As the season of extreme cosiness digs its (soft) claws into us all, I’ve found myself truly enjoying a little bit of downtime each evening. Whilst I usually devote an evening or two plus a weekend afternoon to blogging and getting ~content~ for Instagram, I’ve gotten into a great groove of reading, watching and listening to so much great stuff recently. Let’s dig into everything that I’m thoroughly enjoying for one hell of a relaxing autumn.
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Of course I’m currently reading The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. Released in early October, it’s the second book in a trilogy and is a follow-up trilogy to the His Dark Materials series. I’m surprised I’m still reading this as I imagined I would’ve flown through this, but I was of course away for a week in October and didn’t want to pack such a huge book for poolside reading. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get the time to make some good progress with this, but I am loving The Secret Commonwealth so far. It’s the perfect mix of fantasy and reality, set in a parallel version of Oxford.
I’m also embarking on a reread of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. After the disappointing series finale, I wanted to reclaim some of the original magic – because the series wasn’t entirely awful! – by rereading the books. And I must say A Game of Thrones is even better than I remembered. For some reason I only gave it three stars on my first read (according to Goodreads), but I’m flying through it on this reread and am thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in the world of Westeros. Finally, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge is a standout recent read. It’s definitely a tough read: the content is raw and real, and even as someone who identifies as an ally for anti-racism, it brought to light how much more needs to be done and my personal impact as a WOC. Highly, highly recommend.
After a long, long period of solely watching and rewatching Friends and Gilmore Girls, I’ve managed to slowly branch back out! I tend to watch and rewatch these series for comfort; I definitely have some sort of commitment issue around starting new series at the moment, which is odd considering I could bash through an entire anime or K-drama within a matter of days previously. Weekend evenings spent luxuriating in front of Strictly Come Dancing is definitely having a positive impact!
Much like most of the bookish community, I’m thrilled that His Dark Materials has finally arrived on BBC One. This TV adaptation has been widely anticipated and it lived up to its hype, premiering on Sunday night. It erases the ‘work’ of The Golden Compass and feels like a warm hug, almost parallel to my own conjured multiverse when I first read the books as a kid. Loved it! It’s on iPlayer if you need to catch up. I’m also watching Atypical, whose third season launched on Netflix at the weekend. I adored the first two seasons: it’s such a heartwarming, lovable and informative peek into life as a person diagnosed with autism.
For series more serious, I finally joined the modern world and have started watching The Handmaid’s Tale! I read The Testaments by Margaret Atwood earlier in the month and as I hadn’t read the first, thought it’d be an apt time to plunge into the series. I mean… it’s heavy stuff, isn’t it? But I’m fully immersed and adore the moody vignettes, the brilliant plot and the way it makes you question every corner and crevice of modern life. On the flipside, 60 Days In is a really fascinating study into prison life. Participants (innocent) are put into jail for 60 days to feed information back to correctional officers regarding prison life and how it could be improved. It’s a really addictive and easy watch, although some of the participants are absolutely abhorrent. Find it on Netflix.
I recently shared a post featuring five of the podcasts I’m loving at the moment, but on top of those I’m also obsessed with a few more. It’s really easy for me to get through podcast episodes because I pop them on in the background when I’m working, I listen to them before bed to wind down (and avoid screen time!), and also when I’m working out.
Hand in hand with the premiere of His Dark Materials, Dust Busters is the unofficial episode-by-episode companion podcast. I listened to the first episode yesterday and really enjoyed it; it’s one that’ll be great for both long-time fans and newbies to the series as the hosts have similarly loved it or never read the books. They’ll also feature guests throughout, if you enjoy those sorts of formats.
For some reason, until I watched Strictly Come Dancing this season, I didn’t really know who Chris Ramsey was. (Sorry.) But something clicked and I remembered that Rebecca adores his podcast that he hosts with his wife, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed. I now have SO many episodes to dive into, but I guarantee that you’ll never be short of a laugh when listening to this. The relationship he has with Rosie is just wonderful and I adore listening to them bicker, complain and joke around; you can practically hear their chemistry fizzing away.
What are you reading, watching and listening to lately?