Lists

2018 Literary Gift Guide

Book with a bow and title "2019 Literary Gift Guide"

Looking for the perfect literary gift for the book geek or writer in your life this Christmas? There’s still plenty of time to shop before Christmas arrives.

I’ve included five items for readers and five for writers in this literary gift guide. They’re all items that I use myself or items I plan to buy for myself sometime soon. I have exactly 0% advertising on my website so you can be sure my recommendations are completely objective.

So, let’s get started!


Gifts for Readers


1. Binge-Reading Kit

Binge reading kit

Got a book nerd to buy for but have no idea what they’ve already read? This Binge-Reading Kit is a super cute and fun item to get for readers this Christmas. It comes with 14 items in the kit that are helpful for any serious readers; bookmarks, ear plugs, a reading light, and a bunch of other things! And it’s only $20!

Get it here!


2. Conceal Floating Bookshelf

I have wanted these for such a long time, but unfortunately I can’t install shelving in my apartment. Someday I’ll get my hands on these. Not only are they great for storage purposes, but the floating book aesthetic is just really cool.

Get it here!


3. Over Tub Caddy

Over the tub caddy holding book wine and candle

As a kid, I dreamed of inventing this item to make reading in the bath easier. Probably it already existed and I hadn’t even realized it. With an over tub caddy you can keep your book dry, keep a beverage close at hand, and with this one you can even add a candle! Perfect for book lovers who love baths.

Get it here!


4. Papercuts: A Party Game for the Rude and Well Read

This is just Cards Against Humanity for book geeks. This is perfect for the book nerd who has other book nerd friends! I’ve not played it, but I am high key interested in it. Besides, I could use a break from Cards Against Humanity.

Get it here!


5. Literary Scarf

I bought a Sherlock Holmes scarf as a treat for myself years ago and I pull it out to wear every winter. Granted, it isn’t the warmest scarf out there, but it’s very cute and I get tons of compliments on it. This is a fun literary take on a classic Christmas gift.

Get it here!

Gifts for Writers


1. Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition 2019

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If you take writing seriously, then you absolutely need to own this book. In this book writers will find materials dedicated to the publishing process and marketing advice, listings of book publishers, query letter examples, lists of professional writing organizations, and much more. I’d recommend this book for any writer who looks to pursue publication within the next one to two years. With the deluxe version writers will also get a one year subscription to writersmarket.com. This single book is an invaluable resource.

Get it here!

2. A Yearly Subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine

A one year subscription gives you 8 issues, each one filled with writing tips, author interviews, and tons more. This is another great way to give the writer in your life tons of advice about their craft, publishing, and marketing, and it’s a gift that literally keeps on giving all year.

Get it here!


3. The Writer’s Toolbox

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My best friend bought me this for Christmas last year and it is tons of fun. The games and exercises in this toolbox can help generate new ideas or simply help you past a roadblock. Or, if you’re just looking to do some free writing, it is great for helping you experiment!

Get it here!


4. A Ticket to a Writing Conference or Writing Retreat

This is a more expensive gift, but one your writer friend will love. A conference is a great place to network, attend sessions and workshops, get critiques, and meet new and established authors. A retreat allows writers to spends days to weeks focusing on nothing but their writing. You’ll have to do some research to see which one works best for your writer.


5. Really Good Headphones

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Writers may write at home, at coffee shops, or anywhere that has an internet connection. Sometimes the ambient noise is nice, but sometimes it is too distracting. A good pair of headphones, especially noise cancelling headphones, can do wonders. I’m linking to the pair I use, which block out most sound and have great sound quality.

Get it here!


I also wrote a holiday book gift guide last year if you want to pick out a book instead! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

7 Amazing LGBT Books Coming Out This Fall

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new queer books. Years ago when I was first figuring out my sexuality, LGBT novels could actually be kinda hard to find. Luckily in 2018, new books featuring queer characters are coming out much more frequently.

Here’s 7 of them that are coming out this fall that I’m super excited about.

LGBT Books Fall 2018

1. What If It’s Us - Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Release Date: October 9th, 2018

2. Summer Bird Blue - Akemi Dawn

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Release Date: September 11th, 2018


3. Someday - David Levithan

For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person's body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn't anyone else who had a life like this.

But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to -- and what it's like to discover that you are not alone in the world.

In Someday, David Levithan takes readers further into the lives of A, Rhiannon, Nathan, and the person they may think they know as Reverend Poole, exploring more deeply the questions at the core of Every Day and Another Day: What is a soul? And what makes us human?

Release Date: October 2nd, 2018

4. Black Wings Beating - Alex London

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer-- while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

Release Date: September 25th, 2018

5. Girls of Paper and Fire - Natasha Ngan

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

Release Date: November 6th, 2018


6. On a Sunbeam - Tillie Walden

On a Sunbeam is an epic graphic novel about a girl who travels to the ends of the universe to find a long lost love, from acclaimed author Tillie Walden.

Two timelines. Second chances. One love.

A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together.

Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love―only to learn the pain of loss.

With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

Release Date: October 2nd, 2018


7. Pulp - Robin Talley

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.

Release Date: November 13th, 2018

But why wait to read queer stories? Check out my free queer fiction or take a look at my favorite LGBT novels that are already available!

5 Book To Movie Adaptations That Are Actually Worth Watching

Trying to choose the best book to movie adaptations can be difficult. It can be extremely subjective depending on the criteria a movie is being judged on. Is it a list generated based on movies that are the truest to the books, or are there other factors taken into consideration?

I’ve created my own criteria to judge what makes a book to movie adaptation worth watching. I’m calling on my degree in English to judge how true the movie is to the book, as well as positive changes the movies made to make the narrative work for a visual format.

Let’s get started!

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Plot: Charlie, an awkward high schooler used to living life on the sidelines befriends two free-spirited seniors at his school who teach him about love, friendship, and the value in living your life to the fullest.

Why It Made This List: This is one of those rare occasions (possibly the only occasion) where I enjoyed the book more than the movie. The author of the novel wrote the screenplay for the film, so everything important from the book makes it into the film. The visuals used in the movie are powerful, the acting is excellent, and it actually improves on the story that had already been created.

The Hunger Games

The Plot: In a dystopian world to assert control, every year two tributes are chosen from all 12 districts to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal reality show where the goal is to be the single player to emerge alive.

Why It Made This List: I was pleasantly surprised at how good the Hunger Games film adaptations were. For the most part, everything important from the three novels made it into the four films, likely because the final book was split into two movies. The film medium also allowed us to get a closer look at the media coverage within the story of Hunger Games, which was extremely interesting.

The Silence of the Lambs

The Plot: As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknamed "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him. That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind.

Why It Made This List: This book begs to be a movie, and the movie is beautifully done. Of course, no movie is going to be a perfect representation of a novel, but this one certainly tries. I personally am not a huge fan of politics, so glossing over the FBI politics in the film was actually a bonus for me. The tone of the novel is perfectly suited for the screen. Plus Anthony Hopkins is delightfully disturbing as Hannibal.

The Fault In Our Stars

The Plot: Hazel was diagnosed with cancer from a young age, and her terminal diagnosis has forced her to miss out on many amazing life opportunities. When she meets Gus, a cancer survivor who lives life to the fullest, they fall deeply in love very quickly. But as you can imagine, any story with cancer in it has to end in tragedy.

Why It Made This List: The movie amplified the emotional stakes of the novel in a way I didn’t think was possible. The casting was done very well -- each character displays raw emotion throughout the film that can overwhelm you with grief. The book was hard enough to read, but watching what these characters go through on screen makes it hurt even more.

A Long Way Home (Lion)

The Plot: At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write, he survived alone for weeks before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to pore over satellite images for landmarks of India he might recognize. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

Why It Made This List: I originally discovered this memoir only because I saw it on Netflix when I was looking for something to watch. And what a breathtaking story it was. As you can imagine, the book goes into a great amount of detail about the author’s life while the film’s focus is on several main events. It’s the visuals and the acting of the film that really makes it stand out. The tale is heartbreaking, inspiring, and uplifting, whether you read it or watch it. I recommend doing both.

What are your favorite book to movie adaptations? Let me know in the comments!