The blog glo-up tag

I never do these! But Wendy tagged me (thank you!) AND I secretly love talking about myself (in writing. If you meet me IRL and ask me any questions about myself I’ll turn red and mumble something at you about the continuing question of my life trajectory and secretly resent the heck out of you before asking you many questions about yourself so as to divert the conversation entirely away from the subject of me) so let’s DO IT.

Rules

  1. Credit the original creator, whatthelog
  2. Answer the questions!
  3. Tag as many or as few people as you like

Why did you create your blog?
‘Twas the summer of 2015 and I was about to graduate university (I had a heart attack when I realised how long ago I graduated. I have been out of university as long as I was in it. WHAT IS LIFE AND WHY DOES IT GO SO FAST?!) where I had been studying English Literature and Creative Writing. In the absence of any life plans, direction or focus I thought hey, I’ll blog about books.

(I feel like I should mention that life plans, direction and focus are things I now have on an intermittent basis. If you’re worried about that right now – I promise, one day you will have those things. And on that day you’ll realise you now have a whole new list of things to feel anxiety about. Sorry about that.)

When did you first start your blog?
I could look to confirm this but I’m fairly sure it was around May 2015. I remember sitting in my house in Norwich in the last few weeks before I moved out and writing a review for I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson.

Have you had any significant design or name changes?
Nah. I am no longer 22 – and perhaps including my age in my blog title was a little short sighted, but I cannot emphasise enough how at the time I started this blog I had no plans or ideas about my future whatsoever – but I still like my blog’s name. And as for design… I am bad at that. Making and uploading that fucking banner took me so long that I can assure you it will remain forever.

What has been the biggest change to your blog’s content?
When I first started writing I had pretty strict rules for myself about posting at least three times a week. These days I post once a week, if at all. The reason for this was partly quality and partly laziness. I am a writer by trade and churning out content for the sake of content made me feel bad about myself. I also, to be totally honest, just don’t read enough to post more than one review per week.
Also, I’m lazy. That’s the main reason but those other ones sound better.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your blogging journey?
Oooh I love this question! I mean obviously I have to mention Marie. Her hard work and dedication to blogging constantly inspires me to keep working on this even on weeks I really don’t feel like it. Also CW – her reviews are so well written, analytical and beautifully expressed.
Whenever I am tempted to upload something I’m not totally proud of/not upload anything at all, I think of them and keep working.

If before you started you could look at your blog now, what would surprise you the most?
That I’m still writing it! In the past I haven’t been so good at sticking to things. While there have certainly been times when I’ve gone on the odd unexpected hiatus, overall I’ve written fairly consistently for the past almost four years.
I think it would also come as a shock to 22-year-old me that I’m not primarily reading YA any more. I still LOVE it, but I increasingly reach for books more marketed toward my own age group. My love of memoir and the influence of things like the Belletrist book club have meant that my reading taste has expanded considerably.

What personal milestone have you hit that makes you the proudest?
For me it’s really any time someone praises my writing. Ultimately that’s my thing so whenever I hear I’ve done that right it feels like winning.

What do you see next for your blog?
I… really don’t know. My life is changing pretty significantly within the next couple of months. I’ve got a new – albeit temporary – job that is going to demand a lot from me. I have to move to a new city all my own – also potentially temporarily, though I guess it depends on what happens when I get there.
My plan is to try and keep this thing going despite the fact I’m going to have a lot on.
As usual I have no clue what is happening in my life beyond the next few months. I am gradually learning to roll with it – or, at least, deal with the intense anxiety that comes with all this rolling.

I am tagging (if you fancy it)
CW @ The Quiet Pond
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books 
Tanaz @ The Keysmash Blog 

 

 

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated to do this one by the lovely Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros.

Here we go:

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What is your happiest memory?

Last summer I went to Edinburgh by myself and got a job at the International Book Festival. Every morning when I would get the bus from the Air B&B I was staying in to the city centre for work, I would feel so proud that for once in my life I actually made an adventure happen for myself.

Which OTP makes you the happiest?

I wrote a post about this recently. A couple I missed out that I’m super into right now is FitzSimmons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I am, as ever, terrified that one of them is going to die.

In terms of books, it has to be Emmy and Oliver.

I’m a total sucker for the whole lifelong friends turned something else.

How do you like to relax and unwind?

Last night I had the house to myself for the first time in forever. I wrapped myself in many blankets (even once the weather has warmed up my house takes about a month to follow suit) and watched The Vampire Diaries* while eating a giant pot of honey yoghurt.

*Does anyone else sort of think that Matt should have been killed off like four seasons ago? Am I just mean?

What do you find most satisfying about blogging?

The writing.

What’s your spirit animal?

dog

What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Have a drink and go and dance, idiot. No one cares if you look stupid.

Tell us about one fictional character who makes you smile?

Mia Thermopolis. Everyone who read The Princess Diaries in their teens should totally be rereading them in their twenties. Trust me on this.

If you could go back in time and live in any era, what would it be?

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. I would go and spearhead the feminist movement. And have tea with Jane Austen. And hang out with one of those creepy photographers who pose dead people. And go to The Institute for Psychical Research.

I would have so much fun.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

dog

Do you have any secret talents or party tricks?

None whatsoever.

Well, my thumbs don’t match. One is way shorter than the other.

Give me a quote that makes you happy?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

I am reading Wild right now.

Soundtrack to My Life Book Tag

Thanks to The Book and The Bone for nominating me!

OPENING CREDITS: Favourite Childhood Book

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I learn really ineffectively.

By this I mean I cheat a lot. I don’t always do it on purpose, but it happens.

I never learned to read music but I got through several grades of piano by watching someone else play and memorising what my fingers had to do. For a more dedicated person this might have worked long term, but I was not that person.

I bring this up because one of the first ways that I cheated was by refusing to learn to read. Why would I bother to read the words, my four-year-old self argued, when I can just look at the pictures and make up my own story?

In the end they started covering up the pictures, forcing me to engage with the words. I was not amused by this.

It worked out for the best in the end.

One of the first books I became obsessed with was this very tattered Fairy Tales and Legends from Around the World. I think it may have belonged to my mum when she was a kid. Before that it belonged to Sally Ann O’Carroll, whoever she may be. I spent lots of nights reading it instead of sleeping. I think I was preparing myself for the long nights of Netflix I would sit through during my first year of university.

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WAKING UP: A book that got you out of a reading slump

I went through a long period of being really fed up when I was at university. Even though I was a literature student supposedly surrounded by people who loved the things that I did, I felt like I didn’t have anything in common with the people in my classes. Worst of all, the books that I loved were often laughed at and dismissed by my tutors and peers. I was wading through a lot of texts that were so complex I could never quite access the point of them. I was made to feel that the way I wrote stories was wrong.

It was a shitty time and I was very lonely.

(This was like 2 years ago. I’m much better now. Life is like that, it turns out.)

Anyway, after a very long conversation in which I shared all this with a friend, they suggested that I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I related to that book so strongly. It was the beginning of me digging myself out of a very big hole (one that, in hindsight, I pretty much dug for myself).

SCHOOL: A Book you had to read for school that you ended up loving

I wrote a whole post about this.

FALLING IN LOVE: An author you love so much you want to read all their books

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I want to read all her books and have her be my best friend please.

FIGHT: Book with the best action sequences

I’m not interested in action sequences specifically so much as books that run at a pace I find un-put-downable.

So, Six of Crows.

BREAK UP: A book or series you didn’t finish and do not intend to finish

As anyone who has read more than two posts of this blog knows, this statement is true for most of the series that I start reading. A recent example would be the Firebird trilogy by Claudia Gray. I found A Thousand Pieces of You seriously uninspiring.

HANGING WITH FRIENDS: A book you think everyone else should read

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay

Just Listen – Sarah Dessen

BREAKDOWN: A book that seriously affected you/had you crying your eyes out

One – Sarah Crossan

I read it on Friday and it destroyed me.

You should totally read it.

ROADTRIP: Your favourite series

The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.

I heart Marcus Flutie FOR LIFE.

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FLASHBACK: Your favourite book from five years ago

The Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart. I just glanced at it and discovered that The Boyfriend List is ten years old. Thanks for making me feel my age, tag. I think I should start a YA Throwback feature. Thoughts?

GETTING BACK TOGETHER: What book can you not stop reading?

I frequently reread Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot. I’m pretty sure I first read this one when I was 12?

It’s still good.

WEDDING: A book that is really special to you

Looking For Alaska – John Green

I will defend John Green to the end.

MOMENT OF TRIUMPH: Longest book you’ve ever read

I honestly don’t know.

One book I remember feeling like I’d climbed a mountain to finish was New Grub Street by George Gissing. It’s about 500 pages of tiny text. I had to read it for my degree. It was in my first year and having read the whole thing put me in a decided minority.

It is a very good example of 19th century realism. If you’re into that sort of thing, I recommend it.

DEATH SCENE: A book of series you wish had ended differently

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. I was walking around in a daze after finishing that one.

FUNERAL: A book with the best or worst epilogue

The person who wrote this had Harry Potter in mind, right?

I get why JK did it, but…

END CREDITS: Who do you tag?

I have been sitting on this one for a while and I’ve noticed that a lot of people have done it in the meantime. If you haven’t been tagged yet, have at it.

Autumn Book Tag

Trisha Ann @ The Bookgasm kindly tagged me to talk about all things autumnal. I am determined to wait until the end of November before I admit that it’s actually winter.

What is your favourite thing about Autumn?

autumn

This.

The short window of time before England becomes freezing and perpetually damp.

What book reminds you of your school days?

The Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Because I read it then and because the High School Experience.

One time a class of first year students locked my English teacher in a cupboard. Another time, my maths teacher came back from an extended sickness break and the first thing one of the kids in my class said to her was “didn’t you die?”

Yes, these incidents are amusing. But so mean. I can’t imagine why anyone would willingly spend their time with large groups of teenagers.

Name a book that reminds you of autumn:

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

What is your favourite Halloween or horror story?

Surely everyone knows this by now.

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What is your favourite Halloween TV?

Buffy, obviously.

What are the three books you plan to read this autumn?

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Winter – Marissa Meyer

Furiously Happy – Jenny  Lawson

What autumn movie release are you anticipating?

I am way too poor to go to the cinema these days, so I have tuned out of film news. Netflix-wise, I am most excited about and most enjoying Master of None and Jessica Jones. It’s a drop everything and watch situation.

 

 

 

 

Totally Didn’t… Book Tag

Thanks Jenna @ Reading with Jenna for tagging me!

Totally didn’t… need sequels

I feel this way about a lot of books, as I am highly susceptible to YA series burnout. A series is generally where most of the tropes that I get so sick of in YA fiction are floating around, so these days I largely stick to standalones. It takes a very compelling protagonist to tempt me into reading book two.*

If you too are experiencing the symptoms of YA series burnout (rolling eyes, involuntary sighing and the intense and almost irresistible urge to fling paperbacks from windows), I recommend the following:

More Than This – Patrick Ness

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

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Just Listen – Sarah Dessen

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Totally didn’t… need more than one point of view

Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray, the second book in the Diviners series. I actually really like that this series comes from multiple viewpoints, but with the introduction of new characters in the sequel, I felt the focus moved around a little too much. I will talk more about feelings on Lair of Dreams in my review, coming tomorrow.

Totally didn’t… need to change the cover art half way through a series

Any time a publisher does this.

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Totally didn’t… need a love triangle

My feelings about love triangles are similar to my feelings about series. I’m not a massive fan. I get tired of the whole thing really quickly and usually end up disliking the object of the triangle. Rather than rooting for a particular person, I usually want both of them to move on to someone more decisive.

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I think this makes my point nicely.

Totally didn’t… deserve my time

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Trust me on this one.

I tag… anyone who feels like it!

*For anyone whose interested, series I am currently reading include:

Shades of London – Maureen Johnson

The Diviners – Libba Bray

The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo (I just started Six of Crows this morning!)

How I Read Tag

Thanks Jenna @ Reading with Jenna for tagging me!

How do you find out about new books to read?

Most of the usual ways: other bloggers, booktube, Goodreads, etc. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to a lot of podcasts, and those are also full of great recommendations. Podcasts like The Lively Show, Good Life Project and The Accidental Creative are good sources of self-help and the business of creativity-type books in particular. Welcome to Nightvale, an ongoing podcast about the fictional town of Nightvale is coming out in novel form soon. I’m also quite obsessed with comedy ladies like Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, so I will of course read anything they put out into the world.

How did you get into reading?

When I was first in school, my teacher and my mum actually had a bit of trouble getting me to read. I would look at the pictures in the books they gave me and make up the stories for myself. Since the pictures were so great, I figured, I didn’t need to bother with the words parts. Then one day a mean/great teacher took over my class and covered the pictures in my books with paper, forcing me to learn to read the words. I have been obsessed with them ever since.

How has your taste in books changed as you got older?

I have a lot less tolerance for what I perceive to be unhealthy and abusive relationships presented as the Height of All Things Romantic, especially in young adult fiction. The biggest, most famous and most obvious example of this is, of course, Twilight. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying I don’t want to read about unhealthy relationships. I am saying however, that I’m only interested in them when they are actually acknowledged as such. I can’t stand a book that defines a manipulative, co-dependent mess as Happily Ever After. I think it’s particularly disgusting when these novels are aimed at young girls. We should not be teaching them that such awful relationship dynamics are okay.

A great novel that totally combats this unfortunate trope is Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler. You can probably guess the basic plotline of that one.

How often do you buy books?

Whenever I have money to buy them and time to read them. Both situations fluctuate regularly. I’m 22. It kind of goes with the territory.

How did you get into book reviewing?

I just finished my degree. I studied English Literature with Creative writing and I wanted to make sure, no matter my job, that I stayed in touch with the analytical side of my brain. Writing book reviews made sense as a next step – I read a lot and I love to talk about it. Writing is something I would love to make at least a partial career out of, so having a constant deadline writing on a subject I’m passionate is good for me.

How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

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I am tagging (sorry if you’ve been tagged already or you’ve done this already, it goes without saying that either way you’re free to ignore this!):

Aentee @ Read at Midnight

Josie’s Book Corner

Bookahontas

Bookish Freaks