Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

I’ll start by saying that it feels like forever since I’ve written anything for this blog, and while forever is a bit of a stretch; I have not been sticking to my regular once a week programming (you know if we actually pretend I ever have). This is to be honest due to my regular scheduled bouts of ennui (which are regular even if nothing in my life is).

However, I’m back, ready to write, review, take awful blog pictures and keep pretending I’ll have the courage to put my face on YouTube one day.

This week’s quality content is a review of How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. I know this is not a new release by any means but I borrowed it to read for a book club at work so thought I’d do a little review about it. The book follows Tom Hazard, who looks about 41 years old but has been alive for centuries. He’s seen it all from Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, to New York to the South Seas. To avoid being caught he is constantly changing his identity to stay alive. We follow Tom as he starts to teach history at a London comprehensive (delightfully of course pulling on his experiences to teach) and is searching for why he still keeps going after all the centuries he’s lived.

You can kind of tell from the premise that the book is going to be a page turner and the prose aids this beautifully – it’s relatable in that way that has often been sometimes caused books to be dismissed as ‘beach reads’; but in fact just gives you breathing room to think. I also ferociously belong to the camp that believe that something doesn’t need to be long-winded to feel like a classic.

How To Stop Time however does not belong to the classic camp (in my humble opinion).  Don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely read and it will force you to enjoy life a little bit more, especially if you’re like me and have a tendency to get trapped in your own head a lot. It also will make you remember why you love history (or get you at least a bit excited about it if it wasn’t your subject at school), as this is definitely written by someone who fiercely loves history. Unsurprisingly, when I looked up Matt Haig I found that he studied English and History at Hull University.

Flaw wise (without trying to give anything away) the novel suffers from the trait I’ve been noticing in a few of my reads recently; the tying up of all plot holes as speedily as possible in the last chapter or so. Maybe, I just don’t like novels to end and maybe I would wrongly draw things out too much. But something about the thoughtful nature of the book makes me want it to be less rushed; after all the book does exude the theme that we have to learn to live in the present.

Some people will probably criticise the amount of famous cameos but really considering the amount of time this character is supposed to have lived; I don’t feel it’s too dramatic. I also feel like the people who are constantly open to new things and wait to see where life takes them are always the ones who find themselves drawn to people like that – like moths to a flame. Also, if you’re going to do any sort of narrative with time travel or travelling through different periods of time; your audience is going to expect the obligatory celebrity cameo.

The treatment of colonialism within the book is also a little bit fleeting and probably could of done with a bit more development than the two pages I saw. Especially, considering the way the novel reflects on casting someone as ‘other’ and witchcraft.

Overall, I did like this novel and would recommend it, especially if you’re a lover of any piece of fiction that looks at different time periods like me. Don’t go in thinking this is all guns blazing however. It is after all a story of an Englishman (well French, but shh –  and there is an argument to be had for that at least a little by the way in which the character sees themselves at being at home within London). If you need a bit of optimism and want a well written tale; you can’t go wrong with this one.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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February Favourites

I was watching my daily dose of YouTube and came across Pixielocks ‘February Favourites’ video and realised quite quickly that I had completely forgotten to do a February Favourites post. I considered just not writing a post to be honest because I couldn’t immediately think of a lot of favourite, but after pondering a little bit I realised there was a few things I got that I haven’t talked about yet that I’ve really enjoyed.

The first thing I really love is actually a Valentines day present from Martin. It’s a claddagh ring that I not very subtly hinted that I wanted from a local vintage jewellery shop where I live. It’s a tiny bit small as Martin didn’t know my ring size so used his little finger instead (which, to be fair isn’t far of), but I actually prefer wearing it as a necklace.  Also, I’ll admit I’ve wanted someone to give me one of these ever since watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer so thank you Martin for making my Buffy dreams come true.

princess-leia-mug.jpg

Claddagh ring

Princess Leia and Han Solo mugs

Another Valentines day present from Martin because I will forever NEED anything that features Han Solo and Princess Leia. If you’re like me and more likely to use a giant mug for noodles than tea or coffee- these are perfect! I considered letting Martin use one of them but decided strongly against it, as I couldn’t decide which one he could use as I love them both.

P.S. I know Martin got these from Clintons if anyone is interested.

Betty Boop Heart kimono 

So this was an impulse buy; I’m not going to lie. It’s cute and I hesitated putting it in my favourites as I’m not sure 100% how to style it but I still think it’s cute and I paid half of retail price (hence the impulse buy) on Depop so am happy that I tried something I wouldn’t have otherwise bought. It will also be great for some super cute outfits for next Valentines day (because I love an excuse to cover myself in heart print clothing). I also really, really want the matching denim jacket and jeans set from this collection (even though I am very certain I won’t be able to pull it off and I already mentioned it in my January favourites).

Betty Boop Kimono 1

Monki heart pillow 

Although this was a Valentines day aesthetic buy; it’s also really cute all year round. The material is super nice and velvety and I don’t know what else I can really say it’s a good pillow! I think it was around £7.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Brooklyn 99 is something I’d seen a few episodes on when it happened to come on TV but never fully embraced, but I am now very much loving,  It’s a great show to help me switch off at the end of the day and the characters are brilliant too! Definitely a new comedy favourite.

Superdrug B Beauty range 

I recently had to pick up some micellar cleansing water as the bottle I was using ran out. I knew I wanted something cruelty free but couldn’t afford something super expensive (and didn’t want to wait for something to be shipped either) so was delighted to see that I could pick up a bottle from my local Superdrug for £2.19 (currently reduced). I don’t wear heavy makeup but my experience with this has been nothing but positive, would definitely recommend as a affordable cruelty free option. It also made me want to try the rest of the B Beauty range, as if I’m not mistaken most or all of it is vegan (all of it is cruelty free). If a B Beauty range review is something you’d like to see let me know!

So here it is a very small favourites list. I considered adding the banana pancakes I’ve been making (recipe here), which literally just contain porridge oats, plant based milk and a banana so have been a healthy sweet option I’ve been loving; but I’m useful at making aesthetically pleasing food posts.  I also love the new dessert pots by Alpro (I love everything chocolate hazelnut that they do). I’ve not finished it yet but I love every episode of Sanrio Boys I’ve seen so far – I definitely need to hurry up and catch up with that series as well as The Ancient Magnus Bride (I also really want to read the magna for that series). The Winter Olympics were also amazing – I need to binge watch Yuri On Ice all over again, speaking of Yuri On Ice and the Olympics, I am still in shock that happened and incredibly jealous because I will never be able to do that myself (my ice skating skills are the total of one trip where I refused to let go of the edge of the rink).

This month I am going to finally watch Blank Panther and The Shape of Water, as well as read some books I’ve really wanted to read – so expect some reviews shortly. I’m also planning a London trip so might do a food blog post if I try anywhere super nice. Happy March everyone!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)