Tag Archives: books roundup

Books Bought and Read – June 2018

Books Bought

Firstly I visited Foyles on a trip to London, and even though I wanted to buy ALL THE BOOKS, I limited myself to two. I got Heartburn by Nora Ephron, and To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell.

foyles

The next book I got this month was a copy of Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller. This is exciting because it was sent to me by Penguin, and I never get books sent to me. This is the first one, so I’m pretty excited about it.

bitterorange

Later in the month I visited Oxford and went to the Oxfam books there. I got Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn – I had a copy that I lent out years ago and never got back, so I’ve been waiting to replace it! I also got Interpreter of  Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and Girls in their Married Bliss by Edna O’Brien.

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While I was in Oxford I was staying at Christ Church College. I was literally having breakfast in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, and let me tell you I was beyond excited about this. I know I don’t look it in the picture, but it was very early, and very busy, and I was trying to take my photo without looking like too much of a knobhead. Also, the stairs up to the hall are a Harry Potter location. Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hogwarts!

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The final purchases of June, were part of my Happy Pay Day celebrations. I bought myself four books: I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek, The Boy With the Top Knot by Sathnam Sanghera, Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, and The Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest.

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Books Read

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

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A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

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Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

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Little Black Book –  Otegha Uwagba

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Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting – Robert McKee

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How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

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20 Books of Summer – Month 1 Update

I’m taking part in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge. It’s exactly what you think: try to read 20 books over June, July and August. I like this challenge because it’s jut a bit more than I normally read, and I have my long summer holiday to help!

I also find it amusing that I can not stick to the intended plan. I set out at the beginning what I think I’d like to read, then it goes off track quite quickly.

So how am I doing after month 1? I finished 6 books plus read a third of The Iliad, so that’s perfectly on track. Two of the books were quite short, but that’s ok.

Here’s the original list, ones I’ve read in red, links to reviews at the end. Books not on the original list are just tagged onto the end.

  1. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi (review)
  2. Still Me – Jojo Moyes
  3. Conclave – Robert Harris
  4. Sarah – J.T. Leroy
  5. Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley – Charlotte Gordon
  6. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  7. How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne
  8. The Pisces – Melissa Broder
  9. How Not to be a Boy – Robert Webb
  10.  Things a Bright Girl Can Do – Sally Nicholls
  11. The Iliad – Homer
  12. Story – Robert McKee (review)
  13. How To Stop Time – Matt Haig (review)
  14. 2666 – Roberto Bolano
  15.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  16. The Dark Dark – Samantha Hunt
  17. Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life – Helen Czerski
  18. The Dark Road to Mercy – Wiley Cash
  19. My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
  20. The Mother of All Questions – Rebecca Solnit
  21. Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates (review)
  22. A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf (review)
  23. Little Black Book – Otegha Uwagba (review)

I realise I’m writing this halfway through July, and so really I’ve already read 3 more books! Shhhhh those will be in the next update!

Books Bought and Read – March 2018

Books Bought

Firstly this month, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge appeared in the post. I had pre-ordered this at xmas and I can’t wait to read it.

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I then bought: Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want – Ruby Tandoh because I kept reading about it on twitter! and I really like food.

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I also bought fellow physics teacher Alom Shaha’s new book: Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder: Adventures in Science Round the Kitchen Table. It’s a beautiful book that will help you do science at home with children.

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I’m still trying not to buy more books, but I needed to get hold of a few for book clubs I have over the next few months. I needed to get This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell, and got The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne at the same time because I keep reading amazing reviews of it and clearly I just can’t help myself when it comes to buying more books…

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I got Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller for the Continental book club next month,

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and finally The Hidden Man by Robin Blake for this month! This is the American name for this book. It is called The Scrivener in the UK version, but that was more expensive!

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Books Read

Seven books read in March. Three super short ones though! Click on the book title to go to my review.

Women and Power – Mary Beard

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All the Beautiful Girls – Elizabeth J. Church

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Motherhood – Helen Simpson

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Serious Concerns – Wendy Cope

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The Circle – Dave Eggers

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The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

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Fat, Gay Vegan – Eat, Drink and Live like you Give a Sh!t – Sean O’Callaghan

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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. 🙂

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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!

poisonwoodbible

 

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!)

SHORT AND SWEET

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:

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  • 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:

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Women and Power with my xmas jumper

Women and Power – Mary Beard, and

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The Vindication of the Rights of Women – Mary Wollstonecraft.

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

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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!

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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:

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  • 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.

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Next up, Waterstones Sale:

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  • 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:

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In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan.

and

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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 Carré
  • 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. 😀

Books Read

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

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna 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

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2017-3

2017-4

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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

 

2017-6

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

2017-7

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

2017-8

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

Nationality of Author

2017-9

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.

2017-10

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!

2017-11

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 – Naomi Alderman IMG_6128
  2. Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor 33283659
  3. Nasty Women – 404Ink 41aalgyb8hl-_sx317_bo1204203200_
  4. Inferior – Angela Saini saini-inferior
  5. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain 17204619
  6. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes me-before-you
  7. American Gods – Neil Gaiman american gods
  8. The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead IMG_7025
  9. Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet – Dallas Campbell AdAstra1
  10. The Girl On the Train – Paula 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

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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!