August Favourites

The last time I put together a favourites post was back in December 2014 – yep you read that correctly. I’ve always been unsure as to whether I really have anything to contribute by way of monthly favourites type posts, essentially because I’m not a lifestyle or beauty blogger.

However, I do like a lot of things in terms of arts and entertainment and I never pass up a chance to gush about them. So I thought I’d give it another shot in case I accidentally share something someone else finds and likes too!

Favourite Books

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

How can I begin to explain this book? Ok, it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer still demons and demon slaying meets secret societies meets Jane Austen/Regency society, complete with balls and carriages and paying calls to friends and drinking tea. If you enjoy Pride and Prejudice but think, hey, this would be improved if Lizzie Bennet was a demon hunter (no, not like the and Zombies adaptation) who was introduced to her calling by a brooding Mr Darcy, then The Dark Days Club might have something for you. On a complete separate and more domestic note, the relationship between the main character, Lady Helen, and her maid, Darby, reminds me so much of the relationship between Lady Mary and Anna in Downton Abbey so if you’re here for female friendships, the book is also good for that.

asoscoverA Storm of Swords/ASOIAF by George R.R. Martin

I am now 3 books into my #readasoiaf readalong attempt and, let me tell you, it’s had its ups and downs but I feel like now, finally, with A Storm of Swords, this is definitely a high. The first half of A Storm of Swords is, not going to lie, something of a slog, but it completely makes up for it in the proverbial shitstorm that is A Storm of Swords Part 2. All my patience thus far was rewarded, I got my Red and Purple Weddings I’d been waiting for, and also read some pretty damn amazing character development. Tyrion’s still on fine witty form too, so obviously this volume would make it into my favourites for August.

(I tried to form more coherent thoughts into a review, if you’re interested.)

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Cramathon TBR & Friday Reads | 18th December

I’m tentatively participating in the 2015 Winter Cramathon, yay I do love a go readathon to make me make reading a priority! (Technically I guess this following post also counts as a Friday Reads since this is my sole reading intention for the weekend.)

For those who aren’t aware Cramathon is a 3-day readathon running from midnight on 19th December to 11:59PM on 21st December, and it’s hosted by the lovely Whitney from Whittynovels, who creates several challenges to help guide people’s TBRs and reading over the course of the weekend. The point of this readathon is in the title – cram as many books as you can into a short readathon. It tends to help if you haven’t yet reached your Goodreads goal for the year since you readathon encourages you to cram in a lot of helpful short and sweet novels or novellas or graphic novels.

However, since I’ve already met my Goodreads goal for the year (the advantages of having realistic goals of setting it at 52 books this year so a book a week), I intended to join in just for the fun of it. Because of this, I’ll be taking quite a loose approach to the challenges; I’m in the middle of some books and I won’t be putting them down in favour of reading books only because they fit the challenges. (Am I doing readathoning wrong? Probably. Oh well!) For posterity’s sake though, the challenges, and my intended picks to fulfil each of them, are as follows: Continue reading

Autumn Reads

There is something of a trend in the book blogging and Booktube world once October rolls around, entirely because of a certain little celebration at the end of the month. Following this theme, most people seem to skew their reading towards the horror or crime or thriller genre. Now, this would be fine, should you enjoy these genres but I have to say they’re probably my least reached-for genre, perhaps only just ahead of, say, erotica or westerns. In fact I don’t think I’ve read a single novel that could belong to either of those genres – and a novel that belonged to both would certainly not be my cup of tea!

So, where does that leave my October reading? See, winter reading is universally accepted as the season of fantasy and winter-related books. You finally get around to reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol after having seen countless adaptations, or you hunker down with a fantasy tome like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, or you struggle your way through a chunky classic like Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But Autumn? It is a season of transition, when the weather calls for light coats, and steadily more so scarves and gloves. It creeps up on you and before you know it the leaves have turned golden and fallen off the trees and you blink and winter is here.

I think this is why this year I seem to be reaching for books to help ease that transition from summer to winter. Not quite lengthy classics and medieval-style fantasy but young-adult and urban fantasy and historical fiction. If it has a touch of magic or paranormal, why, all the better – almost even apt for Halloween! So, whilst I might not be reading the scariest or spookiest of reads this Autumn, I will be sinking my teeth into some fantasy which will hopefully whet my appetite for getting stuck into some longer more complex tomes of books come winter.


 

I’m curious, is your reading affected by the season or do you still find yourself able to read summer beach reads in November? (I envy you if so) What are you reading this October and do you have any recommendations for me?

Reading Rainbow Readathon TBR

I’ve just been made aware of the upcoming Reading Rainbow Readathon which is happening throughout next week and of course because I feel like I’ve missed out (and/or failed) every read-a-thon so far this year, I’ve decided to participate. Despite the fact I’m at work more in the upcoming week and Monday/Tuesday will basically be written off due to a conference on Monday and then panicking about my subsequent feedback meeting on Tuesday. So I clearly need an outlet in which to procrastinate and really put those poor time management skills to good use – and what better than a readathon?

So, for anyone unaware, a few booktubers – including gingerreadslainey whose video alerted me to this event – have created this readathon which does exactly what it says on the tin: read the colours of the rainbow. So you have to read books whose spines include the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The slight trick, which appeals to the more realist side of me, is that you can double-up the colours so one book/spine can include 2 of the rainbow if you so wish. I do so wish, so here is my TBR for the next week:

Red + Orange – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Yellow – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Green + Blue – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Purple – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

 

 

 

Anyone reading this joining in? What do your stacks look like? Any recommendations on where to start with mine?

Discussion: Online Presence of Reading

Rincey from RinceyReads made a video today on Book Riot about going offline with her reading. She discusses that she took an offline approach to reading this month and found herself not wanting to update so specifically what she was reading immediately as she read it. It made me think.

I love Goodreads, really I do. There’s nothing I like more than a little shaded-in progress bar that lets me know just quickly (or slowly, as is more the case) I am ploughing through a book. Even better if it’s a tome like The Faerie Queene, which, for the record, I never finished. However, I’ve noticed lately that I update my status way too much. I’ve become the person that updates for being on page 34 to page 56 which, okay, is progress, but it’s hardly something I would shout about in real-life… so why do I do it on the internet? In a world with the constant updating of Facebook and Twitter, I rarely post. I rarely have things I think are worthy of sharing. Because we all know that person who updates their Facebook status 10 times a day with the most inane life updates that aren’t all that interesting and yet we like ‘like’ out of a sense of obligation. But, with a life as mundane as mine, sometimes making progress on a book is all I do on a lazy day – so I feel the need to let Goodreads know that I am actively reading.

But somewhere, in the constant need to update this and rate that and move that book to the ‘did not finish’ shelf, reading can take a back seat. I noticed it most during Bout of Books which I loved but which made me realise – boy, all my desire to keep up to speed with book blogs and Booktube videos and comments and Goodreads really does get in the way of… well, actually reading. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about books, give me a soap box and a person barely listening and I will explain to you my passions. But sometimes I fall into that trap of watching seven tag videos in a row or browsing through recommendations on Goodreads only to realise that I’ve spent 2 hours thinking about books rather than actually reading books. Maybe it’s not a bad thing, but Rincey’s video just made me think about what difference it would make to not have this constant flow of information about the book you’re reading as you’re reading it. I know for a fact that having everyone else’s opinions about the book floating around in my head can sometimes make my own opinion hard to heard over the noise of all the excitable chatter.

But that’s just my two cents – what does everyone else think?

Video: The Classics Book Tag

A day may come when I will learn where to look when I film – but it is not this day. In the meantime, have a Classics Book Tag video. I had fun with this tag, it’s right up my alley. If you’re interested in classics, you should definitely consider answering the questions too, whether that be in blog form or video form, and you can find the original here: http://itsabooksworld.booklikes.com/post/1104267/the-classics-booktag-original Also if you make a post or video you should definitely link me below because I love watching these.

That’s all I have for today!

Video: Friday Reads + Book Haul

I decided to blow the dust off the YouTube channel and make a Friday Reads / February Book Haul video, wow, such joy, such excitement.

Please note: my phone just will not cooperate so that my poorly planned videos can at least look properly lit and half-decent quality. So, failing that, I tried my webcam for filming because, providing I can shush the perfectionist part of my brain that is currently wailing about how bad quality this webcam video is, I could be back to making videos.

So I would be ever so grateful if you could give this a watch and I hope to become better at video-making and booktubing by sticking to the old idiom ‘practice makes perfect’. I’m not aiming for perfection, mind, just ability to make videos that are concise and critical which is enough of an ask to be getting along with for now…

December Favourites

I have enjoyed quite a few things lately and I want a manner in which to gush about them in a validated forum that isn’t just Twitter. So here we have (drumroll please) my December Favourites.

It’s a short list as I’ve been, well if not actually working on essays then pretending to be, working on essays so my TV and film watching has been rather limited. That being said, I just seem to have replaced the time I would spend watching TV shows with watching booktube videos so… oops?

Song: Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

I kind of hate myself a little bit. I first heard this via Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 and he pointed out the shudder-inducing title. I agree, Grimmy, but I also love it despite myself. ‘Funk’ does indeed describe this catchy song and I can’t stop chair-dancing to it. As I said, I hate myself for it but there you go, here’s just another reason to add to that list.

Song: Blank Space – Taylor Swift

I just can’t stop listening to it. Taylor, thank you. Also thank you for this video because never before have I wanted to be a parody of a maneater lurking in a fancy Gatsby-esque mansion, luring pretty model men to my humble abode whilst wearing couture. I want that for you, I want that for myself too, but, unfortunately, I am not you. Also if anyone wants to see something super cute you should watch her and Greg James lipsyncing to this song in a car – just watch it, and then watch the behind the scenes.

Booktuber: Ron Lit

Is this a surprise to anyone who has spied books I’ve recently added to my ‘to read’ list on Goodreads or to anyone who follows me on Twitter? I doubt it, but here we are: the smarty pants that is Ron Lit. She is smart, funny, cute as hell and just all round really really great. She talks about Austen and feminism and body positivity and oh, oh, she objectifies men, such as Mr Thornton, in a manner which I aspire to whilst also intelligently talking about people like Judith Butler and Nina Auerbach. And she once included Tom Hiddleston in a literary Kiss, Marry, Kill pot because she just wasn’t sure if he was actually real because he was so perfect – so like, Ronnie, I FEEL YOU. She also persuaded me to read Mansfield Park and it feels so different to other Austen I’ve read but I think I’m enjoying it so far so, yeah, she knows what’s what. Duh.

Book: Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

wpid-dsc_0203.jpgThis is definitely a book for booklovers out there. You know those lists on Goodreads titled books-about-books or books-set-in-bookstores,yeah, well this is one of them. What I like about this, however, is that it doesn’t denigrate technology in a slightly snobbish way that could happen. Instead, technology is incorporated to try to track the quests of those weird and wonderful characters that borrow books from Mr Penumbra, and ultimately to try to solve problems. Whether it is successful – well, you’ll just have to read to find out. I really enjoyed this book, I’d recommend it to everyone, and it was such a fun read.