book review · books · not books · shanti

The Quiet at the End of the World + Hiatus

Lauren James is very good at surprises, and ultimately that was probably my favourite thing about her new book, The Quiet at the End of the World. The reflections on objects and impermanence were interesting too. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how she engaged with the ethical implications of some of the topics in the book, but that is okay. Also I am sadly going on hiatus, which I’ll write more about at the end of the post

Continue reading “The Quiet at the End of the World + Hiatus”

books · discussions · not books · Shar

On science, reading, and why I’ve been getting into more nonfiction of late

^^^ I hope this post lives up to its title hahaha I titled if before I started writing. As you may know, I’m a science student. Most of the book bloggers I know that have been/are at university are doing arts. This post is about why science people often disregard reading (fiction) and why I think this is silly.

Continue reading “On science, reading, and why I’ve been getting into more nonfiction of late”

books · not books · Shar

Night of Cake and Puppets + Prague photos


I finally got around to finishing the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series last year, but then Night of Cake and Puppets came out as a published book and not just an enovella with GORGEOUS illustrations to boot, and I spotted it in a indie Gisborne bookshop and bought it for Shanti mainly because I wanted it myself. I have no regrets.
Continue reading “Night of Cake and Puppets + Prague photos”

blogging · not books · Shar

Mysterious Search Terms

Hi Virtually Readers! Cait, a most wonderful blogger, ‘replies’ to her search terms in her monthly recaps. Shanti and I have always found this most amusing, so today I’m going to reply to some of the search terms that lead people to our own blog. Also, our blogoversary is in two days (!!!) (yes, we won’t shut up about it. This only happens once a year, after all). So this seemed a fitting thing to do? We have more celebrations planned for next week. Some deliberate misunderstanding, and a great deal of gentle mocking, is going to go down.

Continue reading “Mysterious Search Terms”

books · not books · shanti · tags

The Liebster Award (the second)

Hi Virtually Readers! I’m adventuring in the mountains somewhere, but May @ Forever and Everly tagged us for The Liebster Award, which was really sweet of her. I’ve already done this once and am somewhat over it, just because it’s been around so long, so I’m not going to tag anyone.

liebster award.jpg


  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.


  • If you were to stop blogging, what would be the reason?

I’m not planning to stop blogging anytime soon, but it would probably be because I was really busy, or maybe if I got a lot of hate comments or if another big life event consumed me. Hopefully this won’t happen for a while, though I’m not sure that I’ll be blogging forever.

  • What are some hobbies you have?

Well, apart from reading, I’m really into playing music! I’m okay at viola and piano. I also love baking, going for runs, and crafting. Oooh, and sewing and knitting. (which are like subsets of crafting but y’know)

  • Would you rather be dead or die? (Yes, there’s a difference.)

I prefer the present tense, thank you very much.

  • Do you like mangoes???


  • What book would you not feel guilty about stomping on, tearing, and burning in a fire?

Love in the Time of Global Warming, or The Spectacular Now. (not even gonna give them the respect of links to their goodreads pages)

  • What blogs do you ALWAYS look forward to reading? (Or, if you’re afraid your dear readers might feel bad: What type of blogs do you tend to follow? ie. book blogs, lifestyle blogs, writing blogs, etc.)

I mostly follow book blogs, and I always look forward to reading Loony Literate, Drizzle and Hurricane books, Musings from Neville’s Navel, Happy Indulgence and Miriam Joy Writes.

  • What’s one moment in your life you’d choose to play over and over again (aka re-experience over and over again?)

I’m not sure…maybe when I did one of my presentations a few weeks ago and it went well, or the moment when I received Strange the Dreamer. Ooh or the moment when I was told that I was the new newspaper editor at school.

  • You have the choice of reading a book you HATE, every single day, or reading one good book per year. Which do you choose?

Reading one good book per year…I think it’s better to have one good book than a continuously hateful reading experience.

  • What’s one food you will never get tired of eating??? (ONE food, people, ONE.)

Toast. There are so many variations. Vegemite, jam, chese, and let’s not forget the avocados.

  • What would you do if someone walked up to you and gave you 100 bucks?

I would ask them why, and then I’d like to think I’d be selfless enough to give it away (or maybe spend it on something I really needed)

  • How are you right now?

I’m doing pretty well, thank you very much. I’m a little wet because I just got back from the pool, and there’s a cat next to me and soft acoustic music playing and I’m trying not to think about how much I hate leaving to go hiking….

How are you at the moment, Virtually Readers? Tell me in the comments!

not books · shanti · tags

Five truths, four lies

Hi Virtually Readers! A long long long time ago, the lovely Elizabeth@ Musings From Neville’s Navel tagged me from the 5 Truths and 4 Lies tag thingy. Thanks! Now, normally this is a book blog, not a all-about-my-life blog, but I thought I’d do this tag anyway. Basically, the premise is that I tell you 5 true things and 4 false things and you guess which is which in the comments and then at some point I reveal THE TRUTH. Some of this info can probably be found on this blog if you hunt around a little bit. Also, members of my family are barred from playing (sorry, guys). Let’s get to it!


  1. I really love history.
  2. I prefer wearing trousers to skirts.
  3. I did a lot of gymnastics as a child and still can do cartwheels and walkovers and the splits.
  4. I once managed to injure myself while laughing.
  5. I once managed to injure myself while brushing my teeth.
  6. I once managed to injure myself while putting on a scarf.
  7. I’m really good at origami.
  8. I like to get up early.
  9. A librarian once told me that I should be a librarian, and that’s my ultimate life goal.

So have fun guessing! I’ll reveal the answers later this week. And if you like, tell me one interesting fact about yourself in the comments.

blogging · discussions · not books · Shar

Disscusion: On our online personas, real life, and hurtfulness

Virtually Readers, today I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s kind of about Instagram, but it’s also about being Someone on the Internet and real life. I don’t know how well I managed to articulate my Thoughts, but hey, I tried, right?


I don’t have my life together. Like, at all. But that’s not something I talk about on this blog.

I don’t talk about how I feel a low-key anxiety spinning around my stomach whenever I think about my exam grades or finishing school. I don’t talk about the bad days, where I feel like I’m never going to be good enough (at chemistry or music or whatever). Same goes for my friendship problems, or the fact that I don’t know where I want to go for university, or even if I really want to major in what I think I want to major in.

On a lower level, I don’t talk about (or photograph) my messy room (although let’s be honest, most of the mess is Shanti’s) , or how much time I spent procrastinating on the Internet or otherwise today and how much I hated myself for it, and how I hated the sound of my alarm clock this morning because I’m so tired, and how I love my cat but have to push her off when she sits on me while I work, and how my toenails, which I painted bright pink a few weeks ago, are now half grown out and chipping.

* * *

A few months ago, we had to write an English essay about a type of media. I read my classmate’s draft, which was about how Instagram, specifically lifestyle accounts, make their followers feel like they’re not good enough because their lives aren’t perfect like the person’s they see on the screen. They hold themselves up to standards nobody can reach, not even the people who run these accounts, because they obviously don’t photograph or talk about the messy, imperfect parts of their lives. (This is a generalization). It was a pretty good essay, but I didn’t have Instagram at the time, so it didn’t really capture my attention all that much.

When I did get Instagram, I soon figured out I’d like to have a theme. For the last few months, I’ve settled on a sheet music background. I’ve scrolled around and found other beautiful, themed feeds with attached captions that made me feel like I was the only one who didn’t have her life together. (side note: I really don’t think my theme is amazing or great or anything. So many other bookstagrammers do a really good job. I just try. It’s not like the number one thing I put effort into or anything. )

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 6.25.41 pm
Feat. my Instagram feed (A screen shot, also I can’t even with lighting ok?)

Obviously, this isn’t true. But it got me thinking about how online identities make it very easy to choose what you show about your life. It’s easier to paint it in a rosy light when most of the people who follow you don’t see the rest of your life. And as followers, it’s easy to forget all the things the person doesn’t write about—the hard things and the messy things that are just as real as the beautiful feed or tweet.

I’m not trying to say this is bad, necessarily. I personally wouldn’t really feel comfortable discussing all the hard and messy aspects of my life online. Taking beautiful pictures of books or the Easter eggs I made is easier, not quite so personal (although that’s not to say that books or thoughts about books can’t be personal).

flower because FLOWER also I do photograph non books

I guess all I’m trying to say is that we all know our own messes better than we can ever know other people’s, especially when everybody else is creating an image—a persona—on the interwebs (I just love that word). And as a community of book nerds, I think we should all remember that a perfect feed or lovely blog post doesn’t mean we’re complete failures. Let’s appreciate what other people do share about their lives, and appreciate the messes of our own.

So if you like my Instagram feed (or someone else’s tweets or a tumblr page), that’s great. But just because that is all match-y and coordinated, don’t assume I am, and wonder how you can ever keep up. Because I’m a total mess. (A nice mess which is able to function, but a mess nevertheless). And when I read our blog posts or look at your feed, I’ll try to do the same for you.


Do you ever have this problem? How do you decide what you’ll post online and what you won’t? What’s your favourite thing about social media vs. real life?

books · not books · Shar · tags

Is this a book tag? (answer: yes, yes it is)

Hi Virtually Readers! I was going to write a discussion that week, and hopefully that will come, but I’ve been busy with passing high school (an activity that seems to take up a lot of my time). So when Cait @ Paperfury asked herself some bookish questions, I decided to join in. Also I put random book photos that I took for instagram in for no good reason except pictures.

Top 5 reads of 2017 so far?

I’ve only read maybe 25 books so far (which is a lot for me) but Wing Jones, Radio Silence, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and  The Weight of Feathers are up there.

Top five favourite book friendships?

There are a zillion and I cannot remember them all but

  • Aled and Frances from Radio Silence
  • Apollo and Meg McCaffery from The Trials of Apollo
  • Evie, Amber and Lottie from The Spinster Club
  • Simon and Abby from Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione from Harry Potter


How many books are on your TBR pile?

I don’t have one. Muhahahaha! But there are a lot of books I want to read in my life. I just think I would be overwhelmed if I tried to keep track.

What are you reading soon?

This is a scheduled post, but as I write this I’m reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling. It’s kind of weird, because I’d never heard of her before getting this from the library, but the writing style is really accessible. I’m hoping to read You In Five Acts and maybe reread Bookishly Ever After or start Harry Potter 6 as well. But I ave school and stuff this week so. I just finished rereading Harry Potter 5 and it took an entire week but was quite good.

What are your feelings on book merchandise?

I like the idea but (kind of like Cait) I would rather own a book then waste all my money on merch. I’m also quite crafty and perfectly capable of making necklaces/bookmarks/quote posters etc. for myself and I don’t really see the point of buying them. Like candles and funko pops and things are cool but I don’t really need them. And I don’t see the point? Maybe this is because I live in India and don’t want to pay for postage so yeah.


Who is an amazing author you’ve recently discovered? 

I really like Katherine Webber.

How long have you been a book blogger?

Shanti and I started this blog as Weavingwaveswords (what were we thinking with the name? who can know) in August 2014, when we were young and impressionable and also  not very good at blogging. This became Virtually Read about a year ago, I think.

What’s your favourite thing about reading?

So many things! Some include:

  • Being able to imagine what’s happening in your head-so it’s like you and the author are like sharing a world that you created together (if that makes any sense)
  • Being able to learn from other people’s experiences
  • Just learning more about the world and people in general
  • Being able to choose how fast you read the story.
  • How portable books are–you can read them anywhere and anytime, unlike, say movies. You can even read in class! (you may get in trouble but whatever)


What books have you finished recently?

I’ve finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Possibility of Somewhere, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Trials of Apollo recently. (Considering how I have used several of these titles in previous questions, you can see I have a bad memory)

Describe yourself in 5 book titles

This is hard because I can’t remember any titles but:

  • Fangirl
  • The Girl With All The Gifts (the gift of forgetting things, for sure. Also overcommitting and reading fast)
  • The Book Thief (I steal books from the library)
  • Good Enough (and if you’re reading this, you are too)
  • The Girl Who Could Fly (in my past life before I was born into this one *sob*)

(so what you should get out of this is that I’m a girl)

What’s up in your life?

Thank you for asking, person who wrote this question. (*cough: me*) Oh look! A non-bookish question! School started two weeks ago and since then I’ve mainly spent my days a) going to school b)going to after school activities (fun ones include rock climbing, robotics, and aerials) c) doing homework. I also somehow squeeze in time for running and piano and blogging and instagram and seeing my family and chores.

Shanti and I are actually about to finish high school which is scary and I am currently in denial and wish the adults in my life knew how to talk to me about things other than university.


How did you find this tag? What are you going to read soon? What has your life been up to recently (this makes it sound like it’s a thing of its own but it’s not)? What are book titles that describe you?