Five Fandom Friday: My to-be-read pile

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

One of my new years resolutions was to get my to-be-read pile under control.  The top of my bookcase in my bedroom is a dedicated space where I keep the books i have yet to read.  However, that orderly pile has begun spilling from between my bookends, and the overflow has formed two additional stacks. This simply won’t do!  I am trying to make time to read more as well as attempting to curb my urge to buy every interesting-looking book that catches my eye.  This is proving challenging, particularly as I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices each time I begin a new book.

 

So I felt that this 5 Fandom Friday Prompt was timely and served two purposes.  Firstly, it will help me identify five books that I am most looking forward to reading and secondly, it will give you a glimpse at my reading material.  Let’s make a start.

 

il_570xN.382752207_9hnq

 

  1. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I’m obsessed with Tudor history and historical fiction set in this era always piques my interest.  I am a fan of Philippa Gregory’s novels, because I think she does a brilliant job creating strong connections to her characters and it’s fun to imagine what it might have been like to live during those times.  The Lady of the Rivers focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Henry VII’s grandmother in law.  Jacquetta was a formidable woman and possibly a witch.  I have already read The Red Queen and The White Queen, and Jacquetta was a background character in each of those stories.  I’m really looking forward to reading a story with her at the forefront.

 

2. According to Yes by Dawn French

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to sit down with this book, because each of Dawn French’s other books has barely lasted a week on my shelf before I’ve torn into it. I absolutely adore her characters and her witty yet heartfelt writing style.  From the cryptic blurb on the back, I get the impression that this is going to be a tale of self-indulgence and finally breaking free after a lifetime of denying ones own impulses.  And it sounds very juicy indeed.

 

3. The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

There’s a reason why this book has been sitting on my shelf for such a long time.  Terry Pratchett is my favourite author, and this is the final book that was published after his death.  I have been trying to work up the courage to read it, because I know that it’s going to be emotional, almost like saying goodbye to a close friend.  The Shepherd’s Crown features one of my favourite Pratchett characters: Tiffany Aching.  Tiffany is a young witch who is steely and fierce yet still has all the vulnerability of a teenager.  I know I’m going to love this book, but it breaks my heart that once this one is done, there are no more new Pratchett books left to read.

 

4. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Since seeing the film several years ago, I have been burning to read The Colour Purple.  The copy on my shelf is battered and dog-eared, having been purchased from a tiny book stall in Melbourne.  This story of two sisters in the Deep South, facing unimaginable oppression and fear, promises to be moving and poignant.

 

5. Aimee & Jaguar by Erica Fischer

A true story of two women who fell in love in Berlin in 1942, and the gut-wrenching realities that pulled them apart.  I have been searching for more queer fiction to add to my literary menu, and this story has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  I am truly looking forward to being transported back in time by the words and pages, and walking with the two title characters as they discover one another and develop their love.

 

What have you been reading lately?  What’s on your to-read pile?

Things I love Thursday 6/4/2017

It’s the first Thursday of April and it’s time for a Things I love Thursday post.  Pour yourself a cup of tea and relax while I share all the things that I’ve loved lately.

 

I love:

  • Celebrating my one-year anniversary with my beloved, David.  He is such an amazing person and he makes me feel so blessed. We have had an awesome year together and I can’t wait to see what adventures the future has in store for us.

  • Having Mr Ringo peer over my shoulder while I read.  He’s such a curious little dude.
  • The late emergence of Autumn weather.  The final week of March was almost unbearably humid and hot.  I honestly wondered if the weather was ever going to cool off.  But like clockwork, April brought a crisp morning wind and a chill to the air.  I’ve happily been rocking knits and socks, and I’ve had the perfect excuse to break out the slippers I was gifted months ago.

 

  • This Deadpool stuffie that David bought me for our anniversary. For our first date, we saw Deadpool and played the arcade machines at the cinema.  So now, Deadpool is kinda “our” movie.
  • Lush’s Ruby Red Slippers bubble bath bar.

  • Argyle vests
  • Putting the sleeves on a jumper I’m knitting for myself.  I”ve already finished one simple jumper for myself, thus completing my new years resolution of knitting an actual garment.  This time I’m working on something with more shaping and raglan sleeves.

 

  • This awesome Monsters Inc tee shirt I picked up for $7 at Uniqlo.  I have a few Uniqlo shirts now and they are such good quality.
  • The Good Dinosaur.  I finally got around to watching it and it made me cry so hard. And also laugh so hard.  And then cry again.  And laugh some more.  It was a yo-yo of emotions.

 

  • finding the final Sandman book to complete my extensive collection in the op shop for just one dollar.  It was a proud moment.
  • Project Runway.  I’ve become a tiny bit obsessed.

  • This room service pizza I got for dinner on our anniversary.  It was not vegan (it had goat’s cheese) but it was vegetarian. It had zucchini, pumpkin, pine nuts and leek. It was so amazingly good that I didn’t even care that I had a food baby for our anniversary-celebration-sexy-times.
  • Actual vegan recipes I’ve made these past few weeks, including an off-the-charts mushroom stroganoff and a mock-chicken and vegetable soup. I’m getting extremely good at this vegan cooking thing.

 

  • Finding a mega-cute heart hoop for my helix piercing.  I’m always on the lookout for unusual body jewellery and I really haven’t changed the stud in my helix since I got it pierced nearly eighteen months ago.  This heart was just the ticket, and it’s so comfortable.
  • Wood fire smoke
  • Being able to snuggle under layers of quilts without exploding from heat.

What do you love this week?

Things I Love Thursday 5/11/2015

Oh Thursday, how I love thee.  Not only do you signal the tail-end of the working week but you’re the perfect opportunity to sit down and count my blessings.  This week I love:

  • The Making of a Man by Maxim Februari. I devoured this book in an evening and I’ve been telling everyone about it since.  It’s written by transgender philosopher who talks candidly about his life as a man and his transition into masculinity.  It gives some excellent discussion points about transsexuality and it’s a fantastic and thought-provoking read.

Halloween hair. #halloween #dailyoutfit #bighair

A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

 

  • Big hair for Halloween.  I watched Ghostbusters the night before Halloween and I felt it only right to pay tribute to my favourite character: Egon Spengler.  I miss Spengler’s crazy do’ from the cartoons, and I felt that this massive pompadour was a fitting tribute.
  • Jaffa cake.  Delicious.
  • Bare feet and red toenails.
  • Four day weekends!  My boss decided to close the office on Monday.  Tuesday was a public holiday for Melbourne Cup Day so I got a delicious four days of relaxation.  It was just what the doctor ordered.
  • Scottish accents.
  • Re-watching some of the classic Disney films: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio
  • Finding the most perfect present for one of my friends for Christmas.
  • Gorgeous op shop trunk.

    A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • This stunning carved trunk I found at the op shop. Sadly it had already been sold so I couldn’t take it home for myself.  It would have made the most perfect home for my winter blankets.  Ah well, I hope it’s new owner has something wonderful to place inside it.
  • Turkey and cranberry baguettes
  • The best part about this vintage babe? Pockets! #thrifting #vintage #dress #pockets

    A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Finding this beautiful floral dress at the thrift store for just $4.  I haven’t worn it out yet, but I promise that I’ll post pictures when I do. It’s made of cotton and it’s so light and cool.  I can imagine that I’ll wear this to work a lot once Summer hits.
  • The final count-down to Christmas.

What are you loving this week my darling?

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional pets I’d love to adopt.

There can be no doubt that I’m an animal lover at heart.  I adore my pets and every animal under my roof is utterly spoiled with love and affection.  While I’m perfectly happy with Miss Jellylorum and Mr Ringo for the time being, there are several fictional pets that I’d be happy to add to my personal menagerie….

1. Binky from The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

Now, I’m not normally a horse person, but I’d make an exception for Binky.  Binky is a pure white horse owned by Death.  He has a sweet nature and loves galloping around the black fields surrounding Death’s castle.  Oh, and he can transport his rider to other dimensions and worlds, so he is basically a spaceship. I’d be happy to let this awesome horse take up residence in my backyard.

2. Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

I’ve often thought it would be awesome if my cats could talk, simple because I’d love to find out what’s going on inside their heads sometimes.  So a talking cat rates high on my list of imaginary dream pets.  And a wise-cracking sarcasm machine like Salem would be a great companion.

 

3. Thing from The Addams Family

There are a couple of reasons why I’d like to have Thing in my household.  Firstly, he’d be darn useful, helping with chores and bringing in the mail. Secondly, you could play some seriously awesome practical jokes with a living, disembodied hand.  Finally, I’d love a pet that can give me a lovely foot rub at the end of a long day at work.

4. Marcel from Friends

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted a pet monkey.  They are just so adorable and I imagine that we’d have loads of fun together.  Marcel was a bit of a handful, and wasn’t particularly well toilet trained, but he was super sweet and had awesome juggling skills.

5. Seymour from Futurama

Even though Seymour only appeared in one episode of Futurama, he made a deep impression on me.  Jurassic Bark is one of the saddest pieces of televisual entertainment I’ve ever seen and I cry every time I watch the final scene where Seymour waits endlessly for his master to return.  I would like to adopt Seymour so that he wouldn’t have to have such a sad ending to his life.  Although Fry didn’t intentionally abandon Seymour, my heart goes out to pets that have been left behind by their owners, and I like the idea of being able to give one a second chance at happiness.

 

If you could adopt a fictional pet, which one would you take home with you?

Farewell, Sir Terry Pratchett.

On Friday morning I awoke to the sad news that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away.  I was heartbroken to hear of the death of one of my all-time favourite authors.  The world seems a little bit duller without the cheeky glint in Sir Terry’s eye.

DSCF8363

Sir Terry’s work has been a part of my life for fifteen years.  I was introduced to his books by a friend at the age of thirteen.  My high school bestie loaned me a well-loved copy of Soul Music to take on holidays.  I quickly fell in love with The Discworld and it’s inhabitants and was eager for more.  I read every Discworld book in the library catalog.  When the film adaptations of several Discworld books were made, I pounced on those and immediately adored seeing my favourite characters come to life on the screen.  In college I discovered two cartoon series based on Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters.  And then sometime later I found the fantastic board games based on the book series.

As someone who has always loved the offbeat and slightly cheeky, Sir Pratchett’s books were instantly appealing to me.  I have often had to stifle a giggle while reading one of his books on the train and many sleepless nights have been had when I couldn’t put down his latest masterpiece.  It makes me so sad to think that there will never be another new Discworld book to look forward to.

DSCF7276

I do have a tiny personal connection to Terry Pratchett, as I was once lucky enough to meet him in person.  I went along to a book signing in Melbourne when Wintersmith was released.  I had purchased two copies of the book; one for my aunt and one for myself.  While waiting in line, it occurred to me that I probably wouldn’t be able to get both books signed. I decided to opt to have Sir Terry sign my aunt’s copy, and I would be content with an unsigned copy if it meant I still got to meet the great man.  When I got to the front of the line, Sir Terry beckoned me over to his table with a wave of a hand adorned with a silver signet ring.  I was struck by how much he looked like a pirate, all in black with his big beard, a silver belt buckle and a cane.  He was quite small too, barely taller than myself and his voice had a piping, nasal quality.  Rather than being irritating, it snagged the ear and made every word out of his mouth sound slightly eccentric.

As I handed my aunt’s book to be signed, Sir Terry asked for my name.  I told him it was Vanessa, but that I’d like him to sign the book to my aunt Jenny.  I explained that the book was a Christmas gift for my aunt, and he wrote “Happy Hogswatch” inside the cover for her.  Then he held out his hand for the other book I was holding and signed it with a flourish and a wide smile.  I thanked him and wished him a good day and left.  When I got outside the store, I peeked into the cover to see the words “Dear Vanessa, love and frost from Terry Pratchett”.  I was elated.  I’ve never forgotten how sweet he was to me, and how generous he was with his time.  As I’d watched other people go up to his table before me, I was struck by the way that he spent a bit of time talking to each of his fans, offering a joke and a smile to all.  He seemed truly pleased to be there, and genuinely happy to be sharing his work with the people who loved it.  From this short encounter I have a memory of a man who truly loved the world he had created, and was overjoyed to share it with his fans.  I remember a man with a cheeky smile, a unique spirit and a singular talent.

So although I’m sad that the world has lost such a fantastic person, I am heartened by that memory of our only meeting.  I’m grateful for the many years of tireless work that churned out no less than 70 books for us fans to enjoy.  I’m thankful for the Discworld, a place where misfits and oddballs are heroes.  And I’m pleased to have spent countless hours enjoying Sir Terry’s craft.

So as much as I wish Sir Terry would pop up with a sign that reads “I Aten’t Dead” and tell us it was all a joke, I know that’s not going to happen.  So I hope instead that this awesome man is able to rest peacefully, after a life filled with humour and sweetness.  Vale, kind sir.

5 Fandom Friday: My fictional BFFs.

Seeing this prompt pop up on the list for 5 Fandom Friday caused me to let out a sigh of relief.  It showed me that I’m not the only one who imagines hanging out with fictional people. Also, I’m hopefully not the only one who laments the fact that they don’t actually exist and therefore those awesome friendships will never become a reality.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time thinking about which characters I’d most like to be best buddies with, and with some difficulty I’ve narrowed the list down to just five.

1. Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

I’m calling it: Leslie is hands-down the best friend on television.  She is crazy supportive of her friends, she showers them with compliments, she throws rad parties and buys the most fabulous presents.  And she’ll even let you raid her wardrobe and wear her sex pants to work.  I would be ecstatic to have the chance to kick it with Leslie over waffles and chat about Harry Potter and miniature animals.  I think we’d get along brilliantly.

2. The Doctor from Dr Who

Who wouldn’t want a friend who is a bit quirky and odd, with a fierce sense of loyalty and a deep respect for humans and their zany differences?  Now imagine that same friend owns a space ship and a time machine in one.  And is willing to take you to any place in time or space that you could name.  Fabulous, no?

 

DSCF8049

3. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter

When I imagine Luna and I chilling out together, I see long hikes through the forest chatting about all manner of creatures and swapping crochet patterns.  I picture incredible sleepovers with spirited games of truth or dare and epic hair-braiding sessions.  She’s just the sweetest person and she values her friends so deeply.  I also think she’d be the perfect person to have on your side during a personal crisis.  She’d mop up your tears and offer some slightly nonsensical advice to help you feel better.

4. Romy and Michele from Romy and Michele’s High School reunion

I want to spend an afternoon with these ladies! We’d munch on gummy bears and make fun of Julia Roberts films.  And if I was exceptionally lucky, perhaps they’d let me raid their wardrobe or even give me a discount at their store.  What I wouldn’t give to have unlimited access to their outfits.  It wouldn’t matter that we were all slightly offbeat, or that none of us knows the proper lyrics to Footloose, we’d have a blast.

5. Morticia Addams.

I love girl talk, and swapping sexy secrets with my mates.  And can you imagine the tales Tish would have to tell?  She’d have the hottest stories to share, as well as wicked fashion taste and an uncommonly kind spirit.

Which fictional characters would you like to be besties with?

5 Fandom Friday: Characters with awesome names.

Hooo-boy, this week’s prompt was a rough one.  The prompt was originally “Characters I would name my kid after”.  However I haven’t ever given much thought to kids names because I don’t actually want kids of my own.  However, there are a few characters from my fandoms who have awesome names.  So for me this list will be more “Characters with names I really like” than “Characters I would name my kid after.

1. Ariana Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Although she features only briefly in the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore’s sister has one of the prettiest names I’ve ever heard.  It just rolls off the tongue and sounds so soft and delicate.  It mirror’s Ariana’s gentle and fragile nature and I think it’s just lovely.

2. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I’ve always loved the name Holly and the addition of the charming surname “Golightly” makes this moniker sound as flighty and whimsical as the character who carries it.

3. Marty McFly from Back to the Future

I’m a fan of alliteration, and Marty McFly is one cool dude.  This name sounds punchy and slick and would be the perfect name for any cool cat.

4. Morticia Addams from The Addams Family.

Whether you say it in full or shorten it to an affectionate “Tish”, this name has a mysterious and dark air to it.  Although fairly grim, the name Morticia just seems so sophisticated to me.

5. Daenarys Targaryan from Game of Thrones.

It’s a bugger to spell, but the Silver Dragon has the loveliest name.  It sounds gorgeous but there’s a hard power to the name Targaryan that adds a bit of toughness and grit.

What character names do you adore?  Would you ever name a child after a fictional character?