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?

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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?

Review: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

A contemporary coming-of-age that is filled with gaming jargon and screams “geek”? I’d reread the heck out of this!

impossible-fortress-synopsis

You know how, in life, two series of unconnected events somehow become relevant to each other? I’d love Rekulak to explain to me how a plan to steal a magazine perfectly align with the protagonist meeting a fellow coder. The book narrated the storyline so well that just upon retrospection did I realize this.

This was a quick read for me- as all contemporaries are- and while it was very regular in setting with its boy meets girl concept, it stands out for its unique, realistic characters and for how it champions geeks- clueless, asocial and all.

One of the reasons I would recommend this to Ready Player One fans is because of how technical the book gets. While it isn’t set in a different world nor does it have elements of fantasy, The Impossible Fortress is the back end of what is RP1. It’s a story about video game developers. Moreover, being set in the 80s makes you wonder if this could be a glimpse into the Oasis (RP1 game) creator’s world.

impossible-fortress

This book totally made me want to learn coding. So much so that I’ve signed up for a couple of courses online.

Which contemporary book is on the top of your list? Any book made you pick up a new hobby?

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

You’ve never encountered video games in such a surreal, larger than reality setting.

rp1-synopsis

Where do I begin?! Forget what dystopia has meant to you conventionally; this book redefines it. Unlike our archetypal dystopian fiction where they save the world from a tyrant while falling in love, this book is a reread worthy, video game based masterpiece. Our main character establishes how messed up the world is in the year 2044 and, despite my prenotions when introduced to this ruin of a future, the book does not try to save it. Such instances prove how sensible the book is and takes a route few books in this sub-genre follow.

As I began the book, I had no clue that, by the second chapter, I would nosedive into a universe so magnified in (just) words that I experienced exactly what our main character felt. If you ever watched Interstellar or Gravity, you would have experienced a moment where you felt suffocated by the space and how real and touchable the virtual worlds felt. At one point of this book, that’s exactly what I went through. I imagined myself on those very quests. Not many stories can transport you into their worlds as Ready Player One did. The Night Circus was the last book that pulled me in like this.

rp1-infographic

This year has just started but I bet that Ready Player One will feature in my favorites list at the end of the year. I don’t think I’m alone with my sentiments since everyone I’ve spoken to has connected to the book. With its movie in the works, I can’t wait for people to discover and discuss the various elements that flow through this story. On a related note, I’m hoping there’s a sequel novel to this or even just a spin-off set in the same world.

Ready Blogger One V. 04

(At this point, I’m running out of titles)

Yes, I have been away from the blog for too long. Yes, I promised to have loads of content. Yes, I disappointed myself. We need a superlative for procrastinator. But for real, I have a a concise explanation why I haven’t been around and also, looking ahead.

Reading Last Year

My reading challenge in 2016  was for 1 book since I didn’t want to pressure myself and instead, have fun reading. YET,  through the year, I made myself schedule time in- literally jot down 11pm as “read”- so that I would actually do it. I was super busy and pressuring myself didn’t help. When I checked in on Goodreads at the end of the year, I had read only 11 books.yearinbooks

ELEVEN. BOOKS. I was ashamed. Despite my love for reading, 2016 made me go through  too many plot twists to actually read fictional ones. But hey, second week of 2017 and I started my second book already which, I think, reflects well on this year.

So What Have I Been Doing?

I’ve picked up a lot of freelance work- that are based on writing, photography or social media content. Juggling college with 4 to 5 projects while volunteering is proving to be difficult but I’m too ambitious and stubborn to slow down. I’m also doing courses online to brush up my skills- in writing and design. I think that there’s always room for improvement.

Last year was more focused on being the best at the task at hand and mastering them while managing time effectively. There were a lot of stressful moments, too many weddings and social events, too much weighing out my decisions. I think I found a balance by the end of the year so phew!

WHAT’S NEXT ON THE BLOG?

When the new year rolled in, I looked at what I wanted to let go and what I needed to prioritize on. From the list, one thing that made me happy that I felt I needed more in my life were books and blogging. So guess who’s scheduled an unconventional review and a discussion post which has been a draft for two years?!finWhat have you been up to? Bloggers, which was the best post you published last year?

Confidence: A No Show

November 9, 2015

Lately, I’ve wanted confidence in an IV up my arm. Why am I so hesitant with every decision, every idea I have? These doubts just keep on piling.

This may not be a good idea.

11 June, 2016

I first made this draft last year. I had no clue where I was going with it- and really, it sounds like it would have been a bucket of negativity- but what struck me was how much my confidence has grown. It was fickle and tiny and hid away in fear every other day. Now, just a year in, my confidence has branched out, strong and definitely stable.

The end of last year was quite a roller coaster, but I pulled through. By the time January rolled in, I had realized an important hack. I’m not sure where I read it but I bet it was Tumblr. I imbibed it and lived by it since then.

It’s impossible to tell the difference between genuine confidence and faking it.

Which really just means picking up this simple habit.

Here’s Bucky’s stellar lesson. Repeat after him.

Yes, this post marks my return to book blogging. I missed this community and oh man, READING! I’m carving out some much needed reading time and requesting life for some downtime. (The Raven King is lying in my Kindle, glaring at me.) But till then, let me leave you with some more sparkly confidence.

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Stereotypes 101: Bugs in My Contemporary

I recently read a book whose stereotypes frustrated me, raved to Sana and Maraia about it and when that didn’t suffice, I came up with a post series to blow off some steam!

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.

I love a light contemporary on those hectic days I have no time to get emotional over fantasy. I’m not one to get coy about how I read fluffy books but I am a stickler for my books to reflect a certain standard in plot and character. I’ve had too many instances when I pick up a contemporary as a break between an epic fantasy and end up stuck with a story that approve shitty behavior.

The bad boy/ the mystery boy

Listen, I love a troubled guy with an ink sleeve as much as the next person but please stop and think how tired this trope must be? It’s so worn out, it’s not even interesting anymore. So many books feature this ridiculous character to add colour and flair to the story. It isn’t the guy I have a problem with as much as it is how flat and sans personality he is made out to be.
Books That Discard It: Simon VS The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Makeover

Let’s focus on the root problem. Cinderella brought this over from the dark side. But surely, this 300 year old trope can’t still exist?! Wrong! While it may not be overused, I bet that the few books that do work this stereotype are enough mess with female readers’ heads and make them feel like they aren’t good enough. And we wonder why girls have a complex about their looks.
Books That Discard It: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cheating

Urgh, no. Not even a kiss. Not even if the person in the relationship runs away after and the other person mumbles apologies. This basically shows how little the third person is valued by his/her significant other. How is it okay for book characters to get together if the same situation would be viewed horribly in real life?! There may be books that use it as a reflection of life or to prove a valid book. But it will never ever be appropriate to write in cheating for the sake of it and using it as a way to progress your plot or as a plot twist is just

Damsel in Distress

Yes, women can get emotional and sometimes, have trouble lifting heavy things. But, our sensitivity is a catharsis and books need to use this as a tool to bring out the bolder us (just like in real life). So, if a guy rolls in just in time to comfort the girl, proudly call bullshit on that. And fast.
Books that Discard It: Glory O’ Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King.

What stereotype(s) in contemporary have you steaming? Rant away in the comments!