general

World Mental Health Day; When I realised I couldn’t do absolutely everything.

You know those people who seem to accomplish an inordinate amount of tasks in the space of a week? How on earth do they do it?

I’m well aware that social media is a constructed reality – I preach that to my students often enough – but I keep finding myself bemused and not a little awestruck by the people who seem to manage to work full days, exercise, prep food for the week ahead, read endless books, listen to podcasts etc etc…all the while I’m staring at my day wondering how on earth I can possibly squeeze more out of it. As my 30th birthday approaches, it feels like such a milestone and I keep wondering ‘have I done enough?’, ‘have I accomplished enough?’, ‘am I really getting enough out of my day?’.

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Book Review

Book Review: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes-Gowar

The below review is spoiler free.

Apologies for the total lack of posting these last couple of months. August was an absolute write-off for me reading wise – I had so much heavy health-related stuff going on that my concentration was utterly non-existent. While off work for two weeks I’d planned to read four-to-six books; I managed the grand total of zilch. I hadn’t the ability to focus on anything more complex than fanfiction.

Halfway through September  found me still struggling with the health stuff and also way monstrously behind with my reading for my book club. I needed to read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield in a week and then read my own selection for the club The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes-Gowar by the end of the following week. After all – I couldn’t turn up to book club not having read the book I chose myself!

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Book Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This is one of the most brilliantly clever books I’ve read in ages. Imagine if you mixed the DNA of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None with the plot of Inception and then added the suspense and menace of the very best Doctor Who episodes…the result would be something close to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Don’t worry, this review is spoiler free.

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Book Review

Book Reviews: The Poisoned Rock and The Bookseller of Kabul

I’ve been incredibly lax on the blog this month, but with the scorching weather and some rubbish health issues to boot, I’ve struggled to have the motivation to read – or do very much of anything in fact – these past few weeks. I did manage to get through two books in early July though that I should have reviewed long before now.

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Book Review

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This is a book I feel I should have read years and years ago.

After reading Wuthering Heights in my teens for my Advanced Higher English (A Level equivalent in Scotland)  portfolio and finding it one of the most depressing books I’d ever encountered, I avoided the Brontës’ works for years. After watching the brilliant drama To Walk Invisible last year , which told the sisters’ story, I decided it was about time I got up to speed and duly added Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey to my to-read list.

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Book Review, Geekery

Books Reviews: Three Sherlock Holmes Pastiches

I have something of a complex relationship with Sherlock Holmes pastiches – sometimes I really enjoy them, sometimes I’m completely ambivalent, sometimes I loathe them – but invariably I pick them apart with the relish of a pedant. Partly it’s because I’m too much of a book snob for my own good, but largely it’s due to the fact that Sherlock Holmes is a series so close to my heart that, although I always want more stories, I have almost unreasonably high standards when it comes to other people playing in the sandpit.

In the last ten days or so, I’ve got through three very different pastiches that between them showcase some of the best elements of Holmes imitations and also some of the reoccurring niggles I have with them. Here is a brief summary of what I thought about them – I will keep it spoiler free for any Holmes fans looking for a new mystery to enjoy.

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What To Bring to Book Club: Narrowing Down my Favourite Books

This month, for the first time in my life, I joined a book club. It’s not something I’ve ever quite felt brave enough to do before – I’m anything but a social butterfly and I’m aware that being socially awkward and having fairly esoteric taste in books might not always endear me to other people. However, a friend from work was starting one and I thought I would at least give one meeting a try.

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Geekery, general

Dad’s Army: My Top Ten Episodes

I’ve written on this blog before about just how much I love Dad’s Army (and various other classic comedies), but this new post is really for two reasons. Firstly, it was prompted by the Royal Mail’s new set of Dad’s Army stamps to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary: each member of the platoon as well as their old adversary Mr Hodges is represented, along with a key catchphrase. I think it’s a lovely way to commemorate a show which has so much become part of our comedy culture.

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Book Review, History

Book Review: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst

 

Though it wasn’t actually planned, it feels wholly appropriate that I have finished reading Emmeline Pankhurst’s autobiographical account of the suffrage movement today, as thousands of women have marched in UK cities to commemorate the centenary of finally being awarded the vote. I am certain she would have approved of these parades!

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Book Review, History

Book Review: Lady Constance Lytton by Lyndsey Jenkins

Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Emily Wilding Davison… these are names all synonymous with the battle for women’s suffrage. The name of Lady Constance Lytton is perhaps less well known to the general public, but she was just as committed to the cause and suffered just as much in fight to win the vote as her more famous comrades.

This biography by Lyndsey Jenkins does a marvellous job of explaining how a titled lady and the daughter of a former Viceroy of India came to be incarcerated in Holloway Prison and staged one of the most famous hunger strikes of the suffragette campaign. It chronicles her childhood and early life, her domestic concerns, her difficult relationship with her mother as well as her remarkable career as a suffragette.

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