Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Crome Yellow (Aldous Huxley)

This post will essentially be Spoiler Free, however comments by other users may possibly contain information that spoils portions of the plot, so read at them your own risk.

anzlitlovers.com


What It's About

Denis, a writer in search of literary success, heads off for an extended stay at Crome - the country house of his friends, the Wimbushs. However, right when Denis arrives his visit hits a sour note, with his intended visit being forgotten about, and everyone talking over him. To add insult to injury, other visitors occupy the interests of his friends and his long time love interest - one being a writer themselves.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

TMST: Favourite Types of Posts

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.


This week's topic is: What are your favourite posts to read?


My favourite types of posts to read would have to be lists! I have always been pretty obsessed with making lists myself, and I really love to read other peoples' ones too. Your favourite books? Movies? Quotes? In order or not, it doesn't matter to me. 

I do tend to prefer lists that don't have super long explanations following each item, but I like both posts that have a little blurb with each item as well as ones with no explanation at all. These types of posts are fun to flip through and relate too, but also don't take a lot of effort on my part on those days where I'm tired. I find them not always easy to comment on though, other than "those are on my list too!" or "I've always been interested in that one".

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What are you favourite posts to read? To do like to read other people's lists, and if so, do you prefer explanations of why that item is on the list?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mini-Reviews: Jumanji, The Prom, A Week Away

Looks like today we're talking about musicals and Jumanji...never thought that would be a combo I would be looking at, but here goes!

wonderwall.com
Jumanji (1995)

Can you believe that I only watched this recently? It was never one I was shown as a child, but I waited because I kept hearing about how many kids were terrified by parts of this movie. Not that I exactly expected to be scared of it as an adult, but that didn't really give it a glowing review, haha. I liked it though. I'm not going to say I loved it and thought it was fantastic, but I wouldn't have any issues watching it again if it was on television, or watching it in future with kids (just would make sure they're the right age for it!). I don't plan on seeing the newer/remake movies though - I was mostly in it for Robin Williams.


tvline.com

The Prom

Need a fun, modern musical? This is it! Let's break down the cast for a moment: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington and Keegan-Michael Key. And those are just the names you are most likely to know - there are several other amazing performers in this one. It's also directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee and Scream Queens fame. The Prom was recommended to me by a friend, who, although has an amazing track record for knowing when I am going to like something, I still doubted I was actually going to get invested in this one (when will I learn?). The funny thing though, is that it wasn't the big name characters that were my favourites (save James Corden - you incredible man, you), but the lesser-knowns were brilliant and absolutely shone. Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman are amazing in their roles, there are lots of catchy and/or heartfelt songs, and it was a great one to watch. It's not going to go down as a perennial classic for me, but I will definitely watch it again (and I sure as heck have several songs that constantly get stuck in my head).

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

TMST: Favourite Form of Media

 Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.


This week's topic: What’s your favourite form of media (apart from literature, that is)?

Ouch, what a question! (It's fantastic, but also a bit painful to choose). If you asked my best friend what my answer would be, she would most likely tell you it's music. However, even though I am a big musical theatre nerd, and am constantly singing...and don't even get me started on how large my music collection is (in both physical and digital forms)...my answer is film.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Library Life: Hold Slips - Pt. 2


A few weeks ago, I did a post all about how hold slips are generated at libraries (it's much more interesting than it sounds, I promise), and included in it some examples of famous people and what their hold slip codes might look like. I had such fun thinking about them that I decided to do a part II post entirely dedicated to what author's codes would be. 

In case you haven't read that post (in which case, I absolutely recommend it), or just need a refresher, this topic assumes that holds codes are made using the first three letters of the person's last name and the first letter of their first name.

I've scoured my brain and the internet to come up with authors that have interesting or amusing codes, and categorized them into ones that:

  • Form English words 
  • Result in a name 
  • Caught my attention for being interesting
and last but not least,
  • Where the holds code look shockingly like the author's own name
Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Unpopular Opinions: Audiobooks

Audiobooks are often a bit of a hot topic in the book community. Whether you are a blogger, booktuber, or avid Goodreads reviewer, everyone seems to have a very decided opinion on them. Every so often the age-old fight breaks out: "are audiobooks considered 'reading'?" and "can you count them towards a reading total/goal?"

Seeing a recent reemergence of this topic on my social media, I've decided to weigh in (is that really wise, Shayna?).


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

TV Shows - October 2020 - April 2021(Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of what I've been watching the past several months! I don't think I've forgotten anything, but you never know. I watched a bit of a mix of things, but as always, it is a bit period drama heavy (surprise, surprise, eh?). Problem is though, that now I'm not sure what to watch next! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know! I have a few ideas, but nothing really has me excited yet.

tvfanatic.com

New Girl - Season 1, 2

I started casually watching this for the first time (I know, I know, super late to the party), and I definitely like it. I'm halfway or so through season 3, and I've slowed down on it a lot, but it's a nice time passer when you want something to watch during dinner or to unwind where you don't have to think too much. I'll probably continue watching it, but I'm also not stressed out if I don't.

wkno.org

The Forsyte Saga (2002) - Season 1

I DNF'd this one about halfway through the first season. It's not that it was bad, but I just found the content overall to be relentlessly depressing, and it really wasn't the best for my mental health. I might revisit it in a few years, but it wasn't great "pandemic watching" for me. I think I'd probably really enjoy the book though.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

TV Shows - October 2020 - April 2021(Part 1)

It might have been a while since I've done an update on the shows I've been watching, but I have been experiencing a real mix of things on television. Since I was only really watching one thing at a time, I didn't really have enough to do monthly updates, and then after that I didn't really know where to start! So over the next while I'll give you some mini-reviews on what I've been viewing so that we can get all caught up.

radiotimes.com

Bridgerton - Season 1

I devoured Bridgerton. Did I like it? Absolutely. Do I think it was good? No, no I don't. But it was fun, and addictive, and I definitely recommend it if you need a distraction from real life for several hours. Just...don't have any expectations about historical accuracy or anything (think The CW's Reign), or you will instantly hate it.

tvacute.com

The Spanish Princess - Season 1

I loved this. I have an absolute obsession with Tudor history, and a particular adoration of Elizabeth I and Catherine of Aragon. So, a show diving right in on Catherine and the tumultuous time between her journey to England and marriage to Henry VIII? I was excited, but also feeling very cautious. I think they did a brilliant job with it - keeping both to her character and Henry's, and also keeping it feeling historically accurate. I'm really looking forward to watching the next season.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

TMST: Introvert or Extrovert

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.

This week's topic is: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Library Life: Holds Slips



When you request an item at a library, staff pull it off the shelf, check it in, and file it in a special location for pick-up. But, as masters of categorizing and putting items in order, you might be wondering just exactly how we file them. This brings up a few important issues in the library world:

  • Ease of finding information - how easy is it for me to find your requested items when you come to collect them?
  • Confidentiality - how can I protect your privacy so that other people don't know what you are taking out?
  • Self-sufficiency - is there a method simple enough to allow the public to find their own items off the shelf, or must this always be done by staff?
In order to solve this dilemma, libraries have different methods for storing and sorting them, however they all follow similar principles.

Some libraries use slips of paper with a person's full name, sorting by their surname, and store them behind a counter for privacy. This is often done for smaller or more private libraries, as it requires a lot of space in a staff-only area.

Many, dare I say most, use specially coded "holds pick-up slips" that can be seen by the public. These involve some combination of a person's name as well as a number to help distinguish between similar names. So, a holds pick-up slip could have the first 3 or 4 letters of a person's last name, their first name, and perhaps, the last 4 numbers of their phone number. 

Most libraries I have been to, have it actually even more secretive than that, however. Most commonly, I have seen The first 3 or 4 letters of the last name, first initial, and a short sequence of numbers. The numbers usually correspond to either a barcode or a phone number, depending on the size of the library. This allows for privacy, as well as for people to be able to find their own items.

For example, mine would be something like ROGS1234

You might wonder, how private this really is though. Let me show you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

TMST: Blogging Challenges

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.


Blogging for the past year or so has been very difficult for me, and I'm working my way slowly back to it. But there have been other moments where I've wondered about the best way to continue. My biggest challenges have been:

Finding my reviewing style difficult to manage

Reading/watching things with no intent to review

So, what have I done to try and circumvent these?

I'm working on changing my reviewing style. I find it hard to accomplish, and it's kind of dry, and not very fun. Sure, it's trying to avoid too much bias...but, if you didn't want my opinion, why are you reading the blog, right? I can still provide some unbiased content, but it's much easier to just be myself and less structured!

I think that reviewing things in smaller chunks, and with the change to my reviewing style, this will sort itself out. But yes, I think about how I have to pay attention to something because it is something I will need to review later, and then lose interest in watching it. But, if I have a shorter, and less structured review, I think this will solve that. We'll see!

I have a lot to work on, and it's a bit of an uphill battle, but I think it will all be for the better in the long run.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

All About Series

Book series are so popular, that many libraries and bookstores have sections devoted specifically to them, yet, not all series are created equal. Just because you like one type of series, doesn't mean you are guaranteed to like another style of them. There are three types of series I'm going to talk a bit about today:

Ordered Series

Unordered/Standalone Series

Companion Novels

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

TTT: How About "Sea" You Never?

Thankfully for me, I'm pretty picky about what I read. And by that, I mean, I don't tend to pick up things that I am unlikely to enjoy or at least find okay. It's very rare that I actually hate a book. That brings me to the subject of this week's fun topic from That Artsy Reader Girl's Top Ten Tuesday, which is:

April 6: Books I’d Gladly Throw Into the Ocean (submitted by Beauty & Her Books)

So, that being said, even on this list there are only a handful that I actually hate. Here's what I came up with this week!



1) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
No, I didn't have to read this for school, I read it voluntarily and still hate it with a passion. Top five most hated books I have read, and I legitimately couldn't find a single redeeming quality in it when I read it. I have heard some people say that it depends at what life stage you read it...but I don't think I ever hit the right one that would have let me appreciate this book.

2) Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
I'm sorry, but when you take out the woman's tampon for her to then have sex...I am so out. No, I have not made it the whole way through this one, but I've read enough of it to want to purge it from my memory.

3) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Perhaps one day I will try this book again, but I highly suspect that I will move on instead to other things that at least inspire some feelings other than extreme boredom and irritation. So frustrating, since some of her poems highly impacted me.

4) Losing Joe's Place by Gordon Korman
Perhaps I hate this book (and I do), or perhaps I just hate that it was read out loud to our class in eighth grade by a teacher I despised when I had a university reading level. Your call on that one ;)

5) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Do I hate this book? Yes and no. I love the idea of it so much, but I seriously despise Atwood's writing. And not just from this book - I have read some of her essays as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Binging T.V. Shows - Yay or Nay?

 In the past several years, with the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, and the release of epic series like Game of Thrones, blasting through an entire season (or more) of a show in a short amount of time has become a normal phenomenon for many. Yet, where do you draw the line? When is too much?  That's what I'm going to talk about today.


Now, although I don't necessarily think binging a show is the healthiest thing on the planet (neither is necessarily reading for 12 hours straight either ;) ), I absolutely do it as well, and think that it's a great treat from time to time. And yet, I also experience some serious downfalls with it:

1) Physical symptoms - exhaustion, neck and shoulder strain, stiffness

2) Lack of recollection for details - I kind of remember what happened in the show, but what was that person's name? 

3) Less satisfaction - overall, the show isn't as good as if I had waited and watched it in stages

4) Stronger sense of loss - when it's over, if it's a short series, there is this strong sense of "nothingness" after. A longer duration between episodes gives you time to adjust to it not being there every moment, and you don't instantly go "yeah, but what do I do now?"


So, keeping those things in mind, is it really worth binging a show? Sometimes.

I think it's fun for short shows, or to binge an entire season and then watch things slowly for following seasons. I also love doing this when rewatching a season before the next one comes out as a refresher, but I definitely advise (at least for myself) against making it a habit.

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Do you like to binge watch shows? What are some of the positives to doing it for you? Do you find there to be any drawbacks?

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

TMST: Social Media

This week's Tell Me Something Tuesday feature is about social media! TMST is a series hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team including my lovely friend Roberta @ Offbeat YA


March 9th: Social media: love them or hate them?

Both. Very much both for me. In some ways, I find it a lovely way to connect and show love to people you don't often get to talk to. For example, I love it for being able to interact with friends from university who have moved away. When one of my old buddies got accepted for their doctorate, I was able to celebrate with them - many, many miles away.

And yet, there is that pressure of what to portray. When things are tough, do you tell people, or keep silent? Is this the time to post photos of food instead? It's a hard balance to find, and then you still have to consider privacy. Do you only have your close friends on there? Co-workers? How to decline a "follow" or "friend request" to someone you see often, but don't want to share as much with?

From a blogging perspective, I enjoy it, but can find there to be more pressure with it than with the personal accounts now that I am older. If I don't post, will people still want to read my blog? If I talk about something other than blog content, is that okay? (I've learned that it is!) I do find it difficult to keep my content engaging though.

Long story short, I suppose, is that although I do enjoy it, I would be alright getting rid of it. I more like looking at other people's content rather than posting my own! I'm trying to pick up my engagement with it, as it is nice to connect (especially lately), but it's something that will take time, and I'm not in a rush.


What do you think?

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Mini-Reviews: Their Finest, Isn't It Romantic?, Penelope

theguardian.com

Their Finest

I think I need to rewatch this one going forwards. It has all of the makings of a film I would really enjoy, but I just didn't find it absorbing. It was good, to be sure, but I found it quite slow, and found myself zoning out a bit and not truly engaged. I love Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy, and the plot is right up my alley, but it felt like something was missing for me. For now, I'm going to put this down to the fact that I was tired and the week I watched it was all over the place. If you've seen it, let me know what you thought! Oh, it's also based on a book, "Their Finest Hour and a Half" by Lissa Evans. I haven't read it though, so I don't know if the film is an accurate representation.

variety.com

Isn't It Romantic?

Okay, now colour me surprised by this one. Although I like romantic comedies to some extent (unless they are too goofy), I have shied away from many that have come out in the past several years unless they were the teen ones like To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and that sort of thing. However, I was in the mood for something light, and that wasn't going to be a long commitment, so, since the premise was interesting, I decided to give this one a go. And I actually quite enjoyed it! Quirky and humourous, but not overdone, I found this one to be a lovely time passer. Although it won't be an annual classic or anything for me, I would definitely watch it again, and would recommend it for sure if you are a fan of the genre. It's just different enough that you don't feel like you are watching a carbon copy of other films, pokes fun at them just the right amount, but still delivers in the way you want your romantic comedies to deliver.

nytimes.com

Penelope

This movie was exactly what I needed. I thought for a long time that it was going to be overdone and a total farce, but it wasn't. Definitely that cute and motivational modern-day fairytale we all need right now. Quite an interesting cast on this one, but it works. Not a lot to say here, but if you need something fun, light, and sweet (but less cheesy than a Hallmark movie - not to knock those, I watch them too from time to time!), then I think this is a great way to pass an afternoon.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Mini-Reviews: Only Yesterday, Only Lovers Left Alive, To The Bone

TW: To The Bone - mental health, eating disorders, self-harm

northamptonfilmfestival.com

Only Yesterday

One of Studio Ghibli's "quieter" movies, as I like to call them. They are not fantastical like Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away, but they are beautiful snapshots of life and feelings. I liked the premise of this movie when I looked it up a year or two ago, but wasn't sure how interested in it I would be since I was more familiar with the aforementioned films' styles. But wow did I ever love this one. It's sad and nostalgic, and also hopeful and lovely. It was the right time for me to watch it, for sure. Definitely would recommend giving it a watch.

thefilmstage.com

Only Lovers Left Alive

This is a favourite of one of my friends, so I decided to watch it. Although overall I'm a fan of Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton and I are a bit hit or miss, so I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this one. Overall, it was fine but nothing to write home about. It just felt like it was missing something. It is slow paced, and mostly about the characters than an overarching plot, but...I wanted there to be more. More character development, or something. I would watch it again in order to see if there was more to it that I missed, but so far it hasn't grabbed me.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Period Drama: The Queen's Gambit

 

denofgeek.com

I feel like I need to just write this at the beginning of half of my reviews, but, "I originally avoided this one." I really enjoy chess, and used to play it a lot in my youth, but haven't really had too many opportunities to pick it up again since I was a teenager. Although I was interested in the concept of this Netflix Original, it got a lot of hype, and quickly. I worried that it would be either: too glossy and not truly focused on chess at all, or too much of a stereotype. I am thrilled to report that I didn't find either of these things to be true.