Oscar predictions 2018

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Best-Picture

It’s that time of year again. The great and powerful are gathering in Hollywood to celebrate everything that makes the movies magical … well, whoever’s left after all the recent sexual assault allegations. And while there’s no point in taking the Oscars too seriously (they were originally created to stop industry workers unionising rather than with any lofty artistic aims). However, if nothing else they bring together a crop of interesting and acclaimed films to enjoy and discuss.

Without further ado, here are my predictions for who will be walking away with golden statuettes at the ceremony in all major categories (or at least the categories I actually have an opinion on).

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Worst classic book covers ever? | Classics Club

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Dear reader,

Back In The Day, I used to like Wordsworth Classics editions. They were simple, frills-free versions of out of copyright works, which were (crucially, for an impoverished student) very affordable. The covers had reproductions of classic artwork, sometimes tenuously linked to the themes of the work in question. Perhaps they weren’t the most imaginatively designed, but they were functional.

Fast-forward to 2017, and I discovered that these inoffensive covers have been replaced with hideous photoshopped monstrosities. Please remember that someone was presumably paid actual money to design these, as I show you the most mangled and extraordinary covers in their collection.

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Summer Favourites | films, books and more

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Summer Faves Header

Summer is almost at a close (or as we call it in Britain, the “slightly less rainy season”). I always enjoy this season more in theory than I do in practice. In reality, there seems to be a lot more sticky, sweaty legs and peeling sunburn than there are epic skylines and gorgeous sundaes.

 

However, I did find plenty to keep me busy this season. For whatever reason, I seem to watch more TV and read more books in summer in the colder months, which objectively makes no sense (wouldn’t I do more of those things when there’s no option to go outside?) Here’s a recap of my recent favourites that I’ve read, watched, bought or seen.

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The Girls by Emma Cline (book review)

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The Girls (Chatto & Windus)

“The Girls” (Chatto & Windus)

“Girls are the only ones who can really give each other close attention, the kind we equate with being loved. They noticed what we want noticed.”

Dear reader,

Nothing beats sitting in the sun on holiday reading a great book, and even better if that book is also about summer. And yes, The Girls may be a taught, anxious story about a girl getting seduced into a cult rather than your typical read about sunglasses and mojitos, but I was more than happy to dive into the adolescent fever dream from debut novelist Emma Cline.

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Ten books to read in 2017

Like most bookworms, I spend a lot of my time fighting a terrifying and ever increasing pile of books known as my TBR (or ‘owned but not read’) pile. In an ideal world, I’d have a nice selection of perhaps ten books to pick from – currently I have 43, and that’s not even including the novels I got for Christmas.

I’ve developed a semi-irrational fear that I will either:

a) be crushed to death under the terrible weight when my TBR pile grows too huge and falls on top of me

b) discover that half the books have gone mouldy from so many years languishing on my shelves – leading me to contract a terrible disease and die a miserable and untimely death at the age of 22

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“Shiny Broken Pieces” review (spoiler free)

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shiny-broken-harper-collins

“Shiny Broken Pieces” by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (HarperCollins)

“This is my year. This is my turn.

I’ll be the lead soloist. I’ll be chosen for the company. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

 

Dear reader,

In Shiny Broken Pieces, it’s the start of final year at the American Ballet Conservatory. That means the students are ready for more backstabbing, dirty tricks and occasionally rehearsing (though that mostly takes a back seat – convoluted schemes are a bigger priority). With company auditions looming, the stakes are higher than ever for legacy dancer Bette, outsider June and free-spirit Gigi.
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Wideacre: The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory (Spoiler free review)

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Favoured child

The Favoured Child (HarperTouch)

 “You don’t know the law, my clever little cousin. If they commit you to an asylum, you are disinherited at once. Did you not know that, my dear? If you go on with your seeings and your dreamings, you will lose everything.”

 

Dear reader,

The second part in Wideacre’s sprawling historical epic follows the two Lacey heirs, Richard and Julia. As the competition to gain control of the land and the love of the people who work it grows more intense, Julia discovers that it is tragedy, not power, which is the true Lacey inheritance.

All the characters in The Favoured Child are either wilfully evil or idealistic to the point of being self-destructive. The heroine, Julia, begins pretty meek and timid (as you would be if you’d spent your childhood being harassed by your cousin/brother). As she is brought into society, Julia’s confidence grows, and she becomes torn between the conventional world of her upbringing and her almost mystical connection to the land. It’s an interesting, if well-worn, exploration of the narrowly defined roles which women of that era were expected to subscribe to.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | A spoiler-free book series review

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Image: tumblr.com

Dear reader,

As you have probably guessed, I am a lover of letters. Therefore, what could be more perfect than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and its sequel P.S. I Still Love You, the story of a girl who writes letters to all the boys she’s ever loved?

“My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I’m not longer consumed by my all-consuming love…My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.”

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Very Good Lives by JK Rowling | Book Review

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VGL 1Dear viewer,

Stop press! JK Rowling, the author who made our collective childhood that little bit more magical, has published a new book. However, there are no wizards or giant snakes to be found in her latest title. Instead, Very Good Lives is a written version the commencement speech that Rowling gave to the graduating class at Harvard University, 2008. As someone who has just finished her final exams  at the University of Warwick and is about to head into the Great Wide Unknown, I thought Rowling’s little book might impart some comfort and advice. And I wasn’t wrong. Very Good Lives is a small but sturdy volume which extols ambition, selflessness and bravery, all with Rowling’s customary clear-sightedness and signature humour.

“I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law, or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.”

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#FeministsAreUgly and Re-Thinking the Twittersphere

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Dear reader,

The Twittersphere recently erupted with a particularly nasty-sounding hashtag (#FeministsAreUgly). To retaliate, users have been posting photographs of pro-equality celebrities (the beautiful faces of Beyoncé, Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were frequently on my dash) and well as selfies of themselves. The point is fairly clear: there are plenty of feminists who are “regulation hotties” and anything but ugly.

As it turns out, the hashtag wasn’t started by Twitter trolls or militant Men’s Rights Activists . Instead, it was an ironic statement from two feminists in August 2014 whilst posting selfies. It seems that this was all a case of smoke without fire (and perhaps think before you tweet). But there’s actually a bigger issue at stake here, and that’s in how it was handled by the other feminists who thought the hashtag was legit troll bait. (And, it’s worth bearing in mind that I have seen many, many people of both genders have said they genuinely believe that only ugly girls are feminists, so it can’t all be dismissed as misunderstanding).

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