Friday, 31 January 2014

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | Review

I had such high expectations of this book. You can’t scroll through Tumblr without seeing quotes from the book against pretty backgrounds, the film adaption was very good and so many of my generation claim it as THE book of their teenage years.

For a reason that I have not put my finger on yet, I just couldn’t gel with this book. In all honestly, it felt like I was forcing myself to finish it for most of it. Maybe this was because I have seen (and very much enjoyed) the film adaption so I knew how the story was going to play out, however I have read books after seeing the film before now and they have still managed to install suspense in the story in a way that Perks just didn’t.

There is no denying that the book is fabulously written for the most of it. I can understand why people adore the quotes that they do, because at times they perfectly sum up the “nobody understands me” feeling that is being a teenager. However, while I can appreciate the writing I personally could not get on with the letter style of the book. It just didn’t gel with me and I prefer seeing the whole picture, or as much of it as possible. And although it is part of Charlie's characterisation, his detached narration of the story unfolding was… not great.

I read many reviews of this book before writing my own, trying to figure out why I didn’t like it so much. A few of the reviews made the point that this book throws SO much in to the mix – suicide, death, rape, anxiety and depression, social exclusion, domestic violence, abortion, drugs, child molestation… there’s a lot going on. And no one thing is really dealt with in a conclusive way. Those issues deserve time and respect, not to be passed over as just part of life, as part of Charlie’s life – the boy that so many people identify with. 

Ultimately though, I think if I read it when I was a teenager it would have become my bible, like so many of my peers. I can’t help but think that it probably would have meant the world to me and I would scrawl that that love quote everywhere. But at this time of my life it just didn’t resonate in that way. I gave it a solid 3/5 stars on Goodreads, but I think I’ll stick to re-watching the film.

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

January Library Haul

Today I wanted to share with you the books that I've got out from the library this month!

They are: Grimm Tales: For Young and Old by Philip Pullman, The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, Very British Problems, The Hell of it All by Charlie Brooker, The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales, Life Class by Pat Barker, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, Night School by C.J. Daugherty, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green.

Quite a mixed bag! I'm pretty sure the librarian had her eyebrows raised when I went to collect them. I've finished The Storyteller and am halfway through Scott Pilgrim and The Bling Ring. Charlie Brooker is also from here so I feel a little bit of a local connection when I picked up his book.

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Sorry for being a bit absent recently, I've had a really hectic couple of weeks. Lots of reviews coming up, normal posting starts again tomorrow :) Keep tuned!

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Friday, 24 January 2014

Getting Organised

The thing about having a lot of free time is that you get used to have a lot of free time. Before you know it, you've wasted the time that you do have and you're out of all that free time. Are you following?

I found that I wasn't quite feeling accomplished enough at the end of a day, and so I began a quest to get more organised!

First of all, I set myself a little timetable. This might seem extremely anal to many people but I'm working on quite a few things at the moment and always find that I favour one project over another. It also helps me organise my thoughts in relation to job searching... which can get very demanding. I obviously won't stick to living my days by a timetable forever, and if they're others things I want/have to do instead I do them, but this works for me right now.

Secondly, tidy desk = tidy mind! I'm lucky to have quite a large desk, but that does mean that I tend to pile it with crap. I'm making the most of OTHER storage solutions in my room, and using an in-tray for all important paperwork.

I keep a to-do list on the app Remember The Milk which thankfully syncs to both my iPad and iPhone. This helps me keep what I want to do in the front of my mind. I'm also using my diary to write everything in - both my iCal and my pretty Paperchase one!

Let me know your best tips for being organised in the comments!

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Doing things that scare you

The last two weeks have been a bit of a scary one for me. I'm very good at talking myself out of things before I even try them and massively enjoy my routine which I know and love. In the last two weeks I've had to do five things I (tbh) would rather not have done. 

But I've done them. And am I better for it? Probably.

Now, it's time for me to go and give blood. That's number six.

No, I don't know what the point of this post was either. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Books I missed in 2013

As I posted last week, one of my 2014 reading resolutions is to read all of the books that I bought in 2013 (or before... shhh) that I haven't yet actually read before I buy any more books. Those books are: 
I'm happy to say that I've now read one of these books, less than half a month into January! Hopefully I'm on track to complete the read of them too.

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Suzy P and The Trouble With Three by Karen Saunders | Review

Suzy’s off camping with her family and best mate Millie. Yep, you heard right… camping! As if being stuck in a caravan in rainy Wales for two whole weeks weren’t bad enough, to make matters worse, Mum’s best friend’s daughter, super-glam (and super-snooty) Isabella is coming too. When Millie starts spending all her time with Isabella, Suzy is devastated. Can her friendship with Millie survive when three is most definitely a crowd?

We were first introduced to Suzy P and her wild family and friends in Saunders’s first book for teens and pre-teens, Me, Suzy P. The first book was thoroughly entertaining, making me smile many a time, so it's sequel Suzy P and the Trouble With Three had a lot to live up to. And it didn't disappoint.

Despite being aimed at a much younger audience than myself, you can’t help but relate with Suzy as her summer holiday gets worse and worse. I found myself remembering how over-hyped summer holidays were at school (they NEVER lived up to expectations). When I was fourteen, I went on a dreadful holiday with my then best friend. We fought over boys, it rained the whole time and the caravan site we were on was pretty boring. So I could definitely sympathise with Suzy throughout this book and it became a very nostalgic tale for me.

The main character in this series is Suzy, an average teenage girl. From the first book I've loved Suzy, she’s everything a teenager is and should be wrapped up in a combination of awkward-hilariousness. She’s not a perfect main character, she is a real teenager – stubborn, bold, and self-centred – and that makes her one of the best teenage main characters I've ever read. I don’t think any teenage girls out there (or anyone who has ever been a teenage girl) could read Suzy and not relate to her a little bit.

Unfortunately, one of things that made the first book so perfect was the foursome – Suzy, her best mate Millie, and their boyfriends Danny and Jamie. We don’t get to see much of the foursome in this book, and instead are lumped with Isabella – a character who we really have no reason to like until the end of the book. Luckily, Suzy, Millie (despite her faults) and her family are still charming.

As I found in the first book, I pretty much knew what was going to happen by the end of the book from the first few pages. But that didn’t make the book any less enjoyable to read, as the characters in this wonderful series are worth much more than the storyline.

I'm packing this book (and the first one) off to the twelve year old I babysit… I have a feeling she’s going to love it!

*A massive thank you to Templar Publishing for the copy of this book

Friday, 10 January 2014

2014 Memory Jar

I totally missed the 2013 memory jar trend. It totally passed me by. But what I didn’t miss was all the posts of people emptying the jar over the New Year and I decided that I definitely wanted in on that this year. It’s hard to remember what happened through most of 2013, so I’m looking forward to recording all the good things that happen this year.

I’ve used a big candle jar from a Matalan candle to house all my memories. As you can see, I’ve already got a few in there! 

Did you do a memory jar last year? Are you this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

What I Got For Christmas : Books

My sister is incredibly sweet and thoughtful and kind and this was 100% reflected in her gift for me this Christmas. Along with some other little bits she bought me five books. Not five ordinary books, but five books that she knew I would want even though I didn't know it myself. 

One day she was flicking through a magazine and came across an article which had a small interview with John Green, one of my favourite authors and personalities, listing his "life in books" and reasons for liking them. No doubt feeling inspired, she bought them for me. 

The books are The Book Thief - Markus Zusak, Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace, The Crack-Up - F.Scott Fitzgerald, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - Maria Semple, and Sula - Toni Morrison. 

I'm incredibly excited to delve into these books! I've wanted to read The Book Thief for ages, and hopefully I'll finish it before I get to see the film. I will of course review these books as I get round to reading them, either on here or Blogger's Bookshelf

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments.

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Monday, 6 January 2014

2014 Reading Resolutions

1) Read for enjoyment, not just to reach a goal
In 2013 I set myself a very silly high reading goal that I never had any chance of reaching. I ended up not reading for enjoyment, but just to add another book to the list and keep my numbers up. For the latter half of 2013, it was rare for me to actually enjoy any of the books I read. That's changing this year.
2) Read 75 books this year
I know this contradicts the last resolution slightly. I've just set 75 as a number, one that I think I will achieve, but if I don't and life gets in the way then no bother. 
3) Read more non-fiction, on topics that I am interested in
Non-fiction is very out of my comfort zone but I'd like to find topics that I'm interested in and read more of it. I have a few biographies lined up that I'm interested in!
4) Read more classic literature
I started to read classic literature in 2013 and would love to read more of it. We only had to read one classic lit book when I was at school (for GCSE) and it was terrible and scarred me off classic literature for five years. But I'm ready to devour it now!
5) Read all the books I bought but never read in 2013 (or earlier!), before buying new ones
I definitely stole this one from Erin over at e-elise etc, but the idea resonated greatly with me. I bought or was given many books in 2013 that I haven't had the chance to read yet. I have a terrible tendency to buy books that I don't necessarily need and hopefully this will cut down on that.
6) Check the second-hand book store before buying a brand new book
We have a beautiful, large second-hand book store in this town and I simply don't go in it enough. When I have been in, the most expensive book that I have found has been £3. Compare that to the £7.99 that I tend to spend on paperbacks and it makes checking out there worth it. I also want to always buy from the town’s independent bookstore when I'm not able to find the book second hand. 

What are your reading resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

A very wet day along the Thames

I've recently moved to semi-rural Oxfordshire and am still fascinated by certain parts of it, especially the River Thames. There's something pretty special about the longest river in England. So after the horrible rainfall we've had recently, I took a walk along the River to check out the raised levels, and took a few little snaps while I was there. 

I know that they're not the best photos in the world, but I just wanted to share them.

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