Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Disappointing Finales

Hello!

So, I’m sure we’ve all read series that made us fall in love with them, only to completely disappoint us by the last book. There are a bunch that I’ve read over the past few years, but the most recent one for me is definitely The Chronicles of Narnia.

The first few books in the series are so magical and innocent. As a child I completely fell in love with the world of Narnia, especially since I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before I read Harry Potter. I was so envious of the Pevensies, and their magical land where they could be kings and queens.

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Then, the last two books happened. There was such a huge shift in the tone and the message of the books, and it was impossible to ignore the incredibly racist and sexist undertones running through the narrative. I was so confused. Where did all my innocent babies go?

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I think the only way I can cope is to pretend the last two books don’t exist. I’ll stick with The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, thanks. You can’t make me face reality, nope! Narnia is fine, and you can’t convince me otherwise. I’ll just go hide in my wonderful little fantasy world, now. Bye!

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What do you do when a series disappoints you? Have you read all of The Chronicles of Narnia? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in Discussion, General Information

Dream Author Panels

Hello!

Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world, and they help people organize and plan conferences and events. Check out their conference management software! They reached out to me to invite me to participate in a project where book-bloggers like myself imagine their dream author panels that they would love to see at book conferences. As I’ve never been to a book conference before, I was very excited to participate and it didn’t take me long to figure out exactly who I’d want to hear from in an author panel.

I came up with five panels, each consisting of authors that fit a certain genre or category that I came up with. Here they are!

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Panel #1: LGBTQIA+ Authors

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Since June is PRIDE month, I of course had do include a panel of #ownvoices authors who write books with queer representation. For this panel I chose:

  • Adam Silvera – a gay man from the Bronx who writes M/M YA fiction (More Happy Than Not, History is All You Left Me)
  • Patrick Ness – a gay man from the UK who writes a variety of YA fiction, including gay main and side characters (Chaos Walking, More Than This, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, A Monster Calls, and more)
  • Meredith Russo – a transgender woman who recently published her first novel about a transgender girl named Amanda (If I Was Your Girl)
  • Nina LaCour – I believe she is lesbian, but I’m not sure so I’m not going to put a label, but she has a wife, so her books with F/F relationships are #ownvoices (We Are Okay, Everything Leads to You, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, You Know Me Well, and more)

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Panel #2: Feminist Authors

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It’s so important to have strong leading female roles in YA literature, and all four of these lovely ladies have written some AMAZINGLY badass female characters. Plus, they all have the cutest, sweetest presences on social media, and I would love to meet them all in person.

  • Becky Albertalli – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited
  • Mindy McGinnis – A Madness so Discreet, Given to the Sea, The Female of the Species,  Not a Drop to Drink, and more
  • Alexandra Bracken – The Passenger duology, The Darkest Minds trilogy
  • Leigh Bardugo – The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows duology

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Panel #3: Diversity (non-white authors)

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All of these authors have such amazing and unique books, and I think it would be fascinating to see how they’ve brought their own experiences into their writing. It’s so important to read diversely, but it’s also important to read #ownvoices books, which provide a more accurate depiction of marginalized identities. Honestly there were a bunch more I could have added, but I wanted to stick to four per panel.

  • Angie Thomas – and African American author. She recently came out with her first book, inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement (The Hate U Give)
  • Evelyn Skye – I’m not sure her exact background, and I’m not going to guess. She has just published the second book in her duology about Russian enchanters (The Crown’s Game)
  • Khaled Hosseini – an Afghani author who has published three books set in the Middle East. (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And The Mountains Echoed)
  • Sabaa Tahir – again not positive on her background, but she is currently working on her third book in her amazing trilogy inspired by Ancient Rome (An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night)

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Panel #4: Non-fiction Authors

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I’ve cheated a little bit here, as these are all authors who have written their own memoirs, or autobiographies. I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I should, so this is what I was able to come up with. All of these people have had such unique lives, and I think hearing from them would be life-changing.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – she’s a Nigerian author who has written several books set in Africa, and has spoken about her feminist beliefs (Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, We Should All Be Feminists, and more)
  • Malala Yousafzai – she’s a Pakistani girl who, at the age of 15, was shot by the Taliban for speaking about about her beliefs that all should receive an education. She has since become very active in the UN, and has become the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize (I am Malala)
  • Marjane Satrapi – she grew up in Iran during the Iranian revolution, and wrote about it in her graphic memoir (Persepolis)
  • Bill Hayes – a gay man who is a photographer and author. He was in a relationship with the late Oliver Sacks, and wrote about their time together in his beautiful book (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me)

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Panel #5: My “Fictional” Dream Panel

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Ok, so for this last panel, I wanted to bring some people back from the dead. Just for fun. All these (dead) authors produced some of my favorite works of all time, and I would love to hear what writing advice they would offer, as well as more insight into their works. Plus, I’d love to see how they’d react to the popularity of their writings today (Van Gogh in Dr Who anyone?)

  • Jane Austen – my favorite book of all time is probably Pride and Prejudice, and getting to meet its creator may actually put me into a coma (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, and more)
  • William Shakespeare – who would turn down the opportunity to meet him and hear him talk about writing??? An eclectic playwright who created some of the most famous works of all time. Please, please bring him back. (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more)
  • Emily Dickinson – I’m less familiar with her writing, but what I have read of it has left me absolutely breathless. I want to know how she chose her words. Can I just have her brain, please? (so many poems. so many)
  • Oscar Wilde – I want to meet this man. Please. Plus, I want him to see a world where it’s ok to be LGBTQIA+ and just. Yes. His writing is so great, and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him. (The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and more)

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What authors would be on your dream panel? Have you been to any author panels before? If you could bring any authors back to life, who would they be? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Annotating Books

Hello!

Everyone has probably had to annotate a book for school, but who would ever do it to their own books? Apparently, a lot of people. I’ve never annotated my books for fun, as I’m not a fan of writing in my books, and I’d never been able to come up with a system that I thought would work for bookmarking my books with post-its or sticky tabs.

Recently, I watched this video posted by Problems of a Book Nerd, and in it she talks a little bit about her system for marking her books with sticky tabs. I thought her system was a very interesting way to keep track of the best moments in the books you read. I can see how it makes it easier to go back and reread your books, or keep track of notes for when you write reviews. You can even mark pages that have your favorite quotes.

However, whenever I’ve tried to annotate books before, I’ve noticed that it slows me down quite a lot. I get too distracted looking for things to annotate, rather than just focusing on what I’m reading, and enjoying the content. I also don’t like having to stop reading every time I want to mark something, so I can peel the sticky tab off and put it on the page where I want it.

I really like the idea of having bookmarks in all my books so that I can go back and reread all of my favorite parts easily, but whenever I try to annotate my books, or mark them with sticky tabs, it just ends up annoying me. So, I think, while I can see the benefits of annotating books, it just isn’t something that I can implement in my own reading habits.

What do you think? Do you annotate or bookmark your books? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Reading Multiple Books at the Same Time

Hello,

EDIT: So yes, I know this post has been up with no text on it for 2 days. Sorry about that. I had it scheduled to go up, but I was planning on typing it Monday night before it went up. Unfortunately, I was prepping for a medical procedure that night, and I ended up getting really sick, so I’m just now getting around to actually typing this post. Oops! I’ll be more on top of it from now on.

So, for most of my life, I have been the kind of reader who only reads one book at a time. I could never understand people that read more than one book at a time, partially because I felt like it would be really confusing, but I also couldn’t see the point. It didn’t seem like it would make me read faster or anything, so why would I bother? The only time I ever read multiple books at a time was when I had to read multiple books for different classes.

Then, as I started getting more involved in the online bookish community, I started noticing that most people read more than one book at a time, and I thought this was really interesting, so I was curious to see why so many people did it, and how they make it work. As I started paying attention, I noticed that most people who read more than one book at a time read books from different genres, which I feel like eliminates most of the confusion that would happen as a result of reading books of the same genre.  However, I still didn’t understand how this would make people read any faster.

This January, I finally figured it out. When I started reading The Inconvenience of the Wings, which is an anthology of short stories, I knew that I didn’t want to read it all in one go, despite the fact that it’s less than 200 pages. So, I decided that I would read one chapter of that book per day. If I hadn’t picked up another book in the meantime, I would have felt really guilty about getting through the book so slowly. So, I picked up another book. When I had finished my chapter for the day, I could go back to reading books that I would read much faster. I started doing this more with big books as well. I think I read three other books during the process of reading The Name of the Wind (which is 700+) pages. It’s really helpful to me to do this, because I feel less guilty about reading really big books that take me more than a day or two to get through, because I’m still reading other books in the meantime.

Another thing I’ve discovered recently is the magic of reading different books in different mediums at the same time. Since I just started a job working at the same company as my mother, she and I both carpool to work together. On the 45 minute drive to and from work, she and I listen to audiobooks. I can listen to the book in the car while driving, and then also have a physical book to read when I get home. I also like listening to audiobooks when I’m doing chores around the house, because I can’t give myself the excuse of wanting to read instead of clean my room when I can do both at the same time. On top of that, I also have several review books that I have on my phone, so I can read those while waiting for appointments or while I’m on my lunch break at work without having to lug around a physical book. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to get into this habit of reading multiple books simultaneously.

Do you read multiple books at the same time? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments! 

-Sky

 

 

 

Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Diversity and Representation in Books

Hello!

As I’ve become more active in the online bookish community, I’ve gradually become more aware of some of the problems that exist with representation in literature that has been published and is currently being published. Representation and diversity was never really something I’d though about before when I was reading. I just picked up books that sounded interesting and if they had a character of color or a queer character that was just fine. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve become more aware of things like #ownvoices and reading books featuring more diverse characters.

I come from a pretty conservative family, so I was raised around a lot of toxic ideals about the world. Until I got into high school, I can say definitively that I was incredibly and horrifically naïve and insensitive about cultures, religions, and perspectives other than my own. It was only when I got to high school (at an incredibly liberal and open arts school) that I was really exposed to a viewpoint other than my own. Since then I’ve been making a conscious, deliberate effort to be aware of the world around me, and how others see and experience the world.

In the past year, I’ve started to extend this conscious effort to my reading as well. It started mainly with my own curiosity. For the past few years I have questioned my sexuality, and so I began to become more curious about books with queer characters, comparing their feelings and experiences to my own. In terms of reading more diversely, this is definitely where I’ve branched out the most, and the type of diversity that I have been (so far) most interested in and aware of.

In 2017, I want to focus even more on reading books with diverse characters and authors, branching out beyond LGBTQIA+ focused books and also focusing more on books that center around people of color and have #ownvoices authors. As I read more blog posts and watch more BookTube videos centered around diverse books, I’m realizing how much I’m missing in my reading. I am tired of being ignorant and naïve when it comes to those around me. I want to be educated. I know that, as much as I try, I make mistakes. I want to read more and learn more, so that I can always improve and be corrected when I make mistakes, so that I stop making them. Because I really do care. I know that there are people who don’t, and I want to make sure that I am one of the ones who do, sincerely.

It is important for me to read diverse books because I want to support those authors and that type of literature so we see more of it in the future. I recognize that I am a very privileged person in this world (though I do have some disadvantages) and it isn’t terribly hard for me to see myself in a lot of the characters I read. However, one thing I’ve recently determined about myself is that I am asexual. This is something that I haven’t ever seen before in a book, so in terms of romance and relationships, it’s really hard to see myself in a lot of characters, who typically (if not explicitly) are at least interested in sexual relationships. I am so excited to have found a few books featuring asexual characters that are coming out this year, and I can’t wait to see how this is handled. I want to support these authors because I want to see more of this kind of representation, so it’s important for me to read their books.

It is also important for me to read diverse books because (as I said a while ago), I am tired of being uneducated and ignorant. I think getting as many perspectives is so important. Especially in the coming years, with the government that we are going to have, empathy and compassion are a necessity. We need to be united now more than ever, and I want to be a part of that. I want to not only put myself out there, but also be a voice for good in the world. I want to be a part of the supportive and diverse community that I see both in the blogging world and on YouTube, and I hope that over the next year I can better myself through participation in these communities.

I’m not going to set any specific reading goals for myself in terms of reading diversely this year, but I do have a few general goals for myself. My main goal is just to make more of a conscious effort to seek out and read books by and about people who are different from me, and who have different experiences from me. I’ve recently discovered the “own voices” hashtag, and I absolutely love this way of supporting authors from minorities or marginalized backgrounds. I’m hoping that over the course of this year I can read more books that fall under this category as well.

Do you have any diverse reads that you can recommend to me? Have you set any reading diversity goals for yourself this year? Tell me in the comments!

Sky