Monday, 29 February 2016

Top 5 // Favourite Movies

In last week's post I mentioned some of my all time favourite movies, so I thought that this week I would go into a bit more depth about the movies I love and why.

5. Easy A
Okay, so who doesn't love Emma Stone? This is my favourite movie that Stone has ever been in and I love how this movie speaks out on everything wrong with slut-shaming. Being a feminist probably helps me to appreciate this movie, but the funny dialogue, wicked wardrobe and great cast are also a few of the reasons I love to watch this movie. Funnily enough, I haven't read The Scarlet Letter which is heavily referenced throughout this movie, so maybe I'll get to that this year?

4. Suffragette
So, I've already mentioned I'm a feminist and I'm glad to see that hasn't put you off, and that you're sticking around for more. It seems kind-of a no-brainer to put this movie on this list. Great cast? Check. Brilliant message? Check. Well executed? Check. This movie has everything I'm looking for. Heck, I was even brought to tears! (Well, it was more like welling up, but my point still stands). This is a movie about empowerment and how fighting for your beliefs is worthwhile.

3. V For VendettaImage result for v for vendetta
From my number 4 pick you may be able to tell that I'm all about political rebellions. Well, maybe not personally partaking in them, but I like stories about people coming together to overthrow unfair governments or governments listening to their people. Therefore, this movie is a great example of what I like to see. I think it's incredibly powerful that we never find out who exactly V is and I think it's incredible that your face doesn't have to be "human" for people to follow you. This movie packs a real punch, and I love it for that.

2. Brokeback Mountain
If I'm completely honest, I got a bit bored watching this movie, but the story has stayed with me. It's so powerful and raw and complex that I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't be moved by this artful movie. Not only is the story great, but there's so many beautiful shots of the mountains. This was also the first (and maybe only) movie I've watched where the main couple are gay. Considering that this movie came out in 2005, I was quite surprised about the love story. This was because in 2005, I was a young child and hadn't even been taught about sexuality so when I compared myself now, watching it, I think about what it would've been like if I'd watched this the year it came out.

1. 10 Things I Hate About You
This has been my favourite movie for a while now. I haven't had the urge to shift the rankings within the past 6 months, at all. The reason I love this movie is how quirky it is. First of all, it's based on a Shakespeare play that's rather misogynistic, so the plot had to be changed to make it relatable for a modern audience, whilst also regaining its main themes. Again, the cast is wonderful and you may have guessed from my top 2 picks that I have a slight love for the late Heath Ledger. This movie was one of the first many of the cast ever took part in and it's incredible to see how they started to where they are now. I'd recommend this movie to you if you enjoy Shakespeare, gorgeous smiles, serenades and love stories.

There you have it, my top 5 favourite movies! What topics do you want to see next on Top 5?

Happy Reading,

Monday, 22 February 2016

Bookish Musings // Book-to-Movie Adaptations

Most of the films we watch these days are based on books. For example, The Hunger Games, Room, The Book Thief – even Breakfast at Tiffany’s! But, when you’re translating a novel into a movie, the story may change or characters are lost. Therefore, I thought this would be an interesting discussion to have!

The first question I have for you is whether you read the book or watch the movie first? I’m a strong believer in reading the book first because I like having the freedom of deciding for myself what the characters and setting will look like and just letting my imagination run wild. However, there are some instances where I find myself in a situation where watching the movie first is easiest. The most recent example I have of this is The Danish Girl. This movie was based on the memoirs of Lili Elbe who was one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment. Did I read these memoirs? No. Am I planning on reading it in the future? Maybe. This is one of those situations where sometimes the message from the text will have been adapted faithfully to the screen and you leave the cinema having learnt something.

I’ve also noticed that my three favourite films (Brokeback Mountain, V for Vendetta and 10 Things I Hate About You) are all based on short stories, comics or plays but I haven’t read the original text of any of these. Maybe it’s my distance from the originals that allows me to have so much love for these adaptations. Therefore, if you watch the movie first you’ll be able to appreciate it without criticising every change and you’ll be able to enjoy both formats freely.

My next query is how faithful should an adaptation be? The dictionary definition of adaptation is “alter for new use or new conditions”. Does a movie have to follow the novel chapter by chapter? Or can they take several liberties and make changes? One of my personal favourite adaptations is Catching Fire, because it remains true to the text it’s based on, but is ever so slightly tweaked to fit the film environment. On the other hand, we’ve got the Divergent series…

The first movie followed the book and was everything fans expected it to be, but then Insurgent offered some alterations and from the Allegiant trailer it looks as if the story will be taking an alternate route. But, does this make the movies bad? For me, I think it’s important that we separate the film from the book because for a story to work well in two mediums, it won’t remain exactly the same.

There you have it, a discussion on the varying forms of media we use to tell our stories. So, what’s your opinion and how do you feel about book-to-movie adaptations?

Monday, 15 February 2016

Top 5 // Songs From: Fearless Taylor Swift

One of the best Taylor albums to grace the earth, Fearless is my second favourite of Tay's 5 albums. Here's a rundown of my TOP 5 favourites from this magical album!

5. Fearless
The title song for this album sets the album off with a magical and whimsical vibe that makes me want to get up and dance.

4. The Way I Loved You
This song is passionate, and romantic, and sweet. I love how TWILY narrates the perfect relationship vs the relationship you wish you had

3. Hey Stephen
Such a fun and cute song to hum along to. Great to clean to!

2. Breathe
One of the most emotional songs on the whole album, this song makes me tear up a little bit each time it's on. I love the story to this and the melody of this tune.

1. Fifteen
Maybe the most relatable song Taylor has ever written. This will always be one of my favourites, especially as she performed it live when I saw her on the Red Tour.

So, there's my top 5! What's your favourite song from Fearless?

Happy reading,
A x

P.S. Would you like to hear about my Red Tour experience? Or my favourite tour costumes? Stay tuned because these posts will be coming your way soon! (Let me know which one you want to see first!)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Top 5 // Songs from: 1989 Taylor Swift

So, let's shake things up a bit, shall we? I'm a self-proclaimed Swiftie, but so far I've only been blogging about my book obsession. I think it's time to change that! Today, I thought I'd let you guys know my TOP 5 songs from Tay's most recent album 1989. And yes, I am including the deluxe songs! Let's commence!

5. Welcome to New York
The first track on the album really sets the scene, and I'm in love with the upbeat, perky sound of this song.

4. You Are In Love
The fact that this is written for her friend Lena Dunham makes this all the more adorable. Such heartwarming lyrics

3. New Romantics
You can't listen to this and not want to dance. Or sing. Or just create a choreographed routine. Okay, maybe not the last one

2. Clean
Everybody's favourite. An honest and beautiful song. 1989's All Too Well, me thinks

1. I Know Places
I love this song's aesthetic. I love the way she sings "And we run". I love the imagery. I love the sound. I love this song. No, really love it.

So, that's my top 5 songs from 1989. What's yours?

Happy reading (do I need a new sign-off for my Swiftie posts?)
A x

Monday, 1 February 2016

Book Review // Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

What's this? A book review? On SwiftBooks13? But we haven't had one of those in months! What's going on?

Okay, so I have to admit, writing reviews isn't my favourite. But, 2016 is the year I want to really commit to the blogging scene and get on with writing reviews for all the books I'm reading. This should go to plan, although, if I get behind, I'll be sorry.

Today's book is Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. This was a brilliant conclusion to the trilogy, and I'm really appreciating Ness' work. After all, this is the fourth book of his I've read.

The second book ends with a Spackle army marching over the hill towards Todd & co in the town below. It sure was a cliffhanger! Luckily, MoM picks up straight away and we get back into the action pronto!

Personally, I really enjoyed the way this book dealt with that feeling of wanting to do absolutely anything to save the person you care for the most. Viola and Todd's relationship was so strong and wonderful, it was hard to not root for them. Lee was that awkward guy who wants to get the girl, but really has no way of getting her. His feelings for Viola, kind of didn't need to be there. Like, at all. It was pretty unnecessary to add that slight drama, but I love how Todd just treated Lee as another bloke as opposed to being jealous and up in his face.

This book also offered us another perspective - that of the Spackle. I'm glad Ness decided to do this, as it really opened up the plot and gave you a real insight of the history of New World and how the first war was really fought. But, Todd will remain one of the best perspectives to hear from for a while. His voice and character are so distinct and amiable that it's hard to not like Todd and his antics.

By far, this was the most intense of the series and I can totally understand why it won the Carnegie Award. Deaths were done excellently, the struggle of power was executed brilliantly, and the characters were amazing. In reality, every element of this book was executed wonderfully. That's why it got 5 stars from me, and is being honoured with my first review of the year!

The ending is absolutely heartbreaking, which is exactly what you want from an action-packed trilogy. It was wonderful to see the balance between action sequences and emotional struggles. I honestly believe the ending we got was the best ending the series could've had, and I'm pleased that this finale didn't disappoint. We all know that some finales don't live up to our high expectations!

I highly recommend this series and can't wait to pick up another of Ness' books!

Happy reading,
A x

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