Do I stand by my old reviews? Looking back on SEVEN YEARS of book blogging!    

Hello all! This is a post that’s been a long time coming- not least because today is my 7th BLOGGIVERSARY!!!! Can you believe I’ve been doing this for SEVEN YEARS ALREADY?!?! I certainly can’t!! And of course, that’s got me being all retrospective about my old reviews. Because written a HELLUVA LOT of them in that time!

Now, naturally, when I look back on my old posts, I have to admit I don’t enjoy it. Perhaps it goes without saying, they don’t ever seem as polished as my newer reviews. So, broadly speaking, I won’t be addressing that side of things (just know I’m *internally cringing* the whole time). I’m gonna be looking at the content and whether or not I still agree with what I said about the books. Wish me luck- I’m gonna need it!

(NB: The pictures will all link to the original reviews, so feel free to check them out for reference).

As I Lay Dying– I don’t care how many times a random stranger tells me that I “didn’t get” how genius this book is, I still think it’s shit and I stand by my review. It’s plotless, stuffed with uninteresting characters and pretentiously written. I do not think this book was “ruined for me” by bad teaching or whatever nonsense someone wants to throw at me- I just think it’s bad.

The Fault in Our Stars– I was almost too kind in my review… and I didn’t say anything positive about it 😉 Maybe I’d be more forgiving if this book didn’t exploit Anne Frank for clout… but it does, so I’m never gonna forget how pretentious this book is. Also, I once saw Green state in a video that he only believes in positive reviews, so I’m never taking this down 😉

Bronze Horseman– yeah this book still sucks. I definitely could have been more concise in my review- but I stand by the gist of it.

Throne of Glass– okay, now we’re getting into some juicy stuff, because we’re talking about books I liked at the time, yet no longer care for. Reading back these positive reviews feels a bit cringey. While I still stand by some parts- like the fact it was cool to have a protagonist who wasn’t a stereotypically “nice” girl- it’s hard not to think about where said character ended up (being a really bland “chosen one” stand in). I essentially stand by what I said, because it’s how I felt at the time, and I don’t think it’s fair for my current perspective to taint that.

Eye of the World– ahhh now this one is curious, because in an unbelievable turn of events, I ended up rereading this book recently. Annnnd I still had the same trouble with the writing and desperately thinking that the story needed editing. BUT there was clearly enough intrigue in the story for me to want to give the Wheel of Time series a second try. So, I guess I’ve softened with this one, recognising that I can see why other people like it.

Lonely Hearts Hotel– oh dear- this is one of those books I wish I’d never read. I don’t want to have written a negative review about it, because I feel like I was miss-marketed the story. That said, there’s enough objectionable content in the book that I have to stand by everything I said about it.

Woman in the Window– ehh, really hard one to talk about! I try to judge a book separate from the author as much as humanly possible… however I’d have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about what was going on behind the scenes! Aside from that, while I still think the writing was stellar, watching the movie and reading/seeing other reviews has made me rethink how well I rated this book. Despite the fact that I like the motifs, the story is just not that great. This is probably the closest I’ve come to fully wanting to retract an old review!

Maidens– still, there are plenty of times when I see negative reviews and don’t change my mind! Although this is a more recent read, I’ve included this because I’ve seen *a lot* of criticisms of this book and I just don’t agree. I find it a very richly written thriller with a dark edge, elevated by its mythological references.

Beartown– when I was planning to do this post, I was thinking about this review as one I regretted. After feedback, I felt like I was perhaps too harsh on the book and the way it handled sensitive topics. And then I read Night Swim. Unfortunately, I had much the same critiques, being frustrated with its take on the legal system and its desire to overturn judicial principles like “innocent until proven guilty”. So while I wish I’d handled the topic with more sensitivity… I still haven’t changed my mind about the actual book.

The Queen’s Thief Series– it’s not all bad news though! While I had mixed feelings about this series, looking back on my review, I found it to be pretty nuanced. It’s safe to say, I had a *strong* reaction to this series- and I think the review I wrote covers that! (in spite of my rather misleading title for the review 😉 )

Sadie– if anything, I wish I could have hyped this book more! Looking back on my super positive reviews like this, I TOTALLY stand by everything I said. My only issue is that I can’t do stories like this justice! They deserve more hype!!

And that’s all for now! There are so many more reviews I could’ve talked about, but hopefully I covered a good range! What do you think? Do you think my assessment of these reviews was fair? And do you ever change your mind about old reviews? Let me know in the comments! I’m dying to hear your thoughts on this!

Being a “Bad Art Friend” – An Unpleasant New Writing Trend or a Tale as Old as Time?

Recently, I went to a writing group, where a fellow writer told me how she got her inspiration. She was writing the story of a friend of a friend losing her virginity at 28. “When my friend told me the story, I just found it so funny, I had to write it into a novel,” she told me. And I cringed. The idea of such a personal story being relayed to the world is a lot of people’s worst nightmare. And the fact that the person poaching the plot was a complete stranger (thereby obviously not having permission to tell it) didn’t make me feel better about it.  

But it did get me thinking… how bad is it to pinch parts of someone else’s life story? Is it ever okay?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the “Bad Art Friend”- a complicated tale of a personal story being plagiarised (and consequent law suits). A lot of people cannot decide who exactly the “Bad Art Friend” was in that situation (since this certainly seems to be a case of writers behaving badly). Nonetheless- whichever side I am on- there’s something deeply uncomfortable about taking someone else’s story in order to mock them. I cannot help but be reminded of Music and Lyrics, where Drew Barrimore’s character has been traumatised by such an event. Naturally, as the audience it is impossible not to empathise- for who would want to be the laughing stock of the world?

Which makes this seem like a cut and dry case- except it’s clearly not. Because isn’t this just something writers and artists do? Drawing from real life is quite possibly the oldest tradition in writing. We all have poets and singers we admire who openly write about real life people. And while artists like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran may have been criticised in recent years for this practice… it’s not like it’s a new phenomenon. People scour Shakespeare’s sonnets for evidence of the real people they were about. Thomas Hardy knowingly took details from real life cases he read about in newspapers to add realism to his stories. And what of historical fiction, cannibalising the lives of real figures in history and reproducing them for our entertainment. Indeed, even I am engaging in this practice by sharing my anecdote at the start of this piece!

Sadly, I don’t think there is an easy answer here. If you argue that you should obscure the references, keeping identities secret like Carly Simons did with “You’re So Vain”, you underestimate the innumerable fan sites dedicated to decoding songwriter’s every word. And if you suggest only writing nice things your victims subjects, then you ignore the likes of Christopher Robin, the star of Winnie the Pooh, who famously complained about being foisted into the spotlight against his will. And retribution for those whose stories are stolen seems out of the question- lawsuits don’t help you win allies and plotting murder like in the (hopefully entirely fictional) Plot seems a bit extreme 😉

It seems to me that there is no way around absorbing parts of our lives into our stories and art. There is no obvious dividing line where truth becomes fiction after all. But perhaps we can still endeavour to treat people with basic dignity and respect. Perhaps there are some stories that we ought to leave well enough alone. Perhaps the only conclusive advice I can offer is this: don’t be a dick. Which is sound advice in general 😉

For more on this discussion (and somewhat different takes) check out these videos:

All of this leaves me in quite the conundrum- so I’d like to hear what you think! Is it ever okay to fictionalise someone else’s story? Can you entirely avoid drawing from real life? Let me know in the comments!

It’s okay to collect books

She says as she unhauls a few more books…

Of course, the main reason I’m clearing out these books is to make space for even more books 😉 As many of you will doubtless agree, there’s an immense pleasure to be had from perusing and purchasing *pretty new books*. I love going into a bookshop and being hit by that beautiful new book smell, looking at all the glossy new covers and growing my tbr with books I never intended on reading before. And of course, this is not an endorsement of mass consumerism and I will always be a BIG FAN of libraries- yet I have come to see that of all the vices to have in this world, collecting books is not that bad.

To start with, books are beautiful. Inside and out. Judging by the way the market has gone, booksellers agree that making a cover as gorgeous as possible is the best way to get that book onto our shelves. And they’re not wrong! I am easily swayed by a lovely cover. Not just for books I plan to read either- I’m a big fan of collectibles, especially for my favourite books. Most recently, I was gifted this gorgeous edition of the Hobbit:

Rereads are made all that more special with a nice new edition or an old nostalgic version! As much as the words are the same, I rather enjoy a physical copy that carries some memories or creates new ones. I may never experience the same story for the first time- but I can experience it fresh eyes and a different copy 😉 And these books become so precious to me (gollum style… except no one’s throwing them into Mount Doom on my watch! 😉 )

And personally, I love exploring what books other people have on display. If people can get over how nosy I am about what they’re reading, then it’s a great conversation starter 😉 And as someone who doesn’t always like to venture outside my own habitat, seeing bookshelves usually makes me feel at ease (unless of course the only book they own is mein kampf 😉). People’s bookshelves are often a wonderful insight into their personality.

Obviously, this goes beyond mere decoration (I’m not some celebrity ordering books by the yard 😉). And as much as I do feel rather special picking up a swish edition, it’s not all that necessary (especially considering most of my books are tatty and old). Collections of books are valuable in a way that goes far beyond monetary value. Here’s a shocking revelation: it’s the words inside that matter (and the words I’ve then written above those words cos I’m all for writing in books 😉) What you’re really collecting is the stories themselves. Inside is the accumulated wisdom of the author, their weird idiosyncrasies and their most preciously held thoughts. And I just love being able to support those authors as much as humanely possible.

So, what do you think? Do you enjoy collecting books? Am I preaching to the choir here or do you have a different view? Let me know in the comments!

New is Not Always Better- Hollywood’s Butchery of Good Stories

Obviously, there are a lot of amazing adaptations out there. Some faithfully manage to take the source material and transpose it into a new medium; some even manage to improve upon the source material. BUT there is a reason why whenever I hear a beloved book is being adapted to Film/TV, I have to gulp back my fears. Because for every good adaptation there seems to be another atrocious one (for the sake of my credibility, I have to add that I have no actual clue what the ratio is for good/bad adaptations 😉). Of course there are so many aspects that go into an adaptation that I cannot possibly cover them all- so here are just a few recurring issues that really, really bug me:

anne with an e#1 The first (and possibly biggest) issue is that the writers have no real interest in adapting the original story. Now, I’m not just talking about fanficy nonsense (*coughs* “Rings of Power” *cough cough*)- I’m talking about versions of the story that entirely fail to capture the spirit of the original. For me, the most common mistake is taking light and frothy stories and turning them dark and gritty and intense. Yes, programmes like Anne with an E may get praise for being a bold take… I found it lacked the charm of Anne of Green Gables and thoroughly put me off. While it may not seem like such a big problem to greyscale your colour palette and throw in a few grim visuals, what you actually end up is a jarring adaptation that muddies the waters, loses touch with the original themes and has me yelling at the screen “tell your own damn story!”

little women 2019#2 And while we’re on the topic of poaching, I’m also not a fan of Hollywood’s obsession with “modernisation”. History is often messy and uncomfortable and something we can’t relate to- and yet rewriting the past seems like an awful solution. Culprits like the 2019 Little Women seem to care that turning most of your heroines into modern women seem entirely out of step with the time period, thereby making it detached from the original. They only seem to care about their own performative activism.

guernsey literary#3 Which leads me onto my next criticism of Hollywood’s latest spate of adaptations: political overtones. Because Hollywood writers seem to think that breaking the fourth wall to have your characters give a “right on” speech is good writing. Besides being preachy and ridiculous, it’s not a substitute for decent characterisation. When the main character in Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society gave a “feminist” speech, it did not make up for stripping this strong heroine of her moral compass and personality (incidentally, this was an example of a middle-aged bloke interpreting a character created by women… and it shows). This is a heroine that went from being spunky, decisive and independent to a demure creature who finds it impossible to choose between two potential husbands, only getting her “you go girl!” moment because she points out female writers exist. *Slow clap* for that.

big little lies tv#4 What makes it worse is the imposition of a faulty morality on the story. Because if I had a penny for every story with *bonus cheating/marriage-falling-apart/general relationship dysfunction* thrown in, I’d be a wealthy monkey. The fact that Hollywood seems so opposed to portraying healthy relationships onscreen is alarming. Even if one couple in a story are vaguely functioning, the adaptation has to throw in some bigamy to “spice things up”. Like the only healthy relationship in Big Little Lies now having an affair at the heart of it. Hollywood’s interpretation: marriage sucks. Message received.

always and forever movie#5 Oddly, the flipside is also true. As much as Hollywood cannot give a married couple a break, they also LOVE to turn the “glitzy” dial up to eleven. Is the book about getting into college like Always and Forever, Lara Jean? Well, better make it an Ivy League. Does the book have a plus-sized protagonist like Ready Player One? Then they have to be skinnier than average. Is your character talented in any way? Time to shoehorn in a CHOSEN ONE TROPE (still cannot believe they applied this logic to Peter Pan of all things). It gives me emotional whiplash how quickly Hollywood can turn from cynical to HYPERACTIVELY UNREALISTICALLY OPTIMISTIC!

valentine city of bones#6 Annnd I’ve managed to get to the end of this post without mentioning the decisions that were just plain weird. Sometimes, writers are just ill-equipped to deal with the source material (and that’s why we end up with Game of Thrones season 8). And sometimes, they don’t even appear to like what they were working on and decide to do something that truly bizarre (the leather-clad-lunatic Valentine from City of Bones springs to mind). Sometimes, I get the impression they didn’t want to adapt the original story at all (okay, I swear I’m going to have to do a whole post on Rings of Power at some point).

Really, when I think about this list, I’m even happier that so many good adaptations exist- because it’s remarkably easy to eff it up! Or maybe I just shouldn’t be so fussy!

What do you think? Do you feel the same way as me? Do you have any gripes of your own with Hollywood adaptations? Don’t leave me hanging!

Little Women 2019 was a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!

Well, Hollywood has done it again. They’ve ripped the heart and soul out of a classic story and called it an adaptation. Much like how Anne With an E, decided to go in the gritty and grim direction (and practically discarded the heartwarming story it was based on). This time though, it’s not so much darker (though there is a murky edge to the adult scenes) as it is all about “feminism”. And by that I mean, the angry, twisted, bitter kind with an undertone of man-hating. Great. Just what we needed.

Look, I get it. Little Women has so so many adaptations already that it’s hardly surprising the writers wanted to change things up and go in a different direction. Only, the logical thing to do in my book would be to *write a different story*. Not hijack something well loved and destroy it. But here we are- because Hollywood gotta make that coin and nothing sells like ruining everything we love.

What amazed me more than anything was how they desecrated the characters. They did them all dirty- but for some reason the worst changes were reserved for Marmee of all people. The loving matriarch is barely recognisable in this version- with a simmering resentment and rage under the surface… Because that’s what we needed?! I don’t understand what it is about “feminist” writers these days who seem to think anger is the solution to everything. Not grace or kindness or anything typically feminine. This is a Marmee stripped of love- who says to her wounded husband back from the war “now I can be angry at you in person”. This is a story that celebrates vice over virtue- the very antithesis of the original story. And characters like Marmee are just used as voice pieces for modern views.   

And then there’s what they did to Jo. Ironically, despite this supposedly focusing on more of the March sisters as a whole, this story is framed by Jo’s writing endeavours. For some reason, there was an ongoing focus on how it would be consistent for her not to fall in love and marry (something it’s not that hard to imagine for such a big-hearted character) but somehow not inconsistent for her to change her mind about Laurie?! Even though, it’s really clear from the story how different and ill-suited they actually are. And never mind that it ends up ruining Amy’s romance. And that it makes Jo seem petty for trying to take him back after rejecting him. And it throws a grenade into the heart of the sisterhood (which THIS MOVIE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HIGHLIGHTING MORE GAH!!) It’s a weird and unnecessary change that doesn’t work.

Add in the terrible deconstructed ending, where the kiss in the rain is purely imagination and you’ve got yourself a depressing version. Yes, shocker, we like happy endings here. It’s far better than whatever they were going for with this cold, bleak, sad conclusion that left me wanting. As beautiful as it is to see a book come together, I don’t love this story for its take on ambition. I love it for the joy and the wonder and the fact that reading about this family feels like a warm hug. Incidentally that’s why it works so well that the book starting with a small-scale scene of the little women playing. We feel like we’ve stepped into their world. This, with its choppy structure and disrespect to the original characters, is a miserable reimagining of something beautiful- and we don’t need it.

Rating: banana peel

So, have you seen this adaptation? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

What really happens after rom coms…

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rom coms. But sometimes, I have my doubts about the longevity of the couples in them- particularly when the chemistry mostly comes down to an intense amount of bickering. Too often the writers take two people who have absolutely nothing in common and no shared values… and smooch them together based on one romantic moment/meet cute and a few flirty lines. So this is what happens after one of those stereotypically awful rom com couple gets together (and all the usual tropes have been applied to their story):

AHhh what a beautiful day- it would be so lovely to just skip work and enjoy it with the person you love… except if you do that you’ll lose yet another job (because you can’t keep skipping round in romantic paradise forever). So as much as you love pretending to be being that spontaneous person your lover made you, you’re gonna have to be the old you for just a minute.

And with that you realise every day is not sunshine and roses and that arguing non-stop in the rain is exhausting (yes, I am throwing shade at the Notebook).

Obviously there’s still lots of miscommunication ALL THE TIME- only these days it’s over putting the bins out…

And now they have kids (because of the *surprise pregnancy* plotline at the end of the story) who are definitely being neglected and screwed up by all the needless drama (naturally I’m going to forget about them for the rest of the post, but they do exist, so just imagine little Timmy and Tammy looking sad in the corner).

Oh and they didn’t actually think about the fact they live on different continents, so one party, is absolutely miserable about having given up their friends/family/job to be with this other person. They’re basically having to rebuild their lives with this absolute child love of their life.

And since she’s a Strong Independent Woman That Don’t Need No Man, she’s always giving speeches telling him how she doesn’t need him, she’s stronger than him and she could beat him up if she wants to (and she does want to)… which seems borderline abusive.

But not to worry, because he’s still that guy that controls her every move and follows her around when she goes grocery shopping (which GODDAMMIT isn’t cute anymore because she really wants space to clip her toenails and pick her nose and do other gross human things for a minute!!)

Oh and not to mention his phone is still being hit up by all those girls he used to date- after all he was a playboy in his pre-rom-com life (as was shown in the montage at the start of the movie).

And actually, now you’re back to arguing about that big betrayal that proved you guys shouldn’t be together at all…

Still they have their cutesy moments together where they snuggle and he tells her she reminds him of himself (even though, as previously stated, they really have very little in common and she was only pretending to be into baseball that one time they went five years ago…) 

Anyway, you can’t tell your friends you are DESPERATE to do a runner, because you alienated them all when you got together in the first place and it’s taken you this long for them to accept you as a couple.

So, you’re kinda stuck with each other. Which I suppose is fair enough considering all the shit you pulled in the past (including leaving that poor schmuck at the altar!) I guess you both kinda had this coming.

And that’s it! That’s what happens after the dysfunctional couple gets together in a rom com! But what do you think? Am I being too cynical? Let me know in the comments!

Books Set in the Pandemic- yay or nay?! Discussion inspired by Pages Unbound

Last month, I read a brilliant discussion by Krysta @Pages Unbound about why she won’t be reading books set in the pandemic and it got me thinking… do I feel the same?

When things first kicked off in 2020, I definitely did. Pandemic books seemed like poor taste cashgrabs and I felt awkward about reading them. I favoured books with heavy doses of escapism and distraction. And while I was drawn to older books set during pandemics- I didn’t actually end up enjoying them. I realised quite quickly that it was the wrong time for that sort of thing.

AND YET- I still hesitate to say I don’t want to read books set in the pandemic. Because as time has dragged on, I’m being to feel like a lot of books have this gaping hole where COVID should be. As much as I don’t want to be reminded of the crap that’s going on right now… I also can’t deny that it’s happening. I feel like it’s beginning to feel a little weird to have this MASSIVE global event not mentioned at all. And, to my mind, contemporaries and thrillers set in 2019 is only going to work up to a point (especially when we as the readers are suffering from the dramatic irony that none of the events of the story will matter a few months after its set…)

Realistically, it may be impossible for authors *not to* mention it. After all, writers love to dissect the world through literature- and it would be absurd if this was the one time in history that didn’t happen. If people could write about world wars and oppression and other unspeakable horrors while they were happening- why not this? It not only serves as form of catharsis, but also a historical marker to have fiction written about events as they unfold.

Perhaps there is a comfortable in-between- I’ve already started to see some recent releases that quietly mention the pandemic and then move on. It doesn’t have to be a big part of the story or detrimental to the plot or even that big cathartic moment I’ve been talking about. Only, it is there. And that may be what I’m looking for. Because while I think I will need books on the pandemic soon… it’s probably fair to say that it’s “not this day”.

That’s all for now! I HIGHLY recommend checking out Pages Unbound’s take and their blog for more fantastic content and deep discussions!

And I’m super curious to hear what you think? Do you want to read books set during the pandemic?

My Reading Stats for 2021 – A Bookish Overview!

I’m so excited for this post!! My geeky bookworm brain lives for the nitty gritty of stats and facts- so let’s jump straight into it! 

So the weirdest thing I’m thrilled about is that the number of books I read this year is down… and (probably because of that) the average rating is up! Since I’ve been more brutal with my DNFs, I’m wasting less time on average (and sometimes below average) books. I’m really pleased with this shift, because who wants to read sub-par books?! I also have to give full credit to all the wonderful things I’ve read this year 😊 I’m also *amazed* at the number of audiobooks I read this year- I listened to 48 audiobooks in 2021! That’s crazy!! And marks a huge shift! Other than that, I’m really excited about the number of library books I read… which I’ll get to later in the post. The biggest change for me in the genres I read is that I read far fewer contemporaries (down from 22% to 12%)- likely due to a slight increase in thrillers, non fic and (most surprisingly for me) historical fic! Ok, now let’s get into some even more exciting data…

Deal of a Lifetime– short and super sweet.

A Suitable Boy– an epic of Dickensian proportions.

Ace of Spades– I didn’t have the luck of the draw with this one.

Where the Crawdads Sing– I could sing its praises forever 😉

My DNFs were so off-the-chart that I lost count!! Possibly a sign I’m losing patience for the crappy things in life 😂

7!!! Which is more than usual!

Where the Crawdads Sing– so deserved!!!! What a book!!!

We Watch You– we should change this!! Check out the fantastic N S Ford’s book!!

Happiest Man on Earth– this makes me so happy 😊 Everyone should read it!!

Travelling Bag and Other Stories– I reread this by accident and was reminded why the rating isn’t higher 😂 don’t make my mistake- if you have to read it, read it once 😉

I could go on forever with this one, because this was *the year of the audiobook* for me. I listened to a total of 43!! So many were incredible and I found the experience enhanced virtually every book (there’s nothing like being read to!!). But these are the ones that you HAVE TO listen to on audiobook:

I almost forgot to say my library reading stats- which I’m super pleased with. I only started tracking this in the last couple of years and it’s fascinating to see how reliant I am on library books. In a normal year, I easily get half my books from the library- which just goes to show how reliant so many of us are on libraries and their resources!! This year, working full time in a library, my library-book-addiction has only gone up to 75%!! That was a total of 130 books!! Probably because seeing books makes me WANT THEM SO BAD!! *Ahem*, anyway, these were some of the incredible finds I found thanks to the library and wouldn’t have read otherwise:  

Ratline– I’d never heard of these books- I just kept seeing long waiting lists for it. I’m glad my curiosity got the better of me, because this was a fascinating up-close-and-personal study of a Nazi.  

The Familiars– our librarian recommended this to me and I’m grateful that she did, because I might’ve missed out on the wondrous writing of Stacey Halls!

Elidor– another recommendation, this one was an incredibly potent fantasy that I’d have overlooked otherwise!

Crap Days Out– okay this one was the biggest surprise- especially as I discovered it when I was deleting a bunch of books- but it ended up being something that simply delighted me (more than it should have!)

And that’s a wrap! So how was your reading year? Have your ratings been good? Did you discover any brilliant books? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Do Something New for 2022- Why I’m Done With Resolutions…

Thanks for all the kind messages in the last post ❤ Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Let’s hope we all have a good one!

To kick off the new year, I wanted to talk about something I’m going to be doing differently: I won’t be doing any resolutions. Which, considering the fact I didn’t feel like recapping my 2021 resolutions, makes sense.

The thing is, I gave up on my reading resolutions very early in the year. A lot happened and I didn’t bother checking in with them- I just let my mood-reading-freak-flag fly high. So naturally when it came to doing a wrap up… it seemed a bit pointless. Sure, I could randomly tick off and cross off goals, yet if it was all unconscious and arbitrary, why bother? Which got me thinking about my goal setting in future.

The thing is, I’m a naturally goal-oriented person. I love setting myself a target and then running at it full pelt. However, I do think that setting goals when it comes to reading can put a bit of a dampener on things. I end up thinking too much in terms of what I’m achieving and less about what I’m enjoying right now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m happiest being a mood reader. And reading is ultimately a hobby for me that *I don’t want added pressure from*. If I want to read something right now, I will. I don’t want to ruin that by thinking about what I (supposedly) ought to be reading.

Which also makes me think about how *boring* my resolutions posts were becoming. Because I try to accommodate my mood-reading ways, I tend to play it safe and try to stick to things I’d like to read anyway. That in turn becomes really samey (and doubtless really dull to read). My posts (including the one I scrapped) were pretty much falling into a formula of “I set these really easy goals and then I did them- woohoo!” And that seems daft to write about, considering how all the things I’m excited about were often left of field! I much prefer revealing all the lovely bookish surprises in stats and other wrap ups.

Ultimately, I can’t predict what’s going to happen… and that includes not knowing whether I’ll want to return to resolutions in the future. Right now, I’m going to let the goals go and just read whatever I fancy. Have a cool 2022!

Are any of you trying something new? How do you feel about resolutions? Let me know in the comments and Happy New Year!

So, I Rewatched All the Harry Potter Movies…

And now I’m gonna give my rambly thoughts- so buckle up cos it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

Straight away, I have to admit that these were MUCH BETTER than I was thinking they were going to be! My god I was a harsh critic as a kid! To think I didn’t like them very much back then- and yet watching as an adult I had a great time?! I know, I know, I’m really contrary. But I’m pleased to say my experiment to rewatch them all really paid off! They were a helluva lot more entertaining than I remember! (and a whole lot less ex-crucio-ating 😉 okay I’ll see myself out now 😉)

And yes, they’re not 100% true to the books, yet they have their own charm. As much as there’s still the problem where you have to explain things to people when they haven’t read all 7 books (aka my mum) I have come around to the idea that they don’t have to slavishly follow the books. Of course, I still think the books are better, but these movies can satisfy a chocolate frog craving (just as long as you don’t try rewatching them immediately after a rereading marathon like I did once!)

The biggest surprise to me was how much I enjoyed the first two movies. To be perfectly honest, I was so put off by some of the *ahem* (awkward) child acting- particularly in Philosopher’s Stone- that I never gave Columbus enough credit for capturing the sense of wonder and magic and fun in the early films. As much as I understand why they changed direction for the darker turn the story takes, I found the tone of the first couple of films really suited the series openers.

I will happily admit that I have always loved the third movie the most. It’s atmospheric, tight narratively and hits the spot emotionally. As much as I could’ve done with a deeper Marauders scene- I still think the movie is as close to perfect as it could be. Sadly, I wasn’t as keen on the fourth one (and not just because of the weird haircuts). I STAND BY THE FACT THERE SHOULD’VE BEEN A QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP MATCH SCENE!! Also Gambon is a tad OTT here (though I didn’t hate him this time round and liked the fact they chose someone entirely different to Harris- at least this way it didn’t feel like he was acting in his shadow!) I think there was enough to like about the fifth one that I won’t complain about it and the sixth was less fun than I remembered! Maybe because the “romance” scenes made me wince harder (all I’ll say with regards to shipping is that Draco and Harry are the only ones with good chemistry… 😉). And of course, it hardly needs to be said that the 7th was the dullest- by a considerable distance (my goodness the tent scene reminds me why I don’t like camping… so boring!!) The conclusion is good… even if I personally think the way Voldemort died is a little unclear.

Anyhoo rant over. Overall, I had a fantastic time rewatching these. I really appreciated seeing all the beautiful details on screen- especially after going to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. You can really see how much love has gone into these productions. And that’s a wrap on my thoughts on the Harry Potter movies- conveniently just in time for the reunion (which I won’t actually be watching 😅)

What do you think of the Harry Potter movies? Do you love them or loathe them? Let me know in the comments!