Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Re-readathon: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Wrap Up

Tuesday




I'm reading: Harry Potter et la coupe de feu
Pages read today: 8
Total pages read: 337
Total books completed: 3
Snacks consumed: coffee, moar chocolate
Today in six words: Don't blame me, blame Ikea! Probably.

Yeah, so today was a bit of a duff day for reading. I went to Ikea with my mum, because we are both Ikea addicts who enable each other's addiction. I got some organising stuff for my room as well as a rug and a nifty cat cushion. So, I came home and sorted my room out and felt proud of the fact that I am now someone who uses drawer dividers (shut up, my drawers look so much better now, seriously. I can actually find things in them.) And then I just sort of... did nothing. I was really tired and ended up lying in bed browsing tumblr until it was time to leave for my night shift. Some days productivity just doesn't happen. And that's okay.



Wednesday



I'm reading: Harry Potter et la coupe de feu
Pages read today: 69
Total pages read: 406
Total books completed: 3
Snacks consumed: more of the never-ending supply of Easter chocolate
Today in six words: Finally got my reading mojo back!


2.30am

(Yes, I know it is technically Thursday and therefore the re-readathon is sort of over but as someone who works evenings/nights I'm a firm believer in "it's not tomorrow until I go to bed" :P )

I felt better today after feeling generally crappy yesterday, enough to go for a run, practice some music and make decent headway into Harry Potter before work... where I promptly nearly fainted. Yes, there was an incident involving me having to 'just lie down on the floor for a while'- thankfully I made it to the staff toilet to do that, so I didn't make a scene... So my general rubbishy feeling yesterday might actually be me coming down with something. Yay. I've felt better as the evening went on and even managed to eat something when I got home from work though, so fingers crossed it was just a blip.

Considering how busy I was today with work and that, I think my page count so far is pretty damn good! And especially since I'm reading in my second language which takes a lot more time and focus than reading in English. I'm finally out of the Quidditch World Cup and greatly looking forward to getting back to Hogwarts (or Poudlard, as it's called en fran├žais). I'm not planning on going to bed for another hour or so, so I should be able to squeeze a few more pages into the very end of this re-readathon!


Wrap up

So how did I do? Er, not brilliantly. I had hoped to, you know, finish some of the books on my pile, but that didn't happen. I did finish three books, two for uni and one for a read-along, so it's not all terrible. Just ignore that they were mostly finished anyway. Sssh.

Honestly, I think I just wasn't in a big reading mood this week? Which is sort of terrible that it happened during a readathon, but oh well. I finally made a start of Goblet of Fire which I've been meaning to do FOREVER, so it's not all a loss.

Thanks to Bex for hosting! I did have fun even if I didn't read as much as I would have liked. Roll on the next one!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Re-readathon: Sunday and Monday

Sunday


 



I'm reading: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, Harry Potter et la coupe de feu by J K Rowling
Pages read today: 105
Total pages read: 290
Books finished: The Crimson Petal and the White
Total books completed: 3
Snacks consumed: chocolate bunny, more of an Easter egg than I'd care to admit...
Today in six words: Harry Potter makes the pages fly!


4.00pm

Happy Easter everyone! I'm enjoying nice relaxing Easter at my parents' house, with lots of chocolate and sleepy cats to keep me company when I'm reading. With the strength of that, I have finally completed my first 'book for fun' of the re-readathon!



I'm so happy. I forgot how infuriating the end of Crimson Petal is though. You know books where the ending is so abrupt you double check just in case there's pages missing from your copy? Yeah.

I've started on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and have randomly decided to read my French copy. Mostly because I realised I haven't read anything in French in an entire year and I live in constant fear of somehow forgetting all my French and my degree becoming meaningless. So. I'm about two chapters in and it's all going swimmingly. 


Monday





I'm reading: Harry Potter et la coupe de feu by J K Rowling
Pages read today: 39
Total pages read: 329
Total books completed: 3
Snacks consumed: all the chocolate
Today in six words: Work impedes reading. But Harry Potter!

10.05 pm

Another hectic day at work today. Today I want to rant about customers who don't say please and thank you. Seriously? It's not hard to ask for something properly, and it makes the interaction more pleasant for both of us. You'd complain about me if I didn't smile, say thank you and speak in complete sentences, so why should it be any different the other way around? Sure, I'm a fast food worker, but I'm also a human being. Please talk to me like one.

*grumbles* Anyway. I was exhausted when I got home, so I've just been under my duvet reading for the most part, and that's how I plan to spend the rest of the night. I don't have to get up early in the morning- in fact tomorrow I'm back to working nights, so it's in my best interest that I do stay up all night and read Harry Potter. You know, if I don't fall asleep in the next couple of hours...

I read slower in French than in English obviously, but it's actually nice to pick up all the little details that usually pass me by because I've read this book so many times. Crookshanks (or Pattenrond in French) chasing the gnomes at the Burrow, Charlie and Bill fighting with garden tables, the wizards wearing kilts and ponchos at the Quidditch World Cup... it's nice to take it slow and take it all in.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Re-readathon: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Thursday

Okay, I'm not even going to bother doing stats for Thursday because I read exactly 0 pages, of re-reads or anything else. Instead I was in work all day and then went to see the midnight showing of Batman v Superman. My verdict? Pretty much what you've probably heard- disappointing. There's good stuff in it but it's mostly outweighed by the nonsensical plot and the narm. I probably would have been better off at home with The Crimson Petal and the White, but oh well.


Friday




I'm reading: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Pages read today: 29
Total pages read: 136
Total books completed: 2
Snacks consumed: mini creme eggs
Today in six words: Come on, you can do better!

I was off work today but I spent most of the day with my girlfriend- just going about town, spending ages in Forbidden Planet and getting cake in Waterstones. So that was lovely, and I'm not too worried that my page count took a hit from that. I spent the evening doing uni work, as I realised once again that yes, it's the Easter holidays but I still have an awful lot of work to do, and I should probably get some done if I want to relax this weekend.

But, yeah. If the point of a readathon is to read more than usual, I'm failing on an epic scale as I often read more in one day than I have in the last five.



Onwards and upwards though, I suppose. I've got high hopes for this weekend!


Saturday



I'm reading: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Pages read today: 49
Total pages read: 185
Total books completed: 2
Snacks consumed: Microwave popcorn
Today in six words: Lots of work, but progress, yay!

10.35 pm
Long day in work today. I normally work evenings during the week, so working daytime on Saturday was a bit of a shock- and it's the Easter holidays too, so, children everywhere and general chaos. I was glad when home time came.

Afterwards I drove to my parents' house where I'm spending Easter and got stuck into The Crimson Petal and the White. I'm very near the end, so I'm hoping to get it finished either before I fall asleep or tomorrow morning. Yay, progress at last!





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Re-readathon: Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday's stats:

I'm reading: *coughs*
Pages read today: 0... technically.
Total pages read: 70
Total books completed: 1
Non-reread reading progress: 36 pages of The Gracekeepers. So, I did read something. Just not, you know, a reread like I'm supposed to. Also some Sherlock fanfiction... don't judge me :P
Snacks consumed: creme egg
Today in six words: Adorable cat sabotages my reading efforts!

So I work evenings mostly, and I'm usually pretty good at getting up at a reasonable time so I can actually get stuff done. But Tuesday morning, my cat was curled up beside me being all purry and snuggly and honestly, I wouldn't have moved if you paid me. I was so comfortable.

This is Missy. If I fail this re-readathon miserably, it's all her fault.

So, yeah, by the time I managed to extract myself from under her, drove up to Belfast, made some dinner and went to work, reading just didn't really happen. Got a little of The Gracekeepers read before bed, but that was all. Ah well.



Wednesday stats:

 


I'm reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Pages read today: 77
Total pages read: 147
Books completed: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Total books completed: 2
Non-reread reading progress:  FINISHED The Gracekeepers (74 pages), more 19th century periodicals
Snacks consumed: coffee, mostly
Today in six words: Finished Gracekeepers, let the re-reading commence!

2.20am
Took myself to the library today to Get Uni Work Done and I finished Dorian Gray, yay! I seriously love that book. I'm quite looking forward to talking about it when I go back to uni after Easter- I know there's quite a few Wilde fangirls/boys in my class so it'll be fun geeking out about it together.

I got out of work relatively early (just after midnight- early for me!) and got stuck in to some reading- and I finally finished The Gracekeepers! It's less than 300 pages long and I loved it but for some reason it took me forever to read. So, now the re-reading can properly commence! Laptop's getting turned off soon and I'm going to try to make a start on The Crimson Petal and the White before bed.




Monday, March 21, 2016

Re-readathon: Monday

  


I'm reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Against Nature by J. K. Huysmans,
Pages read today: 70
Books finished: Against Nature
Non-reread reading progress: 59 pages of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, various articles from 1890s periodicals
Snacks consumed: a Sainsbury's "spotty bean" cookie- basically a Smartie cookie! Rhubarb and custard sweets, wham bar, microwave popcorn
Today in six words: uni reading, but not much else

Thoughts:
5:00 pm:
I'm off work today but have told myself I need to get some uni work done, as it's now week 2 of a four-week break and I haven't really done much so far. Fortunately this overlaps with the re-readathon quite nicely, as I'm reading J.K. Huysmans's Against Nature and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, both of which are re-reads for me! Finished Against Nature- I only had a few tedious pages left- and I'm hoping to get The Picture of Dorian Gray mostly read too. I've got various nineteenth-century periodicals and articles to read as well, which unfortunately won't count towards my page count...

As far as actual, 'leisure reading' goes: I did intend to have my current read, The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, finished up before the re-readathon but that didn't happen, so today's plan is to get that finished and then make a start on the final section of The Crimson Petal and the White for Charlotte's readalong- which, conveniently, is a re-read!


12:35 am:
I can thank my Master's course for making my page count look considerably better than it should be, as I really haven't done much actual 'reading for fun' today. I got a good bit of uni work done which was great and then I sort of faffed about this evening, spending quality time with the fam watching ITV's The Story of Cats (because if there's one thing that brings my family together, it's cats) and then I went upstairs to read and accidentally watched Blackadder instead. Oops.

And though technically according to my stats I finished a book today, it was only the last 8 pages of one. Albeit, it was JK Huysmans's Against Nature, so 8 pages is quite an achievement. If you're not familiar with this book, it's basically about a guy who retreats from the outside world and decorates his house. That's it. Only it's told in the most ridiculous lurid prose and the whole thing is just ridiculous- at one point he buys a tortoise to match his carpet and embeds jewels in its shell. IT IS RIDICULOUS. Fun fact: for my French undergrad last year, I spent an entire semester studying this book, including preparing weekly study questions, doing a group presentation and writing an essay on it. All in French. And when I thought it was finally out of my life for good, it goes and pops up on my Master's English Lit syllabus. Although, fortunately in English translation this time, which makes it somewhat better- it was painful looking up all those obscure and archaic words Huysmans uses that weren't in any dictionary. So, yeah. This book. I kind of hate it and don't at the same time?

Phew. Anyway.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all-time favourite books- I went through a huge Wilde phase a while back on the strength of it. I've read it many, many times, and what do I get out of re-reading it? Honestly, more and more gay subtext every time. I don't understand how anyone can talk about this book without talking about how very gay it is and how creepily prophetic it is with regard to Wilde's later scandal. But, I'm studying it for a class on Irish Gothic and I should be focussing on, you know, the Irish and the gothic, but instead I'm scribbling notes about blackmail and double lives and the closet in the 1890s and all that. Sigh.

Time to turn the laptop off and crawl into bed with The Gracekeepers for a bit before I go to sleep. With any luck I'll actually get to re-reading tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Readathon: Week 4!


1) Out of all the people that I thought would be written out of the story, I didn't have Henry down as the first to go. Most underwhelming death scene ever?

Haha, it is a bit of a shock, isn't it? It's such a weird death scene- I wouldn't call it underwhelming so much as confusing and wait what just happened? It sort of had to be that way, though. Henry just wasn't going to go one way or another- I mean he wasn't going to take the leap and become a pastor, but he wasn't going to be able to just sleep with someone either. I have to say, when William was telling Henry he should just go ahead and sleep with Emmeline (in slightly... coarser terms) I was in full agreement. But yeah. He couldn't, so he had to die.

I'm glad Emmeline's recovered. And also that the cat was okay. Not going to lie, I was much more worried about his fate than Henry's...


2) Sugar's visit to Caroline showed how far away from her old life she's moved. How did you feel about their awkward exchange?

It was awkward. I like Caroline- it's hard not to. She's so lovely and prostitution seems to be genuinely a good life for her- as weird as that might sound. I found the bit where she learns about Henry's death surprisingly sad.

Also it's a strange one, because although you'd think Sugar would be better off than Caroline now, it doesn't seem to be the case. I think she misses the simplicity of her old life. She's realised that being a kept woman isn't as great as she thought it would be. And then she tries to remedy that by getting even closer to William and even further from her old life by becoming a governess, and... it's just not working. I think we can all tell this isn't going to end well for Sugar, right?


3) The prostitute-turned-governess twist is a bit of an odd one! How are you finding Sugar's efforts as Sophie's new governess?

It is an interesting one! Like I said, it surely won't end well, but Sugar seems surprisingly good at it. It's about time Sophie had someone looking out for her even a little bit- I feel bad for her being caught up in the mess of the Rackham marriage. Her mother apparently doesn't even know she exists and I'm still seething over William's 'a girl, unfortunately' comment.

I don't think Sugar will stick it for long though. It seems to have just made her relationship with William even more distant and she's far too much of a free spirit to put up with it. Also, having her in such close proximity to Agnes makes me very nervous indeed.


I can't believe we're so near the end! There's still plenty of excitement in store however ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Re-readathon, yay!



I'm so happy Bex at An Armchair By The Sea is hosting another re-readathon- I really enjoyed the last two. I've had a bit of a hectic start to the month so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some old favourites :)

So here's my provisional to-read pile!


First up we have Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, which is long overdue for a re-read- I think it's been five years? Re-reading her wonderful memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? recently has reminded me of what a travesty this situation is. So, definitely want to get to this one.

Next priority is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because I started re-reading the series a while back (I think it was actually during one of these re-readathons) and I've sort of stalled on it. Plus it's Goblet of Fire and we all know it's one of the best in the series.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell-  I loved this book and was hoping to re-read it soon anyway, but I recently read Carry On- set in the fictional fantasy universe Fangirl's main character writes fanfiction for- and that's just made me want to read it even more.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt- I've been meaning to re-read this for ages, and I even shortlisted it for the last re-readathon- but I just haven't got around to it. It's one of those books I think will be interesting on a re-read- knowing about the characters what I do now and all that. That's as much as I can say without spoiling it for anyone who hasn't read it yet!

 A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin- I recently started re-watching the TV series and it's really made me want to go back to the books- I've already read them twice but there's so much in them you really do need to read them a few times. I wasn't planning on re-reading them until we had a release date for The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the series, so that I had a nice new one to read at the end of it- but it seems that could be a while away yet, and I can't wait. I'm not totally sure if I'll read this during the re-readathon- if I do it'll probably take up the whole time- but I might make a start on it, at least.

Sandman: Doll's House by Neil Gaiman- I started re-reading the Sandman series during one of the other re-readathons... and promptly forgot about them. This was actually the first one in the series I ever read, so I'm quite fond of it for that reason. Also, graphic novels are great for boosting your page count ;)

So that's my current book pile! Of course it could all change with bits and pieces on my kindle but we'll see what I feel like on Monday. I can't wait!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-along: Week 2 and 3


This is Weeks 2 and 3, even though we're basically at Week 4 now, because sometimes life happens. Life seems to be happening for everyone else at the moment too though, so it's all good. As Charlotte says, better late than never!


1) The first 150 pages were a runaway read-along success. Has anybody's opinions changed at all or are we all still in love?

I'm still very much in love. What can I say, I love this time period. It's been good to delve deeper into the characters in this part, following Agnes, Henry and Emmeline, and learning just what it is that Sugar writes all the time (although, maybe some of us would feel we were better off not knowing...)


2) William seems transformed from moany idler to committed businessman. Has the change improved anybody's opinion of him? How long do you think it will last?

I still sort of hate him. Actually, on some level, I actually hate him slightly more. How I did sympathise with him before was where he felt like he wanted to write and be creative instead of consigning himself to the drudgery of business- and he's just completely abandoned that now. I know, I know, it's good that he's stepped up and has some actual financial security (and I'm sure those poor servant girls are glad) but I can't help but feel he's a wee bit of a sell-out. But that's just my bohemian side talking :P

Also, it's given him a certain arrogance that I don't particularly like. The 'buying' of Sugar.. blegh. But we'll get to that later.

I don't really remember what happens to William's fortunes, but I have a feeling it won't last.

3) We've spent more time with Henry Rackham and Emmeline Fox this week. What do you think of their respective efforts to save the poor?

Well, Henry's pretty terrible, isn't he? Gosh, the brothers are so alike in some ways, except Henry has this maddening desire to repress himself as much as possible. That might even make him worse than William in that respect. Pretending to himself that he just wants to help prostitutes, when he really just wants to bang them. Ugh. Honestly, if Henry didn't spend so much effort repressing himself, who knows, he might be able to do something useful.

I like Emmeline a lot, in the same way I always tend to go for eccentric spinster types in this era of fiction. She gets stuck in with trying to help people as well, not worrying what people will say about her getting too close to 'fallen women'. I really respect that.

What's a mystery to me is why such a cool person hangs around with Henry Rackham. I mean, seriously?!


4) There is a quote from The Guardian on the back of my edition that describes the book as "The novel Dickens might have written had he been allowed to speak freely". Thoughts?

Mmm. I mean I get what they're saying- Dickens did think it was important to depict society in often fairly gritty ways, but I'm not sure the overall theme of the book is his thing? I mean, this book is basically about the oppression of women (or is it? Feel free to disagree with me!) and I've never seen much evidence that Dickens particularly cared about that.

I have complicated feelings about Dickens, let's just say.


5) The final chapter of this week's reading saw Sugar moved to a new home and declare herself 'free'. What do you think about her newfound freedom - real or illusory?

It's difficult to say whether she really is free- at least when she was at Mrs Castaway's, she had a certain amount of autonomy and independence. She really is so reliant on Rackham- what's to say he won't lose his fortune or get bored of her? Though dependency on men was pretty much the standard for most women at the time, I suppose. It's a lot nicer than where she came from anyway. She might be able to use it for her own gain, too, which I'd quite like to see.


Week 3

1) What do you think about the fact that Sugar seems to be starting to have feelings for William?

They have a complicated relationship. Honestly, it would be so much simpler if it was a case of Sugar just using William for money/William just using Sugar for sex, but it's trickier than that. It's interesting how Sugar's getting so involved in the perfume business as well. I wonder what would have happened if William had never married before he met Sugar, and Sugar was more the sort of class he'd be able to marry? Would they have had a happy marriage? Would William have even looked at her in the first place? Who knows.

But while Sugar seems to be falling (even just a little bit) for William, I'm not so sure that William feels the same way. I got the impression this week he's getting bored of her, actually.


2) Does the change in William and Sugar's relationship alter your expectations for the rest of the book at all?

Remember I've read this before and know exactly how the rest of the book turns out, so I'm going to tread carefully here... but I've never seen a particularly happy ending on the cards for them. How happy/unhappy they turn out to be though, you'll find out ;)


3) Ah, Mrs Fox. Consumption. Between her and Agnes' brain tumour, it seems like the ladies of the story aren't long for this world. What do you think of about the medical treatment on display so far?

Not to mention Katy Lester, too. Yeah, come to think of it all the female characters have something wrong with them (Sugar has her bad skin) don't they? And all the men seem more or less healthy, though we can cast doubts on Henry's sanity. I'm not sure what that means on a symbolic level. Perhaps to show how vulnerable women were at this time?

But I suppose a lot of it is just that there was a lot of sickness about in those days. It's frustrating, especially in Agnes's case, just how clueless the doctors are. Nowadays she'd get a proper examination or her brain tumour could even have been discovered in an eye test but nope, she's left with the worst, least helpful treatment possible.


4) We've seen quite a lot of Sugar's novel now- what do you think of Sugar's efforts as an author?

I admire her industry and I'm sure she's a very good writer- you have to wonder if William ever got as far writing anything as she has. I was going to say her novel would never be able to see the light of day but then I remembered My Secret Life and the likes were around at this time, so she probably would have an audience. She seems to be getting pretty bored with her novel though- I suppose because prostitution means something different to her now she's a kept woman who may be in love with William. I wonder if she'll write anything else. I kind of hope she does.