Tag Archives: Adele

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019 and a New Reads List

The best thing about the new year is signing up to a new Goodreads Reading Challenge. So far, over the last few, I have failed to complete a single year – or if I’ve got anywhere near I wouldn’t know as I’ve failed to log the books I’ve read.

There’s not much to the rules of the challenge to be honest. You input how many books you want to read that year and then, as you complete each one, you check them off on the GR app. It’s quite addictive, at least in the first couple of months as you rack ’em up and see you percentage achieved rise (I’m currently on 12% with six out of 50 books done).

Anyway, I love to read and I love to buy books even though I shouldn’t and I’ve got some real peaches in the immediate pile (anyone else got piles in order of importance?). Here are some of the ones I’m most excited for:

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

I mean, what a title. It’s also meant to be an absolute belter so bring it on!

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’m obsessed with this cover and even more intrigued by the subject matter. I think this is definitely next in line for me.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’ve recently read Eileen by the same author (reviewed here) and it was gorgeous so this is a no-brainer. It sounds awesome:

A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature.

Men without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami

I’ve always been a big fan of Murakami but somewhere along the line I read too much of his work and needed to take a long break. I’m back in the game now after I read his little short Birthday Girl. There’s just something about his prose.

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

A classic I’ve not yet read though I’ve devoured the film many times and adore it (boo Polanski). Cannot wait to dip into this deeply unsettling world again.

Help by Simon Amstell

I love Simon Amstell and find him very clever and funny. Darren and I have seen him a couple of times doing stand-up and that’s was enough to make me snatch this up as soon as I saw it.

From a complicated childhood in Essex to an Ayahuasca-led epiphany in the Amazon rainforest, this story will make you laugh, cry and then feel happier than you’ve ever been.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

I’m currently reading this bad boy and it’s started well with a definite The Woman in Black flavour (which is mentioned on the cover with a bi-line by Susan Hill). As far as I’m concerned you can’t lose with Gothic literature but I just hope this is good as I suspect it’s going to be.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel

I got the movie tie-in novel after seeing the very, very good movie adaptation on Monday night (review to follow). I loved Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel and frankly, I wanted more as soon as the credits rolled. So this is going to be a lot of fun. What an ingenious idea for a scam though.

Lee Israel’s hilarious and shocking memoir of the astonishing caper she carried on for almost two years when she forged and sold more than three hundred letters by such literary notables as Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and many others.

Adèle by Leïla Slimani

Slimani’s Lullaby (know as The Perfect Nanny in some countries) was dynamite. In turn beautiful, odd and shocking, it tells the story of how the perfect nanny came to murder the young children in her care. Adèle centers around a seemingly perfect wife, mother and career woman (of the same name) who leads a very secret double life.

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I might have to cancel the rest of the month so I can get fully immersed. I will be reviewing as I go too so watch this space.

What are you reading?

Music to Cry To

tumblr_nfmwr7rCvT1tf75mqo1_500It became apparent during a conversation over the water cooler (kettle) a few weeks back that my colleague Tom has never been moved to tears by a song. I wonder if it’s because men don’t seem to listen to ‘the lyrics’ (or so I gather from the few I’ve actually spoken to about it)?

Whatever it is, I was surprised (and perhaps a little disbelieving, I mean COME ON), and while it would be far easier and quicker for me to compose a post about the song(s) that haven’t made me cry, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some that have, and do, make me weep like a wee bairn on the regs.

Somehow the below tunes have also managed to heal me.

It’s a little like the bit where Emma Thompson is questioned by Alan Rickman (Always) as to why she loves Joni Mitchel so much in Love Actually (2003): “Because she taught your cold English wife how to feel”.

That’s exactly it – crying at sad stuff makes you feel and feeling stuff is GREAT – I thoroughly recommend it.

Have a selection of my most emotional songs:

I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay

UGH. Put me out of my misery right now. I dare you to listen to lyrics such as “Don’t want you thinking I’m unhappy, What is closer to the truth, If I lived till I was a hundred and two, I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you”. GULP.

The loneliness and sorrow comes through in every word and yet it’s ridiculously beautiful and hopeful, like somehow just loving this person was enough. Makes you want every love you feel to be as deep.

Apparently it appeared on the Garden State (2004) soundtrack but don’t let that put you off!*

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Jill actually reminded me of this song recently (Monday) when we reviewed the heart-shattering Iris (2001). It appeared on the motion picture soundtrack for City of Angels (1998), a film that has also destroyed me in the past (Look, I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan and I don’t care what anyone says about it).

It was also a song I listened to a whole lot while backpacking around Australia, falling in lust with my Aussie boyfriend (now a racist) and getting my first Official Heartbreak™ because he couldn’t keep his lovely dick in his pants. I cried a lot that year and quite a bit through the end of the nineties but this song helped me along nicely.

Jolene – Dolly Parton 

This song is the worst! I mean it’s a begging letter from a woman who knows her lover is in love with someone else FFS. And she’s sweetly asking this total sex bomb not to phunk with her heart, or his. BLUBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.

Also, Dolly P is the Queen of all things, right?

At Last – Etta James

At a wedding last Summer this song played and I cried, for no good reason. The sentiment, the unfairness of loss, my feet hurting in heels – all that. What a voice and what a fucking tune.

Hometown Glory – Adele

Obviously Adele was going to make this list, it’s the way of things. This is my favourite of all her songs because it makes me think about wandering the streets alone, thinking about life.

I love the lyrics, “Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?” “No and thank you, please Madam. I ain’t lost, just wandering.” and I love the piano intro too.

Day Too Soon – Sia

Honestly, I could have chosen any one of Sia’s songs and my statement would be true, especially Breathe Me and Elastic Heart but I chose Day Too Soon because it’s happy and hopeful – and I love Sia. Is she an angel sent to Earth just to make my heart beat faster? Well, that’s how she makes me feel.

Don’t get me started on the two songs she did with Eminem about Survival (Beautiful Pain & Guts Over Fear), and the recent Alive). Killers.

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I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at these 6 heart breakers.

What are your favourite songs to cry uglily to? (Has to be ugly crying or it doesn’t count).

*Semi-kidding.

Hey Shorty, It’s Your Birthday

I’ve done this before on other significant birthdays (like The Queen, I have two: one for birth, and one for my blog*) and I wanted to mark today in a similar way, just for the sheer heck of it.

Yes, it’s my 38th birthday. Or my eleventh time turning 27, depending on my mood.

I wanted to use this post to shout out some major appreciation to a couple of fellow bloggers and important people in my life.

I shall do this via the medium of a fantasy dinner party. Oh yeah.

So, the guest list (which has evolved a little since my last virtual party), a mix of both IRL peeps and fantasy attendees:

PicMonkey Collage

Tom Hanks – Sorry, but Tom is always invited. No reason needed. In fact, he has his own front door key…

Justin Bieber – Because I’m a Belieber now and IDGAF, K?

Jillian – Not a celeb maybe but one of my greatest influences. Blog Wife, Movie Partner and fellow cat botherer (though I don’t have one at the moment). You’re the best, boo, I love you sooooo much! You can sit next to anyone you like as long as I’m on the other side…

Ilana Glazer – She’s just brilliant, you know? I’d want her to style me half way through dinner though, so we might disappear for a bit.

Hayley Margaret of A Stitch To Scratch – Or HM, as I’ve come to address her, because I’m linguistically lazy. This girl is so sweet and talented, plus just completely up my street, so she’s in. (I ❤ you, HM)

Gaga – I’m currently rocking a rather large Gaga crush so obviously that gets her an invite. I’ll just giggle whenever she speaks to me and make a fool of myself, it’s cool.

My favourite, Tatty Frankland – I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to do what I do without this peach. We sometimes have shitty, stressful days because of our shared environment, but this girl is my sunshine. Nobody is more stylish, generous or cool, tbh. (Love you, bb!).

And, I’ve just realised that there are only two men at my party. I’m cool with that but I’ve decided I’m also inviting Aziz Ansari because he’s cute and I loved Master of None. That balances things out a bit, not that it matters.

Aziz-Ansari-Netflix

I don’t know if any of my honeys have any dietary requirements but I’m proposing a lot of food; yorkshire puddings, Indian with all the trimmings, cake and masses of sweets. Good burgers, too. Oh, and pancakes, of every conceivable shape and flavour.

Can I get a pancake bar? You know what, it’s my birthday, so the answer to that is yes.

We’ll drink mulled cider and rum, and we’ll dance to two albums on repeat: Carly Rae Jepsen’s E·mo·tion and Bieber’s Purpose (the Real Bieber will refuse to perform while he’s off-duty).

Later, when it’s time to cry in the kitchen, we’ll put on Adele’s 25 and ruminate on lost loves and all the times we’ve fucked up our liquid liner.

Basically, this will be the greatest Birthday Party of my life. My husband will obviously be there too, but he’ll no doubt excuse himself and pass out on our bed by 10pm, as usual.

This is more than just a party for me though, it’s a party for those bloggers mentioned. A Thank You For Brightening My Day, Every Day Party.  A Thank You For Inspiring Me Soirée.

Thanks for being such funny fuckers, such sweethearts and such empowering friends. I hope you know what you mean to me.

What? I’ve got something in my eye…

*Does The Queen have a blog? I would read the shit out of it.