October Wrap Up

Considering the month of October included university work unlike the likes I’ve ever seen, a trip to the US, and continued working on the weekends, I’m surprised I managed to read anything at all. Yet somehow, my Goodreads account claims I’ve read one more book than I thought I had. As I’m unsure where I’ve messed up, and don’t particularly want to go through all 2016 wrap up blogs alongside my Goodreads logs, we’re just going to pretend there’s no mistake whatsoever.

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So first up I read Frostblood by Elly Blake, which was far bester than I expected it to be. I actually received the book back in the July Fairyloot box, but just hadn’t picked it up yet. I had just finished The Crown’s Game, mentioned in my previous wrap up, and was still riding that fantastical high. A book about people controlling fire and ice sounded like fun, and although I wasn’t expecting much, Frostblood had an interesting setting, a great build up, and a surprisingly great ending – although the ‘big twist’ wasn’t much of a shock. I expect there will be a sequel, and in that I hope Blake manages to develop all of the characters even more – especially the secondary ones, which I don’t think were always used to their full potential – although I personally have no idea where she’s going to take the plot from here on out, so I look forward to seeing what she does.

Next I finally finished the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I once again loved. I’d completely forgotten some of the details of certain characters and events, especially towards the end, so there were still moments that were completely new to me. There’s a lot that wasn’t included in the films, which I expected, but honestly I love coming across these little pieces of new information and plot. I especially love everything to do with Hermione’s S.P.E.W and the ghost Peeves, who I wish could have been in the films.

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The third and final book I finished in October was The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, which I read for my dissertation. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would, mainly due to Campbell’s beautiful writing style. There were passages that I had to write down, just for his use of phrase and imagery to encapsulate the world of the ancient hero. If you have any interest in ancient classics, mythology, or the hero trope, I highly recommend it.

So even though I’ve also read about two thirds of another book in October, I’m happy with these three – especially as I mentioned in my last wrap up that I just needed to read three books a month in order to get to my goal. I’ve also, unsurprisingly, read a couple of Kindle books in the past month, so in terms of overall reading I’ve managed to get through a lot. As I’ve told myself that I just don’t have the time to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, which I’m very unhappy about despite the fact that it’s for my own good (head over to my writing blog alwayslovetowrite.wordpress.com to read more), this means that I should have some more time for recreational reading. I did count Campbell in with this month, even though it was for university, and I should have another university book in November’s wrap up – so maybe next year my goal will be books not included for uni, although that may be a bit cruel to myself.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and here’s hoping that we’ll reach our reading goals!

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Book Covers

I think we all know the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’, used in reference not only to books but to people, telling you that it’s what’s on the inside that counts – and this is very true. You shouldn’t judge by what’s on the outside, as a brilliant book may well have a really terrible cover. However, that doesn’t mean that I stop buying books that have beautiful covers – even when I don’t really know what it’s about.

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In reference to books, when someone chastises me for buying one due to its pretty cover, quite often they’ll use that phrase, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. “It could be awful”, a very true statement. “The cover shouldn’t factor – it doesn’t matter in comparison”, and that is where I disagree completely. See, some people forget that it’s someone’s job to design that cover to fit the book and to appeal to their targeted audience. Someone has put in blood, sweat, and tears to make that cover something great so that you, the reader, pick it up. A cover is meant to attract people to it. It’s not the blurb that catches your eye from across the room, it’s the gorgeous cover. It’s supposed to reel you in to get you to read the blurb and flick through the first pages. A book cover is meant to not only capture the book, but enrapture you, so that as you make your way towards it you entertain fantasies of what that beautiful book will look like on your shelf.

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Not to mention that most book covers are more than simple pretty pictures or designs. There are often little hidden gems within them – take V.E Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. When you look at all three books together, there are little details that are meant to open up your imagination about the books. For the US covers, it’s the use of maps, for the UK covers it’s the changing coloured circles on each cover that change as the series progresses, showing a clever continuation that relates to what happens in the books.

There have been many occasions where I’ve picked up a book purely for the cover, and I have even bought a book that I already owned just because it had a different cover that was just stunning. There has even been an instance where I bought a book barely glancing at the blurb, as the cover was just so appealing for me. Called The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky, I saw it at work with it’s tribal wolf in this shiny gold emboss which pictures really can’t capture. It probably helps that I adore dogs and, so by default, also love wolves, so any cover with a wolf on I’m eager to buy, but this particular book was just too angelic to walk past.

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And that’s what we want! That means that the book designer has done their job in following the outlines of the publisher. It is the publisher who will give the designer ideas, such as colour ways or images etc that they think sums up the book, and then the designer has something to play around with. The marketing is a complete success if you actually like the cover and it draws you in. Because at the end of the day, this is one of the big factors of why people buy physical copies of books. It’s the feel of them in their hands, the smell, and the pleasing cover – it’s the whole experience, beautifully packaged, which makes physical books so marvellous.

And that, my friends, is why when it comes to books, it is absolutely ok, in my opinion, to buy a book for its cover.

Book Resolutions

I made a post of my twin blog (alwayslovetowrite) about my resolutions this year, and one of those was to read 50 books. I wanted to take this moment to mention a few things about what I hope to do in the near future with this blog.

It’s not a secret that I started up this blog just so that I could have a space where I talk about books and all things book-y. If I had the guts, I would start up a Youtube channel and join the ‘Booktube’ community, but the thought of some people watching me on Youtube makes me feel ill – along with the fact that I tried it once, and when I look back at the videos today I do, indeed, feel very, very ill.

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Anyway, avoiding conversations about how ill I feel, my goal for this blog was to reach a point where I had enough followers and subscribers that I could reach out to publishers and request copies of books to review. If successful, not only would I save some money (every book lover and student’s dream), but it would mean I will have reached a point where my blog and my thoughts are deemed important enough to facilitate.

That’s why, this year, I hope to start accumulating more followers – which means, on my side of things, I need to make a serious effort and dedication to keep everyone reading interested. I want to be the person proud to ‘plug’ their blog because they think it’s good, rather than just forcing all my friends to click that follow button to help me out. I think that’s one of the reasons that I don’t ever post my blog on facebook – I mean, sure, I’ll shove it into my description on Twitter and Instagram, but other than that I try not to draw attention to it. I want to know that people are reading it because they chose to, not out of obligation to my incessant ‘plugging’.

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Back to resolutions, I’m going to try and keep you all updated on how I’m getting on – and get some reviews to you as well. I already owe you a review for ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman (it’s good, people) and ‘A Little Life’ (it’s sad, people) although the latter may or may not be appearing on a friend’s website, but I’ll keep you posted.

So far this year, I’ve finished ‘A Little Life’, ‘The Little Prince’, ‘The Score’ and am currently reading ‘A Moveable Feast’. After I’ve finished this by Hemingway, I’m going on to ‘The Martian’ which I am ridiculously excited for and not at all embarrassed that I bought it for my Mum for Christmas 1. Because I knew it was a great book and 2. Because I wanted to read it. If I manage to finish the Martian this month, that would mean a total of 5 books (Despite the fact that ‘The Little Prince’ was very short). That sounds like progress to me, alright.

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Finally, I want to know what you think. So let me know what you want to see from me – be that reviews, posts about kindles, discussions on reviewing books for websites (man do I have stories about bad books from that), or other odd posts, such as the previous best booky gifts.

Good luck to you all for the New Year, especially if you’ve set your own book goal – let’s make it a good one.