Liebster Blog Award

Hi lovely readers! So I’ve just been nominated for my first award, which is very exciting. A huge thank you to Alyssa over at The Ultimate Book Geek for the nomination (she has a wonderful blog, which I definitely recommend checking out).

The Rules: 

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.
  3. Nominate 11 other people (preferably those with under 200 followers)
  4. Give your nominees 11 different questions to answer.

The Questions: 

1. Why did you start your blog? 

I started this blog towards the end of last year as a way of fighting tsundokism (that is, the act of buying books and not reading them, instead letting them pile up unread on bookshelves). I also think that writing reviews helps me to remember and think critically about the books I read.

2. If you had a chance to spend a day with any writer, alive or dead, who would you choose? 

If you had asked me which author, alive or dead, I would like to have dinner with, I probably would have said Virginia Woolf or maybe Stephen Hawking, but if I were stuck with them for the whole day, I’d probably go with Bill Bryson. I just think he’d be really great company and full of fun facts about everything.

3. Book subscription boxes: yay or nay? (Have you ever subscribed to one? Do you want to?)

To be honest, I don’t know too much about book subscription boxes. I’ve never subscribed to one before, but I think it sounds like fun.

4. What’s your favourite genre? 

I don’t really have a favourite genre to be honest – my tastes are very eclectic and I like to read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Sorry, I know that’s not a very good answer!

5. Do you like to see film adaptations of your favourite books? 

Yes, I do! Although I think that the book is always better than the movie…

6. Have you read a book over a dozen times? If so, which book? 

It’s a bit of a cliché, but I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count. Those books basically defined my childhood.

7. Name a book you DNF’ed recently.

For some reason I couldn’t get through ‘The Blazing World’ by Siri Hustvedt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exceptionally well-written and the idea is fascinating, but I just really wasn’t in the mood for it. At some point I would like to go back and finish it.

8. What was the last book that totally blew your mind? 

I recently read ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi, which was one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful memoirs I have ever read (you can find my review here).

9. What’s the last book you recommended to someone? 

I honestly have no idea. I work in a bookstore and so I spend a lot of time recommending books to different people and I am not very good at keeping track of all my recommendations. Sorry, I know that this is a terrible response!

10. Do you have a favourite bookmark? 

Confession: I dog-ear my pages instead of using bookmarks. I know, it’s terrible! I just always lose my bookmarks and I’m really bad at breaking habits.

11. Have you ever thought about starting a book club? 

I’ve thought about it and I think it would be great fun. Maybe some day!

My Nominations: 

Big Reading Life | Musings From Abroad Blog | Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs | Consumed By Ink | The Book Whisperer | Cleopatra Loves Books | MN Bernard Books | Reading Every Night | The Owl on the Bookshelf | Literary Weaponry | Deborahjs

My Questions: 

1. Do you read one book at a time or multiple?
2. What was your favourite childhood book?
3. Which author do you think is totally overrated and why?
4. What was the last book you read that made you laugh a lot?
5. What was the last book that made you cry?
6. Are you a fast or slow reader?
7. Name a book you DNF’ed recently.
8. What is your go-to genre for long-haul flights?
9. What is the most recent classic you read and what did you think of it?
10. What is next on your TBR?
11. Do you have a favourite bookshop? Why is it your favourite?

Once again, thank you to Alyssa for the nomination! I had a lot of fun answering these questions and I hope you will too.

~Anna

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Men Explain Things To Me – Rebecca Solnit

When I first picked up Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me, I was expecting a collection of funny stories about things overbearing men have said to the author. Oh boy was I wrong. This book is a dark and very serious collection of essays about feminism, sexism, misogyny, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, poverty, class warfare, and the silencing of women’s voices across the globe. In short, this is pretty heavy stuff.

Yes, the first essay is funny and has been cited as the piece that launched the term “mansplaining” (you can read it here), but this is just Solnit’s hook to get you reading. The other eight essays in this book are unbelievably depressing. Solnit uses a lot of anecdotes and statistics to make her points and show just how widespread violence against women really is (and not just physical violence). Maybe it’s because I was expecting this book to continue in a similar vein to the first essay, but I really struggled to get through this one and it took me far longer than usual to read 130 pages.

While Solnit is undoubtedly a good writer (I really enjoyed Hope in the Dark, which I discussed briefly here), I thought this collection of essays was very scattered and lacked an overarching structure. The essay about Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag, although interesting, felt totally out of place, almost as if it had been added as an afterthought. Another thing that bugged me a little about this collection (especially all that Woolf/Sontag musing) was that Solnit made a lot of really tenuous links for the sake of… sounding poetic, I guess.

All in all, I wanted to like this book more than I actually did and it really did not go where I thought it would. It starts out strong, she ends on a decent note, but it meanders in the middle in a way that makes me wish it hadn’t been a book at all. It’s good writing, and the points she makes are important, but overall it was just a little, I don’t know, unfocused? Lackluster? Still, I’m glad that the issues Solnit raises are being talked about and I hope this book leads to more reading on the topic (and more social progress).

Have you read Men Explain Things To Me? Or any of Rebecca Solnit’s other books? What did you think? Would love to hear from you. 

~Anna