Miscellany, Moments

December 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of December 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

On a warm and overcast day at the end of the month, we spontaneously decided to head to the National Arboretum to explore areas of it that we hadn’t been to before. We visited the Himalayan Cedar Forest and walked amongst the shade of these beautiful trees, then veering off track to the areas of the Arboretum dedicated to silk trees and cork oaks. We found little caterpillars hanging by invisible threads in the forest, and a twig teepee made by a previous explorer. We then drove to the highest point of the Arboretum, to take in the view over north-east Canberra towards the Brindabellas, where a storm was starting to roll in and three wedge-tailed eagles were circling above the dry land. Just amazing.

Photo I took

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Cedar at the above-mentioned Arboretum. Cool huh?

Book I read

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – rated it 4 out of 5 on Goodreads, but in hindsight questioning if it was actually worth of a 5 out of 5. A very quick read, this is a book about families, books, obligations, desires, love, grief, and other stuff in between. It follows bookshop owner AJ Fikry over the course of many years (for such a small book it really packs it in), and although he can be grumpy and rude at times, you can’t help but be endeared to him. This one will put a smile on your face.

Memory or moment

Our New Years Eve celebrations. We had my sister, brother-in-law and niece over to our house for a bbq, and after the kids had gone to bed we settled in outside for drinking and chatting. We played “The Song Game”, which I made up. It was very simple – I give you a criteria for requesting a song for me to find and play from Spotify, and we take it in turns to request a song. Ie. “a song that takes you back to your childhood”, “a song from the favourite band you’ve seen play live”, etc. Super fun.

Pastime

Watching TV. I think it must have been the laziness of the holidays, but I definitely felt more drawn to doing this than anything else.

Thing I bought

I bought this wallet from Status Anxiety, which I had had my eye on for years, I don’t know why it took me so long –

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Movie or TV show I watched

I’ve started The Crown on Netflix. Still only about halfway through, and although I take the accuracy of it all with a grain of salt, I still like to pretend that it is all real and I’m actually watching it unfold before me. I love royal family stuff.

Song or album I listened to

Revisiting some oldies lately – namely Lily Allen, Grinspoon, and Bush.

 

What was your month of December like? What were your favourite things?

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Miscellany, Moments

November 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of November 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

We took the kids to see the Bite-sized Circus, an animal-free show with just 6 performers, specialising in acrobatics, juggling, feats of strength and balance, and other amazing tricks. I’d been to see this show previously with Moose but this time all four of us went. It was a freeeeeeezing night and I was already sick, but that didn’t stop me enjoying it!

 

Photo I took

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Here’s Little R just before his first ever swimming lesson. He was so excited and laughed and cheered the whole time we were in the water. We’ve just been for lesson #4 and he’s still laughing and cheering just as much. Little man loves the water! I’m so grateful to have back my one day off from work each week, so that we can spend special time like this together – just the two of us.

 

Book I read

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – I rated this 5/5 on Goodreads. It’s a YA fantasy about a realm which is governed by a queen with a special gift. The queen will always give birth to triplet girls, each born with their own seperate gifts, which will usually be either the ability to control the weather, the ability to withstand poisons and create them, or the ability to have affinity with animals. The girls are seperated at a young age though, and taken to different areas of the realm to learn to control and master their gifts. Once they come of age, they will make a performance of their gift in front of the citizens of the realm, and be given a year in which to try and murder the other two sisters, leaving the sole survivor to be the next queen. Now who doesn’t want to read THAT?! It was dark and suspenseful and oh so delicously fantastical.

 

Memory or moment

I ran the 5km course in the Canberra Lifeline Fun Run – my first ever fun run! This has been on my goal list for a few years, I’m so happy that I have finally done it. I ran the course with my sister, and even though it was the easiest one on offer and we didn’t completely push ourselves to run as fast as we could, still the feeling of crossing that finish line was so uplifting. I have definitely caught the bug and want to do this again and again – and next time I’ll push myself!

 

Pastime

Big R bought a Nintendo mini classic, which if you don’t know what it is, is basically a pocket-sized version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that you might remember from the ’90s. Here’s what it looks like:

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It comes pre-loaded with 30 original arcade classics, including the Super Mario trilogy, Pac Man, Double Dragon, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. I have been having way too much fun reliving my childhood and trying out lots of old favourites and new favourites that I’d never played before. Definitely worth the investment!

 

Thing I bought

I bought this new beach towel from Cotton On, and I’m so in love with it. I have wanted a cool round beach towel for a long time, and now I finally have one and it’s amazing! After I bought it, I came home and immediately spread it out on the floor so I could lay about on it.

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Movie or TV show I watched

Big R and I had a rare night out to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (thank you, thank you very much), and we saw Arrival at the movies. This was not your average aliens-invade-Earth movie. Very different, with a deep message and a lot of feels. It really left us both with lots to ponder afterwards. A worthwhile watch.

 

Song or album I listened to

I’ve been listening to Bloom by Rufus lately, and the whole album is just exquisite. Good to listen to at any time – in the car, at work, at the gym, chilling at home, hanging out with friends. Special stuff.

 

What was your month of November like? What were your favourite things?

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Miscellany

Geeking out – Summer 2015/2016

So, summer has actually been over for a while. But you know, life happened, and THEN when I finally got myself into action and started writing this post, something went wrong halfway through and I lost everything I’d written. That gave me a sad. So here I am, writing this all for the second time. Maybe I should just go back to good old pen and paper…..

Onward! Let us count the ways in which I treated my geeky self over summer. Because I read quite a lot over those 3 months, it would be too lengthy to go into detail for all of the reads, so instead I’ll just give you a quick summary and let you know what rating I gave the books on Goodreads. Here we go:

 

Reading

Bitch Planet: Volume 1 by Kellie Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma and Robert Wilson Р3 out of 5 stars

A feminist graphic novel in which “non compliant” women are sent off to a segregated prison-like place known as “Bitch Planet”. Grrrl Power!

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler Р2 out of 5 stars

Family dynamics, growing up, and coping with grief. Oh, and monkeys.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman Р5 out of 5 stars

A dystopian thriller-horror that set my heart racing and had me flicking pages like wow.¬†Something¬†begins to infiltrate the outside world and when people lay their eyes on this something, they go crazy and commit suicide. Don’t go outside with your eyes open. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

Nick Of Time¬†by Allison B. Hanson –¬†3 out of 5 stars

A rare sojourn into romance for me, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to! It was a bit typical in the storyline and ending, but I liked the characters nonetheless. I received this as an e-galley through Netgalley.

Ms. Marvel: Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona Р1 out of 5 stars

A young girl discovers she has superpowers – in fact, she is Ms Marvel. Thumbs up to more female superheroes (especially females-of-colour), but I just wasn’t captivated by this.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed Р5 out of 5 stars

This book made me feel inspired, confident, and ready to face anything! Technically this would be defined as self-help, but it’s not fluffy or opinionated or judgy like some self-help can be. This is a collection of advice columns from the Dear Sugar feature on The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed.

Craft For The Soul by Pip Lincolne Р2 out of 5 stars

This is Pip’s latest book, with tips for improving different areas of your life through a slightly crafty bent. It was sweet, but I just didn’t feel like it was anything I hadn’t read before. Give it a go though if you’ve enjoyed her previous books.

Only The Stones Survive¬†by Morgan Llywelyn –¬†3 out of 5 stars

I felt like reading some mystical fantasy with great world-building, and this one fulfilled that need. About two different peoples, one invading the other for their lands. Both the characters and the landscapes were well-developed and the magical elements just added to the beauty of the writing. I received this as an e-galley through Netgalley.

Fear Is The Rider¬†by Kenneth Cook –¬†5 out of 5 stars

Read it in one sitting. Well, it is under 200 pages, but still – it was amazing! An edge-of-your-seat, can’t-stop-till-it’s-over thriller, based in the Australian outback. Two lone travellers are hunted by a murderous madman through the isolated and dusty wilds. All of the creeps! Another one I received as an e-galley through Netgalley.

The Martian¬†by Andy Weir –¬†4 out of 5 stars

I finally got around to reading this! Who doesn’t love Mark Watney, I ask you? It was suspenseful, and enthralling, and hilarious. I only left off one star because at times the complex mathematical/technical/scientific parts went over my head, but that could just be me.

Fates and Furies¬†by Lauren Groff –¬†2 out of 5 stars

My disappointment of the season. I had high hopes for this, based on all of the rave reviews I’d heard. But it kinda bored me. I just didn’t care about the characters and what happened to them. It was like it was¬†too¬†literary, just for the sake of being literary. But plenty of people love it, so don’t take my word for it if it’s on your TBR list.

Horrorstor¬†by Grady Hendrix –¬†4 out of 5 stars

Suspenseful horror-thriller in which strange and creepy things happen in an Ikea-copycat store overnight. Naturally, some of the staff decide to stay in the store overnight to try and figure out what’s going on, which is a very bad idea. This definitely had its chilling moments, and even some really dark moments, but mostly it was just a bit of fun.

 

On the online front, here were a few gems that I found recently-

Kate from Picklebums tallies up a great list of things you can save for play and how to use them. Great for those times when you feel like you should be playing with your kids but you’ve run out of ideas!

From the one and only Book Riot, a post that rang my Booktube-addiction bells – 22 favourite booktubers.

And one for all those wannabe gardeners out there (like me) – veggies that you can regrow again and again!

 

Watching

 

I haven’t been watching much TV at all. We finally got caught up on House of Cards, and just as we did….the next season dropped. So now we are behind again!

We watched the first episode of Making a Murderer, because of ALL of the hype, but we just didn’t feel motivated to go back for more? There’s got to be something to it though, I haven’t heard a bad report yet, so I’m thinking of just diving in to episode 2 and seeing how I go.

Also, I haven’t seen it yet but I REALLY want to see the new Jungle Book movie. It definitely doesn’t look like something to take kids to, even though it’s rated PG. But it just looks amazing, and I’m a huge Jungle Book fan, so I can’t wait!

 

Listening

I’ve mainly been listening to podcasts over music! There were some good things rotating on my playlist over summer though. A few of my picks – Ocean Drive by Duke Dumont, Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd, Trust by Half Moon Run, and Dreams by Beck¬†(he’s back!).

 

I hope you’ve been enjoying some good reading, watching and listening lately! Let me know about it in the comments!

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Miscellany

Hello, stranger

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It’s been a long, long time.

You know how sometimes life just revolves your priorities around for a change? For what feels like months, my priorities have become reading, spending time with loved ones, more reading, and writing job applications.

I’ve always been a keen reader, but for the past two years my urge to read has been stuck on “insatiable” and I don’t see it moving any time soon. And I am totally fine with that, I’m enjoying it so much! So reading has been a priority for me, but not only have I been reading, I’ve been completely immersing myself in the bookish world. I’ve been reading blog posts, listening to bookish podcasts, watching videos on BookTube, and drooling over photos on Bookstagram. I’ve also been blogging a bit over at my bookish blog, even if I haven’t been blogging here, and that’s totally ok because I don’t subscribe to blog guilt! So, if you like to hear about what other people are reading you could always head over there and take a look, but I’ll also do a little (ok, big) bookish update here soon too.

I made a few quiet resolutions for myself this year, just some¬†goals and areas I wanted to work on. One of those was to spend more time with friends and family, because I’d noticed that I was feeling sluggish and as a result, wasn’t making the effort. And those times are always worth making the effort for. So far I feel like this is going well, although it would go better if Big R didn’t work two weekends out of every four, but anyway. Part of this is that I wanted to spend more time with Big R, Moose and Little R, and in that respect I’m pretty happy. Big R and I made an agreement recently that we wouldn’t let the kids watch TV during the day anymore, and instead we’d keep that in reserve for the “witching hour” when they really do need some chill-out time, lest they go hyper. I felt like we weren’t making the effort to spend enough one-on-one time with the kids, again, because we were feeling sluggish. Since we made this resolve we’ve both been arting, crafting, reading, and playing a lot more and I feel like a better parent for it.

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I’ve also been trying to make more time for journalling, and yoga, and I’ve generally just been spending a lot of time thinking and reflecting and exploring. Basically, just trying to figure out how I can be the best I can be.

And then there’s the job applications. Oh, the job applications. I think I’ve written at least 8 in the past 4 or so months? They take so long and are really not fun, but unfortunately they’re necessary if you want another job (funnily enough), and I DO want another job! That’s been another of my “unofficial” (but kind of official, especially because I’ve now put it here in words) resolutions – I want to be in another job by the middle of the year. And the months are zooming by, so time is fast running out if I want to make that goal a reality. So until that becomes a reality, answering selection criteria will unfortunately have to remain a priority.

So that’s me. It’s not really that interesting, but it’s life! I hope yours has been full of all of the good stuff.

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Geeking out – Spring 2015

Szhoooom! There went Spring! It feels like only a matter of weeks since we were celebrating start-of-Spring birthdays in our house, and here we are, staring down the barrel of Christmas!

I have been on somewhat of a reading rampage this year, and that didn’t let up over Spring. In fact if anything, it got more intense. I think about reading All. The. Time. So I’ve got lots of books to tell you about, and if you happen to be very bookish like me and want to know more, you can check out my other blog love-child – Little Blog of Books.

Ok, on to the good stuff, and I’ll have to be more brief than usual this time around because of the sheer amount of books….

 

Reading

Greads snip

Nailed it. And still counting.

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey – I listened to this on audiobook, and to be honest, I think I may have enjoyed it more in print. Something about Tina’s voice and her presentation, I sometimes feel like she’s trying too hard to be funny. This was ok. I laughed, just not as much as I thought I would.

Down Under by Bill Bryson – I love reading/hearing comical opinions on Australia from foreigners, and Bill covers all the great comic bait – poisonous creatures, vast spaces of nothingness, cricket…..but he also shows a more serious side with his observations about the divide between Indigenous and white Australians. Classic Bryson.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood – a collection of magical realism short stories. My first Atwood actually, and I loved it. Slightly weird, just enough. I love her brain.

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith – a tense suspenseful thriller, one which has you guessing and switching your loyalties between characters right to the very end. You don’t know who to believe throughout the whole thing. The blurb for this story is what drew me in and had me almost busting down the library’s door to get my hands on it.

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King – continuing on with The Dark Tower series, this is book 2. Definitely more enjoyable than book 1. I feel like, even after two books, I still don’t really know what the deal is with this story, but I’ll continue nonetheless.

The Girl who Slept with God by Val Brelinski – possibly my favourite read of the year. I felt like this book would appeal to anybody, and I fell hard for the main characters. A powerful literary debut.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – this was a quick read, but just the right length for what it was. Again with the weirdness, and possibly a little too much weird for my liking, but the story was still suspenseful and engaging enough for me to stick with it and enjoy it.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – This was an audiobook listen, and I looooved it. I don’t need to describe Amy, you all know. This was not only an autobiography/memoir, but also full of views and advice for life in general, particularly if you are a working mother. And there’s plenty of celebrity cameos throughout.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – couldn’t ignore the hype. I’m glad I didn’t either, this was a straight-up page turner. I was suspicious of everyone, and I love that in a thriller! I think this will translate well to the big screen.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – just so adorable. And hilarious! I loved the dry and unintentional humour that was found throughout. I listened to the audiobook, and while the narrator certainly nailed the “dry” quality of the protagonist’s nature, he sounded a little more bogan than I would have imagined him to be.

The Shining by Stephen King – picked this up over Halloween as I was in the mood for something creepy. I’ve never read it before, and my battered second-hand copy sure comes with a lot of character. It was so great, and totally satisfied my creepy craving! Another of my favourite reads of the year.

Decision Points by George W. Bush – I really only picked this up because I was interested in hearing his take on 9/11. That part of the book was actually surprisingly brief, but what remained was enough to keep me interested. But only vaguely. I listened to this on audio, and although I think I would have abandoned it if I had read it in print, I have to say that Bush really does not possess the gift of fine story-telling.

Whatever She Wants: True Confessions of a Male Escort by Andrew Rosetta – I read this to make way on my bookshelf, knowing that once I had read it, I wouldn’t need to hold on to it. It’s just not that kind of book. The title says it all, and I guess it was vaguely interesting in parts, it made me think a little differently about how the world of escorting works. But as I said, really just read it so I could get rid of it.

 

And I’ve got a couple of great online reads that I found too! This post from Hugzilla really struck a chord with me, about being honest when it comes to parenting newborns/babies. Because not all of us floated along on a fluffy cloud of happy hormonal bliss during that time.

And this post from Kate Takes 5 sets out just exactly how I wish the mothering arena would be, everywhere, all the time.

 

Watching

I finally got Big R into House of Cards, and now that he’s caught up to me, we’re watching it together. God I love that show.

My new TV love is Bojack Horseman. It’s been so long since I have enjoyed an adult cartoon show. Seriously, so hilarious!

 

Listening

Lately I’ve really been getting into Tame Impala,¬†I like their new songs so I’ve been delving into their back catalogue at the same time.

 

So as you can see, reading continues to dominate my life.

What have you been enjoying in words, on screen, or in your ears lately?

 

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Geeking out – Winter 2015

So apparently these are no longer monthly posts, but seasonal posts! Ugh, life huh? That life stuff is still going on around here Рin the past couple of weeks Big R got the flu, then I got the flu, then he got gastro, and now I have sinusitis. The lives of us lately.

One good thing about being sick though, is that usually you can still veg out and read or watch TV or chill out with some music. And that’s where this post comes in! I’ve got so much reading, watching, and listening to catch you up on. Let’s go!

Reading

Seeing as we’re talking about reading, I firstly need to put in a plug for my new home-away-from-this-home. Little Blog of Books is a blog by my sister and me, where we choose books for each other to read, post book reviews, and write about all corners of our love of books. You’ll also find more of my thoughts on some of the books I’ll talk about here. If you love reading, you might enjoy our blog! We also have a cool Facebook page, and a busy Instagram account, for all your bookish needs!

Ok, back to recent reads. My first read for June was A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson. This was my first Bill Bryson read, and I absolutely LOVED it. Couldn’t put it down. It gave me a craving for going hiking (which I haven’t done yet, but I will, I will!). Bill and his friend attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in the US, and along the way they meet some interesting folks, deal with “roughing it”, and the ever-present threat of bears. A great mix of factual information, adventure, and humour.

The Fever by Megan Abbott was up next. This was my first joint review with my sister for Little Blog of Books, and we were both so excited about reading this one together. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a flop for both of us. It could have been a great book, but the slow pace and the ho-hum conclusion let it down. Those in their mid-late teens might still enjoy this though.

I then listened to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield on audiobook, which was a great experience. I’ve listened to a few audiobooks this year and I’m finding it to be a great way to squeeze in extra reading time in the car, when I’m cooking dinner, folding the clothes etc. This is a literary mystery novel, and it’s also largely a book about books. I thought the characters were developed very well, and the language was beautiful. Well worth a read.

I also got around to reading The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman, the final book of The Magician’s Trilogy, which I have zoomed my way through of late. This series is being turned into a TV series so expect to see it on your screens soon, but I would recommend reading it first if you’re interested. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first and second books, it seemed to be in the mode of wrapping up the story from page 1 so the plot wasn’t as thick with little events along the way. But all in all, I loved this series!

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Image used¬†with permission from Little Blog of Books. Because I own LBoB. That’s right, I permit myself to use my own photo.

I also found some great online reads over winter….

Since the beginning of the year my mind has been occupied with thoughts of finding my true career path, and setting myself up towards becoming self-employed in something I love doing. This post from Leo Babauta on Lifehack about Finding your passion sounds like a great set of first steps towards achieving big dreams.

This year, Triple J celebrates its 40th anniversary, and has been celebrating the milestone with fun flashbacks to iconic music from the past 40 years. This is a great wrap-up of the major musical milestone from each year in the 40-year period, as seen through the eyes of Triple J.

I found this one on Picklebums’ Facebook page – an explanation of how to properly use consequences, instead of inadvertently using punishments. This is something we’ve been testing out at our house with a certain 5-year-old, and the jury is still out at our place, but we do struggle at times to come up with an appropriate consequence for behaviour, especially when you are put on the spot. This article from HuffPost Parents Canada is useful.

I recently read Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, after reading from a number of sources that the Dark Tower series is the greatest fantasy series ever written. And I was completely UNDERwhelmed. After reading the GoodReads reviews, it appears that I’m not alone in this view. Then I found this post on my beloved Book Riot, which deals with this exact problem (I’m really not alone!). It’s encouraged me to continue on with the series anyway, in the hope that I will fall in love with the subsequent books.

Again from Leo Babauta, a post on his blog Zen Habits with useful tips on how to get out of a slump. Useful in so many circumstances!

This article about how to talk to little girls in a way that encourages self-worth and respect, instead of centre-ing on looks straight up, had such beautiful sentiment and has really stuck with me.

Watching

Well, Game of Thrones ended….no spoilers here, but Big R was NOT HAPPY and complained for days about what happened at the end of the season! Personally, I just think it’s unfair that GoT doesn’t run continously on and on and on every week without a break. I really do love that show. I don’t mind the controversial events that happen along the way, I think that makes for great TV.

I’m STILL watching Season 1 of both¬†Bloodline¬†and¬†House of Cards¬†on Netflix, they’re both fantastic in their own ways (Bloodline – dark, suspenseful, kind of mystery/thriller but not fast-paced, House of Cards – intricate political drama, fast-paced), it’s just about getting the time to watch them!

I watched one episode of Sense 8¬†but haven’t got around to watching any more. It’s got potential, reminded me a little of Heroes with the big cast of characters. Anyone watched it?

Big R and I gave American Horror Story¬†a go….and we will NOT be going back! It wasn’t so much scary, which is what we were expecting and hoping for, but absolutely disturbing and depressing. Not my cup of tea, no no no no no.

We did finish Season 1 of The Returned.¬†We loved the whole season, right up until the end of the last episode which was totally LAME and was neither revealing nor suspenseful. Not happy! Having said that, I’ll totally watch Season 2 when it’s available.

Listening

I’ve been listening to a lot of¬†Purity Ring lately – they’ve been described as synth-pop, but I’ve also seen them described as witch-house! Interesting, I’ve never come across that genre before! I just think of them as chill winter beats, their sound has really been fitting to the weather we’ve been having. They did a great set at Splendour In The Grass this year which was recorded by Triple J.

I’ve also been listening to new stuff from The Rubens – they’ve just released their new album “Hoops”. I adore the voice of Sam Margin, totally sexy.

And that’s what I’ve been spending my free time on! When I catch up on three months’ worth in the one post, it makes it look like all I day every day is sit around reading, watching TV and listening to music. I wish!

What have you been reading/watching/listening to lately?

 How would you like to be my friend on Facebook?  We can talk about books, TV and music ALL THE TIME.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT and Maxabella Loves for The Weekend Rewind

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Geeking out – April and May 2015

Woohoo!¬† It’s (past) time again for me to talk about my favourite things!¬† It’s funny, how I seem to have trouble staying on track with these posts.¬† You’d think I’d be right on top of it, given that I love talking about books, TV and music so much.¬† I guess I’m having too much fun reading all the books, watching all the shows, and listening to all the music, it doesn’t leave much time for writing about it!

Here’s what I’ve been immersed in over the last two months-

Reading

When I last checked in, I was in the middle of reading The Magician King, Book 2 in The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman.¬† Oh, this book.¬† I’m just loving this series.¬† It’s fantastical, and suspenseful, and dark, and indulgent.¬† I’ve said it on previous occasions, but it’s grown-up Harry Potter and/or Chronicles of Narnia, in equal measure.¬† I think I enjoyed this book even more than the first.¬† And did you know they’re turning it into a TV series?¬† Check out the trailer and let me know what you think.¬† I think it makes a look a bit sexier and cool than it comes across in the books, but time will tell.

Next, I moved on to a classic which I embarrassingly hadn’t read until now.¬† I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew that a new Harper Lee novel was being released in a couple of months’ time, and that it’s causing quite the stir in the book world.¬† Well, I decided this was the push I needed to read To Kill A Mockingbird, as the new book, Go Set A Watchman, is the sequel to this well-loved story.¬† I wasn’t disappointed, it’s easy to see how this book won over so many hearts (and the Pulitzer).¬† As an Australian, born well after TKAM was released, the social and cultural issues of the time and place are not relatable for me, but of course I’m aware that blatant racial equality was all the norm in the Western world once (one could argue that to some extent, it still is), and this book presents that so well.¬† I had an immediate affection for Scout, Jem, and Atticus, and was surprised at how gripped I was during the courtroom scenes!¬† Apparently I find courtroom drama exciting?

I’ve just finished my last read for May, which was Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing.¬† About a woman with a miserable past, experiencing what could easily be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, living a new life of solitude in a desolate, wild place.¬† It sounds depressing, and it is, as well as being disturbing.¬† I don’t mind disturbing, and I was interested to find out what the book was building up to, but by the end I wasn’t so sure that it had been resolved for me.¬† There are so many questions left unanswered.¬† This one has a lot of rave reviews on Goodreads, but unfortunately, mine wasn’t one of them.

Most of the online reads I took note of lately seem to have a running theme to them…..

R is for Reading Nook inspiration – gorgeous children’s reading nook spaces.¬† In my dream house, there would be a dedicated reading room with a nook for me, and a nook for the kids!

This list of 100 Best Books of the Decade so far over at The Oyster Review is interesting, and certainly helped to beef up my TBR list even more.

And I just loved this post at trusty ol’ Book Riot – 12 Reasons We Love Bookish Reese Witherspoon.¬† I loved her anyway, and now I love her even more!

These 15 tips for starting a lifelong conversation about books are wonderful pointers for having meaningful discussions about books with your kids and hopefully instilling book-love which you can all enjoy together.  Magical.

Breaking the book theme, I also found 1 Simple Tip to Help You Stop Yelling via Picklebums’ Facebook page.¬† It really is a very simple tip, but so powerful.

Watching

There hasn’t been a lot of watching anything lately, thanks to Big R hogging the TV to play Destiny thanks to a new expansion being released.¬† But we are still slaves to Netflix, with Bloodline and The Returned both in progress.¬† I have also made a start on House of Cards and I’m really into it.¬† At first I found it quite hard to keep up with all the scheming and conniving, but I guess that’s just politics, right?¬† I still have to pause and rewind bits from time to time, but it’s just so great.¬† I think I want to be Clare Underwood when I grow up.¬† No spoilers please, I’m still only a few episodes in, but I can already tell she has her share of issues and they’ll be revealed soon enough.¬† Even so, she’s just so classy and…..established.¬† That’s not an accurate word to describe a person, but it feels like the right one to describe her.

My mother-in-law and I were also given free rein of the TV on Mothers Day (in our dressing gowns), and we chose to start with the new version of Upstairs Downstairs.¬† We got right into it, talking to the characters on screen and mimicking their posh British accents.¬† But it appears that Netflix only makes available the first few episodes of Season 1, and then it’s on to Season 2, and a lot of crucial stuff in the middle gets lost?¬† I haven’t moved past the first few episodes so I don’t really know, but mother-in-law wasn’t pleased, and I won’t be either if there are episodes missing!

And of course, Game of Thrones continues, and all I want is for Tyrion to meet Daenerys so they can combine their awesome powers and rule the world.

Listening

I haven’t been doing a lot of new listening lately, I seem to be more interested in listening to my podcast, ie. The Book Riot Podcast.¬† I always finish each week’s episode with either new books to add to my TBR list, or new bookish ideas I want to explore.¬† And Book Riot have a brand new podcast too, dedicated to new book releases, called All The Books. I’m sure I don’t need my TBR list to expand any further, but I’ll be listening in nonetheless.

But I’ve already covered books!¬† We’re talking about music now!¬† As far as music goes, I’ve been in a bit of a funk and just replaying my same old Spotify list over and over again.¬† One new listen for me is Purity Ring – crisp, clean, frosty Canadian electronic music.¬† Megan’s voice is so sweet, and any time I hear any of their stuff it makes me want to go outside in to the freezing wintery temps we’re having in Canberra right now, and just surround myself with the beauty of winter.¬† It also makes me want to drink icy cold apple cider.¬† I think because that’s what I was drinking when I first heard them.¬† Music – drink association!

 

So that’s me caught up for now!¬† What have you been reading/watching/listening to lately?

 How would you like to be my friend on Facebook?  We can talk about books, TV and music ALL THE TIME.

Playing along with The Weekend Rewind over at Maxabella Loves

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