Dreary Day Reads: Books for Rainy Days

Hello, friends! 

The days are getting darker. It’s dark when I leave for work and the evenings are getting darker and colder too. No more strolling around the neighbourhood while the sun sets or going for ice cream late at night.

Right now, whe weather is okay where I live, but they’ve forecast a lot of rain for the end of the week. And since I live in a country where it raines quite often, I thought I’d share my favourite books to read on dreary days.

I love to pick up any one of these books and curl up in bed with a blanket and a box of chocolates in reach.

  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: because it’s very bleak and it’s about the end of the world (kind of) and, somehow, reading this book on a sunny day doesn’t feel right.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: because you get to escape your own (dreary) world and immerse yourself into a wonderfully, magical one. Any of the HP are good but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick Prisoner of Azkaban because it’s my favourite or the Half-Blood Prince because it’s a bit darker and because I remember it was raining and there was a thunder storm when I got the part where a certain someone dies. It’s stuck by me as a “rainy day book” ever since.
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera or any other Silvera book: because you can go outside afterward and let the rain wash away your tears.
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: because who doesn’t love a good mystery on a rainy day?
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: because it’s a beautifully written book about the lives of a blind French girl and a Germany boy / soldier during WWII. The prose is stunning and the story captivating. You won’t want to put this one done before you’ve reached the last page.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: because it transports your rainy day to another time and place. No one knows how to write dreary settings and lives better than Charles Dickens.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brönte: because a rainy day is perfect for a dark, gothic novel like Wuthering Heights. You’ll find very little happiness in this book but the storylines are captivating and the descriptions of the moors and the English countryside in general are beautiful and mesmerizing.

Would / Do you like to read any of these books on a rainy day? Which are your own favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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Around the Blog #8 – Bookish movies, the truth about Dumbledore (?!) & more!

Hello, friends!

The weather is starting to change. Last week, it was nice and sunny, but while the sun is still out, this week it’s a bit colder, windy, and we’re having a lot more rain. Basically, it’s starting to feel more Autumn-y and I’m more than okay with that. I’m looking forward to reading books while covered up with a blanket 🙂

Aside from the weather, it’s been an okay week for me. Not spectacular but not bad either. I got stuck on my WIP for a day or two but I think I’ve sorted it out so I’m happy about that. Blogging-wise, I’m keeping up with my schedule so that’s good too.

What about you? How’s your week been? Let me know down below.

And speaking of blogging, let’s get on with my favourite posts this week…

Around the Blog is a weekly post that will feature my favourite posts I’ve read during that week. It’s my way of appreciating other bloggers’ content and to share the love for the chosen posts and bloggers with my followers in the hope they’ll love them as much as I do.

Six Bookish Movies I’m Excited About by Michelle @ I’m an Adventurist: I know many people are getting tired of book to movie adaptations (especially YA books) but not me! If it’s done right, there’s nothing better than seeing your favourite book on the screen. I’m most excited about Simons vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I really really really hope they’ve done it justice and it’s going to be AH-MAZING.

Dumbledore, Saviour or Just as Bad as Voldemort by Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blog: if that title doesn’t get you to click I don’t know what will. Title aside, I thought this was a very interesting discussion post. Sarah brought up some good arguments as to why Dumbledore might not be as good as you thought he was. Go check it out!

My Blog Design Resources by Bridget @ Bridget and Books: I love this post because it gives us non-artistic people some tips and tricks on how to make our blog prettier. And who better to listen to than Bridget? She’s got one of the prettiest designs around so you should definitely visit her blog and have a look around.

Rain Day Reads by @Thrice Read: like I said, I love reading a good book while it’s raining outside so this is the perfect post for me. Thrice Read shares five books that are perfect for reading while it’s pouring outside.

That’s it for this week!

So… how do you feel about Dumbledore? What are your favourite rain day reads? Are you looking forward to the Simon vs. movie as much as I am? And what are some of your favourite blog designs? Let me know and/or drop a comment on the original post!

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Some of my favourite BFFs in (YA) Literature

Hello, friends!

We all know it’s very, very common to have romantic relationships in YA literature. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a YA book where there are no romantic relationships whatsoever. Now, I don’t mind romance at all, but there are times where I wish authors would focus more on friendships because, let’s face it, friends usually outlast romantic interests (even though every author likes their readers to believe their love pairing will stay together FOR EVER). They’re going to be their at your best and your worst (hopefully) and they’re going to love you no matter what you look like or who you are.

In short, friendship is important, y’all, and we need to see more amazing and realistic (!) friendships in (YA) books. If anyone were to ask my opinion – which they’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway – I’d like to see more friendships likes these in ALL YA books…

  • Frances & Aled in Radio Silence: a boy and a girl who’re friends?? GASP. Shocking, I know, but these two NEVER have any romantic feelings for each other whatsoever. They’re both into the same things–mostly the Universe City podcast but they’re also both fangirls/boys and they like a lot of the same “nerdy” things — and I love how Frances never gave up on Aled even when he was kind of being a jerk (though there’s an explanation for that). That’s what friends are for, you know?
  • Frances & Raine in Radio Silence: I know, I know, I’ve already mentioned this book, but Alice Oseman really knows how to write friendship. I love Frances’ dorkiness combined with Raine’s I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude and her sassiness. She had some of the best lines in the book.
  • Cath & Reagan in Fangirl: these two are kind of similar to Frances & Raine. Reagan is blunt, sassy, and kind of mean sometimes whereas Cath is shy, awkward, and a huge fangirl (obviously, hence the title). They’re from two different worlds, but they still make a great pair.
  • Harry & Ron in Harry Potter: the OG bromance as far as I’m concerned.
  • Simon & Abby in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: I’ve expressed my love for these two many times before and I’m going to do it again. Simon is precious and Abby is a rockstar (not literally, but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read the book). They’re recent friends but that doesn’t make their bond any less strong, which just goes to show you that you don’t have to know someone a gazillion years for them to be your BFF.
  • Pudge & The Colonel in Looking for Alaska: This friendship is a little one-sided at first with Chip (the Colonel) helping Miles (Pudge) to break out of his shell but things get better as Miles grows more comfortable around his new friends and in his new life. Their frienship really shines when THAT happens to Alaska.
  • Rufus & The Plutos in They Both Die at the End: I don’t want to say too much since the book hasn’t been released yet, but these guys have each other’s back. They’d do anything for each other and it’s beautiful.
  • Mallory & Ainsley in the Problem with Forever: another drama-free friendship between girls. Mallory struggles to talk but she finds a way to be there for Ainsley when she needs her the most and Ainsley always has Mallory’s back even when she has her own issues to deal with.

SPECIAL MENTIONS

While making this list, I was thinking about other friendships I really like and want to share but don’t fit in the YA lit category. But this is my blog and I can do what I like, so here you go…

  • Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas in the Lord of the Rings: Legolas & Gimli have the best ever friendly rivalry and Aragorn is there to lead them and make sure they don’t actually kill each other (at least at first). It’s a great dynamic of fun and brooding.

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  • Mr Bingley & Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice: Mr Darcy is kind of a jerk in the beginning, but if you look at it from his POV, he was just protecting his best friend from what (he thought was) a bad relationship. And he comes around in the end so all is forgiven.
  • Bucky & Steve in Captain America: Talk about never giving up on someone…

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Do you like my choices? Which are some of your favourites that are not on this list? Do you wish we’d have more friendships in YA or do you think there are plenty? Let me know in the comments!

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Characters I Wish Were My Friends

Hello, friends!

Have you ever thought, “I wish X was my friend” ? I’m sure you have. And so have I, which is why I’m going to share my favourite characters with you. These are the characters I’ve connected with and wish were alive so we could be best friends.

 

Simon & Abby from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Who doesn’t love Simon? He’s funny, down-to-earth, has a dog named Bieber, he’s sarcastic, loves Oreos, and he’s not one to stir up unnecessary drama. And then there’s Abby who’s energetic, caring, sweet, strong, and understanding.

Henry from Words in Deep Blue
He might be a complete idiot sometimes but he’s not afraid to go after what he wants, he writes letters (!), he’s passionate about books, and he’s a great friend.

Frances & Raine from Radio Silence
Frances might seem like your everyday “nerd” who lives to study and get good grades, but she’s got a lot more layers than you’d think. She’s a complete fangirl, an artist, and she’s got a cool sense of fashion (including Monsters Inc. leggings!)

Raine is an I-don’t-care-about-this kind of girl who actually does care. A lot. Especially about her friends, who she’d do anything for. Plus, she’s got the best one-liners so she’s good fun.

Reagan from Fangirl
Man, I’d love to read a book about Reagan. She’s a no-bullshit character who stands up for herself and for what she believes in. Sure, she might come across as rude at first, but she cares about her friends (even though she’d hate to admit it) and she’d do anything to help them out.

Ron from Harry Potter
This one needs no introduction. Anyone would be happy to have him as their best friend.

Griffin from History is All You Left Me
He makes a lot of mistakes this one, but he always follows his heart. I really admire that and I wish I did the same.

Alaska from Looking for Alaska
Sweet one moment, mean the other, Alaska takes some getting used to. She’s deeply flawed and troubled, but she’s a good person at heart. You’d never be bored with her at your side.

Henry from We Are the Ants
He’s deeply and depressingly nihilistic sometimes but also funny and sweet (despite the things he goes through). He cares about his family more than anything and he’s always looking to do right by them. And mostly I just want to be friends with him so I can give him a hug and tell him everything’s going to be okay.

Who do you wish was your best friend? Let me know in the comments!

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Why We Need More Sensitive Male Protagonists (ft. Newt Scamander)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Infinity Talk, but I’m back now with a new discussion topic. As you can tell from the title, today’s topic is the male protagonist. More specifically, why we need more sensitive or otherwise atypical male protagonists instead of the same male characters we see being reused in every book and Hollywood movie.

I was inspired to write this post after watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin off movie about the famous Magizoologist from the Harry Potter universe. I watched the movie for the second time on Sunday after seeing it in the cinema when it released. Before I get started, I need to make a confession: I didn’t like Newt the first time I saw Fantastic Beasts. I thought he was bland, a tad boring, and lacked any real character development. While I thought the movie was decent and enjoyable, I didn’t connect to Newt.

I didn’t think much of my opinion until I saw it a second time this past Sunday. This time, I fell in love with the character. So, what changed? To be honest, I was more critical of the material this time around and really thought about why Newt was different from other male protagonists.

And then it hit me. Newt is not a typical male protagonist. He’s not physically strong, witty, boisterous, particularly charming or charismatic like other male characters (especially in sci-fi and fantasy books and movies). Just think of Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Kirk …

A lot of male protagonists hide their vulnerability, but not Newt. He’s quiet and vulnerable and highly empathetic. Now, these traits are also found in other male characters aside from Newt – just think of all the quiet “geeks” and “nerds” who are often love interests – but they’re rarely the protagonist of the story. Especially when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi. And when they are, they most likely have low-esteem when it comes to women and their own masculinity.

Newt is different. He appears to be completely confident with who he is and what his purpose his. This is another interesting difference between Newt and other male protagonists. Newt’s purpose is to write textbooks so others will understand these Fantastic Beasts he loves. His main talent is empathy. Not just for the animals, but also for humans, even though he finds it harder to connect with other people.

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He’s sensitive and emotional, which is framed as a strength and not a weakness. Again, this is very rare. Male protagonists are expected to save the girl, go on an epic quest, defeat the evil overlords who want to destroy the world … If those male protagonists were to showcase sensitivity and vulnerability, they would be labeled as “weak” because these traits are associated with women and femininity.

This is ultimately why “atypical” male protagonists are important. By showing sensitivity and vulnerability can also be heroic traits, a character like Newt challenges the gender stereotypes and expectations. But we need more of them. We need more atypical male protagonists in mainstream media. If not, they will never be considered anything else but atypical, boring, and bland characters instead of being recognised for what they truly are–valid heroes of any given story.

What do you think? Do you agree? Can you think of other male protagonists like Newt? 

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