October round up

Firstly can we just take a moment to appreciate that Emmerdale are doing ace representation now? Like that’s awesome! I did applaud them when they introduced a bisexual character and actually had them say they were bisexual. But then they ruined it by having them cheat on their wife with a guy who became his husband but then cheated on him with his ex wife’s sister and I’m like aaargh stop. Fingers crossed they do the ace storyline better. Anyway, this month has been… interesting. Lol. I experienced a proper posh meal which was super nice and had foam on it, but did also make me think of this Nick Miller moment:

What else happened this month? Well, Bake off broke my heart by not allowing Liam to win. Like seriously guys, wtf was that? Riverdale gave me anxiety while we wondered who would be the man in the hood’s next victim and Brooklyn 99 cheered my cold dead heart. I’m sure some other stuff happened, but honestly, I spent most of this month watching TV and avoiding going outside in the dark and rain!

What I read this month:

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, Renee Ahdieh is a fantastic writer and the rich descriptions were amazing, but the story itself… Not so much… I don’t know, I guess I just have a bit of a problem with the slightly rapey moments and I feel like the romance was introduced far too quickly considering that our protagonist initially married the king to avenge her bff and all… This is a retelling of 1,001 Nights and having not read it, I don’t know how true a retelling it is, but I did enjoy reading about the magic and its always nice to read about a place that’s different to what you’re used to. Mostly, Khalid’s backstory mostly made me think of this Brooklyn 99 moment:

The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh
I didn’t hate the first book enough to ignore the sequel, but I had much the same problems as I did with the first one. This book at least showed us more of the magic and we got to learn more about the world which I enjoyed and well, the lovers were separated for much of it, so that bit couldn’t annoy me as much!

Secrets for the Mad – Dodie Clark
I know we’re all supposed to hate YouTuber books, I know I hate any book that has  been pushed out because the creator is super popular and publishers love making money as much as the next person, but I was actually really interested to read this after seeing Dodie talk so candidly about her mental health struggles. Honestly, I was honoured to have an advanced copy. See my thoughts here. 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Atonio Iturbe
This was an ARC provided for me by Netgalley and is based on real events taking place in Auschwitz featuring a host of interesting people, both prisoners and guards that I’ve learned about during trips to the camp and in history lessons. This is the English translation, which made me ignore the few grammar issues, and it was genuinely interesting and also heartbreaking because I know what happened to people like Fredy Hirst. Read the review here.

Otherworld – Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller
There were ARCS of this book available to be won while I was at YALC and as I didn’t get one, I thought I’d missed my chance to read this and that I’d have to wait until it was onsale, only then I saw it was available on netgalley. I have seen a couple of films with Jason Segal (and of course HIMYM) and it turns out he writes books too, I had no idea! See my thoughts on this here.

Help – Simon Amstell
Right, lets preface this with the fact that I adore Simon Amstell’s stand up and his sitcom Grandma’s House. I just find it funny to watch someone who talks about depression and loneliness and being awkward in front of people you fancy because same. This was described by Russell Brand as being all the warmth of Simon Amstell without the inconvenience of his face and I think that sums it up perfectly. This is a very introspective memoir as Simon strives for happiness and the things he found that helped him along the way.

The Year they burned the books – Nancy Garden
I loved Nancy Garden’s Annie on my Mind when I read it years ago and to be honest, its a bit bad on my part that I’ve not gotten around to reading any more of her work, so when I saw this available for request, I had to have it! Its a story that I’m ashamed to say is still a reality for a lot of people but I didn’t find it as hard hitting as Annie, but I would still recommend, stay tuned for my review.

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/ cinema screen this month!

  • Mary poppins
  • The other boleyn girl
  • Me earl and the dying girl
  • Bladerunner 2049
  • Scorch trial
  • Crimson Peak
  • Thor: Ragnarok

TV I watched his month:

  • Great British Bake off
  • Neo Yokio
  • Riverdale
    Jesus that opening episode!
  • Brooklyn nine nine
  • Stranger Things

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

went to the poshest place i’ve ever been for dinner with @georgiecasling!

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

birthday book haul.

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

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:
All the Buffer Fest entries started appearing at the beginning of the month and there were so many wonderful things from creators, such as this short film from Melanie Murphy and this animation from PJ. PJ an Chris also reunited for this which was very long overdue. This from Amazing Philwas hilarious and I can’t not mention Dan Howell’s video for World Mental Health Day the pair of them made a video for their new game which was also pretty funny and their annual baking video.


Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons

Secrets of the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons – Dodie Clark

Right, let’s get this out of the way, Dodie Clark (or doddleoddle or just dodie as she is also known, no caps makes you super edgy online as my twitter follwers will attest) is a musician and YouTuber. She posts original songs, usually accompanied by a ukulele and more recently, she’s been making videos documenting her experiences with Derealisation and now she’s written a book about that experience. Having dealt with mental health issues myself, I am always interested to read more about how other people work though their struggles, which is why I was so interested to get a hold of this.

When I feel like I’m going mad I write.
A lot of my worst fears have come true; fears that felt so big I could barely hold them in my head. I was convinced that when they’d happen, the world would end.
But the world didn’t end. In fact, it pushed on and demanded to keep spinning through all sorts of mayhem, and I got through it. And because I persisted, I learned lessons about how to be a stronger, kinder, better human – lessons you can only learn by going through these sorts of things.
This is for the people with minds that just don’t stop; for those who feel everything seemingly a thousand times more than the people around them.
Here are some words I wrote.

So given that we’re all aware that we’re supposed to dislike books by YouTubers and given that I have mixed thoughts about the few books I’ve read that happened to have been written by YouTubers, what did I think of this?

The editor’s letter at the beginning of this mentions Sylvia Plath and I eye rolled so hard it hurt. I love Sylvia Plath and I hate when people are like ‘ohh like I’m cool and edgy, like Sylvia Plath’. Trust me, I have met people who genuinely say things like this.  So, even though I was interested to read this, that one sentence had me backing away slowly. But then I pulled myself together and skipped through to the only words that matter, the ones Dodie put in there and by god. If you were put off reading this because of the whole she’s a YouTuber, this is a way for publishers to make money off of her millions of young subscribers then push that thought out of your head. This isn’t Sylvia Plath, but it is, for the most part, beautiful and heart breaking and warm and endearing. Dodie writes in such an unflinchingly honest way about her experiences with mental health, emotional abuse and well… life, its refreshing and captivating.

The reason I was so interested to read this was, as I said, because I am interested in how people cope with their mental health, though this book is also about life lessons and observations, the opening chapters do deal with Dodie’s mental health experiences and the way she writes about it is captivating. As is the advice she gives about obsessions, growing up and love. Though there were times when I was left wondering who the intended audience was, some of the pages were written in a way that transcends age, others were clearly twenty something to twenty something and some spoke to the younger audience that I know Dodie has. In one way this is a plus, people of all ages can read and enjoy this book, in another I’m worried about how it will be marketed, I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on what is a solid read because no one is sure who to sell it to.

Despite only being in her early twenties, this was a great memoir. Normally I’d be like, live a little first, but honestly, there was more than enough material here to keep me engaged and essay like anecdotes were interspersed with song lyrics, journal entries, submissions from people who know Dodie well,  doodles and photographs – i had an egalley of this but the paper/hard back would be a much better reading experience and would allow you to better understand the stories the doodles, journal clippings and selected photos tell.

Also I feel there needs to be a special mention for the dedication at the beginning because it was hilarious.

All in all, though I wouldnt say this book was perfect and there were some moments that were stronger than others, this was a thoughtful, endearing memoir and though I really want to make a 6/10 reference, I think it deserves more than that!