Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas 2016

It’s been a lovely, peaceful Christmas at home this year (apart from the heat and humidity of the last few days, made worse by a day long power out…). We went to Adelaide for Boxing Day to visit Babcia and take family portraits, which were taken with surprising success and lack of stress!

Now it’s time to turn my attention to which movies to watch on New Year’s Eve and to making the dessert, (movies and a special dessert are New Year’s Eve traditions in our household. I’ve chosen to make a Pimm’s cheesecake this year! Hopefully it turns out well), but there is still time to soak up the joy of tinsel and the lovely lull that is typical of the post-Christmas period, when lists are less strict and there’s more time for mucking about with family.

 I hope the Christmas period has been lovely for you and all the best for 2017!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The English Review Vol. 1 | Ideas of the Real

My first English course, Ideas of the Real, was certainly a learning curve. I was behind on reading for some time as I’m a slow reader by nature, but I managed to teach myself how to read faster and got on track by the end.
The course was focused on how reality was thought of and constructed in literature throughout the last 150-odd years. It was really fascinating and confirmed that studying English is good fun and not what I feared (I’ll talk more about the difference between the expectation and reality of studying English, as well as how I taught myself to read faster, in the future).

Selected short stories by Peter Carey & Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

The Peter Carey stories we read were American Dreams, The Chance, Crabs and Peeling. They were all quite weird, as surrealism is wont to be. I enjoyed American Dreams, which was a melancholy story about a small town and the replica of it that reveals secrets, but the others weren’t really my cup of tea. They were interesting in how they started in a realistic setting or narrative voice before sinking into surreal.

Great Expectations was the longest read of the course. I’m a fan of Victorian literature, so overall I liked it but it did take a while to get going. The first two thirds feel like set up for the last third of the novel. Perhaps this is due to how it was originally intended to be read, in serial form.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde & Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 

I read The Importance of Being Earnest in basically a day, it’s light, smart, witty and hilarious. A satire of the idle late-1800’s upper-class, Wilde’s play is wonderfully written. I enjoy reading plays and this was a delight.

I wasn’t sure about Mrs Dalloway when I began, I was dubious about modernism and the idea of a book with basically no plot. But as I got past the first 50 or so pages, I started to appreciate Woolf’s language and enjoyed how she jumped around in people‘s heads, giving a sense of how her characters actually thought. I now want to read all of Woolf’s work.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon & Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy 

The last two books of the course were a contrast in both style and length they took me to read. Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 is a postmodern tale and one that is hard to grasp, the protagonist doesn’t even know whether she’s uncovering a conspiracy or going crazy. There are little clues that add more confusion than clarity. I guess the truth isn’t really the point. It was the shortest novel I had to read but I found it the hardest slog.

Rapture was quite different. A short book of poems, using straight forward contemporary language to tell the story of a yearlong love affair. It’s beautifully told, with some really lovely use of language. It’s poetry that feels assessable in its language but no less beautiful for that accessibility.

And that was my first English course. I really learnt a lot from it and one of the greatest parts was that it taught me that I can love books that are way outside my normal realm of YA fantasy.

 Oh! And Merry Christmas to those celebrating on the weekend and Happy Weekend to those who aren’t! :)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Quote | I’m Going on an Adventure

This quote really helped me this year, reminding me of Bilbo’s adventures in The Hobbit (love that book!), even as I was on one of my own. His adventure was full of ups and downs and points when he just wanted to go back but, ultimately, he was glad to have gone. I felt similar ups and downs when I went to stay in the city for Uni and this quote helped me remember that there are good and bad parts of any adventure and gave me encouragement to keep going. I’m glad I did.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Bits and Bobs #1

READ | Currently reading the last Obernewtyn Chronicles book, The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody. I started it about a year ago but uni got in the way. I feel both reluctant to finish it and excited to know how it ends. It’s a giant book, but the longer the better because I don’t want it to be over! It’s one of my favourite series ever.

WATCH | I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them over the weekend with my little sister, it was amazing. A great story, characters, everything. Was so good to be back in a world I love and get to see it in an earlier period. Period fantasy? Perfect.

WRITE | Currently struggling with figuring out a main plot for my novel, but I’m getting there. Writing every day, nothing spectacular but writing is writing.

PLAN | Made a big plan for all I want to do during my summer holidays, I know I won’t get it all done but I’ll try and see how I go. Things on the list include: sewing, catching up on Castle, applying for grants, making holiday videos, crafting decorations for my college room next year, and the list goes on…

SEE/GO | Whist in the city over the weekend, we went to the Mortlock Wing of the State Library. It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been and it’s fascinating to wander the shelves and browse books you’ve never even heard of. Amy helped me take photos for the sidebar and about page while we were there.
 The jacarandas are in full swing at the moment, making Adelaide even more pretty. The purple lined streets are such a delight.

CRAFT | Started sewing the trim on the pillow I made in July, it will be finished one day!

GET | I did a bit of shopping on the weekend, but restrained myself to things I actually need (mostly): exercise gear for sports next year (from Target), a 2017 Kikki K calendar, a pretty little notebook from Darling Paper Co. (mum bought me from the Gathered market) and snacks for the cinema (essential!).

ETC. | Christmas is almost here!! So excited to get the tree up.
 I’ve been doing lots of organising and cleaning since I’ve been home, hoping to go through my childhood toys while I’m here, which will be challenging for me as I’m super sentimental.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Delta Goodrem in Concert | Wings of the Wild Tour

It was a childhood dream come true to see Delta in concert. I have a vivid memory of laying on my bed on a hot summer’s day, listening to her first album with my younger sister (who made me get up multiple times to replay Predictable). I was so excited when I heard she was coming to Adelaide in November on her Wings of the Wild Tour. It was the perfect end of semester celebration.

I love that moment when concerts begin, the first song always seems to get me emotional as I’m overwhelmed by how incredible live music is. It was so much fun getting to hear lots of old favourites as well as songs from her new CD (which I love) and getting up and singing and dancing like I’d never experienced before in my limited concert-going experience (Delta even taught the crowd a special dance for Call My Name!!). The song I remember most clearly is when she sung I Believe in A Thing Called Love, my favourite from her latest CD. Her voice and that song, magic. And of course, it was incredible hearing Lost Without You live (the song I’d constantly replay in those early days).

It was just a lot of fun singing along, dancing and eating sour worms with my sister. I can’t wait til next time!
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