Saturday, 31 January 2015

Yes Please

Yes Please
Amy Poehler

My sister and I share a love for Amy Poehler like no other shared love (except maybe that felt towards our parents and brother... maybe). 

I stumbled upon Parks and Recreations as 30 Rock neared it's final series, as I searched for a surrogate for my nerdy affections. Somehow, I managed to convince my sister to watch it, and now we constantly quote lines and recall clips at each other. 

Yes Please is Amy Poehler's biography. She recounts the giggliness of her youth, the excitement of her early career, and the complexity of trying to have it all. 

I have known for some time that I like the way Poehler writes, but this engages with a different literary form. In her biography, Poehler is honest and witty and generous towards her reader. Her style is that of a reluctant talker - she clearly prefers to make believe as Leslie Knope than to open up about herself. Every sentence raises more questions than it answers, revealing little snippets of her life but masking her darkest secrets. 

Throughout the book, she discusses how difficult she found the process of writing, praising her friends who have helped her along the way. She also jumps between trains of thought - you embark on a chapter about her school days only to be led on a tangent towards an incident involving her beloved improvisation troupe, the Upright Citizen's Brigade. 

Leslie Knope and Amy Poehler are both completely inspiring and amazing individuals, but this biography reveals just how talented an actor Poehler is - she is not as similar to Knope as I had expected, and I love that about her. I find myself reassured by the fact that she suffers from anxiety, and inspired by her attempts to be the best version of herself.

If you find yourself looking for something to read, read this. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

On the Road

On the Road
Jack Kerouac
London, Vintage

Oh the irony of this being the first book I am reading in my new life. This was meant to be the last book I read in my Staff Book Club, but due to life being mad over the holidays, I finished it a little later than usual.

In the late forties, Sal Paradise (what a name!) sets off from his aunt's home in New York on a series of national adventures. Dean Moriarty is the cause of each - an eccentric, energetic young man who inspires Sal to cross America to Denver, San Francisco and finally into Mexico. Their trips are fuelled with drugs, drink, and sex, and are enabled by hitch-hiking and borrowed cars. 

Along the way, the men tell share everything with each other, from childhood memories to lose change to women. The novel explores masculinity in a time and place where the future seemed uncertain and the past haunted your every step. Young men were better educated than past generations; the threat of nuclear war hung over their heads, but they were not sent to Europe to fight on the front lines like their fathers. Equally, the American dream thrived in post-war success; and Sal and his friends push the boundaries of this ideal to the very limit. 

On the Road is written in Kerouac's well-known stream of consciousness style (not that I would actually know, having never read his work before). Great paragraphs flow through the pages, describing scenes of marijuana-filled ecstasy or beer-crazed jazz clubs. 

I didn't particularly like the characters in this book - the men were all selfish and the women were uninspiring - but I loved the way the story was told. Each part contained a new trip, with new faces and new towns. And each journey felt like a struggle - a battle with long, dull roads, against broken down cars and jobsworthy policemen, with limited money and no end goal. 

But every time they returned to their normal lives, they found themselves bored of the mundane nature of the every day; so unable to stay still for long, Sal and Dean would set off again for another journey. 

All it makes me want to do is book some flights. Somewhere. Anywhere. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Note to Readers

Dear beloved reader,

In this new year, I am massively overhauling my life. I have a new job in a new home and a new car (something deemed not particularly exciting for some, but a highlight for me). 

As such, the format of this blog will be changing a little. I will still write reviews, because I love to do it, but I will not write about every book I read - I will just offer you some of the highlights. 

This is because the changes in my life mean I will have a little less time for reading and blogging, and I will be reading more of what I want to read, as opposed to reading to keep up to date for my job in a school. 

However, I still want to be part of this vibrant community of writers and bloggers that I have seen flourish in the last few years. 

So please let me continue.

Kind regards,

Katherine x