Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five, and excited about his birthday. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures eleven feet by eleven feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friend, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until one day Ma admits there’s a world outside… 
An interesting, harrowing story, made more interesting by telling it through the eyes of a child. Room remained fast paced and interesting throughout; the middle section was especially tense and required speed reading while hyperventilating on my part (my boyfriend came to check on me a few times because he thought I might be having a nightmare – yes, he’s frequently woken up in this way).
If it wasn’t so gripping and fascinating (which I’m not going to go into because it’s just so much better if you don’t know), I’d have been irritated by the boy. Sometimes he was insufferably slow to catch on to things, being five years old. Sometimes he was just a bit annoying with his Charlie and Lola style talk. I imagine it’s quite adorable if you have children, but I don’t, and I like it when people speak properly.
If it wasn’t for my occasional irritation at the boy, then I would give this book 5/5 – as it stands, it’s a 4/5. Read it, it’s bloody good.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

My mum bought me this book as part of a batch of modern classics when I was about thirteen. I powered through Animal Farm and Bonjour Tristesse, hoovered up Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and just failed to feel in anyway excited about this book. Back then, I made it nearly a third of the way through before giving up. 

This time I’m about one page short of that record. I’ve come to the conclusion, following my spate of shitty reads recently, that I have better things to do than waste my time reading things I don’t enjoy. My thirteen year old self may be an embarrassment to me in most ways, but she had awesome taste in books. 

As I read the book, I imagined Sal Paradise, the narrator, to have that stupid hipster accent which I hate so much, the one which exists in all languages, the twatty one. The laid back one that goes like ‘ooooh, maaaate…. I was, like, all blah blah’ in English. In French it’s almost impossible to understand and involves mumbling. I bet Remi Boncoeur had that accent in both French and English.

This book has lead to the collapse of my book club. It filled me with ennui. Apparently the film has Kristen Stewart in it. Blech!

I understand exactly why people like this book – the sense of escapism, being a bit of a hippy, freedom. I just didn’t feel any of those things when I was reading it. I just felt numb. 

Pretentious and twatty. 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The narrator of this book is so dull she doesn’t even get a name. I shall call her Egg.

Egg is in the south of France living with an old American woman who she hates when she meets Maxim, a silver fox. He’s a bit damaged after his ex died, but he decided to marry Egg (I’m still unsure why). Back at his home in Cornwall, she’s confronted by the housekeeper who’s a bit of a bitch. Egg is far to scared to say or do anything in case the servants judge her for not being very good at being in charge. This strategy yields little success.

The concept is interesting. What influence a dead woman can have over the living. How you perceive those you’ve never met, especially your partners exes. How wrong you can be about those things. To assume makes an ass out of u and me, etc.

I found the story itself pretty gripping, but I couldn’t stand Egg – she’s like a 1930s Bella Swan. I wanted to shake some guts into her. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF, EGG!

Eventually, for reasons I can’t quite remember, Egg began to stand up for herself. The story got a lot better then, but I was just so sick of it by this point, I was only finishing it out of (confusing) spite.

This book taught me a few of important lessons.

1. Never read the introduction before you read the book. It is bound to give away some really important part of the plot, ruining any excitement you may have felt.

2. Just because everyone else loves a book, it doesn’t mean that you will. And, actually, that’s ok.

3. You should be the hero in your life. If you’re not, it’s just a little bit sad.

Green Fingers

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me; I came to the realisation quite early on that if I was going to keep the day job under control, and spend time with the various visitors we’ve had recently, then something would have to give. Actually a few things gave – no studying has been done, very few books have been read, and blogging has been non existent.

I have however made time to plant some chilli seeds. It’s been about a week and nothing has happened. No sprouts. No signs of life. Just a pot of mud. I don’t know how long these things take, or whether I should dig them up and check the cat hasn’t eaten them. I don’t have time for this shit.

I’m not great with plants. I’m unable to find the correct balance when watering them. Cacti receive far too much water, more thirsty plants get none. Every plant which has ever been in my possession has ended up dead and stinking of egg. The chilli seeds are receiving a daily squirt with that spray bottle that I bought to threaten the cat with if he bit me on the face when sleeping again.

The weather has settled back to freezing and snowy after a brief period of warmth. This morning I fell flat on my face outside my office. I love winter.