Posted in Book Hauls & Book Shop Recommendations, book reviews, books

Brighton Book Haul & Where to Go!

Hi again!

I told you I had a lot of posts to crack on with.

Anyway moving swiftly on I thought I would do a quick book haul with some recommendations of places to go in Brighton if you’re a big bookworm like myself.

My second day visiting my boyfriend saw us going into the city centre in which I attacked every bookshop I could find. My finds for the day included Alain de Botton’s ‘The Romantic Movement’, some short stories by Kate Chopin and Night and Day by my absolute hero Virginia Woolf. The shop that I bought all of those from was called The Wax Factor – a record and books shop which is just off of Tidy Street. It had a really lovely atmosphere and the guy behind the till was absolutely lovely.

I was actually looking for Alain de Botton’s ‘Essays in Love’ but couldn’t find it anywhere, not even in Waterstones. Anyway, this book looked similarly interesting and I can’t wait to read it. There’s something about understanding the psychology of relationships which deeply intrigues me. The same goes for Night and Day which is Woolf’s second ever novel. It questions attitudes towards love and marriage and what they mean to us. I didn’t realise I was on quite a trend until now- because the third book I picked up – the Kate Chopin one follow a similar wave length. I read one of the stories in it ‘The Story of an Hour’ at A-Level which was about a Victorian woman who is overjoyed to learn that her husband is dead because it means she’s finally free. I won’t give away the ending but let’s just say it’s comically dark.

Some other bookshops I recommend would be the Oxfam in Kensington Gardens and a shop called Raining Books which is so cluttered and piled high with books in no apparent order but is truly fun to sift through. It did appear to have some gems but it’s the kind of place that you need to dedicate an entire afternoon of sifting.

The next place was in Lewes, Sussex which is a twenty minute train journey away from Brighton if you hop on at the London Road Station. The Fifteenth Century Bookshop (yes that is it’s name) was beautiful and where I got my next finds. It varies in prices but I was extremely happy to find an 1897 Tennyson collection for £6.50 with a lovely inscription inside as well as a 1946 copy of The Waves by Virginia Woolf published by the Hogarth Press before it disappeared entirely. That was only £7.50! I was in awe at the prices especially if you compare them to London bookshop prices. When looking at reviews online I could see that a lot of people had marked it down because they found the woman (perhaps the owner) to be very rude when  they visited. This was not my experience at all and I actually had a lovely chat with her about books and she even offered me a bag for my newfound treasures. I don’t know if it’s a different woman or they just had her on an off day but I found my experience to be completely delightful. Five stars!

Anyway, that’s all for today I think but I will probably do another post like this on books in Nottingham that are worth a look at. I hope you enjoyed this style of post and I have a lot more to upload – so keep an eye out!

I’ll love you and leave you (as my mother would say),

-E

 

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Posted in life update

Life Update: Brighton, Virginia Woolf’s House & Pride Weekend

Hello boys and girls!

Yes, I am aware that it has been a very long time and for that I thoroughly apologise for not updating this blog more often. It’s been a busy time at university and with work over the summer but I have finally taken the time to sit down and write.

Last Wednesday I rose from my coffin (a.k.a my bed) at approximately 2.30 am and like one of the walking dead proceeded to get ready for my seven hour coach ride to Brighton.

It was quite a bizarre morning to say the least. I failed to lock the door to my room after angrily banging it closed for about five minutes- waking up my poor flat mate- and then shimmied downstairs with my array of bags to where my equally tired taxi driver awaited me.

I had overestimated how much time I had before the coach arrived and therefore had an hour of shivering in the morning mist before boarding my coach. There was a homeless man snoozing behind me peacefully and a strange old lady with a crooked neck that kept staring at me. After about half an hour of doing this, she finally hobbled over to me and asked me in a voice similar to nails on a chalkboard where the train station was. But before I could even deign to give her an answer she abruptly cut me off, “NEVER MIND! You obviously don’t know!”

Reader, it was right behind us.

Moving swiftly on, the coach ride itself was pretty uninteresting other than some woman literally waking me up so that she could sit next to me, forcing me to lug my huge bag onto my lap. I wouldn’t have minded, but a quick survey of the coach showed me that there were plenty of more convenient free spaces available making it completely unnecessary.

*Pauses to grab journal*

Right here we go-

Wednesday evening saw us all going to Ian’s parent’s friends house for dinner. Their names are Crawford and Rose, a dainty couple – one Scottish the other Cornish with a beautifully kitsch house in the middle of Brighton. They had two cats and the dinner was exquisitely set and prepared. I especially liked the fact that she had used a giant pencil sharpener from Tiger to shred the carrots into tiny spirals. Later, we played a game not dissimilar to Chinese Whispers but with pictures where you had to guess what the person beside you had drawn. Let’s just say I ended up with gassy goose wearing a party hat…

Thursday we went into the city and I bought lots of books from a myriad of charity shops. I also bought a lovely golden mirror from a antique shop (which I then had to lug all the way home to Nottingham the following Tuesday). We also got some free Sprite.

Friday was one of my favourite days in which I might do an additional post on. We spent the day in Lewes- a little medieval town that I had been too with him on my previous trip before we were together. It was where he went to six form and also where Virginia Woolf lived. I wore my yellow and white pinstripe skirt with flowers cascading down the side and a white sleeveless shirt. I felt very summery. We caught the train there and first stopped off at a lovely little bakery and bought panini’s that we ate up near the resident castle. Next we visited the bookshops and I bought two more books. A lovely Tennyson from 1897 I believe and a 1941 edition of The Waves by Virginia Woolf*. After that, we went down to some old ruins and sat underneath the same tree we had the time before. Except then it had been covered in apple blossoms and now it was full of apples. I might right a short story on it for my other blog so stay tuned. We sat under there for a long time just snuggling and occasionally being hit on the head by a falling apple.

Saturday saw us doing some gardening which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s something so relaxing about gardening, you feel accomplished and organised. I had a lovely chat with Ian’s mum, we spoke about books and the plans I had for my future. She’s a very intriguing woman in which I see a lot of Ian in her. I get very nervous around parents after past experiences going a tad awry but she was very warm and welcoming. They both were in fact! Anyway, it started raining so we stopped for the day and me and Ian went to go and meet with my sister in the city. She had come up for Pride and we spent a brief time showing her around some book shops before then nipping off to grab something to eat. We then got waffles and headed down to the beach, passing vast amounts of festivities and drunkenness. I have never seen a more lively city!

Sunday was possibly my favourite day, because that’s when we hiked to Virginia Woolf’s house! I cannot even begin to explain how excited I was and still am upon remembering it. The whole idea was to make it look as though her and Leonard had only temporarily stepped out for a walk*. It was so sunny too and getting to see where she wrote and sat and just existed made me even more determined to keep writing! That day we also stopped at a pub to get a drink and I accidentally threw mine all over the bartender by accident. I know, what even am I. The evening saw me meeting Ian’s godmother Anna who was quite a character! I absolutely loved her. She was so vivacious and lively. We all spent the evening playing Port Royal in which we were all conspiring against Ian. He won anyway but it was funny.

Monday; my last full day in Brighton. Me and Ian slept in and then headed down to the shops to get some baking things. We then made brownies, which turned out more like blondies because Ian failed to take my advice and put more cocoa in. They were still very good though. Nom. I also met his best friend Patrice who seemed to be a male version of myself. He works as an apprentice journalist for the BBC and we spoke about books and our love for Shakespeare and writing. It was marvellous and I hope he comes to visit Ian in Notts so we can talk more!

So, that was my time in Brighton! I don’t think I’ll bother including Tuesday because it just saw me going into town and catching the coach back home.

*** I’m going to do another few posts about things that happened in Brighton including a book haul and a more in depth review of Monk’s House.

-E

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

Diary Entry~ 4th July

This is a celebratory day for the Americans if I am correct? And yet I feel awful or perhaps mildly off and panicked.

I’ve had a reasonably interesting couple of days including prom on Friday in which I did indeed win the Most Breakdowns award because my school is incredibly sensitive to mental health issues. Still, I’ll  be out soon if things go to plan.

I still need to sort out my accommodation but the thought of it makes me feel quite sick. I went to the GP today, they did two tests on me one for Anxiety and the other for Depression I scored high on both and start cognitive behavioural therapy soon.

What has my life  become?

A series of paranoid steps and events, everything  becoming emphasised and blown out of proportion. Is this normal? Nope.

How am I going to cope in University? And how will my relationship last with Alex? How will he cope with me when he’s struggling now.

I feel sick.

I went shopping today. I bought far too much and that’s just another thing to worry about. It always happens as well.

I’ve also realised that I need to exercise and my chapter for wattpad still isn’t finished. So typical, my life is  just full of incomplete tasks with little to none achievements. Let’s see how long this blog lasts, okay?

I’m sure it will become an unused dusty place on the internet. A collection of memories that I’ll attempt to blank as things escalate.

The calm panic is scary.

Yes, I am aware that was an oxymoron but it’s no less the truth. It’s an undercurrent that follows me around on a day to day basis just waiting to jump out at me when I least expect it.

I’m meant to be going to Alex’s tomorrow- I don’t want to go outside maybe I should just stay in and watch stuff all day.

No that’s a bad idea then I’d be giving into it.

Isn’t it weird how the human body is capable of causing such severe emotions and thoughts, do animals and plants experience depression? Perhaps being “blessed” with a self aware brain was a punishment rather than an advantage.

I can’t even get away from myself. That reminds me of a quote Alex’s mum, Suzie told me the other day. I wonder if I can remember who wrote it…. The extract was from Essays In Love by Alain de Botton in which the writer comments on watching the sun set and the beautiful view he was experiencing, however the only problem with this positive moment was bringing himself with him.

How funny? And yet it’s completely true, these horrid emotions are unavoidable I can’t leave them in the other room and say I’ll come back for you later. There’s no break and no easy way out, it’s going to take a lot of work to get me back to my current state.

Can I do it by August?

Who knows.

Sorry for the erratic thoughts of this post, I’ve fallen into a rut and had to keep myself occupied even if it meant being scarily honest on the internet.

I am worried about this treatment, hopefully it works…

Sincerely,

E

xxx

Posted in poetry

Inner Workings

Inside my brain is a meeting,

Of important executives.

Each one of them feeding,

The monster caged in it.

They regiment my emotions,

Pass the cogs down the

conveyor belt.

Each one of these employees,

Ignoring the monster

Who exaggerates being heartfelt.

 

It burns

It seethes

Takes over me

The monster is finally out!

 

Disrupting the production line

This chaos I’ll admit is mine

Through the guise I wear discreetly

That answers you back so

Sweetly.

 

 

A/N: The lead up to a panic attack. I like to imagine the inner workings of  the mind as something organised and rational but with hidden complexities that we subconsciously hide away. Admittedly my idea of this “regimented” process of the brain in itself could be seen as exaggerated in the sense that the brain is just as fickle as our own emotions.

I don’t know if any of that made any sense,

Sincerely,

E