October 10, 2018

The Height of the Wuthering Slump

I've been considering writing this post for about 2 weeks. 

That, by the way, long enough to get past the 'Wuthering Heights slump' as I like to call it. Mainly, because as of yesterday I have officially finished the book. For the fifth/sixth time. I dont know. Its the first time Ive read it in the last 5 years tho, I can tell you that. 

I have read Wuthering Heights more than once. Considering I was about 13 the first time I read it - doing the math I have to say that I read it about once a year for five years. I am no stranger to this book. And yet there are several things that I forget EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

(Please note - I'm not going to hold off on plot points here. If you've not read it and don't want the classic work of literature spoiled for you - go away, read the book (or watch a movie adaptation) and then feel free to come back and finish reading the rest of this blog post.  

  • That actually - there is still another half of the book after Catherine dies. I always think of Wuthering Heights as the 'love story' between Catherine Linton/Earnshaw and Heathcliff. And so I always feel overcome by a sense that the book is never ending when I get to the bit where Catherine dies, and realize I am still only half way though the book. 
  • That everyone is related. Somehow. Apart from Nellie Dean, Joseph and Mr Lockwood. Seriously. Everyone else is related. Girlguiding UK released new interest badges, one of which could involve drawing up the family tree of a famous real or fictional family. I really hope no one ever chooses the Linton/Earnshaw/Heathcliff family tree cause I would have no idea how to draw that much interconnection. 
  • That the book is so freaking long. Never mind that Catherine dies half way through the book - thirty four chapters is just very long. And they're not short chapters either. 
  • That someone really needs to tell Cathy she is allowed to marry someone who is not her cousin. And that actually, today, both of her marriages would not be allowed. 
  • The entire book either takes place in Thrushcroft Grange, Wuthering Heights, or someplace in-between. Emily Bronte apparently didn't want us to have to worry our pretty little heads about acquainting ourselves with various locations. There are literally only two. 
  • That even though Heathcliff is (unofficially) adopted by the Linton family - its still weird that he and Catherine are so madly romantically in love. THEYRE BROTHER AND SISTER. 
  • That I have never once seen mention of the fact Catherine is pregnant before she gives birth. Apparently there is one line in there; but it has never made itself apparent to me when Im reading it. The birth of Cathy always comes as somewhat of a surprise to me because WHERE EXACTLY DOES IT SAY SHE WAS PREGNANT? 
  • That I still cant always tell when one of the characters is ill, and when they're just being dramatic. 
  • That it is not a love story. The emotions that Catherine and Heathcliff feel for each other may be very strong, but people who love each other do not do that to each other. 
  • That I still know absolutely nothing about Heathcliff. Where did he come from? and where did he did go for all those years? 
  • That this book should really be given some kind of 'for mature readers' label. I know theres nothing 'overtly sexual or violent' in it - but just because its a classic does not mean its appropriate for children. 
  • Have I mentioned that THE BOOK GOES ON FOR EVER. 
  • And that its FREAKING WEIRD and just not quite right? 
Seriously - I may give this impression right now - but its not that I do not like Wuthering Heights. I think. I am not entirely sure. Wuthering Heights is like an entity to itself - one where you cant apply normal laws of opinion to it. 

May 30, 2018

Comfort Food - Banana's and Custard with Melty Chocolate

There are times when you should never go shopping. 

Everyone says that you should never go shopping when you're hungry. To be honest, I've found that this isn't too much of an issue for me. Usually - what's appealing to me in the grocery store when I'm hungry is anything you can smell - which is usually the same as anything that's hot. 'Baked in store' is  usually what draws me in - and I don't actually buy that much from the bakery section. Especially as I usually buy my bread when it's on reduced, and so it's been taken to the refrigerated section. If I am buying something from the bakery section - it's usually because I have a specific end result in mind and so I normally know exactly what I'm getting, and so there aren't many impulse buys. 

And anyway - we all know what smells good in the bakery section are the sweet pastries, and I don't actually even like them all that much and so they're not that hard to resist.

What I found out last December is that you should never go grocery shopping when you are studying. A lot of things found their way into my basket that I'd managed to resist all semester. (Yes, I'm looking at you vegan yogurt, permissions, snow peas, avocados, fresh peppers, fresh broccoli, and beetroot.) 

What I found out on Friday? You should never go shopping on the way home from sitting an exam. Especially one you've sat just after moving into your new apartment properly. And when your finger is so numb from writing you won't actually be able to hold a knife properly when you get home (I wish I was joking - it took several days to go back to normal. It's still slightly numb if I press it.) 

So this time it wasn't to bad. 

Except at least last time most of what I bought was healthy - you know - fruits and veggies. 

This time? 

Super noodles. Curry flavor. You know - those ones that come in a blue foil packet with a flavor sachet that is 110% salt and 5% yellow food colouring? And vegan custard (why? I have custard powder at home. And that isn't full of sugar.) 

Several other things did make their way into my basket as well. The flour and banana that I had actually gone in for. 

For canned spaghetti which was 12p each or 3 for £1. Yes, you read that right. Please, if anyone is able - explain that one to me. My brain is physics-addled. I just can't make it add up. 

Seriously - I have no idea why those noodles made their way into my basket. Probably because they require no cooking- and are warm and savory. But I am really not proud. But last time I had an exam I went straight to bed and forgot to eat - at least this time I remembered to eat. Maybe. Are super noodles an improvement? 

I know why the custard came home with me. Plainly - who doesn't like custard - nobody that's who. Well - I never liked school dinner custard - but that was lumpy. 

And what better way to eat custard than with bananas (apart from apple crumble obviously)? Bananas - that's fruit right? That cancels out all the bad stuff. And it tastes good. What is it about bananas and custard that taste so good together? Apart from the fact that it's NOT fish fingers and custard?

And I had the perfect finishing touch already in my kitchen - chocolate.

The best way to eat bananas and custard (I have found from many trial and errors) is... heat the custard. Put it over the banana. Then top with chopped up chocolate, and leave it for a moment until the chocolate melts and forms a sort of chocolate sauce.

Sorted. Totally. And its fruit.

Yay me. 

March 02, 2018

Snow Day Number 3

How you know your on snow day 3? 

You have rearranged the magnets on your radiator and done a chapter of your Chinese workbook before breakfast. Which you eat at approximately 0740. 

You have very nearly finished the (more than nine hour long) Always and Forever, Lara Jean audio book. Which you got yesterday. After 2200. 

You have cleaned the kitchen counters. 

And out a load of laundry on. 

And watched two episodes of Sesame Street (and not the current series with half hour episodes.) 

You have spent hours waiting for your flatmate to come home because she's bringing home sugar and you want to make cookies. 

What happens when you have watched two episodes of Sesame Street (hello, Cookie Monster) and listened to the majority Always and Forever, Lara Jean, in which Lara Jean spends several chapters in the quest of the perfect chocolate chip cookie? 

You want to eat chocolate chip cookies. 

And what happens when you want to eat chocolate chip cookies? 

You want to make them. 

The trouble? I have very little food in the flat. (Something to do with the fact that Tesco didn't deliver my groceries due to this thing called snow....) 

So I had to try and find a recipe that included at most, one ingredient that I didn't have in. Which is a real problem when you have neither sugar or brown sugar, and you want to make cookies, which generally require both. 

(My flatmate was also getting me more necessary groceries than baking ingredients, or trying to, so I couldn't ask for a whole ingredient list.) 

I ended up using the "World's Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Chocolate Covered Katie's blog, which required brown sugar, granulated sugar optional.

Also, look at these tortilla chips!!! All the pretty colors!!! I'm not convinced that these are an essential grocery, but I'm glad that my flatmate brought them home. 


March 24, 2017

My Most Anticipated Reads 2017

So, guys, are you ready. REALLY LONG post coming up. Like, really long. And its all words, no pictures. But this is the list of the books I am really looking forward to being released this year. The list of books I am 'hotly anticipating'. All 21? of them. Some I have already preordered, some I will borrow from the library (but am not anticipating them quite enough to shell out for my own copy.) Generally, there are some books that are released later in 2017, but as a general rule I'll have read (or had the opportunity to read) most of these by the end of my summer vacation. (Guess what Ill be doing when Im not in lectures?) Apart from anything else, these should go a way to helping me achieve my Goodreads target for the year. 

Love From Lexie by Cathy Cassidy 
This is a very wonderfully curious entry for an upcoming Cathy Cassidy novel, supposedly the first one in a new series. I know..... it's very exciting. I've not been very up-to-date with reading new Cathy Cassidy books over the last few years, but I dont really know why, because despite being several years older than the target audience, every time that I sit down with one I will devour it and thoroughly enjoy every page. To be quite honest, I'm more excited for the French language version of Scarlett which came out recently because that was always one of my favourites, but I'll definitly look out for this one in the library or on a cheap e-book deal. 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Everyone loves a good Cinderella story right? Okay, so I know that not everyone does, but I do. But this one has Comicon's as opposed to balls. And a vegan food truck. So what part of this book am I not gonna lie? Yeah... I dunno. 

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige 
Don't you just love it when trilogies suddenly have a book number 4. That wasn't sarcastic by the way. What would be sarcastic, would be if I told you how much I was looking forward to reading this book after how much I enjoyed reading books one thru three. Because two months after I reserved it from the library, still waiting. But I am full of optimism that when I have finally read the precursors to this book, I will be reading this one. 

Scorched by Joss Stirling 
Probably the one I am most excited about in the whole list, I can't even begin to describe how excited I am when I see Amazon telling me this book is on Kindle pre-order. I've even added into my student diary/planner that I need to get all my homework done early on that week.... cause come April 6th... I'm planning to do nothing else but read (once I get home from uni) (and maybe drinking a few cups of tea). It's the forth (and I think last) book in the series which started with Struck, each book mainly featuring the adventures of a member of the Young Detective Agency and his in-trouble future boyfriend. I think what I mainly love about these books, apart from their ability to make me keep turning pages, is Joss Stirling's incredible ability to get the balance between nail-biting-adrenaline-filled action and suspense, and also a feeling of safety, it never goes quite far enough that you've completely lost hope everything will be okay by the end of the book, or to much you feel uncomfortable. You are just left with that wonderful 'lost in a good book' feeling. 

Cœur Vanille  by Cathy Cassidy
This book, is the BD version of the novel written by Cathy Cassidy, Sweet Honey (the fifth book in the series). BDs (or Bande Dessinée) are kind of like a longer, hardback comic book, Astérix and Tintin are examples that have been translated into English. I love them because they are the perfect length if you want to spend a few hours in the morning or evening reading. A good length to read in one sitting, but still giving you plenty to read - it takes me longer to read 48 pages of a BD then of a normal novel. Partly because of the artwork. In this series, like all the other BDs that I have read... the artwork is so exemplary and complex, with so many little details that you can't possibly find them all in one sitting. The English version of the first two books in the series is also coming out this year. 

Another book with exceptional artwork. When the illustrated version of the Philosophers Stone came out, I kind of thought that it was a once off, that we'd get this gorgeous version of book one, and then that would be that. Then book two came out last Autumn. And then in the last month the cover for book three came out. And so now I am excited for a book that's not coming out for another 6 ish months, and that even when it does come out, I will not be able to justify the cost (I want it in French, which adds another 10£ish to the cost). But who cares, because after this has been released I can then look forward to the day sometime in the future when I can have my own copy - but that obviously can't happen until it's been released. 

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings 
When this book was originally released last summer, I had it on pre-order. I love Sasha Alsberg's Youtube channel, and I got so excited when it was announced I ordered it (literally) right there right then. And then went to Seattle, got distracted, don't actually know when it was delivered to my Kindle... and you know, wasn't watching Youtube etc etc when it came out. And THEN.... well then it was no 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, but after that it was announced that the book (which was really a novella) was being republished, this time not just as an ebook but with a actual physical copy as well. And not just the novella- this is going to be a full book length wonder. So I decided to wait until this summer when I will read (hopefully the print version) of Zenith in its longer form. (and then maybe go back and read the other version - I think its still on my Kindle although you can't buy it now - but my Kindle is currently hungry so I cant check). 

[Enter a five minute break from writing where I get distracted by the Coco trailer]

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman 
I can't lie, I haven't read His Dark Materials. But I promise, that situation will be remedied before (hopefully long before) The Book of Dust comes out. How can I be so excited about this when I have somehow managed to go my whole life with out reading about the adventures of Lyra? Well.... Its not like I haven't wanted to read them... It just hasn't happened. Plus, everyone is raving so much about them... I kind of feel compelled to join in. Even if I haven't read them yet. (Emphasis on the yet). Plus, theres a TV version by BBC coming sometime (Autumn? Winter?). 

Once and For All  by Sarah Dessen
I read somewhere that summer isn't summer without a new Sarah Dessen book. Not quite true, summer isn't summer without first reading a new Sarah Dessen book, then getting so obsessed you go and read all the other Sarah Dessen books at your disposal. Extra 'its summer' points if you have nothing else to do except read and so finish in super quick time, leaving you not knowing what to do afterwards. Okay, maybe you need to eat. Or drink - make a peanut butter banana smoothie and you're set. Sleeping - probably required but optional. 

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
They say that if you do something two years on the run its a tradition (or thats what it says on the side of the Tofurkey box anyway). So.... first was 'Amy & Roger's Epic Detour' (I picked it up in W H Smith) Then came Second Chance Summer (found that in the Library). So.... this one will be number 5 and I think it's safe to say that we've got ourselves a tradition. 

Apart from the story, which is awesome, the main things I remember about the previous two books is how much a like Lara Jean and Kitty (her little sister), the fact that the story with her next door neighbour ended unsatisfactorily, the fact Lara Jean likes banana in her Cheerios, there is such thing as Frozen Custard, Orange Creamsicle cookies and Fruitcake cookies. (What - I like food). I really loved the other two books (and have read them several times each) so really cant wait till this next one comes out. 

Woman in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
The preview of this shows some of the pictures - and oh my goodness they're so amazing. They're really stylized but still really pretty. And although there's the 'obvious contenders' (Marie Curie etc... ) even in the preview there a few that I haven't heard of... so I'm quite looking forward to discovering them. 

Nichijou Vol 8 by Keiichi Arawi
I watched the begining of the Anime series on Youtube after a friend sent it to me, and I loved it- it's just the right combination of very funny and very bizarre (very, very, VERY bizarre). At the time, I dont think the Manga had been published in English yet. (I just checked and no, it hadn't) Now, I see that apparently it has, and not only that they're already on Vol 8. Who knew right? I'll start with Vol 1, and then I'll work my way up to Vol 8. Laughing at it because its funny, then because of how bizarre it is. 

I saw that someone who I follow on Goodreads had added this book to their 'Want to Read' list, and I clicked on it because it looked like one of the 'Lara Jean' books. Reading the description, it looks like it's gonna be fun, so I'll try and get it from the library over summer. 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 
Im not gonna lie. It is very possible that this book has only been added because the ice coffee on the cover looks super good. 

Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular by Mayim Bailik PhD
On the list of things that got me through  being ill, was (along with Starbursts and Gnocchi Bolognese) was The Big Bang Theory. Yes, some people (a lot of people) hate it. But ya know, it has its moments. But Mayim Bailik, who plays Amy, has a lot more moments. My friend chose her as one of her WOWwoman. She's posted a load of really cool videos on her Youtube, including my favorite 'Hurts to be Different', 'Too Emotional' 'Science and Religion' and 'Why I'm Vegan'. This book appears to be a kind of guide for girls growing up in the 21st century, where she uses a mix of science and personal experience to give girls (hopefully) all the information they need to grow up strong, smart and spactacular. So I am super excited for this book to come out because Im assuming that its gonna be awesome. 

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer 
This book is a book of short stories related to the Lunar Chronicles books. I am half way through  this series, and like with Dorothy Must Die, I am (in)patiently awaiting the library to deliver me with books 3 (and 4). Its proving really hard. The series takes well known fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White) and then sets them in a future world where cyborgs mix (not so seemingly) with humans and there are a semi-human race living on the Moon, and then intertwines the stories to provide a spectacular result. My boyfriend asked me why, instead of creating new stories, authors take fairy tales and rewrite them. A) these books have a lot more to them then just the fairy tales and b) because they're awesome. 

This book is on the list purely because of the cover, or more accurately because of the t-shirt on the cover. (Okay, that and I really liked Bobbi in Agents of Shield....). Plus there needed to be at least one comic book on here. 

The Beauty and The Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villenueve
This. Book. Is. Beautiful. Enough said. Plus, timely with the release of the Disney live action version

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo 
Okay, so every good list needs a comic book. So why not add a novel with comic book characters into the mix? Especially if it features Wonder Woman. Generally, I prefer Marvel to DC, with Wonder Woman being the main exception. (That and DC Super Hero Girls). So I fully intend to read this when it comes out, possibly accompanied by the Wonder Woman theme from Batman vs Superman (cause no one can deny that music is a) awesome b) the best bit about the movie apart from Wonder Woman herself). Although this book isn't coming out right till the end of August and so by then I'll also have the Wonder Woman soundtrack as well. (argh I cant wait). 

Because You Love To Hate Me by Lots of People 
No, some parent was not mean enough to call there child 'Lots of People'. No - its a book of short stories by 13 bestselling YA authors who teamed up with 13 booktubers. And they worked together and the result is a book filled with 13 short stories from the point of the villains from well known works. Normally - I am not that fond of the villain, I know some people really love the villains and find the heros boring, but I'm just not one of them. But the nature of this book and the collaboration makes it really interesting.