Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday for SO long, mainly due to, you know, laziness and also, meh-ness, and ALSO I have a long standing blogging job to do every week now, and THAT involves Harry Potter, so... Yeah, obviously I'm going to do that instead of this. But anyway- I'm off work today because I'm trying really hard to recover from THE PLAGUE (so weak and tired guys. So much.) AND I really like this week's topic, because I'm really an author oriented book buyer, which is why I pretty much have to read ALL the Stephen King, because, y'know, I bought them all first.

So anyway. The list!

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

1. Stephen King-
I mean, obviously. Since I am reading all his books in order, I'm pretty lucky that I am physically able to wait for his books to come out in paperback/be in charity shops, otherwise I'd basically just spend all my money on Stephen King books. Which... would not at all be a bad way to spend all my money.

2. Haruki Murakami- I love Murakami so much that, when it was announced that his new book is coming out in Japan in April, I instantly wanted to start learning Japanese so I could start reading it. Instead, I've decided to actually read the books of his that I own and haven't read yet (which is a surprising number, but I've been trying to save them!) but still.

3. Emma Donoghue- Donoghue always manages to write in a way that, for me, is exactly how I want a book to sound. She's kind of my jam, and I haven't yet been really disappointed by one of her books (The Sealed Letter was only ok. But still not terrible.)

4. Margaret Atwood- I'm basically genetically modified to hunt out Atwood books in charity shops and then, you know, buy them. Actually reading them is another story, but that's true of basically all these authors. I am lazy.

5. Bill Bryson- Even before I'd read any Bill Bryson, I had about 6 of his books, don't ask me why. Now that I have, ALL THE BRYSON MUST BE MINE. Because he's awesome.

6. Paul Auster- Auster is an author that you hardly ever find in charity shops, so I mostly just have to wait for birthdays and things to acquire his books. Which are awesome and mind bendy and I love them. Just so you know.

7. Joyce Carol Oates- I don't actually have as many Oates books as I think I do, and I actually need more because I've read all the ones I do have. But I'd still read basically anything she writes, because she is SO GOOD.

8. Jeffrey Eugenides- The Marriage Plot was one of the few books (ever!) that I HAD to read as soon as it came out. Because, you know, MIDDLESEX. That book is freaking amazing. I'm pretty sure I'll just keep on wanting to read Eugenides for always.

9. Annie Proulx- Annie Proulx is such a weird thing for me, because on the one hand, I'm never exactly sure how much I like her books (I think her short stories are amazing, her novels less so, but I don't know how much I actually enjoy them) but she describes a landscape pretty spectacularly and I just keep buying her books! Maybe I just go on auto-pilot (see what I did there?) when I buy them.

10. Penguin Clothbound Classics- If you're thinking that's not the name of an author, then congratulations- I guess you really are a reader! But the point is that I buy the CRAP out of these books, and we should all be thankful that there are only about 30 because otherwise... I would be in trouble, both financially and space-wise.

Quick confession- I don't actually know what an auto-buy list is. So I've just taken it as 'the authors you seek out when you go into a charity shop like I DON'T DO ANYMORE (at the moment).' Like, I'm not desperate to read all their new releases immediately, but that's only because they have a lot of books out that I haven't even read. Except Eugenides, of course, whose new books I would eat up with a spoon.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Devouring Stephen King: Desperation

"'Oh no, praying is great, without it the thumbscrews and the Iron Maiden probably never would have been invented.'"

The last time I read Desperation, I vividly remember that it was juuust at the end of summer, where it was still warm enough to read outside, but there was a delicious little breeze that meant it wasn't too hot, and everything seemed right with the world and this book felt like the best book ever. That was pretty much the pinnacle of reading, as summer reading always is for me, and it has made me really fond of this book ever since.

This time around, it took me about a month to read. It's way too cold to read outside, I've been reading other things, I've neglected it because I felt weirdly rebellious about 'having' to re-read a book when I 'should' have been reading all the other books I have not. It just didn't feel as good as it did last time, because re-reading something in the winter that you associate with summer just isn't, and there's not a lot you can do about that. Other than, I suppose, saving that book for the summer, again. Which maybe I should have done.

But, all is not lost! It turns out that I'd just forgotten that this book is a little bit of a slow starter, at least for me. It takes quite a while for all the characters to get assembled, and even longer for them to figure out what they're supposed to do, but somewhere in the last third of the book, everything suddenly falls into place and it's such a relief and almost a pleasure, that you realise what all the rest of the book was for, and where this story's been going all along. And that place is really kind of depressing, but then, you knew there was a reason I liked it, didn't you?

Should I tell you something about the story? I probably should, huh? Desperation almost starts in the middle, where a catastrophe that we learn more about as the characters do has already happened, and the main characters are all being collected by a psychotic police officer who has (literally) gotten too big for his boots. They're just as perplexed as we are as to why they've been arrested, and why this man has killed some of their loved ones, and so are we. There isn't a point where they know any more than we do, and I think that's kind of a rare thing in a Stephen King book. *Puts on Stephen King experty hat*

I'll tell you one thing about this reading of Desperation though- there's something about it that I never ever would have realised if I hadn't been reading all of his books, in order, and it made me feel weirdly vindicated for reading like that. SO, a main character in this book, Cynthia (who is, by the way, super wicked awesome and probably the best female character in it and you SHOULD HAVE GIVEN HER MORE TO DO, KING) was a minor character in Rose Madder, and when I realised this I was in the bath and literally went 'oh SHIT!' fairly loudly so that my mum went 'are you ok?!' apparently thinking I was drowning or something. But connections between books is one of those things that are my favourite things for books to do, so I was pretty pleased with myself for reading all the King. For once.

There's just one more thing I want to discuss about Desperation, and it's a God thing. To my knowledge *adjusts the hat* this is the first and maybe only time that God, as in the actual, Christian concept of a God comes into play in one of King's novels in any major way. There are always major forces at work, sure, and some of them are good, but never anything so, I don't know, traditional as God. I don't know what my point is here, really, other than that this God is maybe a liiiittle bit selfish, quite a lot cruel, and if the kinds of signs He sends out actually happened, I'd have a lot of a harder time being a non-God person. (I would say atheist, but they seem to be forming their own 'religion' now, and the thing I like least about the whole God thing is the organised religion thing, so.) 

My other point is, I wonder where King was at when he wrote this. I don't really know anything about his religious beliefs, but I think I'd always thought of him as not really having any? But then, maybe he was at the point of not-drinking where he was trying to get all religious since, in my understanding of it, that's how AA works? I don't know. Either way, I'm kind of glad that whatever was going on with him was, because the exploration of God in this is really kind of clever, doesn't involve organised religion, and made me think about some things. Also whilst scaring the bejeezus out of me, which it doesn't do quite as much any more, but still... There's some scary shit going down in the desert.

Basically, I'm a big fan of this book. I recommend reading it laying on a blanket in your back garden on a warm summer's afternoon, but even without those optimum conditions, it's still pretty great. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Sundries: BLEUUUURGH

This is truly going to be a really short Sunday Sundries post, for I have neither the motivation nor the bodily healthiness to write anything longer. Basically, from what I can remember, the first part of the week was fine (this may or may not be true, there's no way to tell) and then on Thursday evening I developed a gross need to throw up every half an hour or so. All evening. And then also some on Friday. And Saturday.
You'll never know how long I've been waiting to use this gif...

And it has not been at all fun (obviously) and I've kind of lost two days and thought it was Saturday all day Friday, but thought it was Friday all day Saturday, except really it was like one big massive day that wasn't a day at all but my own personal hell? But I sure did get to watch a lot of Daria, so that's always a plus. 

I have nothing else to say, really. Except, just wish me good health and stuff, kay? Hope you're all way weller than me!

Friday, 22 February 2013

"'I"m not putting them on... I like a healthy breeze round my privates, thanks.'"

Ooooh, Goblet of Fire. You may take way too long to get to Hogwarts, and already I am sick of Quidditch, but daaaamn, do you know how to bring the scary! Some people last week were saying that they think that the end of The Prisoner of Azkaban is where Harry Potter really begins, but I respectfully disagree- I think all the serious shit really starts in the woods, with the conjuring of the Dark Mark. And ooooh, the CHILLS!

But let's back up a liiittle bit. I really vividly remember reading The Goblet of Fire for the first time- it was the last book to read at the time, and I was kind of nervous because this was IT for a while, and then it starts and I'm like 'but... what IS this?' Because apparently I'd forgotten everything about Wormtail from PoA, but ALSO because... you can't just bring back Voldie, even in diminished form, and not explain how it happened, can you? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME, JK?
And then we go back to Harry in the second chapter and the world makes sense again. Even now I have a better idea about what's going on, I'm still like 'whaaaa?' and getting back to Harry makes me feel calm HOW'S THAT FOR LOVE OF THE HARRY FILTER, EMILY?!


So I just want to take a second to appreciate the Weasleys. And by 'the Weasleys' I basically mean, let me tell you about how much I fancy Bill (it is A LOT) and also, remember when they tried to travel by floo to the Dursley's but the fireplace was blocked up because, well, that's what we muggles do (it's totally what would happen in my house) and the entire thing is HILARIOUS, but THEN Mr Weasley is all indignant for Harry and forces Uncle V to say goodbye to him? THAT is almost as cute as this gif:

Also there was this:
"By the time they had finished, moths were fluttering low over the table and the warm air was perfumed with the smells of grass and honeysuckle"
Aaaaaand now I really want it to be summer.
Before I get to the bullet points, one last thing. Did everyone notice the little allusions to puberty that JK planted in this book? First of all there's Harry, thinking about GIRLS (well, one girl... "Harry caught a glimpse of Cho, the Ravenclaw Seeker, cheering Stewart Ackerley as he sat down. For a fleeting second, Harry had a strange desire to join the Ravenclaw table too." Awwwwwww!) and of course there are the weird gross plants that you have to squeeze LIKE SPOTS (disgusting but oddly satisfying!) to make acne medicine. I just... It's like really subtle things, but there's just always that little reminder that awwww, our kids are growing up!

Apparently these things are more important to me than The Tri-Wizard Tournament, but ARE WE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR THE NEXT 3 WEEKS OR WHAT? Yes. We totally are.

Bullet points!

  • This is maybe my favourite moment in Harry Potter so far, and I didn't even remember that it ever happened!
Gawd bless this readalong, is what I say.
  • "Dear Professor Dumbledore, Sorry to bother you, but my scar hurt this morning. Yours Sincerely, Harry Potter." Obviously, this would have been the worst ever letter. BUT explaining it PROPERLY to Dumbledore? WHY IS THAT SO DIFFICULT?
  • If I had a wizard tent, I would without a doubt go camping all the time. I mean, seriously!
  • It's weird how some things in the books you don't remember at all (FERRET) and others that you do so well that it's like ingrained in your brain. I didn't realise that we didn't know Hogwarts was masked from muggles, until Hermione brought it up as new knowledge on the train. Strange stuff.
  • Mad-Eye Moody kind of terrifies me. And this is the greatest description/insult ever: "It was a face unlike any Harry had ever seen. It looked as though it had been carved out of weathered wood by someone who had only the vaguest idea of what human faces were supposed to look like, and was none too skilled with a chisel." I mean, OUCH!
  • I know all the Ministry stuff is kind of important, and REALLY important for the next book, but mostly I was just like 'can we pleaaaase go back to Hogwarts now though?' This may not bode well for later books...
  • "'Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?' said Ron."

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Devouring Films: Lincoln

I accidentally went to see Lincoln last week, a happy little mistake that was caused by the internet LYING to me about movie times for Les Mis, my mum being gracious and agreeing to go and see this instead, and my eternal love for Daniel Day-Lewis. (Don't worry- we saw Les Mis at the weekend, and I will never trust the internet again. Lessons learned all round.)

But Lincoln. WOAH. I'm not going to say that I just completely and utterly loved the film, or there weren't times when I wanted to sleep a tiiiiny bit (I had been to work beforehand, to be fair) but I was uncomplicatedly blown away by Daniel Day-Lewis, or maybe I should say Daniel Day-LINCOLN. Because I mean, seriously, there's acting and then there's just downright POSESSION, and well, I think DDL was definitely channeling old Abe in this movie. SERIOUSLY FREAKY (and, you know, awesome.)

I kind of envisaged Lincoln as a biopic in a traditional sense- they'd get someone to play young Abe, there'd be some heartbreak in his formative years before he finally found a good woman and she helped him become President, and THEN he'd free the slaves, but actually Lincoln turned out to be a lot more interesting than that. What it's more like is a really long episode of The West Wing set in the 19th Century (so not TONS like The West Wing), covering the time juuuust before Lincoln's second inauguration up to SPOILER (lol) his assassination, i.e. a period of about 4 months, ALSO i.e. the time he got the Thirteenth Amendment passed and freed the slaves and all. If you're an American you're probably like 'yep, learnt allllll about that at school', but we have abouuut a thousand years of Monarchy to cover, so WE DID NOT. And so I was way interested, and I was learning stuff.

Like, I learned that Lincoln's eldest son (played admirably by a chronically underused JGL with a tash) didn't massively love his dad, and totally defied him to run off and join the army. And I re-learned that it takes a lot more than just a President to get a bill passed in Congress. And that the Republicans and Democrats used to have the opposite roles to the ones they have now, and HEY how did that happen? I also importantly remembered how much I love Tommy Lee Jones as an actor, suddenly realised that the sponsor of the 13th Amendment was Gale Boetticher from Breaking Bad AND that Spielberg really is a kind of awesome director, which I guess is something I've been denying forever because his films are, you know, popular?

Anyway. Lincoln maybe isn't a perfect film, but its opening is wonderful, its middle bits are great, and the part in Congress where the Congressmen were voting on the Thirteenth Amendment made me want to jump to my feet and applaud every 'yea' vote. And also to cry juuuust a teeny bit. Other than the rousing bits in the house, my favourite parts were probably those where Abe and his wife, Mary (played by Sally Field, a casting decision which confused me because she's like, what, 65 and she's supposed to have a 10 year old kid? BUT she was actually awesome, as she tends to be) have conversations in her bedroom, she still cut up with grief over the death of their son a couple of years before, he frustrated with her and her grief... I realise I'm not making these conversations sound like the best, but it shows a side to Lincoln so different to his public persona that it's really interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking to watch.

My other other favourite bits are Lincoln's monologues. I can but assume that he actually did, in hugely important meetings, take whatever they were talking about, find an anecdote that loosely related to it and tell it, before finally, FINALLY bringing it round to the point, again. At least, I hope he did because it is AMUSING and also kind of brilliant, and really really really reminded me of The West Wing (I'm assuming that Aaron Sorkin put a little bit of Lincoln, and maybe all the Presidents he admired into President Bartlet, because he does that anecdote thing A LOT.) One of Lincoln's senior staff gets so annoyed by this that he storms off ("You're going to tell one of your stories! I can't stand to hear another one of your stories!") rather than listen to another anecdote, but... Imagine getting to listen to one of President Lincoln's stories! And because DDL has somehow morphed into Lincoln, well, you kind of get to.

So this was ridiculously long, and garbled, and if you stayed for the whole thing then THANK YOU, and have a cookie (cookies not included). Basically, the point is this: Abraham Lincoln was a pretty super dude, and even though I was expecting a biopic, I'm not sure observing him over a longer time period would do him any more justice than watching him in his last months, and finest hours. In film terns, it's kind of unfair to all other actors that Daniel Day-Lewis exists, because he is the actual amazingest and should win ALL THE OSCARS (apart from Best Supporting Actress, for that must go to Anne Hathaway). And, yeah, you should probably go and see Lincoln. ESPECIALLY if you're not American, because hello History lesson taught by DDL. If only all teachers were you...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Devouring Books: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

"How did we go from Character to Personality without realising that we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?"

 I've been struggling to write about Quiet because it's a book that at the time I was a bit reticent to pick up at any point (I'm so not into non-fiction at the moment) but now that I've finished it I kind of can't stop thinking about it? And actually, it's not even that I can't stop thinking about it, so much as that something will come up and I'll be like 'oh man, I was just SUCH a classic introvert right there', and it's just made me really aware of a lot of my behaviour that I probably wouldn't have noticed before. Only, you know, in a less annoying way than that sounds.

So, Quiet. Basically it's a book about how awesome quiet people are, and how undervalued they are by society Western Societies, and actually parts of it read as an instruction manual: for teachers, on how to nurture introverted children, and for businesses, on why to hire introverts. It takes a look at the history of how introverts came to be so undervalued by, well, everyone, and then systematically looks at why that was wrong, and all the advantages there are to being an introvert in all aspects on ones life, and how it wouldn't hurt extroverts to look at the behaviour of introverts sometimes, and apply them to their own lives.

I can't even tell you how much I needed to read this book. I'm actually really secure with myself to what I think is sometimes an annoying degree, and I think a lot of that has to do with being an introvert- my brain is really good company for myself, and I always feel sad that there are people who must not like being alone inside their own heads, so seek out others to be around them all. The. Time. (I'm not saying this is true of ALL extroverts, but, you know, some of them.) But in spite of this, I've always felt that, when it's time to venture out of my bedroom and interact with other people that it's 'wrong' to be so quiet. To not always know what to say. To be bad at starting off conversations but ok at participating in them. To have more friends on the internet than I do in real life.

But no more! This book, honestly, feels like it could be a bit of a life-changer, even if it didn't feel that way at the beginning. Not in any major ways, but just knowing that hey, it's ok to be quiet, and it's ok to think that, when it comes to speaking, quality>quantity. Basically that, it's ok to be quiet because the world needs listeners just as much as it needs talkers, and right now, maybe it does even more so. There were a few things I was especially fascinated by, and I'm just going to bullet point them up right now:

  • That introverts are really uncomfortable with small talk when they don't know someone, but once they feel like they do, small talk is fine- This is SO accurate to what I'm like, only I really never realised it before. But I can't do small talk AT ALL, but I totally can once I'm more used to a certain person. Extroverts are apparently the opposite.
  • That introverts have trouble projecting artificial enthusiasm- I'm SO bad at this, (and also at lying in general) but I thought it was just me being an arsehole. Turns out that heyyyyy, it's just another introverted trait! (I also might still be an arsehole.)
  • I kind of already knew this, but I would be SO popular in China, where apparently in a study they asked children what they valued in their friends and they said 'being humble, altruistic, honest, hard-working', as opposed to American children who said 'being cheerful, enthusiastic and sociable'. Seriously, SO popular in China...
  • Public speaking is the number one fear in America.
  • "The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand or two million without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world."- The internet=really good for introverts. Hey, writing is easier than speaking, amiright?
If you've been thinking that this book is anti-extrovert, then you would be wrong (and also kind of a douche. Like someone going to the NAACP and going 'you're so ANTI-WHITE!' You're missing THE POINT). But anyway. At many points, Cain talks about how good it is to have balance between introverts and extroverts, and I have to agree- I love extroverts, especially the ones that are good at getting other people to talk, and I find them way easier to talk to. The point isn't to say that extroverts are terrible people, but just to show how poorly valued introverts are, why this is the case, and then to prove that introverts DO have attributes that are worthy of attention and that wouldn't hurt EVERYONE to consider taking on, just like everyone NOW is expected to act like an extrovert. It's not a book about hating anyone, it's a book about appreciating everyone. And I love it.

I really think this is a book that anyone, introvert or not, can appreciate, and in fact, I think it's almost more important for extroverts to read to really get a better understanding of how introverts operate and why. I really think that it's the kind of book that tilts your view of the world juuust enough to have a new appreciation for all different kinds of people, rather than just the ones that society celebrates and puts on pedestals. There are times when we could all do with being a little quieter, and this book shows us why that's ok. Why, in fact, it's awesome. And I love it for that.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Sundries: Sluuuuuuuuuump

I seriously need this. Seriously.
This post is going to be another one where the title isn't exactly true anymore, but CAN I be bothered to change it? I cannot.

So this Sunday Sundries was going to be about my reading-blogging slump, BUT I'm tentatively going to say that I'm not in a reading slump anymore, because last night I was really tired, but I wanted to stay up to finish my book (a bit because I'd been reading it for about a MONTH, but also because I just wanted to read it, you know?). So that was awesome, and I think I've just been kind of meh about reading because I've been reading TOO MANY books at once and that makes them feel never-ending because, well, they never end if you read like that.

So now I'll just be reading my Harry Potter chapters every week (which is not a hardship, believe me!), and then trucking on through Les Miserables (135 pages in, and... Fantine isn't even pregnant yet. Maaaaan...) AND (I know, I'm trying to CUT down on the number of books I'm reading at once. This IS cutting down, trust me!) then I'm just going to have one other book that's my main/non-restrictiony book. And hopefully this'll work and won't leave me all frustrated at the lack of finishing books.

The only thing is, even though I WANT to finish books, I'm apparently not in the mood to write about them. Only I AM, and even at this very second there are books I want to write about that I've finished (Quiet, for example. THAT BOOK HAS CHANGED MY THINKING!) but I think it's like... I have a limited amount of free time to do stuff in now (I mean, it's still a lot of time, don't get me wrong!) and I think I just prefer doing things in that time that aren't writing? The other thing is, in the mornings I'm reticent to go on the computer too much because I know I'm going to be staring at a screen all afternoon, and then in the evenings I'm too tiiiiired. So basically working afternoons has stolen my prime blogging time and that's really annoying.

Basically, I think I just need to sit down for a few evenings and just kind of catch up with myself and write all the posts I've been putting off, and then start again and just like keep up with the things I read? Or something... I need to stop slumping, basically, because it's pissing me off.

In other news, I made definitive lists of all the books I own and need to read, split into like, types (non-fiction, literary fiction, etc etc) and in news that will be no surprise to anyone, the categories with the most unread books are non-fiction and classics. Which I am AWESOME at buying, but not so much at reading. I should probably do something about that. This week, I also made some awesome Valentines for my internet buddies (and still need to make more, for I have stalled in that whole process), made THREE kinds of pancakes and still wanted more, and I got a new recipe book and immediately had to make STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE CUPCAKES because OMG. And the verdict? So incredibly good.

Quick note: I'm just going to defend the fact that I bought a book by saying that HEY it's a recipe book and so exempt from like having to read it, and also, did I mention strawberry milkshake cupcakes? And also many, many other things that I wanted to make. I seriously was squealing over every page of the book, and that NEVER happens. But maybe I was just high on new book fumes.
Finalement, I accidentally went to the cinema twice this week. On Wednesday I totally tried to take my mum to see Les Mis but the internet told me the wrong times (I WILL NEVER TRUST YOU AGAIN INTERNET!) so we ended up going to see Lincoln instead, about which I will for now say OMG DDL! I will of course be reviewing it because JGL is in it and, well, I seem to review his films above all others. Oddness. Anyway, so that was cool in the end, but then yesterday I totally made my mum and sister go to see Les Mis in the afternoon with me and it was, of course, still epic, and I cried even more than the first time and it was sullied only by my mum trying to pat me right at the end when I was trying to sob ON MY OWN (no pun intended.)

Honestly, I'm just going to go by myself next time! How were all of your weeks then?

Friday, 15 February 2013

"'You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us?"

Before we even begin, look at THIS:
Happy Valentines Day for yesterday, my fellow Harry Potter voyagers!

Now onto the good stuff.

Oh, second half of Prisoner of Azkanban, you so DRAMATIC! As I hinted at (i.e. basically outright said) last week, all of the things that were set up in the first half really just EXPLODED in this second half and oh WOW the double ending thing still gets me! I mean, I knew it was going to happen and everything, it just still always amazes me because TIME TRAVEL YESSSSSSSS!
(I'm a big fan of Back to the Future, so... I have a lot of time for time-travelling plots.)

Before I get to the bullet points (which, I'm sorry, but are inevitable at this point) there are a few things I need to discuss in detail and THAT MEANS PARAGRAPHS, people. Try not to get too excited. So firstly there's the Snape and Sirius thing. Last week I tried to convince Alice that she needed to pick a side because, you know, get involved in the spat between the kids at school who were dicks, and Snape who was clearly bullied. A lot.
At this point in the books, though, I'm kind of not down with either of them. I know that now we're meant to be like 'YAY Sirius, Harry can come and live with you!' and like 'Boo Snape, you wanted Sirius to have his soul STOLEN', and actually? I'm not down with Snape being ok with Sirius getting the Dementor's kiss, because that shit is NOT OK. (Lupin: 'Do you really think anyone deserves that?' NO LUPIN! I DON'T! I LOVE YOU!) But I'm also not ok with Sirius thinking that it's ok to nearly murder someone. This:
"'It served him right' he sneered. 'Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to... hoping he could get us expelled.'"
Is neither a reason to get someone killed, nor a defence against it.
So neither Snape nor Sirius comes away too well from this book, at least not in my eyes. But LUPIN! I mean, last week my love for him was definitely rekindled, but in the second half? I mean, there's the whole anti-Dementor thing that's just awesome, and then there's also the tortured soul thing with all-the-guilt of being what he is, and there's also the VERY attractive ability that he has to see that a lot of the  things they did when they were kids WERE actually wrong (did you hear that, Sirius?) So he has the ability to admit his mistakes. I find all of this pretty darn hot, if I'm honest, and maybe it's just because he has NO competition, or maybe he is just the awesomest?

If his final exam is anything to go by, then I'm willing to opt for the latter.

Bullet point time!

  • Hermione, of course, continues her excellence by firstly helping Hagrid with the Buckbeak case when she has the most schoolwork ever to also do, and THEN when she smacks Malfoy for being HORRID about it. Ugh, she's so amazing.
  • "Hermoine flung her arms round Ron's neck and broke down completely. Ron, looking quite terrified, patted her very awkwardly on the top of her head"- Awwwwwwwwww!
  • Oh NEVILLE, of course you'd write down all the passwords and then lose them. *SIGH*
  • I can't tell you how much I LOVE that Harry pictures his Patronus as Hagrid with a big club! Just yes.
  • Harry's anguish over not wanting to hear his mother's last minutes but also wanting to because it's all he has of her genuinely breaks my heart, and then, just to add to things there's THIS "'So you did see your father last night, Harry... You found him inside yourself."
  • I'd love to know if the Whomping Willow was always intended to have been Lupin's special tree, or if JK just thought of it in between books 2 and 3. SO MUCH WE DON'T KNOW.
  • If Harry HAD ended up living with Sirius (at any point) would he have turned into a much more entitled douchey wizard than he is because he was treated like crap for the first 11 years of his life? I guess we'll never know, but... I'm not sure how great Sirius would have been for him.
And that's about all I have folks (thank GOD, says everyone.) I'm pretty excited to be moving onto the Goblet of Fire, because... Well, before we started this whole thing, I would have probably said it was my absolute favourite, but there's so much I'm learning that I don't remember that... I have no idea about anything anymore. But I really really really like it LOADS because hey- I like it when there are TASKS and things to face (it's why I liked Ready Player One so much, I think.) So YAY.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Classics Spin

I am totally a member of The Classics Club (in that, I have a list and all) but as of yet I haven't really participated in any of the meme things they do, because... laziness? I don't know. ANYWAY, I've been making ok progress on my list (if you ignore the two books I just added to it... I just, have a lot of books to read, ok?) but as is the case when you have a lot of books to read, I often find it tricky figuring out what to read next (BOOK PARALYSIS) so this Classics Spin seems like a good idea to me!
SO. Basically what I'm to do is to pick 20 books off my classics list, give each of them a number, and then on Monday the Classics Club are going to pick a number and I'm going to read that book by April 1 (maybe). I am TERRIFIED, but I have also picked my books accordingly, which basically means NOT picking War and Peace or Infinite Jest because there's not much chance I'll read them in like a month, and also leaving off, say, Gone With The Wind because I think I want to read that this summer.

There are categories and I'm gonna list the books in those categories and THEN mix them up so that, I don't know, there's more of a chance of getting to read a nice book rather than a scary one? Firstly, the books I'm TERRIFIED of:
Dangerous Liasons- Choderlos De Laclos
The Last of the Mohicans- James Fenimore Cooper
100 Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Great Expectations- Charles Dickens 
Madame Bovary- Gustave Flaubert

Books I'm excited about:
Alias Grace- Margaret Atwood
The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
Little Men- Louisa May Alcott
Middlemarch- George Eliot (This is maaaaybe the number one book I'm looking forward to.)
What Maisie Knew- Henry James

Books I'm neutral about:
The Bell- Iris Murdoch
Evelina- Frances Burney
The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton
The Plumed Serpent- DH Lawrence
A Passage to India- EM Forster

And, finally, Re-Reads I'm excited about (see? Two lots of books I'm excited about! HOW CAN I LOSE?!):
Shirley- Charlotte Bronte
The Winter of Our Discontent- John Steinbeck
Catch 22- Joseph Heller
I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith
Villette- Charlotte Bronte

And now, through the magic of, I don't know, mixing shit up, a numbered list!

1. Evelina- Frances Burney
2. I Capture The Castle- Dodie Smith
3. What Maisie Knew- Henry James
4. The Last of the Mohicans- James Fenimore Cooper
5. Madame Bovary- Gustave Flaubert
6. Villette- Charlotte Bronte
7. The Plumed Serpent- DH Lawrence
8. Middlemarch- George Eliot
9. Catch 22- Joseph Heller
10. The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
11. Dangerous Liasons- Choderlos De Laclos
12. A Passage to India- EM Forster
13. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
14. The Bell- Iris Murdoch
15. Shirley- Charlotte Bronte
16. 100 Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
17. The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton
18. The Winter of Our Discontent- John Steinbeck
19. Little Men- Louisa May Alcott
20. Alias Grace- Margaret Atwood

And now I just sit and wait... Just please please not 4 or 13, ok guys?!

Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I really be dreading?

P.S. I'm studiously ignoring the fact that it's Valentine's Day, but just know that I LOVE YOU ALL. I plan to spend my day eating Love Hearts and probably watching something that involves JGL later. Don't tell me that I don't know how to be romantic to myself!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dear Frances

Today is your birthday. Happy Birthday!*

Since the days are gone where we lived together and I could just make you a cake and stuff, here is a whole blog post beautifully crafted just for you (and whoever else happens to read this. Hi everyone!)

Because, I assume, other people will want to read this, I thought that, instead of getting all lovey and gooshy in your face (although I LOVE YOU YOU ARE MY FAVOURITE), I'd instead take a trip down memory lane (or mammary lane...) to look at the things that we first watched or read together, or that I might never have experienced without you. This being a thing that I write about all the time, and I don't know, it might be interesting. Let's see!

So. Some things we watched/read together:

  • The Graduate- I think, mainly because it was in (500) Days of Summer? But also because, you know, we were nearly graduates and it seemed compulsory to watch it. And it was goooood.
  • Pamela by Samuel Richardson- I mean, we didn't so much read this together as we formed a support group that allowed us to get through it. I think the greatest function of the support group was skipping the seminar to do online shopping instead, which was very very handy! You're a good accomplice.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, in general- So we took this one unit that meant we had to watch My Beautiful Laundrette, and it was AWESOME and DDL was heavenly, and THEN we stayed up most of one night watching this weird film and then also MBL again, and the next day we couldn't walk and laugh at the same time but it. Was. Worth. It.
  • United States of Tara- There was a time when we both had a Diablo Cody obsession (I mean, I'm not really over mine...) and so we watched United States of Tara together, obviously totally legally because it's been shown on UK TV and everything... Ahem. But it was awesome and LONG LIVE TARA even though some mean TV bosses already killed her *SIGH*.
And, you know, 

But then there were also things that you knew about and I did not, and you introduced me to them and they were awesome. I actually have a list that's too long to just put here, but you know, thanks for all those things, but especially these:
  • Gone With The Wind- It's always going to be a Christmas film to me, because that's when we watched it for the first time, and that's when we still watch it, every year. It's become one of my favourite parts of Christmas, but also just one of my favourite things
  • When Harry Met Sally- Before I'd seen this, I'd never had any contact with Nora Ephron and her amazingness. I mean, it might have taken me a few years to catch on, but Frances... you GAVE ME NORA. Thanks for that!
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith- I feel like I take in a lot of book recommendations and then they fly out of my head about a day later, but THIS did not, and I really really like it now. In fact, today's post was just going to be a review of I Capture the Castle with a 'Happy Birthday' on the end, but... I sort of didn't get round to reading it. But still. I really love it.
  • Gilmore Girls- I may still get events confused and there are still chunks of it I haven't seen, but I would never have seen any of it without you, and then I would never have LUKE in my Personal Book of Major Crushes. (That's not a real book. But it probably should be.)
So, thank you Frances for these and all the other things you put into my face and my brain and made me watch or read. More importantly thanks for being the loveliest, and you know, for keeping in touch and all. I think we do a good job of communicating for people who hardly ever see each other, and long may it continue, is what I say! And, you know, have a lovely birthday day!

P.S. Everyone else: What I'm saying is, it's nice to have friends! Is the gist of this. Also, make sure you watch and read allllll of these things. I'm serious!

*Note: You might not want to search Tumblr for Happy Birthday gifs, for you will find many children going 'wow, you're finally 14' and feel ANCIENT.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Sundries

My week has been too lame for this post to even have a subtitle- apparently when you kind of do nothing all week, there isn't an easy way to summarise what a post about it is going to look like.

That sentence above right there feels MENTAL to me, and I can only blame it on the fact that I don't feeeel well (imagine I'm whining that to you, and then be grateful that we don't actually speak with voices), which I attribute to the fact that I had to WORK so much at the start of this week that by the end of it I was just like 'ow my throat hurts and I just want to lay down and watch Netflix and stuff'. Or, you know, it's winter still and also nearly Valentines Day and I almost always have tonsillitis on V-Day (don't ask me why, it's just a thing) so, yeah. Illness around now is fairly par for the course.

So yeah. Work, work, work, rest, reading, The Wire, knitting, and yesterday I soldiered on and had coffee (by which I obviously mean hot chocolate) with my friend Becci, and we did a bit of shopping and stuff. Which was nice! And I DIDN'T EVEN BUY ANY BOOKS. Like I haven't all year. Because I'm getting really good at self-denial. Wait, do I mean self-denial or like just... not-buying-things-for-me? I have no idea.

This last week has kind of been a bust, then. This coming week though, there are 3 events- Frances's birthday (which I shall experience from afar *sigh*), V Day (which... I will do nothing on, I assume) and, most importantly, PANCAKE DAY. Or Mardi Gras. Or just, like, Shrove Tuesday if you don't eat many pancakes/fatty foods on it but WHO WOULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN THIS?! This also makes Wednesday the start of Lent, which, as you will definitely remember, is the time last year when I stopped eating meat and OH look totally didn't start eating it again ever. Since that was so successful, I really feel like I should give up something else this year, but I can't really think of anything. So maybe not.*

Anyway. So this week coming should be good! Let's just ignore this past week. Ok? Good.

Now heyyyy, remember when I used to do this?
(I mean, I still try to do this, you know, in general; but specifically here?) It's that time of the week where I tell you about a blog that's awesome and you go and read it and make new friends and everybody's happy! YAY! And by 'that time of the week' I obviously mean 'that time of the sometimes when I do this which is also hardly ever'. But that's ok, I can do what I want! 

So. BLOGS! I have a couple I want to tell you about, and they're both fairly new blogs so I'm excited to watch them and see what happens with them over the... time until they're less new! I kind of found them both in the same way, which is why they're getting a shoutout together instead of separately (also because I might forget to do this like, ever again. So yeah.) 

ANYWAY. Once upon a time maybe 9 months ago when I was deeply into Japan and everything about it (which I kind of still am, but slightly less so- I haven't read a Murakami book since August!) I have a few comment conversations with a lovely person called Jen who LIVES IN JAPAN (and so is automatically awesome) and also really nice and good at comment conversations and everything. But, alas, she didn't have a blog and then disappeared for a while and I thought I'd lost my lovely new friend who lives in Japan. BUT THEN around Christmastime, someone called Jenny left some comments on my blog, and THIS TIME she had a blog too and with some very intense research (i.e. I asked her) I discovered that they were one and the same person and now I have my friend back!

Honestly, they should make a romantic comedy out of my life. I would so not watch that movie. ANYWAY- Here is Jen's blog, go and read it and enjoy.

And then my other little new blogger is Ellie (ANOTHER Ellie, whuuut?!) who also around Christmastime left mayyybe the nicest comment I've ever gotten, only it wasn't in a gross sucking up way (not that I'm averse to some sucking up, I should point out. You know, go for it) but in a way that showed me that SHE was awesome whilst she was also telling me that I was awesome. It was a fucking good comment, is what I'm saying. Anyway, she had a blog and I went right ahead and followed it, and you can too if you go here. Let's all just be friends and stuff, yes?

*Side story- this one year I gave up Diet Coke for Lent and didn't replace it with Coca-Cola or ANYTHING and it was HORRIBLE except that when I had my first can after it, it was AMAZING. Which is more of that doughnut delayed gratification I was talking about last week, I guess.

Friday, 8 February 2013

"There are horrors in your past that the others don't have."

IT'S HARRY POTTER DAAAAAAAAAY! (You already knew that, right? It's been this way for about a zillion Fridays already! I'M STILL EXCITED!)

So. The Prisoner of Azkaban! Oooh, isn't that Sirius Black all dastardly and evil and whatnot? I sure hope Harry doesn't run into him in the second part of the book because he's sure to kill him because he's SO evil and everything.
Hey, I believe it! But seriously, I feel like not that much happens in the first half of the Prisoner of Azkaban (or at least, not much actiony stuff) but there is SO much setting up stuff that it's kind of ridiculous. Stuff like:

  • 'Ooooh, isn't Sirius evil?' (we've covered this. But seriously, I really hate Sirius right now)
  • The whole Snape vs. Lupin thing. Why does Snape LOATHE him, I wonder?
  • Scabbers didn't appear in basically ANY of the Chamber of Secrets, but he has been mentioned SO much in the first half of PoA. I wonder why..? (Seriously, the Scabbers thing tends to be all I remember about PoA. So let me notice it!) 
  • Lupin sure does get sick a lot. Like, once a month, I'd say? Hmmmm, I wonder what that could be...
  • Hermione's secrecy over how she's doing so many lessons- I wonder if that will be important later? 
So I'd say that there is a lot waiting to happen, and that is EXCITING, but I'm thinking that the second half is going to be a LOT more exciting than the first. Just a thought.

So, the Dementors are fairly terrifying, aren't they? I can't remember who, but someone was saying last week about how brutal wizard justice is, and I think the Dementors really bring that home- I mean, I guess that since wizards can do magic with only their brains (see: Harry and Aunt Marge- aka the biggest bitch in the world) they really need to be worn down so much that all they want is to DIE, but still, it seems pretty brutal. Let's not even talk about the fact that I used to get confused between Dementors and Death Eaters. I've worked it out now. 

And, some more Hermione amazingness. We all know that she's a fan of logic (as am I) so I LOVE her gobbiness in Divination because yes, it's clearly all bullshit- for one thing, there are 4 more books to get through and Harry is clearly not going to die. So that already gave me happy feelings towards Hermione, but also, right at the end of this part where she gets Prof. McGonagall to check out Harry's Firebolt? CLEARLY the right thing to do, and Ron and Harry are utter dicks for being angry at her. If I was her, I'd just be like:
Random thoughts and whatnot:
  • Lupin is, I think, the pinnacle of the Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers. It's all downhill from here, people.
  • I feel like, possibly, EVEN Uncle Vernon thinks Aunt Marge goes a bit too far? In that he doesn't go and murder Harry after the whole blowing up incident, so... 
  • "Crabbe and Goyle seemed to exist to do Malfoy's bidding.' Um... That's exactly why they exist, JK. How very meta of you!
  • "Overcome with emotion, he buried his face into his napkin." Awwwww, Hagrid! (Btw, those flobberworm classes sound SO. DULL. STUPID MALFOY!)
  • I love that Dumbledore hates the Dementors, and clearly thinks they're the WORST way to punish people and everything. Ugh, Dumbledore, why you so awesome?
  • Hogsmeade is, without a doubt, the place in HP Land that I'd most like to go to. Even more than Hogwarts. MUCH more than Diagon Alley. That sweet shop guys. I'd just DIE.
Until next week...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Devouring Books: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

"You'd be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever."

I can't even describe to you how much fun I had reading Ready Player One. It was on my radar for a while, because that's what happens when Alley and Alice both read a book and say it's awesome, but I put off reading it because... Well, it seems stupid now, but I was like 'but what if I don't get the 80s pop culture references, and I don't like video games that much...' etc. But then Kit of Books are my Boyfriends got REALLY excited about it, and it finally gave me that extra push to read it.

And, as The Sisters Brothers already proved, I should really listen to my internet friends more often.
Totally what everyone is doing right now.

Because, just for a start, reading Ready Player One was seriously the most fun reading experience I've had for a while. It's not like I can say that the writing is perfect, or that it didn't have problems (probably...) but it genuinely brought me so much pure JOY that I can't criticise it in any way because that would kind of cheapen the experience of reading it. Which, if I haven't mentioned it yet, was SO MUCH FUN!
Let's see, I should tell you something about the book, correct? It's basically set about 30 years in the future, where civilisation has ever so slightly collapsed in the real world, but a virtual world (the Oasis) which takes place entirely on the internet (well, it kind of is the internet) has strengthened and become the only place to be. The bleakness of the real world is matched only by the awesomeness of the Oasis. To make things a little spicier, hidden in the Oasis are some easter eggs that, if all are obtained, lead one Oasis user to the late creator of the Oasis's billion dollar fortune. Enter our hero, Wade Watts, and his search for the hidden clues and keys within the Oasis.

And, I mean, wow. Cline is quite clearly a massive nerd, and, presumably lacking the skills to code a computer game, has somehow managed to put one in a novel, whilst also creating relationships between characters who have never seen each others faces, and exploring social issues and the underlying loneliness of the people who exist more in the virtual world than the real one. It is these latter things that made the book something more than just a thrilling game, which, admittedly wouldn't have been the worst, but would have been a lot more one dimensional than it actually is. The sadder parts made the Oasis seem even more vivid, even more exciting, for what it allows its characters to escape.

But let's talk about the fun parts! I'm willing to admit that I hadn't heard of the vast majority of the games mentioned (and I'm fairly certain that Cline could have gotten even more obscure, so... Thanks for keeping Pac-man in there, man!) but they were well described enough to get a good idea of what they'd look like, and besides, all you really need is to have faith that Wade is going to be able to play them well. Fortunately, too, there are plenty of other 80s pop culture references that I totally got (Back to the Future ftw!) and with each one I definitely got a little burst of excitement at the recognition I felt. I mean, I understand the impulse that comes with being obsessed with video games and movies and music, even if I kind of switch 'video games' with 'books'. I'm still dedicatedly a nerd, and this book really appeals to my nerd instincts.

There is SO much more I could say about Ready Player One- I haven't even covered the way it goes about approaching internet friendships, or how it really, in spite of what you might think, advocates a balanced life as opposed to one lived entirely in virtual reality, and how I love that, and also OMG more awesome 80s references. But, instead, I'll just repeat that THIS BOOK IS SO MUCH FUN and wait for you to come back and thank me when you've read it. You're already welcome.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday Sundries: This post is basically going to be all about doughnuts

Hello my little ones! And how has everyone's week been? I am happy because I got to walk to work almost every day this week (I worked all day on Friday and I am NOT leaving the house at 8.30am just to walk, are you crazy?) which makes me feel all nice and exercised. The actual walking may not have been all that pleasant (I'm not kidding when I say I nearly got blown over. We've had some INTENSE winds) but it makes me feel good and I like it. (I realise that sentence feels like it needs a 'so there!' on the end of it, and that's because some people at work on Friday were like 'OMG you walk to work? WHY?!' and I'm just like, um, exercise? Anyway...)

So that was good. Now let's talk about doughnuts! So, Tuesday was one of my colleagues' birthdays, and because she's lovely she brought in doughnuts so we could, you know, consume calories in honour of her birth. And it wasn't until I was stuffing it into my mouth that I realised two things:

  1. I really, really, really like doughnuts
2. I haven't had a doughnut since I made them back in like, what? August? (Yep, August)

These are astonishing realisations, I know (a human being who likes doughnuts? What an anomaly!) but the thing was that this doughnut was really good I think purely because I hadn't had one in so long. So, essentially, I'm now thinking that delayed gratification might be the way to go with food that is really bad for you but that you really like, because honestly, I'm not sure I can remember a time when I enjoyed a doughnut more.

A regular doughnut, that is. Because I got so much pleasure from the Nutella doughnuts that it was almost obscene. The love between a woman and her doughnuts...
Anyway. I realise this isn't exactly groundbreaking since I assume we all know about delayed gratification, but I don't know, I feel like this is the first time I've really been without something for SO long, and then have suddenly been overwhelmed with how good it is. And I feel like I should probably do it with other things too, just so they suddenly taste so so good again. The only other way this happens (according to Fight Club, anyway) is having a near death experience, and I'd rather not have one of those k? Thanks. 

The doughnut rabbit hole I fell down also meant that I remembered I hadn't had a Krispy Kreme for a really really really long time either, and so yesterday I also had to have one of them because I remembered and also I had to do the shopping because my mum hasn't been well this week (I thought we were over this! But apparently not.) and there were Krispy Kremes there and well. I had to have one, obviously. I'm not going to go on about how good it was (it was really good. Chocolate cream AND jam inside. The best.) BUT look at what I found on the bag I got it in:
'Doughnuts contain: Wheat (yep, that's the flour), Eggs (obviously), Milk (makes sense), Soya (Ok), Lupin...' Wait, Lupin? LUPIN IS IN THESE DOUGHNUTS?! What is happening in the world, people?! 

Harry Potter is everything, and everything is Harry Potter. Even doughnuts, apparently.

Friday, 1 February 2013

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

I think you lot have all rubbed off on me, because for this part of Harry Potter, all I could come up with was a whole load of criticisms. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?! (I should add- I have literally never criticised HP before. Except Dobby, obviously, but he's so annoying that I JUST CAN'T HELP IT). But then again, maybe it's just the Chamber of Secrets that has done this to me. Who knows.

Are you ready for bullet points?! Because that's all I've got in me this week guys. You are? Good.

  • How absent has Snape been from these first two books? I had no idea. I think that because of... stuff, he's gained this massively important spot in my brain, that I just want to watch him all the time and see how he reacts to things, but obviously I can't. Which is annoying.
It was pretty freaking awesome when he expelliarmus-ed Lockhart at duelling club though. Oh, Snape...
  • We've already discussed how there seem to be not-that-many students at Hogwarts, so surely they'd basically know everyone in their year? So... why this: "Behind him walked a Slytherin girl, who reminded Harry of a picture he'd seen in Holidays with Hags." WHO KNOWS?!
  • I have to ask, when all these students keep getting Petrified, does Hogwarts notify the parents? It doesn't seem like the lovely Grangers go and sit by Hermione's bedside or anything, so... They just shrug and go 'well, we'll get them sorted out before summer' and leave it? THIS DOESN'T SEEM RIGHT!
  • Also, Hagrid, sending Harry and Ron into the Forbidden Forest (again...) where they really very nearly get eaten by MASSIVE SPIDERS (by the way, I don't even hate spiders, but meeting Aragog's family didn't make me feel very settled... so I can't imagine what that bit is like for someone with arachnophobia. *HUGS if that was you*). I mean, really...

  • Speaking of Hagrid, I have some issues over this whole expulsion thing. Namely that, once Tom Riddle became Voldemort, wouldn't they have been like 'Oh SHIT, sorry Hagrid!' and completely not trust what they were told by the evillest wizard ever? But instead they cart Hagrid off to Azkaban (AZKABAN! That could be an important place later...) and Tom Riddle still has a trophy? I guess Hermione was right when she said that wizards were no good with logic.
  • SPEAKING of Hermoine, way to keep her out of all of the action JK! I really missed her in the second half, and whilst I really didn't have a problem with her realisation that friendship and courage are more important than book learning at the end of the Philosopher's Stone, I DO have a problem with her going 'You solved it! You solved it!' because NO HERMIONE, YOU DID!

Why do you keep doing this JK? WHY?!
  • I haven't seen the movies, but please tell me that it's spectacular when Fawkes flies into the Chamber? It is in my brain, anyway.
  • I always feel very calm when Dumbledore's there, like everything's right with the world, but that might just be because he always turns up after the danger is over. Which is pretty fucking useless of him, actually. But still, I like it when he's there.
  • I... Would have totally taken a rooster into the Chamber with me. But I'm really sensible, so.
One final thing: Basically my favourite comment of last week was when Kayleigh said that Percy's spending all his time in his room meant he was masturbating, and I think I can corroborate that: 
"'I just asked [Ginny] if she'd seen anything odd, and she started to say-'
'Oh- that- that's nothing to do with the Chamber of Secrets' said Percy at once.'"