Monday, 16 October 2017

Oxford Adventure // Footnotes

I could start by apologising for being over two weeks late to post the prompt for my own link-up, but in my defence: I have started university! I have moved country! I have turned nineteen! My life has changed quite immeasurably!

Matriculation, when we have to put on our "sub-fusc" (the gown and unpleasantly school-uniform-like clothing) and parade the streets, tourists snapping pictures of us, to the Sheldonian theatre. Someone spoke in Latin, and then we were officially enrolled. This is beneath the Bridge of Sighs.
So I am now a student in this city. These are the opening lines from a poem called 'Dun Scotus's Oxford' by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark-charmèd, rook-racked, river-rounded.

I'll be studying this poem in a couple of weeks. It's from 1879 (and the subject, Dun Scotus, was in Oxford in 1301), but Oxford, I can confirm, is still a towery city, branchy between towers, still bell-swarmèd. From my room, I hear the bells of Magdalen ringing the quarter hours.

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It still feels like a dream, the fact that I'm in this glorious city. That I live and study here. Coming to Oxford really has been my lifelong dream, so it's crazy that it's now my reality. I will never get over the exquisite beauty of this place.

I live in my college, on a corridor (it feels a tiny little bit like an Enid Blighton boarding school novel). The age of this place is quite overwhelming. Glasgow, my home, is a very old city, but most of our buildings are Victorian (because they ripped all the medieval buildings down). Whereas Oxford is properly, breathtakingly, in-your-face medieval. My college, as in the place where I live and study, was founded in 1278. Like ... what?!

Oxford is also a paradise of libraries. Seee that big circular dome in the above picture? It's called the Radcliffe Camera. I was working in there this afternoon, reading essays about Dickens.

And my college library is a converted 13th century chapel.

Image result for st edmund hall college oxford library
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Not kidding. That's where I work.

I really don't want this all to come across as boastful! I'm just, like, walking around in a state of constant amazement that I actually get to be here. It's really, properly mental.

I ALSO LOVE THE WORK.

Which is no surprise, because I love books so what would we expect? But, wow, my lectures are so good. Like, so good. The professors here are properly amazing and I'm so, so privileged to learn from them! And I just love books, guys. I wish I could say more coherent things about the incredible vast landscape of literature in which I'm a pilgrim, but I'll just stick with: I love it.

It was my birthday on Friday. I was worried before I came, because I knew my birthday was so soon after the start of time and I thought it could be a lonely one. But actually I have met a lot of really great people -- on my course, in my college and at church -- and had a lovely birthday. Not only did my home friends pull through by sending me post, my new friends surprised me with cake and presents! We went for drinks in the oldest pub in Oxford (from the 14th century -- isn't this place weird??).

This post is sickeningly positive, I'm so sorry to bleat on about my life! But I wanna share the love!

(I also want to clarify that I've had some ropy moments, because moving and settling in is hard, and of course this place, my home of not quite two weeks, is nothing like my old home, and I really miss my friends and my family. It's easy to make Oxford sound like a charmed life, and maybe it is in some ways, but it's not perfect. Even charmed life is still life, and life is hard.)

But it is rather idyllic, "river-rounded" as Hopkins put it, and after the matriculation ceremony, we went punting! (A punt is kind of like a canoe, four people sit and one person punts you using a long pole along the riverbed. It's the classic thing to do in both Oxford and Cambridge.)


I love autumn! The leaves are falling golden here, and the streets are so clean and pale, and the sun so bright, and it really is a magical city. Another line from the Hopkins poem with which I began:

"[Oxford is] of reality the rarest-veined unraveller"

It reminds me of those words from Baedeker I shared a few weeks ago: "Oxford, where doors open into other worlds". (I almost changed the blog name to Other Worlds, by the way. I hope you're enjoying the rebrand.)

This is enough rambling on from me! The reason I'm actually here is to post the prompt for Footnotes (only sixteen days late ... *ahem*).


Fortunately, Ashley is on the ball, so if you follow her (if not, why not, sort yourself out), you'll know the prompt!

A quotation from a poem.

~***~

(Oh, and if you don't know what Footnotes is ... I probably should have explained. Awfully sorry. My past self will oblige -- click here.)

There's plenty more I could say about all sorts of things, but for now the most pertinent is probably goodnight. I really miss all your blogs, by the way. I'm going to visit, I promise!

angela dalinger
[source] // Angela Dalinger
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Until soon.

~***~

Thursday, 28 September 2017

I'm leaving home // Georgia Nicolson: In Homage

I'm in a weird and nostalgic mood. Here is a small fact:

I am leaving this country on Monday and starting university on Tuesday.

Not starting a new series of books and wondering if I'll like it. Not buying a new pair of shoes. Not trying a new restaurant. No, I am going to England to start a completely new chapter of my life.

pretty accurate vid of me at all points this week. No but really.
So, what do you do when you have a really long reading list pressing down on you, unread pages flurrying like vengeful Furies?

Obviously, read Georgia Nicolson!


If you're not familiar with this series a) what are you doing with your life and b) here is what you need to know. Georgia lives somewhere in England. She does not ride dragons, start wars or turn out to be the heir to the throne, but she does get through the ages of fourteen and fifteen, and for that I pay her tribute. 

This is one of the most important series in my life and when I finished the tenth and final book last night I felt like I was burying part of my heart.

But before we reach the eyes-brimming-with-tears-type-love, I can also tell you that they're the funniest books I've ever read, which is why I'm linking up with Footnotes, for September's prompt: a quotation that makes you laugh.

It's quotation link up that Ashley and I host, and you should get involved! There's still *ahem* two days of this month left?? Those pointing out how ridiculously disorganised I am ... don't be rude.
Of course, I couldn't just pick a quotation that makes me laugh. My middle name is Go Big Or Go Home*, so I had to go for a ten-book series that makes me laugh!
*Actually it's Just Go Home And Read A Book but never mind

Ten Reasons You Should (Definitely) Read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson

1. Frankly a beautiful coming-of-age story.

You know I am a sucker for reading (and writing) about first love! The rush of it. The opening your heart for the first time to an emotion far bigger than yourself. It knocks your little fourteen-year-old socks off. And I loved reading about Georgia's navigation of the World of Boys (what a confusing place. I need an all-female rescue party to come get me). I was fourteen when I started reading these books. And they have really been with me through thick and thin. I grew up between the pages of these ten novels.

2. They are definitely the funniest books ever. 

I do not say that lightly. But they make me laugh so much I have genuine fear I'll swallow my tongue.

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I mean, in the first book, Georgia goes to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

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The film is not the most accurate and the book is a million times better but it's still great fun to watch with pals.

3. PALS PALS PALS

So Georgia and her friends are called the Ace Gang and they really are an ace gang. Her best friend is Jas. I freaking love Jas. She has an annoying fringe and she loves owls and Georgia is actually really mean to her but they are still great great mates and always phone each other on the landline (this was the noughties, folks, no mobiles!) and survive school together. Generally the Ace Gang is amazing. This is them at breaktime:
Brr! Blimey O'Reilly's trousers, it's nippy noodles. 
We've buttoned our coats together like in the old days. We are quite literally a tent with six heads and sleeves.  
[Three minutes later] 
Snuggly buggly. We have to sort of thread the snacks up to our mouths through the collar bits.
They never stop eating Midget Gems and Cheesy Wotsits (two triumphs in the world of UK snacks). It's quite inspiring really.

You really are. Last night you told me you weren't as strong as I thought you were. You are right. You are stronger than I will probably ever know- j.a
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On another note, the last scene between Jas and Georgia in the last book nearly made me weep last night. I--

4. Rosie and Sven

Rosie is Georgia's other best friend and she is quite sensationally mad. She always carries a false beard around.
[in class] Rosie was making a little beard for her pencil case so she was a bit "busy" but she took the trouble to look up.
And her boyfriend is called Sven. His nationality is never exactly revealed as he is normally referred to as "from Viking-land". He is over six foot tall and often dresses all in silver. Rosie and Sven are planning their Viking Hornpipe Wedding.

You can't understand until you read them.


5. Stalag 14

... AKA Georgia's school. Their Physics and German teacher is called Herr Kamyer and his trousers are always too short. And then there is Miss Wilson, the English and RE teacher, who directs them in productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth (remember it's an all-girls' school ... part of the uniform is a beret) and Elvis Attwood the caretaker, and sadistic Miss Stamp (Maths and PE), and really, it could not be better.

Latest - Liekeland
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6. The Nicolson Family

Mutti and Vati and Libby and Granddad and Uncle Eddie. Libby is three years old and very violent. She has a pet potato. A real potato. It is starting to go mouldy. Georgia's dad drives a three wheeled car called a Robin Reliant, which Georgia calls The Clownmobile.
At least I have the house to myself for a mope-a-thon. The Swiss Family Mad have roared off down the drive at three miles an hour. They'll be at the end of our street by tomorrow if they're lucky and have a following wind.
7. The Scales and Slang

Not fish scales, obviously, keep up. Notably the infamous Snogging Scale, the Losing It Scale and the Having the Hump Scale. All the books have a glossary to explain the slang. It is really pretty great.

8. These books actually probably birthed a lot of modern YA.

The first one was published in 1999! I was one year old! Twilight often gets heralded as the Dawn Of YA, but it wasn't published until 2005. So you and I owe a great debt to Ms Louise Rennison.

(It's cool, actually, I theorise that part of her point in the books is to encourage teenage girls to read. There is a beautiful bit in one where Georgia has to study Wuthering Heights, which she and her friends call Blithering Tights and do not want to read, but actually she gets v into it. And when I read Wuthering Heights, my edition had a foreword by Louise Rennison, talking about how she had just that experience when she was at school. Isn't that fun?)


9. They feature what is potentially my top OTP of life.

I have a fair few OTPs, folks, but I'm just saying!!!

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(And I love how realistic the boys are. They are boys! They act like boys! They're not a female author's imagined ideal of a boy, which can happen in YA.)

10. This series is an affirming, warm, hilarious rallying cry for all teenage girls.

Some may argue these books are not very feminist, because they (seem to) revolve around boyfriends and make-up and boyfriends and boys and boyfriends.
Gor blimey, Mum and her mates talk RUBBISH. I am glad that me and my mates are not so superficial. They are just talking about men and clothes and men. 
I can just dollydaydream about my boyfriend and what I will wear when I next see him.
And yet they're amazingly empowering. They don't take themselves too seriously, at all, and so really they don't need to be categorised. They're just a lovely look at being a teenage girl -- the trials and the wonderful things. Having best friends and learning about love and laughing, a lot.

Pinterest •♛T O R I ♛•
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- ̗̀ @lostwolfie ̖́-
[source] // adolosence, right?

✧ pinterest: positividy ✧
[source] // shout-out to my bezzie pal Rose who introduced me to these books, and my other bezzie pals Cat and Natasha, who are the Ace Gang.
Gosh, I'm feeling quite emotional! That last picture could refer to a lot of people and places. It could certainly refer to these books, which I plan to revisit many, many times. It could refer to Glasgow, and to the countryside south of the city where I live, with its fields and the lake where I swim. It could just refer to Scotland, which it breaks my heart to leave. And of course it's to all the friends I'm leaving behind. But I am excited about Oxford. I'm very excited to go! I'm just very sorry to leave.

But that's the thing, isn't it? Home is still home, and I'll be back. If I wasn't sad to be leaving, what would my home mean?

I would love to know which books you've grown up with; which books have shaped your young years the way Georgia Nicolson has shaped mine? I am feeling quite giddy on what EM Forster calls "the glorious bewilderment of youth". We shall not always be young, friends, but we are now. I am tonight. And I'll be young among the dreaming spires, the Oxford of which I'm dreamt. It will rise real around me, real stones, real dreams, in just a few days.

Until we meet again.

~***~

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Vikings, Kenya and Why I Love Jane Austen

I forgot how to blog. My blog broke, or I broke, or something. Life is weird. Priorities are hard to manage. Life whirls on, and deciding how to spend time is tough. Do you ever go around wishing you could blog/read blogs/paint/other random hobbies that aren't quite your Main Thing (my Main Things being writing, reading and academic work), and then when a sliver of time to do those things presents itself, you freeze, unable to decide how to fill it?

man, the man is non stop
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But I feel like blogging should be a stress-free environment, and I should be able to drop in whenever I can and post whatever I want and not need to fear a loss of relationships. I may not be a “successful" blog in terms of a steadily growing readership, regular posts, etc. But that's OK. I can keep going as I'm going and keep the friends I have, rather than worrying about accruing followers / blogging in the “right" way.

This is all getting a bit deep, sorry, folks!

I mean, I'm literally just here to post mini-reviews for Back to the Classics. Not meaning to get emotional ... we're British after all.

SO ANYWAY.


This is a challenge hosted by Karen @ Books and Chocolate. To participate, you have to read twelve (or six or nine) classics from different categories. To read the rules and categories, click here.

what can I say?: beautiful people : july edition (but not really)
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A pre-1800 classic // The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue


A far pre-1800 classic: this Viking epic was written down around 1270-1300. It was a look at an old, brutal world with which I'm not familiar: the Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland of the 13th century. Strange to think that my ancestors dwelt there. (And maybe yours, too, US/Aussie followers! Weird, right?) This saga features kings, goddesses and warrior-poets, as men vie for the hand of Helga the Fair.

“The woman was born to bring war
between men -- the tree of the valkyrie
started it all; I wanted her
sorely, that log of rare silver." (p42)

Mostly the story is told in blunt, plain English -- I love this brand of #VikingSass -- but poems like the one I quoted intersperse it. In that society, poetry was the top form of prowess, along with fighting. I enjoyed peeking into this other world (I'm looking forward, albeit with trepidation, to studying Old and Middle English at uni, Beowulf and the like). And it's only fifty pages long. What's not to like?

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“The slander-wary god 
of the storm-sword's spark

mustn't court the cape of the earth
with her cover of linen like snow." (p33)

A classic set in a place you want to visit // The Flame-Trees of Thika

Elspeth Huxley was 1913 when her entrepreneurial, dreamer parents moved the family to Kenya to farm. I read this book in Kenya, but I'm popping it in this category because it is set in Thika, a region I never visited. This is an amazing memoir. I loved seeing in its pages the Kenya I came to know, but also the vanished Kenya of a century ago.

I love this story because it shows British people plunged into Kenyan life, having to adapt.

“I had never before seen heat, as you can see smoke or rain. But there it was, jigging and quavering above brown grasses and spiky thorn-trees and flaring erythrinas. if I could have stretched my hand out far enough I could surely have grasped it, a kind of colourless jelly." (p14)

And they adapt so well! Elspeth is only a child, fascinated by the world around her, and Robin and Tilly, her parents, are quite wonderful in the new life they make for themselves. I loved reading about the way they preserve some British customs and leave others behind. The ventures Tilly throws herself into. They become part of a community of British ex-pats, and these interactions between the adults, seen through a child's eyes, form the compelling “plot" of the book.


This is where I was when I was reading this book!
It's a beautifully written, evocative book. Gosh, this review is making me a bit sad! Kenya, take me back ...

“the crimson sky, the golden light streaming down the valley, and then its obliteration by the dusk, as if some great lamp had been turned down in the heavens, filled me with the terrible melancholy that sometimes wrings the hearts of children and can never be communicated or explained. It was as if the day, which was unique, and could never come again, had been struck down like the duiker [a type of deer] and lay there bleeding, and then had died with it, and could never be recalled. I felt it desperately important that the moment should be halted, the life of the day preserved, its death indefinitely postponed, and that the memory of every instant, of every fleck of colour in that tremendous sky, should be branded on my mind so as to become as much a part of my existence as an eye or hand." (p122)

But the moment cannot be halted. 1913 could not be halted, moving inexorably into the First World War; Huxley's childhood could not be halted. Nor could my time in Kenya, my advent to Oxford, the days and weeks that flash by us like the sun setting again and again.


A classic by a woman author // Mansfield Park

Austen is like a cup of tea and a biscuit and also a comet crashing into earth but without disturbing the cup-of-tea-biscuit-ness and I think that's pretty darned amazing.

Mansfield Park was my last unread Austen novel and, based on the other five, I had high expectations. They were met! Austen herself described this book as “not half so entertaining as Pride and Prejudice", but in my opinion that's pretty unfair. It has a slower pace than some of the other novels, and Fanny is certainly a different heroine to Lizzie Bennett or Emma Wodehouse. They remain my two favourites of Austen's heroines -- I just love their spunk! -- but Fanny Price is also pretty great. She is sweet and shy and quiet, but not annoying. She is admirable.

I found this book so compelling. That's why Austen is amazing. She writes novels set in the stifling world of eighteenth-century England, where so many people seem so preoccupied with husband-hunting and the purchase of new hats. And yet her novels are fresh, original and exciting. This one kept me hooked! And of course the writing was exquisite; on almost every page I would sit back thinking, “wow, that was a great sentence." I'm pretty certain that Austen is one of the all-time greats, and I can't wait to reread all her books.

Also, it contained this golden bit where one of the characters is talking about being ordained, and another is saying  “oh, not the clergy, so boring, go into the law instead!" And he says, pointing at the countryside in which they're walking:

 “Go into the law! You might as well tell me to go into this wilderness!"

I now say this to anyone who asks me if I've considered being a lawyer. (It happens pretty often.)

[source] // RIDING ON A WAVE OF AUSTEN FEMINISM // SHE WAS A WOMAN WRITER IN A TIME WHEN THAT REALLY WASN'T A THING // WHAT A COOL LADY??!
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~***~

What are you reading at the moment? What's been the best book of the summer? Have you read any Old English lit? What's your favourite Austen novel? And which book has given you wanderlust?

Friday, 1 September 2017

Footnotes: September

This post comes to you from the past. I am currently living my dream: I'm on an uninhabited island with no electricity or WiFi. Literally only sheep. It's pretty much my favourite place in the world.


No but seriously, remember that lighthouse thing I shared in my most recent post? (If you don't, a) how dare you not internalise every pixel of my blog, I'm offended, and b) scroll down.) It was about wanting to live in a lighthouse. But where I really want to live is a reservoir tower.

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There's a train I often get that goes up from the countryside through the south side of Glasgow, and going through the green country the line passes a couple of beautiful reservoirs. I love that railway -- the trains are old and creaky, bodies painted dull red and yellow, cheerful somehow -- and I love those lakes. And I always look at the reservoir towers as I pass and have a surge of longing.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the point.

It's the first of September, which means it's time for Footnotes!


Ashley and I began this link-up last month. It's quotation based -- each month we post a prompt asking you to choose a quotation on a particular theme, and you respond pretty much however you like! Thanks to those who got involved in August! This month's prompt:

A quotation that makes you laugh.


~***~

Ana Rosa
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A lot of life updates // a book haul

It's been so long since I did a life post, recap, or book haul that I've forgotten how. I do have these blogging crises sometimes, when I'm like, what am I doing, why do I spend so much time writing about myself and taking photos of books, nobody cares. And then I remind myself that I love reading other people's writing about themselves, and looking at their photos of books, so why shouldn't I do it, too?

I could dwell on my angst further, but instead let's plunge into THE BOOKS (that's why we're here!).


So, this is what happens when you don't do a book haul post from December until August. OOPS.




// lobster pots are fun. And this edition is so pretty I could cry.
These four -- Shadow and Bone, Finnikin of the Rock, A Darker Shade of Magic and Neverwhere -- were all Christmas presents from my great brother. (My family has finally figured out that I want books for presents. It's taken nearly nineteen years but it's happened and it's wonderful.) There are all super pretty and, more to the point, the entire blogosphere is OBSESSED and throws them all at my head. (Maybe not so much Finnikin (which is in the picture with Shadow and Bone, hiding), but the other three? Pftt. I can't leave the house without the bloodthirsty chant of “Schwab, Schwab, read some Schwab!" rolling into my ears.)

Have I actually read them yet? Considering I've owned them for eight months? Hahaha. As if. I need a healthy four years to make it through my TBR ... (I hate myself.)



 Despite being Scottish, do I ever read Scottish literature, ever? Nope. I could count on one hand the number of Scottish books I've read IN MY LIFE! (I mean, I would need about twelve fingers. But let's not bore ourselves with the details.) So here's two Scottish books.

Trainspotting was a Christmas present from my lovely friend Cat (along with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings). It's an iconic book about the Edinburgh drug scene. According to a friend who has read it, The Goldfinch alludes to it. So I'm there! (Metaphorically there. Literally, who knows when I'll read this book. I'm a travesty of a sham, asphyxiating under a TBR pile.)

Nil Nil is a poetry collection by Aberdonian poet Don Paterson. I got this book last December from an incredible place in Oxford called The £3 Bookshop. They sell NEW BOOKS for £3 EACH?!! How does that business make money? I HAVE NO IDEA. When I go to Oxford, will I fritter away my life's savings in increments of £3 and buy everything from the entire shop? Yeah, probably!


Also bought in The £3 Bookshop! What a place. This is one of my FAVOURITE BOOKS EVER and I can't wait to reread!

A Further Stack // the university edition



Yup, these books are all new (to me) for the purposes of my degree! Ahahahaha. Who needs education, right? I think I'll pack it in, move to Paraguay and herd alpacas. I do love South America ...

I got my reading list for Oxford a month ago. It is ... what's that word? Long. As you can tell from those books! I'm meant to read all those by October?! As well as Great Expectations and Moby Dick, (not pictured because I already owned them)?! The alpacas look more and more inviting ...

I did have a small crisis when I got the list. Suddenly the next three years of my life lay stark before me: read through the list. Go to uni. Study, write essays, die a little. Get reading list for next term. Go home for Christmas holidays. Read through list. Return to uni. Study, write essays, fall further into Tartarus. And repeat for three years??

You hear people say it, don't you, that studying books ruins the love of books. Allow me to be a massive narcissist for a minute and quote myself. This is what I said on this blog on 1st October, 2016 (which is actually not far off a year ago. WHAT IS THIS THING WE CALL TIME):
I'm currently going through the uni application process again.  I have unexpectedly had to navigate people telling me a) not to apply to the uni I want to go to and b) even more bafflingly, not to apply for English Lit ... 
my exact face
"But, Emily, studying English means studying books and thinking about books and writing about books and criticising books and you've not been taught it in school the way it will be at uni! AND YOU'LL STOP LOVING BOOKS!"

 
I'm not trying to be an annoying 17y/o who disregards adults' advice and generally yells "YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM*" ... but equally, don't patronise me and tell me that what I think I want is not actually what I want?! In fact, I know what I want. And I'm not expecting uni to be the same as school, obviously, and even if I do get there and hate studying English I can always drop out and still like reading, it's not as if I'll be like "SHAKESPEARE IS A LIE AND GATSBY NEVER HAPPENED!" 
*To clarify, it's not my actual mom" who has said these things. She's a great lady. 
So you can see, my past self was mighty convinced that this Stopping Loving Books thing would DEFINITELY NEVER HAPPEN. "Don't patronise me and tell me what I think I want is not actually what I want?!" I said in a rather angsty way. I STILL STICK BY MY ANGSTY PAST SELF. But I did have that moment of horror where I wondered, what if I could find my degree a grind?

I don't think so, though. Because I've had such a great time with the books so far. I've read Moby Dick, which was blimming great, and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction -- fascinating -- and some great poetry by Browning, and I'm now really enjoying The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so I can confirm that I do not hate books. And anyway, since getting the list I read The Mark of Athena. I'm not going to stop reading YA and fantasy. That just isn't going to happen. I WILL ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR PERCY. (Gosh, though, my Percy emotions are running high at the moment. SOMEBODY HOLD ME.)

I'll leave the angsty rant there for today, but send me good vibes for getting through the reading list!

Peter Liversidge’s-everythingisconnected:
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In Life

SO IN JUNE I MET ASHLEY.

Ashley! As in the blogger behind [oddly novel title], the co-hoster of Footnotes, the beta reader of my first novel, and my great friend of several years! 

SHE CAME TO SCOTLAND AND WE HAD LUNCH.

throwback to when I had dreads
My mother was very concerned. She kept saying things like "but are you SURE she's a real person?" and "don't get in a car with her!" There is quite a lot of stigma surrounding internet friendships -- firstly, the assumption that the people we talk to online are definitely secretly 50y/o men, and the idea that "internet friendships aren't real friendships". It was absolutely wonderful to meet an internet friend face to face! We had such a nice afternoon. Unfortunately we spent it in a rather down-at-heel small town north of Glasgow -- I wished Ashley could have seen better parts of Scotland than that! -- but in spite of the less than inspiring setting, it was pretty delightful. Have you ever met an internet friend? Don't forget to hit me up if you're ever in Scotland!

AND SHE GAVE ME A BOOK?!


Basically, 90% of our friendship is based on Sherlock gifs. Ashley is a better person than me and has actually read some of the books, instead of just watching the BBC series (side note, I still haven't finished series 4?! It came out while I was in Kenya!), and is encouraging me to do the same!

Such a good day, folks!


In July I went to Dublin!

I went on holiday with my Kenya team and it was really lovely. I have always been very attracted by the celtic magic of Ireland, the myth and the music. Dublin is a great city, both exciting and traditional. We got lost around the cobbled streets; walking out in the long July evenings live music would float from the beautiful pubs and bars. Once I did a bit of impromptu ceilidh dancing in the street, to the tune of a busking fiddler. There was so much character in each lovely Georgian building, and the River Liffey, winding through the city's heart, was gorgeous.

I always think there is something so atmospheric about straight beams of sunlight, something divine. The glory of the Lord descending through clouds.
It was a hilarious holiday of art galleries and museums, of cooking pasta in a youth hostel, of walking until our feet blistered because we refused to pay for public transport. Sitting drinking wine by the Liffey, reminiscing about Kenya, wondering about the future, laughing about the present.

One glorious day we walked to the beach. I love cities by the sea.


Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, ocean, cloud and outdoor
It was so nice to spend time with these girls. Ft. the fun skirt I got made in Kenya.
Of course, no holiday would be complete without some secondhand book-buying! Because I really have nothing to read .... *ahem*

Chosen because The Road by McCarthy is one of my faves.


It was a great holiday! (I spent a lot of time looking out for Derek Landy, who lives in Ireland, but somehow didn't manage to spot him. It's so fun, though, seeing the place where your fave books (in this case, Skulduggery) are set!)

[source]
In Writing

I am redrafting Stay In the City!


No but seriously! It was November when I finished the first draft of this book! That's like half a year ago! Heck, that's like nearly a whole year ago! It's just SO NICE to be jumping back into the story with my beloved team of characters. I loved working on the first book in May/June/July, but I always had this knowledge that their story had continued past that book, and they needed me in the future! Now it is the future. If that makes sense.

If you want to know more about the book (bless you) you can click here.

This morning I finished reading it and made a Redraft Action Plan. I'm very professional, me.


This is only the second book I'll ever have redrafted! It's a learning curve, right? Right. Ahahahaha.

Seriously, though, I'm excited.


So, I was going to talk about stuff I've been reading recently, but I think I may die if this post gets any longer, and goodness knows how you're feeling! If you actually read this, you're a hero. Anyway, TELL ME ALL THE THINGS: what are you writing? What are you reading? Have you been to Dublin? Do you ever have blogging crises? Are you an internet friendship success story like I am? Have you ever been to the setting of your favourite book and got stupidly excited? Any recent book haul excitements? Share it all!

I'll leave you with this, my most recent favourite thing.

I want this life a painful amount


Until very soon!

~***~