Buckle up! Jessie Buckley takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride in Wild Rose

I went to see an Odeon Screen Unseen film at the cinema last night, where you buy a ticket and don’t know which film you get to see, and I was not disappointed. People cheered when the film was revealed to be Wild Rose, and now I know why!

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Jessie Buckley in Wild Rose (2018)

In director Tom Harper’s new film Wild Rose, we meet Rose-Lynn, who is a convicted felon out on probation, a single mother of two, and a dreamer. Her dream is to leave Glasgow and become a country singer in Nashville. But, she is not as free as she wishes she could be, and we watch her struggle between what she wants to do and what she should. She is flawed, frustrating and fun, and Jessie Buckley’s brilliant performance made me want to both yell at and hug her at the same time.

I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so I won’t go into detail on the plot, but what I can say is that I could not find a single thing I would change in this film. The music consumed me. Her voice is captivating, strong and filled to the brim with passion and joy. I am itching to listen to the soundtrack, if only it were out yet.

Wild Rose will make you want to put on cowboy boots and go dancing. And so you should!

Wild Rose is released in UK and Irish cinemas 12 April, and US cinemas 10 May. Do not miss it!

Thanks for reading! Hope all you cowgirls and boys will have a lovely day!

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Musings on Mansfield Park

Picture shows a wooden surface with a red teapot, a white cup filled with tea, and a tiny milk jug next to the Oxford Worlds Classics Edition of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The book's cover image is a painting of a young lady in a white dress with white lace head piece.

Warning! This review includes spoilers!

So I am currently on an Austen-marathon as I am reading all her novels for one of my university modules, and this week I devoured Mansfield Park. First off, let me recommend the excellently executed audio book edition narrated by Frances (something). It is lovely to be able to listen to a book whilst doing something mundane like sitting on public transport or hanging up laundry. From my experience, whatever you are doing must not be too thought consuming, as I love focus, but it is the perfect listen if you want to do some drawing, for example! Now, onto the review.

Picture shows a wooden surface with a red teapot, a white cup filled with tea, and a tiny milk jug next to the Oxford Worlds Classics Edition of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The book's cover image is a painting of a young lady in a white dress with white lace head piece.
“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.” – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park is an absolutely lovely book if you remember to tell yourself that it is not a romance. It gives an entertaining look into society, relationships, the business of marriage and family planning, and character study. Jane Austens comedy and bitingly sarcastic observations are hilarious as always, and this novel does not disappoint in that department.

Fanny Price, the heroine of the novel, seemed boring to me at first. She is too perfect, too concerned with morals and never makes any mistakes. However, she grew on me, and I have to admit the reason I did not like her at times was because she was too relatable. Not saying that I am too perfect myself! Far from it. It is her shyness and fear of being in the way that hit me. The far of taking up space, talking out of place, and fear of going after what (or who) you want, is thoughts that occupy and hinder Fanny from living her best life.  I doubt that many people can say they have never struggled with thoughts like that.

The romance, which is what normally drives me in, is not really that important in this novel. It was a strange feeling to root for Fanny getting together with her cousin, but that is something you just have to accept – I pretended the use of ‘cousin’ was similar to Mary and Matthew Crawley’s relationship in Downton Abbey; they call each other ‘cousin’ all the time but were barely related at all.

I’m giving Mansfeld Park  a 4/5 stars because I am still not a fan of how Austen ends her books. everything up until the big climax is ‘show, don’t tell’, and then you don’t get the big moment, you are just told ‘and then they lived happily ever after’. So frustrating. But don’t let that stop you from reading Austen. She is absolutely worth your time.

Have you read Mansfield Park?
Do you have a favourite Austen novel?
What do you think of Fanny Price?

Click here if you would like to read my review on Sense and Sensibility.
If you want to get in touch or be notified when I post next time

Thank’s for reading! I wish you all the best,
– G. xxx

 

 

Sense and Sensibility and Slight Disappointment – A Book Review

A hand is holding up a blue book with a diamond-shaped pattern. The shapes are of a darker blue colour with yellow dots in their corners. In the middle of the book's cover is a white square where it says "sense and sensibility by Jane Austen". The book is closed shut with a rubber band in the background is a gray wintery bush.

Warning! This is a book review which includes spoilers, just in case you have not read the book or watched an adaption of Sense and Sensibility before.

Hey guys! I am breathing life into this blog again after a long hiatus. I am currently studying Jane Austen’s novels at uni, and thought it would be nice to voice my opinions somewhere. This week we read Sense and Sensibility, one of her most famous novels… and I am going to be brutally honest here and say that I am disappointed.

A hand is holding up a blue book with a diamond-shaped pattern. The shapes are of a darker blue colour with yellow dots in their corners. In the middle of the book's cover is a white square where it says "sense and sensibility by Jane Austen". The book is closed shut with a rubber band in the background is a gray wintery bush.
Can we talk about how beautiful the Knickerbocker Classics edition of Sense and Sensibility is?

I usually love Austen’s books, particularly for the insight you get into English society. I like how this book shows that people are not solely vicious and manipulative or completely good, perfect and innocent. The main characters and their love interests are all fleshed out and complex. That said, it is the romance that draws me to finish a book quickly (well, a deadline also helps), and this  time I honestly did not realise who the love interest would be, which diminishes the pull of the novel. None of the men were particularly interesting to me. Colonel Brandon was the best alternative, but that meant Marianne would have to turn him down and have next to no character development (or worse, die), and I did not want Elinor to be the second choice.

I really did not see Edward Ferrars as an alternative at all. He had no ambition, no drive, and seemingly no demand of where his choices would lead him. Yes, he is loyal, but what else is there to say about him in his favour? I am writing this a week after reading the novel and I hardly remember him.

If you have read this recently, you might remember that the whole ‘gang’ were gathered at Colonel Brandon’s house and he was going to bring them to Whitby, a large mansion somewhere in the area, but he had to go to town, and suggested they would meet up in the spring and take the trip then. Because of this, I spent the entire book waiting for winter to end so that Elinor and Marianne would leave London and  finally go on that trip with Colonel Brandon! I imagined Elinor would go to Whitby and meet an Austen-esque hero there and fall in love, but as page 300 rolled around and it still did not happen, I was very confused. This probably blinded me from seeing Ferrars’ potential, and maybe I would have had a completely different experience if I had just dismissed the mention of Whitby.

Despite what it might sound like, I did enjoy the novel for what it does. The sisterly relationship Austen excels at portraying, as well as how she writes jealousy, miscommunication and embarrassment make this novel most enjoyable. I cringed at Marianne’s desperate letters to Willoughby, and cheered for her when she told him off at the party in London. Austen wrote novels at a time where the epistolary novel had just recently been at its prime in popularity, so it is fun to see her embellish her work with a few letters. Letters show an insight into a person you might not get from any other style, and give characters a chance to explain their actions (Like Darcy does in Pride and Prejudice, for example).

Overall, I will give this book 4/5 because I had such high expectations.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to get notified whenever I upload, you can follow my bookstagram at @anotherstorymustbegin on Instagram!

What did you think of the novel? Where does Sense and Sensibility rank on your list of your favourite Austen novels? And did you figure out that Elinor would end up with Edward?

-G. x

My best study tips and tricks for panicking procrastinators

Hey everyone!

It’s Easter and for a lot of you that means lounging on the sofa eating chocolate and crisps. For my family it means going skiing every day and eating oranges and loads of hard-boiled eggs. (not necessarily together). For me, and for most students, at least here in the UK, it means deadlines are fast approaching and whether you have essays due or exams to prepare for, it can be difficult to sit down and study when everyone is sending you snapchats from their holiday breaks. If you can relate, I’ve got you covered. As a professional procrastinator who has made many mistakes, I’ve got some advice to help you avoid making them too.

  1. Wake up early. Really early.

I try to stick to this, even if it just means leaving a book on my nightstand the night before so that I don’t have to get out of bed to start studying. I set an alarm for 6:30 and start reading without looking at my phone, because if I pick that up first thing, I’m guaranteed to spend close to an hour on YouTube, and suddenly there was no point in waking up early! Why, you might ask, when I can just study a bit later in the day? There’s something in the feeling of having done something early on in the day, and checking the time seeing that you still have the entire day in front of you that keeps the stress at bay.

  2. Download Forest – Stay Focused, if you haven’t already. 

(not a sponsored post, btw.) Forest is an app that has really saved me the last few years. I would never admit to being addicted to my phone, but it takes up a lot of my time. With Forest, you plant a tree for a set time (from 10 minutes to two hours), and if you leave the app, your tree dies. Once the tree has grown you gain points you can use to buy different tree types, or donate your points so that people living in poverty in Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania can learn about agriculture and plant a real tree as well as other plants, to help support them and their families so that they can either eat or sell the produce. It’s a win-win situation!

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  3. Write a list of what you need to do each evening. 

If you write the list before you go to bed, you won’t waste hours on just faffing about not really sure about what to do. I use one of those ready-made Microsoft Excel calendars and fill in everything I need to do each day, and try to stick to that.

  4. Figure out your best study habits!

It helps me work if I know someone is watching me work, it’s too easy to just open Netflix if I’m the only one who knows. Find out where you’re most productive, if that is in your room, in a cafe of in a library. After two years in uni I’ve figured out that I read the quickest when I’m outside in a park (really unfortunate these days as it is so cold outside), and write best when I’m in a library. Hopefully you have found this out about yourself by now, if not – do not fall into the procrastination trap where you spend ages finding the perfect spot and the perfect mood – no spot will ever be perfect if you’re stressed.

5. Study with a friend!

I stay longer in the library if I go there with a friend, and it also makes the lunch break feel like more of a break. Just make sure that friend has a good work ethic, or works similarly to you. If they are a huge procrastinator, that might drag you down! Bonus: if both of you have the Forest app, you can plant trees together and compete in planting the most trees! (Seriously, I’m not sponsored!).

6. Make the breaks count! 

Taking a ten minute walk around your neighbourhood / wherever your library is located will leave you feeling fresh and ready to get back to work. Allow yourself breaks and make them good ones, just make sure you get up from your chair and move around. Twerk. Do a handstand. Preferably in a public library – the embarrassment will distract you from the stress!

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(from that one time my flatmate and I took a veeery long study break and went to Somerset to study there instead. Bit extreme?)

These are my best tips and tricks. Thank you for reading!

Do you have any advice you would like to share?

Good luck with your studies!

-G. x

 

 

 

 

Review: Thirst by Jo Nesbø

N.B.: I read this novel in Norwegian, so although I believe they are just as excellent, I cannot vouch for the translated editions, therefore this review will be based on the story and my general impression.

I finally got around to reading Thirst, the latest crime novel in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø. It was all the craze in Norway (and in many other countries, I bet) around easter, however I was drowning in coursework and books to read ad re-read before my university exams, so I had to wait. It was almost unbearable. Police, the predecessor,  actually ended in the gym where I used to take swimming lessons as a child – safe to say it hit close to home.

tørst

Nesbø is back with characters that now are now in a sense like old friends. The setting has a certain feel to it that from the very first chapter we know we are already “back in business” – this is the universe we know and love (and fear). It was strange for me to walk the streets of Oslo during the days that I spent reading Thirst. Nesbø has a knack for making an otherwise safe, lovely city into a chilling backdrop. You would think that a beloved park you’ve frequently visited, a beautiful street you’ve walked up and down many a time, never could feel unsafe, but no, I’m sitting there silently screaming for the character to just go inside! That’s clear evidence of good writing if you ask me!

I can’t say much about the story without spoiling anything, a brief line is all I will give: There is a vampirist on the loose. A vampirist is a person with a mental disorder that causes a craving for blood and (or) typical vampire behaviour. I know what you’re thinking: Finally, a Twilight crossover! Well I must disappoint you there. Or not? I’m not spoiling anything!

With this rather fascinating (and admittedly disconcertingly gross) twist, Harry Hole is back at it again. However, at some points it feels too similar to the previous books. I would say you know what you get when you buy a copy of the Harry Hole series, and that is not a bad thing, but I didn’t encounter as many surprises as I had expected after reading the high praised reviews Thirst received. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely worth your time. I only allow myself to read one book in Norwegian each year as I have so much to read for uni, and I’m glad I chose this one.

Have you got your hands on a copy yet? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

xxx -G

 

Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

“You’re a watchful guy. You know where that comes from? ” I shook my head. “It comes from feeling out of place. Believe me. I know.” – The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

thereluctantfundamentalist

The narrator puts you on the spot, takes your hand and makes you sit down to listen to his story in this phenomenal novel. I hadn’t planned on reading it, I was going to read one of my heavier novels to prepare for university, but I couldn’t put this book down.

In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a Pakistani man named Changez meets an American man at a café, and starts telling him his story. I must admit, I’ve never read anything like this novel, where the entire work is in a monologue. The reader is in the position of the American, it is as if I myself sat down and listened to Changez, although I don’t have the same reactions and facial expressions as Changez sees in the American. Here’s an example, the very first few sentences of the book.

“Excuse me, Sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America.”

Changez tells the very reluctant (and probably racist) man the story of how he, a genial Princeton graduate with a fine job in New York, got his life turned upside down by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I love the way it was written, it’s easy to follow because it’s really just someone telling you a story (also called a dramatic monologue). I don’t want to spoil too much because that would completely ruin the experience, so I will comment on how it made me feel instead. This point of view is not represented enough in my world, it was a view on 9/11 that had never presented itself to me before I read this. It was also someone leading a completely different life from my own even though we are the same age in the majority of the novel. Most of all I felt frustrated, because of the clear racism and fear of the unknown the American was showing him, and how painfully obvious it was. Then, as the story moved along, fear started to take its hold. Reading this novel was such a real experience that by the time I finished it I felt like it was all true and I had to search for it online to see whether it was.

I’m giving this a 8.5 out of 10 because of a couple scenes I felt wouldn’t be told to a stranger and just a gut feeling, but I would absolutely recommend this novel to anyone and everyone above 16 years of age.

Have you read it, or watched the film? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Review: Falling Man by Don DeLillo

These are the days after. Everything now is measured by after. – Don DeLillo, Falling Man.

Falling Man left me with mixed feelings. It takes place in New York during the days after the 9/11 Twin Tower terrorist attack in 2001. Each chapter mainly switch between the perspectives of Keith, who worked in one of the towers that day, and Lianne, who opens her door to him, her ex husband, and lets him back into her life.

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I enjoyed Lianne’s chapters. She leads a writing workshop and her group share their thoughts, experiences and worries. However, these minor characters are the only ones I feel a connection to. Delillo’s way of writing is perhaps a required taste, and not for me, because it made me feel as if I was not really there, I don’t get Keith or Lianne. It is like they’re not actually there in their own setting, because the dialogue between for example Lianne and her mother, Nina, gives me the impression that they are both talking into thin air, not really listening to each other.

On the other hand, this might be exactly what Don DeLillo is trying to do with his writing, a way of showing that his characters are in shock. Lust seems to be their main feeling, not grief or sadness, or rage. It might be an effect of reading this in the aftermath of having read Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, but I couldn’t find it within myself to feel sorry for them, which I feel horrible for saying as it was such a terrible event in real life.

My favourite quote must be from one of the moments when Lianne feels as if she is in a movie. It has got a kind of relatable self-referentiality to it. “They were still talking ten minutes later when Lianne left the room. She stood in the bathroom looking into a mirror. The moment seemed false to her, a scene in a movie when a character tries to understand what is going on in her life by looking in the mirror.” 

The last twenty pages were intriguing, the 226 before that were alright, but did not have me hooked. However, this is just my opinion, and the reviews on this book and the awards it has received gives me the impression that I am one of the few that didn’t find it to be their cup of tea. Maybe you will love it! Feel free to defend it’s honour in the comments below.

Really difficult to put a score on this one but I ended up with giving it 5/10.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Instagram if you want an update every time I post another review! @anotherstorymustbegin

xxx
-G