Jenna’s Mid-Year Life Review

May 14, 2019 by Jenna | Books, Event Recaps, Features

I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve done a post that wasn’t a review. So I’m going to recap my 2019 so far in what I’m calling my mid-year life review (even though it’s only been like four and a half months since 2019 started)… Try not to question it too much.

I’m a doctor!

My 2019 so far has been stressful, uneventful, and exciting at the same time. I completed my PhD last year and found myself unsure of what I wanted to do next so the first two months of the year (as well as the last few months of 2018) were spent job hunting and stressing out about my small amount of income. Luckily I’m now in a job that I love, and even though it’s outside of academia and what I specifically trained for, it’s been really rewarding and I’ve definitely added a lot of new skills to my repertoire in the two short months that I’ve been there. Not only that, but my colleagues are absolutely wonderful and surprised me the day after my graduation ceremony with this (don’t ask about the bowl of fake fruit – I didn’t):

Speaking of my graduation ceremony, it was an exhausting but fun day. I got to graduate with two of my closest friends who started the program at the same time as me, and that definitely made everything that much more sweet. I did get a little bit choked up the night before and the morning of the ceremony about the fact that my dad is no longer here with us because he was the most excited about me being able to wear the puffy hat. But all in all, I still managed to really enjoy the day and I got to keep the puffy hat! I got my thesis bound into a book as well (it ended up being $150 per book!) and it ended up looking really nice in the photos. Jeann also sent me the sweetest gift of a customised mug and a graduating owl plush, but I forgot to bring it with me to take photos with because I’m a silly goose!


V. E. Schwab Event

I’ve been a bit absent from the bookish community and haven’t been going to very many events in the last 12 months, especially with finishing my dissertation and trying to figure life out. But I did get to see V. E. Schwab in conversation with Garth Nix last month and it was amazing to feel like I was part of the community again. I’ve been in a huge reading slump, pretty much on and off for 2 years, and going to bookish events like these really inspire me to pick up a book again.

V. E. Schwab was such a great speaker… man, how do I become her?! She spoke about everything from her dog to her mortality complex and how it influences her writing and characterisation. I highly, highly enjoyed the event and Garth had such insightful questions too.


All Day YA – Sydney Writers’ Festival

I took it easy at this year’s All Day YA. Normally I’m at 5 sessions during the day, but decided to skip the first and last sessions this year. It also helped that I didn’t have as many books for signing this year, which actually gave me a break between sessions (unlike last year when I was in the Patrick Ness line for the entire lunch break and the majority of the post-lunch session). I ended up at the ‘Climate of Fear’ session, which was a conversation about environmental catastrophes and how the dystopian worlds we read about might be a reality sooner than we think. I was also at the ‘To All the Fandoms I’ve Loved Before’ session, which was hilarious and heartfelt. It involved a collection of authors reading out letters to their favourite fandoms. My personal favourite was Dhonielle Clayton’s passionate love letter to Outlander and Jamie Fraser! And I ended my All Day YA with the ‘Rewriting the Body’ session, which covered the importance of inclusive stories and representation of people with bodies that aren’t the ‘thin ideal’, people living with disability and chronic illness, and those living outside of ‘the norm’.

I got my books (and some of Jeann’s) signed by Neal Shusterman and Mackenzie Lee. Given that Scythe and Thunderhead are two of my favourite books that I’ve read in the last two years, I was super excited to chat to Neal about his thoughts on the audiobooks for the series and the upcoming release of The Toll (mark your calendars for Nov. 5!). I’m so excited and cannot wait to get my hands on the audiobook as soon as it’s out.

I also got to chat to Mackenzie Lee and we bonded over our shared love for Gorman clothes. Somehow I knew from her fun personality that she would be a Gorman fan and the dress definitely looked beautiful on her! Not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed with myself for not wearing a Gorman dress that day…

I hope you are all having a great 2019 so far. Let me know your best moments from the past few months so that we can celebrate our wins (whether big or small) together!

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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