30 Books For My 30th – Number 21

30 Books For My 30th – Number 21

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img_4561Dear Fantastic Mr Fox,

I realise as a book lover that I should probably have been more drawn to Matilda when I was younger. I should probably have seen myself somewhere in the tale of a girl who loves books and teaching people a lesson. They’re kind of my favourite things to do. And I did love her. I mean she’s basically the poster child for the eternally bookish and the book is the same age as I am. Still, when I was younger, it was you, Fantastic Mr Fox, that captivated me so much as a child. And who wouldn’t love this epic story of good triumphing over evil… especially when that good is a really cunning fox?

As a child I was part of pretty tight-knit group of friends. It comprised of myself, my twin sister, and out best friend at the time. We spent nearly all of time together. We loved the same things. And one of those things was you. One of my most vivid memories from childhood is being driven somewhere by our friend’s mum and begging her to let us listen to the cassette tape of you audio book. We must have worn that tape out considering the amount we listened to it. I’m pretty sure we would speak along with it and everything. We must have driven her mother insane. But we loved it.

There is no writer who can quite match up to Roald Dahl for being able to give a child what they want from a book. He never crosses the line with his darkness but he isn’t afraid to scare kids a bit. Boggis and Bunce and Bean are grotesque characters. They are genuinely disgusting and vicious and that’s really refreshing for a child. As a young reader, you aren’t really used to characters who are so realistically evil. You are used to fairy tale villains who are obviously just fictional. You know, evil queens who kill people who are more beautiful than they are. Or evil stepmothers who hate their beautiful stepdaughters. Basically we’re used to villains who are obsessed with looks and nothing else.

But you were different. You presented us with an image that was understandable in the real world. A group of farmers that wanted to kill a wild animal. And, let’s be honest, they were justified. I love Mr Fox, don’t get me wrong, but he did keep eating their livestock. I always wanted him to succeed but I could totally get why they were a bit miffed. This isn’t normal for children’s literature. You don’t get evil people who it is, on some deep deep level, okay to sympathise with… just a little bit. I worry I’m coming across as the kind of person who wants to see people kill foxes. I’m not. I love them. Mostly because of you; partly because of The Animals of Farthing Wood. Love them. Still, I’d be annoyed if one kept eating my chickens just to piss me off.

You are as clever and well-written as any other Roald Dahl book but there was obviously something so wonderful about you that we all kept coming back to. The cynical and realistic part of me wants to say it was because we all just bloody loved animals. It’s true. Part of the reason I love Aladdin so much is because Jasmine has a fucking tiger. I’ve wanted to be her all my life. But, I also like to think, in my nostalgic and dreamy way, that we knew then that you were special. That we knew you were a simple story told in a truly Dahl-esque style. That you were funny and scary at the same time. That you were rich in detail despite being so short. That you showed us that it’s important to stick up for yourselves. That it’s so easy to be underestimated and you can use that to your advantage. That you were more than just the tale of a fox being able to outsmart a group of farmers.

But probably not. We probably just loved that you were about a fox and that you got your tail shot off. Oh, and that rhyme is bloody memorable.
To Mr Fox! Long may he live!
Laura

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12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

So Christmas is officially on 12 days away. I think I’ve got/bought most of my presents but I still need a few bits. I’m not nearly as concerned as I should be though. I’ll just find something online and hope for the best as always. But the 12 days thing has got me thinking about something that bugs me. It might just be me but I get incredibly irritated when people use the phrase 12 days of Christmas incorrectly. I see so many online sales pre-December 25th called the 12 days of Christmas and it makes me crazy. We all know the 12 days of Christmas starts on the day itself and goes on until 5th January. Stop misappropriating it. Advent is advent. We don’t need another thing that’s only half the length. If it’s just because you like the song then we’ll write a fucking advent song for you. Now, you may be sitting there think “why don’t you just chill out with a mulled wine?” Well, I’d love to but I can’t help it. It’s just not right. Plus, it would mean I didn’t have a convenient link into today’s bookish post. I don’t have anything to review or rant about (other than the my mini rant above) so I’m doing another tag. As it’s that time of year, I’ll do the 12 Days of Christmas tag… even though it’s before December 25th.

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree  : The Partridge Stood Alone In The Pear Tree? What is Your Favourite Stand Alone of 2017?
I primarily read stand alone novels these days so, if I’m correct, all of the books I read this year have been stand alones. So picking my favourite of the year will be tough. I guess it is either Lincoln in the Bardo or And Then There Were None. As the Agatha Christie was a reread, I’ll give it to George Saunders’ Man Booker Prize winning novel.
On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves : Love Is In The Air, Who Is You OTP?
I don’t really do the OPT and ‘shipping’ thing. I don’t pair characters with other characters but I do pair myself with fictional people all the time. So, in terms of my bookish OTP it has to be Jaime and Brienne from ASOIAF as usual. Yes, I love the idea of Tormund and Brienne having loads of ginger babies but she’s meant to be with Jaime.
On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens :  In The Spirit Of Threes, What Is The Best Trilogy Your Have Read?
As I already mentioned, I don’t tend to pick up series or trilogies these days. So, as unoriginal as it may be, I’ll have to say The Lord of the Rings. It’s a fucking classic though and I’ve loved it since I first read it. It took me ages to finish it but I regret nothing.
On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds : Since Series Usually Consist of Four or More Books What Is Your Favorite Series?
Urgh, why is everyone forcing fucking series on me? I love a stand alone. What’s wrong with that? Erm but, to go with the spirit of this tag, I guess it has to be ASOIAF. I think George RR Martin is a great (if sometimes inconsistent writer) who has created something wonderful. God knows how he’s ever going to end it but I’m here for the ride.
On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings : One Ring To Rule Them All! Who is Your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?
I love a good villain. I’m always interested in a book that takes things from the perspective of someone who is, in most senses, the bad guy. Like Lolita for example. Nabokov manages to present someone who is so heinous seem like a nice guy. Although, if I’m honest, my favourite villain is probably someone more like Sauron. I guess I just like my bad guys to be cartoonishly bad.
On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying : Creation Is A Beautiful Thing! What is Your Favorite World/World-Building?
It’s a definite toss up between Tolkien and George RR. Both of these writers are great at creating rich and full worlds for their stories. I love diving into them.
On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming: Who Needs Seven Swans When All It Takes Is One Good Animal Sidekick To Make A Hero Rock! Who Is Your Favorite Animal Sidekick?
I don’t know really. Maybe Hedwig? I honestly can’t think of the many characters with an animal sidekick right now. Either my memory is going or I’m not reading the right books. No wait… Fawkes. I love that little guy. 
On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking: Milk Is So 18th Century! Which Book or Series Takes Beverages/Food To A Whole New Level?
This is a really odd question and I don’t think I have an answer. I guess the closest thing I can think of is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Who didn’t read that book as a kid and wish the Wonka factory was real? I guess it helps that I’ve just been flipping through Revolting Recipes as well.
On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing : Dancing is Just One Skill of a Lady! Who is Your Favorite Kickass Female Lead?
Brienne of Tarth… although she’s not really a lead per se. Well, she is a chapter POV character so it counts, right? I don’t care anyway. I fucking love her.
On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping: Leaping Lords? How About Who Is Your Favorite Leading Lad?
Does lad mean young boy or is it just a random synonym someone’s chucked in? I’m all for alliteration but I feel like a different word would have been better. I don’t know though because, despite being a raging feminist, I tend to read more novels with male protagonists. I guess, as it’s one of my favourite novels, I think Rob from High Fidelity is pretty cool. I mean he’s a bit of a dick but that’s even more reason to love him. I like my men to be flawed and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music.
On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping: Where Would We Be Without Music? What Is Your Favorite Book or Bookish Thing That Deals With Music? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)
Can I just say Haruki Murakami? I mean the guy used to own a jazz bar and bloody loves jazz. Music is such a huge part of all of his novels that you can’t really ignore it. Take Norwegian Wood, one of my favourites; music is just a central theme to the novel. I love how he weaves everything together in the narrative.
On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming: Drum Roll Please…………………….What Is Your Favorite Read of This Year?
I’ll have to take some time to think about this… meaning check back here soon where I’ll write a separate blog post on this very topic. Mostly because I want an idea for upcoming posts but partly because I need to remind myself of what I read this year.
Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Characters I’d Invite to my Birthday

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Characters I’d Invite to my Birthday

Just like Ronald Bilius Weasley, I am a March baby. Yes, just as Ron is celebrating his 37th year of his life on this very day, I will be celebrating turning 29 on March 5th. As a younger twin, I’m used to not really giving much of a shit about my birthday. I mean when you’ve spent 29 years sharing congratulations, parties and cakes, you start to feel that the whole thing isn’t really that special. Still, I feel it’s best to honour it in some way so for my monthly top 10 I decided to do a rundown of the fictional characters I’d most like to attend my birthday shindig. Not that it would be a wild affair. Don’t get me wrong, I like to party… but by party, I mean read books.

 Ten: Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

I know that if Gatsby did show up to my party that he’d end up hiding away and being all mysterious. However, I am willing to overlook that if I can get him to help me organise my bash. Of course, I accept that the whole event would then become a horrible metaphor for excess and superficiality but, hey. we all know there ain’t no party like a Gatsby party. He’s thrown quite a few Jazz Age ragers in his time so it would undoubtedly be a party that would go down in history… and I’m okay with that.

Nine: Rob Fleming (High Fidelity)

Rob is becoming another of those characters who constantly pop up on my top 10s. What can I say? I just bloody love this book. However, my reasoning here is for one thing: music selection. I reckon if I gave Rob the challenge to come up with an unforgettable party playlist then it would be the best thing we’d ever heard. It would be balanced and well put together with a mix of great classics, unknown hits, and cheesy pop songs. Ideal.

Eight: Brienne of Tarth (ASOIAF)

Am I just including Brienne on this list as a force of habit? Who can say? Well, I can. Yes, I think I’m just getting used to adding her to every list I possibly can but, also, she’s a bloody great character. I doubt she’d want to come to my party or, indeed, any party she didn’t have to. However, I still believe, wholeheartedly, that Brienne and I would be besties. We wouldn’t be at the heart of the party but we could escape from everyone else and have real talk. Or I could just repeatedly tell her how much of an inspiration she is.

 Seven: Kim Pine (Scott Pilgrim)

Kim is another one of those people who probably wouldn’t appreciate having to come to my party but she is also a character who I’m sure I’d get on with. We’re both super sarcastic, angry, and basically hate everyone. We’d get on like a house on fire and would throw some serious shade at the other guests.

 Six: Gandalf the Grey (The Lord of the Rings)

Yes, Gandalf is super old and kind of angry when he gets riled up. But, I have one word for you: fireworks. Yep, if Gandalf came to your party it may kick start a chain of events that sees you going on the longest and most dangerous journey of your life BUT he’d also treat you to some amazing pyrotechnics.

Five: Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

For one thing, Willy Wonka seems like a guy with a dark sense of humour that I’d really love. For another, he’d definitely have to bring me a present of sweets, right? I mean he might bring enough for the whole gang but as long as I’m getting a box of Wonka Bars then I don’t give a shit. Plus, the Oompa-Loompas could very easily get together and organise a full on song and dance number for me, That’s got to be worth it.

Four: Deadpool 

I think I’d be so bold as to say that Deadpool was my favourite movie of 2016. I say that because I really can’t remember all of the films I watched in 2016. I mean Rogue One came close but Deadpool was the result of a long and arduous wait for the comic book character to get his proper on screen adaptation. Deadpool is insane and, whilst I admit he’s a little unruly, I’d love to see what chaos he brought to the party. Provided (film) Colossus or (comic book) Cable turned up with him to keep him in check we’d be fine.

Three: Hagrid (Harry Potter)

Hagrid is the nicest half-giant you could ever hope to meet and he’s a massive softy. He also seems to love birthdays. He turned up to meet Harry with a home-baked cake and it was just the sweetest thing ever.

Two: Tyrion (ASOIAF)

How can I possibly have a party without including the God of Tits and Wine to the guest list? Tyrion is Westeros’ original badboy. He loves a party and he’d be a great drinking companion. Just as my best friend and I have so many times before, we’d drunkenly talk about books and politics all evening. It’d be messy but, boy, would it be worth it.

One: Oliver Wood (Harry Potter)

I have to invite Oliver Wood. I mean he’s the closest thing I have to a book boyfriend. I’ve loved Oliver Wood since I was a child and, thanks to Sean Biggerstaff, I continue to love him to this day. The decision to make film Oliver a Scot did rather cement the idea that he’s my ideal man. Therefore, Oliver Wood is at my birthday looking all cute and Scottish. I’d listen to him talk about Quidditch plays all evening and never once let him know how bored I was.

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. 
SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

This week saw the return of everyone’s favourite time for violently trying to track down the greatest shopping bargains. Yes, Black Friday has come and gone once again. I still don’t really understand why this American tradition has made it over to the UK but it has. It always gets out of hand and this year in Leeds, where I’m from, a man was actually stabbed whilst trying to stop someone shoplifting. It’s fucking crazy. I’m not one of these people that like to take the day off to try and grab a bargain. Although, I can’t say that I’m immune to the whole thing. As much as I’m annoyed by the constant stream of discount emails I receive in the run up to this weekend I did succumb to a few bargains myself. It’s a great time to get Christmas presents after all. As you may know from previous rundowns I lack a lot of self-control when it comes to spending. I’m trying to get better and I think it’s working. It’s only going to be when I finally stop checking ASOS all day that I know I’m over it, of course. But for now, I’ll embrace my bad habits and wait until the new year to fix myself. It’s nearly Christmas and that is a well-known time for excess.

Currently Reading

  • Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Still not really reading this as much because my other books are much easier to read and I’m in a bit of a lazy literary mood at the moment. As soon as I heard about this book I really wanted to read it but I’m finding it a bit tricky. I’m sure I’ll get there.

  • Not Working by Lisa Owens
Since buying this last week I have been focusing solely on this. It’s a quick and easy read. It’s also interesting to read about someone in a similar position to me.


Recently Purchased
  • Assorted books by Michael Chabon
I’ve had Telegraph Avenue sitting in the “save it for later” section of my Amazon cart for what feels like years. So, after seeing a review of the book on Instagram recently, I decided it was a time to really get to grips with Michael Chabon. So I bought a whole host of his books. It may have got a little out of hand and I’m not going to get round to reading any of thee for years anyway. The titles I added to my collection of unread novels are: Telegraph Avenue; The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man; Wonder Boys; The Yiddish Policemen’s Union; and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. They all sound fantastic in their own way and I’m excited to read them. 

Recently Watched
  • Gilmore Girls
So the new episodes of Gilmore Girls finally arrived on Netflix on Friday and I watched them as soon as I got home from work. I finished them in no time and am still not recovering from it. I have plans to further discuss this in the week. Although, I will say, it was all too brief and I really wish Melissa McCarthy hadn’t been so fucking busy. It’s not the same without Sookie.
  • The BFG (2016 and 1989)
To honour the release of Steven Spielberg’s The BFG this week I reviewed both the new film and the animated film from the 80s. They’re very different films but lovely in their own ways.
TBT – The BFG (1989)

TBT – The BFG (1989)

When it came to the adaptations of his books Roald Dahl was a tough critic. He was incredibly stubborn about giving the rights in the first place and, when he did give his permission, it was nearly impossible to create something that he felt was a faithful  It’s a well known fact that he turned his back on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He wasn’t happy that the focus was on Willy Wonka instead of Charlie and he was against the casting of Gene Wilder. It wasn’t the film that he wanted to make and the alternative script wasn’t what he wanted. However, it wasn’t completely impossible to get Dahl onside and after he saw the 1989 animated version of The BFG Roald Dahl actually stood up and applauded. If I’m honest, I find it doubtful that Dahl would have been completely happy with Steven Spielberg’s 2016 adaptation of the book despite the fact that it’s a genuinely good film. So how does its predecessor actually stand up to Disney’s CGI filled version?

Rewatching the animated retelling of The BFG nearly 30 years after it’s release will bring back a lot of memories for people who grew up with it. It also reminds us just how far film technology has come. The animation itself, whilst good, is dated and pretty embarrassingly 80s in places. Not that it’s actually bad; considering it was produced by the now defunct Cosgrove Hall films, a British animation studio who were responsible for creating some of the biggest children’s television shows on British TV. It’s just that the style is very nostalgic in this digital age. It’s all very sparkly, hazy and just a little bit trippy. The sequences in which Sophie and the BFG move between the human world, Giant country and Dream country are much more dreamlike than Spielberg’s interpretation and are decidedly psychedelic. They actually make for some magnificent visual sequences and really help to play up the magical elements of the story.

A story that remains pretty faithful the original book’s narrative. I mean not everything makes it into the final film but it essentially the same story you’ll remember from childhood. When Sophie wakes in the middle of the night and sees a mysterious, giant figure walking through the streets she quickly finds herself kidnapped and staying in Giant Country. Thankfully, the giant that took her is a friendly one who doesn’t feast on the flesh of children. He leaves that to his fellow giants who are both taller and scarier than the BFG. Instead he feast on horrible snozzcumbers and harvest dreams to give to sleeping children. Together, the BFG and his new friend come up with a plan to save humanity by rounding up the man-eating beasts.

The one aspect of this adaptation that really makes it stand out against it successor is the fact that it happily embraces the darkness that is inherent in Dahl’s original tales. Even the design of the BFG is scarier than we were all used to. The 2016 film takes more of a note from Quentin Blake’s famous illustrations whilst the animated film created a more menacing figure. Until we learn the truth about his nature, the BFG could pose a real threat. Of course, as soon as we see him next to his fellow giants the figure becomes positively heartwarming. After all, this film doesn’t shy away from showing the terrible aspects of the existence of giants. It doesn’t hide away the idea of children being eaten and the bones being left behind for their parents to find. The giants in Spielberg’s films were just mean bullies but these ones are monsters.

Which only makes the BFG seem all the nicer. Something that is helped immeasurably by having the character voiced by the great David Jason. At this point Jason was a staple of animated children’s TV shows and he certainly brought a charm to Dahl’s giant. Whilst I’d happily say that Mark Rylance really nailed the BFG’s distinct language, Jason does bring his weird way with words to life. He even managed to pull off the handful of slightly dodgy songs that have been added to the tale. David Jason brings the perfect blend of menacing and joy to the character, which makes it easy to see why Sophie loves him so much.

The first adaptation of The BFG may well seem retro and slow paced when compared to it’s modern competition but that doesn’t mean it should be lost to history. The animation may not offer as much humanity as the motion captured Rylance but that doesn’t mean it lacks heart. It is a great interpretation of Dahl’s tale and, in some scenes, offers material that Spielberg left out of his film. I, for one, was upset that the latest film didn’t include the scene in which Sophie and the BFG discuss the tastes of people from different nations. Yes, it might not be as accomplished, grand, or exciting as the new film but there is no doubting that this should be a well-loved classic.

Tuesday’s Reviews: The BFG (2016)

Tuesday’s Reviews: The BFG (2016)

Conditions aren’t exactly ideal for writing at the moment. My back is aching again and I just can’t get comfortable. I’ve changed position about a million times whilst getting to this point in the sentence. My computer is irritating me and annoying noises every few seconds. And it’s nearly 11 o’clock and I’m feeling a bit under pressure to finish. Still, we all know by now that I like a challenge. I can and will write something before midnight. Now that we’re done with exposition, you may remember that a few months ago I reread The BFG before I watched the film. I managed to read it before Spielberg’s film came out but never actually came through on the second part of the plan. This Summer ended up being a bit of a blur that revolved around work and my sister’s wedding. So the film came and went without me realising. However, it was finally released on Monday so I decided it was time I finally sat down and got on with it.

There’s a certain whimsical charm that comes with any Roald Dhal story that has proven to be difficult to capture on screen. Whether it’s an English thing that Hollywood always fails to understand or if it’s a magic that can only come out in words, I don’t know. However, the films that have come out of Dahl’s works so far have been good but never seemed to be able to translate the whole story. Although, every trailer for Steven Spielberg’s The BFG seemed to suggest that, finally, someone had got it right. Spielberg hasn’t really made a successful kids film for a good few years and has never been able to recapture the greatness that made ET such a firm classic.

Still, what better film to recreate that magic than The BFG? A story that picks us up from the grime of London and puts us right into the heart of Giant Country. We accompany the BFG to his home after he kidnaps a young girl from a orphanage. It’s not as dark as it seems, of course, because the giant is only taking her in case she blabs about the existence of his kind. Thankfully, Sophie’s captor is a Big Friendly Giant who, unlike the other residents of Giant Country, has made a vow to never eat a “human bean”. Instead, he captures and mixes dreams to put into the minds of sleeping families with the help of his special dream trumpet. Unfortunately, the BFG if lonely and must contend with the constant bullying of the much larger and more violent giants. They are merciless in their treatment of the BFG that Sophie decides that it is time to put a stop to it. In order to get their plan to work, the pair must ask for the help of the Queen of England… naturally.

The BFG is a simple tale that, for the purposes of this film, has been augmented with extra action sequences, special set pieces, and additional backstory to ensure it fits a the run time for a feature film. Whilst non of these moments feel particularly necessary, they hardly take anything away. There are a few times when you might wish scenes were shorter but, all in all, the film flows nicely towards its epic final act set inside Buckingham Palace. It is these scenes that provide a lot of the really memorable moments. The breakfast scene is such a visual and comedic treat that you’ll be whizzpopping with sheer joy.

It helps that the casting is so perfect. Mark Rylance plays the titular dream-catching giant and does so wonderfully. Rylance embraces the language of the BFG and manages to relay the many misheard words and mixed up phrases in a poetic way. His motion-capture performance will have even those with the hardest hearts smiling though sheer joy. It also ensures that Spielberg proves, that after the uninspiring Adventures of Tin-Tin, he can work with CGI and not really fuck it up. There is as much human emotion and presence on that screen as if Rylance had been there in person. It really is delightful and ensures that, even in the slower sections, the audience will stick with the character.

Alongside the BFG is his little friend, Sophie, who is played beautifully by 12 year old Ruby Barnhill. In both looks and screen presence, Ruby reminds me of Mara Wilson when she brought Matilda to life in Danny DeVito’s adaptation. Sophie is an emotionally vulnerable and lonely child but is full of confidence and big ideas. Barnhill and Rylance come together in the film’s quieter moments to create an emotional centre that shows action and noise aren’t the only things needed to keep a children’s film moving. Their conversations are so funny and enjoyable to watch that it’s almost a shame when we need to move onto the big set piece at the end of the film.

The BFG won’t be the kind of film that everyone will love. It moves at it’s own pace and will indulge itself in the conversations between the orphan child and her new friend instead of wowing its audience with special effects and action. It is a film that is unashamedly nice, which many may think is a mistake. Yes, it is twee and it does push the ideas of magic and fun to the forefront in an incredibly unsubtle way. But so what? Watching this film made me feel fantastic. It was a lovely experience and the kind you can only get from something so pure-hearted and well-meaning. It takes a lovely story of an unlikely friendship and makes it something so real and believable. Anyone who could have watched this film and not forgiven it’s few sins is someone that is beyond hope. After all, as Dahl himself said, “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” and, unfortunately for them, there is magic flowing out of The BFG.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

I feel like I’m never going to get over this cold. I’m getting sick of feeling sorry for myself and being so melodramatic all the time. However, I swear that my head has been full of concrete for the past few days. It’s the kind of cold that kids me into thinking I’m okay when I first wake up but comes back with a vengeance as the day goes on. It doesn’t help that the kitchen has been fucking boiling lately. I honestly dream of getting a job that doesn’t require me to work in a similar environment to Satan himself. How long until the comforting chill of Winter? Seriously, I need to get my knitwear out. This sun is doing nothing for me anymore.

Just Finished
  • End of Watch by Stephen King

Finally finished this book this morning and I feel free! I realise that this isn’t the worst novel that Stephen King has written or will ever write. However, I think the massive change of direction in the final piece of the trilogy is just unnecessary. If we’d had paranormal elements through the previous books it would be fine but to suddenly change from crime thrillers to this was just odd.

Recently Purchased

  • The Night Manager by John LeCarre
Despite it boasting Tom Hiddleston in various states of undress, I never watched the BBC’s adaptation of John LeCarre’s The Night Manager. I’ve actually not read any of his books but, as he’s one of my father’s favourite writers, have always felt that I should. So, when Waterstones released an image of their beautiful special edition of this book I couldn’t stop myself. You’ll no doubt see it on my Instagram as soon as it arrives because it is a thing of beauty. I don’t even care if I read it or not.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Penguin Modern Classics Edition)
Back in 2014, Penguin released this Modern Classics version of Dahl’s famous children’s book and there was much controversy around it. The cover photo showed a young girl in heavy make-up that many people declared was too sexual and creepy. Yes, the picture is creepy but I never understood the massive outcry surrounding it. I think. as Penguin stated, the cover highlights the darkness and creepiness that is always bubbling under the surface of Dahl’s novels. I loved the cover and vowed to get my hands on it asap. When it got to the release, I wasn’t quite as passionate and it’s taken until now to finally come good on my promise. 
  • Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Sci-fi isn’t really a genre that I tend to read too much of despite how much I love films and TV shows in that area. I tend to find that the bad ones are so bad that it puts me off. However, I was so intrigued by the sounds of this Arthur C Clarke Award winner that I tried desperately to track it down in my local bookshops. As I mentioned in this week’s top 10 list, it turns out this was a much more difficult task than I’d anticipated so I turned to Amazon to help me out. Hopefully this can open me up to a world of books that I generally avoid. 

Recently Watched
  • Suicide Squad
Didn’t think I’d ever watch this film. I did. And I reviewed it on Tuesday.
  • See No Evil, Hear No Evil
When it came to my TBT this week I decided that I wanted to honour Gene Wilder by watching one of his comedies. Unfortunately, as I’m still feeling ill and exhausted, I lacked the will-power to track down a copy of one of the good ones. Maybe I’ll try a better one this week?
SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

It’s just under a week until my older sister gets married so my whole life seems consumed with wedding fever at the moment. I’ve helped make centre pieces and decorations. I’m trying to keep my parents stress free whilst constantly worrying that my dress won’t fit and having nervous breakdowns about the sheer volume of photos I’ll be required to appear in. I’m sure it’ll be a lovely day but I’m taking the week off so I can spend the coming few days hiding from every potential source of stress. I’ve already spent most of today in bed and getting further into my current read. I’d say that the amount of time I’ve spent napping is nothing more than disgusting but I’m off work for a week. I deserve this.   
Just Finished
  • The BFG by Roald Dhal
I have to admit that it was lovely going back to this classic of my childhood and I’m not super pumped to watch the film. Roald Dhal will always be the king of weird childhood 

Currently Reading
  • Finder Keepers by Stephen King

It was just over a year ago that my review of the first novel in King’s Bill Hodges trilogy came out. Anyone who read it at the time will remember that I wasn’t exactly enamoured by the writer’s attempt at writing a crime thriller. However, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I bought the second and then third book. They’ve been sat on my shelves for a good while now and I decided it was finally time to get going with them. I have a chequered history with Mr King but I always find myself going back. I know the chances of my liking his new books are slim so only have myself to blame when it all goes tits up. Still, I’m in the mood for an easy reading piece of trash and I’m pretty sure that Finders Keepers will at least provide that.

Recently Purchased

  • Jurassic Park and Congo by Michael Crichton
Bought this because I found a gorgeous edition on Amazon. Of course, because life fucking sucks I got sent a different edition but I got a bonus book included in the volume. It’s not the copy I wanted but I’m still interested to read the book. As a lover of the film, it’s something I feel I should do. After all, the novel Jaws was based on was fucking eye opening.
  • The Lost World by Michael Crichton
An edition that matches the first book so, when I was shopping, I just had to add it to my basket. I mean what kind of bookish person would I be if I didn’t try and complete the set. Thankfully the right copy came this time so I will, no doubt, be proudly showing it off on Instagram soon enough. 
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I’ve never read Moby Dick so, when I found a lovely second hand Vintage books copy, I decided it was time to give it a go. Of course, it’ll probably be sat on my shelf until I summon up enough courage to open it but at least I now have a copy. It’s a step forward. 
  • Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
I bought a hardback copy of this book back in March but was too intimidated by the size to start reading it. I always get sucked in by hardbacks but then find that they just feel too big. So I bought a cheap paperback in the hope that it would be easier reading it. We’ll see. 


Recently Watched

  • Stranger Things
I spent one of my days off last week watching this Netflix series and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. This is TV as it should be. The 80s soundtrack, the homages to other pop culture and the creepy storyline are just amazing. As it’s now impossible for my to watch a new series/film and not fall madly in love with one of the characters, I’m kind of obsessed with Hopper. I adore his gruff yet caring nature. I seriously can’t wait for the next season. The series was fantastic. 
  • Jessica Jones
After finishing Stranger Things I decided it was finally time to get around to the other Netflix shows that I’ve been putting off watching. As Daredevil has two seasons by now, I decided Jessica Jones was the place to start. I finished it in no time and I dearly wish I’d watched it sooner. It was amazing. Any worries I had thanks to my short time watching Agents of Shield were quickly swept away in the amazing performances and great storylines. Krysten Ritter wasn’t necessarily my first choice in the lead role but she nailed it. So did Mike Colter (my new love for the series) as Luke Cage. Has me really excited for the Luke Cage series starting soon. But the standout had to be David Tennant who was phenomenal as Killgrave. I don’t know how Jessica could resist that face. I don’t care how evil he was. 
SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

This week feels like a victory because not only have I finished 1 book but I finished a second only a day after finishing the first one. Of course, since then I’ve done barely any reading but we can gloss over that. It hasn’t helped that all of my shifts got changed this week and I’ve had over a week of 7am starts. It’s really fucking with my sleep patterns and I’m finding myself going to bed at Grandma standard times. I can’t even make it through a whole chapter of a fucking children’s book before my eyes start to droop. Is it too much to ask that I find a job will more sociable hours? Oh, and one that won’t continually scar me and fuck up my nails and skin. As you can tell, I’m so tired that I’m in an extra ranty mood. I’ve been a joy to work with.
Just Finished
  • The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
It’s a fucking miracle. I’ve finally finished this book. Looking back on my previous rundowns then it will feel like I was doing this forever. However, it’s done now and I’ll try and write a proper review on Tuesday. It was supposed to go up last Tuesday but I accidentally started and finished another book before I started writing it. 

  • The Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
Bought this on a whim despite telling myself that I didn’t want to read it. Anyone who wants to read my full thoughts on this then feel free to read my review from Tuesday. Suffice it to say that I have a lot of feelings that I needed to work out. However, we all know that JK Rowling and I have a history. 

Currently Reading
  • The BFG by Roald Dhal

As I mentioned on Thursday, I am desperate to see Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG. In preparation for the film I decided it was time to reread the novel. So I bough a cheap eBook and started it as soon as I finished The Cursed Child. It’s proving to be a lovely trip down memory land and it’s pretty easy to read. I’d hoped to have it finished by now but, having only worked on the early shift this week, I end up falling asleep before I can read at the moment.

Recently Purchased

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Found a beautiful edition of this book in a charity shop and fell in love with it. I haven’t read a great deal of Bradbury but have enjoyed everything I have. So I guess I was just waiting for the right novel to land in my lap to really start my exploration. No doubt you’ll see it on my Instagram some time soon.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I couldn’t resist this absolutely beautiful copy of Neverwhere. It’s the new illustrated hardback edition and I love it. Probably won’t read it any time soon as I reread the novel a year or so ago. Still, it’s classic Gaiman and it never hurts to have a few copies just lying around the house. I hope that more of Gaiman’s books get this treatment. There’s nothing better than finding a book soulmate, is there.

Recently Watched
  • OITNB
Finally finished the latest series and I’ve been in tears ever since. Okay, that’s a tad hyprbolic but the final couple of episodes were fucking heartbreaking. Poussey was one of my faves from early on. The flashbacks in the final episode were just perfection. I’m officially hooked on this show. Wish I hadn’t waited so long.