My favourite things! (April 11-30)

Hey people! So, it’s been a while, but I have finally amassed enough things that I like throughout the month that I could put together another post. So, let’s get into it!

Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

Okay, so I basically grew up with Taylor Swift. Half of the songs on Fearless I can recite by memory–I remember being, like, seven, and watching all her music videos after school on YouTube, back when I could name about three artists total. I didn’t really know other artists existed until sixth grade, so for a while it was just me and my emotional support Taylor Swift albums against the world. (No, I did not come up with that joke, I saw it on Tumblr, but I couldn’t resist.)

I don’t know, her music is just really nostalgic to me, and always makes me feel really safe and happy, and has gotten me through some tough times. As I write this it’s been a little while since this album came out, but whatever, I just needed to gush about it. The re-rerecorded songs are, for the most part, very similar to their original versions, but the vocals feel so much smoother and more mature, as though she’s recalling a nostalgic memory, and getting a chance to re-live my childhood this way was so nice. I’m lowkey getting very emotional about finally getting to listen to “Fifteen” as an actual fifteen year old, rather than a nine-year-old who thought being a teenager was gonna be the coolest thing ever. Also, the bonus tracks are amazing, and it’s a crime against humanity they weren’t released originally.

The Unruly City: Paris, London, and New York in the Age of Revolution

Okay, I don’t know if it shows, but I am such a huge history kid. Social studies is my favourite school topic by far. I think knowing about history is so important, because you definitely do see parallels between the world as it is now, and the world as it was then.

It’s so fascinating to think about all the people who came before you, all the events that shaped the world as we know it. Thinking about that will never cease to amaze me. I think revolutions are fascinating, and the late 1700s-1800s is a period I just keep ending up falling back to in my writing, so I figured it was time to read up a bit on it. I feel like there’s so much about history I don’t know, and would love to study further, so if anyone has any suggestions for good history books about, like, literally anything, let me know.

Anyway, this book follows three different revolutionary periods, interweaving different stories. The prose is so beautifully written, and immersive? I don’t know what it quite is, but it really makes you feel like you’re there. It’s definitely very smart, but doesn’t talk down to the reader, and never feels dry or overly academic/pretentious either. I’m not finished with it yet, but I’m pretty close, and I’m loving it so far.

Shadow and Bone

I originally got into the Grishaverse when I was in seventh grade, on the hunt for literally any fantasy books I hadn’t already read to death, like the little book gremlin I was. I was too young to fully appreciate the scope of these books, and they’ve for sure gotten better after a few years, and I’m sure I’ll appreciate them even more when I’m in my 20s. Anyway, last March I got my friend into them while we were in quarantine, and as a result had an excuse to get more into them myself. We’ve both been super hyped to watch the Netflix show and so I may or may not have spent like four hours binge-watching it this afternoon, after I finished work. I’m only five episodes in as I write this, because it is not healthy for me to binge-watch shows without taking a bit of a break, but so far I’m loving it. It’s faithful to the books, without following them verbatim. It sort of feels like reading AU fanfiction by the author, and I say that in the best way possible–because it reworks the original story in such a way that it’s understandable to someone who’s never read the books, but also creates a totally new experience for someone like me who’s read them many, many times–everyone goes into watching it not knowing what’s going to happen.

Shadow and Bone combines the plots of two different series within the same universe, Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. So we get two narratives, both set within the fantasy world, in which Grisha, gifted with various magical powers, live–exalted in one country, persecuted in the next. There are a bunch of different countries, all with really beautifully fleshed-out cultures, but this show focuses on Ravka, based off of Imperial Russia. The country has been divided into east and west by a sea of darkness called The Fold. One side of the story follows Alina Starkov, a soldier fighting against The Fold, who discovers she’s a Grisha, capable of summoning light and calling back the darkness. And then, on the other hand, we follow The Crows, a gang of criminals set on capturing her for a generous reward. Sadly, some of the original six in the book are off doing other things right now, but we still do get to see them–except for Wylan. I’m a bit salty about that, but I guess I can see why he had to be cut. Anyway, the TLDR is that it’s super well written high fantasy and I love this whole franchise to death.

Also, bonus points for how INCREDIBLE the soundtrack is. It’s been stuck in my head all night, which really says a lot, because normally instrumental songs don’t exactly stick to your memory. As we speak, I’m listening to the album for season one on Spotify–10/10, would recommend for dramatically studying French and trying to force yourself to pay attention and/or writing very bad fight scenes.

Inkwyrm

I listened to the first half of this podcast ages ago, like in… November? but I got distracted, and I never ended up finishing it, sadly. But I was at work so I had nothing else to do but listen to podcasts while I worked–so I ploughed through the rest of this show in, like, a few days, because it’s really addictive and definitely easy to binge-listen to. It’s a workplace comedy, and also a space opera, with loads of LGBT+ rep, all of which are just making this show right up my alley. (Oh, and a central wlw romance! Do NOT get me started on the romance in this show, it’s so good!!)

It follows Mella Sonder, assistant to the editor-in-chief Annie Inkwyrm, of Inkywrm Magazine, an intergalactic fashion publication, and their whole ensemble of coworkers and the antics they get up to. Most of the time it’s fairly lighthearted, but it has some really hard-hitting plotpoints too that, not gonna lie, got me pretty emotional. Also, it’s got found family, what’s not to love.

Speed round: My favourite memories of the week

Meals: Chocolate chip cookies, veggie simosas, sun-dried tomato pasta, tacos my mom made, homemade naan breads which turned our surprisingly well, and these English muffins I had with peanut butter for a late-night writing snack.

Memories: Finishing my biology final, at long last, and getting macarons with my friend to celebrate afterwards at the local bakery, watching Shadow and Bone, gardening out in the yard after sunset on a warm night, finally being able to wear shorts!

I think that’s about it! I will hopefully see you again soon, thanks so much for reading 🙂

Lorna

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