19 Days until Liberation! (19 books I will read after college)

Returning to a recent posting topic, it’s only 19 days until I’m finished all of my college finals. The think I am undoubtedly looking forward to the most is reading things without feeling guilty. And so, in honour of this, here are 19 books that I intend to read once I’m finished college:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Don Quixiote
  • The Stand
  • Dexter
  • Dexter
  • Dexter
  • Ransom River
  • Strumpet City
  • Odd Thomas
  • Sign of Four
  • The Hounds of Baskervilles
  • Dracula
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Animal Farm
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

And so many, many more!

Bizarre Request! (Competition)

Hi everyone!

Random post buuuut…

I’ve entered a competition on Facebook with three friends and we could win €10,000 if we win it. But we need to get the most votes to win it, so I’m turning to you guys for help!

If anyone could spare a minute (yup, just a minute!) and head on over to THIS FACEBOOK PAGE and vote for us, that’d be massively appreciated. And please don’t vote for anyone else. ;)

We need to get in the top four to get in the final.

I’ll be using my portion of the money for college fees, moving out and, of course, some to charity. So please do me a massive favour and help out!

Summer Writing Plan

As promised in yesterday’s post, I have a writing plan for this Summer. And here it is:

  1. Write the first draft of a novel. I’m not 100% sure what novel I’ll do, as I’ve a few that intrigue me, but I’ll figure it out then and just go with it.
  2. Edit my thriller novel fully.

And that’s it! Nothing fancy, nice and simple. Well, simple as in short. But in actual writing length, it’s looooong. Depending on my writing confidence, which is heavily dependent on whether or not I get accepted for my Creative Writing MA in college, the first draft will be swift or agonisingly slow.

I aim to have a joyous time and get it completed in six weeks. With my exams ending on May 9th, my first draft should be completed around the end of June. Then I aim to get the editing of my thriller done in an aggressive six week period, which’ll mean the second draft is done in time for my college return.

Of course, a lot of this really does depend on the success or failure of my MA application. I’ve had sleep problems since applying and it’s a stressful, anxious time. Add my essays and exams to it and you have some turbulent weeks.

I also applied for the Maeve Binchy Travel Award in college, which is a €4,000 traveling bursary to aid a writing project. The deadline for that is April 28th (if I remember correctly) and they aim to have the shortlist for it within the first week of May. So I’ve two exciting things to look forward to and be curious/anxious about.

The next few weeks could either be stupendous or devastating for my writing confidence, so cross your fingers for me…


New Blog (Launch) – I Need Your Help!

Don’t worry, this blog isn’t disappearing. Far from it. I’m currently in the final throws of college stress with four essays to soldier through and two terrible exams to slay. Then, on May 9th, I will hopefully never have work to do for my degree again!

I have a writing plan for then and the Summer, which I’ll be posting tomorrow, so if you’re having a lazy Easter you can check it out.

However, I’m also going to be launching a new blog in May. May 12th, to be precise. For now I’m preparing posts, etc. so that I can hopefully get a snowballing momentum. But I need help. And that’s where you guys come in!

The entire focus of the new blog is on old school gaming. Board games, card games and even RPGs (simple and difficult). But I’m targeting it at families. I want to do my bit in getting the kids off the xbox and keeping the creative intellect in our society at its peak. In tough financial times it is the innovative who thrive most, so why not do our bit in promoting this?

The blog will have a variety of posts, including:

  1. How-To guides for making original games of all varieties
  2. Guides and tips on getting the best store-bought games with the best replay ability, so you don’t buy a flop (There’s more than just monopoly out there!)
  3. Suggestions for on-the-go travel games, for the family that has less time with their kids but still wants quality time
  4. Articles/essays on gaming, in relation to kids/adults/families and even economics
  5. Sources to similar sites and blogs to help get you more ideas
  6. Journals/text recordings of games which I will play with the blog’s followers, via email (for entertainment value)
  7. And much, much more!

But as we all know, starting a blog is always a tough ordeal and maintaining one is even tougher. I’m going to give this a good bash regardless of the reception it gets, but I’d be lying if I said help wouldn’t be a massive aid and hugely appreciated.

And that’s why I’m inviting you guys to help me get my blog off of the ground by preparing for it’s official launch party on May 12th. What can you do? As much or as little as you want! Mainly, I’ll be hoping for reblogs when it launches but if anyone is happy to help out majorly, I have a lot of promotional things planned. Each will be fun and free to do and, of course, it will be linked back to your blog so you get some traffic, as well as the joy of being credited and thanked.

So if any of you guys want to help me out with the launch and maybe get a few kids more engaged with their brains, comment below or email me at sabcooke@gmail.com and we can figure out from there what you can do or want to do to help. :)


NOTE: The blog is not against electronic gaming, as I believe it has a lot of the same benefits of old school games, if played in a certain way. The blog will also promote a more stimulating and educational way of playing console games, with a continued emphasis on cutting down on hours at the TV.

29 Days Until Mystery! (Modules I Did In College)

I’m running low on long lists… the days need to start going faster! Next up is 29 classes that I’ve taken over the three years in college. I’ve taken 36 altogether, so it’s almost all of them!

  1. Coming of Age Narratives
  2. Literary Genre
  3. Literature in Context 1
  4. Literature in Context 2
  5. Romanticism
  6. Victorian to Modern Literature
  7. Reading Wordsworth
  8. Regency Writing
  9. Romanticism and Postmodernism
  10. The Modernist Novel
  11. The Crime Novel
  12. Medieval Literature
  13. Renaissance Literature
  14. Creative Writing
  15. The Plays of Frank McGuinness
  16. Modern American Literature
  17. Ancient Rome
  18. Ancient Greece
  19. Classical Myth
  20. Classical Art and Archaeology
  21. The Search for Meaning
  22. Intro to Greek Philosophy
  23. Intro to Modern Philosophy
  24. Critical Theory
  25. Foucault and Critical Social Theory
  26. German Idealism
  27. Philosophy and Mental Disorder
  28. Hume and Kant
  29. Pagan Celts and Their Insular Inheritance

I picked some random subjects…


30 Days Until Salvation! (Books & Texts I Should Have Read In College)

Continuing the listing trend, today I’m giving you a list of 30 books and texts that I should have read over my three years in college, but didn’t. Sometimes it came down to time constraints. Other times I just didn’t need them. And a lot of the time the books got over 50% of the way read, then I had to start another.

  1. Great Expectations
  2. Alice in Wonderland
  3. Northern Lights
  4. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
  5. The Last Man
  6. Pickwick Papers
  7. Plato’s Republic
  8. The Sign of Four
  9. The Moonstone
  10. Emma
  11. Persuasion
  12. Dracula
  13. The Unicorn
  14. The Good Soldier
  15. The Lady of Shalott
  16. Jude the Obscure
  17. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  18. Neuromancer
  19. The Monk
  20. Farewell, My Lovely
  21. Devil in a Blue Dress
  22. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  23. The Canterbury Tales
  24. The Wasteland
  25. The Strength of God
  26. Hunters in the Snow
  27. An Alcoholic Case
  28. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
  29. The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids
  30. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Without exaggeration, I can promise you that there are at least two more lists that long that I could do. Maybe close to five lists… There is a lot of reading in English and Philosophy. And a lot more of it that you don’t need to read to get good grades.

31 Days Until Touchdown! (Facts About My College)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, it is 31 days until my final college year is over. I’m still awaiting a response about my MA application. So, in the mean time, I’ll distract myself with lists! Here’s 31 facts about my college:

  1. My college is University College Dublin, more warmingly known as UCD.
  2. It was founded in 1854 by John Henry Newman.
  3. The Newman Building is the most neglected building in the college.
  4. UCD is a research-intensive college that puts a strong emphasis on postgraduate studies. Researchers within UCD are making great, continual strides in the battle against cancer.
  5. Over 50% of UCD graduates go on to postgraduate studies.
  6. UCD has over 30,000 students from over 100 countries. It prides itself on the cultural diversity.
  7. UCD is linked to many colleges across the world and strongly encourages taking part in exchanges.
  8. UCD is within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide.
  9. The campus is 133 hectares, with at least five nature walks to enjoy.
  10. And yet, there are over 2 million visits a year to the libraries on campus.
  11. UCD is currently honoured with the presence of Frank McGuinness, one of Ireland’s greatest modern playwrights. He teaches and aids multiple of the postgraduate courses, as well as advising students on a daily basis.
  12. The UCD Special Collections Archive houses many old, rare materials, including the handwritten first drafts of McGuinness’s plays.
  13. UCD has approximately 40 different schools of education, 20% of which are in the Arts.
  14. UCD’s school of English, Drama and Film actually offers a plethora of combinations and single majors, allowing students to focus their degree how they want.
  15. UCD allows students and even encourages them to take elective modules outside of their chosen degree. Sometimes, it is even integral to their degree to go outside of their immediate school. For example, law students greatly benefit and sometimes need to take part in philosophy modules.
  16. UCD offers a wide range of scholarships, ranging from nursing scholarships to sports scholarships and even to performing arts scholarships.
  17. There are five different on-campus residences in UCD for students to choose from.
  18. UCD has many famous Alumni, but it’s proudest one is James Joyce. UCD is a college that is extremely proud of its Irish heritage, especially in regards to writing, and so they rarely let us forget of Joyce’s wonder.
  19. The library for Arts students is called the James Joyce Library.
  20. Another notable Alumnus is Brian O’Driscoll (BOD), a national rugby hero.
  21. The UCD Student Union is very active in campaigning and trying to get its voice heard outside of the college.
  22. The Student Union proposed and carried through a ban on Coca Cola products as it did not agree with the way the brand treated its workers in foreign regions. To this day, no Coca Cola product is sold on the campus.
  23. However, lately, the SU has attempted to make fixed stances on controversial topics, which has resulted in a student backlash. The SU started a poor trend of taking a majority opinion (based on sparsely advertised elections) and terming it as the opinion of every UCD student. It is currently attempting to regain student confidence.
  24. In 2013 we finally received our new, state of the art Student Centre.
  25. The Newman building is still awaiting improvement.
  26. UCD actively gives a variety of awards, both from the student body and the staff, to renowned people for their achievements and actions in the world.
  27. UCD is in constant improvement and hopes to rid itself of its debt and secure it’s spot in the top 1% higher institutions of education in the world.
  28. The Newman building is still awaiting improvement.
  29. In a survey that 7,000 Alumni took part in, 17% of them found their life partner in UCD.
  30. I am still waiting to hear back about my MA application.
  31. The Newman building is still awaiting improvement.

32 Days Until Freedom! (What I’ve Learned About Myself in College)

I am into week 10 of my 12 week semester in college. My final semester. There are 32 days until the overall end,with two exams to in the final two days. I have learned a lot over the course of my three year degree and it has been accompanied by a lot of ups and downs. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing next year and I’m still waiting to hear back about my MA application, which could mean another year in college. Still, I can’t wait to be free of the degree and start taking on life in a new way.

To celebrate my 32 days remaining, here’s 32 things I’ve learned over the three years:

  1. There are many people smaller than me.
  2. Even with the above discovery, I am still well below average height.
  3. I have a broader reading interest than I thought.
  4. I dislike studying books from the Modernist era, but I still enjoy reading them.
  5. love everything to do with the Romantic Period.
  6. My interest in William Wordsworth and his poetry is stronger than I believed in school.
  7. My English teacher in school was right. William Hazlitt is a man who writes what I love reading and also sounds a lot like me.
  8. Classic literature isn’t illegible gibberish.
  9. I can write an in-depth, coherent argument with new looks on a piece of literature.
  10. I can cog someone else’s opinion masterfully when in a sticky corner.
  11. Reading about people reading books can be interesting, entertaining and insightful.
  12. Old books can be incredibly cheap.
  13. Old books can be incredibly stinky.
  14. I can read books in all sorts of positions and locations.
  15. I will forever be a slow reader.
  16. I will forever be proud to be a slow reader.
  17. The more I read, the better my writing becomes.
  18. I am capable of comprehending very deep and complex philosophical writings.
  19. I am equally capable of acquiring very deep and complex headaches because of philosophical writings.
  20. Kant is a man whom I never wish to meet in the afterlife.
  21. The same goes for Hegel, Nietzsche and more.
  22. Michel Foucault, on the other hand, I am pleased to meet.
  23. YouTube is a fantastic source for making complex theories easier to grasp at the start and should not be looked at with snobbery.
  24. It is hard to maintain a strict writing schedule and keep on top of my college work at the same time.
  25. It is not impossible to maintain a flexible writing schedule and keep on top of my college work at the same time.
  26. Sometimes my writing has to be set aside for a few weeks, and there is nothing wrong with that.
  27. Sometimes my writing needs to take center stage.
  28. I work well with deadlines and a heavy workload.
  29. I can multitask efficiently, despite being a guy.
  30. I am a fair and efficient team leader.
  31. I really, really like reading and writing, whatever the context.
  32. There is a lot more to learn and discover both inside and outside of college life.

Tomorrow I’ll continue the countdown with 31 facts about my college!

Application Crazy!

My lack of productivity on the blogging front at the minute is in direct relation to my great productivity on every other front at the minute. It might be a few weeks before I get back to regular blogging, as college is quite hectic, but I’ll be popping on with a few updates and (hopefully) the occasional actual post.

Today I applied for an award in college in honour of Maeve Binchy. It’s an award of €4,000 to travel as inspiration and a source for a writing project. The shortlist for that is May 28th, so it’ll be a good while before I hear back. But I’m excited!

My final final draft of the opening three chapters in my novel are now finished. That’s the fourth draft of them. My generous mother is proofreading them tomorrow and then I’ll be writing my personal statement on Thursday, hopefully applying then too.

I also applied for a part time call centre job today, which I can hopefully get with my recent call centre experience in college. The campaign I was part of is in its final week and I’ve been doing quite well, which resulted in an increase from one shift to six for the final week. So it’s great in two ways!

I’m putting forward the ideas for my final English essays (four in total) and will be starting my final philosophy essay next week, so that’s where I’ve been hiding.

Busy and exciting times! I hope to have some great news to report on within the coming months.

7 Happenings of This Week

I’ve had a fairly adventurous and productive week with a lot of things going on. And it’s only Thursday night! Crazy.

I’ll be disappearing for the weekend from the internet world, so no posts til Monday. So you’ll have to enjoy this list until then!

  1. The 5-week job I’m doing in college is coming up to its last week and for it, the boss picked the best callers to get the most shifts. Basically, everyone else gets one shift and we pick as many as we want. So I’ve got six times the regular income. Booyah!
  2. In that job, with the five shifts I’ve had, I’ve raised a little over €3,500 for scholarships in my college. Considering it’s only 3 hours per shift, at least 30 minutes of which is warming up, I’m pretty pleased with that! It’s a nice feeling.
  3. The three chapters of my novel are nearly ready for my MA submission and that is both exciting and terrifying.
  4. I got a glass bottle hurled at my head today, from behind, by a fifteen year old kid. It brushed my ear/hair (not ear hair!) and shattered right in front of me. A lucky escape from an idiot. No wonder he had glasses.
  5. I am currently about 200 words from finishing my toughest essay for this semester.
  6. I just ate Oreos. Always an epic event.
  7. I met Frank McGuinness, an amazing Irish playwright, and he had a Q&A session for one of my classes. He was so down to earth and hilarious, I am no even more pumped than ever to continue my pursuit for a career in writing.

Here’s hoping next week is also eventful!