Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Amusements 11

Tour my bookshelves!
This is a bit of a short one as I've been really busy lately, and my last Monday Amusements post here was massive! I thought I'd post my bookshelf tour video above, just in case some of you have missed it, and while we're on the subject of self-promotion, I was interviewed by Michelle of Fluttering Butterflies for her Celebrating British Bloggers series! Please do go read and leave a comment, I'd love to know what you think of my answers! Now, onto other people's posts!

On Friday, Publishing Perspectives posted a very silly piece bemoaning an imaginary lack of 'regular kid lit' (via half a dozen tweeters, I think the first I saw was @elockhart's). I mean. SERIOUSLY. It's called contemporary YA, and anyone who goes into a library or a bookstore or even just spends half an hour looking at book blogs is sure to stumble across it. Jim at YA Contemporary has even made a quite long list of recommendations.

I love seeing desk setups, so 'Our Writing Spaces' at Author Allsorts was right up my street. I am jealous of those with desks by windows. My desk is in the corner of my room, surrounded by wall.

I really enjoyed this interview with Marilyn Kaye at Chicklish, about her new book Gloss. I'm all for more historical fiction set in the latter half of the 20th Century!

If only I could have read 'Things I learnt at university' at So Many Books, So Little Time, before I finished my degrees! I completely agree with the point about making the most of all that time! I also liked Sophie's list of underrated reads. I would also nominate Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale series!

Onto my favourite reviews, as I have quite a few! Readaraptor's review of Stray by Monica Hesse, went straight into my wishlist folder. It's a really unique sounding book, and I haven't seen any other reviews. I also loved Magan at Rather Be Reading's enthusiasm for When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney and Jo at weartheoldcoat's love for The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd. Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson has been on my wishlist for years and Jo of Once Upon a Bookcase's review has encouraged me to hurry up and read it!

Are there any posts you've really enjoyed that I've missed? Or have you written something recently that you're really proud of and would like to share? Please do comment and check out the archives!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review: St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell

If there is a more intriguing title out there than St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, well, I'd love to hear it, but I'd also be surprised by it's very existence! When I saw the spine of this book in the shop I couldn't resist picking it up. It's a collection of short stories, and one of the review quotes on the back cover mentions Angela Carter, who is one of my favourite writers. I took it straight up to the till. It took me a few months to finish, as with all short story books. I started reading it when I was reading a novel that was too large to cart around on the tube and it made a great travel read, as it's quite slim and easy to slip into.

The stories are not connected but what they do have in common is their magical realist atmosphere and quirky settings. Most of the stories draw on mythological or supernatural ideas and almost all the narrators or protagonists are teenagers, predominantly boys, but there are a few girls, most notably in the title story.

As I've written before in other reviews, I have issues with short stories and novels which feel like snapshots of a character's life rather than complete stories in their own right. I can't say that I didn't have issues with the abrupt endings of some of the stories in St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, but Karen Russell's imagination is so fantastic and her ideas are so interesting that I didn't mind that much.
My favourite story was the title story, 'St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves', which is about a pack of girls, the human children of werewolves, who have been sent by their parents into the care of a group of nuns, who give them new names and try to teach them to behave as humans are supposed to. I also loved  'Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers', about children with both magical and non-magical sleep issues, and 'from Children's Reminiscences of the Westward Migration', which is narrated by a boy whose father is a Minotaur. 

I won't say anymore because at least half the fun of reading these stories comes from discovering the details! I would like to read more of Karen Russell's work, but her novel, Swamplandia! is based on one of the stories that I wasn't quite as keen on, so I might skip that and go straight to Vampires in the Lemon Grove, her second short story collection.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Tour My Bookshelves!

Today I bring you a tour of my bookshelves!

I apologise for the shakiness, and I hope you enjoy watching it! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Monday Amusements 10

My first video post, from the Top Ten Tuesday of the week before last. I'll be posting my second video this week!

Wow, I'm up to ten of these already! I felt ill yesterday evening after a busy day eating cyclindrical sandwiches, scones, and cakes, and drinking tea, so had to do all the work today, but hopefully this is still a readable and enjoyable list!

Once Upon a Bookcase will be having yet another (excellent, I'm sure) theme month! July will be LGBTQ YA Month, and I'm looking forward to reading the posts.

Malinda Lo, who wrote the wonderful fairy tale retelling Ash, posted this thoughtful and inspiring piece about Sex and YA Fiction. It's full of Very Good Points.

I don't think that I will ever choose to get a tattoo but nevertheless, I enjoyed this list of 50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired By Books. Also on Buzzfeed, 25 Signs You're Addicted to Books.

Ink, by Amanda Sun, is currently on my TBR and has one of the most gorgeous covers I've ever seen. Right now you can download the eBook prequel for free!

I've wanted to read Zoe Marriott's books for ages, but her post for SisterSpooky's Geek Week, How Do I Love Geeks, Let me Count the Ways, made me want to run to the library, right now. Too bad it's closed...

I loved Quinn's choice of Top Ten Tuesday topic last week - Top Ten Ridiculous Character Names. I don't mind Echo, as it's a name from mythology and I love those, but the rest are pretty silly. Especially Patch. I know the Hush, Hush series is really popular (though I don't think it's my thing) but Patch? Like Quinn said, it's a dog's name! The allure is lost on me, but then I also couldn't imagine Edward Cullen as attractive when he wore pale blue sweaters and beige leather jackets. I do love giving characters unusual names though!

Mur Lafferty wrote a quick, important post about Helping Authors. And not helping them. I'm pretty sure that most book bloggers do all of the good and none of the bad!

I absolutely adored the latest in Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies' Bookshelf Requirements series, in which Hannah (@AitchLove) shares her love of Arthurian literature. I definitely need to investigate her recommendations, when I was a kid I was obsessed with the King Arthur legend.

Liesel Hill's post about the origins of the Pied Piper story was really interesting, and quite sad too.

Why is it so bad to judge a book by its cover? wonders Natassia at Literary Escapism. I have to admit, I find myself judging books by their covers more and more. Covers indicate what kind of book is likely to be inside, and there are some genres and topics that I have no interest in and want to avoid. A well-chosen, attractive cover also indicates to me that the publisher had high enough hopes for the book to spend time and money making sure that it was properly presented.

I'd been planning to read The Great Gatsby soon anyway, but if I hadn't been convinced that it was time to give this classic a go, this post at So Many Books, So Little Time would have done the job.

Onto my favourite reviews this fortnight! You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle went straight onto my wishlist, thanks to Magan at Rather Be Reading - "one of the happiest surprises of 2013"? Yes please!

Raimy at Readaraptor's review of Melvin Burgess' The Hit was honest and interesting, as was Cicely's review of The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, which compared it to her other books. I also enjoyed seeing Michelle at Fabbity Fab Book Reviews' review of How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski and Sophie at So Many Books, So Little Time's review of The Humans, by Matt Haig.

Finally, tooting my own horn (again) here - last week on this fleeting dream was Diary of a Crush week! Please do check out my posts, I'd love to know what you think.


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