As the oranges and browns of October make way for increasingly chilly and dark November, it seems that these first days of the year’s penultimate month are characterised by the sense of anticlimax which inevitably results from the build-up to that most ‘frightening’ of seasonal holidays, Halloween (either that or the after-effects of one too many at spooky-themed house parties…). Gone are the days when All Hallows’ Eve was purely a Christian observance of remembering the dead: I have to admit that as Halloween 2014 dawned I found myself taken aback – perhaps even more so than in previous years – at the level of noise disseminating from crowds of young trick-or-treaters and penetrating through my windows, at the sheer number of ‘scary make-up’ selfies being uploaded to social media sites, and even at the unexpected excitement my friends and I felt as we completed our own preparations for this year’s Halloween parties. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Jane Austen
I have recently returned home from a two week holiday in Mallorca. Staying close to the beautiful Port de Pollenca, the fortnight passed in a blissfully idle blur of the impregnable heat which hit me no sooner had I stepped off the plane, copious amounts of seafood so perfectly fresh as to still retain a taste of the resort’s sparkling salty sea, and, of course, whole days devoted to nothing but reading. For indeed, the beauty of a lack of internet connection (not to mention the fear of racking up extortionate phone bills when abroad), while admittedly something rather discombobulating to a 21st century teenager, is that it enables one to truly be free from distractions for a certain period, not only those caused by one’s social life but also those more stressful ones of work, university research/applications etc. for which a computer or tablet have become almost always mandatory. Continue reading
One of my earliest, most fondly nostalgic memories is of sitting in my Grandma’s living room on a wintery evening during a visit up north to see her, my five-year-old self seeming incongruously tiny compared to the old-fashioned, green velvet-upholstered armchair on which I am perched, and the way that my straightened legs barely transcend the mighty cliff-boundary that is the chair’s edge no doubt looking endearingly ridiculous to my older family members sitting around me. The room is filled with the heartening heat radiated by the bars of the aesthetically realistic electric fire, and the ornate carriage clock on the mantelpiece above it ticks and tocks with comforting regularity. On my lap, a chintzy china plate of Marmite on toast; on the old television set, most importantly of all, the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is playing. Continue reading
Merry Christmas to all my fellow bloggers and literature lovers! I hope each and every one of you have had a fantastic Christmas day that has been full of festive cheer with family and friends, the exchanging of truly wonderful gifts that will be treasured for years to come (well, perhaps not those socks which inevitably appeared in the stocking), and of course complete over-indulgence of turkey, alcohol and chocolate. That warm and fuzzy feeling inside my stomach which can be brought on by nothing but Christmas meaning that I do not wish to spend too much time away from my family and the wonderfully rubbish Christmas telly, I will keep this post very brief, limiting it only to a reveal of those paper-bound gems which I was lucky enough to receive and which were highlights of my Christmas presents this year:
1) The Child In Time by Ian McEwan.
2) First Love, Last Rites by Ian McEwan.
3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
4) 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (various contributors).
5) A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland.
I also received the very exciting present of tickets for myself and a friend to see the RSC production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I in Stratford, a gift which left me in near speechless ecstasy as I tore the mysterious envelope open. Couple this with the promise of more books to come my way on Friday when I spend my second Christmas day at my mum’s, and I am sure you will agree that all in all I have certainly had a very literary-rich Christmas; and for me, this is synonymous with a very good Christmas indeed! I am signing off now with a final wish of merriment to you all, and the words of Tiny Tim: “God bless us, every one!”
First and foremost, I feel that a quick apology is in order before I properly start this post, as it may seem to some of you that I have been neglecting my blogging over recent weeks. This has, however, not been at all intentional, as I absolutely love writing my blog and would never give up the feeling of creative freedom which it gives me; yet unfortunately, in the words of a wise woman i.e. me (I jest), life has to take over sometimes, and this has certainly been the case with me during the past school term. What with numerous essays, wider subject reading, extra-curricular activities and last-minute rehearsals for a drama production, not to mention a million and one other things going on in my life at the moment, I seriously fear that I am in danger of making like Alice and losing my grip on reality by falling over the edge of the abyss into a Wonderland-esque world of madness and insanity, for my mind currently feels as tangled and confused as a series of black scribbles over a pure white page. Ok, I am exaggerating, but in all seriousness I can only stress how busy I have been recently and promise that the start of the Christmas holidays on Friday (my light at the end of the tunnel!) will bring my attention firmly back to my blog and hopefully give me time to write more reviews to share with all of you. In the meantime however, I thought it would be particularly fitting considering the unavoidable festive cheer surrounding us to divulge those literary titles I hope to find in my stocking come Christmas morning this year, a post which I hope will still be enjoyable (and maybe even inspire your own Christmas lists) despite its informality. Continue reading