Reading and writing have always been two of the most constant things in my life. Irrespective of how well I did them, they were always there with me, giving me insights and making me better in their own strange ways. I started reading as a very young child and writing when I was about 11. You can understand the kind of things I wrote then: inane but dramatic poems, narrating my life into poems because I was sure nobody was going to take me seriously, and using whatever English I had at my disposal in science and social studies projects.
As I grew up, my poems turned somber and I also began to write fiction. And then I started blogging. It wasn’t with any other goal except that I loved writing and I wanted to put a step out into that world where I could share my thoughts with people. At first it was writing stilted sentences coming up to about 400-500 words. As time passed and I realized what it was I wanted from blogging, I continued to make changes and evolve. But there was a problem. I wasn’t consistent in writing these blog posts. I still am not, to be honest. This year, however, I decided to get back to proper blogging and do something about this consistency problem. One of the things I wanted to do was Blogtober.
Today is the last day of Blogtober and I thought, what better a way to wrap up this crazy month of blogging the way I started it – with a book tag. To top it off, this book tag, which I was first tagged to do in video format, is called The Last Book I… Tag, which is yet again, fitting. It’s been a hectic month, with every day bringing me a fresh round of panic because, “Oh, I’ve got to write at least these many words for this topic!” but also a sense of achievement that I actually ended up finishing and uploading a piece. Plus, book tags are some of my favorite videos and blog posts to write, so it’s only natural, in yet another way, that I end Blogtober with this one.
A few months ago, I think, I did a video where I spoke about the books that made me cry. I’d seen Olivia from Stories for Coffee do this, and I thought it a great idea, especially since there have been SO MANY books that I bawled at. It’s a bookworm thing, I think, where we give our whole selves to pages and stories and lose ourselves in the process while finding ourselves. Does that make sense? No? Okay, anyway. Although this year hasn’t given me any such books, my past is littered with such books and my YouTube channel littered with footage of me crying and losing my mind over them.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be taking you through 10 books (more, actually) that I cried my eyes out reading and have shouted from the rooftops about how great they were. That’s a measure of how good a book is, I think, of how much it affects the reader. And these books stand out among my read pile because of how much pain, how much emotion I felt as I read them. There were originally 15 books on this list (in the video I made), but I’ve cut this list down to 10, to the books that affected me the most.
A few days ago, I wrote a blog post talking about TBRs and whether or not you should make them. Today, I’ll be talking about readathons and reading challenges. I won’t be talking about why you should be doing these. Instead, I’m listing down the pros and cons of joining readathons and reading challenges. Based on this, you can decide whether or not you want to get involved in them. But before I start, I need to make it clear that irrespective of what the pros are, if reading is stressing you out, it’s always better to take time out and become kinder to yourself.
June is Pride Month, a celebration of queerness and our LGBTQIA+ fellows. We have loads of posts on social media celebrating the same, as it should be. But many-a-times, we tend to forget that we shouldn’t be sharing these stories and reading these books only in that month. We need to do it around the year, not just because celebrating them is important, but also because they are part of the natural reality of life. I mentioned this in a previous blog post: Queer people have always existed. The fact that cis-hets have always discriminated against them is a proof of how intolerant cis-hets are and not that queer people are ‘against nature’.
So in this spirit, I’m here with 10 book recommendations today, all of which have been written by queer authors. I cannot stop recommending them, really, because whichever recommendation video you see, you’ll find at least a couple of these on there. I love these to no end and if you haven’t already read these books, this post is to recommend to you that you read them pronto! Please!
Being a bookworm is a layered experience. We read books, we love some, we dislike some, we hate some, and we have reasons for all of these. One such book-related thing we all do is have favorite and least favorite characters. Everyone has their own reasons for loving or not loving a character. Debates can go on for ages about this because for every person loving or hating the character, there’s at least one person feeling the exact opposite.
A couple of months ago, out of the blue, I got thinking about a character and how I didn’t like them at all. There were, however, reasons which people pointed out saying that the character was supposed to make you feel those things and that that is how the author wrote it. So, this means that there are bad characters and badly written characters and there’s a stark difference between the two. Either way, however, you tend to dislike both types of characters – one, because they’re supposed to be reprehensible, and the second, because of how they’re written.
Being a bookworm is a study in self-control. I should get that new book. NO! I should reward myself with 5 new books because I finished one. NO! I should read just one more chapter before I sleep. (This at 2 AM.) NO! Only, the answer to this is usually yes, which is why so many of us have dark circles from not getting enough sleep. I should just say that I’ve read the book these people are talking about because I don’t want to feel left out. ABSOLUTELY NOT! What is wrong with you?!
This is how my bookish conversations with myself go, more often than not. So when I found this book tag to gauge whether I’m a guilty reader or not, I immediately did a video about it. I put out this video a long, long time ago (here’s the link: The Guilty Reader Book Tag)and I’m now about to see if any of my answers have changed. 😂
About 4.5 years ago, I read a book that I’d requested from Netgalley because I’d found the premise to be super interesting. Until this, my experience or even impression of sites like Netgalley hadn’t been great. But this book, called House of Rougeax, turned it around fantastically well, becoming one of my favorite books of 2018. Here’s a little excerpt from my review of the book:
“House of Rougeaux has a simple story. But in this simplicity lies a heartbreak and warmth that cannot possibly be explained in words. As the book progressed, a heaviness settled in my heart. There is no pronounced bad guy in the entire story. Yet the heart clenches, and the gut wrenches in pain. The amazingly beautiful writing style makes you go ever the closer to crying. If you like stories of hope and love, this is the one for you.”
I was so mesmerized by the writing and the story that I immediately approached the author, Jenny Jaeckel, for an interview. But things happened and I couldn’t publish it here even though Jenny was prompt in sending her answers. I decided to try my luck again and Jenny, being the sweetest person, agreed to do it. A big thank you, Jenny, for this!
As human beings, we all have our quirks. We do certain things in certain ways which sometimes surprises other people. Of course, the world in itself is a weird place to be in, given how it ruthlessly cracks down on people who do things differently. But every person is different. And there isn’t just one solution to every problem. There are multiple ways of looking at things. Given, some of these ways may be weird, but that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective or bad. Diss on the bad and harmful, not on the weird. (Life lesson done for today, phew.)
As bookworms, we’re prone to doing even weirder things than is considered normal. It could be immersing ourselves in a book while at a doctor’s appointment or reading while eating or the way we store our books – every bookworm has their own quirks. More than the average human being, even.