Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Review: ‘Apocalypse Now Now’ by Charlie Human

27 Oct

now

Rating: ★★★★☆

Set in Cape Town, ‘Apocalypse Now Now’ follows the story of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko, the enterprising kingpin of pornography-peddling schoolyard business The Spider. When his girlfriend Esme goes missing he discovers a secret supernatural underworld and, with the help of a grizzly bounty hunter sidekick, must try to avoid gang wars, his meddling younger brother, being devoured by giant crows – and an apocalypse or two.

The title comes from a common South Africanism relating to the amount of time to elapse before an event occurs. In the near future; not happening presently but to happen shortly. Continue reading

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A to Z Bookish Survey

29 Aug

I found this A to Z Bookish Survey on theprettybooks and thought I’d give it a try.

Author you’ve read the most books from
According to Goodreads it’s a tie between Louis Lowry (on account of her Anastasia Krupnik series and the brilliant dystopian masterpiece of YA fiction that is ‘The Giver’; C S Lewis, because of the Narnia chronicles and an unfulfilling reading of ‘Mere Christianity’; and Anne Rice, because I gorged myself on her vampire stories in high school. J K Rowling coming in closely behind these three, though! Having just ordered her secret new detective fiction into the bookshop, she might catch up pretty soon.

Best Sequel Ever
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has to be one of the best offerings to an already established fictional universe. Other than that, ‘The Vampire Lestat’ was a billion times better than ‘Interview With a Vampire’.

IMG_0759

Currently Reading
‘Fairytales for Wilde Girls’, ‘The Descent of Woman’, ‘On Writing’, ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ (not pictured), ‘Acorn’, ‘Family Likeness’, and the collected tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (not pictured).

Continue reading

Six Word Stories

1 Jul

Hello readers! I don’t know if I’m mentioned this before (I have), but I work in the coolest bookshop ever. As this week is Independent Booksellers Week, I thought it might be a good time to remind you all.

This was a customer testing our pens.

A couple of weeks ago, my colleague and I were discussing the concept of the six word story. For example, Ernest Hemingway is (incorrectly) believed to have once said that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

And yeah, it’s pretty spooky. But we thought we could do better, so we took to Twitter to rally some would-be writers. Here are my six favourite responses.

Continue reading

What is better than books and tea?

8 Jun

Question: What is better than books and tea?

Answer: Tea-stained books! No, wait — TEA THAT IS SOMEHOW BOOK-THEMED!

Novel Teas are cute little English Breakfast teabags that have been individually tagged with literary quotes. According to the website:

There is no better company than a steaming cup of tea as you open the cover of a favorite classic or turn the page of the latest thriller. Whether traveling to distant times and far off lands or discovering new characters in a nearby locale, a soothing cup of tea makes the journey more pleasurable and the memory lasting.

I totally agree! And there’s no better place to drink fiction-themed tea than in a fictional cafe. Failing that, in your own home will do, with one of these lovely tea accessories under the cut.

Continue reading

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Great Gatsby’

2 Jun

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novella is regarded as one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century. It has been translated into forty-two languages and touched countless lives.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the story right now, what with the new film out and all, and last month I was lucky enough to attend a screening of the 1974 version, hosted by Oona Chaplin and The Gathering Goddess, at The May Fair Hotel. It was amazing! Tonks from Harry Potter was there, as were Cassie from Skins and Talisa from Game of Thrones. I was fangirling like there was no tomorrow.

Here are ten things you may not have known about the original text, which I’ve blatantly plagiarised from my own list over at the Vintage Screenings website. If you want to know more about the 1974 adaptation, or other Gatsby adaptations in general, I’ve written about those too!

  1. The great American novel has been adapted into several films, stage productions and ballets as well as a graphic novel, three video games and an opera.
  2. The Great Gatsby may have inspired Breakfast at Tiffany’s (both the novel and the film), and was at the forefront of Hunter S. Thompson’s mind when he wrote ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘.
  3. Francis Cugat was commissioned to create a cover for the book before Fitzgerald had finished writing it. The author liked the design so much that he wrote it into the novel.
  4. David Lynch directed a 30-second commercial for Calvin Klein’s Obsession fragrance which was titled ‘The Great Gatsby’ and which featured Heather Graham.
  5. The author tried to change the name of the book several times, his final preference being for ‘Trimalchio’ or ‘Gold-Hatted Gatsby’.
  6. There are several conspiratorial readings of the text, particularly by scholars. Some argue that the narrator is in love with Jay Gatsby and therefore unreliable, others write papers outlining the reasons why Gatsby should actually be read as a black man.
  7. The author and his wife Zelda walked out of the 1926 silent film adaptation of the novel.
  8. Some people have said that the entire text is a lipogram devoid of the letter ‘e’. This is not the case – it’s in the title, for instance, and it appears sixteen times in the first sentence alone. Readers may be confusing ‘The Great Gatsby’ with ‘Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter E‘ by Ernest Vincent Wright.
  9. Screenwriter Francis Ford Copolla went on to write Apocalypse Now, based on Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness‘, but Fitzgerald was also indebted to Conrad’s text and drew inspiration from it during the composition of his own novel.
  10. The poem which appears as an epigraph is credited to one of Fitzgerald’s characters from his first novel ‘This Side of Paradise‘.

Art Attack: Boxhead

2 Apr

I discovered Boxhead in Amsterdam in Outland Store, a tiny gallery space not far from the Red Light District, and I was blown away. This artist, using such a simple concept, seemed to encapsulate every thing I was feeling at that point in my life. I passed it off as a herbal-tourist-reaction, but months have passed and the feeling remains.

In fact, Boxhead gives me a lot of feelings.

A piece of art has caused me to have an emotional reaction. Is that normal?

Begoña Toledo, otherwise known as Boxhead, cannot remember a time when she didn’t make art. At school in Zaragoza, when most of her friends were playing with dolls, she was drawing. This translated into an interest in fashion when she became older. “Not all the model crap,” she clarifies. “I wanted to make clothes. That’s how I learned to draw the human body, never took drawing lessons, I learned anatomy by copying the model bodies on the magazines to dress them after with my designs.” She studied Fine Arts, in Barcelona before moving to Utrecht to do her postgraduate Visual Arts course, and has now been living in Amsterdam for four years.

Boxhead works primarily with paint on canvas, but she doesn’t limit herself to this medium. “I’m seriously eclectic, I draw, paint, screenprint, make toys, spray, sew… the medium is never the main reason in my work. I use the one that suits better the idea I want to develop.”

Where’s your head at?

Something about her work pertains to categories, being literally ‘put in a box,’ while also defying these categories by denying her audience access to any tangible emotion the subject may be feeling as she walks trough mist, through rain or tears. We don’t know what she’s thinking as she forms part of a manufacturing line, looks down at the landscape around her. We don’t understand – and this feeling is internalised. Do we understand ourselves?

The boxes give these pieces both a private and public life. They are shy and responsive at the same time, protective yet open. We don’t know whether the box is imposed upon Boxhead, or if she is wearing it by choice. We don’t know whether it is a part of her or if she is using it to conceal her true identity. And Boxhead doesn’t privilege us with her subject’s thoughts. It’s a Schrödinger’s cat type situation, in which the subject is both devoid of feelings and overwhelmed, faceless and beautiful, or ugly.

I find it interesting that the subjects are always gendered female, with their typical pocketed dresses and rounded thighs. This speaks to me of a kind of self-awareness, while also conversely pertaining to childhood and uncertainty. According to the artist, Boxhead has “a rebel attitude in the sense of identity.”

Boxhead’s paintings question our notions of identity and self-hood. They speak of gender politics, urban existentialism and consumer culture. They speak, and while I don’t know what they’re saying, exactly, I know I want to listen.

Presumably due to the economy, or some equally romantic starving-artist reason, Boxhead has started selling her paintings through Facebook. I bought a tote. Totes aren’t usually my bag, but this was one of seven, so it’s kind of like I carry my stuff around in my own little horcrux. Which is nice.

I urge you to go check her out before she makes the move to London later this month.

This article was originally written for Autostraddle’s Art Attack month, which was ace. Unfortunately this author was lazy writing her final year dissertation and failed to submit it in time. Please do ‘head’ on over to Autostraddle and take a look at their fine, punctual submissions.