May seems to be a very creative month I see. On Twitter, I see loads of different drawing challenges. I was even contemplating partaking in #Mermay but I can barely draw humans so mythical creatures might be a step too far. However, my sister informed me of #Maysia! Maysia is a month long event aimed at Asian creatives to create anything with their chosen medium. I’ll embed one of the organiser’s tweet so you can find more information!
I mentioned before that I got an iPad for my birthday in March so I’ve been slowly practising and figuring out my own personal style. Maysia is a lot of fun because I’m trying really hard to branch out and try different styles as I go down the prompts. I’m sharing my art on Twitter, but I would it would be fun to also share it here on the blog as well! I’ll be posting my art in weekly updates! I draw using my iPad and the app Procreate!
Day One: Self-portrait
My sister told me about the event May 2nd so I had to rush my first two posts so I don’t fall behind! I seem to fall back on this pose a lot in my drawings especially if I’m working without a reference. Check out the embed below to see the entire Twitter thread!
I was not a fan of Jaigirdar’s debut, The Henna Wars, so I wasn’t expecting too much when I went into Hani and Ishu. But I was thoroughly surprised. Adiba Jaigirdar has improved a lot in her writing and story-telling! It was so sweet and fun! I even drew some fanart of Hani and Ishu!
June Hur’s newest book was released in April! I’ve been following her on twitter for quite some time now so I decided to finally get down and read her debut book! Korean period dramas have always been fascinating to me because the history is really interesting, and Bones was really thrilling! It reminded me of a K-drama I watched a few years back because of Cha Eunwoo. (Rookie Historian Goo Haeryung) The drama was rooted more in fantasy, but the plot elements were similar which I really enjoyed.
During February, I managed to read 5 books! This month has basically been revolved around looking for a new job, which has damped my reading mood. My current TBR is mainly fantasy books which has sort of pushed me into a reading slump right now because I feel like I’m not in the mindset to properly appreciate the details in them. Plus, I’ve slowly fallen into the JJK (jujutsu kaisen) fandom so that’s my current brain rot right now. And SK8 the Infinity.
Jujutsu Kaisen (volume 0 -> current chapter) by Gege Akutami – I started watching the anime earlier this year because of a Tik Tok, and when I tell you, I’ve never been so obsessed with something so quickly. Even my cousin was shocked to see that I had read all the chapter so quickly. I absolutely adored this manga, from the art to the fight scenes, and the story is just so well-done!
Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan – Look out for this one when it’s released! I’m trying to get myself back into reading contemporary novels and CDWY was a great one. So, so sweet!
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – From my upcoming review: “Gossip Girl meets Get Out in this dangerous debut that highlights everyday and institutional racism. It is intriguing and well written. It takes you on one hell of a ride as it challenges white supremacy embedded in academia.”
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – A standout debut! Quite possibly the best book I will read this year! A fantastic reimagining of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – As I mentioned, my onslaught of fantasy books I’m reading right now ended up causing me to feel really overwhelmed. So I randomly went through my contemporary TBR and picked this one out at random! I absolutely loved The Poet X, so it was no surprised that I enjoyed Clap When You Land as well!
Check out Saniya’s first discussion post about re-reading books! Personally, I would love to re-read some of my favourite books but time is never on my side. Plus, like Saniya, part of me fears that the magic from the first read just isn’t there anymore.
I don’t read Middle Grade often unless it’s from an author I’m familiar with but The Quiet Pond never fails when it comes to recommendations! I’m really interested in Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston!
I’m obsessed with the Brown sisters trilogy so I just wanted to share Riza’s review of the second book in the series!
That’s it for this month! Tell me what went on in YOUR life this month! What sort of things was important for you this month? New obsessions? New TV shows? Or book? Any new song recs (I’m always open to new music!)? Best books you read this month?
I actually surprised myself by reading 15 books this month. I have never read this much in a month, but I chalk it up to the UK being on its third lockdown. And now that I’ve graduated, all I can do it look for graduate jobs and read. It feel weird having this much time to read, but I quite enjoyed most of the books I read this month!
Six of Crows – I have finally read Six of Crows! I had bought a copy back when it was released but I hadn’t finished the Grisha Trilogy yet. So this book slowly fell down my TBR list because I had taken so long to read the first series. I didn’t like the trilogy that much, but I can definitely see the improvement in SOC. Pray I don’t take four years to read its sequel.
Loveboat, Taipei – I have really surprised myself this year with reading more contemporary novels and actually enjoying them for once! Loveboat was so good!
The Chosen – Eh, a little disappointing considering I have enjoyed reading Matharu’s previous series with my cousin.
Remnants of the Atonement – First DNF of the year 😦 I requested an arc because of a reddit post, but now I feel like I’ve been bamboozled.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown – “Yours, Red.” Two damn words and I was a MESS. Damn, who is this person I’ve become that suddenly enjoys contemporary.
The Song of Achilles (RE-READ) – I have been playing too much of Supergiant’s Hades. I’ve been desperately trying to reunite Patroclus and Achilles in-game, but it’s hard because I can never seem to find the room where Patroclus can be found.
I was contemplating writing this post for a while because as I reflected on this year, I felt very underwhelmed about this whole year that it almost didn’t feel worth it. But I thought, “you know what, f— it let’s look back at this mess of a year.” I haven’t even written a monthly rewind post in over a year; my reading challenge was in shambles. While it’s been one stressful year, I’ve felt pretty much disappointed in myself throughout, so I thought reflecting would be a great way to make me more accountable and strive to do better for the next year.
L I F E
I began this year buried under paperwork; my Snapchat memories tell me I was quite literally spending the first days of 2020 in the library, working on my dissertation. In between crying over my mess of a dissertation, I worked part-time and prepared for post-grad life. I realise I never really spoke about my university experience here, apart from mentioning that I attend one. But I studied BA Sociology at university. My university experience was relatively lacklustre, I struggled quite mentally through the three years, and my course had its ups and downs. But I was quite pleased with my final dissertation. It was titled “Devout, devoid, and everything in-between”: Challenging stereotypical portrayals in select Young Adult Contemporary novels.” It was a thematic analysis examining three young adult novels on two interrelated aims: exploring media representation of Muslims and Islam and examining theoretical ideas on how societal perception of Islam affects Muslims’ portrayal. As I near my sixth anniversary of this site, I don’t think seventeen-year-old me would have ever thought this random passion blog would have ever affected my life to the point where I would write a whole dissertation based on my experience and work on the internet.
And I think like most people this year, as we all entered various forms of lockdown, my energy to do more quickly dwindled. During the UK’s first lockdown, I spend hours writing my dissertation while spending the nights playing Animal Crossing and Kingdom Hearts. Here in the UK, we have gone through multiple lockdowns already, now following a tier system. As I write this, I’m currently furloughed in a tier 4 city. I’m glad I’m able to stay safe at home, but I can’t help but feel sad about the effect this year has had on my productivity and mental state. I was so sure I would smash my reading challenge, catch up on all my arcs, and finally create more content.
I was so prepared to apply for all these work experiences and internships. But this year has reminded me to take things slow, and it’s okay not to be productive all the time. I graduated with a 1st in my degree. It was such an exciting achievement for me notably because I’ve never achieved high grades all my life, hovering around the Bs and Cs from secondary school to college and partially through university. My mental state wasn’t all great during university, I was worried that I wouldn’t even pass with a 2:1 at one point, but I’m grateful I managed to pull through in the end. It’s a shame I won’t have a proper graduation, but I’m just thankful to have pulled through in the end.
Since I had family over my house for most of this month, I unfortunately didn’t get to read as much as I wanted. A pro to living by the sea is that it’s often a highlight to my cousins who all live in London. I went to the beach more times in this month than I did in the past year. 😂 I also ended up taking a walk by the Seven Sisters as well which was pretty cool since I haven’t been there since a primary school trip. And, lastly, an ARTBOX café opened up in Brighton and I’M IN LOVE! If you don’t know what ARTBOX is, it’s basically a character café where for a couple of months they focus on one particularly character. And for their opening, it was PUSHEEN! I’ll post some of my highlight pictures from this month below!