From pumpkin pasties and Elven Lembas bread, to hot spiced wine and elixir soup, she has formulated some 80 recipes from beloved books, films, TV shows and video games on her blog, The Geeky Chef. Her home for succulent-sounding delicacies from the likes of Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda, Game of Thrones, Fallout 3, Portal and more, offers step-by-step instructions, themed photography and brief backgrounders on the origin of these recipes. And it’s become something of a web sensation.
They don’t always need to be comfortable or straightforward. In fact, they shouldn’t be. No matter what the medium, you expect the author to fulfil a sort of unwritten agreement that, at the end of it all, you will have gained something from taking the time to engage with their story. That could be as simple as learning something new (as the classic parables of old do) or it could be more personal (learning deep truths about the nature of life or society through the eyes of a character you identify with).
Endings and why some of them leave us dissatisfied have been on my mind recently, since finishing the finales to several video games and fiction series. Both mediums have presented me with examples of endings that livid up to my expectations and others that fell short.
You might not know his name, but you’ll certainly have heard his music. In the wake of his contribution to Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, his profile has aptly been raised, but this musician, songwriter and producer has been unleashing trendsetting-hits for decades. A fact too few people appreciate to this day.
He is, of course, Nile Rodgers. One half of rhythm kings Chic, along with his late partner Bernard Edwards, Rodgers has masterminded hit, after hit, after hit, and then some.
“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
Orwell’s Animal Farm didn’t cross my path while I was in school – I suspect Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men took the spot it would have occupied. Having just finished the book it’s clear to me that I have been missing out all these years.
Lots of people have inspired me through the years. Family members, friends, teachers, musicians, actors, artists, photographers, sportsmen, designers, explorers; all have had an effect at some point during my life. It’s Anthony Horowitz, however, that holds a special place in my memory because this amicable writer and storyteller has not only helped me shape who I am, he opened my eyes to the joys of reading and, in turn, unlocked the limitless potential of our world.
It was the summer of 2002 when I first meet Alex Rider. I was on holiday in Grenada with my family and was enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Caribbean. When we weren’t at the beach, discovering the island’s rich history of nutmeg farming or generally lounging about, I found my attention hooked not by my Game Boy Pocket, but by the inaugural adventure of this teenage spy.
As part of my course studying ‘Media & Culture’ I am required to engage with a number of theorists, such Mikhail Bakhtin, Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas. Although I can see how their theories and writings fit into the broader context of media and cultural studies, truth be told, sometimes it all seems like a load of contradictory baloney. The observations, experiments, arguments, counter-arguments, viewpoints, quotations and citations all blur into one existential mess.
And from where I’m standing now, my current goal of someday becoming a full-time journalist and writer seems no closer – at least where the core module of my university course is concerned.
How thrilling then that at a quite unexpected stimulus entered my life to give me some much needed reinvigoration. I speak of Fast Food Nation, a book by investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser, that uncovers the harsh truth behind an industry that has reshaped much of the world in the 20th century.
I started reading this book back in July last year, just as I headed off on my inaugural trip to Develop in Brighton, after picking up the Penguin Celebrations copy in a sale. During my trip to Brighton, I didn’t find enough time to read very far, so the book lay patiently in the dark for some months.
Having pulled it out again in February, I’ve now seen it through to the end, and it turned out to be a more enlightening read than any non-fiction text I’ve read since starting university. On numerous bus journeys I sat, open-mouthed, stomach twisting, as I read some of the gruesome and downright appalling practices of the meatpacking and fast food industries. But Fast Food Nation hasn’t just been an eye-opener from a subject point of view. Schlosser’s tone and writing style have made me realise that, for all the highbrow journals and academic essays I’m presented with, it is perfectly fine to explain things to readers in a more unconventional manner.
A master stroke, that gradually dawned on me, was the way he would spend a good three pages at the start of each chapter describing the places he’d travelled to, introducing readers with seemingly insignificant details that led to greater complications or simply for the beauty of it. Fast Food Nation has changed my outlook on traditional prose and given me more reason to continue my quest to write for a living.