Saturday, 22 October 2016

Try A Chapter Book Tag feat. Michel Faber and Ottessa Moshfegh

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My first attempt at the Try A Chapter book tag went pretty well, in that I read half of the books and also happened to enjoy myself, so I thought I'd return and give it another shot. 

As before, I have picked 4 unread books from my shelves and over the course of this post I will read a chapter of each in order to determine what to read next. 

eileen ottessa moshfegh book review book bloggers uk vivatramp

ottessa moshfegh
A lonely young woman working in a boys' prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction.

Ever trying to be hip and happening, and failing miserably because I use phrases such as 'hip and happening', I decided to try a current Man Booker Prize shortlister! 

In the first chapter, we are introduced to Eileen, a woman who works at a boys' prison, who is living with her alcoholic Father. Whilst the chapter is quite short, I've come to understand that there won't be sunshine and roses where this tale is concerned and I'm a-okay with that! Eileen isn't a character that I forsee liking at all but that's not something that particular bothers me as a reader as I don't need to like characters to appreciate them or their story. Her life has been difficult, is difficult and, it would seem, will continue to be difficult, and the chapter ends on a line that entirely draws me in and makes me want to find out more. 

I do really want to read this whilst it is still quite current and my desire to find out whether or not Eileen broke from her difficult beginnings means that I will probably read it soon. I'm really enjoying reading women written by women at the moment so this could be a real contender. However, it is early days...

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the book of strange new things

michel faber
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea.  Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment [...] But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate [...] Their trials lay bare a profound meditation
 on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us. 

The first chapter of this novel follows a couple, Peter and Bea, as they are about to be separated at the airport by more than just a short plane ride. 

As I discovered when I read Under The Skin, Faber is a wonderful storyteller who seemingly knows how to write great characters and dialogue so this chapter fills me with hope. I am already emotionally invested within 24 pages and I could very easily continue to read on right away as the pacing is just right. 

This book is a bit chunky but the promise of well-written world building and character development is enough to make me want to continue on straight away. I think the fact that I have already read and loved something by Faber makes me more inclined to put this at the top of my TBR so this could be the one

tipping the velvet sarah waters

tipping the velvet
sarah waters
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinare treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act...

I featured The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters in my last Try A Chapter post and I went on to finish it and absolutely love it, so I thought I'd try out her debut novel which came on recommendation from Twitter. 

I am so ready for some queer romance and within the first chapter I already feel myself being totally swept along with Nan and her feelings for music hall star Kitty Butler. Waters is one of those storytellers who captures even the most intricate of details and so it felt as if I were at the Astley's oyster parlour and the snug little box at the theatre with the characters. If you're after immersive novels, she certainly writes them. 

Waters captured the giddy first throws of falling for someone perfectly in these 28 pages and I imagine she'll do a stellar job of that throughout the rest of the novel. I think I could tell that this was her debut because it felt a little less assured but, in a way, that felt quite exciting! No matter what I choose to read first, this will be read within the month. I can guarantee that. Waters could definitely become one of my favourite authors...

try a chapter book tag uk book bloggers vivatramp

wuthering heights

emily bronte
Wuthering Heights is the tale of two families both joined and riven by love and hate. Cathy is a beautiful and wilful young woman torn between her soft-hearted husband and Heathcliff, the passionate and resentful man who has loved her since childhood. The power of their bond creates a maelstrom of cruelty and violence which will leave one of them dead and cast a shadow over the lives of their children.

As someone who has studied literature to an undergraduate degree level, it's some small miracle that this classic escaped me in all my years of study but it very much did. I haven't read a classic in a long while so I thought it might be quite refreshing to pick one up for this challenge.

It was a very short chapter so I can't really tell you too much about it plot-wise but I was introduced to the formidable Heathcliff who is much-referenced in popular culture.  Did I love it as much as I love the Kate Bush song of the same name? No, but then there aren't many more things that I do love more than that so that's perhaps an unfair comparison to make. 

Whilst the promise of dark moors and Gothic tension does interest me, I don't feel compelled to continue reading straight away because it didn't really give me enough to go on. I will read this in time but for now I've got other plans. 

And so, it looks like I'm going to read The Book of Strange New Things next! It's longer than my usual fare but that's the great thing about this challenge. I love how this process enables me to pick up books that I know I want to read but, for whatever reason, I am putting off. I would thoroughly recommend this exercise to anyone that is struggling to pick a new book to read or if you have a ton of books that you too have been putting off for whatever reason. It's also ridiculously fun. 

Check out my other BOOK POSTS

[EDIT: since writing this post I have gone on to finish The Book of Strange New Things, Eileen and Tipping The Velvet. I have already posted my review of Eileen. My reviews for The Book of Strange New Things and Tipping The Velvet will be up next month. I happened to absolutely love one and felt lukewarm towards the other...See! This tag genuinely helps!


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

10 Interesting Lifestyle Blog Post Ideas

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We all know how drastically our personal taste can change. Delve into your archives and talk us through how your aesthetic has changed over the years. What marked those changes? Where do you think your taste will go next or do you feel pretty set? 


Tap into one of your passions, skills or an area of your expertise that you haven't really shared. Where did you learn said passion or skill? What do you love about it? Can you give any advice for those that may be interested in learning more?

Everyone has their daily rituals, be it a honey and lemon before bed or scrolling through Twitter when you should be doing x, y, z. What things are a part of your everyday routine? What would you like to see more of in your day?


Pick a topic that interests you. Write some questions on the subject that you would like people's input on. Consider interviewing people, loved ones or internet people or even strangers, about it. What stands out to you from everyone's answers? What have you learnt from the process?


Share some home, personal or general life improvements / projects that you're currently working on or hope to begin.


Pass on your family folklore, sayings, advice, interests, lullabies or suspicions. 

Talk us through some of the nice things that've happened in your life recently or some nice things that you've witnessed happen to other people. And then maybe pass on a nice thing to another person, be it a meal or an afternoon of your time, and share the experience.

If you feel comfortable, reflect on a personal struggle that you have had and chat about the ways in which you overcame it or learnt to live alongside it. What would you like others to take from your experience? Pass on a bit of hope to those that may need it. 

Be a tourist in your local area. Take us to the hidden gems. They needn't be fancy or Instagram-worthy. Show us what you love.

Comb over some old photographs. Tell us the stories behind them. How do you feel looking back? What do you appreciate about those moments now? 

If you're after more blog post ideas, I have 200 book blog post ideas for your perusal. All the ideas, me.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Book Reviews feat. Laure Eve and Ottessa Moshfegh

vivatramp book reviews uk book blogger

In the month of September, I read a book by one of my favourite authors, gave YA a go and read a book that's currently on an award shortlist. And, interestingly, I really enjoyed all three!

Do let me know what you thought of the following books if you've read them or, alternatively, let me know what you've been reading lately so I can add to my ever growing wishlist because it's not like I've got a ton of unread books to get through....


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Creative Prompts 7

creative prompts for creative writing art blog post ideas photography uk bloggers

Ooohboy, that was an unexpected week off from blogging! Hello, pals! For those of you that don't subject themselves to the incessant ramblings that can be found over on my Twitter page, @vivatramp, I basically found myself back in hospital last week after a set back. I'm now back home and just praying that my body will do its best to heal its wounds. It will. It will. It will. I'm desperately trying to hop on board with the whole 'positive affirmations only' thing but it just feels too cocky?! Anyway, if you'd like to send ~good vibez~ my way they would be much appreciated!

As I can't be hanging from curtain rails to take lots of blog photographs, I thought I'd move my creative prompts post to today in order to chat to you guys a bit and still share some stuff over here on Vivatramp! As I'm sure every other blogger has been telling you lately, it is now Autumn, or at least it is in the UK - shout out to everyone in other countries reading from the height of summer - and so everyone is thinking about settling down indoors. What better time to crack out an old notebook and work on some creative projects?! And even if you are in a country experiencing warmer weather right now, there's no time like the present to be creative! I'm back with another 20 creative prompts, both words and images, in the hopes that you will then all go on to create multimedia masterpieces that I can then take a slither of credit for. Please mention me in your award speeches...


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Things That Make Me Happy 64

succulents vivatramp

birthday celebrations 
post-recovery support from friends and family 
illustrations from grandma 
fire pits 

(photo credit: andrewjohnp on unsplash)

I have been sharing things that make me happy lists for years. If you'd like to read some more, you can scroll through the archive.

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