The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

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You know when you buy a book for someone and they just don’t love, or they keep slightly quiet about it. Well, I bought this for T a couple of months back because he’s a cat person (I’m not a cat person in the slightest,) and seeing as he was trying to read quite heavy political books at the time I thought – he would love that. Turns out he didn’t, so I decided to read it and let you know what I thought – so read on to find out.

A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another. 

One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.

The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel about the nature of life and the way it feels to live it. The book won Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award and was a bestseller in France and America.

Right, so The Guest Cat is a very simple novella with a very simple plotline. A young couple renting a beautiful guesthouse become enamoured by a tiny cat who they attempt to entice into their home. Refusing to pick her up or invade her space the cat quickly becomes a regular visitor and soon has the young couple under her spell. The couple know that the tenure in the guesthouse will come to an end in a few short months as the older couple who own the house attached to it are becoming a little old and frail and the estate will be sold and bulldozed to be made into flats. With this in mind, the couple spends as much time with the darling cat Chibi. The story narrates the touching story of the warmth, light and meaning the little cat brings to the lives of the couple.

I might seem a little bland or a little two dimensional but this book is so much more than that; it brings a life lesson both of love, companionship and respect. The Guest Cat is written in first person narration, almost in a memoir recollection. It has both detailed paragraphs and events that pinpoint important moments in the life of the couple of the cat (and there is cause to believe this is a true story.) There is very little interaction between characters it’s really a focus on the relationship between the couple and the cat that grows beautifully throughout.

The writing is very poetic and very descriptive and I have to say it’s my very favourite writing style. I love overly descriptive text and I think at times this can cause the story to become very loose in terms of tangents and time frames. I think at times this could cause some readers to become bored (I think this is where T struggled with the book) but for me, it just wove stronger the bonds between the three ‘characters,’ and as I continued through I grew quite attached despite the shortness of the book.

There are inconsistencies – Chibi is described with different colourings at one point which is a minor flaw, but at one point the wife and the cat have quite a tense falling out, Chibi bites her and she, in turn, discards the bed they’ve set up, the toys they’ve accumulated; but a passage or so later they are fine the cat is back and there is no explanation. I did like however that Chibi is referred to throughout but the humans are never named. The writer, his poet wife, the friend named Y – the names referred to towards the end are all cats. I liked this.

I get why T wasn’t sure on this – on a superficial level, it’s a story about a cat and a young couple and their relationship. Underneath it’s about so much more – the trouble of housing, the relationships that are altered and damaged by the cat, the personality changes from having a new companion and the climax of the story how this can abruptly change at any moment (for multiple reasons.) This is a decent little read that will entertain, provide a little philosophical insight but will probably really you consider getting your own little Chibi.

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Fiddle City by Dan Kavanagh

Did I mention we now live a ten-minute walk from a beautiful bookstore where all the books are only a £1? Did I? Have you fainted? God, it’s been a struggle not to buy something new every, single, day. But T and I have been good. I already have a bookcase full of books and an entire rooms worth of books back at home and T has a growing collection. We’ve been in twice and so far we’ve bought 5 books. Yes, only five and here’s a review of one those beauties.

img_1912Everyone knows a bit of petty theft goes on in the freight business at Heathrow – it is fiddle city, after all. But things have gone beyond a joke for Roy Hendrick and he suspects someone who works for him is helping themselves to more than they should. That’s when he sets Duffy on the case.

A bisexual ex-policeman, Duffy runs a struggling security firm, has an obsessive attitude to cleanliness and can often be found propping up the bar at the Alligator. Duffy agrees to work for Hendrick and goes undercover to try and root out the culprit.

But things aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and soon Duffy worries he’s trying to be bought. What’s the story behind the imperious HR manager Mrs. Boseley with her permanently frosty demeanour? And is Hendrick really as honest as he claims to be? Duffy’s up to his neck in it.

As the blurb suggests the book follows the hard-hitting but exciting investigation from the bisexual, ex-policemen and security firm owner/only employee Duffy. Hired by Roy Hendricks, following an almost hookup in a gay bar, Duffy is required to help Hendricks who is fed up with his freight going missing and his customers getting pretty annoyed. One of Hendricks employees has had a rather terrible accident on the M4 and so there’s a vacancy for Duffy. It soon becomes apparent there are a number of dirty dealings going on when a massive wodge of cash appears in Duffy’s locker. From then on we join Duffy’s investigation as he attempts to unearth what on earth is going on with the help of an incredibly downbeat security guard from Heathrow who has a surprising number of stories as to how someone can fiddle the airport and its staff.

So what did I think? First things first Duffy is an incredible character; he has this brutish exterior but he’s also obsessed with cleanliness and he can’t anything ticking in his bedroom. Meaningimg_1911 that if there are any after-dark activities in Duffy’s bedroom they have to deposit their watching in a box in the bathroom. The writing has a coarse style that I really enjoyed and the dating of the book (the 1980’s) is very subtly working in with the use of telephone boxes and no mention of the M25. The humour is incredibly dry and basic but also a little wonderful – there are a number of scenes placed in a topless bar and the writing here is especially amusing. At one point I had to show T and we both dissolved into slightly disgusted giggles.

The writing is very distinctive and throughout it keeps a good pace and a really intriguing plot-line. The little stories woven in by the disgruntled security guy help to keep the mystery fresh and I thought that although the book was an easy read it definitely had a darker seedier side that darkened as I read to the end of the book. It’s also impossible to dislike Duffy

I thought this book was a lot of fun and although I was a little worried I wouldn’t get it at the beginning it turned into a very interesting but dark humoured books with lots of twists and turns. Incredibly glad I picked this up at the bookshop and now I think I might need to go back and add another of this author’s books to my collection.

Linnks 

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Author Website 

Goodreads

 

Walk the Lines: The London Underground by Mark Mason

“A man once said “A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else,” and I might have to agree. I guess it will come as no surprise that since I moved to London books that revolve around London have been cropping up on my radar a little more. I want to talk extensively about my move here at some point and how it’s honestly changed me but for now I want to talk a little about a book I’ve been dipping in and out of not, truly ‘reading’ in giant hunks, but one I’ve enjoyed all the same. Walk the Lines by Mark Mason.

The only way to truly discover a city, they say, is on foot. Taking this to extremes, Mark Mason sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground – overground – passing every station on the way.

img_1963In a story packed with historical trivia, personal musings and eavesdropped conversations, Mark learns how to get the best gossip in the City, where to find a pint at 7am, and why the Bank of England won’t let you join the M11 northbound at Junction 5. He has an East End cup of tea with the Krays’ official biographer, discovers what cabbies mean by ‘on the cotton’, and meets the Archers star who was the voice of ‘Mind the Gap’.

Over the course of several hundred miles, Mark contemplates London’s contradictions as well as its charms. He gains insights into our fascination with maps and sees how walking changes our view of the world. Above all, in this love letter to a complicated friend, he celebrates the sights, sounds and soul of the greatest city on earth.

As the blurb suggests the book follows Mason who has lived in around London during is twenties and thirties and like many Londoner’s (I assume) has become interested in the ever changing and evolving map of the Underground. Wandering around where he lives, he travels up a side-street he hasn’t before and realizes if he continues he’ll create a triangle back to his house – a realization he hasn’t made before. Through this realization he decides to walk the entirety of each length of the line in a type of homage to the city. Line by line and with the help of his friend Richard he beings to walk these tube lines and learns and tells us a lot about the city I bloody adore.

I just want to put in a little aside here – Mason only walks 11 of the London Underground Lines refusing to walk the Overground Line and the DLR (which I find a little unfair – definitely still part of London.) Mason wanders the line giving snippets of local history, miscellaneous facts that might one day help on a pub quiz and changes in the line themselves. He is a really entertaining narrator (especially in the beginning of the book) and I found myself desperate to undertake the walks myself especially the Circle Line Pub Crawl.

I guess it’s important to explain I haven’t finished this book and it’s one of the reasons why I’mimg_1962 also yet to finish a Bill Bryson book (which this author certainly reminded me of.) The beginning of the book is really interesting, it’s new ground, it’s a non-fiction book written in a fiction style (in terms of the narration) but soon, as you can imagine we do end up walking through endless housing estates and then leading back into the same famous central locations that we all know and love. As the lines cross we do get quite a bit of repetition.

Due to this a lot of stations do end up being cut; the first couple of stations take up a couple of chapters but as we go further in stops between Whitechaple and Upminster take up a quarter of this. I think a big selling point to this (unless you live along the DLR or the Over Ground shrugs) is that you get to pick out your station and read about it, but many don’t get the coverage unless they’re big names (ie Wimbledon or Morden.) Finally, Mason appears to get a little bored with his own story; although the pub crawl is fun it does feel as though Mason realized that he’d lost a little passion and needed something to inject to make it fun. Following this certain walks are undertaken in the snow and done at night (which does stop the author seeing a lot of the highlights.)

I think a main problem is that it doesn’t really reference people, it references buildings and so it lacks a little passion. I’ve seen it described in context with Bleeding London by Geoff Nicholson but they have two very different ways of telling this story that don’t really overlap.

So, what did I think. I really enjoy dipping in and out of this book – read one tube line, put the book down for a bit, read another tube line, put it down for a bit. It’s not a book I think I could physically read in one go because for me it just lacks a little something. A little bit of a human touch. However – perfect gift for a new Londoner and even more perfect gift for a walker who might be tempted to walk the 11 (cough) lines. For me a great dip in and out but not quite there.

LIIIIINKS

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How many books have you lied about reading?

I have a confession; it’s months and months since I read a classic book. PLEASE DON’T ATTACK ME.

I went through a stage of really getting into classic books; I read them in the bath, on the floor of
img_1961 trains, on buses and snuggled up in bed. I checked them off my list of books I really should get read list. I think I might have made it through half the list I promised myself I would read and then for some reason I stopped. I put down all the classics and pretty much have only been picking up crime and thriller books since. I’m not sure why – oddly I’m often terrified by crime books but it’s all my tiny mitts have wanted to read recently.

I clicked onto Facebook this morning (#PRODUCTIVITY) and this post flashed up; How Many Of These Books Have You Lied About Reading?

I love Buzzfeed and their click-bait titles, and I thought what the hell. I ended up with this answer.

You checked 5 out of 52 on this list! 


You’re not bothered about how cultured you’re perceived to be. You’re not into the
classics and don’t mind who knows that. Lying about the books you’ve read is a slippery slope that you refuse to fall down.

So, these are the books that I might have white lied about reading and to be completely honest with you, I’m not even that ashamed.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I feel many readers, as like myself might have at some point said a tiny porky as to whether they’ve read someone’s favourite classic. Maybe in this situation:

Person in Love with the book: “Oh god, everyone has read Gone with the Wind! Seriously, it’s an honour to have been born in a time where it was written.”

Lizzy (awkwardly) “Oh, never read it myself – cover put me off. Think I might have heard good things but not put my mind to it yet.”

Person in Love with the book: “Well, right, bye.”

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Okay, maybe not as extreme as that but it’s how I’ve felt on numerous occasions. It’s kind of when you meet a boy and they ask you whether you’ve heard of a certain band and suddenly they are your favourite band despite the fact you’ve never heard of them.

“Oh, didn’t they do a secret gig in Manchester 4 years ago – yeah I was there. Wore a band tee and they picked me out from the crowd. Pretty cool tbh with you. Oh you didn’t hear of that very secret gig, well can’t call yourself much of a fan can you.”

So, I thought today we could all be very honest and come clean about the classic books we haven’t quite got round to yet but might have lied about reading. In the spirit of positivity let’s not get down that we never made it through Oliver Twist or that we found Pip’s journey a massive let down (Great Expectations is not a book I own up to have read – I despised it.)

PS: I just want to point out Buzzfeed it’s not that I’m not into classics ie your statement “You’re not into the classics and don’t mind who knows that.” It’s just there were quite a few on the list I did actually read and enjoy and there are a few on there I haven’t read YET.

If you want to take the quiz (I know I just slated it a little but you might be intrigued here’s a cheeky link,) and let me know which bookish white lie reads you want to get off your chest in the comments.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/cassiesmyth/how-many-of-these-classics-have-you-lied-about-reading?utm_term=.oqj5kxY32#.hhXQzMRnm

 

 

 

Man or Mango by Lucy Ellwood

Do you ever pick up a book and thing; WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ? If you like those style of reviews you’re in for a treat because I’m about to attempt to review a book I’m still not a hundred percent sure I understood. Which could lead to a whole lot of confusion. But let’s give it a go – it’s a Thursday after all.

Eloise is the sad, mad, and hermetic heroine at the center of Lucy Ellmann’s hilarious new novel. A middle-aged cellist who hides herself away in a tiny British cottage, she blames the world for its lack of love, and similarly despises it for its anger. It is not until her beloved cello is stolen–and her former lover, an American poet named George, returns–that she is finally drawn out from her shell. Man or Mango? offers a witty, original take on the age-old question: Is love worth the hassle?

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I think we’ll take this review step by step; the book follows the life of Eloise who is a unmarried British woman who is nursing a very fragile and broken heart. After inheriting her father’s estate, she creates a hermit style existence inside a quaint Tudor cottage where she decides to hide from the world. Inside this hermitage she creates an existence that mirrors her fathers neglected bottle collection, “in undisciplined retirement, loveless and liquidless.” She avoids any interaction with others and has specific times of recovery for each interaction, innocent glance her way (ten minutes) verbal contact (hours) having that verbal contact rejected by a friend after a social event (days.) Surrounded by her gang of feral cats Eloise attempts not to think about the man that broke her heart.

Enter George, an American who has moved to England to write an epic poem on Ice Hockey (are you still with me?) He has left his ex-wife in Massachusetts to come to the land of the great poets and perhaps a sneaky second chance with Eloise the woman he fell for whilst he was still married. He gets a ‘gig’ as a writer-in-residence at the London University but spends a hell of a lot of the time warbling about getting Eloise back and moaning about British sensibilities. He’s also a little obsessed with the notebook of one of his students that showed a little promise but was killed in an accident the night that he yelled at her for not attending one of his classes. This notebook is stuffed with story ideas and character creations. George seeks solace in the notebook and tries to work out how badly he hurt Eloise. As the two move closer together lots of new characters start to intermingle in the story of Eloise and George and it all gets a lot more messy.

So that’s the background of the book that took a lot longer than I thought it would; the way the book gets a little surreal is the writing style. Ellman used lists, obsessive letters to other characters (and the council as Eloise attempts to shut everyone out of her hermit style life.) insect-life descriptions, layered realities, flash backs and flash forwards. The writing style has a very surreal feel also – nothing is said how you would expect it to be said and it creates a really intriguing style but throughout it can be a little alienating. I’m going to insert some quotes that might help to explain this;

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“One of my cats reminds me of my mother. I pat my mother in her. Reincarnation of evaporated mother.”

“Unable to make babies, they make bombs instead. Men menstruate by shedding other people’s blood.”

“She stood eating soup in her overgrown garden, looking up at stars she could not name.”

Passages in the writing (for example the last quote) can be incredibly beautiful but at times the narrative left me a little lost. I felt like I was reading something really interesting but I couldn’t quite grasp it. I couldn’t quite get there.

Despite this the characters that are told are really brilliantly written; we don’t get a full picture of them but by using their writing styles (seen in the lists and the letter etc) we get a wide view into the characters and their personalities. The ending is ironic but if you’ve read the start of the book you wouldn’t expect anything else.

So how did I feel? It’s really an adventure; an adventure into the lives of two completely different characters that are pretty much made for each other but are struggling with 10385839959 other things it becomes a big ole mess. I book brilliant to pick apart and devour but definitely not easy.

Ps. This quote probably sums up my review in one line; “Man or Mango is a joy to read for anyone wanting to go a step beyond the obvious.”

 Linnnnks 

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Week Commencing Nov 21

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I’m currently sat writing this in my writing spot (i.e. the bed) with cup of tea and a bowl of cinnamon grahams and it feels so good. Like so, so, good. I haven’t mentioned but T is currently taking an intensive French course on a Saturday (which kind of sucks) but allows me a couple of hours to get the house sorted – he’s so messy and also get some lazy blogging done. I’ll insert a picture of my set up but it’s basically me blogging and then I have T’s laptop playing a film in the background while I eat my breakfast? Perfect – yes pretty much. These are the other things this week that have made me happy.

Getting back into Photography

Since starting my blog I haven’t been the biggest photographer. It’s something I’ve wanted to change for a long time but I just haven’t put it as a priority which is silly of me. I’ve been ill this week and when I got up to make tea I managed to take a couple of snaps of my breakfast and the light in the lounge was perfect. This Saturday is going to be spent taking hella load of photos.

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Tea in bed

I managed to get the lurgy this week which sucked. However, for the first time since we moved in T brought tea in bed after seeing how much pain I was in. Perfect morning.

Gym Gym Gym

I went to the gym last week and managed to smash my lovely iPhone 5C on the treadmill and I’m just too broke to fix it; but I did finally get hold of a gym bag and a padlock so I can finally start using the gym without having to drag everything next to the treadmill. I’m actually really enjoying it – which is a sentence I never thought I would hear myself say/write.

Cinnamon Grahams

I’ve been tracking my calories for a couple of weeks now; it’s not an obsessive thing but when I try to lose weight at the beginning I make sure to track to get myself back into the swing of it. I did however take a look at the vitamin section and for the last year I’ve been getting no-where near enough Calcium. So, I BOUGHT CINNAMON GRAHAMS (so, so, so good,) and I’ve been having them with yoghurt and milk #calciumgoalz screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-16-43-30

Dinner at Brasserie Blanks

We took my Grandma for Dinner at Brasserie Blanc in Milton Keynes and it was bloody lovely. I started with bread with oils, olive tapenade and aioli and then followed with beef bourguignon. Oh my. Fantastic. Will definitely be back because it was a stunning meal.

So there’s my week – full of amazing food, cereal and the gym. How was your week?

 

 

The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope & Andy Whittaker

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been gone for a lot longer than you thought you were. Well I do, sorry every one for being a little haphazard recently. I’ve written a lot of posts about why I’ve been away but basically I’ve been busy. REALLY BUSY. When you live with lots of people in shared housing there’s always another job to do but it kinda feels okay to leave it to the next person? When you live in a household of two it’s a little more difficult. Risk pissing off the person you’ve moved in with (sorry T) or get your act together. Then I felt out of my blogging habit and then I did something crazy – I joined a gym and that has been taking up a little more time than I thought. Turns out I really enjoy the gym. But that’s something for another day. For now a brilliant book on how to be, well, brilliant.

We all have good days and bad days. Some days we’re on form, others we can’t really be bothered and feel a little lack lustre. No one enjoys those slump days – so let’s do away with them! The wonderful, uplifting and funny authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.


img_1808How to live and breathe positivity everyday

Learn to be truly happy, confident and more effective

Become a great example to others and inspire those around you

 How to cope and feel brilliant in a busy, demanding world

This book is a well-constructed self-help book, centrered around the idea that we can get ourselves back on a positive track and the ways that we can help ourselves, mainly by looking at things in a different way. I want to say – this is definitely one of those books that is love it or hate it and would say, it’s for those that KNOW that the troubles lie with their habits or ways that they look at things. I feel like this book definitely doesn’t take into account mental health/depression and I think if I had read this book with that in mind I could have been a little offended.

The idea revolves around us being lazy to change due to a lack of effort, allowing ourselves to be stressed or distracted by our mobile phones when we should be looking at how we see ourselves. Quite clichéd things but things I haven’t really ever thought about too deeply.

Last week I was in a horrendous mood because of the rain. Sounds stupid, but I don’t own a coat with a hood, I recently found out there are problems with my tax from my last job, I lost my purse a few days before and I was RAGING. I stomped home, threw my gym stuff on and raced down to the gym in a horrid mood. As soon as I got there I managed to drop my phone onto the metal rail of the cross-trainer and it smashed horrifically. What I could or should have done is really thought

img_18071)     I have sorted the tax thing – at least initially

2)     I have heard from the person who has my purse I should be able to get it back

3)     I will eventually have enough money to buy a coat with a hood and I should have done MONTHS AGO.

If I had done this maybe I wouldn’t have had a mini argument with T (who has been incredibly supportive through it all) and maybe I wouldn’t have smashed my phone to crap. I mean I might have done but at least I wouldn’t have felt so horrendous due to me being a mood hooverer (someone who is almost looking for things to be angry about – ie the rain.) Looking at things as if nothing, nothing at all would make it better.

The book revolves around this throughout, is backed up by quotes from other self-help motivators and experts and for me it has a brilliant message in addressing negative self-talk. I realise I’m massively going on in this review but it’s my first one back so shrugs. It does have a slightly condescending tone or at least moves towards it. For me it just stopped before pissing me off but the stick men drawings and some of the jokey language was beginning to grate.

I think if you’re looking to make little changes in your life and want a book that maybe makes you look at somethings you’re doing differently once in a while this is a lovely little book to pick up. It would also work wonderfully as a stocking present filler! (If you’re thinking about Christmas already.) Gah I’m going to wrap this up here because I HAVE GONE ON A LOT. I enjoyed it but I think there are lots out there that take a deeper look at psychology and self-help. This was book to start me on a journey of self love that I hope to continue.

LIIIINKS 

Website 

Author Twitter 

Amazon 

Goodreads

Week Commencing: Nov 14

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Where has November gone? Already I’m starting to make lists for Christmas; what does Mumma B want, what does Char Balds wants, WHAT CAN I AFFORD. I want to write a post about London living soon (it feels a little soon a couple of months in) but has been a bit of a shock in terms of money. It’s not really every day things but as EVERYONE says renting is just well, sickening. (I’ve been watching a lot of Ru Paul #yaaaas.) This week has been pretttty horrible, but I want to feel positive, so here’s a week in my life.

GYM LIFE (and new outfit) 

As some of you will have seen – (if you add me on Instagram.) I’ve been a little Gym Mad recently. I’ve been on a little bit of a weight loss campaign which I might update you on, I don’t know whether that’s something you would want to see?) But I invested in a couple of new tops, bottoms and this new Greenwich University Water Bottle. I drink no-where near the recommended amount but having this water bottle (in the most the yellow colour,) means I never forget it or lose it!

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NEW BOOKSS! 

I’ve recently started The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz. I can’t lie it’s been a little while since I read anything from the Millenium Series so I’m struggling a little to remember. It’s always awkward when you leave a series a couple of years back and then have to try and sink yourself back into the story. I have to admit I can tell it’s not the original author, but I’m not hating on it. Review to come soon!

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Views from our flat

I will move on and start talking about things that aren’t our beautiful flat soon but honestly, this view in the morning whilst eating my scrambley eggs on toast is just fantastic. I find it hard to start the day in anything other than a really brilliant mood because of this view. Imagine me, sat in my unicorn pyjamas, eating breakfast on the sofa with Ru Paul and then seeing this view – #happydays.

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The Greenwich Union Pub 

Gah, T and I love this place so much! I think I mentioned that my Dad was born in Greenwich so there’s a lot of family history in Greenwich. If you walk from my street cross the road and walk forwards you walk past where my Great Nana and my own Nana used to live and then you come to this pub which is PERFECTION. They have over 150 beautiful beers for all tastes, and a fantastic looking food menu. T and I are going back soon to try it out!

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Warm Clothes (THANK YOU STOKE.)

Moving to London I thought – oh my it will be blue skies, and wonderous Sun. It is still November and it is BLOODY COLD. I think living in Stoke where it rained almost 24/7 has prepared me. I’ve been wearing a blanket like Poncho all week and it is just the snuggliest thing eva. (Sorry for another feet photo.)

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So there you go, another week in the life of Lizzy. I should also mention here that I’ve written four book reviews and it just felt so good to get back into it. I’m happiest when I’m writing and I’ve missed my blog hugely. I think currently there will only be one review a week but they’ll all be fantastic books that I hope you enjoy.

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: A Guest post with Mary Lawlor

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Hello readers, a little bit of a reposting today with the fantastic Mary Lawlor. Myself and Mary have been working together on a couple of bits and bobs recently and she kindly asked whether I would re-post our brilliant article on her book The Fighter Pilot’s Daughter (with a couple of adjustments to give you a little more information!) Enjoy and if you want a beautifully written story  that will really pull on your heart strings use the links below and bag yourself a copy!

If you were to describe your book in three sentences what would you say? (They can be long sentences!)

It’s a story about my life as the daughter of a military pilot who was often away from home and dramatizes the ways the Cold War sifted down into our household. The climax of the story comes with me getting caught up in the heat of the student uprisings in Paris when my father was in Vietnam. The story concludes with our reconciliation: we found our way back to each other as the Cold War ended.

What was the most important thing you learnt during writing this book? How did you feel when the book was completed?

I realized what a problem I was—a pain in the neck, really—for my parents during those really tense years. For decades I’d thought of my mother and father as the bad guys, but in writing the book I came to see that they were afraid for me; and that I was difficult for them to talk to and refused to get along with them.

Is there anything in the book you wish you had changed now that it’s out there in the world – (I love this question!)

I’d give more attention to my sisters. They’re very interesting, imaginative people, but they have their own ways of understanding and remembering our life as a family. As much as I’d like to have included more about them in my book, I have to respect their separate visions.

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 Could you give us an insight into your writing process?

I try to listen to the words moving around in my head. In hearing things said in my family all those years ago, I probably didn’t get them exactly as they were in fact uttered, but I really did hear them. Once they were written down, more memories came; and when those were written, more came still…

Is there a message in your novel that you wanted your readers to grasp?

I wanted to show how complicated military families can be—how the members of a given family don’t necessarily hold the same views about military culture itself. I wanted readers to see the crazy trajectories Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine kids are made to follow and the difficulties of finding yourself in those situations. I wanted to tell my mother’s story, of how it was for her making, unmaking, remaking the household and her self every time we moved. And for my father I wanted to show the human side of a professional warrior. Very difficult.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

On my website: http://www.marylawlor.net

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So there you go a little bit of an insight into Mary’s book and the fantastic writing that this author does and why. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mark number of times now to promote her books and she’s a really brilliant author with a lot of passion.

On a side-note: this will become my usual review date. Unfortunately my plan to get the blog up and running a little more smoothly has been put on the back-burner. I’m tempted to wait until Christmas to really get everything back up and running again but I hope you’re enjoying the little bits and bobs I’m posting for now.

Links for Mary Lawlor’s Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War

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Mary Lawlor’s website

Website Page Fighter Pilot’s Daughter

Amazon

Facebook

Goodreads

Which Classic Female Author Are You?

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Hellllllllllo readers, are you well? It’s another Friday and I seem to be making a habit of this it’s another BUZZFEED quiz! I actually really like these, one because some of the questions they ask are utterly hilarious. Secondly I kinda want to know what classic author I am – maybe I’ll be one in the future eh.

What are you writing with?

Ink Pens

Your Typewriter

Your Laptop 

Pencils

Quill Pens

Gel Pens

Laptop right? I mean I think a type-writer, a pen, a quill, or an Ink Pen will just be too slow and Gel Pens are just too smelly. So I’m going to go with my laptop because I like it a lot. 

Describe yourself in a word?

Chill

Focused

Dynamic

Stellar

Witty

Flawless

Right, this is one of those awkward questions where you have to describe yourself but in a kind of hilarious way. Maybe I should have pick flawless – I would rather be witty. 

PICK AN EMOJI?

I couldn’t pick the poo emoji so it had to be this one. 

PICK A book genre that needs to go 

Vampire Fantasies

Bro Novels

Pick up artist books

Dinosaur Sex Novels

Celeb Memoirs 

Odd Political Books

THERE WERE A LOT OF ANSWERS I COULD HAVE ANSWERED, but I think that celeb memoirs are the worst. Especially Jeremy Clarkson. Also has anyone read or even seen a dinosaur sex novel? 

Where are you reading?

An empty library

Your bedroom

A Park

A Flight

The Subway

Literally Anywhere

I think anywhere would be the best because I like to read alllllll the time. 

Pick a movie 

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

The Basketball Diaries

When Harry Met Sally

22 Jump Street

The Social Network

Django Unchained 

I found it tough to pick between 22 Jump Street and Django Unchained because I adore both because they are just so different but I think Django just kinda pips it. I’ve only seen it once but I want to watch it again. 

It’s Friday Night what are you doing?

Getting caught up on work

Drinking with friends

Planning a road trip

Netflix Marathon

Reading a new novel

Hitting up the club

I can’t lie – you always pick tequila. 

Which Classic Female Author Are You? You got: Joyce Carol Oates

  1. You’re the rockstar author, playwright, and Princeton professor. You aren’t the best at Twitter but you’re super talented and amazing in just about every way possible. “I never change, I simply become more myself.”

So we go, there is my classic author – isn’t that fantastic? (is it terrible I’m not 100% who this is?!?!) If you want to take the quiz and find out which female author you are then you take the quiz here (and I’m off to google who this might be! SOOORY!)