Wednesday, 22 June 2016

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene

It's strange to go into an empty church and pray when you go to church as little as possible and tend to pray in your own way anyway.
It's strange to light a candle and have to worry it might go out.
It's strange to look at the flickering flame and think that it represents a person.
It's strange to think that that person isn't here anymore.
It's very strange.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Involvements of Campaigning


 

Campaigning involves dragging oneself out of bed, sitting on a bus with Samantha Savage Smith's "Fine Lines" playing over and over in your earphones, and then being greeted by a bunch of fierce Outers screaming at the Stronger In stall.

Campaigning involves looking very, very polite when you hand people leaflets.

Campaigning involves people who don't want to be convinced asking you to convince them.

Campaigning involves trying to convince people anyway.

Campaigning involves discussions with an MP from a party you would never vote for, but who you've found yourself on the same side as, who surprises you by taking the time to speak to someone patiently and explain why Islam is not a backward religion.

Campaigning involves talking about why you vote for different parties, about parents who want to put up a Daily Express sign in the windows while you're signing up for Stronger In and how we love each other anyway, talking about how I'm fond of Boris but just can't agree with him on Europe, and one of our campaign managers is Labour but just couldn't agree with Miliband.

Campaigning involves having someone ask which side you're for, and when you tell them, grinning and shaking your hand.

Campaigning involves a woman stopping to ask for directions to the Anglican Cathedral and then pumping a fist in the air as she shouts "By the way, I'm voting In!"

Campaigning involves going for lunch afterwards with your parents and having them grin at you anyway, even though you're wearing a Stronger In sticker, and they're for Brexit.

Campaigning involves a lot of stuff that's worth it.

Friday, 3 June 2016

That moment you get quoted in a Telegraph article...

Or at least, your tweet does.


Hey, if I'd had to pick one of my tweets to get noticed, it might have been this one. :)

Also, I wrote this for the Huffington Post:


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Plans In A While Of Summer

We sit in our local American diner, eating pancakes and talking about everything that has happened since the last time she was home from university. It takes forty-five minutes for the waitress to bring us the bill and I spend the time thinking about how pretty the girl is at the next table. She has the kind of grin that makes her eyes close, that dances out mischievously, her nose stud glinting as she laughs.
We go downtown and sing along with the busker playing "Human" by the Killers at the side of the road. There is a little girl who walks into a shop and insists on buying a bottle of water and a snack for a homeless man. 
On the bus home, we sit with our headphones in as we drive past a wall that screams some graffiti that proclaims that "Bush Did 9/11". We make plans for the rest of our group to spend days in the park, with a collection of drinks and her dog that always tires itself out too quickly. I listen to Best Coast over and over and look forward to summer for the first time in a while. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

"Letting The Side Down"


I am officially Very Fed Up.

Very Fed Up with a certain branch of feminism.

A certain branch of feminism that seems to think that women who choose to stay at home to have children are "letting the side down."

Now, I have no problem with women going to work. I have no problem with women going back to work after they have children. Absolutely no problem.

What I have a problem with is the women who make the choice to stay at home to raise a child being told they're letting the side down.

By other people who brand themselves "proper feminists."

Well.

To those women, I should probably give a great speech about understanding choices and adapting, etc, etc.

Instead, I'm just going to say this:

Shut up.

Feminism, at its' heart, is about women having the same freedom as men. And that freedom involves making the choice about what they do with their careers and children.

And if they choose to stay at home with the children, that is their own damn business.

You don't want them to judge you for going out to work? Don't judge them for staying at home.

And no, they are not "letting the side down." The only person "letting the side down" is you. You and your small-minded, prejudiced, smug, arrogant, judgemental, truly pathetic excuse for an argument.

You are the type of people that give feminists a bad name.

Woman can choose to go back to work. They can choose to stay home. They can choose to do both.

But guess what?

It's their choice.

And if you're the type of feminist who believes it shouldn't be their choice? I've got news for you. Your feminism isn't feminism. It's judgemental and exclusionary and you, in your own way, are just as bad as those people who insist women should be the homemakers.

So shove that down your trapshoot.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

the weird joy of schadenfreude

You know that feeling when someone's going on about something in their life, and trying to make it sound perfect and everyone else is just lapping it up-
You know that feeling when you're just sitting there, nodding away, as they go on, trying not to laugh-
You know that feeling when you know something no one else does-
Yeah.
I have all those feelings right now.
And it's pretty cool.
I mean, I know we're all meant to be about forgiveness and peace and love, but when someone's a right hypocrite-or even worse, a hypocrite who tells themselves they're not a hypocrite-it gets on my nerves. You know?
Grinds right. On. My. Nerves.
So, today, while they tried to paint a perfect picture for everyone else, I got to sit and smirk to myself because I knew something the rest of them didn't.
(I knew that she was literally going to the ends of the earth to dress this up and that she was really terribly failing at convincing everyone else that she was Not A Hypocrite At All, Sir, and that everything was A-OK.)
I wasn't going to tell anyone. Hey, why incur the Wrath Of The Hypocritical Ones? Better to just let them lie to themselves and let the truth find its' way to everyone else in its' own time.
It always does, in the end.
Either way, I'm feeling a certain sense of schadenfreude right now. I can't decide if I like it or not. But probably more than I should.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Westminster Blogs and Flowers

So, firstly, I set up a blog because I decided I wanted to remain in the EU and in anticipation of joining the Stronger In campaign, kind of wanted to do something else to help. And also because my obsession with one-liners from TV shows and politicians had to combine somewhere. You can check it out on Tumblr here: Strange Times In Westminster












I have also become borderline obsessed with this TV series called Flowers. Imagine A Series Of Unfortunate Events. The same kind of surreal gothic aesthetic, same black humour that's almost horribly hilarious. Then pack it all into a cottage in the English countryside and the most dysfunctional family you can imagine and you've got Flowers.




There's one girl who sits in her room writing gloomy music, fires a crossbow past her creepy brother's shoulder and steals the girl he's interested in, so naturally I decided she was my favourite character.


Also, the music is brilliant. It makes you feel like you're in some kind of strange Hammer Horror film with a bit of the Young Ones slipped in.

Monday, 2 May 2016

and wonder why you ever forgot

I guess this is one of those songs that you find yourself listening to over and over when it's dawn and you haven't slept and you're sad and you don't know why. Either way, it's one of those songs that you forget about until you find it again and wonder why you ever forgot about it at all.




Saturday, 23 April 2016

Blue Hair, Writing Squad and Supernatural Bonding

So firstly I now have blue hair, as one can see from these atrocious selfies. 



Second of all, I GOT ACCEPTED ONTO THE WRITING SQUAD YOU GUYS!
(I seriously can't believe it I'm so happy!)
And third I'm in London and watching Supernatural with my cousin so all is right in the world.
(She may not ship Destiel though. So all may not be right with the world.)

Friday, 15 April 2016

at half eight, memories change


I didn't expect my mother to walk in a few weeks ago at half eight in the morning and tell me the kid who used to sit next to me in primary school was downstairs in the hallway, but that's exactly what happened.

So you don't think my life is an 80s teen film, his dad works for my parents as a builder and on this occasion he'd decided to bring his son with him. His dad's lovely. His son isn't so lovely. Or wasn't, to be more accurate.

This was mainly what was sticking in my head when my mother half-shoved my bedroom door open and hissed "He's brought K (name changed to protect the not so innocent) with him!" at which point I nearly hid in my wardrobe and counted down the minutes until I passed out from lack of oxygen.

Of course, I did not do that because I was meeting friends for brunch and hunger won out.

So I went downstairs. I said hi to M (K's dad.) And then I was greeted with the sight of K.

To be fair, K was polite. Someone else might have said he was good-looking. I could still see the kid he'd been so I couldn't. ("Has he had his teeth fixed?" was my perhaps uncharitable first remark to my mother, when she had informed me of this news.) I would have been happy being polite back and waiting for him to belatedly remember who I was after he'd left my house and so suffer the sort of awkward moment he'd previously visited upon me in primary school. (He used to love taking the piss out of everything I said. So I hated him. We were eight and that was enough for me to hate him.)

But anyway, I appeared in the kitchen and K was there and my mother decided to ask "Do you remember Lydia?"

To be fair, she did this with the best of intentions, imagining it would break the ice, but I would have vastly preferred the ice to remain unbroken.

He blinked, then blinked again. "Oh my god."

I smiled, which seemed to be the only thing to do.

"How-how are you?"

I did the usual, which I am good at. I'm fine, how are you. Oh, you're studying Law, brilliant. Where? University round the corner, great. Oh, I'm writing, doing A Levels, hoping to apply for Oxbridge, LSE, etc. When you're not born with all these social skills naturally, sometimes you get really good at imitating them.

He nodded at me and then our parents began talking and his dad called him away to help with something. I promptly did the only thing I could do, which was have a silent panic attack in a chair and message my friends, liveblogging the whole event for them.

I say the whole event but there wasn't too much of the rest of it. He was working and I had plans so we weren't forced to speak to each other. I made sure the door to my room was closed when he went past. He ignored the posters I've Blu-tacked to the door and the extra bookcase my parents have been forced to install for me on the landing, because I own enough books to break the floorboards. I escaped to brunch and detailed the whole saga in the diner to my friends who found it hilarious.

The other part of the event was that he stared at me. Every time I looked up, he'd be looking. We'd both look and then look away.

I'm not complaining about him looking at me. I wasn't uncomfortable by it. It was just a change, from the way I'd expected him to treat me. I'm not saying I would have expected a repetition of when we were eight. But I suppose I expected it to be a shadow of that time in some way. The fact he was nice leant it a certain surreality. Whenever I'd thought about running into him again, I would have expected that I'd be able to return happily to my memories of despising him in primary school. As I messaged my friend later, in indignant block capitals, WELL, MR. NICE HAS PUT PAID TO THAT.

But it's a strange thing, anyway. I'm not sure, on balance now, if I'm glad it happened or not.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Brussels

I wrote this about the terrorist attacks in Brussels. It got quite a lot of likes and a bit of attention because I wrote it on the day of the attacks, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.


http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lydia-suffield/brussels-attacks_b_9522184.html

This weird and oxymoronic and alienating thing called friendship


Dear Somebody,

You know what I wish I could say to you? Fine. Fine, fine, fine. I don't care if you want to tell me something, but you know what, tell me in a less preachy, moralising way. Because you're a nice kid, you know, but you know that? You are preachy and moralising. And that annoys me to hell sometimes, but we're not allowed to say anything. No, we're not allowed to say anything, because this weird and oxymoronic and alienating thing called friendship has to be conducted in looks under eyelashes and voices that aren't quite whispers and I hate how almost everyone I know buys into that stupid belief!

You know what, here's what I want to say to you. You irritate me. You irritate me, you irritate me, you irritate me! You can be the sweetest person in the world but for God's sake, you're irritating. You're allowed to put your head on the table and almost cry if I mess up, but if you do one thing wrong and anyone shows the slightest flicker of annoyance, you go silent and huffy and try to pile on the guilt. Well, you know what, sweetie, two can play at that game, and if you whine about me playing it, I can bring up all the times you've played it too, probably without even realising it.
My mental health is a reason for you to put on your armour of big eyes and hurt feelings but your religion is meant to put a nail through my tongue and completely shut me up in case of your sensitivity. Well, guess what, sweetie. You don't own sensitive. You don't own hurt. And you don't own all the world's problems. Sorry to pull that weight off your shoulders.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Snapshots, Petula Clark and Twilight Memories


Yesterday, I was walking around with the air all cold and overcast and sharp at once and it occurred to me how much we miss of life sometimes inside. It was always strange to me to think that while I was in school, there was a whole world going on out there. Sometimes, I wonder if school actually teaches you anything about it. I had "I Want The One I Can't Have" by the Smiths playing and I watched people go by. A boy with a backpack and headphones on. Two men pushing a baby between them. It was strange to see the early afternoon world, and to realise we only see snapshots of the world at a time.

Last night, my mother put on "Downtown" by Petula Clark for the first time in years and I could remember the first time I heard it, in the back of a car on the motorway when I was five, with the twilight settling overhead and counting the streetlights out of the window, watching the road signs that went by. I was with my grandparents and my cousin and we were going to London. I remember the safety I felt then, even in the night, in the back of a car with people that loved me, with Downtown playing and the twilight an aching purple on the other side of the window

Today, I've had "Little Wanderer" by Death Cab for Cutie playing and it's strange because it makes me think how far away some people so near to me can feel and of the people I used to know who are gone now. It makes me think of the things that make me sad when they should make me happy.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Times, They Are Changing (and all the things)

I feel like my interests are changing recently. Changing in a good way. I'm becoming more interested in a load of different things and a load of different subjects and to be honest, after what sometimes seems like years of trying on new personas, it's pretty much a relief to have something real I'm into now as well.
There are so many things I want to do. I want to keep up with writing, work on my novel, I want to start a blog about politics, I want to do more political stuff, I want to go to university, and pass exams, and also just enjoy things. There's a lot I want to do, and if sometimes, I don't post here for a while, it's probably just because I'm busy doing those things. In the unlikely event I ever stopped posting here altogether, I would show you guys where you could now find me. I mean, I don't think that is likely to happen, but if it did, I'd let you guys know.
In the meantime, I read a novel called Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and it is a book about podcasts and fandom but also about exams and pressure and how there's more to life than schoolwork and how something doesn't actually have to be classified as wrong to be wrong. If you know what I mean.
I posted about Alice's first novel, Solitaire, yonks ago and this is her second. I loved Solitaire and I loved Radio Silence even more, and given I love book trailers, here are the two Alice made for her books below:












And in the meantime, here's a song I've been listening to recently. I might make a playlist soon. I haven't made one of those in a while.



Friday, 19 February 2016

Here's What OCD Is Like For Me


Here's what OCD is like in films, in books, in the amusingly intelligent characters whose traits are always just another hilariously irritating example of genius:

Preferring to only eat sweets of the same colour.

Liking to have things in straight lines.

Having an aversion to dust.

Here's what OCD is like for me.

I'm eight years old and I can't leave the bathroom until I've closed the door the exact right number of times until it "feels right" because otherwise somewhere, someone will be in pain and it's my fault.

I'm twelve years old and I can't get more than three lines of my schoolwork done because I have to check each one at least eight times after I've written it because my mind is screaming with the thought that I might have written something I didn't mean to, even though I know that I've checked it over and over.

I'm fifteen years old and OCD has entwined itself with depression and anxiety like a twisted family reunion inside my head. I'm lying on my bed, with heaviness draping itself over me like the worst blanket in the world and I know I should move. I can see it in my head, all the things I need to do, mounting up in front of me and it feels like they're climbing higher and higher, until I can't breathe because the anxiety is wrapping itself around my lungs and strangling me. I lie there, just trying to build myself up to the task of moving off the bed. It can take up to an hour.

I'm nine years old and I have to say the same word over and over until it feels right in my mouth, because without saying it over and over the world feels terrifying off-kilter, like a table slowly tilting over, with all the plates and cutlery of my thoughts and my safety about to smash on the floor. I sit on the stairs and make sounds over and over and listen to my mother cry in the bedroom where she thinks I can't hear her because she doesn't know how to help me. I sit on the stairs and curl up into my knees and cry.

I'm fourteen years old and I have to force myself to eat my dinner because every second my thoughts scream that it will turn to something disgusting in my mouth and after dinner, I end up almost vomiting in the bathroom because I can no longer tell if my thoughts are telling the truth or not.

I'm sixteen years old and I'm watching my little cousin, who I love more than anything, refuse to step on any cracks and my insides are eaten up with worry and the question of Is this normal, is this just a quirk or is this, is this, is this illness going to rear its' head in her too? She's laughing but it's my worst fear, being dangled in front of me, because I honestly, genuinely cannot bear the thought of her ever living like this.

I'm thirteen years old and I'm walking around and around my bedroom at five in the morning on Christmas Eve, trying to think things in exactly the right order, the right number of times, until it feels right so no one can read my thoughts, so that I can't become someone else when I'm not looking, so that my parents' can't stop loving me, so that any number of things that I know are impossible can't happen. I have three or four different chants in my head at once and I think I reach the point where I've chanted each one about seventy six times, when they start to run into each other and I start to cry and slap myself round the head because I'm a failure and now, all the bad things will happen and ruin my family's lives because I was lazy and stupid and worthless and couldn't keep up with the chants.

I'm sixteen years old and I can't remember a time when my life wasn't riddled with thoughts that have to be thought over and over and which number's the right number and what could go wrong any second.

I'm sixteen years old and I find myself standing at the side of the road, staring at the passing cars, and wondering if I should jump in front of one of them because I honestly think and believe that my family could have far better lives if I wasn't here anymore. Even then, I have to count the cars and there's something almost grotesquely hilarious about that.

That is a life with OCD.  The constant, constant anxiety you're never quite doing enough to stop all the things that could happen. Constantly having that voice in the back of your head telling you you're not strong enough to keep everyone safe.

I'm eighteen now.

I'm a writer. I'm on a gap year. I'm surrounded by an amazing, strong, loving family and friends. I'm discharged from therapy with four years of amazing therapists and psychiatrists, talking and medication strengthening my thoughts when the OCD rears its' head. And it does rear its' head.

It is still there. It's always waiting, in the background, to whisper to me, to pull me back into the rituals, the counting, the reciting, the constantly trying to think my way out of all the dangers my mind insists could be waiting if I don't pronounce that word correctly, don't think that thought with exactly the right emphasis.

It's quieter but it's still there, in the back of my head. It always will be. OCD doesn't go away, doesn't ever completely die down. But it does quieten.

I don't know if this will matter to anyone reading this. But the reason I'm writing it is for the simple prospect of one person who struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder reading this and learning that, as cliched as it sounds, it can get better.  It will get better. There is help.

I have debated with myself whether or not to write this post. My immediate reaction is still to disguise and conceal my OCD, still to try not to talk about it. But then I think about people like Stephen Fry, Alastair Campbell, Tabitha Suzuma. I think about what it meant when the MP Charles Walker stood up and spoke in the House of Commons about what it was like to live with this disorder.  I think about what it meant to me, as a young person, to have someone talk about what it was like to live with a mental illness and to show that there was a way forward, beyond the stereotypical depictions.

 I'm not comparing myself to any of those people. I'm not even close. But if this blog post can make even one person who reads it feel less like they're alone with this illness, then I want it to be here. I want this to be here for the people to struggle with this illness-because it is an illness-to read.

It's something I would have wanted to read when I was still trapped in the knots and lies of my own thoughts, to know that it was an illness. That there was a reason I was like this. That OCD wasn't a joke or a pun or a punchline. That it was real and only by acknowledging it was there, could it be beaten.

Because OCD isn't the TV character insisting the tins in the cupboard be in exact symmetrical lines. It isn't the laugh track when someone frantically manouveres all the books into alphabetical ordr. OCD is that nine-year-old girl sitting on the stairs, crying to herself because she's tortured by her own thoughts and she doesn't know why.

And for the one person who might be reading this who might be struggling with this illness, I want them to know:

Even if it doesn't feel like it now, it can get better.

And the world will not be a better place without you.

 

Friday, 12 February 2016

sickness and old songs


Tonsillitis is not fun. At all. It has involved me being curled up on the couch with a dressing gown and the Alastair Campbell diaries, while it feels like my throat's been clawed out.

Tonsillitis, of course, leaves my head spinning, so I can't even write properly, which is leaving me more bored than I've been in a long time. Meanwhile, I'm left listening to my dad telling me stories about playing in a band at a catwalk show when he was younger and exchanging OTP theories with one of my friends over Tumblr.

In the meantime, I'm curled up with the Gogglebox books and wondering how sick it is possible to be.

On the other hand, I've been playing this song over and over, which my dad used to play while we drove around Cornwall in the holidays, using it as an easy lullaby. One of my earliest memories is hearing him playing it on the guitar, so maybe that's why I usually end up listening to it when I'm sick.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

It's The Prime Minister's Fault I Sprained My Ankle: A Saga


So, here is the fun story of how I managed to sprain my ankle watching Prime Minister's Questions.

(You injured me, David Cameron and Ed Miliband. You injured me.)

It was a Wednesday night and I was watching old reruns of Prime Minister's Questions on Youtube. This is for several reasons. One, that is the kind of thing I do. Two, it will not be a secret to anyone who follows my Twitter that I have a serious longing for the good old days of Cameron and Miliband sniping and snapping at each other over the Commons floor, and then both of them bursting out giggling every time the other got in a good line.

It was simultaneously more adorable and more entertaining than what we have now. (As will also be evident if you follow my Twitter.)

Now, Cameron threw out one of his lines. And Miliband completely messed up his.

(I cannot remember what Miliband messed up, but take it from me, it was like when Neville manages to mess up his potion in Snape's class.)

(Except less endearing.)

So, I leapt up partly to cheer Cameron and partly to yell at the computer screen "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT, MILIBAND? "because I am the sort of person who likes to yell at both sides equally, and also likes to yell at several-month-old debates on a computer screen.

Unfortunately, I may have jumped up a little too enthusiastically.

By which I mean, I managed to jump up, whirl myself round, and slam my foot into a cabinet.

Which was then followed by me screaming, hobbling over to the couch, shouting at the computer screen a bit more while holding my foot, and then having to watch 24 Hours in A&E while empathizing way too much with the patients.

Two days later, I got to sit in a waiting room with my mother and explain to a greatly amused nurse exactly how I managed to sprain my ankle shouting at the Prime Minister and the former Leader of the Opposition. She told me I was the most interesting patient she'd ever had.

So there was a good side.

And now that my ankle is better, I can go for walks in the winter mornings while listening to songs like this one, which I listened to on one of my favourite walks one winter morning and so always associate with the breeze stinging your cheeks and the silence around you of the rest of the world being tucked away inside.


         

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

you'd have liked to save me, but we're outta time

On Saturday, we go to see Rumours of Fleetwood Mac. My dad's friend plays more instruments than I can count and here's a video I took of the concert on my Instagram. My dad used to sing "Landslide" to me to get me to sleep when I was little, rocking my baby seat with his foot while he played the guitar.

There's something strange in the way I see things recently. It's a struggle to care, because I think of all the times I've cared in the past and it's hurt. Something about the idealism of the way I used to see the world has completely crumbled into the opposite.

These days, when I think of who I used to care about, it's easier not to. I listen over and over again to "Outta Time" by Natalia Kills and wait to feel sad and instead feel nothing.

Monday, 18 January 2016

the evilness of wi-fi and political injuries (and a playlist)

So....there were no posts last week. And that is because the Internet betrayed us and went down.

Bad Wi-Fi.
Naughty Wi-Fi.

But here we go, I have another playlist! And I will relate the story of exactly why there were no posts for a week THIS week-as well as the story of why I currently have a sprained ankle and why I'm torn as to what political party to blame for this injury.

Confused? Don't worry-I'll explain it all in a couple of days but in the meantime, here's a playlist for the last week....



Flaws-Bastille
Rebel Rebel-David Bowie
Life On Mars-David Bowie
The Best Day-Taylor Swift
Featherstone-The Paper Kites
Coma Baby-Nicole Dollanganger
Lemonade-Nicole Dollanganger
Ugly-Nicole Dollanganger
End Credits(Saving Mr. Banks Soundtrack)-Thomas Newman
Texas-Magic Man
Modern Man-Arcade Fire


UPDATE: I also had an article published on the sad passing of David Bowie at the Huffington Post. Check it out here.








Sunday, 10 January 2016

lyrics whisper with little girl's dolls and sharp-bladed words

I've been listening to Nicole Dollanganger over and over again the last couple of days. If you haven't checked her out, do, because you will find yourself staring at the ceiling while her lyrics whisper with little girl's dolls and sharp-bladed words that become knives and cut high-pitched piano cries in two. You can feel exhausted like you've just screamed along to a rock ballad when the song was as soft as a child's lullaby. It's creepy and beautiful and childlike and so knowing there's nothing left to know. Check her out. As soon as possible.

Here's my first playlist of 2016:



Dreaming Of You-The Coral
Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall-Coldplay
Precious-Depeche Mode
Take A Picture-Filter
Falling In Love Again-Eagle Eyed Cherry
Mmmm Mmm-Crash Test Dummies
Shadow Play-Paul Mottram
Drive-Halsey
Settle Down-The 1975
When She Came Back-Max Richter (Sarah's Key Soundtrack)
Eyesight For The Blind-Placebo
Rampage-Nicole Dollanganger

                               


Friday, 1 January 2016

Books of 2015!

So, I read-I think-84 books this year. And while I went into detail about some of my favourites on my End of Year Quiz, here's the complete list! Enjoy my weird variety of YA, politics, crime, etc:





LULLABIES FOR LITTLE CRIMINALS-HEATHER O'NEILL

DARE ME-MEGAN ABBOTT

THE AQUA NET DIARIES: BIG HAIR, BIG DREAMS, SMALL TOWN-JENNIFER NIVEN

NINETEEN MINUTES-JODI PICOULT

ENSNARED-A.G.HOWARD

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES-JENNIFER NIVEN

THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT-HEATHER O'NEILL

SOLITAIRE-ALICE OSEMAN

MARCO IMPOSSIBLE-HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD-AVA DELLARIA

LOCK AND KEY-SARAH DESSEN

FINDING JENNIFER JONES-ANNE CASSIDY

THE SPACE BETWEEN TREES-KATIE WILLIAMS

3,096 DAYS-NATASCHA KAMPUSCH

DARK PLACES-GILLIAN FLYNN

GIRL IN THE CELLAR: THE NATASCHA KAMPUSCH STORY-ALLAN HALL AND MICHAEL LEIDIG

NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED-HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

PANIC-LAUREN OLIVER

THE BANE CHRONICLES-CASSANDRA CLARE, SARAH REES BRENNAN AND MAUREEN JOHNSON

THIS IS NOT A TEST-COURTNEY SUMMERS

I CHOSE TO LIVE-SABINE DARDENNE

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL: A YOUNG WOMAN TELLS YOU WHAT SHE'S "LEARNED"-LENA DUNHAM

GOOD GIRLS-LAURA RUBY

THE THIRD TWIN-C.J.OMOLOLU

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS: ESSAYS AND STORIES-MARINA KEEGAN

LIVING DEAD GIRL-ELIZABETH SCOTT

THE MUSEUM OF INTANGIBLE THINGS-WENDY WUNDER

MY STORY-ELIZABETH SMART

THE REPLACEMENT-BRENNA YOVANOFF

ALL THE RAGE-COURTNEY SUMMERS

FALLING INTO PLACE-AMY ZHANG

THE BOYFRIEND LIST: 15 BOYFRIENDS, 11 SHRINK APPOINTMENTS, 4 CERAMIC FROGS AND ME, RUBY OLIVER-E.LOCKHART

THE BOY BOOK: A STUDY OF HABITS AND BEHAVIOURS, PLUS TECHNIQUES FOR TAMING THEM-E.LOCKHART

GONE GIRL-GILLIAN FLYNN

YOUR VOICE IN MY HEAD: A MEMOIR-EMMA FORREST

THE SPACE BETWEEN-BRENNA YOVANOFF

THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED: THE AMAZING INSIDE STORY OF THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST-GUY LYON PLAYFAIR

YES, PLEASE-AMY POEHLER

THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS: NOEL, JACKSON, FINN, HUTCH, GIDEON-AND ME, RUBY OLIVER-E.LOCKHART

REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS* *YES, BOYFRIENDS, PLURAL. IF MY LIFE WASN'T COMPLICATED, I WOULDN'T BE RUBY OLIVER-E.LOCKHART

WASTELAND-FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK

WHITE OLEANDER-JANET FITCH

AN EDUCATION-LYNN BARBER

"YOU LOOK LIKE THAT GIRL...": A CHILD ACTOR STOPS PRETENDING AND FINALLY GROWS UP-LISA JAKUB

BEAUTIFUL-AMY REED

THE LOST AND THE FOUND-CAT CLARKE

GO DOWN TOGETHER: THE TRUE UNTOLD STORY OF BONNIE AND CLYDE-JEFF GUINN

THE FEVER-MEGAN ABBOTT

THE LOVELY BONES-ALICE SEBOLD

IN THE SKIN OF A JIHADIST: INSIDE ISLAMIC STATE'S RECRUITMENT NETWORKS-ANNA ERELLE

PAPER VALENTINE-BRENNA YOVANOFF

THE KITE RUNNER-KHALED HOSSEINI

TEN THOUSAND SAINTS-ELEANOR HENDERSON

IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? (AND OTHER CONCERNS)-MINDY KALING

THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS-E.LOCKHART

THE OUTSIDERS-S.E.HINTON

RED QUEEN-VICTORIA AVEYARD

THE HELIOS DISASTER-LINDA BOSTOM KNAUSGARD

THE ACCIDENT SEASON-MOIRA FOWLEY-DOYLE

THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU-HEATHER DUFFY STONE

DON'T TOUCH-RACHEL M.WILSON

THE DUFF: DESIGNATED UGLY FAT FRIEND-KODY KEPLINGER

ANOTHER DAY-DAVID LEVITHAN

THE ICE CREAM GIRLS-DOROTHY KOOMSON

MADELEINE: OUR DAUGHTER'S DISAPPEARANCE AND THE CONTINUING SEARCH FOR HER-KATE MCCANN

CAMERON AT 10: THE INSIDE STORY-2010-2015-ANTHONY SELDON AND PETER SNOWDON

THE THICK OF IT: THE MISSING DOSAC FILES-ARMANDO IANUCCI, JESSE ARMSTRONG, IAN MARTIN, SIMON BLACKWELL AND TONY ROCHE

ED: THE MILIBANDS AND THE MAKING OF A LABOUR LEADER-MEHDI HASAN AND JAMES MACINTYRE

THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR-A.G.HOWARD

NICK AND CHARLIE-ALICE OSEMAN

ONLY EVER YOURS'-LOUISE O'NEILL

FIVE-YEAR MISSION: THE LABOUR PARTY UNDER ED MILIBAND-TIM BALE

DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM-DAVID SEDARIS

A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD-HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

ELECTION NOTEBOOK: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE BATTLE OVER BRITAIN'S FUTURE AND MY PERSONAL BATTLE TO REPORT IT-NICK ROBINSON

BRIDGET JONES' DIARY-HELEN FIELDING

STILL ALICE-LISA GENOVA

THIS WINTER-ALICE OSEMAN

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: OLD SCHOOL-JEFF KINNEY

WHY THE TORIES WON: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE 2015 ELECTION-TIM ROSS

TREAD SOFTLY: BULLYING AND THE DEATH OF PHOEBE PRINCE-E.J. FLEMING

FIVE MILLION CONVERSATIONS: HOW LABOUR LOST AN ELECTION AND REDISCOVERED ITS' ROOTS-IAIN WATSON

THIS MAY SOUND CRAZY-ABIGAIL BRESLIN

SILENCE IS GOLDFISH-ANNABEL PITCHER


And my favourite book of the year was *drum roll, please*:


ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES-JENNIFER NIVEN !!


Let's see if I read 100 books this year (doubt it, but...*shrugs*)



 

The End Of The Year (At The Start Of The Next...)



So, it's just become 2016 and I decided I might as well take this end of year survey in the first hour of our brand new year. So, here we go.


1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?


Got paid professionally for my writing. Became a Hellogiggles and Huffington Post contributor. Interviewed people! Got interviewed by people! Had my Tweets featured in an article, (even if it was about Ed Miliband's beard and that's even better without context) Set up an Instagram. Managed to stop agonizing over someone, which is like a record for me. Finished therapy, which is the first time I've not had to go to a therapist in three years, I think. Finished school completely, which is amazing. Got into politics. Voted! Got into activism (such as the Lunchbox Fund and Reclaim The Internet) Set up a Snapchat. And worked out for the first time how I'm going to finish my book. :)


2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make more for next year?


I don't make New Year's Resolutions mainly because I'm far too lazy to put the extra pressure on myself.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yep!


4. Did anyone close to you die?


Nope.


5. What countries did you visit?


Oh, I think I was lazier on that front, we only went to Tenerife-which was amazing. Then again, now that school isn't an issue, I might be able to go away more often.


6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?


Oh God...I don't know, some progress on my book. More articles published. To be able to make more of a progress with activism! 


7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory and why?


3rd April-my eighteenth birthday.
7th/8th May-UK General Election, where I voted for the first time and since I got seriously interested in politics this year, it was a big thing!
15th May-end of school
June 24th-day I got my first article published for Hellogiggles!
12th September-Corbyn got in and all hell broke loose online.
20th September-piggate. That is all.
13th November-the Paris attacks, when I thought briefly one of my friends could be in danger (she wasn't, everything was fine)


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing. Becoming more politically aware. Learning not to care about what other people think.  But definitely, a lot of writing.


9. What was your biggest failure?


Ahhh, probably worrying too much.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


Just the usual stuff, asthma and mental health stuff.


11. What was the best thing you bought?


Probably books. And some of my leggings and skirts, which were great. Oh and my trilby hat-if I bought it this year, I honestly can't remember- which I lost-and am about to replace.


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?


Absolutely every one of my family. And all my friends. Both from school-who know who they are, even if I'm not shoving their names all over the Internet-and everywhere else, and online-particularly the awesome political friends I've made in the last couple of months! And also all my online/IRL friends who've kept up with me and all my fandom friends who've been there, and listened to my rants about real-life issues and OTPs and everything else. And all my awesome editors, particularly Bethany and Kayleigh and Jessie!


13. Where did most of your money go?


Books. Like always.


14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Leaving school. The General Election. Writing.  Christmas. Going on holiday.


15. What song will always remind you of 2015?




OK, I cannot choose just one.
I will instead choose many:

 

Shut Up And Dance-Walk The Moon

Girls!-The 1975

Settle Down-The 1975

Head.Cars.Bending.-The 1975

Robbers-The 1975

Talk!-The 1975

(pretty much everything by The 1975)

Colours-Halsey

Cherry Wine-Hozier

Style-Taylor Swift

Black Magic-Little Mix

Hands Clean-Alanis Morrisette

Hello-Adele

The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive-Death Cab for Cutie

You Are A Tourist-Death Cab for Cutie

Fine Without You-Best Coast

I Was Here-Beyoncé

With Your Love-Cher Lloyd

Hold My Hand-Jess Glynne

Bigmouth Strikes Again-The Smiths

Candles-Daughter

Girls Like Girls-Hayley Kiyoko

News Of The World-The Jam

Paint-The Paper Kites

Drag-Placebo

And The World-Wasi

Lost It To Trying-Son Lux

Half The World Away-Aurora

 

Yeah, more of a playlist there

 

16. Compared to this time last year, you are:

Happier?

Yep, very definitely.

Richer?

And yep.

Thinner?

Yep.

 

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

 

I don't know...not worrying? Having fun?

 

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying.

 

19. How will you be spending Christmas in 2015?

 

Already spent it-at home with family, watching far, far too many films.

 

20. Did you fall in love in 2015?

 

Don't think so.

 



 

21. What was your favourite TV programme?

 

Oh, so many, but top ones were definitely

Supernatural (obviously)

Modern Family (literally marathoned every episode, my father and I are completely obsessed with it)

Lead Balloon (also marathoned it)

The Thick Of It (literally too brilliant)

Scream Queens (I can't even talk about how perfect it is)


Also, watched a lot of PMQs, but don't think that counts as a TV show.

 

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't this time last year?

 

Maybe. Sadly.

 

23. What was the best book that you read?

 

Aaand....take a seat.

 

There were a few favourites (though loads of others were brilliant:)

 

SOLITAIRE-ALICE OSEMAN

LULLABIES FOR LITTLE CRIMINALS-HEATHER O'DONNELL

THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT-HEATHER O'DONNELL

A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD-HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

ALL THE RAGE-COURTNEY SUMMERS

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL: A YOUNG WOMAN TELLS YOU WHAT SHE'S "LEARNED"- LENA DUNHAM

YES, PLEASE-AMY POEHLER



THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS: ESSAYS AND STORIES-MARINA KEEGAN


THE OUTSIDERS-S.E.HINTON

TEN THOUSAND SAINTS-ELEANOR HENDERSON

ONLY EVER YOURS'-LOUISE O'NEILL

ENSNARED-A.G.HOWARD

DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM-DAVID SEDARIS

ELECTION NOTEBOOK: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE BATTLE OVER BRITAIN'S FUTURE AND MY PERSONAL BATTLE TO REPORT IT-NICK ROBINSON

And...drum roll for my favourite book of the year:

 

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES-JENNIFER NIVEN.

 

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

 

The 1975, definitely. Also Halsey, Magic Man, The Civil Wars, Aurora, Wasi, Walk The Moon, Hayley Kiyoko, Tonight Alive, Plumb, The Paper Kites, Kodaline, The Jam, Hozier, Bombay Bicycle Club, Son Lux, Tokyo Police Club, The Cinematic Orchestra, Bat for Lashes & Little Comets. (Also, Paul Mottram)

 

25. What was your favourite film of this year?

 

I'm going to go by what I've watched this year, rather than what was released this year:

 

Gone Girl

Perfect Sisters

Never Let Me Go

The Riot Club

Cracks

Frozen

 

That's some off the top of my head.

 

26. What did you do on your birthday? And how old were you?

 

I was eighteen, and I opened a lot of presents, had all my family round me and went out to a restaurant. Then, I had a sleepover with my friends the following week, where we stayed up all night, watching films.

 

27. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

 

Literally...no idea.

 

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

 

Just...mine. Others would probably say gothic-indie-punkish.

 

29. What kept you sane?

Friends, family, books, music, films and a lot of TV.

 

30. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

 

Castiel from Supernatural, if he counts. Also, guess I kind of have a crush on Mitchell from Modern Family. Plus, Chanel No 5 from Scream Queens is completely my girl crush. (My friends would say George Osborne. For me. They'd be joking. Maybe.)

 

31. What political issue stirred you the most?

 

Hmm...the General Election. Guess that counts. Internet rights, I guess, and child safety.

 

32. Whom did you miss?

 

Maybe who we used to be. And the people who aren't here anymore, and who they could have been.