Life Moves Pretty FastTitle: Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons we Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore)

Author: Hadley Freeman

Pages: 311 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

From Vogue contributor and Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, a personalized guide to eighties movies that describes why they changed movie-making forever—featuring exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and stars of the best cult classics.

For Hadley Freeman, movies of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a BabyHannah and Her SistersGhostbusters, and Back to the Future; all a teenager needs to know in Pretty in PinkFerris Bueller’s Day OffSay AnythingThe Breakfast Club, and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action from Top GunDie HardBeverly Hills Cop, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex in 9 1/2 WeeksSplashAbout Last Night,The Big Chill, and Bull Durham; and family fun in The Little MermaidETBigParenthood, and Lean On Me.

In Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decade’s key players, genres, and tropes. She looks back on a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, where children are always wiser than adults, where science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with giddy excitement. And, she considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about society’s changing expectations of women, young people, and art—and explains why Pretty in Pink should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

From how John Hughes discovered Molly Ringwald, to how the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced the evolution of comedy, and how Eddie Murphy made America believe that race can be transcended, this is a “highly personal, witty love letter to eighties movies, but also an intellectually vigorous, well-researched take on the changing times of the film industry” (The Guardian).

The Review

I love the 80s. Let’s just get that out of the way. I love the music, the fashion and most of all I loved the movies. So when I saw the subject of Hadley Freeman’s book Life Moves Pretty Fast I knew I had a kindred spirit and that I had to read this book.

Life Moves Pretty Fast is a book that not only celebrates cinema of the 80s but it looks at the cultural impact upon those films and more importantly how these films impacted on culture. I, who consider myself pretty knowledgeable on movies of this decade, was impressed by just how many facts and discussion points that I wasn’t aware of. Yet, this makes it sound like this is a stuffy academic text. It really isn’t. Hadley Freeman’s writing is sharp, witty and sassy (especially her footnotes which are delightfully funny). This really is the go to text for the 80s movie buff.

I do have an issue with Life Moves Pretty Fast; one, I am sure Freeman will actually understand and appreciate. That issue is this: some great movies didn’t make the cut. Some of my favourite 80s movies were mentioned but not explored fully. Films such as The Goonies, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Labyrinth among many, many others. Really, Hadley Freeman should rectify this immediately by writing a part two to Life Moves Pretty Fast. Although, if anything from the movies of the 80s has taught us that the sequel probably won’t be as good as the first.

Life Moves Pretty Fast is the ‘go-to’ guide for any 80s movie buff. Go and buy yourself a copy today.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons we Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) by Hadley Freeman is available now.

Follow Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) on Twitter.

For more titles from Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) please visit the official website www.simonandschuster.com.

4 Stars

The Blurb

A vicious hit, a vengeful enemy, a drug addled Colombian club owner and a sex crazed Italian family… the ever powerful Lucky Santangelo has to deal with them all.

Meanwhile Max – her teenage daughter – is becoming the “It” girl in Europe’s modeling world. And her Kennedyesque son, Bobby, is being set up for a murder he didn’t commit. But Lucky can deal. Always strong and unpredictable, with her husband Lennie by her side, she lives up to the family motto – Never fuck with a Santangelo.

Lucky rules… the Santangelos always come out on top.

The Santangelos is an epic family saga filled with love, lust, revenge and passion.

The Review

On Saturday the 19th of September I picked up my very first Jackie Collins book. The Santangelos was sent to me by Book in the City for review and since I had never read anything by Jackie Collins before (believing that she wrote all those sexy books that I had never had any interest in reading) I decided to give her writing a whirl. I woke up the following morning to the news that she had sadly died after suffering from cancer.

What can I say about my first dip into the literary world of Jackie Collins? Well sitting here writing this review is a convert. I bloody loved The Santangelos.

It is such a shame that it is the last in the series because it has inspired me to buy the rest and start from the beginning.

The Santangelos are a successful family headed by the retired Gino Santangelos. His daughter, Lucky, is our protagonist and the story centres around the drama that her family manage to get themselves involved in. Son Bobby is accused of murder, daughter Max is living the wildlife in London to get over her movie star ex and Gino is gunned down in an assassination. Lucky is determined to find out who it was that killed her father but how far is she willing to go?

So, even though I have came into this world a little late I feel like I know the characters – Collins provides enough back story so new readers do not feel lost. That she manages to do this whilst maintaining a fun and frisky story is a credit to her talent as a writer. There is a reason why her writing is so popular and that reason is that she is damn good at telling a story.

I’m genuinely saddened that there are no more books about the Santangelos family but I am glad that I have the whole back catalogue to get through.

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins is available from September 30th.

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her own relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A Phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it with sensitivity, gentility and honesty.

The Review

In the past month I have read three young adult books which centre on the topic of teen suicide. This contentious issue seems to be (somewhat worryingly) en vogue. As worrying as it is that books for young adults are focussing on such dark subject we have to also be thankful for them. With any book, a reader will feel a sense of escapism and whether or not the subject of the book is happy or sad the reader will learn about the consequences of a person’s actions. Therefore, we have to be thankful to the likes of Gayle Forman who, in this instance, writes about the impact that suicide can have to those you leave behind.

In I Was Here, Forman explores the dangers that the internet can provide for those who are contemplating killing themselves. How a person can learn tips on how to end your life and support from others who encourage you to take the next step or “catch the bus.”

However, what is more powerful is the sheer devastation that the character Meg leaves behind, in particular with her best friend Cody. She feels anger, rage, grief, guilt and sadness – a thesaurus of emotions that she cannot begin to fathom. In the end she tries to search for an answer, for someone to blame.

Out of the three ‘suicide stories’ that I have read recently, I believe that I Was Here is the most powerful. The sense of loss and all the emotions that come after losing someone really make this story resonate. I would implore anyone to read it.

Gayle Forman brings a unique and inspiring voice to YA fiction.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman is available now.

You can follow Gayle Forman (@gayleforman) on Twitter.

I was here

It is not often, indeed I don’t think that it has ever happened, that a book has me choking back the tears and forcibly swallowing the lump that has formed in my throat back down. But then The Opposite of Loneliness is no ordinary book.

In its complete form the book is called The Opposite of Loneliness Essays and Stories. However, the author, Marina Keegan, cannot be held responsible for the onset of my emotional spiral. Marina Keegan is dead. The introduction was provided by her college professor at Yale from where Keegan graduated in 2012. Five days after she graduated she was killed in a car accident.

Entering this book I tried not to let the emotional impact of the writer’s death colour my opinion of the stories. It is too easy to do; glorify the poor girl who didn’t live to see her novel published. Fortunately, the beauty, truth and outstanding quality of Keegan’s writing meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about that; a fact that makes Keegan’s death all the more poignant.

The collection of short stories is simply breathtaking. The fact that someone so young, who hadn’t really lived, managed to find such an individual voice is beyond impressive. The stories are entertaining, sharp and beautifully written.

Keegan’s collection of essays covers a wide range of topics from the beaching of whales to the uncertainty of adulthood. Equally as impressive as her short stories her essays are filled with passion and fire, her words jump off the page and hit you with the sheer honesty of them. In the titular essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, the final essay that Keegan had produced for Yale Daily News, she told her fellow classmates that they were “so young”. She repeated the sentiment, trying to make her classmates realise that they had time to make or do things that they were passionate about. In her short time on this plain Keegan managed to leave her mark.

This book blew me away and I am genuinely saddened that the world of literature lost a promising writer before she truly had chance to shine.

The Opposite of Loneliness Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan is available now.

 

Last week’s attempt to read seven books was slightly ambitious. Don’t get me wrong I gave it a darn good punt but social engagements (don’t I sound fancy) and hospital appointments meant that I didn’t get through them all. Boo hiss.

Never mind. I did get through the following whilst taking part in @Emmaiswriting’s #sunathon event:

What Happens to All the Men when they Move to Manhattan? by Jill Knapp @JL_Knapp

Before You by Amber Hart @AmberHartBooks

Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight @AnouskaKnight

I was fortunate to be sent The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. Elizabeth Preston, a press officer at Simon & Schuster was lovely enough to send me a review copy. I am extremely grateful because this book had sat patiently on my Amazon wish list waiting to be bought. After I finished Since You’ve Been Gone I picked it straight up. So far I really loving it and a review will be posted later this week.

As for the books that I didn’t quite manage to get through, they will be carried over onto this week. Hopefully I will get through them. This will also include a new NetGalley download, Barefoot in Babylon. I’m hoping to have the review for this book posted on More Than The Music’s site. It is a music website that I write for so it seems fitting that a book about the most famous music festival should be posted on there too.

I had a few books sent to me this week (I also did cheekily order myself a few).

I bought Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I was accepted to review The Book of Life on NetGalley. I requested it before I realised it was the third in the trilogy. I had the first book on my kindle so I figure I will do a future post on the trilogy as a whole. Keep your eyes peeled for that one.

I also bought The Virgins by Pamela Erens which I am excited to read. Along with My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me by Hilary Winston; based on the blurb both of these books sound awesome. Finally, I treated myself to a second hand copy of Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. I have heard such mixed reviews about this book so I am going to give it a go and make up my own mind.

Finally, this week I wrote a review about a book that I didn’t quite like. No, that is wrong. I thought the book had a lot of potential but to me it just did not seem ready for publication which is a shame because it had a lot of promise. However, I felt bad about posting the review. Do any of my reviewer friends ever feel that? In my opinion I wasn’t mean about the book. I said what I didn’t like about it and the reasons why but not in a nasty or hurtful way. However, this guilty feeling was increased when the writer tweeted me apologising that I didn’t like the book. I felt so bad. The thing is that a lot of other people seemed to like it. She got a lot of positive feedback but I just couldn’t look past what I felt were glaring mistakes and inconsistencies. How do you handle a situation like that? I would love to know.

Anywho, another week – another TBR pile. Hope you all have a great book week. If you are in the country this week why not participate in the #staycation event which takes place from 28th July to August 3rd. For more information on this event then go to http://shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk/ or alternatively tweet Sharon @Shazsbookblog.