Saturday, 15 July 2017

BookTubeAThon 2017 TBR

Well hello there, dear reader! We have just over a week until the 2017 BookTubeAThon takes place and I must say that I am rather excited. Today, I thought I would tell you what I'm planning on reading during the week and which challenges they'll fulfil!

On a side note before we get started, I've put together a playlist of all the TBR videos I could find so if you want to check out more people's plans for the readathon, just follow the link:

Let's get started!

1. Read a book with a person on the cover
For this challenge I've gone with Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas which is the second book in the Throne of Glass series. I've been meaning to continue with the series for a while now and this seemed the perfect opportunity!

2. Read a hyped book
My book for this challenge is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book has been getting a lot of love lately and I've been anticipating it for a while - I think this could potentially be my first read!

3. Finish a book in a day
I figured a short book would be good for this challenge so I went for The Suffragettes from the Penguin Little Black Classics editions. I'm always looking to find out more about the suffragettes so I look forward to it!

4. Read about a character who is different to you
For this I chose Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou. I read the first book in her autobiographical series for the last BookTubeAThon so it's quite fitting to read the next one this year.

5. Read a book solely outdoors
Another short book for this one - British weather is highly temperamental! I chose Our Spoons Came from Woolsworth by Barbara Comyns who is a classic author from the 1950s. I've read two other of her books and they're a little quirky!

6. Read a book you bought because of the cover
Scrappy Little Thing by Anna Kendrick is my pick for this. Whilst it wasn't a beautiful landscape or pretty picture that drew me towards it, I have always loved Anna and figured I may as well purchase her book! Hence, I bought it because of its cover.

7. Read seven books
You get free range with this challenge and I've chosen On The Fence by Kasie West which I have on my Kindle (hence why it isn't in the photoshoot). As it's summer where I live, I figured a nice summery contemporary would be the perfect pick as my seventh book!

Alrighty, those are the books I'm planning on reading. If you're participating I'd love to know what you're looking to read - please let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely day and happy reading,
Amelia x

Saturday, 13 May 2017

For revision purposes, we're gonna have a chat about Plato


One of Plato's most famous analogies is that of The Cave. There are prisoners chained up at the bottom of the cave so that they can only look forward and cannot move. Behind them is a fire and puppeteers (who represent politicians etc.) walk in front of it carrying objects. It is only the shadows of these objects which the prisoners can see, reflected by the fire behind them. The prisoners can also here the voices of those who carry the objects; this is their only sense of reality.

One day a man frees one of the prisoners from his shackles. When he sees the fire and objects, he realises that what he thought was true was actually just an illusion. Eventually he would be able to look at the fire itself (it would take some time to adjust considering his life looking at shadows). The prisoner would have to experience the hard journey to the world outside his cave. As his eyes adjust, he'll be able to look at the objects (e.g. flowers and rocks) directly. Finally, he will be able to see the sun (although I would not recommend looking directly at it, that's not too good for you) which represents understanding and seeing the truth.

Now, the prisoner doesn't want to just experience his enlightenment alone so he returns to the cave and tells the other prisoners what he saw. He no longer appreciates the life he used to lead, and now he's seen the light he finds it hard to adjust to the dark cave. The other prisoners mock him and threaten to kill anyone who tries to free them. They would rather live in ignorance. This can be seen to represent what happened to Plato's mentor Socrates.

This analogy represents Plato's concept of the World of the Forms where an eternal, non-changing, non-physical, ideal version of everything exists. This is because the absolute truth cannot be reached in this world due to everything always changing (e.g. plants dying)

Within the World of the Forms there's a hierarchy of Forms with the Form of the Good at the top. This is represented by the sun in the Cave analogy.

This concept of the WotF would explain the innate sense of justice and truth that we seem to be born with as Plato believes that our souls resided in the WotF before joining with our bodies.

However, as lovely as this is, the Forms aren't very helpful in everyday whilst empirical evidence is (Aristotle's argument). Also, consider how many forms there may be - are we looking at say a form of a dog, or a form of a poodle, a form of a dalmation etc. etc.??? Finally, Aristotle suggested that if humans are trying to seek salvation, why is no one studying the Forms and trying to learn more?

Further weaknesses include the idea that it's bizarre to say that the world which is realest to us is merely a concept. Not only that but, there's no physical evidence; Dawkins explains this "innate knowledge" through his "memes" (a different breed from Pepe - would there be a Form of a Meme or a form of Dawkins memes and a form of each individual internet meme? Asking the real questions.)

Augustine counters the idea of there being a form of a bad thing by his idea that evil is just an absence of good, not necessarily a real thing.

Hope you enjoyed that summary of Plato and his World of the Forms, will be back to books soon!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

I'm revising and I'm reading

Oh boy, I did not think I would have been so serious about revision. It has kind of taken over my life if I'm being completely fair. Even when I'm not revising I'm creating revision timetables for my study leave and the weekends. It's a wee bit crazy, I must say.

The good thing is that I'm actually reading more! When I last posted I was reading Six of Crows and I've read quite a few books since then. I'm still about 5 books behind my Goodreads goal but hey ho, it's alright. I've got the summer holidays to catch up anyway.

I haven't read 1984, instead choosing to read Barbara Comyns' Sisters By A River. It was alright, nothing particularly special but I find Comyns' writing to be quite interesting and I'm looking forward to picking up the last of her books that I currently own.

Speaking of owning books, I've never wanted to buy books more. It's almost as if I'm having some weird withdrawal from not buying any books in a while. It's strange. But, I still have plenty of books on my shelves and Kindle before I decide to pick up anymore from the shops. Might make the exception for ACOWAR so I can binge read the trilogy but at the moment I'm not really feeling in the mood to be supporting SJM considering her serious lack of diversity and the acephobia in the extract that was just released. If you want an author who cares about their audience look no further than Rick Riordan. On Twitter, I witnessed one of the most fulfilling author-to-reader discussions of all time. A reader had pointed out the offensive nature of referring to "spirit animals" within a Magnus Chase book and Rick responded that he was talking to his editor about having it removed from all future printings. This is the kind of author that I'm here for.

I will probably to continue reading SJM books so I can form my own opinions but at the moment I'm not really too sure.

I think that's enough for now, I have got to go and revise again. But, please do tell me about your reading at the moment. Are you revising for any exams? Any tips?!
Amelia x

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Guess who's back

Happy April! I know, it's been a long time since I last posted but that's beside the point. So, instead of dwelling on the time I didn't spend blogging, I thought I would just talk about whatever I fancied for a more casual blog post. No promises as to whether I'll be uploading regularly, but I would like to do some more posts as it's one of my resolutions.

First of all, Taylor Swift. Where is she?! I appreciate that she's on break and owes nothing to us. I'm truly pleased that she's getting to have some time off from all of the craziness of her life. However, with all the rumours circulating about TS6, I'm feeling a little impatient. It's not even that I'm desperate for new music, I miss her tweets and Instagram posts and funny interviews. Well, I can only assume that we'll be waiting for a few long months more until we hear anything else. I know I'll love whatever she does, regardless.

TV! Literally for the first time in my life I have so many shows that I'm up to date with and am anticipating new episodes for! I'm completely up to date with Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Grey's will always be my favourite but I'm not feeling Scandal as much anymore. Not gonna lie, I'm not a big fan of Olivia Pope anymore - I liked it when they just solved simple cases and there was no overly dramatic plot lines that confused me. I've also started watching The Catch. I've watched the first two episodes of the first season but my parents are saving the second season for me which I appreciate. Shonda Rhimes just knows how to do a TV show right.

Another show is Big Little Lies which is FULL of Hollywood stars. It's quite slow and dreamy but I really like it and am super intrigued about the whole murder mystery that we haven't really gotten any answers for yet. The last show I've been enjoying is Once Upon A Time S2. I've seen this before but totally forgot a lot of what went down, so I wanted to re-watch before diving into S3 onwards.

My reading has really slowed down, I mean it took me half a month to read Uprooted. I've no idea why. It was on my Kindle, so you'd expect it to go a little quicker? I think the writing just wasn't for me, I felt there was a lot that wasn't being said and I was easily distracted from the plot which really didn't help. I'm now reading Six of Crows and I can already tell that this might go a little quicker than Uprooted. In terms of classics, I'm keeping up with the one-a-month schedule and in April I plan on reading 1984 by George Orwell which I've never read before. I've been meaning to read Orwell for YEARS and I'm pleased to get the chance. Only problem is that once I've read all the good classics on my shelves I'll be left with just Austen. There's nothing wrong with her, I just can't really get into it. Still got P&P and Emma to read, though. I kind of want to pick up the others as they appeal to me more, but I don't know if I can actually make myself read that much Austen.

Other than the usual, revision has really stepped up for me. The looming exams have started to frighten me so I'm in panic revision mode which means I am pretty productive, but I also seem to have massive bursts of procrastination which doesn't balance.

I think that's enough for today, I need to go and make more cue cards for RS! How are you all doing? I'd love to hear about anything you're loving.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Top 5 Wednesday // Polarising Reads

Welcome Wednesday-ers! Today's topic of polarising reads is a little tricky for me as I don't think I've actually read all that many. In fact, I could think of so few that instead of 5 books, I've chosen 3. Hopefully next week I'll be able to have the full set!

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
When it comes to the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy, many people strongly dislike this book for reasons that I do understand. However, I fall into the camp of those who loved it. I think it was the perfect end to the trilogy with Katniss distancing herself from the government. She had never asked to be part of the rebellion, it only makes sense for her to leave it as soon as is possible.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Some people find this book pretentious and self-indulgent. I personally think that this is a novel that is beautifully written and tells a wonderful story. Not only that, but it focuses on what happened to the books during the Nazi regime, we often forget about those slightly smaller aspects in favour of the larger, much more horrific crimes that were committed. The characters in this book are so well done and I really would like to reread this one soon.

3. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I'm not sure if this is a completely polarising read, but I know that there are people who hate it and believe it to be too graphic, violent, sexual and over-complicated. On the other hand, I love it. The show and the novels are fantastic and I'm currently reading A Feast for Crows. It's taking me a little while to get through but I'm looking forward to putting aside an hour and just binge-reading the chapters.

So there's my top 3 for this week. I'm already thinking about which books I want to put down for the next topic! Tell me what your favourite polarising books are so I can check them out!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Monday, 16 January 2017

The BBC are KILLING it!

Living in the UK, one of my favourite broadcasting companies is obviously the BBC. They always have really excellent shows and today I thought that I'd share some of my favourite shows that have been on recently that I've caught on BBC iPlayer or seen live. I'm not entirely sure how many shows I've compiled so we'll just have to work through each one individually!

The Missing
I wasn't aware of this show when the first series came out, but my friend told me about the second series so I hopped on the bandwagon and started watching it. This is a creepy thriller of a show that follows what happens after a kidnapped girl comes back. It's set in Europe and you get to see Germany, Switzerland and France. A very atmospheric show and it did scare me a little, but it was just the right amount of scary so that I could still get to sleep at night.

Planet Earth II
Everyone loved Planet Earth the first time it came around, and this time is no different. Unfortunately, I was a little late to this train so I only caught about half of the episodes but I really enjoyed what I did get to watch. Sir David Attenborough narrates beautifully shot clips of animals in their natural habitats with a wonderful soundtrack and lots of interesting facts!

Close to the Enemy
This historical drama took me by surprise when I started watching by chance. Again, I'm not fantastic and keeping up to date with things on BBC iPlayer so I think I only watched the first four episodes, but I really enjoyed them. It follows a British soldier who is trying to persuade a German scientist to work for Britain and help them to develop bombs and other military things. I think this series also had a very minute creepiness to it, but overall it was just an enjoyable period drama. It was also nice to see what came after the war, as opposed to being in the height of the Blitz.

I have yet to read any Zadie Smith, but when I saw this adaptation of her novel on iPlayer I thought I'd give it a watch. This was a really enjoyable(?) thing to watch and it's definitely made me want to pick up the novel sometime soon. It follows three separate characters and looks at how their lives interlink and the different secrets that some of them are hiding. Obviously, I can't comment on whether it was an accurate adaptation or not but I've heard some people say that it was pretty accurate.

Just like everyone else in the UK, I am a big fan of Sherlock. At the time of writing this the last episode of the the fourth series has not yet aired, but I think it might be a good one. My favourite series were definitely the first two and I did enjoy the third as well, but with all this waiting for the next episode I feel like we've lost a little bit of the core of the show. The first episode of the fourth series did disappoint me but the second episode definitely pulled it back. I'm looking forward to seeing how it will conclude and would highly recommend that you watch it.

To Walk Invisible
This two hour long drama following the Bronte sisters wasn't completely fantastic, but I did still enjoy watching it. I would say that the marketing plot was a little off, though as it really followed the effects Branwell had on the family as opposed to the core of the sisters writing exploits. It was beautifully shot, though and it was nice to get a little bit of context to the Bronte's lives as I've only read Jane Eyre, but am looking to read Emily and Anne's novels as well.

The Graham Norton Show
I'm not a massive fan of talk shows, but the GN show is one of my favourites. I love Graham as a presenter and I think he's the right person to be doing something like this. He has the balance between telling jokes and keeping things serious perfected. The other reason I love this particular talk show is that he always has a variety of guests that you wouldn't normally see mingling, but you then get to see how they bounce off of each other and interact. Also, the big red chair stories are just plain old hilarious

Patrick Ness' young adult Doctor Who spin off is wonderful. I've watched either three or four episodes, and I'm really loving it. The other episodes are recorded and I'm looking forward to getting round to them and seeing how the story develops. It can be a little bit cheesy or unrealistic but it is, after all, a sci-fi show. Thankfully, this is a really diverse show with characters of different races, sexualities and also disabled characters. Where I left it, things just got a little serious so I'm anticipating watching the next episode.

I believe that those are all the reasonably recent shows that I wanted to share with you today, but as I discover more TV shows and hour long specials I think I'd like to make some more of these posts so I can keep discussing what I love to watch! What's your favourite thing the BBC have done recently?

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Top 5 Wednesday // 2017 Debuts

I have to say that I found this topic a little hard to do. As I'm trying to not buy any books in 2017 I'm not really too excited about any of the releases coming out, and the ones I am interested in are from authors I've already read. However, after scrolling through many lists on Goodreads I've finally compiled five books that interest me, but I probably won't get around to this year. Without further ado, here is my top 5... (note: these are in no particular order)

5.  The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain
You probably know Nadiya from Bake Off, but this is her debut fiction novel (I'm not counting her cooking books for this list) and I think it sounds rather interesting. It follows four sisters who are the only young Muslims in their English village and it documents each of their lives. I'm looking forward to this as each sister looks to have diverse interests and I'm interested to see how Nadiya can write.

4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This is a pretty hyped book already, but the main reason I'm interested in it is because I believe I've heard some people compare it to The Night Circus. We all know how amazing that book was, so if this is similar in any way then I think I will enjoy it. I believe it's meant to have a good sister dynamic and will be magical. It will be exciting to see how performance is mixed with reality.

3. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
I'm not too sure what this book is about, all I know is that it's already out and it's meant to be fantastic. There's probably something to do with running in it, but for the most part I don't mind going into this one a little blind. The cover for this is great as well, which is what first drew me to this book in the first place.

2. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
From the cover, I thought this would be about alternate universes or something but Goodreads has told me that it is actually about time travel! This is intriguing because I don't really read time travel books, the only real contact I come into with it is in Doctor Who. The blurb makes it sound as though the main character meets a girl who helps him to control his time travelling powers. I just hope it won't be a variation of the trope of finding someone you "love" to fix your problems.

1. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
I'm a little uncertain when it comes to this book whether it comes out this year or not. I think that it's being published in the UK for the first time this year, but I'm honestly not too sure. It has been on several "2017 Debuts" lists so I will include it. Mainly because it sounds interesting. From what I can gather it will be full of kick-ass ladies which I don't mind.

So there's my list for this week! I hope you enjoyed it. What are some debuts you're looking forward to in 2017?

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Monday, 9 January 2017

Revision Techniques >>> Filing

When it comes to revision, we often focus on making sheets and cards with bits of information on them, but it's also good to remember that we also need to look through our old notes. Today, I wanted to discuss with you some of the ways I keep my filing secure so that I have all of my different sheets and work in one place.

One of the first things you'll want to do is decide how you want to split up your subjects. I recently had to make a slight adjustment about how I was organising mine as the folder I'd been using to collectively store three subjects was full up. I've now got each subject in a separate folder. My essay subjects each get a marble grey lever arch binder whilst maths is in a smaller folder (you don't need as many resources for maths). This is a great way of getting organised as it means you don't have to rummage about wondering which subject a sheet is for. Folders are usually cheap to come by, Tesco sells lever arch folders at a reasonable rate which is where I bought mine.

Once you've split your subjects up, I like to colour code things. Each of my four subjects has a different colour which I use on my box files (where I keep my books), my timetable and on the big lever arch folders I was just telling you about. By colour coding you're removing the possibility of misplacing important work as it will match the subject it belongs to.

I'd also recommend that you create checklists to put into each of your folders. This may not be something you check off as you study something in lesson or file it away but a way to track the revision you're doing so that you know what you've covered and what you still need to check.

In terms of filing itself, that's all the tips I have for you. But, within these filing systems I do other things that help to keep me organised. For example, in my maths folder, I rewrite the notes for each subtopic and colour code them. This will be pretty handy to have when I need to go back to the topics we studied at the beginning of the year to revise for the end of year exams. Also, I find that rewriting things helps me to remember topics due to the muscle memory.

Of course, the other obvious thing to do once you've set out your filing system is to print out the specifications for each of your subjects. This offers a way for you to keep on track with what you're studying and provides a great base to revise from. I often tick off or underline the parts we've covered so I know what there is left to learn.

Hopefully this insight into my filing system will help you out with keeping organised now that exams are almost upon us. Let's just not think about it for the moment, please.

I hope you have a lovely day
Happy reading,
Amelia x

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Top 5 Wednesday // 2017 Resolutions

More resolutions! What! I know I've already down some resolutions but I didn't want to miss out on T5W so I've come up with even more resolutions to fit this topic.

Only one of these is bookish but I wanted to make sure I was making resolutions for all aspects of my life, not just the reading side. Let's begin?

5. Read more classics
Although the classics challenge isn't being run officially this year, I still want to be reading a classic a month. After scouring my shelves I've worked out that I've got 10-11 classics on my shelves which is wonderful and means I shouldn't have to buy any books to fit the challenge. It also helps that a lot of them are free on Kindle to download. I always enjoy reading classics, but I always pass them by in favour of a more modern book so I'm excited to put the focus back onto the classics.

4. Consume more diverse media
Throughout 2016 I became more aware of diversity and representation in media. However, being aware of the problems in media isn't enough; I want to consciously be making the effort to ensure the media I'm consuming is diverse. This could be anything from reading/watching things with POC characters to being a piece of media with a discussion of diversity within it. The media is getting slightly better at representation and hopefully I'll be able to find some shows/movies/books easily. But, please leave any recommendations in the comments.

3. Cook more
I enjoy cooking, but at home it's really my mum or dad who do the cooking for the family. In preparation of moving out and going to uni in a few years, I'd like to try cooking at least one meal a month or something to improve my cooking skills. As it's something I enjoy, this shouldn't be too hard and I'll hopefully be able to make things that I'll like eating and will be able to make when I leave home at some point.

2. Be adventurous 
I've always been somewhat shy, so I really want to try out new things in 2017 and challenge myself. Some ways I could do this is by setting up a reading club at my school, going on trips and just all round saying yes to things I want to do. I think this will really help to develop my character and I want to be unashamedly present in the moment and make sure I'm getting the best from every situation. Gosh, it could be something as simple as putting my hand up to ask/answer a question in a lesson when I normally don't.

1. Listen to new music
I do this anyway, but I'm always trying out new music and finding different albums that I love and want to listen to. My CD collection is one of my favourite things and I love choosing which disc to listen to next and seeing all of them lined up together. I think I'd like to do some blog posts where I choose an album off of my shelf and discuss my favourite and least favourite songs from it. But, other than listening to the music I own, I want to discover artists and albums that blow me away. Maybe I'll do a To Be Listened To blog post with some of the artists I want to check out!

I hope you enjoyed my five resolutions for 2017 and it seems I've got a few ideas of blog posts I want to do in the future! Hopefully you'll see a few of them around! Leave any suggestions or input on the resolutions below, and tell me what resolutions you have this year!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Bring on 2017

Hi 2017, it's nice to meet you.

After the disaster that was 2016, I thought that on the very first day of 2017 I'd give you a little run-down of the (bookish) resolutions I want to keep throughout the year. Hopefully, I'll do a catch up post halfway through the year to see what progress I've made. So, there's no point hanging around, let's get started!

1. Read 70 books. A very strange thing has been happening to my reading over the last year. At the end of 2015 I'd read 122 books. But, at the end of 2016 I've read 79. This is by no means a bad thing, but I have read a third less books than in 2016. I don't want to pressure myself to read too much, and I do want to read some chunkier books in 2017 so I thought that 70 books would be a reasonable goal. It will be a busy year as I'll have my AS exams and then will start learning content for my A-Level exams in the latter part of the year.

2. Read more non-fiction. In terms of branching my reading out, I realised that throughout the last couple of years I have read little to none non-fiction. I'd like to change this in 2017 and I'll probably pick up some feminist non-fiction from the library as I don't have many on my TBR and don't want to be picking up too many books to put on my shelves this year. Non-fiction is an important genre and I think it would really help to widen my view of the world as well as just making me more well-rounded. I don't want to set a number of books to read but I think I'd like to read at least 5 non-fiction books, just as a starting point.

3. Cut down my TBR. At the end of 2015 I had a very reasonable TBR and was doing okay at keeping the number manageable. However, as 2016 began and continued I kept buying books or reading things that didn't cut my TBR down. It was also when I got my Kindle and suddenly had access to many books that I'd bought at cheap prices. By the end of 2017 I think it would be completely possible to get my physical TBR down to 10 books. I've already pulled out around 12 physical books I want to read off my shelves, and that leaves very few unread on my shelves. In terms of Kindle books, I'm getting a little ambitious when I say that I'd like to only have 20 unread books on my Kindle. That means I'll have to do the majority of my reading on my Kindle this year.

4. Watch 100 movies. I've seen a few people with this challenge and I think it would be a great little task to try and complete. I probably won't take it to seriously, but I think it would be fun as well to have movie wrap ups on my blog as well. Often, I don't watch movies too critically but I would like to discuss the different films I've seen as I think I've been getting more emotionally attached to characters now. Also, I'm always interested in branching out my blog content and trying new things.

5. Blog at least 3 times a month. Speaking of blogging, I know that this goal is extremely low, and I'll hopefully do Blogmas again so it shouldn't be too hard, but I do want to get on top of my blog. For Christmas, my friends got me this wonderful notebook that I've started using to put all my blog post ideas into. I'm trying to work out a weekly schedule as well. I think I should be uploading every Monday and Wednesday at 5pm GMT. This works quite nicely and it means that I should really only have to write them the weekend before and schedule them. I think this should work well and give me a break from homework as well.

Okay, so there's 5 reasonably bookish goals. The T5W topic this week is also resolutions, but I've come up with some different options for those and I hope that you'll enjoy reading those as well. Have a lovely day <3

Happy reading,