Hallowe’en Costumes for Readers and Writers!

Hallowe’en Costumes for Readers and Writers!

Hallowe’en (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) can be a mixed blessing for us bookworms. One, it’s a night we’re expected to go out and be social and not be reading (bad!) but on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity to have some fun with our favourite books/characters/authors. 

So what’s a book lover to do for a costume on Hallowe’en? Use your imagination of course! We’re here to help get those gears turning with the best Hallowe’en costumes for book lovers!

This is the list of Hallowe’en costume ideas for book lovers!

Actual Bookworm

Let’s start at the top. The actual, literal, bookworm. Forget for a minute that this bookworm is reading a dictionary for some reason.

Remember when bookworm was a bad thing? Well we’re taking it back! Bookworms unite!

Your Favourite Author

 

Admittedly, this Hallowe’en costume works best with more recognizable authors (I’m talking Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Po, etc.) but I actually prefer to use it as a chance to go as a less…recognizable author. Which reminds me, anyone have a Spock wig I can use for my Ursula K. Le Guin costume?

 

NOTE: No, you can’t go “as yourself”, even if you are your own favourite author.

Your Favourite Character

Another great chance to show your literary allegiances! Dressing up as one of your favourite literary characters for Hallowe’en gives you endless options (a lot of which are very, very easy). It also gives you a chance to re-use your Ernest Hemmingway costume as a Captain Ahab costume…for example.

Book/Writing Accoutrements 

Typewriter, Semicolon (someone explain this to me), books and, my favorite Hallowe’en costume for book lovers (and the reason this post is going out today) Procrastination.

Looking for something fresh to read?

Check out our reading lists here

 

Books you Read in High School you Need to Reread

Books you Read in High School you Need to Reread

Being forced to read a book that someone else picked isn’t exactly a recipe for an enjoyable reading experience (ask any book club that doesn’t use our patented bring-and-vote system!). So sometimes, that means that we don’t get everything out of a book that we should. Because it wasn’t always fun, that means sometimes we skipped through the book, or read the Cliff notes, or barely paid attention generally. 

This time around, no-one’s going to ask you to write an essay on the literary style, or the characters motivations or the themes. So sit back and enjoy. Take the chance to really dig into these classics.

This is the list of books you read in high school that you should definitely re-read.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Why you hated it: ok, you probs didn’t hate this one. It was ok.

Why you should reread it: Can appreciate that it’s more than just ok. There’s a dry humor to her writing that teenagers often miss. But also use this as an opportunity to explore recent books like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Why you hated it: Not an easy read, non-linear narrative, poetry, dream-like passages.

Why you should reread it: read it at your own pace, not having to worry about writing a paper on the language style and be submerged into the life of 1860’s former slave and the ghost that haunts her.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Why you hated it: The endless analysis of the symbolism! A pigs head on a stick – what does it mean!?!?

Why you should reread it: stop worrying about the themes, and the meanings. Haunting story that doesn’t need to be analysed to death. Nor is it a universal truth that all children, left unsupervised, will become animalistic murderers. 

1984 – George Orwell

Why you hated it: Think about the structure, the plot, and language. No gory, Hunger Games style deaths.

Why you should reread it: Totalianarism is scary and this is the original dystopian novel. You’ll see more, as an adult and more aware of how easily politics and society can change. Scary because of how easy it can really happen.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Why you hated it: It’s long winded, tedious and is basically just a lot of upper class English women gossiping.

Why you should reread it: Don’t take it seriously. This is damn funny. Written as a comedy, it is a biting commentary of what it was to be a woman in Regency England. It might call itself a romance, but Austen is very aware that love is based on the solid foundations of a prospective husband’s bank account. Witty and memorable.

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Why you hated it: Holden Caulfield won’t shut up about phonies and how much he hates them. 

Why you should reread it: as an adult, have more empathy for a traumatised young man. A sexual assault survivor, who is grieving for his older brother who has recently died and he has no reliable adult supervision, no one he can turn to. He desperately fears becoming an adult himself and is trying to protect his younger sister from the same fate that he’s going through. 

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Why you hated it: Another long winded “romance”!  Lots and lots of text and not much happens.

Why you should reread it: Jane Eyre is a quiet orphan girl, abused as a child and she grows into an adult without money, relatives or prospects in a time when women were basically objects. Yet she doesn’t take shit from anyone. She’d rather be homeless than be a side piece. She’s a badass who sticks up for herself in a way that, even nowadays, would be extraordinary, but for back then it was just spectacular.

East of Eden – John Steinbeck

Why you hated it: Dear Lord, how long is this book?? 

Why you should reread it: Now that you don’t have to get it finished for homework,  you can relax and enjoy the beauty of those 600 pages. Steinbeck captures the feeling of what it’s like to live in this world, he recreates it perfectly and memorable characters.

Looking for something fresh to read?

Check out our other reading lists here

Have any other recommendations we should include? Drop us a line on twitter!

 

The Dog Days of Summer Reading List

The Dog Days of Summer Reading List

Call me a weirdo if you want, but I really love hot, hot weather. There’s something cleansing about sweating through weather like that.

It does pose a couple of problems though, especially for book lovers. Sunscreen in the eyes, sweaty hands on your lovely new books?! Well we can’t help with any of that, but we can help you pick a book to read this summer! 

Presenting, the world’s first, “What to read when it’s REALLY hot out” list.

So, what makes a good “hot weather book”? I guess that’s a personal thing, but for me, it’s all about season of the book itself. I like to read books set in the heat, while I’m in the heat (same goes for Winter, so look for that next!). I feel like I can commiserate with the characters more, and like the heat I’m experiencing in real life has a purpose. 

Authors use the heat of summer as way of amping up tension in their books. The erotic charge of the soaring temperatures, or the morbid knowledge that even the most brilliant summers must eventually end and give way to fall are incredible atmosphere builders that we see across all genres. I’ve been physically uncomfortable in my home reading a book like The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, and I couldn’t have been happier.

So what should you be reading while sweating it out at the beach?

The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley (1953)

In the middle of a heat wave in Victorian England, a naive boy acts as a go-between between clandestine lovers, delivering love letters for them. The rigid rules of society mean that the lovers will never be able to marry, but they have this one last summer, as long as they can keep their affair secret. 

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

“I love England in a heatwave. It’s a different country. All the rules change.”

Heavily inspired by the Go-Between, this has become a classic in its own time (plus you’re probably familiar with the movie featuring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan). The sweltering heat of summer, passions and tensions running high lead to life altering consquences. 

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (2007)

Story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime.

Summer romance that is beautiful, intoxicating and awful.

Skios by Michael Frayn (2012)

Something a bit lighter, Skios is set on a Greek island (perfect!), this book takes all the tropes about what should be in a summer reading book, and twists them into comedy and farce. 

Summer by Karl Ove Knausgaard (2018)

Fourth book of his seasons Quartet. A father writing to his young daughter, so that she will understand him when she grows up, recording the meaning in moments, his recollections. “Summer” offers a different view of summer, one that finds meaning in the small moments. 

“accompanied by an expectation of pleasure and joy and groups of friends swimming or boating or on holiday and there I sat … while the sun was shining outside and I didn’t know where to go or what to do … it marked me, not just who I was in the eyes of others, but also who I was to myself.”

Not digging the heat? Check out our other reading lists here

Have any other recommendations we should include? Drop us a line on twitter!

 

What to Read on Reddit (how to find free stories to read)

What to Read on Reddit (how to find free stories to read)

Having a hard time finding time to read new things? Sitting at a bus stop with nothing fun or interesting to do? Short reads are a great way to expand your literary horizon, without adding to your long (and growing) reading list. You get to expose yourself to new and interesting ideas, while you wait for your takeout order. Surely that’s better than just playing another Candy Crush level!

Trying to find time to read can be incredibly difficult in this day and age. There are so many things fighting for your attention at any given time (seriously, you don’t want to see the notification tray in my phone!) and when you do have some free time, it seems like the latest viral news item is always there waiting to grab your attention (and enrage you). 

Well people are starting to fight back! Short Story Machines are starting to pop up around the world, Chrome extensions will help block out distractions and people are generally finding ways to stop getting distracted and spend more time reading (hurray!).

Well, if you’re interested in finding quick reads, bookspry.com is here to help with a list of Reddit.com subreddits you can access, for free, at any time on your phone or computer. 

What is reddit…

Reddit.com is a site made up of thousands of communities, known as subreddits or “subs”. Each community is different, each one built around a specific topic. Some are small and specific and some are broad and massively popular (think, millions of subscribers). In each subreddit, people post content and vote on what they like. The “best” content gets pushed to the top. That’s it!

Ready for more short stories, quick reads, funny stories, scary stories, etc, etc, than you can handle!? Let’s get started…

Nosleep (~13,300,000 subscribers)

Immensely popular and immensely creepy. nosleep is essentially short, original horror stories presented as being absolutely true, and something the writer experienced personally. Suspension of disbelief is key, as is a nightlight.

Short Scary Stories (~295,000 subscribers)

If nosleep has a flaw it is this: some of the stories can be long or broken into multiple parts. Sometimes you open up a thread and you don’t want to be offered Chapter 27 of a story you’ve never heard of before. This isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a quick story while you wait for your bus. With “short scary stories” you get a story that is, at maximum, 500 words. Short, sweet and terrifying. 

Humanity, Fuck Yeah (~106,000 subscribers)

What if, for once, humans meet aliens and we aren’t the underdogs!?  Humanity, Fuck Yeah! will scratch that short story itch for you. While this subreddit can be a bit messy, it’s essentially Sci-fi stories of all kinds that all share a common theme: how awesome humans are!

Short tales of the life of Norman (~67,000 subscribers)

Short, 500 word short stories about a balding middle-aged divorced man. He also has a cat named Norman, because Norman is not a terribly imaginative fellow. The stories about Norman’s boring life are hilarious, fun and only slightly peculiar. A perfect little reading diversion while you wait for that pizza to come out of the oven…finally.

The Phenomenon, a dream of the end (~22,000 subscribers)

A sci-fi horror story written, in chunks, entirely by one person. It is the tale of the human survivors after a malevolent entity arrives and kills the majority of the population. Updates are slow but there’s a lot of content on there, so that won’t be a problem for a while. 

M59Gar’s Subreddit (~2,000 subscribers)

Matt Dymerski is an amazon author who publishes sci-fi and horror. In this subreddit he publishes short stories, and encourages other to post their stories too. There’s some fascinating, original content here, even if the subreddit is a little smaller.

Looking to read short stories with a little more humor?  Or real life sad/scary/funny situations? Reddit is packed with that type of content and two of the best are:

Tales from your server (~280,000 subscribers)

Tales from tech support (~600,000)

These are real life stories that are incredibly relatable (who hasn’t worked a crappy job and had to deal with crappy customers) and quick to read. If you need a quick laugh, these are great places to check out.

Glitch in the Matrix (~372,000 subscribers)

Our last entry today is a weird one. These are stories from people (sometimes as short as a couple of sentences) about weird and unexplainable things that have happened to the author. 

 

That should be enough short stories and quick reads to keep you busy for a while. Have a subreddit you think we missed? Are you a moderator of one of these communities? Drop us a line and say hi! admin@bookspry.com

Need some longer reading recommendations, check out our Reddit for Readers article

The Worst Fathers in Literature (Happy Father’s Day!)

The Worst Fathers in Literature (Happy Father’s Day!)

Father’s Day! 

Sure, your Dad is great (and my Dad is great, hi Dad!) but some of literature’s greatest villains are some real…bad Dads. As a part of our Father’s Day reading lists…we’re doing…the worst Dads in literature!

Mr. Bennet

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This well-written, supernatural steamy romance tells the story of a woman searching for her roots in Ireland and stumbling across love as well.

Le Père Goriot

Jean-Joachim Goriot by Honoré de Balzac

Flynn O’Brien is a sexy alpha male, he’s a boss in the Irish mafia and he’s got a big secret. This hot and gritty romance will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to the end.

King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare

This bundle is a steal! Four novel length books in one, including a USA Today Bestselling book: High Warrior. All four novels are historical romances that mix the legends of Ireland with steamy romance.

Michael Henchard

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

This sweet international romance tells the story of a young woman in 1950s rural Ireland who falls in love with an American marine and moves across the world to be with him. Sixty years later she returns with her daughter. This is a romance, and also the touching story of family bonds. Truly heartwarming!

Humbert Humbert

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Set in 1960s, rural Ireland, a young woman dreams of starting a new life in America. However when tragedy strikes and long hidden secrets start to come to light, our heroine struggles to cope. When she meets the handsome Michael O’Sullivan the two of them embark on a passionate affair.

Happy Father’s Day?!

Have any other recommendations we should include? Drop us a line on twitter!

Check out some of our other reading lists here.

Celebrate World Blood Donor Day with your favourite Vampire!

Celebrate World Blood Donor Day with your favourite Vampire!

I know what you’re thinking, “It’s World Blood Donor Day already!?!?!”. No worries, this is an advanced warning so that you have some time to prepare. Speaking of which, what are you planning on reading with your orange juice and cookies this Friday?

Luckily, bookspry.com is here for you! We’ve put together the best books to read while you save a life! 

 Go here to find out more about World Blood Donor Day

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

As the Guardian puts it, “The King still reigns“. There’s a reason why this story has kept it’s place in our public consciousness for so long. A compelling story, incredibly well written and legitimately scary. If you haven’t had a chance to read it and assume you know the story, guess again. 

The Blood of the Vampire by Florence Marryat (1897)

Not many people know about “Dracula’s long lost sister” and that’s a damn shame. This book (released the same year as Dracula) takes a much more sympathetic and modern view of women and female sexuality and is an incredibly interesting accompanyment to it’s more famous counterpoint.

The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein (2002)

Something a bit more modern in our favourite vampire books list. The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein gives a modern twist on the vampire story while maintaining connections to original mythology.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)

A real genre-bending book, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova turned a lot of heads when it was published in 2005. 

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin (1982)

Wash that “Game of Thrones Finale” taste out of your mouth with a completely different book from A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. This fresh (in 1982) book takes place in the Antebellum South is often overlooked when talking about his writing (for obvious reasons) but many fans consider this book to be one of his better works. 

Cut yourself some slack on the Game of Thrones stuff and give this one a try for World Blood Donor day!

Vampires not your thing? Check out our other reading lists here

Have any other recommendations we should include? Drop us a line on twitter!