Books I want to re-read and annotate

I’ve always been a little unsure about the idea of annotating books until I did it to a couple of books last year and actually really enjoyed it. So I think I’m going to make that something I do more in the future but personally I think I will only do it for books I am re-reading as I know I love them and will want to keep them and there will be no danger of me having to get rid of books that have been written in. Therefore here is my list of books I want to re-read and annotate/tab:

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The hunger games by Suzanne Collin

I first read this book when I was about 12 and was completely obsessed with them however I DNF’d the last book in the series so therefore I want to re-read the first 2 and finish the last one so I can fully appreciate them. I don’t know if this series will live up to my memories of it but nevertheless, I think that I will enjoy the nostalgia of reading these again.  

 

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Under rose-tainted skies by Louise Gornall

This is a very recent read for me, it was my last read of 2018 and quickly made its way into my top 10 reads of the year. I did tab parts of this book as I was reading it, however, I didn’t annotate it the first time around and now I really want to. This book deals with mental health and self-harm which I feel were accurately represented in a way that I would have explained it myself and so this book means a lot to me which is why I would love to annotate it someday. I personally don’t struggle with OCD or agoraphobia like the main character but it gave me a deeper understanding of what that is like however I obviously can’t speak for the accuracy of their portrayal.

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The fault in our stars by John Green

This book is obviously iconic for many reasons and a lot of people love it which is the main reason I want to re-read it {again} as well as annotate it. I have previously re-read this book twice however both times were pretty soon after reading it for the first time and I haven’t read it again since probably 2013 and I would just love to experience this story again and see if I still love it. For me, I think I would consider this book game-changing to my reading along with the hunger games as these were the first books I picked up of my own accord in a long time so for that they hold a special place in my heart.

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The afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand {also A Christmas carol}

A Christmas carol is one of my favourite books of all time, it was one I had to read for school but I thoroughly enjoyed it so I want to make an effort to read both of these books every December. Holly Chase is a modernised retelling of the original story that I love so upon reading this for the first time I knew it would be one I would have to revisit in the future, again I tabbed this one but didn’t annotate it so come this December I will be sure to do that.

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The night circus by Erin Morgenstern

I’m currently in the middle of re-reading and annotating this one but I thought I’d include it anyway. This one I read via ebook the first time and only recently got a  physical copy that I wanted to annotate. The first copy I had was kinda gross. I absolutely loved this book and I think annotating it will enhance my experience and make me love it even more. I feel like I could consider this book pivotal to my reading as I think this was one of the first adult books I had read and thoroughly enjoyed it and have been more inclined to pick up more like this since.

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Wonder by R.L. Palacio

This is another meaningful book to me as someone with a physical disability {obviously nowhere near comparable to August but the message is the same}. I read this book before I had had an experience with tabbing my books but I feel that if I had there would be loads of passages that I would want to make notes on. This book also made my top 10 of 2018 and also the movie is great I sobbed so hard.

 

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A darker shade of magic by V.E. Schwab

This whole series were some of my favourite reads of last year, in fact, the third book was my number 1 favourite of the year so its safe to say I love this trilogy and these characters which is the main reason I want to re-read and annotate them. I did tab these ones but I don’t feel that does it justice to express my love for these books and Lila Bard. There is so much about these that I love and again I believe these are classed as an adult book so again it was a good transitional book from YA to adult as well as allowing me to discover one of my favourite authors.

I am currently trying to participate in re-readathon but haven’t actually finished anything yet so might have to try and get through these another time but it will happen at some point this year.

What books do you want to make an effort to re-read?

Chloe x

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February wrap up

Overall statistics  

Amount – 10

Pages – 4079

Pages per day – 146

Ratings – 3 5 stars, 4 4.5 stars, 2 4 stars and 1 3 star

Age range – 7 Children, 2 YA and 1 Adult

Format – 7 paperbacks and 3 audiobooks

Genre – 7 fantasy 3 fiction and 1 thriller

Books acquired – 10

Books read

George by Alex Gino

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So I picked this audiobook up on a whim as I had heard people mention it and ended up absolutely loving it, this book follows the story of George (Melissa) a transgender girl who wants to play Charlotte in the school’s production of Charlotte’s web. I’m not too well versed in reading middle grade but it’s definitely something I would like to read more of especially stories like this one, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and think it is an important story for children to read as it explains the thoughts and feeling of a trans child in a way that is easy for children to make sense of for example Gino uses she/her pronouns throughout the entire book. It was great to see how George’s best friend and family were so supportive of her which made for very heartwarming read and will be easily relatable to children in a similar situation, definitely, one I would recommend no matter your age.

Rating 4.5/5 stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone by J.K. Rowling

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I have been wanting to read the Harry Potter series since I started reading again last year as I never finished it as a child and finally decided to pick it up this month and wasn’t disappointed. I read the first 4 books as a child but never continued so this although technically was a reread I had forgotten most of the details of this book and so enjoyed diving into the world of Harry Potter and experience the magic of Hogwarts. Hufflepuff pride!

Rating 5/5 stars

In an absent dream by Seanan McGuire

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This is the 4th book in the Wayward children series which has been somewhat hit or miss for me but this one I did enjoy much more than the previous one. This follows the character of Lundy and we see her backstory and the world in which she travelled to known as the Goblin market which is a world full of logic and rules. As a person who very much enjoys logic and reason, this story was more relatable to me than any of the previous ones so I enjoyed it for that factor and this world made sense to me and I believe had an important commentary on social issues such as the class divide.  Overall a quick and whimsical read will be continuing with this series when the next book is published.

Rating 4.5/5 stars

You by Caroline Kepnes

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This book follows our main character Joe who works at a local bookstore but becomes obsessed with a woman called Beck and takes it upon himself to stalk her and we see the chaos that is their relationship throughout the course of the novel. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now and since the tv show came out recently it has been pushing me to pick this one up. Going in I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and wasn’t sure how I’d mesh with the writing style as it is told in the second person which is something I’ve never seen before however, in my opinion, the writing added to the atmosphere of the novel and made it even more addictive. I found this story super compelling and strangely relatable (not sure what that says about me) but nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it may have even made its way on to my list of all-time favourites, now to watch the tv show!

Rating 5/5 stars

Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets by J.K. Rowling

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It didn’t take me long to pick up the second book, I ordered it immediately after I finished the first one and couldn’t wait to dive back in. The story picks up right where the first book left off and adds to the magic of the first book, again this was a reread for me but I could only remember the main plot point of the story so it was nice to go back and catch the finer details that I think I missed as a child. I have always said that this book was my favourite in the series which seems to be an unpopular opinion but I still stand by this as of right now, will update when i finish the series.

Rating 5/5 stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

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Jumped straight into the third book and was slightly apprehensive as I didn’t enjoy this one the first time around and still felt that somewhere in the middle it dragged a little bit but the ending definitely made up for that and overall really enjoyed it. I feel like there isn’t much to say regarding the 3rd book that I haven’t already said about the others I still have the overwhelming sense of excitement and enjoyment reading these books.

Rating 4.5/5 stars

It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini

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I’ve been meaning to read this book for years now even before I got back into reading again and overall I did enjoy the story, I found there to be a few aspects of the book that were quite outdated such as the language used could have been seen as insensitive however this book was written over 10 years ago so it can’t really be criticized for this. This book tells the story of a teen called Craig who admits himself into a psychiatric ward after suicidal thoughts caused by the pressures of school and the others he meets along his journey to recovery. It was interesting to see how life would have been in a psychiatric ward as I myself have no experience with this, especially from an own voices author who also spent 5 days in one. I do see how this book could be triggering for some people to read so I would say to go into it cautiously but if you think you can handle the subject matter its definitely a worthwhile read.

Rating 4/5 stars

Harry Potter and the Goble of fire by J.K. Rowling

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Found this one to be a little slow at the beginning with the Quidditch world cup which I wasn’t really interested in but once we got past that part I did start to enjoy the story much more, especially the Triwizard Tournament. This aspect of the book had me very engaged and the ending even had me tearing up and i’m not normally a crier when it comes to books.

Rating 4.5/5 stars

My sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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I picked this book on audiobook so I had something to read on the way to and from work and found it to be a very fast read, the pacing was quick and the story was engaging. A story about two sisters, one of whom is a serial killer and the other clears up the mess. I found the relationship between the two sisters very interesting and it was nice to read a story set in a country different from my own, Nigeria. Even though this isn’t something I would normally read I feel this book does deserve the hype that it has been receiving all over social media.

Rating 3/5 stars

Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

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If I’m being completely honest this was probably my least favourite of the series so far, Harry’s attitude throughout this one kind of annoyed me and I thought it could have been cut down a little. 800 pages is quite a lot but having the audiobook did help me get through it a bit faster. Despite this, I did still enjoy it and felt sorry for Ron throughout most of the story, he’s definitely my favourite!

Rating 4/5 stars

Books acquired

George by Alex Gino

You by Caroline Kepnes

Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets by L.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by L.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire by L.K. Rowling

In an absent dream by Seanan McGuire

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell  

Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix by L.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the half-blood prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by J.K. Rowling

Overall thoughts

February was a really good reading month for me as I read way more books than I normally do in an average month and they were all books I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m really glad I decided to finally finish the Harry Potter series after so many years and can say I am truly hooked and will be finishing the series in March {why did I pick the shortest month of the year to attempt to read the whole thing}. My favourite book of the month would have to be either You or Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets.

School as a visually impaired person

20181116_221646As you may know this summer I finished my A-levels meaning that I am finally finished with compulsory education and so I thought now would be a good time to share my experience going through the school system with a visual impairment. I wanted to write this to address some of the challenges I faced throughout my education in terms of my sight but also the positives because the majority of teachers etc were more than willing to help me along the way.

Since my visual impairment is not severe (i have no sight in my right eye) I have always attended mainstream school and was just given extra support as and when I needed it. I feel that the best way to explain this is to talk separately about primary and secondary education and finally sixth form.

Primary

During primary school was when my eyesight was at its least stable and so naturally I received the most support during my first 3 or 4 years at primary school. From an early age i remember having a teacher of the visually impaired who would visit me in school mainly to check if the teacher was doing everything they were expected to so that I could thrive in the classroom e.g. sitting me near the front, printing things in a larger front and having my own worksheets/textbooks, it was obviously much easier to eliminate issues I had in primary school as everyone knew me and only having one teacher per clasd allowed me to communicate to them the support I needed. Overall my time in primary school was highly positive and thankfully I never encountered any bullying throughout my whole school journey.

Secondary

Secondary school is a difficult time for most people and was no different for me, thankfully the school I went to had s great special educational needs (SEN) facility and great SEN teachers who I could go to for support. I would still have the occasional visit from the teacher of the visually impaired who would come in just to check how I was doing and if I had any issues but this became less frequent due to the combination of being expected to be independent and the SEN facilities that we already had in school. It did become more difficult because I had so many teachers for different subjects that I had to explain to them all what they needed to do for me, as you can imagine some subjects such as science or P.E. were more challenging to me. Thankfully most of these teachers understood and were more than happy to accommodate to my needs, obviously, there were a few e.g. my science teacher in year 10 who would refuse to do the required things to help me which did knock my confidence in asking for support when I needed it. A lot of the friends I had in secondary school were those who I’d been around in primary school so they all knew about my sight so making friends because of my disability wasn’t too much of a problem for me which I am grateful for, I also appreciate the people who I would sit next to in lessons and would kindly read things out for me if i was struggling so shoutout to any of you reading this. 😂

Sixth form

So although my secondary school did have a sixth form I decided to move to another school to complete my A-levels which is where this gets interesting. So as I moved school you would expect that i would have a conversation with them about my needs and see the facilities/ support that they have but that was not the case. To my knowledge, I don’t think there was anything similar to my secondary school which was an area dedicated to SEN students or those who just needed extra support for whatever reason and I never even met their equivalent of the SEN teacher. This led to me (and others) noticing that at this school there was a completely different attitude towards disabled students and they would just be completely overlooked and wouldn’t be listened to. This is not to say that my experience was completely horrific I still spoke to my teachers individually and made them aware of my disability so that they could support me, I never needed anything major, usually it was just a print out of the powerpoint for each lesson because the technology at that school was so old that it made it difficult for me to see the screens. There were 2 out of my 6 teachers who did this every lesson without fail and I am absolutely grateful for both of them because it made my time so much easier. I didn’t expect them to remember every single day but to feel like an inconvenience to them i believe was somewhat unfair. Despite A-levels being the hardest two years of my life I still made it through with decent grades so to anyone who is struggling with a disability or not you are good enough and don’t let anything stop you!

Since finished my education I have gone straight into a part-time job which needless to say I was nervous for regardless of my disability but I can honestly say I haven’t experienced any problems or prejudice since starting there which is the best thing I could ask for 😊.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to ask any questions ❤

Chloe x

Can you take your eye out?

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Can you take your eye out? A question I was asked multiple times throughout school, Why? Because I wear a prosthetic eye to cover my right eye as well as boost my confidence and have done for about 8 years. I wanted to make this to increase awareness of disabilities generally and as sight loss is something that has affected many people in my family I thought this would be a good place to start.

The story of my eyesight

As a baby, my parents were told that initially I had cataracts which affects 4 in every 10 babies in the UK but it’s easily treated by removing the lens of the eye that is causing a person’s vision to be cloudy. Shortly after it was discovered that I also had primary congenital glaucoma which is a rare form of glaucoma that only affects 1 in every 10000 babies. This is where the problems started to occur, glaucoma is generally caused due to a build-up fluid in the front of the eye which eventually increases pressure within the eye. In an attempt to treat glaucoma I underwent surgery that involved putting drainage tubes inside my eyes to assist the natural drainage of fluid from the eye that was causing the pressure build up.

This was successful until I reached about 4 years old, the tubes in my left eye were highly successful however this was not the case for my right eye and so the pressure continued to build up causing damage to the optic nerve and eventually, led to the deterioration of my sight leaving me completely blind in my right eye.

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My prosthetic eye

This has resulted in my eye appearing much smaller, blue in colour, cloudy and without a pupil, therefore, this is the reason I now wear a prosthetic eye and have done since late 2009. When I was six years old I had my first prosthetic eye made, the process of doing so involves a thick liquid being squeezed into my eye to create a mold for the eye, A clear shell would then be put into my eye so  the ocularist can determine where the pupil of your eye would be by comparing it to my sighted left eye, Generally they would then take a photo of my left eye to match the colouration and hand paint it onto the shell. It usually takes a few weeks to make and unfortunately, i have to travel to Moorfields eye hospital in London from Sheffield to get it made and collect it. Moorfields was definitely a huge help during the first few years of my life and are still today, I hate to think how much worse my sight would have been without them. Finally, they would fit the eye and polish of shape any parts that feel uncomfortable, for me personally I have to thin the top right of the shell as I have scar tissue there from past operations. So far I believe I have had 4 prosthetics and it is likely that I won’t need many more in the future now that I am 18. When I was younger I would need them more frequently because the shape of the eye socket and my eye underneath would change shape as I got older so would, therefore, need a new one every few years.

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Everyday challenges

Although I am completely blind in my right eye I am also partially sighted in my left eye which means that I have very poor distance vision and it is difficult for me to read small font etc.Thankfully I have had support throughout my life so have never experienced many problems there are a few though.The biggest issue is that I am not able to drive and so compared to most people my age I am not currently learning to drive or have passed my test so I am stuck with public transport but I’ll not have to pay for car insurance so that’s a bonus. It’s also a bit of an annoyance that when somebody is on my right-hand side I feel that I can’t have a conversation with them because I obviously can’t make eye contact unless I completely turn my body which gets uncomfortable. All of my friends will tell you but I constantly walk into them or ignore them because I just don’t see them when they are on my right-hand side.

Despite all of this I’ve never really had any issues often people ask me *How do you cope with having one eye?* and I can never really answer because its normal to me just as having two is normal to you. I am definitely proud to say that I have a disability and I mean being able to take your eye out is a great party trick.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to ask any questions

Bye x