V.E. Schwab’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have friends who would indulge my blatant fangirling over one of my favourite authors enough to plan an entire trip to Oxford to indulge this whim. What am I talking about, you ask? Why, V.E. Schwab’s Tolkien Lecture given at Pembroke College, Oxford. Of course. An annual lecture, Pembroke College’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture series is organised by students of the college and based on the topic of speculative fiction (often, fantasy and sci-fi), it invites an influential person within the field to speak on the topic. Previous speakers have included Lev Grossman and Susan Cooper and, this year, it added V.E. Schwab to its growing ranks.

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Feature | The Bookish Savings Jar

Whilst taking part in my very first #SundayYA Twitter chat, I stumbled across a brilliant idea via Charlie (@charlieinabook), originally courtesy of Aoife (@prettyPPD) and Steph (@eenalol) , whereby you put £1 in a jar for every book read. ‘My oh my,’ I thought, ‘even if I only just about reached my Goodreads goal, that would be fifty-two whole English pounds extra to spend!’ You can imagine my delight; I love saving money and forgetting about it so you end up with a nice little pot of surprise at the end of the year.

Of course, this being me, I’m never be satisfied with not being a little bit of a masochist too so I decided to make it harder for myself. Thus the Bookish Savings Jar was born. Capitalised letters mean business. Do you see the jar? Does it look scary? Maybe I should decorate it accordingly…

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This seemingly innocuous little jar is going to be my windfall come the end of the year (/when I go to Disney World because, let’s be real, I’ll probably use this money anyway to pay off the bills I will rack up when I’m there). The reason for this? Observe the 3 simple rules of the Bookish Savings Jar:

  • For every book read, £1 must be surrendered to the jar.
  • For every book that is reread, an additional £1 supplement must be surrendered to the jar.
  • For every book purchased, £1 must be surrendered to the jar.*

* Exceptions: eARCs and audiobooks do not incur charge, since they’re not adding to my physical TBR. (May revise this ruling if my audiobook buying goes off the charts!)

Reading these rules, you may well think I was trying to read less this year, since it seems as though I’m basically punishing/fining myself for reading. I did worry if that would be the case, whether I’d purposely not read as many books or else not read shorter books or graphic novels and instead opt for long tomes like War and Peace and A Dance with Dragons because then I could put off the inevitable £1 surrendering until a much later date. However, based on January’s progress thus far, I can safely say I needn’t have worried about that being the case at all. As of 19th January, this is how the humble jar looks:

Purchased: Artemis Fowl series (8 books)  = £8
Purchased: Down and Out in Paris and London = £1
Purchased: Fragile Things = £1
Purchased: Saga, Volume 8 = £1
Read: The Wicked Cometh = £1
Re-read: Princess Diaries, Take Two = £2
Read: The Winner’s Crime = £1
Read: The Fandom = £1
Read: Sourdough = £1

Already, I stand at a healthy £17 for and we’re only 19 days into the year. Imagine if I kept up this pace and averaged £20 a month – that would be £240 for the year which is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. I already save a portion of my monthly paycheck (I set it up so that it leaves my current account and pings into my savings account on pay day, before I’ve even had a chance to check my balance) but this will make a nice little bonus pot of money that I fully intend to spend on fun treats. A little reward at the end of the year. A fund with which to ‘treat ma self’, you might say… Let’s see how it fares over the coming months, shall we?

Do you have any savings tactics related to reading? Or maybe you have a plan to help you limit your book buying this year? Let me know in a comment, I’m curious!

Also, would you guys be interested in hearing how the savings jar is going periodically, each month maybe, in my wrap up posts? Let me know!


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End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hi everyone! It’s my favourite time of year in the book blogging community- when everyone is reviewing their year, settling on their top books and celebrating how well they did with their reading year. I love doing my two-part wrap up of the year in reading but I can’t finish my posts until I return to Liverpool in the New Year and am reunited with my laptop and it’s image-editing capabilities. So, in the meantime, I’ve decided to participate in the very exciting End of the Year Book Survey! This is organised every year by the lovely Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner so be sure to check out her original post with the survey and join in yourself if you fancy it!

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 35
Genre You Read The Most From: fantasy, young-adult

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

I have an entire top books of 2017 post pending any day now (once I stop being indecisive and settle on them already)… is that the way of getting out of answering this question? Maaaaaybe… but watch this space.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Probably Milk and Honey by rupi kaur. It’s not to say that I didn’t like this poetry collection, I did in fact, but I expected to LOVE it and I didn’t quite do that which is a shame.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

In a bad way, The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. So many reviews said this was beautifully written and I was optimistic that the contents would match the absolutely stunning cover but, alas, I just did not get it, I still don’t, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m still surprised it has such rave reviews to be honest and I surprised myself somewhat too since with this book I’m unable to understand that whilst it might not be to my taste it might be to others. I just don’t get how it could be?? Clearly I’m the one who’s wrong here though, and that’s fine by me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve pushed my housemate and friend Liz to read quite a few books this year but I think my biggest success has definitely been getting her to read Wishing for Birds, a poetry collection by Elisabeth Hewer, because she’s really not one for poetry, especially not free verse poetry, and she enjoyed it and then also gifted it to her TBTB Santa!

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Discussion | Marking Up Your Books

Today’s discussion post was brought to you by this tweet which I saw whilst scrolling aimlessly through Twitter. Yes, this is a discussion all about marking your books, specifically by dog-earring the pages. Please do not shrink away in fear or brandish the sign of the cross at me, I assure you I am not evil. The vehemence with which some people on Twitter were categorising readers who does this as HEATHENS really got my back up… until I remembered, I used to be one of those people. However, nowadays, oh boy… *deep breath* my name is Emma and I dog ear the pages of my books. No, please don’t back away, please I’m not a terrible person, I swear!

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be just like those people on that tweet who are jokingly (or not so jokingly) calling people who mark their books as EVIL. I used to think that anyone who would dare to despoil a book in such a cruel and callous way deserved the fieriest of deaths. Alongside those who purposely crack the spine of paperbacks and take some joy in the sound of the binding crying out in pain. And those people at the back? Those readers who not only annotate in the margins in pencil but in pen too – evuuuuul!

Yes, I am being dramatic. And I am being dramatic in order to present my change in thinking.

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July 2017 | Wrap Up

Where has July gone, am I right? (I seem to be saying that for every single month of this year but seriously, I mean it this time.) How is it August? Where did the first half of the year go?! Enough incredulous questions, let’s just get onto what we’re all here to do, and that is to take a peek at what I read in this past month, ignoring the fact that we’re almost a week into August… cough… let’s just move on…

In July, I read a total of 6 books – 5 fiction and 1 non-fiction, amounting to 2009 pages in total, and, of these, 4 books were re-reads.

In terms of format: 1 was paperback, 2 were hardback, 1 was an e-book, and 2 were audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy, 1 was non-fiction/memoir, 1 was comic-book/superheroes.

Onto the books themselves…

july2017

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Tome Topple | Updates Post

Hi folks, this is my Updates Post for round 3 of Tome Topple. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please do refer to my TBR post which has all the information. Basically, there’s a readathon happening for the next fortnight where you have to read tomes (i.e. books over 500 pages), and I’m going to try to not suck at it. This post will be updated at a regular intervals and is mainly my way of keeping myself accountable and hopefully reading more than I ordinarily would. Let’s see how that goes, shall we?

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Feature | Books That Made Me

As people we are all inevitably shaped by the media and culture we consume. This is especially true of our formative years, especially childhood. I think that’s why any books, films or TV shows that we enjoyed as children hold a strange and special place in our hearts, even as we get older and even if we might notice ‘problematic’ things about them.

This post is inspired by the wonderful Cinzia whose videos I adore and who does a sort of annual favourites video which she titles, for example, Books That Made Me 2015. These aren’t just books that are her favourites of the year; they are the books that contributed a more lasting impact on her life in that given year and whose effect will last many years into the future. This got me thinking about my own favourites, the books that “made me”, and I felt like a wander down nostalgia lane in the form of revisiting some of the books I read as a child that I think contributed into making me the reader, and the person, I am today. I thought it might be an interesting feature post to share with you lovely folks, and perhaps we could start a little discussion about what childhood favourite books made you into the reader you are today?

Even more timely, earlier today I came across Comma Press’ blog from their staff talking about their favourite childhood books in honour of World Book Day today. Today seems like the perfect day to publish my own blog post dedicated to the books that came to me as a child reader and still influence the reader I am to this very day. This is going to be a long one, kids, so buckle up…

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24in48 Readathon Wrap-Up

As you might have seen from my previous post, this past weekend I participated in the 24 in 48 Readathon. For those unaware of the premise, a quick summary is that you try to read for 24 hours out of a possible 48 hours i.e. Saturday and Sunday.

Now, I knew going into this that I would never in a million years make it to 24 hours of reading, no way, I’m not that disciplined, frankly, and I also didn’t want to burn myself out on reading. However, I did want to make the effort to make reading a priority this past weekend and, on that front, I’d consider it a rousing success. Whilst I did watch some TV – Taboo could not be missed on Saturday night, and we needed to finish the final episode of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – I mostly just read. When I got up and had breakfast, rather than putting on an old episode of Thick of It for the billionth time, I read instead, and I felt so much better and productive for it. Don’t get me wrong, I also spent the entire weekend inside, in the same chair, which made me a little cabin fever-y but nothing a week at work can’t cure, I’m sure.

But, for now, I wanted to wrap-up the readathon by briefly mentioning what I read, since I read some really great things that re-invigorated my love of reading, and I would like to share them. (Also, not gonna lie, this might be the most productive weekend I’ve ever had, reading-wise, so I need to document this moment for posterity’s sake!)

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These are the stack of books I hoped to choose from over the course of the 24in48 readathon. (Not pictured: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audiobook, as read by Stephen Fry)

I purposely picked books that were different genres, different lengths, different formats, in order to keep me interested and keep me productively reading – if I started to get bored of A Series of Unfortunate Events, for example, I could switch over to a memoir or to poetry. As far as TBR stacks go, I feel like this was one of my most considerate and successful, as you can see below…

Read for 14.5 hours in total | 1182 pages | 7 books

Completed 7 books – 3 graphic novels, 1 poetry collection, 2 novels, 1 memoir:
Saga, Volume One – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume Two – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume Three – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Wishing For Birds – Elisabeth Hewer
The Wide Window (ASOUE #3) – Lemony Snicket
The Miserable Mill (ASOUE #4) – Lemony Snicket
Talking As Fast As I Can – Lauren Graham

& made 24% progress with 1 audiobook:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling (read by Stephen Fry)

Considering all I wanted to do was prioritise reading, I’d say I’ve definitely met that goal for this past weekend and I’m very proud of the progress I made. Whilst I would have liked to have a little more War and Peace under my belt, I’m not in the least surprised that I favoured shorter reads for quicker gratification. However, participating in this readathon has allowed me to think carefully about what I was reading and it has taken a bit of pressure off me in terms of the yearly challenges I’m doing though, so that will definitely help when War and Peace takes longer to read than other novels. (See Around the Year in 52 Books, Book Riot Read Harder, and my 2017 Read for any progress updates on my yearly challenges! And I will be trying to periodically upload reviews for all the things I’ve read so far in 2017, I swear.)

All in all – a very good weekend of reading and I’m very glad I participated in the readathon; I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself if you haven’t before!


Did you participate in the 24 in 48 Readathon? How did you do?
Comment below or link progress posts if you have them – I would love to hear about your weekend’s reading.


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24 in 48 Readathon

When is it probably the wrong time to participate in a readathon? When you’re reading a long af book like Tolstoy’s War and Peace. However, I’m still going to do it, because I’m curious as to whether I can actually get close to reading for 24 hours in 2 days – which is what this readathon is all about!

For those who aren’t aware the 24 in 48 Readathon is just what it says on the tin – participants try to read for 24 out of 48 hours, over the course of a weekend.

weekend
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist the gif.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can either start at 12:01am ET and use a time zone converter to find out what time to crack those books open where you are in the world or you can simply start reading at 12:01am in whatever time zone you’re in. Personally,I’m going to do the latter because I don’t fancy waking up at 5:00am on a Saturday. No, no way.

I like the concept of this because there aren’t any goals besides trying to reach 24 hours of reading. I can never commit myself fully to the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon on account of the fact that I enjoy sleep too much but, the goal of reading for 24 hours of the course of a weekend, well… that I can try to do. I am under no illusions – I will probably fail spectacularly and only read for a few hours, but I’d still like to try, and I’d still like to track it because, if nothing else, it would be useful to know where my hours do actually go on a weekend!

Bujo tracker and TBR stack for 24in48

I’ve put together a stack of books to choose from, and I hope mixing up genre, format, and topic of book will help to keep my attention. I’ve also split my potential reads into short, medium, and long length reads, so I can mix it up when I need some instant gratification of being able to read a book in an hour.

And, of course, this provides me with the perfect opportunity to put my bullet journal trackers to good use, I even created this one specially for the readathon thanks to the inspiration of Susie’s readathon tracker.

So, I have books, I have time, I have snacks, I think I have everything I will need for the weekend and 24 in 48 Readathon. I’ll probably be updating via Twitter and Instagram so stay tuned there if you’re curious about how my reading is going. If you’re participating, let me know below! Otherwise, I’ll see you on the other side.


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May TBR

Wait ‘TBR’ you say? Emma plans yet another TBR which she promptly forgets about in the rest of the month? Yes, dear blog readers, you’ve read that right; I am yet again entertaining the notion that setting a TBR will mean I actually feel accountable for my reading and so finish all of the books on the list. Mainly because I have quite a few books checked out from the library – and by ‘quite a few’ I mean that the stack has officially reached the heights of being level with the height of my bed. I should also point out at this stage that my bed has quite a high divan base so when I say that’s quite a stack, that’s really quite a stack.

I have a few books on reserve at the library too so I want to try to clear the stack (or at least make it shorter) before those come in for me. I suppose I should also maybe, just maybe, read some of my own damn books – especially since I’ve bought quite a few in the past couple of months. Maybe May will be a phenomenal reading month? I certainly hope so, goodness knows I could do with getting through the entirety of this TBR even if I am all too aware that that probably won’t happen because I’ll be distracted by something shiny. Still, dream big etc. 

maytbr1

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson | The Gap of Time – Jeanette Winterson
Glamour in Glass – Mary Robinette Kowal | Without a Summer – Mary Robinette Kowal

maytbr2

The Dream Thieves  – Maggie Stiefvater | Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater [rereads]
The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

maytbr3

Moranifesto – Caitlin Moran | The Establishment – Owen Jones

I don’t think 9 books is that big of an ask but we’ll see how it goes this month. I’m actually feeling quite happy with my reading pace lately, it’s just nice and level, and if that could continue through Spring and into this Summer then I would be very, very happy with that. We shall see.

What books are you planning to read this month? Have you read any of the above books or have plans to in the future? Let me know in the comments below!


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