August & September 2018 Book

Aug-Sept-Books

 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I truly believe that I’ll never stop loving Judy Blume, even reading these books thirty or more years after they’ve been published, and even when it’s my fifth or sixth re-read. In the case of Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, this was actually the first time that I’d read it. As ever, the stories of friendship in Blume’s books are what keep drawing me back in; though I love the angst of teenage relationships, it’s the stories of friendship between young women that keep me coming back for more! This book is a bit of a mix of the two; Margaret is an eleven-year old who moves from the city to the suburbs, and the main focus of the story is her questions about religion. She’s also dealing with the usual thing a girl of her age faces – periods, hormones, first kisses. It’s not my favourite Blume, but I’m glad to have added it to the read list!

Here’s to You Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume

Talking of favourite Blumes – here we are (though I can never work out which is my actual favourite, this or its predecessor, Just As Long As We’re Together.) Rachel Robinson is a high-achiever at school, top of her class, doing lot of extra-curricular activities, but her home life is in disarray, with the return of her brother, the troubled Charles. Again, there’s a love interest (the swoon-worthy Jeremy Dragon, and a crush on a much older guy), but the focus is much more on Rachel’s friendships with Stephanie and Alison, and how she is dealing with the pressures of school and family. In the first in a new blog series with which I will inevitably never continue, I wrote a letter to the grown up Rachel.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

It took me a while to get to this since it was released earlier this year, but I’m nothing if not perpetually behind the popular culture curve. I read Love, Simon (originally Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) earlier in the year, having watched the film, and I just wanted to spend more time with this group of kids who were really good company. So I was more than happy that there was an already-released sequel for me to get to. This one is the story of Simon’s friend Leah; a bisexual, socially uncomfortable teenager who takes refuge in her drums. Much like Love, Simon, it’s just a good high school story, and I do love a good high school story. I’d be interested to see if this one makes it to film – bisexual teenage girls aren’t known for their visibility in the Hollywood mainstream!

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Read my full review of The Incendiaries.

Floored by Eleanor Wood, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson, Melinda Salisbury, Non Pratt, Sara Barnard and Tanya Byrne

Read my full review of Floored.

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Read my full review of Murder Most Unladylike.

The Early Birds by Laurie Graham

Yet another sequel on this month’s list; this book follows The Future Homemakers of America, which I read last year, and loved. I can’t say that I felt quite so enamoured about The Early Birds. While it was great to catch up with characters that we first meet in the 1950s in the original book, there was none of the magic from the first book for me. To begin with, one of the things I loved the most about the first book was the large expanse of years, following the same characters and their families through decades. This book doesn’t do that, we’re limited to a few short years, and the majority of the story takes in the 2001 New York terror attacks. For me, the story gets totally bogged down with 9/11 conspiracy theories, and I just have no interest in that, so it wasn’t a storyline that appealed to me. I liked catching up with the characters, but there just wasn’t a spark for me, so I was a little disappointed.

Books so far in 2018 – 39

Just Jane 002

A semi-regular series in which I share a fact or three about myself.

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Me, circa 1984

I’m one of six children; chronologically I come fifth, though intellectually, I’m obviously at the top. (Just kidding, any siblings who might be reading this.) We’re three boys and three girls, and that many siblings mean that I’m an aunt many times over (five nieces, five nephews, a great-niece, two step-nephews, a step-niece, and a step-great-niece). I love being part of a big family, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

I once made the statement: “I never wear lipstick.” (It was swiftly followed by “Sometimes I wear lipstick,” which has gone on to become one of those things that my friends repeat with much hilarity due to how overwhelmingly ridiculous it is.) Pretty much since that day, I’ve found that wearing lipstick is a really good way to lift my confidence. This is not news; it’s been the way of the world for many years, but it took me a while to cotton on. Now, you can usually find at least two lipsticks in any bag I own, and I’ve bought the same MUA colour about sixteen times (without using any up first).

I really like my name. I never, ever find it on personalised things like bookmarks or pencil cases, but I’m mostly OK with that. I like that it’s a bit of an old lady name because it means that I rarely meet people of my own age with the same name. I like that it’s one syllable because it can’t be shortened but it can be lengthened. I’ve been known as Janey and Janus in the past, though mostly now I am just Jane.

A love letter to… 2015

EST. 2015

Dear 2015,

Well, what a funny old year it has been. I dropped a line to your predecessor this time last year, and I thought it would be a nice tradition to continue.

You’ve not been a great year for blogging. I’ve always had an up and down relationship with this strange hobby, but this is the first year it has taken a real back seat to real life. This is mainly due to the fact that I just haven’t had the time, but also because for a while, I fell out of love with blogging a bit. We’ll see how things develop, but I finally feel excited again about things at Is That You Darling.

Personally, you were something of a milestone year, as I officially moved out of home. I went to university as a mature student, and when that was over I wasn’t in a position to move out, but finally, at the grand old age of 32, I managed it! I now live with my friend Hannah in a tiny little flat near Colchester, and aside from the fact that it’s almost unbearably cold in the winter, I love it, and I’m happy to have finally ticked off a major box in the adult column.

I’ve had a lot of fun with you, 2015. As with last year, though I might have spent too much money on clothes, I’ve been trying to concentrate on making memories, and I have some special ones to cherish. I saw Ward Thomas (again), and visited a town called Ugley. I went to Scotland for the first time, visiting Edinburgh to see Radio 2 broadcast live (a dream come true). I went on yet another caravan holiday with my best friends, and had the usual amazing time. I went to my first book launch, and was in the same esteemed company as Stanley Tucci for a couple of hours. I went to see The Proclaimers (!), I went back to Hyde Park for Radio 2’s Festival in a Day and saw, amongst other people, Bryan Adams, The Corrs and, yes, of course, Ward Thomas and The Shires once more.

I’ve gained a couple of new members of the family too, in the form of a new niece and nephew. I’ve seen my family much less than I used to when I lived at home, which has taken some getting used to, but I guess it just makes the times I do see them all the more special. It would help if I could drive, as my new home isn’t *that* far away from most of them, but I can’t. Hopefully that will change in the coming year, however!

And, even though this letter is already too long, I can’t finish it without a mention of my continuing interest in the work of Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode. You were the first year in many that saw a live broadcast of Wittertainment, but as I was working, I was spared the disappointment of applying for tickets and inevitably failing to get them! I did, however, see Simon Mayo during my aforementioned Edinburgh trip, and I finally managed to see a Dodge Brothers gig, in Camden, with my Wittertainment friend Chloe. And miraculously, you were a year in which the good doctors released a book, which I was lucky enough to review, and when I headed along to the accompanying tour date in London, Mark and Simon were very kind to know who I was based on my review. When I headed along to the second London date, I ended up on stage, which was amazing and surreal, and resulted in my receiving a t-shirt that says ‘I’ve been seen by the Movie Doctors.’ All in all, quite an amazing turn of events!

All in all, 2015, I’d say you’ve been an up-and-down kind of a year. Some very exciting things have happened alongside some real contemplative moments, and while I know I’m lucky in many ways, I won’t look back on you as the best year of my life. So thanks for the memories, and I hope 2016 is even better!

Love Jane

A Love Letter to… is an ongoing series (that admittedly could do with a few more entries!)

The Week That Was

Spreading the blog love

♥ A slightly older link, but the best news evs for Louisa at Duck in a Dress. Congratulations!

♥ Terri-Jane is telling ‘should’ to do one, and I’m on board.

♥ Elise took a tour of Glasgow Central Station, and it’s left me wanting to do something similar.

♥ Elizabeth from Margot and Barbara is one of my favourite bloggers, and her post about her allotment supper is one of the reasons why.

The rest of the web

♥ I love this mash-up – the music of Inception over the trailer for Inside Out, creating Incept Out.

Five summer looks in films.

♥ $129 for a mystery flight in 1950.

Tweets I’ve liked this week

Three worders

Monday ~Excited for Imelda

Tuesday ~ Lunchtime squats – ouch!

Wednesday ~ Anticipating a downpour

Thursday ~Foraging course booked