While it might be coming into autumn in the rest of the world, it’s now very nearly springtime in the Land Down Under. Spring is one of my favourite times for music, and it’s filled with a lot of pleasant memories, like going on weekend walks or listening to Florence + The Machine after getting home from school and looking out at the cloudless sky. So here I have compiled a list of some of my favourite upbeat tracks for the blooming season from over the past few years, with quite a few new favourites thrown in for good measure. And remember, if it isn’t spring where you are, it will be sooner than you know it, and who’s stopping you from pretending, anyway?
You may have noticed that I’ve been neglecting my blog recently as I attempt to wade my way through my masses of uni work with the hope of triumphantly crossing the proverbial finish line that is finals in a few months time. Yet with all my readings and essays that must be composed, I can’t up but long to hone my ability to write, to put together prose that doesn’t jerk you around like a bus driver that can’t keep his foot off the brake, but that’s hard to do when you’re perpetually up to your elbows in vocabulary lists and literary research.
In any case, I’m not a defeatist. I hope to still be here in my little corner of the Internet for years to come, no matter who visits or what happens. So I will try to carve a path through the paper mountains I’m trying to climb, and find the time to put pen to paper and fingers to keys. I hope to play with some new, better ideas, and maybe see a fair few of them through. I might I’ll even fill a notebook for the first time in my adult life.
I’m doing to English literature units this semester, which means a lot of reading. I enjoy reading and I read reasonably widely, so I’ve not yet neglected any of the readings I’ve been assigned. I’m actually quite excited to get into some of these books, so I thought I’d share them with you.
Literature and the Political
1 - The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle 2 - Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell 3 - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 4 - Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas 5 - Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare 6 - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde not pictured - Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
1 - Beware of The Storybook Wolves by Lauren Child 2 - The Wolf’s Story by Toby Forward & Izhar Cohen 3 - Stardust by Neil Gaiman 4 - Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend by Steven Herrick 5 - The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett 6 - The Fire-Eaters by David Almond 7 - The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky 8 - Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
I’ve been on semester break for the whole of July and have thus had a fair bit of time to do and love a variety of things. As this doesn’t happen every month, favourites type posts are rare for me, so I figured I’d put one out while the going is good. Maybe you’ll find something you’re interested in.
I’ve mentioned this lovely bookstore in a previous post, but I’ve since visited again and was once more unable to leave without purchasing something. They have such a wonderful variety of sections from travel to fine arts to a whole section of Japanese books (including study resources, which is advantageous for me as a Japanese student). I could spend hours in there before getting bored. And being located in the Galleries in Sydney, it’s also very easy to get to.
Q&A A Day
I picked this little treat up at Books Kinokuniya on my most recent visit. I’d been looking for an activity a day book for a while and this was right up my alley. It includes just a simple question for each day, with room for five years worth of answers, and is a great way to collect memories with little effort. A bonus is that you can start the project at any time of the year and it doesn’t matter!
Comics (Hawkeye and Sex Criminals)
Books Kinokuniya also has a comics section, and is the location of my first comics purchase. I’d wanted to enter the world of comics for a while, but had no idea where to start as it can be so overwhelming, especially in the case of Marvel. This copy of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye was the first thing to grab my attention, so I opted to just give it a go after seeing people say such good things about it for quite some time. I’ve since caught up, and I think it’s been a great way to introduce myself to comics. I’ve loved it (and also Kate Bishop).
As you may know, I also picked up a copy of Fraction’s Sex Criminals, mostly for a laugh, and I don’t regret it. It’s a very interesting comic and is well written and illustrated, so if you consider yourself to be of a mature enough age, I would surely recommend it.
Douglas Coupland’s Player One is the first of two books that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the past month. It’s an apocalyptic novel that takes place over five hours (with each hour serving as a chapter), and is told through the perspectives of five very different characters that find themselves stuck in the cocktail lounge of an airport hotel during the end of the world as they know it. It’s gripping from the first chapter, which I found a refreshing change from some of the slower books I have read recently, which is always a high point for me. It does get quite existential and asks some heavy questions about religion and the like, but if that sounds okay by you, I can definitely suggest giving it a try.
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City
Another book I’ve loved is the first in Kirsten Miller’s Kiki Strike series, which I purchased on recommendation from Imogen, and am very glad that I did. It follows a group of young girls who live in New York and discover a secret underground city which they set out to explore. I was initially hesitant, with the protagonists initial age being only twelve, but that was soon pushed aside as I read. It’s wonderfully paced and guides you right through to the end with twists and diverse characters. I never felt there was lull in the story, and stands as one of the most entertaining novels I’ve ever read.
Frankie is an Australian bi-monthly magazine aimed at creative types that is currently celebrating it’s 10th birthday with it’s 60th issue on shelves now. I’ve been reading every issue cover to cover for about three years now, and it continues to be one of my favourites. It always has funny and educational pieces by quite well-known writers, spreads on art and photography, craft and cooking, and promotes indie bands and stores around the country. It always makes me happy to read about the little creative things that people devote their time to, and the gorgeous layout is an added bonus.
Now, onto the two things that everyone and their pet rabbit has seen. I recently started watching Orphan Black and am almost up to date and no longer wondering why it has such a large following. It probably stands at the threshold of the most action I can take, and has opened my eyes as to how much guts and gore I can handle (which is not much at all), but I’ve not wanted to stop watching. Everything about it is brilliant, with Tatiana Maslany’s performance obviously standing out in the best way. I sometimes forget how many roles she plays (but that hasn’t stopped me from pinning Cosima as my favourite).
Pacific Rim was released in cinemas just over a year ago, and I’ve heard people rave about it nonstop since then. It’s a film which, if you sat me down and tried to explain the plot, I’m not sure I’d really enjoy, but upon finally deciding to watch it, it has become one of my favourite films of all time. From the visual effects to the soundtrack, everything comes together to create an experience almost akin to something spiritual, with the characters (especially Japanese female lead Rinko Kikuchi playing Mako Mori!) something to get even more excited about. If you’re one of the few people that’s not yet seen it, trust me when I say I don’t have a bad word to say about it.
Soap & Glory’s ‘The Righteous Butter’
I do have a couple of beauty/fashion favourites, as their something that I also enjoy. The first is this body butter from Soap & Glory, which has fast become one of my favourite brands. I’ve used a couple of their moisturisers, and this one is no exception to the usual quality. It’s firm but sinks into the skin easily, it smells amazing and keeps you feeling moisturised for ages after use. So, if you’ve not tried Soap & Glory products before, give this one a whirl and see what you think.
Demi Quilt Bag from Forever New
Last but not least, my newest bag. I’d been looking for a new black handbag for a while, and fell in love with the quilted style along the way. This one is softly but reasonably structured and roomy without becoming a pit for your belongings to get lost in, perfect for me as a uni student that frequently needs to carry books, food and a variety of knick-knacks wherever I may go. And hopefully it will last me a long time.
Those are the things that I have discovered and enjoyed the most while I have been free from university obligations. Hopefully you would have found something interesting. Let me know if you did!
cathartic composing part ii