Tag Archives: books roundup

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!

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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

 

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

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

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

Nationality of Author

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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!

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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!

Books Bought and Read November 2017

Books Bought

I was doing very well at not buying a single book this month, then the black friday deals broke me.

Earlier in the month I used a few of my audible credits to get:

SPQR – Mary Beard (though having read a review, I’m not sure it will work that well as an audiobook. Think there will be diagrams and references it would be better if I can see them). Too late now!

Mythos – Stephen Fry. All part of trying to address a big gap in my education to ultimately help me be better at Learned League quizzes.

Dracula – Bram Stoker. A classic I’ve really wanted to get round to, especially after reading Frankenstein this year.

Then as I mentions, Black Friday sales broke my resolve and I ordered 6 books. They are all good uns though! They are:

  • Nina Is Not Ok – Shappi Khorsandi
  • It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne
  • Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
  • Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Days Without End – Sebastian Barry
  • Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

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I only bought two kindle books on the daily deal:

Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand

The Outsider – Albert Camus.

So really, I did quite well for three weeks. Then just did all by book purchasing in one go! 😀

Books Read

Click for link to the review

Swimming Lessons – Claire Fuller

Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

Under My Thumb: Songs That Hate Women and the Women That Love Them – ed. by Rhian E Jones.

Bedtime Stories

The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl. I’ve never read this one before!

Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl. Or this one. I read all the longer novels when I was a child (well, all the ones my local library had).

The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton. My son absolutely loves the adventures of Silky, Moon-face, and the children.

The german book – My daughter is just fascinated by the busy scene pictures in this book. We don’t usually even say the German words – I say the name of an item, and she finds it in the picture.

Stories for Girl – Various vacuous stories about fairies and mermaids mermaid. I didn’t buy this book, and obviously my daughter thinks it’s the best book ever!

Crystallising Chaos – My little pony story. I’ve read this so many times! *despair*

Books Bought and Read October 2017

I’ve just gone crazy this month. Prepare yourselves!

Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet – Dallas Campbell. I actually bought this book a few months ago on preorder, but I didn’t get my hands on it until October 5th! It’s so beautiful.

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Kindle sale:

  • Spectacles – Sue Perkins
  • Lessons I’ve Learned – Davina McCall
  • Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story – Richard Bach, Russell Munson.

To be honest, I could have bought easily double this. There was loads of books in the current sale that I would quite like to read. I tried to only buy a few, and so did quite well. The first three are all autobiographies of interesting women. I have noticed that I read biographies of men predominantly, and want to address this imbalance! The last three are all on my ‘really want’ list, so I got them!

Then it was Book Shop Day so I visited my local YMCA charity shop and came home with:

  • Is it Just Me? – Miranda Hart
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • A Most Wanted Man – John le Carre
  • The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

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Then something triggered a Rebecca Solnit spree and I ended up with :

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms.

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Pachinko – Min Jin Lee. Another kindle book at a nice price.

Next I needed the November and December book club books:

  • Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon. (Note to self: this is not The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I thought it was for a few days after it was chosen.)

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and finally, I decided I needed more poetry in my life after reading The Jeanette Winterson book, so I bought Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

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Books Read:

click for links to my reviews.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson

History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

Autumn – Ali Smith

Bedtime Stories

Folk of the Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

A German Picture Book.

Bit of a repetitive month at bed times this month!

 

 

Books Bought and Read – September 2017

Overall a slow month for reading. New term at school though, and littlest starting school, so it was always going to be a struggle to fit it in. Still bought a bazillion books though…

Books Bought

A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing – Eimear McBride. Finally got a copy of this. It’s been hovering near the top of my ‘must be read’ list for a few years, and now I actually have a copy I will get around to it probably sooner! I finally bought it after hearing it be praised on the Bookshambles podcast – source of lots of my book purchases!

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The Sun is also a Star – Nicola Yoon. Kindle bargain and I’ve heard good things about it.

Oxfam books visit. Can’t leave without a handful of them! This was my birthday visit too. I got:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Steven Chbosky
  • The Earthsea Quartet – Ursula Le Guin
  • Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  • Einstein Dreams – Alan Lightman

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Now for a trio of physics books, because I needed to buy a prize for a poster competition I ran at work.

  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli
  • Storm in a Teacup – Helen Czerski 
  • Forces of Nature – Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. 

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Ended up giving Storm in a Teacup away because it’s the one I most want to read myself. Of course, I now need to buy it gain so I can read it…

The Secret Pilgrim – John Le Carre. kindle deal and bought due to my extremely long term plan to read all of his books. I know own 5 times more than I have ever read. It’s going great!

Books Read

Click for links to reviews.

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens – Eddie Izzard.

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead.

See I said it was a slow one!

Bedtime Stories

Tried to get my oldest child (age 7) to have something newer and more exciting to read at bedtime, but he insists on us read the Faraway Tree books again! He just loves them. Saucepan Man and all that.

The Enchanted Wood – Enid Blyton

Folk of The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

Also with the small one:

A German picture book that we have to look at all the pictures in. OMG.

Summer Book Challenge wrap up! #20booksofsummer

How did I do?

I struggled to get through my books in August, but almost managed it – getting up to nineteen books altogether. I was totally on track, but I had a close family bereavement at the end of July and this has been very difficult to deal with. So I’m really very happy with how I got on overall. I thought about squeezing in a really short book on the last day, but I just didn’t have the energy. I’m also a few books behind with my reviews, but I’m sure I’ll get back on track soon.

Throughout this challenge I’ve definitely had it reinforced to me that I can not plan what I will read very far in advance! There is just no point. I need to read what I feel like reading at the time.

Here’s my list of twenty books I originally planned to read, with the books I actually read in red. Any that were in addition to the original list of 20 are added beyond book twenty. So I ended up reading twelve that weren’t on my original list, and only seven I planned to back in May.

  1. The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry (review)
  2. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng (review)
  3. Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor (review)
  4. the Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  5. Hope in the Dark – Rebecca Solnit
  6. Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit (review)
  7. Nobody Told Me – Holly McNish
  8. Dear Fatty – Dawn French
  9. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
  10. The Power – Naomi Alderman (review)
  11. The Lottery (and other stories) – Shirley Jackson
  12. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  13. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
  14. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
  15. A Quiet Storm – Rachel Howzell Hall
  16. How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran
  17. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  18. The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave (review)
  19. Wonder – RJ Palacio
  20. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  21. Queen of Spades – Michael Shou-Yung Shum
  22. Living the Dream – Lauren Berry (review)
  23. Inferior – Angela Saini (review)
  24. Holidays On Ice – David Sedaris (review)
  25. The Unseen – Roy Jacobsen (review)
  26. Nasty Women – 404Ink (review)
  27. All Grown Up – Jami Attenberg (review)
  28. Anger Is An Energy – John Lydon (review)
  29. The Seed Collectors – Scarlett Thomas (review)
  30. How Hard Can Love Be? – Holly Bourne (review)
  31. Lincoln In The Bardo – George Saunders (review)
  32. The Beautiful Bureaucrat – Helen Philips

I’ve really enjoyed this challenge. It’s motivated me to get through a few more books than I otherwise might have. I’m sure I’ll do something similar next year!

The Mid Year Freak Out! Tag

I haven’t been tagged by anyone to answer these questions. I have just seen the tag and liked the idea of summing up my reading for this year with these questions 😀
So far this year I have read 42 books – way above my target, and around double what I have managed for the last few years, each year. I’ve managed this by just fitting in a bit of reading where I can: waiting for the kettle to boil, 20 mins in the morning, a bit at lunchtime etc. and I’ve been watching less TV! Not none… I’ve had to watch American Gods and The Handmaid’s Tale, and University Challenge and Only Connect obvs. 

1. BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017?

Impossible to pick one, and difficult to narrow it down because I’ve really enjoyed a lot of books I’ve read this year. The top ones have to be the ones I gave 5*s to. You might not believe it, but I’m quite stingy with my 5*s!!! (click through for reviews):

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2. BEST SEQUEL OF 2017 SO FAR?

I’ve not strictly read anything that’s a sequel so far this year. I’ve been meaning to read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword for a while after reading Ancillary Justice a few years ago. I’m going to have to pick John Le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from The Cold. I’m on a (very slow) mission to read all of Le Carre’s books. So that’s book 3 done… in 4 years. Might need to get a few more out of the way soon!

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3. NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT WANT TO?

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ I’ve had my eye on this all year but haven’t got a copy yet.

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Out of the books I own, that I haven’t read yet, that are also quite new, these are the ones I most want to try but haven’t got round to yet:

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4. MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF OF 2017?

One book I’m looking forward to is The Book Of Joan – Lidia Yuknavitch although I don’t think it’s out in the UK until 2018? It’s been described as:

a genre-defying masterpiece that may very well rewire your brain

See? sounds awesome!

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Also, The Mother of All Questions – Rebecca Solnit, a follow up collection of essays, on feminism, to Me Explain Things To Me. 

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5. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. Click through to the review if you must! I much prefer liking books!

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6. BIGGEST SURPRISE?

Frankenstein – Mary Shelly. I really enjoyed it, and I didn’t mention it in my review, but reading a bit about Mary Shelly herself was fascinating.  I really want to read Romantic Outlaws – Charlotte Gordon now too – especially after a friend also recommended it to me a while before I  read Frankenstein. It’s about Mary Shelly and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.

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7. FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU) ?

I’m going to choose Celeste Ng and Lauren Berry. Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You is just beautifully written and I can’t wait for her next book Little Fires Everywhere. Lauren Berry’s Living The Dream was hilarious and one of the funniest, most relatable books I’ve read in ages.

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8. NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH?

Hmmmm might have to be Shadow Moon from American Gods, probably more influenced by the TV show than the book!

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He’s no Rupert Campbell-Black or Richard Sharpe though, obvs.

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9. NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER?

I’m going with Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith. She’s a strong and determined character and she grows into a kind and thoughtful woman over the course of the novel. Also, she loves books.

10. BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?

Without doubt this award has to go to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I sobbed through the last 20 pages and wasn’t much better at various other stages of the book. There was something about the main character having my name, probably being around my age, and being unable to get on with a career as a scientist… also trying to make sure your female children aren’t held back by societal sexism, while trying to not damage them and also not ignoring your other kids! Such a good book.

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Runner up for this has to be Beloved – Toni Morrison. Such a beautiful, moving book.

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11. BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY?

I’m not sure about any of them making me particularly happy, but plenty made me laugh.

I’ve read two of David Sedaris’ novels this year: Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Holidays On Ice. He can be completely hilarious. One part of Me Talk Pretty One Day had me uncontrollably laughing.

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Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut made me smile a lot. And Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was the novel that made me feel the  happiest, I guess.

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12. FAVOURITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR?

 

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13. FAVOURITE REVIEW YOU’VE WRITTEN THIS YEAR?

I’m going with Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit. I loved the book, I loved the artwork in it by Ana Teresa Fernandez – some of which I included in the review, and I loved using this gif:

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14. MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU BOUGHT OR RECEIVED SO FAR THIS YEAR

I’ll just put these beauties here with a gorgeous peony.

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15. WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?

So many… here’s a shortlist:

and I have started, but need to finish:

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If you want to do this tag? Consider yourself tagged by me and just get on with it!

Let me know your answers to these questions in the comments or leave me a link to your post.

Thanks for reading!