July/August Round Up

Hello all! Sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately – July and August have been mega busy with work/life stuff.

Below is a list of I have watched/read/enjoyed over the last two months that won’t get individual spots on the blog. Hope you’re all having a great summer!

Where I should be right now

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

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Happy Tuesday everyone! This week’s topis is…Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year.

I have to make a confession; this list will be shorter. Although I think I’ve read more than 10 books this year, only six warranted placement on the list – is that terrible? I tend to start a lot of books and abandon them if I don’t get into them quickly, plus I feel like top 10 books read this year has to include ones you found really special.

My top 10 books read so far this year:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Ooooh! Bonus note, guys! This is my 100th post *feels proud*

Book Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Guys, this was a good one. I LOVED Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever and so promptly went out and bought practically every other book she’s written and have started making my way through them. I have decided to treat Dessen’s books like Charlie treats Wonka chocolate – something to be savoured and not to be rushed through (this was also how I approached the Jessica Darling series). I saved Along for the Ride for my four hour train ride back from Newcastle, finishing it about half an hour before I got home.

Along for the Ride is about Auden (named after one of my favourite poets, W.H. Auden). It’s the summer before college and she’s preparing to spend it the way she spends all the others: alone, studying and preparing for life as an adult, which she seems already made for. Auden’s parents are not that long divorced and her father has just had a new baby. On a spur of the moment decision, Auden decides to change her summer plans and heads off to stay with her dad by the beach. When she arrives, she finds her dad holed up in his office, working on his 10-years in the making second novel (echoes of I Capture the Castle), a stressed step-mother (Heidi) and grizzly new-born sister, Thisbe. Helping out at Heidi’s store on the beach front, Auden starts to make some new friends her own age, meets the enigmatic Eli, and begins change her mind out how her future is supposed to be.

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Some honourable mentions…

Happy Wednesday guys!

This ‘honourable mentions’ post covers a few things I have read and watched lately that I didn’t feel quite warranted a post of their own, but wanted to highlight. Take a look!

Film: Big Business

This was a truly bonkers movie. It starred Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as two sets of mixed up twins in very different circumstances. They were all born in the same hospital and a dotty old nurse put the wrong twins together. They each end up being named Sadie and Rose (both Bette Midlers are Sadie and both Lily Tomlins are Rose) You following? Look, I don’t understand either, but this the plot of the movie, ok?

So, rich snooty Sadie and rich scatterbrain Rose live in New York. They own the factory for the town they were born in, but snooty Sadie wants to sell and scatty Rose is confused. In alternate twin world, dopey Sadie and feisty Rose are determined to stop the sale of their factory and head to New York to stop the owners from selling. Naturally, much farce, mixed up identity and double entendre follows. It is nonsensical and utterly ridiculous, but pretty good fun to watch. Plus, you get lots of Bette Midler hair tossing and eyebrow wiggling and plenty of Lily Tomlin arm flapping. AND they both play two utterly different parts each, in the same film, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.

Some books below the cut…

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Culture Vulture (or: Meanwhile, on the Internets)

Happy Thursday everyone! It seems astonishing that it’s April already and that Easter is just around the corner. Phew, time goes fast sometimes.

This week’s little collection of links below:

Can you believe it’s been 15 YEARS since The Matrix first came out? Man, do I feel old now. Read Vulture’s dissection of the film and why it’s still a groundbreaker.

This month is National Poetry Writing Month (or, the catchier NaPoWriMo). The challenge is 30 poems in 30 days. Not sure I can quite manage that, but I think I should try writing a few, in honour of the challenge! Take a look at all the sites that are taking part.

For the dance fans amongst you, the Royal Ballet has announced its new season programming. I’m most excited about ZooNation‘s The Mad Hatter’s T Party and Woolf Works, the first full length ballet for the RB from Wayne McGregor. How about you?

I’m very excited to be going to see Other Desert Cities at The Old Vic in a couple of weeks and I loved this great article with its three formidable and uber-talented leading ladies.

Finally, I loved this chat between two of my favourite contemporary YA writers: Megan McCafferty and Sarah Dessen, as part of a joint series between Megan and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, called Ask! Authors! Anything! The next guest will be Laurie Halse Anderson, who wrote the astounding Speak.

Book Review: The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen

You know that feeling where a book is so good all you want to do is keep reading to find out what happens, but you also never want it to end? That’s how I felt about The Truth About Forever.

This was the first time I’d ever read any Sarah Dessen, and picked this one up after seeing it recommended at Forever Young  Adult. I am a sucker for any coming-of-age/romance story (proof is here, here, here and here). TTAF is exactly that, with a down to earth, sympathetic heroine, fully realised supporting characters and totally swoon-worthy boy (or sa-woon, as Kristy would say)

TTAF is narrated by Macy, who is 17 and dealing with some pretty horrible stuff. About 18 months previously, her father died completely unexpectedly, dropping dead at the side of the road, Macy by his side. Since this happened, Macy and her mother have compressed all their sadness somewhere deep inside themselves and have told themselves (and everyone else) that they are fine. Just fine. With Macy’s outspoken older sister married and living away, the two of them build their own little world of quiet, repressed grief and calm, each trying to compensate for their pain by being as perfect as possible. Perfect is Macy’s world now; she gets perfect grades, dresses neatly and has the perfect boyfriend who is obsessed with order and rules, all of which makes Macy feel safe. Life, essentially is boring and monotonous – but easily managed and very well planned with no nasty surprises.

Jason, Macy’s boyfriend, goes away for the summer, leaving her to fill in for him at the library. After a particularly hard day of feeling lonely and rebuffed by her co-workers, Macy reaches out to Jason via email and breaks one of their unspoken rules – she admits to feeling disordered and emotional. Jason promptly suggests they ‘take a break’ and Macy is left even lonelier before. She bumps into a motley crew of caterers at an event thrown by her over-worked mother, and is totally drawn in by Wish Catering and their odd team of staff: Delia, Bert, Monica, Kristy and Wes. Lovely, lovely Wes. But more on him in a minute. Macy, on whim, ends up taking a second job with Wish and suddenly life starts to pick up – both in chaos and in fun – and Macy starts to wonder whether perfect is worth it, and what she might have been missing, feeling afraid and alone all those months.

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Culture Vulture (Or: Meanwhile, on the Internets)

Hello lovelies! Can it be that time again? Why yes! See below for some awesome stuff I’ve been checking out over the last few weeks.

I saw the Veronica Mars movie this week, which was AMAZING (review coming this Saturday). Check out the awesome Sarah Dessen‘s adorable fan experience at the premiere and Anne T. Donahue‘s totally accurate list of things to learn from the movie [mild spoilers ahoy!]

Simpsons & I love this. No other explanations needed.

The advice from Rookie is always so sage and helpful. This guide to getting going with writing is wonderful and inspiring.

Can’t stop listening to Coldplay’s version of Gravity.

I really enjoyed Perpetual Page Turner‘s post on being a mood reader and can totally relate. I definitely need to be in a specific mood to read different things.