Saturday, 27 December 2014

Bookclub: A Review!

   I wanted to do a review of Bossy Boots Bookclub this year. So here we go:


   February: The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China ed. Shouhua Qi.


   I am finding with short fiction in a collection like this some I like and some I really don't respond to. I found the Art and Society sections I really responded to. I am really glad that I read this though, it's something that really made me think and I liked this a lot, even if I didn't respond to all of it.


   March: Saris in the City by Rakha Waheed


   This was a really fun change of pace. I have read quite a lot of books under little black dress press and this had the same tone and humour. I quite like the length of them as well. I'd like to read more like this.




   April: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


  When I talked about this in April I outlined the problems that I had with this book. It had been a very long time since I had read this and a lot of the book I had major problems with. I am a fan of Pratchett and a lot of his books I really like, so it came as a surprise how strongly I felt about the problems. On a side note there is a radio adaption of it that was on the BBC this Christmas that I think I would at least give a try, for pure curiosity.


   June: (I missed May) Bitch is the New Black by Helena Andrews  




   I really liked this group of essays, and her voice I really responded to. I found it an honest and sometimes funny but always unflinching account of her life. One of my favourites that I read this year.


   July: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri


   This is a collection of short stories, some a lot longer than others. I liked some, I liked the style of how she writes. I tend to find in short stories some I can get on board with others I really can't, and this was the case with this collection. I am glad that I read this though.


   August: The Collected Works of A J Filkry by Gabrielle Zevin.


   You guys this book is so, so, so, so good. I am so glad I read this. One of my favourites by far. I loved it. I am not going to say anything about it other than I read it three days, now that is a mark of a good book in my opinion.


  
   September: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle



   I knew almost nothing about this book before I read it. It paid off though and I found it really great. I loved Meg the heroine of this book, a really great imaginative tale. The edition that I was reading had great illustrations at the beginning of each chapter which I really liked.  


   October: Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie


   This is a collection of essays and she has a blog of the same name (Black Girl Dangerous) which posts essays from people of colour who are queer as well as her own stuff. The website is amazing, as was this group of essays. I didn't find it easy to read at times but the way she says things always makes me think and really take stock of what she is saying. She is a great writer and I am happy that I bought this collection to read again.


   November: Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps    


   I don't often read books that are about travel but this was a really fun read. I liked how she frames popular culture to her experience. I liked this a lot, it's not one of my favourites of this year I have to say but it was enjoyable to read.


   Of other books that I read this year to give a shout out to stuff that was not in bookclub I just read Ember by Bettie Sharpe which I thought was a really cool twist on Cinderella. I also read Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (all the way back in January) this year (which I loved!) and shout out to the audio version of this read by Carmen Rose, that audio book I really loved. I have also been rediscovering my love of Lorelei James via audio book. I have got Cowgirls Don't Cry and the audio book made me fall in love with the couple (Jessie and Brandt) in that book all over again, and is read by Rebecca Estrella. Those are just a few quick picks for stuff that I liked over the past year.


   Onwards and upwards to next year's bookclub! I have already decided I think the first six months, I am really excited! 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bookclub! Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps

   It's that time again for bookclub! This month it's Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps.


   I found it interesting, how she talks about language. I also found it interesting the culture gap between Europe and America to her. This is a personal story about how she finds Spain, and how she deals with the racial baggage that comes with both countries. I really liked it. 

   This is the last bookclub for this year, but I am going to to this again next year.  I will also definitely do a year review of the bookclub here, in the next week or so. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

50 Things Making me Happy

   It's been a rocky few weeks for various reasons that I am not going to go into. So I have decided to embrace the things that have made me happy. So in no particular order here they are:

   The song Never Catch Me ft. Kendrick Lamar by Flying Lotus, the video as well as the music hit me full force. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXD0vv-ds8

   The song Shake It Off by Florence and the Machine. It made me dance around in my room, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCWnVznnWcs&index=3&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg

   The Tumblr from Black Girls Talking. I have linked to the podcast, but the Tumblr makes me happy. You can find it here: http://blackgirlstalking.tumblr.com/

   Footloose by Kenny Loggins and the video always makes me happy, in particular the close ups of just feet dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFWDGTVYqE8

   This picture of Grace Jones, it is something I have always liked:


   This Banksy picture:


   The book The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. I liked it a lot. 

   The song Every Other Freckle by alt-J. This video has two versions, the first one I think I like the most, but I am going to include both which you can find here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mhgfXgwdls&index=1&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axTSc3e6wu8

   Tangerines. 

   The colour of deep deep purple. 

   The Song Jet by Wings. This also made me dance around in my room, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swg5RSWwT7I

   The audio book of Rock Chick Rescue (which is where I actually found out about the song Jet). It's read by Susannah Jones, I have seen a lot of internet reviews that really don't like the heroine of this book, too passive and unable to see her own worth. I actually think this is one of the strongest books of the Rock Chick series for me. It also helps for me that this is a book written in first person, so for me that means I really hook onto the heroine. Other books by Ashley I have found problematic but this one hooked me from the start because of the heroine (it helps that I find it really funny as well).  

   The fact that on Twitter there is an account of Dorothy Parker quotes.  

   My kindle always makes me happy.

   This Christmas song by Low, I am kind of on the fence about Christmas songs but this one i really like. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IippcraBPKA&index=2&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg

   Talking of other Christmas songs I really like this cover of Fairy Tale in New York, by Florence and the Machine and Billy Bragg is one which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPbOHhssAP4

   I was reading an old Mills and Boon novel by Ruth Wind. She was one of my favourite authors growing up, in particular the book Beautiful Stranger. What I really like about this book is that it shows how intimate sex can be and how frightening that can be for both people involved. The fat politics isn't great (the heroine is fat and loses weight but for me it's handled well) but in 2001 it's pretty good and for me it's a story that I go back to, mainly because the romance is so well done.   

   The smell of limes and lemons mixed together - perfect!

   The smell of new books, ambrosia to me. 

   bell hooks really just because. 

   The old Monty Python bit about Wuthering Heights in semaphore. It still makes me laugh. 

    The Song No Children by the Mountain Goats, I know that I've linked to this before, but I still love it, you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRP6egIEABk

    This song by Victoria Wood always makes me happy. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB0yS7eAhRo

    Issa Rae has a book called The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl coming out that I really want to read. 

   Chilli.

   Writing is something that makes me happy and that I enjoy. 

   The movie Hanna.

   The music to the movie Hanna by The Chemical Brothers.

   This Ted Talk about periods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kce4VxEgTAM It's great and I love the speaker, Chella Quint. 

   This spoken word poem, performed by Catalina Ferro. It's fucking amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVEf6jS8GdU

   This spoken work poem performed by Sarah Kay and Phil Kay. It really hit me full force about the soul deep friendships that we can have with people. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esgfG3BoAPc

   That I have finally bought the book Wild Swans and am looking forward to diving into it. 

    Listening to the audio book of Open Season by Linda Howard, I think mainly because I laugh so hard at the bit about the condoms.   

   Making cakes.

   In fact baking sweet stuff always makes me happy, I think I will want to start doing more of it. I have not yet cracked making an apple crumble that I really like, I think I'll enjoy experimenting. 

   I completely forgot how much I loved the series of The Avengers, here in the UK that aired I think in the sixties and seventies. My first ever girl crush that I had on anyone was Emma Peel. I think partly because there was never any sexual tension between her and Steed and I really appreciated that they were a team that solved crimes, that she was not just a girl attached to him. I have always loved Diana Rigg ever since. 

   Which is probably why I love this picture:


   It was also why I was a big fan of her detective series The Mrs Bradley Mysteries. I think the episodes are quite hard to find but if you can find them they were quite fun (I really liked the first episode of the first season). I think I also just loved her character (this was a series where she would address the camera which I think worked out well in this for me). 

   This picture of Gabourey Sidibe always makes me happy, she is amazing:


   The movie Pitch Perfect.

   Need Your Love So Bad by Fleetwood Mac always makes me want to slow dance with someone, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL87WE81Z1w&index=29&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg

   This interview segment hosted by Kevin Pollak he's interviewing Glen Hansard and he talks about Van Morrison, I thought it was a great story and Hansard talks about music in a such a great way, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29abxJgCyOI

   This song My Boyfriend's Back by The Angels. The quality isn't that great, and it's definitely not a feminist anthem by any means, but there is something about the harmonies and the way they sing to each other that really captures a joy. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4Djqdizdi4   

   I have always loved this song and always will. Hot Topic by Le Tigre, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0idmTWxFs1A

   The podcast The JV Club. It always has interviews on there that I find interesting. 

   Following NPRs Code Switch on Twitter. 

   Following Linda Holmes on Twitter.

   Finding out about Spotify this week.

   Finding this version of These Boots are made for Walkin' by Nina Sinatra YouTube. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbyAZQ45uww

   The Toast has now a sister site called The Butter run by Roxanne Gay, I am super excited and cannot wait to read all of the articles, there are quite a few already. Here is Roxanne Gay answering questions about the site: http://the-toast.net/2014/11/17/butter-faqs/

  Those are 50 things making me happy!






   
    




Friday, 31 October 2014

Bookclub! Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie

   This month's bookclub is Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie. There is a blog with the same name by various people as well as McKenzie.  



   I am really happy that I picked this for bookclub I really like her writing. A lot of the material she writes about is hard but I always respond to how she writes about it. This is among my favourites of books that I have read this year.

   Just a heads up to people next month's will be it for this year. I think I will probably do a review at the end of the year. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Romanciest Post Ever!

   I am going to talk about taste but I want to talk about it through what romances I read. This is going to be a long post, but it's something that has been on my mind, so...

   I recently have gone cold turkey on my Kindle. I keep buying romances that claim to be similar to the one that I have read before (many people have discussed with far better depth about the Amazon rhythms that leads to this happening, and I think it also depends on how many people have bought the book in comparison to the one you are reading but don't quote me on it as I am my well be talking rubbish) and it just leads to me reading stuff that is ultimately unsatisfying. 

   I have been thinking about the problem for a while, I love romance, it is by far the thing I read the most. This is great, but the way to find out if I like something is not it turns out relying on a rhythm that is out of my control. I do find samples a great help, but have been disappointed by great first chapters that do not live up to the rest of the book. So I have been really seduced by the idea that I will find something great similar to Kristen Ashley or Anne Gracie and they really are just not. 

   I think the idea is great, but the metric by which you try and compare something is always going to be flawed. I do want to find authors that excite me and write a book that I respond to in a genre that I am in love with, but I am now going to do this by different means. 






   I have also been thinking about how my taste has evolved. Someone like Jennifer Crusie  my favorites of her work used to be very early in her career, What the Lady Wants (and that blue cover is the one I own), and Getting Rid of Bradley I would re-read all the time, this has now shifted I really love her collaborations Agnes and the Hitman is something that I return to a lot. I have also got back to really liking Tell Me Lies as I get older. My taste has changed with the authors work. I like all her books but the ones that I find returning to change as my life changes.   


   I do not think that this is a bad thing at all, in fact I liked stuff when I was young that I find completely silly as I got older (Reality Bites is that movie that I now find mawkish and tedious when I was nineteen I thought it really spoke to me man, now not at all). I might well look back in ten years and say that about the culture that I like now. I think though this leads me to how trying something similar to thing you already have read can be a defunct exercise, and again the metric you use to say something is similar it can be so flawed. Not every gritty motorcycle romance is going to be my jam, and nor can every light hearted historical romance have the same tone.

   There are authors that respond to, and I have hard time pinning what I find engaging about that author. I tend to like authors that have humour in their books but not always and it isn't always the same type of humour that I like. Some books are really intense and again what type of romance I want to read sometimes changes month to month.

    I am going cold turkey, and I am no longer going to go down the hole of recommendations, it very rarely leads to anything good. That is not say that I have not found good romances down that avenue, but it has lately turned into this idea of it happened once thirty books ago, it might happen again, I want the lightening to strike! I have broken up with it, it's not longer a fruitful task. 

   Talking of taste I am now going to look at twitter, at different romance websites, different places to see whether my interest is the same. Again this method may lead me to reading some books that I do not respond to, but I think I am much more prepared for it not to work. This is a investigation that I have not really done before, and not everyone is going to like something in the same way that I do. Nor do I want that, but by being a bit more open to this I think it will make my reading experience a lot more enjoyable, and that really is my goal.




   To conclude about taste, the romance authors that I respond to are vastly different. I love historicals, Tessa Dare has a great series set in Spindle Cove. My favourite of that by far is A Week to be Wicked. I absolutely loved Romancing the Duke (I love that red dress and the ribbon on it yum!) as well which is a new series by her (the audio book that I bought via ITunes is something that I love, it's read a little differently to my other audio books but I really liked it). I really like Eloisa James, Duchess by Night is my total favourite of hers, I do have a soft spot for A Duke of Her Own. Lisa Kleypas, Anne Gracie, Courtney Milan (I thought Unlocked was a great novella), Julia Quinn and Elizabeth Hoyt are authors that I read with great enthusiasm. 




   Just as a companion to historical authors that I like (and that is by no means a full list of authors that I read, that is a list of authors that I really fully respond to) I am going to mention some contemporary authors. Ruthie Knox, I really, really liked her latest called Truly (and I am very excited that this is the first in a I think three book series, I am already anticipating her next one that is nearly a year away). I thought the way she handled the sex in that book was amazing, both the awkwardness and the pleasure. Jennifer Crusie (enough said), Jill Shalvis and I am going to mention a line of romance that I found really great, called Entangled Brazen (I think Entangled has multiple lines including as memory serves Impulse). I have been really impressed by all of the books that I have bought from there, it is sex heavy but I have found that line really good for short romances that are up my alley.    

   All of the authors that I have mentioned are different and all the books that I mention have such different things to recommend them. I couldn't say from my list what I would read that would coincide with all of these voices, so I am going to stop trying. I am going to get my romance needs and wants met elsewhere, and look forward to finding new places to get my information. I am, however, taking a kindle break for now. 

   There are three things that I am going to recommend this week. One linked to romance.

1: I fell in love with this Orchestral version of Call Me Baby (I was listening to an old episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour and Trey recommended this, I don't know whether it is this exact version, but this is the version that I just thought was amazing). It just make me smile so much, which you can find here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFVhSDQmIxs

2: This lead me down to remembering how much I loved this version of the Doctor Who theme played on the Cello (she syncs herself, I can't quite explain it just watch it!) by the Doubleclicks. It charmed me the first time I saw it and it still charms me now. You can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm5sdW51kpU


3: Saving the one that made me laugh the hardest, and about romance. I have recently found on Twitter an account called Trope Heroine which you can find here: @TropeHeroine. It is done by Jenny Holiday who you can you follow @jennyholi and God you guys I was on the floor. These are just a few of my favourites:





If your breeches aren’t made of buckskin, I don’t even want to talk to you.
— Trope Heroine (@TropeHeroine) September 10, 2014





I blush a lot. Almost as much as you raise your eyebrows.
— Trope Heroine (@TropeHeroine)
September 24, 2014


I don’t think that’s weird. Lots of people's dead rich fathers stipulate marriage as a condition of inheritance, and I’m happy to help out.
— Trope Heroine (@TropeHeroine) September 5, 2014




   Just there are no words for how much I laughed at this, it made my week. You can tell it's by someone who loves the genre which just makes me love this all the more. 

   Oh and I haven't figured out how to embed tweets properly I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to figuring this kind of stuff out so I've done my best and you can definitely see them so sorry for technical difficulties! 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bookclub! A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

   So this month's book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.



   I thought that this was a really great book that plays with time, objects and people. I also thought that the way this treats it's protagonists was really refreshing. Meg for a lot of the book is angry, and for me it's an anger generated from youth but I am with her all the way. I really liked her as a character. 

   The theme of standing on your own, that parents and older people around you are fallible was really great. Meg throughout the book has to trust herself. For me it really is about her, and I think you see the world through her the most. 

   A great book with a great premise. I am not usually a fan of time travel when over explained but this did just enough for me to be taken along the ride. I really liked it and the edition that I read had really great illustrations for every chapter, which I really liked.

   This kind of reminded me off Gillian Cross's great series of books that starts with The Demon Headmaster. Children are the powers of agency in that as well, and it's the adults that are not to be trusted. If you ever read that series it's really wonderful (skip the TV series that went along with it, I loved the books and it just ruined the tone of them for me). 

   I am glad I got to read this, knowing almost nothing about it made me enjoy it all the more. I really liked this so it was enjoyable September's bookclub.   
 




Friday, 29 August 2014

Bookclub! The Collected Works of A J Filkry by Gabrielle Zevin

   This month's book was The Collected Works of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.


   I finished this in three days, safe to say I really, really liked this. I don't want to give away too much about this but it really hit me full force.

   I wanted to say that each chapter starts with a book recommendation, which just made me want to compile my own list (which tells you what type of book person I am). Something that really appealed was this idea that you can find out so much more about person by asking what their favourite book is, as people tend to lie about other things.

   I am a book person, and this is a wonderful book. Your millage may vary but I loved it.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Boosy Boots Bookclub Picks! September, October, November

   It's the time again, to pick some books!

  These are my picks:



   September: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.

   I know almost nothing about this book, apart from that it has a strong female character and that this is a fantasy or science fiction. That is the most that I want to know, I've wanted to read this for a while so September is the month that I am reading it.



   October: Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie

   This is a collection of essays and I am a big fan of her website (which is of the same name) so I want to read it.



   November: Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love and Spain by Lori L. Tharps

   I don't read many books that talk about travel and this seems fun so I am going to pick it for November. 

   This will be last until next year. I am still going to do this as I am having such fun doing it. On Friday will be The Collected Works of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.  
   

Monday, 25 August 2014

A Random Assortment

   So a random assortment of things that I've been discovering over the past month:

   I recently found this version of Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes sung by Johnny Cash. I absolutely fell in love with this version of this song over the past month. It's a very old song I think back in the 16th Century, but there is something in the way that he sings this that really hooked me. His deep voice makes the lyrics stand out. You can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT3ysEuuLzE

   I have been listening to old episodes of the Podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. I really like the podcast (which I listen to on ITunes), I have always liked the segment where they share what's making them happy that week. I also really like that this is podcast that doesn't talk down to you, and has really interesting and great conversations about stuff that I care about.

   On a less positive note I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I don't want to spoil anything so all I am going to say I had a lot of major problems with it. I don't think a lot of what I had problems with was with the actual film but the conventions of the blockbuster and comic book movies in general. I liked some of the actors in this but for me the problems outweighed my enjoyment.

   I found this song this month called You don't have far to go by Candi Station. This is an amazing version of this song. I really, really like it. You can listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XsWya155Ic&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg


   I have always been a fan of this song, but this week I love it all the more. It's Baby I love you by Aretha Franklin. I am a big fan of her voice, and this is a song that I really like. It's not as straight forward a love song as I thought when I first listened to this, I like it all the more for it. You can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xoagkpi5B4Q


   I bought and read Lessons in the Fat-O-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with your Body by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby quite a long time ago, This book really is amazing. I love it so much. I love the authors, these two and Lesley Kinzel really shaped my fat acceptance (and please get her book Two Whole Cakes that is super amazing and cool too). This is a book that I go back to again and again. It has helped me and made me ultimately happier with not just how I look but I feel about myself and others (I still catch myself saying something in my own head about whatever, but I recognise it and I am quick to remind myself that is reductive thinking). I still like to read it.  
 
   This picture is also just making me happy today:

 


   I am really happy that Melissa McCarthy is getting the press that she deserves. I really like her in general, I thought she was really great, funny and quick on both Ellen and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  I also just think that photo is great, love her arms, really just love her pose and how cool she is. 

   I am going to post my next picks for Bookclub in the next couple of days and Bookclub is on Friday, so I'll get my self sorted so people know what books I am choosing for the next three months.    

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Still Waters

   Sometimes I have weeks where nothing happens and I feel calm and content. Last week was one of those weeks. No drama, no crying, no escape from life either, just living.

   It feels a little strange to just be content. I just realised that I don't often celebrate this. It's supposed to be a feeling that I want to remember and also I feel like it should be celebrated.

   All too often I feel that my life is an endurance test of feeling bad about a lot of things. Last week was really nice and relaxed. It takes strength, I have realised to accept it, and also to embrace it. This doesn't mean that stuff could happen but I want to enjoy this feeling.

   One thing that has really helped me is saying to myself when a memory comes up or something comes up for me in my head, is to say to myself, don't be mean. I have a past and a lot of things that I have done are things I don't like. Dwelling on them is mean and it's not going to make me do anything other than feel bad. It's a habit that I am trying to get past. As I said though it helps to say, don't be mean and concentrate on what I am doing or listening to. I have only recently started doing this but it has really helped me have a still waters week.


   That image just makes me happy.

   This week I am recommending a blog post, I will link to the whole thing and the specific post. It's called Yoruba Girl Dancing. I really like it. The specific post is about While You Were Sleeping. I love how she writes about it, I love that movie but her post is really great. You can find it here:

http://www.yorubagirldancing.com/2014/06/09/while-you-were-sleeping-19-years-and-6000-words/

   You can find a general link here: http://www.yorubagirldancing.com/

   It's a great blog and I really like her voice.

  

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bookclub! Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

   This month's book (this was supposed to be last month's book, but I needed to get my act together, sorry for the delay), is Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.



   This is a collection of short stories, some I liked more than others. I liked that they focus on different aspects of family and discontentment. My favourite of the collection was Hell-Heaven. I liked the way the stories were told. I did find a lot of it, as well as my favourite sad, but overall I liked the format and the way the stories were written.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Things to look forward to...

   I have decided to make this post all about stuff that I am looking forward to. All the stuff that I am talking about is stuff that I am excited about, and I hope that when I get to see or read it'll still be exciting.





   So first up my romance novel addiction. I am really looking forward to the next in Erin McCarthy's series of young adult novels called Shatter, coming in early September. I have really liked all the books in the series and I am anticipating this one. Looking forward to the end of the year, Tessa Dare is coming out with a new historical, she is one of my favourite historical romance authors so I am looking forward to Say Yes to the Marquess. I am also really looking forward to the new book by Jennifer Dawson coming out in December. I read her book Take a Chance on Me in February and I really, really want to read her next one The Winner Takes All but I will have to wait for it.  

   On to some films that I am looking forward to. There are some romantic comedies and a couple of other things that I am interested in.


   The first one is something that I really want to see. It's coming out here in the UK at the of August. It's called Obvious Child, and it has the great Jenny Slate (who I really love in anything that I see or hear from her) in it as the main role. It's also got someone in it who has an abortion in it. The fact that this film even exists makes me happy and it's a comedy as well. This is something that I really, really want to see.  

   The next two I am talking about as a things that I am less overly excited about but the romantic comedy is very hard to get right and I think both of these have potential.



   The Pretty One is already out but I think the only place that I think I would be able to watch it is on ITunes. It is a odd premise of the good twin taking the place of the bad twin (who actually dies in this). It's a pretty well worn trope in romances, but I think this might be able to pull off something quite incredulous based on the chemistry between the two leads. I really like both Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson. So I think it might charm me, but I am weary because this might completely fall apart. We will see.



   What If also stars Kazan. This I am on the same level as The Pretty One. This while thing about being in the friend zone is ridiculous. At the same time I am a huge romantic comedy fan so I think it might well win me over. Plus I actually like Daniel Radcliffe as an actor so again I am counting on the chemistry between the two leads to see if I will like it as a romantic comedy. Again they are a hard genre to pull off so it's an excitement with a caveat.      

   There is only one summer blockbuster that has me interested which is Guardians of the Galaxy. I think that this looks really good and has a lot of potential to make me remember that I like big effect films when I am in the right mood. It also has Zoe Saldana in it who I like a lot as an actor.

   So this is what I am looking forward to and I am getting excited about!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Back from Drifting

   I have gone through periods like this when I drift. I don't eat, I don't sleep well either, I just drift. It scares me now when this happens because I know myself well enough that I can get lost for weeks, the last time this happened to a serious point was 6 weeks. I haven't been like that for a long time and this is why it scares me.

   I, after two weeks got it together enough that I am now eating and sleeping. It scares me though and it's good that I am scared about it, the alternative to not caring or not noticing is worse. It's a bummer and a half not looking after yourself, and drifting though it can be pleasant it's a weird thing to go through. When I'm in it. I'm in it and I don't notice I've lost what time it is or day.



   I'm better now but I've neglected a lot including taking care of myself, and eating and sleeping is really important. I need routine I have discovered so it's taking some time to get back to it. I have idea why I chose hot air balloons but I like them, they look pretty.  

   So there are a couple of things, book club is going to be in July, Unaccustomed Earth is going to be discussed at the end of July the 25th so I can get my act together and read all of it. The Collected Works of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin will be August's book and I am going to decide what the next three month's books are in the meantime. Sorry about the delay, but I am definitely going to get back to speed.

   I am also looking forward to a couple of things that are coming out in the next couple of months, romance novels, films and other stuff. I am going to do a whole post on it, but for now I am just glad that I managed to pull myself out of drifting and getting back to the real world.

   I really like covers of songs that do something different with the song which is one of the reasons I really like the cover of Dancing with Myself by Nouvelle Vague which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbgvAp1_DvE

   I have also gotten really obsessed by the soundtrack from the film Hanna, and this one song called Devil in the Details is something that I could listen to all day. Something about it is really hypnotic. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE4_XlnNCcs

   I'm glad I'm back to writing and back to myself.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

201st Post!

   This is the 201st post you guys. I really can't believe that I have that many! So yay! I have had this blog for three years and it makes me happy. This is a pretty good achievement that I have been doing this for a while and that I still enjoy it. So I am really happy about that.

   Two things that I am going to talk about. I have decided that this June I am going to make it my month of writing this fiction book that I have had on my computer for years. I got to 5,000 words and I hit a wall and have not touched it since.



   I don't write on a type writer but I do love that image of the vintage keys. I'd love to make a necklace out the them.

   So I decided that this month I am going to see if I can write this book, I think I am going to aim for about 60,000 words. I am writing 500 words roughly a day, I am happy that this is the fourth day of me doing this and I am still in the game. I don't think half of what I am writing is good to be honest, but I can't remember where I heard this quote but Nora Roberts has said I can edit a bad page, I can't edit a blank page. So this is where I am with it at the moment.

   I also want to say that I think psyched myself out of this a while back because I didn't know where this was going, and the words didn't come easily, or half of what this was didn't make any sense. Well it isn't about that anymore, I want to see if I can finish this and see of I can write fiction that I like, and get to my goal of about that length.

   I do need to figure out a lot of other stuff, but this is mainly getting the words, any words down and seeing if I can make something out of them. I am probably going to get to about 20,000 at the end of this month, so it's going to take another couple of months of me doing this. But I am happy to say I've got to 8.000 so it's a goal that I can reach eventually.

   I have also discovered that I am not a linear writer, I do it by scenes and then see if I can write them down. And as a side note this is really whether I can write every day, and for my own enjoyment. So far on that basic level I am enjoying it.

   The other thing that I want to talk about is I saw the documentary Searching for Sugarman. It was on the BBC and I saw it via the IPlayer. I liked some of it, and I would certainly recommend the music in it, that side of it was really great. There is something in this though about appropriation of culture that really made me uneasy. This is about the white people in South Africa taking on the music of Rodriguez to show that they were against the racist regime that they had. The people most effected by that wasn't not the white community, and an appropriation of culture made me uncomfortable watching this.

   Look up the music, it's really good. I found on YouTube the album Cold Fact and I really liked it. I think I just had a lot of trouble with appropriation of something that is not about your culture. I am glad I saw it for the music alone.



   Also for the month of June Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri is the book for Bossy Boots Bookclub. I have only just started to read and it's a collection of short stories. To be discussed on the last Friday of June (the 27th of June). As a side note, I really like that cover as well.

   This week I am going to recommend the song Chapel of Love by The Dixie Cups. I have been a long time fan of 60s girl groups, I have been listening to this all week for some reason. It's the melody that I love, plus the mix of voices that really works. You can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTq7w8P6_2I

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bookclub! Bitch is the New Black by Helena Andrews

   This is two days late so apologies, I picked Bitch is the New Black by Helena Andrews for the book for May.


    I liked this a lot, this is a memoir and it's formatted within sixteen essays. I find that I really have to hook onto the person's voice to enjoy a memoir and with this I did. I really like her sense of humour and there is a unflinching honesty in this that I really responded to.

   Overall I think this is my favourite of all the books that I have chosen this year.

  

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guilty Pleasures

   Sometimes I am in the mood for something that is delicious but a guilty pleasure. I have quite a high bar for things not making much sense and being ridiculous. The thing that I really admire about the term though is one person's guilty pleasure is another person's awful piece of media, or great piece of art, it is in the eye of the beholder.

   Anyway onto my true guilty pleasures. In no particular order:

   Broken Arrow.



   This movie is super dumb, macho and really unbalanced. It still appeals to me somehow, I think because both Slater and Travolta know the movie that they are in. It is ridiculous and the motivations behind what people do make no real sense. I don't know sometimes I am in the mood for something dumb. Also the fight at the end someone get hits repeatedly with a crow bar and it seems to make no real difference to their fighting, or even more unbelievably getting shot in the arm. This is definitely a movie about men and their macho fights but it definitely makes me laugh rather then get mad, so it's guilty pleasure.

   Dragnet.



   It's real dumb everyone and there is a lot of stuff that is on the edge of useless and funny. I could watch Tom Hanks in a dumb movie any time, and he sells the thin premise. I also just can't stop laughing at the fight in pool with the snake, it's super dumb but sometimes my taste is dumb. It also has Christopher Plumber acting up a storm so it makes it kind of redeemable, not by much though, which is why it's a guilty pleasure.

   Turner and Hooch.



   Another Tom Hanks movie. I actually tend to like his movies more early in his career, he's cute yes but I don't know he doesn't take himself as seriously in the early comedies. This is a super guilty pleasure it's about a man and dog and the romance with the vet. I could watch him try and get the dog in the bath all day. I also think that the romance in this is kind of charming, especially when they paint her room together. This though is  guilty pleasure if nothing else for the comedy they get out of the dog. It still makes me laugh really hard though.

   Rosemary and Thyme.



   So the premise of this is Gardeners that solve crimes. Yes you read that correctly. Usually the crime has something garden related to it. Sometimes when I am watching a crime show I want my brain not plugged in and I can follow what's going on easily. Admittedly some of the motivations make very little sense but that's not what I am watching it for.

   To me what I really love about this show is that it centres on two older women in a business together who are intelligent and talk to each other. There is rarely romance that centres on either of them which I actually like. The thing that I really hooks me to it is when they talk to each other and solve the crime together.

   It is ridiculous in the way the crimes follow them around. This is not prime television hence it being a guilty pleasure but if I want to see a crime show that gives screen time to women and isn't too complicated, this is the show.

   I have to say it is a very British show, whenever they stay anywhere it's always in a pub with great beams. There is also an episode with Phyllida Law who I have always liked, she was in Kingdom as well (and fun fact she is Emma Thompson's mother). The leads are great particularly Pam Ferris who I love but I really like Felicity Kendall too. Definitely a guilty pleasure but I binged on it last week and it made me smile.  

   I found a couple of weeks ago the posts Dave Holmes did for Vulture going through past top 40 records. I found about this via Pop Culture Happy Hour (and NPR podcast) but I wanted to link to the one that made me laugh a lot, which mentions Passions the soap which sounds past nuts into completely insane. This is what I an recommending this week. Here is the link:

http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/dave-holmes-top-40-songs-nipplegate-super-bowl.html

   It made me want to read everything he's done for Vulture. It made me laugh so hard.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Some things that made me feel better

   I had a pretty shit week last week, hence the absence, but I am now feeling better. It's amazing what making chocolate cake can do for you, that and getting proper sleep.

   So while I was in my super shitty mood there were a couple of things that made me feel marginally better. Sometimes it helps to watch a silly trailer or a thing that is uplifting.

   So I genuinely felt a little better after watching Wil Wheaton tell people at a convention why being a nerd is awesome. When he says 'You find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can' it still makes me so happy. This is quite old by now, but it made me feel better in the moment, and you can see the link here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_BtmV4JRSc

   Sometimes watching something that is terrible also makes me feel better, like the trailer for the upcoming Katherine Heigl TV series due out in the fall in the US.

   To start I am not going to say that I hate her as an actress I don't know her work well enough. She may surprise everyone by doing an indie and reinventing herself. I want women to be on TV and do well. This though God it made me laugh. It takes itself from this trailer so seriously. It just seems so ridiculous including the tag line 'All The President's Men are nothing compared to her.' Just wow. 

   I will say the other women in the cast from the short amount you see them they actually do well. Including Alfre Woodard who I like a lot and is a really great actress (plus as a purely fluff thing looks amazing), and she's the President which I like in this. However you can see the link here to State of Affairs and laugh along with me, and be bad along with the rest of us on the low road:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlPJVmeA3t8

   This also made me smile so much. I love Madeline Kahn so much in everything. This I didn't even know existed until last week. She's singing with Carol Burnett, it just makes me happy. They also both look like they are having such fun, it really made me feel less mad. You can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYP6b-VFEJ4
  
   I also found last week this interview with Meera Syal, I have actually been to a live interview with her. I just really like her and really like the stuff that she does. I think also she was in episode of Doctor Who which just makes her more cool to me. You can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpk4NxSj0J0

   One of my guilty pleasures is Sister Act and what I really like in that film is the singing arrangements. Oh Maria is my favourite. The whole film is actually really fun, with Whoppi Goldberg being really cool. Anyway here is Oh Maria the song. It kind of never fails to make me at least smile for the music alone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHASQg8fR0s

   Anyway here is to a less shitty week!