My 2012 GoodReads Challenge

Was a fail.

I challenged myself to read 15 books this year... and I read 9.

I'll explain why I didn't manage to complete this challenge later on. But first, I'm going to just recap what I did actually read*.
  1. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - 3/5 | Review
  2. Paper Towns by John Green - 4/5 | Review
  3. The Fault in our Stars by John Green - 5/5 | Review
  4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - 4/5 | Review
  5. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach - 3/5 | Review
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth - 5/5 | Review
  7. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - 4/5 | Review
  8. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer - 5/5 | Review
  9. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel - 5/5 | Review
The stand-out book for me was The Fault in our Stars. Basically, John Green is a master of words. It makes you laugh and cry (like, ugly-sobbing-type crying) in equal measures. If this gets made into a film... I think I might skip wearing makeup.

The surprise read was The Life of Pi. The only reason I started reading it was because, last year, with the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas, I got it free, and one time at work, I had nothing to do so I started reading. And it was well worth it.

So, why didn't I finish the challenge?

One word: fanfiction.

If fanfiction was included in this challenge, I definitely would have completed it. Like, 10 times over. As it is, it isn't and I didn't so...

For 2013, I'm going to aim a little more realistic, with 12 books. Father Christmas was very kind, and I now have a Kindle to read on, so I have no excuse. Hopefully, this time next year I'll be writing about how I completed this challenge, and maybe even surpassed it?

*I've linked each book title to the appropriate Amazon UK page, and to my reviews of the books (either on GoodReads or on this blog).

Book Review: The Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Synopsis: One boy, one boat, one tiger ...After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Number of pages: 464

Rating: 10/10

Overall Impression: Compelling, thought-provoking and unbelievable. I opened this book with little to no idea what it was about, and it weaves an unimaginable tale of hope and faith, but with none of the pretention of the award-winning book it is.
Life of Pi

Read more »

The Christmas Presents: 2012 Edition


Hope you are all having a lovely holiday season. Despite working Christmas Day, mine has been very enjoyable. Especially as Father Christmas has been very kind this year :D

The highlights of my haul this year:
Harry Potter ring :D
A Kindle Paperwhite! Now fully kitted out with Harry Potter. Obv.
A rather impressive stack of Blurays. Gonna take me a while to get through these!
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
A Darren Criss calendar!!! Hells yeah.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
My sister knows me so well...
Yep, did pretty well this year. How about you??

British Sign Language and a few other things.

Today, I officially enrolled on a British sign language (BSL) level 1 course. Yay me!

This might seem quite random to some, but if you have seen my Tumblr or Twitter in the last few months, stuff from a telly show called Switched At Birth may have shown up between the myriad of Darren Criss (he's just so pretty) and Glee posts.

My sister, Megan, introduced me to this show. It's about these two girls, Bay and Daphne, who get, surprise surprise, switched at birth. And it turns out the one of the girls, Daphne, is deaf and therefore uses sign language. She uses American sign language (ASL), which is actually almost unintelligible to BSL users but still, it's what got me interested initially. And I don't really care if it's not using ASL correctly or what-have-you, it is still introducing a culture and language to a whole new audience, which can only be a good thing (/rant).

So anyway, it got me interested in learning sign language or at least, finding out more about Deaf culture. And by coinky-dink, I found out that one of my colleagues is hard-of-hearing and actually knows and uses BSL! Now, we end up spending a good chunk of time (when we should be working... shhhh!) talking about BSL, and him teaching me some signs. Important signs like how to not to mix up f**k you with thank you. Still waiting for the sign for lemonade though...

It definitely opened my eyes to how many people are affected by hearing impairments, and how useful it could be, as a hearing person, to be able to communicate with them in their language. To me, it's no different than going to a foreign country and at least trying to use the local language, rather than talk more loudly and slowly in English.

Also, it can only be advantageous as someone going into teaching to know some sign language. I would love to be able to help out a possible Deaf student in my classroom, than have to rely on a communication support worker all the time.

In other news, I've just painted my nails for Christmas and they look awesome:
They're so Christmassy!
And also, my sister and I filmed a Christmas tag video. It's really quite hilarious so please have a peek!

Go check out my sister's other videos on her YouTube channel, MeganShaelyn. She sings and stuff.

Film Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, (dir.) Bill Condon

Certificate: 12A (PG-13)

Rating: 5/10

Overall: I did really enjoy it, but I'd be lying if I said it was a good film. Seriously, that baby was very creepy. For fans, it's a great end to the saga. Not sure about everyone else...
Read more »