#FeminismFriday – #SundayYA

Hello!

We come again to another Friday in February, therefore another #FeminismFebruary post. Today, I’m talking about one of my favourite things (started by one of my favourite humans in the world) that twitter has ever introduced me to. Today’s post is dedicated to:

#SundayYA

For those of you who are unaware: #SundayYA happens from 6pm-7pm on a Sunday night and is a chance for bookish folk to talk about books. There’s always a theme, or a featured author. It’s ran and organised brilliantly by one of my best friends in the world, Rachel, (@_sectumsemprah on twitter) who makes the chats inclusive and interesting. So anyway… 

5 reasons why I love #SundayYA

  1. It’s created for me a real community 
    I’ve had the chance to reach so many incredible new bloggers and authors because of #SundayYA. It’s an incredible chance to talk to people I may never speak to at any other time. We are all just bookish folk who are there to talk about a specific book/fangirl over a particular author and it’s brilliant. 
  2. There’s an magnificent community of incredible women
    Now #SundayYA does not exclude the menfolk, in fact there are a few fellas who join in on Sundays, but there are so many incredible women who join in #SundayYA that it always makes me so happy. We’re women, supporting each other. There’s no competition, it’s all supportive – that’s the community #SundayYA has created. The people who join in with #SundayYA are such a varied group of brilliant women – women who teach, who work in publishing, booksellers, students. So many excellent women from so many walks of life. 
  3. The sheer amount of friendships I’ve built because of Sunday chats
    Some of my best friends in the whole world I have because of #SundayYA. I’ve made so many brilliant friendships, with people who I never would’ve met because of #SundayYA and I am so grateful. It’s so lovely when you see the same people popping up every week and there are real friendships, real conversations happening. Lots of conversations happen outside of #SundayYA too!
  4. The amount of authors and books I’ve been introduced to…
    OK so this one isn’t great for my bank balance BUT it is GREAT for my life. The sheer amount of recommendations I leave EVERY Sunday with is ridiculous. The incredible authors I have been introduced to because of chats with them, or chats where people have recommended them, is incredible. It’s a community of people reading and recommending books to each other. There’s always someone who can recommend a similar author, or a complementary book. We’re like a community of booksellers, who just read. 
  5. Rachel. The lady herself.
    So Rachel, #SundayYA‘s creator, is one of the most amazing people I know. She’s funny, generous, brilliant and one of the best people in my life. She loves #SundayYA and her dedication to it makes me so happy. I could talk about how much I love her for hours, and am happy to if someone wants to listen. If you’re not already following her, you should be. She’s smart, funny and creative. 

Now for a special feature… I asked some of my fellow #SundayYA ladies to help me with this post and here’s why they love #SundayYA:

Kelly, @kellysrambles
“To me, #SundayYA means friendship. It means discovering like minded souls and bookish best friends. It has helped me to carve my own little corner in the UKYA bookish community in Twitter where I am lucky to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people. Little did I know when I first took part in a #SundayYA readathon that I would end up with 5 of the best friends a girl could wish for and I am so grateful to Rachel for making that happen. Whether it’s bookish fangirling or life advice, #SundayYA has give me more than I ever thought it would: true friendship.” 

Cora, @Corazzz
#SundayYA is more than just a chat to me. It’s a safe little corner in the community where I know everyone is kind and considerate. Rachel does the most amazing job and puts so much work into each chat. So much thought goes into each theme, each question asked to authors or the community. I love being a part of something, somewhere my voice can be heard and I can speak to people with the same passion, make new friends, be a part of something. Taking part brings me joy and makes me genuinely happy, it’s part of my self care routine, #SundayYA and a cup of tea.”

Rosie, @rosiefreckle
“I love #SundayYA because it feels like me and all my bookish buddies are all meeting in a coffee shop and chatting books. It made me feel more involved in the community and it makes Sunday evenings infinitely better.”

Aoife, @PrettyPPD
“I spend the whole week looking forward to #SundayYA. Not only has it intorduced me to some amazing books I’d never have picked up otherwise, the people who always turn up too are so warm and friendly. It’s my favourite book community.”

Jess, @JessikahHope
“#SundayYA is full of wonderful, friendly people who make you feel less alone when you’re completely fangirling over your new favourite book!”

Amy, @YAundermyskin
“I love #SundayYA because it’s a welcoming community of people who love books as much as I do.”

Donna, @donnamk79
“I love #SundayYA because it lets me chat about books I love with other members of the community – and it really does make us a community.”

S xx

Book Happiness Project

Welcome to the 4th guest blog of the year! I am so happy to introduce you all to my lovely friend Aimee – her links will be at the bottom of the post!

Well hello dear readers of Steph’s gorgeous blog, A Little But A Lot!

I am delighted that Steph has asked me to write yet another guest post for her ever-blossoming blog, which I absolutely love. We discussed topic options and it was decided that I’d share with you all a very exciting 2017 project that I’m involved with – The Book Happiness Project.

aimee

The Book Happiness Project is a year-long project designed to spread bookish love and bring together the Book Blogging and BookTube communities. By bringing together these two communities, we’re hoping that it inspires your creative flair and inspires you to join us on our journey with this amazing project. With a total of 12 hosts; we’re aiming to bring exciting themes each month, along with some amazing challenges and readathons that you can all be a part of.

Each month has two main hosts and to kick off 2017, the theme is Happiness in New. January’s theme is hosted by Hannah over at A Cup of Wonderland and Taylor at Bookaflix Taylor – both amazing BookTubers, so please do check them out when you have time. Without these two gorgeous ladies The Book Happiness Project wouldn’t be happening, so it’s only right that they kick off the year with Happiness In New.

So what is Happiness in New all about?

Here are the beautiful Hannah and Taylor explaining what The Happiness Book Project has in store for this month:

Hannah’s video

Taylor’s video

I do hope you guys will join in with this phenomenal project as much as possible over the year by and if you want to find out more then check out my announcement blog post: My blog announcement and join in the conversations over on Twitter by using the #BookHappinessProject.

Sending much bookish happiness and love your way,

Aimee x

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I think this is such an incredible idea! It’s lovely to unite all of the book lovers in the world. We all love books and sharing all of this incredible creativity is wonderful. I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for the #BookHappinessProject folk! 

Thank you so much Aimee for writing this blog post!

You can find Aimee here on Twitter and here on her blog.

S x

To my pocket friends…

Hello all you wonderful people on the internet,

It’s only right that here, Valentines Day, I share a message with the people who inspire me, push me and support me the most.

The internet is a place filled with trolls, horrible people and badness… but I’m lucky that I have found you. I’ve found my niche in the world of ALL OF THE PEOPLE SAYING ALL OF THE THINGS. It’s hard to take the internet seriously sometimes because there is so much going on – so much clickbait, so many trolls, so much content being read and thrust in your face at one time – but it’s important to remember that the internet is a wonderful place that connects people of like minds. It connects me to you: some of the most incredible people I have the luxury of knowing and calling my friends. 

I am very blessed in that this here blog, my corner of the internet, has been taken under the wing of so many of you wonderful people who I don’t know in real life, but who are my biggest supporters. You champion my tiny little blog,  support me and are the first to read my posts and retweet my tweets. All of your suggestions for improvements, the things you send me of things you think I’d love are so gratefully accepted. I’ve never known a bunch of people to accept me as willingly as you have and it makes me so happy.

Twitter is the place that has introduced me to most of you. Twitter is a wonderful place (it’s also a terrifying place of anger, hatred and darkness) filled with love and friendly faces. I want to thank each and every one of you for being lovely to me, for supporting me, for telling me to keep going. You all make me feel loved, supported and part of a wonderful community. Whether it is the teaching community, the book blogging community of just the community of awesome twitter users you’re all wonderful and welcomed me with open arms.

To my SundayYAhoneyz: I can’t wait to meet you all and hug you.  YALC is so far away, but we have already formed such an incredible friendship that I know by the time YALC comes we will be the firmest of friends. I love you ladies so much.
Rachel: you are the reason we are so incredibly close, you’re an absolutely incredible woman, I’ve never known anyone as inspiring as you. You truly are our overlady. Kelly: you’re one of those special people in life you come across so rarely. I can’t wait to come to Wales and see your life! Aoife: you’re my favourite Irish person, you have the most amazing spirit, don’t let life suck that out of you. Remember we believe in you every single day. Cora: I love that I have another northern compadre. I can’t wait to get to spend more bookish events with you. You’re one of the kindest souls I’ve ever known and you always have wise words to share.
You ladies have no idea how quick you have become a part of my every day life. It sucks every single day that we all live so far away. I love each and every one of you. You all have such an important part to play in my life and I will never have the words to say thank you enough. Your messages of encouragement, questions and laughter make even the worst day seem bearable. I love you all massively.

To the UKYA twitter community: All of you are absolutely wonderful, you’ve all changed my life in ways you’ll never know. I never really felt part of something as big and as special as this. You are all my favourite people. From the wonderful authors, the publishers and my fellow bloggers, thank you so much for including me in this incredible world you call the UKYA community. I am so proud to be part of it.

To the twitter teacher community: you guys constantly affirm my positivity in that teaching is the best job in the world. You are all incredible educaters, you are all inspiring and you never fail to answer any of the stupid teaching questions I have. I love seeing what happens in and out of your classrooms – I have magpied an uncountable amount of things for my own classroom, when I finally have one. You guys are also always on hand for a chat about books to use in the classroom. I have loved watching the teacher book community grow and surrounding myself with you wonderful twitterers.

Finally, to each and every one of you who has ever had something nice to say to me, I am so so grateful. You are all wonderful people. I am always here to chat. I have all the time in the world for you all.

Love, eenalol x

It All Started In September…

Welcome to the first of many fortnightly guest blogs! The first comes from one of my most recent twitter pals Jack. Without further ado…

It started in September. Sitting at a forty-five-degree angle in a hospital bed, having recently undergone the most uncomfortable seven minutes of my life to date. I won’t go into too much detail, but it ends in ‘-oscopy’. After being informed that the pain I’d been suffering on and off for the previous three years was fistulating Crohn’s Disease, I wasn’t in the best of places (mentally or physically). Enter Darren Shan.

I read sporadically in primary school, enough to get my parents off my back and pull me through the year six tests with a level four. Less in secondary, apart from a spike when Horowitz’s ‘Power of 5’ series dropped. I read when I had to, rarely for pleasure. Throughout my time at university, I obviously read for assignments/dissertation etc. but it was never for ‘pleasure’. Even through my first three years of teaching, despite incessantly banging on at the students I taught to read, preaching about how crucial it was – what a hypocrite! 

That all changed at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The fellows I shared a ward with largely slept, the Wi-Fi wasn’t free (I know, I was appalled too), and I ended up filling my time with random, inane activities. 84 tiles on the ceiling, in case you were wondering. A year five child I had taught the previous year recommended a series of books to me, The Saga of Darren Shan. This child’s writing was some of the best I’ve seen at primary, and I’d noticed how darkly descriptive it always was. I wasn’t far through the first book before I realised why.

Anyway, I rinsed through the entire twelve-book series, the following four-book series explaining the life of Larten Crepsley (a huge character in the Shan series), and RJ Palacio’s ‘Wonder’ in the space of two weeks. A reader was born.

I took this new, overflowing love for reading into my classroom. And boy have the children responded to it. I was so proud to hear that lots of them had received books for as Christmas presents, and many of them brought them to school to show me. Reading has become an integral part of our learning. We’re constantly talking about books. There isn’t a groan when I say that we’re reading more of our class book (currently ‘Sweet Pizza’, thank you to Mr. Booth).

However, hospital made me a reader. Reading Rocks ’16 is where the reading teacher exploded. I spent the day listening intently to the likes of Mat Tobin, James Clements, Neill Cameron and Michael Tidd talk about reading. The venue itself breathed reading (nods towards The District CE Primary School). I met people such as Simon Smith and the enigmatic That Boy Can Teach, both inspirational teachers with a passion for reading and its effect on a child’s education.

So, from September to December, I read like a lunatic. It was December when I first heard about the ‘52 book challenge’, where people were attempting to read fifty-two books during a calendar year. This sort of thing resonates with me for a two main reasons: 

  • I love reading.
  • I love counting and recording things.

Yes, I love counting things. I love keeping records of what I’ve done. I count and record the different football grounds I’ve visited. I count and record the countries I’ve travelled to. I even count and record, with the help of last.fm, the songs I listen to. So, this challenge appealed to me greatly in that respect.

In practice, I’m aware that it’s going to be difficult. I make time to read before bed. How much I read varies wildly from two words to one hundred pages. But I want to do this. My class have loved hearing about the challenge, and have all taken sheets home to record progress for their own challenges.

I’m writing this blog two weeks into the challenge, and roughly 80% through my second book. It’s been difficult. It’s been hard to read on school nights, and I haven’t read as much as I would like to on those nights. However, it’s important that this challenge doesn’t become a ‘Oh, I must read x number of pages tonight otherwise I’m not going to reach y target’ type of thing. Sleep is important, and being as fit as possible to teach my children is important.

My Twitter feed will be updated every time I finish a book, as will my Goodreads page (if you aren’t on Goodreads, get on it! There’s a group for teachers doing the challenge). Thanks for reading my first ever blog. Thanks to Steph (@eenalol) for allowing me the space on her fantastic blog, check out her other posts if you’re stumbling across this page for the very first time.

Keep reading.

@Mr_P_Hillips

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Thank you so much to Jack for agreeing to be my first guest blogger! 

This blog is important to me in so many ways. It promotes reading, it promotes teacher reading and it shows that reading really is one of the most amazing things. Jack is so right that there are some wonderful book loving educaters out there on twitter. The conversation is always there to be had, just tweet one of us!

Go and follow Jack on Twitter, his handle is in the post.

S x

#SundayYA

This is a very short post to give a shout out to my wonderful corner of the YA twittersphere! Every Sunday there is a little gang of us who get together on Twitter to discuss everything YA!

#SundayYA is led by my wonderful friend Rachel (you’ll find her @_sectumsemprah) between 6 and 7pm! I am considerably newer to twitter chats than the rest of the people in the #SundayYA world but everyone has been so welcoming that I definitely feel super involved and included.

So far since I joined in we have discussed Banned Books, Art in YA and so many other things!

Please come along and say hi, join in the chat and share your opinions/recommendations/blogs. We will welcome everyone and anyone! We’re all there just to talk books!

If you want to follow Rachel then please do, she’s over at @_sectumsemprah on twitter and she blogs at Babblebooks. She’s also an editor at the new quarterly YA magazine (@Shift_Zine)! Go give all of them a follow! And don’t forget to follow the #SundayYA hashtag on twitter between 6-7pm! Say hi too!

S x