Ten Books Everyone Loves But I Don’t

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is all about the theme of love (what with tomorrow being Valentine’s Day). As someone who’s chronically single and not a reader of romance, I struggled to come up with something that could align with this topic.

Until I remembered that I can be a snarky betch and am more than willing to dump all over your faves for a blog post. 😀

So here are the ten books everyone else seems to love but I hate.

1) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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*sigh* Oh, John Green. Where do I begin? Like a lot of people, I discovered John Green’s work yearrrrrrs ago when he and his brother, Hank, started their vlogbrothers youtube channel. I was a fan and wanted to check out John’s work. I read An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska and wasn’t blown away by them at all.

Then Paper Towns came out and I was pleasantly surprised. Finally, Green was addressing the manic pixie dream girl trope that he himself had been guilty of using in his books. I was impressed with how Green had grown and improved as a writer. By the time The Fault in Our Stars was published and garnering rave reviews, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

And then I was sorely disappointed. Green had gone back to his old formula – Quirky, smart boy meets manic pixie dream girl. Throw in some cancer and the most inappropriate setting for a first kiss you could ever dream of, and you’ve got this rubbish.

I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

I will not be reading anymore John Green.

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Ten Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest

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I’ve decided to start joining in on the fun of Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today’s topic is all about the books that have been on your TBR the longest. I’m going to be honest – I’m pretty sure I still have unread books in my parents’ house back in Wales. However, I haven’t lived there in about 4 years so I haven’t got a clue what they could be.

Instead, I’m going to list 5 books that I’ve owned the longest and still haven’t read. And then 5 books that have been on my ‘wishlist’ TBR and I still haven’t bought/picked up from the library.

1) Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

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I have had this on my Kindle for the last 3 years now. I think I tried to start it a year or two ago but got distracted. I’d actually been wanting to read something by Nin since 2010 when a friend of mine read a ton of her work. I should definitely try and get to this later this year.

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Feminist Lit February TBR

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February is here and I have decided to join in with a read-along I discovered only a few days ago. Feminist Lit February is a month-long reading project, created by ItsJaneLindsey, helping to promote feminist and diverse stories, authors, and content.

There are five reading challenges that go along with it and I’ve decided to try and complete all of them.

Challenge #1 – Read a book of feminist fiction

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This is one of the staples in LGBT American literature and, not only explores the subject of lesbianism, but also challenges the roles both women and men play in society. Brown wrote this book during the ’70s and it is still hailed as important piece of feminist literature.

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January Reading Wrap-Up

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G’morning, peeps. The end of January is here. How did that happen? Seriously, how? Time is flying by way too quickly and I have just two months until I’m hitting the road for my long holiday.

As for my reading, I think I did quite well this month with reading five books. That doesn’t sound like a lot but one of my reading goals this year is to read just one book a month so I’m already killing that.

I am, on the other hand, failing miserably at trying to read all the books on my physical TBR. Out of the five books I read in January, only two of them were from that pile. (Two were on my Kindle and one was from the library.) I have 9 weeks to get through 12 more books. Eek!

The good news is that I am currently reading something from my physical TBR again.

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I’ve been wanting to tackle this for the last year. It’s quite long so it’s going to take me a while but I’m enjoying it so far and learning a lot.

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The No Disclaimer Book Tag

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+ Which bookish trope annoys you the most?

Do you want a list? I hate young, female narrators who have no personality and, yet, everyone around them magically falls in love with them (*cough*Bella Swan). I hate the phrase ‘I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding in.’ I hate it when girls hate other girls just because they’re pretty or smart or dating a love interest. And most of all, I hate the white saviour trope. That one is just fucking offensive and infuriating and not needed.

+ Which writers do you feel are overhyped?

John Green. I’ve read four of his books and they all have the same exact story. A quirky manic pixie dream girl (another trope I hate) becomes the object of a nerdy boy’s affection. Wow. That’s never been done before.

+ What are the worst books you’ve read because of booktube/book blogs?

I couldn’t get through Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik. This book was raved about on booktube and it really didn’t gel with me. I ended up DNF-ing it. Twice.

I also blame booktube for throwing me down the YA route last year. There’s nothing wrong with YA; I just don’t get an emotional or deep response from any of it the way other people do. Last year I found that I was reading more YA than usual and, as a result, most of what I was reading was just ‘meh.’ From now on, I’ll stick to books written for adult with maybe an occasional YA thrown in if it grabs me.

+ A terrible ending that ruined an otherwise quality book?

It didn’t ruin the book but I was disappointed with the ending of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It felt a little too obvious and cheesy.

Which character do you wish was not killed off?

***spoiler alert*** I will always love Henry DeTamble and I will always be heartbroken by what happened to him.

+ What is your bookish pet peeve?

I’m going to agree with books by leynes and say that books which have introductions that spoil the novel are the worst. Why is this a thing? I understand that classics have been analysed to death so there’ll always be an essay or two included in whichever edition you pick up these days. But why put them at the front and then go over every single plot point before the reader’s had a chance to get into anything?

+ What are some books you feel should have more recognition?

I’m always going to sing the praises of Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog. It’s not that I necessarily think it’s the best written book in the world but it covers incredibly important events in recent Native American history, including the protests and actions taken by the American Indian Movement. It also takes a closer look at the horrors indigenous woman face even to this day.

I don’t think that indigenous writers get nearly enough recognition in the book blogging community and, for me, Lakota Woman really opened my eyes to a history and culture I knew nothing about.

~*~

Tagged by no-one. I just wanted to do this.

I tag you if you want to do it.

Rant Review: It’s Your Time You’re Wasting: A Teacher’s Tale of Classroom Hell by Frank Chalk (DNF)

Title: It’s Your Time You’re Wasting: A Teacher’s Tale of Classroom Hell

Author: Frank Chalk

Year: 2006

Rating: 1/5

This is going to be a rant more than a review so if you’re looking for something with a little more structure and eloquence, I’d go somewhere else.

This “book” is one man’s experiences of teaching in one of Britain’s lower-performing comprehensive schools. What is supposed to be a “blackly humourous diary of his working life” is in fact a real look at one of the reasons our education system has gotten so bad.

Now, I’ll give “Mr. Chalk” credit where credit is due. I know this profession is frustrating – I’m a teacher. We are overworked and underpaid & get zero respect. The British school system is a joke and most of our state schools are way underfunded. As a result, we do often need a good whinge. That’s why I (very generously) awarded 1 star to “Mr. Chalk.”

What doesn’t help to combat these problems is when teachers just give up and start thinking that they’re above their profession.

I’ll give you some examples of the problems I had with Mr. Chalk’s attitude:

“Stella (it’s amazing how many kids are named after alcoholic drinks) …

Kat (seriously, that’s what her parents called her) scrunches up her label…”

You know when a celebrity names their kid something unusual like Apple or Dweezil or North West and people are like, “That kid’s going to be picked on in school!”?

No. Most kids don’t realise a name is unusual unless they hear an adult mention it. That adult should never be a teacher. Unless the teacher’s a right prick.

“If there’s one thing I can’t cope with it’s crying kids.”

Then, for the love of God, why did you decide to work with kids? Who is this man and, on a scale of 1-10, how dense is he?

“Do judge by appearance. It has become an article of faith in our politically correct world that you should never judge a book by its cover. This is completely wrong. … You can spot them a mile off, whatever anyone says. Earrings, tattoos and outlandish hairstyles mean only on thing: sit them at the front, on their own, before they’ve even had a chance to muck about.”

Words fail me.

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Review: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

Title: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Author: Sherman Alexie

Year: 2017

Rating: 5/5

I first came to know Sherman Alexie as a writer after seeing his YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, reviewed on booktube a few years back. Intrigued by the title, I finally took out a copy from the library and devoured it within a few days. As with every YA I pick up, I remember thinking it was just okay. I knew this wasn’t a reflection of Alexie’s writing because I’d had similar reactions to other popular YA books. I guess this is a genre that just doesn’t gel with me.

And while I didn’t mesh as firmly with Part-Time Indian, the way other readers had, I was intrigued by the content – that of a boy growing up on the Spokane reservation and attending a very white high school in the next town – and the writing, and sought out something else by the author. I then picked up his short story collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and was immediately hooked. The power behind the storytelling of his adult work is a rare find these days and, as a result, this writer has easily become one of my modern favourites.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is the latest of Alexie’s works, published only last year in 2017. And while there has always been an autobiographical element to his books, this is the first official ‘memoir’ to have been published.

In YDHTSYLM, Alexie examines his complicated relationship with his mother as he chronicles the days leading up to her death, her funeral, and the aftermath. Fragments of prose and poetry come together to form pictures of a poor and abusive childhood, an explosive adolescence, and an estranged adulthood. At the heart of this is the beautiful, intelligent, mercurial matriarch, and her fiery clashes with her son.

Alexie’s raw and turbulent emotions are what make this book such a gripping and heartbreaking read. We are there with him through all the stages of grief, sharing his ups and downs, his good days and bad. This is one of those books that is so beautifully well-written, it’s hard to put down. Alexie’s honesty and vulnerability are both refreshing and heart-rending, though he admits during the first few pages to being an unreliable narrator.

This has been a hard book for me to review as it is difficult to put into words what makes it so special. The stunning combination of Alexie’s humour, pain, and love makes for a truly compelling read.

This was my favourite read of 2017 and I encourage everyone to pick it up. Long-time readers of Alexie’s other works will see how his life, so openly displayed in this memoir, has influenced his fiction. This book is also a great starting off point for people who’re new to the author and want to get a feel for his writing. YDHTSYLM is Alexie’s writing at its best and is guaranteed to be one that stays with you for a long time after.