Tag Archives: reading

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!

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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 🙂

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I’m very late to the party with this one: Cinder is big, has its own fandom, and has been out for a while. But it’s never too late to fall in love with an awesome book, right?

Published 2012 by Puffin Books.

11235712Goodreads Synopsis: A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .
CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

My Review: Normally, I give it a couple of days between finishing a book and writing a review, but it’s been mere few hours and I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK. I’ve owned a copy of Cinder for so long that I can’t remember where I got it from – it’s certainly been on my TBR pile for too long. I wish I’d read it sooner!

After being in a reading slump for, well, months really, I decided I needed something a bit different to read. This totally cured said reading slump – I read the whole thing in a day. I was completely hooked on the story. Meyer is a fantastic writer, and this concept is really incredible.

If Cinder isn’t on your radar, here’s the basics: it’s a re-imagining of Cinderella, where Cinder is a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing, a city hundreds of years in the future. A plague is sweeping this future Earth, and Cinder discovers she has an important part to play in scientific research, but this sudden shift in Cinder’s life is a huge risk.

I was worried that the concept would be a bit cheesy and disjointed – how do you work the classic elements of the Cinderella tale into a story about a future with cyborgs? But, wow, it really worked. I was totally absorbed in the story, perhaps more so than any other book I’ve read this year. It’s richly imaginative and I’m envious of Meyer’s storytelling capabilities. The imagery was so vivid to me; every scene played out like an epic film in my head.

Cinder was a really interesting character. Her back story was woven into the story really well, and I felt for her throughout the book. She was so three-dimensional to me. The re-imagining of the classic Cinderella character is so clever, yet Meyer doesn’t rely on the fairy tale. Instead, her protagonist is full of individuality. The only thing that did irk me was her often overly sarcastic dialogue. I couldn’t work out her intentions in some chapters! But I really enjoyed reading about her all the same.

Overall, Cinder was fantastic. It’s definitely one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a long time. If you haven’t read this, I definitely recommend you do! Cinder is richly imaginative and gripping and hard to put down. I wanted to read the next instalment immediately after I turned the last page (luckily, my copy has just arrived… brb while I go binge-read this).

My Rating:

four and a half

I purchased a copy of Cinder.

Tales and Teapots: Fundraising for the National Literacy Trust!

I’m super excited to be sharing some information today about the National Literacy Trust’s latest fundraising campaign! The Tales and Teapots initiative is a fantastic way to promote reading and simultaneously raise some money for a really awesome cause. It’s also a good excuse to eat cake. So for all of those reasons, I very highly recommend you look into it. 😛

Share tales over tea to raise money for literacy

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians are calling on book lovers and baking enthusiasts to help give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed by holding a Tales and Teapots party.

The new fundraising initiative, developed by Boots Opticians colleagues, encourages friends, family and colleagues to come together and share books they’ve enjoyed over tea and cake, while raising money to support the National Literacy Trust’s work in the UK.

Sara Hook, Corporate Partnerships Manager at the National Literacy Trust says: “For many of us sitting down to enjoy a good book with a cup of tea is one of life’s simple pleasures, but for one child in seven in the UK there are no books of their own to read at home.

A Tales and Teapots party is the perfect chance to catch up with friends and share your favourite books, while helping the National Literacy Trust to spread a love of reading among children across the UK and give them a brighter future. We’re delighted to be working with our partner Boots Opticians on this exciting new initiative.”

The money raised at Tales and Teapots parties across the country will give children and young people books to keep and empower them with the literacy skills they need to improve their employability and reach their full potential.

Interested in hosting a party to help raise money? Click here to register for a FREE party pack – containing posters, invitations, balloons and decorations, plus find lots more to download from the website to help you with your fundraising! If you decide to do so (why wouldn’t you?) then do tweet me photos! 😀

Reading and Revising: How I’m Balancing Both in Year 11

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Most people probably know, because I moan about it enough on this blog and social media – I’m in year eleven. And exam season is approaching. And that’s pretty scary.

Whilst I’m so eager to revise lots and get my grades, because they mean a lot – I’m also eager to read lots and get blog posts up, because to me, that’s an equally big part of my life (and the more fun part). Last year, I took a couple of GCSEs early, and found it incredibly hard to just put those books down and revise, dammit. I spent the entirety of April/May of 2015 either revising and being annoyed that I wasn’t reading, or reading and being annoyed that I wasn’t revising. A vicious cycle, you’ll agree, but an unavoidable struggle for any bookworm.

As the majority of my GCSEs (and the most important ones, to me) are happening this year, I’ve decided that I need to approach exam season with a healthy, balanced way of doing both what I love, and what I need to do. Many people are great at making schedules and timetables, but I find it hard to stick to allocated times, and would panic if I didn’t commit to a set order.

I realised (after tumblring about my revision methods and a lot of people saying it was useful) that it may be worth sharing my goals, tips and ideas on how to balance reading and revising. Hopefully, this might come in handy to you, if you’re taking exams!

Set a realistic reading goal:

If I neglect reading for ages, I only get into a reading slump, which saddens me more than anything else. Over the past few years, I’ve read 2/3 books a week on average. This exam season, I’m restricting myself to one book/graphic novel/etc a week. A manageable number for me, and it’ll keep me kinda sane whilst studying and sitting exams.

Use reading as a reward:

 I read this thing online where you can treat yourself with something small like a jelly baby or a piece of chocolate for every page of a textbook you revise from. I try to eat on revision breaks instead (otherwise I just stare blankly at a page while stuffing my face with chocolate) so I’m replacing the edible reward with a chapter of a book. I’m a person who has to write out stuff in order to revise – so for example with my science revision, I’ll let myself read a chapter once I’ve written out the key info, or answered example questions, for one topic.

Use online time wisely:

I have online science, maths and languages work on apps such as Duolingo, and blogging is always the much more fun alternative, so I’ll procrastinate online work by doing that (cough, definitely not what I’m doing by writing this post – oh the irony, cough). I’ve set myself a goal for each online revision app I have, and for my blog. At the time of writing this, my current goal is to write a blog post a week, and visit each revision app once a day. It’s working so far!

Novellas!

Over the past few months, I’ve been hoarding saving some short reads for the next couple of months. If I start a really long book just before an exam, I know I’ll just binge-read it instead of getting some crucial revision in. With novellas, I find that I usually read them quite quickly, and I know that I can put them down and just finish them in a second or third sitting. This also applies to graphic novels and comics – I’m hoping to buy a lot of series I’ve been behind on (Ms Marvel!!) so I can read issues between studying.

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If you’re also currently studying – how are you balancing it with your hobbies? What methods do you use to make sure you’re studying enough, but also enjoying your hobbies?

15 in 15: What I’ve been Loving this Year

I hope you had an awesome Christmas and/or holiday!

In 2014, I made a huge infographic of my favourite reads of the year. It took ages, and I read a ridiculous amount last year, so that list was pretty big. I like summary posts, and I thought – why not write about just my top fifteen books of 2015? And, while I’m at it, why not throw in some other things too… So here’s a post of my top fifteen books, albums and movies/tv series of the year! Most of the things mentioned in this post are relatively new (out this year) but some are recent discoveries I’ve made.

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(shhh the Blue Neighbourhood music video trilogy totally counts)

Have you enjoyed any of the things I’ve mentioned above? What’s been your favourite discovery of this year?

Have a great 2016!

Page to Screen: YA Books That Would Make Great Movies

A lot of people seemed to love Paragraphs to Pictures, a blog post I published a few weeks ago on the YA books I’d love to see adapted as graphic novels. So, here’s a follow up post – this time, I’m looking at some books I would love to see on the big screen!PicMonkey CollageI’m normally team The Book Was Better when it comes to adaptations of books I love – take City of Bones, Stormbreaker or Harry Potter for instance – some of the increasing number of YA novels that have been brought to the screen. As brilliant as the films are, there’s always something more magical about reading the printed word and imagining the scenarios in your head.

I went to see Paper Towns a few weeks ago. I loved the book and it may be my favourite John Green novel – but the movie was unexpectedly maybe even better than the book. I thought the cinematography was perfect – scenes such as Q and Margo driving around the town at night captured beautifully. I think the story was translated fantastically.

It got me thinking about other YA books  that I love and treasure. What if these works were brought to big screens? Who would I pick to play characters, or direct the film? Here’s a list of some titles I think would be brilliant on screens.

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ALL OF THE ABOVE (James Dawson, Hot Key Books)

As soon as I put down All of the Above, I wanted to pick it up again. It’s a beautifully messy book, capturing the life of a teenager flawlessly. There’s lots of scenes I imagined so realistically in my head – I’ve never really envisioned a book’s setting so in-depth as I did with All of the Above! There’s potential for lots of beautifully shot scenes in the crazy golf course at night, where Toria and the crowd she falls in with hang out. Polly would totally be played by Cara Delevingne, as Cara has that crazy-awesome personality.

THE NEXT TOGETHER (Lauren James, Walker Books)

I am obsessed with a TV show called Orphan Black at the moment, which is about a woman called Sarah Manning, who finds herself falling into a dangerous spiral of events when she discovers she is a clone. The actress, Tatiana Maslany, portrays lots of different clones and it’s amazing. I was watching Orphan Black around the time I read The Next Together, and my thoughts while reading were often about how riveting a film of this book would be. Not only because the plot is constructed so well, and the different eras would be so cool to stitch together in a movie, but like Orphan Black, the same two actors would be portraying many different versions of themselves. It would be awesome.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Benjamin Alire Saenz, Simon & Schuster)

Aristotle and Dante is a beautifully written novel. Everything about it is beautifully crafted. Old me would say making this book into a film would be a terrible idea because you’d lose the magic of the writing. But I think seeing it in a different medium could bring a whole new level of magic to it. Also, of course – both of the main characters are LGBT* and Mexican. Name one movie out there with two PoC & LGBT* leading characters… *radio silence*

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (Sabaa Tahir, HarperVoyager)

This book was one of the most epic fantasties I’ve read in a long time. It was fast-paced, gripping, and didn’t want to be put down for a second. I adored the characters and the writing evoked so much imagery for me. I couldn’t stop imagining the Empire in my head, how it would look and feel. I have a feeling Peter Jackson would be a pretty good choice as director / producer, as he’s fantastic at creating beautifully detailed alternate worlds – he did a stunning job with the world of The Lord of the Rings.

ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE (Gabrielle Zevin, Pan Macmillan)

All These Things I’ve Done is a dystopian novel where chocolate is illegal and the main character is part of a famed family that sells it. It’s so hard to describe (I recommend it to people all the time, but there’s no way to put its brilliance into words!) but it’s gritty, emotional and captivating. Anya Balanchine is one of my all-time favourite protagonists and she would be so cool on a big screen. The setting would be quite interesting to depict in a different medium, too, as it’s 2083 New York with a mafia undertones.

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So, there’s my choices! What would yours be?

Books About Books: An Infographic

I haven’t made an infographic in a while, so I picked a random topic and played around a bit on my favourite graphics creator – enjoy! Open the image in a new tab for a better quality.IMG_5551

Do you have any favourite similar books, that have fictional worlds within fictional worlds? 🙂

Paragraphs to Pictures: YA Books That Would Make Awesome Graphic Novels

Recently, I’ve really wanted to start creating more blog posts about graphic novels, but as I haven’t read many recently, I was stuck for ideas.

I was sitting in front of my bookshelves brainstorming. Then it came to me, inspired partially by the recent news of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses getting a graphic novel adaptation. I started pulling a few books off of shelves and re-imagining them. What if some of my favourite YA books were graphic novels? What would they be like in that format?

So here we go! Five (very different) much-loved YA books – plus why I think they’d be great as comics or graphic novels.


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Banished by Liz de Jager – I love Banished and Vowed to bits and can’t wait for the third and final book. I had to include this book in the post! It’s easily one of my favourite Urban Fantasies, ticking all the boxes for a great graphic novel too; a riveting plot, a terrific fantastical world, awesome mythical creatures, and a gothic fantasy vibe to rival Guillermo Del Toro’s works. Also, of course, Kit Blackhart is a super kick-butt protagonist that would be amazing in a comic or graphic novel. Buffy who?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This has a richly imaginative, almost steampunk-y fantasy feel to them. I really love the concept of the book, and being set in a future Oxford, would the setting not look gorgeous in a graphic novel? I haven’t yet read the sequel, but there are going to be seven books (I think). I can kinda see it as a comic series. Maybe I’m going too far away from The Bone Season’s genre, but I thought Joe Benitez would be a cool illustrator.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is quite an obvious choice! Comics have a large influence in this book, and if you put together all the fan art on the internet for Eleanor and Park I’m pretty sure you’d have a complete graphic novel anyway! Eleanor and Park would make a fantastic contemporary graphic novel and wouldn’t it be cool if it was drawn by Noelle Stevenson? (She illustrated the cover & inside cover of Fangirl!)

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan – The inventive Sci-Fi / Dystopia setting of this book would be perfect in a graphic novel format. Natasha Ngan’s books are so memorable for their incredible worlds. The Memory Keepers is set in a future London with a huge development gap, where human memories are traded like a currency. If this were a graphic novel, I could see it being in the same vein as the extraordinary Fray by Joss Whedon.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This might sound like a strange choice, but it was one of the first books I thought of. I think the format of the book, which is largely flashbacks of Mia and Adam’s romance, could be told really beautifully through illustrations. As the ‘present’ in the book is Mia in an out-of-body experience, that could be portrayed really interestingly in a graphic novel. My instant thought was a black-and-white world in the hospital, but Mia (out of her body) walking around, drawn in colour.


Noughts and Crosses, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The Graveyard Book are three YA books I know to have been adapted recently. I hope to see more in the future!

What books do you think would make great graphic novels?

IT’S SUMMERRRR: My To-Read List

IMG_5441I actually really, really dislike Summer. With a passion. Because a) the weather can get too hot and b) I hate hot weather because c) I can’t curl up in bed in lots of jumpers to read and d) I’m expected to go out and socialise because it’s the holidays and it’s sunny. What is this socialising thing you speak of. Ahem.

Buuuut, there is one pretty cool thing about Summer – over a month’s break from school! Before all the pressure hits in September as year eleven starts for me, I’m planning on spending the next weeks reading and blogging. That’s it. Plus sleeping. (Also volunteering at the library – I’ll have a shiny desk to read at, then).

Back to the point of this post. Last year, I did a summer TBR – picking particular books to read for the holidays – but it completely failed and I still haven’t read everything I listed on that post. Maybe I’ll do better this year?

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bc it’s summer i actually went outside to take photos be proud of me

Here’s a little look at the books and why I picked them! Click on the titles to visit Goodreads.

IMG_5435The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: I read I’ll Give You the Sun a few months ago and it was a masterpiece. I’d really like to give her first novel a go. I’m sure I’ll love it as well.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith: I bought this from the lovely A Bundle of Books at a convention recently! This is very different to Smith’s other book, Winger – a lot wackier. I’m curious!

My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: I bought this quite a while ago because both the US & UK covers are stunning and the synopsis grabbed me. It seems like a really interesting read but I think I’ll need tissues.

IMG_5437All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I bought this from my local indie bookshop, Kirkdale Bookshop, on the IBW2015 Bookshop Crawl. I’m in love with the cover and it’s been all over the internet!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor: AGHGEO;IFHN’PEIVE’PIOEVM’DFCLWLS’WNDBWJUDBSLCNPEOGNMFKVMSLKENFIWNF. Basically.

IMG_5438Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson: I was nagging my dad about borrowing this ever since he got a proof copy of this before it was released years ago – now I have a copy of my own I should probably get into it!

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: I love Rainbow Rowell’s books Fangirl and Eleanor and Park to bits. I’ve wanted to start this one for ages but as it’s a signed copy I haven’t wanted to take it out of the house! Summer is a good excuse.

So, hopefully I’ll stick to this to-read list! What books do you want to read this Summer? What did you think of any of the books in this post?

 

DIVERSITY IN YA: Book recommendations!

I was sitting at my computer, procrastinating by scrolling through my twitter feed, last Friday night. I was completely stuck for blog post ideas: I’ve been so behind with blogging because the first term at school has been hectic, to say the least!

I’ve been very aware of the inspiring, brilliant #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign on Twitter since it launched, but seeing tweets from that evening’s #SupportWNDB talk were the deciding factor that led to me making this post. Also, that I haven’t done a infographic post in quite a while. I hope you enjoy it!

There were a lot of books to pick from to fit onto this quick graphic, but picking out of my recently used Goodreads shelves… I honestly didn’t actually find it difficult to narrow it down, to pick only a few titles with diverse characters; of colour, a different cultural background, an LGBT* identity or disability. I think that proves that a) I really must seek out more diverse books, and read those sitting on my TBR, and that b) the WNDB campaign is so necessary: I’m so glad it’s encouraging and publicising books that otherwise wouldn’t be as visible.

Anyway, I’m aware I’ve rambled on a bit, and this post was meant to be just an infographic… (:

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I hope you liked the infographic! I would love to take any recommendations on books similar to these (or completely unique ones of course!) and hear what you thought of these titles. There’s a lot of amazing sounding YA/MG fiction that’s out next year also, like Lara Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal (A very hotly anticipated one!) – are there any titles you are looking forward to reading?