The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag

Hello all! So I’ve been having a super chill weekend and thought it’s been *ages* since I’ve done a tag. And this one just spoke to me (well- yelled “how could you neglect me for so long!!”) Thank you so much to the *awesome* Bookish Underdog for tagging me to do this one!

  1. Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

JoanneHarris_Chocolat

My mum read it and recommended it to me- it was a tantalising read!!

  1. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

boyfriend list

Totally random, I just picked it up in the library, and ended up really liking it, though I could never put my finger on why. Incidentally, I gave it to my sister after, and she had the same experience- we ended up chatting about it so much that we came up with “what would happen next” scenarios (kids nowadays would call that fanfic 😉 ). I say awesome- what I mean is “totally unrelated, random and overdramatic”.

  1. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. (As I’m lazy, I used the random option on Goodreads instead.) How did you discover this book?

summer I turned pretty

I chose it simply cos I liked Jenny Han’s other books and wanted more.

  1. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

A Little Princess

I loved it!! Tbh- what’s not to love?!

  1. Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

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Ooh this is an exciting one to answer- I picked up the Demon King because I saw how many youtubers loved the series- and boy was I not disappointed. As for books I picked up from blogging- there are too many to list here!

  1. Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

Neverwhere

I was drawn to it by the awesomeness that is Gaiman (and the recommendation of a friend *and* an awesome radio version)

  1. What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

Loads of books! A lot of my main answers are the *exact* same as Bookish Underdog

  • Gone Girl – I didn’t actually know it was a book till I saw the film
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower– ditto
  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – fortunately I found out it was a book just prior the movies coming out so I had a chance to read them beforehand.
  1. Think of your all-time favourite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

The Hobbit – ooh I don’t think I ever mentioned how I came to this book. I might even shock some of you. So I came to this after watching the movie- I think it came out in 2001, but I watched it on VHS a year later, so I was about 10. Anyway, I hadn’t read any of the books before and desperately wanted to after the film. Luckily a relative stepped in and gave me an old copy of the Hobbit. Annnd there’s more to this story, but I’ll probably tell you another time.

Peter Pan – I don’t think there was a time when I wasn’t in love with this story.

The Idiot – pure fluke! I actually had wanted to read Dostoevsky’s more famous books- Crime and Punishment or Brothers Karamazov- but this was all my school library had. And do you know what? I am so glad it was this book, because this book changed my life.

Man’s Search For MeaningMy brother recommended this one

Emmaanother fun story. I actually read Pride and Prejudice first and didn’t like it much. But then disaster struck… I was set it for my A Levels! I realised I had to find another way into Austen, so I thought I would familiarise myself with her other work, and tried Emma. I ended up falling in love with it- and do you know what? When I went back to read Pride and Prejudice again, I loved that too!! (It’s actually one of the only books that improved with a reread).

I TAG:

Rivermoose reads, Untamed Shrews, Pooja, Not So Modern Girl, Never Not Reading, Zuky @Book Bum, Angelica @ Book Cover Girls, Stephanie’s Novel Fiction, Maxxesbooktopia, Melting Pots and Other Calamities, Twin Bookmarks and Sophie

That was a bit like *storytime* at the end there- do you have any fun stories about falling in love with your favourite books? Let me know in the comments!

 

My Top Ten Books Featuring Sisterhood

*Warning there will be lots of pink and gushing girliness in this post*

Phew it is hot today- I don’t know how anyone gets anything done when it’s so hot! Resisting the urge to just lounge around all day, I thought I’d follow on from yesterday’s post and talk about sisters in books!

I don’t think sisterly love gets nearly enough attention in books- so today I want to celebrate some of my favourite books that feature sisters (both real and metaphorical) in a big way!  And just a heads up, I won’t be including any creepy long lost identical long lost twins or back or backstabbing biatches here- this one’s all about the positivity (mostly 😉 ):

pride and prejudice

  1. Pride and Prejudice– how could I not include Austen? The queen of the sisterhood?! That would be madness! In fact, I was actually super tempted to put Sense and Sensibility on here as well, but let’s face it, nothing beats Lizzy and Jane’s relationship!

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  1. I Capture the Castle– so mostly I just want an excuse to mention a childhood favourite. But there is a strong sister relationship in this book- only trouble is, even after all these years I can’t quite put my finger on where that relationship ends up at the end of the book. Ah well, it still deserves to be on this list, partly because I have always wanted to be part of this wacky family, but mostly because I secretly want to live in a derelict castle with no heating… (says the girl that couldn’t stand the Scottish winters)

little women

  1. Little Women– apart from this book giving me the warm fuzzies every time I think about it, this book hands down has one of my favourite family dynamics in literature- and guess what? They’re all girls! Yay- girl power! The March sisters are adorable, quirky and love fiercely- but my goodness you don’t want to get in the middle when that goes awry- there are ups and downs in this book that still make me cry (and not just the obvious *ahem* unmentionable parts- seriously don’t mention it, or you will reduce me to a fluffy orange mess again…)

Sisterhood_of_the_Traveling_Pants_book_cover

  1. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– you knew it was coming- after my review yesterday it can’t come as a surprise. What’s especially wonderful about this series is that it has every type of sisterly relationship- it deals with the figurative, the blood relations and the “oh goodness what category are you in” type of sister. And even more importantly, it doesn’t shy away from conflict between sisters (really just an occupational hazard)- instead directly addressing the issues they have and letting the characters grow as a result.

to all the boys

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– I’ve mentioned it before- but one of the best things about this series is the *lovely* sister relationships in it. Like my previous choice, it doesn’t make them buddy-buddy all the time- but that’s a-okay with me! Because complex dynamics are so important when portraying any relationship- and especially in something as nuanced and complicated as sisters!

court of thorns and roses

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy– okay so I wasn’t actually sure whether to include this one, because initially *avert your eyes superfans* I wasn’t totally sold on the sister relationships. It just seemed to be based on the protagonist’s older sisters letting her do all the work for them. But, while I’m still not convinced of this series’ perfection- review of ACOWAR to come *very* soon– I did find the sister relationships grew on me.

red sister

  1. Red Sister– okay, so no one in this book was technically a biological sister- BUT they were all Sisters- you know, nuns. Killer nuns in fact. And let’s face it, when am I gonna pass up an opportunity to mention killer nuns? (Plus they also had developed really great bonds with each other- but to be honest my brain is still on the *deadly nuns* thing to go into detail 😉 )

the young elites

  1. Young Elites– This one is another really unusual one, because this series is so out there. And I can’t talk too much about why I love this sister relationship, because of *spoilers*. But what I can say is this relationship ends up being super integral to the plot and the story’s conclusion- and how many non-romantic relationships can you say that about really? Let alone sister relationships?

hunger games

  1. Hunger Games– and speaking of another sister relationship that is integral to a book’s plot, what about Katniss Everdeen and her sister Prim. There would have been no story if Katniss hadn’t offered herself as tribute to save her sister. And as for where this relationship ends up going… well let’s not go there shall we (seriously, it’s like I designed this post to get all teary or something!)

how i live now

  1. How I Live Now– okay, so another cheerless book about the end of the world. But there was one thing I always took heart from and that was Daisy holding Piper’s hand and leading her through the literal end of the world- they’re not technically sisters, yet this image of sisterly devotion is burned into my mind whenever I think of a moment of sisterhood in books. I just want to point to it and say *that right there* (there’s also a lot of weird shit in this book, but at least there’s family at the centre of it all)

Okay that post ended up going in a darker direction than I intended. Do you agree or disagree with my choices? What book do you think is a great representation of sisterhood? Let me know in the comments below!

And naturally, I dedicate this post to my sister the monkey baby (yes that is her real nickname and no I am not making that up)

Top Five Divisive Books

So I’ve just got back from the polling station and it was as anti-climactic as ever. But my social media is still a massive battleground…

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Now since politics today is probably the most divisive topic out there (because if you don’t agree with me on everything you’re not a real *insert political affiliation* and you are an *insert insult here*) I thought I’d have a relaxing evening and talk about books that people get *really* up in arms over. These are the books with incredibly INTENSE fan bases and detractors- and my goodness- people have fought tooth and nail over them. So without further ado, this is my list of divisive books:

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

1. Harry Potter– ooh er- I’m nervous to even put this on the list- which oddly enough is why I have to include it. Because while many of us book bloggers are proud Potterheads or are friends with them, they are some of the most diehard fans out there. They will not brook even one iota of criticism for their beloved books and saying anything less than “the books are perfection and I want to kiss the feet of the goddess JK” is enough to get you excommunicated from bookish communities… Anyone not with them is a muggle and all that jazz. So yeah, Potterheads, I love ya, but you can be a bit scary!

twilight

2. Twilight– I think a lot of people have grown up about this one, so while there are still Twihards out there, they seem less inclined to stab you with a stake if you don’t happen to like sparkly vampires. But the main reason I included this on the list, is because it sparked the phenomenon of not only going after the non-sparkly-vampire-lovers (what’s the term for that? Normal? 😉 ) but also massive in-fighting. Before it was cool to fight over whether you shipped Gale/Peeta with Katniss Everdeen or Stephan/Damon with Elena, there were hordes of teens running round shouting “Edward!” “Jacob!” at each other. (Also “bite me Edward!”- seriously it was a weird time)

Throne_of_Glass_UK

3. Throne of Glass– so this book was a bit of a phenomenon in that first it was really popular to like it and then it was really popular to criticise- I don’t know if that was just me that noticed that? Either way, you guys know I fell in love with this series cos of the characters, but since it wasn’t instalove for me, I can see both sides of this argument. Either way, the reason it’s on this list is because I have seen plenty of passion when it comes to both its fans and its detractors. Fortunately that hasn’t devolved into anything truly nasty.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

4. The Fault in Our Stars– so back when this blew up, I was into watching a lot of booktube, and yes, naturally the youtube comment sections are the cesspit of humanity, but I think this was the first time I saw people giving out death threats over a book. I get that people love John Green, I’ve been there, but man you don’t have to fight all his battles for him. If a few people don’t like his books, it’s no biggie. He’s still a bestselling author and I’m sure he can handle minor criticism from folks on the internet- just sayin’.

catcher in the rye

5. Catcher in the Rye– I had to squeeze at least one classic onto this list. Now I know this gets assigned at schools everywhere in the states, so a huge number of people have read it. What is phenomenal about this book is that *every time* I mention it, I get a chorus of “I love it” “I hate it” in the comments. It has to be one of the most “marmite” books ever- you either love it or you hate it.

marmite-404_685611c

(ok that may have just  been the most British reference ever)

Anyhoo- so do you agree or disagree with these choices? What books do you think are very divisive? Let me know in the comments! And can all the Twihards and Potterheads looking to lynch me get in line in an orderly fashion… 😉

Anything But Books Tag

Hello all!! So this has been a weird month for me, namely cos I’ve hit a *dreaded slump*. Both with my reading and my blogging. Yup- horrifying right?! I didn’t manage to post most of the things I had planned this month, so hopefully June is gonna be super exciting… But since I haven’t been doing as much reading or blogging this month, I think it’s only fair to talk about what I’ve been doing instead with the ANYTHING BUT BOOKS tag!!

Thank you so much to Kat for tagging me to do this one!! For everyone that hasn’t (for some crazy reason) checked her out yet, her blog is incredible, stuffed with brilliant reviews for books *and* TV- plus she’s adventuring round Canada right now, so you have to follow her for all her awesome updates!!

Alrighty then, onto the tag!

1. Name a cartoon that you love.

I’m assuming this counts movies, right? My three favourites are Prince of Egypt, Anastasia and Mulan!

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And cos Spring is my favourite time of year, I always try to rewatch these around now (along with getting some great rereads in) #funfact

2. What is your favourite song right now?

Ooh so you guys know how much I like sharing music, right? This question is gonna open up a can of worms, cos I’m listening to a variety of things right now:

I’m obsessed with this soundtrack right now

 

The original, not the remix

 

Cos I’ve been watching wayyy too much Supernatural lately…

3. What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Writing, watching movies/tv and spend time on here! Right now I’m really into old movies and have watched some excellent classics in the last week:

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4. What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

Hehe the second that I’m asked something like this my mind goes blank!! Exercise, maybe?! Follow sports? I love the tennis and am a *huge* Arsenal fan! Lots of *good thoughts* for the Gunners right now cos we just won the FA cup a record number of times:

arsenal fa cup 2017

(yes, yes, I know you’re all leaping out your seats with excitement for that fun tidbit 😉 )

5. What is your favourite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Umm I don’t know why this is embarrassing for me but recently I’m very interested in learning about psychology…

6. What is something unusual that you know how to do?

Well, I’m not very crafty, but I do like to draw- but I don’t know if that counts cos it’s not especially “unusual”

7. Name something you made in the last year and show us if you can.

Well I’m much too shy for extracts, but I am currently working on a book (until further notice I will always be working on a book of some description 😉 )

8. What is your most recent personal project?

The aforementioned and elusive book.

9. Tell us something that you think about often?

Politics! I really, really try to avoid talking about it on here- even though a fair number of the books I read are influenced by political commentators I follow- but this actually takes up far too much of my time. Just to give you an idea of how obsessed I am, about 95% of channels I’m subscribed to on Youtube are political and I cannot even keep track of how much political commentary I read. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit politics’d-out at the minute, what with the general election coming up, so I think I’m gonna kick the habit for a bit and switch off from it all- it can be really exhausting!

10. Give us something that is your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I love the feeling when you’re nearing the end of writing something and everything is just coming together and all those carefully laid strings of the plot you’ve left along the way are just waiting to be tied together.

I love that new scent of Spring  in the air, just as the season turns, and you know the world is coming alive again with possibilities.

I love that rush I get when I learn something new, but it actually feels like it’s something old that I’ve heard a million times before, and my whole brain just lights up, like YES, THIS IS SO TRUE.

11. Say the first thing that pops into your head.

“We are Siamese if you please…”

(my brain is weird)

Alrighty then- that’s all for now- I tag:

Donna, Danielle, J J Azar and Liis

Annnd that’s all for now- can’t believe it’s the end of MAY?!?! Where is this year going? If anyone has any idea how I can contact Time and ask him to slow down, let me know!!

The Listicle Tag: Top 5 books you’ll never be caught with in public

Hoho today you are in for a treat! And by treat I mean something pretty different to my normal content. Last week I was tagged by the incredible Liis– who you absolutely *must* check out because not only is her blog is amazing, but she’s also one of the nicest people on here! – and I just had to do it as soon as possible cos this topic is g o l d.

Rules:

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that she can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.-
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

Now I’m going to be candid with this (because otherwise what’s the point?) and share books I’ve actually read here. And why is this going to be embarrassing? Because sometimes I read books with *ahem* adult content (though I’m hardly a connoisseur)… So stands to reason I’d be embarrassed to be seen with some of these covers in public. Also, if you are underage or aren’t too fond of this kind of material, avert your eyes now!

feral sins

Guilty pleasure- no judging!!

never trust a pirate

Actually the cover’s not too damning- just don’t read the blurb 😉 On the plus side, this author’s pretty good if you’re into this sort of thing, just a bit samey after a while.

captive prince

Well at least the cover for this one’s not bad, but I would still be worried that someone would know what this one was about or read too much over my shoulder!!

City_of_Bones (1)

I’m not really embarrassed by this one, but I feel like to save my blushes I could name something a little less raunchy- plus that cover really implies it’s much sexier than it is.

fifty shades of grey

I’d mostly be embarrassed by the fact that this is an awful, awful book.

Okay- now that’s over with- I tag:

Nel @Reactionary Tales

James @ This is my Truth Now

Sarah @Between the Pages

Angelica @Book Cover Girls

Rivermoose reads

My topic is going to be a bit more PG: Top 5 non-human characters in books (count yourselves lucky I didn’t just say top five monkeys in books 😉 )

Phew- this feels like I’ve been airing my dirty laundry! What book would you be embarrassed to be seen with in public? Let me know in the comments below!

The Most Depressing Post Ever

So obviously the best thing to do when the world gets you down is to talk about depression… Okay- this is clearly not the best thing to do, but who says I am good at judging what the best thing to do is? If you want answers, look to your nearest pope/politician/prat, they’ll be happy to oblige- me, I just recommend books and give occasionally sage advice:

“Life’s a joke and tragedy is the punchline” – Chris Ray Gun

Now I know what you’re thinking- hasn’t mental health week been already? Well, yeah, but I’m far too doolally to keep track of these things. And I thought I’d just jump on the bandwagon cos when it comes to mental health “everybody is talking about how nobody is talking about it” (Freddy Gray)- so what difference does it make when I add to the white noise?

Alright- serious-face on. I do actually care about mental health. Yada yada *insert personal experience* yada yada… Let’s just cut the crap and get to the books before my dark humour completely takes over. These are, in my totally subjective opinion, some of the best books you will find on mental health out there:

  1. Jude the Obscure – Fair warning, this is not a book to perk up your mood. It is, however, brutally realistic and the most honest reflection of the human condition I have ever seen. There is also a lot more to this book than mental health, so if you are looking for a deep story that will imprint itself on your soul forever- than this is the book for you!

jude

  1. All the Bright Places – the jury is out on this one and as many people that seem to love it as loathe it. Me, I was firmly in the love it camp. Again, this is totally subjective, but this was one of those rare books that had me crying in public because it felt so raw and real.

all the bright places

  1. The Bell Jar – I bloody love this book. Sylvia Plath’s writing is exquisite. I don’t normally fall for a lot of literary fiction, but man if this book doesn’t hit you like a tonne of bricks, your old ticker can’t be totally switched on when you read it.

the bell jar

  1. Titus Alone – this is most definitely the most peculiar choice on this list. Firstly, because I wasn’t a fan of the rest of the series, secondly because this is generally viewed as the weakest one in the trilogy and thirdly because it’s just an odd book. But I was strangely wooed by it. Perhaps it is because I am such a huge fan of imperfections in books in general- especially when those imperfections perfectly coincide with the message and tone of the book. To put it simply, the book was totally mad, the author was supposedly losing his mind while writing it and the overall effect is, well, mad. You’d be hard pushed to find anything more poetic than that.

titus alone

  1. The Yellow Wallpaper – it’s slightly spoilery to even put this on the list, so look away now if you haven’t read it, but I couldn’t fail to include this quintessential look at female hysteria. While I’ve met academics who wish to diagnose the main character as suffering exclusively from patriarchal control, I truly believe this applies more broadly to mental health in general. Again, there is more than just the mental health to this story, but I think in today’s climate we can find a great deal of universality in looking at the intriguing psychological aspects of this book.

yellow wallpaper

So perhaps an odd list- but this is just my personal take on which books I feel tackle this topic in the most authentic and beautiful manner. Now I want to know- which books on this topic do you have an affinity for? Let me know in the comments!

And because it’s Friday and I want to end on a happy note, this trailer just came out and I am so excited!!

Series I Won’t Be Finishing #noguilt (okay a little bit of guilt…)

Hello, my name is the Orangutan Librarian and I am a series-finisher (sounds like I’m starting an AA meeting). But after starting a couple of series recently I wasn’t too keen on, I want to make a commitment to myself *not to* continue reading the rest of the series- no matter what!!

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Because there are plenty more fish in the sea and there are books crammed into every bookshelf/library/shop/orifice and OH MY GOD I AM DROWNING UNDER A NEVERENDING TBR!!!

  1. Killables– arghhh I could not think of a single reason to recommend this book to anyone. The only problem is that they have this book in the library to tempt me. But no- I WILL BE STRONG!!!

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  1. Caraval– it had its moments, but that ending made me just give up on it. I just can’t bring myself to read the sequel- I’m out.

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  1. Outlander– as you may remember from my posts months ago, I rage quit this series- I won’t be picking up another one.

Abandon

  1. Long Way To A Small Angry Planet– hahahaha I had to put this one on here- but it’s actually hilarious to think about reading the second one when I only finished the first so that I could rage review it. I think my thoughts about this book can be summed up thusly:

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  1. Bronze Horseman– nope, just nope. I’m not gonna read any more of this because *YEUCH*.

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  1. Knife of Never Letting Go- okay, so unpopular opinion here, but I hated the style of this one. The Grammar Nazi in me just could not deal.

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  1. Thief’s Magic– I have a love-hate relationship with Canavan- and even though they have copies in all the libraries I frequent I have no desire to carry on with this series. I just did not connect with any of the characters in this- not a-one.

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  1. Queen of the Tearling– what makes me feel better about this one- aside from being bored stiff with the first one- is that I’ve heard a lot of people didn’t like the finale and said it wasn’t worth finishing anyway.

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  1. An Ember in the Ashes– another unpopular opinion, but I really wasn’t sold on this series and have no desire to read the second.

nope

  1. Talon– okay, I’ll admit I read the second one, even though I hated the first one, because it had a scaly cover and I love dragons. Buuut no more!! I will not read another whiny book about non-dragons masquerading as mythical wyrms. I just cannot.

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Annd on that note it’s time to say goodbye for today! (Yes, yes this post was just an excuse for a million goodbye gifs). Did you agree or disagree with my choices? What series have you quit? Let me know in the comments!