Now it’s time to squee over some of my favourite topics – books, TV, and music! It’s been ages since I wrote one of these posts, previously known as “Read, watch, listen” (boooooring!), so I’ve decided to wrap up all the fun things I’ve been checking out in my free time over the summer months in to one post, and to rename it “Geeking out” (much more fun). This is how I choose to occupy what little free time that I have (approx. 2-3 hours per day depending on whether the kids go to bed without a fight, and how late I force myself to stay up, how much time do you get?). Maybe in future posts I can extend it to talk about other hobbies or temporary amusements that take my fancy, like movies, or my knitting perhaps? I had a bout of knitting rage earlier this week though, so let’s not talk about it right now….
The last time I updated what I was reading/watching/listening to, it was November! A bit has happened since then! Here’s what I got stuck into over summer:
Firstly, my most favourite event of the year happened just a couple of weeks ago – the Lifeline Book Fair! I went twice in one day, firstly to roam child-free with my fellow book nerd – my sister, and then secondly to introduce both Big R and Moose to the magic that is the Book Fair for the first time. Check out my haul –
Not my greatest haul ever, but I’m still pleased (you should have seen how well Moose and Little R did though!). And yes, I’ve decided to go on a bit of a Stephen King binge. Confession time – I’ve never read him. Whaaa?
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with reading. Not that I’m not obsessed usually, but over the past couple of months I’ve felt like I want to consume all the books. I would eat them if I could!
Just before the end of the year, I finished The Magicians by Lev Grossman, which is Book 1 in a trilogy. If you’re a Harry Potter or Narnia fan, please, give this book a go! It’s a bit darker, not one to read out loud to the littlies at bedtime (wait until they’re teens)! I was initially a bit peeved by the apparent constant copying of details from both HP and Narnia, but in the end the storyline won me over and I really enjoyed it. Book 2 is next on my to-read list.
Next up, I experienced my first audiobook! We were looking forward to heading interstate to spend Christmas on the beautiful NSW mid-north coast, but we weren’t looking forward to the 7-8 hour drive to get there. So I decided we’d give an audiobook a try in the car, and I’m so glad we did. It really did help to make the trip go faster. We hadn’t finished it by the time we got home from our holiday, so I continued to listen to it at nights while doing my knitting. Yes, I have completely gone nanna. The 18-year-old in me can’t believe I just said that. Anyway, the audiobook was The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, which I picked up on the recommendation that if you loved Station Eleven (which I did – my favourite book of 2014!), you would enjoy this. The story is told by an American teenage girl, and begins with news being broken to the world that the Earth’s rotation is slowing day by day. What this means, for not only the global community but the local scene in California, right down to the girl’s circle of schoolmates, neighbours, friends and family, is gradually worked through as the world comes to terms with this new state of living. I did enjoy this as an audiobook, although at times I found it to be frustratingly slow, so perhaps it would be more enjoyable to just read the print version. In one word – intriguing.
I then finally got around to reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize. It was interesting, while I was reading it I felt underwhelmed and disappointed, particularly with the first half of the book which seemed to only be concerned with the protagonist’s love interest and really bored me. But since I finished it I keep thinking about it, and I’ve realised that it has given me a new appreciation for the experiences of POW’s in World War 2. I have previously worked at the Australian War Memorial for a number of years, and even with the knowledge I gained there, I had never had the horror and disbelief of what the POW’s went through presented to me in such a heartbreaking, no-holds-barred way. I would recommend reading this book because I think everyone should understand and respect what these men went through, but be warned, in some parts it will be rough going. And that’s just to read it, imagine what it would have been to live it.
Finally, I just finished At Home with the Templetons by Monica McInerney. I think I needed a bit of light reading after The Narrow Road! This book is a massive tome, but I managed to flick through it pretty quickly. If you’re into chick lit, I don’t think this would disappoint. It has a cast of characters who are quirky yet relatable enough to keep you interested, and the plot rolls along quite smoothly. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it either. I’d say it was simply “good”.
I’m currently reading Gone Girl. Yes, I’m the only person left in the world who hasn’t yet read it or watched the movie. No spoilers please!
As for online reads, the internet never disappoints, but lately I seem to be cooking up a storm from recipes I’ve found online so I thought it might be fun to share a few of those with you. This Risotto Bolognaise from Not Quite Nigella was so hearty and comforting, and has the potential to be even better come winter! I don’t own a slow cooker, so I just adapted the recipe to make the risotto the usual way on the stovetop, and it worked just fine.
I linked to the recipe for this Lemon Coconut Slice from Veggie Mama on my Facebook page, because it totally seduced me and I have since made it about fifty thousand times. Make it for your next afternoon tea/dessert/meal/anything whatever just EAT ALL OF THE SLICE.
This Chicken Pasta Bake from Planning With Kids is an oldie, but it has been a regular on our family’s dinner menu for so long now, I just have to share it. Big R proclaims it is his favourite meal, and that he’d choose it over any takeaway. That’s big words coming from him! I adapt mine to include shallots, bacon and sundried tomatoes, just because yum.
On to the box. Last time I checked in, the finale of Sons of Anarchy was yet to air. Well that has passed some time ago now, and I’m still devastated that it’s over. Damn, that show. I may have to go back and re-watch it all over again. I won’t give away the ending here just in case, but I’ll just say that I wasn’t disappointed with it, I thought it was a fine conclusion. I just wasn’t happy with the way in which it was portrayed on the screen. Dodgy CGI stuff. Cheesy acting. Bad editing. Loopholes and questions.
Since getting over the SoA grieving period, I caught up with True Detective Season 1. Everyone has raved about it so much, I just had to see what the fuss is about before Season 2 comes out. It took a few episodes to get hooked, and I couldn’t keep up with some of the miniscule details in the plot, but I still really loved it. I have a new appreciation for Matthew McConaughey. That man can act.
We’ve also become addicted to Gogglebox. Have you seen it? When I heard about it, I didn’t know whether I should laugh, scoff, or be excited! I was intrigued to say the least, and it still feels strange to be sitting on the couch watching a show on TV about people sitting on their couches watching shows on TV. But it is So. Funny. You can’t look away. I am counting down until the next episode!
I voted in Triple J’s Hottest 100, as I do every year, and decided that my top song for 2014 was “So Soldier” by #1 Dads featuring Ainslie Wills. It’s just very mellow, and something about it gives a hint of the 80’s. Beautiful stuff. Listen to it while looking at the sky.
My money was on “High” by Peking Duk to take out the Number 1 spot on the countdown though (Canberra represent!). They came in at Number 2, and I still think their song was more of a highlight of the year than “Talk is Cheap” by Chet Faker which took out the top spot, but I guess being runner-up in the world’s largest music poll is nothing to scoff at.
I’ve been loving a bit of alt-J lately, as well as “Pray to God” by Calvin Harris featuring Haim.
In other musical musings, did I tell you that I am going to Sydney in two days to see the FOO FIGHTERS! The frigging Foo Fighters baby! My favourite! I saw them on their last tour to Australia and they were so mind-blowingly good, I’m counting down the hours until this next show. Yesss!
I love geeking out over books, TV and music, and so much more – I’d love to know what you’ve been into lately! Even if all you’ve been doing is knitting, I’ll geek out over that with you too 😉