WWW Wednesday #2 | 22nd March 2017

Exactly a month after I did my last WWW Wednesday, I bring you another! (You have to admit: this is a sort of consistency… just not the regularity the meme originally suggests.) Whilst you can always find out what I’m reading via Goodreads (mainly because I update my page number obsessively in case my bookmark falls out of my book, true story) it’s nice to pause, mid-week, and reflect how the week is going and, mostly, what I’m reading at the moment. WWW Wednesday is currently hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words so do head over to her blog if you want to see more readers’ WWW Wednesday posts.

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

thesongrising1. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Samantha Shannon’s The Song Risingthe third book of seven in her Bone Season series. I’ve been anticipating this for so many months and I’m so glad that Samantha pushed back the release to make sure the story was as wonderful as it possibly could be because, boy, was it worth the wait. Attending YALC last year and getting to meet the author reignited my love for the first two books in this series so once the pre-order link came up, I knew I had to have it as soon as I could get my grubby little hands on it. I’m really enjoying this instalment in the series as the action is now moving away from Scion-controlled London and exploring other parts of the UK (such as Manchester and Edinburgh), which is completely my jam because dystopians that only focus on one city/place always leave me wondering how everyone else out there is faring – this is answering that query!

 

themimeorder

2. What did you recently finish reading?
Since I was planning to pick up The Song Rising, I made sure to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime Order first since it’s been a few months since I read them (ok, re-read them, I’m obsessed, what can I say?). I’m very grateful for that decision because it cemented in my head how much I love the second book, The Mime Order, and I definitely picked up on things in it that I must have just skimmed over when reading it for the first and second times. Third time’s a charm! If it wasn’t obvious… I completely recommend this series.

 

smoke3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you saw my recent blog post about my TBR Jar project then you will have seen that I picked a book from there to read next, and that was Smoke by Dan Vyleta. I’ve been meaning to read it for months, the concept sounds super intriguing so, despite some not so favourable reviews, I’m going to give it a go asap. Because I’m incapable of just reading one thing at a time I’ll also probably be listening to the audiobook of either J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince or Clariel by Garth Nix. I’m feeling a little bit neglectful of my classics too so I may (and it’s a very big “may”) pick up something extra like Emma by Jane Austen or something Dickens (super specific, I know, but hey I have many to choose from!). I don’t do monogamous reading, as you might have realised.

Ok, that’s all the time we’ve got, folks  I hope you enjoyed this insight into my current reads. Do you have a WWW Wednesday post of your own? Please link it below if so (or answer in the comments), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Book TBR Jar | My Take On It

Last night, in a fit of strange productivity, I decided to make a book jar because my TBR is getting a little ridiculous considering my book buying problem. And also because I frequently forget some of the backlist books which are tucked away on my bookshelf and barely get a look-in thanks to all the shiny shiny new books jostling for pride of place.

I am an inherently indecisive person. I’m sure I have mentioned this countless times or else you may have gathered it along the way. Ask anyone who knows my IRL and they will confirm this to be a truth universally acknowledged. This personality trait makes it difficult for me to decide many things – from the most trivial and frivolous (whether to make curry or bolognese for tea) to the more important (whether me and Liz should plan a trip to D.C. and NYC or Disney World). This obviously also filters through into my reading habits and, frankly, I don’t know how I ever decide on a monthly or seasonal TBR – I think I just add books arbitrarily, which is also probably why I suck at sticking to TBRs.

So many pieces of paper!

Enter: the TBR jar. Everyone has seen the pretty examples, right? You get a jar, you write down your TBR books on little slips of paper, you fold them up tightly, and then when you’re in need of a book to read, you simply pick one from the jar. It’s almost like you are then fated to read that book because you chose it or (better yet) it chose you.

I’ve never been sure if this method is for me since I am very indecisive and don’t even trust myself to pick the right tiny slip of paper. But it’s worth a shot, right? Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday | Books on my Spring TBR

toptentuesdayIt’s yet another Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday! For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to.

This week’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR. I do love a good TBR – it’s all about those good intentions, isn’t it?

There have been various series with new books released at the start of this year that I haven’t yet gotten around to but that I am SO ready for, especially now I’ve re-read/am in the process of re-reading the books that preceded them. There are also a couple of new shiny shiny books that apparently are the start of new series which is also really exciting… even though my bank balance cries a little in anticipation of that. Let’s just focus on the books… here is my Spring TBR

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Bullet Journals | My Rationale & Initial Thoughts

Yes folks, you saw that right – I started a bullet journal because I’m just one big cliche.

I’d previously half-heartedly tried it in squared notebooks and found it did help my productivity, for as long as I kept up with it. My main problem was that I didn’t keep up with it, or invest enough time in it, or make it enough of a priority for it to be the first thing I turned to when planning anything. I’m trying to change that, so at the beginning of the year I bought kind of an expensive notebook (a black leuchtturm1917 with dotted pages – yes I’m that much of a cliche) and I invested money as well as time because if I’ve spent £10+ on a notebook, I tend to at least want to see it through to the end, you know?

Using my bullet journal to help track progress during the 24 in 48 Readathon

Well, so far it has worked reasonably well and I’ve ended up utilising the journal for my reading/blogging purposes. As it came up to the end of January, I hadn’t completely forgotten about it, though it is far from integrated into my daily life as an instinct. However, this is progress (Rome wasn’t built in a day etc. etc) and I thought it might be fun to share with you my bullet journal and my progress with it so far this year. It will also be a good way for me to keep track of how I’m doing with my bullet journal and which areas of it I need to keep and which I can just ditch-

*record scratches*

No, I must be honest now. I drafted this post, fully intending to share with you my yearly spreads and monthly spreads and how I track things and my weekly layouts and all that jazz, but the truth of it is between starting to draft this post and finishing it, I accidentally didn’t bullet journal for a few weeks. ‘Why’ you ask?

Well, I’m beginning to question the entire rationale behind bullet journaling and if it is really for me.

You see, I work standard hours Monday to Friday and I can’t really use my bullet journal during work to scribble to-do lists because a lot of the student information I deal with is personal stuff I can’t then remove from work. I get the same train every morning/evening so travel isn’t something that needs planning. I don’t have a social life to speak of and the most wild my plans get is to go to the cinema or maybe to do a grocery shop. My blogging and social media use isn’t professional or regular enough to require a schedule. I’m not a freelancer who has a great online shop or lots of projects with different deadlines. But admittedly I have found a use for the trackers in bullet journals, especially tracking reading progress during readathons or to keep track of what books I’ve read in the year, and I enjoy using the monthly trackers to track habits such as going to the gym or doing laundry. It’s just the weekly log/daily to-do lists bit that I don’t really use to its full potential – more often than not, days are mainly full of a list of tasks I optimistically hoped to get done but inevitably end up ‘migrated’ to the next day and then the next day and so on and so forth…

An example of my monthly trackers

This is a classic case of ‘do I not use a bullet journal daily because I’m just not yet in the routine of using it?’ or ‘does not having a routine of blogging mean I don’t use a bullet journal daily now but it would improve my blogging if I did?’. Because, let’s face it, my productivity probably would improve if I kept a better track of what I get done in a day outside of work. In a way, it would guilt me into doing something because I’d want to do things so that I would be using my bullet journal to its full potential. Which is possibly not really what bullet journaling’s noble mission is but hey ho, we get to the same outcome, regardless of rationale.

I’m not really sure if this blog post about bullet journals has a point. Basically, I bought one, I used it quite well in January and then my use of it tailed off and I’m trying to identify why that happened. Is it me or is it the bullet journal? I’m not sure, but maybe we need to give each other another chance.

Do any of you lovely folks use a bullet journal regularly? Or have you tried and decided it’s not for you? Or maybe you haven’t ever tried it and don’t want to? Please do comment below because I’d really love to hear about your experiences with bullet journaling, regardless of whether they were positive or negative – maybe they will help me form my conclusions about the whole thing.


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fever Pitch

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve not read unfortunately, it’s Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. What I do know about it is that it was made into a film in the UK, starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong (so obv, I’d know about it)…

Mark Strong also starred in a book-to-film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John le Carré which follows retired deputy chief George Smiley’s efforts to uncover a Soviet mole lurking within MI6. One of MI6’s Soviet sources is code-named Merlin…

Merlin, of course, is a legendary wizard who appears in Arthurian legend and many a derivation of that legend, including Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. But of course Merlin is also woven into the society of…

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in which characters use “Merlin’s beard!” as a form of exclamation, and which features an honour called the Order of Merlin (the wizarding world’s version of an OBE). The series was published by Bloomsbury, who also publish a book often compared (erroneously, I think) to Harry Potter and that is…

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, a YA dystopian/fantasy which takes place in a Scion-controlled London where clairvoyants are considered dangerous and so form a sort of Victorian-inspired gang system within the criminal underbelly within the city (and also I love it a lot ok?). Not to spoil the entire plot but this book also takes place in Oxford (a beautiful place I also love), as is…

Philip Pullman’s Northern Lightsthe first book in the His Dark Materials, a wonderful fantasy trilogy telling the story of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry and there’s polar bears and parallel worlds and witches but it also has some really dark undertones regarding religion and theology and by god it’s SO good. The title of the trilogy (and the entire trilogy) is inspired by…

Paradise Lost by John Milton, an epic 17th-century poem which retells the Biblical story of the Fall of Man and the Original Sin etc. I studied this in my Renaissance to Restoration class at university and I never did finish it but the lectures and seminars I had about this text were genuinely some of the most amazing I’ve ever had. The poetic style of this text is extraordinarily cinematic and visual and it’s pretty damn impressive and I completely understand why it holds the place it does in the canon of English literature.


And there we have it, folks, from Fever Pitch to Paradise Lost, which are two things I never thought would be said in the same breath! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Feature | Books That Made Me

As people we are all inevitably shaped by the media and culture we consume. This is especially true of our formative years, especially childhood. I think that’s why any books, films or TV shows that we enjoyed as children hold a strange and special place in our hearts, even as we get older and even if we might notice ‘problematic’ things about them.

This post is inspired by the wonderful Cinzia whose videos I adore and who does a sort of annual favourites video which she titles, for example, Books That Made Me 2015. These aren’t just books that are her favourites of the year; they are the books that contributed a more lasting impact on her life in that given year and whose effect will last many years into the future. This got me thinking about my own favourites, the books that “made me”, and I felt like a wander down nostalgia lane in the form of revisiting some of the books I read as a child that I think contributed into making me the reader, and the person, I am today. I thought it might be an interesting feature post to share with you lovely folks, and perhaps we could start a little discussion about what childhood favourite books made you into the reader you are today?

Even more timely, earlier today I came across Comma Press’ blog from their staff talking about their favourite childhood books in honour of World Book Day today. Today seems like the perfect day to publish my own blog post dedicated to the books that came to me as a child reader and still influence the reader I am to this very day. This is going to be a long one, kids, so buckle up…

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February 2017 | Wrap Up

Well, February has been an interesting month. It’s gone much too quickly, it’s astounding how a month having 2/3 less days than others makes such a huge difference but it really does. As far as life in general, February is a big month of “meh”, I can’t particularly remember any part of it so that doesn’t really bode well, does it? Nothing terrible happened, nothing amazing did either, just a middling month all around. I got to go home for a little trip which was nice and Sarah, a lovely friend from university, made it up to Liverpool for a night so it was lovely to see her face again. Unfortunately, I’m now sick with a really annoying cough that I would like to go away asap so this will be a relatively brief wrap-up post with very little chit chat.

In February, I read a total of 9 books – 9 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 3890 pages in total, and, of these, 6 books were re-reads. 

In terms of format: were e-books, 1 was hardcover, 3 were paperback, and 3 were audiobooks. 

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy and 1 was short-story mythological retellings. Yeah, I’m on something of a fantasy kick right now – sorry/not sorry.

Onto the books themselves…

feb2017

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Tag | Burn, Rewrite, Reread

Welcome to a fun little tag called the Burn, Rewrite, Reread tag. This is just like the Kiss/Marry/Cliff game (cough Shag/Marry/Kill for the older among us), but book-related! I was tagged by Liz @ Travel In Retrospect (surprise surprise) and so I decided to give it a go.

Rules

  • Randomly choose 3 books (Tip: Use the “Sort > Random” option on your Goodreads’ Read shelf.).
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread (a lot like Kiss, Marry, Kill).
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds (or six).

Basically grab a list of your books (I used my Read shelf on Goodreads), grab three numbers, and then decide which of the three you’d rather burn, rewrite, or reread. Simple, right? Let’s go!

Round One

assassinsapprentice howtobeawoman henryv

Re-read: Henry V – William Shakespeare
I adored reading Henry V for the sake of discussion in class, I assume that’s because I enjoyed it full-stop, but you can never be too sure, so I’d like to re-read it to check. The adaptation which was part of The Hollow Crown TV series didn’t hurt matters at all.

Re-write: How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
I can’t say there is anything specific I’d want to re-write about Caitlin Moran’s memoir, I just wouldn’t want to burn it either. I suppose I could re-write it to be longer??

Burn: Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
I really did not get along with the pacing or writing style of Assassin’s Apprentice which is such a shame as I was constantly told I would adore Robin Hobb’s fantasy series. If it were in a different setup it would be a ‘rewrite’ for sure, just a shame it has been drawn alongside two things I loved.

Round Two

lotr deathlyhallows winnerscurse

Re-read: The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski
I remember enjoying this first book in the Winner’s trilogy but I never actually continued with the series. I plan to do so this year but I really need to re-read the first book before that can really happen, as I remember next to nothing about the book.

Re-write: The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
I love the films – who doesn’t? The books can be extraordinarily dull. I wouldn’t dare to presume I could re-write anything as good as Tolkien could, he was an amazing world builder and writer (and just intellect in general) but I would perhaps re-write a couple of scenes to make them more readable *cough* The Council of Elrond *cough*

Burn: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
It took me weeks to finish this book. Now, was that because it was the last book in the series so I knew I would never get anymore of the world of Harry Potter, as far as I was concerned? No, it was because a lot of things happened that I’d rather had not happened. People seemed to die for the sake of it and I’m still not over a lot of them, nor have I forgiven JK Rowling, so I suppose if I had to burn one of these three great books, it’s gotta be the book that killed off so many beloved characters.

Round Three

renaissanceutopias crookedkingdom colourpurple

Re-read: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
Forever until the end of time I will want to constantly re-read the Six of Crows duology. As soon as I finished the series I immediately wanted to re-read the two books. Everything about Bardugo’s Grishaverse is incredible, from the characters to the world-building to the development of both, they’re just amazing, and I will always recommend it to lovers of fantasy and heists alike. If my constant re-reading could also magically change a couple of small things that happened, that would also be a nice bonus.

Re-write: The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
I had to read this book for A Level and I can remember… well not a lot of it, if I’m honest. I’m told it’s practically a classic, and it is an important book to read if you’re interesting in reading diverse fiction but, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. Don’t get me wrong, the writing style fulfils the purpose of the novel, I’m sure – I wrote many an essay about that – but it doesn’t change the fact I might have liked the novel more if it had had a slightly different narrative style.

Burn: Renaissance Utopias and the Problem of History – Marina Leslie
I had to read this for a university essay about (surprise surprise) Renaissance-era depictions of “utopia”. Whilst I find utopia an interesting concept, it was still a book of essays, so you know, not the most enjoyable of casual reads. I suppose I’d have to burn it since I would never re-read it unless I suddenly had an urge to re-write my essay also which, you know, considering I’ve graduated, isn’t likely. I am still interested in the concept of utopia and dystopia though so… hey, not all ends up in flames.

Well that was a bit of fun, and I was mildly surprised at myself for burning Harry Potter! If you’d like to join in on the fun yourself and do this tag then, please, consider yourself tagged by moi. If you have a Burn/Rewrite/Reread post of your own please do link it below because I’d love to see it!


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WWW Wednesday #1 | 22nd February 2017

Well I thought I’d mix things up a little here on The Terror of Knowing by bringing you a mid-week reading update (of sorts) in the form of WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words. This isn’t a new meme by any means but it is a meme that’s new to me and, having seen it a couple of times over at Cátia’s wonderful blog, I thought I’d join in since it’s simplicity greatly appeals to me!

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?


1. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently doing a re-read of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic to try to prepare myself for reading the third (and final) book in the trilogy (disclaimer: I will never be prepared). Likewise I’m re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix via listening to the audiobook as narrated by Stephen Fry on my train journeys to/from work every day. I’m allegedly also still reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy but as I’ve not actively read any of it (not a single word) for close to a month, I’m not sure how accurate it is to say I’m currently reading it.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished reading Erika Johansen’s The Fate of the Tearling to round off my read of the Tearling trilogy. I adored the first book, loved the second, and had… mixed feelings about the third (whispers I kind of hated the ending), but I’m really glad I finally finished off this trilogy because on the whole I loved the concept and the characters Johansen created. Similarly, in terms of trilogies, I also recently finished re-reading the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix (though I hear that’s a series now?) with Abhorsen, as narrated by Tim Curry. I would definitely recommend the Tim Curry audiobooks, they’re amazing, and he has a spot-on voice for Mogget! I’m planning to do trilogy reviews for both of these trilogies so, if you’re interested, definitely do keep an eye out for those coming soon on this blog.

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

As I’m currently re-reading A Darker Shade of Magic, it’s highly likely I will read (read: it’s nigh-on impossible I won’t read) the second book, A Gathering of Shadows next, and then move on to the new release – A Conjuring of Light. I’m not emotionally prepared for it to be over, but I also need to know what happens, it’s a difficult bind. Ha, bookworm problems, am I right?

Do you have a WWW Wednesday post? Please link it below if so (or just answer in the comments below), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fates and Furies

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my (somewhat belated) efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve actually read (and adored): Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. This tells the story of the relationship of Lotto and Mathilde and their seemingly perfect marriage. As is all too often the case, there are two sides to every story and their marriage turns out to be a little… turbulent.

Speaking of turbulent and not-as-it-seems marriages, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is pretty much the epitome of unreliable narrator. (Or so I’m told, I never actually made it past 50 or so pages when I tried to read it) The 2014 film adaptation of it starred Rosamund Pike as the perfect wife, Amy. She has also previously starred in a 2005 book-to-film adaptation of…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as directed by Joe Wright, which I love and thought she was the perfect Jane Bennet, but I digress… Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic of the 19th century, just like…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a story that tells the tale of the eponymous Jane from orphanhood to a position as governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls for the stern Mr Rochester. It’s a book I never “got”, I read it and it was fine but I don’t think I appreciated it as I should have (maybe I should give it a re-read now I’m older?) The bits of it I did enjoy, however, were the Gothic-y elements, as I seem to like my books with a slight Gothic trend. Unsurprisingly, then, this next Gothic-y book is high on my TBR…

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, ostensibly a children’s book which won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2015. The main character, Faith, is a young girl with an interest in science (so I gather from the book’s synopsis). Another “Costa” winner (it was previously called the Whitbread Book Award until 2006) from 2001 which was the first “children’s” book to win the Award…

… and featured a strong young lady named Lyra, whose story is told in The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The book takes place in cities in parallel worlds, not unlike…

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in her Shades of Magic trilogy which tells of a very unique traveller, Kell, an ambassador to the royal family who is able to travel between parallel versions of a city called “London” situated in very different worlds which have different amounts of magic. I adore these books and am eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy, A Conjuring of Light, which is released tomorrow!

And there we have it, folks, from Fates and Furies to A Darker Shade of Magic, as easy as that! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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