first year of uni doing physics summed up in anonymous tumblr posts & zoom backrounds idk

I don’t know why I’m doing this either, it was a 2 am idea I might still want to reverse if that helps. Have this fun (or not) thing while I’m hopefully studying for after-summer exams and please comment honestly on if I shouldn’t have posted this. In chronological order from oldest to newest.

that’s it, kind of. i had so much fun spending time with new friends, working hard and spending so much time trying to understand concepts, occassionally writing this book blog with updates. my home-situation living with 15 other people, but in a more fancy apartment and each having our own space, turned from a scary decision into something very interesting. I found two of my best friends in the two math and electrical engineer students living with me. We became a trio of sorts; sometimes cooking together, watching the engineer do smart shit while trying to guess what the fancy circuit boards were, everyone cursing at our computer code (different levels, to be fair) while drinking a beer, staying inside during the weekends for movie nights, all of us already being too familiar with insomnia and stress. If anything I truly realized how much I’m always in the middle of them and enjoyed that; on everything from cooking-knowledge to whether an abstract or practical smart person and the scale of how social you are. definitely also in the middle of the more unusual scales of “how likely are you to drunkenly show off your soldering skills?” and “how likely are you to resteal a shopping cart for a good cause (like cheering up your extremely-stressed-with-school friend that looked forward to motorize it)?” then corona happened sadly and we return to regularly scheduled programming aka back on the internet ranting ❤

Next post is based on a similar post based on two people finding each over staying up doing their obligatory reading for literature classes and I was like … oh I actually had this very similar thing happen in real life & also why make everything romantic?

A bonus one from pre-uni, showing you that my doubts in myself did not mysteriously appear during university. For the record, I’ve learned so much this first year, that just doesn’t quite come through here.

Also, if you need a new zoom background for the new semester, this one of a larger than average black hole has been my go-to lately (along with an actual photo of my dorm just weird-looking enough to confuse people when I was away);

I also have this one to-go for more depressing times like 8 am (it’s the bleakest picture I have of my home pre-uni basically):

This one is to show some slight self-awareness as I sit down with a cup of tea and give life-advice to my friends like they should listen to me (which you should know by now is not true at all):

And finally the zoom background I’m excited to use next semester (from debbie-sketch on tumblr, check it out for other hogwart house dorms):

university has become my home | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (it was so awesome)

Added to TBR:

  • Starlight by Richard Wagamese (ownvoices for indigenous)
  • The end of everything (astrophysically speaking) by Katie Mack (science, physics): I’ve followed Mack on twitter for a while and she’s this great astrophysicist, so I’ve been truly looking forward to this book
  • The winter duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (YA fantasy, lgbt; f/f & nonbinary characters)
  • Spellbooks of the lost and found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (magical realism, lgbt; bi): I do truly love good trios, especially if they’re witches
  • Mexican gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (horror, historical fiction, gothic, set in Mexico)
  • The city we became by N. K. Jemisin (urban fantasy, lgbt)
  • Burn by Patrick Ness (dragons!!!, fantasy)
  • Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy): because I should give up on her by now, but everyone seem to like this (finally) adult book and I can’t help being interested/hopeful
  • Kingdom of souls by Rena Barron (fantasy, set in West Africa)
  • A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini (historical fiction, Afghanistan)
  • Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (historical fiction): I’ve actually wanted to read this for a long time, but never added it to my TBR somehow?? I’ve seen some amazing quotes/paragraphs from here out of context.
  • Earth and ashes by Atiq Rahimi (historical fiction, war, Afghanistan)
  • PET by Awaeke Emezi (YA fantasy, trans mc, Nigerian author)
  • Passenger to Tehran by V. Sackville-West (travel, memoir-like, set in 1926): I fell down a rabbit hole reading about her life dating both men and women and this book written as a diplomat’s wife seems very interesting
  • Honeybee by Trista Mateer (poetry, lgbt, smalltown)
  • SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson (poetry, sexual abuse)
  • Rosewater by Tade Thompson (sci-fi, fantasy, set in Nigeria)
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (sci-fi, fantasy)

Three things on my mind:

  • I read too little of non-bookblog articles about books I guess, but a lot of the new books I wanted to read above came from an article from Tor publishing on 25 most anticipated sci-fi & fantasy books of 2020
  • It was another quote from an article that set me out on a deep rabbit hole; Esquire’s “The Secret Oral History of Bennington”. It’s about the college in the 80’s, producing a group of famous artists, including Donna Tartt (the author of two of my favourite books; The Secret History & The Goldfinch) and American Psycho’s Bret Easton Ellis. There’s so many good quotes in that article, and I’ve rarely trusted a group of people less to say the truth accurately and not have a skewed perspective because of their heightened sense of self-worth. Doesn’t make it any less fascinating to look into, though.

TODD O’NEAL: The Secret History isn’t so much a work of fiction. It’s a work of thinly veiled reality—a roman à clef. When it came out, Claude and Matt and I got endless calls. Everybody was saying, “Oh, did you know Donna just wrote a book about Claude and you all? And Claude is Julian and Matt is Bunny and you’re Henry.”

Todd O’Neal was another student at the college Tartt attended
  • I booked my tickets back to university, finally. I knew more people would travel by train because of corona making planes more unsafe, but I didn’t realize 95% of the tickets would be sold out for the next week and a half during what’s still summer! We don’t start up school again truly for another three weeks guys! Seems like everyone is like me and have decided that five months away from my dorm is already too long. The fact that it’s still summer also means that they’re working on the tracks, so instead of eight hours, it’s a twelve hour train trip. And I’m truly sick from an sinus infection (I tested negative for corona, no worries), so that will be hell on earth, no matter how much I love train-rides. I went on a hunch that the earlier train at the end of the week was the right one, and a minute afterwards my new roommate (and friend) texts me, turns out we’re on the same one train by accident.

If there’s something I’ve learned in my personal life this week is the reinforcement of this idea – find your support anywhere you can, trust those people even if it will hurt if they break that trust, create your own family through friends. It goes with the story that I’m leaving earlier than expected because shit went down, that I’m lucky to have a mom that loves me, and that I’ve experienced a lot of rejections from family in the last five months. I miss my uni family, so deeply. Soon I will again use my insomniac nights sending my rants on literature, in this case it would be Bennington College and the type of elitism there, to the other insomniac directly across the hall until we both give up and meet for a nightly snack in the kitchen.

I went into my first year of university knowing that I could count on no one to be there to catch me if I fell. I’m going into the second year of university having stumbled and fallen a lot these last five months, but always having the hope that I would be back home soon, where people are so different in how they show they care – but they all do. Only four days left.

The Eleven Books I Never Seem to Finish (Part Two)

I’ve got a currently-reading shelf on goodreads that always contains too many books that I picked up and never really finished or stopped reading. And then I made a post all about my excuses and what I liked or didn’t like about them, which got way to long and this is the second part of that. Here’s part one.

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

When I started reading the book: September 2019

Have I picked it up since? No

I listened to Edward Snowden’s voice in the audiobook go through every aspect of how he turned out a whistle-blower, about mass surveillance, how intelligence agencies work, how his experiences has made him into an expert the last six years. It’s about growing up online, morality and that’s how far I got. I think I found some pieces truly interesting, but was a bit bored by the background of the person that is Edward Snowden (it is part memoir after all) just because I’m less interested in that than what he thinks about the digital now and future. Which I’m sure he would’ve gotten to eventually.

Why am I not reading it? I don’t quite know? But it’s that type of book that you want to dive into and do your own research as well, and it’s a bit thought and time consuming, which I’m not up for right now.

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

When I started reading the book: December 2019

Have I picked it up since? No

I truly can’t say much about this book as I got 50 pages into a 300 page book and hadn’t made up my mind quite. It’s supposed to be about the science needed to mmake impossible things like death rays or force fields or invisibility cloaks real.

Why am I not reading it? I don’t know why I never got back to it

A collection of norwegian debut poems

When I started reading the book: February 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

Here I am trying to become a better person by reading more norwegian – my first language – which I haven’t done much of the last decade and only because of being forced to through high school.

Why am I not reading it? have you ever borrowed a book from the library and then … left town leaving it there? It’s somewhat of a pain to have to extend the return date for half a year (blaming corona again). I would just get a new copy of this one, the problem being that it’s a bit difficult to get my hands on. Poetry and ebooks aren’t always a thing, I’ve recently come to learn.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

When I started reading the book: February 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

I read Ocean’s poetry and felt a strong need to read his newer fiction as well. It’s as strikingly beautiful and vulnerable, but I picked it up at a highly-anxious time and found that it wasn’t the mindset I wanted to be in reading this book. It’s synopsis explains it truly well actually; “Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.”

Why am I not reading it? too powerful in its pain and violence in a time where I unfortunately wasn’t up for that

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept by Elizabeth Smart

When I started reading the book: March 2020

Have I picked it up since? No

I truly am mad about not finishing this book because it’s only 128 pages. It’s not that complex, to be real, even if it is a good story. And I was about to finish it in one sitting, as I was literally sitting on the floor in front of the oven waiting for my food to cook. And into the empty kitchen comes one of the many people I live with and comments on it in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth. As if I was sitting there crossed-legged and disheveled reading an old book for the quirky ~aesthetic~ of it, even though no one else was there. I don’t even know now why it made me so suddenly furious, but it was a generally bad time for me, on the verge of deciding whether to leave town because of corona and being very sick from migraines. Simply put, if commenting on what someone is reading, don’t be an asshole about it.

It is a pretty cute, worn edicition though, I picked it up form an Edinburgh used book shop extremely cheap.

Why am I not reading it? I can still feel the ghost of the fury I felt every time I try to finish it

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

When I started reading the book: June 2020

Have I picked it up since? Yes

Why am I not reading it? Each summer I seem to bring with me one ‘heavy’ physical book absolutely everywhere, and never get to it until my patience runs out and I just sit down and get through it, finding myself enjoying it a lot. I think this is this years book, as I do truly like Woolf’s writing, even if her style is what makes this particular book ‘heavy’, while last year it was the physics of ‘Six Easy Pieces’ by Richard Feynman.

The Eleven Books I Never Seem to Finish (Part One)

So I’ve got a currently-reading shelf on goodreads that always contains too many books that I picked up and never really finished or stopped reading? Like sometimes I dive into them again, sometimes there’s good reasons, sometimes I’ve just forgotten to read the last two chapters. This happens way more with nonfiction, but also poetry collections and classics. So here’s those books, from ‘oldest to newest’ in when I first picked them up, so that maybe I will guilt myself into starting the new school year with a empty currently reading shelf and less loose threads in my head.

Einstein biography by Walter Isaacson

When I started reading the book: June 2017

Have I picked it up since? yes, I read about half and then read some more in 2018, so I think I’ve only got a few chapters left I just never finished it

You think you know Einstein’s life, but if you haven’t read an in-depth account of his life – you don’t. I truly love this biography, but it was heavy for two years younger me and I was constantly searching up things to learn more. It’s got so many highlights and notes in it by now.

Why am I not reading it? Truly just because I’m separated from my physical copy bc of corona

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

When I started reading the book: January 2018

Have I picked it up since? Yes, several times

This book is truly trying to learn you everything you want about what we know and don’t know about the cosmos through funny and original graphs and cute illustrations (!!!). Mostly quarks, black holes, gravitational waves, whatever dark energy and dark matter is and why it’s dark. It’s meant to be humorous and peak your interest. I got at least 25% in, I guess. Some of my problem was the balance of skimming what I did know already, but then not wanting to miss out on the rest. Would be fun to see how much more different I would approach it now, one year into a physics degree. But it’s really appropriate for someone without much knowledge on the matter (haha) already as well.

Why am I not reading it? I forgot I guess???

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

When I started reading the book: March 2018

Have I picked it up since? Yes, I read poems here and there for about a year. Got 50% through it.

Big poetry collections of a particular poet are strange because you might like on era of their poetry more than another, and that takes time to figure out. Especially with a 200 pages ebook filled to the brim with classical short poems. Thankfully most of them are pretty understandable without a knowledge of the time or much of Dickinson’s life.

Why am I not reading it? I truly forgot I liked individual poems this much, even though the collection itself left me confused often

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

When I started reading the book: April 2019

Have I picked it up since? Yes, I’ve continually gotten back to it

  1. I didn’t know it had been that long since I first started it. 2. I don’t know why I wanted to read it in the first place or what I expected. 3. It’s never … well, bad or uninteresting, it just never cuts to the chase of what’s going on.

Why am I not reading it? I always think I’m reading it occassionally, but then I’m also only 35% into a 270 page book so who knows what’s happening there

Alex’s Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

When I started reading the book: July 2019

Have I picked it up since? Yes, to read a single other chapter.

With a mind-blowing first two chapters I really liked this book all about how we use maths. That might sound boring or strange, but I strikingly remember the author writing about how different groups of humans count differently depending on their need, and too a much higher degree so do animals. Like the difference between immediately recognizing the size of a herd compared to babies being able to recognize when a number change in number of objects, or something like that. And also cultural differences in how we learn children to count. Fascinating stuff, only problem was that I then started a math-heavy physics degree and then there was little interest in reading non-fiction books for a while, which I’m warning you is a theme here.

Why am I not reading it? separated from my physical copy by corona as well, but mostly lack of will to read more maths on freetime when I’ve just finished math lectures

Exciting New Book Releases Summer/Autumn 2020

So I made a exciting book releases for spring and summer and also a short one with queer summer books, but then I forgot all the July book releases, so that’s included in this as well I guess? Mostly fantasy, young adult, queer, sci-fi, but also some poetry and a graphic novel.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

Release date: July 7th

Why I want to read it: I’ve already bought it, I just forgot to add it to my latest list. It’s the sequel to Hank Green’s first amazing novel and here’s a review all trying to explain how much I loved that one.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Release date: July 7th

Why I want to read it: a fairytale vibe story based on Persian mythology about a princess who’s poisonous to the touch. I’m looking forward to demons and a great character development, let’s see this girl own her powers.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Release date: July 7th

Why I want to read it: Loved Wilder Girls by Power, and looking forward to more horror involving young adult-age girls, without it really being YA. And w/ all the sapphic vibes! It’s about a girl trying to find her past & old hometowns, which is pretty vague.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Release date: July 7th

Why I want to read it: Any m/m romance being compared to “Red, white and royal blue” piques my interest, mostly for the enemies-to-lovers trope & slight political setting that hopefully promises. Here we also get fake-dating for publicity.

The Year of the Witchling by Alexis Henderson

Release date: July 21st

Why I want to read it: a promise of feminist fantasy & discovering dark powers. Also witch / church conflict. I mean, I’m always looking for good witch books.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Release date: September 1st

Why I want to read it: a trans guy summons a ghost, which then creates a lot of trouble for the hell of it. Also ownvoices for trans & latinx elements of the book.

To Sleep In a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Release date: September 15th

Why I want to read it: the first sci-fi book by Paolini since his Eragon series – that seems like both a hard thing to write & something I’m very curious about

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Release date: September 15th

Why I want to read it: grieving her dead mother, witnessing a magical attack on campus, a mage by the name of Merlin that tries and fails to vipe her memory, investigating mother’s murder, learning that there exists a group of ‘Legenborn’ magicians that are descendants of King Arthur & magical war – this young main character is getting put through a lot. Also has a bi mc and lesbian and nonbinary characters, secret societies and demons.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

Release date: September 22nd

Why I want to read it: Hyberbole and a half by Allie Brosh is one of my all time favourite humor comics/graphic novels.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Release date: September 29th

Why I want to read it: magical school!! but this time by an author that I truly adore, so hopefully done right or in an interesting way. A YA fantasy where monsters lurks everywhere and frienships are hard to come by as everyone is struggling for survival. And a main character who’s got powerful dark magic.

Sweetdark by Savannah Brown

Release date: October 8th

Why I want to read it: I’ve enjoyed Savannah’s poetry & writing in general for a long time. Pleasure, chaos, apocalyptic vibes, vulnerability – it all sounds very exciting.

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater & Morgan Beem

Release date: October 13th

Why I want to read it: It’s by Stiefvater. But also I’m a sucker for the completely opposite, but inseparable duo. Very interesting to see how the illustrations turns out in this graphical novel as well as just how alive those swamps they discover are.

Strange Pet Peeves: Physical Books (Part 2)

I made a part one talking mainly about fantasy and young adult pet peeves, around plot. This one is more the actual physical books and the format.

Book covers changing look mid-series. Or SIZE! It could so easily just be an alternate version, please why.

Misuse’ of foot-notes. I know footnotes in general is a touchy subject. But I’ve just decided on this personal policy ranking use of footnotes on that you shouldn’t have to read the footnotes for the plot to make sense, it should either be additional info for those interested or for example funny remarks or any other remarks that add to the story, but isn’t cruicial. I often say fuck Nevernight by Jay Kristoff for other reasons, but the footnotes … well, it’s saying something how I found that to be such a small problem compared with the rest because those footnotes are a mess.

Here’s a couple bad ones in quick succession; movie-edition covers. the trend of normal paperbacks being way too tall and large so they don’t fit on any regular shelf. I totally get it if it’s illustrations or more nonfiction with photos. Stickers on books! Like just why?

Ugly hardback dustcovers. Well, honestly I think most dust covers are annoying at best and have come to terms with that so that I can throw them away immediately (unless extremely pretty, but then the actual book underneath usually is as well). I’ve just now started to not feel guilty for it as well.

Those small reading lights. I always got them as gifts or bought them myself thinking that this model might work, but then realizing they all got some kind of feature that makes them extremely annoying. Like too narrow a lightbeam so constantly have to adjust or clipping them on a book and struggling to turn pages because it’s in the way. I would have just used a head light, but I often fall asleep reading and that doesn’t seem comfortable. Ended up just buying a kindle and haven’t looked back to be honest. I might even read a book on the kindle during the night or, back when I commuted for three years, in the darkness of the bus in the morning and then read a completely other book in physical copy during the day.

Some Strange Book Pet Peeves (Fantasy & YA)

I didn’t think I had book pet peeves, like I don’t care if books have dog-ears for the most part, but I’ve certainly collected some related to book plots over a period of time. Here’s that collection and I’m warning you that they are mostly personal, as in I know they’re not the most popular ones out there and people will disagree.

Fictional fandoms. I don’t know why this bother me so much, I think it’s something about there, in best case, being this entire subculture readers either don’t get access to and just have to live with imagining existing or have to wade through what I find to be unecessary amounts of facts for something that isn’t real. A good example of this is “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell, that spun this whole Simon Snow trilogy out of the fantasy series the main character is a part of the fandom of. Had I read the Simon Snow series before Fangirl, I might’ve thought different about it (not that it was published yet), but hence all details included in the book felt like a waste of time in a strange, unlogical way. It’s truly a weird pet peeve, I think, and I totally admit so. But it makes me dislike books I don’t think I normally would. The only exception I can think of is “I was born for this” by Alice Oseman, but I suspect that’s because the fandom there is based around a boyband that is a huge part of the story (and also very recognizable from the ‘real world’) and so the fandom and their culture is also very based in something and understandable without much background info.

Here’s a kind of specific and small one; what the magic is called in a fantasy/magical realism world. Most often I just hate the magic of the world being called something similiar like Magik, but the author/character insisting it’s not the same as magic, like they haven’t just changed the language. I’ve seen so many cases of this. But sure, do that if you’re creating magic with a couple conditions/limits, that’s just smart.

Fairytale retellings that doesn’t either make the story their own OR stay true to the feeling of the original material. Same problem with stories from mythologies. With making it their own, I mean things like a genderbent version, a modernized one or maybe a queer one. Like truly reworking the material, but with clear inspirations. I think my other critera, staying true to the ~vibe~ so to say, has more to do with my next point. But if you retell a fairytale, without changing much of the plot or characters, maybe just setting them in another setting, how are you going to tell a better story than the one honed through mouth-to-mouth retelling for far far longer than you’re working on it? Like what do the author even add, far too often? I’m all for an author daydreaming in this fairytale realm that’s already built up, but then have the basis of the fairytale realm and create your own story in there instead, which would’ve kept the feeling (maybe even keep short format) that brings the magic to the story, and have higher chance of telling a good one. Truth is, I’ve read my fair share of queer fairytale retellings where there’s a good romance, but everything else is boring/predictable still (side-eye at Ash by Malinda Lo). I would’ve just cut them out completely, but as with Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, any Riordan series or Circe by Madeline Miller it might be some of my favourite books as well.

Mythological creatures included in stories completely separated from any of the other parts of the mythology. Just to have a ‘cool’ lesser-known creature, without really taking into consideration what makes it cool or unique. Of course, at worst it could be some type of cultural appropriation, but that’s not really what I’m talking about as a ‘pet peeve’.

Including politics, but not really. As in not actually going into the politics or even spending time thinking about how a political system would work in their fictional world. Typical is (what I would call) YA book with princesses or kids of high-level politicians/diplomats, but I’ve also seen non-YA versions of this. “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuinston did it well in that the author kept its focus on certain topics and didn’t go too heavy into how policies was changed or what their parents did politically, but the limits and system was still set (even if very similiar to present day America) and you saw that in the story. I would’ve still wanted there to be more going into the politics, like I usually do, but it was a choice made rather than an obvious dodge. Like why even write a book around politics if you’re scared to interact with any part of it or do any research??

a bit of a reading slump | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

literally none.

Added to TBR:

  • Mona Lisa Smile by Deborah Chiel (dark academia)
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (fantasy, m/m relationship)
  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (classic from 1532, politics)
  • The Tradition by Jericho Brown (poetry, lgbt)
  • Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno (YA, magical realism, lgbt)
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (magical realism)
  • Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle (graphic novel)
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White (fantasy, historical fiction)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’ve been more and more unsure about using goodreads. Like I’ve never used it much as a social media platform, only from time to time, but I have over 1400 books on there and it’s been great to catalogue books, especially as I’ve moved twice, left books behind in one house and used to use the library a lot. I tried out The Story Graph which is marketed as an alternative, even if in beta-version. It’s interesting & fun especially with their recommendations, I would recommend checking it out. But the biggest criteria I have for a similiar book platform is reliability and I don’t think I’m going to find a similiar enough platform that has that, for a while. I used to use a norwegian alternative, way way back, but there’s just so many books and I think that having a big community that adds these in for you is one of the great features that distinguish the different sites. Please let me know if there’s any cool alternatives to goodreads I should check out though!
  • I’m frustrated a lot, recently. My exams back in May was a struggle for multiple reasons that I’m tired of thinking about, but now it seems I might have outright failed one exam as well. This is a bit strange as I’m above the ‘fail’ percentage in most ways they could have marked it, as is a handful of my friends in the same situation, so we’ve all sent in our complaints. The thing I suspect happened is that more than usual got high grades (bc open-textbook exam and possibility to cheat by cooperation), and they changed the criteria for failing based on that without notifying us (which is strange as well). We’ll see when our complaints are processed, I guess. Still, it both gave me a renewed motivation to do better, but at the same time totally wrecked my self-esteem in a way I truly didn’t expect. Of course, a huge part of this is that my health isn’t getting that much better, even though I’ve had plenty of time to relax this summer break. We’ll see I guess.
  • I watched & cried over several movies, for once. I’m back in my home-‘village’ (it’s actually classified as village based on population number), in the house we took over from my late grandparents. And my grandmother was Sami, which has made me particularly interested in finally watching the prize-winning “Sami Blood” (2016) movie. It was as breath-taking and real as I expected, with the main character played by this amazing sami actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok, who really brought all the nuances into the story. It’s set in Sweden and isn’t my grandma’s story, but there’s many similiarities anyway. Being norwegian, I’ve learned of the horrible supression and racist policies put in place against Sami people, but we need movies like this to bring it to the attention to even more people. Let’s never forget the past enough to let it happen again.
  • I also watched the new USA gymnastics documentary; “Athlete A”. It highlighted the many ways Larry Nassar’s abuse was allowed to continue by people in charge, showing a culture at the olympic level with a high degree of various abuse being normalized, and how it all affected his victims. The last part features the more recent, high-profile Maggie Nichols, bringing up the question of if she lost her olympic chance because of reporting him. I wish all the best for her and all the other (there’s so many) victims, and overall it was a great documentary.

My Favourite Podcasts 2020 Update

I used to do this series of favourite podcasts last year, and then I started uni and got friends (hahahha, more like didn’t have an hour commute anymore tbh) and stopped listening to as many. But now there’s covid-19 and well – I’m back to loving podcasts.

Podcasts previously mentioned that I still listen to a lot:

(Let me know if you want to discuss any of these, honestly! I’ve linked to where I wrote more about them. I can’t believe there’s this few now compared to before, and yet there’s so many.) Reply All by Gimlet Media, Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green, Ologies by Alie Ward, Nancy by WNYC studios (it just posted its last episode though … find me crying in the corner), the Legendarium, Cortex by CGP Grey and Myke Hurley, No Dumb Questions by Destin Sandlin and Matt Whittman, Hello Internet by CGP Grey and Brady Haran, Dear Hank & John by John & Hank Green, Delete This by Hank & Katherine Green and the Wikicast by Simon Clark and Dan Maw.

‘New’ Podcasts I Love

SciShow Tangents

  • The SciShow team: Hank Green, Ceri Riley, Stefan Chin and Sam Schulz
  • Weird and funny science facts centered around a topic, with the group (mostly Hank) going on a few weird & funny tangents as well. The group just has a great dynamic and different levels of background knowledge, making it very accessible. I still sometimes miss the video couch format of the ‘beta-version’ (in my mind) Holy Fucking Science though.

The Catch and Kill Podcast

  • by Ronan Farrow, Pineapple Street Studios
  • Made as a continuation of the book Farrow made by the same name where he goes through reporting on the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults, but also how NBC tried to manipulate and hold him back. The book goes very much in depth on the pattern of different powerful people’s assault & manipulation, and then the cover-ups. I would recommend listening to that audiobook as well if you’re even more interested after finishing the podcast.
  • The podcast is a good ten-episode summary focusing more on just Weinstein and how the women he assaulted took brave stances to take him down, in addition to the last episode with Rose McGowan made after the verdict of Weinstein.

Two Headed Girl

  • I would probably listen to anything Alex Cox puts out tbh, but their partner Mattie Cox is so amazing in sharing his story transitioning from female to male in this podcast, taking the listener with them on every step of the way and being so vulnerable. It seems to be both a podcast to process and document this time of their life as well as explain and teach anyone who wants to listen.
  • Their own pitch is “Welcome to Two Headed Girl, a new show about gender, mental illness, and all sorts of transitions made by a couple of married queers trying to figure themselves out.” which sums it up pretty pretty good.

Lovett or Leave It

  • by Jon Lovett, Crooked Media
  • I found this podcast, while actually already knowing about Jon Lovett before, because I was trying to find more interviews with Ronan Farrow and he happened to have made a rare recent podcast with his partner Jon Lovett because of being in quarantine together. But it’s news-related, trying to bring it with some humor where possible. These corona/Black Lives Matter days it’s more interviews and segments, with jokes in between, which is a great mix if sometimes news-related things are too much.

Wind of Change

  • by Patrick Radden Keefe, Crooked Media
  • Eight episodes in total of 1990’s rock music or more specifically how and if the CIA was involved in writing the famous “Wind of Change” by the Scorpions, the soundtrack of the revolution aka Berlin Wall falling and the Soviet Union collapsing. Really, it’s a podcast about how the CIA operates, how propaganda works and how far a journalist is willing to go to figure out if a rumor from a credible enough source is true.

The Scaredy Cats Horror Show

  • by the Reply All team Alex Goldman (horror fan) trying to convert PJ Vogt (scaredy cat) for Gimlet Media. I don’t know how I found podcasts pre-university because apparently I found a lot, but since then I’ve basically just become aware as existing podcasters I listen to have started new ones.
  • It’s basically an experiment of ‘can you gradually get used to horror movies so you’re not as afraid of the really scary ones anymore’. I’ve listened to the five episodes so far without watching any of the horror movies, and the only one I truly wanted to watch out of them was Midsommar, but I have definitely brought horror podcasts and stories into my life in a bigger way, so maybe it actually worked anyway?? I’m confused about that, but it’s great. Also fun to listen to PJ Vogt actually being really scared, sorry for laughing about that, I would be too.

The Magnus Archives

  • by Jonathan Sims and Alexander J. Newall from Rusty Quill
  • There’s a 173 episode back catalogue as of right now, but after a few days I’m 35 episodes in and hooked. It’s a horror podcast with a huge fanbase (and soo much good fanart). As far as I’ve figured, it starts out really episodic with different people coming into the magnus archive to tell about their supernatural experiences and get them investigated, and then the archive itself is attacked and it gradually becomes more of meta storytelling. Would recommend it even if you’re not such a big horror fan, like me. The stories themselves (at least at the start) are not that horrifying, but the storytelling is just amazing.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power | Review

I’ve gotten so into horror after reading this book, which I did for hours during the night as I couldn’t sleep. I was visiting my boyfriend and he absolutely thought I was a bit more strange trying to explain this book and how well it balanced between fantasy and horror in a unique way. Most of this unique feeling I think came from the perspective, it all being about and told by teen girls. Anyway, I’ll get back to that.

Pages: 357

Genre: young adult (don’t agree), horror: disease & body horror, lgbt (queer girls, slight f/f relationship, but a lot of yearning), some mystery vibes, set in a boarding school on an island. quarantined (which will be a genre i guess).

Warning: it has a lot of trigger warnings, pls search them up before reading

Synopsis

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: five stars

here’s me arguing it’s not YA

This book has amazing cover art, but I think it did the book a diservice, along the fact that it’s branded as young adult. I feel like this is a larger conversation that I keep having, but not everything with teenage characters (especially female) is YA! It doesn’t have a great rating at goodreads (3.58) and I think it’s because people isn’t expecting what they get unless they’re like me that added this to their TBR as it was released a year ago and then now saw one book blogger (don’t remember who oops) saying it was more horror like, which got my interest again.

the friend-group & characters

SO! An all-girl high school on an island where most of the teachers die off on the beginning of the the two year quarantine, where everything starts up pretty simple and then reveals so much more complex moral, practical, society & science-related questions. It’s reveal after reveal and a constant search for who is the good & bad guys, which gives the mystery vibes. There’s a strong queer friend-group & chosen family trope, but not with likable characters. Think about it – unlikable female characters, violent at that. Most reviews I’ve read lists that as a main issue they had, but I feel like a lot of this book is the experimentation of fierce, reckless, dangerous girl characters, who also have other sides to them. Some of it can be excused to this disease they’ve all got and are dying from, the Tox, mutating their bodies in graphic, unique and eerie ways. But they’re also shaped by living in a two-year life & death situation, along with maybe not being the perfect complacent & normal main characters in the first place.

I WAS SHOCKED at having seen one girl of the friendgroup having been described by the main character Hetty in one adoring (almost worshipping) way the whole time. And then we got the other girl’s narrative and she was so different, with clear sociopathic/violent tendencies. But still it was revealed during a situation where you as a reader wanted to feel bad for her, which is when I truly cheered for this duality this book accomplished.

the island setting & writing

Every description was done so well and fit the mystery and horror aspect as the island they’re on takes as much part as any character. It makes so much sense with the quarantine aspect, the fact that one of the characters has a dad she hasn’t seen in a year living in those woods. The woods are alive and overgrown, as is the mutated animals, which is a threat. I’m just surprised by how much the author got into one book tbh. It’s also a lot of fun to read, surprisingly!

conclusion

This book has the mystery, murder, dark humor and boarding-school vibes of Maureen Johnson’s ‘Truly Devious’ mixed in with any dystopian bad-government, mutated animals, body horror you can think of, all with a good dash of forest aesthetic and eerie, descriptive writing. It’s one of my new favourite books and I would totally recommend it. Just don’t expect it to be YA or to like most of the characters.

Quote with slight spoilers: