THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD (4)

I’ve been nominated for my fourth Liebster Blog Award by the lovely nostalgic musings, thank you! I did one of Award Imagethese earlier this week and I know a lot of you are familiar with the rules, so this time I’m just going to answer the questions nostalgic musings gave me.

Here we go!

1) Favourite food?

My mum’s roast beef dinner, with all the trimmings. Nobody does it better!

2) Books or movies?

BOOKS!! I like movies well enough, but I would much rather let my imagination play out a story in my mind than have it laid out for me on screen.

3) Music or writing?

Both at the same time! I have several playlists I like to have on in the background while I’m writing.

4) Favourite singer?

That’s tricky. I think I would have to say Darren Hayes, the former lead singer of Savage Garden who went on to become a pretty awesome solo artist.

5) Dream vacation destination?

The Fjords in Norway. They have spectacular scenery there and some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, which I love. It would definitely be a dream vacation for me.

6) Favourite colour?

I would have to say blue.

7) Favourite song?

The cover version of Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Full Blown Rose. The band never released it as a single and all the versions I could find on YouTube cut off the first 20 seconds of the piano sequence, which sucks, but here it is anyway.

8) Who is your celebrity crush?

I was asked this by Hideaway Girl and I said David Boreanaz. I’m trying to think of who else to say, but I’ve had a crush on David for 12 years so I think he eclipses everyone else, haha!

9) Are you a nerd or popular?

I’m a nerd and proud, but I don’t think you have to be one or the other. I always had my nose in a book or a homework assignment in high school and at university but I still made great friends and had a lot of fun. There are plenty of popular nerds out there and it’s not something you should ever be ashamed of. Real friends will love you for who are and that’s all that matters.

10) Do you like blogging?

Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t do it!

Thanks again for the nomination, nostalgic musings!

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The Liebster Blog Award (3)

I’ve been nominated for my third Liebster Award by the lovely Hideaway Girl. Thank you! Award Image

Many of you will be familiar with this award and since there are different variations of the rules I won’t list them here. The rules often ask for 11 facts about the blogger, but since this is the third time I’ve done this I’m afraid I’ve run out of interesting facts! If you’re curious, you can find 11 general facts about me from the first award here and 11 book related facts from the second award post here.

I’m happy to answer Hideaway Girl’s questions for me though, so here we go!

1) Why do you blog?

I started blogging originally as a way to enhance my CV (résumé) because I wanted to work in the publishing industry (which I now do – yay!) and because I wanted to connect with other book lovers. I enjoy having my own little space online where my ideas can live.

2) Who inspired you?

Since I was a little girl I have been inspired by my favourite actress Kate Mulgrew. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years ago and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. Her memoir comes out in April and I’m SO excited!

3) If you could have any pet, what would it be?

I’ve grown up with dogs all my life (we used to breed them) and my parents currently have two. Eventually I want to have one of my own, preferably a black Labrador.

4) Would you rather travel to the past or the future?

I would prefer to keep the future a mystery because if you know the path your life will take then there’s no fun in it, so I would say the past. I would love to spend some time with my Grampa who died a few years ago. He was a wonderful man and we were very close.

5) What do you regret doing the most?

I don’t like to dwell on regrets, and I’ve found that when I look back at things that I regretted or found difficult at the time, that I’m actually glad things turned out the way they did. Sometimes when you feel like you’ve taken a wrong turn in life it turns out to have been a great step forward.

6) Who is your celebrity crush?

David Boreanaz, a.k.a. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Special Agent Seeley Booth from Bones. Such a handsome man!

7) Favourite book?

I don’t have a single favourite book but rather favourites from different genres. My favourite from the last 12 months is a tossup between The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. Clicking on the links will take you through to my reviews of these books.

8) English or art?

Definitely English. I loved it in high school and even more so when I studied literature at university.

9) Lipstick or lipgloss?

I can wear either, although I don’t very much. I’m not much of a make-up fan!

10) What is your favourite quote and why?

That’s a tough one because I LOVE collecting quotes, but this is the one which came to mind when I first read this question:

“She was there, in the full vigour of her personality, battered but not diminished” – Willa Cather, from her novel My Ántonia.

When I read it I’m reminded that, even after we’ve been through difficult times and find ourselves with scars (both physical and emotional), we can still come out on the other side with the strength of our personalities intact.

I enjoyed answering those questions!

I don’t like limiting who I nominate, so if you’re reading this and you’ve never been nominated for a Liebster Award before, please consider this your nomination!

I’m a bit short on time at the moment so I’m going to use the same questions I did from my first award post. Here they are:

1) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

2) What’s the most unusual book you’ve ever read? (could be theme, format, writing style etc)

3) Was there a book series you started reading but gave up on because you lost interest?

4) What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why did you dislike it?

5) What’s your favourite bookshop? (could be a chain or an indie)

6) Has there ever been a book character which turned out exactly the way you imagined they would when you saw them in the film adaptation?

7) Have you ever visited a location just because it was featured in a book?

8) Do you have a particular bookmark you always use, or do you just use whatever is lying around?

9) Do you mind if the spines or pages of your paperbacks get creased, or is it important to you to keep them looking like new?

10) What’s the best library you’ve ever visited?

11) If you could spend a day in the shoes of any literary character, who would it be?

Thanks again, Hideaway Girl!

 

Create Your Own Story

PostcardI came across this postcard in a stack I had bought months ago. While I was writing it to send to a friend I found myself thinking about the meaning behind the words CREATE YOUR OWN STORY. You could take them in the literal sense. They could serve as inspiration for finally writing that novel or short story you’ve been nurturing the idea for, but have kept hidden away for months, maybe even years (I have a whole file on my computer for those). Or you could take them another way. Maybe something like this.

Sometimes, you’re not sure of yourself. You wonder where your life is going and where you’ll be a month from now, a year from now, a decade from now. You worry you’ll still be exactly where you are right now: stuck, like an insect caught in amber, unable to move while you watch the world revolve around you. You doubt the choices you have made and the roads you have walked down. You wonder if you are doing enough each day to reach your goals and take yourself closer to your own idea of what happiness is.

Worst of all, you compare the story of your life to others. You look at their characters, plot twists and happy endings and wonder, “Hey, why can’t I have that? Why does my story seem so dull and uninspiring while theirs seem like thrilling page-turners full of romance and adventure? What am I doing wrong?”

In the world we live in now it is easy to forget that life is not a literature class. You are not required to compare your story to others and analyse themes, images and metaphors to draw a conclusion of which one is more effective or more meaningful.

You have always been told never to judge a book by its cover, yet you do it every time you judge yourself and others by appearances alone. You shouldn’t, you know. As you get older, your cover will get worn. The colours will fade and creases will appear. When you look back on that life and approach its epilogue, I promise that you will care more about the pages you took the time to write and live in than the futile efforts you made to make that cover look perfect. Besides, covers rarely tell us what a story is really about.

Walking into a bookshop or a library you will find that no one story is the same as another. Many are similar, but none are identical. The same is true of you and those you compare yourself to. Your life has its own story arc with different chapters in a different order. It has its own cover, its own format, its own style. Embrace it. Accept it. Stop comparing your story to others and just focus on writing it in the way that makes sense to you. You will be far happier that way; I guarantee it.

One more thing. Don’t forget to share your story with others from time to time, even if you think they won’t be interested. You never know, to them, you might be a Classic or a bestseller. A story they will never tire of reading.

I’m not sure if this will mean anything to anyone or if it even makes sense. It doesn’t really matter. I wrote it for myself and the people I care about* who I know feel this way and I wanted to share it. Thank you for reading this small part of my story.

*To the friends of mine who read this, please know that to me you are Classics and bestsellers and I will never get tired of hearing your stories or sharing mine with you.

Christmas Books

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! One of my favourite presents was a surprise from my uncle – BOOKS!! He’s a huge bibliophile and probably reads more than I do, which is saying something! Our tastes are usually quite different but I really enjoyed the last book he gave me, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, so I’m definitely willing to give these ones a try. They’re not what I would have chosen for myself but I actually think that’s a good thing. I’m always open to expanding my reading horizons and being given books as gifts is a great way of doing that.

These are the books my uncle gave me. They are both the first in a series, so it’s good to know that I can read more if I like them.

Mythago Wood ImageMythago Wood (Mythago Wood #1) by Robert Holdstock: Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and of those few, none remain unchanged. Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Ryhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds his brother, Christopher, is also in thrall to the mysterious wildwood, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grow flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity …

Rivers of London ImageRivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch: My name is Peter Grant. Until January I was just another probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service, and to everyone else as the Filth. My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – We do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from a man who was dead, but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Chief Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. And that, as they say, is where the story begins.

Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated. I’m dealing with nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden – and that’s just routine. There’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious, vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying. Which, I don’t mind telling you, would involve a hell of a lot of paperwork.

Have any of you read either of these? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review – Orange is the New Black

Cover ImageTitle: Orange is the New Black

Author: Piper Kerman

Publisher: Abacus

Date: April 2010

Format: Paperback (344 pages)

Synopsis: With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who, over a decade ago, got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her: convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous women’s prison in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424.

From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. And she meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with tokens of generosity, hard truths and simple acts of acceptance.


Many of you will be aware of the hugely popular and Emmy-award winning Netflix show based on this non-fiction book. I love the show and I was eager to check out the book. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved it and didn’t want it to end. I’ve been careful to keep this review spoiler free for both the book and the show.

When you read the memoir of a well-educated, financially secure and otherwise successful woman like Piper Kerman, you might expect to encounter excuses and justifications for the mistakes she made in her youth which landed her in prison. But Piper doesn’t do that. She owns her mistakes and the consequences of her choices and never claims to be superior to any of her fellow inmates. I found this attitude incredibly refreshing and it made for a very open and honest account of her incarceration. I felt I could really relate to her as she goes through the process of figuring out how to survive her prison time while maintaining her sense of identity and mental stability.

My favourite quote illustrates this well:

“Most changes in perception are gradual: we grow to hate or love an idea, a person, or a place over a period of time. Sometimes, rarely, the way we see something is subject to alchemy. My emotions changed so rapidly, and I felt so strongly all the things I had in common with these women … our troubled history was suddenly matched by our more immediate shared experience as prisoners on an exhausting journey.” (p.311)

I also really liked Kerman’s writing style which I described in my notes as “honest, engaging, informative and raw.” There was also a lot of humour mixed in with the intense emotions which I really enjoyed. I loved reading about the relationships she develops with the other prisoners and how they look out for each other, like making a huge deal about someone’s birthday or release date. I was particularly impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness shown by the inmates. Let’s just say there are more uses for sanitary towels than you might think and it’s possible to make a palatable cheesecake in prison using this recipe.

In comparison to the Netflix show, the characters we know and love are definitely there, but not in the way we’re used to. It’s like Jenji Kohan (the creator of the show) took the characteristics and personal histories of the real life women and recombined them to create the dynamic characters we see on screen. Some of the names are the same (although Kerman changed most of them to protect the women’s identities) and there are plenty of recognisable character traits and back stories. I had fun trying to figure out who was who and there were a lot of “aha!” moments when I made a connection between the real life people and the show’s characters. That being said, Kerman made the people in her book come alive for me and I found myself imagining what they looked like instead of automatically picturing the actors. That’s one of the reasons why I believe this book would be enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the show (which you totally should, by the way).

The main lesson I took away from this book was this: it’s the times when you think you have nothing that you have the greatest capacity for generosity, openness and honesty.

Overall Rating: Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture My bookworm rating system is explained here.

Other Works by this Author: This is Piper Kerman’s first book. You can find out more about her and her advocacy work here.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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I was nominated by the lovely Gel over at Some Kind of Book Blog. Thank you, Gel!

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • Answer the ten questions they’ve set you
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
  • Nominate ten people

Gel’s Questions for Me:

1) Who are your top three favourite authors?

James Clemens, the author of my favourite fantasy books The Banned and the Banished series. Kirsten Beyer, the current author of the post-series Star Trek: Voyager novels which I absolutely love. There are several authors fighting for third place so this is difficult, but I think I’ll have to go with J.K. Rowling for the magic she brought to my teenage years.

2) If you could exchange lives with a fictional character for a day, who would it be?

Celia Bowen from The Night Circus. I love her beautifully tragic, magical life.

3) What’s the first thing you would do if you became the character on number 2?

Create my very own magical tent in the circus. I’m not sure what form this tent would take, but I’m guessing it would have something to do with ice or waterfalls.

4) What are your top three favourite books that you read in 2014?

I’ve read a lot of fantastic books this year, but my top three would have to be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (which I just finished yesterday!) and The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak.

5) What book are you most excited to read in 2015?

Definitely Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew, due to be published on April 15th 2015. She’s been my favourite actress and one of my idols since I was 8 and I’ve been waiting for her to write a book for years. I’m so excited about this and I’ve already pre-ordered it.

6) Do you have an unusual reading habit? What is it?

I intentionally (and unapologetically) bend the spines of my paperback books as I’m reading them. I like them to look well-read and have character. I love that anyone can just glance at my bookshelves and know which books are my favourites because I’ve read them so many times that the spines are worn. I talked about this more in an earlier post.

7) If you are stranded in a deserted island, which fictional character would you like to be with you?

Hermione Granger. I’m guessing she could get us off that island, or at least conjure us some good food and a stack of books.

8) Choose the characters from your favourite book that you would f**k, marry, and kill.

This question doesn’t work too well for my favourite book, so I’ve just chosen characters from different ones:

F**k – Gale from The Hunger Games

Marry – Eric from S.

Kill – Grak from Things Grak Hates (which I reviewed earlier this month)

9) Which do you prefer, reading before going to sleep or reading during the day?

Definitely reading before going to sleep. Reading is my barrier between the stress of the day and the calm I need to fall asleep. Of course this often means that I stay up far too late! I recently discovered that the word for this is Librocubicularist.

10) If you could give a Christmas gift to your book crush, what would it be?

Hmm, I’m not sure what I would give Eric from S. Could the gift be a kiss from me? Haha!

Blogs I’m Nominating:

I nominate the following awesome blogs:

Neon Yeti Reads

Miss Print

A Librarian’s Library

Falling Down the Book Hole

Stephanie’s Book Reviews

The Sleepy Book Nerd

ahouseofbooks

Roof Beam Reader

For the Love of the Page

Darcy’s Book Blog

My Questions:

1) If a book was written about your life, what would the title be?

2) What was the first book you can remember reading (or being read to you)?

3) What’s your favourite genre of books?

4) If you could choose one book to be turned into a movie adaptation, what would it be?

5) What’s your favourite reading format: Hardback, Paperback or E-book?

6) Do you come from a family of readers, or are you the only one?

7) Have you asked for any books for Christmas? If so, which ones?

8) Have you ever been to a book festival or author event?

9) Do you have a favourite bookshop you visit often? Maybe an indie in your hometown/city?

10) Do you own any signed copies of books? If so, which ones?

If you decide to participate I would love for you to post a link to your post in the comments so I can read it! 🙂

Friday Finds (12) – 19 December 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

Sooooooo, I suck at getting my posts done on time, especially when I have a list of them that I’m excited about (4 at the moment) so once again I’ll just be posting each book’s synopsis as it’s written on Goodreads, rather than putting it into my own words like usual. Hopefully I’ll be more productive and organised in the New Year!

Here are my finds for this week:

1) The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne: Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7″ when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

2) Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist. Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose. Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it. Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other. An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

3) Dreamwalkers (Dreamwalkers #1) by Corinne Davis: Emma Owens is a seemingly ordinary seventeen-year-old girl who covertly possesses the power to do anything she desires, without limitation, in a world filled with both infinite beauty and interminable danger, that exists only while she sleeps. Emma is a dreamwalker.

She inherited the dreamwalking trait from her father and inexplicably shares it with her best friend, Zoë. There are rules to dreamwalking that Emma and Zoë live their lives by. The most important of which is not to interact with unknown people who can see them while they dreamwalk, or risk becoming lost in a world of unrelenting darkness. Emma and Zoë have always followed the rules without question, but their conformity is tested when Emma learns that she is the only one capable of rescuing a young girl who has become profoundly lost on a dreamwalk.

When Emma launches a crusade to travel deep into the world of dreamwalking, gambling her own life to save the girl, Zoë agrees to stand by her side, unknowingly opening the door to her own astounding hidden faculties and uncovering a three hundred year old family secret in the process. Emma’s world is turned even further upside down when Charlie, the boy who shattered her heart into a thousand pieces, mysteriously returns with information that sends her head… and heart, spinning.

4) The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp: Sutter Keely. He’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

5) The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern: Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she’s been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face. It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.

But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

I also came across this great list of upcoming YA novels due to be published in early 2015 which is worth checking out.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

The Gif Book Tag

I’ve been tagged to join in with the Gif Book Tag fun by my good friend Stefani over at Caught Read Handed and the lovely Ashley from For the Love of the Page. Thank you, ladies!

The rules are simple:

  • Whoever tags you will give you a list of 10 books
  • Write a sentence and add a gif which shows how you feel about each one
  • Tag other bloggers and give them a new list of 10 books

Since Stefani and Ashley’s lists had quite a few duplicates (great minds think alike!) I’ve just combined the two and come up with 12 gifs. This was great fun!

1) The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I’ve heard some great things about this but for some reason there’s a vibe surrounding it that reminds me of Lauren Destefano’s Wither, which I hated, so I’m really conflicted about it.

2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The line “And in that moment I swear we were infinite” has stuck with me since I read this awesome jumble-of-emotions-coming-of-age novel.

3) Any or all of the Raven Cycle Books by Maggie Stiefvater

So many great sounding books; so little time.

4) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

I’ve had this one on my TBR shelf for AGES and I’m really annoyed at myself that I haven’t gotten to it yet.

5) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

I think you all know the event I’m referring to here.

6) The Young Elites by Marie Lu

This book sounds AWESOME and I really want to read it!

7) The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman

Zombies. I’m sorry. I just can’t.

8) Lola and the Boy Next Door/Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I’ve heard great things about these books so I might read them one day.

9) Allegiant by Veronica Roth

It’s my kind of genre and I enjoyed the Divergent movie, so I will probably read it at some point.

10) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Obviously this book made me sad but I found the ending really uplifting rather than depressing.

11) The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

I’m being buried alive in my TBR list and this series is in the pile somewhere near my head.

12) If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

I’ve hardly heard anything good about this book and the synopsis doesn’t sound that great so … nah.

This was so much fun so I don’t want to limit tagging to a short list of bloggers, so if any of you want to join in and create your own post then please do! I would love to see what you come up with for these books:

1) The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

2) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3) The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

5) S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

6) Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

7) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

8) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

9) The Humans by Matt Haig

10) One Day by David Nicholls

I’ve read quite a few of these posts and some people have commented that they don’t know how to include gifs in blog posts. I wasn’t sure either but it’s actually really easy. I found all mine at this site. Once you find one you want just click the share button underneath. Click the clipboard symbol to the right of the Gif option and then head back to your blog post. Click Add Media then Insert from URL and paste the link into the address bar. The gif should appear in the box below and can be inserted into the post.

Emily Dickinson and the Power of Books

Emily Dickinson Image

I was looking through my wonderful Norton Anthologies collection from my American Studies degree yesterday and I came across Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘There is no Frigate like a Book’. I think it perfectly sums up the power books have to give us a break from reality and transport us to countless new worlds and situations, even if we don’t have a penny to our name.

Page break 1

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.

Page break 2

Books give us so much yet ask so little in return. Even if we buy rather than borrow them, the cost of purchase will be repaid countless times over every time we return to their stories. They withhold nothing from us. Their essence – the words on their pages – does not change, even as they run us through the gamut of emotions and challenge our ways of thinking and how we see ourselves in this tumultuous world. They will remain by our side as faithful companions until the end of the story, where they will leave us all the better for having given them our time.

I just love this poem. And books. Always the books.

Are any of you Dickinson fans too? Do you have a favourite poem of hers? If you do, I’d love for you to share it in the comments!

Bookish Words

Mixed Words          Bibliophile Image

This week is Book Week Scotland 2014 and so it seemed like the perfect time to share this very bookish post.

Like most of us bibliophiles, I love words. I was the kid in class who stared eagerly at the blackboard as the teacher led the weekly words quiz while most of my classmates glared daggers at him. I grew to love dictionaries and I was constantly consulting them when I encountered words I didn’t understand (which happens A LOT when you start watching Star Trek at the age of 7).

I can remember being fascinated when, at 8 years old, I became aware of the differences in spelling between British English and American English. It began with the word “color” which I read in a novel that had been published in the States (I assumed it was a typo; where was the u?) and later grew into an interest which still continues to this day. I know a lot of people who read this blog are from the US, so I always get a little paranoid when I type words like “favourite” as I worry people will just think that I can’t spell!

Disclaimer: I’m Scottish and I grew up in a world where we like to add an extra “u” and “l” here and there. We also pay our bills by “cheque”, not “check”, and turn “center” into “centre” … just because.

Anyway, for a while now I’ve been collecting interesting words which relate to the love of books and I finally have enough to share with you. You have probably heard of some of them already, but I hope that at least a few of them will be new to you. Some of them have a long history while others have been coined online within the last decade. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty that begin with biblio- (from the Greek biblion meaning book) but I didn’t want to include too many of them so I’ve just picked the more unusual ones.

Abibliophobia – The fear of running out of reading material.

When I first came across this word I was reminded of the following quote from Lewis Buzbee: “If you read one book a week, starting at the age of 5, and live to be 80, you will have read a grand total of 3,900 books, a little over one tenth of one percent of the books currently in print.” With that in mind, and also considering the volume of written works available online, it might be hard to believe that anyone could fear running out of things to read. Still, it’s a horrible thought, isn’t it?

BibliobibuliPeople who read too much.

Personally, I don’t think there is such a thing as reading too much, but American journalist H.L. Mencken disagreed when he coined the term in 1957 by claiming that: “There are people who read too much: bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing”. Yep, this definitely sounds familiar!

BibliomaniacExcessive fondness for acquiring and possessing books.

This can be a particular problem if, like me, you’re not a fan of e-books and want to read everything in printed format. Over the years my books have spread throughout my parents’ house like a literary infestation. It will probably be years until I can afford to buy a house big enough to have a library for them all. I know I should give at least some of them to a charity shop but … what if I want to re-read them again one day? Or share them with my as yet non-existent children? Argh!!

BibliophagistAn avid or voracious reader.

This one likely applies to most of us and is along the same lines as bibliophile, but the best definition I came across was “one who reads books omnivorously,” which just puts very odd images into my head of people actually eating the books. Like human bookworms. Yum.

BibliosmiaThe act of smelling books, particularly old ones.

This word seems to have been conjured up online at some point over the last few years, and it definitely applies to me. I’m not saying that I go around sticking my nose into every book I come across, but there is something about the smell of old books that I really love. There is a scientific explanation for the aroma itself, if you’re curious, and also a range of products which claim to replicate the smell of books. Book-scented perfume, anyone?

BibliotherapyA technique that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry as therapy.

I wasn’t familiar with this until I stumbled across it in a random article, but I think it sounds like a lovely experience. I wouldn’t use it as a substitute for counselling from a qualified professional, but sitting down with someone who could give me a tailor-made “book prescription” and help me broaden my reading horizons sounds like a great idea. This is the original article where I read about the experiences of six people who had a bibliotherapy session. It’s a very interesting read.

Book-bosomedSomeone who carries a book around with them at all times.

This term was originally coined by Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott in his 1805 poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel. This is particularly interesting to me as Scott lived and died in a house located only a five minute drive from where I live and his influence is especially prominent all over the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh. I can’t imagine going about informing people that I am book-bosomed, though. They might think I stuff my bra with books, haha!

EpeolatryThe worship of words.

I’m one of those people who believe that the written word is humankind’s greatest achievement (after all, it would have been very difficult to invent everything else without it), so I really like this term. When I researched it I found this article which had some interesting information about the origin of American English.

LibrocubicularistSomeone who reads in bed.

I have been one of these all my life but until recently I had no idea there was a name for it! I read in bed almost every night and I actually struggle to get to sleep if I don’t. Reading is like a barrier for me between the tumultuous events of the day and the quiet calm that I need to feel before I can fall asleep. I have to be at the point of falling asleep on my feet before I’ll forego a chapter or two. Even when I’m really tired I will often continue reading with only one eye open if I’m really enjoying the book or feeling particularly stressed out. It’s a lifelong habit that I never intend to break.

TsundokaBuying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands.

I have a good friend whose living room is like a bookshop or a library; there’s unread books piled up all over the place. I actually really enjoy looking through them, but I’m not in the habit of letting unread books pile up in my own home. At the moment I have six novels and one comic book sitting on my shelf that have yet to be read, and that’s actually too many for my liking. I usually prefer to read all the new books I have before I buy anymore, but that hardly ever happens since I can’t walk out of a bookshop without buying at least a couple of other ones!

So, in conclusion, I have a confession to make: I’m a bibliophagist and a librocubicularist with an enjoyment of bibliosmia, a devotion to epeolatry and the occasional tendency to commit tsundoka.

What about you?