Tag: book culture

How to Have Hufflepuff Spirit During COVID-19

If you’re a Hufflepuff, today is your day. If you’ve been sorted into this house, you are dedicated, honest, hard-working and loyal. Most Hufflepuffs correspond to the element of earth. So you all probably have some plants to tend to, which is just darling. It’s rough out here for everyone right now, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate!


Image via MinaLima


Wear your house colors with pride

If you have your robes, wear them to go nowhere. If you don’t have any robes, find whatever you have in yellow and black and slap it on.



                           Image via Cinereplicas                                                                                                       Image via Poshmark


Read the Harry Potter series again for like the 100th time. Let’s be real unless you have to work, what else do you have to do?


Image via Amazon

Be a great friend

Maybe you are in a position where you can’t see your friends but call them, face time them. Have game night over Skype. Just keep in touch, especially now.


Image via Twitter 


But most importantly If you are bored from being at home, check out this video and I guarantee it will make your day better.

Image via Tumblr

Featured Image via Hogwarts Extreme



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7 Quotes to Celebrate Hufflepuff Pride Day

1. “I’ll teach the lot, and treat them just the same” – Helga Hufflepuff

Image via Harry Potter Wiki


This first quote comes from, of course, the founder of the Hufflepuff house. This quote shows that not only will a Hufflepuff learn, but they will be treated kindly and with respect.


2. “I feel that if a single pupil wants to come, then the school ought to remain open for that pupil.” – Pomona Sprout

Image via Harry Potter Wiki


This quote comes from the head of herbology herself, Professor Sprout. This quote embodies what it means to be a Hufflepuff, caring about the well being of everyone, even if that everyone is only one individual.

3. “Forgive and forget, I say, we ought to give Peeves a second chance ” – The fat Friar

Image via Wizarding World


This quote from The Fat Friar shows a great deal about the character of a Hufflepuff. Even though Peeves has done wrong, they should still forgive him because everyone deserves a redemption.



4. “Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil.” – J.K Rowling

Image via Evening Standard


This quote comes not from a character but from the creator herself, J.K Rowling. If anyone knows the Hufflepuff house best it is going to be the woman who wrote the books. Her quote shows what it truly means to be part of the Honey Badger house; patient, true, and unafraid.

5. “They didn’t want to show off, they weren’t being reckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff.”- J.K Rowling

Image via Harry Potter Wiki


When asked if any Hufflepuffs stayed behind to fight in the battle of Hogwarts, she said that virtually all of them did, followed by this quote. They wanted to fight because it was the right thing to do, not for any sense of pride or validation.


6.  “Only the gentle are ever really strong.” – James Dean

Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie
Image via We Heart It


Okay so James Dean obviously wasn’t talking about Hufflepuffs but this quote really describes those sorted into the house to a tee. The Hufflepuffs are often passed on because they are seen as weak, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. They are the strongest, because they care.


7. “My philosophy is if you worry, you suffer twice.” – Newt Scamander

Image via filmsjacket.com


This final quote is not only a synopsis of a Hufflepuff, but advice. Do not worry, because worrying is half the battle. Put your best foot forward, and you’ll be okay.



Featured Image via YourTango


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5×5 International Women’s Month: Celebrating Amazing Female Authors

Welcome to the newest edition of 5×5, a series in which we ask five authors of similar backgrounds five questions. Today, we are talking with Sofia Fenichell, AM Scott, Collette McLafferty, Susanne Tedrick and Finola Austin in honor of international women’s month. These fantastic women write in genres across the board.

We have some exciting releases next month with Susanne Tedrick’s fascinating read, Woman of Color in Tech, that will help women of color learn the skills they’ll  need to succeed in (and revolutionize) a technical field and AM Scott’s science fiction, space opera in her last book from her Folding Space Series, Lightwave: Longshot.

Sofia Fenichell is an author and CEO of Mrs. Wordsmith, a children’s edtech company. Their most recent book, FLUSH! and 37 Essential House Ruleshelps children learn how to respect their homes, their parents, and themselves. With the added flair of vocabulary words on every page, great artwork and puns galore, kids and parents a like can laugh and learn from this read. It’s available to purchase now, through Mrs. Wordsmith.com. And it’s available for pre-order on Amazon to be shipped in June.

Finola Austin’s anticipated historical fiction novel, Bronte’s Mistress, will be having a summer release this August. It’s a steamy and captivating imagining of the affair, that is still some of the hottest literary tea out there.

Last but not least, we have Collette McLafferty. Her book, Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer, is a memoir in which she details her life in the music industry and how she had to deal with a huge lawsuit for signing a cover in a bar. This is a fascinating read, indeed.

Now, that we’ve met our authors, let’s get to the question and answers.


Image via Students’ Union Royal Holloway 


1. As a full time/part time writer, what is some advice you could give aspiring writers when things seem hopeless?

Collette McLafferty: I would say this to any writer feeling hopeless: You have to remember your voice is your gift and no one can take it away from you. There is no circumstance or rejection that can tear you away from a pen and paper, a laptop or hitting that “publish” button. At the same time, it’s okay to take a break once in a while. I’m a huge fan of “The Artist Date”, a once a week exercise from Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”. Go out get fresh air, see a movie, call up that old friend. Inspiration is like a fickle lover, it goes away sometimes, but it always comes back!

AM Scott: a. Join some of the online writing communities. By participating in some of the pitch parties on Twitter and the writing community built around those parties, I got some really valuable critiques before I published. They’re also very supportive—there’s always someone willing to encourage you. active, not in your house or at your job. I find hiking can jolt loose ideas and help me feel more optimistic .Hang in there—don’t quit. Even if you can’t afford to take classes or buy ads,there are free writing and marketing resources out there!

Finola Austin: Every word you write brings you closer to your goal of writing a novel, and, most importantly,every word you write makes your writing better. Some writers set daily word counts for themselves but this approach has never worked for me. I write when I can—early in the morning,late at night, on weekends, and frequently on airplanes. Rather than beating yourself up about what you can’t do, given the other demands being made on you by the rest of your life, focus on what you can achieve.

Sofia Fenichell: Being a writer is a calling. It’s a need that you have within you. Not everyone has it. You can’t really give up if you have that need. When things seem hopeless as a writer, you have no choice but to keep going in one way or another. So as you grow into being a writer, remember that the best writers are those that know how to listen and take feedback. Failure is your phoenix rising.

Susanne Tedrick: I would say the first step acknowledging the feelings that you are having. I think our society has conditioned people to either quickly get over or stifle negative feelings. Ignoring or pretending you don’t have negative feelings, including hopelessness, is much worse for your overall health. Accepting your feelings as they are and giving yourself the time and space to cry, talk to a good friend or therapist, additional rest, meditation,exercise or whatever method of (healthy) release you need, is the best first step in getting over hopelessness effectively. The second, important part is dissecting those feelings and challenging them. For example, if you’re saying to yourself “there’s no point in going on” or “I’m destined to fail” in the face of a setback, what substantive indicators do you have to back those assertions up? You may need the help of an impartial, trusted friend or advisor to offer a different, less emotionally charged perspective. 


2. Did you choose the genre you wanted to write in or did that genre choose you?

Colette McLafferty:To say my genre chose me would be an understatement! In 2014 I woke up to the headline “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Ugly for P!NK Tribute Band” via The New York Post and watched in horror as this story went viral about me worldwide! I was really named in a $10,000,000 lawsuit, but it was between two men and had little to do with me. I spent the next two years in The Twilight Zone as I spent $15,000 fighting a lawsuit against a man I had never met while the mainstream media completely rewrote my identity. I wrote daily in a blog called, “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” which eventually became the title of my memoir. Before this event, most of my writing was short form music journalism and songwriting. The day I wrote “The End” on that final manuscript of “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” was the day I got my sanity back.

AM ScottLike many writers, I write what I read. I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a child, and my favorite subgenre is space opera, so writing it came naturally. But I started writing romance, because that’s what I read when I’m stressed. I was reading a “military” romance, but it was clear the author had never spoken to a military person, and I thought “I can do better than this!” Turns out I couldn’t, not at first. It took me a few years of writing before I felt comfortable publishing.

Finola Austin:A little bit of both. I’ve always loved nineteenth-century fiction, especially the works of the Bronte sisters and George Eliot, and my Masters degree focused on literature from the period. I didn’t want to be an academic as I couldn’t see the appeal of writing essays that only a few people in the world could understand. Instead historical fiction, for me, is a way of making the past accessible and visceral, and shining a light on the parallels between the then and the now.

Sofia FenichellThe genre of creating books for children definitely chose me! I wanted to help my own children fall in love with writing and become great writers. I could only see the value of writing going one way with the internet. But I was shocked by the poor quality of educational materials available for the  language-learning industry – poorly conceived, low-quality visuals, with many products that had very old copyright dates! The more I dug around, the more I realized that the sector was dominated by large publishing houses that underinvest in data-driven curation and high-quality content. All the investment and creativity was going into video games and entertainment. So, I was determined that Mrs Wordsmith would become the Pixar of Literacy.

Susanne Tedrick: The genre definitely chose me. Upon reflection on my own experiences in getting into tech – the successes, failures, and lessons learned – I realize that the sharing of this knowledge with the future women of color tech leaders was the book I was destined to write.



3. Who is your favorite author and why?

Collette McLaffertyMy favorite author will always be Louisa May Alcott. “Little Women” was the first book I picked out for myself. I found it at a garage sale. I was ten years old. I read the entire series including “Little Men” and “Jo’s Boys”. It was the first time in my life I connected to characters on the page and developed a long term relationship with them. I was an avid reader as a child. Sadly, during my teenage years I fell into a vortex of self esteem and body issues. Like many girls, I distanced myself from my interests and passions during this time. I stopped reading for a while. Louisa May Alcott represents a time in my life when I could show up to the page with curiosity and no sense of limitations. 

AM ScottOoh, that’s a hard question. I have a lot of favorites! But right now, my very favorite science fiction author is Julia Huni. Full disclosure here—she’s my developmental editor, and my sister, but her stories are full of fun and adventure.

Finola Austin: Two women novelists I very much admire are Mary Elizabeth Braddon, who wrote scandalous British novels classified as ‘sensation fiction’ in the nineteenth century, and Elizabeth Smart, the Canadian writer who wrote the beautiful By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept in 1945. Both women were incredibly talented. Both were also parents—Braddon had six children of her own and raised five stepchildren, while Smart was a single mother of four. I admire their writing, their grit and work ethic, and the fact that, for both, writing was an artform and a way to act as breadwinners for their families.

Sofia FenichellI like to read inspirational stories about people who defied the odds and retained their sense of humor, humility and integrity. My favorite author is Maya Angelou. I think we are at a point in humanity now where we all need to read more Maya Angelou. We need to hear from authors who make us think about our vulnerability and our unmitigated potential for growth. My favorite line from Dr. Angelou is “life loves the liver of it”; from Letter to My Daughter.

Susanne TedrickWriter and feminist activist Audre Lorde. I’ve found her poems and essays are always so powerful, thought-provoking and incredibly relevant today. It was through her writing that I came to understand intersectional feminism; while we may all identify as women,our race, class, sexuality and many other factors will ultimately shape what we experience in the world. No two women will experience life in the exact same way on gender alone.


4. As a female, do you think your gender/or how you choose to identify helps give you a different perspective in the world? And how has being an author helped you share that perspective?

Collette McLaffertyAs a female in the world, I constantly experience a lot that doesn’t fly with me. I see many whistles that need blowing and conversations that need to be had regarding the climate for women. When the mainstream media presented me to the public as a “bad, ugly singer” I realized my insecurities were not my own. They were taught to me and painstakingly marketed to me. As an author tackling this topic, I’ve had the opportunity to pull down the curtain and expose the multi million dollar business of shaming women for profit.  When I wrote the first draft of “Confessions” in 2014, it was before the “me too” and “time’s up” movement. I felt like a lone wolf of sorts. Now I’m part of a big, beautiful machine, that is disrupting the old narrative. There is a real opportunity to break the cycle, and it starts with the written word.

AM ScottI do have a different perspective than men—and many women too! This is my second career—I spent twenty years in the US Air Force as a space operations officer. It was a great career, but as a woman in a male-dominated profession, I had to fight against sexual discrimination. But think my background allows me to appeal to both sexes, because I understand the major issues of both, so my both my female and male characters ring true.

Finola AustinI’m going to speak in generalized terms here but, traditionally, girls have been raised to be highly attuned to the thoughts and feelings of those around them. We praise girls a lot for being ‘helpful’ and ‘kind’, rather than ‘brave’ or ‘daring.’ This kind of conditioning helps and hurts women as novelists. Having a honed sense of empathy is great for developing the interior monologue readers love to get access to when reading, and for unpacking interpersonal character dynamics. But women’s tendency to put themselves last, downplay their achievements, and shy away from risk can really hurt them when it comes to getting the damn novel written or promoting themselves once their books are ready to see the light of day. Again, this won’t hold true for everyone, but societal expectations can be hard to  overcome. Something that’s been amazing about sharing my writing with others is hearing that I’m not alone. Writing about some of the worst parts of being a woman has led to other women confiding in me, for instance about their unhappiness in their relationships, unpleasant sexual experiences, or ambivalent feelings towards motherhood.

Sofia FenichellYes definitely, I think being female and a Mom helped give me a particular perspective in the world. As the publisher of books for kids, I’m able to translate what I see going on in the world, into the eyes of my children. For example, we’ve just published a book called FLUSH! And 37 Essential House Rules which provides kids with the rules they need to become independent thinkers, visionaries, even renegades. Research also shows that kids who are able to accurately label their feelings, have more positive social interactions and perform better in school using their full range of vocabulary. Children who can think for themselves and respect their homes and the people around them go on to do unexpected and incredible things. We believe the home is a safe place where kids can test the boundaries and learn how to operate.Being an author helped me to conceive of this book as a way to equip kids with the language they need to take responsibility for themselves, laying the foundation for school and well beyond.”

Susanne TedrickBeing a woman, and specifically a Black woman, does give me a different perspective in the world. As part of a historically marginalized group, I see and feel the challenges Black women face in the world every day. Yet, Black women have learned to be incredibly resourceful and resilient in the face of any obstacle. It’s because of this that we’ve not only been able to survive but thrive in many domains. Being an author has allowed me to share this message of hope and perseverance with others. It can be hard,but it’s not impossible.


5. What is the best way, in your opinion, to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Collette McLafferty:The best way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to take a deep dive into your passions. Go out and find the women who not only made history but are the history makers of tomorrow. For me personally, I like to take a deep dive into the catalogues of female songwriters and performers  that are criminally underrated. Tracy Bonham is one of the best pop writers in my book and should have stayed on the charts. She hit #1 on the male dominated modern rock charts in the 90’s, a feat that was not repeated until Lorde cracked the code 17 years later with “Royals”. I’ll listen to the music of composer Maria Anna Mozart, who is often referred to as “Mozart’s Sister”.  I like to support groups like the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. They formed at a time when females were actively discouraged from participating in the rock world. Since music is my passion, that is how I will celebrate. 

AM ScottI love highlighting the accomplishments of women in science, technology,education and math. Stories like “Hidden Figures” are a wonderful way to bring those women to the attention of young women and hopefully inspire them to STEM careers

Finola AustinMy answer to this one may seem pretty obvious, but, no matter your gender, read books written by women (or pre-order books by women that will be out soon!). Don’t just read novels by women from your country, or of your ethnicity, or who share experiences similar to your own. Seek out the stories you haven’t heard before and, when you find ones you love, share them with others.

Sofia Fenichell: The best way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to acknowledge the hard work that it takes to pursue a dream and to encourage our children to find their own dreams. Seize the opportunity to teach your children about what you do each day whether you’re a female author or a CEO . Find gentle ways to bring them on the journey with you. They not only will help unlock solutions, but they will thrive as a result. Children learn most by the example we lead. Recently I sat down with my daughter to read our new book in the Mrs. Wordsmith child development series called Flush! and 37 Other House Rules and when she laughed out loud, I knew we had created the right book.

Susanne TedrickI think the best way to celebrate is to honor and spotlight the women in your life or in your circle who are out there doing amazing things. Sharing their stories and more about how they’ve influenced and inspired you is a great way for others to learn about more amazing women who are making things happen.


Image via The United Nations



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Meet Our Bookstagrammer of the Week: @stackedshelves

What’s the story of your Bookstagram?

I first started my Bookstagram back in February 2019, as a way to get back into reading fiction after reading almost exclusively academic books and articles for my degree. I was spending so much time browsing other feeds that I thought I may as well give it a shot, and here we are!

image via @stackedshelves

What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

Hopefully, to inspire a sense of peace and an escape from reality for anyone who visits my page! And of course, to encourage people to read the books I love. 

Favorite Bookstagrammers?

There are so many great Bookstagrammers out there – some of my favorites include: 







Favorite books and authors?

The Great Gatsby, Rebecca, and The Picture of Dorian Gray are some of my favorite books! As for authors, I love Taylor Jenkins-Reid, Bret Easton-Ellis, and Leigh Bardugo. 

TBR List?

At the top of my list is The Night Circus because I read it years ago and can’t remember anything, so I’m in need of a refresh! I’m also very eager to read Ninth House because it sounds amazing. 

image via @stackedshelves

Do you have a special approach to sharing content?

A lot of my followers think I have someone help me take my photos, but 99% of them are taken by myself with a tripod and a self-timer. I set aside an hour or two in a day when I have some free time and try out different outfits and angles until I find a shot that I like. I usually take quite a few photos in the same spot and then scatter them throughout my feed over a few weeks. It’s very lighting dependent – sometimes it’s too bright or too dark and I just have to abandon the thought of taking any photos at all. 

Any specific posting schedule? 

I post once a day, usually in the afternoon/early evening time as that’s when most of my followers are active according to my Insights. Back when I first started out, I was posting multiple times a day to see what content people liked to see from me, but once I had that figured out, I didn’t need to post as much anymore! 


What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

It means more than people could know! It got me back into reading again, which I’m so grateful for, and it’s a platform that allows me to connect with so many other book lovers who I’d never get to talk to otherwise. Having it as a project to work on outside of university/my job has also made it a great space for me to have fun and de-stress. 


image via @stackedshelves

What publisher would you love to supply you with a lifetime of books?

I would have to say Penguin because Penguin Classics do so many beautiful editions of so many amazing books. I’d love to own all of them if I could!

An author you’d love to take a selfie with?

Taylor Jenkins-Reid! I think she’s so cool and has the most original ideas for books at the moment. 

Favorite book cover?

The Canterbury Classics Word Cloud edition of Jane Eyre (lilac is my favorite color and I love the typography!)

image via @stackedshelves

Aesthetic of your page?

My aesthetic is based on the pairing of books with my outfits, so those are the two fundamental elements underlying my posts. On top of that, my edits are focused around injecting warm tones into my photos to inspire that cozy feeling when you visit my feed. 

Favorite Insta-Post of your own?

My sister helped me take a photo where I’m lying on my bed in a gold dress with books scattered around me – I really love that one. It was hard to set up and get the angles right, but all good fun, and I love the way the edit came out. 

image via @stackedshelves

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

Probably around when I started to gain a lot more followers after changing up my photos to include my outfits in the shot. I don’t think you necessarily need to have a lot of followers to make it as a Bookstagrammer, but because I started seeing this growth after changing my aesthetic, I knew I had hit upon my ‘niche’. 

Involvement in any fandoms?

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly into fandoms anymore, but when I was younger I was such a Twihard. I had a framed photo of Edward and Bella next to my bed, I had special hand-painted Twilight converse, I lived in Team Edward T-shirts…it was very intense when I look back on it now. But I think it’s cool for people to be super into things! And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still love Twilight. 


Additional bookishness for our audience?

Keep reading! And never let anyone make you feel bad for loving books – when I was younger I was always made to feel weird for being a reader, but there are so many people out there who share the same interests as you! It just takes time to find them.

Advice for aspiring ‘grammers?

Post regularly and interact as much as possible with other accounts – it’s definitely the way to embed yourself in the community! 

image via @stackedshelves

Fun fact?

I used to be a shelf stacker in a library and that’s where my Bookstagram username came from! 

Well, what did you think about @stackedshelves? I would totally steal her wardrobe if I could! Do you have a favorite Bookstagrammer in mind? Contact us through any of our social media platforms and you just might see them here next week! 

featured image via @stackedshelves

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How Many Books Will You Need?

It’s dark, but you’re stocking up on everything else. How many books will you need for fourteen days?

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Featured image via Mouthy Money