Bookcase in the Bedroom - Part One

As a way to keep myself doing it, I am intermittently going to talk about books I have recently read, what I would recommend, what I wouldn't and what I'm looking forward to on my next to-read shelf. My to be read shelf is in my bedroom, below my makeup and hair accoutrements and above my shoes. That may tell you more about my character than I care to reveal.

Reading is everything. REading mkes me feel like ive accomplished something learned something become a better person. Reading makes me smarter reading gives me something to talk about later on. Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron talks about writing

But before I get into this inaugural bookshelf post, can I just ask: Does anyone else feel personally offended by this interior design trend to turn all your books spine backwards? Like what is the point? How will you ever find the book you want? It doesn't even look all that aesthetically pleasing. Even if you never intended to read the books and were doing it for the look … why not just buy a bunch of books with white covers? Ok. Rant over.

A series of books with the spines pointing towards the wall

So first up on my must-read is Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho. I found this listed on a read more writers-of-colour post, and as I like fantasy, I thought I'd give it a go. Now, I hadn't ever consciously logged that much of the fantasy I read has a particular form/structure/language – see, I can't even tell you what it is – but it makes me comfortable. I know I'm reading a fantasy. For me, Sorceror to the Crown read a lot more like a regency novel – Austen et al. MY expectation, therefore, made it a bit difficult to initially get into … but once I got over my preconceived notions of what fantasy should be, I was blown away. It's just enough magic, intrigue, personal character development and romance to tick all of my boxes. So, if you like fantasy and want a new take on a magic society and system based within a 'real world', definitely check this one.

Dear Adult, Does your child want to know everything about ever disabled person they see, all at once, and at Top volume? Here are my suggestions 1 dont panic you dont want to make your kids awkward a calme matter-of-facet tone works best 2 answer simply and generally yes some poeple have one leg or use a wheelchair or move and speak differently and thats oky disability is normal 3 educate generally some people use wheelchairs if their legs dont work so well some people are born without a leg some people lose one in an acident etc its good to be curious but be clear you dont know this person specifically and it has to be ok not to know its not polite to ask people you dont know personal questions why asks your child 5 manners for one thing but also empathy just umagine how boring it would be having to answer the same question all the time if its too late and your child has already popped the question directly you can be fairly sure the disabled person has dealt with this scenario a hundred times before and has their way of handling it probably with great humour but its still worth your vhild know that disabled people are just like anoyone else getting on with their busy day and not looking to be a teachable moment best of wishes james catchpole

It turns out that I haven't recently read any stinkers at this point so I have decided to talk about a second book that I loved. What happened to you? By James Catchpole and Illustrated by Karen George is a children's book about a little boy with one leg who wants to play pirates. As an amputee myself, I, of course, had to immediately by this but what I love is that it tackles a difficult to talk about the subject in a lovely way and has wonderful instructions for parents in the back. When I get stared at because of my disabilities, "I just wish they'd ask" because the idea that there would be a third way where people are actually just respectful of my privacy seemed such an alien concept. This book shows it is possible to teach children to be respectful of disabled people and view them as human beings, not freaks.

Next on the shelf is to finish The Binding by Bridget Collins. The story follows a farmboy, Emmet, who lives in a world where books are forbidden as they are used to hold people's secrets – there is an "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind' feel to it. I am about a third of the way through this book, and I am really enjoying the concept. It is one of those books that does not feel out and out of fantasy but just enough to satisfy my desire for magic. I found it a little difficult to get into – I am never into work that is kind of set after a mysterious period of unconsciousness as it pushes me to frustrated rather than intrigued. I was pleased to see a portrayal of disability's effect on a character's life, although I recover within this first third and so far doesn't seem to have a long-term impact on their character. It felt disappointing because it felt disability was used as a plot point to make the character stronger and for them to 'get over' rather than a unique aspect of the character. Parts of this are hard going in terms of the text feeling dense, and the story at times seems stale. However, I will persevere and perhaps write more of my thoughts down the line.

How what youre reading influences your writing the to-be-read shelf. A woman in glasses and a hijab sits in front of a bookshelf writing on a laptop

Have you read any of the books I talk about here? Let me know in the comments what you think, and of course, if you have any recommendations of your own.

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