Misfit Toy

Hey everyone. I know it has been a while. In all honesty, i haven’t been writing a lot lately. That upsets me. I used to write everyday to keep my mind active. Now, it has kind of lessened. Im setting out to change that. Also, i wanted to come back onto my blog. I like updating stuff here and get feedback from other writers on WordPress. I hope to start updating again. I even have plan for a new blog series, just like my interview with a writer series. I shall update that very soon. But for now, here is a poem i wrote before my few months of writers block. Hope you enjoy it:

Misfit toy

 

Broken

Disfigured

Maimed

Observed from eager eyes of

Blood thirsty audiences

They marvel,

They spit,

They cheer,

They jeer,

Whatever tickles their fancy.

I, always under the watchful eye

Of the Master

Master of tricks,

Mind or otherwise.

My “difference”,

Gains him enjoyment.

My “afflictions”,

Give him power.

As i get smaller and smaller

In my caged existence,

He gets bigger and bigger

More sinister and more power hungry.

His laughs fill my mind

With poison.

“Your only worth,

Your only job is to please me”

The horrifying gurgle of his voice

Fills my thoughts

And corrupts my mind.

The master of my own affliction…

And the audience fill the stage

To watch my fall,

My grand finale.

I am done.

This misfit toy has played

Its part

Advertisements

International Women’s Day Book List

To celebrate international women’s day, I shall share some books that were written by strong females or books that talk about strong females. Most of these I have read, with the exception of one. The books contains themes such as femininity, female sexuality, sisterhood, sexual violence and many other themes that bring about female empowerment. Or opens up discussion about womens experiences and rights. If you are interested in these books, pick them up. They are all great books. So my choices of books for International Women’s Day are:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey

New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. Rupi’s collection of poetry is an amazing representation of femininity and what it means to be a woman. Her poems hit hard on topics, such as rape and sexual identity. I fell in love with every piece she put into the book and the strong illustrations Rupi created for each piece.

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

the hunger games

The Hunger Games is a 2008 dystopian novel by the American writer Suzanne Collins. It is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the future, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. This YA novel created a strong, female protagonist in Katniss Everdeen and I admired her when I read the series. I related to her cold demeanour towards strangers and how hard it is to trust. However, she is living in a dystopian society so it is harder to trust people. Katniss’ defiance against President Snow and the totalitarian state of Panem is inspiring and what you need to see every now and again from literature.

 

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

the round house

It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. The novel focuses on race on an Indian reservation in North Dakota, rape and the aftermath of such a tragic event. It was a powerful read, through the eyes of a child witnessing the aftermath of his mothers rape. This story of vengeance, justice and history is a brilliant book and you should give it a read.

 

The Pleasures of Eliza Lynch by Anne Enright

the pleasures of eliza lynch

Based on the true story of the beautiful Irishwoman Eliza Lynch, who, in the 1860s, became, briefly, the richest woman in the world…In Paris, Eliza is in bed with Francisco Solano Lopez, heir to the untold wealth of Paraguay. The fruit of their congress will send Eliza across the Atlantic, leading a caravan of servants, clothes, jewellery and champagne on a regal voyage down the River Parana to her glorious future in Asuncion. Together with Lopez, Eliza embarks on a series of disastrous wars that define the nation and demonstrate her power – until she discovers the true sweep of her own cruelty. Anne Enright has an amazing talent at writing fascinating women. The character of Eliza Lynch captured my imagination when reading this book. Plus she is an Irish girl, which hits home. Brilliant writing, excellent female protagonist. Give it a read.

 

Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill

asking for it

A story about sexual violence and consent. Louise O’ Neill tells a story of an unlikeable girl who had a horrific thing done to her. This book marked conversation about consent and whose to blame. The book was fascinating, as the main character was deplorable at the beginning of the book. Therefore, when she was raped, people started to claim that she asked for it. She deserved to be raped because she was a horrible person. This book delves into those dark topics that need to be discussed in the world we live today. A world where the rules of consent become blurred, where yes means no, where its okay for this to happen to someone. This will be a tough read, but it is worth picking up.

 

Daughters of the House by Michele Roberts

daughters of the house

Thérèse and Leonie, French and English cousins of the same age, grow up together in Normandy. Intrigued by parents’ and servants’ guilty silences and the broken shrine they find in the woods, the girls weave their own elaborate fantasies, unwittingly revealing the village secret and a deep shame that will haunt them in their adult lives. This book centres on mother-daughter relationships and sisterhood. Moreover, the religious undertones take a feminist view, when Therese goes against the patriarchy of the church. Monsieur Cure represented the patriarchal Church, where he refused to allow Therese speak and called her stupid for seeing the Virgin Mary. Whereas, Therese leads a reformed religious belief with the Virgin Mary by her side. Moreover, the question of the female sexuality and the female body becomes a central theme within the novel. Its a slow-paced one and it jumps between timelines but I highly recommend it.

 

Thats all I have for this post. If you are interested in finding more books by women, about women, check out Our Shared Shelf on Instagram. Its always posting up-coming books and circulates many books by women. Hope you enjoyed this and I shall talk to you in the next post.

 

Killing Stalking: A Review

Here comes another review. However, it isn’t a typical book. This month, I took up a manga that I discovered online, called Killing Stalking. It is a Korean manga and the story is told through visual art. I havent read that much manga, so I decided to try one. I heard about this particular manga through the grapevine on the internet. It was the new upcoming manga that became very popular. So I picked it up and….wow. After reading some of this story, I knew I had to talk about it. So thats what I am doing here.

 

*****DISCLAIMER: This manga contains graphic scenes of violent sex, rape, murder, self-harming and suicide. If you are sensitive to these topics, please dont read this manga*****

 

To avoid any graphic content, I am going to stick to the story and its characters in this review.

killing stalking 1

Plot: Yoon Bum, a scrawny quiet boy, has a crush on one of the most popular and handsome guys in school, Sangwoo. One day, with Yoonbum’s obsession towards Sangwoo reaching its peak, Yoon Bum decides to enter Sangwoo’s home. But what he saw inside was not the Sangwoo he had dreamed of.

After reading the overview of the plot, I wanted to learn more about the characters. Yoon Bum (the stalker) discovers that the person he stalked, Sangwoo is a murderer. Bum becomes Sangwoo’s personal victim, a person for him to enslave and do as he pleases. There is torture, there is murder and there is disturbing sex. To me, the duality of a stalker and a murderer was just too fascinating to pass up. I wanted to see how this twisted relationship goes.

Bum (the stalker) 

killing stalking bum

Bum is the perfect example of an obsessive stalker, and Stockholm syndrome victim. Bum starts the story with the line:

“There’s a guy I like. I follow his social media updates religiously. Isn’t it obvious I’d want to know about the personal life of someone I like? Its nothing to be embarrassed about. But I don’t want him to know.”

“Normally in male-female relationships, they would either date or decide to be just friends. But in my case, neither applies. I am Yoon Bum and I am a male.”

Bum begins the story with the denial of his stalking and encouraging his own unhealthy behaviour. He follows Sangwoo and breaks into his home. He becomes Sangwoo’s victim, which entails torture and mind-games. Moreover, you learn about Bum’s childhood filled with abuse and loneliness. The dark events of his past inform you as a reader and you begin to sympathize with Bum. However, there is no black and white in this story. Bum is no more innocent than his murderous captor, Sangwoo.

Sangwoo (the murderer)

Image result for sangwoo in killing stalking

Sangwoo is the mysterious psychopath and the apple to Bum’s obsession. I love Sangwoo as a character. There is so much mystery and terror surrounding him. One minute, he can be gentle and kind. The next, he will threaten to cut your throat and toss your body away. His main tactic is manipulation. He keeps Bum as a pet, as he is aware of his obsession and he keeps him around for enjoyment. However, his intentions start to blur as the story moves forward. Why does he keep Bum for so long? A psychopath like Sangwoo surely would tire of Bum and find another victim to terrorize. But he keeps Bum around. He takes him to events, allows him to meet his friends. He integrates Bum into his life. This puts a big question mark over Sangwoo’s intentions. What does he want? His change in behaviour puts you on edge throughout the whole story. He is handsome, charismatic, but he is also short-tempered, violent and psychotic. From what I read so far, Sangwoo had a troubled past with his parents. You can see scenes, where Sangwoo’s father dominated over his mother and him. These scenes transfer to his interactions with Bum, which shows he holds onto some trauma in his past. As a reader, I still dont have all the answer surrounding Sangwoo, which makes him all the more intriguing as a character. Why does he kill people? How did he become this? So many questions still!!!

 

Things I love about it:

The artwork

Not only is the story intriguing, the artwork is beautiful. It portrays simple scenes brilliantly, in contrast with the horrifying, violent scenes. The manga artist did an amazing job, capturing the thrilling mood of the story, through their page turners. Each image cut up and spaced out to leave the suspenseful effect on the reader.

killing stalking 2killing stalking 3.png

The Story:

This manga is a suspenseful thriller through and through. Every time I turned a page, I was gripping the edge of my seat. I wanted to know what happened next. Also, the characters are fascinating. There is no black and white. Sangwoo and Bum live in the grey area. For a minute, I think I have figured out Sangwoo. But then the next minute, I am left confused about his intentions and who he is. Neither character is innocent. You are reading a story about a murderer and a stalker. Both of them are pretty bad. But it’s interesting to see the manipulations, the cat-and-mouse games played and the power dynamics between the two.

One thing I dislike about this story is the Detective plot.

killing stalking detective

Yes, this idiot. Detective Yang Seungbae, I really didn’t like him. I understand you needed conflict in the story, besides the impending doom of Sangwoo and Bum’s relationship. And the suspicions Detective Yang had over Sangwoo was interesting, but he was working off little evidence and he was doing everything the wrong way. I dont want to get into spoilers, but he screwed up his investigation of Sangwoo and I wasn’t sad about it. At that point, I was on Sangwoo’s side. I wanted the murderer to get away, which I guess is the point. Nevertheless, I didn’t like the actions of Yang. Also his chapters were boring. I hated it, whenever I just passed an intense scene with Sangwoo and Bum, and I turn the page to find Detective Yang gracing us with his presence. I didn’t like the swapping between storylines. I would have liked it better, if Yang was a smarter character.

Character development: 

Bum and Sangwoo are the driving force to the story, and both are equally compelling. Bum, the cowardly stalker, shows depth in his dire circumstances, asking the questions what would you do if you were in his situation. The amount of times where I sat through another one of Bum’s running thoughts on escape and screaming “why wont you do it?” But he answers that for you. Sangwoo will catch me, overpower me and kill me easily. So he bids his time. He stays. He learns, but he also still obsesses. You cant teach an old dog new tricks. A stalker to Sangwoo for many years, he still remains a victim to Sangwoo’s will. Its tragic, pathetic and intriguing. No matter how pathetic Bum is, I sympathize with this stalker. The same with Sangwoo.

Throughout the story, I fear Sangwoo as much as Bum. However, I sympathize with his moments of weakness, where we dont see a murderous psychopath. This gives the reader a weakness, to believe that there is something human underneath this monster. I dont know if there is any humanity in Sangwoo. I have yet to find out. But finding out is part of the fun. The story develops these characters for you to hate and sympathize with, all at once. The story gets you to love the villains, similar to what the Netflix series, You did. Even though we knew the protagonist was committing horrible crimes, we understood his motives and started to sympathize with him.

You.png

Another thing I am not a big fan of, is the graphic sex scenes in the manga. However, I dont let it bother me, as they do play an interesting part to the manipulation tactics in the story. Each sexual scene portrays Sangwoo and Bum’s dynamics. Who is in control in this scene? Sangwoo always has control over all aspects of Bum, including in a sexual context. However, these sexual scenes can show a change in power relations, as the manga progresses. At the beginning, Sangwoo is dominating and aggressive. He decided what to do and if it was to be done. Whereas, as the story continues, dynamics slightly shift and Bum takes control in sexual aspect. This leaves you wondering how much is Sangwoo in control of Bum? How long would Bum retain that control? And what does it mean for their toxic relationship?

Overall, the manga is an intriguing read and I recommend you read it. However, it is a tough read. As I said in the disclaimer above, the manga holds disturbing, violent scenes that if you are sensitive to content like this, than I advise you not to read it.

Thats all I have for this post this week. Hope you enjoyed it. I wanted to try something different today and I hope it pulled off. If you are interested in reading Killing Stalking, you can find it on the internet to read. It is worth the read, but be warned of the graphic scenes you will see in this manga. Hope you all had a lovely week and Ill talk to you in the next post.

 

What Literature Means to Me

Since I started my Masters programme, I have gone on a journey to delve into as much literary texts as I possibly can. Part of my course is to look at Literature and define it. What is your own definition of literature? Do you only see elitist literature as part of the canon of literature? Can only a select few of works by writers, such as the Brontë’s and Austen, be considered a part of canon? What counts as literature?

literature

This a big question in literary academia and it is quite contested. Literary critics/theorists argue that certain significant works will be considered a part of this grand literary catalogue. However, this becomes elitist. The literary canon consists mainly of classics and works that critics deem exceptional within the literary world. An example of an elitist work would be Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. 

pride and prejudice

Austen’s novel became influential for its time. I read somewhere that many male readers believed Pride & Prejudice to be women’s literature. Therefore, they didn’t take it seriously. However, Austen’s work places a new perspective on her current society and how it treated women. Moreover, she created the progressive character, Elizabeth Bennet who subverted societies thoughts of women at the time. Pride & Prejudice is up there on the elitist list of literature. However, can a series like Harry Potter, be considered elitist?

harry potter

Harry Potter would be considered popular fiction. However, does it discredit it as an influential book? As of February 2018, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into eighty languages. The books have touched so many generations of readers. But it isn’t considered elitist. However, what a critic will think is exceptional, you may think its tripe. Therefore, the literary canon becomes subjective and the question of literature comes into question. To me, literature are works that really grapple you, works that amaze you, leave you speechless and change your view on the world.

I dont consider popular fiction, or elitist fiction when I read. I read what interests me, and what grabs me as a reader. But more importantly, I read something that teaches me something. I want a novel that doesn’t provide me with all the answers. I want to be on the tips of my toes when I read a novel, and many things to be left up to interpretation.

I had a conversation with my Gender & Sexuality professor, about this topic. She started to compare two novels: Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Both are well-known Irish novelists and both books portray similar scenes or themes. Asking For It delves into the trauma of sexual assault and the continued assaults made to the victim by society after the event. According to my professor, O’ Neill’s novel delivers a simple story with an obvious message behind it. It starts a conversation, but it doesn’t create new avenues to explore that. Whereas with Conversations with Friends, you have to read between the lines to explore the full extent of the story. The narrative is not taken on face-value. You must read further into the plot thats given to you.

And thats what literature is.

Stories that leaves you with more questions than answers. Stories that make you return to the same characters over and over again. Stories where you take away something different each time you read it. Literature insights so much emotions and intrigue. It is a beautiful form of art and knowledge. Ill find a place in the literary world. It’s my home and that’ll never change.

 

 

 

 

Why I Love Kingdom Hearts

A little different from my usual content, but I promise I have a literary post planned for next week. I decided to make this post, since the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming out tomorrow (Well where I live, it is). I have mentioned my love for Kingdom Hearts before in a previous post called Things that make me happy. But I didn’t go into the reasons why I adore this series. I have been playing these games for years and I still consider it my favourite game series. Here I’ll list the reasons why I love Kingdom Hearts and if any of this compels you to give Kingdom Hearts a go, I highly recommend it.

 

The Characters 

Image result for kingdom hearts characters

I am not going to count any of the Disney characters in this, as Disney have amazing, well-rounded characters. For now, Im sticking to the new characters Square Enix created for the series. In the first game, the list of Kingdom Hearts characters was slim picking as Square wanted to put more emphasis on their Disney and Final Fantasy characters. However, as the series has grown, more characters have been added into the mix. So many of these characters have strong storylines from start to finish, from Riku’s path to darkness to his redemption and the tragedy of Roxas. However, my favourite character in the series has to be Sora, the protagonist.

Related image

Sora is the most optimistic character I have ever come across. Even through the face of danger and hopelessness, he always keeps his smile. Even one of the characters said that “He is far too nice for his own good.” He fights for the safety of his friends and connects with everyone he meets. He can be naïve at times, but thats part of his charm. He is so optimistic to a fault. But alas, he cant stay like that forever and I am not ready for that. Each character brings something to each instalment and my hopes are that Kingdom Hearts 3 will tie up loose ends with every character. They all deserve happy endings.

 

The Story 

Image result for kingdom hearts story

The Kingdom Hearts plot is one of the most convoluted plots in a video game series. Any Kingdom Hearts fan knows the struggle of attempting to tell a friend about the series. But besides all that, I love the plot of Kingdom Hearts. Each instalment brings its own addition to the bigger picture. It can get confusing when you try to think of the different timelines and how everything connects, but I love the built up lore that Nomura has created for these games. My favourite plot in the series is Kingdom Hearts 2. There is so much tragedy, humour and mystery within that instalment. It’s the best game in the series (in my opinion).

 

The Music

If you dont like the game series, thats fine. But if you dont cry to this piece of music, you are heartless (*wink* see what I did there, KH fans *wink*. I’m so sorry). The music in the series is arranged beautifully, and every rendition compliments to whatever happens into the series. I feel the games wouldn’t be as good as they are, without the OSTs they have. For example, my favourite piece of music from Kingdom Hearts is “The Other Promise.”

The reason I love this piece is because it evolves the character theme of Roxas. Throughout the series, Roxas had the most tragic story arc and this piece shows it. This plays the moment Roxas has a stand off with his other self, Sora. Kingdom Hearts 2 plot builds up to this moment of conflict between the two, and as the player, you can feel the sadness within that moment of contact through this score. There are other amazing pieces of music from the games, such as character themes, Simple and Clean, Sanctuary, Dive to the Heart, Missing You etc.

 

The Disney connection

Image result for kingdom hearts disney characters

For nostalgia reasons, I love the inclusion of Disney characters. Its fun when you play as Sora and befriend your childhood heroes. Its interesting, fun and it gives all the feels. Also, each character has their own battle style and in Kingdom Hearts 2, each Disney partner has a joined battle stance with Sora, such as Sora has a battle stance with Jack Skellington called “Dance Call.”

Each party member has a particular battle stance. It makes the gameplay enjoyable and gives variety to the different Disney characters in the games.

 

Overall,  Kingdom Hearts is an enjoyable ride for anyone. If you love an interesting story (even though its a little convoluted), Disney characters, fun battles and exciting characters, try Kingdom Hearts. You wont regret. Youll be grinning from ear to ear, while playing it. I’m recently playing Kingdom Hearts 2 and years on, I still adore it. I felt the same way I did, when I first played it back in 2005. I cried, I laughed and I’m ready for Kingdom Hearts 3. Along with the rest of the Kingdom Hearts community, I cant wait to have Kingdom Hearts 3 in my hands. Its been years in the making and the time has finally come. Hope you enjoyed this post. I know its much shorter, but I wanted this out before tomorrow as Ill be getting Kingdom Hearts 3 then. To talk about the series as a whole, its really difficult. I wanted to talk about Kingdom Hearts 2, as its my favourite game in the series. But I felt I should talk about the whole series. But I might make a dedicated post for Kingdom Hearts 2 at a later date. It’ll be more extensive than this post. But for now, hope you enjoyed and Ill talk to you in the next post x

 

 

 

My Top 10 Favourite Films

Along with my love for books and writing, I love film. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a film director. That dream is gone, but I still have a love for films. For this post, I shall talk about my top ten favourite movies. This is in no particular order and some of these choices are part of a series (I couldn’t chose what was my favourite from those series, so I just put down the series as a whole). So here are my top 10 favourite movies:

Inception

Image result for inception

For those of you who dont know what Inception is, the basic plot of the movie, is: A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. 

I saw this film when it first came out in cinema in 2010, and it blew my mind. The concept of dream-sharing technology was fascinating and to see it come to life on screen, was spectacular. The visual effects and the binding of realities in the dreams were beautiful to look at. Christopher Nolan shot this movie remarkably well, and it is my favourite of all his movies. The acting was amazing. DiCaprio was brilliant, but my favourite part of the movie were the interactions between Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy in the film. Tom Hardy wasn’t known before Inception, but his presence lit up the screen. A brilliant scene-stealer. Exceptional film. Would highly recommend it.

Clouds of Sils Maria

Image result for clouds of sils maria

I may have mentioned this film in a previous post. Clouds of Sils Maria is about, a film star comes face-to-face with an uncomfortable reflection of herself while starring in a revival of the play that launched her career. 

This film is more slower-paced than Inception, but remains remarkable. The only reason I watched this film in the first place, was for Kristen Stewart. The films slow-paced narrative, made me hate it at first. But the acting and the inner conflict of the story kept me there. The interactions between Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, kept me engaged and I fell in love with their conflict. The conflict between different imaginative minds brings me back to the many conversations I had with fellow writers. Delving into the meaning of texts, and arguing different interpretations, it was refreshing to see. Kristen Stewart was phenomenal in her role as Juliette Binoche’s personal assistant, and she won the French version of an Oscar, the César award for Best Supporting Actress. If you’re into slower-paced and artsy films, check out Clouds of Sils Maria.

Harry Potter series
Image result for harry potter films

As it probably was for many of you, the Harry Potter films were my childhood. I saw every film in the cinema when it came out. I bought all of the books, films and even owned a Harry Potter wand. I’m still in love with this series as a whole. The creation of the magical world onto the screen, was brilliant to see every year. Moreover, to grow up with the trio from when they were 11 to 18, was very nostalgic, and heart-warming. I love all of the films equally and I couldn’t just chose one film as my all time favourite. But my top favourite Harry Potter films would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 1.

 

A Silent Voice (Koe no katachi)

Related image

This film is one of the darker films on my list, but it is a very important film. A Silent Voice is about, a young man who is ostracized by his classmates after he bullies a deaf girl to the point where she moves away. Years later, he sets off on a path for redemption.

The main plot of A Silent Voice, relates to a guy bullying a deaf girl. I have watched many movies about bullying such as A Girl Like Her, and Cyberbully: 

Related imageImage result for cyberbully film

But none of these films portrayed bullying well on screen. They either have the stereotypical pretty blond girl being the bully or a dump, innocent victim. In A Silent Voice, it portrays the dark elements of bullying, such as the effects it can have on victims and abusers. I never have sympathy for bullies, but A Silent Voice puts you in the shoes of a person, who tormented an innocent person and attempts to make things right. This film portrays bullying honestly, in a way that shows the many sides of these tragic events. Everyone plays a part in some shape of form to these horrific events, but no one speaks up. I’m going to make a blog post about this film, as there is so much to discuss around this film. But I highly recommend you watch it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s worth the tears.

 

How to Be Single

Related image

It may not be for everybody, but I loved this film. How to Be Single is about, a group of young adults navigating love and relationships in New York City. 

I thought the characters and storylines were really funny. Rebel Wilson was comedic gold in this film. I related to quite a few situations in the movie, and that kept me engaged throughout. Also, I really want an apartment similar to Dakota Johnson’s one in this film. It was so quant and solitary. It’s just a fun movie and if you love fun, comedic films, check out How to Be Single. 

 

The Social Network

Related image

Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

It was a fascinating take on the history of Facebook and its creation. David Fincher made a really smart film, and brought together an exceptional cast that brought the characters to life. I never knew about Mark Zuckerburg until I saw the film. I was so fascinated by Facebook’s history, that I wrote a history paper on it. I analysed statements from the real Mark Zuckerburg and his opinions of the films. The film is brilliant, if you take it as entertainment. There is some factual information provided in the film, but not enough to call it a reliable source. Also, Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Zuckerburg was brilliant. The intro to the film never fails to amaze me.

 

 

Your Name

Image result for your name

Your Name is about, a teenage boy and girl who embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies.

It may seem like a stereotypical swapping bodies story. But it has so much more attached to it. Its hard to explain without spoiling it, but this film portrays a beautiful love story, about honest connection and longing. The look of the film is breath-taking. The director, Makoto Shinkai, creates amazing sceneries that brings you to the urban look of Tokyo to the scenic backgrounds of Japan’s countrysides. Moreover, the music is phenomenal. Your Name wouldn’t be Your Name without Radwimps (the band who composed the soundtrack). Listening to their songs on their own is fine, but they work seamlessly with the film. Its a masterpiece. It became the highest grossing anime film in the world, surpassing Spirited Away. I advise you check it out. You wont regret it.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Image result for pirates of the caribbean dead man's chest

I love all of the films, but Dead Man’s Chest has a special place in my heart. After The Curse of the Black Pearl, I was dying for more pirates. And I got it in the form of Dead Man’s Chest. It was bigger, the action scenes were better, and the trio were back. It was a treat of a movie, and a great way to continue on the story. I loved Elizabeth Swann in this film, as she threw away the corset and picked up a gun. Instead of standing back, she became part of the action, which I preferred. I began to adore her as a character in this film, before she became the Pirate King in the final film in the trilogy. The locations were fabulous and the humour still amazing. This movie in the franchise will remain my favourite of all the Pirates films.

 

Personal Shopper

Related image

Another Kristen Stewart film, of course. Personal Shopper is about, a personal shopper in Paris refusing to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message. 

This film is very haunting and beautifully shot. This is the best performance Kristen Stewart has ever given. The film questions the concept of the afterlife and communication with ghosts. When Kristen Stewart’s character starts getting texts from an unknown number, you wonder whether its her dead twin brother, another ghost or something more sinister. Its another slower-paced movie, but worth the watch. My favourite part about the film is the use of texting to tell story through the medium of film. I dont know why, but I love it when movies base their storytelling actions on our modern-day technologies, such as using messenger, texting, Facebook or Skype. Another film that does this is Face 2 Face, where the film is strictly through Skype calls or facetime.

 

The Lord of the rings

Related image

If you havent heard of The Lord of the Rings, you have must lived under a rock. Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins, as he and the Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring, to ensure the destruction of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron.

This trilogy was directed by the master, Peter Jackson and it became one of the highest grossing film series of all time. Its final film, The Return of the King won 11 of its Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. This film series had a massive impact upon its release and they are still praised to this day. It was The Lord of the Rings that got me into movies. I love the scenery of these films, which was shot in New Zealand (on my bucket list to go there). The acting, the story, the lore, just everything about it I love. Even years after first watching them, I still adore the films. If you havent seen them yet, I highly recommend them. Its a high-suspenseful fantasy with action, romance, friendship and loyalty. A great film to sit back and watch on a quiet Friday night.

 

And there you have it. Those were my top ten favourite movies. If you havent heard of any these, check them out. You wont regret it. My soul remains with literature and writing, but film will always have a special place in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Tales: Oisín and Tír na nÓg

Inspired by my previous posts, I wanted to try my hand at retelling the classic Irish fairytales I grew up with. We knew these stories so well, and it has been great to look back on them. By looking into these fairytales, I started to realize how vast Irish mythology is and how these stories only scrape the surface of our legends. I may make a post about Irish mythology down the line. But today, I shall be telling the story of Oisín and Tír na nÓg. Just as a preface for this story, the Fianna were a band of semi-independent warriors in Irish mythology. Tír na nÓg is known as The Land of the Young, and another way to name the Celtic Underworld. My retelling of this tale is taken from a children’s book I read years ago. So this will be told in a different way to other versions. So enjoy this retelling of “Oisín and Tír na nÓg.”

 

One morning, the Fianna were out hunting deer on the shores of Loch Lein in County Kerry. They saw a beautiful white horse coming towards them. Riding on the horse was the most beautiful woman they have ever seen. She wore a long blue dress, blue as the summer sky, studded with silver stars, and her long golden hair went down to her waist. 

Image result for irish legends niamh

“What is your name and what land do you come from?” asked Fionn, leader of the Fianna. 

“I am Niamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden hair). My father is the king of Tír na nÓg” she replied. “I have heard of a warrior called Oisín. I have heard of his courage and of his poetry. I have come to find him, and take him back with me, to Tír na nÓg.” 

Oisín was the son of Fionn. He was a great leader and a poet. “Tell me,” Oisín said. “What sort of land is Tír na nÓg?”

“Tír na nÓg is the land of youth,” replied Niamh. “It is a happy place, with no pain and no sorrow. Any wish you make comes true, and no one grows old there. If you come with me, youll find out all of this is true.”

Oisín mounted the white horse, and said goodbye to his father and friends. He promised he would return soon. The horse galloped over the water, moving as swiftly as a shadow. The Fianna were sad to see Oisín go, but Fionn reminded them of his promise to return soon. 

Image result for irish legends tir na nog

The King and Queen of Tír na nÓg welcomed Oisín, and held a great feast in his honour. It was indeed a wonderful land, just as Niamh had said. In Tír na nÓg, the trees were in constant bloom and the leaves never fall or die. All the people who lived in Tír na nÓg, were young and beautiful. They hunted and feasted, and at night, he told stories of Fionn and the Fianna, and their lives in Ireland. But he never felt as happy as he did, when he was with Niamh. And before long, they were married, and had two children, Oscar and their daughter, Plor na mBan (Flower of Women). Time passed quickly, and although he was very happy, Oisín began to think of returning home for a visit. Niamh didn’t want him to go. But at last, she said, “Take my white horse. It will carry you safely to Ireland and back. Whatever happens, you must not get off the horse, and touch the soil of Ireland. If you do, you will never return to me, and to Tír na nÓg.” She didn’t tell him that, although he had only been away for a few years, he had really been there for 300 hundred years.

Image result for irish legends niamh and oisin wedding

Ireland seemed like a strange place when Oisín arrived back. There seemed to be no trace of his father or the rest of the Fianna. As he passed through Gleann na Smól, he saw some men trying to move a large stone. “I will help you,” said Oisín. The men were terrified of this giant on a white horse. Stooping from his saddle, Oisín lifted the stone with one hand and hurled it. With that, the saddle strap broke, and Oisín was flung to the ground. Immediately, the white horse disappeared, and the men saw before them, an old, old man. They took him to a holy man, who lived nearby. Some say that the holy man was Saint Patrick. 

“Where is my father and the Fianna?” Oisín asked. When he was told they were long dead, he was heartbroken. He spoke of the many deeds of Fionn and the Fianna, and their many adventures together. He spoke of his time in Tír na nÓg, and his beautiful wife that he would never see again. 

Although he died soon after, the wonderful stories of Oisín have lived on. To this day, children in Ireland still retell the story of Oisín, and his magical adventures in Tír na nÓg. Some people claimed to have seen the beautiful white horse through the early mists of the dawn, only to disappear before their eyes, when the mist clears. 

 

Hope you enjoyed it. I have so many more tales I plan to share on my blog. Thats all I have for this post and I shall see you in the next one x

 

Related image

Irish Writers – We are depressing 💚

In my Masters course, I got the chance to take a class analysing Irish literature. Throughout my college career, I never really looked into Irish literature. For my final year project, I did analyse Irish Gothic texts. But I haven’t looked into contemporary Irish novels.

So the class I took, Gender and Sexuality in Irish literature, analysed a couple of contemporary Irish texts and new woman fiction etc. It was fascinating, to look more into the literature from my country.

But one thing I picked up on, was a conversation I had with an American student. He attends the creative writing masters in my college. One day, he comes into class and talks about the style of Irish writers.

“You Irish people write some depressing s**t. Why does everything have to be sad in your stories”

I had to laugh at this comment, because it reminds me of the tagline for my blog. “I am a happy person but a depressing writer.” From the little interaction I had with Irish literature, it’s true that we have a flair for the tragedies. We place our characters into dark situations with no way out. I just read a novel about a woman who killed her abusive, alcoholic husband and the novel follows the unsettling relationship between her and her son, as they live together in Dublin city. The continuous silence between mother and son speaks volumes to what it means to be Irish. We don’t talk about our feelings. We mostly bottle them up and if we do talk about them, we make a laugh out of it. For the mother and son, they never acknowledge the past horrors at home and maintain this hidden truth, that can never be spoken out loud.

One of my classmates responded to the guys comment, “that’s because we were colonised.”

Ireland has a dark history related to our colonialization by the British Empire. However, that doesn’t really plague our country as much anymore. The darkness within our country at the moment, would be the control of the Catholic Church, the uproar over sexual harassment and assault towards women.

We have our dark moments that seemed unbearable to relive, such as the Magdalene laundries, the sexual abuse of children from members of the church, and many more. Therefore, these dark memories of our country in some shape or form within our writing. They seep into every Irish work, as it would within any work. However, I have come to appreciate this style of writing, as through all these trials and tragedies, the Irish maintain their dry sense of humour.

Through the dark times, the Irish remain humorous. And it’s evident within Irish writers work. So yes, we are depressing. But we use self deprecating humour to push that aside or bring attention to it. This shows who we are as a culture, and I’m proud to call myself Irish.

Some Irish books I recommend you check out would be The Long Falling by Keith Ridgway, Normal People by Sally Rooney. I am currently reading a book called The Pleasures of Eliza Lynch by Anne Enright. It tells the story of a real Cork woman who was a well known prostitute who became mistress to a prince. Eliza Lynch became merely a footnote in history, so Anne Enright  decided to write about her.

This post seems a bit all over the place but I just wanted to talk about that comment from the American student. I’m proud of our self deprecating attitude towards life and our history. There is a great charm to Irish works because of that. I want to read more Irish novels and if I find any good ones, I’m sure I’ll make a post about it. And if you have any works from your country that I might like, let me know. I hope you had a lovely end to 2018 and happy New year 💜 I shall talk to you in the next post.

 

 

Irish books from my childhood

Recently, my sister and I were trying to remember classic novels we read in primary school. Most of them, were classic Irish books written by Irish writers. I dont think I have ever talked about Irish books on my blog before. I think I need to change that. I have another idea for a blog post related to Irish books or Irish writing, which Ill post in the next week or so. But for now, lets delve into my childhood and look at some Irish books that I read when I was young.

 

Drumshee Chronicles by Cora Harrison (Titanic and Murder Strikes Back)

Image result for drumshee seriesImage result for drumshee series murder strikes back

I remember these vividly. It was a series of books, written by Cora Harrison, which are historical novels for children which tell the history of Ireland through two millennia. These stories talk about the Celts, monks, Vikings and the Normans, the 1798 revolution, the Great Famine etc. My favourite books from the series, or the ones I remember most, are Murder Strikes Back and Titanic Voyage.

Titanic Voyage Synopsis:  Kitty loves everything about the magnificent Titanic – its splendour, wearing her beautiful gold necklace at the ceilis, meeting other passengers, including handsome John. She began to get quite fond of the two children in her care, Robert and Tabitha. She did not even once think of her grandmother’s words as she left Drumshee:
‘That necklace must never leave Drumshee, or bad luck will follow.”

And then disaster strikes. As the Titanic starts to sink and the terrified passengers begin to panic, Kitty realises that Robert and Tabitha are missing.

Murder Strikes Back: In fifth century Ireland, Christianity was new and strange, and Cetterick, the priest, had been cruel and arrogant and had made many enemies.
But which one of those enemies hated him enough to kill him?
Was it the unfortunate slave boy?
The jealous druid?
The goldsmith in fear for his life?
The wife whom Cetterick had abandoned?
The farmer cheated of his land?
And what about the beautiful Mara? What was she doing outside the chapel?
Once again murder strikes at Drumshee, and once again Ita and her fellow students at Drumshee law school set out to solve the mystery.

The novels provide interesting history lessons of Ireland’s past through fictional stories. If you are interested in Irish history, maybe try out these books. I might do a review on them down the line. I havent read them since I was a child so I want to see if they hold up today.

 

When the Sea Calls by Don Conroy
Image result for When the Sea Calls by Don Conroy

Synopsis: Sinéad Keane is a lonely young girl growing up in the west of Ireland in the early 1900s. Her mother died tragically in a drowning accident seventeen years earlier. She was pregnant with Sinéad at the time. Whenever Sinéad enquires about the tragic event no one is willing to talk to her about it, least of all her father.

Who is the mysterious stranger from England? Will Sinéad’s friend Danny survive the war that’s raging in Europe? Why does the sea have such a pull on Sinéad’s emotions and feelings?

I am unsure whether I read this or not. I know my sister loved this book when we were young. She talked to me about all of the time. A very haunting story, and ties with Irish mythology really well. So if wanted to know a little more on the myths of Ireland, check out this book.

 

Fallen Star by Joan O’ Neill

Image result for Fallen Star by Joan O' Neill

Synopsis: In 1950s Ireland, Sixteen year old Stella’s innocent childhood is shattered when charismatic Charlie comes into her life. Where Stella’s family struggle to make ends meet, Charlie can have anything he wants, and that includes Stella, who is rapidly falling for him. Then Stella discovers she is pregnant. Suddenly Charlie is gone, and Stella is left with only the bracelet he gave her. Stella’s devoutly religious mother, horrifed by the scandal, sends her errant daughter to a Magdalene Laundry convent, miles from home, where in return for daily and rigorous and endless chores, Stella will be able to have her baby in secret. The convent is bleak and austere, the nuns themselves cruel and lacking compassion. When Stella’s baby girl is born, it will be taken from her for adoption, the only answer is to run away with her child. But Stella didn’t expect the struggle and pain of being a single mother – with her family turning against her, who can she rely on for help. Out of the blue, comes support and love from an unexpected quarter, to finally make Stella’s story a happy one. 

This is more of a young adult novel, but I remember it vividly from my childhood. This is a lot darker than the other books, as this takes a leaf out of our history. As you may not know, Ireland had Magdalene Laundries around the country for years. Their purpose was to take “fallen” women into their convents and subject them to hard labour, to repent their sins. These women would be deemed too promiscuous and tainted to live in society. Mostly, they were women who got pregnant out of wedlock, which was a big no-no in the old days of Ireland. So any woman who was raped, or just had sex, or even seemed interested in sex, were sent to the laundries. All mothers who gave birth in the laundries were separated from their children and never saw them again. This book captures that really well. The nuns in the laundries never gave them information, and treated the women terribly. It is a shameful part of our history, as I think the last laundry closed in 1996. If you want to learn more about this topic, there are some documentaries on the topic or you can watch the Magdalene Sisters movie. Its very good.

 

Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll

Image result for Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll

Synopsis: A delightful collection of traditional Irish legends including much-loved favourites such as ‘Oisin’, ‘The Brown Bull of Cooley’ and ‘The Giant from Scotland’. 

This book was in every classroom in my primary school. It told the classic tales of Irish myth such as ‘The Children of Lir’ or ‘Deidre of Sorrows’. Its a great way for us Irish kids, to understand our roots and learn about the classic Irish stories of old. Maybe Ill tell some of those stories on my blog. I love the Irish legends. They are so fascinating and very tied with the country of Ireland. Makes me appreciate where I come from. I’m considering writing a novel tied with the Irish legends. Dont know yet. We shall see.

 

Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl by Marita Conlon-McKenna

Related imageImage result for wildflower girl

Synopsis: The story of Under the Hawthorn Tree is about three brave young children, Eily who is twelve, Michael who is ten and Peggy who is seven, who try to survive during the time of the famine in the 1840’s. The book tells of their courage while making their journey to Castletaggart to find their great aunts, Nano and Lena, where they would be safe and have food.

Wildflower Girl is the second book in the Children of the Famine trilogy. At seven, Peggy made a dangerous journey through Ireland during the Great Famine. Now thirteen, she goes on another challenging journey, across the Atlantic to America.

Marita Conlon-McKenna was a huge part of my childhood. She wrote many children’s books, but the ones I remember most was Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl. They are part of the trilogy, Children of the Famine. Most of you might not know the story of the Great Famine in Ireland. The Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. It caused great devastation to Ireland, many died of starvation, of diseases on ships etc. Many left Ireland to survive the famine, never to return. Therefore, it was fascinating that McKenna incorporated this part of Irish history into her novels. This provides Irish children an easier outlet to learn about their history, without learning all of the facts.

 

That is all I have for today. I liked looking over the old Irish books I read when I was a child. I havent really talked about where I come from, except for when I wrote about my new project. I have a couple of posts planned relating to Irish writing, author, or even Irish tales. I found writing this post a joy, so I hope to do more like this soon. Hope to see you in the next post x

 

 

 

The Owl and the Pussycat

I decided to do something a little different. I was remincising on my childhood and I remembered a lovely poem I read when I was young. I couldn’t remember the name of it. I searched and I searched. Then I remembered the story of it and I found “The Owl and the Pussycat.” A lovely little children’s poem I loved when I was little and I wanted to share with you.

I have a couple of blog posts ready for the next week or so. I cant wait for you to see them. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this poem. I got the poem from Poetry Foundation.

The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear

Image result for the owl and the pussycat poem illustrations

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Image result for the owl and the pussycat poem illustrations

 

Tips for Nanowrimo

This month is Nanowrimo month (National Novel Writing Month). I would love to take part this month, but I’m in the middle of my Masters programme. I’m too busy thinking of ideas for my thesis.

I am hoping to do some writing in December, when I am on my Christmas break from college. But a lot of you are about to start Nanowrimo and it may feel daunting at first. I love the idea, where you give yourself a month to write your first rough draft of your novel. Here are some tips to survive Nanowrimo:

 

Dont overwork yourself

Image result for stress

I know there is an importance on getting your wordcount done each day. But dont overwork yourself. If you do too much at once, youll burn yourself out. When you feel overworked, take a break, have a kit-kat. Allow yourself the time to step away from writing and breath.

 

Forget the word count

Dont stress over word count. It doesn’t matter. I know that you need to reach a certain word count each day. But take my advice: don’t think about word count. Just get your story down. Write out your important scenes. It doesn’t have to be perfect or have to be a certain word count. Once you have your story down, that’s all that matters.

Plan ahead

As you are half way through Nanowrimo, I don’t know if this will help now. But, plan ahead of Nanowrimo, so you don’t get stuck in the middle of writing your story. If you don’t plan, you may find yourself stuck in writers block a few times and it’ll set you back in the process. So a good tip is to make out a spider web, with all your characters, plot and settings. Write them down and sort them out. It’ll help you in the long run.

 

Just have fun

Nanowrimo is a great opportunity for writers to crack out that story you’ve always wanted to write. I was meaning to take part in it this year, to start on my new project. But college is too hectic at the moment. This is your time to tell your story. So enjoy it, while you can. Because the hard part comes when you have to edit it. So enjoy the writing process.

 

That’s all I have for today. Sorry about the mess. My WordPress hasn’t been working on my computer so I had to finish this on my phone. Not used to it. Hope you are all enjoying Nanowrimo so far, and I shall talk to you in the next post x