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!
“I could tell I was standing too still and breathing too silently. I prayed she didn’t notice, but she must have, she was so close to me.”
I was sent this book by Walker Books a couple of months ago and I was immediately intrigued by the the idea of it as a ‘Graphic Memoir’. I know that this isn’t the first graphic memoir, in fact there are many that I’d love to get my hands on, but this is actually the first one I have ever read and boy did I enjoy it! If I had read this a while ago it most certainly would be on my list of Top 5 Graphic Novels. It has everything you would want from a graphic memoir; a compelling and moving story, beautiful artwork, and hilarious writing. Let’s briefly sum up the story:
Back again with another film review for you today, this time it’s all about Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver! (I bet you didn’t guess that from the title!)
Although I frustratingly couldn’t see this film on the day it was released I was lucky enough to have a couple of days to let the hype start to settle around this film and fortunately it managed not only to meet this exceptionally high level, but exceeded it. So as soon as I got home from the cinema I sat down with my notebook, splurged all my thoughts down, did a quick little bit of research and recorded this video. I wanted it all to be fresh in my mind – I definitely think the buzz of it still shines through despite having to re-record it because I deleted all of my audio!
However I have reflected a bit more on the film and I have to admit that there was one thing that I had a bit of an issue with and that’s the fact that I wish the film had been a little less male-dominated.
Director: Barry Jenkins
Starring: Alex Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris
Running time: 111 minutes
Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys look Blue
“Who is you?”
*A quick preface: this is just going to be a fairly brief review as, rightly so, this film has been everywhere and there are much better reviews to read such as this one by Empire or this one by the New York Times.
I don’t really know where to start in this review because it is such a delicate, moving, and unique film that has caused so many new and exciting conversations – even if some were caused by that Oscars blunder! In fact the reason I decided that I would post a review on the film, despite there already being so many, was because of a conversation about it that I had with my friend in which she said: “I’m not sure if I’ll go see it, it’s kind of intimidating”.
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!
I’ve wanted to do some film reviews on my blog for a while now and, as a massive Disney fan, I thought starting with Bill Condon’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast would be a lovely place to start. But please do excuse my rambling – I still don’t know what I’m doing!
The Original Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourite Disney Classics; not only do I adore the music, French setting, and beastly romance but also I have always seen part of myself in Belle. Continue reading
“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!
As Clove watched a petal slowly fall from the flower, she made herself a promise. When she was older, she was going to work here with the machine – even if it meant spending all her free time between now and then studying. Then one day, when she’d helped to get the machine working, she was going to be the first person to travel through time.
I was trying to think of a way to briefly describe The Last Beginning, the sequel and final book in The Next Together duology, but with the amount of plot twists, interesting new characters and jumps through time and space (all that wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff) I couldn’t figure out what to say! Thankfully Lauren James, author of the fabulous book, managed to sum it up in precisely five words:
Lesbian romance with MANY JOKES.
Mini Monday Review is a new feature on this site in which I am hoping to do a very short review (focused on plot and characters) every Monday!
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
This story has multiple twists providing it’s tension (and bulk) and she makes this possible by using an omniscient third person narrative which is done very well. The main mystery in this book was brilliant, I had no idea who the foreboding Magister was. I was a little disappointed with who it was but the revelation was superb. The plot was gripping throughout, never dull at any point. This has a lot to do with the action sequences, Clare is the master of these! A lot of questions were raised in this novel and very few actually answered, a good lead onto the next book. However I would have liked to have known a bit more.
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The majority of the characters were interesting to read though I had a couple of problems with some of the main characters. Jem and Will were both the swoon worthy male protagonists; one kind and one sarcastic. I must admit Jem got on my nerves a little but for the most part his witty dialogue and ‘banter’ provided a lot of humour and insight to the relationships within the Institute. The other minor characters were all very well done and they were great. Tessa, however, was very hit and miss with me. Sometimes I loved her and sometimes…I didn’t. She represented her era very well and her girly tendencies and reliance on others were understandable but I wanted to see her kick ass a bit more. Her ‘power’ though was really cool as weas the mystery that ties with it. I really did enjoy her appreciation of books and poetry that were relevant to both the time and the plot (however subtly).
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Finally I’d say this book is a very exciting and action packed novel that is very easy to read and provides interesting character relationships and developments.