Ten Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check ’em out!

 

I am basically obsessed with watching Youtube beauty gurus, but rarely wear more make-up than a bit of mascara. I don’t even own foundation.

I listen to Harmontown every night to help me fall asleep.

Despite Now You See Me 1&2 being highly questionable movies, I would totally go to see a third, because I am in love with Daniel Atlas. Apparently arrogant, emotionally unavailable magician is my type.

daniel atlas

I am totally bemused by the blogging community’s response to cheating in YA.

I meet a lot of guys who like to give me unsolicited life advice – usually without knowing me at all. The response I always want to give runs along the lines off pleasefuckoffthankyou. Instead, I usually smile, say nothing and hate myself for it.

Sometimes I feel like the things that I care about in life are beginning to shift considerably, and I’m not sure how the new concerns and old concerns are going to live together.

I have been known to classify a certain type of YA story as ‘suicide books’ in my head. I feel bad about this.

I read My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem a few weeks back. It was probably one of the most incredible books I have ever read, and I feel like my reviewing skills are too inadequate to even attempt to have a meaningful discussion about it. Watch this space, I guess.

I once bit a chunk out of a drinks coaster because I thought it was a biscuit. It was during a meeting with mum was having with my brother’s school principle. He had briefly left the room and I guess I saw it as my opportunity. I should add I was a toddler at the time.

I am re-watching Scrubs right now and have realised that Doctor Cox and I share a similar worldview.

dr cox

 

 

 

 

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The Dead Ladies Project

When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she’s still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding. A way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender.

The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey – but it’s also much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations on its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, literary analysis and personal experience into a meditation on the interactions of place, personality, and society that make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition.

Personal and profane, funny and fervent, The Dead Ladies Project ranges from nineteenth century to the present, from historical figures to brand-new hangovers, in search, ultimately, of an answer to a bedrock question: How does a person decide to live their life?

deadladiesproj

If that summary hasn’t sold it to you, I don’t know what will.

Through this blog I have been casually putting together a list of books you should read in your twenties. This one shot right to the top. It’s required reading for any of us who ponder the possibility of getting on a plane and abandoning our lives on a semi-regular basis.

I know that is quite a few of us.

‘I was tired of being the person I was on an almost atomic level. I longed to be disassembled, for the chemical bonds holding me together to weaken and for bits of me to dissolve slowly into the atmosphere.’

I spend a lot of my time searching for models on how to live. I think we all do it. I’m not even just talking about scrolling through Instagram and admiring all the #lifegoals either. Sometimes it happens in the briefest of encounters. A few weeks ago at work, a lady walked over to me and my colleague and gave us a pep talk on how we shouldn’t let the world get us down, and the advantages of not giving too much of a shit (there are many) and when she was done she left and we’ve never seen her again, but behind her stayed this impression. All I could think was: that lady is doing life right.

In her travels through Europe and her various deep dives into the lives of the artists whose adventures took place there, Jessa Crispin is doing the same thing. She’s searching for comfort in other people’s struggles, for self-acceptance if not actual happiness (because what even is that, anyway?).

‘We both sit quietly, drinking the dregs of our tea and feeling the long expanse of years before us. The weight of uncertainty. Whether it’ll be a late blooming or whether the soil will prove to be infertile.’

She looks through that acceptance by studying a litany of delightful weirdos from history. This book is a fascinating study of characters we all know – William James, W. Somerset Maugham, Stravinsky – and those most of us might not – Nora Barnacle, Claude Cahun, Margaret Anderson.

They aren’t all stories of escape, although those are the ones I enjoyed the most. I like the optimism involved in escape. Some of them are tales filled with misery, or of betrayal, whether that’s by your own inability to leave a shitty situation, or the people of the island you live on selling you out to the Nazis (yes, I am being specific).

One the aspects of this book I truly loved was how Crispin looked into the idea of being a bit of a social reject as an adult. When you’re a teenager (and if you’re reading this as a teenager, I’m sorry), and kind of a strange one at that, all you’re told is that it gets better with age and by the time you’re a grown up you find your people and it’ll all make total sense.

Thus far, this has not been my experience.

(again, teenagers, ignore me. It gets better. You’ll be fine.)

So to read of a lady floundering at thirty, and not in the self-conscious I’m-such-a-weirdo non floundering-floundering with the perfect rom-com ending way, either, was both comforting and painful to read.

‘…it would be nice if a god did come down and say, This is that thing, stupid. The thing you have stared at the horizon waiting for for years now. It is standing right in front of you.’

At the end of Breakfast at Tiffanys, after Holly has decided to ditch the cat and her entire New York existence, Paul, exasperated yells at her that running away is pointless ‘Because no matter where you run you just end up running into yourself.’

The Dead Ladies Project is an entire book about that phenomenon. Jessa Crispin, William James, Margaret Anderson, Jean Rhys… all of them, they all had the same problem.

Some of them were okay, some not so much.

Which is just sort of what life is.

This book will make you inspired and depressed and introspective.

But, like, in a good way.

5 Reasons to Love Daredevil’s Karen Page

(spoiler heavy)

karen page 2

She is a total subversion of the ‘innocent girl’ stereotype

Karen arrived at Nelson and Murdock as a victim. After accidentally being sent a work email she shouldn’t have seen concerning some Wilson Fisk level dodgey accounting, she was set up for the brutal murder of one of her colleagues. Nelson and Murdock scooped her up and saved her, and thus began a pattern of hero worship that established Karen as the typical one dimensional Marvel woman we are all used to being disappointed by.

But then she went rogue. Fuelled not so much by her crush on Matt as her dogged and insistent demand for the truth, she went after Wilson Fisk, murder crime boss extraordinaire, alone. When one of his henchmen, Westley (RIP) came after her, I think we all expected yet another rescue from Daredevil.

Instead, Karen shot the guy with his own gun. A lot. We were all like… Karen? He’s dead now.

karen page gun

It was at this moment that Daredevil started to interest me beyond Matt’s shirtless scenes.

It’s after Westley’s death that we start to see the effort Karen has to put into playing the ‘innocent’ role Matt has assigned her. Throughout season two their every conversation occurs at cross purposes. In episode 5, Kinbaku, when Matt and Karen finally go on their (totally adorable, btw) first date, all they do is lie to each other. When Karen asks Matt how his day was, he says he was working (actually he was chasing his psychopath ex-girlfriend around New York City) and Karen says she was doing nothing at all (she spent the day at The New York Bulletin, working with a journalist to uncover Frank Castle’s past). Karen’s deep need to uncover the truth – no matter the cost – is probably the most significant thing about her. It is her passion and her obsession. And she feels totally unable to share it with Matt. Her drive and determination and the crimes she is sometimes pushed to commit are in total opposition to Matt’s idea of her. So she hides herself from him. This active pretending reveals the ‘innocent’ girl for the imaginary thing that she is. Everyone is more complicated than that.

I found watching such a tired trope toyed with in this way delightful, in case you couldn’t tell.

She’s an accidental journalist

Karen finding her new home at The New York Bulletin has been heavily criticised as unrealistic. Mostly by journalists. To them I say this: you are watching a show about a blind guy with super powers. Get over yourselves.

I adore how separate Karen’s character development is from Matt’s. Yeah, it was through being a legal assistant at Nelson and Murdock that she was able to channel her truth-seeking skills, but in the end it was only outside the constraints of the firm that she would really be able to realise her talents.

(Though this didn’t make the demise of Nelson and Murdock hurt any less.)

Karen Page: Badass Investigative Journalist is a story I could watch for hours.

She’s got sass.

One time a client asked her to give her a kiss before he stepped onto the battlefield (a police sting that would earn him witness protection) instead, she gave him the finger.

And then this happened:

karen page

Karen and Daredevil are basically the same person

Watching season 2 of Daredevil is a lot like losing your mind. It is so frustrating watching Matt and Karen run circles around each other, both of them using their secret identities like invisible suits of armour.

Karen Page and Daredevil both care about justice above all else. They both know that they’ll never stop, even if it kills them. They both believe the people in their lives would never understand this. They both lie to the people they love, freaking constantly.

In so many Marvel movies the love interest is established as a foil to the hero. Where he is irrational, she is sensible. Where he is a playboy, she is dedicated and monogamous. Where he is brave, she is afraid.

Not Karen Page. She’s just as much of a daredevil as Daredevil is.

She’s got secrets

The main thing the past 2 seasons of Daredevil have taught us about Karen Page is that we know nothing about her.

Part of the whole ‘innocent girl’ trope is that she is taken at face value. She acts sweet and dresses girly and we assume there is nothing more to it.

There is so much more to it.

This past season, we found out she has a dead brother. What made this all the more intriguing was the conversation about said brother she had with Matt during with she failed to mention that he’d died.

We have seen Matt’s life through flashbacks, Foggy is an open book and Frank Castle had an entire season dedicated to his personal mysteries. The only person hiding from us is Karen Page.

 

Karen Page has quickly become one of my favourite characters of all time. There’d better be a Daredevil season three. I need to know where her story goes next.

 

karen page gif

 

 

 

 

Books To Escape Into

escapist

When I am going through a period of stress, sometimes I need something specific to take my mind off it. As much as I love a contemporary romance, if I am obsessing about an event over which I have no control, sometimes I need a work of fiction I can channel my stress into. That means I want to read some adventure, rather than flirtatious banter, okay?

With that in mind, I present you with a list of books to escape into. They are almost as stressful as following live news updates.

The Fifth Wave series – Rick Yancey

This series is so traumatic you’ll forget about real world disasters for a while as you read about blood thirsty aliens who may or may not look like us. It’s hard to worry about who the next prime minister is going to be when you’re trying to figure out whether this stranger is a hot guy about to make out with you or an alien sent to murder you.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

I don’t know about you, but during the long days working at each of the six jobs I have had in the year since I graduated (#killingit), I can’t help but be distracted by all the more interesting things I could be doing. During each mundane moment I can’t help but imagine being suddenly thrust into a dangerous adventure, YA style. So it makes sense that the story of an unfolding heist, told from multiple points of view (I can pretend to be like 5 different people!) would suit me down to the ground.

The Darkest Powers series – Kelley Armstrong

I imagine that waking up to the news that your country has made an insane and irreversible mistake is pretty similar to suddenly being able to see the dead, as happens to Chloe in this classic example of a YA paranormal. You walk around in a fog of disbelief, constantly trying to persuade yourself that what you’re seeing isn’t real. You must have gone crazy or something.

Yep. Exactly like being able to see the dead. Don’t question me on this. Just read the books. They are very distracting and feature one of my all-time favourite book boyfriends, Derek the werewolf.

Do you have go-to escape books? I’d love some recommendations.

June Wrap-Up

As we move into July, I move into my sixth job since graduating. Less than a year ago.

My country voted to leave the EU. The prime minister quit. Racist hate crimes went up 57%. It’s a real shit show.

This is why we have books. And Netflix.

june

Becoming Bindy Mackenzie – Jaclyn Moriarty

Thoughts: Such a fun reread about the girl in high school nobody really likes.

A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Shwab

Thoughts: I may yet become a fantasy-lover.

The Last Star (The Fifth Wave #3) – Rick Yancey

Thoughts: A satisfying conclusion to a compelling series.

I also wrote about…

How To Feel Better (Hint: It involves Melissa Maccarthy).

A Summer TBR

Summer REreads

Cringing At The Vampire Diaries

Top Ten Things I Love About Sarah Dessen

What I’m reading now…

Angry White People – Hsiao-Hung Pai

summereads

This book is fascinating and really depressing. The older I get, the more I want to read an analysis of everything. Is anyone else experiencing this?