Ain’t No HollerBACKLIST

Ain’t No HollerBACKLIST

“Why should [new releases] get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? What’s so great about [new releases]? Hm? [backlist books are] just as cute as [new releases]. [Backlist books are] just as smart as [new releases]. (starts talking quickly) People totally like [backlist] just as much as they like [new releases]. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody, huh? Because that’s not what [bookstagram] is about. We should totally just STAB [new releases]!” – Gretchen Weiners, Mean Girls

Can you tell I am feeling goofy today?

Anyway… let’s talk about some of my favorite backlist titles, friends. πŸ˜‰

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

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Love the idea of a cranky but lovable bookstore owner with a story that will warm your heart? This book is a sip of hot chocolate on a cold day.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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Fantasy at its finest and most unique, this book is the first in a beloved fantasy series that is a huge favorite among bookworms everywhere!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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The fact that Reese Witherspoon is starring in an upcoming adaptation of this book MAY have something to do with the fact that it is at the top of my mind for this list! Family drama that transcends the idea of the “perfect American family” and kicks your heartstrings is in store for you in this read, so buckle up!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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If you are a fan of historical fiction (or even if you aren’t), you NEED to read this book. As a lot of historical fiction novels do, this book takes place during WW2, but the characters (two sisters who are polar opposites) and their coming together and falling apart kept me hooked and wanting to keep exploring.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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With so much constant hype surrounding the TV show, it’s hard to believe that the books the show is based on first hit shelves almost 30 years ago (the first book, Outlander, was published in 1991). Heed this warning, though: If you easily fall in love with hot Scottish gentleman, you WILL become obsessed with Jamie Fraser.

Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

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This book is overlooked FAR too much despite is beautiful prose and heartwarming premise. I highly recommend this book to those who love books about love, but are also not afraid to cry a little (lot) while they read.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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If you’re looking for a story that will unsettle you and creep you the hell out, I highly recommend you give this book a try.

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

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The Bill Hodges trilogy’s gripping and stomach-hurt inducing genesis is one of my favorite books I have ever read. This book isn’t King’s typical “straight up scary horror” type of novel, but it will give you the creeps. Also, if you have been loving the new show The Outsider on HBO, this series is the “prequel” to the novel that The Outsider is based on! You’ll even recognize some familiar characters from the show in this series. If you like thrillers/mysteries/books that make you cringe, pick this book as your next read!

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

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Easily one of my favorite romance novels of all time, this book brings the best of the best when it comes to “teen love gone awry to second chance at love as adults.” I LOVE stories that have “second chance romance” vibes to them so much. Something about the idea of the power of love defying the odds is so cozy and inspiring to me. Love love love this book!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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If you ask me what my favorite book of all time is, I may just end up telling you it’s this one. I credit this book for helping me to fall deeply in love with high fantasy, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Yes, it is longggggg, but TRUST me when I tell you that the journey is so so so SO worth it.

 

As an avid backlist reader, I know there are other favorites I am missing, but I hope that these add just a few more titles to your TBR (which I am SO sure you needed lol…).

What are your favorite backlist titles? Do you try to prioritize reading backlist books or do you mostly stick to new releases?

My Favorite ASMR Rooms for Reading Time

My Favorite ASMR Rooms for Reading Time

Hello, friends!

If you follow me on instagram (@worldswithinpages), you may have seen me raving endlessly over the last two weeks about ASMR rooms and the fact that they have GREATLY improved my reading life. I know so many people on Bookstagram love to have them on in the background while they read, but many people have been messaging me asking me what an ASMR room is, where they can find them, and if I have any favorites. Ask, and ye shall receive!

Let’s start with the basics:

What is an ASMR Room?

If you don’t know what ASMR is, you maybe haven’t spent your life on Youtube over the last couple of years like me. ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is “a feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck, as experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, often a particular sound.” (dictionary.com) I normally don’t have a super crazy reaction to ASMR triggers, but I do find a lot of sounds MEANT to be ASMR triggers very soothing and satisfying (i.e a quill scratching on paper, rain, someone turning pages, etc.).

ASMR rooms capitalize on the “well-being” and cozy feelings associated with standard ASMR videos with the added bonus of having a visual aesthetic that makes you feel like you’re in the room with the sounds you’re hearing. For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, this will make more sense once you dive into the links below!

Where Can I Find ASMR Rooms?

YouTube is my main source for ASMR Rooms. I am sure that there are a few other places you can find them, but I find that YouTube has a great range of ASMR room videos across all sorts of genres and themes!

book open on a bed with a laptop open next to it.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Why I Like ASMR Rooms

One of my favorite things about ASMR rooms is that they allow my brain the background noise it needs to be able to focus on reading versus allowing my brain to “make up noise,” think about other things, or just plain wander. As life keeps getting busier and busier, focusing on reading and my books has been more and more difficult. When I do have the energy to read, I want to make sure I am as focused as possible and really allowing myself and my mind to sink into the story.

My favorite way to enjoy ASMR rooms is in a big cozy chair with blankets, a hot cup of tea, a few lit candles, my book open on my lap, and my TV playing the ASMR room very softly in the background. The videos are also varying lengths of time, so if you wanted to make it a goal to read for 20, 30, 60 mins (etc.), you could use the video as a great “timer” to make sure you’re getting that reading time in!

My Favorite ASMR Rooms

Now for the good stuff! I wanted to compile a few different lists for people across different genres and levels of tolerance to background noise and movement while reading. There are some people (like me) who really don’t like to have a lot of movement happening on the screen or have music playing too loudly over ambient noise. I will note in the description next to the link a “warning” if there is a lot of that happening in the video so, if you think you won’t like that, you can avoid it. If there is no note next to the description, you can assume it doesn’t have those things.

 

Favorite Harry Potter ASMR Rooms:

Harry Potter inspired Ambience – Christmas at 12 Grimmauld PL – Holiday Instrumental Music 1 Hour (Unintelligible talking in the background, minor movement on screen, and soft music)

Waking up in Shell Cottage – Harry Potter Inspired Ambience – Bill & Fleur’s seaside home

Harry Potter Inspired ASMR – Hufflepuff Common Room – Hogwarts Ambience – 1 hour HD Cinemagraphs (very slight, but not distracting, movement on screen)

Beautiful day on Hogwarts Grounds – Great Lake Daytime Ambience – Harry Potter Inspired Soundscape (very slight, but not distracting, movement on screen, unintelligible talking in the background)

Harry Potter Inspired ASMR – Valentine’s at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop – Hogsmeade Ambience (unintelligible talking in the background, slight movement on screen)

Harry Potter Inspired Ambience – Hut on the Rock – 2 Hours Ocean Thunder Storm and Fireplace sounds (movement on screen)

Harry Potter Inspired ASMR – Hogwarts Express train – Ambience and Animation HD 1 hour

Hagrid’s Hut REMAKE – Harry Potter Inspired ASMR – Cozy fireplace, Thunderstorm, Fang and Dragon! (movement on screen)

 

Favorite Lord of the Rings ASMR Rooms:

Gandalf’s Fireworks [ASMR] Lord of the Rings β‹„ Hobbit Ambience The Shire New Year’s Celebration (unintelligible talking in the background, slight movement on screen)

House in The Shire [ASMR] β—Ž Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit β—Ž Fantasy Ambience / Nature sounds (very slight movement on screen)

Rivendell ☽ Night [ASMR] Hobbit & LOTR Ambience β—Ž 2 Scenes Waterfalls Moonlight -Nature Sounds (slight movement on screen)

Fantasy Magical Forest House (ASMR) Nature sounds/Cozy Cabin β€’ The Hobbit/LOTR Ambience (some light music and movement, but not distracting) 

Favorite Games of Thrones ASMR Rooms:

Game of Thrones Inspired ASMR – Cersei’s Chamber – King’s Landing Red Keep 1 hour Ambience (slight movement)

Game Of Thrones Inspired ASMR – Castle Black Ambient Sound White Noise and Animation – wind & fire (very loud wind)

Game of Thrones Music & Ambience | Godswood of Winterfell – Beautiful Relaxing Music and Snowfall (this one is 100% music-based, but only instrumental)

 

Favorite Disney ASMR Rooms:

ASMR – Rapunzel’s Tower (Tangled ambience/soundscape)

ASMR – The Little Mermaid’s Underwater Castle (Atlantica soundscape) – For sleep/meditation (music, but not distracting)

Disney’s Haunted Mansion Yule Log Christmas Fireplace 4K (very very faint background music)

ASMR – Elsa’s Ice Palace (“Frozen” by Disney ambience/soundscape)

 

Favorite Random ASMR Rooms:

Avatar Ambience – Pandora at Night (Bioluminescence, Forest Sounds and Occasional Rain) (movement on screen, but not distracting)

Sherlock Inspired Ambience – 221B Baker St. ASMR | Violin, Fire, London White Noise (some music, instrumental only)

Wood Cabin Ambience | Heavy Snowstorm and Crackling Fireplace Sounds

VAMPIRE’S READING ROOM AMBIENCE: Rain Sounds, Fireplace Sounds, Writing Sounds | ASMR (slight movement on screen)

Graveyard | Ambience | 2 hours (great for if you’re reading a spooky scary book!)

HD Christmas Tree Log Cabin Screensaver Scene – fire crackling sound – Cosy living room Snow falling

The Chronicles of Narnia [ASMR] The Wardrobe Magical Ambience β‹„ Snow and Howling Wind β‹„ Soft music (as it says, soft music)

Coffee Shop Ambience Cozy Rainy Day [ASMR Study & Relax] keyboard typing + Light Rain + people (some screen movement, but it’s not distracting)

 

 

I will plan on making this an ongoing list where I update it if I find something new, but I figure these should keep you busy for quite a bit lol!

I would really love to know if you end up liking and of these as well, so please comment or message me on instagram @worldswithinpages.

Until next time, happy reading! πŸ™‚

Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

After almost a decade after the release of The Night Circus, The Starless Sea, released in early November of this year, was an incredibly highly-anticipated new novel from Erin Morgenstern.

All over Instagram, Goodreads, and anywhere books are talked about, The Starless Sea has been getting rave reviews from people who have been relentless evangelicals for this novel. Because of this hype, I wanted to offer my thoughts in a more in-depth, but spoiler free, review from my perspective.

What I Liked About the Novel:

Overall, I enjoyed my time reading The Starless Sea. It’s incredibly reminiscent of the dreamlike atmosphere Morgenstern created in The Night Circus and kept me guessing, entertained, and captivated by its whimsy.

One thing that I kept comparing this story to, which is not a negative thing, is Alice and Wonderland. The idea that someone falls down a “rabbit hole” of sorts and experiences otherworldly things that they have to figure out along the way is not a “new idea,” but Morgenstern’s execution of this trope was unique. While the setup was familiar, nothing else about the story was. I really loved the setting of this novel which was so book-focused and centered on literature. Despite the high level of adventure, there was comfort and a sense of “home” that made you desperate to visit the underground library/world in which it takes place.

In addition to the overall richness of the story, I was constantly highlighting quotes throughout the entire novel. There were so many hard-hitting (in a good way) nuggets of beautiful prose that resonated with me so fully. Here are a few of my favorites:

“”You’re not wearing shoes.” “I hate shoes.” “Hate is a strong emotion for footwear,” Zachary observes. “Most of my emotions are strong,” Dorian responds.”

“We’re here to wander through other people’s stories, searching for our own. To seeking,” Dorian says, tilting the bottle toward Zachary.”

“No, each one’s different. They have similar elements, though. All stories do, no matter what form they take. Something was, and then something changed. Change is what a story is, after all.”

 

What Did Not Work for Me About the Novel:

The characters in this book are, in my opinion, definitely not the main focus of this story. You hear their stories, follow their perspectives, but the world building of the story and the “once upon a time” setup leaves little room for “who are these characters” and “what motivates them.” While this is something that a lot of readers don’t mind, I find that, especially with fantasy novels, I need to have more character development to be able to really connect with the fantastic themes. Even character physical descriptions would have been nice just to be able to picture them in your mind. Some authors leave out descriptions on purpose so the reader can form them in their minds, so maybe that was a purposeful omission, but I would have liked even small hints.

While I enjoyed the interwoven stories from the magical books featured within the worlds of this story, I felt distracted by the fact that I was required to remember themes, characters, and storylines I was told hundreds of pages ago to be able to connect them to things that were currently happening in the main plot. If you did not remember the importance or finer details of those side stories, you would miss them and quickly become lost. Because I read the book so slowly over a few weeks, I think I shot myself in the foot in this regard. I should have taken notes or added bookmarks with markers of those side stories so I could revisit them when the context popped up later on, but I didn’t and found myself having to flip back and forth for reminders. This hurt my understanding especially when characters in the “now plot” ended up being one or two different characters with one or two different connections in the “side story plots.”

The last thing I felt could have been better executed in this book were the romantic themes. Because this is intended to be a spoiler-free review, I won’t mention whose romance arc I wasn’t convinced of, but for those who have read it, as a hint, it is the romance of those who travel into a wardrobe together (amidst Narnia jokes) and attend a ball. I really wish there would have been a more natural progression of the romance between them so we could see it flower and feel more connected to their love as an observer.

 

Overall Thoughts:

As I mentioned, I did enjoy this story. I do think I could have been a better reader of this book and I feel my slow reading and lack of attentiveness may have contributed to my enjoying it maybe a bit less than others.

For those who like star ratings, I give this novel a  3.5/5 stars with a caveat that “it’s not you… it’s me, The Starless Sea.”

 

 

 

Coping with Bookstagram Frustration

Coping with Bookstagram Frustration

I’m writing this post at a time when my frustration is fresh. In fact, I’m frustrated right now. My engagement over the last two weeks on bookstagram has been incredibly low compared to what it normally is. I’ve tried posting popular books, unpopular books, staged photos, casual photos, indoor photos, outdoor photos… and nothing has performed in my favor. My follower growth has also all but become stagnant and, admittedly, sometimes I really let it get to me.

When times like these come around, and they do fairly frequently, it’s really hard for me to not take it personally. I’ve gotten better at it in my 2 years on bookstagram, but it’s still incredibly easy to fall into that mind vortex of thinking you’ve lost your touch or people no longer care what you post or have to say.

I wanted to write this post for those of you who also struggle with this frustration and as a reminder to myself now and in the future. I am hopeful that this post will help more than just me when the bookstagram frustration sets in. So, here are a few reminders and lessons learned that I hope we can all use as a source of comfort:

This too shall pass.

The truth is that this time of poor engagement will pass. There have been endless cycles of poor engagement to stellar engagement for me. It’s the bookstagram “circle of life.” We can’t pressure ourselves to fight against it because it’s out of our control. Hang tight, the circle is on the upswing, love.

Bookstagram is for fun. Nobody else is judging you.

One thing I’ve been trying to come to terms with is that there is no one out there keeping an eye on how many likes or comments your posts get except you. Nobody is judging you for that post that is totally bombing. It’s frustrating for us, but we’ve all had bad days on bookstagram. We don’t judge you!

Posting what makes you happy is more important than likes.

Me posting a book that made me smile or even just posting book photos that feature my dogs, places I’ve traveled, and yummy food I am eating is fun for me and makes me smile when I look back on the photos after posting. Curating a space that fills me with joy is more important to me than the less than ONE second it takes someone to double click on my photo to pop up that heart icon and add another tic mark to theΒ  number below my photo. This is really hard for me to remember. You want people to care about what you’re posting and find what you are doing entertaining enough to engage and keep following. But imagine that, in 30+ years from now, one of your loved ones (or even your older self) finds your account. What would your account say about you? Is it filled with what you love and does it stay true to who you are? Does it contain memories of the reality of things that were going on in your life? Being able to get a clear picture of YOU during this time in your life is going to mean more than how many likes your posts got.

Book popularity falters and what’s popular changes faster than light.

Trying to keep up with the newest releases and posting the latest books people are talking about is impossible. Like with most things in life, things move fast, especially trends and what’s hot on social media. Staying true to your reading taste and what you want to read is so much easier. Not to mention, it will make you feel more genuine and connecting with your followers and friends will be easier and more natural because they will know exactly who you are!

Being genuine and kind is more important than being popular.

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Life is more meaningful in the land of kindness!

I know a lot of this stuff is kind of easier said than done. Like I said, this is supposed to act as a reminder to you AND to me. But maybe, as we spend more time on this platform, we will get better and better at remembering them, allowing them to become a natural habit and state of mind. We got this!

Do you get frustrated every once in awhile when it comes to social media/bookstagram? What helps you feel more positive? Let me know and I will add it to the list! πŸ™‚

Oh! And don’t forget to follow me on @worldswithinpages on Instagram! πŸ™‚

The Major Do’s and Don’ts of Bookstagram

The Major Do’s and Don’ts of Bookstagram

We’ve all been there, right? Someone on bookstagram does or says something that makes you roll your eyes to the back of your head and say “How did they not know that doing this was a faux pas?! So rude! Ugh!” If I had a dollar for every single time I got that overwhelming feeling, I would have many dollars.

In the grand scheme of things, there are worse things going on in the world than people doing or saying relatively harmless things on bookstagram. Truly, it’s just an app that features “fake” realities. However, because I spend so much time on bookstagram, as a lot of us do, I feel like we owe it to one another to be honest about the things we are saying behind closed doors about things within the community that just aren’t working and that drive us BONKERS (and in some cases, drive us to quit the app all together).

With that in mind, I wanted to put together a list of a few Do’s and Don’ts that I personally adhere to and I would hope that others would adhere to as well so that we can all live in bookish harmony and happiness. As a disclaimer, doing or not doing any of these things doesn’t make you a bad person, these are all just topics we can use to start a discussion about how we interact with one another on the bookstagram platform.

Let’s start with the Do’s!

Do…

  • Treat people on the platform how you would treat a stranger standing in front of you. Would you ask intrusive, overly personal questions to someone you just happened to run into on the sidewalk? Hopefully not. Even though we internet folks share a lot of our lives with you, that doesn’t mean that you have unlimited access to poke and prod at us like science experiments. Basically, don’t make this weird by asking really personal questions to people you don’t know and who do not know you!
  • Make time to support other creators. It’s hard to look away from your own content sometimes to take a step back, scroll through your feed/stories, and interact with others. But supporting other people by commenting, liking, and replying to stories in a genuine way is what makes an online community a COMMUNITY. Sure, you answer comments on your own posts and reply to DM’s, but that isn’t the same as giving other people “snaps” for the hard work they are putting into their content.
  • Read what brings you joy. It can be easy to fall into the hurricane of wanting to read what everyone else is reading and posting about. But for me, personally, I find more joy in reading whatever I want based on my own personal moods and interests. It also shows in my content when I feel passionate about a book/genre and when I don’t. People can tell when you’re not being genuine about a book and that usually hurts you more than not reading the hottest and latest titles. Trust me!
  • Follow people whose feeds and lives don’t look like yours. There is more strength in the community you build if it is dedicated to being a diverse platform of incredible people who can learn from and support one another versus a totally monotone grouping of people.
  • Tag authors and publishers in reviews of books you loved! It seems like an easy and no-brainer thing to do, but I can’t tell you how many times an author has thanked me for a positive review on my feed. It means more to them than you know!
  • Feel free to reach out to people, regardless of following size, and tell them you appreciate their work/love their feed, want to talk about a book they read that you also loved, or to share something with them that made you think of them. A lot of people feel intimidated by people with large followings, but they are just people who love talking about books, just like you. Starting conversations can be awkward, but the friendships you form because of the awkwardness are so worth it!

And now, for a list of the Don’ts… buckle up people, it’s a long one!

Don’t…

  • Message someone asking them something you are physically capable of finding the answer for on Google/Goodreads/etc. I know that it’s super easy just to ask someone for an answer to something. It’s less work for you to do so, I assume. But there is so much information out there already available to you for free. If you’re already great friends with the person you’re asking OR if you are truly incapable of Googling it yourself, I totally understand. However, for those of us privileged enough to be able to do our own research, stretch those Google muscles and do it up!
  • A few examples of these types of questions (which I have received multiples times each) are:
    • “Hey, is that book a part of a series?”
  • Message someone with spoilers for a book they haven’t even started yet OR tell them “oh my gosh I hated that book/it was so bad/it’s garbage.” People get really excited about the books they want to read and/or just bought and it can be really disheartening to have someone barge in and say negative things about it before you even have the chance to form your own opinion. Once they have read it, sure, feel free to discuss if the person you are messaging is willing. But don’t be mean and make someone feel disappointed about something they were excited for.
  • Ask for shout outs. Oh my goodness, just please don’t do it. It’s never going to go over well and you will look greedy and like a follower leech. Just. Don’t. Do it.
  • Ask someone to send you free books (even if you offer to pay for shipping). Again, treat people on the internet like strangers. Would you ask a stranger on a bus to give you something of theirs they had in their hands for free? Probably (hopefully) not! Again, if you have a good relationship with that person, they may be more open to it and probably won’t take it poorly, but be respectful of the fact that people may not be willing to give their book away (and that is okay).
  • Steal other people’s photos or photo ideas without their consent. It’s hard to take TRULY original photos of books (I mean, how many books and coffee mug pictures are out there?! I have at least 57 on my own feed lol). But, it’s not okay to totally ripoff someone’s work without prior permission OR without recreating it to be totally your own and tagging them to let them know they inspired you. Just be kind and respectful!
  • Get discouraged on bad engagement days. They’re tough. They make you question yourself and your platform’s worth like no other. But those days will come and go in a cyclical fashion and no matter what, you can’t always win. There’s no way to guarantee that every post you make is going to absolutely kill it. We are not Beyonce, we are going to have bad days on instagram and they will pass. And then they will come back… and then they will pass… and then they will come back… and then they…

 

All of these Do’s and Don’ts are, of course, my opinions, but I think that I speak for a lot of us on most of these. This platform is “what we make it, so let’s make it rock!” – Hannah Montana.

What are some of your Do’s and Don’ts? Do you have any you agree with or disagree with me about? Let me know!

In the meantime, feel free to follow me on instagram @worldswithinpages… but make sure you ACT RIGHT, OKAY??? NO NONSENSE!!!!! πŸ˜‰