Category Archives: books roundup

Books Bought and Read – February 2018

Still managing to not go too mental with buying books, and managing to read more. Phew!

Books Bought

Not for me, but I bought Inferior by Angela Saini and Hope In The Dark by Rebecca Solnit as gifts for a friend because I love these books with all my heart. ūüôā



A Woman’s Work – Harriet Harman. 99p kindle deals strike again.

I also picked up a copy of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver for a pound in a second hand book sale!



Books Read

Click  each title for a link to the review

On Tyranny: 20 Lessons From the Twentieth Century – Timothy Snyder

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

The Book of Joan – Lidia Yuknavitch

Frankenstein in Baghdad – Ahmed Saadawi




Books Bought and Read January 2018

After last month’s buying extravaganza, I knew I wanted to scale back a lot this month! It’s also been a difficult month personally, and I lost my reading mojo a little bit. I’m really far behind with even the small amount of reviews I need to do! oh dear.

Books Bought

Are you ready for this?

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green. A 99p kindle deal I couldn’t pass by.

That’s it!

Books Read

Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (review)

Slayers & Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy & Angel –¬†Edward Gross,¬†Mark A. Altman (no review yet!)


Review of my 2017 Reading Challenge

Hahahahahahahahahaha I can not stick to a reading list, and actually I’m OK with that. I don’t want to ever have to stick to a long, rigid reading list.

I planned last year to read as many books from The Rory Gilmore Reading List as I could manage. I started this challenge enthused after watching the entire of Gilmore Girls, over a couple of months in Summer,  in preparation for the new episodes they had made (and ready to attend my friends watching party when they were released). I was impressed with the bookishness of Rory and I also knew I wanted to get back into reading after quite a few years of not finding the time for it, so finding a reading list of books she read on the show was motivating.

I started off well, but read fewer books from the list each month. I know I will still dip back into the list from time to time when choosing new books to read, because a lot of the books from the list have been absolute favourites of mine. I also had a problem with the list being very restrictive. It’s largely white, American or European, authors, and I want to read more diversely than that. I also got side tracked (rightly!) by a lot of newer books that obviously weren’t going to be on that list.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson with this year long challenge: don’t try and be so restrictive with what I read! Also, it’s probably worth noting that I own copies of at least 21 of the books I haven’t read from this list! So I will definitely still read a few of them ūüôā

Here is the full list, with the ones I had already read in red, the ones I read last year in pink:

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven¬†by Mitch Albom
  • ¬†Little Women¬†by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Kitchen Boy¬†by Robert Alexander
  • Brick Lane¬†by Monica Ali¬†¬†
  • Oryx and Crake¬†by Margaret Atwood¬†¬†
  • Emma¬†by Jane Austen¬†¬†
  • Sense and Sensibility¬†by Jane Austen¬†
  • Oracle Night¬†by Paul Auster¬†¬†
  • Fahrenheit 451¬†by Ray Bradbury¬†(review)
  • Jane Eyre¬†by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Master and Margarita¬†by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay¬†by Michael Chabon
  • The Awakening¬†by Kate Chopin¬†(review)
  • The Meaning of Consuelo¬†by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Heart of Darkness¬†by Joseph Conrad
  • Fat Land¬†: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World¬†by Greg Critser
  • Cousin Bette¬†by Honore De Balzac
  • Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia De Burgos¬†by Julia De Burgos
  • The Red Tent¬†by Anita Diamant¬†¬†
  • David Copperfield¬†by Charles Dickens
  • Crime and Punishment¬†by Fyodor Dostoevsky¬†
  • An American Tragedy¬†by Theodore Dreiser
  • The Bielski Brothers¬†by Peter Duffy
  • The Count of Monte Cristo¬†by Alexandre Dumas
  • Ella Minnow Pea¬†by Mark Dunn¬†
  • The Name of the Rose¬†by Umberto Eco¬†¬†
  • Middlesex¬†by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Sound and The Fury¬†by William Faulkner
  • Time and Again¬†by Jack Finney
  • The Great Gatsby¬†by F. Scott Fitzgerald¬†
  • A Passage to India¬†by E.M. Forster
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl¬†by Anne Frank
  • Bee Season¬†by Myla Goldberg
  • Lord of the Flies¬†by William Golding¬†¬†
  • Autobiography of a Face¬†by Lucy Grealy
  • My Life in Orange¬†by Tim Guest
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time¬†by Mark Haddon
  • The Scarlet Letter¬†by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Sacred Time¬†by Ursula Hegi
  • The Sun Also Rises¬†by Ernest Hemingway
  • Siddhartha¬†by Hermann Hesse
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend¬†by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Rescuing Patty Hearst¬†by Virginia Holman
  • A Quiet Storm¬†by Rachel Howzell Hall
  • The Polysyllabic Spree¬†by Nick Hornby¬†(review)
  • Songbook¬†by Nick Hornby
  • The Kite Runner¬†by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame¬†by Victor Hugo¬†¬†
  • Brave New World¬†by Aldous Huxley
  • How the Light Gets In¬†by M. J. Hyland
  • The Lottery: And Other Stories¬†by Shirley Jackson
  • Nervous System¬†by Jan Lars Jensen¬†¬†
  • The Metamorphosis¬†by Franz Kafka¬†(review)
  • The Story of My Life¬†by Helen Keller¬†(review)
  • On The Road¬†by Jack Kerouac
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo‚Äôs Nest¬†by Ken Kesey
  • Flowers for Algernon¬†by Daniel Keyes
  • The Secret Life of Bees¬†by Sue Monk Kidd¬†
  • A Separate Peace¬†by John Knowles
  • Extravagance¬†by Gary Krist
  • The Namesake¬†by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Devil in the White City¬†by Erik Larson¬†
  • The Song of Names¬†by Norman Lebrecht
  • The Fortress of Solitude¬†by Jonathan Lethem
  • Small Island¬†by Andrea Levy
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West¬†by Gregory Maguire
  • A Month Of Sundays¬†by Julie Mars
  • Life of Pi¬†by Yann Martel
  • Property¬†by Valerie Martin
  • The Razor‚Äôs Edge¬†by W. Somerset Maugham
  • The Nanny Diaries¬†by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • Quattrocento¬†by James McKean
  • Death of a Salesman¬†by Arthur Miller¬†¬†
  • Beloved¬†by Toni Morrison¬†(review)
  • Speak, Memory¬†by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books¬†by Azar Nafisi
  • The Time Traveler‚Äôs Wife¬†by Audrey Niffenegger¬†¬†
  • How to Breathe Underwater¬†by Julie Orringer
  • 1984¬†by George Orwell¬†
  • When the Emperor Was Divine¬†by Julie Otsuka
  • Bel Canto¬†by Ann Patchett¬†(review)
  • Truth & Beauty¬†by Ann Patchett
  • The Portable Dorothy Parker¬†by Dorothy Parker
  • My Sister‚Äôs Keeper¬†by Jodi Picoult
  • The Bell Jar¬†by Sylvia Plath¬†¬†
  • Complete Tales & Poems¬†by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Fountainhead¬†by Ayn Rand
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers¬†by Mary Roach
  • The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters¬†by Elisabeth Robinson
  • The God of Small Things¬†by Arundhati Roy
  • Empire Falls¬†by Richard Russo
  • The Catcher in the Rye¬†by J.D. Salinger¬†(review)
  • Sybil¬†by Flora Schreiber
  • The Lovely Bones¬†by Alice Sebold
  • Holidays on Ice¬†by David Sedaris (review)
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day¬†by David Sedaris¬†(review)
  • Hamlet¬†by William Shakespeare
  • Pygmalion¬†by George Bernard Shaw
  • Frankenstein¬†by Mary Shelley¬†(review)
  • Unless¬†by Carol Shields
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress¬†by Dai Sijie
  • The Jungle¬†by Upton Sinclair
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn¬†by Betty Smith¬†(review)
  • Of Mice and Men¬†by John Steinbeck
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde¬†by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Uncle Tom‚Äôs Cabin¬†by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Opposite of Fate¬†by Amy Tan
  • Vanity Fair¬†by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Anna Karenina¬†by Leo Tolstoy¬†¬†
  • A Confederacy of Dunces¬†by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Song Reader¬†by Lisa Tucker
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn¬†by Mark Twain
  • Just a Couple of Days¬†by Tony Vigorito
  • Galapagos¬†by Kurt Vonnegut¬†(review)
  • Ethan Frome¬†by Edith Wharton
  • Night¬†by Elie Wiesel¬†(review)
  • The Picture Of Dorian Gray¬†by Oscar Wilde¬†¬†
  • The Code of the Woosters¬†by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Old School¬†by Tobias Wolff
  • The Shadow of the Wind¬†by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


This year I’m attempting the PopSugar Challenge. This involves trying to fit what I read into different categories and so is much less restrictive!


Books Bought and Read December 2017

I have basically bought all the books I’m going to read next year, in the sales, after xmas. I feel like I need this disclaimer before I write the list because it’s a lot of books!!!! It’s actually showing I have a shameful addiction. Hopefully I will prove next year that I can spend a lot of months NOT buying any more!

Books Bought

Early on in the month, I visited Oxfam Books in Preston:


  • Grief is the Thing With Feathers – Max Porter
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
  • Towards the End of the Morning – Michael Frayn
  • The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Butler, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker: An Erotic Memoir – Suzanne Portnoy

Next I seem to have a problem with buying xmas presents. Things seem to appear for me when I’m buying other people books! This is how I picked up:


Women and Power with my xmas jumper

Women and Power – Mary Beard, and


The Vindication of the Rights of Women – Mary Wollstonecraft.

Next up, just some books I wanted, so I bought them.


I read Inferior by Angela Saini earlier in the year as an ebook and I loved it so much I knew I wanted a paper version for my book shelves.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of those I’ve wanted to get round to reading for a long, long time. Seems more likely to happen now I have a copy of it!

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer was on my reading list for last year. I read a few reviews of it where people have said it’s their favourite collection of short stories.

A visit to the YMCA charity shop, where books were four for a pound! Hope it’s obvious that some of these were for my kids!


some xmas beers peeping over to say hello

  • 31 Songs – Nick Hornby
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  • The Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry – ed by Fleur Adcock
  • Three Lives – Gertrude Stein
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  • The End of the World Maybe – Jo Nesbo
  • The Great Gold Robbery – Jo Nesbo
  • Minecraft Redstone Handbook

Now for the post xmas purchases. I just went for some books I really wanted to read. Some in the sales that I liked the look of – ones I really want to read next year. First up:


  • Fingers In the Sparkle Jar – Chris Packham
  • I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
  • At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails.
  • Hag-seed – Margaret Atwood
  • How To Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • The Dark Dark – Samantha Hunt
  • Storm in a Teacup – Helen Czerski
  • The Christmas Chronicles – Nigel Slater

I also bought this beauty after seeing an instagram picture of it! Mermaids Are Salty Bitches: A Coloring Book for Juvenile Adults – Katy Morrison.


Next up, Waterstones Sale:


  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: the Trilogy of Four – Douglas Adams (I’ve read these before but lent out my copy and it never returned)
  • Motherhood – Helen Simpson (hardly showing up in the photo)
  • The Long War – Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield
  • Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
  • Winter – Ali Smith
  • La Belle Sauvage – Phillip Pullman

A few more arrived in the post:


In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan.



Carrie – Stephen King

And I’ve realised writing this that some of the books I ordered haven’t arrived yet… there should also be:

  • Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
  • The Dark Road To Mercy – Wiley Cash

Hmm… where are they? They should have arrived by now.

I also pre-ordered a paperback copy of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge.

Finally, we have the kindle sale….

  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century –¬†Timothy Snyder
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s Series Book 1) –¬†Jodi Taylor
  • The Vegetarian – Han Kang
  • Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys – Viv Albertine
  • The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism –¬†Naomi Klein
  • Girl Up – Laura Bates
  • Little Black Book –¬†Otegha Uwagba
  • Gut Symmetries – Jeanette Winterson
  • A Perfect Spy –¬†John le Carr√©
  • Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon
  • Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates
  • The Temporary Gentleman – Sebastian Barry
  • Olive Kitteridge –¬†Elizabeth Strout
  • Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them –¬†John Yorke
  • Barkskins –¬†Annie Proulx
  • Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds –¬†Cordelia Fine

That is an obscene amount of books, but we aren’t quite done yet… I bought a few audiobooks:

  • IQ84 – Haruki Murakami. It’s 47 hours long!
  • White Tears – Hari Kunzru

I think that’s all of them. I’ll be writing a post on my plans for my 2018 reading shortly, and I’ll get into the true horror that is my TBR pile here. ūüėÄ

Books Read

I only managed to read two books this month. Too much thinking about xmas!

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep РJoanna Cannon. 

Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet – Dallas Campbell

I also did far too many year wrap up posts that I will post here in place of actual book reviews!

My Top Science Reads for 2017

My Top Politics and Feminism Reads for 2017

My Top Biography and Memoir Reads for 2017

My Top Fiction Reads for 2017

2017 Reading Bingo!

and finally:

My 2017 Reading in Statistics

Bedtime Stories

I didn’t keep very good track of this in December. I definitely read Jesus’ Christmas Party an few times. My oldest child (7 1/2) has just got into the Beast Quest Books too. He’s started to do some reading for fun (at last!) and has just devoured two of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

My smallest child still makes me read a German picture book quite a lot. We also have some new xmas books that seem to be a hit: The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home. 


Thanks for reading!

My 2017 Reading in Statistics

This is my review of my reading year. I’ve loved keeping this blog to help me with reading more and tracking what I’ve read. I’ve read 65 books this year, compared to 20 in 2016, and 19 in 2015 (so glad for the goodreads challenge to help me keep count!). I’m delighted to be back reading regularly after many years of feeling like I wanted to read more, but just not fitting it in. I have been regularly blogging this year, but didn’t create my blog last January. I had done the odd book review before this – twelve in total form 2015 and 2016.

The Books






How have I managed to read so much more?

Several things have helped. The first, and probably most important, is I am no longer in a job that requires me to work most evenings and some of the weekends. I changed jobs to one where I have an amazing amount of work-life balance compared to the eight years before. I also watch much less TV, sometimes spending a few hours in the evening reading instead. Finally, my children are slowly getting better at sleeping and I’m less completely knackered all the time!

The Statistics



I’m more than happy with the amount of non fiction I have read this year.


I’m equally happy with the gender split of authors I’ve read this year.


Here is somewhere I could definitely do better on. I need to prioritise reading more BAME authors.

Nationality of Author


It’s very clear that I mostly read British or American authors. It’s embarrassing how there’s no South American or African authors, and only a few from the entire of Asia. Definitely something I need to do better on next year.


Very happy with this. I’ve been discovering lots of authors this year, and have read a lot I just hadn’t got round to yet!


Sorting my books into genre was very difficult! I had to put a few categories together or I was going to end up with a lot of genres with just one entry and the pie chart would have been a complete mess! I already knew I had read a lot of literary fiction. I’ve probably put quite a few books in this section that shouldn’t strictly be there. I’m happy with the amount of other types of books I’ve read.

My top book reviews of 2017

Click the text to go to the review.

  1. The Power РNaomi Alderman IMG_6128
  2. Reservoir 13 РJon McGregor 33283659
  3. Nasty Women Р404Ink 41aalgyb8hl-_sx317_bo1204203200_
  4. Inferior РAngela Saini saini-inferior
  5. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain¬†17204619
  6. Me Before You РJojo Moyes me-before-you
  7. American Gods РNeil Gaiman american gods
  8. The Underground Railroad РColson Whitehead IMG_7025
  9. Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet РDallas Campbell AdAstra1
  10. The Girl On the Train РPaula Hawkins girl-on-the-train

Most of this top ten is not a surprise. Many are my favourite books of the year and also ones that I’ve felt have had a bit of a buzz around them that I have read quite soon after they came out (Inferior and Nasty Women are two examples).¬† Some won big awards (The Power and The Underground Railroad) and so people were generally interested in them. There’s a couple of the big bestselling type of books here (The Girl on the Train and Me Without You), and a few that I think my friends would be particularly interested in (Quiet, American Gods, and Ad Astra – science geeks yo). More cringingly, the second most popular review of the year is a book I really did not get on with very well. I write honest reviews, but I am very careful writing negative ones. I didn’t hold back much on this one for a few reasons: it’s a hugely popular author and my small opinion will not even register on anyone’s radar, plus generally the literary community bloody loved it.

But none of those are the most popular post of 2017, in fact one post got 14 times more views than the most popular book review…¬†

My Review of Rebellion Punk Festival


My review of this music festival got an incredible number of views in the week after I wrote it. I did a very short analysis of the gender makeup of the bands and their order of billing. I describe how I set out to support the female artists and musicians over the weekend, and also the BAME musicians (of which there were only a handful out of hundreds of performers). This post got shared amongst some (thankfully private) facebook groups and some people found it erm… not to their taste shall we say. I had some of the comments reported back to me, and lets just say I’m glad I couldn’t read them. They weren’t very nice. I saw some incredible bands over the weekend and will do exactly the same sort of analysis next time I go, because that’s what I enjoy doing!

Looking forward to 2018

Next year I want to read more. I want to make sure I read more BAME authors and also more authors from around the world – I will have to include lots of translations to make sure I do this. There are no graphic novels, horror (eeek!), or poetry in this years book – need to sort that out! No romance? I’m not keen, but I’ll have to give some a go. Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading!

2017 Reading Bingo!



Just for a bit of fun I’m going to see if I can fill all these reading bingo squares from my reading this year. I saw this on Cleopatra Loves Books Blog. I like the idea of looking at it retrospectively and have seen quite a few different bloggers do this over the last few weeks. I feel really happy that I have managed to find a different book for each square – even though I only had one choice for some, I still made it! Yey!

Click the images to go to my reviews for each book.

A Book With More Than 500 Pages.

american gods

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

At 635 pages, this is the longest book I read this year (3 were over 500 pages).


A Forgotten Classic.


The Awakening – Kate Chopin

I’m not sure about this being forgotten, but I’d never heard of it. I read it because it was on the reading list I was using for a bit of reading inspiration this year.


A Book That Became a Movie.


Lion – Saroo Brierley

And I haven’t seen the film yet!!!


A Book Published This Year.


Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

I had lots to choose from for this one, eleven books in total. I went with Home Fire because it has such a lovely cover on this edition.


A Book With a Number in the Title.


Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor

I am happy I have read this one because it’s been a much talked about book this year, but I really didn’t get on with it very well. Still, it’s useful for having that number in the title (though I could have used Fahrenheit 451 for this too)


A Book Written By Someone Under 30.


Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was twenty one when she wrote Frankenstein. Amazing! I had a few other options for this square, and a few that I suspect will fit, but I can’t easily find the author’s age, which is totally fine of course.


A Book With Non-Human Characters.


Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

We’ve got the White Rabbit, flamingos, the Cheshire Cat, and all sorts of other non-human characters in this totally bonkers book.


A Funny Book.


Living the Dream – Lauren Berry

I rarely read really funny books, but this was one of them. I had a few to choose from here. The Holly Bourne book I read was also funny, and I read two by David Sedaris and they would have fitted in very well here.


A Book By a Female Author.

39 of the books I’ve read this year are by female authors. I’d be horrified if someone couldn’t fit this square!


I’m going to choose What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s so good.


A Book With a Mystery.


The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Probably the most straightforward mystery book I read. I nearly went with The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka but the mystery of happens doesn’t get solved so I went with this instead!


A Book With a One-Word Title.


Autumn – Ali Smith

I loved Autumn and I can’t wait to read Winter. I just picked it up and will read it very soon. ūüôā


A Book of Short Stories.


A Winter Book – Tove Jansson

I read quite a few essay collections this year, but this was the only short story collection I read.


A Book Set on a different Continent.


Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut

I could have chosen one of the many book I read set in North America, but that’s a bit of a boring choice, so I’ve gone with Galapagos. It’s set, unsurprisingly on the Galapagos islands, so the continent is South America. I was quite socked actually to realise this was the only book I read that isn’t set in either Europe or North America. I will have to do better next year. I sippose I could also have picked Ad Astra by Dallas Campbell because that’s really set in space. ūüôā


A Book of Non Fiction.


Inferior – Angela Saini

I read 22 non fiction book this year (yey!) but this was the one I’d like most people to read too. It’s about how scientists historically have let their societal ideas about women influence their science, how the barriers to doing science have prevented women from taking part, and finally, what the real scientifically proven difference are between me and women. I loved it so much I’ve just bought myself a paperback copy – I originally read an ebook version.


The First Book By a Favourite Author.


Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

I’ve still only read this one book by Celeste Ng, but I have Little Fires Everywhere lined up ready to read. I just know I’m going to love that too, and probably any other book she writes in the future!


A Book You Heard About Online.


The Good Immigrant – ed by Nikesh Shukla

Again, there are a few books I could have picked for this one, but I loved The Good Immigrant so much, and I definitely kept reading about it online and sought it out to read as soon as I could.


A Best-Selling Book.


Me Without You – Jojo Moyes

Definitely the biggest, best selling book I read this year! Or possible Girl On the Train, but I used that earlier.


A Book Based on a True Story.


Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

I just about made this by reading Lincoln In the Bardo, set on the night Lincoln’s son Willie is set to rest in a crypt in Oak Hill Cemetery, in Georgetown.


A Book at the Bottom of Your TBR Pile.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

I chose this because I started reading it two years ago, and for some reason stopped and didn’t pick it up again until November. I absolutely loved it and can’t believe I took such a big reading pause with it.


A Book Your Friend Loves.


Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

I deliberated quite a bit with this one. No friends recommended Bel Canto, but after I’d read it, two people (both have book reading taste I trust) told me they absolutely loved it. There were a few books I read because other people told me they like them, but none that they LOVED so I went with Bel Canto, which I loved too.


A Book That Scares You.


Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

I don’t read horror. I don’t watch it either. I get too scared and can’t sleep! So there was no way there would be anything that scared me in that way. Instead I’ve chosen Farenheit 451. It scared me because it seems like how the world is going right now. Anti-intellectualism, “too many experts”, anti-science: there’s too much of this around at the moment and I can almost imagine if it continues, then the events in this book might not be so fictitious!

Also, I’m going to try reading an actually scary book next year as a personal challenge. Which one should I go for?


A Book That is More Than 10 Years Old.


It Cant Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis

I read loads of books that are over ten years old this year. I chose It Can’t Happen Here because I was astounded it was written in the 1930s – it reads like it’s directly influenced by Trump!


The Second Book in a Series.


How Hard Can Love Be – Holly Bourne

I got lucky with this one. I read very few series books this year, and luckily this is the second in The Spinster Club Series. I will make sure I read part three next year.


A Book With a Blue Cover.


The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon

Blue covers seem to be very popular. This was the bluest of blue covers. When I’ve tried to make a rainbow of book spines it is always purple that I struggle to find ūüôā


All done! Thanks for reading. I managed to fill each square with a different book. I got lucky with some of the more obscure ones!

How many squares can you fill from your years reading?





My Top Fiction Reads of 2017

Oh this is going to be hard to narrow down! I have read 43 non-fiction books this year. A great achievement for me and I’m so happy to be reading a lot again after years of not finding the time (answer: I watch less TV). I am aware the year isn’t done yet. If I read any amazing books in the last two weeks of December I’m going to have to add them to next years list!

Click the images to go to my longer review of each book. Here we go:


The Power – Naomi Alderman

Women develop the power to give deadly electric shocks. Goodbye patriarchy. This winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 is a visceral, shocking look at a complete reversal in the power balance between men and women. I absolutely loved reading The Power and you would too!



Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

An emotional look at a family who are terrible at communicating with each other. 1970s America, white mother and Chinese Father, with three children. We meet them on the morning that the middle child, Lydia, goes missing and is found drowned. This book was such an emotional read and I loved it.

Also, one of the main characters shares my name, and that was really weird.



Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

Abraham Lincoln mourns the death of his beloved son, Willie. He visits his coffin twice during a night where Willie is residing in the Bardo – the middle place between life and death, along with a host of other ghosts, all with their own shit to deal with before they can move on. A beautiful poetic exploration of grief and parental love. I finished Lincoln in the Bardo feeling uplifted, and much more educated about Lincoln and the American Civil War.

It won the Man Booker Prize 2017 and I am not surprised at all.



Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Firefighters no longer put out fires in this dystopian future. They cause them when someone is found to be in possession of books, any books, they are all illegal. The population have been taught that thinking deeply is a bad thing and they are kept distracted and dumb with frivolous soaps and constant entertainment. Written in 1953, it felt like it could have been written last year. Brilliant.



Living the Dream – Lauren Berry

Late 20-somethings hilariously navigate life and friendship. Sharp and sarcastic, they are a fairly aimless group of friends approaching 30 and dealing with their lives not being what they expected they would be by this age. Funniest book I have read for a long time.



The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is made physical in this story of Cora escaping slavery from a plantation in the Southern USA. Cora stops off in several states during her journey North and in each one the laws and atmosphere around slavery are different, but equally awful. Cora is trying to make it North, but is being hunted…

The Underground Railroad hits you in the gut with it’s stark and immersive description of Cora’s life on the plantation. It’s part thriller and we have to consider, will Cora ever be free?



Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Man creates monster. Man abandons monster. Monster starts out loving and intelligent but is changed by his treatment by humans and, more devastatingly, his creator. Monster wants revenge. The wretch! #teammonster



Beloved – Toni Morrison

This book will break your heart. Sethe was born into slavery and she will do anything to protect her family from suffering this same fate.

This is the first Toni Morrison book I have read and I’m so glad I did.



The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

A crisis with human reproduction means women capable of bearing children are forced to live with ‘important’ men and their wives. They are raped in an official, state sanctioned ceremony to try and save the population. Fear and control are everything.



Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

I came away from Bel Canto feeling like it was the most beautiful exploration of love I’ve ever read. I didn’t want it to end and yet I needed to know what happens! A group of internationally important people are taken hostage while attending a party in a South American country. I don’t want to give any more of the plot away here!


These are all the fiction books I’ve read this year. Click to go to my longer review of each book.


What were your favourite fiction reads this year?