books · discussions · lists · Shar

Shar’s Top 5 most relatable books | Get to know me!

Hi Virtually Readers! I recently finished rereading Radio Silence, which is obviously AMAZING and started thinking about other books I found relatable. This post is going to be a combination of get-to-know-me (through said relatable books) and FANGIRLINGGG!!!! (also, I know I’ve read other relatable books. These are the first that came to mind). Note: covers link to goodreads, title texts to my review if I reviewed it)   Continue reading “Shar’s Top 5 most relatable books | Get to know me!”

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books · discussions · features · shanti

Setting in Stone 6: Demographics

Demographics are details about the people of a place. Population size, ethnic makeup, what jobs people have, poverty and literacy levels, all that. I find them fascinating, revealing, and important. I also find them shockingly absent from books, especially fantasy books. In this installment of Setting in Stone, the topic is, surprisingly enough, demographics, why they matter in stories, and how to write them. Continue reading “Setting in Stone 6: Demographics”

books · discussions · features · shanti

Setting in Stone 5: Devilish Details

Welcome back, Virtually Readers, to Setting in Stone, the best discussion series ever probably. Some months ago, I read a fantasy book with four states explicitly named: a fantasy equivalent Russia, where the book was set, a fantasy equivalent France, Persia, and China. In terms of technology which the characters had, this was probably in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. Then, a character drank rum. Rum is made from sugar, and at the time (as far as I know) was grown in the Caribbean, by slaves. (and if you want to know more about this, read a Tom Standage book). I did not like said book, for a whole host of reasons (and if you want to know which book it is, go stalk my ‘meh’ shelf on goodreads), but one of the reasons was the author’s ignorance of detail. Continue reading “Setting in Stone 5: Devilish Details”

books · discussions · features · shanti

Setting in Stone 4: Finding other settings

Hi Virtually Readers! Today, you are reading another episode of Setting in Stone, my discussion feature about how settings work. I started this whole thing with a post about the lack of variety of settings in YA novels, so today I’m going to find the flipside of that, and talk about how to find less common settings and how to support those books. Also, it’s hopefully going to be shorter than most of the posts in this series, but I make no promises. Continue reading “Setting in Stone 4: Finding other settings”

blogging · discussions · Shar

How to write a kick-butt book review (that people actually want to read)

Hi Virtually readers! I’m not sure about you, but reviews tend to be the posts that get the least traffic and comments on Virtually Read. This seems strange to me, considering reviews are basically the backbone of what book bloggers do. While I can’t claim that I’ve hit the ‘book review that everybody wants to read’ formula yet, I have learned something about book reviewing since I started (pls don’t read my first reviews they’re terrible), so that’s how this post could help you. Continue reading “How to write a kick-butt book review (that people actually want to read)”

books · discussions · features · shanti · writing

Setting in Stone 3: Research Methods

Hello, Virtually Readers! Your, that is, my, favourite discussion feature is back again. Setting in Stone is a series where I explore many assumptions inherent in settings in books, spurred by enthusiasm for this post. You can read all the Setting in Stone posts by clicking the ‘setting in stone’ tag at the bottom of this one. Today, I’m discussing how setting is researched. This information is derived from reading/listening to various authors talking about their research process plus common sense. I’m going to outline the different ways to research setting, and their advantages and disadvantages as I see it. Continue reading “Setting in Stone 3: Research Methods”

books · discussions · shanti

How to get books!

Hiiiii Virtually Readers! It’s Shanti, here to tell you how to get books. I know that this is quite random, but a bookworm’s common lament is how expensive books are, even though we do love to buy them. However, buying isn’t the only option. So this brief (ish) post is going to list a few ideas about locating books without having to resort to the dodgy, illegal Russian website. (Seriously. Don’t do that. Piracy is not cool.) Continue reading “How to get books!”

books · discussions · features · shanti

Setting in Stone 2: Contemporary Worlds

When you think of worldbuilding, you think of sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia; what are known as ‘genre’ books. (though that definition is less useful in YA). Historical fiction also requires worldbuilding, but it’s usually reconstructed worldbuilding, compiled through research rather than invention (though there is some invention, obviously, and alternate history is another game altogether). But contemporary books also need worldbuilding. This is a very useful post by Jenn Marie Thorne, one of my FAVOURITE contemporary authors about how she does worldbuilding in contemporary books; and today’s Setting in Stone topic is my own take on that.

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Setting in Stone is a Virtually Read original series where we (okay, mostly Shanti) talks about setting.

Continue reading “Setting in Stone 2: Contemporary Worlds”