May 2017 | Wrap Up

As a month, May has been a pleasant surprise. I settled (well am settling, it’s an ongoing process) into my new job and I’m starting to find my feet so that’s been lovely. Also, the benefits of now working full-time are that I have a longer lunch break that I used to – now I have a blissful hour and, let me tell you, after being used to quickly scoffing down a sandwich within 20 minutes, when you suddenly have 60 minutes, I don’t eat any slower, I just get to read more. That has been a revelation. Also, with my office being the only one on the ground floor of the building, I’m mostly on my own unless people pop by to check their pigeonholes or come to say hello. This means that I can listen to music, podcasts (yeah, so I now get podcasts), or audiobooks. When I realised at the latter half of the month that a good chunk of audiobook-listening could be done whilst I was inputting data, well, guys, I don’t want to jinx it but I think it may revolutionise my reading… ok, maybe that’s a bit far, but it will help me squeeze all that potential reading time out of every working day. Let’s see if I keep that up in the coming weeks and months though…

In May, I read a total of 6 books – 6 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 2670 pages in total, and, of these, 2 books were re-reads.

In terms of format: 4 were paperback, 1 was a hardback, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy, 1 book was dystopian/sci-fi, book was historical fiction, and 1 book was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

Continue reading

Bout of Books 19 | Wrap Up

This past week saw round 19 of Bout of Books readathon happen and I am really, really glad to have taken part in my own very low-key way. At the start of the week I devised a TBR/intentions post and I think I ended up doing pretty well, even if I didn’t get to the books I mentioned in that post (I very rarely do stick to readathon TBRs, tbh). I didn’t get around to doing any of the official challenges owing to wanting to focus my free time on an evening to reading itself, but I still had a jolly good time all the same. I did manage to participate in the Saturday Twitter chat (I can never make the weekday one because it’s much too late in England) and I really enjoyed that too.There is nothing quite like interacting and flailing with other readers.

Now, I can’t deny that the fact that my friend and housemate Liz (aka Travel in Retrospect) has been away on a work trip probably lead to me reading so much for this readathon – that’s not to say that I can’t, or don’t, read when she’s home, it’s just that we often watch TV or a film together on an evening rather than picking up a book. I mostly read on train journeys or just before I go to sleep which means I grab 20 minutes of reading here and there but I don’t tend to regularly sit down for long periods of time to read unless I happen to be in the house alone.

But I really made a concerted effort to make reading a priority this week, and made sure to read on my train journey to/from work Monday through to Friday and I even spent most of my lunch hours with my nose in a book too. It helps that I am in my own office and people only come in to check their pigeonholes and occasionally pop their head in, so I had a very quiet environment in which to read at my desk.

I still managed to fit in some TV so I didn’t feel too deprived of that; when I wasn’t reading I was watching Bluestone 42, a BBC comedy show about a bomb disposal squad in Afghanistan which doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs but trust me, it’s brilliant. (It also has an army-ified Matthew Lewis, if that floats your boat at all.)

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss – we’re here to round up or wrap up how I did at Bout of Books. This round, rather than updating a blog post periodically (which I always fall out of the habit of doing somewhere around day 4), I chose to do low-key updates via Twitter – you can check out my Twitter thread of updates to see what I got up to this past week. (I know I have a few more hours left of the readathon but I don’t anticipate reading much more of my current book, Soulless, so I’m calling it now.)

The TL;DR version of how I did is this…

Finished 3 books:

from pg 345 – end/295 pages of American Gods by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)
237 pages of A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (3.5 stars)
400 pages of The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill (5 stars)
Total: 932 pages

Summary: not too shabby at all! I hereby deem my taking part in this round of Bout of Books a success! I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the ever-lovely hosts, Amanda and Kelly, and to everyone who commented or tweeted me during the readathon. I always love Bout of Books for these kind of interactions, they are truly what makes the readathon so great to participate in and keep me coming back for more.
I’ll see you all next round and, until then, happy reading!

Did you participate in this round of Bout of Books? Comment below if so, I’d love to hear how you did this past week, what you were reading, and how you liked it.


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’

 

April 2017 | Wrap Up

Well, well, well, yet another month has passed – does anyone actually remember April happening? Because I sure as hell don’t know how it’s May already (cough it’s gonna be May cough) and yet here we are. I think a large part of that is due to the fortnight-long readathon that I took part in in the middle of April. The Tome Topple readathon meant that I focused more on getting through some hunkers of books rather than the amount of books read this month… which is my way of saying I didn’t read many books so there’s my excuse. Plus, with finishing up at my job, this month has seen me be a little bit preoccupied with one thing or another – that will change as we head into May and I (hopefully) get settled into my new work place with no huge problems. Mostly though, I am glad I got round to a couple of books that I was really long overdue to finish and I hope to continue this kind of finishing spirit into next month as I still have some A Song of Ice and Fire to catch up with. But, for now, let’s look back at how April’s reading went…

In April, I read a total of 4 books – 4 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 2036 pages in total, and, of these, 1 book was a re-read.

In terms of format: 2 were paperback, 1 was an e-ARC, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy and 1 was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

Continue reading

March 2017 | Wrap Up

As far as months go, March was pretty much a non-entity. Or, at least, that’s what it feels like now I’m looking back on it… which is ridiculous because two films I was highly anticipated were released, I saw them, and loved both. (Beauty and the Beast and Kong: Skull Island, for what it’s worth) Me and Liz also ventured to the Tavern a couple of times (always a good time) and I even got to experience dinner at the Tavern which is… well… let’s just say the phrase “I think I’ve ate too much” becomes redundant after the tenth time of saying it. It was SO good though. Some personal/professional changes may also be happening in the very near future (I don’t want to say it too soon and jinx it) so that’s made the end of March very interesting, to say the least. I’m sure it will also affect April and my reading habits but we’ll see. For now, let’s look back at how March’s reading went…

In March, I read a total of 5 books – 5 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 2247 pages in total, and, of these, 3 books were re-reads. 

In terms of format: 4 were hardcover and was paperback.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy – no one is surprised that I’m still on that fantasy kick. Sorry/not sorry, as always.

Onto the books themselves…

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

January 2017 | Wrap Up

If you’ve been around on this blog for a little while you will note an utter lack of consistency when it comes to monthly features expected of all good little book bloggers, namely monthly favourites, TBRs, and/or wrap-up posts.

My own take on this kind of consistency is sporadic, at best, usually when struck with a sudden urge to look back over the reading month I’ve just had, or to set ridiculously hopeful reading goals for the month ahead. More often that not, I only remember to do monthly wrap-ups when I’ve ended up reading a not insignificant amount of books in any given month… January 2017 is one of those months so this is that wrap-up.

Because 6 days into February is definitely the extremely prompt time to wrap up January, right?

In January, I read a total of 12 books – 10 fiction and 2 non-fiction, amounting to 3046 pages in total, and, of these, 7 books were re-reads. 

In terms of format: were e-books, 5 were hardcover, 4 were paperback, and 1 was an audiobook. 

And as for genre, very broadly speaking: was poetry, 2 were non-fiction/memoirwere graphic novelswere fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

jan2017

Continue reading

24in48 Readathon Wrap-Up

As you might have seen from my previous post, this past weekend I participated in the 24 in 48 Readathon. For those unaware of the premise, a quick summary is that you try to read for 24 hours out of a possible 48 hours i.e. Saturday and Sunday.

Now, I knew going into this that I would never in a million years make it to 24 hours of reading, no way, I’m not that disciplined, frankly, and I also didn’t want to burn myself out on reading. However, I did want to make the effort to make reading a priority this past weekend and, on that front, I’d consider it a rousing success. Whilst I did watch some TV – Taboo could not be missed on Saturday night, and we needed to finish the final episode of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – I mostly just read. When I got up and had breakfast, rather than putting on an old episode of Thick of It for the billionth time, I read instead, and I felt so much better and productive for it. Don’t get me wrong, I also spent the entire weekend inside, in the same chair, which made me a little cabin fever-y but nothing a week at work can’t cure, I’m sure.

But, for now, I wanted to wrap-up the readathon by briefly mentioning what I read, since I read some really great things that re-invigorated my love of reading, and I would like to share them. (Also, not gonna lie, this might be the most productive weekend I’ve ever had, reading-wise, so I need to document this moment for posterity’s sake!)

img_1292

These are the stack of books I hoped to choose from over the course of the 24in48 readathon. (Not pictured: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audiobook, as read by Stephen Fry)

I purposely picked books that were different genres, different lengths, different formats, in order to keep me interested and keep me productively reading – if I started to get bored of A Series of Unfortunate Events, for example, I could switch over to a memoir or to poetry. As far as TBR stacks go, I feel like this was one of my most considerate and successful, as you can see below…

Read for 14.5 hours in total | 1182 pages | 7 books

Completed 7 books – 3 graphic novels, 1 poetry collection, 2 novels, 1 memoir:
Saga, Volume One – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume Two – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume Three – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Wishing For Birds – Elisabeth Hewer
The Wide Window (ASOUE #3) – Lemony Snicket
The Miserable Mill (ASOUE #4) – Lemony Snicket
Talking As Fast As I Can – Lauren Graham

& made 24% progress with 1 audiobook:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling (read by Stephen Fry)

Considering all I wanted to do was prioritise reading, I’d say I’ve definitely met that goal for this past weekend and I’m very proud of the progress I made. Whilst I would have liked to have a little more War and Peace under my belt, I’m not in the least surprised that I favoured shorter reads for quicker gratification. However, participating in this readathon has allowed me to think carefully about what I was reading and it has taken a bit of pressure off me in terms of the yearly challenges I’m doing though, so that will definitely help when War and Peace takes longer to read than other novels. (See Around the Year in 52 Books, Book Riot Read Harder, and my 2017 Read for any progress updates on my yearly challenges! And I will be trying to periodically upload reviews for all the things I’ve read so far in 2017, I swear.)

All in all – a very good weekend of reading and I’m very glad I participated in the readathon; I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself if you haven’t before!


Did you participate in the 24 in 48 Readathon? How did you do?
Comment below or link progress posts if you have them – I would love to hear about your weekend’s reading.


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’

2016 | A Bookish Year In Review

Well another year is over… and, if I’m honest, it’s been a mixed bag in terms of life aside from books. This year saw another family member continue to battle with that dreaded C-word, another family member sadly passed away, uncomfortable truths about a loved one have started to become apparent, and another is beginning to lose her memory so… all in all, I can say without hesitation that, frankly, 2016 can do one. Add onto that the rate at which beloved celebrities seem to be dropping like flies and we seem to have lost a lot of people, in one way or another, far too soon. And the summer of 2016 was shitty of the highest order because of said family bereavements coupled with the self-confidence obliterating task of job hunting.

But I don’t want to focus on the bad, let’s look at the good things in 2016, shall we? I managed to find a job and move out by the time I was 24, just like I’d wanted to, even if I was beginning to despair that it would never happen. This move did wonders for my self-confidence, and continues to make me feel a lot more positive about the future ahead. I feel like maybe I will have the courage to do some of the things I want to now, now that I’ve made this first step moving away from home properly. Other good things? Well, I visited a friend in Oxford and attended YALC with her and her sister and had a whale of a time on the entire trip – definitely a highlight of the year, and very cultured and bookish a trip it was at that!

Oh and I also read some really good books which, believe me, help. A lot. I’d like to take the time to look back over this bookish year and remember some of those really great reads that were always there, even if real life was a bit shitty.

If you’ve been around for a little while, you may remember that I really enjoyed doing a sort of Year In Review for 2015 in order to round off and wrap up the books I read that year. Well, it’s back again for this year! For those who don’t know, this In Review post is mainly stats-based and pictorial; I’ll keep my further opinions to reviews and such, but I have done a Best Books of 2016 list so please do pop over and take a look, if you fancy. If you’re just interested in the stats breakdown, then look no further: Continue reading

June 2016 | Reading Wrap-Up

I can’t believe we’ve already reached July. It’s scary how fast the first half of the year has gone.

This June has been… well, interesting to say the least.

I finished my job at Teesside University on Tuesday 21st and was suddenly and abruptly very sad to realise I wasn’t going to be working there anymore. My coworkers got me a lovely card and a Waterstones gift voucher, because they know me too well. Then I had a job interview on that Thursday at Liverpool University and I’m still waiting to hear back from that so it doesn’t look brilliant in terms of whether or not I did manage to get the job. Job hunting is a whole different issue that really effects my already pretty shaky self-esteem so it’s not exactly been a barrel of laughs this month. In other news (I swear I’m almost done), we lost my nanna this past weekend so it has been a few weird and unsettling days, to say the least. It probably still hasn’t really sunk it, and won’t until the funeral, but we’re all keeping busy until then.

But the fall out from that combined with job hunting means I probably won’t read a huge tonne of books in July… or maybe I will, as a form of escapism. Who can tell? Only time, it seems.

Now onto the books I did read this past month…

In June I read a total of 8 books – 5 fiction (4 fantasy, 1 contemporary) and 3 non-fiction, which somehow amounted to a total of 3031 pages. I say somehow, I know exactly why I read so many pages – a little thing called #readasoiaf.

Continue reading

#TBRTakedown 3.5 Wrap-Up

TBR Takedown 3.5 happened this past weekend so I thought it was high time to do a little wrap-up of how the readathon went for me. For anyone who doesn’t know, TBR Takedown is a readathon hosted by Shannon from the booktube channel leaninglights – you can find her TBR video for the readathon here. This round was a shorter format so took place last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and I had a lot of fun with following the #TBRTakedown hashtag on Twitter and, of course, reading the books I picked in my TBR.

 Day Minus One (7th April)

10.30pm – Since I have an important application due tomorrow which I need to stress over, I think I might cheat and start the readathon a little early. Seeing other people do this on Twitter isn’t helping to restrain me!

11.00pm – I cheated and started (and finished) Saga Volume 1 before it’s even hit midnight. Suffice to say, people weren’t wrong, it’s great, I loved it. In fact #damnthatsgoodstuff seemed to be my attempt at a mini-review on Twitter and, as Shannon agreed, it’s as good as any. Think I might read a little of the novel I chose for this readathon, Janet Ellis’ The Butcher’s Hook, until I feel sleepy enough to go to sleep.

Day One (8th April)

8.00pm – I’ve spent most of today working on (or procrastinating working on) my application so it was probably a good thing that I managed to read Saga Volume 1 and some of The Butcher’s Hook last night/this morning. I’m now 112 pages into it and it’s… well… not quite what I was expecting, more upfront about the adult themes than I expected. That’s all I will say for now.

Day Two (9th April)

7.00pm – After visiting family as we do every Saturday, I came home about 5pm and sat down to read the final 1/3 of The Butcher’s Hook. Still not sure what to make of it – it certainly took a turn I wasn’t expecting and it was very evocative, interesting, well-written etc. Just not sure how much it will stick with me… though the description of the butchers at work definitely will. Must review this one asap.

I also came home to a parcel- my pre-order of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger has arrived finally. I say finally but it’s only been out two days I think, still that’s quite slow for Amazon. In any case I need to decide whether to stick to my TBR and move onto Saga Volume 2 or whether to pick that up instead. I should probably return to the book I was reading before the readathon (Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass) if anything because I was really enjoying that and it reads quite quickly despite its intimidating size. I’ll mull over my options whilst my food cooks I think.

Day Three (10th April)

9.00pm – My brain is not conducive to reading right now, but I’m likewise indecisive as to what film or TV show to fill the time with. Think I might finally try to catch up with what I’ve missed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, namely Age of Ultron.

11.30pm – I did end up watching Age of Ultron – side note, does anyone feel like that film tried to introduce way too much stuff into it? I was confused as to decisions and motivations for a lot of the screen time tbh. Also the decision to pursue Banner and Natasha- I mean seriously why? Anyways, back to the readathon, I have about 30 mins before it finishes where I am so I might read a few more chapters of The Aeronaut’s Windlass until midnight/I fall asleep.

Conclusion

Overall I’m so pleased with what I managed to read over the course of TBR Takedown. I know to some people only reading one novel and two graphic novels might be a little slow-going but for me that’s great! Especially when a readathon takes place over the weekend which are actually the worst times for reading for me because family stuff etc. etc. Also, I finally read Saga which I’ve been meaning to do for months, probably years at this point, but the only problem with that is that I now want to buy the other volumes but am only a semi-book buying ban. Meanwhile The Butcher’s Hook was a very surprising read, though I should have expected it from the title! I even wrote a review already for it – again, for me, that’s good going to have written a review already.

So, overall, I would call TBR Takedown a success and I’m really glad I took part, and once again Shannon from leaninglights did such a great job of hosting. I’d highly recommend you check out TBR Takedown and here’s to the next round!


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’