Saturday 30 May 2015

Saturday Sundries: Just... Nope

I have really good reasons for not being here for the last two weeks, except actually they're really bad reasons, and I figure that, while I actually have a few minutes of breathing space (thank god for weekends. Except actually it's Saturday at the moment and I'm working for part of tomorrow [or today... writing things in advance is confusing- actually fuck it, I'm just making this Saturday Sundries] so... Not really a weekend at all) I'll give you all the life update I know you're desperate to have.*

So anyway. Last Wednesday (which also happened to be my Dad's birthday, happy birthday dad!) my grandad had a pretty major stroke, and since then my life has become an endless cycle of worry and hospital visits and stress and badness. We don't know if he's going to make it, but it's not looking good, and basically it takes up about 125% of my brain space, at all times. I can do everything I have to do (work, a little bit of dissertation work that I had to do) but anything beyond that is kind of beyond me at the moment. Blogging, OBViously, isn't my main priority, which is fine, but I still wanted to check in and kind of announce why I haven't been here, and also what'll be happening if I am not here again (crying, mainly, I think).

ALSO, quite shamelessly, I want your money. I'm doing the Race for Life next weekend, which is some truly appalling timing, but that's how life is. I'm raising money for cancer research (cause that's what the Race for Life is for...), which, as you probably know if you've been here for any prolonged period of time, is a cause that is pretty close to my heart because cancer! Why you keep attacking my family, huh? Anyway, no pressure, but my sponsorship page is here if you've got a couple of quid (or, indeed, dollars!) going spare and want to f cancer in the a, if you will.**

So that is what's going on at the moment. It's pretty grim, but it is life. This entire post has kind of depressed me, so now I'm going for some cheering gifs regarding penises. THIS IS HAPPENING
Kristen Wiig being a penis is one of my favourite parts of Bridesmaids, but it is horribly under-giffed!
And, not about penises, but still always welcome:
Oh Zapp. You're the best.

*loljk I know my life is probably not crazy interesting to you? And yet, I'm writing this so siddown and shuddup.

**Just as an aside, if someone could remind me that I have to run it next week that would be great, because I literally keep forgetting... It's not the best. 

Saturday 16 May 2015

MINITHON: At Which I Have Kind Of Already Failed

Hello! Hello! Wonderful ladies and... ok, let's face it, we have no gentlemen. But lookit- is everyone ready to READ?! I am not. I suck, I am terrible, I never have plans AND YET on the days of minithons, many things always seem to come up. Today it is my very heavily pregnant friend's birthday, and so my presence is required at a BBQ where, if anyone makes any comments about the vegetarian at the BBQ, I am LEAVING haughtily and coming home to read (nice plan, huh?)

Anyway! So yes, that is where I shall be for the next few hours. However! Small children will be at this event, and my belief is that small children go to bed early, and ALSO I have washing out on the line that really needs to be brought in before dark. Ipso facto (is that even a thing? Am I even using it right?) there will be a bit of reading when I get home, although its sobriety is questionable (there will be wine. Even though my friend is all pregnant. I'm a pretty terrible human.)

THINGS I SHALL BE READING IF I EVER GET THE CHANCE TO READ: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, cause I finally stopped waiting for my paper copy to come back to me and just bought the kindle version already (mini because: children's book!) and if I get bored of/finish that (both of which are unlikely) I have Song of Susannah which is a Dark Tower book (mini because: it's the second smallest book in that series of giant books. And it still has over 200 pages. Mannnn.)

I have no mini-snacks because I am the worst, but I am mini-participating which I think is fully in the spirit of the event. If I get the chance I will tweet some words at you guys, but if not, have fun reading, I'll be back somewhere towards the late-middle/early-end.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Walt Whitman's Disturbing Sex Poetry

When I was writing the essays that would never just be DONE already last week, I spent a lot of time Facebook messaging my lovely friend Christine from my course, sharing woes and Harry Potterness and all that good stuff (seriously, she's like meeting a person from the internet in real life, THAT'S HOW GOOD). One of our many discussions started with my complete fatigue with Sylvia Plath (I can't talk anymore about how you shouldn't use biography as a method of criticism in poetry, you guys, I just CAN'T) and how I kind of hate poetry, but then I remembered I liked much of the sexy poetry in this Book Riot post.

And then Christine told me that Walt Whitman wrote sexy (the various meanings of which we will discuss in a minute...) and I was super interested because I read some Whitman as an undergrad (19th Century American Lit ftw) and if I'm going to say I like a poet, he's probably up there, and also because this:
I can't.
So, I dug out my old copy of Leaves of Grass and read some Whitman sex poetry, and Oh. My. God. You guys. It's so incredibly unsexy that I could hardly bear to read it, but I also couldn't look away from it. It was like an incredibly unerotic car crash that was trying to be erotic and I don't really know where I'm going with this sentence.

But anyway. Please observe:

I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you,
I do not hurt any more than is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these states, I press with slow rude muscle
I brace myself effectually, I listen to no entreaties,
I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me

I DARE NOT WITHDRAW TILL I DEPOSIT WHAT HAS SO LONG ACCUMULATED WITHIN ME?! That sentence has to be among the top 10 sentences that you don't want to hear anyone say, ever. Probably the number one response to that would be 'actually, you're withdrawing RIGHT NOW, you freak' because, ew. 

It got better though. This is an entire poem about hymens.

O Hymen! O hymenee! Why do you tantalise me thus?
O why sting me for a swift moment only? 
Why can you not continue? O why do you now cease?
Is it because if you continued beyond the swift moment you would soon certainly kill me?
I texted Frances throughout this entire revelatory episode (because, obviously), and her only response to this poem was 'WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?' I mean, answers in the comments, obviously you guys, but seriously... Has anyone ever been killed by a hymen? Is there something they're not telling us about their murderousness. And sure, I know, it's a metaphor. But WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

And that's not all. In my important Whitman investigations (I read his disgusting sex poems so you don't have to!), I encountered the following words, phrases and lines that made me shudder:

"phallic thumb of love"

"the full-grown lady-flower"

"love-flesh tremulous aching" (love-flesh may be the worst thing I've ever read)

"Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delicious juice" (NO)

"This poem, drooping shy and unseen that I always carry, that all men carry." (A MILLION TRILLION NOES)

There is a point to this, apart from sharing with you some truly horrifying lines of poetry (I think basically the section 'Children of Adam' in Leaves of Grass is all the sex stuff, if you want to cringe some more) and that point is this. There's a difference between sexy, and just sex. Whitman's poems are about sex, but that doesn't make them... Pleasing in any way. It's similar to the difference between watching actual hardcore porn (sex) and having sex generously implied but not necessarily seen (sexy). Now, far be it from me to tell you what you find sexy, and if you find that porn and these poems (God help you) really ring your bell, so to speak, then you go with that and godspeed. But, I think I need a little more sexy implications, and a little less 'quivering jelly of love' and 'love flesh' from my poetry, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

Shakespeare? He can write some good sexy poetry. The sonnets aren't really amazing for it, but there's this bit in Romeo and Juliet where Juliet is waiting for night so Romeo can come and bone her, and just...

Come, gentle night, come, loving black-browed night.
Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night.

I mean, right? I'm not alone in this, right? Shakespeare is totally hot, let's just deal with that fact together. And then, also, this:
 Unspeakably. Amazingly. Erotic.

Monday 11 May 2015

Bout of Books 13!

GUYSSSSSSSSSSSS! I am here, I am doing a thing, I am not, in spite of all contemporary belief, dead. Last night at about 2am, I submitted my last (of 4) essay for my MA, meaning that I am 2/3 done, meaning that now, all that's left is a pesky dissertation (no worries, easy stuff, right?) As an attempt to take back my life, and because this thing starts today, and because I haven't read nearly enough non-Shakespeare fiction for the last 8 months now, I'm going to do Bout of Books! Yeah! I have done this once before, I think, and the point is just to read more than you probably would in a normal week and, if you're me, to make your life good again!

So. This week I have to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, so today and Thursday are allllll mine, to read with how I wish, and I think I'm also going to try and write a few blog posts (steady now, me) so I can finally catch up with the few books I have read this year. I'll probably just update this post instead of spamming you with new ones every day, so if you give a crap AT ALL of how many pages I've read each day then come back here, if not (much more likely) then, you know, don't. It's all good, either way.

And so, without further ado: I read.
(Ok, technically I'm actually going to go for a run, and then watch Attack on Titan, shower, go and submit the paper copies of my essays... But in theory there'll be some reading. I'd imagine. Also, hey, shut up!)


Pages Read:  0
Books Finished: 0
Books Read From: 0
Total Books Finished: HAH
Cumulative Pages Read: PAH
Notable foodstuffs: Winey wine wine
Blog Posts Written: Does this one count?
Non-Reading Activities: Handing in essays and talking for HOURS with my uni friend and being very sleepy all evening.
Reading Activities: Um... I watched an episode of Attack on Titan, and that has subtitles. That counts, right?

So, I 100% failed at Bout of Books today, but I handed in my essays on time and WON AT LIFE, so I'm ok with this. I would have read at least something but I forgot to take a book with me (I KNOW) on the train to uni, and I felt the need to tidy instead of read this evening, so I just went with my feels. Tomorrow, I'm at work so there's at least a couple of train journeys on which to read. Stay tuned for how well THAT goes, but I'm optimistic!


Pages Read:  99
Books Finished: 1 (yaaaaaaas!)
Books Read From: After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Total Books Finished: 1 
Cumulative Pages Read: 99 
Notable foodstuffs: Millions of chocolate raisins. Too many.
Blog Posts Written: 1 (even more yaaaaaaas!)
Non-Reading Activities: Workety work work bleurgh
Reading Activities: I'm back on the Murakami train...

Look! I actually read stuff! Admittedly it was mostly just on the train to and from work, but that still fully counts. I was already halfway through (the number of books I'm halfway through right now doesn't bear talking about) After Dark by Haruki Murakami (Murakamiiiiiii!) so today was just finishing it off, and it. Was. Weird. Obviously. I was going to read some more things this evening, but instead I wrote a blog post (!) that will be up tomorrow (!!) about Walt Whitman's weird sex poems. You'll love it (unlike having sex with Whitman which, from his poetry, I assume no one ever enjoyed). Tomorrow I shall be reading Relish, which is a comic book about food and things, and trying not to fall asleep at work because I'm pretty sure it's already too late to get the amount of sleep I need to avoid that. My life is so fuuuuuuuun!


Pages Read: 178
Books Finished: 1 
Books Read From: Relish by Lucy Knisley, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July 
Total Books Finished: 2 
Cumulative Pages Read: 277 
Notable foodstuffs: Soooo much garlic bread...
Blog Posts Written: 0
Non-Reading Activities: Even more work, plus parents house 
Reading Activities: Foodie food food

I'm actually super impressed with my reading today, but it probably should be noted that many of those pages were in a graphic novel. Not that I am demeaning comics! But they ARE faster to read (and this is why I shall win this thing. Cause it is indeed a thing you can win... Right?)  But anyway- Relish by Lucy Knisley is very very good and I highly recommend it. A bad thing happened when I finished it at my parents house, and went to find my sister's copy of Prisoner of Azkaban (mine has mysteriously disappeared) and discovered that she'd packed it (she is finally moving out of my parents' house!) and I thought I had nothing to read but remembered the millions of kindle books I'm in the middle of so resumed one of those (No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I dig it.) The interesting thing about this week is that I'm pretty much just reading in dead spots of time where I feel like I should generally be reading anyway, but I'm normally too lazy to bother? I feel like I should keep this in mind for, you know, life.


Pages Read:  44
Books Finished: 0 
Books Read From: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Song of Susannah by Stephen King
Total Books Finished: 2 
Cumulative Pages Read: 321 
Notable foodstuffs: Nutella hot chocolate...
Blog Posts Written: 0
Reading Activities: Metamorphosis is weirdddd... 

I'm just realising I should have included 'total books read from' because that is an impressive 5 now, which I'm quite pleased with. So. Today was my day off work, and should probably have involved more reading than my day AT work, but Kafka is weird and difficult, I was on THE most crowded train home so didn't have the arm space to read (seriously, when you're normally an 8 coach train, DON'T SPLIT THE TRAIN IN HALF. Why would you do that?!) and, like, I had to do London stuff. Before yesterday, I had a whole plan for today that involved sitting down and watching Mad Men, reading and blogging, BUT THEN I discovered that LUSH had opened their biggest store in the world in Oxford Street and it was like nothing could be done to keep me away. IT IS THE BEST EVER LET US ALL GO THERE ALL THE TIME! Mostly I am amazingly excited because they have The Comforter shower gel which I got ONCE when I lived in Southampton on a special LUSH day and they never had it again and now I smell of ittttt! So awesome. But reading... Yes. Interestingly 44 pages was 22 pages from each book- Metamorphosis on the train, Song of Susannah in the bath that I OBVIOUSLY HAD TO HAVE. And then, Gilmore Girls. It's been an alright sort of day, I guess.


Pages Read: 25 pages + 2 Harry Potter Chapters (kindles are unhelpful...)  
Books Finished: 1! Kinda...
Books Read From: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK
Total Books Finished: 3 (again, kinda)
Cumulative Pages Read: 346 + 2 chapters
Notable foodstuffs: I had some mint m&ms then immediately regretted it
Blog Posts Written: Still 0... Haha
Non-Reading Activities: Retiring to my room to read because of inappropriate housemate/girlfriend behaviour in the living room (RARGH people etc)
Reading Activities: Oh Harry, I missed you so!

Today was another work day hence the lack of reading, and also I have felt ESPECIALLY tired. I guess I haven't fully recovered from the lack of sleep from last week, nor the constant shots of adrenaline my body was giving me so I actually wrote some darn words. (Thanks for the adrenaline, body!) Plus, I've relearned to be reliant on sugar which I had more or less moved away from because I can't be having a lot of sugar and running, but that's ok because I haven't run since Monday and SORT YOUR LIFE OUT AGAIN, ME! Anyway... This is about reading. So I finished Metamorphosis! But it's a short story that lives amongst other stories, so I don't know if I can count this as finishing a book or not? But at the same time... First Kafka story I've finished ever, so... Yeah. I have definite feels about it so I'll be reviewing it at some point (she says with great hope!) This evening after asking my terrible housemate if he has stolen my copy of Prisoner of Azkaban (he says no, I don't believe him but my only other option is to ransack his room, and do I seem like the ransacking type? No, I do not. SO the point is, I bought the kindle version! I got really irritated cause you have to buy it through Pottermore and it's all a bit of a palaver, but I am now the proud owner of it (and I have always intended to get the kindle versions of all the books cause carrying Harry Potter with me everywhere is definitely something I want to do!). And so I read a couple of chapters this evening (who knows how many pages, cause my kindle does not want to tell me) until I simply felt too tired to even read Harry Potter anymore. And then I wrote this so apparently, not as tired as I could possibly be? But anyway. The point is, READING!!!


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