Top Ten Tuesday: Some Bookish Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

A freebie… as England wilts under unseasonably hot weather, as our roads and runways melt in the heat, as schools close again, as the smoke from fires close off roads – all of which is as nothing compared to the tragedies so many other communities worldwide face – I wonder what topic to choose. Today’s heat is such as obvious inspiration but last week’s topic was oh-so-summery! Books about heat, books about weather, books about sunshine… they are all going to touch on the same books from last week!

So, instead, I shall focus on opinions and take this as an opportunity to vent some my biases and views on the world! I’m not sure whether these opinions are controversial or unpopular or not… but they are, well, mine and therefore by definition a truth if not a fact.

Spoilers, I really don’t care!

I know I try to warn others if there are spoilers in my reviews but for me, I’m not really bothered: the journey and the characters who keep you company on it are more important than the destination.

Did I know that the hound in The Hound of the Baskervilles was a fraud? Of course but I still loved reading how Holmes uncovered it. Did I know that Rochester was already married? Certainly, but that just added to the frisson of Jane’s suspicions.

I love my Kindle!

This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me – it is always with me! Heading to work? Heading to the pub? Heading to the kitchen? Kindle will be with me!

I even turned around to retrieve my Kindle when I left it accidentally at my parents adding an extra two hour round trip to an already long four-hour journey home!

But there was a time when I railed against it: it’s not the same, I feared; I love the smell of the page and the touch of the paper, and I do; data will get corrupted, it won’t be reliable… And it is not the same as a paper book – of course it’s not – but different does not mean lesser or inferior or invalid. And the convenience! Yes, I am one of those people with a full kindle, carrying an entire library with me.

Am I entirely happy being caught in the hegemony of Amazon? No, not really… but other ebook providers exist and Calibre is a Godsend!

Audiobooks rock!

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami was my first audiobook ever, purchased for the absolutely worst reason: it was long and therefore good value for money on a pound per minute basis!

Fortunately, I have made better and smarter choices since then and there are some wonderful narrator-book marriages:  Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s narration of the Rivers of London series is wonderful and  Fenella Woolgar’s narration of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life exquisite!

I never thought I’d say it but Romance novels are great!

I never thought romance was a genre I would enjoy.

I don’t know where that prejudice comes from – outdated gender stereotypes? Being force fed Jane Austen at University?

It was the 2020 lockdown that led me into a gentle dipping of my toe into the romance genre and I found that I loved the soft warmth of it. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, T J Klune, Red, White and Royal Blue

I never enjoyed science fiction, until recently.

Sticking with those genres I dismissed, for some reason I just never read science fiction, even though I do watch a lot of science fiction movies!

This year I made a real effort to discover more in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series and Tchaikovsky’s Shards of Earth and the riotous fun of Gideon the Ninth… what have I been missing all these years?1

I almost never re-read books.

My daughter has her favourite books that she will read over and over again. It is a comfort thing for her, and possibly part of her finding a way to feel safe within her autism: if you feel anxious, discovering a new and unpredictable world can be intimidating.

For me, though, when I have tried to re-read books, I find myself too familiar with them. They are too predictable. I find I can even predict where on the page phrases will be. Perhaps this is a side effect of so many years spent studying and now studying-to-teach stories…

And of course, there is the flip side: books I treasured from my formative years may not have aged well. I did aim for a nostalgia re-read of some fondly remembered novels and … was rather disappointed!

Studying books for exams… is a good way to destroy a love of reading

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely loved studying books.

I am one of those people who will fill a novel, drama or poem with post its, annotations, cross references, underlinings, jottings and other marginalia. I love to both bathe in the joy of the language and, at the same time, unpick that language and explore how it works and how it connects.

But I had the privilege of an education that championed the personal response and the individual. Was I ever taught how to write an essay? How to deconstruct a metaphor? How to unravel the tapestry of a writer’s grammar? No, but they were tools that I was given the time to allow to evolve.

As a teacher of literature, that gift of time is a luxury we cannot offer. We trot out mnemonics and acronyms as we TIPTOP our paragraphs and PEE or sometimes PEAK or PEEL a text, perhaps using SMILE or SLIME to explore a poem, or the current en vogue structure of What-How-Why. Technical terms, shoe horned into every essay. Yes, this writer uses a lot of verbs…

Of course this scaffolding is wonderful for some of our young people and obviously we encourage others to approach tasks more holisitically and individually… but there is so little time in the little six or twelve week blocks that are apportioned to each unit.

And don’t get me started on the unambitious dead-white-male-middle class canon that is offered to our young people at GCSE level.

Libraries are wonderful!

We visit our local library as often as we can with my daughter – it was one of the first places we took her to where she ran around and jumped on soft toys and found books. Just last weekend, she asked to go there to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge and found her own book.

And they offer so much to the community and there are so many wonderful stories of they way that libraries support and help those at most risk of falling through the cracks in society.

Classics are wasted on the young.

I shall start with a caveat: I’m not sure I know what the “classics” are or what the term means, and I am very far from being sure that I am comfortable with the term.

However, that said, there are those pillars of our literature that find their way onto GCSE, A-level and even degree level courses that raise fundamental questions about the human experience and our place in the world, that offer so much of the sublime and the absurd and the intellectual… and it was assumed that the minds of fifteen year old me was somehow capable of ‘doing’ Shakespeare and imbibing all that; or that eighteen-year old me could grasp The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock or The Four Quartets; or that nearly-nineteen-year old me would ‘get’ Middlemarch

Yes, something was taken from those texts, but I do wish I had been older and had had – well – a life before being asked to grapple with them. When I return to the classics now – and perhaps the only definition of a classic is one that you can return to – they speak so much more openly and powerfully to me and with me than they ever could as a teenager!

And there we have a number of – I think nine rather than ten – bookish opinions for this week. Let me know whether you agree or disagree with any of them and have a great TTT!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

July 26: Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)
August 2: Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit (real places or fictional)
August 9: Hilarious Book Titles
August 16: Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago
August 23: Completed Series I Wish Had More Books
August 30: School Freebie (In honor of school starting up soon, come up with a topic that somehow ties to school/education. The book could be set at school/college, characters could be teachers, books with school supplies on the cover, nonfiction titles, books that taught you something or how to do something, your favorite required reading in school, books you think should be required reading, your favorite banned books, etc.)

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Some Bookish Opinions”

  1. Nice topic today! I agree about the Kindle and the audiobooks. I don’t even like print books much anymore.


  2. There are such crazy things going on in the world today!

    I agree with many things that you are saying. The Kindle replacing the book was a big concern for me, but since I have been able to put the app on my phone it is just so convenient and I still get books. Another thing is the Romance novel. I was never into it, they were so boring compared to Thrillers and Mysteries. I am wondering though if they have upped their game recently because I now enjoy reading them!

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog
    My post:

    Top Ten Tuesday – Storylines/Settings That Make Me Think Of Summer


  3. I was resolutely set against ever bothering with Kindle, but I’ve really come to appreciate it over the last few years–and funnily enough, I use it almost exclusively for reading romance! I think you’re right about gender stereotypes, and I could rant all day about belitting a target audience, but I’m in the UK too, and it’s far too bloody hot to bother! Great post 🙂

    FangirlFlax @ FangirlFlax


  4. Great topic choice! I love my Kindle too, and I proudly tote it around with me everywhere! I’m so glad you gave into the romance genre. It is such a bright spot of happiness when you’re feeling down or upset. I can’t wait to take my son to the library for the first time! He’s only 15 mos, so it won’t be for a while otherwise all the books will end up ripped!


  5. I totally agree on audiobooks, I really love them! I used to listen to them as a kid, but then went without listening them for a long time. I rediscovered them a few years back in 2019 and they’ve become a staple of my reading ever since! Classics were definitely lost on me at school and now I’ve kind of been put off them for life because reading them at school was such a torturous experience: I do wonder if I would have enjoyed at least some classic literature if I’d been allowed to discover it for myself as an adult. I haven’t been to the library in years, I used to go every week until I was a teenager, but then we moved and my local library wasn’t as good. We’ve moved back to the area I lived in as a child and I loved my local library here, so I’m hoping to rejoin that soon.
    My TTT:


  6. I agree with almost all of your opinions. The one I’m the opposite with it spoilers, I much prefer going into a book knowing as little as possible! Great list.
    My Top 10!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Totally agree about the Kindle. I never thought I would love mine as much as I did, but I can’t get through a day without it. And I love being able to read or listen to library books with it.


  8. Love the inventiveness of your topic this week.
    Those mnemonics/acronyms have given me pause for thought this afternoon – I just can’t work out what they represent. care to enlighten us??


  9. I agree with many of your takes. I was anti-ebook until I started blogging and found out about Netgalley. Now I consume at least one ebook a week. Audiobooks were a lifesaver for me when I had a long commute to work. I hated being unable to read, but audiobooks allowed me to fill that void. I hated tearing apart and overanalyzing books and poems in school. How was I at 13-17 to know what some middle-aged writer was thinking 100-300 years ago?

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!


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