Sunday 30 March 2014

Mom's Reading: The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
It's Mother's Day in the UK, and to celebrate I'm introducing a one-off feature on the blog called Mom's Reading. Currently my mom's reading The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort - and won't stop banging on about it!

One thing you should know about my mom is that she loves tales of money and corruption. The Godfather is her favourite film and she would relish a day visiting the stock market. We saw the film together not so long ago, and she completely abandoned the last book she was reading in favour for the wolf. 

If you have somehow missed all of the hype surrounding the film (perhaps you have been living in a cave...), it follows the true story of Jordan Belfort, the self-proclaimed "wolf" of Wall Street. He made thousands of dollars a minute and to quote Tinie Tempah, lived "a very very very wild lifestyle."

"Was all of this legal? Absolutely not!" the film trailer exclaims. But how does the book compare? According to my mom, it's much better than the film. She's really enjoying it and has said that it's hilariously written and gives a great insight into the New York finance district. Apparently, the book is even more outrageous than the film, which is hard to believe.

I haven't read this read yet, but I really enjoyed the film. And after all of the positive praise my mom's given this book, I don't think I'll be disappointed! 

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Thursday 27 March 2014

March Book Challenge: As You Like It by William Shakespeare

I know what you're thinking! All of the negative connotations of secondary school Shakespeare studies are flooding back to you. You're probably questioning why anyone would want to read a Shakespearian play post-school. 

I'm the exception to this rule, during college I was an English literature and drama student, and I fell in love with Shakespeare use of language, his humour and how his complex plots unraveled. I was looking forward to reading As You Like It for this month's calendar challenge as I hadn't read any Shakespeare since I studied A Midsummer Night's Dream five years ago

However, I must admit, this play fell short of my expectations. The story followed Rosalind who flees to The Forest of Arden to be close to her banished father. She dresses as a man whilst in exile in order to live freely they way a man does.

Rosalind is a brilliant character, she's headstrong, witty and has the most lines of any of Shakespeare's female characters. She's a very developed character and which is a huge step forward considering that this was written during a time when women weren't allowed to even appear in plays. (All of Shakespeare's female characters would have been played by teenage boys.) 

Despite my love of Rosalind, this play didn't really seem like Shakespeare. The plot tied itself up too quickly, it felt rushed in parts and it didn't spark my imagination the same way his other plays have. However it includes one of the most famous Shakespeare quotes: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." 

I think that my opinion might change slightly if I saw this preformed live, however it doesn't jump off the page in the same way his other stories have. I'll be reading Shakespeare again in May for the calendar challenge, and I'm hoping that my faith in Shakespeare will be restored. 

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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Reading on the train...

Last week I started my first full time job! It's all very exciting and I'm really enjoying this new chapter of my life. My job is in the city, so until I move out, I'm spending quite a lot of time on trains. And although they are often very cramped during rush hour, I'm enjoying the journeys as I'm seeing it as an opportunity to read! 

It's only recently that I've realised what a wasted opportunity it is to spend twenty minutes on a train on your phone. Carrie Hope Fletcher made an excellent point in one of her recent videos about people becoming too dependant on their phones. I couldn't agree more, we're currently living in an "iPhone generation", and to try and tear myself away from that, I'm making sure that I never board a train without a book!

I'm usually quite a slow reader, as I like to savour every word but since I've made a promise to myself to read on trains, I've managed to almost finish a book in a week and I've not read this book any other time than when I'm on a train.

I've also stuck up a lot more conversations with people. I've had people on a few occasions ask me about what book I'm reading because they're thinking of buying it. That wouldn't have happened if I'd have spent the entire journey on Twitter. 

So, if you're looking for a way of fitting in more reading time, start reading on public transport. It'll surprise you on how quickly you'll manage to finish books! 
The only downside is that you'll probably have people reading over your shoulder... Do you think you'll start reading more on public transport? Let me know! 
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Sunday 23 March 2014

Showcase Sunday #5: Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the lovely Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. It's a chance for bloggers to show of their weekly book swag and an opportunity to meet other bloggers and talk about all things bookish! 

I had a lovely surprise waiting for me in the letter box yesterday morning, it was my first book from Bookbridgr

If you're a book blogger that hasn't yet signed up to the Bookbridgr network yet, I'd highly recommend it. It gives bloggers the chance to request books to review on their blogs. The site hosts a range of different genres, authors and book tours. 

When I first signed up and noticed Precious Thing, I knew I had to make a request. It's a psychological thriller that has been compared to Gone Girl in some reviews. Colette McBeth explores the theme of jealousy in female friendships and has been quoted that her main source of inspiration came from a friendship she had herself whilst in school. 

I'm really looking forward to reading this! I haven't read many psychological thrillers, but the one's I have I've really enjoyed. I have high hopes for this. 

Let me know what books you've brought, borrowed or received this week! 

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Sunday 16 March 2014

Showcase Sunday #4

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the lovely Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. It's a chance for bloggers to show off their weekly book swag and an opportunity to meet other bloggers and talk about all things books! 

I had such a busy week last week, what with my graduation ceremony and my boyfriend's birthday, that I had no time to upload Showcase Sunday. This weeks SS is a graduation special as both of these books were given to me last week as graduation presents. 

The Pastries and Baking book was given to me by my mom (along with Jack Whitehall tickets!) I'm moving out with my boyfriend at some point this year, and have always wanted a kitchen shelf full of cook books. This will be the first one to add to my collection once I get a kitchen of my own. 

The second one is Stoner by John Williams. My boyfriend brought me this as we went into one of my favourite book shops after the graduation ceremy and he let me pick any book I wanted. This book has been getting amazing reviews, so thought it'd be a good one to add to my collection. 

I'd love to see what books you've gotten this week. Let me know in the comments or drop off your own Showcase Sunday links! 

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Saturday 15 March 2014

Company Magazine's 50 Books to Read Before You Die

I love that one of my favourite magazines is encouraging readers to shut down their computers, turn off their phones and pick up a book. Company magazine have provided a list on their website of "50 books to read before you die"

As mentioned in previous posts I am a organisation enthusiast and naturally adore lists! I wanted to see how I stacked up and will check off books I've read and plan to read that are on the list. So let's get started. The key I will use is: 

[ ] = Not read
[-] = Own, but not read
[X] = Read

Company's 50 Books You Need to Read Before You Die 

Wonder - R.J. Palacio [ ] 
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt [ ] 
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes [ ] 
Kiss Heaven Goodbye - Tasmina Perry [ ] 
Howl and Other Poems - Allen Ginsberg [ ] 
The Help - Kathryn Stockett [-] 
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn [X]
The Garden of Eden - Ernest Hemmingway [ ] 
Animals - Emma Jane Unsworth [ ] 
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson [ ] 
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger [X]
Room - Emma Donoghue [ ] 
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis [ ]
1984- George Orwell [ ] 
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer [ ] 
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger [-]
The Twelfth Tale - Dianne Setterfield [ ] 
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald [X]
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak [-] 
NW - Zadie Smith [ ] 
The Best of Simple - Langston Hughes [ ] 
Lord of the Flies - William Golding [ ] 
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier [ ] 
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin [X] 
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee [-]
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid [ ] 
Stasiland - Anna Funder [ ] 
Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Tosnay [ ] 
Scar Tissue - Anthony Keidis [ ] 
Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie [X]
How To Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran [X]
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling [X]
Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell [ ] 
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernières [ ] 
The End of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas [ ] 
Rookie Yearbook 1/2 - Tavi Gevinson [ ] 
The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy [ ] 
Notes on a Scandal - Zoe Heller [ ] 
Lace - Shirley Conran [ ] 
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby [X]
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [ ] 
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy [ ] 
The Sisters Brothers - Patrick DeWitt [ ] 
The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst [ ]
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini [ ] 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins [ ] 
The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls [ ] 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time [X]
The Beach - Alex Garland [ ] 
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides [ ] 

Results: 9/50

Not bad. I've read almost 20% of this list and have a few on my to-be-read pile. I really enjoy reading through book lists like this as it gives me new ideas about what to read next. 

Let me know how you stack up, I'd love to hear which books you've read that are on this list and what you think about them! 
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Wednesday 12 March 2014

5 reasons you should read Him & Me by Jack and Michael Whitehall

Anyone that knows me will be well aware of my love for stand up comedy. I first started becoming interested in how language could be used to make people laugh when I was fifteen years old and I first discovered Nevermind the Buzzcocks. Since then, I've always been on the hunt for new comedians! 

Jack Whitehall is definitely one of my favourites and I'm excited to tell you that I will be seeing him live this week! My mom brought me tickets as a graduation present (thanks, Mom!!)

This book is written by both Jack and his dad, Michael. They've done various different projects together before including a talk show called Backchat, which I loved! The comedy comes from how different they are to each other. Michael is very conservative, sarcastic and can be quite grumpy whereas Jack is full of energy, is known to be quite camp and likes a dirty joke or two! You can see how these different dynamics can create the most hilarious results. 

I'm not usually one to read autobiographies as my heart truly lies with fiction, however, I'm really enjoying this book. It's laugh-out-loud funny and I hope that I'm able to finish it before I see the twice-crowned king of comedy himself on Friday! Here are just some of the reasons why you should read it too:
1) There are lots of family photographs 

These photos adorn the opening two pages, the back and are also scattered throughout the book. Whilst you read about antidotes from Jack's childhood, you're greeted which beautiful accompanying pictures such as Jack as a baby, at school with Robert Pattinson and dressed up Peter Pan and Captain Hook on two separate occasions! There are also some pretty hilarious photos of Michael too, including one of him competing in a fathers race at Jack's sports day whilst donning a formal business suit. 

2) The chapters are in sections 

I'm a bit of a neat freak, and the fact that all of the chapters are split up into little sections pleases me a lot more than it should. (I have a colour-coded diary and my DVDs are in alphabetical order...) The sections are in relation to different parts of Jack's life, and it's so sweet to hear about the all the different experiences from the perspective of both father and son. 

3) They correct each other

Each chapter is either written by Jack or Michael, but that doesn't mean that the other doesn't get their say! Throughout the book passages are corrected, commented on and generally there is a lot of back chatting, much like how you would interrupt someone during a spoken conversation. This aspect of the book makes you feel like you're reading a personal diary rather than an autobiography. 

4) Jack illustrates the book

For moments that don't have a photograph to accompany it, there are funny drawings penned by Jack himself. Throughout the book you learn of Jack's love of art, and it's great to see him using his talents to make the funny situations discussed about in the book come to life.

5) It's heartwarming

The running theme in this book is that, despite their many many differences, Jack and Michael adore each other. Their father and son bond is an unbreakable one and something that shines through on the page. They bicker throughout the book, but you know it's tongue in cheek. For anyone who has a strong relationship with their parents, it's something that is easily relatable and they've captured the emotions perfectly. 

I'm really enjoying this book, and has definitely made me rethink my reading habits. Perhaps I should read a few more autobiographies. Although, I think I'd be hard pushed to find one similar to this as it feels so personal and reads like a diary. Fingers crossed that I finish it before the Jack Whitehall gig on Friday! 

So, how about you, do you read many autobiographies? What do you like about them?

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Sunday 9 March 2014

Get involved with the Book Chat!

Calling all of my fellow book fanatics, the lovely Zara at Chapter 394 and Saira at Growing Wings are launching a weekly book chat on Twitter. The first chat will be on Wednesday 12th March, and the topic will be about our favourite sidekicks in books. (I have quite a few lined up!)

I've always been a little envious of other blogging communities using Twitter to conduct large group conversations, which is why I'm so happy that Zara and Saira have set this up! If you want to get involved make sure you follow the main Twitter page @BookChats and use the hashtag #bookchat. I'm looking forward to speaking to you all and meeting some new people!

The first book chat will be this coming Wednesday (12th March 2014) at 7pm GMT for an hour. I'm hoping to see you all there. Let me know if you can make it! 

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Friday 7 March 2014

I graduated!

First of all I'd like to say a quick sorry for being rather quiet on the blog and Twitter this week. It's been a rather busy time for me as I graduated Wednesday! Alongside work, I spent most of my weekend running around like a mad woman trying to prepare for it. 

Although I got my results back in July 2013, Birmingham City University always have their graduation ceremonies quite a few months afterwards. It was brilliant to see all of my university friends again and the ceremony was amazing including appearances from Jeff Lynne and Laura Mvula!

If you'd have told me during my first year at university that I would be graduating with a first class honours, I wouldn't have believed you. It was a very emotional day for me and I'm glad that I got to spend it with all the people that matter most to me.

After the ceremony we went to Jamie's Italian in Birmingham. I'd never been there before and it was such a treat. All of the staff were so friendly and were asking me all about my graduation, and the food was so good!

I hope you're all having a lovely week. Let me know what you've been up to in the comments. 

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Sunday 2 March 2014

Showcase Sunday #3: March's book - As You Like It by William Shakespeare

As a part of the 2014 book challenge that I have set myself, each month I shall be reading a different book from the writer displayed on my Waterstones Literary Quote calendar. This month I'm going to be taken straight back to GCSE English with a play from the most famous playwright in the world, William Shakespeare! 

I've always been a fan of his stories and consider A Midsummer Night's Dream as one of my favourite plays. I absolutely love this quote, it's making me very excited for spring. I don't know about you, but I'm fed up of winter now. Bring on the pastel colours, the blossom and the bright green grass! 

After discovering which play this quote was taken from, I knew that As You Like It had to be the book I read this month. Another reason I picked this book up today was that it's a Shakespeare play that I have not read before.I know absolutely nothing about it other than the fact that it's a comedy. I'm really looking forward to reading this for March as it seems light-hearted, funny and should encompass that springtime feeling!
There's a lot of fresh green colours in this post. It must mean that springs close!! 

I'd love to see what books everybody else has brought or received this week. Let me know or leave your Showcase Sunday links in the comments below.

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