Meet the Bookworm: Olivia-Savannah

I’ve sent a couple of bookish questions to some bloggers and bookstagrammers who have been crazy enough to fill them out. In this series you’ll get to read their answers, admire their favourite reads and share their favourite stories. If you want to join the series just drop a comment below!


Name
Olivia-Savannah

Instagram Handle
@writing4joy2

Twitter Handle
@oliviascatastrophe

Booktube
Olivia Roach

What sort of things do you like to read? Any favourite books?
I love to read pretty much all genres and all types of books! Some favourites are The Raven Cycle, Shakespeare plays in general, Dracula and the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman.

Would you like to share any happy/funny reading related memories or stories?
There was a time when I read Where Europe Ends by Yoko Tawada and was very confused about the narrative… How the character experienced so many different things and abruptly jumped from country to country. Only to be told when discussing it in a university seminar and explaining my confusion that it’s a short story collection and not a novel. Oops!

If you could write yourself into any story, which one would it be? Would you change anything about yourself or have any magical powers?
I would totally write myself into A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer so that I could fall in love with my current book boyfriend (Grey). I would have the power to teleport too, of course.

What got you interested in books? Any particular books or people?
I was always read to by my parents and then when I went to primary school I had a brilliant librarian. We still email and recommend books to each other now! She let me help with filing and other librarian things and I’d stay for hours after school to either read, chat books with her or help out.

Do you enjoy writing as well as reading? What sort of things do you write? Do the novels you read inspire you?
I love to write! I’m a poet and write poetry, mostly. But my current WIP is a horror novel with all black characters. πŸ˜‰

Was there ever a point where you found yourself reading less? Why? Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump?
At the end of every year my reading tends to dwindle as I prepare for Christmas and the New Year. I usually take 2 weeks off from reading at the end of December to focus on other things and feel ready and excited to read again in the New Year!

What made you decide to engage with other bookworms on the internet? Are your internet bookworm friends different to your real life bookworm friends?
I mostly started a blog before I knew book blogs existed. My blog was originally just life updates – but when a book blogger commented I visited their blog and suddenly found the entire bookish online world. I wanted in! I actually have quite a few reading friends in real life. I just like to talk books with as many people as possible πŸ™‚

Do you have any reading routines? What about blogging or bookstagramming routines?
Routines? Not for me. I mostly squeeze in reading, blogging, bookstagramming and booktubing whenever I have time. A lot to balance but I enjoy it so that’s what I keep doing!

Has your reading changed much over the last decade? Do you have a reading journey?
The main thing is that my reading has grown exponentially. I read almost double the amount of books now than I used to, even though I have less time for reading. I’ve started to read quicker. But I’ve also started to read more genres and underrated books too, which makes me happy!

Has interacting with bookworms online changed your reading at all? Do you think it’s for the better?
It’s probably helped my reading become more diverse and spread out, which is only for the better. That way I can learn what life is like for more people, and hopefully help move the world to being a more inclusive place for all.

Have you ever found yourself in a novel? If you had to pick one character you really relate to, who would it be and why?
Oh, many times and actually mostly in new adult romance? Probably because I’m the new adult age. It was quite scary to see myself in so many if Roan Parrish’s novels. Especially in her novel called Rend!
When I was 12 I related to Fanny from Mansfield Park. I was incredibly shy and outspoken. I don’t relate to her anymore at all and that makes me feel proud. I’ve come a long way since then.

What do you find most challenging about blogging and bookstagramming? Any 2020 reading/blogging/bookstagramming goals?
I find keeping constantly active the hardest. It takes a lot to make one photo or blog post and it’s hard for me to share often while also living life. My main goal for 2020 is to be a bit more consistent and make more friends too πŸ’œ

Would you want to work in the wonderful world of books? Why/why not? Do you have a dream job in the book world?
I originally wanted to go into publishing but now I want to teach… But as a poet and novelist I would still be involved in the author side of the book world hopefully πŸ˜‹

What advice would you give your younger self? Do you have any advice for budding bookworms out there?
Keep reading what you love. Look for yourself in characters and see how they develop. Because that’s the way you’re going to develop too.


Thanks Olivia-Savannah for filling out the questions and joining my blog! I love your idea of taking a reading break before the new year so you’re excited to start again in January! Sadly I think rushing to get my Goodreads challenge done may interfere with that one. Do you have any reading breaks in your year? is Grey your current book boyfriend? Let me know in the comments!

Another bookworm will be featuring on my blog next Friday so stay tuned for that, and tell me in the comments if you want to get involved.

Meet the Bookworm: Noelle

I’ve sent a couple of bookish questions to some bloggers and bookstagrammers who have been crazy enough to fill them out. In this series you’ll get to read their answers, admire their favourite reads and share their favourite stories. If you want to join the series just drop a comment below!


Name
Noelle

Twitter Handle
@genieinanovel

Instagram Handle
genieinanovel

What sort of things do you like to read? Any favourite books?
I like to read contemporary stories. Those are the easiest to relate to, though I do enjoy a good fantasy once in a while to take me away from earth! Some of my favorite books are Love & Gelato, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Gallagher Girls series, Time Bomb, The Land of Stories series, and (obviously) the Harry Potter series.

What got you interested in books? Any particular books or people?
My mom was a big reader when I was growing up, so I think she had a lot of influence on my love for reading. I remember reading through Hardy Boys books, as well as Judy Blume books (Fudge, Double Fudge, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, etc.). So it’s just always been something I’ve done. I was that kid who loved silent reading time at school and was more likely to get in trouble for reading late at night.

Do you enjoy writing as well as reading? What sort of things do you write? Do the novels you read inspire you?
I do! I write mainly contemporary stories, and fanfiction. I would say the novels I read definitely inspire me. I find that once in a while I get the urge to try my hand at fantasy, but I’ve never actually done it… yet.

Was there ever a point where you found yourself reading less? Why? Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump?
Yeah. For a while when I first started college I wasn’t reading as much, like for a few years. I started picking back up a little maybe five years ago? I think it was just the stress from school that really made me too tired to want to read. Though I still go through the occasional reading slump, typically in March/April. No idea why. For getting out of a reading slump, my usual tip is to reread a favorite. It kind of rekindles the love of reading. Another one is to just not worry about it and let it be a reading break. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, so trying to force it will make it worse. I actually wrote a post about this on my blog a while ago after I’d been in a slump.

What made you decide to engage with other bookworms on the internet? Are your internet bookworm friends different to your real life bookworm friends?
I think Goodreads and starting a blog was a main part of it. I saw how everyone interacted with each other and it just looked like a great community to be a part of – a community that loves reading and supports each other. I can’t say for sure if they’re different or not. I’m still kind of new to the community, so I haven’t gotten very close to anyone yet. I’d definitely love to though!

Do you have any reading routines? What about blogging or bookstagramming routines?
Kind of? I usually read when I go to the gym in the mornings, while I’m on the treadmill. And I like to get a few chapters in before bed. As for blogging, it’s when I can write or am inspired to do a post… or when I have to write a review. Then for bookstagram I take a Monday (my weekday off) every few weeks/once a month, to take a batch of photos and keep them ready to post.

Has interacting with bookworms online changed your reading at all? Do you think it’s for the better?
It’s definitely given me a lot more books to read! Haha! I have also learned from other bookworms how it’s better to just DNF a book that you’re not enjoying. I did that for the first time this year for a few books and it’s definitely great advice. Don’t waste time on something that you’re not enjoying.

Have you ever found yourself in a novel? If you had to pick one character you really relate to, who would it be and why?
I would say Cath from Fangirl. I acted just like her in college and had to brought out somewhat by friends to actually interact outside of class. And did I mention earlier that I write fanfiction?

If you blog or bookstagram what do you find most challenging? Any 2020 reading/blogging/bookstagramming goals?
Keeping up with a regular schedule for my blog. Sometimes I lose track and either do too many posts all at once or forget to post for a few weeks. My 2020 goals for my blog is to make some kind of schedule. My reading goals are to just keep reading books I enjoy, while maybe branching out more to other formats/genres. My best friend is really into manga and there are some interesting ones that I want to check out (by her recommendations).

Would you want to work in the wonderful world of books? Why/why not? Do you have a dream job in the book world?
I do, actually! I work as a librarian in my hometown library. I’ve been there for nearly four years, and I was a volunteer before that. I even graduated with my Masters in Library Science last spring, so I’m looking forward to what doors that will open for me in the field.

What advice would you give your younger self? Do you have any advice for budding bookworms out there?
I would tell my younger self to start a reading log/journal so I’d be able to look back on all the books I’ve read and what I thought about them at the time. Sometimes you don’t feel the same things when you reread because you know the story, but you catch things you missed before.


Thanks Noelle for filling out the questions and joining my blog! I’ve heard a lot of book worms relate to Cath. Do you agree with her on any of these points? Do you get the March/April reading slump too?

Another bookworm will be featuring on my blog next Friday so stay tuned for that, otherwise we have the usual Top Ten Tuesday up next week!

Meet the Bookworm: Elizabeth Tabler

Hello and welcome to a new series I’m doing on my blog. I’ve sent a couple of bookish questions to some bloggers and bookstagrammers who have been crazy enough to fill them out. In this series you’ll get to read their answers, admire their favourite reads and share their favourite stories. If you want to join the series just drop a comment below!


Name
Elizabeth Tabler

Twitter Handle
@bethtabler

Instagram Handle
elizabethtabler

What sort of things do you like to read? Any favourite books?
I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. Favorite, ohh that is so hard. I like Fahrenheit 451 a lot.

What got you interested in books? Any particular books or people?
I have been bookish from a very early age. As soon as I learned to read, I plowed through books.

Do you enjoy writing as well as reading? What sort of things do you write? Do the novels you read inspire you?
I do! I am currently shopping around my first short story. Right now just science fiction, but we shall see.

Was there ever a point where you found yourself reading less? Why? Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump?
I go through reading slumps. If I get depressed or overwhelmed, I tend to read less.

What made you decide to engage with other bookworms on the internet? Are your internet bookworm friends different to your real life bookworm friends?
I have always followed book twitter, but as I started doing more blogging I got more and more involved.

Do you have any reading routines? What about blogging or bookstagramming routines?
I try to blog everyday, but a reading routine is probably a good idea.

Has your reading changed much over the last decade? Do you have a reading journey?
Not particularly, although I have read slightly more this year than in previous years.

Has interacting with bookworms online changed your reading at all? Do you think it’s for the better?
It’s wonderful! I learn about so many new books from the reading community.

Have you ever found yourself in a novel? If you had to pick one character you really relate to, who would it be and why?
I always loved the sass of Eowyn. I wish I was more like her. She is who I would love to be.

If you blog or bookstagram what do you find most challenging? Any 2020 reading/blogging/bookstagramming goals?
Just my normal list of books. I would like to try and get through either King’s library or Neil Gaiman’s library. I haven’t decided yet.

Would you want to work in the wonderful world of books? Why/why not? Do you have a dream job in the book world?
I would love to work with aspiring authors. I think that would be a dream job.

What advice would you give your younger self? Do you have any advice for budding bookworms out there?
Don’t stress yourself out about how many books you have read. Just enjoy the reading.


Thanks Beth for filling out the questions and joining my blog! Do you agree with her on any of these points? Are you a fan of sassy Eowyn too? Or even know which books she’s from, because I’m not entirely sure… Also if you fancy joining the series let me know in the comments and I’d love to feature you!

Another bookworm will be featuring on my blog so stay tuned for that, otherwise we have the usual posts

Why I Struggle with Larger Books

With the Priory hype and hearing my friend slog through the last Throne of Glass novel I’m starting to realise I have no interest in massive books. This seems cruel, to right off a novel I haven’t even started just because of page number but honestly the size really puts me off.

Firstly you have to consider the practicalities. Big books are a pain to cart around, they weigh down my little bag and hurt my weak shoulders which lack any sort of muscle due to my phobia of exercise. I have so many pages to rifle through to find which bit I last read and it’ll inevitable fall on the floor, making a big noise and denting the cover. Or possibly the floor. And then I have to get a new floor and will probably have that horrible buzzing in my ears from the bang.

I’d have to put it lower down on my bookshelf so it doesn’t fall on anyone, and now I’ve got to reorder my entire shelf. The whole bookcase vibe would be off so I’d shuffle the series around to be together and then I have to reorder everything because I’ve started now. And then it comes to Bookstagram. I can’t hold it up due to the aforementioned lack of exercise so I have to place the thing on the floor where is casts awkward shadows and inevitably looks oddly rectangular on camera, jumping out as larger than the other books in the shot. I could put it spine up but the spine is so big it dominates the shot. Although it would be great to lean other books on knowing they wouldn’t topple next to that mass.

But I digress. And as you can see from a purely practical point of view, big books are a pain. But from a reading pont of view, I’m also not so keen on them.

You can be in one fictional world for too long

Even Hogwarts has it limit. Yes I said it, even the fantastical world of Harry Potter which, let’s face it, every kid dreams about, would get boring if I were sucked in for 900 odd pages. I’m not saying any of the Harry Potters were too long, they really weren’t, I’m just saying as a reader I want to explore a wealth of worlds and not be stuck reading one for a few months. Actually, maybe Harry Potter is a bad example since I did actually read them back to back… Sometimes I like to visit Victorian London, sometimes that clichΓ© magical world full of mahogany dressers, strewn with castles and medieval peasantry, and sometimes I crave the traffic filled streets of modern New York, full of tattered jeans and bright city lights.

It’s not just the setting that gets tired. Most massive books visit a handful of locations along the way to try keep it interesting, but the writing style gets stale, the characters get old, the dialogue gets repetitive. Basically all the unique aspects that conjure together to build a novel become stale. The plot starts to drag as you forget what happened two hundred pages ago, the pacing is obviously off if the author felt they needed this many pages to write it, and honestly I’d just want to read something else.

Then there would be the inevitable complexity that comes with such a large book. I’d be doing a constant brain work out to try and remember who X was when they appeared five hundred pages ago but I remember nothing of them since. Multiple plots wold drag over hundreds of pages all with their own complexities and nuances, and I struggled to keep up with Biff and Chip and their magic key so a more complex story would be quite taxing. Basically it would exercise my brain too much, and we all remember how I feel about exercise.

The final reason I’m put off massive books is hype.

I’m not talking about the hype for that particular novel but for other ones. I’m a greedy reader with a worrying social media addiction, if a book pops up on Bookstagram a lot, is featured all over book Twitter or a friend goes on and on about it I’ll want to read it. Neigh I will need to read it. And I’m just going to resent that massive read I’m stuck with for the next fortnight. And we all know if I put it aside to read something else I’m never going back. What if there’s a sequel released for a book I loved?! What if there’s a sequel released for a book I haven’t read yet but everyone is talking about it? These things are unpredictable and I just can’t commit to a massive book while there’s still so much potential for other more pressing reads.

Overall I’m not a fan of these massive fantasy books. I’m not saying don’t write them, go for it, I’m just saying I probably won’t read them. Even with the growing trend to finish a book series with an epic I’m still deterred. I’ll just Wikipedia the ending.

What do you think? What’s the biggest book you’ve read? Do you enjoy bigger reads? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Wouldn’t Choose Blogging as a Career

I know what you’re thinking. Mad, wouldn’t I want my hobby as a job, isn’t that the dream? But I’ve been asked a handful of times whether I’d make book blogging my full time job and, even if we lived in some Fantasy realm where book blogging makes millions and my blog’s grown to the point of being able to make money, I still think I’d keep it as a hobby.

I’m going to caveat all this with if you’ve made blogging your full time job then that’s amazing. I admire your bravery in taking that step and, as a computer scientist, think it’s great that technology has allowed people to have so much freedom in their career. But, personally, I’m not dreaming of becoming a rich and famous book blogger, earning my millions in some mysterious way benign to most bloggers. Blogging isn’t bitcoin and I don’t think I could make enough money out of it, but I also know I don’t want to make it my career.

My first thought would be my job. I’m in the incredibly lucky position that I really like what I do. Its not perfect all the time, there are obviously bumps and I definitely miss the days where I didn’t have to see the 6am/7am hour, that would surely happen if I was completely in control of my own time. But, on the whole I’m good at computer science, love it and am really hoping to make a difference in the field.

The second big factor is that I don’t want to treat my blog differently. I don’t want to see each follower as number rather than a friend and watch my stats meticulously to find which content is engaging and which isn’t. One genuine comment is worth more to me than a 100 views. Blogging is my space to relax, chat about books, get recommendations and just chill. It’s not my office. I love my blog, but even doing the most fun jobs, like blogging all day, there will be some moments when you want to do something else. I like having the freedom to write posts, chat about whatever, post on social media when I fancy talking to the world, and then switch off my phone if I feel. I always reserve Sundays as a blogging break and try to not be too hard on myself about when I read and when I forget to post. If it’s not fun I just won’t do it.

The final reason I wouldn’t blog as a career is the work. Blogging, and just freelancing in general, looks hard. Planning your own hours has lots of downsides: working late in the evening, working weekends, never knowing when to switch off. Or, at least, that’s what it was like for me at university. I found that stressful and know I wasn’t very good at it.

Then there’s the hours I’d have to put in to be good. I’m a computer scientist, I understand SEO, can write code and know how to write a good website. But social media, marketing and graphic design? Yeah not so much. It takes a lot of skills to run a successful blog and I like wouldn’t want the pressure, I enjoy exploring and learning those skills in my own time, trying out things and not being too worried if they don’t work.

There would be more obligations to be a better blogger if it was my career and I don’t want that. I’m not saying I don’t want to be good at book blogging- I do. I want my writing, confidence and online marketing skills to improve. I enjoy learning these skills knowing they’re just for me, not to wack on an impressive CV or produce a steady income to pay rent and buy food.

What about you? How long have you been blogging? Would you want a hobby as your career? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Mid Blogtober Wrap Up

Greetings from France! My friends and I are currently enjoying the wintery blasts of an autumn holiday. Or so I thought we’d be, we’re actually in shorts and t shirts and sweating everywhere.

I’m halfway through the ridiculous challenge of posting every day in October and honestly I’m so proud I managed to get this far! I’ve not done a mid month wrap up before so it’s going to be a slightly different format to before; more like a few comments on what’s going well, what’s going badly and how I’m finding Blogtober. And, of course, there’s a bit about what’s coming up!


Best post so far: Character Traits I Love

I’m pleased this post has done best because not only was it really fun to write but the Top Ten Tuesday topic was my suggestion!


Favourite Post to Write: Why no Post on Sunday

Not only did I get to recall a fabulous Harry Potter scene in the introduction but I really enjoyed swapping notes with the commenters on this post and discussing why I think it’s important to have a break from blogging once a week.


Most Difficult post: Gilmore Girls Challenge Update

I felt sort of bad that I hadn’t posted this update sooner, given the last one was sixth months ago, and that I hadn’t read many of the books on the list. Hopefully my next update will be slightly more timely!


What I’ve Learnt so Far:

I love schedules. It’s not a surprise, I’ve always loved schedules, from revision timetables to the minute amount of scheduling I do with meetings in my work calendar. Scheduling is one of my favourite things and I’m very much enjoying having a list of posts I can just stick to every day.

My followers are Lovely. I didn’t expect my posts to get the amount of love they have! I thought they’d be largely ignored because there are so many of them, I really appreciate you all sticking with me!

It’s less work than I thought. Ok, I prelude this statement with the first half of Blogtober has been largely publishing pre written posts, polishing off the odd sentence but nothing much more and so far it’s been a bit of breeze. Or at least, more of a breeze than I expected. I suspect the later half of the month will be more tricky since some of posts are currently just bullet points.

I’m sort of on top of Bookstagram?! I expected Bookstagram to be the biggest challenge, since I struggle to find time to photo when the days get short and the light gets bad. But I took a lot of photos beforehand and it’s weirdly working! I seem pretty on top and I liked planning my feed as I took photos for each of the upcoming posts.


What’s been Challenging:

Blog hopping. I find I spend so long replying to comments, which I love doing, and keeping up on my social medias that I have less time to visit other people’s blogs and comment on my favourite posts.

Organisation. This has never been my strong suit and I struggle with getting posts written in time, I think this will prove more challenging in the next two weeks as I have less posts written in advance.

Blogging everyday. This sounds daft because it’s literally the challenge, and I have Sundays to switch off, which I like, but I feel much more glued to my phone than before which I’m less of a fan of.


Has anything gone wrong?

One thing. One tiny little thing, which you’ll be seeing the impact of this week. I’m meant to be publishing a review for Finale this week but uploaded the wrong book photo onto my phone before going on holiday. So you’re all being treated to a deviation from the schedule (😭) since I’ll have to swap the Red Queen and Finale reviews around.


Has it been Worth it:

Obviously I haven’t finished half of Blogtober yet, and I’m yet to meet the challenging part but so far yes. I’ve met a lot of new bloggers and I’ve enjoyed clearing out my drafts folder! It always felt to large! As an extra bonus my stats are doing really well and I’ve nearly surpassed last month’s stats in just two weeks!


Favourite Post Coming Up: Is Immaturity Shown Enough Through YA

I’ve had a lot of excitement about this post on my schedule and it’s one I really enjoyed drafting! I’m excited to hear all your opinions as well and swap notes.


Most Difficult Post Coming Up: My favourite Birthdays

I always want to put more personal posts in my blog since I think they’ll be exciting to look back on. But I’m terrified about publishing them. I wanted to include one non bookish post for Blogtober and thought this would be an appropriate topic, given my birthday is in October. I just hope it works out.


Do we think I can complete it?!

I’d say yes! But the second half of Blogtober is going to much harder, since I’ve a lot less post written for it.

Let’s Compare Notes

To check out what’s coming up on my blog check out the schedule posted at the beginning of the month! Let me know if you’re doing the challenge, I’d love to support your blog 😁

My Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Oh gosh this Top Ten Tuesday topic. I hope I won’t loose too many friends over it but it was so fun to write πŸ˜‚πŸ˜³

1. Dog Earing Pages is Fine

That little crease in the top corner of a page that some bookworms flinch at? Yep that’s fine. I mean if you bend them back the other way you can’t even tell so what’s the big deal, anyway?

2. Cracked Spines are Good

I actively encourage cracked Spines in my bookcase. My books look loved and read, not like a bookshop!

3. Love Triangles Suck

I’m sorry popular ya published when I was fifteen but the love triangles were so over done. And not even that great a trope to begin with…

4. Not All Heroes Need Love

I love my ships, I really do, but do all protagonists and side characters have to pair off? Can they be single and happy about it?

5. Love Shouldn’t Last Forever

Again I love my ships, but occasionally I think they should well… Um… Sink? Just a couple. I mean come on, who here is still with their first boyfriend/girlfriend from 17?!

6. Negative Reviews Rule

Not everyone is going to like every book, so authors shouldn’t be offended to receive negative reviews. Also, as a reader I check reviews to see if I will like a book and I appreciate a reviewers honesty.

7. Review what you DNF

Again, I don’t want to waste my time reading a book I don’t like, so appreciate when bloggers straight up tell me why they didn’t like it.

8. Movies Don’t Always have to Follow the Books

I know, I know, readers are always going to prefer the book. It’s what we do. But I get some things won’t work on the big screen given time, budget or plot purposes and I’m ok with them missing out the odd plot point or character development. I’m just happy they made the movie.

9. Throne of Glass was ClichΓ©

An unpopular opinion in and of itself, but this book is so popular I feel bad not liking it. It even has the ‘let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding’ line, I’m sorry SJM fans but I am not in your ranks.

10. Soul Mates? Nah

And we’re back to love again. A lot of bookworms eat up this trope, which is fine and I don’t judge, but really it’s not for me.

11. I don’t like Swearing in Books

And a cheeky 11 because I’m just that unpopular. I know some writes think it’s the only way they can express themselves but to some readers it’s just offensive, and you don’t know who’s going to pick up your book. Also it takes me out the story completely, I don’t know why.

Lets Compare Note

There you have it! 11 unpopular bookish opinions. What’s your most unpopular opinion? Do you share any of mine? Do you have a list of your own? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

May Wrap Up

And there goes May. Which means it’s officially summer! And officially time for shorts, BBQs, cold drinks and picnics! Anyway here’s my May wrap up, would love to hear what you did/read/wrote in the comments section πŸ™‚

What I Read

πŸ“š A Conjuring of Light – started the month of a high note, finishing this amazing series. Lila, Rhy and Kell, you will be missed 😭

πŸ“š Asking for It – a powerful read, I finished of this book suitably angry and very sad

🎢 Becoming – see the little emoji change? That’s because it’s an Audiobook 😎 loved hearing about Michelle Obama’s time in the White House from the woman herself!

What I Wrote

πŸ§€ STEM Representation in Literature – I wrote all about the characters that inspired me and why books should make women in STEM more of a social norm!

πŸ§€ 30 Words You Didn’t Know You Knew – I got to share more words with people! Yay! 30 more words I’ve recently learnt from books

πŸ§€ To All the Books I’ve Loved Before – a post all about the books that have changed my story as much as I’ve read theirs! Prepare for all the πŸ§€

πŸ§€ Bookish Characters every Reader can Relate to – 10 fictional book worms all readers can see themselves in!

What I Did

πŸš‚ Visited Harry Potter Studios- it was a late Christmas present and exceptionally cool!

πŸš‚ Visited a castle in Wales – my boyfriend and I are keeping up our monthly castle quota and visited another one, this time in the exotic country of Wales

πŸš‚ My friends Visited – two friends who I’ve known since school finally stopped by! We went for a lovely windmill based walk and chatted heaps

πŸš‚ Had Afternoon Tea at a fancy country house – for our three year anniversary my boyfriend and I had a very nice afternoon tea where I ate all the dainty food and cake

What I Read Online

🧑 What Makes a Great Book – not only does this blogger have fabulous taste in books *cough* giving Strange the Dreamer five ⭐s *cough* but I loved reading her take on this topic!

🧑 My Recent Five Star Crisis – a post all about how reading tastes change and how much harsher readers get the more they blog!

🧑 Does the Order we Read Books in Effect our Ratings – as a mood reader I definitely related to this post!

🧑 Top Ten Tuesday 212 – my friend made a list of all the books she’s convinced me to read and honestly I’m just surprised she kept it at 10! Also this post proved she has introduced me to basically all my favourite reads, so yes, good book worm friend.

Books that should be a Movie… Pretty Please?

Books into films is always a precarious one. Will it be Harry Potter, where we’ll flock in our masses to the studio tour, rewatch the films at any given opportunity and laugh rather than cringe at the slight book to film inaccuracies? Or will we get that adaptation that doesn’t even resemble the books, where the characters aren’t recognisable and all the joy has been bleached out for dramatic effect? *cough* Percy *cough cough* Jackson.

All I’m saying is film adaptations are a tight rope, a balancing act. And if some massive producer gets hold of this Top Ten Tuesday list full of books we want to see as movies, I am not responsible for any plot changing, character looking completely different films that may follow. That said, if we get a sensational hit then I’ll take nothing less than 50%.

1. A Darker Shade of Magic

Honestly most of this is just me wanting to see Kells cloak. And the red Thames. A Red Thames people 😍

2. To Kill a Kingdom

Pirates? Syrens? Princes? What more can you want. And that final battle with the sea queen would just work perfectly on the big screen.

3. Children of Blood and Bone

I’m sort of imaging Ice Age meets Lord of The Rings with this one. Lots of unusual fluffy creatures but also some deadly questing thrown in there.

4. Asking for It

Genuinely serious one here. I just finished this novel and the message is just too important to not hit the big screen.

5. Caravel

Ok, I might not be able to visit Caravel or sample the amazing cider but surely seeing all the glamour unfold in a cinema is somewhat close? And Scarlets dress would be amazing on a film.

6. The Night Circus

We can all buy stripy scarfs to match the film! It can have a proper following like the circus did! I’m imagining this people and it’ll be amazing.

7. Circe

Not only is this an excellent book with a fab plot, but I bet it would be a low budget film. You’d only need a handful of actors and just one set really. I’m envisioning this as one of those films with a narrator at the beginning of scenes, but possibly that’s because I read the Audiobook πŸ€”

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Just those vivid descriptions of Prague and the mysterious undertones, ah what a fan film this would be. The book is so enchanting.

9. The Raven Boys

Oh come on, this would make an excellent film. You could use one of those fancy country house schools as the set and have actors that look about 25 pretend to be 16 which will of course make the youth of today feel they look too immature. See, I know what they do.

10. Skulduggery Pleasant

I haven’t yet worked out the best way to bring to life a talking skeleton, but I’m thinking with a lot of CGI this could work. If they did the Lion King they can definitely manage Skulduggery.

Let’s Compare Notes

So there you have it! A list of books that would make exceptional films. And, bizarrely, this topic couldn’t be more topical because I’m going to the Harry Potter studios this weekend with my boyfriend! A very generous Christmas gift 🎁

But back to this list. Anyone else agree? Disagree? Have a list yourself? Would love to hear from you in the comments section!

STEM Representation in Literature

Media is full of negative conations about women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)- they can only do biology, men are better, the STEM character is the least attractive and clearly undatable. I struggle to find female STEM role models in media, and finding positive female STEM role models? Yeah, nearly impossible.

For my A Level years I went to a single sex school. It was the first year my school ran computing A Level and I was the only pupil doing it. I was super worried I’d be the first and last to do the subject, that there’d be no interest once I left. I ran coding classes for different levels: two in the senior school, one in the junior school, slowly and surely getting more girls into the computing room at lunch. You wouldn’t believe my joy when a girl in a younger year at school messaged me on Facebook a few years ago saying she’d taken computer science at the same university I had. That there’d been three doing computing A Level in her year. I couldn’t believe I’d actually made a difference.

But can the literature change the gender imbalance in computing? I’d say yes, it definitely did for me. My first real role model was probably Violet Baudelaire. Orphan, inventer and heroine of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Before I could even tie my shoelaces I was trying to tie my bob haircut up with string, to no avail, like her. In my eyes she was the epitome of cool: she used wacky inventions to save the day, she was the one her brother turned to when they were in a tight spot, she was everything ten year old me wanted to be.

Wanting to be an inventor like Violet changed my career path. I got an old excise book and drew pictures of inventions I planned to make one day. I tried to become a computer guru and became semi established with this title in year seven. I remember one particularly taxing ask by my aging English teacher: to get a digital version of a picture a girl had printed out for homework up on the projector. Sadly my ICT skills didn’t stretch to plucking search terms out of students’ heads and I failed to produce the image, a few Google Image searches later. Nevertheless, it will be no surprise to any of my teachers that I became a computer scientist. It always appeared to be on the cards.

Until it didn’t. At fourteen I went to a new school and suddenly computing wasn’t a subject. We learnt about Word and PowerPoint and ‘cool’ subjects became Art and History. It wasn’t just school that changed for me- it was media too. Violet was stuck in my past and my role models became Katniss and Tris. Computer science was restricted to The Big Bang Theory where it was ridiculed, because what kid wants to grow up to be like Leonard, at best? It didn’t look like the future, or the way to solve problems, it became another reason to laugh at the sad nerd in the corner.

I still had a love of engineering, a gutteral sense that it was for me, but I’ve no doubt I wouldn’t have questioned my decision, my place and right to take the subject, if I’d still been reading about Violet, kicking Olaf’s butt and saving her siblings with her mad inventions. And I wouldn’t have even consider computing if it wasn’t for characters like her. The interest she drummed in me meant my dad offered to teach me how to write my first computer program when he saw me reading a massive copy of “Programming for Dummies” that I’d gotten out the library.

Katniss and Tris, they taught a teenage me that women can do anything. But does literature tell kids that they can be anything?

Literature definitely has before. Take Hermione from Harry Potter. How many girls grew up under her fantastic influence, showing young women that brains is a form of strength. Characters that confront rather than conform to negative stereotypes can make a big difference. Or at least, they did for me.

I know not every novel can be about a female engineer, and wouldn’t want them all to be. If a debut is about a lawyer, or a warrior, or a writer or even a frog, then that’s fine. But there could be some small changes. A character gets advice from a wizened old professor at one point? Why can’t they be a woman. There’s a side character who happens to be in STEM? Make them strong. Attractive. Not that nerd with glasses and low self esteem. And there should never be demeaning and derogatory jokes about women in STEM (and yes, I have genuinely seen this in modern literature). Five minutes of laughter isn’t worth the terrible stereotype being instilled in young audiences.

I don’t have any statistics on whether media makes a difference to young people’s career paths. I don’t know how to magically change the public’s perception of women in STEM, I don’t even know if it’ll ever be a social norm for women to take STEM subjects. But I can’t help that think that maybe, just maybe, making it a fictional social norm could be a good place to start?