Achievable Bookish Resolutions for 2021

Happy New Year Readers! Last year was a chaotic mess but we made it to 2021 and I wish you all the very best for the year in all your reading endeavours and otherwise. However, please continue to be vigilant and look after yourselves as we continue to contend with the worldwide pandemic. On a brighter note though, today’s post is all about setting achievable bookish goals for yourself this year in order to get the most out of your… bookworming??

I’ve come up with 5 user-friendly resolutions that I myself will be implementing in my routine and that I hope you will find useful. I decided to share only 5 resolutions, not least of all because wracking my brain for a sixth proved to be fruitless, but also because I believe that having an exhaustive amount of targets can become counter-productive and overwhelming, thereby reducing your (and my) chances of achieving them. That being said, here are 5 Achievable Bookish Resolutions to set for yourself in 2021;

  • D.N.F (Did. Not. Finish) More – Simple, right? (And hopefully not overly anti-climatic). This suggestion is nothing new and has been championed by many more prominent book bloggers than I in the community. I am merely adding my voice to the already loud, pulsating throng of clamours urging readers to desist from continuing to read books that add no enjoyment to their lives until the end. In fact, for all those that still need reminding of this, I am probably foremost.
  • Less Is More – Another no-brainer to be sure, but still I encounter those who feel inadequate because they cannot manage to read over 100 books in a year like some of our more hardcore reading chums. Remember that everyone has different circumstances and these feelings of inadequacy is not conducive to enjoying books. Instead of reaching for gargantuan goodreads targets, set yourself a goal to read a fewer amount of inspiring books rather than a lot of books that are average.
  • Ditch Book Buying Bans – This suggestion comes from a place of well-intentioned deprivation many readers will know well, myself included. As such, even I have subjected myself to the self-affliction that is, the dreaded Book. Buying. Ban. 🚫 See my blog post I broke another book buying ban. Here’s why The thing is, these initiatives rarely ever work for most of us and often leads to even more impulse buying… or is that just me? Especially now during such an anxiety-inducing period of uncertainty, depriving yourself too much can have harmful effects.

Research in almost all areas of deprivation from sleep to finance has proven that this approach can severely affect your mental well-being. Rather than imposing a draconian, joy-sapping ban, try challenging yourself to only buying a set amount of books a month or every other month. If it’s two books a month and you’ve met your quota, the next purchase on your radar will have to wait until the following month. Try this for a set timeframe and then review as needed if something isn’t working.

  • It’s Time For A New Genre – This next suggestion is particularly geared towards readers who aren’t keen on branching out into reading genres that are commonly viewed as ‘daunting’, dare I say non-fiction? This year, try including one non-fiction book in your familiar canon of YA fantasy and dystopian thrillers. To help you with this endeavour, I have a growing source of non-fiction recommendations, all neatly compiled into a handy booktube playlist.
Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my channel!
  • Reach Out – This resolution goes out to my fellow book bloggers, but can equally be applied across different niches. I’m talking about networking. This can take many forms, including collaborations, guest blogging and group readathons. It can be an excellent way of grounding yourself in your chosen niche and creating future opportunities.

For example, I once reached out to an established book recommendations company called LoveReading UK and asked them to feature my blog on their website. They then sent me the Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare and invited me to take part in a book tour, which led to the very feature I had asked for. Though it can be difficult to pointedly ask for things, especially from persons or companies with considerable influence, challenge yourself to do just that at least once this year.

Check out my LoveReading review here!

Honourable mention! – This year focus your reading on BAME and LGBTQIA literature.* If there’s anything we’ve learnt within the book community in recent months, it’s that reading can be political and influence others, therefore reading inclusively has a big impact. Click the image below to read about Own Voices recommendations.

You may have noticed that I have endeavoured to offer suggestions that focus on scaling things back i.e. be content to read fewer books, read one non-fiction book this year etc. That’s because I find that making small incremental changes can have potentially far-reaching effects and can lead to establishing habits that will eventually result in much more substantial changes, or indeed achieving much more than what you bargained for. Good luck if you intend try out any of the resolutions suggested in this post.

Happy Reading!



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How has your reading changed in 2020?

*BAME – Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic / LGBTQIA – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenger, Queer, Intersex, Asexual

Own Voices Must-reads

Today I started reading, The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan (now Danny Ramadan), which was kindly lent to me by a fellow blogger Jaz @TravelsinFiction as part of a book swap we hosted a couple of weeks ago. Though I had no prior knowledge of this book, it is fortunately turning out to be an immersive page-turner that a generally slow and steady reader like myself may very well end up completing all in one-sitting.

The Clothesline Swing is an Own Voices contemporary book written by an LGBTQ+ Syrian-Canadian refugee and it is about an elderly gay couple, one of whom is on the cusp of death. Their love story is a poetic harmony of reminiscent ‘tales’ about of their youthful love affair in Damascus, old flames, parental trauma and remnants of their war bridled past, told through traded stories and relived memories. In other words, I’m enjoying it a lot! And it is the inspiration behind today’s post, the aim of which is to recommend Own Voices books.

Own Voices books are typically known as books that feature protagonists from marginalised communities that were written by authors who share those same characteristics. In the case of The Clothesline Swing, Danny Ramadan like his two main characters; the ‘hakawati’ (storyteller) and his lover, is a gay Syrian born refugee. Therefore like his characters, he will have had firsthand experiences steepled in homophobia, lack of acceptance and anti-immigrant biases. These books make for unrivalled insight into the complexities and obstacles faced by certain groups of individuals, such experiences that others may never encounter in their lives – and are therefore likely to dismiss – because of the latter group’s affinity towards privilege.

Needless to say my initial impressions of this book are overwhelmingly positive and somehow I get the feeling I’ll love it just as much by the end, but I’ll save that until the review. Based on the first hundred pages I’ve read so far, I would recommend The Clothesline Swing as mature reading for those of you who prefer a slow burner with romantic poeticism.

Below are some more Own Voices recommendations that I loved reading and would strongly recommend;



Some more Own Voices Reviews Coming Soon! How many of these have you read?

Thank you for reading! x Please let me know in the comments if there are any other Own Voices Books you would recommend. ~

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Recent Book Review: Lead From The Outside by Stacey Abrams. In this self-help memoir, American politician and businesswoman, Stacey Abrams, discusses how minority groups in white-dominated professional circles can create opportunities that fuel ambition and lead to success.

Book Recommendations for Black History Month

For many people, October marks the dawn of Autumn, that cosy rustic season synonymous with vibrant sepia colours, knitwear, pumpkin hot chocolates and the delightfully terrifying holiday that is Halloween. But did you know that October is also Black History Month in the U.K.? Black History Month is an annual observance that began in the U.K. in 1987 and its aim is to celebrate African and Caribbean history and culture as well as the successes and achievements made by many black and person-of-colour individuals.

Even though October is nearly over and Halloween is almost upon us, I decided to put together a list of four books that would be ideal reading in terms of learning about black history, predominantly in the U.K. but also in America.

Check out my latest Booktube video to hear more about today’s featured books and as always don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!

Small Island by Andrea Levy – Set against the backdrop of World War II in 1940s London, Small Island tells the story of a Jamaican migrant couple; Gilbert and Hortense who rent the humble lodgings of a conservative English couple; Queenie and Bernard. Gilbert is a war veteran and his wife recently arrived from Jamaica. The two have hopes of living a better life in England, the ‘mother country’ but instead they encounter a life of hardship.


Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – This books analyses the real and very harmful effects of structural racism and how various institutions and systems in the U.K. are positioned in a way that marginalise and discriminate against black people. It presents a very well worded and multi-facted argument that challenges racist ideals of victimhood and uncovers a previously shrouded history of black people in the U.K. that predates the Windrush generation.


Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri – Is a book that I am still currently reading but which addresses the very rich and unique history of afro hair as well as the racist systems in the U.K. that discriminate against what Western values deems to be ‘unruly’ and ‘untameable’ natural black hair.


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi –

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife.

The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. As each chapter offers up a new descendant, alternating between Effia’s and Esi’s bloodline right up to the present day, a chasm of experience and the differing legacies of chance are brought starkly to light (A summary taken from Waterstones)


October may be almost over but these recommendations can be enjoyed at any time during the year. They share essential insight into the the history of black people in the U.K. and abroad, that is key to understanding the societal attitudes and structures of today and how our history has shaped them to oppress and discriminate against those deemed to be ‘other.’

Please let me know if there are any other like recommendations you would like to share in the comments below.

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Black Lives Matter – https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Black History Month U.K. – https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/


The Bi-ble Book Of Bisexuality

As a person from a religious background, my initial reaction to the title of this book was a mixture of intrigue and defiance. I was raised to be god-fearing, as most young Carribbean children are and the doctrinal principles of my formative years were centered around love and acceptance of one’s fellow man, but also taught that a queer lifestyle could not fully align itself with ‘godly standards,’ hence that initial feeling of defiance. But as a person who has also struggled with their own sexuality, in terms of defining it and coming to terms with it, I also felt a sense of intrigue.

I first came across this book through an Instagram Liveshow that was hosted by Jaz from Travels in Fiction and Sophie from The Little Contemporary Corner and it was a truly wonderful discussion that impelled me to procure the book and read it speedily afterwards. Incidentally, I finished it on National Coming Out Day on Sunday 11th of October.

The Bi-ble is a collection of essays written by an extremely diverse cast of bi/pan and queer individuals. Their narratives represent a wide variety of perspectives and personal experiences, but there was one thing all the narratives seemed to agree on; they all conveyed a shared feeling of isolation and erasure within the very community that they are meant to be a part of, namely the LGBTQ+ community.

Regardless of where each essayist sits on the bisexuality spectrum, be it a cisgender bisexual white woman or a non-binary bisexual or a pansexual black man, their experiences all reflect a larger issue of having one’s sexual identity diminished, marginalised or written off as just a stepping stone to being gay and therefore not valid. These individuals will be more likely to struggle with ‘coming out’ and feel more susceptible to some form of mental illness, a result of the alienation they feel.

I loved every single essay in this book and I especially appreciated the intersectional approach it took, expanding on the added forms of discrimination people face because of social factors other than sexuality i.e. race. Such chapters as Going Either Way by Chitra Ramaswamy and On Being Black And Bi-furious by Jayna Tavarez, carried a lot of weight with me personally.

It is precisely this feeling of alienation and self-doubt that has hindered me from being fully accepting of my sexual identity. I had many crushes at school from secondary school into Sixth Form and some of those crushes were girl crushes, yet I’ve always managed to perpetuate the idea that I am ‘mostly straight’ and not ‘fully bi’ as though adopting the former title enables me to hold onto some semblance of a heteronormative life. Because having the appearance of being heterosexual or ‘normal’ or ‘godly’ absolves a person from the condemnation, ridicule and judgement of those around them. In that sense, this book was quite a cathartic read for me.

The Bi-ble is an extensive, all-encompassing look at bisexuality, from intersectionality to mental health to bi history and pop-culture to bi and queer sex. It conveys a level of insight and intimacy that was deeply impactful, and gives a much needed platform to a stigmatised community, enabling them to voice the validity of their personal experience.


Where to find useful information and support about Bisexuality;

https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4688/stand-bi-me.pdf

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/bisexual_people_workplace.pdf

http://bisexualindex.org.uk/index.php/Bisexuality


To read more Book Reviews please click the link!

I broke another book buying ban. Here’s why

Most avid readers and bloggers within the book community will know the internal conflict of book buying bans well. It is a resolution to abstain from buying new books for any specified period of time. Unfortunately, like most resolutions, particularly those uttered around New Years, book buying bans are rarely maintained by a large number of book enthusiasts, myself included.

In fact, I made a similar declaration to halt all book purchases for this month and even went so far as to document this on book twitter. Alas, this resolve wasn’t meant to be upon my hearing of a particular Readathon that will be hosted in October next month.

The Ace Race or Ace Readathon is being hosted by fellow booktubers/bloggers and will be running throughout the whole of October (1st – 31st). It is a themed reading month centering around books that feature asexual protagonists or characters in prominent roles. Lately, I have endeavoured to make my reading more inclusive so I was thrilled at the prospect at taking part in this Readathon as a means of diversifying my reading range and learning more about this particular community.

Herein we have the reason why this month’s proposed book buying ban failed miserably and why I decided to buy the following books;

Click on each title to read more about the book on Goodreads!

As well as the books pictured above, I also acquired some other books which I also intend to read during the month of October, but these books, both boasting solid reader reviews, were the main cause behind my book buying ban annulment. Despite not helping my finances one bit, I was euphoric when my book mail arrived in the post today. I maintain my excitement and anticipation for these books and the diverse perspectives they will no doubt bring to life.

To find out more about The Ace Race, check out the dedicated Twitter page @AceReadathon where you will also find a google sheet with plenty of book recommendations with asexual protagonists.

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