YALC 2018 Recap

The words 'YALC 2018 recap by twist in the taile' next to a 'Five Years of YALC' tote bag and a pile of books. The top book is Run, Riot.Hi everyone! Over the last 3 days I’ve been attending YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) in London and I wanted to share my recap. Before you say EVE, THIS POST IS SO PROMPT: I’m actually going away this evening so I had to write it right now. Nothing like working under a deadline, right?

I’ve been to YALC twice before, but instead of going only on Saturday, this year I went for all 3 days on my own. It was quite a different experience! I don’t know if I’ll go for 3 days next year since I did get pretty tired and I’m an awkward bean so sometimes I didn’t have anyone to talk to. But I did have lots of fun too.

Friday

The spines of the books Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Starfish. An enamel pin with a cactus and a broken heart is in the foreground.

My first signing on DAy 1 was with Non Pratt. I’ve loved Non’s books for AGES and I’d sadly missed her at the last YALC so I was very happy to get mine signed here! Along with an early copy of her new novel Giant Days, I picked up Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber. I actually read it all in one sitting this morning!

Eve and Non Pratt. Eve wears a yellow t shirt that reads 'maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story'.

Next up was the Can we be friends? panel with Alice Oseman, Gayle Forman, and Lauren Price, moderated by David Owen. I’m so glad there was a panel on friendship, since although I enjoy reading romance, my friendships are far more important in my own life and sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong for not having an epic romance. (Not every teen falls in love, folks!)

I got my books signed by Alice Oseman and David Owen who drew a cool alien in the front. 🙂 I also picked up a sampler for David’s new book, yay! It sounds so good!

The books Giant Days, Done Dirt Cheap and Run, Riot spread out on a flowery duvet.

After wandering around for a bit, I went to the Where will you be in 5 years? panel with Katherine Woodfine, Non Pratt, Sara Barnard and Sally Green. It was really interesting the about the origins of YALC and the careers of all the authors. On a similar topic, I’d also like to note that this weekend we saw some more statistics showing that the number of author of colours in the UK has decreased since 2006, following findings by CLPE that only 1% of children’s books published in the UK featured a BAME main character. You should read this thread by Wei Ming Kam on Twitter on the situation and writers of colour to look out for in the coming years.

Saturday

Saturday began with a rocky start when I forgot to check the trains and realised one of them wasn’t working so had to improvise with public transport. Note to self for future: ALWAYS CHECK THE TRAINS ARE WORKING.

The first panel I went to was Politics on the Page with Alice Skinner, Karen Gregory, Sarah Shaffi, Tom Pollock, Tomi Adeyemi & Yaba Badoe. This was one of my favourite panels of YALC and I found it very inspiring. I’m now keen to read the books of the other authors who I didn’t already know! I wanted to get my copy of Children of Blood and Bone signed but the queue was really long (which is awesome!) so sadly I didn’t get round to it.The books Far From the Tree and A Closed and Common Orbit. The cover of Far From the Tree has illustrations of falling leaves.

Next was the Amongst the Stars, a panel with Becky Chambers, Lauren James, Samantha Shannon & Sasha Alsberg discussing all things space and sci-fi. *whispers* I actually love sci-fi a lot and I wish I read more sci-fi books.

I bought a whole bunch of books today which you can see above and throughout this post! They are: Giant Days, Only Love Can Break Your Heardt, Starfish, Done Dirt Cheap, Run Riot, Far From the Tree, A Closed and Common Orbit, Floored, and Noteworthy.

Finally, I went to the Loud & Proud panel with Josh Martin, Keris Stainton & Simon James Green which discussed LGBTQ+ representation. I’d have liked to see more discussion of identities beyond gay characters but I did get some good recs.

Sunday

On Sunday it RAINED! Finally! The workshop I’d intended to go to was full, so I went to a panel on travel with Cecilia Vinesse, Clementine Beauvais, Emily Barr & Rutendo Tavengerwei which was super interesting. Then I had lunch and headed off to Real world, real me with Akemi Dawn Bowman, Eve Ainsworth, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson & Lydia Ruffles. (Okay, I know this is getting rather factual but trust me, it was good, I’m just tired.) I saw the cover reveal for the Proud anthology which sounds great!

The books Floored and Noteworthy. Floored shows 6 pairs of feet and 1 pair of feet at the side as though lying down. Noteworthy shows a hand holding a microphone.

I also got to meet many online friends like Elm, Helia, Megan and also some wonderful new people! I’m so glad that I got to do this and it was one of the highlights of YALC this year. 🙂 Thanks everyone I met!

Aand that bring me to the end of my YALC recap. I’d also like to point out that there were serious issues with accessibility at YALC (see this thread by @redrocketpanda on twitter for some details) which is completely unacceptable and needs to be improved for next year.

Once more, I’m going away until the 20th without any internet and I won’t be able to reply to any comments, emails or tweets and such. But I do have 2 more posts scheduled, and I look forward to talking to you when I get back!

 

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YALC 2018 TBR

A bookshelf with the YALC logo on top and the text '2018 TBR'.

At the end of this month I’m going to be attending the YA book con YALC and I CANNOT WAIT. I had so many wonderful experiences last year and I hope that it will be just as fun. And for a new year, there are new authors with new and exciting books! Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll make it through this TBR before YALC, but we can always hope.

Cover of A Closed and Common Orbit. Two silhouettes looking up at a red and white star-streaked sky.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers I ADORED the first book in this series so shh, please don’t tell anyone I haven’t read this sequel yet. (And I believe the 3rd book is due to come out just before YALC.) Thank you to Becky Chambers for giving me the space gays I deserve!! (Note: after I wrote this post, I read this review on CandidCeillie which points out issues with the book, in particular with the disability rep.)

Cover of Hope is Our Only Wing. Illustration of a yellow wing next to an orange-tinted photo of a person's face looking outwards. The title is in large block letters.

Hope is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei This is set in Zimbabwe! And it sounds excellent!

Cover of Floored. The subtitle reads 'When seven lives collide'. The legs of 6 people wearing shoes at the top and one pair of legs on the side as though fallen over.

Floored by various authors I nabbed a sampler of this at last year’s YALC and found it very intriguing, so I’m keen to read the rest of the story. Also, WHAT A COLLAB?? I’ve never seen a book co-written by this many people so it’s very exciting.

Cover of A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars. A paint-like illustration of a dark skinned figure in the centre, with flames and waves curving around, and a starry night sky above. In the flames there is a ballerina on a white horse, in the waves a boat, and in the sky a yellow bird.

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe I’ve barely seen anything about this one but it sounds incredible?? The MC Sante is Ghanaian and she has a pet golden eagle and there’s possible some fantastical elements? Also, the cover is beautiful.

Cover of Noah Could Never. A photo of 2 bananas and the title in a crayon font.

Noah Could Never by Simon James Green I just bought this on Kindle and I am very ready. I’m not going to lie, there were some VERY cringey moments in the first book, but I know that it was supposed to be cringe haha, I’m just bad at coping. I saw Simon James Green at an event earlier this year and he made it sound very good.

Cover of The Belles. A glamorous brown-skinned person with flowers in their hair looks back at the camera. The subtitle reads 'the revolution is here' and the title text is disintegrating.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton I know I’m super late to this one!! I really want to read it! It feels like I haven’t read a dystopia in absolutely AGES.

Cover of The Hazel Wood. Illustrations of blue leaves and the text 'Stay away from the hazel wood'

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert I knew this one was on the NYT bestseller list but I still don’t really know what it’s about? A spooky forest? Anyway, I’m sad it’s not in the library but it sounds cool.

Cover of Before I Let Go. A photo of ice which is broken at the top. A red glove lies next to the broken ice.

Before I Let Go Marieke Nijkamp  From the blurb, I’m not sure if this will quite be my thing, but I’d really like to give some of Marieke Nijkamp’s work a try!

Cover of Starfish. Drawings of a jellyfish, turtle and small fish over a starry sky.

Starfish I’ve heard great things about this book and once again I’ve been meaning to read it for AGES. It’s actually on sale as an ebook right now if you’re interested! Alas, I think want to buy it in paperback since it’s a) super pretty and b) I love getting books signed.

Cover of How Do You Like Me Now? Illustration of a person with long hair and red lipstick sitting on the floor next to a mobile and coffee cup.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne I very much enjoyed Holly Bourne’s other work so I’d love to read her first adult novel.

OK, in summary I just think ALLL the books sound incredible and exciting. I’m going to YALC for the whole 3 days and I’m not going with any IRL friends so do let me know if you’re going too and would like to meet up. 🙂

have you added any new books to your tbr lately? do you know any of these?

 

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!

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?

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???

 

February Favourites

The words February Favourites over a purple watercolour splash.

Hi everyone! Wow, it feels so recently that I did my January Favourites but…I guess that’s February for you. I truly cannot WAIT for spring to be on its way, although apparently it might snow here next week so that’s not sounding very likely at the moment.

ink swash 2

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli I’d been meaning to read this for sooo long and was super exited when I saw that it was on sale as an eBook. (It might still be on sale on Amazon UK — you should go check it out.) It was so enjoyable although it kind of made me feel a bit bad about myself since like…I feel like I’m never going to date anyone… But yeah.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black This got me out of a small reading slump which was nice! I haven’t read such a gripping fantasy book in ages and I loved Jude. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Black Panther This movie was AMAZING and I loved it so much! But you don’t need to hear it from me — if you haven’t already, you should read some responses by Black writers such as: The Women of Wakanda are the Real Revolutionaries of Black Panther by Evette Dione, What the Dora Milaje Mean to Black Women by Faridah Gbadamosi, The Women of Wakanda by Britni Danielle, Marvel Misses Another Easy Opportunity for LGBTQ Representation by Charles Pulliam-Moore, and ‘Black Panther’ Is Ready To Take Dark-Skinned Actresses (And Colorism) Seriously by Clarkisha Kent.

The Good Place Yes, I know, I’m kind of late to the party in watching this. But I LOVE IT A LOT. And I’m only on series 1; I have reason to believe that things get kind of wild in series 2 so I’m excited. I adore all of the characters! Also, I feel like there’s some good good opportunity for Tahani/Eleanor content. (Insert the eye emoji here. You know the one.)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman I barely ever enjoy adult books so that was quite a new experience for me. It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read for my school book club, I think.

stuff from around the internet:

  • I made a GCSE science resources masterpost and did the second of my Monthly Mixtapes, Schwarmerei. I also let you all know about my GCSE posting schedule — from now on I plan to post once per week, at the weekend.
  • Ash wrote about period poverty in #ThePeriodParty
  • Alice Oseman revealed the cover of her new book, I Was Born For This, in addition to new matching covers for Solitaire and Radio Silence. And OMG they are beautiful!
  • I watched the trailer for A Wrinkle in Time! Finally! I know I’m like 3 months too late but I thought I’d already watched it. Turned out that was just the teaser trailer and ACTUALLY there was EVEN MORE good content for my to see. But it looks awesome, right?!?
  • I…sucked again at remembering to keep track of the posts I loved. Sorry. I’ve just been kind of too busy and exhausted to keep up with everything.

in the diary:

  • I helped with my school play again! I was doing sound. I was one of only two people in Year 11 helping with it (all the cast were younger than us) but it was still super fun and I’m so proud of the production. Although this is my last show before the sixth form musical next year which is EXCITING but also SCARY. Now I have to learn to use the sound desk somehow 😬
  • Uh, mocks finished? I’m really happy with my results but also now I’m just stressed 24/7 about GCSEs, coursework, and the future. ARGHHHHHHH.
  • Probably some other stuff, but as ever, I struggle to remember. To be honest I feel not great right now. I think I’ve cried every day this week.

how’s your month going? did you see black panther? how’s the weather where you are?

 

 

The Orchestra Book Tag

The words 'orchestra book tag' with a music note icon beside. A photo of the books The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Radio Silence and Warcross in a pile on a checked blue duvet cover.

I love creating new tags even more than I enjoy doing them so I HAVE A NEW TAG EVERYONE. It’s a book tag based on instruments in the orchestra, because I am kind of a music nerd and definitely a book nerd.

Unfortunately I couldn’t include every instrument since a) I didn’t want the tag to be too long and b) I probably couldn’t think of that many things but no personal offence is intended to any instruments. I couldn’t find any tag similar to this so I just decided to go for it — I have no intention of copying another tag but if you find another one around let me know!

How the tag works: link back to this post, if you were tagged then link back to the person who tagged you, do some or all of the questions, and then tag as many more blogs as you like. 🙂 You can also tag it on WordPress with ‘the orchestra tag’ so that it can be found more easily. I’ll put all the questions in a nice, easy-to-copy list at the end.

Conductor

a character likely to mastermind an evil plan

I mean, Kaz Brekker is an obvious answer, but it’s CLEARLY Kaz Brekker. He literally already did this in Six of Crows.

Cover of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Half-burnt matchsticks arranged in a simple house shape (a square with a triangle on top). The title in a brush font inside the house.

 

Violin

a popular book you enjoyed

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (which I believe is a Sunday Times bestseller) for my school book club and I actually…liked it a lot? It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read for school book club.

Cello

a character who surprised you

Daniel from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman! I mean, I love this book DEEPLY so obviously must include it in as many posts as possibly. I didn’t pay too much attention to Daniel at the start of Radio Silence but as the book continued some stuff happened and now I love him a lot.

Viola

an overlooked book

The comic Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Brittney Williams. I absolutely ADORED this comic and I’m so upset that it got cancelled?? I understand it might not be for everyone but I can’t understand the multitude of negative Goodreads reviews because, man, it just clicked with me SO MUCH and I deeply wish more people would know about it so they can love it too.

Cover of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. Two fish hooks arranged in a heart shape over a white scaley background. The title within the heart and the tagline 'Miracles aways come at a price.'

Oboe

a book with an unusual premise

This immediately calls to mind Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, which is about gay magical fish. It sounds weird, and it definitely is weird, but it’s also VERY good. Just trust me.

Clarinet

a book you’d recommend to anyone

(I am personally a clarinetist so obviously I had to include us. Clarinets are very versatile, folks.) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I think this could apply to so many books (and versatile doesn’t necessarily mean a book is better or  anything) but The Loneliest Girl was just such a gripping read for me. Sci-fi has a reputation for being a bit dense but I think this is super easy to understand and enjoy. (Bonus piece of music: have you heard the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata? Isn’t it lovely?)

Flute

a character who stands above the rest

I just read Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence and I loved Indigo, she was such an engaging & interesting character. (Bonus piece of music: Carillion from L’Arlesienne by Bizet. You might have already heard bits of it but it has a Very Nice wind section in the middle which I played in my orchestra.)

Cover of Love, Hate & other filters by Samira Ahmed. A person with brown skin and dark hair in a bun taking a photo with the camera pointed at the reader. They stand in front of a red wall with colourful tessellating patterns at the bottom. The title and author above.

Trumpets

a talked-about book on your TBR

I’ve heard so much about Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed and I just downloaded the eBook to read this week! I’m super excited! (UK readers, it’s on sale on Amazon for only £0.99 which is an amazing deal. This isn’t sponsored, I just love a bargain haha.)

Horn

 

a historical book

I don’t read much historical fiction, but the last historical thing I read was the novella Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant. It’s a historical fantasy which really gave me Howl’s Moving Castle vibes. Also! I love reading books with multiple trans characters! Please give me all the sweet sweet trans books!!

Tuba

a book which strongly informs how you are as a person

(Because tuba is the bass, like a basis for you, get it? I don’t know. Maybe that’s a bit tenuous.) Probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? That might sound pretentious but getting into Les Mis has had a really big effect on my life in terms of affirming my own beliefs and identity.

Cover of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. An old-timey engraving-esque illustration of a boat with two figures riding a wave under a stormy sky. Two animals climb over the gold title text.

Piano

a very long book

I mean, I already banged out the longest book I’ve ever read which was Les Mis (oops), but I wanted to keep this one open for both already read books and those on your TBR. So I’ll go with The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. I loved His Dark Materials when I was younger but I haven’t yet got round to this because I’d like to reread the original trilogy first. I guess I’d better get going… (Bonus piece of music: we’re doing this movement from the Beethoven Pathetique sonata for GCSE music and it is a TUNE.)

Timpani

book which finished with a bang

Hmmm. HMM. (Don’t you just love it when I have to think real hard about answering my own questions?) OH OH I KNOW. Warcross by Marie Lu! This one had me VERY shook. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it but you should 100% read it.

Anyway, during the course of writing this post it has become apparent to me that the left and right alignment of images does not work on my actual blog webpage anymore which is rather annoying. Anyone else getting this?? Or is it just my super old theme?

Never mind — I do hope you enjoyed this tag! Once again, the questions are as follows:

Conductor – a character likely to mastermind an evil plan
Violin – a popular book you enjoyed
Cello – a rich, nuanced character
Viola – an overlooked book
Oboe – a book with an unusual premise
Clarinet – a versatile book you’d recommend to anyone
Flute – a character who stands out from the rest
Trumpets – a talked-about book on your TBR
Horn – a historical book
Tuba – a book which strongly informs how you are as a person
Timpani – a book which finished with a bang
Piano – a very long book

And I’m tagging Lia @ Lost in a Story, Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff, Jess @ Bookends and Endings and anyone else who wants to do it! But there’s absolutely NO pressure, please don’t worry. 🙂

Middlemarch: the Webseries and Novel

Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Exams are really taking it out of me at the moment, to be honest, so I decided to do something fun which is just going to be lots of talking about a thing I’m into recently! And that’s the webseries (and also novel) Middlemarch.

I don’t normally read classic books, particularly ones that were written before the 20th century. In fact, the only other ones I can remember reading are a few Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I can name a few more books that might be considered ‘modern classics’ but in general I do stick to YA and comics.

My love for Les Miserables and Middlemarch have one a lot in common — and one big thing is that I was inspired to read both of them after become a fan of an adaptation. For Les Mis, as you might have guessed, this was the musical adaptation. I love musicals, and I love that musical a lot, but the book was a pretty different experience! In a good way. I don’t think I’d ever have had the motivation to continue reading through these (frankly rather long) books if I wasn’t already invested in seeing more of the characters. I usually fall in love with things for the characters, and that was no exception here.

I decided to read Middlemarch because I had begun watching the wonderful webseries adaptation, Middlemarch: The Series. It’s a super queer modern adaptation set in college which is told through vlogs. You can absolutely watch it without reading the book (as I did for about the first half) and I’d highly recommend it! It gives me SO MANY FEELINGS and it’s now complete if you don’t want to wait around for updates. You can find it here and watch the trailer below.

Having previous knowledge of an adaptation also helps me to get a better understanding of the overall plot and characters. It allows me to pick up on more subtle characterisations which I might have missed or to go ‘ohh, I see which bit this is!’ when I realise what it corresponds to in the adaptation. It makes it just SO for me to connect with the characters I’m reading about.

To be honest, I found the novel rather slow and difficult at the beginning. I missed the queer characters from the webseries and I found the language hard to understand. However, I think a big reason I started enjoying it more is that I put more into the reading. I’m a pretty bad skim reader and especially during books with small writing I find myself turning page after page only to realise I’ve been absorbing absolutely nothing. THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR ME WITH BOOKS LIKE THIS.

Once I made myself read more slowly, take stuff in, and actually think about how that section resonated with me, it worked a lot better, and by the end I was invested and feeling for the characters all over again.

Reading classics is a very different experience for me from reading YA. (Well, I’m sure it is for many people haha.) Some people try to give the sense that you’re only a “proper reader” if you read classics or whatever but that is TOTALLY INCORRECT and you should read whatever you want! Or even not read at all! Personally, I don’t see myself reading lots more classics in the future, but I found reading Middlemarch to be a rewarding and different experience to my normal reading fare. Now I’m back to catching up on the webseries. 😀

As I said, mock exams have been pretty tough for me, so please forgive me for posting with less frequency than usual. I send you good vibes from this rainy day where I am. ❤

do you enjoy classics? what do you think of modern adaptations? have you watched any webseries?

 

New Years Resolutions Book Tag

Hey everyone! Today I’m going to be talking books in this book tag which I saw on Lia’s blog Lost in a Story — thanks Lia for letting me do this! I believe this tag was created by Charr Frears on Youtube but the video has been deleted, so I don’t actually know. That was what I found anyways!

1. An Author You’d Like To Read That You’ve Never Read

I really want to read Muhammad Khan’s debut book, I Am Thunder! It’s released at the end of this month and it sounds like it’s going to be amazing.

Cover of I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan. Red, puple and blue illustration of a girl's face inside a lightning bolt shape. The words 'I am thunder and I won't keep quiet' beside.

2. A Book You’d Like To Read

Hahaha… SO MANY BOOKS. How could I choose! But I just bought Indigo Donut and Autoboyography with my Christmas book token so I’m planning to read those soon.

3. A Classic You’d Like To Read

I hope to read Pride and Prejudice at long last; it’s one of my mum’s favourite books ever and she’s desperate for me to discuss it with her. I’ve been meaning to read it for so long but I just…haven’t quite got round to it. I need to get it out from the library instead of reading my badly formatted digital version haha.

4. A Book You’d Like To Re-Read

Oh gosh! So many options! I’ve been saying this for a while now but I do want to re-read Les Miserables (especially in preparation for the BBC tv show which FINALLY HAS SOME NEWS HECK YEAH). In particular I’d like to try a different translation, if I can find it.

5. A Book You’ve Had For Ages and Want To Read

I picked up an ARC of The Fandom by Anna Day at YALC, but it got buried in my room and I never got round to it. I’ve been hearing positive things though so I look forward to it.Cover of Middlemarch by George Eliot. Painting of an old-timey British countryside and village with two people in the foreground. A black panel at the bottom with the title and author.

6. A Big Book You’d Like To Read

Hmm, this might be cheating a tiny bit, but I’ve almost finished Middlemarch by George Eliot which is almost 900 pages and I am very excited to finish it (although I enjoyed it a lot).

7. An Author You’ve Previously Read and Would Like To Read More Of

Alice Oseman — I adore her book Radio Silence and I am desperate to read her 3rd book, I Was Born For This, which is due to release in spring. I NEED IT SO BADLY.

Cover of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. A wet kitten meowing on a bright yellow background.

8. A Book You Got For Christmas and Would Like To Read 

I’m so excited to read We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. It’s a non-fiction book which is a bit unusual for me, but I’d like to read more essay collections and non-fiction this year.

9. A Series You Want To Read From Start to Finish 

To be honest I don’t really know anything about the Australia trilogy but I can’t actually think of any other series at this time…? Also, I won the 3rd book in this series so I already have it! Which is useful!

10. A Series You Want To Finish That You’ve Already Started

*sweats* I obviously am not reading many series at the moment as I can barely think of any that aren’t still in progress. Perhaps The Young Elites by Marie Lu? I preferred Warcross but I still enjoyed the first two books in this series and would like to complete it.

11. Do You Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do You Want To Read in 2018?

Yes, I do, but I try to keep them achievable — I’ve set my Goodreads goal at 100 books again, which I’m usually able to finish without too much stress.

12. Any Other Reading Goals?

To prioritise reading more books by authors of colour, in particular reading more UKYA books by PoC. I can do a lot more to support and uplift these authors and I know I’m missing out on so many great stories. If you haven’t already, do check out the UKYA novels by British PoC being published in 2018 in this list by Mariam Khan!

I’m not tagging anyone, but if you fancy doing this tag please do go ahead! I have mock exams right now so I’m rather behind on commenting back, but I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are. ❤

do you have any 2018 reading goals? any books you’re excited for? are you reading anything at the moment?

2017: Year in Review

Photo of a hand holding a lit sparkler, with the words '2017 year in review'

It’s that time again when everyone posts their yearly round-ups… That’s right folks, I am here with yet ANOTHER new year themed post! And slightly late! Oh well. 2017 has been a weird one for me. Even Photoshop was being weird whilst I was trying to make this picture, so clearly it agrees.

Looking back at 2017

  • To  begin with, I want to recap my goals from 2016… Firstly, I think I’ve definitely succeeded at doing more LGBTQ+ related things! I can see this concretely in that: I attended my first ever Pride parade, starting going to school LGBTQ+ society, and generally just felt a lot more positive in my queer identity. 2016 was a year of discovering myself, and I feel that 2017 has been me actually kind of living that. I mean, I still have a LOT of stuff going on (especially re: my gender which is CONFUSING) but, yeah. I’m so happy about this.
  • Secondly, I feel that have made some strides forward in making positive changes in the world. This year the podcasts Witch Please and Secret Feminist Agenda were SUPER important to me; I really do feel that they have given me hope and inspired me to strive to be a better person and ally. I also continued with my Action for Change project on LGBTQ+ history which I enjoyed a lot. 🙂 I still have a long way to go (I mean it’s kind of an eternal process) in being a good ally but I hope that I’ve educated myself more this year.
  • In terms of self-care and mental health, this year has been pretty rocky. To be frank, I’ve experienced some of my biggest lows ever in 2017. I’ve had several breakdowns and even this holiday I’ve been feeling very sad. I’ve tried to take care of myself, but I want to do this even more going forward in 2017.
  • Blogging has also been patchy. Year 11 has been hitting me harder than I’d thought, leading to me taking a hiatus, and I also haven’t been great at commenting. But you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes we don’t achieve our goals, because things change, and it doesn’t make us terrible people.
  • My most popular posts this year were LGBTQ+ History in Schools, Yes, I Love YA, and The Spring Has Sprung book tag. My collab post Les Mis v Hamilton (with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages) from last year was also pretty popular, which is cool to see. Bonus posts: queer girl media recs and 7 #relatable clarinet things.
  • However! I have consumed some WONDERFUL art this year: I’ve continued to read many great books, got way more into podcasts, also got into comics, and of course kept listening to rad music. I am so grateful for all this art because, honestly…it keeps me going. I need art so much.

Looking forward to 2018

  • I want to do things with love. I don’t want to do some crappy ‘love saves everything’ thing because that’s just wrong, but personally I want to bring more love and care into my life. By this I mean: bringing a sense of love to caring for myself, putting in time and effort in my relationships, criticising things I love because I love them and not in spite of it.
  • Further elaborating on the theme of self care, I want to look after myself better. The next year is going to be hard and I need to practise self care ESPECIALLY when I feel bad to stop me spiralling into terribleness. I’ve designated specific phone-free times because constantly scrolling through social media does not really help me. But at the same time I don’t want self care to be a chore, so. UGH it’s hard!
  • I want to keep enjoying art! I’m super excited to be able to experience new things in 2018 — I’m seeing both Hamilton and the Cursed Child which I am EXTREMELY excited and grateful for. I hope to read some wonderful books — I am currently very excited for Alice Oseman’s book 3, hopefully out in spring — as well as comics, movies, podcasts, music, TV and so on. This also includes making my own art, which has rather been put to the back burner due to school & mental health, but nevertheless I hope to continue with it.
  • I want to make new friends & meet old ones. I hope to be attending YA Shot and YALC in 2018 and I want to meet up with bookish friends! I’d also love to make some new friends, and if possible meet some internet friends in real life because I think that’d be super cool. 🙂
  • This one is rather vague, but I want to experience new things. I have a lot of ~new and exciting~ things coming up in the future, like going to sixth form, big exams, prom, a bunch of people leaving school, my trip to Ecuador with Guides (!!), turning 17… It’s gonna be a WILD TIME, y’all.

wow that was a deep dive into my brain! how was your 2017? do you have any goals for 2018?