YALC 2017 Recap

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Okay, this post is going to be SUPER late by the time I’m able to post this, but NEVER MIND. On Saturday 28th July I was lucky enough to be able to attend YALC, the con in London for young adult books! And here is my round up of what I got up to!

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I attended YALC on the Saturday in 2015 but this year was SO MUCH BIGGER. The main difference I could see was that there were loads more stalls — publishers, authors, other bookish or nerdy companies — in addition to the panels and workshops. Although I’d been basically looking forward to it since the summer before when I’d missed it, I was pretty anxious. (Also, last time I went to a con I brought the wrong ticket which was yikes.) I think that did detract from my day a bit but I couldn’t really do anything about it.

 

When I arrived at about 9am, I basically just checked out the area. I managed to get my hands on the very last copy of Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz which I was very smug about. I also bought The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and picked up a proof of The Fandom by Anna Day & Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki as well as SO MANY free samplers and other swag. I didn’t want to take all my new books away with me so sadly I’ve only read The Loneliest Girl so far but I ADORED IT, and I’m super excited to read the others! These actually ended up being the only books I got (apart from Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger from the book swap). I do sort of regret not buying more books to be honest, but I had just had a mini haul in order to buy books to get signed at YALC, so. I also purchased a YALC 2016 t shirt even though I wasn’t there in 2016 because, well, I wanted a t shirt and liked the 2016 design more. 😛

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samplers I picked up

Next I met up with my friend who was a bit late due to sleeping in (#relatable am I right) (or not for me because I wake up at like 7am every single day) we headed off to the Publishing 102 workshop in the Agent Arena. 5 different people working in the literary and oublishing industry, from editor to designer to librarian, told us about their jobs and answered any questions. To be honest I don’t think I’ll work in publishing but it’s good to keep my options open and I thought it was really interesting! It must be really cool to work on such iconic book designs like The Fault in Our Stars which have become very important & recognisable in fandom spaces and stuff.

Next up after a very long queue for the toilets (okay but…why did they only have like 4 toilets for such a busy convention) was the Genre Bending panel with Zen Cho, VE Schwab, Ben a, Samantha Shannon and also two other people I didn’t know. I found it a bit difficult to hear from where I was but it was very interesting to hear about different genres and what genres actually are. 

Right after this I attended the Unconventional Romance panel with Ayisha Malik, Paige Toon, Patrice Lawrence & Jennifer E Smith. I enjoyed it, and it was cool to hear from Ayisha Malik because I’d bought her book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to read whilst away so that got me excited. (Also, oh my goodness, I really need to read Indigo Donut.) Some parts were better than others and also, hi, it is I a tiny ace teenager who has never fallen in love so that’s not universal but yeah.

yalc 2017 books
books I got signed

I wish that I’d understood more about the Virtual Queueing system and got my VE Schwab and Laini Taylor tickets in between those two panels as then I’d have been able to get my stuff signed, but sadly I had to skip getting my Laini Taylor books signed because the queue was just too long. However, I did get my books signed by Lauren James, Zen Cho, and later on VE Schwab which I’m so happy about!

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galactic makeover time

Whilst waiting I got a fun galactic makeover, themed to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, so here I am all sparkly for you. Fun fun.

Now the Teen Bloggers Chat meetup! I was SUPER excited for this & I was very sad to arrive late, sorry guys. But, you know, I really did want those VE Schwab books signed. I was a bit of an awkward bean but it was so lovely to meet everyone, and I hope we can meet again at some point (???).

After this I headed off to the Books That Made Me panel with VE Schwab, Joanne Harris & Laini Taylor. I hadn’t realised it was going to be about, like, formative books you’ve read? So that was a surprise. But it was still cool. And finally I stayed to the end to watch Non Pratt shave her head for charity, and also to not see Benedict Cumberbatch because I didn’t realise what was going on. I thought I didn’t care but APPARENTLY I DO STILL CARE.

Overall I had a fab time, despite being a bit stressed and anxious, and I hope that I can attend again to see YALC grow even more. Now go check out some fab recaps by Jess @ Bookends and Endings and Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf, and you can also watch video footage of ME in the wild at the #teenbloggerschat meetup. Please do link your YALC recap below, I’d love to read it!

did you go to yalc? have you been to another book event? would you like to?

PS. I know I’m technically on hiatus, but I thought it would be a good idea to post this whilst YALC was still vaguely fresh in our minds. I plan to be fully returning at the end of August with my summer favourites. 🙂

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

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It might be a little past mid-year, but PFFT. All of summer is basically the same, right? 😉 Thanks so much to Bex @ My Shelf & Myself for tagging me, and can we all just take a second to appreciate that amazing blog name. 😍 Now onto the books!

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

the hate u give

OH MAN. I have no idea how to choose! I think that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Release by Patrick Ness, Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg and Our Dark Duet & A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab are among my favourites so far.

Best sequel of 2017 so far

a conjuring of light

I just finished Lord of Shadows which I loved, and I also adored Our Dark Duet, but I’d have to say A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab. I love the world & characters so much and reading that book was just such a thrilling experience. It made me so glad that I can have such awesome fan experiences.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

want cindy pon

Want by Cindy Pon sounds SO EXCELLENT. It’s a scifi book set in the futuristic Taiwan! Which is super cool! I would really like to read more scifi that isn’t a futuristic UK/US. Also, the cover is SO NICE.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

the loneliest girl in the universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I adored The Next Together duology by Lauren James and I am so excited for her new novel! I’ve been snooping around on Tumblr where the author is posting related stuff and…I think there’s going to be fandom? SCI FI FANDOM HECK YEAH. I am also SUPER EXCITED for Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore.

Biggest disappointment

railhead

Railhead by Philip Reeve was one of the books I was most excited for on the Carnegie list. It started off with a cool premise — SCIFI, TRAINS, STEAMPUNK — but I ended up not really being engaged with the storyline or characters. I also maintain that the future is definitely more queer, okay?

Biggest surprise

the smell of other people's houses
I wasn’t expecting to like The Smell of Other People’s Houses but I actually ADORED and DEVOURED it.  It’s set in 70s Alaska which I didn’t know much about at all, and it tells the story of a bunch of different teenagers and the way their lives intersect. I LIKE THESE KINDS OF CROSSING STORIES A LOT, OKAY.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

bone gap laura ruby
Laura Ruby already has some books released, but Bone Gap was the first novel I’d read by her, and I enjoyed it a lot! I look forward to reading any new works of hers. 🙂

Newest favourite character

the last beginning
There was also a question here for ‘newest fictional crush’ but I don’t get crushes haha, so I merged it with my favourite character! I adore both Clove and Ella from The Last Beginning by Lauren James. I LOVE READING ABOUT QUEER GIRLS IN STEM IT MAKES MY HEART SING WITH JOY. I’m also still in love with Kell and Lila and Rhy but hey, that’s not new. 😉

Book that made you cry

release patrick ness
I don’t think I actually cried whilst reading it (because I am a stone cold human who never cries reading books) but Release by Patrick Ness made me feel a lot of emotions. It was just one of those books that reminded me so much of my own feelings — in a way that was both painful and wonderful? (Our Dark Duet)

Book that made you happy

and a happy new year
The Spinster Club series by Holly Bourne has always given me a lot of joy, adn the series finale …And a Happy New Year? was no exception. Of course there was no shortage of crises, and it wasn’t a completely happy ending, but it reminded me of how awesome feminism and friendship are.

Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year

a monster calls
I think the only book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year is A Monster Calls? (Based on the book by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd.) It wasn’t my favourite movie ever, but I thought the filming was very pretty & it made me feel all the things.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

Erm, I don’t actually write reviews! Maybe I can go through my Goodreads and find one, wait… Okay, no, I don’t know how to search through and read this.

Most beautiful book you bought or received this year

girl of ink and stars
Alas, I only borrowed it from the library, but The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is SO BEAUTIFUL in its physical form. Not only is the cover beautiful — the pages are also such nice quality & there are map illustrations and GAH SO NICE. Also, I bought my friend a new 20th anniversary Ravenclaw copy of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone and to be honest I thought that was pretty awesome.

Books you need to read by the end of this year

when dimple met rishi

OH MY GOODNESS. SO MANY. SO MANY.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon I have this on my Kindle & I’m going to read it on holiday!
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore AAAH I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED THIS BUT I’M SO EXCITED.
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash This was only just released in the UK, aah, and it sounds wonderful.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee Webseries creator! Internet people! Asexual characters!
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee I’ve been meaning to read this for ages becayse it sounds AWESOME.
And also a TON more because ALL THE BOOKS YESSSSS. I couldn’t possible fit them all on here. 😛

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I’m not tagging anyone because a) as some of you might know I find tagging people a bit stressful haha and b) it is, erm, not really mid-year anymore, so I’d feel a bit awkward. I do hope you enjoyed this post!

how has your bookish year been so far? do you have a favourite book of 2017 yet?

YALC 2017 TBR

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In a month’s time I’m going to be attending YALC, the UKYA book con in London, and I am SO SO EXCITED. There are so many cool authors attending! And it looks like I have a lot of reading to do in the month to come if I want to be caught up on the authors present… I started making this TBR but I had so many books that I had to cut down, so this isn’t an extensive list but rather the ones I thought sounded post interesting.

unconventional

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt Is that title a con pun? Yes, yes it is. This book is being billed as the UKYA Fangirl which makes me very excited! I adore nerd stories! I also recently spotted this in the library which is rad.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I’ve been wanting to read this for SO LONG but it’s not in the library and the hardcover is kind of expensive, eek. I might just have to give in, though; I adore Laini Taylor’s writing and this sounds amazing.

the fallen children

The Fallen Children by David Owen I’m not sure if I’ll be creeped out by the supernatural themes — I believe it’s a retelling of The Midwich Cuckoos? — but the concept sounds super cool. It actually crossed my radar after Alice Oseman recced it! Plus, the paperback comes in loads of different copies, which is fun.

girlhood

Girlhood by Cat Clarke Cat Clarke is one of my longest UKYA loves — I used to read a lot of her books on Kindle! But I don’t have any in physical form which is super sad. Anyway, I’m keen to read this thriller, and I think it also might also have LGBTQ+ characters? *thumbs up*

barefoot-on-the-wind

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott Another author I used to read a lot of when I was younger! I heard Zoe Marriott talk about this at YA Shot (it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in fairytale Japan) and it really persuaded me, so I hope to finally get my hands on it.

sorcerer to the crown

Sorcerer to the Crown & The Terracotta Bride, both by Zen Cho Okay, so I’m kind of cheating and putting two in one… But I REALLY WANT TO READ THEM BOTH, EEP.  I haven’t been reading much fantasy recently so I’d really like to read Sorcerer to the Crown, and I’ve heard cool things about The Terracotta Bride. Also, um, ‘robot reincarnation in the Chinese afterlife’? SIGN ME UP.

doing it

Doing It by Hannah Witton I’m not a massive YouTube-watcher but I do think Hannah Witton is super cool, and I hope I get to meet her! I’m not personally super interested in sex but I think it’s important to learn about relationships & other issues, so yay!

truth or dare

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt I adore Non Pratt’s other books, and I’m very excited to read this! I’ve actually already bought a copy of it from the bookshop and I was so excited when I picked it up because OMG THERE’S TWO COVERS ON TWO SIDES. YOU FLIP THE BOOK AROUND TO READ THE SECOND HALF. Cool, right?! Yeah, I totally go in for gimmicks, what can I say. *shrugs* Plus, I believe it has an ace aro character which is AWESOME.

needlework

Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan I hadn’t heard anything about this book before looking at the YALC author list, but I had a peek at the blurb and it sounds fascinating! Hopefully I can get hold of  a copy at some point because also the cover is soo gorgeous.

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Open by Gemma Cairney I actually met Gemma Cairney when I spoke at the WoW festival on Southbank which was very exciting!! To be honest, I still can’t really believe that happened. This sounds like another rad non-fiction book — and I am trying to read more non-fiction at the moment. 🙂

I definitely have a lot of reading to do if I’m going to make any progress in my TBR over the next month, haha. *sweats a bit* HELP ME, Y’ALL.

are you going to yalc? would you like to? have you read any of these?

TBR Update // books with lgbtq+ characters

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

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

wild beauty

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

little & lion

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

we are okay

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

queens of geek

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

peter darling

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

our own private universe

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

juliet takes a breath

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

the midnight star

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

the color purple

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

tash hearts tolstoy

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

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

Spring Favourites!

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Yes! We are reaching the start of summer which means TIME FOR A SPRING ROUND-UP. Today it has been very warm and I am generally feeling happy, which…well, makes a change. You may notice that I’m missing my usual picture with all my favourites; this is due to a combination of a) I don’t have loads of time now because reVISION *flails arms* and b) I don’t have any physical objects to arrange this time so it would just, be like, photoshopped images. And I’m not good enough to do make all of that work.

1. Twelfth Night I saw this play at the National and WOAH it was so good! The production was honestly stunning — as in, like, the set was beautiful and the live music was beautiful. It was just so pleasing to the senses. Malvolia was…really different to what I was expecting, and two years since reading the play I am still mad at the ending, but overall I loved it a lot.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas I couldn’t stop thinking about this book, even once I had put it down. Beautiful, writing, a powerful story — it definitely lived up to the hype, and it’s one of my best reads I can remember.

3. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg To be honest, I initially downloaded it because it was cheap on Kindle, but I ended up enjoying it a lot! I NEED TO GET THE SEQUEL NOW, GODAMMIT.

4. Dodie Soooo, in March I was lucky enough to be able to see Dodie on her UK tour with my friends, and it was SO FUN. I’d actually never been to a concert before, and it was so lovely to see Dodie just generally being wonderful and great and music. The band, including the warm-up act Rusty Clanton, were also great, and now I’ve been introduced to some new music!

5.The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla I’ve wanted to read this for a while, so I was really excited to see it the school library! Each essay was different, but each one brought something different, and made me think hard.

6. Las Chicas del Cable Both me & my mum are learning Spanish, so we decided to watch this show on Netflix about women in 1920s Madrid. (It is dubbed, but I’m watching in Spanish with English subtitles.) The production is just gorgeous, and although at times it feels a bit melodramatic there is feminism and queer women and so much to love!!

7. Hidden Figures Aaah! This was awesome! It was great to see the stories of these super smart & inspiring black women told, and I also feel like a learnt History Stuff. *nods*

around the internet:

in the diary:

  • Well, I had a music exam… It didn’t go quite to plan, but I think I still passed, so fingers crossed! I might even get my results by the time this post is actually published. *winces a little at the thought*
  • We had a big family gathering for my aunt’s 60th birthday over the bank holiday, which was super nice because we rarely ever get together — my mum is one of 7 — and I got to see my super cute little cousins!
  • Exams are coming up so, erm, I have some fun revision to look forward to. -_-
  • I managed to survive my overnight walk for cadets at school, which I’m pretty pleased about! I’m rather ache-y now, but we did walk 35k, and our team only got super lost once which I think is impressive haha.
  • I went to a Witch, Please meetup! *screams a bit* Although I had to leave early, it was SO COOL AND WONDERFUL.
  • ALSO IT WAS EUROVISION. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND EXCELLENT and basically just a nice thing in the not-great world. Plus, I managed to convince my friends to be Eurovision fans, hehe 😉
  • Probably some other stuff happened, but quite frankly I can’t remember it at this point. I’m off to see the new Studio Ghibli movie The Red Turtle tomorrow, which I’m rather excited for.

how have you been? seen any good movies recently? are you taking any exams?

Les Mis: A Crash Course

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This April marked two years since I fell down the rabbit hole of Les Miserables, and by extension many other musicals. TWO YEARS. It feels like a long time ago. I’ve changed a lot since then. Les Mis became, and still is, a really important part of my life!

Thus, to mark the occasion I bring you my guide to Les Mis, for people who know nothing about Les Mis. I am currently listening to the musical and I am READY FOR THIS.

so what is it???

Les Mis refers to the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, covering a failed revolution and a reformed convict in 19th-century Paris, and its subsequent adaptations, most notably the Broadway/West End musical.

les misérables, the book

les miserables book

Our journey begins with the novel Les Misérables-with-the-e-acute novel by French author Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The main characters are:

  • Jean Valjean, an escaped convict leading a life of extreme coincidences. Stole a loaf of bread.
  • Javert, the policeman hunting him for breaking parole. He was born with scum like you. Lawful but…well. Misguided.
  • Fantine, a kind & lovely girl who got abandoned by this guy and ended up in prostitution.
  • Cosette, her blessed daughter and my wife. Sappy, but hates not being told stuff. Deserved better from the musical.
  • Marius Pontmercy, a rich boy who get thrown out by his family and then lives as a poor student in Paris. He’s an absolute nerd and he loves Cosette. One time he hit his head for two hours against a tree.
  • Eponine Thenardier, a girl born into a not good family but doing her absolute best to kick your ass and overcome her unrequited crush on Marius.
  • Also some students called Les Amis de l’ABC. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll probably only know their leader, Enjolras. (He’s the guy in red.) However, if you go into the book internet fandom, you’ll probably find it focuses more around these students. If you only know the musical you probably haven’t heard of them, but never fear. I’ll cover them in more detail later.

It’s a pretty long book, but I do think if you love Les Mis then it’s worth it! Lots of people call it The Brick due to…well, its very brick-like nature as a book. (That is to say, it’s very long.) Other things you might need to know are the Infamous Waterloo Section, which is an essentially an essay about Waterloo,  and the time that Valjean broke out of a convent in a grave. There are many different translations, ranging from modern (Donougher, ose) to old-timey but free (Hapgood). You can even do a Les Mis tour of Paris in which you visit the original sites. DON’T WORRY, I’M COMING TO THE STUDENTS.

les amis de l’abc

Yeah, I’m giving them a separate section because I LOVE THESE KIDS. The main things you need to know are that they have an extremely minimal/sometimes even non-existent part in the musical and…still quite a comparatively small part in the book. HOWEVER THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOLICALLY. (Or so I hear.)

Anyway. They all like jokes, and their name is a French pun (for l’abaisse which is apparently like the abased/degraded, thanks internet). They have so many French puns. I don’t even understand them most of the time. From the sometimes few information Victor Hugo gives us, the fandom has sort of interpreted personalities, which somehow absorb into one’s brain through Collective Fandom Knowledge, which is pretty epic.

  • Enjolras, who as Victor Hugo goes to great pains to tell us about is Very Very Handsome. His girlfriend is France. (I’m telling you. This is a canon joke.)
  • Combeferre is very chill, but will outsmart you. His main book attribute is just be SUPER SMART.
  • Courfeyrac sometimes acts like a douchebag but has a good heart. (This part is also actually canon. Maybe paraphrased, but.) Probably would be the lead singer of an indie band if he was alive today. Ray of annoying sunshine. These first three make up the ‘triumvirate’, which seems to basically just be a fancy word for group of 3.
  • Grantaire, the drunk cynic who goes on long drunk rants about intellectual things that I don’t understand. In unrequited love with Enjolras. (I don’t want to spoil you, and you know, interpretation and all, but there are some pretty gay moments.)
  • Jean Prouvaire, or Jehan, is the shy poet who actually has Many Opinions, probably would wear a flower crown.
  • Bahorel, who would probably either get in a fight or do other dumb stuff for the memes.
  • Feuilly, an optimistic orphan who works super hard. (Not actually a student, but still part of the group.)
  • Bossuet, whose name is based on another obscure French joke and can’t grow any hair. Always smiling but has terrible luck. Also known as Lesgle, L’aigle de Meaux… I mean, I don’t eve know how we got here.
  • Joly, a hypochondriac medical student who is a cinnamon roll.
  • Musichetta, a ‘superb and literary girl’ whom Joly is wild over. She can wreck you.
  • Oh yeah, Marius is also part of this gang but he’s definitely not the leader as the musical suggests. He’s a TERRIBLE revolutionary.

Excuse me whilst I feel a bit emotional here. This hasn’t included Eponine, Gavroche, and Cosette, who I sometimes group with them just for ease even if they’re not technically of the ABC, but OH WELL. MY KIDS. ;-; And just for good measure, here is an amusing post of “Les Amis as stuff the students living next door to me have done”.

les mis, the musical

les mis musical.png

This is probably the more well-known and accessible form of Les Mis. It’s a very popular sung-through musical now, but when it was released the critics were like OMG NO IT’S TOO SAPPY AND TRAGIC. I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? are among the best-known songs. The Confrontation, a duet between Valjean and Javert, is also very much a jam in my personal opinion. However, the musical does cut a lot of the book, in particular Les Amis, the details of Valjean’s life and Cosette being an absolute badass.

Some things you should know about various different forms and productions:

  • The original French concept version is SUPER different and even features a…disco version of Red and Black? Which is pretty hilarious to be honest.
  • Original cast is rad. I would recommend.
  • Other cool things to watch/listen to are 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary, although a word of warning: Nick Jonas plays Marius is 25th anniversary and he is nOT GOOD.
  • The 2012 movie made the musical a lot easier to follow than just listening to a cast album, which is great! Personally I think that after listening to cast recordings, the musical singing definitely isn’t as good *coughs*Javert*coughs* but you can get a solid idea of the story. (I saw this before I saw anything else.) I actually think Eddie Redmayne is a solid Marius. Sadly they cut some parts from the musical, but. Grantaire has a veeery small part in this but his actor George Blagden appears to be, like, a complete Les Mis nerd? which I still find amazing? (Like, is that an Enjolras/Grantaire fansong on Youtube? IS IT??)
  • It did produce this TRULY EXCELLENT VIDEO, which I am just going to embed for good measure:
  • I’ve also listened to some of a Spanish version, Los Miserables and I liked it a lot! I still think this version or Red and Black is super excellent. (I’ve fallen into the hole of watching Les Mis in different languages, and now I’m watching Daniel Diges in Les Mis Brasil? I mean, who even knows anymore.
  • I haven’t watched many Les Mis Broadway things since of course I’m nearer to the West End production, but this performance at the Tonys is wonderful! I particularly think Eponine, Marius, Enjolras, and Valjean are great. ❤ (That was like…half the people haha. THEY’RE ALL GREAT.)
  • There’s probably a lot more stuff I could say, to be honest, and I will undoubtedly regret not putting something in later, but OH WELL. Here’s an In The Heights/Les Mis mashup.

tv series???

Last year the BBC announced they were making a (non-musical) Les Mis miniseries, written by Andrew Davies, and in February this year he stated that he had just finished writing the first draft. It’s due to air next year, and for one I am very interested to see what it comes up with! I even wrote about the stuff I’d love to see them put in if you want to check it out. 😉 Other Les Mis-related content of mine includes a Jehan cosplay tutorialLes Mis v Hamilton fandom battle, and the Les Mis book tag.

There are, of course, many other adaptations, including several movies, radio plays, and TV series, and it’s very easy to fall into the hole of internet searching. As you can perhaps see by my myriad of links and 1.5k post on this topic. (Me, a Les Mis fan? I mean, maybe a bit.)

do you like musicals? what do you think about les mis? is there a particular fandom which is important to you?

The Goodreads Book Tag

goodreads book tag.jpg

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

girl of ink and stars

What was the last book you marked as read?

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

the stars at oktober bend

What are you currently reading?

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

Do you use the star rating system?

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

Are you doing the 2017 reading challenge?

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

Do you have a wishlist?

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

Who are your favorite authors?

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

Have you joined any groups?

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

How many Goodreads shelves do you have?

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

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

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

Yes, I Love YA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spring Has Sprung Book Tag

spring has sprung book tag.jpg

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

a tale for the time being

FLOWERS 

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

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

all the bright places

GRASS

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

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

aristotle and dante

RAIN

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

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

a conjuring of light

DEW

What book made you feel alive?

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

far from you tess sharpe

STORMS

What book did you find unpredictable?

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

bone gap laura ruby

RAINBOW

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

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

hhhh

CHILLY WEATHER

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

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

white-cat

WARM WEATHER

What book did you love and want more of?

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

the hate u give

GREEN

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

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

remix non pratt

PINK

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

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

everything leads to you

PURPLE

What book makes you feel safe when you read it?

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

asking for it

ORANGE

What book do you feel is intelligently written?

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

nimona cover

YELLOW

What book puts a smile on your face?

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

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

Winter Favourites!

YES, I AM ALIVE. HI. Yes. Onto favourites it is. Just as I am getting tired of winter, it feels like spring is about to arrive… I can’t wait to have a few less grey and cold days haha. December feels like SO LONG AGO. But here we are, and I must press forwards!

image

1. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour I feel like I’ve read a lot of great books recently, but I loved this one a lot!! It was so aesthetic and lovely and yay for happy queer girls! I thought Emi’s movie production thing was super cool and in general this was just a very happy read for me.

2. Rent I’ve been a fan of Rent for a while, and I was so overjoyed to hear that it was going on a UK tour! (Because it hasn’t been showing anywhere for a good while.) I went to see it at the end of December and aaah it was so excellent! The cast absolutely KILLED it — I was going to list the actors I thought stood out here, but then I kind of started to list them all? — the set was awesome, and overall it just really added to my experience of the cast recording and movie. I’m still flailing.

3. Podcasts I CAN’T FIT EVERYTHING INTO MY POST, noo! I feel like I am basically the only person ever who didn’t enjoy Welcome to Night Vale — I mean, it was cool, but I found it too creepy to listen to alone in the house or at night, which is basically when I listen to podcasts. (They’re great for cleaning.) But I have found others, and I am slowly but surely making my way through Witch, Please, The Adventure Zone, and Penumbra Podcast — all of which are wildly different but each excellent in their own way. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them! (Although bear in mind it takes me forever to listen to things haha.)

4. Your Name Oh man, THIS MOVIE. THIS MOVIE. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in absolutely ages. It’s an anime movie, but as with many Ghibli movies the animation is the medium for a really excellent piece of art. (Although the animation was also part of that art.) It starts off kind of like Freaky Friday, with a girl in the country and a boy in Tokyo switching lives but then MORE STUFF HAPPENS. It did exactly something that I look for — seeking out one of those weird indescribable feelings, the ones that give you an ache in your chest. I can’t recommend this highly enough, to be honest. (The soundtrack is also absolutely excellent.)

5. A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab Yeah, no, just excuse me whilst I GO DIE A LITTLE BIT. It’s so, so weird to think that this series is done with — although perhaps I do not flail about it as much as other things, I love it a lot! It’s just so…GOOD. Aah I don’t want to let the characters nooooo. *cries* But if the series had to end, then I think it was in the best way possible.

6. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency I KNOW. I watched a whole TV show in under a month?? Crazy, right?! I’m really terrible at finishing TV shows, but for some reason I found this really easy to watch, and I loved it a lot! Dirk Gently is a smol cinnamon roll. He and Todd are definitely detective boyfriends. Farah and Amanda are definitely detective/awesome person girlfriends. I fully expect this from the next series, okay?

7. Skam I feel kinda bad putting this on here because I haven’t watched all of it — I am just bad at finding TV shows, but yeah. I will watch the other series! Because Noora is beautiful and wonderful and I definitely need to see more of her! I did enjoy the episodes that I’ve watched, though. (I’m also midway through watching Yuri on Ice, which is wonderful. I shall update when I am finished!)

8. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore I know that I’ve already put this in my various wrap-ups, but MAN IT WAS SO GOOD. I got it for Christmas and it was everything I’d hoped for: magical prose, engaging and complex characters, and again something that really made me feel, deeply. I feel like this is getting really highbrow for a favourites post, but NEVER MIND.

stuff from around the internet:

in the diary:

  • A lot of stuff happened! There was Christmas, when I saw all my family which was really nice. My friends & I also had a stall at our school Christmas fair which was fun, and we managed to raise some money for charity. 🙂
  • I did some technical stuff for my school play which was really exciting… I mean, My job was basically to press the buttons for the cues at the right time, but it’s actually SUPER DIFFICULT and I now have a lot of respect for people who do technical stuff. Although it was quite stressful I’m very glad I did it, especially since a bunch of my friends were there too! (Hopefully I will next year too?)
  • I attended the Women’s March on London, which made me motivated to do stuff. *nods* I also wrote about it if you wish to read!
  • Probably also some other stuff. But I am rather sleep-deprived right now and haven’t written a post in what feels like a very long time, AAH.

how have your last few months been? have you read/seen/listened to anything I mentioned here? how are you doing?