books · Horror · Stephen King

‘FEAR stands for fuck everything and run’: Doctor Sleep Review

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In my last post I wrote about my thoughts on The Shining and having loved it I decided it would be a great idea to read its 2013 sequel Doctor Sleep. Returning to the now middle-aged and alcoholic Danny Torrance (sound familiar?), the story follows his journey into embracing the shining after coming off the booze, and his work helping terminal cancer patients reach the ‘other side’.  I was pleased to see Danny using his abilities for a great cause and it was interesting to see that he had inherited a drinking problem from his father. The start of the book was promising and the continuation of the Torrance’s story after the Outlook Hotel allowed for some closure for fans of The Shining. However prior knowledge of the book is not essential as this also acts as a ‘previously on’ for the new reader.

In spite of this the introduction of Abra was for me, the decline of the book. There were parts where it felt more like young adult fiction than a Stephen King novel, as the sporadic pop culture references seemed like an attempt to relate to a younger audience. That aside the overall characterisation of Abra was pretty good for a middle aged, male author but I still feel that like Danny in The Shining, some parts of her mannerisms seemed too mature for her age. Again, this may be because of her ability to read the dark thoughts of the adults around her but the juxtaposition of her maturity with her love of her cuddly rabbit seemed out of place.

Another criticism I had was with the discovery that Danny and Abra’s mother were long lost half-siblings. The idea of Jack Torrance sleeping around during his drunken tirades is plausible but the fact that Danny happened to have a psychic connection with his niece just seems a bit far fetched.

Other than that I did enjoy Doctor Sleep  and I would definitely read it again. The True Knot were adequate villains (although very easy to kill for steam sucking monsters), and the character of Rose the Hat was probably one of my favourites. I would have liked to learn more about her backstory but I suppose that would take up too much word space. I also loved that the Shining ability was explored more thoroughly and that we got to see how Danny and Wendy coped after the Overlook Hotel. Overall it was a good novel that had enough strong points to hold it up. 3/5


books · Horror · Stephen King

‘This inhuman place makes human monsters’ – The Shining: Review


In completing my English Literature degree with a 2:1 classification (yay), I finally have the time to read fiction for fun again!
Of course being left with an unlimited array of genres to choose from I decided to read three books at the same time. However when I began the third book The Shining I physically couldn’t put it down so completed it without distraction within a few days.

I had never read any of Stephen King’s novel prior to this but had seen a few film adaptions of his work, The Shining included. I was pretty shocked however to discover that the book is almost completely different in tone and theme to Kubrick’s version.
In the book Jack is a good father to Danny (albeit flawed) and shows genuine love and compassion to his family, light-years away from Jack Nicholson’s psychotic maniac.

But, I don’t wish to scrupulously compare the two versions as this is a review of the book after all!

The narrative is somewhat slow paced at the start as the Torrance family relationships are thoroughly explored. Nonetheless I felt this was necessary for the horror later on and did not get bored at all. Although Jack suffers from alcoholism and anger issues King makes it clear that he wants to change, for the sake of his family, a reason why he takes the caretaker job at the Overlook in the first place. Setting this up allows for the true horror of the hotel’s possession of Jack, especially when he manages to temporarily break through at the end of the novel to tell Danny that he loves him and becomes the hero of the story by turning the roque mallet on himself (a much stronger ending than the film).

I also loved Danny’s character and the idea of the Shining, although I did feel like he was way too eloquent for a five year old who is learning to read. I guess he would be more mature than others his age due to the fact that he can hear adults’ thoughts, but he says pretty big words for a small child.

I was also surprised that there was less ‘horror’ conventions than I first expected in a King novel, but on reflection the horror lay in The Outlook’s influence on the characters’ minds (especially Jack), rather than the ghosts themselves.

Overall I really enjoyed The Shining and have never felt so tense and jumpy whilst reading a book. Its the first novel in a while that I have been ardent to get back to, and I felt the whole consuming force of the Overlook’s possessive power. 4.5/5




Ariel, Sylvia Plath

Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.
God’s lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!—The furrow
Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,
Berries cast dark

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Something else

Hauls me through air—
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

Godiva, I unpeel—
Dead hands, dead stringencies.
And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child’s cry
Melts in the wall.
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.
Coeliac · Fitness · Health · Nutrition · Student Meals

How gluten intolerance gave me the health kick I needed

I’ve become a bit of a health freak recently after I discovered that I am slightly intolerant to gluten. Because of this I have started eating a lot more fruit and veg as well as drinking 2 litre bottles of water a day . A few months ago I used to live off pasta and bread, and couldn’t understand why I constantly had stomach pains. As a student these were the cheapest foods to eat as well as pizza and to be honest I never really cared about nutrition. I used to put everything else before eating such as studying, going out and working at my night job, and would much rather spend my money on alcohol and clothes. However this obviously began to take its toll (as well as the growing intolerance to gluten) and I finally had to see a doctor. It turned out that not only had I developed a gluten intolerance but I also had anemia. Although the low iron count wasn’t due to my diet it did give me a wake up call and made me realise that I needed to improve my diet.

As I couldn’t eat the same things that I used to, I decided to substitute pasta with rice. But instead of bunging it in a pan and throwing on some sauce from a jar like I did with pasta, I decided to add lots of vegetables instead and make my own sauce from scratch. Just doing this alone meant I was eating healthier than I did before. Preparing food from scratch also gave me a kind of buzz and I decided that this was how I wanted to eat from then on.

Around this time I also discovered the body coach Joe Wicks on instagram and fell in love with his cheeky humour and great recipes. So far I have only made one of his dishes but it has become my favourite lunch to make; it is a fried egg cooked in a pan of coconut oil with sweet potato, red onion, spring onion, red pepper, mange tout and chorizo. It’s so simple and so much healthier then a egg and bacon sarnie.

I’ve also started attending an exercise class every week; legs, bums and tums, as well as partaking in the squat challenge. I only started this healthier lifestyle about 3 weeks ago but already I can feel the difference! I definitely enjoy eating and cooking more as well as having more energy to actually go out and enjoy myself. I know I’m not totally healthy at the moment but I’m hoping over time I will learn more and more about nutrition and how to look after my body properly.
Here’s to a better future!

The first time I made the body coach dish using bacon instead of chorizo (student funds!)


SHERLOCK’S FANGIRLS – Too many feels? (The Sign of Three Review)

I have just finished watching ‘Sherlock’ on BBC One and for once I feel so strongly on the programme, that I felt it was necessary to blog about. After watching this new episode (The 2nd in the series) I have come to the conclusion that it is now solely aimed at TUMBLR FANGIRLS. Let me explain;

The first two series of ‘Sherlock’ were brilliant. They were full of drama, wit and genuine mystery. However, since returning to our screens after a 2 year break I feel that the show is…different somehow.
As we know, the ‘Tumblr’ culture is growing ever stronger amongst teenagers (mostly female), causing the increase of so called ‘Fangirl’ population. In fact, ‘Fangirl’ is such a huge part in our society, it even has it’s own entry in the dictionary;


‘Sherlock’ has a vast fanbase on Tumblr, where many Gifs and Fanfiction on the show are posted.
I feel that the last two episodes in this series, seemed to be aimed more towards the Fangirls then the rest of its audience, take tonight’s episode for example. John Watson appoints Sherlock as his Best Man for his Wedding, where follows a rather uncharacteristically soppy speech from Sherlock. Ok fine, even Sherlock the “High Functioning Sociopath” is allowed to get soppy at his best friends wedding, but surely that’s no excuse for the rest of his behaviour. For example, dancing, flirting with the bridesmaid, looking up napkin tutorials on Youtube! I love ‘Sherlock’ I really do, and I love what Moffat and Gatiss have done to bring it into the 21st Century, but this new series feels like just one big nod to the Fangirls. I genuinely felt like I was watching a Fanfiction being played out in front of me as opposed to a real episode. It lacked drama, suspense, even the usual dark colour palette was replaced with a bright yellow.

Episode One was no better; showing us fan theories of Sherlock’s fake suicide instead of how he actually did it. They even included a personification of Tumblr when they showed a particular theory in which Sherlock and Moriarty lean in for a kiss. (Of course that was made into a Gif seconds after the show)
I looked at my Twitter homepage straight after the show, which was of course bombarded with tweets like “OMG I’M CRYING TOO MANY FEELS” and “THEY HUGGED OH SHIT NO FUCK THIS IM DONE” to name just a few. And I couldn’t help imagining Moffat and Gatiss leaning back on their chairs and thinking “Yep, our work here is done.”
There were even more homosexual undertones than usual, in fact there were so many they weren’t really undertones at all. There was the knee touching, numerous hugs, sleeping arm in arm on the stairs etc etc. It was screaming out to be ‘Gifed’.
I do still love ‘Sherlock’ and think it’s still well written. However I just feel that this series is aimed at Fangirls rather than genuine fans of the show, who watch for the gripping plots and cinematography, not just for the ‘Johnlock feels’.