Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Blogival 2017: Q&A with Joe Treasure!

Hey everyone! I am so excited to be partaking in Clink Street Publishing's 2nd Annual Summer Blogival! All month long you can check out amazing content from other bloggers, as we feature exclusive interviews, reviews and highlight some incredible books! Today, I will be conducting a Q&A session with Clink Street author Joe Treasure, author of the literary fiction novel The Book of Air

About The Book of Air:

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

*synopsis taken from Goodreads


1.  In the Book of Air, Agnes’ society is constructed based on Jane Eyre. This is such an unique concept! Why did you choose that specific book, and what does it mean to you?

I do love that book. But I also love the idea of people reading it in a completely different way from me, not even understanding that it’s a work of fiction designed for pleasure, but scrutinizing it for guidance on how to live.  At the same time, I thought these villagers living a very basic life in the future would be baffled by most fiction, but would understand Jane’s world. Rochester’s mad wife is locked in a room in the house. When Jane runs away from Rochester’s house she nearly starves to death on the moor. These things would make sense to them.   

2.  Besides Jane Eyre, what would be your “Book of Air,” a book you would base your rituals and beliefs on?

Luckily I don’t have to choose, because I’m fortunate enough to live in a society that doesn’t put limits on what I can read. But if I had to, and if it was going to be a novel, I’d go for something that more broadly and more consciously considers the values people should live by, such as Middlemarch.

3.  Post-plague/apocalyptic societies are very popular settings for books nowadays. Why did you choose this setting for your novel and what themes did you want to present?

When I write fiction, I don’t always know why I make decisions of this kind. Themes emerge often without my conscious control. Taking a leap into the future allowed me an extra dimension of freedom as a story-teller. I wanted to imagine a society organized differently from ours, living by very different rules. I can see, now that the book is finished, that I was interested in people’s ability to give their lives meaning even in the darkest circumstances, in the impulse to create communities, and in what makes a community a source of harm or of healing.  

4.  Who would you rather be, Jason, a survivor with memories of past life, or Agnes, born after and living in a world where The Book of Air is all she knows?

I’m so much closer to Jason in age and life experience than I am to Agnes. And it’s hard to imagine myself growing up in Agnes’s world. On the other hand, Jason experiences almost unbearable losses. For Agnes, because she’s young and has begun to question the certainties that have been instilled in her from birth, life is full of unimagined possibilities. I would have to choose Agnes.

5.  What themes or beliefs from Agnes’ world do you think we could use in our world today?

The belief system Agnes shares with the other villagers is strange and unduly restrictive, rooted in a misreading of Jane Eyre. But their ability to live simply is admirable. They live a sustainable life in harmony with their environment. Perhaps that’s something we could learn from.  

6.  What inspired you to be a writer? I read in your biography that you first excelled in music and arts, and then won a place to read English. Do you think your background in the arts helped you craft words?

I was inspired to write by the pleasure I’ve always found in reading. I’m sure my art and music have helped me, even more than studying English. I’m aware of the music of sentences and paragraphs and of the rhythm of dialogue. Everything I write I read aloud to hear the sound it makes. At the same time I think I’m quite a visual writer. When I’m writing a scene, I like to know where it’s taking place, what the weather is doing, where the light is coming from.

7.  Lastly, what advice would you give to other aspiring writers, specifically those who want to go into more literary fiction?

Be ambitious for your writing more than for your career. The vast majority of writers are neglected and overlooked, even those whose books are published. The drive to write for its own sake must come first. Then find people you can trust to share your work with. Other aspiring writers are often best, because they’ll understand what you’re struggling with, and because you can reciprocate. Be open to whatever criticism they offer, however clumsily expressed. You can always ignore it if it doesn’t help, but first ask yourself honestly if it rings true. As long as the criticism is meant to help and not to wound (free-floating hostility being possible in any human interaction) be grateful for it. If you react defensively, your critics will pull back and limit themselves to offering bland encouragement. Above all, keep writing, and follow where the writing wants to go. Don’t limit yourself with conscious preconceptions of what the end product should look like.
Go check out this fabulous book! It will change your perception on how we view our favourite pieces of literature, and how they can influence the world. 
About Joe Treasure: 
Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.
That's it for me! Use the #blogival to check out the other posts going up this month! 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Talking as Fast as I Can by: Lauren Graham

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Published: November 29, 2016 by: Ballantine Books
Pages: 209
Rating: 5/5 stars

Follow Lauren Graham through her childhood, first jobs, and rise to fame in beloved shows Gilmore Girls and Parenthood in these collection of personal essays. Lauren shares witty humour, reviews Gilmore Girls' coveted seven seasons, and shares thoughts on the revival everyone was talking about. In this memoir, Lorelai Gilmore is back to reflect on just how much the show has meant to her.

This memoir was like the warm hug I needed after watching the Gilmore Girls revival! I can't say you'll love this book if you're unfamiliar with Lauren Graham or Gilmore Girls, but for me I was completely fangirling and laughing over Lauren's heartwarming stories and reflections on the show. It gave me (some) of the closure I needed after that dreadful Fall episode.

I loved how it literally felt like Lorelai Gilmore was talking to me throughout this book. Her fast-paced sentences, witty humour and heartwarming stories were so adorable and made me fangirling hard! She had such nice things to say about Gilmore Girls and all the cast and I love her little anecdotes.

I loved how this book was very Gilmore-girl oriented. I thought it would be a mix of a number of things. but the fact that it was gilmore-centric was awesome! There were stories from filming, funny banter, and she even reviewed each season of the show! I felt like I was being let in on behind the scenes secrets never before shared!

Overall, if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you will love this book. It's hilarious and adorable, and written by our favourite female tv star. Lauren Graham will always be Lorelai Gilmore.

Have you read Talking as Fast as I Can? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Month in Review: July

I am slowly but surely making my way back to my normal schedule! Hey everyone, I feel like we haven't talked properly in a while since I've been on vacation. But I am back and looking to be more active! Here's all about my crazy July vacation!

What I Read:

The Outsiders by: S.E. Hinton
Rumble Fish by: S.E. Hinton

Wow, a whopping two books! You'd think I'd have more time to read while away but I actually barely had time to do anything so: meh. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a book again soon!

What I Blogged:

I had scheduled a few posts while I was away, and my favourite was on When Books Turn into TV Shows. It was good to get some things off my chest.

Favourite Blog Posts:

I feel like I didn't nearly read enough blog posts from others while I was away, which really sucks because I hate being inactive :( I'm really sorry, but I promise to be more active comments-wise soon!

Life Stuff:

I'm gonna try and keep things short and sweet, with a few pictures sprinkled in here and there! If you didn't know, my family and I went to Europe for 3 weeks. We started off in London, where we were caught up in London Pride and it was all really exciting! But my favourite highlight of London was seeing Les Miz on the West End. That musical means so much to me and it was an incredible show!

Then we went to Ghent, Belgium. There was this breathtaking Medieval castle there with a ton of weapons and actual torture instruments inside! I nerded out big time.

Next came Amsterdam. I think it's a fascinating city considering the fact that literally everything is legal there. Their red-light district was also interesting to see because they are so positive about sex and prostitution. They shed a different light on such a controversial issue.

We found the infamous Fault in our Stars bench!!!

We also saw the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam which was one of the most harrowing things ever. My mother actually started crying when we got into the room with her original diary in it. On the wall, was a quote from her wanting to be a writer. That really hit close to home.

The only picture I took of her house. I was too emotionally invested to get out my phone other than outside. 

Next we went to Germany! The history of Berlin was soooo cool, especially the things involving the Cold War. They actually have a cobblestone strip all across the city that marks where the Berlin wall stood.

We visited another castle outside of Berlin. It was gorgeous! 

Prague was one of my favourite cities to visit. The history involving that city was breathtaking, especially with all that happened during The Reformation. The coolest fact I learnt was that the lights all across the infamous castle in the city were bought by Mick Jagger, who was so taken by the castle that he wanted it to be seen at night!

Our last country was Italy. We went to the beach, but most of the time was spent in my dad's hometown visiting family and friends. We have a lot of memories in that place.

And... now I'm home! I had an amazing time away but I am happy to be back on home soil and getting everything in order for uni in the fall. Now, the stress begins!

How was your July?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 29 July 2017

3 Years...

I can't believe it has been three years since I started blogging! It's been a world wind and I feel like I've grown better with each passing year. Time flies when you're having fun :)

My Accomplishments:

This year, I exceeded 28k pageviews, 227 followers on Twitter and have met so many amazing bloggers! I have written more than ever before and am looking forward to finally getting some WIP's off the ground. I have learnt so much about my passion this year :)

The Thank You's:

I'll try not to ramble on here but you all know how much you mean to me:

Cee, you are still my bestest blog buddy and I consider you like a big-sister. Your posts are passionate, informative, and always teach me something new. Thank you for being supportive, kind, and always willing to stand up for what you believe in.

Ruzaika and Veronika, you girls have been here since the beginning! I love how you two always leave the loveliest comments and always make me feel so good about my posts. I love your blog to bits and I hope we can remain blog buddies for many years to come :)

Lais, you are the sweetest human being ever! You always say such nice things and we have definitely grown closer over this past year. Keep putting out the most amazing posts!

Anna, my twitter buddy! Our weekly chats are always something I look forward to and even though we have never met in real life, I feel like you're my bestie. I can talk to you about anything, and I'm so grateful for that :)

Also, immense thank yous go out to Denise, Amy, Brooklyn, Uma, Charlotte and Zoe, for being amazing blog buddies, some old and some new, and I love communicating with you all :)

Another year has past! The next one will be a lot different, but I hope I can keep up blogging and that you will all still be there with me. I love you all :)

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 28 July 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: When a Book Becomes a TV Show, All Hell Breaks Loose

Fasten your seatbelts folks because it's ranting time! Well, not totally, but I'm going to be talking about an issue that I have taken two sides on. It's one thing when a book becomes a movie, but when it becomes a tv show, well that's just a whole other story.

I'm sure you and everyone you know have heard of Thirteen Reasons Why. Most bookworms know that it was a book first, but other die-hard fans of the show seem to forget that. When the show came out, I watched it, and I was really disappointed on how it all pulled together. To me, it seemed to completely throw away the message of the book, a message I thought was quite clear when I read it, and everything turned into a huge debate. Now I'm not here to talk about the content, there's plenty of articles you can read about why this show is harmful, but I'm here to simply ask the question why the producers are turning the show into a money grab?

The show sucked regardless, but now we're getting a new season. It ended where the book ended, so why are the writers of the show now further corrupting something that wasn't their original story? The whole point of books is that the ending is supposed to draw everything to a close, but now with the show, we're open to more debate, more dumb secondary storylines, and more room for them to screw up what used to be a good story. At least in movies, they typically end when the book ended, but who knows how long this show will be going on from now on?

On the other hand though, there was one show that ended where the book ended, but I cannot wait to see what happens next in season two. The Handmaid's Tale rose even above the book to create such a powerful storyline, and I enjoyed every minute of the show. When it ended, I was dying for more episodes. So I'm stuck in two minds over being completely against tv adaptions adding more seasons, and waiting patiently for another one?

In most cases, I don't like it when tv adaptions corrupt the story of the book. It almost always turns out bad, but The Handmaid's Tale was an exception. We all know we get very overprotective of our stories, so when they become hyped by another medium, all hell breaks loose.

What do you think about tv adaptions adding more seasons to a finished book storyline?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Half Blood (Covenant #1) by: Jennifer Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: October 18, 2011 by: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 281
Rating: 1/5 stars

Descendants of Hematoi fall into two categories: pure bloods, carry god-like powers like their two parents, and half-bloods, born to fight in battle, but not as powerful as the pure. Relationships between pure and half-bloods are strictly forbidden. Alexandria is a half-blood training at The Covenant to become a Sentinel, and she has a huge crush on Aiden, a pure-blood. But their relationship could put them both in grave danger, and threaten Alexandria's future.

I was extremely misguided by this book. It fell under the category of Greek mythology, so I was so pumped to read another YA adaption on one of my hugest interests. However what I got here, was absolutely no Greek mythology whatsoever and such a boring  plot.

I wanted to like this, I really did. So many of my blog buddies have raved about this book, and I was ready for some mythology that I thought I would enjoy. However there was little to no Greek mythology, nothing was was really recognizable to me at least, and instead so many fantasy elements that I found quite boring and unoriginal. I just had no connection to this book whatsoever :(

The plot went way over my head. I could care less about any of the characters, and was more focused on getting it done than actually being invested. I should have dnf'ed this when I could, because it just wasted so much of my time and was such a huge disappointment.

Maybe if you like more traditional fantasy, you would like this. But for me, mythological stuff is what I'm looking for and I just did not get that. And it's really quite a shame :(

Have you read Half-Blood? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Rainbow Player by: David Kerby- Kendall Blog Tour!

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Published: June 20, 2017 by: Whitely Publishing
Pages: 292

I'm happy to be partaking in the Blog Tour for The Rainbow Player by: David Kerby-Kendall! Here is the synopsis from goodreads:

England footballer, Sammy Hatchington, has never considered sexuality before. As a teenager, Sammy broke the mould of his youthful peers with his desire to open the door to life's endless possibilities. He escaped a deprived estate and, with the help of Old Thomas, his surrogate father, Davey, his soul-mate, and Gran, the connoisseur of footballer's bottoms, launched himself on a path toward his personal and professional goals. Now, several years later, he must make a decision that could destroy everything he has fought for, and create a furious media frenzy.........

David Kerby-Kendall's joyous and witty novel challenges preconceptions about professional sportsmen and love, and is also a delightful and moving story of a young man's journey to self-knowledge.

The Rainbow Player was a harrowing novel about something I hadn't read about before, and that is LGBT people in sport! The author decided to highlight this in the theme of English football, I sport that I am unfamiliar with, but seemed very familiar to him. This book seemed very British, and had a lot of terms and banter that I think my English blog buddies would love. 

Pick up The Rainbow Player if you are into learning more about the trials and tribulations of LGBT+ issues in sport. It is a theme I think that is not commonly highlighted in YA, but is all the more important. 

You can buy the book here: The Rainbow Player

Emily @ Paperback Princess