February Spotlight 2023
As we slowly get closer to the spring, here are some tips on what to read, listen to or stream.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus arrives without any warnings, one day its just simply there, with not warning. It is just appeared out of thin air. Le Cirque des Rêves, it is called and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, there is a bigger game at play, one that has stretched over years, between two magicians who were trained from childhood for this very purpose.
Celia and Marco. Two powerful magicians in their own way, are playing a game which will only leave one of them standing. A fact that is unknown to them. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
I have to say I have had this book on my shelves for *years*, and just never really got to it. However, it is on the fantasy list, so I figured it was time to pick it up and read on. I am almost halfway through it, and I am fascinated. It is a strange read, intriguing and slow at the same time. At this point, it might be a bit too slow for my taste, but I am still intrigued by this plot that I am reading on. I am not entirely sure what to make of it yet. But we will see!
The Last of Us (HBO)
After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity’s last hope. It is an adaptation of the action-adventure game from 2013 that is insanely popular. I have never played the game myself, but loved the soundtrack and from what I've seen I was intrigued enough to watch it. So far, its one of the best series of 2023! Highly recommended.
The Newsroom (HBO)
Is it possible to produce a good TV news show and make it popular at the same time? That's the question facing volatile cable-news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the ideological staff is trying to do, in a world where the news no longer tell the truth.
This is a rewatch for me, I really loved it the first time around and found myself going back to it after having discussions with friends about which shows we missed. This one was on my top 10 list.
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds - black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors - before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone...
I am currently on a short break from podcasts, but I am listening to a Terry Pratchett book: The Wee Free Men. What a delightful and fun read this is! The narrator is amazing and its the perfect Discworld book in between the punches.
Self-Care & Mental Health: What to do when your schedule is too busy
My focus this month has actually been to get back into a calmer routine after the pandemic. Somehow I feel that it has taken until now, before life turned back to normal - or a new normal. My calendar is pretty much booked to the brim these days and I have been running a lot lately, trying to catch up with, training, work, friends and family.
One self-care habit that I learned through the pandemic was how to slow down. After I noticed I'm stressing out over everything again, I booked myself some personal time in my calendar to make sure I at least have two nights with no plans. Just me. To do whatever I please. I can read, knit, paint or simply just lie on the sofa scrolling TikTok. It does not really matter, as long as I have some downtime for myself.
It is hard, because I do want to do "everything". At the same time, I do need time to just relax and maybe even get bored. For the past three weeks, I have picked a day, where I review the week I had, what my plans are for the coming weeks and then I decide which days are going to be just for me. It can be hard. Nevertheless, it is worth it. It is easy to forget that you need to gather your own energy, before you can give it to others.
I find that I am looking forward to the days I have carved out some personal time, as I know I can wind down, find some mindfulness and maybe even be a little more creative.
One thing that has helped my mental health a lot is being creative. Knitting or drawing have been the two major things for last year, but this year I discovered gouache. So naturally I have thrown myself into it, trying to master this creative outlet. It is a bit easier than watercolor, but it does have its own challenges. The peace of mind it brings, is something I have come to really appreciate and there is a mindfullness to being creative. It is a safe space. You can push boundaries, try something new, something crazy, make mistakes, start all over again or just let go and see what happens.
In the words of Henri Matisse
“Creativity takes courage.”
This blog post was written by Gabriela Saez. You can follow her reviews on Instagram @bookstrider