March Favourites

The Grand Budapest Hotel was my favourite film of the month – and the first Wes Anderson film I’ve, ever, seen. I’ll be watching Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom next. I’m going to pick up the book that the film is based on – The Society of the Crossed Keys soon.

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I added Jane Eyre to my Penguin Drop Caps collection this month – they’re a hell of a lot of beautiful Penguin classics editions at the moment but I love the simplicity of Drop Caps.

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 At the beginning of the year I was in the biggest reading slump – for the first time in a long time I didn’t want to read and had to force myself to pick up books. I seem to have come out of that now.  Although none of the books I’ve read over the last month; The Shock of the Fall, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, or & Sons really stand out as amazing to me – my first March favourite is the feeling of wanting to read again.

I’ve played Benjamin Francis Leftwich on repeat all month – mainly Pictures from Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm – it’s been out since 2011 but I come back to it again and again.

My new favourite word, sonder.

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I finished this blog post a few days and between then and now I’ve started two amazing books The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and How To Be a Woman (which I’ve put off reading for the longest time) I adore both of them so far —  so thought I’d include them and keep you guys updated on my feelings when I finish them both. 

Book Haul – All the Birds, Singing

Books I’ve bought this week.

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing - Eimear Mcbride

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 I’ve wanted this for a while – it’s written as a stream of consciousness – narrated by a young girl in Ireland as she deals with her brother who suffers from brain damage, a fanatically religious mother, and sexual abuse by her uncle.

It has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction; usually I’m not interested in literary awards but I’ve made a conscious decision to read more woman writers as I seem to unintentionally gravitate to men.

& Sons - David Gilbert

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“Fathers start as gods and end as myths and in between whatever form they take can be calamitous for their sons.” – I started this yesterday and I’ve been blown away by the writing.

 At the centre of the novel is A. N. Dyer a reclusive author – think J. D. Salinger and you have the right idea. Narrated by a family friend it follows him as he tries to reunite his estranged sons.

Half Bad - Sally Green

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The hype surrounding this book is, honestly, the main reason I bought it and I hope it doesn’t disappoint. It’s set in a world that is divided into warring white and black witches. The protagonist, Nathan, is half white and black. I got the hardback version; but it’s available in paperback too.

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami & Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I’m also trying to read more non-western writers after a really interesting conversation about whether British and American novels are over hyped.

Kafka on the Shore will be my first Murakami novel – I asked friends which of his books I should read first and this came out on top ( with the added warning that it will trip me out).

Americanah is another novel longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction – it follows Ifemelu and Obinze who emigrate from Nigeria to America and Britain.

The Son - Philipp Meyer

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The Son, which is a follow up to American Rust, is set in Texas and follows the McCulloughs and the rise and fall of their family oil business.

Evie Wyld – All The Birds, Singing

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I’m stupidly excited to read All the Birds, Singing – I’ve wanted this for a few months after reading the first few lines in work “Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding”. The book has a double narrative which alternates between an island off the British coast and Australia.

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The last thing isn’t a book – but I couldn’t not include it – it’s a Jane Eyre charm bracelet from Scribbelicious (I’ve linked them, which I don’t usually, because I think they’re amazing). They recycle damage books and use the page fragments in jewellery.  I’m already thinking about getting a Brightstar bracelet too.

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The Photo Diary

Tea at Leaf in Liverpool

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An Afternoon with We the Animals

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Tribeca in Liverpool

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Abe just chillin with John Williams

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Dinner while watching the Maple Leafs with friends

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Owner of the best hat

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and lastly boredom…

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Book Haul – We the Animals

 Some of the books I’ve bought over the last few months.

 I got the Penguin Modern Classics version of Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford – I’ve read this before and think it’s one the most underrated British books out there. I own the e-book – but decided recently to stop using my kindle (which I’ll probably do a whole post on at some point).

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I read Stoner a few months ago and thought it was one of the most beautiful and well written books I’ve ever read – I’m really excited to read the rest of John Williams’s books; so I went ahead and got Butcher’s Crossing.

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The next two books are The Average American Male – which I’ve read and although I found it funny in places and it held my attention – I didn’t really care for.

Kavalier & Clay has been on my to read list for ages but at 700 pages it’s a pretty big commitment so it might stay there for a little longer.

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I’d heard so many good things about Blue is the Warmest Color (book and film) so I was really excited to read it – I finished it in like a day and have recommended it to loads of my friends since.

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The Granta Book of the American Short Story Volume One – Granta publish some of my favourite writers; Denis Johnson, Zadie Smith, and Eleanor Catton and as I’m mainly drawn to America fiction it’s been nice to read a few stories between books.

I finished The Shock of the Fall last week – I thought it was moving, honest, and, funny (which I wasn’t expecting) but it didn’t blow me away like I thought it would (for me, at least, it’s probably a victim of its own hype).

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Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin; is set in San Francisco in the 1970s – I’m midway through reading this and really liking it so far, there are nine books in the series so if I make it to the end I’ll hopefully post something about them all.

I stumbled across We the Animals when I was on the Granta website – it’s nice and short, looks interesting, and is based in New York. It’s also a debut novel which, weirdly, I’m always fascinated to read.

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All Hallows’ Eve

This is how I’ll be spending my Halloween. I have a lot of gifs of creepy monsters in this post – sorry, not sorry.  

Pumpkins – I’m carving mine today – I’m going to dream big (be delusional) and try something like this.

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Watching: the Buffy episode “Hush” – one of my favourites ever. The Gentlemen, (who are way up top on the list of the best Buffy monsters) steal everyone’s voices so their victims can’t make a sound when they cut out their hearts – grim, but amazing.  

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When I designed them – because I drew a very specific picture of what I wanted for the Gentlemen (…) I was drawing on everything that had ever frightening me, basically. Including the fellow from my dream, Nosferatu, Pinhead, Mr Burns. Anything that gave that creepy feel (…) What I wanted from these guys was very specific. I wanted guys that would remind people of what scared them when they were children” -Joss Whedon

The cast are silent for most of the episode – which means we are now blessed with this gif. 

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Reading: pretty much, anything by Edgar Allan Poe – but I really like The Pit and the Pendulum. 

Watching: Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth – I’m sure most of you guys know about this film – but just in case it’s kind of a horror fairytale; set during the Spanish Civil War, it follows the main character Ofelia as she enters an abandoned underworld labyrinth. 

Pan’s Labyrinth The Pale Man

Listening to the Come Little Children song from Hocus Pocus – I’m not even embarrassed by this, which is quite worrying. I just found out that the guy who did this also did the OST to Casper and Jumanji. Mind Blown.  

Is it just me or does Halloween really make you want to live in the US? I’ve watched too much Hocus Pocus. Hope you all have a lovely day.

 

I am, I am, I am

This is the first coffee time of Autumn and as we all know it tastes a hell of a lot better when it’s not 30 degrees outside. 

photo credit: DBTabasco via photopin cc

I finished a reread of The Bell Jar a few days ago so I’ve mainly been thinking about that and Sylvia Plath. Mad Girl’s Love Song was released this year and it focuses on the early part of her life – but I’m hesitant to read it as I find the commentary surrounding her (and Ted Hughes) frustrating. 

I found this photograph of a mural to her in Portland which I love.  

photo credit: Todd Mecklem via photopin cc

I know these trailers have been out for a few weeks but I’m ridiculously excited about them both. First up it’s the trailer to The Book Thief – holy crap how amazing does it look – I think I’ll probably need to reread it before I see it and Kill Your Darlings which chronicles the murder of David Kammerer. 

I listened to Philip Pullman on Radio 4 this morning – he’s one of my heroes – he talked a little about The Book of Dust (a companion to His Dark Materials) and was asked whether The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass films would be made – his answer was very interesting; he spoke about the watering down of the anti-organised religion theme within the Golden Compass and how the studio weren’t really aware what the trilogy involved. 

Book Haul – On the Road

Books I’ve bought over the last few months.

First up, I bought Jacob’s Folly. I really liked Rebecca Miller’s first novel, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Jacob’s Folly sounds incredibly interesting and original. Can we also take a minute to appreciate how beautiful this book is.

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Watchmen – I’ve been meaning to read this for the longest time.

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On the Road. I’m beyond excited about this. It’s the original scroll version; which is unedited, unparagraphed, and has the real names of Kerouac’s friends.

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The Bell Jar. I don’t have to say how amazing this is.

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The Secret Garden – I can’t, quite, believe I’ve never read this. I was obsessed with the film (the 1993 version) as a child. This edition is part of the Penguin Threads series – the cover art is by Jillian Tamaki.

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