This week my word of the week is:


PRESENTS

This week it was a very good friend of mine's birthday, and it was important that I get a really good present, so I spent a long time searching through internet pages (especially Not on the High Street which is a favourite site of mine) looking for something just right. So I got something (and I have to say in the end I think I chose the right thing) and then enjoyed wrapping and confetti, and writing the card (I have to say that I perhaps enjoyed the wrapping more than buying).

I also received a couple of late birthday gifts, which was super nice, I feel like the festivities are continuing and I'm still celebrating. I got some yummy bits of chocolate from Hotel Chocolat which I am looking forward to enjoying with a cup of coffee or tea later on, and also a writing set (which is fab because I think I've written through all the paper and used up all the cards I have in the house).

So, between buying and receiving this week has turned out to be much more present-y than I thought it would be!

Hope you had a wonderful week!
This classic piece of Atwood fiction has recently topped the charts again, possibly because it's being serialised for Hulu, and possibly because of Trump (I won't tell you which my money is on).
I have studied this book but I'll take a step back in order to write this review.

The book is funny in a kind of horrifying way, for a modern classic it was very readable and I enjoyed reading and studying it. Margaret Atwood manages to make what is often quite tragic quite entertaining, and even funny at times.

It is a terrifying look into the future if the right-wing ultra religious get into power. The main character, Offred recounts her life in this new world, as well as remembering parts of her previous life. My favourite thing about Offred is that she is not a heroine, she wants to do things but finds herself unable to, wanting to live more than she wants to dissent. I like that about her, it makes her very relatable.

The story I would say is primarily about the relationships between people, people that are lost, forbidden relationships, and even the relationship between the person you were and the person you are now. For Offred the way she remembers the person that she was is by recounting events, and remembering the people that she knew such as Luke, her daughter, and the outrageous Moira.

I really enjoyed this book, it was intriguing, and made me think a lot about the world that I live. It's not OK to be complacent, and if you really believe in something then stand up for it before it is taken away, and it is scary how quickly things can be taken away and justified.  If you've read this already and are looking for another Atwood to read I can highly recommend Hag Seed. 
This Disney classic garnered a lot of press attention, and rightly so, I thoroughly enjoyed going to see it. 
I was able to go the week it came out (I have to apologise for the amount of time it has taken me to write this post) and I loved it!

Firstly, the cast was amazing, I would say 'don't get me started' but by writing this post I am literally 'getting started'. Emma Watson is such a superstar, she is classy in elegant in everything that she does and she is the most brilliant Belle. A staunch supporter of feminism she brings a new sense of power and independence to the Disney princess. I personally think she was a very good choice for the part, a great person for children across the world to look up to. As well as Emma Watson there is also the brilliant Dan Stevens, who you might recognise from Downton Abbey, who plays a Beast that transforms (literally and metaphorically) during the play as he falls in love with Belle. If the two leads are not enough, then there is also Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad (who is particularly fun), Luke Evans (as the exceptionally arrogant Gaston), and Stanley Tucci.

The film not only has the original songs, but also some excellent additions which round out the film well. My favourite song has to be 'Be Our Guest', which had amazing animation, go and see the film just for that! 

I loved it, and I would also love to hear what you thought. What was your favourite or least favourite bit?

Have a wonderful week!


Photos courtesy of Disney

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure to try out three restaurants from three different countries and this is what I found.

1. Pho -  Vietnamese
I tried this out on a Saturday and I would recommend if you go to the New Street Station branch in Birmingham then go earlier rather than later because otherwise you're in for a bit of a wait. Luckily I went with someone who had been before so we got there early and I got some great advice on what to pick.
What was there? All the food there seemed really healthy, I went for Phở Xào (wok fried noodles) with chicken and prawns. It was super tasty, with lemongrass and a bit of chilli and some peanuts on the top. To share me and my friend had prawn crackers which we enjoyed as we chatted about work, books and La La Land. 
 I had a similar meal at Wagamama's a couple of weeks earlier with a nice group - everything was so quick and what I particularly liked about the Wagamama's version was the beautiful and tasty pink ginger on the top of the noodles.

2.  Bella Italia - Italian 
For a friend's birthday she booked a table at Bella Italia, we had a really long table to fit 12 people on (it was great, although a little tricky to talk to the people on the other side of the table). I went classic, a margherita. A lot of Italian places can do fancy salads or pastas well but getting the classic right is a sign of a great Italian. I have to say I definitely enjoyed it, it was hot and tasty and very very cheesy. To end the meal my friend had bought a huge iced cookie and we each had a slice.

3. The Pear Tree - French
During a holiday after a long day of revision and homework I went to Heart of the Country Creperie - The Pear Tree. I'd like to say that I spent a long time looking at the menu to pick something new and exciting, but I went for an old classic (and one of my absolute favourites) - chocolate sauce and banana. Mmmm it was good, to be honest I'm a sucker for any crepes I have had them all across the country and I can't get enough! This crepe was delicious but perhaps could have done with a bit more chocolate (I mean really, everything could do with a bit more chocolate). 

What's your favourite cuisine? I'd love to hear some recommendations so please do let me know. 
Have a wonderful week!

I'm always on the look out for good products and I just love the Neal's Yard 'Bee Lovely Hand Cream'. For a start it smells divine, it smells of honey and oranges - which is so soothing. There are too many hand creams out there that smell waxy or plain - sometimes plain is good, but if you feel like a treat then this hand cream is for you.

The cream contains Orange Essential Oils and it's so moisturising (I mean you'd hope it would be for a hand cream, but there are always a few that don't quite do the job). It also sinks in really quickly - I just can't stand it when a cream just sits on the skin for ages.

The other thing that I really like about it is that some of the money from the purchase will go towards saving the bees. Now bees aren't many people's favourite animals but they do so many useful things - honey and wax for a start! If you'd like some more bee information (to find out why they really do need saving) then I found this webpage: http://www.lifebasicsorganics.com/blog/why-are-bees-important .

Another favourite bee product of mine is Burt's Bees - especially their lip salve, I would recommend their lipsalves any day!

Give it a try, and tell me what you think! Do you have a favourite skincare product?
Have a wonderful week!



I recently found this gem of a film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, a part that got her nominated for an Academy Award.

Why did I like it?
Well, let's see, this film has an all star cast including the aforementioned J-Law as well as Robert De Niro as Joy's father, Isabella Rossellini a wealthy widow with not much faith in Joy, and Bradley Cooper as the man who put Joy in front of the cameras and launched her invention, her self-wringing mop. The storyline is as good as the cast, although I have to admit a touch of sadness at the family situation Joy was in, and the bittersweet relationship with her good friend, trusted advisor, and ex-husband. The soundtrack, the truthful look at a woman who is pushed to the edge, or has to have faith in herself when not even her family does, and has to fight back when everything is breaking apart. Joy is a woman who is not afraid to be counted, and the same goes for this film.

The purpose of a good film
I think a good film you watch, a great film you get more for your money. What I mean is, a great film will inspire, make you think, make you act on you dreams, or show you the world from a whole new perspective. This film inspired me. Joy, the film and the woman, reminded me that people who succeed are the people who work hard, and the people who won't take 'no' for an answer.

My favourite quotes
Joy: [after Peggy attended her meeting without consent] Never speak, on my behalf, about my business, again.

Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper): I guess you could say we're friends in the commerce.
Joy: Friends in commerce. Yeah.
Neil Walker: So, let's promise each other, that if one day, and that day may come, that we become adversaries in commerce, that we remain friends. That's a true friendship, indeed.
Joy: Friends in commerce. I agree, let's shake on it.

...And finally my favourite quote:
Mimi: [narrating] She'd put up with just about anything... until when she had to bring the hammer down - she brought the hammer down.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Did you love it or hate it?

Have a wonderful week!




Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox


This week my word of the week is:


WARM 

I am loving this week, it finally feels like Winter is coming to an end and Spring is well on its way. Don't get me wrong, I have an appreciation for winter, for winter clothes, for winter holidays and being able to enjoy big roast dinners and hot chocolates - but I much prefer the warmer half of the year.

This week I also spent a lovely warm lunchtime at Bella Italia for a friend's birthday - it definitely beats the average lunchtime just eating a cheese sandwich. I had such a good margherita pizza - a definite highlight of the week. 

With the new warm weather everything is a little bit easier, and everyone seems a little bit happier. What I am going to do now, is boil the kettle and make a nice hot cup of tea (some things are better not just 'warm') and I'm going to enjoy the last few days before Spring properly kicks in - the days where you can still wrap up warm and where a good hot cuppa, a biscuit and a film is the best remedy after a walk. 

Enjoy the warm weather! Take full advantage of the changeable weather that makes hot chocolate and ice cream both viable options.

Have a wonderful week!
The Reading Residence



In 2008 Gwyneth Paltrow launched the popular lifestyle site Goop which is a golden source of all things good.

My favourite thing about the site is the wide range of things available on it, whether you want to buy a nice pair of jeans or find out which chocolate is best for you, or even look up a healthy recipe then this site has something for you. Paltrow is known for her style and elegance, and this site, which she curates, matches her perfectly.

Here are a four of my favourite posts:
MAKE
1. The Goop Good For You Chocolate Guide
I mean who would not like to find a chocolate that is good for you, and if that's not enough for you then this golden site has a mouthwatering image to invite you into this post. Scientist Dr Sara Gottfried talks about the health benefits of chocolate which includes: lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, raising serotonin levels, improving cardiovascular health and brain function, as well as lowering inflammation (plus many more). The only downside is that the chocolate is healthier for you the higher the cacao percentage - not good for all those people out there like me who prefers milk chocolate. You can take a look at this post here:  http://goop.com/the-good-for-you-chocolate-guide/

BE
2. Where Stress Gets Stuck in Your Body - and How to Release It
Everyone has stress in their life - for me it is upcoming exams, and anything that will help me get rid of this stress is definitely worth a look. Time is something I never have enough of, but taking some time out of my day to be spiritual and simply 'be' was blissful. The post has five fairly short videos about various stress containers and how to get rid of the stress they contain. Jill Willard and Lauren Roxburgh take you through the various meditative poses and by the end I was feeling...mmmm...quite simply relaxed
http://goop.com/where-stress-gets-stuck-in-the-body-and-how-to-release-it/

GO
3. The Classic London Guide
As an English blogger, I was pleased to see a post containing the best places to eat, sleep, stay and buy books at (because who would not want to go to a really beautiful bookstore in our capital city?)! The post has a number of sub-categories, so take the time and explore so you can make the most of your trip. It's time to go to some of the hidden gems, the independents, and the simply beautiful. Relax and enjoy. If you're familiar with other cities, you'll have to let me know if those guides are useful as well (I'm sure they are - but I'd love to hear from a local).
http://goop.com/city-guide/london-england/

SEE
4. The Spring Fiction Reading Guide
As an avid reader (as you may have guessed from the multitude of book reviews and my love of the fact that the London Guide has a whole section on bookshops) this was a wonderful post to read. It covers a wide selection of books to carry you through the Spring season. Every genre is covered with books from 'Perfect Little World' by Kevin Wilson to debut novel 'The Futures' by Anna Pitoniak. I haven't had the chance to read any yet - if anyone else has I'd love some recommendations for where to start.
http://goop.com/the-spring-fiction-reading-guide/


The website also has some other sections which you should definitely explore! Let me know if you find a really interesting post in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful week!




Have a wonderful week 


Photos all courtesy of www.goop.com


Whether you want to stop procrastinating, present the right body language, be motivated, get inspired or even if you have ever wondered what would happen if you replied to spam email, a TED Talk has the answer. The one thing I do have to warn you about is the 'recommended video' links by the side, which can lead to an endless spiral of YouTube videos.

I have three favourite videos:

1. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban
This entertaining video will, I'm sure, strike a chord with many of us out there - although I'm not sure any one has ever though of procrastination in these terms before. Packed with 'technical' terms like the 'Procrastination Monkey' Urban goes over what it's like to be a procrastinator, the good, the bad, and the ugly. He also suggests a few ways to get over the affliction (and it's not just sit down and enjoy the Netflix programme, although I sure wish that was the advice).

2. 7 Ways to make a conversation with anyone by Malavika Varadan
This first video I recommend to even those extroverts who already loves to chat. In 15 minutes Varadan, a radio host in Dubai, about how you can skip the small talk and have a conversation. From those simple things that we should all do (pay attention - don't sit on your phone!) to that bit of extra courage we need to use to get over our "first word flood gates". In your lunch break have a watch - what's the harm in being a better conversationalist?

3. This is what happens when you reply to spam email by James Veitch
This hilarious video has featured on my blog once before, but I couldn't do a post about Ted Talks and not include it. Have you ever received a spam email? I'm sure you followed the rules and deleted it - but Veitch does the opposite, he replies and this leads to an email chain that will lead you incredulous and a final product that will make you laugh out loud.


I love a good Ted Talk, and I have watched some that are weird (one in particular about psychopaths springs to mind) and some that are wonderful, and some that are simply funny. If you have a particular favourite I (and I'm sure many others) would love to take a look so let us know in the comment section below!

Have a wonderful week!
This book was recommended to me by a friend as a 'cult classic'. This commonly used phrase always frightens me - is it a hidden gem, or a strange venture into the author's mind?

I must admit I struggled a bit with this book, but I cannot deny that it was one-of-a-kind. The actual story, a parody of the traditional fairytale with adventure, tricks and romance was interspersed with sections of the writer 'talking' to the reader about his amendments. What is particularly strange (or special whichever way you want to look at it), is that Goldman (the author) writes this book as though he is amending a larger text (the original, written supposedly by S.Morgenstern). Goldman also writes about his own life, although this is fictional too.

My favourite character had to be Westley, who had the most interesting part, filled with journeys, pirates, and adventure. Buttercup, I found, was a bit too fickle, for my taste and I couldn't quite get to grips with the character. What did you think about these two? Prince Humperdinck was the epitome of evil-villain complete with a zoo full of dangerous animals for him to hunt for his own pleasure (he reminds me of Gaston the Disney villain). Other characters had their own little backstories which were explored, of the two supporting characters Inigo Montoya with his urgent need for revenge: "You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Goldman's humour is quite particular and is not to everyone's taste. It didn't have me laughing out loud, but it did make me smile in places. There were some good one liners (I have to say that Inigo Montoya has some of the best, but Westley had some pretty good lines too).

I heard there was a film as well, I'd love to know if anyone has watched it and what they thought of it.

Hope you have

a wonderful week!


La La Land has probably been last year's most successful film. So many of my friends went to see it (some of them went to see it multiple times) and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

It's hard to think where to start, so I'm just going to begin. The fact that the actors have won so many awards is a testament to their performances as Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a jazz musician. The story, is a wonderful, journey towards success, and achieving dreams with a bittersweet romance to add to the mix.

The old fashioned musical backdrop with colourful costumes and big musical numbers starting from the very first scene is something rarely seen in Hollywood and this makes it even more special. Ryan Gosling learned piano, and both of the actors learned tap dancing but what has people divided is their singing. Some people argue that their normal voices add to the storyline of two ordinary people aiming for the stars, others such as David Cox (The Guardian) claim that their 'reedy' voices just adds to the many problems of the story.

I personally loved it, I was amazed and drawn in by the beauty of it all, and the truth of the difficulties of trying to get into a notoriously difficult business.

The BEST BIT: The best bit for me was the moment where Mia leaves her boring boyfriend in the middle of dinner and runs to watch a classic film with Sebastian, leading to an amazing surreal scene in the Planetarium. It truly encapsulates the magical beginning of a relationship.




The WORST BIT: The worst bit was the ending. [Spoiler Alert]
When Mia gets her big break instead of a temporary separation, she and Sebastian end up over for good, if this isn't bad enough she gets to see I choose to believe that they ended up together (even though that's not entirely how it went down). The good thing about the ending though, is the music and the presentation. I loved the way the two actors ran around the artwork as they relive their life the way it could (or as I would argue should) have been.
(when she accidentally goes into his jazz club and hears their theme) their life as it could have been. To deal with this I choose to believe that Chazelle  is giving the audience two options of how their life could be and

Have you seen La La Land, what did you think? Did you enjoy the ending, the singing and the colourful costumes or like Cox did you think it was an overrated tale of two people who sacrifice true love for self interest1 .


Have a wonderful week!



1http://bit.ly/2mp8a4M  (and picture 2)

Picture 1:https://yhoo.it/2lAF4jD
Picture 2: http://bit.ly/2mcI5d5

Pictures courtesy of above websites and Summit Entertainment
This week my word of the week is:

RETURNING


After months of crazy busyness I am coming back to my blog starting this week. 

This week I have been returning to those television shows that I have missed, to the point where characters have changed and they're not even talking about it any more. I am getting back to the book that I picked up over a month ago, and have not even reached chapter two.

One thing I am not glad about is that last week I was on holiday, and now I'm not. I certainly am not pleased to be returning to all the work and early mornings. I'm also returning to the twice daily commutes which means crowded stations, made worse by the storm, although luckily my line has managed to avoid any major disruptions - phew!

Finally, I think I need to mention 'Creme Eggs' which are returning to the shops (although did they ever leave?) - and  I am thrilled to have some in the cupboard to enjoy with a cup of coffee - perhaps the most perfect part of the day.

Hope you all were able to return to some good things this week, whether it was a simple chocolate treat or something incredible. I would love to hear what people have been up to - please do let me know in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful week.

The Reading Residence


Picture:
Hooton, Christopher. "Nation In Shock As Cadbury's Changes Creme Egg Recipe". The Independent. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
There's been a few things recently that have got in the way of my blog: university visits, coursework, driving lessons and a million and one other things. So I'm reviving my blog and beginning right here.

So many things have been happening: London Fashion Week, Storm Doris and some super good films. Look forward to some reviews, I've been to see the wonderful films like the award-winning 'La La Land', I've been watching classics like 'Erin Brockovich' and nominated films like 'Joy' starring Jennifer Lawrence. As far as books go, as an English Literature student I am desperately in the need of some recommendations so if anyone has any ideas then please do let me know in the comments section below.

At the moment I am sitting trying to avoid going outside where Storm Doris (I really do want to know who gets to name these storms) is currently knocking down branches all over the place and raining hard. I hope no one has been too badly affected, I felt bad for all those people at the train station having to wait for their delayed train or for alternative transport.

I'm also going to be joining in with Reading Residence's Word of the Week so watch out for that.
Before I go here three quick recommendations:
1.'This is what happens when you reply to spam email' a TED Talk by James Veitch (one of the funniest things I have seen all year)
2. Very British Problems Twitter Account (if you're British I'm sure you will relate)
3. How Far I'll Go by Alessia Cara - what better way to start the morning than with this upbeat tune
(Links to videos below)

I know it's been a while, but I'm still writing. I hope you're still listening.

Have a wonderful week,
The Clumsy Wordshaker




1 "Hollywood Movie News – Fresh Films Fest". Freshfilmsfest.net. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
This book was absolutely as good as the first. Once again Cormoran Strike gets embroiled in a murder but this time his profile is higher after the Lula Landry case.
The title 'Silkworm' comes from the book written by a missing author, whose wife is searching for him. He is a serial philander who often goes away to writers retreats and seems to have irritated everyone he knows. But as Cormoran delves further in this mans's life he comes to the conclusion that he hasn't just gone missing.
Filled with plot twists and detail, the Hagrid-esque Cormoran and his side-kick the brilliantly efficient Robin get embroiled in yet another murder.
Throughout all this there is the other problem of  Robin's soon-to-be husband who has taken a distinct disliking to Cormoran (not helped by Robin's desire to become his working partner, not just assistant).
Overall a fantastic book by J.K Rowling, and the third book 'Career of Evil' is out now - I haven't read it yet, but it's supposed to be brilliant. Have you read it yet? What did you think of it?

Hope you enjoy the book, have a wonderful week,
The Clumsy Wordshaker
This quite honestly the best murder mystery I have ever read.

The main character, Cormoran Strike is a huge man, a tall man who is physically perhaps threatening but has a heart of gold. Then introduce his secretary Robin Ellacott a woman who he can barely afford. Combine this with the fantastic writing of JK Rowling (under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) and add the mystery of the death of a supermodel Lula Landry and you have yourself  a winner.

Lula Landry committed suicide. That much was obvious and to be honest the newspapers knew it, her fans knew it and most of her family knew it. But her brother was not so sure. Cormoran, like a mixture of Hagrid and Sherlock, gets embroiled in the mystery as one clue after the other appears to make things more confusing. The woman was in the public eye and yet people don't seem to know much about her.

This book was truly a page-turner. I couldn't wait to know 'who done it' but I didn't want it to end. The contradicting statements from supposed witnesses and friends, the fascinating personal life and the dramatic public life makes this book simply magnificent especially combined with the growing and unexpected friendship of Robin and Cormoran.

I am a big fan of Harry Potter, just like half the world and this book is completely different and yet JK Rowling executes it with the same finesse and brilliance as with the everything else. The story is rich and unfolds like a magic carpet and the characters are complex and relatable. If there is one book you should read this year - it should be this one.

Have a wonderful week,

The Clumsy Wordshaker


Photo courtesy of J.K Rowling (found on campus diaries.com)
Having studied Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale', I was excited to see that she was talking about her new book 'Hag-Seed' in Ely Cathedral. Funnily enough when I sat down, I recognised the people in front of us, it turns out our neighbours had turned up at the same event! We had a lovely chat, and they told me that the very next day they were going to see Atwood again, at a prize giving.

Atwood chose to retell 'Hag-Seed', after  Hogarth Shakespeare asked for eight authors to write a modern retelling of a classic Shakespeare play. She decided to go for 'The Tempest' because it involved revenge, magic, love and drama, and unlike many of his earlier plays which ended tragically, this has an unexpected plot twist, leading to a much more pleasant ending. Does Atwood's version end the same way? I will have to read and find out...

Her new book is a modern re-telling of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', and after speaking about the book, her ideas and her characters, she started to explain how she went about re-telling the pla
y. She also read a couple of sections, including one very incredible rap - I think that the memory of Margaret Atwood rapping the backstory of 'The Tempest' will forever make me smile!

After her talk, she opened the floor for questions, nervously I made my way to the microphone and stood behind a couple of others waiting for my turn. Margaret was very kind and answered each question, then it got to me. I asked her if, because 'Hag-Seed' was a retelling, if she had to plan it out in a different way, to her other books. She said that it was actually more difficult, she tried to stick to Shakespeare's main outline, dividing the book roughly into five acts.

Margaret Atwood then answered some other questions, including a question about the ending of 'The Handmaid's Tale'. This has been much debated in my English classes and it was nice to finally get some closure. Margaret explained that the reason why Offred's story is unfinished is because, like many tales of historical figures their lives get lost because of record office fires. In this way it makes Offred's story more realistic. She also said that she was influenced by Orwell's '1984', and she uses her 'Epilogue' in a similar way to him, making a potentially negative ending more positive, but also to make the whole story seem more like a real event in history. The epilogue also reminds authors that the time of Gilead does eventually move on.

I got a beautiful signed copy of her new book and am very much looking forward to reading it, if you already have I would love to hear what you think. I was very impressed that if you take the dust-jacket off, the front and back cover create a face.

Have a wonderful week,
The Clumsy Wordshaker


Bob Dylan has just received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here's the first three emotions that went through my mind.
1. Laughter - this must be a joke
2. Really? Bob Dylan? But he's a singer!
3. Why?

So let's go through this together. First "let me ask you one question..."

Why did he win the Nobel Prize?
Song lyrics can be described as a kind of aural poetry, and therefore in that sense lyrics would come under ‘literature’. His songs have affected a generation of people and he is known especially for his protest songs.
He was very unlikely to win the prize, with Ngugi wa Thiong’o* being the favourite at 7/2. The literature prize was awarded a week after the science medals – could this be because not all the judges were certain of that this was the right decision? He won “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. 'Blonde on Blonde' for example, Sara Danius (permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy) describes as “an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming, putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.”

My second question is: is it right for a songwriter to win a Literature prize?
Dylan said “The US is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough, and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature… That ignorance is restraining.” Is this enough of a reason though, to award someone a prize? The reasoning is, that America doesn’t engage enough with the wider tapestry of literature, but Dylan’s lyrics makes them engage, and connects them like a piece of string to the “big dialogue of literature”.
Dylan is the first songwriter to be awarded the Nobel prize, but is he the first performer that we think of as part of our rich literary heritage? Sara Danius said that although the choice may seem surprising, “if you look far back, 5000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan. We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it.”
 
The next thing that people are concerned about is: what does this mean for the future of the Nobel Literature Prize?
Does awarding the prize open up a floodgate of artists from across media getting awarded because they are poetic?
Bob Dylan was awarded the prize for his impact on a generation, I personally can think of many other authors that I think have had far more of an effect. Will the writers of ‘Friends’ Marta Kauffman and David Crane win the award? They have changed a generations views on relationships, they have developed characters that are still a part of our everyday lives. Why does J.K. Rowling not receive the prize, she is as well-known as many of the other prize winners and her series has created an entire world that millions of people long to be part of, and in some ways revitalised children’s literature. 
 
For me, awarding Dylan this prize is a mistake. I don't think you can honestly compare Homer, and Bob Dylan. I also think that if they feel that they want to promote singers and musicians perhaps they should introduce a Nobel Music Prize. He is a fantastic artist who deserves awards, but does he deserve the Nobel Literature Prize? I'm not sure. If you don't agree with me, then let's follow Dylan's own advice: "You’re right from your side, I’m right from mine..." and let's leave it at that.
 

Perhaps next week we will hear Margaret Atwood winning this year's folk-rock award for her contributions to American/Canadian culture, you never know! It seems "the times they are a-changin".

Have a wonderful week, 
The Clumsy Wordshaker 


*Ngugi wa Thiong’o is Kenyan writer embarked on a novel form of theatre and tried to "demystify" the theatre process. He was subsequently imprisoned for 22 years for his political action and was finally adopted as an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience. He then fled to America where he taught at Yale and has subsequently taught at a number of other universities. You can find out more information about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C5%A9g
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This classic novel was part of my summer reading and I decided to read it, partly in preparation for next year but also because it comes up time and again as people's favourite book.

First I was confused, the story is shrouded in a dark curtain and gradually Bronte reveals the truth however at first it was simply confusing. This was not helped by not quite understanding who was the narrator. For anyone who fancies reading the book here is my little guide:

Mr Lockwood arrives Wuthering Heights (main narrator)
Later meets Nellie Dean (who then tells the story to him from her point of view)
Towards the end Lockwood takes over, and tells the reader the final section of the story (repeating what Nellie told him).

What I found most interesting about this book was the fact that Bronte uses words like 'saucy' when describing characters but also how many books that I have read that have been written recently that take parts of Wuthering Heights and use it. Much like other classic novels, this book has had a huge impact on modern literature.

I loved how Bronte is able to find a resolution in a round-about way and how she is able to make such unlikable characters still engaging to read about, it appears that Cathy and Heathcliff's only redeeming quality is their love for each other. It is also intriguing how despite Bronte's adamant refusal to make Heathcliff match the cliched idea of a romantic hero, someone like Mr Rochester who is shown in the end to be loving and virtuous, Heathcliff is still seen as somewhat of a romantic hero.

There is also the religious element of the book, and other elements that I was able to enjoy more after reading 'The Madwoman in the Attic' which developed some literary analysis. Cathy runs from hell to what she thinks will be her heaven, however her heaven turns into a hell. Similarly, many of the other characters struggle to discover where heaven is and where hell is, and consistently make errors in judgement. However gradually as the generations go on, the characters (such as Hareton Earnshaw and Cathy II) begin to take a look at themselves in order to truly discover where their happiness will lie.

I definitely enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading 'Jane Eyre' next!

Have a wonderful week!


If you fancy re-watching (or watching for the first time) Kate Bush's song version of this classic book I have included the link below.



I saw this film in the Odeon cinema in Brighton and was attracted by the cast, with the brilliant Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Zac Efron (Bad Neighbours) and Adam DeVine (Modern Family) and by the trailer which looked very funny.


I am always on the look out for a comedy and so I gave the movie a go, particularly as I have seen many of the actors in other comedies and they seem like they could pull off a crazy story like this.
The story itself stems from the fact that a real set of brothers Mike and Dave Stangle advertised on Kreg's list for dates for their sister's wedding, the rest is all fiction.

At the end you could see the character's improvising their lines which made me think that a proportion of the comedy actually came from the actor's themselves which probably made it easier for them to act. Aubrey Plaza's Tatiana is a part she was made to play, the very loud slob is the perfect counterpart to Kendrick's Alice who loves Rihanna and cannot get over the recent incident where her fiance leaves her at the alter.

The characters work together perfectly to create humour that is on the side of slapstick (sometimes crass) with more complicated humour entwined. Mike and Dave's love for their sister Jeanie leads to another line of comedy as Alice and Tatiana accidentally 'ruin' each event. A parallel line of comedy is Alice and Tatiana discovering the potential flaws in the lifestyle that they had previously just gone along with.

Their is also obviously a storyline, which, whilst certainly not as detailed as some films does have some depth, covers everything from bridal fears before the wedding, to the romance of Alice and Dave, and the growing partnership between Tatiana and Mike.

Overall I would recommend this film for anyone who fancies a laugh and a comedy,

Have a wonderful week!


Photos courtesy of  20th Century Fox
This week I my word is:

CAKE

This week was the start of the new season of Great British Bake Off - a definite favourite of mine. I already have my favourites and have guessed (to various family members) who I think will make it to the quarter finals. 

In reality though cake has also been a delicious afternoon treat, from the tea cake that my Grandma made, to the lemon drizzle and chocolate cakes that were purchased from M&S. I have loved eating some cake and doing some reading in preparation for next year. This week I have finished Anna Karenina (loved it) and Jane Eyre (loved it loved it), which add to the list of classics I have read this summer. 

Whilst others have been enjoying cake, I was able to use this time in order to take a look at a variety of second hand bookstores. I have been able to pick up Forster's 'A Room With A View' (I would love to watch the film with Helena Bonham-Carter preferably with cake), and also 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins). 

Altogether this week has had a surprising amount of cake which I have thoroughly enjoyed! 

Have a wonderful week!
 
I will try very hard here not to include any spoilers.

What I really liked was the amount of action in the film, and the fact that it built upon the previous films. What I did not like so much was the lack of words, in fact I think someone out there worked out that Matt Damon only had 288 words. This did affect how far the film moved along and what could actually occur.

I would recommend the film though, and I would because it lives up to the expectations of an action film: it is packed with chases, secrecy, plots, shooting, running and escaping (or not)! I also really liked the character Aaron Kalloor played by Riz Ahmed, as the founder of a software company. Kalloor's struggle between what is easy and what is morally right makes for an interesting sub-plot.

The only other negative was how little it seems that the main character has actually moved forwards and learned about his past and his father. This film does, however, reveal a bit more about his father's death and about Bourne's entry into business of becoming a CIA assassin.

For me the greatest loss was ****SPOILER**** the loss of Julia Stiles as a character. I thought she was really good, and I also really like the actress and so to lose her was a great shame, especially as they cannot bring her back. I thought that she was such a good character because she enabled Bourne to move forwards in his quest for information, she was an intelligent woman and also because she was clearly on the good side (something which cannot be said for most of the characters in the Bourne series).

Alicia Vikander was a welcome addition to the cast, I enjoyed watching her as she remained on the edge of the knife-point between team pro-Bourne and team against-Bourne. For the beginning third it appeared she was against, only to switch for the middle third and then, it appears (for it may not be as it seems) that she was back on the team of against after she had got what she wanted (the removal of her boss). I am sure that her character will be developed and it will become clear in the future which side she is on.

Hope this was helpful, let me know if you want to know anything else or if you want to share your opinions.

Have a wonderful week





Photos are promotional photos and belong to Universal Pictures


You may have seen my post a year ago about London, and recently I visited again to take a look at what's been going on since I was last there.


First of all Liberty London: since last time they have merged the handbag and scarves departments and introduced a whole new sunglasses department! They are also opening Maria Tash’s first and only permanent space this side of the Atlantic on the ground floor, where you can get piercing, styling advice and beautiful gem-set jewellery in a private room - what do you think of this introduction?

Liberty London is an Aladdin's cave of fabrics and designs, and to the right you can see one of their displays about the silk road. I recently used some of their fabric to make a stylish headband.  Definitely take a look in Liberty if you get a chance, it is like being whisked into another world of patterns and luxurious things.













I also went to look in Fortnum and Mason's and was impressed by their new displays, especially the beautiful staircase. I am always amazed by the range of food, from cupcakes with sugared violets, to pineberries. 


 Here are a selection of chocolates, perfect for any anniversary or if you want to splash out on a yummy box to share in front of a good film.

I spotted some Fiona Cairn's cakes in the shop (Fiona Cairn made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding cake), these cakes are topped with thick delicious icing and sugared violets. 





 From sweet shortbreads to fruit and vegetables Fortnum and Mason's is well stocked (although rather more expensive than an average shop)!



If you are looking for something sweet to eat then I found the perfect place. Amorino in Covent Garden has, in my opinion,  the best gelato, you can even get yours served in the shape of a rose.






 I got a delicious waffle with mango sorbet and chocolate gelato - it was the absolute best, I would definitely recommend it




Hope you have a wonderful week!