Library List 004

My library list this time round is slightly shorter, because I’m trying to get into the habit of not reserving everything the minute I realise I want to read it. It makes things difficult when I go to the library and I have nine books to take back, and I have to try and get them all read in a really short space of time. It’s time to be sensible (though who really wants to be sensible where books are involved?).

Rock Stars Stole My Life! by Mark Ellen
I heard about this book when Mark Ellen was chatting to Simon Mayo about it on Radio 2. It sounds fascinating, because Ellen is a music journalist who has written for the likes of NME, Smash Hits, Q, Select and Mojo, and so he has really seen it all. He convinced me during his interview that I wanted to read this book, as it spans many years and many genres of music, so I added it straight to my library list. It wasn’t actually in stock when I did so, but now I’ve moved up the list to number three, so I guess it must be by now.

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne
I saw a review of The Vintage Girl on Tiny Library, and it convinced me to reserve it. While it’s nice to read the books that stay with you for weeks after, and really make you think, I do really love to read a book that is just a bit of pure escapism, that doesn’t require a huge amount of concentration, and that you can finish in a couple of sittings. The Vintage Girl seems to fit into that category, and it has already arrived at the library, so I’ll be going to collect it as soon as I can.

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker
Hey look, it’s another book that I heard about on Radio 2. You may scoff, because I go on and on Radio 2, but they are doing more than any television channel to talk about books. Between his Book Club every other Monday, and his various interviews with different authors, Simon Mayo does an awful lot of talking about books, and it just makes me love him more. Anyway, this is the book that is the current Book Club choice, and they will be discussing it with the author on Monday. I like the idea of trying to read the book before they talk about it, but this is massive, and though I toyed with the idea of downloading it, I knew I wouldn’t get it finished, so i just added it to my library list. It’s written by a young French author, but it’s a murder mystery set in New England. It has had rave reviews, not least from Matt on Radio 2, who loved it. I’m number twelve, so it will be a while, but that’s fine, because I don’t have time to read it right now!


The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison
Whenever a book prize shortlist is announced, I always like to take a look to see if there’s anything I fancy reading. This week, it was the turn of the Desmond Elliott Prize, an award for a first novel, and all three books caught my eye! The Letter Bearer is a war story, about The Rider, a man who is dying in the North African desert without any memory of how he came to be there. His rescuers are a band of deserters, and he starts to slowly piece together his identity. It sounds fascinating, but I’m number seven on the list, so I’ll have a while to wait.

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Elmear McBride
This is another Desmond Elliott nominated book, and another one that sounds right up my street. It’s the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, whose life has been irrevocably changed by a childhood brain tumour. McBride’s writing is described as having “singular intensity, acute sensitivity, and mordant wit.” Sounds good, right? I’m number one on the list, so I’m expecting this one really soon.

Ballisticsby D.W. Wilson
This is the third book to make up the shortlist for the Desmon Elliott Prize, so I could potentially read them all before the winner is announced (having just checked, it seems that will be in June, so the chances are minimal!). Ballistics is set in the Canadian Rockies, which instantly piques my interest, because it’s an unusual setting. It seems to be a father-son story, with Alan West, the main character, being sent on a quest to track down his father by his grandfather, so the old man can say goodbye to his own son before he dies. I’m number three on the list for this one, and I’m hoping it turns up sooner rather than later!

What to do in 2014

Happy New Year

~ image from WeHeartIt ~

For the last week or so, I’ve been reading the blogs and tweets and Facebook statuses of people talking about New Year’s resolutions. For every one person that is making them, there seem to be five who are berating them for it and saying that they are a waste of time.

Each to their own, of course, but I like my list of things I want to do in the New Year. I don’t really look on them as New Year’s resolutions, as such, but I guess they are. They are things I resolve to do as the year progresses, so I think it’s probably inaccurate to say I don’t make New Year’s resolutions!

If you’re a relatively new reader of Is That You Darling, you may wonder why I choose to make a yearly list of things to achieve from November to November (my 32 Before 32 list), and a list of things to achieve from January to December (this list). It’s mostly because I’m a compulsive list-maker, but also because I like to keep the two things separate. I don’t want to pack my birthday list with these things, as they are mostly things that I try to do every year. So without further ado, here they are (again):

  • Go to a music concert/gig: Last year I went to see two big live gigs (Status Quo and Bon Jovi), as well as some live music at my local pub, so I ticked this one off for the second year in a row. I’m pretty confident it’ll be crossed off again in 2014
  • Go to the theatre: No theatre for me last year, sadly. In 2014 I am going to see Derren Brown, and it’s in a theatre, so it’s totally going to count.
  • Go to a comedy gig: No comedy for me last year either. I keep it on the list every year, but I don’t have much confidence that it will actually happen!
  • Go to a theme park: I didn’t get to a theme park in 2013, mainly due to lack of funds. I would like to say that this will hopefully change in 2014, but we’ll see
  • Go to a stately home: This is one that I am determined to achieve this year. I am going to wait for one of those National Trust weekends, and hopefully go somewhere for free!
  • Read 75 Books: I recently posted about the 75 books I read in 2013 (you can read the post here), and I confirmed that my target will remain at 75 for 2014. It’s totally doable, as long as I don’t go for long periods where I dip into five or six different books without actually finishing any of them. I just got a Kindle Fire too, so I’m looking forward to loading it up with some books!
  • See 52 New Films: A film a week is easily done, especially as I have my 32 Before 32 challenge of watching twelve comedies running alongside it.

These are my seven main goals that remain the same year-on-year. They make up the things that I want to try and make sure I do each and every year, because they are all things that I love. But there are a few additional things that I want to add to my list this year, in the hope that I will be spurred on to achieve them.

  • Take more photographs: This is an on-going life goal, and one I make in lieu of pressurising myself with a photo-a-day project. I would love to take a photo a day, but if I set out with that in mind, I’ll fail! This year I’m going to try and do as many of Fat Mum Slim’s photo challenges as I can; she launches a new list of prompts each month, and I join in sporadically on Instagram. I’m taking it one month at a time, but I’m hopeful!
  • Blog more: I already blog a lot, but I definitely want to get more organised in terms of when I blog. I need to schedule more posts, and I want to go back to having specific days for certain posts. I have a few irons in the fire in terms of new series, and I’m excited to get writing!
  • Spread the blog love: I am starting the year with the best of intentions; to comment on as many blog posts as I can. It’s not always the easiest thing in the world to do, as I read most blog posts on my phone, and I can’t always comment. But when I can’t comment, I’m going to try and tweet the blogger with my thoughts.
  • Declutter: I need to have a massive sort out of all my belongings. I own too much stuff, and most of it is unnecessary.
  • Keep a diary: This is another on-going life goal; I have so many diaries that I have written in throughout the years and I never keep up with them. I’ll be trying again in 2014.

So there you have it, my goals for 2014. I’m so pleased it is 2014, fourteen is a much nicer number than thirteen.

What To Do in 2014

54 Films in 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a wee bit behind with some of posts. This really should have gone up at the end of 2013, rather than three days in 2014. But it’s here now, and that’s all that matters!

If you’re a new reader of Is That You Darling, you may not be aware that I set myself a yearly goal of watching 52 new-to-me films. 52 obviously works out as one a week, although I don’t actually watch them weekly. I tend to watch a whole bunch together, and then miss a few weeks, and then watch some more.

I never worry about my film total in the same way I worry about reaching my annual book target. I know I’ll always get there in the end, although this year it did take me slightly longer (in 2012 I watched my 52nd film on 2nd November, this year it took me until 16th December), and as such I only exceeded my total by two this time. Here is what 2013 looked like for me in films.

January - March 2013 Films

April - June 2013 Films

July - September 2013 Films

October - December 2013 Films

  • Of the 54 films, I watched nine at the cinema (compared to last year’s 13), 23 on DVD, ten on the television, and 12 online.
  • I watched nine of the films with Anna, and eight with Jen. 33 of them were watched by myself.
  • Eleven of the films I watched were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, because I was completing my 31 Before 31 item to watch twelve of his films I had never seen. I also saw Hitchcock at the cinema, so it was a very Hitchcockian year!
  • This is a hard statistic to work out, but I think my most watched actors were James Stewart and Steve Carrell, with three films each. I’ve worked this out with a quick perusal of the films, it could be wrong!
  • My favourite films of the year were: The Impossible, Rope, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Green Mile, Safety Not Guaranteed, Crazy Stupid Love, Shutter Island, Vertigo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
  • My least favourite was Anchorman. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, and it wasn’t!

32 Before 32 (Part III)

This is a bit later than I had planned, I wanted to get it all up over the weekend but things got away from me! I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in now that all 32 items have been revealed!

~ source ~

{Part I} {Part II} {Part III}

23. Watch a television series from Empire’s Greatest 50 TV Shows of All Time

As you may know, I love television. Like really, really love it. But there are plenty of very well renowned series that I have never watched. So I thought I would challenge myself to watch some. It was hard finding a list, because they aren’t all that up to date, but I settled on the Empire one. I haven’t decided what it will be yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

24. Get a tattoo

This is another one that has hung around for a long time. I am determined to do it at some point, and I am really hoping that this is the year!

25. Visit my old school for a tour

This is the other one (along with learn to play chess) that has been on all five lists. I keep almost doing it and then failing at the last hurdle!

26. Watch ten films from the AFI 100 Years… 100 Laughs list

This is my film challenge for the year. I don’t watch an awful lot of comedy, and I often say that i don’t like comedy films, but I think I’m just watching bad comedies. So I’m going to give some of these a go and see how I get on!

27. Make a video for my blog

I’ve been meaning to make a video for my blog for a while, and I almost did, but it went wrong when I came to edit it. So I’m putting it on this list in the hope that I will achieve it this year.

28. Eat one of the Guardian’s Perfect Burgers

I keep seeing people post on Twitter about Five Guys, a American burger place that has recently opened in London. The burgers look amazing, but then I was reading a Guardian article about the best burgers in London, and I thought it might be good to eat any of the ones on their list. So I’m broadening my horizons and hoping to try at least one of them!

29. Enter a writing competition

Along with writing a novel, I want to try and get a lot of fiction writing done this year. I thought it might be nice to enter a competition, so I’m going to be trying that this year.

30. Go to Broadcasting House for a tour

When I was trying to fill the last couple of spaces on this list, I got an email to advertise tours of Broadcasting House. I thought it might be fun; I went on a BBC tour once when I was younger and I loved it.

31. Try a new foreign food

This was on my 30 Before 30 list but it never happened, and I didn’t add it to last year’s list. But in all honestly, I was running out of ideas when I got to this point of the list! So it’s back, and I’d love to get this one ticked off.

32. Do something awesome for my birthday

I’ve added this one because as I was laying in bed at 9.30pm on my birthday this year, I felt generally a little bit underwhelmed. So I vowed to do something a bit more exciting this year, and I have a whole year to think something up!

So that’s it! The list is now complete, and I have added a tab to the top of the page where the goals will be displayed throughout the year. Stay tuned for progress reports!