Showing posts with label Shame the Shamers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shame the Shamers. Show all posts

Monday 26 September 2016

Banned Books Week 2016 - Diverse Books Under Threat

Given that diverse books make up a relatively small amount of the total books available (in English, at least,) it should be eye-opening that the most challenged and banned books are those which allow diverse voices a platform.

A look at the 2015 list of the 10 most challenged books should show you the truth of this.

Except for The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, each of these books either has an author from a diverse community, and/or has diverse characters.

(Even Looking For Alaska, I'm told (by Wikipedia,) has a PoC character.)

This year's Banned Books Week from the American Library Association (yes, I know I'm not American - but dudes, when America sneezes, the world catches a cold,) is focussed on celebrating diversity.

And the banned-books-flag is starting to be flown over here in the UK too.

Diversity is not a threat. Diversity is under threat.

Diversity is vital. Diversity is wonderful. Diversity gives you the opportunity to hear other people's voices.

Why would you think hearing the voices of others is a bad thing?

And a little food for thought...

All graphics & infographics are from the ALA/Banned Books Week Coalition

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Saturday 7 May 2016

Book Nerd on a Mission

One of my New Year's resolutions was that I want to spread reading to the world.


I want to encourage everyone to read - not just the already bookish (although I want you guys to keep reading, ofc; but at this point, I don't think anyone could stop you anyway.)

girl reading

But how do I do that?

Well, for a start I blog about reading and books almost every day. (By the way, don't panic if I don't post every now and then - I need a day off sometimes!)

But I'm not naïve, I know that the vast majority of people who read a blog called 'Diary of a Reading Addict' are going to have some sort of interest in reading to begin with. It's a bit of a no-brainer.

I reckon I'm going some way, though, to preaching to the non-converted by sharing my blog-posts to Twitter with non-book-specific blogging hashtags, and RT accounts. Of course I always follow the rules of the hashtag or the RT, because that way people don't get pi*sy at you ;)

So yes, I think I gather a very few non/occasional-readers slowly but surely into the fold that way. That's something at least. We'll call it progress ;)


Which means that I can't rest on my little proverbial laurels, I have to be doing stuff - encouraging reading whenever and wherever I can.

The best way to lead is by example.

As the peculiar little species that we are, we love to copy each other in an attempt to fit in.

A lot of this is a subconscious following of the herd (not the worst thing in the world so long as you're not following others right off of a cliff, and don't think that you always have to follow others. You don't.)

So, for something to be deemed to be cool and/or worth-while, a lot of people have to think that it's cool and/or worth-while. (I know - it doesn't make any sense, does it? But that's how human society has worked for aeons. We may as well use it to the advantage of doing something good.)

So I have a cunning plan...

I'm going to read in public. Whenever I can. Wherever I can. I'm going to be seen reading beyond the confines of my own home.

Sure, I already read while I'm waiting for doctors' appointments, but the very fact that I'm usually the only one in the waiting room with a book in my hands gives me a clue that I'm on to something here.

I'm going to make sure that, at least once a week, I'm spotted with an open book in my hands somewhere out in the wilds of the world (OK... so it'll probably be on a bench of the local shopping centre... same thing, right?)

But what difference will that make? I hear you cry! (I can't really hear you... that would be weird.)

Well, ye blog-readers of little faith and happenstance (OK, there may've been coffee, but can you blame me?) if people see me reading then, somewhere deep in their complex brains, they will think about it.

They might be attracted by the shiny cover. They might wonder what my book is about. They might look it up on the Internet.

Or it might spark a million other thoughts related to that book. They might end up talking to a friend about it. They might end up reading that book.


Plus it will make reading the thing that people do.

Everyone checks their phones in public. Lots of people play music. Lots of people faff about on their laptop, iPads, whatever...

Some people read in public, it's true. But less. It's not as normal to see someone reading in public as it is for people to be doing all of these other things. And why the hell not?! Reading is awesome.

I'm gonna need help, guys.

Join me in my crusade to get every person in this world into the magical and wonderful world of reading!


Go out and read on a bench. In a café. In a coffee shop. At the dentist's.

Reading a paperback or hardback is more likely to have the desired effect because people can see that it's a book as opposed to a tablet, but if there're no physical books to hand - then read e-books.

If you decide to take my advice and go off into the wilds, book in hand, then I'd love to see a pic - if you Tweet me one (my Twitter is @CeeArrBookNerd) then I'll re-tweet (...or put it in a blogpost, or maybe both... haven't really decided yet. I suppose it depends on whether anyone actually sends a pic.)

Also, if anyone else has any other ideas on how I can spread reading like an ever-loving plague across the face of the earth? I'd be much obliged. ;)

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Monday 22 February 2016

Mini-Review! - Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates

Omega Beloved Aiden Bates coverTitle: Omega Beloved.

Author: Aiden Bates.

Genre: Romance (m/m,) Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Short Story, LGBTQ+

Series: Omega Beloved #1

Amazon: (UK - US)


This is an 18+ book - I mean it! (Stay in school, don't commit crimes, etc. etc. - don't let your parents yell at me. Please.)

This is a book that I mentioned in my post on guilty pleasures - and how we need to ditch the 'guilt' part.

Basically, what we have here is a fairly steamy m/m werewolf romance. It follows the Omegaverse trope - something which will be fairly familiar to fanfiction readers like myself.

It's also quite sweet in places, very well-written, and there's signs of real character development, and real heart.

So, yeah, I thought it was pretty damned awesome - even though, at 35 pages, it's short to say the least. Time well spent.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Pleasure, Not Guilt


No more guilty pleasures.

I refuse to feel guilty about what I read.

The other day, I stopped, I stalled, I hesitated. I didn't want to record books I'd read on my Goodreads - even though that would've upped the number-count on my challenge.

Because, putting it frankly... it was m/m werewolf porn.

Felt the need to put a full moon in here... just because.
So I hesitated - I didn't want family and friends seeing what I'd read, because I didn't want them thinking I was weird (well... ship has probably sailed on that one... weird-er.)

(By the way, the reason that I don't share my Goodreads profile with you lovely people is that it's linked to personal social media accounts, and, knowing my luck, I'll be the one who the crazy mad-axe-murdering stalker decides to fixate on. It's just inevitable.)

So, did I actually add those books to my account?

Damn right I did!

I suddenly realised that I had to - because otherwise I'm sending a message that some types of books are 'worthier' than others. And you know what? That's simply not true.

Those books (Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates and Omega in Heat by Heather Silver - you can tell that I usually read a lot of fanfiction, right?) while short, and not what many would consider 'literature,' still had things to say.

And, actually, Omega Beloved in particular was very well-written, and gave a lot of scope for development in the further books of the series.

books on bedTo further fan the flames of controversy -

I've tried to read Possession by A S Byatt not once, but twice. This is a 'literary' and 'worthy' book that a lot of people flap on about and are over the moon for.

I couldn't finish it. I couldn't get on with it. I just couldn't connect; I found it too pretentious and wooden.

Would I say that, to me, the time spent reading Omega Beloved was time better spent than the time I spent trying to force my way through Possession? Completely and utterly.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't read things held in critical regard.

Quite the opposite. I'm saying people should be accepting of both.

I didn't like Possession - a lot of people did. To those who genuinely enjoyed it - good on you. It wasn't my cup of tea, so what?

And if m/m romance isn't your cup of tea? Fine. I don't mind. But please don't think there's anything wrong with reading it - or anything else, for that matter, just because other people don't.

Reading is the key part - and then, you can judge the book on its own merits, instead of on preconceptions of genre or style.

No more guilty pleasures! We shouldn't have to feel guilty about reading what we enjoy.

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Friday 1 January 2016

Why I Don't Provide a 'Star' Rating

stars cuteYou may or may not have noticed, if you've read any of my reviews previously, that I don't provide star ratings, or a rating system of any kind.

I know a lot of people do provide some sort of numerical rating. And good on them, if that's the way they like to review them I'm not going to argue.

So what's the point of this post then? Well, just to give you a little insight into why I choose not to provide ratings.

I'm a hard-ass

When I'm using sites or systems where I have to provide some sort of star rating, I absolutely hate it. Because I feel like the way that I rate things using a number value doesn't actually give a fair judgement on a book.

Putting it plainly, I'm a hard-ass; I will give the vast majority of books 3/5, just because I think that pretty much everything is average. (That's what makes it average, isn't it? The fact that it's on a par with the majority of other things? ...See? I'm a hard-ass.)

I'm hesitant to give pretty much anything four or five stars. And I probably give a lot of things four stars which, to most reviewers, would be given an automatic five.

One reviewer's trash...

We're all different. What I get out of a book and what you get may be two completely different entities.

How is anybody then supposed to provide a useful review? Well, I try to point out the good points, and the bad points, and leave it up to you whether to give that book a chance.

If I gave a book only 1 star, I may put you off something you would really enjoy, whereas if I point out the things I thought were good and not-so-good, you're more likely to come to an informed decision.
rose book

Couldn't I do both? Well, yes, but that rating would still be there, in the back of your head, influencing your perceptions. And I don't want to dictate what you're allowed to enjoy.

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey things

Maybe it's just me and my inconsistency, but my view of books tends to change as time goes on.

Sometimes this is because of re-reading something and getting a different experience from it, and sometimes it's just me being fickle; but I may one day find myself in the position of disagreeing with my own rating assessment of a book. And that would just make me feel guilty for no reason. (Which is bad... just saying.)

Every book has an audience somewhere

If I didn't like something, it doesn't mean it was bad - just that it wasn't my thing.

Read what you want, and don't let the shamers get you down!

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Wednesday 18 November 2015

Are Target Audiences Holding Books Back?

It plays to the favour of the folks in the publishing industry, as well as, of course, the retailers and the authors, to have a definite audience in mind when they're busy flogging the latest bestseller. But does this favour the reader? Or does it limit the sort of book we end up buying, reading, and, ultimately, enjoying?

The Covers

We've all heard the saying 'you can't judge a book by its cover.' But we do, don't we? Because a lot of the time, you can.

If the cover is bright pink, has a bit of glitter, and some sort of fashion accessory or woman's silhouette, then it's likely to be chick-lit. If the people on the cover have no or very little clothing (and this is particularly true of books where the man has a shirtless torso and/or no face,) there is likely to be a lot of sex. If there's a foreboding mountain and a tank, then it's about soldiers and/or war, and likely to be aimed primarily at middle-aged men.

I can think of absolutely tons of books that take advantage of their attractive covers to reel in readers (Twilight, anyone?) A popular book instantly spawns a flurry of copycat covers, and slogans like 'if you liked x you'll love y!'

And all of this is designed to control our spending habits - with the knock-on effect, of course, of controlling our reading habits.

The Internet Recommendations

We're used to the Internet choosing our books for us: Goodreads, Amazon, even the targeted ad banners. As soon as we let the all-seeing net know what books we've enjoyed in the past, we're bombarded by suggestions from hungry publishers and book-sellers.

But does that narrow our reading? If we're only given suggestions based on what we've already read, surely there's a chance that we'll fall into the trap of only reading books of a particular type or genre.

How are we going to read widely, and experience all that the written word has to offer, if we aren't aware of what books are out there?

The Stereotyping/Social Pressure

Where is it written that a straight man can't enjoy reading Jilly Cooper or Sophie Kinsella? Yet I honestly wish well any such person who has the gall to read chick-lit books - frilly covers and all - on the train (or any other public place.) If I were in their position, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough.

Because, while we shouldn't give a sh** about what people think, you can't help but notice when people are judging you. I should know, some of the looks I get at my esoteric library selections are quite unnerving.

But I love Wolverine. If there is a f**king Wolverine graphic novel that I want to read, I will add it to my selection of crime, historical fiction, paranormal romances, and whatever else has caught my eye that day - regardless of the snooty looks I get when I'm checking out.

And the not-so-confident reader? How are they feeling, as they clutch something that is considered inappropriate for their age group, gender, sexual orientation, race, class, or any other factor?

But, I hear you cry, Cee, what has this to do with the marketing of the book? Surely that's society's fault, not the marketers?

Well, yes and no. Sure, there's a hell of a lot to blame society for here. But there's also a lot to blame the marketers and retailers etc. for. They perpetuate stereotypes to the point where they end up creating the stereotypes. They manipulate consumer behaviour to produce sales, with little concern as to where that behaviour leads. But narrow-minded marketing, in the end, can only lead to people staying in the boxes pre-established for them - and both individuals and society miss out on the benefits of a wide range of books in the process.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

The Bookish Rebel

Hey, I can be a rebel* too, y'know? Let me show you:
*Well... depends on your definition of rebel
I am a clutz. As such the likelihood that I'll accidentally bend or tear pages, spill coffee, or otherwise damage books is high. And I don't care. That's right, check me out! Told'ya I was dangerous ;)
I lend my books out to others... and I don't  mind if they come back in less than perfect condition. Although, I draw the line at marbles embedded in the pages (actually happened to my copy of HP:OotP,) then I will have to verbally kick your a**. Because c'mon, a freaking marble?

Sometimes I start a book series in the middle or just, y'know, dart around them from like, book 5 to book 7, and then back to book 3. I just roll with it - come on people, live a little! Read dangerously!

I'm a book polygamist; I read like 5 or 6 books at once. Because I clearly have a problem. On the plus side, I'm usually in the middle of reading a book that matches my mood perfectly... if I can remember where the hell I put it down... coffee table? Under my bed? Sofa?

I wanna jailbreak reading. Graphic novels are books. Comics are books. Fan-fiction still counts as reading (and will definitely change your views on a few things... ah, my lost innocence...) Magazines and newspapers count as reading. And reading is awesome. I'm going to get an e-reader! I know! Me! The anti-technology chick! It won't, however, be an Amazon k-device. Because I still can't even bring myself to say/type the word. I just don't like them, so will be going with a different manufacturer - but if you do like them, then good for you; I got nothing against you.

I read random assortments of cr*p. This year, I've read things that are as far apart as Quick Reads and James Joyce. And I'm f**king lovin' it! I will not be a slave to genre! I will not be a slave to length! I will try to cut down on the coffee!

So maybe rebel is stretching it... but I had an excuse to use that song... and I regret nothing!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Nerd Church! - 5 Bookish Ways to Chase Happiness

Ah happiness, that wriggly little sh** that no-one can ever seem to pin down for very long. What better way to spend this week's Nerd Church than to share a few of my bookish tips for chasing down the little b*****d when it's got away from you (I have a lot of practice at this - depression is the clingy b**ch that scares happiness away every time you tempt it back.) So, with that string of possibly unnecessary, and partially censored, swearing over with...

1. Creative books

Adult colouring has recently become a big thing. And then there are the creative books which I personally prefer - the books like Wreck This Journal which provide a place to just be creative, have fun, and mabooks, music, creativityybe destroy some stuff. What both adult colouring and the other creative stuff have in common is the ability to allow us to work some stuff out - while we don't even realise it. Creative therapy is used a lot to treat kids with mental health problems, and/or who have suffered trauma, why not for adults too? Sometimes we can put stuff on paper that we can't say out loud.

There are some other creative-type books you could try too: an old-fashioned sketchbook, notebook, or journal, to just shove whatever ever is in you out onto a page; sticker books (if adults can colour then goddamn it, I don't see why there shouldn't also be stickers involved;) or activity books for kids. Don't let the target age fool you when it comes to kids activity books, I have an Avengers activity book that I absolutely adore (actually it's a design, inspire, create sketchbook - or something similar - apparently.) There's no shame in expressing yourselves guys, just let it happen. And have fun!

2. Read what you love

Never be afraid to read what you love. If your little heart desires chick-lit (or, as I call it, ditzy books,) then read them. If you're a sci-fi fan, a comic book nerd (guilty as charged!) a fan of literary fiction, or YA, or whatever - just read it.

There is no shame in reading whatever you like - whether that's the infamous 50 Shades of Grey, the equally infamous Twilight, or a biology textbook detailing the breakdown of enzymes in the gut (check me out with my A in GCSE Biology - I still remember the big words and everything,) if you enjoy it, and it's going to help you chase that little sh** happiness down and trap it, then read it.

You might find that reading about the stuff characters are dealing with helps you with your own problems, or helps you to forget your own problems, or just plain entertains you. It's all good, lovely people, it's all good.

reading and coffee3. Libraries and book-shops

For the truly bookish, there is nothing quite so calming/exciting as a walk through a book shop or library. I recommend the library if you're skint, like me. Just stroll along the aisles and look at all the pretty covers - hello pretty covers! Hello worlds within pages! See? Don't you feel better already? Maybe pick up a few, maybe sit down and bask a bit if there's enough comfortable seating. And the world is just that little bit lighter.

4. Get visual

The human brain is a weird and wonderful thing - and it responds remarkably to visual stimulus (i.e. pictures,) so go get some pretty stuff to look at! Obviously, the brighter the better, but if you feel like looking at some dark and broody stuff, then that's good too - just watch that it doesn't make you feel worse.

'But how is this bookish?' I imagine you crying. Well, that's because the best place to get hold of images is accompanied by some form of text ;) - I'm talking magazines, graphic novels, comic books. And there are so many subjects covered by these things that you're bound to find something that interests you. Just the act of flicking through a magazine gives you a little bit of the 'me-time,' that you most definitely deserve.

5. Fangirl/boy it up

Obsession, where would we be without you? But if you join the fandom of your favourite book (or film or whatever) then you can find yourself a little slice of giddy happiness (along with so many tears and feelings - please fangirl or fanboy responsibly, and try not to get yourself slapped with a restraining order.)

Yes, the world of Gifs, memes, fanart, fan comics, and fan fiction awaits you - along with merchandise and cyber-stalking. It's the chance we've all been waiting for - to be part of an equally obsessed online community who are just as twisted and weird as we are. Plus, you can help weave the strands of modern mythology together by reading and writing fanfiction - maybe even about problems you can relate too. If you need recs for fanfiction, feel free to prance over my Friday Fics Fix series (I'll tag this post,) and yes, I used the word prance. And I regret nothing.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Banned Books and Censorship (or, To #@!% or Not To #@!%)

Warning: In the spirit of anti-censorship, I'm going to swear like a sailor with no symbols to protect your innocent eyes.

This week is Banned Books Week 2015, and while it's largely an American thing, the rest of the world are often more than happy to jump on the proverbial fucking band wagon and celebrate books which have been banned and challenged. Intellectual freedom is a founding stone of any society that's worth its shit.

Book banning is something which still happens alarmingly regularly - and we need to be more aware of it. Unlike in the US, where the ALA attempts to keep record of fucking challenges and book-banning, there are very few such records kept in the rest of the world. I have no idea when, or if, book banning happens in the UK, having to rely instead on bloody anecdotal evidence.

I know, for example, that at my old school (I'm in my 20s, and finished school in circa 2013... or was it 2011? It might've been 2011. Maybe. Time's never been my strong suit,) every Dan Brown book was marked as 'Sixth Form Only.' Presumably because they didn't want parents coming back at them about the religious/controversial aspects. 'Naughty,' books with sex etc were often confined to these shelves. And sometimes books would have one copy on these shelves, and one on the shelves of the main library (e.g. The Book Thief.) I have no bloody idea why the fuck this was, and neither did the librarian.

So, why ban books? I have no fucking idea. But the reasons given are often about religion, violence, sex, nudity, and swearing. Basically, fucking reasons. Except that kids do not live in a shitting bubble - they know that the world is a complex and shitty place in which people fuck with everything - themselves, each other, and people's minds.

If you want your kids to be good people, they've got to come to that decision by themselves, not because you've prevented them from accessing other opinions. And sometimes, it's just fucking ridiculous. You don't like gay penguins? Fine, go be fucking bigoted on your own time. Just don't stop your kids from realising there's a world out there. And don't even get me started on the religious narrow-mindedness. You can believe what you want, but please allow others to make up their own minds. And don't ban vampire books just because they scare you.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Blogger Recognition Award

The lovely Mimi Syabani nominated everyone who read her post for the Blogger Recognition Award (thanks Mimi!) so, I couldn't resist, could I?

My Story

Once a book nerd was bitten by a radioactive librarian... Sorry, I've either had too much or too little coffee this morning, I'll be good now *serious face, trying not to giggle.*

No, my story is simply that I love books. Like really love books. I love books so much that I figured if I inspire even one person to read something in the course of this blog, then I'll have done my job. The other inspiration was that I love writing (I know, I know, clichéd as all hell,) and wanted to have something to egg me on to write, get me back to being a productive member of society and all that jazz.

I'll let you in on a little secret, I have had a really crappy few years. As the result of which, I got whammied by depression on top - because obviously, when the world's going to hell you need your brain to rebel against you. I'm a millennial, working self-employed, who had to pick herself up and dust herself off after gut convulsions (pretty much as fun as they sound) and labyrinthitis (definitely not as fun as it sounds) put pay to going to university.

Then my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I acted as her carer until (fingers crossed) she was all clear. Trying to care for my mother was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and I ended up believing I was worthless, that everything was my fault - I started blaming and criticising myself for things that I had no control over.

Eventually, everything came to a head - and I ended up doing what is one of the other hardest things I've ever had to do, and went to the doctor. My life has certainly not run smoothly since then - far from it, I lost both of my grandparents within four days of each other over Christmas - but I learnt to get back up and carry on going. And throughout it all, I've had books - I've had reading. Without it I have no idea what I'd be like right now - so, yeah, books are kind of a big deal to me. And if I can show someone else the way to that magic... yeah, so that's why I ended up starting this blog.
My Advice

Don't do anything just to become rich and famous. Most bloggers will never have recognition beyond a small circle of followers - and even that is beyond the reach of some. No, if you want to blog - do it for the love of your subject, you'll be a lot happier in the long run.

Never allow yourself to be shamed for what you enjoy - if you like a book and everyone else hates it, say that you like it. No-one should be made to feel ashamed of what they like or dislike.

So, yeah, have fun... be true to yourself... all that stuff. Just, enjoy your life guys - happiness is more important than whether you drive a sports car or have the latest apple product, honestly.

I'm going to copy Mimi and nominate everyone reading this!

Monday 15 June 2015

Do you read an audiobook?

I'm wondering how you describe audiobooks - do you read an audiobook? Or just listen to it? But then, I like to count audiobooks towards my Goodreads total - so isn't that reading? But somehow my brain won't accept "Oh, I read that audiobook before and..." as valid. Is it just me?

I know a lot of people can be a little sniffy about audiobooks in general - and certainly, I (read? - you see my problem!) audiobooks less than I read printed books with all their word-y-ful wonderment which allows me to actually touch the print (I know, but don't judge me!) But I still kind of like the odd audiobook (by which I mean occasionally listening to an audiobook rather than the audiobooks I listen to are slightly odd - which may also be true, but wasn't what I was getting at.) I think that, maybe weirdly, maybe not, listening to classics in particular in an audiobook format works really well.

Hear me out here! - a lot of classics were published in instalments in magazines and newspapers etc., still more were designed to be read out by one member of the family to the others, or to be read at a formal reading by the others. As such, they were practically made to be listened to and/or read out loud. There was no TV in the 19th Century, so lord knows you had to follow the dramas somehow. Someone in the family would read a chapter or two out loud in the evening as pretty much the only form of at-home entertainment, save playing music or games of cards - so trust me, classics in audiobook format work. (And, if you're skint, try LibriVox - all classics, all free.) And, as ever, if it gets people interested in reading and books, then why ever the hell not? #ShameTheShamers

Saturday 11 April 2015

My 5 Rules for Reading More

I figure, as I'm on such a crusade to read more and encourage others to do the same, that I'd share my 5 rules for reading more. Hope it encourages you to get your nose in a book!

  1. It doesn't matter what you're reading, so long as you're reading: this means, quite simply, that it doesn't matter if you're reading 50 Shades, Twilight, or War and Peace - just keep reading! Never let the shamers get you down. Haters gonna hate. Readers gonna read. Just enjoy it.
  2. You'll never read everything there is to read - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try!: this means don't get discouraged by the amount of things people expect you to have read - enjoy the challenge of reading more without stressing over the details. Never stop looking for the next book, but don't worry if you add ten more to your list in the meantime. Tbr lists grow of their own volition.
  3. Read every day: this one's non-negotiable. If you want to read more you have to get in the habit - so read every day, even if it's only a page or two.
  4. Read everywhere: On the bus, the train, in the café, in a queue, on a park bench...just read. You never know, you may even encourage someone else! Never be ashamed of reading.
  5. Develop your own rules: Reading is a deeply personal thing, don't let anyone (including me!) tell you how to do it. Make up your own rules and do what works for you.
Happy reading!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Book or Film? The debate continues!

People will think I've taken something a little bit unusual with my morning coffee but I (yes, me, the reading addict,) don't always think that the book is better than the film. I realise that I now need to go into hiding before my fellow bibliophiles hunt me down and force me to read the entirety of a song of ice and fire (up to the current volume) in one sitting (I realise that's a TV series not a film, but let's not be overly pedantic about this.)

Please though, listen to my point before you bind my hands with fabric bookmarks and march me out of the library in disgust! We should not be asking which is 'better' (and I would certainly never watch the film instead of reading the book - blasphemy!) - it's simply which we prefer.

In some cases, no matter how radically different the book and the film are, I like them both equally. Because they are different. Because directors, producers, and actors, can read the same book I do and see something completely different in it's pages - and sometimes their ability to show us that is simply beautiful. No one can argue that Alan Rickman does not perfectly embody Severus Snape, and also completely steals the show in the last film despite having minimum screen time. If it wasn't Harry Potter he would've won an Oscar (After all this time? Always.) Shutter Island has a different vibe, and several different points, to the original book by Dennis Lehane. I love both book and film equally - they're simply beautiful; the same with An Interview with the Vampire.

This leads me to my next point - the film encourages people to read the book; to date, (and off the top of my head,) films (or TV series) which I have seen and then been inspired to seek out the book are: Shutter Island, An Interview with the Vampire, The Crow, Let the Right One In, The Man with the Iron Mask, The Vampire's Assistant, Tanya Huff's Blood books, A Game of Thrones, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and A Tale of Two Cities. All of which I now adore to varying degrees; I don't love the film any less for reading the book, nor the book any less for seeing the film. And if films are encouraging people to think about their literary predecessors, shouldn't we be encouraging that?

Sometimes though, filmmakers miss something vital - something of the magic and the majesty of the original. There's always something to prose that it's almost impossible to convey on screen. Sometimes the film is just down-right disappointing (I really wasn't fond of the Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation starring Ben Barnes, despite my usual love for his work.) But the best of stories, novels, etc., can withstand even the most haphazard of adaptations. They survive. They continue. Everybody forgets the crappy film, and goes on loving the book.

So watch the film, read the book, or do both. And hopefully my fellow book lovers will understand what I mean, and I won't have to change my name and flee the country!

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Shame the Shamers

I don't know whether you've seen a particular meme - it's been hanging around on my various feeds for months and now I can't even find it to show you, typical - but I'll describe it for you and why I don't like it.

It features a fictional conversation between two people, the first person is excited that they've finished a 150 page (or around about) book, and it's taken them a long time to read. The second person asks (as Captain Barbossa from PoTC) "how stupid are you?" (or words to that affect.)

The thing is: this isn't what our online reading community should be like. There's a vibrant and thriving group of bibliophiles on the web - so much so that we can rarely even keep track of each other - and instead of encouraging people who wouldn't normally read, some of us ridicule them. Not cool guys. If someone who struggles to read, or even just struggles to find time to read, has made the effort, then they should be applauded. If I struggled to do a bean bag race, only to find a champion runner making fun of me at the end, then I doubt I would ever run again.

Let's keep it friendly and encouraging guys - the more the merrier after all!

Saturday 8 November 2014

Shame the shamers

Ok, I absolutely hate it when people make fun of/have a go at people for reading a particular book - y'know what? People are allowed to read what they want to.

If a dude wants to read chick lit then it doesn't make him a girl - likewise if I want to read something about knights hacking each other to death, or the Napoleonic wars, then I should be able to without being made to feel like a social leper. And it's perfectly acceptable for adults to read YA/teenage/kids books.

People are different, and it really does annoy me when shamers make someone feel bad for reading something that they enjoy. People don't read enough as it is without being discouraged by people who judge others far too much. Sorry, bit of a rant. But it's something that really and truly does my head in - you should never ever feel embarrassed about what you're reading, and I would really love to see more people reading in public, covers of whatever book they happen to be reading showing proudly.