Monthly Mixtape #10: Beginning

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Monthly Mixtape is back! We took a little break from Monthly Mixtape but we are BACK and READY with a rebrand. If this is your first time here, Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

This time around we’re going to be trying a new style of prompt! Instead of giving a definition this time we picked a broader theme (because you know, new year and all, I do like a bit of renewal). Please do let us know what you think of it 🙂

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the previous prompts as well if you like. The next Monthly Mixtape will hopefully be up in the first week of February! And this month’s prompt is…

#10: beginning

Add or view playlist links HERE

I had a lot of fun making this playlist! I kind of decided to go for a bit of reflection by picking songs about the past and also songs that I listened to obsessively some time ago. Is it a law that I am drawn to include a Mitski and Ted Leo song for every playlist I make? I guess so. There’s something in there about using the past to make a new beginning… But anyway. I hope you enjoy.

Sunlight streaming out through a tree in the mountains. The word 'beginning' in a script font.

listen on spotify / youtube

this year – the mountain goats
someone new – darwin deez
if i’m being honest – dodie
every time i hear that song – brandi carlile
old friend – mitski
plea from a cat named virtute – the weakerthans
new year’s day – u2
biomusicology – ted leo and the pharmacists

I’m looking forward to listening to more of your wonderful playlists! And if you fancy sharing any music recommendations or what you’ve been listening to lately, I’d love to hear it. (I’m not gonna lie, I’m still obsessed with Thank U, Next; I’m sure it’ll be coming to a Monthly Mixtape soon haha.)

My 2018 in Books

The text 'My 2018 in books' on an old-fashioned illustrated banner, over a spread of open books.

Can I let you in on  secret? I first wrote ‘2017’ instead of 2018 when drafting this post. I think that gives you a good idea of what’s going on with my brain haha. You can also check out my 2017 and 2016 in books if you are so inclined.

overall summary

So this year I read exactly 100 books, meeting my Goodreads reading challenge. This is a bit less than other years, and I think that’s a combination of a) not reading as much due to being more busy and b) reading denser books that take a longer time to read. It also does include a lot of comics, perhaps contributing to the fact that I’m about 10,000 pages lower than previous years according to Goodreads. Ah well! That’s life!

The longest book I read this year was, unsurprisingly, Les Miserables, which I reread over the summer. (I would by far recommend the Donoghue translation over the Hapgood which I read first time already.) Les Mis was also the most popular book I read, and Attis by Tom Holland the least popular at 16 other Goodreads ratings.

favourites

It was so difficult for me to pick these! I realised that I’ve actually read SO MANY good books this year, oh my goodness.

I honestly can’t believe I read Autoboyography by Christina Lauren in 2018 because it feels like an absolute AGE ago. This book just really took me in and pulled at my emotions. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore was another book that got me extremely invested, and like all her other books I adored it. I can’t believe I haven’t picked up her newest yet! I was so excited to read I Was Born For This and it didn’t disappoint, bringing me a whole new set of characters to love. I loved Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman so much and I’m incredibly excited to read more of her work (I also loved her second book Summer Bird Blue! I just had too many books already!) I also devoured A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi and WOAH. Also, the cover is so pretty oh my goodness.

My second lot starts with the Hawkeye comics, which I’ve reread about 4 times since I first picked them up and continue to absolutely delight me. The art is just SO GOOD and I love Kate and Clint SO MUCH. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway absolutely blew me away with the characterisation and story (and also can we just appreciate a beautiful cover). I very recently finished Run, Riot by Nikesh Shukla and it was so gripping and powerful. A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews was very different but also very absorbing; it felt like a book that spoke to my childhood self but also one that current me loves a lot. . Finally, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour was a nuanced and beautifully written book that really got me feeling those emotions.

hidden gems

The Summer of Jordi Perez and the Best Burger in Los Angeles by Amy Spalding is an EXTREMELY cute and excellent f/f rom-com and I adored it. Noteworthy by Riley Ridgate is about cross-dressing and accapella which is an extremely rad combination. Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans is a short queer novella that I loved very much and I have reread because I sometimes I just gotta read a happy trans story to get by.  I’m putting Attis by Tom Holland here more for the experience than to actually recommend it, because it was so difficult to find that I ended up going to the British library to read it? But it was VERY RAD and surreal. I also feel like it represents the fact that recently I have got…very into Classics I guess? Finally, Indigo Donut is a beautifully written story about belonging, family and growing up, set in London, from the wonderful Patrice Lawrence.

There are so many books that I’m excited to read in 2019 — but I shall leave that for another post!

have you read any of these books? what were your favourite books of 2018? anticipated reads for 2019?

2018: Year in Review

2018 year in review.jpg

Image description: The text ‘2018 year in review’ over a firework.

We’ve almost made it through 2018! Hurrah! Let’s DO THIS THING. This year feels like it’s been one of the longest years of my life. The other day I genuinely thought that something I did over summer happened in February, so I guess it’s like 2 years have passed instead of 1? Like, what even. Anyway, I’m here with a good old yearly recap post, because I do like to be able to have this as a point of reference and it’s fun to see everything I’ve done over this year. (If I can even remember them.)

Looking back at 2018

  • Firstly, let’s recap my 2018 goals. Doing things with love? I mean, KIND OF. I do think that I’ve spent more time on friendships and on making new friends which is great! And I’ve also met some wonderful internet friends in real life! (This ties in with my other goal about meeting friends.) I’m getting better at looking critically at the things I love but I definitely have a long way to go with that process.
  • Caring for myself… Well, GCSEs sucked a LOT, I have to say. That whole experience and the culture of public examinations is still negatively affecting my mental health now. The first half of the year was really difficult for that reason and I haven’t always been amazing at taking care of myself, but part of that includes letting myself off for that, too? I’ve literally tried to block out all of that because it was just grim, tbh.
  • However, I can say with certainty that have enjoyed so much amazing art this year! From excellent books to theatre to new TV shows I’ve started… it’s been a great one. A big part of this has been helping out with the sixth form musical at my school, where I worked as the sound operator. I was so proud of that production, and although it was stressful, I had an amazing time and I know that it’ll stay with me forever.
  • I have also for sure experienced new things: I got my first job! I travelled to South America with Guides! I went to prom! I did make it through my first public exams! I started sixth form! I got my nose pierced! I DMed for the first time!
  • I want to expand on starting sixth form because Year 12 has been FULL. ON. I’m studying Maths, Spanish, History & Latin and I’m really glad that I picked those subjects. (Especially Latin because I’m maybe enjoying it the most and it was a last minute switch from Chemistry.)
  • I blogged much less in the second half of this year. My stats are NOT thanking me, lol, but sometimes that’s the way life goes. I do have a whole bunch of post ideas so I REALLY hope I can get some more posts up.
  • One thing that I actually was good at keeping up was my bullet journal. I’m so glad I put in pictures of what I was up to from throughout the year because it was really nice to remind me when I looked through.
  • Also, I took my last ever clarinet exam which was kind of trash but THANK GOD IT’S OVER. Now I just have to spend another 6 months re-learning to love the clarinet after that deeply stressful experience, I guess.

Looking ahead to 2019

  • I’m going to turn 18!! WHAT! I’m just going to make that its own bullet point in itself because I don’t feel like I’m ready to be a legal adult at all.
  • I want to do some preparation for my future: learning to drive, improving at cooking, maybe applying for uni/deciding what I’m going to do keeping on with my job.
  • More blogging! I miss it a lot! I’d like to blog at least once a month.
  • In addition to blogging, I want to continue with theatre tech, because that was really fun and fulfilling this year. In summer I’m going to be helping on a production at the Edinburgh Fringe which I’m super excited about! I hope to make the most of that experience!
  • Again, I want to better take care of myself. Some concrete ways I’m going to do this are making sure I exercise, getting back into meditation, keeping a regular sleeping schedule and allowing myself to sometimes just hand in work that’s good enough, if not perfect.
  • I want to use my time on the internet and my phone in better ways. Spending a lot of time mindlessly scrolling social media has been REALLY bad for my brain. Instead, I want to spend more time interacting with people and building relationships.
  • I would like to come out as non-binary to more people? Maybe? And also to just tell people when they misgender me because people still do that a lot but I feel awkward correcting them (even though it’s not my mistake). Also, to just not read the transphobic articles that cross my path because they do not exactly help.
  • I’d like to listen to more new music, since I love finding new bops and I didn’t get that much opportunity to do so in 2018.

I’ll probably think of something really good after I’ve posted this but, ah well. That’s how it goes. I hope you enjoyed this focus on my personal goals.

how was your 2018? do you have any goals or resolutions for 2019?

2017: Year in Review

Photo of a hand holding a lit sparkler, with the words '2017 year in review'

It’s that time again when everyone posts their yearly round-ups… That’s right folks, I am here with yet ANOTHER new year themed post! And slightly late! Oh well. 2017 has been a weird one for me. Even Photoshop was being weird whilst I was trying to make this picture, so clearly it agrees.

Looking back at 2017

  • To  begin with, I want to recap my goals from 2016… Firstly, I think I’ve definitely succeeded at doing more LGBTQ+ related things! I can see this concretely in that: I attended my first ever Pride parade, starting going to school LGBTQ+ society, and generally just felt a lot more positive in my queer identity. 2016 was a year of discovering myself, and I feel that 2017 has been me actually kind of living that. I mean, I still have a LOT of stuff going on (especially re: my gender which is CONFUSING) but, yeah. I’m so happy about this.
  • Secondly, I feel that have made some strides forward in making positive changes in the world. This year the podcasts Witch Please and Secret Feminist Agenda were SUPER important to me; I really do feel that they have given me hope and inspired me to strive to be a better person and ally. I also continued with my Action for Change project on LGBTQ+ history which I enjoyed a lot. 🙂 I still have a long way to go (I mean it’s kind of an eternal process) in being a good ally but I hope that I’ve educated myself more this year.
  • In terms of self-care and mental health, this year has been pretty rocky. To be frank, I’ve experienced some of my biggest lows ever in 2017. I’ve had several breakdowns and even this holiday I’ve been feeling very sad. I’ve tried to take care of myself, but I want to do this even more going forward in 2017.
  • Blogging has also been patchy. Year 11 has been hitting me harder than I’d thought, leading to me taking a hiatus, and I also haven’t been great at commenting. But you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes we don’t achieve our goals, because things change, and it doesn’t make us terrible people.
  • My most popular posts this year were LGBTQ+ History in Schools, Yes, I Love YA, and The Spring Has Sprung book tag. My collab post Les Mis v Hamilton (with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages) from last year was also pretty popular, which is cool to see. Bonus posts: queer girl media recs and 7 #relatable clarinet things.
  • However! I have consumed some WONDERFUL art this year: I’ve continued to read many great books, got way more into podcasts, also got into comics, and of course kept listening to rad music. I am so grateful for all this art because, honestly…it keeps me going. I need art so much.

Looking forward to 2018

  • I want to do things with love. I don’t want to do some crappy ‘love saves everything’ thing because that’s just wrong, but personally I want to bring more love and care into my life. By this I mean: bringing a sense of love to caring for myself, putting in time and effort in my relationships, criticising things I love because I love them and not in spite of it.
  • Further elaborating on the theme of self care, I want to look after myself better. The next year is going to be hard and I need to practise self care ESPECIALLY when I feel bad to stop me spiralling into terribleness. I’ve designated specific phone-free times because constantly scrolling through social media does not really help me. But at the same time I don’t want self care to be a chore, so. UGH it’s hard!
  • I want to keep enjoying art! I’m super excited to be able to experience new things in 2018 — I’m seeing both Hamilton and the Cursed Child which I am EXTREMELY excited and grateful for. I hope to read some wonderful books — I am currently very excited for Alice Oseman’s book 3, hopefully out in spring — as well as comics, movies, podcasts, music, TV and so on. This also includes making my own art, which has rather been put to the back burner due to school & mental health, but nevertheless I hope to continue with it.
  • I want to make new friends & meet old ones. I hope to be attending YA Shot and YALC in 2018 and I want to meet up with bookish friends! I’d also love to make some new friends, and if possible meet some internet friends in real life because I think that’d be super cool. 🙂
  • This one is rather vague, but I want to experience new things. I have a lot of ~new and exciting~ things coming up in the future, like going to sixth form, big exams, prom, a bunch of people leaving school, my trip to Ecuador with Guides (!!), turning 17… It’s gonna be a WILD TIME, y’all.

wow that was a deep dive into my brain! how was your 2017? do you have any goals for 2018?