Frank(er) thoughts.

La Vie Parisienne

la vie parisienne

If you missed my incessant flailing over the last few months: I WENT TO PARIS!

squeals

If I ever learn French and aren’t bankrupt then I am SO MOVING TO PARIS. I’m honestly so in love with it – I’m still in love with London, but Paris. I just want to sit in a café eating croissants and writing sappy poetry in cursive script for ever and ever. The architecture makes me weep. It was just such a lovely place to visit – if you squinted, maybe some parts could be London, but it felt a lot more…warm. Like cartridge paper in comparison to printer paper? SEE, PARIS JUST MAKES ME WANT TO WRITE SAPPY POETRY. God.

I went with Girlguides i.e. a large group of fellow excitable girls – we usually go camping, but we went upmarket this year?! *shrugs* I’m not complaining. :P I was especially excited for this trip because I recently fell head over heels for Les Mis, and about half the book takes place in Paris. There’s a great Les Mis in Paris tour that I took with me, if you want to visit any of the sites in the book! My misplaced French patriotism was really having a moment. (VIVE LA FRAAAANCE!)

les mis paris

We took the Eurostar from St Pancras, where I stalked the bookshops and flailed because ‘Lauren Aquilina played on that piano’. My friend attempted to teach me backgammom, but it was the teensiest magnetic version known to man. I was an utter failure. By the time we arrived at the rather fancy youth hostel near Gare du Nord, I was a strange combination of ridiculously excited and dead tired? I don’t recommend it.

paris The first day was pretty much the only day we woke up promptly. We headed down to the river to look for the boat-bus. Whilst we were waiting, we took photos of all the love locks on the Passerelle de Solférino bridge. I got very excited by Paris architecture, because have you seen the buildings in Paris today. They’re so beautiful. Curling balconies feature greatly.

love locks solferino paris

We took the BatoBus (what have they done to you, lovely French bateaux?!) > up to the Natural History Museum and wandered around the gardens eating lunch and getting lost. After that, we took our sweltering selves back on the horrific pun of a boat-bus and went up to the Eiffel Tower!
paris eiffel tower
We didn’t actually go up the tower, but I took a ton of photos and basked in my general Paris feels. The fountain across the bridge started to look very inviting. Though you I’m sure you weren’t supposed to, we paddled in it anyway. I figured it was one of those things like climbing the lions in Trafalgar Square: you’re technically not supposed to, but everyone does it anyway.

The second morning was filled with a tour of the Paris sewers. That sounds gross but, ya know, feel some sympathy for Jean Valjean. (Thank you, Victor Hugo, for the lengthy description of the sewers using information from your friend Bruneseau.) (Actually, it’s a pretty great historical reference. And sewers can be exciting too.) They had a part of French Les Mis in the gift shop, so I took a photo of that next to the copy I was carrying with me. Everyone told me I was mad but I WAS I PARIS and I’d be darned if I wasn’t going to carry my book to weep over. (Anyway, all the best people are mad.)

pontoon island paris sewersWe had lunch on some lovely mini forest island pontoons down the road, and I sang a lot of Les Mis. Afterwards we visited the Arc du Triomphe – weird stuff happened and we weren’t allowed to buy tickets as a group so we didn’t go up it, but I looked at all the fancy flowers and names. EEK IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. Later on we went to the fountain again, and most people got…well, utterly soaked. We were rocking the drowned rat look. ;)

paris arc du triomphe

However fashionable drowned rat look may be, isn’t actually that great for travelling on the Metro. It was really cool to see the Underground-y system somewhere else – THE CARRIAGES WERE DIFFERENT AND LIKE ACTUAL CARRIAGES and also you had to open the door yourself so, like, sometimes you could jump off whilst the train was still slightly moving. The wonderfully safe things we did. (I think the line we took back to our youth hostel wasn’t the most well-looked-after, though. Some of the others were less dishevelled.)

paris sacre coeurWe might have missed going up the Arc du Triomphe but we did visit the Sacre Coeur! It’s at the top of a hill – as well as a horrific amount of steps, yeuch – so the view over Paris is pretty great. Another 300 steps up the tower and PANORAMA HEAVEN. There was also a weird amount of graffiti up there. I didn’t know whether to scream in anger or empathise because…you know, I can see it would be a romantic place to ask someone to prom. (I kid not. Someone had scratched ‘Prom?’ into the wall.)
paris louvre
After a somewhat distressing shopping break where we managed to lose my friend (never fear, we found her), we returned to the youth hostel for lunch. Later that afternoon, we set out to the Louvre and for a birthday dinner. We actually had two birthdays on our trip, which I thought was rather impressive timing.

It was our final day so I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see any sites on my Les Mis tour, but it turned out that we were eating just round the corner from the site of the Corinthe/barricade! Yep. THAT BARRICADEEEE. *screams*

les mis barricade film

In the movie/musical, the Musain is mushed with the Corinthe, but they’re different places.

I think I passed on some excitement to my friend

I think I passed on some excitement do my friend

Where the Corinthe would have stood

Where the Corinthe would have stood

Me being excitable and flappy

Me being excitable and flappy

paris notre dame

That definitely deserved full size photos, right? LES MIS TAKES PRIORITY OVER THE EIFFEL TOWER. Duh. :P Anyway, we followed that on with a trip to the Notre Dame – we were looking for a lights show, but after watching a film about organists for half an hour we realised this was a complete lie. So that was a great success, haha. It was fine, though, because then we all got glowsticks and started a flashmob with a street performer in the square. *coughs* All casual-like. (I’ll never be able to listen to Cheerleader again, argh.)

Unfortunately, that was the end of my trip! PARIS, MY LOVE, I SHALL SEE THEE AGAIN. NEVER FEAR. *sheds a single tear* Maybe I’ll join in with all the weddings and get married to Paris. ;) (Though, of course, London remains in my heart too.) I had the most amazing time, and there was so much still to explore. If I ever get the chance, I would definitely visit again!

Have you ever been to Paris? Are there any places you’re just dying to visit? Would you want to see more London-y things on my blog? TELL ME ALL THE TRAVEL FEELS. :D

P.S. Here’s the final call for my blog survey! Seriously, I will send you love and cookies forever if you fill it out.

“I Want To Be a Writer.”

i want to be a writer

If you look on my social media profiles and whatnot, you might spot that the word ‘writer’ usually features. I mean, technically I don’t yet have a cohesive and linear novel *coughs*Ineedtostopprocrastinating*coughs* but I like to mess around with words. Somewhere along the way I assumed the title of writer. I like it. I like to call myself a writer. General public opinion of writers seems to be that they are be mythical, sleep-deprived & manic tea and/or coffee drinkers, which suits me just fine. ;)

I don’t ever introduce myself as a writer. I don’t even really discuss it in face-to-face conversations, like, at all. I see people who have brainstormed awesome things with their writer friends and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I guess I don’t know.

I mean, I wouldn’t introduce myself as a writer, because most teenagers don’t announce themselves as their profession when you meet them. (In my experience. Maybe in the far reaches of not-my-one-school this is a thing??) But back in my wee days of primary school, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was a pretty standard playground question. I said wanted to be a cat breeder. I think that says it all, really. :P

Jokes aside, I also often said that I wanted to be a writer. Whilst it was true that I didn’t have a cohesive, linear novel then either – um, I really doubt I wrote anything actually longer than about a thousand words – I feel like it was more okay to say that then. I was far more confident about professing my love of books and stardust and magical worlds. Adults probably shared knowing looks but, whatever; I either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

Ah, the days of that. Now career choices are actually looming and I’m terrified. I don’t know what I want to do. I like writing – enough to call myself a writer – but I know some people don’t think it’s a proper goal. That it’s too difficult.

I know writing is super hard! I get this! I am the one doing it, after all. I understand that getting published is difficult and being successful even more so. I am 100% okay with writing on the side of something else, in the cracks. I do that right now. (Well, I at least try to.) I’m a bit of a Cath; I could see myself just spending uni writing and hoping I can write for another for years after that. Or not. Writing is pretty solitary. Mystical. Like a lone unicorn. BEHOLD MY MANE

Someday I’m going to write a book, and some people will read it. That’s the one thing in my future that I’m sure I’m going to make happen. What I love about it is that it’s something you can work at; I don’t know, I feel like a lot of opinions are based on whether you have ‘talent’ at, like, 14. Maybe there’s a certain amount of inner love for words, and to me, when I read blogs, it reads as if some people just have a natural eloquence, but you can improve. As long as you love writing, you can write. You aren’t – pardon the pun, hehe – written off just because you aren’t good at waffling about a literary device.

So I don’t say that I’m a writer very much in face-to-face conversation anymore. I’m not very good at navigating rocky conversational waters. I tell people that I have no plans for the future – which is mostly accurate – and then we move on. I breathe a sigh of relief. (That is, until the subject returns 24 hours later.)

Music Monday: Battle Anthems

BATTLE ANTHEMS. Gosh, I love this prompt. I was very disappointed to miss the last Music Monday – hosted by Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars – so now I’m extra pumped to share my vicious tunes with you. *cracks knuckles*

I seriously considered writing the words ‘STAR WARS SOUNDTRACK’ on this post and leaving it be. After reconsideration, I decided that might be a little boring for you guys, but I still 100% recommend that as a battle anthem. ;) 8tracks, erm, won’t actually load its webpage at all for me, so this time I’ve gone with both Soundcloud and Youtube. I’m afraid Soundcloud is missing the last track and Youtube will probably have a horrific amount of adverts but: I hope you like it anyway?

battle anthems cover

battle anthems

for smiles with sharpened teeth, for an anarchy that started as your revenge but ended as your salvation.
listen on soundcloud / youtube

drowning – banks
glory and gore – lorde
drive it like you stole it – glitch mob
empty gold – halsey
now – paramore
wicked ones – dorothy
this is war – 30 seconds to mars
shake the sheets – ted leo and the pharmacists

I make no apologies for the Halsey on every single one of my Music Monday playlists. XD.

I am a shameless self promoter, so: BLOG SURVEY. It is still happening. Yes, I know, still. :P I’m probably going to be redoing the look and feel of my blog over the next few months, so I would really appreciate some feedback before I get going. (I already have a new url which is super weird but also kind of…cool?)

Take Note, Muggles | Wizarding v Muggle Issues

take note muggles british wizarding issues

I’ve got to admit it, if I found a wormhole to Hogwarts I would totally go. IT’S FREAKING HOGWARTS. However, outside of my flailing-and-desperate-checking-the-post-for-my-Hogwarts-letter, I do have some Actual Real Problems with the wizarding world. And I realised that most of them had something in common: they’re also actual problems that I have with British society today.

So! I present to you a list of some of the difficulties of the wizarding world that occur throughout and beyond the HP books, and how they’re actually pretty relevant. (Mostly to Britain, because that’s where I live, but you don’t at all need to have an in-depth knowledge of British politics. *looks down at self and coughs* They’re pretty broad ideas.)

The government is corrupt. Hurrah. The system is a villain.

Aside from the Death Eaters taking over the government for a teensy while, the Ministry isn’t that bad. There are lots of worse fictional examples. See an annual televised fight to the death.

yay hunger games

But: Umbridge. Umbridge. There are people who like Draco and Snape and Voldemort, but to be honest, I’ve never seen anyone who likes Umbridge. (Let’s face it, she is the scariest character.) Whereas Voldemort is the Big Bad Villain to be Defeated In Battle By The Good and Pure Hero, I think Umbridge is more frightening because her brand of fear is more real. Plenty of people have been caught out by the system which is supposed to protect them – I mean, the law isn’t perfect. Though I’m not saying that, like, the entire government is corrupt, many people of high status (and wealth) get away with nasty stuff. There is still a ton of prejudice and bias – heck, Parliament isn’t even all that representative of the people. At least 20 MPs – out of 650 – were educated at Eton, and there’s no way you can tell me that’s proportional. I just feel like we were really screwed by the 2015 election. Ugh. The seats did not at all correlate to the percentage of votes so maybe the voting system actually needs to change??? Speaking of which:

The education system revolves around tests and, frankly, it sucks.

Okay, this is another Umbridge thing that thankfully was resolved after The Order of the Pheonix. I find it interesting how the Ministry’s reach for more testing and less practical work was kind of villainised by JK Rowling, because that’s pretty much what’s happening now in the UK. Our children are doing worse compared to the rest of Europe? Give them tests from age 5! Get rid of coursework! Let them spend another hour in the exam hall defining their future with their ability to use keywords from a mark scheme!

I really dislike the current education system. Learning shouldn’t be something that make you sick with anxiety. I mean, I get that I’m going to have to work but it’s not learning that I inherently dislike. I enjoy gaining new skills. But you know what? Not everyone works well in exams, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t clever. Likewise, there are plenty of occupations that can’t be prepared for simply with written work. You can’t learn everything from textbook. :/

People cannot be categorised with a word.

Just. GET RID OF HOUSE STEREOTYPES. Please.

I dislike what the Houses have become. Sorting people based on qualities they value makes sense, right? You’re probably going to achieve more and be happier. What I feel the Houses often become is a sorting of people based on their personality.

It’s so difficult to box people up into four different types. There’s always dissent about Sorting of fictional characters, and if you think about Sorting your friends or even yourself into Houses…it’s pretty hard. We all have different facets. We are not defined by one trait. And we certainly don’t remain 11-year-old self for the rest of our lives. (What, people change? *gasps* -_-)

The HP books almost exclusively from the viewpoint of a Gryffindor, which means that a lot of stereotypes are perpetuated. Gryffindor not the only House worth being in. (Or a bit of Slytherin if you like villains.) Gryffindors are not all awesome. As this excellent Tumblr post says: Cedric Diggory did not die for all the good Harry potter merch to be Gryffindor and Slytherin.
This is not okay. ALL HOUSES MATTER. Hufflepuff is NOT the freaking potato house. Not all Slytherins are evil. Ravenclaws have actual personalities beyond intelligence. Gryffindors are not always the heroes. (Another nice post about this.) Many people could probably fit into more than one house. You have choice.

I know that you can be moulded by the people you surround yourself with. I don’t want that to happen to all the ickle new first years. (Though! Non-Hogwarts schools also yessss.) So many stereotypes exist around us, sometimes based on things that aren’t even our choice. They need to go.

Prejudice? Stereotypes? Yeah, I’m not done with this.

I don’t feel that strongly about Snape but I absolutely do not forgive him for Lupin. Lupin was awesome, and also he was an awesome teacher. He’s the teacher we all wish we had. Obviously he is not?? a? danger????

In my opinion, Potter isn’t that good at diversity. I mean, plenty of fans write and draw and imagine it diverse, using the relative freedom it gives, which is super nice, but. It’s so widely read that I felt such a difference could have been made. Instead…yeah.

But I think we can probably agree that Lupin definitely didn’t need to leave, and the prejudice against werewolves is not cool. Prejudice is not cool, full stop.

Is loss of free will equal to loss of life?

Ah, the 3 Unforgivable curses. You probably know them I find it fascinating that those three were chosen to be Unforgivable – with punishment as a life sentence Azkaban – because most people rank Avada Kedavra as the worst, then Cruciatus, and finally Imperio. Why did Rowling choose to make crimes different in the eyes of many the same in the wizarding world? Should using Imperio get the same punishment as Avada Kedavra? Okay, this isn’t a problem per se, but I find it interesting JK Rowling chose it to be this way.

This thing about the Chosen One. What.

The concept of a Chosen One is strange. I just…do they start off like that? Hell, why is one person even chosen to be more special than the others? It just feels weird to me. It’s used in so many texts yet I feel like that one person is so removed. It sounds pretty lonely. Where are the effect? In this moment of promotion for my favourite mages, I present to you a reason why I am HELLA EXCITED FOR CARRY ON. Exploration of this yesss.

In conclusion, I have found that complaining whilst listening to the Harry Potter soundtrack is a great way to pass the time. *coughs* Ahem. What do you guys think of issues in books and issues today? Do you know your Hogwarts House?

I’m collecting my blog survey results soon – thank you so much for all your responses so far! – so if you haven’t already filled it out, this is a pretty great chance to make my blog more awesome. ;) It will only take up a tiny portion of your internet browsing time, I promise!

The Chocolate Book Tag

Chocolate, books – two of the things I love most in the world. Imagine my delight at finding a tag where they’re both combined. *gasps* (It was very exciting.) I wasn’t tagged, but I stole it from The Writing Hufflepuff anyway. Ahem. Sorry. But the offer really was too good to pass up!

dark chocolate – a book that covers a dark subject
wintergirls

(Well, excuse you, dark chocolate is the BEST kind of chocolate. *huffs*) I’m not too sure what this one was – liiike is grittiness or ‘issues’? – but I decided to go with a book that was a mix of both. Wintergirls is stunningly written, and to me it felt like it didn’t cover eating disorders in a too patronising way. It was beautiful but also really rather grim.

white chocolate – your favourite light hearted read

geek girl

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME? We all know that I’m a complete sucker for Rainbow Rowell, who writes the most gorgeous lighthearted contemporary. Ugh. I’ve gone with Geek Girl instead – it’s rather predictable and cringe-worthy at some points, but in some ways that’s what makes it enjoyable?

milk chocolate – a book with a lot of hype that you’re dying to read

simon vs homo sapiens agenda

This has appeared absolutely EVERYWHERE with glowing recommendations. I need to read it. (And I’m also getting a strong vibe of Oreos, which is always a good thing. Mmm.)

chocolate with a caramel centre – a book that makes you feel all gooey in the middle

fangirl

I thought we’d discussed this already. HONEY, YOU’RE GONNA HAVE TO BE A BIT MORE SPECIFIC. Is this with sadness? Cuteness? Awe? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY??! I don’t know, I think this one is about romance, which is frankly very difficult because, er, all the romantic books I like are by Rainbow Rowell. I tried really hard to keep her off every single one of my lists, I really did. it’s not happening today. My love affair with Fangirl is no secret.

wafer free kit kat – a book that has surprised you lately

read me like a book

I’ve got no idea what the point of a wafer free Kit Kat is, but there you go. I’m pretty sure this one is for books that are better than you thought, but I was really disappointed with Read Me Like a Book. The premise sounded so interesting (and the cover is beautiful) but it honestly fell a bit flat.

snickers – a book you’re going nuts about

fans of the impossible life

I picked up Fans of the Impossible Life at YALC not expecting all too much, since my luck with contemporary has been pretty low lately. However! Oh my goodness it was amazing. The Goodreads blurb is rather misleading, but honestly this is my new Eleanor & Park. It feels a lot like E&P except with way more diversity and also…les straightforward romance? Yeah. IT WAS FABULOUS.

hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows – a book that you would turn to for a comfort read

Throne of Glass

I adore Throne of Glass but the later books are a bit too life-destroying for a comfort read. The first one it is! It’s just so nice to return to a world I love and know so well. <3

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What’s your favourite kind of chocolate? Let me know!

(Erm, having said that: I’m away right now so our chat will probably be a bit delayed, but I’m always up for telepathy. XD)

Bookshelving

image
I recently re-organised my main bookshelf after falling in love with other blogger’s pictures, so I decided to show them off by stealing this bookshelf tag from Evi and Nirvana!

Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from.
My bookshelves have steadily been increasing in number. Only one contains books I actually read. The other two are for old books and/or books that are too old to belong to me. As for my bookshelf? Oh, go away, you. It was from Ikea.

How do you organise my books?
One bookshelf is for picture books and the discarded books of my childhood. Mwahahaha. Another is for all those Beatrix Potters, various other hand-me-downs, books left behind and general odds and ends. The one that I actually re-organised is mainly YA with some picture books on the bottom because I’m lazy!

image bookshelfbookshelf

The top shelf is longer series and collections. Then I just sort of did it by colour, attempting to keep authors together (thank goodness my Rainbow Rowell books are cohesive). A couple of the shelves are too short, so taller books and leftovers are on the bottom shelf in alphabetical order. I debated doing alphabet for the whole thing, but eventually visuals won out over practicality. I think that demonstrates what sort of person I am. XD Now, ladies and gentlemen, for the books themselves!


What’s the longest book on your shelf?

the rebellion
That’d be The Rebellion, an omnibus of Isobelle Carmody’s Ashling and The Keeping Place. It’s just over 1000 pages long. (Phew, can you believe 10 year old me read this?)

What’s the shortest book on your shelf?
the magic finger
Okay, I’m not going to count picture books here because I don’t have nearly enough patience to go through them all. But the shortest actual book is The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, at 56 pages.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?
i'll give you the sun
HELL YES THERE IS. I was given I’ll Give You the Sun by my friend for my last birthday, and WILL YOU LOOK AT THE COVER MY GOSH.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?
looking for alaska
My friend went to New York and I was super super jealous because have you seen the bookshops there. As such, I made him buy me this 10th anniversary woefully-not-available-in-the-UK-edition (bleurgh, the UK one is NOT nice) and lug it back for me. I mean, I had to pay, but still. Any opportunity to take photos of it, ;)

The most expensive book on your shelf?
once and future king
A Folio Society edition of The Once and Future King by T.H. White that I believe I stole from my grandparents. The internet tells me it sells for £40. *wipes sweat from brow*

The last book you read on your shelf?
aristotle and dante
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I liked it a lot. ^.^

Do you have a complete series?
image
warrior cats
I suck at completing series. I’m such a scrimp that I couldn’t be bothered to buy Harry Potter because, well…it’s in every library. It just seemed a waste. I only recently added (a lovely new copy of) The Prisoner of Azkaban to my Philospher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows.
For so far completed series, I’ve got all the Eragon books (Inheritance is on Kindle). Wow, it’s been a super long time since I’ve read these, but I do like their covers. I’m also rather proud of my Warrior Cats collection. They get churned out so fast that was a pretty big effort.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?
lorali
I saw Laura Dockrill talk at YALC so when I popped up to Waterstones with a voucher, I headed straight for this one. (I haven’t read it yet, but hopefully it will be good!)

The oldest book on your shelf?
tenant of wildfell hall
This copy was my mum’s, dated 1979. She was a massive classics fiend in her teenage years! She had a habit of laminating her favourite books so this one been kept in pretty good condition.

What’s a book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (A.K.A. No one is touching it. Ever.)
fangirl
fangirl inside cover
My special (US, not UK *flourishes dramatically) edition of Fangirl. This is the one in special colours, with a BOOKMARK and FANAAART and a CARRY ON EXCERPT.
Yeah, no one is getting hold of Simon and Baz. EVER.

Most beat up book?
across the nightingale floor
Probably Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. I’m never taking another book to the beach again.
Most pristine book?
Probably Lorali again, but My True Love Gave to Me is a close contester. I bought this after I read it on Kindle so it’s in pretty damn good condition, if I do say so myself. ;)

A book that doesn’t belong to you?
man in the picture
I stole The Man in the Picture from my school book club. [hashtag]sorrynotsorry (I’ve actually got quite a few stolen books on my bookshelf, it seems. Oops. I mean, most of them were unintentional…?)

A book that is your favourite colour?
image
Will you murder me if I say I don’t have a favourite colour? I do love both The Illusionists and The Mourning Emporium, though. (The Undrowned Child is also lovely, but my copy seems to have gone walkabout so The Mourning Emporium it is.)

A book that’s been on your shelf the longest and you still haven’t read it?
image
People still look shocked when I say that I haven’t read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I deeply apologise. Younger me had a thing against popular books. The thing is, I don’t really want to read it now… *shakes head* SUCH DILEMMAS WE FACE.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?
image
This is a difficult one since – though I hate to say it – I wasn’t actually born with my nose in a book, but according to my parents it was I Love You, Blue Kangaroo. God, this book is the cutest thing ever. I LOVE IT.

How do you organise your bookshelves? What books have you bought recently? Read any of the ones I’ve mentioned?

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July Favourites!

july faves

WE’RE WELL INTO SUMMER, huzzah! I’m a bit miffed that a chunk of my holiday has already flown by, but it’s been a great few weeks.

1. YALC I was ridiculously excited for this after my success at MCM and it didn’t at all disappoint! There were some great panels and I absolutely fangirled when getting my books signed by authors. I said that MCM had such a nice atmosphere, and that was even more true at YALC – it was just so amazing to be around all these people who share your interests and you can immediately strike up a conversation. :) I had so much fun chatting to people who recognised my Carry On Simon t shirt as well. (The MKB stall people in particular told me some awesome things.) I only went on Saturday this time, but if I can then I’d love to go for a weekend next year!

2. Fans of the Impossible Life Bookseller tip: talk to your customers about their favourite book with much enthusiasm, and they will buy anything you throw at them. But, seriously, I am so glad I got this one at YALC! It’s the best contemporary book I’ve read…since Fangirl? YES. SERIOUSLY. It’s that good. I pitch it as Eleanor & Park plus a hell of a lot more diversity (IN SO MANY WAYS IT WAS AMAZING I COULD DIE) and also a bit of All the Bright Places, but not that much because I didn’t like much like that. Just. LOVEED IT. (The Goodreads blurb is a bit misleading, though.)

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post This was sort of my break from the more trying sections of Les Mis. (See later.) I’ve heard a lot about it and I really did love it! I didn’t know that much about being queer in this time and place so it was pretty nice to read about that.

4. Hair, in different colours There are a few pictures on Twitter, but I’ve been experimenting with various dip dyes! Right now I’m mostly settled on a semi-permanent red one. :) I’ve been meaning to try it for ages, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. TAKING OVER THE WORLD WITH MY RED HAIR, GUYS.

5. Savage Beauty at the V&A uggGghhHHHHHHHhh this was an amazing exhibition. I mean, I know practically nothing about fashion, but seriously. I thought it was curated excellently, too – the rooms were sort of organised by aesthetic, with names like ‘Romantic Naturalism’. I’m currently lamenting the fact that I’ll never get to wear an awesome gothic queen dress. :'(

6. Les Miserables FINALLY, I read it. ASDFJKL;OIQW MY LES MIS PROBLEM IS EVEN GREATER THAN BEFORE. You might know that I’ve been deliberating about this for quite some time, but an impending bookless holiday and some lovely encouragement set the ball rolling. It was pretty hard work in some places, but I enjoyed it so much and I’ve now got a weird sense of French Patriotism. I’m also going to Paris with my Girlguides, HELP – I don’t think I’ll be able to do much Les-Mis-themed exploring, but IT’S STILL PAAARIS *screams*

7. The Night Circus The whole book was a bit sprawling, but the descriptions were absolutely luscious. Seriously. There were just pages and pages and pages of beautiful descriptions that I drooled over. (Also: dark magic and historical fiction, both always always always loves of mine.)

Stuff from around the internet:

My top posts this month were It’s (Origa)me, Where Are These Perks of Being a Wallflower? and Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity.
CreatyveBooks wrote about diversity in books & publishing and the way that it’s treated.
Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars wrote about feminism in films and what it means to write a ‘strong female character’.
Evie @ Adventuring Through Pages taught us how to make a DIY Tardis dress.
Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout compared extracts from different gender POVs and tested our skills at guessing them.
An Overthinking Teenager and Emily @ Always Opinionated Girl hosted the Blog Olympics!

I’m away for two weeks now, but I hope you’re having a good month!


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