Let’s Talk Bookish – The Writing Styles of Classics & Contemporaries

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I haven’t read lots of classics this year, but this is actually what I tend to prefer reading. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I love history, and so there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a historical period than to read a book written then. There is also something about the language that is completely different. Yes, it is a little trickier to read but I find the writing style so much more beautiful, in general. It’s often that I read a chapter from a Victorian novel and don’t really pay attention to the plot because I’m too engrossed in the lyrical quality of the text. Of course, this is not always true and I can feel the same way for book that were recently published. Also, I love descriptions, context, backstories, and lots and lots of insignificant details – which is something that I can really only find in classics, in general.

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That being said, I love reading contemporaries as well but for different reasons. I get different things from different books, which sounds obvious I know, but it’s so true! Contemporary novels allow me to find characters I can relate to a little bit more, and they allow me to get in touch with the world that surrounds me. I like to read them to make sense of my own experience as well, and understand why I feel the way I do. They also enable me to see our society through someone else’s eyes, someone from a different background or country. 

Even though classics are my absolute favourites, I don’t think they should necessarily be prioritised at school. Literature should be made enjoyable to students, and I know that it’s difficult to get enthused about books after studying the same five old dead white men all your life. Of course, authors like Shakespeare and Dickens are at the basis of the English-speaking world’s pop culture, but would it not make sense to also study more contemporary writers who represent another part of the population? We need to introduce more varied texts in the curriculum, written by women, working class and BAME authors. I think we also need to make sure that each of this text is compelling and thought-provoking. Reading is so, so important and needs to be promoted a lot more at school because it teaches us to think critically – something more important than ever.

Well, I got a bit carried away there, but this is  a topic I’m really passionate about! I was really thinking about this when I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, earlier this year. I think it would be such a great book to study at school since it tackles so many important topics. I think this is a book that could potentially become a classic in a few decades, but maybe I’m biased because I loved it so much.

Do you prefer classics, contemporaries or both? I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

Let’s Talk Bookish – Romance as a subplot

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

This week’s topic is very interesting, and not one I’ve ever thought about, to be honest. Love is such a central part of our lives, for most of us, that I never really thought of whether a romance subplot was always necessary in a story. I guess I never question the need for a romance if I think it’s well done. Also, I love love stories.

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There is something fascinating about people falling in love and I enjoy finding this in books – whether that’s the main story or not. I can’t think of a romance subplot that I didn’t enjoy… but then, I realise I read a lot of Victorian novels which are mainly to do with marriage. And it’s so natural to have a crush on someone or have feelings for someone you’re attracted to, so I’m okay to find it in books where characters go through crazy adventures together as they’re brought closer by the hardships they have to face.

That being said, I’m sure that there are lots of romances that feel forced and strange but I can’t think of any. I’ve either been lucky in never encountering one of those, or I have decided to erase them from my memory.

I don’t mind books where there isn’t any romance, though. Especially if the author is trying to make a political point, or verging on social commentary. Not that I don’t think love is serious, just that it can take the reader’s attention away from the main point of focus. In The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead for instance, there isn’t any romance –  a character gets married as he gets older, but that’s it – because the author is trying to bring our attention to something else. In The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, which I reviewed last week, there’s the beginning of a romance, but it’s a sort of prop for the main character to question why men never challenge their elders and condemn their crimes openly. I thought this was very clever, and I did like the two characters falling for each other as it added to the plot, without becoming central to it.

I guess it’s important to show readers (especially young ones, and even more especially women) that characters can do amazing thing without the aid of a man and that love, and therefore marriage, is not the ultimate goal in life – you can do so many more things. But I still love romance as a a subplot, especially when it’s weaved in the narrative in a subtle way that doesn’t undermine a hero’s personal growth.

I’m sorry, I ended up rambling aimlessly about this topic! Anyway, I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

Let’s Talk Bookish – What makes you DNF a book?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I have already talked bout this topic in my article ‘On not finishing books and other bookish sins‘. Basically, I don’t really mind giving up on a book because life is too short to read boring books.

An accurate representation of me trying to read Middlemarch – Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I always try to read about 100 pages before I decide whether to DNF a book. I feel like this is enough for me to know whether it’s worth it. That being said, the other day I DNF’d an audiobook after a few minutes because I knew that the tone and the historical inaccuracies would drive me mad very quickly. I am very particular with writing styles, it’s true, but I just can’t stand when I can see the author at work – if they’re trying too hard to write a certain way or the characters do something that make no sense just so that the plot can move forward, for instance.

A trope that tends to drive me mad is the love triangle, or when characters don’t tell the truth or speak up when they should. Most of the time, it makes me want to throw the book across the room but I have to say that it’s sometimes so well done that I can bear it (but it’s rare). However, if I don’t like the first book of a series I will never read the rest because… why would I put myself through that? Haha! Again, there are so many things we must do every day that are really not enjoyable, so when I open a book on my free time I want to get something positive out of it.

I never count the books I DNF as read on Goodreads, but I do have a specific shelf for those books on my profile. Sometimes, I go have a look because it happens that I hated a book at some point because I just wasn’t in the right mood and would like to revisit it. This is exactly what happened with Charlotte Brontë’s Villette: when I first started it I thought it was the worst book in the world because I was not in a good place mentally, I read it a year later and it’s now one of my absolute favourites!

I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

Let’s Talk Bookish – SHOULD YOU REVIEW A SEQUEL, WITHOUT READING THE FIRST BOOK?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I think I will keep it short and sweet this week: no, you shouldn’t.

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We’ve probably all read a sequel unintentionally once in our lives. Recently, I read an Agatha Raison book but it was the 10th in the series, except I did not know that when I picked up the book. There are also some series that can definitely be read in no particular order – although I think it’s preferable – like the Hercule Poirot novels, or Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series.

But most series need to be read in orde so that they can be understood, I think. And that’s especially true if you want to review book that’s a sequel. How could you give an informed and complete point of view of the story if you don’t have the first half? To me, it doesn’t make any sense because I always like to know everything about anything and often feel like I actually don’t know enough about what I write about. So I could NEVER review the sequel of a book I haven’t read, no matter how much I enjoyed the former.

Similarly, it might be harsh but I wouldn’t trust the review of someone who didn’t read the first tome(s) of the series. Even if they claim that the sequel is the best book ever written, I know that I would want to read the beginning of the story – but what if it’s horrible? Or maybe, they’ll think the sequel is terrible because you actually need to read the book before to understand what’s going on. It’s often in the first book of the series that you get acquainted with the characters and the author’s style, and grow to love them.

What do you think? Do you agree or are you a bit more laid back than me? I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on the topic! If you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

Let’s Talk Bookish – Reading Seasonally

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

That’s such an interesting topic (like every week, really) and I actually never thought about seasonal reading before. I’m a little bit of a spontaneous reader as I never plan what I read ahead because my choices are mostly influenced by my mood. In short, my reading pattern is all over the place. 

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That being said, I tend to experience low mood in the summer and around March (that period where you just can’t take grey weather and darkness anymore!). During those times, I tend to read books that cheer me up and/or make me escape from my daily routine. I love Sophie Kinsella for summer because it’s just too hot to focus on serious texts, and she makes me laugh and feel for her characters. I also love to read romance novels during winter, but I usually prefer to escape to magical worlds during this season. Everything looks so dull and grey at the end of the winter that I need to dream of more colourful and fun things!

I also like to read and watch spooky things in the run-up to Halloween, because I love this holiday. I don’t attach a religious meaning to it, though – I only take advantage of it because I love ghosts, witches and vampires. That being said, I don’t necessarily like my spooky books to take place during Halloween because this is not a tradition that really speaks to me. In France, people only started celebrating Halloween because of American films but it’s not a tradition at all and I never went trick or treating. Again, I just love Halloween because I like autumn and creepy stuff!

As I was trying to think about my opinion on Christmas books, but realised that the only one I could think of was A Christmas Carol… I guess it really shows how much of a non-seasonal reader I am. To be honest, I thoroughly enjoy reading books set in winter or in a cold climate in summer because it reminds me of my favourite season – I’m really miserable in summer, as it happens. I can’t even think of seasons in my favourite books! But I guess if I had to attach a book (or series) to a season, it would be something like:

Summer

Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend

Of course, being set in Italy, this novel (and the whole series) remind me of warmer weather, but the story really feels sticky and sweaty, and overall as stifling as a hot day in the city. Besides, pivotal events in Elena’s life happen during the summer – we can think of her holidays on Ischia for instance.

Autumn

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Can you think of anything more breathtaking than the British moors in Autumn? I think it’s the perfect book to read when it starts getting dark early and you can wrap yourself in a blanket with a cup of tea.

Winter

Christelle Dabos, A Winter’s Promise

It’s in the title, isn’t it? I absolutely love this book series and it’s an amazing world to escape to when it all gets a bit too much.

Spring

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (how adorable is this book cover?!)

Jane Austen’s novels are fresh, funny and filled with sweet love stories so there’s nothing better to read in spring!

Do you read seasonally or are you, like me, a bit oblivious to seasons in books? If you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

Let’s Talk Bookish – The Pros and Cons of Book Blogging

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I have not been blogging long enough to have a lot to say on this topic so I think I will keep it short and sweet. First of all, I want to say that the book blogging community is a haven of peace and overall loveliness for me and I’m enjoying blogging so much because everyone is so nice! I’m not sure that all communities on the internet are so kind and open, so that’s really something that needs to be celebrated.

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On a personal aspect, I really enjoy blogging because it keeps me busy and it’s a nice hobby that allows me to express my love and passion for books. It’s a positive activity to do after work or at the weekends to unwind, but still stimulate my brain (I’m not very good at doing nothing, I’m afraid). But I have to say that I don’t really try to make my blog a big thing at all, which means I rarely look at my stats. I post what makes me happy, share it on Twitter, sometimes Instagram, and I like and comment other bloggers’ articles because I enjoy their content, and that’s it.

The reason why I decided to not focus on numbers is because I don’t want to feel a certain pressure to post a specific kind of content at a specific rate. As I explained in this article, reading is a pleasure and I don’t want to feel like I have to read a certain title or a certain number of books so that people keep being interested in my blog. I don’t want it to be a professional thing, just somewhere where I can be myself and talk about all the things I like. Obviously, it’s not a criticism of bloggers who do that because everyone has a different perspective on their content, I think.

That was a very quick post, but I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.