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The Liebster Awards (I’ve been nominated!)

I’m really excited and surprised to announce that I’ve been nominated for The Liebster Awards! I was really surprised to see that that Nina from Just Add A Word nominated me! Thank you so much to Nina for nominating me, I really appreciate it. Be sure to check out her blog, it’s amazing. If you didn’t know, The Liebster Awards is essentially a way for bloggers to discover various other blogs and nominate blogs that aren’t as popular, typically ones that have under 200 readers.

The rules are simple:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.

3. Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 questions to answer on their post.

 

1. If you rated by a checklist, what would be the number one quality you look for in a book for it to be enjoyable?

In order for a book to be enjoyable for me, it really just depends on the genre and what the synopsis entails. Firstly, I would want the story to include what drew me to the book in the first place. Synopses can be misleading at times. Writing style normally doesn’t bother me, since every writer has their own unique and distinct writing style, but I normally would expect the writing to be consistent throughout the book. In addition, a substantial plot or story line is important as well. I really enjoy character driven stories as well but a main story line is the key component to a book. Complex characters (whether they are fictional or if it is non-fiction) that have substance and development. I like to read about three dimensional characters not one dimensional caricatures. I especially love to read about morally grey characters, people who aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad.” This checklist ended up being a lot longer and more complicated than I expected. Essentially, I look for a story with substance, consistency and complexity. That sounds like I’m talking about a recipe.

2. Do you believe in not judging a book by its cover? To what extent does first      impressions affect your reading choices?

I think at one point we’ve all judged books by their covers. Personally, I think it’s impossible to not judge a book by it’s cover. Our very impression of  a book is based on the cover, the cover is what draws us to the book in the first place. I’m going to be honest, if I see a person on the cover, I’m less likely to read it. For example, the conventionally attractive white model on a cover is so overdone and I’m more likely to ignore it if I come across it. There are some exceptions, if there is a POC on the cover (a rare occasion), I’m more interested. I’ve been trying to judge less on the cover and more on if I’m interested in the story line. It’s pretty difficult but I think we have to remember that a book cover doesn’t determine the story. The publishing company determines what book cover will help promote the book not the author. Sometimes it’s a success while other times it’s not. Bottom line, I think everyone needs to work on focusing more on the synopsis and not what’s on the book cover.

3. If you could have dinner with 3 authors (dead or alive), which ones would you pick?

The first one is pretty obvious, J.K. Rowling. There’s so many questions I would want to ask her, Harry Potter or otherwise. I would also love to meet Chimamande Ngozi Adichie, it would be great to have tea with her and talk about feminism and our experiences. She’s actually one of my biggest inspirations so it would be a dream to meet her and talk to her. Check out her essay, We Should All Be Feminists or really any of her TED talks. Lastly, I would love to meet Rick Riordan who genuinely seems like a nice and funny person. It would be interesting to see how much of his personality is shown in his books, like PJ’S sarcasm.

4. Which genre do you read most of? Least of?

A year or two ago, I would probably say fantasy because I used to read a lot of it. I’m not as interested in fantasy as I was before but I still love it but I actually find myself reading more contemporary and literary fiction. This actually used to be a genre I never read, but I’ve come to appreciate it more (especially after reading Homegoing By Yaa Gyasi). I generally don’t read a lot of non-fiction but recently I’ve been reading quite a few. I think people are hesitant to read non-fiction because they’ll expect it to be boring, but a lot of non-fiction is written in prose and reads like a story. I would recommend listening to the audio book for it if you enjoy listening to a book.

5. What are your top 5 bookish pet peeves?

1. Ridiculous descriptions of eyes- Authors like Cassandra Clare & Sarah J. Maas always have long, overdone descriptions of eyes. We get it, his eyes is a mesmerizing shade of golden and he looks unreal like an angel or Greek God. But  do they have to go on for a paragraph using various types of figurative language to describe someone’s eyes. WE GET IT.

2. Using sexuality as a plot twist- This is especially infuriating and extremely offensive. Sexuality shouldn’t be portrayed as a huge scandal as it is shown in some books, a person’s sexuality is not their personality. It’s obviously apart of them, but why does their entire character have to  revolve around their sexuality. It’s especially infuriating when it’s written by straight, cisgender authors who have never been in the person’s shoes and immediately write harmful stereotypes into their story. I’m a firm believer that if it isn’t own voices, the author has no right to write and make assumptions about a person’s sexuality without having the experience.

3. Territorial Male Characters- No one likes this trope. It’s disgusting, unhealthy and creates a power imbalance. It is the literal foundation to a unhealthy, abusive relationship. It’s sad to see so many books written where the male love interest is territorial when their female partner talks to another guy (Ahem, Sarah J. Maas).

4. Deaths of POC or LGBTQ+ Characters- This seems to always happen in any forms of entertainment whether its a movie, T.V. show or book. What is the point of adding “diversity” to a story if the character is going to be killed off? There are several instances when there’s a group of people, majority are white with 1 or 2 people of color and they end up being killed off leaving the white people as the survivors. Not to mention that a lot of these instances can portray the “white savior” trope which is another trope I hate. Don’t include people of color and LGBTQ+ just to have them killed off.

5. Tragic Backstory- I’m sorry but can their be one character who actually had a good or decent life? In order to be a hero or villain, there doesn’t have to be the typical backstory. Obviously with a villain, there is most likely a traumatic experience attached to it. But I’d like one story where there isn’t a tortured soul with a tragic backstory. Someone who had a decent life and isn’t brooding, angsty and miserable.

6. Print book, ebook, or audiobook? What are your thoughts on the other two?

All of them. I use all three formats pretty frequently, though I mostly use print and audiobook format. Ebooks can be difficult to read at times but I think it depends on the person. As for audiobooks, I love listening to them especially while I’m in a car or bus. Whenever I read a book in physical format in a moving vehicle, I always get nauseous so audiobooks are what I normally listen. Audiobooks being counted as actual reading has been a controversy for a while. I definitely consider to be considered reading since reading doesn’t  decoding and understanding words only using your two eyes. For more information I would recommend watching emmmabooks video on if audiobooks are considered actual reading. Link is here.

7. Do you use bookmarks? If so, do you make or buy them or simply use a tissue or receipt or your cat’s tail?

I wish I had cat so I could use their tail as a bookmark, but sadly I don’t have any pets yet. I definitely use bookmarks and I have far too many of them. Most of them I collected from my school library.

8. This might be a weird one, but: Do you judge books by their authors? For example, if an author is an evil villain that feasts on the unborn (or some other negative that’s a bit more grounded in reality), does that affect your enjoyment of their book? 

This is an interesting question and something I’ve been conflicted on. I definitely don’t want to judge a book by an author based off of the author’s personality, especially when I haven’t read their books previously. Recently, someone on Twitter pointed out some homophobic comments Brandon Sanderson made that were really offensive. I have read books by him before and I was planning on reading his popular Mistborn series. It left me really conflicted on whether or not I should read his books. The comment was made years ago and he claims to have changed his opinion but didn’t apologize for his comments. I know that I don’t want to support who makes offensive, homophobic comments but should I stop reading their books altogether? It is true that an author’s personality bleeds into their books. If I were to read their books, I know I would be very cautious and critical.

9. Does every book require a romantic subplot? Does it detract from the main story line, or is it crucial in terms of character development?

Absolutely NOT. In fact, I think a romantic subplot can deter from a character’s development.  In my experience, whether a book is adult or young adult, there is almost always a romantic subplot and its normally heterosexual. There are exceptions, of course. But it’s an overdone trope that really doesn’t add anything to a story. Why do a boy and girl immediately have to have feelings for each other. Why can’t they just be friends? A character can grow on their own without a love interest. A lot of the times, a love interest can do more harm than good.

10. How do you feel about rating a book before it’s published and without having an ARC? For example: if you love the author, do you automatically give all their upcoming releases 5 stars? If the author has done a controversial thing, do their works deserve automatic 1 stars?

I’ve seen people on Goodreads do this quite a few times and I don’t agree with it all. I wouldn’t rate a book I didn’t read at all. Whether I love the author or not. Its especially terrible when people rates books they haven’t read or before its release date one star. People on Goodreads may look at the overall rating and might not want to read it because of the low ratings. It’s cruel to the author especially and just plain wrong.

11. Which series do you which could’ve ended differently? (Without spoilers, if possible.)

This is pretty hard for me since I like the conclusion to most series, but I’m going to have to say The Hunger Games trilogy. Let’s just say that certain characters should have survived and a certain character should have died.

Nominations:

1. Kathleen from she turns pages – Kath’s instagram is amazing and so is her blog and book reviews.

2. Greg & Aisha from GAscribing – This is a blog that focuses more on writing but there are book reviews as well. I discovered this blog through Aisha’s instagram @thatothernigeriangirl (give her a follow). There are also other contributors to this blog as well and it’s nice to see a mix of both reading and writing which is something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my own blog.

3. Olga from Reading Between Oceans – I love Olga’s username, I wish I could come up with something that creative. I’ve been friends with Olga on Goodreads for a while and I really enjoy Olga’s reviews on her blog.

4. Fleur from Fleur Henley – Fluer’s blog is so underrated so be sure to her a follow! She has some really interesting posts and discussions. Recently, she wrote a post on tips for reviews and they were really helpful

5. Srishti and Yomna from Srishti and Yomna – This is a cute blog especially if you enjoy YA books.

6. Katherine from FabledHaven– Katherine is another great blogger that wants to see mroe POC and LGBTQ+ representation just as much as I do.

7. Kristin from Always With a Book – Kristin’s blog is very interactive, she’s part of book clubs, she reviews from a number of genres posts frequently.

8. Mrs. Bro from The Brief Leaf– Mrs. Bro is actually a middle school teacher that does book reviews. Her reviews are short and concise which is different than msot book bloggers, she’s able to sum her thoughts and opinions into a paragraph or so which is something that’s preety dififcult for me. Obviously.

9. Linda from Linda’s Wonderland– Linda’s blog is so beautiful (I love the logo). She also includes some unique posts as well.

10. Krista from Cubicle Blindness Reviews – Krista has some great reviews and reviews book from self published authors which is always a great thing to do since most are so underrated.

11. Esther from Bite Into Books– Esther’s reviews are well written and she also reviews lesser known books and short stories.

My Questions:

1. What are your views on diversity in literature? Do you think it should be implemented in every story? 

2. Who are some of your favorite POC and/or LGBTQ+ characters?

3. What are some of your favorite non-fiction books or memoirs?

4. Do you feel that you’re represented in media? Is there a particular character you identify with? What would you like to see more of, in terms of representation?

5. What are your views on mental health representation in literature? Name a few books that you think portray mental health in a respectful light.

6. What are some of your favorite Own Voices books?

7. What are your views on reading problematic books? Would you read a book that’s been reviewed as problematic and offensive? For example, Carve the Mark has been accused of being racist and abliest. Imagine you were genuinely interested in the book but are hesitant to read it because of the controversy. Would you still read it?

8. Besides diversity, what other things would you want literature and stories to improve on?

9. Do you believe that authors have the right to write books about another person’s experiences? For example, do you think a straight author has the right to write about a gay character’s experince or a transgender character’s experience?

10. Do you read only for entertainment or do you read to educate yourself as well? What are some lessons or morals you’ve learned from reading? 

11. List some of your favorite books so far this year and why you loved them so much.