Cait's Favourite Series in 2014

by Cait

I'm notorious for forgetting to read series. I GET DISTRACTED. One book should lead to another, but for me....one book usually leads to an entirely different genre. (Who reads epic fantasy and then craves superheroes? Just me? Well, okay then.)

But for the latter half of 2014, I did make a vague attempt to get onboard with more series. I didn't finish all of them, but I chewed hard!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (I read 4 books)

It feels like I've been reading these books forever, but I only read Throne of Glass (book 1) in January! Sarah J Maas is BY FAR my favourite author of 2014. Of all the glorious things I've read, she's the most extraordinarily talented at breaking my soul.

It's okay. I didn't like to feel happy anyway.

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (I read 3 books)

I had a rough start with these ones, with Shatter Me only getting 3-stars. But the next two books were absolutely brilliant! SUPER POWERS. And they're funny. I'm a sucker for hilarity. Also I might be partially in love with the covers.

3. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (I read 2 books)
I have the 3rd book sitting on my bookshelf and hopefully I'll read it before 2014 melts away. But I was on severe Maggie Stiefvater withdrawal and pining after her previous books (The Scorpio Races and The Wolves of Mercy Falls) and suddenly -- HUZZAH -- I realised the Raven Cycle books existed.

Immediately my heart was stolen.

I love these characters so much that I've gotten myself into a passion of fangirling and am too scared to read the 3rd book. I have problems.

4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (I read 6 books!!)

I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Not only did I stick with a series, I picked a super large one to get stuck to! The last book (City of Heavenly Fire) is over 700 pages long. And did I ever consider quitting and wandering away? NO. I even own 5 of them, though owning books is not my forte either.

I absolutely adored reading these. The adventures were phenomenal and the plot twists keep me on my toes. I found my OTP (Simon and Isabelle!) and I secretly want to be a Shadowhunter. Although I would need more naps. No one seems to sleep in this series.

I want to hear about your favourite series this year! (They don't have to have been published in 2014...just whatever you were devouring.) GO GO GO!


Christmas Made From Books

by Cait

Since it's nearly Christmas and the geese are getting fat (maybe? If you eat geese?), I think it's time to drool over some glorious book-themed Christmas decorations. We all know our inner-bookworms like to be expressed (we blog after all!), so why not decorate our houses in the Way of the Bookworm! Huzzah!

Note: Um, my house is not particularly decorated in the Way of the Bookworm because I'm lazy and haven't gotten around to making anything. But I have good intentions. Marvellous intentions, actually.

Bookish Christmas Decorations
I have to admit I like this bookish tree. Although it looks a little like a lampshade.

Or how about a tree made entirely of books?! I could totally do this with my bookshelf...

This would make me really pleased! BOOK DECORATIONS FOR THE TREE.

HOW AMAZING ARE THESE?! It would be that hard to make either...provided one had enough glue to sink a small battleship.

I. need. to. make. these. Origami is my favourite. Can you imagine a Christmas tree totally hung with these?

OKAY THIS IS A BIT INSANE. And not really Christmasy I admit, but it's a chess board made from paper. Oh. my. GOSH.

Look! It could be Mockingjay! How awesome would this look on your wall?!

Let's face it. These Harry Potter and Golden Snitch baubles win the internet. THEY ARE AMAZING AND AWESOME.

which is your favourite?! do you have any book-themed Christmas decorations at your house right this season?!


Tales From The Bookshop

Four weeks ago, I worked my first 1-5 shift at an Oxfam bookshop. And it was awesome. Since then, I've been back every week to sell books, climb shelves, and be utterly bemused at obscure pricing systems. And occasionally get startled by the scary noises the till makes when you leave it open for too long.

Everybody's got their stories about working in retail, I know, but I'd like to take a moment to share some of my favourite book-related stories from behind the till with you all. Enjoy!


One Man And His Clock
 For weeks, we'd been shuffling this big, fat book about the workings and mechanics of clocks through the ages around the shop. It had sat on display for a while, but as things were rotated around mid-week to make way for the Remembrance Day display, it ended up perched precariously on the edge of one of the smaller tables toward the back of the room. 

Then, quite suddenly, an older gentleman comes in . . . and his face lit up like he's swallowed a lighbulb factory.

Over the till, he told my fellow shopfront minion and I that he'd been hunting for exactly a book of this sort for weeks, as he'd inherited a very old medieval-style clock from a friend of his, and had been looking for restoration guides like this for weeks.

Still not sure if I'm more impressed or surprised by the whole incident.

Standing Up For Captain Underpants
The standard procedure in our particular shop is that all Childrens' books are 3 for 2 - just as well,
seeing that that particular section of the shop is huge (and prone to falling over, and neccessitating that I wiggle about on my tummy fishing them out from under the shelf).

One week, a mother comes in with two boys. The older one heads into the history section, and the smaller boy - about ten, I think - heads in to pick some books from the Childrens' shelf.

He picks out, as you might expect, three books chronicling the adventures of Captain Underpants. Scatological humour galore, comic-strip illustrations, what kid wouldn't love it?

Sadly, mum looks a little less than impressed, and shoots my companion and I a look over the till, rolling her eyes as if to say "kids, right? I'm sure you two cultured young women would be disgusted by this dribble, what what?"

Imagine her surprise when my friend lets out a squeak and cries "Captain Underpants! Oh my gosh, I loved these books, they're brilliant!"

Cue some effusive chatter between her and the young man in question, while Mum gawps in stunned silence, and I try very hard not to cackle in her face.

Map To Nowhere
As with any smallish bookshop, we end up with a lot of local curiosity items donated by folks clearing out their attics and childrens' rooms. And here in Exeter, we seem to get a lot of maps.

Luckily, there are also plenty of enthusiasts in the area who come out of the woodwork to clean us out of them on a fairly regular basis. One afternoon, a man planning an expedition across Dartmoor and the surrounding area comes in and buys up a large selection of old-but-functional moor maps. I notice he's got another one tucked under his arm, that he seems to be holding back on, so while my friend is scanning the rest through our antiquated system, I ask him if there's an issue with it.

"Well, yes," he said. "Not your fault at all, but this one seems to be a little . . . wrong. Not sure if you'll want to keep it on display, someone might get the wrong idea."

Bemused, I invite him to spread it out on the till and explain. He points out the following:

One - it's not a map of anywhere in England, despite its cover disclaiming it as one of a collection of maps of the South-West.

Two - it's old. Really, really old. As in, nearly falling apart to the touch.

Three - none of us have a clue where, or when, or what the blazes this map is supposed to be disclaiming. There are towns, yes, but they're only tiny little dots with no details for roads or points of local interest. The roads aren't labelled either. Or anything else for that matter.

We took the map around the back and left a note to send it off and get it looked at. Because, if we've found an actual road-map of rural Mongolia, or some place in Middle Earth, someone really ought to know about it.

Anybody else got any stories from working in bookshops, or even just entertaining things you've seen or found there? Leave a comment, and let me know!