Monday, 29 July 2013

July Wrap-Up and August TBR

Hey guys, sorry about the brief unintentional hiatus, but I've been picking up shifts at work, trying to sort my house stuff and taking every opportunity to sit outside in the glorious sunshine we're having in little old Blighty! I've really missed blogging and I've sat down so many times about to start, but then tumblr happens and it all sorta goes out the window. So, to ease myself back into things, even though its not quite the end of the month yet, here's my July Wrap-up and August TBR!

July Reading Wrap-up

The first book I picked up in July was NW by Zadie Smith. As I said in my previous TBR post I hadn't really enjoyed the first Zadie Smith I'd read, but oh my goodness I ADORED this book. NW is the voice of London, it captures it's spirit and its soul. Free indirect discourse that imitates stream of consciousness, poem, graphology, this book is a writers book. I really must write a full review of it, but in the mean time I cannot more highly recommend it. 5/5.

Then I started reading The Red House by Mark Haddon. Now,  in direct contrast to Smith, I had loved my first exposure to Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime). I enjoyed Red House, but after reading NW it felt like it was trying to do what Smith had done, only more clumsily. It was a good story with some nice plot twists and a decent capturing of an awkward family holiday, but it wasn't anything special per say. 3/5.

I then read three books from the same series on the trot - these were Douglas Adam's The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Life, The Universe and Everything. I really enjoyed all of these, even if there were moments in each book where I felt a bit bored with the plot, the good moments more than made up for these. Adam's is such a delicately witty writer - aside from the typical slapstick. I gave them 4/5, 3/5 and 3/5 respectively.

As it was such baking weather, I decided it was perfect to read the end of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I'd seen the Disney adaptation with the fella a few days before picking it up again, and I'm sad to say it may have hindered my enjoyment of the book slightly (Treasure Planet is one of my favourite Disney films). This being said, I was gripped during the last part of the book (where it most drastically differs from Treasure Planet) and really enjoyed my reading experience. I gave it 3/5. I also would really recommend watching the two-part Sky adaptation staring Eddie Izzard as Long John and Elijah Wood as Ben Gum, as well as Rupert Penry-Jones, Daniel Mays, Phillip Glenister and Donald Sutherland. It's pretty faithful to the book from what I can remember (although I watched it a while ago).

Luckily for me, the heat wave in Britain still hadn't abated, so I could lay outside and read Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamed. I was slightly apprehensive as I began reading this as I had adored The Reluctant Fundamentalist so much, but Moth Smoke did not disappoint. There were a few dodgy patches in the second person address that weren't present in The Relucantant Fundamentalist,  but I guess that is to be expected as Hamed hones his skills. The story was fast paced and claustrophobic, just perfect, and I gave it 5/5.

I'm really pleased with the amount I read this month (1738 pages!) - I think I've probably got the gorgeous weather to thank - and I'm going to try to keep it up next month. I've got loads of books out of the library, so I really need to start getting through them. With no further ado, here's my

August TBR

I have literally piled all my books up in size order (ie, how tall the book is rather than how long it is), so I'm just going to go through them one at a time.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - I've heard loads of good things about this book, and I know there's a film coming out, so I really want to read it.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - I really wanted to read Eleanor and Park by the same author, but the library didn't have it, so I've picked this one up instead. I think its a pretty light, romantic read, so it might be a nice breather from some of the heavier things I've picked up.

The Autograph Man  by Zadie Smith - What can I say, I've got the Zadie Smith bug! Again, this wasn't the book I really wanted (I wanted On Beauty or White Teeth) but beggars can't be choosers, so I'll see how this one goes.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn - I first heard about this book when we studied OULIPO in CWS and the concept of it intrigued me: a world in which the letters of the alphabet were slowly disappearing until only l, m, n, o and p were left. I'm really looking forward to this.

Vagina, a new biography by Naomi Woolf - I've been getting more and more interested into the concept of female sexuality and how its treated in relation to male sexuality etc recently, so when I saw this sitting on the library shelf I had to pick it up (much to the embarrassment of my sister). Again, I'm really intrigued about this and cannot wait to read it.

I think that's all for this month. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to get through, I should be picking up the keys to my house on Thursday (provided the insurance goes through ok - I perhaps shouldn't have left it so last minute) so I might be a bit busy moving in etc to do read through all this stuff. Fingers crossed though!

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Life Update c.July 2013

'I've got lots of post idea's' she said... It's true though! I've just, y'know, been too lazy to actually do any of them... Sorry!

Right, so, life update:

1) Health. After my holiday I felt so big. Every meal I ate whilst I was away was bigger than the equivalent meal I'd eat when I was at home, and I ate more fatty products (LOTS OF CHEESE AND BREAD) than I would normally, so whilst I left feeling ok, I came home visibly bigger. This is despite going for long walks most days (It was an hour round trip to the shop and back). So, to try to rectify both my physical feelings of unhealthy-ness and my actual unhealthy-ness, I've started running. I used to do a lot of running (I was on my junior school's cross country team) and since I've stopped going to my weekly dance classes I've been craving a bit of physical exercise. My stamina is ridiculously bad, so anything to help build that up (so I could run for a bus/ train without feeling out of puff) was always going to be great for me. I'm using the NHS 'Couch to 5K' podcasts to help me out. They're free and as their NHS created they're a safe, healthy way to build up exercise. I'm only just on the second week of podcasts (there are 9 weeks in total) but already I'm feeling better about myself, which is the most important thing. I've also been upping my fruit and veg intake, as well as drinking more water and green tea (with honey - the best drink ever as far as I'm concerned) and I've mostly cut out alcohol (we went overboard with cheap French wine, so I needed a liver break! I was meant to avoid it for 2 weeks, but the weathers been so beautiful that I couldn't resist the odd Pimms and half a lager-shandy in the sunshine). So, yay! Feeling good!

2) Clothes. I have been seriously suffering from post-holiday-poverty, but I've told myself I'm allowed to spend the money I have in my bank account pre-holiday, provided I don't spend any of the money I earn post-holiday. Aaaand both Urban Outfitters and Miss Selfridge had sales on. I couldn't resist. I got a huge oversized bright yellow jumper and an oversized black denim jacket from UO (both half price or less) and I got super bargains at Miss Selfridge - a dress reduced from £50 to £7 and a skirt from £40 to £12! Plus student discount! Love it! Now, no more clothes!

3) FLY. My university is hosting a Festival of Literature for Young people this year, and I got to be part of it! I performed two poems alongside some of my classmates and some international students on a summer school course. It always amazes me how talented the people I know are! Afterwards we sat on the steps and had a drink with the international students - it was great to chat to them, to hear their experiences of the university, to share some of my own and to big up the creative writing courses we offer. All in all, it was a lovely day.

That's about it for now, today I'm going to see The Bling Ring - super excited. Might try to take notes, not sure how it'll go, but either way I'll post a review up here soon (ish, you know how this thing works!)

Best Wishes!


Currently Reading: The Red House by Mark Haddon
Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Monday, 1 July 2013

June Wrap-Up and July TBR

Why hello there chaps! It's been a while since my last post because, as I may a have mentioned just a couple of times, I spent the last two weeks in Le France!

Since I've got back (late Friday) I've been meaning to write a little post, but I've had loads of ideas and couldn't really settle on one, so I've decided to do a wrap-up and tbr blog to get me back into the swing. Goodreads tab is open, so lets get on with it, eh?

June Reading Wrap Up

The first book I read (or rather finished) in June was The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons. I've already reviewed this book, so you can click here if you want to read that. As a quick summary: It's 1941 and Russia is at war. A young girl called Tatiana meets a solider and the inevitable happens. Expect a lot of strife, heartache and sex. For the most part I really loved this book, but there was a horrible section in the middle that did not sit well with me at all and I couldn't really get over it to give it a higher rating than 3.75/5.

After this book I slipped into a reading slump, but on holiday I managed to get my self out of it by picking up The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Oh my goodness I cannot more highly recommend this book. It's brilliantly written, hilarious and the perfect pick me up. I am going to review this book soon, as I adored it and gave it 5/5.

I also read On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I read this because it was a classic and you're meant to read it whilst you're away from home in a different environment, but for me it didn't live up to the hype. I really struggled with it, especially in the first two parts of the book. The final two parts definitely changed my mind on it and I began to enjoy it more. I gave it 3/5 on Goodreads, and probably won't review it unless you guys want me to?

After I'd finished these two books I forgot what the third book I said I'd attempt on holiday was, so I started reading another book I said I might try if I had time: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. As with all Austen, the story is centred around a young girl/ young woman growing up in Regency England. In the case of Mansfield Park we follow the life of Fanny Price, who is brought up by her much wealthier Aunt and Uncle in their family home (Mansfield). I didn't enjoy this Austen as much as I have enjoyed previous ones (baring in mind that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books of all time), but that isn't to say I didn't like it. Austen's writing carries the story and I laughed out loud at several points.

The last book I read in June was The Wild Things by Dave Eggers. I'll probably review this soon(ish) because I have some very mixed feelings on this book, and I'd quite like the see the film (the book is a companion) in order to construct any proper thoughts about it. At the moment though, I'll just say I started out loving it and sped through, then took a break and never got back into it. (I started reading this before my holiday, but as I only took my Kindle I couldn't finish it till I got home).

So there you have it! I'm quite please by how many books I read (about 1,500 pages (not counting The Bronze Horseman as I read the majority of that in May)).

With June wrapped up, here's my July To Be Read:

On the bus home from the airport, with Mansfield Park sitting finished, I remembered the the final book I said I'd read - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. So began to read it, but then my Kindle battery died, so I'd really like to finish it. At the moment I'm 50 pages in (27%).

Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamed. I got this book out of the library at the same time as Bronze Horseman and The Wild Things but still haven't read it, so I really need to get on and do that!

NW  by Zadie Smith. I bought this book on a buy one get one half-price deal in Waterstones, so I really have to read it now. The cover is beautiful and YouTubes Missxrojas raved about it, so I'm looking forward to this, despite not really enjoying the only other piece I've read by Zadie Smith.

The Red House by Mark Haddon. This was the other book I bought on the deal. I really liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, so I'm super excited to read some of Mark Haddon's other stuff. I have no idea what this book is about and can't wait to pick it up!

I've also recently got a couple more books on my Kindle that I'd like to read (including The Hitchhikers series and Lord of the Rings), so I may or may not be making a start on those. This month I should also find out what modules I'm on next year, so any or all of these books may be abandoned in the name of getting ahead in my reading for next year!

Well, that's all for now, so

TTFN and Happy Reading!


Currently Reading: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson