Sunday Book Club…Summer Reading List!

Happy Sunday guys!! I hope you’re all having a great weekend! I thought for this week’s Book Club, I would go through all the books that are on my summer reading list, and a few others that look exciting to me (and hopefully to you too!).

1.) The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

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This is a renowned Pulitzer-prize winning novel, The story revolves around Theodore Decker, who starts off as a thirteen year old boy, living in New York with his mother. His father is an alcoholic, who walked out on them a year previously, The plot really gets going when he and his mother go to visit a art museum, where The Goldfinch painting is kept. He falls for a red-headed girl, accompanied by an elderly, withering man. However, their visit is abruptly interrupted by a terrorist bomb, which kills his mother in the process. Through the rubble and confusion, he grabs the painting and runs, and many repercussions of this happen through the rest of his life. Pretty interesting I think!

2.) The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Aimee Bender

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Just before her ninth birthday, the main character, Rose, bites into a lemon cake her mother has baked, and can feel her mother’s emotions in the slice. She notices after that, how sad and upturned her mother is. So she becomes wary of food and how it will taste. But even with this gift, some of the family secrets can’t be unearthed, and she will learn along the way, as she grows up, how many family secrets are buried deep. She must find out whether her talent is a gift or a burden.

3.) Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

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This is a bad-ass fantasy novel that goes where no other has gone before – incorporating feminism and a strong female protagonist. After fleeing from the ‘apocalypse’ to a newly emerged land mass, where everything turns back to medieval ways. She travels across the land to ultimately claim her throne, without the use of beauty or romantic relations. It also tackles some hard issues, such as sex trafficking and domestic abuse, which territory not many fantasy novels have even wandered into before. Girl power!

4.) The Lives of Others - Neel Murherjee

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My favourite kind of saga – epic. It tells the story of a Bengali family, living in Calcutta. Unfortunately, much like 100 Years of Solitude, it shows the decay of the family, and the destruction of the surrounding society. The main young man in the novel tries to find his place amongst the world throughout, and shows how confusing and strange this life can be. It is set in the 60′s, right in the political upheaval, which one member of the family starts to get involved in, much to their dismay. To become more of an activist, he flees the country, only leaving a note to explain his disappearance. And the family change along with this.

So, a few interesting and thought provoking books that could fill the long hot summer up or make road trips more interesting (obviously not if you’re driving!). I’m looking forward to reading the top two, straight after I’ve finished A Game of Thrones! 

 

Film Review Saturday…The Conjuring!

I recently watched The Conjuring on my own (I know, I’m mad!), and safe to say that it messes with your head! Even more scary is that it’s based on a true story of two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were begged to come in and help release a demonic force residing in a house in Harrisville, Rhode Island, even though Lorraine had a previous bad experience with an exorcism (where the possessor forced itself upon her; she is a clairvoyant).

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The bad omens for the house start when the family dog refuses to go into the house, and dies a sudden death outside of it, with many birds also breaking their necks by flying into the walls. The clocks in the building all stop at 3.07 am, when the original owner (a witch), died by hanging herself on a nearby tree and cursing all those who tried to take over her land.

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What is interesting about this film is that the screenwriters chose to use both the viewpoints from the Warren’s and the Perron’s, adding a sense of a documentary feel to it, but not decreasing the level of fear. The aspect of innocence that was chosen to be hauntingly tainted was a measly game of hide and seek, where the ghosts manipulated the claps to freak out the current residents.

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The Warrens are devout Catholics who deter skeptics from criticizing their authenticity and the origin of the spirits. They were also involved in the Amityville saga, and were definitely convinced by it. Even though this film includes a lot of horror film stereotypes, director James Wan still gives spookily eerie thrills. And it will soon have a spin off about the doll in the prologue: Annabelle, which I’m really excited for!

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All in all, this is a great film, a great representation of the horror genre, and an all over scarefest! If you haven’t seen it already, do it! Although, a word of warning, it may keep you up at night!

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Have a great weekend!!

Geek round up Friday! (25/7/14)

It’s my favourite time of the week! As I’ve said before, this may be a little outdated as I wrote this on Sunday, but it’s still mega interesting news!! So here we go…

1.) Annabelle trailer is released!

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Remember the creepy doll from the beginning of The Conjuring? Well she’s getting her own spin-off movie, and it looks spine-chillingly scary! It’s set for release on October 3rd of this year, and if other James Wan films are anything to go by, then horror fans are in for a treat!

2.) New images released from the set of The Walking Dead season 5.

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The pictures feature Rick, Glenn, Daryl, Tyreese and Carol, all fighting for survival, still in this post-apocalyptic world. The photos can be found in the link below:

http://geektyrant.com/news/four-new-photos-from-the-walking-dead-season-5

3.) First image surfaces from American Horror Story: Freak Show.

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The picture above is of the characters that are played by Sarah Paulson, Dot and Bette. It’s also been confirmed that the show will be set in 1950′s Jupiter, Florida. The show returns this October.

4.) Marvel confirms release dates through to 2019.

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However, they have done this cryptically as usual, only giving dates, and not the film titles. But there’s been speculation about Guardians of the Galaxy 2 being in there. The dates are as follows: July 28th and November 3, 2017; July 6th and November 2nd, 2018; and May 3rd, 2019. Interesting!

That’s all I could find for this week folks! But seeing as though Comic-Con is this weekend, I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot more news soon! Have a great weekend!

Scientific discoveries this past week or so (24/7/14)

Hey guys! Remember, I’m writing all my posts at the weekend for the next five weeks, so this information may be a little delayed! But, here are the scientific stories, I found most interesting this week!

1.) A parasite normally found in cats, could be modified into a cancer vaccine.

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This parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, normally lives in cat intestinal tracts. Immunocompromised individuals can contract it very seriously, and it could be fatal. But it has been said to be able to be reprogrammed so it teams up with the immune system to attack cancer cells, as it creates an influx of cytotoxic T cells and killer cells also. The parasite is modified so it can’t reproduce, meaning it is harmless itself if used.

Reference: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/cat-parasite-modified-effective-cancer-vaccine

2.) Smart bandages with inner sensors, to monitor patient’s vital signs.

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The Bioscope project is planning to create bandages where they monitor a patient’s temperature (contact thermometer), heart rate (electrical activity recorded), and other bodily functions. Then, transmits the data to a computer that tracks the patient’s health using all of this data. The use of 3D printers is evident here, as nurses can remove or add sensors, as they deem it fit to do so.

Reference: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329784.300-sensorladen-smart-bandages-to-monitor-vital-signs.html#.U8vjwvldXco

3.) Brain cell transplants could reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.

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A new study may have revealed a way to help resolve any memory loss problems caused by the apoE4 genetic risk factor. And this could mean that be used for treatment in late adulthood, when this disease arises. Scientists transplanted early stage brain cells into mature inhibitory neurons, the result was tha these new cells replaced the ones lost by apoE4, regulated brain activity more efficiently, and improved learning abilities and memory.

Reference: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715214307.htm

I hope that’s made your Thursday a little more interesting! I’ll be back next Thursday with more!

Random Wednesday…Recap of my placement week (week 1)!

As you all know, I’ve done a week and a half of my summer placement so far now! And I’ve loved every second of it! So, I thought I’d give you a quick recap of my first week there with some cute photos to match!

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Monday:The first thing I did today was have a induction where I was walked around the wildlife centre and shown/introduced to all the animals. Then, I was shown the feed room, where all the resident’s meals get prepared. They get their morning and noon feeds together, and their evening feeds in the afternoon. The singing dog, Quaver, is taken for walks twice a day around the vicinity of the site, he’s such a sweetie! In the afternoon, I also took the baby raccoons out for a play on their harnesses, although they’re starting to get feral now so we need to be more careful.

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Wednesday: The most stand out moment about today was the fact that I had the chance to cuddle up to a baby skunk! It’s little face was the sweetest! Other jobs I had to do apart from the feeds included the glamourous job of scraping bird poo off their aviaries that they reside in at night. Another thing we did with the birds of prey, and the owls, was to fly them, feeding them chick legs at every stop. I have to say, I was a little nervous when a kestrel was flying straight towards me!

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Thursday: Today we were allowed to feed the baby coati’s, which are so tiny still and so gorgeous. We had to feed them each two syringes of formulated milk, I got a very wriggly one who wouldn’t drink hers! I also now regularly go into the on-site hospital, to feed and clean both the skunk (Alfie), and the two parrots, which are there along with the injured animals brought in. We have to prepare a lot of stinky food for the animals, as well as fruit and veg. For example, we have quail, turkey necks, white fish, chicks (which can be de-yolked, have legs pulled off, or even their heads), and mice/rats.

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Friday: My last day of the week! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to a lie in on the saturday! We regularly put foodstuffs such as honey, peanut butter, jam or lemon curd, into holes and other nooks and crannies, as enrichment for the animals, as they have to work out to find itThey also have a variety of toys, textures and things like bridges to keep them occupied, and to also enrich them further. We were allowed for the first time, to enter the kinkajou’s enclosure, as they had a baby on the Monday, but we had to be quiet all the time while we fed, cleaned and watered the enclosure (as they are nocturnal!).

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So, a busy but exciting week! I’ve got 5 more weeks left, so hopefully I’ll have more pictures and stories to tell you! Have a great Wednesday! 

Feminism Tuesday…To Shave or not to Shave?

Dubbed the Hairy Legs Movement, many women are now choosing to forgo shaving in a bid to challenge the beauty standards brought about by the unrealistic expectations of how women ‘should’ look. At the end of the day, it is your body, so you should be allowed to wear or look after it, however you want. I see this as empowering, but men should also be put into the picture. Both men and women should not have to be told whether they can or cannot shave. If a dude wants to shave, then great, if it makes him feel good about himself. If a girl doesn’t want to shave, then awesome, if she can’t be bothered to live up to societal expectations. There are many reasons for shaving or not shaving, and no-one should be judged for any of them!

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In the past, many cultures have used shaving/waxing as a hygienic practice, rather than something to strive for, to be ”perfect”. In the early 1900s, shaving would have been unnecessary as arms and legs were seldom seen, but as soon as the short sleeved dress was invented, a popular fashion magazine deemed body hair as unattractive on women, and so women started to shave it off. Nowadays, this practice costs £9.34 every month, so £112.08 a year, an expensive habit!

http://hairylegsclub.tumblr.com/

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The above link is the site that has begun to empower women all over the world. Yet, there are still some people who are ignorant to the fact that no-on has the right to control what you do with your body. For example, one commenter says that her family are so disgusted by her not shaving, that they’ll sit as far away from her as possible, if her legs are uncovered. Another states that one person said to ”It’s not natural to change your hair colour all the time, so why don’t you shave?”. This needs to stop! People should be able to choose what they want to do with their body, regardless of what anyone else thinks!

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I know myself that my own main reason for not shaving sometimes, is that I’m too lazy, and would prefer a few extra minutes in bed, the same as you would if you used dry shampoo instead of washing your hair. So then, why is using this dry shampoo acceptable when you’re too lazy to wash your hair, and yet not shaving isn’t? Modern women’s magazines don’t help either, rather they hinder it, with ”how to make your legs as smooth as [insert celebrity name here]”, and ”ten ways to make your man fall in love with you” (which usually involves some form of shaving). But the thing is, if you’re partner, your family or your friends don’t accept you as your unshaven (or shaven!) self, then you know exactly who is right behind you.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!