Collective Second Hand Book Haul

book pile tbr book haul

Hey pals,

Leading up to Christmas, I was finding quite a few decent books in charity shops and at the doctors/hospital book donation shelves and I thought I would share what I found and if they’re gifts for people or not (I’m not spoiling anything because these where all Christmas presents so they’ve all had them!!) I would read all of these books so I’m telling everyone to give it back when they’re done so I can read it too!

 

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Gift to my mum. The title was an inside joke but also had a funny sounding plot. Paid 20-30p donation.

 

Another gift, couldn’t decide who to. I talked about this book in another post.

 

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I picked this up at one of the hospital book donation shelves. I plan on reading The Great Gatsby this year and have heard a lot about the Beautiful and Damned, and I can’t stop myself with a two for one deal! Think I paid 20-30p donation. 

I’ve read some Zadie Smith before and just thought I’d pick it up and see if I enjoyed it. I’ve not read a whole novel of hers, just bits and pieces. Part of a 3 for £1 deal.

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We all love Killing Eve in my house, this book looks pretty small so I expect it to be a fast read and I think I’ll give it to my mum when I’m done coz she really liked the show too. Part of a three for £1 deal in a charity shop.

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The potion Diaries just seemed like an easy to read YA fantasy involving magic. A bit more on the hetero/girly side for me, but I decided to give it a chance. £2 in a charity shop.

 

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We are big Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French fans, so the first is for my mum and second for my gran and then I’ll be stealing them back. I am always deeply fascinated by the lives of famous people and how they got to where they are. This was in our book self at the doctor’s surgery and I’m pretty sure I used pocket change to pay for these so can’t remember exactly how much. 

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Just as a side note: for the few books I’ve picked up at donation shelves and paid relatively low for, my family often donate books to these shelves, we often have brought bags of books as we like to help support our NHS staff and services. The books we pick up will likely be returned once we have read them, plus more. I encourage others to do this rather than donate to charity shops as they can be picked up for any amount of donation which makes reading more accessible. Plus, I am sure patients stuck in there for long periods can use these, hospital stays can be really dull and a choice in books to read can help patients feel more positive.

 

I’ll let you know what I (and my family members) think of these books when we get round to reading them!

 

~ Artie

My 2019 Reading Wrap Up (I read 10 books)

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Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi

This one is a big trigger warning to those with eating disorders. There’s talk of numbers and self harm behaviours.

This book really made my younger self feel seen. I grew up wanting to be an actor, bi and with an eating disorder that I didn’t get help for. It was really interesting to read about a woman I only vaguely knew about and connect with her on a deep level I often can’t. She talks a lot about the inner workings of Hollywood, which is always so morbidly interesting to me, and about her interpersonal relationships failing within this awful period in her life and then how they began to thrive as she chose recovery. This had a wonderful happy ending (which, most of us know) and could be a good read for someone struggling to see through the fog of mental illness.

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Queer Intentions:  a (personal) journey through LGBT+ culture by Amelia Abraham

This is a great book for an introduction to Queer history and culture around the world! I am a white British queer who does not know much of what it is like to be queer around the world, and we can’t understand what it’s like being a different gender or sexuality. This book bridges the gaps in the white western viewpoint. It’s also much easier to read than you’d think, more like a selection of essays you could read in a queer magazine. I’m trying to say, this is an accessible book for people of all knowledge and education levels and may spark a love and need to know more.

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Heartstopper vol. 1 & 2 by Alice Oseman

The perfect mixture of manga style drawings and story telling, with a cast of very British people. Wonderful selection of characters who portray all kinds of different people of our real world. Wonderful bisexual representation with our main boy Nick. A light and fluffy story, even the angsty bits aren’t too angsty and you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m also very excited for volume three to come out in early February!

IMG_7267the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

I’d call this the political book of insta poetry. This has similar formatting to Rupi Kaur, which makes it accessible and easy to get through, and leaves an echo of each poem’s final line in your mind. It’s also very inclusive feminist art, I’ve not read anything that includes all women in their art and says it so out right. I love the links to witches and magic, it really hit the nail on the head with metaphors and analogies. This book made me feel angry and powerful all at once and fed me motivation to change things. If you’re looking for revolution, this is your poetry book.

IMG_0504To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I watched the film first guys, I know, it’s an unwritten rule. But I don’t care! It was actually really enjoyable to read this after watching the film because I could slowly pick out the bits they did and didn’t keep in, which is a really fun game for me really! I love this book, it was so fun and silly, some bits still shocked me and I think I’ll continue reading the series because there was a pretty anticlimactic ending to the book. At least the film, you could pretend that was the only one (even though there is definitely a second one coming soon) but you can’t do that with the book unless you want to perpetually never know what happens! It’s a great book to show teenage readers that you will love many people in your life, not all of them will love you back or end happily like most YA shows.

IMG_0506Leah on The Off Beat by Becky Albertalli

This was teenage me in a book. One line literally a couple of pages in got me. The book for fat, bi, slytherin girls with a single mother. You might think ‘there aren’t many of those’, but you’d be surprised. This book not only has one bi female character, but a few (!!!) and is a really nice follow on from Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda where you still see the others milling around in the background but you get more of Leah’s story and what she’s hiding. She, like Simon, hasn’t come out either. I saw a lot of this story coming from watching Love, Simon and then reading the book, which I think is really great story telling, giving us some subtle foreshadowing. If you have an idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably right. Now officially an Own Voices book! Sadly Becky was forced into coming out before she was ready, but she is now out as a bi woman. Check out these articles here, here and here.

IMG_0508Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: a dangerous trans girl’s confabulous memoir by Kai Cheng Thom

This book was an interesting one. I won it in a giveaway and I’m glad that happened, because I’m not sure I would have picked it up myself. It’s easy to read and has a wonderful twist on the typical memoir with beautiful fantasy comparisons and descriptions. I am definitely keeping this book for reference when I want to try something different, or am writing something with fantasy elements. There were a few sections I wasn’t huge on, but I feel they would have resonated more with a trans woman reader, such as the three pages of poetry about her hair. The ending was a surprise and made me quite sad, but I would totally recommend people read it!

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Prozac Nation: young and depressed in America, a memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Trigger Warnings: Talk of mental illness, suicide (ideation and attempts), sexual assault, abuse. 

I’m sad to say I struggled through this book. It’s very up my alley and there were parts I did really enjoy. But I felt like some parts went over my head and I would read long paragraphs where I had no idea what was happening or what was being said. Particularly as I got towards the end of the book. I pushed on, only because I wanted to know what happened, there wasn’t a hugely satisfying ending, and then it was followed by an epilogue which felt more like an academic essay and a follow up essay after the book had its first round of publishing. It felt a bit long to me, a lot could have been cut if I’m being honest. It’s a shame because I did really enjoy some parts but these other sections really ruined it for me.

IMG_0498Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

I Honestly had no idea I wanted or needed this book until I read the description. It was amazing, I read the whole thing in one day which I haven’t done in ages! Couldn’t put it down. The queer rep is great, I think the more sexual content was perfectly hinted at without writing a sex scene… (which is a hot debate subject) I love that there was a little bit of disability rep too! Often people with disabilities in a zombie book/film/show die because of it etc. This is a great adventure book that ‘just so happens’ to centre a gay character. I could go on but I won’t coz it’ll just become spoilers and I’d rather let everyone have a chance to read themselves! (Comes out Feb 6th!)

I don’t read nearly as much as other book bloggers and YouTubers, but I wasn’t far off a book a month in 2019 so that’s my 2020 goal. One book a month (on average…) so 12 books with a few extras incase I really need to DNF something or have some spare reading time.

~ Artie

My 2020 Social Media and Blogging Goals!

Hey pals,

I’m doing a little comparison between my goals I set at the beginning of 2019 and setting new goals!

(Main picture from: libertipix.com)

This blog

2019: 11 followers

By the end of 2019: 100 followers minimum

End of 2019

172 (I reached my goal)

2020 goal: 200-300

 

My facebook page

2019: 61 likes

By the end of 2019: 100 likes minimum

End of 2019

102 (I reached my goal)

2020 goal: 200-300

 

Twitter

2019: 259 followers (but this constantly goes up and down by 10)

By the end of 2019: 300-500 followers

End of 2019

667 (I got even further than my goal)

2020 goal: 700-800

 

Instagram

2019: 726 followers (also goes up and down by 20 constantly)

By the end of 2019: 1,000 followers

End of 2019

end of 2019: 882 (didn’t reah goal, this has been the hardest platform to gain permanent followers on)

2020 goal: 1,000-1,500

 

YouTube

2019: 120 subscribers

By the end of 2019: 200-500 subscribers (I find this one really hard to gain subscribers on compared to everything else so I’ve kept it reasonably low)

End of 2019

end of 2019: 179 (did not reach goal, not surprised!)

2020 goal: 200-300

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(photo from libertipix)

I have a reading goal this year to try and read 12 books, one a month as I read maybe 8-9 books this year so I’m not far off and have definitely started to enjoy reading and taking some time out to do it. I think this aim will benefit me mentally.

 

I also plan to put my physical health as a priority, since my surgery, my Crohn’s symptoms have calmed down a lot and I hope to maybe reach a remission this year and not need to take any other medications like biologics.

 

Share some of your 2020 goals with me! I’d love to hear what everyone wants to do in the new year.

 

~ Artie

A Christmas Gift Guide

Hey pals,

I never thought I would do a gift guide honestly, but I’ve stumbled upon some cool small businesses and artists online, and some of them are also my friends! What better way to celebrate Christmas than sharing the love of art and creations for others to buy! So here is my Christmas Gift Guide.

Cassie Maes’ Bijoux a la Main Jewellery

Cute and quirky jewellery. She also produces custom orders.

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Lena of Art by Lena

She provides a website/social media header design service, all beautifully hand painted and custom to you. Cute wooden Christmas-ish ornaments, stickers, prints, bookmarks, postcards, all kinds of hand painted wonderful-ness! Lena is always expanding the kinds of things she creates, so I recommend having a browse! Many cute stationary pieces.

Check out her other links here. The main shop can be found here.

Dylan / Dylanoliv.art

A real mixture of creative works from photography to drawing to sculptures. He makes cool illustrated sticker versions of sculptures he has made and draws cool faceless people. To buy, send him a message on his art insta. Dylan also has a Redbubble!

Abbi Guse of Abbigail Guse Art

Art prints of ethereal women and landscapes. Also cute stickers and clothes! (I’m particularly partial to those) Also check out her Redbubble.

Alex of Baby Limbs Art (Now on Etsy)

Funky wallpaper, line character work, gremlins, cute animals and more!  You can order directly through her on her instagram/etsy for postcards and prints. Occasionally, they will make bizarre jewellery bits like funky earrings, so if you’re looking for unique, one of a kind pieces, Alex is the one for you! I have personally bought a print in the past and can say they’re great quality and everything is super reasonably priced!

Fox Fisher

Another nonbinary seller on my list. Screen printing and teaching short courses, limited edition prints, LGBT+ art works and stickers.

Check out their store here.

Shadeaux by Annie 

Owned by a LGBT+ woman of colour, Shadeaux creates fetish inspired jewellery for the kink community. Annie’s shop started as a line of acrylic accessories, an easy way to add some kink to everyday looks or streetwear. Shadeaux will be adding a line of ball gags an paddles by the end of September 2020. Check out and follow their instagram here.

Lorna Henson

Handmade elasticated harnesses, custom orders, size inclusive. Either wear as sexy addition to lingerie or a cool accessory addition to an outfit.

Devovere Lingerie and Jewellery 

Similar pieces to above that are custom made but also some jewellery pieces. A disabled queer person, I’m always here to support! They are a UK based store too. Everything can be found at Devovere.com

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RT Designs by Ruth

Black woman owned business, I found her through #BlackPoundDay on Twitter and fell in love with her beautiful gold flake bookmarks I mean what that hell?? She makes coasters and jewellery with similar designs and I am definitely planning on picking up a bookmark. UK based. Check out her Instagram.

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Tiffany: 30 year old emo from Essex (& very proud). Bi & chronically ill & disabled – Crohn’s & a stoma. I love records and prints and being unapologetically me.

Shimmer and Sew was born – like a lot – out of lockdown, after being made redundant due to covid, and getting a sewing machine for personal use, I decided to try my hand at sewing properly! I don’t normally stick with hobbies because if I’m not good, I give up, so this is a big thing for me! I have a Christmas scrunchie drop (or two) planned, and take on custom orders (I’m currently working on a duvet set for a friends rabbit).
Orders are mostly taken via DM on any social media and can be PayPal or bank transfer. I have an Etsy shop now open for pre-made items, for custom orders send a message 🧡
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Positively Peculiar  Quirky handmade jewellery and badges, second hand clothes with a 90’s vibe. The badges often have a good political statement which is always a plus for me!

CultureSmart’s Travel Guides! Kuperard Publishers very kindly gifted me a copy of their ‘essential guide to customs & culture’ Japan edition! This is a whole new level of travel guide that really talks about the culture of the place you’re interested in travelling to with some helpful do’s and don’ts when it comes to conversation. This would be a great present for anyone looking to travel in the New Year and they have a HUGE list of locations they have covered!

If you know anyone who loves books, I recommend searching and buying from Hive as they support indie bookshops and you can decide which ones your money supports.

Snuggly Duckling Crafts is a one-woman melt and pour soap making business, based in Singapore! All of Marsy’s soaps are cruelty free, paraben free and handcrafted by herself – making sure no one soap is the exactly the same as another. She ships locally to Singapore and also to the UK, but is open to worldwide shipping. She has an etsy store (that’s currently on holidays because of bank issues) or you can place an order via DM with her at @snugglyducklingcrafts on instagram!

taxidermy animal skulls and antlers

If you are interested in taxidermy, I recommend reading my blog post on it! Lots of good places to buy recommended on there.

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And of course, ME! Can’t make a gift guide without shameless self promotion!

As you know, I sell second hand items on my depop or my vinted, you can for sure find some presents on there (and it’s not always just clothes) all my postage wrapping is reused!

I also make all kinds of art stuff! I particularly like line drawn portraits and making fun wall signs out of scrap pieces of wood, and I sometimes make cute cards! I’m open to commissions 🙂 hit me up on my art insta. I do have a RedBubble of my own with some of my drawings or photography on. Link here.

And I do tarot card readings through email! So if you’re interested, give me an email at: artiecardenbusiness@gmail.com (paid through paypal)

I hope you enjoyed this little gift guide! It’s mostly art stuff but occasionally something else! I hope you found some good ideas here and thank you for supporting my friends and their small businesses!

~ Artie

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