Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Most Memorable Opening Lines of All Time

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books, but one thing that always remains memorable to me are intriguing opening lines. Sometimes they’re funny, super serious, or in one way or another end up snagging my attention. For today’s post, I thought I’d share eight of my favorite opening lines with you. It was so hard to narrow this list down because there are so many great ones, but I hope you enjoy those I’ve found pretty darn memorable. Let’s get into it then, shall we?

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

“There is blood under my fingernails.”

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

“There was a demon in McDonald’s.”

“Spontaneity is overrated.”

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I found him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.”

“I’ve read many more books than you.”

“I have just taken an overly large bite of iced bun when Callum slices his finger off.”

There you have it, folks – eight fabulous opening lines that, I’m just now realizing, happen to come from books I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Did one of your favorites not make the list? Drop it in the comments below! There are seriously SO MANY hooks that are sure to pull all of us avid readers in from the start.

Until next time! May the rest of your week be filled with all the books 😊

-Sarah

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

My Favorite “In General” YA Tropes

Howdy, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! If you’ve been following for a while now, you know that my love for YA books knows no bounds. Part of why I love this category of literature is because there are certain trends that pop up again and again in these works – no matter how different the pieces may be – that keep me coming back for more. Today, I’m going to share some of the tropes I come across all the time that I can’t help but love!

1) Kick-Butt Female Lead

This trope comes up SO MUCH in YA that I really did think I was going to get tired of it… but I really haven’t! I always think it’s so awesome when writers make their female leads just a tough if not stronger than their male leads. I also appreciate when these strong females aren’t just physically strong, but also have some evident mental toughness to them as well, which in many novels they need just to survive the circumstances they’re put in.

2) Epic Battle Montages

Let’s face it: the vast majority of us can hardly walk on a flat surface without tripping, much less wield a sword like a complete BOSS. There’s something so exhilarating about reading novels that have characters throwing down when they need to, and watching those moments play out over the course of even just a few chapters is always such a blast for me (even when I am also equally as terrified that my fav characters are going to be killed off in said battle scenes).

3) The Dark and Mysterious Male Lead

Haters gonna hate, but this has to be one of my favorite tropes of all time. While any character with a mysterious past intrigues me, those male leads that are super quiet, dark, and maybe even a little creepy are always quick to draw me in. I love watching their stories unravel as the novel goes on, and even though I’m no detective, I always have so much fun guessing what the heck happened to these guys that made them so heartless (well, APPEAR to be so heartless, anyway!). This trope has been around for as long as I can remember, and I can’t even fathom a world in which it no longer exists!

4) Witty Characters that Keep You Laughing… Even When the Story Gets Dark

These days, I have a hard time reading books that get super dark and intense because HELLO PEOPLE, 2020 was a mess of very upsetting for so many. Something I’ve seen a lot recently in YA are characters making jokes or continuing their sarcastic conversations in the most intense of moments, and I am all here for it! This also includes dark humor that I know I shouldn’t laugh at but simply can’t refrain from (like jokes about dying on a battlefield when they’re literally about to fight in a battle… yikesss but I can’t help myself!).

5) The Revenge Seekers

I find protagonists who aren’t afraid to obtain revenge for themselves and those they love to be quite admirable. Watching this journey unfold on the page always makes me feel like Nancy Drew – I get to try and uncover clues right alongside the protagonist who is on the hunt for the person or people that did them wrong. Books with this trope are often fast-paced, and I love a plot that moves along quickly and keeps me on my toes from beginning to end!

6) Supporting Characters Equally as Likeable (Maybe Even More So!) Than the Leads

While some supporting characters are kind of just floating around, doing whatever the protagonist tells them to do, I am a HUGE fan of authors who invest time and effort into their supporting characters. Just like with the protagonist(s), I love when I feel like I am getting to know the personalities of their sidekicks. Lucky for us, many more writers are starting to do amp up their games when it comes to this trope, and I am here for it!

7) Destroying the Corrupt Hierarchy

In many dystopian and fantasy novels, there are often various power structures/groups that have preexisting tensions with one another. Through I went through a period of time when I got so sick and tired of this trope (the Divergent and Hunger Games years brought me to my wit’s end), the way this trope has been laid out in novels published within the past couple of years has made me love it again. Nobody likes to see the bad, powerful dudes and dudettes at the top of the food chain win, am I right?

8) Characters with Super Dope Powers

Fun fact about me: I literally cannot stand watching those Marvel superhero movies. I know – I probably just crushed some hearts with that little tidbit of info! However, I think part of this stems from the fact that the powers they have are never as cool as those so many literary fictional characters have. Some of my favorite novels of all time have characters that on the surface appear human, but actually have super wicked powers that I think could really come in handy. Like how cool would it be to be able to heal someone’s injury with the touch of your hand? Ughh… so jealous of my literary pals that can do just that!

….

I think that’s a wrap, you guys! I hope this list of tropes brings fond memories of some of your favorite books to the forefront of your mind. Did I miss a trope you love, or maybe you dislike some I had on my list? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

May the rest of this week’s reading be filled with some of your favorite tropes! 🙂

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Folklore Book Tag!

Hello, bookish friends! I hope you have all had a fabulous week thus far. I’m a tad bit late to the game on this tag, but once I saw Erin’s @ Rin’s Reads’ version, my old-school Swiftie heart couldn’t resist the temptation of doing it myself! I mean, come on. Can anyone think of a better combination than TSwift and books? Yeah… I thought not 😉 I know you all must be anxiously awaiting to check out what I have goin’ on in this tag, so without further ado, let’s get this thing rollin’!

The Rules:

  • Tag the original creator: Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink
  • Tag at least three people: If you haven’t done this tag yet and are as obsessed with this album as I am, I am officially tagging YOU!
  • Declare the rules and list of prompts in your post
  • Thank whoever tagged you and link to their post: thanks so much for the inspiration, Erin!

This award has to go to A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout. No spoilers here, folks, but that ending was WILDDDD. Thank goodness April is only a few months away so I can get my hands on the next book in the series!

One of my more recent reads totally fits the bill: Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton. Our protagonist, Adam, suffers from schizophrenia, and while his narration is absolutely hilarious due to his matter-of-fact attitude, the moments where his fears of remaining in control of his hallucinations shined through were really sad (but eye-opening) to witness. The rollercoaster of emotions the audience goes on as they read the novel is one of the many ways in which this tale stands out from the crowd!

I could pick any number of books for this one because there are just so many out there, but I’d have to hand this one to Romanov by Nadine Brandes. I found the mysterious history of the real Romanov family so interesting to read about along with the magical elements Brandes included to provide explanations for why Alexei and Nastya’s bodies were found in a separate location than those of the other members of the family. The story was put together in such a clever way and Brandes’ writing was so beautiful to read that I can’t help but rave about Romanov every chance I get!

Hands down The Cellar by Natasha Preston. There was nothing inherently wrong with the book, but I read it when I was around 14 or 15 years old and now, at 21, I still have flashbacks of how creepy it was every time I see the cover. Needless to say, I rehomed the copy I bought a long time ago as to avoid any further stress to my psyche!

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas totally takes the cake for this one. I don’t typically cry for very long even if something that happens is super sad, but since I’ve followed the Throne of Glass series for so long and this book was the finale, it just hit me different. There were SO MANY moments in this almost 1,000-page beauty I got misty-eyed at, and for that reason, it’s gotta be the winner.

The overall message of Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes was without a doubt meant for people like me, who plan their lives away and leave little to chance. I could totally understand Zorie’s struggles with this and saw a lot of myself in her — both the good and the not-so-good. While both of us are sure to still plan some things out, I think both of our adventures have taught us that going with the flow won’t kill us and sometimes, the plans we don’t make turn out way better than those we could have possibly laid out for ourselves!

I recently made a whole post just on some of my favorite childhood reads, but the one that stands out the most to me is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I just love the “give and give freely” message it sends to readers of all ages, and I think it’s a lesson that’s so important for all of us to remember as we go through life!

I am 100% addicted to summery contemporary reads, so this is a super hard one for me to answer. The first book that came to mind was The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen, so we’ll go with that one! I loved the summery lake setting and the hilariously relatable characters that, as high schoolers, just wanted to live it up (even to their own detriment sometimes!). Whenever I pick up a summery contemporary, I expect it to bring a smile to my face, and The Rest of the Story kept me smiling from ear to ear throughout the entire novel!

Watching Camryn’s journey to work through her grief and find herself again in J. A. Redmerski’s The Edge of Never was one I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. Being in your early to mid twenties sure does make life feel like a super tricky maze, but sometimes trying to navigate through it is part of the fun, even if you find it in the unlikeliest of places. Ughh… just writing about this book makes me want to do ANOTHER re-read!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo — ’nuff said. I honestly don’t think I’ve been able to work through this one yet, and I read this book going on three years ago now! I’ve heard that there are plans in the works to have one more in the series that takes place quite a few years down the road from the other two, and I really hope this is the case because I MUST know what the Ketterdam gang is up (and if a certain two characters did end up sparking up a little romance after all!).

As I was thinking up an answer to this question, I realized how many amazing female characters there are in YA and it made my heart so happy! One of my favorites is Katherine from Virginia Boecker’s An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason. She is just such a dynamic character — on one hand, she’s content enjoying her role in Shakespeare’s upcoming play, but on the other, she’s secretly having to come up with a plan to murder the queen. Seeing both sides to Katherine’s character and watching her true, witty and hilarious personality shine through from time to time was just a blast to watch play out. I so wish there was a sequel!

I hardly ever read books that I would consider “haunting,” but I do remember reading Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick many years ago and Britt’s story has remained ingrained in my brain ever since. Getting stuck in a snowstorm, being taken hostage, attempting to escape alive… yeah, I’d say that qualifies as haunting, just in a non-ghostly way!

Mackenzi Lee’s The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy totally fits the bill for this one! Well, the entire Montague Siblings series does, basically, but that’s because these books are so much fun to read! I absolutely adore Lee’s writing style, the quirkiness of the characters, and how any time I open one of these books, I’m completely captivated and feel an overwhelming sense of adventure. Since the release date for the final book keeps getting pushed back, I am yearning hardcore right now for more of these fantastic characters!

I’ve always said that animals are so much better than humans, and I guess this holds true for fictional animals as well because I would totally lay my life down for Bambi the snake from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Dark Elements series. Not only is she totally dope, but it’s clear that he people love her very much and after a certain EVENT happened in one of the books, I can’t deal with Bambi not getting the chance to live a long, happy life.

I’m so sad to even be typing this, but The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It’s one of only a handful of books I wasn’t able to finish, and I was so upset because the synopsis was right up my alley. I may try to give it another shot in the future, but that possibility looks grim as of the moment.

That’s it for the Folklore Book Tag! I absolutely love putting together these types of tags because 1) I love music and 2) they make me think super hard about all the books I’ve read so I pick the best ones I can for each question! Agree/disagree with some of my picks, or maybe you’ve done this tag yourself? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat! Drop me links to your versions, as well – I always loving seeing your answers! Until next week, bookish buddies!

May your weekend be full of fun reading with TSwizzle providing a relaxing ambiance in the background 🙂

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

#LittleFreeTips: Bookish Photography

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! This week’s post is actually something I’ve never done before: We’ve got a guest blogger in the house, woot woot! My very dear and wildly talented bookish friend, Nicole (aka @little_free_librarian over on Insta) is here to share some of her amazeballs bookstagram photography tips with you today! Let’s commence with passing over the honorary torch to her, shall we?

***

Bookstagram…. Ya’know, Instagram but for books? Crazy right! But there’s this whole entire community out there loving, hating, reviewing, and photographing books on Instagram. 

The other day in a class, we had one of those ever lovely and oh-so-popular ice breakers that we bookish folk love so much, and that ice-breaker was to describe something that you know a lot about. People were sharing about cooking the perfect baked alaska or bungee jumping and explaining the inner mechanics of the ‘chute deploying… I’m a librarian, I read for my fun and for work. I know very little beyond books. What was I supposed to talk about? 

But then, of course, that answer is books. The answer is always books. I’m not a professional photographer by any means (though I did photograph that one wedding one time… ), and I’m only so-so popular in the booksta community, but I do love a good flat-lay. So that’s what I shared, and people were enthralled! “What’s bookstagram?” “That’s a thing!?” “Are there accounts for Manga?” and the answer is yes and yes and yes.

A flat-lay is a photographer and marketing term which means to take a photo from directly over top of an item, giving the viewer a birds-eye view. The Nikon School says that flat-lay photography has never been more popular than it is right now. And for good reason… Just look at this flat-lay magic!

My favorite props are twinkle lights, cute junk, and everyday items. I burn that candle, I use that candle, and the rest? Mostly stuff you can find at your local craft store, the dollar section at Target, or the dollar store! And my background is usually just a plain white canvas I bought at Walmart! Some people use blankets, some people use other books – a background can be anything that sparks joy for you! I’m currently just a fan of the clean lines of a canvas. 

Are you trying to get a good flat-lay shot of your e-reader? Here’s a fun tip… photoshop that cover on! It’s way easier than dealing with your reflection in the screen. Here’s a before and after of an image I superimposed the cover onto using Canva (Canva is my best friend)

Don’t be afraid of layers and textures! I use blankets and sweaters to add a good texture to my photos. I like the fuzzy, cozy feel that it adds to the photo. 

Your props, whether candles, blankets, or what have you, will help you curate your feed (if that’s something that you’re into). I try to keep at least one prop consistent in my top 9 photos – unless I veer away from my flat-lay, which even I do sometimes – to keep the feed consistent and welcoming. Your top 9 photos are your first impression for new viewers or would-be-followers, so cater to that first impression – you only get to make it once! But don’t stifle your own creativity, either. I am constantly changing my own editing and themes! This is a creative outlet. Have fun. Enjoy it. Don’t make it feel like work. 

Did you try your hand and find… “Hey. None of my pictures look anything like hers!” Well, welcome to bookstagram where we value creativity and the exchange of ideas. No two people’s flat-lays will look identical.

The photos on booksta are always stellar… Plus of course we love the book reviews. My TBR list has grown exponentially since I’ve joined this community… But that’s exactly what this is first and foremost. This is a community, and I’ve met some very good and fun people through this app. Here are two of my booksta bffs who are wildly talented beautiful people who have vastly different styles to me and to each other! 

Meet my friends @inkedhemlock (MJ) and @kaylas.pages.and.places (Kayla)

MJ is like me in the sense that she loves her props! You can see them scattered around the photo, but the difference is in her staging and editing. MJ’s photos are much moodier and more “dark-academia-vibey” than my own and check out that gorgeous depth she creates by placing her books spine-up. A flat-lay doesn’t have to appear flat. We love depth! You can create this by putting your books on a platform to make them higher than the rest of your photos or showing them spine up like MJ does. Or if you have floral, try holding it in front of the lens (hand off camera) and click to focus on the image below. It will create a nice floral blur and provide depth to your photo. 

Kayla’s own flat-lay is one of my favorite techniques. You’ll see a lot of bookstagrammers including their legs to create a special detail shot! I have not perfected this technique, but Kayla’s is so chic and crisp. I love the use of the white linen as the backdrop and the contrast with the dark coffee. Where MJ is moody and I am dreamy, Kayla is modern and utilizes vibrant colors to her advantage. You can even see the pull of oranges through the photo with her sweater and the cover of the book. 

Ultimately, the best flat-lay is the one you enjoyed making! Bookstagram is fun and flat-lays are just one of many book photography techniques. Explore, find what you like, and have fun. I hope to see you around the ‘gram soon. 

You can always reach me at @little_free_librarian. Let’s be friends!

***

Thank you so much for sharing some of your super fun bookish photography tips with us today, Nicole! I for one am going to be trying some of these out myself on my own bookstragram feed, and so should all of you!

Until next week, bookish peeps! May your weekend be filled with trying out all these super fun bookstagram photography tips. I know mine will be 🙂

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Most Memorable Opening Lines of All Time

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books, but one thing that always remains memorable to me are intriguing opening lines. Sometimes they’re funny, super serious, or in one way or another end up snagging my attention. For today’s post, I thought I’d share eight of my favorite opening lines with you. It was so hard to narrow this list down because there are so many great ones, but I hope you enjoy those I’ve found pretty darn memorable. Let’s get into it then, shall we?

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

“There is blood under my fingernails.”

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

“There was a demon in McDonald’s.”

“Spontaneity is overrated.”

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I found him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.”

“I’ve read many more books than you.”

“I have just taken an overly large bite of iced bun when Callum slices his finger off.”

….

There you have it, folks – eight fabulous opening lines that, I’m just now realizing, happen to come from books I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Did one of your favorites not make the list? Drop it in the comments below! There are seriously SO MANY hooks that are sure to pull all of us avid readers in from the start.

Until next time! May the rest of your week be filled with all the books 😊

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Valentine’s Day Book Tag

Hello, bookish loves, and welcome back to the blog! Since Valentine’s Day is just two short days away, I thought we could celebrate this holiday of love by talking about my very first love: books! This is one of those posts that requires little introduction, so let’s just jump right into this, shall we?

1) Stand alone book you love

Romanov was one of my first reads of 2021, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it/recommending it to anyone who loves strong family dynamics and tales of history blended with a little magic.

2) Dystopian book you love

I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a true dystopian novel, but Legend is one of the few that feels like I just read it yesterday. It was published in 2011, but if you haven’t given Legend a read yet and are itching for a good dystopian read, I highly recommend giving this beaut a try!

3) A book that you love but no one else talks about

It absolutely flabbergasts me that people STILL aren’t talking about this book! It literally had everything I was expecting and more. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, fell in love with the Shakespearian tie-ins, and was wishing for more of this tale by its end. Just read it so we can chat about it together, you guys!

4) Favorite book couple

This question always gives me legit anxiety to answer because there are SO MANY amazing book couples to choose from! In honor of this being a Valentine’s Day post, I think I’m digging Lara Jean and Peter from Jenny Han’s To All the Boys series. They’re just one of the sweetest fictional couples out there, plus I’ve been dying to give this series a re-read!

5) A book that other people love but you haven’t read yet

Some of you may be having a mini heart attack reading this, but Harry Potter has just never been a good fit for what I’ve always enjoyed reading. No other comments from me on this one other than I am v sorry to disappoint all of you Potterheads. I swear I am a real booknerdigan like the rest of you, but I just don’t think this book/series will end up on my TBR anytime soon.

6) A book with red on the cover

In addition to this cover being the most beautiful shade of red, I am obsessed with this series and can’t believe this is the final book in this world!

7) A book with pink on the cover

This beautiful pink book has been on my TBR for so long, and I really hope 2021 is the year I finally dive into this read!

8) You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend would have given them to you?

Daniel from Jenn Bennett’s Serious Moonlight would 100 percent be the guy to go the traditional route (albeit so sweet and delicious!) for a Valentine’s Day gift. And as much as he loves pie, there’s no doubt he has as much of a sweet tooth as I do!

9) You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Ha, this is funny because I’ve been single most of the Valentine’s Days I’ve been alive and never thought about any of these questions until right now. I’d probably re-read one of my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout books, watch some kind of Valentine’s Day-themed Food Network show on TV, and any Hallmark movie because those are always so adorable and romantic.

10) You are in the bookstore. All of the sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What new release will you love?

Though I haven’t read it yet (just a few days away from its release date, hallelujah!), A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas takes the cake, for sure! I’m wrapping up my re-read of the ACOTAR series as we speak and I cannot contain my excitement without the help of Cupid’s arrow. I think I would be losing my mind if I had actually been shot with one because this read is one of my most anticipated forthe year!

That’s a wrap on the Valentine’s Day Book Tag! Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you get to spend this beautiful holiday with those you love! What are some books that put you in the Valentine’s Day spirit? Drop me your recommendations below and let’s chat about them!

Until next week, bookish friends! May your weekend be filled with sweet reads and lots of love! ❤

Bonus Content, Listologies Galore!

My Very First Book Haul of 2021!

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! We’re only a few weeks into the new year, and I have already managed to make a small dent in my bank account dedicated solely to book purchasing. While I wish I was ashamed of my decision-making, I can’t even pretend that I am because come on! Books are a fantastic financial investment! They provide endless entertainment, give your brain a good ol’ fashioned workout, and could be used to keep a fire going should you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere (though the thought of a torn up and burned book literally breaks my heart to even think about!). Okay… maybe this is all a tiny bit of a stretch/me just trying to justify why I spend so much money at Barnes & Noble every year, but I am still so excited to be able to share my very first haul of the year with you all today! Let’s get crackin’, shall we?

I am a complete sucker for YA novels that twist around Shakespeare plays, so These Violent Delights was totally an insta-buy for me. I’m also really looking forward to learning more about 1920s Shanghai (hopefully!) as well, as I have never been there and don’t know too much about their history!

After reading the synopsis of this beauty, there was just something about it that felt too relatable and real to not read. I always love contemporary reads that I feel like I can connect to, and It Only Happens in the Movies might shape up to be one of those books for me!

Fable has taken so many bookstagram accounts and book blogs by storm, and with a cover like that, I couldn’t resist the hype! I’ve also been super into pirate-y adventure books lately, so I am buzzing to dive into this gorgeous read!

I will read almost anything Alexandra Bracken writes, so I was thrilled to be able to purchase her latest, mythology-inspired tale, Lore! This book also deserves some major cover love – it’s even prettier in person, if that’s even possible!

Ha… You all knew this was coming! Sarah J. Maas is one of my few auto-buy authors, and I literally squealed when I found out she was continuing the ACOTAR series with Cassian and Nesta’s stories! I don’t mean to wish my life away, but can it be February 16th already, please?

Well, my very first book haul of the year has come to an end. Have you read and enjoyed any of these reads yourself yet? Let me know in the comments, and also tell me about any books you’ve already purchased this year that you’re super excited to read!

Until next week, bookish buds! May you weekend be filled with fun, socially-distanced trips to your favorite bookstores to buy more bookish goodies! 😊

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

I’m Coming Back, I Swear: Blogging Hiatus Update

Hi bookish friends! It’s been awhile, huh? Though I wish I could say that this is my “return” to the blog, I have some more things I need/want to take care of before I make my true comeback – a few of which I am thrilled to be sharing with you today!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my update on my personal/bookish life where I shared that between my three jobs, school, and just the craziness of life these days, I just haven’t had time to create content that I’m proud of. I’m all about quality over quantity, and I want you all to be able to see that in my posts each week, which I knew would not be the case if I kept my current blogging pace in the midst of what I literally had to get done each day.

Though I am not one who often experiences reading slumps, I found myself getting so bogged down with reading and homework for school that I just haven’t wanted to pick up a single “fun read” in MONTHS. Since I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to lately (or at all, really), I’ve lost a lot of my inspiration for my posts. As you can probably surmise, the struggle to write quality reviews is REAL when you’ve basically shunned all reading that wasn’t required for school for a solid four months.

Now that you’ve read my little soap box that I am sure so many of you can relate to, let me get to the fun stuff: what’s to come in the next few months! The biggest news I have to share is that I am currently taking this long break from college to overhaul my website (new design, creating a fabulous new logo, and much more!) to make it both more user friendly and more warm and welcoming for you guys. I have also been brainstorming and writing brand new content that I am so looking forward to sharing in the new year. Not sure if any of you are into giveaways, but if you are, keep your eyes open 🙂

Lastly, I wanted to thank those of you who have been following this blog since day one and those that have recently discovered this “passion project” of mine. I absolutely adore being a part of this wonderfully bookish community, and I hope that you all will be willing to stick around for this next adventure.

May the rest of your year be filled with some fabulous reads that make the end of such a wild year merry and bright! See you soon, friends!

–Sarah

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

My Top 10 Favorite Classics

Hiya, fellow book-lovers! Welcome back to another Bonus Content Friday! This week, I’ve decided to share my favorite classic novels I’ve read over the years that I really enjoyed. One of the things I love most about this list is that I’ve included some picks from all over the world and/or those that have the ability to educate the reader about other cultures and ways of life. Some may ring a bell since they’re pretty popular, but others are lesser-known picks that I hope you will consider reading because they are fabulous! I don’t want to keep you in suspense any longer, so let’s jump right into this thing, shall we?

The Arabian Nights (New Deluxe Edition): Mahdi, Muhsin, Haddawy, Husain:  9780393331660: Amazon.com: Books

This past week I actually did a re-read of the first half of The Arabian Nights and I remembered once again why I loved these stories so much! While the frame stories are capable of making the best of scholars’ heads spin, I greatly appreciate the complexity of this text’s structure, and there really is a little something for everyone in here: glimpses of Islamic religion, magic found at every turn, and some shocking happenings you aren’t expecting! In addition to these stories just being a barrel of monkeys to read, The Arabian Nights is loaded with insight about ancient Middle Eastern culture.

Amazon.com: The Importance of Being Earnest (9780486264783): Oscar Wilde:  Books

While I definitely wouldn’t call myself a mega fan of Oscar Wilde, I can’t help but smile anytime someone mentions The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve read this play on more than one occasion and also seen the fabulous filmed version with Reese Witherspoon in it and each time, my love for this masterpiece grows stronger. If you’re looking for just a sliver of a play full of humor, witty banter, and a whole lot of English social satire, you’ll love The Importance of Being Earnest!

A Tale of Two Cities (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Charles Dickens |  NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

A Tale of Two Cities is the only work by Charles Dickens I’ve read, but I hope to read more by him at some point in the future. I read this novel in high school, and given that I’m not really one for history, I don’t think I quite realized how important of a work this really is at the time (though my English teacher did attempt to beat me over the head with how exquisite this work of literature is more times than I can count!). However, as I got older, I found myself having little flashbacks of the novel’s focus on the idea of personal and societal transformation. While the French Revolution aspect of A Tale of Two Cities is very topical, the smaller underlying themes of challenging the status quo, taking responsibility for one’s personal actions, and finding it within yourself to change who you are for the better are very much universal ideas that modern readers can still connect with today.

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International): Morrison, Toni: 9780307278449:  Amazon.com: Books

If there was ever a book out there that is so relevant to today’s social movements, it’s The Bluest Eye. The focus of this novel centers on what it means to be beautiful according to Western society’s standards and how this depiction tends to marginalize individuals who don’t conform to these requirements. In a time in America that is filled with discussions of race, diversity, and learning to accept individuals who aren’t exactly like ourselves, I couldn’t recommend reading this heartbreaking, breathtaking, and inspiring masterpiece by Toni Morrison.

Amazon.com: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Revised  and Complete Edition (9781559363846): Kushner, Tony: Books

Angels in America was one of those reads that will forever stick with me because it taught me so much about topics I didn’t really understand at the time in which I read it. This relatively contemporary play was written as an education piece about the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. I don’t want to say too much because it truly is a reading experience you need to have yourself to grasp its message, but if you’re looking for an emotional, riveting, educational, and diversity-filled read, I highly recommend you give this play a chance — you won’t be sorry you did!

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley: 9780060850524: Amazon.com: Books

You didn’t think I was going to make it through this whole list without adding at least one dystopian pick, did you? Written in 1933, Huxley pretty much hit the nail on the head when it comes to society becoming significantly more reliant on technology as time goes on in Brave New World. I had so many emotions while reading this book, including but not limited to disgust, fascination, shock, alarm, and frustration. Many of these emotions stemmed from the fact that many of the aspects of society Huxley was satirizing in his novel are still present today, and I began to see some of the issues that are starting to come from our strong reliance on technology, particularly in the medical field. Brave New World is perfect for readers seeking an exhilarating dystopian novel that you can apply to the happenings of today.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

While this novel is really more of a contemporary classic, I have no doubt that everyday readers and scholars will continue reading this novel for years to come. I’ll be the first to admit that The Kite Runner was an extremely difficult book to read due to its very mature themes and content, but it’s a story that no doubt needs to be told and heard by those willing to listen. Taking place in Afghanistan as the monarchy crumbles, two young boys from different social classes form a very unlikely friendship. Highlighting the issues surrounding power, identity, and social construct in Afghan culture, Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is a gripping, heart-wrenching, and inspirational tale you are sure to never forget.

Orlando is one of those books that while you’re reading, you’ll find yourself deeply confused as you struggle through each page, but in the end, after some thoughtful reflection, its purpose and meaning finally click. Over the course of 300 years, the reader has the opportunity to see Orlando experience life in society from the perspective of both genders — Orlando sporadically switches biologically between the female and male sexes as time passes. Some would say that this novel is one of the first to take on the topic of “gender fluidity,” but I would argue that it serves an even larger purpose: to make the point that gender should not dictate how one should experience life in any society.

Book cover for The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Ahhh. Let us discuss our dear ol’ Holden, shall we? Young adult novels weren’t necessarily a thing during the time in which The Catcher in the Rye was written, but I can’t think of a book that manages to capture all the angst, stumbling blocks, life lessons, and new experiences of your teen years than this one. Though the lives of teens these days don’t necessarily align perfectly with what Holden experiences, many of the overarching experiences he goes through are similar to the “growing pains” many young adult readers experience in their lives today. As if this doesn’t intrigue you enough, the ending will leave you SHOOK and there have been lots of attempts to ban this novel due to profanity and mature themes. If you’re looking for a book that’s through and through a coming-of-age story sure to make people talk, give The Catcher in the Rye a read!

Snow Falling on Cedars: Guterson, David: 8601400186572: Amazon.com: Books

I had to round out this list with one of my all time favorite novels: Snow Falling on Cedars! While the overarching plot of this book surrounds a fictional murder case being unraveled on a fictional island outside Washington, Snow Falling on Cedars leaves the reader reeling from so much more than just the murder mystery. Given that this murder trial takes place following World War II, there is a lot of prejudice against people of Japanese heritage — an element that plays a huge role in the movement of this novel’s plot. Snow Falling on Cedars is a tale of struggling to be treated fairly in a society not ready to move forward from past conflict, pushing aside stereotypes to stand up for what’s right, and fighting against the odds for those you love.

While I don’t typically pick up classics to read in my free time, I sure have read quite a few over the years that have made a lasting impact! Do you have a favorite that didn’t make my list? Let’s chat about them below!

Congrats, everyone — we have at last reached another weekend! Take care, and I’ll see you back here next week for some more bookish fun! 🙂

Bonus Content, Let's Talk Books!

Let’s Talk Books: Hardcovers vs. Paperbacks

Hello, bookish friends! Welcome back to the blog. This week, I thought I’d throw another discussion post your way. As avid readers, you’ve probably had the “hardcover vs. paperback” battle in your mind (and maybe in person!) a time or two in your life. Someone earlier this week asked me my thoughts on the topic, and since it got me pondering my own opinions, I thought “Why not share this on the blog since it is the ultimate question posed to bookish people?” So alas, here I am, bringing you this very topic in pro/con list format! Ready to dive in? Leggo:

Hardcovers

The Pros:

  • Hardcovers don’t get nearly as beat-up as paperbacks do when you put them in a bag and take them on the go. As someone who is all about having pristine copies of the books I own, this is a huge plus for me!
  • If it’s a book that has a whole lotta pages, you don’t have to worry about cracking the spine.
  • Hardcovers have a better chance at surviving if you get caught in the rain, splashed at the pool, or accidentally getting dropped in the bathtub.
  • The covers of hardback books are STUNNING and make beautiful statement pieces on your bookshelves!

The Cons:

  • Not that you need me to tell you this, fellow readers, but hardcover books are often times much more expensive than paperbacks.
  • The dust jackets on the outside of most hardcovers drive me a little crazy sometimes. For example, when I’m reading outside and the dust jacket AND pages start blowing around , I start flailing to get things back in order and it’s just a hot mess.
  • Hardcovers often take up a lot more space on my shelves than paperbacks. As someone who has a lot of books and little space to store them (because my shelves are now officially filled to the brim), this is definitely a drawback for me.
  • Most of these suckers are HEAVY.

Paperbacks

The Pros:

  • Paperback books are much more affordable. There are times in my life where I’ve been able to buy two paperbacks for the price of one hardcover!
  • There are so many different “feels” of paperbacks. There are some that are soft/smooth and others that have sort of a grainy feel, and for some strange reason, these different textures make the reading experience that much more pleasurable!
  • You can pack a crap ton more paperbacks onto your bookshelves since they are much more compact than hardcovers. I have a few paperbacks that are over 600 pages long, and they take up much less space than a hardcover with the same page count would.
  • Overall, I find that paperbacks are more comfortable to read. Paperbacks just tend to naturally fit in my hand better and don’t leave me with pesky hand cramps like hardcovers do.

The Cons:

  • It’s super easy to damage a paperback. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve thrown in my bookbag to read during class…. err… I mean, after class, and when I pulled them out, the covers were bent. Le sigh.
  • I have found it harder to keep the pages open when reading paperbacks since the spines are bound very tightly.
  • You typically have to wait longer to get a paperback copy of a book since most are released in hardcover format first.
  • The bane of my existence: Accidentally cracking the spine of a paperback. My heart breaks a little more every time I do this because then the title is left with a bunch of permanent wrinkles in it, starting back at me on my shelf for the rest of its bookish life.

My Personal Preference

Okay… the moment you have all been waiting for: my personal preference! It honestly depends on what I’m wanting to use the book for (i,e, reading, decoration, travel, etc.), but since the overall reason for having books is to read them, then I have to admit that I prefer paperbacks over hardcovers. Haters gonna hate, but I chose this format because paperbacks are just so much easier to handle and are way more comfortable for me to hold onto while reading. If we were talking decoration, though, hardcovers would 100% take the cake!

Now you all know my personal thoughts on this uber controversial bookish topic! Hopefully my paperback preference didn’t disappoint any of you too much! What are your thoughts on these two formats? Let me know below and any reasons ‘why’ that didn’t make my list!

Happy Weekend, lovelies, and I’ll see you next week for some more bookish fun! 🙂