Chrissi Chat: Let’s talk content…

Yes, it’s time for another chatty, non-book related post. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog content recently. I love taking part in the Top Ten memes and love the collaborations I’m doing. But I wonder if it’s all getting a bit stale? I mean, I still enjoy blogging, but I’m wondering if my blog is still interesting to read.

I’ve never really been one for cover reveals, nothing against them (of course), but for me they’re not what I love to put out. I think the most important thing about blogging is being really interested in the content you produce. I personally really enjoy posts which you can tell a lot of thought has gone into.

During my teacher training year I really enjoyed putting out a diary entry every Sunday, it was also well received with some people still reading those posts now. I’m considering going back to a diary/teacher life post, but then I’m worried that the identity of my blog will change and I may lose people who only want to read about books. Now I’m not saying that I want a complete revamp. My blog will always be a book blog. I’m just considering the options I have…

What do you think? Should blogs stick to one subject so it’s obvious what it’s about? Should we change up our blogs to keep it fresh? Let me know!

My first DNF with my class!

As you may have seen before on my blog, I have converted my class to bookworms! Yes!! One of my favourite achievements of this academic year so far! ūüėČ We have been burning through books. They especially love Roald Dahl and Jeremy Strong.

Recently, they decided that they wanted to read¬†The Queen’s Nose¬†by Dick King Smith. We got about 30-40 pages into it and I could just tell they weren’t engaged or interested. I had a bit of a dilemma then. I didn’t know whether to keep going and teach that it was good to give a book a try so you can have a full opinion or teach that it was okay to stop reading something that you weren’t enjoying!

In the end I decided to give the children the choice. I explained that we could decide together whether we continued or try something else. The vast majority of the class voted for giving up (that didn’t surprise me!) We’re now back to reading a book with lots of funny moments in and I have my bookworms back again once more.

I hope I did the right thing but it certainly felt like I had lost their attention with¬†The Queen’s Nose and¬†I want to captivate the children in my class… not bore them. Perhaps that book was just not right for them.

Chrissi Chat: Is it the teacher in me?

This discussion post was inspired by Chiara from Books From A Delicate Eternity’s post about prioritising reading. It really struck a chord with me and made me think about how I’ve changed my attitude towards reading.

Like many a bookworm, I have so many books waiting to be read. I don’t want to begin to add up both e-books and ‘real’ books because the numbers would SCARE me. No one wants that!

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I’ve always had a bit of a struggle with deciding what to read. I have books that I pre-ordered because I was excited to read them…still sitting unread on my bookshelves. Eek. I also fell into that trap of wanting to request so many books on NetGalley and the like. I’ve got much better at that now-thankfully. I only request books I KNOW I’m going to be interested in. I feel I’m in a better place with my reading now. I make time for books I’ve bought and manage to fit in the ARCs too-albeit the balance is much better now I only request books I’m really looking forward to.

The way that I’ve done this is through prioritising and organising. I think it could be the teacher in me. I organise my ARCs much better. I try to read them in the last week of the month before they’re released. I then write my review and schedule it in for either release day or close to release day. This really works for me because as soon as I’ve went through the ARCs, I know the other 3 weeks of the month can be dedicated to books I want to read…which fits into my new found mood reader phase. It also means that I’m knocking books off my TBR list. I’m all about featuring a range of books on my blog- from new releases to kid-lit to older releases. Hopefully then, there’s something for everyone!

I also try to dedicate some reading time to working on reading series, so I try to have a focus on series every other month. I’ve got much better at this over the last year or so. It’s so rewarding to complete a series or find new ones to delve into. It also mixes up the reading/reviews so again, it’s a win-win situation for me.

So, how do you organise your reading time? Do you prioritise? Do you read what you want and not worry about a schedule? Let me know!

Chrissi Chat: Turning into a mood reader!

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Recently, I’ve come to realise that I’m turning into a mood reader. Usually, it wouldn’t bother me which book I picked up next. I could adapt to any kind of book. I’m finding now I have less time to read that I’m beginning to want to read certain books and have trouble committing to a book if I’m not in the mood.

What this means for me is that I’m having trouble getting through my old ‘schedule’ for my reading. I’m trying to be good and read my ARCs but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for them. I have had books I’ve wanted to read for ages, just waiting to be read, but again… not in the mood for them.

I end up forcing myself to pick up what I should be and I find I’m not engaged in the story. Is this because I don’t want to read it and there’s nothing wrong with the book itself? Should I put it down and try again later? Urgh, the struggles of a mood reader.

Can you identify with this? Being a mood reader is hard! I’m trying to be spontaneous and not so rigid in my reading choices. I’m trying to remember that when I give up on a book, it’s probably my fault and not the right time and place for that book at that moment.

What kind of reader are you? Do any mood readers out there have any tips? Let me know!

Chrissi Chat-The trouble with book-movie adaptations

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I have a problem.

I really struggle to watch movies that have been adapted from books!. I’ve had so many that have ruined the book but at the same time I know that there are some great ones out there. So do I try to attempt to watch more? I’m not sure.

Regular readers to my blog will know that I absolutely ADORE Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It’s being adapted this year and I’m terrified. Do I watch it and potentially have my favourite book ruined?

Another favourite book of mine is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I recently watching the film with my sister and we absolutely adored how faithful the book is. The Harry Potter adaptations are good too…not as good as the books in my opinion, but good enough¬†to watch!

I prefer to read the book first anyway. I often find the book stretches my imagination more and allows me to create my own picture of the character.

Do you watch or avoid adaptations? Do you try to read the book first? Which adaptations do you really love? Let me know!

Chrissi Chat: Unhauling Books

I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve been so busy with university and everything going on in my life right now, but I’ve got to the stage where…dare I say it…I just can’t be bothered with some of the books on my bookshelves right now.

I know, I know. Bad bookworm. The problem is, I have so many books to read and so little time to read at the moment, that when I have time to read, I want to read something I really can’t WAIT¬†to read. I have quite a few unsolicited review copies that I’m trying to get through and I just thought ‘Why am I bothering when I don’t want to read this?’ It’s the same with some of the books that have been waiting for me to read for over a year now.

So, I took it upon myself to unhaul some of my book collection. I’ve decided that someone else will get much more pleasure out of these books that are just collecting dust on my shelves. I always donate my books to a charity or some of my bookish friends! (Or my sister :D!)

How do you deal with your massive book collection? Do you ever unhaul or do you dedicate your time to all of your purchases/library books/review copies? Let me know!

Chrissi Chat: Religion in books. Does it affect your opinion?

I’m going to start the post by stating that I am an open-minded person, and I personally don’t mind what religious beliefs a person has. I respect that not everybody thinks the same as I do. The reason why I’m¬†discussing opinions on religious characters in literature, is because I’ve recently read a book where religion really affected my opinion of the book. I want to know if you feel the same way, or how religion affects you in literature. ¬†I don’t mind religious characters, but in the particular book, I felt like the religion was constantly forced upon the reader. Most of the time, I don’t mind if a book has religious characters. It is when it is written in a way in which the given religion is presented as fact or appears to have an agenda that I have an issue with it.

It got me thinking about different ways¬†religion is used in books, and¬†how sometimes it’s not always effective. I think a big bug bear for many readers is hypocritical religious characters. You know the sort, those that¬†are highly religious, but do¬†something completely against their morals and values (by the¬†way,¬† hypocritical characters as a whole really annoy me, not just those that are religious).¬†¬†Take the famous The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The townspeople force Hester to wear an “A” for adultery, forgetting that forgiveness is part of their Christian beliefs. Something like this grates on me, but then I think on the other hand, not every Christian practices every value identically.

Some might say, that there is a lack of religion in Young Adult literature. Is this because it turns people off? Is it not marketable? Is it because I don’t read a lot of religious based books that I find it hard to connect with?

Books written¬†before the 20th Century seem to be much more religious. They’re a stereotypical ‘good’ family who attend church regularly. The children in the stories¬†look to their parents for guidance.¬† It seems to be completely different now. Religion doesn’t seem to have a place as much in YA literature. I think those looking for religion in literature have to look to specific religious publishing companies. I wonder if this affects those looking for some guidance. Does religion seem undervalued in popular YA reads? Replacing God seems to be more fantastical characters like vampires/werewolves. I guess some might say that God is fantastical?

Where do you stand with religion in literature? Does it affect you? Do you think it is undervalued in modern reads, or do you think times and people have just changed? Let me know!