In Defence of Writing in Books

So this is pretty pretty controversial, but I thought in the spirit of talking about deadly sins, I thought it was time I discussed one of my bookish habits… And that is writing in books!

shrek torch and pitchfork.png

Now I know that just mentioning it will be enough to get many people running for the torches and pitchforks, but I do have my reasons for this. I rarely do the whole *oh look I got a humanities degree* thing unless I’m looking for laughs, but in all seriousness, this is standard practice for students and academics in this field. For purely practical reasons, writing in books not only helps with selecting poignant quotes, but is the most effective way of dissecting language. To give an example, here is my copy of Dorian Gray:


I didn’t just highlight it for kicks or because *pretty colours*- I actually did that to expose the layers of meaning across the text, particularly in this incidence colour coding specific symbolism and techniques Wilde used. While I have actually poked fun at this before in my Goodnight Moon post, I can also tell you that this is an accurate look at how a poem that’s been properly analysed will end up looking. For me and many others, writing in books is device to encourage thinking.


Even though I keep a ton of notebooks to hand, it’s not sufficient for all the ways a book needs to be taken apart and there are downsides for doing a proper thorough analysis just using one technique– time wasting if nothing else is a huge issue with writing out all the quotes- a lot of books need both to do it justice.


And while I wouldn’t personally write in a library book, I’ve found other people underlining passages in non-fiction helpful and add to the debate/discussion the book is having. I don’t know about you, but I’m a “work as close to the deadline as is humanly possible” kind of gal, so if at uni I picked up an annotated non-fic book where some kindly soul had drawn arrows literal to the important bits, I’d be singing Hallelujahs all the way home. As for writing in books I borrow from friends- well, I’m not an *animal*! (Just a cheeky monkey- but I still wouldn’t dream of doing that!)

Other people also say writing in books is a way of making a book more personal too- which is fair- because, even though I only annotate classics, would-be classics or non-fiction, I do feel like people reading my books are getting a bit of a more personal experience (or just getting walloped over the head with *foreshadowing* signposts as my sister complained to me once). Whatever way you personalise your books, there is something to be said about picking up a used book and finding someone else’s impressions in it (it’s a weird quirk I have, but I even love stranger’s inscriptions in the front of used books).

One last complaint I have seen is “what would the author think!” Well the obvious answer is “I have no idea” but then nor does the defender of clean copies. Some writers might be offended, sure, but I can only live my life as a “do as you would be done by” sort of person. And I can safely say for myself, as a writer, that if someone annotated my work I would be over the moon. Because it would be saying “look how many thoughts I had because of what you wrote!” I cannot imagine anything more flattering.

So- dare I ask- do you agree or disagree? What is your opinion on writing in books? And should I expect an angry mob outside my home tonight for being a *tad* too controversial? Let me know in the comments (so I can barricade my front door!!)

Seven Deadly Sins Book Tag

seven deadly sins book tag.png

So I’m being totally responsible with tags lately, getting them done #likeaboss… And now I’ve decided to do one I wasn’t tagged for because… #YOLO? Maybe I’m just getting carried away with hashtags…

Anyway, I saw this tag on Sophie @Blame Chocolate’s blog a few weeks ago and I just thought it was perfect for my being bad theme I’ve got going on this week. Shout-out to her, cos she always does the best tags.


What is your most inexpensive book? What is your most expensive book?

Inexpensive: are all those freebie classics on my kindle!

jane austen complete works
Expensive: probably all those lovely books I’ve received as gifts, like this gorgeous copy of Austen I like to show off every now and again. It’s so perty.


What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Oh hard!! The first one that comes to mind is Trudi Canavan, because her books are *so* hit and miss with me!! And the second… George R R Martin- *puts on whinging voice*: c’mon when are we gonna get Winds of Winter?!



What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?


I used to do an annual reread of this in the Spring- I finally had the chance to do this again recently!! And it was EPIC!!


What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Oh my tbr is glaring up at me, with a dozen books screaming “pick me, pick me!!” I’m going to go with the Odyssey– because even though I’ve read/analysed sections before, I’d never read the whole thing cover to cover before, so I decided to. However, a few books in and I stuck it on my “Currently Reading” Shelf on Goodreads- and everyone knows that’s code for I’m sort of reading this, a page every month or so, I’ll be finished in about 20 years… Don’t rush me!



What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intelligent reader?

Hehe would I do that? Moi?

Probably this tome cos it’s mammoth size looks impressive- but I don’t think it’s actually the toughest read- it’s just long (but very, very good)

war and peace


What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

I like characters with a troubled past (or present). I just love getting all sappy and empathetic. Characters that come to mind are Celaena Sardothien and Ronan Lynch. Give me a really twisted anti-hero like Jorg and I’ll be happy too. But on the flipside I also love impossibly heroic characters like Alyosha (Brothers Karamazov) or Prince Myshkin (The Idiot). Basically give me a Dostoevsky character and I’ll be happy.



What book would you like to receive as a gift?

Hmm since this book post is getting a bit of a Russian theme, I’d really like Volumes 3-7 of Gulag Archipelago– I’ve read the first two volumes now, but the rest is proving difficult to come by!

gulag archipelago


Always Trust in Books

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote


Between the Pages

Untamed shrews

Okey dokey- that’s all for now! What book would you commit a deadly sin for? Let me know in the comments!

A Critical Review of The Tiger Who Came To Tea

*Insert usual “this is satire” disclaimer here: sometimes my brain just comes up with this and I can’t be held accountable 😉 *

In times of Trump…

And of Brexit…

What we really need is to come together and invite tigers into our homes… to steal our food and make our water bills impossibly high…?

Wait a minute… I don’t think this book is actually being inclusive. In fact, I think The Tiger Who Came to Tea is actually bigoted propaganda for the BNP… or something…

Oh my goodness, Judith Kerr ran away from the Nazis to start her own genocide against tigers!!! This is racist bilge and we must burn it… Cos that worked out so many times before…

nazi book burning


tiger who came to tea censorship

Oh boy- I just know I’ll get in trouble for this one- I really shouldn’t be allowed near children’s books, should I?


Hello all!! Happy Sunday! I’m back with another very exciting tag today- and this one comes via the absolutely awesome Lashaan and Trang over @Bookidote!! They’re simply the best- so you *have to* check them out!! Thank you both for tagging me (we won’t mention how long ago!!) on with the rules:

  • Pick 5+ villains and wonder what books they are most likely to read (feel free to use our villains or find new ones!)
  • Nominate bloggers! As many as you want!
  • Have fun in the world of villainy!

1. Catwoman – Rebecca

rebecca - cat woman

A little spooky and romantic

2. Dracula – Carrie

dracula - carrie

It was that or Blood, Bones and Body Bits.

3. The Joker – Romeo and Juliet

romeo and juliet - joker

I bet he finds it hilarious- in fact he exclusively reads romances- the creep!

4. Moriarty – The Prince

moriarty - romeo and juliet

What else?

5. Voldemort – Mein Kampf

mein kampf - voldemort.png

He’s all about that racial purity

I tag:

Captivated by fantasy

Bookshelves and Biros

Rivermoose reads

Maries Library

A Novel Glimpse

Books, Vertigo and Tea

I decided to go with the same villains as Bookidote, cos they were fun, but feel free to pick your own! 

Anyway- agree or disagree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I cannot actually believe I haven’t done this tag already. This one’s been around for a reallllly long time and god only knows I love my controversial opinions. Thank you so much to Sophie @ Blame Chocolate for tagging me for this very exciting- she has some really awesome content- you should really check her out!!


Well there’s two kinds of popular- the kind like Selection series and Matched where I don’t actually know anyone that liked it, and then there’s the kind of series that will get me hung drawn and quartered for admitting I didn’t like… Books like…


Confused the sh*t out of me.


catcher in the rye

A lot of people really hate this book- but I’m not one of them! (and I can already hear the “arghhh no”s, but don’t worry, you’re free to hate on Holden Caulfield in peace- I’m not judging 😉 )


Hehe a few… Katniss and Peeta were pretty meh, Chaol and Celaena (nope!), Alina and Mal (nah). But the one that’s most likely to get me buried under a whole lotta anger is I *hated* Jem and Tessa together! (to clarify, I don’t dislike the characters, just I do not ship them)

clockwork prince and princess



Hmm this is a toughie cos I’m really really trying to reach for books outside my comfort zone lately (sci fi, graphic novels, non fic) but I think the book I go for the least is probably the classic whodunnits. No real reason for this- it just happens.


Chaol from Throne of Glass!! I *hate* him with the strength of a legion of Fae- which is ironic cos he’s such a raging bigot towards Fae (that and his snooty support of the crazy-ass king is one of the many, many reasons I can’t stand him).


Oho this one’s gonna get me in trouble… but John Green. I’ve read two of his books and I liked the second one less than the first… I won’t be picking up anything else by him at this point.

looking for alaska and fault in our stars


Eons and eons ago I wrote a whole post about this, but right now, the thing that’s annoying me most is the Mary Sue. Authors: *feel free to go away and write real characters*- your cooperation is much appreciated 😉


I had to really think about this one cos I rarely rule anything out, but in the end I think I’ve just heard a lot of criticisms of these series and seen the films for both- they’re just not gonna happen at this point:

beautiful creatures and maze runner


Game of Thrones1

Well there are actually a number of these, but since this is the “Unpopular Opinions Tag” I’m going to pick the most controversial one… Game of Thrones. That’s right- I’m one of the few people that prefers the TV show to the books. I do actually like both, but for me, even while accounting for a fair amount of flaws, the TV show wins out every time. (In fairness to me, it’s my all-time favourite show- so it’s a pretty unfair contest)

Okay, I have no idea who has and hasn’t done this tag, so I’m gonna leave this one open-ended. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged!

Agree or disagree with my choices? Come on, let me have it, which ones make you really mad? And which ones made you secretly happy? Let me know in the comments!

Thinking about EVIL!

evil baumeisterHello all!! Not to play with the title too much or anything, but I’ve been really bad in the last few days about blogging. So I have a week’s worth of posts around the theme of being bad to make up for it…

Starting with this review of  a review of Baumeister’s work. Now I probably have to put in a ton of disclaimers because to be frank I’m not a psychologist or an expert on this subject. Fortunately this book is written in such a clear and logical fashion that even a totally bananas monkey, like me, can get a lot out of this book. All the ideas are disseminated in a straight forward manner, without lofty prose to obscure the meaning, and with very solid reasoning behind the arguments put forth. As is probably apparent from the title, this book was heavy going at times- the subject matter is no picnic after all- however I was often grateful for the clinical style which allowed for fair analysis and conclusions to be drawn.

Apart from that, there were plenty of other small things to like about this book. One of the fantastic things about Evil is that in the introduction Baumeister lays out his intention to forgo political correctness, which therefore promises the reader there will be no skirting round the issues. With regard to politics, I did find coincidental signposting (even foreshadowing) of some more current ideologies rather telling (for instance, “countering the hatred of women with the hatred of men is a bad strategy” (82) ).

I did have a fair few niggling issues with the book, which left me not entirely satisfied. There were often moments where I was filling in the gaps of his argument- yet when I looked back overall Baumeister had addressed every one of those points. Perhaps it is just the way my brain works, but I felt like I’d write something in the margins and then see it discussed thirty pages later. I just felt like it could have been a little tighter.

Personally, I also felt like his arguments from a military perspective could also be lacking- for instance there was not one single reason for bombing Dresden, but rather the usual complex multiplicity of motives that arise as war escalates.

My final complaint was that I could not help but think of House, every so often, when he discussed issues from the perspective of the perpetrators…

everybody lies house.gif

So while it provided good grounds for further exploration, I was left with many open-ended questions on subjects he touched on. But, considering the fact I was left with a thirst to discover more, I would say that this was in no way a bad thing.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


So are you interested in the psychology of evil? Will you be checking out this book? Let me know in the comments!

The Classics Book Tag

Phew- I don’t know about you, but it’s been a busy week/weekend for me! Glad it’s Sunday- it won’t be long before the madness starts up again! Thank you so much to Charley @ Books and Bakes for tagging me to do this one! She runs a lovely and you guys should all check it out!! 

An overhyped classic you didn’t really like:

Hmmm, this is hard, cos I rarely think Classics are overhyped- usually with classics I can see the appeal, even if I didn’t like them. But I’m gonna be honest and say I do not like or get Pilgrim’s Progress. Just yeuch- I can totally live without it.

pilgrim's progress

Favourite time period to read about:

Hmm hard- I’d say, late Victorian, because it has everything from Wilde to Hardy! (and Dostoevsky if you go abroad).

Favourite fairy tale:

I *love* the Little Match girl by Hans Christian Anderson


What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read? moby dick

Quite a few- I’m gonna steal books and Bakes answer here- it’s really quite embarrassing, but I haven’t read Moby Dick either.

Top 5 classics you’d like to read soon:

Ooh time for a guilty look at the classics that have been on my tbr forever *cracks knuckes*…

classics tbr.png

I have literally no idea why I haven’t read these yet!!

Favourite modern book/series based on a classic:

Hmm that’s a really hard questions! I tend to really hate adaptations of classics into modern settings (yeah, I’m that person). I can’t think of a single book I’m afraid.

Favourite movie version / TV series based on a classic:

I *love* the BBC versions of Bleak House and Pride and Prejudice.

classics tv adaptations.png

Worst classic to movie adaptation:


The Wuthering Heights 2011 movie was literally the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Partly cos it mostly focused on animal torture, partly cos it had child sex, but also oddly enough cos the person that made the film thought it’d be really “unique” to not include a soundtrack (I can’t remember where I heard this- probably my musician sister- but it kills a movie not to have music *somewhere*)

Favourite edition(s) you would like to collect more classics from:

I also love the penguin soft cloth!!

classics soft cover

An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone:


What a great question! Armadale- it’s a really exciting, slightly twisted Wilkie Collins book- go read it!

I tag:

Emily @ Rose Read

Louise Loves Books

Lost Art of Reading

Briana & Krysta @ Pages Unbound


And that’s all from me for today! Happy *all the things* that are going on today! (Spring/Easter/Pesach) And what is your favourite underrated classic? Let me know in the comments!