Archives

Some thoughts on being ‘good’…

I’m holding my hands up today and saying that this blog is no longer what it had the potential or the intention to be. I started it back in 2015 when I had time on my hands and opinions to express, and whilst I still have the opinions, the time seems to elude me. I regret how downhill my blog has gone in the last year. I wish I had a good enough excuse as to why I’ve only posted a handful of blogs since August 2016, but the reality is I got a job, I moved to London, and instead of having hours of free time on my hands, now I come home from work, occasionally have a social life, and try and fit in watching some rubbish on Netflix.

All in all this should make me a ‘bad’ blogger. But I’ve had some thoughts today on what it means to be ‘good’. Over the Christmas break, whilst I saw so many people on Twitter posting about books they had read or publicists continuing to tweet about their books, I barely read anything and I used my TweetDeck sparingly.

And I thought – does that make me a ‘bad’ reader or a ‘bad’ publicist, just as I am a ‘bad’ blogger? No.

This makes me human.

Over Christmas, I spent time with my family who I miss so much living in London and I got a new puppy (who is gorgeous and deservedly took up a lot of my time). I watched The Crown with them instead of reading. I turned my work emails off because I work hard when I’m working and deserve a break when I’m not. We publicists have a tendency to work overtime, all the time, and I thought that for just this once whilst I was on holiday, I would be on holiday. I mean, my addiction to work emails once got so bad that I was emailing authors on one of the biggest and most important days in my calendar, when I should’ve been with my family.

So for Christmas, I took time for me.

I know that maybe I am a ‘bad’ blogger – and tonight I genuinely considered scrapping my blog entirely because frankly I don’t have the same enthusiasm for it any more, or the time, because (shock horror) I have a life outside of books and publishing, which includes eating meals out with my friends (none of whom work in publishing), spending time with my family (when I can), and yes, binge watching on Netflix.

But I didn’t delete the blog. Instead I wrote this. Because this blog is mine and for me, and I can write on it however I want, whenever I want.

That doesn’t make me a ‘bad’ blogger, a ‘bad’ reader (sidenote: I saw on Twitter some people read 100+ books in 2017. My Goodreads goal was 20 books and I’m pretty sure I smashed that in summer, but I stopped quantifying because it actually doesn’t matter as long as you’re reading and you’re enjoying reading), and it certainly doesn’t make me a ‘bad’ publicist because I put work to one side for the time I was out of the office.

In 2018, I aim to throw these guilty feelings away and be okay with the work I do and the way I choose to live my life, whether that’s blogging once a month (which probably won’t even happen) or saying actually no, I’d rather go and have all-you-can-eat sushi and talk about boys with my friends.

New Year, same me, but accepting that same me is okay.

Advertisements

Review: Doing It – Hannah Witton

It has been a long time since I did a book review (and I’m making no promises that this is the return of the reviews), but this book is SO good it deserves a review.

Doing It – Hannah Witton 

If you don’t know, Hannah Witton is a YouTuber (and ex-UoB student like moi) who posts videos about sex and relationships, and has compiled all her knowledge (and the knowledge of others with different experiences and more knowledge than her own) into a great, easily readable book.

Doing It is the guide I wish I’d had when I was a teenager and super confused about sex, my body, and what to do with it – because to be honest, you actually don’t want to turn around to your mum or even your best friend and say ‘hi mum, is it normal to masturbate?’

But even now that I’m 23, I still have questions and I know that I still have much to learn (especially about LGBTQ+ relationships, and Hannah does a great job of integrating the voices of that community). So I’m glad that I picked up Doing It to educate myself and even to learn more about the things I thought I knew about. I will 100% be recommending it to teenagers, parents, and anyone in between who wants to know more about sex and relationships, without resorting to uncomfortable internet articles or those textbooks we had in schools with anatomic diagrams.

What I especially love about the book is how relaxed it is, how non-judgemental it is, how open Hannah is about her experiences and her lack of knowledge about some things. She never pretends to be an SRE expert, just someone who is interested and experienced and who wants to share. So it really does feel like you’re having a chat with a wise older sister who wants to guide you down the Yellow Brick Road of sex and relationships in a healthy and informative way.

I definitely agree that SRE is seriously lacking in schools, and when Hannah wrote about being shown images of STIs in order to dissuade you from having sex, I could totally relate. I don’t ever remember being taught about consent (which to be honest, I could have used), and in biology class when a girl asked if you could get pregnant from oral sex, I wish we had all taken her a bit more seriously and I wish our teacher hadn’t tried to hide the question under the rug.

This is a way more honest book about growing up as a teenager and experiencing sex and relationships than the TV shows many of us learnt about sex from. Skins isn’t real life for many teenagers, and no-one lives their life like 90210 or Gossip Girl. So, Hannah tells it like is really is and the result is a helpful, friendly, welcoming guide to sex and relationships.

A great read and I hope to see this book becoming widely acknowledged as a go-to read on s&r.

A thumbs up from me (and Emma Stone – incidentally, Easy A is also a great film about sex and relationships in high school).

The Ginny Weasley Story

So a couple of times recently people have come up to me to talk about Ginny Weasley. Which happens when it’s part of my Twitter bio.

I categorise myself firstly and fore-mostly as a Ginny Weasley. I was never a Hermione. Whilst young girls growing up were delighting over her bushy hair and how smart it was to be brave, I got it, I understood it (I mean, I used to take carrier bags that were full to breaking point home from the library), but I never felt like a Hermione. I was a Ginny. Which I think is rarer.

But let me be clear, I was – and still am – a very specific Ginny (which you’ll see up there in the bio). BOOK GINNY. Who we all know is very different to Movie Ginny. No disrespect to Bonnie Wright (and we may never know if it was Bonnie or the writers that totally destroyed my second favourite Harry Potter character. (Ron, in case you were wondering)) but Movie Ginny is a completely separate entity to Ginny on the pages, the Ginny I knew from my childhood.

Book Ginny is fiery and determined, passionate and fearless, she leads with her heart and feels everything keenly on that page. She didn’t let her crush on Harry Potter stop her from doing the most awesome Bat-Bogey Hex and she didn’t let his crush on Cho Chang stop her from storming down to the Ministry and testing the waters with dating other guys.

These graphics say it perfectly. Everything I’ve ever been annoyed about.

Ginny is so much more than a love interest and I hate that the films reduced her to a shadow of her former self.

So I stand up, proud to be a Ginny, with all of her heart and her dynamism and the proof that if you just live your best life and try and be the best version of yourself, that will probably win the hero’s heart more than ‘meep meeping’. And if not, just be the hero yourself.

Let’s discuss this please? Comment below or on Twitter and tell me what you think? Are you a Ginny or am I talking nonsense?

Journey to Employment

I am beyond delighted, excited, thrilled, overjoyed, and any other euphoric superlatives you can think of that this week is my first week of work in publishing!

And as you’ll know if you read this blog or follow my Twitter, that this has not been an easy journey – in fact at times it has been terrible. Of course, it is not easy for anyone going into publishing, one of the most notoriously difficult industries to get into. And yet, I daresay you will not find a more determined bunch of people trying to get in.

I want to document my journey here, with no frills, and pure emotions, to demonstrate the realities of getting a job in publishing and to show you that with tenacity and determination, it is possible.

(no names of companies I applied to will be mentioned nor names of their employees)


The preliminaries 

My first insight into publishing came in 2014, when I was lucky enough to do two weeks work experience in the Marketing department at Hodder & Stoughton. I fell head over heels immediately for the industry and knew this was where my future lay.

I followed this up with two weeks at Penguin General the following year, before finishing my degree in English Literature and Hispanic Studies.

Throughout my final year, I nurtured my blog, volunteered twice for the Bookseller, and kept my toes in the publishing water by being active in the community on Twitter.


The journey 

I began my applications on the 26th of April 2016 (which I remember because it was the day I handed in my final dissertations). My job was offered to me on the 16th of September 2016, which makes a total of 143 days of applications, interviews and rejections.

The process began quickly; I sent in the first application on the 3rd of May and was invited the very next day for an interview on the 10th of May. It was a job I was terribly excited about and, understandably, I was devastated when I got that first rejection, because it had appeared to be going so well.

What followed was a phone interview with another company, who then rejected me based on my not being able to start straight away (I had to finish my degree, of course) and then a very long dry spell.

I made the huge mistake of rejecting an interview for a 6-month internship at a Big Company, because in my words I was ‘looking for something more permanent’. What could have been more permanent than a brilliant paid internship at a leading publisher? I was naive and still thinking I could walk into a job following my graduation.

I began documenting my applications at the end of June/beginning of July on an Excel spreadsheet – which really helped because it made my applications really clear to me, especially the dates of application and when the position closed.

As we know, lots of companies don’t respond to your applications after 2 weeks if you’ve not been successful, so having a spreadsheet helped me to keep track of these closing dates to know if it had been 2 weeks and I should just give up waiting for the email.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-15-27-54

As you can see, it was a very long process, with lots of red (and brown, which was when I made those assumptions that I had not been accepted).

At one point I had two interviews in one day for internships, and when I was rejected from both of these, I began to panic and wildly sent in applications for anywhere and everywhere (including fashion brands I was not particularly enthusiastic about), and speculative applications where I could.

I began to realise my applications would only be good if I was really passionate about the position, and to stop wasting time sending such half-hearted applications. I also realised that if I believed in myself, other people would too, so I followed advice I had been given at London Book Fair, to apply for positions that on paper I might not be qualified for (such as those asking for 1 year’s experience). It could not hurt to send in an application and see where it led me… and it led me to my job.

Eventually, I was lucky enough to get a chance and someone decided I was good enough.


So is the point of all this?

  • Don’t give up on your dreams
  • It will happen
  • If you believe in yourself, someone else will
  • Treat every application like it’s the one you will be hired for
  • Be proud of your achievements
  • Life is what you make it
  • (Other clichés)

As the great Miley Cyrus once said, it’s a climb, but the view is great.

Happy to read CVs and Cover Letters, and always to talk about our experiences.

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I nabbed this from SnowlyRamble’s page because I love a good book tag and if I’m reading one, I can’t help but answer them in my head, so here goes! Thanks to Leanne for sharing and credits go to A Girl Reading’s YouTube.

 

 

E-Book or Physical Book?
Physical Book. E-Book. Both. I don’t know. I LOVE reading on trains and planes so e-books are easier for me to have a whole library in my bad. But I love the covers on physical books and the way the pages feel and the smell. So both.

Paperback or Hardback?
Paperback. Hardbacks are so heavy and annoying to carry.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?
In-store. I buy online if I know what I want to read, but browsing is so much better in-store. I get all these kind of endorphins from walking around and looking at books I like.

Trilogies or Series?
I like both – at least with a trilogy it has a defined end and you don’t feel too burdened by book after book after book. But then, Harry Potter.

Heroes or Villains?

I like heroes or anti-heroes. I like underdogs.

A book you want everyone to read?

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. You seriously need to read this book if you haven’t. Like where have you been??

Recommend an underrated book?

I think I read a lot of mainstream books, so I might not be the best person to suggest these. But oh! One of my favourite books from the last year, which I do not understand why it hasn’t got more praise is The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle.

The last book you finished?
November 9 by Colleen Hoover. Swallowed that up like a hoover. (Pun intended)

The Last Book You Bought?
Hmm, toughie. My mum and I share a household account on Kindle so she’s bought the last few I’ve been reading and the book I’m currently reading was a freebie. So that would make the last books I bought the ones for my holiday and I cannot remember which was the last one. So all of these and these.

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

I am a terrible person, I’m a corner-turner-downer. Hate me now, I’m a monster. But I think I’ve used a receipt before as a bookmark.

Used Books: Yes or No?
Yeah sure! I got used books all the time for studying and they’re usually cheaper. But tbh, I tend to buy new books just because of Kindle.

Top Three Favourite Genres?
YA contemporary, Psychological Thrillers/Domestic Noir (though I count those as separate, but whatever), and Dystopian YA.

Borrow or Buy?
Buy. I lent my Malory Towers books to someone in Year 4 (aged 8) and got them back all tattered. NEVER AGAIN.  And ditto wouldn’t want to borrow someone else’s because I’m selfish and want my own.

Characters or Plot?
I think a story needs plot but I have read so many good books where the plot is more a series of events that exposes the characters’ personalities and emotions i.e. The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. 

Long or Short Books?

I tend to read more short books because I like to swallow them all in one go. And there’s nothing worse than reading a long book that just drags. Having said that, there’s also nothing better than reading a long epic book like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

Long or Short Chapters?

Shortish I think is better. It breaks up the book more easily and is easier to stop and start a book if you’re travelling or busy.

Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

 

Tender is the Night – Fitzgerald (because I’ve been thinking of it all day)

Into the Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes (because my Kindle is open next to me and it was the book I read before November 9)

One Day – David Nicholls (because One Day and November 9 have a similar premise, even though Fallon strictly says in November 9 that their story is different)

Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

I’ve only ever cried at one book (Me Before You) so books that make me smile. I love reading a good romance and having a goofy grin on my face.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Both! I love YA Contemporary, but I also love new worlds or Dystopian futures. I also think the Wizarding World parallel to our world is the best thing ever.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes! Love them. Only a recent convert and there has to be a good narrator. I find it quite off-putting when there’s an American narrator because I read in an English accent in my head. But I prefer audiobooks of something I’ve already read.

I find audiobooks really soothing because they remind me of being read to as a child. My love-affair with audiobooks began about 5 years ago, when I was really sick and all I wanted was someone to read to me. Since then I’ve listened to Harry Potter (Stephen Fry obvs.) pretty much every night as I fall asleep.

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?
Yes. Some covers are really cringy. I love David Nicholls covers and David Levithan covers.

Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Tbh I haven’t seen many Book to TV adaptations, only really Shadowhunters, and I’m liking that so far. I guess movie, if it’s done properly. Adaptors need to take tips from whoever did The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns because those were two perfect adaptations I think. Also Me Before You was stunning.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

I started reading The Mortal Instrument series after I saw the film and the TV show, but so far I’m preferring the TV show. I find the narration really irritating in the books, and I prefer the character development in the TV Show. The relationships seem more genuine and I love the Clary/Izzy relationship that seems to be missing in the books.

Series or Standalones?

Oh gosh I don’t know. They both have their merits. But a series can be annoying if you’re stuck in it and want to read something else. I think I prefer author collections. Like all of John Green’s books are standalones, but they live in the John Green Collection. I like that.


So that’s my tag! Do join in and tag me if you do, I want to see all your answers!!

Musing Mondays – Monday 8th August

 

 

Wooee, welcome to August! Here’s another Musing Monday, courtesy of Books and a Beat.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name a book that you hope to re-read some day.

 

I’m currently reading Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg, which I was lucky enough to receive at an interview last week. Though I didn’t get the internship, I think it was so generous of HC to give me a couple of books just for coming to interview with them.

We were the Family, and Foxlowe was our home.

There was me – my name is Green – and my little sister, Blue. There was October, who we called Toby, and Ellensia, Dylan, Liberty, Pet and Egg. There was Richard, of course, who was one of the Founders. And there was Freya.

We were the Family, but we weren’t just an ordinary family. We were a new, better kind of family.

We didn’t need to go to school, because we had a new, better kind of education. We shared everything. We were close to the ancient way of living and the ancient landscape. We knew the moors, and the standing stones. We celebrated the solstice in the correct way, with honey and fruit and garlands of fresh flowers. We knew the Bad and we knew how to keep it away.

And we had Foxlowe, our home. Where we were free.

There really was no reason for anyone to want to leave.

Make sure to check back in in a couple of weeks and see if I’ve reviewed it. Though no immediate promises as I still have three other books I haven’t reviewed yet. It may end up that they come in another Mini Reads.

Also, slightly cheating but I had to put in a plug for my previous blog post, so this past week I blogged about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Check out my review here and please note, it’s NOT spoiler free.

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name a book that you hope to re-read some day.

I am a huge fan of re-reading. In fact for great article on re-reading, have a look at this NPR article on ‘The Transformative Joy of Re-Reading.’

So because I re-read so much, I don’t really hope to re-read too many because they’re always there. I think for me books I hope to re-read are the classics where I feel like you don’t get the most out of them the first time.

I never quite got around to finishing Tender is the Night (Fitzgerald), but I’d like to re-read it/finish reading it. I also think Catcher in the Rye deserves a second reading, because it’s still sticking with me almost a year after I read it and I’m sure I can even more from it a second time.

 


And that closes up Musing Mondays for this week! Check out all the other responses on Books and a Beat’s page!