Goodreads & Badreads

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I logged onto my Goodreads account today after a hiatus of what feels like months. As the page loaded on my laptop, my eyes flew to the part of the right hand bar labelled ‘2015 Reading Challenge’ and with dismay I read in smaller print, ‘14 books behind schedule‘.

How judgmental is that? In fairness, I asked Goodreads to help me with this challenge and the fact is, I am far behind the already amended 50 book goal for this year. I started 2015 with the idea of smashing 75 but then I realised even I, the ultimate homebody, have a life.

I don’t know how I ended up shipwrecked without a book for so long. Well, that’s not strictly accurate, I suppose. I did have a book on the go and it halted me in its tracks. Do you want to know who I’m blaming for my currently reader’s block? Sarah Waters.

I should preface this accusation with the fact she is one of my all time favourite writers. I’d never picked up a book of hers that didn’t tip me straight into whichever world she was illustrating at the time. The Little Stranger is without question one of the scariest, most gripping books I’ve ever held in my hands. In fact, they’ve all been exceptionally good… and then came The Paying Guests.

I just haven’t been able to get into it and I don’t understand. The lead up has been tedious. It’s certainly well written and everyone I know who’s read (and finished) it has told me the same thing: “Hang in there and then you won’t be able to put it down”. But when godammit?

I’ve tried so many times to pick it up, I’ve even tried listening to Juliet Stevenson read it to me on YouTube as I work and still it plods on. When will it get good?

It pains me not to finish a book, even one I’m not into, more so when people are telling me it’s brilliant. What if I miss out? What if it is the best book I’ve ever read after the first 500 (it feels like) pages? Argh.

So then I thought, maybe if I read something trashy it’ll reignite my reading fires, and make me want to reach for something great. So I bought Grey in Sainsbury’s for a few quid and it’s made the whole situation worse.

I’ve read the trilogy. I’ve seen the film. I’m not what you’d call a massive fan of either, though I don’t regret any of the time spent on it. I like to be up to date culturally but honestly, enough has got to be enough already, no? Who cares what Christian Grey thinks? Who cares how he justifies his actions to the reader? I’ll review it properly when I’ve finished but for now it’s just another book I’m not looking forward to reading at night.

I know I’ll come through this. I know the next story I read will change things and then I can get back into reviewing books and loving books that way I always have. And then maybe Goodreads can get the hell off my back for a while.

My To Read pile is almost as tall as me but if you have any recommendations, they’re always welcome! Bring them on.

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50 Shades of Grey (Film) Review

fifty_shades_of_grey_ver3I’ve thought long and hard (giggle) about this review for some reason and I don’t really know why. I think it’s because reviews of crappy films often annoy me.

I mean, the rule doesn’t necessarily apply here in exactly the same way but with a film such as The Expendables, for instance, there is always so much huff and puff about how it’s light on plot/the dialogue is shit/acting not up to much and I think, well duh but it’s fun, isn’t it? Is this not why we are here? (In style of Maximus Decimus Crowe).

With this in mind, I’m not going to tear this film a new one just because it’s inspired by a very badly written trilogy of books, about a frankly iffy relationship. I had a lot of fun with my movie date and passed through a range of emotions during the viewing, including: embarrassment, mirth, bemusement, rage and indifference.

50 Shade of Grey (2015)

I didn’t like the books but I read them anyway, so I had a point of reference when people talked about them. Wanting to be part of it is why I went to see the film, and because I wanted to see how it’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson had adapted it, even with the input of E.L. James.

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“Ermahgerd you’re, like, so hot Mr Grey, ermahgerd!”

Let’s quickly do the negatives: This film is by no stretch the worst I’ve ever seen but it does have a TV Movie vibe about it. The acting is okay, borderline wooden at times. I think Dakota Johnson is quite likeable, despite being a bit of a caricature of ‘sexy’ with her breathy voice and big eyes. Jamie Dornan really doesn’t do it for me and I just don’t think there’s anything stand out about his performance, though they both do what they can with what they’ve got.

The dialogue is terrible, mainly because James is a truly horrible writer and it seems as though Taylor-Johnson lost the battle to refine it. At least we’re spared the whole ‘inner goddess’ schtick though, which is a massive Pro and should go on the positives list.

The sex scenes are a lot saucier than I expected, which probably sounds like a ridonkulous thing to say about a film about BDSM but I know what I mean. I was reassured by the fact that it was actually quite sexual, I thought it would be pseudo-sexy but somehow decidedly innocent. They actually do fuck, which is nice.

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