Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

December round up

I had an unexpected bounty of speaking invites for December, presenting about educational technology as an interdisciplinary topic for the Open Programme, an internal workshop on social media for researchers with my colleague Arosha Bandara and the keynote for the Social Media in Higher Education conference. These last two talks were interesting in that they made me reflect on how much has changed in the social media landscape over the past few years. Arosha and I gave a similar talk back in 2019, and this was a more cautious, nuanced one post pandemic and post-Musk Twitter. The talks prompted me to tidy up my social media presence a bit, and set up a linktree site as the one stop shop – my site does this also, but linktree is quite neat. Maren and I also did a fun podcast talking about our year in blogging which rounded off the social media focus.

Book wise, I got through twelve this month, bringing me to 151 for the year. From this month, I enjoyed the sub-genre of Christmas horror – I mean a creepy guy in a red suit stalking into people’s houses, it’s ripe for horror. Apart from my annual reading of Dicken’s Chrismas Carol, which I guess might be seen as the grandaddy of this genre, Brom’s Krampus was the pick of the bunch. Outside of festive reads, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s imaginative retelling of HG Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau continued to establish her as a bright new voice on feminist horror (or just good fiction in general). I finally got around to reading David Epstein’s plea for multidisciplinary perspectives, Range, which I’ll blog later. David Grann’s Lost City of Z made made me reappraise assumptions about civilisations in the Amazon, and the notion of environmental determinism. It’s also a cracking yarn.

On the vinyl front, I blogged my vinyl of the year, and one of the benefits of this time of year (or drawbacks from the perspective of my bank balance) are all the best of lists that go around. Through these I discovered the celestial and moving Julia Byrne’s The Greater Wings, and Wednesday’s Rat Saw God, which is like a rockier version of Big Thief. Both good albums to end the year on.

And that’s another year over. My last as an OU employee – I’m already missing the annual message from Estates about ensuring all festive lights are PAT tested.

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