The Independent Book Week Tag

It’s Independent Booksellers’ Week this week and I’m going to celebrating with a tag, and a bookshop tour vlog later in the week (look forward to that)!

Questions:

1. What book(s) are currently in your bag?

As I don’t carry a big bag with me anymore (to carry books) – the only answer I can give you is my phone, which I’m currently reading Arcadia by Iain Pears on. Or listening to a very long history lecture ‘Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History’ by Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius. 4 hours to go!

2. What’s the last great book you read?

I absolutely adored Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, a powerful novel tackling religious beliefs and the degradation of society. If you love dystopian novels with a strong, complex woman at the front – this is a wonderful novel to sink your teeth into.

3. What book have you gifted the most?

I’ve gifted quite a few novels, but never the same one twice. I personally would love to discuss The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne with more people, a very strange and surreal piece of fiction. So if given the chance, I would like to gift that novel.

4. What’s your favourite independent bookshop?

Paperchain, a bookstore in Canberra. Which I will be visiting in my vlog this week.

5. What’s been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller (or fellow Booktuber)?

The Tenant of Wildfall Hall by Anne Bronte. It did the round on Booktube awhile back and I’m so glad I read it, it might actually be my favorite Bronte novel. A toss up between it and Jane Eyre.

6. What’s your favourite bookshop memory?

My bookclub does a meetup once a year (we discuss online via google hangouts) and one of my favorite activities with them is our annual book scavenger hunt. We are given 20 prompts and then have to find a book for each prompt, take a picture and upload it to Twitter under a specific hashtag. It’s super fun.

7. What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?

Although the majority of the books I get are online via place like the Book Depository and Kindle, I do love bookshops. It’s a very pleasant, calm experience browsing through the shelves, even if you don’t manage to find any book you want or can take, online cannot match the physical experience.

8. What are the books that made you? Which books have most affected or influenced you?

I think each and every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but I’ll note two books. The first is the one that got me into Fantasy – Magician by Raymond E Feist. The second is the one that made me fall in love with the Chinese culture and history – Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah.

9. What book do you recommend readers gift for Father’s Day?

My dad is not a reader, at all. He had problems as a child that couldn’t be helped as he was constantly moving from one place to another, one school to another. But he loves a good story, one full of heart and action. So I would recommend for him and other dads ‘Old Man’s War’ by John Scalzi.

10. What book is currently at the top of your TBR pile?

I really want to read The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley. I love essay collections and musings about geek culture. This totally sounds like the book for me.

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Classics Book Tag

I’ve been thinking about classics a lot lately, so let’s do a tag!

An over-hyped classic you really didn’t like?

I’d have to give it to The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A funny choice as I have enjoyed retellings of the classic. But I think the main reasons I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would was because 1) the writing wasn’t for me and 2) I already knew the twist. I didn’t hate the book, but I was disappointed.

Favorite time period to read about?

I cannot really name one, I love reading about all sorts of time periods. If you looked at the classics I have read you might judge the Victorian era is for me – which I did enjoy but wouldn’t exactly say is my favorite. So I’ll just say I’m interested in reading more medieval fiction like The Canterbury Tales and Greek literature such as Daphnis and Chloe.

Favorite fairy-tale?

I used to have a fairytale book as a child that I would read several times a month and the one story I kept coming back to was The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson. It’s a rather bleak and sad story, but it ends on a tone of hope and I love it dearly.

Which classic are you most embarrassed by having not read it yet?

I don’t think you should be embarrassed by what you haven’t read – there are so many books in the world after all! But to satiate this question I might say it is 1984 by George Orwell. I love dystopian novels.

Top 5 classics you would like to read (soon)?

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Favorite modern book/series based on a classic?

I haven’t read many books based off a classic but I did enjoy Mary Bennet by Jennifer Paynter. It tells the story of Mary, one of the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice. It’s a fun little story with a dash of wit, bookish-ness and romance.

Favorite movie version/tv-series based on a classic?

If you are looking for a political-driven mini series with the most gorgeous romance ever than look no further than North and South. Basically – Richard Armitage is so wonderful.

Worst classic to movie adaptation?

The Hobbit. I enjoyed it but I felt the story suffered for being expanded into three films. At least I still have Richard Armitage in this to drool over.

Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from?

Puffin In Bloom.

Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions

An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone?

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Anne Bronte is often overshadowed by her sisters, but I think The Tenant of Wildfell Hall might be my favorite Bronte novel. It’s mysterious, has beautiful prose and feminist subtext.


So how would you answer these questions?

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag


It’s a Saturday night, I’m alone and I have a whole bottle of wine to myself. Let’s do a book tag!

1. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like.

I love fantasy – adore it. But I couldn’t stand The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It had an interesting beginning and world building but suffered from poor pacing and unlikeable main characters. I may have read this during a very difficult time in my life, which could have attributed to my overall feeling of the book – yet it’s not something I will pick up to re read any time soon.

2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love.

This is a hard one. I had to trawl through my Goodreads account to find a suitable candidate. So here’s one – Sylvia by Bryce Courtenay. A novel set during the Children’s Crusade, with a young girl called Sylvia who sings like an angel. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it (8 years?) and I remember really enjoying it, but there are quite a few one star reviews for it on Goodreads.

3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn people for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don’t like.

I don’t particularly care for love triangles – rarely do they work as a ‘good’ plot point for me. So let’s take the easy route and say Edward and Bella from the Twilight series. Bella should have gone ‘stuff you and all your supernatural creepy nonsense,’ and travelled around the world as a bartender (single and free).

4. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for.

I like to think that I read across several different genres, but I really don’t. So perhaps Contemporary YA? I’m of an age where I want the high school bullshit out of my life already. It’s been 7 years and it still haunts me.

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.

Diana Bishop from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness? Is she popular? I didn’t find her particularly engaging, and found her taste in men deplorable. You, an intelligent and independent woman getting all lusty over a moody and overprotective vampire. Erggh.

6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

John Green. I enjoy his vlogbrothers videos, but his novels seem like a fantasy for a younger me. But then again as a teenager I was reading high fantasy and books about female circumcision and feet binding in China. Perhaps I would have the same feelings as I do now.

7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)

I’ve seen novels that have worked with an old trope and made it beautiful. A popular book trope does not necessarily mean lazy writing. That said, I try to avoid any books with the “chosen one.”

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.

Let’s delve into Fantasy again. So I’ll pick something I sort of tried to read – Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It was terrible, so I doubt I’ll be reading the rest of the book and Inheritance Cycle series.

9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

I love, love, love Howl’s Moving Castle. And although the book by Diana Wynne Jones is lovely and different, I prefer the movie adaptation.

The Mid Year Book Tag

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I thought since this is a rather new blog and it being already mid way through the year, readers might be interested in what I have read already. I tend to read a mixture between historical fiction and fantasy, but will delve into other genres too. I love bright ideas, interesting and complex characters and wonderful world building. And I have read (looking at my goodreads count) 85 books so far this year. So let’s do a sort-of recap with the Mid Year Book Tag, a tag I noticed on Sundays and Ink.

Best Book You’ve Read All Year?
I’ve been struggling with this question all year. I’ve read some wonderful novels and some really terrible ones – but they tend to sludge together. However if I had to say one, it would probably be The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson. I loved the world building, the characters, the magic system. It was fun, dramatic, sad and I’m glad that I finally read it.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far.
Easy Peasy. I have it for you: Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach. This is a fun space opera dripping with sweat, romance, alien action and a cool female protagonist. This is a series about a space mercenary called Devi who takes a job on one of the most dangerous ships in the galaxy – only to be embroiled in an interesting mystery. I loved the series, but the second book takes the cake.

New Release You Haven’t Read But Want To?
I’ve really keen to read The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan. Dinosaurs in 14th Century Europe? Byzantine politics? Knights on dinosaurs? Sign me up! I’m just awaiting on a copy from the library now.

Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of 2015?
I think most of the books I’ve hyped myself up to read this year have already been released, bar The Tower by Thorns (Blackthorn & Grimm #2) by Juliet Marillier. It’s an interesting fantasy, mystery series set in medieval Ireland. And I’ve been a devout Juliet Marillier fan for years now starting with the Six Swans fairy tale retelling Daughter of the Forest.

Biggest Disappointment?
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve been meaning to read his books for years, based on others spouting him as the next saint. But the novel felt like a mess. It started out wonderfully mysterious, and beautifully poetic – but then the gears changed and the genre switched something more fantastical and Monty Python esque. That isn’t to say I do not like those kind of things, I love fantasy and Monty Python…But it didn’t fit with the tone that the novel started with, much to my disappointment.

Biggest Surprise?
I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy The Vagrants by Yiyun Li, mainly because it had been ages since I had read this kind of novel. But I loved the examination of the political and cultural climate of China during the 1970s. The characters were lovely, and flawed and poetic – somewhat. The writing was beautiful and it’s definitely a novel I would like to read again.

Book To Movie Adaptation?
I think the only book to movie adaptations I’ve watched this year are Love, Rosie, Serena and Mortdecai. And I haven’t read either source material. Mortdecai was…dreadful. Serena had beautiful cinematography but the movie was slow burning, and the characters felt weak. Love, Rosie was cute and sweet but not something I would watch again.

Favorite New Author?
I think it’ll have to be Jo Walton, I really enjoyed Among Others and loved The Just City. She has a talent for genre blurring, and her books are beautiful and thought provoking and I cannot wait to read more from her. Tooth and Claw is next, I think.

Newest Fictional Crush?
I’m not exactly the one for developing fictional crushes, or perhaps it’s the books I read? But if I had to pick one, it would have to be Rupert from the Paradox series by Rachel Bach. He was pretty flawed, yes. But the space man exuded sexiness, and was just as capable as the protagonist. So yes…I’ll pick him.

Newest Favorite Character?
Socrates from The Just City by Jo Walton. I love the old wise, fun-cracking man cliche. For e.g Jolee Bindo from Knights of the Old Republic (you will always be in my heart). Socrates was fun, his thought process was interesting concerning the development of the just city. I loved his philosophies and he was just awesome.

Book That Made You Cry?
I’m very much a visual person, so books rarely make me literally cry. Video games can, for e.g The Last of Us and Life is Strange. Movies can, for e.g Wolf Children and Mrs Doubtfire. But some reason, the closest I’ve come to crying with a book was when I felt all tense inside and wanted to curl up into a cocoon. Funnily enough, from my scant memory – Felicia Day’s memoir You’re Never Weird on The Internet (almost) did. Not literal sobbing, I assure you but there was section on depression that I could really relate to. And I felt really sad in that moment.

Beautiful Book?
I think my favorite book I’ve bought this year, mainly for the cover was the Puffin in Bloom edition of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. It’s so beautiful I can almost weep. I have a thing for illustrated covers.

Books You Need To Read By The End of The Year.
The to do list is: S. by JJ Abrams, The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire and The Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan. I can definitely read those books by the end of this year, right?