A more diverse universe – #Diversiverse 2014

Hello Blogland! Yes I know it has been awhile and I did kind of leave things a bit half-finished around here…. real life and all that sort of thing you know!

However, I am here and gamely attempting to climb back on the horse of ‘content production, creativity and organisation’ which I was plodding along on earlier this year. I thought I would start with something small and work from there.

And that something small is announcing that I am going to participate in Diversverse 2014

I first read about Diversverse on Andi from Estella’s Revenge Blog.

And followed the links to Aarti from Booklust who is the force behind this great idea.

For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge.  For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year.  The criteria are as follows:

  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

My plan is to finish reading We need new names by NoViolet Bulawayo

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Which I picked up in one of my trips into Book Grocer a few months ago. I read a few chapters just before I went away but didn’t take it with me overseas, a decision that I regretted a few times while I was away as I found myself thinking about the book and itching to pick it up again.

Blurb:

We Need New Names tells the story of Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They all used to have proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they all live in a shanty called Paradise. They spend their days stealing guavas, playing games and wondering how to get the baby out of young Chipo’s stomach. They dream of escaping to other paradises – America, Dubai, Europe. But if they do escape, will these new lands bring everything they wish for? Man Booker Prize

As I am trying to be more aware of my thought process (and also to take on more realistic challenges) here is my little two cents of why I am doing Diversiverse the way I am. I know that this is probably a book that many people will have already read or heard of so that in reading and reviewing this book I wont be bringing an unknown book to the Diversiverse community. However, even if my contribution to this challenge is not breaking new ground I really believe that participation even on a small scale is important. I haven’t read Aarti’s blog in depth (yet!) but just reading the post about Diversiverse made me want to participate. Yes books are a large part of the media I consume and I want that media to reflect the diversity of the world I live in. Some of that is a reflection of what I want from my reading experience and some of that is what I want my choices as a reader to say to the world.

 

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February 2014 Culture Consumed

Hot on the heels of my January 2014 Culture Consumed (only one month late) is February and thus I am at least caught up on the surface of things 🙂

One of my favourite podcasts, Galactic Suburbia, has a section in each episode called Culture Consumed where the three hosts discuss what they have been reading, watching or other form of relevant cultural activity between episodes. I really like the idea of a wrap up of cultural experiences so plan to do one each month for my blog.

Below is my February reading and watching-ness (and now with added Cultural participatoriness).

Books

5. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

  • Finish Date: 01/02/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper (ARC)
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Release Date: 27/09/2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Goodreads Stars: 3 stars (I love Mead’s YA series but am not as in love with her adult series apparently).

6. It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning

  • Finish Date: 06/02/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Ebook
  • Publisher: Corgi
  • Release Date: 29/01/2014
  • Pages: 480
  • Goodreads Stars: 4 Stars

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

  • Finish Date: 14/02/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Ebook
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • Release Date: 2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Goodreads Stars: 1 Star (Best left undiscussed though note to self to check genre of book before reading to avoid nasty surprises)

8. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

  • Finish Date: 24/02/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper
  • Publisher: Gollancz
  • Release Date: 04/10/2005
  • Pages: 232
  • Goodreads Stars: 5 stars (Rereading just equals more love)

January Reading Total = 1413 pages (11%)

February Reading Total =1442 pages (11%)

2014 Reading Total =  2855 pages (22%)

Movies/TV

4. Philomena

  • Date Watched: 06/02/2014
  • Book Adaption:  Yes (Haven’t read it and probably wont as the subject matter makes me mad!)
  • Stars: 4 (The portrayal of the two main characters and the fact that neither were sugar coated made this film)

5. Coriolanus (NT Live)

  • Date Watched: 22/02/2014
  • Book Adaption: It’s Shakespeare’s play performed as a play and filmed (I haven’t read or studied it or even known its name)
  • Stars: 4 (For a play described as one of the more difficult to understand and get into this adaption was excellent – though I know there is stuff I missed or didn’t understand I still enjoyed it and stayed with the play the entire way).

6. Gravity

  • Date Watched: 25/02/2014
  • Book Adaption: No (finally!)
  • Stars: 5 (Yeah this film was watchable, emotional and visually stunning)

Miscellaneous

2. Miranda Hart

  • Date Attended: 10/02/2014
  • OMG such fun! Miranda on stage in standup was just as good as her tv series. (Which is a relief as I talked people into coming with me).

3. MTC Private Lives by Noel Coward

  • Date Attended: 20/02/2014
  • I’d forgotten how much I love the witty use of language Noel Coward employs and how much I love a romantic relationship drama, all out brawls included.
  • The sets were amazing and the use of modern pop songs really suited this play and made you realise that the story could have been set now.

4. White Night

  • Date Attended: 22/02/2014 (yep same day as Coriolanus)
  • Not really sure what to say about this but that I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to find myself immersed in art installations and not worrying about having the right artistic response or expecting to be kicked out as an imposter. I just enjoyed the different experiences.

5. One entire draft of a short story completed and work shopped. And I still like the story post workshop so that’s got to be a good sign!

6. Return to pottery class.

When I sat down to write this I was worried that I hadn’t achieved much this month but in fact it is the complete opposite.

Note: I’m continuing the numbering from the beginning of January for each set of events.

January 2014 Culture Consumed

One of my favourite podcasts, Galactic Suburbia, has a section in each episode called Culture Consumed where the three hosts discuss what they have been reading, watching or other form of relevant cultural activity between episodes. I really like the idea of a wrap up of cultural experiences so plan to do one each month for my blog (and much prefer the title of culture consumed than wrap-up). Sadly there was no Galactic Suburbia episode for January but there is for February and you should totally go listen.

Below is my January reading and watching-ness.

Books

1. Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

  • Finish Date: 07/01/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Release Date: 27/09/2012
  • Pages: 505 (364 read in 2014)
  • Goodreads Stars: 3 stars (apparently I’m uncharitable :-p).

2. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

  • Finish Date: 14/01/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Release Date: 1934
  • Pages: 221
  • Goodreads Stars: 4 Stars

3. Walking Shadows by Narelle Harris

  • Finish Date: 19/01/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper
  • Publisher: Clan Destine Press
  • Release Date: June 2012
  • Pages: 327
  • Goodreads Stars: 4 stars

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth

  • Finish Date: 26/01/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Ebook
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Release Date: 03/05/2011
  • Pages: 501
  • Goodreads Stars: 3 stars (I had worldbuilding issues despite the rollicking story)

In Addition (Short Stories)

1. Singing my sister down by Margo Lanagan

  • Finish Date: 11/01/2014
  • Paper or Ebook: Paper
  • Publisher: Allen and Unwin
  • Release Date: 2004
  • Pages: 14
  • Goodreads Stars: 5 stars

January Reading Total = 1413 pages (11%)

Movies/TV

1. The Book Thief

  • Date Watched: 09/01/2014
  • Book Adaption:  Yes (I read the book in December 2013)
  • Stars: 3.5 (I preferred the book but it was still a solid film)

2. The Railway Man

  • Date Watched: 23/01/2014
  • Book Adaption: Yes (I have not read this)
  • Stars: 4 (Gripping emotional true life story).

3. The Closer Season 1

  • Date Watched: Some time in January
  • Genre: Police Procedural/Crime Drama
  • Date released: 2005
  • Stars: 5 (Love this series so much)

Miscellaneous

1. Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

  • Date Attended: 31/01/2014 (Just scraped in for January).
  • Peter Davidson as MC and super weird/funny/awesome prerecorded video from Tom Baker are Doctor Who awesomeness.