Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I have been too busy to follow the Tournament of Books this year but I thought I would at least catch up on who won. Having seen that 'Station Eleven' had won hands down over the 2015 Pulitzer winner, 'All The Light We Cannot See', I thought I'm going to have to check this book out. I ordered a copy from my local bookstore and dove straight into it as soon as I got home.

The premise seemed really interesting; a virus comes along and wipes out a vast majority of the world's population and those remaining, in North America at least, attempt to develop a brand new civilization.

The first thing I discovered was the structure is not as straight forward as you would expect. It jumps about between a number of different characters. They all seem to be connected to an actor, Arthur Leander, who dies in the first chapter. At least that is what I thought at first. On further reading, I realized they are all connected through his first wife, Miranda. Every character either met her or read her graphic novel, Station Eleven. The time also jumps back and forth between before and after the deadly virus. Oddly, this jumping about did not irritate me in anyway, it only made the book more intriguing. I was fascinated by each of the main characters and was always pleased to find out more little nuggets about each of them and to slowly watch their stories tie together.
The writing is fast paced and definitely not boring. I loved this book

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Paperback Summer reading challenge

I'm a bit slow on the uptake and I've only just discovered the Paperback Summer reading challenge.

This is run by Sophie and Suze, fellow book bloggers. Their challenge is for us to read as many paperbacks as we can in June, July and August (so, over the summer).

Now, I came back over to the UK a year ago with 3 books and have somehow managed to accumulate about 90 more in that time. Some of them are Uni books, more have been passed on or given away in that time but I have 54 left to read. And 8 graphic novels. And in July, my shipment of books should arrive from Australia. When I left I had around 500 books, of which I had 90 on my still TBR pile.

Somehow I can't see me making my way through 162 books in 3 months, so I'm going to settle for a far more easily obtainable number of 20. That might seem low to some people but trust me, try my job for a week and I challenge you be able to find the mental capacity to handle a book after one of my shifts! All you want to do is sleep!

So the books I plan to read are (and I am cheating by including the three books I'm reading at the moment as I started them in June!):-

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Obsession in Death by J D Robb

The State We are in by Adele Parks

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The Celebrity at Home by Violet Hunt

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Truth About You by Susan Lewis

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

An Astronaut's Guide to Life by Chris Hadfield

I will probably chop and change this list though depending on my mood! That's what I do! I'm a fickle soul!

(Just nipped into Waterstones and picked up -

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

So make that 21 books on my list now!)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Uni summer break

I just handed in my last essay of this first year at Uni. I have to say I was a little disappointed that there were no cannons of glitter as I walked up to the box! Trust me, I deserved it, every student does! Maybe we should suggest it at the next student/faculty meeting.

I was up all night re-writing this essay as I felt it just wasn't going in a direction I was happy with. I came into Uni to print it off, decided to edit a couple of areas and then saved in cyberspace. I have no idea where it went. All that extra editing and I had to leave for work. You can imagine my relief when I remembered that I had printed off a copy! 15 minutes later to add in the edits again, discovering a few more things to edit along the way, a printed copy and as saved copy I can find. Uploaded on Learn and handed into to the ever efficient and unflappable Lucy!

My treat to myself for all this-in bed by 8pm!! Ha the life of a working student is soo exciting!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wow! I'm a Uni student!

So, I have one seminar left and 3 essays to submit, and that is the end of my first year at Loughborough University.
Here I am at nearly 39 years old and I'm a uni student! It still freaks me out (wow, really not good English for an English student!).
Walking through campus today in the rain, reminded me of the Open Day I attended last June. Back then I was only dreaming of being a student, but that day I was so inspired, I knew I wanted it to be a reality. Today, I called my mum and neither of us could believe it had been 11 months already. Time flies when you are too busy to clock watch.
I still get a thrill walking through the library looking for books, just like I did that day 11 months ago. I love sitting in lectures learning something new and discussing books with other book lovers.
I have read so many amazing new books, and a few really dull ones.
The staff have been both incredibly supportive and great at encouraging you to be the best you can be. And I have met 18 year old students that have amazed me with their maturity and intelligence.
I still have 280 credits to go, which will probably take another 3 1/2 years and my classmates this year will be finished in 2 years but I will have had the time to enjoy my new career and spend time with family and friends.
I say now that I would like to combine my career in supporting adults who have a mental health diagnosis with education but I'm also flexible on seeing where this takes me. My life is my own and I have the freedom to go anywhere. So I'm going to continue to enjoy my life as student and my career each day, for as long as it lasts.
Isn't that all we can do? There is no point in worrying about what might happen, just in case it doesn't. Then you would have wasted all that energy for nothing.
I find it hard to get really, truly excited about my new life, whilst living with the guilt of who I hurt to achieve it though. I can only hope that time really does heal.
I'm still not sure I fully understand what makes a poem a poem. Oh, and there have been so many deathly boring, totally confusing essays on Critical Theory! Thank goodness my last Critical Studies lecture and seminar was today. Though I have discovered a new interest in Psychoanalytic literary criticism, Structuralism is still baffling to me.