Tag | The “Friends” Book Tag

It’s Thursday, folks, and you know what that means? It’s time for another Tag Thursday!

*cue reasonable amount of applause and cheering*

And this week’s tag is the “Friends” Book Tag. As Liz and I are finally coming to the end of our Friends rewatch, this seemed an all too timely tag and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in when I saw it over on Thrice Read last week. This tag was created by Haley of Fangirl Fury so head on over to her blog to show her some love!

Friends is intrinsically part of my personality – there is never a situation in which I will not be reminded of a Friends quote or joke and I learnt a surprising amount of life lessons from this TV show… the main one being that Ross is kind of a dick? And you don’t really realise that until you get older and rewatch the show and suddenly it dawns on you how entitled his relationship with Rachel is. Anyhow, my point is, Chandler is life, Joey is an adorable teddy bear, Monica has the focus and drive I wish I had, Rachel is someone I sorely misjudged when I used to watch this show as a teen so I’m sorry for all the mean thoughts I had about you Rachel you’re wonderful, and Phoebe has a confidence in who she is that I aspire to on a deep level. In the meantime though, let’s just have a look at this tag, shall we?

Rachel: A character whose wardrobe you want to steal

This will surprise precisely no one given my well publicised penchant for coats but… I want (nay, need) Kell’s coat from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. I NEED it, guys, the thirst is real.

(Disclaimer: this is not Kell’s coat but Nick’s joy at this coat would be my joy of Kell’s coat.
Although it must
 have a light, beige trench in it somewhere, surely, along with a heavier, wool version a la Sherlock. Duh.)

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Tag | How I Choose My Books

It’s Tag Thursday guys, and look, I remembered! This week’s tag is (you must know this one by now, say it with me?) brought to you via the lovely girls over at Thrice Read and it’s called the How I Choose My Books Tag. Booktube and the book blogging world has had such a lasting impact upon my general reading habits, how I buy books, and how I read books, so I’m sure this tag will prove that without a shadow of a doubt. Let’s jump right on in…

Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up that book in the first place?

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – I saw someone (can’t remember who) reviewing it on BookTube and they said how wonderful and touching this memoir is – they weren’t wrong, it was a truly heartbreaking and weirdly uplifting book too. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

I mean as a rule, I don’t generally read books I don’t think I’m going to enjoy – and if I do read them, I’m rarely proved wrong (cough A Court of Thorns and Roses cough), so this question is difficult. I suppose The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare counts? I still don’t really think Clare’s writing or plotting or characterisation is as great as the hype suggests, but I enjoyed Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess in large part because they moved the Shadowhunters focus back into Victorian England and I liked that slightly steampunk vibe a hell of a lot more than the time I attempted to read City of Bones.

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven – I discovered this due to the very positive recommendations of it via the lovely Jen Campbell. She described it as a post-apocalyptic fiction where swine flu has wiped out most of the population and a travelling theatre troupe travels across the United States, performing Shakespeare plays in exchange for food. She had me at ‘Shakespeare plays’ to be honest. Guess what though? I still haven’t actually read this. Much like M.L. Rio’s If We Were Villains, I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this book because it purports to be everything I love, but I’m SO scared that it’s going to be a disappointment that I keep putting it off. That’s silly, isn’t it? Does anyone else do this?!?

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Tag | Summer Reader Book Tag

Guys, it’s Thursday, you know the drill by now – it’s time for Tag Thursday. I saw this tag (obviously) over on Thrice Read because I just rob all of their tag posts nowadays. This tag was created by Dri at islandOFdri on Youtube so head on over to her channel to check out the original video, if you like. It’s summer (allegedly) and the weather here has been GLORIOUS and then GLORIOUSLY TERRIBLE so that’s a sure sign of the unreliable British summertime once again – this week’s tag is summer themed, in honour of that.

Lemonade: pick a book that started off bitter but got better.

It wasn’t necessarily bitter but just… meh… that’s Howards End by E.M. Forster. But, make no mistake, once I got settled into the story line and the characters I ended up really enjoying it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (until the end of the time) – Forster does plot twists so subtly and smoothly that I had to double-take on multiple occasions and say “did he just-?!”

Golden Sun: pick a book that made you smile beyond compare.

Ok, I have a recent one for this – When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It was so adorable and squishy and I just wanted to wrap the characters up in a big warm blanket and not let them out of my sight. I had a huge idiot grin on my face on public transport whilst I was reading this. Because Rishi is just a big ol’ squish I want to squish.

Tropical Flowers: pick a book set in a foreign country.

Because I’m me and I like to amuse myself, I’m going to pick a book set in a foreign country that is as far away from “summery” as I can. Because I don’t like summer and I’m bitter about it but here we are… Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. It tells the tale of the final days of an accused murderess, based on the true story of the last woman to be sentenced to death in Iceland. It’s set against the stark landscape of Iceland and it’s so atmospheric and gritty that I felt like I was there.

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Tag | War and Peace Newbies Tag

Folks, I’m doing something foolish – that’s right, I’m going to try to read War & Peace again. I tried back at the start of the year and failed after 220 pages… basically, I hit the war bit and had no idea what the eff was going on or who any of these people were and, well, that tends to put a girl off reading.

Now, as you may or may not know there’s a War & Peace summer readalong happening in the next few months and I’ve decided it’s the final push to get me to try again. I was enjoying myself when I was reading it bizarrely, but I just lost momentum and got stuck. I’m really hoping that the added moral support of a readalong will help me to push through the confusion and make it to the end this time (or at least to make it to further than I got before).

What has this got to do with Tag Thursday, I hear you ask. That is a very good question. In short: Laura from Reading In Bed has planned War & Peace readalong of her own especially for newbies to the Tolstoy tome – like me! It will be starting in the first week of July running through to mid-September (perfect timing for me) and she’s also created the War and Peace Newbies Tag so all participants can get to know one another. All in all, I think it’s a great idea so I’ll be doing the tag today whilst I’m her pledging my allegiance to the flag readalong itself. So, without any further ado, let’s get on with the tag…

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Tag | Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

Folks, it’s Thursday again, and we all know the drill by now, right? It’s time for another Tag Thursday! I saw this tag over on (can you guess?) the lovely Thrice Read and, as the middle of the year is quickly creeping up on me, I thought it was high time to do this tag and reflect on how my reading has gone in this first half of the year. All in all, I think this year’s reading has been good so far but let us ponder some more searching questions and see, shall we?

Question 1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2017

Based purely on star-ratings (and discounting re-reads) it would be the following: Wishing for Birds by Elisabeth Hewer, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. All brilliant for their own reasons and come highly recommended from me. (And no I couldn’t pick just one because that would be like making a parent choose which child was their favourite!)

Question 2 – Your favourite sequel of the year

Definitely A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. As the final book in a trilogy, it made me feel ALL THE THINGS and it was as equally hilarious and heartbreaking as I have come to expect from Schwab’s writing. It all turned out alright though in the end, didn’t it? I’m still not over it but it’s ok, we’ll get through it together.

Question 3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

It depends entirely on what constitutes as a “new release” I think so I will chose two answers: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor which actually was released back in April (I bought it then, I just haven’t got to it yet) and the recently released The Gender Games by Juno Dawson (which I have heard so many wonderful things about but haven’t bought yet).

Question 4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Definitely the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s my favourite of the Harry Potter films and quite possibly of the books (I used to say my favourite was OotP but, on re-read, I think POA has the edge) and I’m really excited to see how it is depicted visually.

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Tag | Summertime Madness Book Tag

Welcome one, welcome all, to another Tag Thursday!

*a moderate round of applause*

This week, I was all excited to bring you a summery tag since Britain was enjoying a spate of bizarrely nice and rather apt weather… the emphasis here is on the word was because, true to form, it has now turned rainy and windy and not at all summery. (Seriously, today, I experienced 3 weather conditions at the same time – blinding sunshine, wind, and storming rain – PICK ONE!) Still, let us all have our delusions as I bring you the Summertime Madness Book Tag. Quelle surprise – I found this tag via the lovely ladies over at Thrice Read so be sure to check out their blog too. Let’s dive into the tag…

1. Show a book with a Summery cover! i.e Sun, Beach etc.

I don’t have very many summery books, since I tend to read fantasy, but I think these contemporaries below do fit the bill for sun-drenched, summery looking covers:

  

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and We Were Liars and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by e. lockhart – so summery that it hurts that it’s actually raining outside now and I want to dive into all of these books instead.

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Tag | My Life in Books Tag

You know the drill – it’s Thursday, time for another Tag Thursday etc. etc. I was somewhat struggling to find a tag this week, so I went onto some of my favourite blogs and discovered this short-but-sweet tag courtesy of Stephanie at Adventures of a Bibliophile. This is the My Life In Books tag and let us all just get going on the tag because life is short and there are books to get reading!

Find a book for each of your initials.

E – (The) Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
L – Longbourn by Jo Baker
B – Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?

I’m 24 and my 24th book on the top shelf of my bookshelf is *drum roll please*… The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Pick a book set in your city/country.

I’ve only just (relatively speaking) moved to Liverpool and no one writes books about the town I’m actually from so… let’s just broaden that to books set in England so that I have many to choose from, though I’ll at least try to stick to picking a book about the North of England. I’m going to pick North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell because Milton is totally Manchester.

Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

There are so many places I want to see, but Italy is pretty damn high on my list – y’know, on account of wanting to see Venice before it completely sinks. So the book that represents that (and that lodged this desire to see Italy in my younger, pre-teen brain) is City of Masks by Mary Hoffman, the first in her Stravaganza series. It’s about a boy who is able to travel to an alternate history version of 16th-century Venice when he falls asleep holding a Venetian diary.

Pick a book that’s your favourite colour.

Well I have two favourite colours – one is lime green, for which I choose Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre (because the spine is horrendously bright and it’s glorious), and the other is teal so I choose All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (whose cover is just stunning).

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Matilda by Roald Dahl probably? This also ties into my obsessive rewatching of the film when I was a child. Imagine, a girl who reads so much and finds herself the odd one in the family because she does so, then finding herself valued and appreciated by a teacher who then nurtures her love of reading and education. No I have noooo idea why that appealed to me.

And then all of the Harry Potter books, obviously, but I feel like that’s a given for the majority of my generation.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy… the “peace” bits with the society stuff I’m fine with, the war bits are incomprehensible to me because my knowledge of history is shockingly bad, especially military history.

whispers I finally shelved this book as ‘put aside for now’ which really means ‘I don’t want to DNF this indefinitely because then I’d have to re-read like 300 pages but also by the time I get around to trying it again I will definitely have forgotten what happened in those first 300 pages’.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

See above? But, for another answer, I suppose… Moby Dick by Herman Melville or perhaps The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – both are long and complex, I’m told, but rewarding if you stick with it. Someday I hope to have the drive to do just that but, until then, I’ll continue to just mention them in tags like this.

That was it – that was the My Life in Books tag. If you are reading this and feel the urge to do this tag then, please, by all means consider yourself tagged by yours truly! If you do the tag, please link to it in the comments below as I am nosy and would love to see your answers.

NB: After writing this tag post, I realised that I actually did this tag before, back in 2015, (click here to view) but my answers are different so that’s fun to realise that my take on these questions has changed since then!


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Tag | Feelings Matter Book Tag

It’s Tag Thursday time everyone! (Have we made fetch it happen? Is “Tag Thursday” an accepted feature on my blog?) That means I bring you my weekly tag post and this week’s tag (as is so often the case) comes courtesy of the lovely ladies at Thrice Read whose post you can see here, and who have also reliably informed me that the original tag video can be viewed here. This week’s tag is called the Feelings Matter Book Tag.

lotoffeelings

What book made you feel confident, either about yourself or your life?

In a strange way, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I was hitting an uncomfortable period in my life where I felt lost leading up to graduating from university and not knowing what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and The Interestings helped me to realise two very sobering things: that some people “make it” based on nothing more than sheer dumb luck and that some people might look as if they’ve “made it” and are doing so much better than you but you have no idea what is going on behind that veneer of success. We’re all just mostly floundering along in life – it’s time more people admitted it openly and this book kind of did.

What book made you feel sympathetic or sympathise greatly with the characters?

I tend to read fantasy so, um, not so much with the sympathy with characters off gallivanting on quests. However, it is skillful of a writer to make you feel sympathy towards a character with which you have precisely zero in common and who maybe don’t deserve sympathy (cough Cersei Lannister cough), but let us stray from that avenue of thought and back to the question. One thing that does stick in my mind is how much this quote hit me, from It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane and I still remember it, a year later: “Instead of trying and failing, Delia never tried. She told herself that failure was inevitable and she’d only look silly in the process. It was fear, cloaked in rationalisations and self-deprecation.” Girl, I feel you.

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Tag | The Reader’s Questionnaire

Tag Thursday time, folks! This week’s tag comes courtesy of my friend Liz whose post you can see here, and it’s called The Reader’s Questionnaire. Pretty simple but here are my answers to some bookish and readerly questions, because we all need to know that kind of stuff of every self-respecting book blogger.

1. What is your favourite book?

That’s a tough question to ask any reader, and for the first question up… at least buy me a drink first before pulling that out…

No, seriously though?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Persuasion/Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling… bit of everything really. I’d probably say Rebecca if pressed though. I need to re-read it soon just to check it’s still my fave.

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?

Goals, what goals? (See my recent post entitled ‘Feeling Goalless’ for more info.) Although, to be fair, I did make New Year’s Resolutions (as seen here) so even though I’m terrible at coming up with bigger, more important life and career goals, I do still set pointless and breakable resolutions every year. So, you know, I’m trying.

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.

Writer is a very optimistic way of describing my creative endeavours. Not to blow my own trumpet but I was pretty good at researching and writing essays at university – I never really had that much trouble putting together words and sentences that made me sound vaguely informed.

As for the more creative sort of writing, I used to forum roleplay in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and NYC-based forums – not all at the same time, obviously, that would have been quite something – but don’t much anymore (yes, I miss it). Because of this background, I’m good at envisaging characters and character building and putting together dialogue, but I’m less good at fleshing out worlds or plot lines, since these were nearly always dictated by the forum’s initial setup or spontaneously decided. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo previously and never got very far because of this tendency – I need to work on that because I actually really enjoyed my story idea.

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Tag | Book Buying Habits Tag

I saw this tag post over on Emma’s blog, A Dreamer’s Library, and I thought I would give it a little go on this fine Thursday afternoon since it is Tag Thursday after all (yes I’m still trying to make it a thing, shush).

Perhaps doing this tag will also make me re-evaluate some of book buying habits in the process because, let’s face it, I buy too many books considering the rate I consume them at – but I like having my own little library, so sue me. And whilst you’re preparing to sue me… let’s see about this tag shall we?

1. Where do you buy your books from?

Honestly? Amazon. I’ve completely been swayed by the lure of Amazon Prime delivery (the TV is a nice added bonus) and it’s just so quick and convenient. I feel slightly bad when I do order from Amazon but I’m just not financially in a position where I can buy hardback new releases at full price from an independent bookshop, and I won’t feel bad for choosing an alternative for now. I tend to order used books a lot from Amazon too, or else buy them from Oxfam bookshops which is slightly better on the moral front in my eyes.

Although I occasionally allow myself to splurge and buy books from Waterstone’s now that I have a big and very lovely branch easily accessible to me in Liverpool One.

2. Do you ever pre-order books and if so do you do this in store or online?

I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a book in-store but I do know my grandma used to pre-order the Harry Potter books for me from book 5 onwards, to make sure I always had a copy waiting for me on release day. How sweet is that? But if I am in charge of the pre-ordering I tend to do it via Amazon… more accurately, I usually end up pre-ordering then the day before release day my book still hasn’t dispatched so I end up cancelling the pre-order and re-ordering it so it will be delivered the next day. No I don’t know why Amazon is so slow with pre-orders sometimes but I don’t really trust it anymore to actually get a book to me on release day. The only things I’ve really pre-ordered have been my auto-buy authors’ next books, i.e. Samantha Shannon and V.E. Schwab.

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