Kindle Fire HD review; How we read books has been forever changed

 

 

 

Hi readers,
So finally, I get to write a post about my new kindle and other e-reader devices. I got my kindle fire HD for Christmas and felt that a blog post looking at how reading had now changed would be interesting. In a way not much research has been need to write up this post, because most of it is going to be based on my opinion and didn’t want to clouded by other peoples’ which can happen often during research. However, it also means that this post should be on the short and simple side!
I put off getting a Kindle for ages for a number of reasons. My main one was the fact that everyone seems to be staring at screens all day everyday and the pages of book make a massive difference and escape from this. To read books off a screen would be adding to this issue, but also I spend many hours in front of my computer screen typing away at my latest creative piece and the idea of them switching to another screen to read a novel never appealed to me.
When it comes to me and books, I really can’t be separated from them. I love escaping into other worlds, meeting interesting characters and joining them on their adventures. I surround myself with books because I feel safe and I know I can’t be lonely or bored with them close at hand. Parting with books is tough for me to do and often it’s more a case of passing them on to my family, because then they are still in the house! I love shopping for books and in the right mood can spend a whole day drifting from one book shop to another and buying lots of different ones. I believe that part of the reason I started writing was because of this love for books.
My first interest in e-readers was when my mum got a Kobo two years ago. I found that so many books could be got for free and so many more where only a click away. I had trouble getting use to reading off the screen though and having the light weight and slim device in my hand didn’t make me believe I was holding a book. I wasn’t taken with the Kobo, but I was interested in getting an Ipad -like so many other people- but that was far too expensive and I couldn’t come up with a really good reason why I should get one. However, the Kindle Fire did interest me and seems to suit what I’d like to use it for. So, I asked for that for Christmas.
So many doors have now opened since I started using my Kindle. I’ve been reading so many books and also re-reading some of the classics. I’ve also managed to still keep reading normal books because the pleasure that I get out of them can’t be replaced by the Kindle. However, I love the idea of being able to carry so many books around at once and to be able to buy more with just a wifi connect and a click. It still has take a long time for me to get use to reading off a screen and sometimes if I’ve not been reading anything off my Kindle for awhile, it can take me a few minutes to get back into things. After though, I get so into reading that I can forget about it.
E-readers are becoming popular for so many reasons, but the two main ones are that self-publishing has been made easier and there is access to so many books! Self-publishing has been around for ages and online publishing has also been now, but it seems that more and more people are turning their hand at publishing their creative pieces and trying to make money off doing so. This has been great for many authors and most have had books published now because of this. I bet that most of the books would have gone un-noticed by many publishers for whatever reason, which is a shame because sometimes a book does feel like it is worthy of being physically published.
On the other hand, this self-publishing route has opened up the flood gates for everyone and there’s a lot more ‘bad writing’ out there now. I’ve read a few short stories that have got me thinking about this and I know nothing can be done about it and to escape from it going to find a good book to read is needed. Most of the time though this ‘bad writing’ happens because the writer lacks the experience and knowledge. That is something that will improve with practise and time. No one can be taught how to write, they can be taught about the industry and how to do things, but writing is mostly self-taught and comes from learning about the world. So even if a book looks like it will be bad if the title and tag lines interest me, I’ll be taking a look.
The second reason is becoming hard to ignore. Electronic publishing is allowing people anywhere in the world to access a whole range of fiction and non-fiction pieces. This not only includes children and adult classic fiction and poetry, but non-fiction writings and out of print books. Students can get so many books at the touch of their fingers now and the discover of this has made me question why I didn’t have a Kindle when I took my degree! So yeah, it’s great for a whole range of people, not just normal fiction readers.
At the end of that the biggest question still reminds, will I and the rest of the world be switching out to reading electronic books instead of paper ones? Right now and in the future it seems that e-readers will not be taking over books, this is because the formatting of the paper book has been around for so long and it has never been changed in all that time. So because of this it seems it will go on forever. Whilst e-readers will help protect more trees, they need charging and put strain on the eyes. They can be lighter then heavy books though and so good on the hands and wrists, but there really is nothing like holding a physical book and finding the weight of it. Granted they also take up less space, but for a person who likes being surrounded by books, it does very little. So, I think that I shall carry on seeking a balance between reading paper and electronic books.

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Still Struggling

‘Well, I can’t give any more, So now I’m giving up. ‘Cause nothing’s ever good enough.’

These lyrics from Good Enough by Hoobstank might be taken out of content, but they really say what I am feeling right. However, the other side of my mind is fighting against that and trying to stay positive, but that’s a hard thing to do when you are feeling down and worthless. I don’t want this post to be an emotional out pouring of my issues, I’d rather do that in private, but I’ve not written in awhile and well, I’ve got things on my mind. So maybe my out pour will help people to think or find their own voices on these matters.
I’ve just completed my four weeks of work experience. I wrote a few weeks back to say I was starting it and I did want to write another post about my experiences there, but I’ve been really busy and tried. Plus trying to juggle everything was really hard. Now that’s it’s over I’ve gone back to having more time, but I already miss it because I had something physical to do and I was motive. I got on with the people and became a team member too. I liked having different stuff to do each day and though some of the tasks did get boring and I did repeat things, I still give it my all and worked to a high standard. At the end of the day it proved I could work in an office and that I do fit the role of receptionist/admin, which was what I really wanted out of it.

It can be easy to become stuck with certain skills and not be able to expend out. Thinking in terms of a writer this seems true, but actually I know we do a lot more then that. A writer has to take on all the roles in a business team generally; boss, receptionist, admin, PA, account, writer, editor, proof-reader, researcher, mentor, tea maker and drinker. They sometimes become publisher too. I guess we don’t realise that though, but it is true. Having a job like a plumber or electrician can bottle the skills and some people feel like they can’t gain anything different. That’s not true. There seems to be more courses and sessions then ever before now to expend skills and knowledge. I don’t believe that a person can say they know everything. They might know a lot, but that knowledge won’t be about everything in the world. However, I do think that people can reach a point where they don’t think they can gain any more skills or knowledge. Sort of like me. What I lack is the experience and right now I think that is something most people suffer from.

Yes, my work experience went well, but as of yet it hasn’t helped me into a job. I have no idea why and if I knew what the issue was I’d be trying to fix it. However, I know everything is fine at my end. The problem seems to be with the employers. So granted I won’t be suitable for every job I apply for, but I’ve not even been given the chance to prove I could do the job with some of the others I’ve applied for. I don’t know why I’m being so over looked and I don’t know how to change this. I know there are certain things to put in cover letters and in CVs to attract the eye and make mine standout, but even that seems to have got me no where. Knowing the reasoning behind that would make me feel better, but I guess employers don’t have the time for such things.
You know what else gets to me though? This reliance on technology. Grated it is easier to write and send off job applications and its easier to find jobs. But I hate these personality and other quizzes some companies make you take. I get the idea of it is to cut the number of applicants so that only the ones suitable for the job can go of interview, but the problem with these quizzes is that it can under value some people. Like me, because I suck at those quizzes. For example, today I did a quiz for a customer service job at a bank. Now you’d think that I’d be a good person to give an interview to because I’ve had experience and loved doing a customer service role. I’ve just proved I can work in an office and do admin duties. Okay, so I’ve not got an experience selling products to people, but I had to sell my uni to visitors and I was able to do that. I’m young, hard working, wanting to learn and meet new people. I’m good with computers and I’ve a good phone manner. I’m not so good with numbers, but I’ve learned how to cope with that over the years. I just don’t understand and once again I’m starting to think there’s a problem with myself and that’s the reason why I’m struggling.

The other thing I also hate is how some companies want you to fill out a form that basically is your CV but just differently formatted. I don’t understand why they bother with this, because it means you have to spend more time sending them information that you are already sending to them in your CV and most of the time there’s no space for expending on things like the modules you took or else going into detail about your last job. So that seems pointless to me and gets me wondering why they just can’t be happy with a CV? I think that applying for jobs in some cases has become a lot more harder and complicated thanks to technology. You spend ages filling in stuff and then don’t get anywhere because you forgot to tick one box as it got lost under something else. Worse yet is when the website crashes or doesn’t save! I can think of lots of times I’ve just finished off an applications or part of one and it’s not saved or sent because of a problem on their website. Life was easier when you could go into these places and ask to speak to someone about the job. You could hand in a CV and talk to the people. You could leave feeling satisfied that they will call you back, whilst instead when you click that send button it just feels like a relieve to have completed all the forms.
I’ve not really put this into the actual context I meant to write it under. Basically, this whole thing has come about because my adviser at the jobcentre put me down this morning. I know that I am on her target list to get off jobseekers and into work. She thought it would be an easy enough thing to do and that I’d have got something a few months after signing on. It’s not been the case and I keep coming back. I hate going to the job centre and I hate having to sign on even more. It makes me feel so useless and like a bad child at school. I know its not true, because I’ve a good education and have proven I can do so many things. I’ve also proven I’m doing all I can to find work and I don’t think I could give any more. I feel like they should be offering more support to me and getting me to stay positive. Instead when I leave I feel so upset and depressed by the whole thing. Of course that then means I’m not in the mood to look for a job and like now I end up questioning myself and trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. Plus it also impacts on my whole day. I was at the jobcentre for half ten this morning and its now twenty to eight and its still all on my mind, worrying me and making me feel bad and emotional. At the end of the day, that shouldn’t be happening and that’s not how I should be feeling after speaking to them. Maybe next time I shall have to find my voice and tell her to stop putting me down.

Technically, I shouldn’t be there anyway and if I had it my way -job or no job – I wouldn’t go. My problem is the money and the hole that would create on my CV. I need the money, so that I can travel to interview places, so that I can have down time with my friends- though its been ages since I was last out drinking and mostly this time has now became dates with my boyfriend-so I can buy stuff and not feel like a teenager begging money off my family. I actually save my money too. I keep it and only spend it when I need to. I buy myself a small treat like a new book or cd or my favourite sweets once a month if that. I’d like more money to become independence, to learn how to drive and to save up to get my own place.

I need to end on a positive note or else I’m just going to go to bed tonight in this depressed mood. So, here is my one good piece of news today. When I got home of the job centre, they phoned me to tell me that a job had come up and that they had recommended me for it. I just needed to send my CV to the place and then hopefully I’d be called for an interview. Now the job is actually something I could do and would be very happy to be doing as its selling books. So, now I’m just waiting to hear back and I’m keeping fingers crossed for it.

For my next post I want to write about e-books and the changing reading habits of people because its been on my list to write for ages and I so need to do it. I also want to get that new review started on here and see how that goes. So, look out for those.

Write! Write!

It’s been ages since I last posted and there is many reasons why. Firstly, as just shown once again I’ve been having some trouble with my Internet, maybe its the bad weather or the fact that my broadband just can’t support the number of wifi connects currently being used in my house. Whatever the case, it really hasn’t helped and I’ve not been on line much. (A good thing maybe!) I’ve been really ill too and have spend sometime in hospital over the last 2/3 months. No point moaning about it though, getting ill happens to us all and I’m thankful that I’m not as seriously ill as some people are out there. I’ve still been fighting my writer’s block as well, but hopefully that’s becoming a distant memory now, though I still haven’t got started on my new novel as I said for my new year’s resolution! But soon, once I get the ideas flowing again. I guess being involved in a new relationship has also been a bit distracting…but he’s still been getting things done and so should I’ve been! So, I can’t blame anything on that….I guess playing games on line hasn’t helped and the job hunting has really slowed down. I’ve been trying to pick it up though….but I guess it’s like sticking feathers back into a dead duck. Things are just not going my way there and it’s getting to me. Luckily, I still have the support and love of my family and friends, which does make things easier to deal with. My hopes for the new year are to do lots of writing, reading, reviewing, get better, build stronger relationships with people and find a job.

 

Seeing this year as a kind of gap year has helped. I thought it would give me the chance to experience a bit more of outside life that can’t always be found at uni. However, I wasn’t ready to deal with the cruel and crushing world sitting on the doorstep and things have been a lot harder then I first thought. Saying that I am happy at the minute. I’ve a lot in my life right now and the future is still ahead of me. I’m just having problems finding my feet on the right pathway, but since the summer, I’ve learnt a lot more about myself. For example; the darker side of relationships, how trying is important but knowing when to give up even more so, that there’ll always be help and hope when it’s asked for and that officially giving up on something can sometimes mean finding it again in a different light. Finding yourself is all part of a gap year right? I’m just doing it without the travelling or the work experience….currently.

 

Actually, this quote from the manga/anime Vampire Knight has got me through the hardest times of last year.

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Since writing the review of Rowling’s new book, I’ve not actually finished reading another. I can’t read when I am ill and the escapism that I normally find in reading hasn’t been a big draw to me of late. I think I did start reading something else afterwards, but I can’t remember it and didn’t finish it. I read The Hobbit by Tolkien then in time for the movie, so I might write something about that too. The book I am reading now is worth writing a review on, so I shall make that my next post. Hopefully, I can get back into reading now I’m not as ill. I got a kindle for Christmas, so I have even more books to read and I half fancy writing a review about that. Might be interesting to do. I still have a stack of books to get through though!

 

I also started working as a volunteer at a youth centre. I can’t remember saying that before as I’d just started in late November. That could do with a post of it’s own though. So that’ll be number 4 now. Well, at least I’ll have a lot to write about this month now and hopefully it’ll give me something to focus on and give my brain the excise that it’s missed writing all those essays….never thought I’d miss that!

 

 

Image from: www. fanpop.com

Job searching, applications and interviews

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I’ve been planning what to write which given the title should be easier enough, but of late my searching has made me think otherwise. This post was actually meant to be about a particular job I applied for and didn’t get, through no fault of my own. I knew in the last few months of uni that looking for a job wasn’t going to be easier and now a month and a half after leaving uni, I am in a worse position. My main problem is I’ve a lot of ideas about what I want to do and what I want to apply for, but no actual focus. What I wanted to do was take a small break and find some temp or part time work, which would allow me to carry on writing and give me time to think of a next step whilst earning some money and get some experience. That seems far from happening, even though Christmas is just around the corner and there are lots of temp jobs out there, I’ve had no luck with any of those applications.

My last interview was last week and I was worried about it because it involved a maths test and a role playing exercise. However, I was willing to just see this as getting experience in that kind of interview and though I did really want the job- It was working for M&S in a new shop- I wasn’t sure if I could meet their requirements. I did well in the maths test though and since that was done first; it meant I could enjoy then rest of the interview. I did the role playing well, so maybe thanks to D&D I’m getting better at that? It was a very simple help the customer buy the right produces test and I was able to show my polite, helpful nature.  Then I was asked a few questions about why I was applying for the job, how flexible I could be, what my future plans were and what I thought was my best skills.
To me that all went very well and they said they’d phone on Monday. I’ve heard nothing all week and have had to come to the realisation that I’ve not got that job. I don’t understand why though, because I thought it went well and they seemed pleased with me. That seems to be a common question after a rejection though and I’ve emailed them to see if they can give me any feedback as to why they decided I wasn’t right. Employers always know what they are looking for and that’s like stating that the customer is always right. Problem is with so many people applying for a single job, employers can afford to be very choosy about who they interview and who gets the job.
That’s why I feel that me and so many other people are currently missing out on jobs they could easily do and be happy to do them as
well. It can be difficult to change this in a country where there are so few jobs and so many people looking.
Maybe at the end of the day I’m just trying too hard, but is that even possible with job hunting? It’s not like I’m setting the bar high, I actually believe it’s low right now and I’ve only been applying for jobs I know I’ve the experience, qualifications and will be happy doing. Mostly, these are retail jobs in the sales assistant category. If more jobs offered the chance to gain experience, instead of just saying they wanted someone with years of experience, it would allow more people to apply, grant employers to train more staff and generate new ideas etc, from people. I get why they often want a level of experience; to prove you can do the job and you can start right away. In some ways though, a lot of the skills and experience I have could easily be applied to many jobs, but I fear that I won’t get them because of my none/lack of experience in that particular area.
I knew that I wouldn’t be walking straight into work when I left uni and I was fine with that. But it feels like an uphill struggle just to find and get interviews for jobs right now. I’ve lost count of how many and where I’ve applied of now, as is bound to happen, when you look every day or every other day and send a CV out to 1-10 different places. I’m getting frustrated by it as my family and friends know all too well. I know that isn’t going to help though and it’s all down to me and what I do. But sometimes, I just wish things could be easier. I wish I wasn’t getting over looked because of my lack of experience or too high qualifications or because there are far better people out there then me.
It is a problem and instead of actually getting a job, I’m looking at going back to uni/college and doing a teaching course, however I’m still unsure about this, but I just don’t know what else to do and at least by doing the course it would give me an even better chance to apply for more jobs. Training in being a supervisor or manger would be something else to consider, but once again I don’t know if that’s the area I want to go into.
Writing is my other thing. I would really like to do something that would involve working with books or writing and there are a lot of jobs you can go into, but it’s very hard to find work and stay in the job. Copywriting and proofreading are the key things I’ve been looking at. With my MA in creative Writing, my mind is switched in to both those areas, so why can’t I find work like that, which would be suitable to me? Knowing the people and networking is a big part of it and also any other job. I’ve never been very good at that, though life has been made easier by the Internet and websites like Linkin, which can be a good place to connect with people.
Other things I’ve been looking at are graduate jobs. These can be really useful for students in their last year/two or fresh out of uni who are struggling to get into work. My issues is that most of these can go on for a few years and are often focused at business students looking at high end manger jobs. I’d like something I can just get into now really and not have to go through the intense training that comes with some of these jobs. They say that uni is meant to give you a clear idea of what you want to do and train you in that role, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I know what I’d like to be doing, but I know I couldn’t make enough money to live off it and I’ve not been looking for publishers of late because that just feels like another stress I could do without. I’ve still be publishing on Amazon Kindle though, because I’m still waiting to see how that goes. I could do with publishing a novel on there and trying to sell that, but I’ve not got any right now I’d be happy to do that with.
It’s odd, but my writing can be effected by stress and where I’d normally find joy and release in fiction writing, if my mood isn’t right, I find that I just can’t work probably. However, if I want to make this into my career then I should be always writing and working on something. Maybe I’ll give it a shot after some food and a rest.
As for job hunting, it is a long, boring process that can involve a lot of time and energy being put in for nothing. But it can also be very rewarding through gaining job interview experience, chance to talk about what you’d like to do and reflection time about your life. Plus you might get a job you want to do at the end of it all and that does make it worth it. There are a lot of lows to the highs though and they have to do with rejection, loss of self-believe, on- going struggles to find suitable work and the loss of hope. Remember though that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you want something badly enough and try your hardest then you can always reach out for it.

Down a Snake and Back to Square One


I quit my job today, yeah the one I had my first official day of yesterday. I’m ill at the minute and well this morning I was depending to phone in sick. But I had a lot of time to think last night and I decided that even though my first day had been bad, that clearly the job wasn’t for me. No almost of time training or actually doing this job would have been able to change my personality and my beliefs. I’m naturally a shy, quiet bookworm, who sometimes comes out of her shell to discuss the world and help people. Only my close friends know there is a whole different side to me and that’s my crazy, wild side which I’m scared to show the world because I know I’ll be rejected. I’ve never ignored the realities of the world though or believed that all problems can be solved in books. I love stability, being academic, my comfit zone, my boyfriend and chocolate.
Now, finding a job that I’d be fine to do is proving to be tough. I’m young, bright, eager to learn, have great skills and knowledge, I’m creative and like working in a team just as much as working alone. I don’t mind repetitive tasks, because I can daydream story ideas or else wonder about the meaning of life. I like helping people and leading them. I find I can inspire and get them to see things differently, but what I can’t do is deal with people who won’t/refuse to listen to me. As of yet, I’m still struggling to deal with reject and finding the will to stay positive. It can be a hard thing when all you can see is the negatives, somehow in this situation they always out weigh the positives. But, when I think about it once again I’ve done a lot with my life and have a lot to look forward to still. This is just…like a dropped stitch in a knitted jumper, waiting to be picked up and placed in the right line. Problem is the waiting game is getting to me and also I don’t understand why employers don’t want me. I know I’m being over looked and push to the side like so many other people because of two main things; My lack of experience in the work place since my only jobs have been student guide work for uni and Charity shop volunteering, so employers think I won’t be up to the job or else they don’t offer training.  Secondly, that I’ve been through a lot of eduction and got great grades, which means that employers think I might get bored and don’t want to be in the job for a good length of time, because I’ll want more. Though that’s true, I’d aim for a natural progression up the pyramid.
I’ve no solutions to these problems other then the downgrading one of taking my MA and BA off my CV. I’ve heard that this can work for people, but to me I want to be proud of my achievements as going through uni hasn’t been easy. No one should have to do that to get noticed, but with twice as many people applying for the same job, sometimes doing whatever it takes can give the best results. My current plan is to seek help from the job centre, reflect on what I want to do for the next few years and where I’d like to be in the next 2-5 years, apply for as many jobs including, graduate and internships, as possible but knowing what I’d be able to do and would best suit my skills. Carry on writing and trying to get somewhere with that. I published a 3rd short story today and am just waiting for amazon kindle to release it.
So, the dice I cast out have returned to me and now I’m busy waiting to throw them out again. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck next time.

Norwegian Wood Review – This Bird Has Flown

The weather is really bad right now. Had about a month’s worth of rainfall in the last 24 hours and they say that more is to come over the next few days. Luckily, my town hasn’t flooded, which is saying something as the river is only across the street from my house. I heard on the lunch time news that a few towns and villages had been taken over by the rapid down pour. So, I’m grateful that it doesn’t look like this will happen to me! I do love the rain though. I like watching it fall and wondering how I can best describe it in a story. The weather can set a whole range of tones and moods, just like nature and the seasons. Which brings me on to this post’s subject, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.
Published in 1987 and set in 1960’s Japan, this is a tragic love story with two different love triangles. It is also the most recognized of Murakami’s work. Now romance novels aren’t my thing, yeah I do like some love stories in the horror or supernatural books I read, but I like it to be a sub-genre more than the actual genre. I first heard about NW on a late night TV book show and added it to my list of books that I should read someday. I can’t remember what the TV review said as it was about 4/3 years back. I read NW last year-ish and straight away fell in love with Murakami’s style of writing. Not being able to read Japanese, I read the English translation of the book. During my MA Creative Writing, I had a class on translation which was very interesting and I realised that most people probably don’t think much about the language side of things when they read. It’s easy for a writer to translate another writer’s work and there’s okay money in it, but what got me is that sometimes the writing translator won’t stay true to the original work and can try to make it their own. This is a problem I had with the 3rd Murakami novel I read- Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World.
NW is translated (by Jay Rubin, 2000) well and seems to have stayed true to Murakami’s style. His writing is so poetic, that after a few chapters you forget you are reading fiction and find yourself believing it to be poetry. This is because he uses a simplistic, yet full of meaning, short and rhythmic vocabulary, which is very readable. The imagery he creates is also amazing and beside from LOTR, I can’t think of another book that has blown me away through the pictures that the words can create. I’ve never been to Japan, but through Murakami I was able to visualise a very clear image of the novel’s settings and well, it felt like Japan was on my doorstep instead of being hundreds of miles away. As for the characters, I took to their names well, but that’s because I’m use to it from the manga/anime that I love. You also get a clear picture of the characters and their lives. You can deeply connect with them all and sympathize with the events they’ve had to face in life.
The themes in NW also fits in with this, as there’s love, tragedy, heartache, suicide, solitude, sex and growing up. The narrator of the novel Toru is reflecting back on his college years and the loss of his true love. This comes about because he hears the Beatles singing ‘Norwegian Wood’, a song about an affair. (Though I’ve lived in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles for the last 3 years, I’m still not a fan of their music.) So, that explains the title of the novel, but other connects can be made as well. Such as the backdrop for much of the novel is set near Kyoto in a mountainous/forest area and the main female character, Naoko’s favourite song happens to be NW. At times affairs do happen in the book and also the song’s meaning ‘this bird has flown’ can be read as someone become free through dying, which towards the end of the book is something that can be sensed. There is also something about the tone of the name that gives it a depressed, dark feeling and that really does linger under the surface of the novel.

The reason why I wanted to write this post was because I watched the movie of NW today. Though I know it’s only been a few days since I wrote about The Hungry Games, my mind is still interested in reviews. I still don’t plan to make a large feature about them on my blog though. But it’s nice to have more focus to my writing for a change. So, the movie which came out in December 2010, is a good representation of the book, but for me and like The Hungry Games, if you’ve not read the novel it can be hard and confusing to follow. The film is in subtitles, but there is actually very little speech, which reflections on the main characters’ love of solitude and not being able to openly discuss their feelings. Another thing that threw me was the student civil unrest, which is explained in the novel, but not the movie and though Toru is seen to stand against the unrest, he doesn’t share his thoughts on it, like he does in the novel. However, this theme appears not to have any meaning in the overall content, rather it’s a reflection of the turmoil that is happening in Toru’s life.

The main thing that strikes you about this movie is the deep connect to nature. There’s so many great shots of the landscape through the changing seasons. This is a much better backdrop to reflect the characters’ feelings. The Japanese clearly have a thing about nature and love showing it off in all it’s glory. One of my favourite parts was towards the end of the film where Toru goes to stay in a cave near the sea for some nights. The raging sea reflects his anger and loss so well, it was difficult for me not to be crying along with him. When he returns home he looks like the sea has worn him down, as it does to rocks and all the tragedy of his life is reflected in that moment. However, he knows he has to go on living. I like the scenes in the woods too, because of the symbolic meanings of finding solitude and reflection in nature. The woods become something of a secret place for Toru and Naoko.
The first love triangle is clear from the start with Naoko dating Kizuki and them being best friends with Toru, who is hiding his feelings for her. The second triangle is between Toru, Naoko and Midori. Once again though Toru can’t really have Naoko because she’s mentally unstable, so he turns to Midori instead. This story does have something of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet about it for me. I guess it’s because of the whole tragic love story and the fact that a few characters commit suicide. The movie did capture the 60’s in Japan though and I guess when people overall think about that country they still have an ancient image in their heads. So, it was interested to see how ‘westernise’ Japan was in that era.
Like with most other Murakami novels there is an underlining confusion for the reader. This isn’t really to do with the Japanese setting, it’s more how to do with Murakami’s style. His characters will say and do things that sometimes don’t make much sense or else appear wrong. This happens more at the endings than anywhere else in the books. I got the same sense at the end of the movie that I got at the end of the book. That confused, unsure sense about what the characters were going to do next. There seems to be no real closure or certainty from the characters, though we know this has all been a reflection from Toru, so clearly he has gone on living and coped well with letting go of the past. (I don’t think that came across in the movie, though there were a lot of flashbacks). I think one of the reasons why Murakami’s novels end like this is because he’s letting the reader draw their own conclusions. That said, NW is an awesome book and Murakami is a writer to fall in love with.


Images from:
http://www.onexday.com/2009/october/30.html
http://moviedroneblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/preview-norwegian-wood.html
http://www.buzzbox.com/news/2012-01-05/haruki-murakami:norwegian-wood/?clusterId=7695650

Haunting Ghosts

Well, autumn feels like it’s here! I know the British summer has been a complete wash out and there’s been so much rain and hardly any sun. I spent two weeks in Cornwall on a camping holiday and it rained the whole time! Autumn is my favourite season though. I love the transformation in nature and the trees having multi-coloured leaves. I even don’t mind the change in the weather, but over the last week as autumn has settled in and the last lingering reminds of summer-if that is at all possible-has faded, it has gone cold and dark very quickly. Not what I was expecting and well….it feels like next month winter should be gripping nature with icy fingers already, but we still have my favourite month to go- October and strangely the topic of this post does link in with that month.

 

Recently I’ve been watching series 14 of Most Haunted on TV. I’ve always been a fan of Most Haunted and it’s properly the only TV show I can say that I’m truly dedicated too. With that said though, because I don’t have Sky and have to cope with watching it now on Pick.TV and what was before Living.TV, I’ve missed a few episode of different series and have always been playing catch up with the show. I guess I could just buy them all on DVD. They are cheap enough on Amazon. But I’m still a poor student and don’t have the money to fund collecting them.

 

I don’t want this post to turn into a review or discussion about Most Haunted. I just wanted to use it as a starting point to talk about ghosts and the supernatural genre. Though I properly could go on about Most Haunted forever! There’s a few things that I actually do want to say about the show though.

 

Firstly, I should point out that I do believe in ghosts and have had a few different encounters with seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling things that couldn’t be explained as being natural/normal. I’ve always known from being little that I’m very sensitive to the supernatural and was once told by my grandma that I had the physic ability. However, I’ve always played down low with this and never really admitted to people this, (Okay, so admitting on my blog properly does count. but I’m not going into details here so…) However, I’ve never wanted to explore more or learn how to connect ghosts or actually become a medium. I’ve never been interested in going down that pathway. To be honest I don’t know why I decided upon this, maybe because half the time I just believe it’s my imagination playing with me? Being very creative, over imaginative and a writer it’s kind of easy to dismiss the voices and the sensations.

 

Secondly, for the first time I’ve actually just read some reviews about MH -as in previous post I don’t read a lot of reviews.- So it’s interesting to see the clear divided in the comments about the show. Lots of people really do like it and believe that what the team capture on film is supernatural, other people say it is fake and all staged. I’ve to admit that there have been a few episodes where I’ve had to wonder the same thing or else I’ve just dismissed what they’ve called a supernatural noise as a natural sound straight away. I can understand why the show might fake some events because of the whole entertainment value and that they might be lacking in the real paranormal activity. However, I do believe that sometimes they have actually caught stuff.

 

I think that MH is my favourite show because I’m interested to know if ghosts can be proved for real. Yeah, I know I believe in them and have connected with them before, but I’d like to see the actual proof about the whole ghost thing. I don’t know if MH can really do this though or if anyone else can for that matter. The haunted places they film at interest me too and hearing the ghost stories as well! One thing of late that I’m really started to hate is when they create images and sounds through camera and computer visuals during the start of the show. I know they do this for effect and to get people interested, but it just goes to show how much faker can now be achieved and for me it then dampens down any actual paranormal activity they capture.

 

Writing that has just reminded me of why I wanted to write this post in the first place! I read a very bad and badly written review about the movie Paranormal Activity 1 last night. I had to disagree with that review because I did like it and did get scared by it.

 

I would like to think that one day we’d find out the truth about the supernatural, but then I guess that all the mystery, which is why it’s good and fascinates people would be gone and people wouldn’t be that interested in it, even if it was found that we could comminute with ghosts etc properly. It’s the mystery of the unknown and wanting to discover that keeps people (and readers of supernatural fiction of course!) interested in the paranormal. Now to tie in with my experiences of ghosts before I move on again, I want to write about the ghost walk I did in Cornwall in Polodark Mines.

 

Now that day it was raining, cold and dull. Having nothing else to do we went to the mines early and though we’d prebooked and paid for the tickets online for the tour, we got the chance to visit the mine in the afternoon time before we did the evening walk. I’m really glad we got the chance to do this because mines can be dark, small, eerie places and half the time you just have this feeling of expecting something to jump out at you. When we went down again for the tour they had turned the lights off and it was all done by candlelight. The atmosphere had changed so much it was hard to believe we were walking through the same areas we’d been in before. The guide and medium told us about the ghosts that had been seen in each different area and showed us photos of ghostly shapes that had been caught. My mum swore she saw a little girl with blond hair and my dad and brother (who don’t believe) swore they saw a shadow man shape walking cross the pathway behind us. Now, I had two options- either to tune in or tune out and I decided to turn out and block my mind so that if ‘anything’ did decided to try and talk to me or appear before me I wouldn’t freak out. I was pretty scared as it was to be honest. That however didn’t stop the ghosts from appearing in the photos I took and the one below is the best photo I have from that night.

 

Telling ghost stories dates back to ancient times and has many links with folklore. Around the world people know about ghosts and so many stories have come from people’s experiences and imaginations. There is just something about the supernatural the interests so many people and maybe it’s as I suggested before because it’s an unknown thing. It’s stated that the ‘golden age of ghost stories’ was in the 1800’s and mostly down to the Victorians having a very deep fascination with all things supernatural and I guess it was something of the ‘fashion’ at the time. So many great stories and writers came out of this time though and they have gone on to inspire others to carry on with the supernatural genre.

 

It’s strange to think for me as a writer that nearly all of my writing fits into this genre. Yes, most of it is about vampires, but I’ve written some haunted house stories or novels which feature ghosts. For me, I think it’s about escaping from the real world and writing about something that is outside the normal. I’ve always had an enthralment with vampires which I’ve never full been able to explain to anyone not even myself! The supernatural is a very popular subject and people like the thrill they get out of being scared. That’s why people ride roller coasters and do other crazy things, they like the rush they get that states they are alive. Being scared has the same effect and that’s why people like watching horror movies. Within the writing it allows the exploration of something that is hard to understand. That has been a key in most of my writing and I find that by expressing the problems or events that go beyond me, I can get a better picture and understand more. Maybe this has something to do with ghost stories as well? Though I know people love to share their experiences and you don’t have to look far on the internet to find that out! I can’t further explain my love for writing and reading the horror genre. It’s always been something that has appeared in my writing.

 

I think the supernatural as a genre will be sticking around for a long time yet. Yeah, it might fall out of popularity, but it’ll bounce back again. People are too interested in it and it will always make for a good story in any format.

 

The main question here is do you actually believe?

 

 

Images from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Most-Haunted-Series-14-DVD/dp/B004G5Z0BE/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1348351324&sr=1-2

 

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2607253760/tt1179904

 

Author’s own collection

 

http://studentsblog.skola.edu.mt/2009/11/the-haunted-house-by-dale-and-aaron/