Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fantasy vs Reality

Me on results day night :)

I was in one of my city's big libraries earlier this week (just about the best library ever, by the way) and I was reading a book about the nature of lies and why we tell them. There was a chapter about fantasies, and it basically explained that we fantasize because we can't live with the true version of events and so we make stuff up to survive.

It was a philosophy book and so I won't go into it that much, but this is a direct quote:

"When we measured our puny self against the vastness of the world, we saw how powerless we were. We had to create fantasies in order to survive both physically and as a person."

This is what I had been doing for the whole time I was on holiday in preparation for results day which was this time last week. But actually, I did things the other way around, because I forced myself to think that I would fail everything (trust me, I was definitely in a position to fail) and then create a fantasy of the world I would live in after results day. 

The world I created was one of anger and loneliness and despair, because I genuinely thought that's how I was going to feel when I opened my results. I pictured myself going on depressing walks along canals, throwing myself into my work in an attempt to forget my final grades, and doing a lot of crying. I thought I had to create this world in preparation, so that I wasn't shocked, but ready for a life of misery.

Then results day came along, and the reality of the situation was... weird. It was like something I have been fantasising about my whole life but gave up on a few weeks beforehand because there was a 99.9% chance it was never going to happen. 

I opened the envelope.

I saw my grades.

I heaved a sigh of pure relief.

The strange and angry images that I had been building up in my head of what I thought life was going to be like suddenly had no purpose, and there was no need for my fantasy. The thought that I had plans and a vision of what would happen if I had failed myself had been keeping me sane, and left me feeling sane in the end.

Instead, I went for a glorious walk with my crazy friends in the middle of the night after we had celebrated with a get-together in one of their houses and danced around parks in the pitch black to Taylor Swift and Fall Out Boy. It was better than anything I could have imagined. 

If I had done things the other way around and fantasised about doing amazingly well, and then opened my results to see that I had failed, then my fantasy would have completely shattered my reality. Doing things a different way for a change helped me survive physically and as a person, and my reality was a lot healthier in return.

I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say... maybe I've confused everyone? But the main point of my argument is that the book explains that your reality is never the same as your fantasies, so choose your fantasies well.

It's really good to have dreams and ideas of what you want your life to be, but you need to find some sanity in your fantasies or otherwise your reality will be destroyed for you. Fantasies are meant to keep us alive, and so don't let them ruin you.

Side note: I got AAAC in my A-Level results, and my reality is much better than how I fantasised it to be. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Illustrated Edition) by JK Rowling

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly spot hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is meant to showcase the books that a blogger is anticipating in the next couple of months. Today I'm going to be talking about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition by JK Rowling and Jim Kay.

Ohhhhh myyyy goddd. This is one book that you absolutely cannot afford to miss out on.


Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Illustrated Edition)
Author: JK Rowling with Jim Kay
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: 6th October 2015
Format Available: Hardcover
Original Language: English
Genre: Illustrated Fiction


Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation's favourite children's book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling's timeless classic, Jim Kay's glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.
When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous - or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Why I can't wait

This looks amazingly beautiful and I honestly hope I manage to get my hands on one of these. I love graphic novels and illustrated books because sometimes they make a really nice change from heavy novels with 500 pages in them. Even for the most experienced and passionate readers, it is just relaxing to not have to concentrate so much on the structure and words of a novel and being able to drift away into your own little world. Or the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I should say.

I also can't wait because of the new tone it will give to Harry Potter. Take a look at these promo photos and tell me if you think the same - it gives the story an added darkness:

This book will give a side to the beloved series as we have never seen it before, and for this reason alone I can't wait.

Who else is excited for this illustrated version of Harry Potter? Let me know!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Saturday: Pre-Holiday Book Haul 2015

All photos are from my Instagram @bookfangirlingblogger
So I'm on holiday in France at the moment and beforehand I went on a bit of a book-spree with Kendal, just so I could get the last few books that I was desperate to read whilst on the beach or sitting by the pool, or even on a long journey.

I thought I would just blog some of the books that I have bought as well as many others already on my shelf, and taken, and schedule it whilst I'm away.

Also, do you like the light-up owl Kendal got for me for my birthday? I'm taking my owl bag as my usual designated holiday book-carrier bag, and so I thought I would take a couple of photos. An owl inside an owl bag - cute!

These two are books that you've seen before! Of course I had to take at least one French book to France, so I'll spend a day translating it the best I can, and it will probably help if I'm in that environment! The second is the adult colouring book I have mentioned in a previous haul post, but I'll actually put that in my carry-on bag for the ferry because I might get bored, plus being around lots of other people will no-doubt cause me some anxiety.

Then I have what I called 'my pastel reads' on my Instagram, and it wasn't deliberate but I've managed to pack three books that all match with beautiful yellows and blues! These are also all books that I have mentioned in previous hauls, which you can look for in the book hauls tag!

The next three are books that I'm so excited to take away with me! They are all books surrounding the idea of death and crime. The second volume of Death Note is the first on my list to read, along with Love Letters to the Dead and Broadchurch, of which I've already seen the television show. I can't wait to devour them!

Then I have two fairly new books on my shelf; Unspeakable and the first Sailor Moon manga book. I love Sailor Moon and so am really excited to read this! Hopefully it will be another manga collection I'm starting.

The last book I'm taking with me to France is The Bell Jar, which one of my best friends lent to me as a surprise! I am going to read this whilst I'm away so that I can hand it back to her as soon as possible, as I don't like to keep hold of other people's things for too long!

I hope you're having a great day/night wherever you are! Hopefully I'm having a good time in France... I suppose future Hannah will be able to tell you all in another post!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Self-Teaching Languages: Inspiring YouTube channels (apn9a)

To go with all of those books I have recommended so far, I thought I would up your motivation to learn a language, or to carry on learning it, with an inspiring YouTube channel. 

Emy is a French YouTuber who considers herself a Polyglot. This means that she understands two or more different languages, and she knows French, English, Japanese, Korean, Latin, some German, and reads Russian. 

French is her native language, whilst she is pretty fluent in English, knows a lot of Japanese (I personally think she speaks Japanese with ease compared to many learners), and although she hasn't studied German in about five years she absolutely loves the language. She also knows Latin, but obviously can't use it very much because it has ceased to exist as a functioning language in society. Learning Korean is an additional hobby for her, and she would love to learn Russian properly in the future although she can read it.

You can learn more about this in her video below:

I found Emy's channel when I was looking for language help myself, and I found her interesting because she spoke both French and English, so I could watch most of her videos and improve my French along the way.

However, I became completely inspired by her when I watched that video and heard all of the languages she speaks. That is just my dream. My interest grew even more when she mentioned that she understands Japanese and Korean, as I am particularly interested in these languages. When I get more to grips with French, I am so going to look into these.

She has many videos which provide helpful tips on how to learn a language, and a particular favourite of mine is this one:

And if you're interested in Japanese, she also does videos completely in Japanese. How cool is she??

Emy is inspiring for me because she is brilliant at so many languages, and although she thinks some are hard, she doesn't give up. She is so talented and has a skill that not many people in the world have, and so if she can learn this many languages successfully, you can learn one, even if it is just in your spare time!

If you want to watch the rest of Emy's videos or just see what she's up to, here are her links:

YouTube          Facebook          Twitter         Blog          Instagram

Does she inspire you too?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook by Cris Silvestri

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly spot hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is meant to showcase the books that a blogger is anticipating in the next couple of months. Today I'm going to be talking about The Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook by Cris Silvestri.

How cool is this??? Just the cover makes me want to buy it!


Title: Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook
Author: Cris Silvestri
Page Count: 368
Publisher: Scholastic US
Release Date: 6th August 2015
Format Available: Paperback
Original Language: English
Genre: Gaming companion


It's everything you ever wanted to know about every Pokemon - all in one place! This revised and updated edition of the 2008 bestseller has stats and facts kids need to know about all 646 Pokemon. The book includes 64 new pages focusing on the 153 new Pokemon that just debuted in the Pokemon Black & White videogames. The revised & updated Ultimate Handbook is an absolute must-have for Pokemon fans. It's sure to be a bestseller with kids of all ages.

Why I can't wait

I only ever owned one Pokemon card, but I remember watching and loving the television show as a kid.

I was always more of a Yu-Gi-Oh girl myself...

This book is basically everything you need to know about Pokemon in one place, all up-to-date and ready for you to catch up on the franchise. Since I never owned or played the card game when I was younger, but I always wanted to, this will allow me to know everything that I ever wanted to know about Pokemon, and give me an in-depth knowledge about this wonderful brand. 

There have been a lot of versions of this book over the years such as this and this, but this deluxe edition goes further than that of the previous books. And I can't wait for this book because I always wanted to share the hype of Pokemon with others and I never fully could, and so many people still love Pokemon today, so I really want to brush up on my knowledge and learn everything I can.

Looking at Pokemon stuff makes me feel really nostalgic and I want to see if I still love it as much so I can decide whether to buy the DS games, and this book is the perfect chance to do so.

Is anyone else completely fangirling over this release? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Reading Music: Nicole Zefanya

I'm here with another Reading Music, and today I want to focus on this adorable singer called Nicole Zefanya.

For those who are not familiar with this thing that I do, I showcase some music that I've been loving that would be perfect for putting on in the background as you read.

I know that some people can't fully concentrate when they read, and so to help them do so I recommend music. Its hard to read when life gets in the way, or you're stressed, and so you can use it as white noise or just something to calm you down when trying to get into a good book.

Nicole is has a YouTube channel that I recently subscribed to, because I can't get enough of her voice. And this is out of the ordinary for me, because I never subscribe to random music channels. Buy Nicole is different.

She has a beautiful, charming voice that encompasses everything that you miss about your youth. She just takes you to a calm place where you can reflect on the past, and I thought this would be perfect reading music.

The first song I'll recommend is an original of her's called Little Souls, which I think is my favourite. Ahh, so many feels.

The second is a Beatles cover she has done, Till There Was You, and since I come from the same place The Beatles, I know a good cover when I hear one. I'm obsessed with her voice in this! I'm actually listening to this as I write this post.

The third is a cover of Wake Me Up by Ed Sheeran, and oh my goodness. This girl needs a record deal. I promise you will love it!

If you want to hear more of her music, her YouTube channel is here.

Has anyone else heard of Nicole before? Do you like her voice?

See you soon with another Reading Music!