A Book and Film Blog

Saturday, 24 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #1

Today is Christmas Eve, I'm about to share my favourite Christmas film of.all.time and, I've reached the end of Blogmas! Today is a good day. All you ever hear me do is moan about blogging everyday for 12 days and I didn't even do it properly. But it has also made me realise how much I love blogging and sharing all my favourite films at my favourite time of year! So, at Number 1 ... the film that made me do this whole countdown ...

The Best Man's Holiday

Just thinking about this film makes me a bit emotional. This film is actually a sequel, though I've never seen the first film  so I doubt it's important. And besides, the first few minutes of the film catches us to speed on what happened in the first film.

In The Best Man's Holiday, couple Mia (Monica Calhoun) and Lance (Morris Chesnut) send letters tto their closest friends, asking them to join their family for Christmas, all under one roof. That's Harper and his very pregnant wife Robyn, the wayward Shelby, and equally wayward Quentin, Julian and his wife Candace, her best friend Jordan along with her boyfriend Brian. Got that? Okay.

They all arrive at the house, after 14 years of seeing each other and the bond and chemistry between them is exactly the same. However as the celebrations take place, really ugly tensions rise between certain characters, notably Lance and Harper after years of hurt have gone unresolved. Harper, a novelist is penning a book called Unfinished Business (lol) which details the one night stand Harper had with Lance's then fiance years ago (don't know why he feels he need to bring this up :L).  And this betrayal is so humanly (is this the right word?) handled.

This film is a very character driven comedy which is able to juggle all these personalities to the point where you're fully invested in each character and then half way through the film, throws in a tragedy. Because of the work the film does to pull you in beforehand, this halfway point is genuinely devastating. I actually find it very difficult to cry when watching films. I'm that person who is moved, but not to tears. And I wailed. At times, it's emotionally heavy, thanks to the some exceptional performances and it also throws in themes such as black masculinity and betrayal and what it means to be a good friend. That said, it's but it's also breathtakingly uplifting. The Best Man's Holiday never forgets that it's a holiday comedy and you'll find yourself laughing through the tears.

Go find a copy of this film and watch it now, I promise it will make your Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Christmas Films #2

You didn't think I'd do an entire list of my favourite Christmas films and not include Elf, did you? If you haven't seen it yet, it tells the story of Buddy (played by Will Ferrell), an orphan who accidentally crawls into Santa's bag whilst Santa is doing the rounds and ends up hitching a ride to the North Pole. When he gets there, he's adopted by Papa Elf who raises him as an elf. But growing up, Buddy knew he was different and doesn't fit in. Given that you know, he's about 5 times the size of an average Elf. When he's old enough, Papa Elf explains that he'd been given up for adoption and his father is in fact alive and lives in New York, working as a children's book editor.   got caught in Santa's bag when he was out on delivery. Santa decides to raise him as his own. Elf is the story of Buddy returning  to New York to meet his father, his new family and find out who he really is.

Robert Ebert described the film as "One of those rare Christmas comedies that has a heart, a brain and a wicked sense of humor" and I couldn't have put it better myself. Every element of this film makes my heart so full: all the elf-like shenanigans that ensue once Buddy arrives in New York like the big confrontation between Buddy and the fake Santa in the department store; Mary Steenburgen who plays Buddy's stepmom and is so mothering and lovable and endearing; and Will Ferrell himself, who is so charming and genuine as this big friendly giant. In his weird way, this is a story of how Buddy saves both his family and in doing so, Christmas itself.

Friday, 23 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #3

I've already watched this film at least 8 times this year and reckon that after talking about it now, I'll be watching it before bed. It just .. brings out all the feels.

The Holiday 
*Mild Spoilers*

The Holiday is one of those films that you might love, but when you strip it back, you can't deny how flawed it is. Are Kate Winslet's Iris and Cameron Diaz' Amanda really in a state of crisis? Or are they overreacting? Why has no-one told Iris this whole obsession with Jasper is properly pathetic? And like her character, Kate doesn't seem to know her own worth because why did she take this role? Also, now that they've both found the love of their lives in different countries, what are they going to do about their living arrangements? But we don't care because as Mindy Kaling once said, a good rom-com is basically sci-fi - a universe with rules completely different to the ones in the world we live in. And in this movie, everyone who lives in England lives in the cosiest, cutest, most picturesque, hobbit looking cottages you've ever seen; making movie trailers for a living actually makes you a millionaire and; sleeping with Jude Law is a problem and subsequent plot twist.

It tells the story of Iris, a English journalist who agrees to swap her cottage in Surrey for Amanda's lush mansion in Beverly Hills, after the two women find themselves - apparently - at a crossroads in life which has been triggered by chasing after losers. After their respective "heartbreak", they both meet the men their meant to be with. For Amanda, it's Iris brother Graham, played by Jude Law, a book editor and single father *swoon*. And for Winslet, it's Jack Black's Miles, a film score composer who is superduperuber charming. So not only does everyone have the coolest jobs, they live in the most beautiful locations, fall in love with the most intelligent and romantic and thoughtful people (bar Cameron Diaz, who is as ditzy as ever) AND, it's all set around Christmas! In the winter! In the snow!

Directed by the Queen of rom-coms herself Nancy Meyers, the film understands that at this time of year, all we want in a rom com is mind numbing rosiness and bliss.

12 Days of Christmas Films #4

Now that Christmas is TWO DAYS AWAY, I promise these last four films do more than deliver on the scale of festive spirit. So without further ado ...

The Santa Clause 

The Santa Clause is a. the best of the three films and b. THE story of Father Christmas, making it required holiday viewing.

It's Christmas Eve and Scott picks up his son from his ex-wife. Unfortunately as Scott is shouting, Santa Claus is on his roof and the shock of his shout (it's better than it sounds I promise) causes him to slip, fall and ...die. Bit morbid but the film gets over it pretty quickly. You see, Santa's body disappears (don't ask) and Scott is left with the red suit. So he puts it on and tarts doing Santa's rounds (because logic) with Charlie in toe. The North Pole elves inform Scott that according to the "Santa Clause", he must now become Santa. Of course when Charlie relays this back to his mum, she's convinced he's got issues - because of his cray Dad. So now not only is Scott adjusting to the hefty task of being Santa Clause, he's now got to deal family drama in the form of court hearings. As Christmas approaches, Scott has to ya know, be Santa and convince his family, friends and the justice system he isn't crazy.

There's really no way of explaining the plot without it sounding really lame, right? Such a cliche but trust me when I say, it's one of the most touching Christmas films out there.  Scott is thrust into our world as Santa, in a world where no one above the age of 6 believes in Santa but his son. This story arc is then layered with the fact that he's just come out of an ugly divorce and is struggling with his own identity and worth. His son is struggling too but also suddenly has faith in him when he sees him become Santa ... but then no one else believes him .. THE FEELS IT'S JUST SO SAD. But the film also lightens the mood with fun and comedic elements, notably the attention taken to create the North Pole and also the way it handles Scott's transition into Santa Claus! A perfectly struck balance between emotional heartstrings and festive cheer.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #5


In Nativity! Martin Freeman plays Paul, a man who dreamed of being an actor/director but finds himself as a primary school teacher. Every year, the public school he teaches at, St Bernadette Catholic School in Coventry competes with the local private school, to see who can produce the best nativity play. Paul himself has been a bit of a Scrooge in recent years, after his girlfriend dumped him on Christmas day. So when Paul spreads that said ex-girlfriend, a Hollywood producer, is coming to see the show to turn it into a film ... the stakes are pretty high.

The film is clearly trying to be a British School of Rock set in Coventry. And in the beginning, it's as, contrived and forced and frankly dire as it sounds. But then we meet all the kids and the film just allows them to be kids meaning the humour doesn't feel forced. The final show itself is so endearing and genuine and very British!

12 Days of Christmas Films #6

I've now got big respect for people who do Blogmas/Vlogmas consistently. I've now got a big ol' back log of posts so stay tuned over the next few hours!
Number 6 ...

The Family Stone

Christmas is often spent with family, nuclear and extended. Of course when so many personalities and values are coming together, a lot can go wrong. And that's what happens during the Stone family's holidays. Everett (Dermot Mulnorey) the oldest son and a business executive; brings his tightly wound, traditional girlfriend Meredith (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) home for the holidays to meet his bohemian family, lead by family matriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton).

The film explores three unconventional romance arcs that capture the complexities and nuances in relationships that I think for the most part, deviate from the conventional rom-com formula. In exploring themes such as familial tensions, illness, racism and personal identity; the central cast deliver some surprisingly poignant performances for a film of this nature.

Things sort of fall apart a bit in the final act, as if the film suddenly becomes aware that most Christmas films are cheesy and predictable and so it must follow suit. Once Meredith's more likeable sister Julie (played by Claire Danes) arrives, it rushes to give us the happy endings that wouldn't naturally happen for these particular set of characters and so the film loses a touch of its realism. That said, its a solidly fun and uplifiting Christmas film, with a stellar cast.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #7

Today's choice is something a little different and much needed break from our typical festive films ...

Mariah Carey's Merriest Christmas

Last year, the Hallmark Channel brought us a special with the Queen of Christmas herself  - Mariah Carey (!) It's an hour long musical documentary where Mariah sings some of our favourite Christmas tunes and carols, may I add impeccably whilst slaying at every possible camera angle. There's beautiful music, elves and everyone in the audience seems to be having a great time; this is a light, fun viewing but will get you feeling super festive!

Image associée

The music is broken up with Mariah talking about her own Christmas (if you're a Lamb, your soul was craving this. If you're a part of the population who believe Mariah is the most annoying person in the world, I'm sorry),a reading of a Christmas classic by Kelsey Grammar a stun-ning duet with Babyface,  and Santa Claus himself also makes a cameo.

Yes because it's Mariah, it's rather self absorbed. You've been warned, this isn't the Christmas show with Mariah, this is the Mariah show with Mariah believing she is the embodiment of Christmas (again if you're a Lamb, your soul was craving this. If you're a part of the population who believe Mariah is the most annoying person in the world, I'm sorry). The guests literally shower her with compliments that only come across as rehearsed and scripted by Mariah herself. That said, you cannot deny after watching this that she's one of the best vocalists of our time. And there's enough great music to distract you.

It's also now available on Netflix UK!

Monday, 19 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #8

Oops! It appears we're a day behind on the countdown soo I'l have two posts tomorrrow! Lucky youu! Okay enough faffing about. At number 8 ...

The Santa Clause 2

In this sequel, Scott aka Santa Claus (Tim Allen), is now settled in his role as Santa only to find out that his final obligation for the job role is to get married before Christmas (a month away) else he can no longer be Santa Clause. And then you know, whose going to give us presents? The stakes are high. So, he decides to return home to find a Mrs Claus and upon his return, finds out his son has been acting up - finding himself on the naughty list.  I mean , the stress. He's got to fulfil the final clause so that Christmas as we know it isn't dead, and also deal with his own family drama. There's not much more to say without spoiling anything but know that these two plot lines very satisfyingly overlap. 

The Santa Clause 2 finds itself on this list because, find me another film that directly addresses the intricacies and technicalities of Santa's role. Exactly. 

The mechanics of this are well executed in this film with such great attention to detail. Santa's grotto, is where dreams are made off. And in this film, we get to see Tim Allen as a fully fleshed Santa with the beard and the belly and oh it's so great. There's even a lovely little pointless sub plot going on back at the North Pole whereby Santa's substitute has let's say ... dictatorial tendencies.

If you think about it, the film actually makes Santa more relatable because, he has a life too ya know? It must get pretty lonely all year alone up in the North Pole so, I could get on board with the romantic story line. And like all of us, Santa also has his fair share of familial drama. Only of course because it's Father Christmas himself, the film is littered with Christmassy shenanigans. 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #9

Yep, these posts are going to be short and sweet. Number 9 is a Christmas classic ...

Home Alone

I think what made Home Alone such a hit is that if you think about it, it's quite dark for a Christmas film. These parents go on holiday, accidentally leave their child, don't come back to get him and whilst he's home all alone at Christmas , these two really menacing looking guys are trying to break into his house and he's left with the task of fending them off! I mean this really sweet kid is called "a disease" by his older siblings and a "little jerk" by his Uncle. So unlike most Christmas favourites, noone is falling in love here with cute Christmas music, there's no hygge, there's no copious amounts of family time. Instead, there's a really smart kid who isn't even slightly frightened, at the prospect of spending Christmas alone, a lot of slapstick violence and I guess bad language - for a 90's family film anyway.

And yet despite all this, it still manages to have an underlying message about community spirit and the importance of family. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #10

Ho ho ho. I've noticed these posts are getting shorter and shorter. But I've got tomorrow's film and it's going to make for a loooong(er) post. I think. I wouldn't know seeing as I haven't written it. Oh boy this is hard.

Jumping straight into things at Number 10 ... 

When Harry Met Sally

Haters will say this isn't a Christmas film. I'm saying, that this movie has a Christmas tree. And two New Years Eve parties sooooo

Harry and Sally meet in 1977 when they share a ride to New York (FYI, the most magical movie Christmas setting). During the drive, they butt heads over their differing views about whether or not men and women can be friends, Harry arguing that men and women can never truly be friends. After crossing paths again and again in a 5 year period; they find themselves being friends, bonding over their failed relationships. Though if you haven't seen this yet you can probably guess what happens, their friendship is probably one of the most believable ones I've seen onscreen. There are no insta-love vibes going on and for the majority of the film, we see a genuine friendship with real arguments that actually shock you, like a real friendship would (not low key/movie shock) and real moments when they're actually there for each other at their lowest. Ugh it's just beautiful!  The film's dialogue is for the most part, delivered in a fast repartee style which makes it so quotable and I think is what puts it up there with one of the best rom-coms of all time.

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal chemistry is warm. And with all the other mild (arguably v. mild) Christmas vibes going on, this is a great one for this time of the year.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #11

How do people do Blogmas seriously, it's Day 2 of my countdown and I nearly forgot I had a post going up today. Well better late than never! At Number 11 ...

Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh

Bet you weren't expecting to find this gem in a top 12 Christmas movies of all time list, did you? Well if you must know, it's up there. That's right, I chose Merry Christmas Drake and Josh over Love Actually (if you missed my disclaimer yesterday, I hate Love Actually so it won't be here).

The storyline is pretty straightforward. Drake accidentally (he was momentarily distracted) promises to give a little girl and her foster family, the best Christmas ever.  He later throws a party which gets a little out of control, to the point where Josh calls the police on them. In true Drake and Josh form, Josh is the one who ends up getting arrested because the police thought he was the one causing trouble. Drake then tries to get him out with Helen's help. Of course that doesn't work and the judge rules that unless they give this girl the best Christmas ever, their both going to prison. When of course ensues is a serious of classic Drake and Josh slapstick sequences as they try to make this "best Christmas" happen.

Perhaps the best thing about this film is that every Drake and Josh fan wanted it. At the time, it'd been ages since we'd seen them on the screen and it's so nice to see their chemistry hadn't changed. Throw in the fact that this film is literally about trying to create the perfect Christmas, and all our favourite characters are back (doing exactly what we thought they'd be doing); the cast get right back into the groove and humour that made the show such a success. Listen it's a Nickelodeon film so yes the plot is a bit out there. But just go along with the ridiculousness, it's such a throwback and, it's a lot of fun.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Films #12

It's now 12 days till Christmas (eek) so, I'm going to make things a bit festive over here and do a countdown of my favourite Christmas films in the lead up! Disclaimer: Love Actually will not be featured on this list because I'm part of the small population of people who hate that film.


If you're still at work/school/uni like I currently am, you're probably not in full frontal Christmas spirit. Serendipity is one of those films that slowly eases you into Christmas because it's not an ostensibly (not sure if this is the right word) Christmassy. In fact it's not ostensibly anything. It's one of those very flawed, forgettable films that you only whip out around this time of the year and you can sort of watch in the background? But it still fulfils its purpose of getting you slightly more excited and feeling all cosy and hygge.

The film stars John Cussack and Kate Beckinsale as Jonathan and Sarah; two characters who meet at a Christmas store when they're both trying to buy the same gloves. Of course (!) there's an instant spark because what are the chances, am I right or am I right?! They then decide to share a desert at a cafe called Serendipity, they go ice skating, they fall in love  - obvs. Inconveniently however, they're in relationships with other people. Sara I guess is a bit of hippy and gives us a speel about fate determining all her decisions and they agree that if it's meant to be, if fate is on their side, they'll meet again.

What then ensues is essentially fate banging at the front door. I mean they meet again literally 5 minutes later. The funny thing about this film is it's obviously trying to evoke that feeling of: will they, won't they ... but fate is on their side! ... it's so romantic!  The screenplay so wants us to be super frustrated every time their paths cross. But there's a moment in a every rom-com I believe when you know, because the screenplay makes it ostensibly (well I'm love throwing this word around today don't I?!)  that your characters are going to be okay and find each other again.This moment happens in the first 10 minutes which essentially means you can just switch off after. I normally grab a book or have a nap at this point. I would however recommend looking up for the ice skating scene and the last twenty minutes. Both sweet moments. But honestly the sequences that follow their first meeting are so ridiculous, it's  more witchcraft than destiny.

Serendipity for me, is one of those films instigates all those feelings of Christmas spirit despite its many many flaws. You watch it being fully aware that this was John Cussack's most side eye career move and, that Beckinsale is far too intelligent and talented to play such a hollow character. You watch it knowing the plotline is conceptually basic and flawed. You watch it knowing Sara and Johnathan wouldn't make it to Valentine's Day. But I think your enjoyment of it lies solely in your ability to a. get over all of this for the sake of Christmas; and embrace the "magic" (you know the snow, ice skating, coffee, falling in love with the backdrop of Christmas, Cussack and Beckinsale's chemistry)  of it all.


Sunday, 11 December 2016

being a nervous speaker

I was considered a "chatty" child. And not in the endearing sense. We all know a child who doesn't know when to be quiet.  Happy to say that the older I got, the quieter / more mellow I've become.  Since Year 12, when my friends sort of dispersed to various colleges etc etc, I've become really reliant on good ol' Whatsapp and Facebook chat to catch up with people. But I think to the point where my conversational skills have taken sharp decline. Without sounding too self indulgent, the years following Year 12 are v. transitional and it's not been very easy. And because I'm the type of person whose closest friends have been the same since secondary school, a lot of those long, complaining, emotional convos/rants have been on either Whatsapp or Facebook chat.

And of course it's great we have the Internet to keep in touch with people blah blah blah. The point is, all these long chats online have been to the detriment of my real life conversational skills. The thing with talking online is:

- You have a bit of time to think through what you say - very useful for folks like me, who aren't v.witty
- You can dip in and out of a conversation and still feel like it's been a fruitful one. For instance I'll sometimes Skype my brother for 2 hours and at least half an hour of that time, is just silence - we're just surfing the net or not even in the room. I also hate small talk. So the other great thing about this, is that if you're bored, you can make up an excuse and leave.Ahh

But these traits that I'm now used to, do not make you a good conversationalist irl. I now find I put a lot of pressure on myself (depending on the company) to be quick and witty and articulate, because I'm now so comfortable typing behind my laptop. So much so that I sometimes stutter ugh.

When I'm in a group of people who maybe aren't my tightest group of friends, I'm all like "errghh I need to work the room ... I need to speak up ... I need to smile more ... I need to ask more questions". Just very self critical and self aware. And I low key love having my phone so I have something to reach for when the conversation is dying. Btw this isn't with friends or family but you know when you're maybe catching up with people you're not super tight with or a completely new group of people.

 With close friends though, I love that you can babble on and not make sense and talk freely and make mistakes and laugh at things don't always make sense and not think before you speak! And I want to be like this with everyone. I think spending so much time on the internet or texting instead of calling people has meant I'm always in my head, all day long. Which in my case, has made me a lazy, nervous conversationalist.

I've been in restaurants where they neighbouring tables are all on their phones, I'm guessing because nothing juicy is being said and it's more interesting/fun to check what's happening online. I never want to get to that point.


I put my phone off when I go out. #Radical It's been so nice to completely be in someone else's company where they have your undivided attention. It's made me switch off and hence feel more at ease in conversations. I think without even noticing, we've all put quite pressure on conversations. You know we've all bitched about people who are "really boring", "really awkward", as if every conversation we have should sound like a Cheryl Strayed interview level of articulate and meaningful.

Happy Sunday xo

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon + growing up online

Another day, another memoir. Emma Gannon is one of my favourite writers, her blog being quite possibly my favourite blog, and her podcast sits firmly in my Top 5 podcasts, ever. What I'm trying to get at, is that this book was an instant-buy. But like any well written memoir, you don't need to know anything about Emma or the subject matter, to get on this Ctlr Alt Delete bandwagon. Though if you're reading this post, chances are you already know a thing or two about the internet.

"There are even people in the world who say the word 'hashtag' out loud. It's scary out there" ... 

As the title suggests, the book is essentially broken up into personal essays where Emma discusses her experiences online from childhood to adulthood. It begins at what I'd consider was the birth of social media so; MySpace, Bebo, MSN and Facebook were all happening. Now considering that at this point, none of us knew how to use the aforementioned "in moderation", coupled with the fact that (if you're a 90's kid) we, and Emma were using it at a rather interesting age developmentally; makes for some laugh out loud, awkward and sometimes upsetting anecdotes. Emma talks about having low self esteem as a teenager and how the online world only made this worse; pining it down to "the fault of centuries of people telling women that they need to be pretty little objects and looking a certain way is the fastest, most fail safe way to achieve success" -  quite emotional to read because it rang so true.

You may not have had MySpace or Bebo, I didn't, but the themes are pretty universal. I think now, if you're a user of the internet, it's shaping or moulding you in one way or another. I personally couldn't say I grew up online, I wasn't really interested in social media until I turned 17. Fast forward to 3 years later and I think I read a blog post/watch Youtube/waste hours scrolling through Twitter and Facebook nearly everyday.

In general, I'm a big cheerleader of the internet. I love that people get behind each other on Twitter through hashtags and twitter chats, that you can create and share, that you always know what's going on in the world, that you can catch up with people (even if that's through stalking them on Facebook), I love that saying hashtag online is a thing now, I love memes ...

But there's also the obsession with comparing yourself to other people's social media accounts, cyber bullying, relying on the internet to maintain relationships instead of actually making an effort. So I've recently decided to scale back from the internet a coupe of days a week. Rely less on my phone to keep me company on the loo or in boring situations and you know, actually develop some life skills.

Without setting out to be, this book is really uplifting and insightful. I found a life lesson at the end of each chapter and as I said, hilarious and relatable anecdotes throughout.  Ctrl Alt Delete is a real gem and Emma's voice is like noone else's out there.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Weird Cinema Experiences in France

Happy Sunday!  I've changed my blog schedule to Sundays because I personally love catching up on all my favourite blogs and Youtube channels at the end of the week. It's quite chilled isn't it? So I thought it'd be quite nice to do the same thing with my own posts. I'll still be blogging in between the week  but Sunday will be the day can come here and see something new. I hope.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf still relevant?

I've seen this book circulating around social media, hailed as this 'must-read' feminist manifesto. So like many hyped up books, you and I may reach for it without knowing anything about it; you know, hoping it'd change our lives etc etc. That's what I did anyway. Thing is, its one of those books you should know a thing or two about before reading.

Firstly, it's written in quite an academic style. Of course this isn't a bad thing but I'd gone from reading a string of contemporary, female memoirs to The Beauty Myth which was pretty dense in comparison. And don't be fooled, the abridged version may be shorter, but it's not exactly light reading.

And another piece of advice, definitely read it from the beginning. This isn't one of those 'start anywhere in the book and dip in and out of it.' Naomi Wolf sets out her argument in the beginning and then builds on this, to the end. The start was a little boring so I skipped a bit, only to find I'd missed the explanation of the beauty myth itself.

Now, I didn't find the central argument: that feminine beauty is an socio/political/economic weapon used by the patriarchy to oppress women and prevent them from advancing in society, entirely convincing. But the good thing is, your experience of the book won't hinge on whether or not you agree with the main argument as there's a lot of good, well reasoned insights you can take away. Here are a few quotes I personally loved:
  • "A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn't grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights." 
  • “Culture stereotypes women to fit the myth by flattening the feminine into beauty-without-intelligence or intelligence-without-beauty; women are allowed a mind or a body but not both.” 
  • "Whatever is deeply, essentially female - the life in a woman's expression, the feel of her flesh, the shape of her breasts, the transformations after childbirth of her skin--is being reclassified as ugly, and ugliness as disease. These qualities are about an intensification of female power, which explains why they are being recast as a diminution of power." - YES & I WANT THIS TATTOOED ONTO ME. And also what a beautiful way of looking at the female body?!
But on the whole I have to say I was quite disappointed by The Beauty Myth. Ugh, I know. I really wanted to see a conversation about social media and the internet and how this is impacting the female body but the book predates social media so this conversation doesn't happen. She instead touches on  the role and influence of magazines - perhaps less influential than social media but still relevant. On a whole though, the book could've been a lot less patriarchy and a lot more about consumerism. This may just have been due to the wave of feminism at the book was first published. 

I did also feel really frustrated at times when reading this because it focused entirely on the 'strife' (no shade ... but shade) middle class white straight women. And in doing so, the book completely failed to address how beauty ideals affect women of colour , women that aren't financially privileged and women in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Someone on Goodreads said that this book is "a shadow of what it should have been"-  couldn't have put it better myself.



Saturday, 12 November 2016

Writing, Consumerism + my blogging identity crisis

I couldn't think of an appropriate photo of so here's an old one I've used before 
It's been about a year since I started this blog and if you've been here from the beginning you'll know it's seen many incarnations. I'd started because I like writing and wanted a space to do it. I read a lot and thought why not start a book blog?  It was fun for a while. I wrote a couple of reviews on books I'd been reading at the time. But then I also started reading a lot of other book blogs ... started comparing mine to theirs and low and behold, in came insecurity. A lot of the book blogs I'd found read a lot of YA, making me think that if I wanted to make my blog better, I should read more YA too. Btw I know now this is dumb. And it meant I kind of got lost in the whole blogging community itself. It just became more about making everything look nice with book hauls and book tags and having a great shelf. Rather than actually, writing about books.

In the book blogging community are some of the nicest and most passionate bloggers you'll ever meet online. But for example in trying to buy stacks of books so I could have really nice photos, I wasn't being authentic *cringe I hate that word but it's appropriate here*. I couldn't afford the books I was buying, nor did I have the space to put them. Bookstagram and I guess Instagram in general, definitely promotes consumerist behaviour. There's actually nothing wrong with that. People are free to do whatever they want with their money and, it is of course natural to want to share stuff that you've bought that you love. But I was basically buying, in the name of fitting into a community. And because I was blogging about books I didn't enjoy reading, it became a bit of a chore. Hence why started writing  writing about films and TV because it's the one thing I can write about and talk about effortlessly for hours on end. But then I also felt like I was being true to the blog because it was *meant* to be a book blog. Because you know, you can't possibly write about more than one thing ....

The truth is:

  • I hate reading hardbacks, they just aren't that comfy to read (but they make for great photos)
  • On my own accord, I read about 5 YA books a year. Out of 50.
  • I love reading on my Kindle because there's nothing better than cheap books and I don't have to worry about storing (a virtual book doesn't make for a great photo does it? Of course there's nothing like reading a paperback. So at this point in time, I only really buy physical books I anticipate I'll love/read again. Or I just pass on/sell the books I decide I won't keep.
  • Though I'm passionate *another cringe word but again, appropriate* about film and books and TV, I often have the urge to write about other things because above all else, I love writing
  • I don't like bulk buying books. I buy no more than 4 at a time because having 20 books I bought last year that I haven't read makes me legit anxious. (Oh and I'm low key broke)
So here we are one year later. I've had a purge on the blog so everything left here, I like and I'm proud of, and I enjoyed writing. And though this will still predominantly be a film + book blog, expect a lot more personal posts.

I hate the fact that its taken so long to feel settled in blogging but there's also nothing wrong with that. If you don't know what you want to do, my new mantra is to try everything and don't feel shamed about constantly changing your mind. Not a very snappy mantra but you get the gist.

Friday, 4 November 2016

To All the Wonder Woman Haters

DC's Wonder Woman has just been made the honorary UN Gender Equality Ambassador and people are pissed. Thousands of UN staff actually signed a petition to have the decision revoked  against her to have her removed citing her as: "A large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots - the epitome of a "pin-up" girl".  Oh and also, many people took issue with her being fictional. Well, my lil ol' comic book loving self is offended by those who took offence.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Film Review: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) and the problem with Parody Films

See original image

Parody films pretty much always go down on my list of the worst films ever made. That gimmicky, over the top slapstick humour makes me squirm and come to think of it, I've never not watched these films in the background whilst doing something else.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping however, wasn't awful. I'd go as far as saying it was actually quite good. I keep writing 'Popstar Never Say Never'  every time I type out the title basically because the film main character Conner Friel played by Andy Sandberg, is loosely inspired by Justin Bieber. I'm just gathering this from the film's title- a play on one of Bieber's songs and some incidents that play out, that have most definitely been Bieber inspired (i.e Anne Frank's house - saying no more). But that's where the comparison's end. You see the problem with parody films is that the references are a. very specific - often parodying an entire pre-existing film and b. the references are very much a reflection of the time in which the film is made meaning that they simply aren't funny or don't make sense a year after their release date.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a bit problematic no?

To prepare myself for LaLa Land, I wanted to understand the Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling chemistry that everyone talks about so I finally watched Crazy, Stupid, Love ... nine years later ! I also finally understand the Ryan Gosling phenomena and I just want to say I am here for this - better late than never.


Friday, 21 October 2016

Marvel's Luke Cage: the Bulletfproof, black Superhero of his time

If like me you never read the Luke Cage comics and you have no idea who he is or; you first encountered in Netflix's Jessica Jones, you may be pretty uninterested. I know I certainly was when I first came across him in Jessica Jones. Big deal he has superhero strength what else is new? He can't even fly or mutate *eye roll*.

For a while now I'd have said that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has essentially spoilt me. Gone are the days when I'd peruse through superhero comics until I found one whose powers weren't *boring*.  Now, executives sit down, pick the coolest characters and bring them to life making us all I think,  pretty high maintenance when it comes to what we want our heroes to do. Every time I tell people arghh watch Luke Cage on Netflix I get asked, What does he do? He's strong and has unbreakable skin but that's not the point! *aw doesn't she know about Captain America? or Superman? And they're even more interesting because they have other powers. Patronising smile*

But when reflecting on this show, I realised that it marks what has been up until now a gradual shift within the cinematic superhero genre.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Film Review: How to be Single

“Why do we always have to tell our stories through relationships?'” Is one of the first lines in this movie which immediately makes you think 'well isn't that what you’re about to do?' If like me you saw this film's trailer, you'd perhaps think it's just another Valentine's Day romp. Girl learns how to date and eventually finds the one and falls in love. Effectively nothing about singlehood.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Confess by Colleen Hoover & Domestic Violence in YA

Confess is pretty unique in its premise. It tells the story of Owen, an artist whose art is inspired by people's anonymous confessions.

Side bar - I kept thinking, this is such a good idea why has noone thought about this?! - Perfect example of Colleen Hoover's creative prowess. 

He's in desperate need of an assistant to work in his studio and in walks Auburn and unbeknown to her, Owen is harbouring his own secret linked to her past. Auburn has had it pretty tough in her teenage years and finds herself taking Owen's job offer because she desperately needs the money. And once Owen comes into her life, everything changes and they soon find there are secrets that threaten to destroy them ....

This story, like every Colleen Hoover book I've read so far, juggles some heavy themes and does so really effortlessly.

Monday, 3 October 2016

September Wrap Up

I've decided to do wrap-ups every month on the blog because I want to get more book content out there and I don't always write about every book I read. Probably not the best month to start with because I didn't really read a lot but I've got a lot planned for October.


Monday, 19 September 2016

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season
The Accident Season is about Cara's family and every year towards the end of October, everyone in her family becomes accident prone. Despite trying to prevent these accidents, they seem injuries seem to follow them. They don't know why they happen and live their lives in perpetual fear. How can they break away from this?!

This book however doesn't deal with the accident season so much which can either be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. On one hand, the book is much more about familial dynamics than it is a fantasy/supernatural story. Moira Fowley Doyle does a really good job of juggling really heavy themes such as death, abuse and coming of age.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Why I'll Still be Watching 'A Birth of a Nation' despite Nate Parker controversy

Earlier this month, I was having a conversation with some fellow bloggers when the topic of Woody Allen came up. Like many people, they don't watch his films I assume because they don't want to support and validate the work of an accused child abuser. Naturally I sat there guiltily nodding, smiling and thinking 'oops just saw Cafe Society' .


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Woman Who Walked on Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

The Woman who walked in Sunshine is book 16 in the Number Ladies Detective Agency series. for anyone who hasn't heard of these books, it's about a Batswana woman - Mma Ramotswe who opens the country's first female run detective agency with the help of an assistant - Mma Makutsi. Together they solve both big and small mysteries/problems in the lives of everyday people.


Monday, 12 September 2016

I love 'The Bachelor' but it's not ready for awards

It's that time of the month when Bachelor in Paradise (long live Carly + Evan) finishes, the Emmy's follow, and The Bachelor producers complain once again that the show, after 20 years of being on TV deserves that Emmy nomination.

Reality TV obviously gets a lot of slack for being trash - nothing more than just manipulated and unrealistic situations. And for this reason the genre is widely overlooked when it comes to awards season. Sometimes I think unfairly so. You can say Made in Chelsea is trash all you like but it's filmed so beautifully you can't deny that. But The Bachelor is almost in its own league. Here is a show that has survived

Monday, 5 September 2016

Film Review: Plastic (2014)

Plastic is a British action-comedy-crime film. So yes, there's a lot going on. Based on a true story (we'll get to this), the film tells the story of a group of four university students running a successful credit scam. Watching their early get-rich-quick escapades is a really slick yet fun way to lure you in to the plot and establish the main characters. There are a few cringe-worthy moments concerning the director's portrayal of "typical" British university students - attempts that come off as shallow, desperate and unconvincing. But early hiccups aside, it's enough of an introduction for you to be invested in the rest of the film.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Brooklyn ... and other films better than their books.

I recently DNF'd Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. I talked a little bit about this in a previous post but this is new. I normally just sweat through a book I'm hating because that Goodreads target waits for noone. But if you really don't want to finish a book, chuck it, carry on living your best life and just find something else to read. Anyway this freed me up to watch the film and one word - stunning. I loved the old fashioned feel of this film and Nick Hornby does a stellar job of subtly and deftly weaving in themes of coming of age, loyalty and identity. It's on Netflix UK and one of my films of the year so go.watch.it.

So! A very unpopular topic of discussion - which other films adaptations are better than their book counterparts ...

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Finding Cheap Books

Reading so many book blogs/watching book tube means I sometimes get a little hooked on buying a tonne of new books with lovely covers only to read them months later. But alas, I don't always have the money, nor space, to indulge in late night book binges. So from me to you, here's how you can still read a tonne, without the money guilt.
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