Tag Archives: review of the year

Year in Review 2016


2016 hasn’t been the best year when it comes to reading, and when it comes to blogging things have been even worse.

I’ve read 27 books, considering that at one point I was averaging two a week this is a big dip, and quite a few of those were short books.

Slowly things are getting back on track, and I’m hoping to read more, and blog more in 2017.

I rated three books as 5 stars in 2016. I’ve only reviewed one so far;

Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline which is really a book you have to read. I put it off because I wasn’t sure if it was my thing, and how I regretted it.

The other two are; a none fiction book about brain disorders, Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by Allan Ropper and Brian David Burrell, which is really interesting.

And Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova, a story about a man diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and his children who may also have the disease in their futures.

I’m not going to talk about my disappointing reads this year, mainly because I think that my lack of concentration may have made me less tolerant of harder books.

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Review of the Year 2014: Children’s Hour


I was going to talk about the best books we’ve read this year. Then I though, actually, we’ve had different kids this year to last year, and often the books are the same, shouldn’t it mean something if favourites stay?

So here are the books we have kept coming back to this year…

Peace a Last

This featured on Children’s Hour back in 2012 (huh, I didn’t even realise Children’s Hour had been around that long!). The children still love being able to ‘read’ it themselves. They still love being able to join in, especially shouting “Oh no!” said Mr Bear “I can’t stand this”


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

A constant favourite with the kids, and we don’t even need to read it to them anymore- they pretty much all know it by heart! First featured in 2013

Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

This is the only book which proves a certain toddler can have a quiet voice. And they still love the panic

 


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

I prefer this one to Brown Bear, and it’s a good substitute for the kids. I would even say it’s better as a group, just harder for the kids to remember


One Mole Digging a Hole

We don’t quite have a 3 Bears Picking Pears kid, but this still gets chosen a lot. The kids feel an achievement when they can count the number of animals correctly too.

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Review of the Year 2014- Popular Posts


What have my visitors been reading and looking at this year?

Most popular reviews:

FictionThe Weight Of Silence This one always gets a lot of hits from the search engines for some reason.

Non-fiction- How Winning The Lottery Changed My Life

Children’s Hour postThe Hungry Hen

Film of a BookHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Bookish posts:

ListsTop Ten Books Set in War Time (this was my most popular post this year too, and my most popular list last year)

MusingsOn Review Requests and Approaching the Blogger

Sunday SurfingThis one from November

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Review of the Year 2014- Non-Fiction


I’ve done better really with non-fiction this year than with fiction. I’ve read 9 non-fiction books and 2 of those have been five star books. I really loved them both, so it’s tough choosing a favourite.


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

The memoir of Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) who is a pretty well known blogger and generally crazy person

 

 


How to be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Is a about all the literary heroines Ellis has ever had. It’s part literary musings, part memoir, part feminist writing.

 

 

And the winner is…

Samantha Ellis’ How to be a Heroine

Whilst I found ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ too hilarious to safely read in public I feel that How to be a Heroine offers me more long term. I love how it made me want to read certain books, I loved it’s feminist element, and I love Ellis’ way of writing. If it wasn’t for the fact that I only read it a couple of weeks before the end of 2014 I think it could have become my most recommended book of the year.

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Review of the Year 2014- Fiction


Note: This is a new version of my fiction review of the year post. For some reason I had put my favourite fiction book in the non-fiction category (yeah, I don’t know). The previous winner was Fangirl.

I’ve only read three 5/5 fiction books this year, and to be completely honest I can’t say that either of them have had the literary merits of any of last year’s choices. Although I enjoyed them both, I’m not sure how much either of them stuck with me.

Anyway they were…
The Rosie Project- Graeme Simison

The Rosie Project is about a (probably) autistic professor trying to find a partner. He joins a dating site and writes a questionnaire to scientifically find his ‘perfect’ mate, but maybe love isn’t that simple.

 

 


Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is about a girl, Cath. Cath is a twin, and a big fangirl (the type who hangs out on fansites and writes fanfiction) for a series of books. Cath and her sister Wren start university, and things go good for Wren, who is fairly outgoing, but not so great for shy Cath.

 


Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre imagines text conversations between literary characters or writers.

 

 

And my book of the year is…

Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre

I found this one really funny, and it’s a great flick through books. I only read it in December but it quickly became my most recommended book of the year.

 

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Review of the Year 2014- Challenges


I’ve done just two challenges this year. I’m only doing The Rory List this year, I am trying to make my blogging more relaxed, and Rory is really an if it comes up challenge rather than a strive for numbers challenge

Edward Herman (who played Richard Gilmore) died on New Year’s Eve so it seems fitting that The Rory List should be my only challenge this year

The Rory List (ongoing challenge)

There has been a bit of a crossover with my other challenge, which is good, so I think I did good on this this year, 7 books:

Night (not yet reviewed)

31 Songs

Slaughterhouse 5

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Little Women

House of Sand and Fog (started 2013)

 

I gave up on the TBR Pile Challenge About half way through the year, I was having stress in other parts of my life and wanted to make other things relaxed. I read 5 of 12 books:

A Game of Thrones

Dracula

Persuasion

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Little Women

 

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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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Review of the Year 2013- Popular Posts


This is a new section for my review of the year. What have my visitors been reading and looking at?

Most popular reviews:

FictionThe Weight Of Silence This one always gets a lot of hits from the search engines for some reason.

Non-fiction- The End of Your Life Book Club

Children’s Hour postNot Now, Bernard

Film of a BookHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Bookish posts:

ListsTop Ten Books Set in War Time

MusingsGoodreads, Censorship, and Trolls

Sunday SurfingThis one, and this one, and this one, and this one, oh and this one

Bits that don’t fit into tidy categories- The Book Jar

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Review of the Year 2013- Non-Fiction


I’ve only read 4 non-fiction books this year. I thought I would list them all, although the best of these is clear for me.


The End of Your Life Book Club- Will Schwalbe is about a mother who is critically ill, and her son who connect through books as she reaches the end of her life.

 

 


The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth. Is about writing and speaking style and how to make what you say beautiful.

 

 


Friends like These- Danny Wallace. Is about Danny finding all of his childhood friends.

 

 


1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks off. Another book by the QI team, full of interesting facts.

And the winner is…

The Elements of Eloquence

I love Mark Forsyth’s stuff. Always interesting, but told in an easy to read tone and with a lot of humour. I’m pretty sure reading this during NaNoWriMo helped my writing too.

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Review of the Year 2013- Fiction


Only three 5/5 books this year, but the competition is still fierce! Although if you’re a regular visitor you may know which book I will pick as my book of the year…


Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Is the story of Ursula. Ursula lives, and dies, and lives, and dies, again, and again, and again. It’s a sort of dramatic groundhog day. Living the same life again, and again and again, but things change. Ursula doesn’t exactly know about her other lives, just a vague sense occasionally.


The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Is the story of Ichmad. Ichmad is a Palestinian living in an Israeli occupied area. When Ichmad is 12 his father is arrested on terrorist charges and Ichmad’s family get evicted from their house. Ichmad has to start supporting the family.


1Q84- Haruki Murakami

Arguably not a 5/5 book, as I found the beginning difficult. How do you give a blurb for Murakami? Ok so. Tengo and Aoname find themselves in a parallel world. 1984, but with two moons, and little people, and general strangeness. Can they find each other and leave 1Q84 unharmed?

And my book of the year is…

Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life

If you didn’t guess already! I’ve been forcing this book on people all year. It just, wow, swept me away. I couldn’t read anything else afterwards, everything just paled in comparison. I got so involved. I was shouting and Ursula, disappearing, cheering, hoping. READ IT! READ IT NOW!

(Thought I would put up the new cover for interestingness)

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Review of the Year 2013- Challenges


I’ve taken part in 3 challenges this year, err and not done great in any. I’m considering the TBR Challenge for next year, but may just go for a challenge free year (except for Rory)

The Rory List (ongoing challenge)

This year I’ve read only 2 books from The Rory List

Emma

House of Sand and Fog (not yet reviewed)

Less than last year, but I have a few lined up for 2014.

I was so excited for the Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge but things didn’t go so well. I started off well, but partly problems with other people not really participating, partly a lack of finding enjoyable books, and partly trying to save money meant it dropped off my radar after a while. I read only 4 books (and one was an accident!), having aimed for 12

Deep Powder

The Pearl Savage

The Woodcutter

Capitol Hell

Wishlist Challenge 2013

I did better with the Wishlist Challenge 2013 and read 9 wishlist books:

The Snow Child

The Lifeboat

Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé

Painter of Silence

Dearly Devoted Dexter

Diary of a Jetsetting Call Girl

Still Alice

The Woman Who Died A Lot

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

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Review of the Year 2013- Overview


cloudThis year I’m doing the four post thing again. This one, a look at my challenges, a fiction post, and a non-fiction post.

This year I have read 63 books, that’s 15 less than last year, I think I’ll have to down my target for 2014

  • 4 have been non-fiction, 59 have been fiction
  • No re-reads this year
  • 11  have been read as part of reading challenges.
  • I didn’t finish 3
  • I started 6 which I intend to return to

My wishlist currently contains 123 books (what a nice number! Err, and despite The Wishlist Challenge that number has gone up, again) and my To be Read Pile totals up to 52 books (which could last me almost all year!), that’s gone up too.

3 books have scored 5/5

31 books have scored 4/5

24 books have scored 3/5

4 books have scored 2/5

0 books have scored 1/5

The only one of those numbers to go up is 2/5, which is a little sad, and two of those were challenge books.

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for my review of challenges

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Review of the Year 2012- Best Non-Fiction


As only one non-fiction scored 5/5 this year I’m going to list all that scored 4/5 or above. Of course the one which scored 5/5 is the winner!

How To Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Is a collection of the thoughts of Caitlin Moran on being and experiences of being a woman.

Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World- Dave Gorman

Is a book where Dave Gorman travels around the country playing different games with different people, some familiar, and some less well known.


Sick- Jen Smith

Is a story of drugs and domestic violence.

 


The Fry Chronicles- Stephen Fry

Is the second of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies and chronicles his rise to fame.

And the winner is…

How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

I loved this book. Caitlin is funny and easy going. I really just wanted to be her friend whilst reading How to be a Woman. It’s advertised as a feminist book, I wouldn’t say it was a major point to the book however, although it did have some feminist areas.

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Review of the Year 2012- Fiction


This year I read quite a few books which scored 5/5 so could be my best fiction book of the year.

The Secret Keeper- Kate Morton

As a child Laurel witnessed her mother stabbing a man, as her mother is dying years later Laurel begins to wonder who that man was, and what had driven her mother to do such things. As with Morton’s previous work it’s a story of family history, family secrets, and family love.


Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

Completely different to The Secret Keeper Charlotte Street is a romantic comedy. A chance meeting on Charlotte Street leaves a man with a woman’s camera and sparks off an adventure across London- and the wider UK area- to find her. It’s a funny book and reminds me a lot of Nick Hornby’s writing

The Brooklyn Bites Books 1 & 2- Scott Stabile

I’ve been championing these beautiful short stories all year. The imagery of food is beautiful, and the relationships well written, I am eagerly anticipating book 4.

 

The Last 100 Days- Patrick McGuinness

The Last 100 Days is a story of the last 100 days in communist Romanian. It took a while for me to get into but was very realistic.

 

The Hunger Games books 1 & 2- Suzanne Collins

Every year in Panem 2 children in each district have to fight in a battle to the death in the annual Hunger Games. In The Hunger Games Katniss is the tribute for district 12 and the story continues in a further 2 books. After initially being sceptical I ended up loving these books, I even have 2 copies of the first one, one on my kindle and one in paperback.

It’s a bit difficult to really compare these books. they are all so different. One mystery, one comedy, one short story, one historical, and one young adult. However looking at them it’s obvious which one sticks out for me…

Scott Stabile’s Brooklyn Bites Series



I never thought I would say that the best book(s) I had read all year were short stories. I generally find that short stories lack something- like they don’t go into enough depth. The Brooklyn Bites stories however are pretty simple plotwise, and that means that more words can be devoted to things like building character and atmosphere. All the stories are about food, and they’re all about people. Stabile does fantastic work in really giving a good sense of the characters and their relationships, combined with mouth-watering descriptions of food. I recommend these pretty much every time I get a chance, plus they’re only 77p on the kindle, so you can’t really say you can’ afford it!

The third books A Pickle and Carrot Cake is also very good, just not quite as fantastic as the previous 2

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Review of the Year 2012- Challenges


The Rory List (ongoing challenge)

This year I have read 5 (arguably 6) books from the Rory List

The Crimson Petal and the White

The Great Gatsby

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Pride and Prejudice

(Grimm’s Fairytales– I had already read a different version of this)

The Virgin Suicides

I beat last year’s total, which had been my aim, being able to get some for free on my kindle has helped.

Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Didn’t do well on this one at all this year, only one book. I had aimed to read 5, but I struggled with 1Q84 and I have an edition with books 1 & 2 together so I wasn’t allowing myself to get another Murakami until I had finished that- which I still haven’t done. The site doesn’t appear to be as active this year either so I don’t know if it will be happening next year.

1Q84 (Book 1)

Next year I am really excited for my own challenge The Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge. The idea is that you read books you wouldn’t usually read, and hopefully find something new to love.

Wishlist Challenge 2013

I’m also participating in the Wishlist Challenge 2013.

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Review of the Year 2012- Overview


Image from goodreads

Image from goodreads

I’m doing things a little different again this year, I’ve decided not to do a post of disappointing books, but as last year I will do a post on challenges, and separate posts for fiction and non-fiction

This year I have read 78 books, that’s 15 more than last year:

  • 8 have been non-fiction, 66 have been fiction
  • No re-reads this year
  • 4 (arguably 5) have been read as part of reading challenges.

My wishlist currently contains 116 books (oops, more than last year!) and my To be Read Pile totals up to 44 books (well if we go by this year’s numbers that should probably last me until October-ish)

8 books have scored 5/5

40 books have scored 4/5

25 books have scored 3/5

2 books have scored 2/5

0 books have scored 1/5

So generally this year I have been reading more enjoyable books (hooray!)

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Review of the Year 2011- Non-Fiction


Seeing as I only read 4 non-fiction books in 2011 it seems a bit silly to choose a favourite and least favourite, even if they do exist. Two of them really deserve a re-mention though so I shall list all my non-fiction (as before) and then highlight the two which I want to highlight.

That Day in September- Artie Van Why

Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter

The Hare With the Amber Eyes- Edmund de Waal

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius- Dave Eggers

The two I wanted to mention again are Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism and That Day In September (click for Amazon links)

That Day in September is a 9/11 survivor’s story. It beautifully written an incredibly moving. Certainly worth a read.

Living Dolls I think is a must read for women. IT makes you see things in a different perspective and certainly brought out a bit more feminism in me.

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Review of th Year 2011- Disappointing Fiction


I didn’t rate any books at 1/5 this year but I have a few rated at 2/5. So those are my nominees for ‘Disappointing fiction’. I’m sorry I just can’t say worst!

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty- Sebastian Barry
One Day- David Nicholls
A Week in December- Sebastian Faulkes
Dragon’s Pupils: The Sword Guest- Martin Shui Chu

This year the title Disappointing Fiction is actually a little more appropriate than it was last year. Some of the nominees this year are actually worthy of the title disappointing, Sebastian Fawkes and Sebastian Barry are both authors who have written books which are among my favourites. I would even describe Sebastian Fawkes as one of my favourite authors. So I expected a lot from their books, that’s what really makes something that is not up to scratch disappointing. Really though I can’t say they’ve been my least favourite books this year. That…honour… goes to…

Dragon’s Pupils: the Sword Guest

This was one I read for review. Really though I wished I hadn’t accepted. It took a lot a lot of effort to keep reading. I could see that it wasn’t all bad but the style was just so unfinished and it was really annoying me by the end. I gave it a 2 for the idea, it wasn’t completely hopeless, and it didn’t give me such hatred that Twilight did but I disliked it enough to reject a reading of the author’s new book.

As before click the link at the top to read my review and the second link to buy on Amazon.

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Review of the Year 2011- Best fiction


This year I read quite a few books which scored 5/5 so could be my best fiction book of the year. I have left out the Harry Potter books as they were re-reads but that still leaves a good few books:

War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Berneries

When God was a Rabbit- Sarah Winman

Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde

Everything is Illuminated- Jonathon Safron Foer

The Help- Kathryn Stockett

Oh how much I loved all these books. It’s very difficult to choose just one. They are all quite different. But when it comes down to it I just have to go with my heart. And my heart says…

War Of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts

A lot of my decision is really down to personal reasons rather than reasons why people generally would like the book. Yes it’s fabtastic. Funny. Moving. Fantastically written. When it comes down to it though it’s a book which meets up to my expectations of Louis de Berneieres which were set by Captain Correlli’s Mandolin. it might, might, even be…better. *Shock! Horror!* For so long I have been reading Louis de Berniere’s books to try and find something which at least partially meets up to how much I love Captain Corelli’s and so far had been disappointed.

I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

For my whole review click the link at the top. To buy The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts from Amazon click the link at the top of this section.

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Review of the Year 2011- Challenges


The Rory List (ongoing challenege)

This year I have read just 3 books from the Rory List

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Everything is Illuminated

Grimm’s Fairytales

Am hoping to get a few more of these in 2012.

Take a Chance Challenge 2011

I have read 8 books for this challenge. I missed out the What Should I Read Next? choice (number 7) and failed to finish the staff picks book.
I am Number Four- Pittacus Lore
The Siege- Helen Dunmore
The Hare with Amber Eyes- Edmund de Waal
About a Boy- Nick Hornby
The Terrible Privacy Of Maxwell Sim- Jonathan Coe
The Earth Hums in B-Flat- Mari Strachan
The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge

I read 2 books for this challenge. which gives me Hijami level of participation:

Sputnik Sweetheart

A Wild Sheep Chase

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Review of the Year 2011- Overview


This year I have read 60 books:

  • 3 have been non-fiction, 57 have been fiction
  • 6 have been re-reads, 54 have been new reads
  • 11 have been read as part of reading challenges, and 6 have been read as part of a read-a-long

My wishlist currently contains 103 books and my To be Read Pile totals up to 29 books (which is not great seeing as I have been saying all year that I cannot buy more books until I am in single figures…whoops.)

11 books have scored 5/5

24 books have scored 4/5

18 books have scored 3/5

4 books have scored 2/5

0 books have scored 1/5

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Post a Week 33% Gone


The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

Today Post a Day/Post a Week have put up a post to tell us all that we are 33% of the way through our goal (which is a third of the year, can you believe how fast it’s going?

Anyway to honour this time Post a Week are asking about what our favourite posts in our journals have been this year…there are quite a few I’m pretty proud of, in no particular order

Review of One of Our Thursdays is Missing

I was looking forward to this book for such a long time, and I had lots of expectations from having read the rest of the Thursday Next series, from reading other peoples reviews of the book and from going to see Jasper Fforde when it was released, so it made for a pretty good review book I think.

Review of When God Was a Rabbit

I got this book early and I was eager to let everyone else out there know what it was like before it was released, I think I did pretty good in describing how the book was without giving too much away, although maybe I was a little heavier than I would have liked on the spoiler tags. It’s also one of my most frequently visited reviews.

Musings: The Popularity Contest

In this post I talked about how hype and popularity can effects a readers approach to books. This is one of my posts with the most ammount of comments, I think only blog hop posts come higher

What are some of your favourite posts on your journal? On my journal? And on other journals?

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Review of the year (part 5- disappointing non-fiction)



Last but not least! (or least actually seeing as it’s the disappointing fiction!) Again the criteria is slightly different for non-fiction, this time scores must be below 3/5 (non including 3)

The nominees

Head Trip- Jeff Warren

Again only one nominee so I guess that makes it the winner! There really were some interesting aspects to Head Trip but they were few are far between and I felt it really dragged when it came down to it.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

This book will change the way you think, sleep, and dream for good. It is a book of psychology and neuroscience, and also of adventure wherein the author explores the extremes to which consciousness can be stretched, from the lucid dream to the quasi-mystical substratum of awareness known as the Pure Conscious Event. Replete with stylish graphics and brightened by comic panels conceived and drawn by the author, “Head Trip” is an instant classic, a brilliant and original description of the shifting experience of consciousness that’s also a practical guide to enhancing creativity and mental health. This book does not just inform and entertain – it shows how every one of us can expand upon the ways we experience being alive.

Review

I must admit that although I found the topic of this book interesting I was glad when it was over. It was interesting enough, and pretty well written, in some parts it almost read like a novel, but I found Warren tended to dwell a bit much on one point and so it came across a bit waffley. Part of the problem for me though was it was a little over simplified- I had been expecting a bit more technical information, but I think for people with less knowledge of psychology or neurology it would make a good (if long!) introduction

2.5/5

 

Part 1

Part 2- best fiction

Part 3- best non-fiction

Part 4- disappointing fiction


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Review of the Year (part 4- the disappointing fiction)


To be nominated for this the books must score 2/5 or less.

The Nomeniees

Eclipse- Stephanie Meyer

Well I guess that makes it the winner! I really do not like the Twilight novels but something keeps me reading them, despite the fact I want to ram Bella’s head into a brick wall!

Synopsis (from Amazon)

‘Bella?’ Edward’s soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, and kissed me again. His kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine – like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us. As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob – knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Following the international bestsellers Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer’s captivating saga of vampire romance.

Review

Can someone tell me why I persist with reading these books?! They are awful. Badly written, and I want to smash Bella’s head against the wall to knck some sense into her.

And this one doesn’t even have a halfway decent plot behind it.

Yet I know I will still read the last.

1/5

 

Part 1

Part 2- best fiction

Part 3- best non-fiction

Part 5- disappointing non-fiction


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Review of the Year (part 3- best non-fiction)


For the non-fiction I can’t have the same criteria as for the fiction, seeing as nothing scored 5/5. So instead contenders must rate 4/5 or more

The Contenders

The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo

The QI Book of the Dead

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree- Nick Hornby

This too is difficult, especially as each book is on a completely different topic. The Complete Polysylabbic Spree got the highest score so technically it should win, and it was certainly the most enjoyable. However the winner is….

The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo.

This one wins because it was informative on a tough subject without dragging things out or becoming boring. It is written on a subject I am very interested in and in a way that’s easy to understand and engage with. Also because I really feel it’s an important book to read.


Synopsis
(from Amazon)

In The Lucifer Effect, the award-winning and internationally respected psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, examines how the human mind has the capacity to be infinitely caring or selfish, kind or cruel, creative or destructive. He challenges our conceptions of who we think we are, what we believe we will never do – and how and why almost any of us could be initiated into the ranks of evil doers. At the same time he describes the safeguards we can put in place to prevent ourselves from corrupting – or being corrupted by – others, and what sets some people apart as heroes and heroines, able to resist powerful pressures to go along with the group, and to refuse to be team players when personal integrity is at stake. Using the first in-depth analysis of his classic Stanford Prison Experiment, and his personal experiences as an expert witness for one of the Abu Ghraib prison guards, Zimbardo’s stimulating and provocative book raises fundamental questions about the nature of good and evil, and how each one of us needs to be vigilant to prevent becoming trapped in the ‘Lucifer Effect’, no matter what kind of character or morality we believe ourselves to have. The Lucifer Effect won the William James Book Award in 2008.

Review

Oh how long have I been reading this book? Seems like I have been reading it for months! It has taken a long time but not because it’s uninteresting or badly written. In fact of the psychology books I’ve read aimed at none psychologists this is probably the best written. It doesn’t use too much specialised language and, unlike the others I’ve read, when it does it seems to be explained well. I’m probably not the best person to say that as I have a psychology degree but I was trying to think of how people who know little about psychology would view it. Despite a good writing style I can’t really say that it was easy to read. The subject matter was quite disturbing, in parts things which happened during the Stanford Prison Experiment and at Abu Ghraib were described in such detail that it actually made me feel a bit ill, there were pictures from Abu Ghraib that I’ve never seen before, and were nasty. The thought that anybody, any normal person, could do those sort of things is disturbing because it’s one of those things you never imagine you could do, but maybe that’s wrong. I’m glad to be aware of it though, it’s like a guard against it.

Certainly not an easy book to read, but an important one I think, and very interesting, I definitely recommend it.

4/5

I also want to make a special mention for The Polysylabbic Spree because it added so many books to my wishlist and got me reading Hornby.

Part 1

Part 2- best fiction

Part 4- disappointing fiction

Part 5- disappointing non-fiction

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Review of the Year (part 2- Best fiction of the year)


This year I’ve decided to make my criteria for books which I can nominate as my favourite reads of the year a little stricter. Last year the books had to have been given a score of 4.5/5 or above but this year it has to be a score of 5/5.  There are still quite a lot of contenders so I think I must have overall enjoyed my reading more this year.

The Contenders

Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas

The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Steven Chbosky

The Elegance of the Hedgehog- Muriel Barbery

Room- Emma Donoghue

Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K Rowling

This is hard. I’ve loved all these books but for completely different reasons, so to compare them is not easy. I’m going to straight off strike out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because it was a re-read.

The Winner is……

Pop. Co- Scarlett Thomas.

This wins because it was the one which stuck with me for the longest time, and it was the book I spent most of my year saying had been my favourite book of the year, even after I had given other books a 5/5 rating. Plus it made me think about things that other books hadn’t- both to do with the main subject and not. Because this book won I will reproduce the entire review here

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Alice Butler has been receiving some odd messages – all anonymous, all written in code. Are they from someone at PopCo, the profit-hungry corporation she works for? Or from Alice’s long lost father? Or has someone else been on her trail? The solution, she is sure, will involve the code-breaking skills she learned from her grandparents and the key she’s been wearing round her neck since she was ten. “PopCo” is a grown-up adventure of family secrets, puzzles, big business and the power of numbers.

Review

Wow. Just wow. I love, love, loved this book. It’s probably the best I’ve read so far this year. From the synopsis I had been unsure, and in fact almost bought it a few times before finding something I thought sounded better to read . In the end I mainly bought it because I had really enjoyed the End of Mr Y which is by the same author.

This is really a book which made me think, about corporations, and things we ignore but encounter every day. It talked of how corporations trick people, and how tose in marketing seem to be worth more than those who actually make products- and that’s just one issue it talks about. It doesn’t feel preachy though, it really does just make you think about things in a different way. It made me interested in alternative medicine, and veganism- and they weren’t even key themes!

It wasn’t perfect though. Some of the stuff about codes and maths really went over my head. Although I don’t think it was completely necessary to understand that it would have added something to my enjoyment. There was also a couple of adult scenes which I didn’t think were needed (I didn’t mind them being there though) which might put some people off, but there weren’t as many, or as graphic as in The End of Mr. Y.

5/5

I would also like to give a special mention to The Elegance of the Hedgehog because I went from finding it difficult to absolutely loving it and wanting everyone else to read it.

Part 1

Part 3- best non-fiction

Part 4- disappointing fiction

Part 5- disappointing non-fiction

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Review of the Year 2010 (Part 1- What’s happened this year?)


Review of the Year 2009- part 1

Review of the Year 2009- part 2

Can you believe another year has gone? What a year too. I have discovered the book blog hop over at crazy for books, and Semicolon’s Saturday Review of Reviews. I’ve found lots of fantastic new blogs and gained some lovely readers.

I’ve read and reviewed a total of 53 books and given up on 1- partly because I really wasn’t getting into it, and partly because it got ruined by a leaky water bottle.

Of these books the majority, 47, have been fiction, 7 have been non-fiction and 1 could arguably be either! 9 books have been read from The Rory List

Fiction books read this year

Jasper Fforde- The Fourth Bear The Third Angel- Alice Hoffman   Charlaine Harris- Club Dead

Dead to the World- Charlaine Harris Dead as a Doornail- Charlaine Harris Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Definitely Dead- Charlaine Harris All Together Dead- Charlaine Harris Pop Co. – Scarlet Thomas

Sunrise- Rosie Thomas Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen

From Dead to Worse- Charlaine Harris Dead and Gone- Charlaine Harris Picture Perfect- Jodi Picoult

Eclipse- Stephanie Meyer The Rotter’s Club- Johnathan Coe Malinche- Laura Esquivel

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides Beauty- Raphael Selbourne A Girl Made of Dust- Nathalie Abi-Ezzi

Wicked- Gregory Maguire The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath A Matter of Death and Life- Andrey Kurkov

The book of Unholy Mischief- Elle Newman The Path to the Lake- Susan Sallis Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen

A Million Little Pieces- James Frey Alice in Wonderland- Louis Carroll Midnight’s Children- Salman Rushdie

The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky The Elegance of the Hedgehog- Murial Barbery

The Full Cupboard of Life- Alexander McCall Smith A Lifetime Burning- Linda Gillard Dead in the Family- Charlaine Harris

The Swan Thieves- Elizabeth Kostova   The 19th Wife- David Ebershoff High Fidelity- Nick Hornby

Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thakeray (abandoned around 300 pages in)    The Confessions of Max Tivoli- Andrew Sean Greer

Therapy- Sebastian Fitzek Room- Emma Donoghue Double Vision- Pat Barker   Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami

 

Non-fiction read this year

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Review of the Year (part 2)


The Worst

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Review of the Year 2009 (Part 1)


The bit at the beginning

Seeing as it’s almost the end of another year I thought it might be nice to have a sort of review of what I’ve read this year. What the best books have been, and the worst, and the most surprising. I’ll probably go on to talk about the books I’d like to read as a result of what I have read.

As I started logging my books from about the beginning of February those are all I will mention. My first review was written in late Febuary so on lists I will highlight books with no reviews in red, books with reviews on this blog will be linked. Those not reviewed on here are reviewed on my thread at The Book Club Forum, if you aren’t a member there (Why not?!) but would like to see a review of something mentioned let me know. I’ll post full reviews for the ‘winners’

So off we go…

General Stats

Books read (45)

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