Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sorta-Review: The Fault In Our Stars - John Green


I could lie and say I read this book because I wanted to, but I read this book because Zoe begged me to. I did not want to read this book. I was depressed and I wasn't sure I could handle it. Plus it was insanely popular and I have never, nor am I ever inclined to, read a book or watch a film when it's already such an overwhelming rave.

It was a double edged sword, I guess. I didn't want to be influenced, but if it didn't become so popular it never would've caught my eye in the first place.

When I decided to read it a few days ago, I didn't feel any better than when I eventually bought it, over a month ago, but I needed a distraction from my own thoughts and I'd just finished reading another YA book that WASN'T bad so I was in the mood to try another. Additionally, it was half price at the bookstore where I worked and with my staff discount I got it for £3.20. The bargain just made it better, really. :3

I tried to read with an open mind. I choose to read fantasy books as I enjoy them the most, but I'll also read any book that has a remotely engaging premise or will help me improve as a person. This includes self help books, crime, historical fiction, Sci Fi, and of course from my degree, classics, poems, plays, essays, journals and critical texts. With this book, I liked that the narrator was a voice I didn't normally hear in a book - a cancer patient.


So I began reading...

And three pages in, I was bored. Hopelessly bored. I put it down about three times by chapter three (I dunno why all the 3's) because I wasn't compelled to read on. But I did go back to it, more out of duty (I hate not finishing a novel, even if I dislike it - George Orwell's 1984 and Stephen King's 11.22.63 still have their bookmarks in but they're killin me) than intrigue, but slowly intrigue was first and duty second.

The humour jarred against my usual comedy preference, and I didn't feel very much drawn to Hazel as a character, despite her condition. But as the book went on, I grew accustomed to the humour and the bantering between Hazel and Augustus was really entertaining. That was about a third of the way through.

When I got about halfway, it got to the Now I'm Struggling To Put This Down phase, so I managed to finish it in about 3 days, which was a bit of a surprise to me as it's been some time since I got stuck in a good book. I has read Sally Green's Half Bad (no relation... er, I think O_O ) directly before and finished that in just over a day, so I think I'm getting back into the swing of things, still got stuff to read for uni though.

I began to love this book for the moral and social issues it raises; like how effortlessly like everybody else these cancer patients seem to be, except for that one drawback that infringes on their health; like how people are compelled to say something nice simply because of the illness an no necessary but the people was a good person; the cancer perks; people saying 'He/she fought bravely' and Hazel remarks, 'as if there's any other way to fight'; how, when people remark on someone after their passing, it seems everybody experienced a different side of them. There's a lot more things, that's all I can think of right now.


I love the dialect of the teenagers in the book. It's just so accurate! Sometimes it just made me laugh. I like how engrossed they were in video games and literature.

Like I said, I read Half Bad just before. But when I thought about the plot devices and choices, I'd never think 'Why did Nathan do that?' but 'Why did Sally Green make Nathan do that?' That may be because of the way I've been trained to analyse from school, college and now uni. But I think it's because it FELT like the events had being orchestrated, not just because it's a fantasy but because the actual story DEPENDS on the element of uncertainty. Nathan never knows what's going to happen to him so we wait on Sally Green to tell us.

But with The Fault In Our Stars, I can't impress how authentic it feels. The characters themselves and the way they speak, the events, there's a sense of everyday life that felt so lifelike. I felt like Hazel was REAL, as if this book was her factual autobiography, which is such a weird experience.

The bit when they went to Anne Frank's house reminded me of the book 'My Name Is Anne: She Said, Anne Frank' by Jacqueline Van Maarsen, Anne's best friend. I remembered it because even though this fictional book felt real, Jacqueline Van Maarsen's own biography felt like fiction to me when I read it. I loved the book but i didn't know why I couldn't connect with it as non-fiction. I kept forgetting that it was a retelling of actual events. It's just all very bizarre.


Laugh

So pretty much EVERY PERSON I have ever spoken to about this book said they laughed AND cried. As I said at the start, I tried not to think too much about how it SHOULD be making me feel and thought about my own actual response to it. The first time I burst out loud laughing just just before the halfway mark, when Augustus finishes An Imperial Affliction and sends this mortified text in capital letters like, OH GOD YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME WHAT IS HAPPENING or words to that effect, and I just rolled around laughing, because I can think of so many friends who'd send an identical text to me about something, or me to them.

And I know I shouldn't, but I did have the brief thought, 'One down.'


Cry

As for the crying, well I didn't 'cry' as such. The saddest parts of the novel, I couldn't cry. I felt kind of numb, and small, and insignificant. The only bit in the whole book that brought tears to my eyes was when Hazel's mother admits she going to become 'a Patrick', as Hazel kept calling it, and suddenly my eyes were stinging and my throat closed up. But I don't know why that bit in particular made me plummet into a dark hole. Not because of the book, but because of the way I felt because of the thoughts I had because of the themes of Desolation I was thinking about that came out of the book.

After I read it I kind of had to stop and breathe a bit, then then when I continued I was fine. I didn't even cry. I felt confused afterwards because I just couldn't pinpoint that feeling - was I connecting it to my own Mum somehow? God, I don't know. I just can't explain it so all I can do is stop talking about it.


After

I probably shouldn't be saying this on my blog, but afterwards I sat and thought about my depression and wondered why, even with the thought of the suffering of others in my head right now, their pains so much worse than mine, my depression wouldn't go away. And I felt selfish and horrible, even though I can't seem to control it, no matter how hard I try. It just tires me out. I felt miserable.


Agonising

That's the one word I think of when I think of this book.

Everybody in this book experiences some level of agony, but for the cancer patients it's of a different kind. Reading it is incredibly uplifting as it is depressing, and I didn't feel sympathy for Hazel because as a person (sorry, I mean character. See what I mean?) I couldn't connect with ehr. What I did connect with, though, was the ways he thought about things. That's what made me want to keep reading. Being inside her head was pretty wonderful, because she's very clever and sensitive and her moral values are high. Her personality is bleh.


As Literature Acknowledging Literature

I imagined studying this at school. I don't like saying this about books, but this book would actually be great for that because there's so much SYMBOLISM (I swear, just so much it's crazy), so much to learn from it, so much that you can take and analyse and think about. SOOO many lines form this book are quote-worthy, possibly because of all the repetition. 'Okay? Okay.' 'That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.' And so on, and so on. I did wonder why Augustus was described as a 'plot twist' in the blurb and I got my answer - by talking about fiction in the book, it's quietly acknowledged itself as a work of fiction and plays with that. I like that.




I'm not doing okay right now. I am breaking. Blu tack will not put me back together. More cups of tea, for now.


Star xx

Monday, 17 February 2014

SUSPENSION

Notice Of Suspension

This blog is now officially on suspension, from at LEAST
 February 2014 to September 2014.


Fine Print.


Vampire Academy 2014 Movie

RUSH POST.

I'm going to talk to you about an old obsession of mine that had become a faint buzz in the back of my mind - and is now officially dead.

... okay okay, I'm being overdramatic!

I hate saying this, not just because it was my obsession and I used to LOVE the Vampire Academy books - I felt so empty when I'd finished reading - but because I still think they are excellent books. But I cannot deny that the way 'They', and I don't know exactly whom I'm referring to here - decided to turn Vampire Academy from a (in my opinion) highly-serious, high-stakes, surprisingly romantic, high-school vampire concept into a Mean Girls meets Twilight, not only did my heart drop out my butt (lol) but I grew worried that this movie would tarnish the BOOK.


New book cover.

Now I must take some time to explain exactly what I mean by this. It's a delicate matter. Heh XD

[ 1 ]
We ALL understand that since the rise of Twilight, the Film Peoples have been taking every teenage book - oh, by the way, that genre is now called Young Adult, commonly known as YA (you probably know this but JUST SAYIN'!) - and turning that book into The Next Big Thing. Which, don't get me wrong, is pretty cool. Especially for the authors. Personally, I'm bored of this, but my opinions always have been and still are the minority and thus discarded. So er, despite that I find The Hunger Games and Divergent series intriguing, when they're on screen, the most highlighted bits are the things that were done before. Tiresome. So what first worried me what that Vampire Academy would be 'altered' to 'fit in' with what's already popular right now.

[ 2 ]
But on the other hand... like I said, these books are great. They're also very complex with many different things going on. Because of this, there's a part of me that is really glad that Richelle Mead is gonna get the extra attention from this movie. As far as I'm concerned, regardless of how a movie turns out or is received, if they're sold the film rights then they've 'Done It'. Or 'Made It'. I guess. (I've kept using this phrase because I couldn't think of a better one. e_e ) And it's great that her books got this opportunity - not all books do. We know this.

[ 3 ]
I have made the decision, as I do with most film adaptations of books I've read, not to see this film until a long time in the future, if at all. First because I often don't like film adaptations; second because I don't like a lot of films in general, I dislike moviegoing; and thirdly because I don't like being influenced by other opinions while the hype is still quite big. I can't remember how I ended up seeing The Hunger Games, but it was over a year since it had been in the cinemas and I was both glad I saw it and glad I waited. So in other words, everything I write in this post can be waved away as obviously I am only SPECULATING and making ASSUMPTIONS before I have actually seen the movie, and I dunno about you but it's annoying when people do that. So I'm annoying myself right now. A lot.

[ 4 ]
Um... this is going to sound rude but none of the characters cast are how I imagined them. At least in some other film adaptations there's a similarity, but in this case there are huge discrepancies between my crazy brain and the cast! Which is nothing more than an 'Awwwhhh...' type of thing. It's a bit hard for me to get Rose in my head as Glamorous. Really hard. It's obvious that she is a remarkably pretty girl but... seriously. No, srsly. I have to reprogram my brain for every single character in this. Like... an alternate dimension VA.



One thing I must say though, I adore the new covers, MUCH better than the original and somewhat better than the red covers. They're very much in line with the new Hunger Games and Divergent covers that were released after the movies came out, which all have a common dark-colours scheme to them. A lot of YA books seem to do this now, with the dark covers instead of bright, often they're dystopian books as well! I can only say this because I work in a bookshop and otherwise I wouldn't know or care.

I love pretty imagery on books but I have never liked faces, I think I mentioned this before. I hate that. I don't want somebody else to ascribe a face to a character I'm about to make a bond with, I'm not sure why but it really irritates me and can often put me off a book. I love being able to picture characters in my mind. Funnily enough though, I don't mind cartoons or silhouettes. I just can't stand real people. Once in a blue moon, faces can actually pull me towards a book - like Philippa Gregory's The White Princess. I can stare at that cover for ages, it is heavenly.


... anywhoo... =/

I'm still not sure how I feel about a great deal of YA books being so heavily fantasy based. As a huge fantasy fan, it's hard not to tear a YA book apart for not adhering to fantasy principles. (Much simpler when there was just 'teen' =c ) But as I read VA before it was actually classed as YA, I still have a soft spot for it. It's kind of different. I didn't feel that way about the House Of Night series. Ages ago, I said I was gonna re-read the VA series but I couldn't bring myself to. My friends bought me the spin-off series with Sydney as the lead, and as I didn't much like her in the origin series (nowhere NEAR as much as Rose, Rose was my FAVOURITE), I couldn't bring myself to read it.

So to conclude...

I am a terribly fucking annoying person and if I ever read this post again, I'll probably delete it.




Star xx

This is one of my Rush Posts - when they are all posted, you will find my NOTICE OF SUSPENSION.

The Ineffective Valentine's Day

RUSH POST.
I got this awesome picture from Dalanda's blog!

(Like I said before, I went on an investment course, so I completely forgot it was Valentine's Day on Friday until... well, today! Which is stunning, as most years it's smothering. But on that course, we were learning about becoming financially free, so we didn't really have time for that farce.)

I'm going to be honest.

I don't know how the HELL Valentine's Day came about or why we are still celebrating it today. My feelings about it are much like Christmas - the idea is noble, but people make it stink. On the one side, it great that it reminds you to appreciate that special someone once a year. On the other side, People in a Relationship feel Obliged to do Something - like birthdays. And while this is great as a kick in the butt to make sure you are appreciating that person, we all know that this should be more than ONCE A YEAR.

But c'mon guys, you know I'm biased. I don't 'date' (or anything of the sort because the moment things start to go that way I panic - trusting people is hard for me) so it makes no difference at all to me WHAT happens with this holiday. I generally find it sweet when I hear the awesome things that partners did for their other halves, and annoying when people go on about Valentine's in general like it's Christmas. I came across recent blogger posts - Valentines day books, dresses, movies, ideas for the day if you're in a couple or single, basically getting into the spirits of things. Which is not a bad thing. But it's EVERYWHERE. Still not a bad thing... just tiring.

I'm concerned about sounding like a broken record which is why I'm going to post this topic once on my blog, and then I'm never going to do it again. It'll be the Topic That Must not Be Named. Valentine's Day.

After all, society does drive us to believe that we are SUPPOSED to have someone for Valentine's Day, that's we're SUPPOSED to be paired off like Barbies and Kens or albatrosses (I LOVE albatrosses. They're my favourite bird c: ), and that choosing to be single or childless is some sort a moral sin. Bizarre. Oh well. I understand that even continuing to type this post, and then proceeding to post it, I'm suggesting that I somehow care.

Oh well.

I laugh at all the ways retailers encourage excitement in people about all of these moneymaking holidays throughout the year; Christmas, Easter, Black Friday, Valentine's Day. I laughed at feeble Manic Monday attempts, I don't really even know what that is. Anywhoo. I won't be posting about this topic.... pretty much ever again! This post is simply to ponder over it's influence on society and question why we care so much.

Thank God this post is almost over, I'm already getting tired of it.


Wouldn't Valentine's be so much better if it was -

WORLD LOVE DAY...?

Limiting this day to romantic love makes it really crap. Remove that boundary, I think this holiday improves dramatically. I would give flowers and chocolates to EVERYBODY, it would be AWESOME. I laugh embarrassedly now to remember when I made a Valentine's Day card for my MUM. Yeah, I just thought you were supposed to give a card to someone you love! Easy, right? Urgh, facepalm. I only ever see three responses to this holiday, though more could exist;
- Positive (excited people in relationships)
- Negative (bitter people who are single)
- Indifferent (those who don't care either way, regardless of what their status is.)


Look, look, check out this Valentines Day card, I also got this pic off Dalanda XD


Isn't it such an awesome card?

It perfectly sums a child's response to this day. And many adults, actually, at least one's I've spoken to! Check out Nix's blog if you wish to follow her journey. (The post I linked actually gave me the idea for this post.)



Now I've waited all that time talking about this shit, don't mind me if I go to bed.
I do hope everybody who cares had a wonderful Valentine's day, because like I said, the idea is great, and if you had a great day then of course I'm happy for your happiness. I wish people could be happy more. All year round if possible, but there I go a-dreamin'.

I'm very happy to say that I spent the whole day on a course that gave me the tools to start creating my financial freedom. It's the best use of a Valentine's, I think, ever in my life.




Star xx

This is one of my Rush Posts - when they are all posted, you will find my NOTICE OF SUSPENSION.

Shows in London, Spring 2014!

RUSH POST.

As you may know, I'm not the sort of person who goes clubbing or to parties, or the the cinema (I dislike most of the movies showing... pretty much all the time), or bowling (I get really bored by it! Believe it or not!) - yeah, I'm a really sucky 21 year-old. It's funny because in my first year of university, my friends were like, "Oh my goshh, you work sooo hard. You are so dedicated."

And I was like 'Yyyyeahh... my A's and B's do not accurately reflect me playing The Legend Of Zelda days before my unwritten essay was due.'

But honestly, though there are few things that I actually like. I really do love find new places to explore and walking around for ages, especially parks and lakes and LOTS of trees, I love trees - this ALWAYS gives me story inspirations. This is why my Story List is over 100 concepts long. Aside from that, I'm trying to expand my experiences and skills, and I've even considered Roller Discos and Ice Skating, even though the thought makes me wrinkle my nose!

BUT, one thing I really do love is shows. =D

Shows, or otherwise dubbed 'conventions', 'fairs', 'markets', 'exhibitions', I just love them. It's like walking into an exclusive world. I don't even mind if I only like it a little bit - I'm going with my Mum to a knitting show - I just love the idea of being able to find or learn something new there, especially is tickets are very affordable. Saaaay, £6 for two people =D now isn't that awesome?!

I discovered my first 'show' of that sort years ago, at Move It. When I stopped dancing "for good" about 2-3 years ago, I didn't really go to anything, until last year when I decided to go all out and went to MCM, Mind, Body and Spirit, Hyper Japan, National Home Improvement Show (I didn't post about that, I think.), and a few others. So, I've been hunting for shows! I thought this might be interesting for anyone dead bored out of their minds in London.


Shows I'm going to for sure

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show
WHEN: 13-16 March 2014
WHERE: Olympia London
Website HERE

The Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Show
WHEN: 3-5 April 2014
WHERE: ExCel London
Website HERE

I bought both of these for my Mum, and one for me so she wouldn't have to go alone. She really likes this sort of stuff and she runs off the cutest cardigans on her knitting machine. Okay, so the one I saw was for a baby, but whatever man. =P I've wanted to do knitting for quite a while, but being dedicated to reading for uni and for myself, and writing my book and blog posts, I haven't found the time. I'd love to learn a new skill though. Been saying this for a while!


Pondering..
(in chronological order)

I found most of these on Amazon local or Groupon, so if you live in there area, check on there to get great deals! just go there first and type in the deal, or you can prob type it into google and it'll come up.


Who Do You Think You Are? Live
WHEN: Thurs 20th Feb, Fri 21st Feb, Sat 22nd Feb '14
WHERE: Olympia London
Website HERE
As I wanted to write a legacy of my family, I stopped to think when I saw this. The only thing is, I'm not particularly interested in this. I think I'll pass.



Art14 London: London's Global Art Fair
WHEN: 28 February and 1-2 March 2014
WHERE: Kensington Olympia (Hammersmith, basically..)
Website HERE
I generally like innovative art, but because my mind is... er... overactive, creative, crazy and the like, if I can see an image or make a narrative out of it, I like it much better. A black dot on a white canvas... I'm not sure if that really does it for me, though it does make me think about creation, I guess...
My favourite types of art are what I call Immediate Impact art. I also call it Officially WOW images on my Pink Sovereign blog. It's the images that make to inhale sharply on first sight. I love wild, bright colours, fantasy settings, aesthetic pictures. Yeah. That's me.



Ideal Home Show
WHEN: 14th to 30th March 2014 !! =D
WHERE: Earls Court Exhibition Centre
Website HERE
I'd heard of this before but knew little about it. My Mum says it's really popular, which may explain why it runs for half a month!!!! I think it would be great for ideas on improving our home.



London Super Comic Convention 2014
WHEN: Sat 15 and Sun 16 March
WHERE: ExCel London
Website HERE
I booked my ticket the moment I saw it. Even though I was disappointed by MCM, that was my issue and not because MCM was a bad event. I'm hoping that this convention will do it for me... whatever it is I'm actually looking for!



The London Cruise Show
WHEN: Sat 22 and Sun 23 March 2014
WHERE: Olympia
Website HERE
I can't go to this one as I work every weekend, and the last one I have for this tax year is on the Saturday of London Super Comic Con. However I'm badgering my sisters into taking my Mum because I think they'd really enjoy it. Also my mum's not the sort of person who'd whine and moan and not being about to afford it, she'll Oooh and Aaah about the lovely things she's seeing and set it as a goal for the (hopefully near) future, put it on a vision board or something, make it a positive thing. (That's why I love my Mum, to itty bitty pieces! She's my best friend. (Well. One of them. Heh.))


 ('hem' Kensington Olympia, Olympia, and Olympia London are, as I understand, all the same place. (e_e) )




Star xx

This is one of my Rush Posts - when they are all posted, you will find my NOTICE OF SUSPENSION.
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