October Book Subscriptions

Hello, hello! Here we are again for another month of unboxing mystery boxes because that’s so much fun! I’d highly recommend it. Anyway, this month I believe both of us have even more to show you than normal, so let’s just get into it!

Chantel will be in purple. 

Caidyn will be in blue. 


In October, I received two subscription boxes. I received an Owlcrate and a PageHabit box. Double the fun and double the items. It’s like Christmas once a month. 

Owlcrate – Find Me in The Forest

Okay, honestly, this was the best Owlcrate I’ve received yet. I’ve been subscribed for three months now, and honestly, this box was fantastic. Some of my favorite items ever were in this box. They were perfect for the book and I am so excited to read the book. 

Let’s start with the card and pin that come with every Owlcrate box.

IMG_1426

I love the card each month. It always looks great and the pin is just going onto my bulletin board where I already have a collection of pins. They fit right in. 

IMG_1425

This is an art print from Princess Mononoke which is an animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Tragically, I have not seen this movie or any other Miyazaki movie, but the art is gorgeous. 

IMG_1443

Let me tell you all, I needed a coaster. Desperately. However, this coaster is so cute and so sweet, I don’t know if I can use it! It’s simply adorable and I’m definitely on board with Owlcrate continuing to send me things I need. 

Now, the mug. This was by far my favorite item and the best item I’ve ever received in an Owlcrate. It’s a Harry Potter themed mug which features things that sit near and in the forbidden forest. I’m not a fan of the giant spider, but I can live with it. I love mugs and now that I’m drinking more coffee, it’s necessary. This just happens to be one of my favorites. 
IMG_1442

I’ve lumped the rest of these items together. There is some decaf (ugh) tea which actually sounds really good. There is a Raven Cycle themed candle which smells really good, very foresty. Then there are these cute little magnetic bookmarks with Max from Where the Wild Things Are

And now, the book. 

IMG_1423

The book this month was Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore and the Owlcrate exclusive cover is gorgeous. I already own one book by Anna-Marie McLemore, which is When the Moon Was Ours. These books are magical realism and feature queer characters. I’ve briefly read part of When the Moon Was Ours and her writing is gorgeous. I need to read her books and fast. Along with the book, there came the standard letter from the author and a signed bookplate to put inside the book. In addition, a packet of seeds came along with the book which is pretty cool.

That was all that came in October’s Owlcrate and it was a great one! I’m also very excited to received this month’s Owlcrate because the theme sounds great. 

Castles, Courts, and Kingdoms. Yes, please. 


PageHabit – Science Fiction

This month I received my first PageHabit box which included a bonus book. I got a few cool things, and I’ve never heard of either book before so that should be interesting. 

First thing, I got yet another coaster! It’s super cute as well. I think Caidyn got one in a previous month, but I’m definitely happy to get one. 

 

IMG_1452

It’s so cute!!

I also got an Einstein bookmark, a rocket tea infusor, and a library card pillowcase. These are totally great items. I think the tea infusor is my favorite and I can use it for the tea I received in my Owlcrate. 

Since it was October, there was a cute little pumpkin keychain that lit up and made noise when you pushed on it. It’s pretty cute and looks creepy when lit up. 

Every month, PageHabit donates a book for each box that’s purchased and this month they donated books to The Democratic Republic of Congo. 

img_1455.jpg

Each box also comes with a short story and this month it was Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead by Carmen Maria Machado. It looks and sounds creepy. 

IMG_1446

Now, the books. The actual book this month was An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I did get a bonus book for signing up which was Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel. The letter included is from Rivers Solomon. The unique thing about PageHabit is that there are annotations in the book from the author. 

The best part of subscription boxes is that I receive books I’ve never heard of. I’ve never heard of either book here, but I’m excited to read them both. 

That is it for me this month, but I’ve got some boxes to look forward to next month. 


Like Chantel, I now get two/three book subscriptions. I got PageHabit’s mystery box and I get an add-on for horror. Then, I also started getting Book of the Month, which is where you can pick your book(s).

PageHabit – Mystery and horror

As usual, I got my box from PageHabit and, for once, I was super excited to see all the books. All because I haven’t heard a thing about them.

The yellow thing is a pillowcase that is awesome. My mom has envy over it. She stared for ages with it. Then, I got a bookmark of an Einstein quote, along with a short story titled Peaches. Haven’t read it yet.

As for the books, The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Murders of Molly Southbourne. As I said, I’m really excited for both of the books. None of my friends have read them or reviewed them, so I’m coming into them with a clean slate. I’m resisting the urge to read reviews of them, too. Or to do any digging at all. Wish me luck.

Book of the Month

BotM actually allows you to pick your book(s). They have a few books you can make yours, then you can do add-ons if you really want to. Not required, but you can. This month, I decided to. Why not, right?

First off, I really liked the box and how they packaged it. I didn’t take pictures of that, but I’ll remember to someday.

The book I chose was The Power by Naomi Alderman. First, super pretty cover. Second, it’s all about women who gain superpowers to hurt people and it puts men at a great disadvantage and I’m all for women doing that when needed. Third, Emma Watson’s reading it for her book club this month and so there.

I did pick an add-on this month. I mean, when you sign up, you get three book vouchers for, about $27. That means instead of $15 per month to get a book, you get three books for around $10 each right off the bat to decide if you like it. The add-on I chose for this month was Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. Somewhat excited for this since I’ve seen a mix of reactions to the book, but it’s soooo preetttyyy.

Advertisements

First Lines Friday

Two weeks left of November and that brings us one week closer to Chantel’s favorite holiday. Caidyn will not be surprised at all if she chooses to do a whole post about her love of Thanksgiving. And, it’s Friday, so that makes it everyone’s favorite time of the year.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Also, for the rest of this month, I’m going to provide the link to our poll if you haven’t taken it yet. This is us trying to be better for you guys and so you can see more things you’d like to. Click here to take it! Remember, this is us working for you. Three out of our thirty-one followers have taken the poll, so please take it if you haven’t! This is us trying to make the blog better for all of you.

Caidyn will be in blue. 

Chantel will be in purple.


The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like an eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without feature save for the faith, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, and death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cut its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway. Coaches and bukas had followed it. The world had moved on since then. The world had emptied.


Personally, I find that opening quite beautiful. When you read it, you can see how literary it is.  I mean, seriously. It brings to mind something scary and also a world that is hauntingly beautiful. I’d like to visit it. Could be fun.

So, what’s the book? The hint is in the very first line. Recently a movie, too. By one of my favorite authors.

What is it? It’s…

THE GUNSLINGER BY STEPHEN KING

The Gunslinger

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve wanted to for ages. Before the movie came out. It’s King’s major attempt at something utterly sci-fi and fantasy, not just themes while also being rooted very much in the present world. Not only that, but Pennywise comes from this world and I’d like to know the full context through the series. After two other very short books, I’ll be reading this one.


The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. 

Conor was awake when it came. 

He’d had a nightmare. Well, not a nightmare. The nightmare. The one he’d been having a lot lately. The one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter how hard he tried to hold on. The one that always ended with—


I will give you a quick look behind the curtain here. These First Lines Fridays are getting harder and harder each week and honestly it’s because I’ve been reading the same books for over a month now. I could choose the first line from a book I’m going to read soon, but then I won’t have that book to use later on down the road. So, I have a dilemma. What I am going to do moving forward (for the time being) is I’m going to pick a book I own and have already read and put it here. Hopefully, I don’t run out anytime soon…but I might. 

This week I’m going to start with the first Patrick Ness book I read, thanks to Caidyn, and it’s the reason I fell in love with his writing. This certainly isn’t the first book of his I’ve talked about here and it likely won’t be the last. 

Without further ado, I present…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls cover

I know I’ve probably told this story a lot, but basically, Caidyn recommended this book to me and I’m forever grateful. It is beautiful and it broke me. It jump-started my love for Patrick Ness, one that has only grown as I’ve read more of his books. I saw the movie earlier this year, and by that I mean I paid money to go see it in the theater because I wanted to see it so much and I think I ended up being a bit disappointed. Ultimately, I don’t think it had the emotional impact the book had on me and as much as I wanted it replicated, it didn’t happen. If you’ve never read the book, you might enjoy the movie, but I’d recommend sticking with the book. It’s illustrated beautifully and I don’t know what else I can say about it. Just go read it. 

Goodreads Book Tag

A long, long time ago, Emma tagged us (technically she didn’t tag us but she tagged everyone and we are doing it) in this lovely tag that’s centered around Goodreads. Given that the both of us are rather active on Goodreads — or try to be — we’ve decided to take part in the tag!

She’s super funny and great and I, Caidyn, am a bit intimidated by her since she’s great, but you guys should check her out! Whenever I read the titles of her posts or any of her things, I wind up laughing and agreeing with her, even if I still disagree in the end.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


1. What was the last book you marked as “read”?

The last book I marked as read was Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. For me, it was a re-read. Perhaps it’s an unpopular book, but I think it’s fantastic. Chantel and I will be doing a joint review of this and To Kill a Mockingbird since we accidentally read them both at the same time without meaning to. But, the last book I read, haven’t marked it as finished just yet, was The Grip of It by Jac Jemc. Seriously, one of the best horror books I’ve read this year. Highly recommend it.

The last book I marked as read was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was one of those instances where I read this book in school and then years later loved it. I see why this book is such a classic and it’s a beautiful book about growing up and facing hard realities. If you haven’t read this book outside of school, go read it. You might have a new appreciation for the story. 

Last minute update, actually it was Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. 

2. What are you currently reading?

Many, many books. Idyll Threats, The Song of Achilles, and The Temptation of Dragons are a few singular reads. Then, for 2018, I’m trying to read all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. And, I’ve also been reading for the past two years the Bible. I’m planning on buying myself the Inclusivity Bible and starting over since the version I’m reading isn’t working for me.

Oh goodness, I hate this question because my currently reading shelf is my shame right now. I’m reading Go Set a Watchman, Zealot, and Idyll Threats. Caidyn have a lot of overlap this month with our reading, and that was by accident. However, the worst part of this all is I haven’t even started The Song of Achilles, (YES I HAVE. I’M ON PAGE 15!) the book we chose for the BW Book Club and the shame is real. Especially because I have two other books I want to read now. 

3. What was the last book you marked as TBR?

Circe by Madeline Miller! I was looking at what other books she’s written, besides The Song of Achilles, and added it since I thought it looked super interesting. Plus, I’m adoring her writing style so I want more.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I’ve heard multiple booktubers talk this book and how good it is, so I finally broke down and added it to my to-read list. It’s not a top priority, but I’m sure I’ll get to it one day. 

4. What book do you plan to read next?

Man, I have seven books out from the library, plus a ton of ARCs and then books I’ve gotten through book subscriptions and things I’ve bought. I have more books than I know what to do with. However, the book I really want to read next is Red Sister by Mark Lawrence.

I hate this question. Seriously. Other than The Song of Achilles, I’d really like to start The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera. I requested for my library to buy the physical copy of this book and I finally picked it up today. Needless to say, I’m super stoked about this book. It’s about queer ladies within a fantasy setting, which is 100% my thing.

5. Do you use the star rating system?

Yep! I do. I think their system really works well for me… minus not having half-star options because that’s ridiculous. Sometimes, books are better than three stars (I liked it) but not to the four-star (I really liked it) range.

Absolutely! [insert complaint about the lack of half star ratings]. I love it. 

6. Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?

Again, yes! I challenged myself to read 100 books and, at the moment, I’m at 156 books. The only reason I get so much reading done is because I count the books I DNF towards my goal and listen to tons of audiobooks.

This is the first time I’ve done a reading challenge and I had to increase the number of books read when I realized I was going to meet my original goal. I increased it to 24 and currently I have read 37 books. I don’t count books I’ve DNFed but I’ve only DNFed two books this year. 

7. Do you have a wishlist?

I have a wishlist that is severely old on Goodreads. I’m not good at updating it at all. But, I have a slightly more updated Amazon wishlist where you can buy me stuff if you want for books. You guys can buy me stuff and I would not object, but I also know how it feels to not have tons of money and don’t waste your money on me.

Nope. I use Amazon exclusively for my books wishlist. I’ll link it here, but don’t feel any obligation to buy me anything. 

8. What book do you plan to buy next?

My Christmas present to myself is going to be the Lockwood & Co. series. I’ve read all of them and don’t own them. So, with the Amazon gift cards, I expect to get this year, I’m going to get them for myself.

Well, since it’s getting close to the end of the year I will probably preorder Beneath the Sugar Sky soon, other than that I probably won’t buy any more books until after I’ve finished Christmas shopping. It feels so good to give. 

9. Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

Yes. I do have a lot of favorite quotes. You can find my quotes here on Goodreads, but I will put in a few of my favorites.

  • “I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” – Brian Selznick
  • “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “How guilt refined the method of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime.” – Ian McEwan
  • “I am haunted by humans.” – Markus Zusak
  • “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King
  • “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only can remember to turn on the light.” – Dumbledore/JKR

My quotes section is seriously lacking. I want to add a ton from To Kill a Mockingbird and Down Among the Sticks and Bones, but I want to share one from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. 

“I wish I had a hundred years, she said, very quietly. A hundred years I could give to you.” —Patrick Ness 

And my heart breaks. 

10. Who are your favorite authors?

Too many, dammit.

  • JKR
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Stephen King
  • Shakespeare
  • Reza Aslan
  • Mark Lawrence

Speaking of Patrick Ness…yes, he is my favorite author and I will read anything he comes out with. In fact, it’s tragic that I haven’t already read everything he’s written and I hope to remedy that soon. I also want to shout out JKR because she is Kween…except when she’s disputing fan theories and her approving Cursed Child. What kind of shit was that JRK?! Sorry, sorry, I’m cool. 

11. Have you joined any groups?

Yes, I have joined groups, but I’m really bad at keeping up with reading and communicating and all that. So, I’m a member, but I don’t do anything with it.

I think I joined one group, but I’m not active at all in it. Sorry!


Okay, so there’s that! We don’t really believe in tagging people (just because by the time we get to something, everyone else has been tagged). If you want to do this, please do and have fun!

To Kill a Mockingbird/Go Set a Watchman Discussion

The first time I read this book, I was in 10th grade, so about 15 — Jesus that was six years ago now. It was a book that we all knew that we were going to read that year. I mean, it was the book you read in 10th grade no matter what in my school district. A student teacher taught us the book. She annoyed me, so the book annoyed me. I grudgingly liked the book, just because I liked it and I didn’t want to like it because the teacher liked it. Not a good motto to have, but oh well. I missed a ton of things the first time I read it and I wasn’t old enough to get the rest of it.

The most prominent theme of this book is the metaphorical death of childhood. I mean, that’s how I interpret the title and the big saying that’s put down once. A sin to kill a mockingbird. To me (and many other literary analysts), the mockingbird represents childhood. And, furthermore, the death of childhood is learning the realities of life.

One of those realities is prejudice. This book presents it in many ways; religion, race, and class are the big ones. Kids are so innocent and unknowing that they don’t understand what they say when they’re parroting what other kids or adults have said around them. I mean, I remember the first time I got in trouble for saying something that could be construed as racist. I was about six or seven. And it was the last time I said anything like that. Kids also have a blind faith that people are good and that adults are right.

Adults are seen through a child’s lens. Especially Atticus. He’s all good, all loyal, all correct. I always think of Oscar Wilde’s quote about parents with Atticus — and most other books with parents as main characters with their kids telling the story: “Children begin by loving their parents; after time they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” Scout sees him as a child does, which is far different than Jean Louise, the woman she becomes in Go Set a Watchman.

I feel like To Kill a Mockingbird has been read by most people who have gone to a public school in America in the last fifty years. I also read this in school. I honestly couldn’t tell you what grade I was in because I don’t remember, and it’s very possible that when I read this in school I didn’t finish it. That’s what I did with 1984 by George Orwell because let’s be honest, reading for class sucks. I decided to finally read To Kill a Mockingbird again because I wanted to see if my thoughts on the book had changed at all. Oh boy, did they. This book is incredible and I wish I had appreciated it more when I first read it.

I listened to the audiobook of Mockingbird because I knew the story. Oftentimes I tune out during audiobooks and that’s the main reason I don’t listen to them often. That being said, I don’t regret listening to the audiobook at all. I’d probably listen to it again because Sissy Spacek is the perfect narrator for this book. If you don’t know who she is, that’s fine, she’s an actress but she read this perfectly. I would highly recommend.

There are three characters I really clung to Scout, the mouthy girl who did what she wanted and gave no shits, Jem, her older brother who had no trouble bossing her around even if she could beat him up, and Dill, the pathological liar who visited them every summer. Honestly, Scout and Dill were my favorites. I loved that Scout rebelled against the gender roles that were being forced upon her. Instead of wearing a dress, she wore overalls and went out to play in the mud. She had an unconventional upbringing and Scout never doubts that she’s doing anything wrong except with her various encounters with Aunt Alexandra who constantly berates her for not being a proper lady. This is a war that frankly, Alexandra is going to lose, Scout is stubborn and set in her ways. She will only change if she wants to. Not under the influence of someone else. My main point to this was that Scout was influenced by her peers and her father most of all. Atticus was very determined to instill values in his children, and he wanted to make sure that he could practice what he preached.

Throughout the book, the myth of Boo Radley follows the three children through the summers as they get more and more curious about the mysterious person who lives down the street. They tell tall tales and turn Boo into a legend rather than see him as a person who never comes outside. This is something children do. When they don’t know the truth about something, they make things up. More than anything, this is a coming of age story and I think that it’s beautiful. Telling the story from the point of view of a child is the reason this book is a classic.

Deep within this coming of age story is a tragedy as well. We see racism from the eyes of a child, someone who doesn’t understand the concept or why it exists. Instead, slurs are thrown around without any thought to how harmful and hateful those words are. However, the biggest example of racism, I believe, comes in the tragedy of Tom Robinson. He is accused of rape by the Ewells. Now, the Ewells are not looked upon favorably in the community of Maycomb and yet, Tom is convicted of this crime despite Atticus’s attempt to discredit the Ewells (which he does) and prove that Tom is incapable of doing the crime (which he was). Unfortunately, despite Atticus’s best effort, Tom is found guilty even when he’s not. It’s a serious injustice that, believe it or not, still goes on today. In addition to that stab in the gut, we are told a story later (that I doubt the truth of), that Tom tried to escape from jail and as a result, he was shot and killed. If he had lost the appeal of the case, he would’ve been sentenced to death for his crime. However, the point is the system failed him because twelve white men did not believe him. The result of the trial upsets Scout and Jem considerably because of the injustice of it all. Their father made sure they knew that those who spat insults at them were wrong. In their eyes, Atticus was a hero.

I’d like to focus on another hero, however. I felt the end where Boo saved Scout and Jem was just a wonderful way to end the story. Finally, Boo materialized in front of them, and Scout specifically saw him as a person. He was no longer a myth or a legend. When Boo asks her to walk him home, my heart did jumping jacks. It was such a sweet moment. He had just saved Scout and Jem from a man who was trying to kill them and was a hero for doing such but he also needed Scout’s strength in that moment. It was a gut punch for me when after that, Scout says that she never saw him again, and then starts to picture things from his point of view echoing what Atticus had told her before. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand them. It’s a lesson I think we are taught, especially at a young age, to not judge someone so quickly. Which is something I think we could benefit in our time, in this moment.

Most people focus on Atticus as the hero — which I agree that he is in this book, but I don’t want us to discuss him yet until we have the full context of the story through Go Set a Watchman — but I like that you bring Boo in. He’s a childhood myth, a legend, the person who has tons of things said about him but no one really knows. I’m not shy about saying that I grew up in a small town. I think that, currently, we have maybe 20,000 people living here. Tops. And, I’ve lived in the neighborhood I was raised in since I was about five. We have someone like Boo Radley who lives there.

The rumor growing up was that he killed his daughter. If I remember right, that is. He killed his daughter and, maybe, her boyfriend and went to jail and is a dangerous recluse. He very rarely leaves the house and he used to be a huge part of a very social neighborhood. It was years later that I found out that he had (again if I remember right) killed someone accidentally in a fight. He had gone to jail for a short time, but that was it.

I could go into great depths about the concept of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, but I know I got emotional at the end of the book because of how beautifully it was described. Lee really captured the transition from childhood to adulthood in one single swoop. You suddenly realize it and see it as very separate from who you are now.

As for Tom Robinson’s case, I don’t see that much has changed from then to now. These miscarriages of justice happen often, as we’re finding out. However, the racism in it has changed. It’s not so overt as it was back then. It’s harder to find, but still present.

Considering that we are seeing the world through the eyes of a young girl, Atticus is absolutely the hero of the story. Scout and Jem idolize him and everything he’s taught them. Then there’s Tom Robinson’s trial which we see him working very hard to prove his innocence. When it ultimately fails, we don’t look at Atticus for the failure. Instead, we blame the system and the jury for their conviction. Atticus did all he could and still, Tom was found guilty.

The unfortunate thing about reading this book in 2017 is how little things have changed when it comes to racism. It hasn’t gone away. I also thought it was interesting that rape was the crime Tom was charged for. I definitely got concerned that there might be some sort of shaming of the girl, that she was asking for it, and that she deserved it. However, it was more than Atticus was discrediting her word rather than insisting it happened and it was consensual. It’s one of those delicate topics and it’s such a huge deal now because women and men aren’t believed when they accuse someone of sexual assault or rape. I wonder if Lee chose rape intentionally because that included the harshest punishment for a black man.

Atticus’ defense of Tom Robinson came down to his ability to actually do the crime, not that she was wrong or lying or anything. Technically, she was lying, but he didn’t take the defense that most defense lawyers do. I think that he wouldn’t have taken the case if he had, to be honest. And, I agree that rape was purposefully chosen. She could have taken murder, but that would have probably ended up in a lynch mob right away. Rape, to me, seems to tie into childhood as well. A type of new adulthood with Scout understanding it.

Exactly. He was trying to prove that it was impossible for Tom Robinson to do the crime, but the blame wasn’t shifted to her. I felt almost as if it was very deliberate and very careful that Atticus chose that as his defense instead of calling her a liar. I remember a passage where it’s mentioned that rape carries a sentence of death, and I thought that was pretty shocking for that time, but I wonder if that was exclusive to this situation. As in, a black man rapes a white woman so he is sentenced to death. I don’t know anything about Alabama law, but I feel like that sentence might not have carried as much weight if it hadn’t been a black man on trial.

I don’t think so. I want to say that it wasn’t until the 60s or 70s that rape was taken off as a death sentence punishment in some cases. Black men were more likely to get it than white, sure, but it was open for everyone. I do think that Atticus was the hero, but I don’t think that his choice to try it came down to him being anti-racism. He was more about justice, as we’ve found out from Go Set a Watchman.

Wonder why that was changed. It was just a thought, but again it was just a guess. I think it’s true that Atticus took the case because he knew Tom was innocent, not because he was a black man. He would’ve defended anyone he thought was innocent and felt it was most important to get justice. That’s probably why he didn’t seem concerned about what people thought about him. They likely knew what he truly believed and that once this case was over, he wouldn’t change in his views. Scout saw her father through rose-colored glasses for her whole life until she turned twenty-six and found out that her father wasn’t the epitome of anti-racism she thought.

I think that’s Atticus’ obsession. Keep things fair and just. You can see that in his racist perspective. I mean, it’s so paternalistic and benevolent. Just like there’s a difference with sexism between hostile and benevolent, there’s a difference with racism. He wants it to all be just. One quote that really stood out to me from TKaM was one that Atticus said at the end of the book:

“Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him… if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet his eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout because they’re all I’ve got.”

Am I the only one who really takes that quote and spins it in a new way for Watchman? I feel that Watchman is all about this quote in some ways. He’s lost something for Scout/Jean Louise. He can’t look her square in the face and his worry is coming true thanks to the revelation that he’s, well, a racist.

I think that quote says a lot about him especially in the context of Go Set a Watchman where we all come to the realization that he’s a racist when nobody else but Jean Louise is surprised. I find it very interesting that in Go Set a Watchman Atticus wins the case instead of Tom Robinson being convicted and ultimately dying. I thought that was an interesting change because he wins the case, he gets justice, and yet I feel like that doesn’t ultimately change anything. Jean Louise would still be pissed off if she found out her father was a racist no matter what happened then. I think the end of Watchman is very upsetting when Jean Louise is just yelling at him and slamming him for his views on race and he’s just so calm as if he expected this to happen one day. Then she leaves and all he says is, “I love you,” because he doesn’t want to lose her but if she’s going to walk away those are going to be his last words to her. At least, that was the way I interpreted it, but I can’t imagine that was easy for him and I think he understood how she was feeling.

The change Lee made to have Atticus lose the case was a very good choice. It’s more realistic for what would have happened. But, he’d probably have been lynched anyways. I think that she’s so shocked because, as her uncle told her, she confused her conscience and morality with Atticus’. And then Atticus became God. And then she had to destroy him to actually form a relationship with him as a person. Which is what she does now, and it is true. Atticus will love her forever and that whole scene where she was just reaming into him is so hard to read. It caused me acute pain since we’ve all had those moments with our parents, haven’t we? Where we just want to shout and make them understand how wrong they are. Atticus saw this coming.

I absolutely agree. I think Mockingbird is far more compelling because Atticus lost the case. In Watchman, there is a brief mention of the case and that Atticus won but we never hear anything more about Tom Robinson. In both scenarios, it’s likely very true that he ends up dying which is just heartbreaking. Especially because we are led to believe that he is innocent. There is nothing that says otherwise. In order to have a true relationship with her father, it’s important that she knows who he is. We can accept that he’s a racist and a segregationist, but he’s still a good person. I know that’s very hard to think about and say in a time filled with black and white perspectives, but it’s true. Just because Atticus has views that I completely disagree with, doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a good person. I think Jean Louise has to recognize that and she does. Her relationship with her father and Maycomb as a whole change because she finally sees it and him for who they are.

If Atticus won, Tom likely would have still been lynched. I agree that it’s heartbreaking, but it’s the reality of the situation. Deep South in the 30s. What I disagree with you about is that Atticus is a good man. He’s done good things, but he still doesn’t want a section of the population to succeed in life because “they [white people] have given them enough already.” That’s what Atticus’ mindset is. However, I think that he’s like most people: A mix of good and bad. A human who has beliefs that are good and bad. And, Jean Louise does have to be that. She always thought that Maycomb wasn’t great, but now she sees that her father is a product of how he was raised. He was raised there and had that racist perspective around him, although his was better/more palatable. Jean Louise was raised in a house that wasn’t racist and taught people to love others. She just didn’t realize that this stopped at black people having the same opportunities white people did.

I also failed to mention that Atticus is proud of Jean Louise for coming to her own opinion on race and segregation and standing up for those views. I think that shows that he knew this was inevitable and was likely why he didn’t fight back with her. On the subject of Tom, I agree. I, unfortunately, think his fate was sealed the moment he was accused. The people of Maycomb didn’t care one way or the other. However, we as the audience through Scout’s perspective see them as the Other. As different from her family when it turns out they aren’t so different from the people they are surrounded by. I struggle to see Atticus as a bad person, and that’s why I said he was a good person. Perhaps that’s just me falling into the trap that people have to be one or the other. I don’t deny that he is a mix of both, but I felt he was written as a likable character because, despite his beliefs, I came out of Watchman still liking him as a person. This is despite the fact that if I lived in his lifetime, he would’ve thought of me as lesser. Is that because of the skewed point of view we got in Mockingbird, probably, but I still think he is a great character and a complex person.

I don’t struggle to see Atticus as a good person, but I struggle like you to see him as bad. However, I think he’s morally grey. Like all of us. He is a likable character, someone to admire. Even when you don’t admire him for his beliefs after Watchman, you can still admire him for allowing Jean Louise to form her own opinions even though he keeps his own. Or, perhaps, he’ll listen to her and change his mind. We don’t know, do we? All we know is that Jean Louise accepts him for who he is and loves him for being her father. I gain more of an appreciation for him in Watchman, although I keep the rose-tinted glasses of Mockingbird.

I think that’s the point, that Jean Louise accepts him horrible views and all, and that’s completely normal. We don’t choose our family and Atticus is in his 70’s, I think, so he’s likely not going to change, but Jean Louise might be able to change Hank’s mind and if she ever had children, she would teach them differently. I will always choose Mockingbird over Watchman, but I appreciate the discussions that came from Watchman. But why did she have to kill Jem?

See, I don’t see Hank (Jean Louise’s boyfriend for those reading this without any knowledge) as a racist. He’s only voting and going to those things for approval, but he doesn’t believe them himself. But, Atticus probably wouldn’t change his mind and they’d have to deal with it. I don’t know why she killed Jem!! I was so damn distressed over that one. Mainly because I forgot.

I would agree that Hank isn’t a racist, but he’s not willing to stand up for his beliefs and I understand why. He doesn’t want to be further ostracized, but it’s possible that could change if Jean Louise ended up marrying him. Which I have no idea whether that would happen or not, but I know that if she had any children she would instill values in them that she herself believes in. It’s really hard to change someone’s mind period, but especially if they are constantly surrounded by validation that their views are correct. Killing Jem was just cruel. Maybe the dynamic of the book would’ve been different with him around, but at least we have fond memories of him in Mockingbird.

He’s trash, so why be black-loving trash as well? I still am on the fence about whether she’ll stay in Maycomb. I don’t think she’d be able to do it, no matter how much she loves Atticus or Hank. I think that Dr. Finch, their uncle, filled Jem’s role in this. And having a much older person who knew Atticus was almost better than the bias of an older brother who lived with you. Jean Louise might not have listened to him as she did her uncle. And, what do you think of Aunt Alexandra?

She repeats over and over that she can’t beat them but she won’t join them and I think she’ll stick to that. It’s very likely that she’ll go back to New York when her time is up. I get that. She doesn’t fit in and I’d argue she never fit in. She was always meant to move away and I think that suits her. Dr. Finch, other than slapping the shit out of Jean Louise, provided some great advice in the end. I would agree that she had someone else who knew Atticus all his life to put things in perspective for her. Aunt Alexandra sucks. She’s very closed-minded, but a product of her time and age I suppose.

Dr. Finch was probably my favorite character. He also took Atticus’ role, honestly. And Aunt Alexandra totally is a mix between the prim southern woman and the oddities that the other Finch’s are. And, I still don’t know if she really buys some of the things she says or believes. Perhaps she’s trying to fit in since, as they repeated in both books, she was all about keeping the Finch name good and proper.

Scout/Jean Louise was still my favorite character in both books. I do wish that Watchman had been completely in first person perspective, but as it was basically a draft I don’t mind as much. Aunt Alexandra just got on my nerves, but I think ultimately she meant well. I think we both agreed that the scene with Calpurnia, the maid who raised the Finch children, in Watchman was heartbreaking.

I agree with you. She’s a great character no matter what age while Aunt Alexandra grates on you no matter what. Cal is another amazing character that doesn’t get analyzed nearly as much as she should. I mean, she is black, probably knew what Atticus thought deep down, and she raised those kids herself. And she still loved them, even though there was the power play based into the relationship.

I absolutely agree that Cal probably knew what Atticus really thought and I think it’s interesting that she stayed around so long, likely for Scout and Jem. I know it mentions in Watchman that she was devastated when Jem died. I think it’s very likely they spent more time with Calpurnia when they were children than their own father. She was the only motherly figure they had since their mother died. It was just really sad for her to shut Jean Louise out when she reached out to her even though I understand it. She was always an Other in their house and not part of the family.

Cal was their mom, honestly. Aunt Alexandra tried to replace that, but obviously couldn’t. Perhaps why Scout/Jean Louise has such empathy for black people. She was raised by one. If she had been raised by Aunt Alexandra from the start or her mother hadn’t died, it would be different. I can’t blame Cal for doing that, just like you. The racism in the town was getting worse and Atticus was at the center, the most prominent and respected individual in the town saying it’s okay to keep her and her grandchildren from reaching their full potential.

I agree. It would’ve been a lot different if Aunt Alexandra had raised them since they were small, but she didn’t. Cal did and I think it absolutely shaped Scout and Jem, even if Jem died young, I think that sometimes having someone close to you that is different than you helps you have empathy for them. It was telling how Jean Louise went to Cal after hearing about her grandson, and she went there to see if she was okay. But she wasn’t and I’m sure it hurt very much that Atticus was taking a stand against her and her family.

I thought it was interesting that the only reason why Atticus did help Cal – even slightly – was because Jean Louise was there. Did you catch that, too? Hank started saying that he thought Atticus told him that they weren’t going to help blacks anymore and Atticus shut him up because Jean Louise was there.

I actually missed that slip-up. I do think it’s odd now that I look back on it. It makes a lot of sense that he would change his tune now that Jean Louise was around. It makes sense that he would try and keep up the illusion for her.

Which makes me think that he already knew she had a differing opinion than him on this. And that the inevitable moment where they part beliefs (or supposed beliefs) was going to happen.

I agree with you. I think Watchman provides a good look at what Harper Lee’s original intentions were and how she viewed Atticus at the time. However, I’m so glad Mockingbird was the ultimate result.

As am I, although I’m happy that the manuscript was published so we could see the full view of the story.

Autumn Book Tag

While we didn’t get tagged in this book, we saw that someone we follow, Melanie at meltotheany, did this tag and we decided it would be fun to do it as well! This tag was created by seelieknight and we technically weren’t tagged in this, but oh well!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


1. Best autumnal themed book cover?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really paid attention to autumnal themed covers, to be quite honest. There’s a certain fall color scheme, I know, but I just love The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

The Graveyard Book

Uhh, nothing really comes to mind. Hang on, let me rummage through my shelves. Okay, back. Now, this might be cheating because these are two of the same book and they aren’t the original covers, but I don’t care. I chose the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff 20th anniversary paperback copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Also, what’s more Autumny/Wintery than thinking about sitting by the fire in one of the Hogwarts common rooms?


2. Which fictional friend group would you trust with a Ouija board?

This is a toss-up for me between Harry, Ron, and Hermione or Luna, Ginny, and Neville. I don’t know who would be more fun to do it with, but I think that the latter group. Luna would be hilarious as always. Ginny would be holding everyone together. Neville would be reacting as only Neville does.

I’ve never touched a Ouija board before and I don’t think I ever will, but for this hypothetical situation, I choose Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie from Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. Charlie would likely be really into it, Taylor would be freaking out, and Jamie would be acting all cool. Also, name a better trio. I’m waiting. 

3. Which book setting would you love to be celebrating in during Halloween night?

Yes, Harry Potter again. Dude, they have a fucking feast. And everything seems to go wrong then so that’d be fun to be a part of.

So, this might be blasphemy, but I don’t like Halloween. Ever since high school, I haven’t celebrated it, but I would probably choose Red London from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. We might not have enjoyed the series, more blasphemy, but that world is fucking magical and I want to be a part of it no matter what time of year.

4. Best autumnal food description inside of a story?

Totally Harry Potter. I had pumpkin juice while I was at Universal Studios and it was 100% fantastic.

I don’t fucking know. I’m gonna be lame and say Harry Potter too. That’s the only book where I can actually think of food. It’s definitely not something I focus on when reading.

5. Which fictional character would you dress as?

I dressed up as fictional characters all my life. I have a fantastic picture of me in a Stuart Little costume that looks like I’m out of some kind of horror movie. But, I don’t exactly dress up anymore. I’d love to dress up (in this theoretical world) as Dorian Gray with his portrait.

Eleven from Stranger Things. 

tumblr_static_john_tea

Oh? Is Stranger Things not a book? I didn’t see anything specifying books. 

Also…

eleven punk

Isn’t this the best outfit ever? She’s my fucking hero. 

6. An antagonist you would pledge your allegiance to?

Jorg Arancrath hands down. Completely pledge myself to him.

Uhh, next question. 

7. The creepiest book you’ve ever read?

I’ve read so many creepy books that I can’t think of just one. Most of them are Stephen King. IT, The Shining, and Misery really got me freaked out, though.

I don’t read creepy books. I don’t like creepy things. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. 

8. A book you’ve yet to read but will read this October?

I’m planning on finishing up the Lockwood & Co. series, but I also really want to read a cultural history of horror movies, The Monster Show by David J. Skal.

October is over, yo! I will change to November and say, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. It’s at the top of my next to read list.

9. Which fictional character would you put in charge of the decorations for a Halloween party?

Mrs. Weasley. She’d be utterly fantastic, wouldn’t she? Then, let’s toss Fred and George in since they’d also probably make it super awesome as well. 

I wouldn’t go to a Halloween party. If I had to choose, I’d pick Prince Rhy from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab because he’d make it extravagant and fantastic. 

First Lines Friday

Another week is gone and we are getting closer and closer to the end of the year. It’s nice to have a constant on our blog so that no matter what we always do First Lines Friday. If nothing else, we at least have content coming out once a week. We’ve got some great things coming up, and Caidyn has created a survey to involve you guys in helping us choose our books for the BW Book Club next year. We appreciate any and all feedback you guys might have for us.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Also, for the rest of this month, I’m going to provide the link to our poll if you haven’t taken it yet. This is us trying to be better for you guys and so you can see more things you’d like to. Click here to take it!

Chantel will be in purple. 

Caidyn will be in blue. 


I wake up. 

Immediately I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body – opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp. 

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else. 

It has always been like this. 


This week I have chosen a book I have read and recently hauled. It’s a book I enjoyed at the time I read it, but I don’t know how I feel about it now. It does feature a unique queer character which makes things more interesting. Also, I just found this out, but this book is going to be adapted into a film. That should be interesting. 

Were you able to guess it? If not, that’s okay. 

My choice this week was…

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day cover

When I first read this book, it was a roller coaster ride. I really enjoyed this in the moment and it was really well written. I believe if I re-read the book, my issue would be with the fact that A, our main character, basically stalks this girl they met. The one-sided romance likely wouldn’t be as compelling now. I was far more interested in A’s story and the day to day they experience. If you’ve noticed, I’m using gender-neutral pronouns because A doesn’t have a set gender. Instead, they are in a different body each day, but they still retain their personality. I’m not sure if that will translate well into a film, but we’ll see. 


It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.


Yes, just one line. Amazing, right? I’m being succinct with my choice. Plus, if I added more, I’d have to go into more depth and it would wind up being too long. I think the first line is an amazing hook, anyways.

This author has grown increasingly more popular as he’s published more. For the past few years, his books have gotten to the semi-finals in the fantasy category. His first series caused a lot of controversy, and he’s currently one of my favorite authors. Both Chantel and I have read his stuff. So… what is the book?

It is….

RED SISTER BY MARK LAWRENCE

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

I adore Mark Lawrence. He’s definitely a favorite author and this is the first book in his newest series. It was published the day after my birthday last year. (The next book is being published on my birthday in 2018.) This is his first book in a brand new universe and his first female MC. It’s gotten tons of rave reviews and I’m going to get to reading this soon.

OMG This Song Book Tag

I hope this tag is fun for everyone. I first saw this tag on Youtube where creators would lipsync the songs and play them. We aren’t lipsyncing on here, but we’ll post playlists to the songs we talk about. At least Chantel will. Oi, I (Caidyn) will, too. Well, not a playlist but I’ll put links around.

I, Chantel, saw this tag on Cece’s channel ProblemsofaBookNerd. Do I talk about her too much? Don’t care, she’s fantastic. I’ll link the video here if you want to check it out, it’s a lot of fun and will give you an idea of what the tag is like. The tag was created by Katesbookdate on Youtube, here is the original video.

Note: We will not be tagging anyone because we don’t usually do that anyway, but if you do the tag let us know!

The format of this tag is to pick a song and a book for each prompt. If there are no more formalities, let’s get started!

Chantel will be in purple.

Caidyn will be in blue. 


1. MY JAM – a song you MUST listen to every time it comes on, no matter how old or how many times you’ve listened to it / a book you’ll never get sick of

Is it cheating to do Harry Potter? Because that’s the book I just never get sick of. The song, however, is a bit tougher. I have tons of songs that I have like that, but the one I’m doing is actually related in a very abstract way to Harry Potter. When I was a kid (aka, like, 12-13) I watched videos called Harry Potter Idol. There’s a single one like the show is and then duet. The song I’m picking is in the duet section. 4ever by The Veronicas. I just can’t not listen. I also adore the song Bodyline by Peaches.

Song: Africa by Toto, Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith

 

I might go as far to say that Africa by Toto is my favorite 80’s song ever. It’s so good and has great vocals even if I don’t always know what they are saying. On the other hand, Latch features the angelic vocals of Sam Smith and has an electronic sound to it. It’s not a genre of music I normally listen to, but having Sam Smith there makes it great. 

Book: I don’t re-read books often. Says the person who has re-read three books recently. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s the book I’ve re-read the most. 

2. THROWBACK – a song that reminds you of the cringest time of your life / a book that also reminds you of this time (or just something you wouldn’t like as much if you picked it up for the first time now)

Twilight. I actually liked that book when it first came out. It wasn’t a terrible book. I actually reread it and thought it was decent for what it was. I’ve read far worse books since then. Another song that links in with it is A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. I actually can’t listen to that song. I refuse to anymore. If it comes on, I will actively change it because it just puts me back in a mindset I don’t like and don’t want to relive.

Song: Teardrops on My Guitar by Taylor Swift 

Taylor Swift Albums Taylor Swift Credit: Big Machine

Taylor Swift is legit the only artist I get embarrassed about admitting I listen to. Seriously, I will own up to listening to old school Britney Spears before I admit to listening to Tswizzle but believe me when she finally released her music on Spotify I was stoked. I picked this song because it was the song I listened to when I was going through baby lesbian angst.

Book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I feel like this doesn’t need an explanation. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as I did when I read it. I mean, I’d definitely not cry now if I read it. When I watched the movie, I thought it was so meh. I definitely feel bad saying that about a book featuring teens with cancer. Sorry, everyone.

3. REPLAY – a recent song you have on repeat right now / a recent favorite book

Right now I have Lady Gaga’s recent album playing on repeat, but I suppose I can pick some songs off it. Warning: Some of them are inappropriate for young ears. A-YO, John Wayne, Dancin’ In Circles, Come to Mama, Hey Girl. A recent favorite book, though. Hm… I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Song: Electric Lady by Janelle Monae, Style by Taylor Swift, Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King

 

I don’t have much to say about these songs, but I wanted to include a few songs that aren’t as popular perhaps. And a Taylor Swift song. All three of these songs are upbeat and a lot of fun for me. 

Book: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

As of me writing this post, I believe this is the last book I gave five stars and I just love the Wayward Children series so much. I love this book and I will push it on everyone. Just go read it.

4. GETS ME – this song IS ME / this book is me in book form

The most recent song I’ve identified as me is Save Myself by Ed Sheeran. I just connected deeply with it the first time I heard it, then promptly relistened to it a million more times to dissect it and yeah. It reminds me a lot of myself and how I am. As for the book, that’s a bit harder since I don’t actively identify myself in books. I save that for TV shows and movies. But… IT? I don’t know.

Song: Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen

Queen_Jazz

If you’ve never listened to a Queen song, what are you doing with your life? Queen is such a great band and this song is fun and inspiring. It inspires me to be a lot more confident than I actually am. 

Book: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

This book was a favorite of mine this year. It was about three friends who go to a con. Taylor, one of the main characters has anxiety, especially in large crowds. While I don’t have two best friends to go with me, I go to comic cons as well despite feeling nervous around crowds. Plus it’s geeky and fun. Which is me.

5. WUT – weird but I like it? – a unique book that stuck out to you for whatever reason

So, the song for this one is one that I will listen on repeat for ages. And that’s saying something since the song is about 9 minutes long. The Mariner’s Revenge Song by The Decemberists is my choice for the song. It’s so weird, but it’s a classic song and actually has a damn good story, in the style of a sea chanty. The book I’m choosing is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It’s so unique and weird and just perfect.

Song: Come Sail Away by Stix

Styx_-_The_Grand_Illusion.jpg

This song is popular and well known, but it’s about aliens and that cracks me up. Only in the 70’s would a song like this be popular. 

Book: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness is my favorite author. There is no question about it. This book is a total mind fuck and goes in several directions I wasn’t expecting. It’s by far the most unusual book I’ve ever read.

6. LET’S GO – best pump up song (for workouts or just life) – a book that inspired you

I hate exercising, but to get myself pumped up for the day (when needed) I have two go-to’s. The Pirate of the Caribbean theme or Queen of Peace by Florence + the Machine. As for the book that inspires me, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

Song: Pumpin’ Blood by NONONO

nonono_album14

Confession time: When I first heard this song, I thought they were saying Pumpkin Blood. Which makes total sense, right? No. Once I found out what they were really saying, I fell in love with this song. It’s a song about being alive, and sometimes you need a reminder of that when you are having a shit day. 

Book: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

This is extremely difficult because I couldn’t think of anything right away. I haven’t had a book strongly inspire me to do anything. I chose Everything Leads to You because it was a book I read earlier this year which encouraged me to actively read more LGBTQ+ books. I’ve said this before, but when I was a teenager there wasn’t a lot of LGBTQ+ books and I had to seek them out as if they were a dirty secret. This is despite my mom being super accepting of me and living in a liberal city. However, now LGBTQ+ books are everywhere in YA and are even being made into movies. So, I am definitely absorbing as many of those books as I can to make up for what I lacked as a teenager. 


7. CHILL – fav chill, relaxing song / a book you’d curl up with and read on a rainy day

One song that I love to listen to for relaxing is Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It’s an old song, but a goodie and is super sweet and relaxes me. As for the book, I curl up and read many books on rainy days. So, I don’t have one book, but a general genre and author. I love reading mystery books on rainy days. Especially mysteries set in rainy, English towns. Like Agatha Christie.

Song: Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae cover

This is such a beautiful song (and video) and it’s so subtle and relaxing. Just go listen. I don’t know how much more I can say about it. 

Book: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

I love this book. It’s about two princesses falling in love and that’s a story I want to curl up by a fire and read on a cold winter day. 

8. ADDICTING – guilty pleasure song – one that’s catchy and addicting but not a whole lot of substance / guilty pleasure/trashy/fast/light read

Let’s just say it quick, like ripping a band-aid off. Look What You Made Me Do by Taylor Swift. There. I said it. I’m not a fanboy of hers, but I think that she’s a good artist at times. And I don’t exactly feel guilty about it. However, I don’t really read books that are guilty pleasures. The only thing I read of fast reads are plays, and usually, that’s me listening to them at work.

Song: Careless Whisper by George Michael

george-michael-careless-whisper-album-cover-54772.jpeg

Let’s be clear, I don’t feel guilty about the music I listen to (except Taylor Swift) because I listen to such a wide variety of music, but George Michael has said that he doesn’t understand why people love this song. I think it’s a great fucking song and it only fits here. Dat sax tho.

Book: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Once again, I don’t get embarrassed about the books I read because that’s ridiculous. I picked this book because when I read it, I read it fast and went through all the feels. I haven’t re-read it, and I probably won’t. But there ya go. 

9. NOSTALGIA – throwback you look back on fondly / a book you read forever ago that you look back on fondly or reminds you of a happy childhood time

I was a huge emo kid, so I absolutely adore Green Day, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco, etc. American Idiot, Helena, Thnks fr th Mmrs, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, etc. I love them and if I want to rock out, I go for my tested and true emo bands. However, I just don’t remember books that I read when I was young. I mean, I know I read a lot. Just can’t remember books. So, the closest I can say is Harry Potter since I have tons of memories from those books.

Song: Blueside by Rooney, Pieces by The Bridges

 

These are probably the most obscure songs on here despite Blueside being featured in The Princess Diaries. Briefly. However, I fell in love with Rooney and their concert was the first I ever went to. I was under 18 so I couldn’t stay for the whole concert, but that same concert was when I first heard The Bridges which is another obscure band. They only had one album, but I thought they were great. Pieces is their biggest hit, but that whole album is fantastic. I actually wrote a ten-page essay on that album and that was pushing the page limit. 

Book: Kristy’s Great Idea (The Babysitter’s Club #1) by Ann M. Martin

I read these books when I was in middle school, not all of them as there are well over 100, but a good majority of them. They were all I read for a long time. They were definitely a part of me growing up and I just read one book after the other. Each book taking the POV of a different member of the Babysitter’s Club. There was even a movie I was obsessed with, but that’s another story. 

Richard III by William Shakespeare

Chantel’s Rating – 3 / 5
Caidyn’s Rating – 5 / 5

This month for the BW Book Club, Caidyn assigned me to read King Richard III or as I have dubbed him, King Dicky. Dicky for short. I won’t lie and say I didn’t struggle with this play because I did. I fully believe Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read, that said I’m not knocking off stars because of the format. This whole play revolves around Dicky’s assent to the throne and the horrible things he does in order to become King. Shakespeare is great at writing morally gray or in this case amoral characters. There is Iago in Othello, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth, Prospero in The Tempest, and I’m sure there are plenty of others I didn’t mention because I haven’t read every play by Shakespeare. Richard is devious, manipulative, and a bit funny. There was a lot of asides to the audience. Plus the actor reading his part in the audiobook did a great job. I am looking forward to watching Benedict Cumberbatch portray him in The Hollow Crown.

Benedict Cumberbatch wink

It’s been too long since I used this gif.

 

However, this play is one in a series of plays. I’m not sure of the exact order, I’m sure Caidyn will fill me in, but the play begins in the aftermath of a murder. I didn’t realize right away that things had happened with these characters in a previous play. It left me with no context of what was going on. By the end of Act One, I think I understood, but I wish I had the opportunity to read the previous plays first. Just so I could’ve understood things better.

I think a combination of a struggle to grasp plot points and the fact that I don’t like reading about a villain who gets his way more often than not, that caused me to not enjoy the play as much as I would’ve liked. Dicky was the best part of the play and he was my favorite part, but I felt like he deserved a bigger downfall. I think watching The Hollow Crown and re-reading this play at some point might one day bring my rating higher, but for now, I think it was a solid three. It was good but didn’t move me.

Well, Chantel sort of asked me for history, so here goes. Sparknotes also has a context section for this play. This set play is a part of Shakespeare’s minor quartet (Henry VI Part 1-3 and this one). However, the story really starts with his major quartet: Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and 2, and Henry V. It even starts further back, with Edward III. Now, E3 (I love my abbreviations) had a lot of sons. One son was Edward, the Black Prince. He died with a young son, Richard, who became Richard II (R2). R2 was, perhaps, not the best king because of his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, deposed him and became Henry IV (H4). His son, Henry V, died soon after having an heir, so England was ruled by a boy king, Henry VI (H6). These are the Lancasters or the red roses. Then, there was a rebellion from the heirs of E3’s fifth son, the Yorks. They took the throne, starting with Edward IV (E4) and then dear Dicky.

However, this play also introduces the Tudor lineage. H6’s mom got married to Owen Tudor, a Welsh man. They had three children together, but only one is super important. Edmund Tudor married an illegitimate line of E3’s son, Margaret Beaufort. Then, they had Henry Tudor, cousin to H6. After Dicky got the throne and he killed all contenders, he only had Henry left. Henry beat him at the Battle of Bosworth and took the throne as Henry VII, marrying E4’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, to marry the two feuding lines.
So, that’s the history in a nutshell. And what this play is. It culminates to historical propaganda to show why the Tudors are rightful rulers, even though they had been on the throne for a century by the time this was written.

That is really interesting actually. Did he write the quartets to please Queen Elizabeth I? I believe she was a big fan of his works, were they written with her in mind despite her, a Tudor, being on the throne?

I researched this real fast (thanks, Google) to see what has already been written about this. I’m using this post and also Wiki for some info. Turns out that this focuses on a character (and real person) I didn’t mention. H7’s father, Edmund, died before he was born. I’m resisting a tangent here, but his mother, Margaret Beaufort, remarried a few times. One man was Thomas Stanley, who is a part of this play. His son (H7’s stepbrother) was being held by Dicky to ensure Stanley’s help. But, he didn’t and after Dicky was killed, he crowned H7… in the play. Really, it was his younger brother, William Stanley, who crowned H7 on the battlefield.

Ferdinando Stanley, a direct heir of Thomas Stanley, was Shakespeare’s patron. Not only that, but he was also a relative of Henry VIII through Henry’s sister’s marriage to Charles Brandon. (Yes, Chantel, the guy you loved in The Tudors.)

 

Charles Brandon Tudors.gif

Because he was so dreamy.

  

So, the short answer is yes. Yes, he had to write these with her in mind, but more importantly were his direct patrons who might be pissed about him writing something that might praise Dicky.

That blog post was very interesting and really it makes sense to me. Perhaps he didn’t have E1 completely in mind when writing the play, but the people who had the most to gain from twisting the story. It reminds me of how films get made. You have a studio which you pitch your script to, but once they finance the movie, they can make creative decisions that you might not be okay with. There are many people who are picking at your story to have it fit their agendas. Things haven’t changed much in that sense. I mean, just look at Blade Runner. There are multiple cuts of that film because of Ridley Scott fighting to have the film HE wanted to make and the studio making the decisions without him. Sorry (not sorry), film tangent.

I’ve learned to expect your film tangents, but you are correct. It’s a system of patronage. Now, Ridley Scott is seen as a genius and he can do whatever the fuck he wants with a story to tell it in his way. It’s interesting, all of it. And I think it does make sense for the play Elizabeth I wasn’t the one in Shakespeare’s mind, but she was on the mind of his patron. What’s the best way to get in good favor with a very, very picky queen (as E1 was known to be with her favorites)? Talk about her grandfather pioneered over the devil incarnate. Shakespeare also wrote a play called Henry VIII and only took place when Anne Boleyn was queen. Didn’t go further, but it eulogized her from what I remember.

Exactly, but before he could release the final cut of Blade Runner, the cut he personally approved of as the definitive one, he had to go along with whatever the studio wanted. That’s something that hasn’t changed and likely won’t. The people with the money are the ones who ultimately have control. No matter what it is. I can only imagine how it feels to have someone look at your creation and tell you to change many parts of it. I know that happens in film, tv, and even books. It would bug the hell out of me. I’m not surprised that Shakespeare had to cater to his audience, which in the case of dear Dicky was his patrons and the queen. I had heard in my class that when James took the throne, he didn’t like long plays which is why his later plays are shorter. That’s just something my teacher said in class, but plays like Macbeth and The Tempest are shorter than say, Hamlet. But I think everything is shorter than Hamlet. I always think about the four-hour long movie Kenneth Branagh made.

I don’t really know things like that, honestly. I’m not too interested in the Stuart reign, funny enough, but I should look more into it. Shakespeare definitely had to cater to his audience since he was dependent on them. I just love this play, even if it is horrific propaganda against a guy who might not be terrible. Yes, his brother got slandered. Yes, his nephews disappeared and were never found again. But, it could have been other people making the plots. I don’t quite believe that since Dicky ended up on top, but I also don’t think he was a demon.

I’m not here to provide facts, just witty commentary. I have no clue if that’s true, but I just thought it was interesting. No matter who was on the throne, Shakespeare had to cater to them somehow in some ways because you are right that he was dependant on them. So, basically, you are saying Dicky is just a modern biopic. Not completely accurate, but hella entertaining.

I’m not a film nerd like you so I don’t really know what biopics are, but sure. This is like some reality TV for me. Just stuff that’s insane and you can’t believe happened. It’s true historically, but Shakespeare took liberties to portray a very one-sided view of Dicky.

A biopic is a movie that’s a biography of someone’s life. It’s either “based on a true story” or based on a book written about the subject. Some examples are The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, The King’s Speech and Elizabeth. I could go on.

Oh, okay. Gotcha. Then, this is a biopic. It’s based on it but definitely has an angle and a moral point you ought to take from it. Aka, that Dicky is evil and the devil and deserved what he got.

Looks like we are both dropping knowledge here. I could say a biopic that takes liberties in terms of Dicky, but let’s be honest, they all take liberties. They are creating a product meant for entertainment, someone’s life is usually not consistently entertaining unless they are Forrest Gump. Who is a fictional character. But yes, Dicky is awful and he got what he deserved. A moral that I feel is common in Shakespeare.

Uhm, excuse you, but Forrest Gump was a very real person who met and did all of those things. Very, very real. Shakespeare does make great villains, but their ultimate drive seems to usually be getting themselves ahead. Iago is like that. Prospero, although he’s not supposed to be a villain, is a lot like one. Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. The list could go on and on.

Oh, my apologies, I’m certain that the “real” Forrest Gump worked for NASA as an astronaut too. That was in the book, not the movie. Also, you totally forgot about the Macbeths. They both are haunted by their guilt of what they did and it is ultimately their downfall.

That’s true, the Macbeths are different, but it’s also a little different since Macbeth wasn’t inherently evil like Dicky or Iago. Lady Macbeth is also different since she’s a woman and he’s playing on a woman usurping her “feminine” role in life and how she suddenly came back to it with extreme guilt for “being” a man.

Yes, they actually feel guilty for doing what they did, unlike Dicky or Iago. That’s true. I just lumped them in because they had their own separate downfalls as a result of them wanting to rise to power. But there is a lot more nuance to the Macbeths, which is what makes the play so great. After one reading of Dicky, I have to say that Macbeth is far superior as a play, but that’s just me.

I think what it comes down to is that fate and destiny play a defining role. Macbeth, while not inherently evil like Dicky, was destined to do this terrible thing. Dicky was destined from birth to be evil forever. I like Macbeth and it’s my favorite of his tragedies, but I like this one just a bit better because of the richness of analysis. Macbeth is also a history, in a way, but different. This one takes a bit more work because it relies on you knowing the ins and out of history.

And for me, it required so much thinking that my brain hurt. I prefer easy reading.

I’m sorry I made your head hurt this month.

First Lines Friday

The first Friday of November! Which means only one thing in Chantel’s world: PEPPERMINT MOCHAS! How fantastic? The countdown has started for us Americans until Thanksgiving, and Caidyn knows that Chantel’s super excited about it since she loves any holiday that features food.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Chantel will be in purple.
Caidyn will be in blue.


She picked me up at sunset in that ancient lime green Ford Galaxie she’d rebuilt and painted two summers earlier when she was into cars. It came around the corner like it’d busted out of an old movie. She sat there behind the wheel, leaning her elbow on the door frame. There was a lit cigarette between her lips. She wore a white men’s T-shirt and her hair was pinned up, but not with any accuracy. Every time I’d seen her since we’d left high school her glasses were a different color. This pair had pink lenses and red circular frames.

“Get in, ya mope,” she said.

“What’s up, Maggie?”

As I slid into the front seat, she leaned over and kissed me. I gave her a hug. When I’d turned to her, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there were two twelve packs of beer on the backseat.


Not exactly a thrilling start to a book, but it sets some sort of stage for the book. Kind of. Okay, not really. 

The book is:

THE TWILIGHT PARIAH BY JEFFERY FORD

The Twilight Pariah

I got this book through my September box at PageHabit. I wrote in my initial part that I wasn’t too excited for this book since someone I trust who reads a lot of horror said that this wasn’t too great. As of right now, I’m actually, like, over halfway into the book and, let me tell you, it’s not impressing me all that much.


The war with Rome begins not with a clang of swords but with the lick of a dagger drawn from an assassin’s cloak.


Boy, that was a long one, wasn’t it? I didn’t continue on because I think this line stands out on its own just fine. 

This book was one that Caidyn recommended to me, and in my rush to finish the Shakespeare plays at the end of October, I’ve sadly been neglecting it. Now, I just have to divide my time between three novels and I have one that I plan on reading soon that I’m super excited about. 

This is also a non-fiction book and if you know me at all, you know I’m not good with non-fiction, but this book is very interesting so far. 

The choice is: 

Zealot by Reza Aslan

Aslan sketch_10.indd

This is an unusual book for me to read. One, because it’s non-fiction and two because it’s about Jesus. This book portrays Jesus as a historical figure rather than a biblical one and also gives the history of the time he lived in. I find that pretty interesting despite my aversion to anything religious. I mean, it’s okay to broaden my horizons sometimes. Sometimes. It’s nice to see you branching out. Seriously. When we first met, she was super against anything religious and I’m sure we argued a few times about things, with her taking an anti-religion stance while I took the pro-religion stance to point out the good things. I plan on getting her to read more in the future. Almost two years of knowing each other and I’ve finally gotten one book in. The first quote stood out to me because more than anything, I find Aslan to be a compelling storyteller and that first line could’ve been from an exciting fictional novel. There is plenty more of that in this book and I look forward to reading/listening to more of it. 

 

October Wrap-Up/Book Haul and November Planning

October has come and gone. The rest of the year is going to fly by and soon it will be 2018. It is terrifying how fast time flies. Anyway, Chantel is excited to stuff her face on Thanksgiving.

This month for the book club, we assigned each other our favorite Shakespeare play that isn’t Macbeth. We both love Macbeth, but we wanted to assign each other two different plays. Caidyn (and Chantel) read The Tempest and Chantel read Richard III. Our reviews should be up by now, or if they aren’t, keep an eye out. In November, for the BW Book Club, we will be reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Also, not book related but we binged both seasons of Stranger Things and it was excellent. Hopper is bae.

Hopper bae.gif

We spent a lot of time watching this.

Chantel will be in purple. 

Caidyn will be in blue. 


I AM GOING FIRST. MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Take that! Yeah, yeah. That’s because I have to read a book still and write two reviews. No need to get salty. Yas Kween.

So, in October, I read a LOT. Not only did I make up for the fact that I read diddly squat in September, but I read more than I have in any other month since we started this blog…or ever. I participated in my first readathon which was the GetGraphic readathon, which was a readathon for graphic novels. All of the graphic novels I read featured queer characters and/or dealt with queer themes. In total, I read 10 books. I will break them down by rating and link to my reviews of each except the readathon wrap up which is linked here

5 Stars: 

  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – Holy shit you guys, this book was fantastic. I was so pleased with this book that I am eagerly waiting for the release of Beneath the Sugar Sky
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash (*4.5) – This was a great start to the GetGraphic readathon. I flew through this graphic novel about summer camp and first loves, it really took me back. 

4 Stars: 

  • Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee – I thought this book was totally adorable. There are some great superhero themed books with queer main characters. It’s the only reason I’m reading superhero books because it’s not my genre. If you haven’t read this, go check it out, it’s got an adorable f/f romance and is a lot of fun. 
  • The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier (Illustrator) – This graphic novel was just a bunch of fun and even with the slightly confusing sci-fi elements, I still enjoyed it. 
  • Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill – This was a short graphic novel I read before the readathon. It was about 50 pages and was about two young princesses that subvert typical fairy tale tropes. TAKE NOTES, DISNEY!

3 Stars: 

  • The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (*3.5) – This is a huge graphic novel series about gods that live on Earth that I’m just getting around to (like Saga) and this first volume was intriguing and I will keep reading just based on this first volume. 
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (*3.5) – This graphic novel ultimately disappointed me. I thought the portrayal of depression was well done, but in the end, I was left wanting more. 
  • The Spire by Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely (Illustrations), Andre May (Colorist) – This graphic novel was bizarre and a bit hard to follow, but in the end, I enjoyed that it featured a queer main character with an interesting twist at the end. 
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare – Ultimately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did when I first read it. There were some gorgeous lines. However, I wasn’t a fan of the different plots and wasn’t invested in any except Prospero’s story. 
  • King Richard III by William Shakespeare – I thought King Dicky himself was compelling, but this is a play that will take multiple reads for me to fully grasp. 

Book Haul

In addition to participating in the readathon early this month, that same weekend I volunteered and shopped at a huge book sale. There I bought several books and outside of that I bought a few books and received one directly from the author. 

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan, Every Day by David Levithan, and Ash by Melinda Lo

img_1391

I’m lumping the three of these together because I got them at the book sale and they all have LGBTQIA+ themes. I’ve read Empress of the World and Every Day, and I’ve wanted to read Ash for a long time now. 

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

This book is gorgeous, even without the dust jacket. I don’t know anything about this book, and if I was going to read a book purely based on looks it would be this one. 

Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari, Eric Klinenberg

img_1402

I listened to this audiobook earlier in the year (or maybe last year) before we started the blog, and I absolutely loved it. Aziz has such a great narrating voice and the book read like a podcast. I really enjoyed this book and now I have a physical copy to add to my collection because I’d like to pick it up again at some point. 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

img_1396

I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book before. *gasp* SHOCKER, I know. I don’t like mystery, but if I am going to dive into mystery novels (ones without Thomas Lynch that is) I might as well start with the Kween of Mystery. 

giphy

Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Richard III by William Shakespeare, and The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Here are the three new editions of Hamlet, The Tempest, and Richard III that I bought this month. Not that I needed them, as I have two complete collections, but I couldn’t resist Hamlet and Richard III which were TWO DOLLARS at the book sale. I was in love with the cover of The Tempest so when I saw it at Barnes & Noble, I picked it up. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

img_1393

Speaking of things I found at Barnes & Noble I couldn’t resist (seriously though, I made two separate trips there this month and it’s not good for my wallet), I got this leather bound version of Dracula. Though it has a scratch on the cover (oops) it’s still one of the most gorgeous books I own. 

Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle and Idyll Fears by Stephanie Gayleimg_1406

I’m lumping these together because they are by the same author in the same book series. Idyll Threats is the first novel in the Thomas Lynch series and Idyll Fears is the second which came out in September. 

Now, onto story time. Near the beginning of the month, I got Idyll Fears from the library and I’m stoked to start reading it because I’ve been waiting for the second book for about a year now. Maybe longer. So, I include the first lines of Idyll Fears in First Lines Friday, and to my surprise, Stephanie Gayle reached out to me. She offered to send me a free copy of the book and as you can see, she signed it. This is by far the coolest thing that’s happened to me in a long time and I’m incredibly grateful to her for sending me the book. I’ve now gone back to re-read Idyll Threats first because I wanted to refresh my memory. Or you know, it’s just a shameless attempt to read more about Thomas Lynch. 

It was actually super cool since we have a joint email for this account, so I watched the whole thing unfold. Like, I’m pretty sure that I texted Chantel in all caps about how she needed to look at the email right at that second and I didn’t care what she was doing. Super cool to see. I mean, I get emails or messages from authors requesting me to read ARCs, but never an author who wanted to send me a signed book just because I gushed about it.

As I talked about last month, I’m not going off of a TBR anymore and just reading whatever I wish. The only exception is whatever book Caidyn and I choose for the BW Book Club, but I am so far enjoying just picking up any book I want. My only issue right now is I’m in the middle of three different books. Two of them are audiobooks, which doesn’t make things any easier. I hope to finish them all before the end of November just so my Currently Reading shelf isn’t so clogged up. 


Okay, here I am. Doing this.

Like usual, I read a lot, so I’m actually going to break it up like Chantel did since that’s really succinct and easy for you guys.

5 stars:

4 stars:

3 stars:

2 stars:

As for books I’m going to read, I do have a list. Because I get ARCs and requests. Other than the three listed below, I’m going to read what I feel like and/or what library books I get!

Okay, now my book haul!

For one, I got myself the newest illustrated edition of Harry Potter! It’s beautiful and the colors are just amazing with it. Which is absolutely gorgeous and I’m totally jealous of.

Next, I bought a couple new copies of books that I love, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities.

 

I also bought a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. My excuse is using it for a project, but, really, I wanted to own it and that was enough of a justification for me.

20171022_183809

And, then I bought a ton of random books.

I suppose that I should go through them, though. The top book is from the one Twitter user that I actually pay attention to, and it’s a satirical Henry VIII and he published a “self-help” book. The one next to it is by an author I read and used in a paper about Katherine Howard, but he wrote about various English queens from 1308-1485 in this book. Next, is a book on Napoleon’s first wife. The next is on a topic called the Dreyfus Affair that showcased French anti-Semitism. The next book sounds hilarious since it’s about the failing of modern men. The last book is all about medieval warfare, so right up my alley.