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’sย Republic.ย 

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

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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

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

Posted in Diary Entry, life update

Boxing Day; Cousins, Realisations and A Lot of Trivia

Hi guys, just thought I’d have a little check in to let you know how my day’s been. I mean technically it’s the 27th now but oh well we can pretend right.

I have had a dawning realisation since being home in this town and that’s that I’ve grownwho-cares out of a lot of things. The things that were important to me before are not anymore – not in a bad sense but just that they don’t mean life or death to me anymore as they used to.

I can live without a lot of things, I even find myself turning down social interactions just so I can crack on with my writing (you must have noticed that I’ve been a lot more active on this blog). I used to care about the number of likes and views on my blog, now I just care about the therapeutic nature of writing and having a place where I can store my life and memories.

So, what have I done today?

My Auntie and cousins came down from Coventry to visit us for boxing day and to be
honest I was a little apprehensive about the idea due to all the work I have had to do. In the end I really enjoyed going down and messing around with them all. It was a lot of fun meeting my cousins new boyfriend, chatting about anime and me lecturing them both on WW2 and literature.

(They’re both about to do their GCSE’s you see)

And joking around with my Aunt and Uncle, and chasing my little 7 year old cousin around the house- although the little sod did accidentally kick me in the throat. My friend Freya would have been impressed with his karate moves aha!

And then my parents friends Helen and Alex joined us too and we chatted about books and university life. It was incredibly fun, and then my cousins et al left and we all played trivia. Danny (brother) got peed off that he didn’t know any of the answers though and went upstairs sulkily.

Funny boy.

So yeah that’s howboxing-day my days been thus far. After that, I headed upstairs, danced to some Bowie and did some linguistic work. I was going to crack on with my Hero and Leander poem but to be honest I want a whole day to invest into researching and writing that up. And I was in the mood to get some work done whilst listening to music (something I can only do when writing notes and not when I actually have to be paying attention).

But yes, this has been my day. I could probably get through another workshop for linguistics but I’m knackered and would much rather watch some netflix and drift to sleep.

Also, I might as well document that my emotions have been a roller coaster of late and I stayed up till three am last night writing angrily in my journal and listening to The Clash.

I truly am a strange one…

-E

xxx

P.S. ^^^ This is pretty much the only thing that comes up on Google Images when you type in Boxing Day gif…

 

Posted in Diary Entry

I Should Be Dressed Right Now.

Hi guys, I just thought I’d do a bit of an update before I go out to finish my Christmas shopping (yes I know, I am very disorganised).

I am back from uni for a little while and trying to get my life into order before January exams. You can imagine how well that’s going for me, right?

But yes, I am currently sitting on my bed procrastinating in my dressing gown and with a towel on my head. There is a ginger cat to my side and The Maine playing in the background (shout out to Holly – I know you’re reading this).

And I’m going to Kathryn’s tonight for her birthday with all the rest of the girlies and I’m feeling very nervous to say the least. I hope Beth likes her Secret Santa Gift, I did try hard. I also have to print off some pictures in town and finish off the photo album for Alex. I glitterhave become very DIY since going to university I must say. Especially after the Glitter Catastrophe that went down in the kitchen when I tried to make a backdrop for our drama assessment.

There is still glitter in that kitchen to this day. I swear to God I’m not even kidding ya.

Anyway, I just thought I’d fill you in that yes I am alive and if you haven’t been able to tell I have really been loving writing short stories of late.

beutI think I’m also going to go on to do a writing series on Shakespeare, specifically his second tetralogy seeing as that’s what I’ve got an exam in in…. exactly one month. So that’ll be Quick Tips on Richard 2nd, Henry 4th Part 1 and 2, and Henry 5th. Also all the critical theory that goes behind it. Sounds fun, right? Oh, and some reviews of the film versions too!

But anyway, I don’t know how much I’ll get to post tomorrow seeing as there’s a lot going on. But I’ll try to get something out if possible!

Speak soon,

-E

xxx