Life · books

Ready, Steady, TAG!

I haven’t done a tag on here yet and I was in the mood to type, plus I thought it would be a good opportunity for you guys to get to know a little more about me. So without further ado!

1) What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Granola or plain cereal with almond milk and a banana. When I have more time eggs bacon, spinach and toast. Porridge is also my go-to, especially in the winter.

2) Characterize yourself in three words (just three, don’t go all “me” happy here)
Genuine
Rational
Protective 

3) Right brained or left brained?
Left brained. Though, i’m usually not too far off from the right side.

4) How do you feel about ‘assigned reading’ in the education system?
This is an interesting question. I’ve read books I probably would have never read or looked twice at, especially early on during secondary (middle) school. I preferred reading books that I’d chosen from the library myself than school books but there were times when we were tasked to read books that I genuinely liked and sped through. It wasn’t until A Levels (Junior and Senior years) that I began to enjoy what we were given to read, they were still assigned but because classes were smaller I was able to get a lot more out of studying the book. So yes, i’m for assigned reading, I look at it as a starting point. If you like the reading you’ll eventually branch out and discover more, if you don’t, well school doesn’t last forever.

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5) Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter, ϟ always but Twilight does have a special place in my heart because it introduced to me how passionate a fandom could be; I was too young when the HP books and the majority of the films came out to fully participate in the fandom. When Twilight came along during my teens, naturally I was allowed more freedom and I became fully swept up in the craze: premieres, merchandise, midnight, repeat screenings, fanfiction and then some! – the hype was real! *shout out to my Dad for acknowledging my fan-girl -ness and buying me each Harry Potter book as they came out and then supporting my crazy teen self with also buying me the Twilight books and merch.

6) What sorts of movies do you like to watch, and if you don’t like movies what sort of books do you like to read, and if you don’t like to read pretend you do and just answer the question!?!?
I generally like action adventure, Superhero and Comedy movies. With books I prefer detective fiction and classic (canonical) books. I also like to jump on the band wagon and read books that suddenly become mainstream or popular. *Note* – I have not read the 50 Shades series*

7) What is your preferred method of transportation?
Bus or coach, but when going abroad Eurostar.

8) How do you typically spend the weekends?
On a Friday, I might go out – depends on how I’m feeling 7/10 times you’ll probably find me at home catching up on some Zzzzz. Saturday is lie-in day and then again if i’m up for it, I might go out. Sunday are usually errands, organise and chill day.

9) Favourite holiday?
New Years!

10) What three books from your shelf would you be darn happy to say “deuces!” to?
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The Maze Runner – you know when you start a book and you just can’t get into it. Yep that was me with this book. I’ve also seen the film which kind of affected the way I saw the characters. Status – DNF

The Glass Wall – I met the authors in person while they were promoting the book, and after hearing how passionate they were about it, I decided to buy it. I found it to be a little repetitive and didn’t really express anything that I didn’t already know. Status – DNF

The Accidental Billionaires – this is the book that The Social Network is based on. And on this very rare occasion, I have to say that the film adaptation is better, so much better. The characters/people also come across as so much worse in the book.

11) How do you feel about loaning your books to someone?
Part of me hates it because I know I will more than likely never see the book again (I can’t even tell you the amount of books I’ve loaned/ sacrificed, and are out there lost in the world without me). A part of me also wants that person to hopefully enjoy the book the same way I did, I love giving book recs but I didn’t realise that they occasionally came at a cost.

I really enjoyed doing this tag! Look out for more in the near future! : )

I found this tag from a book blogger called @delphinethebabble she has a pretty cool blog, so check her out!

Book Reviews · books · Uncategorized

Happy Christmas?! – Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon: Book Review

Mystery in White - J. Jerfferson Farjeon

I’ve had Mystery In White on my shelf for almost two years now. I bought and began reading it a few days before Christmas back in 2015 and just didn’t get round to finishing it, so after having a browse of some of the books I hadn’t yet read, I thought i’d give this story another go.

Mystery in White was first published in 1937 during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and to my surprise, despite having written over 80 books, author J. Jefferson Farjeon is today, pretty much unknown. Nonetheless, the synopsis caught my attention and similar to other stories of this genre, I became interested in finding out ‘Whodunit’.  

The plot is  fairly straightforward: we’re introduced to a group of several passengers travelling by train during a heavy snow storm, their journey, as a result of the heavy snow comes to a halt and they eventually find themselves seeking refuge in a deserted country house – the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea but nobody is home. Things take an even stranger turn when secrets, lies and murder get thrown into the mix.

This novel covers most of the conventional styles and clichés of the genre, however Farjeon writes in a way that makes you question the motivations of each and every character, even the ‘detective’ of the story elicits an air of ambivalence which is clever because it made me focus more on the characters movements than I did on noticing clues. Some of the crime-solving involves a Sherlockian style debrief, which I, in regards to preference and enjoyment, remain unsure of; particularly as it, in some ways takes away from the reader feeling like they’ve come close to solving the crime.

Farjeon’s writing style was a bit jarring for me at times – it reminded me of James Joyce’s writing (shudders) – whereby you really have to pay attention to the text, particularly the dialogue, he has a tendency to switch from character to character without using pronouns to differentiate between each character; he relies on his characters being distinct enough for the reader to know when a character is speaking or not. And though this isn’t an uncommon way to write dialogue, for a novel which already asks for you to think about the ‘whodunit‘, where and what each of the seven plus characters are doing and how their stories all interconnect, trying to figure who is saying what and when, does become somewhat of a pain. There are also a number of filler chapters throughout this book, which again, adds more to your impression of the characters but does little in furthering the plot in an intriguing way. Whether the payoff is satisfying is debatable – for me, the build up, the suspense and the unexpected revelations make up for what the story lacks.

Overall, is Mystery in White memorable? No. Would I buy another of Farjeon’s detective novels? Yes!

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you thought about the ending in particular!

Mow text

3.7 / 5
Book Reviews · books · Literature · Uncategorized

Review: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – ‘All is not as it seems’

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Fun-Fact: Did you know the word Scientist didn’t exist when Frankenstein was first published in 1818. Before the word was coined in 1833 by William Whewell, Scientists would have been referred to as Natural Philosophers, who were studiers of nature and the physical universe.

Gothic literature isn’t my go-to genre but it caught my attention when I had to read a book called, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764) for a module I was taking at university. The book also happens to be the first gothic novel and became a source of inspiration for future gothic writers. When I think about it, I don’t actually like Gothic or horror movies at all, i’ve dabbled a bit but after watching Nosferatu (1922) as a kid when I was supposed to be asleep, I pretty much stayed away from the genre up until a couple of years ago where again I had to watch a number of gothic films for a module.

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When you hear the word Frankenstein, I’m sure some version of the image to the right comes to mind, comes to mind – along with the indistinct groans, the out-stretched arms and every Halloween costume sold during the month of October. However, all was not as it seemed… When I began reading the book, two things became very clear:

1 – Frankenstein is not the name of the monster; but the name of his creator.

2 – The monster is not a mindless creature in a blazer but is in fact, an intellectual, compassionate, conscious being who speaks as if he’s a character taken straight from one of Shakespeare’s plays. He craves human interaction, to the point where he is so lonely that he begs his creator to create another being like himself, after he is rejected by human beings. Who would have thought it?

Victor Frankenstein spends the majority of the story becoming increasingly deranged after he creates the monster’ and the rest trying to avoid then search and destroy his creature. The two main narratives make for sympathetic characters which enables the reader to gain enough of an understanding as to why both characters make the decisions they do. Ultimately the story becomes one of revenge, remorse and regret. It’s interesting, had the story been written solely from the perspective of Victor, I probably would have shared his opinions about the monster but as the story progressed and I learned the drastic reasons behind his motivations, the scary ‘Frankenstein’ monster many of us imagine upon hearing the name, began to steadily disappear.

Overall, I rather enjoyed reading Frankenstein, it wasn’t the story I expected when I started reading and I definitely didn’t expect to feel sympathy for the monster. Moreover, the questions it raises about creation, evolution and humanity become very intriguing, particularly when you consider the time the novel was published in.

Would I recommend reading this novel? Absolutely! The story was compelling, it’s an easy-read and I feel, a good introduction to the monster side of the gothic genre. And for you English-lit buffs out there, I think one of the better (Western) literary canons.

4.1 / 5