Hiatus Be Gone!

Well hello there my lovely readers, and what a time it’s been since I posted last. The Wellcome Book Prize announced a winner (literally, the one book on the shortlist I didn’t give a damn about – I’m miffed), I booked to see a couple of my favourite authors in conversation (Becky Chambers and Ali Smith, for anyone interested), I’ve been to the theatre, I’ve caught up on TV, become even gayer and I haven’t picked a book up in nearly 2 months.

In fairness, I have been rather unwell, but that’s neither here nor there. It did mean however that I wasn’t in much of a reading mood. That’s changed now. I picked up a book for the first time yesterday and it felt blooming marvellous!

So, expect normal (or rather, normal for me) service to resume on here.

In June I am reading books solely published by Salt. I’ll discuss that more in another post in a couple of days, I just wanted to post today to say thank you to all the wonderful humans among you who actually subscribed while I’ve not been about. It means a lot that even my older reviews are garnering attention still. And thank you to those who have stuck around!

Discussion: January to March Reading Wrap-Up

Quarter 1 Wrap Up Header

Hello my lovely readers, and welcome to a rather different blog post – and one I haven’t done since August last year – a reading wrap up! I gave up doing wrap ups and TBRs because I wasn’t really reading much towards the end of last year and TBRs weren’t working. However, so far this year I’ve read 37 books. THIRTY SEVEN! I was aiming for 2 books a week to meet my goal of 100 books on Good Reads, but currently I’m on track to read around 150 books if I keep up this pace!

General Statistics:-
As I said, I’ve read 37 books so far this year from January to the end of March. The 37 books total 11,998 pages and it works out at an average of 324 pages per book. Which is crazy. I have a spreadsheet which I’ve been logging my reading on since 2012. In 2012 I was happy to have read that many pages in a year so to think I’ve managed to read that many pages in 3 months is incredible!

Diversity:-
Having participated in femmeuary – reading only female authors in February – I’ve somewhat skewed my author gender data, but as it stands 76% (or 28 authors) have been women so far. I’d rather like to keep up with that balance of around 75% female authors as I’m really enjoying what I’m reading so far, and don’t feel like I’m missing anything out!

I’ve also been trying to read from a more diverse range of authors as, I have noticed, my reading is very white – last year I read only 2 books by non-white authors. 2 books. So this year I’ve already surpassed that as 10 of the books – or 27% – have been from authors of a non-white ethnicity. Obviously it’s not ideal to still be around the 25% mark but it’s still a lot more diverse than my previous 2 years reading and, honestly, I’m loving it!

The Books in General:-
Genre wise – just over 50% of my reading has been non-fiction which is something that’s really surprised me when looking at. I know I’ve been reading more non fiction this year simply because I’ve been enjoying it a lot more. I’ve read several memoirs and thanks to the Wellcome prize I’ve also read a large amount of science non-fiction on top of that. This year I’ve also really been enjoying essays and essay collections so I’m pretty sure there’ll be a good balance of fiction to non fiction going forward. Right now as I write this I’m definitely more in a non-fiction mood than I am fiction and, honestly, I’m loving it!

My average rating is 3.6 if I’ve done my maths correctly. I’ve only had one 1* book, and I’ve had nine 5* books (two of which were re-reads in fairness).

Excluding re-reads, my favourite books I’ve read so far this year have been With the End in Mind for non-fiction and for fiction my favourite so far has to be The Gloaming which I do feel is cheating as it was an ARC and isn’t out until the end of next month, but whatever, my blog means my rules and I loved it.

Going Forward in to April:-
I don’t have much in the way of a TBR as such, but I’d like to keep up what I’m doing – as it stands my books per month have been gradually increasing, and while I’m aware it’ll plateau and probably dip at some point, I’d quite like it to keep quite steady at the 10 books a month area. One thing I want to do though is keep the fiction/non-fiction balance at around the 50/50 mark because honestly I am really, really enjoying non fiction lately and I have a lovely little collection of books on gender studies and feminism which I really want to get around to more of over the next few weeks!

If there’s anything anyone would like to see on the blog I’d love to hear from you. I want to do more chatty posts like this, because I feel that I’ve been banging out reviews one after the other (roughly at 1 every 3 days or so at the moment) and not really having time to just blog about reading in general.

I hope you’re all having as productive a reading year as I am so far. Feel free to send me recommendations, on here or on goodreads, as I said I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!

Wellcome Book Prize 2018 || Shortlist Predictions

WBP Shortlist Predictions

On Tuesday the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize will be announced – as I have read 10 of the books, am part way through the 11th and may or may not get to the 12th I wanted to take some time out of a snowy Saturday afternoon to discuss my feelings on all of the books longlisted, and make a prediction of what Tuesday might hold.

I for one love these types of posts, I love reading them, I love watching people on YouTube make similar content, and I’ve never read enough of a prize longlist to partake in the discussion. This is going to be a long one, but I’m not even going to say sorry.

Reading this years longlist has been an absolute joy and a pleasure and something I will definitely be doing in the future years. I absolutely can’t wait to see what decision the judges make this year because whatever they pick as the winner, it won’t have been picked easily. Books focusing around biosciences and health are becoming increasingly popular and in this ever growing genre I think that it’s going to become harder and harder to narrow it down to 12 books, never mind to pick just one book from that pile to “crown”.

The 12 books on the longlist this year were all amazing in their own way, even if I didn’t enjoy them myself. However, for me the shortlist is quite clear – but I’d be happy if I managed to get even 2 right. I’m going to list the books on my dream shortlist by author surname:-

  • Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo
  • The Butchering Art – Lindsey Fitzharris
  • In Persuit of Memory – Joseph Jebelli
  • With The End in Mind – Kathryn Mannix
  • Behave – Robert Sapolsky
  • The Vaccine Race – Meredith Wadman

I think a few of them are likely to be wrong – for me this year the fiction wasn’t as strong as in previous years – and often a lot of the links were tenuous. I also didn’t particularly enjoy any of the memoirs on the list which was a bit disheartening for me as someone who usually enjoys a memoir! It wasn’t that they weren’t interesting, it was that in more than one case I found that I was confused as to why they were on the longlist and they felt out of place.

For me though, the 6 books I have listed above stand above the rest. Stay With Me was one of those books that  I wasn’t expecting to love as much as I did, I and it’s stuck with me in the 9 months since I read it. I think it looks at both culture and infertility in interesting ways, and I feel that of all the fiction this one ‘fitted the brief’ best. It’s been a long time since I read it, and I made the decision to not reread it – maybe if it is shortlisted I will reread it.

The Butchering Art and also The Vaccine Race are very similar books with very different topics – and of the two I did prefer The Buthering Art. The former is about the history of surgery and how one man – Joseph Lister – changed medicine from something that was almost medieval and pretty certain to get you killed to something more like what we know today. He ‘discovered’ hospital hygiene, implemented things like sterilising and life expectancy soared because of it. The later is about the history of the immunisation, and the race to formulate one before more people died. While it missed the mark on the most part for me, it was nonetheless an approachable book which dealt with difficult topics in a good way. I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t bad.

In Pursuit of Memory is the story of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – it’s both personal and scientific, for me it was a really powerful and informative read. I really enjoyed the way the book was put across, and I think it was a really good grounding for something that affects so many of us.

Behave is the book I’m currently only 15% through but already I can tell it’s a good one. Maybe not the best book I’ve ever read, but definitely good. However, the reason I’m hesitant to add it to the list (and it was the one I debated over most) is that it is dense, it is more academic (in spite of the dust jacket saying it was a really good book for non-specialists) and I’m not sure I particularly enjoy everything that is being said. However, I think it is an incredible feat of science and with time and patience I’m working my way through it slowly!

Finally, finally, I want to talk about With the End in Mind which is by far and away the best book on this list in my opinion. My review for that book has done crazy things, but with every share of it I feel a sense of pride because people are reading my review and taking the time to share it with people, people who don’t normally read, people who are scared of death and what it means and that’s what I wanted when I read this book. The traffic I’ve been getting is incredible – and all because of one review about a topic that is so taboo. When I read the book I knew all I wanted to do is tell people about it. I wanted to share it because it felt so, so very special when I read it. It has helped me, and I want it to help others. The fact that people have been taking time to read my review and then share it – to the point a UK based palliative care charity acknowledged it – is incredible and something very, very special because I had no idea it would do that. For a book about death it certainly uplifted me – and also made me shed a tear. For me this is the winner. I don’t care what the judges say, this book needs to be in hospitals, it needs to be given to relatives who are approaching a difficult junction in their lives. I could talk about this book for hours, in fact I probably have already and I only finished it 10 days ago.

But, now I’ve made my views known I’d love for you to share your opinions on the books on the longlist and what ones you think ought to be picked for the shortlist.

All I will say is I’m glad I don’t work Tuesdays because I absolutely cannot wait to see the special 6 announced on the 20th!

If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend

Wellcome Book Prize 2018 || Longlist Discussion

WBP Longlist

Happy Saturday my lovely readers, and welcome to a bonus post this week in which I am going to discuss my most anticipated bookish event of 2018 so far – the announcement of the Wellcome Book Prize longlist.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wellcome Prize , to summarise it is an an annual prize and eligible books are those which have central themes of medicine, health, illness, or biosciences. Because of this broad criteria the lists of books nominated are from a number of genres – both fiction and non-fiction, but can span across any sub-genres of those. And I love it.

Last year I managed to read the shortlist, this year I want to read the entirety of the longlist. As I write this I have already read 2 of the books – one is Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ which I read last Summer, and the second is The Butchering Art as when I was reading through the descriptions of each book that one was one I wanted to read asap. So I did.

So, without further ado, the books:-

 

Wellcome Longlist

image courtesy of WellcomeBookPrize.org

 

As you can see from the picture there is an enormous amount of variety – and something I am very happy about is the amount of books that I hadn’t even heard of on this list. I can say that there are 3 books here that I knew existed and the rest have me very, very excited (so excited that I have bought a huge number of them already!)

I’d be interested to hear if any of you reading this have seen any of these books (the ones I am familiar with are Stay With Me, The White Book and I Am, I Am, I Am – the rest I know nothing about!) and if you have read any too. If you have, are there any you think I ought to get to sooner rather than later?

The shortlist is announced on March 20th – thankfully a Tuesday (I don’t work Tuesdays) – and I’m hoping to have got through the bulk of this longlist by then. Needless to say I have a few very, very exciting reading weeks ahead of me and I for one cannot wait!

As I said above, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Wellcome Prize. For me it’s one of the most varied, vibrant literary prizes out there because it focuses across such a wide breadth of genres. I also think it’s a very accessible prize – those of you not as confident or comfortable reading science based non fiction can definitely still enjoy this prize as there’s a decent amount of variety and, for me at least, even the non-fiction is easy to read and get your teeth in to.

So, in the next few weeks you can expect to see all 12 (well, 11 because I don’t think I’ll be re-reading Stay With Me) of these books reviewed. Hopefully before March 20th! Wish me luck.

 

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Books I Hope Father Christmas Brings || Blogmas Day 19

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Hello and welcome to another top ten Tuesday! Today’s topic is one I thought would be easy – it’s the top 10 books that I hope Father Christmas brings me. It was not easy whatsoever. Surprisingly, there aren’t many books I’m after right now, and generally speaking I know my family won’t have bought me books so it’s fruitless to hope!

I really struggled finding 10 books that I’d really like. In the end I settled on special editions, or anthologies, and generally good ‘gift’ books that I’d quite like to have in my collection. There are also a handful of “Christmas” books which is a must at Christmas!

Firstly, the few books that aren’t as “special” – Effi Briest in the Persephone classics edition. I really loved the sound of this when I received a newsletter from Persephone, and it’s been on my wishlist for a long while! The other two that fit in to this category are Egyptian Myths which is a book from a Penguin collection that I’m slowly collecting – I absolutely love myths and legends, so books like this are right up my alley! Also, The Iliad in the Clothbound Classics version – it’s one of the few in the collection I don’t have. The reason it is in the ‘less special’ section is I do have a copy of it in the black spine, so it would be a duplicate book!

As for “Christmas-y” books, we have The Faber Book of Christmas Stories which is absolutely blooming gorgeous and I would absolutely adore to have a copy of! The same, in fact, goes for the remainder of the books. Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson is purely to fuel my love of the womans writing right now. The Night Before Christmas by Gogol is one of the Penguin Christmas Classics, and I love these wee gems. I’ve taken to reading one every Christmas Night, so I’d really like a new one to add to my collection!

The last on the top line is a bit of left field entrant on this top 10, I’ve not had much experience with Wodehouse but a selection of short stories sounds like a good way to get started. This book caught my eye when it was published in hardback around 3 years ago, and even now I’m curious about it. We all need a good laugh, and I think this would be the perfect combination of festive cheer and a good laugh!

Finally we have A Poem for Every Day/Night of the Year – these two books are gorgeous and as I want to get in to more poetry I feel like it might be a nice way to do that, that and I like the idea of actually reading 1(2) poems a day and having it as a project throughout 2018!

The last book on the entire top 10 is The Fox and the Star which I have wanted since it was released but haven’t bought myself but if someone got it for me as a gift I would be over the moon.

As I said, this was a hard top 10 to do! I didn’t realise how few books I actually wanted at the moment until I struggled to get 10 together!

Have you got any books on your christmas wishlist?

The TBR Tag (Take Two)|| Blogmas Day 16

 

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Happy Weekend my dearest readers. Today I’m being a wee bit lazy and bringing you a tag post. I have previously done this tag but I think it’s a really good way to review my TBR and see how much things have changed in 2 and a half years.

The original can be found over here. So without further ado lets get in to it!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
My TBR is now all on Goodreads for the most part. But I don’t really have a ‘pile’ as such. All I know is it is now over 200 books high, but I don’t care. I only have my physical book collection on Goodreads though, I have a good number of audiobooks and books on my iPad which probably bump it up.

Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?
Like I said above, I only really track my physical collection. Though I probably have around 100 eBooks to read – either those I have purchased myself or review copies. So I only really ‘track’ my physical collection – but I do probably have more physical books than eBooks now.

How do you determine which book to read next from your TBR?
I go with my gut. I’m a lot less target oriented than I was when I started the blog, and while I like challenging myself and reading things outside of my comfort zone, I’m a lot more of a mood reader now. Often I’ll sit there and read the first few pages of a dozen books before picking what I want to read next, which is time consuming and also causes me to have a lot of deja vu but it works for me now.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?
Too many of them have been there for a long time with me saying “I’ll read you one day, but not right now”. One of the longest serving inmates on my bookshelf has to be The Night Circus – I bought it when it was a new release in paperback (which having just googled was 2012!) Oh dear.

A book you recently added to your TBR?
I haven’t bought a lot of books recently actually – but one that springs to mind is A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie. It’s both murderous and science, and it got me very excited.

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?
Right now – none of them. I bought beautiful editions of books, not because they were beautiful but because I wanted to read them AND I like my shelves to look pretty. None of them were purchased purely because of their appearance, I wanted to read them before I went shopping for them!

That makes a change!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?
None of them. I intend to read every book I own at some point, and if that desire goes for any one of them I’ll send them to a charity shop without as much as a tear!

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?
Becky Chambers third book in the Wayfarers series. Hands down the book I am most anticipating next year. Though the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale is close second!

Oh and Kirsty Logan is releasing a new book next year. That’s a must by!

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you?
Embarrassingly the answer to this question hasn’t changed all that much. It’s still The Lord of the Rings series. I did actually go off the idea of reading them for a long time, and got rid of the copies I owned. I have since re-purchased and I am determined to read them eventually.

Also, The Night Circus.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?
Right now, none of them. My friends aren’t really big readers, and noone really gives me direct recommendations! So, feel free to recommend books to me!

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
All of them?! If I had endless hours I’d sit and read them all. If I have to pick it would be A History of Magic – the book released in conjunction with the British Library for the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter. And I pick it because it is as large as the illustrated editions and not exactly portable, so I need a day or two with nothing on where I can just lose myself in it!

How many books are on your goodreads TBR?
At present, 173. But I haven’t updated it since September so it will have definitely changed since then – as I said initially it’s quite close to the 200 mark in physical books now!

 

 

Identity Crisis?|| Blogmas Day 15

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So today it’s a bit of a late one, and not really book-oriented, because I’m not having the best of days.

The last few days I’ve definitely been having a bit of a wobble (primarily due to my GP not seeing my anti-depressants as an urgent prescription and thinking it acceptable to make me go 3 days without them. They still haven’t done the prescription, but I have enough for a week from the pharmacy, and I can kick up a fuss on Monday if I still don’t have my repeat). However, that isn’t what I want to talk about today (as the rainbow in the header may indicate).

The other week, while on holiday, my friend made an offhand comment about how her dad misunderstood something I put on facebook (he misunderstood my “omg I’m going to be a bridesmaid” post as “omg I’m getting married”). And that she was proud of him because “He congratulated you even though if you were getting married, we all know it’d be to a woman.”

Thinking about it, I realised I’ve never actually ‘come out’. I’ve never felt the need to. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my sexuality, I know I prefer women, I just never felt the need to actually go and label myself. But do I need to tell my friends I’m gay? (or more gay than straight, or as I told my mother when I was all of 12 years old “not as straight as a ruler”).

I feel like I’ve lied to them, which is stupid because when I started uni and met them I never hid myself away. I was always 100% me. I make jokes about myself like “Doc Martens and a plaid shirt, you must be a lesbian!” at least twice a month, I frequently make references to particularly nice looking women, rant about the heteronormativity of the institution of marriage, talk very passionately about my favourite fictional lesbians, and regularly update them on LGBTQ+ news.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly think I’m hiding in Narnia.

I told my mum I was (at the very least) bisexual when I was 12 – as I said above. It was a result of a pretty problematic set of circumstances as to why, involving a much older girl taking advantage of me (and it wasn’t just me, as I came to find out). My parents were cool with it, never told me it was just a phase or any of those cliche things. From what I recall, my actual ‘coming out experience’ with my parents was positive – it was so long ago, and the circumstances around it are those I want to forget, meaning I have sort of blurred it in my head.

But, 12 years on, and with a whole new set of friends around me do I actually need to do the whole coming out thing with the words “hey, guess what, I’m gay(ish)?” or is what I’ve already done – just being me, hella gay, and rocking it – enough?

So, if anyone ever wondered what going 3 days without antidepressants did to you, it is this. It makes you unable to sleep and have anxiety attacks over things people probably already know. It makes you question your whole identity, bring up trauma you thought was long behind you and question your entire existence.

Thank goodness for pharmacists and emergency prescriptions.

5 Star Predictions || Blogmas Day 13

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Seeing as yesterdays post was all about my favourite books of 2017, I thought today would be a very good day to discuss books I haven’t read yet but think will become firm favourites – or 5* reads – in 2018. I’ve seen several people on youtube do this – Mercedes I think was first, but the idea caught on and I thought it would translate well in to a blog post.

A lot of factors make up a 5* book for me, it has to be well written, have a plot that keeps me hooked and have well rounded characters. They’re by no means the only things that makes me give a book 5* – but they do help. Equally, how a book reads influences my rating – books with no chapter breaks, or even paragraph breaks, or just places to generally put the book down and get on with stuff really irk me!

Anyone who follows this blog knows I’m an eclectic reader, and that doesn’t change in the books I feel I’m going to give 5* in 2018! So, let’s discuss.

First up is the classics and to The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This year I really found a love in Russian literature and I have nothing but high hopes for this book. There are a handful of other books by Russian authors on my TBR but this is the one I really want to get around to, but also have the most anticipation about! Interestingly, the next classic I’m optimistic about is Middlemarch by George Eliot which I read 2 years ago and only gave 3*. I’ve since come to appreciate George Eliot’s writing a lot more and I think that on a re-read this could improve enormously for me. It’s probably weird, for someone to predict that they’ll give a re-read of a lesser liked book 5* – but I’m always erring on the wild side!

As for new releases – I have exceedingly high hopes for Becky Chambers in her next instalment in the Wayfarers series Record of a Spaceborn Few. Both previous instalments in the series were 5* reads for me and I have zero doubt about this one. From what I’ve read it doesn’t follow any of the same characters, but that doesn’t worry me because the previous two books were enchanting, diverse and basically, this is the only book I currently have on preorder and I’m excited. I’m also sure that if the wonderful Ali Smith has a release in 2018 it will rocket to the top of my TBR and be a 5 star read. It has to be said that after reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden I’m quite excited about the follow up which is released in January – which the name of escapes me!

More popular fiction, or those books likely to be found on tables in Waterstones, are hard for me to pinpoint as they’re not the sort of books I lean towards but I’d like to finally get around to the two Zadie Smith books I haven’t read yet and the one I’m most optimistic for is NW as one of my friends said I would really enjoy it, so that’s one I’m thinking I may give 5* as I loved White Teeth when I read it years ago.

There are a few short story collections I also have a good feeling about – but short story collections are notoriously hard to give 5* reviews to because often there is just that one story which drags it down! But A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel has been on my TBR for a very long time and I have such high hopes for it. I also have a very good feeling about The Scent of Cinnamon by Charles Lambert which was published by Salt in 2010 and I recently purchased – the first story, from what I read – was amazing and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet! Also by Salt is another short story collection that I’ve had for over a year which is New World Fairy Tales by Cassandra Parkin.

I think, for now, that is enough books that I think will be 5*. I have over 200 on my TBR so narrowing it down this far was difficult. I’d love to hear what books you’re feeling really optimistic about in 2018 – and any you think I might enjoy because I always enjoy some recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Favourite Books of 2017 || Blogmas Day 12

It’s Tuesday and that means it’s a top 10 day! Today I’m going to be talking about my 10 favourite books of 2017 – obviously with 2 weeks left to go there is a small chance that this may change (I’m not feeling that’s going to happen though!)

On the whole 2017 has been a mediocre reading year. It’s had very few highs – and those highs haven’t been long-lived or memorable unfortunately! Trying to come up with 10 books which I could consider ‘favourites’ of the year is quite a task – and I really struggled. In the end I surprised myself with how much non-fiction I enjoyed this year.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the books!

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I’ve not included re-reads in this, because I think re-reads are a bit unfair and have an advantage over new reads – I’m already rereading them, I know I love them!

My favourite book of the year – without a shadow of a doubt – is Bleak House. It was one of the first books I read of the year and has stuck with me for the full 12 months, it’s going to be one of my long-time favourites and re-ignited my love of Dickens after a few slightly less than stellar reads!

Another classic on my list is Crime and Punishment which I am so, so glad I finally read. It was a case of reading the perfect book at the perfect time I think, but in hindsight it would have been a great place to start with Russian literature!

In Order to Live and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks were the stand out non-fiction for me this year for very different reasons. I read a lot of non-fiction this year, and I enjoyed all of them, but those two were stand outs and books that will stick with me for a long time. Those two books are two that I would encourage anyone to read – they’re stand out and thought provoking.

Mend the Living was my favourite of the Wellcome Prize shortlist and a very, very much deserving winner. I was absolutely elated when it was announced because this book was just incredible. I’ve since recommended it to several people since I read it, it just is a book I can’t forget. If you’re interested in non-fiction, and where it intersects with fiction, reading from The Wellcome Prize shortlist is a really good place to find recommendations (interestingly, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was nominated when it was released a few years ago!)

What would be a favourites list without a Daphne du Maurier book? Technically it’s a reread, but I genuinely cannot remember a thing from it from my first read which must have been about 10 years ago. So I’m counting it as a first read! It was bloody amazing. Good place to start with du Maurier for sure! Can’t really say too much about it, it’s du Maurier, it was impeccable.

The same logic applies to Ali Smith. Although I read Winter more recently, and loved it even more, Autumn was a grower and a book that I kept thinking about the more the year went on. I’ll have to reread it at some point and pay closer attention to the nuances. But basically I loved it. There.

Stay With Me is on the list because it surprised me. I was sure I wasn’t going to enjoy it and then BAM – I read it to prove a point and hopefully get to write an unpopular opinion and I go and love it! So, sometimes hyped books are as good as the hype says. I read it in one sitting, propped up in a bed in a caravan while it rained. It was incredible.

The last two are a short story collection and a poetry collection – both I did only give 4 stars to but I really enjoyed them both. Kissing the Witch is a surprise entry on this list as I’ve not even reviewed it yet. I went in to it with low expectations and came out of it happily surprised. The last two Emma Donoghue books I’ve read really disappointed me, so I was wary, but this collection lived up to the high praise I’ve heard from people. I absolutely loved it so look out for the review in a few days. The final of my top 10 is You Sad Feminist – which was one of the only poetry collections I read this year and I absolutely loved. Megan Beech is one talented young woman and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

So there we have it, a very disjointed top 10. I’d love to hear what your top books of 2017 have been, and if you’d have as much trouble picking them as I did!

End of Year Book Tag || Blogmas Day 10

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Today I’m being quite lazy and doing another tag that I’ve seen several people over on YouTube doing. Seeing as we are 10 days in to December now  I felt it as good a time as any to use the tag to discuss my reading as a whole for 2017 and look towards 2018, although I may do a more in depth discussion of the later point closer to the end of the year.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss!

1) Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
As it stands at present – no. I absolutely hate starting the year on a book I’m half way through, it really messes up my spreadsheet. I don’t even like carrying books through to another month! So I don’t have any unread books as it stands, and I doubt I will come the 31st as it’s something I just can’t deal with!

2) Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
I feel that I’ve already done this! I found reading Winter by Ali Smith was a good transitional book, but I think also anything by Dickens lends itself to cosy nights and warm drinks. Actually, classics as a whole are pretty good reads for this time of year and I find myself a lot more inclined to read them around November/December.

3) Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
New releases, not so much. Honestly aside for a select few books I haven’t found myself lusting after many new releases this year, those I have wanted I’ve just bought! I’ve even just spent 30 minutes scrolling through Amazon and I can’t see any new releases from the last 90 days that I actually want to purchase.

4) What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
Erm, this is a toughie as I’m not really writing a TBR as such, just going with the flow. But, if I have to pick three:-

  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night – Jen Campbell
  • The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends
  • Something by Daphne du Maurier – I haven’t read any of her books in a while so I’m feeling in the mood to read another

5) Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?
No. Not unless I manage to squeeze in another book by Charles Dickens. I read Bleak House in January and it is going to take something momentous to knock that out of my top spot!

6) Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?
Read! Read and be happy, reread, new reads, any type of reading. I’m still undecided if I’m going to set my goodreads goal high or low – high so I aim for it (I’m a very target motivated person) or lower so I don’t feel as stressed come December!

I want to read more non-fiction, I want to find new authors, I want to read more graphic novels, and I want to read more books by women. But I’ll probably post more on my reading goals for 2018 closer to the end of the month!