Thursday, 29 December 2016

FAVORITE BOOK BLOGS THAT INSPIRE US DAILY

As has been a long-standing end-of-the-year tradition in the blogosphere, at the end of the year we share our favorites. Around these parts, the favorites are usually confined to books, quotes, characters and such things as we can easily devour - and encourage others to devour in turn. (Books are delicious, my friends.)

But that's really only a part of it. Because books and characters are made all the more delicious by the people we choose to smother with them - and have them smother us back in turn. 

Call it a uniquely bookish kink.

Blogging is not blogging if done alone. In a vacuum, blogging is nothing more than diary-keeping. We tried it. It's a low-risk, low-reward situation, and exactly as mundane as it sounds. But in a community, aaaaah. In a community, blogging is made into a fine art of mutual bookish smotherdom, and this year we're choosing to honor it. So we're sharing the blogs and the bloggers who make it all worthwhile for us - and who have contributed to making 2016 at least a bit brighter than the gloom it's determined to be remembered by.

In no particular order - enjoy!


Loony Literate

Reigning monarch: Emily

Emily's last post was about cookies. They were featured in a delicious, delicious book series. She baked them. There were pictures. Enough said.

When not being a stupendously creative pumpkin of awesome (who serves us ramen-based folk a cocktail of envy and existential crisis), Emily moonlights as a gloriously talented bookstagrammer, a cat whisperer, a NaNoWriMo conqueror, a communications student and a unique-post-writer-extraordinaire. How she manages to juggle it all is anyone's guess - especially as I have it on good authority that she's as fond of naps as I am.

Except when I nap, I don't sleepwalk and complete 7 tasks simultaneously. Some people just aren't good at napping. It's a curse.

As an Oz representative, her posts are sure to feature Australian books you'll then kill yourself to find. (Nobody ever said that a reader's life is all fun and games.) But the sheer brilliance of their content once you do makes up for it entirely. #LookingAtYouDisruption




PaperFury

Reigning monarch: Cait

True story: when I first stumbled upon Paper Fury, my first and only pervasive thought was THIS HUMAN SOUNDS LIKE MAGGIE STIEFVATER. MAGGIE STIEFVATER IS MY DEITY. THIS HUMAN IS THEREFORE MY DEITY-BY-PROXY? (And look at us now, with vague-yet-definitive world-conquering plans.) 

Little did I know that, quite apart from sharing my obsessive love of The Great Stiefvaterland, Cait also shares my brain, my love of writing, my abuse of Caps Lock, and just about all my bookish tastes.

Except, you know, she actually conveys them articulately.

Enter Cait's famous love of fantasy, dragons and cake, her manic speedwriting (think 100,000 words in 4 days), her bookstagram ruling, her overlording tendencies - and you have yourself a recipe for the foremost of my favorite humans. Book reviews come in Caps-prone lists, miscellaneous posts feature Stiefvater shoutouts, everything is interspersed with glorious bookish photos, and the Tweets are an anthology of a bookworm's life. In essence, Cait does all and Cait rules all.

But don't let it fool you. Despite the sheer size of her reach and her occasional dreams of tyranny and firebreathing, Cait is a 100% confirmed nice and benevolent human who will always treat you like an equal. (But you didn't hear it from me.)







Reigning monarchs: Liza, Bee, Rachel & Effie

As of a few days ago, Quite The Novel Idea is a foursome. And of the four girls who run it, two are my NaNoWriMo writing buddies. You'd think this is a conflict-of-interest disclaimer, but nah. I am merely bragging. Because Quite The Novel Idea is just that good - in case the clever title pun didn't already tip you off to their inherent awesomeness.

In a display of crazy, enviable organization skills that not even bloggers are known to possess, the girls at Quite The Novel Idea also post daily. (TEACH US, MASTERS!) Which means that a subscription to QTNI guarantees that the subscriber will never run out of bookish content, and will possibly never be bored a day in their life. If these daily recommendations don't have you itching to grab the nearest book and (literally or figuratively) devour it, nothing ever will.

And that's not to mention that the QTNI girls are Actual Diversity Champions. (The world got together and voted secretly. Tag, girls. You're it.) Nowhere is there quite so much diversity as there is among their reads, and nowhere is it more prominently championed than in their posts. So when the world does such crazy things as elect hateful demagogues to leading positions, QTNI is where we run and hide until we once again believe that the planet is too heterogeneous to be repressed.






Reviews from a Bookworm

Reigning monarch: Charnell

In her current profile picture on Twitter, Charnell is holding a sickle to Pierce Brown's neck. 
Just... putting that out there. That happened. 
And that succinctly justifies all further praise I'm about to bestow upon her.

You wouldn't know it from such homicidal displays, perhaps, but Charnell is the world's kindest, supportive and most benevolent soul. Replace the sickle with a book, and you get a meticulous, verbose and honest reviewer - and perhaps the only person alive whose negative bookish experiences err on the side of educational rather than ranty and shouty. (Guilty.) You might have loved the book she disliked, but somehow? You agree? With every point? She makes against it? 
That I largely agree with her is just a fringe benefit, really. And a testament to her brilliance, obviously.

These days, Charnell is the official-unofficial queen of bookstagram - instilling envy in just about everyone (double guilty!) for both her glooorious bookish collection and her magnificent bookstagrammy skills and dedication. Take it from somebody who knows (and fails) - bookstagram takes time.

Apart from threatening lives of authors, on Twitter Charnell is also an outspoken mental health advocate and a heaping pile of awesome. Putting that out there, too.




It Starts at Midnight

Reigning monarch: Shannon

With It Starts At Midnight, there was never going to be any debate.
- As the title suggests, Shannon 'ensures insomnia through books'.
- I am 3% orange pulp and 97% caffeine.
- Sleep, needless to say, is on neither of our list of priorities - not, that is, when there's JUST ONE MORE PAGE to be read. So me and ISAM was always going to be a match made in heaven.

And just to make absolutely sure I fell in love with the blog completely, It Starts At Midnight is the hotbed of amazing, stunning, thought-provoking, contagious discussion posts. If ever a beloved blog post does poorly and you wonder where all the commenters went - they're at Shannon's, debating whatever the latest discussion topic was. Then they rushed to their own blog/platform of choice, to follow up. #NOCOMMENTSFORYOU #SORRYNOTSORRY Alongside Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction, Shannon also hosts an annual discussion challenge - that we may all pretend to be as thoughtful and insightful as she is, with a little help.

Twitter!Shannon is a personable, kind and hilarious human. Bookstagram!Shannon is an inventive, inspirational bookish photographer. And general!Shannon shares my love of iced coffee and The 100. However you look at it, it's a winning combo. #totallyunbiased




Of Wonderland

Reigning monarchs: Inge, Aly, Ella & Anissa

Much like Quite The Novel Idea, Of Wonderland is also a very recent foursome. Unlike QTNI, none are my writing buddies. (Yet. I HAVE PLANS, FRIENDS. GREAT PLANS. WORLD CONQUERING PLANS.) Social butterfly that I am, these days I stalk Of Wonderland more than interact with it. #becauseawkward But in and of itself, that's as ringing an endorsement as I can give a blog.

Let's just say they had me at 'Wonderland'.

And in keeping with the theme, this escapist little readerly hideout practically is Wonderland. Except what made no sense in Alice's Wonderland makes all the sense in the world in this bookish kind. Which, as it turns out, takes nothing away from the atmospheric weirdness. It only enhances it. (Plus, it's generally considered helpful when discussions and reviews make at least a little bit of sense.) Each of the Wonderland dwellers here has a unique, quirky voice and a equally unique, quirky style, and they never hesitate to make their opinions known - which makes them actual #GOALS to those of us who still get panic attacks every time an unpopular opinion creeps its way into our posts.

Not to mention, from personal experience, these are the sort of humans who organize a massive get-well project for a friend before their surgery, and who praise Maggie Stiefvater about as enthusiastically as I do. Which qualifies a person for sainthood, in this little corner of the blogosphere.





Stories On Stage


Reigning monarch: Zoe

Zoe is a fantastic human. 1/1 me would recommend. And I'm not just saying that because she seems to share just about all my bookish opinions. That merely speaks to our mutually excellent taste, obviously.

Unlike a lot of the messy, shouty, disorganized, gif-heavy messes that *cough* some of us *cough* fall prey to, Zoe's reviews are little morsels of deliciousness and awesome. They're informative and to-the-point, always guaranteed to explore the essence of a book rather than its potential fancasts (mercifully), all while remaining honest to a fault. These are the kinds of honest reviews that just about always reflect on a side of a book we never even paused to see - rendering Stories On Stage not just informative, but also downright educational. Zoe achieves that perfect blend of recapping a book and reviewing it that *cough* some of us *cough* might never achieve - and thus basically sets the bar for all of the rest of the community to attempt to leap over.

Spoiler alert: by "some of us", I may mean me. Possibly it's someone exactly like me, who is also me. But this hasn't been confirmed.

But I tend to agree with Zoe on just about all. So I'm a tad biased.

It also helps that on Twitter, she's the funniest and the friendliest of book fiends.




As it turns out, listing favorite bookish blogs/bloggers equals Alice + rabbit hole - bottom. You do the math. Had I listed every single blog we openly or covertly stalk and which inspires us to try and occasionally do better, this little lovefest never would have ended.

But these humans are the foremost of our top-rated humans. Five stars. Highly recommended. Would socialize again. (Despite socialization being THE HEIGHT OF SCARE.) And on behalf of both my co-blogger, myself, and my imaginary friends, I've taken the opportunity to both thank them and recommend them to future stalkers and inspiration-junkies. These bloggers are a walking Pinterest inspiration board. And we're honored to be their followers.

So talk to us, pumpkins! Who are your favorite blogs? Let us know in the comments below and consider yourselves tagged to let them know you appreciate them as 2016 winds down, and consider yourselves challenged to try and inspire others in turn next year. 


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