December 30, 2011

Discoveries of 2011

I initially typed the title of this post as '2011 Discoveries' and then thought better of it. Nobody wants to read a list that long (hardy har). 2011 has been a fairly transitional year for me. It started out okay (settling into new job with the police), progressed toward crappy (started hating job with the police), and then got a whole lot better (quit job with the police and started writing). I'm choosing to focus on the 'whole lot better' and would therefore dub 2011 as a pretty darn good year over all. 

Along the way I made some new discoveries. I'm not talking discoveries like the New World, penicillin, or the fact that gravity exists. I'm referring to all of those little 'Oooo, cool' moments where I've stumbled across something that I absolutely love and can't get enough of. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the booty I've accumulated over the past year. And henceforth this post will be written in pirate. Arrrr! Scurvy dogs, and whatnot! Yeah, that got old quick.

Discoveries of 2011:
1)  Books/Authors
Seriously, this list could go on for ages but I'll try to reign myself in. Especially since I just did a similar list for Road Trip Wednesday with YA Highway. Not all of these books came out in 2011, but that's when I found them. There are others (obviously) but these are the ones that stick out in my mind:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Anna and the French Kiss AND Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins*
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

2)  TV Shows
Year after year, much of what is introduced as 'new' on TV just seems so 'been done' and lame, that I find myself a little underwhelmed. And really, do we need the plethora of pathetic reality TV shows they keep airing (I loathe reality TV)? Add to that the fact that the shows I do end up liking usually get canned when I'm already hooked (I'm looking at you right now, ABC). Here are a couple that have survived getting the ax (at least so far):

- Downton Abbey on ITV
This is a superbly done British period drama series set in the early-ish 1900s, following the lives of an Earl's family and their servants. This show is movie quality (pretty much the furthest thing you can get from Coronation Street - thank God!) and features seasoned actors like Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville. I pretty much think Julian Fellowes (who also did Becoming Jane) is the man. He's also tackling a TV mini-series of the Titanic which airs this spring to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ship's sinking. Bonus: Now we can collectively scrub our brains of that Leo & Kate stinkwad circa 1997. That's probably a bit harsh. There were some great things about it, like attention to detail in everything but Jack & Rose's story.

- Revenge on ABC
Purportedly inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, this show is an awful lot better than I was expecting. The show's heroine, Emily Thorne, returns to her former home in the Hamptons (many years after leaving and with an assumed name) to exact revenge on the people responsible for framing her father, which led to his ultimate demise, and her life apart from him in juvenile detention. It would be easy to hate Emily, but the show's writers manage to make her sympathetic despite the people falling like dominoes around her as a result of her vengeful machinations. Side note: Doesn't that poster look like the cover of a YA novel?

3)  Music
I've never been the kind of person who listens to the entire discography of a particular artist or band. All too often I like a song here and there, considering the rest of an album to be filler and nothing more. So I'm always happy when I come across artists with songs to add to my playlist (not usually all of their songs, but a few at least). Here are a couple of finds:

- Florence + the Machine (English Indie Pop?)
I'm not crazy about all of Flo's music, but I am totally guilty of practically wearing out Cosmic Love, Never Let Me Go, and best of all, Shake It Out (was there ever a better song by anybody??). These are the types of songs I will unabashedly listen to on repeat until the count is in the double digits. And the best part: I'm still not sick of them. We'll just have to forgive her for having anything to do with the Twilight franchise.

- Mumford & Sons (British Folk Rock)
Turns out I have a thing for banjo music. Who knew? Well, excluding Dueling Banjos, of course (ewww...Deliverance). Particular favourites on Mumford & Sons' album Sigh No More are Little Lion Man (NB: contains expletives) and The Cave, but there are some other good tunes as well.

It's really nice to find artists like these in a sea of Biebers, Britneys, and Beyonces.

4)  New Interests/Loves
I've always loved reading, baking, and doing crafty things (but not crafty as in plotting-to-take-over-the-world crafty). At some point I suspected I might also love writing but, as I've mentioned here before, I was always too chicken and just didn't make the time to give it a try. Earlier in this post I said that 2011 progressively improved for me. A big part of that improvement came through discovering these new interests/loves:

- Writing
I started writing (with the intention of working toward a book) in June of this year and have since almost completed the first draft of one story (YA Science Fiction) and am well on my way with a second story (YA Romance). It has opened up a whole world to me and allowed me to feel as though I could actually create something that people might actually be interested in. Only time will tell, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

- Blogging
This blog was born in August of this year (we're both August babies) and I can't express how much fun it has been. I've met a lot of really encouraging, interesting, and informative people through this blog, and for that I am beyond grateful. Confession: I always thought blogging was kinda lame...until I tried it myself. What a jerky thing to think. Anyway, I got a little fiddly with my blog yesterday and decided that it needed some lightening up. I liked the old background and banner but it felt a little dark to me. January is such a gloomy month, so I figured I'd do away with the gloomy colour scheme here. Plus, I feel like this new look reflects me a little better. Hope the new look doesn't scare anyone off.

5)  Book Dealer
I suppose it's a tad inappropriate to be using junkie terminology in reference to where I get my books, but if the shoe fits....

- The Book Depository
I have heard many of you mention this source for books and I always assumed it was just another place that I didn't need to check out because I had Amazon and Indigo already. Boy was I wrong! Free shipping on everything to pretty much everywhere, but more importantly, to Canada?! That, my friends, is what I call a dream come true. Oh, and the books are a good $3-$4 cheaper than the other online sources (at least in Canadian dollars). What I like is that I can order a single book and still get free shipping (ordering one book - like that ever happens *snort*). I will definitely be making use of these guys if I ever do a giveaway again. As soon as I no longer feel guilty about ordering books so soon after Christmas, I'll be placing an order with this site. 
Fun Fact: The Book Depository is based in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. That makes at least two awesome Channel Island exports that I know of. Henry Cavill (AKA Mr. Yummy) comes from the Bailiwick of Jersey (how cool is the word 'bailiwick'?), the other major island in this archipelago. What's hotter than Henry Cavill? Henry Cavill with a book in his hands. Am I right?

Well, I need to quit babbling and get something else accomplished today. Though with that picture just above I'm tempted not to (lol). My new piano just arrived so I think that's a good place to divert my attention. Of course, the Christmas tree needs to come down so that the piano can go where it currently is (*sigh*). Ah well, it all needs to be packed up and put away until next year anyway.

If I don't remember later, I'd like to wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and nothing but good things (with a few very minor crummy things to keep you grounded) in 2012! Be safe!

* My first taste of straight up YA Romance, so I have to credit this wonderful lady for making me want MORE, and for diverting me from my obsession with all things dystopian (for a while at least).
(I just remembered that I forgot to mention Pinterest. Pinterest, you are such a vortex of neat-o stuff. I'm sorry I neglected to mention you in this discovery list.)


  1. Your taste in music is wonderful :D I have a few Flo songs into the triple digits <3

    Have a happy new year!

  2. Man! What to talk about??? There's so much good stuff here!!!!! LOL!

    I have heard from SO many people to watch Downton Abbey!!!! Even my brother got hooked... (that's saying something)

    Love your posts. Happy New Year! <3

  3. Look at your cute and festive header... love it! What a great list of 2011 books. A few of those are among my new favorites as well! And I see you mentioned Downton Abbey... Clearly this is a show I need to check out. :)

  4. Ooo! Look at the new sparkly blog look! I hope you have a great 2012, Jaime! And I hope you will perhaps add Doctor Who to your TV discoveries of next year... :)

  5. I found Florence and the Machines this year too! Ah I love them! I received two of their CD's this Christmas. Great writing music. I'm fine-tuning my mermaid paranormal YA novel and they have a song called What The Water Gave Me that I love to listen to while I write. :)

  6. Yes, another Downtown Abbey fan!


I ♥ comments. They make me smile.☺