//How To Fall (Back) In Love With Reading//

Short answer: pick up a book and just read it because OMG THE COVERS ARE SO PRETTY AND THE BEST FEELING EVER IS WHEN YOU GET EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO FICTIONAL CHARACTERS (except from when/if they die) AND START TO IMAGINE YOURSELF LIVING IN THEIR FICTIONAL WORLD (totally not referring to a certain poplar ~magical~ realm here…).

But for some people, falling in love (or back in love with reading, as I’m sure there are others out there who fall in and out of phases of reading ALL THE BOOKS then not reading much at all. as I tend to do) with reading – and therefore books – isn’t so easy (*sighs* what a miserable life that must be…) so here’s a longer, more helpful answer!

Try out different genres.

It took me ages to work out what genres of books I like – in fact I’m probably still trying to figure it out now! Finding the right genre for you can be hard, and often requires you to read a variety of books of various genres, some you’ll find will interest you, others will not. But once you’ve found a book that you do love, explore other books in that genre. Sometimes I go off reading for a while because I’ve spent a lot of time just reading books from a particular genre. It’s easy to forget that there are other genres out there when you’ve had your head stuck in various historical fiction books for months for example (as happens to me often) so sometimes trying a new genre can help you get into reading again. And you never know, you may discover a new genre that interests you on your quest back to loving reading!

Visit book stores.

This sounds pretty obvious, but never underestimate the power of a trip to a good book store. Seeing shelves upon shelves of shiny, colourful covers, each enclosing their own unique, exciting stories, waiting to be discovered always makes me fall back in love with books and if you’re new to reading, or haven’t been a big reader in the past, then book stores are a great place to start! The sheer multitude of books available in bookstores means you’re BOUND to find something that catches your interest, so don’t be afraid to spend time browsing through the books on offer and finding a story that interests you.

Make use of your local library.

Libraries can seem very daunting at first. I mean, there are stacks and stacks of books and everyone seems to look very purposeful in a library, knowing exactly which shelves to go to, picking up the first book they see, and leaving within the space of 5 minutes. But take your time to look around and explore all the FREE books that are on offer to you. The great thing about libraries is that you can borrow, and read, the books, without paying anything so then if you end up not liking the book, you haven’t wasted your money on it. I’d also suggest to take a look at your libraries website, where you can search for books and see which libraries have them on the shelves and place reservations on books you’d like to read but are not currently at your library – the library will then deliver these to your local library for you to pick up. If your library doesn’t happen to have the book you want to read, then you can request the library service to buy it, so you and others can enjoy that book.

Use Goodreads.

Goodreads is amazing. I only started using it properly a few months ago and I’m so glad I did! It as many wonderful features that help you discover new books and keep you motivated to read. For example you can display which book you are currently reading and update your progress on that book as your reading it. It really motivates me to keep up my reading, even if it’s just to see the little progress bar move along.

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My ‘currently reading’.

You can also set yourself a goal of a set amount of books to read in the year. This year I set myself 20 books, as I started pretty late through the year, and I’ve currently read 11 – I’m reading the 12th at the moment and bought two books last weekend, which will make my total up to 14 once I’ve read them. I’m determined to reach my goal by the end of the year and set myself a higher target for next year! As I mentioned previously, Goodreads is great for finding new books. You can select the genres you are interested in, and Goodreads will recommend you books based on those genres and books you’ve already read.

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Some of Goodread’s recommendations for me.

I also find the listopia feature quite useful. You can, for example, type ‘young adult dystopia’ into the search bar, click the ‘listopia’ tab, and it was show you lists have of ‘young adult dystopia’ books,ranked in order of popularity.

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A YA dystopia list.

Goodreads also allows you to rate and review books, as well as reading others reviews. I always find it intriguing to read my friends reviews of books and see how they felt about them. Okay, that’s enough about Goodreads for now. I could ramble on about it FOREVER. It’s just so amazing.

Use Amazon’s book store.

I tend to use Amazon’s book store more than Goodreads for finding new books, purely because I find their filtering options more specific.

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Amazon’s book store homepage.

As you can see, there are various different genres on the left side bar. When you click on a genre, it then displays a variety of sub genres so you can narrow down your search for books as much as you want and it will then list the results for you.

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Young Adult sub categories.

Another thing I love about Amazon’s book store, is that you can order your search in order of publication date, meaning that it will show you a list of books starting with upcoming releases (up to two years in advance) so you can plan which books you want to pre-order/read in the future.

As with Goodreads, Amazon also shows you reviews of the books, although I personally prefer the reviewing system on Goodreads. What I find useful about Amazon though, is that it tells you the prices of the books and you can buy them straight from there.

I tend to use both Amazon and Goodreads in conjuction with eachother – I look for new books on Amazon, then add them to my ‘to read’ shelf in Goodreads, so I can keep track of all the books I want to read easily.

Part of falling in love – or back in love – with reading is discovering new books, so I’d highly recommend both Goodreads and Amazon’s Books Store for this. Obviously there are various other bookstores where you can discover new books on their website, which is handy if your prefer to buy books in stores, instead of online, but my personal favourites are these too.

I hope I’ve given you some useful tips about falling in love with reading. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them below!

 

//The Amsterdam Book Tag//

The awesome Michelle from The Writing Hufflepuff created The Amsterdam Book Tag and, although I am not a book blogger myself, I do love to read books so was excited to take part!

Why Do We Have So Many Cheese Stores In One Street: A Cheesy Read.

Although I don’t tend to pick up a book that I think will be cheesy (okay I love cheese but cheesy books aren’t really my thing (anymore)), I admit I did read the Gallagher Girls series a few years ago and found that to be quite cheesy (especially the romance) – I think I only read the first four books which I enjoyed at the time but it’s not something I’d read now.

Canal Parade: A Book That Celebrates The LGBT Community.

Okay so I haven’t *technically* read any books specifically with an LGBT theme which I REALLY. NEED. TO. CHANGE. But if you read my post about discovering sexuality a few months ago, you’ll know that (argh I don’t know what I’m trying to say/how to word it) basically I haven’t been interested in (?)/ involved with sexuality and the LGBT community for an overly long time so haven’t had the chance to explore the world of LGBT in fiction (but I definitely want to so if anyone has any recommendations I’d be grateful)! However whilst doing some research earlier I discovered that Albus Dumbledore was gay and fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald (I feel like a bad Potterhead for not spotting this whilst reading the books) so although that is a tenuous link, I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter Series for now. 🙂

Anne Frank House: A Book That Made You Cry.

I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever full-on cried whilst reading a book (although there have been times where I’ve been VERY CLOSE to crying *cough cough* CURSED CHILD!!) but I’ve definitely cried internally a lot of times whilst reading. I’m going to have to go with The Book Thief because there is just a whole lot of sadness in that book (it is still one of my favourite books though so don’t let he sadness put you off).

Red White Blue: Recreate The Dutch Flag Using Books.

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The stripes are different thicknesses but I love all three of these books so wanted to use them!

Museum Square: An Artsy Book.

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I even took an artsy photo of the book to make it even more eligible for this category (ok I took this for another blog post but still)

I haven’t read any fictional artsy books (at least I don’t think I have *glares at bookcase to try to find an artsy book* – my memory is really bad when it comes to books and remembering things) so I’ll go with LEGO Harry Potter: Building The Magical World. It’s basically a timeline of the development of LEGO Harry Potter and also explains how they come up with the designs for the LEGO sets and ‘build the magical world’, as well as how they made the video games so it’s kind of artsy, right?

Pigeons, Pigeons Everywhere: An Annoying Character.

I have to say there is probably at least one character in every book I’ve read that annoys me – which I suppose is a sign of good writing on the authors part as they can portray there characters in a way that makes the readers dislike them, which is probably harder than it is to get readers to like characters. I’m going to go with Ender’s Game though as I didn’t feel as if I could connect to any of the characters really and just found most of them relatively annoying.

I’m tagging:

Kira, ZinebElly and Janet. 🙂

//Celebrating Harry Potter Day//

*DO NOT FEAR, THERE ARE NO CURSED CHILD SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG POST*

So yesterday, as you will probably know (if not you have most likely been living under a rock for the past few weeks) was Harry Potter Day for a number of reasons.

1. It was Harry Potter’s birthday.

2. It was the fabulous J.K.Rowling’s birthday – the author of the series I grew up with.

3. It was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book release day.

In true wizarding fashion (ok I’m not a wizard but I really, really want to be), I celebrated this magical day by drinking butterbeer. Me and my sister spent the afternoon making homemade butterbeer which was actually surprisingly easy despite the fact we were thoroughly confused most of the time and worrying that we’d mess it up somehow. Luckily we didn’t and the butterbeer turned out to be delicious. It was sweet and creamy and everything I’d hoped it would be, even if it was homemade and not the actual drink you can buy from the studio tour in London and universal studios in Orlando. Obviously I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take photos of the butterbeer.


When I was buying the ingredients for the butterbeer earlier in the day, I couldn’t help but notice the huge stand of Cursed Child books at the front of the store. Before then, I hadn’t been planning on getting Cursed Child for a while yet – I would have probably asked for it for my birthday in a few months – but I got caught up in the Harry Potter hype and, as my sister pointed out, it probably wouldn’t be sold this cheaply again.

It was definitely the easiest time I’ve ever parted with my money. Even though I probably needed that money for the Comic Con I’m going to in a few weeks, I knew I wouldn’t regret it. And, 24 hours later, after having read both parts of the Cursed Child script – probably the fastest I’ve read a book in my life – I definitely do not regret it.

This is probably the first time I’ve really been able to experience the Harry Potter hype. I mean, I’ve been watching the films for as long as I remember but because I hadn’t really seriously got into Harry Potter until a few years ago, I never got to experience watching the films in the cinema as soon as they were released, surrounded by an audience of fellow Potterheads. As far as the books go, I did have some of the books as a child, well my mum did, but I have no idea if she bought them when they were released or not and I hadn’t read them properly until a few years ago. I did however go to the Deathly Hallows book release at the local supermarket where I entered a dressing-up competition and won a copy of the book. But, me being me, I stupidly gave the book to a friend a few years later because I was very young and didn’t realise how much I’d get into Harry Potter as a teen.

If there’s one thing I regret about my childhood, it’s that I was very late in getting into Harry Potter so I missed out on all the film and book releases that happened whilst I was growing up. I wish I could have experienced the hype and excitement that the Harry Potter fandom experienced during this time which is why I’m glad I had that opportunity with Cursed Child and will hopefully be able to experience it again with the release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them film later on in the year.

So, that was how I celebrated on Harry Potter Day – how did you celebrate? Have you read Cursed Child yet and if so what did you think? (Please don’t leave any spoilers in the comments).

//Booooooksssssss//

So, as you can tell from the title, this post is going to be about books. It’s a bit different to what I usually post about (whatever that may be) but right now I’m sat on my bedroom floor, staring at my bookcase and can’t think of anything better to blog about.

Books are very important to me. I’ve been reading for a loooong time. I think as I gradually learnt to read better throughout primary school, my interest in the world of books grew and grew. And now? Now I love books.

I think reading books is such a wonderful thing to do because not only can you ‘escape’ reality and become a part of any fictional realm you choose, reading also helps you develop your vocabularly and general understanding of language.

Before I started blogging, I was sort of embarassed about reading I guess because I didn’t know anyone else my age who actually read books. But then I discovered the world of book bloggers, and, although I’m not one myself, I’m really glad I found actual teenagers who like books and reading.

So, today I thought I’d share with you my all-time favourite books!

The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, Michael Morpurgo.

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I read this book at school when I was about 8/9. We read it as a class and spent lessons going over the book and learning about the era it is set in, WW2. I remember loving this book do much that I asked for it for Christmas so I could read it again and again and again. This book, although it is a little too childish for me now, is still very special as it introduced me to Michael Morpurgo and the world of historical fiction. Now I have about 10-12 Michael Morpurgo books, mainly set in the world war’s, all of which made me fall deeply in love with historical fiction as a genre. Now I’m exploring the wider-world of historical fiction but I will always be grateful for Michael Morpurgo and this book for introducing me to this amazing genre!

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak.

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I remember picking up this book when I was wandering around town one day as it was on sale and I’d heard about (probably because the movie came out that year). Anyway as soon as I started reading it, I fell in love with Zusak’s writing style and the way the book is narrated from Death’s point of view. Also, this book is set in Germany and in case you didn’t know by now, I am in love with Germany and German culture so would never miss a chance to read more about it. Although the book has a sad ending, it does put the horrors and unfairness of Nazi Germany into perspective and offer a unique view of life in Germany in that era. After reading the book I bought the film and was definitely not disappointed – the film really does do the book justice. I highly recommend The Book Thief – both novel and film – especially if you are studying Nazi Germany for your History exams. I read this book and the following book as ‘revision’ for my History exams last year because the factual content is excellent and reading a novel helps to put everything into perspective and makes it more relatable than reading from a textbook.

Ausländer, Paul Dowswell.

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This book is actually what made me start blogging. Believe it or not, a year ago on Monday, I created a blog so I could share book reviews and recommendations of YA historical fiction but…I wasn’t cut out to be a book blogger so the next day I deleted the blog and made a ‘personal’ blog. So…yeah, I guess I have a lot to thank this book for! If I hadn’t had decided to order this book (plus the next book I will talk about and Hitler’s Angel) from Amazon because it was the spring holidays and I didn’t have any books to read, I may have never started blogging – imagine that! Anyway, this book, along with The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and is composed of just the right balance of factual content and original storyline. Again I highly recommend reading this if you are studying Nazi Germany, it is a really good book for a break in revision and Paul Dowswell is quickly becoming my favourite author.

Sektion 20, Paul Dowswell.

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This book isn’t set in either if the world wars (which in case you haven’t noticed is my favourite era of history) but set in the Cold War – an area of history I didn’t know anything about so I was a little wary of it but considering this book (and the last one for that matter) are set in Berlin and I had recently returned home from my Berlin trip with school, I thought I’d give it a try. After reading it, I am dying to learn more about the Cold War and I have found a new era of history that interests me so that’s good! A few months ago I watched a TV series called Deutschland 83 which was set in the Cold War and told the story of an East German border guard who was forced to become a spy in West Germany in order for his mother to have a kidney transplant. Although the story line does get a bit odd what with the main character cheating on his pregnant girlfriend (who also happens to be cheating on him) and multiple messy deaths, the series was really interesting and thrilling and I can’t wait to find out if there will be a sequel!! The programme was in German with English subtitles which made me love it even more, plus the main character is pretty damn attractive:

 

 

This post got so side-tracked, oops!

Wolf by Wolf, Ryan Graudin.

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Finally, this is my latest purchase that I have fallen in love with. I first saw a review of this book over on Samantha’s blog and after reading it, I though I NEED THIS. So, I asked for ot for my birthday and once I got it, I read it within a few days, which is unusual for me. Although this book is an alternate historical fiction so isn’t based entirely on facts, I was still hooked on it – the plot and the characters are just marvelous. I highly recommend this to anyone who wonders what may have happened if the Nazi’s had won WW2. It really is an interesting read and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Blood for Blood when it comes out later in the year (although I know ARCs have been sent out so anyone who has one is VERY lucky and I may be a tiny bit jealous!!).

Anyway, so that is my top 5 all-time favourites. All of which come under the historical fiction genre and 4 out of 5 of them are set in Germany (I KEEP WRITING HERMANY – SOMEONE SAVE ME). I don’t know many people my age who are really into historical fiction so sorry if this post wasn’t interesting to you! However I still recommend that you give historical fiction a chance because it is probably not what you expect!

Phew, this post has taken me like two hours spread across today and yesterday to write because my family keep interrupting my blogging and today is my mum’s birthday so it’s been a little hectic with family visiting and making a cake last minute (like literally 30 minutes ago, I still haven’t iced it yet).

Also on Wednesday I had a crazy day with friends – first my family friends came round for lunch and we played a lot of board games and, as is our tradition, did an Easter egg hunt around the garden (we still haven’t found one of the eggs!) even though we are all teenagers and perhaps a little too old for it!

Then in the evening I went to a friends house with 3 other friends  and the five of us had a movie and pizza night (although we only watched half an hour of the film before getting distracted and running around the house playing hide and seek – who says teenagers can’t act like kids sometimes?). We all were crazily hyper and ended up sending blind text messages to our friend who is on holiday (who thought we were all drunk) because most of the messages looked like this: hoskw jhows aew tou oboow foh ae wkk.

It was honestly the best night I have had in ages! It just goes to show teenagers don’t need alcohol to have a good time – although many of my classmates would disagree with me I’m sure.

So, that’s my week so far – how has your week been?

There are THREE DAYS until my blogoversary and I can’t wait for you guys to hear the voice recording I made!!! 🙂

Bye!