“Sometimes,” Martha said, “I have thought that there might be quite peaceful and pleasant ways to go insane.”
Elizabeth Taylor, Blaming (1976)
For me, Elizabeth Taylor is up there with Sylvia Plath when it comes to writing simple lines that have the power to punch you in the gut. The first book of hers I read was In A Summer Season, around this time last year. I read it so fast that I’m not sure how much of it sunk in. I read it to say that I’d read it, and although I know I enjoyed it, I didn’t appreciate it. When I came across Blaming in a charity shop, I decided it was about time I paid Taylor the attention she deserved.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been my favourite book since I first read it at 14 when I was a painfully shy and questionably dressed teenager. Young Adult fiction has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years with many, including Perks, being adapted for the big screen but unlike the action-packed dystopian series that have obtained widespread success, Perks focuses on the everyday struggles that we face. While Charlie is a teenager, navigating his way through high school, he is someone you can relate to especially if you were socially awkward at that age (I know I was). I don’t think it’s a book you can outgrow but rather one that grows with you.
Here are just some of the reasons you should read it (if you haven’t already):
Continue reading “MISC: Reasons why you should read The Perks Of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksy”
“it’s wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can’t have the one you want.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
Little Women is a literary classic that has been on the outskirts of my reading list for some time but I finally finished reading it yesterday thanks to The Girl Gang Book Club– an online book club that allows book-lovers to interact and discuss a selected book each month via the Twittersphere. Continue reading “REVIEW: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott”
One of the many perks of having supportive parents is that when you take an interest in something they do too. So when I started my Masters course, and later this book blog, my parents started to send me things- sometimes a text or an e-mail with a radio programme they thought might interest me or an author they had heard about, links to websites and articles. My dad sent me The Heart is a Lonely Hunter which I recently read, loved and reviewed, and my mum sent me this book a few weeks ago, Decca Aitkenhead’s All at Sea.
The book was published last month, and my mum ordered it and sent it to me a few days later after hearing the author on BBC Radio. The book relates the true events that changed the life of Decca Aitkenhead irrevocably. One of the best things about being given books is that you get to read things you wouldn’t have picked up for yourself. I don’t often read autobiographical writing, but it sounds like a deeply moving read.
“Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust anything that might give it to them.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)
It’s hard to believe that Carson McCullers wrote this book at just 23 years old, not just because of her evident talent as a writer but because of her deep understanding of human nature. She moves effortlessly from the musings of an aging black doctor to the adventurous mind of a young girl, and in doing so weaves together the collective voices of the South. To me, it’s what makes McCullers such a compelling writer. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers”
I’ve probably mentioned this a hundred times already, but I’ve been attempting to broaden my creative repertoire by writing poetry. This is almost as daunting to me as writing a novel. To put it plainly, I find poetry overwhelming- there are so many things to consider in a poem: form, rhyme, rhythm. I didn’t know prose poetry existed until a few months ago. I wrote four poems blindly and although they weren’t the catastrophic disasters I was anticpating it felt a little like trying to ride a bike before putting the stabilisers on. So, I got out some books on writing poetry to help me on my way.
I’ve already read through Glyn Maxwell’s On Poetry once and was surprised by how easily I followed it, and how engrossed I became. His ideas on the blackness and whiteness of a poem really made me think about how form influences a poem, and how a poem can be just as much about what is unsaid. I’ll definitely be reading through it again! I just started reading Peter Sansom’s Writing Poetry and guess what? I’m also enjoy this one as well! Both writers have an intoxicating sense of humour that makes reading each feel more like a conversation than a lecture and while I might not understand everything they talk about, I feel like I’m starting to pedal in the right direction.
I would challenge anyone who says there is something more heavenly than a coconut cake. Its one of my favourite treats when I’m settling down with a cup of tea. Its one of my favourite treats most of the time if I’m honest! I found the recipe at BBC Good Food last year, and after baking it decided that it had a permanent place on my baking repertoire. I improvised the drizzle using coconut milk, caster sugar and desiccated coconut, but the cake is just as tasty without! I took this into uni for one of my writing workshops and although I admit I had a fair few pieces, it did seem to go down well!
“The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
Perfume is a story in which one sense prevails above all others. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born in the putrid fish markets of Paris to a mother who has already had numerous stillborn babies. Assuming the birth to be another stillborn, she begins to leave the scene. As the baby lets out a cry, she is arrested and subsequently executed. The orphaned baby is given to the Church and it is soon discovered there is something unusual about the child: he has no scent and an acute sense of smell.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Perfume by Patrick Suskind”