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!

ink swash 2

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. 😛

ink swash 2

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?

School Year in Review // #evestudies

school year in review eve studies.jpg

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?

 

 

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.

Bullet Journalling & Revision Techniques // #evestudies

bullet journaling revision evestudies

Yes! It is officially exam period and I am back again with study updates. (Even though I am writing is while I probably should be working. The irony. OH WELL.) If you missed my last #evestudies post, I’m not taking public exams this year but I still have internal exams and I’m hoping to keep a record of how I revise for them. 🙂

It’s two weeks until half term, which is going to be my main revision week. But I’ve already been doing a bit of organisation and revision because some subjects *coughs* History *coughs* have a lot of stuff to learn.

The main thing that I have been doing is keeping a bullet journal. I’d heard of them before, but I after I spent an afternoon looking at pretty pictures of them I thought it might be fun to start one! I’ve always found to-do lists helpful, and basically my bullet journalling is just a slightly more formal and pretty to-do list.

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As you can see in this picture: I mark off every new week with the date and week of the school term. Then I draw in things that I want to do each week; currently I’m trying to engage with the news at least four times a week, and I was also trying to do clarinet practice. For each day I write everything I have to do in colours corresponding to various themes (school, blog/online) and…well, tick them off as I go along.

I know it’s not very beautiful compared to some people’s, but I think I’d just spend so much time trying to make it look a way that isn’t achievable for me haha. And it’s still nice to look at! In general I do feel as though writing this has made me more able to manage my tasks, especially when I have a lot, and I feel a sense of achievement when I cross them off.

The other thing that I want to chat about today is revision techniques, and the various ways I revise  for different subjects. I’ve mainly so far been working on sciences, so I’ll probably be focusing on them more!

1. Note taking and adapting my notes style for the topic

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My way of revising mainly consists of looking through my lesson notes and then making condensed notes from that, and this is the style I’ve gone with in the past. I use a colour scheme for each subject and write key words/equations in a colour that stands out, but otherwise I basically just adapt them for the topic and what I think works best. I might illustrate a diagram, draw a mind-map, and then for the next little chunk of information use a different style.

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2. More mind-map-y notes style

Here I’ve got two different mind-maps. I used mindmapping for the poems we’ve studied in English because I think so many parts of them link together, and it makes it easier for me to look over the major themes of one poem. I’ve also started using more of a mind-map style of notes for sciences; I’m still writing similar things to before, but formatting it in smaller chunks of information. 🙂

3. Using Quizlet for vocab

Quizlet is my NUMBER ONE lifesaver for vocab during the year. I think I’d find it really difficult to work without it! It’s a great way for me to test myself and keep all the vocab I need to learn stored in one place. I’ve also used it to learn definitions and key words in the past.

I’ve also been reading some useful things online about revision which I’ll for sure using in the future: a guide for revising Maths by Megan @ Probability Reading (whichI definitely need!), how to study for the new linear A Levels by Em @ Adventures of a Lost Teen (not directly relevant to me but still some great general revision tips) and an alternative to flashcards for learning key vocab (I’m not a massive flashcard fan because I find them fiddly so this appeals to me). I enjoyed this A – Z study tips post by Nusha too. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this update on my various school and revision things, and good luck to you if you’re doing any exams right now! ❤

do you have any revision tips to share? what techniques to you life to use?

Poetry: lemonade lies

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So. It has been a LONG time since I posted any poetry. This is not to say that I haven’t been writing any — over the summer I did in fact do a lot of writing. The thing that makes it difficult is I go through phases with poetry, and it takes me a long time to warm my mind back up into it. So mostly that time is just writing and discarding. But THAT’S HOW WE IMPROVE, right? Or at least I hope haha.

This poem was written sometime in early summer, I think? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s not very recent. I just realised that I’d never shared it, so. (Summer is probably my favourite poetry writing time. For some reason it gets me super in the mood.) I was trying out some different styles, and I don’t know if I’d go back to this one, but I hope that you enjoy reading anyway. 🙂


lemonade lies

the sandstone wind is an arid, brittle heat that carves
through the canyons of your body. you are steeped

in the parched gold of grasses. the earth
is thirsty for more plum-perfumed words to

slip from your tongue like a bruise, like the way
your mother looks at you and your lungs crumple inside:

breathless, stormclouds flowering across eyes & hands
& hips. every place you have traced

the syntax of her skin.
(but that is a language she does not speak.)

//

at night your body entangles itself in sheets
like a feverish wasp, fingers locked
in the honey of
a sticky caesura.

quenched with chlorine, your thighs scale
into miniature maps

of your sins; of hair half undone
in a promise you cannot keep. but

the cool drains quickly. her eyes trickle elsewhere as
clouded insects catch the evening sun.
your structure hums in readiness of the snap.

LGBTQ+ History in Schools

lgbtq hstory in schools.jpg

Hey! So, if you guys remember, I went to a weekend and learnt some stuff about how to campaign… And I guess this is me announcing my project? For the next year or so I’m going to be working to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ history, with a focus on getting it into schools.

Homophobia and transphobia is still present in schools, and can be highly damaging to young LGBTQ+ people. Nine in ten secondary school teachers say pupils are bullied, harassed, or called names for being perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual (The Teacher’s Report, 2014). Three quarters of trans young people say they have experienced name calling, and 27% have attempted suicide (Metro Youth Chances 2014).

Schools have a legal duty to promote the wellbeing of all young people, including those who are LGBTQ+, and there is clear Ofsted guidance looking at how schools tackle homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Despite all this, over half of young people have never learnt about LGBT issues in school (The School Report, 2012).

In raising greater awareness and discussion of LGBTQ+ history in schools, we can support LGBTQ+ students and teachers, celebrate LGBTQ+ stories from the past, and through learning help tackle prejudice. History is so important to help us understand and navigate our own lives; it can empower and educate our opinions on the world we live in. But when LGBTQ+ voices are erased from our education it can seem that LGBTQ+ people do not have a place in that history, or in our present society.

LGBTQ+ young people are at high risk of suicidal thoughts, depression, and self-harm. As a queer young person I’ve found it incredibly isolating to never see other people like me in my learning. Leaving LGBTQ+ people out of learning only creates the sense of difference, the sense that we somehow do not deserve a space as much as non-LGBTQ+ people. I believe it is incredibly vital that we work to ensure that others do not feel this way.

LGBTQ+ history can be integrated in so many ways as part of students’ education, whether that is within the history curriculum itself, or as part of an assembly or PSHE lesson. LGBT History Month is held every February in the UK, and the theme of 2017 LGBT History Month is Citizenship, PSHE, and Law. Pride Month, held every June, is another excellent opportunity. Both LGBT History Month and Schools Out, a charity working for LGBT equality and visibility in education, have many resources available for schools and teachers, among others.

We want to learn LGBTQ+ history. We want to see it as a part of school life. Therefore I’m asking schools to commit to including LGBTQ+ history in their schools — not just once but into the future as well.

I know there’s a lot of bad stuff happening in the world right now, and I know that perhaps this is not the worst of it — but I thought this might be a good place to begin, because I have to begin somewhere. I didn’t want to do something that wasn’t mine to champion. Since over the last while I’ve become pretty passionate about LGBTQ+ things, I thought that would be a good place to start.

This project is going to involve several different things, but to start with: I have written a letter. I’m going to be sending this letter to schools in the UK, but I need your help in supporting it. If you could share this, keep an eye on my work, or do a little research of your own about LGBTQ+ history then it would be so greatly appreciated.

I’ve got a couple of things that I want to do — just researching for this has opened up a lot to me, and I really want to share things with you! This is a journey for me too since I’ve basically never learnt about LGBTQ history, sadly. February is LGBT History Month in the UK so you can look forwards to some posts about that, and if you have any suggestions for what you want to see, then let me know! (Would you guys want a page of links and ways to find out about LGBTQ+ history? A Twitter chat? How you can do stuff in your own area)   In the meantime, you can follow a subscription letter that I made for this to update you, if you would so wish. Thanks for reading. ❤