Books I Need to Read This summer

I love books, to a worrying extent sometimes. A-Levels stopped me reading and I really want to get back into it, now that I have actual free time. What better way to do that than to rave about the books I want to read this summer?

These come from a range of places, from recommendations to just stalking my Twitter for books I should read. Will I get through all of them? Hopefully, but who knows?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
OKAY YES I HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK I AM SO SORRY. I honestly think I’m one of the only ones who hasn’t read it? It’s been on my TBR for years now and it’s ridiculous how I’ve not read it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? I’ve read the other books in the Grishaverse, like Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, so this is a must-read especially because my friends always scream about it.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
For a long time, Cait’s reviews on Goodreads were my main source of book recommendations. She’s wonderful and I read a story by her on Wattpad, a long time ago; her words were addicting and emotional. I can’t wait to read this – I can tell it will make me sob but it’ll be worth it for the beauty her words can inspire.

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan
I’ve seen so many great reviews of this book, including the brilliant Ilsa telling the world how much she adores the book. The premise sounds so interesting too and I’ve heard the writing is fantastic.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
When I read Daughter of the Burning City, I fell in love with Amanda Foody’s work. She writes with such attention to character and setting that it actually makes me cry. I’ve heard that this book is really diverse too, so that makes me want to read it more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There’s no doubt about it: I need to read this book. Its message is so incredibly important and though it will be hard-hitting, people need to read these words. I’ve needed to read it for such a long time but thiss summer, it’s going to be one of the first I read.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Though I’ve seen a fair bit of hype for this on Twitter, I don’t know much about it. The summary sounds awesome and I need to read more fairytale retellings anyway. It seems diverse too but again, I don’t know too much about it; I want to go into it with as little expectations as possible.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
like the last book, I don’t know much about this one apart from that it’s fantasy and apparently awesome. I’m the type of person who gets scared of hype so I’ve resisted crying over reviews. We’ll just see how it goes.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Originally, I heard negative things about this book but that was mostly from my internalised you-have-to-be-gay-or-straight-make-up-your-mind that plagued me for ages, and made me dislike myself a fair bit. However, I think I really need this in my life because it presents people realising they might have a different identity in a positive light. There should be more books like that.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa albert
I’ve heard so many things about this book, both good and bad in terms of the plot and fantasy world. I really want to see what the hype is about and I kind of want to be able to wail about it to people??

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence was the best thing I have ever read and from all the reviews I’ve read, this book is spectacular as well. It talks about fandom, identity and reality, all of which are parts of my life in some capacity. Alice Oseman seems to right in a way that relates you to the narrative so I desperatly want to get my hands on this (e)Book soon YES.

There you have it! I honestly can’t wait to read these; wish me luck! They’ve been on my TBR for so long, although said TBR is still growing.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

From Elm 🙂

Glass Cats, Books and Life’s Fire

There’s a glass cat that I recently put on my ‘ornaments’ shelf. I stood up just now, got it and set it beside me on my bed. I stood up for the first time in half an hour, after I had cried with sadness at the glorious ending to a book, strode over – grabbed the cat – and here it is now. Bare with me here but the cat kind of represents why I’m coming to a huge realisation about how I feel: it represents my love for creating things.

Now, the cat itself doesn’t symbolise why I, just now, remembered why I love the very idea of ideas springing forth from my mind. I finished a book, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, and felt so hollow at the fact that it was over that I cried. But then, something changed. The spark that had been growing and growing inside of me throughout the book finally exploded, roaring into life with a sudden shock. It feels like it’s swallowing me up and though it might be temporary, I jumped up with purpose and moved.

I bought this cat in Barcelona, when everything felt like it was too much and too soon and like it was burning. Now, I’m sitting here with it next to me, shaky and feeling so desperately alive that I could cry. If you can see it, the featured image is this cat.

It’s smooth, ears poking out from its head, the nose a faded point and the eyes little more than indents; its head faces forward. Almost rigid, its back only has the most inconspicuous speck of scratch; its sides curve in the slightest amount. It’s got a tail, pointing up and forward and curling. Almost like it’s on the move, its paws feel like they’re ready to run, to take the air by storm. This simple piece of glass, bought in a shop with other such pieces of glass, has lodged itself in my heart. The book made me appreciate things like this, messy and real as it seems to me, sculpted beautifully as it seems to others.

Maybe I’ll write a review on the book, the first one I’ll ever do, because I feel like this book changed my perception of things. It forced me to look at life with all its colours and collages and sounds, to burn up with a need to create and to love and to smash down the boundaries I set for myself. As soon as I had that cat beside me, I grabbed my computer and these words poured out, easier and freer than they’ve been in months, ever since I spiralled downwards. They’re disjointed and brittle but that’s how I feel now.

You may be asking, “What’s a book and a cat got to do with life? Why are you sitting alone in your room, getting emotional about glass, electronic pages and memory?” Well, it’s because it’s restored some faith in my life. It’s taken the twisted parts of myself and righted them for a little while; it’s made me want to make things.

Clutching this cat in my hand, I rushed downstairs with it, palms clammy and heart beating so hard. “Dad, take a picture of this cat!” I almost demanded. I stood there, shaking again, the reality of all of it washing over me.

Fingers sliding over glass and tears at the beautifully continuous story of a character has made me realise that I am real, full of idea and love and a need to be. I want to belong, to thrive, to meet others and laugh with them; I want to create worlds inside my own head that I perform or write about or just imagine in the quiet recesses of my mind. At the end of the day, I’m a dreamer. I wish for things which often seem unobtainable. Instead of shutting these dreams down, I want to revel in them. Eliza taught me that passion and creativity don’t have to always be constant but if you love something, whatever it is, you shouldn’t give up on it. And if you stop doing it, the world doesn’t stop either.

Freedom may only be temporary, fickle, prone to sad and happy books or to others bringing me ‘down to earth’. I don’t care. For now, I can immerse myself in creating anything and not feel guilty. For now, I can remember why I started this blog, why I love it, why I love to share whatever I can create with the world.

I weigh the cat in my hands and set it, lopsided, on my pillow. Perhaps I’m not invincible but that can’t stop me from thinking the world can’t be explored. I want to go, to be, to write, to act, to dream.

No matter if the thoughts overtake me again, a book, a cat and a fire inside me showed me that I am not my fear. I am not just a ball of screams and echoes; I’m a real person with beauty in my smiles and worlds in my words.

This post, with all its jumbled cracks and subtleties, feels freeing. God, I feel like I could belong somewhere; I feel like I do belong somewhere. If only one person reads this post and knows that at this moment I don’t feel so awful, it’ll make me happy. Maybe there will be a thousand smashed glass cats to deal with and a million unfinished books to read but I still have these ones. I’ll still have the cat and the book that set me to write this post.

From Elm 🙂