Frank(er) thoughts.

Top Ten Books in my Beach Bag

Top Ten Tuesdays

This title week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is probably a little bit ambitious for me, but I SHALL FIGHT THE ENGLISH WEATHER, I promise! I’ll just have to, you know, sit huddled in my little beach tent on Camber Sands. In my jumper. And coat. And hat. (Okay, maybe not that last bit. But you get the idea.) Without further ado, here’s my ten books I think would make great beach reads!

dangerous girls
1. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas This might not be a good example to follow (what, like murder doesn’t make the best holidays?) but it’s really fun to read. You’ll race through it, and then you will scream. Whether in disbelief or fear, it’s hard to say.

the selection
2. The Selection by Kiera Cass Sparkleeess let me devour you like an episode of that awful singing competition. (I’m not kidding, this book has the same effect as the X Factor. A guilty pleasure/relaxation sort of thing in literary form.)

it's so fluffy

anna and the french kiss
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Cutesy, cutesy, cutesiness. Gushing heroines, tooth-rotting fluff and horrendous British accent descriptions are abound, but still. Beach reads are for trashy books, and this is a good kind of a trashy.

attachments rainbow rowell
4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell YOU WERE NEVER GOING TO GET AWAY WITHOUT ONE OF THESE. To be honest, I could have chosen any of Rainbow Rowell’s books (go read them all right this instance) but this for me was the most cute and light-hearted. I find it hard to read Fangirl anymore without craving October.

geek girl
5. Geek Girl by Holly Smale Harriet can be wince-inducing, but we laugh at her expense. (Wilbur is literally real-life Magnus Bane minus warlock powers. Well, I mean, not real life per se, but…yeah, no.)

magnus bane

clockwork angel
6. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare Speaking of Magnus Bane. The master of compelling books. (I liked TID a lot more than TMI.)

the maze runner
7. The Maze Runner by James Dashner This series has some gaping flaws – if you’re particular about writing styles, you might want to stay away – but the action should be enough to keep you going. Again, it’s a sort of good kind of trashy.

 

Throne of Glass
8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I mean, we already knew how much I love this book. But it feels like it would be such a beach read for me.

shadows on the moon
9. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Zoe Marriott’s books are the weirdest things for me? They all seem to feel so…created. Like they’re al debut novels. It’s so strange. I think it might just be my initial perception. Strange auras aside, they’re lovely to read; here, have a kick-ass vengeful Cinderella fused with some Japanese history and fantasy.

divergent
10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
There’s a reason popular books are popular. If you haven’t already read this series, go do so now; it wasn’t the most fulfilling read, but I absolutely devoured it. (It’s also okay if you miss a page or so. Or it gets destroyed by sand or something, because the cover is NO.)

Are you going anywhere sunny for the holidays? What would be your picks?

The Book Lover’s Questionnaire Tag

Book lover's questionnaire

I was tagged for this a positive age ago – I’m sure we all know how great I am at keeping up with tags! ;) – by the lovely Galloping Free. Revision is still being pesky, as ever, so I thought I’d have some fun doing a type of post I haven’t done in a while. :)

Do you have a specific place for reading?
Eh, not really. Everywhere is my specific reading place!

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
(I’m not seeing the option for dog-earing. What?!) I go through phases, to be honest. For a while I was very diligent with my bookmarks but at the moment it’s slipped back into dog-earing/a scrap of whatever homework is lucky enough to be nearby at the time of reading.

Can you stop anywhere in a book or do you have to finish the chapter?
If I’m enjoying the book a lot, or if it’s reaching a climax, I’ll read to the end of the chapter. (Or more. I’m hopeless.) If it’s not so riveting then I’ll just stop at the end of my page.

Music or TV while reading?
I don’t know if you’re asking me which one, or whether I mind either. Ah well. I don’t like to read and watch TV simultaneously – I just can’t concentrate on either – but I don’t mind music. I used to be very picky about music but nowadays I like it!

Do you eat or drink while reading?
Um, it depends? Reading isn’t like a sacred and allotted activity for me. It’s just something that I do, constantly. I read whilst walking and brushing my teeth and when I wake up and in between lessons and before I got to bed. I’ll probably have a glass of water nearby, though. The food is possible, but from some of my unfortunate experiences, I’ve learnt that crumbs and books don’t mix very well.!

One book at a time or several?
Several, several, always. If I’m in a bit of a reading slump it can go up to 6 or 7, but usually it’s around 3. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the books; it’s just always been that way! I also have some books that stretch out over ridiculous periods of time. (Case in point: Game of Thrones.) At the moment I think I’m reading 4? I know it sounds like a lot but it doesn’t feel like it. It just depends on my mood!]

Reading at home or elsewhere?
Again: reading for me happens everywhere! I’ll usually only read my book at home or school because, you know, books are kind of bulky to lug around, but I tend to keep a tab open of fic/poetry/online fiction on my phone.

Read out loud or silently?
Silently. It would probably do me good to read aloud, since I’m an awful skim-reader, though.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
I used to skip ahead a lot. I’ve fallen out of that recently, but what I will do is once I’ve finished the book go back to reread all the favourite scenes. If the book’s atrociously boring I’ll skip ahead, but I do try not to.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I’m not purposefully brash in the way I handle books. I try to keep them nice and looking fairly new. (If I’ve bought them, it usually means that it’s a book I’ve previously borrowed from the library and wanted for myself, or one that I was really desperate for. So. I have good reason!)

Do you write in your books?
One of my friends has a long standing joke about how I always write my name in the front of my books when I lend them to other people. (Hush. I know you’re not going to steal it. It’s just…habit, I guess?) With the exception of Throne of Glass, I don’t write besides that.

That’s it! I don’t think I’ll tag anyone this time, but if you’re reading this you’re completely welcome to tag yourself. With any luck, posting will be vauguely back to normal next month. :) I have some awesome event news to share with you guys!

7 Pointless Ways to Procrastinate

7 pointless ways to procrastinate

Procrastinating is an art. Though social media is excellent, to be a true procrastinator you must also be able to perform your art in a variety of different ways – and if you have yet to embrace these during the joyful exam period, then here! Have a list that will effectively finish all productive revision!

(If you, like, me are actually in exam period right now then I’d probably advise not implementing any activities mentioned. Just saying.)

1. Play some oldey-timey games
Don’t tell me there wasn’t a fight for the one library computer in after school club. Seriously. That one with the green pipe and the bouncy ball one was my childhood (I’m very upset that I can no longer find it). If your memory is mysteriously blank then I’d suggest starting with Fireboy and Watergirl, Circle the Cat or Bloons Tower Defence. The sound of popping virtual balloons is strangely therapeutic.

2. Do some dumb calculations
‘How many books are in the library?’ ‘How many DVDs do I own?’ ‘How many teachers are teaching in my school at any one time?’ etc.

3. Find out dumb records
Again, the nostalgia from endless Guinness Book of World Records. What, you don’t have the newest edition? Never fear. The internet is your friend. My search history favourites include ‘longest piece of literature in the world’ (a Super Smash Bros fanfiction that clocks in at over 4 million words) ‘most married person’ (Linda Wolfe, with 23 marriages) and ‘farthest squirting of milk from the eye’ (279.5cm by Ilker Yilmaz).

4. Visit some pointless websites
My suggestions are Dot on the Horizon, Click to Remove, How Many Goats Are You Worth? and Please Wait.

5. Watch Pointless
You can say you’re watching ironically and because of my excellent pun, but we all know the truth. Pointless is the only game show worth any one’s time.

6. Find a playlist for every single action of the day
‘Saturday morning’, ‘Saturday breakfast’, ‘shower’, ‘getting ready’, ‘homework’, ‘making lunch’, ‘Saturday lunch’, ‘Oh look it’s started raining’, ‘Good job I don’t have to go out now’, ‘Let’s stay inside and watch Doctor Who instead’ ‘Wait, I have to publish this blog post first’ etc.

7. Learn how to say something in a language you’re not fluent in
This is probably the most productive items on this list. Quotes from your favourite books are especially fun – if you don’t want to buy a whole book and compare editions then you can get lots of sample chapters from Amazon.

I’m getting along well with my revision, as you can see. ;) (No, seriously. I really am sorry for the lack of posts and such. It looks like this month is going to continue in this direction, unfortunately.)

Are any of you revising for exams at the moment? Is your studying going better than mine? :P

Snooping Around #3: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Exams are still being pesky little things, so apologies. Here, in light of the somewhat depressing General Election news – have a nice post of me fangirling about architecture!

snooping around

Snooping Around is my somewhat erratic series where I spot cool things on my travels and share them with you.

If you’ve heard of Shakespeare (because Shakespeare) then you might have at least heard of the Globe in passing. It was the theatrical home of many of Shakespeare’s plays, and it’s still there to attend shows – although the current one is a reconstruction. Much of its rebuilding is due to an American actor and director called – you guessed it – Sam Wanamaker. (Yes! Parent of the actress who played Madam Hooch! My ability to reference fandoms in supposedly serious posts is never ending ;) )

sam wanamaker playhouse2

The project took over 20 years and was finished in 1992, the year before he died. We don’t really know if it’s an exact representation, but it’s still an awesome place to go and see some theatre.

sam wanamaker playhouseWhilst the Globe is a bundle of fun, it isn’t actually my focus today. Instead, I wanted to talk about slightly newer building: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. It’s been a work in progress for some time; the shell of the theatre was built during the reconstruction of the Globe and before construction for the Playhouse began was used for workshops. It’s based on Jacobean theatre drawings originally thought to be by Inigo Jones by now known to be the work of John Webb. And look! It’s. Candlelit.

Not only is this awesome because, hello, interior decoration and dramatic chandeliers, but it also means that you don’t get wet whilst going to see a production. Hopefully it’ll allow the Globe to continue their performances even through the rather unwelcoming British weather. All that groundling business is lovely, but it isn’t awfully comfortable. (Plus, it means a lot of interesting stage effects and asdfjkl awesomeness.)

Just being inside the theatre is an experience. It’s above the kind of shop/modern area of the Globe, but walking inside is absolutely insane. It’s just…ARGH. Amazing. I’ve only been to one show – that was the Passion Play, but it was with cool lady God and Singing in the Rain Noah’s Ark and the spread of Christianity as a hand clapping game, so – but I’d love to go again. I don’t know if they let you inside just to take a look (I don’t think they allowed photos), but if you’re ever in the area then I’d recommend. Maybe buy a manga Shakespeare play whilst you’re at it, because why not? :P

Have you seen any cool buildings recently?

April Favourites!

April was a month of many bookish flailings, and also of the internet coercing me into joining various fandoms. We’re almost getting into summer, too – hurrah!

april favourites

1. Reading Fanfiction (mostly of the Les Miserables variety) By far my favourite thing about AO3 is the download function. It means that I can read fic on my Kindle without going square-eyed, and is also a great sneaky way of reading. Example: if you’re reading when the teacher comes into the room, they just think that you’re being studious and then you put it away without a fuss. If you’re reading fic on your phone, the chances are they’ll confiscate it. Also good for long trips.

But yes, I don’t know what made me think joining the Les Mis fandom was a good idea. (Please don’t scream at me when I say I’ve only seen the movie. I just have a really big talent for joining fandoms based on their fics.) We’re studying the French Revolution in history at the moment, ad I get that it’s a different time period but it’s very hard not to think of the Amis when discussing revolutions and people getting angry over injustices. It’s also very hard to restrain myself when people burst into songs from the musical, because really all I want to do is go over and say ‘I love these characters to death can we talk about them all day please.’

gif stitch


2. Camp Nanowrimo
I SURVIVED. I’M NOT DEAD. I can’t believe it. I made my goal – it was 15k – but most importantly I discovered a lot about my novel. I’ve given the plot and timeline a revamp and I now have a bit more direction

3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt Something else I read based on Tumblr. I’ve got to admit that I still haven’t finished it, but I am rather enjoying it – especially since it isn’t my usual cup of tea.

4. Barcelona As represented by my postcard of La Pedrera. THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING CITY HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARCHITECTURE asdfjkl Salvador Dali was one cool architect. I might have to do a post on the amazing mathsiness of La Sagrada Familia one time. Spanish and Catalan bookshops were really fun to browse as well. There’s a book called After which I believe is a Wattpad One Direction fanfic, and that was rather popular…? Someone called Laura Gallego, too. I think she wrote fantasy.

5. Supernatural Of all the stupid things Tumblr has coerced me into, this ranks pretty high. I have such mixed feelings on deciding to finally watch this show: half of me says ‘This is super trashy and literally represents no one’ and the other half is like ‘Hmm this is kind of good OH COOL no WHAT’. But I’m only on the second season, so we’ll see.

6. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor This isn’t often the case for me, but I actually found that I enjoyed this…more than the second one? I’m not sure why. But it was a fittingly beautiful end to a stunning series.

gif 101 dalmations

7. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness This was effectively #VeryRealisticYA in a full length novel. There was lots of humour about a girl named Satchel and her equally ridiculously-named friends at the beginning of each chapter. The characters were awesome. I liked it a lot.

Stuff from around the internet:

Bookish things that have happened:

  • In case you missed my intense fangirl feels, the cover for ‘s Carry On was revealed.
  • Alice Oseman (possibly the coolest author ever) announced the title of her second book to be Radio Silence.
  • The publishing date for Maggie Stiefvater‘s The Raven King unfortunately had to be pushed back. I’m kind of sad, but also a little happy because I DON’T WANT IT TO END OKAY
  • We got some info on the TMI TV show casting with Dominic Sherwood as Jace, Alberto Rosende as Simon and Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle.

In other news, the royal baby has been born (she’s a girl) and there’s a General Election on Thursday. But obviously fangirling over the release of new books takes priority. (No. Just kidding. VOTING IS IMPORTANT, KIDS even though I’m probably like the same age or younger than you??)

Also, just to let you know: I’ve got exams coming up at the start of June so I’m probably not going to be as active as usual. :( I’ll still try to keep up with you all, though!

How has your April been? Are you looking forward to anything in the coming month? :)

7 Reasons Carry On is Going to Be Awesome

carry on awesome

In case you missed the numerous incidents of fangirling, I’m a really big fan of Rainbow Rowell’s meta-series Simon Snow. It was absolutely CRAZY when she announced that she was writing a real book based on Simon and Baz and all the inhabitants of Watford. Now that the cover and (slightly ominous subtitle) have been announced, I thought it was time to tell you guys all the reasons that Carry On is set up to be the awesomest thing in the universe.

1. Simon and Baz are going to be in love. Obviously, this is a pleasing thing. Who doesn’t want their ship to be canon? :P But I’m also really pleased that it wasn’t passed up and relegated to subtext or snippets of Cath’s fanfiction. (See, I speak the truth!) I don’t know, I just feel like some things (coughSherlockcough, however much I love the show) string shippers along a bit.

2. There’s going to be some actual content to write fanfic from. Hurrah! The amount of Simon Snow canon is frankly miserable. Many details have had to be made up by the members of the fandom. Naturally, we’re going to need some fic to sustain us beyond October, and with luck Carry On will boost that a little. (I’m also not too sure if Pegatha is going to be a thing in Carry On, so I need that too.)

3. It shows that genre-hopping is 100% okay. I really have to rack my brain to think of an author who has made such a radical jump as the one from contemporary to fantasy. Rainbow’s said that whilst she reads and watched a lot of fantasy, she’s never written it – it’s a wonderful thing that an established author has the courage to do this!

4. And also that JK Rowling has not patented the ‘magic school’ trope. It’s hard to deny that there are Simon Snow/Harry Potter parallels. They exist. Rainbow ships Drarry. But if you want to take a look at this great post, hopefully you can see that they are different. Rainbow’s said that she just considers it to be straight-up fiction.

5. Plus that authors can do whatever the cheesecake they want with their writing. Carry On is, like, a book from a book within a book. THIS GENRE-SMASHING IS EPIC, GUYS.

6. It’s still a story with it’s roots in the fandom. Whilst Rainbow has said that she’d just like it considered as straight-up fiction, it’s also true that it has some connections with fanfic. After all, that was a big part of Fangirl. Fanfic can sometimes be shunned by people (go read this for why it’s awesome!) and it’s just nice to see a mainstream novel not doing that. Rainbow is a really cool fannish author and….BLEURGH. Simon Snow is a cool fandom to be in.

7. For once, the crazy hopes of the fandom are actually coming true! There was rumour-mongering. There were small hopes. Many people thought it was a little bit doomed. But no! This time, the crazy rumours are actually coming true. Authors, take note. ;)

What, were you doubting my ability to write an entire post on a book not yet published? O YE OF LITTLE FAITH. :P Hopefully you are now all sufficiently persuaded to buy and read the wonderful Fangirl, if you haven’t already. And also to pre-order Carry On, because it’s never to early.

Do I spot any fellow Simon Snow fans out there? If so, do feel free to discuss/flail with me. Otherwise: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? ;)

Framing My Life?

Framing my life

I wear glasses. I have done since I was 3. Although I know some people do, I don’t hate them – I kinda like the way they look on my face. (Except when they slide down. But that’s mostly because of my greasy nose.)

Sometimes I do wonder, though, if I would have turned out any differently if I didn’t wear them.

Obviously, I know what glasses should not be a personality trait. They’re just a problem with my eyes. Yet I can’t help but notice that the majority of the glasses-wearers in my year at school are in my friendship group – and many of the ones who aren’t wear contacts instead. It makes me feel a little ashamed of these glasses that I really do quite like. It makes me want to throw them across the room and pick up a packet of those expensive jelly things and stuff them in my eyes as fast as I can.

Well, not really. Although I can see how contact lenses would be useful, and I’ll probably try them sometime, I don’t see them as something I would wear constantly. Glasses might be restrictive in a surprising number of way: eating spaghetti, rain, steamy bathrooms, losing them/losing things, roller coasters, taking photos (and photos of said glasses), swimming and such, but I’m used to it. I get that those are very trivial things compared to what it could be, but still. If you want to get rid of them, you gotta pay.

The things that gets me most though are the – dare I say – ‘negative’ connotations that come with these frames: nerdy, awkward, uncool etc. Unfortunately, that’s still the way that they seem to be portrayed in many fictional works, and it’s just made worse because I am. I do like reading and writing and all of that. I wouldn’t want to change myself. It’s simply that…I wonder.

What if I hadn’t been born with eyes like this? Would I still be who I am today? After all, glasses weren’t uncool in Reception. People asked to try them on a lot, with all the ‘how many fingers am I holding up?’ majazz. (By the way, never ask that. It’s bloody irritating once you pass the point of primary school, okay?)

I suppose that glasses aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. (After all, bad eyesight seems to have completely disappeared from fantasy and dystopian novels that aren’t Harry Potter.) I don’t know. I guess that it’s just that…I’d like the stigma to go. And, as ever, I’m still wondering.


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