theme, there's this Vegan Diner book which I am both excited and intrigued by because there is a MILKSHAKE on the front, and how can such a glorious thing (a vegan milkshake) be?! Also I REALLY need to learn how to make good veggie burgers, so... Yesssss book! And then also there's Lamb by Christopher Moore, which has to be good because Alley says so, and CLEARLY she's always right. Annnd there's a Paul Auster book, which is always, ALWAYS the right choice as a book to buy me (that's The Music of Chance, just in case you can't read the title) and then, also, can we all see that Penguin Clothbound Classic? Ohhh yes, she sent me that too. That's Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and it's got a very awesome cover. LOOKIT THE BOOKS!!
(Also Ellie wrote hilarious and lovely notes to go with each of them. So that's clearly awesome.)
Kayleigh really really outdid herself with her package (all the way from Australia, I should add!) and each new item I pulled out maaay have involved some squealing! So firstly there's THAT CARD, which isn't her calling me a bitch but rather the AWESOMEST CARD IN THE WORLD because hello, Breaking Bad card! I mean, who else sent me a Breaking Bad card? That was no one (I should add that the whole cornerstone of our friendship is Breaking Bad. So this makes perfect sense!) And then there's a kangaroo pen (!) that looks like it should be a nightmare to write with, but its actually really good, a pencilcase that I'm currently using to hold my Kindle and is pretty much the best pencilcase I've ever owned (Let's blog some shit? Yeah, let's!) Aaaaand a book. Obviously. It is Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner and according to Kayleigh, it's a bit Little Women-esque, only also very Australian and also she makes Ethel Turner sound like a badass. Translation: I can't wait to read it. Obviously. There was also this:
A JESSE PINKMAN PAPER DOLL KIT! Obviously I'm just going to be playing with it all the time. But I never even suspected that such a wonderful thing existed! JUST LOOK AT IT! I should probably get over it, but I never will because it's amazing.

Anyway. I opened all of these presents and was all overwhelmed and happy and everything was cool and it was my birthday and I had a croissant for breakfast and THEN the post came and I had ANOTHER parcel and it was amazing. And obviously you're going to want to see what was inside it, so...

Instagram was not my friend with photographing these presents... But anyway! These are from the wonderful Hanna, and eeeeeeee look, another Penguin Clothbound Classic! Be still, my heart! That'll be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and look how pretty it is! (I'm going to keep pointing out its beauty to hide the fact that I don't know much about it. BUT I WILL WHEN I READ IT, WON'T I?!) And the other is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne which I DO know a lot about (I believe I wrote an essay on it once... Maybe...) and look how pretty it also is! And also very necessary because I got rid of my other copy just to make room for the eventual purchase of this one. And look! The lovely Hanna got it for me so I didn't have to! AMAZING!

Hopefully you're reading this now and thinking 'hey, I should get into this blogging malarkey for the swag', and you know what? It is AWESOME, but also, even better than the stuff is the PEOPLE, and how else would we ever have met? Exactly. The internet is magic.

I realise this post has been THE LONGEST already, but if you'll allow me, I'll juuuust quickly show you the books I got from family type people (I KNOW):
Which, from bottom to top are:
Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Yes, I need to learn how to make ALL THE VEGAN FOOD. Problem?)
Stitch 'N Bitch by Debbie Stoller
As Always, Julia- The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Soto (Books of letters!!)
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (More PCCs, natch.)
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (How I haven't dived headfirst into this already is a complete mystery to me. I think I'm saving it for when I can give it a whole day of my time.)
A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates
The Odyssey by Homer
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (I opened it and I swear my whole family thought it was written in Japanese. I was like 'it's called Kitchen' and my nan was all like 'how do you know that?!' and I had to explain that there wasn't just a character on it, it was written on the front in English too! OH DEAR)

So, whilst I still haven't broken my book buying ban (I know! Still! A whole day over and I'm fine!) lookit all the new books I have to get all excited about! I can't even tell you which I'm MOST excited about, because the answer is ALL OF THEM. And as if that wasn't enough books, there was also this:
Oh yeah, that's right, I got a Kindle. It shows me this Murakami quote while it's resting, and I feel like it KNOWS me already. Which, if you really think about it, is kind of a bit creepy... But anyway, I've already read a whole book on it (!) and so far I actually like it quite a lot- I was worried about the medium being distracting, but, so far so good! (This will definitely be discussed at great length later. I can tell.) I can already see impulse buying books being a problem on it (since... I kind of did it already today...) so I'm just going to have to monitor myself before ALL MY MONEY IS GONE. Which hopefully won't happen. I've been thinking of giving it a name to make it more friendly and also because other people on the internet have named their e-readers, so... Any suggestions?

Finalement, I just want to say a massive THANK YOU- to the present senders, of course, because you are magical, but also to everyone who Happy Birthday-ed me on twitter, or instagram, or in a blog comment, or on Facebook because there's nothing quite like looking at your various screens on your birthday and knowing that someone was thinking of you. So thank you all. You're all fab.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Top 5 TV

Look! I've bought top 5 TV out of retirement for my magical birthday week on ze blog! I've actually been percolating the idea for this list for a LONG time, but I only filled those magical last two spots on the list last week. It's going to be great!

I realise that vampires have been done TO DEATH (gettit? Because they're vampires) and everyone is basically over them, but that's when you're talking about the lamest of lame vampires. I want to talk about the coolest of cool vampires- the ones in True Blood, also known as 'That Programme With The Most Beautiful Cast on TV'. But not only do I want to do bad things with basically everyone in the show, I also want to laugh and cry and laugh some more at their WORDS. Words which I always assume are all supplied by Alan Ball as the head writer on the show*, but I guess some other people do some work sometimes, probably.

Anyway- the list! The residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana, sure do say a lot of crazy shit, but the following are the top five lines I wish I had the opportunity to use in my everyday life. For the sake of ease, though, let's just call them:

Top 5 True Blood Quotes

1. "That boy's cheese done slid right off his cracker."- I can't even remember who says this about the less-than-bright Jason Stackhouse, but I feel like it's the perfect thing to say whenever anyone does something that's completely mental. Also I kind of want cheese and crackers now.
I would describe this as a CHEESY grin/laugh. Gettit?
2. "You is Satan in a Sunday hat, boy."- Satan in a Sunday hat is mayyybe one of my favourite phrases that I've never been able to use in context. Because isn't it the perfect way of saying that something's too good to be true? That was the most rhetorical question ever.
Sometimes, Skarsgard wears hats.
3. "I'm bored. Take off your clothes."- Ok. It doesn't hurt that this is said to Eric. Northman. In fact, I think I mostly just want to say it to Skarsgard. But I feel like it would be nice to brandish that kind of power and ALSO say it after dramatically sweeping the pieces off a chess board.
Oh no. No one would ever want *him* to take off his clothes...
4. "As we say in Surrey, SOD THE FUCK OFF YOU CUNTING TWAT!"- Just for the record- we don't say this in Surrey. But maaaaan, do I want to! It's just a stunning utilisation of ALL THE SWEARS, and kind of perversely pleases me. Did I say kind of? I meant, ENTIRELY.
5. "If you two are done eye-fucking, can we go?"- I don't really know if people actually stare each other down like dickheads in real life, but it's the kind of thing that happens all the time on tv, and the only appropriate response is to pretend that they fancy each other. This works even better if you're Eric Northman saying it, but that's true of everything.
Even when he's cross, he's beautiful.
You might consider this post to be an excuse for loads of Skarsgard gifs, and I resent that. There was an opportunity to use five, and I only used four! Also all of these quotes are magnificent and I would happily use them daily. Now to create some opportunities for that to happen...

*Well. Not anymore, actually. I'm concerned about the possibility that True Blood might go downhill now, but I'm also excited about what he might do next. Also I really need to watch Six Feet Under.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

It's my birthday! And I'll be narcissistic if I want to...

Hey guys! If you follow me on twitter or have generally read anything I've written in the past, ooh, I don't know, MONTH, you'll know that it's my birthday today! I am very very old. It's not even worth talking about, really. (OK, I'm 24 today. Aaaaand, now you want to punch me, don't you?)

Anyway. In honour of my birthday week (Oh hells yes I get a whole week) I'm trying to post everyday this week (by which I basically mean, writing 5 posts the weekend before and scheduling the crap out of those babies- I have other stuff to do, y'know?) so that I can give all of you a liiiittle treat while I, hopefully, get many treats, most of which are cake-related.

I'm already being incredibly narcissistic by assuming that 5 blog posts by me are EXACTLY what you want, so I'm sure you'll bear with me as I go through cultural references to my name. Oh yes, that's right- I've racked my brain to think of all the Lauras in books, films, tv and music, and I'm going to tell you how I feel about the fact that they share my name. I'm sure we're all going to enjoy this as much as I will!
Shuddup, Gosling, we're doing this.

Laura Chase in The Blind Assassin: Laura's kind of like the mysterious, dreamy younger sister to the main character, Iris, but she's also maybe the most interesting character, or at least the one you want to learn more about while you're reading. She also kiiiind of reminds me of Luna Lovegood, so... She can keep my name, yes.

Laura from High Fidelity: How you feel about Laura in High Fidelity (either the book or movie- they're pretty much the same apart from location) probably depends on whether you're a man or a woman- she's either the shrew who needs to tell her boyfriend what to do all the time, or a woman who wants to move on in life, and wants him to grow up and move on with her. I'm sympathetic to both views, but on the whole, I'm ok with this Laura.

Laura Brown from The Hours: This is the Laura I feel most connected to from anything- the kind of woman who would do almost everything for just another half an hour of reading time is a-ok with me. But really, she also has A LOT of the kind of thoughts that are kind of the thing I read books for- to feel like I'm not the only person who thinks things like that. Her name is just a happy coincidence, but I still can't help but love it.

Laura Fairlie from The Woman in White: Oh hey, remember when we (or, you know, some of us) read The Woman in White and Laura was the 'love interest' character and everyone said she sucked and it made me sad because sentences like 'Laura is so lame and boring' make me unhappy for some reason? Yeah, that was horrible. This chick needs to get a new name, like, yesterday.

Laura Jesson in Brief Encounter: I've only seen Brief Encounter once, and it was literally about a month before I started blogging, which makes me kind of sad because OH! How I needed to talk about it at the time. Now I can't remember it that well (I definitely need to watch it again) but I do know that I liked Laura, and just wanted her to be happy, dammit!
Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks: It's a little bit creepy hearing people say (a LOT) 'who killed Laura?' 'Why would they do this to Laura?!' 'It's Laura! She's dead!' and so on. Even though you basically don't see Laura Palmer alive onscreen, her presence is everywhere in the programme, and on the whole... I can't get too upset about her having the same name as me. She seems like she was pretty messed up, but also for good reasons, and oh my GOSH am I going to go on about Twin Peaks again? Ok, I'm stopping now.

Laura by Bat For Lashes: I'm pretty sure I've posted a video of this song before, but if not... THIS SONG IS AMAZING. And not just because it's called Laura, although, let's face it, that doesn't hurt. But seriously... So. Good.
Tell Laura I Love Her by Ricky Valance: My mum used to sing this to me when I was little, and I hated it, for some reason. I still don't think it's an amazing song, but I'm open to the sentiment now! Damn, kids are crazy...

These are basically all the Lauras I can think of, which is weird because it's such a popular name for people my age (there were even two Laura Jones's in my year at school. TWO. That's ridiculous.) but I guess not so much for fictional characters or people who are going to be famous and stuff- of real people, I can only think of Reese Witherspoon, whose actual first name is Laura, Laura Linney, and Laura Ingalls Wilder (and I haven't even read any Little House books) so... I'm pretty sure that all Lauras need to step it up, basically. Yes.


Monday 8 April 2013

Devouring Stephen King: The Green Mile

"Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again. That's all I know."

Oh shit, you guys. The Green Mile. It's basically a book that's been part of my psyche for such a long time now that it's become bigger than just the book itself- part of which, I'm sure, has to do with the (very few) heartbreaking things added to the heartbreaking film just to make it that little bit more painful, but mostly it's because... It's a really, really good book, it's very effective in its message, and I've just thought about it way too much- what it means, how John Coffey could have been saved, and just what the heck is with that mouse?!

What this really means is, I can't even review it properly, because what I'd be reviewing isn't a book so much as a large part of my brain that's entirely devoted to crying about The Green Mile. What I found when I came back to the book after being away from it for too long, is that it's changed- Coffey seems less of a presence in the book than he's become in my mind, the parts in the old folks home which have inspired a whole love of old-people-are-still-the-same-on-the-inside literature for me take up WAY less of the book than I remember (and are, really, just a narrative device rather than a meditation on aging) and it's just... smaller than I remembered.

This isn't to say it wasn't still good. It's really a very very good book- probably one of King's best, and still one of my favourites, and actually, the fact that it HAS transcended its limits in my brain is probably an indication of just how good it is- the bit in the old folks home IS just a narrative device because the book was published in 6 sections, and it was a way back into the story, but it's such a well written and clearly well thought about device that you barely even notice that, and you're thinking a lot more about the woes of the old. And that's just in six of the chapters!

So, clearly, it's awesome. I don't know how much of its effect is to do with the first person narration that I can't really remember King using in basically any of his other novels (except Dolores Clairborne, I think, but even that was in speech, which is a different thing to writing) but the fact is that he's clearly very very good at it, and should probably do it more often to have the same effect as The Green Mile. Or at least the same effect on me. Which is basically this:
Because, I have to be honest, it doesn't really have a positive message. There is no salvation, no one is coming to save us, and maybe we deserve that because sometimes we let bad things happen when we know they shouldn't happen, not at all. And then there are the things which seem good at the time but turn out not-so-much to be, and yeah, that's not so great either. But the thing is, life is so not all about the skipping and dancing and joyousness, and a book about murder and rape and miracles and good and evil and the death penalty? That covers a whole lot of important things and is incredible and doesn't really have to be upbeat as well. Because not everything is.

Oh, and I guarantee it will make you cry, as well. And the thing about this crying, is that it doesn't feel like it's been emotionally manipulated out of you, in any way. There's an air of sadness over the whole book, and you come to care about nearly all of the characters (the ones you don't care about are pretty unquestionably despicable) and so when you get to the big finish, it's all a little bit too much, everything is just too wrong, and you don't want it to happen, so it can't, only it does and it's awful. And so you cry for everything that's wrong with the world, and you finish the book and then you feel a little better, and thank you catharsis for your magical work. But it's still so fucking sad.

So. The giant, massive thing that The Green Mile as a group of ideas has become in my brain is better than the book itself, but if the book wasn't as good as it is then it would have never become this big transcendy thing. To translate: It's probably one of my favourite books in the world, so I obviously definitely think you should read it. Yes. That.