Discussion

This is a sad post to write.

Ooh, this feels weird to write.

Hey, book blog. It’s been a while.

Although most people who read this blog follow me on various social media, and probably know what’s happened, I realised I hadn’t given a formal explanation here. So here goes!

The bibliomaniac book blog has been put to rest.

I haven’t checked this site in a good few months, so it felt very strange and nostalgic to revisit this right now in order to post this. I love this blog so much, and I do miss it already. We grew up together!

For those of you who haven’t been here long, I started this blog at the age of eleven and I’m now about to turn eighteen. Book blogging provided me with so many wonderful opportunities in my teenage years. I’ve gotten to review and promote exciting books, attend bookish events and meet some amazing people – from authors and fellow bloggers to readers of my little site.

I’m nearing the end of my school education. I’m off to university soon. I’m not reading so much anymore. I’ve begun my journey as a freelance photographer. I need a space to talk about more than just books.

So that’s why you can now find me at @geetakesphotos on twitter, and georgiawalters.co.uk, my shiny new blog for talking about everything.

2018-02-23
Snazzy new site! Lookit!!

If you want to read more about why I’m moving on from this book blog, you can check out my new site for a much more coherent and thoughtfully written piece! Here it is.

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who’s read, shared and enjoyed my blog posts here since 2011. I am so thankful for all of the lovely comments and support I received here. By email, this blog has nearly 2000 subscribers. Whaaaat? That’s surreal! Thank you to all of you, those I know and those I don’t.

I’m not shutting this blog down, by the way! I’m just leaving it be. I’m so, so proud of it. It’s an extensive archive of my writing, teenage life and digital skillz. I also know that some school libraries and teachers use my blog for reference – and I’d love for that to continue.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be talking about books from time to time on my new site (as well as life and politics and media), so head over there and give it a follow on WordPress or keep up to date with my via my new social media handles – @Geetakesphotos on Twitter and @geetakesphotos_ on Instagram.

See you around!

Discussion

Back to School Reading List | Autumn 2017

As I’m writing this, I have one week until I go back to sixth form, and when this post publishes, it’ll be one day (aaaahhh!) I’m sort of dreading starting year 13, especially after a really great summer. I’ve done so many cool things but now I’m preparing to return to a non-existent social life and even more academic pressure than I’ve ever had before.

Sooo, how am I gonna cope with that? BOOKS!

IMG_3755.jpg

This blog post is a list of all of the books I hope to read in the (little) free time I have during my first school term.

Disclaimer: I will probably not read all of these books during my first term back. I’m going to be so busy. But the IDEA of reading them is comforting to me, so this post is still valid, right? Without further ado, here’s the five books I’d like to read:

IMG_3768

Haddon Hall: Where David Invented Bowie by Néjib

My dad picked up a copy of this graphic novel, but I had to steal it from him! It’s a portrait of David Bowie’s life, right at the start of his career, documenting his time in Haddon Hall. I’m local to Beckenham and this place Bowie used to live, so I thought it would be a really interesting read. The cover is so vibrant!

Awkward and Definition: The High School Chronicles by Ariel Schrag

I purchased Likewise, another graphic novel by Schrag, before realising I didn’t own the precious books in the series. This graphic novel collects the first two memoirs she wrote, whilst still in high school. I’ve read so many fantastic reviews of this relatable and quirky memoir series, so I’m really eager to start it. And what better time to read it than my last year at school?

IMG_3777

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

adored Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the original book and the film. It’s probably one of my all-time favourite YA books. Despite having first read Miss Peregrine’s a while ago, I’ve never gotten around to its sequel. I’m putting this at the top of my TBR pile as I think it’ll be the perfect book for escapism on study breaks.

IMG_3781

Post Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back by Matthew D’ancona

One of my new resolutions is to read more non-fiction; more specifically about politics and society. It’s hard to stay away from the news in the current political climate, but so-called “fake news” has become so common that it’s difficult to know when and how to respond. I’m hoping to learn a lot from this!

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

I’ve read so much about Black Lives Matter, but only in small snippets across social media. I’ve wanted to educate myself more about the situation of police brutality in America, so this book has been on my radar for the past few months. The writer is a journalist, who reported on related events over a number of years. This is going to be a very hard-hitting read, but I know it’ll also give me much more insight into an important movement.


 

So, those are the books I’m planning on reading in Autumn! Have you read any? What’s on your own reading list? Leave a comment 🙂

Discussion

Required Reading: Books I Would Put on the Curriculum

Particularly in the last three years, following Michael Gove’s decision to axe American literature from the GCSE English reading list, I’ve paid close attention to the types of literature I’ve been exposed to in school. Here’s all the books I’ve studied from year six to year twelve:

studied

These books are great and generate a lot of discussion. This year, I’ve really enjoyed Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I don’t mean to say these texts aren’t worthy of studying – but classrooms would hugely benefit from more diverse and current books, especially from this century. This is already happening, to a certain extent – for example, with Noughts and Crosses.

I think YA is more likely to make an impact on a student’s life. The YA section in a bookstore is where you’ll find some of the most influential and life-changing reads, as well as a plethora of diverse stories. So much of what I read in these categories spark important discussions.

In my opinion, the current syllabuses fail to do so – of course, there’s discussion of race and patriarchy, but often in the context of eras gone by. As important as historical literature is, it’s also integral to make syllabuses inclusive of books that deal with issues in the current state of the world.

It’s also so vital children see themselves represented. I’m yet to find literature by authors of any Asian origin on a syllabus, and LGBT* representation is shockingly sparse. The ratio of black and female authors to white and male authors is also far from equal on reading lists.

So, what would I put on the curriculum?

A while ago, I wrote a post based on a Twitter discussion, about what books others would like to see in school. I wanted to revisit this idea, using some of my recent reads! Without further ado, here’s a shortlist of books I’d give students, if I had the power:

if you could be mine

GCSE and A Level: If You Could Be Mine is a beautifully written book about two girls in Iran, who have feelings for one another but can’t express it publicly. It would be awesome to see an Iranian author on the syllabus, and the story is an emotional one with lots of themes to be talked about in class, from sexuality and religion to society and tradition.

george

Middle Grade Reading: George would be a fantastic book to discuss with younger pupils. Not only is it a really fun, heartwarming read – it’s also the perfect way to start a discussion about gender with children and promote tolerance of trans kids. Trans children are more likely to feel alienated and be victims of bullying in school: wouldn’t it be incredible for them to see themselves in the books they read?

 

the bunker diary

A Level: The Bunker Diary is controversial, to say the least, and it’s incredibly hard hitting. That’s why I hesitated to put this on the list. But I think it would be fascinating to analyse for students who would feel comfortable talking about its themes. In particular, the narrative is a really interesting point; it’s constantly evolving and switching as the protagonist spends longer in the bunker.

the hate u give

GCSE: Especially on the GCSE curriculum, opportunity to talk about current events is very limited. Police brutality and racism in America is a really important topic to engage students in so they’re aware and informed. The Hate U Give is perfect for this. It’s also a fantastic read that’s hard to put down.

wide awake

GCSE and A Level: Wide Awake is definitely underrated and I’m always eager to recommend David Levithan! The current state of the US is pretty depressing, but this book explores the idea of a gay Jewish president being elected, and the diverse celebration surrounding his campaign. It’s brilliant! David Levithan’s writing is absolutely beautiful and it would be so wonderful for it to be reflected on in classrooms.

 

wonder

Middle Grade Reading: Wonder has to be on this list! I’m pretty sure some primary schools have already used this book as a talking point. Wonder is written from multiple perspectives and follows Auggie as he starts mainstream school with a facial deformity. This book is so heartwarming and has already inspired so many young people to promote kindness.

What books would you put on the curriculum?

 

 

Discussion

Confession: I Have Too Many Books (My Book Culling Tips)

Over the years I’ve bragged quite a bit about my fancy colour coded bookshelves. I often buy books because they look pretty. And I’m a sucker for a special edition. 

It’s very clear that I’m, uh, enthusiastic about holding onto books. When I counted how many I owned last year, it totalled around a thousand. Crazy, I know. I’m being constantly warned that if another book crosses the threshold of my room, the ceiling below will literally collapse. 

(don’t worry, this gif is looping, there is an end to my book collection!)

For the past sixteen years of my life, when anyone has questioned my book buying habits (very often), I’ve been quick to jump to my own defence. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY BOOKS! I’ll yell, lovingly guarding the bookshelves (which seriously need dusting) that occupy half of my room. 

Last year, in a completely spontaneous decision, I managed to sort a box of books that I could part with. It was a painful process. I discarded books then frantically grabbed them back, unwilling to let go. It’s safe to say I’m obsessive about my books, even if I know I’ll never get around to reading them. It’s like a comfort; my room is surrounded by reading material I could never run out of. I’m reluctant to depart from books I’ve read too, even though it’s unlikely I’ll never read them again. They’re like snapshots lining my walls, from different points of my life, a huge collection of memories.

I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to try again, because the situation in my room was quite frankly ridiculous. In addition to the shelves lining one wall (and the two in the hallway…) I had stacks of books strewn across the floor, and proof copies piled beneath my bed so much so that they were practically holding it up. It had to change! I give in – sometimes, there *is* such a thing as having too many books. I needed some space. 

I didn’t even let myself think about what I was doing. My “to-read pile” is actually three “to-read-bookshelves” and although I would love to get around to reading everything, it’s unlikely I ever will. Studying is intense, my interests are changing, and I just don’t have the time. Some of these books were simply collecting dust, unloved, and I realised someone else could be enjoying them. 

Over the course of two hours, I had seven bags of books to shift. What?! Here’s where they’ve gone off to, and why I decided to take them there:

  • WeBuyBooks: there are lots of companies that will buy books from you, such as Ziffit, but I found this app to be the most accessible. Simply download it to your phone and use the camera to scan barcodes; it’ll tell you if they’ll accept it, and if so how much for. Prices can range from about 20p to £3.00, so if you’re looking for some extra money, it’s a great option, especially when you’re culling a lot of books. I totalled just £10 on here, which isn’t a massive amount, but I mean, it’s pretty good for half an hour of zapping books!
  • The train station: stations around me often have shelves inside, where second hand books are left for other commuters. I really like how these circulate. Books can end up anywhere! Someone might pick one up just to flick through on a commute and leave it somewhere else, or another person might discover it and fall in love. So if you’re near a station, why not drop some off?

(also: book culling was a great way to get some use out of my many bookish tote bags)

  • My school library: libraries across the country are lacking in funding, and school ones hardly get any budget. Yet they’re thriving places that would greatly value new books to inspire teenagers’ reading. Five of my seven bags are headed for my school’s library, and I’ve made sure those bags include the newest titles I’ve decided to part with. I hope children in the years below me enjoy them; maybe they’ll find their new favourite book. It’s especially a good idea to donate to school libraries in areas where not a lot of children read. From my time at school, I know that the majority of the year groups don’t read for fun. It’s important to inspire that. 
  • Charity shops: none of my books this time around went here, but it’s worth a mention for all the other times I’ve chosen these places. Living near a high street with a countless number of them, charity shops are easy to donate to and often willing to take new books. And of course, you’re helping another good cause! Good on you. 

Thinking of getting rid of some books? Here’s some other ideas:

  • leave them on trains, buses and benches with notes
  • Donate to community centres and local schools, especially for fundraisers
  • Recommend some to friends or family members who might be interested
  • Sell them online, through eBay or sites like Ziffit
  • Give them away, through your blog, Twitter or Instagram

And if you’re wondering? I got rid of about 200 books, yet my shelves are still full. I DON’T KNOW HOW EITHER. I better do another book cull soon.

Discussion

Where Have I Been?!

This post might confuse some people, because I haven’t technically been absent from this blog – at least, it hasn’t looked like it. There have been posts around every two weeks so far this year, so there aren’t exactly cobwebs. But I feel like there are. I haven’t actually really written any posts this year; everything from January and February was written around Christmas, and scheduled. In addition, I’ve not done anything hugely creative. Up until a few months ago, I was regularly posting discussions and infographics and things beyond simple reviews.

For anyone who follows me on other social media, though, you may have realised I’ve slipped into the shadows of the internet, in terms of this blog. I used to post on Instagram at least once a week, and Tweet obsessively; that’s dried up now. I tweet probably once every few days, and that’s mainly an automatic thing when a scheduled post publishes.

So what happened? Why have I slowly been disappearing over the last few months?

I thought I’d do a personal post while I have the time now, to let you guys know what’s been happening. Life is busy!

img_6311
Here’s one of the products of my recent messing around on Photoshop.
  • I’ve been developing another interest. It’s no secret that I’m hugely into photography, and since beginning to study it, I’ve been pushing myself in my own skills to improve my personal work as well as assignments for school. My free time is even more limited now, so reading time often becomes time where I’m planning, shooting, teaching myself a new skill or editing. If you’re interested in this, you can see what I’ve been getting up to on my Flickr page! It’s not a huge thing, but this is an online space I’m increasingly falling in love with, as I can see my progression. I also have another blog where I post sets of photos.
img_3595
This was taken at Wieden + Kennedy, the endlessly awesome advertising agency I had the chance to spend a week with in October.
  • My career ideas are changing. From literally since I can remember, until the start of secondary school, I wanted to be a writer. That changed in secondary school, where for about five years, I was completely dedicated to becoming a future publicist or an editor. Now? I’m not so sure! It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with their career; it’s still something I would love to pursue, and still seriously consider. However, since starting to study photography and media, and after spending a fantastic week at an advertising agency, my ideas are all over the place! I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do next; I’d love to still work in publishing, but my options are widening to photography, videography and advertising too. This has meant I’m devoting more time to exploring these interests, and looking into career paths.
  • AS Levels are hard work, man. I thought I’d find it easier to make time for this blog after GCSEs, but even though you study less subjects at sixth form, it feels like three times the work. My school runs mock exams literally every month, and I’m constantly under pressure from that and the immense amount of homework I get. I’m studying English Literature, Sociology, Media and Photography; the first three require a lot of essay writing and revision. My time at sixth form so far, personally and academically, has been incredibly tiring and stressful. Most evenings, by the time I’ve finished homework, I’m ready to sleep!
collage
Some photos from my mini Tegan and Sara tour – meeting them and their support acts Alex and Ria!
  • February half term! Usually, in my half terms, I’ll read and review lots so this blog remains active during term time… but I spent February’s week off very differently. If you’ve read this post, you’ll know I’m a huge Tegan and Sara fan, and I have a separate part of the internet where I express that! During the half term, I went to London and Manchester two days in a row, to see them live, along with many friends I’ve made within the community. It was an incredible experience, but a hugely busy one! It was really fun to do something so far out of my comfort zone.

So, there’s four bullet points that sum up a lot of why I haven’t been around much. I do miss blogging and reading, and I especially hope I’m able to balance schoolwork better with blogging, because it’s just as important to me and it’s something I love to do. I’m not going to be taking a break from here – and I’m certainly not quitting! Reviews and whatever else I can manage to write will still be going up as often as possible, and hopefully I’ll be back properly soon.

Thank you to everybody who reads, likes, shares and supports what I write here! I am so grateful for all of you.

Discussion

On My Radar: 2017 YA Releases

Happy belated new year everyone! My first post of 2017 was a review of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, a title I’d been excited about for most of last year. I thought in this week’s post I’d highlight some more 2017 releases I’m looking forward to reading!

on-my-radar

Our Own Private Universe: I am a huge fan of Robin Talley, and can’t wait for her fourth book! Each of Talley’s books so far have been so relatable and fantastic and inclusive and I just OH MY GOODNESS PLEASE GO READ THEM ALL NOW. I think this is the US cover, but I’m really loving it. You don’t see many books like this.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: I quite enjoyed Silvera’s debut, and this one looks great too! This is one I want to go into without any knowledge about it – I haven’t actually read any full synopses. Also, my mum has been hyped about this book for months, because she’s a fan, which is cute. So if I get a copy of this, she’ll be second to read it. (Hi mum!)

We Come Apart by Brian Conaghan and Sara Crossan: I’ve read two books by Sarah Crossan, One of which blew me away (kudos if you got that pun) and I don’t think I’ve read anything by Conoghan yet! The premise for this book sounds really interesting and I’m guessing that it’s in dual narratives. I adore dual narratives. And I can’t wait to see how this book is written, too, as Crossan writes in prose.

Margot and Me by Juno Dawson: This one is obviously on my list! I adore Juno and her books, ever since Hollow Pike – Juno’s slowly moved from writing horror to contemporary fiction and there’s not a single book I haven’t loved to pieces. I’m so excited to see what this one is like.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I jumped at the chance to review this, and an ARC is sitting next to me as I’m writing this post – it’s one of the next books on my to-read list. This book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and from what I know of the plot, which centres around conflict and justice – it’s a book that needs to be out there. It’s so relevant to recent events and so it’s equally as exciting that the movie rights have been sold!

What is Gender? how Does it Define Us? And Other Big Questions by Juno Dawson: Another by Juno made this list! This is Dawson’s third non fiction book, and judging by the brilliance of Being a Boy and This Book is Gay – this is going to be fantastic. I really cannot wait to learn more about this and hopefully get the chance to review it. I want to branch out into reading more non-fiction this year! I also find it brilliant that this book is being targeted at ages ten and up – education about gender is really important because so many people are misinformed. I love that this book is going to be a resource for most ages.


So, there we go! Those are the six books on my radar for the beginning of 2016.

I have been to tied up with A-Level work and general life stuff that I haven’t been around so much on social media, to see what books other people are looking forward to. What books are on your radar? Is there anything else I need to be looking out for? Leave a comment!

Discussion · feature · Infographic

2016 Favourites | What I’ve been loving this year

Hello again, for the last post of the year 🙂

Last year, I did a post called “15 in 15” because considering it was 2015, the number worked. I thought I’d do a follow up “16 in 16” but… I think I’ll be sticking to fifteen because if I keep that up every year, these lists are going to keep getting longer!

Read on to see what were my favourite books of the year, as well as my top picks of music, film and TV. The majority of titles in all three categories were released in 2016, but some are slightly older things that I’ve discovered.

books-fave

Last year I read something like 190 books, and this year, I’ve only read just over 50! I wouldn’t say this has been my best year for reading, but I have discovered some fantastic books. Unboxed by Non Pratt was unexpectedly poignant and Everything Leads to You has become one of my favourite books of all time.

film-and-tv-faves

After my GCSEs ended, I spent a month in bed, on our newly-purchased Netflix, binge watching a gazillion tv shows. I adored How to Get Away With Murder and The Get Down, two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the year, but I’m now a massive fan of. Movie wise, the Ghostbusters reboot has to be one of the best things to have happened this year. Bless Kate Mckinnon. Rogue One was pretty fantastic too.

music-faves

2016 may have been rubbish, but the music that came out this year most certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I could write pages about every album above. I adore them! While I’ve been veering more into indie sounds, I was also introduced to Sleater-Kinney, one of the most iconic riot grrl bands, and so many songs of theirs have become hugely important to me. Tegan and Sara’s Love You To Death is literally the best thing to have ever happened, and will forever be a favourite and special album. I’ve gotten into quite a few new artists, like Shura and Lauren Aquilina, but my favourite new discovery is probably Christine and the Queens, who’s the musician everyone needs in their life.


So, there we go! That’s another whole year of stuff. 2016 was a bit rubbish in general, but at least there’s been some great media to distract us from it, eh?

And before I go… A huge THANK YOU to everybody who has been reading my blog this year. I am hugely grateful for every view, like and comment on my posts, and seeing that people enjoy my ramblings is what makes me keep blogging!

See you in 2017. ❤