LIFE | I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling 22 Must Be Better Than 21

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I read a really interesting article the other day about joblessness for Generation Y and it made me feel a little less pathetic about my whole existence. All my life I thought I’ve done everything right. I did all the exams I was told to do and got pretty good grades if you don’t include my inability to use a protractor– although I can say it in German, it’s winkelmesser. I took a language for my GCSE and opted for full course ICT because apparently it’s useful to know MS Excel. My mother always brings up how my Year 7 English teacher said that if I didn’t study literature at university it would be ‘a travesty’. I’m not sure how someone can tell that about a person at age eleven, but there you go. So I took both English subjects at A Level, stayed at my school’s sixth form instead of going to a proper college, because the adults told me too. Alarm bells started to ring when I got an A* in my Media Studies coursework that maybe English wasn’t -the one for me-, but the adults said differently so my UCAS application was filled out with books instead of television. Every university I applied to accepted me, this was a good thing, right? I was wanted? So off to university I went and three years later I got my degree. Yay.

Only I graduated in July 2013, and it’s now March 2014. I’m living with my parents and I’ve had more job rejections than I could possibly count (although I’ve had even more companies just completely ignore me). Every good grade I’ve ever gotten, every extracurricular activity I took because ‘it’ll pay off in the future’, every time I listened to the grownups about why it was important for me to know how to times something by N; all of it apparently meant nothing. What you need now, they’re saying, is experience. When I’m hunched over my computer scouring through job websites and see ‘entry level’ or ‘graduate role’, my heart begins to flutter. Click on the link, open the page, two years experience. Where between starting school as a little tiny child, my GCSEs, A Levels, and a degree was I supposed to find the time to get a job? This isn’t Hogwarts, I don’t have a Time-Turner. Although I am starting to regret not buying one when I saw them in a gift shop in Oxford.

I know that I’m not adding anything to the discussion here, and that there are probably six thousand other blog entries from people just like me. But it is a little daunting to think about the future, when every choice I’ve made so far was apparently the wrong one. A lot of people who graduated with me are in the same situation, but they’re hiding behind the productivity of working in retail during the day and gorging themselves on job websites by night. Something which seems significantly less depressing than being rejected from the Costa Coffee that knows your order before you even open your mouth. I’d take a job over an iced soy latte any day. A lot of people made the smart move of studying to be a teacher after university, but it’s definitely not the life for me. I didn’t even like children when I was one of them, I can’t imagine spending my entire life surrounded by them. Admittedly Waterloo Road does make it seem exciting, but in the same way that Legally Blonde makes me wish I studied law whenever I watch it. Which is a lot.

Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, I say I’m a struggling artist. It means I get to avoid that little sympathetic half smile they give you when you answer with ‘actually, I’m unemployed right now’. I’m never going to run off to Paris, live in a squat, and create expressionist paintings for a living. But I do want to create. Seeing that finished product that I helped to devise is something I need to feel validated. It’s why I could never work in admin, and why all the large variety of jobs I’ve applied for involve the right side of my brain. Until I write the world’s next great novel, I’m hoping I’ll maybe get to run somebody’s Twitter account for a living. But like I said, the media actually addressing the problems Millennials are facing is a little comforting. I still can’t help feeling like a waste of space, or that I’m never going to amount to anything, but at least I’ll be alongside other pessimistic and disillusioned twentysomethings whilst I do it. I just have to stop taking it all so personally, that every rejection email is an attack on my life choices. But not too much, of course. A good dose of self deprecation is all part of a healthy balanced diet.

Hopefully I’ll get a job soon and be able to move out and start being a real life grownup. But until that happens, I have a lot more whiney unemployed blogposts left in me yet. You can’t escape me that easily.

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TV | A Is For Antagonising Your Viewers For Another Year

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You can’t call an episode ‘A Is For Answers’ and not really give me any, it’s just cruel. The season finales of Pretty Little Liars are always terrible, it’s something I’ve come to expect; but the show has been so ridiculous recently, I was starting to think that it must be coming to an end. How long are these girls supposed to be in high school for? Haven’t they been applying to colleges for like two seasons already? I know that there’s at least one more season left, and with the cancellation of Ravenswood, I figured that this episode would set up the answers that would be wrapped up in one final season. But somehow I have this horrible ominous feeling that we’re gonna have to sit through Pretty Little Liars: The College Years before we ever find out who A is (because Spencer and Hanna going to the same college would totally be believable).

So, what were these supposed answers I was getting? Jenna isn’t A! It was kind of obvious seeing as the writers seemed to forget about her character around the dawn of second A. Yeah, but Toby’s not A either! You really think he could fool Spencer for that long? Look at how well his first attempt at ‘being A’ worked out, you cannot Red Herring a Red Herring. Ezra! He’s just a creepy statutory rapist, not a creepy blackmailer. Ian? Yet another creepy statutory rapist and also a horrible person, but he’s also dead so it would be a bit of an anticlimactic reveal if he really was A. B-b-Byron? He’s in the whole show for like two seconds a season, come on. Ugh, Spencer? I know this show is aimed at thirteen year old girls, but they were making Spencer too obvious even for them. Emily? She’s like desperate for Ali to get back to Rosewood so she can see her naked, duh. She’s not gonna actively scare her away. Hanna? Ali practically gave Hanna an eating disorder, so if anyone should have been sending her threatening texts, it should have been her, but she has no reason to attack the other girls– and she got run over by Mona, sooooo no. Aria? I actually don’t have a sarcastic remark for you this time, #AisforAria, I’m calling it now.

I’ll admit that I did like the scene showing how Mona got Alison to leave town, but is anyone really that stupid? Mona just happened to be driving through town in the dead of night? Riiiiiight. If you tell someone that you are being stalked and harassed, and their first response isn’t ‘you should go to the police’, hit them with a shovel or something. They’re evil. With her ponytails and her generation-less dress sense, she totally gives off a creepy evil dead girl vibe. Especially when she’s singing and brushing a doll’s hair in the next room; I’m not actually convinced how she managed to be released from Radley. Another little line I “enjoyed” was the really awkward way the writers managed to get Ian to say he hadn’t been sleeping with Alison. It’s as if, four seasons later, they finally caught on that all these relationships with teachers and doctors and detectives are really inappropriate for high school students. ‘It’s okay that I take this fifteen year old girl into hotel rooms and meet up with her in the middle of the night, because we’re not actually sleeping together!’ Alright, Ian. Whatever you say. What exactly are you doing with that video camera, then?

If anything this episode has left me with even more questions. The characters keep going on about who killed the girl in Ali’s grave, and whilst that is important, why is no one questioning who the girl is? The show seems to be trying to point to Melissa being the one who killed her, and I would usually claim that they were been too obvious with the hints, but the target audience of PLL makes me feel that maybe they are just being that shallow. On another Melissa note, she just casually mentions that Toby went to London and they ‘ran into each other’. Because all American TV shows think London is one tiny little village surrounding Big Ben. With all the disposable income that Toby apparently has to be able to get to London, he does not in fact own a phone or computer to contact Melissa without leaving the continent. The episode also once again raised the big ‘who is A’ question. I spent a nice two weeks being sure that it was Mrs DiLaurentis, but considering she’s looking a little dead now, I’m not convinced. And she may be able to sneak around Spencer’s house like a total creeper, but I really doubt she can jump from building to building like that.

So far the general consensus seems to be that Jason killed Alison, and I’m sort of inclined to agree. There can’t be that many people who Mrs DiLaurentis would be willing to bury her own daughter for. A lot of people really seem to be for the twin theory, and the imagery of twins has been constant throughout the series, but I’m pretty sure that’s just the creators trying to throw in a couple of horror movie tropes to up the spook factor rather than some elaborate foreshadowing. I don’t think that PLL really do foreshadowing of any kind, I’m sure that they make it all up as they go along. They’re just gonna pick a name out of a hat and claim that it’s A, much like I’m convinced the writers of Gossip Girl did with Dan Humphrey.

I still don’t know who A is, I still don’t know who tried to kill Ali, I still don’t know who was buried in Ali’s grave, and I still don’t know why the police department in Rosewood are so inept. My predictions for season five include: Ezra making a miraculous recovery, an unnecessarily long separation of Hanna and Caleb before finally reuniting them when Hanna is over her inappropriate relations with the pedophile detective, and the Liars still somehow avoiding incarceration despite being connected to seemingly every crime in the Rosewood area.

Pretty Little Liars has been as cliché and unsatisfying as ever, The Walking Dead has been boring me to tears, and I’m sensing that this hit and miss season of How I Met Your Mother is setting me up for an underwhelming end to the series. If Game of Thrones doesn’t come back soon and show me what good television is like, I’m going to set my TV set on fire and sit in the flames screaming FIRE CANNOT KILL A DRAGON. Whilst I burnt to death because I don’t have the blood of Old Valyria.

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I Want To Believe

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I’ve always been attracted to the mystical and the magical and the mysterious. Maybe it’s just my love of fantasy, but it’s always appealed to me. As a kid I collected giant inflatable aliens and had them set up around my room like they were just going about their daily business. Cosmo, Eclipse, E.T, Pinky, Brain, Garlic Bread. They were all my friends. I used to look out of the window at night and stare at the sky, searching for spaceships. And by ‘I used to’, I mean that I totally still do. My parents would tell me that I was an alien and that was why I didn’t have a belly button. I never really believed them, but I wanted to.

But it doesn’t just stop at aliens. Ghosts, unicorns, vampires, witches. I believed in them all. And I still do. Partly, at least. I still think that it’s not a coincidence that we have a unicorn on our passports and all those witch trials must have happened for a reason. And the legend of vampires came from somewhere, right? You can argue all of these things are merely folktales, but I still have my suspicions. However, a problem stems from my belief in science. Evolution, the Big Bang, dinosaurs. I’m all for that stuff. I also don’t believe in God, not just because of science, but because even as a kid the stories didn’t resonate with me the same way that ones about werewolves did.

Now I find myself stuck in a stage where I’m finding my love of the mystical clash with my belief in proven facts. I’ve never been one for astrology, but recently I looked into it a little more. Yeah, so all the descriptions they give you are super vague and could be referring to any type of person. I may resemble what they tell me a Leo should be like, but so do a lot of people who weren’t born under the same stars at me. Recently I found out that I am a Lea Sun, Leo Moon, Libra Rising. I don’t know what any of this means or if it has any relevance to real life. And although I’ve always discounted people who read their star signs as a bit deluded, I’ve realised that I have no more proof on the truth of astrology than I do of goblins. I’m a Leo, I’m supposed to want to be centre stage, yet I haven’t had my hair cut for over six months because I have an irrational fear of hairdressers. That doesn’t sound like the King of Beasts to me. I’m sure Mufasa took great care of his mane. However, I do have a tendency to switch between complete self-loathing and total adoration for how great I am. Is that my inner Leo coming out? Is it worth pointing out that I’m a vegetarian? I’d make a terrible lion.

I look at things like healing stones or things that emphasise nature and I think ‘yes, this is totally believable’. But then I think that if they were believable they’d be more widely used. Maybe someone goes to a hospital, and they have a really bad wound, and the doctor just rolls in this giant chrysoprase and they get better. But no, it’s been sold in a gift job of a Buddhist monastery. The part of my mind that believes reminds me of Tinker Bell, and how she’ll die if people don’t believe in her. It’s very conflicting. I’m pretty sure that my stepdad thinks I’m insane, or at least a giant hypocrite. He was raised very religiously, and we often have debates where I tell him how problematic I find religion, and I hold my ground pretty well. And then another day will come and I’ll be telling him about how I think our cat can see ghosts and he can just not comprehend how I believe in these things. The same way I am with him and God.

On a scale of things, it’s like:

I Don’t Believe In: God

I Might Believe In: Astrology

I Definitely Believe In: Ghosts

Please mark how much you believe in _______ on the scale.

I don’t believe that we just live on a floating rock in space. Nature must be important somehow. Maybe nature is what is hiding the unicorns from us. Maybe rocks are magical. Everything is a mystery. I mean, how can we live on the same planet that dinosaurs did once? It is so amazing. I am so fascinated by the world and I just want to know more about it. You can tell me that I’m delusional, or that I’m unsatisfied with my own life, or that I just watch too many movies. And maybe it’s all true, maybe this is really all there is. One day the humans will die out, and with us all our stories and legends and myths, and something else will come along. A world inhabited shadow people, or floating brains, or things as big as an eyelash. One day they might dig up some bones or find a Nokia 3310. Humans will become like dinosaurs or those giant sloths that went extinct a gazillion years ago. The shadow children will be taught in their shadow schools how primitive we were and how we used to believe that other people lived in the sky. There might even be a blockbuster film about a scientist who brings us back to life in a theme park.

Or maybe one day there will be a vampire attack and it will be caught on film and everyone will know the truth and I’ll say HA HA TOLD YOU SO.

Who knows? But I wanna find out.

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17th Century: Sex, Scandal, and Syphilis

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I was an only child growing up. Of course I did the usual only child things like making dinosaurs fight Power Rangers and collecting statues of pigs (shush, they were totally normal), but I also really liked to fill my time with learning. My mum always brings up how when I was about three years old I was sat in the back of the car, not making any sound, when something about the Great Barrier Reef comes on the radio and I chime in with ‘that’s in Australia’. My parents had no idea how I knew this and when they asked me, I told them that Sooty had taught me. I used to bring an encyclopaedia out with me to read when I was bored and I was always spouting out facts and probably looking like a complete know-it-all to every other child I knew. My first specialist subject, if you will, was the monarchy. Someone bought me this big gold book called Kings and Queens and I completely fell in love. As a kid I loved hearing about Henry VIII beheading his wives, and being fiercely loyal to the House of York in the War of the Roses, but over time my area of interest in the monarchy has changed a bit, and this is what 21 year old Zanna loves (which maybe she shouldn’t tell the seven year old version).

I’ve said it before and I will say it a thousand times again. I love the Restoration. King Charles II is my favourite monarch. I mean, his dad was beheaded for treason, the throne was taken by some grumpy old religious man who banned music and theatre, and poor old Charlie had to hide around Europe in exile. It’s literally an episode of Game of Thrones. The beheadings and the dogs that carry their namesakes are great and everything, but my favourite part of the Restoration comes into light when Charlie gets the throne again. He had a really wonderful taste in mistresses. Told you it was like Game of Thrones.

First came Lucy Walter. Although born in Roch Castle in Wales, her family weren’t particularly noble, and they fled when Puritans invaded it during the English Civil War. She then met Charles in The Hague, and together they had a son, James, who would later argue his right to the throne, claiming that his mother and father had been secretly married. No evidence was found of this and even Charles himself wanted his brother to have the throne. James VS James. Lucy was pretty much just a nuisance to the royal court after her breakup from Charles, always attempting to find a way to get more money and power, and in the end they paid her £400 a year just to go back to London and stay away from them. When she still didn’t stop causing trouble, she was convinced to give James to a royal tutor, before going to Paris and dying of an STD. Yay, Restoration!

There was also Barbara Palmer, The Uncrowned Queen. Known as such because she had five acknowledged and illegitimate children to Charles. She was also referred to as The Curse of the Nation, so opinions of her definitely differed. Unlike Lucy, she was born into a noble family, but her father had died fighting for the Royalists and they lost most of their money to the war efforts. Her family were still secret supporters of Baby Charles though, and they would drink to his health on his birthday. Which is kind of like the lanterns in Tangled, right? They’re both hoping that the rightful heir will come home and regain power! I mean, Rapunzel was in a tower, and Charles was in exile, but it’s totally the same thing. Barbara’s relationship with Charles began when he was still in exile and lasted into his reign. She was technically married to some politician dude, but no one actually thinks any of the six children she had were by him. The Queen hated her, probably for good reason, so Charles obviously thought it would be a great idea to appoint Barbara to Lady of the Bedchamber, so his wife and mistress could spend more time together. Charles at least gave his children with Barbara some titles, which is more than poor Jon Snow got.

Next we have my darling Nell Gwyn, someone I love so much I wrote an essay on. Nell’s mother was an alcoholic who ran a brothel and they didn’t have much money, so some sources suggest that Nell probably worked as a child prostitute for a while. As a teenager she experimented with cross-dressing and called herself William Nell, whilst wearing a fake beard. She got a job selling oranges at the theatre, which exposed her to theatre life, and eventually lead to her becoming one of the most popular actresses of the Restoration. Let’s also take a brief interlude to mention that not only did King Charles II restore the theatre after it was banned by Oliver Cromwell, he also legalised women actors. You go, Charles! When Nell and Charles first met, he invited her for dinner with James and himself, only to find when they had finished that both men had no money– meaning Nell had to pay for it. Charles was also the third Charles that Nell had had an affair with, so even though he was our Charles II, he was Nell’s Charles III. Nell’s popularity as a mistress definitely helped her career as an actor until she decided to retire at age 21. She lived a pretty good life off a pension until her death at age 37, with Charles on his deathbed telling James to ‘let not poor Nelly starve’.

Then came Moll Davis. I feel that my love of Nell probably hinders my views on Moll, as they were seen as rivals for the King’s affections. Moll, like Nell, was an entertainer, and was popular for her acting, singing, and dancing. It is often speculated that she was the bastard daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, giving her lowborn status, much like Nell had. However, whereas Nell was mostly loved, Moll was once described as ‘the most impertinent slut in the world’. Moll was eventually dismissed as a mistress, something which many believe had to do with Nell Gwyn’s wishes. However, even though she was replaced, she received a yearly pension for the rest of her life and a house from the King, before eventually marrying a French musician.

Louise de Kêrouaille was yet another of Charles’ mistresses, and she was pretty much bred to be a Royal Mistress all her life. Her parents had hoped that it would be to King Louis XIV, but she caught Charles’ eye instead. France seemed proud that a mistress of the English king was French, and so they presented her with lavish gifts. This, on top of what she already received from the English crown, made her quite an unpopular mistress. And whereas Barbara clashed with the Queen, Louise clashed with Nell Gwyn. Nell referred to Louise as Squintabella, and claimed that her underclothing was unclean. It was like a seventeenth century Burn Book. Whenever Nell was mistaken for Louise, she would reply ‘pray good people be civil, I am the Protestant whore’. It’s totally the same as being a fugly slut.

Another great mistress was Hortense Mancini, who I might love as much as I love Nell. Hortense was one of five Italian sisters who all married rich and influential men. Charles originally proposed to Hortense when he was still in exile, but her uncle rejected the offer believing he was not suitable. When Charles regained the throne, her uncle tried to reverse his rejection, but this time Charles was the one to refuse. Many more proposals were given to Hortense, but all failed due to issues with the dowries. However, when Hortense was fifteen she was married to a man with a really long name that I’m not going to type out. He was one of the richest men in Europe, and fourteen years her senior. He was also totally crazy. He wouldn’t let his cows be milked, because he thought that it was too sexual, and he knocked the front teeth out of all his female servants so they wouldn’t be attractive to men. Completely paranoid about his young wife’s loyalty, he insisted they leave Paris and move to the country. This turned out to be a pretty bad idea, because Hortense began having an affair with a sixteen year old girl called Sidonie. Her husband ended up sending both girls to a convent in hopes of curing them, but all the girls did was annoy the nuns by putting ink in the holy water.

Despite having four children with her insane husband, she managed to escape and floated around Europe for a while. But soon her husband had frozen all of her income, so she travelled to London dressed as a man in an attempt to replace Louise as Charles’ mistress. It worked! But good things do not always last, and Hortense began a relationship with Charles’ illegitimate daughter, Anne. Wearing nightgowns, both women had a fencing match in St. James’s Park (seriously, everything cool that happened during the Restoration happened in St. James’s Park), which ended with Anne’s husband sending her to the country. But like Miley, Hortense can’t be tamed, so she began an affair with the Prince of Monaco instead. Louise quickly returned to being the King’s favourite, but he remained good friends with Hortense, and she continued to be paid her pension after his death.

If this hasn’t convinced you why I love the Restoration so much, then I give up. King Charles II for the Iron Throne! This is why I’m totally rooting for Prince Charles to get the throne next. We need another Charles, we always have fun with a Charles on the throne! Beheadings, syphilis, illegitimate children– where did the Royal Family go wrong? And if Charles ever does become King, then I can do a follow up post about Camilla! See, it’s totally a Charles thing.

(Disclaimer: Everything in this blogpost could be wrong, it’s only what I’ve found from other websites people have written and the great and glorious Wikipedia. I didn’t use any real books or academic sources. I have not studied history since I was fifteen, and even then I’m not sure they would have taught us this stuff. I took a class on the seventeenth century at University, but we mainly talked about prostitutes and the plague).

Images of Charles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:King_Charles_II_by_John_Michael_Wright_or_studio.jpg

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BOOKS | I’m Trying To Stop Reading About Dragons All The Time

(Or: A Mini Account Of The Books I’ve Read So Far This Year)

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Ever since Harry Potter changed my life when I was eight years old, I’ve always loved to read fantasy. I’m under the impression that we watch movies and read books for escapism, and if I’m gonna be escaping my own mundane existence, I’d rather jump into the life of someone who flies around on dragons instead of someone who has the same problems as I do. I bet if I had ‘Mother of Dragons’ written on my CV, I’d stop getting job rejection emails all the time. Fire cannot kill a dragon.

To fill the empty void that is my existence, I decided to do the 2014 Reading Challenge over on Goodreads. I initially set the bar at thirty books, ‘cause I don’t know how my year is gonna look, but I might set a higher goal when I finally find out what is going on with my life. So far, I’ve only read a shameful four books, so I’m one behind schedule. Though it’s not through lack of trying; I’ve downloaded like five different samples onto my Nook this week and have found a problem with all of them. Such is the life of a picky reader.

Two of the books I’ve read so far have come from various booktuber suggestions, one was something I’ve been meaning to read for a few months, and the other was one I’ve been excited about for two years. The latter, Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (a book that I didn’t think I’d love as much as I did), is the only fantasy novel I’ve read this year. It definitely didn’t disappoint me, being just as adventure-filled and creepy as the original. The pictures make it a really unique reading experience, and I’m super excited for the Tim Burton directed film adaptation that’s coming up. It definitely reads like a Tim Burton film. I did have a tendency to forget who was who and what their power was, which is something that has haunted me throughout my entire time reading fantasy. But it was the second novel I read this year and it definitely made me excited to get back into reading again, after a really slow couple of years drowning in Elizabethan literature at university.

The third book I read this year was the one I’ve been meaning to read for forever. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, AKA J.K. Rowling. I was very nervous about getting into this book. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life (cries every twentysomething and teenager in the world), but The Casual Vacancy just didn’t do it for me, so much so that I never actually finished it. Admittedly, I only downloaded Cuckoo because it was 99p in the Nook store, but wow, I am so glad I did. I was instantly hooked. Strike was such a likeable narrator, very flawed but with enough redeemable qualities to make him believable. I soon found myself reading it constantly. Like, all the time. When I woke up, when I was eating, when I was falling asleep (which let’s face it, is pretty much my whole day). I needed to know who the killer was. It took over my life. I’ll admit that some of deductions Strike makes are a bit ‘ehhhhh, if you say so’, but I’m not very well versed in the likes of crime novels, so maybe it’s just something that’s reminiscent across the whole genre. I’ve always avoided them because my mother practically devours James Patterson’s books, but I really don’t trust someone who vomits out like eleven books a year.

But the first and fourth books I read this year are what this post was supposed to be about, before my ‘I love J.K. Rowling’ tangent. The first was Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. I’m not sure if I was having some weird post-graduation hysteria, but it marked the first of two books I’ve read this year about girls going off to college. It was a cute read, alternating between the narrations of Elizabeth and Lauren. It included both their normal prose narrations of life, and the emails and texts that they send one another before they meet. Because you get the two different accounts of the conversation, you really get to see their friendship develop. Like I said, it was cute. The characters are likeable and I never found myself picking favourites over the other. I was invested in their stories, even if I found them a bit cliché at times. But it was the perfect brain mush book I needed to get me into the new year.

The most recent book I read was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, an author I have heard a lot about. Initially, I looked into reading her novel Eleanor & Park, but after I saw Fangirl I knew that it was the one. I think I preferred it to Roomies, I found it less predictable and it had some nice little twists and turns along the way. And I totally loved Cath, the protagonist. Her love of the fictional Simon Snow is definitely representative of how so many people feel about Harry Potter (hey, we came full circle!). Between each chapter was a little snippet from either the Simon Snow books or Cath’s own fanfiction about them. It was really fun getting into the mind of a fanfiction writer, because it’s never really a part of the fandom I got into (okay, maybe I read a little bit of Marauders era stuff, shush). The fears Cath had about college were the ones I had too, so it was interesting for me to read it as a graduate and see parts of little eighteen year old me in the protagonist.

I know I’ve only read four books so far, but it’s not often I get to say ‘only 25% of the books I’ve read this year have been fantasy!’ I’m still definitely first and foremost a fantasy fan, but I am going to try and broaden my book horizons a little more this year, instead of fantasy world after fantasy world after fantasy world. Sometimes you need a little break from all the dragons. Not often, but sometimes.

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TV | Alison DiLaurentis Deserved To Get Burried Under That Gazebo

The “big reveal” of last season’s Pretty Little Liars has been painfully obvious since the show’s beginning. It’s always been a given that Alison DiLaurentis was going to turn up alive. So when she spins around and exposes herself to the Liars, I was met with disappointment. Not because it was so ridiculously cheesy (it was), but because I really, really wished she was dead. I know that’s probably against the whole vibe of the show– everyone wants all the Liars reunited, right? But whilst all the main characters of PLL have their flaws: Ali is the worst. In fact, I’m pretty sure she has no redeemable qualities whatsoever.

Up until recently, Ali had only been seen in flashbacks, when all the Liars were seemingly innocent and happy (unless you count all those times the Liars thought they were hallucinating her). Spencer was a badly dressed overachiever living in the shadow of her sister, Aria was soooo rebellious and punk with her pink hair, Emily was a closeted jock obsessed with her douchey best friend, and Hanna was (supposedly) fat. But Ali always had this air of confidence about her, something that the other Liars often allude to in a positive manner. But from what I’ve seen of flashback Ali, I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to be friends with her. Let alone risk their lives on a daily basis to track down her/her killer/their crazy stalker.

It’s immortality, my darlings’. Shut up. Shuuuuuut uuuuuuuuup. ShuuUuUuUuuuut uuuUuUUup. Alison was like fifteen when she went missing. What fifteen year old talks like this? If I had said this at school I would have been punched in the face. If someone else had spoken like this at my school, I would have punched them in the face. I can maybe possibly kind of believe why other fifteen year old girls would have let it slide that Ali talks like she is in some artsy independent student film, but Ali seemed to spend a lot of time with creepy older dudes, and I’m really struggling to understand how they didn’t kill her or themselves whenever she opened her mouth. I know that Rosewood has this weird thing about statutory rape being the basis for any healthy relationship, but come on. I find it really hard to believe that whatever illegal activities you and Ali were getting up to when you were alone was worth listening to that all day.

As well as being inhumanly irritating, she’s also just an all round horrible person. She tries to blackmail Aria’s dad about his affair, which yeah, was a shitty thing for Byron to do, but exploiting her friend’s family like that was even worse. She practically forces an eating disorder on Hanna, another of her supposed best friends. We know that she bullied Mona enough for her to start the whole A thing in the first place. She was clearly using Emily for some weird sexualised lesbian experiment fantasy without ever actually having any real feelings for her. Not to mention the argument she had with Spencer on the night of her disappearance, when she totally judges Spencer for kissing her sister’s boyfriend. I think you’ve done a lot worse, DiLaurentis, judging by the fact someone seems to be trying to kill you.

It amazes me how these girls remained friends throughout all of this. If I had been a Liar, the day we got the first text from A, I would have been all ‘nope’. I would have either transferred schools and never set foot in Rosewood again or just taken my chances and gone to the police about the whole Jenna thing. Then again, I don’t think the Liars are really the most logical people in the world. They finally found out who has been stalking them for the past few years (one of the people, at least) and just accepted his lame excuse of ‘ohhhh, I’m actually just writing a book!’ At least two of them have spoken to Ezra since this and haven’t thought to ask him why he tracked their every move on a computer and had people follow them with cameras. I know the writers have revealed to us that Ezra isn’t A (which was obvious), but the girls don’t fully know that yet. Claiming that they’re just writing a book is exactly the kind of thing A would say!

But I guess Alison’s complete insanity and unwillingness to come home (despite the existence of various police protection programs) can at least be partly attributed to the latest episode’s revelation. Mrs DiLaurentis might be A? I’ll admit I never saw that one coming, unlike every other supposed big twist in the series so far. Mona? Toby? CeCe? Well, duh. If I had a mother like Alison’s, I’d definitely wanna stay away too. Although, the woman does have amazing creeping skills. Getting in and out of Spencer’s bedroom with at least two other people in the house is quite an achievement. It would explain all those countless shots of the Liars chasing Ali, only for her to disappear into seemingly nowhere. It must be something in the genes.

Pretty Little Liars is without a doubt a giant train wreck of a TV show. It somehow manages to be both predictable and nonsensical at the same time, which is a quality that makes it terrible and wonderful. I know that every season finale they’re going to “reveal A”, only for it to be a total Red Herring within the next few episodes. I know that there’s forever going to be loose ends or things that don’t really make sense. And I know that the high schoolers are always going to look like adults, which will somehow make it okay (???) for them to have inappropriate relations with teachers, doctors, and detectives. But I just can’t stop watching. I need to know who A actually is and who tried to kill Alison and who the hell is buried in her grave. But more importantly, I want all those loose ends tied up so Ali can finally be reunited with the Liars for them only to tell her ‘we’ve just realised you’re actually kind of a bitch, bye!’ And then the the camera will slowly zoom in on Alison’s shocked face whilst the screen fades to black; finishing off with a post-credit scene showing the four Liars eating ice cream and being happy for the first time in years. And then maybe someone can finally hit Ali with a shovel and finish the job properly this time.

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