Forever – A Review

Forever by Judy Blume.

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I’m not sure how I missed Judy Blume books growing up, but I did. In fact Judy Blume didn’t come on my radar until a couple of years ago, I know she’s a well-loved and greatly respected author, but I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t read any of her work. That is until this book was selected by my Book Club ‘The Bookish Broads’ I asked the ladies to nominate books that they read at school and this one was picked. For those who aren’t aware it follows the story of Katherine and Michael, two teenagers who meet at a party and start dating. Whilst Michael has had sex in the past, Katherine hasn’t and this book deals with the first time in a really open and honest way.

Apologies if this is TMI (too much information) but I was a late bloomer in the sex department and I didn’t actually lose my virginity until I was 21. So I think had I read this when I was 13/14 it would have terrified me and I probably would have kept the book hidden from my mum. When Michael first starts asking Katherine to go further with him, I felt my mind suddenly jump back to all the things guys said to me when they wanted more than just kissing and hand holding and I said I wasn’t ready.

‘You’re not mad, are you?’
‘No.’
‘You’re sure?’
‘Yeah…but this is really tough…’
‘I know it…’
‘Give me a minute by myself; okay?’ he asked.

The really interesting thing about this book is the juxtaposition, at the beginning it seems like Michael is only interested in Katherine for sex, but by the end of the novel Katherine’s feelings for Michael subside and Michael seems to genuinely care for her. Judy Blume does a great job of introducing and airing the parental concerns and gives a great insight to a Family Planning Clinic. The moments of intimacy were realistic, sex can be messy and Judy Blume allowed for this, which is great as it prevents both boys and girls getting an idealistic view of sex. This was really easy novel to read and I think it’s a novel I’d allow my children to read.

Star Rating out of 5: 3.5

‘He led my hand to his penis. “Katherine….I’d like you to meet Ralph….Ralph, this is Katherine. She’s a very good friend of mine.”

I’m not going to lie, I laughed at Ralph…

Happy reading, Georgina.

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The Happy Reader – Autumn 2015

The Happy Reader – Autumn 2015.

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The person being interviewed in this season’s magazine is the multi-faceted actor Alan Cumming. Cumming is more than actor, he’s a performer, a cabaret singer, an artist and author. Chances are you know him from somewhere. The interview with him is really varied and I must say for the first time in a couple of issues, it’s clear to see that Alan is incredibly well read across a mixture of genres, and his love for the written word comes across clearly.

Up for the discussion is the season’s book ‘The Purple Cloud’ by M P Shiel. A book that is all about the end of the world, where there only seems to be one psychotic survivor. In modern day society we would probably view this book as incredibly ahead of its time as it seems to discuss the serious and very scary aspects of climate change. But as usual the hidden gem of this issue of the Happy Reader is an article entitled ‘Bear Food’ in which Naomi Alderman talks about her trip to the Arctic with the incredible Margaret Atwood. In the article Naomi talks about the impact of being somewhere so natural, and quiet, can affect busy minds who live in bustling cities like London or New York. There was something about it that just seemed to resonate with me, and even if it doesn’t make you realise how much we have changed as human beings over the centuries, it will certainly make you appreciate the things we take for granted.

Another brilliant magazine, long may it continue. The Winter copy arrived just the other day, so I’ll be sure to post a review when done.

Happy reading.

Georgina

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Dirk Gently – A Review.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.

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This book was recommended to me by my older brother. It was my dad’s copy I read and was one of his favourite novels. It’s hard to sum up what the books about really, because so much goes on and the characters are all tied to one another.

There’s an Electric Monk, a 200 year old Chronologist, a murder, a horse who can think and plenty of pizza. It sounds like a weird eclectic mix, and it is, yet there was something really enjoyable about it. Yes, of course the story is outlandish but as it develops it actually makes perfect sense, and all the elements get woven together perfectly by Dirk (and the author of course)

I even laughed at some points, but what I found bittersweet was how it’s taken me so long to read the book in the first place. Something my dad loved so much, that as a teenager I crinkled my nose at as I didn’t see how I’d enjoy it. But enjoy it I did and better late than never hey?!

Star Rating out of 5: 3

‘A few seconds later a door flew open a few yards from him and a woman ran out of it, wild-eyed and howling.’

I do have the second book ‘The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul’ to read but that may have to wait till I have the time. Don’t worry though, I’ll post a review when I’m done, just out of interest has anyone read this book? Or any other work by Douglas Adams who is probably most renowned for his epic novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – comment below if you have? I’d love to hear recommendations of his other work and of course your thoughts on this if you have read it!

Until next time.

Georgina

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What Else Am I Doing?…..

I often worry that my lovely, loyal readers think that I am procrastinating or taking my sweet time when reading books, but I assure you I am reading most of the time (largely in thanks to my daily commute to work) but I have also been busy this year, reading and reviewing books for the wonderful website Belle About Town.

Here are some of my latest offerings to the site, please do check them out.

http://belleabouttown.com/belle-at-home/books/book-review-the-bone-clocks/

http://belleabouttown.com/belle-at-home/book-review-darker-edge-of-desire/

http://belleabouttown.com/belle-at-home/book-review-devils-demise/

http://belleabouttown.com/belle-at-home/book-review-an-inside-look-at-a-woman-named-coral/

Thankfully my book reviews seem to be doing well and from March I will have a MONTHLY article on the site that will cover not one, not two but THREE book reviews. I’m really happy and love being part of the site, but don’t worry I won’t neglect you guys. Just yesterday I finished reading another book as part of the 2015 Reading Challenge in which I am partaking, and have started on another one today. So keep your eyes peeled for a review in the next day or two.

Happy, snug reading to one and all.

Georgina

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Currently Reading.

I was feeling so low on energy today that I let my kitten Mr Tibbs stick his paw into the jar and pick one out for me instead (you can witness the cuteness here; http://instagram.com/p/sseglEqCds?utm_source=partner&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=video)

But the book that was selected out of my TBR jar is…

 

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding.

 

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As usual, I’ll put a review up as soon as I’m done.

 

Happy reading fellow bookworms, and remember it’s ok to have more books than shoes.

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Book Review – Americana by Don DeLillo

I’m not familiar with Don DeLillo but upon uploading a photo of my latest selected book, quite a few people were quick to say how good ‘Americana’ was and how much they enjoyed it.

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I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. It follows David Bell who seems to be the All American boy, living the American dream. He works as a television executive, lives in a swanky apartment and has an ex wife with benefits, if you catch my not so subtle drift. But David seems displeased with his comfortable life and is desperate to expose the real America, or unseen America. The book is broken up into Four Parts, which show David at different stages.

In the first part David is an almost Patrick Bateman style character, and although there’s a lot of humour in the first part of the book, it’s also incredibly pretentious and hard to feel any kind of sympathy for the people he tries to screw over or spreads rumours against via Binky his secretary.

Four months earlier, at a party aboard a tugboat repeatedly circling the Statue of Liberty, she had gone around telling everyone she had dropped one of her pubic hairs into Mastoff Panofsky’s scotch and soda. Everybody was afraid of her’ – Like I said, you can’t help but feel that David is right to be growing tired of surroundings with such callousness and fakery, despite being one himself.

He sets out on the road to make a documentary on the Navahos but never quite makes it, instead taking time to make his own film. Don DeLillo has written the book so beautifully descriptive and poetic, that it’s easy to see how David sees life as one long motion picture made up of different moments. He uses people he meets in his journey to appear in his film, and it is in the second part of the book that we learn about David’s childhood and growing up. During this section of the book, I took that David was struggling to overcome the death of his mother and her illness and also grasp a better understanding of some of the moments he witnessed as child. There’s page upon page of imagery-laden dialogue, which at times could be hard to follow, as it seemed nonsensical, but I think that’s what DeLillo wanted. To make us feel as confused and ‘falling in’ on ourselves as David felt.

‘We plan the destruction of everything which does not serve the cause of efficiency.’

In the final parts of the book David seems to have emptied his conscience and soul of the doubt and need he had been carrying round, he continues his journey and meets numerous people on his travels, which offer him more insight and perspective to the real America and it’s people. A great book, which deals with everything from sex and death, to finding your calling in life and whether happiness can be achieved. I’d recommend this to people who love vivid descriptions of imagery and want something a little different than your typical ‘finding yourself’ novel.

‘All of these sounds in the warm house, of running water and steam, of shrill chalk and the rustling of paper, of voices known and of time moving down the Grandfather clock, all these, inflections of the house itself, all-comforting and essential, told me that I was safe.’

 

Star Rating out of 5: 5

 

Happy reading bookworms.

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Facebook – Book Nomination

I was recently nominated by a friend on Facebook to select the 10 Books that have ‘stayed with me’ – So I thought it would be nice to share them here too (you will notice some repeats from my previous posts and lists) but here it goes, in no particular order.

1) The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – I know it’s not a singular book, but the whole series captivated my imagination and gave me an incredibly immersive reading experience. I felt that Hogwarts was my home and I will always love Jo for giving me, and many others like me, a truly amazing book series with some of the best characters created.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is a book I read at High School and I remember falling in love with it straight away. It was easy to imagine the surroundings, the characters and the tensions. It’s probably one of the first books I read that made me feel heartbroken at the injustices and ignorance of society.

3) Matilda by Roald Dahl – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, minus the horrible parents and scary Miss Trunchbull, I felt that Matilda was a reflection of myself when I was younger. I found more contentment and happiness in books and powered through as many novels as I could get my hands on. It warms the heart.

4) Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield – The copy I own is literally falling apart, I’ve had to cello tape the spine together and have to be very careful with the pages, as some of them are loose. I adore this book, about three very different girls, who become sisters at an early age because of various tragedies. But each one with a different life ambition to the other. This book taught me that it’s ok to be different from other girls and that no matter where you come from, you are capable of achieving great things.

5) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – A book, I sadly, only read this year and one I regrettably wish I would had read a lot sooner. It takes an unflinching look at living day-to-day life with depression, and the painful journey to recover some normality and become you again. Quite heart-breaking but incredibly poignant and well written.

6) 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane – Technically this a play, but again it deals with loss and depression and was written after Sarah Kane’s partner passed away. It’s quite a harrowing read as Kane reflects on her incredibly personal experiences of dealing with grief. It’s quite fragmented as a read, but it provides an insight into subject matters that are usually pussyfooted around. A fine piece of writing and theatre.

7) Dracula by Bram Stoker – Incredibly atmospheric, well written and one of the first vampire novels I read. This is an absolute classic and is partly responsible in my life long fascination with vampires, much better than Twilight and the book to film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola is an absolute feast for Gothic Horror fans everywhere.

8) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It is a truth universally acknowledged, that I adore this book. It was the first book by Austen that my dad gave to me. And I became absorbed in the time period, I thought, and still do think, that Elizabeth Bennet is one of the strongest female literary characters ever written. So intelligent, headstrong and outspoken. A classic book, which I will never tire of re-visiting time and time again.

9) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Not only have I always loved Christmas more than anything, but also this book has so many morals and lessons to teach. A book that can save the soul and give a whole new perspective to just how beautiful and lovely life can be, if only you step back and stop being so self involved.

10) King Lear by William Shakespeare – This tragedy is probably one of Shakespeare’s finest pieces of work and yet doesn’t seem to be as favoured as other work. Truly heart-breaking but incredibly well written and filled with plenty of drama. If the ending doesn’t have you sobbing, I don’t know what will (Psst! I’m referring to the bit where Lear carries in Cordelia) Feel free to share your Top 10 in the comments section below.

Happy reading fellow bookworms!

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