Changing Minds

A few weeks ago, I posted a review of ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon. In it, I said it was one of my favourite YA books I’d read in a long time. I also expressed a slight discomfort with the handling of disability/chronic illness at the end of the novel but was willing to look past it because I loved the rest of the book so much. However, over the last few weeks, the more thought I’ve put into it, the more upset I’ve become with the portrayal of disability. This left me with a dilemma. Do I delete the original post and reupload an updated version? Do I post my new thoughts but keep the original one on my blog?

On the one hand, that review was an honest one and I don’t want to delete it just because I’ve changed my mind about it. On the other hand, however, the issue that I’ve changed my mind about, the representation of disability, is one that I’m extremely passionate about. I’m always trying to stress the importance of good representation particularly of people with disabilities. For me, it would go against a really important belief of mine if I didn’t address the issue I had with that particular novel.

We all change our minds, it’s a part of life and there is nothing wrong with it. I’m well aware that after some time, I may begin to disagree with some of my own opinions of certain books. So how do we deal with this? To me, if it’s a simple matter of a change of taste, there’s no problem with leaving the review up. What I’m struggling with at the moment is that my change of mind happened so quickly and so strongly that it would feel like I was lying if I didn’t rectify it in some way.

Maybe this is just a side-effect of settling into the world of book blogging. This blog is still in its early days so I’m constantly coming across little road blocks that make me rethink what I post and talk about on my little corner of the internet. That will always be the case. I’d interested to hear how others deal with this particular dilemma.

How do you feel about changing your mind about reviews? Maybe you’re a book blogger and you’ve come across this situation before, or perhaps you’re a reader and you’d be interested to read an updated review. Let me know in the comments below.

The Anything But Books Tag

I’ve seen this tag floating around the BookTube community and thought it might be quite fun to have a go at!

1. Name a cartoon(s) that you love

The Simpsons! I’ve been obsessed with The Simpsons since I was about 8 years old, it used to be a family tradition in my house, we would all watch one episode together before bedtime.

2. What is your favourite song right now?

I cannot believe I’m saying this but I really like Sign of the Times by Harry Styles. Sixteen year old me who thought she was too good for boybands is fuming right now.

3. What could you do for hours (that isn’t reading)?

Netflix.

So. Many. Shows…

4. What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love acting! I’m most comfortable when I’m onstage, pretending to be other people. Sometimes I think I’d like to make a career out of it, but for now, it’s just a hobby.

5. What is your favourite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Whenever I discover a new favourite film or TV show, I look it up on IMDB and read all the ‘behind the scenes trivia’.  I don’t know if that’s interesting or just a really efficient way to waste time. Maybe both?

6. What is something unusual you know how to do?

This isn’t that unusual but I can quote the film School of Rock pretty much word for word. Don’t judge me, it’s a brilliant film.

7. Name something you’ve made in the last year (and show us, if you can)

This painting:

It’s not the best, but it was the first time I drew and painted anything in a while so I was pretty excited about it.

8. What is your most recent personal project?

My first answer would be that I’m writing a novel but seeing as this is the anything but books tag, I’ll say setting up an Etsy store! I’ve been sewing a lot of bunting recently so I was thinking of selling some. Watch this space for more information…

9. Tell us something you think about often (maybe while staring out of windows)

The future. It’s terrifying and exciting in equal measure! I also spend a lot of time dreaming up imaginary scenarios that I KNOW will never happen in real life. It usually involves me winning an Oscar.

10. Give us something that’s your favourite, but make it something oddly specific.

My favourite thing to eat when I get hungry in the middle of the night is cheese and crackers. I know you shouldn’t eat cheese before you sleep but I’d do anything for cheese, to be honest. I just love cheese.

 

This was a really fun tag to do! Feel free to leave your answers in the comments and let me know if there are any other tags I could do – bookish or otherwise!

 

Schedule Shake Up!

Hello!

Just a quick update post this week as I’m supposed to be packing for my weekend away (but let’s be honest, I’m going to leave it ALL to the last mintute…)

You may have noticed a slight change in posting schedule over the past two weeks. I’ve really enjoyed my first couple of months of blogging, but now I’m finding I have more post ideas and book reviews than I can keep up with!

So, from now on, I’ll be posting two blog posts a week, at least, for the foreseeable future. Wednesdays are for posts about particular topics such as representation, or top ten lists. On Sundays, I’ll be posting book reviews. I’m not sure yet whether this will be every Sunday (although I have a lot of interesting books on my TBR at the moment, so there will definitely be a lot to look forward to!). This way, I can post a wider variety of topics and still keep up with the book reviews, which I love writing.

I’m thinking of naming my Sunday posts so they’re easy to distinguish. Maybe Super Sunday, or is that a rubbish name? If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!

Subjective Reviews: A Response

Last week, I discovered The Bookavid’s blog and came across one of their recent posts ‘How Subjectivity Ruins Your Reviews’. I wanted to share some of my thoughts in response to that post as it got me thinking about the way I review books. It’s also not a topic that I’ve seen discussed at all, until now but feel it’s a very important one within the book blogging community.

My first instinct when reading the post was to disagree. “Of course reviews should be subjective, that’s the whole point”, I thought. Whilst that is still something I believe, my stance has changed somewhat over the last couple of days. In my mind, reviews – especially reviews on book blogs – are more subjective as it’s all about the person’s response to the book. However, as The Bookavid says in their post, by giving a book a low rating of 1 -3 stars, simply because you didn’t like it, “you are possibly preventing readers from finding a read that will change their lives.”. I have to admit, this hadn’t occured to me before. It’s not news to anyone that one person’s reaction to a book may be completely opposing to somebody else’s but I’d never considered the impact a negative review could have.

Of course, this all depends on why you read and write reviews. Perhaps you really hated a particular book so you read reviews to see if others share your opinion or if they can change your mind. Or maybe you’ve read a book with diverse characters and you want to spread the word about books that are representing people of minority groups e.g. people of colour, lgbtq+ characters, or people with disabilities. We all read and review for different reasons, and that is fantastic.

Whilst I still enjoy writing and reading personal and subjective book reviews, I am now much more aware of the importance of a balanced argument. With that being said, the star ratings I give on Goodreads are 100% subjective as I use it as a personal account to keep track of the books I’ve liked and disliked over the years.

Perhaps, I’m very naive when it comes to this discussion, I’m incredibly new to the book blogging community and am still trying to find my feet. Not many people read my blog so the impact my reviews have will be minimal for some time, but that’s not to say I shouldn’t be trying to write the best reviews I can.

Thank you to The Bookavid for making me think about this in a new light!

What are your thoughts on subjectivity in book reviews? Let me know in the comments!

March Wrap-Up

March was another slow reading month for me but that’s okay. I read because I love to, not so I can reach a certain number of books each month.

  1. We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is an adapted version of Adichie’s TED talk which she made in 2013. I read the whole thing in about twenty minutes. It’s a wonderful introduction to feminism and the way people all over the world react to feminism. She talks about her experience of shying away from the label feminist and her early childhood in Nigeria. As brilliant as this book was, I have to acknowledge that Adichie has recently made comments which many members of the trans community have found upsetting.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell

I wrote a sort of review of this book last week, which you can read here. I blame 1984 for my low reading total this month as it took my a good few weeks to get through. But, I did it, and that’s another book I can tick off my ever growing TBR list.

  1. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

This is a little bit of a cheat because I’m still currently reading it. I’m enjoying it so far!

 

What was your favourite book of the month? Let me know in the comments!

1984 by George Orwell: A (sort of) Review

I’m always nervous when talking about classics so this isn’t strictly speaking a review. More of a discussion I suppose.


1984 by George Orwell has made a bit of a comeback in conversations over the last few months after the US election last year. Reading about governments that manipulate the news and their country’s history records to suit their narrative is scary given everything that’s going on in America at that moment. “#FakeNews”

The representation of Julia was particularly interesting to me. She started out as a strong woman, participating in the ‘two minutes hate’ whilst fighting back against the works of the Inner Party. It was also Julia who initiated and took charge of the relationship between her and Winston. However, as the story moves on and the relationship between Winston and Julia progresses she becomes something of a sex symbol. Winston’s descriptions of her are solely focused on her appearance and the reader is giving very little information about her as a person. 

Overall, I found the pace of the book to be very slow at times. The beginning was very interesting as it went into great detail about the dystopian society, and I found the ending to be very interesting as it showed Winston’s struggle and decline, turning against everything he had previously believed. The main plot, however, was very slow and all the characters were very unlikeable. I am aware that this highlights the bleak and monotonous atmosphere of the society, however, it didn’t make for an enjoyable read.

This book has been on my TBR list for a very long time so I’m glad to have finally read it. Part of me was expecting there to be a big uprising against Big Brother and the Inner Party at some point in the novel, however, I suppose having a romantic relationship of any kind was a rebellion in itself. Whilst the ending didn’t take me by surprise I found it very harrowing. Reading the final few pages felt just like being in Winston’s head and you could really feel his internal struggle and eventual submission.

Have you read 1984? What did you think of it? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

February Wrap-Up

Despite being the shortest month, February always seems to drag on. I’ve only read a total of three and a half books this over the past twenty-eight days. I wish I could tell you it’s because February is such a short month and I’ve been really busy but, truth be told, I’ve just not been reading all that much. Hopefully, March will be different!


1. The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

I’ve already written a review for this book so if you want to know what I thought, you can read that here.

Rating: 3/5


2. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers

(This is the ‘and a half’ I mentioned earlier – I didn’t finish this book) This was given to me a long time ago and I’ve only just got around to reading it. It was a very stereotypical self help book and didn’t really give any practical advice for overcoming fear and anxiety.

Rating: 1.5/5


3. Selected Poems by e. e. cummings

I love poetry but never seem to read much of it. E. E. Cummings is fast becoming one of my favourite poets so I was really excited when I saw thise little collection whilst browsing through Waterstones. It’s a lovely little collection, I reach for it if I’m ever feeling stressed and need to unwind.

Rating: 5/5 


4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I must be one of the last people to hop on board this bandwagon but I really enjoyed this book. It was quietly gripping, in such a way that you don’t realise you’ve been reading for almost an hour and have barely moved. There’s nothing like a thriller to bring you out of a reading slump!

Rating – 4/5

What was your favourite book that you read in February? Do you have any books you’re excited to read in March? Let me know in the comments!