Sunday, 21 May 2017

I'm Back! (Sunday Post #9)

Ran by Kimberly @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

There's a strong possibility that I took an unofficial week's hiatus whilst I finished off my coursework, but here I am, back just in time for Sunday Post.

News From the Reading Front

Since the beginning of May, I have only managed to read one novel.

Never Let Me Go: 2 stars. If you want to drown in my disappointment, you can read my review here

The good news is that I can now read however much I want, so today I started The Ice Cream Girls.

This is why I do not do book photography.

News From the Writing Front

Writing is happening too! I have a project for the summer. The word count goal is 75,000 words. It's perfectly managable (just over 600 words a day) and I will be disappointed with myself if I don't reach it.

(You're going to be disappointed then.)

Yeah... I know.

News From the Blogging Front

I now have a profile picture of something that probably isn't, but looks like ivy. By which I mean it's clinging to a wall. I am not a botanist.

Do you have any summer plans? Don't forget to link me to your Sunday Post posts!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Learning to Let Go (Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro)
I was really looking forward to this! I mean, it's billed as a science fiction novel, do you know how often science fiction and fantasy books appear on my course? Never. Except it's not really a science fiction novel. It's more of a dystopia. Granted, it has sci-fi elements in it, and dystopia is arguably a sub-genre of sci-fi, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

And it wasn't just the genre. There was nothing wrong with Kathy as a character, but I hated her narration. She felt the need to explain EVERYTHING, and she went off on tangents all the time. She'd start telling you one thing, and that would remind her of something else, and something else, and something the time she got to the point, you were more irritated than interested.

That's enough negativity. Here are the things that I did like:

  1. The use of terms like 'donation' and 'completed'. 
  2. I guessed the twists very early on, but I don't think that really affected my enjoyment of the plot. I didn't feel like they were supposed to be shocking - by the time anything was said outright, we were supposed to have accepted it, much like the characters. 
  3. The aversion of the usual fight-the-system plot. 
  4. The lack of exposition. Kathy assumes that she is speaking to someone who is like her, living under the same system and abiding by the same rules. Whilst the plot was tell, tell, tell, the world-building was all showing. It was clever.
  5. Despite her irritating narration, Kathy is genuinely relatable. She's worried about her friends. She's worried about being part of a community. She's worried about whether or not she herself is normal.
  6. You will genuinely care about the characters.

It's an interesting book, and certainly worth a read if you enjoy dystopian fiction, but I'm afraid it just wasn't my cup of tea. 

What's the last book you started reading believing it to be one genre when it was actually another?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

An Open Letter to Students during Exam Season

You can do this.

You may not think you can - you may even doubt your ability to string a coherent sentence together - but you've got this. If you managed to get into this place, then you are smart enough to scrape through first year, push through second year, and smash third year. You've been working towards this all year, so get your laptop and type that essay. Open your textbook, grab your highlighters, and colour code those notes. Stick them everywhere. Read them again and again until they're branded on the back of your brain. Do your research - find that piece of theory that'll make the difference between a 67 and a 70. Check your essays for contractions and, yes, we all hate it, but do your best to reference right. 

And when you feel like breaking down, like the world's crashing down around you, like you've already failed, take a break. Take a minute. An hour. A day. You can't work all the time, and it won't do you any good to anyway, so take that time when you need it. Go out for that drink with your friend. Watch that show. Play that game. Come back tomorrow refreshed and ready. 

Procrastination should be a deadly sin. Turn off your phone. Close Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest. Hell, disconnect the internet if you don't need it. Take yourself somewhere with fewer distractions, like the library, a quiet common room, or a coffee shop. Avoid people - the biggest distractions of all - just until you're done with your study session.

Reward yourself for things done right. A bar of chocolate. A packet of sweets. Something from the takeaway. Have something you're running towards, something you want. Tell yourself, "After that exam, I'm going to buy that book and read it in an afternoon," or grab your friends after you've submitted your final essay and go somewhere fun.

Look at the criticism they've given you before and feed off it. Tell yourself that they don't believe you can do it. Nothing will motivate you like having something to prove. Form feedback groups with your friends. Go and see your lecturers. Work out what you're doing wrong, and fix it.

You've got this.

Good luck.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Scarlet Novels
Today, we're linking up with the guys over at The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday

The prince hands the princess a red rose. The femme fatale wears red lipstick. The hero wears red. The traitor is caught because his hand is covered in his victim's red blood. Red is a colour with many meanings and many connotations.

(So we're going to use it in the most superficial way possible.)

Pretty much. Here are some red book covers. Happy Tuesday!

Don't forget to link me to your Top Ten Tuesday posts!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Reading Habits Tag

...This appears to be the only resolution I'm keeping.
The Reading Habits tag was originally created by The Book Jazz.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

When I'm at home, I like to read stretched out on the sofa. I also tend to read on the bus. Up here at uni, I don't really have a specific place. I read curled up on my bed. I read in the second floor common room of the English building that nobody else seems to realise exists. I read in the library. I read at the back of lecture halls. I read anywhere and everywhere that I can because my reading list is taller than most mountains and I'm scared it'll fall and crush me.

Where do you like to read?

Any spot the sun is shining on.

(You do realise that that makes you a cat?)

You do realise that that is one of the greatest compliments you could give me?


Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Folding the corner over. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/certain amount of pages?

Must. Finish. Chapter.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

That depends. Is there chocolate?

(She used to eat whilst she ate her tea, but then she read Blasted and almost lost her tea.)

Music or TV while reading?

Eh. If the book's good, I'll tune it out. If the book's not, I'll get distracted.

One book at a time or several at once?

I can read several books at once, but there's something satisfying about spending the day with just the one and finishing it in one sitting.

Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere. I would read on Neptune.

(You would die on Neptune.)

Not the point.
Reading aloud or silently in your head?
In my head, but, if the coursebook is particuarly bad, reading aloud can help me concentrate.

Do you read ahead or skip pages? 

...I have been known to read ahead at times, but I always come back to where I was.

(Not the point.)

Oh, shut up!  

Break the spine or keep it like new?


Do you write in your books?

Do I look like an animal?

(You fold corners and snap spines.)

Not. The. Point.

Who do you tag?

I don't really have anyone to tag.

(Not the -)

Jesus! Did you ever meet a joke you didn't run into the ground?

As I was saying, I've seen this on several of the blogs that I follow already, and I don't want to be a pain and tag anyone who's already done it. Still, you're welcome to steal it if you want.

Where do you like to read?