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 Diary Entry, life update

Update: Back Again!

Hi everybody!

I am writing this on a rare day that I am not at work!  Isn’t that fun? I thought I would give you a brief update before I head out to commence today’s long awaited chores. So, without further ado here’s where I’ve been and what you’ve got to look forward too on this blog.

I have been in Brighton from the 1st of August till the 8th and then from the 9th till the 13th have been non-stop working. My time has been equally taken up with evenings filled with seeing friends and watching live broadcasts from the RSC at our local cinema. As well, my dad’s birthday is coming up and I have decided to write a short story for him about the war.

So, as you can see I have had a lot on my plate. But here are some upcoming posts to look forward too.

  1. My time in Brighton, specifically visiting Virginia Woolf’s house and my experience there.
  2. A review on Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’ (I am super excited to talk about it).
  3. Another review on Titus Andronicus.
  4. My TBR list (University Reading List mainly).
  5. Daily updates on my shenanigans.
  6. Another review on Angela Carter’s ‘Nights at the Circus’ which I am currently a short way off finishing (I may have put it down after becoming a tad obsessed with Smith’s book).
  7. A review on Laura Marling’s music.
  8. How To Prep for University.

My focus for the last week or so has been on finishing off a journal of mine which was quite time consuming but great practice when it comes to writing. That’s all finished now (I wrote 43 pages in about two and a half days) so I feel very accomplished and can now spend a bit more time on this and my other blogs.

Anyway, I am already behind schedule so should crack on with getting to the bank.

Goodbye for now!

-E

 

Posted in book reviews, books, reviews, TBR

Book Review: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

This is something that I’ve been meaning to do properly on this blog for  very very long time. And so here it is, finally!  *Warning slight spoilers*

I’m going to start my book review segment with a classic, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. This was an especially interesting read because it aptly shows Woolf playing around with writing styles and form.

In her diaries she mentions literally basing the entire novel around a shape similar to that of the letter “H” and even argues that in the most literal sense it is incorrect to call the book a novel seeing as it contradicts everything we associate with one.

I had to read this book for my university course here at UON and honestly found that other people had very mixed reactions to it.

Personally, I loved it. Yes, it was difficult at times but that was part of its charm- the fact that you sometimes did get lost with who was narrating the story, what exactly had happened and the fact that Woolf chooses to emphasise stream of consciousness over other seemingly big plot points.

I especially liked the character of Lilly Briscoe and the entire psychology of her character. She is someone who in other novels would probably be more in the background, not entirely someone key to the progress of the novel- because it is after all focused around her development in particular and the finished piece of art and her analysis of the characters around her. Lilly is obsessed with her painting and the ideas that others put in her head of her never being an artist, because women aren’t good at art. At the end of the novel, she appears to battle through her own insecurities and finishes the painting stating, as she does, “I have had my vision.”

Other than that, as you read the book there are recurring references to the lighthouse in everyday objects, this is apparent as at times the description mimics it – “abstract arabesques” are described centring around pillars as well as other curves and shapes.

This obsession with a final destination, the idea that everything will be better once they reach it and the disappointment that James feels when his dad continuously dashes his hopes of going. In my eyes I saw it as a representation of the things we want but never get the chance to pursue. The focus on characters going to the window, the stability and reliability of it always being there even through the war and storms when some of the characters do not. It comments on mortality and how the characters view themselves and their roles within society.

I feel as though no two people get the same thing from the story and that it’s ambiguity leaves it open to interpretation. For these reasons some people don’t like Woolf’s writing but for someone like me who very much enjoys long musing ramblings from someone else’s internal thoughts- I found this book amazing.

I have Orlando on my shelf at the moment as well as some of her essays that I hope to get round to reading at some point.

Overall, if you’re interested in something a little different and unique to read then I highly recommend this novel. If you’ve read modernist work before then this is a great addition to make, and if not this is a very good example of the form.

5 stars *****

Chat soon!

E xxx

Posted in books, reviews, TBR

TBR List – March

Hi guys,

This is just a cheeky post before I head off to uni for a lecture. I thought I would just update you on what I have been reading and what I have read this month. So here goes nothing!

  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf- Status: Read.

This was a really interesting read and apart of my university course, the style was  very unique and it was the first Woolf novel I had ever read. I think I plan to do a full review on it soon so stay tuned.

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones- Status: Read.

I stayed up till 1 am last night trying to finish this book and OMG it is amazing. If you are a fan of the Ghibli movie then I recommend you read where it originated from. I plan again to do another review on this one both on this blog and for the uni magazine.

  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- Status: 180 pages into.

I started this one a while ago when my friend Holly got it for my birthday because I am such a huge fan of the movie with Emilia Clarke. It was just that with uni reading and everything it kind of got put aside. But I am glad to say that I am picking it back up to finish because I have been asked to review it’s sequel Me After You.

  • Me After You by Jojo Moyes- Status: Unread.

Well this one is kinda self explanatory after what I just said above, and yes I am doing a review on this for the university magazine. I actually think my deadline was this week but there’s no way I am going to get that done in time. Whoops, I hope they don’t mind too much!

  • Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips- Status: Unread.

I have ordered this off of World of Books and am desperately waiting for it to get here in time because it’s the novel I am meant to read for my literature seminar this week. I have heard good things about this book and apparently it’s a quick read which is nice.

Anyway, that’s everything I have planned to read this month and I shall keep you updated. I realise that I haven’t really touched upon many book reviews on this blog despite meaning too. Hopefully that’ll change, starting this month!

See you tomorrow,

E xxx