Real Neat Blog Award


The Real Neat Blog Award


Hi all! The wonderful Chloe Rose over at Awakened Indigo has nominated me for the Reat Neat Blog Award! Which is very lovely of her!

So today I thought I would complete the challenge! 

The rules of the award are as followed:

Thank and link the blogger who nominated you (super important)

Answer the 7 questions they asked you

Nominate 7 bloggers for this award and let them know you nominated them

Ask 7 questions for your nominees


Chloe-Rose’s Questions

If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
I would be Cat. Because they can be sassy or sweet, eat all of my favourite foods and can sleep all day! My cat gets the best life!


Do you believe in love at first sight?
 I would like to, but I don’t. It’s a wonderful idea, but I’ve never known anyone to love each other without first knowing each other. They might like each or lust after each other, but no one truly loves someone at First Sight. However great it would be. Sorry Cinderella.

 What’s your favourite part about being a blogger?
I used to think it was the gratification (very vain of me!) I liked that people used to want to read my thoughts, but actually it’s the people you meet along the way! And the things you learn! I’ve read blog posts on ASMR, Female sexuality and mental health and each post ranges from moving to informative, enjoyable to powerful!. I’ve made great contacts and I learn new things all the time! It’s a great community!


What’s your favourite tv show?
No shame: Teen Wolf. Stydia all the way, baby! Haha!

CD or iTunes?
I am an iTunes fan. I have never bought a CD in my life and the last one I was given was a brand new Busted album (before the broke up!)

If you could change any part of your blog, what would you do and why
I would really like to combine my two blogs – I have this blog EllesBellesBookshelf and my recently moved and redesign lifestyle blog – EllesBellesNotebook. I would really like to combine the two.


What does being a blogger mean to you?
It means meeting new people, learning new things, experimenting, daring and having fun!

This is a great tag! Really enjoyable! And now it’s time for me to pass on the love.

I tag


And my questions for you are:

1.    What is your Favourite Disney movie(s)?

2.    What is your favourite Social Media site?

3.    Aside from Blogging what other hobbies do you have?

4.    Describe your perfect day.

5.    What Harry Potter house are you?

6.    Theatre, Film or Television programme?

7.    What does Blogging mean to you?

Be sure to tag me in your response so I can have a nose! Can’t wait to take a look and I hope you have fun!
Happy Reading x

My Salinger Year | Book Review


I am writing this review without having finished this book – yet – a dangerous thing. But I have so many thoughts and I’m off sick and I need to get them out of my head!

This is a memoir which reads like a novel which feels like it has happened to me.

Exciting! Definitely a great first read of the year!
Joanna Rakoff is a writer, now, but in the 1990s when she was just starting out she was an assistant at a literary agency in New York. The Agency.

To protect clients and colleagues – I presume – the Agency is simply called the Agency and all of her colleague’s names are changed with her ‘boss’ simply being referred to as the boss.

I read the first 17 pages in one 10 minute sitting, completely engrossed on New Year’s Day. Joanna went to an interview at an agency, her first interview, in the exact same outfit that I chose to wear (carefully selected more like) when I went to an interview at a Literary Agency. Now this is pure coincidence but immediately I felt a connection.

New York City

I adore this cover too!
Also, having recently gone to New York and having gained a quick understanding of the streets I can picture Joanna walks on her morning commute. I can smell the bakeries and patisseries up the street near the Waldorf-Astoria and sense the grandeur of entering the offices and the higher-end martini lunch settings of the city.

Joanna describes it so well and without bluster that you feel like you live in New York City.

Literary Agency

Her story itself revolves around one year she works at the Agency – I don’t know if she stayed on longer yet as I haven’t finished! – but she was an assistant for a whole year: typing correspondence from an ancient Dictaphone, responding to fan mail for the Agency’s most predominant author and reading manuscripts on the sly over the weekend.

All of these things – in a more modern fashion when it comes to Dictaphones and correspondence – I have done over the course of my brief time in publishing and it feels so warmly familiar! I understand! High five me!

J.D. Salinger


The predominant client that I speak of at the Agency is none other than J D Salinger (or Jerry as he is known in the book). Salinger was a famous recluse – he stopped doing interviews in the 80s, was fiercely against corresponding with fans or attending events, he extremely particular about everything to do with his books and short stories from the font, cover pages and the typos that he chose to put in the books! Joanna surmised that he wanted complete control over his books and if someone suggested anything he would refuse as it was not in his control!

Not that Joanna dislikes Jerry – not in the slightest – her brief correspondence with him is over the telephone and he just sounds to be an eccentric, deaf old man with an unconscious talent for the written word. It’s not even until two thirds of the book in that she even admits to having his read his books! The description of when she does being a wonderfully moving moment!

But like I said – this is a memoir not a novel. But Joanna doesn’t just describe the Agency or Jerry, she describes her somewhat disastrous love life and personal life as well. From when she went home to her disapproving parents for her birthday only to receive all of the bills/debts that they’ve been paying for her (student loans, credit card bills) which they no longer want to pay. The total of said bills churning my stomach over twice!

Alienation & Relationships

She describes her alienation from friends she sees every day, but appear to be getting married or moving away or ignoring their dreams for everyday lives they all appear to enjoy. She describes colleagues with clear differences from Hugh her kindlier boss to Olivia the awful assistant and James the other, long-time assistant!

But most importantly, and most in-depth, she details her relationship with Don. For the majority of the memoir, so far, as she has stated that this relationship was never a clear cut relationship. For most of the beginning she pines after her college boyfriend, who she still loves, but she dumped to enter the world of publishing in New York. Don appears to be a socialist arse – from a upper to middle class background – who has written a novel about men’s admiration for women in a sexual nature (which, as a socialist, is really about class).

He’s basically a misogynist, and she knows it.

I’m not quite sure why the relationship is added in such vivid detail when the book, as a memoir, is entitled ‘My Salinger Year and so you’d think would be more about working in Agency, but clearly it is important to Joanna and it reads like a novel anyway!

Creative Non-Fiction

Joanna Rakoff

At times I catch myself breaking between the two types. Is it Creative Non-Fiction – most likely – or are bits made up as a filler? This was 20 years ago. She can’t really remember the conversations and where she was on certain days and in which cafes and restaurants she was in when she read that one novella manuscript etc.

But then againdoes it matter?

Writing Style

I feel such a connection to Joanna, and her writing, and not just because I feel very much in the same shoes as her (we probably picked the same pair since we seem to have very similar tastes).

Her writing flows magnificently, it’s fast-paced and yet slow. It’s moving and yet emotionless. It definitely won’t be for everyone. But it is resonating with me as a girl in publishing, as a girl attempting to move to a city for the first time, as a girl trying to move up in her career and her social life and as a girl who doesn’t know how to define her relationships and pines after things long gone.

It’s a stunning piece of literature. Which I’ve never heard anyone else ever talk about let alone read. And I just had to share my thoughts.

What are yours? Do you think you will read this book?

I would highly recommend it to other young people starting in publishing, particularly the literary agency side, or indeed anyone starting a new, high-pressured job in a big city away from home.

Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading x

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Top Genres I Read in 2016 & Bookish Resolutions 2017


Last year I did a full list and recap of all of the books I read in 2015 with each books genre attached! It was a great way to see what types of books I had been reading in the year and to help me set some bookish resolutions for 2016!

So that is what I’m going to do today!

I read 65 books in 2016 which meant I succeeded in my Goodreads challenge of reading 60+ books!

Here is a list of the genres I read and the number of books I read in each:

(Note: some books cross over into YA short stories/fiction & non-fiction books – I have chosen their primary genre rather than put them in two or more genre groups)

Fantasy: 3

Short Stories: 7

Literary Fiction: 4

Non-Fiction: 8

-      Biography: 4

Young Adult (inc series): 6

Graphic Novels: 4

Children’s (inc HP): 13

Classics: 3

Historical Fiction: 5

Poetry: 4

Thriller: 1

Quotes: 1

Play: 2

Total Genres Read: 14

I read 1 more genre than last year!

Last year I read YA, Horror, Adult Fantasy, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Adult Sci-Fi, Historical, Short Stories, Classics, Plays, Children’s fiction, Graphic Novels & Contemporary novels.

I was quite surprised by the genres I read this year! I’ve read a lot of non-fiction this year – which I’m really happy about – and quite a lot of short story collections!

Children’s Fiction is quite large – but 7 of those books are Harry Potter re-reads!

In Re-Reads this year I re-read: 11 books – which also surprised me! I thought I had re-read more! So I read 54 new books in total in 2016!

Time for Bookish Resolutions!

Based on the genres I read in 2016, in 2017 I would like to

Bookish Resolution 1: Read 70 books in 2017!

In 2015 I read 54 books, in 2016 I read 65 so In 2017 I’d like to read at least 70!

Bookish Resolution 2: Read a Non-Fiction Book every month (or total 12 non-fiction books in 2017)

I’ve been reading a lot of feminist literature and feminist biographies in 2016 and they’ve been fascinating, so I’d love to read more in 2017!

Bookish Resolution 3: Read 60 new books in 2017!

Since I read 54 new books in 2016 I would love it if I could read 60 new books in 2017! If my total number of books is 70 that allows me 10 re-reads in the year!

Bookish Resolutions 4: Read more Series in 2017

I’ve realised that in 2016 I only read one new series and that was Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige! I really enjoyed it but in 2015 I was reading about 6 different series so I don’t know why I’ve dropped off that bandwagon! But I would like to get back on it!

Bookish Resolution 5: Read at least 5 classics!

This is a rolling resolution from 2016! I only managed 3 classics this year – which is still 1 more than 2015 – but I would really like to get through some of my other classics in 2017! I got 10 new classics for Christmas so as long as I read half of them I’ll succeed in this resolution!

So there we go! My 2017 Bookish Resolutions! Check back in 2018 to see if I have succeeded in achieving them or not!

Let me know what types of books you have read in 2016! And if you’re setting yourself Bookish Resolutions in 2017!

For a full list of Books I read in 2016 – with numerous genre tags – see below!

Happy Reading x



Fantasy:

Ø  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 3.5 stars

Ø  The Lord of the Rings: The End of the Third Age – 4 stars –Fantasy/Series

Ø  The Princess Bride – 4 stars

Short Stories:

Ø  The Public Library and Other Short Stories by Ali Smith 4 stars – Short Story/Literary

Ø  The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan 4 stars - Short Story/Non-Fiction

Ø  Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue 3 Stars

Ø  Dorothy Must Die Stories by Danielle Paige 3 Stars – Short Story/YA

Ø  A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham 2 Stars

Ø  Multitudes 5 stars

Ø  Dorothy Must Die: Short Stories vol 2 – 3 stars – Short Story/YA

Literary Fiction:

Ø  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 3 Stars

Ø  The Bees by Laline Paull 4 stars

Ø  Grief is the thing with Feathers 3 stars

Ø  Vinegar Girl – 2 stars

Non-Fiction & Biographies:

Ø  Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling 5 stars - Non-Fiction

Ø  Girl Up 5 stars – Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  Girls Will be Girls 5 stars – Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  I Call Myself a Feminist 5 stars – Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  Everyday Sexism – 4 stars – Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  The Vagenda – 4 stars – Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  Men Explain Things to Me – 2 stars Feminist/Non-Fiction

Ø  The Trouble With Women – 3.5 stars – Feminist/Quotes

Ø  Spectacles by Sue Perkins 4.5 Stars –Biography/Non-Fiction

Ø  Where Am I Now? – 5 stars – Biography/Non-Fiction

Ø  As You Wish – 4.5 stars – Biography/Non-Fiction

Ø  Scrappy Little Nobody – 5 stars – Biography/Non-Fiction

Young Adult (inc series):

Ø  Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 4 Stars

Ø  Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 4 Stars – YA/Series

Ø  The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige 3 Stars – YA/Series

Ø  On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher 2 stars – YA-Adult

Ø  The Yellow Brick Road 4 stars – YA/Series

Ø  Smoke – 2 stars

Ø  Dorothy Must Die: Short Stories vol 2 – 3 stars – YA/Series

Graphic Novels:

Ø  The Sleeper & the Spindle by Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell 2 Stars

Ø  Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger 4 stars

Ø  Blue is the Warmest Colour – 4 stars

Ø  Through the Woods – 4 stars

Children’s (inc HP):

Ø  Bridge to Terabithia 5 Stars – Children’s

Ø  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 5 stars – Children’s/Series

Ø  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 5 stars - – Children’s/Series

Ø  One 5 stars – Children’s/Poetry

Ø  What Colour is a kiss 5 stars

Ø  The BFG – 3 stars

Ø  Matilda – 3 stars

Ø  The Girl Who Saved Christmas – 4 stars – Children’s/Fantasy

Classics:

Ø  The Great Gatsby 4 Stars

Ø  Emma by Jane Austen 5 stars

Ø  The Bell Jar – 4 stars – Classic/Literary

Historical Fiction:

Ø  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd 5 Stars

Ø  The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait 3 Stars

Ø  The Butchers Hook by Janet Elllis 4 stars

Ø  Brooklyn – 4 stars

Ø  The White Princess – 2 stars

Poetry:

Ø  Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy 3 stars

Ø  Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke & Hangry 3 stars

Ø  The Hungry Ghost Festival by Jen Campbell 3 stars

Ø  The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories 3.5 stars

Thriller:

Ø  Ragdoll – 5 stars

Quotes:

Ø  Seriously Funny by Terry Pratchett 4 stars – Quotes/Fiction

Play:

Ø  The Cursed Child – 3.5 stars – Fantasy/Series/Play

Ø  The History Boys – 5 stars - Play