Image from Walker Books
“It’s hard to focus on the future when the past is so distracting”
Although I am always reading there are surprisingly few authors whom I follow religiously; stopping my mindless scrolling to check out their latest Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube posts. But, as you might have guessed by now, Lauren James is one of those people. When I was offered her latest book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, I snatched it up before you could say “YA SCI-FI”. Once it had slid into my letterbox I began reading it straight away, immediately falling for the main (and almost only) character Romy. I finished the rest of it off on one train journey to London: this is testament to the brilliance of the book since I was suffering from motion sickness but refused to give up and put the book down!
* The Shakespeare Series is a new series I’ll be doing here on Reading in the Rain and will involve my good self looking at Shakespeare plays, telling you why you might like to read said play, and then briefly reviewing them! I hope you enjoy 😊 *
What’s it about?
Prospero – the magician, rightful Duke of Milan, and father to Miranda – employs his spirit Ariel to bring on a tempest in order to gather the men who betrayed him onto his island, to seek revenge for himself and a love for his daughter. We follow the character’s as they set out on their respective journeys of punishment, love, forgiveness and the fantastical.
Why should you read it?
○ It is beautifully lyrical – Not only does Shakespeare create a vivid image of the island through reported speech but also the recurring references to the environment, the metaphysical, and the mythological are wonderful to read.
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
Do excuse my two week absence, life has been getting busy!
I thought I’d
again try something a little bit different and just have a chat with you guys about what’s been happening with me recently! The short answer is A-Levels, which have slowly been taking over my life for a while now as you might have been able to tell as it seems to be a sort of recurring theme in my videos and posts. But other than school and A-Levels I’m also talking about life in general, books, and films, so enjoy!
Easter is finally here, after what seems like an awfully long Winter period, but all I can think about are my exams. I can hear families walking their bouncing dogs outside and can see the river glistening, whenever it isn’t raining, and yet I’m just sat inside making notes and doing past papers over and over again. I generally love revision. For me there’s something really satisfying about it; but when you add in the pressure of having to work hard enough to achieve the right grades to get into the university of your dreams you never really become satisfied. My mind goes: “Yes, you finished off your notes and did a Latin translation, but you could’ve done two translations and maybe even started another English essay”.
However, I’ve tried not to let that get in the way of reading. My reading habits always tend to slip when I have exams (or anything that makes me stressed really!) but I’ve been trying to make a conscience effort to keep up with it this time. Of course with a tired brain there’s only so many pages I can flick through before I give up and switch over to the TV or Netflix (my current recommendations definitely being Clique on BBC Three, Line of Duty BBC One, and the new season of iZombie on Netflix!!). So I thought I’d talk a little bit about what books I’m currently reading – however slowly my pace might be!
Let me know what books and and TV shows you’ve been enjoying recently, I always love getting new recommendations!
“People describe Shrew as a problem play; I see it as a perfect opportunity to explore pressing issues surrounding gender and relationships – important for us all, especially young people.” – Jacqueline Defferary
Before I really get into the post I just want to say, if you are able to get to London before the end of this month I IMPLORE YOU TO GO AND SEE THIS PRODUCTION OF THE TAMING OF THE SHREW! Whether you are already a Shakespeare fan or fancy giving it a shot, this adaptation is truly for everybody.
So time for a bit of context:
The Taming of the Shrew is one of, if not the most, debated about plays written by Shakespeare due to its supposed portrayal of psychological rape and misogyny. It is believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, written before 1592, and sees a drunkard named Sly being tricked into believing himself to be a lord and with his “wife” (the Lord’s servant wearing a dress) watches a play for his pleasure. That play within the play follows the relationship of Petruchio, a wealthy and forceful man from Verona, and Katherine, the “devilish Shrew”. Then, if you’re not already confused, you have the subplot of Bianca and her suitors; Gremio, Hortensio, and Lucentio, the latter being a student from Pisa, have all fallen for Kate’s seemingly sweet sister Bianca and the latter two decide to disguise themselves as teachers so that they might be able to woo her, whilst encouraging Petruchio to marry Kate so that they might then be able to marry Bianca. And that’s the basic plot for you!
You may or may not know this but almost a month ago now Conservative MPs voted against plans to make SRE (sex and relationship education) compulsory in schools. In other words they voted against making teaching pupils about LGBT+ issues, the importance of consent, online sexual content, as well as the emotional and social aspects of sex and relationships compulsory. I know all schools tackle SRE differently; some cover a wide range of topics in an inclusive manner regarding religion and the LGBT+ spectrum. But at the same time some schools will only teach it from a biological point of view.
I myself experienced the latter. In year 6 all the girls in my year sat together in a small room with our head of year and the biology teacher; we discussed (and when I say discussed I mean they spoke, we listened and were too embarrassed to ask any questions) periods, body changes, and how we might start “seeing boys differently”. That was it until year 9, when we had one lesson in which we were shown a presentation showing symptoms of different STDs, shown how to put on a condom, then given condoms which were promptly taken off us. Honestly, I still don’t know why they bothered giving them out in the first place. In fact, there is a lot I still don’t know regarding SRE full stop!
“It’s easy to fall into the mid-winter blues. Drink hot cocoa to warm your soul and stay in good spirits.” – Mary-Frances Winters
Midwinter is undoubtably the worst time of the year; it’s cold, foggy, and windy practically all of the time yet there’s no snow to play in and the Christmas lights were packed away long ago. Add to that returning to work, school and having mock exams and you really do get quite a horrid part of the season. So it’s no surprise that many people struggle at this time; it’s stressful and miserable. But there are some things we can all do to make it a bit better.
So I moved house just over a year ago now and I remember, as soon as we had settled in and the house wasn’t so full of cardboard boxes, asking my parents for some proper bookshelves. My Mum had put up the ones at my old house in the nooks on either side of my fireplace and so I didn’t actually own anything I could place my collection of books, films, comics and knick-knacks on. This was an issue.
I’m always that friend who gets overly excited for Halloween; pumpkins will litter my bedroom throughout the month of October, every detail of my costume will be planned for, and I’ll have a precise template for my pumpkin ready to carve! So I couldn’t wait to share some of my favourite halloween reads and watches.
If you’re looking for some spooky books then check out my video, if you want some ghoulish films and shows to watch then keep on reading!