In this video I talk about why I finish most books I start! Let me know whether you have the same compulsion or if you quit early on if you’re not feeling it.
This week is a ‘Fandom Freebie’, which means you make up your own title and theme. Trouble is, I don’t think I’ve been properly been in a fandom for years! I never really ‘got’ tumblr, and I have far too many varied interests to properly dedicate myself to any one fandom. However, this wasn’t always the case, and there are plenty of fandoms I’m on the periphery of! So without any further ado…
Top Ten Fandoms I’ve Been In (Sort Of)
1. Before the word “fandom” was a twinkle in the internet’s eye, I was a massive fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I spent hours on forums discussing episodes and telling Riley fans that they were wrong. I acquired a Buffy bag, t-shirt, pen, chess set, and a massive collection of tie-in novels. When I first met my best friend, we bonded over our love of the Tales of the Slayer short story collections and the idea that the slayer could be any girl anywhere throughout history.
2. Around the same time, I was kind of pushed into Dragonriders of Pern fandom by my best friend at school, after she discovered an RPG set in the world of the series. Yeah, I read the books so I could join an RPG, what of it? The Pern books, in retrospect, are extremely problematic and full of plot holes, but they’ll always have a place in my heart because of the dragons. I roleplayed on various Pern forums (and in other worlds – I used to DM a Buffy RPG) for about four years, finally quitting when I decided I’d had enough of writing in someone else’s world. Since then, I haven’t even written any fanfic, with one notable exception:
3. I started writing a Skins fanfic years ago and never finished it. Yes, Skins. I wasn’t generally a fan of Skins, but I loved series five. It is the best, most underrated series, in other words, the only one I actually liked! Series five had me spending hours in the Skinsfans Livejournal community, and even writing (half of) my only fanfic! Series six is the reason why I never finished it. In fact, I never finished watching series six. I still have a lot of rage about this show and the way it threw all our hopes in the bin…
4. On the subject of Livejournal, I used to be in the Pushing Daisies community, but my favourite posts were the fashion ones. Chuck basically revolutionised my wardrobe – I loved her clothes so much that I wanted to copy them, and that’s how I ended up with a collection of brightly-coloured vintage-styled dresses and big hats. It’s got to the point that I actually forgot that Chuck started it all until I saw someone else mention that she’d inspired them, and I thought back and realised that Pushing Daisies is where my style started.
5. On the subject of clothes, you could kind of say that I am in the fandom for the clothing company Emily and Fin. I own a lot of their dresses and I’m in a Facebook group that is officially a “swap and sell” group, but I have never actually swapped or sold anything there! It’s not just for sales and trades, it’s also for fangirling over new releases and sharing outfit photos during themed “Emily and Fin Week”s.
6. About five years ago I was really into the indie makeup world. I spent a lot of time looking at other people’s collections on the internet, sharing tips, and shopping from tiny companies in the USA. Alas, soon my collection got so large I decided to start cutting it down, and I stopped following indie makeup blogs and participating in forums to avoid temptation.
7. Back to TV, when I was in my early teens, I used to watch a programme called As If on Channel 4 on Saturday mornings. It was a British TV show following a group of teenagers at college, but it was at least as unrealistic as its US equivalents because most of them lived in flatshares rather than with their parents! AT 16! IN LONDON! Anyway, despite the rampant inaccuracies, I loved this show, and years later I was thrilled to find a message board devoted to it. I quickly learnt that it was never destined for DVD because all the music rights would be too expensive. If it was made now, they’d probably just replace all the music like they did with Skins, but it was so old by the time DVD became a thing that the C4 execs thought it wouldn’t be worth it. Anyway, we all just moped around on the board complaining about not being able to rewatch it, until one day someone from the Spanish As If fandom came to our board and told us that As If was still being repeated on Spanish TV, and someone had put it on YouTube! I was over there like a shot. ¡Muchas gracias, los aficionados As If español! (And apologies for my mangling of your language)
8. Harry Potter fandom is such a massive thing I’m never sure if I can describe myself as part of it. I love the Harry Potter books and films and I own several pieces of jewellery inspired by them. Every time I see photos from the Studio Tour I start to feel absolutely desperate to go again. But I don’t follow any podcasts about it (yet) and I’ve never read much fanfic or been to a specific fan convention or meetup. Still, just knowing that community is out there is amazing, and whenever I dip a toe in I’m overwhelmed by all the love. It’s definitely my favourite fandom.
9. I have enjoyed the few comics and graphic novels I’ve read, but I am glad I’m not properly in the comics fandom! I like hearing about it from the outside (my partner is a massive Spider-Fan) but there are so many controversies that it sounds a little overwhelming.
10. As a book blogger/tuber that mostly covers YA, I’m definitely in the general YA literature fandom, but as someone who isn’t a massive fantasy fan, I feel like I’m a bit on the sidelines. I like fantasy, but contemporary YA is my favourite genre, and that just doesn’t seem to have so much of a community – and there’s far less cool merch!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever considered yourself to be part of any of these fandoms, what your favourite fandom is, and if you’ve participated in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.
Watch to find out why I love fairytale retellings, in this sequel to Why I Love…Libraries! Sorry about the framing in this one, I was playing with lighting and sat a bit closer than normal and slightly over to one side!
I was planning to make this ‘Top Ten Books I Read in One Sitting’, but truth be told, I don’t read a lot of books in one sitting – even very short books tend to be split over a couple of days, just because I almost always have something else to do!
Instead I decided to recommend some books that you could, if you were so inclined, devour in one go. Find a comfy seat and a spare couple of hours, and all these literary worlds will be your oyster.
Top Ten Books to Read in One Sitting
1. Giant Days Vol. 1 (written by John Allison, illustrated by Lissa Treiman with colours by Whitney Cogar) is a very cute, slice-of-university-life graphic novel that will appeal to YA fans. My partner gave it to me as a birthday present and I read it over a couple of breakfasts (very carefully – I hate splattering cereal on my books!).
2. Why not pick up a slice of YA history? Fifteen, by Beverley Clearly, published in the 1950s, follows Jane Purdy’s first romance with a boy called Stan. It’s all very sweet and innocent and it seems quite basic and simplified compared to modern YA, but it’s worth reading for the historical value and to see what dating was like for teenagers in the Fifties. Plus, it’s a really quick read!
3. Another slice of YA history is S.E Hinton’s Rumble Fish, published in the 1970s, but it’s the total opposite of Fifteen. I actually did read this one in one sitting – the narration is really interesting and I couldn’t put it down. The protagonist, Rusty-James, meets an old friend, which starts him off remembering events that he normally pushes to the back of his mind. We slowly learn about how they used to hang around together, getting into fights and idolising the mysterious Motorcycle Boy.
4. Girl Meets Boy, by Ali Smith is a charming little novel, a retelling of the Iphis myth. It follows two sisters, Andrea and Imogen, who are very different…and if I tell you any more, I think I’ll spoil it for you!
5. Babylon Revisited, by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those dinky Penguin Mini Modern Classics. I had mixed feeling about the stories – they were clever and all, but each of them seemed to have one paragraph that was a bit convoluted. Nonetheless, it was a great way to try a new author.
6. All My Friends Are Superheroes, by Andrew Kaufman, is one of my favourite books and is the perfect length to read in a single sitting. It’s about a man called Tom whose wife, The Perfectionist, is a superhero. On their wedding day, Perf’s ex, Hypno, hypnotises her so that she can’t see Tom. She thinks he’s left her, and, brokenhearted, is planning to move away. Tom needs to make her see him before time runs out.
7. If you’d like to read a full-length classic, try Bonjour Tristesse, by Françoise Sagan, which is about a spoiled, careless young woman who decides to break up her father’s new relationship. It’s a very short, dramatic novel.
8. The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, is another quick graphic novel, this one is meant for a teen audience and follows a group of girls, all called Jane, who create public artworks around their home town.
9. Yesterday morning I was in the mood to read something quick, so I grabbed The Starling Tree, by Julia Clarke, which is a short novel about a girl called Fawn with more worries than anything else. Her family is very poor (her mum works as a cleaner) and her brother has fallen in with the bad kids at school. She desperately wants to get out, but her troubles threaten to block her path.
10. Finally, another piece of classic YA, this time from this side of the pond: French Letters: The Life and Loves of Miss Maxine Harrison, by Eileen Fairweather. Told via letters from Maxine to her best friend Jean, this is the absolutely hilarious story of an ordinary North London girl who gets a French penpal she desperately wants to impress.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve enjoyed any of these books, and if you’ve participated in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.