The Big Summer Reading List, or “A Very Gaiman Summer”

Hello!

July is here and summer’s officially started. I mean, it’s been summer for a while, but July is kind of the “proper” summer month, you know?

The strange thing about reading is that it’s one of my favourite things to do, but I’m just really bad at doing it. There’s always something more important to do, an exam to revise for, work to go to, social media to scroll through (this is the worst one, but I know I’m guilty of it). May saw exams and June saw work, and books haven’t really been brought center stage yet. Until now.

Work won’t stop me now because I’m back to working at the library, and let me tell you, nothing fuels your want to read like working in a library. I love to hear people chat about the books as they hand them in, or be excited about new titles they are checking out. Stacking books others have picked out of the wooden shelves exposes you to a lot of books you wouldn’t have found any other way, and I’m so here for it. Also, I got a little bit obsessed with the new Good Omens mini series, and have therefore dug out all the Neil Gaiman books left on my own shelf that I haven’t read yet for this. This is why, this summer I’ve made a provisional Summer Reading List, which will most definitely change throughout the summer. I’m excited.

But without any further ado; here we go. Bring on 2019’s Reading Summer.

The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

Blurb:
Tony Webster and his clique first meet Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, terribly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now, Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman

Complete with price tag.. Forgot to remove that one!

Blurb:
Let me tell you stories of the months of the year, of ghosts and heartbreak, of dread and desire. Of after-hours drinking and unanswered phones, of good deeds and bad days, of trusting wolves and how to talk to girls.
There are stories within stories, whispered in the quiet of the nights, shouted above the roar of day, and played out between lovers and enemies, strangers and friends. But all, all are fragile things made just of 26 letters arranged and rearranged to form tales and imaginings which will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination and move you to the very depths of your soul.

Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman

Blurb:
In Gaiman’s richly imagined fictions, anything is possible – an elderly widow finds the Holy Grail beneath an old fur coat in a second-hand shop; under a bridge, a frightened little boy bargains for his life with a very persistent troll; a stray cat fights and refights a terrible nightly battle to protect his unsuspecting adoptive family from unimaginable evil…

The View from the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman

Blurb:
“Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation.”
This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believe might just mean something – and welcomes the conversation too.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson

Blurb:
Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon. The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They will conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of the empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion

Blurb:
“Terry’s last request to me was to make this something he would be proud of. And so that has been my job.”

As already mentioned, and as you can see, I’ve got a Gaiman-heavy summer planned. However, this is just a suggestion. Like I said, now that I’m back at the library, my favourite thing is picking up books from there and reading stories I’d never been introduced to otherwise, so I’m still not sure what the Books (with capital B) have got planned for me this summer. It’s best that way.

Do you make reading lists, or do you just read whatever you feel like, next? If there is a list, what’s on it, and what are you reading nowadays?

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

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I can feel the scent of roses in the air, it’s June in January

Nope, it’s most definitely not January, but January might as well have been yesterday.
This year is flying by, and I’m both here for it and a little bit worried about it. June’s brought music, it’s brought people, sunny weather and moments I’ve never experienced before. I spent the beginning of June working at the cathedral, the middle of June “holidaying” at home with cups of tea and read-for-joy books, and on the last day of June, my sister had her baby boy and I got to say hello to my little nephew. He was born at 04:35 am, and we got to come meet him at 2 pm. I’ve never seen so small and “new” a baby before, but he was absolutely wonderful.
June was also the month I registered my little business, and now I’m officially self-employed in my own one-woman-company that deals with text production, copywriting and translation. What a crazy month.

So, in bullet points, June has consisted of:

  • Getting all my exam marks back
  • Having my last day before summer at the cathedral-job
  • Having my first day of summer at the library-job
  • Starting up my own little company
  • Sleepovers and lazy breakfasts with friends
  • Saying goodbye to a lot of wonderful study friends that are going away on uni exchanges next year
  • Setting up a summer reading list
  • Sending 13 postcards through PostCrossing
  • Making a lot of tea
  • Knitting!
  • Getting completely and utterly obsessed with the new Good Omens mini series
  • Meeting my nephew for the first time

I hope June’s been kind to you, and I’m excited to see what July brings! It’s going to be a good one this year, I can feel it.

-Andrea

There goes the month of Maying (A little bit late, but oh well)

May is my favourite month, and yesterday she threw her picnic blanket over her shoulders like a cape, filled up her little water bottle with raspberry squash, and off she went. Until next year.

This year, May brough with her:

  • The most intense exam period I’ve ever experienced
  • New and exciting opportunities
  • A lot of sun
  • Maybe even more rain
  • A new favourite cafe
  • Dara O’Brien live at Kilden
  • Norway’s national day
  • Green, green grass
  • A lot of take out dinners
  • Proper getting into my new job
  • Many a bus fare
  • My birthday!
  • Good friends and even better laughs

-Andrea

16 to 23 and everything inbetween

Tomorrow’s my birthday!

I’m turning 23 and I’m not entirely sure what that means yet. I’m aware it won’t mean that I’ll wake up taller, wiser or more confident. I know your birthday is just a symbolic notion and that what helps you grow are all the days in between. However, like with New Year’s Resolutions, maybe birthdays can function as a day of reflection, a definite marker of another year passing. Not for everyone and not for the world, but in your very own timeline. What have you learnt since your last birthday? What have you figured out? What new people have you met, and what new paths have you travelled down?

To “celebrate” that today is my last day as 22, I’m posting this little video. It is a poem I wrote for the OctPoWriMo challenge, last year, about all the things I’d love to tell myself at 16. In the original post I wrote “this took a long time to get right, but I didn’t want to post it before I was happy with it. Felt like I owed 16 year old me that much.”

Filmed in my bed, with a comfy shirt on and a cup of tea waiting. It felt fitting to post this on my last day of being 22, as a symbol of all the things I’ve finally figured out, and of all the things I’ve yet to learn.

Here’s to making the next year a good one.

Have a wonderful day!
-Andrea

“Maybe I Like Honey After All”

“We used to come here for Easter sermons as children, but back then the stone building had stood straight-backed like a school teacher, hushing every childish giggle. Now the doors were wide open and the entrance was decorated with draping curtains of pink and yellow.”

Hello!
This post is my 100th post on this blog! This page has been up and running since February 5th 2018, so that means a 100 posts in exactly one year and two months. Seeing as this blog began as an assignment for my former Creative Writing degree, I figured today I could show you a piece of writing I handed in as coursework, around the same time I started this blog!

So, the piece is from a module called Travel Writing, and it was written in January 2018. It is about the notion of “holidays at home”, and the ways that your hometown can surprise you when you start really looking at all the places you’re so used to existing in. For me, it was going to a festival my hometown puts on every year, for the first time a couple of years ago. Have a read, and thanks for sticking with me for a hundred posts!

-Andrea

“Maybe I Like Honey After All”

                 “You don’t have to buy the honey; you just have to taste it.” She grabbed my arm as I walked past her and shoved a spoon dripping with fresh honey into my hands. “Only local bees.”
I called her the Bee lady in my head. Her hands were rough; a worker’s hands. Wrinkles followed the lines of her face, the price of a long life well lived, and silver hair was gathered in a braid that hung down her back. She had decorated it with flowers for the occasion, greens and pinks and yellows.
“So many people think they don’t like honey at all, but that’s because they’ve only ever tasted the store bought kind.” She shook her head, making the braid dance.

                  “They don’t know how real honey actually tastes.” She winked at me. I thanked her and was about to leave, but she insisted on another spoonful.

                  I bought a jar.

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Journal #14, a little life update

Hey, you!

I’ve missed posting bits and bobs on this blog lately and really hope to get back into it again, soon! Uni’s taken over my life a little bit at the moment, but the last month or so has been a really good one. Crazy busy, but good.

The last few weeks I have been lucky enough to:

find the world’s smallest cinema screen with a good buddy
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visit too many Christmas markets for it to still be the first week of December


do some translation and interpretation jobs
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enjoy some very light snow img_7762

have some late nights fighting off a cold
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study for multiple exams (currently done with 1 of 4)
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do a lot of stand work with a charity I care about
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make a makeshift Christmas tree out of a tiny plastic palm tree
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have some really good cake
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try and fail to make a gingerbread house with some wonderful peopleimg_7934

and have a lot of tea
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I haven’t managed to get in as much reading time as I was hoping, but still, I’ve got what I needed done. Plus, I’ve found a new flat from January on, and managed to decide on where to do work experience and where to study abroad next year! Back to England, I go, to work hopefully in Sheffield and to study in York.

I really want to make some more Christmassy posts throughout December! Both because I’m really excited for Christmas, and also to think about stuff that aren’t my exams.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

“Grandfather Sea has new eyes now”

The water is a mirror, I’m scared to break the surface,
but our boat just glides through the waves like it owns the place.
On the sea surrounded by sleepy gulls and my grandmother’s handwriting was not where I thought I’d spend my evening, but I’m glad I’m here.
My grandad is steering, like he always is.

Grandfather sea, the saltwater man.
I’ve written poems about him before, said he is like the ocean he grew up next to;
only now do I understand how right I was.

He’s not made of salt water so much as shaped of it,
unpredictable and stormy, wondrous and wild.

I look at how he grips the steering wheel, trained hands that know how to navigate rocks and isles and deep velvet oceans.
It is in his fingers, his eyes, his back,
like riding a bicycle is in my legs.

I used to compare him to the sea;

His heart forceful like the waves, voice quick like sea foam, all excitement and loud words and dark coffee spluttering in a coffee maker.
Now I see the ocean in him, in the pull of the currents towards his home.
I see the sea in how he glides through the ripples, I see the waves in his mind as tension in his hands.

He looks at old horizons with new eyes, navigates charted waters without her telling him where to go.

The water is a mirror, I’m scared I’ll break the surface,
but his surface is one i’m just starting to chip away at.

I went out for a little trip on the fjord with my grandad the other day, and had some time to reflect as we were … driving? We talked about stuff you can only talk about when there is water all around you, and we sat in comfortable silence, silence that felt like home. It all made me think of a poem I wrote about my grandad in my first year of uni, and how both my voice and his focus has changed a lot during the course of those three years, and especially this last year; a year filled with permanent changes that have affected all of us. All of this reflection resulted in this work-in-progress poem! I hope you like it!

Have a wonderful day,

-Andrea