180K+ Reads on Vocal.
Film and Writing (M.A)
Book Review: "The Mysterious Mr Badman" by W.F Harvey
As of yet, The British Library is still undergoing a massive reset over their recent cyberattack. Their services have been breached and the data stolen. It is as of yet, unresolved and continues to leave an uncertain future about the culture surrounding hacktavism. However, thankfully the books have been left untouched and therefore, my avid reading of The British Library Crime Classics and its horrific sister The British Library Tales of the Weird can continue. The British Library Crime Classics publication of this relatively unknown piece of British Crime Golden Again literature comes as a surprise as I have neither heard of the book nor the author.
Book Review: "Politics on the Edge" by Rory Stewart
Britain was now, perhaps had always been, a place in hectic motion. A country that we were told had closed its industries and gone big into banking. A place that was now gambling on a new existence outside the European Union, and a closer relationship with China, at a time when the old political orders seemed ever more fragile, and energy security and food security ever less secure. An economy 80 per cent based on elusive intangible services; buoyed by an improbable housing bubble, and entirely dependent for its health and care on immigrants, whom citizens seemed to wish to exclude
Book Review: "The Covenant of Water" by Abraham Verghese
“Ammachi, when I come to the end of a book and I look up, just four days have passed. But in that time I’ve lived through three generations and learned more about the world and about myself than I do during a year in school. Ahab, Queequeg, Ophelia, and other characters die on the page so that we might live better lives.”
Book Review: "Beneath the Earth" by John Boyne
John Boyne is, as I have said before, one of this century's greatest writers. His ability to transform a situaiton from being two-dimensional to being three-dimensional is astounding. In one of my recently read books by him called Water, we encounter a woman who has moved to an island and changed her name in order to escape a past life where at first we think she is completely the victim - as the story moves along though we realise that it is much more complicated than that. In another one of his books I recently read entitled Crippen, we meet a flock of people sailing from Antwerp on a luxury ship - one of them on board is a murderer, another is in disguise and not everyone is who we think they are. As we delve into the past, the situation becomes even more complex when we meet a woman named Cora and her friend, Mrs Smythson. In this text called Beneath the Earth, we encounter something even weirder - John Boyne's short fiction. I am very much looking forward to this.
Book Review: "Lord Jim at Home" by Dinah Brooke
The only real reason I went for this book is because I heard there was an introduction by Ottessa Moshfegh. Ottessa Moshfegh at the moment, is probably one of my favourite living writers and so, everything recommended by her must thereforebe taken into consideration for my TBR. But then again, I am not going to lie when I say it has been sitting on my TBR for a long while now. I only got around to reading it recently when I heard that it was available on Kindle. For the life of me, I do not know why I didn't check before.
Book Review: "Very Cold People" by Sarah Manguso
“In fourth grade we played hard. The fifth-grade girls played four square, too, but they didn't jeer at each other when they played, and they hit the ball gently from square to square. Their slowness seemed deliberate, as if they were dancing. Their skirts brushed slowly against their knees as they swayed. It wasn't so much that they looked different; they just looked as if they knew they were being watched.”
My Top 5 Films of 2023
I have seen many films in 2023. I have not reviewed many of them including stunning films like Oppenheimer and terrible films like Blue Beetle. I have therefore compiled a list of the best films I have seen in 2023 and some reason as to why. This should clear up the sporadic film reviews that I do as well as provide some insight into how I felt about film this year. I have to admit, sometimes I am biased to enjoy a horror film more than anything else but I have tried to be as fair and as pragmatic as possible and I do not think anyone is going to be surprised by number one on the list at all. I hope you enjoy the reading.
Book Review: "Crippen" by John Boyne
John Boyne is one of the 21st century's finest writers. I have read many books by him over my time. These include but are not limited to: The Echo Chamber, The Heart's Invisible Furies, A History of Loneliness, This House is Haunted, The Absolutist, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom and most recently, Water. As of yet, I am waiting for his novel Earth to come out in 2024, but for now I shall entertain myself with the books I have not yet read. Most recently, I have read his novel Crippen which is a nod to a slightly different genre, crime, in which Boyne investigates how to marry his poetic writing to such a dark topic. The aspect of writing crime is also explored in his novel Water through the second-hand account of Vanessa/Willow and though both are enjoyable, both are still very different in style.
Movie Review: "Napoleon" (2023)
I watched this film in the cinema on the night of the 22nd of November, 2023 I think we can all agree that a movie like House of Gucci was alright but did not live up to the expectations of a Ridley Scott movie. We all remember Gladiator which was pretty much the perfect Ridley Scott movie and then we remember the experimentation of Alien and The Martian. I'm not going to lie when I say that there were some stuff that didn't quite add up about the Napoleon movie and there were other things that were amazing. I'm going to ignore the many historical inaccuracies of the film, if you want something historically accurate, go and read a textbook. If you're going to complain about historical inaccuracy and then don't want to read a book by Antonia Fraser etc. (whiney gen z voice ensues) 'because it's too long' or that sort then your talk about all this historical inaccuracy doesn't matter.
Book Review: "Trust" by Hernan Diaz
I had been looking at this book for some time and for some reason or another, just never got around to reading it. Every other book seemed to be more important and I am not going to lie when I say this: the blurb on this book does not do it any favours in making it sound even remotely interesting. I have a few mixed feelings here and there, but I think I have come to a lawful conclusion on what I think overall. Let's take a short look at what the book is about and how it is split up.
Book Review: "Water" by John Boyne
John Boyne is one of this century's most versatile authors and has amassed quite a readership over the last decade with some really great novels. I have read many of them, including but not limited to: A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom, The House of Special Purpose, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Heart's Invisible Furies, A Ladder to the Sky, The Absolutist, All the Broken Places, A History of Loneliness, Echo Chamber and The Congress of Rough Riders. I do not think I have ever actually read a John Boyne novel I did not like.
Book Review: "The Beast You Are" by Paul Tremblay
Now, I have read and enjoyed many books by Paul Tremblay including The Pallbearer's Club, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil's Rock, Survivor's Song and even A Head Full of Ghosts. Over the course of the last few years, Paul Tremblay has proven himself to be one of the great new voices of horror and thriller novels, creating some really memorable characters and intense atmospheres. I have read his short story anthology Growing Things and Other Stories and though I do like his short stories, I have to say that the former anthology was a little bit better than this one in terms of writing style. Here we have experimentation that I respect, but does not always work with the desired effect. Standing with respect for his small and experimental changes to his writing, I see why people would enjoy it - but in comparison to his other works it does not hold up as being all that understandable - often leaving the reader with mixed emotions on the stories within.