personal, cycling

Bike Ride to Devil’s Bridge

Today I cycled to Devil’s bridge and back. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences¬†ever. So, I thought I’d share some pictures (these were taken on my phone and the weather wasn’t great so I apologise).

These first 6 pictures are from the first half of the journey, riding along the hills. It was uphill most of the way until Pontarfynach.

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Just before Pontarfynach
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Devil’s Bridge Falls
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Wide-angle
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It’s Official!
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This makes me happy.

So amazing to finally get there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend much time there as it was due to get dark very soon. This was a bit worrying as the route I cycle on (A4120) barely has any streetlights! It was really pretty even on a gloomy day like this. Next time I’m buying some treats from the chocolate shop…

Just as I turned around and left Pontarfynarch, it began to snow! It was so cold but there was a yellow weather warning. A first for me! The view of Aberystwyth was beautiful at night, never seen it like this before.

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Stats

This bike ride was a personal best for me! Really enjoyed it. Thank you for reading ūüôā

books, opinion, uni

2018 TBR: To Be Read Pile

This year I want to explore more books from genres I haven’t read much of. The LGBTQ+ and mental health genres particularly spark my interest because¬†I feel it’s important to include people of all types in books, (even though there is a genre for a specific type of character).

I also want to dive back into my love of fantasy by reading all of the books in the Harry Potter series as well as continuing more Brandon Sanderson books, especially the sequels to the Mistborn Trilogy. The Mistborn trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy¬†series I have ever read. The world building is insane and the magic system is so interesting, it’s not the classic ‘it’s just magic, so magic exists’. Also, the Mistborn trilogy is a great place to start because it’s a YA, with little romance so even though each book is a good 700 pages long, you’ll fly through them. The twists are unexpected and you’ll root for the characters as they’re just so lovable. I would also like to read more of Sanderson’s stand-alones, for example, Warbreaker and Elantris (which, now I think about it, I think maybe becoming a series of some sort), as well as another series of his the Stormlight Archives a, so far, three book series each consisting of 900 pages minimum. Let’s hope I get through these faster than IT by Stephen King.

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I’d also like to keep up with my reading of Classic texts, for example, Metamorphoses by Ovid, a text which heavily inspired Shakespeare. But I’d also like to read more vintage classics such as Replay by Grimwood and I.robot by Isaac Asimov.

My reading goal for 2018 is to read 50 books. I feel this is realistic as I read 45 books last year, which you can read about in a¬†previous blog post.¬†Hopefully, I’d like to do monthly summaries as well as individual reviews of books to provide overall thoughts¬†of each month.¬†¬†

As for what I’m currently reading:

I’m only about 50 pages into The Alloy of Law, but I flew through it as Sanderson’s writing style is just so easy to glide my eyes across. Although I’m listening to the Audiobook for Stephen King’s IT, which originally my aim was to finish before the film came out, it has taken me longer than I expected. I think this may be because I read about the different characters’ stories like episodes, rather than a collective whole. But one thing that makes It so easy to listen to is King’s writing style, like Sanderson’s it reads incredibly well. Although I’m enjoying ‘It’ so far, I doubt I’ll finish it anytime soon since I’m not really in the mood for horror at the moment…it’s January, I need motivation!

To view my full TBR list on Goodreads click here. I was thinking about doing module reviews for each of my modules I study, would anyone be interested (even though it’ll probably do it anyway)? Thank you for reading my¬†‘To be read’ blog post, I’d love to hear about which books everyone is anticipating for 2018.

books, opinion

The Power by Naomi Alderman

read on 4/01/18

!SPOILERS!

You’ve probably seen this book on all of the featured shelves of bookshops. Rightfully so, the themes in this book are contemporary in that it turns our society on its head. I enjoyed this¬†literary thriller and found it to be an interesting reversal of patriarchy. I was sceptical, in case of bias and bad execution, but I found the approach of the author really clever.

However, for whatever reason, I found myself not fully involved in the book. My mind kept drifting from the text, but I’m not really sure why. I found the text engaging, but I’m not sure if my lack of concentration was because I have a lot of things on my mind at the moment (exams, essay, portfolio submission etc.). However, I did find myself drifting for the¬†right¬†reasons as well. Constantly I was anticipating the author’s actions and where the plot was going, constantly I found myself reflecting on the stories in the text and how they would play out in our society… this is why I call this novel a literary thriller. It really makes you think.

Overall, it’s a solid text, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favourite novels of all time – a great book which everyone my age should read.

6.5 /10

books, opinion, uni

5 Favourite Reads of 2017

I decided to title this favourite ‘reads’ rather than favourite books since there are only two books on my list! I’m pretty happy with my effort this year, as I nearly managed to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge¬†of 50 books, coming close at 45. Although most of my reading consisted of texts for my University course, this year I’m hoping to read more in my own time. Not that I didn’t enjoy the texts on the syllabus in the modules I chose.

The Oresteia, an Ancient Greek play by Aeschylus 8.5/10

I read the ‘Agamemnon,’ ‘The Libation Bearers’ and ‘Eumenides,’ the three plays in the Greek tragedy trilogy, the Oresteia. I read ‘Agamemnon’ in my first year at university and in my Shapes of Tragedy module we developed our analysis on specific texts from Greek plays to 20th century plays. I ended up writing on the Oresteia for my essay and found analysing the text more meant that I enjoyed the complexity of the play even more. I found the most interesting character from the trilogy is Cassandra from the first play ‘Agamemnon.’ Her character is paradoxical in relation to divine intervention within the world of the play, so that’s really interesting regardin responsiblility in the play. Hopefully this year I’d like to read more about her character – so Trojan Women by Euripides is on my 2018 TBR list.

milk and honey, a collection of poetry by Rupi Kaur 7.5/10

I was so happy to see a collection of poetry so widely supported by people of many ages this year. Many of my friends have read milk and honey by Rupi Kaur found her raw honest approach combined with her style of writing refreshing, clear and motivational. She discusses darker issues and bravely shares a lot with the public through her collection. Also, as an art and English literature student, it was enlightening to see poetry alongside illustration reach such a level of popularity.

Dark Matter, a science fiction novel by Blake Crouch 8.5/10

Blake Crouch wrote Dark Matter, a fast-paced sci-fi thriller that I couldn’t put down. If I recall correctly, I read this in two days in-between revising for my exams of 2017. Although like Kaur, the writing style is somewhat hit – or – miss, I found this made the novel even more fast-paced. I felt like I was running alongside the characters whilst reading, anticipating every move. For me, it was great to read such a fast-paced science fiction novel that wasn’t about a boy and a girl falling in love in a dystopian world. I loved the relationships in this book and will be on the lookout for more adult science fiction books. This next year, I am hoping to read Pines, by Blake Crouch as I’ve heard good things about his new book. I came across both of these Blake Crouch books on Emily Fox’s BookTube.¬†She does great reviews and reads a variety of genres, from classics to contemporary fiction.

Murder on the Orient Express, a classic mystery by Agatha Christie 9/10

I finally read my first Agatha Christie novel this year, Murder on the Orient Express, which I made a blog post about my listening experience on audible.

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King Lear, a Jacobean play by William Shakespeare 9/10

My favourite Shakespeare plays thus far. I’ve read seven of his plays and after reading it again this year for my Shapes of Tragedy module it just gets better and better the more I analyse it. In our literary theory module, we had an amazing lecture on Historicism, in which my lecturer analysed Shakespeare and ‘darnel’ the plant in Lear’s crown in the storm scene. I was truly flabbergasted by the detailed analysis of this idea. You can read the interpretation here.¬†¬†Also, in 2016, back when I first read King Lear for my A-levels, I watched the RSC’s production of King Lear, again providing a new and interesting perspective on the play. If you’re a student and are interested in watching this production, check out this website:¬†BoB: Learning on Screen. Not only does it have recorded Shakespeare plays, but it also has plenty of Doctor Who episodes for free!

I’d love to know what you read in 2017, and what you thought about my favourites that I read this year. Thank you for reading, watch out for a post about my TBR for 2018.

netflix, opinion, personal, tv

a Netflix recommendation

Yesterday I watched ‘Recalibrate’ Russell Howard’s latest stand up tour recorded for Netflix. Honestly, I was really impressed with some of the subjects he talked about. Feminism, terrorism and life for young people at the moment. Even though it made me laugh, the underlying message was really interesting, uplifting as well as being incredibly relevant.

I think the reason why I was so happy to see a comedy stand up that had darker subjects is because I have been waiting for a TV show, film or stand up like this. People need to know about the issues that are going on in the world and the issues my generations and older generations have to cope with. I think it was a really clever way of getting the message across whilst still being entertaining.

I would love to know what everyone else thought about it!

books, opinion, Uncategorized, uni, writing

A Modest Adornment by Margiad Evans

read on 14/12/17

!SPOILERS!

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I read ‘A Modest Adornment’ from Margiad¬†Evans’ collection of short stories, ‘The Old and the Young’ for my Literary Theory module and an essay on Queer theory.

In my first reading, I found Evans’ description detailed and ambiguous. Her short story was almost a Mystery as well as a Tragedy. I enjoyed this clash of genres and thought it was an incredibly unique read. I found myself debating the ending, but not in a normal literary sense, in an Agatha Christie murder mystery sense (particularly since I listened to Murder on the Orient Express recently).

Upon the second reading of this text, I found that the detailed descriptions I before thought were ambiguous, were revealing¬†and ironic. Her use of extended metaphors is brilliant. I’ve read that her other short stories often include queer characters and that musicality is embedded in most of these relationships, including Miss Plant and Miss Allensmoore’s.
Although initially, I approached the first page reading it as a comedy, it certainly isn’t. Particularly the second time around. Evans deals with some hard topics; closeted homosexuality and coping with the death of a loved one.

I am hoping to read more of Evans’ short stories as well as ‘Country Dance’. Finally, I love that Evans goes by a different name for her illustrations, which she often includes in her short stories and published works. This is the sort of person I aspire to be, a writer and an artist.

uni, writing

Feedback and essaying

aeschylus

Today I received feedback on my latest essay for my Shapes of Tragedy module. The subject was pollution and cleansing in the Oresteia by Aeschylus, the Greek writer.

I had been anticipating the feedback and mark on this essay after slipping up on a smaller essay for my other English Literature module this semester, Literary Theory. I was pleasantly surprised with my mark and exceptionally pleased with the feedback and criticism from my tutor.

Currently, I am working on an essay on Queer Theor which is in for the 9th of January. I’ve been working with my Lit Theory tutor to practice and improve my writing so that I can explain my ideas with clarity. So, really the point of this post is: don’t be scared to ask for help. Don’t be scared to email someone about advice. It’s worth it, and what is there to lose if you do?