Armchair BEA 2016 Wrap-up

Yet another year of Armchair BEA is over (very sad!), but it has once again been a lot of fun, even if I didn’t have time to take part in any of the twitter parties this year (the timings were kind of awkward for me, what with most of them being very early in the morning UK time!). I have however entered a few giveaways, so hopefully, I’m more lucky this year than I was last year! I figure I have to win at least one giveaway eventually right? Anyway, I’ve had fun writing all my posts for Armchair BEA this year and hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to be a little more interactive and take part in twitter parties again!

Here’s a recap of what I wrote this week:

  1. On day one, I introduced myself to everyone and talked a little about diversity, both in books and in the industry in general.
  2. On day two I talked about aesthetics, in books and in our blogs, what attracts me to reading both books and other people’s blogs and what I like and don’t like in book covers and in the aesthetics of people’s blogs.
  3. Day three was about going beyond books and beyond blogs but because I’m a very traditional reader and my blog is my main platform to talk about books, I didn’t take part in that day’s topic.
  4. Day four was my favourite topic (kind of ironic, since day four was my favourite topic of ABEA last year as well). I talked about surviving fictional worlds, what fictional worlds I would like to visit and be a part of, and what fictional worlds I would rather just read about! I also entered a few giveaways, so hopefully I get lucky this time and actually win something!

So that’s all! Thank you to the ABEA runners who made this year’s event so much fun and to everyone who has taken part and looked at my posts. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them and hopefully ABEA is back again next year, because I look forward to doing this again!

Armchair BEA: Surviving Fictional Worlds

Armchair BEA always seems to go by way too quickly! I can’t believe today is the last day! I’m sorry I didn’t have a post for you guys yesterday, but because I’m a very traditional reader (I only really read physical books), I didn’t feel like it was a topic that really appealed to me. But today’s topic about surviving fictional worlds is right up my alley and a topic of been looking forward to. So let’s get started shall we?

I’m going to start with the obvious and say that of course I would like to live in the Wizarding World (although wouldn’t everyone?). I would love to go on adventures with Harry, Ron and Hermione, go to Hogsmeade, have Butterbeer, play Quidditch, go to the Shrieking Shack etc. I would love to go to the Yule Ball as well. Also just to be able to use magic would be incredible. Definitely if I could pick one world to live in, it would be the Wizarding World.

I’d also really like to live in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. After all, I love chocolate and if you lived there, you’d be able to have as much chocolate as you wanted, all day every day (though the novelty would probably wear off after a while). Also, I’d love to meet the Oompa-Loompas and see them perform one of their songs. As long as I was really nice, I don’t reckon any of the bad stuff that happens to the kids in the novels would happen to me!

I’d love to live at Camp Half-Blood. I mean, the whole being attacked by monsters part of being a demigod doesn’t sound so cool, but Camp Half-Blood is essentially the world’s coolest summer camp, I mean they do chariot racing for crying out loud, that would be so much fun to do! I’d also love to climb the lava wall, I mean dangerous but really fun. I suck at archery but I reckon I could avoid that. The best thing of all though, would be hanging out with Percy and the gang. I’d also love to go on quest, it sounds like such fun, even if you could possibly die!

I’d also really love to live in the Faraway Tree (a childhood dream of mine). I would hang out with Silky and Moonface and the Saucepan Man and go to the new land at the top of tree every week (hopefully it would be a good one!). It’s been a long time since I read these books (obviously), so I can’t quite remember all of the lands, but I seem to remember there was one where you could get loads of baked goods, so I’d like to go to that. There was also the land of Birthday Parties, that would be a pretty cool place to go. And I don’t know if this was in the books, but if there was a land of chocolate, I would definitely go there.

I’d love to live in the Skulduggery Pleasant world too. Getting to fight bad guys alongside Skulduggery? That would be pretty awesome! Having magic? Would also be pretty awesome. I reckon I’d like to be an Adept because it seems like you can have basically any power, whereas Elemental you’re limited to only using the elements. I wouldn’t like to be a Necromancer though, it seems a bit creepy.

As for fictional worlds I wouldn’t want to live in, you couldn’t pay me to live in Panem. I mean I love The Hunger Games books, but to live in that world? Especially if you were reaped for the Games? I don’t think so. I would probably die in the bloodbath if I was entered into the Games. That’s a world I’d rather enjoy behind the pages than in them!

The same goes for the Unwind universe. I mean the books are incredible, but that’s a scary world. I could not live my entire teenage years knowing that my parents could possibly unwind me, though I don’t think they would ever do that, but I reckon it’s something you would live in constant fear of in that world. Also you would live in constant fear of possibly being caught by Parts Pirates! I could not live with the paranoia.

The A Series of Unfortunate Events world would be pretty miserable to live in too, I mean nothing good ever happens to those kids, so whilst Violet’s inventions are pretty cool and I’d love to talk books with Klaus, I reckon it was better to experience that world from an outsider perspective than inside. I also wouldn’t really like to live in the Divergent world, even though it’s probably one of the better of the futuristic worlds that I’ve read, because I’d hate to be valued by just one of my personality traits.

I wouldn’t really like to live in any of the historical fiction books that I’ve read either, because lovely as they are, it was a horrible time and much as I appreciate everything that people who were alive at that time did during the war, I’m quite grateful that I was not! I wouldn’t mind being able to meet Liesel from The Book Thief though and having a good natter about books!

So over to you, which fictional worlds would you like to be a part of? Where would you not want to be a part of? Where do you think is better experienced via the page? How would you survive in a dangerous fictional universe? Let me know!

Armchair BEA: Aesthetic Concerns-Books & Blogs

So today’s topic for ABEA is all about aesthetics, both with our books and our blogs! I have to admit this isn’t something I’ve thought about much before, but it’s always good to talk about new things!

The Books:

How often do you judge a book by it’s cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategise and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

I think we’re all guilty of judging books by their covers. That’s not to say that I won’t read a book if it doesn’t have a pretty cover and my final decision on whether I read the book or not comes down to whether I like the sound of the synopsis, but I’ll admit that the cover has a lot to do with whether I’ll pick the book up the shelf or not in the first place. That doesn’t mean that a pretty cover means the story is going to be good, but it sure helps in initially being attracted to a book. However, I don’t necessarily always need the cover to be pretty as such, I just need it to catch my eye and think “oh that’s interesting” because that makes me want to pick up the book and see what’s inside. Cover matching is one of my biggest bug bears! I hate it when a book publisher changes the cover of a series halfway through and then my books don’t match! Or when a book gets made into a movie and you’re stuck with the crappy tie in cover! I definitely think it is important that the cover reflect the inside of the book, the cover is the first indication we have as to what the story is about, and it should reflect the story that the book is telling I feel. I find it weird when the cover seems to be totally unrelated to the story.

The Blog:

Since I’m not self-hosted yet, I have a limited choice of graphics to choose for my blog. The reason I chose the theme I did is that I liked the simplicity of it. I wanted my blog to have a nice, clean, simple look and the theme I picked was perfect for that. It’s probably better that I only have a limited choice of themes though, because I would be rubbish at doing graphics! I wouldn’t even know where to start. It took me a while to figure out the layout of my blog, for the first few months it was a bit confused, but once I figured out how do a drop down menu and all the different tags for the different areas of my blog, the layout fell more into place. I work hard on trying to make sure that everything is easy to navigate, so I hope that comes across! In terms of what I like on other people’s blogs, aesthetically speaking, I like it when the blog appears to be a reflection of the blogger. That’s what are blogs are after all aren’t they? A reflection of us.

I’d love to hear from all of you! What do you like in terms of book and blog aesthetics? let me know in the comments!

Armchair BEA: Introduction and Diversity

Armchair BEA is back! I had so much fun taking part in this internet conference for us poor bloggers who cannot get to the real BEA last year, so naturally, I wanted to take part in this year’s event! It was such a great thing to do last year, being able to “meet” all the other amazing book bloggers and I’m hoping that this year will be just as fun! So on with the introductions (I’m sorry to those of you who are regulars to my blog or came here for ABEA last year, there will be some repetition of things you’ve heard before!):

Group 1 Questions:

  1. What is the name you prefer to use?

My full name is Joanne, but I go by Jo.

2. How long have you been a book blogger?

I started book blogging back in February 2014, two years ago but this is technically my third year of running the blog and I’m so glad that I’ve managed to keep it going this long. I honestly thought when I first started that it would be a pet project that I got bored of after a few months. I’m happy to say though, I still love blogging just as much as I did when I started.

3. Have you participated in ABEA before?

Yes! I participated last year. It was my first big blogging event and the one that really made me feel part of the community.

Introduction Questions Group 2:

2. What is your favourite genre and why?

Fantasy! It just embodies everything I love about reading, escapism, getting to travel to another world, magic, I could go on!

4. Which day of ABEA are you looking forward to the most?

Surviving Fictional Worlds! I love my fictional worlds and it seems like it will be such a fun topic to do!

7. Which book on your TBR are you most excited for? Which are you most intimidated by?

Can I say all of them? Kidding! At the moment I’m really excited to read Rick Riordan’s new book, The Hidden Oracle, I can’t wait to get back to the Percy Jackson world. As for most intimidated by? I’m looking forward to it, but Six of Crows is pretty damn thick!

9. If you could chose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why?

Hermione Granger, Percy Jackson & Minho from the Maze Runner. Hermione because she was my childhood favourite character and I would love to talk books with her! Percy because he and I basically have the same sense of humour so we would have such a laugh together. Minho again because I reckon we would have a laugh together.

Diversity:

I feel like this is a hard topic for me to talk about because as a white female, I’m already pretty well represented in fiction. Even from other angles, I’m not really in a place to talk about diversity, in all senses of the word, I’m very privileged and I recognise that. But diversity is still important to me. I want to see all types of people in the books I read, because everyone should have their stories told. I want to read stories about all types of people, not just those who I can relate to, but those who are different to me as well because that is how we learn, by seeing things from a point of view that is different from our own. I’ll admit that when it comes to reading, my reading list is not overly diverse, I mostly read fantasy and dystopia and the books that I read are mostly by white authors, but I can honestly say I don’t really think about the diversity of the authors that I read. I read what interests me, I always have and I’m not looking to fill a diversity quota in my reading, I don’t look for characters who fill a diversity quota either, I want characters that are interesting and engaging. Having said that, we definitely do need more diversity in young adult books and I think the way to do that is to encourage campaigns like #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks, to show the publishing industry that we are interested in diversity and that we want to encourage diverse books and characters.

So that’s me! I’d love to hear from all of you, so post your links to your ABEA posts in the comments!