Friday, 20 June 2014

Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin | Book Review

I chose this as my book to give away for World Book Night 2014 (see Instagram here for photos of the special edition copies) because it had had many greta reviews and was considered an acclaimed series. This is the first installment of the series.  Originally published in 1978, the book follows Mary Ann Singleton who has just moved to San Francisco. Although not fully explained, it would appear that Mary Ann wishes to escape the less interesting and more routine-based life of her parents house and realises a sudden need for her to be independent and try and make it on her own.
The story follows through various different perspectives of friends Mary has and makes, her neighbours, her dubious landlord Mrs.Madrigal. Considering the book was published in the late 70s, it covers numerous topics which would have seemed controversial at the time including homosexuality and a variety of alternative lifestyles. Due to these different styles of living portrayed in the book, the characters are a complete array of mismatched personas resulting in a very colourful depiction of San Franciscan life. There is not an exact, straight storyline, so much as Maupin just fumbles along with the characters as they attempt to find happiness and freedom. Drugs and sexuality and farily prominent within the book and Maupin writes with a tone which is not so often seen in modern day novels which makes for a very different read to what seems more readibly available!

I gave a copy of this to my Nan and at the time I had not read it. She, I am pretty sure it can be said, is not quite a fan... I definitely feel that this book is suited to more older readers, such as from young adult and above.
I reallu enjoyed the book; it was a ncie and easy read which really transported you back those 40 odd years to a time when people's lives were very different. Maupin has filled the book with mystery, relationships, life and death, all mixed in with a strange ability to really relate to all of the characters, especially Mary Ann Singleton.

Next Up: Little Women - Louise May Alcott

Would you read this series?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Surviving Hayfever

I am currently taking sanctitude in my bed after venturing outside resulting in me feeling like I just laid down in a field; hayfever is hitting once again, and this year it's even harder than before.
I've suffered with hayfever since I was about 13 or so and prior to then I was one of those people that mocked those that couldn't sit on the grass at lunch time because their eyes were too itchy. Getting hayfever was definitely karma; all of those non-sufferers, beware!

So many people I know have been struggling with hayfever, and for us students, doing exams and revision with hayfever is another level of awful. Here some of the tips that I've recently been seeing and will definitely be trying out!

  • Tablets - Antihistamines can really work wonders; they might not get rid of the symptoms completely, but they will definitely keep them at bay. I actually get mine from the 99p shop; they may not be Piriton but they definitely work! 
  • Vaseline - Applying vaseline around your nostrils prevents pollen and allergens from actually entering your system thus preventing the annoyance of a stuffy nose. I am currently sitting here with a Rose-vaseline tinted nose (as depsite having minimum of 5 vaselines, I could only find 2 rose ones...)
  • Showers - Taking very regular showers, such as morning and evening everyday cleanses your skin by removing any allergens that may have gotten attracted to you.
  • Steam - Very common symptons of hayfever, mine definitely, are that of a Summer cold. Completely congested and stuffy, blocked nose, headache, itchy throat, the whole lot. By putting you head over a bowl of hot water with a towel around your head the steam can help to ease any congestion.
  • Be Smart - If grass or flowers really set your hayfever off, don't go near them! Try and stay to more paved areas if you go outside, or if your hayfever is really bad, avoid going outside. (Not saying become a hermit, but I definitely am one anyway!) Cats and other animals can also offset hayfever due to being similar allergens so be mindful of animals (this one I just can't do; I love my cats too much).
I hope that these help you with your hayfever, and with mine! Please let me know of any other ways you have found to keep the horrendousness at bay!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Before I Met You - Lisa Jewell | Book Review

I'm quite behind with my book review at the moment, but I will catch you all up! This book was a birthday present from Emily after she read it and absolutely loved it. Whislt she was reading it, Emily did keep telling me just how good it was and that she couldn't put it down; I was completely the same! 
From the moment I started reading it, I knew that I just wanted to carry on reading. The storyline and the characters were all so capitivating, and it was quite unlike anything I had read before.
The story starts with a girl called Elizabeth visiting her Grandmother, Arlette with the result that Elizabeth and her mother are going to have to leave their home to move in with Arlette. Although greatly saddened by this at Elizabeth becomes closer and closer to her Grandmother, who begins to call her Betty. Arlette teaches her all about glamour and gorgeuous fashion and all other wonderful things that Betty has never known before on their home of Guernsey Island. 
Upon Arlette's death, Betty moves to SoHo in order to find a Clara Pickle who Arlette has mentioned in her will but that no one knows. The book then starts skipping back to the early decades of the 1900s, changing to Arlette's perspective and insight into London life of that time. The story then follows Arlette's past life and Betty's new one, trying to track down who her Grandmother really was.
The story is truly engaging, showing Betty struggle through life, both domestic and love, whislt trying to find the life that her Grandmother had led. As the story unfolds, you are left wanting to know more and more of both Betty and Arlette's lives. 
Jewll's writing is so convincing and ehr descriptions are so realistic that you feel as if you are in both worlds and that you are being transported back in time. Yet you also feel that you are living with Betty in dubious apartment with a rock star up the road and a record stall holder opposite. Words cannot describe just how good a read this was!

I would most definitely recommend this book to those who love storis of lost loves and glamour mixed with the modern day hustle and bustle of life. A truly wonderful  read! (Please ignore my sounding like a combination between a middle-aged woman and a broadsheet review, but my words speak the truth!)

Next Review to come: Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

Have I convinced you to grap a copy?