top ten; books i picked up on a whim

bookworm things

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday category was pretty interesting. I don’t usually buy books ‘on a whim’, if I’m honest. When I buy books, I have a clear idea what I’m heading out to pick up. I usually save up for books, and then buy the books I’ve been wanting to read for a while.

But when it comes to the library? Erm, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gone in for one book and come out with something else entirely. Usually because the book I wanted wasn’t in stock, but sometimes with the book I wanted, and a whole bunch of other books that just seemed interesting.

It’s a thing. I’m working on it. (Not really.)

top ten tuesday

Books I Own

There have been occasions when I’ve walked into a bookstore for something and walked out with something else. Or simply planned to browse and walked out with a book that seemed interesting. It does not happen often, but – it has happened.

I can’t say I regret these times.

the zoya factor

  • I don’t remember when I picked Entwined up, but I remember being attracted to the cover. It was SO PRETTY OMG, still one of my favourite book covers ever. On top of that, it was a fairytale reimagining? I ADORE FAIRYTALE REIMAGININGS. Pretty much every other story I pick up these days are fairytale reimaginings.
  • Okay, this one is a little bit of a cheat because I picked the first book of the Spellcaster series from the library. It was there, it seemed interesting, it had a pretty cover – I loved it so much I tracked it down in bookstores and bought the whole series.
  • The covers for Tales Of Beauty And Madness were so pretty? I loved the way they looked, the throwbacks to the fairytales they were based on. Every time I walked into the bookstore, I would wind up in front of them until I finally gave in and bought them. Worst impulse control ever. (Totally worth it!)
  • Okay, so technically The Zoya Factor was a recommendation. But considering the fact that it was the bookstore owner’s recommendation while I was at his stall buying something else, I think it fits this list. He told me it was a favourite with his customers, and he totally talked me into it. (It completely helped that books in India are relatively cheap. I was hard pressed not to come home with an entire bag full of just books.)
  • Teardrop had a very pretty cover. The synopsis was also interesting, so it was a complete impulse buy. (It was an okay read, but I never picked up book two…)

entwined

Books I Borrowed

The library is a magical place. That is honestly all.

  • The amount of times I picked Seraphina off the shelves and then put it back because hmm, is it really my thing? I wasn’t gonna but then I did because DRAGONS AND MUSIC AND I really need to get my hands on book two.
  • The cover for Plus One was so different and interesting that I could not resist. Really, resistance was completely futile so I didn’t even bother trying.
  • The synopsis for The Sweetest Spell mentioned chocolate. I was sold immediately.
  • Does the fact that I have loved the author’s other books invalidate my picking up the Skylark series on a whim? Because I definitely walked into the library for something else and walked out with the first book of this series… It’s all a blur.
  • It was a while ago, but when I came across a book with a title like The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls, how could I really not have picked it up? And I’m glad I did, because this book? The reason I got back into reading again, the first book I reviewed when I started my tumblr book blog – really, without me picking up this book, this blog probably would never have existed!

book stack

So there you have it! Ten times my impulse overrode my common sense. Not that I regret any of it. Because I don’t. At all. I mean, why would I ever regret books?

What are some books you picked up on a whim? (I won’t even ask if you’ve done that because, pfft, point me towards a bookworm that hasn’t and I’ll call them a liar. Probably. Okay, maybe not to their face. I’m generally a nice person. I’ll probably just not believe you…) Link me to your lists! Or if you don’t have one, write out your lists below?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; a tale of time city

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A Tale Of Time City
by Diana Wynne Jones

London, 1939. Vivian Smith thinks she is being evacuated to the countryside, because of the war. But she is being kidnapped – out of her own time. Her kidnappers are Jonathan and Sam, two boys her own age, from a place called Time City, designed especially to oversee history. But now history is going critical, and Jonathan and Sam are convinced that Time City’s impending doom can only be averted by a twentieth-century girl named Vivian Smith. Too bad they have the wrong girl…

Review:
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when reading becomes a challenge

bookworm things

I’ve been wondering for a while why I seem to have no interest in reading my books lately. Today, I read ‘Why I Quit My Goodreads Challenge‘ and realised that I haven’t particularly been enjoying reading because of the pressure I’ve unconsciously been giving myself to hit my target.

It’s not as if my target has been particularly high to begin with. I had set myself a 20 book target. I had done the same last year, and I had hit the target by the mid-year and increased it to 25. When I hit that, I increased it again to 30. I didn’t hit 30 books, but I did hit my first target.

It was a good feeling.

But it also felt a little disappointing when I didn’t hit my final target. And reading, or not reading, should not feel disappointing. I used to read because I enjoy it. I still read for enjoyment, because I love to read and I like putting out reviews on why I’ve enjoyed or not enjoyed a particular story.

This year has not been a year for reading so far. I’ve read 4 books. I’m happy that I’ve read that many, to be quite honest, because this year I have been wanting to focus on my writing, on starting and establishing this blog. Reading and watching TV are my destressing from the other pressures I’ve put on myself, on the other targets I’ve set for myself.

I’m reclaiming that, thanks to Mica‘s inspiration. I have other things I want to be doing this year – I want to finish up my new short story. I want to learn a little more about book photography. I want to keep blogging, keep writing fanfiction and reading fanfiction, and watching television and learning new recipes – there are so many things I want to do this year, and if reading falls a little to the wayside, it’s not a bad thing.

Putting a target I already know I may not hit is just making me unhappy. But I also don’t want to quit the reading challenge because I like knowing how many books I have read. Instead, I’ve lowered my target to 10. If I hit it before the end of the year, maybe I’ll increase it by one or two books. If I don’t hit the target, well, maybe next year I’ll set my target even lower.

There are some people who manage to read hundreds of books in a year. I salute you guys. I wish I could do that. I used to be able to do that as a kid. But now, I think I get distracted too easily. And that’s okay!

What do you think? Has reading brought more pressure than pleasure over the years as life happens?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; what katy did

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What Katy Did (At School & Next)
by Susan M. Coolidge

Katy Carr has ideas of her own — most of which get her into trouble. Most of the first book in the trilogy is about Katy’s response to an accident that leaves her (temporarily) paralysed. The second covers a year at boarding school, and the third follows Katy to Europe, where she spends a year assisting a family travelling there.

Review:
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review; inferno

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Inferno
by Dan Brown

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces – Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust… before the world is irrevocably altered.

Review:
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top ten; characters to revisit

bookworm things

I’ve been book blogging long enough to have seen Top Ten posts on the various blogs I have subscribed to. I have not been blogging long enough to have participated. Until today.

The Broke and the Bookish have compiled a VERY INTERESTING list of prompts for Top Ten Tuesdays. Many times, I find myself pausing and thinking – hey, I could have done this. I have ideas for what I would have written! – but then I never get around to actually writing the thing because procrastination is an old friend of mine.

This time, though, this time I had to try. Or – okay, do or do not, there is no try, as Yoda says. Ten characters I want to revisit as adults, that’s easy. Or so I thought.

Coming up with ten characters was DIFFICULT. There are so many characters I love? But so most of their stories ended satisfactorily enough that I never want to revisit them again? So I may have, kind of, sort of, cheated a bit?

Or not cheated, per se. Mixed things up? Yeah, that sounds better, right?

top ten tuesday

Where Are They Now?
These would be characters I grew up reading about, whose stories may have ended, but whom I would love to check up on, in a way.

  • Alex Mack, from The Secret World Of Alex Mack. (Did she get her normal life? How did her family deal with everything that happened? Did she really give up her abilities? Is she still super close with her sister? ARE THEY HAPPY?)
  • Matilda, from Matilda. (She got adopted by Ms Honey, which was THRILLING, but then what? How did school go for her after? Did she skip grades? Is she still friends with the mish-mash group she got to know under Ms Trunchbull’s rule? IS SHE HAPPY? IS MS HONEY HAPPY??? Does she still devour every book she can get her hands on?)
  • Violet Smith, from A Tale Of Time City. (She made a home, a family, in Time City. But what about her actual family? Does she ever visit them? Does she live in Time City or divide her time between both lives? A sequel would not be remiss here, just saying!)
  • Katy Carr, from What Katy Did. (Okay, so What Katy Did Next ended with Katy’s engagement, but what happened after that? I definitely would not mind knowing more about how she fell in love with Ned. So sue me, I’m a romantic at heart.)
  • Susan Pevensie, from The Chronicles Of Narnia. (I get so sad when I think of Susan Pevensie. Tell me she was happy, she built her life up again after losing everybody in that train crash. Tell me she found Aslan in her new life, in her new world. That she grew up and found him anyway, that she was not forsaken. I will never be over Susan Pevensie apparently being forsaken because she listened to Aslan and grew up and made a life for herself. #bitterSusanfan)

What Were They Like Before?
These are the older characters I loved, who I want to know a little more about as children. What were they like when they were younger? Give me backstories, please.

  • The Marauders, from Harry Potter. (Literally no one would resist a chance to know all about the Marauders when they were in Hogwarts. To know how they became friends, how they grew apart. To know how James and Lily fell in love, how the Order was formed. That entire generation’s story would be FASCINATING, and I would love to read it.)
  • Haymitch Abernathy, from The Hunger Games. (This does not have to stop at Haymitch. I’d be fascinated by all the Games that came before the rebellion, to be quite honest. Give me the first ever Games. Give me the need FOR the Games. Or, you know, I’d also be okay for Haymitch’s games, and getting to know Maysilee Dorner, and the girl Haymitch loved and lost.)
  • Daphne & Ajax, from the Starcrossed series. (I know Josephine Angelini wrote a bit of a prequel for this? But I would LOVE to know more, about how they met and fell in love and lost one another.)
  • Maura Sargent & the ladies, from The Raven Cycle. (I haven’t had a chance to read The Raven King yet, so I don’t know if we’ll get to know the backstories of all the ladies at 306 Fox Way, but I’m DEFINITELY intrigued by how Calla, Persephone and Maura especially became friends. About how they fell into living together. About how Maura met Blue’s father, and what actually happened there. SO MANY QUESTIONS.)
  • Mandy, from Ella Enchanted. (It’s been ages since I’ve read this book, but the more I look back on it, the more I’m fascinated by how Mandy may have fallen in with Ella’s family. How did she and Ella’s mother become friends? I really, really think there’s a story to be told here…)

And there you have it! Ten characters I want to know more about – either about their futures, or about their pasts. Okay, technically more than 10 characters? Since some of them are groups of characters?

So, let’s put it this way – ten stories that could still be told? Ten stories I want to know more about?

What are characters you would want to revisit? What stories do you think should still be told? I’m sure I left out many characters I still love, so come and discuss this with me!!!

2016-04-12 11:46

diversity can start with you

bookworm things

I recently read a blog post posing the question “Does Diversity Sell?” to readers. It is a question I have stopped asking myself, largely because I acknowledge the fact that I am biased. I know for a fact that I want diversity to sell, so I am obviously going to say yes, it does. Because I feel like it should, and I want to fight for it.

But that is not how the real world works. A small group of people, or one reader, is not going to make a difference. Yes, we are a voice, and it doesn’t mean we give up – we keep speaking up and encouraging diversity, and asking for it, and writing our stories.

But we can also take existing stories and just – pose this question – “what if this character were of colour?” or “what if this character didn’t just act like me, but looked like me too?” or “what if the reason this character acted like that were because of [insert headcanon]?”.

I will admit, it has taken me a while to reach this point. I, an Indian girl, once started writing a story in which no one looked like me because I didn’t think anyone would read it otherwise. There have been so few stories with characters that looks like me, or like my friends, that I went with the flow. I know differently now.

So when I read a book, I let my imagination run wild. I let myself see characters as I see the world – full of different skin colours and voices. It has reflected in the fancasts I sometimes indulge in for the books I’ve read.

It is why I have enjoyed the way a lot of tumblr has embraced the idea of ‘poc Harry Potter’ and ‘poc Hermione Granger’. Why I have embraced the headcanon that Blue Sargant is a character of colour.

It is why I knowingly and purposefully imagine the characters in books I am reading to look like me and my friends unless specifically stated otherwise.

I don’t know if diversity sells. I would like to think it does. I want it to. So I’m stepping up and sharing my diverse headcanons for not-so-diverse books to the world to tell them that our stories are not so different.

You just have to make an effort to tell the stories, to let us see ourselves in your stories.

You just have to open your mind to all sorts of interpretations.

I may be going about this in a way that others may not agree with, but the thing is, I am looking for myself in the stories I enjoy. If this is what it takes, I am forcing myself into the stories I enjoy. And I am going to show that to the world.

What would you do to see more diversity in stories? How would you want to see more diversity in existing stories as well?

2016-04-12 11:46

 

review; lark ascending

review

lark ascending

Lark Ascending
by Meagan Spooner

Lark thought returning home to face her city was the hardest thing she’d ever do. She was wrong.

No longer the girl who ran for her life, Lark’s ready for the Institute. She never dreamed she’d find a rebellion, a Renewable, and those she used to love embroiled in the fight of their lives. She’s mastered her magic, but she still doesn’t know if she can master the darkness stirring inside her.

Nothing is simple anymore, and finding her place in this war—and discovering the terrible secrets behind her ruined world—might cost her everything she has left.

Review:
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review; vision in white

IMG_1240Vision In White
by Nora Roberts

Wedding photographer Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac’s type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends-and business partners-to see her way to her own happy ending.

Review:
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blind date with a book

bookworm things

Every time I see photos online of brown paper wrapped books with vague descriptions, I tell myself that if I ever come across a shop that’s selling books in that way, I’m going to pick one up. I honestly thought the likelihood of that happening would be zero. But for the first time ever, I did in fact come across a shelf of these books in a small bookstore in Sydney.

Obviously, I stopped and tried to figure out what the books were based on the descriptions.

blind date book

To my amusement, my husband and I both noticed the one book that appealed to me – and he talked me into buying it.

This week, I just took part in my first ever “blind date with a book”.

blind date with a book

The description on the brown paper was very me – “sci-fi”, and “fantasy”, and “a modern classic” – all things that appeal to me. All genres and types of books that I generally adore. But for the life of me, I could not put together what book was under that paper. Believe you me, I tried.

I really, really tried.

blind date book2

My “blind date book” turned out to be Cloud Atlas, which I have never read. I will admit to never having seen the movie either – and until this moment, had no desire to. But now? Now I am more than a little intrigued about the story.

cloud atlas

The entire experience got me thinking that it can be so weird how we choose books to read. I know a lot of times I pick up books based on their covers. I know we’re told never to judge a book by it’s cover, but the prettier the cover, the more likely I will check out the synopsis. But in this case, all I had going for me were a bunch of seemingly disjointed and disconnected phrases and words.

And still, my interest was snagged.

blind date with cloud atlas

A large part of me wants to do this again. Somehow, someway, I want to choose to read a book, not based on the cover or the synopsis, but simply from a vague and disjointed description. To be quite honest, I have a few ideas on how to go on about this, but I’d need to find more like-minded people. Having to track down bookstores or libraries that carry out this practice is tedious, and I’m sure the online book blogging community would appreciate a way to participate in such a thing.

Or at least, I know I’d love to participate in such a thing.

I’ve been discussing my ideas with a friend – and if I can iron out a few details and smooth out a few snags, this may become a monthly feature. What do you think? Should we attempt online blind dating with books? Would anybody be interested in taking a chance on books with me? Let me know, please, because I’m definitely up for it!

2016-04-12 11:46