“Everything I Know About Love” by Dolly Alderton

IMG_E6444[1]Where do I even begin being able to convey all the humour, heartbreak and love that are encapsulated in this novel?! I was lucky enough during my work experience at Penguin to attend the press launch for ‘Everything I Know about Love’ and meet Dolly and her best friend Farly who features an awful lot in the book. I had actually never heard of Dolly before the start of my placement as I don’t really listen to podcasts or read magazines (which are the platforms she usually uses).

The book itself is one hell of a read. Dolly Alderton has such a way with words that she manages to make you laugh out loud (which I don’t usually do while reading) before turning the page and bursting into tears! Dolly’s writing itself is very endearing and heartfelt but also immensely sincere. Not only is her book humorous, it is filled with insightful commentaries on people around her, witty cultural references and genuine raw emotion whether it be about love or loss.

I highly recommend ‘Everything I know about love” as a fun bubbly read that you’ll manage to plough through in no time

Until next time

Charlotte x

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Amy Lowell ~ ‘Spring Day’

 

Bath

IMG_E6463[1]The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.

The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light. Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot, and the planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots. The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.

Breakfast Table

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and white. It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and smells, and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side, draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot, hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl—and my eyes begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts. Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask. A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream, flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee steam rises in a stream, clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight, revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the coffee steam. The day is new and fair with good smells in the air.

Walk

Over the street the white clouds meet, and sheer away without touching.
On the sidewalks, boys are playing marbles. Glass marbles, with amber and blue hearts, roll together and part with a sweet clashing noise. The boys strike them with black and red striped agates. The glass marbles spit crimson when they are hit, and slip into the gutters under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus in the air, but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the street, and a girl with a gay Spring hat and blowing skirts.The dust and the wind flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent leather shoes. Tap, tap, the little heels pat the pavement, and the wind rustles among the flowers on her hat. A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of the way. It is green and gay with new paint, and rumbles contentedly, sprinkling clear water over the white dust. Clear zigzagging water, which smells of tulips and narcissus.
The thickening branches make a pink grisaille against the blue sky. Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each other and sheer away just in time. Whoop! And a man’s hat careers down the street in front of the white dust, leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and trundles ahead of the wind, jarring the sunlight into spokes of rose-colour and green.
A motor-car cuts a swathe through the bright air, sharp-beaked, irresistible, shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and sunshine tosses together behind it, and settles down. The sky is quiet and high, and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.

Midday and Afternoon

Swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The stock-still brick façade of an old church, against which the waves of people lurch and withdraw. Flare of sunshine down side-streets. Eddies of light in the windows of chemists’ shops, with their blue, gold, purple jars, darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors, murmurings out of high windows, whirring of machine belts, blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes on an electric car, and the jar of a church-bell knocking against the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust, thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me, reeling with feet. Feet tripping, skipping, lagging, dragging, plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic insteps. A boy is selling papers, I smell them clean and new from the press. They are fresh like the air, and pungent as tulips and narcissus. The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of gold blind the shop-windows, putting out their contents in a flood of flame.

Night and Sleep

The day takes her ease in slippered yellow. Electric signs gleam out along the shop fronts, following each other. They grow, and grow, and blow into patterns of fire-flowers as the sky fades. Trades scream in spots of light at the unruffled night. Twinkle, jab, snap, that means a new play; and over the way: plop, drop, quiver, is the sidelong sliver of a watchmaker’s sign with its length on another street. A gigantic mug of beer effervesces to the atmosphere over a tall building, but the sky is high and has her own stars, why should she heed ours? I leave the city with speed. Wheels whirl to take me back to my trees and my quietness. The breeze which blows with me is fresh-washed and clean, it has come but recently from the high sky. There are no flowers in bloom yet, but the earth of my garden smells of tulips and narcissus. My room is tranquil and friendly. Out of the window I can see the distant city, a band of twinkling gems, little flower-heads with no stems. I cannot see the beer-glass, nor the letters of the restaurants and shops I passed, now the signs blur and all together make the city, glowing on a night of fine weather, like a garden stirring and blowing for the Spring. The night is fresh-washed and fair and there is a whiff of flowers in the air. Wrap me close, sheets of lavender. Pour your blue and purple dreams into my ears. The breeze whispers at the shutters and mutters queer tales of old days, and cobbled streets, and youths leaping their horses down marble stairways. Pale blue lavender, you are the colour of the sky when it is fresh-washed and fair . . . I smell the stars . . . they are like tulips and narcissus . . . I smell them in the air.

Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53772/spring-day-56d233626c49b

Painting by Clare Elsaesser

My time at Penguin Random House

What I got up to during my 2 weeks of Work Experience in London

Hello!

I’m finally back from my work experience at Penguin Random House in London! I put up a post on my Instagram @reviewsfromabibliophile to ask if anyone was interested in hearing about my time there as there was plenty to mention and I really wanted to tell other book lovers what an amazing experience it was!

Aside from walking around the office in awe of all the books/colours/posters etc

tiana brown GIF

It was very special to be surrounded by such friendly and talented people. Coming from a very remote area of the country I was very aware that I was undertaking a huge lifestyle change as well as starting a new job. However, the office really didn’t feel like the big scary city outside (something me and another work experience collegue agreed on).

My first week mainly consisted of getting accustomed to the system of things including emails, printing, scanning, mailing and navigating the online intranet (as well as not getting lost in the building)! As I was working with the Penguin General Marketing team there was lots of buzz around the office as lots of campaigns were coming to fruition during the time I was there, including  Dolly Alderton’s book Everything I Know About Love and Mohsin Hamid’s novel Exit West. There was also a lot being planned for Suffragists day with the release of the Penguin Women’s writers series which has had quite a big reception online (Instagram loves their pretty covers!). This made my time particularly exciting as I got to do big bookstagram mailings for Exit West before its publication date and saw multiple Instagrammers online receiving their book mail (one of the main reasons I applied was because I wanted to explore how trends and ‘hype’ around books can be generated and interacted with). I was also lucky enough to attend an internal Q&A/reading of Exit West on my second day at Penguin which was a really wonderful experience – having never read any of Hamid’s work before I was really inspired by his reading to do so. Hearing an authors thoughts on what they’ve written was a truly unique experience (and I was kindly given a copy of his book to read while I was there).

As I’d expressed an interest in the trend tracking of various publications, the rest of my tasks focused on research via social media for a new campaign. My second week got off to an amazing start though as I was given the opportunity to help out at the press launch for Dolly Alderton’s book at the Savoy. The evening was magical and exciting and after helping on the door I got to listen to an especially moving speech from Dolly and chat to other members of the Penguin team over a glass of champagne.

I was told however that publishing is not always like this! The events I attended were a result of months of hard work from the various teams at Penguin. While I was there I also attended talks on the Editorial, Production and Rights divisions, which really made me appreciate the amount of effort that is put into a singular publication.

I would encourage anyone who is considering publishing or even just wanting to work with books to apply for work experience at Penguin. I really advise you not to be disappointed if you don’t get in first time as well! I knew in my first year of University that I was interested in pursuing publishing and it took me the best part of a year and 4 attempts to secure my placement. If its something you’re really invested in stick at it, and don’t be put off by the competitive nature of the industry. My experience with Penguin didn’t only help me professionally  but also personally, I feel a lot more confident in myself and my abilities after completing my 2 weeks there and I’m really looking forward to the future!

                Until next time,

                                                Charlotte x

“Lola and The Boy Next Door” by Stephanie Perkins

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (Goodreads Synopsis)

So I finally decided to write a follow up to my review of Anna >.< As I’ve said before I really do enjoy YA fiction as a nice escape from some of the heavier things I have to read for University…and I just cant manage to get away from this series!

I’m going to be honest, I did think that Lola might have been a bit of a flop after reading Anna. After reading the blurb I convinced myself that I really wasn’t going to connect with the characterisation of Lola as I did Anna (purely because Lola has a much more outgoing personality than me!). I did persevere though as I loved Stephanie Perkins character development so much (I talk about this a bit more in my Anna review).

As a ‘sequel’ to the trilogy, the book introduces a bunch of new loveable (and not so loveable!) characters. It is a perfect blend of cute romance while including all the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. The pairing of Cricket and Lola had a similar effect upon me as Elanor and Park did; they seem like completely different people but somehow opposites attract. Cricket is nerdy and tall and quiet, the antithesis of Lola who’s bold and colourful. I ended up really enjoying this characterisation of her, as its so rare to find someone both so outgoing and comfortable in their own skin.

I initially picked up Anna because of the setting in Paris, so Lola was a little different being set in San Fransisco – though I did really enjoy picturing the beautiful pastel coloured townhouses where Cricket and Lola live. While a little cliché, I also loved the cute chatting through the window scenes, it really reminded me of taylor Swifts “You belong with me” music video – it was exactly something teenage me would have swooned over!

you belong with me GIF by Taylor Swift

While admittedly it was my least favourite of the trilogy it was definitely not a bad read (I just prefer SOAP and Paris more!). It’s great fun to read in correlation with the other two novels as all the characters make appearances through the other books – which is why I think I keep returning to this series, its so immersive in that way.

What did you think to Lola? If you’ve read any others in the trilogy what was your favourite and why?

Happy reading

Charlotte xxx

“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell

IMG_E5961After my last post I realise I have left it far too long to update on my reading habits. The first book I ended up reading after my slump was Eleanor and Park which was a perfectly light hearted return to reading that I wanted. I loved that it was able to capture my attention to the point where I read hundreds of pages in a day which I hadn’t done in such a long time! Despite containing some very real and serious themes in terms of domestic violence and bullying, the read to me was still enjoyable and comical, not to mention the accompanying cute romance between the two characters. I actually had initial reservations about both of the characters as they were so un-stereotypical to other YA books I’ve read. This having being my first read of Rainbow Rowell’s I’m not really sure how this compares to her character development in other works of hers yet. Ultimately, I couldn’t help falling for the development between the two of them and reminiscing about the electrifying sensations of first love.

Have you read Eleanor and Park or any have any recommendations about other Rainbow Rowell novels?

Happy Reading

Charlotte x

Reading slumps and my first year at Uni…

…and she was filled with the conviction that nothing she had to say was worth committing to paper” – Laura Barnett, ‘The Versions of Us‘. 

NPOYE8627

As a student of English Literature the title of this blog post sounds like a complete contrast to what my life revolves around: books. However, I have been in the midst of a reading slump for the last few months, feeling unable to pick up a book either for University or leisure without being filled with dread. This is neither good for my studies nor my growth as a person, having always loved books this change is particularly unsettling as I can’t seem to find an explanation for the sudden distaste for it.

My current theory revolves around my experience at my first year of University. Having always being an organised and conscientious student I naturally thought I would love the structure of University and the amount of independent study that was encouraged. Oh, how I underestimated the amount of pressure that comes with being in a room full of extremely talented people! The competitive nature of being heard and validating your claims as well as being original and engaging is a lot to take on and has completely exhausted and somewhat demotivated me in the last few months;  in theory explaining the reading slump I am now in.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love University,  but for any new students I think almost everyone experiences this change of pace.

So my open question to the world is how do other students deal with this, if you do at all? Does anyone else struggle with the competitiveness and the pressure of producing original engaging work? If anyone has any other worries I’d love to hear them so we can all help one another!

Until next time xx

 

“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? (Goodreads Synopsis)

As I mentioned in my last post on Lisa Glass’ series of books, I am a huge YA fan and the book that started it all off is the one I’m reviewing today. Anna and the French Kiss was always one of the books I’d seen on the shelf at Waterstones but never really picked up because in all honesty it does sound a little cliché. However my main motivation to buy this was when I was watching a John Green video where he mentions and praises Stephanie Perkins book: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gep4QH6U27M Start to 49 secs). The next time I went to the bookstore I made a beeline for YA section to pick up the book and my goodness did I fall in love with it!

Having loved France and Paris from my first trip there when I was in primary school, sixteen year old me absolutely devoured this book and is still one of, if not my favourite YA read. As the synopsis describes the story revolves around Anna, a girl who in her senior year of high school is shipped off to a boarding school in Paris by her father. Initially she is extremely self conscious of her American citizenship in the cultured city, despite going to SOAP (School of America in Paris), where all students are American. Cue St Clair, the American boy raised in England with a French name, who’s about to make life a lot more interesting…

This book is such a wonderful piece of YA fiction, Anna for me was instantly likeable, the way Perkins words her inner thoughts and  idiosyncrasies are both humorous and endearing. Not only is the protagonist a richly developed character but so are her friends. St Clair, Meridith, Josh and Rashimi have equal degree of character development throughout the novel (most are also included in the subsequent books in the trilogy). The inclusion of the characters to enrich the love story revolving around Anna and St Claire’s relationship gives off the same kind of feeling to me personally as the F.R.I.E.N.D.S gang, a group you cant’t help but long to be a part of yourself!

As the novel is further encompassed in the beautiful surrounding of Paris, Perkins transports the reader to the Latin Quater, The Panetheon, the famous Shakespeare and Co bookshop (which this book made me want to visit so badly!) and the notorious Notre Dame/Point Zero, a perfect and unique setting for a YA romance.

Another aspect I loved of the book and the series is its immersive quality. As a reader if I love a story or a character I tend to remain pretty loyal to it and love merchandise etc to do with the story. Perkins gives her readers such a treat with extra content for this series, her website containing deleted chapters, bonus scenes, a playlist of songs she listened to while writing and playlist spoilers that give the songs context in line with the novels events, kind of like a soundtrack to the book! (which I’m actually listening to while writing this review: http://stephanieperkins.com/extras/).

Ultimately for me, the book was an unputdownable read which I have enjoyed many times since first reading it. I also continued to buy Perkins subsequent books in the series: Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After (which I’ll probably put in other reviews at a later date, purely because I love the series so much!). The book is a definite must for any lover of romance and travel, or in want of a book that you just can’t stop reading!

Has anyone else read this series of books? Please comment your thoughts or message me via Instagram 🙂

Till next time, Aurevoir!