lonely birthday, but it’s ok | Bi-Weekly Update

Here’s the thing – I thought I could, and would actually have to, celebrate my birthday with those of my fifteen roommates who are home. We were asked not to go back to our university cities right now unless necessary because of a major corona outbreak there, but for many that message came too late as the semester is starting up. Personally I was supposed to have a hospital appointment that could not be moved, so I would have to travel there. Turns out, when you have a possible allergic reaction to the kind of medicines I am on and an ambulance has to treat you, it’s suddenly (and thankfully) possible to postpone hospital appointments for two weeks more. I’m good enough right now that I could probably go, but I would have to be much more in and out of the hospital to take tests, and that increases the corona risk so much more than if I was in total lockdown with my friends. Well roommates, but we’re pretty much all friends. Which leads me to do all that here and instead celebrating my birthday alone, but with my lovely mom.

it’s actually a lemon cake underneath the pink

In a few more days I will know how badly my start of the year will look like and I’m not looking forward to it. Sometimes there’s only bad alternatives, and there’s nothing you can do except accept that. Ah, I’ve always told myself and those around me that when physics & math are my biggest problems, my life is good. I’m truly excited for that too be the case again. I had a reminder of that when someone (kindly) asked me if it wasn’t better to take a reduced course-work this year, and the pure rage I felt at having the one good thing taken away from me right now. Of course, at a point I will admit defeat, but that’s not one week in.

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Rereading Corazón and reading Tesoro by Yesika Salgado (poetry)
  • Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert (poetry)

Added to TBR:

  • In the event this doesn’t fall apart by Shannon Lee Barry (poetry)
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (fantasy)

Favourite Books of 2020

2020; the year of a pandemic, of my health declining (unrelated), of spending more time with family (if you want it or not) and not to forget – thinking you will read more, but ending up scrolling through tiktok for hours instead. Ah, how much I love the dark academia aesthetic when I’m forced to be separated from my beloved reading places / libraries.

Also, you know the feeling when you were going to write reviews of all of these books, but reviews of favourites is definitely the hardest because you want to get them right and then you will be too far into the year – ah maybe just me, but the ones that is reviewed will be linked.

  • Best sci-fi/urban fantasy mix: Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang and the rest of the series! Because of its exceptionally morally gray / villain vibes protagonist and math superpowers.
  • Best non-fiction (and audiobook): Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow for the great coverage of the Weinstein sexual abuse cases as the journalist who first exposed them and going in-depth about the women affected and the way it was covered up by major news oulets like NBC who later turned out had Matt Lauer’s sexual assault allegations of their bloody hands.
  • Best graphic novels / comics: Deadly Class by Remender, Craig, Loughridge for just being the most-fucked up thing I’ve read ever formatted as boarding school teenage villains in training.

  • Best classic: A Separate Peace by John Knowles – is it a classic? It’s very popular and written in 1959, that counts. A coming-of-age novel set right before a war with all of its moral dilemmas, with an exceptional friendship that seems pretty full of gay yearning to me, but it’s not canon.
  • Best sequel & sci-fi: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green which is the sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and the sequel so much lived up to my expectations that I cried. About fame, about aliens, espionage, friends- what more do you need? Queer characters. It’s all there. It’s so well done from the one person who’s got the intersection of experience enough (science, social media, business, all the other things) to make it feel a bit too real.
  • Best poetry: Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong because it’s just amazing. So vivid, so much looking into violence and the family dynamics of being Vietnamese immigrants.

  • Best romance: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston for its fun royal/presidental gay romance. I’ve seen a couple of these stories around, but I think this one with its humor as well as real elements is a good top contender. Cute enemies to lovers trope.
  • Couldn’t get it out of my brain: Wilder Girls by Rory Power for displaying itself as a YA book with some girlpower, but otherwise normal then turning out to be pure horror and abuses of power and fairytale island forest vibes. It stuck around because it has symbolism to girls going through teenage years and puberty, but it was such a good fantasy/sci-fi plot as well. And queer yearning and girls.
  • Most surprising find: A Woman in the Polar Night is exactly what it tells you it is, but I wouldn’t have found it hadn’t I physically stumbled over it. I did not expect reading about a german woman of the 1930s going to the Arctic and then writing a memoir about it to be such a life-changing experience and at the same time describe certain things I’ve been trying to for years so perfectly.

And then I came to the major & sad realization I didn’t read any straight-up excellent high fantasy this year, or really (only) fantasy at all. That’s usually my biggest genre. I had a lot on my TBR, but most of the year something about my mental state was not ready for the commitment of the brilliant extensive world of any Philip Pullman or Brandon Sanderson book, and otherwise I did not have time. 2021 is the time!

Honorary mentions

I read the very popular harry potter marauder’s fanfic All the Young Dudes by MsKingBean89 as the last part of this year was spent thinking too much of Harry Potter again. The fanfic follows the marauder’s through their entire Hogwarts years and then into the uncoming war, getting more queer as they grow up. The writing progresses so much as well, which makes sense thinking about how much time this must have taken to write. I got very much into Harry Potter this year, despite hating Rowling, because a close friend of mine read it for the first time and found a lot of comfort in these characters as the pandemic was messing up everyone’s lives. Warning; It’s 520k words (around 1700 pages?) and I read it in two or three days, it was rough to put it down.

I also discovered the absolutely great horror podcast The Magnus Archives this year and it tells such a extensive story, with all of its great cast of character, creepy creatures and meta-storytelling.

A Year Ago: Solo-trip to Edinburgh for New Years

I visited so many bookstores!

Happy New Year’s! So I took my first solo-trip (right before turning twenty-one) to Edinburgh to celebrate new years/Hogmanay (the scottish new years) last year. Actually, the timing was more of a need to get myself out of my family situation, which thankfully has gotten better over the past year. So this trip was created to be alone, experience things, but mostly take a breath after a stressful time, without losing too much money as a college student. I even had people who wanted to come with, but there’s a lot of reasons I’m happy I decided from the start to go on my own. I would love to visit Edinburgh again someday with friends as well, though.

So here’s this short guide to going on a solo-trip to Edinburgh (for book lovers) –

Best Experience!

The Real Mary King’s Close! GO! I have already recommended this to all the people I met on the trip. It’s one of the only chances to walk underneath Edinburgh, to visit the old streets that the “new” old city is built upon. It’s from the 17th century, not far underneath the real streets and the guides were awesome. Be warned that you’ll never see the narrow streets the same again when you know how many people died there during the plague, and how the streets were the only plumbing they had. WHAT; I didn’t know before now that City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab was set in Mary King’s Close? Not that I’ve read it, but that’s interesting.

The Hostel

I stayed at Castle Rock Hostel and really liked it. The whole hostel is castle-themed, but the amount of space and themed rooms inside was amazing, especially as I went in with low expectations. I would have gone for a only-women’s room instead of a mixed room, as a girl travelling solo, but it was sold out. You get a lot for what you pay for and if you have any questions I’m happy to answer them, but I would say the overwhelmingly positive reviews online are correct.

Books

I was trying to get to as many bookstores as possible, made a bit more tricky since it was holiday season and a few of the smaller ones were closed. For example, I wish I could’ve visited Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s radical bookshop. Armchair Books was truly stunning, and worth the trip. Right next to it was Peter Bell Books, which also was closed, but looked to be the same style. Most of the books I bought were from Edinburgh Books and Waterstones on Prince’s street.

Gluten-free Food

Loundon’s has gluten free afternoon tea or breakfast-kind of food! In the Grassmarket area there also were great gluten-free pizza at Mamma’s American Pizza (note; I do not have celiac and can’t vouch for that). I’m happy I found it after wandering the streets, truly desperate to find gluten free dinner close to where I lived. Next time I’ll have to visit PekoeTea as well, I got a taste of their tea from Loundon’s by surprise, although I already knew of them and that they were closed during holiday time. Also I didn’t know what Nando’s was before someone introduced it to me the last day. I really wished I had known that easy-to-eat chicken before. In general, it was really hard to find food I could eat, especially as I was in the older part of the city, where it was a bit of a walk to check if one place or another had gluten-free options. I was limited because on a budget, but I think in general as well. For example, one night I was in an unfamiliar part of town and ended up eating a small piece of steak with pomegranate seeds, because there literally was nothing else on the menu of the five restaurants in that specific area. I would have done a bit more research prior, if I were to do it again.

Other Great Attractions

Holyrood’s castle and St. Arthur’s seat; Holyrood castle was more interesting to me than Edinburgh Castle! It’s something about how it’s still transformed from tourist area to the queen’s actual residence when she is in Edinburgh, and the tour through the upkept and grand palace was so well made. It has a cute garden, and you can go straight out to the Holyrood ruins, with even more history. From there you see the St. Arthur’s seat. I have some experience hiking and was wearing good shoes. Still, the internet might say this is an easy hike (about 1 to 1.5 hours), but beware of the weather. As a norwegian, I considered this, but it wasn’t that bad when we started the hike. And at no point was it raining enough that it was dangerous, but I could see a lot of people struggling because of the mud turning slippery. It was truly the wind taking a hold of you the further up we went that tired me out. It was not an easy hike in those conditions, and there were people I went on the hike with that struggled. Just take into consideration on any type of walk uphill that it’s never too late to turn around. Still, I would absolutely not miss it!

National Gallery; I really liked the modern art part of it. It was a peaceful time walking around. And then I walked past Vanessa Hudgens and was incredibly shocked even though I remained calm. Can’t promise she’ll be there for your trip as well.

The Worse Parts

The actual visit to Edinburgh Castle was a bit of a let-down. It’s most majestic looking up at it, especially as it was the view from my hostel everytime I stepped out. It was particularly exciting visiting on the (early) morning before new year’s eve, as soldiers walked aroud taking care of the huge amounts of fireworks they were going to shoot off. I knew more than most about Edinburgh Castle going into it, and there were little new information. It was cool to see the dungeons. More interesting that it’s still an active military place, but that also meant that the truly interesting parts – the many floors underneath the actual buildings – were off-limits.

So much walking up stairs. And tiny, old alleyways, which really gave the place its atmosphere. (I might have listened to The Magnus Archives first podcast episode right after this trip, and definitely recognized that dark alleyway). Which was my fault for booking a hostel, no matter how lovely, that was so close to Edinburgh Castle. If you can afford it uber was a great thing, which I only as a norwegian used once with other people, because I didn’t spend time figuring it out. The walking also felt a bit more unsafe during the darkness of night because I was alone during the holidays, I think that if I was to be there in a less busy time of the year I would’ve been out more. Honestly I kept to myself because I wanted to, that was a part of the reason for this vacation; I needed time alone. There was plenty of opportunities in the hostel of going out with a group or stay in and be social, even if you were alone.

The first night was truly the only night I regretted the decision to go alone for very much personal reasons, because I got a terrible migraine, which is a semi-uncommon thing for me. I literally could not move, or sit up from my bed before wanting to puke, even with taken all medicines with me as a precaution. Goddamn, I can still feel the anxiety in my chest as I realized it would be one of my worst migraines.

Actual New Year’s Eve

I loved it so much and it will be a cherished memory forever. It was my first time in such a large crowd of people as the whole city of tourists and (at least some) locals joined together in this large street party. I saw mixed opinions on the actual street party that you have to buy a ticket for (we got it free through the hostel), but while I get every local doesn’t want to spend hours on hours outside with long toilet queues, it was absolutely worth it. There were concerts/shows spread out over multiple stages, so the people would spread out as well. There was a parade through the old town, with mythical creatures and lots of show. Then the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle was spectacular and afterwards everyone actually danced in the streets. I was lucky to meet a group of friends at the hostel that I spent the night with, and met a few very nice, very drunk locals as well. I surprised myself with staying pretty sober – which is not my natural state at a party, I promise you. But I just wanted to experience it all fully and remember it, which is why I only have a few photos with the group taken by nice, random strangers and a couple videos of the energy of the night.

A Year Later

This year, 2020, I’m back celebrating New Year’s in my tiny village of 620 people, which I would’ve found hilariously amusing, hadn’t it been for COVID-19 being most of the reason.

Even as someone who’s very introverted I hope it won’t be too long until it’s safe to again get to share the energy of concerts, of massive gatherings and of people doing nice things out of happiness and creating moments together.

Exciting New Book Releases Winter 2021

It’s another season of new books waiting in the horizon! (Let’s all work towards making this year less bad overall, shall we?)

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Release date: January 5th 2021

Why I want to read it: Greek gods!! Also I liked this author’s books as a teen. It’s a standalone, which is a plus.

Winterkeep (Graceling Realm #4) by Kristin Cashore

Release date: January 19th 2021

Why I want to read it: Graceling is one of my all-time favourite fantasy series, especially as I grew up along with it, from 2008 to 2012, and now another new book. This magical world is built in such a way that you can just expand it and create crossovers, while retaining some of the elements. I’m just so happy about learning this book will exist.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Release date: January 19th 2021

Why I want to read it: I’ve yet to read Akata Witch by the same author, but so many seems to like it. I’ve seen this novella described as a folktale/sci-fi story with african futurism,

How To Disappear by Savannah Brown

Release date: February 23rd 2021

Why I want to read it: I always have loved Savannah’s writing, her debut novel “The truth about keeping secrets” was stunning, as is her poetry. So I’m here for more mystery, set in an isolated community where surely the worst things could happen, in secret.

A Court of Silver and Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Release date: February 16th 2021

Why I want to read it: I don’t want to, but I feel compelled to finish what I’ve started with this series, no matter how often I give up on this author. Goddamn. Maybe I won’t and this is what breaks the cycle – I wish.

A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan #2) by Arkady Martine

Release date: March 2nd 2021

Why I want to read it: I’ve yet to read the first book in this series, but the beginning of this queer sci-fi series has gotten so good reviews. I mean – Aztec empire in space??

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Release date: March 9th 2021

Why I want to read it: honestly I’m unsure about this book, even with the stunning cover. But sapphic witches, a magical plague, dark powers and love bargains might be too good to pass on, especially if the reviews I see are positive.

She’s Too Pretty To Burn by Wendy Heard

Release date: March 30th 2021

Why I want to read it: queer girls, a rebel art scene and claiming to be a “sexy, psychological thriller”.

Short Fantasy Reviews: queens, heists & folklore

Spoiler-alert; they were all kind of let downs in different ways.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

I was promised a “cunning, villainous queen” who wanted to take the reign from the king with magical shadowy powers & secrets, even though I suspected she would fall in love with him instead. What I got was a lot of whining and unpreparedness after she’d shown considerable ambition. The writing falls into the hole of telling you how dangerous certain people are without truly following through, there seems to be little consequences. Like you might call both the main characters cold-blooded murderers, but it’s just based in a lack of reaction to murders happening around them or those they commit in some kind of self-defense. There’s very little of the expected morally-gray aspects here. Also imagine me shaking my fist at how the main character manages to get noticed by the king because she’s not a follower like all the other girls at court. It feels like a worse version of Holly Black’s ‘The Cruel Prince’ in every way, as this MC lacks a lot in comparison, like the true viciousness or skill. This book started out good, which was the reason I finished it, but in total it was a let down. Read it for the romance, I guess, but it’s pretty plain and straight forward. 2/5 stars.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

A young adult fantasy that I was excited for because of the heist, found family, dark vibes and the morally gray & diverse characters which a lot of other bloggers seems to have fallen for as I’ve seen a lot of five stars reviews. Not to forget the bisexual character & autistic scientist. Still, I DNF’ed at 32% as I tried to give it a fair chance. The first thing that didn’t match with me was simply the writing, then nothing else about the characters, plot or world-building caught my interest. It’s been three weeks since I read it and there’s nothing remarkable I remember at all unfortunately. For the record, I absolutely loved Six of Crows, which it has been compared to a lot.

Silver in the Wood (Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh

You ever have those books that you enjoyed the experience of reading, but looking back it wasn’t all that much? I feel so mixed about this book, because I liked the cottagecore aesthetic of the Wild Man of Greenhollow and the secret-folklorist that comes upon him. In 112 pages this novella manages to deliver on the fairytale-ish forest, magical realism vibes in the writing, but plot-wise, character-wise, etc. it does come up short to me. The m/m relationship and yearning could’ve been so much better than it was. I don’t quite understand the idea of giving out a second novella either, instead of having used that time setting up the story to fulfill its potential. It seems strange. Definitely an interesting debut author to watch, but I think I’ll pass on that sequel for now. 2/5 stars.

merry christmas & all that | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

NOne. I took somewhat of an unexpected vacation.

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • I bought and started to read The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus until I realized I was truly not in the right head-space to read about the philosophy behind taking your own life right before Christmas, which I think is fair.
  • Sweetdark by Savannah Brown!!! It’s so good!!! If you’re looking for a poetry collection, this is it. Review will be out sometime soon.
  • I might have read the whole, very popular hp marauders fanfic All The Young Dudes by MsKingBean89 and then added it as a book to my goodreads because it’s … 520k words. It is breath-takingly amazing, the writing only gets better as the years pass for the marauders. Remus and Sirius are both queer, but not in a forced way. Everything in the story just makes sense and gives hp fans everything they deserve, I am just late to the party here. All praise to MsKingBean89, must you have a wonderful christmas and a wonderful life. Someone yell it from the sky at me if they publishes writing of their own.
  • I read Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett the night I was awake before my train home for christmas, then the whole train-ride home. It was amazing fantasy.

Added to TBR:

  • Shorefall (The Founders Trilogy #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy, lgbt; f/f romance, found-family trope, heist book). The first book of the series Foundryside was not perfect, but it was really good.
  • What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (nonfiction; science, physics, illustrated). Made by the same author as the great & nerdy webcomic xkcd, also a former physicist and NASA robotics employee, so this book got to be good.

Three things on my mind:

  • I have never needed a good amount of time to not do anything, with nearly-free-conscience, this much before. Exams went to hell, not because I did bad, but because I didn’t do them at all. (You can’t fail me if I do not participate and all that). It’s very on-brand in that I have a tendency to do something completely or not at all, which is the mind-set I truly had pre-university. Abandoned it at uni this far for a reason. Sometimes things start out as irony and develop into a part of yourself, as with that one. Anyway, exams failed because of bad health and chronic illness flare-up. Surprisingly, when you go home from the hospital after doctors haven’t found out what the fuck is wrong with you this time, you can’t suddenly expect to get better the next day, or week, or month? I really pushed myself through all those medical things (and there were many), went home to my mom for a break, failed to study for exams, failed to go back to my university city at scheduled time because I was feeling too unwell for the train-ride. Then finally got back to the city a week later, failed to study even more and then did more medical things while being on the brink of exhaustion. That last medical procedure felt like torture, just because my body was so done with it all, while it might be the easiest of them all overall. In many ways, I did get the whole exam period stress and then the relief-from-completion experience, only with a lot more shittier steps to it. 2/10 won’t recommend, with the plus point for having been worse before.
  • I bought myself a couple jewellery items as a gift from my mom this christmas, which is very rare for me, but I got so excited over them and have been for months. We were all feeling bad because of getting to the christmas shopping too late in the middle of this chaos and no one really knew what to do. Ended up with getting her more gifts than usual in fear of nothing making it before christmas, my favorite of them all being the very useful hairbrush, but with Frozen Elsa motive because what else do they sell online here? Nothing else, I can assure you. (When Amazon rarely/expensively sends to your country). As I write this, I haven’t gotten the jewellery yet but loooook –

IT’S THE DAGGER EAR THING OF MY DREAMS. I might just go ahead and use the rest of my gifted money on actually getting piercings this new year, when corona hopefully sometimes calms down, that would be cool.

  • I should have said this already, but I hope you are having as good of a christmas or holiday season as you can! I am so sorry if your area is hit badly with COVID-19 right now. As someone who is in the risk group; I am so deeply tired, I understand and I feel so much sympathy. From the tone of this post, it might not be a surprise to find out my christmas has been rocky. Here’s some of my things I’m really grateful for this season, that I do not take for granted; I am with my mom & brother, who means the world to me. I am on a never-ending quest to text the people I care about, who I might not have stayed in touch with as much this past year, and wish them well. Photos of people getting the corona vaccine are making me happy every time I see them. My 17 year old brother have not out-grown or gotten too embarrassed to dance to old Nicki Minaj songs on Just Dance on our very old, but newly found Wii console. I have to learn how to make christmas dinner, because we do not have access to our family of chefs this year, even though they’re literally across the street. I am grateful that no one of the affected by COVID that is close to me have been at particular at risk or hit hard by it.

Soooo merry christmas, happy holidays and let’s all stay safe, also over new years?

spontaneous train ride & a chess obsession | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • None, because exams coming up. Ah, scratch that, I read the short Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (m/m, fantasy with myhtology & fairytale vibes).

Added to TBR:

  • The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (mystery, thriller, dark academia): a group of old Oxford uni friends (or frenemies), a cabin in the Scottish Highlands & murder
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg (mystery, thriller, dark academia): untrustworthy characters, manipulation, a mysterious star professor
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (fantasy, sci-fi, lgbt)
  • Dearly by Margaret Atwood (poetry); it’s a new release and I didn’t realize as suddenly I saw pieces of her poetry all over
  • Maurice by E. M. Forster (classics, lgbt; m/m)
  • Harleen by Stjepan Šejić (graphic novel): found it as one of the goodreads award nominees
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (fantays, magical realism, greek mythology): found it as one of the goodreads award nominees

Three things on my mind:

  • I might have woken up one thursday morning, opened my eyes and thought “I want to take the seven hour train and bus ride back home, in the middle of studying for exams, and exchange this tiny room in a flat of fifteen to be in the house alone” then did so the next day, but I did not expect the immediate return of stress-baking as a coping mechanism. Or my suitcase-wheels breaking off, meaning I had to drag it through the snow in soaking wet, cold sneakers. Then, on the train I learned my tiny village of 940 people is having it’s first outbreak of corona virus (don’t know how bad yet) and also all the snow made the power go out in the whole village, meaning my dinner was one nice, cold pita with nothing on. Still, I don’t regret the decision one bit (yet), even though my poor body is hurting all over because my joints wasn’t well to begin with because of the newly discovered ~rheumatism~.
  • I’ve started procrastinating by watching chess again. I don’t really like to play regular chess myself, only to make the calculations while in-game or just watch the play if it’s rapid or blitz chess as it’s mesmerizing how fast it goes, as well as very apparent when a player realizes they’re in deep trouble. I mean, as a norwegian, of course I have to follow Magnus Carlsen’s play, but he truly is interesting to watch more so because he seem to understand the next move so quickly, no matter the pace of the chess.
  • This fake-deep correlation struck me; I’ve started to think of this past semester as a blind chess game, constantly trying to remember all the moves of the people around me for the past ten days and then do the calculation of whether I’m safe enough around them as someone in the corona risk-group.
  • Let’s end with some positives; I got the power back in time to play among us for the first time ever, with friends. It was terrifying as a non-gamer. This house has a bathtub that I’m spending too much time in already, procrastinating and trying to return some heat to my body surrounded by this snow. My local store is bringing food to everyone’s door both because of how the elderly shouldn’t have to wander in the heavy snow and because of the corona outbreak, so I used this on the slight chance I could’ve brought corona from the city and I’m so happy they’re making it easier for everyone to isolate themselves. And also enabling the stress-baking. Cheers from me, the wine bottle I left last summer and the bread in the oven. I’m also so excited to hug my mom when she arrives.

The Dark Academia Book Tag

I first saw The Wolf and Books do this tag and it looked fun! It seems to be (partly) made by emmie.

1. What is your favourite “academia” or “dark” book + movie?

I truly have yet to watch a dark academia movie I like (at least as I can remember right now)

2. What dead poet would you like to have a drink with?

I would say Mary Oliver, who rather recently died. But she does not seem like a person who would spill her secrets or innermost thoughts in one meeting. It would still be nice though. I could ask life advice in general, hahhha. Her life seemed calm and filled with love as she got into old age.

3. What is your favourite painting and/or sculpture?

As a norwegian I think I was over-exposed to “Skrik”/ Scream (1910) by Edvard Munch, but then I slowly also fell in love with it and the expressions through the colours and the motive.

4. What is your favourite architectural marvel?

The pyramids of Giza. I mean, they were built in 2550 to 2490 B.C. and that has always fascinated me, as everyone else. I think ancient egyptian civilization as a whole takes up a certian part of my brain just for being mindblowing and existential about how long humans have been very intelligent.

5. What Shakespeare play would you want to be the lead in?

I know too little of Shakespeare, but obviously Hamlet.

6. How many languages do you speak and which language would you most like to learn?

First language norwegian, fluent english, very much not fluent in spanish as I took it at school for five years, but truly only two somewhat-productive ones at that. I would like to learn spanish better at some point. At one point in my life I want to learn Northern Sami because my grandmother, who started her life as a sea-sami, spoke it. Mainly to learn more about that culture from sources in their own language, because that’s a barricade I’ve met researching even a small bit sometimes. Other than that, I don’t take to languages easily and while it would be really cool to know russian or something with a completely different alphabet than mine, it just won’t happen anytime soon.

7. What is your favourite quote (from poetry, prose, plays, etc.)?

Lately it’s been –

You don’t want to hear the story

of my life, and anyway

I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story –

a few people just trying,

one way or another,

to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.

And nobody, of course, is kind,

or mean,

for a simple reason.

Quote from Dogfish by Mary Oliver

8. Which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?

Immortality, of course.

9. What university/college would you most like to attend?

I am at university, so this feels like cheating. But then again my university has handled corona badly this autumn, so I don’t feel that bad. I truly considered Edinburgh university for a while, pre-corona, as exchange or further into my degree. But it was definitely more for the city than the university.

Where I truly would want to go is Bennington College back in 1982 which Esquire described as “Among the druggies, rebels, heirs, and posers: future Gen X literary stars Donna Tartt (The Secret History), Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) and Jonathan Lethem.” The article is fascinating, if kind of unbelievable. It’s not got the same reputation for eccentricity today, unfortunately. Or fortunately?? I think if that image was real, places like that make or break people; a few truly achieves a potential, a lot end up with drug problems and similar things.

10. What is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?

Poison is a classic

11. What mythology would you most like to apart of?

I’m guessing we’re thinking as if a god in this “universe” type of scenario; Norse, because of Loke and the shit he’s up to. I just want to see the reactions of that family as they realize.

12. If you had to do a PhD what would you choose to do it on?

I’m in physics, so hopefully physics?

13. Which fictional character would you die for?

No. Something the characters of the books I read have in common is that they often make choices that leads them to uncertain situations, and it’s most likely their fault? And they’re fictional.

Rapid-Fire: Pick One

1. Leather bound or cloth bound books

Cloth – no ethical things to research.

2. Dog-earing pages or highlighting pages

Highlighting

3. Sculptures or paintings

Paintings

4. Piano or violin

Piano – I claim to be able to play it, but none I live with have yet to hear it because I’m so out of practice.

5. Films or theatre

Films

6. Poetry or prose

Poetry

7. Museums or bookshops

Bookshops

8. Smell of books or smell of coffee/tea

Smell of tea

9. Fountain pen or typewriter

Fountain pen – I own one

10. New or used books

Used has extra charm, but I don’t have easy access to good used book stores.

End of Year TBR (2020)

Last year, 2019, I made a TBR for the whole year, with very varying results as I did not take enough into account the fact that I was going to university for the first time, hahha. I knew I would have less time, but the actual time I did have to myself, let alone to read for fun, was still so much less than expected.

This year I’ve only made two smaller TBR lists; Spring TBR! & Queer TBR of June for #PrideLibrary20. I want to make a summary update of this years TBR posts at the end of the year as well, but before that – why don’t I make another TBR with the books I might read between now and next semester start in early january? Take into account that it’s exam season, but it finished up early for me this year. So I don’t think any of these books will get started before 10th of December, at the very least. I’ll probably need even more downtime to recover, as I expect the time until exams to be extra dramatic this covid-riddled year.

The End of Year TBR

Audiobooks

  • We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman (memoir, nonfiction; history, war, politics)
  • We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai (nonfiction; memoir, feminism, politics)
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (poetry, YA contemporary, lgbt; queer girls)

Poetry & graphic novels

  • Sweetdark by Savannah Brown (poetry)
  • Paper Girls vol. 3 – 6 (graphic novel)
  • On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (graphic novel, lgbt; f/f, sci-fi)

Science

  • The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here by Hope Jahren (science; climate change)
  • Love and Math by Edward Frenkel (science; math)
  • Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (science; physics)
  • Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction by David C. Catling (science)
  • The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry (was also on 2019 TBR oops, philosophy; disability)

Fantasy & sci-fi

  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy)
  • The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) by Philip Pullman (fantasy)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (read for bookclub, a classic sci-fi)

Etc.

  • Kant: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scruton (nonfiction; philosophy – preparing for obligatory philosophy class in spring)
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka (reread for bookclub, classic)
  • A norwegian collection of debut poets – Signaler 2019
  • Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman (politics)
  • A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver (nonfiction; poetry writing)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

new tbr books; mythology, queer, science | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, author is familiar with Navajo culture through her husband & the protagonist is Navajo) & the second book Storm of Locusts
  • Sweetdark by Savannah Brown (poetry)
  • Elysium by Nora Sakavic (urban fantasy, lgbt characters)

Added to TBR:

  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton (mythology, classics)
  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (mythology, historical fiction)
  • What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky by Kelsey Oseid (mythology, graphic novel)
  • Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik (science)
  • World Without Fish by Mark Kurlandsky (science, graphic novel, middle grade)
  • The Art of Heikala by Heikala (nonfiction: art)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (sci-fi, time travel, enemies to lovers, lgbt: f/f)
  • Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (fantasy, lgbt: m/m, short story)
  • Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin (fantasy, sci-fi, anthology)
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (urban fantasy, sci-fi, time travel)
  • Anyone by Charles Soule (sci-fi; tech, thriller)
  • The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht (horror, gothic, lgbt; m/m)
  • Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes (fantasy)
  • Gravity by Tess Gerritsen (thriller, sci-fi)
  • Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen (sci-fi, time travel)
  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (fantasy, heist, lgbt; asexual, bi)
  • Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire (urban fantasy)
  • The Future of Humanity, Physics of the Future, The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku (science)
  • Ironheart vol. 1 by Ewing, Libranda, Vecchio, Geoffo (graphic novel, sci-fi; superhero)
  • Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby (science, biography, feminism)
  • Reaching for the Moon by Katherine G. Johnson (biography, science; space)
  • Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen (poetry, mythology, lgbt; ownvoices aromantic-asexual)
  • The Perfect Assassin by K. A. Doore (high fantasy, lgbt; asexual mc, lesbian assassins)
  • Slayer by Kiersten White (urban fantasy, vampires, supernatural boarding school)
  • A Vampire’s Redemption (The Inquisition Trilogy #2) by Casey Wolfe (fantasy, vampires, lgbt; m/m romance)
  • Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (fantasy, sci-fi, political, lgbt)
  • The Hidden Girl and Other Short Stories by Ken Liu (short stories): the author’s other book The Paper Menagerie is my all-time favourite collection of short stories!

Three things on my mind:

  • Wine nights brings me too much joy. At least when you have them with one of your roommate’s adorable family who is visiting, then after they leave (and leave four bottles of wine behind) just end up talking with the rest of the roommates far into the night; I might’ve woken up at 5 am for once, but I was certainly going to sleep at 6 am, like the night-creature I truly am. On exactly that topic I’m going to apply to be the leader (there’s always two; night and day-shift) of our math/physics students wine club, because there’s minimal work and a maximum of finding out strange traditions and making people feel welcome, no matter if they drink alcohol/wine or not. I love the vibe of that group. And I will not take slander that I should not be the nightly leader if I get it; the night is always my time.
  • The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is such a fantastic show. I have so many thoughts, but no time to write them all out – maybe I’ll do a round-up of tv series/movies I loved at the end of the year. But a chess-but-truly-personal story of a genius orphan girl that grows up and struggles with navigating abandonment issues, drug-problems, friendship and any type of relatioship. It has its problems, but I would’ve watched it just for the great actors, the fashion and the lighting to be honest.

  • I’ve been writing more again, on the too-long project that never seem to end. I’ve got a lot of exams around the corner (if my physical health is up to it, that is), so I find myself not being able to turn off my brain for a break without going to these already-known methods; creating stories being one of them. It’s strange how that works. Hopefully, over christmas break even though I have a lot of other projects planned, I can get it edited into at least a coherent work in progress as there’s a lot of blank scenes needed for some type of plot to make sense. I think I would truly feel some type of achievement just having finished it, even though no one is going to read it for a long long time, if ever.