My Final (for now) Feelings About Bookshops

A while ago, I did a rambly post about my feelings about bookshops, and in some of my mental health posts I’ve mentioned my experience as a bookseller. I’m now in a much better place with my mental health, and I’ve been thinking about how I feel about Waterstones, both at a local level and as a whole.

I can’t keep on cutting off my nose to spite my face; just because two managers were vindictive and malicious, and the member of HR that I was referred to refused to give a satisfactory response, doesn’t mean that I should be denied the simple pleasure of going to a bookshop.

This has been made slightly easier by having the knowledge that one of those managers is now at a shop that’s not particularly local to me, and the other has been transferred to another shop (although it’s a branch that I always liked, I can deal with not going in there; it’s not my local one) and, again, whilst I can be a bit annoyed that although she’s no longer a manager she gets paid the same for doing less work (a bizarre thing is that Waterstones can remove your position to a lower one but can’t deduct your pay), I can now easily avoid having to encounter her.

I’ve decided to let go of the fact that HR didn’t do anything. Sure, bullying and unfair dismissal are things that should be investigated, but I have to accept that, for the person who received my letter, they’re not issues that the company takes seriously.

So, what next?

My local branch now has a new manager, and by all accounts she’s lovely! I’m excited to be able to go into this shop and see it thrive, and in all honesty, I’ll be happy to support it again. I think that if I’d had a manager who actually knew how to manage people and get the best out of people, I’d’ve progressed a lot more. I had ambitions and managers from other branches saw that, and it’s just a shame that I had the misfortune of working under someone who resented anyone who thought for themselves and wanted to progress. I hope to see the booksellers in my local shop fall back in love with bookselling and the company.

Whilst I resent the fact that I never got to demonstrate my full potential as a bookseller and it makes me feel sad, in the end it all worked out for the better. My mental health has improved tenfold, I’ve got my confidence back, I’m in a job that I LOVE and I’ve discovered the world of book blogging, bookish Twitter and bookstagram! I get to talk books with like-minded people, essentially be a bookseller on the internet and read for the love of it.

kayleigh

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My Year of NetGalley 2018

This year has been the first year that I’ve been properly using NetGalley, and what a year it’s been! I’ve been approved for 86 titles, and have provided feedback for …%. I did go a bit crazy at the beginning; I’d never really used NetGalley before December 2017 and so at first I was requesting titles that, whilst I did have an interest in reading, I wasn’t overly desperate to read. As the year’s gone on, I’ve really learnt how to use NetGalley properly to get the best out of my experience both for myself and for the publishers who so kindly approve my requests. I do still have quite a few books from earlier in the year that are outstanding, and are on my NetGalley TBR, but I am really proud of how many books I’ve been able to read and review!

I’m particularly proud this year of some of my achievements; I’ve been auto-approved by two imprints which I am now on the blogger list for, I’ve had invites to blogger events from another publisher (I think I’m sort of on their mailing list; I get requests every so often!) and I’ve been involved in a blog tour through NetGalley! Through submitting my review of Sunflowers in February on NetGalley, I also gained my highest number of views on a single post on here!

Reviews Published80%25 Book Reviews

Do you use NetGalley? How has your year been?

kayleigh

My Favourite Book to Film Adaptations

This is a post that I’ve wanted to do for a while, since so many amazing adaptations have been coming out. With some, I’ve read the book before the adaptation for the big/little screen, but others I’ve discovered the book before the film. I’d like to share a few of my favourites with you today!

Image result for to all the boys i loved beforeTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (Netflix)

Image result for to all the boys i loved beforeOkay, so I haven’t actually read this book yet…but it’s imminent! However, I couldn’t not include it in this list because the Netflix adaptation is SO GOOD! I became addicted to the story of Lara Jean as soon as I watched it for the first time, and I have now lost count of how many times I’ve watched it! From what I’ve heard, the book is just as good!

Image result for the kissing booth netflix posterThe Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles (Netflix)

Image result for the kissing boothAnother Netflix adaptation that I’ve been obsessed with this year is The Kissing Booth. I’d never even heard of the book, but as soon as I discovered that it was based on a book I just had to get a copy! I really enjoyed the book, and the adaptation is very true to the book which is good, but I will say that in this case I prefer the film!

Image result for a series of unfortunate events netflix posterA Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket (Netflix)

Image result for a series of unfortunate events the bad beginningOne of my favourite series as a child was A Series of Unfortunate Events, and, whilst I kind of liked the film adaptation starring Jim Carey, the first film condensing books one to three into the one film just didn’t do the books justice and cut out so many brilliant parts and messed up the whole timeline. So, I was so excited to see that Netflix were doing a serial adaptation starring Neil Patrick Harris. And WOW! It’s such a good version with just the right amount of darkness and humour, keeping true to the books and just doing them justice that the first film did not!

Image result for love simon posterSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli (Love, Simon)

Image result for simon vs the homosapien agendaAnother title that I’ve not actually read yet, despite owning the book for years, is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

 

 

Image result for love rosie coverWhere Rainbows End – Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)

Image result for where rainbows endOne of the first books to ever make me cry, Where Rainbows End is just perfect and is one of the most underrated books. As a bookseller, I was shocked to see that this wasn’t a staple book on the shelves and so would order copies in and be delighted to see that they’d always sell! The film adaptation Love, Rosie is just as good and is easily one of my favourite rom coms.

Image result for thirteen reasons why netflix posterThirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher (Netflix)

Image result for thirteen reasons why bookI was a bit hesistant about including this title on this list; I like the Netflix series, but as a separate thing because I don’t think it takes the strengths from one of my favourite books of all time. Thirteen Reasons Why is an incredible book that I think everyone should read, and so I was so excited for the adaptation. I did enjoy it, but I think that the book was more suited to a film rather than a series.

The Fundamentals of Caring poster.jpgThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving – Jonathan Evison (Netflix – The Fundamentals of Caring)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving-ExLibraryThis is a hidden gem on Netflix; this film is so warm and funny and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Again, I haven’t actually read the book yet, but it is one that I want to read because the film adaptation is so good!

Related imageHow To Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell

Image result for how to train your dragon book oneThis series is just brilliant for fans of adventure and mythical creatures, and it’s written in such an engaging manner! The film, rightly so, has become a family favourite that people adore. The characters are just adorable with a story that is very touching.

Image result for me before youMe Before You – Jojo Moyes

Image result for me before you jo joOne of my favourite films and books of all time, Me Before You touches upon the serious topic of euthanasia whilst being a funny and heartwarming story. I can’t fault the adaptation, and love the film and book in equal measures. I did feel a bit bad laughing out loud as I read this book that is a guaranteed tear-jerker, but Will is just such a funny character!

Image result for harry potter and the philosopher's stoneHarry Potter – JK Rowling

Image result for harry potter and the philosopher's stoneOf course this book and film series made it on to this list! Harry Potter is a global phenomenon. Whilst the films aren’t as good as the books, as a separate series they are incredible. I do find that some of the humour is lost in the films, but that’s only natural.

Image result for a monster callsA Monster Calls – Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd

Image result for a monster callsA sob-fest for both the film and book, A Monster Calls filled a massive gap in children’s/young adult literature. It’s so rare to have a boy as a main character in such an emotion driven story. I think Siobhan Dowd would be so proud of the story that Patrick Ness crafted from her ideas, and of the film that subsequently was made.

The Illustrated Mum – Jacqueline Wilson

Image result for the illustrated mum posterSo you may have noticed the lack of film cover for this one – and that’s because I couldn’t find one! It was a TV film on Channel 4 back in 2003, and is one that I loved! I remember filming it on VHS and watching it over and over. It’s such a good adaptation of a book that I’ve realised as I’ve got older is so important. The Illustrated Mum is one of Jacqueline Wilson’s best books, and focuses on depression and bipolar disorder but in a way that’s perfect for younger readers.

Image result for me earl and the dying girl posterMe and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Image result for me earl and the dying girl jesse andrewsAnother film that, whilst it did get some recognition, didn’t get nearly enough hype as it deserved. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is such a good book that focuses on friendship and cancer, but in a way that’s accessible and humorous. The film was also a very good adaptation that was just as enjoyable to watch as the book was to read.

Image result for the fault in our stars movieThe Fault In Our Stars – John Green

Image result for the fault in our starsI remember sobbing when I read The Fault in Our Stars, and, whilst I knew what was going to happen, I sobbed at the film too! That said, I absolutely love both the book and the film, and it’s definitely worth all the hype. Out of all of John Green’s books, this one is the stand out title, and is one that I would pick up again and again. The film is a beautiful adaptation.

 

So there we go! A long list of my favourite book to film adaptations – have you read or watched any of these? Have I missed off any of your favourites?

 

Octavia’s Bookshop and the Importance of Children’s Books

43040787_936035309933128_6894985969526591029_nLast week, I had the pleasure of discovering Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester. This beautiful little independent is primarily a children’s bookshop which meant that gasps were heard all around upon stumbling across this hidden gem! Octavia’s is a stunning little shop that’s all cosy and welcoming, and full to the brim with wonderful children’s books. We also were able to have a chat with Octavia and get excited over books with her, as well as having a discussion about the importance of children’s books.

the goldfish boyThis is something that I’m sure many people encounter – book snobbery. When I first started at Waterstones, a colleague turned around and commented on how I read “rubbish”, also known as books from the children’s section, and I’ve come across this frequently. Particularly with YA, there seems to be this total disregard for its value and importance from individuals right up to the big companies. There is no investment, and yet children’s books and YA are arguably the most important books out there. You’ll notice that the first section to be downsized in most bookshops is the children’s and YA, despite the fact that those sections can often be taking a high proportion of the business. Children need books to be physical – an electronic picture book just isn’t the same as a print version, and there are a lot of children from less affluent backgrounds who don’t have access to an eBook in the same way that they would a physical copy.

that's not my unicornYou see, without these sections, where do the readers of “grown up” literature and non-fiction start? We have to develop that love of reading from children, which means we need books catering towards children. And no, that doesn’t mean that children should only read classics. In my opinion, although there is still something to be loved about them, the classics are often dated and usually irrelevant to the lives of children and young people today. I used to see parents come in and turn their noses up at all the wonderful books that today’s authors are bringing to the table, books that nurture a love of reading and books that I’ve seen make children into bookworms. Without these books, who is going to grow up and read all the books aimed at adults? If a child doesn’t develop a love of reading from a young age, what’s the likelihood of them developing it in adulthood?

words in deep blueAll of that said, children’s books are incredible for adults too; they provide escapism, reminiscence and life lessons. I’m finding that as I grow up, my brain still thinks I’m a teenager at times and so of course I’m going to relate to the angst of a young adult in teen fiction! There is so much that we can learn from children’s books, and especially empathy and respect for children.

 

What’s your opinion? I’d love to know!

kayleigh

 

GUEST POST: Emmi-Llewela

I’m here today with a very special blog post that was unexpectedly written when I sat down to write today’s post…but I never got to the typing because my laptop was stolen by the small child that is my little sister Emmi. Emmi is seven and has had a fun evening blogging. I hope you enjoy her little post below about some of her likes. She formatted and typed it all herself!

emmi grandad's secret giant

Hello It’s Emmi and I love horses.I like colouering book’s.My favourite  book is Roald Dahl.I like Roald Dahl because there funny.My favourite book is Charlie and the Choclate factory. My favourite picture book is OI DOG!AND OI FROG! And my favourite movie Is Harry Potter .The saddest movie I’v ever watched Is War horse because a horse dies.I have riding lessons and my favourite horse is called Eclipse.

 

 

An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

If you didn’t like that book, you might like this book…

There have been a few videos floating around Booktube lately focusing on recommending books based on books you don’t like, which is a really interesting concept! I believe that this idea originates with Emmmabooks and it’s one that really intrigued me, so I thought I’d have a go at it on here!

If you didn’t like the Twilight Saga, or Fifty Shades of Grey for that matter, you might like the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Disclaimer: I used to love Twilight; I was fifteen. It was the in thing.

It’s a well known fact that Twilight, and its fan-fiction Fifty Shades of Grey, are both poorly written disasterous love stories that have very weird relationships at their heart. So, if you’re looking for a good series that’ll keep you hooked, has supernatural creatures and a bit of smut then look no further than the ACOTAR series from Sarah J Maas. I ADORE this series so much. Give it a chance, because by the time you’re a few chapters in you’ll be eagerly turning every page. Book two A Court of Mist and Fury…phwoar that book makes you get a little flustered. Sarah J Maas does write some good fae smut!

If you didn’t like Paper Butterflies, you might like Differently Normal.

Paper Butterflies, despite all the rave reviews, is one of my least favourite books of all time. It was a traumatic read all about race and child abuse and made for very uncomfortable reading, and not in a good way. Differently Normal, however, is a beautiful book that has some truly heartwarming moments in it whilst having characters put in difficult situations. It’s more than just a beautiful love story.

If you didn’t like books by Enid Blyton, you might like Murder Most Unladylike.

Enid Blyton is one of my favourite authors of all time, and it’s because of her books that I truly got into reading. However, I do appreciate that for some people these books are dated and not something that they enjoy to read. So, if you’re one of those people, you might like the Murder Most Unladylike series as, whilst it’s set in the same time period as Enid Blyton’s books, there’s a breath of fresh air to them that makes them feel very modern. Plus, they’re just fantastic mysteries!

 

Have you read any of these and would you agree with any of my suggestions? If you liked this post and would like to see more like it, please let me know in the comments!

 

Book Unhauling

So, a topic that I have found very difficult to decide how I feel about it…

BOOK UNHAUL – the opposite of a book haul, that is to say when you get rid of books from your shelves.

I am a hoarder.

Admittedly, I do have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and so it’s kind of a symptom of this condition, but, that aside, I’ve always felt that I just have a slightly more panic inducing reaction to something that many people find difficult anyway! Us book lovers have immense pride in our collections of books that have amassed over the years, and I am definitely no exception. I’d always wanted to have 1000 books by the time I was 18, and I don’t think I quite hit that, but at 24 I quite possibly have!

But then comes the dilemma.

Space.

Ugh.

I have no room for books! My shelves are all double stacked, on their sides, bagged up, all over my room! I also feel that when I move out, I’ve got to somehow transport all of these books which will be difficult. And so, taking inspiration from my bookseller bestie Charlie, I decided it was about time I unhauled some books.

Charlie unhauls regularly, which I have no idea how she does it, but it means that I gain a lot of books, as does the charity shop, and she gains a sense of liberation and achievement. And most importantly, space… (for more books.)

I felt that it was time that I followed suit this week, and so yesterday I did my first big unhaul…and I kinda get it! I feel quite free as I’ve cleared out two massive bags worth of books that I will never read and many I had no idea why I’d even got them in the first place! Admittedly, the majority of books I got rid of were either proofs or books I was sent but had no interest in. But still, I am so so proud of myself! I didn’t have a panic attack either which was a massive bonus.

 

I still find book unhauling difficult; I’m very emotionally attached to things and find it hard to get rid of that guilt, but, at the same time, it means that these books are going to a better place where someone will love them and enjoy them and so surely that’s a good thing.

What are your feelings about book unhauls?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018: Stress

So, we come to my final post of the week for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, and I thought it’s probably about time that I do a bit about the actual theme for this week, which this year is STRESS.

Everyone experiences stress in their life to some degree, but it’s how we deal with it that makes the difference. For some people, they thrive off stress and it doesn’t bring them down; it brings out the best in them. For others, especially those with mental health conditions, stress can be incredibly debilitating.

Stress is a valid condition, and it’s something that needs to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, however, it’s very often trivialised because it’s so common and a lot of people don’t understand it when it’s at its worst. It’s all too easy to ignore what is often a cry for help when someone says “I’m stressed,” because so many people will use it to slack or even get signed off. Often those who are suffering the most are the ones who you’ll see flipping out easily or getting over emotional, but they continue to stay in the situation – more stress can be caused by doing otherwise! It’s a vicious cycle sometimes.

Stress can be especially bad when it involves someone with preexisting mental health conditions. One of my previous managers, besides being a vindictive person, had no concept of the stress that her actions would put upon me and my colleagues. It often would act as the trigger for a depressive episode or increased anxiety, which was counter productive anyway! I just can’t get my head around people who actively seek to stress out others.

So, what can we do?

Awareness is such an important factor; the conversations we have about mental health are helping to educate people about mental health and the importance of understanding it, and, whilst we still have a long way to go, people are becoming more open about their mental health. Also, such a simple one, BE KIND! You never know how your actions will affect someone else, so if you can avoid being that negative or malicious person that causes undue stress to someone else, do!

 

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018: Mental Health and the Workplace

The issue of mental health and the workplace is one of the main areas with a stigma attached; it’s at work that people are often afraid to come out with their struggles and feel comfortable enough to be honest.

My first long-term job was at Boots where I worked during some of the hardest periods for my mental health and I can honestly say that they were fantastic. I had no choice but to be open about what I was going through and I found that they were so supportive. So I never really understood the whole thing about the “stigma”. But then I got my, what I thought was, dream job at Waterstones. From my past  experience at Boots with being open, I expected the same from my new job! How wrong I was. I finally understood why people are afraid  honest about their mental health.
This. Is. Wrong.

People should not feel ashamed about their mental health. We don’t feel ashamed about our physical health, so why should this be any different?! People can’t help it, so why should they be victimised for it?
What do you think? Has being honest about your mental health caused problems at work?