Book Blog Tour ~ California by Edan Lepucki

I never really thought that I would enjoy books that have a post-apocalyptic/dystopian theme, and yet this year I have read and enjoyed two already. Station Eleven remains the best book I’ve read this year, but I also really liked California by Edan Lepucki.

It tells the story of Cal and Frida, a couple who have left their home in Los Angeles to live in the wilderness. Los Angeles, along with most of the cities in the United States, have ceased to exist as we know them today; crumbling societies, dangerous streets, with rich people separating themselves into ‘The Communities’, where they have exclusive access to medical care, education, and the luxuries that we take for granted now in 2015. When Frida realises she is pregnant, the couple decide to seek out the company of others by making their way to a settlement nearby.

Although most of the time I found it incredibly difficult to like both Cal and Frida (as well as some of the other characters), I still found the story incredibly engaging. The ‘end of the world’ can be portrayed in so many different ways, and this is the one that I find the most terrifying – a breakdown of society rather than a natural disaster. The very idea of packing up and leaving everything that is familiar and safe, and starting a life alone is scary, and Lepucki portrays that feeling well, as well as giving Frida and Cal a sense of weariness that this is their life now.

Frida’s pregnancy changes everything for the couple, and forces them to seek out human interaction for the safety of their unborn child. This throws up a surprise for them, and for the reader, and the change in setting allows for a different type of story to emerge.

As I mentioned, I can’t say that I honestly liked Cal and Frida for the majority of the book; it often irritated me how Frida delighted in keeping secrets from her husband, and Cal’s attitude towards Frida would have frustrated me if I had been her! But I don’t feel as though you necessarily need to like the characters in order to enjoy a book, and that’s the case here.

California by Edan Lepucki
First published: July 2014
ISBN: 9780316250818
Little Brown UK
Review copy provided by publisher

March 2015 Books

This update is slightly delayed, and looks a bit different to usual, because I’m really struggling to blog just lately! Having moved house, I am without all the usual equipment I need to blog; primarily, a computer, and decent photo editing software. So I am just having to make do with a tablet and some apps at the moment, so please forgive my tardiness and slap-dashery.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I had planned a proper review of this, but it didn’t happen in the end. Needless to say, I really, really liked this book. I definitely think that celebrities who want to write books should be encouraged to do it in this way; not a linear life story, but a series of essays about the things they have learned on the way. Not That Kind of Girl is honest, funny, and relatable, and though I may (based on the Goodreads reviews) be in the minority, I really, really liked it.

Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel

Another one that I wanted to write a separate post for, and probably still should, as it makes up one of my 33 Before 33 goals. I chanced upon it in the library, and seized it, as I’ve heard so much good about Alison Bechdel that I actually wanted to read her. I found Are You My Mother interesting, and given that I don’t, as a rule, read graphic novels, it was an interesting change of format. But I can’t pretend that I didn’t get a little bored, especially with all of the psycho-analytical stuff. I’m led to believe that Fun Home, this book’s predecessor, was a lot more enjoyable, so I’ll be seeking that out next.

The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

I’m not averse to a silly love story from time to time, and I downloaded this knowing it would be exactly that. Katie Fforde has made a very good living writing this sort of book: woman is displaced, meets attractive but unattainable man, finds a cause to fight for, falls in love with aforementioned man, wins cause, wins man, happy ending. It’s not wise to expect much from these sorts of books, and for the most part, this was fine. But I lost all interest when Fifty Shades was a) mentioned, and b) referred to as a ‘good book’. Deal breaker!

These three books took my total for the year to nine. Highly disappointing, but April is already looking better!

The Week That Was

 

Spreading the blog love

♥ Holly nominated me for a blog award – something that never fails to make me smile! Thanks Holly!

 Sarah’s post about investing in herself has got me thinking, and I have realised that I need to start with the small changes too.

♥ Though not a vegetarian myself, I do have a professional interest in the world of vegans and vegetarians, so I did enjoy reading Charlotte’s post about why she is mostly meat-free.

♥ Thanks to Rachael’s post about creating cross-stitch versions of her family, I now want to cross-stitch everyone I know

The rest of the web

♥ I went to university with a lot of people who would have been a lot more interested in a Maths degree if their lecturer had looked like this.

♥ I’m yet to complete my watching of Parks and Recreation, but this is still an awesome article. Leslie Knope is the actual best, y’all.

♥ There’s still time to watch one of the best children’s films ever made on iPlayer (until first thing in the morning on 5th April): The Amazing Mr Blunden *is* amazing.

Tweets I’ve shared this week

Three worders

Monday ~ Worked all weekend

Tuesday ~ Croaky of throat

Wednesday ~ Trampoline in field

Thursday ~ Contemplating a cider

Review ~ Ravensburger 3D Puzzle

I’ve written fairly recently about my love for a jigsaw puzzle. There was a time when I would have worried that admitting to a love for sitting down with a jigsaw would have outed me as a bit sad, but these days I don’t care about things like that!

So when Hobbycraft got in touch and offered me the chance to try a 3D jigsaw, I didn’t need asking twice. I plumped for a lighthouse design, because I find them very aesthetically pleasing, but I also really like the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa too!

As with my last puzzle adventure, I didn’t get to finish it before I had to take some photos, so consider this a work in progress!

The funny thing about a 3D puzzle is that the pieces are numbered, so it takes away the guesswork that you often have with a normal puzzle. It also means that it takes much less time to do, but I did encounter the age-old problem of sorting out the pieces; in this case I had tried to separate the pieces numbered 1-50, and it turned out that I’d left at least three out, and had to go searching for them!

I loved doing this puzzle; it’s a lot different to a standard puzzle, and I am not sure that it is really conducive to a group of people having fun together, and I’ve certainly enjoyed putting it together. Keep an eye on my Instagram for the finished product!

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Five Things I Want to do in London

I love London, and I’m lucky enough to live close enough that I’m able to pop in and out fairly easily (if not cheaply). But I feel as though I always end up doing the same old things, every time I go. So every time I see something a bit different, I make a note of it, and I’m planning a trip in the spring that will take in at least a couple of these things!

Go to the opera

I’ve never been to the opera, but everyone I know who has just raves about it. Most importantly, it’s the people who think they won’t enjoy it that seem to be most blown away by it! I know nothing about the opera, but I love stories, so I’m pretty sure that I would love to see a performance. I’ve got my eye on Queen of Spades by the ENO, taking place throughout June at the London Coliseum.

Visit the Camera Cafe

I want to visit the Camera Cafe in Museum Street and take a look at their camera collection. I know vintage cameras are a bit hipster, but they are so very pretty! And I love any opportunity to sit down and drink tea and eat cake while I’m wondering around London!

Visit Erno Goldfinger’s house

This is the house of a noted 1930s architect (rather than the James Bond villain), and is described as a ‘unique and influential Modernist home’. Sounds absolutely delightful, and it only costs £6 for a guided tour!

Visit Ruby Jean’s diner

I think that diners are my number one place to eat, so I am always on the lookout for new ones to try. Ruby Jeans food looks AMAZING, and the decor is beautiful. They have various London restaurants, so I’m going to try hard to eat a burger here.

See a film at The Luna Cinema

It’s on my 33 Before 33 list to see a film outdoors, and having had a little look around, I think I want to do it with The Luna Cinema. The locations look stunning, so as soon as they release their screening dates for 2015, I’m booking!

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