The Midnight Zoo: styled cover.

The Midnight Zoo: sequel to The Night Circus

A long time ago, I had planned to start a series of blog posts with my friend Andrew of SparklyPrettyBriiiight. As I was not blogging much, nor had any inclination to do so, I only published one post. However, as I’m determined to blog more, it’s time to bring the series back.

The idea: take a book (sometimes I’ll own it, sometimes I won’t) and tell the story of the book based solely on the cover. It was inspired by the Huff Post article where a 6-year-old girl tells the story of classic novels. Of course, after I’ve told you my version of the story, the actual blurb is revealed.

Previous book: An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. Today’s book: The Midnight Zoo, by Sonya Hartnett.

The fictional blurb

After the acclaimed debut novel The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, her publishers obviously wanted a sequel. In true Night Circus fashion, the sequel had been delivered and published a year earlier: The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett. The zoo comes at midnight — it’s not there, and then suddenly it is. A sea of black and white: all animals are black or white, the food is black and white, the maps and souvenirs are black and white. The visitors are not allowed in the park without wearing black and white clothing, as not to disturb the silent zoo. What the visitors don’t know and only the truly dedicated guess at is that this zoo, accompanied by the old man dressed in white with a matching white beard and the young girl in a black dress, that this is a competition between the oldest magics: and everyone belongs to a side.

The actual blurb

Her muzzle wrinkled, and Andrej saw a glimpse of teeth and pale tongue. ‘They smell the same,’ the lioness murmured. ‘My cubs smelt as she does. Like pollen.’ She breathed deeply again, and Andrej saw the missing cubs returning to her on the wings of the baby’s perfume. ‘All young ones must come from the same place,’ she said; then sat down on her haunches, seemingly satisfied.

Under cover of darkness, two brothers cross a war-ravaged countryside carrying a secret bundle. One night they stumble across a deserted town reduced to smouldering ruins. But at the end of a blackened street they find a small green miracle: a zoo filled with animals in need of hope.

A moving and ageless fable about war and freedom.

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Lake. (4/52)

I love water. I love swimming. I like being around water, I like being in water, I like smelling water. (Yes, really: smelling it.) It wasn’t always like this though.

Apparently, I was scared of water. Mum took me to my first swimming lesson, and I wouldn’t get in. Wouldn’t go near it. Well, that would not do. Especially for someone growing up in Queensland where beaches are our backyards. So that afternoon, an above-ground pool was installed in our actual backyard.

(Please remember, I was three.)

The next afternoon, you couldn’t get me out of the pool. I was a fish from that moment on.

I still love swimming — I don’t do it as often as I would like — but I do like living near large bodies of water. There’s something really freeing about it. As if the water encourages you to think, dream and believe.

Photo taken on my HTC One smartphone.

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Friday Five: a mixed bag of interviews, illustrations and graphic design.

ONE. People who can make a living out of writing make me simultaneously happy and jealous. This girl sounds like someone I could be friends with: interview with Mallory Ortberg..

TWO. A Periodic Table of Typefaces. I’m secretly (not-so-secretly) passionate about graphic design, type and all things magazines. I love quirky items like these.

THREE. The greatest authors and the age they were when they published their greatest book. It’s good news for me!

FOUR. Travelling in your home town can be exciting! I might even do some of these this year.

FIVE. I’m a big West Wing fan. I started rewatching season one this week (during my new sleeping hours — aka the daytime — thanks Summer of Tennis night matches), and it’s still brilliant. I know Sorkin has his quirks (oh, gosh, so many quirks), but it’s still a beautiful piece of television and ensemble casting. A beautiful illustrated look at the episode: Seventeen People.

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Cricket. (3/52)


Last week’s photo is a little late. I went to the cricket with the husband last Wednesday to watch the Prime Minister’s Eleven. I thoroughly enjoyed the cricket. In fact, I tend to like watching any sport live. Or any sport, anytime.

Photo taken on HTC One smartphone, via Instagram app. Using a forgotten filter. Cropped on my MacBook Pro.

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The tattoo began to grow. The ink wasn’t bleeding, as is usual of a tattoo. Something green seeped up and out of the black lines. It spread and it grew until she couldn’t ignore it anymore. This shouldn’t be happening. It was the middle of the night. She had been sleeping. The dark emerald substance clawed its way around her left shoulder, across her back, capturing her waist and neck. She watched it take her over in the mirror across the room and thought about screaming for her father. But she couldn’t. Not yet. When the wings appeared, she did.

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. This is the first of many drabbles (100 word stories) I will publish.

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Rain. (2/52)

Rain. That’s how it’s been here in Canberra over the last couple of days. This is the summer version of the winter blanket day: I even pulled out my hoodie and wore some long pants for the first time in months. The husband and I bunked down with the (summer of) sport — there’s no sport in winter, unless you count the midnight Tour de France sessions — to enjoy the indoor day.

Of course, as I write this, the sky is blue and the sun has reappeared.

Photo taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 Blue. View from the study in our apartment.

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Revived: repeat read?

9781921690631The problem with having a “don’t break the spine” rule? I can’t tell if I’ve read a book before. Revived is an easy read, so by the time the story started to feel particularly familiar, I was 100 pages in.

I couldn’t stop reading the book now though: I pushed through. I knew the twists and turns long before I should have. I knew the ending and the epilogue. I started to get premonitions (or flash backs?) about what was coming.

Considering I read Revived and forgot it, but think I enjoyed it both times, I wouldn’t discourage you reading it.

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Telescope (1/52)

This year, I have decided to take a single photo each week of my life. This particular photo was taken at Narrabri at the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

After the Christmas/New Year break in Brisbane, the husband and I took a road trip inland to see all the telescopes in Eastern Australia. (We are lucky enough to live in Canberra, so we’d already been to Tidbinbilla’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex several times and visited the original Honeysuckle Creek site.)

Photo taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 Blue.

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