My month in books: September 2020

A dark hallway in a derelict house. Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

This blog post is very late, but I promise I did indeed read some books in September. 10 of them, even. And one of them was a new candidate for favourite book of the year – I’m just gonna cut to the chase, it’s In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado and it’s amazing – so I’m extra sorry to have withheld this valuable post from you.

This was a month of two halves: a lot of heavy capital-L Literature to start, and then a whole bunch of sci-fi (with a rom-com breather in the middle).

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My month in books: July 2020

A photo of three camels. Photo by Bernd Bangert on Unsplash.

I feel more excited to write this blog post than I have in some time, because I really loved a lot of what I read this month, and I want to share it.

There’s a Victorian pastiche with cannibalistic dragons, a chapter that saved 16 hours of my life, and a romance that finally dares to ask the question: “What if Jonathan Franzen was hot?”

I hope at least one of those sounds intriguing. This will also be a long post, because I finished 9 books in July. Let’s go!

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Zombiesaurus will give you light in these dark times

Zombiesaurus title card

Zombiesaurus, also called The Jurassic Dead, also called Z/Rex: The Jurassic Dead, is available to stream on Amazon Prime and has a 2.8 on IMDb. The provided summary is this:

A crazed scientist, along with the dreaded axis of evil, attempt to bring chaos and destruction to America with a plot to unleash EMP blasts, toxic zombification gas and the ultimate undead killing monstrosity — the Zombiesaurus Rex!

So what more do you want from an evening’s entertainment? I certainly can’t think of anything else. So I have watched this movie and now I am here to tell you all about it.

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If I were a lifestyle vlogger in lockdown

Badly photoshopped image of a woman sniffing a jar of Biscoff spread with the text 'morning rituals'. Source image by Drew Coffman

Hi guys, welcome back to my channel!

It’s a bank holiday Monday so I thought I’d do a low-key, day-in-my-life vlog, with maybe a get-ready-with-me and what-I-eat-in-a-day. Later I might even trying-on-everything-I-own and closet-clearout.

It’s really important to have a morning routine, and you all know I’ve been reading The Power of Habit, so I have been trying to cultivate little rituals to start my day right. Currently I like to lie in bed for several hours staring at my phone and contemplating my own mortality. I’m trying not to focus on the news too much, so instead I spent a while reading gossip about fashion bloggers I used to follow back in 2009. It makes me feel very centred and present.

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Filming my life, one second at a time

Long, long ago, I spent the evening of 31 December 2019 with my family. As midnight approached, we all stared at the clock, preparing to count down to the start of the new decade.

My brother’s girlfriend grabbed her phone. She wanted to film the countdown – not the whole thing, just the last second.

The second, she explained, was for an app called 1 Second Everyday. 1SE is essentially a video journal. It gives you a calendar to populate with individual one-second videos, then compiles them into a montage. It lets you document your life, not for social media, but for your own satisfaction and reflection. She showed us her 2019 video – fragments of her reading books, meeting friends, running for the bus – all together building a vision of her everyday life.

This sounded like fun to me. I didn’t know if I’d stick with it, but I downloaded the app anyway, then went outside and filmed one second of fireworks.

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Let’s tour my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island!

It’s been less than four weeks since Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out, and I’ve already played more than 135 hours of it. For years, I’d been saying that when this game came out, I wouldn’t want to do anything else – I wanted to stay on my sofa with the Switch, never leaving the house, ignoring everything else in my life.

And another finger on the monkey’s paw curled. Sorry folks, I guess this was my fault.

For those of you who’ve somehow avoided the Animal Crossing frenzy of the past month, it’s a series of games which comedian Ron Funches once described as “I am the human mayor of an animal town”. In New Horizons, you are the “island representative” rather than the mayor, but it’s pretty much the same. You settle on a deserted island with your talking animal buddies – mine is named Sugarloaf. Then it’s up to you to develop the island, plant flowers, decorate your house, go fishing, and so on. It all plays out in realtime and the island changes with the time of day and the seasons. The game is very, very chill, and I think everyone agrees the timing of its release really couldn’t be better.

New Horizons has some new features for the series which I was very excited about: you can place furniture outside, and you can terraform the island. (I have ascended from Mayor to God.) So much of my 135+ hour playtime has been spent decking my island out, and making it a nice place to putter around catching butterflies and doing the gardening.

I am pretty proud of how it is looking now, so I thought I’d do a tour and show off what I’ve been working on.

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