My favourite things this week! (Shoutout Saturday)

Hello! Greetings! Welcome to my blog. So, after consuming media at an alarming rate for the past two weeks, I am back, and armed with some spicy, fresh content. Please enjoy.

Wings of Fire: Dragonslayer

So, in case this is for some reason the first post of mine you ever read (if it is, welcome by the way, I’m so glad you stopped by my little corner of the internet, I hope you like it!) I’m total trash for the Wings of Fire series. (Cool worldbuilding! Found family! Character-driven fantasy! Dragons! Childhood nostalgia value!)

Anyway, this is a book in that series, and I think it’s better if you’ve read all the other books, but you could totally read it as a stand-alone if you wanted to. It came out back in February, while I was really sick with the flu. I remember my mom woke me up from a nap when it arrived, and I read the whole thing cover-to-cover with a really bad fever, and went back to sleep, very tired and done with being a person. I reread it a few days later in a clearer headspace, but I was still a little sick, and then lockdown happened and I got really depressed, and I never had the chance to get really into this book like I usually do with this series. But now that I am not sick, and in a sorta-better headspace, I decided to reread it, and totally fell into the Wings of Fire hole.

Normally, the WOF books are told from the perspectives of the dragons who rule over the continent of Pyrrhia, and it’s epic, but this book is from the perspective of the humans who live there too, and normally just exist in the background. It’s got three different alternating perspectives—Ivy, Leaf, and Wren. They start out as having three completely different stories, but as the books go on they all tie together, which is super cool, I love that trope and wish I had the self-control to pull it off in my stories.

Ivy is the daughter of the Dragonslayer, this sleazy dude who killed a dragon when he was sixteen and now rules over a town for some reason. He’s a pretty awful leader, and gets downright dystopian towards the end. Ivy recognizes her father’s faults from a very young age, and the story goes on, we follow her as she unravels her family’s secrets with her best friends, Daffodil and Violet, it’s awesome.

Wren was sacrificed by her village to the dragons when she was seven years old. But rather than getting eaten, she found an abandoned baby dragon named Sky, and befriended him. Ever since, the two have travelled around the world together, they have a really cute big sister/little brother dynamic, I like them a lot. Her story is has vague themes of learning to trust and let people in again, but also mostly just her and Sky going on adventures and being wonderful.

Leaf, her big brother, has spent his whole life training to avenge Wren–who as far as he knows was randomly eaten by dragons. I don’t know how much more I can explain about him without spoiling his story, but let’s just say it’s about learning to let go of anger, and also realizing that the government doesn’t care about him, and everyone he’s known and trusted his whole life has lied to him about what happened to Wren. It’s a fun time.

Anyway, I don’t know how to explain it more than that—but this book is cool and you should check it out. (And if you do please let me know because I want to scream about it with you.)

Stranger in the Alps

For some reason, about two weeks ago, I started seeing everyone talk about Phoebe Bridgers. I heard her name casually referenced in fandoms I’m in, I saw her music in playlists, and oftentimes the stuff I was seeing was really old, so it was like everyone knew about this person but me and only now my attention was being onto it. And if there is an inside joke going around the internet I can’t apply to my life, I will literally seek out that experience just to be able to make stupid jokes!! About!!! Zoom meetings!!! (Another rant for another time.)

…. Anyway, I listened to this album, it was really cool and inspired me to write a concerning amount of poetry. I really love analyzing song lyrics, I think songwriting is so cool, I’d love to be able to write my own songs someday in the very distant future, and this album has some really cool lyrics. It’s not really comparable to anything I’ve listened to before. All of the songs are pretty melancholy, but also super soothing to listen to. Every time I listen to this album, it’s like I can forget about the world around me for a while, which is nice. It makes me think of walking through a dead autumn meadow, thick fog, empty city streets at night, a beach during a storm… I don’t know, it’s really pretty, you should check it out.

The Glass Hotel

This is one of those books that take a while to get into, but after the first fifty pages, you’re totally hooked. The Glass Hotel follows billionaire Jonathan Alkaitis, after being arrested for running and getting very wealthy off of a decade-long Ponzi scheme, and all the interconnected people affected by that event. As a kid, I was pretty much raised on financial dramas (amongst other things) so this book was right up my alley. It beautifully weaves this web of all these peoples’ lives, and shows how they affect each other. The characters are fascinating, flawed, and real, and it has some of the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a while. For a novel centering around a crime, it feels very calm–as though examining its own events from an outside perspective, with an almost fatalistic attitude, which I thought was really cool.

This is definitely capital-L Literature, if you know what I mean–it uses lots of long words, and it takes some dedication to get into, so if that’s not your cup of tea, this probably isn’t for you. But as a resident useless intellectual, I thought it was really neat.

Also, bonus points, it’s set in my home province, British Columbia, and it captures it really well, which is pleasantly surprising–I don’t think I’ve actually ever read a book set in BC before, at least not that I can remember.

On a Sunbeam

I just got this book out of the library a day ago, and I finished it this morning, and normally I would wait a little while to process before writing about it here, but I just love this book so much, I couldn’t not talk about it.

On a Sunbeam is a graphic novel that follows two timelines in the protagonist, Mia’s life, five years apart. We switch between her life at boarding school as she falls in love with a girl named Grace, only to have her girlfriend suddenly ripped away from her–and post-graduation, as she travels the stars with Alma, Char, Jules, and Elliot, repairing, ancient ruins. It has a really cute wlw romance, found family, and it’s a space opera, so it really ticks all the boxes for me.

It’s sci-fi, but very casual, character-driven sci-fi. There are no ominous aliens or government conspiracies, and the specifics of the world are never fleshed out beyond how they directly affect the characters, giving it a very nebulous, floating feel, which I personally really liked. The futuristic setting is more of a background, a stage for the rest of the story to unfold on.

As well, from a purely aesthetic sense, this book is gorgeous, I had to take a bunch of photos on my phone of my favourite panels for future reference. It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read of date, and it made me really happy, so yeah, you should check it out.


Anyway, that’s about it for this week. I’ll be back next week, hopefully with more recommendations and things to gush about, or maybe some other topic, I don’t know.

Lots of love,

Lorna

bittersweet

fade in: i’m the main character in a teen movie. and i live in a third person paradise, where someone else is always looking out for me. and i’m brave, and pretty, in an effortless kinda way. i stand up for what i believe in. i scream until my lungs bleed out. i make the right decision.

and when i’m lost, i dream of cityscapes, and burning nights, finger on the pulse. reminisce about the good days, when i don’t doubt these hands are mine. and when the world goes silent, sometimes i like to sneak out after dark, and swim across a monotone sky.

i pretend it’s bittersweet; make poetry from this bleak desert wasteland, but no turn of phrase will ever make it pretty. because death is not a friend, it’s not an enemy. it doesn’t give a shit. which is worse, honestly. because i swear, i feel it watching me sometimes like an unpaid debt. i think i’ll bide my time. smell the roses, and get old, or whatever people do.

but my wrists murder me, and the chords ring out fuzzy, the pasta boils over on the stove, and i’m sorry, i’m sorry, i’m sorry. in my head there’s an angle here, a narrative, and as the world burns a part of me is already sitting at my desk, 1:25am, trying to make the lines fit together, like pieces in a puzzle. remember those?

remember swingsets and naivete, and whole world i can’t control? i don’t miss it. i just wish it was different, you know?

smoke

coffee always tastes like a bonfire to me. it slips down my throat, leaving a bitter aftertaste, makes my heart race and palpitate. my jaw clenches, and the back of my skull throbs. but this shit happens sometimes, you know?

you shatter on the cork floor, or stare into the mesmerizing light of the refrigerator. use a whole box of tissues, and cry into your dinner. you watch parks and rec on your phone, for ten minutes or five hours. i don’t know, does it matter?

because i’m just tired. and angry, and lost. so i’ll lash out, like a child, trapped inside ceramic. can you blame me? can you save me? can you get me out of my head, even just for a little bit? give me neat rules and clear definition, tuck me into bed with a cup of chamomile tea, at 9:23pm. exactly.

and when i wake up, blood will cling to the tips of my fingers like the morning dew, and i don’t fucking know what to do. you whisper sweet nothings in my ear, tell me it’ll all get better if i just listen to you. but i’m not a kid anymore. i know it’s not true.

inertia

my wrists snap, and crackle like the static on tv. i scroll through amazon for hours, looking for some miracle cure i can’t afford, to give my life meaning.

and my stomach churns, and my hands flap around aimlessly. i overthink what i see in the mirror, until i don’t know what’s left and what’s right, and it all just sorta blends together. so i run for my life, and i crash into the ground. nick my finger on a bread knife; wake up feeling like i’ve just come back from hell.

and i just kinda… sit there for hours. splash my face with cold water; brew some more tea. scroll through instagram, and daydream about money. about having an apartment, and i don’t know, paying my bills? filing my tax return, putting on some songs, and making myself a mediocre dinner. maybe going on a late-night run to a nearby costco afterwards.

because it means i’m okay. it means i’m all right. and maybe the stars are fading away, maybe the traffic lights flicker and groan, but i survived. and that’s all i can hope for, you know?

and tired, and sad, and cold are not excuses. i have to keep going, i have to do this. but i just can’t stop scrolling. or watching sitcoms on my phone. i collapse on my bed, and wrap myself up in blankets, wishing my ghosts could just leave me alone.

i push a broken car up a hill, all on my own. chug three cups of coffee on the long drive home, and fall asleep at the wheel. the sirens pulse as it all fades out; this can’t be real…