The Pride Flag Book Tag

A hand holding up a rainbow pride flag over a clouded sky, with the words 'the pride flag book tag'.

Hi there! It’s almost at the end of Pride Month and I really wanted to write a post to celebrate before June finished. I was inspired by reading May @ Forever and Everly’s Pride Flag Book Tag and I thought that it would be great fun to do this tag — thanks so much for bringing this to my attention! The tag was created by Common Spence on Youtube, with an added prompt for black/brown by May.

  1. red (life) 

a book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. someone who gives you LIFE!

Cover of Queens of Geek. The title over long pink hair.

I would like to pick Charlie from Queens of Geek! I think she’s awesome and I love that book so much. Not sure what else to say except that. (I’m just getting started with blogging again, please cut me some slack haha.)

 2. orange (healing) 

a book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

Cover of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore. Illustration of a silhouette of a water tower at night. Moons hang down from the top of the book. A silhouette of a boy pointing to the sky on the right, and a girl lifting her hand towards him. Illustrations of roses decorate the title text.

 

I know I talk about it ALL the time but When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore came into my life at a really important time where I was first exploring my gender identity, and although my experience does not align exactly with that of Sam, his story made me feel so seen. I can’t emphasise enough how much of a relief it was to read about what I was experiencing. This is actually one of the only books that’s ever made me cry. Also, it’s just a damn beautiful book and you should all read it.

 3. yellow (sunshine) 

a book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

Cover of The Summer of Jordi Perez. Photo of a girl with pink hair and sunglasses eating a burger.

I just finished reading The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding and IT WAS SO DARN CUTE. Please give me all the soft f/f rom-coms!! It starred a fat gay girl being happy and awesome in summer! Man, it was just so wonderful.

 4. green (nature) 

a book that is set out of this world—a reality different to our own

Cover of Labyrinth Lost. The silhouette of a figure standing before gates with a skull on.

I picked up Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova as a during-exams treat and I ended up finishing it in like a day — it was so readable! I didn’t realise it was going to be queer before I started so I was like HECK YEAH. I can’t wait to read the sequel Bruja Born.

 5. blue (peace) 

a book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

Cover of Wild by Hannah Moskowitz. The title in blue over a photo of a forest.

I admit, I struggled a little to think of a book that fitted this one, but I went with Wild by Hannah Moskowitz. Both the main character and the love interest are bi, and for a lot of the book the MC Zack basically goes running to try and solve his problems. I don’t want to spoil it but I do feel like he finds some peace in his life, of a sort.

 6. purple (spirit) 

a book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

Cover of I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman. Illustrations of many small people on an orange background. The title in a brush font.

Although of course I love Autoboyography, I thought I’d go with something different — I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman. One of the MCs, Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, is a queer trans guy, and he’s also a Christian. I don’t want to give too much away, but religious imagery does feature quite heavily in here. There are also several other LGBTQ+ characters and the other MC Angel is a Muslim.

7. black/brown (inclusivity) 

a book where one of the characters is a queer character of colour / queer indigenous character

Cover of Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. The words 'Little & Lion' over a flat line illustration of a palm tree, a magazine, a flower, a coffee cup, and a book.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert here before but I really enjoyed it! The MC Suzette is a black, Jewish bisexual girl which is awesome. I thought the writing style was wonderful and writing this actually makes me want to reread it.

how’s your pride month? did you know about the history of the pride flag? got any lgbtq+ book recs? i would LOVE to hear them!

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Exams Are Over and I’m Back!

Hi there everyone! Oh wow, it feels so weird to be sitting in front of my computer without any revision to do… I literally haven’t felt this in SO LONG. Everything just feels so strange at the moment.

Anyway, yes, as you may have gathered from the title of this post — I’ve just finished my GCSEs and I’m so excited to be making a proper return here! Honestly, this entire school year, particularly since January has been pretty tough. I’m amazed that I managed to make it through exams mostly okay. Sadly, the tension hasn’t gone away immediately as I’d have liked; finishing yesterday just felt like rather an anticlimax if I’m honest. A lot of other people finished at the end of last week (and a few of my friends still have more exams) so it isn’t exactly like we can all celebrate.

I’m not really sure how the exams went? I tried my best to forget about them because if I didn’t then I’d just be constantly worrying over my mistakes and what I could have changed. (Which is what’s currently happening for my terrible final maths exam, ARGH. I wish I could have ended feeling okay but I guess OCR just didn’t want that for me, thanks for that.)

I feel like I’ve basically had to push aside any feelings and responsibilities that aren’t either a) revising for exams or b) trying to recover from revising exams so now EVERYTHING IS COMING UP AT ONCE. AAAH. The summer and work and sixth form loom on the horizon! Oh dear!

As you may have already gathered, I didn’t begin this post with much direction; it’s essentially just to let you know that I’m back on the blog and I plan to be writing more posts for the summer. 🙂 And I’ve missed reading all your blog posts, my friends, so do link your latest or anything else you just want to share — I’d love to read it!

 

Monthly Mixtape #6: Hamartia

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of July! And this month’s prompt is…

#6: hamartia

hamartia, noun: tragic flaw

Add or view playlist links HERE

And WordPress bloggers, you can also tag your post on with ‘monthly mixtape’. 🙂If you’d like to read a bit more about the use of hamartia in literature then check out this page (or just google it, it’s very interesting). I’ve got around two more weeks of exams to go, but after that I soon to be back and blogging properly, especially as I’m excited by this prompt! Meanwhile, I encourage you to check the playlists made by Shadowriverdaleharley and Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff. Hope you have a good week and start to June — and happy Pride Month!

Monthly Mixtape #5: Mellifluous

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of June! And this month’s prompt is…

#5: mellifluous

mellifluous, adjective: 1 : having a smooth rich flow
2 : filled with something (such as honey) that sweetens

Add or view playlist links HERE

And if you’re on WordPress you can also tag your post on with ‘monthly mixtape’. 🙂 Unfortunately I’ve been really busy with school (my first GCSE is in TWO DAYS *screams*) so I haven’t had time to make a playlist for this post, but I very much look forward to listening to Evi’s playlist and any others you all make!

 

Sad Feelings and Exam Stress

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing okay. This is just a little update post to let you know what’s going on with me, because I’ve been rather sad recently and blogging hasn’t been quite the fun activity I want it to be.

These few weeks are very weird for me because I’m in a strange liminal space between ‘normal school’ and actual exams. I used to enjoy school a lot, especially in Year 10, but currently I just feel like I’m preparing to pass an exam. And I know that’s what I’m doing, but it still frustrates me. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is pointless. Yet the same time, I feel very very stressed about getting good grades and living up to people’s (and my own) expectations of me. And then I feel stressed about stressing when I should be revising, AAAAAH. IT IS TERRIBLE.

Other things have also been contributing to me sadness like my compulsion to read transphobic articles which make me feel bad, stressing about what to do in the future, friend group politics etc. etc. Just: a lot of things are happening right now.

I don’t know, the summer weather makes me feel better. But I’ve also been crying a lot. I’m not sure where this post is going, but the most important thing I’d like to say is that I need to take some time out. I still have some blog posts lined up, but I don’t want blogging to be a chore. I need to take care of myself, and I need to let myself not do stuff — and that includes not blogging as frequently.

But I’m still around! If you’d like to talk to me then you can of course still comment on my blog or tweet me @appletaile. Like I said, I still have some posts which will be going up soon.

 

BBC Les Mis: Opinions! Predictions! Old posts revisited!

All the way back in 2016, when the new TV adaptation of Les Mis was first announced, I wrote a post called 7 Things I Want to See in BBC Les Mis. It’s taken a LONG time, but finally we’re getting some more news about it, and it’s due to air at the start of 2019. And my Les Mis obsession seems to be rising from the dead, because now I check for the imdb page and talk to people about it all the time. SORRY.

Anyways. I thought it would be fun to revisit my old wishlist, see what’s changed, and add some of my current thoughts on information we had so far. (Because I can only jabber on at my IRL friends so much. They get a bit tired.) I hope that it’ll still be entertaining even if you’re not quite a Les Mis obsessive like me. Although it’s been like 3 years now since I read Les Mis itself so I have to admit, I don’t remember it as clearly as I could in 2016…

But before I look back through my list, I want to talk a bit about my thoughts so far!

Firstly, it’s written by Andrew Davies, who did War & Peace and Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth). In the interviews I’ve read with him, he seems to very vehemently hate the musical, describing it as a ‘shoddy farrago’. He seems to really want to show people that Les Miserables is a lot more than that, etc. etc. Personally I enjoy the musical and the book so, you know. We’ll see what comes of his desire to show the true character of Les Mis. I do hope that it means he’ll get some good stuff in there but who knows.

Next, the main cast — Dominic West as Valjean, David Oyolewo as Javert, Lily Collins as Fantine, Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar as the Thenardiers, Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius,  Erin Kellyman as Eponine and Joseph Quinn as Enjolras.

Frankly, I barely know any actors, so I don’t have much to go on, but I’m super excited for David Oyolewo as Javert!  And I didn’t realise until just now that Dominic West played Jonathan in the movie Pride (it’s a great movie, you should go watch it) and now I feel more excited. I’ve written more in deetail about some of the castings below, in my response to what I wrote in 2016.

The cast list hasn’t been updated loads, but there are a few more characters lurking on the IMDb page if you care to look. We’ve also been seeing some pictures from filming, which I’m greatly enjoying  — you can see updates on this BBC Les Mis updates tumblr if you so wish.

Here’s some pictures of the set for the Barricade, with all the French flags out:

However, I was saddened by the announcement that it won’t be airing until 2019. PLEASE, I NEED THIS TO HEAL MY SOUL. Maybe to heal my soul through raging at it. Who knows.

1. Valjean’s James Bond convent escape
2. Nuanced Cosette
3. Non-hunky Enjolras
4. Les Amis de L’ABC
5. Thenardier’s botched robbery (starring Marius)
6. Marius being a nerd
7. The Thenardier family

I mean. I still agree with these. P L E A S E I crave Cosette content so badly! Ellie Bamber seemed cool in an interview I read so…? Who knows? In reference to Enjolras: I don’t know anything about this actor, but they should have cast a black actor. (Read this excellent thread by @JEHANCOURF on twitter and also check out their zine, The Case For Black Enjolras.) Archie Madekwe who plays Courfeyrac seems GREAT though, I’m so excited to see him.

For a while I was Very Stressed that they had cut out the Amis (since the IMDB cast list doesn’t have many of them on) but then we saw some set pictures and it looks like they’re at least present. Although there was also an interview with someone who said they were playing an unnamed student extra, so maybe not.

I mean, I have no idea whether they’ll put in any of the scenes I mentioned here. (And yes, I do know that there are many adaptations out there with various different scenes in! But, you know.) In addition, to this, I really would like to see this adaptation maintain the theme of social change and revolution. Yes, it’s an excellent story, but that message is also a key part of it!

I’ve just spent AGES doing practice Chemistry paper so excuse me if my brain is a little tired. Ah well. In the meantime, I desperately await more news and continue to check the IMDb page every day. Oops.

do you like les mis? what do you want to see in the adaptation? what’s your favourite tv adaptation?

 

 

Spring/Summer Releases on my TBR

Hi everyone! I feel like I haven’t done a bookish post in a while, so here I am. I’m talking about the YA releases of this spring and summer which I’m getting really excited for. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’m sure there’s more wonderful books that I’ve left off — these are the ones that came to my mind.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Okay, I only just realised this was being released in summer, and it sounds excellent. Please give me the haunted Edinburgh ASAP.

Run, Riot by Nikesh Shukla

There’s some great UKYA being released in the next few months! I’m very excited for Run Riot, a crime thriller which looks at gentrification and police brutality.

Floored by various authors

And a second great UKYA! Floored is a collaborative novel by some of my favourite authors like Non Pratt and Tanya Byrne. It’s such a cool concept, right?? I read a sampler of it last summer and it really got me hooked.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is another book by an author I love; I’m so excited to see more of the characters we say in Simon Vs, and also YAY a bi girl MC!

Clean by Juno Dawson

Okay, I know this is technically already out, but shhh. It wasn’t out when I first drafted this post. I might have to prepare myself mentally before I read this but I’m also very interested in this since I’ve enjoyed several of Juno Dawson’s other books.

 

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

I loved Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek! And this book also looks SUPER BISEXUAL! Yay! From my look at the reviews, it also seems like it has a genderqueer character? I can’t wait to see. And it’s about a band, which brings me onto my next book…

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

You all know that I am actually obsessed with the work of Alice Oseman and I simply cannot shut up about her books. This is a about band fandom, the internet, and the danger of fame. It has two MCs who I am already in love with — Angel, a hijabi Muslim girl, and Jimmy, the lead singer of her favourite band The Ark. I crave trans characters so badly, I can’t wait to meet Jimmy! (Also, side note, but I can’t think of any other UKYA with trans characters of colour. Are there any???)

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

I loved Menon’s first book so I can’t wait to try this one. It’s about an aspiring filmmaker, and also from the blurb I think it has some internet romance? Anyways, I am READY.

 

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

I am SO READY in my SOUL for Theatrical. When I read the author’s other book about conventions, I said that someone should write a book about theatre tech, and NOW IT’S HERE. Or it will be.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

I admit, I haven’t actually yet read the second book in the Wayaferers series… But I’m super excited for this nonetheless, because I adored the first one. I love good good queer space books.

Oh dear, I am rather tired today, but reminding myself of all the wonderful books out there cheered me up.

what releases are you excited for? did I miss any crucial ones out? what are you reading right now?

Monthly Mixtape #4: Risorgimento

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m back with the April edition of Monthly Mixtape. (You can check out the earlier prompts here.) I found some wonderful new music listening to your playlists — do check out playlists by Michelle and Mer. If you’d like to share a playlist I didn’t see do let me know. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. Feel free to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of May! And this month’s prompt is…

#4: risorgimento

risorgimento, noun: a time of renewal or renaissance; revival

Add or view playlist links HERE 

I hope you enjoy this prompt! Risorgimento (with a capital) actually describes the 19th century movement for Italian political unity, which I didn’t know about before discovering this word. You learn new things every day! As ever, I look forward to listening to your playlist, and you can view other playlists or add a link to your playlists above — of course it’s not obligatory, but I’d love to be able to see your posts. 🙂

Sunlight streaming over grass with a blurry tree in the background. The word 'Risorgimento' in a blocky font.

for rebirth, for reawakening, for learning to be reborn through the destruction.
listen on youtube / spotify

jennifer – fazerdaze
just like heaven – the cure
earth to heaven – esperanza spalding
send them off! – bastille
the future (is learning to…) – ted leo
don’t save me – haim
ain’t it fun – paramore
fireworks – mitski

Feeling out a playlist from the prompt is always such an interesting experience for me! For this one, I sort of tried to combine songs that I wanted to fit into the idea of renewal and revival with, like, an actual revival of old songs I used to listen loads to…? I DON’T KNOW. I think I went a bit wild on the theme but, you know, never mind. (Also, bonus points if you can guess which songs are my ‘old songs’ haha.) (Also, when I say ‘old’, I mean like 3 years old, because I am still a very young person.)

what music did you used to listen to all the time? do you still like it?

7 Things on the Internet That Make Me Smile

Hi everyone! So…I am feeling slightly overwhelmed at the moment. I thought I would share a few things on the internet that have made me smile recently. (And here I’m talking about small things rather than big general things, because the internet is TOO BIG.)

1. Good as Hell by Lizzo

This song is SUCH A TUNE honestly!!! It fills me with joy and strength!! The video is also SO GOOD — it features lots of awesome women getting their hair done and being happy and it is honestly the best.

2. The McElroy brothers call a secret society

This short excerpt from the My Brother My Brother and Me TV show of the McElroys calling secret societies still made me laugh when I rewatched it for this post. I know it doesn’t sound that funny but…IT IS FUNNY. Or maybe I’ve just listened to too many McElroy products at this point, who even knows. (Bonus: this video of Griffin McElroy eating a banana AKA cronch origins.)

3. Cats meowing at each other

Two kitties! Meowing at each other! So pure and beautiful!! I mean, there’s so much good good cat content out there. But I do like this one. You can check out my whole cats tag on tumblr if you like.

4. This online purr generator

OK, I’m just going to put all the cat content together: it is a purr generator. For your computer. I love cats purring so this is just the BEST for me!

5. The Ladies of Hamilton #Ham4Ham

This is a video from back when Hamilton cast on Broadway did little bonus things outside the theatre. That whole run produced lots of very very good content, but in particular I love this one. I’ve probably watched it at least a dozen times, OOPS. I’m just too queer… I cannot handle the beauty.

6. Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko

This still makes me real emotional. I love Hayley Kiyoko so much. Just a VERY GOOD song and video.

7. The time Joe Johnson livetweeted reading Check, Please!

Maybe this is too niche but OH WELL. NEVER MIND Firstly, if you haven’t read the webcomic Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu then you should because it is very very good. Anyway, the subject in question is when the ice skater Joe Johnson read the comic and livetweeted it back in December which produced many, many excellent tweets.

Other quality content is this, this, and this tweet. And no, I absolutely did not just go back through his entire twitter to find those. (The things I do for you.) (But also MUCH #relatable content on there haha.)

Anyways. I hope you enjoyed this rather random post and I wish you a wonderful day!

what are your favourite things on the internet? do you also greatly enjoy looking at cute cats or is it just me??

 

Q&A // books, music & more!

Green and blue watercolour splash. The words 'Question & answer' and 'twist in the taile'

Hi everyone! I’m here today with the very first Q&A that I have EVER done here on Twist in the Taile. Which is wild. If you think about it, you’re all basically experiencing a premiere right here! (Does anyone even know how I am this bouncy when I’m writing this intro despite being wiped out by work??? ME NEITHER. That is one question I can’t answer.)

Anyways, thank you so much to Jess, Holly, The Wild Man, K. Winter, and Kerstin for submitting questions — let’s get started!

books

Best book you’ve read recently? 

Probably I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan or After the Fire by Will Hill. They were both super good & well-written, I’d recommend! (Also shout-out to my library for having both of them; they’ve got in some great new YA books lately. I’m LOVING it.)

Can you read with noise or do you need silence?

Normally I read with silence, since I tend to read in the evenings before I go to bed. I can read with a bit of background noise or music but not anything super distracting.

If you were a book, which one would you be and why?

OOOOH. Oooh… I don’t actually know! I feel like I would be something like Nimona by Noelle Stevenson or the Hellcat! comics (i.e. excitable, queer, friendship, crying, feminism). Except also simultaneously Radio Silence by Alice Oseman because WOW that book speaks to me so much to be honest. It would depend on the day I’m having, really.

Have you ever gotten around to reading Juliet Takes a Breath?

No, sadly I haven’t. It looks amazing and I really want to read it! I admit that the main reason I haven’t read it yet is because it’s £17 to buy in paperback here which is very expensive for a book. I’ve been waiting for the ebook price to go down a bit more but I should really just buy it because it sounds so great.

What’s your all time favourite book?

NOOOO, don’t make me pick! I can’t decide! I’d say among my absolute favourites are When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, but I love SO MANY MORE. *cries* I CAN’T PICK.

Do you have a favourite fairy tale that you’ll read literally any adaptation of?

I regret to say that no, I do not! I used to have a book of fairytales which I loved but I don’t love one in particular anymore.

music (and musicals)

Who’s your favourite character from Les Mis?

Again, this is VERY PAINFUL FOR ME. I LOVE ALL MY CHILDREN. From more canon-y canon (does that even make sense?) maybe Marius, because he is a hilarious awkward cinnamon roll and I just. Love him a lot. But I also love so many more, especially characters who have been interpreted in awesome ways by people in the fandom like Enjolras and Cosette! (Also, like, all of Les Amis.)

And your favourite character from Hamilton?

Angelica Schuyler. 🙂 I love all the Schuyler sisters but I adore Angelica’s song Satisfied.

What grade are you in Clarinet?

I’m hoping to take Grade 8 at the end of this year… I say HOPING, I’ll have to practice more if I want to be good enough by then haha.

How do you go about making your playlists/trying new music?

This might sound kind of boring, but usually to make playlists I just kind of…sit for a while and think about songs that fit the vibe I want. Or sometimes it comes to me when I’m doing something else. If I can’t think of enough songs that way, then I’ll go through my music library and see if I can find anything else that fits.

Honestly, I’m not amazing at trying new music, but I like to follow other people’s playlists and my discover weekly playlist on Spotify. Occasionally I see other people talk about cool music and then I look them up too.

school

What GCSEs are you taking?

Spanish, Latin, History, Music, English Lit & Language, the three sciences, Maths, and Additional Maths. To be honest please send me good luck for Add Maths because it’s very difficult *cries*

What A Levels do you plan on doing?

At the moment I plan on taking Spanish, History, Maths and Chemistry. But I might change from Chemistry to Latin haha. (I went through SO MUCH PAIN in my A Levels decisions. IT WAS TERRIBLE.)

Thanks for reading! I’m not actually having a great time at the moment and revision is coming up, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post every week. But we’ll see.

what are your answers to these questions? are you having weird weather like me???