Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

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Hellllo readers, another day another review; today’s book is a really interesting novel that I picked up when at my local library. Libraries are brilliant for us who hoard books (book bloggers I’m looking at you.) Quite often I read books and although I enjoy them, I’m not truly happy with them and I don’t feel the need to necessarily keep the books. The memories of reading the novel are enough and this was one of those books. I can’t decide whether I *liked* this book yet, but it was certainly an experience as such. My review of Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

Robert Coover’s wicked and surreally comic novel takes place at a chilling, ribald, and absolutely fascinating party. Amid the drunken guests, a woman turns up murdered on the living room floor. Around the corpse, one of several the evening produces, Gerald’s party goes on — a chatter of voices, names, faces, overheard gags, rounds of storytelling, and a mounting curve of desire. What Coover has in store for his guests (besides an evening gone mad) is part murder mystery, part British parlor drama, and part sly and dazzling meditation on time, theater, and love.

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Gah I think I might have gone classic crazy; I’ve gone from detesting them to utterly adoring them in a matter of months. Little Women, and Ulysses are both on the cards although we’ll have to see how they go. In terms of today’s book the narrative follows the almost hallucinogenic nightmare of confusion and turmoil of the rather simply named Gerald’s Party. The book follows the absurd affair as we follow Gerald and his unnamed wife as they entertain dozens of different character. There’s Vic, Dickie, Kitty, Iris, Lloyd, Patrick, Allison and her husbands and numerous others but you would need a checklist to keep an eye on all of them.

Additionally as the blurb suggests there is the body, curled up on the floor amongst the partiers that belongs to the actress named Ros. With a gushing hole in the centre of her chest the mayhem is stirred and her jealous husband Rodger gets a little frantic. With the Police called; (Fred and Bob) and their homicide detective (Nigel Pardew) a rather odd character who immediately demands the watches of all those that have entered (later deducing that the murder happened half an hour before they arrived.) It sounds pretty normal but the writing style is anything but. Dialogues over-lap, characters movements do too. We’re in the garden, bare feet against the grass, then suddenly in the kitchen seeing Gerald’s wife cooking more and more food for the stacked table, then with his son Mark and his mother and law. It all overlaps haphazardly and confusingly. Characters melt into one.

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The thing is that ‘Gerald’s Party,’ is noticeably about time, quite obviously shown in the removal of the watches. The party seems to stretch for hours whilst the guests waver in and out of drunkenness. They’re also piles of sexual activity. Each of the couples appears to have at least one other sexual partner at said party and at one point we see Gerald wiping the bottom of a woman who has to put it nicely ‘lost control of her bounds.’ The sexual energy during this is scene is both baffling and amusing. It is riotous read that ploughs through taking the reader whether they want to or not.

I must admit I think I will one day when older I will maybe try this novel again. The effect of the writing for me becomes a little too excessive. The repetition at the beginning is exciting and intriguing but it quickly wears off. The startling acts of the characters becomes too over the top and audacious. For me it is a very evocative and fascinating book that was a bit to jolty to really carry it off and although the idea of time being non-existent at the start was exciting two hundred of so pages in I was starting to lose my stamina. I found that the book felt like a jigsaw puzzle I had to put back together again but had no chance of doing so.

Overall I will probably look at this review in a few years and feel silly but right now this book was really difficult for me to read. I found it really interesting to read and I would definitely recommend but it is honestly nothing like I have ever read before.

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Amazon

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught life 101

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*Sighs* this might be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday post so far. The actually topic is Ten books that would be on your syllabus X 101. Examples include YA, fantasy, classic literature, feminist literature, you get the idea. I’ve picked ‘life 101’ and I mean it, not in a literal way, but more of the way in which books teach you something. These books include teaching you how to pick yourself up, get over heart-break, family strains. These are the books that have given me something back.

1)       The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

This book, honest to the word, has helped in ways that I could have never expected it to. It talks of life in such an honest, wonderfully light and subtle way, but it talks of death, love and family too. The fact that author is dying as we read along makes it feel all the more destructive but it has a calming presence. It talks of never wasting time, living every day the way we want to and to take control. I haven’t really looked back since finishing this book.

2)       Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I’ve never reviewed this book for mylittlebookblog, but I think I might soon. The book follows the main character as he comes to terms with his sister’s death from anorexia. It highlights the struggle of family life, the tough decisions we have to make, and the loss of people close to us. It’s a tale that I always dip into now and again and it’s written in a wonderfully lyrical style. My and sister and I rarely got on a couple of years back but now we’re a solid pair of besties. She’s one in a million.

3)       ‘Giovanni’s Lover by James Baldwin

When I first started this book I didn’t think I would finish it let alone make its way onto this list, but this book taught me that there are some things, we cannot take back. I went through a lot of time not caring how I made other people feel because I barely cared about myself, at all. This book taught me that our decisions, our words, our actions towards others can be detrimental to people that we love. I know it seems trivial but I needed this to speak to me and tell me I needed to stop being an ass.

4)       Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Maybe a controversial choice, but this book helped to change the perception that I needed to plan out, almost exactly, how my life was going to pan out. I panicked about too many different elements in my life; relationships, career, where I was going to live etc. The mother bought this and told me to read it, get some perspective and calm the hell down. This was the starting blocks to letting go a little more and trusting me more.

5)       Remember to breathe by Simon Pont

I have written about this book many, many a time but reading this really helped to break through my wailing and make me think that the collapse of my relationship was merely a blip in the road. I’ve met someone who is miles better for me, and just gets me and this book helped to smooth over all the feelings that were raging at the time.

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6)       Factotum by Charles Bukowski

Another maybe, odd choice? I’ve always worried a lot about where I’m going to be, in terms of career and this book made me think. I know that what I’m doing right isn’t right for me, it’s not challenging me but the main character in this book is all over the place. He’s changing jobs every second, turning up late, drunk, forgetting things falling asleep. Although quite obviously isn’t the way to do it, the way that you can change your life and do something else, even something polar opposite,  made me positive that I’m never stuck. I can always go a different way.

7)       The Fault in our stars by John Green

This also wasn’t going to make the list but I thought, fuck it. It’s a book about adoration, love, belief and pain. But it’s a tale that teaches us that pain and hurt exist, but to live in the present, in the moment you might say if you’re feeling all gushy. This book is worth a bloody read.

8)       The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

I know this appears in all my lists but I couldn’t help myself once again. As I’ve come to terms with my anxiety many things I thought were ‘control-freak,’ tendencies were in fact my anxiety. I’ve struggled with losing friends in the past, holding on despite deceit, awkward silences and their brush-off manner. This book taught me it is okay to lose people, not because you want to but because it’s better, often for both of you.

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9) Pearshaped by Stella Newman 

Another tale about relationships but taken from the other side this book looks at the problems of unhealthy, manipulating and downright awful relationships. We are allowed to say when something is not up and stand up for ourselves. This books says that, loud and clear.

10)       Finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

I picked this because, some of the quotes features are so profound and special. I often like to ask people if they would like to be friends with Alice or be Alice, because her sudden change in perception is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are so many twisted bits of knowledge woven in and we see Alice grow as a person. It’s a classic book that means a lot to me and many readers and I’m glad it’s made the list.

I wrote a lot more here than I thought I would surprisingly but I thought this was a list where you really needed to explain why they made the list. This isn’t an extensive list (obviously) and when I read Wild, which I will do, I might have to include that as a bonus book because I think it might just change my outlook on everything but we’ll see. Another day another book.

I do love it when people comment and ask me and the choices, the reasons, and just hearing what you would add so if you have anything pop in down in the comments below. Lots of love and hugs, lizzy. X

The Love & Hate Tag

The Love-Hate Tag

Helllllo readers, I’ve been tagged in lots of new blogging awards recently which as always is bloody lovely. I feel like I’ve written a lot of bookish things recently and less ‘lizzy-bits,’ so thought I would take the chance to write out the love & hate tag before I forget. The idea is that you write ten things you love and ten things you hate and then you tag someone else to write theirs down and so on and so on. Simples.

Love:

  1. Reading: Might as well get this one of the waaaaay. I’m an obsessive reader to the point where it’s starting to terrify me. I’m not sure I can balance my life with how much reading I wish I could get done but, imma trying.
  1. Margaritas: Gah my cocktail of choice (or just anything with tequila.)
  1. Blueberry Yoghurt: This is a recent thing but I used to abhor blueberries, horrible little things. But trying blueberry yoghurt in the past month or so I have been an addict. Not sorry.

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  1. Early morning cuddles: If me and the boyf are staying the night with each other, we’ll set the alarm half an hour early so we can have a morning big/little spoon snuggles because we’re gross and we know it.
  1. Walking: I’ve always preferred walking but getting up in the morning is sometimes a little difficult, but recently I found out I could walk to work and save myself £60 or so pounds a month (BONUSSS.) Now I seem to walk everywhere, to the station, to friends, into town. It helps my anxiety too because public transport is killer.
  1. BURRITOS: That is all

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  1. Peppermint tea with nettles and camomile: This stuff is just, beautiful.
  1. Cinema dates with all the gang: Anything with my motely group of friends. Spoons dates, cinema trips, days in the sunshine in the park, traveling to unplanned parts of the world; all good.
  1. Weekends with my parents: I never realised how close my family are but we are a close-knit gang. I love spending the weekend helping Mumma B with the chores, popping out for lunch bits, going for a walk around Stowe. Imma home bird and I do not give a monkeys.

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  1. Driving: Although I still can’t drive I really love driving around and trying not to cause chaos on the roads. It was a little nerve wracking to start but I cannot wait to get my own little car and be whizzing around all over the place.

Hate:

  1. People that are always late: Get a watch? I mean we all check our phones enough we should know that if you say seven, twenty past isn’t going to cut it.
  1. Blackberry soothers: The smell of these things makes me choke; gross.

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  1. Jellllllllllllllllllllly: (or Jello) I think jelly is horrible, the taste and the texture of the stuff is just blergh.
  1. My inability to remember to add reviews to Amazon/Goodreads/My own review list: The organisation of my day-to-day life is pretty on pointe but this I always seem to forget and then have to add tens of them on in one go. Sorrrrry
  1. Emails that don’t answer questions: Is it me or if you email someone a number of questions no matter how carefully bullet pointed they answer the first one, maybe the second if you’re lucky but not all. What is that?

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  1. Snakes: These, terrify me. My desk-neighbour at work is always trying to trick me into looking at pictures of them on his computer. Dude, no.
  1. Going to the dentist: Years of having to go to have my braces tightened has made this an utterly terrifying experience for me, not that it wasn’t already.
  1. Not travelling: I have the travelling bug so much right now and I have no-one to go with *wails*

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  1. Constantly being covered in bruises: Doesn’t matter what I’m doing/wearing/drinking I end up with random uncomfortable bruises and they are so unattractive when they’re on your wrists/elbow/feet. How does that even happen?
  1. Running out of liquid eyeliner: That stuff is ma jam.

Ten things I love, ten things I hate, I now tag Stefani at ‘Caught Read Handed’ to complete said taggg. Enjoy!

The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan

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Hellllllo readers, a little bit of an emotional review for you today; I’ve spoken to a number of bookish bloggers about this but sometimes it gets a bit too much. I’ve thought for a while about taking a blogging break and step back for a while, create some breathing space, get through my review requests and get back on top of it all. We’ll have to see; sometimes it feels like it’s all a bit too much. The reading, reviewing, writing, the social media, the emails, and all whilst attempting to hold down a full-time job, travel home and see friends/family/Lola & Barbie and trying to build on a new relationship. Gah, I feel like I’m having a blogging midlife crisis. I’ve also struggled with the book used for today’s review; a fantasy book which I found difficult to read, but I’ll let you find out why.

When eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed. But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin. He seems determined to keep his distance.

The only bonus to her trip seems to be the housekeeper and gardener. And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows Crystal who has a horrible start in life in which both her parents die in a terrible car accident. Sent to live with her Aunt who is then a little shockingly killed in a house fire thing aren’t looking to positive. Alone in the world and spending her remaining childhood in a foster care home, a woman who claims to be her long lost great aunt appears seemingly out of nowhere, Crystal is invited to find out more about her mother and her family. But not is all as it seems, once in Thorncrest Manor, the family appear to turn on Crystal and her destructive relationship with Cray looks soon to burst; as readers we follow Crystal as she seeks to find out more about herself and the family she barely knew.

In terms of positives Crystal is a well-developed although complicated character. She has a lot of emotion and she’s written with passion. Her relationships throughout the book were thorny and although she has a lot of layers to her as a character, I found her difficult to warm to. At times she was prickly and her relationship with Cray is a little odd. They are both distant with each other and at times he treats her horribly whilst she adores him. It didn’t sit well with me as a reader. Their relationship is uncomfortable at best and they don’t interact in an open way at all. Additionally with her mood swinging, from needy to jealous to desperately in love, I was exhausted. Although the writing is quite strong in places, as to the description of characters and the like, the pace is slow and I found myself having to read the first few chapters a number of times to get into the book; saying this it does pick up but it’s a slow burner.

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I also questioned throughout Crystal’s decision to stay at the Manor. From almost the moment she arrives there, it becomes noticeably clear that there is something very wrong with the Locke family. Isobel’s character changes so utterly she’s barely recognisable (whilst she shows no intention of sharing any further information) and Crystal starts to suffer with terrifying nightmares which are suggested to be due to her being tormented by ghosts. Throughout Crystal attempts to rationalise what is happening whilst I was yelling to myself ‘get the hell out of there.’ It didn’t make sense to me that a girl with such intellect would stay there so long in such a unpredictable environment. Additionally towards the end of the book it becomes truly disturbing; there are a number of descriptions of rape and sensitive material that I didn’t find fitted or was needed. It all became a bit too much. Additionally the ending didn’t clear anything up for me. Many questions are left unanswered and although I assume due to the ending a second book is in the making I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

I guess for me this book just didn’t work. I’m not sure what I was supposed to get or enjoy from this book. The writing at times works well it has ebb and flow and although it moves with a slow pace many of the descriptions are spot on. I found however the situation that our main character is in and her personality as a whole jarred and became confused. Additionally as we work our way through the story and realise that we’re not getting the answers we expected it feels like the book was for nothing. It’s frustrating and unrealistic and I found it a difficult to read. Unfortunately one I’m a little saddened to have read.

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Goodreads 

Dating a girl that reads

  Hi everyone, I’ve wanted to write this post for a while after seeing the ‘You Should Date a Girl who Reads,’ recently re-posted on a favourite blog of mine and I wanted to share a couple of pointers about dating girls that read.

It’s also as good a time as any to mention I’m dating again. Yes, I’ve found a rather bookish, sarcastic, slightly awkward human being who adores books almost as much as I do and mirrors my fondness for burritos. He puts up with my messiness, my fondness for trashy television and wanted to spend his birthday reading books in the garden with me whilst eating kettle chips and drinking cider; sometimes I wonder where I found him. Four years of drunken encounters throughout university we realised we’re pretty great for one another. Before I get too mushy, here are a few pointers for dating a girl that reads.

Long Walks in multiple bookstores

If she mentions she’d like to, ‘just pop into the book-store round the corner,’ you can be sure that you’re probably in for the long haul. Whether it’s picking out a book she’s already read and reciting review comments, or picking out the oldest looking books and marvelling at the embossed covers I’m sorry to say you’re not leaving any time soon. But you might be able to pick up a book or two whilst you’re at it.

Constant Reading Recommendations

 “What do you mean you haven’t read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath? It’s a stunning prose, studded with painful and evocative moments in the life of one struggling to overcome crippling depression. It’s a classic. You know, you should read it, you’ll like it I think.’

If you date a girl that reads this is likely to be a common occurrence. We just want to share books with people we think are pretty great, and you just happen to be one of them.

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No reply?

This is one doesn’t happen to me quite so often due to my escalating addiction to twitter, but there are days where I turn my phone onto aeroplane mode and just switch to book mode. It is so freeing just to turn off from the world, and I know it might feel like your SO has forgotten you but really an author has just captured their heart for an hour or two. Additionally, book time is a thing and you should totally respect it. Sometimes we just need a while to get our teeth stuck into a novel and wile away a couple of hours. #sorrynotsorry

Bookish Discussions

Blogging although very much a conversational thing is also often a little one-side so we like to make bookish conversation and you will most probably be our first call. Yes we’ll babble on for a while but sharing something so important to us is kind of special. You might even be able to pass on some bookish wisdom. I am now a proud reader of Haruki Murakami an author Tom thought I should read waaaay before we finally started dating. I now plan to read a lot more, because the writing is effortless.

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Meet the Bookshelf             

 Almost as terrifying as meeting the parents; seeing you SO’s bookshelf for the first time can be an intriguing moment. Whether it’s your pristine collection of Twilight books, or his signed autobiographies from James May, there could be an awkward moment or two. It’s often something you’ll giggle about and you never know you might find something you didn’t know was worth reading.

 If you are helping her move it will be absolute hell

As my parents will justify, moving a pile of boxes stacked with books will always be a bit of a bugger. Knees bent, back straight; it’s all part of the job. These books however hold more than just a couple of back-breaking missions to and from the car to the next house. They hold stories of passionate love, characters that have moved her to tears and stories that will stay with her forever. It’s worth it for those couple of hours days of pain.

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Books will always come first

For us readers foremost books come first. We have a passion, a love, an obsession you might say with pen and paper and although it may mean sometimes we disappear from reality for a while you are the one that we come back to and remember that reality is in fact okay and that there is a fairy-tale in real life too.

Sometimes I can surprise myself with how gushy I can be. As always anything to add, comment, share, or criticise leave it down in the comments or tweet me @littlebookblog1. Ciou.