Blogger Newbie: Leanne (@ Bookish Revolution ) | 3 books that changed my life

I got an exciting guest post from Leanne over at Bookish Revolution! Let me just give her the word!

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Who Are You?: I’m Leanne, I’m relatively new to the world of book blogging. I’m an avid (but slow!) reader, and I’ll read pretty much anything except romance, which no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to get into! I also love belly dancing, running and my cat Coconut.

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?: My blog is about books, but I’m not doing many straightforward reviews. I prefer to look at how books have shaped my view of the world, or how they’ve helped me in some way. I also like to do a light-heartes post once in a while – like pictures of my cat with books!

Why did you start blogging?: I wanted to connect with people and discuss books with them – that’s pretty much it! I also want to improve my writing style and develop my own “voice”. I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I finish a blog post.

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Which books changed your life? Here are 3 of mine

This week I’ve been reflecting on my reading progress for the year. Not just in terms of the number of books I’ve read, but also the quality of those I’ve read and the level of diversity I’ve managed to achieve.

I’ve read some great books this year that have all resonated with me in different ways. That said, with the possible exception of Roxane Gay’s wonderful Difficult Women, which I talked about in an earlier blog post, nothing has jumped out at me yet as a book that I’ll remember for years to come. You know the sort I mean, the book you look at sitting on your shelves and immediately start reminiscing about the time you read it and how it made you feel.  It makes you want to capture that feeling again and again.

Now, I know we’re only in July, so there’s still a few more books left to read before the end of the year. I also recognise that the important books in your life tend to be few and far between, and that’s part of what makes them special – you’d probably be rather emotionally drained if every book you read left you pining so deeply for the experience of reading it again, and sometimes that’s really not what you need from a book anyway.

But it got me thinking about some of the books I’ve read that have had a big impact on me over the years, and some are probably ones you wouldn’t expect! Here are 3 books that, in very different ways, have changed my life.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To be honest, I can’t remember exactly when I first read Harper Lee’s classic. It wasn’t when I was at secondary school, although I certainly owned a copy at that point – I think I may have been at university before I finally managed to read it.

I could see immediately why it’s such a popular choice on the curriculum in American high schools, and I really hope it still is today. It addresses so many important themes – race relations, gender stereotypes, what it means to have courage and to follow your own moral compass. To have compassion for others who aren’t like you. Things that I think are more relevant today than they ever were.

To Kill A Mockingbird taught me that doing what you think is right isn’t always an easy option – but you should do it anyway. When I re-read this book a couple of years ago, I remember sitting on a bus and reading the end of a particular chapter – and having to close the book for a second so I could hug it. I never do that.

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight – Linda Bacon

And now for something completely different!

I first read this book about 4 years ago, after having a conversation with a work colleague on the bus home. I’d been going to Slimming World for about a year by that point, and I’d never really considered any other viewpoint than the one espoused by pretty much everybody, from doctors to friends – being fat is unhealthy, and you’re only going to be happy if you can get thin and stay thin.

Oh, how the science in this book completely changed my perspective.

I’ve never been happy with my body. I come from a family where dieting is the norm, and being fat is just not something that is acceptable. This book helped me move away from the diet mentality – and consequently away from low self-esteem. Until I read this book, I hadn’t realized how much of my self-esteem was wrapped up in trying to attain a socially-acceptable body (or how much emotional energy I was expending trying to do it). I’m not only happier because of this book, I’m healthier – I don’t obsess about eating, but I’m still able to make food and exercise choices that help me maintain my well-being and a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to the constant weight cycling and “all-or-nothing” approach to healthy eating that I had before. It also got me into reading other books about the obsession with the obesity “crisis”, as well as size-acceptance movements and intuitive eating.

I have a lot to thank Linda Bacon for – I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t ditched the diets and started living my life.

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

This is the first book by Octavia E. Butler that I read, and I hope to add more to the list!

I enjoyed this book so much – the plot had me gripped and the nuanced relationships between the characters had me hooked. But these aren’t the reasons it’s important to me.

Kindred made me look at diversity in books in a new light. I’ve felt for a long time that it’s important to read more than just white male authors, who generally don’t experience the barriers to publishing or exposure in the book community that other writers do.

This is hard for me to admit, but reading this book made me realize that I’d been making assumptions about black writers and writing that really weren’t true. Embarrassingly, I’d never heard of a science fiction book written by a black person, never mind a black woman, and this had never occurred to me as odd. I’m cringing as I write this, because it all seems completely ridiculous to me that I could ever have thought this way.

I’d never really considered that black writers who get publicity in the UK tend to be writing about particular subjects such as slavery, or the political situation in Nigeria, themes that you’d probably expect black writers to explore. There is nothing wrong with this – I’ve read some brilliant books on these topics. But I think it does lead to black writers getting pigeonholed, because the reading public is often only showcased a particular sort of writing. I think this can often be true for writers from other backgrounds too. I’m sure it’s not an accident that science fiction is overwhelmingly white, and male. Even though Kindred is widely dubbed a classic, and isn’t a new book, I’d never heard of it. I know it deals with slavery and race relations, but I’d never seen them approached in this way.

As I said, I loved this book, but it also raised some questions about diversifying my reading that made me feel uncomfortable. I’m glad about that. It made me realise that, if I was going to make sure that diversifying my reading didn’t turn into a tokenistic gesture, I needed to make an effort to find authors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds other than those established enough to be getting a lot of publicity, or those writing in mainstream genres that tend to have big marketing budgets. It’ll need a bit more effort, but I think it’ll be worth it. There are so many books by a diverse range of writers out there that we don’t get to hear about because of the barrier such writers face, and I’d like to help remedy that if it’s possible.

So, there you have my 3 life-changing books – which books are important to you?

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If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow Leanne on her blog, twitter, litsy (@LeanneAslin) and/or instagram! Which book(s) changed your life?

Blog Anniversary + 800 Followers + Giveaway + Semi-Hiatus Announcement

This is probably going to be a long post but oh well, stick to it because I’ll end with a giveaway. I have literally been saying I wanted to do a giveaway when I reached 500 followers?? But then I never did??? But today is the day!

First the least exciting thing of all (don’t go scrolling down yet, this is important!), I will be on vacation starting from today until probably Monday, August 14th. This means that I will be absent for almost an entire month. I have a lot of posts scheduled (mainly tags but also newbie bloggers and reviews) so you won’t miss me too much I hope, but I will probably have problems answering all messages, comments, emails etc. So don’t despair when I don’t answer within a few days. It could take me a while. Sadly, this also means I won’t be able to keep up with all of your wonderful posts.

Continue reading “Blog Anniversary + 800 Followers + Giveaway + Semi-Hiatus Announcement”

The Perks Of Being A Book-Nerd | Going to the Library/Bookstore

If you are in love with books, like I am, this can cause some awkward and funny situations. So I’ve compiled a list of a few situations (slightly dramatised, I must admit) that you might relate to as a book worm.

// The “Going to The Library/Bookstore” Edition //

Me: *pets book in bookstore because it’s so pretty*

Me: *stares at bookstore in admiration*
Me to self: “No. You are not going in there.”
Me to self: “But but but please!”
Me to self: “No.”
Me to self: “Aww come on! Only for five minutes!”
Me to self: “Okay. Five minutes and not a second more!”
Me: *walks out of bookstore half an hour later*

Me: *goes to bookstore / library with other person*
Me: *picks up book* *stares at it in admiration*
Other person: Have you read it?
Me: Yes omg it’s so good you should read it and it’s about this girl and she is [endless rambling about how much I love the book.]
Other person: *silently backs away*

Me: *goes to library*
Me: *picks up book*
Me: omg I need this
Me: *picks up another book*
Me: this one too
Me: oh and this one
Me: and this and this and this and this
Me: I can’t carry all these books that ridiculous. I should leave half of them here.
Me: I CAN’T CHOOSE, they’re all so precious!
Me: *Brings all of them home.*

Do you relate?

Down The TBR Hole #17 | Looking Back & Discussing TBRs

During these 17 weeks I had no idea this would become so big! Every week more and more people join in and that so cool! So thank you all for joining, I hope it’ll help you to get your TBR under control.

Nikki from The Night Is Dark and Full Of Books suggested I do a “looking back” post, which I thought was a great idea! So hereby my looking back at 16 weeks of going through my tbr!

I started off with about 90 books (I don’t remember exactly), which isn’t much, but it felt like I was drowning in it anyway. Whenever I went through my tbr to see what I could read next I automatically skipped over some books, simply because I didn’t even remember why they were on there.

During this process I went through 80 of these books and removed 26 (later a few got added back) and the current state of my tbr is 56 books. On average I removed about 2/5th of the books I went through, excluding the last few posts. I’ve added some books in the past months and I’ve read some, but I’ve read more than I added, which is a good sign!

Some thoughts on tbrs and things I’ve learned:

  • Adding books only because they’re popular, is not a good idea. Popularity does not mean you’ll like it.
  • Adding books should be because you think it’s something you’re really going to enjoy. I’ve gotten way more critical about which books I add, and which not.
  • People’s opinions can be different. Removing a book and having someone tell you it’s their favourite or so amazing (*cough* Throne of Glass *cough*) can be quite difficult, because if they love it, you should too right? But sometimes you really have to put your feet down and remove it anyway. You know what? It felt so good removing ToG from my tbr!
  • Going through your tbr one-by-one makes you more aware of what’s on there. I’ve discovered some new favourites and got excited for books that I completely forgot about!
  • A tbr needs some sort of homeostasis point, there needs to be a balance between the books you read and the books you add, otherwise, it would become one big endless hole.
  • I will probably never get to the end of my tbr, but that doesn’t matter because there are too many good books out there.
  • Filtering through your tbr every once in a while, is really helpful to get rid of those books you have no interest in reading anymore.

I don’t know what I’m going to do for the next weeks, there’s not much to go through on my tbr anymore. Maybe I’ll do a shout-out to a book on my tbr? Or I’ll come up with some new idea 🙂

Did you enjoy this meme? Did you participate? And how did it help you?

Top 10 Tuesday | Ten Presents I wouldn’t mind Santa leaving me under my tree

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s topic is Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree. But because I’ve already done a “Books on my wishlist” post I will be doing instead: Ten (Bookish) Presents I wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Me Under My Tree.

I am combining this something I saw over at Maya’s blog Book Dragon 1017, which is how your dream Loot crate would look like. I don’t know think whatever I picked is something that would be in a Loot Crate, but it’s just for fun anyway. So, my crate would include a combination of several of the items below:

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  1. This Diagon Alley print with Harry and Hagrid by Ape Meets Girl from Society6. Link here.
  2. This shirt I fell in love with, with the text Then I defy you, stars! from Romeo and Juliet. The shirt is designed by Camille from Requiem For An English Major, and is sold on Etsy. Link Here.
  3. This o so pretty tote from Evie Seo on Society6. The text says “I spent my life folded between the pages of books.”. Link here.
  4. This cute mug from katiepaints from Redbubble with the Lunar Chronicles text Even in the future the story begins with once upon a time. Link here.
  5. A Ravenclaw notebook to express how proud I am of my house 🙂 . This notebook is designed by Stella Bookish Art and is sold on Society6. Link here.
  6. This bookmark from Ink and Wonder with a Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children text: We were like astronauts floating through a starless universe. Link here.
  7. A skin for my laptop (because it’s so boring and black!) with one of my favourite quotes on it: We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. by Oscar Wilde. This skin is designed by Evie Seo and is also available for iPads and Macbooks. Link here.
  8. A pretty phone case (I don’t own an iPhone, but luckily it’s also available for iPods!) with a William Shakespeare quote on it: We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. It is designed by Stella Bookish Art and is available on Society 6. Link here.
  9. More hand lettering handbooks! The one pictured is from Paperfuel and it is the one I bought this weekend and I am absolutely in love with it. This one is sadly only available in Dutch. Link here.
  10. (not pictured) Gift cards! For websites such as society6, redbubble, amazon, book selling websites or physical stores!

I guess you could say I love things with quotes on them 🙂

What is on the top of your wishlist?

ps. If someone has experience with having a Society6 store, can you please contact me, I’m having difficulties setting up a store. Yes you heard that correctly, I’m setting up my own store!