Summer is only a few days away but the sun has already started painting the world vividly by it’s rays. So blinding. So brilliant. I used to count down the days until this season started, mainly because it meant three whole months without thinking about school or homework. Now that I’m working however, it doesn’t feel much different from the other seasons. But then I remember those warm sunny days when I was a kid, many mornings spent at the beach, binging on ice-creams, licking our chocolate-covered fingers and digging our toes in the warm gritty sand. I used to spend hours reading in the shade of the trees, while my father worked in the fields nearby…and later coming home to the smell of my mother’s new recipe. I loved these simple moments and I plan on embracing them again this year.
I have already compiled a new playlist in anticipation for summer (that’s how excited I am!) and it is a combination of songs that I’ve been enjoying lately. I hope you do as well 🙂
Coins in a Fountain– Passenger
Headlights (Acoustic Version)– Katja Petri
Yellow Sun– Crystal Fighters
Illuminate– The Kite String Tangle, Dustin Tebbutt
Tiger Striped Sky– Roo Panes
Beaches– Gone in the Sun
Tenerife Sea– Ed Sheeran
Green Light– Lorde
Don’t Let It Pass– Junip
September Song– JP Cooper
Going to California– Led Zeppelin
Perfect Day– Lou Reed
Riptide– Vance Joy
Sunshine Gold– Sam the Astronaut
I would also like to share with you some of the books that I’m really looking forward to read this summer. I tried to include a mix of everything: poetry, classics, contemporaries, fantasy, short stories and even non-ficiton books. I hope I can manage to read them all…the summer heat is known to make me pretty lazy!!
“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon . . . is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”
― Erin Morgenstern ||
“We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?”
― Eowyn Ivey ||
“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
“They’re gonna come and eat you all.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat you all!”
― Victoria Schwab ||
“I wonder if there’s a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn’t yours anymore.”
― Nina LaCour ||
“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.”
― Leigh Bardugo ||
This playlist is a combination of all the things that remind me of Spring. It makes me want to go on long drives with the windows down, run aimlessly amongst the trees, eat ice-cream for breakfast and have picnics every other day. I hope you enjoy it! x
Blood – The Middle East
Willow Tree March– The Paper Kites
Once There Was a Hushpuppy– Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin
Ragged Wood– Fleet Foxes
Return to Innocence– Enigma
Young Blood– The Naked and Famous
Hannah Hunt– Vampire Weekend
Hide & Seek– Amber Run
Another Story– The Head and the Heart
Love Like Ghosts– Lord Huron
The Child in Us– Enigma
Second Chances– Gregory Alan Isakov
Chinatown– Wild Nothing
Homegoing is a wonderfully written #ownvoices debut book that follows the story of two half-sisters: Effia and Esi in 18th century Ghana, and their vastly different destinies. One was sold into slavery in the Gold Coast’s blooming slave trade and the other married off to a British slaver. Each chapter focuses on a different family member in subsequent generations, from the years of warfare in Ghana, where the Fante and Asante nations struggle with slave trade and the British Colonization, to the struggles of people of color in America.
So why should you read this book? If the synopsis above did not convince you, then I hope the following will!
The only problem I had with this book is that I wanted it to be longer so I could learn more about the characters and the setting. I guess that’s always the case when you enjoy a book so much!
“One day, I came to these waters and I could feel the spirits of our ancestors calling to me. Some were free, and they spoke to me from the sand, but some others were trapped deep, deep, deep in the water so that I had to wade out to hear their voices. I waded out so far the water almost took me down to meet those spirits that were trapped so deep in the sea that they would never be free. When they were living they had not known where they came from, and so dead, they did not know how to get to dry land. I put you in here so that if your spirit ever wandered, you would know where home was.”
“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?, Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”
“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”
“No one forgets that they were once captive, even if they are now free.”
As much as I love and cherish books, there are so many awful tropes out there that make me question why I’m reading said books in the first place. Now I need to point out that certain tropes can make quite an interesting story…but not if every single book being published is using it, with no signs of creativity or originality on the author’s part. The point of reading a book is to discover something different, but if authors keep writing the same insta-love stories or the ‘cute yet mysterious boy next door’ shit, then we are defeating the purpose of reading in the first place.
So today I present to you a list of some of the most annoying tropes I’ve come across so far in books [emphasis on some!]
Let me start with the most obvious and the one that makes my blood boil. There is no such thing as insta-love, not on this earth or any other planet (in my opinion anyway). Insta-like maybe but not LOVE…or the ‘Oh I just met you and this is crazy but I don’t want to live without you’ crap. If a guy tells me that he fell in love with me the minute he saw me I would be insulted, purely because he would have fallen ‘in love’ with my appearance not with my character or personality. It is quite sad to see these books constantly being published and putting forth a false message to all the young readers out there. Even fantasy books need to be realistic sometimes.
I finished reading Caraval recently and I found the romance in the book very unnecessary and off-putting. I don’t understand why many YA novels have to have romance in them, as if that’s the single most important thing in the entire universe. It’s also frustrating when said romance overshadows the main plot, leaving no room for any character or plot development. Also, why do the characters have to kiss and grope each other in the most unlikely situations? ‘Oh look they’re chasing after us…let us kiss’. I don’t need to add anything to that.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella instantly comes to mind when I mention this trope. Honestly this needs to stop because the message these books are sending is so awful and problematic. No love interest can ever cure someone from a mental illness. They can obviously help by offering their support and being there for them but it does not mean that you are instantly ‘cured’ just because you’ve fallen in love with someone. Mental illness is not a joke to be messed around with. If an author does not feel competent to write about it then they should stop what they’re doing and do their research instead of writing such damaging stories.
The heading should speak for itself. This is such a disgusting message to be sending to young readers and even readers in general. People do not need to read these problematic books but rather books that makes them understand how much they deserve better than to be with someone who does not respect them. Everyone is worth more than the value their ‘significant other’ puts on them. I also hate it so much when authors try to justify the abusers by writing about the struggles of their past which leads to the reader excusing their behaviour and outright ignoring their actions. These books are making people of all genders believe that abusive relationships are actually not bad and that abusers should be idolised. People need to realise how dangerous these books can be, especially to the ones who are actually living in an abusive relationship.
I don’t know why people find the idea of belittling other women just to make another character more likeable, even remotely appealing. When an author differentiates a female character from others, as though women are this monolith category, we are reducing the very beauty of what makes us different. Rather than priding ourselves in all the ways that make us who we are, people are making us hate on each other as if we are in a competition that we didn’t sign up for. There is no ‘wrong’ way of being a girl. There are girls who love wearing make-up and others who don’t, girls who love to read, watch sports, get drunk; girls who hate going to parties and other who do. And they are all amazing. It would be a compliment if someone told me that I’m like other girls because all of us are wonderful and beautiful. And if some man tells me otherwise I will send him back home to look up the definition of an actual compliment.
There is no going around the fact that there is an awful lack of representation of LGBTQ, POC, disabled people or people living with a chronic illness in books. Having said that, readers are becoming more informed about this and are pointing it out on various social medias, which in turn helps to raise awareness. Why do we need diverse books? Because the world IS DIVERSE and when you’re not including diverse characters in your books, you are actually putting a blindfold on yourself and your readers. Everyone should have a chance to be represented in the stories that we tell, no ifs or buts. I also need to add that we need more diverse characters as protagonists and not just as secondary characters just so authors can say that they have included a diverse character in their story.
‘The character dies in the last couple of pages.’
‘The Happily Ever After.’
‘The defenceless character who suddenly finds a knife on the ground to kill her enemy.’
‘The new character that is introduced in the end just to tie everything up nicely.’
These are just some annoying ways a story could end that will without doubt ruin the whole tone of the book. A bad ending for me is a sign that the author has lost interest in the story, which is quite sad especially when the rest of the book is really interesting and fascinating. The ending is as important as the introduction.
This trope is getting way too old. It is so unrealistic to have characters that are suddenly able to wield a sword (and are the best fighters amongst their peers) without having been taught before. I have been seeing this quite a lot in YA fantasy books lately. While I applaud the idea of having a character represented as a warrior who fights for what is right, many are written without any personality, as if their fighting skills are the only thing that defines them. A strong character does not necessarily mean having physical strength. We need to see more characters that are also flawed (because no one is perfect), intelligent or have a strong personality.
Unfortunately the list is way way longer and I will definitely write a continuation post in the near future. What are some of your bookish pet peeves? Feel free to comment 🙂
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
It is now officially Spring. The fields are parsley-green. A host of daisies scatter the meadows. The air is rich with the smell of flowers and mown-grass. After it’s slumber, the world feels young, lush and beautiful again. The sky is blue and bright, a salve to anyone who remembers to look up and admire it.
Now that we have set the clocks an hour forward I can finally say that Spring has truly embraced us again. I honestly love Spring and the feeling of new beginnings that it brings with it. Also, the longer days mean more time to enjoy the sun and more light to take pictures…and read!! As always I have made another seasonal TBR. I probably won’t even read half of them but let’s just pretend that I always follow my to-read lists!
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself. [Goodreads]
The Muse by Jessie Burton
A picture hides a thousand words . . .
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .[Goodreads]
A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?
WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay. [Goodreads]
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.
When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father’s authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. [Goodreads]
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. [Goodreads]
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them. [Goodreads]
I was tagged by the lovely audreywritesabroad for the Beauty and the Beast Book Tag – perfect timing since the movie adaptation is now in theatres! I cannot wait to see it…and I’m especially looking forward to see the magnificent library that I have dreamt about since I was a kid! So thank you so much Audrey! I’m tagging everyone who wants to do this .x.
(I do not know the original creator of this tag, but if you do let me know in the comments)
The Unexpected Hero: I love a good story where the main character learns something life-changing about his/herself and is ‘burdened’ with a quest…not necessarily to save the world, more so a quest of self-discover. I have to point out though that sometimes I get bored of this trope, especially if the author does not deal with it in a creative way. But this kind of setting gives more room for character development, and even more importantly, the reader grows along with the character.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
I mean…just look at the cover! It’s GORGEOUS! And this edition has a matte finish that makes it even more beautiful.
In a few words The Miniaturist is about: 17th Century Amsterdam, a miniature dollhouse, an unwanted marriage, a sharp-tongued sister, innumerable secrets…and of course, an elusive miniaturst!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell
I am not a huge fan of sci-fi/post-apocalyptic stories, so when a book from this genre becomes a favourite of mine, it is always a surprise! It is basically a story about survival, both in it’s literal sense, but essentially a story of survival in a community, revealing both the beauty and horrors of human interactions. I loved this book mostly because it takes on a different approach towards a post-apocalpytic story. The plot is not the focal point of the story but is merely there for us to get to know the characters better and to provide us with a different view of the world around us. I also loved how the book focused on the importance of art in its various forms and in the way it brings people together, be it a simple comic book or Shakespeare’s works.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Whiny characters. An annoying love triangle. No signs of character development. A main character who loves to stick her tongue out to the point where you want to throw the book out the window. Unfortunately I made myself read all the books just so I would feel a little less guilty for buying the box set. [This is obviously my personal opinion]
Jules from Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The story follows three sisters; three queens each with a distinctive gift, who are all heirs to the throne. But only one can reign. At the age of six they are separated and taken in by different families to grow and help them in their development of their gifts. Jules is part of the family that take in Queen Arsinoe. She is a loyal, strong and independent woman and I loved reading about her friendship with Arsinoe. I appreciated the fact that the book focuses a lot on Jules just as much as the queens…but I wouldn’t mind if Blake wrote a whole book just about her!
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Milk and Honey is a collection of poems concerning various subjects but mainly love, loss, heartbreak, abuse and femininity. It is divided into four main parts that emphasise the journey the poet takes from hurting, loving, breaking and ultimately to healing. Rupi Kaur’s words hold so much emotion and meaning that no matter where you’re coming from, you connect with it from the very first page. I experienced everything with the author; I loved, I broke, got hurt and healed with her. Her words are very empowering and helped me love and accept myself the way I am. I have always been that kind of person who has never appreciated herself or loved herself fully. And these poems helped me realise that I have always put myself down and never truly respected my true self. I feel so lucky to have come across this book because it has been a huge eye-opener for me.
“you tell me
i am not like most girls
and learn to kiss me with your eyes closed
something about the phrase—something about
how i have to be unlike the women
i call sisters in order to be wanted
makes me want to spit your tongue out
like i am supposed to be proud you picked me
as if i should be relieved you think
i am better than them”
The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha trilogy is a wonderful and fascinating series that took me quite a while to get into. I enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style and how she made the world seem almost real and tangible. However there were times where the writing lacked that distinctive element and felt slightly put off by it. Having said that, her writing grew and flourished with each book (and was close to perfect in Six of Crows). Also, Bardugo throws the reader into the story with a very short introduction to the world, something I initially found quite confusing, and hindered me from connecting with the story in the beginning. But it does get better and while it’s not the best series out there, it is definitely worth reading!
KAZ BREKKER. Dirtyhands. Lieutenant of the Dregs. The love of my life.