Book Review – Top Ten Greek Legends by Terry Deary

Book Review – Top Ten Greek Legends by Terry Deary

Hand holding teacup, a plate of toast, a bowl of strawberries and the book Top Ten Green Legends by Terry Deary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Do you ever revisit the books of your youth? It’s one of those big dilemmas. Do you reread them to see if they’re as good or do you not take the risk? It’s awful going back to something that you loved and realising that it’s just not that great. That was my quandary with this book. I had thought about it for years but couldn’t find it anywhere. It didn’t help that I’d forgotten the full title and didn’t know who wrote it. There was a point where I genuinely believed that I’d made it up. Although, I also remembered how much I loved this book. I am sure that it was the reason that I love Greek mythology. It must have been my introduction to them. I can’t remember where I bought it but it was probably at the Scholastic book fair. Those places were magical. I miss the rush you’d get at one of those. Nothing in adult life can match it.

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Book Review – Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Book Review – Heartburn by Nora Ephron

wp-15923476140881336085707848777981.jpg 5_star_rating_system_3_stars I had to take a quick break from my current anti-racist reading list to read my book club’s choice for this month. I’d put it off for ages because it was only short but we’re meeting over Zoom on Thursday. That meant I only had a couple of days to get through it. Thankfully, it’s only 170 odd pages and I managed to get in a quick read of Noughts and Crosses over the weekend first. This was the book that I voted for because I really did want to read it. I can’t say that I’m a massive fan of Nora Ephron’s films. I’m not a huge romantic comedy fan. I even disliked When Harry Met Sally and that’s a film that nearly everyone has seemingly agreed to enjoy. I admit, she certainly has a way with words and it’s not necessarily the writing that I dislike. Okay, that’s not true because the story is the writing. But it’s not a matter of quality, it’s just not my thing. I am convinced that she is a great writer and, provided I could find a story that I can get on board with, I was confident I’d enjoy it. So, why not this one? After all, people have been showing off their copies on Instagram for ages now. Although I have to admit, I hate the Virago Modern Classics diamond cover. I love a cover with texture but it doesn’t wow me. I tried so hard to track down the cover I wanted but it would have taken ages thanks to bloody Coronavirus. Of course, without Coronavirus, I wouldn’t have been in the book club anyway.

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Book Review – Ramble Book by Adam Buxton

Book Review – Ramble Book by Adam Buxton

wp-15899260084674539161241120264418.jpg5_star_rating_system_5_stars I’m an avid listener of Adam Buxton’s podcast and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of his new book. He’s been banging on about how hard it’s been to write for ages, so I was worried that we’d have another George RR Martin on our hands. But he did it. The book was finished and it started appearing on book sites. Obviously, I’ve preordered a signed hardback of the book for when it’s released in August but, thankfully, Adam Buxton is a really nice man.  He decided to produce the audiobook version himself so we all had something to listen to in quarantine. I used my Audible credit to preorder the audiobook and waited for its release. It took me a while to get through it because I started it on a bit of a whim. I couldn’t sleep one night and decided the only thing that would calm me down was listening to something. Then I had to finish the other books that I was reading before I carried on. But I got there eventually and, thanks to a bit of desperate listening this week, I finished it in time to review.

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TBT – Team America World Police (2004)

TBT – Team America World Police (2004)

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I like writing. I know that this won’t come as a shock to you considering I’ve been writing reviews that barely anyone reads for nearly 10 years. I also work as a copywriter. It’s not as if I’ve been keeping it a secret but it’s worth saying. I like writing. I pay attention to writing a lot and I often get jealous of good writing. When I rewatched his film for my post this week, I got irrationally annoyed that Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with one of the funniest and stupidest lines I’ve ever heard. Seriously, I spent a lot of time wishing I’d come up with it (I was 16 when it came out and a fucking moron. It would never have happened.) and being sad that it would be impossible to get close to it. The line? When Gary gets in the flying limo and says “Okay, a limosine that can fly. Now I have seen everything.” Then Spottswoode replies with “Really? Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?” Greatest line ever. It gets me every single time. It’s so simple, so obvious, and so fucking funny. I’ll never be able to write anything that strong.

My sisters and I grew up watching Gerry Anderson’s supermarionation tv shows. We were obsessed with Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. So I have a certain love for puppets. Or at least, seeing puppets gives me a great sense of nostalgia. So, I was all in when it was announced that the creative minds behind South Park were making their own film starring puppets. I remember seeing this film with my friends. I was 16 and we’d gone to see it in Leeds. I specifically remember being a dickhead when Kim Jong-il said the line about friends being in movie theatres and gasping. I was a such an idiot. But I really loved this film. And why wouldn’t I? It’s silly, ridiculous, and has an amazing soundtrack. I listen to these songs now. They’re really good.

This is a film that hasn’t aged that badly either. And, let’s be honest, with the current American president, it might be becoming more relavant every day. Upon its release, there were plenty  who praised Team America for its take-down of the liberal elite. The celebrities who lecture people about political issues while they sit in their huge mansions and holding their massive paychecks. And it does. But this is a film that also points out the ridiculousness of the gun toting republicans who think you can shoot your way out of political upset. Even though it doesn’t actually include George W. Bush and co. Within all of the silliness, this film looks into the experience of being an American on the world stage during George W. Bush’s time in the White House. Yes, everyone kind of hates you but you’re still a huge political power. This is the ultimate form of acceptance. Call us whatever you want but you can’t quite do without us.

It has all the trademark depth and intelligence that has become Parker and Stone’s style in the later season’s of South Park. I’m not a huge fan of the earlier sesons but they have turned it into a shewd and important example of social and political analysis. It’s also really funny and not just in the toilet humour sense that it used to favour. They have genuinely funny and clever jokes. Team America is a great mix of childish humour and more thoughful comedy. Take the scenes where real things become part of the scene. The scale of the puppets making a cat into a panther. It’s always going to be funny and it shows the detail of the world they created. As a contrast, the name “Matt Damon” has never been funnier for such a stupid reason.

I was worried that I’d watch this film again and think that I’d outgrown it. I had nothing to worry about. When something is this good and this creative, it will always be enjoyable. The way the pair parody the work of Gerry Anderson by purposefully making everything terrible is great and, though he didn’t approve of the language, Anderson himself thought they did a good job. Do you need any other recommendation than that?

Tuesday Review – Onward (2020)

Tuesday Review – Onward (2020)

onward_poster5_star_rating_system_3_and_a_half_stars Pixar has been responsible for some of the great family films that have ever been released but they have been pretty focused on sequels recently. They haven’t released an original film since 2017’s Coco and that was a massive hit with everyone. So, it’s safe to say that Onward had a lot to live up to. Pixar has never been afraid to experiment with styles and show children the harsh realities of life. Let’s not forget that Inside/Out offered a better analysis of mental health than anyone had before. Unlike Disney, Pixar is always trying to change the game and do something different. Well, they did before they decided to keep going back to the same old characters and do the same old things. Surely Onward was going to be something special. Plus, it stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland fresh off of their Endgame high. At the very least, it was something to take notice of.

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Book Review – The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Book Review – The Monk by Matthew Lewis

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Do you have a favourite book? I know that it’s one of the most difficult questions that you could possibly ask a bookish person. We have shelves crammed full of books, how the hell are we meant to edit that down to just one deserving book? It’s all about context, timing, age, and countless other variables. Although, we all have books that we prefer to the others. It’s like children: we all know our parents have a favourite but they’re just kind enough to not tell us. I’d definitely place The Monk at the top of my favourites list. The rest of the books on there might change as time goes by but this has been there since I first read it. I’ve always been a fan of the Romantic period and, though my studies, I became enamoured with gothic fiction. You may remember that I wrote a beginner’s guide to gothic fiction of the 1790s. I wrote my postgraduate dissertation on it and it was mainly so I could use this book. I love it. I’ve tried to make so many people read it but it’s not for everyone. It’s a bit much but, then again, so am I.

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Tuesday Review – Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Tuesday Review – Jojo Rabbit (2019)

jojo_rabbit_28201929_poster5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Sometimes it sucks living in certain parts of the world. Jojo Rabbit came out in October 2019 in the US. In the UK, we had to wait until the New Year before we could see it. Talk about unfair. By the time I finally saw the film, it felt as though I’d been waiting for years. Of course, when it was released a lot of people in America thought it was tasteless to release a comedy film about Hitler. It’s such a ridiculous notion. There is a strong history of satirising figures like Hitler. Look at the propaganda that came out of World War 2. Look at Charlie Chaplin’s The Dictator. Look at The Producers. We use comedy as a way to belittle and take power away from these people. The ability to see comedy in situations like this is important. For one thing, it helps us learn from them and see these moments in history for what they are. I’m not saying you should go too far or get too offensive. It’s important to be respectful. But, if you can’t find the funny in Taika Waititi wearing bright blue contacts and pretending to be Adolf Hitler, then I don’t know what you’re looking for in a comedy film.

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Book Review – Nomad by Alan Partridge

Book Review – Nomad by Alan Partridge

31188362._sy475_5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Now the Christmas period is over, I’m back to my usual routine. Okay, so I haven’t actually done a 5 day week at work yet but at least I finally know what day of the week it is. As this is a Sunday where I had nothing planned, I spent the day listening to an audiobook. I bought quite a few in the January sale on Audible so I have a fair few to be getting on with. At the moment, I’m focusing on books that I can easily get done in an afternoon. Books that take somewhere between 4 and 7 hours seems like a good time. It means I can get everything else I need to finish and that I’m not focusing on listening for too long. I feel like any more than 7 hours of straight listening would be a bit much for me. I’m far too easily distracted by the things around me. Anything shiny or noisy would do it. This week’s offering was something that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. I’m a bit Alan Partridge fan but these comedy spin-off books never normally do it for me. It just feels like a desperate attempt to cash in. I figured hearing Steve Coogan narrate as Alan would at least bring it one step closer to a TV special.

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Friday Favourites: Films I loved as a child

Friday Favourites: Films I loved as a child

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Kids photo created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

Watching two versions of The Addams Family this week gave me a huge hit of nostalgia this week. Addams Family Values was one of the first films that I remember watching again and again. It was definitely a childhood favourite. There’s a lot to be said about nostalgia and how it changes your perspective on things. I know that many of the films I loved as a kid aren’t actually that great but that doesn’t spoil them. I can still watch all of those films as a grown woman and love them as much as I did then. So, having spent ages sitting here wondering what to write about this week, I’ve decided to discuss some of my favourite childhood films that still bring me joy. This is only a small list because I could go on and on forever with this. I’m leaving some for the next time I lose inspiration and make a part 2.

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Book Review – Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade

Book Review – Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade

Ayoade.jpg5_star_rating_system_5_stars I was so terrible at reading last week that, on Saturday, I decided I need to find a quick read to race through before Monday. That is the only reason that I’ve strayed from my Halloween related reads. I bought this book as soon as it came out because I was so excited about it. I’ve got both of Richard Ayoade’s last books and could not wait to get his third. I absolutely love his weird and dry sense of humour. It’s what I like to imagine that I’m like but, in reality, I’m much meaner and less funny than he is. I also don’t have quite such impressive hair or such a strong dress sense.

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