Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

Picking Prints for the Library

Posted by in Books, My Life In Lists

Wait, you don’t have a library?

In all seriousness, we are very fortunate to have been able to buy a house large enough for me to indulge my childhood dreams. I’ve wanted my own library for as long as I can remember, and we’ve been working hard since we moved in to turn this dusty, neglected box room into a cosy, joyous haven.

The bulk of the renovation is done – we’ve removed the silver (!) paint from the skirting boards, stripped the stripy wallpaper and swapped out the hideous boiler cupboard for something much more unobtrusive. The bookshelves are in and we’ve even managed to decide on and buy a cosy chair so all that’s left now is a new ceiling light and some artwork to make it feel more personal.

Enter: the dilemma! Etsy is my go-to for affordable, unique art, since I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I wouldn’t buy any more ‘generic’ art and I’ve largely stuck to that. Which is great! But also terrible, because it means that choosing art is so much harder because there is so much of it and it would all look great on my walls. #firstworldproblems.

With that in mind, here are six prints that I’m considering. We only have room (and a budget), realistically, for one or two but I’m struggling to narrow it down.

Obviously I like the Ernest Hemmingway quote because yellow. But I think I’m leaning towards Jorge and Albert. (Related: where are the book quotes by women, please?)

Little help?

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

Posted by in Books, Projects

Readathon complete! : We did it! I didn’t quite finish Astonish Me (I have 130 pages to go) but I did finish The Witches so that brings my total reads up to 4.5 books, which isn’t too bad I think! Q finished The BFG and got partway into The Explorer – we’re both now ready to drop.

Thanks for the fun, Readathonners! Special thanks to the Team Sherlock cheerleaders for their motivational comments – it really helped! :)

Our finished reads (plus two Kindle books)

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?
I was definitely flagging at around 2am (hour 14). Q was asleep and all the words were starting to blur into one!

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Will Grayson, Will Grayson was great. I’d also recommend The Lover’s Dictionary, Station Eleven and The Ocean at the End of the Lane for quick, fast-paced reads!

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It would be nice to know which cheerleading team gets assigned to your blog so that you can return the favour! :)

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The hashtag on Twitter and Instagram was a really easy, quick way to keep in touch with what other people were doing. I also thought the cheerleaders were great, that little extra boost was so welcome.

How many books did you read?
4 in total, with two thirds of another and a couple of chapters of two others thrown in for good measure!

What were the names of the books you read?
See below! :)

Which book did you enjoy most?
It’s a toss up between Will Grayson, Will Grayson for the humour and Tales of the Greek Heroes for the mythology!

Which did you enjoy least?
They were all enjoyable :)

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I really enjoyed my first readathon so I think I’ll probably do it again at some point (tho maybe not twice a year!). Next time I’d love to take part in some of the mini-challenges – I fully intended to but time just got away from me this year, oops!

Book Nerd Stats

Time spent reading: 20 hours (ish)

Pages read: 1206
Books finished: 4.5

Pages read: 1204
Books finished: 4

Here’s a gallery of our Instagram shots from the Readathon:

This year Q and I have decided to take part in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. Mostly because I’ve seen Ellie do it a couple of times and it looks like fun!

For those who don’t know what a 24 hour readathon is: you read for 24 hours, essentially (shocking, I know). The start times are staggered across the world – in the UK it runs from 1pm today (25th April) to 1pm tomorrow. You can try and read for the full 24 hours (or not, the rules are very flexible) but mostly it’s about having fun and (virtually) hanging out with other people crazy enough to attempt it! We’ll be using the hashtags #Readathon and #TheChongsRead (we’re @miametro & @digitalshades on Twitter, respectively) so if you’re not interested I suggest you mute them 😉

Here are the books that Q and I will be attempting. I doubt I’ll get through them all read but I like to have a good selection to choose from in case I’m not feeling a particular book or am finding it a struggle.

My Books

Q’s Books

(in his own words…)

  • FINISHED Terry Pratchett : Guards! Guards! (317 pages) – I’ve already started this so it makes sense to carry on and finish it. Plus it’s got dragons in it.
  • Terry Pratchett : Eric (155 pages) – After it took me two attempts to get started on the Discworld novels I can’t get enough of them now (I think this is number 9?). This one is pretty short too so should be easy to get through.
  • Roald Dahl : The Witches (208 pages) – I figured this would be a nice easy one to slot in between the others to break things up a bit.
  • FINISHED Roald Dahl : The BFG (199 pages) – Ditto above. Plus I haven’t read either of them since I was a kid and it’s nice to go back to them.
  • FINISHED Cormac McCarthy : The Road (307 pages) – McCarthy is one of those authors I always hear about and think I would probably like. Picked this up cheap in a charity shop too. And it’s got big writing and spacing.
  • Robert Crais : The Forgotten Man (416 pages) – These Cole and Pike novels are probably a bit ‘run of the mill detective’ for most people but the two main characters are fun and they’re enjoyable/easy reads. This will be number 10 in the series for me.
  • Started James Smythe : The Explorer (264 pages) – I read and enjoyed The Testimony and The Machine and I always love a bit of sci-fi. Plus it comes highly recommended from a certain someone! 😉
  • FINISHED Sue Townsend : The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (276 pages)

We’re going to attempt to blog some updates during the 24 hours (I suspect I’ll need some breaks from reading at some point! Ha) but instead of cluttering the blog I’m just going to update this post. So bookmark it if you want and if you want to cheer us on at some point then the comments are open 😉

To all the other Readathon participants: good luck! :) See you on the other side.

Update, 4 hours in: I started a little late due to a dentist appointment, but after four hours I’ve made a sizeable dent in Tales of the Greek Heroes (187 pages in) and finished The Yellow Wallpaper. Q is 250 pages in to Guards! Guards! – here’s to the next 4 hours! :)

Update, 8 hours in: We took a 20 minute break during our chinese takeaway to watch an episode of Community – my eyes are thanking me, heh. I’ve finished Tales of the Greek Heroes and have started in on both Astonish Me and Will Grayson, Will Grayson because I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. Annoyingly they’re both great and now I’m stuck, heh.

Q has finished Guards! Guards! and is tearing through The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole on the Kindle, which I’m itching to have back because holding real books is a pain in the ass 😉 He’s overtaken me with number of pages read too, so I’d better get a shift on 😛

Update, 12 hours in: Q finished Adrian Mole and moved onto The Road, but has been napping for the last 45 minutes or so. I’m going to try and plough through but I must admit, my eyes are getting pretty heavy! I plumped for Will Grayson, Will Grayson and have been loving it. I’ve got about 60 pages left to go so should finish it before 2am, hopefully!

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green.

2. How many books have you read so far?

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as a re-read and Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead as a new read.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Only ones caused by myself! Finding it surprisingly difficult to go for long without checking my phone. Doh.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How quickly the time has gone! It definitely doesn’t feel like twelve hours already.

Update, 20 hours in: I napped from 3:45am to 7:45am after finishing Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I did read a little bit of The Time Traveler’s Wife in the wee hours but I’d forgotten how tiny the text is so that plan didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped! This morning I read 20% of The Book of Lost Things before moving back to Astonish Me. I’m going to take a ‘re-read’ break now and speed through The Witches (hopefully!).

Q woke up and finished The Road and is now making us breakfast to see us through the last few hours! :)

Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

Posted by in Books, Projects

I’ve been a member of Goodreads for about five years now, I think? At least. I love tracking my books over there – they give you all sorts of nerdy stats if you’re into that (which I totally am) but there’s also a really lovely community there. I get to see what all my friends are reading (mostly great stuff!) and sometimes something super fun pops up in my feed, like this.

My friend Jess joined a group called “Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge” and I was intrigued. Essentially, the idea is that you read at least one book from 24 different categories over the year. You guys, this is 100% my jam. Books? Good. Lists? Good. Challenges about books? Goooood.

I thought I’d repost the list here in case anyone fancies joining in. If you need some inspiration for any of the topics check out the Goodreads group or the original Book Riot post, there’s plenty in there!

Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
  3. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
  4. A book published by an indie press
  5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
  7. A book that takes place in Asia
  8. A book by an author from Africa
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
  10. A microhistory
  11. A YA novel
  12. A sci-fi novel
  13. A romance novel
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  16. An audiobook
  17. A collection of poetry
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you
  19. A book that was originally published in another language
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind
  21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
  22. A book published before 1850
  23. A book published this year
  24. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

Book Riot have even created a cute hashtag: #ReadHarder. Share your books, share your challenge plan, share your recommendations! :) I am excited. In fact, because I’m a massive overachiever 3 of the 5 books I’ve read so far this year already fit into some categories! Score. I’m going to track them on my Books 2015 page if you want to follow along with my progress :)

Let me know if you join in!

Books: January Update!

Posted by in Books, Projects

1. RR David Levithan – The Lover’s Dictionary
2. NEW Stephen King – Joyland
3. NEW Douglas Coupland – Worst. Person. Ever.
4. NEW Tom Holt – Someone Like Me
5. NEW F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
6. NEW Patrick Ness – The Crane Wife
7. NEW William Gibson – Johnny Mnemonic
8. NEW Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes
9. NEW Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
10. RR Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie [30 for 30]
11. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 08 The Hostile Hospital
12. NEW Jennifer E Smith – You Are Here
13. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 09 The Carnivorous Carnival
14. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 10 The Slippery Slope
15. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 11 The Grim Grotto
16. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 12 The Penultimate Peril
17. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 13 The End
18. RR Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife [30 for 30]
19. NEW Jon McGregor – This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You
20. NEW David Levithan – Every Day
21. NEW Ernest Hemingway – Big Two-Hearted River
22. NEW Matt Haig – The Dead Fathers Club
23. NEW Janet Evanovich – Takedown Twenty
24. NEW John Steinbeck – The Pearl
25. NEW Joe Hill & Stephen King – Throttle
26. NEW Truman Capote – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
27. NEW Alice Munro – Away From Her
28. NEW Julie Otsuka – The Buddha in the Attic
29. NEW Muriel Spark – The Driver’s Seat
30. NEW Muriel Spark – The Abbess of Crewe
31. NEW Truman Capote – Summer Crossing

So! I inadvertently set myself a crazy challenge in January to read a book a day, because I read three in three days and then I was on a streak and I didn’t want to quit… (did I mention I am stubborn? I am stubborn). So yes, I read 31 books in January and if you’d asked me if it was possible to do it I would have said no, which shows you just how little faith I have in my own abilities I guess. Next step, the world!

My friend Lola challenged me mid-way through January to read more books by women than men in 2014, to which I said a resounding “HELL YES”. I cannot name enough amazing female authors and that definitely needs to change.

Away from Her The Buddha in the Attic were two completely different books but both fantastic, as was The Driver’s Seat (although deeply disturbing with it). I also re-read the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events and discovered that I actually hadn’t read them all – bonus. The Graveyard Book was fantastic, as was Joyland. Johnny Mnemonic and The Dead Father’s Club less so.

I also managed to tick off two more from my ‘30 for 30 favourite re-reads‘, so now I only have one more to go, whoo hoo! I do want to try to read more new books than re-reads this year tho, I’m never going to reach my 1000 new books if I keep on just re-reading my favourites 😉

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List. I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 248.

December Book Update + 2013 Reading Roundup

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW William Gibson – Spook Country
02. RR Judy Blume – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
03. RR Judy Blume – Blubber
04. NEW Lauren Weisberger – Last Night at Chateau Marmont
05. RR Judy Blume – Starring Sally J Freedman, as Herself
06. NEW Haruki Murakami – After the Quake
07. RR Toby Litt – Exhibitionism
08. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona the Pest
09. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona The Brave
10. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Father
11. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona & Her Mother
12. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby, Age 8
13. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona Forever
14. NEW Beverly Cleary – Ramona’s World
15. NEW Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy
16. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ersatz Elevator
17. NEW Caroline Smailes – Freaks
18. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village

I read a lot of childrens’ books in December because it was like snuggling under a warm duvet after being outside in the cold. I love childrens’ books, a lot. I thought I’d read the whole Ramona series but actually I think I must have just watched the TV series, because these weren’t familiar to me at all. Throw in some Judy Blume and Lemony Snicket and you’ve got yourself a perfect December in my eyes.

On the adult side, I’d forgotten just how good Exhibitionism was – really hoping that Toby Litt releases a new book soon now! Last Night at Chateau Marmont was complete and utter tosh, definitely not worth reading. After the Quake was the usual gentle Murakami weirdness (which I love) and Freaks missed the mark for me for the most part, but I’ve heard good things about Caroline Smailes so I’m willing to give her another shot. Onto the round up! :)

Best of 2013

Best new book in:

January: James Smythe – The Explorer

February: There were no standout new books in February. I only gave two 5* ratings and both of those were to re-reads.

March: March was the same. Lots of 3* ratings – nothing to write home about.

April: Hans Fallada – Alone in Berlin

May: LJ Smith – The Forbidden Game 1-3

June: Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects

July: Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls

August: Jenny Lawson – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

September: David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries

October: John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

November: Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451

December: The whole Ramona series.

Best book overall:

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

I zipped through this in a couple of hours. It was beautiful and heartfelt, painful and gut wrenching and ultimately a book I think I’ll re-read again and again. Bravo, John Green. Bravo.

Worst book overall: 

Jonas Jonasson – The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

God I hated this book. My mother liked it, the rest of our book group liked it but I absolutely couldn’t stand it.

Favourite re-read:

The Time Traveler’s Wife. Always.

2013 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 126

Number of new books read: 73

Number of re-reads: 53

Number of pages read: 37,270

5* rated: 20

1* rated: 2

Fiction vs Non-fiction: 125 fiction, 10 non-fiction

Adult vs Childrens’: 77 adult books, 49 kids books

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 224.

November Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW Mitch Albom – Have a Little Faith
02. NEW Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451 [November goals]
03. NEW Jojo Moyes – Honeymoon in Paris
04. RR Scarlett Thomas – The End of Mr Y [30 for 30]
05. RR Christopher Pike – Road to Nowhere
06. RR Christopher Pike – The Visitor
07. RR Francine Pascal – My Mother Was Never a Kid
08. RR Francine Pascal – My First Love & Other Disasters
09. RR Francine Pascal – Love & Betrayal & Hold The Mayo [30 for 30]

November was a funny month for reading. I didn’t finish a book until almost mid-way through the month (which is unusual for me) but it picked up towards the end after a visit home to my mother and the collection of all my old Point Horror books, ha.

I’m coming to the end of my 30 for 30 reading lists, meaning that only the big and hard to source books are left, eek. I ordered these Francine Pascal books and books two and three came a week before the first one, which was a little torturous. I only have 11 left to read (meaning I’ve read 49 of them since the end of June, gosh) and I’m looking forward most to re-reading The Time Traveler’s Wife in January – it is my favourite book after all.

I loved those Christopher Pike books when I was younger but sadly they didn’t live up to my memories – very few books you read as a teenager do I suppose. The Victoria Martin Trilogy was a happy exception to the rule – I remember loving this more that the Sweet Valley series when I was growing up and it was a delight to re-read them (I powered through all three in two days, so eager was I for a reminisce).

Elsewhere Scarlett Thomas is still baffling me even with a second read of The End of My Y (although I think PopCo is still my favourite of hers), Mitch Albom seems to be back on form (I much prefer his non-fiction writing, apparently) and Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t at all what I was expecting but was really rather fantastic.

I hit my 100 books target in November, so I upped it to 110 just to keep me on my toes. I’m up to 108 already so I’m fairly sure I’ll make it but you never know 😉

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 212.

October Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. RR Philip Pullman – The Amber Spyglass [30 for 30]
02. RR Maggie O’Farrell – The Hand That First Held Mine [30 for 30]
03. NEW David Mitchell – Ghostwritten [30 for 30]
04. RR Stephen King – Duma Key [30 for 30]
05. NEW Zadie Smith – NW [book club]
06. NEW John Green – The Fault In Our Stars [30 for 30]
07. RR Joe Dunthorne – Submarine [30 for 30]
08. NEW Scarlett Thomas – Our Tragic Universe [30 for 30]
09. RR Arthur Golden – Memoirs of a Geisha [30 for 30]

Oof, October felt like a short month. I started a lot of books but didn’t finish them, oops. I’ve mostly been plugging away at my 30 for 30 books, and am pretty close to finishing my lists. I think I should have one of them done by Christmas, certainly by the end of January they’ll be done and dusted. I have 13 books left to read from the two lists combined, which is fun. I’ve read so much since my birthday!

This month was a bit of a mixed bag – the re-reads were, as always, enjoyable – I don’t think I’ve adjusted any of the ratings that I gave originally, which is nice. It’s comforting to know that the books that I loved continue to stand up against a second read.

Ghostwritten was a little odd but I liked it (altho I do think the very, very last chapter was perhaps a bit out of place, but hey, what do I know, I’ve never written a book). Our Tragic Universe was my least favourite of the Scarlett Thomas book’s I’ve read so far – the ‘storyless story’ perhaps a genre that I’m not destined to enjoy. NW was a book club pick but not a stand out one for me to be honest. A little bland, a little “what’s the point?”. I know people rave about Zadie but I’m not sure if I’ll ever love her books.

The stand out for me this month was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green which was beautiful, funny and so, so readable. I devoured it in a day and a half and was sad for it to be over – always the best kind of book in my opinion.

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 209.

Want to see all the books I’ve read this year? I’m currently up to 99!

September Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. NEW David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries [book club]
02. RR William Gibson – Pattern Recognition [30 for 30]
03. NEW James Smythe – The Machine [30 for 30]
04. RR Bill Bryson – The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid [30 for 30]
05. NEW Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of the Island [30 for 30]
06. NEW Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter – The Long War
07. NEW Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking [30 for 30]
08. RR Terry Pratchett – Reaper Man [30 for 30]
09. RR Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus [30 for 30]
10. NEW Emma Donahue – The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits [30 for 30]
11. NEW Cheryl Strayed – Wild [30 for 30]
12. RR Philip Pullman – The Northern Lights [30 for 30]
13. RR Philip Pullman – The Subtle Knife [30 for 30]

September was a solid month for reading. We jetted off to Paris for our anniversary and then spent four days in Devon with nothing to do but read, which, not gonna lie, was pretty glorious. The Santaland Diaries is the bookclub pick for December, but it came already so I read it out of sync. Very dark, very amusing and pleasingly short.

The Year of Magical Thinking was a lesson in grief and loss, as was Wild. Two very different schools of thinking which have left me with a lot to digest. Both would be good to re-read later, I think. The Long War was  bit of a disappointment, if I’m honest. It just felt like it didn’t go anywhere – no tension, no drama. A shame. Last and definitely least was The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits which I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. That’ll teach me to add books to my list without reading what they’re about, I suppose!

Our library finally has a bed (to snuggle up on) and bookshelves so hopefully the winter reading tally will continue on at a good pace. I’m aiming to break 100 books in October – we’ll see! :)

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and I’m up to 205.

August Book Update

Posted by in Books, Projects

01. RR Douglas Coupland – Hey Nostradamus [30 for 30]
02. NEW Stephen King – ‘Salem’s Lot [30 for 30]
03. NEW Francine Pascal – Sweet Valley Confidential [30 for 30]
04. NEW Jenny Downham – Before I Die [30 for 30]
05. RR Jon McGregor – If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things [30 for 30]
06. NEW Jenny Lawson – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened [30 for 30]
07. NEW Matt Haig – The Radleys [30 for 30]
08. NEW Jennifer E Smith – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight [30 for 30]
09. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 01 A Bad Beginning [30 for 30]
10. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 02 The Reptile Room
11. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 03 The Wide Window
12. RR Judy Blume – Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
13. NEW Judy Blume – Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
14. RR Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events: 04 The Miserable Mill
15. NEW Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five [30 for 30]
16. RR Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables [30 for 30]
17. RR Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games [30 for 30]
18. RR Terry Pratchett – The Colour of Magic [30 for 30]
19. NEW John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas [30 for 30]
21. RR Suzanne Collins – Catching Fire [30 for 30]
22. RR Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay [30 for 30]
23. NEW Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Avonlea [30 for 30]

Oof, bit late with the August update! I blame the two holidays we took in September (fancy) and the huge, huge amount of work we’ve been doing in the house. We’re almost done tho, so at least the end is in sight.

I managed an epic 23 books this month and ticked quite a few off my 30 for 30 lists too which is always a bonus. My favourite new book this month was without a doubt Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, which had me genuinely laughing out loud multiple times during reading. Sweet Valley Confidential was an absolute mess (perhaps unsurprisingly) and Salem’s Lot didn’t feel very King-like, although it was nice to finally piece together the story that continues on into The Dark Tower series, which are some of my favourites.

I re-read a lot of Lemony Snicket – they’re comfort read books, really, nice to pick up in between heavier reads. & I finally cried at the end of The Hunger Games trilogy, which I didn’t do the first time around. September is almost finished – I haven’t managed quite as many books but I’m definitely going to hit 100 before the end of the year, which is always pleasing :)

I’m still working my way through my read 1000 new books for my Life List, I started tracking those in 2011 and at the end of August I was up to 198.

30 for 30: Read 30 ‘To Read’ – Books 1-5

Posted by in 30 for 30, Books, Projects

This post is an update on my 30 for 30 goal: Read 30 Books I’ve Been Meaning To Read. So far I’ve read 5 out of 30.

1. Pamela Ribon – You Take It From Here


Date Read: 29th June 2013
Rating:  3 stars

Mini synopsis: Bossy girl with terminal cancer wants her reluctant friend to take over her life once she’s gone.

Read it because: Pamela Ribon is a talented, funny writer. I personally couldn’t get along with the main character, but a lot of people like this one so I’d suggest giving it a chance.

2. Kim Edwards – The Memory Keeper’s Daughter


Date Read: 6th July 2013
Rating:  2 stars

Mini synopsis: The stigma of down syndrome causes a secret family rift.

Don’t read it because: it’s really not worth it. The premise is there but the writing is clunky at best, it’s about 50 pages too long and I really couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the selfish, maudlin, boring characters.

3. Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex


Date Read: 24th July 2013
Rating:  4 stars

Mini synopsis: Greek hermaphrodite tells his story; intriguing, interesting and heartbreaking all in one.

Read it because: Amy loves it – more than a good enough reason I think.

4. Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls


Date Read: 25th July 2013
Rating:  5 stars

Mini synopsis: If Stephen King had written The Time Traveler’s Wife this is what it would have been like.

Read it because: I couldn’t put it down. Thrilling, frightening and utterly compelling. Lauren Beukes is on fine form, I can’t wait to see what she puts out next.

5. Maggie O’Farrell – Instructions for a Heatwave


Date Read: 28th July 2013
Rating:  3 stars

Mini synopsis: A missing father brings all the secrets up to the surface.

Read it because: Maggie O’Farrell has a wonderful gift with words. I’d have given it 4 stars but she has a bit of a noncommittal stance to endings and that bugs me. For the thread that bound them all, Robert felt like a bit of a lost character in the end, which I thought was a shame, but it’s definitely still worth a read.