Spring is finally here, tuneful birds have returned to our shores and trees are slowly unfolding their limbs. And to mark the most hopeful season of the year I have made a playlist that hopefully addresses the fresh and freeing feeling of Spring.
I love reading, it is one of my favourite things to do, but sometimes life gets in the way. So here is a collection of books that I have started reading but am yet to finish.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
I started reading this book years ago, and I mean years. There is photographic evidence of me reading the book on one of our family holidays to Greece, when I was 10! So that was way back in 2003! I think I got up to something like chapter 11 or 12 and then I just stopped, I lost where I was in the book and the next time I picked it up I just couldn’t remember what had happened in the story. 15 years later I still haven’t read the book. Will I read it someday? I don’t really know.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Quite often I have a love hate relationship with classics, their language is beautiful but archaic, they are problematic in their depictions of Women, other ethnicities and social issues when read from a modern point of view. And so on. But Dorian Gray, I really wanted to love it, and maybe I just attempted to read it at the wrong time, but I found it, dare I say…boring.
1Q84 part 1&2
I love Murakami, I love what I’ve read of 1Q84 so far, but I started reading the book at a really stupid time, just before I started my French module in Uni. That year came and went so quickly and I then had to start reading what has felt like 1 million books for this years studies and as such 1Q84 has sat patiently on the shelf, same for Killing Commendatore too. I promise I’ll get to you two this summer!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
I received a ebook copy of this book before it was published, I read some of it, but for a reason I can’t remember I stopped reading it. This book has since been so hyped that I’m kind of curious to get back into it and finish the story as I did get quite a way into the narrative.
A Discovery of Witches
Having watched the Sky Tv Series based on this book I naturally bought it immediately and started reading it, however it is a rather large book and there have been several novels that I have had to prioritise reading as they are in my course and most likely in my exam in June. So I will have to rediscover A Discovery of Witches this summer.
Le Petit Prince
I set myself the goal of reading a French book in its entirety last year, I failed but I did get quite a ways into Le Petit Prince which is probably the most famous French book from the 20th century. I will dive back into it as I still want to achieve this goal, and hopefully it will also help improve my french so that I can start reading more complex french novels!
So that’s all the books that I started reading and haven’t quite got round to finishing. I wonder how many of these I can get finished this year, shall I aim to get them all read in 2019? Let me know in the comments section what you think!
We are a little late but here is our book club pick for March. We are reading The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle. We will also discuss our opinions on last months pick Normal People by Sally Rooney!
In celebration of all the epic Females in the world I’ve made a playlist full of empowering songs by some of the best Female vocalists on the planet. Have a listen and embrace what it means to be a Woman in the 21st century and have a great day!
And if you need a little extra inspiration read Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman which was the starting point for Laura Mvula’s song of the same name which this playlist aptly starts with.
If you have any awesome tracks to suggest, then pop them down bellow in the comments section!
This post is about all the books I’ve read in January and February, pretty standard really and the title already told you that so this sections is obsolete really, so perhaps we’ll just get into the content then…
Oh and before you judge me for only reading six books these past two months I actually read a few more than whats in the picture but seeing as they were either in uni reading materials or online they can’t be present in this cute little pile of physical books.
FRANKENSTEIN BY MARY SHELLEY
Oh how I really wanted to love this novel. I love the Gothic genre and the fact that this was a young female writers first novel, in a time where men prevailed and she had the “apparent audacity” to publish it under her own name! In places there are intense moments of wonder (often when the wretched monster is speaking) and there are also dragging moments of boredom (do you really need to ramble on so much about mountains and nature – I get some of it and the symbolism, but just a little less would have been appreciated). Overall, Shelley’s work is a classic, a necessary read but I don’t think I’ll ever pick it up again.
THE SANDMAN BY E.T.A HOFFMAN
Weird, disturbing and has inspired so many people authors such as Neil Gaiman to evidence for a theory by none other than Sigmund Freud! The Sandman is at it’s heart a Kunstmärchen, a Fairy Tale not the Disney kind folks, the traditional ones where people died and had to endure harrowing acts of violence and misfortune. The story mixes so much but at the heart is the effect of childhood nightmares on the adult psyche (and now you know why dear old Freud was interested).
THE THINGS YOU CAN SEE ONLY WHEN YOU SLOW DOWN: HOW TO BE CALM IN A BUSY WORLD BY HAEMIN SUNIM
This book is a nice relaxing massage for the mind. I read it one afternoon when it was all rain and wind outside and I have never felt so chilled out while reading. Haemin Sunim is a Buddhist monk, of the Zen/Seon sector which I’ve mentioned that I have a deep interest in in the past, so my reading of this book is perhaps to be expected. I feel like I will return to read this little book of wisdom time and time again and I can’t wait to read his newest release too.
I’LL GO ON BY HWANG JUNGEUN
The story of two sisters and their childhood friend as one of the sisters navigates pregnancy doesn’t really sound like riveting stuff, but let me tell you that this book is one the best books I’ve read for a very long time. It explores three very close but different lives and the effect of past actions and relationships on current thoughts and behaviours. I’ll Go On is also full of Korean cultural references that have allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the society as a whole. Throughly enjoyable and really thought provoking, I may have also shed a tear or two.
WINTER WOODS (PART 2) BY COSMOS & VANJI – WEB COMIC
Winter Woods is a webcomic inspired by Frankenstein, but instead of The Monster, an alchemist creates a sensitive young man who has lived for more than a thousand years when the story opens. He slowly finds himself falling in love with a woman called Jane who teaches him what it means to be truly alive.
The artwork in this webcomic is absolutely stunning and the story is so uplifting and cute, so you should definitely check it out on Naver Webtoon.
MR SALARY BY SALLY ROONEY
Here starts my Sally Rooney binge, this is a short story and like Rooney’s other work it explores relationships, and more specifically complicated and unlikely relationships. Fast and interesting I really enjoyed this introduction to Rooney who is fast becoming a literature sensation.
THE SIGN OF THE FOUR BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Having read a A Study in Scarlet many years ago (which I enjoyed) I was relieved when this book was part of my uni course. However I didn’t really think much of it. If anything I think The Sign of the Four was a little contrived, Conan Doyle was clearly writing about the British Empire and her pursuits in India to cash in on the Victorian anxieties about The Indian Rebellion of 1857, which was finding itself as the subject of many literary works of the time. Published in cheap magazines and read by the masses, The Sign of the Four was predictable and Romanticised a country (that Doyle never stepped foot on!) in turmoil for mass market appeal. I don’t agree with that at all!
NORMAL PEOPLE BY SALLY ROONEY
Normal People is a good book, I really enjoyed the experience of reading it but on retrospection a few things stand out as problematic, and of course no book can be perfect (except if your name is Haruki Murakami lol - ignore this rabid fan girl!). But overall I can tell why everyone has been reading Normal People and I’m looking forward to what Rooney writes next. Look out for a proper review on our youtube channel which is coming later this week (or early next week depending on logistics lol!!)
THE BEACH OF FALESÁ BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
Clearly a product of its time, this short story is laced with racism and ignorance despite the fact that Stevenson had immigrated to Samoa and wrote this short story to reflect the reality of life in the Pacific. I found it rather boring and cringe worthy, the only redeeming factor was Uma’s defiance of her husband once in the whole story. I had to read this short story for a uni essay, so its safe to say I will never read it again.
3/4 OF CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS BY SALLY ROONEY
Due to a mass deadline at the end of the month I didn’t get to finish the final book in my Sally Rooney binge! Never mind, I’ll finish it this month instead so you’ll be seeing this one properly in March and April’s book post.
Let me know what books you’ve been reading recently!
I am such a fan of Wishtrend, their products work, like really work, as in they have saved my skin from permanent unshifting acne to skin that actually has good days more often than the bad days. So when I ran out of my holy grail skin care products I had to re-order them and seeing as I’m always on the look out for cool new skin care products to try I also have a couple of newbies to test out.
Let’s get into this unboxing…
Have a lovely week, and don’t forget to celebrate a little self love this Valentines Day too!
Hello hello, welcome back to another edition of our bookclub. We have tried many a time to get this thing going and sadly it has always swiftly become a thing of the past. But it’s 2019, a brand new year of hope (1 month late, this doesn’t bode well!) and Charlotte has committed to joining me on this endeavour so not all of the books we will be reading will be obscure Japanese or Korean literature – Hurray I hear you shout, thank goodness – yet ironically this first book pick is actually mine, and it’s thoroughly mainstream as Sally Rooney is having a bit of a moment with her latest novel Normal People.
So whats it about?…
Burning is a taut and thrilling adaptation of one of Murakami’s most intriguing short stories, Barn Burning.
Of course Burning is not a literal retelling of Murakami’s story, it has been tweaked and reworked seeing as it is only a 20 page story and the film is over 2 hours long. These tweaks work so well and contribute to a study of Korean society that feels raw and rather brutal. It’s a classic example of class division, of the psychological harm that jealousy incurs and perhaps obsession.
Burning follows a young man called Jong-su, he works several part time jobs in a struggle to survive in Seoul, one day he meets Hae-mi, an old acquaintance from his hometown and they start seeing each other. Hae-mi goes travelling to Africa and asks Jong-su to look after her cat even though he has just moved back to his family farm in Paju. Jong-su performs his task diligently without ever encountering the cat. When Hae-mi returns from Africa she is accompanied by Ben a young successful man. And thus the tension begins between the two males.
Having Jong-su and Hae-mi come from simple means the sudden appearance of Ben a metropolitan man who drives a Porsche and lives in Gangnam is rather jarring and as an audience we never warm to his character. And he only gets more and more suspicious in his smugness and rather disturbing collection in his bathroom and the revelation that he likes to burn greenhouses. Abandoned greenhouses that take less than 10 minutes to completely disappear. At this point you start to think that he is just a rich boy on a power trip, later however when Hae-mi goes missing it becomes apparent that burning greenhouses is just a metaphor for something far more nefarious…or is it?
That’s the best thing about Lee’s direction, we are never really told anything concrete. Can we completely trust Jong-su, is he not just completely overcome with jealousy, Ben seems to have everything, success, fast cars, a beautiful apartment and a loving family. Is Jong-su imagining the scenario or is Ben really a psychopathic murderer of Women?
It’s a shame that Burning didn’t make it into the nominations for best foreign film for the Academy Awards this year as this is a masterfully conducted thriller. The acting especially by Yoo Ah-in and Steven Yeun is electrifying, they fit so well into their respective roles. The soundtrack heightens tension terrifically and the cinematography feels at moments whimsical and then all of a sudden concise and rigid.
Let me know in the comments section what you thought of the film.
Kingdom is Netflix’s new original Korean Period Drama with a twist, yes there is a Zombie outbreak! Directed by first time TV Director (he’s made quite a few films, A Hard Day and The Tunnel) and written by Kim Seong-hun who was behind Signal, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular cable TV Dramas of the decade in Korea.
ZOMBIES IN JOSEON!
The marriage of period drama and zombies is quite frankly genius, with Zombies going mainstream with tv shows like The Walking Dead, the undead started to lose their appeal. But with a fresh period setting new life has been breathed into the genre.
For Netflix’s first foray into original Korean content this cast is impeccable. Kingdom is headlined by Ju Ji-hoon and Bae Doona who are currently some of the most recognisable faces from Korean Cinema. Ju Ji-hoon plays a crown prince searching for answers and Bae Doona plays a small town nurse who first encounters the undead!
While the Zombies are horrifying so are the living and breathing people! Class systems, poverty and power hungry rivalries make some characters do some pretty awful things, including the source of the zombie outbreak!!!
A TV series about Zombies has never looked so beautiful. This is a masterfully shot drama that oozes style and substance. And standing at only 6 episodes long, you can tell an immense amount of detail has gone into crafting this aesthetically stunning drama.
IT’S NETFLIX’S FIRST (TRULY) ORIGINAL KOREAN DRAMA
Censorship be gone! Hello blood, guts and gore! Anyone who has watched Korean Dramas before know that certain things don’t get aired on national TV, and often if present (Say a gun or a knife, or a bloody wound) they will simply be blurred out which is quite jarring (to begin with especially) as it takes you right out of the action of whats happening. So thankfully as this is a true Netflix Original it will not have to pander to broadcasting rules in Korea!
Have you been convinced? Then go see what the hype is all about, and be warned you may just binge watch this short little series in one sitting!
As a Book addicted I have the overwhelming urge to constantly buy books, so here is a relatively sizeable addition of books to my already massive collection
Let me know in the comments section what books you’ve recently purchased and what book you’re going to read next.