I get nominated for things, I want to answer, and then I procrastinate.
Blogger Recognition Award Rules
- Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Write a post to show your award.
- Give a brief story of how your blog started.
- Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
- Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to (not tagging people for this one, I will for the one under)
- Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.
I was nominated for this by E. @localbeehuntersnook (Thank you so much!) I’ve started following E. recently and I already love her blog.
The Acqua di more Beginning
I started blogging in Italian in December 2015. I had just started reading books in English in September, I was 15, and I had no one to talk about English books with. I soon realized it didn’t make much sense to review English books in Italian, so I started trying to write in English. I began writing a few sentences on goodreads every time I finished a book somewhere around March 2017 and finally created a blog in September of the same year, when I could put some paragraphs together. (My first reviews were still really awkward; as with everything, it takes time.)
Fun facts about acquadimore as a blogging entity:
- I don’t remember why I chose to call myself “Acqua” (water) or “Acqua di more” (literally, “water of blackberries”). I think I chose a random object in my room – a perfume I never used – and went with that, but I don’t know if there was a reason and I just forgot it. 15-year-old me was odd and I’m just happy I didn’t do the usual and try to name myself after a bobbit worm or something of the sort
- The owl pendant I use as my image across platforms is a gift from one of my grandmothers. As with the blog name, I think I just chose a random thing that looked cute to avoid using my face and name.
- I don’t think either my blog name (a perfume) or my picture (a pendant) accurately represent who I am as a person (basically a rat) but I also don’t care. I don’t think it even occurred to me at 15 that people try to have a brand that reflects how they present themselves online. That would mean doing things with some kind of purpose and was very much beyond me.
That was not brief. Anyway, onto the advice part! I still don’t feel like I’m qualified to give advice to bloggers because I don’t know what I’m doing either, but here are two things I learned that might be useful to others:
1. ARCs aren’t worth the stress.
I get it, it’s free books. But unless that’s the only way you can legally access the books you want to read – and I know that for some things can be like that; there were moments in my life that were this way for me – I really don’t recommend them. You’ll end up feeling like you have to force yourself to read books you’ve lost interest in to keep up your feedback ratio, or you’ll make your way through some horribly formatted/not even edited material, and sometimes no reviews are out when you start a book, so you don’t have the chance to have any content warnings. Your blog doesn’t have to revolve around ARCs; new releases get more engagement but that doesn’t mean backlist gets none.
things in ARCs I had the unhappy experience of stumbling on after the synopsis didn’t even hint at them:
fraternal incest as a main plotline, a relationship between a 17-year-old and her 28-year-old employer painted in a positive light as a main plotline, an entire book masquerading as a contemporary mystery when it was mostly historical fiction about reproductive rights involving forced pregnancy and child rape.
2. Some people will make your life worse. Block them.
This goes for blogging and even more so for twitter and goodreads.
Some ugly sides of the book community don’t show themselves until you’re in it. For some unfathomable reason, review plagiarism isn’t that uncommon (why do people even have a blog if they post someone else’s opinions? Oh, I don’t know either). Some people are also on here only to stir up controversy, or act like their review is a chance to write a point-by-point response of your own in which they also call you stupid/boring/illiterate. You can block them. You don’t owe them an explanation or any of your time and blocking isn’t a defeat. Feel free to report the plagiarists if you want to. You’ll have a much happier online life without any of these people. Also, some more advanced advice: if there’s someone (be them an author or a blogger) who, for some reason – even one that looks perfectly acceptable – is always, and I mean every single time, somehow involved in the controversy of the day, you can go ahead and assume they’re bad news. Or at least be cautious. Every time I noticed this about a person I ended up hating that I didn’t trust my gut.
This wasn’t brief either! I’m… not good at brief when I feel strongly about something. Sorry.
Awesome Blogger Award Rules
- Thank the blogger who nominated you
- Credit the creator (Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala)
- Tag this post with #AwesomeBloggerAward
- Answer all the questions given to you
- Nominate some people
- Write 10 questions for them to answer
I was nominated for this by laurel @thesuspectedbibliophile. Thank you!
I think I started following her on goodreads first and then on her blog, which you also should do, as she writes amazing reviews.
What is your favorite genre?
Sci-fi! I think. Or, I feel like a fraud when saying this, because I don’t like a lot of sci-fi subgenres. I don’t think I’ve ever read hard sci-fi in my life (real physics? I’m already full of textbooks at home, I don’t want that for fun. Real environmental science? If the author doesn’t do their research, I’ll notice and be annoyingly nitpicky) and I will go out of my way to avoid anything cyberpunk. Maybe it would be more correct to say that my favorite genre is… sci-fantasy? All the books that aren’t clearly recognizable as either science fiction or fantasy but are instead some weird hybrid are my favorites. Especially if set in space.
Do you have any go-to recommendations for someone looking to get into reading or in the middle of a book slump?
- looking to get into reading: I think I’d have to know the person;
- in the middle of a book slump: if they’re a reviewer, my #1 recommendation would be to stop requesting or worrying about review copies, as that was usually the cause for me.
Let’s talk about underrated books! What are your top five books no one is talking about?
The only books I can think of which I love but never actually see anyone talk about are three of my favorite illustrated works. This might also be caused by the fact that I don’t follow a lot of graphic novel/comic readers. They are:
- Twisted Romance, edited by Alex de Campi: this has the bad luck of sitting exactly at the intersection of two formats the book community doesn’t care about, “anthology” and “comic”. Which is a shame, because this was such a remarkable experience for me. A really queer anthology about romance and love and the many forms they can take, with both short stories and short comics? It was amazing.
- Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn & Claire Roe: I don’t even like adult thrillers or noir and this is one of the best things I’ve ever read. Dark graphic novel about a highly unethical journalism intern trying to investigate even more unethical people, with a mostly-queer cast! So many queer women, and everything is written and illustrated with… the queer female gaze, so clearly? I can’t even describe it but I could feel it.
- Sol by Loputyn: a collection of illustrations; it reads like the graphic novel version of a poetry collection. Almost no text, so even though it’s by an Italian artist, it can be read by everyone, and it’s about toxic relationships, monster love, and the monsters inside ourselves. Gothic and creepy and beautiful; not afraid to be dark and gross. To give you an idea of the atmosphere: look at the cover. It’s pretty and kind of sad, right? Look closer. The pavement is covered in bugs.
As far as “novels I almost never see mentioned anywhere” that deserve your attention, these are two good examples:
- This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow, one of my favorite F/F contemporaries that somehow I almost never see anyone talk about. It’s one of the stories I know that handles mental health and recovery better, it has so much heart, the relationships (romantic and platonic) in it are so sweet, and I recommend it even if you don’t actually care for musical band plotlines (I don’t). Just… if you like YA contemporary dealing with heavy themes in a non-depressing way, this should be on your radar.
- Temper by Nicky Drayden: I get why this isn’t so popular; it’s weird and trippy and the main characters are inappropriate and kind of insufferable. But they managed to grow on me, and this was just… so funny? If you like fantasy that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, stories about really unusual magical schools, or want something set in alt-history South Africa (with no colonization!), I really recommend this. It has some of the most imaginative worldbuilding I’ve ever read.
If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who is it and what’s the meal?
I don’t think I have an answer for this! It’s mostly because I don’t want authors to know what I thought of their books. Most of the time, I don’t want them to know I exist at all. (I know they can see my reviews of their books if they want. If they do, I still don’t want to know they have read them.)
What pulls you into a story? World-building? Characters? Plot? Tone?
My first impression, especially in circumstances in which I’m not going to give the author a lot of time to pull me in (so, with short stories and try-a-chapter challenges), is mostly made up of writing (does it flow well? Do I like it?), tone (if it’s something that appeals to me or if it’s something too bleak/pretentious) and subject (is anything happening, is it setting the atmosphere, or did it start with an infodump?). I usually don’t have the time to notice if the worldbuilding or characters are well-written or not, but I can see if there are any red/green flags in those aspects.
Do you DNF books?
Yes, often, and I’d love to say “without remorse”, but I also often give second tries when I previously thought I wouldn’t, and when I’m motivated enough to do that, it usually works out.
How long is your TBR? I mean, really—not just the books you own physically or electronically. How big is that list?
Currently, adding all the books from the “to read”, “maybe” and “collection TBR” shelves on my goodreads account, it’s 150. I try to keep this number as small as I possibly can to stay sane, and 150 might still be too much – I don’t read that many books even in a year.
Who is your favorite audiobook narrator?
Of the ones I tried so far, I really liked Cynthia Hopkins from Every Heart a Doorway and In an Absent Dream – she convinced me I could, in fact, listen to an audiobook – and Cassandra Morris from You Must Not Miss, she sounded like an actual young teen and was so easy to follow.
Do you use your library? Why or why not?
No, because it doesn’t have books in English and its YA/SFF section is like 10 books all older than five years. I don’t really have a choice.
What three things do you want to accomplish in 2020?
Me? Having goals? Oh we can’t do that. Making them up right now:
- Getting through the Italian lockdown time with my sanity and everything else intact.
- Spend less time on twitter (it doesn’t make sense that I’m even there if 90% of what I do is complain about it elsewhere). That’s probably the main one, but I’m not sure I can do it
- Find a five star novel. I still haven’t rated one novel five stars this year and it’s making me sad. No, rereads don’t count.
- Favorite novella?
- Favorite cover of a 2020 book?
- Have you ever completely changed your mind about a novel you were reading because of its ending?
- What is the last book you DNFed/wished you had DNFed?
- What was the last book you rated four stars, and why?
- Something you removed from your TBR?
- What’s the book that has been on your TBR the longest?
- Are there any subgenres of your favorite genre you don’t often reach for?
- Have you ever given a second chance to an author after disliking one of their books? If so, what happened?
- Are there any books you don’t get to talk about as often as you’d like?
For the awesome blogger award, I nominate:
[don’t feel obligated to do it!]
Do you prefer your TBR to be small or to have all the books you could possibly be interested on it?