Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cover lover (teil eins)

This week's Top Ten Tuesday Theme is Ten Book Cover Trends I Like/Dislike. To argue against a popular idiom, I don't believe the clothes actually make the man, and as a result, I own some really ugly books that have some really great text inside. Buuuuut... in the same way a schmick haircut and a good pair of jeans can make an already intelligent and articulate man just sort of more, so too with a really great book cover design. (Don't think too hard about this metaphor. I'm not.)

There are a few book cover design trends that always appeal to me (and one that definitely doesn't); to save your feedreaders, I'm going to break them into a few posts. In this one, perhaps my favouritest of all the trends: hand-lettered titles.

I've always been a sucker for some good hand lettering. I love its informality, its imperfections, its humanness. In seeing the lines of the artist's pen, you get a glimpse of the human behind it. So it was the covers, with their gorgeous hand lettering, that drew my attention to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of romance as its own genre (I prefer it by-the-way, in books) so the stories were not my favourite. But I'm hanging on to these copies because their art makes me happy. The combination of finer and heavier letters in varying fonts and sizes really works, So... good hand lettering is what happy looks like?

I'd like to shake the hand of whoever's responsible for the re-release of John Green's other books to align with the design of The Fault in Our Stars. This is pretty much everything I like in cover design right here. Limited colour palette, little to no imagery, stylised graphic symbols, the font doing all of the work, and hand lettering, yo. The same basic principle applies to Let It Snow, with the added bonus that it is shiny and silvery. Oooh!

Liar & Spy makes the whole hand lettering even cooler by pairing it with a moody watercolour illustration. (This book, by the way, is a perfect read-aloud for older tweens).

So, too, does this gorgeous edition of Coraline. The lettering is creepy and intriguing with just the right amount of prettiness, and works so well with the illustrations. I love it!

Do you love hand lettering or hate it? Is it a trend you're ready to see fade out, or should it march on forever? (In case you were unsure, I'm in the forever camp). What other book cover trends do you love/loathe?


  • Brenda Wilkerson -- I'm alternating between being so happy you can relate, and so sympathetically frustrated on your behalf. We put so much pressure on ourselves and our time!
  • Laura Elizabeth -- Ah, you do this, too? Holidays represent so much hope and anticipation and wished-for things that I feel sure we must look on them as miracle-workers. I hope yours is at least a bit miraculous!

Monday, June 23, 2014

System reboot.

Last week I was able to take leave from both my jobs. With uni being done and no work at all for seven days solid, I was on the most holidayish holiday I’ve had in ages -- certainly, in 2014 so far. I was ridiculously excited by this prospect. My week was going to be awesome! Illuminating! Life-altering!

I had grand visions of doing all these amazing things: completely reorganising my walk-in closet, working out for hours every day, reading stacks of books, making art, writing stories, replying to the five hundred letters I owe people, hanging out with my little brother and being the world’s best sister, doing up a new menu plan and shopping for lots of fresh food. I was also going to be charming, snappily-dressed, witty, entertaining, and super-holy. You know, it’s never too late to try and be your best self all in one week, right?

But then… I didn’t really do much. Of anything. For starters, most of the time I felt like I was dying, which is my body’s really kind way of processing stress and anxiety. I struggle to catch the thoughts in order to stop them from taking root because my anxiety seems to bypass my conscious brain and instead just keeps my body constantly on the edge of fight-or-flight mode. So that was exhausting. I barely read a word. I did take six bags of books to the op shop, but that wasn’t so much satisfying as it was a slap in the face to my own humanness and a sudden existential tailspin into questions about mortality and the unenduring nature of pretty much everything ever. (I had visions of myself surrounded by a crumbling tower of old books, so make of that what you will). I watched a lot of German television and developed an unhealthy obsession with the all-too-cute cast, lurking their work anywhere it was to be found online. I wrote in my journal, but mostly it felt like me self-indulgently regurgitating all the messy thoughts I hadn’t had time to process towards the end of the semester. I thought too much about how to change things that can never change. I attempted to address all the questions of the universe, as well as some of the seemingly unfair issues of human existence. (Like, why do some people get to be pretty and others don’t? Why do some people get to be pretty and good at sports and musically-talented and with a winning personality? [See aforementioned German actors] How come it’s impossible to connect with certain people no matter how much time you invest in them?) The end result is that I felt just as confused after all my writing and processing as I did before it, and the whole week had this unsettled, dissatisfying hue over it.

This is the part where you should be laughing. I sure would be if it weren’t all so pathetic.

What you know -- and what I should’ve considered -- is that you can’t rewrite a life in a week. You can’t do everything you’ve put off for five years in five days. You can’t reboot just like that. I wailed at my BFF about this via text, slamming her with all my failed aspirations and intentions and confessing to her the extent of my ineffectiveness: “Why can’t I get obsessed with actual important things?” She is wise and sensible, and replied by saying, “You don’t have to turn on the Christianity when all of life is grounded in it.”

Her words -- always good -- reminded me that, when you live a life devoted to something (or Someone), there doesn’t get to be any distinction between secular and sacred. If you’re married everything you do is as a husband or wife, not just the husbandly/wifely things. You don’t turn it on or off. All things are permitted, but not all things are beneficial. It’s okay sometimes to rest, to think, to wait hopefully and expectantly for the sun to rise and burn away the last remnants of fog.

We live in a world that values achievement over just about everything else. There is no glory in quietly being. But sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do.


  • Asea -- everything you said about HTTYD2: YES. A thousand times. And I'm sorry you had such a rough day the day you posted. Here's an across-the-sea hug from me.
  • Jasmine Ruigrok -- David Crowder is great; you really need to give him a listen! I loved your rundown of your day. It made me miss getting to sing with my siblings.
  • Joy -- feel free to email me anytime! And your blog party sounds like a lot of fun. I'm going to pop by for a visit!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Because I do (vol. i)

I'm never quite sure how to feel about stuff. You know, "stuff, Lori, things." It's all interesting and it's shiny but it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of eternity. Nevertheless we are earthbound until we're called elsewhere. We're made of dust and dust delights us. We are humans built with an intrinsic desire to create, do, enjoy, and share. Somewhere in there, there's got to be a balance. So even though I'm not sure what that balance looks like exactly, I'm going to share some of the things that have been making me happy lately, and maybe I can do this semi-regularly. Here's my list of:

Things I do like (today)--
  • Neon Steeple -- I was sad when the David Crowder*Band broke up, delighted when a core group from the original team reformed a new band called The Digital Age, and prancing with joy when the David Crowder released his first album under the new moniker, Crowder. Since I bought it on its release a few weeks ago, I've had Neon Steeple playing heaps, and it's that curiously satisfying mix of electronica, rock, gospel, and bluegrass that I've come to love from DC. It's joyful and it's worshipful and I really really like it.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 -- everything you loved about the first movie, with more dragons and more emotions. Just go see it.
  • The Ear Biscuits podcast with Rhett and Link -- Rhett and Link are my favourite-favourite YouTube duo. Their friendship is epic, they're funny, and they're always coming up with something weird and intriguing. I've been loving their weekly podcast which is basically just an hour-long conversation with, as they put it, "someone famous from the internet." So far, those someones have been predominantly YouTubers, most of whom I don't follow, some of whom I downright don't enjoy. The cool thing about the podcast though is its emphasis on creative origins, a subject that always fascinates me. I love learning about peoples' processes, how they got to where they are now, and Rhett and Link's conversations provide lots of insights into that. There's a certain authenticity to the chats, too, which strips away the often over-hyped internet persona and gets to the person behind the brand, which is very cool indeed.
  • Alarm für Cobra 11 -- I stumbled across this show via the SBS On Demand app, saw the synopsis, and thought, "Probably lame." When I came across it again, I decided to give at least one episode a try -- and lo and behold I have fallen into a vortex filled with cute German autobahn cops running around saving each others' lives and ruining a lot of nice European cars in the process. The action is far-fetched and the stories formulaic (as this fun analysis points out) but the stunts and explosions delight me crazy amounts. More than that, though, I'm there for the bromance between the two detectives. I've always loved a good buddy story based on friendship uncomplicated by romance, and this show has buddy feels in spades -- so many man-hugs, angsty rescues, little moments, and high fives that it's ridiculous(ly adorable). An unexpected side benefit to watching is that I keep remembering bits of the German I learnt back when I was thirteen or fourteen. Who knew it was actually stuffed away in there somewhere? Which brings me to...
  • Duolingo -- a friend introduced me to this app, and I have been loving the little lessons which work incrementally to take you through the basics of a new language. I started off with Spanish because I love it a lot and something about the language feels logical to me; it seems to make sense in a way many others don't (for me, at least). Recently I've been dipping into German because of autobahn polizei reasons and it's a very cool way to learn a little bit of a new skill. The great thing is that the lessons only take five or so minutes, so you can pick it up here and there without being overwhelmed.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens -- I swooped on an eight-pack of these randomly when I was gathering art supplies for teaching. It's a stunning collection of black ink pens with varying levels of nib softness, flexibility, and width. I haven't had much of a chance to play yet, but in the meantime, I'm telling myself that once I've had a bit more practice, I'm going to start producing some fine manga drawings. The power's all in the pen, not the artist, right? (Let me cling to my delusion).
If you made a list of things you like today, what'd be on it?


  • Andrea -- I'm laughing so hard at your comment on that old post. SO HARD.
  • Asea -- yes, YES. I can relate to all of this!
  • Bonnie -- thank you! And as for new adventures... maybe it's good I can't see the future as I'm really enjoying this chilled season right now! :D
  • Emily Dempster -- thank you so much for reading along, and for your lovely comment! I have lots of memories from back in the day, especially of music lessons with your mum and lots of little blonde girls playing in the background :).
  • Jasmine Ruigrok -- amen :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The last five years:

I never went on to tertiary study when I finished high school. In fact, I hardly even 'finished' at all. School just kind of faded out and work faded in, and suddenly I was doing a whole bunch of projects I really cared about, burning the candle at both ends, and loving every minute of it (I needed less sleep back then). A degree was the last thing on my mind. But five years ago, it all kind of fell together for me to begin a bachelor of arts, majoring in creative writing, minoring in history, maxing out in books and words and thoughts.

On Friday, I handed in my final paper of my Master's degree. Mum called later that day to share the excitement. "I just realised," she said, "that you've finished your degree just as everything is winding down." She was right. In those five years, my second sister got married. My brother re-met and got engaged to his high school crush. Two nephews and a niece joined the family. My parents lived in Tasmania, Western Australia, and New Zealand. A lot went on in that time and my personal world spun pretty fast.

But now: my dad has finished his recent work contract and moved back to Queensland. My parents are going into business together. My life has an established pattern in a place I feel at home in, even though I'd never have guessed I could feel at home in Queensland. But this is my place now. I feel like a local, I'm full of patriotic pride in this little region and all of its loveliness. I have two part-time jobs that I care about, I belong to a church. The people at my library know me by name. I have conversations with checkout people and sometimes I even see them at my church. The guy at Blockbuster asks after my life. The owner of the best local fish and chips place passed away recently and I'm sad because I feel like I knew him. I meet with a cool little gang on Thursday nights and we talk about life and CS Lewis. I meet with another friend on Monday night and we pray and read the bible. I have a buddy who lives on the north side but still makes time out of her busy life to hang out, see movies, and talk books. I kind of even know my way around without a map.

None of this was really going on five years ago. None of it. I felt like a newcomer to every part of what my life was then, and my roots weren't down deep. "Your degree gave you stability when there was none," my mother said on the phone. "Now you're finished and life has settled down." I hadn't thought of it that way, but it was true. And I've lived long enough to know that nothing ever settles down, really. But it does feel like we've come out onto a plateau and the view from here is a good one.

Considering this, I'm thankful. But I'm also wary that this may sound like everything's coming up Danielle. My life is no more perfect than it was five years ago. I think I'm definitely more neurotic than I was before. I wrestle more with anxiety. And the single life at times feels more like a cage than a pair of unfettered wings. But my life feels steady in a way I haven't often experienced in this wandering life, and that's new and good.

I've spent so many paragraphs talking about anything but what I actually studied and why it was relevant. It was ridiculously important to me, and I'm definitely going to expound on that, but for the moment I want to appreciate this unexpected revelation: that studying gave me some bones to hang my life on in a time when everything was shifting and uncertain me around me. I'm pretty thankful for that. And I'm thankful for the one who orchestrates time and circumstance so that the pieces fit together well, even if it only makes sense in retrospect.


  • Brenda Wilkerson -- thank you :)
  • Lauren -- and thank you.
  • Melody -- thank you for reading along! x
  • Bush Maid -- I love that you can relate.
  • Asea -- gosh, yes. I hadn't thought of the relationship to intuition. You're so right. (I've never heard of Predator Cities but it sounds amazing!).
  • Meaghan -- oh you.
  • Mothercare -- hearts. xx
  • Joy -- thank you! Isn't it amazing how many kindred feelings and experiences we all share and yet struggle to find words for?
  • The Elf -- I'm honoured by your nomination. Thank you!
  • Brooke -- thank you for reminding me about your blog! I lost all my old feeds when my computer died, so now I can keep reading!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

winner winner chicken dinner

We have a book giveaway winner! I was genuinely nervous to see who would win my book giveaway (and I meant it when I said I wish everyone could win) but ASEA is a very cool individual and I know she will relish whichever books she picks. Thank you to everyone for taking part. You are legit champions.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...