Tuesday, 24 June 2014

x: Ed Sheeran - review



I've loved Ed Sheeran for a number of years now and I'm so glad that his second album has finally been released. With songs being released one by one via iTunes over the past few weeks, I'm so glad that I can listen to them all now. This album is without a doubt one of the most anticipated releases of this year and it has certainly lived up to its expectations.

After hearing 'Sing' I was left to wonder whether this album was heading for a different sort of sound, but evidently, Ed has stayed true to his individual artistic style, continuing to avoid conforming to any expected conventions of 'pop' music and rather just doing his own thing, which still works wonderfully.

The name of the album, x, or 'multiply,' continues the theme of a symbol rather than a number (as with +/'plus'). It also indicates his progression, with plus having shown his steady growth and multiply suggesting how his career has grown incredibly rapidly over the past few years (that's how I see it anyway, I'm not sure if there's an actual meaning behind the titles).

The album was released yesterday (23rd June) and has been sitting pretty at the top of the iTunes chart, as I'm sure it will continue to do.

Here's what I think of it.


One

It makes a lot of sense that this song is track number one on the album, as indicated by it's name. I think having had Give My Love/Parting Glass as the concluding song(s) on plus, this song really feels like the next part moving on from there. It just sounds like the song that would naturally follow on in my opinion. It's utterly stunning, as anyone would expect from Ed, and yet it's the type of beautiful that breaks your heart. I've mentioned many a time that ballads are the type of song that get my heart the most and this is really one of those darn ballads. The honesty in all of Ed's lyrics is always the thing that strikes me the most; you can tell in his voice that the song is personal and that really brings out the meaning and allows the song to have its full impact. The perfect way to start the album.


I'm a Mess

What a title. I wanted to hear this song a lot after initially reading the track list just to see in what kind of a way the title would be brought out in the lyrics. It's a relationship-y song instead of an entirely personal one (I'd probably have related to it more if it was more individualistic), but it makes a lot of sense. To me I see it as a song to someone who has been there whilst someone else is a mess and doesn't tire of their behaviour, because ultimately they just want to help the person, and maybe show them that love won't always leave things in a mess. 'For tonight I wanna fall in love' is a very lustful lyric, seemingly indicating a temporary love, perhaps to forget about the last time love etched their life. I love how Ed often really powers through ballads and this is one of those songs that's really strongly driven.


Sing

When I first heard sing I literally thought it could've been a Justin Timberlake song. That said I wasn't that sure if it really suited Ed's style to begin with, but after listening to it again I knew that it just worked and my initial lack of surety was just due to the fact that it was different. I really admire Sheeran for releasing this as the first song from the album simply because it could have been seen by a lot of people as a risk, as it isn't the sound you'd necessarily associate with him. That said, I think it was a great idea, because it clearly shows his diversity as an artist and I think there are so many singers and musicians who are completely reluctant to do that. But it's a great song and just works.


Don't

Don't is a real personal song and kind of explains the process of a relationship of sorts with someone in the same career as him. It's a bit of a jab in the eye for that person, who remains unnamed, as despite the song being quite bitchy, Ed isn't that harsh. I feel like a lot of people will have a hunch regarding who it is actually about (me included lolz), but the element of mystery probably just attracts more interest to the song. I like it. The fact that Sheeran uses songwriting to sort of 'get over' things is really great in my opinion, like he can just let the frustration out in a song and then just put it to the side and move on. What a great guy. I could listen to this song over and over (in fact I have), and it's fast-paced and super catchy.


Nina

This song is very reminiscent and comes out as a warning. Like, it sounds as though he's just saying 'you really shouldn't be with me because I'm never around,' which makes a lot of sense. But equally it looks back to how much the two people enjoyed spending time together. I like the Stevie Wonder reference, because it shows some of Ed's influences but also refers to the situation at hand (and I love Stevie Wonder so of course I would like a song that mentions him). It's quite sad despite how it looks back on happier/relaxed memories. 'Love will come and love will go, but you can make it on your own' is easily one of my favourite phrases on the whole album; it's a good message to all those teens who are infatuated with the idea of love and think, for some naive reason, that they can't live without it. It's an important message that a lot of people are too foolish to believe (I can think of several of these people off the top of my head). I like the encouragement for individualism, yet equally the suggestion that being in love is nice. A good rounded view on the matter.


Photograph

Photograph is beautiful. The opening guitar sequence had me head over heels from the moment I pressed play. I love looking back over photographs and this song has basically made me realise why; they're comforting and allow you to just remember the good moments, because no one would ever want to take a picture when something sad/bad was happening. 'We keep this love in a photograph,' is quite a special lyric. Like, even people who have died can remain in your heart and you can still feel their love, because the picture will always remind you of how they made you feel. I love how Ed manages to write songs like this. He just has a way of singing about everyday things but really bringing out what those things actually mean. This song is sacred to me in the same way that photographs are. I couldn't love it more if I tried.


Bloodstream

I'm not really sure how I feel about this song yet. It essentially describes the idea of putting different substances into your body in order to feel something, 'I've been looking for a lover, thought I'd find her in a bottle.' It's actually really sad. The idea that someone would consume alcohol etc to feel some fake form of love to warm their heart and their blood continues to be one that prevails though. Personally as someone who's never looked to drinking or substance abuse etc as an outlet for my feelings, I suppose it's something that I don't understand in the way someone who had experienced it would; so I can only really pity the people who truly understand the feelings encased in this song, because it's even sadder than meets the eye.


Tenerife Sea

The guitar line that opens the song, as usual, completely captivated me from the word go. Literally I'm such a sucker for anything led by an acoustic guitar. This is definitely one of my favourites on the album. It's just exactly what you would hope for from Ed; it's everything that you would expect from a song by him, and I think it's nice that despite some tracks that sound quite different to his usual sound, he's still remained faithful to the style that personally I think he might as well have created. It's so mellow and just beautiful. 'We are surrounded by all of these lies, and people who talk too much; you've got that kind of look in your eyes, as if no one knows anything but us.' So. Pretty. So. Lyrically. Perfect. 'All that you are is all that I'll ever need,' is one of those things that deep down I think everybody would love to hear. Could listen to this song forever and never tire of it.


Runaway

Runaway has a style similar to 'Sing.' It's just as catchy as well; I went out after listening to it and before writing this and it's been in my head the whole time. It's quite sad despite the strong rhythms, which I kind of like about it. 'I don't wanna live this way, gonna take my things and go,' is something that sounds familiar. The way our parents bring us up is all due to their ideals and what they want their children to do and become, and I can relate to not wanting to conform and 'live that way.' 'I love him from the skin to my bones,' expresses loving your parents still, but just not wanting to be what they want you to be. This is a song that I think a lot of teenagers would be able to relate to very easily. It sounds really relaxed as well, just laid back, perhaps reflecting what a parent doesn't want their child to be. I like it a lot.


The Man

This song is so Ed. It just sounds like his earliest music, really raw and soulful; I don't really like rapping but when he does it, it just sounds right??? I don't know, it sounds much more like storytelling than most rappers and kind of reminds me of The Script, who have the same kind of format for a lot of their songs. I feel like this song in particular is so personal, and I really admire Ed for releasing this sort of song, because I think his heart is literally on his sleeve and in a sense people will be happy to bash him for it and say mean things. But the thing is, you can always tell that he just wants to sing/speak his mind; it's very admirable.




Thinking Out Loud

This is probably the song in my opinion. There's not a single thing I could ever criticise about it. It reminds me of the sort of song you'd expect to hear in a church, just really soulful and I can imagine Ed stood at the front preaching it out. Equally it makes me think of the song you would expect to hear at the end of a film, concluding things on a happy and serene note. I think this would've been a nice song to conclude the album with, but to be honest I think it would work in any position on the track list. I just love it. It's so soulful and fueled with complete adoration.


Afire Love

I love how Sheeran always writes about personal experiences and this is one that pretty much everyone can empathise with and really understand. I just feel so blessed that he's willing to share this kind of song with people, because it's the kind of thing that gets people through sad things like that described. The fact that Ed has said he finished writing the song at his grandfather's funeral is just amazing really. It goes to show just how personal it all is. I think the song must be one that means a lot to him and his family, and it is just really beautiful. 'The devil took your memory' is a line that's really haunting; he just has a way of describing things like no one else would ever think to. And it's truly remarkable.


Take It Back

This song is so raw. It just feels like he wants to get his feelings out there as quickly as possible, maybe because he wants to get them out of his head, or just so it seems more conversational maybe, but it always seems to work. 'I don't ever want to be perfect, 'cause I'm a singer that you never want to see shirtless,' reminds everyone of just the kind of guy that Ed is. He's fine with making fun of himself and maybe saying what he thinks everyone else is thinking, but he's just so humble and essentially 'normal.' He's pretty much the only singer I can think of who just does their own thing and isn't doing it to try to impress anyone, but rather just for himself. He's really true to his roots and won't let himself or anyone else forget the things he's experienced and gone through to get his music heard. The song just reminds me of all the credit that he deserves for it all.


Shirtsleeves

'We'll learn to swim in the oceans you made,' literally who else would ever describe dealing with crying in this way? If he wasn't musical then Ed would literally have to be a poet in my eyes. This song is so comforting. I feel like whenever anyone's sad they should just listen to this; maybe it'd make them cry more, but ultimately I think it just sounds so comforting that you couldn't not feel better after a few listens. He's so sweet. Like, I don't know, you can't listen to this song and think that Ed Sheeran isn't a nice guy at heart, because he just is.


Even My Dad Does Sometimes

I feel like if this song was written by any other artist then they would've called it 'crying' or 'it's alright' or something like that. But the title is perfect. Because it doesn't mention sadness or crying, yet instantly you'll know what it's about; because in most cases dads don't cry, but every now and then they do. Ed really just picks up on things like that and turns them into something quite magical. It's another really comforting song and I feel so grateful for it. I really feel the lyrics, more than I thought I would. This is definitely a favourite of mine. 'Tears remind you you're alive' is a really nice way to think about crying. I'm someone who would go to great lengths to avoid crying, especially when there's another person around, but at the end of the day it does remind you you're alive, because you're actually feeling something. This is another song that I could listen to until the end of time, but I think if I was particularly sad already, I'd probably just ball my eyes out haha. It's stunning.


I See Fire

The penultimate song on the album is I See Fire, which featured on the soundtrack of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.' It's a really beautiful song, and the opening initially reminded me a little of Parting Glass. I haven't seen The Hobbit so I'm not aware of how fitting it is with the film, but if it's at all similar to the way 'All of the Stars' was written for The Fault in Our Stars then I'm sure Ed got the song right down to a t.  It's a really calming song despite lyrics that are indicating the exact opposite of this. Like many of Ed's songs that have come before, it's beautiful and utterly flawless.


All of the Stars

This song. That film. It's literally the perfect song and fits The Fault in Our Stars in every way. The lyrics are completely relevant ad work wonderfully with Ed's heartfelt and sincere vocals. It sounds like a lullaby to me and I have actually fallen asleep to it before. It's so mellow and really just right for the film. I think it concludes the album wonderfully.


So, these are my thoughts on x. I feel like there's been so much expected of Ed on this album, but he, as he always seems to, hasn't really cared about what people want from him, instead just writing music that means something. And he couldn't have done a better job in my opinion.

It's made me look forward to seeing him on tour in October even more, and I think it'll be a really special night.

You can download the album on iTunes here and I would really urge you to do so, because it's just incredible. Better than anything I could have hoped for.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Book review: The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer



I found 'The Shock of the Fall' in a little independent bookshop in the town I live in. It's definitely not the type of book I usually look for in there, but I'm really glad I found it. The attraction was that it was voted Costa's Book of the Year for 2013, so I hoped it would be worth the read. I also really love the cover of the book, which is actually something that would usually put me off buying a book; when the cover's nice I feel like they're often trying to make it pretty to make up for the content. But after reading the blurb I was really interested.


'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce you to my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that.'


And I was hooked. This is both the blurb and an excerpt for the very beginning of the novel; there's something about these few sentences that immediately creates mystery and suspense, and yet complete and utter certainty. It's amazing to read something that can combine these polar opposites and have it actually make sense. The book is based around mental health but doesn't really delve too deep into the psychological elements that the average reader wouldn't understand. Any terms that aren't common knowledge are often defined simply by the narrator, which I personally found very useful. I also really liked the written style Filer has gone with, showing the narrator to actually be typing out the whole novel himself, with different fonts showing the use of both a computer and typewriter, with little doodles added in here and there, which kind of makes it seem all the more personal and, equally, fairly disjointed. As a reader you sort of jump from memory to memory, which is something explained by the narrator, Matt: 'This is how we piece together our past. We do it like a jigsaw puzzle, where there are pieces missing. But so long as we have enough of the pieces, we can know what belongs in the gaps.' As a reader you're kind of left to fill in the gaps yourself, and it's a lot easier than you would first think. Because, not knowing what actually happens, allows us to have our own little part in the story, attempting the fill the cracks in the memories ourselves. That's probably the thing I love most about reading: everything is how you make it; there's no distinct right or wrong ideas. Reading almost allows you to take part in the writing of the book, adding what you think could happen in all the gaps.


The book could have caused sympathy, but Filer's writing style almost begs you not to sympathise, because at the end of the day, it's unlikely you'll have a clue how it would feel to be in Matt's position. I quite like the lack of emotion present at most times, with the odd glimmer of feeling from the narrator dotted here and there, but usually shown through him doing something rather than sitting and thinking about how he feels. Although, saying that, he's talking about everything in hindsight, writing after the events have already occurred, so maybe he's expressing his feelings in reaction to everything that's happened rather than remembering what he felt at the time.


One of my favourite lines in the book is: 'She's known sadness, and it has made her kind.' After thinking a girl, Annabelle, was somewhat evil as a child, Matt ends up realising that she'd been very sad at the time, and as a young adult, he meets her again, hearing her story and understanding how the events from her childhood had made her a better person in the long run. I think it's reminded me how important it is to remember that most of the time we have little clue what's going on in the lives of others, thus it's wrong to judge them, especially only on a brief encounter with them.


Overall, I found the novel very eye-opening. The combination of the events and how they unfold in a non-linear format really gives the book it's full impact. The detachment from emotion is essential to the plot and the result of all its events. I thought it was a brilliant book and struggled to put it down. I would recommend it to a young adult reader; I think someone the same age as the narrator would be able to follow the plot best and really appreciate the content most, but equally anyone older could easily enjoy the read.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Icarus Account



After clicking on suggested video after suggested video on youtube a few months ago, I first came across The Icarus Account. Having kind of but not really liked the majority of songs I'd been listening to whilst I'd aimlessly clicked, I was left completely mesmerised by the uniqueness of the band's sound. The acoustic nature made me fall in love immediately. I don't believe in love at first sight, but love at first listen is a real thing that actually happens.


The band consists of twin brothers,Ty and Trey Turner, from Florida. Their main aim is to 'write songs that they hoped would give an audience goosebumps.' And that, they have definitely managed to do for me. The majority of their songs are fairly soft and could quite easily be mistaken for lullabies, but I cannot think of anything more perfect. Trey suggests, 'One of the most beautiful things about writing songs is that it proves how connected all of us really are,' and I couldn't agree more. I think the brothers have really managed to capture certain emotions and feelings that perhaps are usually pushed aside by a lot of people. Personally I'm someone who often suppresses emotions like sadness, but the band's lyrics really speak to me and remind me that everyone feels sad sometimes.





'Jasmine' was the first song of their's I listened to and I just thought it was beautiful. The opening piano sequence sounded very recognisable, like a childhood memory of a nursery rhyme and I immediately felt comfortable with the song. The message is something that I can really relate to. They express an interest in someone and how they always look forward to seeing them; I think that's something that most people have felt at one time or another. But they're kind of worried to say anything because they don't really know how the other person is feeling, something that, equally, I'm sure we've all thought about. My favourite line by a mile is 'if only the secrets of her heart were written in her eyes.' I think it's something that we'd all like, just to know someone's feelings by looking at them, rather than continuously hoping, but never really saying anything, whether it be due to fear or shyness. I think the line's so relatable; I think about how easy other people would find it to approach me if they already knew what I was thinking. It's just one of the prettiest songs I've ever come across. ( listen here )


Another of my favourites is 'Little Things.' It's very reminiscent and nostalgic, looking back to a time when you were with someone and thinking about all the little things that made you like them. The softness of the guitar and vocals is kind of haunting; they really know how to evoke emotions with just the right intensity for their songs. I think that's where a lot of artists go wrong in my opinion, they try to increase the tempo too much or add more layers of sound; the result is that the song doesn't sound like the lyrics intend for it to. But this song is the complete opposite and I think that the twins just do everything right in my opinion. ( listen here )


'Bad News' is more of an upbeat song and it kind of brings out the good that's ultimately encased in the bad. 'I'm just tired of being the good guy lately,' is a lyric I can relate to. Sometimes you just find yourself wanting to do something completely uncharacteristic and go under the influence of someone who lives a little more freely. I think it's quite a quirkly track that's just all about fun and not caring about being 'bad news' and that's a good message for young adults who constantly feel the need to do the right thing. You have to live a little sometimes. ( listen here )


I think my favourite song of their's would have to be 'Yellow Shirt,' simply because it sounds a lot like my life. 'She always wears yellow when she feels like herself' is one hundred percent accurate for me; whether it's a yellow top, yellow nail varnish, socks; if I feel like me then I'll be wearing something yellow. And I think this was the song that really struck me the most out of them all, because I actually learnt a lot about myself from it and that's not something that's ever happened to me before. My favourite colour is yellow and second to that is grey, basically because I either feel yellow or grey. 'She's been wearing grey, without a thought of change' really made me think about how I present myself as an emotion sometimes. I always hide my emotions from facial expressions or my speech, but actually I'm always showing them with my clothing; people just don't realise. Literally, this song has made me think about so many things, and there's never been anything else that's had the same affect on me. It's kind of like magic. Again it's the acoustic wonderland of sound that the twins always present, but this one's just that little bit more special for me. ( listen here )


Overall, The Icarus Account are tranquil and timeless. They managed to become one of my favourite bands in the space of a single evening and that's not something to ever be overlooked in my opinion. I think that their songs are just so meaningful and really help you to understand life and think about things in ways that perhaps you hadn't before. I would recommend them to anyone of any age; unlike a lot of bands that have more of a target audience, The Icarus Account are completely suitable for all ages and genders. They just want to make real music, and that they do very well.



Until next time.


Information source: link



Contacts/social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Friday, 6 June 2014

Top 10 books

I love books more than your average teenager. When talking to other people my age it actually shocks me how few of them read regularly, if even at all. I've been a bookworm ever since I could read; even when I was just learning to read. In fact, even before, I'd always be getting my mum to read me books. But thinking about it now, I was just so keen from a young age to be able to shut myself away from my family and just read on my own. I don't really know why, it felt more personal I guess, like, I didn't want to hear what other people had to say about a book until I'd experienced it for myself first. My sister being only a year older than me meant that usually she'd just finished reading the books I was starting and she'd tell me about them, but I'd never want to hear it until I'd read it too. It's kind of ironic because nowadays I'm always finding books from reviews and reading what other people thought of them before even touching the cover. I think books are just something really special, because you never see anything, you just picture it in your mind. And it makes it so personal, because your perceptions will always be different from someone else's.


Soooo, I thought I would share my top ten books.


There's huge potential for this list to change dramatically after my exams finish as I have an enormous pile of books waiting to be read (two history and an English exam down, media and saxophone to go (English was awful hahahahahhhhhh)). It's taking soooo much determination not to just stop revision and pick one of them up, but I need to do well in these exams and I know I'll become too consumed in the books if I start even just one (which will lead to another, and then another, and another etcccccc (I love books gaaaaa)). And let's face it, I spend too much time writing to give up even more revision time to read as well. Although, I am still reading of course, it's mainly been the books I've studied for my English exam, which was this morning, but it's still reading.


Anyway, here we are; in no particular order:


1. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro




I read this book for the first time around Christmas time 2012. For my AS English coursework we were studying dystopian fiction, and so I wanted to read around the subject, rather than just the core texts. Of the dystopian novels I read, this was by far my favourite. And it was a good job I read it too, because about a month before our close analysis piece of coursework was due in, our teacher realised he'd been teaching us a book that the exam board would no longer accept (A Clockwork Orange (which was not enjoyable in the slightest). As a result, we switched to this book, which was incredibly handy for me.

It was so easy to read, basic English but with a twist, with terms like 'donation' being used in ways that initially seemed unfamiliar and out of context. Things aren't really explained early on, but you just sort of pick up on what's happening and what the novel will result in as you read on. I thought it was very gripping and incredibly perceptive. Ishiguro has just the right kind of written style that eases you into the novel, and before you know it you completely understand the plot. There's kind of a lacking of emotion, but equally you can just tell how the characters are feeling without it being said outright at most times. I would recommend this book to anyone.



2. Animal Farm - George Orwell




I read Animal Farm in year eight or nine at school. It was that sort of age where I was just becoming aware of politics and what it was all about, and so I think it was definitely the right time to read the book. Essentially, the novel revolves around the idea of communism. Communism is 'a theory or system of social organisation in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.' It was written as a sort of response to the growth of communism in the 1930s/40s and all the fears that it brought. I think that Animal Farm explains it all really well. It shows that ultimately communism won't work, as no one will ever really be economically equal. The pigs in the novel show that even when the farmer is evicted from the farm, and overthrown as such, someone else will always have to take the lead in order for things to work; so even if the pigs were convincing the other animals they were all equal, they would always hold a little more power, thus causing tension and conflict. A brilliant, insightful book.




3. The Nanny - Melissa Nathan




I have read this book so many times. And every time I love it more. It's one of the very few books that I would love to see a film developed from. The first time I read it I think I was around eleven; my mum had had it on her bedside table for months, convincing herself she would read it and in the end she just said I might as well read it first (she didn't read it until we went on a holiday about three years ago). Even for an eleven year old it was easy to understand, yet witty and kind of complex relationship-wise I suppose (although nothing I hadn't heard of before). It revolves around protagonist, Jo, who moves to London to act as a nanny for three young children. It's very modern and doesn't really closely compare to Mary Poppins, but I think there's kind of a likeness between Mary and Jo. I suppose it's probably considered a women's kind of book, but to be honest I think men should be encouraged more into this sort of relationship/women's lifestyle genre; maybe they'd understand women's minds a little bit better. I love it, unconditionally; would recommend it to anyone, although it's probably best aimed at teenage girls and women in general (don't let that stop you though, men).



4. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult




First off, the novel is five hundred billion trillion times better than the film. If you've seen the film, you should know that the novel has a completely different ending. It's so unexpected you almost can't believe what you're reading, unlike the film, in which, everything you expect to happen, happens. I was literally gutted when I watched the film, so if you haven't read the book, I would actually recommend watching the film first, because the book will blow your mind. I feel like the topic of cancer or any life threatening disease is always a morbid one, but Picoult makes the whole novel seem more political than medical. Equally there's a lot of heart, and a lot more than you could possibly expect if you've only watched the film. Literally, just read it, please.



5. Looking For Alaska - John Green




How teenage girl of me. Despite not being Green's best known book, I actually prefer Looking For Alaska to The Fault In Our Stars (the controversy). I think the best two word description of the book would be: unexpectedly deep. Green is one of those writers who has a knack for intricate metaphors. The title itself causes one to think that someone's looking for Alaska, which to me is representative of how Alaska is a part of America, yet isn't connected, so you sort of just have to know where it is. And the character of Alaska is very similar: you either know where she is (physically, mentally and emotionally) or you just sort of look hopelessly. It is deeeeeeep. I also like how it's written from the perspective of a teenage boy. I don't know, you just don't really get that a lot. Typically I'd recommend this to teenage girls, but to be honest I would probably have read it if I were a boy (even if I was a cool, hot one (can you imagine lolz)).



6. Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck




Pretty much every GCSE student has read this book at some point. And most of them have hated it. But looking past your teacher saying 'highlight any evidence of foreshadowing' and resultantly highlighting practically the whole book, it's actually got a really strong message of friendship, dependence, trust and ultimately kindness, doing the right thing. Literally, I think GCSE English has ruined this book, because teenagers are often pretty dumb and as a result unappreciative of anything that actually means something. Ugh. And if read from a feminist perspective it's also really good evidence of the oppression of women, in so many ways. Curley's wife isn't even given a name. Worth reading. Don't resent it because you have to read it for school.


7. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee




Don't read this book if you're only twelve, because there's a good chance you won't really appreciate the content. My English class had to read this over the summer between years seven and eight and I didn't get a word of it. However, I read it again when I was sixteen and it literally made all the sense in the world. Set in the southern states of America during the 1930s, essentially the novel depicts the situation for African Americans, especially in court, during this time, which wasn't pleasant. Telling the story through the eyes of the child is probably the way Lee made things so eye opening. Children are generally very honest, and so Scout's character really brings out the unfairness of the way blacks were treated. It kind of goes to show how the popular opinions of adults impact the future opinions of children. A very interesting and historically accurate read.


8. Alone On A Wide, Wide Sea - Michael Morpurgo




I wish I had read this book when I was about ten or eleven instead of only a year ago, because I think I would've appreciated the adventure element of it a lot more back then. It's fiction, but I just think to a younger audience it would seem more real and exciting. It's a great book about a huge journey of a man and his daughter. It's made me more interested in Australia as a country for some reason, despite the small description of the country being mostly revolved round the middle of nowhere rather than the urban areas that most people would visit. I think it's an amazingly well-written book, but I would recommend that people read it when they're just coming out of primary school, at sort of eleven/twelve years old; I feel like my age has caused me to kind of compare the whole thing to reality a bit too much, making it seem all the more fictitious; which is sad really, because usually I can believe a novel almost entirely when I'm reading it.


9. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald




I love pretty much everything about the 1920s, so this book was a little heartbreaking for me at times. It kind of exposed the Jazz Age to be not as great as I had initially thought it to be. Obviously the novel still shows the lavish lifestyles and flapper culture, but it does seem more real than this era is often made out to be. I haven't actually seen the film version with Leonardo DiCaprio in, but I'm sure his performance as Gatsby would have been convincing. Leo would probably cut his arm off for a film if that would make it a great film. I think the novel is very focused on idealism and essentially allows the reader to see how someone with everything can actually have very little.


10. 1984 - George Orwell




Orwell has made it into the favourites twice ohhh riiiiight. I think, similarly to Animal Farm, again Orwell puts out a strong political message in 1984, with focus on both communism and totalitarianism. It's kind of scary to think that some people think this sort of world would be ideal. The lack of freedom literally terrifies me. The whole novel appears to be filled with false hope, which as a reader is never really what you want to see. I also found the ending SO disappointing; there were so many things that could have happened, but essentially I think Orwell was trying to show the full extent of the regime, and he did that very well. It's made me think about what would be in my room 101 but I genuinely have no idea. Like I don't really like bugs very much, but I'm more scared of like, the unknown and that kind of thing, but how would you put that in a room? Anyway, definitely worth reading. Probably a fourteen and above kind of book.


Sooooo there you have it. Those are currently my favourite books. As I said, once I finally get more time to read again, I'm sure it will change dramatically, but for now I like these ones best.
I love all the Harry Potter books as well but I felt like I wouldn't really be able to mention one without talking about them all (Prisoner of Azkaban is my faaaaavourite).
Let me know your favourite books and any you'd recommend, and equally if you've read any of these and hated them let me know why.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com