Book tag | 2018 Mid-Year Freak Out

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This tag has come along at the perfect time as I had been planning to do a mid-year post about all the fantastic books that I’ve been reading this year anyway. As I love tags I can compile it all within this one post! Thanks to ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books for creating the tag! (Addition: this was much harder than I thought it was going to be! Too many good books in one year)

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Where are we at?

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Well, talk about PROGRESS. In 2017 I read 27 books. As of the 26th June 2018, I have already read 48 books, 2 away from my original Goodreads target. As I was closing into my goal of 50 books so quickly I decided to up it to 75 books. Last year that would have felt impossible to me but this year it seems more than achievable.

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The Book Tag

1. The best book you’ve read so far in 2018

It was seriously hard to even narrow it down to two choices for this because I’ve read some amazing books this year that I absolutely fell in love with. I had to choose The Hate U Give as one the best books I’ve read this year for so, so many reasons. It’s one of the most important books of our time and Angie Thomas is an amazingly caring, compassionate, and lovely human being. And obviously, I have to also choose Failure to Communicate as it’s one of the books that I literally cannot stop talking about!

2. The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018

Tbh, I am a complete trash bag who never actually follows through with series so these are the only sequels I’ve read, but they are also fantastic. Discovering the Illuminae Files was one of the best discoveries of the year and I adored both of these.

3. A new release you haven’t read yet but really want to

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This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I am very disappointed with myself that I haven’t read it yet after all of my excitement before its release! I even got granted it on Netgalley but held off reading it for a dumb reason, so now I need to find time to actually read it soon!

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Book Review: Yes, You Are Trans Enough | An empowering memoir of self-love and self-acceptance

Book review

TITLE: Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love
AUTHOR: Mia Violet
SERIES: N/A
RELEASED: June 2017; Jessica Kingsley Publishers
GENRE: Memoir
FORMAT: Physical

KEY INFO: Memoir, Transgender, Trans woman, Self-help, LGBTQ education

amazon // jkp // book depository
goodreads

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When I first came across Yes, You are Trans Enough, I knew that it was going to stand out in the busy crowd of transgender memoirs as something different and special. The colourful cover was not only bright, bold and charismatic, just like it’s author Mia Violet, but it reached out a welcoming hand with its affirmative declaration that, yes, you are trans enough.

The overwhelming anxiety over whether you are “trans enough” to be transgender is a far more common concern than many of us realize and sadly it results in many trans people struggling in silence, afraid to talk about how they feel or admit to themselves (let alone anybody else) that they might be trans.

In this honest, witty and comforting memoir, Mia shares with us her experiences of struggling with those exact feelings and how she began to overcome them during her journey from ‘self-loathing to self-love’. From a botched coming out to her parents that had her running straight back into the closet at the age of 14 and living through years of denial that left her feeling depressed, hopeless and with shatteringly low self-esteem, to confronting the reality of her gender identity with the help of her loving partner and beginning the obstacle-ridden course of transitioning, right up to the day when Mia stopped living for others and started to love herself for the shining star that she is.

Yes, You are Trans Enough effortlessly blends together the many facets of living life as a trans woman to produce an account that is at all times raw and realistic, whilst always managing to stay light and entertaining. Trans people are no strangers to countless hardships and Mia definitely doesn’t shy away from speaking openly about the bullying, violence, fear, homelessness, and years spent hating herself. But her memoir is also brilliantly funny, hopelessly endearing and full of joy.

I loved that each chapter skillfully wove together Mia’s own personal account of transition whilst also relating it to wider issues such as the bathroom debate, access to medical treatment and NHS pathways, transphobia, the importance of positive representation in fiction, and the rampant lies about trans people in the media. In fact, right at the outset of the book Mia states that it is her hope that Yes, You are Trans Enough will combat misinformation, myths, stereotypes, and lies about trans people by revealing the realities of one trans woman’s life. What she goes to great lengths to demonstrate throughout the book is that transitioning is a difficult decision that many of us go to great pains to avoid. Nobody looks at all the potentially negative consequences of coming out and transitioning, such as various forms of violence, unemployment and/or job insecurity, homelessness, and the loss of your family and friends, and thinks ‘gee, that sure looks like a real fun thing to do‘. Nobody pretends to be trans for the hell of it, or with the aim of tricking their way into different bathrooms, or makes up their mind about it over lunch one day. Rather, it is a decision that we do not take lightly and which some of us are too scared to take at all.

But fear not friends, because Mia is here to help. Yes, You are Trans Enough is written in a way that is accessible to all so regardless of if you are a cisgendered person (someone who isn’t trans) who wants to learn more about trans people, an ally who wants to support the work of trans people, a service provider/company/organisation looking to make your work more trans-friendly, a trans person looking for an account which is full of positivity and love, or someone who thinks that they might be trans or want to transition, then this is the book for you! 

What this book isn’t:

  • Saying that everybody is trans
  • Encouraging people to jump headfirst into transitioning, especially medical transition
  • An account which depicts a “unified trans experience”
  • Focusing on the idea of “becoming” a woman or only focuses on medical transition

What this book is:

  • Encouraging you to give yourself permission to explore your own feelings and gender identity
  • Challenging the idea of what being trans “looks like” and that there is a linear narrative to coming out, transitioning and being trans
  • Combating misinformation, myths, stereotypes, and lies about trans people
  • Recognising that there are lots of different types of trans people, ways to be trans and trans experiences
  • Light and enjoyable with lots of information about different issues affecting trans people, written in a way that is accessible to all
  • An account of one trans woman’s life
  • An affirming story, a declaration of self-love and a welcome for you to do the same

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About the Author

Mia VioletMia is a bisexual trans woman who has been blogging about her transition on her website and on twitter for over 2 years. She is based in the UK and has written articles for The Huffington Post, Bustle, and The F-Word. She is a figurehead for all things self-care, positivity, trans rights, and nerdy. Yes, You are Trans Enough is Mia’s debut book which is available for purchase on the 21st June 2017.

My sincere thanks go out to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with an advanced reader copy of Yes, You are Trans Enough in exchange for an honest review.


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Autistic Pride | Spotlight: Kaia Sønderby

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Today is Autistic Pride Day!!

Even though I do a little something for LGBTQ+ Pride most years, whether it’s attending Pride events or reading LGBTQ+ books throughout the month, I haven’t ever taken any steps to celebrate Autistic Pride even though it’s a really important day. Pride events are all too often geared towards non-Autistic people with lots of loud music, too many people, and absolutely no Autistic representation. Even within the book community, Autistic representation during Pride month is severely lacking so I wanted to shine the spotlight on one of my favourite Autistic queer series – Xandri Corelel – by Kaia Sønderby

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Set in the far future where genetic engineering has been used to practically eradicate all disabilities, the Xandri Corelel series follows the life of Xandri – one of the last disabled people in the universe who were all born during a time when having “natural children” was all the rage and resulted in the birth of disabled children for a short time.

Xandri Corelel is an amazing autistic woman who finds herself being recruited by Captain Chui aboard the Carpathia, a first contact ship. All too aware of her “failings”, Xandri feels like she will never fit in and find her place in this huge universe but Captain Chui (and her crew) have other ideas. The first three books in the series follow Xandri’s first few years aboard the Carpathia – where she officially becomes part of the crew and finds herself confronting new and challenging diplomatic situations.

Growing up, I rarely came across autistic representation in fiction and if I did it was through books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, representation which presented all autistic people as the “default” – male, white, ‘Rainman’ types who were mathematical genius’ and possessed absolutely no social skills or interest in other people. None of these people were me and so for a long, long, long time I lived my life completely in the dark about the fact that I was autistic. Having slowly come to terms with this over the past few years has been a bit of a bumpy journey and part of that is because I never see myself in society or in the fiction that I love. The lack of representation caused me to constantly doubt myself and feel very isolated.

Prior to reading Failure to Communicate (#1), I had never read a story which spoke so strongly to me. I saw myself reflected in Xandri in a way that I have never, ever felt with any other character. Kaia Sønderby writes so authentically and so brilliantly that she has officially become one of my favourite writers. I cannot even begin to explain how important it has been for me to be able to see a character who acts, feels and thinks in a way which is very much like me. At all times Xandri is an incredibly complex character with complex needs, desires, and quirks. I *loved* how much we got to know Xandri as a character and also got to experience through her. From sensory overloads, meltdowns, painful eye contact, the need for reassuring textures and tastes, difficulties with communication… that’s just skimming over the surface.

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The Social Media Tag

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I was tagged in this great social media tag by my wonderful friend Kat @ lifeandotherdisasters for one of the categories, so obviously I had to do it as well! Its a really fun tag and a great way to appreciate the bloggers you love!

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Choose a blog or blogger per category and explain why you chose them.
  • Tag others to do this (up to you how many)

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Instagram: A blog with a design you love

Talk about AESTHETICS these blogs always blow me away with their beauty and make me eternally jealous every time I visit them. I don’t think I will ever be able to get over the beauty of Aurora’s blog and rave about it all the time. Everything about Flavia’s blog screams professional and is laid out so pleasingly with lovely graphics. Kathy is a new favourite that I have discovered and I literally cannot get over her header graphic!

 

Facebook: A blog with a friendly blogger

Tbh, this community is full to the brim with friendly bloggers so it’s hard having to pick a few for this! Anna is another one of my new friends but she is so lovely and supportive. Erin is another blogger fave because she is always on hand with kind and understanding words, plus she bought me a birthday present so really she wins all the points. And last but not least, the book blogging cheerleader Malanie! Honestly, how could I not mention her as one of the friendliest bloggers?!

 

Twitter: A blogger who could just write 140 characters and you would still love them

There is only one person I choose for this because Kate is like the Twitter King/Queen. I love all of her words on Twitter and her tweets always bring me great joy.

 

YouTube: A blog that keeps you entertained

Obviously, I have to choose Kat for this one because her blog keeps me entertained all month long. She always has the best content and a great personality – I wish I had a real life Kat to hang with! Ellyn’s blog is also great for entertainment because her discussions do not hold back. Ellyn knows her opinion and she is going to give it to you and it is always great. And, of course, Marie! I could pick Marie for every single category here, but one thing she does do really well (if I had to pick one) is being entertaining. Excellent discussion pieces, the best lists, reviews, Q&A’s, travel pieces… so much content to entertain you!

 

Snapchat: A blogger who’s updates you can’t wait for

I have to choose Destiny for this because I can never get enough of her blog (or her!), she is one of my all-time fave bloggers. Her content is always so refreshingly honest, conscientious and witty. More new friends to share as well! Alexa has a great blog and I think we have really similar tastes to one another so it’s always great discovering new recommendations as well as seeing what her opinions are on mutual reads. And I always keep my eyes peeled for new content by Lauren – she reviews the best books and posts about the best things, more Steam Wishlist Clean Up posts, please!

 

Tumblr: A blog which is very diverse and has variety

Averrryyyyyy. Other Averryyyy. Avery is such a great blogger and I’m obviously not biased in saying that at all! All of it is great and they also read/review books across a lot of different genres which I always enjoy. Wendy’s blog is another great one for diversity and variety. She is super lovely, committed to diversity, and posts about mental health, publishing, books, booktube and blogger spotlights. Lastly, no post talking about diversity is complete without Sinead. One of my all-time favourite blogs and bloggers with the best recommendations.

 

Pinterest: A blog which is full of creativity and inspiration

Lashaan and Trang are the ultimate blogging GOALS because their levels of creativity is absolutely on point. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their blog, produce great content, and still remain super nice with time to reply to comments. Joey is another one whose blog is super creative, Joey already knows I am a big fan of his excellent review graphics! And finally, another new friend Rebecca! I love how creative her graphics are on her blog, everything always looks so great ❤

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So, that’s it *exhales*. Hope you all enjoyed this post and that you might discover some brilliant new blogs to follow! If you fancy having a go then consider yourself tagged!

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Pride: Recommendations

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It wouldn’t be Pride without some excellent LGBTQIA+ recommendations to get you through the month. As there are already so many excellent recommendation lists out there, especially this amazingly comprehensive list by The Illustrated Page, my post is going to be focusing on some of my favourite LGBTQIA+ books or ones that I am most looking forward to reading!

N/B – These rep lists are not totally complete either because I haven’t read the book yet or I have read the book but forgotten some of the rep!


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Historical Fiction

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Dates! A Queer Historical Fiction Anthology by Various

  • Comics & short prose collection
  • Rep: QTIPOC, Trans, M/M, F-LGBT, Jewish

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

  • One of my fave Queer historical fiction of all time. Described as ‘lesbian dickens’, Fingersmith is split between London slums and a grand old house which becomes the setting for a cunning plan
  • Rep: F/F

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

  • Set in 17th century Amsterdam w/ lots of mystery and many secrets
  • Rep: M/M

The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault

  • Set in Ancient Greece, 2 young Athenians compete in the Olympic Games, fight in Spartan Wars, and study under Socrates.
  • Rep: M/M

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  • An absolute classic which blends themes of racism, queerness, slavery & feminism
  • Rep: QTIPOC, f/f

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  • Beautiful retelling of The Iliad and the Trojan War, full of Ancient Greek culture and mythology, and tragedy
  • Rep: M/M, M/F/M

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

  • YA Historical Fiction about 3 young suffragettes from different backgrounds as they fight for their rights and their place in the world
  • Rep: F/F

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

  • Set in 1830’s murky London, a place of wickedness, shadows and mysterious disappearances of London’s poor
  • Rep: F/F

Fantasy

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An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

  • An Epic fantasy book starring a cast of almost all women, set in a magical realm on the brink of civil war where 3 women’s fates become intertwined through ties of blood and magic
  • Rep: Queer women, Aromantic, Polyamory

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

  • A multi-layered political fantasy featuring an all LGBTQIA+ cast and featuring elves, magic, friendships and found families
  • Rep: QTIPOC, Aromantic, Non-Binary, Disability

The Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

  • A supercute novel about a thieving baker and a determined police officer whose world’s are about to collide as they delve deeper into mysterious disappearances, political corruption, and witch discrimination
  • Rep: QTIPOC, Aromantic, Demisexual, Non-Binary, Gender Fluidity, Disability, Fat

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

  • 1890s America where mercenaries battle feral hippos in Louisiana’s bayou (SFF)
  • Rep: Gay, Non-Binary, Fat, POC, Bisexual

Pantomime by Laura Lam

  • A YA fantasy imbued with Victorian circus aesthetic which explores gender, sexuality, and identity
  • Rep: Intersex, Asexual, Genderfluid, Bisexual

Contemporary

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • An award-winning YA contemporary novel with themes of art and family at it’s heart
  • Rep: M/M, Mental Illness

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

  • Young Juliet is here to kick white feminisms ass, take names, and also discover a little bit about herself in the process
  • Rep: QTIPOC, F/F, Fat

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  • Adolescence is a minefield of issues and it’s even harder when you’re trying to run away from the things that haunt you. With the support of new friends, Charlie learns about speaking up, making friends, falling in love, and self-acceptance
  • Rep: M/M, Mental Health, Survivors

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

  • A coming of age novel set in Montana which deals with complex issues such as forced coming out, Christian conversion camps, found families, and loving yourself
  • Rep: Lesbian, Gay, F/F, Queer people of faith, QTIPOC, Two-Spirit, Disability

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

  • Adam Silvera is on the phone and he’s here to break your heart with this YA contemporary set in a world where you’re notified that today is your End Day and you can use an app to find a fellow End Dayer to spend the day with
  • Rep: M/M, QTIPOC

Non-Fiction

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Yes, You’re Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love by Mia Violet

  • So many young trans people fear that they aren’t “trans enough” to be trans, but Mia is on hand to share her journey of coming out, transitioning, and confronting transphobia
  • Rep: Trans Woman

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

  • A collection of 15 brilliant poems and essays written by Lorde which explore the concept of difference according to sex, race and economic status
  • Rep: QTIPOC, WoC

Queering Sexual Violence ed. by Jennifer Patterson

  • A difficult topic but a very important one to consider, QSV refocuses queer survivors at the center of the anti-violence movement to amplify their voices and share their experiences
  • Rep: Queer, Trans, Sex Workers, QTIPOC, Disability, Non-Binary

True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the 20th Century by Emily Skidmore

  • Often left out of history, even queer history, Trans Men are brought to the forefront in this historical examination of their lives and experiences during the turn of the 20th century
  • Rep: Trans Men, M/M, M/F

Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows ed. by Christine Burns

  • A comprehensive book which takes us on a journey to discover more about trans history and the lives of trans people living in Britain today
  • Rep: Trans Women, Trans Men, Non-Binary, Trans People of Faith

 

Comics/Graphic Novels

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The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

  • Meet Greta, a blacksmith’s apprentice, and all of the wonderful friends she makes as she journeys into the lost lands of the tea dragons
  • Rep: POC, Disability, M/M

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe

  • Definitely not a family friendly story, Rat Queens is full of female mercenaries who drink, kick ass and mess shit up. Featuring a Rockabilly elven mage, a hipster dwarven fighter, an Athiest human cleric, and a charming little halfling thief
  • Rep: WoC, F/F

Lumberjanes by Various

  • The most adorable little gang of badass girls who are at a camp for hardcore lady-types where they earn badges and fight monsters and stuff
  • Rep: WoC, F/F, Trans, Lesbian

Beyond: the Queer SFF Comic Anthology by Various

  • A wholesome anthology filled to the brim with cute as hell Queer SFF featuring all kinds of fantastical creatures, friendships, families, and occupations
  • Rep: Queer, QTIPOC, WoC, F/F, M/M, Trans, Polyamory, Gender-Fluidity, Interspecies, Interracial

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

  • As much millennial as you can cram into one comic, Nimona is a great and uplifting comic which is full of magic, sharks, subversive tropes, dragons and Saving Things
  • Rep: M/M

Science Fiction

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

  • The first book in an amazing sci-fi series, set aboard the Wayfarer ship which is packed full of diverse crew and loveable characters who are on a mission tunnelling wormholes into deep space.
  • Rep: Interspecies, F/F, Gender-Fluidity, AI/Human, Short Stature, Disability, PoC

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

  • (sssh, yes I am including them both) The second book in the series, this time focusing on the journey of a female AI who has been relocated into a human body and follows her as she learns to negotiate the universe (with feet!), make friends, and find her place in this new world of hers
  • Rep: PoC, Gender-Fluidity, Interspecies, Disability, Neurodivergence

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon 

  • Taking place onboard the HSS Matilda, described as being a ship version of the American South, An Unkindness of Ghosts features an amazingly diverse cast and explores issues such as slavery, colonialism, transphobia, and difference whilst being set entirely in space!
  • Rep: Intersex, Autism, PoC, Mental Illness, Non-Binary, Queer, Aromantic, Asexual

Love Beyond Body, Space and Time ed. by Hope Nicholson

  • A collection of indigenous SFF which focuses on LGBT and two-spirit characters
  • Rep: own voice Natives, Two-Spirit, Trans Women, Queer, Trans Masculine, Non-Binary

Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi

  • Alana Quick is a talented sky surgeon who is having to turn her hand instead to engineering as a way of making ends meet and cope with her chronic illness. So when a cargo vessel drops by her yard, Alana can’t help but stow away in the hopes of striking lucky but things turn out to be more difficult and dangerous than she predicted
  • Rep: QTIPOC, WoC, Disability, Polyamory, Asexual, Poverty, F/F, Mental Illness

Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction ed. by Brit Mandelo

  • A collection of 17 stories which push the boundaries of what is possible and go far beyond the binary in stories which redefine concepts of sexuality, gender and identity
  • Rep: Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Sex Work, Gender-Fluidity, Asexual

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby

  • With an autistic female MC who works as the Head of Xenoliaisons on a first contact ship, a diverse array of characters, amazing worldbuilding, and a fantastic story, Failure to Communicate is one of my all-time favourite books!
  • Rep: Autistic woman, Polyamory, PoC, Bisexual, F/F/M, Synesthesia

Planetfall by Emma Newman

  • 22 years have passed since Renata Ghali and a brave colony from Earth set out across the universe in pursuit of a planet which promised to reveal the truth about how to save humanity. But since making Planetfall, nothing has happened other than accumulating earth-shattering secrets and much, much more…
  • Rep: PoC, Disability, Hoarding Disorder, F/F, QTIPOC

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Have you read any of these and enjoyed the LGBTQIA+ rep?
Are some of these new discoveries for you that you want to check out?
Do you have any other Pride recc’s?

Hope you all enjoyed this list and please keep your eyes peeled for more exciting Pride lists coming over the next month including Cute Queer Comics, and LGBTQIA New Discoveries!


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Let’s Discuss | Healthy relationships with books?

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This is a topic that has really been playing on my mind for a long time – to be honest, since I first joined the book community – but it can be quite a difficult topic to talk about. Before launching into a discussion I just want to make it clear that I’m not here to shame anybody’s relationship with books or pass judgment on them, and I also want to ensure that we have a nice discussion about this – so please no arguing with one another! (Content Notices: Debt, hoarding)

A big part of the book blogging community revolves around the purchasing, displaying and talking about books. All of us here love books and we obviously want to share this with each other through our blogs, Twitters, Tumblr’s, and Instagrams. Buying books not only feels great because we get to own our very own copy of the book, but it is also the best way to support the authors that we love. And, of course, we then post about our purchases online to share this love with other book lovers and encourage others to buy the books too.

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To me, this is really great! I love, love, love being in a community that encourages others to read, has fantastic discussions about representation in literature, and even helps writers take their first steps into creative writing.

However, I think it is also imperative to have an open, honest and supportive conversation with one another about some of the potentially negative consequences that spring from the book blogging community’s relationship with books, specifically in regards to buying and collecting large amounts of books.

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Finances

I want to start by talking about potential financial implications with the purchasing of large quantities of books because this is one that can very quickly lead to people getting themselves into trouble further down the line. As I mentioned before, it’s great that we want to buy books and support authors but it is also important to make purchases within our own means. There have certainly been times when I’ve bought one or two books that I didn’t really need and then this resulted in me not having money for bills or travel expenses a few weeks later.

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Book Challenge | I Spy

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When I saw this challenge on Kathy @ booksandmunches blog I immediately wanted to do it. A CHALLENGE?! YES! One that I will win. A challenge where I can spend ages looking through Goodreads? Even more yes. And, because Kathy is great and knows me so well, she tagged me in it as well. I am ready, are you?!

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The challenge: Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!!

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FOOD – TRANSPORTATION – WEAPON – ANIMAL

NUMBER – SOMETHING YOU READ – BODY OF WATER – PRODUCT OF FIRE

 

ROYALTY – ARCHITECTURE – CLOTHING ITEM – FAMILY MEMBER

 

TIME OF DAY – MUSIC – PARANORMAL BEING – OCCUPATION

 

SEASON – COLOR – CELESTIAL BODY – SOMETHING THAT GROWS

 

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Ok, I’m going to start off by saying that there is NO WAY you can do that in 5 minutes haha. It took me 16 minutes to find ALL of the things listed, but then I guess that’s my fault for having such a long Goodreads list and also for wanting to find some interesting answers instead of my typical ones.

This was really fun though – if you want to join in the challenge (and see if you really can do it in 5 minutes) then please consider yourself tagged!


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