2015Weaving Pages: 2015

Saturday, 5 December 2015

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hello Everyone!

To Kill a Mockingbird is the kind of novel that everyone has heard about, but not everyone has read and so I felt it was time for me to do so. And I absolutely fell in love with it.


8045416Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Arrow Books
Published: July 11th 1960
No. of Pages: 309
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
  -(Goodreads)

 5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts
 flying with joy.



Saturday, 28 November 2015

ADVENTURE IS...

It was when I scrolled through my list of read books on Goodreads that I really began thinking about what adventure is, at it's very core. I had just been asked by Cotopaxi to write a post on my favourite piece of adventure literature, and yet as I looked past endless lists of stories filled with exhilarating car chases and daring escapes, nothing felt right. Nothing did feel right until I stumbled upon Code Name Verity, who's cover proudly proclaimed to me 'I Have Told the Truth.' So in that small moment I realised that perhaps I was searching for the wrong kind of adventure. What I wanted wasn't treks through hidden cities, but confessions deep from the soul and heart-shattering realisations that only the best books can offer. Code Name Verity, it seemed was exactly the kind of adventure I needed.

Part of me wishes to tell you that what I love about adventure novels like Code Name Verity, is the act of adventure itself. The soaring plane rides, the code names and unending acts of bravery that only happen in fiction. Yet somehow, I always find myself realising that it is the characters who truly make an adventure, because more often than not, adventure is not a tangible action. It is something you feel.

Code Name Verity is a beautiful embodiment of that, for it truthfully is an adventure of the heart. It's the struggle within yourself to fight and love the world at the same time, or the tiny little quirks of friendship that in the end stare you in the face and tug at your heart. Adventure is being brave enough to label yourself a coward and being loving enough to do the right thing, no matter how much it shatters your every being. Adventure is not always the rides into the sunset or the soaring heights but the bad days and good days that make up who you are. Adventure is finding the courage to truly know yourself.

Any voracious reader will recognise there is no adventure greater than that. 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Hello!

I received a wonderful package from the lovely people over at Orchard Books containing this gem of a book and sure enough it has flown into my favourites! Thank you to the publishers for sending it to me for review! 

25787863Title: This Raging Light
Author: Estelle Laure
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: January 14th 2016
No. of Pages: 320

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together - just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.
 -(Goodreads)
4.5 stars: Page agrees this book was wonderful.



Friday, 20 November 2015

GUEST POST: James Balbirnie on Human Trafficking


As horrific as it sounds, in the modern world profiteering from the misery of others is neither rare nor the preserve of the faecal sediment on the bottom of the varied pool which is humanity. Rather it is a spectrum which stretches from the banality of the media splattering misery onto the front pages of their papers and websites, and beaming suffering and carnage nonstop into our living rooms or directly to where we sit via our mobile phones. The spectrum passes through a thousand shades of greys through exploitative business models targeting the weak, ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes designed to relocate the money of the trusting into the pockets of the cynical; the ‘legitimate’ drug traders, tobacco companies riddling your lungs with cancer until you drown in your own fluids, pharmaceutical companies who ramp-up the cost of life-saving medication to fully exploit those in the greatest need, and the illicit dealing of anything from a spliff to slow death by heroin on street corners. It is at the very limit of the gamut, amongst the darkest greys, that exists human trafficking – the trading of life for greed and the dehumanising of our fellow human beings for gratification.


The subject matter of Traffic is of course dark and unsettling at times, but it was well worth every last drop of sweat or tears from the effort to write this novel because the stories of these women so often go untold, and in a way that makes the injustice that small but significant degree worse. As Rita outlined in “The Truth About Blogging Slumps”, like any writer I’ve hit walls, sometimes for weeks or months on end, had days when I was desperate to get back on the horse but couldn’t get a single sentence down, burned with frustration when rewriting a chapter or scene for the seventh or eighth time, and felt powerless when life was simply getting in the way (As well as writing I also work full-time as a healthcare scientist) but despite all these frustrations, the experience has still been immensely rewarding overall.


In keeping with my style I try to shoe-horn humorous moments into that darkness so that they might shine. I develop the characters before I really know what’s going to happen in the plot, fleshing them out to let them lead the story organically rather than fitting their actions to a pre-determined plot. I’ll let you know some of the characters’ traits as a certainty while keeping other motivations ‘behind the scenes’, letting them keep some cards close to their chests. When ‘building’ a person from the ground up, it’s impossible not to become committed to their affable qualities, which even the most depraved of characters may still have.


I wanted to write a novel from the viewpoint of an intelligence officer but concentrating on authenticity rather than the injection of romance and drama so often seen in the genre. I did a huge amount of research both before putting pen to paper and during writing and rewriting the book a number of times, much of this research was in the form of intelligence reports detailing human trafficking operations and investigations, and reading and watching documentaries not only about trafficking but also other themes which arose throughout the book.

Thank you, James, for the guest post! I thought that in light of some of the recent topics on my blog, this would be a relevant piece about the need for awareness of the atrocities that go on in our world today. I hope you enjoyed it - Rita


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Remembering 13.11.15 - "The more they attempt to turn us to darkness, the more we will love."

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Image by Jean Jullien via Twitter

These are days of bitter sorrow, where the air tastes fresh with the tears of the innocent. These are times of hatred so thick it muffles out every other sound, consuming every ounce of hope it can find. These are memories of broken streets, aching with the cries and despair of those left behind. 
It is on these days that a hand will be offered, promising to allow the grief stricken to stand. It is during these times that candles will be lit, their flickering lights driving away the blackness that threatens to seep in. It is in these memories that we will gather on the streets, mending them with our songs, our hearts and our love.
We will sing for those who's voices have been cruelly stolen, we will light our world for those who have been left in darkness, and we will walk our streets with the faith that love will prevail over evil tattooed upon our hearts.
For the more they shout the louder we will sing. The more they try to make us cower, the stronger we will stand. The more they attempt to turn us to darkness, the more we will love. 



Thursday, 12 November 2015

BOOKISH EVENTS: Leigh Bardugo and Melinda Salisbury at Seven Stories

Two Fridays ago, I went to one of the best events ever at Seven Stories with my sister in tow: Leigh Bardugo and Melinda Salisbury were going to be there to talk about their books, and whole lot more as I found out. There was a huge range of topics covered, including poo, but I honestly had such a huge amount of bookish fun.
You may remember that not long ago, I raved about Six of Crows in my review, and as soon as I knew I had a chance to meet Leigh I got the tickets instantly. I had heard amazing things about Melinda's book too, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and so I was very happy that I finally had an excuse to break my book buying ban and buy it. Let me tell you, I have now read it and found it as fabulous as everyone says it is! Look out for my review which will be coming soon!

To summarise the conversation- which is going to be hard since it was just an hour of utter hilarity -both authors read an extract from their upcoming books. Leigh read from Six of Crows, and Melinda from The Sleeping Prince which I am SUPER curious about and excited for. At one point, we moved onto the subject of what they would be doing if they weren't writers. Leigh rightly asked "Do we have to be good at the said thing?" and when told that it wasn't a requirement, told us about how she would like to be a fashion designer, which I loved! Melinda's answer was amazing too, as she told us how she'd like to be a keeper at a zoo, which promptly brought us onto the subject of poo and having to handle it. Of course, that resulted in a room full of laughs at the odd topic, though everyone (even Leigh and Melinda) was left wondering how on earth we go there in the first place. At one point, we moved onto questions, all of which had brilliant answers. I think my favourite one has to be the reply when asked if they ever look back at their work and wish they could have added something. Melinda and Leigh agreed that they don't tend to read their work once it's been published, and I think I can empathise with that. I mean, it must be a little strange to read your entire 300 page novel (though it would be amazing to have a book published!) because at the end of the day, you might have spent an entire year or more going over it. There must be a point you just want to get it out of your sight!
Loving to write myself, I couldn't help but ask Melinda and Leigh if they tended to plan their work or just 'go with the flow'. Both agreed they liked to know where the story is going, but Melinda admitted sometimes she just has to follow what her characters want to do, and Leigh likes to have it more planned out. As someone who can struggle to plan, but at the same time can end up kind of lost on where to go next, I agreed with the idea of having a set goal for the story- it most definitely helps!

Next we got to the book signings, and both Leigh and Melinda were absolutely lovely! They are super sweet, and we talked about everything from writing to my time-turner necklace, and the fact Leigh's character in Six of Crows has a similar name to my sister's. I got awesome Six of Crows badge which I instantly pinned on, and then went on to talk to some of the other bookish people at the event.
Mentioning that, I finally got to meet Nina, who's a publicist that I've known through blogging ever since I began. Meeting her has been long overdue, and I can honestly say she is so so sweet and amazing! I had so much fun talking to you, Nina! I also got to talk to Lorna, who is the programme coordinator at Seven Stories, and just one of the sweetest people ever!! We talked for ages about authors we wanted to see, and everything going on at Seven Stories recently- just all the bookish conversation we could fit in really. It was so nice to see you again, Lorna!
Ines (my sister) and I hung around for a bit so we could get a picture with Melinda and Leigh, since I didn't want to interrupt the signings. It was here that Melinda and begun talking about Portugal and all the cakes and pastries you could eat there (Spoiler Alert: we're both big fans!) as well as about my current WIP. She gave me some lovely encouragement, especially since lately I hadn't been writing a lot. Well, THANK YOU MELINDA <3 <3, because as soon as I got home I wrote some more! Leigh also tried out some of her Portuguese on me, just before everyone began dressing up in the Seven Stories Harry Potter robes. Yes, you read that right. If you need a reason to visit Seven Stories, just do it for all the Harry Potter stuff!

Thank you to everyone who organised the event- Ines and I had so much fun, and it was one of the best bookish events ever. Seven Stories hosts the best events, and I am very much looking forward to the next one!

Love, Rita xox



Saturday, 7 November 2015

THE TRUTH ABOUT BLOGGING SLUMPS

Blogging slumps happen to everyone. That's the truth. Trying to constantly keep up with a schedule, no matter how frequent or infrequent it is, can be exhausting. There comes to a point where you have no clue what you want to write about, or if people want to read it; the statistics that blink up every time you click on your site contribute to the panicky need to somehow get back your previous numbers, yet they also add to the weariness you feel about the entire situation.
Every 'Guide to a Brilliant Blog' out there stresses the importance of keeping up with a schedule, however. I can't deny that it's true. Readers want something dependable, they want to be kept interested with new content on a regular basis. Despite this, when we look at other blogs we simply see the exciting next post that's popped up on our feed. We never seem to see the work and thought behind it, and that can also make us constantly wonder, why can't I post as much as they do?

That's TRUTH #1: As Bloggers, we need to be lenient with ourselves. Not all of us can be full time bloggers, and not all of us can manage to post daily. Or even three times a week, simply because we are all different people. For me, I prioritise school work before blogging, and then I seem to always have things to do with my friends or family. So when I'm not writing a History essay, or having a day out at the beach with my new puppy, I sometimes find it hard to just slow down and start blogging. It's not so much that I don't have the time to do it, it's more so that with my mind being constantly on other things throughout the day, I don't have an idea for what to write about or I don't feel like writing it. I end up spending my time on the internet just doing things that perhaps aren't productive, but because I spend so much of my day working at things that are, they feel like the little time I have for myself.

Which brings us to TRUTH #2: Write with a passion, or don't write it at all. If you love writing it, whoever reads it will sense that too. For someone who's favourite thing to write isn't reviews, it can make sitting down to write them a bit of a chore. My favourite posts are ones such as The Oversimplification of Stereotypes, or  5+ Reasons We Need More Diverse Books. I loved doing all the research for the 4 Documentaries You Should Watch If You're Passionate About Women's Issues post, and my Interview with Linda Forsell. The thing in common with those posts is that they are all based on subjects I'm passionate about. So when I sit down to write them, the words just seem to fill the page. It's similar to when I write the story I'm working on; when I'm writing my favourite scenes , I can't seem to stop. When I'm not, things don't go so smoothly.

Essentially, that's exactly what TRUTH #3 is: A Blogger is a writer. Any writer you ask will tell you that at various points when writing a story, you will hit a wall. So why should it be any different when we blog? Your blog is a story- the entire premise of Weaving Pages is 'A Blog on the Stories we read, and the stories we live.' One of the first steps to overcoming a blogging slump (and I'll give you some tips on that soon) is to accept that. Be kind to yourself about it, take a little rest and then get stuck into it. Also accept that there will be times in your life where you won't be able to blog. For me, that will be this summer when exams start.

TRUTH #4 is related to this: Don't base your blogging success on numbers. Sure it's brilliant to have huge amounts of page views and comments, and on a business side there is no denying that it's very beneficial, but as a writer that shouldn't rule you. Statistics are simply something that should slowly build up as you write what you love, and that you can aid along with doing a little research about your audience and things such as SEO. The first step to getting anywhere however, is to begin with just writing what you enjoy, when you enjoy it. Sometimes, that also means getting out all your feelings on paper, like I'm doing here.

For me, that's the truth behind blogging slumps. The trick to getting out of one, is understanding why you feel like that- I'll be helping you out with that in a later post -but I hope this post has been somewhat relatable for anyone in the same situation. Don't let a blogging slump get you too down- it's possibly the most common thing in the blog world!

Love, Rita xox


Friday, 30 October 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Hello Everyone!

I received this book from the publisher so thank you to them for  allowing me to review it! Of course, this does not affect my opinion in anyway!


23569524
Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: June 4th 2015
No. of Pages: 450


What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself. -(Goodreads)
3.5 stars: Page thinks this book was good, but didn't
make him fly.


Monday, 26 October 2015

4 Documentaries You Need To Watch If You're Passionate About Women's Issues

Here at Weaving Pages, I'm all about story telling. To me, it's one of the most powerful skills of our world. It's why when people have abhorrent plans, they try to limit the speech of those affected, and thus their ability to tell their stories. Therefore, as people who have voices and who can be heard, it is our duty to help those who don't. We can do it, by making it our goal to make sure their stories are heard. Today, I'm sharing with you another way people endeavour to do this: documentaries. I'm not talking about the ones that film a gorilla for a solid hour (though those can be fun too) but ones that challenge you to see what others hide. The ones which are relentless in portraying the truth of what children and adults all over the world go through and that thus will make a change in what is being done to help them. This post is all about appreciating that, so here are four documentaries to watch if you're passionate about women's issues:

1. Saving the Cybersex Girls: Stacey Dooley Investigates




















If you're passionate about women's issues, Stacey Dooley is the one to look out for, with an array of fascinating and hard hitting series about the problems women around the world face. This is a more recent one, all about the young girls who are brought into cybersex, much like many are brought into the sex trade with the promise of a better life. These girls are abused by people who guarantee them more money for their families, but also by the only people in the world who should keep them safe: their parents. This documentary doesn't gloss over reality, for these girls are left broken and emotionally vulnerable to a point it's hard to believe the people who do this to them can even be human. It will leave you angry, make you feel sick and disgusted, but best of all it will make you want to do something. For nothing is better than watching the people who help these girls when they are finally saved and realising how much a single person can make a difference.

2. Secrets of South America - Cinderellas of the Slums























Cinderellas of the Slums is a documentary presented by Billie JD Porter focusing on the divide between the rich and poor young people in Brazil. In South America, Quincenera's are as important as the American Sweet Sixteen, but not every girl can afford the opulent indulgence of hiring a celebrity to dance with you. The difference shown between 'classes' is startling and (I won't lie) sometimes sickly, when one girl is struggling to have a good enough education and another is having a photo shoot so there are pictures of herself covering the walls on her 15th birthday. The unfairness is hard hitting, but as someone who spent a month in Brazil, it is not very different from what you may see as you walk down the street: a slum on one side and a fenced off property on the other. This is a brilliant documentary in showing how girls in the same city can lead such contrasting lives, and in highlighting just how alarming the gap between the rich and the poor is.

3. To Educate a Girl

To Educate a Girl (Trailer) from Talking Drum Pictures on Vimeo.

These next two documentaries are probably best classed as films, for you won't find them on TV, yet they are equally as important. To Educate a Girl is all about the struggle for girls around the world to be educated and to thus be able to escape the poverty they live in. With the total number of children not in school being two thirds girls, this is a serious problem. Education is the key to ending poverty, to prevailing peace and to eradicating ignorance, yet so many children are denied it. We are constantly trying to find answers to the above problems, but maybe we already have it. Maybe we're not using it effectively enough. Whilst those of us who are privileged constantly moan about our school work, girls in countries like Nepal and Uganda fight to stay in school and overcome the obstacles which prevent them from doing so. Education is a gift, and this is a documentary which perfectly comprehends that all whilst noting that it should be a gift for all.

4. Sister

Sister_Teaser from Brenda Davis on Vimeo.

What's interesting about Sister, and makes it different from all the other documentaries I've shared with you today, is that instead of focusing solely on the issues women encounter, it shows the women who help them overcome their problems. By being the story of health workers in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti, Sister draws attention to the fight to reduce the complications surrounding maternal and newborn death. It's easy to forget that whilst for many of us reading this, we do not see birth as a particularly problematic issue, yet other women are not that lucky. What we take as the normal, to them is a blessing. What we complain about if we don't get, they may well not even be able to ask for it. The world is most definitely not as advanced as we like to believe, but we are lucky enough that women like the ones in this video choose to dedicate their lives to improving it.

If you're interested in how story telling can help raise awareness and help problems such as these, join in with the #ReadersIssues twitter chat led by me, @WeavingPages . The first chat begins October 30th at 7:00pm GMT, and the topic is all on why we need Diverse Books. If you want to know more about the subject, read my post here, or just join in with the chat. Hopefully we'll soon have one all about Women's Issues too. Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Reading More


I've constantly heard the phrase "I don't have time to read!" from people in my life. Whether that was at school, or just in the middle of a general conversation, I hear it a lot. Before, I didn't understand it. Now I do. 

Lately, I've found it harder to constantly pick up a book. I'm not sure if it's because my tastes have become more refined, and so I have to LOVE a story to want read it all the time, or if it's simply because I usually have a good amount of homework and revision to do which gets priority. By the time I think of picking up a book or even blogging (that explains the current schedule deviations) I'm tired, and just want some time for myself. As good as wasting half and hour on the internet feels, I want to go back to reading as much as I did before, so here is an Ultimate Guide to Reading More, in the hopes that not only will it get me reading (and reviewing) more, but that it will do the same for you.

1. If you Don't Like it, Ditch it.
Yes, I know, you probably feel guilty. What if it gets really good? What if I miss out? And what about the publisher I'm reviewing it for? Sometimes, the book does get better, I admit. Most times, however, it doesn't. We have to get over that fear of missing out, because there are a lot of brilliant books out there but- as the quote says- there is not a lot of time... If the first 100 pages don't thrill you, the next 200 probably won't either! Especially, if you are wasting energy restraining yourself from wanting to slap the main character. I realise that it's harder to do this when it's a review copy, because the publisher has been kind enough to send it to you! I always feel like I'm letting them down if I DNF a book, yet I remind myself that they are book lovers too. They know it's impossible to like every book you read, so don't waste time on those books that won't get priority on your shelf!

2. Take a Journey.
As fun as it sounds, no, I'm not suggesting you take a spontaneous holiday just to be able to read more. A better idea is to take your book on a spontaneous holiday. I try and take a book with me wherever I go, because you never know just when you might get a spare moment! You might be waiting for someone in the car, have a few minutes before class or maybe you need a break from the world. Guess what? If you constantly have a book with you, there'll be no need to just sit idly and twiddle your thumbs. You'll get to catch up on the next bout of trouble your favourite character is heading towards.


3. Relinquish Everything Electric.
I'm possibly the guiltiest person in terms of doing this. It's just so easy to waste time on Twitter or playing the really addictive game on your phone instead of reading. A good idea is to just turn everything off, and place it somewhere you know you won't be tempted to reach for your laptop. Then make yourself a warm drink, and sit down with your current novel. And yes, an eReader is forgiveable. ;)

4. Before you Snooze.
The easiest thing for me to do to get some more reading time it to pick up a book before bed. It can be hard on days where you're tired or get in late, but when you are just snuggled up in bed, it's the perfect time to read. It doesn't even have to be much: a page or two does the job, and every book lover knows just how many pages "one" is... 

5. Give Yourself a Challenge! 
At times, it's very easy to get in the swing of just reading 'easy' books. You know, ones that don't really require you to strain your brain *that* much. The problem is, that gets boring very quickly, so a good idea is to maybe try something you never have before! A different language? An entire new genre? A hefty classic? There are countless opportunities, and it can be a valuable way to get yourself reading again! 


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Mirrors or Windows? 5+ Reasons We Need More Diverse Books

In 1990, Rudine Sims Bishop posted an article called "Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Doors" discussing the way our art forms still remain vastly unrepresentative of out society as a whole. Not really sure how? A study by San Diego University found that 12% of Protagonists in the the 250 top-grossing films of 2014 were women. To make a comparison, women make up 51.9% of the world's population. If you're still not convinced, you should know that out of the 3,500 books analysed by the CCBC in 2014, only 180 were about African/African Americans, 38 about American Indians, 112 about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans and only 66 about Latinos. With a world population of around 7.3 Billion people, those numbers are massively non-representational of our society, and to make it worse, we've been talking about the issue since 1965. Yet 50 years on, we still haven't made a difference. Here are my thoughts, expanding on Bishop's metaphorical use of Mirrors and Windows, about the issue:

A mirror is a satisfying way of coming back to reality; the cold truth is all there in front of you, illustrated in a lustrous panel surrounded by a flimsy frame. It can feel good to look in the mirror, to be able unnaturally prove your existence by staring your reflection in the face and confirming that the rough hair and full lip you can feel actually belong to you. A mirror is familiar. It's tangible, always ready to show you a twin to share the scar which taints the skin just behind your ear, or sibling with the same crooked smile. A mirror is a reminder of who you are.

A window, on the other hand, is not. Made from the same glass, and often just as easily breakable, but it still distorts the image which you see. Sometimes it is faint, with the features blurred out as staring into a murky pool and the colours dampened into muted shades.
Other times, the only thing you can see is what lies on the other side of the window. The sight you observe may be vaguely similar, but the scar has vanished and the smile is dimpled, not crooked. Besides, no matter how you look it through it, you can never see a clear image of yourself. Instead you're forced to keep looking, to keep searching until perhaps you can finally find a mirror of your own.

Some reading this will live in a world of mirrors. Some will live in a world of windows. Regardless, it is the same world; it's just one that fails to provide mirrors for everyone. In it's entirety, this is why we need diverse books. How can we call ourselves a fair society when people are forced to see through windows because of their race, their sexual orientation, their disability? We can't. No matter how much you argue, we do not live in a world that freely accepts all, but we must work towards it.

However, I still can't comprehend the amount of people who refuse to acknowledge that literature is a way forward. They still argue that we don't need more diverse books, for a novel is written for its story. Inevitably, the statistics above show that this is a lie. We do need diverse books, for books must tell all stories. Not just the white ones.
Remember when you were a child, and you read a book with an amazing character who had the same name as you? You would be so happy, and probably find every single similarity between you and them. I know I was like that, especially since my name is not popular in the UK. Yet, I could still find characters who had physical similarities to me; the same colour eyes and hair, the same height and skin colour. I was never at loss for finding someone similar to me. For other kids, as I realise now, they must have struggled ever seeing themselves in a character that way, because there is a severe lack of diversity.

What is essential to our understanding, is that no one pleading for a change refutes the fact personality and goals are just as important; of course you can relate yourself to a character who looks nothing like you. However, when you're eight and you're asked to describe yourself, you don't tend to go past physical features. In fact, in school you are taught to describe the colour of your hair or your eyes before you start noticing the little personality quirks that make you up. No eight year old is going to go on about how they can be very opinionated or extremely enthusiastic. I don't get me started on the fact we even live in a society that teaches girls no matter what they do, they will never be more than the way they look! How can we expect a child to not be affected by this, and to not be impacted when they cannot find anyone who remotely resembles them?

I understand that longing for someone like you. I've never read a book in English about a Portuguese character or even a child who is an immigrant, but I have always wanted to. My problem is lessened as I'm not part of a racial minority, and so I have the privileged of being able to relate to characters in other ways beside my nationality. Those statistics don't affect me in the same way they do to those who are. Though I'm not a fan of idolising people, I can understand how having someone who is similar to you and achieves great things can be an incentive. It's a reminder that you can overcome obstacles, that you can reach your goals. Thus, for a child who looks at the world around them and sees such a small number of examples that someone like them can change the world, just imagine how limited they feel. That's not something any child should feel.


Every reader out there has seen the quote "We read to know we are not alone." (William Nicholson) However, for many people that is not true, because they were simply born part of a minority. Our lack of diverse books means they are still alone, even when they read. If you truly believe in that quote, if you truly believe that literature is an inspiration, an incentive, then you will agree that we need more diverse Books. Essentially, literature represents our current society, as anyone who has had to study English Literature will know. Lets make it so that in a hundred years time or more, Secondary School children aren't writing essays about how the lack of diversity in books reflects how socially primitive we still are. Instead, let them write about how the way we changed our literature helped us evolve.

To learn more, visit the official site of We Need Diverse Books or join in with the #ReadersIssues twitter chat on the 30th October, 7pm GMT. We'll be talking about the need for diversity in Literature, and how it affects readers all around the world.




Saturday, 10 October 2015

FEMINIST FICTION: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Hello Everyone!

As part of Feminist Fiction, my new review category for books with feminist subjects, I'm reviewing 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. The subject: slut-shaming.


22836575Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 21st 2015
No. of Pages: 384


Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me. -(Goodreads)
3.5 stars: Page thinks this book was good, but didn't
make him fly.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Poemar by Paula Sousa Ribeiro

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm sharing with you a book of Portuguese poems by a friend of mine, but of course I promise all opinions are my own!

The book is called Poemar by Paula Sousa Ribeiro, and it's described as 'Poems of Play' if you want a literal translation. To describe it better, it's about the discoveries of children, of the world through the eyes of a child and all the joy they can bring.

Most of all, it is very, very lovely. So read on, and put this book on your TBR!










Saturday, 3 October 2015

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Hello!

Quite unexpectedly, I ended up think Animal Farm was a work of absolute brilliance. Actually, I probably shouldn't be that surprised because 1) it's George Orwell and 2) I do have a soft spot for social commentary. In short, if you haven't read this, go read it!

7613Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Series: N/A
Source: School
Publisher: Plum
Published: 1946
No. of Pages: 102

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -(Goodreads)
 5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts
 flying with joy.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Dream Literary Collection

Welcome to my dream literary collection! I was contacted by the website Invaluable, which auctions collectible and antique books amongst other things, to put together books from their site that I'd love to have. Even if you're not looking to buy anything, you must have a look over at their collection. There is a lot of stuff, and I honestly had a great time searching and spotting all the books I knew and loved! So here are the books that I've chosen, but make sure to tell me what you think!

1. 1st Edition of the First Superhero Novelization: “The Adventures of Superman”



I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys things to do with superheroes, and I just think it would be amazing to have a 1st edition of The Adventures of Superman. I've never been big on reading comics, though I do enjoy all the worlds and characters they create, but my Dad loves them and I think this would actually be a brilliant gift!





Do I really have to explain this? What book lover doesn't know Lewis Carrol's story and wouldn't jump to have this gorgeous little book in their hands. Sure it might not be a first edition, but I think the fact it's date back to 1946 and will have belonged to someone or many people at one point makes it a little more magical, and that never hurts!







Okay, so maybe this is cheating slightly because it's not exactly a book, but can still picture it sitting nicely on my bookshelf, so it counts?! Anyway, I realise The Little Prince is a book I need to pick up ASAP, especially since there are a few copies lying around my house- my family is a fan of the story, so I definitely have no idea why I haven't jumped on the band wagon. Maybe this little lithograph could be motivation?




Once again, fairytales!! Not only does this book seem VERY gorgeous, but I've always dreamed of having a huge, antique book bursting with all the stories we've come to know. So what better than one that is from 1911, and illustrated? I would love a chance to take a peek at a book like this!






What books would be in your dream literary collection?


Saturday, 26 September 2015

5 Cities I'd Like to Visit


1. New York City, USA

IMAGE BY FRANCISCO DIEZ VIA WIKIMEDIA

Truth is, New York is just one of those cities I know one day in my life I'll need to go there. Even though it's not uncommon to see the famous skyline appear on your screen or in the background of your favourite movie, it doesn't take away the magic of imagining what it would be like to see it for yourself. Yellow taxi cabs, streets filled with sky high buildings and the lights illuminating Broadway; call me naive, but that's exactly what I picture. A girl can dream, right?
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
IMAGE BY ARTYOMIC VIA WIKIMEDIA

I'm lucky enough to have been to Brazil before, but I only got the chance to see Belo Horizonte. Of course, Brazil is a great big beautiful country, and though Belo Horizonte is brilliant, Rio would be a treat to visit. It's hard to describe, but I think being in Rio surrounded by the vastness of it all would feel phenomenal.

3. Bangkok, Thailand

IMAGE BY NIK CYCLIST VIA FOTOR. CC BY

I've always wanted to go to Thailand: crystal water, blue skies and beaches filled with rocks and greenery to explore. It's just my kind of thing, but then I also love Bangkok. All the lights and colours in this picture reflect what I'd hope to find there. From new flavours, to a whole new culture to learn from, Bangkok would be perfect to visit.
4. Amsterdam
IMAGE BY PATRICK CLENET VIA WIKIMEDIA

I must visit Amsterdam one day, and its only in part because of The Fault in Our Stars. The idea of sailing down the canal in a boat is amazing, and I love the style of the houses. All the different colours make me want to smile and not stop!

5. Salzburg

IMAGE BY JIUGUANG WANG VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Salzburg is just beautiful. I love how it looks, with the white buildings and lights glowing all around- it's kind of ethereal. If that doesn't convince me to want to go, I know the fact you can go on a Sound of Music tour of Salzburg will. Sign me up now!


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hello Everyone!!

I received this book from the lovely people at Indigo, so thank you SO MUCH for the early copy! Six of Crows is one of the best books I've read this year, and I will be recommending it to anyone and everyone!


23006119Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Indigo
Published: September 29th 2015
No. of Pages: 528


The Grisha Trilogy introduced readers to the irresistible fantasy world of the Grisha - and now Leigh Bardugo brings us a new sweeping epic.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first. -(Goodreads)

 5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Hello Everyone!!

I received this book from the lovely people at Bloomsbury, so thank you to them for running the awesome competition! Queen of Shadows has a prize place on my bookshelf.


23848145Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Published: September 1st 2015
No. of Pages: 645


Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world. -(Goodreads)
 5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts
 flying with joy.



Saturday, 19 September 2015

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Hi Lovelies!

I was given this book for review from the lovely people at HarperTeen, so thank you to them for allowing me to review this brilliant sequel!

17404295
Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 13th 2015
No. of Pages: 479


It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.-(Goodreads)

4 stars: Page decides that this book was very enjoyable
however, it was not catapulted into amazing.



Thursday, 17 September 2015

An Interview with Linda Forsell: 'Children Having Children.'

Linda Forsell is a photojournalist who for the past four years has spent her time bringing the everyday hardships and horrors women around the world face come to life. Her most recent project is know as 'Children Having Children' and shows the real lives of Guatemalan girls who have been forced into having children at ages where most of us are worrying about our next exam at school. These girls are abused, betrayed and castigated; by those they trust, those that turn their heads and by us. When we refuse to acknowledge the sexism that exists, when we deny that something is wrong with the attitudes of those who allow this, we fail each and everyone of them. Please, do your part and look at Linda's photographs, read her words, and tell yourself you will help change this. It is 2015, and we can not let this keep happening. We look back on our ancestors and ask how they could allow such atrocities to happen. Do not let your descendants do the same.


To see the rest of Linda's work and find out more about her projects, www.lindaforsell.com.
1. As a photojournalist, you visually represent a story. What story have you come across that has impacted you the most?
For me, the impact has always come in relation to the bigger picture. I specifically recall meeting a Zimbabwean woman in South Africa who had been raped nine times, twice in gang rapes, and who conceived a daughter as a result of the rape. She fled Zimbabwe because of the first gang rape and due to her ordeals she began to use heroin. This woman was physically unable to look anyone in their eyes, and even less into a camera, but she was completely determined to tell her story. 
I remember walking out of that room thinking that had I experienced the same thing, I would have taken my own life. But still, the real blow and weight on my heart came when I put that in relation to the fact that in South Africa, almost 45% of all women experience rape in their lifetime. The systematic rate at which humans (both men and women) are abusing women is revolting. The situation for girls in Guatemala is of the same systematic character.
To this day, in 2015, there is no place in the world where women are the equals of men. This is one of the greatest crimes committed by humanity, as popularly cited, women are half the population. 
2. I admire that you focus extensively on woman's issues, because sexism fills the world and yet people deny it. When did you know that discrimination was something you had to take a stand against through your photography?
Gender issues have interested me ever since I started out as a photographer in 2005. For various reasons the interest grew - I experienced discrimination myself and I was in an psychologically abusive relationship at one point - so when the chance arrived to work full time on violence against women in 2010, I was eager to deepen my engagement. 
I then worked for two years on the project Cause of Death: Woman where I traveled to ten different countries documenting violence against women. During that time I learnt about the situation in Guatemala which interested me for various reasons. 
First of all it is heartbreaking. Also, at the time I had been feeling a bit frustrated about how to visualise the issue of violence against women in a compelling way. It is most often an invisible problem, even physical violence is most of the time impossible to conceptualise. The situation in Guatemala offered an opportunity to depict the root of violence against women and girls, at the same time as highlighting the specific situation in the country itself. To see a girl, age 13, with a baby, is simply wrong, and it touches the hearts of most people. It is also hard to argue against the atrocity of the situation and almost impossible to find excuses to the violence or to blame the girls for it. By getting past these obstacles that often arise when talking about violence against women you can touch directly at the root, which is that women and especially girls are valued lower than men. 
3. With your project, Children Having Children, what was it like being with these young girls and seeing their lives?
It is inspiring, interesting and frustrating at the same time. I have loved getting to know them, trying to find common interests, learning from them about their toils and hopefully teaching them something. Simultaneously it is frustrating because as an outsider it can be easy to see what they ought to do to find a way forward, but the obstacles can be almost insurmountable. There are cultural obstacle for them to return to school, financial of course, and psychological hurdles since most of them are more or less broken and need help. For example one girl who was raped on two occasions by a 53 year old man, has locked her pain up to the extent that I doubt that she would go to therapy even if she was offered the help. 
4. I know society is certainly not set up to be supportive of these girls, so what kind of atrocities do they have to face every day?

They are stigmatised and blamed for what happened to them, they are expected to abandon all the hopes and dreams to take care of their child and they are expected to see their child as a blessing. This is the mantra of most churches, all children are blessings and you should thank God for them. As a result, they are robbed of their right to grief and sorrow for what has happened to them. 


5. Personally, I find it so hard to understand how people can kick these girls out of school for being bad examples, but they also don't let them have any alternatives to the pregnancy either. For you, what was the hardest thing to try to understand?
This is of course one of the most difficult aspects, and it can only be understood by looking at the root of the problem, that girls and women are deemed less valuable than men, by themselves and others. As a result, what happened to them is considered their fault. All of this happens subconsciously of course, it is not something that anyone would admit to your face, but it is the base of gender inequality. 
6. What impact do you want your photographs to have on the people that see them?
There is no one way that a problem like this can be solved. It is always the confluence and resonance of many different forces and steps. 
I believe that people in and outside of Guatemala are on different levels to being able to grasp the issue and I think this is one of the strengths of the project, that it can reach out to you in different ways. Let’s say you never heard of the problem before and you see the show or read about the show, then it may open up a new door, make you think and be aware of your own behaviour, maybe you start talking to your nearest about what your learnt. On the other hand if you’re well-versed on women’s issues, the collaborations with organisations in the project may give you an idea or opportunity to start acting to help others outside your community. 
In general it is about raising awareness, and make people start thinking, talking and then acting. 
7. How can people help raise awareness and end the problems you document?
There are different ways. A number of local organisations are doing an amazing job trying to improve their situation, preventing the continuance of the situation by education and assisting in emergencies. These movement need all the support they can get in terms of people who can help them out but also money for health care, cars, educational events. 
But the very first thing to do is to start with yourself and treat all women and girls as equals. Speaking of the subject of these girls specifically and equality in general is also important. An entire system and foundation has to change for this to be prevented in the future. 


Thank you, Linda, for doing this interview with me and for the work you do- it's extremely important to every woman out there. I hope everyone who reads this comes away with more knowledge, and an even greater will to do something about it. No woman is less than a man, no girl should be pregnant at 11 and out of school, and no person should ever suffer because of their sex. That's the truth: we are all people above all else, and yet we are not always treated like it.


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