Here we go, time to catch up on The Queue with what I’ve been enjoying this summer!!
It may be a surprise how short this little is actually in this one, given that it covers about three months, and I’ve been more or less locked up at home all that time. But I’ve still been working on a couple of school subjects throughout the summer and spending almost all my free time most days on cosplay builds (and frequently straightening and reorganizing my tiny bedroom, which is currently doubling as a craft room). So I haven’t had very much time for reading or watching, though I have been listening to lots of podcasts and audio dramas to fill up the hours while I research and sew and pick apart seams and burn myself on the steam setting of my iron and cut out what’s beginning to feel like an endless stack of patterns. If you’ve been following my cosplay Instagram, you’ve probably been seeing a lot of pictures of these projects in my story, and I plan to share some updates here very soon.
Alright, enough rambling — let’s jump in, shall we?
One fun book I’ve been slowly chipping away at is the Doctor Who: City of Death novelization by James Goss. The writing style is fairly different from most things I read, but it’s a really fun adaptation of a well-known serial from Classic Doctor Who. It adds to certain elements in the story by exploring different side characters more than the show had the time to and adding some new facets to the villain of the story. I’ve loved the additional looks into the heads of the Fourth Doctor, Romana, and the (rather incompetent-yet-somehow-likable) English investigator, Duggan, as well as the villain, “Count Scarlioni” (spoiler alert: he’s not what he seems *gasp*). I’m not finished with it yet, but based on what I’ve read so far, I would recommend it to anyone who’s enjoyed the original City of Death serial.
My sister recently bought a copy of Dracula from the Barnes and Noble we now live within a reasonable distance of (reader, I am in love with that store), and while she’s preoccupied with that, I managed to sneak off with her Sherlock Holmes collection after months of trying to borrow it from her. Obviously, I had to start at the beginning, and as I type this I’m a few chapters into “A Study in Scarlet”. Holmes is one of those classics that everyone talks about, especially in the literature and fandom circles I’ve become part of recently, and in the past, I’ve tried to quietly fade to the background of the conversation to keep from revealing I’d never read it myself. 😅 I’ll go ahead and add now that I do plan to watch the BBC Sherlock series by Gatiss and Moffat once I finish reading the original stories, and perhaps also giving the continuing audio stories from Big Finish a try as well. I’ve also discovered an adaptation featuring Tom Baker as Sherlock available on BritBox, so I miiiiight just have to give that one a peak as well. 👀
It’s not a book, but this is a piece of literature that I’ve now read (in the form of an audio recording) upwards of three times in the past few weeks – “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde. I’ve been wanting to read more poetry, especially long-form poetry like this one, and my interest in it was piqued when it was mentioned in a podcast from Ravi Zacharias that I was listening to while sewing late one night. I found a recording of the entire poem on Amazon Music Unlimited and listened to it while I wrapped up my work for the night. It’s just one of those pieces of literature that grabs hold of you and doesn’t leave you alone, even once the last line has come and gone. I’ve written down several of the lines that hit me hardest in my journal, and might at some point write a response to them. In particular, I’ve been struck by the lines at the end of the Ballad, detailing the grave of a condemned murderer and its lack of any adornment that could symbolize a hope of redemption.
Ok, Lit Nerd Shay has had her moment and she’s going back in her closet for a while again.
And now, I will admit something and you will not judge me for it: A lot of the reading I have done lately has, in fact, been of the fanfiction variety. There are several reasons for this. One is that a couple of friends and I have been spending a lot of time lately chatting about Classic Doctor Who, and the results of many of these chats have been fanfiction. I have to (with no little feeling of guilt) admit that I’ve certainly been the least productive on this front… lately I have been finding it much easier to discuss and debate about story and character than to enter into that world myself and contribute to it. 😬
The other reason I’ve been browsing the virtual halls of Archive of Our Own so much lately is that I’m still forging ahead with the Gallifrey spin-off from Big Finish. And please do not take it lightly when I say that series is BRUTAL to the feels. All the characters are in desperate need of therapy, the plot is constantly barrelling along so no one ever gets any rest. And with the final installment of the Time War portion of the series coming soon (and my brain still begging for a good explanation of why in the universes RICHARD ARMITAGE has been cast as RASSILON, I don’t really think this fandom can take it right now), I don’t think any of the main cast will be getting any rest anytime soon. The distinctly realistic side of me says they likely won’t be getting any happy endings, either, but for now, I’m telling her to be quiet and let me enjoy my blissful ignorance while it lasts. So yes, I have read all the good and wholesome Gallifrey fanfiction I have been able to get my hands on, and it has been nice, but of course, there’s the problem of quantity…
Annnywayyyy. If anyone else has gotten into Gallifrey lately and wants fic recommendations, I’m ya girl. 🙋♀️
On to the listening category!
First, the music subsection:
The Arcadian Wild has a new song!! Which I have listened to and very much enjoyed. It’s part of a larger project (I believe the idea is to have one song representing each of the four seasons, and somehow that is also tied into a parallel of the narrative of the gospel and God’s redemptive vision for humanity). I definitely recommend it if you like any of their other music or folky/bluegrass music in general. 😊
As far as artists go, I’ve recently discovered that I really love Ellie Holcomb’s music. Her style is similar to artists like Andrew Peterson, though probably a little more traditionally worship-y without (IMO) becoming too repetitive or cliche. I’ve had several of her songs on one of my favorite playlists for a while, but just within the past few weeks have I actually tried listening to a broader sample of her music. And I’ve especially fallen in love with one of her newer releases, “Constellations”. I mentioned to a friend the other day that while I didn’t care a ton for it at first, something compelled me to listen to it several more times, and now I love it. The lyrics speak to me personally, and the entire composition of the song, while different to the sound of a lot of her other things, lends itself to a very powerful picture of crying out to God in moments of loneliness and questioning.
There’s significantly more to break down here in the AUDIO DRAMAS/PODCASTS subsection:
The main podcast I’ve been listening to the most lately has been the Let My People Think podcast from RZIM. The passing of Ravi Zacharias recently left me deeply sorry that I hadn’t dug deeper into his work sooner, and all the time I’ve been spending in my room lately has given me countless hours to listen to the sermons and talks available on this podcast. I plan to try out some of the other RZIM podcasts soon, too. (And here’s a link to one of my favorite episodes of the podcast on PodBean which I think might also be relevant and touching to many of my readers here: Postures of the Mind, Affections of the Heart. If you use a different podcatcher app such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you should be able to locate this episode just fine there as well. 😊)
I already mentioned Gallifrey briefly above, and if you’ve been following this blog, you might remember me talking about beginning it in my last Queue post. I got through chapter seven (“Pandora”) before leaving it for a little while. Then more recently, I decided to re-listen to all the chapters I already owned before moving ahead again. At the time of writing this post, I’ve just begun chapter eight (“Insurgency”) and it’s getting to Big Time Depression Hours™ for our main gang on Gallifrey. Things are getting darker, three of the four leads have already suffered pretty heavy personal blows, and while the fourth is still dedicating most of his time and energy to being a general nuisance to the others, I’ve got it on good authority that he’ll come around very soon; apparently, his character development is coming in at full-speed and I am so 👏 ready 👏 for it to get here.
I’d like to write a post specifically about this series sometime soon, as the level to which I’ve enjoyed it has surprised me in several ways, and it’s generally a good spin-off that I think more Doctor Who fans should give a try.
Also on the Doctor Who audio front for this summer has been the new second series in a range dedicated to one of my FAVORITE Whoniverse villains:
I hadn’t initially intended to buy this boxset so soon after its release, but a friend stumbled across spoilers for some pretty big reveals it contained and urged me to listen to it for myself before getting the same spoilers, and I’m really glad she did. Because HOOO BOY. THOSE REVEALS. I WILL NOT STOP SCREAMING ABOUT THEM FOR A WHILE. (On the off-chance that anyone reading this has happened to hear this boxset as well — PLEASE send me a message on any of the various platforms I’m on, I NEED TO DISCUSS THIS ‼‼‼)
And I’ve also been listening to various other Big Finish/Doctor Who releases I’ve uncovered on Hoopla and Spotify, including the novel adaptation, “Shadow of the Scourge” (with the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and Bernice Summerfield; serious Lovecraftian vibes in that one, plus at least one scene that was a good ol’-fashioned gut-punch to the feels), The Worlds of Doctor Who special release boxset, some Jago and Litefoot stories, and some re-runs of various old favorites.
There’s really not much to report here at all, aside from the fact that my sisters and I have recently begun watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot on BritBox, and I’m slowly creeping ahead in my Classic Who watch. (Hello Adric, do you really have to be Like That all the time? Also, Romana what in heaven’s name are you wearing. Why. I need a word with the costume designer for this era on behalf of my eyes.)
Sewing. Sewing. And more sewinggggggggGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
So far I’ve finished one mock-up for my Lady Cordelia cosplay (using an authentic 1920s ensemble pattern that really is quite chic and has been so much fun to work with!). I’ve got to adapt the skirt pattern and make a second mock-up that will hopefully fit me better than the first (because yes, ’20s designers, I don’t care what you may think looks “fashionable,” we ladies DO, in fact, have these things called “hips”). I’ve also ordered some wool yarn in the most screen-accurate colors I can find to begin a second attempt that the Fourth Doctor’s legendary 20 ft. striped scarf, and will likely begin putting together the mock-ups for various pieces of that cosplay very soon as well.
Attached to the sewing has been some major room reorganizing I’ve been doing this week in particular, partially to prepare for the addition of some much-needed bookshelves and partially just get it into something resembling tidiness before school starts back for me this month. My family has been on a garage-cleaning spree, spending free time sorting through boxes, some of which haven’t been opened and unpacked since our first move back down to NC a year ago now, trashing and Goodwilling and consolidating and repacking. This has led to the discovery of more fabric than any sane person should ever own at one time, and a constant re-evaluation of how I’m using the space in my room. I think I’m nearing the end of these discoveries, though, and taking a week off of constant cosplay-related sewing has been good for my inspiration. 😊
And that’s it!!
Now I need you guys to talk to me down there in the comments: have you read/listened to/watched any of the things I covered here? Would you like to see me write a full post on Gallifrey soon? Is there any interest in cosplay progress logs? I already post tons of progress pics and updates on my cosplay/art Instagram account, but if there’s interest in putting it here, too, I’ll start doing that.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and a great coming week!!
– Shay ✨