Bookworm Quirks: Favorite Bookish Memories

Many bookworms have memories and sentiment tied to their love of books. Just like it’s difficult to pick one favorite book, it’s hard to pick one favorite memory. Here are a few of my top bookish moments.

Dressing up with Sis for Halloween

Halloween 2014

I never really got to celebrate Halloween as a kid, so dressing up as book characters for the bookstore was so much fun. Sis and I discussed our costumes, I made her antlers and muffin, and I got to remember how much I love the name Liesel. I hope we get to this again soon!

NTTBF

NTTBF 2016

One of the (many) reasons we love books so much is that they remind us that we are not alone. Three years ago, Irving Public Library hosted the first North Texas Teen Book Festival. There was no one else I could go with other than the woman who inspired my love of reading: my sister, Mandy. We got to see some of our favorite YA authors speak in panels, get books signed, and bask in a shared love of reading. We also befriended the world’s best publisher rep, Mary from Simon and Schuster. It was just a day for bookworms to enjoy being bookworms, and I loved the whole day.

Wizard’s Ball

Wizard Ball

My first year at Tarleton, I joined the Quidditch team, purely as a nonathletic member. One of our biggest projects was to start an annual ball for Potterheads, and to give them a reason to dress up and have fun. We had the first one in the spring, so we called it the Wizard’s Ball rather than Yule, but it was still so fun. Because it was near the passing of Alan Rickman, we had donated a portion of the proceeds to pancreatic cancer research. Pictured here (L to R) is my best friend Katie, who came into town for the night, me, and the Tarleton Quidditch president, Bertie. We had fun in the photo booth, shooting nerf guns at Umbridge targets, and dancing to wizard rock. It was such a great night that let us celebrate our love of this life-changing series.

WWoHP

WWoHP

On the greatest spring break trip ever, my sister and I  visited my dad and we all made our way to Florida to see Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This was before the expansion, but it was so phenomenal and perfect. We had butterbeer, rode the rides (FORBIDDEN JOURNEY IS THE ABSOLUTE COOLEST), picked wands, and sent mail from the Hogsmeade Post. There’s something life-altering about walking into a place that you have imagined since you were a child, and I wouldn’t give up these memories for anything. While there was a lot that we didn’t get to, I had so much fun and I’m hoping for a second visit soon.

Collecting words and quotes

Quote Box
(A tutorial for this box is available here.)

A couple of years ago I started a quote box inspired by one of my favorite bookstagrammers, Ursula Uriarte. I bought a plain box and fun journaling card and got to work. I try to add a favorite quote or two from every book I read, but I am very behind. I’ve collected words since the 4th grade, and this is one way that keeps them feeling a bit more personal than a Pinterest board. Now they’re in a book-shaped box rather than the one pictured, but I can’t wait to see how full it gets as I continue my bookish journey.

Being published

Anthology

Last year I was published in Anthology, a collection of work from Tarleton students. It wasn’t the first time I was published, though. That happened my sophomore year of high school when a six-word memoir of mine was picked for one of their books. This felt much more official, though. There was a reception at the school and my parents both came and took me to lunch to mark the occasion. It felt really great to be acknowledged for my writing, and I decided to take a creative writing course the following semester. I also just found out I’ll be published in the anthology again this year!

Running the bookstore

Bookstore Days

As you probably know, I ran my sister’s bookstore for about a year before she sold it. It was so much fun and will always be one of my favorite jobs to date. There was a bakery next door, so I could pop over for treats whenever it was slow, and I was paid to read books and be around them all day! It’s almost every bookworm’s dream job, and I hope to get back into the book industry at some point.

Reading the Hunger Games series

Catching Fire Premiere

One of the sadder parts of Harry Potter being part of my childhood was the fact that I was a child. Even if I had friends that enjoyed the books as much as I did, we couldn’t exactly go off on adventures and outings without adults. But Hunger Games was another story. I read the first book because my friend Holly lent me her copy, and I had a vacation coming up that gave me the time (this is the same spring break during which I went to WWoHP). My sister was also reastarting the series, but she had all three. So we read together, and I still remember frantically reading the last book on the drive back to her house because she wasn’t going to let me leave with it. I ended up sitting on her couple for a couple of hours until I was a crying mess, and then I was allowed to leave. Haha. From there, I had to attend every movie premiere possible. Above is the midnight premiere for Catching Fire, and we all dressed up for the occasion. Katie makes another appearance, dressed as fire (red shoes, orange shirt, yellow scarf, and grey cardigan for smoke). What you can’t see is the flame barrette I made for her, and the bread one in my hair. You might be wondering why my mouth is full, and that’s because I took my role as Peeta very seriously, sneaking in a loaf of french bread and jar of nutella to tide me over until the movie started. Also pictured is Blair and Taylor, our two favorite fellow nerds! They are a huge part of my college nerd memories, and I miss hanging out with them so much! #WolfPackReunion

Getting sucked back into books

Book Love

One of the best things about working at the bookstore was that I had time and motivation to read more often. I was surrounded by one of my favorite things, and paid to engage in that interest! I brought my TBR with me and worked through it so much faster than the years before. I discussed plots and authors with customers. It was so refreshing! I’ll always miss that little bookish haven.

Getting my bookcases

Bookshelves

One of the best things about having my own place was that I got to arrange the entire apartment around how I wanted to display my books. I found these perfect grey wood shelves at Walmart and waited for them to come back into stock for the longest time. When they arrived, I moved and arranged and played with the layout for weeks. I’m never going to be done messing with my shelves, and can’t wait to have a need for more.

Sound off in the comments: What are your favorite bookish memories? Who or what got you into reading? Do you dress up as characters for Halloween? Let me know!

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Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

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Synopsis: In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

Why I Chose This Book: With the tension going on in our country, it’s more important than ever to listen to perspectives other than our own and really examine our prejudices.

First Impressions: I love this cover so much. It’s sharp, clean, and shows almost literally what a target Sarah became in the school. In a sea of white faces, Sarah stands out, which could not be more relevant to the content.

What I Liked: Almost everything! The stories told in this book are different than mine both in race and sexual orientation, and it helped me see how terrifying it must have been to be alive in this time period when you vary from what is accepted.

You know how everyone says if they were in pivotal moments of history, they would have done the right thing, but there’s no way to really know. Today, similar things are happening. Not to the same degree, but it looks like we’re on that path. There was a moment, when Sarah describes how there are no white people helping them, standing up for them, or supporting them. And I saw that I would be on the right side of history. That felt like such a relief, and I’ll be grateful to this book for that.

One of the most surprising things about this book was the romantic story line. It doesn’t really mention it in the online synopsis, which is what I’d read before ordering the book. But the description on the back cover talks about it more explicitly, which I love. I really loved this perspective, and seeing a queer WOC as a lead character who is also incredibly smart, loving, kind, and strong was amazing. This book has great representation.

It was also incredibly well written. I made several notes in the margins and underlined quotes all over it.

What I Didn’t Like: The worst thing about this book was how easy it was to slip into Linda’s racist mindset while reading her perspective. When I went back to reality after reading for a while, I would randomly have racist thoughts. Thoughts I have never believed in the slightest! I had never understood how people who say, think, and do racist things can think they are correct, but this book showed me how effortless it is to subscribe to that way of thinking. I hated that realization, and I hate that now I can understand even a fraction of that mindset.

I also didn’t realize that Robin Talley is a white woman, and I’m not sure how I feel about a white woman writing the black perspective here. I’m an advocate of lifting up the voices of those who belong to the culture instead of telling them how it is, so I’m iffy on this. It’s something I need to discuss so I can figure out how I feel.

Ratings and Recommendations: Good for fans of historical fiction, current events, issue books, and diverse books.

2. Loved It

Final Thoughts: This is a book that everyone should read right now. We need to see what our future will be if we don’t get off this path of hate and ignorance. I cannot stress enough how doomed we are to repeat history if we don’t learn our lesson.

Sound off in the comments: What did you think of this book? Have you read something similar? What is your stance on Talley being white and writing such a huge part of black history? Let me know!

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Bookworm Quirks: Summary Keywords, or, How to Get Me to Read Your Book (in Ten Words or Less)

Summary Keywords

We all have those certain words that catch our eye when skimming a synopsis. Chances are, the moment you see these key words, your chances of buying/reading that book go up at least double. Here are a few of mine:

Tudor/Anne Boleyn/Henry VIII/court

I love these, you guys. I have so many books about this time period and I will NEVER HAVE ENOUGH. So fascinating!!

Coffee shop/Library/Bookstore

If a significant part of your book takes place in any of these locations, sign me up right now. These are also my favorite fanfic AUs, by the way. Obviously.

Perspectives

I LOVE BOOKS WITH DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. Tease was from the bully’s POV, A Little Something Different was from FOURTEEN different viewpoints, none of which were the actual couple. Almost every Ellen Hopkins book has multiple perspectives. I love these so much!

Artist/Writer/Creative occupations or hobbies

I love seeing characters that pursue their dreams! A Mad, Wicked Folly followed a young female artist that just wanted to learn, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares featured two people that loved words, and don’t even get me started on characters that act. I love seeing this because it inspires me to do the things I love and these characters foster creativity in younger minds.

Pirate

I LOVE PIRATES. Captain Hook is one of those characters I will always want to read adaptations of, and I need more YA with female pirates. GET ON IT, AUTHORS!!

Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice or Peter Pan

Who doesn’t want to read new versions of their favorite stories?

Sound off in the comments: What are your keywords? Do we have any in common? Let me know!

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Bookworm Quirks: My Dream Library

This is my new feature, Bookworm Quirks. This week is about your dream library. If you’d like to join in on the fun, either leave a comment with the link to your post or email me at bookybunny@gmail.com and I’ll add the link to end the of this post. Thanks for reading!

I think all bookworms have a dream library. If you grew up watching Beauty and the Beast, it might be that gorgeous room that the Beast shows Belle and takes her breath away.


(swoon)

It could be the Hogwarts library or Flourish and Blotts.

Mine is twice as big as it probably needs to be. It’s a mirror image of itself (itself? or itshelf? Get it? Ha). It has the exact same books on either side, but one half only has clean copies, and the other has notes written in the margins, highlighted and underlined passages, dog-eared pages, tabs, post-it notes, everything. In the start of these shelves, I’ll have a little area with all the note taking accessories a bookworm could want, like a mini office supply. There will be seating in hidden nooks and crannies, and at the front will be a stereo so I can listen to whatever music matches my book, as well as a snack/coffee bar. Of course, there will be tables and outlets everywhere so I can write and work in there.

When I start a family, my kids will pick out a favorite place to read. Every month, they’ll find a new book off of their wishlist waiting for them on the little table next to their comfy chairs, all wrapped in brown paper and string. I want to have all the popular books so that they can read whatever they want at a moment’s notice. From Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, I want to have everything on hand.

As you can tell, I think about my library quite a lot. It’s my happy place, and I can’t wait to bring it from dreamland to reality. Tell me about your dream library. Is it filled with antique books and first editions? Does it have a mini-Starbucks in the corner? Sound off in the comments!

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