Top Ten Tuesday: Materials to Complement History Classes

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. Today is technically a Back to School Freebie so I’ve decided to talk about 10 books, movies, etc. that you can use to complement your history classes!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah // I know this is a fairly obvious pick, but I couldn’t leave it out. This would obviously supplement classes on World War II, and I think it would be interesting because you’re reading from the perspective of 2 women in France. Women’s roles in the war are highly overlooked, and you get two very different ones here. The quiet rebellion, and the “obvious” rebellion.

The Emperor’s Spy (Rome #1) by M.C. Scott // I think this would be an interesting book for classes on The Roman Empire because it doesn’t just focus on Rome. It also includes Boadicea and her legacy, it follows Judaism and Christianity in the Roman Empire, etc. It has a broader focus than only the Roman citizens themselves.

The Moon in the Palace (Empress of Bright Moon #1) by Weina Dai Randel // Unfortunately, growing up in Belgium I didn’t get much of Chinese history in class. But if you’re looking for a book that is incredible and will teach you something about the Tang and Zhou dynasties -and a Chinese empress- than this is the one for you.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller // I think this could be an interesting addition to classes on Ancient Greece. This retelling of the Iliad tells us a lot about Achilles’ life, but it also allows you to talk about LGBTQ+ people in history (and in the Iliad). 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys // I didn’t want to pick two WWII novels, but I did. I chose this one in particular because I think the event this book is centered around has been forgotten by most of us. I certainly was never taught about the Wilhem Gustloff, one of the biggest maritime disasters ever. 

Outlander // I know I probably should’ve put the books here. But in all honesty, I think if you were teaching Scottish history, your students will be far more likely to watch a few episodes than to try and tackle those huge books. If you don’t know, this is about Claire who accidentally ends up in Scotland in 1743 -instead of the year 1945 she was in before.

Munich // If you’re talking more recent history, this is a great film to watch -and an interesting way to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is set in 1972 when 11 Israeli athletes are taken hostage and murdered during the Olympic Games in Munich by a Palestinian terrorist group. 

The Help // Another one in which I probably should’ve gone with the book. BUT I haven’t actually read the book. I did watch the movie, which was incredible. This is set in the 1960s in Jackson and it’s the tale of the African-American maids working for the rich white families. I know that this film isn’t perfect. It fails to mention many aspects of the inequalities, and it also has a bit of the white-savior trope. But I do think it’s still a film worth watching. This is recent history, and while we have come quite a way, there is still such a long journey ahead of us.

The Prince of Egypt  // Shout out to one of my favorite animated movies ever. This is the story of Moses -or the Exodus story if you will. Now, I am not religious. But I think this would be a great movie to watch when talking about religion and history, no?

Reign // Warning: I have only seen the first two seasons. Please, do not spoil me. But this is a really fun series about Mary Queen of Scots and her rise to power!


Which historical books, movies and shows would you recommend? 

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What I’ve Recently Read

I’ve been in a massive reading slump for the past 4 weeks. I haven’t finished a single book since the 21st of July! I have been reading fan fiction, and I am currently listening to an audio book, so I’m hoping to get out of the slump soon. I just wanted to catch you up on the books I’ve read since my last wrap up video. 

Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged (Sofia Khan #1) by Ayisha Malik // 4 stars

Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters #2) by Juliet Marillier // 5 stars

Review: Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged

sofia khan is not obligedSofia Khan Is Not Obliged (Sofia Khan #1) by Ayisha Malik
Published: September 3rd 2015 by twenty7

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars – really liked it
Goodreads

Synopsis: “Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?

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I picked this book because a) it’s an own voices, diverse book, b) the author was attending YALC and c) I’ve been wanting some adult contemporary romance in my life. And I’m incredibly glad I did. 

This book is about Sofia Khan who is a book publicist in her thirties, single, a Hijabi Muslim, living in London and the daughter of Pakistani immigrants. If you only take these descriptors, the only thing Sofia and I have in common is that we are single. Yet I found this book, and her character, incredibly easy to relate to. It also taught me a lot about her culture, about being Muslim in today’s society in a city such as London, and about family. 

I think this is the perfect adult contemporary for people who read mostly YA. Sofia is an incredibly funny main character, which makes her story easy to read. I laughed out loud several times while reading -which is always awkward when you’re on the train. The story has a light tone to it, while still tackling some awful subjects along the line. She’s witty, sarcastic and tends to overanalyze pretty much everything. Like I said, easy to relate to.

The story revolves around Sofia as she is asked to write a book about the Muslim dating scene in today’s society. To do this, Sofia actually has to start dating. She tries to navigate this life while keeping up her relationship with her family and friends who are all going through some things as well. I liked getting this insight in the Muslim dating scene, as I am not familiar with it at all. Reading about their difficulties (living with the in-laws, being a second wife, sex, meeting parents immediately, not being religious enough, being too religious, …) was incredibly eye-opening

I have to admit that I saw the “twist” coming when I was half-way through the book -if you can call it a twist, that is. And I think that this book was a bit too long and too short at the same time. It takes Sofia far too long to figure her feelings towards someone out, so that part dragged on for too long (in my opinion). As the reader, you only get Sofia’s perspective. And I figured it out probably like 150 pages before she did. But the part after she does I find too short. The ending of the story seemed to abrupt, and I felt like I had missed some serious decision making afterwards. I do have to say that I’m a fan of the romantic interest. Definitely. 

Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the focus on friends and family. Family is such a big part of Sofia’s life, and that is represented in the book as well. I adore family dynamics, especially complex ones. Ayisha Malik did an incredible job conveying both the love and the exasperation we feel towards our parents. There is no doubt in my mind that Sofia loves her parents. But at times, she gets really frustrated or annoyed with them. And I love that! After all, that’s the reality for so many of us. 

Then there are Sofia’s friends. I love how these girls are always there for each other, with ridiculous advice and terrible dating stories. How their experiences and goals in life are so different, and how they all support each other no matter what. 

Aside from the fact that this book was a little bit too long, there was one other thing I didn’t really like. The narrative is broken up in time. For example: 2.36pm “….” 4.52 pm “…”. I hope you know what I mean by that. It’s almost like blog posts? You read her thoughts and experiences at that exact time. I’m not entirely sure why that didn’t really work for me. I felt like the narrative didn’t really flow, because it wasn’t allowed to. The constant stops and slight jumps in time took me out of the story a bit. 

I would highly recommend this book. If you like contemporary reads, you should definitely give this one a go. Even if you read only YA contemporary! I loved the fact that this is centered around the Muslim dating scene, loved the fact that it’s own voices, loved that it’s set in London, loved the family and friends in it and really clicked with Sofia’s sense of humor. Is it a bit too long? Yes. But I promise you’ll enjoy the journey this book takes you on. 

Review: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb | No Spoilers

assassin's questAssassin’s Quest (Farseer #3) by Robin Hobb
Published: March 3rd 1997 by Spectra

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars – Absolutely loved it
Goodreads

I won’t provide a synopsis as this is the third and final book in the trilogy. If you want to read my reviews on the first and second book, you can find them here:
(1) Assassin’s Apprentice

(2) Royal Assassin

This is a spoiler-free review, even if you haven’t read book 1 or 2! 

 

 

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I should have written this review months ago… Oh well, I’m finally getting to it. This is the third and final book in the Farseer trilogy -which is the first trilogy in her overarching Realm of Elderlings series. 

It’s no secret that I have loved this series from the start. It’s definitely not one everyone will enjoy, mostly because a lot of people go into it with the wrong expectations. This trilogy is the story of FitzChivalry, a bastard to the King-in-Waiting. When they find out he has a bastard, he decides to step down (and dies -that’s not a spoiler by the way). Fitz is then brought up at the castle, and trained to be the assassin for the King of the Six Duchies. This is a slow-paced, character-driven story. Don’t go into this expecting one assassin scene after the other, because you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead, you’ll get to know these characters like no other. They’ll become your family, your friends, and your enemies.

This book was definitely my favorite one of the series. I loved watching all the small plot lines develop and come together. There was so much going on in this one, and Fitz stumbled from one chaotic mess into the other. I felt for him, I truly did. During this entire book, I basically just wanted to hug him and not let go.

Obviously, there are many other characters I’ve come to love in this series. Nighteyes is probably one of my favorites. No one will ever trump the Fool though. Like I said, these characters will feel so familiar to you. Robin Hobb manages to make Fitz’s family feel like your family. Here’s one of my favorite moments of The Fool: 

“But for now, let me show you something else. No, step back, please, so you can see it all. Here it comes.” I heard the slam and the latch. “The outside of my door,” the Fool announced gladly. “I painted it myself. Do you like it?”

I almost cried when the book was over. I immediately wanted to continue with her Realm of Elderlings series, because Robin Hobb is an absolute genius. I need to read all of her works, and I need to read them now. I don’t really know what else I can say about this book without spoiling anything though. 

In conclusion, this book is my favorite of the three. I fell in love with so many of the characters -and wanted to viciously murder some of the others. I would highly recommend you read this series, if you haven’t done so already. I can’t wait to read more of her work.

Top 5 Wednesday: Characters’ Fitness Routines I’d Want

Hello everyone! I’m back with another #T5W post. Today, we’re talking about the characters’ fitness routines we’d like to have. As always, all the Top 5 Wednesday information can be found in the description box of my video. 

 

Arya // The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Bryn // The Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking

Annabeth // Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Annie // Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Amani // Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Top Ten Tuesday: For Fans of Myths, Fairy Tales and Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, I’m talking about retellings of myths, classics and fairy tales that I’ve really enjoyed. 

 

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier // This is a retelling of the fairy tale The Six Swans. I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with it before reading this book, and it didn’t hinder my enjoyment whatsoever. This book is absolutely brilliant, and it manages to create a perfect blend of Irish culture and the German fairy tale.

Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella #1) by Kelly Oram // Obviously, this is a Cinderella retelling… I adore this book. Not only is it fluffy and wonderful, it also tackles some more serious aspects of the main characters’ lives. There’s disability rep, a Latinx main character, positive therapy rep, etc. 

Thorn by Intisar Khanani // Again, I’m not very familiar with The Goose Girl which is what this book is based on. But I absolutely loved the reading experience. Intisar Khanani is one of my favorite underrated authors! 

Hounded (Iron Druid #1) by Kevin Hearne // This is a bit different than the previous ones because it focuses on mythology instead of fairy tales. The main character Atticus is a 21-century-old Druid. And he often gets in trouble with the gods. This series combines multiple pantheons. Obviously, there are the old Irish gods. And the Norse ones. And Maria and Jesus make an appearance too. I’ve only read the first two books so far, but I love them nonetheless. 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik // If I’m not mistaken, this is very loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. Please, correct me if I’m wrong. If you haven’t read this fantasy stand alone yet, I’d highly recommend it. 

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller // Who is surprised by this pick? ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I love it. It’s sort of a retelling of The Iliad, because it follows the life of Achilles from boy to Troy -haha. But it’s told through the eyes of Patroclus, his partner.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler // I think this is very, very loosely based on The Little Mermaid? Anyway, I loved this contemporary read. It follows Elyse d’Abreau, who used to be the most beautiful singer in Tobago. Now, she can’t even speak.

Troy // Yes, I’m throwing in movies too. Troy is still one of my favorite movies! It’s a retelling of The Iliad by Homer, and stars Brad Pitt as Achilles. I don’t know what it is about this movie that just draws me in every time. (Well, it’s probably Brad Pitt…)

Clueless // Another one of my favorite movies! This one is just so nostalgic. If you aren’t aware, Clueless is a retelling of Emma by Jane Austen set in the 90s in Los Angeles. I watched this way before reading Emma. While I was reading Emma, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the movie, which made the reading experience that much more enjoyable. 

She’s the Man // I have never read any Shakespeare aside from parts of Romeo and Juliet. But I love this movie, which is based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

BONUS: 10 Things I Hate About You // Again, I haven’t read the original work this is based on because it’s another one of Shakespeare’s, namely The Taming of the Shrew. But I just couldn’t leave it off of my list! I adore this movie. And Heath Ledger.


Those are some of my favorite retellings, both in books and movies! I didn’t include any Rick Riordan, because you already know how much I love his work. What are your favorite retellings?

My #Viewathon Wrap Up

Last week I participated in the #viewathon! I thought it was such a fun idea. The movie/TV show equivalent of a readathon… I’ve been in such a reading slump lately, and I’ve been neglecting the movies and TV shows I want to watch for months now. So it was the perfect time to participate in the viewathon.

There were 25 challenges in total. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up watching as much as I’d hoped I would. But I watched more than I do in the average week, so I guess that counts as a victory. Anyway, here’s what I ended up watching! 

I finally watched Moana. I know, I’m so behind on these things. I loved it though! 

I also watched 3 episodes of Easy, a Netflix show I don’t think I’ll be continuing. It’s about the love/sex lives of random people in today’s society. The episodes are about 20 minutes long and I think the different people in each episode have nothing to do with one another. It just means that you don’t really know the characters or get invested in their lives -so I couldn’t care less about their sex lives, to be honest. 

I re-watched Wonder Woman, because I adore it. I also re-watched one episode of Teen Wolf because I want to continue and catch up with the show.

Then I want to the cinema and watched Dunkirk. I was so tense the entire time while watching this, I may have strained some neck muscles. It was an incredible movie though, definitely worth watching. 

Finally, I started watching Sense8. I have been meaning to watch this show for AGES and have never gotten around to it. I finally did it. And it’s epic. I watched 4 episodes last week! This is definitely a show I’ll be continuing, because I’m so intrigued (and attached to the characters) already. 

Did you participate in the viewathon? Have you seen any of these movies or shows?