What Sort of Reader are You?

For today’s post I want to begin a conversation about reading styles and habits as this is something that fascinates me. I know from my own group of friends that they vary very much in how much they read and the genres that they prefer. One likes to deny reading while reading lots of non-fiction related to technology and dismissing it as work. Another is a lunch break reader and looks forward to closing her laptop and enjoying a caffeine fix while perusing a crime drama.

I wonder how you might answer the following questions? I have played along with each question and hope that some of you will comment your preferences.

Reading Quiz

1) Do you like to show off about reading fiction? In other words do you read out in the open?

Me: I like to read at home and work but I take myself to a quiet corner if surrounded by others. I’m a proud reader but I hate interruptions like, ‘What’s that book about?’ or ‘How are you finding it so far?’ Books normally whisk me away somewhere else in my head.

2) Do you talk openly about what you read?

Me: Yes I initiate conversations about books because my friends enjoy books too. We love to discuss the same book and, although we are not a book club, I have a couple of friends who will read the same book as me at roughly the same speed. We track our reading progress on Goodreads.

3) Are you a nighttime reader?

Me: Definitely I read more in the evening and especially before sleeping. However, I also love an afternoon read of a quick chapter during my break time at work. Any spare few minute is an opportunity to break open an ebook.

Everyone loves a good book in bed.

4) Do you find yourself making excuses in order to find the time to read?

Yes. I sometimes tell someone that I can’t do something with them because I really need to protect my reading time. I am a sociable creature but if I am always doing jobs and going out for coffees, I will never keep on top of my TBR list.

5) Are you a fiction-only kind of person?

Nope. I love fiction and absolutely throw myself into stories but I also like to know about people’s actual lives. So, although I read a lot of fiction books I also like to have a biography on the go. Usually it will be a famous person who inspires me. Recently I have read biographies by Julie Andrews and Mindy Kaling.

6) Do you sometimes feel like you’re missing out on reading?

These are times when I get book envy, especially if two of my colleagues are discussing a good book that they have both already read. Before long, I will have it ordered and on its way to be unboxed.

7) Will you take a book to bed with you?

Pretty much every night I do. If I am too exhausted I may not make it through more than about a page but usually I manage a chapter or two before I drift into the world of dreams. Reading in bed is super satisfying.

8) Paperback or Electronic?

I love the smell of a new book. Paperback that is. For me, a paperback just feels right and so will always remain my favourite format, but it’s just not always practical to have one with you. So, in all honesty I probably read more ebooks, as I can pick them up any time that I have my ipad or phone with me.

Three Types Of Reader

Having answered these questions, you now probably classify yourself as one of the following types of readers:

1) A Sneaky Reader

You are someone who may not want to brag about what you read. You may even be embarrassed to read in public. Most likely you read when others aren’t around or during a quiet moment when you think nobody will notice.

2) A Stable reader

This type of reader is happy to read and finds ways to integrate reading into their life without difficulty. A stable reader reads regularly but may often find times when they don’t have time and it won’t bother them either way. The stable reader always returns to books after a while and is good at managing their time without putting undue pressure on themselves.

3) A Rallying Reader

If you fit into this category, you like to shout about what you are reading. You will have a reading group or be part of an online forum. Probably you will go around rallying people to the cause. Encouraging them to try a book that you love and to get hooked into the wonderful world of literature. You are a keen reading bee!

This was meant to be a bit of fun but it is always interesting to reflect on your own reading habits and I hope that you enjoyed the article. Please consider following my blog for more articles on reading and bookish content.

5 Talented YA Writers

As a new writer myself, I am spending more time familiarising myself with the YA genre of books as this is a category that I want to be able to eventually write in. Initially, I tried a couple of books which had been turned into movies and then went from there. Along the way I have come to recognise some incredibly strong authors in this trendy and highly readable genre. This article mentions a few who really stand out, either because their work is highly believable or simply because their style is unique and their books are unputdownable.

I have written about a selection of YA authors from the USA and UK but this is purely because these are the ones I have come across so far. As time goes by I hope to discover many more, from all across the globe.

1) Alice Oseman

Ironically, her best known work is the ‘Heartstopper’ series of graphic novellas that she has written recently, but I have only so far read her novellas revolving around the characters Nick and Charlie, a gay couple of quite different guys. One is geeky and anxious, while the other is sporty, popular and both are always seeking to impress each other. Charlie has a sister called Tori who is in a book of her own and pops up in the beautiful short story, ‘This Winter’, published in 2020.

Alice is English and started writing at a young age and her debut novella, Solitaire, was published when she was 17. Her style is fun, with lots of chatty conversations, thinking out loud and plenty of drawings throughout. Her books are short and easy reads so why not try one out? They will surely bring a smile to your face. I look forward to checking out some more of her books in future.

2) John Green

I’d seen a BBC TV series taken from a John Green book called, ‘Looking for Alaska’ and it was a very moody and intriguing piece which I really loved so I decided to read a book that he co-wrote and was turned into a Netflix movie, ‘Let It Snow’. Everyone knows that I’m a sucker for a snowy take. The storytelling in this was clever and the way he described characters and used conversations to build images of them soon made me realise that he was a real artist. A wordsmith.

Currently I am enjoying his other YA book, ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ which he co-wrote with another of my favourite YA authors – David Levithan (more to come on him). The book is told by two leading characters and is very entertaining, anecdotal and fresh. I have a feeling there are many more gems out there by this popular and insightful writer.

3) E Lockhart

Now this is a best selling author who really brings a heart to her characters. A girl called Cadence experiences a head injury in the hugely popular ‘We Were Liars’ and makes it her mission to piece together the dramatic events of one summer which had scarred her.

The author cleverly describes a series of summers where Cadence’s family spent a great deal of time at a retreat by the water (owned by her grandad). A group of cousins and a friend regularly have adventures each time they visit but unfortunately one of these visits turns particularly sour.

This author skilfully unpicks Cadence’s life and allows the reader to see how her feelings change when she realises that something horrific has happened. E Lockhart is one author I need to try more of and I hope that you will look out for her writing as it is honest, thought-provoking and immersive.

4) Becky Albertalli

Thanks to this genius writer we have the incredible Creekwood community which has led to ‘Love, Simon’ the movie and now ‘Love, Victor’ the TV series. Her LGBT friendly stories have a great bunch of characters which are highly relatable and fun to read about.

Becky definitely has a way with words. In her book, ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ she uses the first person narrative to convey Leah’s self-conscious attitude to life and genuine confusion about being bi. In one note, Leah overhears a slim girl telling another slim girl she would look fat if she wears a certain dress. You feel Leah’s own inner demons come out as she feels incredibly low about her own weight issues and self-worth, at this point.

You will certainly fall in love with Simon and Leah if you check out a Creekwood book and soon become a fan of Becky’s witty command of language. I find myself reading her books quickly as she really draws me in. Her use of speech also hurries you along and helps you get to know everyone in Creekwood whilst soon developing a desire for more Albertalli work.

5) David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

And then came Dash and Lily…

Well all I can say is that these two authors were onto a winner straight away when they devised a story about two bookish teens who set each other dares to get to know one another. Set at Christmas time, this story began in a New York bookshop where Lily left a challenge in a moleskin notebook and Dash discovered it, making it his mission to get to know this girl long before they even met.

Now a major Netflix series, these characters have lived on into two more books and manage to keep with the Christmas theme. The third book involves the Uk as Dash spends time there as a student and Lily comes over to visit.

I challenge anyone not to love these stories, with each Lily chapter written skilfully by Cohn and every Dash one penned by Levithan. All I can say is that, like the main characters, these authors complement each other well. Check out their work, together or apart, and you will see what I mean about them being incredibly talented.

So these are definitely my current top Young Adult writers but I am constantly getting to know work by other authors too. YA is a brilliant genre with some really fun and relatable stuff.

I hope that you enjoyed my blog post about YA books and may consider following my blog for more of the same.

5 Ways To Get Going Again!

After a long year of lockdowns and stress related to an international pandemic, lots of people are feeling deflated and finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. The confusion and anxiety caused by a Covid-fearing world has left many people scratching their heads and completely out of sync with their families and lifestyles.

Many are deflated after having experienced the effects of the pandemic firsthand, either by suffering from Covid, knowing others who were suffering from it or simply having their work worlds shaken by the effects of closures, furlough and financial instability.

Relationships have been strained and friendships have fizzled out as people have got used to living within bubbles and forgotten how to socialise in extended circles. Mental health has been affected and people are asking lots of questions about the world we now find ourselves inhabiting.

Here are my 5 ways to get yourself going again and reintroduce yourself to the wider world, by building your confidence and setting yourself realistic goals.

1) Reach out.

Too many friendships have been destroyed in the past year. Destroyed due to separation because friends have not been able to see one another. Friendships have also been strained as society pressures have been on and some have become upset with each other due to different attitudes to lockdown, mask wearing and general levels of cooperation with government measures.

We’ve all been there – One of our best mates has been putting pictures on social media of themselves meeting up with groups of people or socialising during lockdown while we have followed the rules and missed out on similar opportunities. These types of things have made friends less communicative and, coupled with distance, have impacted upon how much time people have been spending catching up with those people that matter to them the most.

Let’s not let these gripes grow. Instead we need to bite the bullet and make that vital move to reconnect with these important people. These incredible friends who would no doubt love to hear from us and rebuild the connections we used to enjoy so much. Reaching out is like re-wiring and can strengthen bonds as well as having positive affects on friends at a time when the world is unpredictable and knowing someone is standing in your corner can make such a difference to self esteem.

2) Get out!

It goes without saying that a change of scene has a massive effect on the way that you feel about yourself. It enables self-reflection and enables you to shake off the cobwebs that can otherwise swamp you if you allow yourself to fester in your own juices by staying at home all of the time. Of course, many have had no choice but to isolate and stay at home, but now that we have reduced restrictions, why not take time to go for a wildlife walk, a cycle into the hills or simply just a trundle to the local pond to feed the ducks?

3) Stay tuned in.

Music plays an important role in the lives of so many of us. We all have songs that resonate deeply and take us back to much happier times. Whether it’s ditties from childhood, pop music from our clubbing years or an instrumental that reminds us of a fond memory such as a holiday or special birthday party, music is often a cure to the doldrums and a stimulus which leads to a more positive mindset.

Having said that, the type of music which can motivate you will vary greatly from one individual to another. Obviously. So pull out that CD from the past which you could always rely on when you needed uplifting. Or explore new bands, listen to the Opera and maybe even get a meditation app which plays calming tunes to help get you in the zone and forget your stresses for a while. Switching off is the new remedy for overly dwelling on things. When you are stuck in a spiral of frustrations, meaningful tunes can settle you, calm you and even give you more enthusiasm for your everyday life.

4) Activate!

As lockdown has stifled our chances to go to the theatre, watch our favourite sports and attend festivals in person, some of us have got used to doing less out and about. Now is a perfect time to initiate a forward-thinking strategy and start finding ways to involve yourself in a new hobby. Those acting classes you always dreamt about could now become a reality. You always dreamed about riding horses? Book a session in and make learning to ride a personal commitment. From joining a book club to learning how to ski, make those ambitions start to become real and blow away those cobwebs by engaging with new people and making more friends as well as taking away that fulfilment that comes naturally with becoming a part of a new group of learning to make the most of your creativity.

5) Do something positive!

Making a difference is one of the best things anyone can do to improve not only their own lives, but also generate knock-on effects which could benefit others. For me, the Climate Crisis is important and problematic. I have already made simple changes to the way that I travel, to make sure that I am trying hard to reduce the impact my moving around has on the planet. I have decided no longer to fly anywhere and so actively find other ways to get around, concentrating on trains and buses while minimising the amount of trips I use my car for. It’s a small change to my routine and takes a little effort and sometimes more expenditure, but I feel positive about it.

Perhaps you can do something positive within your local community. Whether supporting a library or getting involved in a litter pick, looking after a protected woodland or offering to teach kids how to cycle safely (as a cycling proficiency trainer). Just making that effort to do something productive will inspire you, energise you and give you a sense of achievement.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog and perhaps might consider following my blog for more content. For another of my articles check out this.

Enjoy nature. Get out and about while showing consideration.