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Friday, 30 January 2015

Top Ten Books

I thought a good place to start and introduce myself was to give you a list of my all time favourite books.  With being a University student currently, I don't tend to read a lot of modern books so some of my top ten are classics.  My home is like a library because I have so many books, but as my time is taken up with my degree and my work, I don't read a lot of novels for fun at the moment, it's usually based around University or work.  I do love reading and it is certainly the way forward.
1.  A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin.  
I absolutely adored the first book of 'A Game of Thrones' however I was not keen on the second book.  I found it difficult to read, so I haven't read the books proceding this.  I am looking forward to the televised series returning in April 2015 though.  

2. Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris.
Hannibal Lecter is a fantastic.  I'm really intersted in sinister stories and I found this really interesting.  Crime fiction is my favourite but who doesn't love a bit of horror now and then.  the psychological aspect is enthralling.  A memorable novel! 

3.  Spectral Visions: The Collection, Edited by Colin Younger
This is a collection of short gothic stories.  This is a really interesting read and considering my own short story is published in this collection, it had to appear on my list.  

4.  Alex Cross's Trial, James Patterson
I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this, however, I the discussing of lynching and racial discrimination by the Klu Klux Klan in University in one of my subjects and I decided to give this story a try.  I got it from a church bric-a-brac sale for 20p so I can't complain.  It was really great, I would certainly recommend.  

5.  Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
In the final year of my BA (hons) degree, I studied Jane Austen and I was pleasently surprised with this novel as I am a huge fan of the gothic genre.  Out of all of the Austen novels this was the most enjoyable.  

6.  Dracula, Bram Stoker.  
OK, so I'm not going to lie, I had studied Dracula fpreviously and I was not looking forward to studying it again last year for the third time.  However, my MA English Studies course really turned my opinion around of this novel.  We applied several different critical theories to the novel and I got so much more from it this time and feel that previously, I had underated it without really understanding it.  It had to be on this list as one of my favourites as I know the novel inside out, and my opinion of the novel has completely been overturned.  Renfield and Van Helsing really are my favourite characters of all time! 

7.  The Inheritors, William Golding
I gave this novel a read in 2011, but things got in the way.  I knew over the summer I just had to start again and give this another go as I love reading historically based stories and find the concepts of neanderthals really interesting.  This story is sad, but I love how Golding captures an historical essence, he has really done his research.  

8.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J K Rowling
Although I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter and The Order of the Pheonix, I do find the final book the most enjoyable.  I think that after the earlier books in the collection, it was time to say goodbye to Voldemort and the build up in the final book was excellent.  I couldn't put it down!  

9.  Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
Another favourable classic.  I can't help but like Moll, sure she's a criminal but she is such a victim of her time and I can't help but feel sorry for her.  She does what she has to do to survive and I think she's great.  She's a strong, poor, woman, in a man's world.  

10.Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
This is such a sad story and Frankenstein's monster is such a misunderstood character who's life could've been so different if he had just been treat differently by society rather than an outcast, even by his inventor, his father, Frankenstein.  This is again a novel that represents its time and there are so many life issues highlighted throughout the novel. Another great read, yet at times a little long and daunting, but still a favourite of mine.  

My Random Musings

Saturday, 17 January 2015

New Year = New Opportunities

The New Year has arrived, and although we can't be sure what's in store as life is unpredictable, I still think it's extremely important to make plans.  Planning helps you focus on your long-term goals and it gives you something to work towards.

By this time next year, what would you like to have achieved?  

The problem with making plans for people like me, is that I expect to do EVERYTHING in one year!  The truth is, the saying 'the sky's the limit' is not exactly true in the sapce of a year, well at least not for me.  Sometimes my expectations are too high and when I don't meet my goals, I just feel down, so I guess my point is, that when making plans, don't set yourself up for a fall and remember what the most important things in life are to you.  

For me this is simple as my family is the most important thing in the world.  My husband is ill and his health is a priority.  With that in mind, we have to stick to a healthy diet, and I need to continue to work from home so that I can support and care for my family.   

What are the most important things in your life? 

Although we all have our commitments and responsibilities, I believe everyone still needs their own plans for themselves too, so the question is, what do I want for me?  There are plenty of things I want, but due to current situations it isn't possible, however I am amazed with the opportunities that have came my way already.  
So what are my personal 'realistic' goal for this year? 

I am currently studying a Masters Degree on a part time basis in English Studies.  This is a personal goal for me as I love to study and want to push myself as far as possible.  For my BA (hons) in English and Creative Writing, I scored a 2:1, and my goal for the MA is to maintain this standard.  So I am going to take time to study and do as well at this degree as I possibly can.  Hopefully, if I do well,  I could look at doing a PHd.  

Another personal goal of mine is to create a new website - and I have started this today.  I want to create interesting blog posts and write articles and reviews.  

Finally, I want to create writing work fit for publishing.  I have recently been appointed as Team Leader of a Copywriting Team for a new, up and coming publishing house so I hope to be successful in my work and create work suitable for publishing.  I would also like to start writing academic papers too.  

I do really want to expand my business as I work as a self-employed tutor but I think this will have to wait for the future... - Maybe 2016 will be the year I focus more on my career plans.    

What are your plans for 2015?  Are you like me, and struggle to keep your plans realistic?