Hello! No, you don’t need to refresh your screen – it’s me, Alexandra.
Surprise! I’m back.
You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been basically MIA since May. Talk about a completely unplanned hiatus. But, over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve been ~tentatively~ posting reviews and I’ve realized just how much I’ve missed Reading By Starlight.
So today, I’m here to share where I’ve been, why I disappeared into internet obscurity and why I’m back.
Before we get started though, I just want to note that this post gets pretty long and VERY candid which might be triggering to some readers. I’ll be talking about lockdown, depression and mental health and I don’t hold much back. If you or a loved one is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. In Australia, you can call Life Line on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 to speak to a trained councilor.
Having been born in Katoomba and raised in the shadow of the Blue Mountains, folklore and history have become a passion of mine. Especially because the sprawling mountains are rich in myth and legend. There’s the three cursed sisters, long turned to stone who stand watch over the Jamison Valley, large black cats that stalk the undergrowth and a ghostly figure who wanders Victoria Pass at night.
In keeping with the spooky tone of October, I wanted to share my favourite ghost story. Not only is this story spine tingling and seriously creepy, but it’s also heavily rooted in Australia’s colonial history. I’ve been extensively researching this post for the past two weeks and I’m so excited to be finally sharing it with you. That being said, this story may evoke disturbing images and might be particularly triggering to some readers.
So huddle close, turn out the lights and settle in for the true story of the Black Ghost of Victoria Pass…
I think we can all agree that the holiday season’s going to look a lot different this year. But perpetual lock down and social distancing won’t stop me from fully relishing in the spooky month!
So, because we’re all feeling that quarantine fatigue, let’s celebrate Spooktober with yet another nifty list of seasonal actives. Not only is this feature post 100% social-distance-approved but it’s guarantied to keep you busy and spread some much needed cheer this Halloween.
Another month, yet another lock down. Welcome to my new normal.
So, the state of Victoria has officially declared a “state of disaster”. The retail and beauty industries have been shut down while other businesses have had to quickly adapt to the escalating situation. The economy is basically non-existent, Melbourne has a strict curfew and we’re all stuck at home for six weeks as coronavirus cases soar. To say these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century.
So, welcome to the post that literally nobody asked for – a day in my life during quarantine. I hope you’ll indulge me as I walk you through my in-depth daily routine in stage four lock down.
You may or may not have noticed that my usual content has been disrupted. Well, maybe disrupted isn’t the correct word, more that I’ve put my usual bookish content on hold in light of the current, escalating situation. Posting a book review or a light-hearted tag just didn’t sit right with me. Not when protests are taking palace all over the world. I needed to hit pause out of respect while I re-evaluated my thoughts and drafted my response.
The truth is, I have never been more disgusted, frustrated and disappointed by my race. If this revolution has taught me anything, it’s that nothing, nothing has changed during the past century. It’s 2020 and yet fear, racism, bigotry and hatred still poisons our society.
On the 14th of April 1912 at 11:40pm, the RSM Titanic struck an iceberg on it’s maiden voyage across the transatlantic. Just two hours and forty minuets later, in the early hours of the 15th, it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it the lives of 1,500 passengers and crew. Only 710 survived.
The sinking of the Titanic is a tragic story that has fascinated the world for more than one hundred years. Today, on the 108th anniversary of the sinking, I’m breaking routine because I wanted to share 5 things that you [probably] didn’t know about the RMS Titanic. [I consider myself an amateur Titanic historian].
It’s been two weeks since I entered self isolation and it’s been a wild time. I feel like I’m still waiting for that pin to drop because so far I’ve been, dare I say it, okay? This socially anxious introvert has been thriving, living in this perpetual creative high. Trust me – I’m just as shocked as you.
That being said, self isolation is not for everyone and I know a lot of people who aren’t coping with this new era of social distancing. Which brings me to today’s feature post: a nifty list of social-distance-approved activities to keep you busy and sane during this unprecedented time.
I’m twenty-three years old and I’ve just spent that past twelve months living alone. Let me tell you, it’s been an overwhelming experience but I absolutely love it. For starters, I am pretty much 100% independent and self-sufficient and it feels good. I’m the master of my own fate.
It’s a pretty sweet deal but, much like anything in life, living alone isn’t without its challenges. After all, you are now fully responsible for your well being and safety. Who are you going to call when you wake up to a noise in the night? There’s no more hiding underneath the bed – you learn to cope on your own. And spoiler alert: you’re going to have to kill a spider at some stage.
So, here are a few of the life lessons I’ve learned in my first twelve months of living independently.
“In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part…
For the intrepid young hero seeking adventure, one must look no further than that of Sir Terry Practchett’s Discworld saga. Satire and comedic in nature, it’s an adult fantasy series that can be enjoyed at any age.
But the thing is, when a series is over forty books long, picking it up can become more than a little intimidating. I mean – where the actual heck does one start???
Well, grab yourself a Rat-Onna-Stick [a staple of Ankh-Morpork’s questionable street cuisine] and a pint of Scumble [fingers crossed you survive] and your Discworld passport [literally available online at the Discworld Emporium] and settle in for today’s discussion as I bring you, fresh outta the Disc; The Noobs Beginners Guide to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe.
If you live in Australia, you’ll know that when it comes to book tours [or lack there of] the struggle of managing to see and/or meet your favorite author is real. Since missing her last Aussie event, I’d kept my eyes peeled, stalking Sarah J. Maas’s social media for any news of an upcoming tour down under. Imagine my anticipation and excitement when not only did Sarah announce an Australian Kingdom of Ash book tour but when I secured that golden ticket.
So, donning my best Night Court attire and projecting some serious High Lady vibes, I finally attend an afternoon with Sarah J. Maas and let me tell you – it was as surreal and epic as I’d imagined. Fair warning, this post is a long one. There is just so much that Sarah talked about that I can’t wait to share and that I need to unpack.