15 literary influences in 15 minutes

The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes

These are mine, decided to put influential books to me that they wrote 🙂 mine are not in order of preference  

1.Kipling (If and the Jungle Book)
2. J.K Rowling (Harry Potter Series) J.M Barrie (Peter Pan)
3. Caitlin Moran (How to be a woman)
4. George Orwell (Animal Farm)
5. Robert Browning (To His Last Duchess and The Laboratory)
6. William Blake (Songs of Innocence and Experience)
7. J.R.R Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
8. Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials)
10. T.S Elliot (The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock)
11. John Green (Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars)
12. William Shakespeare (Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, etc)
13. Andrew Marvell (To His Coy Mistress)
14. Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy)
Comment what your 15 Literary heroes are 🙂
Happy Reading xx

‘All you need is motivation?’


So I’m sure you’re all thinking, ‘wow well a third blog in a week, I wonder what this means’

Well, it means one horrible, painful thing. The essay packs came out. I now have until the 13th of May to write four essays and then I am done with university forever.

This thought exists and terrifies me.

On one hand, I can’t wait to leave education. I am done with it. I was never fantastically academic. I worked hard and did my best and in sixth form I did well. I went from average, to above average, back to average and its been a bit of a blow. So I can’t wait to  work. To feel like there is a purpose, to get paid.

I know that in a year or two I will talk about how much I miss university. I’m sure if I am still merrily blogging away you will read a blog about the joys of uni and how much I miss it.

But right now, I can’t wait until I hand my essays in, safe in the knowledge I will never have to write another one again.

I love learning and being interested and passionate. But I hate writing essays 😛 hahahaha

I am a good student, I get it done but by the end of every term, I hate university and want to escape and get out.

So this is for everyone who has dissertation hand ins and those of us who are close to escaping education.

Happy reading everyone 🙂 xx

‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

Rebecca, written by Daphne du Maurier, is honestly one of my favourite books. I often forget how much I adore this book because it is currently in storage at home whilst I am at uni. When I move again I will rectify this situation.

I would say that you have to struggle through the first half of the book for it to become interesting. I think I would happily say if you enjoy Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte than you will enjoy this book. I find this story far more accessible than Jane Eyre, although that is not the most difficult book from that time.

This story is essentially about the relationship of a man who is powerful and a woman who is not.

So the basic plot summary is, poor young girl is picked out of a crowd (figuratively) by a much older man (more common in that situation, although her age is often commented on) a whirlwind romance and marriage take place until he takes her back to the formidable Manderley.

The man of this story is the handsome Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter. Charismatic and charming the inexperienced nameless narrator falls head over heels, unbelieving of the love this man has for her. Everything seems perfect in the hotel where they meet, and although she is warned by the woman she is staying with to be careful of powerful men, the narrator does not seem worried.

When they return to Maxim’s manor house Manderley, fictitiously set in the countryside of Cornwall, all is not well. The housekeeper Mrs Danvers is hostile to Mrs de Winter and makes the task of running the house very difficult. She forever refers to Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife, questioning every decision made by the new mistress of the house.

The turning point in the novel for when it becomes really interesting is at the costume ball. So as not to give spoilers, it goes disastrously wrong and Mrs Danvers is behind it all. From here, shit really does hit the fan.

This story focuses on jealousy and miscommunication. Maxim essentially shuts out our narrator when they return to Manderley, allowing her to become insecure in the household, mainly due to Mrs Danvers. Our narrator believes that Maxim does not love her and is still in love with his dead wife.  As well as not having the support of the household, our narrator is compared to Rebecca physically. Rebecca was a great beauty, whereas our narrator is small and boy like almost. We are given very little description of our narrator but there is always a sense that she is plain. All of these insecurities lead to the inevitable conclusion.

It is also important to focus on the decision for the nameless narrator to be called ‘the second Mrs de Winter’ by members of the household, particularly the  housekeeper Mrs Danvers. This is a constant reminder that there was a previous wife, also creating a hierarchical  structure in the house where the dead wife is placed above our narrator.

The first chapter is one of the most beautiful and engaging chapters I have read. The haunting and famous first line ‘last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again’ gives the sense of pain and trauma right from the start. The journey through the charred and broken remains of the house is beautiful and again haunting, a mirror of Rebecca and her hold on the house.  Destruction and loss are key to this book and are established at the very beginning. The last line of  the chapter ‘For Manderley was ours no longer. Manderley was no more’ sets the tone as one of inescapable misfortune, the reader knows that Manderley will fall.

This story is a real page turner. I couldn’t wait to see how it would resolve itself and what twist was coming out of the next dark shadow. It is a book which makes you feel suffocated alongside the narrator by this image of the dead Rebecca. After the first half it is fact paced and action packed. A thoroughly amazing read which I think all book lovers should read.

So yeah, that’s kinda what I think 🙂

Happy reading xx

Love/ Hate Relationship: Windows 8

I don’t particularly like change or the unfamiliar. This distrust of new things had to be confronted when I had to get a new laptop.

I have had an ambivalent relationship with my previous systems on my laptop. (I apologise, I am no computer person so I may not use correct terms, or attempt to use them at all)

But my new laptop, my new shiny, purple, glorious laptop, has Windows 8. I hate Windows 8. With a passion. Most of the time.

I hate how confusing it is. I hate that it is pretty restrictive. I hate that I don’t always know exactly where to go, I hate that it’s difficult to have skype and a webpage up at the same time. I hate the different video player there is.

The list is long.

The more I am getting used to this laptop the easier it is getting. I am slowly figuring out how to do things, like splitting the screen and actually using the laptop. It does help that one of my housemates knows how to use it so I crawl sobbing to them asking for help.

But anyway… once I’ve moved all of my music and stuff onto this stupid machine, I think that will make life a little bit better.


‘The shock of the fall and the blood on my knee…’

It is interesting to be taken into the interpretation of the mad mind, when I think most of us can relate to those urges of madness.

I am no way insinuating that I have ever had a mental illness, I am simply saying that I think we have all at some point experienced that feeling that you are not quite right in yourself.

And to read The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer is like feeling the shock of a fall. The narrative starts out seeming to be ‘normal’ (ew sorry but I can’t think of another way, mentally stable maybe…) and as the novel continues descending into the world of schizophrenia.

I think the thing for me about this novel that really made me like it is the normality of madness and the normality of not being able to control thoughts and actions. There was one sentence where the narrator (Matt) stated ‘I didn’t know I was doing something until I was doing it’ or something along those lines. And I thought ‘yeah, I know that feeling.’ So for me this was a very interesting look into the normality of madness when you are the one who is consumed by it.

I’m a big fan of the confusing novel and the slow reveal. I like waiting for each page to discover some new secret that if you read back has always been there. I like having something revealed to you that you almost knew but couldn’t quite grasp. For me this frustration of knowing but not knowing and having to wait to find out, the lack of control resonates with the ideas of madness and lack of control in the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I would recommend this to everyone. If you want a more grown up review of this book you should head over to Lord of the Reads J

Happy Reading everyone xx

A link to the review by Lord of the Reads 🙂 enjoy http://lordofthereads.com/2014/02/01/the-shock-of-the-fall-by-nathan-filer/

Love/ Hate Relationship: Chaucer

I love Chaucer.

Since my first lecture in first year when my beautiful lecturer first started talking about all of the theories behind the Canterbury Tales. I love the fact that it is essentially people watching in the General Prologue and then a guessing game as to whether the tale is real not real, ironic not ironic.

I know what you are thinking, ‘Seriously……’ and yeah I know. To  most people it is the worst form of torture.  Reading Chaucer is hard, and boring. Some of the tales i have read I have wanted to poke my eyeballs out (much like Oedipus, been studying a lot of him) rather than carry on reading.

And here’s where the hate come in.

Chaucer, could you not have just fixed on one structure of the tales? Just had a nice story which flows. Because all of this guessing as to what tale/fragment is supposed to come next really, excuse the medieval, getting on my tits (I meant as in the birds, clean up your mind)

I can excuse this flaw n Chaucer part, and as is my belief with Shakespeare, I think he knew he would be studied hundreds of years later so he deliberately made it complicated.

Once you get past the medieval language the Canterbury Tales are genuinely a rewarding story collection to read. Or even if you just read a translated version off the General Prologue to see what they did thorough text compared to what we do when watching The Valleys.

So yes, apart from the fact the tales are fictional, the aspect that makes them enjoyable to me is that I liken them to reality TV nowadays. The author Chaucer passing judgement reminds me of my own interior monologue and then the discussion between the characters is the discussion between me and my friends or twitter.

So yeah, you should read Chaucer because it is funny, interesting and the start of reality TV. And I mean its known as one of the greatest story collections of all time…. Can’t be that bad really?

(As a side note, I visited the Canterbury Tales experience and it was AWESOME!!! The man at the beginning was so funny, me and my brother were the  only ones on our section and he said we were the most enthusiastic. I think that means we won at life that day. Happy reading everyone! xx)