Tag Archives: Bookish Stuff

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Bookish Wishes


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

My previous bookish wishes are as follow: Winter Solstice Bookish Wishes, Bookish Wishes, Bookish Wishes 2, Bookish Wishes 3.

As always, I do not wish to have any books purchased for me or to purchase books for others. Some of my wishes will be a little too esoteric for that, and the rest can be satisfied if anyone has a good recommendation or two for me.

Three flat, white stones stacked on top of each other on the perfectly smooth sand of a beach. You can see the lake or ocean water in the distance. 1. A Lighthearted Beach Read About Friendship

Romantic subplots are totally fine, but I’d prefer the main storyline to be about platonic relationships.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume was one book in this genre I’ve previously enjoyed.

 

2. Nonfiction Books About Biology, Archeology, or Similar Subjects 

I love reading about science and living organisms whether the topic is hunter-gatherers from the distant past or how tree frogs are doing in 2024.

3. More Uninterrupted Time to Write 

It can be hard to concentrate again after you’ve been interrupted!

 

4. No More Writer’s Block

It has been slowing me down so much.

 

5. No More Forest Fires This Year

Canada’s forest fires were awful last year. Is it too much to ask for clean air to breathe while I read and write?

 

5. Dairy-Free Chocolate

Do I technically need it while I read and write? No, but it sure is enjoyable.

 

6. Stories About the Underdog Winning

They can be from any genre. I love seeing the little guy get justice  and prevail against nearly-impossible odds.

 

7. Short Stories

Almost all of the short stories I read are science fiction, fantasy, or horror, but I’ll branch out to many other genres: mystery, westerns, romance, etc. All I ask is that the tale itself is well written.

 

A photo of a black hardcover book lying on a forest floor in a patch of dirt. Maybe it’s next to a tree whose leaves are too numerous to allow grass to grow there? In the distance you can see the calm water of a pond. 8. Humorous Fiction

I am hoping to go to the beach this summer, and there’s nothing like reading something funny while the sun shines down on you and the seagulls fly in the distance. It’s so relaxing.

 

9. Spanish Media

I have diligently been studying Spanish these past couple of years. If you have a favourite Spanish picture book, song, or tv show to recommend, I’d love to check it out.

 

10. Quiet Reading Time

Maybe I’ll go somewhere outdoors to get it?

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books That Are Tearjerkers

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Photo of a biracial woman dabbing away tears from her cheek as she cries. She is wearing a white, longsleeved blouse and has a lovely Afro. I enjoyed tearjerkers a lot more when I was a kid than I do now as an adult. Or maybe my tastes in this genre have simply evolved over time?

If a book advertises itself as a tearjerker, I am generally less interested in reading it than I would have been at 8 or 10. (Perhaps this is why so many of the stories on my list are written for roughly that age group give or take a few years?)

But if a well-written story happens to have a few scenes that make me cry, I don’t mind it one bit.

Here are some tearjerkers I’ve enjoyed at various ages. As I haven’t reread most of them recently, I can’t say whether my opinion of them remains the same! Hopefully, they’re just as good as I recall, though.

1. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

3. Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

4. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

6. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Logans, #4) by Mildred D. Taylor

7. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

8. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

10. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

11. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Whistle Stop #1) by Fannie Flagg

12. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

This last book is my one exception to the rule. I reread it last year and it was even better than it was the first time around. If you can handle something that talks about infertility, child loss, and grief in a 1920s-era but still fairytale-like format, I highly recommend it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Weird or Funny Things I’ve Googled Thanks to a Book


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Thank you to Astilbe @ Long and Short Reviews for coming up with this fun prompt!

A question mark on a foggy window. It looks like it was made by someone’s finger recently. You can see something green and fuzzy through the foggy window that might be a forest, but it’s too obscured to know for sure. Here are some of the amusing things I’ve googled thanks to books. I sadly only remember the name and titles of a few of the books that prompted my searches, but I’ll edit this post if I can think of more of them.

There are explanations of my searches in this post as well so you’ll understand what I was thinking.

1. What happens if you drink tea that tastes like bitter almonds?

(A teacher had assigned us to read Roald Dahl’s “The Landlady” that featured this sort of tea.  Her explanation for what was happening in that scene weirded me out so much I looked it up later online and confirmed that this is not something anyone should be brewing or drinking!)

 

2. How long can smallpox remain active in frozen corpses?

3. How long can the 1918 flu remain active in frozen corpses?

4. How often are the viruses and bacteria in glaciers dangerous to humans?

(I’d been reading about the melting permafrost and glaciers. Some doctors worry our next pandemic could come from a virus or bacteria that has been frozen for a very long time. For example, there are bodies of people who died of the 1918 flu, smallpox, or other dangerous diseases and then were buried in places where it is always cold. So it’s possible we could see some of these illnesses come back if anyone were to, say, decide to relocate a cemetery or explore a melting glacier and not realize they might have been exposed to something deadly.)

 

5. Do birds remember which humans were nice to them?

(If you were curious, crows apparently do! They can hold grudges for a lifetime, too, if you’re unkind. And they will bring gifts to humans who are nice to them sometimes.).

 

6. Did Neanderthals have blue eyes?

(No, probably not. We don’t even think the first humans with blue eyes showed up until about 7,000 years ago, and Neanderthals died out long before then!)

 

7.  Why were kids allowed to run around everywhere on their own in the 1980s?

(Okay, so I technically googled this after watching the first season of Stranger Things…but a lot of older books feature fairly young kids going all over the place without any adult supervision or even without telling the adults in their lives where they were going, too. My parents gave us freedom to play outside without them as long as we followed some basic safety rules like avoiding large bodies of water and sticking together as a group, but they also generally knew where we were going, who we were with, and about when we’d be back based on our previous patterns. It confuses me a little to think of not having such information about your kids!)

 

8. What do spies do in retirement? Are they ever even allowed to retire?

(Yes, they can retire. Unlike what happens in some novels, you can retire from this profession and not be in any danger. Ha!)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Superpowers I Wish I Had


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Two fluffy little white dogs, who are possibly Yorkshire terriers, are standing in an all-white room next to each other. The dog on the left is wearing a yellow cape and the dog on the right is wearing a red cape. They look like fuzzy little superheroes!Since Cathy @WhatCathyReadNext submitted this topic, I’ll bet her answers to this question will be fantastic.

Here are my answers.

1. Remembering the names of secondary characters.

Main character names are easy for me to remember, but this isn’t always the case for characters who only show up occasionally. I will probably remember that they have a horse or that they love tea, though, even if I don’t recall their name!

 

2. Instantly knowing if a book will be five-star read for me.

Sometimes I know within the first page, but in other cases it takes me until the final sentence to realize just how perfect a story was for my tastes.

What’s interesting about this is that there have been some authors who have written one (or maybe a few) five-star reads for me but whose other books don’t affect me the same way.

 

3. Instantly knowing if a book will be a five-star read for someone else. 

I can generally make an educated guess for people in my inner circle, but reading tastes are such personal things that I really try not to recommend something unless I know the person well and am pretty sure it will be a hit.

 

4. Encouraging certain authors to finally publish those sequels!

No, I will not be naming any names here as I don’t want anyone to feel pressured or put on the spot. It would simply be wonderful to know what some of my favourite characters have been up to.

 

5. Reading descriptions of food and not getting hungry.

Don’t get me wrong – I love passages that describe what characters are eating if it’s relevant to the plot and/or the meals in their world sound amazing.

I would simply like to read those scenes without my stomach suddenly thinking it needs a snack when it was perfectly content and not at all hungry five minutes ago. Why do bodies do this?

 

6. Being able to write “If You Like This, Read That” posts easily

Some of you Top Ten Tuesday bloggers are amazing at thinking of similar books that might both appeal to the same reader. You make it look effortless, and I wish I had your talent in this area. Please make a TED Talk for the rest of us or something. Ha.

 

7. Having more patience with slow plots 

When I was a teenager, I would savour books that took a long time to get to their point.  It was an easy and free way to enjoy long summer days when not much else was happening.

Now that I am an adult, I generally DNF anything that moves slowly unless the writing is exquisite. I’m sure I’m missing out on some fabulous stories, but I simply don’t have the time or patience these days to wait 10o+ pages for interesting stuff to start happening.

 

8. Commenting more often on other blogs

I tend to let them build up in my RSS feed until I have a nice big block of time to get through everything at once.

This means that the bloggers I follow will occasionally be surprised by a flurry of comments from me, some of which are on posts that are weeks old…or sometimes even older than that.

I hope that is amusing to them, and I am trying not to do this quite so often.

 

9. Having advance knowledge of which new-to-me authors will be future favourites.

I put genuine effort into trying authors from a wide variety of backgrounds, genres, and writing styles.

This leads to a lot of really interesting outcomes:

  • I DNF their work and probably never read them again
  • I realize that book X might be perfect for person Y in my life even if it’s not to my personal tastes
  • I finish their book and keep an eye out for their future work without making them a must-read author
  • They’re instantly added to my short list of must-read authors.

Among many other options. As much as I usually enjoy this process, sometimes I wish there were a faster way to narrow down all of the authors out there into the small percentage of them that are perfect for a specific reader.

 

10. Becoming the newest bestselling author.

If only!

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Series I Wish Had Just One More Books in Them

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I have two answers to this week’s question. The first is from a classic series and the second is from a modern one.

The Chronicles of Narnia

A silhoutte of Aslan walking with the four Pevensie children, Mrs. And Mrs. Beaver, and the Mr. Tumnus the faun in lockstep behind him. All of these characters are from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I was a kid, my uncle gave me his old, complete set of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, and I reread those stories over and over again for many years. Can I assume that a spoiler tag isn’t necessary for a more than 70-year-old series?  Skip the next two paragraphs if you believe that this isn’t enough time yet to talk about how it ends.  😉

One thing I strongly disliked about the plot was the way Susan was treated. All of the other main characters end up in the Narnian version of heaven in the end, even folks who made terrible choices earlier on. But Susan is left behind in our world to deal with the overwhelming grief of simultaneously losing her parents, siblings, and a few dear friends because she was growing up and becoming interested in parties and makeup instead of reminiscing about her childhood adventures.

That ending made me so angry when I was a kid. Of course she moved on to other interests as she grew older. Literally everyone does that, and most of us tend to do it multiple times throughout life. It’s completely normal. If certain other characters could betray everyone in their group and still be forgiven, she should have been forgiven for what I see as a much milder offence that could easily be chalked up to her being a teenager who was trying to figure out what adulthood might look like for her and who would have almost certainly circled back to Narnia once she was a little older.

C.S. Lewis should have written one final book to redeem Susan’s character arc and give her the happy ending she deserved. If one of you invents a time machine, I will volunteer to go back to the 1950s and talk him into it.

Monk & Robot Series

I’ve discussed this solarpunk series by Becky Chambers here in at least one previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge post, but let’s dive into it again.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy are still the only two instalments of it. They follow a monk named Sibling Dex who lives in a utopian future called Panga where humanity lives in harmony with nature (and mostly with each other as well). People occupy some of the land, but the rest is left to grow into lush forests, marshes, or whatever other sorts of environments the local climate can support without any interference from humans.

A photo of an incredibly dense and thick forest that looks like it’s never had a human walk through it. The trees are growing so closely together that their leaves block out much of the sun. Some light trickles down into the forest, but the forest floor is almost as black as night. Sibling Dex breaks the rules of their society by venturing out into one of those dark, healthy, thick forests one day to see what they might find there.

I won’t share any spoilers about what might be lurking out there since these novellas are only a few years old, but I will say that I adored the world-building and character development of them.  They’re gentle but deep and so rewarding once you pause to think about all of the new details that slowly emerge about how nice it is to live in Panga.

We desperately need another instalment of Sibling Dex’s adventures in my opinion. There are still so many facets of this world that need to be explored. Honestly, I’m hoping there will be at least two or three more books to come without any time machines or persuasion needed, but even one would suffice!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Solstice Bookish Wishes


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Painting of a young, blond, white woman who is standing outside in a snowstorm and looking at a fir tree whose branches are heavily coated in snow. She is wearing a red dress with white cuffs on it and a white cloak with a yellow, possibly fur trim. She is also holding a lantern that’s about the size of an infant. The lantern is glowing steadily in the dark winter scene, illuminating her, the tree, and the snow. Happy (almost) Winter Solstice to everyone who will be celebrating it in a few days! I’m eagerly anticipating the changing of the seasons and the few extra minutes of daylight we’ll soon have each day here in Canada.

Here are my Winter Solstice bookish wishes.

1. More Audiobooks at the Library 

A few years ago, some Top Ten Tuesday bloggers encouraged me to give audiobooks a try during an audiobook prompt. I listened to you and have since learned to love having this option while doing chores or getting cardiovascular exercise on a brisk walk!

My local library has a pretty decent selection of audiobooks, but I’d love to see them offer even more of them than they currently do. For example, I’d love to listen to audiobooks of Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series this winter or even just listen to more fiction in general. Nonfiction is better represented at my library than fiction is from what I’ve seen.

2. Quiet Reading Time 

My spouse prefers watching YouTube videos to reading books and we live in a small apartment, so sometimes I wish for more quiet time to read.

3. An Abundance of Novellas

I’ve really been on a novella kick lately and wish there were more books of this length being published, especially in the speculative fiction genres. It’s refreshing to have something longer than a short story to dive into that doesn’t require my attention for 200+ pages. Some storylines don’t need that much space to shine.

4. Dairy-Free Chocolate

I like to save it for emotional scenes, whether it’s a tense moment in a horror novel or a sentimental chapter in a piece of mainstream fiction. There’s something about chocolate that makes those passages even more memorable.

5. Living Happily Ever After

This is something I’ve mentioned here before, but since 2020 I have felt stronger and stronger urges to read stories that end happily. Occasionally, I will actually look up reviews of certain books or skip ahead to the last few pages to see if the good guys won and if everything is peaceful in the end. While I’m still willing to read some stories that don’t fit that pattern, I’m limiting them much more than I used to and am quicker to DNF them if they become too sad.

6. Endings in General

Maybe I should explain this one a little better. I’m a writer, and I’ve been having trouble coming up with endings for my stories. Beginnings are easy, middle sections aren’t too bad, but endings can be tricky. Here’s hoping I get a flash of inspiration in 2024.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Bookish Memes That Make Me Laugh

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s theme was “Memes That Remind You of a Favourite Book or Show.” I had so much trouble narrowing down my favourite media to just one show or book that I decided to tweak this topic a little and make it about bookish memes in general instead.

A grumpy orange cat sitting on top of an opened book. The text reads, “that’s not how it was in the book.”

I’m normally pretty forgiving of changes that are made to adaptations of books so long as there are good reasons for them and they blend seamlessly into the character and story development, but this meme still makes me laugh.

 

Aragorn from the film version of Lord of the Rings clasping his thumb and middle finger together in a circle and looking serious. The text reads, “one does not simply return from the library without a book.”

I 100% agree here.

 

A black woman who is grinning and wearing a white tank top as she reads the back cover of a book. The text reads, “when you find the next book of your dreams without even trying.”

It is so amazing when this happens!

 

Merida from Disney’s film “Brave” is sitting at a table and throwing her head back in sadness and annoyance. The text reads “when you get to an exciting part in your book but people keep interrupting you.”

My spouse has an uncanny knack for this. It’s a little irritating in the moment but kind of hilarious the rest of the time. How on Earth do they sense that I’ve reached an incredibly exciting scene so reliably, and can we somehow use this special power to make a lot of money someday? Ha!

 

President Obama making a surprised face. The text reads, “when you have to read a book for English and it actually turns out to be pretty good.”

This is such a great feeling. While I didn’t like everything we were assigned, there were a lot of books I ended up really loving and intentionally read more from those authors because of my positive first experience with them.

 

Photo of a person lying on top of a library bookshelf face down and with a defeated posture. The text reads “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. - Neil Gaiman”

I couldn’t agree with this one more. Librarians are incredible and deserve so much respect for all of their hard work.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Books


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A photo of the hands of a brown-skinned person who is wearing pink nail police and holding up a sign that says “thank you.” Here are some of the many reasons why I am thankful for books.

1. They’re an easy form of entertainment when I’m sick or injured.

2. They introduce readers to people from all walks of life. I’ve learned so much about other cultures from them!

3. They don’t come in arbitrary sizes that are somehow different in every single library or bookstore out there or require you to use a fitting room before selecting which paperback to bring home. (Can you tell I really don’t like shopping for clothes? Ha!)

4. They teach us about the world around us and how things work. This is especially true if you read nonfiction, but fiction can be educational as well.

5. They work when the power goes out. Unless you’re using an e-reader or listening to an audiobook, you never have to worry about draining the battery too much or charging a book up again.

6. They’re (often) soothing when you’ve had a bad day.

7. They (often) encourage readers to assume the best of others and work to make life more fair and harmonious for everyone…or at least many of the books I read do this!

8. They encourage the development of your imagination.

9. They introduce you to all sorts of lovely new people…just like the friendly folks I’ve met as a result of Top Ten Tuesday.

10. They’re a great bonding activity when you read a book aloud with kids or other adults.

11. They’re a free form of entertainment if you’re like me and also use your library card regularly. This is such an important thing for people who are lower income or who have a very limited entertainment budget for other reasons. I am so grateful.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Jobs That Sound Interesting


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Thank you to Susan @Bloggin’ bout Books  who submitted the original topic for this week, “Bookish Jobs I Would Do For Free (Real or Imaginary).” 

A brown woman sitting at a desk and grinning while holding up her head with her left hand. She’s looking at something on her laptop. She is wearing a white and black striped sweater and holding a white mug in front of her with her left hand. I’m tweaking it a little because from what I have observed there’s already too much pressure to work for free in a lot of interests that attract people who are passionate about them. If you are a woman and belong to certain niche groups, the pressure can be even stronger due to stereotypes about women being inherently kinder and more generous than men (speaking again here in my experience. Your mileage may vary!)

This wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in a Star Trek world where everyone’s needs for clothing, education, housing, healthcare, and nutritious food are automatically taken care of for their entire lives.

It absolutely can be an emotionally healthy thing for people who have the time, money, and energy to devote their lives to their favourite topics or causes, but I’ve also seen it misused to extract far too many hours of unpaid work out of folks who deeply care about subject X but whose basic needs are NOT currently being met.

I’m ethically uncomfortable with those sorts of arrangements, so I’m going to be blogging about some bookish jobs that sound cool instead.

May we all someday have such abundance in our lives that we can do cool bookish jobs for free if we wish to, though!

 

Job: Researcher

Why It Sounds Interesting: Research is my idea of a good time. Before the pandemic began, I used to go to the library to look up all sorts of interesting topics from foster care to marsupials to the history of medicine and see how much I could learn about them. Now I dive deeply into these things at home instead!

 

Job: Indie/Small Press Book Reviewer

Why It Sounds Interesting: I know I blogged about this last summer, but there are so many amazing indie and small press books out there that I wish I could introduce to new audiences. I do what I can in my spare time, but it would be awesome if this could be a full-time, salaried position with benefits so that many more authors and readers could benefit from it.

 

Job:  Creative Writing Professor

Why It Sounds Interesting: Even if you happen to be born with an aptitude for writing, it still takes many years of practice to hone that skill. It would be so rewarding to teach others how to evaluate their own stories and make them sharper, crisper, and more imaginative.

 

Job: Bibliotherapist

Why It Sounds Interesting: Imagine combining the work of a therapist with that of a librarian! Bibliotherapists recommend specific books to their clients based on what their client currently needs, so being extremely well-read is an integral part of the profession which is honestly my idea of the perfect job.

 

Job: Bookish Event Planner

Why It Sounds Interesting: Word on the Street is a Toronto book festival that’s always well planned and delightful to attend. I wish that the event planners who work on that festival could organize all bookish events! In my opinion, festivals, book signings, book release parties, panels, talks, and other similar things often flow better when they’re designed and organized by people who are already passionate about reading in general and, even better, fans of the specific books and authors being featured there as well.

 

Job: Audiobook Narrator

Why It Sounds Interesting: A great narrator makes all the difference when I’m listening to audiobooks. I admire people who are able to narrate well and think that is a fabulous talent to have.

 

 

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An Anniversary Giveaway at Long and Short Reviews

Banner for the 16th Anniversary Party for the renowned book review site, Long and Short Reviews. Text on the blue banner reads: “16th Anniversary Party. August 21-25, 2023. Win $100 Amazon GC’s and more! Dozens of winners.” There are four balloons floating next to the text and little stars and confetti strewn throughout it as well to give it a celebratory feel as most book blogs don’t last this long!

 

Long and Short Reviews is celebrating their 16th anniversary this week.

Just like in previous years, they are hosting a virtual party on their website that includes a giveaway of Amazon gift cards and many other prizes.

If you want to join in and possibly win something cool, go to their website and fill out the Rafflecopter on as many posts as you wish.  There will be dozens of new posts every day this week, so keep checking back.

Every genre is represented: picture books, middle grade, young adult, non-fiction, inspirational, romance, erotica, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mainstream fiction, and more.

No matter what you like to read, someone will be discussing it over there.

They’re also promoting indie and small press books this week, so this is also a fantastic opportunity to get to know some new authors and find some hidden gems in your favourite genre or genres. I’ve had wonderful experiences doing that and can’t wait to see what’s in store this time.

The comment sections in previous years have been delightfully talkative and friendly, too, and I expect the same this year.

I hope to see all of my readers over there!

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