Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick: Review

Man, I’ve been in such a book slump lately; I’ve barely read a thing. Thanks to Beth at Booksnest for recommending this read to me and getting me through it! I’m not a big reader of biographical novels, that is to say, I don’t really read any… at all. However, I found this one to be both refreshing and entertaining so perhaps it’s time for me to change my tune.


Title: Scrappy Little Nobody

Author: Anna Kendrick

Date published: November 2016

AUDIO BOOK VERSION (AUDIBLE)

Summary:  A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

“I’m excited to publish my first book, and because I get uncomfortable when people have high expectations, I’d like to use this opportunity to showcase my ineptitude and pettiness and the frequency with which I embarrass myself. And while many of my female inspirations who have become authors are incredibly well educated and accomplished comedy writers, I’m very, very funny on Twitter, according to BuzzFeed and my mom, so I feel like this is a great idea. Quick question: Are run-on sentences still frowned upon? Wait, is ending a sentence with a preposition still frowned upon? I mean, upon frowned? Dammit!” (Anna Kendrick)

Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle-class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.


It feels weird to review an autobiography; it feels far too much like I’m judging another person’s real life so I won’t write too much. I will say that it was perfectly paced and I could’ve devoured it in one sitting had I enough time. There were enough personal stories that I felt I could better understand Kendrick but not so many that I felt as though I was probing, or being told too much.

I found a lot of Kendrick’s narrative incredibly easy to relate to. Mostly the way she looked at things and less so her talent and experiences (obviously!) She is an established artist whilst I’ve never auditioned for anything beyond a small student run play in an empty classroom (but that’s something that really can’t be remedied so what the heck, I’ll stick to my low traffic book blog and supermarket cashier chic thank you very much.) Despite all her fame and experience there was no point in the book where I felt her to be anything other than humble. And she wasn’t the kind of humble that is taught, or even really deliberate, she was unapologetic and honest and it made her stories so easy and enjoyable to listen to.

It was nice to listen to her read it as well. No doubt if I’d picked up a hard copy I would’ve tripped over a few words I hadn’t heard before or at least stopped every 30 pages to look up the name of a costume designer or actor because I didn’t know them or had completely forgotten what they looked like. Audio books take the pressure off. More than that though, with the author reading about things they actually experienced it felt way more honest. Like a super long one sided conversation (only, because it’s a book, the person doing all the talking isn’t being obnoxious.)

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to understand that famous people are very similar to regular people but Kendrick has certainly helped me realise that this may in fact be possible. In one part she describes a time when she experienced more-than-choppy sea conditions whilst on a boat with friends. She describes the power of the sea (In chapter 22 I think) and how small and naive she felt to not have feared it and it unsurprisingly comes from a place of intelligence and respect rather than wholly from fear. Whilst this is a book written about her it actually takes on the world as a whole and she really paints herself as this “scrappy little nobody” defined by these experiences. It was enthralling and had me completely reevaluating how I perceived the autobiographical genre. I haven’t read many (I can’t even think of one I can name) autobiographies but I’m definitely going to have to give them more of a chance.


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If you have any other suggestions or insights feel free to message me or leave them in the comments section below!


– Cat –

Happy Birthday Canada! 28 Books and their Canadian Authors

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR CANADA!!! Happy Birthday to you!

(You don’t know how tempting it was to put “Happy Birthday Mr President” there instead, for some reason my brain was all about that reference today. Weird.)

Anyhow, the beautiful country I currently call home is turning 150 years old in less than a week and, in tribute (and alongside the gorgeous red t-shirts my workplace has us wearing this week), here’s a list of some Canadian authors for you to try as well as some of their most popular works. All these lovely wordsmiths have one key thing in common: they are all Canadian born! So, without further ado, here they are:


Margaret Atwood

This one seems like a very obvious choice but honestly, what list of Canadian authors would be complete without her?

 

Yann Martel 

This wonderful author is likely another you’ll have heard of, or perhaps you saw the movie Life of Pi, an epic thing that was based of Martel’s book of the same name.

Heather O’Neill

Lullabies for Little Criminals has been floating around on my TBR since before I can remember and it’s only now I realise that she is in fact Canadian born! (Whoops!)

Emma Donoghue

Fans of Donoghue’s bestseller Room will be pleased to see this name on my little list here. The Irish-Canadian author’s 2010 novel won Commonwealth Writers’ Prize regional prize (Caribbean and Canada) in 2011 as well as accumulating a whole host of other accolades and nominations.

L. M. Montgomery

With the new film hitting screens this year it’s hard not to include the author of the well-loved classic Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery published her first works during the 1900s and her classic tale of one of our favourite fictional orphans, the stubborn but lovable Anne Shirley.

Alice Munro

If you’re a fan of the short-story form this talented Lady is someone you’ll want to add to your “I want to read everything they have ever written in the history of ever” list. Having also achieved the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature Munro is a widely respected and talented artist. Runaway, her Giller prize-winning collection of short stories is a great place to start.

Alwyn Hamilton

For you Young-Adult readers this is likely a name you will have come across in your reading. Rebel in the Sands was Hamilton’s popular debut and dominated #bookstagram last year (2016). The third in her trilogy is expected to be released at some time next year (2018).


Perhaps there’s someone here that you’ve not heard of before, or even a book cover that strikes your fancy? I’m reading one from this list in honour of #CanadaDay, let me know if you’re thinking of doing the same!


  – Cat –

“Who is Holly Golightly?” Breakfast at Tiffany’s

It’s been 56 years since Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) first graced our screens and it was undoubtedly different from the 1958 novella upon which it is based. Both the Hollywood audience as well as dominant sociological ideals (critically the assumptions made about gender and sexuality) contributed to the changes made during the adaptation process. “A film adaptation creates a new story; it is not the same as the original, nor should it be considered as such” and I will NOT be comparing these two in a “which one is better” way but more hope to examine the differences in an effort to celebrate both. 

I have such a big love for this story in every way it is told – not out of any high-brow literary significance (though arguably both have their places in history) but out of pure, unmarred, enjoyment. Audrey was such a beautiful and talented woman and, frankly, I enjoy every film I’ve ever seen her in and Capote is a particular favourite author of mine too so it’s no surprise I’m a fan of both editions. Here’s a quick summary of some differences between the two.

VS.

Key differences

Book (1958 – Truman Capote) Film (1961)
The songs Moon River
Joe Bell Who?
The War Removed by context
Open Ended (Gritty) Romantic Ending
Setting (40s) Setting (60s)
Sexuality boldly explored Sexuality significantly muted

Though some of these differences can be explained easily by way of context it’s important to remember they affect the overall  message of each story; giving them both very different overall meanings. (Though both are kinda perfect anyway, in their own way. ) Some more noticeable differences can be seen between individual character traits and changes to these are what really makes all the difference.

Image result for holly golightlyHolly

Everything about the on-screen Holly is iconic and she’s got quite a classy image these days, but she wasn’t always perceived that way. Though both versions are beguiling and a little quirky, one is certainly more raw and rough cut than the other sparkling Tiffany diamond.

Holly’s character in the book was a lot more risque than the Spirited lady we see climbing down the fire escape in the film. Capote’s original choice for Holly (Marilyn Monroe) allegedly turned down the role after concerns were raised that it would damage her image (although other sources argue Hepburn was just a better fit for the role). What riled people at the time was Holly’s clear bi-sexuality and the liberated nature in which she behaved. In the re-writing it seems all and any homosexuality was completely off limits – it’s crazy to think how far we’ve come in such a short time. In the book Holly tells us “people couldn’t help but think I must be a bit of a dyke myself. And of course I am.Everyone is: a bit. So what? That never discouraged a man yet, in fact it seems to goad them on”, a comment I found both surprising and unwittingly refreshing to read. It really is a pity this version of Holly wasn’t fully realised on screen. (Not that I don’t love Hepburn’s style.)

Despite the reductions made to some of her character traits she still maintains a unique perspective on the world with much of her trademark sass. In a nice tribute to Capote’s Holly, little aspects like her french phrases and wit carry flawlessly from page to screen.

She also doesn’t come across as completely helpless despite the romantic ending, she continues to assert “I’m not gonna let anyone put me in a cage” leaving the narrator seeming (at least a little bit) vulnerable before the closing scenes. There still lingers a note of female freedom but it’s much less overt than it’s first incarnation.

‘Fred’/ Paul/ The Narrator

Image result for breakfast at tiffanys man

In the book this complex character is not a sex worker (though he is presented this way in the film.) In fact, the whole ‘ this is my decorator, I’m definitely not sleeping with her for her money (except I totally am)’ debacle seems to spring completely out of nowhere, the female character ‘2E’, who supports Paul’s writing career, doesn’t exist at all in Capote’s novella.

That aside our narrator character on-screen still features a few more notably different characteristics to his counterpart between the pages. Like Holly, his sexuality is clearly closeted and his on-screen version is presented in a hetero-normative way, even going so far as to make him the main love interest of the story itself despite previously having been more of a spectator. On paper his love for her is not defined in a sexual way and it reads as if he was more in awe of her than anything else. He always insinuated that her life was so different from his own.

SEXUALITY

So we have established that our main characters had a few things in common in the novella, most notably their sexual liberation and independence.

George Axelrod allegedly said of his screenwriting adaptation process  “what we had to do was devise a story, get a central romantic relationship, and make the hero a red-blooded heterosexual” and so he did. Film is a huge industry and everyone surely knows that ‘sex sells’ but of course only heavily censored heterosexual love is acceptable enough to please us all; at least, that’s how it was back then. Censors played a huge part on the narrative and working around them was a difficult task. The casting of innocent and fabulous Hepburn helped to deflect attention away from her character’s occupation and her eventual submission to the security of a heterosexual relationship worked to “redeem” her for it later on.

I mean, Hollywood in the 1960s doesn’t need a huge introduction. It was the dominant ‘it’ thing – it was the be-all and end-all of entertain

Image result for breakfast at tiffanys kiss

ment in the US and, like many beings with extraordinary powers, they didn’t always use them for good. Or perhaps, what we perceive to be ‘good’ now. The film was very much a product of its time and the prescriptive nature of Hollywood culture over this period of second wave feminism means that some things were lost in the translation from page to screen. The subtle intertwining of power and vulnerability Capote gives Holly in the novel is somewhat stifled by the movie’s hollywood ending; it is an ending in which the wretched street girl is saved by the man – typical Hollywood –  and in fact, the narrator actually says “you belong to me.” It’s still a very sweet story and definitely one I’ll continue to enjoy but (In light of Capote’s novella) it’s clear the film missed an opportunity to be both progressive and poignant for its time. 

Everything Else

As vague a sub heading as that is I do feel that sexuality (and the dynamic between Holly and ‘Fred’) are the most distinctive changes to have occurred over the adaptation process and are the main reason for such varied texts. All that leaves are the smaller, albeit just as important, details.

chow-ss-slide-G7KR-superJumboFor instance the character of I.Y. Yunioshi is one that really needs some comment. The racial implications in both texts are pretty fiery but with the book being set in the 40s some slurs can be (at the very least) understood in context. The much later film with the almost cartoonish behaviour from Mickey Rooney is pretty cringe-worthy under today’s standards. The blatant whitewashing had since been acknowledged by the team behind it as a toxic caricature and hopefully is something we won’t see again. Aside from that, Mag Wildwood features much less in the film than in the book and seems a little marginalised. Though not imperative to the story it does affect how audiences perceive the relationship  between the two of them. Another character we don’t really see is Joe Bell, the bartender with whom our narrator reminisces about Holly. The storyteller style is lost a bit because of his absence but in some ways he was more of a frame for Holly’s story – the film puts all of its focus on her.

The New Holly

Image result for pixie lott as holly golightlyBorne of an iconic image Holly is constantly re-imagined. Both Anna Friel and Emila Clarke have taken to the stage to embody Miss Golightly but the most recent attempt (or attempt I’ve seen) was in 2016 by Richard Greenberg with Pixie Lott as Holly. It was great to see the version of events from the book played out in front of me and whilst, for me, Lott didn’t capture everything it meant to be the Holly Golightly (Hepburn’s shoes are rightly very difficult to fill) it seems right that Holly should be a character who is re-painted over and over again. It’s a tapestry that develops over time with different subtleties of character put forward by each attempt. I think a lot of Capote’s message lingers in that notion, that a little bit of a ‘wild thing’ exists in each of us, one way or another.

Do you prefer one over the other? Or have anything to add to the comparison? Let me know in the comments below.


  – Catherine Moore, Travelling –

Get that Court of Dreams Aesthetic

I’m moving in September (hopefully) and therefore have had to impose a serious book-buying, merch-ordering, home-ware-shopping ban upon myself and honestly, it’s killing me. There’s far too much cool stuff I want to buy. I’ve also been reading the ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses series) books and getting suitably obsessed. Long story short, I (and many others) want to live in Velaris and it is high time we figured out just how to do that. So here’s a nifty little collection of stuff  to get you through the book slump.

“To the Stars who Listen”


First off you’ve got to get yourself some stars that listen (and these are some of my favourites!)

These cute little stars are just the beginning! They also come in letter shapes so you can spell out words for your own little “Court of Dreams” – Plus they’d look so chic on #Bookstagram

These hanging stars are cute as heck and would look adorable along your mostly Maas bookshelf. Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas!

Click the image to go and check them out!

Romantic Bedroom Decor, Star Wall Decal, Glow in the Dark Stars, Romantic Gifts, Romantic Wall Decal, Glow Stars, Ceiling Stars

Then there’s these nifty little ceiling stars (not quite the green glowing shapes I had on my own bedroom wall in the nineties, but magical nonetheless.) Simply Stick them up and turn off the light and stare at your very own night sky…

Find these ones on ‘Wallcrafters’ Etsy page here.

But don’t fret, if you’re renting (or – understandably – just don’t like sticky-stuff on your ceiling) you can pick up a projector like this one to achieve a similar effect (albeit in covering a smaller radius). That’s right ladies and gents, problems with solutions here at

Tackfiction. What can I say? I just love stars, man.

“…And the dreams that are answered”

Next up, the key Ingredients for a good night’s sleep in your new starry kingdom.

Lily Flame is my favourite brand of candle (aside from the more niche bookish creations we’ll mention further down) and one of my favourites is super appropriate for a Night Court vibe and a good night’s sleep. The great thing about their candles, too, is that they have such punchy scents – half the time you don’t even have to light them to enjoy their fragrances.

Pair that with this cute indoor water feature and relax to the sound of the Sidra flowing quietly in your very own bedroom. Sight, sound, scent – check!


Our comforters are cozy, lightweight pieces of sleep heaven. Designs are printed onto 100% microfiber polyester fabric for brilliant images and a soft, premium touch. Lined with fluffy polyfill and available in king, queen and full sizes. Machine washable with cold water gentle cycle and mild detergent.

Tie it all in with this gaudy duvet cover with some deep blue or bright pink pillows to harness your own inner rainbow of Velaris.

And what better to dress the bed than a cosy throw pillow to compliment that lovely bedspread than a few of etsy’s best throw pillows. (Click image to find product)

il_570xN.594967143_fyna Light Up Star Plush Pillow THESE LIGHT UP!

I bet they’re good listeners too…

Feysand Pillow, ACOWAR Throw Pillow, A Court of Mist and Fury Pillow, Bookish Pillow

 Bookish Goodies

(This is my favourite part!) There are so many amazing creative people on sites like Etsy and Ebay and I can barely resist spending all my money on their wonderful wares. Here’s a few night-court inspired picks! (click for links)


The Night Court Mug. High Fae. ACOMAF. ACOTAR. ACOWAR. Feyre. Rhysand Quote Mug. Sarah J Maas. Night Court Mug. Book Lover. Prythian Mug.il_570xN.1141238953_3gey.jpgTo the Stars Bookmark

Night Court Starry Pendant Necklace, ACOMAF, ACOTAR, Velaris, night court, night court necklace, Rhysand, FeyreA Court of Mist and Fury Quote Coaster. The Night Court. Prythian. Feyre. Rhysand Quote. Bookworm. ACOMAF. ACOWAR. ACOTAR. Sarah J Maas.


Finishing touches

Orange eye necronomicon horror book, handmade leather journal, one of a kind scary creepy sketchbook, dark gothic diary, occult grimoire Keep your memories from under the mountain and your own court of nightmares stashed away somewhere safe in this mysterious handmade notebook. Dream journals can be fabulously dreamy and pink too but there’s something inherently Rhysand about keeping your secrets in something wicked like this .

(They’re handmade and there are loads of styles to choose from too!)

and then, not forgetting those beautiful Illyrian wings, something to write with (artificial of course, I wouldn’t dream of taking feathers from a real Illyrian warrior #ImNotCrazy)


Have you found any hidden ACOTAR treasures online or in stores? Let me know (one day I’ll be free to shop!)

In the meantime let me know if you’d like further posts on other court aesthetics – I’m thinking of doing the summer court next. Literally anything to stop me actually shopping!

Sweet Dreams!


   – Cat –