Posted in book reviews, books

Book Review: Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood

So, like most other human beings on the planet I got very stuck into Atwood’s book spin-off series, The Handmaid’s Tale (which I shall do a review on too so look out).

What has followed can only be described as Atwood mania.

I have been on a bit of a binge which led to me starting and finishing her novel Lady Oracle in a matter of days.

I ate that book up.

The only way to describe how good this book was, is to point out that it got me out of a writing slump that has been plaguing me for months now.

The book was very real and wasn’t so much plot focused as it was concerned with the psychology of the main character Joan.

This book is the epitome of the escapism that we all long for in our everyday lives.

Joan recounts her failed love affairs and the upbringing that led her to want to change identity and absorb herself in the fantasy world of the Gothic romances that she writes.

Atwood has a knack for what I would call composed chaos. Her novels are witty, manic and utterly intimate in the sense that she understands what her reader feels and wants.

I read a couple of reviews that criticised the book for having an open end, or for not feeling complete. But this I feel is exactly what she wants from us.

After all, why does a book need to go in a complete circle?

I like the idea of knowing that our heroine is still out there, trying to find her way in the world much the way that we as everyday readers are too. Her journey hasn’t ended- she’s just progressing to a different stage in life.

Without giving away too much, I really resonated with this book and felt the pain and rejection that Joan is subjected too. Her “let’s just get on with it” attitude is very admirable and her progression into adulthood is bumpy rather than clean cut.

This isn’t a novel that wants you to feel proud and smug about the characters transformation but rather accurately shows that sometimes we just don’t know what we want out of life.

Anyway, the magic, the charisma and charm of this novel will have you feeling satisfied and more self-reflective.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was certainly mine!

See you tomorrow,

Esther 🙂

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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

 

Posted in music, reviews

Top 10 Songs to Start Off April

So I thought I would do a quick post just detailing the top ten songs that I’ve been listening to. With coursework, exams and print deadlines I think we all need a little something to cheer ourselves up with.

  1. Karmina- All the Kings Horses
  2. Lindsey Stirling- Love’s Just a Feeling
  3. Ed Sheeran – Galway Girl
  4. Natasha Blume- Black Sea
  5. Olivier O’ Brien- Hate u Love u
  6. Eurielle- Hate Me
  7. Hey Violet- Brand New Moves
  8. You’re Welcome- Moana Soundtrack
  9. MIIA- Dynasty
  10. Ursine Vulpine ft. Annaca – Wicked Game

Have a fun little listen if you dare and I’ll chat more tomorrow!

-E xxx

Posted in film reviews

Amadeus Review- Mozart Was A Lad?

Vienna: the music capital of the world.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God.

-National Theatre Summary of Amadeus

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/amadeus

*Warning spoilers*

I went to the Savoy Cinema here in Nottingham the other day to watch a live broadcast of Amadeus. My friend Freya had been wanting to go and see it for a very long time and so me and our little Albion crew all decided to go and see it one night.

It’s kind of a thing we do- as well as with the alternative film society Dark Celluloid at UON every Sunday. Which reminds me that I have something else I want to review too.

I don’t really know what I was expecting. But upon arriving and seeing that we among the minority of old people: young people ratio it became clear that a lot of the older generation had gone to see it.

My vague impression would have been that it would be a rather stoic and professional play- something that I would come away from feeling a lot more cultured… as well as sleepy.

But that was nmozartot the case at all.

Instead I was hit with crude comedy, beautiful music numbers and poo jokes?

And lest I forget the love story, ups and downs, musical showdowns and generally an ecstatically upbeat performance!

I was taken aback at first by Mozart’s character in the play, completely the opposite to how I had imagined the historical figure. But Adam Gillen did a fantastic job, the amount of energy needed for his role was incredible.

I must also comment on the eccentric and amazing outfits. Seriously, Mozart’s clothes were aesthetic goals! And I picked up on the fact that the cast were pretty much all wearing DM’s throughout the performance.

So yes, it was a mishmash of the past and the present colliding all at once. Interestingly put across through the perspective Salieri whom in the documentary short that preceded the broadcast we are told the play was originally to be titled and who is mainly shaped around. In that sense the actors and the producers comment on the irony that even in a play centred on him, Mozart had still managed to steal the limelight. wow

Salieri (played by Lucian Msamati) was also an intriguing character. He would literally do anything to stick in peoples memories music wise. Even if it meant breaking apart a musical genius just so that he could prevail.

I really liked the ending too, in a melancholy way. Peter Schaffer did a great job on really getting Salieri’s unrelenting character across- the audience is tricked into believing that after feeling remorseful for Mozart’s untimely death that he is done scheming. But oh no the greatest irony is seen in
the suicide scene at the end with his ploy being that he would claim to be Mozart’s murderer and retain eternal life as a historical figure.

Only problem? Nobody believes it and quite frankly nobody cares.

Anyway I give this performance 5 stars- and might even read the play and read up some more on the history surrounding Mozart. If so I will definitely do a follow up post.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my humble thoughts,

Adieu,

E xxx

what-on-earth
This is an adequate picture to represent the play…
Posted in film reviews

Movie Review:Austenland

So I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really read much Austen… or any to be fair. I attempted Emma and hated the character so much darcythat it put me off of her other works. Which are currently still sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust.

But after watching the film Austenland for the second time in a row, I have to admit that I think I’m ready to take on Mr Darcy.

So the story revolves around an Austen mad girl that’s never been lucky in love because she’s dealing with 21st century men. Her way of solving this issue is spending all her savings on going on holiday to England, to Austenland. Yep, you’ve guessed it the guests live out a regency style fantasy with actors that they fall in love with. But as with all things, reality and fantasy gets intertwined and confused and Jane is stuck in the middle wandering what it is she really wants.

tally-hoSo there’s a whole load of strapping young men and one Jane, even though she got the crappy copper package at Austenland, I bet you can already predict that there’s going to be a lot of men to choose from…

I have to admit one of my favourite parts was Mrs. Charming, the fellow American women who turns up there. She’s absolutely hilarious, albeit quite vague minded.

I won’t spoil anything more for you there, but the cast is full of cooky and brilliant characters and honestly this is one of my favourite feel-good movies. funny-austen

I give it a 5/5 review if you like rom-coms, cheesy characters and lots of giggles. And oh yeah, Jane Austen obviously hehe. I feel like the gifs reflect how great this movie is in my
eyes. So head up onto netflix and get watching- oooh and let me know in the comments about what you thought.

Merry Christmas! Or tally- ho in Mrs. Charmings case haha!

-E

xxx

Posted in Feel Good Everyday

Feel Good Everyday: Dead Sea by the Lumineers

Okay so my first pick of the day would be the song Dead Sea by the Lumineers. I know just from the title you might not understand why this song speaks to me as much as it does but hang on in there and let me explain.

The message to me would be that the dead sea is full of salt, so the reason he see’s the name as a compliment and not an insult would be the fact that people float in the dead sea. Kind of like he’s her life support, the only thing keeping her above water.

And I love that simple message.

Like the Dead Sea
You told me I was like the Dead Sea
You’ll never sink when you are with me
Oh Lord, like the Dead Sea
Whoa, I’m like the Dead Sea
The finest words you ever said to me
Honey can’t you see,
I was born to be, be your Dead Sea

Another reason I love this song would be the fact that it feels as though the singer is basically telling you that it’s okay to run away and do whatever you want. The rhythm of the song is slow and soothing and one that often accompanies me on long walks on my own. It reminds me of summer time and also that despite all the stuff that I might be going for it reminds me of the important people that I have in my life.

You told me you were good at running away
Domestic life, it never suited you like a suitcase
You left with just the clothes on your back
You took the rest when you took the map

Again, I find the idea of running away exhilarating, having the courage to up sticks and leave has always appealed to me and in times when I have felt my very lowest reminded me that hey if things don’t work out I can always jump on a plane and go somewhere where they will. The future is a constant motivator.

Yes, there are times we live for somebody else
Your father died and you decided to live

This line is melancholy but also true, sometimes we stick around at the expense of others and I’m not saying that’s wrong just that sometimes we get so used to other peoples needs and aspirations that we forget about our own. I really aspire to go travel the world a year or two after I finish university and the idea of getting tied down by jobs and logistics terrifies me or what if my partner decides they don’t want to join me?

But the line “decided to live” reminds me that experiences are better than regrets.

Okay and this last quote is what I will leave you with;

I’ve been down, I’ve been defeated
You’re the message I was heeding
Would you stay,
Would you stay the night?

The idea of having that one other person in the world that needs you just as much as you need them hits scarily close to home in my case. So often I have felt the lowest of lows and all I have to do is either talk it out with Alex, Kathryn or Beth and I feel so much better. Laughs and giggles are what life lacks sometimes and appreciating and giving credit where credit is due is always good.

But to be more precise my friend Ciara is probably the biggest reason this last verse speaks to me. She came and picked me up off the kitchen floor and got me back to being myself.

Anyway here’s the video so you can have a listen for yourself and please let me know what you think of this new segment. I find that songs remind us of memories, ones that often get overcast with negative events and things.

Comment your suggested songs or even do something similar on your own blog!

-E

 

Posted in Diary Entry

Suicide Squad, Baby Ducklings, University & Books on my TBR List.

Hi there,

Long time no see, eh? Well for all those who wish to know I got into the University of Nottingham the other day to do a joint honour of English and History! Whoop whoop! I start late September and will update this blog as soon as I know what the hecks going on.

So onto other things. I went to see Suicide Squad today and over to Alex’s house today for the first time since our little hiccup. Everything was fine, thank goodness and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They even have two little ducklings called Eggbert and Sweetie in an incubator at the moment. Soon to be new members of their animal family.

But yes, my thoughts on Suicide Squad? Well, seeing as Harley Quinn is one of my harley geopfavourite characters of all time I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for at least a year and although in my opinion I loved it, there were parts and patches that felt…. uh a little undeveloped.

I know quite a bit about Miss Quinzel and thought that her and the Jokers characters- although having flashbacks (not all of which made sense)- weren’t as focused on which was a shame since they are meant to be the main characters of the comics at least. That and the fact that Poison Ivy was absent really upset me.

So although I thought it was a good stand alone movie, I found the focus on Deadshot (Will Smith) to be overly emphasised despite him not being as major a character in the series as Harley and the others. So I could see why some die hard fans may have been a tad miffed – he was the core focus of the movie and the development of characters wasn’t as balanced as it should have been.

harley pinkBut Oh well, I still loved Harley ( me and Alex actually went to Halloween as Harley and the Joker last year… I’ll see if I can dig out the picture).

Anyway, onto my ever growing TBR list. I’ll admit I am in the middle of quite a number of novels at the moment but here are the major ones.

By the way I will be starting a series of book reviews and am open to receiving requests (email me if you’re interested) as well as joining forces with other bloggers to write some posts together. I still have a Liebster award post to get too as well… darn I got busy quickly.

TBR List:

  • The Princess Bride by William Goldmanprincess bride
  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis
  • Super Better by Jane McGonigal
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Yep, it’s a lot of reading to be doing and that with a publishing internship and being a team member of another site means that I am constantly writing.

Which is actually quite fun, so I’m not complaining.

Anyway, I’ll post more tomorrow!

-E

xxx