It’s the start of the third week of the new year and I’m still in that smug phase where I’m keeping up with my good habits… for the most part anyway. I slip now and then but I’m getting there. Even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect. I am, thankfully, doing okay at keeping up with my reading. I’m on course to finish another book in the next few days, which I’m quite proud of. Or at least I was until a friend of mine told me she’d already read 4 books this year. I guess I have some catching up to do. Either that or pretend to myself that those books were only a couple of pages long. Yeah, that sounds okay. Plus she doesn’t work 5 days a week like I do. So she has a young child? Like that’s time consuming…
So, eagle-eyed readers out there will realise that I’m a day late with my weekly rundown. That’s because I only got back from London today. I’ve had a lovely but busy weekend visiting my friend so decided to leave this until tonight. The weekend has been great. I watched a terribly Christmas classic in Jingle All the Way on Saturday night but balanced it out by watching A Muppet Christmas Carol immediately after. I listened to some poetry, visited the design museum and went round an incredibly patronising exhibition about the North. As two Northerners we couldn’t help but cringe about the awful way the Somerset House exhibition portrayed Northerners. It was totally misjudged in tone and, really, only helped strengthen unhelpful stereotypes about the North/South divide. But I don’t want to get into that right now. On with the rundown.
Weekly Blog Posts
- TUESDAY’S REVIEWS – Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)
I’ve been waiting for this documentary to come to Netflix for so long and, when it finally did, I couldn’t wait any longer to watch it. Was it worth it? Find out in my review here.
- BOOK POST – The Guilty Reader Tag
Amazing! I finally have something to say for this section of my rundown. It’s not very inspiring but this tag might give you a little bit of insight into who I am as a person. Find out for yourself here.
- TBT – Man on the Moon (1999)
I couldn’t not watch Jim and Andy and then miss the chance to (re)watch the original film. Did the behind the scenes view have an impact on my viewing? Find out in my TBT post here.
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
It took god knows how long to get there but I finally have. I’ve got a fairly busy week but I’m hoping to post my review of this book on Wednesday. Check back later to find out if I manage it or not.
When the winner of the Man Booker prize was announced I was really pleased because I loved Lincoln in the Bardo. However, that wasn’t the reaction of everyone. Some random on Instagram was poo pooing the winning book and saying this book by Ali Smith was the only deserving winner. In the name of fairness (and not because I’m really petty) I decided to see for myself. I started it on the train to London and it’s better than I was expecting. I didn’t get very far though. We’ll have to see.
So I bought a couple of new books when I found them on offer on Amazon for Cyber Monday and I also snagged a few new Vintage Penguins. Amazing result.
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – I bizarrely don’t seem to have a copy of this book anymore so I couldn’t resist the gorgeous new (I think) hardback edition from Harper Collins. Plus, it was also only £4. Genius.
- Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Another cheap buy and one that I’ve wanted for ages. Although, I’ve have a few of these Shakespeare rewritings on my shelf for a while and never got anywhere with them. The Tempest really isn’t my favourite play but this sounds really good. And if anyone can make it interesting then it’s Atwood, right?
- Vintage Penguins – I bought a few more of these than I needed to but I can never resist a beautiful vintage penguin.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
- My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
- The Nuremberg Trials by R.W. Cooper
- Netflix Binges: QI, Compete to Eat
I’ve not really watched a lot this week. I guess it helps that my days off have both involved me being really busy. I was either preparing for my weekend away or travelling to London. I did manage to watch a bit more QI, which is always a lovely way to pass the time. Then I binged watched Compete to Eat: a ridiculous cooking show where two chefs head to cabins in the Canadian wilderness and try to cook a 3 course meal with whatever they find in the cupboards. I love a good cooking show but this definitely isn’t one. I watched it whilst I was packing and only got the end so it wouldn’t show up on the ‘Continue’ section of my Netflix home page.
This week has been awful. Last Sunday I came down with a bit of a cold that quickly turned into the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve spent this week at work feeling like I was submerged under water but at a depth that was causing me intense pain all over my body. There was genuinely a point when my headache felt like a bunch of tiny pixies were repeatedly stabbing me with their tiny pixie knives. Then there was the guy who was attempting to jab a screwdriver through my eyeball several times a day. It’s been dreadful. I tend to get a bit pathetic when I’m ill. I just lie down and accept death no matter what the affliction. So, I haven’t had a very exciting week. Especially considering I was expecting to have finished my current read by now. November and October were really shitty reading months for me. Must try harder in December.
Weekly Blog Posts
- TUESDAY’S REVIEWS – Geostorm (2017)
I could have gone my whole life without seeing this ridiculous looking Gerard Butler film but, in a cold-induced haze, I watched it. It’s safe to say my life will never be the same. Find out more here.
Again, I genuinely planned on writing something this week but, you know, ill. It’s amazing I managed to do anything this week. I will start doing this on a regular basis soon… I’m sure of it.
After describing Gerard Butler as the new Nicolas Cage I decided it was only fitting to watch one of the Cagester’s films for this week’s TBT. I picked the shortest one I could find on Netflix because that’s the kind of approach I have to this segment. It was another life-changing watch. Read all about it here.
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been so ill this week. I’ve been unable to do anything really so have let my reading get away from me. I’ve managed a couple of chapters this week so I really need to step up my game.
Another week and another couple of trips to the new Oxfam books in town. God I love this shop.
- Surrender the Pink by Carrie Fisher – I bought this because, duh, I adore Carrie Fisher and this has one of the most intriguing openings I’ve ever read. “Dinah Kaufman lost her virginity a total of three times. Not because it was so large that it took three times to knock it out, but because she thought losing your virginity was supposed to mean something and it took her three strikes to feel that she was even remotely in the meaning ball game.” If you read that and didn’t think the phrase “three times to knock it out” was enough to make you buy it then we’re just too different.
- Brighton Rock by Graham Greene – I bought another copy of this because it was a really simple but really lovely looking Penguin edition. You’ll definitely see it on my Instagram soon.
- Sherlock Holmes: The complete illustrated short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I own far too many different copies of the Sherlock Holmes short stories but this illustrated book was an instant buy. It’s gorgeous and was so fucking cheap.
- The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith – This was something of a guilty purchase because it was in the collectables section of the store. I’m talking locked in a fucking cupboard and everything. This is an illustrated edition of a novel of sensibility that I studied at university. It’s so beautiful and, despite being on the higher end of the charity shop scale, is still cheaper than a brand new paperback. I saw this and spent days thinking about buying it. I’m so glad I did.
- Netflix Binges: Jonathan Creek, QI,
To be honest, I couldn’t really remember what I’ve been watching this week. I think I’ve mostly fallen asleep trying to watch most things. I’m so pathetic at the moment. I’ll be better next week.
Bit of a confession time to start with: I’ve just got Netflix back and it’s meant my amount of reading time has decreased quite a bit. I knew I was going to go back before Season 2 of Stranger Things came out but I’ve so easily fallen back into my usual binge watching. I’ve read a bit but definitely not as much as I should have. I’m definitely blaming work; if I wasn’t so tired I wouldn’t find it so easy to just collapse in front of the TV for hours. It would also mean I’d have finished writing this post hours ago instead of now. Although, to be fair, I have been busy today. I’ve taken my usual load of Instagram photos (with a new Halloween aesthetic – so look out for that) and then I’ve had a good tidy. I’m, once again, trying to sort out my life and get rid of loads of stuff I don’t need anymore. Like clothes I haven’t worn in ages or don’t fit. Eventually I’m going to own a normal amount of items and be able to walk around without having to step over piles of books that take up every inch of available space… but that doesn’t sound too much fun really.
Weekly Bookish Post
- Classic gothic fiction – where to start?
In my new series of, hopefully, helpful bookish posts, I wrote a handy guide to early gothic fiction. I’ve encountered a few people over the years wondering where to start or having trouble getting into The Mysteries of Udolpho. I use my years studying these novels to suggest a way into these novels.
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
I’ve read a bit of this recently and am still loving it. If the chapters weren’t so long that I keep falling asleep in the middle of them then I’d be further on by now. However, I put it aside in favour of some more appropriate Halloween reading.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Starting with one of my favourite Christie novels. It’s a creepy crime tale that is full of death and intrigue. It also helps that I’m reading the Facsimile edition and it’s pretty fucking spooky. I’m hoping to finish this ASAP before moving on to something else. I’ll also attempt to finish my Dracula audiobook. It’s the Audible exclusive featuring a cast including Alan Cumming and Tim Curry. I’m sure it will be fantastic.
Another week and another batch of new, old books. This time I’ve found the classic Penguin copy of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, the iconic Milton Glaser cover of Run, Rabbit Run by John Updike, and, finally, a rare (ish) edition of Island by Aldous Huxley. They’re all gorgeous and I can’t wait to see them in person.
- Netflix Binges: Rick and Morty, BoJack Horseman
So, after all this time, I finally get Netflix back and what is the first thing I do? Watch the 3rd season of Rick and Morty again. I genuinely think this was the best season so far. It featured the best episode so far (‘The Ricklantis Mixup’) and my least favourite ever episode (‘Morty’s Mind Blowers’). Despite this, it was just a great all round season. The episodes all worked well together and everything was just so entertaining. I can’t wait til the next series comes out in a million years. Then, after having to hear a colleague talk about it recently, I watched the entire new series of BoJack Horseman in a day. I loved it but I’m feeling a bit pyschologically drained. I’m a huge fan of dark comedy but this series was super intense. The episode about BoJack’s mother was fantastic but left me feeling more than a little empty. I definitely think it requires a second watch… just after I’ve got over the first viewing I mean.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
I watched this for the first time in years for my latest TBT review. Find out what memories it brought up in my review here.
This week has seen me get more than a little bit nostalgic. My oldest friend, I’ve known her since I was about 4 years old, is turning 30 in a couple of weeks. She celebrated last night so I’ve been looking through old photos organising a present. I wouldn’t say that I’m exactly bothered about turning 30 but I am struggling to accept that I’m not where I thought I’d be by this age. Looking back just 15 years and the change is huge. I has the naive belief that I’d have left university and got the job of my dreams incredibly easily. I was set up by the television and films of my childhood to think that adult life was easy. Instead, I’m still madly searching for a job and still living with my parents. It’s not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of. Anyway, I’ve got my lovely books to help me escape from my real life problems. That’s why I need so many. The more problems then the more escape routes you need.
- The Answers by Catherine Lacey
Fingers crossed by the time I go to bed tonight this will be done and dusted.
I was so excited to write that I hadn’t bought anything this week before I remembered I found a couple of my favourite books in vintage Penguin form. Any readers who follow me on Instagram will know, I’m something of an amateur collector of vintage Penguin editions and if I ever come across a good one I’ll buy it. So as soon as I came across a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Great Gatsby I knew there was no other option. They were a bit more expensive than I usually prefer, moving toward the £10-15 mark) but these are two of my all time favourite books. I think it’s worth it.
- Netflix Binges: Modern Family, Westworld
As of today my NOW TV subscription has run out and I will, eventually, be returning to Netflix. I think. Before it ended I managed to finish Westworld and I’m not entirely sure what I think about it. I want to like it and there are many parts that I do. Thandie Newton was incredible as was Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins. However, there’s something about it that just gets to me and I’m not sure what it is. The Dolores storyline bugged me a bit and I think there were too many smug monologues. I like the themes at play but there was something annoyingly pretentious about the first series that I hope the second loses. I want to get to know the characters more because, right now, I don’t think there’s enough depth there. We’ll see.
I never really had a dream job when I was a kid but, as of right now, my dream job is Charlize Theron. She’s the only reason I was super excited about Atomic Blonde. Read my review of it here.
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love John C Reilly? I could watch a lot of shit films starring him and not completely hate them. He’s so fucking charming and funny that he can make anything work. I finally watched his parody of Walk the Line for TBT this week. Read my thoughts if you wish.
Going back to work after having a few days off last week proved to be extremely difficult. So, it came as a major surprise that I managed to keep on top of reading. I’ve decided I finally need to sort my sleeping habits out. Usually, I stay up way too late before work. This is mainly because I want to take full advantage of the time I have before I go back the next day. Just one of the major struggles of working in a job that you have zero passion for. Anyway, to get myself in better shape I’ve been trying to turn my computer off early and read for an hour or so before I go to bed. What usually happens now is that I get so engrossed in my book that I lose track of time but it’s an improvement, right? Whilst it may not be doing wonders for the amount of sleep I’m getting, it does mean that I’m making progress with my books read this year. I’ve finished another book finally. It takes a bit of pressure off after the 3/4 months that I spent getting through 7th Function. Fingers crossed it’s a sign things are improving.
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
So, as expected, I got through this book pretty quickly. I plan on writing my thoughts up for me Tuesday review so come back soon.
- The Answers by Catherine Lacey
This was the book I was supposed to read after I finished 7th Function so, after my brief detour, I decided to finally open it. This book has been top of my TBR pile for a while and I’m super intrigued about how it’s going to turn out. The premise sounds like something you’d seen in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. A desperately ill and broke young woman signs up to take part in an actor’s girlfriend experience. Then, inevitably, the shit hits the fan. I’m hoping this is as good as it sounds.
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I have seen this book of poetry all over Instagram in the past few months and have desperately wanted it. With Kaur’s second collection of poetry being released next month and finding myself in an emotional state, I decided it was the perfect time to buy it. I’ve already read snippets so I’ll be glad to finally get to grips with this collection.
- The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
On the same impromptu shopping trip that saw me buy Milk and Honey I also purchased this book. I’ll be honest, I only got this because I loved the cover. It’s a Penguin book and was so striking that I couldn’t not pick it up. Then I read the blurb and was hooked. This is the English language translation of the history of Soviet women in World War 2. Svetlana Alexievich wanted to tell the story of all of the strong women in her life who helped with the war effort but were deleted from official history. Now you all should know that I’m a lover of all things that show how great women are and this just sounds perfect. Combined with my love of history, I can’t think of a better book to get stuck into.
- Netflix Binges: Modern Family, Travel Man
Took a slight break but I’m back on my Modern Family rewatch. It’s so awkward in the first few seasons but so funny. I had forgotten some of the great moments that happened early on. At the same time, I watched the Channel 4 series Travel Man in which Richard Ayoade, a man I love intensely, spend 48 hours in a city with a famous person. It’s funny, informative and really makes me want to get on a plane.
We’re one week on and I’ve had to contend with another job disappointment. To be fair, I suspected it wasn’t going to get me anywhere but it still feels shit. I’m sure I’ll get there one day but I just need to work harder to get there. Obviously, I still need to learn stuff and get to a place where I’m standing out. It just feels like there are so many hills to climb in order to get the very basic job these days. And it doesn’t help that everyone I’m competing against is not only younger but also just brilliant. I can’t help but feel that I wasted the last few years and should have been getting ready for this earlier. Anyway, whatever happens with my job search I’ve always got books to escape into. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.
I feel like no matter how far I get through this book that I still have so much to read. I’m still only 44% of the way into it according to my Kindle which seems mental considering how long I’ve been reading it for. I’m still really enjoying it though so I’m not really complaining. It just feels like I should be near the end now. It’s the TARDIS of the book world.
I’m still managing to be fairly strict with my spending this week but I have let myself buy a few vintage Penguin books from eBay. I’ve been using my vintage books in a lot of my Instagram photos lately and have been loving it. So I’m back on the wagon and getting more and more. The old school Penguin books really are the best of the best though. It’s worth a slight splurge.
- Netflix binges: RuPaul’s Drag Race
A friend from work suggested that I watch this show and I was dead against the idea. Then I watched series 2 and have not been able to stop. It’s got all the best bits of ANTM with added bitchiness. I fucking love this show and am really embarrassed about how invested I become in each season. I’d hate myself if it wasn’t one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Fair warning, I’ve just got to the end of a week of 7am starts and I’m feeling tired and melodramatic right now. 2016 is turning out to be a pretty dismal year all things considered and this last week has definitely been a tough one. It started with the news that the great Leonard Cohen had died at 82 and then continued to reveal that Donald Trump would become the next President of the United States. Then Nigel fucking Farage has been popping up spreading his usual bigoted bullshit and looking extremely pleased with himself. It’s too much. We’ve lost so many talented people and seen too many political upsets this year and we’re still only in November. I’m going to blame this difficult week for the fact that I haven’t done any reading. I’ve just been hiding in my room, listening to Leonard Cohen songs, and pretending 2016 isn’t happening. Only a month and a bit until we can start a new year and leave this awfulness behind us. 2017 has to be THE year, right?
Not gonna lie, I’ve read nothing this week. I’ve just been so tired after work that I just fall asleep without warning. It’s been one of those weeks where I look at the time at 11pm, decide it’s time to get ready for bed, and suddenly its 1am. I just can’t cope. So I’ve been shit but I’m trying to reboot over my next 2 days off. Hopefully I’ll become a functioning human being again.
- Penguin Little Black Classics
I’ve been pretty good this week about not buying books. My only real splurge came to the princely sum of £3.60 and consisted of 4 new Little Black Classics. Whilst taking an Instagram picture the other day I realised my collection of this series was sadly lacking and, considering they’re so cheap, it seemed insane. So when I needed to increase a recent Amazon order to above the £10 threshold it was as if fate was telling me it was time. The four I bought were: O Frabjous Day! by Lewis Carroll; Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast by Oscar Wilde; On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman; and The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë. I still only have about 14 in total so I still have a major way to go but it’s already looking a little healthier.
I finally got round to watching this Netflix original film from Christopher Guest. Find out what I thought here
I watched this film to make me feel better during the shitty week that’s been happening around the world. It was a childhood favourite and was guaranteed to make me laugh. It was also a good TBT topic for this week
Once again, I’ve have a Sunday off and I’ve done fuck all. This week has been a bit of a boring one. Work is increasingly frustrating and applying for jobs is back in full, repetitive, swing. Still, I’m remaining hopeful and trying to look into ways that I can prove myself. Bribery, selling my soul to the devil, that kind of thing. I’ve also, finally, come to the conclusion that I am too keen to wilfully spend my money on shit I don’t need so I’ve been trying super hard to not do that. Unfortunately, the shit I don’t need is actually really fun. So it’s been a difficult start. I am, however, a stubborn old mule and will persevere. If I can only get rid of some of my stuff as well I might actually start resembling a functioning adult… or at least someone who could one day turn into one.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
I’ve been slowly getting through this but I’m finding the first few chapters to be incredibly slow. It is childish and easy but it’s still Harry Potter. The only problem with revisiting a story that you know so well is that you know what’s coming and you just want to get to the good bit. All the prelude and explanation wears a bit thin when you already know it. Still, it’s been a while since I’ve read the first one so it’ll be interesting to see what little details I’ve forgotten.
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Not really sure that I should include this on the list as I haven’t really read any of it. However, being unable to read Harry Potter in public because of my embarrassing dependence on other people’s perception of me, I’m carrying it around with me in case the mood should strike me.
- Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories by Ray Russell
This is the Penguin Classics edition of Ray Russell’s Gothic horror stories. We all know that I’m a huge fan of the early days of Gothic literature since my Postgraduate dissertation. However, I tend to avoid more modern examples because it has often been diluted into the type of cringy tales that gave birth to the likes of Twilight. Ray Russell is considered to be a pioneer of the modern horror genre so it seemed like it was time to give him a go. Besides, I’ve seen this book all over Instagram in the last month because it’s so Halloweeny. Hopefully, there’s something worthwhile in here.
As I’ve already mentioned I’m slowly increasing my collection of these editions. I felt that I was sadly lacking in the Orange so bought a couple to even things out a bit. The new ones are The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft and The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. I love Wells and really didn’t need another copy of Doctor Moreau but it’s part of the set. I honestly don’t think that I’ve read any Lovecraft so I felt that it was time to give it a go. As I’ve already discussed, I’m a fan of the macabre so this collection of tales should be the perfect it. Besides, what kind of literary being am I without having read Lovecraft. It’s a must.
I rewatched this for Halloween and because I needed a topic for my recent TBT review. Find out what I thought here
I’ve been meaning to watch this since it came onto Netflix and this weekend I finally did. I consumed seasons 1 and 2 in about 2 days and it was the greatest decision of my life. I’m desperate for Season 3 to come out.