First up was the arrival of a mystery Amazon box from Charlotte, who was on holiday over my birthday and sent this amazing parcel when she got home! Quite frankly, more celebrations should be spread out over a lengthier period of time - it just makes the fun last longer. She sent me A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, which sounds HILARIOUS, The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker, which has had rave reviews across the interwebs, and topped it off with season one of New Girl on DVD, which I'm all set to start as soon as I've finished my current on-the-go box sets. I've seen occasional episodes on TV and enjoyed them, but E4 mixes sitcoms up so much that I usually end up buying a box set just so I can see the story arc in order! Plus I feel like a fraud every time I use a New Girl GIF here on the blog without having seen it properly, so... y'know, no more guilt there. Thank you Charlotte! :)
Sometime early in the month I hit the library in Chesterfield again - more choice there - and picked up a bunch more books. I've already read and loved Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton (read my mini review here), and am looking forward to the upcoming sequel. I snapped up And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both as a complementary read to set against watching Kill Your Darlings, and also because Tristan at Tattered Reader serendipitously good-reviewed it around the same time. I really enjoyed Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas (review here), so I picked up his latest, Barracuda - but that's since gone back to the library and been replaced by my own copy, as you'll see in my July post! I'm fairly sure I've had We the Animals by Justin Torres out of the library before, but for some reason didn't read it. And finally, I picked up Sane New World by Ruby Wax, about mental health and mindfulness, which has had rave reviews everywhere but which I was a tad sceptical about buying until I'd checked it out and read some of it for myself.
June was also the month of my mini road trip down to London with my sister to go on the Making of Harry Potter tour at the Warner Brothers Studio, Leavesden. We were meant to go in February but had to rearrange because I just wasn't up to it - depression and all - so we were both so happy to finally be there! Aside from all the props and costumes and general wow-factor, this obviously also entailed a good scout round the huge gift shop, yaaaaay! As well as our pre-bought souvenir guides (which are really lovely by the way, gorgeous pictures) and the cool character tickets (mine had the basilisk on it), I also bought a pretty and seriously heavy-duty Time Turner keyring, a Ravenclaw postcard, chocolate frogs for me, Hannah and my mum (they're huge!), and a hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I've been meaning to buy hardbacks of the earlier books anyway, and this one has a Studio Tour seal on it which makes it a nice souvenir. The bookshelves were so awesome too, piled high with everything Potter in multiple different editions! I was going to buy a house cushion as well but there were no Ravenclaw ones left - fortunately WB has just revamped its online shop so now there's loads more to choose from, including the cushions, so I might get my hands on one yet!
in May and wanted to read it first - and ended up ordering it from Amazon, and while I was at it I also ordered Mean Girls and Dracula season 1 on DVD. I'm sure I've seen Mean Girls before, years ago, but didn't really appreciate it at the time, and Dracula just looks so... decadent. I couldn't resist!
Aaaaand lastly but definitely not least(ly), I got another birthday parcel! A really heavy box arrived and Mum was like, "Oh heeeeeeeell no what have you bought now?" and I was slightly worried that I HAD bought stuff - but then I opened it and it was actually a big shoebox (naturally) crammed with stuff from Hanna! Obviously she won me over immediately with THREE DIFFERENT BAGS of Jelly Belly jellybeans, two of which I can't get for love nor money down here away from a big city. Ice Cream Parlour flavours and CHOCOLATE DIPPED BEANS? Oh yes. Not only that, but there was a cheery little solar-powered daisy (he's so happy!), Teapigs chocolate flake tea, AND two books. HANNA YOU HAVE OUTDONE YOURSELF.
The first book-shaped parcel contained Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, a rave-reviewed YA novel about two loftily-named boys who meet by chance, instantly bond, become best friends and - I'm assuming - have some sort of adventure. The second was Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son by Lori Duron, which documents her journey towards accepting and embracing her young son's rejection of male gender stereotypes, and her subsequent personal and political battles to encourage others to follow suit. I've read excerpts of the book before, and also stumbled across Lori's blog, and being hugely interested in gender issues and the futility of shoving people into perfect little boxes, I can't WAIT to get stuck into this one.
Thank you so much to the three wonderful friends who managed to extend my birthDAY into more of a birthMONTH - don't you just love those?! - and as I mentioned, my July book shopping will be laid bare for you sometime in the next few days... In the meantime, if you've read and enjoyed any of these already, do let me know in the comments!