Top 10 Tuesday – Link up with the Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic…the top 10 authors I own the most books by

Kazuo Ishiguro (x7) –  One of my all time favourite writers, I own every novel he’s written plus one collection of short stories:

  • A Pale View of the Hills
  • An Artist of the Floating World
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Unconsoled
  • When We Were Orphans
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

Charles Dickens (x7) – Fell in love with his writing as a student and my grandfather gave me a collection of his works a few years ago:

  • Little Dorrit
  • Great Expectations
  • David Copperfield
  • Oliver Twist
  • Bleak House
  • Our Mutual Friend
  • A Tale of Two Cities

Jane Austen (x6) – Just the best – I have the collected works (even though I don’t like Mansfield Park…):

  • Emma
  • Persuasion
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Mansfield Park

Judy Blume (x6) – A growing up must, I love my Judy Blume collection:

  • Forever
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Tiger Eyes
  • Deenie
  • Just As Long As We’re Together
  • Here’s to you, Rachel Robinson

Sarah Dessen (x6) – A new favourite but have totally fallen in love with her books:

  • The Truth About Forever
  • What Happened to Goodbye?
  • That Summer
  • Along for the Ride
  • Just Listen
  • Lock and Key

Elizabeth Gaskell (x5) – I started to really enjoy reading Mrs Gaskell while I was at university:

  • Wives and Daughters
  • Mary Barton
  • The Cranford Chronicles
  • North and South
  • The Life of Charlotte Bronte

Danny Wallace (x5) – One of the funniest writers ever, Danny Wallace captures the English like no-one else:

  • Are you Dave Gorman?
  • Join Me
  • Yes Man
  • Awkward Situations for Men
  • Charlotte Street

Peter Carey (x4) – A truly great writer and always interesting:

  • Jack Maggs
  • Parrot and Olivier in America
  • The True History of the Ned Kelly Gang
  • Oscar and Lucinda

David Mitchell (x3) – An amazing and truly, truly original writer:

  • Cloud Atlas
  • Number9dream
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Margaret Atwood (x3) – One of the greats, and always trying to do something different:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Blind Assassin
  • Alias Grace

Who do you own the most books by?


NB: I didn’t include any book series’ as I felt like that would tip the scales a bit and didn’t seem to be included in the theme (for me); hence no J K Rowling, Megan McCafferty etc.


Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

As has already been well documented, I am a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s work. Though I have Attachments, Landline has ended up being the first of Rowell’s adult novels I’ve read.

Landline tells the story of TV writer Georgie and her marriage to Neal. At the start of the book, Georgie and Neal are in a pretty terrible place. Things have apparently been getting steadily worse for some time and reach a crisis point when Georgie opts to stay in LA over Christmas to work on her dream show with her writing partner, Seth, rather than make the trip to Omaha with Neal and their daughters. She is shocked when Neal decides to go anyway without her and in the days between them leaving and Christmas Day, begins to wonder whether she’ll still have a husband come New Year.

Staying at her Mother’s to avoid going home to an empty house, Georgie discovers that her old rotary phone in her teenaged bedroom still works…only instead of calling Neal in the present, she somehow calls him in the past, to the last week they spent apart, just before he proposed. Can Georgie win Neal back and resuscitate their marriage by talking to his younger self?

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Throwback Thursday: Pop Arts Revisits…Back to the Future

I should open by saying that Back to the Future* is one of my all-time favourites movies. It has been one of my favourites since I was about 7 years old and the only copy we had was one my parents had videotaped off the TV. As is often the case with our revisits, there are mild spoilers below.

There are many, many reasons why I love Back to the Future so dearly. It has humour, heart, action, adventure and some cracking music. I have always loved time travel stories (except, strangely enough, Dr Who. Too many aliens for me) and was absolutely fascinated as a child with the idea that we could travel to a different age or time period. The 50s seemed forever ago when I was a kid and so suitably far back for Marty to travel to. Now, I see that it works because it is a wildly different time to the 1980s and yet still within a generation’s reach.

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Book Review: How to be a Heroine – Samantha Ellis

I’m going to be completely honest and confess that I picked up How to be a Heroine based on the title (I am always looking to be the heroine of my own story, naturally) and the book cover, which as you can see, features the spines of some of my most beloved books.

Samantha Ellis was a new name to me, but was instantly fascinating. From a culturally unusual background (Iraqi Jewish) and brought up in an insular community in London, Ellis attended Cambridge University and was a voracious reader who went on to become a playwright. I knew from the introduction – when she and her best friend make the trip up to Haworth and wander the moors thinking about the Brontës – that I’d found a kindred spirit.

After pronouncing to her best friend that being a Cathy Earnshaw was better than being a Jane Eyre and being met with astonishment, Ellis decides to revisit all her favourite heroines, from early childhood to adulthood, to see if her perception of them was correct and whether they’ve changed for her as she gets older. This results in a book that is part memoir, part feminist literary criticism.

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Top 10 Tuesday – Link up with The Broke and The Bookish


10 characters I’d take with me to a desert island

I really liked the topic this week. My selected 10 have been chosen for one of two reasons: either for fun or for survival…


1. Marcus Flutie (Jessica Darling books)

I feel like this requires no additional explanation.


2. Man Friday (Robinson Crusoe)

Because let’s face it, he did all the work and made Robinson look good.


3. Gemma (the Gemma books)

I feel like Gemma would be able to cheer everyone up by performing (she is an excellent singer and dancer) and would be a lot of fun to chat and gossip with.


4. Yuri Zhivago (Dr Zhivago)

A bit morose, but a doctor used to practicing in harsh conditions. Useful!


5. Stanley Yelnats (Holes)

Stanley is a trooper and he had to hide in the desert for ages, so would be handy to have around.


6. Jo March (Little Women)

Funny, smart and would write really excellent stories to keep us all amused.


7. Iorek Byrnison (The Golden Compass)

Come on guys, I think we can all agree that having a fighting, talking polar bear would be super useful on a desert island – who knows what creatures might be lurking. Plus, Lost has shown us that yes, polar bears can survive in tropical conditions.


8. Pi (Life of Pi)

Adept at surviving in terrible conditions and has proven to be resourceful. Also, I feel like he needs a hug.


9. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter books)

Well, duh. She’d be able to fix just about everything.


10. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

The ultimate survivor, you’d need someone to keep you going no matter what.


Agree with my choices? Who would you take with you?

Throwback Thursday: Pop Arts Revisits…Greek!

I happened across the sweet nugget of joy that is Greek when I was home ill from work one day a few years ago. I was flipping through the channels trying to find something to distract myself with. I chanced upon a double bill of Greek, then being shown on E4. It happened to be only the fourth episode of the first season and after those first two episodes, I was hooked.

Through the miracle that is modern technology, I set the TV up to record the two episodes shown every weekday lunch time, binge-watching whenever I had the flat to myself. I zipped through all four seasons in a year and was slightly heartbroken when it ended and I realised I had no more new episodes to look forward to.

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Film Review: Damsels in Distress

Damsels in Distress is a film about a clique of young women at a private college on the East Coast of America. We follow them over the course of a year, seen primarily through the eyes of new transfer student Lily (Annaleigh Tipton), who is taken into the group upon arrival (and slightly against her will) and group leader Violet (Greta Gerwig). This group of slightly delusional, well-meaning, over-privileged girls spend their time trying to cure their male peers of smelliness, rescue the depressed from suicide through coffee, doughnuts and dance and are crafting a brand new dance craze. Violet’s greatest wish in life is  to start a dance craze, sincerely believing this will change the world.

I really enjoyed Damsels in Distress, but there’s no denying that it’s not for everyone. Some people will find Violet and her gang too irritating to enjoy the film and the sly, witty and rather silly humour won’t be to everyone’s taste.

But I loved it; I really did. I liked it’s sneakily satirical tone and the gentle teasing of Violet and her ideas and ambitions. She is mocked but in a kind sort of way, as if the film understands that though some of her ideas are seriously misguided, Violet’s intentions are always good. I personally found Lily to be far more annoying; her constant questioning and undermining of Violet seemed nasty and passive aggressive. I found her hard to sympathise with.

I loved the sweet sub-plot of Heather (all four girls had plant and flower names) and her boyfriend Thor and his quest to learn his colours. It was ridiculous and incredibly endearing. His pathological fear of rainbows due to the humiliation they brought him was a wonderful touch. Similarly, the running gag about the healing power of good soap and nice smells seemed to get both funnier and more logical over the course of the film.

The setting of college was perfect for the film; this was a story of young people trying to find their place in the world and find some sense and purpose in life. Violet’s distress when she feels she’s lost that was palpable. Everything she does seems to be with the design of creating order in a chaotic world, to provide herself with a sense of meaning and safety. There were genuine parts of shade in the film, a lightness of touch applied to tackling the sense of confusion and ennui often felt by the young.

As I said, it’s not a film for everyone, but Damsels in Distress is intelligent, witty and thoughtful and I would heartily recommend it.

Top 10 Tuesday – Link up with the Broke and the Bookish


July 15: Top Ten Favourite TV Shows!

This week’s top 10 is looking at different types of stories. I’ve chosen to focus on my top 10 TV shows:

  1. Friday Night Lights (I feel like a DUH is required after this). The greatest show ever, full of basically everything you could want in…anything really. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
  2. Parks and Recreation. Amy Poehler. Chris Pratt. Aziz Ansari. Nick Offerman. Retta. So many reasons to watch this show! One of the best things about Parks and Rec is how sweet and optimistic it is. It makes you want to work hard, give your all and be your own Leslie Knope.
  3. Gilmore Girls. You guys, I love this show. I started watching when I was a student and fell in love. I still want to be Lorelai Gilmore and I’m still thankful that shy, book-reading Rory got to exist on my TV.
  4. 30 Rock. Tiny Fey – is there much more reason needed? I love how off-beat and damn silly 30 Rock is. It’s willingness to mock anything and everything about the world of entertainment is glorious.
  5. The US Office. As a Brit, this feels like a slight betrayal, like I should prefer the original UK series. But I find The Office (UK) just a wee bit too dark, where the US Office has just the right amount of sweetness to temper the hideousness (see: Jim and Pam).
  6. The Good Wife. I was recently introduced to this show by a friend and man, am I grateful. Smart, interesting and challenging, it’s TV for grown ups and it’s never boring or simple.
  7. Greek. The subject of this week’s #tbt, Greek is a light-hearted, fun take on University life and the perfect pick me up on a grey day.
  8. Pretty Little Liars. June’s Pop Arts Recommendation, PLL is full of twists and turns and the most bonkers TV I’ve ever seen.
  9. The Walking Dead. I never expected to love this show as much as I do, but I could literally talk about it for hours (and have, too). Unique premise that allows for really interesting character study, The Walking Dead is exciting and intelligent.
  10. Spaced. Spaced is a daft, lovely, sweet-natured UK comedy that is endearingly silly and self-referencing. It features one of my favourite comedy actresses of all time, Jessica Hynes and never ever fails to make me laugh.