October 2015Weaving Pages: October 2015

Friday, 30 October 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Hello Everyone!

I received this book from the publisher so thank you to them for  allowing me to review it! Of course, this does not affect my opinion in anyway!

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: June 4th 2015
No. of Pages: 450

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself. -(Goodreads)
3.5 stars: Page thinks this book was good, but didn't
make him fly.

Monday, 26 October 2015

4 Documentaries You Need To Watch If You're Passionate About Women's Issues

Here at Weaving Pages, I'm all about story telling. To me, it's one of the most powerful skills of our world. It's why when people have abhorrent plans, they try to limit the speech of those affected, and thus their ability to tell their stories. Therefore, as people who have voices and who can be heard, it is our duty to help those who don't. We can do it, by making it our goal to make sure their stories are heard. Today, I'm sharing with you another way people endeavour to do this: documentaries. I'm not talking about the ones that film a gorilla for a solid hour (though those can be fun too) but ones that challenge you to see what others hide. The ones which are relentless in portraying the truth of what children and adults all over the world go through and that thus will make a change in what is being done to help them. This post is all about appreciating that, so here are four documentaries to watch if you're passionate about women's issues:

1. Saving the Cybersex Girls: Stacey Dooley Investigates

If you're passionate about women's issues, Stacey Dooley is the one to look out for, with an array of fascinating and hard hitting series about the problems women around the world face. This is a more recent one, all about the young girls who are brought into cybersex, much like many are brought into the sex trade with the promise of a better life. These girls are abused by people who guarantee them more money for their families, but also by the only people in the world who should keep them safe: their parents. This documentary doesn't gloss over reality, for these girls are left broken and emotionally vulnerable to a point it's hard to believe the people who do this to them can even be human. It will leave you angry, make you feel sick and disgusted, but best of all it will make you want to do something. For nothing is better than watching the people who help these girls when they are finally saved and realising how much a single person can make a difference.

2. Secrets of South America - Cinderellas of the Slums

Cinderellas of the Slums is a documentary presented by Billie JD Porter focusing on the divide between the rich and poor young people in Brazil. In South America, Quincenera's are as important as the American Sweet Sixteen, but not every girl can afford the opulent indulgence of hiring a celebrity to dance with you. The difference shown between 'classes' is startling and (I won't lie) sometimes sickly, when one girl is struggling to have a good enough education and another is having a photo shoot so there are pictures of herself covering the walls on her 15th birthday. The unfairness is hard hitting, but as someone who spent a month in Brazil, it is not very different from what you may see as you walk down the street: a slum on one side and a fenced off property on the other. This is a brilliant documentary in showing how girls in the same city can lead such contrasting lives, and in highlighting just how alarming the gap between the rich and the poor is.

3. To Educate a Girl

To Educate a Girl (Trailer) from Talking Drum Pictures on Vimeo.

These next two documentaries are probably best classed as films, for you won't find them on TV, yet they are equally as important. To Educate a Girl is all about the struggle for girls around the world to be educated and to thus be able to escape the poverty they live in. With the total number of children not in school being two thirds girls, this is a serious problem. Education is the key to ending poverty, to prevailing peace and to eradicating ignorance, yet so many children are denied it. We are constantly trying to find answers to the above problems, but maybe we already have it. Maybe we're not using it effectively enough. Whilst those of us who are privileged constantly moan about our school work, girls in countries like Nepal and Uganda fight to stay in school and overcome the obstacles which prevent them from doing so. Education is a gift, and this is a documentary which perfectly comprehends that all whilst noting that it should be a gift for all.

4. Sister

Sister_Teaser from Brenda Davis on Vimeo.

What's interesting about Sister, and makes it different from all the other documentaries I've shared with you today, is that instead of focusing solely on the issues women encounter, it shows the women who help them overcome their problems. By being the story of health workers in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti, Sister draws attention to the fight to reduce the complications surrounding maternal and newborn death. It's easy to forget that whilst for many of us reading this, we do not see birth as a particularly problematic issue, yet other women are not that lucky. What we take as the normal, to them is a blessing. What we complain about if we don't get, they may well not even be able to ask for it. The world is most definitely not as advanced as we like to believe, but we are lucky enough that women like the ones in this video choose to dedicate their lives to improving it.

If you're interested in how story telling can help raise awareness and help problems such as these, join in with the #ReadersIssues twitter chat led by me, @WeavingPages . The first chat begins October 30th at 7:00pm GMT, and the topic is all on why we need Diverse Books. If you want to know more about the subject, read my post here, or just join in with the chat. Hopefully we'll soon have one all about Women's Issues too. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Reading More

I've constantly heard the phrase "I don't have time to read!" from people in my life. Whether that was at school, or just in the middle of a general conversation, I hear it a lot. Before, I didn't understand it. Now I do. 

Lately, I've found it harder to constantly pick up a book. I'm not sure if it's because my tastes have become more refined, and so I have to LOVE a story to want read it all the time, or if it's simply because I usually have a good amount of homework and revision to do which gets priority. By the time I think of picking up a book or even blogging (that explains the current schedule deviations) I'm tired, and just want some time for myself. As good as wasting half and hour on the internet feels, I want to go back to reading as much as I did before, so here is an Ultimate Guide to Reading More, in the hopes that not only will it get me reading (and reviewing) more, but that it will do the same for you.

1. If you Don't Like it, Ditch it.
Yes, I know, you probably feel guilty. What if it gets really good? What if I miss out? And what about the publisher I'm reviewing it for? Sometimes, the book does get better, I admit. Most times, however, it doesn't. We have to get over that fear of missing out, because there are a lot of brilliant books out there but- as the quote says- there is not a lot of time... If the first 100 pages don't thrill you, the next 200 probably won't either! Especially, if you are wasting energy restraining yourself from wanting to slap the main character. I realise that it's harder to do this when it's a review copy, because the publisher has been kind enough to send it to you! I always feel like I'm letting them down if I DNF a book, yet I remind myself that they are book lovers too. They know it's impossible to like every book you read, so don't waste time on those books that won't get priority on your shelf!

2. Take a Journey.
As fun as it sounds, no, I'm not suggesting you take a spontaneous holiday just to be able to read more. A better idea is to take your book on a spontaneous holiday. I try and take a book with me wherever I go, because you never know just when you might get a spare moment! You might be waiting for someone in the car, have a few minutes before class or maybe you need a break from the world. Guess what? If you constantly have a book with you, there'll be no need to just sit idly and twiddle your thumbs. You'll get to catch up on the next bout of trouble your favourite character is heading towards.

3. Relinquish Everything Electric.
I'm possibly the guiltiest person in terms of doing this. It's just so easy to waste time on Twitter or playing the really addictive game on your phone instead of reading. A good idea is to just turn everything off, and place it somewhere you know you won't be tempted to reach for your laptop. Then make yourself a warm drink, and sit down with your current novel. And yes, an eReader is forgiveable. ;)

4. Before you Snooze.
The easiest thing for me to do to get some more reading time it to pick up a book before bed. It can be hard on days where you're tired or get in late, but when you are just snuggled up in bed, it's the perfect time to read. It doesn't even have to be much: a page or two does the job, and every book lover knows just how many pages "one" is... 

5. Give Yourself a Challenge! 
At times, it's very easy to get in the swing of just reading 'easy' books. You know, ones that don't really require you to strain your brain *that* much. The problem is, that gets boring very quickly, so a good idea is to maybe try something you never have before! A different language? An entire new genre? A hefty classic? There are countless opportunities, and it can be a valuable way to get yourself reading again! 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Mirrors or Windows? 5+ Reasons We Need More Diverse Books

In 1990, Rudine Sims Bishop posted an article called "Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Doors" discussing the way our art forms still remain vastly unrepresentative of out society as a whole. Not really sure how? A study by San Diego University found that 12% of Protagonists in the the 250 top-grossing films of 2014 were women. To make a comparison, women make up 51.9% of the world's population. If you're still not convinced, you should know that out of the 3,500 books analysed by the CCBC in 2014, only 180 were about African/African Americans, 38 about American Indians, 112 about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans and only 66 about Latinos. With a world population of around 7.3 Billion people, those numbers are massively non-representational of our society, and to make it worse, we've been talking about the issue since 1965. Yet 50 years on, we still haven't made a difference. Here are my thoughts, expanding on Bishop's metaphorical use of Mirrors and Windows, about the issue:

A mirror is a satisfying way of coming back to reality; the cold truth is all there in front of you, illustrated in a lustrous panel surrounded by a flimsy frame. It can feel good to look in the mirror, to be able unnaturally prove your existence by staring your reflection in the face and confirming that the rough hair and full lip you can feel actually belong to you. A mirror is familiar. It's tangible, always ready to show you a twin to share the scar which taints the skin just behind your ear, or sibling with the same crooked smile. A mirror is a reminder of who you are.

A window, on the other hand, is not. Made from the same glass, and often just as easily breakable, but it still distorts the image which you see. Sometimes it is faint, with the features blurred out as staring into a murky pool and the colours dampened into muted shades.
Other times, the only thing you can see is what lies on the other side of the window. The sight you observe may be vaguely similar, but the scar has vanished and the smile is dimpled, not crooked. Besides, no matter how you look it through it, you can never see a clear image of yourself. Instead you're forced to keep looking, to keep searching until perhaps you can finally find a mirror of your own.

Some reading this will live in a world of mirrors. Some will live in a world of windows. Regardless, it is the same world; it's just one that fails to provide mirrors for everyone. In it's entirety, this is why we need diverse books. How can we call ourselves a fair society when people are forced to see through windows because of their race, their sexual orientation, their disability? We can't. No matter how much you argue, we do not live in a world that freely accepts all, but we must work towards it.

However, I still can't comprehend the amount of people who refuse to acknowledge that literature is a way forward. They still argue that we don't need more diverse books, for a novel is written for its story. Inevitably, the statistics above show that this is a lie. We do need diverse books, for books must tell all stories. Not just the white ones.
Remember when you were a child, and you read a book with an amazing character who had the same name as you? You would be so happy, and probably find every single similarity between you and them. I know I was like that, especially since my name is not popular in the UK. Yet, I could still find characters who had physical similarities to me; the same colour eyes and hair, the same height and skin colour. I was never at loss for finding someone similar to me. For other kids, as I realise now, they must have struggled ever seeing themselves in a character that way, because there is a severe lack of diversity.

What is essential to our understanding, is that no one pleading for a change refutes the fact personality and goals are just as important; of course you can relate yourself to a character who looks nothing like you. However, when you're eight and you're asked to describe yourself, you don't tend to go past physical features. In fact, in school you are taught to describe the colour of your hair or your eyes before you start noticing the little personality quirks that make you up. No eight year old is going to go on about how they can be very opinionated or extremely enthusiastic. I don't get me started on the fact we even live in a society that teaches girls no matter what they do, they will never be more than the way they look! How can we expect a child to not be affected by this, and to not be impacted when they cannot find anyone who remotely resembles them?

I understand that longing for someone like you. I've never read a book in English about a Portuguese character or even a child who is an immigrant, but I have always wanted to. My problem is lessened as I'm not part of a racial minority, and so I have the privileged of being able to relate to characters in other ways beside my nationality. Those statistics don't affect me in the same way they do to those who are. Though I'm not a fan of idolising people, I can understand how having someone who is similar to you and achieves great things can be an incentive. It's a reminder that you can overcome obstacles, that you can reach your goals. Thus, for a child who looks at the world around them and sees such a small number of examples that someone like them can change the world, just imagine how limited they feel. That's not something any child should feel.

Every reader out there has seen the quote "We read to know we are not alone." (William Nicholson) However, for many people that is not true, because they were simply born part of a minority. Our lack of diverse books means they are still alone, even when they read. If you truly believe in that quote, if you truly believe that literature is an inspiration, an incentive, then you will agree that we need more diverse Books. Essentially, literature represents our current society, as anyone who has had to study English Literature will know. Lets make it so that in a hundred years time or more, Secondary School children aren't writing essays about how the lack of diversity in books reflects how socially primitive we still are. Instead, let them write about how the way we changed our literature helped us evolve.

To learn more, visit the official site of We Need Diverse Books or join in with the #ReadersIssues twitter chat on the 30th October, 7pm GMT. We'll be talking about the need for diversity in Literature, and how it affects readers all around the world.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

FEMINIST FICTION: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Hello Everyone!

As part of Feminist Fiction, my new review category for books with feminist subjects, I'm reviewing 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. The subject: slut-shaming.

22836575Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 21st 2015
No. of Pages: 384

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me. -(Goodreads)
3.5 stars: Page thinks this book was good, but didn't
make him fly.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Poemar by Paula Sousa Ribeiro

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm sharing with you a book of Portuguese poems by a friend of mine, but of course I promise all opinions are my own!

The book is called Poemar by Paula Sousa Ribeiro, and it's described as 'Poems of Play' if you want a literal translation. To describe it better, it's about the discoveries of children, of the world through the eyes of a child and all the joy they can bring.

Most of all, it is very, very lovely. So read on, and put this book on your TBR!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Animal Farm by George Orwell


Quite unexpectedly, I ended up think Animal Farm was a work of absolute brilliance. Actually, I probably shouldn't be that surprised because 1) it's George Orwell and 2) I do have a soft spot for social commentary. In short, if you haven't read this, go read it!

7613Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Series: N/A
Source: School
Publisher: Plum
Published: 1946
No. of Pages: 102

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -(Goodreads)
 5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts
 flying with joy.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Dream Literary Collection

Welcome to my dream literary collection! I was contacted by the website Invaluable, which auctions collectible and antique books amongst other things, to put together books from their site that I'd love to have. Even if you're not looking to buy anything, you must have a look over at their collection. There is a lot of stuff, and I honestly had a great time searching and spotting all the books I knew and loved! So here are the books that I've chosen, but make sure to tell me what you think!

1. 1st Edition of the First Superhero Novelization: “The Adventures of Superman”

I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys things to do with superheroes, and I just think it would be amazing to have a 1st edition of The Adventures of Superman. I've never been big on reading comics, though I do enjoy all the worlds and characters they create, but my Dad loves them and I think this would actually be a brilliant gift!

Do I really have to explain this? What book lover doesn't know Lewis Carrol's story and wouldn't jump to have this gorgeous little book in their hands. Sure it might not be a first edition, but I think the fact it's date back to 1946 and will have belonged to someone or many people at one point makes it a little more magical, and that never hurts!

Okay, so maybe this is cheating slightly because it's not exactly a book, but can still picture it sitting nicely on my bookshelf, so it counts?! Anyway, I realise The Little Prince is a book I need to pick up ASAP, especially since there are a few copies lying around my house- my family is a fan of the story, so I definitely have no idea why I haven't jumped on the band wagon. Maybe this little lithograph could be motivation?

Once again, fairytales!! Not only does this book seem VERY gorgeous, but I've always dreamed of having a huge, antique book bursting with all the stories we've come to know. So what better than one that is from 1911, and illustrated? I would love a chance to take a peek at a book like this!

What books would be in your dream literary collection?

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