Saturday, 28 February 2015

World Book Night.

Calling all reluctant readers! World Book Night is happening on 23 April 2015. 

What is World Book Night?

World Book Night (WBN) is an annual celebration of reading and books. It sees volunteers who are passionate about reading give out books in order to get those who are reluctant readers or unable to access books easily reading. WBN is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers to help give them an equal chance in life.


As you know by now, I am an avid reader and a complete bibliophile, so of course I have become a volunteer for WBN. 
This means I'll have around 20 books to give out to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, Tom, Dick or Harry; in fact anyone who I can physically hand one to. This year the book I am giving out is Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle. Who just so happens to be one of my favourite authors.
To become a volunteer for WBN, you need apply in advance. Applications for this year are now closed, but click here  if you want to find out more about volunteering for next year. When you apply, you get to choose your top three books from a list of twenty titles. If you are accepted as a volunteer, then WBN allocate you a particular title. Usually one from your top three depending on what is available. There is always a great selection of titles to choose from in a variety of genres. The selection of books is put together with the 35% of the UK's population who do not read regularly or own books in mind. 

What's the point?

A significant number of the UK's population- 35% do not read for pleasure or own books! I think that is quite a large proportion of us not enjoying the benefits, regular reading can bring. In this constantly developing technological world in which we live, the benefits of reading are easily overlooked. Stress-relief and relaxation, improved sleep, developing a more empathetic attitude are just a few of the bonuses of reading. Not to mention the latest research into links with reading and improved mental ability in later life.
WBN does make a positive difference to peoples lives. The details of which can be found in WBN's Evaluation Report 2014.

The books.

WBN give away 12,500 copies of each title and 250,000 books are printed for WBN. There is a great selection this year...

So, are you a reluctant reader or a complete book nerd like myself? Do any of the books on here take your fancy? I'd love to hear your thoughts on World Book Night or your reading habits. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Flynn. Gillian, (Pub. 2013) 496 pages.

Ok, I know, I know, I'm a bit late to the party with this one. I've never been one to catch on immediately! It's usually around a year or so later that I catch on to a particular trend; and getting involved in the hype surrounding this brilliant novel, is the perfect example. However for those of you who haven't yet read Gone Girl then please do! From looking at the reviews on Goodreads, this is a bit of a Marmite novel. You either love it or hate it. I definitely fall into the former camp. 

The story begins when Nick's beautiful wife Amy disappears from their home after what looks like a struggle in their living room. Each chapter alternates between Nick and Amy's point of view, Nick's being narrated in the first person, in the present day. Amy's epistolary diary entries date back three years, giving the reader a background to the story of their marriage. 
The book is divided into two parts. The first part gives Nick's thoughts and actions as he deals with the fallout of Amy's disappearance. His increasingly strange behaviour and secretiveness, set alarm bells ringing, not only for the police, but also for Amy's parents and Nick's closet ally; his twin sister Margo. Nick slowly but surely becomes the number one suspect in Amy's disappearance. Yet through the voice of her journals, Amy comes across as the perfect wife, willing to do anything to make her marriage work. Why on earth would Nick want to hurt his beautiful, intelligent, adoring wife? As the story progresses, the reader is taken on a journey of Nick's infidelity with a young impressionable student, along with his resentment of Amy's lifestyle and wealth and the couple's increasing financial difficulties. But is Amy all as she appears to be? She is an American Sweetheart; a national treasure. Her parents were the authors of a series of books, based on their daughter, featuring 'Amazing Amy' as their protagonist. She is certainly the beautiful, intelligent girl that everyone looks up to, but is she really as perfect as everyone believes?
In part two, the reader discovers what exactly has happened to Amy. I will not reveal this, in case you've not read it, but what I will say is the characterisation of Amy in the second part of the book is brilliant. Simply brilliant. Amy is all of the things that everyone believes her to be but flawed by all the usual worries and concerns that trouble all modern women. The reader gets to delve deep into the psyche of Amy Dunne and it is a deeply scary place: psychologically and realistically chilling. I found myself identifying with some of the warped thoughts (but thankfully not actions!) that go through Amy's troubled mind. The extremes she is willing to go to, for both herself and her marriage evoke both disgust and sympathy in the reader.
There are some highly explicit sex scenes which are quite detailed in the book, and the language at times is very colourful, but it all adds to the realism, and isn't overused for sensational effect.
This book really made me question the reality of any relationship. Whether anyone is truly their self with another person, or if you always put on some form of 'mask' to ensure the highest chance of happiness possible. Nick and Amy, like all good characters are flawed, but it is how far one is willing to accept the other in spite of these flaws that really make this novel great and realistic. 
The day I finished this book, I watched the film. As always, the book was far better than the film, there were far more layers to the characters and many more twists and turns than what is portrayed in the film. For me the film was average, but the book was a winner. If you've seen the film and wasn't a fan, please don't let that put you off reading the book. 
Have you read or watched Gone Girl? If you have please let me know what you thought about it in the comments box.

It's about time...

It's been such a long time since I last wrote a post. The start of university, along with a sudden descent in to the terrible twos with Littlest L meant my blog was abandoned, unloved and forgotten.
Well, not quite forgotten. Ideas for posts have been surfacing and floating around in some empty compartment in my head since the start of the new year. I have been planning to get things up and running again, and hopefully better than before. I didn't write all of them down. so here's hoping I can still gain access into that empty head compartment...
Please stay tuned for more book reviews, animal related posts and I also have some great giveaways in the pipeline.
I hope you're all enjoying half term and let me know if there's anything relating to literature, education, parenting or animal welfare that you'd like to see here, take care and keep reading.