Bookish Ways to Beat Blue Monday
Behold, for there is light in the dark days of January and February in the form of the internet and all its bookish goodness. We’ve been hard at work trawling the World Wide Web for funny, clever and (in some cases) useful content guaranteed to cheer up even the bluest bookworm.
Read on for our staff picks...
Miriam Morris: Audio books on Youtube
I get quite irritable in January due to lack of money, a post-Christmas extra chin and the expectation of making this the best year of your life. To avoid sending passive aggressive e-mails or being outright nippy, my go to is audio readings of my favourite books or poems, and what could be better than Christopher Walken or Christopher Lee reciting Edgar Allan Poe on a bleak January day? Oh you don’t like Poe? Fine. Whatever. *puts on earphones and turns up volume*
Sasha DeBuyl: Do the TBR Challenge 2016
Do you love books? Do you love them so much that you follow them around, in bookshops, in libraries, in charity shops? You hold them close, sniff their pages, and eventually buy them, but then you take them home and they just sit there. On the shelf. Staring at you. And you NEVER read them.
If this sounds like you, why not sign up for the TBR Challenge, which is designed to help you get through the books on your actual bookshelves! You’ll save some money, and read a bunch of rad books.
Like your literary analysis with more than a hint of gangsta? Let Sparky Sweets Ph. D. guide you through classic novels in his own inimitable style. It’s so much fun, you don’t even realise you’re learning.
Sad Stuff on the Street
Indulge your melancholic blue Monday misanthrope with this excellent Tumblr of sad stuff found on the street. Nothing looks sadder than random stuff left behind on a pavement, and this is proof. To cheer yourself up, head over to ‘Chickens in Literature’ instead - or even Neruda Cats (pictures of cats overlaid with quotes from Pablo Neruda).
A fantastic blog which re-imagines Cosmopolitan covers for strictly communist tastes. This magazine cover site promises articles like ’28 hot new acronyms for party organisations you’ve just gotta know’ and ‘5 ways to stay moisturised while fighting in the jungles’.
British Crime Writers Glaring
Every genre has its own stock image. For crime writers, it’s the glare. For lovers of crime writers glaring, there is a great blog dedicated to them.
TedTalks from Famous Authors
If it’s inspiration you need more than anything else, tune into TedTalks. Let Isabelle Allende, Tracy Chevalier and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie rouse you from staring at your bank account asking ‘why God, whhyyyyy?!’ – at least for 5 to 15 minutes.
The Write Practice
If your New Year’s resolution to start writing is already worth less than the paper it’s written on, there are some great online resources to relight your touchpaper. The Write Practice is a practical, handy website for writers which is constantly updated with new posts. The tone is nice and chummy and overall it’s a really encouraging experience! You get daily email updates too, if you want.
StumbleUpon is a web tool which navigates the internet to find content that interests you. So if you’re interested in finding book-related content, just tick that box and StumbleUpon will go find things to satisfy your craving for literary nourishment, be it recommendations for new books or articles of general book-related interest.
Memorise some Dragon jokes, courtesy of the fun-packed How to Train Your Dragon website, then every time someone says ‘I hate Winter’, you can hit them up with a whole lotta mythical hilarity. You’ll soon be the hottest property in the whole dang staffroom. Probably.
BookTube is simultaneously a terrifying and wonderful place to be. There is a very real chance that, if you visit once to check it out, you may never emerge, jam packed as it is with vibrant vlogs talking about every single book-related thing you can imagine. My particular favourite is this hilarious review of Fifty Shades of Grey, which starts out well but ends with the reviewer running over the book in his car.
Sometimes writing something – anything – can be an insurmountable challenge without the proper motivation. I give you, Written? Kitten! A customizable, furry, adorable motivational tool for writing everything from long-overdue e-mails to your relatives and/or your magnum opus. Write 100 words, get a kitten picture. This is what the internet was made for. http://writtenkitten.co/
Write or DIE!
Or perhaps you respond better to negative reinforcement? Or the fear of spiders. Take your pick of terrors with Write or Die! Hit your self-imposed deadlines or suffer the consequences, the most terrifying being the option that starts deleting what you’ve already written if you don’t write fast enough! There is a bells-and-whistles paid option with even more terrible features, but you can try it online for free. http://writeordie.com/
Online Etymology Dictionary
There is no better armchair (or desktop) adventure than etymology safari! Go deep in to the history of English-language words to discover how their meaning has changed, where their roots really lie, and what you can build with them. Get side-tracked by unexpected coincidences and temporarily baffled by surprise Sanskrit, and have fun exploring! http://www.etymonline.com/
Need even more cheering up?
Try our recommended reads: 10 Hilarious Scottish Books
This is one of my all time favourite poetry related Ted Talks http://www.ted.com/talks/rives_on_4_a_m
Performer and storyteller, Rives, weaves this beautiful tale of how he unwittingly found himself in the centre of an internet meme, so poetically and surprisingly, that it will undoubtedly warm anyone’s heart on a cold Monday in January - or indeed at 4am any day of the week.