Plot Twist: Adulthood

You thought that my absence on the blog was astonishing? Wait till you hear about how I haven’t read a book in two months.

I can just imagine your virtual faces.

Let me explain. I adore reading and can’t go a day without writing and the fact that I have two blogs- albeit ones that I only dream of updating routinely- is proof of this. But having only a few months left before I graduate, and with the outside world being so competitive, I put aside my hobbies (cue tears) and put all my energy into working, polishing my skills and brightening up my resume. I was juggling multiple tasks and taking up more responsibility than I should. All the while, scraping through college. Now that my semester exams are near and my workload has relaxed, I can come back to my first love.

7 YEARS AND COUNTING

Holy. Do you see the year? It’s 2017! I recently realised that I’ve been around this community for seven years- on and off- and I’m still shocked. How fast does time travel? I look back and I see how much I’ve grown, my confidence, and how well I can cope with my mind shadows, to put it eloquently, and it’s all thanks to this community’s unwavering love and support. So thank you! *showers you with confetti*

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT

Here’s a miscellaneous list of things I’m looking forward to in the next two and a half months.

  1. The upcoming Ready Player One movie. WHAAA. I can’t even fathom the brilliance of this movie, especially with Steven Speilberg as the director. Still a tad bit sceptical but mostly with high hopes.
  2. Back into podcasts. My obsession with podcasts faltered mid-2017 but I’m back to listening to them obsessively. Some of my favourites are On Brand and Welcome to Night Vale (as always).
  3. New freelance projects. I love brainstorming and creating the most innovative projects and when it involves building campaigns and brands, it’s all the more interesting. Some interesting projects coming up in the upcoming months and I can’t wait to work on them.
  4. Content for Tales in Transit. As soon as my semester exams are over, I’m launching into churning out content for my travel and culture blog, a task that has been pending for a few months.
  5. A secret writer-centric project. I just started and it’ll be up and ready in three weeks. It’s something I took up because A) I believe this will make things easier for writers and B) It’ll put me in the zone to start my novel.

Hope you got a peek into what I’m up to. I know, I’m juggling a billion things. How do I manage it all, you ask?

Committed to black coffee.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR LITERARY HEAD?

I’ll definitely be posting here, with sporadic reviews and lists. Slowly but surely. Maybe I’ll also do more of such life check-in posts? What do you think?

How are you doing? I probably haven’t spoken to you in ages! Let’s catch up on twitter or down in the comments. If you wrote something interesting, link below and I’ll shower it with love.

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An Ode to Rick and Morty

You may assume that Rick and Morty is just an animated show, that it’s mediocre because it’s just animated. Many people are confused and deny that the show could be that great. But then they watch it and the same people are gobsmacked by the show’s brilliance. And that brilliance is partly because of its animation, which gives the creators flexibility when portraying the world.

The show is about a 14-year old boy who goes along with the adventures of his genius but rather immoral grandfather. The duo travel through time and the galaxy, encountering various life forms and getting in the way of galactic authorities. It’s a great spin on sci-fi and for me, it’s reminiscent to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Even then, Rick and Morty is a unique concept that won’t fail to amaze you. The new episode that recently came out had a fresh and authentic storyline, one that was so impressive that I wish I was one of its writers.

What makes it so great? Let me dive into a few of the best elements of this show. I would cover all of them but this post would go on forever.

Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez is the grandfather/ scientist and his personality deems him to be one of the best characters to analyse. He is horrible but you can’t just label him as a bad person. Similar to many layered characters on TV, like Don Draper and Walter White, he is his own kind of unhealthy, macho male, twisted character. And I have reasons to say so.

1) He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Not even the planet.

2) Any selfless act he ever does is, ultimately, for his own gain.

3) Despite his obvious lack of attachment, he still helps out when it comes to putting out (metaphorical) fires.

4) The longest debate is whether he truly loves Morty and the rest of the family or if he’s using them. This is tricky especially because even when his actions are supposedly good, they always have a twisted objective.

Themes

Science plays a crucial role in the plot. We see interdimensional time travel as well as a portal gun that allows you to move between parallel universe. One of the smartest episodes tackles the rupture of time and the infinite possibilities of results that a single scenario could have. Such scenes reflect the infinite possibilities for our near future and how taking a path slightly different from another can drastically change our lives.

There is a heavy theme of creator and createe. Rick plays God by creating a world that provides to his need. The show also pointed out how humans remove every logic when it comes to faith and religion. In one episode, when humans encountered an alien head, they immediately sank to their knees to worship it, no questions asked.

The show questions the meaning of life but unlike other stories with existential crises, it embraces that void of meaning with positivity. In one episode, after revealing a secret, Morty tells Summer, “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.” This will forever be quoted by R&M fans because of how easily the fact is laid out.

Rick and Morty, is silly, but sometimes, the silliest things shine a light on the most obvious thoughts. The show makes you thankful that you exist in a dimension where R&M is created and you feel more aware of yourself as a person and the impact you have on other people. Like many fans say, this show is better experienced than explained so if you haven’t grabbed this sometimes hilarious, mostly thoughtful, and always relatable show, you better start now. But don’t blame me if you spend a weekday binge-watching the show.

Three of a Kind: Cutesy

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. Here’s something a little more mushy for a light sunday (said the lover of funny science fiction).

READ: Simon VS The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

oreos + adorable protagonist + emails
Highlights: “White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

Simon is the most adorable character ever. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. The book had so much of positive energy and explored Simon coming out and dealing with the different facets of being a teenager in the best way possible.

WATCH: Inside Out

emotions as characters + sweet innocent Joy + life of a 11 year old
Highlights: Train of Thought

Adorable personified, literally. This show captures the workings of the brain in the simplest way possible- through animated characters that represent emotions. It’s so basic in thought yet exploding with creativity in implementation.

Watch: The Secret life of Walter Mitty

adorable shy guy + imaginative life + goes on an adventure
Highlights: Skating in Iceland

There’s a lot of whimsy in this movie and it will make you melt. Walter Mitty is a shy love struck guy who goes on an adventure and finds love. Its innocence and the beauty in the places he visits makes me forget how unrealistic the story is

While cutesy is so not my style, I think these cute stories are worth it. What would you add to this list?

Three of a Kind: Extraordinary Women

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. If you know me, you’ll know that I am in awe of the movie Hidden Figures. This post is to celebrate women just like those.

READ: Warbreaker by BRandon Sanderson

two sisters + color-based fantasy + a sword as a character
Highlights: the character, Lightsong and his sass

While there were main characters besides the sisters, these sisters were the main catalysts to the plot and the real heroes at the end of the book. This epic fantasy knocks every other out of the park. I mean, did I already mention that a sword is a character?

WATCH: Hidden Figures

true story of women at NASA + first woman engineer+ woman who put man in space
Highlights: Fierce trailblazing women

Not only does it show how NASA got its first man into space, but it shows the women behind it, and the adversity they faced to be where they were. I love how the movie talks about the race issue in America and the fact that it’s a true story just adds to its appeal.

Watch: Jessica Jones

heroine with superpower strength + persevered despite PTSD + fierce AF
Highlights: Her fighting skills!

Well produced tv show with the bold Jessica Jones, I haven’t seen a show that portrays internalized thoughts so well. It also addresses abuse and PTSD so bonus points for not trying to glaze over the tough stuff.

Bonus: Scars to your beautiful

I bet there’s a lot more fiction that portray powerful women but my library of read books in this category is tiny. So, what would you recommend?

Stereotypes 101: So Much Time to Love

 Stereotypes 101 is a way for me to blow off some steam caused by the frustrating stereotypes that frequent my pages. Seriously, no amount of insecticide can get rid of these overused ideas.

How do you love? I have only met a handful of books that don’t have romance. While romance isn’t bad, an influx of it at every instance, is annoying. These stereotypes make me wonder if love is even real. (Kidding, have you seen the way I look at my copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?)
Tip: don’t try these archetypal love scenarios. They only work in fiction. But if they work for you, you are a fictional character. Congrats!

Instalove

Love at first sight is the least original way to fall in love. Good for the books that can pull it off. There are very few ways this archetype can been used successfully and it’s very tricky. I would love to see a slow burn romance, to make romance a meaningful element in the story. Show me how they bond and what makes them get along so well. None of this skin-deep love.
Books That Discard It: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

love triangles

Twilight, thanks for this. Why is it fun to watch two guys fight over a girl? I find it so cringeworthy. Imagine trying to pick between the two guys. This is the stuff for sitcoms. For the sake of originality, let this idea go missing this year.

love heals mental illness

Protagonist has a mental illness but as soon as she finds love, she’s much better. When love interest isn’t around, her mental illness plagues here again. LOVE ISN’T A FIX. Repeat after me, NEVER A FIX. Mental illness is not a switch. It creeps up on you in any and every circumstance. Misleading people- especially those who struggle with a mental illness- to think that love is a solution is very shitty.
Books That Discard It: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Love In the Time of Cancer

On the same thought lines as “love heals mental illness”, I find so many books with cancer-diagnosed protagonists that add a love interest to the mix just because it’ll progress the plot. Why?! It’s an easier way to tell a story but c’mon, there are so many ways to look at the protagonist’s story, and their life as an individual. Stop using love to ease the pain. Confront it.
Books that Discard It: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Do any cliched scenarios of fictional romance plague your pages? Vent in the comments!

Three of a Kind: Creepy Reality

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. This week, we look at odd and creepy fiction that’s so close to reality. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a low-key upside down story?

READ: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Library of the dead + strong main character + themes of depression
Highlights: You can smell the haunted vibes in the story.

There’s a thin line between the living and the dead and Schwab has perfectly imagined it. I have never come across a world so vivid with its elements of fantasy that mix well with reality. (I want to say more but oh god, it’s too good to be spoiled)

WATCH: Stranger Things

set in the 80s + scientific mishap + character with absurd powers
Highlights: Upside Down (that’s all I can say)

There’s isn’t much you can say about Stranger Things without spoiling it. There is a lot of scientific exploration that is seen in the show. The themes of familial affection as well as platonic loyalty is my favorite. More shows need to take note!

LISTEN: Welcome to Night Vale

Paranormal shit happens + People take it as normal + weirdest government body
Highlights: There is an eternal animal pier to toss animals that fall out of the sky.

Scores of people have tried to describe this podcast and have failed. In a radio format, this podcast gives a glimpse into the strange town of Night Vale, where newspaper stands sell milk and newly installed dog parks are not allowed for people or dogs.

What odd and creepy books, movies or shows would you recommend?

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Step aside, Harry Potter universe. The next best world building is in town.

If I had to describe the magical aspect of this book with one word, it would be minimalism. I grasped the elements very easily but that doesn’t make it any less incredible. I love how compact the world building is yet, so rich. I always fear that a fantasy novel would take long, descriptive passages that sound like a textbook to explain its history but books like ADSOM really ease that doubt. The book talked about the worlds’ pasts like they were anecdotes. Lightly but not diminishing its seriousness.

World building that is this vivid is remarkable and if I hadn’t read Schwab’s works before, I would be genuinely surprised. Her books have a distinguishable style- that is, to create a world closely knit to reality but with a load of fantasy elements that Schwab sculpted out of thin air.

Let’s inspect these fine characters, shall we? Kell, with a stiff exterior and a complex web of interior. Lila, with her heart made of steel and her knives full of love. Rhys, the ever charming prince who is so much more than that. The character in this series have so much stuff that makes them who they are; layers that define them and help develop them as they proceed.

This series is going to be around for a long time- with the collector’s edition coming up and the TV series that’ll release sometime in the future. And if we run out of that, there are the infinite fan fictions to try (if one is brave enough).

Three of a Kind: No Speed Limits

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. I don’t drive but if I did, these would certainly be the reason I’d have countless speeding tickets.

This post is in honor of the Formula One championships. I’m an avid fan and whee, I can’t wait for the second round tomorrow! (9 April)

READ: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Ronan + cars + racing said cars
Highlights: A hundred white Mitsubishis.

The second book in the series The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves is thrilling AF. Yes, the abundance of cars as well as the chapters with Ronan’s BMW are perfect for this theme but more so, this book has a rush of dark energy that stays with you long after your read.

WATCH: Mad Max: Fury Road

Violence while driving + racing through the desert + big bulky monster automobiles
Highlights: So. Many. Stunts.

I love the characters and how gritty the entire movie is. It’s a chase across the apocalypse ridden land. The monster-like automobiles are so cool and the violence that ensues between the chase is excellent.

LISTEN: Songs by Halsey

Drive + Gasoline + Hurricane
Highlights: “All we do is drive”

While her newer songs are so not my style, her album Badlands is perfect for this set. There’s a lot of adrenaline in the songs and with titles like Drive and Gasoline, the mood is set.

What would you add to these clutch burning numbers?

Prescription for a Reading Slump

Reading Slump [n]

A sudden severe or prolonged loss of interest in reading, with or without reason. The experience varies for each reader who experiences it.


We’ve been there. The dire drought of literature in our minds, the absence of fantasy or character bromance in your heart. But no amount of persuasion or force will give you the strength to pick up a book. Sometimes it’s caused by a rotten book. Some instances, you pick up the slump after reading your next favorite book. Sadly, this happens more often than not when life is pretty rocky for you.

It sucks. I’ve been down this road too many a times. Here are a few ways that have helped me to tackle this Monstrous Fiction Blocker (trademarking this, for sure).
note: I do not consider myself a specialist. These techniques have helped me personally and I hope it helps you too.

Read Your Darlings

Pick up your favorite book ever and slowly immerse yourself. You already know what happens so you’ll be relaxed and reliving the exciting moments from the book. Reminding yourself what made you fall in love with reading in the first place can help to revive feeling in your reading limbs. 

Pick Up a Light Read

This is my way to not think and just read for the sake of it. I usually pick up contemporary romance books- the cutesy ones that don’t require me to invest my emotions into. This keeps my expectations low. While there is trouble in starting the book, the rest is smooth sailing and before you know it, you’re back to your scheduled TBR.

Try a New Genre

You’d be surprised how a new genre can light up your brain. When picking up a genre you usually never touch, your brain can’t fathom how absurd the action is, lighting up your thinking cogs.  In essence, surprise yourself.
I picked up this idea when I heard about the whole concept that your brain is usually on autopilot and anything new makes you pull the emergency brake.

Indulge in FAN FICTION

Embarrassing as it might be, it’s fun to see alternative realities of familiar worlds. It’ll either be enjoyable or it’ll be so repulsive (like the Draco Malfoy and Apple fan fiction) that you will question everything you know and get back to fiction that won’t creep you out.

Let It Go

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a problem is letting it go. Seriously, try a new hobby, or watch videos or binge watch that show you’ve always wanted to. Destress yourself and come back to reading with a fresher mind.

Reading slumps rob you from the joy you’d only get from devouring books. I hope that these tips have been helpful.

Do you have any tricks to tackle your reading slumps? Tell me your secret!

Three of a Kind: Strange Worlds

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. Starting the series with Strange Worlds because science fiction is my jam!

READ: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam

Space + odd characters + a guide to space travel
Highlights: Towels are important in this world.

It starts with the world ending. Douglas Adam makes such vivid worlds and doesn’t miss a chance to poke fun at the oddities of Earth through good ol’ alien interactions. The rulebook ties it together. The imaginative world(s) in this book know no boundaries.

WATCH: Rick and Morty

Time and space travel + alternate realities + scientist grandfather
Highlights: An infinite number of alternate realities exist.

Rick and Morty is an animated show about a scientist and his grandson. What I love about the show is the sociopathic tendencies of the scientist and how it explores parallel universe, time travel and more. This is only a glimpse of the mind-blowing concepts the show reaches into.

LISTEN: SONGS BY DAVID BOWIE

Space Oddity + Ziggy Stardust + Moonage Daydream
Highlights: Goes perfectly with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I recommend everything by David Bowie. Upbeat, his music is full of life and sets the scene for you while reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Any strange worlds you think would fit the bill? Tell me about it!

Launching this series after a month of fidgeting and planning. It was so much fun writing this and the upcoming ones in the series. I would love your suggestions and topics for future Three of a Kind posts. What would you like to see?