This will be brief.

Okay, I know I’m technically on a blogging break, but there are a couple of things I want to share. In the past month, I’ve had a few pieces published on the lovely aforementioned Germ magazine.

Firstly, there were 2 book reviews of Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It and Only Ever Yours. I made a fuss of not being able to read her books during term time last September, but once I got round to Asking For It I never actually shared my thoughts on it. So here you go.

Secondly, my under-300-word story Life is Good was published on Germ. This story appeared in Brilliant Flash Fiction in 2015, but it is very exciting to see it again – it has its own picture now and everything.

Right, that’s the last you’ll hear from me for another month or more. I mean it this time.

book reviews

Germ magazine

Today I want to talk about an online magazine that I absolutely love called Germ magazine.

As explained on their website: “Germ [noun] — the origin of something; a thing that may serve as the basis of further growth or development (as in “a germ of happiness”).”

Germ was inspired by the book All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, in which (among other things) the main character starts her own online magazine of the same name – Germ. (It’s a beautiful book, just by the way. You should read it.) One of the things I really like about the magazine is how, clicking into the website for the first time after reading the book, you can spot all the links: references to wandering, quotes, and of course the menu option for “Bright Places”.

The site itself is gorgeous. It has a bit of everything, really: poetry and stories, movie reviews, beautiful photographs, interviews, articles. (Articles, may I add, about almost anything under the sun, from funny to serious to inspiring.) I particularly like when activism-related, let’s-achieve-things pieces come along.

Germ was also the very first magazine ever to publish one of my stories. They’re open to submissions and that means they’re filled to the brim with the writing of people finding their voices, from all over the world. It’s a really wonderful resource and community to have, and the general atmosphere of let’s-make-the-world-better-while-also-making-it-prettier always leaves me feeling motivated.

So, why not go have a look around? You might like it too…

Granny O’Grimm and some news

This little video is pure GOLD.

In this bedtime story by Brown Bag Films, an ominous, babysitting granny tells her own version of Sleeping Beauty; she seems to have a very personal connection with it. I saw this one a few years ago and I loved the sinister music, the appropriate thunder and lightning, the two different types of animation and the Irish-ness of it. Plus, fairytale retellings are always great.

Seriously, worth a watch, do enjoy.

(Also – news! A couple of weeks ago the lovely U.S. magazine Rookie published one of my poems. Rookie is super pretty and artsy and support-the-teenagers-y, and I’m really pleased to be a contributor. Also, this is my first time to have a poem published, so. 🙂 You can read it here. Hope you enjoy.)

Silver Apples Mag Issue 6: Frostbitten

As I mentioned in my last post, the magazine Silver Apples have made their winter issue Frostbitten free to download here. (You should read it! It’s free and it’s good!) I’ve finished my copy, thoroughly enjoyed it, and would like to tell you which were my favourite pieces and why I liked them. If you haven’t read it yet, go download your copy and then get back to me!

Like last time I did a review of a magazine, this list doesn’t include all of the ones I liked. This is just a sample, I actually had to cut the list down…

  1. The Boyfriend Shop – Arron Ferguson: Absolutely hilarious.
  2. Silver Bracelet – Faye Boland: This poem  was heartbreaking and beautiful. Perfectly put together.
  3. Let it Snow – Cassandra Schoeber: I loved the premise of this little tale. I’m a big fan of rewrites of myths or fairy tales, and I liked the idea of a reluctant, near-human Jack Frost.
  4. Coldest on Record – Michelle Coyne: Ah, this story was great craic! I enjoyed the humour, the slangy language, the impression given that something maybe-supernatural is going on…and also the depth, provided by the Grandad’s disgust at his daughter being a single mother.
  5. The Elsa Dress – James Holden: So cute. The relationship between husband and wife was great (“50p. Or is it a pound for an eff?” “I don’t care about the sodding swear box right now.”) But I also really liked the discussion about trying to raise their daughter free of pressure from gender roles, and yet discovering that everyday life enforces those roles all the same.

(I don’t have a picture of the cover because I read a virtual copy, but the cover is gorgeous.)

If you enjoyed Silver Apples, here is their lovely website. Maybe you could buy their next issue…OH and they have submissions opening soon for anyone who’s interested, on the theme “Places We Have Travelled”. Good luck. 🙂

Christmas reading haul

A very happy new year to you. I was lucky enough to be given lots of new things to read for Christmas. I’d like to share some of my favourites with you:

the mothLit magazines: First of all, there are two literary magazines, Crannóg and The Moth. Both are so very pretty, and I’m looking forward to them. I haven’t started either yet – I’m saving them for during term time, because I’ve found short pieces are less inclined to suck you in and consume brain space. However, I have been reading Frostbitten, issue 6 of Silver Apples magazine, which they have kindly released for free as a Christmas present. (You can download your own copy here.) I’ll be doing a quick run-through of my favourite pieces soon.

Books: Books-wise, my two favourites are Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, and Carol by Patricia Highsmith. I’ve yet to read Carol, but the movie was beautiful (I mean, my name is Carol. I had to see it…teaser trailer here), and I’m excited to read a lesbian romance that had an unconventionally hopeful ending for its time (it was originally published as The Price of Salt in 1952.) I’m delighted to have been made aware of its existence.

I LOVED Am I Normal Yet? It tells the story of Evie, a girl restarting school while coming off meds for her OCD. It portrayed so well her experiences as a teenager/girl with mental health issues, and her frustration with the ignorance of the wider world. But it also accurately conveyed the feeling of being a teenage girl, full stop. For one thing, this book did not pretend teenagers are self-absorbed and only interested in themselves or their clothes. Evie and her friends had fun and had laughs, they went to parties, they talked about boys, but they were also real people. They liked books, they liked learning things. They had interests in art, or in movies as an art form. They talked about sexism. They explored feminism – with some confusion at first, but conviction by the book’s end. I would definitely recommend it.

In other presents/news, I also received a lot of Cadbury’s chocolate. So not a bad Christmas overall.