Things I Learned from Jacqueline Wilson

As a child, I lived for the words Jacqueline Wilson wrote—every single sentence jumped into my sense of self. Wilson taught me a lot about the world, but I didn’t realise that until I was recently standing in a bookshop, looking at a hardback copy of her latest work, and a whack of nostalgia hit me right in the chest.

I’ve done some research and it appears that I lived my Wilson Years between 1997 and 2002, when I was between 7 and 12 years old. I have clear memories of all of the books I read and, after my book shop visit, I thumbed back through a few to fulfill the weird nostalgic loneliness I had in my heart for Tracy Beaker, Ruby and Garnett, Treasure and India—my Wilson friends.

Below is a rundown of the real-life lessons I learned from Jacqueline Wilson, which I still use in daily life. Also, all of these covers have changed since I was a child and it’s so lovely to see the updates. Nick Sharatt’s illustrations are as amazing now as they were in 1997.

To finish reading this article, please visit Book Riot.

Say Goodbye to Summer with 5 Books About Bees

I’ve always loved bees. To my father’s chagrin, I got my first tattoo when I was 22 years old–a honey bee on the left side of my back. It hurt, but the moment I saw the bee in the mirror, I loved him.

The bee has now been with me for five years and to celebrate the anniversary, I popped by a tattoo studio in London and had him upgraded, adding colour, lengthening wings and overall making him a little more organic. I love the tattoo just as much as I did before, but now it’s brighter and looks more ‘complete’, for want of a better word.

When I was 20 (and 21), I went through a horrible few months of depression and anxiety. It was a rotten time that I hope never to re-live again. Every day was a battle to just get out of bed and get through the day. It was miserable. On my 21st birthday, a friend of mine gave me a little silver chain with a bee hanging from it. Bees, she told me, are hardworking, self sufficient, intelligent and strong. She said the moment she saw it, it reminded her of me.

To finish reading this piece, please visit Book Riot.

In Praise of the IKEA Billy Bookcase

I moved house recently. Or more specifically, I moved in with my boyfriend, and it’s the first time I’ve ever lived with a significant other. Neither of us drink, which makes us by necessity a little anti-social, and so we spend a lot of time in the microcosm of our apartment. I thought this would annoy me because I like my own space (as does he) but it’s been an easy transition. Frankly, we’re both very happy to sit there ignoring each other except to ask occasional questions like “D’you want tea?”

We knew we were going to have a problem moving books. I have collated an entire bookcase in the short two years I have lived in London, with the shelves each packed two books deep. My cheap Argos bookshelf fell apart as soon as I tried to move it so I had to wave that goodbye. To be fair, it was very over-stacked and I worked it much too hard. My partner has also accumulated quite the collection of books, and collects comics, meaning we had five large cardboard boxes of those to move also. Worse, I moved most stuff on foot because the new apartment was less than a ten minute walk from the old. I took some books on each of my walks and my muscles were really feeling it by the end.

To finish reading this piece, please visit Book Riot.

Becoming a Digital Paper Person

I have always been a paper person.

When I was a child in school, I remember very clearly that my schoolbag weighed a ton. My back ached from the dense mass hanging from it- a bag full of copy books, workbooks, textbooks and the associated paraphernalia- but I loved all those little bits and didn’t equate their various delights with the heavy backpack.

Back then, ‘fancy paper’ was a thing- coloured pages; paper shaped like animals or hearts; scented paper. All of it seemed amazing to me at the time. When I look back now I realise that I literally collected sheets of paper and found it fun. I’m sure kids today would flush heads down toilets for less.

You can view the rest of this article at Book Riot.

Travelling to Bitch Planet with Non-Compliance in My Heart

Sometimes- and I figure I’m not the only one who feels this way- you start reading a story and within two sentences, you know that it’s a winner. It fits your thinking like a glove and sticks in your head for hours.

I’m not a comics person. In my time, I’ve read the occasional longer graphic novel (MausMy Friend DahmerPalestine) but I’ve never settled into a series of comics- I’m not entirely sure why. I suspect it’s because I grew up in a small city with limited access to comics in a time when dial up was a thing and my parents allowed me 15 minutes online each night (ahhhhh, nostalgia!) Also, I’m incredibly impatient (more on this later, ironically).

My boyfriend- a fully grown comics aficionado, complete with armfuls of superhero tattoos- handed me a bundle of comics a few months ago and said “You’ll like these.” He had handed me eight issues of Bitch Planet, which has been discussed and recommended on this site (and many others), but I had missed them entirely. I read the lot in the space of a day and grab new ones from him when he picks them up.

Let me tell you, I am absolutely besotted.

Please visit Book Riot to view the entire article.

Crossing the Wall: Returning to Ancelstierre

I’m not sure where this tradition began, but I like to take time out from my usual (frenetic) reading schedule and pop back to my childhood for a while. I normally pick a series I remember adoring and re-read the entire confection in a short space of time.

For the first few days of January this year, I wasn’t too enthused about the real world. I didn’t want any non-fiction in my life for a few days and I was on the lookout for a good escape.

I somehow hadn’t heard that Garth Nix had released a new book, but was wandering through Forbidden Planet on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue when I came across Goldenhand on a shelf and instantly recognised it as part of the Old Kingdom series. Images of a young woman walking in Death crossed my mind and later that evening, I sat down to get re-acquainted with Sabriel.

Please visit Book Riot to read the entire article.

Standing with the Nasty Women

I freely admit that I am a sucker for a good collection of essays. These books are usually both a charm and a challenge, and I regularly find myself vehemently disagreeing on page 10 and then enthusiastically punching the air with glee on page 60. The range of perspectives in some of these collections can be absolutely amazing, so I was delighted to get a slightly early peek of Nasty Women, produced by 404 Ink after a remarkably successful Kickstarter campaign.

The collection launches on March 8th to mark International Women’s Day. Rioters, every March 8th for the past five years I have been asked when International Men’s Day is. This year, I am hoping to avoid this brand of idiocy, but in case this happens to you, please note that International Men’s Day is on November 19th and that the ‘block’ button is your friend.

The premise of Nasty Women is pretty simple: life as a woman right now is bloody hard, and the normalisation of inequality is persistently marching forward. Some days, it feels as though many of the gains we have made for women are slowly being rolled back or freshly questioned. The book contains a series of essays expressing the perspectives of women- all types of women, from all walks of life- in the 21st century.

Please visit Book Riot to read the entire article.

You Must Understand the World: Geopolitical Reads

This post originally appeared at Book Riot. 

Maps are vital for the comprehension of the human world. Not in the sense that we need to know where north and south are, but in the lessons that lie beyond the tangible image. When explorers travelled the world to chart new territories, they contributed to a wider understanding of the planet, its cultures, its places and its phenomena. Maps made the world bigger.

Today, maps make the world smaller. Major social and economic issues are born of the initial decisions to make marks on a map and assign ownership to superpowers. The policies of the Trump Administration and the rise of the far right are unsurprising to anyone who has seen and comprehended what the world looked like in the 1930s.

Please visit Book Riot to read the entire post.

Fly on the Wall: Listening to Michael Chabon

This post originally appeared on Book Riot. 

few years ago at Christmas, my boyfriend gave me a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. He’s a big comic book fan and fell in love with the book as soon as he read it. Somewhat romantically, he expressed a number of reasons why he gifted it to me and I sat down just a few days later and turned the first page.

Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for Kavalier and Clay and it was immediately obvious why. Chabon’s golden age of comics shines from the page. His characters are sincere and believable, his New York pops into existence in the mind’s eye, bubbling to the surface with wit and history at the core. I have always said that the best books are the ones I finish, only to wish I could gain back my ignorance and re-read them to attain the same sense of wonder. Kavalier and Clay was one of these.

Please visit Book Riot to read the entire post.

Falling in Love with Outlander

This post originally appeared on Book Riot.

I would be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of the romance genre. At heart I’m a bit of a cynic and romance has never done it for me. I have the same experience no matter the medium– romance in books, in films, or on TV is always a challenge. I can deal with romance when it’s not the sole narrative of a story—but even then I’m incredibly resistant.

outlander-tv-seriesA few years ago, a friend of mine insisted that we sit down and watch an episode of Outlander. I had neither seen, read, nor heard of it, but as soon as the theme tune came on my interest was piqued and at the end of the episode I was hooked.

I raced through the first half of the first season and, while waiting for the remainder of the season to air, I got antsy. I did some research and found out that it was based on a series of books.

Please visit Book Riot to read the entire post.