7 Reasons Bookshops Might Be The Death of Me

Big Blogging Bonanza - Day 8! That's over a week, people. Thank you so much for reading and making this so awesome.
If there's one thing that a bookworm simply cannot resist, it's a bookshop. It's our haven, our sanctuary, but it's also actively designed to try and make us buy more books. Books are expensive things, and yet, although we might have ten or twenty unread ones at home, we just can't resist.

I've gathered up a handful of handy-dandy snapshots and diagrams to summarise our pain. It might be funny. Only . . . if you're not a bookworm, look away now. You might discover a serious drain on your funds here.

#1 - When you always, always need a new book.
I always buy a book when I get the chance, because even if I think I don't need it, I must be wrong. Some people call it irresponsible. I call it being honest with myself.

#2 - The texts you only send when you've run out of money.
My favourite part of this is that my Mum usually knows how many books I've chosen. And that I'm probably going to need help carrying them, let alone paying for them.

#3 - When you just don't know when to stop.
Just so you know, having seventeen books under your arm and adding just one more as you reach the till does not mean you've reached a higher level of bookshop addiction than the rest of us. This is almost embarrassingly common.

#4 - Alison Cherry gets it.
I sympathise with this for two reasons. Firstly, repeat copies (I NEED the new-design Harry Potter books). Secondly, coloured pages *swoon*.

#5 - That awkward moment. . . 
Seeing as the bookshop is one of the only shops I can actually visit without a possie of girlfriends to critique and help me decide on my every purchase, I struggle when it's closed. And it's absolutely necessary to set aside at least three hours every time I go in there.

#6 - When you realise your house does not have as many shelves as the shop itself.
Actually, local bookshop, I have a plan. Seeing as I buy half of your stock anyway, and don't like lugging it home, why don't my books just stay with you? In a Lara's-private section? I buy it, it gets shelved separately, and then I only need to bring the vital ones home. My shelves are less likely to collapse then.

Oh no, wait. They're all vital.

#7 - The inevitable visit to any bookshop you pass.
I actually cannot tell you how many times this has happened. In London, I didn't bother sightseeing. I found a bookshop.

And you should have seen me when I realised non-students weren't allowed in the Bodleian Library.

What do you think is the most tempting part of a bookshop? And which of these have happened to you?
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The One Word I Hate Reading

I'm not going to lie - writing this post is going to hurt, because it's really important to me, and I'm actually terrified of getting this message wrong. If I don't quite say what I mean, it won't have the effect it needs to.
But I'm going to write it anyway, because I feel it's my responsibility. To try and get that oh-so-important information across. And it might not have everything to do with books, but it definitely has its place here. The story begins with me telling you I have Cerebral Palsy, usually called CP.

CP is a disability which affects the brain, usually due to a complication at birth. I've had it ever since I was born, and it means that although my brain is trying to tell my muscles what to do, the message doesn't always get across. It's important to remember that CP affects everyone differently, but the worst part of my condition is most definitely the spasms.

I'm not really sure how to explain spasms to people who haven't experienced them, but they're a little bit like cramp - muscles, usually leg ones in my case, clench so hard it hurts. I can't control them, no-one can, but they usually happen when I stand up after sitting down for a while. I'm used to it, so I can get past them, but I feel like I suffer enough just having them.
That's why I hate it when the word spaz turns up in books, TV shows or films. It's often used to describe someone stupid or clumsy, and I think that's unfair. Just because spasms cause our bodies to move in odd ways doesn't mean we don't have control over ourselves, and it also doesn't mean that we're any less smart than anyone else. I hate it even more when the word spastic is used, because it's a vital medical term - the type of CP I have is called Spastic Diplegia - but it's been turned into an insult. I hate it when the stigma of that word makes me wince at the doctor's, because frankly, they're just telling me the truth about my condition.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate any book or show which uses that word on sight. Friends is one of my favourite programmes, despite Rachel calling herself a 'laundry spaz' in one episode. And I understand that authors and scriptwriters aren't trying to insult me or anyone else - I just think we need to share the knowledge that these words aren't okay. Maybe a character needs to be picked up on saying it, or apologise for it. Because the fact is that I've not experienced being called a spaz, but I know a lot of people aren't so lucky, and whenever someone says it near me, it feels like a punch to the stomach, even if they're talking about themselves. What makes me really sad is that some people use it without knowing the implications. That they hurt others without realising it.
So this is what I'd like to say. Authors, editors, agents, bloggers, scriptwriters, screenwriters, actors, directors and anyone else who broadcasts their work to people: you have a powerful weapon at your disposal. You can change our culture for worse or for better.

Please don't endorse the word spaz, or spastic, or - while we're at it - any other discriminatory term in your work. I would be honoured if you used it and then picked up on it, maybe telling a character that's not okay, or even explaining to them what it means, but if you don't want to, don't. Just - please - use your weapon for good.
If anyone wants some more information about Cerebral Palsy or disability in general, check out the Scope website. Coincidentally, they used to be called The Spastic Society, but that changed when it became an insult.
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Words for a Wednesday: Gallagher Girls

It's Day 6 of the Big Blogging Bonanza, and we all know what that means . . . it's Words for a Wednesday. And we do love quotes. ;-)

Today's words are from Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, and I chose them because they're just plain funny. I think we could all do with some laughs after last week's deep analysis of Sirius Black, and the GG books are some of the only ones I've read that actually made me laugh out loud.
I really couldn't pick between these - they're hilarious, smart and sassy; everything you want from a series about teenage girl spies:

"Operatives Baxter and Morgan were temporarily exiled from the London safe house at 2300 hours. The Operatives, however, were currently unfamiliar with the protocol for 'fun-having', so they decided to worry about their mission objectives instead."
"Operative Morgan was given a stern lecture by Agent Townsend, a tracking device by Agent Cameron, and a very scary look from Operative Goode. (She also got a tip that her bra was showing by Operative McHenry.)"
"Turns out, if you escape from a high-level detention facility, really big, really macho guys stop looking at you like you're cute and start looking at you like you're awesome."
"But that's a girl's right, isn't it? To cry sometimes for no reason? Really, when you think about it, that right ought to be in the United States constitution. Maybe I'll break into the National Archive sometime and write that in."
"Liz stopped worrying about the fate of the world and started worrying about college admissions. (Thus far, she'd been accepted at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Stamford, MIT and six other schools she hadn't technically applied to.)

Which of these quotes do you guys think is your favourite? And what other books have the power to make you laugh out loud?
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The Percy Jackson Tag

Day five! Let's do this! And remember, if anyone wants to join the Big Blogging Bonanza, click here for more info.

If you've read Percy Jackson, you'll know that demigods, or Half-Bloods, each pick up some characteristics from their godly parent, and that they are grouped into 'cabins' with their half-siblings. I've chosen a book character (not from Percy Jackson or Heroes of Olympus, that's cheating) who I think would be related to each God. And yes, I know some of these Gods didn't have children because they were sworn to be virgins, etc. etc. etc., but I just thought it'd be fun to ignore those rules.


Cabin #1 - Zeus
A born leader. Not necessarily war-like, but good at commanding.
If you want a leader, Peter Pevensie from the Narnia series is definitely your guy. He lead the Narnian army to two great victories, first against the White Witch, and then against the Telmarines, led by King Miraz. He is said to be noble and fair, and is very protective of his siblings, especially his youngest sister, Lucy. I think that's a pretty good fit for the King and guardian of the Gods.

Cabin #2 - Hera
Values family and allies above all else, particularly themselves, but is quick to wage war on their enemies.

That would be Katarina Bishop from the Heist Society series. No question. I mean, the Bishops are a large family of expert thieves, and they only trust each other to get things done. Kat tends to destroy anyone else pretty quickly - especially if they have anything worth stealing. . .

Cabin #3 - Poseidon
A figurative mermaid or merman - more at home under the waves than on land.
It sounds quite weird, but I've actually got too many people to choose from here! I'm going to choose Grace from the Silver Spires series, in that she's a champion swimmer.

Cabin #4 - Demeter
Someone who loves nature.
This is a really hard one, but I'm going to take a (somewhat) easy way out and go with Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. I think it fits because the garden and flowers were Mary's escape - as soon as she found that garden, she was thinking about what she could plant and where: a lot of people would think an overgrown place like that worthless. To Mary, and the other children of Demeter, an empty garden is full of possibilities.

Cabin #5 - Ares
A warrior. They often pick fights, and usually end up defending themselves - anger is one of their main issues.
Probably Katniss Everdeen. She's the Queen of the Hunger Games, and she prefers to use her bow than stand around playing politics. Although she can learn to like people, and she's loyal once she understands them, she's quick to mistrust and reacts with anger if she's not sure what's going on.

Cabin #6 - Athena
Someone intelligent - they aren't just smart, but are constantly trying to find knowledge and use it in new ways.
I'm going to go with Matilda Wormwood from Roald Dahl's Matilda, mostly because she loves reading (always trying to find knowledge). If Matilda isn't intelligent, I don't know who is.

Not to mention the fact that you should see Matilda The Musical. It might have nothing to do with this, but . . . yeah.

Cabin #7 - Apollo
A musician - preferably the heartbreaking kind.
Easy! Dexter from This Lullaby might not technically be a heart-breaker, but he definitely violates Remy's 'no dating musicians' rule, and he's nothing if not a little wild. Add to that the fact that he's tall, dark and handsome, and you have a son of Apollo, the most attractive and even playboy-ish of the Gods.

Cabin #8 - Artemis
Independent, determined and resilient. Doesn't like to rely on anyone. 
I'm currently reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, so I'm going to pick Amy Gumm, the main character from that. She's definitely independent, seeing as she's grown up with no friends, determined to protect an Oz she barely even recognises, and resilient in that she's constantly trying to keep her morales straight in a world where the Wicked are the good guys. She doesn't like to rely on anyone because her Mom's so depressed that she usually has to look after herself, and is also pretty wary of boys, just like Artemis.

Cabin #9 - Hephaestus
Someone good at making or fixing things.
Willow from Angel isn't just my favourite supernatural character EVER, but she's also really skilled at fixing car engines. To me, that just screams HEPHAESTUS!

Cabin # 10 - Aphrodite
A romantic character / A character you associate with love
Associate with love, did you say? Might they even be a little bit obsessed - cloying, overly sweet and downright annoying at times, and always wanting to take their relationship to the next level? Might it get to the point that they're so overbearing their boyfriend pretends to be asleep when she visits them in the hospital wing?

Lavender Brown. And Ron, that really wasn't cool.

Cabin #11 - Hermes
A gossip. They usually know your secrets before you know them yourself.
The Greeks called Hermes the 'messenger of the Gods', so it makes sense that his children would know everything about everyone. Enter Tina Walters, who's a minor character in Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, and deals in rumours. She might not be well-known, but she's a definite daughter of Hermes.

Cabin #12 - Dionysus
A pacifist or creative - someone who prefers imagination to anger.
Ooh, I've given myself a toughie here. Let's say Eleanor from Eleanor and Park. She's always doodling and scribbling, loves the comic books and music that Park shows her, and, although she goes through an awful lot, I don't think she raises her voice once in the entire book. Also, her fashion sense sort of reminds me of scatty Dionysus.

As this is a blog meme, it's meant to be shared around and reblogged as much as possible. If you want to, please take the categories and fill in your own characters. I'm only officially tagging GirlReadingBooks, because I know she's been trying to start a blog for a while and loves Percy Jackson, but don't let that stop you!
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An Ode to Libraries

We've made it through four days of the Big Blogging Bonanza, and I'm overly excited! It's looking like I might actually get this thing done!

*takes deep breaths*

Okay, sorry, Fangirl-moment over. I had an idea over the weekend: wouldn't it be great if we all did this thing together? If you want to hold a BBB on your own blog, then there's some more information here - welcome aboard!

Now, I want to talk to you people about libraries.
You know what I mean. The massive rooms filled with books that usually smell really nice, like vanilla and dust and knowledge.
There's almost always a librarian or two tucked away in there somewhere. They're the awesome people who organise the shelves and know where absolutely everything is.
Oh, and did I mention the BOOKS?
There are so many more than I could ever fit in my room at home, or even the entire house, and they're arranged in alphabetical order.
Or even with the Dewey Decimal System.
I tried to do that with my collection, but I kind of . . . failed.
And there's another awesome thing about libraries. They have these not-so-secret things called library cards.
Library cards give you the power to take the books home.
You have to give them back after a certain time, of course, because everyone can tell from the plastic jackets that they aren't really yours.
Who cares? The books are free! You can always go back to get more.
But libraries have an ancient and formidable foe. The Goliath to their David, the Whale to their Jonah, the Voldemort to their Harry.
It's called the budget cut.
You see, governments all around the world are struggling for money. And like so many other brilliant things, libraries are expensive.
They're starting to close.

Books are expensive things too, and some people struggle to read without libraries.

Closing. Libraries. No. Reading.
So, whatever the cost, we need to keep libraries open. They are the natural habitat of the bookworm, the haven of information and truth. Reading helps children at school by practising their skills; adults at work by teaching them how to do things, and everyone to relax.
What do you love about libraries? And how do you think we should battle to keep them open? Share in the comments!
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The A to Z of Authors (Part 2/2)

For Day 3 of the Big Blogging Bonanza, I present Part 2 of a surprisingly long post, started yesterday. The A-Z of my favourite Authors does contain some - bending - of alphabetisation, but I did that so I could actually talk about some people who meant something to me, rather than random people whose names began with X. Here you go!

E. Nesbit

MAB (Most Amazing Books): The Railway Children, Five Children and It.
Edith Nesbit was a seriously strong woman - she wrote books in a time when female writers often used their initials rather than first names because they were thought to be less than men. I'm glad it didn't stop her, though, because her books are beautiful. They're full of nostalgia for a simpler time: The Railway Children inspired me to give up the internet for all of two-and-a-half hours, a record only surpassed by The Time Dad Couldn't Fix The WiFi.

That is powerful writing.

Michael MOrpurgO

MAB: Kaspar, War Horse, Private Peaceful.
When I was about eight, I remember my entire class going through a major Michael Morpurgo phase. Most of the other girls moved on to Jacqueline Wilson (who I also love, don't get me wrong) but I wouldn't stop reading until I'd finished all of his books - there are over one hundred. I'm ashamed to say that I never quite got there, but the journey sure was fun.

Stephanie Perkins

MAB: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
Stephanie Perkins is, quite frankly, the perfect contemporary romance writer. Her characters are extraordinary yet relateable, and I love the way she hides characters from her previous books in later works. It actually got to the point in Isla that, when she met Lola and Cricket, I began to laugh out loud - it was such a strange yet brilliant experience to have a main character you adore described through the point of view of another.

Just don't make the mistake I did. Don't skip Anna and the French Kiss.

Quentin Blake (and Roald Dahl)
MAB: Matilda, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six Others, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories.
This author-illustrator dream-team were basically responsible for 80% of my reading material when I first started primary school. I haven't met a single person who grew up in Britain this generation who hasn't read anything by these two, and more recently, I'm loving Dahl's short stories for adults. The Great Automatic Grammatizator is a rather chilling read about a machine which can write novels with little human help. Let's hope the world doesn't come to that!

Rick Riordan
MAB: Percy Jackson series
The Percy Jackson books are some of the most brilliant hidden-world fantasy stories absolutely ever. Percy himself is amazingly sarcastic, and he's one of the few characters who can make me laugh out loud even during re-reads. It also satisfies my slightly worrying obsession with polytheisms (religions containing more than one God), but honestly, I think I'm not that hardcore a fan. *cough* GirlReadingBooks *cough*.

Sarah Sky
MAB: Model Spy series
I have a serious weakness for spy-style novels, and I love them even more when there's a little injection of girly glamour. Enter Jessica Cole: Model Spy.

These books are really good, as you can probably tell from their brilliant titles. Code Red Lipstick? Sign me up!

Lauren ST. John

MAB: White Giraffe series, Laura Marlin series, One Dollar Horse series.
Lauren St. John is one of those authors who lives a life almost as extraordinary as her characters' - that photo really is of her stroking a cheetah with her niece. The farm in White Giraffe is actually based on her childhood home, and, as an ex-horse-rider, I can tell you that One Dollar Horse is both accurate and fantastic.

Corey Ann Hayd

MAB: Life by Committee, OCD Love Story.
Haydu's Life by Committee wins the 'on my wishlist for the longest time before it was finally released' award - I think I waited a full six months with only the sample chapters for company, and it was agonising. Tabitha is a brilliantly well-rounded main character, and although I screamed at her for a few bad decisions, I think I was supposed to. OCD Love Story is high on my wish list by reputation - I can't wait to start it.

Veronica Roth
MAB: Divergent series
I love the whole message of Divergent, and the ending of the last one absolutely broke my heart. (highlight for spoiler) Couldn't Caleb had died instead? He deserved it! Mind you, the whole thing about choosing your own future and shaking off society's preconceptions really got me - but again, I'm only reasonably obsessed. Some people are a little more . . . into it. (Carmen, I really am talking to you here).

Go Teen Writers
From Left to Right: Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, Shannon Dittemore and Roseanna White.

Go Teen Writers is a blog encouraging, you guessed it, Teen Writers, and quite frankly, I can't live without it. It's the website that introduced me to all my other favourite blogs, and I've put it in my authors list because the people behind it are absolutely fantastic. Stephanie and Jill are the main contributors, but Ms. Dittemore has an awesome Friday slot and I love Ms. White's guest posts about Historical Fiction.

There is no earthly way I can come up with an X.


MAB: Chocolate Box Girls series, Dizzy, Gingersnaps.
Cathy Cassidy is, hands down, my favourite #UKYA author. I love how I can identify with her characters because they complain about Year Eight instead of Seventh Grade, and the message is beautiful. Gingersnaps in particular showed me that doing my own thing doesn't make me an outcast - it makes me unique.

Benjamin Zephaniah
MAB: Teacher's Dead, Gangsta Rap.
Benjamin Zephaniah's books are some of the darkest books I've ever read, but I love them because they're unflinchingly honest; in that way, they're a breath of fresh air. I'm quite lucky in that my life is sheltered from the bad stuff that some other teens face, and I'm glad that these books open my eyes to that a little.


Do you have favourite authors, or just favourite books? And can you come up with an X for me?

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