Varian’s Book Recommendations

varian and their book recommendations. illustration of varian, a green toad, sewing a rainbow cloth next to the pond.

Varian is the resident Toadshifter at the Pond, and loves recommending books!

Varian the Toadshifter, with a hand over his heart, with a staff, shield, sword, and bow around him. A sewing needle and thread is above his head, lit up for emphasis.Don’t be fooled by Varian the Toadshifter. For they may appear to be a plain toad, they are actually an incredibly powerful and knowledgeable magic caster – they just love improving their sewing skills to create lovely costumes!

Varian recognises that magic is most powerful when you share it with others. That’s why whenever you see Varian, they will recommend some books to youYou can read a little more about Varian’s life and story here.


Varian loves reading a good heist, and wanted to recommend some diverse heist books (that aren’t just Six of Crows)! For weeks, they secretly spun and wove a magical invisibility cloak  that will help them pull off the perfect heist – or maybe even the perfect prank! See their recommendations for diverse heists here. →


Varian the Toad dressed up as the 13th Doctor from Doctor Who.

Varian has been learning a lot about history lately, and wanted to share with you some books based on ‘invisible’ moments in history. They created the costume perfect for this theme – as the Thirteenth Doctor from Doctor Who! See their recommendations for historical fiction about ‘invisible’ moments in history. →


Varian the toad wearing a rainbow unicorn costume and a rainbow skirt. Varian dressed up as a unicorn for their favourite time of the year: Spooky season! They teamed up with fellow Pond friends Cuddle and Sprout to recommend some spooky books to read during Halloween. See Varian, Cuddle, and Sprout’s recommendations for books to read if you feel like something spooky. →


Varian the toad wearing a moon costume, with stars and clouds.Varian loves the moon, and thought that for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge this month they would recommend some books based on old stories that inspire them; specifically Asian books inspired by mythology, folklore, or fairytalesSee their recommendations for Asian books inspired by mythology, folklore, or fairytales. →


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For ‘Mental Health Awareness’, Varian didn’t make a costume but they did recommend some books by Asian authors about Asian characters that have mental illnesses to promote awareness that mental illnesses are invisible. See their recommendations for Asian books with mental illness representation. →


ghibli varian

Varian has been watching a lot of Studio Ghibli films lately – so they made a cosplay of their favourite character: San from Princess Mononoke. Inspired by this, Varian put together a recommendation list for if you loved this Ghibli film, read this book! See their recommendations based on Studio Ghibli films here!


An illustration of Varian the toad wearing a shirt that reads 'Master Mischief was right about the cheese'Varian loves reading science-fiction and fantasy books and they also love reading about girls in love! Varian made the t-shirt that Jess wears in Not Your Sidekick, and recommended some science-fiction/fantasy books with f/f romances! See their recommendations for YA SFF with f/f rep here! →


An illustration of Varian the toad, wearing a rainbow skirt and holding a big rainbow flag about their head, smiling. They wear a sash that says, #YARC, with an aromantic and asexual pin.It’s June, which means it’s Pride Month! Varian dressed up in their rainbow skirt and donned their biggest rainbow flag, and gave you recommendations of books with queer Asian characters for the Year of the Asian Reading challenge! See their recommendations for queer Asian characters! →


Varian the toad wearing a green leafy dress, with red flowers. Holding a flag with the words #APAHM on the flag.To celebrate Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, Varian noticed that Pasifika authors don’t get a lot of attention, so they wanted to showcase books by Pasifika and Maori authors! They made a dress that was vibrant, had flowers, and was green! See their recommendations for books by Maori and Pasifika authors! →


Varian the green toad, holding up a fabric with a rainbow infinity symbol and rainbow heart stitched into it.

Varian didn’t have a costume to share, but they did some cross-stitching! They stitched a rainbow infinity symbol and rainbow heart for Autistic Pride Month, and they recommended books by autistic authors about autistic charactersSee their recommendations for #ownvoices books by autistic authors! →


Varian the green toad wearing armour, holding a sword in front of them.Varian’s third costume was something completely new and different! They dressed up as a warrior for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. Therefore, for April’s prompt, they recommended some Asian books that had themes of power. See their recommendations for Asian books about power! →


Varian the toad wearing a panda costume, holding onto a red cup with tea.

Varian’s second costume was a lot cuter and fluffier! They dressed up as a giant panda for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge that Xiaolong is hosting and they recommended some books with tropes, all by Asian authors! See their recommendations for Asian books with tropes! →


varian - diverseanthologies

Remember Varian’s very first costume? It was a rainbow and they had recommended some diverse anthologies that inspired their costume. They also told you more about their story, explained what a Toadshifter was and what they do, and how they ended up in the Pond. See their recommendations for diverse anthologies! →