SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

You may have noticed that I missed my weekly TBT review this week. That’s because this week I’ve been suffering from a deadly plague. Or the flu… same thing. Since Tuesday I’ve been feeling moments away from death so I haven’t really been up for anything other than moaning and lying down. I even watched fucking Van Wilder for the post, which was a terrible experience and it ended up being for nothing. I just wasn’t up to writing the post so I decided, this one time, that I would skip it. I’ve just not had the energy to do anything this week and, because we’ve been short staffed for months, I’ve been forced to keep working. So I’m not getting any better. It means I haven’t really been doing anything when I get home though. Reading is a think of the past. This is probably a pointless post but I want to try and get back on track. So, sorry for the last of exciting news. Next week I’ll be better or, at least, make something up for you.

Currently Reading

  • No reading this week. Too ill.   

Recently Purchased
  • Pocket Penguins
I bought two more for my collection this week and they are beautiful. They are: Monkey by Wi Ch’eng-en and Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang. It’s all part of my ongoing quest to diversify my bookshelf after I started to worry I was too focused on Western writers. I like to think I am open to writers of other cultures but I still only stick to the big names. I’m starting with the Pocket Penguins to help me ease my way into a more varied literary life. 
Recently Watched
  • Office Christmas Party
Saw this way after Christmas. It’s safe to say I wasn’t impressed. Read why here
  • National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
Watched this for the unwritten TBT post this week. It’s so hard, considering my love of Ryan Reynolds, to go back to his early days when he was starring in shitty films like this/ It’s so cringey and childish comedy. If it can even be called that. Most of the jokes fall flat and it’s just embarrassing. Especially when certain members of the cast have gone on to bigger and better things. I sort of wish they hadn’t ever done this shit. 
SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

This is such a late post because I’ve been unusually active today. I spent my Sunday off visiting a friend of mine so have been out most of the day. It means I’ve done none of my usual day off lounging and watching Netflix, which is good, but it also means I’ve done no reading. So you win some and you lose some. January has been a difficult month for my family so I think I’m just a little preoccupied to anything that taxing. Reading just seems too much whilst I’m in the emotional space that I’m currently residing. So I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. Something that is much harder to do when you’re as neurotic about insignificant things as I am.

Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
I really love this book but it’s so intense that I can’t read it at night and I keep forgetting to take it to work with me. The writing is fantastic but the chapters are lengths that are conducive to a quick pre-bed read. I doubt I’ll finish this by the end of the month which means there isn’t a forecast for 2017 to end with an improvement on the number of books I read last year.  

  • Ball by Tara Ison

Because I was so upset at the prospect of not finishing a single book this month I decided to take a break from The Plague and read something a little easier. So I picked up this short story collection that I’ve had for a while. So far it’s been a charming and fairly quick read which makes a change from Camus. I just need something simpler to get me back into reading before I’m ready to tackle that again. This could be the thing to do that.

Recently Purchased

I’ve been really good this week and not bought a single new book. Something that I would call a victory if I had successfully managed to read more. At least then it would feel as though my TBR pile were getting smaller. Instead it’s just staying at it’s now standard huge length. 
Recently Watched
  • Sherlock series 4 again
I was having mixed feelings about the latest series so decided I needed to watch all 3 epsiodes again. I still kind of like the first episode. I mean it’s not the greatest but there have been much worse ones. I liked the second episode more than I did the first time but still felt bored. I love Sherlock and John’s relationship but this episode pushed it too far. The final episode? I still think it was possibly the second worst episode in the show’s history… and that’s only because ‘The Blind Banker’ is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever seen. I don’t know. There were good moments and I think all three actors were great. I mean I was in tears as Mycroft willingly sacrificed himself. But it just felt too much like a parody. It was all over the place and didn’t make sense. I want there to be another series so we can improve on this one but it also feels as though Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have kind of lost their way. 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
I wasn’t sure that I was going to watch this new Netflix adaptation of the Lemony Snicket books but on my day off on Monday I decided to give it a go. I loved it. I mean it’s not perfect and, despite my absolute love of him and think he’s great in the role, I think NPH has been given a bit too much free reign. I mean that theme tune is just wrong for the show. Still, it improves dramatically on the 2004 film. Patrick Warburton is amazing as Lemony Snicket and the supporting cast have been sensational so far. It could be improved but is certainly worth a watch.  
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Film)
Decided to rewatch this after I started the television show. You can read my thoughts in the previous post.
TBT: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

TBT: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

I know I always tend to upload these things quite late in the day but today I have a genuine excuse for my rush job. Namely that I fell asleep at around half 8 and didn’t wake up until about an hour later. Okay it’s not a great excuse but it’s the truth. Work has just been so exhausting this week and I’ve been rubbish at getting to bed on time. Still, I’m here now, I’ve got the Les Mis soundtrack on full blast, and I’m ready to crank this out. It’s my day off tomorrow so I was always planning to sleep all day anyway. On my last day off, I decided to start watching the new Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’d seen all the stuff about it but hadn’t thought I’d watch it. I’ve not read the books and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Jim Carrey film so I didn’t really care. On Monday, though, something told me to watch it and I fucking love it. I’m only about 3/4 of the way through but it’s so good. Patrick Warburton and Neil Patrick Harris are absolutely amazing and the baby is so fucking adorable. I’m obsessed. The show works so well because it gives each book enough time. Each book is given two episodes so the plot can move along quickly enough whilst still staying true to the book. As I’m at the point where I’ve just watched book 3 I decided it was time to rewatch the film, which also deals with the first 3 books in the series. It only seemed fair to compare the two.

I had something of a personal crisis on my way home from work tonight when I remembered that this film came out 12 years ago. It makes me feel fucking ancient. I was a youthful 16 year old back then and really wasn’t that interested in it release. I remember it being a huge deal, though, because it was another series of books that were deemed unfilmable or something. Plus, Jim Carrey was still something of a big deal back then and there are some huge names in the cast. In the months prior to its release, it’s safe to say people were excited about this. It’s difficult to look back now we have the knowledge that everyone much prefers the Netflix show. It makes me assume that people hated the film but I don’t think that was true. There are lot of favourable reviews from that time and, aside from book fans who obviously felt a bit hard done by, I think it did quite well.

It tackles the story of the three Baudelaire children after their parents die in a mysterious fire. Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sunny are put into the care of their relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). Olaf is an eccentric actor who lives in a rundown old mansion with his creepy acting troupe. Olaf accepts guardianship of the children in order to get his hands on the huge Baudelaire fortune, which the children won’t get their hands on until Violet turns 18. Count Olaf, it turns out, is also incredibly evil and spends the rest of the film attempting to dispose of the children to get to the money. When his plans fail to succeed the children are moved into other accommodation with their Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly) and Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep). However, the evil Olaf won’t let the money get too far away from him.

I guess, in all honesty, that the film isn’t that bad for what it’s trying to be. It’s a children’s film that is trying to be both dark and incredibly silly. It never really dwells on the awful nature of the narrative and kind of side steps some of the more depressing aspects (something the Netflix show seems to be trying to embrace a bit more) but it isn’t afraid to amp up the dark humour. The problem it mainly faces is that Jim Carrey completely dominates everything. He was such a huge star that he was allowed to just do whatever he wanted and goes wild in the role. This isn’t so much the story of the Baudelaire orphans but the story of Count Olaf. He never quite feels right and, now that we’ve seen Neil Patrick Harris in the role, feels like a massive miscast.

The film also ruins the narrative by trying to cram too much in. It smushes together the plot of 3 books and messes with the running order so we’re going round in circles. There is never any time to dwell on anything so you can’t really connect with what’s going on. You never really feel anything for the orphans because you don’t have time to share their grief. You don’t really feel afraid of Count Olaf because you don’t really feel the weight of his scheming. Characters are introduced and dispatched in a matter of minutes meaning you don’t really give a shit of they’re alive or dead. It just feels rushed.

Which is a shame because, I have to say, I really liked the actors playing the children. I mean the 3 kids from the Netflix show are incredible but the casting of the children is the film’s only real win aside from it’s visual elements. They just feel more natural in the roles and fit better with the characters. It’s just a shame they’re not given the chance to develop on screen. If this had been cut down to just one or two books then we might have been able to understand the children more and empathise with their plight. However, we don’t ever really get to know them outside of the annoying voice-over provided by Jude Law’s Lemony Snicket, who is not a patch on Patrick Warburton’s incredible turn in the show.

Now that Netflix have provided lovers of the book at better adaptation of these novels, it seems as though this film is going to fall even deeper into oblivion. Except when someone needs to make an unfavourable comparison with the TV show, obviously. It’s fair though. This film wanted to be something for everyone but in keeping it family friendly it diluted the books’ tone. It placed the focus in the wrong areas and just wasn’t faithful enough. It just about beats Netflix on its visuals, set design, and the three children. Other than that it just feels like a sad and rather lifeless copy. Like all those shitty parody movies from the makers of Scary Movie. It’s trying desperately to be funny but all it’s doing is making you cringe.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

I’ll be honest with you, this week has fucking sucked and I’m super glad it’s over. It’s been a shit week for my family and, really, I haven’t felt in the mood to do anything. Other than shop. That’s the one thing I can rely on at all times. So this week’s rundown isn’t exactly inspiring. I have read some things but I’m only getting through one chapter a night because I’m so tired. Still, it’s hopeful and tomorrow is the start of a new week. It can only get better.. or I hope so because any worse and I’d have to give everything up.

Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
This is slow going, I’m not going to lie but I am getting into it. I love the writing and it’s a super interesting study of humanity in a difficult time. I’ve had this on my TBR for ages so I’m hoping I get more inspired soon. I just need to watch less Netflix and spend less time on the internet. 

Recently Purchased
  • The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer
I wasn’t supposed to be buying books this week. I was doing so well… until I saw that Pocket Penguin editions come in fucking pink. I know barely anything about this book but as soon as I knew it existed I bought it. I’ve seen bright pink Penguin editions all over Instagram and have always been jealous. Now I have my own and my life feels more full.
  • The Great Science Fiction by H.G. Wells
Another that I don’t need because it contains copies of books I already own multiple copies of. However, this collection of Wells’ stories is beautiful. I’ve never needed a better reason to buy a book in the past so it’ll do me now.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J.K Rowling
This is another of those books that I’ve coveted for ages but haven’t felt like I could justify. Until I decided to just say “fuck it” and bought it. It’s a beautiful edition and has already come in handy on my Instagram. I’d say it was a great investment. 
Recently Watched
  • Sherlock series 4 episode 3
I’ve pretty much just finished watching this as I write and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This whole series has been weird. I liked the first episode but it wasn’t anyway near the best. I hated the second but loved the ending. This one felt… disappointing. It was emotional, certainly, but I feel like they’re forever moving Sherlock more into the realms of the Steven Moffat era Dr Who. He’s like a completely different character to the one from the beginning and I just don’t buy it as much. It’s too far removed from the books and it’s an unprecedented change. I’m kind of hoping we don’t get much more because it’ll be a fucking rom-com in no time. It’s less about the solving of crimes and more about Sherlock’s emotions. It’s as awkward and annoying as the moment The Big Bang Theory started making Sheldon a more emotional person. It just didn’t work with the character development they’d already started. I’ll have to watch this again.
  • The Girl on the Train
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this film considering my feelings on the book. But I kind of wanted to see how it worked out. And I do fucking love Emily Blunt. So, what did I think? Find out Tuesday.
SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

I haven’t given myself much time to read this week because I’ve been busy getting on top of my Instagram and getting my posts in order. As much as I love following prompts in all of the challenges that I’ve been doing, I kinda feel like every thing I’m doing is about photos and finding things to put in photos. The problem with following such great people means I’m forever trying to up my game without losing my own personal aesthetic… which is basically just simple and uncluttered. I don’t get how people can throw so much at a photo and just make it work. I’m more about blanks space and calm in my photos. I guess I just lack the skills for anything too complicated. Sometimes I tend to forget I’m just an enthusiastic amateur.

Just Finished

  • Losing It by Emma Rathbone
So I finally finished this book on Monday night and, it’s safe to say, that I had a shitload of feelings about it. Instead of my planned review of The Nice Guys, my Tuesday review this week turned into my own personal therapy session to get out my anger about this novel. It ended up being quite brutal.


Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
I started reading this after I finished Rathbone’s novel because it was the title I picked out of my TBR jar. It got off to a fairly rocky start when I realised that I’d accidentally skipped the first chapter when I mistook it for an introduction to the novel. But I’m back on track now even if I haven’t dedicated much time to reading this week.

Recently Purchased
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I had every intention to be good when it came to buying books this week. Well Vintage books really fucked that up by releasing their exquisite new editions of Russian classics. I saw them in my local bookshop during a lunchtime window shopping session and couldn’t resist this one. As soon as I got home I added the remaining books to my Amazon shopping basket. It’s through my not very strong willpower that they’re still there to this day.

  • The Invisible Man and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Another day and another great series by Vintage. I saw their new H.G. Wells editions on their Instagram and just couldn’t resist buying a couple. The designs are psychedelic and so colourful. They’re amazing. By this point, I have far too many copies of Wells’ biggest novels but, when they continue to be this beautifully designed, then I can’t stop myself.

  • HHhH by Laurent Binet
Binet’s upcoming book The Seventh Function of Language was part of my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 list. As such, I was starting to feel guilty about never reading his debut novel. Especially as it sounds so fucking amazing. The events of the novel takes place within the real life attempt to assassinate Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. However, the events are augmented with Binet’s own commentary about writing the book and the problems that may have arisen. 

Recently Watched
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
So I found this on Netflix early in the New Year and I haven’t looked back since. What a classic. It’s been great to revisit this staple of my childhood viewing. 
Tuesday’s Reviews – Losing It by Emma Rathbone

Tuesday’s Reviews – Losing It by Emma Rathbone

So last night I finally finished the book that has been plaguing me since mid-December. I say finished but, if I’m honest, I got so bored that I skim read the major points of the final chapters. I always feel guilty reading to the end without getting all the way through but I knew early on that I was never going to finish this any other way. And, as I’ve mentioned on my Instagram, this is the year that I don’t waste time pushing my way through books I don’t enjoy. As the finish was unexpected and I’m really in the mood to talk about this book, it does mean that my intended review of The Nice Guys will be put off until next week. I’m sure you’ll survive. Plus, this promises to be a traditional Motherbooker rant so that’ll more than make up for it. Seriously, this book has cause me so much offence since I started reading it. I know I know; I need to get a life. It might just be old age that’s making me so sensitive or maybe I’ve always been this annoying? Either way, I have to get this rage out somewhere.

Losing It was part of my Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016 list because everything I heard about it was positive. I read reviews that claimed it was a fresh take on an all too familiar subject and that it was a triumph for women everywhere. I mean, I have no fucking clue which book they read but it can’t have been this one. Emma Rathbone presents the story of a 26 year old woman who is feeling a shitload of anxiety because she has failed to lose her virginity yet. Obviously, because in our society this idea is so absurd, this leads to much hilarity before she finally manages to achieve her goal. Of course, there is an additional attempt to add emotion and heart by getting the 26 year old virgin to live with her aunt who, by huge coincidence, is also a virgin. I had so much hope for this novel when I first heard about it. There was plenty of potential for it to open a dialogue about virginity but, instead, it just perpetuates every stereotype out there. Instead of representing a young woman happily living a life without sex it shows a someone who finds her inability to get any as a massive failure. Literally everything she thinks about comes back to sex. She leaves her job and moves in with her aunt to find a man. She becomes obsessed with the first guy she meets at her new job and will literally fuck anyone who shows willing no matter where she is or how it comes about.

This book just offers the opinion that it’s so necessary for us to lose our virginity in our early teens that you should go to any length to make sure it happens. Julia even says at one point that, despite having no interest in the man she is with and really not wanting to, she felt the need to continue because she wanted to get it over with. It’s no wonder we live in a world full of sexual assault. Having trouble getting laid, well why bother waiting to find someone who’s up for it when you can just take it for yourself? Now I’m not trying to accuse Rathbone of promoting rape but her novel does promote the idea that if you don’t have sex then you’re some sort of freak. And we already live in a society where sex is problematic. It’s got to the point now where it has become such a basic human right that the internet is full of threats of sexual assault and we live in a world where violent outbursts occur when someone rejects sexual advances. Maybe I’m just oversensitive after I read Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town last year but there’s a sense that the desperation to have sex as soon and as often as possible is getting out of hand. I would have preferred Emma Rathone to understand that before adding her toxic novel to the already tumultuous landscape.
Of course, I realise that this is probably just me reading too much into this and, had the novel been better written, I wouldn’t necessarily feel so strongly about it. However, Rathbone’s writing style is just awful at times. There are moment when she strives for pithy one-liners but just ends up saying something absolutely ridiculous. My personal fave was “A cave was the most inside place you could be, the most private place.” I mean what the fuck does that even mean? Inside is a finite thing. You can’t be more or less inside than something. It’s just Rathbone trying to be philosophical and failing miserably. There are parts of this novel that are just laugh out loud funny… and not for the reasons that Rathbone was hoping. 

The fact is, none of this novel feels real. It doesn’t read like the struggle of a young, single woman in modern society trying to get to grips with things. Instead, it feels like the fictional idea about young people today from the mind of someone at least 5 years older and who has been happily married for years. Take the internet dating that Julia, the books heroine, indulges in. The dates are all completely farcical and the kind of nonsense that would be dreamed up by a committee of sitcom writers rather than something a young woman would allow herself to be subjected to. Losing It is pretty much the literary world’s version of those awkward and cringey comedy shows that think they’re funny and relevant but are only watched ironically by hipsters. The reviews praised Rathbone for her shrewd and detailed insights into the modern world but it is merely the insights into the modern world as seen by bitter middle-aged people.

Losing It also fails to have any real purpose. The story doesn’t really go anyway and basically just comes down to Julia talking about sex, making snap judgements about everyone she meets, snooping around behind her aunt’s back, and generally just being the worst person in history. Now, I’m all for an unlikeable narrator but there has to be a purpose for it. Julia is just selfish and narcissistic because Rathbone doesn’t know how to create convincing characters. Just like she doesn’t understand narrative structure… because there isn’t really one. This isn’t a cohesive plot expertly weaving it’s way through the pages. This is a selection of events that happen are only connected because they happen to one person. And we have all the great sitcom tropes here: internet dating, sex at a funeral, car accident leading to a broken promise, the hilarious but totally unrealistic “oops in my haste I’ve sent this email to everyone I work with” bit, and the amazing “my parents are sexually liberated and I’m all skeezy about it” thing. It’s laughably bad.

And to top it off, Rathbone clearly knew she was in danger of not having a point to make so hastily attached one right at the very end. Yes, amidst everything, we have an awful final paragraph where Julia decides it’s time to stop worrying so much and just relax. Which is a fine point to make, if it in anyway related to what we’d just read. Julia never came to the realisation to stop worrying about her virginity, which is the thing she spent the entire book worrying about. She just finally lost it. That’s not the same thing. Anyone can look back after getting through something traumatic and say “it wasn’t that bad I guess”. It doesn’t make them a better person; they’ve just moved on. There’s no message here. This isn’t some woman overcoming her anxiety and accepting who she is and accepting the path she has ended up on. This is a woman who can stop feeling anxious when she has got rid of the thing giving her anxiety. If someone in a similar position were to read this book, they wouldn’t close the pages and think “maybe this isn’t such a big deal after all”. No, they’d think, “fingers crossed someone I know dies soon so I can fuck a random stranger at the funeral and finally lose my virginity.”

As a 28 year old woman, I am offended that this is the way in which women of my age are being represented. This novel is irrelevant, badly written, and lacking purpose and substance. I have to assume the people who gave it glowing reviews never actually got past the first page. I’ve never been happier to finally put away a book than I was with Losing It. Normally, this novel would sit on my bookshelf going dusty or be donated to charity. I don’t like the sound of either of those options. Instead, I’m going to burn it or something. Cathartic.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

It’s finally 2017 and, like everyone else in the world, I’m hoping this year will see me get my fucking act together. Although, I am well aware that I suck at keeping to resolutions and then feel shitty when I break them. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve vowed to stop eating chocolate for the year and then, a mere 8 hours into the new year, have been found stuffing my face on left over Christmas chocolate. So this year I’m trying to take some pressure off by not stopping myself doing things but encouraging myself to do stuff. Like read more, drink more water, and get more sleep. It’s my hope that turning resolutions into positives instead of negatives that I’ll be more likely to do them. Plus, they’re super vague so I don’t need to keep to any rigid promises.

Just Finished

  • The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utpoia by Bryan Talbot and Mary Talbot (Kindle edition)

This was my final read of 2016 and another book to cross off my Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016 list. As my Kindle is only a Kindle Paperwhite I don’t have a colour display so the graphic novel wasn’t quite as good as it could have been but, having since seen it on my PC, I can say the artwork is incredible. It’s a great story based on the life of the French Revolutionary Louise Michel. It’s an incredibly story and, though obviously simplified, presented in a digestible and engaging manner. Part of me wishes there could have been more detail and context but I would certainly recommend it. 


Currently Reading

  • Losing It by Emma Rathbone
I fucking hate this book. There is nothing positive I have to say about it so far except that it’s an easy read. The only reason I haven’t given up is because it’s one from my 2016 list. The characters are awful and have no depth to them. The story is the most superficial bullshit I’ve ever read. It’s like an episode of Sex and the City but with less substance. I mean that show was at least trying, and failing, to promote feminism. This is just confirming the notion that not having sex as soon as possible is a crazy and debilitating move. There’s no balanced argument here. It feels like it was written by someone from Cosmopolitan. It’d be fucking toxic for young women to read.

Recently Purchased
  • What haven’t I bought this month
This has been quite a heavy book buying month so I’ve decided to just shove it all in one section to avoid a huge list of stuff. They’re mainly books from my 2016 list but there are a few oddities that I’ve either wanted to read for a while or that just took my fancy.

  1. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
    • A book I’ve wanted to read since January. It sounds like a glorious reworking of a problematic Shakespeare play.
  2. The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia by Mary and Bryan Talbot (Kindle edition)
    • See above.
  3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Kindle edition)
    • Already own a copy of this but it’s a massive hardback. I wanted to reread it before the series but feel a Kindle edition is easier to read.
  4. Nod by Adrian Barnes (Kindle edition and audible audiobook)
    • Bought on a whim but sounds pretty cool. Only a handful of people are able to sleep and those that do start having weird dreams. The others only have a few weeks before their bodies start to die.
  5. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (Kindle edition)
    • Something I’ve had in my peripheral vision for a while but only just bought it. It’s the love story between a woman and her ex-teacher, 30 years her senior. It sounds cute.
  6. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Kindle edition and audible audiobook)
    • This is one of those books people have been talking about forever so I decided, when it was on offer in the Kindle store, that it was time to get on board. 
  7. Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt 
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
  8. Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
  9. The Fat Artist and Other Stories by Benjamin Hale
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
  10. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
  11. Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff (Kindle edition)
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
  12. I Am No One by Patrick Flanery (Kindle edition)
    • Another one to cross off my 2016 list.
See I told you it was a lot. I’ve managed to find quite a few cheap copies of books I’ve wanted to read all year so I’ll hopefully cross them off my list soon. 

Recently Watched
  • The Nice Guys
I needed something to write about on Tuesday. I’ve only heard good things about this so it sounded ideal. See you soon.  
Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

It’s nearly the start of January 2017 and, after my last post looked back on my last year, this one is looking forward to the next. In 2016 I made the resolution to read more books but didn’t do a great job. This year I hope to get better at reading and, by giving up on books as soon as I stop enjoying them, will hopefully stop falling into reading slumps. So, to inspire me to get stuff finished I’ve created a follow-up to my incredibly popular ‘Most Anticipated Books of 2016’ post with a few of my Most Anticipated Books of 2017. This is only a short number of the huge list I had at one point. It looks as if I’m not going to curb my spending this year. Ah well.



2017 fiction releases I’m excited about

  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Murakami is one of my favourite writers and this is his first big work of fiction since Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. This new release will be a collection of seven short stories about single men. This is the 2017 release that I’m most excited about and I can’t wait to read it.

  • Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

This is supposed to be a darkly funny, noir novel about art, motherhood and female friendship. It’s a story about a female writer who hired a young woman to care for her son whilst she works. The new member of the family quickly integrates herself but things start to take a dark turn. It sounds intense.

  • The Answers by Catherine Lacey

This is Lacey’s second novel and it introduces us to a young woman who is living in constant pain. In order to pay for her experimental treatment, she takes part in a Girlfriend Experiment to play the girlfriend of an eccentric actor. It sounds like an interesting concept.

  • Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’m going to be honest and tell you that I haven’t finished Eileen yet but this collection of short stories by its writer sounds amazing. It’s a collection concerning characters that are all unsteady in their own way. Wanting to be better or more connected, they are their own worst enemies. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

  • Norse Anthology by Neil Gaiman

I’m so excited about this that I’ve pre-ordered it. I love Neil Gaiman and I love Norse mythology so this book is kind of perfect for me. I can’t wait to see Gaiman’s take on these Norse tales.

  • The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet

This book sounds bloody incredible. It offers a different perspective on Roland Barthes’ death and includes a line-up of literary greats. It sounds like a better version of the DaVinci Code but with more about literary theory.

  • Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay

Roxanne Gay set the literary world on fire with her essay collection Bad Feminist  which she is set to follow up this year with Hunger. However, before that is released Gay’s first collection of short stories is set to be published. They describe women in a variety of situations but, considering Gay’s reputation as a writer, it is bound to be a great representation of modern America.

  • Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Ill Will tells the story of two unsolved crimes, one in the past and the other in the present. The two are linked by one man. The story looks at the problem of memory and the dangers of self-deception. It’s a psychological thriller that I could actually get on board with.

  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

This novel tells the story of a criminal who is raising his daughter on the run. They move from motel to motel and always watch their back. Now, Samuel, wants his daughter to have a normal life. As they settle down for good, the father and daughter must come to terms with his past as it threatens their present. Sounds like a Tarantino movie or something. I love it.

  • Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

I really enjoyed Wolf in White Van so I’m really looking forward to Darnielle’s follow-up. It concerns a man working at a video rental store who investigates when customers start complaining that there is something strange on one of the VHS tapes. If it’s anything like his previous novel, this will be haunting but brilliant.

  • Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin

This book, part cultural retrospective and part memoir, traces the relationship between women and their cities. Elkin looks into the lives of these women in order to map her own life. It sounds like a different read and I’m pretty excited by it.

  • Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

This debut novel deals with memory, love ad forgiveness. As a wife must come to terms with her husband’s fading memory she attempts to piece together her husband’s past. I’ve heard good things about this and Ruskovich’s writing.

  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

A young woman lies in a hospital bed with a young boy sitting by her bed. It sounds creepy and haunting and I can’t wait.

  • The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

This tells the story of two women in the world of animation. After the release of their first feature pushes them into the limelight, they find their friendship being put to the test. As a lover of animation and well-written stories about well-written women this sounds ideal. I’m looking forward to it. It’s had some good write-ups so far.

  • Somebody with a Litte Hammer by Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill, the essayist, brings together a series of essays on topics including all things literary, social, cultural, and personal. This is bound to be an engaging and interesting set of essays.

  • Marlena by Julie Buntin

This novel tells the story of two young girls and their turbulent friendship. Their behaviour gets more troubled and outrageous and ends with one girl dead. Years later, the survivor is still haunted by the past and, when a ghost from that year comes resurfaces, she has to come to terms with these events. This sounds like it will be an in-depth study of a friendship and the effect that people have on our lives.

  • South and West by Joan Didion 

This brings together two extended excerpts from the best-selling author’s never-seen-before notebooks. I think it will be interesting to have a greater insight into the mind of the writer and her process.

                                                                                                  Updated Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016

                                                                                                  Updated Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016

                                                                                                  So it’s that time of year when people start to look back and look forward to the year ahead. 2016 has been an odd year. It’s been a great year for my family as my older sister got married and my twin bought a house. However, I’ve felt the sting of job rejection more times than I really want to think about. Still, 2017 has to be my year. Plus, my life is hardly as bad as it could be. After all, with the political climate being so unstable it’s going to be an interesting year that could go either way. But, instead of worrying about what’s to come, I’m going to look back at what I’ve achieved. Which, in terms of reading, isn’t that much. My only resolution last year was to read more but my grand total of reads was pathetic. I’m going to partially blame work and my sister’s wedding for taking my time away from me. So, when I went back to look over my ‘Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016’ at the start of this month I realised I’d failed miserably. So, I’ve been frantically buying as many as possible in the hope I can read them in the coming weeks. So, I’ve updated the list. The titles in red are ones I haven’t bought, orange are the ones I’ve bought but haven’t read, and the limited number of greens are the titles I’ve read. It’s hardly a mixed bunch.



                                                                                                  2016 fiction releases I’m excited about

                                                                                                  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
                                                                                                    • It’s on its way, I promise. I love Barnes’ writing and am still excited to read his take on Stalin’s Russia. I’ve only heard good things about this. 
                                                                                                  • What is not yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi
                                                                                                    • Still so keen to read this but haven’t bought it yet because December has turned into quite an expensive month. I’ll wait a bit and then indulge in this collection.
                                                                                                  • Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias
                                                                                                    • Another one that comes down to money. When it comes to editions I want to wait for the one I like best and, as it happens, this one is the most expensive. I’ll either wait for a cheaper copy or just relent and buy a digital copy. 
                                                                                                  • Nicotine by Nell Zink
                                                                                                    • To be honsest, I still haven’t read Zink’s first two books because I started them in the wrong mood. So, I’ve bought this but have been too afraid to start it. It keeps staring at me from the shelf though.
                                                                                                  • Blood Riders by Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski
                                                                                                    • I bought this on pre-order when the release date was still December. However, the date keeps being pushed back so I don’t know when I’ll get it. Good job Gary Oldman is worth waiting for. 
                                                                                                  • Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
                                                                                                    • So excited for this feminist rewriting of The Taming of the Shrew and it’s currently on it’s way. 
                                                                                                  • Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson
                                                                                                    • Bought the paperback and plan on reading it soon. I struggled to get started on Jacobson’s J but am hoping this gets me into his writing so I can revist that book.
                                                                                                  • The Heart by Maylis deKerangal
                                                                                                    • Again, this comes down to me striving to get a specific edition that I can’t justify buying. Plus, I’ve heard mixed things about the book. It sounds so good but I don’t want to be disappointed. 
                                                                                                  • Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
                                                                                                    • From what I’ve heard since writing the list, I have a feeling I won’t enjoy this book as much as I thought but I’m still wanting to give it a go. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it but I love the Gothic.
                                                                                                  • You Should Pity Us by Amy Gustine
                                                                                                    • I’ve dipped in and out of this since buying it a while ago. The great thing about short stories means you
                                                                                                  • The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajon
                                                                                                    • Don’t know why I haven’t bought this one. I’ve heard good things. I guess I just haven’t been in the mood.
                                                                                                  • The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia by Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot
                                                                                                    • The last book I read in 2016. 
                                                                                                  • The Girls by Emma Cline
                                                                                                    • Every time I saw this book on Instagram or in a bookshop it took a lot of effort not to buy it. It’s had good reviews. But it took me a while. I’ll probably get on to this one next.
                                                                                                  • A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman
                                                                                                    • Really want to read this one and I have no excuse for why I haven’t. 
                                                                                                  • Letters to Kevin by Stephen Dixon
                                                                                                    • This looks short and silly so, once I finish the books I have on my TBR I’ll get round to this one.
                                                                                                  • The Fat Artist and Other Stories by Benjamin Hale
                                                                                                    • On it’s way. Come on postman.
                                                                                                  • Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens
                                                                                                    • Just arrived today. Souds like a great read.
                                                                                                  • Zero K by Don DeLillo
                                                                                                    • I’ve heard some dodgy things about this book so I’ve been put off buying it. It’s a topic that could be great but it has to be done well. I’ll probably buy this soon.
                                                                                                  • The Good Liar by Nichola Searle
                                                                                                  • Losing It by Emma Rathbone
                                                                                                    • The book I’m currently reading and, if I’m honest, I hate it. I’m not getting through it because it’s so disappointing. I was hoping this would be a new insight into the idea of virginity in modern society. However, so far it’s just been highlighting the need to have sex as soon as possible. It’s not the message I want you people to read.
                                                                                                  • I Am No One by Patrick Flanery
                                                                                                    • Bought this for my Kindle when it was super cheap. I’ll get round to it eventually. I’ve sort of fallen out of touch with my Kindle but I have shitloads of great reads waiting for me on their. 
                                                                                                  • How to set a fire and why by Jesse Ball
                                                                                                    • I have a feeling I did buy this but I can’t find it. So I need to track it down or actually buy it. Don’t you hate it when you buy so many books that you can no longer keep track of them.
                                                                                                  • Our Young Man by Edmund White
                                                                                                    • This probably solely comes down to money. I just need to stop spending so much on books and something got to give. 
                                                                                                  • The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness by Walter Benjamin
                                                                                                    • Money money money. Money. 
                                                                                                  • Not Working by Lisa Owens
                                                                                                  • Ten Days by Gillian Slovo
                                                                                                    • Bought this in December. It’s on the ever growing TBR list. I feel like I’m drowning.
                                                                                                  • Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
                                                                                                    • Another cheap Kindle purchase. Sounds adorable and easy. Not sure what I’ll think of it though.
                                                                                                  • Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
                                                                                                    • After a self-imposed book buying ban this is on my wish list.
                                                                                                  SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

                                                                                                  SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

                                                                                                  It’s Christmas Day and I’m full of food and festive cheer. It’s been a quiet day as we’re not really celebrating Christmas until 27th December when the whole family is back together. So, at the moment I’ve barely opened any presents. It, therefore, remains to be seen just how well I’ve done book wise this year. My family tend to avoid buying novels for each other but I do quite often get something book related. Still, it’s been a lovely day and I’m looking forward to another day of rest before I’m back at work on Tuesday morning. I want to try and be productive but I’ll probably just spend all day in bed, eating and watching TV. But isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?

                                                                                                  Currently Reading

                                                                                                  • Losing It by Emma Rathbone
                                                                                                  I’ve read about 3 pages of this in the last week. I partly blame Christmas and partly blame the book. It’s just not doing it for me. It’s painfully obvious where we’re heading and any empowering message is just being lost in the same old tired, teen movie cliches. I’m not even sure I’ll finish this one.

                                                                                                  Recently Purchased
                                                                                                  • Nothing
                                                                                                  All bookish purchases the past week have been solely for gift giving purposes. I bought my two sisters a book each and one for my parents. All just silly little jokey gifts rather than novels. I find it too stressful buying proper books for people unless they’ve given me a list of titles. What I consider readable is not necessarily what someone else will enjoy. I’ve made that mistake when it comes to lending books. I’m constantly trying to convince my friends that Mary Wollstonecraft’s Maria is just as exciting as all of their chick-lit. They remain dubious. I guess not everyone in the world can love Wollstonecraft as much as I do.

                                                                                                  Recently Received
                                                                                                  • Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker
                                                                                                  A present from a friend of mine. I love little miscellaneous books like this and have loads littering my shelves. I used to be obsessed with the rare books page of Abe books and would browse to find random titles. This new book features glorious but depressing animal facts and is beautifully illustrated. As the only present I’ve opened so far it’s my sole book related present and, even if it’s my only one, I’m pretty chuffed about it.

                                                                                                  Recently Watched
                                                                                                  • The BFG again
                                                                                                  We bought this for my mother’s birthday back in November and she watched it for the first time today. I admit that I probably fell asleep for part of it but I managed to get the best bits. Mark Rylance is still amazing as the Big Friendly Giant. It’s the best casting of all time. 
                                                                                                  • Dr Who
                                                                                                  The Christmas special was just glorious wasn’t it? Mainly because it’s been so long since we’ve seen an episode. Last Christmas’ The Husbands of River Song was, obviously, sad but still one of the better festive specials. This year was all about fun after such a tough goodbye. It’s also a must see for any comic book fans and shows that there is definite promise for the coming season. I’m excited to see more of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.