I’m frustrated and I overuse brackets // Gone Girl Review

 

As usual, I’ve spent the day reading instead of revising for an exam (in this case: Spanish grammar). Yesterday, I finally started Gone Girl, for the third time. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so many attempts to get into this book- I’m not sure if it was due to a reading slump, or if I was watching a TV show at the same time and ended up paying more attention to the rerun of a Friends episode I’d seen countless times before (I tend to do that a lot). I noticed when picking up this book for the third time that I’d left the bookmarks (and by bookmarks I mean old train tickets and Tesco receipts) in, and I’d barely progressed beyond the first chapter.

This time, this third time, I was hooked.

I will often marathon books in a day, or even several hours. Gone Girl was no exception. It was well written and I was on edge (in a good way). As a person who will generally believe everything anyone says (to a certain extent), I was thoroughly engaged as the author manipulated me into questioning who was innocent and who was guilty. I was feeling sympathetic towards some characters and then all of a sudden my opinion changed drastically. As someone who has read quite a lot of books, especially over the last year or so, it can be quite easy to predict endings based on genre clichés. However, this was a different story, and I don’t just mean in the literal sense.

All was well, until I got to the ending.

Imagine you’re on a train, heading home (or a different much loved destination). You’re heading towards your desired station at a rapid pace, the journey is smooth and everything has fallen into place. The rubbish collector happens to pass your seat just as you finish your much needed coffee. The giant crowd of kids get off at the next stop just as you feel your patience waning. A monotone magical train lady voice announces that your train will be arriving at the destination shortly. You glance around, checking your possessions off a mental list: tickets, phone, keys, bag, headphones. You look out of the window and see familiar landmarks: a favourite bookstore, a river flowing as fast as the train, the same grubby office buildings that have been embedded in your long term memory.

Then the train stops.

There are no explanations, your ending is tantalisingly out of reach and you can’t do anything about it.

That’s how I felt about the ending of Gone Girl.

I could almost taste the closure: and it never came. I will never know what happens to Nick and Amy, and all of a sudden the fast pace became too fast, and came crashing to a sudden halt. Leaving me incredibly frustrated. I’m not sure whether it was supposed to symbolise that neither of them can get a happy ending because they both did terrible things, or just to make the events “realistic” or maybe even somewhat “relatable” at a push. Who knows.

Am I the only one who feels this way? If you read this when it first came out, does it still niggle at the back of your mind now?

Maybe it’s a manipulation inside a manipulation, or maybe I’m now overthinking it and I need a cup of tea.

Let me know your thoughts.

Ease your way in // A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Review

This is my second post for Wordery, which you can also view here: https://wordery.com/blog/a-knight-of-the-seven-kingdoms-56b8a40183f36

I’m going to start with a confession. I’ve only read the first two Game of Thrones books. Not out of lack of interest, just because I’ve been scrounging them from various friends. I’m working on it. Being a poor University student, spending £50 on the entire collection of Game of Thrones books sounded incredibly daunting, but then fate decided that I should come across the prequel novellas in a stunningly illustrated edition called The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Speaking of fate and destiny, this set of novellas tell the tale of Dunk, the tall hedge knight who lacks experience but looks threatening, and his squire and companion who is secretly in line to the Iron Throne: Egg.

I didn’t really have expectations for this book, maybe because I had read some of his works and it was a pretty safe choice. The good news is, these aren’t the only three prequel novels! If you are like me and have read these for the first time in this collective edition, you can buy the rest once you’ve grown emotionally attached to the characters! Also, if you have already read them before and own them, you can get this edition and marvel at the illustrations! I mean, who doesn’t have a weakness for pretty hardbacks? I highly recommend you ease your way in with these prequels. People are often intimidated by the size of the Game of Thrones books and struggle, and maybe even give up on them. Dunk is also a much more endearing character, with flaws that we can relate to (to some extent, I can barely pick up a sword let alone wield one), whereas in the main series it’s really hard to find someone likeable that doesn’t die a few chapters later.

Furthermore, you need no prior knowledge about Game of Thrones to read this, and you don’t get any spoilers for the main series. Despite this, you do see tiny hints of the series creeping through. Having watched all 5 seasons of the show, I appreciated the little references, which is one of the perks of writing the prequels after having established the main storyline. If you have already read some of his works, the writing style is familiar but the take is new, fresh and exciting. It may not be as gripping as the main series, and it’s a lot less dramatic, but maybe it’s a good thing that he hasn’t killed off everyone left right and centre. However, you don’t lose track of characters, and it’s a lot easier to find likeable characters that don’t die a few chapters later. We get a chance to see more development, and I assume there will be a lot more to come when I read the rest of the collection.

Finishing books is always poignant to me. I’d just finished my German exam when I finished this book and was waiting to return to class, and as I was reading the last few pages, totally immersed, I forgot I was sitting on the floor in the corridor of the languages department. Three people asked if I was okay. Long story short: If you’re waiting for the next series of Game of Thrones like me, then you’ve found a good book to bide your time.

Binge Reader? Read on. 

This post was a blog I wrote for Wordery: (https://goo.gl/vsqVPY)

How you know you’re a binge reader, and why this is definitely not a bad thing.

So, you’ve just woken up, and the first thing you do is reach for your book. Maybe you have to actually get a degree somehow by going to university, or go to work like those “proper” adults do. Maybe you end up taking a book with you amongst the folders you need for your classes, perhaps even a spare one just in case you finish the first one. Maybe it’s 3am and your chances of having a decent sleeping pattern have ended, just like the book you’re holding in your hand.

“Sure, I’ll lend you the book because you read so fast”, a friend said just last week. I have been in university for three months and I have already built up a reputation.

“You’ve finished it?!” A different friend comments after I finish ‘All The Light We Cannot See when I started reading it after her and yet finished it before her. (Very beautifully written, if I may add.)

“Do you spend all your time just reading?” My mother asks on FaceTime one night, knowing that I’ll probably have finished all the books I received for Christmas by the end of January.

If these symptoms sound relatable, you are most definitely one of us.

Since college, I have demolished any sort of structure to the type of books I read, or when I read them. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time choosing a book than actually reading it.

It’s serious business.

Can I commit to a whole series right now? I think, glancing at the Hannibal series stood neatly in a row. Maybe a different book from an author I know I love? I wonder, as I notice ‘Another Day obediently nestled in line. What about a book everyone seems to be into right now? My gaze rests upon ‘All the bright places’. Or maybe, something completely new all together? 

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a binge as: A period of excessive indulgence in an activity. I wholeheartedly agree, as I read more beautifully woven sentences that form a story that I will dwell on for a while after. Although reading is generally a solitary hobby, I can’t help but enjoy discussing a book with my best friend, especially when she’s read it too. Book exchanges are what I live for- while a problem shared is a problem halved, a library shared is in fact a library doubled.

In my defence, a book doesn’t run out of battery, it doesn’t involve some sort of subscription, the words don’t change. Your perception of a story will change as you grow (I used to be OBSESSED with the Malory Towers books as a kid and now I cringe at the language used), or maybe you can relate more to it as you experience life (Calling all angst-ridden teens, there’s a whole demographic out there for you).

I see binge reading not as a problem, but as a SOLUTION. A solution that may lead to a little less sleep, but a lot more wonder. And wow, it is wonderful.