May 2020 Wrap-Up

I usually start these posts by just jumping right into what I have read, but it wouldn’t sit right with me to do that amidst everything that’s happening. If you follow me on Twitter, the social media platform I’m probably most active on, I hope I’ve made it clear and obvious where I stand. I stand with Black Lives Matter and all intersecting identities and I beg of you to educate yourself and support Black people during this time. We are now entering Pride month, which obviously also deserves attention, but you can do both! You can show up for the LGBTQ+ community as well as people of colour!

Also, please, don’t add to the exhaustion and pain by demanding more emotional labour from them, but instead look up resources yourself. Staying silent in the face of oppression is complicity. There are so many links and threads all over the internet for you to get information from. Click here for ways to help right now and here for tips on allyship!

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!

Having said all that, I’m now not so smoothly transitioning to the books I read. It wasn’t the most productive month in terms of reading, but my mind was really occupied with other things. For the first time since June 2017, I’ve actually reviewed an ARC though, so I don’t know if you want to count that as a win or not?

  • Lore Olympus (Season 1) by Rachel Smythe (5 stars)
    Lore Olympus is a web comic about the story of Hades and Persephone. It’s stylish, modern and drama-filled, but also cute. I loved it! You can check it out here.
  • Again Again by E. Lockhart (3.5 stars)
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney (4 stars)

Lore Olympus, Season 1 Again Again Normal People

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

I’m not going to lie to you, May was a tough month. I felt like there was blowback after blowback on a personal as well as global level. My country is actually reopening pretty much everything mid-June though and I’d like to think we are ready for that step. Still, I feel like this year will stay with a lot of people and no one will be able to escape it unscathed entirely.

Wow, I’ve rarely sounded this glum, but I’ve tried to stay as busy as possible, just finding activities for myself to do since I didn’t have a job to bury myself in. Like the month before, I’ve continued writing my Football WIP and am currently at 21.5K words. It’s not exactly double what I had last month, but’s progress and I’m very proud of it.

I actually did a thread of aesthetics for all my characters, even the ones that hadn’t been mentioned at the time. You can check it out here:

And then, on top of that, I also started drawing my own characters from the Football WIP. Some looked better than others, but I’m generally really pleased. It’s only three so far, but I think I’m going to continue with the rest of the Football team and other side characters.

I did some more drawings of various actors and actresses. You can check them out on my instagram account here. I am not too happy with the quality of the photos I take sometimes, as the colors often look washed out and less vibrant or clear than in real life, but I’m learning and maybe going to share close ups or random shots of my notebooks in the future, instead of a head on photo.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I’ve unfortunately not been as active as I would have liked to be on everyone else’s blog. If you are up for it, feel free to share one of your own posts that you consider one of your faves from this past month in the comments below! I’d love to check it out!! But here are a couple I liked:

  • The Orang-utan Librarian wondered if reviews can truly be unbiased (spoiler alert: no)
  • Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books is one of my oldest blogging buddies and she took a look at how much this community and platform of book blogging as changed in the past 5 years. (Yep, we are blogosauruses over here)
  • Lois @My Midnight Musings talked about SciFi and Fantasy books she would like to see adapted to the small and big screen and I couldn’t agree more with … ALL of it!!!
  • Trang @Bookidote clarified what it is a blogger actually does and how much work goes into it.

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS POSTS AND TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and allow yourselves to take a step back when things become too overwhelming! Whatever June will be (let’s hope it’s good), we’re going to get through it!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (May 25-31)

This feels like an incredibly trivial post considering the world’s current state. I’ve tried to retweet and share sources and links that I found helpful on Twitter and encourage everyone to educate themselves in case they still don’t know what’s going on right now. We need to stand with the people seeking justice and equality! This is a global issue.
Regardless, I also know that a lot of you are looking for distraction, so I hope this will offer such a brief moment.

Read More »

Normal People: Book vs. TV Show

Normal People has been all the rage when it first released with people binging it up and down. Since the book it’s based on is also a bestseller, I can only say I missed out on that hype as well. Late to the party, as I tend to be quite a lot sometimes, I really wanted to catch up on the phenomenon and indulged in both recently. So, what else would be the perfect subject for yet another book vs. TV show post?

General Plot

Connell and Marianne have known each other since school, running in different circles and yet finding and undeniable connection between them. Even when life takes them into separate directions, they find themselves gravitating towards each other continuously. Told through snapshots of specific moments and turning points in their lives, often with time jumps of several months in between them, you get to witness their unending love, their platonic and romantic entanglement.

TW: emotional, physical and sexual abuse, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic attacks (+for the show especially: graphic nude scenes, full frontal nudity)

Book

Normal PeopleI went into this book without any sort of expectation. I might have come across the trailer at that point, but I’m consuming so much media, I hardly remembered anything. I was a blank slate going into Normal People.

Reading it ended up being exhausting and frustrating and intimate and soul-crushing and strange. I was not ready for the harshness that the reality of the situations brought with them. In the beginning, I was too distracted by the format and lack of quotation marks (which I really, really missed) to realise just how deep this story was going to cut.

It’s rare that you find someone you click with on such a profound level. Connell and Marianne could be their best and their worst selves with each other and I found very little judgment that came with it. They were infuriatingly frustrating in that they lacked the communication skills to just tell the other person outright what they wanted, when all they seemed to need was each other, happy. A connection like that is nonetheless rare and even when they, once again, messed everything up with each other and hurt deeply, it was undeniable that they preferred to be in each other’s lives.

It’s a tough read, because it feels truthful and real in a frightening way. The situations were always portrayed as vulnerable and ugly, but also warm and hopeful in far fewer but still existing moments.

This book carves a hole into your soul and leaves you with an empty pit inside you. There’s simply nothing there afterwards and you want to fill it with something, but just like the characters have proven time and time again, it’s really difficult to find something that will actually make you feel better instead of just more miserable. I don’t know if this open end was genius or the final cruel gut punch. It leaves it up the reader to interpret whether happiness is fleeting and we should appreciate the moments we get, or whether this is not the end. Not truly at least.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! The only reason I subtracted a star is because this book made me feel miserable in so many moments, but that’s a very personal reason.

Page Count: 290
Publisher: Faber & Faber

*click on the cover to get redirected to Goodreads*

TV Show

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that I watch a lot of shows and movies that have been adapted from books (sometimes even vice-versa), but this one truly hit me in an unexpected way. It’s rare to see something so flawlessly translate to the screen, where the vibe, the expressions, the dialogue, the atmosphere and the feeling remain exactly the same as I had felt them during my reading experience.

The casting of (at least to me) rather unknown Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones was a bold choice that paid of in its entirety. The show hinges a lot on their talent, but they were magnificent in their roles. Their performances felt authentic and raw, dragging you into the tumultuous emotional life of the characters even deeper. There was something so utterly intimate in the way they portrayed Connell and Marianne, I would have believed they were those people instead of acting if anyone had claimed it to be the case.

There’s a couple things that are hard to watch. All these moments are existent in the book as well, but there is something so very different about imagining it and seeing it actually happen in front of you.

The only real difference I could spot was maybe Marianne’s mother. It’s not that she was necessarily a better person, but while I found her completely uncaring and cruel in the book, I thought she had glimpses of thought and care for her daughter on the show.

I must give great credit to the various directors of the episode, editors and just all crew involved. Whoever did the score (actually let me look that up real quick to tell you) … it’s several people, but the score is comprised of mostly acoustic and instrumental tracks, with some covers here and there that fit the atmosphere perfectly. So, whoever did the song selection, you also did a phenomenal job! Everything about the show managed to convey emotions, be it in the framing of the shots, the music, the silences, the colors, the set design or looks interchanged between the actors. Everything felt intentional and there’s very few instances that don’t manage to hit home.

From the massive response the show has received, I can tell that there is a certain want or need for a second season. This sequel would be completely unrelated to the book, because it finishes the exact same way as the show has. Open, free to interpretation, mournful. I would be interested to see this end on a happier note, although I am not sure that’s what the story is destined to be. For now, the cast has said there is no definite talk of a continuation. Maybe that could change with the increased interest?

Until then, you can lust after Connell’s chain with me and the rest of the internet. I love how iconic it has become and that it has its own Instagram profile. Even more so do I love the fact that Paul Mescal is raffling off one of his chains for a good cause. You have until the 8th of June, 2020, to try your luck here. Paul chose a great organisation, Pieta, which provides free therapy to those engaging in self-harm, with suicidal ideation, or bereaved by suicide in Ireland.

Conclusion

There is no better or worse in this case. I have rarely encountered such a faithful adaptation that doesn’t just match the actual dialogue, but also manages to convey the exact same vibe of the story. While I do think that the book adds a bit of inner monologue that’s helpful in some scenes, and I’d therefore recommend reading it first, they are equally as good as the other.


Have you read Normal People? Have you watched it? Are you as obsessed with Connell’s chain? Let’s chat!

The “I Should Have Read That” Book Tag

I wasn’t very consequent with my Friday is tag day proclamation, but the lovely Kirstie Ellen @Upside-Down Books tagged me for the “I Should Have Read That” Book Tag and it seemed deliciously fun. I feel like I’ll have to expose myself with some of those answers, so, I want to thank her for the opportunity and hope you all enjoy it!

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part (I’ll just leave this up to whoever wants to do it)
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Beartown (Beartown, #1)Alright, so, Lois never specifically urged me to read Beartown in any way, but she knows me so well and every time I see her talk about it, I just want to pick it up right away … I just haven’t even bought it yet …

For real though, it’s a small town sports drama with deep human emotions and I just know I’d be so here for it!

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

Testament of YouthI actually have briefly picked it up, because I adore the movie with all my heart, but I never made it all the way through Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. It’s quite heavy and since they are her diaries, it’s all real life stuff and I just couldn’t … I think I’d rather rewatch the movie.

A book in a series you’ve started,  but haven’t gotten around to finishing yet

Dark Age by Pierce Brown is still chilling on my shelf. That book scares me SO much! I don’t know why, but it’s just MASSIVE and I haven’t really read any big books like that for a long time and I know it’s likely going to wreck me emotionally on top of it all too.

Just look at it compared to some other books on my TBR …

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

War and Peace? I don’t know … it’s just that I know quite firmly that I don’t enjoy very many classics, but I quite like movie adaptations of Russian materials, so that’s one of the few I could think of.

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

HA! I know that one! Harry Potter, and I truly mean the entire series. Sometimes (looking at you Percy Jackson), I start a series and then life gets in the way and I forget to continue, but I’ve literally never picked up the Harry Potter books and at this point, I just don’t see it happening.

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet

The GoldfinchLet’s not go overboard by saying I really loved loved The Goldfinch, but I loved the trailer? I enjoyed the movie, I just thought it would have been a better fit for a limited series or some other longer format. Anyway, haven’t read it, but can definitely see the appeal.

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

The Priory of the Orange TreeHmmm … a confession that wasn’t even prompted her but that is coming regardless is that I’m not really in the bookstagram realm. A book I kept seeing everywhere, especially on Twitter too was The Priory of the Orange Tree and it’s another very daunting size.

 

 

 

 


I TAG THEE

I haven’t really been up my blogging game, so I’d like to leave it up to anyone who sees this tag and wants to do it. CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!


What did you think of this post? Can you relate? Are you shocked? Let’s talk!

Again Again by E. Lockhart (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 304
Publication Date: June 2, 2020

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

This is not a love story, or, at least, not a romantic love story.

I feel like that’s what the cover might suggest and what you could interpret the blurb to be, but it’s not. Maybe it is part of why I went into this book with a sort of wrong idea, but then, I learned a long time ago to never truly expect E. Lockhart’s books to be any specific way to begin with. I quite enjoyed her earlier chick-lit-esque work (for those of you who followed her career and are fans of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, you’ll get a fun little easter egg) but was truly the most enamored with We Were Liars, which was what I would consider more in the mystery genre. Now, Again Again, doesn’t really fit into either category and proves once again that E. Lockhart won’t be confined to any genre.

Again Again is partially written in verse and takes place in a multitude of universes, although mainly two. I think this approach could go over either way with the reader. Sometimes it felt repetitive in a tiresome way, other times it showed you how one moment can unfold in such vastly different ways that you yearn for a different outcome. It definitely takes time to get used to this unconventional style of storytelling, although I think the visual formatting helped get the point across. Still, I’m really torn on this matter myself, because I would be lying if I told you that the final universe wasn’t my favourite and I was so very relieved that it existed – imperfections and everything – whereas I really struggled with the others.

As far as the characters go, I found it a bit difficult to really fall for Adelaide. She was putting on this bubbly front of happiness, which didn’t reflect her inner sadness and turmoil at all, bordering on obsession in so many departments of her life. Her erratic behaviour made me dislike her sometimes, especially when she was impulsive and neurotic about boys that were only an escape, but not a solution. I understood why she acted the way she did.
Grieving for someone, even if it wasn’t the kind of grief related to death, and being burdened by constant worry will change you. It makes you act strange and impassive and everyone deals differently, but even though I got that on some level, it didn’t prevent me from getting frustrated with her sometimes. I appreciated the realness of her brokenness, while also resenting it. I am contradictory that way.
I did really like her creative side though! I would love to see some of the stuff she made in this book in real life!

However, as I said at the very beginning of this review, this is not a romantic love story, because all these boys (which were really only three) couldn’t have been more inconsequential, if I’m being completely honest. The most important relationship in this book, at least in my eyes, is the one between Adelaide and her brother Toby. Theirs is a love story of a different kind, because loving a family member can be just as hard and disappointing and necessary. Them finding their way back to each other was the only thing that really mattered to me.

Lastly, I just want to mention that I always love it when dogs are in the mix! I want to warn all of you that a dog gets punched in the face in this book (out of defense), but that they also seem to be able to talk to the main character in a way and that was surprising and quirky and I still don’t know what to make of it.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Hit and miss in a lot of ways.

Do you want to read Again Again? Have you read previous books by E. Lockhart? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #33

I still stand by the fact that I’ve watched far less since lockdown started, compared to my regular viewing. Regardless, it is time to talk about what’s been happening on my screen lately! So, here we go!

Sweet Magnolias

I started watching this show, because I needed to calm down. I had just watched some episodes with a lot of racial injustice and I was boiling and angry and I needed something to soothe me. The name, Sweet Magnolias, alone suggested to me that this was going to be lovely and it was? Following the lives of these three women was nice, their children had some decent plotlines too. It’s not the most exciting show out there, but I love these kind of soft and sweet stories that border on the line of cheesiness. It just feels so much cuter and less stressful than other shows, even if some plot points have quite a lot of depth if you think about it. So, does it give you Lifetime-vibes? Probably. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Not really.

HOWEVER, I am furious, because the show ended on a massive cliffhanger!

So my plan to distract myself from being mad did not pan out in the end … I just hope they get another season, and if only to resolve that end. I cannot deal with it right now!

For fans of: small town American settings, a certain quality of wholesomeness, book-to-screen adaptations

Upload

I can’t help but think about this show giving me “The Good Place” vibes and that’s something brilliant, because I miss the show SO much. I think the actual series is better than the trailer suggests. Sure, it has some rather silly elements (but let’s be real, so did The Good Place) but it also a very intriguing mystery plotline that I did not necessarily expect. I don’t feel like Upload made me as happy as watching The Good Place did, but it asks the same or at least similar questions about morality, mortality and can we improve after we have died. The fact that we are more and more asking ourselves these questions is really interesting to me.

Especially for a first season, I thought there was remarkable character development, although I wasn’t super happy with the end. I think it already got picked up for another season, so that’s helpful in easing my mind, because they need to resolve some stuff for me that I won’t get into because of spoilers.

For fans of: moral questions about the afterlife, quirky and fun takes on future technology

All American (both seasons)

So, I am still not over the brilliance that was Friday Night Lights and maybe I never will be. Yet, seen as I am still working on my American Football writing project, I needed another show to keep me in the right headspace. While there is a lot of content on college Football, there’s actually not as much focused on High School, so I figured I’d just go with the most recent example I could think of, which was All American.

Obviously, since this is based in LA, it hits VERY different to FNL. I didn’t get the same feeling of just being with those characters for ages, but eventually, I really felt with them regardless. I only have three episodes left, before finishing the second season and I want to savor those. Like so much at the CW, it already got renewed, which is great. I think the show has some really great moments, although I think they need to find more balance with some storylines as they feel just dropped into the narrative and as if they ask people to accept certain relationships and feelings despite us not having seen the development of it on screen.

I am rooting for them to get to tell more impacting stories on the CW! My heart is not over some of the episodes from the second season, such as 2×07, 2×10 and 2×11 – I cried and raged and felt numb.

For fans of: “based on a true story”-stories, American Football, racial issues in the US, community, found family trope

The Lovebirds

I decided to do a mini Issa Rae movie marathon today, so I started it out with The Lovebirds, since it recently dropped on Netflix. There’s no denying it, I love Issa Rae and I love Kumail Nanjiani and I love them together. They know how to keep up with each other’s energy and quick wit and it shows. While this movie threw them into some utterly ridiculous situations (think stuff like Date Night), I laughed a lot and I wasn’t sure I would really find it that funny.

I don’t think this is the best movie ever, but I was so entertained and that’s pretty much point of The Lovebirds. Suspend your disbelief, folks, and it will be a fun ride!

For fans of: funny couples in ridiculous crime-related situations

The Photograph

This was my second choice after The Lovebirds and NO REGRETS! Uhm, I think we’ve established how much I appreciate and adore Issa, so I just want to say that I would watch every single movie with LaKeith Stanfield as the male lead in a romance. I get that he is very versatile and can do all sorts of stories. As an actor, he would probably get bored just doing one thing, but I’ve just fallen more and more in love with him every single time he played the love interest in a movie. That is a fact!

I really enjoyed how calmly The Photograph told its story and it was so much more than just a love story. It told us that our parents had their own lives and past that we likely don’t know about, but that we cannot judge them for. They are, after all, just human. And it was about having a passion for work that overshadows the other elements in your life that might need attention and love too. It is so hard to give yourself to people, not just romantically, but some are worth taking the risk/fall.

So much in this film was told simply through looks and body language and I lived for it. The music and landscapes added to the atmosphere in exactly the way they were supposed to. Truly adored it all!

For fans of: parents who have their own stories/lives, that certain kind of unforgettable love-feeling


Did you watch any of those things? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!