Happy New Year

Hello hello. An update.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about this blog and what I want it to be from now on. I started it in an exam year, when I needed a new creative outlet. I needed something satisfying and sustainable. That wasn’t my only reason for beginning, but this blog served that purpose very well. Once I finished my exams, however, I was more creatively fulfilled, and I didn’t need it as much. I was also able to commit more time to other projects, and as a result I have been blogging less. I’ve decided, finally, that I will not be posting on here for the foreseeable future. I’ll keep my list of much-loved books and publications up to date, and who knows, maybe I’ll come back to proper posts or start a new blog in the future. But in the meantime, life has got busier outside of the internet, and right now, that feels like a positive thing.

Hope you have lovely lives.

And chin up. 2017 might be off to a rough start, but we can get through this!

P.S. My short story The Rocking Chair was published towards the end of last year by the lovely Number Eleven Magazine. Have a peek if you like.

The Extraordinary Means Tag

So, when her book Extraordinary Means came out in 2015 (it’s a beautiful book and I loved it with all my heart) Robyn Schneider started a tag on her Youtube channel. Basically she ran through a list of “I would do X if it meant I could Y” in relation to books, and got some other Youtubers to do it too. You can watch her original video here, but I thought it would be a bit of fun to do it as a blog post. So here we go:

I would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book: This would have to be a Jane Austen. Just a first edition, as I’m pretty sure a signed one doesn’t exist. (Although, if that’s true, if I did get a signed first edition I’d be rich, so…)

I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plane ride: Uh, Jo Rowling. Duh. (Although, I’m gonna say that I need her to also be up for the very long chat, because sitting and just staring would be great but not worth a year of pizza. Discussing writing/the Harry Potter universe would be.) My close second on this one would be Emma Thompson. Okay, I know she’s not an author-of-books technically, but I think she is an incredibly clever writer (have you seen Nanny McPhee?) Also, I think she would be hilarious.

I would sit through a thousand hours of ads if it meant that Hollywood would make this book into a movie: Okay, I’m not sure I could ever agree to this, because ads. Urgh. However, this summer I finished the first three books of the Selection series by Kiera Cass and I think they would make a really good movie. (Just one movie; I don’t think that story really needed to be spread out over three books.) There would be lots of pretty dress, a bit of social commentary – e.g. in the why-must-women-compete-for-male-attention way – and some nice gritty rebel attacks. I can imagine it being very aesthetically pleasing. (I may talk a little bit more on my thoughts on these books at some point, we’ll see.)

I would never read a new book again if it meant that I could live inside this book: This would obviously be a very big deal, no new books, but I have decided on Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. (If you haven’t read the entire Inkworld trilogy, spoiler alert…) Although Inkdeath has, you know, a lot of death, it is set in the actual Inkworld. The Inkworld has a lot of fairies and forests to be explored, which would be so exciting – but not very many books. I wouldn’t be missing out on much. True, it would be a shame not to be allowed see the beautiful illuminated books made by Balbulus, but I’d have to break into the castle for that and I don’t think I’d be that bothered, once I was there. I’d probably just wander around trying to catch the little blue fairies until I got lost in the woods. (Although, actually, women’s rights rather dodgy in this book…hm…might have to think some more about this one.)

I would let my Google search history become public if I could become best friends with this author: My Google search history has absolutely nothing interesting on it, I would imagine (at least I don’t think so?) so this wouldn’t be that great a sacrifice (because who would care anyway?). However, I have just finished The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski and it was so good, so let’s say her. According to her author bio, she has all sorts of English degrees (and a fondness for sticky toffee pudding) so we could have all sorts of book chats (and desserts).

I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant that I could date this character in real life: I was going to say Levi from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, since he is one of very few male love interests in YA who has a) actual flaws and b) respect for women without being possessive or stalkery, and he also just seems really lovely. But then I was reminded of the Jane Austen characters, so now I don’t really know. We’ll have to see.

Thoughts on terrorism.

On 13th November, there were atrocities committed in Beirut and in Paris. I want to send the deepest condolences to the people caught up in those attacks.

The killings in Paris, particularly, have had huge international attention, attention most terrorist attacks don’t receive in mainstream media. There are those who have pointed out the hypocrisy of showing solidarity to Paris when this violence occurs so frequently outside the western world, and is ignored.

I believe solidarity is important. But I take their point. I believe that rather than condemning support for Paris, we should see this new global conversation as a wake-up call. Because this is a huge problem in western media: if something horrible happens too frequently, if it happens too far away, if it’s confusing or has grey areas, if it’s not something we can relate to or something we can do anything about…far too often we don’t want to know. The story goes off the radar very quickly, or it doesn’t appear in mainstream media at all.

In that context, it makes complete sense that there has been so much more concentration on this attack in Paris. Not only because it’s in the western world – we can’t just dismiss it as one of those awful, violent, far-off countries where these things happen – but because it’s Paris. City of Lovers, City of Lights. Parisian is a word used in English, for crying out loud. It’s one of the most iconic cities in our culture, up there with New York and London.  If you haven’t been there, it’s on your list of must-sees.

What’s more, it feels incredibly close to home. I live in Ireland, and we all know someone who is there or is going there or has been there recently; a friend of a friend, at the very least. Lots of us have friends who are French. And many of us have visited Paris in the last few years. These are streets we have walked. It is impossible to subconsciously dismiss as something that most-likely-won’t-touch-our-lives, because it already has.

So yes, the shock surrounding this atrocity makes perfect sense to me. In fact, I think it’s completely justified. This is the shock and upset that such a horrifying, inhuman massacre deserves. It only becomes problematic when you question why this same worldwide shock doesn’t follow other horrific atrocities.

And that’s when, rather than criticising the support being offered, we could bring other media-worthy violence into the picture.

(I want to finish with a quick reminder that this discussion must not be allowed to become black and white. There are people in need of help pouring out of the likes of Syria, and turning on these refugees – or turning them away – will not help anything. It is absolutely imperative that the minority is not allowed to define the candle...majority in this issue.)

That’s all.

 

Hey, there…

So.

I’m starting this blog because often I find things I like, and the plan is to get them in one place. There’s gonna be lots of book-I-like, places-I-like, random-videos-or-other-things-I’ve-found-online-I-like…and hey, really I can just write about whatever I want. That sounds like fun. Even if WordPress is just a little confusing.

Let’s see how it goes.