Inside Out Book Tag

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Hello all! Hope this Day-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named is treating you well… 😉 Nah, I’m kidding, I don’t have (many) hang-ups over Valentine’s Day- which is why I decided to drag up this book tag which was buried deep, deep down in my drafts to prove it! Thank you so much to the Paper Dragon for tagging me to do this (also remember when you tagged me to do this? No? Fair enough… It was over a year ago!) So, whatever Valentine’s Day makes you feel- love, anger, ambivalence- I hope you enjoy this very emotional tag!

A book that brings you JOY

carry on

It’s been ages since I read this and it still gives me the warm fuzzies when I think about it!

A book that makes you SAD

book thief

Amazing book though!

A book that makes you ANGRY


I was furious with Long Way to a small Angry Planet… as you may already know.

A book that DISGUSTS you


Ooh that’s a strong emotion- I think Lolita– even though I actually think it’s a really well written book, the subject matter is just so gross to me that I struggled to get through it.

A book that brings you FEAR

turn of the screw 2


Okey dokey! That was fun! I tag:

Bookidote, My Midnight Musing, Drew, Never Seen A Nevergreen, Rivermoose Reads, Keira and Captain’s Quarters (ahoy there!)

Feel free to ignore if you’ve already done this!

And happy Valentine’s Day to you all! And let me know in the comments which book you read recently that brought out a strong emotional response!

Can personal experience ruin a book?

Right now I’m gonna be talking about…

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…you have been warned.

So obviously it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day and I’m thinking about *feelings* more, but really what inspired this post was that recently I read a book that I didn’t relate to. Now that’s hardly noteworthy… except that, without going into detail, I had personal experience of the subject matter and really should have related to it.

It got me wondering if personal experience can actually ruin a book. Not in that it might have “too much” of an effect– I will give a story credit for affecting me emotionally and even for taking me to dark places- but when it fails to hit that (sometimes excruciating) mark I will frankly be a bit peeved. When a book holds back on the painful punches, when it simplifies things, when it moralises- I feel a million miles away from it. It’s no good if difficult stories are prettied up for the sake of the audience. And it’s only more noticeable if I can say “no no no, it’s not like that at all”.

That’s not to say every experience is the same- but sometimes the way a character or story is constructed just doesn’t add up. Take Thirteen Reasons Why– a story written to reflect on the motivations of a friend who committed suicide. For me, and others, it missed the mark, because not only did it trivialise the reasons for suicide, it felt like it was ramming a message down my throat and the character’s emotions were way off (to name a few of the thirteen issues I had with it). In short, I just did not find it relatable.

Now none of this is to say that you have to have personal experience to write these difficult or traumatic stories. As someone that likes fantasy I don’t think it should always be “write what you know”- heck if that were the case Harry Potter wouldn’t exist (unless JK Rowling is secretly a boy wizard abused by his relatives). But- and here’s a big BUT- the author *really* needs to have empathy and go to all of the dark places inside the head of someone in a horrible situation- otherwise, what’s the point? If an author can’t write about someone’s struggles, then they should give their protagonist an easy life and be done with it. Don’t ride on the coattails of something difficult for the sake of being *deep and meaningful*- it will only do the issue the author is trying to bring to light a disservice.

Ok, that got a little bit more ranty than I meant it to. But what do you think? Am I the only one that has this problem? Let me know in the comments!

The Most Un-Romantic Books for Valentine’s Day

Alright- I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade- but I am basically the equivalent of a Valentine’s Day Scrooge. Anyone that knows me is probably well aware that I am a massive sap and a huge romantic- which is probably why it might come as a surprise that I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Call me crazy, but a day of tacky cards and forced romance has never struck me as particularly romantic. And that is why I have devised this list!

Shout out to The Laurenest whose post earlier in the week heavily inspired me to make this post. Without further ado, here are 10 completely unromantic books to read on Valentine’s Day.

  1. 1984

1984 bookThis is undoubtedly one of my favourite dystopias ever written. Conveniently for this list, it’s also pretty unromantic.




  1. The Handmaid’s Tale

handmaid's taleNothing says *UNROMANTIC* like women being used as sex-slaves in a dystopian future. I’m not even a fan of this book- but I have to say, if romance is the last thing on your mind, then this is the book for you!



  1. The Yellow Wallpaper

yellow wallpaperThis is a more proto-feminist piece than the last one. But I recommend it if you’re not feeling the romance this Valentine’s Day because there’s nothing romantic about insanity. (Although I also recommend it every other day of the year!)



  1. The Bell Jar

the bell jarSpeaking of insanity- how could I not recommend this book? I mean some of you might get turned on by electric shock treatment for depression (who am I to judge?) but for the most part, I’d assume this will put you off romance for a while.



  1. Turn of the Screw

turn of the screw 2Here’s another creepy one. Like The Yellow Wallpaper and The Bell Jar, it’s certainly got elements of madness. But, depending on your interpretation of it, there are also ghosts and mysteries in this one. Also, if you’re feeling in a more intellectual mood, then this is the book for you.



  1. Jude the Obscure

judeThis book is technically a romance- but let’s face it, it’s also the most depressing book ever written. And if you want to shout “Love is dead!” from the rooftops  then this book is the place to start. Or end.



  1. Storm of Swords

storm-swords-george-martin-paperback-cover-artTo be honest, I could have picked any of the series for pure shock factor and because Martin can deliver a depressing blow to your favourite characters like no other author alive today. BUT obviously (for anyone that’s familiar with the series) this one has one of *THE* worst moments in the series, so I had to pick it. If you feel like being knocked for six, then this is the book to read on Valentine’s.


  1. The Bloody Chamber

bloody chamberThese short stories are retellings of fairy tales that are often creepy, violent and disturbing. I really recommend these in general- but even more so for an anti-Valentine’s Day reading party!



  1. The Wasp Factory

wasp factoryOkay, I’m gonna suggest something a bit different, cos I’ve never actually read this. Honestly, that’s because having read extracts and heard so much about it, the thought of it creeps me out- which is kind of why it *had* to be on this list. It is just so gross!!



  1. Trainspotting

trainspottingHere’s another one I haven’t read. The reason for that is Irvine Welsh came to my Uni and read extracts from it and I realised it wasn’t for me at all. I was grossed out and horrified by it in equal measure. So yeah, I reckon this is the perfect book to read on an unromantic Valentine’s Day. I mean, nothing screams “I hate romance!” more than being horrified.


Alright- that was fun! (at least for me!)

Anyone else have any Anti-Valentine’s Day recommendations?