To Feel

I can’t remember how it felt

to be that free and careless

was it love or friendship

was it everything or just a thing

do I miss you or the person you were?

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Parks and Recreation Still a Laugh Out Loud Comedy

Parks and Recreation is undoubtedly one of my favourite TV shows. It is one of those shows I go back and watch over and over again and I don’t get bored. While I regularly go back to watch my favourite episodes, or even random episodes when I feel like it, it has been a good few years since I have had a proper re-watch – which is strange considering the very large number of times I have watched this show. And it still made me laugh out loud, something that comedy I love sadly makes me do much anymore – it made me laugh so much that one of my flatmates could tell when I was watching the show because she could hear me laughing through the walls.

But just earlier this year while going through my exam period (which may have been a mistake considering how much I fell into this show)  I ventured into a full re-watch for properly the fifth time and I still found the show as funny as ever – in fact, I think I may have found it funnier! This time around I found that jokes I missed or didn’t love one of the many other times I watched the show made me howl – Ron Swanson, in particular, I found myself laughing at time and time again, don’t get me wrong I always found him funny but this time there was just something that got me this time around.

This show was going to be a show I watched again and again and this time around just confirmed it for me. This show is a masterpiece and it just gets better and better the more you watch it – it is not just enjoyable to rewatch due to nostalgia in the way many shows are. Parks and Recreation is truly a laugh out loud comedy no matter how many times you watch it.

Dark Academia, an Exploration of a New Genre

During the past year or so I have discovered a new favourite genre of fiction: Dark Academia. This genre or, sub-genre, is hard to define, it is vaguely a story that takes place in a school setting, typically a university, and some sort of murder takes place and there is usually hard to get into group/university with an air of mystery. Oddly specific right? And yet so much fiction fits this genre.

Image result for the secret historyWho knew this was a genre? I certainly didn’t and yet so much fiction I love falls under this category. For years and years, I have loved stories which fit into this genre yet I didn’t know it existed – the TV show How To Get Away with Murder, for example, is one of my faves. Yet it was only when I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt that I learnt that this genre exists. Only a month before reading this book I had read Vicious by VE Schwab – a book of this genre with a sci-fi twist – and yet I still didn’t know that this was a genre with a cult-like following. 

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Now I now this is a genre you will be able to watch me leap in headfirst, just last month I read If We Were Villians by M. L. Rio and I imagine in the next few months I will explore this genre more.

I will say I do wonder what it is about this genre that appeals to me. Is it the gruesome elements? Is it the university setting, a setting which I think is not explored enough in fiction – I especially find this to be true now I am a university student? Is it linked to my childhood love for Scooby-Doo and other such children’s stories? Is it the high achieving aloof character? While I can’t say, or know, for certain what it is about this highly defined and cultish genre that appeals to be, but at least I know it is for me. 

Recommendations: Books For Starting University

Today I am recommending books to read before you start university, or even to read during the university experience. They are primarily books which take place at university, with university-aged students, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a vast amount to choose from as books don’t seem to be aimed at university students very often – they are usually aimed younger or much older. But anyway here is my list.

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Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This is my favourite book I have read this year and it follows Frances who is at university. While most of the book doesn’t concern itself with her studies it is a fantastic look at what it is to be that age. Image result for normal people

Normal People by Sally Rooney

While Conversations with Friends doesn’t focus on university life, Normal People does. It follows Marianne and Connell from their later high school experiences to them starting Image result for the secret historyuniversity.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This a fantastic book about a student Richard who starts a new university and becomes all absorbed with the classic students at the university. This is a story for someone who likes a bit of darkness and intrigue in a story. Image result for if we were villains

If We Were Villians by M. L. Rio

Like The Secret History, this is a dark academia story. If We Were Villians however follows a group of Shakespear students at an arts university and tells a story of murder and mystery all in a Image result for fangirlfive-act structure.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is a story which is often pointed to as a story for university students, however as I read it years ago I cannot say for certain how relatable this novel is for students starting university. What I can say for certain is that this is a cute story about self-worth set at a university. Image result for red white and royal blue

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is a really fun book which I read just earlier this year. While I would say this is a book aimed at an American audience who are obsessed with the royal family, I would say that this book is definitely a good read for a university student. It charts a romance between the first son and the prince of England all while exploring finding your passion.

 

Has Black Mirror Lost its Reflection – A Mini Review

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The fourth season of Black Mirror did not have the same lasting impact as the other seasons. Was the reversion back to shorter seasons to blame or was it the lack of unique concepts? It’s truly hard to say what the difference is – just that this season felt distinctly different.

Objectively the acting and the cinematography were great but the writing didn’t make for a memorable season. Most of the episodes felt predictable and lacking edge – and to be honest none of the episodes felt uncoherent.

Perhaps the market is now overfilled with dystopian content that nothing feels unique, no matter what this season just didn’t properly work.

Summer Book Recommendations

Everyone reads more during the summer and here is a list of my book recommendations for this summer.

Image result for since youve been goneA Romantic Summer Read – Since You’ve Been Gone 

This is a super fun summer read. It’s all about much more than romance – it has great friendships and finding yourself.

You can read it here.

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An Engaging Summer Read – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Want to be enthralled into the world of classic cinema – this is the book for you. Evelyn Hugo is a character who truly leaps of the page.

Image result for if we were villainsYou can read it here.

A Summer Mystery – If We Were Villains

A fantastic novel about Shakespeare students and murder. This is a great book for mystery fans who want to read something that still has some lightheartedness to it. 

Image result for i'll give you the sunYou can read it here. 

A Family Summer Read – I’ll Give You the Sun

This is a great novel about two twins – set during the summer holidays. It explores everything from time to family to sexuality to love all centred around the love of art.

Image result for good omens bookYou can read it here.

A Fantastical Summer Read – Good Omens 

Unsurprisingly this is a book for any fantasy fans who want to read something that is incredibly funny.

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You can read it here.

A Friendship Summer Read – Conversations With Friends 

An amazing novel about people and the complex relationships that people have.

You can read it here.

What Equates Quality

What defines quality? Is it the general consensus, is it awarding bodies, is it the elite?

I think that the hyper-aware online world is making it harder for people to simply enjoy things, without being worried that they are good, or at least beloved.

The whole idea of a guilty pleasure is completely damaging – is it so hard to admit that you like something even though it isn’t ‘high culture’. We all need some fun in our lives, and it’s fine to want to simply just watch something that doesn’t engage all of your brain.

Just enjoy what you enjoy.