THE RECOMMENDATIONS BOOK TAG


Rules:

  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things so she can see your recommendations!
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag some friends!

A BOOK ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

Belinda McKeon renders a powerful love, coming of age | The Star

Tender by Belinda McKeon – I absolutely ADORE this book. I read it a couple of years ago and I still think about it. It’s a beautiful, complex exploration of how fraught friendships can sometimes be, but also how much they shape you as a person, especially when you’re in your early twenties. This book is just Irish fiction at its finest and I can’t recommend it enough. (I have a full review of it here.)


A TRANSLATED BOOK

Ghachar Ghochar: A Novel: Amazon.ca: Shanbhag, Vivek, Perur, Srinath: Books

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (translated by Srinath Perur) – This is a novella that I read last year and immediately loved. The writing is measured and precise, and for a novella, the story packs an incredible punch. It’s all about capitalism and social mobility, particularly how they intersect with familial life and relationships. (I have a short review of this here.)


A DIVERSE ROMANCE

Act Your Age, Eve Brown: A Novel : Hibbert, Talia: Amazon.ca: Books

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – I know this book is already super popular but I just couldn’t miss out on the chance to mention it. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is like sunshine in book form; it is absolutely delightful and I loved it so much. It also features ownvoices autistic rep, which is so great to see.


A FAST-PACED BOOK

A Master of Djinn: Amazon.ca: Clark, P. Djèlí: Books

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark – I don’t typically tend to go for fast-paced books, but A Master of Djinn is an exception because it’s so well-crafted. I mean, a fantasy set in a steampunk alternate version of 1912 Cairo ??? There was no way I wasn’t going to love this. It’s fast-paced, but it doesn’t sacrifice character development for the sake of the plot, and the plot itself is immensely enjoyable (Clark’s worldbuilding is so detailed and engrossing).


A NONFICTION OTHER THAN A MEMOIR

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground: Elliott, Alicia: 9780385692380: Books -  Amazon.ca

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott – This is a collection of incisive essays that covers so many subjects, including sexual assault, mental illness, class, pop culture, and many more. Elliott has a real skill for weaving together secondary sources with her own personal experiences to drive home the impact of her essays.


AN UNDERRATED MEMOIR

Sigh, Gone | Phuc Tran | Macmillan

Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran – This is such a brilliant memoir, and such an underrated one too. You can feel Phuc Tran’s love for language vibrate in every sentence of this memoir, and he writes with so much honesty and vulnerability about his early childhood and adolescence living in Pennsylvania. (Highly recommend the audiobook in particular for this one.)


A BOOK WITH FEWER THAN 10,000 RATINGS ON GOODREADS

Sweet Home eBook: Erskine, Wendy: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine – I don’t understand how this book has less than 1000 ratings on Goodreads because it’s easily one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. Erskine’s writing is sharp and haunting, and her unsettling stories linger in the best possible way. (I have a short review of this here.)


A BOOK WITH AN LGBTQA+ PROTAGONIST

The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager

The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager – I can’t speak highly enough of this book. Drager’s command of the multiple storylines in this is masterful, and they all come together to make such a beautiful and moving story. This book deserves so much more attention than it’s gotten, so I’ve basically made it my personal mission to keep talking about it until everyone I know has read it. (I have a full review of this here.)


A BOOK BY A TRANS OR NON-BINARY AUTHOR

Homesick: Stories: Cipri, Nino: 9781945814952: Amazon.com: Books

Homesick by Nino Cipri – I just posted a full review of this one but I wanted to mention it again because it’s just really damn good. If you love character-focused stories that incorporate a lot of fantastical/surrealist elements, then this short story collection is for you. Nino Cipri is definitely a writer to watch out for; their books always deliver.


A BOOK WITH MORE THAN 500 PAGES

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters – I know it’s not exactly groundbreaking to be recommending a Sarah Waters novel, but I don’t really read that many books over 500 pages, and I just immensely loved this. Sarah Waters is a brilliant author, and it was so rewarding seeing Nan grow throughout this book (it also had one of the most beautiful and cathartic endings I’ve read all year).


A SHORT STORY COLLECTION

Amazon.com: Alligator (9781937512897): Alzayat, Dima: Books

Alligator by Dima Alzayat – This is an exceptional short story collection: formally experimental, moving, and masterfully written. There is not a single dud in this collection, and I can’t wait to see whatever Dima Alzayat comes out with next because whatever it is, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be great. Also, Dima Alzayat is Syrian American, and many of her stories feature Arab protagonists, which I loved reading about, especially since I find it really hard to find literary fiction books by Arab authors.


BOOK YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ

Popisho | Leone Ross | Macmillan

Popisho by Leone Ross – I read this novel at the end of last year and just adored it. I can’t speak highly enough about it: characters, worldbuilding, beautiful writing, Popisho has it all. (I have a full review of it here.)


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MY FAVOURITE BOOKISH PODCASTS

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welcome welcome. 👋👋👋 today I’m talking about some of my favourite bookish podcasts!! I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts at work lately and thought I’d recommend you some of the standout ones I’ve managed to recently discover. I figured most of my life is consumed by books anyway so might as well make all the podcasts I listen to book-related too 🤷

anyway I know it can be intimidating to start listening to podcasts that have already been going on for a while, so for each of these podcasts I’m going to include an episode that was a real standout for me and that I recommend you start with/check out to see what the style of that particular podcast is like. (I’ve also linked to these podcasts on both Apple Podcasts and Spotify to hopefully make it easier for you to access them if  you’re interested)


#1: Literary Friction

🌿 Standout episode: Literary Friction – Pain with Sinéad Gleeson 

this is probably my favourite bookish podcast, and one of the first ones I ever discovered and started regularly listening to. first of all, the hosts of this podcast, Octavia Bright and Carrie Plitt know what they’re talking about; they’re clearly well-versed in the book world, and always have such intelligent and thought-provoking discussions about the books they choose for each episode.

another thing I love about this podcast is that the episodes always center around a specific theme or issue in the book world, like how to depict pain in writing (as in the Sinéad Gleeson episode I recommended above), therapy in literature, or the state of the nation novel. in each episode, the hosts will choose a book that’s relevant to that theme and interview its author (with GREAT questions, might I add, which is extra impressive because I feel like asking good interview questions is easier said than done), and then later on they’ll discuss some other books that also relate to that theme. finally, both hosts as well as the author will recommend a book that they’ve recently enjoyed to listeners.

it’s an excellent podcast, plus you can tell that Octavia and Carrie have a lot of love for each other and genuinely enjoy recording these episodes.


#2: What Page Are You On?

🌿 Standout episode: 51: Stories from Northern Ireland

I just love this podcast. yeah it’s a book podcast, but it also feels like listening to two friends who just so happen to be talking about books. needless to say, the hosts, Alice Slater and Bethany Rutter, are delightful. I’ve found so many new books because of this podcast, and just like Literary Friction, they also center their episodes around specific themes or issues. each episode tends to focus on two books that pertain to that theme, and then Alice and Bethany just kinda chat about it for the duration of the episode. it’s so much fun listening to these episodes, and I’m always super interested in hearing what Bethany and Alice have to say about the books they’ve read.


#3: Bonnets at Dawn

🌿 Standout episode: S3, Episode 22: Engaging the Age of Austen

y’all know that I’m obsessed with Jane Austen, so of course Jane Austen had to come up at some point in this conversation. enter Bonnets at Dawn, a podcast that focuses on works by Austen, Bronte, and other Regency and Victorian female authors (e.g. Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, etc.). I’ve mainly listened to their Jane Austen episodes, but they’ve been fantastic, so definitely no complaints here. a lot of the guests they feature on their episodes are scholars, something which I don’t think a lot of bookish podcasts have, and which I love, especially when those scholars happen to have written books about Jane Austen. just the other day I listened to a podcast episode of theirs about a book (Engaging the Age of Jane Austen, if you’re curious) and loved the discussion so much that I promptly went and got a copy of the book to read. so yeah, they definitely sold that book to me, as well as, I’m sure, a lot of other books in the future.


#4: The Stinging Fly Podcast

🌿 Standout episode: Danny Denton Reads Nicole Flattery

again, y’all know how much I love Irish fiction so, like Jane Austen, it also had to pop up somewhere in this discussion. so here we are: The Stinging Fly Podcast. there’s a different host for each episode, joined by an author who chooses a short story from The Stinging Fly magazine, reads it (or part of it), and then discusses it with the host. it’s a great podcast to listen to if you’ve read any of these short stories before, but also a great one to listen to if you haven’t. some authors from the podcast that you might recognize include Nicole Flattery, Emilie Pine, Kevin Barry, and Sara Baume. highly recommend this one, especially if you’re into Irish short stories.


#5: The Lit Pickers

🌿 Standout episode: 7: Jane Austen: Genius or The Greatest Genius?

all of the podcasts I’ve just mentioned have been Western-based (American, British, Irish). The Lit Pickers is based in India, and so it bring a different perspective on literature and books in general. also, I love these hosts–they have the driest, most delightful sense of humour. the episodes are fun, snappy, and always have substance. this podcast is one that i just stumbled into (I have to admit I was just looking for podcast episodes about Jane Austen to listen to and just added whatever I could find to my list lol), but definitely one I’ll always listen to whenever there’s new episodes.


#6: Thresholds

🌿 Standout episode: Episode 01: Mira Jacob

there’s only one episode of this podcast so far, but it’s been EXCELLENT, and I’m so intrigued by the premise of this podcast. I mean, just listen to this: “Thresholds will dive into moments of spiritual or political transformation that take place in liminal states, when people are in between jobs, faiths, genders, cultures, or identities.” the first episode was with Mira Jacob and it was so powerful and honest. I’m definitely excited to see who else is gonna be on this show, and what their episodes will be about.


and there you go–some bookish podcasts that you’ll hopefully check out if they interest you! listening to podcasts about some of my recent favourite novels has been such an unexpected game-changer for me this year. one of my favourite things to do lately is, after finishing a book that I really enjoyed, finding a couple of podcast episodes about it. i cannot recommend this highly enough. it’s been super rewarding and interesting to see authors discuss their novels with those novels’ themes and characters still fresh in my mind. it gives me so much more insight into the authors’ intentions going into the book, and what their process of writing those novels was like. it’s also made those novels stick so much more in my mind. it’s almost like reading a book for class and then going to class to hear the prof lecture about it, except in this case the process is much more enjoyable (at least I hope so lol).

that’s it for me! if you have any podcasts you love listening to, bookish or otherwise, please let me know!! i’m subscribed to like ~100 podcasts at the moment and somehow still find that I don’t have anything to listen to at work, which ??? how is that even possible ?? anyway, hope you enjoyed this post, and happy reading (and listening!) ☺️


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FAVOURITE BOOKS FOR MY FAVOURITE MOVIES 🎥📚 (recommendations)

FAV MOVIES


HI IT’S ME AGAIN. here to recommend you some books similar to my favourite movies. so hopefully if you like some (OR ALL) of these movies, you can find some books similar to them that you’d also probably like. 😉


#1: Pride and Prejudice 🎥 + Carry On 📚

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This is my favourite movie. Ever. I’ve watched it so many times I practically know the whole script by now (“IT IS MANY YEARS SINCE I HAD SUCH AN EXEMPLARY VEGETABLE”). So this one was a no-brainer as #1 to this list.

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Pride and Prejudice is of course the ultimate hate-to-love story, so I’m gonna recommend a book with a hate-to-love story that I love: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I feel like so many books that supposedly have a hate to love relationship don’t actually go all the way with the “hate,” which is why the trope is so good in the first place. Simon and Baz ,though, properly hate each other. And I love seeing that actual hatred develop into a romance.


#2: Tangled 🎥 + Nimona 📚

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My love for Tangled is endless. It has all the fun shenanigans of a Disney movie, but also a genuinely endearing storyline about family and love. Also Flynn Rider.

Image result for nimona

So I thought based on Tangled, I’d recommend you a similarly endearing and fun fantasy: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It’s a graphic novel and it’s absolutely delightful. It’s funny, with all the shenanigans that Tangled has, but also a lot of serious, touching moments. Also, the art is wonderful.


#3: 10 Things I Hate About You 🎥 + Foolish Hearts 📚

What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? 10 Things I Hate About You is basically the perfect 90s romcom. It’s the perfect combination of a movie that both uses and subverts tropes.

Foolish Hearts

Based on 10 Things I Hate About You, I’m recommending Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. This is my favourite Emma Mills book, and that’s saying something because all her books are amazing as it is. I think Foolish Hearts and 10 Things I Hate About You have a lot in common: they have two romantic storylines, a main one and a peripheral one; they have a wonderful cast of characters that are all developed to some extent, and all of which add something different to the story; they’re both related to Shakespeare plays, 10 Things because it’s based on Taming of the Shrew, and Foolish Hearts because part of its story revolves around a high-school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I love them both a lot and I think they’re both just wonderful stories.


#4: Hang the DJ 🎥 + Bone Gap 📚

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Okay so technically this isn’t a movie, but I’m counting it as a movie because I love it so much. “Hang the DJ” is an episode from Black Mirror season 4 and it is just beautiful. It’s a cute romance, but in the vein of all Black Mirror episodes, there’s a twist to it (which if you’ve seen the episode, you know what I mean).

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Based on “Hang the DJ,” I’m recommending Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I think they’re both similar in that they’re romances with a twist. On the surface, Bone Gap seems like a YA contemporary with a romance thrown in, but it has these unexpected and surprisingly insightful magical realism-y moments that I really loved.


#5: Arrival 🎥 + Midnight at the Electric 📚

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Arrival is such a polished movie. Visually, it’s elegant and understated. It doesn’t have to do a lot to be effective. Its story is already captivating, and Amy Adams does an excellent job as the movie’s protagonist.

Midnight at the Electric

Based on Arrival, I’m recommending Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I actually think Arrival and Midnight at the Electric are the perfect pairing. Like Arrival, Anderson’s novel is simple and distilled; it doesn’t have to do a lot to be effective. And also like Arrival, it includes sci-fi/space-y elements. I absolutely love this novel and I think considering how short it is (260 pages), it’s a remarkably moving and poignant story.


I hope yall enjoyed this–I love books, and I love movies, so combining the two was so fun to do!! Let me know if you like any of these movies, or if there any book-movie pairings that you think would go well together. 🎥📚


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