Categories
Reading

10 thoughts on “All the Birds in the Sky” by Charlie Jane Anders

Paperback cover of Charlie Jane Anders' novel All the Birds in the Sky.

Earlier this month, I re-read All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, which I enjoyed so much more on a second reading. I’ve wanted to talk more about it since, however, I’ve never really gelled with any book review approach I’ve previously taken.

An idea then came to me: what if I wrote my thoughts as a listicle? In my newsletter, I list 10 things I want to share from the past two weeks — mimicking Austin Kleon’s newsletter. So I thought I’d try using the same structure for a book review.

Categories
Journal

10 things that got me through January (2022)

Towers spelling out the word "HELP" in all caps, made in the Townscaper demo.

Last year, I retired my Sunday Sharing series of posts, promising a different approach. My “21 things that got me through 2021” was a trial of what I hoped would be that new approach, and I enjoyed writing it so much that I’m going to try and do them monthly.

The January blues really got to me this year, too. So blogging about what helped me through it felt especially relevant.

There were a lot more things than what I’ve listed below. But I decided these were the highlights.

Categories
Poetry

Poem from Google search results: “suggestions for tories”

Poem titled "suggestions for tories" where google's suggested searches are marked by bold text.

Back in December, I read Brian Bilston’s Christmas poem he created from auto-completed Google search suggestions. I thought I’d try and make a poem via the same method but about the Tories instead.

Categories
Journal

How I set up my Bullet Journal in 2022

Double-page spread of creativity trackers, tracking four habits: poems, drafting fiction, blog posts and journal entries.

Starting a Bullet Journal in 2021 changed my life. It helped me to be more organised and keep track of what I was doing each day. I better understood where my time was going, and I could recognise my habits.

My BuJo brought a lot of structure to my disorganised life, and it was also relaxing and fun. How I’ve used the journal has also evolved over the past 12 months, and I thought it would be useful to share my setup.

Covered in this post: initial first pages, trackers I’ve created and my monthly setups for daily logging.

Categories
Gaming

Townscaper: Relaxing joy in building towns

A colourful town made in Townscaper with 11 houses in a range of colours, including green, blue, red, yellow, purple and white.

It’s been a week of procrastinating on real work and chilling out by playing video games, which I’m content with. A time will come when days of gaming and enjoying idleness will be a rarity, so I’m making the most of it whilst I still can.

Earlier this week, during my habitual Twitter scrolling, I stumbled across the demo version of Townscaper. This can be played in your web browser, which is exactly what I did several times this week for a bit of easy and quick fun.

The game is very minimalist — or at least the demo version is — and is just building by clicking. But its simplicity makes construction feel relaxing, and the colourful towns you create make for some pleasing eye candy.

Categories
Journal

My favourite playwriting notes from Mark Ravenhill

Final tweet from Mark Ravenhill in his 101 notes series, which reads: "To finish,Toni Morrison ‘if there’s a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, you have to write it’. Resonates -that’s how I started l-the sense that a play ought to exist,it would be easier if someone else wrote it but they haven’t so YOU MUST"

Mark Ravenhill is a playwright I studied for my MA dissertation, which focused on plays attributed to the heavily criticised label: “In-yer-face theatre.”  His play Shopping and Fucking, first performed in 1996, was one of several key texts referenced in my final thesis.

So I was thrilled when last year I saw Ravenhill sharing playwriting tips for free via his Twitter, using #MarkRavenhill101.

Earlier this week, I discovered that all 101 notes have been collected into a single post. I decided to revisit them all and have noted some personal favourites I wish I’d known sooner.

Categories
Reading

Reading goals (2022)

Outline of a bookshelf in the page of a journal. Shelves outlined in sharpie, books outlined in a black pen, the space above the books shaded in with a pencil.

The above image is a bookshelf I drew in my journal last year, filled with the books I want to get through in 2022. It’s by no means a rigid reading list, and there are books I missed that I really want to read.

No matter how many times I design a reading plan, I can never stick to it. But regardless of how different my year in books may look by year’s end, my actual reading goal differs from the challenge I’ve set myself every other year.

Ordinarily, much like many booklovers, my reading goal is a set number of books to read within 12 months that I declare on Goodreads. This number is mostly arbitrary, high enough to push me to read if I get behind but low enough that I always hit my target. It’s never really been a challenge, and I’ve been content with that.

However, this year, I decided a challenge was necessary to achieve one specific reading goal I always set myself but never manage to complete.

Categories
Reading

We All Hear Stories in the Dark: “a modern day Arabian Nights, mixed up with playing a game”

Paperback set for Robert Shearman’s We All Hear Stories in the Dark

In Robert Shearman’s three-tome short story collection We All Hear Stories in the Dark, an idea is proposed: you can read every work of literature ever published in three weeks — but you have to read them in the right order. An absurdist idea, for sure, but it builds the foundation of an interesting premise.

Categories
Journal

21 things that got me through 2021

Saying goodbye to the year in my journal and discovering my bubble writing hasn’t improved since I was a child.

It’s the last day of 2021 and what a long year it has been! Thanks for the memories ’21, but you won’t be missed.

There was a lot of shit this year, on a personal level and a societal level and obviously a global level, but there was a lot of good that got me through it. Originally this post had close to 80 things, but I decided to distil it down to fit inside 21 sections.

So here’s my Top 21 things (in no particular order) that got me through Plague Year Two…

Categories
Reading

My favourite books of 2021

Collage of book covers for 12 of the listed 20 books in this post.

I read 45 books this year and started a 46th on Christmas Day. Out of all those books, there was not a single one I’d call a bad read. Thus, narrowing down a list of favourites from this year wasn’t easy.

In the end, after much deliberation, I settled on the 20 listed below. So here are my favourite reads of 2021, listed in the order that I read them: