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Feeling hungry? Then you are about to get ravenous!

While rereading the Harry Potter series this month, I became acutely aware of the vast number of scenes in the books that either feature food, talk about food or showcase characters whose hunger pangs rival my own (I’m talking about you Ron!). Now I should probably point out (if you haven’t noticed already) that I love a sumptuous dinner as much as I love an overflowing bookshelf and whenever I come across a food scene while I’m reading, my stomach starts to growl like my next door neighbour’s dog! So I decided to write a blog post that features some of my favourite books and the types of food that are mentioned in them. I think it’s incredible to read about the different kinds of cuisines across literature, and how much these scenes add such a unique taste to the story!


Purple Hibiscus   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Purple Hibiscus is set in Nigeria and it features different kinds of Nigerian cuisines throughout the story. Interestingly enough, Nigerian cuisine involves a great variety of colourful and aromatic dishes, using various herbs, spices, beans, meat and rice. Adichie’s writing conjured such vivid images of these luscious dishes that I was constantly hungry while I was reading it! To mention a few:

  • Fufu: A Nigerian staple food that is mentioned quite a lot in the novel. It is a dough-like dish made of boiled or ground plantain, cassava or yam that is rolled into a ball to go with soups. In fact Kambili eats it by rolling it and dipping it in the Onugbu soup.
  • Ofe Onugbu: Also known as the Bitterleaf soup, it is the most traditional Igbo soup. Apparently the name is quite misleading since the soup is not bitter at all. The leaves are washed and squeezed until all traces of bitterness is gone.
  • Egusi Soup: It is a popular Nigerian dish made from ground egusi (melon) seeds.
  • Nigerian Fried Rice: This is probably one of my favourite dishes mentioned in the book and it usually consists of rice, vegetable oil, chicken, curry with several vegetables and seasoning.
  • Utazi: It is an African herb that has a characteristically sharp taste and is used in soups and herb teas to add a bitter taste.

The Grisha trilogy Leigh Bardugo

In an interview with Wendy Darling (click this link for more info), Leigh Bardugo concurs that food forms an integral part in a story in the way it makes the fictional world more familiar and real. But authors also have the ability to twist the familiar into something extraordinary, so while you still feel at home within the fictional place, you also realise that you have been transported into a fantastical place.

If I could live on a carbs-only diet, I would! So when I read about Ravka’s Butterweek Sweet Bird-shaped Rolls, I couldn’t help imagining myself eating a whole basket! The bird-shaped rolls mentioned in Shadow and Bone are inspired by those that are still made today in Russia to celebrate the coming of Spring and the prosperity that it brings with it. These sweet buns, also called zhavoronki, are baked in the shape of larks, as a symbol of harbinger of Spring. They honestly look and sound delicious!

“‘I still have the roll,’ I offered lamely, pulling the squashed, lint-covered lump from my pocket. It had been baked into the shape of a bird to celebrate the spring flocks, but now it looked more like a rolled-up sock.

Mal dropped his head, covering it with his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. His shoulders began to shake, and for a horrible moment, I thought he might be crying, but then I realised he was laughing silently. His whole body rocked, his breath coming in hitches, tears starting to leak from his eyes. ‘That better be one hell of a roll,’ he gasped.”

 Dinner at the Grand Palace in Os Alta doesn’t sound bad either!

 “The food was less alien than I’d expected, the kind of food we’d eaten on feast days at Keramzin: sweet pea porridge, quail roasted in honey, and fresh figs. I found I was hungrier than I’d ever been and had to resist picking up my plate to lick it.”


The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern 

The Night Circus is one of my all-time favourite books. Le Cirque des Rêves for me embodies everything that I love: from the food, to the attractions, and the palpable magic in the air. I was constantly imagining myself wandering its paths and weaving around the tents the whole time I was reading it, smelling the cider in the air and licking chocolate off my fingers. Just picture yourself eating some of these:

Caramel apples, black and white striped paper bag of chocolate or caramel covered popcorn, chocolate mice with almond ears and liquorice tails, cinnamon rolls covered in icing, spiced cocoa and cider.

“Apples dipped in caramel so dark they appeared almost blackened but remained light and crisp and sweet.”

One also cannot fail from mentioning Chandresh Christophe Lefèvres’ famous Midnight Dinners. They were famous for having no menus just to add to the experience, and while some dishes were recognizable, others were more enigmatic, hidden beneath sweet sauces or inside pastries. Chandresh himself admits that not knowing all the ingredients gives the dish life and ‘makes it more than the sum of its parts’.

Just to mention a few: quail, rabbit or lamb served on banana leaves or baked in apples, garnished with brand-soaked cherries, berries bursting with creams and liquors, figs dripping with honey, sugar blown into curls and flowers and pastries lighter than air.


Harry Potter J.K. Rowling

It wouldn’t be right to forget the very books that inspired this post! I guess we can all agree that J.K Rowling is a wordsmith goddess, able to infuse the mundane with a touch of her own kind of magic. So naturally, the food mentioned in the books are exquisite and bound to make you hungry just by reading about them. There’s also something comforting to read about all those overflowing and scrumptious dishes, maybe because they remind me of family gatherings, Christmas dinners or my mum’s cooking, with the mouth-watering smell permeating every room in the house.

So let’s start off with the infamous food trolley on the Hogwarts Express:

  • Chocolate Frogs
  • Liquorice Wands
  • Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans
  • Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum
  • Pumpkin pasties
  • Cauldron Cakes

The Hogwarts Feast is always bursting with the most delicious food imaginable:

“He had never seen so many thing he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.”

“Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding—“

Nothing can rival the Start-of-Term Feast, except maybe…the Christmas Feast! It mainly consisted of hundreds of fat, roast turkeys, mounds of roasted and boiled potatoes, platters of fat chipolatas, tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce. And for dessert, flaming Christmas puddings with silver sickles hidden within.

I also cannot fail from mentioning Hagrid’s jaw-breaking rock cakes; shapeless lumps with raisins that often broke their teeth! Or his infamous birthday cake he made especially for Harry on his eleventh birthday.

It’s a personal dream of mine to one-day taste Mrs. Weasley’s cooking! If only I could receive her homemade fudge and toffee for Christmas! And I think we can all agree that there is no one able to whip up a delicious feast like Molly Weasley!

By seven o’clock, the two tables were groaning under dishes and dishes of Mrs Weasley’s excellent cooking, and the nine Weasleys, Harry and Hermione were settling themselves down to eat beneath a clear, deep-blue sky. To somebody who had been living on meals of increasingly stale cake all summer, this was paradise, and at first, Harry listened rather than talked, as he helped himself to chicken-and-ham pie, boiled potatoes and salad.

A trip to Hogsmeade will often lead you to Honeydukes, a store bursting with the most delectable sweets ever! 

“There were shelves upon shelves of the most succulent-looking sweets imaginable. Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of coconut ice, fat, honey-coloured toffees; hundreds of different kinds of chocolate in neat rows; there was a large barrel of Every Flavour Beans, and another of Fizzing Whizzbees, the levitating sherbet balls that Ron had mentioned; along yet another wall were ‘Special Effects’ sweets: Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (which filled a room with bluebell-coloured bubbles that refused to pop for days), the strange, splintery Toothflossing Stringmints, tiny black Pepper Imps (‘breathe fire for your friends!’), Ice Mice (‘hear your teeth chatter and squeak!’), peppermint creams shaped like toads (‘hop realistically in the stomach!’) , fragile sugar-spun quills and exploding bonbons.”

And if you’re feeling chilled to the bone, you can always visit Madam Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks for a glass of Butterbeer, Firewhiskey, gillywater, mulled mead, red currant rum, or cherry syrup and soda with ice and an umbrella.


That’s it for today but I will definitely write another similar post soon! I’m just going to nip downstairs for a bite to eat now…because I’m starving!

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things that make me happy

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Sometimes life can get quite overwhelming and I end up rushing through the week feeling scattered and exhausted. It becomes so easy to take things for granted, giving the things that matter barely a second glance and focusing instead on the issues that are actually causing me more harm than good. So it’s nice to have a list of reference to turn to as a reminder of the simple things in life that bring me indescribable joy or just a smile on my face. And who doesn’t love making lists anyway?!

  • Books. The feel of the rough pages between your fingertips. The earthy scent of old books prickling your nose. Reading while listening to the musical sound of the rain outside. Books that sweep you away into a new adventure. Book shopping.
  • Harry Potter. Rereading the books. Watching the movies on a Saturday night. Discussing theories with my best friend.
  • Tea. Chilly fingers wrapped around a steaming mug. Gulping down a melted biscuit after dunking it in a cup of tea.
  • Forests. A canopy of leaves. An illustrious display of colours, from green to orange-brown. Hidden trails and new discoveries. The sound of crunching leaves underfoot.
  • Sunsets. The sky painted an array of pink, orange and yellow. The pale moon peeking out amongst the stars.
  • Summer. Beaches. Local feasts. Fireworks. Picnics.
  • Autumn. Warm comfy sweaters. Orange-red hues everywhere you look. Drinking hot cocoa with a book propped up on your knees. Cuddling in warm fuzzy blankets. Pumpkin spiced lattes. Fall-scented candles. Combat boots.
  • Beaches. The sound of the lapping waves. Gritty sand between your toes. A morning swim. Ice-cream cones.
  • Stationary. Cards, notebooks, planners, pens, pencils.
  • Family gatherings. Sharing inside jokes. Fighting over a game of Monopoly!
  • Friends. Mutual respect. The feeling that you belong. Making each other laugh. Hilarious video chats.
  • The book community. Meeting so many wonderful and talented people. You make my life a thousand times more beautiful and meaningful.
  • Weekends. Saturday night in watching a movie. Sunday lunch.
  • Airports. The sound of airplanes taking-off/landing. Watching people leave and trying to imagine where their flight will be taking them. The anticipation of adventure.

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  • Music. Finding a new favourite song. Road trip playlists. Book playlists. Coldplay. Gregory Alan Isakov. Lord Huron. Hozier. Vampire Weekend. Florence + the Machine. The Travellers.
  • Memories. Looking at old photographs. Reading old diaries. Coming across a stash of long-forgotten letters.
  • Food. The smell of baking bread and ground coffee. The first bite into a piping hot cupcake. Licking the frosting off your fingers. Coffeeshops.
  • Sounds: crickets in the trees, rain pattering on the windowpanes, trees swaying in the wind, birds chirping, a distant thunderstorm, the sound of cake batter being mixed with a wooden spoon, wind chimes, horse’ footsteps on cobblestones. The sound of silence.
  • Photography. Capturing a perfect moment. Discovering new places. When your pictures turn out the way you wanted them to.
  • Shopping. Browsing online bookstores. Christmas shopping with my sister. When your order finally arrives in the mail.
  • Vacations. Not having to wake up early for work. Traveling to new places. Discovering yourself. Making new memories.
  • Animals. Memories of my dog: You are gone but you will always be in my heart.

What makes you happy? ❤

 

Review || The Inexplicable Logic of my Life- Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Review || The Inexplicable Logic of my Life- Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Trigger Warning: Attempted sexual assault, Successive deaths

 The Inexplicable Logic of my Life focuses on our main character Sal, a white boy who was adopted into a Mexican family. He has always felt in control of his life and certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and the rest of his Mexican-American family. But things start to change, and change was not something that Sal adapted to very well. Suddenly he was no longer feeling in charge of his feelings and emotions and he starts to wonder who he truly was. His own history unexpectedly returns to haunt him and together with his best-friend Samantha, he now has to confront issues of faith, loss and grief. The book takes us on a journey with Sal’s thoughts and feelings and how the experiences shape him and simultaneously help him to rediscover himself.

Having read and enjoyed Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, I had very high expectations for this book. And I did enjoy reading it…I guess. There were various moments during the novel that gave me the opportunity to change my perspective on life and the suffering that it brings with it, however there were so many issues throughout the novel that truly disappointed me. But let me start off by talking about the things that I enjoyed.

“Life had its seasons, and the season of letting go would always come, but there was something very beautiful in that, in letting go. Leaves were always graceful as they floated away from the tree.”

First of all, this book has no romantic elements but instead focuses solely on platonic friendships and family relationships- something that is very hard to find in YA books. The only feelings that Sal and Samantha have for each other are those of a deeply rooted friendship that was quite endearing to read about. It was so refreshing to read about their relationship and the way it developed while still remaining platonic. I did however find Samantha to be a tad too self-righteous at times and always trying to be in control of their friendship. There’s no other way to describe her character other than grating and annoying and while she did grow towards the end of the novel, I still found her very much intolerable.

My favourite character by far is Fito, probably because I saw a part of myself in him, in that I often judge myself way too harshly and reject help simply because I do not think that I deserve it. I also admired his perseverance to work and continue his education despite the lack of support from his family. Sally is also an interesting character and I quite enjoyed being inside his head, being able to read his thoughts and the way he questions many things about himself and life in general. And while certain attempts at being philosophical proved ineffectual at times, I think the author truly succeeded in making the reader think about topics that people usually try to avoid. Sal is also endearing in so many ways, such as when he ‘shares’ his dog with his friends whenever they were sad, his beautiful relationship with his grandmother and his loyalty to his loved ones.

One thing that truly stands out in this book is the father-son relationship between Vicente and Sal. Sal’s father is such a gentle and compassionate soul who involves himself not only in his son’s life but also in the lives of his friends. The advice that he gives to Sal is peppered with sage wisdom, which often times helps our main character to accept and understand himself better. He is generous, authentic and honest, someone who is ready to welcome strangers into his family with open arms. It was also refreshing to have a constant presence of a father figure , unlike many YA novels where the parents somehow magically disappear, allowing the kids enough free time to take over the world!

Before I nodded off, I thought about what my dad had said — that life wasn’t all nice and neat like a book, and life didn’t have a plot filled with characters who said intelligent and beautiful things. But he wasn’t right about that. See, my dad said intelligent and beautiful things. And he was real. He was the most real thing in the entire world. So why couldn’t I be like him?

I fully applaud this book for it’s diverse cast of characters. We have a gay Mexican-American single father who is honestly the best role model one could ever have. Sáenz also tackles various issues of race, queerness and poverty that all contributed to the journey of self-discovery. The author also addressed many important themes that make you contemplate life itself. Death is constantly present throughout the novel and it takes us on an emotional journey with a family who knows that it would eventually loose a significant member soon. It made me aware that sometimes the sense of impending loss can be even more painful than missing what you have lost. That the knowledge of the lack of time you have left together makes every moment spent with each other even more precious. And death can never take away those special moments that you had shared together.

There is also a pervading theme of nature vs nurture throughout the novel, with the main character constantly trying to address this long-running debate as a way to help him find himself. The nature vs nurture argument attempts to define certain aspects of behaviour either as a product of genetics or acquired characteristics and I think the author managed to deal with this subject pretty well. While genetic inheritance does play an important role in defining our individual traits, what we learn throughout our lives prove to be very important factors that influence our own behaviours.

On another day, I might have cried. But I was still to mad to cry. Dad always said that there was nothing wrong with crying and that if people did more of it, well then, the world would be a better place.

The writing style did not change at all from his previous book: it has remained simplistic and lyrical. Personally I think it worked really well in Ari and Dante but when it came to this book, I found it quite repetitive and stilted. Every paragraph was swarming with periods that irked me to no end, not allowing the story to flow seamlessly as it should have. The same words and sentences which in the beginning where deeply poetic, became monotone and meaningless due to overuse. Also, this book, like it’s predecessor, lacks a definite plot, and instead focuses on the characters and their relationships. Thus describing it as a reflective story is more fitting. While I adore character-driven books, I felt that the author relied too much on the main character’s unpredictable aggression and it’s cause instead of an actual development. And in the end, I still couldn’t fathom the connection between his anger and the fear and hurt that he was supposedly feeling.

However, the good things about this book do not cancel out the problematic content. There are so many stereotypes and offensive dialogue throughout the novel that I was honestly not expecting and unfortunately overshadowed everything else. Such examples include:

  • ‘She didn’t throw like a girl’ (Then how is she supposed to throw?!)
  • ‘For a gay guy my dad was pretty straight’ (because his father knows how to throw a ball)
  • Sam thinks other girls are ‘bitches’ so she won’t befriend them
  • Sam also thinks that feminists ‘don’t know shit’
  • ‘You’re not a real Mexican’
  • ‘Schizophrenic dork’ was used to describe a certain character
  • Sam using her mother’s death as an excuse to be indulged

Spoilers: But worst of all, I hated the awful way a sexual assault was handled by the author- an unnecessary sub-plot about midway into the book that was brushed off and treated in a very problematic way. Whenever Sally tried to stand up for Sam or gotten really angry with the guy who tried to rape her, he was constantly forced to apologize. As if Sal is the bad guy, not the rapist! I can never wrap my mind around this. I also found this both disturbing and appalling because sexual assault is such a traumatizing experience and the author did not even attempt to show his readers the effects it could have on the victim. This book is written for a younger audience and it’s never ok to teach young people (or any audience for that matter) to feel sorry for the rapist. As if it’s ok to accept their apology and later attempt to go near them again! Hell no. The author should have treated this serious topic with more sensitivity and care and not use it as a throwaway plot device.

While I somewhat enjoyed reading this book, it failed miserably when it came to addressing important issues and the use of certain phrases and stereotypical comments. It’s frustrating to see a book with such potential, failing miserably with it’s problematic content. It honestly doesn’t feel like Aristotle & Dante and this book were written by the same author!


Rating: ☆☆

  •  Genre: Young Adult- Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
  • Edition: Clarion Books, March 2017, Hardback
  • Pages:452
  • Source: Book Depository

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

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

[Spotify]

 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!!

x.

Sunshine in the Meadow || A Spring Playlist

Sunshine in the Meadow || A Spring Playlist

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

Up&Up– Coldplay

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

[Spotify]

Why you should read: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Why you should read: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
TW: Sexual Assault, Physical and Emotional Abuse, Drug Abuse, Murder, Slavery

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 book is sadly only 300 pages long and yet the author managed to write wonderfully rich characters with a very complex background, while covering so much important and often ignored history.
  • It is a family saga following 7 generations, with 14 different perspectives in total. A different character narrates each chapter, although we still meet characters from previous chapters. It truly sounds daunting and while it took some getting used to, I assure you that you will become greatly invested in every single character.
  • Gyasi connects the stories of Effia and Esi’s descendants through history until the present time. Effia’s family remains in Ghana where we see the effects of the British Colonization and internal warfare. Esi’s descendants on the other hand grow up in North/South America- from the plantations of the South to the Civil War and Great Migration, the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama and the jazz clubs and dope houses of 20th century Harlem.
  • A book about slavery is never an easy book to read and you have to mentally prepare yourself for it. We see death, horror and brutality described quite vividly. Brutality that unfortunately can still be observed today in insidious forms of racism and violence. But we need to read these books and to open our eyes to the horrors people of colour had to go through…and are still going through. We cannot remain passive to what is happening around us.
  • The characters may be fictional but the reality is not…and neither are their hardships. Gyasi managed to put a face and personality to the history that is often forgotten or ignored by people.
  • Beautiful prose with vivid descriptions that allow the reader to connect emotionally with the characters. Obviously certain characters will stand out more than the others, but each and every one of them feels real and will impact the reader one way or another.
  • The writing is engaging and captures the different periods and generations quite perfectly. It also made me realise how much the lives of previous generations can affect the generations to come.
  • You will learn many myths and stories and will be transported through many scenes that will break your heart and others that will fill you with hope.
  • This book gives the reader a chance to learn more about the culture in Ghana, which is so interesting and fascinating. It will also teach you a lot about slavery and colonialism throughout history.

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!

  • Favorite quotes:

“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.”

x.


  • Genre: Adult: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
  • Edition: Viking, January 2017, Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Source: Book Depository 

Bookish Pet Peeves: Annoying Tropes Edition

Bookish Pet Peeves: Annoying Tropes Edition

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!]

Insta-Love

 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.

Unnecessary Romance

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.

Being ‘Cured’ by a Love Interest

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.

Romanticising Bad Boys and Abusive Relationships

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.

‘You’re Not Like Other Girls’

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.

Lack of Diversity

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.

Convenient Endings

 ‘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.

The Ordinary Characters Who Suddenly Gain Superpowers

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 🙂

x.