A 23rd Birthday Book Haul

5:00 pm

On Friday I celebrated my 23rd birthday with vegan blue cheese pastries and a lot of lovely book-related presents. Among this selection are books I received as gifts, books I bought when out shopping on the big day, and a few I ordered in advance as gifts from myself. Birthdays = book-buying excuses. Here's a mini-rundown of everything:

Frank - Jon Ronson - Under 100 pages, Ronson's mini-memoir on his time with Frank Sidebottom. Now a movie with Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick - Blade Runner, the book.

Just Kids - Patti Smith - One of Smith's many memoirs, this one on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman - I have no idea what this is about, but I've never met a Gaiman book I didn't like.

Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland - Dystopian, fantasy? No descriptions are telling me what this book is about but it's been on my TBR for years.

The Mind's Eye - Oliver Sacks - Discussions on the eyes and brain by the pop-psych master himself.

Dry Store Room No. 1 - Richard Fortey - A 'memoir' of the Natural History Museum.

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin - Psychological suspense in a near-idyllic American suburb.

Artful - Ali Smith -  A series of lectures on art and literature told in a quasi-storylike way, as per Ali Smith usual.

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh - Comics on depression and on failing the most simplest things. And weird dogs.

Hitchcock on Hitchcock - Sidney Gottlieb - Extracts on Hitchcock talking about himself and his filmmaking.

Starting Point: 1979-1996 - Hayao Miyazaki - The first of Miyazaki's two memoirs on his time creating Studio Ghibli films.

Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology - Ann and Jeff VanderMeer - Does what it says on the tin.

Assassination: A History of Political Murder - Lindsay Porter - Also fairly self-explanatory.

Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett and Graham Higgins - A graphic novel adaptation of Pratchett's first City Watch book.

The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding - Arthur W. Johnson - A very comprehensive book on bookbinding for my conservation volunteering.

The Sandman Overture - Neil Gaiman, J. H Williams, and Dave Stewart - The recent prequel to Gaiman's Sandman series.

M x

P. S. Some still haven't arrived. Oops.

P. P. S. I'll be writing up a post soon on my experiences at the Terry Pratchett memorial at the Barbican last Thursday. It was a rather emotional experience, and something I won't be forgetting any time soon! I was breathing Neil Gaiman's magic realism air.


Bright Paper Packages: March 2016

5:00 pm

Some Mexican heat is exactly what I need on this rainy bank holiday weekend. Thank you Bright Paper Packages! (And thank you to the postal service for redelivering parcels when I can't be bothered to walk to the Post Office; you're the real hero here.)

I'm almost too overwhelmed by how good this parcel is.

Clockwise from left to right we've got:

Organic avocado soap from The Soap Shop, unscented because I don't want to smell like avocado. Your ordinary soap really, but I like the reusable packaging.

Hot Stuff Chilli grow-your-own packet, currently sitting in the sun on my windowsill. Concerned about the 'do not overwater' warning as what is too much water?!

Frida Kahlo print from Christine McConnell, not on display yet as I have no idea where to put it. A gorgeously colourful print that actually made me go 'OOOH YES' when I opened it up.

Cinnamon and rose hot chocolate from Jaz & Juls, still not tried but the concept seems absolutely divine.

Cactus ring holder from This Way to the Circus. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how cute this is? All handmade in her studio, and looking on the website, I pretty much want one of everything.

Sea salt and spray natural wax candle from Heaven Scent, always appreciated. I'm yet to burn this as I have about a thousand other candles on the go, but unburnt it already smells gorgeously fresh.

M x


March 2016 Films in Review

3:26 pm

From Up on Poppy Hill - One of the more recent Studio Ghibli releases, and very charming. A group of young schoolchildren band together to refurbish their clubhouse and journey to the city in an attempt to save it from demolition. In the background is a story of family, young love, and fate. Really cute and full of the usual Ghibli charm. Although I normally watch with Japanese audio and English subs, this time I watched the American dub and enjoyed the vocal talents of both Gillian Anderson and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Love & Mercy - A biopic of sorts about Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys dealing with his mental illnesses and how they affected his music composition. Told from the perspectives of young Brian at the peak of his career (1960s), and an older Brian (1980s) navigating a new romance and a manipulative relationship with his psychotherapist. Wish it did a better job talking about Brian's auditory hallucinations from a medical perspective but I guess that wasn't really 'the focus'. Elizabeth Banks was probably the highlight of this for me, even though Paul Dano was also fantastic.

Blade Runner - It's Blade Runner. Everyone was good, the atmosphere was impeccable, and I can see why this is a cult classic.

Paris, je t'aime - Eighteen short films, all by different directors, telling unique stories of Paris and those spending time there. A really interesting variety of stories and relationships, my favourites included Wes Craven's journey with a couple around Pere-Lachaise (featuring Oscar Wilde's ghost) and Vincenzo Natali's vampire love story from the eighth arrondissement.

Paddington - A shockingly fun and enjoyable adaptation of my one true love, Paddington Bear. Lots of wonderful British talent and appropriate for all ages. The bear wasn't even that creepy either. Sally Hawkins is the best.

What We Do in the Shadows - One of my new favourite films. A mockumentary about a group of vampires housesharing in New Zealand. I have few words I can use to describe this film. It's painfully hilarious and weirdly heart-warming. I was grinning from ear-to-ear when this was finished; bring on the sequel. Also, Jemaine from from Flight of the Conchords is in it, so if you know that series, you've got an idea of the weird vibe of its humour already.

M x