A Modern Take On Classics: Showcase

As I explained in a recent post I have fallen back in love with reading, books and all that good stuff. Which is wonderful, of course, but it has resulted in me wanting to buy more books now I’m back in the loop which isn’t so wonderful for my bank balance.

Nonetheless, one of my favourite ways to obtain new books is by getting them secondhand and that’s how I managed to come across these two wonderful pieces I’m about to show you today.

Although I normally try to avoid ‘novelty’ buys when it comes to books, I couldn’t resist when I saw these two.

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Although I totally understand how important classic books are and have enjoyed many that I have read, I do sometimes struggle with them. And because I know they’re going to be a lot of work, I tend to avoid a lot of these kind of books, which results in me missing lots of references.

Although I initially picked these books up as a joke and spent a few minutes by the market stall and in the shop chuckling over the retellings of the stories I had read, I realised that these books could also be quite useful in their own little way.

These two books are wonderful ways to get involved and discover what those of so popular classic books are about, but in a hilarious modern way!

THE SHOWCASE

The first one I picked up is Twitterature, by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin. This, as you can tell from the title, is a retelling of various classic tales through the medium of a twitter feed. The bits I’ve read so far have been hilarious, but I’m not sure yet how I’ll feel about the stories I don’t know.

Twitterature

“The classics are so last century” Guardian

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Currently my favourite feed, Great Expectations from @piMp

Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg, is very similar but clearly an older publication. And this one has illustrations! It retells a lot of classic and modern classic tales through text messages between characters and I’ve found myself chuckling at a few already.

(My copy is sadly missing it’s dust jacket hence the similar photos but hey, that’s what happens when you shop secondhand sometimes)

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do you know who I hate?” “everyone?” “EVERYONE

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Texts From Jane Eyre And Other Conversations With Your Favourite Literary Characters

Have you heard of any of these books? Because I was unaware of them until this point. I’m expecting I’ll take my time with them and flick through whenever I need a bit of cheering up, or have failed to understand yet another literature reference!


Do you have any quirky books in your collection? 

I know this was a somewhat unusual post for me, as there’s more images than words, but I fancied showing off these books and wasn’t sure how. I feel like I may do some more showcase posts in the future!

Speak soon,

Rachael

*affiliate links used

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Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

How To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

I love reading. It’s been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember and I love nothing more than getting lost in another world built by someone’s words. It’s something I even talk about occasionally on here too.

If you’re also a lover of books then you’ll understand the upset and torment I feel when I find myself in a reading slump. It’s such an awful feeling to have suddenly lost the joy from one of your favourite pastimes and is, unfortunately, something that happens more often than I’d like.

However, fortunately for this blog, because I have experienced the reading slump regularly (n fact just pulled myself out of one recently!) I feel like I can actually be of some help to those of you who might be struggling!

Here are the ways I work to pull myself out of a draught and bring myself back to where I want to be – reading:

  • STOP READING WHAT CAUSED IT

Abandoning a book can be a difficult thing if you love reading. Trust me I get it. For some reason you feel guilty, because you know that someone somewhere spent hours, days, weeks on that book and the least you could do would be to see it through to the end.

But then I finally saw sense. What’s the point in carrying on reading something that isn’t bringing you joy? There are so many other books out there!

If you’re in a reading slump, chances are it was brought on by something you’ve been reading. That doesn’t mean to say it isn’t a good book or even something that you won’t enjoy eventually, but right now it isn’t working so you might as well stop.

Put the book away and forget about it for now- you can always return later when the time is right. Allow yourself the chance to find something better.

  • FIND A GENRE THAT SAVES YOU

Whenever I’m in a reading slump, I tend to reach for chick-lit because somehow it saves me every time. This is something I only realised recently, but those feel-good, quick reads pull me out of a draught and helps me fall back in love with books again.

Now maybe chick-lit isn’t your thing, but there’s bound to be a genre out there that you love and that you know you enjoy every time. It could be memoir, fantasy, self-help and so on. The list is endless!

Next time you find yourself in a slump, reach for something that’s in your genre of choice and see if it helps. Reading something familiar, that’s still a brand new story, is sure to help you get back on track.

  • TAKE A BREAK

Some reading slumps are so deep that nothing will pull you out in a hurry. So why not listen to yourself and stop reading for a bit?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, so take a break. Leave your books on the shelf and dive into another hobby for the time being. Hopefully after some time away you’ll feel fresh and inspired to begin reading once again!

  • WATCH BOOKTUBE

Booktube is the YouTube community dedicated to reading, with countless of creators making content based on their love of books. I personally think it’s a wonderful space on the internet and is one that has helped me from time to time.

When you’re in a slump have a browse through the various vloggers and bloggers out there who are dedicated to books. Their passion and pure joy for the hobby is sure to inspire you.

They’ll show you what you’ve been missing and you’ll begin to see things in a better light, all of which such get you back into reading once more.

Check out the materials at the end for my favourite booktubers who have helped me.

  • RE-READ AN OLD FAVOURITE

Similarly to finding a favourite genre, returning to a once loved book can really help you get back into the hobby again.

For me, I will always return to Jacqueline Wilson who was my favourite author growing up. Sure the books are a little young for me now, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy them any less! Returning back into these stories that meant so much to me years ago reminds me how much I actually enjoy reading and motivates me to do it more.

When you can’t seem to find anything new to grab your attention, I urge you to seek out your out favourites and try them once again.

  • TRY AUDIO BOOKS

Now, I have to be honest here and say this one isn’t something I have much experience with but I do understand how helpful it can be. Personally, audio books aren’t really my thing (yet!) but if you’re just not into reading at the moment, listening to someone read is a wonderful way to still be engaged in the hobby without doing any of the work!

You could even listen to books you’ve already read previously and see if they feel any different in this format. Audio books may also be a great opportunity for you to discover new stories that you mightn’t have even considered before, as things can be more easily understood if someone else is explaining it to you.

Either way I know audio books have been very helpful to others in the past and they may just work the same for you.

Stephen King


Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump? Also, what’s your favourite book?

I feel like I kind of went back into my original type of content today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let me know if any of these tips were helpful to you, if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Favourite Booktubers)

booksandquills

cozyteareads

justkissmyfrog

Ariel Bissett 

Five Non-Fiction Books To Gift This Christmas

Buying Christmas presents can be a real struggle. You want something that will be perfect, something you hope they’ll love and treasure for a long time. But also, let’s be real, without spending too much money.

Books are such an under-rated gift I feel and are something that can be easily slept on. Okay they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but what better time to introduce someone to the joys of reading than at Christmas? Books can be such a personal gift and something that you can really tailor to suit the person you’re shopping for.

Here are five non-fiction books that I think would make wonderful gifts for various people in your life:

I feel like I’ve talked about this book so many times because it’s impacted me so much since I first read it. This book would be a wonderful gift for pretty much anyone as it talks about issues regarding creativity that I feel like we all face. It’s such an inspirational, positive book that’ll change the life of the reader for the better. To get a better feel for it, I’d recommend you check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk or her podcast, but trust me it would be a brilliant gift!

I’ve already talked about this book too (check it out here) but that’s only because I love it so. It’s another one that will totally change the life and mindset of the reader for the better, and it’s a particularly good one for the women in your life (obviously). Caitlin is such a funny and honest writer which makes this book so an enjoyable one to read. It’s a modern feminist staple that’s so relatable. It’ll make you laugh out loud and if that’s not a good gift to give, then I don’t know what is.

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I frigging love Carrie. I’ve been a subscriber of hers for years (see her channel here) because I think she’s such a lovely and honest person. This is her first book and it’s almost like a guide for young people on how to face the tough things in life. Carrie talks about everything from friendship and romance, to self-esteem and the future and it’s such a heart-warming, comforting read. It may be a one for the younger readers in your life, say preteens onwards, but I know it’s something they’ll treasure and remember for years to come.

This one is the perfect gift for the bookworms in your life. Although the hype around this book may have surpassed a little, it’s such a brilliant read and I feel like it will last way beyond it’s years. It’s a collection of essays from various authors, including Zadie Smith, Janette Winterson and Mark Haddon, on the topic of books. There’s discussions on digital readers, libraries and the age-old issue of not having enough time to read as well as many more. It’s basically a celebration of books and reading it really fuels any passion you might have for these little objects. An essential for any bookworm, I’d say!

I’m aware that this one might only be relevant if you have any Miranda Hart fans in you life, but you can take inspiration and seek out any other comedian/actor/entertainer’s book and gift those instead. As someone who is a fan of Miranda I really enjoyed this book and know many other who have too. In a similar manner that Carrie’s All I Know Now, Miranda attempts to guide readers through life’s difficult moments in her own funny little way. It’s another one that will make you laugh out loud and it’s perfect for making you feel less alone.

I hope this helped you last minute shoppers. What books would you like to receive as a gift?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*Please note, affiliate links are used.

 

Feel-Good Female Reads for Mother’s Day

It’s Sunday once again and I’m back with another bookish post. In honour of mother’s day and celebrating the wonderful women in our lives, I’m here with three books written by women for (mostly) women that are sure to make you feel good.

HOW TO BE A WOMAN: Caitlin Moran

Buy it here

71iZ9y2pBzL.jpgI owe a lot to this book. It taught me not only how to accept and be proud of myself but also how to embrace my gender and, crucially, what feminism is. It’s a touchy subject for some people but it doesn’t have to be. Caitlin is such a funny, honest and open writer and this book will make you laugh in that ‘thank God it’s not just me’ way. She makes everything we fear as women approachable and normal and opens up so many wonderful discussions. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

 

EAT PRAY LOVE: Elizabeth Gilbert

Buy it here

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If you’ve seen a couple of my previous posts you might have guessed that I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book Big Magic and have become totally obsessed with it and her. Eat Pray Love is of course her most famous work and I’m sure we’ve all heard of it before. It’s the story of Elizabeth rediscovering herself through travel, after the breakdown of her marriage. Although I didn’t love this as much as Big Magic, Elizabeth has such a soothing voice that you can just feel through the paper and she opens up some really interesting discussions about marriage and self-worth. Overall this is just a very reassuring book that proves that no matter what happens, things will work out in the end.

 

IS IT JUST ME?: Miranda Hart

Buy it here

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If you’re familiar with this comedian and her BBC sitcom, Miranda than I’m sure you’ve already read this. In true Miranda style, this book is this wonderful woman’s ‘guide to life’. Using personal anecdotes that feel very similar to her skits on her show, Miranda discuss everything from social awkwardness to marriage, babies and so on. This one is kind of specific to fans of Miranda due to her very specific style. If you don’t like her comedy, you won’t like this so don’t bother. But if you need a little pick up, this book is sure to cheer you up again.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful day and make sure to do something lovely for the wonderful women in your life.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

**Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used. Buy purchasing through these links, I will receive a small percentage as commission. So not only will you get an awesome book but you’ll be helping a student out too!

Five Books You Might Not Have Read

The other week I was at home and sorting out one of the many boxes of books I have there, when I stumbled across a few gems that I thought would be interesting to share with you today. If you’re like me, then you’re always looking for something new to read. Hopefully these may catch your eye!

Witch Light: Susan Fletcher

I remembering feeling apprehensive about this book and I think it took me a little while to get into it, but after that I was hooked. Set in 1692, this book is based on the lore surrounding a young girl, Corrag, who is imprisoned as a witch for her involvement in the Massacre of Glencoe. In her cold and dirty cell she is visited by Charles Leslie, a young Irishman, who questions her about what happened. But Corrag won’t give him what he wants until he listens to her story.

This is such a stunning book and Fletcher’s descriptions of the Scottish Highlands are so beautiful, it’s made me desperate to visit them. A great, atmospheric story that just immerses you into such a different world to your own.

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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets: Eva Rice

I loved this book for such a long time when I was about fourteen and reread it various times. Set in the aftermath of World War II and the early beginning of rock ‘n’ roll, this story follows teenager Penelope who lives with her mother and brother in a huge, crumbling mansion. Penelope is desperate to fall in love and when she is introduced to a Charlotte, a girl with a life so different to her own, this dream seems to be coming closer to a reality.

A light hearted, fun and eccentric story that is basically a slightly more modern retelling of I Capture the Castle, I recommend this if you’re looking for some light escapism.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods: Gavin Extence

This is one of the only books I have ever shed a tear at but that’s not to say it’s all a tragedy.  Alex Woods has a very unconventional l life. Living with a single clairvoyant mother and having a mild bout of fame for a very unusual accident, Alex doesn’t really have any friends. That is until he meets Mr Peterson, the bad tempered widow down the road and an amazing journey begins.

The books starts when Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat and an entire nation in uproar. Safe to say, this is a book like no other. A funny, warm hearted story about friendship and making the most out of the time you have, this book has stayed with me in more ways than one.

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Beautiful Stranger: Hope Donahue

**Trigger Warning: This book deals heavily with body image issues, body modification and other issues***

This is the only non-fiction book on this list, but it’s another one that has stuck with me since I first read it and it’s so interesting. This memoir is about Hope’s ‘obsession with perfection’ and her endeavours into countless cosmetic surgery procedures. The story also goes into her doomed love life, her odd obsessive-crush on her surgeon and other issues.

Probably triggering for some people and there are descriptions of surgical procedures, so please don’t read if it doesn’t sound like your kind of thing. I however am both fascinated and concerned with cosmetic surgery so this was a sad but interesting insight into that murky world for me.

Innocent Traitor: Alison Weir

This was actually a recommendation from my mam, as she loves historical fiction and for as long as I can remember has been obsessed with the Tudors and events around that time. This book is the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was the Queen of England for nine days. The book covers Jane’s relationship with her future successors Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I and goes through her unwanted marriage and ends, like she did, on the block.

A tragic but deeply fascinating insight into a story I wasn’t even really aware of before I read this. I think historical fiction is a great way to learn about the things school didn’t teach us or didn’t explain too well.

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Are you planning on reading any of these books? Do you have any recommendations?

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Book Haul: The Non-Fiction Edit

Happy Sunday people!

Today is a totally different post to anything I have done before on this blog- as you can tell from the title, it’s a book haul.

I love books but I don’t often like to spend a lot of money on them (as a poor student I often feel too guilty, ha!). Then recently I discovered that money I was wasting on things elsewhere could be better spent on books and I decided to go on a little splurge.

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L-R Stop What You’re Doing and Read This; Eat Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert); Not That Kind of Girl (Lena Dunham); The Opposite of Loneliness (Marina Keegan); Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert); Books v. v. Cigarettes (George Orwell)

I have wanted a few of these books for a while and decided that while I had a little money I would treat myself.

Normally, I like a mixture of fiction and non-fiction but lately I seem only interested in the latter. As you can see I have tried to get a few collections of essays and short stories as I hope this will help inspire me to write more, regardless of what I’m doing.

I may do some book reviews in the future once I have read them but I am very excited to dive in.

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Taking pride of place on my shelf

If you have read any of the above or have any other recommendations for me please let me know your thoughts, etc.

Also any feedback on this style of post would be much appreciated too! Just trying something new here.

Have a wonderful day and speak soon,

Rachael.