Tag Archives: Literature

Weekly Digest

This week I am seriously digging:

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Atlanta, Season 2

The first season of Atlanta was so good, I feel like I’ve been waiting a life time for it to return. And now Donald Glover and friends (including the amazing Lakeith Stanfield) are back and it’s just as good as ever. Not only is deeply observational, it also has a lot to say about the state of the world, from the point of view of its mainly black cast.

It’s also funny as hell with some of the most off the wall scenarios (particularly episodes 1 (“Alligator Man“) and 6 (“Teddy Perkins“)). One of my favourites so far is episode 5, “Barbershop” which is pure perfection in its simplicity but is written so well and made me cackle all the way through.

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Killing Eve

I’m two episodes into this Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-written thriller and I’m frankly OBSESSED. Starring Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw and always-flawless Jodie Comer as super-assassin Villanelle it’s already been pretty explosive.

Currently playing on BBC America it’s one of my most favourite current shows and I can’t wait to see how Oh’s Eve Polastri fares in her mission to uncover the identity of the woman knocking off several of the world’s most prolific people. What’s more this all feels very female and while we do meet your usual bullshit male bureaucrats, it’s very much the women who shine here.

Jillian, I think you will LOVE.

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This Jumpsuit (Above)

Look at this total babe in her orange kimono sleeved jumpsuit.

I can’t imagine myself looking half as good as this in it, however I still want to swan around in this in the warmer months, a straw bag swinging from one arm and my own statement earrings embellishing my ear lobes.

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Penguin Modern Collection

There are 50 books in the Penguin Modern collection and are only £1 a pop, so you can grab yourself some classics from the greats without breaking a sweat. So far I’ve got:

Fame by Andy Warhol
New York City in 1979 by Kathy Acker
Food by Gertrude Stein
The End by Samuel Beckett
Investigations of a Dog by Franz Kafka
Three Japanese Short Stories by Akutagawa and Others
The Breakthrough by Daphne Du Maurier
The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson
and The Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

Not bad for under a tenner, eh? And they look amazing on the bookshelf or in my case, dotted around the flat.

What are you digging this week?

The Jane Austen Book Club (Film) Review

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Since Sunday was a complete and literal wash-out with torrential rain all day and even snow in some places in the country, there was no feasible way to leave the house.

So nice food was purchased, PJs were thrown on and this film was put on the box. And it was perfect in every way. I’m reliably informed that the weather was no better over on Jillian’s side of the pond, which makes me feel even happier. Cosy days ftw.

Annnywaaaay… to week 3 of Free for All Month!

*Spoilers*

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

IMDB Synopsis

Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships — both old and new — begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

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Any excuse to post pictures of this hair cut

My Review

Six time divorcee Bernadette (Kathy Baker) meets stick-up-her-arse Prudie (Emily Blunt) at a Jane Austen film festival one afternoon and an idea is born – The Jane Austen Book Club. Six books, six club members and a whole lot of chat is what is envisioned – that it will cheer up Prudie, whose husband has just cancelled their planned trip to Paris is a bonus, and the very reason she agrees to Bernadette’s plan at all.

B figures it will also be just the tonic for her recently dumped friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) and recently bereaved (from a dog) friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello). Throw in Sylvia’s wilful daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) and a hot young man picked up by Jocelyn in a bar (Hugh Dancy) and we have our special six.

Sci-fi nerd Grigg, the hottie from the bar, has never read a word of Austen but Jocelyn figures maybe he’ll give depressed Sylvia a much needed confidence boost now her husband of many years has chucked her for another woman, who doesn’t even have the decency to be younger. Grrrrrr.

Each of our club members has their own issues, some of which mirror Austen’s subject matter beautifully. Bernadette just loves the romance of falling in love and being married, and despite six failed marriages is up for a seventh if the opportunity presents itself.

Sylvia is devastated when Daniel (Jimmy Smits) unceremoniously calls time on their long-term marriage because all the sneaking around isn’t fair on his mistress. ON HIS MISTRESS. He wants to quit while they’re ahead and before they hate one another. Shame he’s such a toad then really. Slowly but surely however, Sylvia does what us women do best, she picks herself, dusts herself down and realises that all men as rubbish (sort of). But seriously, she does start to change for the better and it’s glorious. Will the couple work out their differences when Jimmy Smits inevitably realises his huge mistake? Hmm.

Beautiful accident prone lesbian Allegra meanwhile, definitely doesn’t need a man. She loves to fall in love. Quick fiery love that turns bad quickly before she moves on. She dumps a girl who steals one of her childhood secrets for a story (fair) then moves on to the doctor who treats her after she falls off a climbing wall. While Allegra enjoys these temporary romantic highs, Sylvia encourages her to work through her relationship issues instead of running at the first hurdle. But will she?

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“Excuse me miss, do you know where they keep Bitch Planet?”

Then there’s Jocelyn who puts all her time and affection into her dogs and claims never to have been in love with a human man (understandable). When she meets Grigg there’s an undeniable chemistry though she’s trying to palm him off on Sylvia and he’s confused. She won’t read the books he recommends but he’s fallen in love with Austen – and will you just bloody bone already?! Will our potential love birds finally sort. it. out – or will they pass one another by?

And finally, stuck up Prudie with the excellent hair. God what a pain in the arse. Prudie breaks into sporadic bursts of French in conversation and dreams of Paris. She’s a French teacher (naturellement) who’s never been to France and she has bit of thing for one of her students. While her husband is something of a bonehead, Prudie fantasises about a burning desire that will consume her. And when she’s not doing that, she’s judging others and being mean to her obviously mentally ill mother. Prudie is not likeable in the least but when she finally makes a decision about her marriage, I actually cried. Like, you did the right thing, girlfriend.

So there it is, our six romantic fuck-ups, each to host a club evening and each responsible for one of Austen’s books. Will their personal issues eclipse the beauty of Jane’s stories or bring them all together?

Well, what do you think?

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Reading is hot

My Thoughts

This is a lovely bit of fluff pretty much guaranteed to comfort you like a pair of old slippers, especially if you like the classics and Jane Austen herself. It makes me ashamed I’ve only read two of the six novels (Emma and P&P) but definitely makes me want to add them all to my Amazon wish list.

I think Blunt really stands out here as the not particularly pleasant Prudie, though I find it hard to accept she’s so close to giving up everything for that snotty oik Trey (Kevin Zegers). I get we fancy who we fancy but he’s so utterly dull I don’t get the attraction.

I’m also very much here for Bello and although I don’t resent her the romantic side story, I’d also have accepted her not bothering with a partner ever again. And I definitely wish Sylvia had told Jimmy Smits where to shove his sorry arse when he came crawling back but the message I know is that sometimes we work at relationships no matter how hard because we’re committed to them (à la Persuasion).

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Pretty much my dream scenario

I loved it.

My Rating

5/5. What would Jane do?

What does Wifey think about this one? Would she consider it a classic or dump it instead? Find out here.

Such Small Hands (Book) Review

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It would be very hard for me to go in too deep on this book because it’s very hard to define. It’s stunning though; macabre, fascinating and eery as hell.

Marina is seven and has just become an orphan, after her parents are killed in a car accident. The same accident strips the skin from her ribs and leaves her body scarred for life. Her personal mantra has become “My father died instantly, my mother in the hospital” and she wheels it out whenever she’s asked to tell her story.

In the hospital, Marina is given a small spooky doll by the doctors and it becomes her constant companion, her confidante.

One day she arrives at the orphanage and creates a ripple amongst the little girls who already live there (less a ripple more a tidal wave, honestly). The girls’ obsession and their love for Marina while pure, isn’t always kind and they torture her daily with their teasing, their silence and their tricks. They steal her doll and deliver it back to her body part by body part, and bury what’s left in the ground.

But at night, everything is different. At night they play Marina’s game.

Based on a terrifying real-life event, Such Small Hands is a poetic horror story molded from the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. It’s nightmarish and pretty at the same time, like some of the most appealing things in life and I couldn’t recommend it more. I hope it leaves you as breathless and creeped out as it did me.

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Book details:

Such Small Hands
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (3 Aug. 2017)
ISBN-10: 1846276438
ISBN-13: 978-1846276439
Gifted hardback (new)

What are you currently reading?

Kudos to Andrés Barba for his amazing author photo. Look at it! (above).

#one becomes #two

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Just under a year ago I claimed the blog title Two Girls One Book Club in a moment of absolute genius. I mean, you have to be a bit of a filth pot to get the thinly veiled reference but it’s classy as well, you know? Just like me.

The plan was to blog with another friend about books but it never came to fruition. Busy bees and all that.

Don’t weep for me just yet though, as there is a happy twist to this tale of how the #onewomanbookclub is well on her way to becoming one half of a perfect pair. It’s quite beautiful, actually, to have found a partner in literary crime. What? I’ve got dust in my eye.

A bit about my gorgeous reading buddy, S. Not long ago she sent me a lovely email asking for book recommendations. We’ve met only once in the flesh, through her boyfriend, who I’ve known for a good few years. In her message, S said she wanted to get into reading more and I bang on about books more than is strictly necessary because the printed word is my friend, so I guess I was a good bet. Not that I’m an expert obviously, I just know what I like.

I swiftly sent back a list of my favourites (and titles that I actually own), she shot back her own picks; which included some biographies, and a few that are right up my alleyway, genre-wise.

Luckily for us, our partners work together, which means we can send care parcels back and forth without much effort and this is always a great thing. But the best thing about #twogirlsonebookclub? Our emails. I love when I can talk frankly about my geeky obsessions and although this is something I can do in my own home, with my family and certain friends, it’s nice to find a girl after my own heart, not just when it comes to literature.

I don’t know where #twogirlsonebookclub will lead. I’m sure we’ll move on from emails to double dates (whether our boys like it or not), so we can talk books face to face. Maybe we’ll start an actual book club one day. Maybe we’ll take on new members.

Maybe the Two Girls One Book Club blog with become a thing, with actual posts on it. Maybe it won’t.

All I know for sure is that books are great and I’ve made a beautiful new friend because of them. We probably would have become real friends anyway, in some way or another, but books paved the way.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

tumblr_n0c8amSTuP1svu7e2o1_1280All images via Google.

 

Geek Love Review

Geeklove_bookcoverBefore I even finished this book, I was thinking about how I would review it. Not all books deserve a review in my eyes (Bellman & Black, I’m looking at you) but this one is so multi-layered, so fantastic and dark that it really does deserve to be talked about. I’m just mad it took me so long to get my hands on a copy.

But where to start?

I feel I should preface this post with the statement that I love anything freak show themed. I know it’s human nature to be fascinated by the unusual and the macabre, but I really am attracted to the darkness. What can I say?

While reading Geek Love I was put in mind of American Horror Story Freak Show (which I have still yet to finish). I swear it must have been inspired in part by Katherine Dunn‘s novel. The Wikipedia page however, doesn’t mention the book at all so I guess I’m way off.

But anyway, I love this book. I knew I would even before I’d even cracked the spine. It’s got all the hallmarks of a book that will stick with me for life and has automatically clawed its way into my favourites list. It is that good.

To the book. The story of the travelling Binewski family is told to us by Olympia (or Oly) Binewski, the hunchbacked albino dwarf and daughter of Al and Crystal Lil, carnival owners.

Split between two-time periods, the book flits from current day right back to Oly’s childhood and covers most of the events that lead up to her living in a run down tenement in a room down the hall from her grown up daughter, Miranda, who doesn’t know that Oly is her mother.

Oly has several siblings: Arturo (or Aqua Boy), her older brother (who has flippers for hands and feet), the Siamese Twins, Electra (Elly) and Iphigenia (Iphy); and younger brother Fortunato (or The Chick), a ‘normal looking’ angel of a child, who just happens to have telekinetic powers.

You could say that the children were born special, and while that’sgl_bookcover3_large true, we soon learn that their unique idiosyncrasies were predestined. Geek Love isn’t Enid Blyton and is shocking in parts. Early on we learn the origins of the Binewski kids; and that Crystal Lil and Al deliberately engineered a family of freaks to fill up the show.

This band of geeks though, although loved, unfortunately did not come out in perfect succession. We meet the rest of the ‘children’, as introduced by Oly, the offspring that didn’t make it; fated to float for all eternity (or at least for the rest of the family’s days) in cloudy formaldehyde in their own creepy trailer.

Continue reading Geek Love Review

My Week in Pictures – February 02 to 06

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This week was sent to test me I believe but I can only assume, since I am here at the tail end of Friday with a smile on my face, that I have passed that particular exam. If not with flying colours, then at least in one piece.

I’m still in hibernation mode, honestly so have made minimal plans to see anybody after work and at weekends and I really don’t mind. It’s cold and a good time to get other shit done. I’ve also been feeling very overwhelmed (at work only) and a bit sick so it’s nice to be feeling more myself today!

Pictures, left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Some amazing new graffiti along Upper Lewes Road near work (and home). My colleague (more of below) and I took a short walk to Graffitiville at lunchtime and got these lovely shots
  2. This week has mostly been sponsored by sugar
  3. More graff
  4. Hair and arse courtesy of Mother Nature, pose all mine (was posing for a look at my new bag post, coming soon. Maybe)
  5. My beautiful and talented friend, Tatty of tattyfrankland.com, being all sexy and stuff in the graveyard. NBD
  6. This is Tom. Tom’s all manly and things, carries a penknife and eats donuts like Bear Grylls eats beetles (or something)
  7. Rabbit Rabbit (more graff)
  8. I’m only a few chapters in but I’ve wanted to read this creepy book forever. Finally I sourced a cheap copy and so far so good. It’s about a child serial killer. Review to follow #onewomanbookclub
  9. Stranger danger (more graff)

So, that’s my week. Pretty standard stuff but good. Thank God for the two Ts I work with. They make even the shittest days much easier.

IMG_20150205_131018I have to share this also, that I returned home from after work drinks on Wednesday in an absolute state with a migraine and sickness (leftover from the bug), having had an absolute stinker of a day in the office, to a card from my lovely mother. I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing it (left).

Proof that mums (the good ones) have a sixth sense about these things, know when you’re having a crappy time even though you haven’t told them and will always have your back. I love you Mum, and I’m confident that you’ll read this, being my most loyal of all readers.

So, how have your weeks been, loves? Happy weekend!

My Favourite Books

07bfe61dd392b74053edf7f34bf4ab4fI promised a post about my favourite books not long ago, though I didn’t realise then how hard it would actually be to compile my list.

I’ve gone for the traditional Top Ten format but I could honestly go on for hours about all the important books, the life saver books and the milestone books I’ve read in my life time.

I did think it was important to be honest about my most beloved texts, and include books that have mapped my life and love of the printed word, rather than be all pretentious. It would be ridiculous to say that I only ever read Sylvia Plath for instance, when we all know I’d rather have my nose in a Jilly Cooper.

*NOTE: Whilst reading back this post, it was peppered with “I loved it”, “It broke my heart”, “It’s soooo beoootiful!”, etc. I sounded like a giddy teenager. Let’s just agree that if a book is on this list, I loved it and it moved me in some way, K?* 

So without much further ado, in no particular order:

~

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The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) by Stieg Larsson
When I think about these books it makes me want to pick them up and read them all over again. They are ace. Reading them, one after the other, is like immersing yourself in an amazing action movie that never lets up.

I’ve mentioned my love for Lisbeth Salander before and can honestly say that nobody has ever come close to her (for me) as a literary character (though I’m willing to wait for someone to come and match her). She is everything: strong, complex, spikey; kick ass.

The entire story is full of twists and terrible acts, is exhilarating, well paced, intriguing and bloody thrilling. I adore Mikael Blomkvist too, investigative journalist and main character. As he accepts a mysterious freelance assignment in the wake of a libel case he’s just lost, Mikael finds himself deeply embroiled in a dark family history. It’s a case that will grip you from the get go.

Also, if you’re ever stuck for something to do of an evening, Wiki the late Steig Larrson because his real life was fascinating and not so far removed from the trilogy that made his name. I am gutted that I will never read another book written by him, or meet (his) Salander again.

Continue reading My Favourite Books