Another month is done and, as of late on Thursday evening, I’m back to shielding again. At least it means I’m not being forced back to work but it does mean I’m not going to be getting out of the house for a few more weeks. Time really has become meaningless this year. Do you remember back to January? January always feels so slow but that’s nothing compared to the last few months. We’ve only just got to August and it feels both too soon and too late. I’ve barely seen anyone beyond my family since March. I’ve gone nowhere but the doctors in the last few weeks. Yet, I still haven’t achieved anything that I thought I would at the start of lockdown. I’m managing to just about keep my reading pace but I’m not reading more. I’ve got loads of unfinished puzzles to do and I’ve not been using the time to apply for jobs. All I’ve done it watch the same old shows over and over again. Can we just pretend 2020 doesn’t count towards our individual achievements?
I imagine a lot, if not all, of bookish people believe that running a bookshop would be a dream job. For me, Black Books was the thing that convinced me. If I did own my own bookshop I’d want to discourage people from going in and ruining my fun. And by fun, I mean shelves full of books. I’m describing a library. But a library that has the ability to cause my financial ruin. Although I guess every bookshop has the ability to do that. In all seriousness, I think I’d do okay in a bookshop. I’m not as judgmental as I used to be which means fewer eye rolls when people bought certain books or authors. And it’s definitely a leas hands-on job than movies and TV would like us to believe. People going into independent bookshops mostly don’t want to chat. They just want to browse in peace. I could live with that.
Another month and another reading wrap-up. In terms of the number of weeks to books, October was an even better month than September. I managed to finish 6 whole books, which is well beyond what I thought possible. I knew that I would get through 5 but I finished the 6th over two nights. I’ve never been on this great a reading streak before. Which means I’ll probably crash and burn in November. But we can think about that later. For now, I’m still on a post-October high. Let’s dive into this.
I’m not a fan of horror films. I never have been. When I was a child, I used to freak out about everything. My sisters still make fun of me for not being able to watch the part of The Neverending Story with the creepy eyes in the cave. The first time I watched Jurassic Park I couldn’t sleep because of the spitty dinosaur. I’m happy to say that I’m much better now but I still can’t be bothered with most contemporary horror films. They’re just a load of jump scares put together with a super flimsy and silly plot. Either that or torture porn like the Saw movies. It’s just not something I want to spend my time watching. Which means, next week on October 31st, I won’t be enjoying a horror movie fest. I might see if I can find a classic to watch but I’d rather spend the night reading a scary book. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I wanted to list some of my top spooky reads for Halloween.
All being well, I should finally be watching The Joker tonight. I’ve been trying to arrange a time to see it for ages. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to think about it. I try not to take too much notice to criticism before I see a film but it’s been hard to avoid most of it. I know there has been some backlash from female critics and some questions about the motivations of the Joker in it. But there has also been a lot of praise. Plus, I’m already biased against Todd Phillips thanks to his absolutely stupid comments about comedy and “woke culture”. Guy sounds like a dick and I’m assuming that his film is bound to match his outdated ideas. But, I still want to go in with an open mind. After all, the Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I thought I’d explore some of my favourite Joker centric Batman storylines. Quick disclaimer, I’m by no means a Batman comic expert. I’ve not read as much as I’d like to have read but I’ve read enough to get by comfortably.
Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. It is a day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. The World Federation for Mental Health first celebrated the day in 1992 and, since then, thousands of supporters have raised awareness and championed the Federation’s work. Whilst things have improved in recent years, there is still a massive stigma surrounding mental health problems. There are still people who are suspicious of people with illnesses that they can’t see. And it doesn’t help that Baby Boomers are treating mental health problems as yet more evidence that Millenials and Gen X-ers are “snowflakes”. Getting help for how you feel makes you seem weak in their eyes. Yet, there is nothing wrong with admitting to struggling. Talking to someone about your mental health or their mental health could make a huge difference. Just knowing that there is somebody there for you is a huge help. I’m no expert, by any means, so if you want more information check out someone like Mind for more advice. Me? I’m good at books. So, in honour of World Mental Health Day, this week’s Friday Favourites is a list of my top quotes to help you keep going. Can you spot any of your favourites?
Stephen King has written a lot of books. The man is a writing machine. He cracks out so many novels in a year that it’s difficult to imagine him doing anything else. But it is something that has helped him become super popular. I’d say that Stephen King fans are some of the most passionate fans out there. So passionate that they are unwilling to see anything wrong with the man. Recently on Twitter, King made a comment that a critic, Jake Kerridge, had made a comment about the writer’s endings. This annoyed me for several reasons. Number 1, I happen to think Kerridge is right and the endings to King’s recent books have all been wank. Number 2, why is he bitching about a critic anyway? It’s part of the job right. You don’t single out one reviewer and name and shame him if you’re Stephen King. Number 3, his army of fans jumped on the tweet and right up King’s arse. To say the replies were fawning is a major understatement. I was embarrassed for them. I’m the kind of person who gets obsessed about the things I like but, at least, I have enough self-awareness (or maybe shame) to do it privately. So, I was unsurprised to see the huge number of people on GoodReads giving this book 5 stars. If 50 Shades of Gray had been released under King’s name, his fans would have hailed it a masterpiece.
Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale last week was a great reading experience. Obviously not because of the subject matter because it’s horrendous. But because of the writing. There are a lot of things about the novel that feels inhumane and awful. There are also plenty of things about it that feel all too familiar in this day and age. However, one of the most powerful aspects of the novel for the reader in me is the lack of literature in women’s lives. The idea that writing is so impactful that it can corrupt their tiny minds. Books have always been seen as powerful and groups have always sought to have them removed. But, as we all know, everyone should have the right to read what they want. Reading immoral words doesn’t make you immoral. Reading obscene things doesn’t make you an obscene person. People who seek control have to take people’s freedom away wherever they can and books are an easy target. Which is why Banned Books Week is such an important thing. The fact that we set aside time to celebrate the books so many have tried to remove from the world. Keeping the words alive so generations to come can experience them and make judgements on them for themselves. And, for my second Friday Favourites, I’m going to talk about some of my most loved banned or challenged books.
For the past few weeks, I’ve left work telling myself that this was going to be the week that I started my new blog post series. It all started after I listened to the episode of the Empire podcast where they were deciding whether they preferred Batman or Superman. I had decided it would be an easy thing to steal and, because I don’t really like Superman, it wasn’t exactly going to be a huge choice for me to make. Of course, as always, I ended up failing to see it through. However, I really liked the idea of doing another blog post a week and the Friday Favourites thing appeals to my love of alliteration. Thankfully, this week I was super inspired after reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood really is one of the greatest writers around these days. She manages to be a beautiful writer of literary fiction whilst being so down-to-earth. Her novels are incredibly readable even with her breathtaking use of language. I highlighted so many quotations during my re-read that I knew I had to do a post about them. And it was one that could have gone on forever. I might as well have just typed the whole thing out. But, instead, I narrowed it down to 18. And I refused to include the oft-quoted “nolite te bastardes carborundorum” because it seemed like such an obvious choice. Not that the rest of them are particularly original mind you. So, do your favourite quotes appear on this list? Have I missed any? Let me know.
I’m going to be honest, my reading this week has been appalling. Supper Club was slow going so I bought another book that I hoped I’d get through in no time. Then I stopped sleeping properly and stopped getting anywhere. So, it’s Wednesday and I don’t have a new book to review. I’d also planned on writing a review of one of my favourite books but I’m so tired. I’ve just not had the energy to do anything tonight. Well, except for giving my blog a quick makeover. I’m not sure what I think about this theme but I am loving my new Motherbooker logo. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for ages and I finally got to the point where I just had to stop thinking and do it. It’s simple but I like it. The problem is, it doesn’t help me decide what I’m going to post tonight. So, I saw this book tag on Naty’s Bookshelf recently and, as I have no other plan, this seems like a good choice. Although, I have an abysmal memory. I’ve genuinely forgotten most of my childhood. The more my family talks about the past, the more I think I was actually adopted or something.