Thursday, 30 July 2015

Book Club #1

I've seen this style of post done by a few bloggers now, I think the first time I saw it was on FayesFix maybe? But it’s something I've really wanted to do as a little weekly/monthly blogging series for a while so welcome to my very first Blogger Book Club post!

I'm a big reader and can’t go to sleep without getting through at least a paragraph of my latest book and I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you. These posts will be more recommendations than in-depth reviews as I don’t want to spoil the books for anyone, however I will be giving a brief overview of the books whilst avoiding spoilers!

The first book is very personal to me for a very obvious reason, it’s my name sake! No not Gatsby, Alice! Yep I'm named after the wonderful story of a girl who falls through a rabbit hole and makes a great big mess of everything…pretty accurate really.

For years I've endured people cracking Wonderland jokes whenever I'm introduced to them – which is still better than that god awful Smokie song that everyone sings when they hear my name. But it hasn't affected my love for Wonderland and the Looking Glass.

I have a huge collection of all things Alice, including the Waterstones ‘Cloth Bound Classics’ version of Lewis Carroll’s world famous tales – yet another thing I collect. There really is no better time than now to grab a copy of the book as it’s the stories 150th birthday.

This means stores worldwide (including your local Waterstones) have special offers on the books so you might be able to grab a bargain as well as some cool merch. On my latest trip to Waterstones I got a miniature Alice in Wonderland tea set, some post cards with the classic Alice art work on them as well as a Disney’s Alice Pop Funko – oh look another thing I collect.

The second book on the list is one of my all-time favourite novellas and I assume a lot of people’s favourite movie thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio! Of course I am talking about The Great Gatsby, a book I fell in love with in A Level English Lit and still can’t read to this day without crying!

For anyone who’s never seen or heard anything of Gatsby’s woeful tale (I assume you've been living under a rock) here’s a brief summary. The story is set in the 1920’s in the fictional location of West Egg. It’s the roaring 20’s or the ‘Jazz Age’ and the plot follows the story of the mysterious J Gatsby, told through the perspective of our narrator, Nick Carraway.

It’s an absolutely stunning but tragic love story and a must read for anyone who shares a passion for the Jazz era. The author F . Scott Fitzgerald has written an entire collection of books centred on the 20’s so if you loved Gatsby then I definitely recommend his other works.

The book cover above is part of a metallic gold collection of Fitzgerald’s work exclusive to Waterstones. This was a gift off Josh and slightly more glamorous than my dog eared paper back from college.

The third and final book of the post is what I regard as a modern classic. Most of you will have again seen the movie adaptation of this book and most of you who read the book prior to the film release will have been very disappointed.

The Lovely Bones is a heartbreaking book written by Alice Sebold and published in 2002. The plot follows the story of a young girl who, after she is murdered and raped, watches her family trying to move on with their lives from her own personal heaven.

The story however miserable it sounds now is actually really beautiful. It’s not just a tragic tale, but a love story, a murder mystery and a life lesson all rolled into one and contains some quotes that will change your life.

The film adaptation was released back in 2009 and was alright but I don’t think it captures the real truth of the book. So even if you've seen the film and enjoyed it I really do recommend you give the book a go as it has so much more to offer than the film.

I've really enjoyed writing this post and I hope you've all enjoyed reading it! Let me know what you think and I’ll decide how regularly I post these blogs. Also if you've ever written a book review feel free to leave your link in a comment below – I'm always on the hunt for new reads!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Here's to us

Here’s to us, the class of 2015. The first class to deal with the dramatically increased tuition fees, the class who opted for an education when everyone ran for paid apprenticeships, the class who are now looking for jobs when unemployment is at its all-time high, but we are the class who, against all odds, will succeed.

Because we are the class that faced the most hardship when it came to university, we are now the ones most determined to succeed. I know my classmates and I will stop at nothing to justify the price we paid for an education and the work we had to put in to get our monies worth.

I graduated next to some of the most amazingly determined and brilliant people I have ever met last month and I wish them all the best in life. I hope they find amazing jobs as journalists, writers or whatever else they are inspired to be and I hope they are all able to sit back in fifty years and say “I did it, against all the odds I did it!”

We all worked our asses off to stand in the Liverpool Cathedral last month and shake hands with staff members and take pictures of us reluctantly throwing our over-priced caps in the air. The rain poured down on us but nothing could dampen our spirits.

You could sense the joy and relief all around you as students, friends and families celebrated three years of university coming to an end, knowing it was highly unlikely that I would ever have to sit through another politics lecture was a calming thought as I popped open a bottle of champagne.

As the celebrations began to draw to end that day the joy and relief from earlier was saddened as we said goodbye to friends made over the last three years. Tearful goodbyes to friends and lecturers who had got me through some of the worst times in my life, and had also shared in the highest, followed by promises to stay in touch and meet up regularly, and then they were gone.

Later on in the evening myself and Josh went to Jamie’s Italian to celebrate with food and cocktails, it was a lovely evening that finished off the day perfectly. We then went back to our hotel and passed out from exhaustion after an extremely long and emotional day.

So let’s raise a glass for the class of 2015, who were royally shit on by on their government, but despite all odds made it through. Will the fees and hard work pay off? Only time will tell. But here’s to us anyway for surviving the hardships we faced over the last few years. We made it this far, now let’s show them how much further we can go.
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