Monday, 31 August 2015

REVIEW:: i'll give you the sun - jandy nelson

As promised in my last post, this incredible book has gotten a review post of it's own. Books are something that I tend to be very black or white with, not necessarily with considerations of aspects and issues addressed, but in whether I plough on through them, or they lie half-finished for months. This belongs to the former category- thanks to train journeys this novel got finished in a day: both a blessing and a curse. Sadly all good things must come to an end.

 GOODREADS SUMMARY: Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

I must confess to being skeptical prior to starting this book, despite being drawn to it with beautiful sounding quotes, it was possible that it would be nothing more than a shallow, vapid book (not that there's anything wrong with that occasionally) putting on a fake deep facade. Thankfully, this was not the case at all. The formatting of this book is essentially two stories in one, interwoven together, each dropping hints to the other. Every other chapter you are presented with a different twins point of view, at a different stage in their life, Noah at 13/14 and Jude at 16. Like so many that read this book, it appears, Noah's POV was much more engaging for me- not because I wasn't a fan of Jude: in fact she was one of the more relatable and three dimensional female characters I've read. However her section was dampened by the only character in the book who appeared to fall victim to being a checklist of tropes. The love interest is the most stereotypical bad boy one can fathom. In no way am I denying that she wouldn't fall for him, more questioning the fact that anyone like him can exist. Perhaps the liberties taken with reality, pushing Jude's section into the supernatural, extended to the guys. Though, I must again say, Jude's character development, and the contrast between her inner functions and how she presented herself, as a form of preservation, was splendidly done.

One feature in this book which succeeded in breaking my fragile heart was Noah's change/ persona he managed to construct for himself during the timeskip. Noah is (/was?) a genuinely lovely character; the author ensured the reader formed a connection with him by the time his apparent personality changed = READER HEARTACHE ENSUES!!!

I've read criticism of this book which basically complains about how overtly purple the writing style is; that fact is pretty hard to deny, but the story being told is the right one for that prose. At no point did it feel like serious things were being brushed over in favour of it sounding poetic- gritty moments were gritty, upsetting things were dealt with in a realistic way. When aiming to capture raw human emotions during the worst of times, some poeticism is realistic. Naysayers may complain but, like it or not, it's fair to say people on the whole are melodramatic when facing horrors. After that, possibly unnecessary and whingey, divergence, back to my point: read this book if you love to suffer. But also read this book if you love satisfying conclusions.

Read this book if you like to read; if you don't. I implore you. (Don't think I'm overselling it, right?)

If anymore motivation is required- read this book before the inevitable subpar film adaption. Warner Brothers already have the rights. Get scared.


'till next time
flo xo

Sunday, 16 August 2015

summer favourites

Do not be fooled by the title- I am by no means planning a series (this is more down to superstition than anything else, has any scheduled posting structure worked well on this blog?). In this I want to have the opportunity to speak about things I like, and perhaps force them onto you, dear reader, so we can discuss them excessively. As there is nothing I adore more than over analyzing everything and talking about them excitedly. These aren't necessarily new 'things' to have come out, more things that I have recently discovered- or even rediscovered- and am currently very into.

Generally, I'm not much of a film person. Despite my ability to watch many 20 minute episodes back to back, sitting down and watching a film feels too much of a commitment. On one hand, it's too long, and the single main plot spans a whole two hours, whilst on the other, you don't have long enough to form the connections you make to characters from TV shows. However, there is one exception- children's films! If media is largely provided for escapism, things primarily targeted toward younger viewers is awesome. So- in all, yes- I shall be added onto the list raving about Inside Out. Obviously, I must admit it hardly eclipses Big Hero 6 in terms of my affection, but the latter is one of my favourite films in existence. Ever. Inside out has a central character who is likable (rejoice!) : despite not being alike, her motivations and feelings all seemed understandable, it was easy to empathise.

I'll give you the sun- hooo boy this book. To supply some context, I first heard about this book on tumblr; there was a quote credited to the book :
“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
He still won’t meet my eyes.” 
This alone made me realise I needed to find this novel. If someone can write angst that well, it's guaranteed I'm going to love it. With the book itself- I don't want to go into too much detail, as it deserves a review of it's own at a later date. What I will say though, is I do not understand some people's problem with how 'purple' the writing style was. I drank it up. Honestly, this is the book I would want to write, though perhaps more about Noah. Jude herself was a interesting character, but her love interest was a checklist of bad boy tropes, which was out of place in a book about characters that felt so real.
Aside from that, I finally got around to reading some Stephen King, which I adored. Again, a writing style I wish I could emulate... Thinner was the book I started with, and it had me well and truly hooked. At some points, I was slightly concerned with the villainisation of gypsies, however by the conclusion a more grey morality had been formed, which felt more fair.

Anime hell!!!!!
My cousin has succeeded in dragging me down with her, and has gotten me hooked on a few series. Nothing more than Tokyo Ghoul (and :root A, which isn't to the same standard, but still made me sob so I'm not too mad) . As already stated in this post, there is nothing I love more than angst and tragedy happening to good people, and the aftermath it causes (in fiction of course...) Kaneki, whose presence in the fandom is basically followed with 'did nothing wrong' is one of those people. In an alternate universe- where humans are not just the hunters, but the hunted, by a stronger species known as ghouls who appear as human, but need to eat them to survive- Kaneki is a bookworm college student, who live vicariously through fictional universes. Through deeply unlucky circumstances he becomes part ghoul and gets dragged into their often violent world. (There is nothing I despise more than summarising stuff, so I apoligise if that was astoundingly awful and incoherent. Check Wikipedia or something). This series is rather intense. By that I mean, the highlight of the initial series was the final episode which basically consists of a torture scene where centipedes get put into ears. Not pleasant, but incredibly captivating and well done. There are many, many characters I have succeeded in getting overly attached to, primarily Juuzou, Shinohara, and (despite his limited screen time) Hide. Basically: horrible things happening to good people, and a lot of emotion and gore. :) I've also started the manga, which is visually incredible, and has subtly better characterisation. ((promo for my MyAnimeList, if you want to see what else I've been watching!)

I've known about The Front Bottoms for a good couple of years now, but have never listened to one of their albums back to back. I wish I had sooner. I'm a sucker for wonderful lyrics, and they supply generously. Musically, they're rather laid back, but with yearning, sometimes unhappy lyrics. More folky than what I usually go for, but it's pulled off so well it's no issue. It would be too easy to write them off as another generic pop punk band (which I find mind numbingly dull); that they are not. They have nailed a sound specific to them and it's addictive.
Today's song of the post is anything by them. I implore you to at least give them a try (my personal favourite is father).

Should be back sooner than usual...
Flo xo

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Staithes ,, Yorkshire 2015