Everything I Know About Love – A Review

I’ve had this book sat on my shelf for a good few months; it came onto my radar when I overheard some female colleagues discussing it. I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. Dolly Alderton talks us through her teenage years and her first realisation of boys/men. Instantly I found the content relatable when she discussed MSN Messenger and the way you’d sign out and then back in again to get your crushes attention. I was guilty of this, I was also guilty of having the courage of being hidden behind a computer screen to say to a guy “You’re so cute, I really fancy you!” and then having the instant panic a second after hitting send of being rejected or laughed at so covering my back with a “Omg sorry, my cousin wrote that!” which when I think about it, was the worst excuse ever.

As the book goes on we learn about Dolly’s adult life, her early 20’s, nights out where she drank until the early hours of the morning (and still went to work) and the whirlwind relationships with men. There are moments of the book that are laugh out loud funny and some that really struck a chord with me. Especially when talking about her anxiety and relationship with drink. She looks at the power of female friendship and dissects how, as women; a lot of us tend to put what we think a man wants ahead of what we actually want. It’s these moments that I found myself nodding my head in agreement and feeling so happy to see someone being so open and candid about these things.

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It’s not a book that men should avoid either, Dolly hasn’t written this as some feminist manifesto or celebration of sisterhood, but actually takes ownership that there are no bad men or bad women, just some bad timings, decisions and ways of dealing with things. As she says later on in the book, and I’m paraphrasing here, no break up happens because you did nothing wrong, on some level you were responsible for the relationship breaking down, no matter how small. So don’t lay the blame on the man. You have to take responsibility and courage to look at what you did wrong too.  She also talks about dating in your 30’s (something I had some experience with) and once again I found her words to be incredibly true. Everyone has a history, especially if they’re single in their 30’s! One line particularly jumped out at me.

“If you lose respect for someone, you won’t be able to fall back in love with them.”

This made me think of my ex and our marriage breaking down, but it also made me think of myself. For many years I had no respect for myself and consequently found it hard to love myself and see anything worthy in me. It’s taken time for me to get where I am, and I still have days where I long to be that 17 year old girl with no worries or loss or heartbreak and that unshakable confidence I had at such a young age, but I’m getting there. I’m learning to know who I am, faults and all, and respect who I am, even love who I am. This book is more about friendship and the power of the “mundane” aspects of love that often get overlooked for not being particularly awe inspiring. But they’re actually the moments that mean the most (and the ones you should cherish) they’re the moments I know I long to share with my mum since her passing. The moments that seemed insignificant at the time but actually they were perfect moments between me and her. Dolly puts it more beautifully than I ever could.

“…it also happens when you’re lying on blow-up air beds in a childhood bedroom, sitting in A&E or in the queue for a passport or in a traffic jam. Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.”

It’s hard not to read and finish this book without taking stock of your life, thanking the world silently for all the good it gives you and enjoying the sun on your skin. It’s more than a book; it’s a hug and an awakening.

Star Rating out of 5: 5

Have you read it? What were your thoughts? Comment below, happy reading beauts.

G.
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The Importance of Reading

I’ve always been a bookworm. For as long as I can remember I have taken solace in the pages of a book to help me through breakups, heartbreak, loss, grief and stress. I also read just for enjoyment and find it really relaxing. But I know many people find it hard, some because they struggle with concentration, some because they suffer from dyslexia and feel intimidated and some people associate it with being forced to read the set curriculum at school. However reading is important and it’s something everyone should do and here’s why.

Reading has been found to enhance the connectivity in the brain and keeping the brain active can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also requires you to use your memory muscle which can decrease the decline of your memory. Not to mention reading expands your knowledge and vocabulary, but is also improves concentration and increases empathy. In the current climate we’re living in, I think empathy is lacking and the fact that people can gain more empathy from a book and gain more understanding of people and situations that they are likely never to find themselves in, is important. We could all benefit from being a bit more understanding to our fellow man.

Reading is also important as a form of entertainment and relaxation. Where possible, I always try to read the book version of a Film/TV series before I watch it’s translation to film. There have been times where the adaptation has been done pretty decently, but often the image I build up in my head is much more complex and multifaceted than it is on the screen. It’s also incredibly personal; it’s my mind’s interpretation of what I’m reading. Which is one reason I love hearing other people’s opinions of books I’ve read, to hear how they imagined it.

My boyfriend is one of those modest people who believes he’s not very smart, but actually he is. He thinks he doesn’t read a lot, but he’s always reading. Which brings me to my next point. Just because you don’t read books on the regular, it doesn’t mean you’re not a reader. You could be reading articles or forums, but you’re still reading! So don’t let someone shame you for not reading a conventional book. You’re still keeping your brain engaged and learning more so block out the haters.

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Likewise when you are reading books don’t let someone shame you for the subject matter or genre.  I’ll admit “chick lit” (I hate that term) is not for me but I wouldn’t shame someone for reading it, I really hate this modern mentality of shaming someone’s enjoyment of something. Just because it’s not your cup of tea, doesn’t give you the right to guilt someone else for enjoying it, so enjoy that book about the history of the Regency Revolution, or that tie-in Star Trek book and ignore what anyone else says. Just do you!

But above all my favourite thing about reading is the way it can bring people together, it opens the floor to discussion, it allows you to learn other perspectives and see the world through the eyes of someone else. It is the best way to escape without going anywhere. I don’t think I will ever stop reading and I’m proud to be a bookworm.

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In fact I would like to hear from you! I am looking for 5 people who would allow me to feature them on my blog, discussing your favourite book(s) and the impact they had on you. If you’re interested and happy to be involved, then please comment below. Until then, happy reading.

G.
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Love in the Time of Cholera – A Review

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I worked a lot during February, I was even working on Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind work at all, I happen to really love my job, nor did I mind working on Valentine’s Day. I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s just another day and if you love someone that much you shouldn’t need that one day to validate it or say it. Anyway, I digress, I went to Waterstone’s (other book shops available) a few days before and saw that they was doing a “Blind Date with a Book” and I figured as I’d be working and alone that I should play along.

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All the books were packaged in red paper and tied with brown string, a slight synopsis of the book inside, written elegantly on a brown tag with the price. I spent lots of time mulling over the choices but picked one out that I kept going back to. When I got home, I put it to one side and promised that after my 16 hour day in studio I’d open it up. Sure enough Tuesday 14th February arrived, the penultimate day of filming, it had been a long week, but I was trying to stay positive, just a few more days and then I had some time off to catch up on sleep and let my hair down. As luck would have it, it ended up being a really great day…I spent most of the day laughing, largely down to the company I was in that day. I went home feeling good, a smile on my face and after taking a quick shower I pulled the book onto my lap and tore the paper off. It was like Christmas, only with a gift I’d bought myself. And there it was. A book I had picked up MANY times previously but never bought, I smiled again.

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I have mentioned previously how passion is important, passion ignites the soul, makes your eyes shine brighter, and puts a fire in your belly. I ended up having a conversation with an amazing person about books in April and they mentioned this one specifically. Their passion came across to me so clearly that it was tangible, even though the conversation took place via WhatsApp. I swore to myself that when I got home that evening I would start reading the book, and that’s exactly what I did.

The style of writing was so accessible and beautiful that it was hard not to fall in love with it very early on, with Marquez using language so perfectly that was easy to envisage the people, the surroundings, the feelings. I felt myself following Florentino and urging him on, holding my breath and feeling his anguish as he waited for Fermina to reply. I melted at the romance, the declarations of love making me sigh and press my head against the tram window on my commute to work. The book spoke to my hopelessly, romantic soul and I was hooked.

My heart broke when Fermina returned and rejected Florentino and yet I remained hopeful that all would be okay, it had to be okay. Learning how the two lived over the years, separately yet still tied to one another, Florentino in his promise to never let go of his love for Fermina, Fermina with the ghosts of memories of Florentino sat in the park. Gabriel Garcia Marquez penned something so honest about the anguish of unrequited love, but also about the power of the human spirit, to withstand pain and heartbreak and still remain so vehemently hopeful. He writes of the passion of life and love and loss and does it so lyrically that there were times I forgot to breathe.

Even the more sensual aspects of the book, where Florentino takes various lovers, were written with an understanding that most modern writers tend to lack. I am a stupid, hopeless romantic and this book touched me. Entirely quotable passages that made me dog ear pages so that I could re-read them, tracing my fingers over the page to make sure I hadn’t dreamed them. This book is more than about love, it’s about the power of love, passion, the power of the human spirit, the courage to keep on going and to always keep hope. It’s made me crave for a simpler time, for more open communication and for less negative stigma attached to matters of the heart. Love is frowned upon and given negative connotations, like the advancement of technology, the world has become cold and demanding. Everything has to be instant. But sincerely why isn’t it ok to pen a love letter and post it? The excitement of receiving something you wasn’t expecting, a letter written in ink by the very hand you long to hold. I’ve never personally received a love letter, but the idea is so romantic to me.

This book awoken my soul and stoked the fire in my heart. A truly beautiful novel that will make you realise the importance of happiness and taking chances.

Star Rating out of 5: 5

“Sometimes their letters were soaked by rain, soiled by mud, torn by adversity, and some were lost for a variety of reasons, but they always found a way to be in touch with each other again.”

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Happy reading.

G.
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Passion…It lies in all of us..

During difficult times its basic human nature to seek solace. Our own little thing that gives momentary relief from the pain or distress we may be suffering. For some it’s carnal pleasure, others a large glass of wine or a double whiskey. For me it’s the written word.

It’s always been the way for me. As a child I dealt with being bullied by my peers by escaping and seeking comfort in between the pages of a book. Fictional characters from fictional worlds giving me the strength to believe I could and would be okay, that it was more important to be a good person as opposed to being pretty and popular (though you can find some lucky people who embody all these traits) I have spoken previously on my blog, albeit very briefly, that I lost my way with reading for a couple of years, then when my dad passed away I threw myself back into it, seeking comfort in The Deathly Hallows the evening before the funeral (I spent the whole night reading it as I couldn’t sleep and still feel it’s responsible for giving me the strength for one of the hardest days of my adult life)

I haven’t read much since November when my life took something of a turn and it’s taken me a while to get my head around things. Although I am reading more now than I was, I still have bouts of time where I just feel my head feels too fuzzy for anything to sink in properly. But one thing that helps is passion. This weekend my friend Fiona came to visit and I passed her a few books to try out (Fangasm, Fangirl and The Great Gatsby) and there was a moment where I got so excited gushing about what I loved about each of the books that it made me want to re-read them all right there and then. It gave me that fire, that passion that ignites in me whenever I discuss one of my nerdy loves (Buffy…Supernatural…books…to name but a few) and it made me realise that this is perhaps what I should do when I find myself losing my way. I should talk about the book with someone or re-read a book that set a fire in my soul.

I find comfort in the written word so much, and right now I need it so much. I need that escape to ease my mind and quieten down the chaos going on in there…So perhaps I’ll blog more when I’m feeling lost, about the books that mean a lot to me.

Watch this space and happy reading.

G.

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Short and Sweet.

I’m not going to give reasons or details about why I have been on something of a hiatus from blogging, but I have been. Things have been tough but I’m hopefully back and will be blogging more often. I just lost the concentration to read but it looks like it’s coming back.

Book review or two coming your way really soon.

Thanks

G.

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Dead Man’s Time – A Review

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James.

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Although I’ve always been slightly aware of Peter James, I’ve never actually read any of his work. This was part of a Secret Santa Book Swap we did at our Book Club ‘The Bookish Broads’ We each had to wrap up a book we had enjoyed and write a brief description on the front and then select one based on the blurb.

The story kicks off in New York during the 1920’s where a pair of young siblings find their father being kidnapped from the house, and their mother killed from gunshot wounds. Their father has associations with an Irish gang in New York and it seems the brutal murder and kidnapping is due to these seedy connections. When the young brother and sister are taken away from New York by their Aunt to start a new life across the pond, the young boy his passed his father’s pocket watch and a series of numbers. He makes a silent promise to his father (who is still just missing at this point) that he will come back one day and find him.

Fast forward to present day and we’re in Brighton where Aileen, an old lady, is brutally attacked (and later dies) and her house is burglarised of antiques worth millions of pounds. But one think that is missing, that although being worth millions of pounds on its own is worth more because of the sentimentality attached to it. The missing item is the pocket watch, and the dead old lady is the same young girl who left New York all those years ago with her brother.

What happens next is a race against time, Lucas Daly is determined to find the people who murdered his sister, but he also needs to get that watch back. It belonged to their father and Lucas, who is now in his 90’s, wants to keep the promise he made his father all those years ago. There are plenty of subplots going on, including a released convict who is set to get the cruellest and sickest revenge on Detective Roy Grace, Lucas’ destructive son who is both violent and frivolous with money and the strains of being a father and a Detective.

I have to say at times it did get somewhat confusing as there were an awful lot of characters, so it meant that it took a few seconds for me to remember who they were and whether they were considered the good guys or the bad guys. That being said, it was a cleverly woven story that passes through the ages and also calls on the basic human emotions of love and making the most of your time on earth. All in all not a bad standalone read, but I feel I would have had a greater understanding of some of the dynamics had I read some of the books in the ‘Roy Grace’ Series.

Star Rating out of 5: 3

Happy reading.

Georgina.

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Liebster Award

For the second time today I’d like to thank Lu-Lu’s Rants & Reads for a nomination.

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For the uninitiated, The Rules:

  1. Link and thank the blogger that nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
  3. Tag 11 other bloggers who have 200 or less followers
  4. Ask the 11 nominated bloggers 11 questions and tell them you’ve nominated them

Now for The Questions (dun dun dunnnn):

  1. Do you have a favourite reading spot? If so, where at and why? I think I’m one of those lucky people who can read anywhere, people at work even call me ‘the walking library’ as I tend to walk and read at the same time, however my favourite spot has to be a sofa in my house that is right next to my bookshelf. It’s perfect for me, it has a lamp and a place to put my mug of tea, there’s a throw in case I get chilly and plenty of cushions for me to cuddle up to if the book is scary or emotional…It’s perfect. Here’s a photo.
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  2. If you had a chance to meet an author right now, who would it be? Without any hesitation it would be JK Rowling. I have so much to thank her for, but I’d just love to sit and have a cup of tea with her. She’s a pretty amazing lady and I’m yet to read something of hers and dislike it.
  3. Which book is the most worn out on your bookshelf? It’s a copy of ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfield. I’ve had to cello tape the spine back together and some of the pages are loose, but I’ll never get rid of it.
  4. Hardback or paperback? For practical reasons I find paperbacks easier to carry round and read on my daily commute, however I’d always like a Hardback copy of an author’s work I love.
  5. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past month? That’s a tough one, I’d have to say it was probably ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green, I just felt it was quite convoluted and the ending was incredibly boring.
  6. If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would it be? This is a really tough question but I think it would be between Matilda or Harry Potter, they may be cliché but they’re the people I feel closest to in the literary world, I feel as though I shared my childhood and teenage years with them.
  7. About how many books do you currently own? How many have you actually read? I’d say I currently own around 200 books and I’ve read about 80 of them.
  8. If you could be any character, who would it be? (I know, this is a repeat but this is a good question!) It may seem like a silly one but probably Bridget Jones (minus all the smoking, drinking and binge eating) and the reason is because she never lets anything get her down too much. She has plenty of occasions where she could just give up, but she doesn’t, and I admire that most about her. Or, I’d be Hermione Granger.
  9. What genre do you read the most? I don’t really have a favourite genre to be honest, I will read almost anything if it piques my interest and is recommended to me.
  10. What’s your favourite part of going to a bookstore? Looking at all the new titles, staff picks, trying to search out an obscure title from my growing list of books to read. I also like the smell and familiarity I feel whenever I go into the bookstore, it feels like I’m amongst like minded people, and no one is judging me for taking a good hour to look around, feel the books, smell the books…It’s a nice feeling.
  11. What are you currently reading? I have a lot of books on the go at the moment. I’m reading ‘Wishes and Sorrows’ by Cindy Lynn Speer, ‘Possession’ by A.S. Byatt, ‘The Penguin Book of Witches’ by Katherine Howe and ‘World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War’ by Max Brooks.

Here are the questions for the blogs that I choose: 

  1. If you could only bring 3 books with you to a deserted island, what would they be?
  2. If you could be any character, who would it be?
  3. How many books have you read this year, thus far?
  4. What was your favourite childhood book and why?
  5. What’s the best book you have read this month?
  6. Is there a book you hated when you were younger, but love now?
  7. What is your favourite book to screen adaptation and why?
  8. If you could have a drink with three authors, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
  9. Which fictional characters death has upset you the most?
  10. What’s your favourite genre of book?
  11. What are you currently reading?

 Those are the questions folks! Now, I am only choosing five bloggers (apologies if you have over 200 followers)…so here are my choices:

Books and Bookmarks

Len’s Soapbox

It’s All About Books

Jacke Wilson

The Readers

I look forward to reading your replies, until next time.

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