Is it hard to pick one thing you love best? Have you a smorgasboard of favorites? Ali Williams talks about celebrating all the things in life which bring her joy.
The title of this column is Why We Love, and I’ve been following it each month and loving finding out what my PHS colleagues love. At the moment, it seems so damn important to celebrate the things in our life that bring us joy.
So today I’m not going to talk about one, or even two, things that I love, but rather offer you up a veritable smorgasbord of the things that fill me with joy and make me giggle.
The Sea. Growing up, I spent a week almost every summer down by the sea in Brighton with my grandparents. They taught me to swim there, indulged my love of ice cream and let me watch far more television than I was allowed to watch at home.
So when I got a job in Brighton about a year ago that was a two minute walk from the beach, I couldn’t believe my luck. There’s something so soothing about watching the ebb and flow of the tide, pebbles dancing along the beach. The mere sound of it sets me at ease. I’d spend every day by the sea if I could.
Academia. Everyone knows that I’m a nerd. Ask me about my PhD? Expect a twenty minute impassioned soliloquy. Want some Popular Romance Studies recommendations? I have a mini library. And running a conference? Expect me to be interested. I love learning. There’s something that comes with the thrill of fully comprehending how popular culture links up with our social consciousness that gets me excited.
I’m even giving a paper at the Screening the Unreal symposium at the University of Brighton this month, about the Sci Fi television series, Killjoys. I’m particularly interested in Dutch and her doppelganger Aneela, and how their apparent existence as binary opposites impacts how we view them. Plus it’s an excuse to nerd out over sci fi and fantasy.
Cocktails. I don’t drink that often – mainly because I’m a bit of a lightweight and get very giggly very quickly – but I love a cocktail. And especially a champagne cocktail.
Bellinis, mimosas, sgroppinos… If it’s got bubbles in it, I’ll try it! I also like those which are fruit based as I find them so much more refreshing.
Cocktails are usually saved for special occasions: afternoon tea with friends (think cucumber sandwiches and delightful bite-sized pastries); Christmas (either homemade peach bellinis on Christmas Eve, or the annual Christmas pub get-together with all my friends from home); or drinks with the other half’s work colleagues at the hipster bar in town.
Binge-reading Urban Fantasy Series. Of all types of speculative fiction, I’m most likely to binge-read urban fantasy series. Give me a kick-arse heroine with a chip on her shoulder and a slow-burning romance that develops over a long-running series and I’m sold.
I recently inhaled Jenn Stark’s Immortal Vegas series – and discovered it round about the time that she released the final book, which meant I was able to read them all in one go. The Major Arcana of Tarot imbodied, magical items and multiple pantheons all in one? Perfection.
NXT. It's the developmental brand of WWE, the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world. And though I do enjoy watching the main roster, NXT is where it’s all at. Exciting new talent from a variety of backgrounds, trying new things and putting on some of the best matches I’ve ever seen.
Wrestlers do backflips off the top of ladders, really develop good storylines with some fantastic acting, and some of the best women’s wrestling around.
Last month the UK Championship tournament was held in the Royal Albert Hall in London and we sat at home, glued to the screen, watching some incredible matches and celebrated new champions!
Reading. And last but certainly not least, reading. I read academic essays and romance novels; dystopian thrillers and heart rending YA contemporaries. And everything I read lifts me up a little bit more.
Ali Williams is a romance editor, academic and writer, and one of the hosts of Into the Stacks: The Bookcast, a podcast about speculative fiction. For more information about Ali and her projects, check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have a favorite hobby, book series, TV Show, getaway spot or passtime? What brings you joy? Let us know in the comments or tell us on Social Media using #ThingsWeLove