10 Random Facts About Me

I’ve started a YouTube channel! (Get ready for my dodgy editing)

Basically it’s a space for me to drabble on about the finer points of life and vlog about my various adventures. I’ll be documenting my travels in Thailand – so stay tuned for that!

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The Beauty of Re-Reading

I had a couple books on my TBR list this month…And well, due to inordinate amount of stress (it’s nearing university deadlines, isn’t it?) – I just cannot deal with that list at the moment.

So let’s just say I’ve thrown that list out of the window and picked up a book I’ve already read and enjoyed.

This is the beauty of re-reading.

I love re-reading and I don’t always do it when I’m stressed. It’s great after a reading slump. It’s wonderful as a break between hard, complicated books. I may re-read when I’m sad, when I’m angry, when I’m bored and none of the books I haven’t read are appealing to me at the moment.

I’m currently re-reading the Demon Child trilogy and I’m up to Treason Keep, book two. It has helped me feel more relaxed and I wind down easier before bed after a day of studying and working and overall shitty life things.

My favorite author to re-read is Juliet Marillier. I try to reread at least one of her books every year – I think this year I want to read her Bridei Chronicles again.

Other favorites include Magician by Raymond E Feist, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and several fantasy books I’ve enjoyed in my teen years.

And I’m making my through the Harry Potter series once again this year.

Of course re-reading isn’t always a great idea. There have been books that I have re read, wondering if I’ll enjoy them just as much as I once did – and end up seriously questioning my old taste in books.

But that’s just part of the fun of re-reading.


Do you re-read? And which books do you keep on returning back to?

The Teenage Reading Years

I’m well into my twenties now, with plenty of reading under my belt and far away from my seven year old self who struggled with Harry Potter. But there is one giant reading span I like to think of occasionally and the books I adored during that time: my teenage years. So for those who like data and recommendations, here are the books I enjoyed through my teenage years.

  • 10 year old me: Shy, easily frightened and worried about finding friends after moving to the big city from a desert town. I took comfort in the books I already had enjoyed and re-read over and over again. Books such as my one about mythology, choose your own adventures and those picture books that I had told myself I was too old for. But it was the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling that helped me connect with my new peers in a strange new place.
  • 11 year old me: I was into softball and making silly jokes. I had friends, more friends than I had ever had in my old home – which made me giddy. I was also the fastest reader in my class, eventually winning an award…to shave my teacher’s head (what kind of award was that?!) But I was also getting interested in learning about other countries, particularly China. And I think this was helped by a wonderful fairytale retelling set in 20th Century China called Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah.
  • 12 year old me: I had begun high school and it was weird but fun place. But I also had access to a much bigger library – with a huge fantasy section that all my friends couldn’t help but rave about. Vampires. Girls with psychic powers. Classic about ‘godly’ lions…And then there was Raymond E Feist. I fell in love with Magician, an epic fantasy with dragons, dwarves, elves, magic and politics. And I loved it so much, I pretty much spent the whole year just devouring all his works and collaborations with other authors.
  • 13 year old me: By this point I was pretty much turning into the kid who spent her lunch and recess captivated by a book. I was branching out into more modern novels, ones written by Meg Cabot about boys and dating and highschool cliques (which in the end I didn’t really care for). But I had found a new favorite author: Juliet Marillier. And Wildwood Dancing, a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and the Frog Prince was an absolute keeper.
  • 14 year old me: I was into making mixed CDs for my friends, going to Karate with my best friend, playing video games with my younger brother and berating him… I also adored fantasy novels by Australian authors: Isobelle Carmody, Sara Douglass, Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan and Traci Harding. But the one book that really captivated me and all my closest friends was Does My Head Look Big In This? by Abdel-Randa Fattah. It was another Australian novel about a young Muslim girl and her choice to wear the hijab, and the clash between her culture and Western ideals.
  • 15 year old me: I was beginning to seriously think about college and what I wanted to do…And the college I chose was the one that taught Mandarin (Chinese). I had first discovered my fascination with Chinese Culture with Chinese Cinderella and had read novels such as Wild Swans, Mao’s Last Dancer, Shanghai Girls and many others since then. But I think my favorite was definitely Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, a story about friendship, footbinding and love.
  • 16 year old me: I was at college, with my close friends not there and struggling to find my feet. I loved my history and Chinese classes – thought my Sociology teacher hated me and eventually found friends that shared my geeky interests…Having actual friends who played video games, and who introduced me to so many that I almost squealed with excitement and didn’t leave much room for reading. I must have read only a handful of books that year but I do remember loving The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. One that my mum wouldn’t pick to read because she was scared of vampires.
  • 17 year old me: It was my final year of college, I finally could drive a car by myself and I was pretty worried about my future and getting into university. I was so stressed I think I read less books than when I was 16…Driving my inner thoughts that I was lazy and unrefined. But it was also the year that teachers were giving me interesting books to read for English. And although my English teacher didn’t like me and wouldn’t bother with my questions – I adored The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It was dark, it was disturbing and I’m surprised I haven’t read more Atwood since then.
  • 18 year old me: It was my first year of university – and I fell into the bookclub crowd. I had discovered Goodreads and Vaginal Fantasy – a bookclub hosted by Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton. I finally got back into reading again – in a big way. Mainly due to having a Kindle and a drive to read something other than my prescribed textbooks. Posion Study by Maria V. Snyder brought a sense of excitement and curiosity – about a prisoner forced to become the King’s food taster.
  • 19 year old me: I was dealing with a bad bout of depression, stress and anxiety – all not exactly nice things. I hated my degree, I was severely disappointed and angry that the university was cutting the Chinese language program and I was in bad place trying to figure out whether I should quit university. And books became very important – a chance to escape. I was reading more fantasy and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – this beautiful, lyrical tale was the lighthouse in a severe storm.

My teenage years were a mixed bag – but the one big highlight was all the books! They have helped me over the years through learning about other cultures and how to be more emotionally aware, but also through some very tough times. This is why, although people like to complain about all the YA books, I love seeing more and more teenagers reading. It is a delight and a pleasure I cannot really describe in large detail.


So what books did you read in your teenage years?

 

 

So Not Bookish: Outlander, Black Sails and More

March was a pretty good month for me – from fantastic historical fiction TV shows to superb storytelling in video games.

TV Shows

The Mindy Project

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I rarely watch American comedy shows – partly because they rarely cater to my sense of humor and mainly because I generally don’t like the characters. The Mindy Project has changed that for me, I absolutely adore the characters on the show and the zany issues they tend to get themselves in. The comedic timing works, the character chemistry works, I love the outfits and the wonderful (although definitely not perfect) Mindy. All I want is to spend a day, week, month etc with the characters from Morgan to Danny to Beverly. This is one of the most charming TV shows I’ve seen and I cannot wait to get started on season 4.

Outlander

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It was to my glee that I found Outlander on Netflix Australia, as I’ve read the novel it’s based on and was excited to see how it was adapted. And honestly so far I’m enjoying it more than the novel. It’s toned down on the jumbly parts of the novel that annoyed me and has highlighted the beauty of the Scottish highlands, the tension of being stranded in another time and the romance. I love the casting of Claire, Jamie, Dougal, Frank and more. It’s actually inspired me to read the rest of the book series despite hesitation years ago after I had finish the first novel. Basically – if you love historical fiction as I do with jolt of romance and time travel, you might love it too.

Black Sails

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I love pirates. I love reading about pirates (Cinnamon and Gunpowder, Frenchman’s Creek), I love watching movies about pirates (Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Planet) – I just love pirates. No wonder I had to watch Black Sails, sort of a prequel to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. And although it’s based off a children’s classic, it’s anything but child friendly. Black Sails follows Captain Flint (played by Toby Stephens, who I cannot help but call Mr Rochester) and his quest to rebel against the law. There are bloody duels, sex, weird drug trips and the ever so charismatic John Silver. I haven’t finished the first season yet but I can already tell I’m in for the long run.

Video Games

Beyond: Two Souls

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It’s my mission to get more people into video games, but sometimes the game mechanics can appear too hard and the general idea that all games are shooters is hard to quash. But I think Beyond: Two Souls would appear to any lovers of storytelling. This is a choice and consequence game – where you guide your own way through the story, a story about a woman called Jodie who is linked to some sort of entity called Aiden (think ghost). A story that will make you laugh, cry (and completely invest in) as you navigate Jodie from childhood through tragedy after tragedy – facing difficult choices. The game mechanics are easy – great for beginners. I adored this game and I think I’ll play it again to see how different choices change the direction of the story. Also I shouldn’t forget the characters are played by awesome actors such as Ellen Page, Willem Dafoe and Eric Winter.


So what were your non-bookish favorites in March?

 

Popcorn Review: The Dressmaker, Ghost World & My Brilliant Career

And here begins my ‘Women in Film’ project and so far it has been a ball! Films about women, written by women, directed by women from all sorts of backgrounds. I’ve been indulgent to add Australian films to my ‘to be watched’ list – and maybe I’m a bit of a patriot but they are pretty stellar films. And guess what? All films are based on literature – two books and a graphic novel – so I’m fulfilling the bookish side to this blog.

The Dressmaker (2015)

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Let’s start with The Dressmaker, a movie that it seemed everyone had seen in Australia except for me. Even my guy friends were highly recommending it! And I can definitely see why.  The Dressmaker is a mix between a dark comedy, revenge story and romance with a period drama flair. With the beautiful Kate Winslet as Tilly the dressmaker returning back to her Australian hometown and the people who spurned her. You will adore Tilly and her beautiful dressmaking skills, Tilly’s mad mother, the flamboyant cop and Liam Hemsworth as the sexy love interest whilst probably hating the townspeople. But also be intrigued by the mystery surrounding the death of a boy that Tilly was blamed for. This movie made me laugh, cry and surprised by a really awesome ending. And now I’m going to read the book the film is based on!

Ghost World (2001)

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If you enjoy quirky, dark comedies about growing up – Ghost World is definitely for you. Ghost World is about two girls who have recently graduated from high school who one day discover an ad in the paper about a man looking for a woman he had met. They set up a date as joke but it turns on them as Enid (the main protagonist) begins to obsess about him. I really liked this film – from Enid’s awesome style to her relationship with Rebecca and Seymour. It was relatable, I still feel in that stage between childhood and adulthood as the two girls do. The characters are both adorable and pathetic – and how feeling lost can really eat you up. This was a wonderful little gem of an indie film and I’m glad I finally got to watch it.

My Brilliant Career (1979)

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I only watched this last night actually – but My Brilliant Career is a lovely period film set in the late 1890’s Australian outback about a woman and her desire to be independent and with a career. The movie is both beautiful and depressing – a charming mix. And the photography was gorgeous, capturing both the harshness and lush beauty of the bush. Judy Davis was brilliant as Sybylla (who was also in the Dressmaker) – this wild, idealistic woman with a clever tongue. I also loved the romance between her and Henry Beecham (played by a young, gorgeous Sam Neill. Oh god, that jaw. Those eyes!) If you adore period dramas or even mean to reach out and try Australian movies – I highly, highly recommend My Brilliant Career.