My Book of 2015: YOU by Caroline Kepnes

7I can’t recommend this thriller highly enough and have so far rammed it down the throat of at least three fellow readers and gifted it more than once.

It’s the kind of book that you recommend but then instantly regret doing in case it’s not received as well as you’d like. So far reports have been fantastic but it still makes me nervous.

This thriller is so good that in some ways it’s spoiled me for other books in the same genre. I mean, how can they possibly compete?

But to the book itself.

It’s just really well written. Pitch black and peppered with film and book references, we’re given great insight into the mind of fucked up, yet somehow likable protagonist, Joe Goldberg.

Joe is a young, moderately successful man living in New York. He runs a bookstore and one day spots beautiful Guinevere Beck browsing the shelves. He does what every modern man would do, Googles her name (which he gets from her credit card) and stalks her online.

What follows is a dark tale of obsession, competition, loss and good old fashioned horror. I’m reticent to give too much away because a lot happens and it’s intricate in its design. It’s also genuinely terrifying in places.

As Joe fights to win the heart of the woman he claims to love, it soon becomes apparent that he’ll stop at absolutely nothing. Will he get what he wants or is it more complicated than that? Can a man like Joe ever truly be sated, even happy?

The thing about this book to me is that Joe feels like a neurotic Woody Allen type (Hannah and Her Sisters is quoted/referenced a lot) which lends it a retro feel, while still keeping much of the action, particularly the stalking element very modern, leaning on the pitfalls of social media for support.

This only makes the tale seem more real and potentially scarier. If we were all as careless as cavalier Beck with our online security, could we expect the same fate?

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Photograph not mine

Caroline Kepnes mentions Bret Easton Ellis as one of her influences on goodreads.com and you can really feel that in the tone of YOU.

Joe Goldberg is easily comparable to Patrick Bateman. Sure the former may be glossier, wealthier and bolder but Joe has certain Bateman qualities. Though Bateman kills for sport, it seems Goldberg justifies his blood lust as necessity and this is where they differ.

More often than not I just kept asking myself why Joe had to be this way. Surely he could just find a nice available girl and settle down? He’s obviously desirable, intelligent – but compulsion doesn’t work that way I guess and someone like that doesn’t just stop.

It’s harder to put your finger on why Joe isn’t completely repellent and that might have something to do with the fact that most of the other characters, including Beck and her best friend Peach, aren’t much better. They’re snobs and bitches and frankly, just not nice people. This doesn’t mean they deserve bad things but it’s easy to get it all twisted while reading this book!

I’ll park up here and just say what I’ve been saying for months: read this book. You can thank me later.

And you know the beauty of YOU, beyond everything mentioned above? There’s a sequel, and it’s good.

Book details:

  • YOU
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (18 Jun. 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1471137376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471137372
  • Bought paperback (new)

#weekendcoffeeshare II

Over coffee I might tell you about my week, which wouldn’t win any prizes for changing the world but had some definite highlights. And was thankfully, a little less manic.

Since it’s been a busy weekend, and I suddenly started feeling very queasy, I probably wouldn’t be all that talkative so I’d show you my Instagram feed instead.

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  1. I’ve just started reading this book. So far, so good – I love that it’s written from Chief’s perspective
  2. Sending out positivity helps me
  3. A trip to the local chippy with my work buds makes Friday even better
  4. This is Margo. Margo is the prettiest girl in the world
  5. I do love this guy, for like ever
  6. Baxter
  7. Nothing worth having comes easy, a mantra my mother used to share and now a display on my sister-in-law’s office wall. Too true
  8. My brother and Baxter, before Baxter went buck wild with a little black dog called Archie
  9. More Baxter because you’ve got to love Baxter

It’s been a lovely weekend in Kent with family, celebrating a late Christmas. Now to chill out and prepare for the week to come…

How was your weekend? ❤

Life Without Blogs

tumblr_mvlvsr1xaB1rs346ao1_500Your life without a computer: what does it look like? Via The Daily Post (January 27th 2016)

My life without a computer would be a lot slower but I’d probably sleep better.

I’d watch less films and I wouldn’t know anything new-wise very quickly as I never read a newspaper and seldom watch the news. Wrong or right, Twitter tends to be my go-to headline generator (then the BBC News website for the deets).

I’d survive though because if all computers and handheld devices suddenly imploded, what choice would I have?

It’s not so hard to remember my life without a device permanently strapped to my hand. Believe it or not I didn’t really get into texting until about 2000, which admittedly is now sixteen years ago – and ‘Smart’ phones were a long way off then. Facebook wasn’t even a thing until 4 years later.

Thems were simpler times. No #selfies, no Instagram or Twitter, blogs were about but were only just begun (in style of The Carpenters). I went out then, drank and obsessed over boys – and then if I liked a boy I would have to exchange numbers and call him. UGH.

If I didn’t have the internet, my phone, my laptop to entertain me, would I be doing those things now? I don’t think so. Call it an age thing but I’m happy to be ensconced on a Friday night and if not with my techy bits then the television and a good book. I’d still try to avoid the phone.

Would I ‘create’ more? Perhaps. I always need to have something in my hands while I relax, that’s just how I roll. Would I knit/cross stitch or draw? Who knows.

Things have changed so much and I don’t personally want them to go back to the way they were. Sure, we could all do with having time off the grid but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with moving in the same direction as technology.

It baffles me when people of my generation and older struggle with social media, or actively avoid it. I love new apps and new stupid crazes. I love a phone upgrade.

Most of all I love my blog and I wonder truthfully where I would have been without it all these years. Sometimes it doesn’t bear thinking about.

What are your thoughts? ❤

The A to Z of Me

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I saw this on Nerd About Town a couple of months ago and thought I’d give it a go. I’ve changed some of it though to make it more ‘me’.

Have a go if you fancy it.

Age 38.

Birthday 25th November.

Children No thanks.

Dream To write a book one day.

Envy Girls with shiny hair who don’t have to try.

Film True Romance or Kill Bill, my two all time favourites.

Goals Get a more creative job where I can write, be left alone and drink tea all day.

Hates Keyboard warriors and men who tell you they’re the nice guys then proceed to act anything but. Also, being Mansplained to.

Inspiration My mother. Jillian. Bjork. Tatty.

Joke Why does Rupert the Bear wear those yellow trousers?… Because he’s a C**T.

Kisses First kiss was with a scouser in Paris on a school trip. Best kiss was with my now husband at Vancouver airport when he came to visit and we kissed for the first time.

Loves Films, reading, food. Graffiti.

Memory My first memory is of my dad, I think. He was very ill and we lost him but I remember a gentle man. I remember the night Mum told us he was gone and I remember not understanding what that meant.

Nightmare Being trapped in a small confined space. Or shark infested waters. Probably the latter more so… shudder.

Occupation Marketing Executive. The ‘Exec’ part means fuck all, obviously. Considering a new job in 2016, not going to lie. I feel like a change is due…

Pet Hate Spitting. And people who scuff their feet on the ground as they walk. Bad grammar.

Quote “Comparison is the thief of joy”, “It’s all about the Bass, about the Bass no treble”.

References Available on request.

Sex No thanks, I’m English. Lolz.

Tattoos Loads and loads and more to come (first session 2nd February).

Unrequited Love I’ve had plenty – it feels rubbish but it also makes you feel ALIVE.

Vanity 
I know it’s not a nice quality and I try not to be vain but when you’re trying to love yourself I think a certain amount of it is permitted.

Wishes I’m trying just to be happy in life and happy in myself. So I wish for that to continue and grow. I also wish no more stress for my husband, who’s the sweetest person I know and he’s had enough.

X-rays (aka Broken Bones) Several. I fell off a pair of Spice Girl platform boots more than once in the nineties. Once I was dancing on a podium (GET ME), felt a crack and then… nothing. I got rushed to the hospital with my best friend behind me, freaking out. It was a fracture and no it didn’t stop me dancing for very long.

Yes Yes Yes Loungewear. Being cosy. Netflix at the weekend. Nice food. Good company.

Zzzzz (What bores me in other words, you try finding one for Z!) Numbers. Taxes. The details (I hate being pinned down to sort out the details). Having to make plans – can someone just tell me where to be and when? War films.

That’s me in a nutshell.

How about you? ❤

I Used To Love Him: Michael Jackson (AKA Teenage Idol)

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“Hey spider, you’ve got a Michael Jackson stuck to your butt…”

Who did you idolise as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin’ end? Via The Daily Post (January 11th 2016)

Justin Bieber? How young do you think I am?! (*Fluffs hair*).

It’s been quite a pressured week, so I’m taking time out to do a blog prompt because sometimes I like to seek inspiration rather than think for myself, alright? So sue me.

Obviously this week we very suddenly and shockingly lost a true legend in the shape of Bowie, and the world is still reeling. I haven’t seen this much widespread grief since Diana (or the person I’m about to wax lyrical about) and it’s incredibly sad.

It’s made me think on and off about heroes growing up, personal influences and how they mould us as young people and how we carry them into adulthood, like pretty, shiny talismans (men?).

I was obsessed with Micheal Jackson from a very early age. Like OBSESSED. Every video, album, film starring my boy – I was all over it. My Mum made me a ‘Bad’ birthday cake and there were MJ themed parties. I even convinced the girl next door, who was terribly uncool and ate only oranges and peanut butter, that I was named after my hero.

“Michael can be a girl’s name too, you know” is what I’d haughtily respond when she questioned me. I wish my name had been Michael to be honest but alas, my parents were not major fans themselves nor mind readers.

I would lie in bed at night with my Walkman plugged in, lip syncing the Vincent Price bit at the end of Thriller to myself. I knew all the words to Liberian Girl.

Man in the Mirror actually did make me look inside myself and ponder if I really needed to change. I decided the answer was no, I was only ten and perfect as far as I could see. 

Alas, my hero did some heinous things that caused his shine to all but extinguish. I won’t rehash those things here, nor will I deny them because I believe the accusations are true. There’s no defense and no amount of love for a former idol, who carried you through the awkward years into adulthood, that can excuse what he’s done.

My hero was messed up and then he messed up very badly. I think even before he died I’d forced myself to move on because good people don’t hurt the vulnerable, they don’t hurt anybody, even if they themselves seem vulnerable and childlike.

My ultimate hero wasn’t going to be a bad man even if he was Michael Jackson, King of my Heart. The first man I ever loved who wasn’t my father.

I can’t remember how I processed all that but I must of because by the time he died I was very sad but accepting. It had seemed only a matter of time, judging by his frail outward appearance and rumours of drug abuse. And again, how could I forgive him?

I still feel sad for the loss and that I’ve never felt the way I did about him since, about anyone. No more idols for me.

Actors and Musicians I like very much, sure but nobody I’ll ever pretend to be named after.

Day 31: Happy NY!

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The exact opposite of how I’ll be spending my NYE

Happy New Year everyone!

Whatever you’re doing with your evening; whether you party like it’s 1999, go to bed @ 9 or get drunk on cheap Baileys in your pyjamas in front of Alan Carr (me), I hope you have a great time.

And you know what? I’m a sucker for a “Go you!” meme, that’s no secret but I hope this fresh year brings you whatever you need. Maybe we’ll all change a bit and start 2016 with a fresh attitude. Maybe we will get that great new job or stop letting people take advantage of our better natures.

Maybe nothing at all will change. Maybe we’ll still be envious of a loved one, or too hard on our bodies. Maybe we’ll never pick up a sketchbook to find out if there’s an illustrator trapped within (me).

Any and all of that is okay. Let’s make a pact not to be horrible to ourselves about every little thing. If we want to make positive changes, let’s try to do that but every little bump in the road is not the end of the world. We’re already good enough, more than enough actually and we should learn to accept this.

So yes, that will be me starting to get a hangover after my second glass of lukewarm Irish Cream, probably having a bath with my book and trying desperately to stay awake until midnight, just because. That’s what we do in our house.

NYE makes me sad and I’ve always been relieved when it’s gone. But I like the promise of a new day, a new page. I just know that every day is a new page, not just the 1st January.

Catch you in 2016 my friends!