Archive for December, 2012

Now that we have all had our fill of Christmas cheer – excess food consumed, presents given and received, all of those leftovers still haunting us each time we open the fridge – I thought this post-Christmas, pre-new year period would be the perfect time for an overview of my favourite (or perhaps, least favourite) words and sounds of 2012. If I am totally honest, I’m not sure I remember every single book I read, or CD I bought this year, but we’ll see how I go. Maybe next year I will keep better track!

Things like this are always best compiled and shared in list form. So here goes!

Words (books)

Looking for Alaska by John Green: After reading about this book on Tumblr for months and asking in every bookstore within a reasonable distance from my home when they were getting more copies in, I finally got my hands on Looking For Alaska. It really was as fantastic as people were saying and I absolutely loved it. I am currently re-reading it and I definitely recommend it.  

Lord of the Flies: Somehow I missed out on having to read this in high school and now that I’ve read it in my own time, I’m kind of glad about that. It was worth the read – it is a classic after all – but it took me a while to get into it and at times it was quite hard to read. Not as hard as A Clockwork Orange, of course, but that was in a different language! I think the lessons to be learned from the book were more interesting than the story itself.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Having reviewed this book not long ago, you know how I feel about it. If not, check out my review here. Watch out for my review of the sequel, Pandemonium¸ coming soon!

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed by E. L James : The series I swore I would never read, but somehow enjoyed. You can find my review here. Even if you haven’t read the series, I can guarantee you’ll get some entertainment out of what I had to say about it!

Paper Towns by John Green: My second John Green experience. I didn’t enjoy this as much as Looking For Alaska, which was a little bit disappointing, but it was still worth the read. A compelling story, but I wasn’t particularly fond of the ending. Have recently purchased The Fault in Our Stars. Going in with high expectations!

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: The fifth and final novel in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series that I was surprised to come across since I thought the series had ended with the fourth book. As a huge fan of the series, I am glad that this book was written as it is the perfect ending I never expected to read, even if it did make me incredibly emotional.

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert:
I won’t say that I regret reading this, but I did find chunks of it incredibly boring. I skimmed through entire chapters and was quite relieved to reach the end.  

Juliet Naked by Nick Earls: I’ve been a fan of Nick Earls since I read 48 Shades of Brown in grade 11 English. Like 48 Shades, Juliet Naked  did not disappoint. With a heavy musical influence it was right down my alley. One of my best finds of 2012.

 

Sounds (music)

I’m not going to describe each one of these, but the fact that I am listing them is a sure sign that I believe they are definitely worth taking the time to listen to.

Southern Air – Yellowcard

Persona Non Grata – Strangers (Australian band)

No Apologies – Heroes For Hire (Australian band)

Hey Geronimo (EP) – Hey Geronimo (Australian band)

Kids in the Street – All American Rejects

Weapons – Lostprophets

Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal – Periphery

Dead Silence – Billy Talent

Vital – Anberlin

Don’t Panic – All Time Low

 

Advertisements

Since it is Christmas Eve, and Christmas is my favourite holiday, I felt like it would be appropriately festive to make this week’s song of the week a Christmas classic — All I Want For Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey.

Unfortunately this video is not the greatest quality, but it was taken live at Disneyland in 2004 and I do love live music! This is also one of my favourite Christmas songs, so I just could not resist sharing it.

The first time I remember hearing this song was when I was eight-years-old. I took tap and jazz dance classes and part of our end-of-year concert included a series of dances to Christmas songs. The jazz class one level above mine danced to this and I fell in love with it. I taught myself the dance by watching the video of the show and would put the song on repeat so I could practice it over and over again.

I have lost track of the amount of people who have covered All I Want For Christmas Is You, but I can honestly say I have never heard a version I did not like. The version performed by Amber Riley (as Mercedes Jones) on Glee is probably my favourite cover. Yes, despite my love of punk, pop-punk and everything that could generally be described as the complete opposite of all things Glee, I am a huge fan of the show. We all have our little guilty pleasures!

Before I go, I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas! Be sure to check back later in the week for my final post of 2012.

Welcome to my new Music Monday posts! My first song of the week is New Skin by The Mission in Motion.

The epitome of the perfect Friday anthem, New Skin was released in 2010 as the first single off The Mission in Motion’s debut album, Somewhere Safe. The song made it to high rotation on Triple J and had the entire crowd singing along when the band played the Soundwave Festival circuit this year.

These Sydney boys are my absolute favourite Australian band and I am eagerly anticipating their second album which should hopefully be out early in the new year.

If you like what you hear, check out their Facebook page and give them a Like. These guys have a very bright future ahead of them that you are not going to want to miss!

Hey! Let’s forget the week that’s been, ’cause we’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting, to come alive under new skin singing babadadadadadada!

Delirium cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then you read a book that changes you. It might not be a best-seller, or even remotely well-known. You might come across it purely by accident while you’re scanning the shelves of your local bookstore, find the blurb interesting, and take it home with next-to-no expectations. But somehow, for whatever reason, it mesmerizes you. It drags you into its fictional world, into the hearts and souls of its characters and it finds a way to keep you wanting, desperate to know what happens next. Recently I read a book like this. It was called Delirium.

Delirium, written by Lauren Oliver, is set in an immaculately constructed dystopian America. This is a world where love has been identified as a disease – amor deliria nervosa – for which they have managed to find a cure. The deliria, as they call it, was once viewed as a wonderful thing, something to be dreamed of longingly and celebrated, but that is partly why they believe it is so dangerous. It affects your mind and body, making you think irrationally, feel things you shouldn’t feel and do things you shouldn’t do. The cure, a procedure performed on or very soon after your 18th birthday, aims to leave you safe and happy forever. Naturally, things don’t always go as planned.

The story begins with the protagonist, Lena, exactly 95 days from her 18th birthday and, much to her delight and relief, her procedure. She believes everything she has ever been taught about the deliria and has come to fear it, as is expected of her. But, of course, it isn’t all as simple as journeying with her through those 95 days and then reaching the end of the story. I don’t want to give too much away, because it truly is a brilliant novel and I encourage you all to read it. I will say, though, that while there are a few obvious and anticipated plot twists, there are some other things I definitely didn’t see coming that made the story that much more exciting to read. The best part? After completing Delirium I discovered that it is actually the first book of a trilogy! I went out and bought the second book, Pandemonium, immediately and have already started reading it. The final book, Requiem, is due out early next year.

From a writers point of view, Oliver’s use of metaphor is fantastic. Some of my personal favourites include “…makes the city smell like a giant armpit” (p.160) and “I feel like I’m back in my dream, getting slurped into the dark, floundering like an insect stuck in a bowl of honey” (p. 247). Oliver describes things beautifully without ever feeling the need to over-describe them. Some of the other novels I have read lately have been dripping with unnecessary adjectives, so it is refreshing to dive into Oliver’s work. Her characters are created so that you can get into their heads and really understand them; every little detail has been accounted for. I can’t wait to finish Pandemonium, after which I will be counting down the days until Requiem is released.

Watch this space for a Pandemonium review coming soon. Make sure you read Delirium in the mean time so I don’t spoil too much for you!

I know I am very behind again, but I will be honest and admit that I have done far more reading than writing these past couple of weeks, and I’ve been to see a couple of bands too.

Lucky for both you and me, reading more and going to shows means that I will have much more to write about!

Next week I will be introducing a new element to this little blog of mine – my Music Monday: Song of the Week! I can’t wait to start sharing some of my favourite songs with you.

Please stop by tomorrow for my review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I really do appreciate every single one of you who visits Words, Sounds & Sunshine, so thank you!

T x

It’s fun, catchy, upbeat and often annoying as hell. It’s nasally male voices that sound years younger than their actual age and female voices that are practically interchangeable. It dates as far back as the 1970s, maybe earlier, and is still going strong. It’s as easy to love as it is to hate and even the biggest fans – myself included – cannot deny the fact that apart from a few exceptions, it all sounds much the same. It’s New Found Glory, Blink 182, All Time Low and Green Day, among a plethora of others. Ladies and gentlemen – it’s pop-punk.

With all of the genres and sub-genres and pseudo-genres of music around these days, it can be hard to keep track of everything. I still don’t understand the difference between hardcore, post-hardcore and melodic hardcore, but that’s another discussion entirely. Lucky for pop-punk, it remains a fairly simple fusion of pop and punk rock music, with varying degrees of influence from each genre. Despite its apparent simplicity, though, there are still pop-punk bands around the world that some people love, while others absolutely loathe, for reasons that range from perfectly understandable to completely nonsensical. This, my dear readers, is why I so aptly describe pop-punk as the genre we love to hate.

I imagine that there are a rather large number of reasons why some people hate pop-punk so much, but one in particular stands out for me. Pop-punk, as I said earlier, is derived from two genres of music. Two genres that share more differences than similarities and on some levels may even be considered polar opposites. Punk has traditionally been known for its anti-authoritarian, stick it to the man, absolutely non-conformist tendencies, while pop music is all about conforming to exactly what the bulk of society wants to hear. With this in mind, it makes sense that the majority of your die-hard punk rock fans are going to be unimpressed by, and beyond uninterested in, pop-punk music. But that’s just one theory.

Personally, I love pop-punk, for the most part. I fell in love with it at 16, when a new friend inadvertently introduced me to bands other than Blink 182 and Green Day – two of the very few pop-punk bands who are regularly played on mainstream radio – for the first time. I’m not sure what appealed to me about it at the time and I suppose I’m even less sure now. At 16, I had never listened to punk music, so perhaps it was a way of bridging the gap between pop and punk, easing me into this new world of music I hadn’t even known existed. But somehow, I still love it. Just not all of it!

To finish up, I leave you with a music video from my absolute favourite pop-punkers, New Found Glory. Enjoy!