Review | American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Title: American Gods (2001)
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Headline
Read: 4th – 10th May 2017
Genre: fantasy; mythology; urban fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In this wacky and wonderful book, Neil Gaiman draws on a wealth of cultures and mythologies in order to create an engrossing and bizarrely original take on the gods of old. Utterly fantastical and surreal, once disbelief is suspended, this proves to be one hell of a ride.

“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”

Set in a modern-day United States, American Gods ostensibly tells the story of Shadow Moon, a rather taciturn man about to be released from prison owing to the sudden death of his wife, Laura. But Laura doesn’t stay as dead as she should do, and that’s not the only spooky event in Shadow’s life once he emerges from prison as a free man. Whilst on a plane journey home, he gets to talking to mysterious passenger, Mr Wednesday, and ends up (begrudgingly) working for him. Premised on the idea that gods only continue to exist because of people’s belief in them, the once-powerful “old gods”, brought to the US by the immigrants who settled there, find themselves diminished in the face of people’s faith towards the “new gods”, figures relating to America’s obsession with media, celebrity, and technology. Part satire of the all American road trip novel, part mythological retelling, familiar and less familiar deities pop into the story with aplomb as Wednesday (cough Odin cough) and Shadow try to marshall these forgotten “old gods” to rise up against the “new gods” society now worships instead.

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Friday Reads | 5th May 2017

Well guys, not to sound like a broken record here but it’s the end of another working week which means it is high time for another Friday Reads in which I will discuss the book I’m currently reading and my bookish plans going into this upcoming weekend.

I haven’t done a Friday Reads in a few weeks (my last one was back in March, yikes!), mainly because I was battling through A Feast for Crows for what felt like for-ev-er but in reality was only a fortnight or so but, believe me, I felt every single minute of that time. Which is weird because I actually ended up really enjoying this fourth volume in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s safe to say that this book is very politics heavy… there aren’t a lot of action scenes (especially not compared to the bloodshed that takes place in the previous books) but everything feels very calculated and conniving and you just know that though the characters aren’t actively moving from one place to the other they are moving their little pawns all over the board in the hopes of gaining the upper hand. All of this is why I ended up loving the book, as I was sure I would if I just stuck with it. People are right, though, if you’re in it for the political machinations of the Tyrells and the Lannisters and their scheming at King’s Landing, then this volume could well be your favourite, but if you’re more so in it for Jon Snow and his brothers on the Wall, well, I hate to spoil things but he doesn’t even make an appearance in this one.

Now, I’m not enough of a masochist to move straight on to reading the next ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons, though I do really want to get to that soon so I don’t end up forgetting what is going on in this series. However, I am enough of a masochist to move from one mammoth of a book to another, this time with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I was so excited to hear of the TV show being developed, especially when Bryan Fuller was attached to it, because I knew it would turn out stunning. But (and it’s a big ‘but’) I would like to read the book in its entirety before I allow myself to watch the show on Amazon Prime. I’ve previously tried to read American Gods, both in paperback and via audiobook formats, but never got any further than the scene where Shadow and Wednesday visit Czernobog and the Zorya Sisters. (No, I categorically do not know what it is about that scene that’s a sticking point for me because it’s really good so why on earth I stop at it each time I do not know for the life of me.) Anyway, I need to properly commit to this and give it another chance because I love Neil Gaiman’s writing and I’m sure I will adore this once I get fully invested in the storyline. It features gods and mythology after all – I am all over that crap.

At the time of writing this post, I can officially state that I have now read further than I ever did before (i.e. past that scene with the Zorya sisters) so I am hopeful that the rest of today and this weekend will bring even more progress on American Gods. I would certainly like to be a chunk of it through the novel by Monday, so maybe then I can allow myself to watch the first episode of the TV show since it premiered this past Monday.

Aside from that, I don’t anticipate reading much of anything else in the coming days. This past week was the start of my new job so I’ve been a big ol’ ball of anxiety and, you know what guys? That’s tiring as hell. So this weekend had better be full of a lot of not doing much or I will end up very grumpy indeed. Liz and I are planning a Tavern breakfast and that is the full extent of my plans for this weekend. Sounds good to me to be honest, I’m well in need of a very low-key weekend and a rest. Let’s hope a good chunk of reading happens amidst all that rest, eh?

That was my Friday Reads for this week but enough of me – what are you currently reading going into this weekend? Are you planning much for the next couple of days? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!


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T5W | Authors You Want to Read More From

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Authors You Want to Read More From. As Sam says: “Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!” I have a horrible tendency of enjoying a book and then completely and utterly failing to pick up other books by that same author unless it’s part of a series… and even then I sometimes read the first book, love it, and then promptly abandon the series accidentally! There are also a lot of authors whose work I enjoy but have not actively pursued or kept an eye on… let’s see the top 5 of those authors, shall we?

5. John le Carré

I first tried to read John le Carré back when the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy film was out – I’d been to see the film, really enjoyed it, and wanted to get stuck into the source material. I never made it even halfway – I was way too confused by the novel. Fast forward a few years and it was announced that Tom Hiddleston (yeah, him again, sorry/not sorry) would be starring in an adaptation of a le Carré novel called The Night Manager. I picked up the book, I read it, I loved it, and was firmly convinced that the casting people deserve gold stars for their casting of Pine, Roper, and Corky. (Like, seriously, Tom Hollander as Corky is spot on.) Fast forward a few more months and I haven’t read another le Carré despite the fact that I now think I have the right reading level to follow his plots and I’ve bought a couple more of his novels with the very intention of reading them sooner rather than later. I need to correct that, stat.

4. Donna Tartt

The Secret History is one of my favourite novels, and yet I haven’t read anything else by Donna Tartt – why not? I am more than certain that I adore her writing style thanks to the slow, languid pace of The Secret History and I thought her character development and characterisation was super intriguing. She only has three novels currently published so it’s not as though she has an extensive back catalogue that I need to work through and The Goldfinch sounds right up my alley… it’s getting faintly ridiculous that I haven’t yet picked up another Tartt novel and yet I persist in re-reading The Secret History.

3. William Shakespeare

I took a final year course dedicated entirely to the Bard himself. My postgraduate/MA dissertation was completely focused on the excessive body in Coriolanus. I graduated with a distinction in early modern literature. And yet I still do not consider myself fully versed on enough of Shakespeare’s plays. To be fair to me, there are quite a few to get through, but I’m still annoyed at myself that I haven’t read/watched more of them. At last count I’ve managed (in some guise) 23 out of 36 which, hey, is not bad by any means but a large portion of those were speed-read before a seminar soooo it’s safe to say I might not have entirely appreciated them to their fullest. I need to sort that out soon – is it too ambitious to decree that I want to be completist and read all of them?

 2. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has wrote some of my favourite novels (cough Good Omens cough), I love him as a writer regardless of what age he is writing for, and I pretty much sit in awe of his existence, even as I just casually scroll through his Twitter. Despite this… I’ve only read a couple of his books – why?! I’ve never yet finished American Gods (it’s long and complicated, ok guys?!) or Neverwhere (nope, I got no excuses here), despite adoring The Graveyard Book with every fibre of my being and being super creeped out and intrigued in equal measure by The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The film adaptation of Stardust (whilst different from the book apparently) is kind of one of my favourite (not so guilty pleasure) films – I mean, come on, sky pirates – and I’m curious to read that story told in the darker, more gruesome tone that I’m told the book has. I think I probably just need to read all the Gaiman ever.

1. Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier wrote possibly my favourite book of all-time, Rebecca, and yet I have only read one other novel by her (Jamaica Inn for what it’s worth) – that’s very dumb of me. I have My Cousin Rachel sat staring at me every night when I go to sleep (my bookshelf is right by my bed, ok, it’s less creepy than it sounds) and yet I still haven’t picked it up properly. I’m so serious about needing to read more du Maurier that I recently deliberately bought Frenchman’s Creek, Rule Britannia, and The Scapegoat in the editions I’m collecting (no, not the pretty ones, sadly, but I have to get them to match my Virago Modern Classics copy of Rebecca I have because that’s my copy, you know?). I have no more excuses, I now have plenty of du Maurier to be getting on with… so get to getting, Emma!

So there we have it folks – those were my top 5 authors that I want to read more from. Do you agree/disagree with my choices? Which authors do you want to read more from in the future? If you have a Top 5 Wednesday list, be sure to link it below – I’d love to take a look!


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Six Degrees of Separation | Room

Another month, another Six Degrees of Separation! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts for this month, starting with…

Room by Emma Donoghue, a novel told from the perspective of 5-year old Jack, a child who lives with his Ma in “Room”, a room in which he and his mother are held captive by a man who kidnapped her some years ago. Jack’s perspective of life has been entirely restricted to this single room he shares with his mum, who tries her best to raise him as well as she can in this small space. Donoghue chooses to tell her story through the eyes (and words) of 5-year old Jack, making some of the traumatic events he narrates quite unusually told.

Speaking of unusual stories narrated by children Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told through the eyes of the unnamed narrator, a man who returns to the house he grew up in to attend a funeral. Whilst there his memories of childhood are triggered and he starts to remember the events of his past, and a very strange and surreal narrative unfolds, told through his perspective when he was a child. The book won the Specsaver’s National Book Awards’ ‘Book of the Year’ in 2013, an award which was won the following year by…

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, Burton’s debut novel, set in 17th century Amsterdam and telling the tale of Nella Oortman, a young woman who arrives in the city to move into the home of her new husband, Johannes Brandt, a respected merchant trader, a home which is as unwelcoming as Johannes’ sister, Marin. Johannes, though distant to his new wife, gifts her a beautiful cabinet-sized replica of their home, a replica whose appearance begins to mimic events in the real household as secrets begin to be uncovered and the plot thickens. As I said this book is set in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, as is parts of…

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfincha book which I desperately want to read asap because I’ve heard nothing but good things and I adored Tartt’s The Secret History. This book, however, centres around the painting of the book’s title, the Dutch Golden Age painting of a chained bird by  Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt. Just as The Goldfinch’s protagonist, Theo, takes the painting from The Met in the wake of an explosion, and has no idea how this action will affect the course his life takes, Annie McDee has no idea how happening across a lost masterpiece in a dusty junk shop will affect her life in…

Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love, a book which is inextricably bound in the art trade world, as Rothschild’s protagonist begins to discover the true provenance of the Antoine Watteau painting she has inadvertently bought. The journey takes character and reader back through early 20th-century European history to reveal the painting’s shady history. The painting itself is even given a voice and, let me tell you, it does not mince its words about some of its previous owners. Some may find this narrative device of giving an object a voice to be odd, some may find it a gimmick, I enjoyed it, but I digress… just as parts of The Improbability of Love are told from this unusual perspective, so is…

Nutshell by Ian McEwan, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet told from the point of view of a foetus inside the womb of the novel’s Gertrude character, Trudy. Trudy and her husband’s brother, Claude, hatch a plan to murder her husband, John (are you seeing the ‘Hamlet’ connection), but their scheming has a witness – the foetus itself. I have not read this novel, I’m not even sure what I think about this novel, but the fact it’s a Shakespeare retelling means I will inevitably pick it up at some point because I’m a sucker for that, which brings me finally to…

Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which I am enormously looking forward to reading (The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays) and which tells the tale of a recently sacked artistic director, Felix, who was planning a production of said play before he was “deposed” (so says the dramatic synopsis) by his assistant and enemy. Exiled from his job, he takes up new employment teaching literature and theatre at a nearby prison where they plan finally to stage his interpretation of The Tempest. The performance places the possibility of revenge on his enemies within reach, all of which sets up a super intriguing retelling of the play which I’m hoping will be meta but derivative enough to keep me hooked.

And there we have it, folks, from Room to Hag-Seed! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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February 2017 | Wrap Up

Well, February has been an interesting month. It’s gone much too quickly, it’s astounding how a month having 2/3 less days than others makes such a huge difference but it really does. As far as life in general, February is a big month of “meh”, I can’t particularly remember any part of it so that doesn’t really bode well, does it? Nothing terrible happened, nothing amazing did either, just a middling month all around. I got to go home for a little trip which was nice and Sarah, a lovely friend from university, made it up to Liverpool for a night so it was lovely to see her face again. Unfortunately, I’m now sick with a really annoying cough that I would like to go away asap so this will be a relatively brief wrap-up post with very little chit chat.

In February, I read a total of 9 books – 9 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 3890 pages in total, and, of these, 6 books were re-reads. 

In terms of format: were e-books, 1 was hardcover, 3 were paperback, and 3 were audiobooks. 

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy and 1 was short-story mythological retellings. Yeah, I’m on something of a fantasy kick right now – sorry/not sorry.

Onto the books themselves…

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Review | Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norseTitle: Norse Mythology (2017)
Author: Neil Gaiman
Read: 12th-13th February 2017
Genre: retellings; short stories
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Norse Mythology is a short-story collection that charts the many weird and wonderful stories that make up Scandinavian folklore and mythology, featuring well-know deities such as Odin, Thor, and Loki. The influence of Norse mythology on Gaiman’s work is apparent to his readers, and it therefore seems like a logical step for Gaiman to retell some of the well-know myths for himself. For fans of mythology or, indeed, the contemporary portrayals of said deities on-screen, this book provides an insight into a rich mythological background which is often contradictory or confusing, but a great ride, if you’re willing to go along with it for the duration.

“Do you wonder where poetry comes from? Where we get the songs we sing and the tales we tell? Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not?”

I adored Norse Mythology, I knew I would, because I enjoy mythology (though I’m more familiar with Greek myths and legends) and I’ve briefly dipped my toes into various Norse mythological tales – but who hasn’t heard of Mjollnir, for example, in this day and age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Admittedly, I do enjoy learning about the intriguing character of Loki, so it’s not a leap that I would adore hearing more of his antics via one of my favourite authors’ retelling of the wily trickster’s shenanigans. Familiar tales of the creation of Thor’s hammer, the various lands branching off Yggdrasil, the tree that connects the nine worlds, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle at which several major deities will fall.

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Anticipated 2017 Releases (January/February/March)

After being suitably retrospective with my ‘Best Of’ and ‘Year in Review’ posts, I’m now looking forwards towards the releases which I personally am anticipating in the first three months of 2017. There are a few sequels being released next year that I’m itching to get my hands on (I need them like yesterday) as well as a few books by debut authors, or new-to-me authors, that I’m intrigued to try out for myself. Although I’m going to make a concerted effort in 2017 to read my own damn books, that doesn’t mean there isn’t also room for some shiny book acquisitions of brand spankin’ new releases, like these…

Look at the shiny shiny. Now, let’s see how the year looks in a little more detail…
(and I don’t think I need to warn you that if you’re not caught up on a series mentioned, then please don’t read the synopses below, there be spoilers!)

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Six Degrees of Separation | Revolutionary Road

I’m a little late to the party this month but I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I haven’t read (quelle surprise): Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. The book, which tells the story of the seemingly model marriage of Frank and April Wheeler, was published in 1961, the same year as…

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, a book which was adapted into a film in 1966 which was made up of a combination of live-action and stop-motion effects. It was directed by Henry Selick who also directed a film adaptation of…

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, a dark children’s fantasy about a young girl who goes exploring in her new home to find a door leading to an Other world, complete with an Other Mother and an Other Father. Oh and they all have shiny black buttons for eyes. Creepy, or what? Gaiman is the master of unsettling fantasy, but he also wrote a slightly more traditional Tolkien-esque fantasy tale which was called…

Stardust which tells the story of young shop boy Tristran Thorne who lives in a rural town called Wall and has never ventured outside his own little comforting bubble until he vows to bring back a fallen star as a prize for his beloved Victoria. The film adaptation (which I adore, by the way) starred Mark Strong as “bad guy” Prince Septimus. Strong has previously appeared as Mr Knightley in a 1996 film adaptation of…

Emma by Jane Austen, a book which famously features an unlikable heroine, of which even Austen herself said  “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Another novel which features an unlikable protagonist is…

William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, a hella long novel (which I will probably never get around to reading despite the fact I own it) which is set during the Napoleonic Wars, as is…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, an alternative history set in the nineteenth-century and, surprise surprise, it’s yet another hella long novel. However it’s one which I actually will read in the new year not only because I need to, but also because I actually really want to read it finally. I mean, come on, this is it’s opening line: “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.” Just yes, this is what I want. I rest my case and, indeed, my Six Degrees of Separation.


So that was my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, from Revolutionary Road to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This is a fun meme to add to my regular posts and I hope you enjoyed seeing the connections you can make between seemingly disparate books. I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself and share in the comments below!


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Top Ten Tuesday | Books Added To My TBR Recently

toptentuesdayIt’s yet another Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to.

This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately. I’m a fiend for shoving books merrily onto my TBR shelf on Goodreads with little to no regard of just how ridiculous and overwhelming that list has become. I’ve looked through that list and picked out a few (well, ten) that I actually consciously remember adding to my TBR list and I’m definitely excited to acquire these in the (hopefully near) future.

    1. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor (x)
      I adored Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though I’ve yet to read the other books in that trilogy, but this one sounds amazing. I mean, come on, the synopsis includes the following phrases: ‘the aftermath of a war between gods and men’, ‘a young librarian with a singular dream’, and ‘friendship and treachery, love and carnage’.
    2. His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet (x)
      This one came onto my radar as it was Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year. I hear it’s about a brutal triple murder and a probably/definitely guilty man. Somehow that seems enough information to decide I should read this book.
    3. Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1) – Shanna Swendson (x)
      I found this one whilst searching for steampunk novels on Goodreads lists; I wanted to see what was already out there because my NaNoWriMo novel this year probably falls into that genre. This one is set in the US though, so it’s entirely different, but has some concepts which similarly feature in mine. The synopsis has completely sold me on this novel: ‘A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing […] Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule.’
    4. The Forgetting – Sharon Cameron (x)
      I have no idea where or when I found this novel, but I do know that when I was browsing my TBR shelf again, I definitely wanted to read this thanks to the synopsis. ‘What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes. […] every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written’.
    5. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) – V.E. Schwab (x)
      I love VE Schwab’s books and This Savage Song was no exception so obviously I’m highly anticipating the next book in the duology – Our Dark Duet. I kind of love that people are writing duologies to be honest, because I’m getting more than a little sick of people writing fantasy trilogies, and I think this one actually sounds worthwhile.
    6. A Million Worlds with You (Firebird #3) – Claudia Gray (x)
      I really adored the first book in this trilogy, A Thousand Pieces of You, because I loved the concept of a person being able to inhabit alternative-universe versions of themselves and have to learn about this new identity whilst not giving the game away to those around them. I find that a really interesting idea so, even though I haven’t got to the second book yet, I’m definitely wanting to read this book.
    7. The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) – Rick Riordan (x)
      I love renditions of Norse mythology (I think everyone knows I’m a huge MCU Loki fan, no surprises here) and Magnus Chase is no exception to this. I wasn’t much a fan of Rick Riordan’s books relating to Greek mythology when I tried the Percy Jackson series before, but I really liked the first book in this Gods of Asgard series. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so so dumb but it’s pure entertainment, and I love it for that. I mean just look at this synopsis: ‘Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds.’
    8. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman (x)
      It’s Neil Gaiman’s take on Norse mythology… do I need to say any more? Didn’t think so.
    9. The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) – Alison Goodman (x)
      The first book in this series introduced Lady Helen, a young lady who primarily worries about being presented to society and the appropriate etiquette at balls but then realises there’s a seedy demonic underbelly to the London society she inhabits. Basically, think Jane Austen plus Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As you can see from my review, I loved the idea – it was like Alison Goodman had tapped into my brain and provided it with just what it needed.
    10. A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) – V.E. Schwab (x)
      I adore VE Schwab’s books, as previously mentioned, but my true obsession in her works is the Shades of London series. Parallel Londons, dimension hopping magicians, a flirty Prince, a pirate captain, a kickass heroine, what more could you want? I am both eagerly anticipating and am terrified of what this third and final book will bring – I know Schwab can and will kill her darlings.

That was my Top Ten Tuesday featuring some of recent additions to my TBR list.
Do any of these books feature on your Top Ten TBR list? What books have you added to your TBR list lately?

Comment below/link your own post below if you have one – I’d love to read it!


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T5W | Favourite First Sentences

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!

Enough explanation, let’s go…

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