TTT REWIND: Books I’d Want on a Desert Island

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday REWIND, hosted by the lovely folks at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we were invited to take a step back in time and choose an old TTT topic. I went for the subject of the second Top Ten Tuesday ever: books to take to a desert island.

(that I chose it just because it’s the second on the list is something I will deny)

The Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

harry potter

Because books about magic, defeating evil and growing up are exactly the sort of thing I’d need to pass the days.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbird

Because Atticus Finch reminds us to always be kind.

Paper Towns – John Green

paper towns

Because we must imagine people complexly (especially when on a desert island. Don’t want to go getting too self obsessed).

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

why not me

Because I’ll need a friend to keep me company on the island.

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

infinite jest

Because maybe the long stretches of uninterrupted time will make me FINALLY read this one. It’s suuuuuuupppperrr long.

Any mystery by Sophie Hannah

the other half lives

Because who doesn’t enjoy a sexually frustrated detective and a mystery so full of twists it’ll leave you dizzy?

First and Then – Emma Mills

first and then

Because of the romance.

The Diviners – Libba Bray

the diviners 2

Because of the richly imagined world of 1920s New York. When I read this book, I time travel.

The Shades of London series – Maureen Johnson

the name of the star

Because sometimes when you’re stressed – which, even on a desert island, I imagine I would be – you just need a paranormal read to get you through.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler

yes please

Because Amy makes everything better.

Ten Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check ’em out!


I am basically obsessed with watching Youtube beauty gurus, but rarely wear more make-up than a bit of mascara. I don’t even own foundation.

I listen to Harmontown every night to help me fall asleep.

Despite Now You See Me 1&2 being highly questionable movies, I would totally go to see a third, because I am in love with Daniel Atlas. Apparently arrogant, emotionally unavailable magician is my type.

daniel atlas

I am totally bemused by the blogging community’s response to cheating in YA.

I meet a lot of guys who like to give me unsolicited life advice – usually without knowing me at all. The response I always want to give runs along the lines off pleasefuckoffthankyou. Instead, I usually smile, say nothing and hate myself for it.

Sometimes I feel like the things that I care about in life are beginning to shift considerably, and I’m not sure how the new concerns and old concerns are going to live together.

I have been known to classify a certain type of YA story as ‘suicide books’ in my head. I feel bad about this.

I read My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem a few weeks back. It was probably one of the most incredible books I have ever read, and I feel like my reviewing skills are too inadequate to even attempt to have a meaningful discussion about it. Watch this space, I guess.

I once bit a chunk out of a drinks coaster because I thought it was a biscuit. It was during a meeting with mum was having with my brother’s school principle. He had briefly left the room and I guess I saw it as my opportunity. I should add I was a toddler at the time.

I am re-watching Scrubs right now and have realised that Doctor Cox and I share a similar worldview.

dr cox





Top Ten Things I Love About… Sarah Dessen

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Sarah Dessen books always remind me of the life changing potential of summer. Colie learns to see herself as greater than the identity her bullies have assigned her. Auden gets to be something other than lonely. Macy emerges from her grief-cave and falls in love with a sexy artist.

These book covers. They are just so pretty!


The places! The Last Chance Cafe, the pizza parlor, the 24 hour laundrette, WRUS Community radio station! These are the places where communities form. I am always trying to wish them into existence.

The interconnectivity of her universes! While all of her novels are standalones, Sarah inserts scenes with characters from previous books appearing in passing. It always makes me so happy to see her characters in a moment after the novel dedicated to them ended. Like when Annabel and Owen from Just Listen end up having a drink with Remy and Dexter from This Lullaby.

The boys. Obviously. I have fallen in love with every. Single. One.

The families. Family is a vital aspect of all of Sarah Dessen’s work. They are the comforters and the torturers of her protagonists. I have fallen in love with difficult siblings (Whitney!) and wanted to punch parents (Auden’s dad! I hated him so much I regularly had to stop reading and go and rant to whoever was nearest). Families in Sarah Dessen’s work are authentic. I adore reading them.

The idea that music sounds better inside a car wash. To this day I have never tried it, but when I own a car I like to think that cranking my stereo, easing back my seat and rolling into the car wash is the first thing I’m going to do.

Female coming of age stories. So, I just had the slightly horrifying realisation that my obsession with Sarah Dessen started getting on for ten years ago.  I’M OLD. Anyway, before Sarah, stories of girls overcoming difficulties, whether those were related to family or school that I could relate to, weren’t something I had much of. Seeing tricky family situations and friendships that I could actually recognise – and seeing the characters I related to so deeply overcome them, was (and honestly, continues to be) important to me.


The friendships. In Sarah Dessen’s world friendship means growing together. It means pulling each other out of the darkness, and when that’s not possible, squinting at the map together. Sarah Dessen never wrote a character I wasn’t desperate to be friends with. These books are BEAUTIFUL, guys!!!!

Sarah herself. Sarah Dessen has always been totally honest about the hardships she faces when writing. She has talked openly about having to start books over, and the tears she has shed over plots that just weren’t coming together the way she needed them to. Just Listen, one of my favourite books of hers and of books in general, apparently nearly killed her. As someone who is always struggling to write with the insight and beauty Sarah freaking OOZES, it comforts me to know that it doesn’t come easy.


Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

I haven’t done one of these in forever.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re all considering some books that we feel differently about as time has passed. That includes books you hate, books you realised later you were perhaps too hard on or that book you’ve decided to take it to the next level with.

Twilight – Stephanie Meyer


I hate these books. However when I first read them when I was fifteen, I thought they were amazing. As an adult I find it problematic that such abusive and manipulative relationships are represented as the height of all romance to young girls. My hope is that the further we get from these movies and Rob and Kristen’s relationship, the less people will care that this story even exists.

Anna and The French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

anna and the french kiss







My love for this book has been somewhat altered by my hatred of Isla and the Happily Ever After. It’s a shame.

Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer


The first time I read this book I was quite young, and when I got to the end my prevailing feeling was …. Huh?  A few years later I came back to it after having my mind blown by Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and realised that it is wonderful in its weirdness.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini


I only recently found out about Ned Vizzini’s suicide when I was considering revisiting this brilliant book. For now though, it makes me too sad.

The Princess Diaries series – Meg Cabot

the princess diaries xi

As I have mentioned many times, I am (very slowly) rereading this series. It’s just so good. There are a lot of jokes in there for adults that I didn’t pick up when I was fourteen. They relate to teenage life even as they satirise it.

The works of Louise Rennison


Louise Rennison recently died. I don’t doubt that I will read and love her work again in the future, but for now, I need to just feel sad about her for a while.

Sylvia Plath


For a long time, I had only resentment for Sylvia Plath. I had study her work in school, which is the best way to make a kid hate a writer. As I got older I realised she was simply a victim in my extended anti-poetry phase.

A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray

a thousand pieces of you

This is one of the many series that I started and felt nothing special about. The more time passes, the more I know I’m never going to read the sequel, no matter how pretty the cover looks.

Virginia Woolf


I had to read Mrs Dalloway for a class in my first year of university. It was my first experience of having slightly lukewarm feelings toward a book until I studied it and really learned what it was doing. I really love how she crafted her writing style to counteract what she perceived to be the failings of realist fiction. She’s wrote an essay about it that you can read here. I really recommend it.

Bossypants – Tina Fey


I got the audiobook of this for free when I was seventeen. It was probably the first book I read that explicitly described itself as feminist. Memoirs are funny to re-read over the years because you find yourself meeting the author at different life stages. Reading about Tina’s horrible job at the YMCA means something very different to me now than it did when I was in school.



Top Ten Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Emmy and Oliver – Robin Benway


I loved everything about this book. I think it dealt with difficult subject matter in a very truthful way. The friendships are on point and nothing is sacrificed for the development of the (amazing) romance. YA PERFECTION.

2. The Shadow Cabinet – Maureen Johnson


This is the third in the Shades of London series. It’s about a group of ghost hunters, not British politics. I waited a year for this book then read it in a day. I can’t recommend this series enough.

3. There But For The – Ali Smith


This is about a man who locks himself into his host’s spare room during a dinner party and doesn’t leave for months. I met Ali Smith after getting stuck in the queue for half an hour with a guy I had turned down and his new girlfriend. I had reached awkwardness meltdown by the time I met her, but she was very nice to me anyway.

4. I Was Told There’d Be Cake – Sloane Crosley


An amazing lady memoir. I read this in a hairdressers and was totally unable to keep from laughing away to myself.

5. I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson

i'll give you the sun

This book gets in because it’s beautiful and it’s the first I ever blogged about!

6. Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling


Lady memoir. In other words, the best kind of book a person can read.

7. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo



8. Honourable Friends? Government and the Fight for Change – Caroline Lucas


This is probably the most serious-yet-hilarious book I have ever read. It’s about the current political climate in England and how it’s terrible. When MPs want to vote in England a bell goes off and they then have 8 minutes to run from their offices to the rooms where they vote. Half the time they don’t even know what they are voting for.

9. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon


Nicola Yoon’s writing is beautiful and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

10. First and Then – Emma Mills


This was my favourite debut of the year. Everything in the book rang so true to me. It reflects an experience of teenager-hood similar to my own, which is not something that I often find.

Honorary mentions:

Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay

Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham (I read this for the first time last year, but I’ve reread a couple times this year because she makes me feel better).

Yes Please – Amy Poehler (I don’t remember when I first got this audiobook, but it’s my go to whenever life is getting me down).

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Special

‘Warning: You may have a huge, invisible spider living inside your skull. This is not a metaphor.

You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection – the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate scepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chainsaw tastes like.’


The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter


You know the story of Bluebeard, right? When he isn’t looking, his innocent new wife stumbles into the one room in their house he keeps locked – his make-shift tomb, filled with the bodies of his murdered lovers.

Moral of the story: If your new husband has a locked room in his house/ship that he’s weirdly evasive about, run away.

John Dies @ the End – David Wong

john dies @ the end

I know I’ve mentioned this one before. But it’s one of my favourite books ever. It makes sense that it would come up a lot.


You should not have touched this book with your bare hands.

No, don’t put it down. It’s too late.

They’re watching you.

My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on those pages, about the sauce, about Korrock, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye.

The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.’

This was a random bookshop find for me. You get why I had to buy it, right?

This Book is Made of Spiders – David Wong


‘Warning: You may have a huge, invisible spider living inside your skull. This is not a metaphor.

You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection – the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate scepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chainsaw tastes like.’

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Picture 18

This book is a manifestation of all the Victorian fears around scientific and technological progress. Mary Shelley wants us to consider the idea that someone, somewhere has probably built a man from the parts of various dead men, and that he’s feeling pretty murderous about it.

Lot No. 249 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


A student at Oxford University reanimates an ancient Egyptian mummy. It runs around the city murdering anyone it can get its hands on.

This story serves to answer the question we’ve all wondered: What are the weird noises we can hear in the flat upstairs? A reanimated ancient Egyptian mummy, of course.

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime – Oscar Wilde


During a dinner party at a friend’s house, Lord Arthur is informed by a famed psychic that it is his destiny to become a murderer.  Lord Arthur is horrified by the revelation, and resolves to get the awful deed out of the way as soon as possible in order than he can marry the woman he loves (it is not right, in his mind, to marry before so horrible but inevitable a task is completed). As such he sets about attempting to commit a murder. However, killing someone is not as simple a business as he would have imagined.

Until it is.

One night on his way home from work, Arthur sees the psychic who caused him all these problems leaning on a bridge, staring down into the water. One quick push later, Arthur has achieved his task and is now free to marry his girlfriend, Sybil.

Dracula – Bram Stoker


A vampire invades London, frightening its men and corrupting the innocence of its good 19th century ladies.

Reading this book you can’t help but wonder if Bram Stoker’s real fear isn’t the monster he describes, but instead the possibility of female sexuality. When one of the female characters turns into a vampire she becomes an overtly sexual being. The men’s reaction? Cut her head off.

Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith

grasshopper jungle

‘In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.

It’s the end of the world.

And nobody knows anything about it.’

Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies

In this book a zombie falls in love with a girl and gradually starts become human again. It’s one of the only zombie-related stories I have ever read.

It’s in this list because cute romance or not, the zombie apocalypse terrifies me. I have decided that were it to happen, I would rather go early. I would rather be a happy brainless zombie than live in that world as a human. This fatalistic attitude may have sprung from the fact that I live right down the road from a graveyard, so if the zombie apocalypse were to go down, I would be totally screwed.

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson


This book is about ghosts. Specifically, the ghost of Jack the Ripper. You can imagine what he must be up to. It’s the job of Rory and her gang of ghost hunters to bring the murderer down. Hopefully for good, this time.