The fourth book in Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series was published 4 years after Girls Out Late. I’m assuming this is the reason that I never knew it existed. After all, it was only 2002 so I would have been 14. Surely that would have been the perfect age to be picking up this book. I would finally have been the same age as Ellie and her friends. But, for whatever reason, I have only just finished reading this book for the first time. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was definitely hoping for something more inspiring than the previous novel. But, as we found on Monday, that wouldn’t take an awful lot.
I had such high hopes for this weekend and had plans to get shit done. Instead, I ended up getting caught up in the Tories Coronavirus updates and I lost the urge to do anything. This whole situation is terrible but when you’re being told what to do by an inadequate and greedy government, it’s hard not to worry about it a bit. Now that people are being encouraged to go back to work it’s only a matter of time before I’m expected to go in. I’m hoping it won’t be for a while though. Officially, I’m supposed to still be in quarantine for 6 weeks or so. But, with everything so vague, I guess we can’t be sure of anything right now. And I shouldn’t really worry about myself. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home. It’s the people being forced to go back this week that I feel bad for. Hopefully, the Tories won’t be risking so many more innocent lives. Enough of this. Let’s talk about the thing we’re all here for: books.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m currently on book 3 of Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series. Unfortunately, that is a little bit longer than the rest and I’m quite busy with work stuff at the moment. So, I’m not actually getting as much reading done. I’d been finishing the other books in two nights but this is proving a bit trickier. Still, I’ll get there. I’d actually finished Girls Under Pressure at the weekend but I couldn’t post my review until today. Not that I mind. I loved being one of the stop’s on the Inside the Sun Virtual Book Tour. Although, the time between finishing the book and writing this might explain why it’s proving a bit difficult. Of course, it might also be the fact that this book means a lot to me. It’s something I’ve already addressed here on the blog and it does make me rather biased.
Yep, another review and another Jacqueline Wilson book. If you’ve been paying attention to my Sunday Rundowns lately, you’ll remember that I recently bought this series of books after I discovered that there was a mystery fourth book. Okay, not a mystery book but a book that I hadn’t read. I also found out that the books had been republished with some absolutely beautiful covers. Of course, these two bits of news meant that I had to buy them all. I started reading the first in the series as soon as I’d finished The Lottie Project because I wanted to keep the nostalgic vibe going. I’ve already talked about one of the books in this series for my 30 Books For My 30th series because they genuinely meant a lot to me. They almost perfectly captured what I felt as a teenager. I was awkward, chubby, and a bit quiet. I’d never identified with a fictional character as much as that before. Okay, when I was little I thought I was Alice from Alice in Wonderland but that was only because my middle name is Alice. It’s not the same. So, I was a bit worried about revisiting these books. What if they didn’t live up? What if they were actually shit and I was just an idiot for loving them? I had to find out.
I’m struggling to get in the reading mood at the moment. I don’t know whether it’s being in the house all day or if it’s just the stress of the current situation. Whatever it is, I’m back in the old routine of getting in from work and just binge watching Netflix or something. I think that’s why I’ve been so drawn to the books of my childhood. It’s the idea of reading something familiar and comforting. Plus, knowing that it’s going to be an easy read is certainly useful. Of course, it could also be evidence that I’m slowly regressing back to my childhood. I may still be working full-time but I’m pretty reliant on my parents these days. It sometimes feels as though I’m going back in time. Maybe I should be worried about returning to the books I enjoyed as a kid? Regardless, after reading The Worst Witch last week, I decided to start reading two Jacqueline Wison books I used to love. The first combined my love of history with my love of reading. I was obsessed with this book.
Every now and then I get a sudden urge to go back and read one of the books of my childhood. There was a time when I used to read the Sophie books by Dick King-Smith to cheer myself up. If couldn’t sleep for any reason then I’d just whip one off the shelf. It’s that great mixture of an easy read, lovely story, and a huge wave of nostalgia that really makes it worth doing. Which is why I put off the many books on my TBR list so I could read this book this week. I don’t know why but I suddenly had a huge desire to go back to this one. I loved The Worst Witch when I was younger and I remember reading or listening to them all. I also loved the TV show.
When I first opened Disney+ this week, I didn’t automatically go straight to the original content. I didn’t catch up on The Mandalorian so I could get some context for Baby Yoda. Nope. I started rewatching old episodes of The Simpsons. The animated show that has been going for over 30 years has plenty of great episodes and having them all in one place is too good an opportunity to miss. I know that it gets a lot of bad press these days and it can’t be denied that quality has gone downhill. But it’s not as if it isn’t watchable. There’ll always be something nice and familiar about it. To celebrate and justify my week of watching 90s episodes of a cartoon, I decided to discuss some of my favourite episodes. There are so many of them at this point that it was pretty difficult. This is by no means an exhaustive list because who can remember everything that’s happened in the past 30 odd years? But there are some genuine gems here.
To accompany my review of the latest Pixar film earlier this week, I was going to watch Coco. That would have meant buying a copy or renting it on Amazon. As I’m about to get a Disney+ subscription later this month, I decided that it was stupid to spend more money on it. So, I decided to go with something about fantasy creatures instead. I’d never seen Trolls but I bloody love that Justin Timberlake song. It’s the kind of irritating pop song that you know you shouldn’t like but you can’t help it. I just get swept away in it’s happy and upbeat melody. Plus, I do have a general love of Justin Timberlake. And I might like Anna Kendrick but I can’t really tell. She’s one of those irritatingly perfect human beings that I kind of love but am also incredibly jealous of. She’s kind of perfect and just reminds me of how imperfect I am.
What happens when you take a book written by Ian Fleming, add a script co-written by Roald Dahl, and finish it off with Dick van Dyke? One of the greatest children’s films of all time that’s what. The film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is an absolute classic that everyone will remember from their youth. The very concept is an exciting one. A flying car will always be an exciting creation but add the ghoulish child catcher into the mix and you have a great story. I do enjoy the film but I’ve never read the book before. I can’t say I’m the biggest Ian Fleming fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bond films but I’ve never got on with the books. I’ve got a bit of a fascination with them but it’s hard to forget how inherently sexist and troubling they are. Still, I was sure that his children’s book wouldn’t suffer from quite the same issues as his spy novels.
I didn’t read anything about the latest Star Wars film before I went to see it. I knew that whatever happened the majority of fans would hate it. Those hard-core fans who haven’t even tried to accept the new films in their life. The people who think they are bigger fans because their parents had sex at a time that enabled them to see them in the cinema. The people who so often complain that Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams shat all over their childhood with their last films. Man babies essentially. It’s not for me to say who is a bigger fan of the franchise but, it seems to me, if you loved the films as much as you say you do then nothing will ruin them for you. I was so confused by the criticism of The Last Jedi. I’m not saying it’s the best of the bunch but it was a really interesting film. The fact that it essentially said Jedi lore didn’t matter was a game-changer. But not everybody did. There was a lot of vitriol surrounding the release of Rian Johnson’s film. It definitely didn’t show Star Wars fans in a good light. So, you can imagine that Disney would have wanted to take steps to ensure that the last film in the saga got a better reception. But, as you’d expect, the reaction has been similarly cold. You see guys, this is why we can’t have nice things. But, and I’m going to get this out of the way now, I came out of the film having really enjoyed it. I know it was far from perfect and I had issues but, the important thing is, I had a good time. And I’ll happily tell you why.