Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

30 Day BC – Day 25 : Your Favourite Book Of Last Year

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I enjoyed Room by Emma Donaghue although I wouldn’t say it was my favourite book of last year. I didn’t think it was as amazing as everyone was saying it was, but it did put an original twist on a story, which I liked.

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell was a beautiful book, and something I would never have picked up if it hadn’t have been assigned as our book group book. I’ve read a couple of hers since that I enjoyed equally as much – it’s good to know that she wasn’t a one book wonder because I really loved her style and prose.

I like both those books but I think my favourite book of 2010 has to be The C Word by Lisa Lynch. I met her on twitter (& loved her so much she has an invite to our wedding) and reading the story of her battle with breast cancer at 28 was an emotional ride, but completely and utterly worth it. she writes with a enviable confidence and gentle humour – by the end of the book I was in floods of tears and more proud of her than ever before. Definitely one not to miss.

King Death by Toby Litt
Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

30 Day BC – Day 24 : Your Favourite Book As A Child

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As If I could pick just one? I almost inhaled my local library as a kid (moving on to Danielle Steele and Virginia Andrews when I’d finished reading the Young Adult section – possibly not the best idea in hindsight). I was practically Matilda.

I used to read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I adored anything by Francine Pascal, Enid Blyton and R.L Stein – many a night was spend under the covers with a torch reading Point Horror and the Famous Five after my mother had repeatedly told me to turn the lights out and got to bed.

I was a teenager when Harry Potter came out rather than a child, so that doesn’t really count, but obviously they’re some of my favourites so I’m going to include them in every book list I ever write, apparently. Sorry kids.

But…no. I can’t pick just one favourite, it wouldn’t be right. If I had to recommend a book to read now tho I’d probably pick something like Tilly Mint and the Dodo. I loved that book when I was younger – I wish I still had a copy. Anyone with a food based surname gets a special place in my heart.


30 Day BC – Day 23 : Your Favourite Book By A Non-British Author

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I think the majority of the authors I read are non British – I actually really struggle to find good British authors. (if you have any suggestions now is the time to speak up!) Obviously all the ones I’ve already mentioned a hundred times before: Stephen King, Augusten Burroughs, Douglas Coupland and Haruki Murakami. Although I don’t tend to read a lot of British authors I also don’t seem to branch out into non-American/Candian authors either so this question becomes harder to answer if you take them out of the equation.

I love Janet Evanovitch, but she’s American. I love Bill Bryson but he’s American too. I’m looking through my GoodReads but this is getting tiring so I should probably just say ‘I read a lot of American authors’ and leave it at that.

101 in 1001: June Update

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Completed in June: 4

55. Read all Augusten Burrows books
I finally completed this one by reading Sellevision on the plane out to Portugal. I must admit, I really like Augusten’s style but his books do tend to get a bit samey – they’re all (with the except of Sellevision which is fiction) autobiographies of different points of his life. Very dry, very funny but when you read two or three in a short space of time they tend to merge into one a bit.

80. Paint my toenails more often
I’m going to mark this one as done. They aren’t always pristine but I do remember to paint them every month or so which is a vast increase on what I was doing before. It’s nice to have pretty feet!

43. cycle 5km at the gym once a week for three months. [8/12]
Confession: I didn’t complete this one, exactly. But I did 8 weeks in a row and then I did the 30 Day Shred so I’m going to let myself off because I was exercising, just not on the bike. It’s my list and I’m not doing three more months of this, thanks.

44. Try a new dish once a week for three months [8/12]
The same goes with this one. We tried 8 new things and then got waylaid by parties and holidays. But I think 8 new meals isn’t a bad acheivement. I actually did this once before when I was in Cornwall and got 5 weeks done, so technically I completed it with a rather large gap inbetween…*

This actually means I’ve ticked off all of my ‘Short Term Achievements‘ now which is pretty funny considering I started this list two years ago, ha.

I really don’t know how many more of these I’m going to be able to complete. Five or six maybe but there are definitely some that I won’t. I don’t think I’ve done too badly considering I wrote this list when I was at a completely different point in my life – I’ve managed to get the bulk of it done. Does that mean I qualify for some kind of prize? W

*Yeah, I wouldn’t buy that either but I’m going to stick to it!

July Challenge

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I read 20 books in June. Which is a bit ridiculous but also pretty nice. I’m only 15 books away from hitting my original 100 books target, so it looks like I’ll have to up it a bit!

I tend to read books on my Kindle whilst I’m at work and I took it to Portugal to save on luggage space so I’ve managed to amass a rather large stack of library books at home, languishing in the corner. It wouldn’t be so bad but I keep thinking of new stuff I want to reserve and adding more to the list. Oops.

I need to get these books read and back to the library before they lynch me so July is going to be Library Books Only Month. The rules are as follows:

* I can only read books from the library (Duh)
* I’m not allowed to add any new books to my reserve list or check out any new books until I’ve cleared 50% of the list

I currently have:

  1. The mystery of the strange messages by Enid Blyton
  2. Meltdown by Ben Elton
  3. Double Cross by Malorie Blackman
  4. In Search of the Missing Eyelash by Karen Mcleod
  5. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
  6. The Distance Between Us by Maggie O’Farrell
  7. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin [book group]
  8. The Scarlett Letter: A Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne [book group]
  9. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  10. The Almost Moon by Alice Seobold
  11. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht [book group]
  12. The Importance of Being A Bachelor by Mike Gayle
  13. Zero History by William Gibson
  14. X-Men:First Class by Jeff Parker [graphic novel]

Eep. Three of those are book group books so I’ll be concentrating on them first. Four of them are classed as children’s or young adult so I’m hoping they won’t take long to read either and one is a graphic novel which I’ll be able to zip through in a lunchtime probably. Hopefully by the time August the 1st rolls around I’ll have finished them all but July is going to be a pretty busy month in terms of events and parties so we’ll have to see. I’ll let you know how I get on :)

Books! 2011 – June Update

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Read in June: 20
66. RR: Wish You Were Here – Mike Gayle
67. NEW: My Lover’s Lover – Maggie O’Farrell [Book Group]
68. NEW: When God Was A Rabbit – Sarah Winman [Book Group]
69. NEW: Constance Breakwater & Her Beautiful Museumhood – Giles Booth
70. NEW: The Minority Report – Philip K. Dick
71. NEW: Shit My Dad Says – Justin Halpern
72. NEW: Mystic River – Dennis Lehane [Book Group]
73. NEW: Unlucky In Death – Dan Dillard
74. NEW: The End Of Mr. Y – Scarlett Thomas
75. RR: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
76. NEW: Wolverine Weapon X: Adamantium Men – Jason Aaron [Graphic Novel]
77. NEW: You Better Not Cry – Augusten Burroughs
78. NEW: Sellevision – Augusten Burroughs
79. NEW: 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
80. NEW: God Bless You, Mr Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut
81. NEW:  Hear The Wind Sing – Haruki Murakami
82. NEW: Pinball, 1973 – Haruki Murakami
83. NEW: Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse) – Adam Croft
84. NEW: Admit One: My Life In Film – Emmett James
85. NEW: Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen

Favourite book read this month:
I know everyone has been raving about Water For Elephants so I’m sorry to hop on that bandwagon but I really enjoyed it. Not so much for the love story but more for just the insight into the travelling circus. Sara Gruen did an incredible job of bringing the big top to life and I commend her for it. I also really liked The End of Mr. Y which I picked up after my BFF raved about it on GoodReads*. A really interesting, intriguing book about travelling into the mind. Not recommended for anyone that ever worked on lab mice tho. When God Was A Rabbit was enjoyable but I don’t think it lived up to the hype it seemed to receive. Also Shit My Dad Says was good for a giggle on a long coach ride down to London.

Least favourite book read this month:
By far and away my least favourite book this month was Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse) by Adam Croft. I don’t want to slate it because it was free on Amazon for the Kindle and I think it was self published but I really, really didn’t enjoy it. (Although apparently neither did the author) The plot meandered from weird to ridiculous – the ‘twist’ at the end was completely unbelievable (but sadly not in a good way) and I feel like it tried to tick too many genre boxes at once. I’m not sure if any book can manage to be humorous, gruesome, surprising, gritty and dramatic but this one certainly didn’t manage it. I found the characters were ill developed and seemed to make odd out of character decisions (how many detectives do you know that would willingly drink drive? & how many lawyers do you know that would ask you out for dinner instead of your insurance details when you crash into their car during said drink driving?) Perhaps if it had been a longer book with more time to flesh out the characters this would have been less jarring but as it was it just didn’t seem very plausible. This appears to be a series but I doubt I’ll be downloading any more unless someone I know really enjoys them. Sorry Adam!

I read: 18 new books in June and 2 re-reads, bring my life list wish of reading 1000 new books up to: 78/1000.

*I’m always happy to make new friends on GoodReads so if you have an account and want to add me feel free :)

30 Day BC – Day 21 : The Book That Made You Look At Life In A Different Way

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Tuesdays With Morrie helped me to be more tolerant, I think. The Diving Bell & The Butterflymade me more grateful for the little things we take for granted. (Cliché, but true!).  The Raw Shark Texts, The Unbearable Lightness of Being  and The End Of Mr. Y opened my mind more to science and philosophy, always welcome and always fun, if a little difficult to get my head around sometimes.

There are so many books that have shaped and moulded my personality and knowledge. Books written by foreign authors like Haruki Murakami and Augusten Burroughs that give me insights into what living in a different country might be like.

It’s one of the main reasons I love reading, I think. To be able to gain knowledge, learn new words and expressions, to understand things in a different or better way. I’m such a knowledge geek, but hey. At least it’s better than being a Star Wars fan, right?*

I don’t read a lot of non fiction books – although I’ll read Bill Bryson and some autobiographical stuff. I think I should try and change that. There’s a whole world of information out there just begging to be learnt. Anyone want to give me any good recommendations of what to start with first?




*I jest, I jest! You can love Star Wars all you want. Just don’t expect me too 😉

30 Day BC – Day 22 : A Book You Wish Was Real Life

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Q and I are flying out to Portugal today to celebrate my birthday and our Anniversary on Monday. (Yes, we got together on my birthday. This way he always remembers 😉 ). I’ve scheduled a few posts to run whilst we’re away so that you don’t miss me too much. I know, I know. I’m thoughtful like that…

Er, Harry Potter? Any of the X-Men comics? Anything that can make it alright for me to be a massive geek is absolutely fine by me.

I’d love it if Susie’s version of Heaven from The Lovely Bones could exist, but I don’t think I’d want the rest of the book to be reality. I’d love to live in the Dark Tower series for a while but I’m not sure I could cope with their world for too long.

It would probably also be fun to live in Jasper Fforde’s BookWorld – getting to jump between books and hang out with literary fiction would be fine by me.

Like I said. Massive geek. You’re not going to tell anyone, right?

30 Day BC – Day 20 : The Saddest Or Most Emotive Book You Have Read

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The Time Traveller’s Wife definitely comes under this category. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried every time I’ve read it, because it’s full of emotion and I’m a complete sucker for a love story. (A lot of my favourite books are coming under so many of these categories that I feel like I’m repeating myself. Clearly I need to read more diverse books, heh).

I haven’t read it for quite a while but I’m going to throw in Watership Down. The film scared me when I was a kid and the book was even more heartbreaking. Those poor rabbits…

Thinking about it, I don’t think I actually read a lot of sad books. Certainly not the chick-lit sad books or the ‘childhood trauma’ stories that seem to saturate the book aisles of the supermarkets. I read A Child Called IT by Dave Pelzer and the follow on books but there are so many of them now I can imagine (sadly, I suppose) that the stories start to blend into one.

I’m not entirely sure I’m missing out by skipping this genre but there are probably a few gems that I’d enjoy if I could sift through the detritus to get to them. Any recommendations?

30 Day BC – Day 19 : The Most Romantic Book You Have Ever Read

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The Time Traveler’s Wife, obviously. There is something spine tingling about the way that the love story of Henry and Clare unfolds across the pages. Every time I think about this book I just want to read it again. I can imagine The Notebook is also pretty romantic (if it’s anything like the film) but I haven’t read it so I can’t really judge.

I don’t really tend to read epic romance stories, especially the “classics” like Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice. I don’t know why, I love romance as much as the next girl (luckily for me Q is quite romantic, heh) but I never seem to pick up books that portray it.

Does anyone have any recommendations on things I’m missing out on?