Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 – A Year in Books

2014 is almost coming to a close, and I think I can speak for roughly.. 80% of you when I say:
When did it even start????

This time last year I made a pledge! And that pledge, between me and my 12 goodreads friends, stated that I shall read a whopping 20 books this year! Originally I’d aimed for 30 but just to ‘play it safe’ and to make sure I definitely hit the mark… I stuck with easy figure of 20.

Yeah….. I didn’t make it.

I did, however, get 70% of the way there with a GRAND total of 14! Now even though this isn’t the highest of numbers, (seriously, off the top of my head I can think of like…… 7 higher numbers!!!!) it’s still high enough for me to do a……

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAR – the two sugars fairly strong dot WordPress dot com edition !!!

The name might need a little tweak but let’s just roll with it…

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I shall sit here and await the payment from Converse for this free advertising....

So Behold!

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAAR – The Two Sugars Edition 

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coming in at last pla-
No, at number 5, coming in at number 5 we have ‘The Alchemist’. Having already written a review of the book, a post or 3 ago, I don’t feel the need to add a whooole lot more except that I really enjoyed it. The Alchemist wasn’t a hard read in the slightest and thinking back at it, what stands out to me most was the beauty in the language. Especially the personification of the various components of nature, adding an enticing touch to a fairly simple story. But at the end of the day what I have taken from the book and carried with me ever since is simply… Maktub.

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Apparently it goes by the name ‘Midnight Riots’ in the US but either way I had never heard of this book, or series of books, until it was gifted to me by a friend, and I am sooooo glad I read it! An ‘urban fantasy’ set in London follows the life of Constable Peter Grant as he goes about his mundane day to day business until suddenly coming into contact with the last wizard in England. #Casual.

If you’re in the market for a humorous fantasy book which also happens to throw shed-loads of London-based trivia your way, I know JUST the thing. This. Enjoy.

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Only Robert Galbraith could do this. Write a story with; no wizards, no witches, no noseless villains and no Alan Rickmans, yet still be magical! Although I found that it started off fairly slowly, once I got into the thick of it, it was a real page turner. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good 60-70 pages only to look up and realise that it’s 3am and Oh crap I’m meant to be revising what is my life! But that’s what a great storyteller can do aye! They make you deprioritise your whole life with hopefully no lasting ramifications (fingers crossed!)

In case you don’t know, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel centering around private detective Cormoran Strike and his, simply perfect, assistant Robin (who incidentally I fell slightly in love with) as they try and solve the case of a deceased model who seemingly flung herself from her Mayfair balcony.

I only bought this book because of a 3-for-2 sale and boy am I glad that I did. In fact I liked it so much that I picked up it’s sequel ‘The Silkworm’ just yesterday. So what are you waiting for???

2. 1984 by George Orwell
It had to take something special to beat The Cuckoo’s Calling and 1984 is just that. I’d heard of this one long before reading it, but I never thought it would interest me in the slightest… It always seemed so grey… So dull…. How wrong I was.

Written in 1948, this novel is George Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future. A country, or even world, put under the watchful eye, and ruled by Big Brother. Luckily for all of us though, due to a large decline in average views, Big Brother recently got bumped to Channel 5, where it still silently clings on for dear life. Phew!

But seriously there was so much more from the George Orwell novel that I wasn’t expecting in the least! I don’t want to spoil any of it so I’ll tread on eggshells.. But I never expected such a gripping relationship nor did I expect to feel empathy towards the fictitious situation and it’s, majorly proletarian, inhabitants. But most of all I never expected the ending. Wow. I shall leave it there before I utter any more words that may end up in the post requiring a ‘Spoiler Alert’ tag.
Big Brother is watching.

That only leaves room for one more book! What will it be! Find out.. on the next expiso-
Or I could just tell you now. Technically my number 1 slot won’t go to a single book, but rather a trilogy of books I read right at the start of the year so, since I warned you, don’t sue me.

I’m (surprisingly, actually quite) proud to announce, the number 1 book(s) that I’ve read in 2014 is/are!!!!…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide The Galaxy (books 1-3) by Douglas Adams

Where to even begin with this one… Quite simply these books are the most random, most bizarre, and the funniest (actually ‘LoL’ worthy at parts) set of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There is a fine line between insansity and genius as they say (confession: I don’t actually know who says this or, in fact, if it is even said) but I think Douglas Adams must have had a bit of both.

We start our journey with Earthling Arthur Dent, as he tries to stop the demolishing of his house, by the council, for the building of a by-pass. Pretty intense stuff. When put into perspective, however, by his strange companion, Ford Prefect, it isn’t all that dramatic after all. The Earth itself, our beloved planet, our home, is literally minutes away from being blown to smithereens to build, yes, a bypass.

I can’t do the story any justice whatsoever so I won’t even try but I think it’s simply a must read for everyone, including you!! I mean, who doesn’t want to read about The Vogons, who rank #3 in a list of the Universe’s worst ever poets. Why on Earth (bad choice of words) would you not want to meet Marvin, the borderline suicide Robot, try a Pan Galactic Gargle blaster orrrrr find out ‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ ????

If you learn anything in 2014, let it be this:
Don’t panic. Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Oh and also RIP Douglas Adams.

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So there you have it, my Year in books… If you liked or, probably more likely, disliked anything I said… Or if you’ve read any of these books yourself then let me know what you thought of them too in the comments below (you don’t have to be a blogger to comment) Orrrrr you can give your own top 5 books of the year. Whatever floats your wee little boats. Whatever you do just comment it can get lonely out here you know!!! *exhaled deeply*

Either way: follow, comment and shaaare away

Have a Happy New Year! and thanks for reading 🙂

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The Mother Of All Procrastinators

I don’t know how I always end up here! It’s 2 am, pitch black, and I’m just sat here typing away on Google Keep. Actually… In case my dad reads this (he says he doesn’t but I’m not ready to believe that just yet) it’s actually 4 pm and I’m writing this in a well earned revision break! …….. Yeah that’ll do.

Anywho. Seeing as though I haven’t got a whole lot going on in my life apart from some hard-core procrastination
– Note to self, Procrastination could be a great band name
Another Note to self…… Make a band.
Why don’t I tell you all about the greatest piece of procrastination that has EVER. EXISTED!!!!!!

ARE YOU EXCITED!?!?!?!
ARE YOU WITH ME?????
ARE YOU SCREAMING THESE WORDS INSIDE YOUR HEAD???? If so please get yourself checked out. These aren’t good signs my friend.

What I am rambling about.. Is a game. But not just any old PlayStation or Xbox game. PSSSHT oh hell naw. I’m talking about the kind of game where you literally spend yeaaaaars of your life, your golden years, locked inside the darkest shadows of the most isolated corner of your house… Sapped of all emotion, vigorously clicking away on the only object left which feels ‘right’ in your hands………………… The mouse.

A sick, twisted, time consumingly WONDERFUL ga-
No. I don’t even think I can call it a game. For, as long as it is in your life, it becomes just that. Life. 

If you know me, or if you too have become a victim to this most leisurely of all leisures, then you will be aware of what I am speaking of. In fact I can see you now.. Nodding away in slow motion with your eyes closed, swaying your head in the guiltiest of fashions …… Jeez put some pants on while you read at least! And close your curtains!!  What with the nosy neighbours and all …

Without further adew: Runescape.

Just seeing it, written there, oh how it brings back memories.

I remember the long summer’s of the 2000s. The sun smiling down on everything in it’s wake. Kids running through the streets, a mixture of laughter and football’s flying through the air. Ice cream men showing up just in the nick of time to serve up happiness. I remember the whole lot; jumpers for goalposts, football’s stuck under cars and the last minute goals that put you on the map! But most of all ….. Most of all! I remember the double glazed and surprisingly spotless window pane that separated me from all that hustle and bustle as I sold my last batch of steel bars for the day.

I miss the summers…

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Nothing quite beats gazing into a pixelated World lost in cyberspace.....

If you don’t know what Runescape is….. Get out. I joke (please stay). Baaaasically it is a huge online world where you create a player, think of the coolest username you can..
Footymagic – XxGangstaMageKillaxX was taken *sigh*
Go through the most boring tutorial known to man and then after all that… You do whatever the hell you want bebbeh!!! Except that! Naughty.

Now of course, being a game, there were some rather cool features to this secret online life of yours. You had the chance to practise magic, try a hand at archery, craft amulets and other goods, slay dragons and many more!

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Sitting here... As you do ...

But I didn’t have time for all that Dragon slaying nonsense! I had other plans, and since apparently my ultimate goal in life was to be a child in the early to mid 1800‘s, mining rocks seemed a much more fitting activity, albeit electronically. I used to spend HOURS….. sat in front of a computer screen with my jaw touching the floor. Drool galore. And I used to click. On a rock.  Every day. Without fail.
For 400 years.

And if I wasn’t clicking on a rock I’d spend my nights calculating how many rocks I’d click on the next day and how much gp (the currency) that would amount to. 

It got so bad that I distinctively remember one night walking into my brother’s room. Eyes aglow, just after they had introduced the grand exchange and all I remember saying to him, in all seriousness, was:
‘I’m going to manipulate the trade market.’ Followed by a well rehearsed speech about the fluctuations in various stocks and other non-household goods.

Oh I could go on and on but I’m pretty sure that half of you that started reading this haven’t actually got this far (is half being optimistic?). So therefore I’m just going to end with a few quotes that you’d usually see in a typical ‘scapin session:

Flash2:wave: Rune scimi 32k!!!

Flash:scroll: Steel bars 250 ea.

Ur dadz a n00b stp followin me

Less sort dis beef in da wildie u punk ***

Special treat press Alt + f4 to get free 1mil

If u type ur password in it comes up starred! Look *********** !!!!!!!

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Thanks for reading! If you liked the post and want to hear more of what I’ve got to say…. Then give me money. Srsly…. I need food.
Orrrrrr just follow away and don’t forget to share the site on the Twittergram or the Facebooks or whatever you crazy kids are using these days. Ahhhhh Bebo… That’s the one!

Oh and comment!!! …. Peace!

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Interstellar – A Review

‘We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.’ 

Interstellar. Ohhhhh Interstellar, I watched you 3 days ago and you still have me feeling some kind of way.

Here goes, a review which will do the film no justice, so please kindly lower all expectations and keep your hands and feet firmly inside the vehicle at all times.  Thank you.

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*Scottish accent* A meeeeere Fiver!

Without giving away any spoilers; ‘Interstellar’ is set in a world in which mankind – yes, that mankind – is slowly running out of food, a condition which will inevitably lead to their starvation followed by extinction. Due to the fact that the only produce showing the slightest bit of promise at the moment is Corn, the average person is deeply encouraged to abandon whatever hopes and dreams they may have in life, to help grow this product, something which not all are happy about (hence the quote at the top). As the hours, minutes and days on the human life-clock tick by, there is seemingly only one other alternative for survival, another home for the Human race, thus giving birth to the movie as well as this cool quote:

‘Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.’

What I looooved most about Interstellar, you know, aside from the epic Hans Zimmer scores, beautiful imagery and tear-jerking acting, was the fact that it made me.. ME.. feel smart!

Strutting in with 5% of my GCSE Physics knowledge intact, I had no right to follow any of it!.. But when Romilly the scientist (didn’t need to use IMDb at all there..) asked me ‘What is a circle in 3 dimensions?’ Well by george you know I screamed the answer to him right there in my head!! What a moment. Take that Year 8 physics report!!

My new-found love for Quantum Mechanics didn’t end there either – Oh no it did not! As soon as I got home I went straight to my brother, smug with the air of someone in the know, and I hit him with it.

‘Bruh (because I’m ghetto), guess what. Time………..  is relative.’
Cue the background explosions whilst I slowly wear some raybans and take a victory sip of coffee.
Ohhh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

‘What does that mean???’ – The response which crushed everything I had prepared on the bus ride home.

‘Ummmmmmm you knowwwwww relative!….. Gravity… and shit.’

Ok so maybe Interstellar didn’t quite make an astrophysicist out of me, not that it set out to, but it got dangerously close I must say. 

Although I have indeed digressed ever so slightly, to come back on track, there is just so much that this film offers to its viewers! From the surprisingly emotional father-daughter relationships to the beautiful cinematography portraying the vastness of the universe around us. All for a fiver.

Most importantly though, the movie also piqued a curiosity within me. It caused me to ponder on the possibilities offered by outer space. It made me stop scanning the pavements for dog muck whilst I travel and instead, lifted my gaze to the stars, a decision I instantly regretted.

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Maybe there's more to life than a warm cuppa'....

And If that doesn’t persuade you enough to watch the movie then I have only two words for you: Matthew McConaughey.

As a final thought I must say that Interstellar was more than just a brilliant movie. It was an experience. Depending on when you read this post, I would also suggest viewing it in the cinemas as opposed to DVD or a dodgy 240p pirate copy.  Mind you, seeing as though it’s been out for so long already, those may be the only options left. Good luck to you in that case!

If you’ve seen the movie then comment belowwww with your thoughts and if you haven’t seen it then comment anyways for the heck of it.
Don’t forget to follow and share either!!

Go wild my children.

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A first visit to Old Trafford

As the title tooooootally suggests… Today I’ll be talking about…..
Ponies. (Awww) .. I jest I jest.
Definately saving the Pony post for a while yet! No.. today I’ll tell you all a story :O

A story with zero purpose. No beginning. Barely a middle. And not much of an end.

How exciting!!!

So a couple days ago, on Tuesday last week to be precise, I visited the glorious city of Manchester to watch, none other than, Manchester United play at Old Trafford. Even though it was a seemingly mundane match (against Stoke – no offence) the stadium was still brimming with fans, around 75,000 to be precise-ish!

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Alllllllll thanks to this badboy

In short, it was a madness. Now I’ve been to watch a few games in my time, but none quite like this. Sitting next to the Stretford end itself, a constant stream of hilarious chants, jibes and casual abuse filled my little ears, all under the great banner of ‘banter’.

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Stunning...

I have to say though, that once you’re a part of the environment, it takes a strange hold on you.

Surrounded by tens of thousands of fans. Lost in a sea of red with all eyes focused on the island at the centre. Stewed in a melting pot of raw emotion.

It was under these very conditions that I lost all self-control. All humanity. Filling my lungs with all the air I could fit, I threw-

-No. I launched. I launched caution to the wind! And I screamed, with all the eloquence that naturally comes with being a semi-active blogger, I screamed…

‘PISS OFF REF!’

And honestly speaking I have never felt any sweeter relief.

I told you this story had no purpose! But did you listen? I suppose if you got this far then.. No, no you did not.You little rebel you.

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After reading through everything up there ^ it looks like I’ve given a fairly negative review of the whole experience, but because I can’t muster up the effort to re-write it all I shall just add:

Watching a match live is truly amazing and I most certainly reccommend it to any footballing and non-footballing fans alike. You’re constantly kept at the edge of your seat and feel one with the crowd. Watching the same game on the Telly wouldn’t compare at all in my expert opinion.

Plus if you’re lucky enough, like I was, you too might see the living legend, Marouane Fellaini, score and help your team to a 2-1 victory.

OHHHHHHHH DAVID DE GEEEEEAAAAAA 

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s past midnight, I’m lying on my bed….. Exam in the afternoon #PrayForDan ! What a perfect time to write a blog post 😀

BEHOLD My first ever book review, on this blog anyways  :O .. Naaaaaah!! Mental!

So as it says in the title, today I shall be reviewing ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and I’m going to start off the review by breaking the rules a wee bit, just because I like living life on its very edge.

So here goes.

Judging a book purely its cover, I’d say, this book is bloody brilliant !! I mean, just look at that sillhouetted church submerged in the mysterious orange-tinged fog and the attractive backdrop of mountains in the distance, all behind the unmistakable letters reading ‘THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER’

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Ooft.

If that doesn’t tickle your curiosity then you need serious help my friend. Professional help.

In essence the story is a simple one. It centers around a Spanish sheperd, Santiago (aka ‘the boy’), who spends his days with his sheep.. as you do.. in complete peace and tranquility until he is disturbed by a slight recurring dream.

Getting his dream interpreted by a gypsy woman in the nearest village.. also as you do… The boy is then told about a treasure which awaits him and is subsequently led onto the path of his ‘true destiny’ travelling vasts amount of land and making acquaintances along the way.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

When I started reading this book, I slowly began to treat it as if it was a fairy tale of sorts. And in many ways I believe it is so, the story has a clear moral (Chase your dreams!!!) and it  constantly sticks to it. But in actual fact The Alchemist is much more than that.

Though it is an easy read and not very long (177 pages), the book is filled with beautiful language. From the general descriptions of places and people, to the personification of nature itself. This book will have you turning pages faster than you can say ‘oh my days this book is literally forcing me to turn this page somebody help!’ And this is after having been translated.

The book is also rather philosophical, although you may not agree with all of it, I bet there’s definately something in there that can relate to anyone.

An unexpectedly deep book which, not only makes you think, but helps you appreciate the wonder all around us in our seemingly ordinary day to day lives.

Not sure how good of a review this was but if you want an inspiring, feel-good and easy to read yet deep book, then look no further than The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Also I gave it 4 Stars on my goodreads … Which you can follow here 🙂 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/19847070-daanyaal-nurgat

Thanks for reading! Like, Comment and Share away Bob’s yerr uncle.

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