2016 is approaching closer and closer. So here’s a year end thingamajig, because why not. I posted more frequently this year, meaning I don’t have to explain away the three month gap between posts. On we go!
Panic about my undergraduate dissertation seriously kicked in, even though I got a really good grade for the proposal. I also got… kinda accidentally failed in one class’ assignment for misreading the word count and going over by approximately 3,000 words. Truly, only something I could achieve.
Since January ’15, I’ve recovered from a bout of sciatica (thank God), lost even more weight, and erased the horror that was Julie Kagawa’s Talon from my memory. Best book this month was Sarah Benwell’s The Last Leaves Falling, and Matthew Innman’s hilarious The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.
February was a slump month, which it always is after the end of January and all your new year’s resolutions going kaput. I saw Jupiter Ascending with a friend and we laughed about how terrible it was, and I saw The Theory of Everything with another friend… and actually fell ill during the screening thanks to some kind of stomach virus that decided right then, in the middle of a good Eddie Redmayne performance, to make itself known. Sucked, but hey. I also went to see a screening of The Room in Bristol, and had an amazing time. (Though Tommy Wiseau’s bare behind is quite the vomit-inducing image.)
I reviewed three…ish books this month: an ARC of Sam Maggs’ Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, the average and poorly explained Outcast by Adrienne Kress, and most of the Tokyo Ghoul manga, which did not get better despite assurances that “no, no, this character is introduced in ch. 67 and their arc is great!” Yeah, nah. I didn’t review it, but I did read a study on fandom by fan-fiction scholars… which basically focused on Star Trek zines. Never having seen an episode of Star Trek in my life (seriously… I haven’t, sorry), I appreciate the importance the show has to fandom and such, but it wasn’t presented in a particularly interesting way. And no, sorry, I still have no desire to watch Star Trek. I picked my low budget long-running sci-fi property quite wisely as a child. Doctor Who. (Speaking of, somebody phone me when that show becomes watchable again. Or when the Moff finally goes away and takes the hideous River Song with him too.)
So, this year I vowed to read better books and stop just jumping on Bad YA bandwagons. (*eyes copy of Ghost House*) Meh. Can’t work up the energy any more, can’t get the haterade going… OH MY GOD THERE’S A TERRIBLE YA SCI-FI FANTASY BOOK AND I’VE BEEN APPROVED FOR THE ARC.
As I’ve gone over numerous times, Seeker was a pretty dreadful experience. It could have lived up to the hype if it were actually written decently, but nope! I don’t know how a publishing giant like Jodie Reamer could stand behind this first draft of a manuscript and say it would take the book world by storm, and secure movie rights… this whole thing was a mess.
But that was the only terrible book I reviewed in March. I got stuck into Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, laughed ’til I cried with Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s tell-all The Disaster Artist… In the non-bookish realm, I saw Chappie, and wrote one of them #DearMe posts addressed to my 13 year old self. I’ll be 25 this year. What’ll I say to my 15 year old self? “Take advantage of that scholarship even though you won’t know anybody and will be in a completely alien environment where they continue to make you wear school uniform?” Who knows.
Only one post this month, recapping a very busy month in which I travelled to Germany and Poland for my university trip, read a lot of my university required reading, and tried to put the finishing touches on my dissertation which… did not go over well and I wound up scrapping a great deal and needing an extension. Still, it was worth it in the end!
^ To mental illness, y’all. I did it! I achieved something! And now I’m in two minds about doing further education, but hey. I’ve got until September of this year.
May was the month of finishing assignments and handing in the dissertation!
And one post I did on the recent chapters of Kuroshitsuji, which I have long dropped like a hot potato. I did check to see what was going on in the story around the end of November, and apparently Ciel and Sebastian are now called upon by Queen Victoria to… investigate some dude having a cult swarming around him because he’s an amazing astrologer. Ms. Toboso, I know you do a lot of research into the Victorian aesthetic and all, but in the 1890s, one lone guy wouldn’t have a cult following because he does tea leaf readings and claims to perform spirit mediumship. Ever heard of the Spiritualist Church? Which was quite extensively in Britain by at least the mid 1870s? (If I ever get around to sporking/dissecting Adornetto’s Hades, I’ll write about how Bethany and Ivy’s preaching about how ouija boards are evil and how humans should not be playing with the infernal forces when ouija boards are extensively used by the (Christian) Spiritualist Church and were commercialised in 1890 as an ‘innocent parlour game’.) Anyway. Glad I dodged yet another case of the Weston College Arc.
I read and reviewed A Redtail’s Dream (which is HIGHLY recommended, seriously the art is just gorgeous), Howard G. Chua-Eoan and John Hargrove’s exposé on Sea World, and tried to get into a new manga — specifically, Wolfsmund by Mitsuhisa Kuji. Which I still haven’t continued. Oop.
I spent my free time in July eating ice cream, exercising, watching X-Men Evolution, and reading various non-fiction. And I finally got stuck into what has now become one of my favourite vampire books ever – J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla. Bloodsucking Feminists has an excellent podcast episode on it. Go on, shoo. Show them some appreciation. :)
The trip to Japan with my best friend was finally booked! Oh, also, I got a job. Positive thoughts, Nessa, positive thoughts…
Oh yeah, I read Reawakened by Colleen Houck.
Off to Japan with the bestie! It was incredible. We managed to squeeze in so much! Cultural sites, a cat café, three theme parks (Universal Studios Osaka is AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING – according to the SMAP song that blares on the speakers of their terrifying Hollywood Backdrop ride), touring around Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, and back around Tokyo. Shinjuku and Shibuya were our favourite places to hang out. We walked down Akihabara at one point, and… er… well. I’m sure my weebier, younger self would have loved it. But it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be in anime, kids. Plus we saw an American guy with a body pillow and ehhh. I’ll leave it at that. Oedo-Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo Bay was an amazing day out. Just don’t be like this really rude American guy we saw, shouting in English at the staff because he’d paid good money to get here and they weren’t letting him in because he had a tattoo sleeve! It’s posted up in English and in pictorial formats all over the outside of the premises, it’s in EVERY Trip Advisor review, and I think it’s a pretty known fact that you can’t go to hot springs in Japan or Korea if you have large tattoos due to gang associations. (The most hilarious thing? He looked at us, the other two Westerners there, like trying to find some solidarity, like “can you BELIEVE these guys?” We literally just walked right past him, lmfao.)
So yeah, Japan was absolutely amazing. Just don’t trust the deer at Nara. Firmly and sternly walk away. They have to earn their shika-senbei one at a time, they can’t just crowd around and poke you with their antlers. Even if they do carry gods around on their backs.
I read a ton while away in Japan, and then… kinda… nothing else. I did read the first few issues of Klarion on a friend’s recommendation, and didn’t really gel with it. Even though Klarion is a really fun character in the DC universe (and woefully under-utilised – he’s literally only in one episode of the old Batman animated series and partly in Young Justice… so… eh… where’s his movie, hmm? hOLD THE PHONE — NICHOLAS HOULT AS KLARION. (In a world where he’s not bound to his X-Men obligations for another studio.) So… some other Nicholas Hoult-alike. It’d be awesome. Even if Klarion just shows up in Dr. Strange, it’d make my day!)
I read The Martian, which I enjoyed! Still haven’t seen the film, though, since work got very busy, requiring me to go on a hiatus of sorts. And then the Great Reading Slump of 2015 really kicked into gear.
One review on the blog. Mahou-Tsukai no Yome by Kore Yamazaki. Beautiful art, and a plot that’s actually laden with British folklore and really damn reminiscent of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and several Dianna Wynne Jones books. It’s just a shame I haven’t located a copy of vol. 2 just yet.
Not gonna lie, Christmas wasn’t quite an easy ride this year for us, but my family and I made the most of it. And now as we ring in the New Year, we’re hoping for… y’know, some good cheer. Something good’s bound to come around, I hope. ‘Til then, I’m focusing on passing my driving test, getting some more qualifications under my belt, and progressing in my career.
Have a wonderful 2016. Peace!