Sunday Seven: 7th Feb 2016

As promised I’m starting a new weekly post about my favourite 7 things of the week! Some weeks it might be themed, others it will just be my favourite 7 things of the week, like this week! If you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to see in Sunday Seven then let me know in the comments!

One – Having my face plastered across the Uni 

Last year I won an award for Overcoming Adversity and to promote this years award there has been a very embarrassing picture of me and the other winners  all over Facebook, Twitter, the student paper and all around the screens at the uni. I’m nominated for 3 awards this year too which is awesome, but doesn’t make this picture any less embarrassing.

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Two – My Hamsters 

Hamski and Noodle are my fur babies and have been really active this week. We’ve had a lot of hugs, some lessons in not biting (Noodle) and a few mini photo shoots. I’m completely besotted with them both.

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Three – Fresh Flowers 

I’m a sucker for fresh flowers. I just love the smell and the way they brighten up a room, even if it’s rainy and horrible outside. My grandparents got me these on Monday to say get well soon, because they’re adorable.
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Four – New Books! 

I had some books I needed to exchange this week and came home with three that I’ve been desperate to read. Sex Criminals is a graphic novel and nothing like the title suggests, well it is but not what you think a sex criminal would be, it’s volume 2 out of 3 and so far, so good. The next two books are by authors I adore and have reviewed  before, both are Young Adult fiction and look to be brilliant.

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Five – Primark’s Star Wars Game 

The Force is strong in Primark. I absolutely love anything Star Wars since watching the original trilogy over my birthday, then of course the new film was fantastic. I popped into primark and got a kick ass pair of shoes for a fiver (!!), R2-D2 cup for £3.50, Storm Trooper knickers for £2.50 and the socks for about £2. This badass stuff and the Harry Potter stuff they normally have is one of the reasons I only let myself in there sparingly. IMG_6340

Six – American Crime Story 

Now, I don’t normally watch a lot of TV. There are a lot of ‘cult’ shows that I’ve never watched or I have watched and haven’t seen the appeal, I’m much more of a book girl. That said, I watched the first episode of American Crime Story and I am hooked and can’t wait for the next episode on Tuesday. It’s also made me interested in the trial itself, meaning I have a lot of reading to do after pouring over documentarys last month.

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Seven – Harley Quinn 

All hail Harley Quinn! This is the graphic novel that started my obsession. I absolutely love the character of Harley and today picked up another novel, making it my third. There’s another two I need to buy and of course I’m excited about the new Suicide Squad movie. I have to admit so far I like this version of Harley better, but we shall see when the movie comes out in August. IMG_4616

Book Review: This Book is Gay – James (now Juno) Dawson

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‘This is a manual for everyone – no matter your gender or sexaul preference’

When I saw this book at a YA lit fair I was intrigued. The bright and beautiful cover attracted me and then I read the cover. I thought this would be a novel about someone who is gay but this is something much better. I would even go as far to say this is one of the best books of a generation. This Book is Gay is a book which covers a lot of ground that the author thought was missing after teaching PSHE (health class for my American readers) but not just from one opinion, there are stories from so many different people all with different experiences.

When this was published, James Dawson was a gay man, in the time since James has announced that his real self is Juno, a transgender woman and I celebrated along with the rest of twitter. None of that matters because the writing is funny, interesting and highly educational btu in a way you feel like you’re chatting to a friend. I only mention this incase people are confused when trying to find ‘James’ on Twitter later.

I don’t believe in someone being 100% gay or 100% straight. It seems to me, even more so after reading this, that there are so many different parts of the spectrum that slapping an either/or label on everyone is just stupid. I’ve never had a girlfriend but I feel that I’m the person who falls in love with someone because of who they are, not because of what’s in their pants. I fell in love with a male, I’m going to marry him at some point but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good looking female. If people want to label me after that, then so be it.

The book has both serious and funny chapters throughout as well as some brilliant illustrations. Some of the chapters include; Stereotypes are poo, Where to meet people like you, Nesting, Hats, The ins and outs of gay sex and Welcome to the members club. There is even a bit for parents and carers, lists of charities and organisations and notable gay and LGBTQ celebs and allies (named: A guide to recognising your gay saints). There is so much in here and I learnt so much I will just shout my love for it from the rooftops!

I 100% feel that this book should be given out at all schools as an important tool for learning and accepting LGBTQ youth. Dawson is right, there isn’t enough sex education for young  LGBTQ people. I thought long and hard after reading and we didn’t cover safe sex for anyone who wasn’t straight which, frankly, is just ridiculous. How can you just ignore the needs of people just because they’re not ‘the norm?’, they can still get STI’s like anyone else? They still have questions and worries like anyone else. If I was in charge of a school I’d make sure everyone was given a copy and there were copies in the library too. This is superbly written and has a lot of great info from a variety of people, not just Juno herself.

There have been arguments that there isn’t as much information for the Lesbian community. I can see the points people have made but I do feel there is a good amount of content in here, after all there are only so many pages here. The part about lesbian sex is a little thin, and maybe that’s what people are upset about and I can understand that. Other than that though, I feel like this is a good and inclusive guide.

Of course I’m going to give this book 5 stars *****. I was truly inspired by Dawson, her writing, her style and the way that the book itself was put together. I think everyone should read this, because everyone will learn something from it. A truly phonomenal book, not one to be missed.

My Top 11 Books of 2015

At the time of writing this I’ve read 77 books this year, which is less than I wanted to read this year! Boo! Although there is still time…I might get to 80. So for today’s review I thought I’d tell you the 11 best books I’ve read this year, because I couldn’t get rid of one.

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How to Build a Woman– Caitlin Moran

This is definitely the most influential book I read this year. I tried reading Caitlin’s book when I was younger and hated it, but I decided to try again for my Writing Women class this year. I laughed so hard reading it and just felt I could say I’m a feminist without seeming crazy or arrogant. I’ve not religiously watched all of Caitlins talks on YouTube and read How to Build a Girl and a good chunk of Moranthology. Read my review here.

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Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Haig has written a phenomenal book. I’m usually sceptical of books related to mental health, because it’s so hard to put into words but somehow Haig has put in exactly how I’ve felt. It’s also great if you’re living with someone with depression too. Read my review here.

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Beautiful & Beautiful Ever After – Katie Piper

I have been a fan of Katie Piper for years. Getting to meet her and get my own message and autograph was a huge highlight of my year. Both of these books are incredibly honest, Katie has the ‘just getting on with it’ attitude a lot of us with physical and mental disabilities have. Her two autobiographies are a brilliant read and full of heartbreak but also full of hope. Review to come in 2016 but you can read about when I met Katie here.

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Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

I rushed home from work to buy this the day it came out. There was a lot of divided opinion but I for one thought it was an incredible book. There is a completely different message than there was in To Kill a Mockingbird, but I think that it is just as important. Read my review here.

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Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

I have a book crush on Holly Bourne. Am I Normal Yet? is a fantastic piece of YA literature. Bourne always manages to create a magnificent story and this one is no different. Considering mental health, young people and what ‘normal’ is, she created an instant favourite once again. Read my review here.

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This Book is Gay – James Dawson

I picked up this book a long time ago and decided to finally read it (before James announced he was transgender, he is still using male pronouns for now) because I was curious. I felt like I could know more about the LGBTQ community and I’m so glad I did. I honestly think this book should be given out in schools during sex education! Review to come in 2016.

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The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

This was the first book I read in 2015 and I absolutely loved it. It’s a great addition to YA literature and has the power to open up conversations about the Trans community. I completely forgot to review it so I’m afraid it will be a 2016 review!

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Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman

Unlike most of the people I know I wasn’t addicted to the TV show. I didn’t mind it but I just didn’t find it as engaging. Instead I saw a Ted Talk by the real Piper Kerman and decided I want to read her book. I didn’t regret it. This is so interesting it looks not only at Piper but at the women around her and casts a critical eye on the prison system. I really recommend this as something to pick up in the new year.

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Extraordinary Means – Robyn Schneider

I was recommended this book by a friend of mine, I’d been curious about it for a while but also sceptical of the blurb. I was totally wrong, if you are a fan of John Green then this is definitely a novel to pick up. It’s funny, heartbreaking and I’m not ashamed to say I cried at one point. The review for this is coming up in February and I can promise you will love the main character as much as I did, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

I can easily declare that this was the most amazing book that I read and that was released in 2015. I have told everyone to buy this because Weingarten has an incredible talents for writing that will keep you up until the early hours. I said ‘oh my god’ multiple times while reading and still think the twist is genius. Read this but make sure you don’t have to be up early the next day as you’ll devour it in one sitting. Read my review here.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of the support I’ve received about my book reviews. I’m so grateful for all the feedback and love I’ve received. There are going to be reviews throughout 2016 and I have some great books coming up!!