200th Zine Review Celebration Awards: I Read a Zine, And I Liked It

Wonderful, beloved zine friends. I’m so happy to be creating this post.

It’s that time again – a time that probably isn’t familiar to a lot of you. When I reached my 100th review in May 2016, I felt inspired by the Golden Stapler Awards and celebrated by awarding zines with titles like ‘best binding’ and ‘funniest zine’.

(100th Zine Review Celebration Awards: All You Need is Zine Love)

I hit my 200th zine reviewed a few months ago, but with everything that was going on, I wasn’t able to get to things until now. I still wasn’t sure whether I would do this, but I do love sharing my zine enthusiasm and celebrating fun and cool zines.

Things to remember:

1. My apologies for any less than stellar photos.
2. This is only meant to be a bit of fun.
3. Zines often fit into more than one category. How they were sorted is all on me.
4. Keep in mind these are limited to the second lot of 100 zines I’ve reviewed – roughly from May 2016 to July 2017. You can find the whole list: Zine Review Index
5. Picking out the ‘best’ stinks. I love them all!

Let’s do this.

(I’m putting everything after a more tag because there are a lot of images.)

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#ZineWriMo Day 20 – Try a New Genre

Hello, zine friends, and happy start to the coming week (if Monday is your Monday, which it’s likely not, so I don’t know where to end this mid-sentence sidenote…). Today for ZineWriMo, we have the challenge of trying out a new genre.

Genres in zinedom are a little looser, a little less defined than in the literary world – but that’s what makes it fun, right? In general, though, there are a few (listed in no particular order):

*Your usual literary genres for fiction writing: fantasy, sci-fi, etc
*Poetry zine
*Comic
*Collab zines – zines containing pieces from multiple people
*Info/Educational zines
*Perzine – a personal, memoir or biography style zine
*Fanzine – a zine all about that thing/person/band/movie/game/etc you love
*Politizine – a politically oriented zine
*Music Scene Zine

So on and so forth. There are heaps of different takes, mixing and matching, and the like.

I was a bit stumped for this one for a while. I make a perzine, and collab zine, and have made info zines. Poetry, any sort of artistry, politics, and music all fall under this hazy veil for me, so I didn’t know what to make that was outside familiar territory.

Then it occurred to me…

Fanzine! I’ve never made a fanzine before, and I just so happened to make the cover for this one just yesterday. Haha. Go figure.

I’m a planner, so I’ve been scribbling down various notes and things for how I want to structure my fanzine and what information I would like to include in it. I’m very excited all over again to tear apart and examine a show I really love.

How did you go with today’s task? Did you try a new genre? Let me know about it in the comments!

Zine Review: Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love
The School of Life Design
http://www.schooloflifedesign.com

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love is a black and white education zine designed as a seven-day course on gratitude and self love.

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love starts off with an intro that flows along the lines of ‘you get back what you put out into the universe’. That may be oversimplifying it a bit, but it basically takes you into the realm of your thinking influencing your reality. If you remember The Secret, this zine reminded me of that.

As you can imagine, a seven-day course should be done over seven days. So I decided that a proper, full review of this zine could only be accomplished if I did it ‘as prescribed’, so I did one exercise a day over the course of a week.

I like that the exercises didn’t require anything but a pen and some time (and the zine, of course). I’ve seen too many of these sorts of things that require money and various other supplies.

I am very familiar with the concept of gratitude and daily gratitude exercises, so the basics weren’t new to me, However, the exercises included were. I won’t list them out, but I will say that the ‘success of another’ exercise was definitely my favourite. The exercise made me think outwardly and about others.

That’s something that this zine does very well. The exercises cover both inward and outward thinking as well as past and future thinking. The course got me to sit down and calm down for a bit once a day, and that’s a lovely thing.

Aesthetically, this zine ties right into its own message. It focuses on the exercises with simple designs that are nice to look at but only serve the task at hand. They aren’t overwhelming and serve to compliment the words rather than take away from them.

The one detail that did give me pause is that the “Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love is a 7-day, intensive course…” is on the back of the zine rather than on the front or in the introduction. I can see someone smashing out all the exercises in one session for missing that detail. I’m not sure that’d actually be a problem, but I imagine the creators of this would prefer it be done over seven days.

While I may not have agreed with all the sentiments and wording, I did find value in the course. I like that this zine exists. I like that there are people making zines that can help people wanting to connect to the spiritual sides of their lives. If that sounds like you, I think this zine could be a good place to start.

Zine Review: Birder Beginnings: Introduction to Bird Watching

Birder Beginnings: Introduction to Bird Watching
Sarah E. Hoffman
hoffmans99@hotmail.com
84acres.blogspot.ca

Birder Beginnings is a black and white comprehensive beginner’s guide to bird watching and birding, and boy am I ever a beginner.

The chaos of the house move delayed my reading this zine, but I’m almost grateful for it (save for the annoyance of the delay for Sarah). Since moving to a much quieter place, I’ve been hearing so many more bird calls and have a greater appreciation for this zine.

Birder Beginnings takes you by the hand and leads you into the world of birding. Sarah’s writing is informative without waffling, telling you things you don’t need to know, or distracting from the subject. The cut and paste style fits in very well with the guidebook style of the zine.

I was impressed by the amount of information that was packed inside. There are so many elements of birding – and bird watching; I now know there is a difference – that I simply wouldn’t have been able to even guess before. Sarah writes about how binoculars work, developing and advancing your skills, birding event etiquette, and plenty more. There are even events and various types of documenting the birds you’ve spotted.

There’s even a list for further reading, and you know how much I love lists for where to get more info.

While this may seem overwhelming, Sarah makes it clear at the beginning that all you require to start is the ability to enjoy nature.

The part I appreciated most was the ‘birds in your backyard’ section. The specific of breeds and seeds may not all be applicable in Australia, but the ideas and tips are. Even better, I felt like they were things I could implement fairly easily. I feel inspired and am looking forward to making the space I have bird-friendly.

As I mentioned, I am a complete beginner to all of this, but I feel like this zine has all the information anyone needs to get going for anything from casual bird watching to more involved birding.