Posted in book reviews, reviews

Book Review: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Where do I even begin with how good this book was? It was my first time reading any of Carter’s work and I will admit that since then I am now currently in the middle of devouring Nights at the Circus!

The work is a collection of short stories, all re-workings of fairy tales but each with a twist. Most, appeared to have some feminist moral behind them but I wouldn’t say that this is the most central thing although admittedly it is the most raved about.

Rather, I enjoyed the tales because not only were they unique in a short and sweet kind of way but they all had an individual tone. No two were the same.

My favourites were probably The Bloody Chamber, Puss-in-Boots and the Lady of the House of Love. Like I said, the stories range from melancholy and foreboding too jolly and happy.

Carter’s writing is vivid and entrancing in how she creates her stories, the imagery is so detailed that it’s very difficult not to get dragged into the fairy tale yourself – and that’s probably why this is the best short story collection that I’ve ever read by an author. They all ranged in styles and lengths and none of them were carbon copies of the other or the original tales. She definitely brings something extra to the table when it comes to writing!

The only other thing I have to say is that I love how unapologetically crude and experimental she is in her writing and vastly ahead of the game and era. She’s not scared to show us the true gothic undertones that lie in the original Anderson and Grimm tales that companies like Disney have muted to make more child friendly. Rather than shying away from it she embraces these elements and uses them to meet her own ends as a writer.

Overall, I give this collection 5 stars and look forward to finishing Nights at the Circus and updating this blog with my opinion on that too.

See ya!

-E

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Posted in book reviews, books, reviews

Book Review: England, England by Julian Barnes

This was a roller coaster of a novel, and not just because it’s about a theme park *bad dum tish*.

This book was one that I wouldn’t have picked up on my own accord but seeing as we had to read it for my Literature course I had no choice. And for the most part it was quite a pleasant read, albeit one rather odd and disturbing scene.

The novel explores what we view as nationalism/ patriotism and how this affects our outlook. It delves into the idea of authenticity and replications- taking a few Platonic terms here and there with a modernised version of “The Cave” allegory in Plato’s Republic. 

To summarise, the novel is essentially from the perspective of a character called Martha. In the beginning we are introduced to her life and see her growing up. The story focuses on her relationships with her father as well as men in general and we get to see inside the inner workings of her love life and thoughts. This however is just one facet of the story. She goes to work for a man called Jack who plans to buy the Isle of Wight and turn it into an amusement park based off of all the better things about being English. The park then becomes so popular that it quickly steals all of the real England’s tourism custom and leaves it in disrepair. In this way the book introduces ideas about what are real vs. the expectations we place on things. And whether our nationhood is justly founded and where and why it originates.

I liked the books way of picking up on the ironies of patriotism and how it often overlooks key factors. In particular, the fact that it highlighted the ignorance that people can assume without actually understanding all the factors and details of the very thing that they are defending deeply resonated with me. Although this book was written in the context of the Scottish Devolution Referendum in 1997 I also feel that it is relevant today what with Brexit. I liked how it emphasised the need to be educated on a certain issue and how little we are told or care to know when we are force fed propaganda by the media.

Anyway I rate this book 7/10 – It was something that I felt I benefited from reading, but not something I would necessary pick up to read for fun or re-read.

Thanks for reading,

-E xxx

Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Daily Update: Lacking Motivation, Tears and Eating My Weight in Pasta

That title is very depressing.

Wow.

I would like to say that it’s click bait but it really isn’t. This is my life today and I have to be okay with it.

Plus, the thing about blogging is that I need to be honest. Otherwise, really what’s the point. It wouldn’t be interesting if every post was, “Today I woke up and everything was perfect and my day was great. The end.”

Not at all. We are getting all up into the nitty gritty.

Today is going to work and being bored out of my wits.

Today is finally talking to my ex and trying to be friends, and it actually going well. But today is also getting a tad upset and feeling a bit lonesome and listening to sad music and the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack- to the point that Freya tells Holly that she is concerned by my spotify playlists.

But yes, I am sitting here with a plate full of pasta, some mango juice (nearly empty) and my dressing gown on.

All the while staring at a blank Word document with the word Lollard’s written on it and not a will in the earth to actually begin it.

I also have three drafts on wordpress for book and movie reviews that again I have zero motivation to actually finish.

Embrace when you’re sad. Sometimes you need to know what your body needs. So if crying down the phone to one of your best friends about it helps, if angry country music is therapeutic and food. Then just do it.

There will be other, happier days. Today isn’t one of them. But all we can do is be honest with ourselves and then get ourselves together and say chin up!

Life’s a bitch and so am I! 😉

-E xxx

Posted in life update, Student Story Time, TBR

Daily Update: Fire Alarms, Ant Infestations & TBR Lists

Hey again,

Interesting title for this one, eh? And yet it adequately sums up my day.

I awoke this morning after sleeping through three alarms and Kumar’s loud knocking on my door (I asked him to be my alarm clock) and got up at the undignified hour of 11:30.

This is what happens when I have days off…

I then proceeded to sit in bed and create yet another new blog and wrote the first part of a short story on said new blog.

Then at about 12 ish I decided it was time to get a shower, you know, because that’s what normal functioning people tend to do (except usually a lot earlier).

I was finally ready by about 1pm. Now, reader you may be wondering how on earth it teddy dancetook a gal like me roughly an hour to get ready. I could lie and say it was my hair – but I have a pixie cut so that would fail.

The reality was this. I decided to dance around my room listening to my epic “Happy Jammys” playlist on spotify singing into my hairbrush.

I will admit I have now got a bruise on my right arm from struggling to both sing along and put on my shirt. Because multi-tasking isn’t my forte and I clearly put singing along to Runaway by Del Shannon above my own safety.

Moving swiftly on from my lack of adulthood capabilities… I walked into the kitchen to grab some shopping bags only to be met with the sight of a billion *exaggeration* evil ants running along our counter.

Aaaaaaaghhh!

Admittedly, I did rage out a bit and started smacking them all with a piece of kitchen towel and a lone glass that some drunkard had left in our flat eons ago.

I then went and did my food shop at Lidl and then came back to see them pretty much gone. Until like five seconds ago, when they came back again. But it’s cool I have let Tom the security guard know and he’s going to get the exterminators in.

mahThen the fire alarm went off and I swear to gawd the world just doesn’t want me to revise today…

I did get some reading done today which leads me onto the next point of business. My TBR list.

I finished both England, England by Julian Barnes and Crossing the River this month. And I am planning to have read A Clockwork Orange and Much Ado About Nothing as well.

Well, there’s not really anything else of interest to write right now and I guess I should actually do some more work…. Uuuuuugh.

Chat soon!

 

-E xxx

 

Posted in Diary Entry, life update, Student Story Time

Daily Update: 4 am Walks and Smashing Teacups

No, the latter part of the title is not the name of some super cool band but rather the reality of my terrible waitressing skills.

*Sigh*

Today was an interestingly bland day. I woke up upside down, after topping and tailing with Natalie. I had only gotten a few hours sleep last night due to my flat mate waking me up and then not being able to go back to sleep.

So, logically that would mean the four of us- Me, Nat, Kumar and his friend all going on a walk at 4 am! I am a tad mental to say the least. But yeah it was pretty weird and short lived.

Amazingly, there was a shop still open, one of those gamer ones in which they pull all night Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments or whatever. Now, I’m not dissing them because I personally love that shop. But Kumar’s friend wanted to go in on our way back, so as we all stood outside (in coats and pjs) he went in and looked around.

The door was wide open, and as we walked round the corner of the shop to wait for him instead of by the door Kumar said, “It’s best we keep out of view, them lot will jump on a girl if they saw one.” Savage, right?!

It gets worse.

We weren’t out of earshot so everyone in the shop heard what he said and according to his friend kept giving him dirty looks as he walked back out to meet us.

Darn it!

But yes, surviving on very little sleep (and very little at work tomorrow if I don’t go to bed soon) I went into work and managed to stumble my way over everything. The clumsiness was extreme today. Three broken teacups, dropping a whole load of clean cutlery when refilling and nearly tripping over someones dog.

How am I still employed?

Anyway, I came back absolutely knackered and instead of doing work like I should have, I instead listened to sad music and watched a couple things on netflix.

I had a little cry at one point (due to the sad soppy music, sometimes you just need to let it out) and didn’t realise that Natalie had opened the window before she left earlier!

Gahhh I hope no-one heard me. But knowing my luck they probably did. Never mind.

Speak to you tomorrow, I have a book review I’m just finishing up!

 

-E xxx

Posted in life update

Life Update: Being Single, Friends and Crying (With Laughter) Over Spilt Milk

This is yet another life update, seeing as the last one was very rushed and pretty short.I am currently watching one of my closest friends Natalie pack away her things. She has been living with me for over a week now during Easter break. She’s originally from Malaysia, and catered accommodation kicks everyone out over the breaks which is brutally unfair.

It’s been a pretty eventful time, with a brief visit home for about 4 days on which she accompanied me. We went to St Alban’s to the cathedral and she even got to witness a full blown family dinner – with authentic arguments and more!

My brother introduced (yet another) new girlfriend, then proceeded to try and embarrass me in front of her and Nat. Although, it backfired horribly and he ended up looking even more douchey than usual. My sister came home, mid dinner, drunk and in tears because her so called “friends” had tricked her into eating meat after going without it for two years.

So yes, it was very interesting. And then there was the whole being afraid of bumping into anyone around town who knew about the breakup. I know that sounds very paranoid, but it is a very small town.

Here’s to being a single pringle. It’s a very weird feeling and I won’t lie that I still very guilty about the whole ordeal. But the space was much needed. I just needed to break ties with a lot of things from my old life that I associated with harder times. Unfortunately that meant the break up too.

I just need to learn how to be independent and on my own. I want to do so many things in life and just generally be a little more selfish. I am only 19 after all! We have our whole lives ahead of us!

I like the idea of being able to pick myself up and travel to a new place without anyone knowing who I was or having anything tying me to any one place. Sounds pretty cheesy, eh? I was even thinking about possibly becoming a travel writer. Getting paid to actually go to new places and write about the weird experiences (because believe me there would be a lot) I have. I mean weird shit happens to me almost daily, and that’s in England!

I have enjoyed having Natalie stay with me. We had a lot of laughs, most of them funnily enough to do with milk. There was the time we just bought some new milk and I aggressively pulled the fridge door open in which led to it somersaulting out 007 style and splitting. Milk everywhere. It was on several people’s snapchats.

The milk before that, Nat gave away to my neighbour in another flat. And the one we had before todays, we managed to consume in just ONE DAY.

We have a milk problem, I believe. I mean we drink the stuff like water haha!

Other than that, the only other thing I have to say is that I nearly got hit by a car today. Legit if I hadn’t stepped back onto the curb I would’ve been under their bonnet. Some guy saw it happen and said, “All my daysssss you should be dead, yeah?” to which I weirdly responded with a squeaky, “Sorry!” before hurrying off in embarrassment.

I have work tomorrow and they are trying to teach me how to make a billion different types of coffee which should be interesting, and by interesting I mean end in disaster…

I shall write more tomorrow, I am going to try and be as regular with this blog as I was last month. Which wasn’t amazing, but was good considering this is me we are dealing with aha!

Speak soon,

E xxx

Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Life Update: Busy Bee, Breakups and Beginnings.

Hi there,

Long time no see, eh? Well, I have had a pretty interesting time and a very legit reason for the radio silence.

So, I wasn’t going to discuss this on my blog but seeing as no-one knows about it I might as well be honest. I recently broke up with someone, and yes it’s pretty shitty and I feel awful but it was also necessary. I think that’s all I’ll discuss on here about it.

I am currently sitting in Hallward Library at university and using my blog as an excuse to procrastinate. I have been seriously busy, what with going home for a couple of days, working at Wollaton Hall, revision and having Natalie staying with me.

I’ve had a lot to take my mind off of things which is good. So far, I have managed to half plan my Beginnings of English coursework which I shall have properly planned by about five. Then I shall write it up and start planning my second piece which is a commentary.

Uuuuugh I sound totally boring, don’t I?

I guess I feel as though I’ve been slacking of late, and need a kick up the ass to get myself going again. I didn’t realise that the library is only open today till 8:45 when I’d planned to do work in here till like 10. Normally I am so good with revision, so why am I slacking of late?

The beginnings pieces are only 1000 words each too!

Anyway, this was just a little update which was a tad pointless and all over the place. Hopefully, my posts will get back into a schedule soon.

Speak soon (hopefully),

E xxx