Reading Slumps: A Discussion

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I’m in a bit of a reading funk, I haven’t had very much in the past week and I’ve quite frankly not had very much time.

The question for me is this: is that a bad thing? I’d have to answer no. I have read 6 books this month, a massive success in my opinion and I’m kind of at the point where I need a break. Reading is one of the things I love to do more than anything in the world and so I don’t want to make myself resent it by pushing myself to read and read and read. It’s the same with drawing, I consider myself quite good at art and so after having spent maybe 3 or so weeks on a project I like to leave it a while before I start something else. It continues to keep it as a hobby I find great pleasure in. I feel personally, that if I was pushing myself to read and read when I wasn’t in the mood, it’d start to feel like a chore.

Currently, I’m reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and although I am thoroughly enjoying it, I am having a hard time a) having time to read and b) being motivated to do so. I decided that I’m going to attempt a chapter or so every evening or a minimum of twenty-ish pages. If I do finish it by the end of the month, YAY! If not, that’s okay too.

What are your thoughts on reading slumps? Do you think there’s anything wrong with taking reading breaks?

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My top 5 fictional crushes

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You all know what I’m talking about. We’ve all read a book and fallen in love with a character. We’ve all become emotionally attached to a character and wished they were a real person so you could be with them. Don’t lie to me, I know you have. Today I’m going to list my top 5 fictional crushes. These will be going in order from 5 to my number 1….hope you enjoy!

5. Tobias (Four) from Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I have only read the first book in this series but I fell in love with Four extremely quickly. He was just so brave and just sweet and I just…I can’t even.

4. Etienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, first…he’s english. Secondly, he’s gorgeous. Thirdly, he’s the sweetest and funniest guy and fourthly….hell, do I even need to go on?

3. Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Not only is he fit, he is the sweetest and most socially awkward guy ever. He is basically me but actually good looking. I love his little nerdy things and the fact he is quite awkward around girls etc. and how he thinks about Beth regardless of her looks etc. LINCOLN BE MINE.

2. Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

It was really hard not to put Mr Rochester at the top because I freaking loved him. I love how he was kind of blunt but flirtatious with Jane and after seeing the movie and seeing him be played by Michael Fassbender I just wanted to marry him.

1. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I think we all knew he was going to be number one. I love Levi. Throughout Fangirl, even when he wasn’t as big of a character at first I still just loved him from the word go. He’s very much like me in that he likes to be nice to people and to make them laugh. Also, he freaking works at Starbucks aka my home away from home. I love how he was described as tall as I myself am quite tall and oh my god I just squealed whenever he said anything. I’D READ TO YOU LEVI.

So those are my top 5 fictional crushes. They overload my head with feels. I hope you enjoyed this and please leave your fictional crushes in the comments!

Book endings: A discussion

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The final moment you have with a book before you finish is probably one of the most crucial moments. You have dedicated hours, days, weeks to a story that is about to come to an end.  As you tentatively turn to the final page you are vulnerable and your future happiness depends on the author’s choice.

Okay, maybe it isn’t as dramatic as all that. But in all seriousness, endings are a big deal. There are different preferences for every person and if a book doesn’t fulfil that preference it is hard to take away fond memories from a book. You could love a book the whole  through and then one small little detail, a few pages at the end out of a few hundred pages can make you go from 5 stars to no stars, can make you change from happiness to blood boiling anger, enjoyment to misery. Authors sometimes hit the nail perfectly on the head, and other times they don’t.

Personally, I hate cliff hangers.  I am not the kind of person who can a) afford and b) has the time to rush out and buy the sequel to a book as a result of an intense cliff hanger which I can’t wait for. As a result, cliff hangers make me feel pretty miserable. As well as this, I don’t like when authors create a cliff hanger purely so that they can pull the story out unnecessarily over a few books. There are so many books which were left as cliff hangers but didn’t have enough plot left or intrigue left to write a whole other book in addition. In my opinion, some books are better to have all their loose ends tied off there and then, to avoid confusion and annoyance.

In my opinion, the best type of book ending is one with no sudden plot twist in the last chapter or few pages. I like an ending where you are left satisfied and feeling as if you understand where things are going. I like an ending where loose ends have been tied up, but also ones where there is still some mystery. I don’t particularly love sad endings but I can take them if they are handled tastefully. For example, if a book has a sad ending but everything is kind of summed up for me, I will be happy.

Obviously, for me I do tend to prefer your classic happy ending, but it doesn’t need to be a complete, no stones left to turn, resolute, ride off into the sunset happy ending. I am happy to accept some imperfections here are there.

To me, the ending is so important to how I can connect with a story. I need to like the ending  or at least say I can appreciate it to enjoy a book. If I read a book and lap it up and zoom through it and come to an unnecessary cliff-hanger, there is a huge guarantee that that book will be forever tainted in my eyes.

What’s your opinion?

Mid month wrap up!

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SO GUYS. We’re already halfway through January of 2014. What the hell man?! The first half of January is usually the crappiest part for me and this year has been no different. Unfulfilled resolutions everywhere, thousands of tweets uttering the words “new year, new me” and waiting to find out if I’ve gotten into university (which I can honestly say, is the most painful thing I have every experienced). However, in terms of reading…the first leg of the month has been pretty great. In terms of meeting my 50 books goal, I am 3 books ahead of schedule (according to Goodreads) and I’m feeling pretty positive about what I’ve read so far. I’ll be doing an overall wrap up at the end of the month but I thought as a bit of a self motivator I’d go through the books I’ve already read. Books have done a pretty good job of keeping my mind off waiting to hear back from university and so I thank them for that.

Anyway, enough rambling, let’s get cracking!

The first book I read was Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan:

Boy Meets Boy

I thoroughly enjoyed this quick little read and it got me pretty pumped up to read. I have a review of it on my blog if you would like to know more about my opinions on this book. I flew through this on the first day of the year and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, refreshing contemporary to boost your book count, as being roughly 180 pages it is a quick one! I’d give this book 4 stars out of 5.

The second book I read was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell:

Attachments

This book was freaking awesome. 5 stars out of 5 from me. I have finally soaked up every ounce of Rainbow Rowell’s literary genius and I wait in eager anticipation for her next book. Again, I have a review of this book for anyone who is interested to know more. This book was a great and fun read  which I flew through.

Thirdly, I reread The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

The Fault in Our Stars

OH GOOD LORD THE FEELS GUYS. I think I loved this book even more once I read it a second time. It was great refreshing my memory of the book as it has been two years since I initially read it and I figured with a movie coming out soon it’d be a good idea. I can’t say enough good things about this book but I think everybody knows it is amazing. READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

Fourthly, I finished The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I will be posting a review of this at the weekend most likely. Although I  loved this book, I was totally gutted when I noticed a spoiler on twitter. And it wasn’t just a spoiler for this book…but the whole series. FML GUYS! I still loved it though and I give it 4 stars out of 5. More to come on this book later on in the week!

In terms of what I want to read during the rest of the month, I may have a look at my tbr post I made and get some inspiration there, but I’ve found so far this month that reading what I want when I want has been working quite well.

Hope you guys enjoyed this!

Finding the time to read: Book Discussion

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I was watching BookTube videos for inspiration on what to post and I came across a video by a YouTuber I really enjoy. However, although enjoying this particular YouTuber’s videos, this one made me a bit mad. It was about finding the time to read. This YouTuber believed that if someone uses the excuse “I don’t have much time to read” as a reason for why they don’t read much, it’s a cop out and if you have time to go online, watch TV etc. you have time to read and therefore can’t use not having time as an excuse.

I don’t agree with this. I personally had a very rough year in 2013 and although I wasn’t brushed off my feet busy, I felt extremely busy. I had school, work, pretty serious personal issues and various other things going on. So, when there was maybe an hour long gap where I could have read a book, my mind still felt so busy with things I couldn’t make myself read. Is that a cop out? I don’t particularly think so. I think that reading is something to be enjoyed and if you can’t dedicate your soul time to it (which I often couldn’t) I didn’t want to take the challenge on.

In this video, the YouTuber touched on the fact that he reads between classes, between breaks in a TV show etc. and that even though he’s busy he still makes this time. I, personally am not the kind of person who can chop and change so quickly. I don’t like to sit down and read unless I know I can dedicate maybe an hour or so to it, not five minutes during ad breaks. So is it really unfair for me to say I don’t have time to read just because I don’t read during the breaks in TV shows? TV shows are also something I enjoy and don’t have to think about so much.

I just don’t think it fair for people to judge others on what time they feel they have available to do things they love. You wouldn’t catch somebody saying “Oh, you love skydiving but don’t have much time to do it? Well if you REALLY loved skydiving you would make time to do it all the time, wouldn’t you?” No. You wouldn’t. So why are books different?

Those are just my two cents on the topic. I am in no way meaning to bash the YouTuber whose video this responds to, because I understand his point and I love his videos I just don’t agree with this particular point.

Thanks for reading:-)

YA bashing and my opinion of YA novels: A discussion

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There is this massive stigma surrounding a particular genre in the book world: YA. YA is named and shamed and considered a genre which is trashy, badly written with poor plot and bad characters. There’s a massive prejudice against YA novels and it is wrong. There is this opinion that ‘the youth of today’ should be reading these complex classics or adult novels that are deep and meaningful and ‘real literature’.

I have a few opinions on this stigma myself.

Let’s face it, ‘the youth of today’ are not big readers. In my friend group, I know that maybe me and one other person out of about 10 read regularly. People my age (I’m nearly 18) don’t read half as much as we would have sixty years or so ago. Many YA novels are designed for these people; teens and young adults who don’t read as often, so that they can get absorbed into a book without getting bored or finding it too heavy. YA novels attract people who may not necessarily enjoy reading to read. The fact that people I knew who spent all day watching TV or on the internet were sitting down and reading The Hunger Games series was great. If YA is attracting people who wouldn’t normally read to books, what is wrong with it? Books like The Hunger Games and Twilight and Harry Potter may not be acts of literary genius but they bring reading into people’s lives. They do a far better job of attracting teens and young adult’s to books than classics ever could. Therefore, why should young adults put themselves through reading books they won’t enjoy, making them loathe reading?

I am very much a believer in reading whatever it is you want. If I don’t enjoy a book, I have no obligations to read it. If I didn’t like classics, I wouldn’t read them. Why is it any different for young adults? Why is it considered an unintelligent option to pick up a book by a YA author instead of something by an adult author? Reading is meant to be enjoyable and if you don’t enjoy a book, why waste time on it? If you do enjoy a book, what is wrong with pursuing more like it?

The assumption that YA novels are trashy and unintelligent and basic and dumbed down is such an extreme opinion. If we look into it, you’ll find books like that in all types of genres for all ages; even the blessed adult genre. 50 Shades of Grey is a perfect example. Is that a book of ‘literary genius’? Maybe not, but that doesn’t make it a bad book, just as the fact that Twilight is a sappy YA love story about vampires doesn’t make it a bad book. You are always going to find ‘bad books’, regardless of whether they are YA, middle grade, children’s books, adult books and classics. I don’t hear quite as much bashing going on towards bad adult books as there are to YA ones.

Also, those who begin to criticise YA books have obviously never come across the gems in the genre, authors like John Green, Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, JK Rowling, RJ Palacio, AS King. YA novels deal with so many issues: love, hate, bullying, appearances, death, life, gender, sexuality and many more. Young adults and teens are at a stage in their lives where they are going through all of the above issues and YA books can make them understand things they will never experience and gives them more of an open mind. What is so wrong with that? YA authors can be some of the best authors out there and so why is it wrong for people to enjoy their skill?

Reading is a universal thing that is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences around. Why should it matter what people are reading as long as they are doing it? Tell me your thoughts on YA bashing.

Spoilers in Books: A Discussion

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This is something I have quite a strong opinion about.

I’m sure you’ve all experienced the most irritating experience of being spoiled. For me, the worst case was when I fell in love with the first Matrix movie and spoke about it all the time. I used to rave about Trinity (my favourite character) and I was discussing with my friend how much I loved her. That’s when my friend chose to reveal some pretty sad information and spoil not only the second movie for me, but the third as well. I was gutted.

It’s even worse when it comes to books. You dedicated much more time to a book than to a movie. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been reading a book and have spent hours upon hours becoming completely and utterly besotted by it, it really annoys me when I see something on twitter, or a book review on YouTube that doesn’t warn you that there will be a spoiler, or when a friend casually mentions something that brings everything crashing down around you. Spoilers are the bane of my life.

Obviously, I understand it’s bound to happen. If you go looking for information on the book, for  example on Goodreads or YouTube, Twitter etc. you are bound to come across the occasional spoiler. Secrets about books can not be kept forever and people shouldn’t expect them to. If I look up a review on YouTube and it turns out that I get spoiled and I knew there was a chance, do I have any right to blame anyone for that? Shouldn’t I just accept that it’s my own fault and move on?

That being said, it is pretty crappy when you encounter a spoiler. I know there are many people who outwardly seek the spoilers so they know what they should expect. You get people who read the last few pages when only about 10 pages in (I am guilty of this in very extreme cases). I personally prefer not to be spoiled where books are concerned, unless there is an extremely suspenseful cliff hanger ending to a book and I have to wait until I can get a hold of the sequel.

However, the reason I read isn’t to share it with everyone else. Sure, I like to do reviews and discuss the book once I’m done, but while I’m reading it it is my experience. It’s my world to discover, it is a personal play being played out for me in my head and nobody should be able to take the experience away from me by spoiling key parts in the book.

This leads me to discuss what types of spoiling are okay and what aren’t. Like I say above, spoilers can’t be kept secret forever. If you’re reading a book a year after everyone else and you get spoiled while scrolling through your twitter, that’s nobody’s fault. People have every right to discuss a reading experience. However, the spoiling situations I detest are like the one I experienced with the Matrix. I didn’t ask what happened in the movie, my friend knew I hadn’t seen the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies and was looking forward to seeing them and she deliberately still spoiled me. It is these situations I hate. If you are spoiled accidentally online because you weren’t careful in avoiding areas where spoilers may be, that’s different. But when someone actually goes out of there way to spoil you, it is pretty irritating.

Personally, if I am reading a book and don’t want to be spoiled, I avoid all book reviews that don’t say they are spoiler free, I avoid searching tweets about them on twitter or looking on Goodreads (however I still look up the general ratings) and I avoid the last few pages!

I guess when it comes down to it -apart from the Matrix situations- we are the ones who have to stop the spoiling. The ball is in our court and for the most part, spoiling is just something you need to avoid. If you avoid it wholeheartedly and still end up getting spoiled, that’s when you have the right to absolutely loopy.

Leave comments about your opinion!