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Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro: Book Review

“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.” 

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The story of how I discovered and decided to buy the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, Never Let Me Go, is actually quite funny – me and my mum were watching Pointless over dinner, we love trying to answer the questions on it and seeing if we’d do well if we were on the show. It’s actually a typical dinnertime thing that happens that I look forward to because obviously I love bonding with my mum. But this one episode the category was books shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and this book came up and my mum asked if I had heard of it because Ishiguro’s books were meant to be highly spoken of and from there I looked up the summary on it and added it to my to read list! I’ll say this though, the blurb only hints so little of how many interesting themes and the amazing story in this novel.

Photo 10-11-2017, 03 28 42.jpgKazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel-Prize winning novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan but him and his family moved to Guildford, Surrey when Ishiguro was the age of 5. Interestingly enough, Ishiguro’s first novel was the thesis he wrote in his Master of Arts in Creative Writing – I love finding these kind of things out about authors/novelists because it gives me inspiration and hope almost to continue with my own writing and trying to improve. This is my first Ishiguro novel to read but after finishing Never Let Me Go, I would love to read some of his other novels. His writing flows beautifully and the tones and emotions he puts into scenes are beautifully executed.

(Reading warning: Spoilers from here on out)

Never Let Me Go follows the reminiscing of Kathy H. She is a thirty-one year old carer and has had this job for almost twelve years. She talks about her time at a place called Hailsham which is pretty much a boarding school that her and many other students, which all have something in common, attend. Throughout the book she talks about childhood memories like watching other students prank a boy named Tommy, the different guardians (pretty much teachers) they have, how they can attend exchanges and sales to pick up secondhand items and art for their collections and the most peculiar experience of them all – how a mysterious woman they all call ‘Madame’ visits every so often to look at different kind of art the students create and take the art away.

Nostalgia and memories are big themes in Never Let Me Go, as the story is made up of a lot of memories Kathy has of Hailsham, her best friend Ruth, a boy named Tommy and when they move into cottages after Hailsham. However during their time at Hailsham, the students discover something about themselves and their future which separates them from any usual child – A) they’re clones and B) they’re destined to give away their vital organs until ‘completion'(death) before they even hit middle age.

“None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you are created to do. You’re not like the actors you watch on your videos, you’re not even like me. You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided.” 

What is so interesting about this twist to me, is that it wasn’t an ending twist, it wasn’t like a massive emotional dagger to stick in the characters, and in fact Kathy isn’t even shocked by it. It comes at the end of part 1 and I did almost find myself going ‘how could they keep this from them?’ and maybe expecting the rest of the story to be Kathy, Tommy and Ruth escaping from their fate. Although, that does almost happen, eventually in the story, the main three hear a rumour that finding Madame and proving two clones are in true love can defer becoming a donor and they do go on a journey to try to discover this – the ending is very bittersweet and does end with the accepted fate for Ruth and Tommy. Kathy is still alive at the end of the story but we are safe to assume she will go on to become a donor like her past friends and students.

After I finished the book, a lot of the afterthoughts and what this story means to me and how interesting the themes didn’t actually hit me until an hour after. Like I said, nostalgia and memories are a big theme in it and I think what’s really educational and inspiring about Ishiguro’s story is that the difference between Ruth and Kathy is Kathy holds onto her memories, the quote at the beginning of my review is actually said by Kathy, she doesn’t ever try to deny her past or even mistakes she’s made or arguments she’s gotten into compared to her best friend Ruth who when they move on from Hailsham has moments of possibly forgetting memories of Hailsham and pretending she’s past of it, she even confesses to Kathy that she asked the caretaker of the cottages they live in after Hailsham to take away her old stuff from school. I resonated massively with Kathy because I hoard so much stuff from growing up, I keep diaries, I keep journals, I have a notebook where I try to write down every positive memory or thing that happens, I have a box in my room that I put stuff that reminds me of happy times (old tickets, photos etc.), I keep my old teddies from childhood, I keep all my old schoolbooks etc. etc., I’m obsessed with keeping memories close to me and keeping as much as I can in my thoughts. Kathy and Ruth’s lives are so much shorter and planned out than mine and because of Kathy keeping all these memories, look at the story it provided – I think it just shows how important memories and nostalgia is and how bittersweet it can be.

The other theme and afterthought that stuck with me is the themes of time and morality – a quote that actually comes from the movie adaption of the book really spoke to me too: ‘We All Complete.’. It basically sticks with me in the way the saying ‘memento mori’ sits with me – our time on earth is timed and not limitless, we need to appreciate the time we have on earth and appreciate the memories we make. Why didn’t Kathy, Ruth and Tommy run from their fates? Because it’s what they were taught since childhood, although subliminally, and they know nothing else – much like us humans. We know nothing else than to live our lives out as long as possible, stay healthy and try to follow our dreams.

I just love that this story haunted me even after reading it, it kept me thinking and bringing up the story to my mum to get my thoughts on it out – this book would be so good for book clubs because there’s so much you can discuss. It makes you think so much about mortality and a different view on growing up although Kathy’s memories are not different and unique because of her being a clone – they are so human and she has stories that a lot of people could resonate with. I really recommend picking up the book, it was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize for a reason!

You can purchase ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro for £6.99 on Waterstones. UNIDAYs also do a 10% student discount (online only).

Thank you for reading,

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excessive daytime sleepiness is a pain but I need to work better with it

So this post is hopefully going to come across a lot more personal and open than any other posts I’ve done in the past where I’ve tried to put on a professional ‘blogger’ persona and give out advice and tips. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of bloggers and that kind of online persona is definitely what get’s people into the professional blogging industry. But lately, for the most part of the past year, I’ve been really bad with my blog and unfortunately good at neglecting it which I am mad at myself for.

Now I could write a list of 100 reasons why I’ve been terrible at writing over the past year but nobody wants to read a list of excuses for not doing something because it doesn’t pass on any inspiration or reason to relate, which is the kind of vibes I wanted to give out when I started this blog. I’m only human and I’m not perfect or good at keeping to a schedule or plan, but I’ve always wanted to be an approachable person, I want to start conversations and make people think outside the box or look deeper into themselves. Which is one of the many reasons I started this blog and is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it.

As you know, I started my first year of University in September last year, and I have pretty much finished my first year at this point! I’ve received all my marks from my coursework and classes ended a while back. It was a roller coaster of a first year for me personally because it was such a change to my life that I thought I could handle, but had no idea how it would work with my mental health or my social comfort zone. I struggled with many things over the year personally and tried to keep it mostly to myself so that I could try to learn how to overcome things and survive the next two years of University. But one thing that really came to my attention in University, because it affected it in a way, was my body’s capability and strength. Or to put it in a more blunt, laughable way – I am so easily fatigued, it is hilarious and scary.

I have missed a lot of University this year due to sleeping in or feeling so tired and weak that I actually feel physically unwell. I have fallen asleep in lectures and in the library. Embarrassingly enough, I actually had a little corner in my University’s library for a while that I used to go and nap if I felt too tired. I was pretty sad when exam time came and people actually used that area of the library. If I didn’t get enough sleep at night I would feel sick the next day. My eyes would drop without warning and my legs would ache as if I had attached extremely heavy weights to them. Sometimes I’d get nauseous, other times I’d get headaches. I was feeling a lot weaker this year, and it definitely took a toll on my mental health and stress too. I am so lucky and amazed that I managed to pass this year. But what does this have to do with my blog writing and me now?

Well I think the fatigue or excessive daytime tiredness isn’t something that was just sitting dormant until class-time was around because, boy am I still tired. I have a lot of free time now aside my jobs, to do something with myself and yet I put off writing so much. I’ve actually forgotten to write a concluding post about my JustGiving donations (which are all fully donated by the by! Thank you so much if you did donate!) because I’ve been spending so much free time feeling too tired and putting off opening WordPress and writing! But I don’t want this to be an excuse post or a post trying to give me a reason to not feel bad about neglecting my blog, I want it to be a confession post almost – a post where I’m putting down my main problem on the table so I can think about it, and try to figure out a way to work round it.

Trying to find stuff to write about can be hard, especially trying to find things that people may enjoy reading. But I believe, like most creative processes, doing it again and again is good practice and helps you improve and that’s why I don’t want to neglect writing for too long. If anybody has any advice or ideas on what I could write about that would be great!

But as well as that, if anybody has any ideas of working/writing whilst struggling with fatigue that would be amazing. Feel free to comment or message me.

Thanks for reading my little ramble, have a glorious week –

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Get to Know the Blogger 2017

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So I’ve almost had this blog two years now – which is mad! I still remember my boyfriend helping me come up with the ‘blogger bee’ name! Which obviously I give him massive thanks and all my gratitude because the name really has stuck with me and means so much to me. You can see a lot of change in my personality and such throughout my posts I believe, that honestly I could not identify if you just straight up asked me if I have changed since 2015.

I thought I’d make a little updated post with 10 facts about me – so you can get to know me, the blogger!

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1 – I’m currently studying a BA(Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing – I always loved writing growing up, but drifted away from it massively after high school even though it was my best subject – I’m so glad and do not regret going to do it in University and have pretty much finished my first year and just waiting on my final grades! It was such a good year.

2 – In my second year, I’m going to be doing an assorted pick of modules but have chosen to do a module called UWLP, which is a University Wide Language Programme, and essentially means I am going to be studying a second language for a module throughout the second year! I picked French and I’m honestly so excited but nervous for pushing myself to try to learn a second language!

3 – Since around 14 I’ve also been massively entranced by art & design, mainly focusing and switching between photography, illustration and 3D computer art. When I was picking my GCSE’s in school, I told one of the art teachers I was planning to pick GCSE Art and she actually told me not to and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But as of now I passed GCSE Art, I got a DMM in BTEC Level 3 Art and Design during college and did a year in a 3D Game Art apprenticeship!

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4 – You could say I started my working life when I was 16 and started doing volunteer jobs during college which included a volunteer receptionist in a holistic therapy centre in my hometown, cub scouts assistant and a couple of weeks volunteering in an animal shelter near where I live! I’ve had 8 paying jobs over the past few years of my life which have taught me a lot! I’ve worked in shops and a cinema, I’ve even been lucky enough to be part of the lovely Manchester vegan diner V Rev’s team for a while!

5 – I have four tattoos! My tattoos mean a lot to me because they are all things that represent me well, have special meaning to me, make me smile and make me feel more confident with my body! My favourite tattoo is the one on my arm that was done by the amazing Lauren Sutton, the tattoo is a lovely rendition of a sun and moon with the words ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ written inside. I chose it because I believe the sun represents my dad and the moon represents my mum.
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6 – I’ve always wanted to try and help people/organisations in my own way growing up. I’m no saint or massively charitable as I’m still growing up myself and I completely understand that not everyone has the money to regularly give to charity but I always want to try and do something. I adopted a penguin from WWF last year with a monthly donation, for a year I had a monthly donation going to the Cats Protection and right now I have a small monthly donation going to the UK Bumblebee Conservation Trust! I recommend looking into all of them as even if you don’t want to do monthly donations they have lovely shops with great merch where the money paid goes towards the organisation!

7 – I’m part of my University’s wonderful theatre society! I was part of two after school drama clubs in primary school but was very shy onwards up until even now, I’m still naturally a very reserved person – but during the first few weeks of University I was so drawn in by Almost Famous Theatre Company that I couldn’t not join! They put on amazing shows throughout the University year and this year they’ve done 5 brilliant shows! I was lucky enough to be in 3 of them which were the Miscast Variety Show, the summer Variety Show and Company. I massively recommend checking out one of their shows next year!

8 – I have no idea what I want to do ‘when I’m older’ or when I leave University and whenever I’m asked I pull a face and shrug. It doesn’t necessarily scare me anymore as I know a lot of people are in the same boat even people who are older than me. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m at the building block ages and I’m not meant to have anything set in stone or sorted out yet. However, a lovely job that would be a dream job of mine or something I’d like to achieve one day, is write my own children’s books and illustrate them. Reading is such an important part of childhood that all kids should be able to experience and access. It’s great for teaching so many things including actual academic stuff or morals and things to reflect on in the real world and I’d love to be able to contribute to that with my own art and writing. I actually wrote about my feelings on it once!

9 – I’m a sucker for learning new stuff but have always had really bad concentration and really bad at sticking to stuff which is a shame and if I could go back in time and give younger me a push to stick to things I would. Growing up I’ve had guitar lessons, keyboard lessons, ice skating lessons, trampolining lessons and even tried out at netball clubs and used to go to drama clubs and dance classes for ballet and tap. I’m really proud of myself for returning to a drama club in University but my last club I was regularly doing was a dance class that I left in 2014! I’d love to maybe try to teach myself something new or join a new class/club one day soon.

10 – Video games have always been a massive part of my life and something that makes me happy. A fond memory of mine is honestly staying over at my eldest sister’s house and playing on the Gamecube or coming home from school and playing games on the family computer. I grew up on the Sims, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, SSX Tricky, Mario games, Pikmin and I even remember playin some really lesser known PC games like Spy Fox, Beach Life and The Movies! My current favourite games that I recommend everyone try include Persona 5, Persona 4, Bioshock, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Borderlands 2 and any Pokemon game!

So I hope you enjoyed getting to know me!

Thanks for reading,

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phone photography adventures and Easter laziness

Hey guys, long time no talk!

Lately I’ve been really missing blogging, art and just general hobbies I used to enjoy. That’s the annoying side of University life mixed with depression, it’s so easy to drop completely off the map when it comes to things that I really used to enjoy doing. Luckily I’m in the middle of a good 2-3 weeks off University and it’s been a mix of good and bad to my schedule. The first bad bit is that I’ve completely lost my sleeping pattern; maybe I didn’t have a good one in the first place but over the course of a week or two it’s definitely gone a bit tipsy. Although the bonus of being awake at 4am with your boyfriend watching Netflix and playing video games is you get to see how pretty the world is when it’s the dead of night. Especially in Manchester.

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I’ve been really enjoying taking photos lately. Now I’m definitely no photographer or skilled, especially with the fact all I have is my shoddy iPhone SE and editing apps/Photoshop – but it’s been something I’ve been doing a lot when I’m out of the house. Me and Will have been on three or four lovely walks during the Easter break which has given me a great chance to take some nice photos and it’s made me want to start doing photography again. Maybe fool around more with photo editing or even create some mixed media pieces if I can ever kick my butt back into art/drawing.

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Visiting Wythenshawe park provided me with a lot of lovely photos! We visited the Community Farm they have there so I got to see a lot of the adorable animals on the farm. Admittedly seeing the cows in their barn made me feel a little bit sad because it was hard to tell if they were happy or upset being there but a lot of the animals on the farm seemed very calm and were eating/just finished being fed.

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As well as picnics in parks and going for walks, I’ve been mostly lazing around playing video games. Persona 5 is my go-to game at the moment which I thoroughly recommend to anybody looking for a new PS4 game to play! It’s also available on PS3. It’s super unique and if you’re a fan of the Persona series, it’s definitely a step up from 4 and with a lot more gripping, darker storyline. The characters are super lovable and you’ll get instantly attached to them like I did. I’d also recommend it if you’re a fan of games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy because of the fighting and collecting monster themes but for anyone who enjoys games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age since they have a role-playing side to it where you can make personal choices to your game with some sides of it.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter holiday and I shall be back soon with another post!

Thanks for reading,

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2017 Wishes: January

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Hello it’s me! Long time, no blog!

Happy New Year to everyone, I have a feeling this year will be better than the last. Last year had it’s ups and downs, it felt more of a year of downs in general but I hope this year will be a lot more positive for everyone I love.

A lot of cynics will take the new year resolution tradition as a ‘pointless gimmick’ but I’ve always liked the idea of making goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year, admittedly I never stick to them but it’s nice to sort out your priorities and know what you want by the end of the year. Admittedly I’m terrible at sticking to one idea at a time and always change my mind every month let alone year. I’m very impulsive and get inspired easily which is both a weakness of mine and a strength. So I thought this year I’d start off by making ‘wishes’ or goals for the first month of January – not the whole year. I want to take one month at a time to try and get to where I want to be.

Photo 02-01-2017, 21 19 38.jpgSo where am I starting? Of course, I want to get back into my vegetarian lifestyle. I am massively inspired by the cause Veganuary, in which people go vegan for just a month but as I am living back at home for the first month, it’s a bit harder when my parents buy the food and I’m very against turning away food. It’s a lot easier on me and my family to request to be vegetarian for the first month of 2017, plus hopefully if I succeed at this, I can transition to a more vegan lifestyle later in the year! As well as a more healthy, meat-free diet, I would love to incorporate a nice exercise routine into my every day life. I’ve always been rubbish at having an exercise routine but swimming has always been appealing to me. If I can build up the guts to visit my local leisure centre or the one at my University, I think swimming laps in the pool a couple of times week for just an hour a day would be a great health benefit.

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For Christmas my parents got me this beautiful Paperchase Planner as seen on the left and a cute dainty little bee-themed (spot on, mum) notepad with a bee pen and it’s inspired me to keep a lot more organised and jot down as much things as possible to keep me up to date with my own life. I was the most unorganised person last year and obviously it hasn’t changed over night (I mean I did wake up at 1pm today), so I hope to start using my planner to start making baby steps to a more sorted life. This planner has a pages for my diary, budget planner, meal planner, shopping list and notes. My lovely little C3PO is attached to it as well to give it my own personal touch!

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Organised work ethics are something I aspire to have this month as well. I’ve got my first University exam coming up, as well as revising for a performance in the drama society I love being a part of and I’ll be going back to work and generally throwing myself back into a busy bee lifestyle, after a good two weeks of napping more than usual and eating my own body weight in chocolates and leftovers. If I can go an entire month without accidentally napping through rehearsals or having 100% attendance at my classes I’d be so proud of myself. I know I can do it, I just need a good kick up the arse.

And finally as you can see, I want to write more blog posts. Last year whenever I heard people say they’ve read my post or they like reading what I write or even accompanying my writing/blogging to me, it’d give me such a warm feeling inside. I really enjoy my writing and I’ve missed it so much in the past few months and I’m sad I got so overwhelmed that I’d push my blog away from me and avoid trying to write. I hope this month I get a good few posts done.

Oh and of course, I started Mass Effect 3 and I want to finish it, wee!

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Happy New Year my lovelies!

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HEY guess who had another idea?

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My blog is definitely a good representation of my continuous mind set, there’s so many gaps of posts that are from times when I’m either manic and busy or times when I just do not have the motivation to type. I can be a perfectionist with my blog, wanting to make sure it has a theme in the edits/photos I make for it, but at the same time; I’ve never had a set goal with my blog. It’s definitely personal most of the time, and I have tried to talk mainly about cruelty-free, going vegetarian, gaining confidence or getting past stigmas for mental health and as much as I do enjoy talking about that, sometimes it’s hard to do the next post. Especially when it comes to close to home posts, I do love opening up to try and encourage others to feel more comfortable in themselves; if I could even make one person smile or feel more positive, that makes me happy. However some days I just don’t want to talk about it or try and bring out the deep feelings for a blog post because it just feels a bit risky for my mental health. Another slight dip for the ‘cruelty-free’/’pro-vegan’ posts, is although I still highly encourage that lifestyle – I’m having slip ups lately and I feel when I start at University and become a bit more comfortable with my diet/body image, I will be able to talk more about switching to pro-CF/pro-vegan easily.

I’ve gone off on a tangent here, basically what I’d like to throw out there is that I might start writing about the one thing I always care about and have grown up with – games! I was wary at first because the online community of gamers has always had some bad reputation if you delve too deep. I can admit myself that the games I love do have flaws and areas of improvement, as well as the reasons why I love them so much and believe everybody should play them – and I’d love to start writing about games via reviews, case studies or even updates on playthroughs because I think I’d enjoy it a lot, plus I’d love to share games people might never have thought of touching before and encourage them to try it! So that’s what I’m telling you all to look out for hopefully in the next few weeks, from my blog. I hope you guys look forward to it and if there is any games you’d maybe like me to review or try! Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

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It’s almost August and I don’t know where the year went?

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Honestly by this point I need a kick up the arse really don’t I? In regards to blogging and writing, I have been so terrible lately and procrastinating every day. It’s not that there isn’t ideas for posts in the back of my mind constantly, every week there’s normally some things that make a little voice just go ‘oooh! ooh! write about that!!” in my brain, however I never get round to doing it and by the time I sit down and remember it feels too late. Admittedly since this is my personal blog, I guess there’s no deadlines, no obligations and I run this blog myself single-handedly, so I can organise the posts when I want them to be; however I really wish I could get into a habit of doing them reguarly. I hold this blog really close to my heart and my confidence gain over the past year so I want to dedicate more of my time to it. So please, someone give me a kick up the arse!

To give you an update on what’s been going on with my life, if you are interested – I am still loving my new job at my favourite cafe. I’ve been able to try a lot more vegan snacks and meals and I may try and write another post about there soon as I am so proud and grateful to be a part of the team there. I start University in T-minus 1 month and 23 days, counting from this post, and I’m so excited but nervous! It’s going to be so weird going back into an education/scheduled system after almost 4 years. I’m also eager to get back into writing constantly for essays and such. If I get into the right mindset, I can really put a lot of energy into an essay; especially if I enjoy what I’m writing about.
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So my life at the moment is mostly working day-to-day at the cafe and preparing for University! I really cannot believe it’s already pretty much August, I feel like moving out for University is going to hit me like a rocket. I might do a ‘University Wishlist’ post of cute, quirky items I’d like (and probably won’t, because you know, money) to take to university for my room, in the future. I am also going to attempt to plan some future posts to queue up for you guys to have a read! Including some book reviews as I recently finished an amazing book and I am close to finishing a book called ‘We are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ – which I am also loving a lot right now. I also plan to hopefully go and catch the new Star Trek: Beyond film, Ghostbusters and maybe Suicide Squad, so I might review them. As well as that, obviously if anybody has any suggestions of stuff they’d like to see me write about or review – just leave me a comment!

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts!

Thanks for reading,

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