I keep out of stereotypical ‘female behaviours’. You know, those ones Hollywood films and dramas perpetuate. I keep myself to myself, I don’t talk about other people to other people or ‘gossip’ on any level. I’m afraid I’m not a nosey person, so even if I’m following you on Instagram or even had you on facebook (when I had it), I’m unlikely to know if you’re in a relationship still, what your career is or who you’re still friends with. I can guarantee I have never internet stalked you. I hate to use the phrase ‘I don’t care’ but…unless we talk regularly and have a friendship, then yeah, I’m afraid I don’t care. I hope all is well with you, I hope you are happy, healthy and kicking-ass in life, but I really don’t care enough to actually look at your profile to see if that’s the case.
Hi guys, the lovely, young woman sighed breathlessly on the screen to her viewers. I clicked of the little pop-up ad at the bottom of her video, concerned with the overt distress she opened her vlog with. The anxiety and stress in her voice were palpable. She looked somewhat ashamed, too embarrassed to even be in front of her camera. She fidgeted nervously with her hair before she lurched into a hurried explanation for her state: I’m really not happy. I only read fourteen books in the month of November which isn’t great, which means I’ll have to read 21 books in December to reach my end of year goal — I clicked off. This was precisely why I had left. It seemed as though nothing had changed.
The poetry world is a mess. Big time. Recently the PN Review published a stinging critique of the “rise of a cohort of young female poets”, those being Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur, and described their work as “the open denigration of intellectual engagement and rejection of craft”.
Back in 2014 the Hawking Index was born, and yes, you would be right in associating it with the great Stephen Hawking himself; but it’s not technically connected with him directly. Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg named it in Hawking’s honour, and albeit statistically flawed, it was invented with the intention of measuring how far people persist with reading certain books. Needless to say it didn’t really work as it could only gather data from very specific book files (i.e. e-book files which were read on a kindle and were compatible with the digital highlighting tool); but the initiative of the project was very bibliophilic in its intent, addressing the age-old controversial question every book lover challenges in their lifetime. To give-up on a book we are reading but not enjoying, or to persevere: that is the question.
Continue reading “Should you finish every book you start?”
“In every direction I turned I felt my soul being trampled upon, and as I had always suspected but was never able to confirm until now: my soul is composed entirely of books.”
Before this article begins I should stress an important fact about myself: I’m a passionate, enthusiastic, possibly madly-in-love bibliophile. Books are my absolute world, my whole universe. They take up all of my (non-working) thoughts of my day, they give me butterflies in my stomach that no lover has ever managed to compete with (although, my domestic partner has come exceptionally close, otherwise he wouldn’t be living with me and my beloved library.) My books are my family, they saved me. They got me through my darkest times, they never judged me, they comforted me, they held me and understood me when no one else did. But for the past year and a half I haven’t spoken about them much; they’ve been in my shadow, read in secrecy and left undiscussed. Why? Because my passion was locked away by myself; I became ashamed, secretive and silent. It was my response to being hurt, badly, and it’s only now I have the confidence to embrace my passion and who I am again fully and openly. I’m not hiding it away anymore; I’m wearing my bibliophilia like a tattoo on my lips. Nothing will not take this away from me, ever again.
I should really start my stressing a very happy new year to everyone whilst also adding my apologies for the belated content. Amidst working my two jobs, experiencing some emotional and mental upsets and shuffling non-stop between obligatory and willing socialising the end of the year flittered away without giving me chance to write. My lack of writing however was mainly the result of my determination to get some much-craved reading done, and thanks to organisation and a new reading tactic I managed to reach my end of 2017 reading target as well as implement a reading technique that I’m finding incredibly useful already in my new and improved literary ambitions for 2018. Here are just a few mini-reviews of some of the books I read in December:
Image Credit: Lorenzo Petrantoni
Before this post begins I should really tell the reader more about the writer. She’s pretty thick. She has a lot of books she’s yet to read, but unfortunately because she’s so dumb she’s a really slow reader. She has difficulty reviewing books because of this problem; she’s too embarrassed. Everyone else can read twelve to seventeen books a month, subsequently providing a plethora of content for their audiences, whilst she cannot. Because she reads so little in a month she eventually realised, thanks to me, that she obviously doesn’t love books as much as she thought she did, and that others love them way more. Therefore, it would be a disgrace for her to even step foot in that field of creative outlet. In the literary, academic and publishing field she is nothing but a joke and a fraud.
In early November, on a particular day, six people messaged me ‘happy birthday’. Three of them were relatives (my mother, cousin and an aunt), the other three friends. That was all.
This was the result of my first birthday off social media, making my 26th birthday probably the most sincerest one I’d had in over fourteen years. To contextualise: a month prior I had decided to log out and block myself from all of my social media accounts. Admittedly, this was initially undergone as a form of temporary hiatus, but last week I decided to make the change permanent. Continue reading “deleting myself online”
Artwork by Arthur Rackham
Today has been nothing but bizarre to me, and I’m sure my experience is relatable to someone out there, albeit someone in a minute minority. It’s the 18th November and today I built a Christmas tree. Not one for myself of course, and when I say built I mean slot a ton of plastic branches into a plastic stand and then stuffed some decorations onto it half-heartedly. My partner comes from a normal family; one that enjoys Christmas, get excited for it even. They like it so much they do it twice; one real one with the family and the other fake with their neighbours. As you can judge from the date, this was all in preparation for fake Christmas of which I was kindly invited to attend. However, I warned my boyfriend well in advance, back when we started dating, that I was going to be pretty clueless when it came to this season, or rather, pretty contemptuous of it.
by Cinzia DuBois
tw: the following story covers the issue of eating disorders.
History is full of stories of heroes failing where they should succeed; and when they fail, they usually do so spectacularly. Don’t get me wrong, heroes are all very good at their job; they’ve completed many masterful quests and epics which have enraptured and enchanted me throughout my life. There are tales, however, usually hidden amidst fragments of Greek and Roman poetry, Norse mythology and Middle-English scriptures, which reveal the kinks and holes in the legendary tapestries. These tales recall the mythological arrows which can pierce the unpierceable armour, and speak of storms which drown unsinkable ships, of illimitable stamina exhausted by reality and of undying love broken by death. Some of these tales are true, others complete fantasies; but the large majority tend to be elaborate exaggerations and imaginative twists on reality: contortions of the real, infected by the human imagination. What lore quietly reveals to us is that no one is invincible or infallible; everyone and everything is susceptible to err, damage, fault and weakness. There is always a way to defeat the invincible hero, just as there is always a way to destroy the invincible beast. No matter how powerful and frightening the enemy, or how heroic the hero, how kind the fairy, how loving the mother, how daring the daughter; lore has repeatedly told us that no one ever completely safe.