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?

Complaints About School English

English at school is something that constantly frustrates me. I don’t know exactly if it’s the way it’s taught, or if it’s the fact that I just don’t enjoy it, or both, but I DON’T HAVE FUN.

As you might have guessed, I love to read and write and everything else wordy! They’re some of my absolute favourite things and I don’t know where I’d be without them. But this definitely doesn’t translate into a love for GCSE English as some people might think…

My major issue with my current class is that I don’t particularly enjoy the text we’re studying. (Spies by Michael Frayn.) Obviously this is different for everyone exam board but I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE STUDYING IT. It’s deathly boring and the writing style is…really weird? I kind of like the things going on with memory and perspective but apart from that I’m just meh.

I genuinely wish that we could study something more inspiring — I understand that it has to be complex enough to study or whatever, but there are SO MANY great books out there! Heck, there are some far better “typical classic/literary/GCSE English-y” books. This one is just a complete bore.

I’m not sure if I’d enjoy analysing texts more if it were a text I enjoyed. Perhaps I just don’t really enjoy analysis! (Which obviously is fine.) But I do quite like reading analysis things about books I enjoy. Like, sometimes I actively go and read academic-y articles because they’re interesting. Can our English lessons please just…be more like Witch, Please. (I KNOW. I know I talk about it a lot. BUT I LOVE IT.)

I really wish that there was more scope to be creative in English. I understand that later things sort of separate out into literature and language but it frustrates me that we haven’t really done much free creative writing work since, like, year 7. (Oh my god, I WISH I could go back and redo that poetry book assignment. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.)

I’m not all the way through the course yet, but it is a bit frustrating to not really enjoy something that I think I should like. Although I’m sorry but – the rules on comma splicing are SO HARSH. Even the set text would only get a Band 6 haha. Sorry, Michael Frayn. There’s a bit of a grey area that so many authors cross but our exam board is like NOPE.

I think we spend quite a lot of time listening to the teacher analyse without actually getting the tools for analysis – and I do love my teacher, but still. I also think it’d be really fun to look at more popular culture or modern stuff, because they are cool too. But I feel like that’s not very likely to happen, alas. It’s all just about improving the grades.

Having said all this: I definitely could have a better mindset! Writing this post did actually give me a bit of enthusiasm for being more positive about English. Part of it is also that I have a set idea in my mind and I just switch off during lessons when I decide it’s not fun. I’ve actually been enjoying it a bit more recently now that I’ve been actively trying to engage, so, who knows. PERHAPS THIS COMPLAINING WILL HAVE RESULTED IN SOMETHING.

what’s your (least) favourite subject at school? do you enjoy studying english? any feelings about comma splicing?

General Election 2017

As you might know, here in the UK there is due to be a snap General Election in June. The next one was due to be held in 2020, but the PM and then Parliament have called for an election early. Thus: an election we have.

So, this is all very new and a bit of a surprise. It seems pretty crazy that there’s going to be an election in under two months from now; I haven’t had all the time to mentally prepare for it as I might have. To be quite honest with you, politics over the last year has made me feel a little numb. But I don’t think switching off is something that I personally should do, because so many can’t.

I’m a little sad because this means I probably won’t be able to vote until 2022 — I would have been able to vote in the 2020 election — but I still want to be engaged and form an opinion of my own. 🙂 To be honest, the only thing I know right now is that I don’t want a Conservative majority, although currently it does look like it might be that way. I don’t yet know which I’d vote for out of the other major political parties. (UKIP is discounted because it is gross and also currently is not really a major party.)

Alas, I cannot vote due to still being a Child™, but I can still choose someone to support. Even if I’m not really too keen on any of the options. My own constituency has been Labour for AGES, and also they seem like they have the best chance of keeping the Conservatives out….? But I am also not a very big fan of Jeremy Corbyn and some of the current stuff the party. :/ I didn’t really have an opinion when he was elected but now I’m just???? annoyed at his actions?? Yeah. Lib Dems seem okay, but I don’t know much about them. I need to research that. I NEED TO RESEARCH EVERYONE. Please don’t hate on me for my vague unformed thoughts haha.

Yeah. One of the things that I would really like to do more this election is GET INFORMED. Having been comparativrly quite politically aware in the run up to the EU Referendum, I didn’t read the news much after that because of feeling sad and also doing stuff over summer. But I would like to have an opinion based on fact which isn’t just looking at social media trends, because I’ve slipped into that and it’s not great. So, I’m going to try and read the news at least three times a week! Hopefully more, but I also don’t want to start checking the news 24/7 and feeling crap about everything, so.

Frankly, I don’t feel great about the current state of the UK, but the only thing I can do is to keep learning and keep talking to people. With that in mind: if you are over 18 and eligible to vote, PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE. Especially if you’re a young person, since the EU referendum turnout wasn’t great for the younger age group. The last date for voter registration is 22 May, which is only a month away. Of course I would hope that you would vote for something I support but I know that loads of people won’t. Above everything: get informed and make a choice. USE YOUR DEMOCRATIC POWER.

I am eternally sad that I can’t yet vote, but that is our current system. I’m so passionate about people using their ability to vote — you have the option to have a say! Please take it! I’ll probably be posting again about the election, whether during or after, so stay tuned.

Playlist: Hey April

I haven’t made a new playlist in what feels like absolutely ages — okay, I just looked it up and AUGUST; I need to find a playlist prompts thing — and I have also been listening to some rad new music lately. This is a bit of a mixed playlist, but I suppose it’s just a collection of songs that make me think of April! I hope you enjoy 😀

hey april playlist cover

Hey April

for the of threading daisy chains on the damp grass. for the ripening citrus summer. for the sun through the clouds as it rains, splintered but bright.
listen on spotify / youtube

i love you (but i’m leaving) – rusty clanton

absolutely smitten – dodie

past lives – børns

don’t take the money – bleachers

happy with me – holychild

bwu – tegan and sara

don’t kill my vibe – sigrid

feel it still – portugal. the man

the wire – haim

edge of town – middle kids

I KNOW. TEN SONGS. More than usual, right? But what can I say, I’ve been hearing some good tunes. Last month was pretty cool for me because I got to go see Dodie on tour with some of my friends which I am STILL SCREAMING ABOUT. Rusty Clanton was the opening act, and I hadn’t heard of him before but I really liked his music, so!

I actually sincerely want to find a music playlist prompts thing, because I used to love doing the one that went around this corner of the blogosphere. MAYBE I SHOULD JUST MAKE ONE. Hmm. *strokes beard*

An Attempt at Organisation // aka #evestudies

an attempt at organisation evestudies

It’s getting close to that time again, the one we all love…exams! *manic laughter* I’m not taking any life-changing exams this summer, but I do have some GCSE mock sort of things, and I also need to be consolidating my work from the last year since we’re halfway through the course already. ARGH.

I’ve done internal exams every summer since I started secondary school, and I’ve vaguely developed an exam technique, but since work has got more serious this year I thought it would be a good idea to ACTUALLY PLAN WHAT I’M GOING TO DO during the Intense Revision Period™. And what better what to cement my plans than by writing a blog post about them? (I also plan to take some pretty pictures of revision materials, because mmmm fineliners.)

If you’re a little curious, the subjects I’m taking in addition to English and Maths are triple Sciences (or whatever it’s called now, I’m not sure haha), Latin, Spanish, Music, and History. Out of all of these, I think I’m probably going to have to work the most on History, Maths, and Latin, but that’s just a guess!

So it’s currently the Easter holidays, and over this period I’m hoping to:

  • look at all the revision lists & specifications, marking how confident I feel about topics
  • check what revision resources my school has put up and, if necessary, print them out
  • organise my folders in a logical manner (not looking at my maths folder….ahaha…)
  • ensure I have all my notes or ask a friend
  • sort out what and how I am going to revise during the Intense Revision Period™ (i.e. revision timetable)
  • write some blog posts for when I get super busy and don’t have the time to love you all *cries*

In addition to this, I also have some homework for various subjects — which includes memorising these summaries we call blob sheets for one of my History topics, eek — but that’s basically what I’m doing for the next little while.

Because I was feeling ~artsy~ this morning, I got out one of the many journals I have sitting in my drawer and made a list of these things for all my subjects! And then I spent like half an hour looking at pretty pictures of bullet journals, productivity amirite. I’m hoping to keep a vaguely regular list of things I need to do in there, and with any luck I’ll also put my revision timetable in there when the time comes. I may as well make work at least a little fun, right?

This has been a fairly short post, but hopefully I’ll be updating you with what I’ve been doing and various methods for studying I’m using in the future! I mean, maybe. I am hoping that writing this will sort of motivate me to keep vaguely organised and not just manically try to scribble down stuff.

how do you study? are you taking any exams soon? do you also have a love of pretty stationery?!?

Is That a Podcast I Hear…? (Maybe)

podcast cover pic.jpg

Yes! I am here with another some-cool-media-I-have-been-enjoying-lately post. What can I say; I’ve been finding some very cool things recently! Today I’m talking about podcasts. It’s taken me a while to get into the podcast format; I tried Welcome to Night Vale and I feel like I am the only person ever who didn’t enjoy it.  I started listening to Serial this time last year, and I’ve also listened to a podfics, but FINALLY I HAVE SEVERAL REGULAR THINGS I LISTEN TO. Even if now I feel like I’m trying to switch between a bunch of different stories at the same time haha. (My iPod Nano from when I was 7 has suddenly become SUPER USEFUL. I love it.)

Witch, Please (listen here) In which two lady scholars discuss the Harry Potter world. OH MY GOD, I LOVE THIS. Every episode is a joy to listen to. As someone who doesn’t especially like literature analysis as school, this actually gets me interested in reading things critically! I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from it, and it also makes me laugh. The hosts Hannah and Marcelle are SUPER RAD. Just in general Witch, Please is completely wonderful and I would wholeheartedly recommend if you have an interest in Harry Potter. Or if you just like listening to cool people. (Also *whispers* Hannah might be coming to London and I WANNA BE ABLE TO GO TO A MEETUP AAH)

The Strange Case of Starship Iris (listen here) This is the only podcast that I’m actually ‘up to date’ on, so to speak — I sort of like not having a large backlog to listen to, even if it means I have to wait for updates. This, too, is QUEER SPACE. (Can you spot a theme haha?) I can’t say too much because #spoilers but TRUST ME, IT IS WORTH YOUR TIME.

The Adventure Zone (listen here) It’s…really weird to go from listening to Witch, Please to this, but THERE IT IS. ‘Four guys play Dungeons & Dragons’ doesn’t really sound like something I’d be interested in, I admit — and the first few episodes required a bit of concentration — but now I just end up walking to school and chuckling to myself slightly. I have no idea what everyone else thinks of me haha. I even kind of enjoy the ad break, which is REALLY WEIRD. I don’t know. It’s cool to have something a bit more lighthearted.

The Penumbra Podcast (listen here) I’m getting through this one a bit slowly because I am super easily creeped out and, like, I don’t want to listen to it when I’m alone in the house haha, but I LOVE EVERYONE. It’s queer space mystery! The characters are super rad! All the voices are SO WONDERFUL, as are the sound effects. In general the production is, like, extremely cool.

do you listen to any podcasts? if so, what would you recommend? (i love new listening material!!)

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.