May Round up

May was a bit of a whirlwind if I’m honest. We started off with a bank holiday (always good), playing a charity gig with the uke orchestra, interviewing potential parliamentary candidates and spending a few days in Brighton! I finally broke through the wall of writer’s block and this month seems to have been one where my creativity has been able to actually work – looks like the whole documenting my life every month is starting to work! We also had some pretty horrific things happening in the UK this month, but that keep calm and carry on attitude has kept us all strong and able to continue being kind and caring in the face of adversity.

What I read this month:

I’d die for you and other stories – F Scott Fitzgerald
New Fitzgerald claxon! Seriously, who expected there would be new F Scott Fitzgerald? This is a collection of previously unpublished stories presented together along with some biographical facts, letters to publishers and photos of Scott and Zelda. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but it was interesting seeing Scott attempt a different style of narration and genre to some of his more famous works.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
What a disappointment this was! I adored the first of Cormoron Strike’s adventures and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the second instalment, but this one… I don’t know, I just found a lot of the misogyny very gratuitous with this one. While I know that there are people who do think the way the antagonist (no spoilers here!) did, I was just a bit like, really? I also found a lot of the tension between Strike and Robin in this one kind of ruined the relationship that had been built up over the past two books. Won’t stop me reading the next one though!

That Close – Suggs
I’ve had this book sitting on my kindle for what feels like a life time, Madness are one of my favourite bands and I have always enjoyed Suggs’ humour and found him a very interesting fellow in his forays into television. While this was great because I got to see bits of London I know and love through his eyes as he was growing up, this was a very disjointed autobiography. It wasn’t like those memoirs that are a collection of essays and it wasn’t a chronological look at his life either, every now and again, something would link back to the original story, but I found myself lost at times as he meandered through life! He does have a very engaging and friendly voice though, so no complaints from me!

Big Little Lies – Lianne Moriarty
The folk at Penguin very kindly sent me a copy of this, as I’d been searching the shelves at my local library and agonising over buying a copy every time I walk into a book shop, it was a little serendipitous that it turned up! I’ve yet to watch the TV show, so I’m not sure how they compare, but this was unlike anything I’d read before in terms of layout and pacing I wasn’t sure how something could be so subtle and yet in your face at the same time! It kept me very entertained on the train to Brighton however and I’ve reviewed it for you here

My Life – David Jason
Oh I do have a little soft spot for David Jason, perhaps its because we used to watch a lot of Open All Hours and Only Fools when I was growing up or perhaps its because he reminds me a bit of my Grandad because they’re both quite tiny and from London. Although, unlike David Jason, my grandad actually is from Peckham. This was such a charming and interesting read, I loved hearing about growing up in Finchly during the war and reading about the late, great Ronnie Barker was a delight.

Mind the Gap – Phil Earle
I saw this at the library and may have side stepped a small child heading in the same direction to pick this up and was it worth it? No. Not really. Honestly, this was on my TBR because I heard someone talk about it on YouTube and as the cover had a London tube map and I’m one of those Londoners that no longer lives in London so anything to make me feel close to my roots. Honestly, I am not the intended audience for this book which was why I was ultimately so disappointed, but for younger readers, this would be a great book about dealing with grief.

The Muse – Jessie Burton
Woah. Honestly, I picked this up because I liked the cover, but bloody hell that was an intoxicating read! I’ve not read any Jessie Burton before, but now I want to read her shopping lists, she writes so eloquently! I’m not into art, which is the main thread of this book, but I am into beautifully written prose about interesting, creative people and this was just… vewy noice.

 

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Saving Mr Banks
  • Casting Jon Benet
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
    I was watching this as the results for the French election came in. Thought it was appropriate.
  • Clueless

TV I watched his month:

  • Teen Wolf
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Riverdale
    THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES THOUGH
  • Once Upon A Time
    I know series 7 is coming, but I might just decide to end with series 6 cos it really was kind of a perfect ending if you ignore the flash forwards.
  • Doctor Who
  • iZombie
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Miss Fisher Mysteries
  • House of cards
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
    Honestly, I could barely breathe let alone anything else while watching the first episode, my God, that was intense, it was everything I remember the book being. 

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Awesome mix vol. 2 was the soundtrack of the day

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

☂️ they're back ☂️

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

that's more like it, Brighton

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:
Firstly, let’s talk about Leena’s video about being ginger, mostly because it made me think so much I ended up rambling to a camera myself! Liam Dryden’s Scottish roadtrip part one and part two was so good, it made me want to go back and explore more of Scotland! I’ll mention the end of the My Horse Prince saga purely because it became the soap opera I never knew I wanted! What sort of roundup would this be without Carpool Harry-oke, is it the best one yet? And well, I can’t not mention bae can I? My crush on Darren Criss was fully reignited by his band’s new music video and I was a bit blown away by Lucy Moon’s last 168 Hours.

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

It feels like everyone and their mum has read this book, like to the point where it has even spawned a super popular television show! I’d been debating buying it for some time after failing to locate a copy at the library and then as if Penguin had heard my prayers, they sent me a copy! How wonderfully kind of them! So here we go, my thoughts!

A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Right, first things first, I haven’t seen the TV show yet, so I don’t know how to two compare, is it any good? Let me know!
Secondly, I have waaaaaay too many thoughts for this review to be in anyway coherent, so you know. Brace yourself.

One of the first reviews you find on Goodreads for this book starts with: Probably the funniest book about murder and domestic abuse I’ll ever read and honestly, I think that’s the best way to describe this book… Though with a slight amend, I didn’t think this book was funny, not in the laugh out loud sense anyway, there were a few moments of smirking into the pages, but overall, I found it kinda flippant and shallow in its approach to the core subjects, kind of like the characters within I guess, but it certainly isn’t a serious book about domestic abuse, murder, bullying and the other issues this story. The other thing this book manages to do is be subtle and obvious all at the same time. How is that possible? Does it translate well onto screen? You’re so distracted by the Renata vs Madeline is my kid a bully story that the big issues seem to come flying at you when they’re presented, even though on closer inspection, they were there the entire time.

So here’s the thing, when this book starts, we have what is essentially a lot of tedious playground related nonsense. A group of yummy mummy types bunching together and ganging up on each other, being bitchy and using their children to get at each other and I found myself wondering what exactly everyone was raving about with this book. Like I usually don’t have any time for women tearing each other down, but there was something about the interview extracts littered throughout and the count down to trivia night that made me stick with it. What we have is several stories of differing seriousness being interwoven with a few more trivial life moments. Like on the one hand, Madeline’s vendetta against Renata and her grudge holding against her ex after everyone else has moved on is a bit distracting when you have Celeste and everything going on in her life and the trauma that Jane is unsuccessfully dealing with and come the end when the truth is out and the full story revealed you’re struck by its brilliance, it’s ‘why didn’t I see that coming?’ even though it is there from the very beginning.

Basically, there are many things about this book that annoyed me, but there are also many things that surprised me and captivated me and I think I’ll be hard pressed to find anything else like it.