Confessions of a bookblogger #7 – I don’t really like bookish goodies

Yep, I’m not the biggest fan of bookish goodies. Sure, there are things that I like, but mostly something related to books won’t really make me happy. I’d rather just have a piece of chocolate, or a book of course.

Somehow I’ve a bit of a thing against anything that I can’t use. This means that certain things, like pillows and tote bags, I’m a big fan of. However, funkos… not so much. I love the way they look, don’t get me wrong, I just feel their useless (which I suppose technically they are). They’d just be standing there, taking up space, gathering dust… which means it’s something extra I’d have to clean – I don’t like cleaning.

I hardly ever wear jewelry, so bookish jewelry? Not for me. Different cell phone cases? Nope, I only use one anyway. I’d forget the change them and the other ones would end up in the back of a drawer.

It pretty much comes to this: if I use it without it being bookish, I’ll also use it when it’s book-related. However, if I don’t use it anyone, just making it bookish, isn’t going to make me like it.

Confessions of a book blogger #6 – I don’t like reading challenges

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Throughout the year, as most of you will know, there are numerous reading challenges that one can compete in. Some are fairly simple, only prescribing the number of books as a goal. Others, will try to give specific prompts to use when picking out a book (e.g. a book with a number in the title, a book with a blue cover). However, what all of them have in common, and what I hate about them, is that they ‘force’ you to read.

The whole point of a challenge is of course completing it. Though I’m a huge fan of deadlines (I almost always finished my assignments minutes before them), I really don’t like to feel pressured into something. Whether that be drinking alcohol (seriously, cut the crap, I don’t like that shit!), or reading certain books.

I pick out the books I read based on what I feel like reading, so if I have no good books with blue on the cover, then it’s really just not going to happen. Reading a certain number of books seems a bit pointless too, since I already set a goal for the entire year; no need to make things worse by forcing myself through 5 books in 7 days. This means the only challenge I participate in, is the Goodreads challenge, by setting a goal for a certain number of books to read.

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When it comes to these challenges, I’m all rebel teen inside: forcing me to do something is the best way to make sure it’s not going to happen.

What’s your opinion about challenges? Do they actually help you read more (I know it works for some people)? Or do you dislike them, like I do?

Confession of a bookblogger #5 – I hardly ever buy new releases

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I was going to add a nice picture of the last new release book I bought immediately when it came out, but I can’t even remember the last time I immediately bought a new release.

That’s the sad, sad truth; I don’t have the money for it. Weirdly enough, I don’t think I’ll ever have the money to buy all the new releases right when they come out. Maybe it’s my stingy Dutch upbringing (is that seriously still what foreigners believe btw?), but I just don’t think it’s worth it to buy them as soon as they come out. Is that just me?

There are so many books that I want to read, and so many that I’ve never even heard of that are probably amazing. A whole bunch of those can be gotten from second hand stores (if you want to own a copy), a library or friends. Sure, I can (in the future) spend all of my hard earned money on new shiny books. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll make me happier than all those well-loved books waiting in the second hand stores. Thus, I like to save my money and be very picky about the books I pre-order. After all, the next big thing in bookland is always right around the corner.

What do you think? Do you want all (or most) of the new releases as soon as they come out, and do you then also buy them all? Or do you find (just like me) that sometimes money is better spend on things that are not books? Let me know in the comments below!

Confessions of a book blogger #4: I cannot DNF books

Confessions of a book blogger #4: I cannot DNF booksThis is just one of those things that I, personally, cannot deal with. I hate leaving things unfinished, no matter what it is.

I can leave them alone for a long time, for years even, but I will eventually finish whatever it is I am working on. Whether it’s a project or a book I’m reading. At some point I will make sure it’s done.

Books I really don’t like, I will therefore still finish reading. Not just because I cannot stand to see them unfinished, but also because that’s the only fair way to give a review; if you’ve not finished it, how are you supposed to give a fair and honest review?

How do you feel about DNFing a book? Yes, no, maybe? Let me know in the comments!

(DNF, for those who didn’t know, means: did not finish).

P.S. I’ve recently DNFed my first book. It’s been two years, I think I really should give up at some point… It does feel very strange and wrong however.

Confessions of a book blogger #3 – I don’t ship fictional characters

Confessions of a book blogger #3 -  I don't ship fictional charactersYou read that right. I don’t ship characters. I’ve mentioned it before somewhere in one of my blog posts, but I feel like I should really put it out there now.

Ever since I started reading (pretty much right after I was born), I’ve read (or listened to) stories and just accepted them the way they were. Sure, sometimes I didn’t like the way things ended (I’m all for happy endings), but that’s just the way it was. I never even considered that you could want a character in a book to end up with someone else than they did. I mean, it’s a story. You can’t change that. Why bother even thinking about what should be different.

Since my entrance into the book community a year or two ago (though I was only following people at that time, not making my own content), I’ve started to think about this more. There have been stories I would’ve liked to turn out different, yet I still can’t make myself care for the relationship of fictional characters. It’s just not my thing.

Perhaps because romance isn’t really my thing. Not in books; I’ll read the occasional contemporary romance, but usually I stick to all the other genres. Also, not in real life. I really enjoy my boyfriend being romantic, but I suck at it. Wait, that should be capitalized: I SUCK at it. I’m ok with that though: me doing romance is just not realistic. I’ve got things I’m much better that.

What about you? Do you ship fictional characters? Do you have an OTP? Do you have any idea how long it took me after first seeing OTP to figure out what it meant?

Confessions of a book blogger # 2 – I still LOVE children’s books

I adore children’s books! Maybe not really a big shock, huh? Since I’ve been posting quite some reviews of these books as well. And sure, maybe I don’t like all of them, there’s still so many that I love. I’m not talking about Harry Potter (which was originally intended for adults and is in certain cases very Confessions #2 - I LOVE children's booksinappropriate for children), but real children’s books, preferable with cute pictures.

A picture book with just a line or two just doesn’t quite cut it however. I like the ones with the full stories and the occasional picture, so you can see what the strange creatures the author invented look like.

One of the most well-known may be The Chronicles of Narnia, which is immediately one of my exceptions, because there was too much overt and covert sexism and god-fearing in the books for me to be able to enjoy it. Usually I can get over it with old books, but not with Narnia. Though it should give you a good idea of the books I’m talking about.

Confessions #2 - I LOVE children's booksI’ve read so many of them in Dutch now that I’d also love to read some in English or German, so if you’ve got any suggestions for children’s books that were written originally in either of these languages (German, Dutch, English), please let me know in the comments. I can never have too many recommendations!

Do you also still love to read children’s books? Or am I alone in that?

Books and Feminism #1 – Beauty

Books & Feminism - beautyThere’s been this trend lately of great stories with kick-ass female characters. Seems very feminist, or does it?

Now, just as a disclaimer, I do love most of these books and stories and have enjoyed reading them quite a bit. This however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t recurring issues I can’t be critical about with regards to their lack of feminism in certain respects. While I’m of the opinion that all kinds of women should be represented in books, this still happens very little. The things I’ll mention are only a problem because they’re overused. If they were only used sporadically I feel it wouldn’t really be an issue and in fact promote diversity in characters. As it stands, the following is more of a trend, which is not a good thing.

One of the first things that’s noticeable in a lot of YA is the young woman who doesn’t feel she looks very good, maybe she doesn’t think of herself as ugly, but she’s sure she’s definitely nothing special. She doesn’t have the confidence to not worry about her looks. We all know these stories, right? It’s just about all of them. A young woman who keeps wondering why that super-awesome-totally-cute/hot/drool-worthy guy is into her.

I’m gonna ignore the heteronormativity for now, though I’m sure I’ll have a post about this as well at some point.

Books & Feminism - beautyFirst of all, the focus on beauty and having to be beautiful in our society is already an issue; why do women have to be beautiful, why can’t they just be ugly without everyone and their grandma commenting on it? Honestly, I’ve never understood why. Sure, someone’s ears might be huge, but what’s the point in commenting on it? It’s not going to change anything, except that if this person hears, they might even feel worse about themselves. Not everything is aesthetically pleasing. It can’t be, as what is pleasing is defined differently for every single person. Something that doesn’t appeal to you, will appeal to someone else. Trying to fit someone into a mold of what’s beautiful to you, is a pretty bad idea.

I want to take this even further. Everyone understands beauty is different for different people. But, should why do we really focus on beauty at all? Dove’s natural beauty campaign for example. It seems great and inclusive (though it’s not!), but why is beauty so important? It really shouldn’t be. And with the campaign, Dove (again) focuses on beauty; you have to be beautiful. In your own way, sure, but still beautiful. Why isn’t it ok for people when someone is not beautiful?

Books & Feminism - beautyA lot of female main characters in book do this as well; they focus on the beauty they do or do not have. The world’s falling apart and they need to try their best to survive AND look good while doing it. I’ve never read a survival book about a man who still had the need to look gorgeous while surviving the apocalypse. Why can’t there be more women in books that also have the same disregard for the exact state of their looks?

So far, I can only think of two characters from popular books that do not seem to have this problem: Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; she gets changed a lot by others, but none of it really on her own volition, and Lynn from Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis; there is very little in terms of looks in this book. That is, if I remember right. Please correct me if I’m wrong. And let me know if there are other characters that should be part of this as well.

On Instagram, I asked for some help to come up with some other characters. These are from books I don’t know myself, but I’ve been assured they’re definitely worth mentioning as well. Can you come up with more?

  • Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (suggested by @slatedfangirl)
  • Matilda Giles aka Tilly from the Angels Gateway series (suggested by @iknowdarkplaces)
  • Jane Eyre from (of course) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (suggested by @thebooklovingnerd)
  • Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones (suggested by @emma.reads.x)
  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (suggested by @emmas__bookshelf)
  • Henrietta from Henrietta the Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany (suggested by @livelovereadya)

The idea was to just write one post about this, but there’s so much to say that in a next post I’ll tackle another aspect of these “strong female characters” that bothers me, because it’s practically become a trope instead of a characteristic.