Why I Love what I love

Getting back to basics here, but recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what got me to where I am now, especially now I’ve graduated and moved back home I’m in a very reflective mood. A lot of what I’ve been thinking about if how my tastes and the stuff I love as led me to to do what I have done, I mean I basically studied  my hobbies as my degree. I’m still not sure if I was mad doing that but hey I had a great time.

I guess the best place to start would be how I fell in love with theatre (books came a lot later) and its really in a very round about way. When I was three I started taking ballet lessons, and yes its very good for you and guys should do it too, anyway by merit of doing dance class I also did several dance shows and I was hocked on performing. I still remember my first show so clearly I was a rainbow fairy, and the smell of hairspray and running to do quick changes I loved it all so much it was so exciting, and to be honest I’m a show off so lots a people applauding is all quite cool. It took a bit longer to realise that I wasn’t really dancer material and that my thing was more acting and directing, but in that time I discovered musical theatre, and that has a lot to answer for.

 

 

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It wasn’t for musical theatre I wouldn’t of met this crazy bunch of people.

Now I’m not the worlds most confident singer, but I still love musical theatre and my grandmother has a lot to answer for. When I was about five or six I discovered a VHF of Cats the musical (yes that long ago) at her house and I feel in love, I still know the whole show off by heart because I watched so many times and drove everyone else totally mad. That musical really has a lot to answer for but I’m very happy about it. I don’t think I would of had half the experiences,or friends I now have, and I defiantly wing this whilst listening to show tunes, what its really good to write to.

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As I mentioned earlier my love of books came much later, because of my annoying dyslexic brain. But as you can probably guess I didn’t let that hold me back. Although I don’t think I would be such a keen reader if I hadn’t grown up in a house full of books. When I was a baby I didn’t sleep with a teddy bear I always had to have a paper back copy of a Pooh Bear book. So I was very lucky that despite the fact that I struggled learning to read I was always drawn to books so I persevered. It paid off in the end the first book I read was Black Beauty, much to my teachers shock, and I haven’t really stopped. I always had a book with me, I took weakly trips to the library, and I spent my holidays with my nose in a book. It really was love at page 1.

Looking back is really good taking stock of all the good things that have come before and how they got you to where you are. I can’t help look back and smile at all the good memories of the stuff that got me here.

Emma x

Autumn Reading

Its that time of year, the sun has past the equator and things things are starting to  get a bit chilly and misty. Its no lie that I love autumn partly because its an excess light some candles and curl up with a good book; theres nothing better.

 

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In my last post I said that I wanted to start reading more, so I’ve taken the bull by the horns and made my self a list of books that I want to read this autumn. I’m classing autumn as being from Harvest to the last week of November because winter comes later down here in the Westcountry where we surrounded by the sea, and by the time November is coming to its end its nearly Advent so its defiantly Winter then. This gives me 9 weeks for some full on reading joy.

Just a note this list is a really random mix of different genres which reflects my slightly eclectic bookshelf.

The Adventure 

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I’ve always loved adventure stories and autumn seems like the best time to be reading about adventure when its harder to be getting out and having you’re own. This book seems to combine many of my favourite things adventure, history, a few slightly crooked criminals (always good for an exciting plot) and books. Defiantly one to read on the bus to work and escape to a more exciting world.

The Coming of Age 

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I’m at a weird point in my life having graduated and trying to figure out what comes next, so naturally I’m drawn to stories about people asking the same question, I’m obsessed with listening to Rent ,just discovered Fugitive Songs which is defiantly a new love, and am constantly rereading ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ by Marina Keegan, check it out she was a writer with so much talent. I’m hoping that this book will be a similar hand to hold when things start to feel out of touch.

The Education 

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I’m unashamedly a geek I love learning and now I’ve left uni I need to find ways to keep on learning new things. I picked this up at the National Theatre Bookshop last December, a paradise and also the most dangerous place for my bank account anyone could devise. I studied English Literature and Drama so I know about plays but I’ve never really thought about the building blocks that make them up, They just came bound and ready to be studied. It should be a really interesting read.

 

The Poet 

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Now don’t get me wrong I’m not going to read the whole of this book theres 350 poems. One thing that a lot of  people don’t know about me is that I love poetry I was practically raised on it, but the last few years have all been about plays for me. so I’m going rekindle that flame with a few poems thrown into the mix of novels and non-fiction.

The One I Should of Read Years Ago

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I’m the first to admit that one of my worst habits is buying a book and leaving it on the shelf for years, and this is ones I’ve done that to for far to long. Now theres the movie out and everyone is raving about it, seems like I should probably get round to reading it.

Making Positive Change

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As a Christian I am always looking for ways to make more space in my life for my religious life, and this looks like a fantastic book to help me make more space in a busy life with many different demands.

The Fantasy 

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I love fantasy, its where I started, who born in the 90’s didn’t start by reading Harry Potter. Its a genre where you can alway find something new surprising and captivating. This book sounds like one to join the ranks of my favourite books, and what better than to escape to a fairytale when things start getting cold.

The Truthful Observation 

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I love Bill Bryson’s writing he is entertaining, insightful and funny, what more do you want. For anyone who has an interest in the Bard I would suggest his biography of Shakespeare in a heartbeat. Hopefully this will be just as good.

So there it is 8 books to for me to read this autumn, I’ll be posting reviews on Goodreads so if you’re interested in reading any of these books feel free to check that out, and I’ll try and tweet as I’m going along.

Emma x

Getting Back to What I Love

The last half a year has been tough, not in trials and tribulations tough but more loosing track of all the stuff that makes me happy. Like hot baths with a good book, dancing round an empty house to show tunes (I feel sorry my neighbours), or just siting outside on a really sunny day. I only really have my self to blame for this, getting too caught up in doing the stuff I thought I should be doing , getting the grades I need, trying to be the person that society wants be to be. Looking back this was not a good idea.

SO I’M TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF.

To help me with this I’ve made a few resolutions because it may not be new year but its a new start and I’m not letting that pass me by.

So I’m not going to let moments go  because I’m tired or I’ve got too much to do, I’m going to go out and enjoy everything that living in the countryside has to offer, I’m going to go for walks and lay in the grass and sit on the beech and watch storms roll in. I’m going enjoy it a record it for days when I can’t be doing the things I want to do. I will also get back to writing this blog I’m not going to think that I could do it another day, because I’ve forgot how much I love writing just for the sake of writing.

I’m going to appreciate the friendships I have and make sure that they know how much they are loved and what they mean to me in their own individual way. I will also make sure that I find a way to meet up and spend time with them, because who else can you go out for cocktails with and then find yourself on a pond in a swan pedalo.

I have also made promise to read more, not because I  need to read it or I think it will make me look cool or clever on instagram but just because I love reading. I’ve already started doing this and there is no stoping me now I read everywhere on the bus, on my lunch break, in bed, anytime I have a spare moment its a chance to read something and escape to another world or learn something new; and I love it.

I will also remind my self how to really enjoy music, not just something to listen to when you’re traveling or in the background while you’re cooking dinner, although those things are great. I’m going to let my self be affected by the art that many talented people have created. I am also going to get around to starting my ultimate playlist that I’ve been promising myself I’ll make for ages. I will also play more music. just for myself because that truly makes me happy.

I guess all I’m trying to do with these resolutions is trying to find a way to be happier, which in the end is what we’re all trying to do one way or another.

 

Emma x

 

Please Don’t Ruin my Favourite Novels: A plea to all producers

 

If you had not of guessed already I love books, like really love them, so you would assume that when my favourite books are adapted to the screen I would be ready and waiting with the popcorn.

But often I’m not.

Now before anyone thinks that I’m some kind of book to screen adaptation hater, I’m not. Hey I’m from the Harry Potter generation, I spent my childhood seeing my favourite characters being brought to life by amazing actors. Maybe I was just spoilt by watching such good adaptations, and whilst they left out quite a bit of what was in the books, it was done for the benefit of the film, and watching theses films you never feel like anything is missing, or strange bits of plot have been bolted on to satisfy producers. Basically they were just brilliant films, and before I start waffling about how much I love them I’ll move swiftly on.

Some of my favourite movies are adaptations of books, and they take pride of place on my books case.
Some of my favourite movies are adaptations of books, and they take pride of place on my books case.

Whilst there are some movie/ TV adaptations that I love, there are some that mess with the source material so much I physically cannot watch, its too painful. I suppose I approach theses films and TV series as a book lover, to me nothing can beat a good book, and to be quite honest I can at times become slightly wrapped up in the world of a novel, I can’t help it, the characters just come alive in my head, and yes I can become at bit possessive of them.

So when there is a big announcement that one of my favourite books is about to be attempted I have some serious mixed emotions, because whilst it could turn out to be an amazing adaptation, for me there is also the danger that it could just be slightly ruined by (what is in my mind) a careless script writer who decides to over trim the plot, or blot on an unnecessary subplot, this particularly seems to be the case with some very strange romantic subplots being added in, this is one of my major bugbears, I just hate it. Also apologies to any screen writers out there who I may of just mildly offended, just please don’t be one of those people and I’ll love you forever.

This is something that has been on my mind lately as several of my favourite books have been optioned for film or TV rights. Whilst this could be fantastic and may introduce many more people to the fictional worlds that I love, so I am no longer a strange loon getting worried about fictional characters that nobody has ever heard off. At the same time the potential for the adaptation to go far away from what my personal idea of the world is.

I suppose that no matter how good an adaptation is it will always differ from the way you imagined it, because thats just someone else interpretation of it, and everybody imagines things differently, and that is a magical thing about books. But what it all boils down to is the protective nature of a fan, you really don’t want to see anything tampered with, this is when adaptations made by fans always win out over films made because someone has identified attempting the book as a good money spinner.

So once again love wins out over money. (I just love a happy ending)

Emma x

P.S sorry for the tardiness of this post, I meant to upload it a couple of days ago, I promise I’ll do better this mouth, well at least I’ll try.

I’m back… Well sort of

Hello

It has been ages since I have written, and for that I can only apologies, apparently there isn’t time given in your final year to also be writing a blog. So basically, although it is a terrible excuse for my absence, I have just been so busy that I have’t allowed myself the time to do what I really enjoy.

However…

I am planning for things to change. I currently I have lot of ideas for various posts which I am going to try and write up whilst I have a little more time over the Christmas break. I will then be realising them monthly, until late spring when the work load from uni will hopefully be reducing , and I can hopefully have the time to be doing some more writing.

I know this isn’t ideal but I would rather be producing better content less frequently, than rushing to get something written with that I won’t be happy with.

I hope you will all understand my current position with this. But, hopefully by this time next year I will be producing lots of lovely articles for you on a more regular bases.

Emma x

Hello Autumn

 

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You can’t beat a romantic ruin in autumnal light. Come and rescue me Sir Lancelot.

In the last few days the weather has been getting colder, there are leafs on the ground, and its just feeling all a bit autumnal.

Now I know the internet is full of love for autumn, and as always I’m a little late to the party. For weeks people have been talking about cosy jumpers, halloween, and Pumpkin spice (what even is that? everyone seems to love it, but I’m not sure I fancy mixing a root vegetable with my coffee,I’m traditional like that.) But I love autumn, like really love it; I’m getting exiting about it halfway though summer (and when I say summer, I mean that one sunny week that the English count as summer.) Autumn is the season to get things done, I find the colder weather energising, and inspiring, compared to the lethargy of lazy summer days. So whilst the days may be colder, and nights darker and longer, I do enjoy the season that heralds winter.

Living in England I may count myself lucky to be visited by all the seasons, and as such, can witness the change in nature. The light becomes softer, less harsh than high summer, and can make the most boring of view look more romantic. I am lucky to live near a park where I can see the change of colour in the trees on my walk in to town. Recently this change in the colour of the leaves has become much more noticeable, and the fallen leaves carpet the pavement. In my mind it is the most attractive season.

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I found this peacock wondering around whilst on my lunch break last week.

 

With falling leaves, comes colder weather, and with colder weather comes  warm and cosy jumpers. Whilst I love wondeing  round the garden in nothing but a summer dress, I love cosy jumpers more. This is something that my friends have come to know me for, I just love being warm and cosy; Who doesn’t want to wear something that makes them feel like a teddy bear.

On the subject of being warm and cosy, Autumn is also the time of year that I enjoy a good hot drink more than ever. People often wonder why we British are so keen on tea, but when the climate is so cold, you can’t beat a good hot beverage. Even the though of curling up under a blanket with my hands warmed by a mug of hot tea/coffee/hot chocolate makes me want to run to the kitchen and put the kettle on.

I’m not necessarily a lazy person, but I am prone to marathoning TV series on Netflix, or just something I’ve seen a hundred times before. Now this is something you can’t really get away with in the summer when every bone in your body is determined to see every second of sun. whilst when things start getting colder it is perfectly acceptable nay compulsory to curl up inside watching movies.

On this note, whist in the summer I can be found laying on a bench with my nose in the book sipping gin and tonic, the autumn brings me inside to my little reading nook all curled up and draining mugs of hot chocolate. It’s also the perfect time of year for a good horror story; so I am now off the scare myself witless by reading the Ghost stories of Henry James.

Emma x

 

Never judge a book by its cover, and other things books have taught me.

Once again the year has swung round to that time of year when parents drive across the country, whilst their little darlings find some random people to get very drunk with in dingy parts of town; yes it's fresers.

As I am now returning as a third year, and thus somehow a season pro, I am in a reflective mood and have been thinking everything I've learnt. But, instead of thinking about all the knowledge imparted to me by my tutors, it's the big life lesson that have come to mind. Now, as a season book worm not unsurprisingly many of these have come from books.

So here is the list of all that books have taught me.

The Lord of the rings taught me that you are never to small to make a difference.

This is basically the central idea of these books , Gandulf can not get enough of reminding us of this fact.Hobbits are literally small, and so often Frodo is under estimsted, and yet he does what no one else can. This is a really important lesson to remember, and a good excuse to reread this wonderful epic.

Harry Potter taught me that good friends are the ones you can depend upon.

This is a series that is so well know, and its impact so well document that you could only ignore it if you have been hiding under a rock for the last 20+ years. Many people talk about how it gave them comfort and companionship, but for me it reminded me that good friends are one of the biggest comforts in this life, and with out them the world is bleaker.

The Great Gatsby taught me that first impressions don't count for everything.

I was introduced to this book as an epic love story set against the decadence of the 1920's, and whilst it is all that, it is also more. Everyone thinks of Jay as a mysterious, wealthy man who throws a good party, even Nick Carraway. However, the book proceeds in dramatic fashion to reveal Jay Gatsbys true intentions and soul, as a man torn and driven by love.

A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich taught me to never give up hope.

This may be a slightly more obscure novel about very dark part of Russian history, but I think it can teach anyone who reads it how to truly hope, and the power that home can give. Although Ivan Denisovich is in the darkest situation imaginable his letters to his wife, and his joy about being relised in 10 years time shows that he still has hope, and reminds one that no situation is without light, and hope is a sustaining force.

Emma taught me that we all have a faults, and it is only when we recognise them that we can be happy.

Emma is an extremely flawed protagonist and Jane Austen lets us realise that. In many ways she behaves in some not very nice ways, forgetting about the feelings of others and how her actions have consequences. It is only when she sees this and stops that she can find happiness and escape, in the form of Mr Knightly.

There are so many other things that I have gained from books, they are my consolation and my guide. A good book can teach you how to be a better person, remind you of the good in the world, and intoduce you to things you could never previously of imagined.

Txt

 

 

Dyslexia for Beginners

This is a bit of a departure from what I normally write about, but its something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

 

There is one piece of information about me which I can guarantee the response of people when I tell them.

Want to know what it is?

I am Dyslexic.

A little bit surprising for an English Literature student I know.

The response from people that I normally get from revealing this nugget of information is hard to describe, mainly because they often don’t know how to respond to it, however you can see them processing the information in their eyes.  It starts off with shock, and then confusion, progressing though disgust, before coming out with one of three responses, “Oh I didn’t realise, haven’t you done well.”  “My… (insert family member, friend, or person you met once in a bar) is Dyslexic” or “I’m sorry”. All responses make the conversation very uncomfortable, and we, in that very British manner, endeavor to change the subject as quickly as possible, and forget it ever happened.

This is really the reason I felt the need to write about being Dyslexia, because there is so little understanding of such a common learning disability, I use the term loosely. There have been numerous occasions where I have been made to feel inadequate by of the cuff comments, or society’s assumptions about what being Dyslexic means.

Dyslexia does not mean you’re stupid, it just means that your brain works in a very different way to what is “Normal”, nor does it affect your IQ, Albert Einstein was Dyslexic. It also differ between people  Whilst I find reading really easy , and can read faster than some non-Dyslexic friends, I struggle with spelling, and writing, I have a friend who can barely read but doesn’t have a problem with spelling; there are so many variations.

The best definition for Dyslexia that I have found is from Discovering Dyslexia, I’ll put a link at the bottom of the post for anyone who is interested.  Essentially a Dyslexic thinks in a pictorial nonlinear way. So unlike non Dyslexics who think in a verbal Liner way a dyslexic brain is a bit like a crazy mind map of pictures with a million links.

 

A bit like this…

 

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It can make thinking clearly a bit difficult.

However there are some brilliant advantages to thinking like this if people give us a chance. Dyslexics have the ability to see things differently, which is why so many are employed by GCHQ because it makes for good problem solving. Because of the way our brains work we can also process more information faster.

So it’s not all bad.

Emma x

P.S. here are some really good websites about being dyslexic which can explain it a lot better than I can.

   http://www.discoveringdyslexia.com/thinkingstyle.html

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/

Summer Reading

Summer is properly my fav11695912_1030567106955932_2046631747160192548_norite times of year, its sunny (some of the time), I can go sailing, and I’m on holiday which to me means one thing, reading. Not that I don’t read insane amounts when it’s not summer; I could be accused of reading too much, especially when I have other thing to do, I am defiantly a procrastinator in that sense. But, to me summer means endless days of chocolate, ice cream, and a good book. My version of heaven. It is also the time of year when summer reading guides are published,  theses long lists lots of people writing about their ideal summer reading list, all with different ideas about what is a good summer read, and so I thought it was high time I put my hat in the ring.

 

I am not a great upholder of the notion that there is a certain genre that is the right genre, or that a particular season demands the reading of a particular genre, as some suggest. This list is a hodgepodge purely of book I have happened to read when the weather is warm, and so there are classics, alongside children’s books, and a bit is Chick lit; it is really a reflection of how eclectic a reader I am. I also have decided to limit myself to five books before I start listing half my book case.

 

  1. Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransom)

Yes it’s a children’s book, but I still love it. Most people will know of the first of Arthur Ransom’s beloved series of stories about children messing about on boats, which alongside the famous five encapsulate a lost age of innocence. I was first introduced to the stories when my mum gave me a now dog eared copy when I was eight, in the hope that I would start to enjoy reading. It was a good investment, that summer as I feel in love with John, Susan, Titty (yes, real name), Roger, Nancy and Peggy and their adventures I also begin a lifelong love affair with reading. Over the next year or so I devoured all 12 of the books, and reread them constantly. I defy anyone not to fall in love with the idea of going off in a little boat and having adventures. For me, even now it is not summer unless I have reread at least one of these books, even now over ten years later it is still the perfect summer read.

 

  1. Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

I know I am seriously bringing to tone down, but who cannot enjoy a little secret indulgence in a “trashy” novel in my mind they are not only the best pick me up after a bad day, but also a great accompaniment to a sunny day, a beach/park (whatever is closest), and a glass a pimms (yes I am that British!). In my mind Sophie Kinsella is the queen of the genre, and the Shopaholic series is the jewel in the crown. I defy anyone not to fall in love with Becky Bloomwood, in my mind she is one of the best written characters in modern literature. As a writer Kinsella writes amazing characters who are flawed, but you still can’t help but like them and be intrigued by their stories. What makes this book so good is that whist the blurb may make the situation seem a little bit ridiculous, and unlikely, just so completely far away from the average readers experience. However she frames this within so many experiences and situations that everyone knows (annoying parents, dead end jobs). And it is this which makes the book so hilarious, and you cannot help but relate to Becky. Basically I love this book, and this writer, and I’ll continue to say this until everyone picks up this book and laughs until they turn blue.

 

3.Emma (Jane Austen)

Right, bringing the tone up again, I told you this list was going to be eclectic. This was the first Jane Austen novel I read, in a deliberate attempt to avoid all the hype around Pride and Prejudice; the protagonist also shares my name so what’s not to like, and is the reason I decided to read this one first, and before you ask, yes I am very vain.  It’s very hard to find anything to say about any of Jane Austen’s novels that has not already been said by generations of readers. Its continuing popularly speaks for its self no one can deny that Austen knew how to write, and how. In my mind Emma and Austen’s other novels are an example of the British novel at its very best. The plots are well written and engaging, and the characters, well you can’t deny they are badly crafted when millions of women have fallen for Mr Darcy; although, I much prefer Mr Kightley which properly explains my preference for Emma. What makes any Jane Auten novel perfect for the summer is that the long lazy days mean that you can indulge and wallow in how beautiful these novels are.

 

4.Rebecca (Daphhe De Maurier)

This is a book I was first introduced to by my Mother, and Grandmother who recommended it to me; so I dutifully went off to the bookshop to purchase a copy before settling down in a deck chair to read. What can I say, apart from the fact that I was transfixed first by the the world and characters that De Maurier created, and then by the thriller like plot. This book contains all the best elements of a novel that is to be enjoyed whist being warmed by the summer rays. The settings of Monte Carlo, and Manderley seems to be blest by warm summer sun, which make the story all the more enjoyable, and puts a harsh light upon the unfolding tragedy. There is very little to say about this novel due to its brilliance that can only really speak for itself, all that I can really say is that from those very first famous lines you are grabbed by the throat and dragged into this story which twists and turns in many surprising directions.

 

5.The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)

Yes it’s another children’s book, but really I’m a child at heart, and when better to enjoy a children’s book than at summer, in fact any time of year. I think my continual love of these delightful stories is linked to my love of boats, a love which is realised any time the temperature reaches anything close to the low twenties. Apart from that this is really a charming book with lovely characters, and wonderful stories. In many respects it is wrong to pass it off as a children’s story because it is so beautifully written. It can bring back so many lovely memories and bring complete joy to any reader, and in many respects this is precisely what makes perfect summer reading for me.