When We’re Not Reading…

Reading is a huge part of what we do. It’s easily our biggest hobby and something we devote a lot of time to! But, what do we do when we’re not reading?

1. Writing!
Wanting to create your own stories normally comes as a byproduct of reading great ones. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, but only in the last few years have both Bee and I taken writing more seriously. We currently have eight novels on the go at the moment (and a ninth book that we’re writing together!)
But, writing is quite a time consuming past-time. Over the summer, we hope to embark on more writing adventures, and actually get a book finished!

2. Making Videos!
We make videos twice a week for our corresponding YouTube channel ‘Heart Full Of Books’. It usually takes about two hours to film, edit and upload, so its something we can do fairly regularly. Making videos has really helped us gain presentation confidence and definitely helped to formulate ideas and articulate them coherently. We love to involve our lovely friend Sarah as much as we can – it’s so fun to film challenges with an unsuspecting guest!

3. Watching TV shows!
This isn’t something we do regularly, but when we do find something we love, that love is hardcore. We mourn shows when they finish for at least three days. Our latest obsession is the web series, based off of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, called ‘Nothing Much To Do’ Examples of previous obsessions include: Blue Water High, Dawson’s Creek, The Office (US), Nowhere Boys, X-Men Evolution.

4. School Stuff!
Let’s not elaborate on that one.

So, what’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not reading?

15 for 15

There are so many amazing books that we would like to read this year, and prioritizing what we want to read has never been a strong point of ours! But we thought we would come up with a list of our 15 most anticipated reads, because, who knows, maybe a few of them will make it to our Top 15 of 2015 video at the end of the year!

  1. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
  2. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  4. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  5. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Geek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale
  7. The Elite by Kiera Cass
  8. Shadow Study by Maria V. Synder
  9. The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
  10. Split Second by Kasie West
  11. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
  12. The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
  13. Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott
  14. Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  15. Talon by Julie Kagawa

Thank you to Sarah for inspiring this post. We’re so excited to read these books, even though some of them are yet to be released!

Happy Reading!



Reading and Blogging Goals 2015

1. Read every day.
2. Try and read at least one classic a month.
3. Use the library more!
4. Don’t neglect the Kindles (Sorry, Roger and Amy)
5. Finish 10 series!
6. Read a new author.
7. Give something old a second chance.
8. Do more read-a-longs with Sarah!
9. Complete TBR
10. Read over 100 books.

1. Try and post at least 15 times a month!
2. Continue to write more ‘not reviews’.
3. Start a recommendations series.
4. Start ‘Student Reviews’ on the classics we read.
5. Blog about creative writing.

1. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo 2015
2. Complete Taylor Swift Anthology on secondary blog SongTitleStories
3. Finish a novel

Wish us Luck!
Maddie and Bee x

The Reading Hierarchy

Having accepted our places at university, Bee and I were discussing the curriculum of university English Literature courses. Shakespeare is a staple of the syllabus, appearing in every course without fail, turning up like a bad penny. One of the Bronte sisters is also there, ready to throw some 18th-19th Century context your way.

But you’ll struggle to find books like ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ appearing at university level. Now it’s becoming more common for ‘Lord of the Rings’ to make it to the set list, with ‘Harry Potter’ almost getting there, skirting on the edge of the fantasy genre, struggling to gain prestige because he’s labelled as a ‘children’s book’.

Why is it that classics like ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Great Expectations’ are always given precedence over books like ‘The Raven Boys’ and ‘Under the Never Sky’?

When I told my English teacher that I primarily read ‘Young Adult’ fiction, she said I needed to ‘grow out’ of that stage before university, and start reading things like ‘The Shock of the Fall’ or ‘We’re Completely Beside Ourselves’ if I was interested in contemporary fiction, instead of ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’. I should be moving on to ‘adult books’.

But if I told her I’d recently read ‘You’re the One that I Want’ by Giovanna Fletcher, that would probably be looked down upon too, because of its placement within the ‘Women’s Fiction’ genre, or ‘Chick Lit’.

It seems unfair that academics think more of you if you’re read the collected works of Charles Dickens over that of Rick Riordan, and there seems to be this invisible hierarchy of reading, with classics at the top of the pyramid and YA at the bottom.

YA is the one of the largest growing genres of literature. Publishers can’t publish YA books fast enough. There seems to have been a boom of teenagers that want to read something that’s more suited to their age group, like me! When I was nine, I used to worry what I would read when I grew out of Jacqueline Wilson books. Now there’s a plethora of choice and I have trouble deciding what to read next!

I think that, and be warned of the oncoming opinion, that we should all just be happy that people are reading. Just because the book was published a month ago by someone straight out of college doesn’t make it any less worth reading than if it was publish over one hundred years ago by someone in their late forties.

Let books be books, instead of instruments with which the reader’s are judged.

Reading Classics: Beginner’s Guide

Over the last couple of months, Bee and I have really been trying to widen our reading pattern, and experience some of the great literature out there that wasn’t published in this century. We’ve had to do some reading for school, of course, but we’ve also been doing a lot of reading for our book club and just in general. I am in no way an expert on these classics, but I thought I’d give a few tips if you’re interested in trying out something new (even though the books are old!)

1. Read small books. This may seem like a cop out, but it is the perfect way to widen your reading without committing yourself to 800 pages of Charles Dickens. You really feel enriched afterwards, even if it’s only taken you three hours to read! Try: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (who also wrote Treasure Island?!) or Animal Farm by George Orwell.

2. Read books that you know something about. Everyone is familiar with certain classic tales, even if it is the watered-down version presented in the media. Try: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or Dracula by Bram Stoker.

3. Read the books that have lots of adaptations. This can really help to bring a story to life with costumes, setting and lively dialogue! If you’re finding the content of the novel hard, as well, then an adaptation can really help to firm up your understanding of the text. Try: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

4. Don’t limit yourself to only the genre of novels. In order to really read widely, why not trying reading plays or poetry instead? This can be much quicker than reading a novel, but equally as enjoyable. Try: Any Shakespeare play (although I’d recommend the comedies!) or the poetry of the Romantic era, like John Keats. 

5. Finally, read classics with others. There’s nothing better to talk about than books, and to actually discuss the classic that you’ve chosen to read will further your understanding of the text to an even greater extent. Listening to what others think of the novel could possibly influence your opinion of it. Share recommendations and enthusiasm!

I hope this inspired you to go and try out classics, remember, they’re not as scary as they look!

Balancing Reading and School

It’s almost October. I can’t believe that means I’ve survived almost a month of early rising, sandwiches and school.

School, of course, takes up a lot of time, especially when teachers give you extended pieces of homework about John Keats’ poetry or the reign of Edward VI. This means that instead of reading Vampire Academy in one sitting, I have to toil over one book for at least a week before I get the satisfying feeling of updating my GoodReads status.

However, when I looked at how many books I’d read so far this month, I was surprised! Eight books? Not bad! So, I decided to compile a list of tips for those that want to read more in the school year.

1.) Read whenever and wherever possible.

This might sound obvious but you’ll be surprised how much you can read whilst waiting in line for some pasta at lunch or when waiting for class to start. You can also read in your lunch break when your friends have a different lunch time to you, so it doesn’t look like you’re all alone (Am I writing from experience here?…)

2.) Read short books.

There’s nothing like a short book. You get the satisfaction of reading and completing something. A real moral booster.

3.) Listen to audio books.

This is something I’ve been doing more often. If you have a Kindle, there’s normally a text-to-audio option, or you can search Youtube for audio books (or buy one, of course) That way, you can still read, but play Animal Crossing at the same time and get two fun things done at once!

4.) Read books with friends.

Reading with other people can help a lot with motivating you to read. If you’re reading ‘The Darkest Minds’ with someone, as Bee and I will be soon (how many times can we make that promise!), then you have a set number of pages to read each day that you know you have to get done.

5.) Don’t set unrealistic goals.

You’re not really going to be able to read ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Clash of Kings’ in a month while at school, right?

6.) Just make time for reading.

If there’s always a time you read in the day, like before you go to bed, then it will become part of your routine. Simple.

I hope these tips help if you’re struggling to maintain your Reading Point Average and wish everyone luck for their reading during school!