YALC 2017 Recap

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Okay, this post is going to be SUPER late by the time I’m able to post this, but NEVER MIND. On Saturday 28th July I was lucky enough to be able to attend YALC, the con in London for young adult books! And here is my round up of what I got up to!

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I attended YALC on the Saturday in 2015 but this year was SO MUCH BIGGER. The main difference I could see was that there were loads more stalls — publishers, authors, other bookish or nerdy companies — in addition to the panels and workshops. Although I’d been basically looking forward to it since the summer before when I’d missed it, I was pretty anxious. (Also, last time I went to a con I brought the wrong ticket which was yikes.) I think that did detract from my day a bit but I couldn’t really do anything about it.

 

When I arrived at about 9am, I basically just checked out the area. I managed to get my hands on the very last copy of Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz which I was very smug about. I also bought The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and picked up a proof of The Fandom by Anna Day & Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki as well as SO MANY free samplers and other swag. I didn’t want to take all my new books away with me so sadly I’ve only read The Loneliest Girl so far but I ADORED IT, and I’m super excited to read the others! These actually ended up being the only books I got (apart from Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger from the book swap). I do sort of regret not buying more books to be honest, but I had just had a mini haul in order to buy books to get signed at YALC, so. I also purchased a YALC 2016 t shirt even though I wasn’t there in 2016 because, well, I wanted a t shirt and liked the 2016 design more. 😛

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samplers I picked up

Next I met up with my friend who was a bit late due to sleeping in (#relatable am I right) (or not for me because I wake up at like 7am every single day) we headed off to the Publishing 102 workshop in the Agent Arena. 5 different people working in the literary and oublishing industry, from editor to designer to librarian, told us about their jobs and answered any questions. To be honest I don’t think I’ll work in publishing but it’s good to keep my options open and I thought it was really interesting! It must be really cool to work on such iconic book designs like The Fault in Our Stars which have become very important & recognisable in fandom spaces and stuff.

Next up after a very long queue for the toilets (okay but…why did they only have like 4 toilets for such a busy convention) was the Genre Bending panel with Zen Cho, VE Schwab, Ben a, Samantha Shannon and also two other people I didn’t know. I found it a bit difficult to hear from where I was but it was very interesting to hear about different genres and what genres actually are. 

Right after this I attended the Unconventional Romance panel with Ayisha Malik, Paige Toon, Patrice Lawrence & Jennifer E Smith. I enjoyed it, and it was cool to hear from Ayisha Malik because I’d bought her book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to read whilst away so that got me excited. (Also, oh my goodness, I really need to read Indigo Donut.) Some parts were better than others and also, hi, it is I a tiny ace teenager who has never fallen in love so that’s not universal but yeah.

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books I got signed

I wish that I’d understood more about the Virtual Queueing system and got my VE Schwab and Laini Taylor tickets in between those two panels as then I’d have been able to get my stuff signed, but sadly I had to skip getting my Laini Taylor books signed because the queue was just too long. However, I did get my books signed by Lauren James, Zen Cho, and later on VE Schwab which I’m so happy about!

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galactic makeover time

Whilst waiting I got a fun galactic makeover, themed to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, so here I am all sparkly for you. Fun fun.

Now the Teen Bloggers Chat meetup! I was SUPER excited for this & I was very sad to arrive late, sorry guys. But, you know, I really did want those VE Schwab books signed. I was a bit of an awkward bean but it was so lovely to meet everyone, and I hope we can meet again at some point (???).

After this I headed off to the Books That Made Me panel with VE Schwab, Joanne Harris & Laini Taylor. I hadn’t realised it was going to be about, like, formative books you’ve read? So that was a surprise. But it was still cool. And finally I stayed to the end to watch Non Pratt shave her head for charity, and also to not see Benedict Cumberbatch because I didn’t realise what was going on. I thought I didn’t care but APPARENTLY I DO STILL CARE.

Overall I had a fab time, despite being a bit stressed and anxious, and I hope that I can attend again to see YALC grow even more. Now go check out some fab recaps by Jess @ Bookends and Endings and Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf, and you can also watch video footage of ME in the wild at the #teenbloggerschat meetup. Please do link your YALC recap below, I’d love to read it!

did you go to yalc? have you been to another book event? would you like to?

PS. I know I’m technically on hiatus, but I thought it would be a good idea to post this whilst YALC was still vaguely fresh in our minds. I plan to be fully returning at the end of August with my summer favourites. 🙂

On Not Feeling Awesome // plus hiatus

Hey guys! So. If you’ve been following me on social media you might have seen that I haven’t been having a great few days… I’ve been feeling pretty down. I tried to write numerous blog posts with little success. It feels like a lot of bad & stressful stuff has been happening, even though I know it’s probably my perception of it.

It’s okay. I’m doing better now. Even just making the decision to sit down and write makes me feel better. And crying also makes me feel better, even if that sounds kind of weird. I don’t know, maybe my period is coming? It would explain the cramps but also I don’t normally get bad cramps before my period so??? who knows??

Also, I was really stupid & broke my phone. After sitting in rice for several days it seems to mostly work okay, except for the volume. I’d rather have that than nothing though! I’m just a bit frustrated at myself. :/

Just in general EVERYTHING FEELS ANNOYING. I’m having problems dying my hair and seeing all the cool stuff happening at SDCC which I’m not at and having a bit of a Feeling Bad About Gender Moment. I decided to kinda ‘come out’ to my irl friends, I suppose, in that I asked them to use they/them pronouns for me. I love them a lot, and we’re cool and LGBTQ+ together, but some of them don’t know much about non-binary stuff so I guess it can be tiring? And also because I’m an awkward person I don’t like correcting people. But I also put my pronouns more visibly on twitter, so. I’m proud I did that. If I decide actually these pronouns aren’t for me then that’s okay, but they feel good right now, and I’ve had a year to think about.

Good stuff has been happening too! I’m going to YALC next Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited. I also went to see part 1 of Angels in America at the cinema; I look forward to finishing it next Thursday. I’m loving podcasts right now and am absolutely living for the second season of Witch Please, The Penumbra Podcast, and the new Secret Feminist Agenda. I’m currently having a bit of a feminism renaissance! Yay!

I didn’t really realise it until I sat down today but — I think what I need is to take some time away. I’ve been so stressed about trying to schedule posts that I just HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO DO ANYTHING. It is a little disappointing for me because I’m always like ‘oh yay, I blog really regularly! I’m reliable!’ but honestly I want to prioritise my mental health. It’s never good to burn out. It’s not good for me to not be enjoying blogging anymore.

As such, I’ve decided to take August off. I’m away with minimal wifi for the first two weeks — camping hell yeah! — and I’ll see when I get back. I’ll probably post a YALC round up but I can’t guarantee anything more. Instead, I’m going to be working to make my blog even more awesome than before in time for Autumn and my 4th blogoversary! (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. I feel so old yet I have so few followers, ahahahaha.) (I’m also trying hard to not get down about the relative success of my blog because JEALOUSY IS NOT COOL.)

Thank you for understanding and for staying with me, friends. I love you all. I’ll probably still be more present on twitter and tumblr if you fancy saying hi to me. Please stay well. I’ll see you soon. ❤

 

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

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It might be a little past mid-year, but PFFT. All of summer is basically the same, right? 😉 Thanks so much to Bex @ My Shelf & Myself for tagging me, and can we all just take a second to appreciate that amazing blog name. 😍 Now onto the books!

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

the hate u give

OH MAN. I have no idea how to choose! I think that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Release by Patrick Ness, Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg and Our Dark Duet & A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab are among my favourites so far.

Best sequel of 2017 so far

a conjuring of light

I just finished Lord of Shadows which I loved, and I also adored Our Dark Duet, but I’d have to say A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab. I love the world & characters so much and reading that book was just such a thrilling experience. It made me so glad that I can have such awesome fan experiences.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

want cindy pon

Want by Cindy Pon sounds SO EXCELLENT. It’s a scifi book set in the futuristic Taiwan! Which is super cool! I would really like to read more scifi that isn’t a futuristic UK/US. Also, the cover is SO NICE.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

the loneliest girl in the universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I adored The Next Together duology by Lauren James and I am so excited for her new novel! I’ve been snooping around on Tumblr where the author is posting related stuff and…I think there’s going to be fandom? SCI FI FANDOM HECK YEAH. I am also SUPER EXCITED for Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore.

Biggest disappointment

railhead

Railhead by Philip Reeve was one of the books I was most excited for on the Carnegie list. It started off with a cool premise — SCIFI, TRAINS, STEAMPUNK — but I ended up not really being engaged with the storyline or characters. I also maintain that the future is definitely more queer, okay?

Biggest surprise

the smell of other people's houses
I wasn’t expecting to like The Smell of Other People’s Houses but I actually ADORED and DEVOURED it.  It’s set in 70s Alaska which I didn’t know much about at all, and it tells the story of a bunch of different teenagers and the way their lives intersect. I LIKE THESE KINDS OF CROSSING STORIES A LOT, OKAY.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

bone gap laura ruby
Laura Ruby already has some books released, but Bone Gap was the first novel I’d read by her, and I enjoyed it a lot! I look forward to reading any new works of hers. 🙂

Newest favourite character

the last beginning
There was also a question here for ‘newest fictional crush’ but I don’t get crushes haha, so I merged it with my favourite character! I adore both Clove and Ella from The Last Beginning by Lauren James. I LOVE READING ABOUT QUEER GIRLS IN STEM IT MAKES MY HEART SING WITH JOY. I’m also still in love with Kell and Lila and Rhy but hey, that’s not new. 😉

Book that made you cry

release patrick ness
I don’t think I actually cried whilst reading it (because I am a stone cold human who never cries reading books) but Release by Patrick Ness made me feel a lot of emotions. It was just one of those books that reminded me so much of my own feelings — in a way that was both painful and wonderful? (Our Dark Duet)

Book that made you happy

and a happy new year
The Spinster Club series by Holly Bourne has always given me a lot of joy, adn the series finale …And a Happy New Year? was no exception. Of course there was no shortage of crises, and it wasn’t a completely happy ending, but it reminded me of how awesome feminism and friendship are.

Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year

a monster calls
I think the only book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year is A Monster Calls? (Based on the book by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd.) It wasn’t my favourite movie ever, but I thought the filming was very pretty & it made me feel all the things.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

Erm, I don’t actually write reviews! Maybe I can go through my Goodreads and find one, wait… Okay, no, I don’t know how to search through and read this.

Most beautiful book you bought or received this year

girl of ink and stars
Alas, I only borrowed it from the library, but The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is SO BEAUTIFUL in its physical form. Not only is the cover beautiful — the pages are also such nice quality & there are map illustrations and GAH SO NICE. Also, I bought my friend a new 20th anniversary Ravenclaw copy of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone and to be honest I thought that was pretty awesome.

Books you need to read by the end of this year

when dimple met rishi

OH MY GOODNESS. SO MANY. SO MANY.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon I have this on my Kindle & I’m going to read it on holiday!
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore AAAH I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED THIS BUT I’M SO EXCITED.
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash This was only just released in the UK, aah, and it sounds wonderful.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee Webseries creator! Internet people! Asexual characters!
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee I’ve been meaning to read this for ages becayse it sounds AWESOME.
And also a TON more because ALL THE BOOKS YESSSSS. I couldn’t possible fit them all on here. 😛

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I’m not tagging anyone because a) as some of you might know I find tagging people a bit stressful haha and b) it is, erm, not really mid-year anymore, so I’d feel a bit awkward. I do hope you enjoyed this post!

how has your bookish year been so far? do you have a favourite book of 2017 yet?

Summer Bucket List (& Other Plans)

summer bucket list 2017

I’ve just put on my summer playlist and for once the sun is shining here in the UK. Yep, it’s summertime again! AKA the time where I celebrate not having to do schoolwork only to end up being bored. I wish I was someone who could really take this time to relax and do nothing but unfortunately doing that just makes me feel TERRIBLE. By the end of the holidays I actually miss the structure and purpose that school gave me.

But, I am determined that I’m going to do FUN STUFF this summer and NOT MOOCH AROUND. I might be starting off with too high aspirations, but I’ve printed out a calendar and I’m hoping to get back into using my bullet journal as that really helped me structure my day.

I’ve made a to do list of all the stuff that I want or need to do — ranging LL from homework to visiting museums — so I thought I’d share the most interesting here with you. (Trust me, if I just shared my actual word document with the list it would be pretty incomprehensible.)

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activities

There are so many great museums in London & I don’t think I make enough use of them! I’m hoping to visit the Queer Art exhibition at Tate Britain, the LGBTQ+ history thing at the British Museum, maybe visit the V&A or the Science Museum. I have’t been there since I was about 8 so I’d love to see how it’s changed.

I’d also like to take some day trips for example to Brighton, since it’s pretty easy to get a train ticket places, and also I don’t think I’ve ever been to Brighton. SO I’D LIKE TO DO THAT. I’m still working on convincing my friends to come with me haha.

personal

For personal activities, I am hoping to dye my hair blue tomorrow. I actually dyed it blue earlier but it was a semi-permanent dye so washed out basically immediately. 😦 This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages so fingers crossed it works out!

I am also trying to practice more self-care at the moment. I think I’m doing a better job, and currently I feel…fairly good in terms of mental health? Which is nice for once? I’m using the app Smiling Mind to do short daily (or almost daily haha) meditations, and my mum & I are doing some yoga from youtube videos my aunt recommended us. (She’s recently got super into yoga.) And it’s nice to do something together! Especially a physical activity since I don’t really do much in summer and it does make me feel better. I HOPE to go swimming at my local pool but to be honest I’ll probably end up forgetting. I do use my bike to cycle places though, since my parents can’t take me.

Finally, I’m using Duolingo to learn Japanese. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might know that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while — I also did a bunch last summer. However, as I predicted school got in the way, so I am hoping to use Duolingo as an easy way to learn some stuff for my school trip (!!!) in autumn. I find I’m quite motivated since I don’t want to lose my streak haha.

online

I’m pretty sure I say this every single holiday, but I’m going to try and write a whole bunch of blog posts so that I can have some buffer posts when school/life gets busy. (BECAUSE GCSE YEAR AAAAH I’M FINE.) We’ll see how that turns out.

I’ve also been considering rejigging my blog a bit in terms of design and the way I post. I do quite like my current theme, but I’m sort of feeling like it’s time for a change? And that I could make something which both looks nicer and has more consistent content. (Not that this is necessary for an amazing blog. Just something I’ve been thinking about.)

I’m vaguely considering doing some podfic — if you don’t know what it is, it’s like an audiobook except for fanfiction — since a) I love listening to podfic and b) now I have a mildly better microphone to record with but we shall seeee.

writing

In the last few months I’ve done basically no writing. I’d like to say school just took up all my time, but whilst that’s true to some extent, I also haven’t been feeling very motivated to write anything. This is the first year where I haven’t really got any new poems by the summer. 😦 However, I do have a new idea that I’m working on so I hope to do some of that!

One of my big problems with writing is that I get so worked up over THE NOVEL and how it has to be perfect. I find it a lot easier to view any writing projects from a different way — like, what would I do with this if it were a fanfiction? For me writing fic is really all about enjoyment  so that often gives me a way to feel excited about my story again. Or: what if this were a collection of short stories? a podfic? a webcomic? Obviously different stories work better in different mediums, but that’s just a weird thing I do.

media

As all my friends know, I’m terrible at following up on the stuff they recommend me. So, I’m planning to use this time to watch a bunch of different TV shows (Steven Universe, Brooklyn 99, Jane the Virgin, Carmilla probably others I’ve forgotten) as well as various books, webcomics, and other things. I also want to watch some musicals like Heathers, A Very Potter Sequel and Spring Awakening. (I’M SORRY. I feel bad watching bootlegs but the production is done and I don’t know how else I’m going to see it.)

Along with all this there’s schoolwork, reading/buying books for YALC, read a bunch of watching movies like Star Wars. I adore Star Wars but my family doesn’t enjoy sci-fi so I haven’t seen them all. And I’m seeing the Angels in America at the National Theatre Live thing in the cinema over the next two weeks which I am SO EXCITED FOR. AAH. Hopefully I’ll write a post about it.

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I’ve probably left out some other stuff I want to do, as I always do, but this post has somehow reached 1,000 words and it’s getting hot in this room so I shall end here. 🙂 If you like you can check out my summer bucket list from 2015 (I didn’t do one last year); I just did and woAH what a throwback. I do hope my writing style has developed a bit since then ahaha.

what are your plans for the next two months? doing anything nice? what do you think of the ink squiggles??(it’s an experiment)

Playlist: release

I return to you today with another playlist! Yay! I’ve been listening to a bunch of cool music lately and I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU A LOT. And I am still working on that music link-up thing, by the way, so keep your eyes out. 😉

I’ve been mulling over this playlist for quite a while — the first version had so many different songs — but as ever I’ve edited it down to something I think is more cohesive. But I still just love all the music! Argh, it’s so difficult to choose. I do hope you enjoy.

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release

for the summer dusk. for the ache of a feeling half-remembered. for looking back and perhaps finally letting the memories pass on into the night.
spotify / youtube

fools – lauren aquilina
blud – soak
high – phoebe green
saw you in a dream – the japanese house
supercut – lorde
around u – muna
saint claude – christine and the queens
meteorites – lights (midnight machines version)

I’m actually scheduling this post, so as you read it I will hopefully be having lots of fun learning Spanish (?!?) which is cool. HOPEFULLY. So I might be a bit delayed in commenting. I hope you’re all having a good day, wherever you are. I’d love to hear what you thought of this playlist, or any music recs you might have!

School Year in Review // #evestudies

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As the school year winds down, I’m entering a bit of reflective period before, you know, I FORGET SCHOOL COMPLETELY for 6 weeks. (Okay, maybe not, but.) If you haven’t been following my #evestudies series, where I talk about school & studying & learning in general, then you can check out my other posts here.

The last time I updated was during half term, which is basically my revision week before internal exams. So how did my exams go? Well…overall I’m really happy with my results! I did better than I was expecting in a bunch of subjects, and I think that for the most part my revision did pay off. I’m quite a perfectionist so whenever I take an exam, I’m kind of aiming to get everything right which means I focus more on what I think I did wrong. (I think? I mean, I’m still figuring it out, but usually there is a difference between how I perceived the exam whilst taking it and the result.)

My main disappointment was probably my biology exam, because I really love biology and I did put a lot of effort into revision, but I was just a unlucky with the topics that came up and wasn’t great at exam technique. I could feel myself getting really stressed during the actual exam.

I also some stupid mistakes in maths, like reading graphs wrong and stuff, because I COULD HAVE FIXED THAT SO EASILY, or forgetting to reference the sources in a history question. But hopefully these mistakes are easily fixed!

And how does this relate to the school year as a whole? Because IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE EXAMS, even if the government is trying really hard to convince us that is the case.I do think I’ve had a good year at school, to be honest. I’ve heard some people saying that Year 7/8/9 was so much easier and we have a lot of work at GCSE but, honestly, I feel I’m only growing as a person as time passes. The past year has had a lot of difficulties, but it’s not like we can go back so I’m trying to focus on the present. I actually love all my classes! Though I felt sad that I’m not taking French, I don’t regret my choices. I feel like I am LEARNING and I LOVE IT A LOT. I CAN’T WAIT TO LEARN ALL THE THINGS.

The subjects I’ve found most challenging this year were maths, English, and history. In maths it takes me a pretty long time to understand a subject, and it feels like we do a lot of different unrelated topics in a short space of time, which I find difficult. I don’t much enjoy our GCSE set text (Spies by Michael Frayn) and in general I don’t adore the way we do English GCSE, but I’m finding ways to be more motivated. We’re studying new texts now which should be a bit better. For history, though I’m very interested, the lessons are pretty intense and I can easily zone out. I think it just has a lot of difficult skills to develop! But, you know, I’m working on it.

I mean, obviously I could do more stuff like reading out of what we do in lessons, spending more time on homework rather than just trying to get it done, but it’s important for me to balance my schoolwork with my mental health. 🙂 I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, and I want to keep trying to practice self-care, especially when I feel terrible. (Which is when it is most difficult for me.)

Aside from academic stuff this year, I’ve done cool stuff like starting to play the saxophone, joining a rad clarinet quartet, joining some cool clubs, helping out with the school play and making it through the school biathlon alive which I AM SO PROUD OF. I find running pretty difficult, so.

And that’s a wrap on my school year! I hope that next academic year I can continue to grow both personally & in my learning. Yes, I am in one of those REFLECTIVE GROWTH MOODS. Maybe it’s the summer. Whilst I’m not doing much work I can try and be positive about the idea of doing work haha.

if you’re still in education, how’s it going? how has the last year been to you? do you have any goals for the future?

 

 

YALC 2017 TBR

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In a month’s time I’m going to be attending YALC, the UKYA book con in London, and I am SO SO EXCITED. There are so many cool authors attending! And it looks like I have a lot of reading to do in the month to come if I want to be caught up on the authors present… I started making this TBR but I had so many books that I had to cut down, so this isn’t an extensive list but rather the ones I thought sounded post interesting.

unconventional

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt Is that title a con pun? Yes, yes it is. This book is being billed as the UKYA Fangirl which makes me very excited! I adore nerd stories! I also recently spotted this in the library which is rad.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I’ve been wanting to read this for SO LONG but it’s not in the library and the hardcover is kind of expensive, eek. I might just have to give in, though; I adore Laini Taylor’s writing and this sounds amazing.

the fallen children

The Fallen Children by David Owen I’m not sure if I’ll be creeped out by the supernatural themes — I believe it’s a retelling of The Midwich Cuckoos? — but the concept sounds super cool. It actually crossed my radar after Alice Oseman recced it! Plus, the paperback comes in loads of different copies, which is fun.

girlhood

Girlhood by Cat Clarke Cat Clarke is one of my longest UKYA loves — I used to read a lot of her books on Kindle! But I don’t have any in physical form which is super sad. Anyway, I’m keen to read this thriller, and I think it also might also have LGBTQ+ characters? *thumbs up*

barefoot-on-the-wind

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott Another author I used to read a lot of when I was younger! I heard Zoe Marriott talk about this at YA Shot (it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in fairytale Japan) and it really persuaded me, so I hope to finally get my hands on it.

sorcerer to the crown

Sorcerer to the Crown & The Terracotta Bride, both by Zen Cho Okay, so I’m kind of cheating and putting two in one… But I REALLY WANT TO READ THEM BOTH, EEP.  I haven’t been reading much fantasy recently so I’d really like to read Sorcerer to the Crown, and I’ve heard cool things about The Terracotta Bride. Also, um, ‘robot reincarnation in the Chinese afterlife’? SIGN ME UP.

doing it

Doing It by Hannah Witton I’m not a massive YouTube-watcher but I do think Hannah Witton is super cool, and I hope I get to meet her! I’m not personally super interested in sex but I think it’s important to learn about relationships & other issues, so yay!

truth or dare

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt I adore Non Pratt’s other books, and I’m very excited to read this! I’ve actually already bought a copy of it from the bookshop and I was so excited when I picked it up because OMG THERE’S TWO COVERS ON TWO SIDES. YOU FLIP THE BOOK AROUND TO READ THE SECOND HALF. Cool, right?! Yeah, I totally go in for gimmicks, what can I say. *shrugs* Plus, I believe it has an ace aro character which is AWESOME.

needlework

Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan I hadn’t heard anything about this book before looking at the YALC author list, but I had a peek at the blurb and it sounds fascinating! Hopefully I can get hold of  a copy at some point because also the cover is soo gorgeous.

open gemma cairner.jpg

Open by Gemma Cairney I actually met Gemma Cairney when I spoke at the WoW festival on Southbank which was very exciting!! To be honest, I still can’t really believe that happened. This sounds like another rad non-fiction book — and I am trying to read more non-fiction at the moment. 🙂

I definitely have a lot of reading to do if I’m going to make any progress in my TBR over the next month, haha. *sweats a bit* HELP ME, Y’ALL.

are you going to yalc? would you like to? have you read any of these?

7 Reasons I Love Witch Please

7 reasons i love witch please2

Hey everyone! I’ve talked a bit about the podcast Witch, Please — a fortnightly podcast about the Harry Potter world, to definitely not quote its own introduction — on this blog before, but it’s just started up again after hiatus and I’m feeling a lot of love for it. Instead of yabbering on to my friends all day, I thought it would be fun to actually voice these feelings and thus convince you to flail about it along with me. (Fun fact: this idea literally came to me as I was falling asleep. I AM SO GLAD I REMEMBERED IT

1. Feminism 

I mean, do you even need any more of a reason? FEMINISM IS THE BEST. For a while I sort of, er, forgot that feminism was a thing because I was going through a bunch of personal stuff but this podcast reminded me that feminism is a cool thing that exists. *nods* I feel like I’ve learnt a lot of stuff and just in general become more engaged with feminism and how I can think about the world and what stuff I read.

2. The hosts are super cool

The hosts, Hannah and Marcelle, are extremely cool badass lady scholars! I admire them a lot! I, too, would love to be such badass scholar one day. The guests that feature in various episodes are also of course very lovely — I mean, to be honest EVERYONE IS LOVELY.

3. Excellent use of sound effects

I mostly listen to narrative fiction podcasts where, like, the audio corresponds to stuff happening in the story, but I think this makes SUCH good use of sound effects! I now imagine owl noises whenever anyone mentions Hedwig. Actually, I just imagine sound effects into my whole life.

3. I’ve learnt a lot

Every time I listen to an episode I feel like I LEARN SO MUCH. I read Harry Potter when I was in primary and although I think I have reread it at some point, I…definitely missed a lot. So it’s cool to revisit the books, sometimes even reread them as well, and then listen to the episodes. However, I not only learn about Harry Potter but also stuff like: how film works! Narrative! Print culture! Advertising! Long words that I can use to intimidate people!

5. I’ve been inspired

I admit, I haven’t been enjoying English lessons at school that much? I don’t really like our GCSE text and I was feeling like it was a bit pointless but this podcast taught me that academia & analysis actually can be fun be fun and interesting. It really inspired me to take more of an interest in reading because I, too, would like to be able to read a book and go LOOK AT THIS, THIS IS INTERESTING. Now sometimes I use things I’ve listened to in episodes in class and feel very accomplished, mwahaha.

6. It makes me laugh

You might not be expecting a lot of laughs from the summary but trust me, IT IS VERY FUNNY. Listening really puts a smile on my face. I also really adore the recurring jokes! And the segments! I spent most of the holiday special episode laugh-crying. Other highlights include character impressions and the ‘sexyy’ sound effect. Just trust me.

7. The awesome Witch, Please community

I love that there’s a really interactive listening community for this podcast! There are many lively discussions and insights from other smart people on Twitter, where @ohwitchplease are the most active. It’s great that you can have a conversations with the creators and other listeners beyond just listening to each episode. ! I actually went to some of the London fan meet-up (although I had to leave early to go to my friend’s birthday, alas) and it was VERY AWESOME.

Just AAAAALL the superlatives, if you couldn’t already tel. I wholeheartedly recommend. You can find all Witch, Please episodes, including the first episode of the new season on ohwitchplease.ca, iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Pride Month // i talk about queer things

pride month queer things.jpg

(A note: I use the word queer to describe myself and I’m going to be using it a lot in this post, just to let you know.)

I’ve said this approximately 192730 times already but IT IS JUNE, AND IT IS PRIDE MONTH, aka the month of the year where I not only think about queer stuff all the time but also talk about queer stuff all the time! And everyone else talks about queer stuff too! (Yes. I like Pride Month a lot.)

I thought that today it would be nice for me to talk a bit about my own — and I sort of cringe to call it this, but? — ~queer experience~. I know this might feel like a familiar topic, and I am definitely not super unique, but it’s cathartic for me to talk about myself. And who knows? Maybe it will help someone else. 🙂

The internet and by extension the blogging community have both been really formative for me in so many ways. One of these ways is that I essentially discovered that LGBTQ+ people existed and I could be a thing that wasn’t, like, a normative gender or sexuality. I initially thought I was asexual, actually. (And yes, fanfiction introduced me to this. It might sound weird but I think it made a difference to hear it described in terms of feelings?) I didn’t identify with what people around me were saying about crushes and attraction, and to be honest to this day I still don’t. But I’m really grateful to the blogging community for helping me to become more educated, and to discovering myself.

To be honest, I didn’t feel great about my identity for a long time. (I still often don’t.) But simply just talking about queer stuff and how I was feeling really helped me. I’m just looking back on my blog, and I think the first time I started blogging about LGBTQ+ stuff was early 2016? Yeah. In many ways I find it easier to talk to strangers over the internet, and it’s also cool that you can easily find other people who are similar to you.

The first time that I came out to my friends in real life was about a year ago — just after Brexit, actually. Anyway, one of my friends told me they were bisexual and then it turned out a bunch of my other friends were also LGBTQ+ which was cool! I don’t think I officially had, like, a proper coming out moment after that but somehow it’s sort of pervaded our friendship group that many of us are LGBTQ+ which is pretty rad. *finger guns*

I’ve had some people tell me they don’t like it when people put their orientation or identity as their defining feature. I really respect if you don’t want your identity to be a big thing, and of course I’ll try my best to not make a big deal of it! (I mess up sometimes, and I’m sorry.) But I do find it frustrating when people say that I should talk about queer stuff less so I can try and assimilate or something. I know that many people don’t want to talk about their identity a lot but personally I find it pretty stressful to keep everything inside.

Because I am always thinking about queer stuff. It might sound weird, but just being able to talk about it makes me feel so much happier. I know that I have so much privilege — because I’m white, living in the UK, able-bodied, I haven’t really experienced much homophobia or queerphobia — yet it still made me feel isolated to just not be talking about stuff I spent a lot of of time thinking about.

Of course this is something so many people have to do, and I respect you so much. I’m so lucky to be in a place where I actually can talk openly about queer stuff — I can go to a society at school and just chill being queer. And IT FILLS ME WITH SO MUCH INEXPLICABLE JOY. I LOVE TALKING ABOUT QUEER STUFF.

So, yeah, I’m really happy that in the last year or so I’ve been able to be more free with myself, and accept myself. I really hope that I can do that more in the future. One of the things I’d love to do would be to attend a Pride celebration! The nearest one to me is London, and currently I am planning on going, which I’m pretty excited about.  (If you’re thinking of going then and want to say hi then I’d love to hear. *nods*) I do hope that I can, and that I can be more happy with myself in the future, even if it isn’t always easy.

 

 

Post-General Election 2017

It feels a bit weird to be writing this post, about a year after I wrote these two posts about the EU Referendum, but the whole of UK politics has been weird for the past year, so. Here we go.

At the end of April I wrote about my thoughts on the snap election, what kind of result I’d be looking for and about how I wanted to be more informed. How did I do? Well, during May I kept track of how much I read the news, and I think I was doing pretty well! But once exams and revision started to creep up, I ended up having no energy to do anything. (Although I did still listen to Radio 4 sometimes when it was on.)

It was unfortunate the election was right in the middle of exams, really — I can’t imagine how it would have been if you were taking public exams. (Kudos to you!) Especially in the last two weeks I started to feel pretty horrible, and I just decided that it would be better for me to spend time doing nice things for myself. I had an exam the morning after the election, and I was pretty worried about how I was going to concentrate. I tried to avoid the news until afterwards, although some of my friends did try to convince me there was a Tory-UKIP coalition. *glares*

Yeah. The last little while has been difficult. Words don’t feel adequate, but send my love to anyone affected by conflict. ❤ I don’t really know what I can do but continue.

So. Yes. The election. I’m not going to pretend that I know loads about politics, but I am pleased that the Tories are weakened? If you couldn’t really tell, haha, I just…don’t really agree with many of their policies. I think the government has really messed up the NHS, and I don’t think we should be focusing on reducing immigration instead of like, improving public services, or not cutting disability benefits. I also don’t see how the hard Brexit the Tories are currently going for can be positive.

I also watched some interviews with Theresa May and it really struck me that sh doesn’t seem like a great public speaker? This doesn’t mean she’s necessarily a bad PM in and of itself, but even I can tell that repeating the same thing robotically in answer to every question is not a good option. Who knows what will happen with Tory leadership now. I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY AND PREDICT ANYTHING. There will probably be many dramatic developments by the time this post actually goes up, since I’m scheduling it, but there you go.

However, although Labour’s result was unexpectedly positive, and I’m especially super happy that there was a high youth turnout, it’s still not amazing. The Tories are still the biggest party and the DUP seem pretty awful in terms of islamophobia, homophobia, climate change denial, anti-abortion and stuff. I admit that I sort of forget abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland? (And also Ireland.) Which is not good, and I’m sorry.

To be frank I just don’t quite know what to think. I’m frustrated that one year on we still basically don’t know anything about Brexit. I have no idea how talks which are about to start will go. I’m still upset about it.

There was probably some more I wanted to say in this post that I’ll forget later, but I don’t want to just write random stuff to pad it out so HERE WE ARE. A messed up collection of thoughts on the election, much like the messed up thing politics right now is! *finger guns* I hope you’re all well, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have.