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.

Complaints About School English

English at school is something that constantly frustrates me. I don’t know exactly if it’s the way it’s taught, or if it’s the fact that I just don’t enjoy it, or both, but I DON’T HAVE FUN.

As you might have guessed, I love to read and write and everything else wordy! They’re some of my absolute favourite things and I don’t know where I’d be without them. But this definitely doesn’t translate into a love for GCSE English as some people might think…

My major issue with my current class is that I don’t particularly enjoy the text we’re studying. (Spies by Michael Frayn.) Obviously this is different for everyone exam board but I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE STUDYING IT. It’s deathly boring and the writing style is…really weird? I kind of like the things going on with memory and perspective but apart from that I’m just meh.

I genuinely wish that we could study something more inspiring — I understand that it has to be complex enough to study or whatever, but there are SO MANY great books out there! Heck, there are some far better “typical classic/literary/GCSE English-y” books. This one is just a complete bore.

I’m not sure if I’d enjoy analysing texts more if it were a text I enjoyed. Perhaps I just don’t really enjoy analysis! (Which obviously is fine.) But I do quite like reading analysis things about books I enjoy. Like, sometimes I actively go and read academic-y articles because they’re interesting. Can our English lessons please just…be more like Witch, Please. (I KNOW. I know I talk about it a lot. BUT I LOVE IT.)

I really wish that there was more scope to be creative in English. I understand that later things sort of separate out into literature and language but it frustrates me that we haven’t really done much free creative writing work since, like, year 7. (Oh my god, I WISH I could go back and redo that poetry book assignment. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.)

I’m not all the way through the course yet, but it is a bit frustrating to not really enjoy something that I think I should like. Although I’m sorry but – the rules on comma splicing are SO HARSH. Even the set text would only get a Band 6 haha. Sorry, Michael Frayn. There’s a bit of a grey area that so many authors cross but our exam board is like NOPE.

I think we spend quite a lot of time listening to the teacher analyse without actually getting the tools for analysis – and I do love my teacher, but still. I also think it’d be really fun to look at more popular culture or modern stuff, because they are cool too. But I feel like that’s not very likely to happen, alas. It’s all just about improving the grades.

Having said all this: I definitely could have a better mindset! Writing this post did actually give me a bit of enthusiasm for being more positive about English. Part of it is also that I have a set idea in my mind and I just switch off during lessons when I decide it’s not fun. I’ve actually been enjoying it a bit more recently now that I’ve been actively trying to engage, so, who knows. PERHAPS THIS COMPLAINING WILL HAVE RESULTED IN SOMETHING.

what’s your (least) favourite subject at school? do you enjoy studying english? any feelings about comma splicing?

Femslash February // i rec some things!!

February is not only LGBT History Month, but also the wonderful internet creation that is Femslash February. It’s essentially a month where people do prompts, write fic, art, whatever, celebrating f/f  and girls liking girls! It’s mostly for fandoms, since both m/m and even f/m fanworks are a lot more popular there, which kind of sucks. (I talk ENDLESSLY to my friends about how people just aren’t as interested in f/f. They’ve heard all the things.)

SO! I am here today to recommend some fun queer girl things for you to read. I thought about just doing fic recs, but I have a somewhat specific and obscure fandom tastes, and also sadly I don’t know loads of f/f fic. (I’m hoping to find some more this month.) (Literally? I’ve read about 2 novel-length f/f fics ever. Which is small compared to others. I feel distressed.) I know it’s Femslash February, but in general I think queer girls are left behind in the fandom so I’m also including some GENERAL QUEER GIRL THINGS.

Thus: I’m also going to be reccing some books and comics. I’ve tried to include some different ones to what I always recommend ahaha. Enjoy 😀

books

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour I read this the other week and AAAH IT WAS SO WONDERFUL. I loved the setting, the characters, the soft & hopeful beauty of it. I know that I’ll be rereading it when I feel down. It was also cool to read because it’s about a girl who does film production and I’m currently doing some production for my school play. IT’S A SIGN AMIRITE.

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham I LOVE FINDING QUEER CONTENT WHERE I WASN’T EXPECTING ANY. This is about three generations of women in a family, and how their lives interact. And there is also a thing about sexuality.

Carol by Patricia Highsmith This one is also published under the title The Price of Salt, but my copy was Carol, so. It’s hella awesome! There are vintage lesbians in New York! The writing is lovely! And it’s also a super cool film. The soundtrack gives me a lot of emotions.

All of the Above by Juno Dawson Aaah!! Another queer girl UKYA! (I would also put Radio Silence here, but by now you guys have probably just accepted that I talk about it 24/7. I LOVE IT. READ IT.) Anyway: this is a funny, honest contemporary YA with a bunch of queer characters and it’s just generally cool.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James This is the second book in a series about science and time travel which I think is super cool! The MC is super gay, and I liked that it was less focused on a coming out narrative. (Those are very valid and important. But sometimes I want to read something where the character is also comfortable in their sexuality already and worries a lot about accidentally messing up the entirety of time.)

fic

Following You, Following Me by lady_ragnell An Eponine/Cosette AU in which Cosette has a tumblr crush on Eponine, and also a new neighbour. A podfic (like an audiobook except of a fic) is also available here.

to be loved and to be in love by missandrogyny Eponine/Cosette, soulmate tattoo AU. (Where the first words your soulmate says to you are tattooed on your arm. Yeah, don’t ask, just suspend disbelief.) Eponine and Cosette are music people! They are hella cute and I love them!!

your passion, you take me home by knightinbrightfeathers Clary/Izzy, Hogwarts AU. Things heal after the Battle of Hogwarts. By an author who I think is very cool. *nods*

Here, Queer, Getting Used to It by azurish REMEMBER BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. Remember that movie?!? Yeah, no, I like it a lot. One time I just stumbled across this fic and I was like…in retrospect, it was a pretty gay movie. I realise there was stuff about stereotypes of all girls who play sport being queer but also — I think it would have been really cool to consider how then do they find their place within that? (Because queer girls play sport too.) I am not articulating my feelings very well but anyway. YEAH.

Grazed Knees by montparnasse Ginny/Luna. Also healing after the Battle of Hogwarts. Except it’s different to the other one. *nods sagely*

I have read a miserable amount of Harry Potter f/f, which makes me sad because I SHIP ALL THE THINGS. I think that’s probably because a) there wasn’t loads of it to begin with but b) I don’t really look beyond AO3, and a lot of HP fic resides in other places like livejournal or ff.net. However, a quick internet search pointed me to this 2007 masterpost, if you so wish to browse it.

(web)comics

Rock and Riot by Chelsey Furedi It’s 50s except way cooler and lots of queer characters aah! his comic is about gangs at school except there is diversity and GIRLS LIKING GIRLS and AWESOME ART STYLE and it is just all round very wonderful. I may or may not have read it all in one day. Whoops…?

Always Human by walkingnorth This is still-running sci-fi webcomic about the cool peeps Austen and Sunati. Although there is cool future stuff, it’s more about their personal lives and how they develop as characters. There’s a diverse cast and lovely glowy art and the creator is also a complete cinnamon roll! The updates bring me a lot of joy. 🙂

Lumberjanes Sometimes I’m confused by this comic, but it’s fun to be surrounded by just a whole lot of pure joy and enthusiasm, hehe. IT’S SO CUTE AND THERE ARE CUTE GIRLS AND SMALL CUTE PEOPLE GAH. There’s also a trans character, and maybe some some other queer characters about from the confirmed ones, so…?

Anyway! I hope you liked these recs, and perhaps find some use for them. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions! 😀

My 2016 in Books

my 2016 in books.jpg

I know I already did a New Years-y round up post, but SURPRISE! Here’s another! I’ve seen a lot of top reads of 2016 stuff going around, and although I did talk a bit about books in my round up, I thought it would be cool to do one more in depth.

This year I read 107 books. (Well, at the time of writing. I’ll probably have read one or two more by the time this post actually rolls around.) I’m really happy that I managed to complete my Goodreads challenge; I think 100 books is about right for me. Although I actually read more books last year, I feel a lot better about my reading habits. I don’t have quite as much time as I used to because of school, but I do read a steady supply of books which is nice.

genres read

genres read in 2016 v2.PNG

I did a little analysis of the genres that I read this year, and I was really surprised at the number of contemporary and historical books in there! I have actually read quite a few non-fiction history books, as well as historical fiction. Fantasy still makes up just over a quarter of my reading, though. The ‘other’ genre encompasses a) books that were difficult to classify, or might come under ‘literary’ (e.g. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell) or b) genres I read so few of it wasn’t worth their own section such as thrillers. Or a combination of those two.

favourite books

These are the 10 books I’ve read this year which I feel I’ve enjoyed the most, and gained the most from, this year! I mean, I feel like I’ve probably forgotten a lot of great books here, and I found it really difficult to pick the ones I’ve liked most because I like books for different reasons… I sort of attempted to get a diverse pick from the different genres that I’ve read and the reasons I enjoyed each of these books. (Yes, some not-YA! I know!)

2016 in books 1.jpg

I talk about Radio Silence ENDLESSLY to people, so it’ll come as no surprise to you that it made it onto my favourite books of this year list! I only just finished When the Moon Was Ours, but I enjoyed it so tremendously that I thought it should make it onto here. Ghostwritten is sort of a precursor to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, but in some ways I liked it more — I am endlessly amazed at his ability to make all the narrative voices in his books unique, even when there are so many characters.

2016 in books2 v2.jpg

I was almost going to put This Savage Song by VE Schwab on here too, but I thought one Schwab book might be enough. I am pretty darn excited for A Conjuring of Light! the Goldfinch was slightly weird and emotionally draining. It gave me lots of weird feelings. (I don’t think the fact that I was reading it in an airport helped. AIRPORTS ARE REALLY WEIRD PLACES FOR ME.) The Lie Tree is kind of an MG book, but there is MYSTERY and GIRLS DOING SCIENCE and SLIGHT FANTASY and just quality times.

hidden gems

These books are lesser-known ones which I’d love to see people discussing more. They might also be books with new and exciting stuff that I haven’t otherwise seen much of!

hidden gems.jpg

Carry Me Like Water by Benjamin Alire Saenz A lot of people have read or know about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by the same author, but his adult books don’t seem to be very well known. THEY’RE STILL SUPER COOL GUYS. They’re written so nicely and asdhjkl.

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz I was lucky enough to win this one in a giveaway, and although the premise seems a little crazy — and the whole book is a little crazy — it was such a satisfying and gripping read. (The writing is once again really nice.)

A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne I got this one for Christmas last year, and it was such a fun read! It’s basically ‘what if Ron killed Voldemort instead of Harry?’ except with more humour and kissing. I’m just going through the Goodreads page to find the cover, and a lot of people are saying it’s kind of fanfiction-y… It is kind of fanfiction-y, but for me as someone who liked fic, it takes the best fic tropes and does wonderful things with them.  Plus, the illustrations and cover are SO NICE.

The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke I barely hear Cat Clarke’s books mentioned, but she has been quietly writing cool queer YA thrillers for rather a long time. I absolutely raced through this tale of a returned sister, and I FEEL SO HAPPY BECAUSE QUEER PARENTS. QUEER OLDER PEOPLE. What a joy.

The Next Together by Lauren James This book was such a joy to read — I raced through it and was swept away by science! wit! reincarnation! history! mystery! blushing characters! It just had, like, so many things I love to read in books. This one is perhaps a little more well-known than the others here, but I haven’t seen it discussed that much within the book blogging community so I thought I’d chuck it in here anyways.

what were your top books of 2016? are any of your choices the same as mine? do you plan to read any of these in the future?

GUEST POST: A Monster Calls Movie Talk & Trailer Reaction

a-monster-calls-trailer-reaction

Hey there! It’s Eve @ Twist in the Taile here, presenting to you today many flailings about A Monster Calls. And of course thanks so much to Jess for asking me to write a guest post. I feel very honoured and ~bloggery~. *nods*

Okay, I know this movie is technically released on New Year’s Day, but it still counts as Christmas-related, right?! I mean, yes, obviously, because a) I am always right, ahem, and b) WHAT COULD BE A BETTER PRESENT THAN A NEW COOL MOVIE BASED ON A COOL BOOK.

Read the rest of my post here: GUEST POST: A Monster Calls Movie Talk & Trailer Reaction

Buddy Read: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

dash-and-lily

Helloo everyone! This month I was lucky enough to participate in a readalong with the very lovely Lia @ Lost in a Story and Lu @ Girl Who Reads. We read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, a book about book-lovers in NYC at Christmas. 😀 It really got me in the Christmas mood!

I am myself both a) a book lover and b) a lover of New York City so this book appealed to me immensely. The premise is that each person leaves instructions in a special notebook for the next person to follow… I thought that was super cool. Even if reality was sometimes stretched. Although it wasn’t, like, a critical genius, I found it a sweet & fluffy read!  I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the sequel at some point.

We each answered some questions about the book on each of our blogs, so go and check out the other posts here and here! (Wouldn’t want to miss our wonderful insights, naturally ahaha.) (Also, the cover I put for this post sadly isn’t the cover of my edition, but I thought this one looked way nicer so there we are.

how addicting was the book?

Me: It was really readable; although I didn’t read it in like 1 day because, alas, school, I read it very fast and I was invested in what would happen next in the story.

Lucy: I wouldn’t way that it was the most addicting book I’ve read this year, but it was certainly gripping! I was always wanting to know what happened next, but not to the extremes like some of the books I’ve read recently. I actually really liked that it wasn’t so gripping that I couldn’t put it down, as it meant that the overall reading experience was lovely.

Lia: The book was quite addicting, after I got into the book and passed halfway I just couldn’t stop reading. I was reading the e-book and I had no clue how far I was into the story and then it was suddenly over! I just needed more, immediately!

what could have been improved in the book?

Me: Some parts of it felt unbelievable to me. Sometimes the characters felt like their quirkiness was being stretched too far, and the premise was a tiny bit unbelievable. But there wasn’t anything massive.

Lucy: I think I would have liked the chapters to be a little shorter, because I was always wondering about the other chapters and found them a bit bulky for most contemporary dual PoV chapters.

Lia: Something that could have been improved… I think they could have toned down the way Dash speaks. Sometimes it felt like Dash swallowed a dictionary and randomly spits out words. Often I had no clue what the words meant, and that made it kind of less realistic.

are any of your pet peeves in this book?

Me: Mm, I don’t think so? I don’t read loads of contemporary YA romance, and it’s probably not my favourite genre ever. (Except Rainbow Rowell. I read a lot of Rainbow Rowell. Her books are in a league of their own for me ahaha.) But for what it was I enjoyed it a lot 😀

Lucy: Not so much a pet peeve, but I found Lily a tad immature ( and fun too), and was feeling sorry for herself quite a lot. I didn’t dwell too much on it, but I sort of just noticed it a few times.

Lia: There’s one thing in the book when Dash & Lily almost meet, but just miss each other. It is something that annoys me slightly, but I don’t think I would call it a pet peeve though.

Overall I had loads of fun doing my buddy read and I’d really like to participate in more in the future! 😀 It got me reading a book I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read ahaha, which was nice.

In Which I Talk Webcomics

I have been having a lot of Feelings about webcomics lately. And I think that the time has come for me to share these feelings with the world. (Yes, essentially that means I am going to flail for an entire post. IT IS VERY FUN TO FLAIL FOR ENTIRE POSTS.)

I think that webcomics are wonderful. If you don’t have much experience with them, then they’re essentially just comics published online, usually available to read for free and updating with new pages every so often. I mean, in general I really enjoy serialised media because it gives me something to look forward to. But I also love that there are so many great, beautifully-drawn stories accessible. For some reason I actually find it quite difficult to read traditional comics? (Like, superhero ones. Also manga, which aren’t really traditional comics but you know what I meant.) I have done it, but I find it hard to focus on the page, and it takes me a long time. SO! Reading one page week by week is basically the perfect situation for me.

Anyways. Since I’ve been following some great webcomics for a while, I thought I’d share some of my favourite with you! These range from sci-fi to romance to fantasy and combinations of many genres. 🙂

witchy.PNG

Witchy by Ariel Rees I think this one has my favourite art — it’s STUNNING. Seriously. I die a little inside. But the story and world are also completely kickass: basically the longer your hair, the greater your magic power. The MC Nyneve is my precious angry child. And all the characters are just so wonderful. MY CHILDREEEEN. Um, I have a lot of fictional children, it seems. Updates every Monday/Tuesday depending on where you live.

princess-princessPrincess Princess by StrangelyKatie You will probably collapse from the cuteness of this. (Or at least, I did.) It’s everything I want — yay reversal of fairytales, yay queer characters, yay awesome artwork. The Hello Kitty palette definitely adds to the cute vibes. And you can now buy a physical copy with some extra epilogue stuff! Complete.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson I feel like…many people I know have read Nimona? And it’s no longer strictly a webcomic since you’ll have to buy a physical book to read the whole thing. But it was the first webcomic I ever read, and I still adore it. (I was so smol back then, oh my goodness.) I do think the experience of reading it as a graphic novel is a bit different — you miss the banter in the comics, the comments from Noelle and the many running jokes such as Goldenloin runs like an idiot — it’s still AWESOME. It’s a kind of…hero and villain shapeshifter story in a monkpunk setting? (MONKPUNK. That word makes me laugh. It wasn’t coined by me, but it’s supposed to be medieval steampunk.) I’d definitely recommend this as an introduction, and you can still read the first few chapters online here. Complete.

Les Normaux by KnightJJ & Al Les Normaux is about the daily lives of characters in a supernatural Paris — and if that setting isn’t cool enough, everyone is such a cinnamon roll. The cast is super diverse and although there are lots of characters, I really felt involved in each of their stories! The art is adorable too.always human3.jpg

Always Human by walkingnorth This is another really cute webcomic! It’s in a sci-fi setting but I love that the technological advances are seen as positive. The main focus are the two MCs Sunati and Austen, but there are many other great characters — once again the cast is really diverse. (I am pretty sure that the majority of the webcomics I’ve recommended has canonical queer characters though haha.) he art is so pretty and glowy; plus, the author writes an original soundtrack for each episode! Updates every Saturday.

SIGNS by julshii This one is a little less developed than perhaps some of the others on here, but the mystery is half of the fun. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?? SHALL WE EVER KNOW??? It’s about some kids in a weird place and a secret computerised metropolis. The art starts off black and white, but woah there are GIFs later on and it is very awesome. Also, I would like to achieve Victor’s hairstyle for myself. Thank you world. Updates are sporadic currently.

Space Boy by Stephen McCranie Space Boy is a slightly more action-based one. YAY SCIFI SPACE AND MYSTERIES. It follows the story of Amy, who’s just woken from a cyrogenic sleep as she travelled to Earth from her home in outer space. (Because space journeys are very long, peoples.) There she meets the mysterious Oliver, and…well. We are still working through the mystery, but nevertheless. Again, all the characters are precious and wonderful, as is the art! In later episodes the creator also features fanart and gives little comment things which are very cute. Updates every Thursday.

hotblood.png

Hotblood! by Toril Orlesky Alongside Witchy, Hotblood! has SUCH. BEAUTIFUL. ART. The colouring. The scenery. I am basically dying from the wonderfulness of the art. But aside from that, the premise is centuars in the old American Wild West, and WOW IT IS SO COOL. I have come to love all these idiots. Especially Rook, my favourite smol/extremely tall cinnamon roll. I could have read it all in one sitting, but I decided to save it and read it over…er, two. 😛 Complete.

Various other ones that I occasionally pop by and/or have read small portions of are Check, Please!Heartstopper (by Alice Oseman! yes, of Radio Silence fame!), Rock and Riot, Dissent, Best Friends Forever, Paranormal Investigators, & Mias and Elle. And there are thousands more out there so HURRAH. *throws all the links into the post. Um, so, yes. This post has mostly just been me talking at length about things I like. Go forth, friends! Read away! I’d absolutely love it if you enjoyed any of the webcomics I recommend and I’m also keen to get recs from you guys.