Feminist Fridays: Book blogging as a feminist space?

When I think about why I love blogging and why I’ve stuck with it for over five years, a few things come to mind: a welcoming sense of community, bloggers that support one another through encouragement, thought-provoking discussion, etc. Lately I’ve been asking myself what makes this kind of positive, supportive community possible online, and I’ve come to one of countless possible conclusions: a sense of equality. More specifically, I’ve been asking myself: Is the book blogging community a feminist space? 

{Disclaimer: This discussion is based on my own personal experiences in one corner of a much larger book blogging community online. I am not saying that all bloggers are feminists, nor that these views are necessary in order to be a blogger. Any statements that sound generalizing are inadvertent and are not meant to imply that every book blogger shares these same beliefs.}

When I say that the book blogging community is a “feminist space,” I’m not trying to suggest that only people who identify as women are book bloggers; rather, that this community is a space for everyone and anyone–no matter you gender, sexuality, race, class, etc.–to share their thoughts on books and bookish topics. Are there flaws with this view? Of course. No community is ideal, no matter how hard we strive to make it so. There are barriers preventing some people from participating as much as others: access to internet, computers to post with, cameras to take photos with, purchasing books vs. buying them from libraries, etc. There has also been much debate and discussion about the entrenched hierarchy of popularity regarding statistics. When one blogger becomes hugely popular, it can feel as though the sense of equality has diminished. At times it can feel as though numbers are all that matters and that an impressive number of page views is necessary in order to make your voice worth listening to in the midst of all others.

One way to combat this inequality due to statistics is to emphasize discussion and commenting rather than the number of views a blog receives. For the past few summers I’ve participated in the Comment Challenge hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense that runs from June to August. After filling out a short survey, the hosts match you up with a blogger that has similar interests as far as the kinds of books they write about. The goal is to comment on each other’s posts as much as possible over the course of the challenge (you can choose between the 5+ or 10+ posts categories) in order to help bloggers connect with each other and meet new people. Not only has this challenge introduced me to some fantastic new blogs in the past, but it also gets me into the habit of commenting more on other blogs. If this challenge sounds at all interesting to you then I’d highly recommend giving it a try! Click here to read more about the rules of the Comment Challenge.

With that said, my personal experience with blogging does lead me to view this platform as a feminist space. When I blog I feel comfortable sharing my opinions without being discriminated against or judged because of my gender. When I read other blogs I don’t care which gender they identify with. I’m able to make weekly features like Feminist Fridays and not be bombarded by angry, insulting comments; I’m lucky enough to be part of this supportive community that fosters thought-provoking discussion and challenges me to think more deeply about important topics such as this one. To me, these freedoms are priceless.

Whether or not this means that the blogging sphere is simply a feminist space from my perspective or that this sense is pervasive throughout the book blogging world, I’m not sure. Nevertheless, I am so grateful that a discussion like this is even made possible by this incredible platform. 

Click here to see other Feminist Friday posts!

Do you think book blogging is a feminist space? How can we improve it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman | Review

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again. {Goodreads}

I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. He could write an instruction manual to a washing machine and I would probably still adore it, admiring the way he always blends wit, charm, and thought-provoking ideas into his writing. With that being said, I eagerly looked forward to reading this collection of Norse myths even though my only knowledge of Norse mythology came from the Thor movies by Marvel.

Fortunately, Gaiman has a way of explaining background information of Norse myths for those who don’t know much about them while not taking away from the actual stories themselves. I also really appreciated the overarching goal of this book: to breathe new life into these old myths while simultaneously preserving their core ideas and elements. The stories are told with a more charming and whimsical tone rather than a darker attitude, juxtaposing against the violence, betrayal, and revenge present in the stories themselves. While someone who is well versed in Norse mythology may find this book too rudimentary, I think it is the perfect balance between informative and entertaining.

It’s strange to review a book that has less to do with the writer and more about the myths themselves, so I will just end this review a bit more praise for Gaiman’s captivating writing style (and narration of the audio book!). I highly recommend Norse Mythology even if you know nothing about Thor, Loki, or Ragnarok!

What are your thoughts on Norse Mythology? Do you have a favorite book by Neil Gaiman? Are you a fan of reading mythology in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

One Lovely Blog Award | 4

Waking up to see that I’ve been nominated for things like the One Lovely Blogger Award always brings a smile to my face. Thanks so much to Stephen @ Stephen Writes and Emma @ A Dreamer’s Library for nominating me!!

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award;
  • Share seven facts about yourself;
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and inform them.

Does being nominated twice mean I have to share fourteen facts about myself instead of just seven? If you insist…

1. I’m a morning person. Not only do I enjoy mornings the most out of all the times of the day, but I also tend to automatically wake up early (relative early, of course–around 7:30am).

2. Jurassic Park is my favorite movie. I even dressed up as Laura Dern in Jurassic Park for a bop that was movie themed. Dedication. 

3. I’m a pretty terrible cook. Why make actual meals for myself when I can just eat variations of breakfast (a.k.a. eggs, toast, and oatmeal) for every meal?

4. I like to bake. However, baking is different. What’s not to love about sweet treats at the end? I also feel like mistakes are less noticeable while baking than while cooking actual meals (chocolate hides pretty much everything).

5. I can touch my nose with my tongue. When I was younger I assumed that everyone could do this, but apparently that isn’t the case. Now I use it as my go-to fun fact during awkward ice-breakers at orientations, group meetings, etc.

6. I have no idea what Hogwarts House I should be in. This became an actual dilemma when I visited the Platform 9 3/4 sign at King’s Cross Station in London and the Official Scarf Waver asked me what House I’m in. I ended up saying Gryffindor because I thought the maroon scarf would stand out more in the photo AND because I just couldn’t decide in that short moment. WHAT AM I.

7. I’m allergic to MANY things, not just nuts. Dogs, Cats, birch pollen, ragweed, grass… the list goes on and on!

8. My favorite food is pizza. I could eat pizza every night for a week (or two! or three!) and still not complain. I am ALWAYS in the mood for pizza.

9. I rarely watch Netflix during terms/semesters. Some people turn to Netflix when they want to wind down after a long day of working in the library, but for some reason I usually don’t watch Netflix during term time unless I’m watching it with friends. Maybe this explains why I’m always so behind on shows?

10. I love listening to music while I work. Some people prefer silence when they read or write, but I’d rather have at least some background noise while I’m working.

11. I have a bookstagram. If you’ve followed this blog for a while I feel like you probably already know this already, but I thought I would throw it out there just in case. It’s so much fun!

12. I am an avid list maker. Almost every day the last thing I do before heading to bed is make a to-do list for the next day. Even if I don’t check off everything on the list it’s still nice to wake up with a clear direction for the day. (Besides, what’s more satisfying than checking off tiny boxes?)

13. If I’m not drinking tea, I’m usually drinking hot water. Drinking plain hot water in a mug is something that people are either 100% on board with or think is the strangest thing they’ve ever witnessed. I love it.

14. I love mugs. Speaking of mugs, I adore them. I have far too many for one human being. But when will I stop acquiring new ones? (Never.)

Thanks again to Stephen and Emma for nominating me! ❤

What’s a fun fact about you? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Solid Colors, Solid Covers

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is supposed to be books with our favorite color on the cover or in the title. I initially wanted to make a list of books with yellow covers because that’s my favorite color, but alas! Why are there so few yellow cover designs out there?! Instead, I’ve decided to share ten books that have solid color backgrounds on their covers, since that’s a design I’m always drawn to when perusing bookshop shelves. (Great typography is also appreciated!)

What’s your favorite color (on books or otherwise)? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Blenheim Palace | Holly Goes Abroad

When my mom came to visit me in Oxford we decided to get out of town one morning and take a short trip to the nearby Blenheim Palace. Countless travel guides and fellow students had recommended that I visit this remarkable landmark, but I had never had the time due to work and scheduling conflicts. What better time to do it than during my sprawling five-week spring break, especially with my mom?

Blenheim Palace is located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, which is about a 20-30 minute bus ride from the Gloucester Green bus station near the center of Oxford. The palace was built between 1705 and 1722 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is home to the Dukes of Marlborough but is perhaps most famous today for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, to whom an entire exhibit is dedicated inside the palace. Today the palace is open to visitors (albeit for a quite expensive fee) and is a careful blend of home and business. Often it is used for filming, such as with the 2008 television series Young Victoria and scenes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). The surrounding gardens are also open to the public to stroll through, with many winding paths and small footbridges to traverse.

I had never taken a regular city bus before in Oxford, so I was a little worried about timing and figuring out where to get on and off. However, everything went incredibly smoothly and left me wondering why I waited so long to do it in the first place. The S3 bus from Gloucester Green drops you off within sight of the palace gates, making it easy to come and go. The timing was reliable and the determining which stops to use was quite easy. I would highly recommend this way of getting there if you’re ever in Oxford!

Blenheim Palace is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. At first I wasn’t sure how many rooms inside the palace we would actually be allowed to walk through, but seeing everything actually took us much longer than I initially expected. We walked through sitting rooms, meeting rooms, dining rooms, the enormous library (my personal favorite!), long corridors and even a surprisingly large Winston Churchill exhibition. There are artifacts and old photos everywhere you look along the way, making the journey slow but certainly worth while. I knew practically nothing about Blenheim Palace before visiting other than a vague idea of its association with Winston Churchill; however, the exhibits are so informative that I left feeling like I could teach someone else about the history of this beautiful place fairly easily. I also loved how you didn’t necessarily need a guided tour in order to get a lot out of your visit to Blenheim Palace; a self-led tour suited my mom and I just fine.

While I loved perusing the inside of the palace, my favorite part of our visit was definitely walking around the grounds. The landscape is so beautiful that it almost feels like you’re walking through a fairy tale! Despite the fairly cloudy weather (and looming possibility of rain!) we managed to walk all over the grounds, past countless hedges, statues, and quaint little spots to rest on cute little benches. There is a path that leads you on a lovely walk by the lake and even a small waterfall next to an adorable little building that my mom and I took photos at for ages. I can only imagine how beautiful the grounds are when the sun is shining and flowers are in full bloom! We were able to walk through the inside of the palace and around the surrounding grounds in just a few hours, meaning that we were back in Oxford by the afternoon.

I’m so glad we decided to take a short journey over to Blenheim Palace–what a hidden gem! If you’re ever in the area and are looking for something with a bit more nature than the city has to offer, definitely check out Blenheim Palace.

Click here to check out other posts in my Holly Goes Abroad series!

Have you ever been to Blenheim Palace? What are some places you’ve been to that feel too much like a fairy tale to be real? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

APRIL 2018 | Wrap-Up

T.S. Eliot famously wrote in The Waste Land that “April is the cruelest month.” Fortunately, this particular month of April has been remarkably kind to me! Between traveling, spending time with friends, starting a new term, and planning for some exciting days to come, this past month was filled with moments that I know I won’t soon forget. Here’s what I was up to in April:

In April I read a total of 12 books:

  1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher
  3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
  4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  5. Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka
  6. Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
  7. Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo
  8. The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid
  9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 
  10. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
  11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  12. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf {yup: second time this year!}

I read a lot of fantastic books this month (shout out to my Oxford required reading list) but I think my favorite is probably the very first one I read: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This novel is so well written and really uproots you and plants you in the United States at the time before Obama’s first presidential election. As a book blogger, I adored the fact that Ifemelu ran a blog about race in America as an outsider as well as all of the issues and delights that came along with it. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

+ MOVIE: Definitely, definitely, definitely The Sound of Music. Up until early April I was one of the seemingly few people left on Earth who had never seen this iconic musical film, so you can imagine how confusing my life must have been before due to all of the reference I never fully understood. Well, I’m happy to say that this problem has finally been resolved, and I LOVED it. My friend and I watched it in preparation for the Sound of Music bus tour we went on while traveling through Salzburg on our break and I honestly still can’t believe it took me over two decades to finally see it. How have I lived???

The back of our Sound of Music tour bus in Salzburg, Austria.

{Also shoutout to Marvel’s Infinity War as an honorable mention. I went to the midnight screening of it (my first one ever) and it was a WILD time.}

+ MUSIC: I’m tempted to say the Sound of Music soundtrack, simply because it’s SO. DARN. CATCHY. However, in the interest of not repeating myself a million times, I think I’m going to go with an artist I was recently introduced to by one of my friend’s before we saw her perform live in London: Dodie. She has a lot of music up on her Youtube channel and she’s also released a few EPs, which are lovely. A few of my favorite songs are “When,” “6/10,” and “Party Tattoos.” Definitely check her music out if you haven’t already!

+ FOOD: Literally anything that is not granola bars, Lays and Pringles chips, fruit, and packets of oatmeal. This was basically all I ate while traveling with my friend for two weeks because I didn’t want to order anything in other languages due to my nut allergy, and now real food with substance tastes AMAZING. Actual protein! Meals that are cooked in a kitchen! Food that isn’t classified as a snack! What a life!

+ PLACE: I had the incredible opportunity to travel to many different European cities in April, so there are a lot of amazing places for me to choose from! However, I think the place I loved the most was Austria, particularly because I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful! We stayed in Vienna for several days and then spent some time in Salzburg and Mondsee for the Sound of Music bus tour and all of those places were just gorgeous. I would absolutely go back some day!

Wow, so much to say! The first half of April was one of the most incredible experiences of my life: traveling to five European cities in two weeks! The trip began by visiting my friend who is studying in Edinburgh this semester, and then from there we went to Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Salzburg. I don’t even know where to begin talking about this amazing experience! We went to so many places, from countless museums and parks to the Dutch amusement park Efteling, the East Side Gallery, the apartments of Beethoven and Mozart, actual sites used in the Sound of Music film, and more. I’ve been back in Oxford for weeks now and I still can’t believe I actually went to all of those places!

To be honest, before coming to Oxford I never, ever, ever thought I would go on such an adventure. Not only does my nut allergy make traveling quite difficult and stressful, but I’ve always been a bit of a homebody and have preferred to do things well within the bounds of my comfort zone. However, I am so, so SO glad I took advantage of the opportunity to travel while I’m already in England because it ended up being one of the most fun, exciting, eye-opening things I’ve ever done.

I’m in the process of writing MANY posts about all of my traveling adventures, so stay tuned for them over the course of the next few weeks!

So much Harry Potter graffiti in the bathroom at the Elephant House cafe in Edinburgh!
Amsterdam is so. pretty.
Loved all the tulips out in Amsterdam!
Efteling is so fun but also SO WEIRD.
Found the American flag at the East Side Gallery.
We were so lucky with the weather on this trip, and Berlin was no exception!
BEETHOVEN LIVED HERE?!?!
Anyone recognize this from the “I Have Confidence” number?
Casually visited the church where Maria gets married in Sound of Music (!!!)

I arrived back in Oxford at the beginning of 0th week, and then Trinity term started right up with work, work, and more work. It’s so strange thinking that I’m already well into my third and final term here at Oxford. I know that I’m going to miss this place immensely when I go back home to the States in June– cue the nostalgia already!

 Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:

How was your month of April? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

ON WRITING by Stephen King | Review

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. {Goodreads}

I’ve been around Stephen King’s books and stories for most of my life. Not only is my mother a huge fan of his writing, but it’s sort of difficult to grow up as a self-proclaimed bookworm and not be around his books. Stephen King is a prolific writer with the added popularity of many of his books being made into movies and television shows. Although I’ve only read a few of his books (The Gunslinger, which I disliked, and The Shining, which I enjoyed), I have nevertheless always admired King for his remarkable creativity and ability to write so much. When I learned that he had written a memoir all about his life as a writer and how he goes about the writing process I knew that I would have to read it. So, in the airport waiting to fly back to Oxford, I began.

On Writing is a perfect blend of personal memoir and writing advice. In a book like this I feel as though starting with the more personal parts is necessary in order to give the reader context and establish credibility with the audience. Who is this man, and what makes him qualified to dish out advice? (Even though I’m pretty sure most of us could answer those two questions without a moment’s hesitation.) It’s also reassuring to learn that King did not immediately become a bestselling author the first time he put a pen to paper; rather, he worked tirelessly to improve his writing over time through incessant practice and persistently putting his work out there for others to see. This personal section also helped put a lot of King’s work in perspective and would likely be even more interesting for someone more familiar with several of his novels.

There are countless points in this book that I found myself nodding my head along with, endlessly surprised by the way King is somehow able to put into words what the process of writing actually feels like. He manages to articulate precisely how it feels when you suddenly have a spark of inspiration as well as the uncertainty of not knowing what direction your writing should take next. Most importantly, he deftly describes how important and necessary writing feels to those who do it.

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

However, I think it should be said that, like any advice, King’s tips and tricks for writing should be taken with a grain of salt. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to carve out enough time in the day to consistently write thousands of words. The tone of the book can also definitely come off a bit cocky and flippant– although I suppose if you’ve been as successful as Stephen King, you can sort of get away with this. To King’s credit, he does make it clear that this advice is just that: advice, not writing rules set in stone. This book is nothing if not authentic, genuine, and brutally honest.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading On Writing and would definitely return to it again in the future for some inspiration and important reminders. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of King’s advice, I do appreciate his honesty and willingness to be so open with readers. It makes me want to read more of his fiction now!

What are your thoughts on On Writing? Do you have a favorite book by Stephen King? What’s your best piece of writing advice? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Goodreads Book Tag | 2

There’s nothing quite like hearing a new friend say, “Wait, you’re on Goodreads, too?!” I’ve used Goodreads for years and it’s definitely my preferred way of tracking what I read. You can imagine my excitement when I learned I had been tagged in the Goodreads Book Tag– two of my favorite things rolled into one! Thanks so much to Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction for tagging me!!

{Also, I schedule all of my posts in advance so these updates may be outdated by three days or so. I’m just going to let it slide!}

What was the last book you marked as “read”?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling. I listened to the audio book version narrated by Eddie Redmayne (!!!) and it was a really fun read. Would highly recommend!

What are you currently reading?

Grant by Ron Chernow, which is a biography of Civil War general and US president Ulysses S. Grant. I’ve been listening to this for AGES because the audio book is around 48 hours long (1074 pages) but now I’m finally over halfway through. This book has reminded me of how much I enjoy reading biographies!

What was the last book you added to your TBR shelf?

How to Be Both by Ali Smith, which I’ve been assigned to read for one of my tutorials this term. I’m really excited to read it because apparently some editions of it have a certain section first and others have the second section printed first. This seems like such an interesting bookish experiment and I can’t wait to see how it plays out in actuality.

What book do you plan to read next?

Oooh, such a difficult question! I usually don’t decide which book to read next until I’ve finished the one I’m reading, but I’d really love to read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. So many people have recommended it to me recently and the blurb makes it sound really interesting.

Do you use the star rating system?

Nope! I decided to stop using the star rating system about a year ago and I have never regretted the choice. It’s so freeing! I never have to worry about projecting my opinions onto a five-star system or deliberating over what I’ll rate it on Goodreads. You can read more about why I did away with it in this post. 

Are you doing a 2018 reading challenge?

Yes! My goal was to read 24 books this year, which I’ve actually already done?!?! I’m not quite sure how I managed to complete my reading challenge as early as February 19, but somehow it happened! As of the time I’m writing this post I’ve read 54 books this year.

Do you have a wish list?

Nope! I’m really trying to buy fewer books, so I never keep a wish list of what I’d like to purchase next.

What book do you plan to buy next?

Again, I’m been trying not to buy a lot of books recently so I don’t really have any in mind.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

SO. MANY. One I stumbled upon recently while reading T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land for my Virginia Woolf in modernist contexts tutorial is: “In the mountains, there you feel free.” It reminds me of the gorgeous mountains I saw while traveling in Salzburg, Austria.

Who are your favorite authors?

Again, SO MANY. I’ll just list a few: J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, John Green, Michael Crichton…

Have you joined any groups?

Technically I’ve joined a handful of groups, but to be honest I never check their pages or keep tabs on what they’re doing. I love the idea of participating in Goodreads groups– like a sort of online book club!– but I have so much reading for classes that I can never stay on top of what they read on a regular basis.

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? What are your thoughts on Goodreads in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books I Need ASAP

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is technically Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early. However, as per usual I’ve decided to switch things up a bit and share the top ten books I need ASAP… of titles that I’ve created myself! (I made a similar post a few months ago with books I’d like Santa to bring me!)

What books do you need ASAP? What do you think of the titles I’ve listed here? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

The British Library | Holly Goes Abroad

I love libraries, so it’s no surprise that the British Library was on my list of must-see places in London. Both the national library of the United Kingdom as well as the largest library on the globe, the British Library was something I couldn’t leave England without visiting at least once. Fortunately my mom, always up for fueling my bookishness, kindly agreed to make it the second stop on our London adventure.

Although we only walked through a small part of the British Library, I was amazed to learn how enormous the building actually is. Established in 1973 when it separated from the British Museum and became its own entity, the British Library has over 170 million items in its collection. The primary function of the library is for research purposes; however, they do have some exhibits that the public can view for free, which is what my mom and I walked through on our brief visit.

The first exhibition we explored was Listen: 140 Years of Recorded Sound. Not only was this exhibit a fascinating look at how the way we experience sound has changed and developed since the invention of the phonograph in 1877, but it also contained some really fun interactive elements. For instance, there were these big circular seats that allowed you to blast a wide range of different songs, from classical music to the Doctor Who theme (my personal favorite). Sitting in this strange chair made me feel like a kid playing on some futuristic playground!

The highlight of the visit for me was the remarkably impressive Treasures of the British Library exhibit. Nearly every item in this exhibit made me gasp out loud: music from Beethoven! Writing from Jane Austen! Shakespeare texts! The original Magna Carta. I was taken aback by the range, scope, and rarity of this astounding collection (and the fact that it is all free to the public!). I also enjoyed listening to the recordings available with headphones placed throughout the exhibit, especially the ones of writers talking in various interviews and reading various texts. Hearing the voices of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce for the first time was incredible… I never expected them to sound the way they did!

All in all, the British Library is well worth visiting if you’re ever in the King’s Cross area of London. Whether you’re a history buff, literature fiend, or simply interested in seeing some amazing items, there’s something for everyone in these amazing exhibitions!

Click here to check out other posts in my Holly Goes Abroad series!

Have you ever been to the British Library? What is your favorite thing to see there? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY