Tag Archives: reading

The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman


Synopsis (from amazon)
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Review

Neil Gaiman started off writing ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ as a short story for his wife when they were apart, but it just kept growing. You can sort of tell that he was thinking about her at the time. The narrator keeps speaking about stories or books as a comfort and an escapism, I can see that as being what Gaiman intended this story to be for his wife. I put a few of the most interesting quotes on my tumblr, but I think this one sums it up the best:

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible “

In a way it is more ‘adult’ than the other books I’ve read by Gaiman. I think it’s because it’s narrated by the main character as he looks back. It’s more introspective and that gives us the sort of insight that a present narrator wouldn’t give. Looking bak he could see things which he might not see at the time.

It still had the normal Gaiman fantasy and action-y bits which stopped it being too thoughtful, but actually I preferred the times when the narrator was just thinking. The thoughtful times I suppose.

There’s some interesting messages in it too about an adult’s relationship with his own childhood. About how looking back can be a comfort, and about how we never really loose that childhood part of ourselves, it’s just often hidden by life.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.99)

Paperback (£3.85)

Other reviews:

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Under a Gray Sky

Alison Mccarthy

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

An Armchair by the Sea

Words for Worms

Chrisbookarama

Did I miss your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review

Reading Habits


I was tagged by Lectito to write about my reading habits. I don’t usually bother with these things but as I have a bit of spare time I thought I would do this one. I’m not going to tag anyone but if you want to do it too you can.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not really. I have a favourite chair, and I like to read in bed, but I can read pretty much anywhere. I’m in the middle of buying my first house though, and I already have my book nook picked out!

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I sometimes use bookmarks, when I can find one, but generally I just remember where I was from what happened last.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

I’m used to reading on the bus so I can stop at the end on a sentence but I don’t like doing it, I prefer to wait until the end of a paragraph.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes I always read over breakfast and lunch, and often will have a cup of tea and a snack when reading at other times. Plus I like to pop into coffee shops for a coffee and a read of my book when I’m in town.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I don’t generally like complete silence, my mind tends to drift, I prefer to have some music or background noise so I don’t get distracted.


One book at a time or several at once?

Almost always two. One paperbook, and one on kindle. Mainly because I do a lot of reading on my commute so the kindle is more convenient then, but I prefer reading a ‘real’ book. Sometimes one will overtake another though. At the moment I’m reading Tigers in Red Weather on kindle and Hallucinations in hardback. The hardback is in the lead, but mainly because I’ve been stuck at home ill.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I prefer reading at home, more comfortable, less interruptions. But I probably do most of my reading elsewhere. I have an hour commute to work, an hour lunchbreak, and an hour commute back so I spend most of that time reading. Reading on my lunchbreak is the worst for interruptions though, the number of times I’ve been interrupted whilst reading in the staff room just to be told that “you like reading, don’t you?”. Well obviously, so let me get back to it!

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

In my head.Does anyone read out loud once they can read in their head? Unless they’re reading to someone else? I read out loud to the kids at work, that’s it.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Oh no, that would spoil it. The only time I skip pages is if I’m re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, then I skip to Hagrid’s entrance, I find the bits before a bit slow.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t mind the spine breaking. I get sad if pages rip or get damaged, or if pages start falling out, but I don’t mind if a book is just showing signs of being read.

Do you write in your books?

Nope. No since I was at school and had to make notes. I don’t even make notes on my kindle. I just never felt the need.

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Review of the Year 2014- Overview


tagblogThis year I’m doing five posts for the first time. This one, a look at my challenges, a fiction post, a non-fiction post, and a (new!) Children’s Hour Post.

This year I have read 61 books, that’s 2 less than last year, I think I’ll stick with the same goal for 2015, which was to read 65 books.

  • 7 have been non-fiction, 54 have been fiction
  • 7 re-reads this year (all the Harry Potter Books)
  • 11  have been read as part of reading challenges.
  • I didn’t finish 2
  • I started 1 which I intend to return to

My wishlist currently contains 122 books, which is just 1 less than last year.

My To be Read Pile totals up to 60 books that’s gone up again, despite the TBR Pile Challenge.

Not counting re-reads…

5 books have scored 5/5

33 books have scored 4/5

15 books have scored 3/5

1 books have scored 2/5

0 books have scored 1/5

The numbers are more or less the same as last year, less in the 2/2 category, which is nice, and more in the 5/5 which is also nice.

The Challenges post will hopefully be up this weekend

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How to be a Heroine (Or What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much)- Samantha Ellis


Synopsis (by me)

In ‘How To Be a Heroine’ Ellis revisits her bookish heroines from the past and evaluates whether they really deserved to be heroines, and why they were her heroines to begin with.

Review

I mentioned in my review of Texts From Jane Eyre that this book has probably overtaken it in terms of book I am most likely to recommend. That’s probably true, although Texts from Jane Eyre may hold a wider appeal.

How to Be a Heroine is part memoir, part literary analysis, part feminist, part religious discussion. I didn’t expect all that. I expected a book simply about books.

It was interesting to see what Ellis got from her re-reads, and what her younger self had got from her initial reads. Sometimes she couldn’t see any heroism in the characters she had once wanted to emulate, sometimes she saw that the real heroines in the books were not the ones you would expect. Of course it all came together. Even if she couldn’t see someone as a heroine now they had helped shape her.

Ellis’ storytelling was what really drew me in. I really got a sense of what life was like for her, maybe because I saw some similarities with myself (whilst also having tons of differences).  I often wanted to read the books she had described when she wrote about reading them for the first time. Sometimes her more recent images made me change my mind, which was a shame in a way, but then maybe that means I’m not in the right stage of life or frame of mind to appreciate the books as she did first time. At other times her changes of mind made me want to read things more, or just the same, but maybe for different reasons.

I thoroughly recommend it, especially for female book readers (although there is no reason a man couldn’t enjoy it).

5/5

Buy it from amazon:

Hardback (£13.59)

Paperback (£9.99)

Kindle (£6.99)

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

e-book (£7.99)

Other Reviews:

Lit Nerd

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

 

 

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Filed under Biography, Feminism, Memoir, non-fiction review, Politics, Reading/reviews

It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 17/3/14


It’s Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Bookjourney Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Click images for amazon page.

I’ve not taken part in this for a while, but I have time to create a post this week so thought I would join in.

Currently Reading


A Game of Thrones– I have finally gotten around to starting this series, A Game of Thrones has been on my shelf for ages. It’s long, but I’m enjoying in more and more the further I get into it. Shall probably finish this today. I’m reading it as part of the TBR Pile Challenge


Benediction– This one was a freebie from netgalley. I’ve heard good things about it so am looking forward to really reading it (have barely started). It’s an uncorrected proof though and doesn’t seem to have any quotation marks, which is a little annoying!

Finished Last Week.

House of Glass– another netgalley read, from an author I’ve read before. I think by the end I actually preferred this to the previous book I read by Sophie Littleford, but I had a few little annoyances too. I’ll probably review it next week.

Reviews


Attachments a pleasant romance, and good for this type of book. Nice for a relaxing read


The Train Ride was my Children’s Hour pick last week. Very simple story chronicling a train journey.

Added to the TBR


Benediction freebie via netgalley!

Dry bought for my kindle. It’s been on my wishlist since I read Running With Scissors (in my pre-blogging days) but it was on 99p on kindle so I finally bought it.

The Library of Unrequited Love also bought by me. A few people on BCF have been reading this one, and it sounded entertaining.

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 2/9/13


It’s Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Bookjourney Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Click images for amazon page.

*If you are a reader of my blog please take a couple of minutes to fill out my survey*

Currently Reading

1Q84 almost done with book 2 now, the library will open just in time for me to be ready for book 3!

Finished Last Week.

A Cupboard Full of Coats turned out really good, better than I thought at first. Review up some time later in the week.

Boy Meets Boy a story about two boys falling in love. Quite beautiful. Review hopefully also up this week.

Reviews

The Starboard Sea. Coming of age novel about a boy who lost his best friend.

Good Baby, Bad Baby was my Children’s Hour pick last week. Two stories, one about a good baby, one about a bad baby.

Added to the TBR

Boy Meets Boy freebie via netgalley!

The Returned also via netgalley. About dead people returning to life. Not a zombie novel but an emotional one.

Found Objects came as a review request from the publisher. A bit of a strange sounding one. A couple and their lover live together happily- but then the lover’s husband turns up.

Mother Mother a review request from the publishers. When Josephine’s daughter runs away from home Josephine will do anything to keep the rest of her family close.

Suite Française came from bookmooch. It’s a book set during the German occupation of France WW2. It chronicles the lives of ordinary people.

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 19/8/13


It’s Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Bookjourney Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Click images for amazon page.

Currently Reading

1Q84, Haruki Murakami, book, book cover

1Q84 Book 2– I read book 1 over a year ago, and struggled a little with it. Now I think I’m ready to tackle book two, I’m missing Murakami. So far it feels more promising than book one.

A cupboard full of coats, Yvvette Edwards, book, book cover
A Cupboard Full of Coats– is one that’s been on my kindle for quite some time. Is the story of Jinx. Jinx’s mother was murdered and Jinx’s feels responsible. Not sure what to think of it yet, I’m not very far in.


Finished Last Week.

ruth hamilton, that liverpool girl, book, book cover

That Liverpool Girl- a story set during WW2 following a family- some in Liverpool, and some evacuated. As a war story I was rather disappointed, but as a story in general it was ok. My review is written and scheduled for tomorrow.
the starboard sea, Amber Demont, book, book cover

The Starboard Sea– gosh how long have been reading this book? Seems like a long time. It did turn out ok in the end. It’s the story of a boy whose best friend committed suicide, and him getting his life back together. My review of this will hopefully be out sometime during the week too.

Reviews

where's igglepiggle's blanket, book, book cover, picture book, in the night garden

Where’s Igglepiggle’s Blanket was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It’s taken from the children’s television series, In the Night Garden, and is about Igglepiggle losing his blanket (believe it or not!)

Added to the TBR

dexter, dexter in the dark, jeff lindsay, book, book cover

Dexter in the Dark is the third book in the Dexter series (see my reviews of book 1 and book 2). In book three Dexter’s ‘dark passenger’ seems to have gone AWOL. This book came to me via bookmooch.

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 29/7/13


It’s Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Bookjourney Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Click images for amazon page.

Currently Reading

the starboard sea, amber dermot, book, book cover
The Starboard Sea was sent to me for review by the publisher. It’s a coming of age story about a rich boy at a private school for those who need second chances. I’m not very far into it yet, so a bit early for any opinions.

capitol hell, book, book cover

Capitol Hell I was sent this one by the author. I hadn’t intended on reading it, because I’m not a chick-lit reader, but I fancied something light. It’s a sort of political The Devil Wears Prada.

Finished Last Week.

painter of silence, georgina harding, book, book cover

Painter of Silence follows a deaf and dumb man’s life through and after WW2 in Romania. The review will be out later this week.

Reviews

caveman dave, nck sharrett, book, book cover, children's picture book
Caveman Dave was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It’s all about a caveman who is very brave but very smelly!

Added to the TBR

red winter, dan smith, book, book cover

Red Winter is a book I won from Lindsay @ The Little Reader Library. I seem to be having quite a lot of luck with giveaways recently! Red Winter is a sort of historical crime novel. After deserting the Red Army Kolya returns to his village only to find it deserted. What has happened to everyone?

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 1/7/13


It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in It’s Monday! What are you reading?  (which is hosted by Bookjourney) but I have time to write the post this week so I thought, why not? Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Currently Reading

book, book 2 girls, book two girls, dark cover, black cover, book black, book dark, audrey niffenegger, her fearful symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry This book has been on my To Be Read (TBR) pile for so long. I love Niffenegger’s previous novel, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and I’ve heard mixed reviews of this one, so I was a bit anxious about being disappointed by it. It’s the story of two girls who inherit their aunt’s house, except her ghost is still living there. So far I am enjoying it, just not as much as The Time Traveller’s Wife

the end of your life book club, book, Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club is part memoir, part book about books. It mainly concerns Will and his mother. Will’s mother has stage 4 cancer (i.e. incurable). When in various waiting rooms Will and his mother start talking about the various books they are reading, and start reading and discussing the same books. It’s also a lot about how the mother and extended family cope with her illness. So far it’s actually been strangely uplifting, and I’ve added a few books to my wishlist.

Reviews

A beautiful truth, book, chimp, chimp book, Colin McAdam

A Beautiful Truth is a story about chimps. Louee who is adopted by a childless couple forms one part of the series, the other part follows chimps who are part of a language and social interaction study. I found it a little difficult to read but the plot was rather interesting.

Bing, Bing paint day, book, children's book, picture book, Ted Dewan, bunny, bunny book, rabbit, rabbit book, bing bunny

Bing- Paint Day was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It’s basically a book about colours as it talks about what Bing is painting with different colours.

Added to the TBR

The Second Last Woman to Die in England, book, black book, shoes book, Maggie Joel

The Second-Last Woman in England is about the second to last woman to be executed in England. I won this book from An Armchair by the Sea
Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, book, black book, red book, black and red book, Jeff Lindsey

Dearly Devoted Dexter is the second book in the Dexter series. It’s been on my wishlist since I read the first, but I only just got a hold of it via bookmooch.

 

 

If you fancy winning a book too you can enter my giveaway of It Never Was You.

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World Book Night 2013


world book night, world book night logo, wold book night 2013

Happy World Book Night everyone!

This year was my first year taking part in World Book Night as a giver. With a mixture of excitement and nerves!

World Book Night (for those who don’t know) is sort of like World Book Day, but for adults. The idea is to get people who wouldn’t normally read to read. Events take part up and down the country and half a million books are given away, some by givers (like me) and some are given directly to hard to reach areas.

I gave away 20 copies of Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair which is a favourite of mine. I picked it because it is easy to read, it’s engaging, it’s funny nd exciting, and it has a little bit of everything. Plus it’s the first in a series which makes it easy to go on from there, as well as being related to Jane Eyre, which is another way to continue your reading.

I was giving away copies to parent and staff at the nursery where I work, which is in a deprived area of Birmingham. It actually went much better than I expected. Not one parent who I offered a book to refused it, and a couple of staff took books too.

I actually found that quite a few of the parent like reading, I don’t tend to know the parents that well and it was interesting to see something new about them. One parent in particular was really interested to the book. He was asking me what it was about and about the rest of the series, he said he would definitely read it, but that it was his wife who should read more. Another told me she was reading The Help at the moment but would read The Eyre Affair next, then pass it on to her Mum who she said was also a reader. One of the grandparents seemed unsure at first but once she found lut there was a crime element, and it was also connected to Jane Eyre she changed her mine- and said she would pass it on to Mum. Quite a few seemed to think they needed to pay for them, or make a donation, maybe adults are just not used to getting free stuff, these seemed to be particularly gracious when they found out it was theirs to keep for free.

Some of the kids actually seemed interested too, which is good in a role model sense. The granddaughter of the grandparent I mentioned before asked why she got a book, and got the reply “because I was a good girl”. Another kid insisted on ‘reading’ the book himself. And another actually picked up a book for his parents, claiming it was about “George’s Day”, probably because it is St. George’s Day today.

 

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 4/3/13


It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in It’s Monday! What are you reading?  (which is hosted by Bookjourney) but I have time to write the post this week so I thought, why not? Visit Book Journey for links to other blogs and to add your own.

Currently Reading

Peaches for Monsieur le Curé- Joanne Harris This book is third in the Chocolat series. Having loved Chocolat and enjoyed Lollipop Shoes I was looking forward to this one, although I haven’t got far enough into it yet to judge. In this one Vivianne is called back to the village where she first opened her chocolate shop to find much has changed.

The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey I got this book as a kindle deal after Christmas. The story followers an older couple who moved to Alaska to escape the sadness of their childless life. A fresh start. One day a child appears in the snow. Could this be the child the couple have longed for? Does she even exist at all? Despite a slow start I’m enjoying this book so far.

Finished Last Week.

1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off this book was so cheap on kindle it was ridiculous! And it still is only 20p (click the image for amazon). I love the QI show, and I’ve read most of the books. They are always full of interesting things you never knew, and this was no exception. I just wish there was a bit less repetition from the show.

The Specimen- Martha Lea I was sent this book by Canongate and I’ve been reading it since December, that’s a hell of a long time for me! It really was not holding my attention. It is the story of a Victorian woman who goes to Brazil with her lover to study the insects there. Decades later her lover is murdered, and she is the suspect, but what went wrong and why would she kill the man who allowed her to live her dreams?

A Long Way Down- Nick Hornby is the story of 4 people who interrupt each others suicide attempts and decide together to wait and see if they still want to commit suicide in 6 weeks time.

Reviews

A Long Way Down- Nick Hornby (see description above) wasn’t as good as the other Hornby novels I have read, but was better than other funny suicide novels.

Irv’s Odyssey: Seeking the Way Home- Irving H. Podolsky is the third in series where Irv searches for meaning in his life

I am the Music Man- Debra Potter was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It’s a version of the well known song from school discos with bright pictures and a variation in instruments.

Added to the TBR

Life After Life- Kate Atkinson despite being closed for review requests at the moment I just cannot resist the occasional peak at netgalley, which is where Life After Life is from. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Kate Atkinson but despite my sister and my mum both enjoying her books I’ve somehow never got around to reading anything by her. This is a sort of Groundhog Day novel. If you could live your life again what would you change? And what impact would it have? This one is going straight to the top of my TBR pile.

The Show- John A. Heldt is a sequel to The Mine which I have previously reviewed on this blog. It follows on from The Mine where a woman from the 1940s discovered that the man she loved is a time traveller from 2000. Grace manages to follow her man, only to stumble back in time to 1918! It was given to me by the author.

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Out Your Comfort Zone Challenge


Hi everyone.

After debating it last year (but never actually doing anything about it) I have decided to set up the Out Your Comfort Zone Reading Challenge for 2013. I would love it if you would like to join in.

The idea is that you read genres that you wouldn’t normally read, and hopefully find something new which you love.

I’ve set up a new blog especially for the challenge and you can sign-up there.

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 26/11/12


It’s Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Bookjourneygo there to add your link 🙂

Currently Reading

All About Love: The Anatomy of An Unruly Emotion- Lisa Appignanesi. This is a book about the mind, psychology and love. So far she seems to be drawing a lot on personal experience, and there is only a very personal psychology element, but I am only about 18 pages in! I picked it up in a bookshop all the way back in January and started reading it right there but somehow never went back to it until now. It’s been a long time since I read a psychology book so I’m looking forward to this one.

Garden of Stones- Sophie Littleford I go an advance copy of this via netgalley. I have pretty much finished it already even though I only started it late on Saturday, but probably won’t post the review until February (when t is out in the UK). It’s the story of Lucy a Japanese-American living in America during the second world war. After Pearl Harbour Japanese-Americans as suspected of being spies and sent to detainment camps. Lucy and her mother are amongst these people. Garden of Stones follows Lucy through the camp and how she tries to reconstruct her life afterwards. So far it hasn’t been exactly as I had expected, but it is very moving and I am really enjoying it.

Finished Last Week.

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde most people know the basics of this story. Dorian Gray has a portait of himself which ages whilst he stays young. I enjoyed this a fair bit despite expecting it to be a bit more sci-f based. It was scay in it’s own way, and some points were frankly disturbing. Indeed a death in The Picture of Dorian Gray was featured in Shortlist’s 40 Most Gruesome Deaths recently (beware spoilers!) and although I don’t agree with all of them, this one I do.

Reviews

The Thief- Fuminori Nakamura was a book I enjoyed but didn’t quite meet up to my expectations. It is the story of a Japanese pickpocket who manages to get himself involved in a political scandal.

Hurry Home Spider- David Crossley was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It follows a spider on his journey home, and all the dangers he encounters.

Added to the TBR

The Horologicon- Mark Forsyth I loved The Etymologicon when I read it a few weeks ago, and was super excited when my request to The Horologicon from netgalley was accepted. I can’t wait to get started on this one. As with The Etymologicon this book is all about words. This time about forgotten words.

The Complication of Sisters- Katherine Mariaca-Sullivan Was given to me by the author for review. It contains a number of short stories all about sisters.

 

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading? 19/11/12


I’ve decided to participate in Bookjourney’s It’s Monday! What are you reading? again this week. Hopefully writing this post in advance (rather than at 11pm on the Monday night!) will mean I get to visit a few more different blogs this week.

Currently Reading

No changes from last week. I would say they are both heavy going books, but actually now I’ve started getting into The Picture of Dorian Gray it’s going pretty quickly.

All About Love: The Anatomy of An Unruly Emotion- Lisa Appignanesi. This is a book about the mind, psychology and love. So far she seems to be drawing a lot on personal experience, and there is only a very personal psychology element, but I am only about 18 pages in! I picked it up in a bookshop all the way back in January and started reading it right there but somehow never went back to it until now. It’s been a long time since I read a psychology book so I’m looking forward to this one.

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde is another one which has been on the TBR pile for almost a year. I downloaded it free to my kindle when I got it (the kindle) in December, but it has been on my wishlist since I started The Rory List. In fact it was someone on BCF who started me wanting to read The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Finished Last Week.

None 😦

Reviews

Irv’s Odyssey: Lost in a Looking Glass- Irving H. Podolsky was a book I read as a review request from the author. I enjoyed it more than I had expected to and am looking forward to finding out what happens to Irv next. In this book he manages to fall into a job directing porn, before switching to work in a mental hospital.

Cockatoos- Quentin Blake was my Children’s Hour pick last week. Professor Dupont’s Cockatoos are so sick of him doing and saing the same thing every single day that they decide to play a trick on him and hide. We follow Professor Dupont as he searches for them

Added to the TBR

All She Ever Wanted- Roseline Noonan was given to me by Kensington via netgalley. For as long as she could remember Chelsea wanted a child. But when her child came along she struggled, her baby constantly cried, she felt nmb, and depressed. Then one day her baby disappears, and Chelsea can’t remember what happened.

Ignorance-Michele Roberts was given to me by Bloomsbury USA via netgalley. It’s another World War Two Novel. This one follows two friends, and the secrets they kept.

Irv’s Odyssey: To the Light and Beyond, and Seeking the Way Home- Irving H. Podolsky were both sent to me by the author. They continue the story started in Irv’s Odyssey: Lost in a Looking Glass.

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It’s Monday. What are You Reading?


I’ve been thinking about joining in with one of these memes for a while seeing as I quite often seem to comment on them. A lot of people seem to participate in Bookjourney’s It’s Monday! What are you reading? so I thought I would try that one out. I don’t think I’ll participate every week, but we will see how it goes. Today seems like a good day to start seeing as I have the day off (yet I still didn’t decde to take part until almost 11 pm…barely any Monday left!)

Currently Reading

All About Love: The Anatomy of An Unruly Emotion- Lisa Appignanesi. This is a book about the mind, psychology and love. So far she seems to be drawing a lot on personal experience, and there is only a very personal psychology element, but I am only about 18 pages in! I picked it up in a bookshop all the way back in January and started reading it right there but somehow never went back to it until now. It’s been a long time since I read a psychology book so I’m looking forward to this one.

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde is another one which has been on the TBR pile for almost a year. I downloaded it free to my kindle when I got it (the kindle) in December, but it has been on my wishlist since I started The Rory List. In fact it was someone on BCF who started me wanting to read The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Finished Last Week.

Irv’s Odyssey: Lost In a Looking Glass- Irv H. Polodsky is the story of a film graduate who wants nothing more than to make meaningful films but cannot get a break. Desperate for money he agrees to start directing porography, and when that becomes to much he makes a move to working as an aide in a mental hospital. My full review of this should be up tomorrow, but for now just know I fairly well enjoyed it.

The Thief- Fuminori Nakamura features a skilled pickpocket who manages to get himself into a mafia type gang and political intrigue. The book had some good things I hadn’t expected but also left out elements I expected. My review should be out later this week.

Reviews

The Etymologicon- Mark Forsyth was a book I loved. It’s all about words and how they came to be.

Come on Daisy- Jane Simmons was my Children’s Hour pick last week. It follows Daisy’s journey accross the pond which she gets so involved in that she looses sight of Mummy duck.

Added to the TBR

Reservation Road- John Burnham Schwartz was sent to me by the lovely people from Corsair for review. I have the sequel, Northwest Corner on the TBR pile from them already but wanted to read Reservation Road first. Follows the story of two people following a hit and run. It follows the father of the boy who is killed as he searches for the killer, and follows the hit and run drier himself.

Garden of Stones- Sophie Littlefield was given to me by Harlequin via netgalley. It follows the story of a Japanese-American woman and her daughter who are sent to Manzanar prison camp after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour. I’m interested in reading this one as it isn’t a part of history you see covered that much, but it’s still from my favourite era for historical fiction to be based in.

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Filed under It's Monday! Waht are you reading?, Memes

50 Shades of Grey and Decency


I read a mention of this article from the Boston Globe, about reading 50 Shades of Grey in public, on Bookriot yesterday and it got be thinking about the decency of making your reading of Shades of Grey public.

I’m not sure I can even remember the last time people were telling me about a book this much outside of the book blogging community. My boss has told me I should read it because I “like reading books”, people are on about how much they love Mr Grey all over the place on facebook. Amazon keeps deciding I must want to read it because it’s so popular. Even a friend who I would have said would be the last person to read it has read it- on the kindle, when it was still free.  I’ve even seen people reading it out and about. Including a whole host of staff in HMV who were trying to find out if it was really worth the hype (apparently not).

Now usually I would be all for it. I wish more people read but there is something a bit seedy about being so open about your reading of erotica. I mean it’s not designed for reading pleasure exactly, is it? Of course at first when it was only on kindle it was a bit more discrete. Nobody could tell you were reading it unless you told them, and you could tell whoever you wanted to tell. Yes the book has a level of discretion too, but because everyone knows what it is it looses the discretion of those covers. I suppose what gets to me is that you wouldn’t tell an acquaintance about some great erotica you had read online, or post some amazing porn you had watched on facebook, why has it become acceptable to do that with Shades of Grey?

Plus when it comes to reading it in public. Well either that’s adding an extra thrill or just a bit uncomfortable and inappropriate surely. I would certainly rather feel embarrassed for the person that imagine that it might be giving them sort of thrill to know I know what they’re reading!

So, no I haven’t read it (but would I tell you if I had?!). There is a small part of me which is interested, but from the little snippets I have read/heard I don’t really think it’s worth it.

Read the Reviews:

Bookriot

The Sponsored Lady

Escape into Life

Laura J Moss

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Filed under Musings

BBAW: Reading and Blogging


Yikes well how has blogging changed my reading habits, and book acquisition habits?

Well to start off with I am probably buying more books. Before I started book blogging I rarely had more than 3 books on my to be read (TBR) pile, now I’m lucky if it reaches single figures. I know lots of bloggers have much bigger TBR piles than me, within the 100s, so I suppose I am quite restrained. My wishlist has also soared, my current Amazon wishlist stands at 95 items, most of which are recommendations from other bloggers, that’s not counting the books I have noted in books from browsing book stores, or from seeing other people reading, and from reading other books.

Then there is of course the books I have received free from wonderfully generous publishers and authors, which I may never have read or even heard of otherwise. I’ve read some great books this way.

Then there are challenges and read-a-long which put me onto new books or make me more determined to read books I had on my TBR pile or wishlist. I’m currently taking part in the Haruki Murakami Challenge, The Take a Chance Challenge, The Rory Gilmore Challenge, and The Harry Potter Read-a-long.

As for actually reading? Well I pretty much go about things the same way. Sometimes I think of what I might say on my blog when I review a book, but only usually when I have strong feelings about it, or when something sticks in my mind. I probably try to think more critically when reading a book I’ve been asked to review, but only so it won’t be just a gut reaction.

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Filed under general

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree- Nick Hornby


Synopsis (from the back of the book- because it’s what I want to say put more eloquently and the synopsis on Amazon, and on Waterstones, and Wikipedia are rubbish)

This is not a book of reviews. This is not a book which sneers at other books. This is a book about reading- about enjoying books whereever and however you find them.

Nick Hornby is first and foremost a reader and he approaches books like the rest of us: hoping to pick up one he can’t put down. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree is a diary of sorts, charting his reading life over two years. It is a celebration of why we read- its pleasures, its dissappointments and its surprises.

And above all, it is for you- the ever hopeful reader.

Review.

First I have to make clear this is not a books of reviews. Despite the synopsis (blurb, whatever you want to call it) saying this I still expected it to be. Yes he talked about how he felt about books but he didn’t so much talk about what they were about. I found this both intriguing and infuriating. When I like the sound of books he was talking about I wanted to know more, I wanted more on the content, or a little synopsis or something, but at the same time I feel if that mystery was gone I might not have been so interested, and this way I may read books I wouldn’t have usually. I like picking up books outside my usual circle, it’s the best way to discover something new you love and to expand your horizons, if you always read the same stuff how much could you be missing that you would love but just don’t look at? In that sense it had made me think about my reading (and as I read it as part of The Rory Gilmore book challenge it was in itself a books I wouldn’t usually read). In particular it made me think about my approach to reading books I’m not enjoying (the first review in this blog, from my blog thread– so before the WordPress blog started) was Rachel Ray a book I struggled with but kept reading because I hate abandoning books. I do already have a rule that I have to read 100 pages before abandoning, because I don’t think you can really get a feel for longer books before then but maybe I should be a bit more strict in what I call enjoying, there are so many books out there and so little time, why waste time on books you don’t enjoy.

I was glad when Hornby actually talked about a book I had read (early on he bought a copy of Norwegian Wood, a book I loved, but he didn’t read it, and I was disappointed) which was Death and the Penguin. It made me value his opinion more because it was a book he loved, and I had enjoyed- it made me feel I might be more likely to enjoy the books he had.

This book has really added to my wishlist. Thirteen books to be precise, plus one more I am unsure about and want to look in to more and one which I know my Mum owns so I can add straight to my To Be Read pile. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not. Browsing Amazon and adding books to my wishlist is one of my favourite hobbies, and I love discovering new books. But at the same time I am trying not to spend any more money on books, especially as my rule that my TBR pile has to be in single figures before I can allow myself to buy more books has been broken so many times this year. I did find that I had to carry round a notebook with me when reading this book just so I could note down books I was interesting in. I wish I had my own copy so I could mark interesting passages and the books I wanted to read- unfortunately I borrowed this from the library and as I don’t think I’ll want to re-read it it’s not worth buying a copy now. If you are interested though I would say buy rather than borrow.

I have such a love hate relationship with this book that I have no idea what to rate it. I love it so much I want you all to read it, but at the same time I wish there was more, and that there was less so my wishlist wouldn’t have expanded so much! Less than 4 seems too low, but 4 and 5 seem too high. So take the rating with a pince of salt!

4.5/5

The additions to the Wishlist

George and Sam- Charlotte Moore

Old School- Tobias Wolff

No Name- Wilkie Collins (to be looked in to)

How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World- Francis Wheen

Not Even Wrong- Paul Collins

True Notebooks- Mark Salzman

Assassination Vacation- Sarah Vowel

Early Bird- Rodney Rothman

Gilead- Marilynne Robinson

The Amateur Marriage- Anne Tyler

A Complicated Kindness- Miriam Toews

Then We Came to the End- Joshua Ferris

Running in the Family- Michael Ondaatje

Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi

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Filed under non-fiction review, Reading/reviews