A change is gonna come…

Over the past few months I’ve returned to this blog time and time again, opening a new word document, staring blankly at the screen and wondering what to type. When I first started this blog back in March 2013, I did so at the suggestion of a friend who already had her own blog. I was passionate about books, literature and movies – topics I actively wrote about.

However, in the three years since, my passions, motivations and circumstances have changed significantly and this is something I want to share on this platform! Whilst I’ll continue to write about all of the above, I would to share all the places I’ve been and seen.

Hopefully over the next few months, you’ll get to see a different side to me (and this blog)

So stay tuned and I really hope you like the new direction of this blog! Any feedback in the comments section is always welcome!

Looking back on 2015…

As we say farewell to another year and enter a new one, I always like to humour myself and look back (often over-analysing) what went on in the past 12 months.

Similar to 2014, 2015 was a huge year for my family and career. Whilst it didn’t offer huge lifestyle changes like 2014 which saw me transition from student life to entering real life, it did include several key achievements and events. These included, moving on from my (unpaid) internship and bagging a full-time (paid!) job within marketing, travelling to India , voting for the very first time and attending the Harry Potter Studio Tour! On another note, my gorgeous older sister got married this year. What did I learn from this? Indian weddings are huge, horrifying and stressful and not something I plan on going through any time soon. However the year definitely helped me to battle with some personal demons and I would like to think I’ve learnt a lot! Here are some snaps from my 2015…

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You may also recall that I made several “Bookish Resolutions” in 2015 which you can read here so let’s briefly review them and tick off what I managed to stick to

  1. To read more often – Nope, my reading routine is as sporadic as it’s ever been, but you know what? I actually don’t mind – we should not to limit ourselves by setting quota for the number of books read. It’s quality, not quantity and I’ve learnt to just enjoy being able to indulge in whichever books I chose, when I want. That’s the beauty of not being in school anymore!
  2. To read different genres – Yes!!! I’ve moved on from YA and fiction to reading several biographies including Mindy Kaling’s, Amy Poelher’s and Alan Cummings memoirs, which is so refreshing!
  3. To write a review on every book I read – Sadly, no – I have no excuses for this
  4. To vary the content on my blog – Yes – this post counts doesn’t it?!

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised it’s not the resolutions you make for the new year that necessarily that make a difference, but rather the things you learnt from the previous an how you apply it not only to the new year, but your life in general!

So there are my highlights from 2015 and what I’m looking forward to doing in 2015. What did you enjoy most about last year and what you planning to do in the next year? Let me know in the comments below

B xx

Book Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me Mindy KalingTitle: Why Not Me?

Author: Mindy Kaling

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre (s): Autobiography

Over the past few months, I’ve been moaning in reviews such as this, complaining that I haven’t had the time or opportunity to read let alone write reviews on them. I put this down to the type of material I was reading; for instance, focusing too much on “chick-lits” rather than exploring alternative genres. Which is why I chose an autobiography to ease me back into my reading schedule. And it appears non-fiction (ironically) worked its magic.

Why Not Me? Is an anthology of essays by actress and scriptwriter, Mindy Kaling, as she navigating her way through career success and downfalls, glamour, relationships and body image issues. As The Office alumni and executive producer of comedy The Mindy Project, I expected the book to be a little funny, if not hilarious and as Kaling shares her anecdotes, there are definitely laugh out moments, although they may not be the most obvious, there’s a subtly to her humour, making it an even more appealing read.

I found her honesty when she discusses being snubbed for an Emmy, or her odd complex of wanting to be liked by everyone extremely refreshing. Whilst one would assume that she’s exactly like her characters Kelly Kapoor and Mindy Lahari, in a number of chapters she admits to her superficiality , much like her characters Kelly Kapoor and Mindy Lahari, however, its clear the memoir is written by a highly intelligent, analytical and funny individual, and not the vapid “LA-type” woman that Kaling so often comes across.

Kaling also delves into her more creative side, offering a chapter on her “alternative life” which is told in epistolary form, offering a glimpse into what her life would have been like if she had not moved to LA but instead became a Latin teacher. Unsurprisingly, the whole story ends up being a rom-com, again demonstrating her obsession with the genre.

It’s an interesting memoir, with Kaling concluding that it acts as an expose. Despite thoroughly enjoying reading the biography, I couldn’t help but think that is most definitely NOT an expose. Whilst Kaling seemingly bares all, there are still certain topics she tends to avoid delving too deeply into, including breaking into showbiz as a young, inexperienced minority. Having said all that, this is the perfect “chick-lit” for all those avoiding the genre, but still wishing to get sense of romance and humour. 

The bug’s verdict: 7.0/10

Sabbatical Is Over! 

Quite frankly, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself.

As you may remember, I previously posted a blog titled “Looking Back on 2014 & Bookish Resolutions for 2015“. This post included fanciful promises such as “I will post more frequently”. We’re almost halfway through the year and unfortunately, I haven’t managed to stick to any of my resolutions.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a valid excuse. In fact I’ve been pretty busy over the past few months, including leaving my internship and bagging myself a new (and paid) job. As you can imagine, this new role has taken up quite a lot of time and energy, hence my recent absence from this very blog. What I can say is that I’m extremely proud to be doing something I really enjoy and it gives me a great sense of achievement. If you would like to find out more about me professionally and what I do, don’t be afraid to head over to my LinkedIn and get in touch.

In other news, I also travelled to India. We spent the first couple of nights in the capital, Mumbai before heading off to my home state, Gujarat. Whilst I have visited the country before it was still a huge culture shock. Mumbai sees a constant hustle and bustle, drivers driving like maniacs and constant smog in the air. Despite this, I found it to be an exceptionally vibrant city, and particularly enjoyed myself after visiting Juhu Beach and the Gateway to India.

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Juhu Beach and The Taj Hotel, Mumbai

 

Gujarat also has its subjective charm. Having not had the best experience in my previous visit to the country, I particularly enjoyed myself this time around, perhaps because I knew what to expect.

With almost over 15 hours of travelling to and from India, it was certainly an excellent opportunity to catch up with my reading!  There are plenty of books that I bought and read during my time. Here is just a small selection of the books I’ve acquired over the past few months.

  1. book haulThe Alchemist  – Paulo Coelho
  2. The Extraordinary Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  4. A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
  5. Outlander: Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon
  6. Kim – Rudyard Kipling
  7. The Elites –Natasha Ngan
  8. Frankenstein  – Mary Shelley
  9. The War of the Worlds  – H.G. Wells

Kindle Purchases:

  1. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  2. The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams – Fiona Harper
  3. Enchantress (The Evermen Saga, Book 1) – James Maxwell
  4. Rose Under Fire – Elizabeth Wein

So now, I have decided to take a break from short blogosphere sabbatical and I’m back, with the determination to keep this blog going!

Book Review: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg AKA Zoella

Title: Girl OnlineGirl Online By Zoe Sugg

Author: Zoe Sugg aka Zoella

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre(s): Chick-Lit, YA

We now live in a world where everything is based online (ironic considering where I’m posting this?). This rapid expansion of technology and the ominous place we now refer to as the “internet”, means that our generation and the generations to come will live in a world where their whole lives are documented digitally rather than print. Which is why it is so refreshing to see the process reversed in Youtuber, Zoe Sugg’s debut novel, Girl Online

As some of you may know, Zoe, or more famously known as bubbly Zoella, has since been the subject of much controversy; whilst Zoe had claimed to have written the novel, it has since been revealed that she in fact used a ghost writer. Whilst ghost writing is far from uncommon, it comes as shock as to Zoella’s established fan-base who were buying into a novel because of who they thought wrote it, not just because their name is slapped on the front cover. This information certainly didn’t stop Girl Online from breaking the record for the highest first week sales for a debut author since records began.

Despite all of this, I bought the book (albeit before I found out Zoe only created the characters and didn’t actually do much of the writing). And to be quite honest, I found this novel thoroughly entertaining. So what exactly is it about? Girl Online centres around clumsy and accident prone, Penny who finds solace in her anonymous blogs where she updates her readers on her anxiety and disastrous teenage life. After a humiliating event which triggers her anxiety, Penny jets off to New York with her parents and best friend in order to escape from her so-called “friends”. There, she meets Noah, who helps her through her situation yet he too seems to hiding something, making Penny question her relationship with him.

In all honesty, this novel is riddled with all sorts of clichés that I have mentioned I DESPISE in the past. For instance, the clumsy, ditzy protagonist who we feel for or the gorgeous (yet completely unrealistic) love interest.  What actually sets this novel apart from any other in its genre is the inclusion of Penny’s anxiety and panic attacks. As someone who has suffered from panic attacks in the past (and probably will do in the future), I found it thoroughly interesting to see it portrayed in such an honest light and its bound to help plenty of insecure girls and boys out there! My only other complaint would have to be that the ending of the novel was completely rushed. Any development of the story for secondary characters was swept under the rug which was a real shame.

This novel is completely light, lovely and a great escapism! With another novel on the way later this year, it will be interesting to see if Zoe has more of an input or continues to use a ghost writer.

The Bug’s Verdict

8/10 – Highly Recommended

Ps. Just in case you’re interested, here are some interesting articles regarding the Zoe Sugg ghost writing debate!

Defending Zoella: 10 reasons not to hate on Zoe Sugg – (The Guardian)

A teenage boy writes: why I’m let down by Zoella  (The Guardian)

Why so many are angry with YouTube star Zoe Sugg for using a ghostwriter (Washington Post)

 

Looking Back On 2014 & Bookish Resolutions for 2015 

Yep, we finally waved goodbye to 2014 and said welcomed 2015 with open arms (or in my case, lying hungover on a friend’s sofa.)

2014 was such a momentous year for me in my professional career; I stretched myself thin with University  assignments, quit my part time job, graduated with a 2:1 in English, managed  to get another part-time job which I despised, and then left that too for a marketing internship which I am currently doing.

Personally, 2014 was also a massive year with plenty of heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears, but let’s not get into that! Here are some snaps of my 2014….

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As a New Year dawns, we always aim to let go of the previous year and make the new one better through resolutions. Whilst I have PLENTY of personal resolutions, I thought I would share my bookish resolutions with you all! In a year’s time, I’ll hopefully be able to come back to this post and review what I have or haven’t managed to stick to.

  1. To read more often – I’ve just completed an English degree and to be quite honest, I was so sick of being forced to read books I just wasn’t enjoying them and took a short sabbatical from reading all together. Now, I want to get back to the pace I was at reading BEFORE uni and read a book for pleasure each week
  2. To read different genres – I think with music, movies and books, we always stick to the same genres, simply because we don’t like change. However, I’m determined to change by branching out to different genres rather than being constantly glued to YA. I really want to try other narratives, like thrillers, mysteries and even short stories. There’s a whole load of amazing literature out there so why imprison myself in just one genre?
  3. To write a review on every book I read – I love writing the reviews that I post on here, mainly because it makes me think about every aspect of what made that narrative so compelling. This year I have read so many amazing novels and plays yet I haven’t even reviewed them! So I’m determined to make sure I share my thoughts on all of the books I read!
  4. To vary the content on my blog – I’ve realised that a lot of the content on my blog is mainly reviews, whether it is of books or movie adaptations. I’ve recently been playing around with a couple of new memes etc but if you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments!

So there are my highlights from 2014 and the bookish things I’m looking forward to doing in 2015. What did you enjoy most about last year and what you planning to do in the next year?

B xx