Slutty Brownies?

The books I read and the cakes I bake while reading them

So, I found a thing on the internet called slutty brownies, now normally I would be against calling anyone or thing a slut, you do you, but these were downright dirty and sometimes, that’s exactly what you need. I veganised these, because ya’ll know I have an insidious agenda to push, so here we go!

There are a lot of ingredients in this so bare with me!

You will need:
A mixing bowl
A baking tray of some kind
Something to mix it with.

For the cookie dough base:
170g flour (any kind you like)
150g brown sugar
tablespoon milk (I used dairy free!)
50g chocolate chips

For the brownies
320g flour (I used self raising, but feel free to use gluten free stuff if you like!)
240g brown sugar
240g caster sugar
150g cocoa powder
225ml cold water
225ml vegetable oil
2 tea spoon vanilla extract
80g  chocolate chip

The book of your choice, I was reading F Scott Fitzgerald’s new anthology (I’m still not coming to terms with that sentence!)
And some double stuffed oreos.

So, first things first. Make your cookie dough, mix your ingredients together and mould into a ball, leave to chill in the fridge for ten minutes, during which time you can wash up the mixing bowl and start working n the brownies.
When the cookie dough is adequately chilled, pat out into the base of your tray and cover with double stuff oreos, leave to the side and make your brownie mix, pour batter over the top and put in the oven for 35-40 minutes on 180 degrees. Check the brownies are fully cooked when they come out of the oven and then go to town!

There was something special about eating a multitude of deserts moulded together whilst enjoying some F Scott Fitzgerald!

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Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage

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Sometimes Madness is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A marriage – Kendall Taylor

Hello and welcome to my commitment to reading more non fiction! Also, what a title! It certainly is a mouthful!

Irresistibly charming, recklessly brilliant, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald epitomized everything that was beautiful and damned about the Jazz Age. But behind the legend, there was a highly complex and competitive marriage–a union not of opposites but almost of twins who both inspired and tormented each other, and who were ultimately destroyed by their shared fantasies. Now in this frank, stylish, superbly written new book, Kendall Taylor tells the story of the Fitzgerald marriage as it has never been told before.
Following the success of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, Scott and Zelda took New York by storm. Scott was recognized as the greatest American author of the twenties and everyone was fascinated with Zelda, his ravishing young wife, known as the model for all his flapper heroines. Ultimately it all fell apart, and Kendall Taylor tells us why. Drawing on previously suppressed material, including crucial medical records, Taylor sheds fresh light on Zelda’s depths and mysteries–her rich but largely unrealized artistic talents, her own ambitions that were unfulfilled because she was Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald, her passionate love affairs. Zelda’s contribution to Scott’s fiction, which was based on her diaries, her letters, and her life, was her only great achievement–and for that she may have paid the terrible price of her own sanity.
In Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom, Kendall Taylor has created the definitive Fitzgerald biography. Written with sympathy, original insight, and dazzling style–and featuring memorable appearances from Edmund Wilson, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway, among others–this is a stunning portrait of a marriage, an age, and a fabulous but tragic woman.

So, you may remember at the beginning of the month I made a plea for help in getting more into non fiction, you guys really came through for me on here, Twitter and YouTube, so I, armed with a list of titles from you all, headed to the library. Sadly, there wasn’t a single one in the library, I am undeterred, there are other libraries to try! However I did find this, so I figured I should ease myself into my non fiction project by grabbing a book on a subject I’m already a bit familiar with.

Long time visitors here (or any of you that know me IRL) will know that I bloody love the Fitzgeralds. Scott is a problematic fave of mine, I find him and the other writers of his time infinitely fascinating and I learning more about the time in history and them as people is always something I’m happy to do. This book was one of the best biographies of the two I’ve ever read, mostly because it spent a lot of time talking about Zelda, her life before Scott and referred to her as a separate entity to him. So few biographies on the Fitzgeralds and their relationship focus on her, which is a shame because Zelda was a fascinating woman, she was incredibly talented and often overshadowed by Scott – who, although a very talented author, did use bits of Zelda’s writing in his own. Like I said, problematic fave.

Aside from being interesting historically and socially, especially as the Fitzgeralds lived in so many different countries and seeing how society moved with the times in each of those places was pretty captivating, I think the most fascinating part of this book was the chapters talking about Zelda’s health, particularly about the  onset of her schizophrenia and how it affected her marriage and her creative aspirations. I’ve been interested in mental health issues for a really long time (previous readers of this blog, will know why), so reading about the different symptoms and treatments, especially in the time period, was so interesting! (How many times have I used that word so far? Sorry, but this was FASCINATING, this was exactly why I wanted to read more non fiction!)

Basically, this was great, although I was familiar with a lot of the material, I did learn so much more! The only thing I would say is that I didn’t appreciate the way the author wrote about Hadley Hemingway. Hadley may not have been as vibrant as Zelda, but she was an incredibly strong woman with integrity and I aint got time for any shade throwing!

Got any more non fiction I should read? Give me titles to add to my list!

Help! I want to read more non fiction.

Why hello there, can you help? I am on a quest to read more non fiction!
So the other day, I was perusing the YouTubes (I do that most days tbh) when I happened upon a video about non fiction books that had changed someone’s life, I read a lot, but I don’t spend that much time reading non fiction, I’m still feeling the burn from university tbh, but I’ve been wanting to get into more non fiction titles for a while now, I like learning, so… I should read more, right?
Anyway, tldr, I watched the video, it was very interesting and gave me some titles to look up next time I’m near the library, but it made me think about the few non fiction titles I have read, which made me think of you. Yes. You. Scared? Don’t be.
Sometimes I post stuff on YouTube, and when I post stuff about books, it generally makes my Twitter notifications do their job with people either talking to me about the books I’ve talked about, or recommending titles based on the books I’ve talked about. So, long story short, I figured I would take my hunt for non fiction onto YouTube and then I figured I would share it here.

So, if you can think of any non fiction titles that you’ve really enjoyed, let me know! And if you want to read any of these, check them out!

This side of Paradise

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This side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Every time I read the title I get that Coldplay song start going in my head, you know the one: PARA PARA PARADISE. I really hate Coldplay, so that was kind of annoying, fortunately, I really liked this book so… It evened itself out I guess.

This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s romantic and witty first novel, was written when the author was only twenty-three years old. This semiautobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame. Now, readers can enjoy the newly edited, authorized version of this early classic of the Jazz Age, based on Fitzgerald’s original manuscript. In this definitive text, This Side of Paradise captures the rhythms and romance of Fitzgerald’s youth and offers a poignant portrait of the “Lost Generation.”

If this book is semiautobiographical, dear old Scott must have had a pretty lowly opinion of himself, if indeed, he did base Amory Blaine on his own life. Blaine is… well, a bit of a twat really, who seems to think he’s much more entitled than he actually is.

Fitzgerald writes so goddamn beautifully, he could make even the most ugly person sound worthwhile and breathtaking, which he does he with finesse and perfect clarity. Seriously, who do I have to deliver chocolate biscuits to to be able to write like this?

This is the story of a selfish egotist and how he floats through life, falls hopelessly in love and because no matter who you are and what you think you’re entitled to, love will kick you in the ass at some point, doesn’t always have a fabulous time doing it.

I wanted to bring back my whole #LoveThisQuote thing that I started doing a little while ago, because Fitzgerald is the most amazing writer ever, but I would have ended up doing a million posts, so here’s a selection of my favourites:

  • “I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
  • “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”
  • “There is a moment—Oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered word—something that makes it worth while.
  • “Don’t let yourself feel worthless: often through life you will really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself; and don’t worry about losing your “personality,” as you persist in calling it: at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4 p.m.”

If you’ve read the Great Gatsby and are looking for more Fitzgerald to get your teeth into, then I highly recommend This Side of Paradise and if you’ve not read anything by him and are looking for something, This Side of Paradise isn’t a long, arduous novel and although it is style over substance, like most Fitzgerald, but the writing is all kinds of beautiful so that stops being a problem fairly early on.
And so ends my final post in the six week challenge series. I have spent the last six weeks reviewing everything that I read, it’s been fun and I think its made a difference to the way I think about books during and after I’ve read them. So, yeah, I hope you’ve enjoyed this challenge.
You can have a look at all the books I’ve read in the past six weeks here.

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A Moveable Feast

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A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway.
This book made me hungry for the smell of French pastry, the sound of Cole Porter and the sights of Parisian skylines. I’ve only ever visited Paris once and that was a fateful trip to Disneyland in my formative years which resulted in my family being stuck on the English Channel in the middle of a storm for ELEVEN HOURS. It was very traumatic. I don’t travel well on boats. Hemingway’s memories of paris are much better. He tells tales of road trips with a hypochondriac named Scott Fitzgerald, of visits to Shakespeare and Co, of culture, fine dining and conversations with Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. This whole book made me want to give up everything and move to Paris

A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized

Hemingway is one of those writers who I greatly admire and am hugely fascinated with, but when it comes to reading his work, I have to be in the mood for it . His writing style is very poetic and honest, but its sometimes a bit style over substance. A bit like Fitzgerald I suppose. A moveable feast was a bit like that in some instances. I’ve wanted to read it since watching Midnight in Paris, just to see Hemingway’s point of view when it comes to that generation of writers. I enjoyed it immensely and learning about his life and exploits was fascinating but I was a little disappointed at the lack of Hadley. I had thought there would be more mention of her. I also assumed that this would be a chronological autobiography, but it read more like a little anthology of memories, which isn’t a bad thing, just unexpected.

I genuinely loved the mentions of the Fitzgeralds, no prizes for guessing why
no prizes for guessing why, his ego boosting examination and museum trip with Scott was hilarious and his description of him, saying he was beautiful, makes me think that Hemingway, perhaps had such an intense hatred of Zelda for an entirely different reason than he gives.

I particulalry love my copy of this book, I was deliberately searching for this cover because it features Shakespeare and Co in the background and I am so desperate to visit that shop. One day, one day *stares wistfully into the distance* I’ll go and I’ll post hipster photos of the shop front on Instagram.

This version has some lovely additions from Patric and Sean Hemingway, which ahd a nice touch and some notes from Ernest in the back.
All in all, it’s fabulous and I’d like to write my own version when I finally get to Paris.
This and Journey into mystery (my last review) are both continuations of my six week challenge where I have to write a review for every book I read between the 1st November and the 13th December, unfortunately, I couldn’t really make a big deal about this on my Journey Into Mystery post because WORDPRESS HATES ME.
Or at least it does for some reason currently and I’m having to post this from computers that I shouldn’t be posting it from. Shhh.

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Thoughts on F Scott Fitzgerald.

I made a comment on this blog about how I love Fitzgerald but I’m not crazy about The Great Gatsby, so I thought I ought to clarify this slightly. Because you know, loving an author but not his works is a bit odd… I just want to say something. I LOVE, that’s love in capitals, F Scott Fitzgerald. This love is for a number of reasons, but not all of them are to do with his books particularly. I own a big Fitzgerald anthology of all his short stories as well as Flappers and Philosophers, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and of course, The Great Gatsby. All of which I enjoy in varying degrees, but there is more to love about the man than his writing.

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  • His name.
    I mean, sound it out, F Scott Fitzgerald. It flows wonderfully, it has the right amount of syllables, it’s a good strong name. I have always wanted to be in a band called the F Scott Fitzgeralds, mostly because I think it’s a great name but also because I really want to record an album called Drop It Like Its F Scott. My complete lack of musical ineptitude kind of shot that one in the foot, but it’s why in my own novel (which I feel like a douche for plugging right now) I have the character of Blaine being a massive Fitzgerald fan and have her actually form a band called the F Scott Fitzgerald. Because why not live vicariously through fictional characters, eh?
  • His relationship with Zelda.
    I know, this seems like a really weird reason to like an author – his marriage, but Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald had a really wildly reported tempestuous relationship that was passionate and firey, full of jealousy and infidelity it was the kind of love that I always read about but never actually witness between two people. It was a love that was just too passionate, it was all consuming and they couldn’t contain it which is part of the reason why I love it so much. Even though they eventually separated, they were never really apart, towards the end of their lives, Zelda was in a hospital and he was a raging alcoholic and yet they continued to write the most beautiful letters to each other. There is a book available called Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda which contains several of these letters. My absolute favourite of these letters ends with this: “We ruined ourselves, I honestly never thought we ruined each other.” I actually referenced that quote in TSFM when talking about my characters break up.
  • His quotability.
    Most of my favourite quotes of all time are said by Fitzgerald. I publish them on here all the time so there isn’t much point in me reiterating them, but it is one of my reasons for loving him, that his words are filled with wisdom, wit and imagery that completely relates to whatever situation I am in and it’s magical to think that I wasn’t the only person to have ever felt that way.
  • The fact that he and Zelda were socialites.
    It seems weird to think of writers being celebrities in the sense that they were truly celebrated, but they were, the Fitzgeralds were at every party that was worth going to, if you wanted to be the talk of the town, you hung out with the Fitzgeralds. This fascinates me, these days you don’t hear of writers being the socialites that they were back then. I mean, I’m sure J K Rowling can party with the best of them, but the Fitzgeralds were the people that would be pictured in The Sun falling out of a club at stupid o clock in the morning and I love that about them.
  • That he was played by Tom Hiddleston in Midnight in Paris.
    imagesI have a great love for Tom Hiddleston also… Which I think is mostly Loki based. Because I love him too….But I think I better leave that to Tumblr
  • Also, this is a thing:
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    Come on. How can you not love Fitzgerald and Hemingway after that?! Also because apparently, according to this post, they also went to an art museum, to further compare penis sizes.

The main number one reason that I love Fitzgerald is because of this, first, let me tell you a little story. Like Pudge from John Green’s novel Looking for Alaska, I have a fondness for last words, and as such I have a book full of them. The page dedicated to Fitzgerald doesn’t contain his last words, rather the last lines of The Great Gatsby, however, it does say this:
“… When Fitzgerald died fifteen years later there were still unsold copies… The novel was never out of print, it had simply stopped selling… F Scott Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure… The obituaries were condescending and he seemed destined for literary obscurity.”

Can you believe that?
F Scott Fitzgerald. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure.
That just completely breaks my heart and that is the reason why I love Fitzgerald so much, because he may have died believing that but he was anything but. The Great Gatsby is said to completely define twenties America. The Jazz age is never talked of without mentioning the Fitzgeralds, he may have had novels that stopped selling, but now, it’s cool to be a Fitzgerald fan. His book covers grace t shirts, things that he said get blogged about every day by people like me, they made one of his short stories into the worlds longest film starring Brad Pitt. Brad actual Pitt was in a Fitzgerald film. They made him into a film character, The Great Gatsby is due for release once again this time a really big budget affair directed by Bazz Luhrman.
In fact, here is that trailer:

I’m not really sure what F Scott would think of this take on his book, I’m not really sure what I think about it yet, but the point is, it was made, people cared enough to make it.
I guess, its wrong to say I love Fitzgerald because he had such a sad outlook on his life when he died, it devastates me to think that because I love him so much, I guess I just find that to be a reason to love him, to not make his life seem so worthless to himself.
The main point that I really want to make with this is that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if F Scott Fitzgerald could look into the future and see all the things that his work has achieved he would realise how much he actually succeeded. And that’s the thing, no one should die feeling that they are a failure. No one should live thinking that either. The thing is, you survive every single day, you survive heart aches and low wages and mental weather, that in itself is a massive achievement. So, you didn’t get the grade you wanted in maths, you still succeeded in knowing that maths isn’t your strong suit.
No one is a failure.
F Scott certainly not.