The book club: April and May

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling kind of swamped in school work – we have mock exams coming up at the beginning of July, which I know sounds like ages away, but I have a fair few uni open days, school trips and a 5-night holiday to contend with, so I don’t feel like I’m going to have a lot of time to prepare! Plus, these mocks contribute to our predicted grades, which could affect which universities will offer a place – eeeekk…

Anyway, one of my favourite forms of procrastination is reading and so talking about reading felt like another equally enjoyable way to put off the mounds of revision I should be doing – so here I am! I didn’t post a Book Club post last month because I was in the middle of a book, and I hadn’t read much that month anyway; from now on though I think I’m going to do two-monthly posts as they’re just more substantial, ya know!?

I’ve enjoyed some r e a l l y good books recently, including The Picture of Dorian Gray. I want to read more classics and I thought this was a good place to start, as it’s an A-Level text in some schools (although not mine) so I figured it’d be a challenge but still something to read just for pleasure. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did to be honest! The philosophical, poetic monologues throughout are so beautiful and I just found the plot really gripping – I’m hoping to actually be able to use it for my English lit coursework too (but I’ll explain more about that in a while.)

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: I have to say, I didn’t like this much as I thought I would – not because of the story (even though really, it’s not a story, it used to be real life) or the characters, but simply because it took me a while to get into. I don’t know about you but I like to always start a book when I know I’ve got an hour or two to really get into it, but unfortunately I didn’t have that with The Underground Railroad so I just didn’t feel as connected to it as I do with other plots. Nevertheless, it was a good, yet harrowing, read, and I definitely recommend; in the not-too-distant-future, I’m going to have another read of this because I felt that I really didn’t do it justice.

Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie was my favourite book when I was about 9 or 10 and I found the series on my bookshelf when I was tidying it the other day (it’s got to that point where I have to get rid of some books to make room for my new ones 😫). Since I haven’t read any of the series in about 6 years, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and reread them, and even though the font size is huge and the plot is now incredibly predictable, it was still interesting, and even more so to see how far my reading and book choice has progressed in a few years!!

For my English lit coursework, we have to write a 3000-word essay comparing The Great Gatsby to another book, so I think I’ll probably choose The Picture of Dorian Gray although that’s not definite. I loveloveloved The Great Gatsby (and the film’s pretty good too, made 10 times better by the fact Leonardo DiCaprio stars in it 😍)

One of Us is Lying is a relatively new book I believe, I think it was only published either last year or the year before, and to be honest, I haven’t heard much about it – but honestly, if you haven’t read it, you need to! It was the perfect escapist read: a YA thriller/mystery in which a boy dies from being poisoned by peanut oil in detention. The spiralling events are so clever and detailed and I really loved how information is slowly drip-fed through to you buy the 4 different narrators; a must read!

And finally, I’m currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – I don’t have too much to say about it so far as I’ve only really just started it, although I have immediately warmed to Eleanor. I’ve seen a lot about this book particularly on Instagram so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype, but so far so good 😉

I’m going on holiday to the Netherlands tomorrow so my posting, if existent, will be sporadic – but let me know, either in the comments here or on my instagram, would you prefer to see an Ode to My Younger Self or a Skincare Routine post? I hope things are good with you, sending my love as always! Xxx

Talking: books.

The only thing better than reading a book is talking about that book with somebody who loves books equally as much as you! And recently, I’ve had the pleasure to talk to Eleanor, from eleanorclaudie.com, and the lovely M, from cadmiumxred.

I didn’t write my book club post last month for April, simply because I was in the middle of a book and I didn’t know whether to include it or not, so later on this month/early next month I’m going to write a combined April + May post. I finished The Picture of Dorian Gray and have since recommended it to everyone, M included – and although she hasn’t read it, I can forgive her, since she said “I’ve been obsessed with theatre plays lately, especially Shakespeare’s work! I find just find his way with words fascinating!! I’ve read a Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet.” Me and you both 😉❤️

Now, I’m not one to gravitate towards a non-fiction book to read in leisure time – sure, I will read some, but I just prefer a good story to delve in to! Saying that though, Eleanor definitely persuaded me to have a look for When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi “because it was so inspiring and touching and I could’ve cried at various points in the novel”. I’m a weepy person anyway so I’m not quiiite sure if I can face the emotional trauma reading this autobiography will bring, but maybe one day I’ll have a grip on my emotions and decide to face it. As a plot though, it sounds truly moving and devastating yet inspirational.

Fun fact: there are around 134 million books in the world (I bet Gutenberg never thought his idea would take hold like it has done haha). It can be a little overwhelming to decide what to read next, or at least it is for me, but recently I’ve found that YouTube is a good place to start – and Eleanor has too! “Estee Lalonde recommended ‘A Little Life’ on her YouTube channel a while ago so I really want to read that [and] Ariel Blisset (❤️ her) recommended All We Shall Know”. I personally want to read some of Sunbeams Jess’s recommendations, although a lot are quite text-heavy so I’ll save them until summer, when I have unlimited time!

From our conversations, a few other book recommendations came up which I’ll list here if you’re stuck on what to read – I’ve got my to-read list updated already, hehe 😊

— Fahrenheit 451: What I love about F451 is how deep it is even though the story is simple, it’s very philosophical! – M

— The Underground Railroad

— Leviathan: because Thomas Hobbes is a political philosopher that we look at for the Stuart’s in history. – Eleanor

— If This Is A Man: I think I’m going to read a few more history books during the summer for my uni application such as if this is a man by Primo Levi (it’s about someone who survives the holocaust). – Eleanor

— Frankenstein

A big thank you to both M and Eleanor for talking books with me, and if you have any time, check out their blogs (they’re both very very cool people!)

The book club: March

It’s finally the Easter holidays and my aim is to have read at least 2 books by the end, so hopefully next month’s post will be full with mini book reviews!! This month I’ve really enjoyed The Power, by Naomi Alderman – it was such a gripping storyline, I’d read it within days!

If you’re an astute reader of mine (actually, you don’t even have to be that astute because I say it practically every other sentence), my dream uni is Cambridge to do a degree in Linguistics, so I’ve been fuelling my interest in that this month by finally getting round to finishing Linguistics – A Very Short Introduction, by PH Matthews. I’m entering an essay competition and I’m hoping that reading around the subject a lot will help me with that, and in turn with my UCAS personal statement.

Next week we’re going to Stratford upon Avon so I felt it only right to delve into Hamlet, and I’m also going to start The Picture of Dorian Gray within the next few days which I’m really excited to read!

The book club: February

Hey hey hey, it’s a new month so it’s a new update on the book front 🙂

I’m pretty sure I said this in January as well but February has not been my month for reading. I’ve managed to strain my eyes and I was suffering a little bit with that for about a week so I’ve been trying to limit the amount of reading (and other close work) I do this month to try and help them recover – which I’m sure you’ll be glad to know has worked!!

I finished Birdsong which was so good and I will happily admit, I cried 😂 I won’t give any spoilers, but I thought the naming of the child was just so sentimental and touching and…yeah, I cried.

I’m currently on To Kill a Mockingbird which I love so far; it’s one of those modern classics that I’ve just never read! I’m also reading Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction which is part of the Oxford Very Short Introduction series – I find it very interesting and engaging (as it’s the subject I want to take at uni probably!) but difficult to read in parts. I think it’s just the amount of information you’re being told and how hard you have to concentrate to fully get your head around some of the concepts, but nevertheless I still love it and if you’re interested in languages I definitely recommend!

I’m sorry this has been another short post but as I say, I’ve been struggling a bit with my eyes recently, but hopefully now that they’re feeling a lot better I’ll be able to read more. Let me know what books you’ve been enjoying recently, and if you have any blog post ideas!

The book club: January

It’s no lie that January is a bleak and miserable month, but it’s also been a hectic one, hence my lack of reading *cue the tears and sad music*

But this month I have read a few books – Catcher in the Rye and Murder on the Orient Express – and I thought for this week’s post I’d just give a quick review of them.

Murder on the Orient Express – the film has recently come out but I always like to read a book before I see the movie, I’m not sure if that’s just me?! Anyway, I asked for the book for Christmas and I read it within a few days in the holiday; I enjoyed it a lot!! There were some plot twists that I wasn’t expecting and I definitely think I’ll have to see the film now.

Catcher in the Rye – as I finished this book, I was left a little confused: somehow, I’d completely missed that Holden, the narrator, speaks from inside some sort of institution?! I reached the end and I thought it was only then that he was going to this place. I honestly have no idea how I overlooked that fact because after looking at various summaries to see what I’d missed, several said that there were clear hints throughout 😂 however, I’m going to read this again at some point this year and I really enjoyed it as a story.

I’m reading Birdsong currently and it’s a very touching, poignant story. I feel like it’s one of those books that you can’t really like, just because of the subject of it, but it’s sadly very realistic and harrowing to think of what happening during the War.

For English Lit I’m reading Frankenstein too and I was dreading starting it, I won’t lie, simply, because I thought it was going to be very heavy-going. However, now that I’m getting into the plot line a little more, I’m actually excited to carry on reading it, so that’s a plus (and a surprise!)

I need to prioritise reading a more next month and I have the order of the books I’m going to read written down so hopefully, this post in a month’s time will be somewhat more entertaining 😊

Cara x

12.10 – book, books, books

One of my favourite pastimes is reading, whether that be a fiction or non fiction, magazine or coffee table art book – today I’m going to share with you my ultimate autumn reads!

1. The Handmaid’s Tale 

– very disturbing and chilling, especially since all of the events are based on historical fact. I’m reading this for school and I’m enjoying it in a spine-tingling kind of way.

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

– you can’t have a book list without at least one of the Harry Potters appearing (or apparating, should I say?)

3. Wonder

– an interesting read into the life of a boy with facial deformities. It’s extremely inspiring and presented in a lighthearted way…defo good for curling up with on a Saturday night! 

4. Frankie magazine

– if you’re into art, photography, fashion, design, music, anything creative really, this is the magazine for you! Admittedly it’s difficult to get in the UK but if you manage, it’s well worth it!

5. All the Places in London That I’ve Drawn So Far 

– fun fact: I tagged the author/illustrator of this book in an instagram photo and he replied. One of the coolest moments in my instagram life.

bits and bobs

Heyyy, I'm back! I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to think of a blog name I'm genuinely happy with as I'm not 100% a fan of sepiasunsets but I didn't want to put blogging off completely until I'd chosen a name, so I'm just going to carry on writing and eventually I'll find a name I do like!
Today, I thought I'd share some of the things I've been loving recently –

Harry Potter – obviously!

Frankie magazine – if you haven't ever read it, I definitely recommend! It's pretty difficult to get your hands on in england but there are ways – WH Smith's ~occasionally~ stock it (not always, I've found) but there are various places online you can also buy them.

Flowers, the sun, shadows… take a look at my Instagram and you'll see what I mean, hehe😇

Mandalas, and just doodling in general.

DIYs! This is a hand-stitched Matisse tote bag which I looooved making!

Shadows (again…)

Strawberries – I've recently reignited a love for strawberries and they're quickly going to become my go-to snack food, I think.

My wall! Sounds weird, but I love this wall in my room as I cover it with postcards, tickets, posters, doodles etc…it just sums me up!!