TBR Update // books with lgbtq+ characters

Yes! I’m talking about books! A new and exciting thing! Okay, not really. I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted so far this week because of exams, so I thought it would be nice to just sit down and be excited about books. 😀 Also, it is Pride Month, and I am feeling Extra Queer — WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!

There are so many awesome books with LGBTQ+ characters that I hope to read in the near future. (Mostly YA.) I started compiling a list of books for this post and I ended up with SOO MANY. There’s a lot of wonderful LGBTQ+ YA out there!

wild beauty

Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore I’ve talked about it several times here, but I absolutely loved When the Moon Was Ours by this author. It was one of my favourite books of last year! Wild Beauty sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of McLemore’s beautiful writing when it releases in October. The cover is also SO BEAUTIFUL, AAH.

little & lion

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert I found this book scrolling through my TBR on my tumblr, and I’m so glad I did. It’s girl who falls in love with the girl her brother is also in love with; the MC is black and Jewish, and although I haven’t heard much about it I really look forward to its release in August!

we are okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour This is another author I’m returning to — Everything Leads to You was a wonderful queer girl story which made my heart sing with joy. This one sounds like a really interesting and nuanced read, and I also absolutely ADORE the cover. (What can I say?)

queens of geek

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde I LOVE NERD BOOKS. I think that cons and nerd spaces are really cool because the experiences I’ve had have been pretty queer-friendly. AND I AM JUST EXCITED FOR GEEKY STUFF, because yay. Also, this has an Autistic narrator, and one of the MCs is Chinese-Australian which is cool!

peter darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant A trans retelling of Peter Pan! Aah! I admit, I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about Peter Pan, but I’m super excited to see what this book does.

our own private universe

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley I love reading happy queer stories, especially ones with queer girls! This sounds super cute, and I’ve heard that it also discusses safe sex which is awesome. (Because my sex ed at school basically only explaining straight/cisgender/allosexual things in terms of sex. We did have one lesson on, like, LGBTQ+ stuff though? So I guess it’s improving.)

juliet takes a breath

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera I HAVE BEEN WANTED TO READ THIS FOR AGES. It’s about a gay Puerto Rican girl, Juliet, figuring herself out, in which there are many queer ladies. YAY.

the midnight star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu I’ve actually already read the first two books in this trilogy, but for some reason I never finished it… So I need to do that! The last book finished on a bit of a cliffhanger, if I remember.

the color purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker I feel like I’m really missing something reading this… It’s one of the Important Books You Should Read, and I JUST REALLY WANT TO READ IT. *nods a lot* (Yes. This entire post is essentially just ‘I REALLY WANT TO READ THIS AND THIS AND THIS.’)

tash hearts tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee This reminds me that…I REALLY NEED TO LOOK INTO WAR & PEACE THINGS. I love the Great Comet of 1812 musical which is based off War & Peace, but I do find the book rather daunting. Anyway. Not actually this book. This book is about internet people! I love people on the internet. And from what I understand, there’s asexual representation, which is awesome since I haven’t seen that very often.

There were SO MANY other awesome books that I didn’t get the time to include in this post, alas! But there are many wonderful books with LGBTQ+ characters around and that makes me super happy. If you have any recs or just want to chat about books then I’d love to hear them! ❤

The Goodreads Book Tag

goodreads book tag.jpg

As far as I am aware, I wasn’t directly tagged to do this (who even knows at this point) but I spotted it on The Writing Hufflepuff and thought I’d give it a try! It also gave me an excuse to update my Goodreads, so. 😉

girl of ink and stars

What was the last book you marked as read?

The last book I marked as read was The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, which for once actually is the last book I read haha. I thought it was beautiful, magical and wonderfully-written without being really over the top. I also loved the characters! Just in general a lovely book. (And it’s SO NICE to hold in the physical copy, oh my goodness. Not only is the cover beautiful but also the paper is super nice quality and it has map drawings??)

the stars at oktober bend

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard. I’m still doing Carnegie Medal Shadowing at school, even though a) it’s at a very inconvenient time this year and b) I’m not super impressed with how Carnegie picked an all-white longlist this year. :/ So, I don’t really know why I’m still doing it. BUT. Here I am. It’s okay, although I…don’t really understand what’s happening, and I really hope it isn’t going to be a ‘romance makes everything okay!!’ narrative because those are deeply frustrating.

Do you use the star rating system?

Mostly, yes! I haven’t got round to rating most of the recent books I’ve read though, since I’m mainly just trying to keep my Goodreads up to date and that takes some thinking. *sweats*

Are you doing the 2017 reading challenge?

I am! I think I’ve picked 100 books for this year, although I think it’s very likely that I’ll achieve it since normally I read about 120 books a year. But I don’t want to stress myself out, and 100 is a nice number, so I think that’s a solid goal. 🙂

Do you have a wishlist?

A…book wishlist? I mean, ALWAYS. But not a specific to-be-bought list on Goodreads. Just a mental one.

Who are your favorite authors?

HOW CAN I CHOOOSE. Probably Alice Oseman, VE Schwab, Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Malinda Lo, Jandy Nelson, Patrick Ness… But SO MANY MORE. And I also really love individual books by authors, even if I haven’t read their other work. (Like When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Miseducation of Cameron Post by em danforth.) (Honestly, I just know I’m going to miss some glaringly obvious thing out. THIS IS SO MEAN.)

Have you joined any groups?

Nope, I don’t think so. I have no idea how they work haha.

How many Goodreads shelves do you have?

Er, apparently twenty plus the to read, read, and currently reading. This comprises of genres, reread shelves before the reread function existed, random stuff like cool covers, and Carnegie Shadowing shelves. I should probably organise them better, but.

I’m not tagging anyone but if you feel like doing this then please do go ahead, it was great fun! ❤

how are you? if you’re a reader, do you use goodreads? and do you like star rating books?

Yes, I Love YA

I can’t count the number of times that, when I have told people that I mostly read Young Adult books, they’ve turned to me and said something like: “Don’t you think they’re a bit trashy? When are you going to start reading real books?”

About three years ago, someone in the bookshop said that I was going to run out of YA books to read, and that I should start on adult. I bought a few adult books, and I did enjoy them, but fast forward to today and I’m still reading mainly YA. And wonderful YA is still being written.

I really hate the idea that YA and children’s books are somehow less worthwhile than the ones in the adult section. Okay, they’re pretty much all narrated by teens and young people. But what’s wrong with that? We have lives that are just as complex as anyone else’s, and we deserve a voice — we deserve to read about people who are also going through a period of testing boundaries and discovering yourself. In some ways, it seems to me the most interesting age a narrator can be.

Putting down YA books only puts down young people and their voices, when we should be doing exactly the opposite! When people start to say that we’re just mindlessly addicted to social media and don’t have any opinions beyond celebrities, it’s just discouraging us from speaking up.

Having a younger narrator doesn’t mean a book is any less worth reading, or any less interesting. In fact, YA books cover a wide range of complex, important themes but in a way that’s really accessible. Yep, a book can be readable and nuanced! Writing an awesome YA book isn’t any less work than writing an adult novel; there are just so many different genres within each of those brackets.

Maybe reading YA doesn’t require as much consideration as a novel with Victorian language might, but personally I think it’s really difficult to get a love for reading by starting straight with ‘classics’. I really appreciate that some people love them, but personally — and I say this as someone who has always loved books — they take me a while to get through, and a while to understand and get into.

But I’m not reading to learn life lessons, or how to write a book. I’m not even reading to improve my English. I’m reading to enjoy it. To experience stories beyond my own. Reading for pleasure doesn’t come from an adult telling you that you should put down the book you want to read and pick the ‘better’ one they’ve chosen for you instead. Discovering the stories that get you excited is so important, and it’s difficult to do that when your school limits what you can read by the complexity of a book’s sentence structure.

If you want kids to develop a love of reading, then let them read what they love. Perhaps reading one genre will lead to them becoming interesting in another, or perhaps they’ll just love that book — it doesn’t matter. Sharing stories is what matters.

I think that YA fiction is one of the most exciting, diverse genres — we definitely do still have progress to make, as we always do, not just within the books but in authors and publishing as well — and it’s so important for teens to be able to see themselves in books. YA can give a sense of belonging and validation. It can tell young people (and older people) that they’re not alone. There are just so many goddamn amazing YA novels out there.

So before you tell me that my favourite books are trash: maybe pick up a YA book yourself. You might actually enjoy it.

The Spring Has Sprung Book Tag

spring has sprung book tag.jpg

The sun is shining, and although it might still be a bit chilly, it feels like spring has arrived! I’m excited for the warmer weather to start creeping in — as well as the Easter holidays — so I thought that whilst I’m in a spring-y mood it would be fun to do this book tag. Thanks nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel for tagging me!

a tale for the time being

FLOWERS 

Look on your shelves. What is the most beautiful book both inside and out?

Ooh, I had so many contenders for this one! This picture definitely doesn’t do my copy of A Tale For The Time Being justice… I love the minimal cover but also it just FEELS SO NICE. The hardcover is like, kind of weaved together and it has a sort of slightly textured feel? This might sound weird but it’s just SO NICE to hold in your hand. (I am so chuffed I got this unread at a jumble sale, guys.) The text itself is beautiful, too; it’s not normally a genre that I would read in but I was so impressed at the different narrative voices!

all the bright places

GRASS

What is a book that you find others like way more than you do?

Everyone seems to really love All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Whilst I did enjoy it, I just couldn’t really connect with the characters and it had a bit of a ‘meh’ feel for me. I would quite like to try her newest book, Holding Up the Universe, though. It seems very interesting!

aristotle and dante

RAIN

What’s a great book that lifts your spirits when you’re down?

If I’m not feeling awesome, I like to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I think it’s such a well-written, nuanced book, and although it’s not completely positive all the time it makes me feel…that there are good and wonderful humans out there?

a conjuring of light

DEW

What book made you feel alive?

Hmm… A Conjuring of Light was such a good experience for me. I think reading a hyped up book can always be difficult, and sometimes it can change your relationship with a series or author, but it’s one of my absolute favourite feelings to devour and love a book I’ve really been looking forward to.

far from you tess sharpe

STORMS

What book did you find unpredictable?

Far From You by Tess Sharpe. Though I don’t read thriller-y books that often, this one really pulled me in. It did that awesome thing where the twist just starts to dawn on you right as it’s revealed, which is exactly how I like it!

bone gap laura ruby

RAINBOW

What was a book that you struggled with only to be happy that you read it in the end?

I just finished Bone Gap by Laura Ruby this morning. I didn’t enjoy it so much so start with, probably because I wasn’t getting much time to read it either, but today I just sat down and read the whole 2nd half in one go because I was SUPER ABSORBED WITH IT. I’m really pleased that I persevered with it! (I feel like Les Mis could also go in here. I still think that was a month of Fandom Dedication on my part, to be honest.)

hhhh

CHILLY WEATHER

What’s a book that you couldn’t finish or didn’t enjoy?

HHhH by Laurent Binet. I did get around half of the way through, but I just wasn’t enjoying it, and I didn’t think it was worth continuing. I found the discussion how historical fiction represents history and indeed truth really interesting, but…it just wasn’t presented in a way I found engaging. I never got lost in it, I guess.

white-cat

WARM WEATHER

What book did you love and want more of?

Curse Workers by Holly Black. I AM CONSISTENTLY UPSET BY THE LACK OF TALK AROUND THIS. I think that the worldbuilding is just so stellar, and I’d really love to read more stories set within it — perhaps not even with the characters in the trilogy, but UGH IT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A WASTE.

the hate u give

GREEN

What book have you not read yet but really want to?

I’ve been hearing SO MANY wonderful things about The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and I can’t wait to read it!

remix non pratt

PINK

What book made you feel a strong connection to the characters?

I could say Radio Silence, but I feel like I mention it about 23071 times a day so I SHALL CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE. I thought Remix by Non Pratt did a great job at getting me to care deeply for all the characters! Even though many of them didn’t have stuff in common with me, and were pretty darn annoying at times, I really empathised with them. So, yeah.

everything leads to you

PURPLE

What book makes you feel safe when you read it?

Maaybe Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour? I think this could be a lot of things, but that book just made me feel so happy and warm inside every time I picked it up to read it.

asking for it

ORANGE

What book do you feel is intelligently written?

I had to think quite a lot about this, because on one hand: I think a lot of books I read could qualify for this, but also I DON’T KNOOOW. I just know whether I enjoyed them! But I decided to go with Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. Although it wasn’t the easiest read for me, it raised a lot of interesting questions about our culture and how we treat sexual assault.

nimona cover

YELLOW

What book puts a smile on your face?

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson still makes me so happy. I love going back to it and remember when my friends & I read it as a webcomic in Lower School (I can’t remember if it was Year 7 or Year 8 haha). I also just adore the characters, the art, all the Nimona in-jokes…it’s like having a chat with a super funny best friend.

what is the weather like where you are? which books would you pick for this? is there a season you particularly like? let me know!

The Wicked Book Tag

wicked book tag.jpg

I was thinking about my Les Mis Book Tag shameless plug there and then I was thinking…WHAT IF THERE ARE OTHER MUSICAL BOOK TAGS? A quick Google search picked up the wonderful Wicked Book Tag by What the Hell is She Reading? and now I am here with you today. When I do tags I tend to write rather a lot about the stuff I pick, so I decided it might be better for all our sakes for me to edit a few questions out — I hope you don’t mind!

spies-michael-frayn

No One Mourns The Wicked

no one would feel bad if this character died

Man, I have to say… I think I’m going to go with Keith’s father from my really weird GCSE text Spies by Michael Frayn. Although Dolores Umbridge is also a really solid choice, I thought I may as well be creative, and to be quite frank I don’t think I would miss any of the characters in Spies that much. (Okay, that might be a little cold-hearted. But Mr. Hayward actually is a sinister bastard.)

am-i-normal-yet

The Wizard and I

a book that gives you hope

Holly Bourne’s whole Spinster Club series make me feel really good about activism, and about the passion and power of young people to change things. They make me want to KEEP ON FIGHTING against all the crappy stuff in the world. They also remind me how wonderful friends can be.

when-mr-dog-bites

What Is This Feeling?

a book you loathed

(*whispers* this song…so not gay…ahahaHAHA OF COURSE NOT. NOPE NOPE NOPE.) (Upon relistening, Wicked was a lot more gay than I realised at the time.) This one is a little difficult because whenever I hate a book, I just don’t finish it and hence it isn’t on my Goodreads. I really rely on my Goodreads to remember stuff, okay?!? But I didn’t particularly like the book When Mr Dog Bites from 2015’s Carnegie shortlist; it just annoyed me a looot. It wasn’t terrible, but…yeah. I just didn’t get on with it.

lumberjanes

Dancing Through Life

a carefree, light book

Definitely the comic Lumberjanes! I’m not completely up to date with the series, but they’re just really fun and fluffy and they make me feel warm inside. Even if it’s kind of insane. But I LIKE THAT.

white-cat

Popular

a book that needs more recognition

Ooh look, a handy link to my 2016 books recap featuring some hidden gems! 😉 No, okay, I have SO MANY CONTENDERS for this but I’m picking the Curse Workers series by Holly Black. (The first one is called White Cat.) I absolutely ADORE this series — magic! except also contemporary?!? just in general awesome worldbuilding! crime! self loathing! great writing! Seriously, READ IT FOR THE PREMISE. THE WORLD IS SO FRIKKIN COOL. I am endlessly confused by the fact that no one seems to have read it.

trouble-non-pratt

Defying Gravity

a character that basically says screw the world I’m doing my own things

Hannah from Trouble by Non Pratt! SHE IS JUST GONNA DO HER THING AND EVERYONE CAN GO STUFF THEMSELVES. Although the book is about her trying to overcome what everyone says and find out what she wants, I think she gets there. 🙂

carry-on-new-cover

As Long As You’re Mine

a scene from a book where your OTP couldn’t keep their hands off each other

Would it…be really bad if I said Carry On? Because DUUUDE this is Simon and Baz. Any of Rainbow Rowell’s books could be here, to be honest, because somehow she managed to write romances that I’m really invested in. Simon and Baz are just super in love with each other. I don’t want to spoil loads, but there is FIRE and KISSING. And because I’m nice, a bonus feature with the new paperback cover.

golden-son

Wonderful

a character who’s full of themself

I’m currently reading Golden Son by Pierce Brown and I think I have to say Darrow. I like him! He’s cool! But he does think he is the special saviour come to morally cleanse everyone or whatever. Like, dude. (And eVERYONE SPEAKS INCORRECT LATIN I DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM ITTTT)

les mis deluxe cover

For Good

a book that has changed me for good

I am going to be the Most Predictable And Annoying Person Ever by choosing good old Les Miserables by Victor Hugo for this one. WHAT CAN I SAY? I think it has changed me a lot; it might sound stupid but getting into Les Mis and musicals has actually made me more into social activism, I think. And in general has just changed my fandom & interests.

I’m tagging Elly @ A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts and anyone else who likes Wicked or wants to do this tag! The full list of questions can be found here for anyone who doesn’t want to be lazy and pick some out like me haha. (I’m at 800 words. Sorry. I don’t think I can make it to 1.5k.)

My 2016 in Books

my 2016 in books.jpg

I know I already did a New Years-y round up post, but SURPRISE! Here’s another! I’ve seen a lot of top reads of 2016 stuff going around, and although I did talk a bit about books in my round up, I thought it would be cool to do one more in depth.

This year I read 107 books. (Well, at the time of writing. I’ll probably have read one or two more by the time this post actually rolls around.) I’m really happy that I managed to complete my Goodreads challenge; I think 100 books is about right for me. Although I actually read more books last year, I feel a lot better about my reading habits. I don’t have quite as much time as I used to because of school, but I do read a steady supply of books which is nice.

genres read

genres read in 2016 v2.PNG

I did a little analysis of the genres that I read this year, and I was really surprised at the number of contemporary and historical books in there! I have actually read quite a few non-fiction history books, as well as historical fiction. Fantasy still makes up just over a quarter of my reading, though. The ‘other’ genre encompasses a) books that were difficult to classify, or might come under ‘literary’ (e.g. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell) or b) genres I read so few of it wasn’t worth their own section such as thrillers. Or a combination of those two.

favourite books

These are the 10 books I’ve read this year which I feel I’ve enjoyed the most, and gained the most from, this year! I mean, I feel like I’ve probably forgotten a lot of great books here, and I found it really difficult to pick the ones I’ve liked most because I like books for different reasons… I sort of attempted to get a diverse pick from the different genres that I’ve read and the reasons I enjoyed each of these books. (Yes, some not-YA! I know!)

2016 in books 1.jpg

I talk about Radio Silence ENDLESSLY to people, so it’ll come as no surprise to you that it made it onto my favourite books of this year list! I only just finished When the Moon Was Ours, but I enjoyed it so tremendously that I thought it should make it onto here. Ghostwritten is sort of a precursor to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, but in some ways I liked it more — I am endlessly amazed at his ability to make all the narrative voices in his books unique, even when there are so many characters.

2016 in books2 v2.jpg

I was almost going to put This Savage Song by VE Schwab on here too, but I thought one Schwab book might be enough. I am pretty darn excited for A Conjuring of Light! the Goldfinch was slightly weird and emotionally draining. It gave me lots of weird feelings. (I don’t think the fact that I was reading it in an airport helped. AIRPORTS ARE REALLY WEIRD PLACES FOR ME.) The Lie Tree is kind of an MG book, but there is MYSTERY and GIRLS DOING SCIENCE and SLIGHT FANTASY and just quality times.

hidden gems

These books are lesser-known ones which I’d love to see people discussing more. They might also be books with new and exciting stuff that I haven’t otherwise seen much of!

hidden gems.jpg

Carry Me Like Water by Benjamin Alire Saenz A lot of people have read or know about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by the same author, but his adult books don’t seem to be very well known. THEY’RE STILL SUPER COOL GUYS. They’re written so nicely and asdhjkl.

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz I was lucky enough to win this one in a giveaway, and although the premise seems a little crazy — and the whole book is a little crazy — it was such a satisfying and gripping read. (The writing is once again really nice.)

A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne I got this one for Christmas last year, and it was such a fun read! It’s basically ‘what if Ron killed Voldemort instead of Harry?’ except with more humour and kissing. I’m just going through the Goodreads page to find the cover, and a lot of people are saying it’s kind of fanfiction-y… It is kind of fanfiction-y, but for me as someone who liked fic, it takes the best fic tropes and does wonderful things with them.  Plus, the illustrations and cover are SO NICE.

The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke I barely hear Cat Clarke’s books mentioned, but she has been quietly writing cool queer YA thrillers for rather a long time. I absolutely raced through this tale of a returned sister, and I FEEL SO HAPPY BECAUSE QUEER PARENTS. QUEER OLDER PEOPLE. What a joy.

The Next Together by Lauren James This book was such a joy to read — I raced through it and was swept away by science! wit! reincarnation! history! mystery! blushing characters! It just had, like, so many things I love to read in books. This one is perhaps a little more well-known than the others here, but I haven’t seen it discussed that much within the book blogging community so I thought I’d chuck it in here anyways.

what were your top books of 2016? are any of your choices the same as mine? do you plan to read any of these in the future?

One Page More! E03: Fun Home & Cameron Post

one-page-more-2

Remember I still make these? Remember me? ‘Tis I, a tiny awkward person trying to podcast! Here I am with another episode of One Page More! in which I talk about YA, musicals, and social issues. This episode I discuss two things I like a lot — the graphic novel and musical Fun Home, and the book The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Er, yeah. *hides* I hope you enjoy, as ever, and if you want to guest then let me know! (I super need to sort out guest things for the next few episodes, so.)

Some parts of this make me cringe slightly, and I wish I had phrased them differently, so SORRY ABOUT THAT. Also, every time I talked about queer stuff I either said it a) very quietly or b) too fast because my mum was in the other room and y’know, not out to the parents yet and all that jazz.

how are you? have you read/listened to either of these?