Tuesday, 14 June 2016

I'm getting hooked on ...

Expecting a crochet post are we? I'm afraid you're in for a slight disappointment, undoubtedly the first one you've encountered on this blog (aha not - please, don't leave me!). As ever of course I am hooked on crochet, and knitting and the like, but recently I expanded my geek culture horizons into 3 areas that I hadn't really tried before. And I am obsessed with them all!! Just more things to fill my bursting days with, as if I needed more interests. 

Anyway, I am enjoying them all so much that I thought perhaps you would like to know about them too. I can't recommend enough that you look some of these things up.

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Podcasts

Ben has always loved podcasts and often recommends them to me. He however likes the unknown sciences, conspiracy theories, and thinking outside the box (in terms of the Slender Man, and Big Foot). Not necessarily my cup of tea. I've also tried knitting podcasts in the past, but they are usually visual and I prefer walking and listening. Finally something clicked when Sophie - she of the famous Sophie Cardigan - recommended The Nerdist podcast not so long ago, and from here my spiral into the podcast realm began! I love them!! 

Here are a few that I can't recommend highly enough and everyone should listen to

Anna Faris is Unqualified - this was the first podcast that I really got into, and have listened to every single episode (it's a relatively new podcast so it's easy to catch up). Anna Faris basically chats with Hollywood friends - think Chris Evans, Dave Bautista, Aubrey Plaza and more - along with co-host Sim, and they have a lot of fun! There is some structure to the episodes; some games are played and a call is always taken towards the end - but they end up talking about excellent topics, everyday (and famous) worries and pressures, and the relationship advice they (try) to administer is always really insightful and interesting! It's such a pleasant, genuine, perfect podcast and I always laugh when I listen.

Stuff Mom Never Told You - Soph recommended this to me once it was clear I was into podcasts, and after Anna Faris is Unqualified this is an unequivocal close second favourite. A mixture of history, film studies, cultural studies, politics and more, the hosts look at different (and always interesting) topics centred around female history and culture and I love it! There is plenty you might not have known about 'comfort women' in World War II, about romantic comedies, and even knitting!! The topics are always interesting, the hosts are a delight to listen to, and you are guaranteed to learn something new. 

The Nerdist - another all-star podcast, Chris Hardwick interviews and chats with actors, writers, directors, you name it; on all things nerd! One of the latest episodes with Chuck Lorre and Mayim Bialik is brilliant, and I really recommend looking up Sir Patrick Stewart's episode(s). Another fun, culturally interesting podcast that is a joy for anyone who loves the geeky things I often bring up on this blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Stuff You Missed in History Class - this is from howstuffworks.com, along with Stuff Mom Never Told You. A look into various historical topics from all through history, another podcast guaranteed to teach you something new. An episode from earlier this year was devoted to the history of Crayola - how can you not want to know about that!

I'm also listening to The Black Tapes ('docudrama' - bit of the paranormal, Ben will be proud!), The Stuff of Life, and Rebel Force Radio. I am most definitely hooked on podcasts.

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Free e-books 

I recently signed up to a website called BookBub, a service which recommends free and low priced e-books to you, according to what topics and genres you are interested in. This was a brilliant find via Facebook and I'm reading my third free e-book as a result! I'm finding this is a great resource to fill the gaps when I don't know what to read next, or if I feel I should save some pennies. It should also encourage me to find and try new authors that I wouldn't have otherwise considered. 

So far it's a hit and miss exercise; I first read Frey by Melissa Wright which was abysmal - the writing is bad, the characters are two-dimensional, and the heroine is on a 'quest' (I think, I'm not sure it was very clear!) but it seems like an evil quest because they kill people and seem to relish in it ... worth a go so I can fantasise how to write a better book! Think trashy, easy read, but for fantasy lovers.

Following this I read Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson, and this was amazing! A little complex to begin with (refreshing, following Frey), once I had a better understanding of the culture of the world/lands that the story is set it, I was hooked and simply devoured the book. Added bonus - the story isn't steeped in traditional fantasy culture (western and white) which makes it all the more refreshing and interesting to read. I am both delighted, and worried, to learn that this is the first in a long series - I get to read more, but I have to pay for the rest! At £1.89 per book on the Kindle store though, I am certain I will be purchasing these- even if it defeats the object of my free book exercise. 

Finally, I am giving The Bitches of Everafter by Barabara Annino a go. Its a modern rethinking of 5 well known fairytale princesses, with plenty of other storybook characters thrown in. The 5 are Snow, Aura, Punzie, Cindy, and Bella (I think you can work out who they are!) and are on parole for different crimes. The opening of the book has them all tangled up in something very messy. They are all pretty bad-ass and I'm enjoying the tough, tongue-in-cheek jokes, that any fairytale fan is guaranteed to laugh out loud at. If you like Once Upon a Time, I can see you liking this book as well. 

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Zombies, Run!

Ok, bear with me - exercise. Yuk. I've never managed to keep it up since I was an enthusiastic young martial artist (black belt in Taekwondo, thanks very much). If you read The Twisted Yarn, you will know that Phil likes to run and usually shares lots of fun pictures and hilarious anecdotes about her runs. A few months ago she asked for app recommendations in order to help motivate her running, and someone commented with 'Zombies, Run!'

I LOVE THIS APP - it actually makes me want to go running, which I still find unfathomable. Every run is actually a 'mission', and while you can play your own music, the app plays recorded radio conversations with Sam, who tells you what's happening, where you are running to, that sort of thing. You collect items as you run (announced by an amazing computer voice) to build your township up and it also maps your runs. I love love love this and can't recommend it enough - the missions are gripping enough that I want to run to find out what happens next in the story!!


TL;DR - spend a minute to look up Anna Faris is UnqualifiedBookBub, and Zombies, Run!

Hope you take a minute to check some of these out! What are you hooked on at the moment?

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