A Book A Day Tag! Recent Reads.

Hey pals,

I came across this instagram/twitter challenge too late but I wanted to use the prompts to turn into a blog post and talk a little about some books I may not have thought to share.

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1) The book I turn to for Comfort: Georgia Nicolson Series, or Heartstopper.

2) The Book that makes me Cry: Hunger Games (book 1) Anything about district 11 makes me cry. Loveboat Taipei had some moments that made me blubber.

3) the book I’m finally planning on reading during Lockdown: I started The Hunger Games on a whim, but I guess I’ll say Alice Oseman’s novels coz I’d never read any of them before reading heartstopper. So far have read Radio Silence, started Solitaire and think I’ll pick up the ebook of I Was Born For This too coz they were all 99p. Generally, I’ve just been reading more.

4) The book that makes me laugh out loud: The Princess Diaries (book 1) was pretty hysterical and much more appreciated as a 25 year old vs. if I was a teen. (I mean, the line about her mum being depressed after finding out her boyfriend was a Republican wouldn’t have made sense to me as a teenager, but now I feel that in my soul), but also Loveboat Taipei was pretty hilarious.

5) My favourite book cover: Wranglestone or the second If Only.

6) My favourite audiobook to listen to: I don’t really listen to audiobooks, I struggle to actually listen if I end up doing stuff.

7) My favourite line from a book: “Maybe part of fighting unhappiness in this world is to seize happiness when we can.” – Loveboat, Taipei

8) The holiday read I never got to take: I mean, I’m still reading the books! But I feel like If Only has a holiday book feel.

9) My favourite indie bookshop: I’m gonna be unoriginal by saying Gays The Word. It’s standing history. I did mention a few others in this blog post that are worth checking out if you are ever in the area. 

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10) My favourite book from childhood: I didn’t read as a child, I was read to and i can’t remember many, just the faraway tree? and Harry Potter. I did revisit some YA I read in this video too if you want to check that out. 

11) The book character I most want to be: Apparently every male love interest I like.

12) My favourite meal from Literature: I don’t really care about food in books, I cannot lie.

13) My favourite recent book discovery: I’ve enjoyed a lot of my ebook reads recently which include, the Hunger Games, Alice Oseman’s Radio silence, Melanie Murphy’s If Only, and Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen was a really great book I picked up as an ebook for 99p.

14) Number of books on my TBR: Many. It keeps growing now I use the kindle app… Roughly 20 physical books right now, but I have a lot of books I want to re-read and more books I’ve not read yet. I have a whole separate non-fiction TBR you can check out here

15) The book that reminds me of someone I love: Anne of Green Gables, even though I haven’t read it yet. My mum brought me up on the 80’s films.

I have been doing so much reading that I ended up updating my GoodReads goal for the year from 12 books (1 book a month on average was the goal) to 50 books and I am already on 29, if I keep going at this speed I might be updating it again and maybe again. Lockdown doesn’t look like it will end soon or if it does it’ll just come back down on us. Please stay home and wear a mask!

I hope you enjoyed a little book blog post, I thought it would be fun and a nice way to talk about a lot of the books i’ve read recently without actually reviewing them individually. I’m creating another ‘I watched the film then read the book’ for the Princess Diaries, and I’m going to be making a video about reading the Hunger Games for the first time, and all the 99p ebooks I’ve bought and tried to read (not all successfully) so if you like book content, keep an eye out! I do have loads of book videos going up too or already gone up so check out the playlist!

Tell me about a book you love and why you think I should read it!

~ Artie

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This is the original post I saw and the original creator, in case anyone wants to know or look for them.

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Check out this article from Book Riot on 12 LGBT+ Witchy books!

I wanted to add a little question and answer section at the end here to let you get to know me at the end of a short book post.
  1. a film you’ll never get tired of: I have a weird soft spot for She’s The Man. I have a crush on Amanda both as herself and as a man. Princess Diaries as well, Anne Hathaway is beautiful. Mulan is an all time favourite.
  2. what’s your favourite album: I feel like we don’t really listen to albums anymore, but I would say probably a Halsey album. I’ve not listened to Manic a lot, but I do really like it.
  3. how do you feel about piercings: I have a few, and I think they’re cool. My Libra is too indecisive to get anymore. There are loads I would like but also now I have a lot of health issues, I’m always in an MRI machine and I have to take all my piercings out and I don’t think my sanity could take it. I also have some videos on how to take out different septum jewellery if you need help check out this playlist!
  4. favourite sweet: I love sweet things generally and I prefer chocolates (especially now I can’t eat most of them) but I’ve also been enjoying jelly sweets you get in pick and mix. Fizzy cola bottles or fizzy cherries.
  5. your idea of a perfect date night: None. Leave me alone.
  6. favourite game: Video game? I love Life is Strange, but also Detroit: Become Human is a beautiful game. Board games, I love Cluedo. I love solving crimes! I remember being good at this game as a kid, both figuring out who did it and hiding that it was me. I’ve been enjoying streaming on Twitch so come give me a follow and join me on a stream sometime.
  7. how do you feel about religion: You do you, just stop using it as an excuse to be an oppressive arse. I am personally spiritual and practice alone.
  8. do you have any nicknames: no.
  9. what’s something that keeps you going: myself. my mum. my dog.
  10. favourite animal: Dogs and Wolves. I love animals generally so so much but these are my favourites always. I am on the hunt for the perfect wolf t-shirt.
  11. favourite scent: I have this one scent from Lush I really like but I don’t remember what it is… I also like vanilla and lavender.
  12. are you introverted or extroverted: An Introvert for sure but I can be extroverted. I need a lot of alone time. even one on one time with people drains my energy. I’m chronically ill so I think that’s a huge part of it.
  13. favourite drink: I love iced coffee and fruit juices. Also peach tea.
  14. are there any tattoo’s you’d like to have: I want to try to find my birth year in my great grandparents’ handwriting to get tattooed. I also like the idea of a monstera leaf. Maybe something like ‘I tried’ or ‘i’m trying’. I’m also thinking of a woodpecker or Peter rabbit, a swallow on my hand one day or maybe inner wrist. I’m toying with a tattoo that says ‘pulseless’ for the limbs that barely have a pulse. Am not dead, just pulseless.
  15. something you like about yourself: I like a lot about myself. My creativity, the way I think, my compassion, my sense of fairness and justice.
  16. how do you feel about fast food: I love fast food and wish more of it was vegan or lacto free. I miss my pad Thai, it’s been a long time.
  17. what kind of person are you attracted to: red flags.
  18. who inspires you: myself. but also just lots of people. I’m a Libra don’t make me choose.
  19. how do you feel about marriage: You do you again, I’m not sure I’ll ever want to get married myself. I feel like it might have been something society told me I wanted. I’m not sure I’m built for a singular partner, I get bored easily or too attached and spending the time I have single, I also just really like being left alone. I’ve grown an independance I didn’t have coz I was always told my worth is linked to having romantic partners and being seen as attractive.

My Favourite Books Shelf!

Hey pals,

I’ve been going on an organising and purging spree recently now that we are all FORCED to be inside. I’ve cleansed my bookshelves and given my favourite books their own shelf, I just wanted to talk through it with you and give you a peek into who I am as a human. Check out my organising videos here.

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This is the shelf! It is one of the minimal shelves designated to books in my bedroom, most of my book reside in the spare room where I have enough shelf space to call it a small library. This shelf also has my Uni Society Award (middle), a graduation plaque present (right) and a cool thrifted glass/crystal holder where I keep some pens I really like. On the far left of the books are my own work! X Marks The Spot is the first anthology I was published in that I was paid for. A personal essay and a poem live in there written by moi! Then the little blue leaflet sized ones were the third year uni open mic booklet with a small snippet of my Grenfell Tower Fire piece that I performed at my last uni open mic before I graduated.

Moving onto the books, We have a selection of mental health focused books that I fell in love with. First, Carrie Fisher’s Postcards From The Edge, I had no idea how iconic Carrie Fisher was until after her death unfortunately but this book was a very interesting dual POV book that also changed in how it was written with each section. It was mildly challenging just because of the experimental the writing style, but it is heavily derived from her real life experience of drug abuse and rehab and working in the industry. Then is the iconic The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, basically autobiographical. An interesting look into mental health care during a different period of time, similar to Girl, Interrupted, I love the film a lot so it was only a stretch that lead me to actually reading the memoir, this one was particularly interesting for me as I have the same diagnosis as Susanna Kaysen, who seemed to recover and even though the memoir is quite dark it did give me hope when I was in the midst of suffering from BPD. Then a book I have never heard anyone talk about online, Lovesick by Coburn. This is about a man who is hired to keep tabs on a rich man’s daughter at college who has an eating disorder. He was meant to get a full scholarship but had a car crash and injured himself before he started and was lost, so this man offered to pay his tuition etc. to go to uni with his daughter and make sure she wasn’t going to hurt herself, etc. He falls in love with her but I think it ends quite sadly and she finds out he was hired by her father. This is based off a real event, I think this was put together by a reporter. Last in this list is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. About two friends who have eating disorders and live pretty recklessly, it’s been a while since I’ve read it so I can’t remember everything exactly but one of them dies, and the protagonist has some kind if psychosis where she keeps seeing and hearing her and keeps getting sicker. This is a very triggering book with lots of explicit details to do with self harm and eating disorder behaviour so I do not recommend this to anyone easily triggered.

The next section are my queer books! Starting with Wranglestone by Darren Charlton, this is a zombie apocalypse adventure story with some mystery elements and our main character is gay. This is the first book I’ve read that isn’t about being gay, it has plot outside of that and it was a great read, you should check out my more detailed review here. Next is Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, this may have been my first queer book read. Multi-POV book showing us a selection of different queer boys and narrated by the gay men of previous generations who had died and did not get to live their full life because of AIDs and the laws we had in place in the Western World. It’s a lovely book with a sad overtone because of the narration but something I really enjoyed and have re-read a few times. I’ll roll these next two into one point, Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda and Leah on the Off Beat. Love Simon was quite an iconic turning point for gay film media production, it felt like one of the first fluffy rom-coms we got to have that didn’t end or involve any tragedy or death. The book is very similar but has quite a different plot so I do recommend reading it if you enjoyed the film. Then Leah on the off Beat is the wlw, bisexual icon version of Love, Simon. Leah felt she couldn’t come out to friends about her bisexuality and then falls in love with a girl who is also bisexual, the representation in this book is impeccable and made my younger self feel seen (even though I read this at age 24). Watch my video talking about Love Simon the book vs. the Film. Next, Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills is the first book I’ve read with a trans main character. His name is Gabe and he wants to be a radio DJ and works on a community radio in the dead of night. I do feel like it’s sad and unfortunate that we know Gabe’s dead name in this (because we all know this leads to people dead naming the character rather than forcing them to use the correct name) and there is transphobic related violence later in the book, besides that I enjoyed the book a lot. The last stop on the train is the first female lead queer book I read (but also one of the first queer books I ever read) Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. Our Bi icon Etta is a badass ballet dancer whose whole friendship group are lesbian women who constantly invalidate Etta’s sexuality, a side of the coin that isn’t often talked about. She also has an eating disorder and is in recovery and trying to find herself and what she wants, she makes new friends who love her for her and not what they think she is. She has a romance with a boy through the book but has visibly had relationships and sex with a mixture of genders and the book does not end with a happily ever after which I appreciated a lot.

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We are in the last section now which is mostly to do with book height! We have the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, a beautiful graphic novel about Charlie and Nick falling in love and having that fluffy rom-com episodic story. See my other posts about these books here and here and my two videos here and here. Then Melanie Murphy’s first book, Fully Functioning Human (Almost), I relate to a lot of the struggles Melanie has gone through and been open about online: bisexuality, eating disorders, health, anxiety and depression, toxic relationships, etc. This book gave me the strength to break it off with my last relationship I was in and I have to put that book on this shelf for that alone. And finally, Hungry by Crystal Renn is another memoir about having an eating disorder as a model and throwing it round and becoming a plus size model instead. Check out my Non-fic recs video where I talk about some of these. 

A lot of these books entered my life during a time I needed them. They helped me feel like I wasn’t doing this or going through this alone, and that it’s possible to come out the other end (minus a few that ended quite terribly) and generally I have come out the other end. Now I’m just looking for a book about a young person going through a chronic illness and battling all these other things too.

I hope you enjoyed this post and having a little look into who I am and why these books matter to me. Let me know some of your favourite books!

~ Artie

Watch my recent book unhaul on youtube and keep an eye on my depop as I may sell some books there.

Book Review: HEARTSTOPPER by Alice Oseman

 

Hey pals, 

 

We are finally here. I’ve seen a lot about Heartstopper on the Twitter, because I follow a Untitled Design 5lot of queer people in the book blogger/booktube community and also the author Alice Oseman (duh) of the web series. I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into whilst also not actually knowing a thing about it! (Besides it being a spin-off to a novel and that it was gay, you know, the important things!)

 

I finally got to reading it because I was DETERMINED to have read it before I went to the book signing in Piccadilly… and I was surprised. The art style really reminded me of manga and even some of the dramatic ‘omg am i gay do i love this boy’ moments felt SUPER rom-com manga. I love the blend of the art style I normally associate with japanese culture, and VERY BRITISH plot points and language. Never did I think I would see boys playing rugby and saying the word ‘lad’ whilst also looking like the cast of OHSHC. 

 

Heartstopper is actually very different from what I thought. I imagined it was more of a whole story (I thought they would be together by the end of part 1) but I’m actually pretty excited about it being more episodic. I haven’t read anything like that in years, and it felt really packed with beautiful art and TENSION… ooooo gay tension.

 

Without trying to spoil the book, there is a page near the end of volume 1: we see Nick, head-to-toe, at a party, and boy does he look like a bisexual icon. The characters have been trying to convince me this boy ‘looks straight’, please. Rolled up short sleeves, cuffed jeans and VANS? This boy has stolen my look and I am CONFIRMED bisexual. You couldn’t convince me this boy was straight by his fashion choices alone, thank you very much. Good thing it was near the end!

 

It took me two weeks to get around to reading volume 2. And that isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it was like when I would buy manga books and couldn’t afford many of them. If i knew I had one book left before I’d have to buy more, I’d drag out the time it took to read it because I didn’t want it to be over. At least if I had it, I knew I had the answers to my questions. Reading Heartstopper is super nostalgic for me because I read it similarly to how I read manga. I read one book in one sitting (4 hours tops) and always had an emotional roller-coaster, wrapped up in bed in the dark. It’s so hard to explain the tension without ruining it! But the art compliments the plot so well that you just get a big old punch to the gut when bad things happen and your chest hurts when something adorable happens. I’ve lost my capacity to talk about this because it just makes you feel things so strongly, and it’s only an experience I’ve ever had whilst reading manga/graphic novels. 

 

I’ve also found I have a favourite boy, which I think it pretty common for the readers of Heartstopper, but I just didn’t think I would? But, I do indeed. My heart cries for our giant buffoon, Nick in volume 2. He’s truly just so loveable.

 

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Alice said in the talk before the signing that these books obviously have it’s twists and turns, there’s angst but not too much that the tone is heavy. And she really works it so well that the overall feeling is light and fluffy, even when our boys are sad. It’s the perfect series for those who love the friends-to-lovers with a bit of ‘they’re almost happy’, because you won’t be depressed for long and if you really can’t wait for the next book, you can always read the webcomic! (I’m going to do my best to hold back!!)

 

~ Artie

https://www.aliceoseman.com/

check out my reading vlog here!