Blog Posts

New Year, Same Me

It’s that time of year where everyone reflects on how things have been, and make plans for the year to come, so I suppose it’s time for me to join in with all of that.

2018 was a bit of a wild ride. Like many years, it had its ups and downs. There were quite a few good movies released, which is always nice. Many I can’t yet comment on, not having had the opportunity to watch them. The Incredibles came back, and in my opinion managed to live up to expectations. Venom had little hope, but managed to drive fans crazy in ways I don’t think the creators were really expecting. Seeing Mortal Engines about to be made into a movie prompted me to read the book, and the movie was… entertaining enough. Bohemian Rhapsody absolutely blew me away. A Wrinkle In Time and The House with a Clock in its Walls made me read some old children’s fiction which was a lovely experience. The Darkest Minds captivated me, and made me need to read the series.

I read quite a lot of books. I didn’t end up managing my goal of 100. I think at the end, I had read around 80. I have the unfortunate habit of giving up sometimes when I know that something is not going to be achievable. That being said, I read quite a large number of books all the same, which were all quite wonderful. I had ten lovely months of books being delivered to my door via OwlCrate before I had to give it up due to not having money.

My games library became even more full, and I’ve even been playing some of the newer games I’ve purchased. That being said, I still have quite a few hours in Overwatch, thanks mostly to some amazing friends I have who I can play with. In playing Overwatch, I’ve been getting somewhat better, and even enjoying playing competitive, as long as I can play with my friends. Being able to work together with people, and co-ordinate team compositions and pushes is a lot more fun than the stress of dealing with people jumping into the middle of the enemy team, instantly dying, and screaming because I wasn’t healing them.

I’m close to finishing Kingdom Hearts. After first starting it when I was in my early teens. It didn’t help that the person who owned the Play Station moved out before I had the chance to finish it. Now that I’ve finally got a Play Station 3 of my own, it’s simply a matter of making time when the TV is available for use. Not always feasible, unfortunately.

Dungeons and Dragons has been drawing me deep into its claws once more. There were a few campaigns I started at uni, none of which I was able to see through to the end for various reasons, mostly due to scheduling conflicts. A campaign one of my friends Dungeon Masters is going strong, however, and I’m very much enjoying playing my sweet, naive Necromancer. I have also been struck with the inspiration to start my own campaign, and am looking forward to seeing how that will go next year. In similar news, I am slowly making my way through the wonderful words of the McElroy’s, as I listen to The Adventure Zone. I am still quite far behind, only entering the fourth arc now, though hopefully I will find more opportunity to listen, and catch up in this new year.

I struggled through university, and finally managed to come out the other side with a degree. After so many years of stressing over assignments and exams, it will be nice to hopefully put it to good use. That is, should I manage to get a job in the creative writing sector.

Hopefully this coming year will see me employed. Perhaps I will be able to move down to Melbourne. Maybe I’ll even finish one of the many books I’m working on, and work on getting something published. Okay, for realistic purposes, I’ll settle with the employment as a goal. The others would definitely be nice to achieve though.

Once again, I will try to challenge myself to read 100 books this coming year. I will also endeavour to once again bring about my Friday Books Books blog, where I discuss the latest books or series I’ve read. After some issues, I think I am beginning to be on the up and up once more.

I am not the sort of person to lie and say that I have great expectations of 2019. Nor will I say that I will lose 10 kilos, or publish a book. Yes, I have goals, and dreams, to do such things, but I know that there are chances I might not achieve them. Instead, I will try to work towards these things, and will be ecstatic should I manage them, yet I refuse to let myself be upset if I fail. Failure is a part of life, and as hard as it can be to accept it sometimes, it is better to accept the failure, and move on past it, than to stay stuck on it.

This is the mentality that I will try to bring into 2019. Job searching is hard, and I know that I will certainly receive many rejections. Indeed, I’ll feel ecstatic should I merely get an interview. If I were to allow each rejection to get me down, I wouldn’t be able to move on. I would want to curl up in bed, and give up on everything, because living can be hard. Instead, I will take a deep breath, and learn from any mistakes. I will continue to move forward. This can apply to so many things in my life, not only job searching. I can turn this attitude to my gaming, and climb higher in competitive Overwatch. I can play more of the games I own, and finish ones I want to finish. I can read as many books as I can in a year, and be happy by how many I read, as opposed to upset that I didn’t achieve my goal. I can be happy with however many words I might write instead of focusing on finishing something by a deadline.

I sincerely hope that all my readers can take a similar attitude into 2019 with them. Don’t let your failures get you down, instead be proud of anything you achieve. Of course, you should never let that stop you from setting your own goals. Simply don’t let yourself get too down if you don’t quite reach them.

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Blog Posts, Books Books

Myself as a Reader/Books Books

I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I grew up with Harry Potter, with the first book coming out when I was in my first year of primary school, through to the seventh book coming out when I was in my second-to-last year of high school. Even in my final year, I had Rowling’s wizarding fairy tale book, Tales of Beadle the Bard to entertain me and keep me going through the school year.

I can vividly remember starting a new school in year five, clutching my copy of the fourth book to my chest. I regret to say that as a child, I wasn’t necessarily good at looking after books, and with my intense love for this series, my copies were so well-read that the hard covers ended up off the books, and the books themselves rather water-logged due to an unfortunate habit of reading in a bath. I have since perfected this habit, along with one of reading in a pool, to the point where any book is perfectly safe within my hands while I soak in the water that I love. Though, that can be a tale for another day.

For father’s day when I was five years old I read my first ever book aloud to my grandfather, at Pancake Manor. He was appropriately delighted as I regaled him with the story of Sam I am, while reading Green Eggs and Ham. My love for books has only grown as I have. I can now appreciate the Harry Potter series as more than just an entertaining children’s story. Just as I can now appreciate the amazing story behind Green Eggs and Ham, as Dr Seuss. An entire story, written with only 50 words.

While my love for books has eventually evolved to wanting to write, to leave my own mark on the world, and to edit, to help others achieve their goals, my love of reading rarely waivers. I have my slumps, of course. Most people do. Even in the middle of my deepest slumps, however, I can always be found with at least one book in my bag. (Though most often it’s two or more. In case I finish one.) In the past I have tried having ereaders, for the convenience of a library in my bag, along with cheaper books. However, at the end of the day, for me in particular—although I am certain there are others who share my preference—nothing will ever beat the feeling of a real book in my hands.

In January, I set myself three book-related goals to achieve by the end of the year. At the moment, it isn’t looking like I will achieve two of them, although that’s not to say it’s impossible. My first goal was to read at least 100 books by the end of the year. This is after I achieved last years goal of reading 52 books, of which I achieved a little over 70. It is currently the tenth month, and I am sitting on 76 books read. Not where I would ideally be sitting, this late in the year, although that does not mean it’s not still achievable.

My second goal has already been achieved, although half by accident. Recently, I made a promise to myself to stop buying so many books. My hope is to save my money, so that I might move down to Victoria after I have finished my study. I broke that just this Wednesday, however, after I finished A Promise of Fire, the first book in The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet. I had to immediately go out and purchase the next two books in the series. I may also have bought The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs while I was there, after having watched the recent film adaptation. These three books apparently helped me move up from my gold QBD card, to a platinum one, which was my second book-related goal.

Finally, my third goal for the year, which I am a mere thirteen books away from completing, is to read the entirety of Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld series. Through the year, I have been working through the books.

My third goal is one two things which has been helping me toward my first goal, with the second thing being a subscription to the wonderful YA book-to-your-door service of Owl Crate. I have been subscribed since early last year, and never once regretted it. Once a month I have a package delivered to me, with a new book, along with a number of wonderful things related to the book. I have two beautiful and unique Harry Potter mugs. (One day I’ll have to find which crate I missed had the first one, so I can collect what I am certain will eventually be a beautiful set.)

Last month’s book was Mirage by Somaiya Daud. When I receive my Owl Crate, I refrain from looking anything up about the author or the book, until I have finished it. So with every one of the books I have read from them, I have gone in unaware as to what I might expect. This is how I read Mirage. Naturally, just with every other book I have received so far from this service, I absolutely loved it.

So, this is where I plan to start something that I have been wanting to do for a while. For a few years now, I have been thinking about starting a YouTube channel, where I discuss books that I have read, and my thoughts regarding them. However, without a good webcam or microphone, this isn’t something that I am likely to begin any time soon. Instead, I will begin slowly by simply posting my reviews online. Conveniently I now have a blog for it!

I hope to commit to posting a review every Friday. Please, wish me luck in this endeavour for the future. Along with the entire endeavour to put myself out there as a freelance Creative Writer, and Editor.

Book’s Books

In Daud’s note to readers that accompanied her book in its Owl Crate packaging, she mentioned that she has written other novels, though Mirage is her debut. What an absolutely stunning debut it is. It wasn’t hard for me to find myself on Andala and its moons among a conquered populace. I felt for Amani’s plight as she struggled to become someone so different to the kind and loving person she is at heart.

Amani was a lovely protagonist, a poet with a heart big enough to love even those who pulled her from her family. Through the course of the novel she grows from a simple farmer’s daughter, to someone who can hold her own amid a court of vipers.

The tale was a beautiful rendition of The Prince and the Pauper with its own wonderful twists and turns. While look-alikes Marim and Amani hardly trade places for fun, Amani still has a chance to enjoy the splendours of life as a Princess for a change, while Marim finds herself with a confidante.

I am most desperately looking forward to a sequel already. While I was nearing the end I found myself convinced that Amani’s tale could not yet be over. As I came to the last few pages I grew more certain, until I closed the book with a delicious sense of unsatisfaction. The first story has been told, certainly, but there is more to come which I shall no doubt relish reading.

Perhaps one day I will devise some sort of rating system for the novels I review, although for now I think I’ll simply leave things in a different manner. For me, a true test of a book is whether or not I wish to reread it. While some books lead me on with promises of sequels, I may not necessarily go back and reread them. Mirage however, is certainly something that I can envision myself reading at least once more in the future.