Tag Archives: film

Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

BeforeIGoToSleepI bought Before I Go To Sleep on the recommendation of friend who read it for our workplace reading group. I haven’t joined the reading group (I go to the knitting/crochet/sewing group and prefer to select my books according to my mood) but I’ve had some good recommendations from them and this has to be the best so far.

If you one of the few people left in the world who hasn’t read this book do. Christine wakes up in a strange man’s bed and thinks she must have had a drunken one night stand. Mortified, she goes to the bathroom and sees a stranger’s face staring back at her. Christine learns that she has a very specific form of amnesia following an accident. Whenever she falls asleep, her memory resets itself. But if she can’t remember the people she loves, how can she know who to trust?

This brilliantly written book is a must for anyone who enjoys a thriller. The author’s debut novel it won The Crime Writer’s Association for Best Debut Novel and The Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. Apparently a film is in the works with such names as Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong and Anne-Marie Duff but I really recommend you read the book first. You will not be disappointed- I was squeaking in horror and anxiety at times.

The Great Gatsby film review

Promotional Image for The Great Gatsby © 2013 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

I may have mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of The Great Gatsby and am surprised that, when there is so much fantastic American literature in the world, it is still hailed by some as The Great American Novel. It just left me feeling empty. I won’t rehash my reasons for this, Kathryn Schulz covers it very nicely in her article Why I Despise The Great Gatsby for anyone who is interested.

Last night was the box office opening for The Great Gatsby film in the UK. I went to see it in 3D at 7:45pm, pretty much peak cinema going time, in a usually busy cinema, but the screening was half empty. This suggested to me that this great American novel doesn’t translate so well for a UK audience, though it may just have been that people had better things to do.

Though Luhrmann stayed true to the text and made use of a lot of direct quotation in the film, I found that I liked it better than the book. Luhrmann had managed to invest the characters in the film with a small amount of emotional depth which was, for me, totally lacking in the book and at times injected a little humour. Visually, as you might expect from the director of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, it was stunning though the 3D effects occasionally left me feeling a little seasick, especially when lines from the text floated on the screen like snowflakes (maybe this was deliberate, we are all boats beating on against the current after all…). Watch it for the costumes if nothing else, they may be morally bankrupt, but I would love to attend a Gatsby party in a flapper dress.

The problem for me was, that despite the actors and director doing a fine job with the story that they’d been given, the slick production and a catchy soundtrack, the story was still the same. I couldn’t care about any of the characters, and felt a little repelled by Leonardo di Caprio’s obsessive Gatsby and his controlling fixations. The film was well made but I felt, as I did when I read the book, totally underwhelmed. I just couldn’t care enough. I was amazed that the woman next to me was snivelling and sniffing so loudly that she drowned out the credits, turning to her date and proclaiming, “It’s just so sad!” I wanted to ask her whether we’d just watched the same film.

Lit geeks will probably want to watch the film anyway, but I’d be interested to hear what anyone who has seen it thought of the narrative frame which sees Nick Carraway (played by Toby Maguire) writing The Great Gatsby while recovering in a sanatorium, a kind of Fitzgerald character.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Alice in Wonderland Inspired Gifts

Alice in Wonderland is universally popular because of the whimsy and nonsense that fill every page. It means different things to different people, but no one can deny that it is one of those stories which has sunk into the British public’s collective consciousness to the point where the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was included as a scene in this year’s Marks and Spencer Christmas advert alongside scenes from Christmas classic film of choice The Wizard of Oz and panto favourite Aladdin. If you have an Alice in Wonderland fan in your life, they would love any of the following gifts.

 


I’d be happy to add this pretty Penguin Hardcover Classic version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to my collection. It is a work of art on the outside and is complete with the original Tenniel images.

 

 

 

 


For crafty Alice fans, Everything Alice is a must have. One of 2011’s most popular craft books there is something for everyone in this gorgeous book. Given that the Alice in Wonderland bedspread from Urban Outfitters has sold out, this will give you some good ideas for Alice in Wonderland style decor for the home.

 

 

 

Grown up Alice fans will love this too cute little Drink Me bottle from The British Library which is filled with Austrian Grüner Veltliner sparkling wine. I’m sure the wine is delicious but I want this bottle soooo much. I love trinkets…

 

 

 

 

 

And speaking of trinkets this Drink Me pocket watch is also amazing. It doesn’t scream Alice in Wonderland, so readers and non-obsessives alike will love it but it would make a nice vintage-style touch to any outfit.

 

 

 

icon
iconI really love the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea set pieces from Mrs Moore’s Vintage store which I think were on sale at Liberty a few years ago, but this tea pot has to be my favourite piece.

 

 

 

icon
iconI’ve seen a lot of amazing Alice in Wonderland themed jewellery (I have a pretty funky Disney Couture bracelet that I bought myself in my youth…) but I have never seen a piece of Alice in Wonderland jewellery as unique as this incredibly intricate locket… a once in a lifetime present for an Alice in wonderland fan.

 

 

 

If you want to decorate your tree with a touch of Alice in Wonderland, then the British Library has an amazing set of tree decorations inspired by the stories. You can go Alice, Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Flamingo, but my favourite is this cute Smoking Caterpillar tree ornament.