Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary – 22nd January 2023

It is the end of yet another week already – and so it can only mean that I’m back with a Sunday Summary update post for you. I have plenty of content for you this week.

Firstly, let’s recap the blog post I shared throughout the week. The first post I shared this week was a book review for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series between 2021 and 2022. My primary aim was to see how my experience of the books compared between reading them as a teenager, and then again as an adult. If you want to check out my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a link provided here.

The next post I shared in the week went live on Wednesday. That post was my first of my brand-new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! The point I’m emphasising that all reading is reading. It’s not just books that count. As I am trying to read more non-fiction, this series also gives me a space to talk about things I read and learn from the genre.

The last post I shared was my First Lines Friday regular feature. I had a grand plan to pick this week’s feature in a new way. However, it backfired on me a little. The plan was to select my next book from my TBR Jar (an owl mug) and feature that book. It turns out I’ve featured the book I pulled out already. The odds were ridiculously slim for that eventuality happening, but I’m not mad. I’ve pulled out a fantastic book, and I can’t wait to read it next month! If you want to check out the book, I eventually did feature, again, there’s a link here to that post.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update post, I was 425 pages into The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I made quite a push with this last week, and that continued into this week. I read the remaining 200 pages over the course of Monday and Tuesday alone. Overall, The Secret History was a good read. I’m not entirely sure about the ending, but it was still entertaining. I was mentally comparing this to another read in the genre I enjoyed last year – Babel. I still think that book was better, but The Secret History is certainly a complement to the genre.

The next book I picked up was Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I must confess that I didn’t pick it up for very long though. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was on this month’s reading list as it is the book of the month in ezeekat’s bookclub on Fable. I didn’t even get through the first chapter. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style in the slightest. That’s a big dealbreaker for me. If I’m struggling to read a book based on the way it is written, even if it has a fantastic plot, I can’t jive with it. That’s what I found with this book, and so I promptly returned my library loan.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is my first DNF of the year. Whilst it is a shame, I would much rather spend my time reading books that I do enjoy, rather than trying to force myself through ones I don’t!

I was a little down heartened to have to give up a book so quickly. However, I decided to jump straight into my next read with a change of genre. A few years ago, I read Me Before You. I am not a contemporary romance girl, but I wanted to see how the book dealt with the themes it does. If you know, you know. After a discussion about the sequel to that book with friends recently, I decided to pick it up for myself.

I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to jump back into the mess of emotions the book left me in. However, it has been long enough. This particular book deals with the grief of what happens in the first book. Even despite the difficult topics, these books have an effortless writing style and plenty of humour throughout. I picked up After You yesterday morning, and I’m already 22% through with hardly any effort whatsoever. I’m looking forward to continuing with this read over the next few days.

 

Books Discovered

I have two books to share with you this week – one I added to my reading list having seen it online, and the second I received as a gift today from my mum and dad.

The first book is called Don’t Fix Women by Joy Burnford. This particular book is about gender equality at work. It is obviously on my mind at the moment that I’m trying to read more non-fiction, and this appeals to me. Having read a book called invisible women last year, which dels with this topic to a limited extent, I would like to build upon them. I’m hoping Don’t Fix Women will do that for me.

On a much more fun note, I received an early birthday present today. Whilst in Waterstones having a browse, my mum pointed out The Rise of the Dragon.This is an illustrated history of the Targaryen dynasty. You guys know me – I am a huge, huge Game of Thrones fan. I also really enjoyed the written history of the Targaryen’s, Fire and Blood. Well, when my mum saw my face when she pointed this out to me, she very quickly connived with my dad to distract me while she bought it. And I have to say, they pulled it off very well. They did this right under my nose and I didn’t even have a clue!

I seriously can’t wait to pick this up!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post planned for next week is a Top Ten Tuesday post.This week’s theme is a list of new-to-me authors of 2022. I read quite a few books by authors I hadn’t picked up before last year. I’m excited to feature them in this post.

On Wednesday, I will be sharing the second instalment in my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. This week’s topic is about artificial intelligence, and and upcoming experiment in artificial intelligence being used in court to defend a plaintiff.

On Friday, I will be back with a Shelf Control feature. In this series, I review the books on my reading list, picking one in particular, and telling you all about why I’m excited to read it.

And, you know the drill by now. I’ll be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you.

This evening, my plan is to continue making more reading progress with After You by JoJo Moyes, whilst resisting temptation to pick up The Rise of the Dragon!

What are you currently reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 15th January 2023

Hello my lovelies, and welcome to another Sunday Summary update to round off this week. As always, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week whatever you have been doing! I have been spending my free time reading, knitting, and blogging.

The first blog post I shared this week featured my favourite reads of 2022. When I planned that post, three books stood out immediately as favourites. I also added an honorary mention to this post, as another book was very high on my list. But, there was just one small factor that detracted from my experience – and it was no fault of the book. If you are looking for some reading inspiration and want to check out that post, I’ve provided a link above as usual.

My next post of the week went live on Wednesday. I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog called Well, I Didn’t Know That. I have two aims with this series – to encourage myself to read more non-fiction and to encourage reading of any kind. By this, I mean I will shine the spotlight on reading from other mediums, such as magazines, news articles, online blogs… anything! It doesn’t matter how much you read – it’s all reading! This week, I shared the introduction post and what I want to achieve with this series. I will regularly update this page with an index of the posts shared as the series develops.

My next post of the week was a Shelf Control feature. I added this week’s featured book on a whim after discovering it. The main character is one that I am familiar with through a TV series I used to watch. Admittedly, I have very little knowledge about the plotline of the book. But, I want to see how it compares with the actor’s portrayal of this character in the popular TV series from a good few years ago. If you’re curious as to what, and who, that is, take a look at the post I shared on Friday.

 

Books Read

The Secret History

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was 130 pages into my current read of The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book had already made a good impression on me by this time last week. I’ve only read a little of the genre so far (The Secret History is the second book), but I’m really enjoying it.

This week, I have made progress to the tune of a few hundred pages, so I am now 425 pages in. In my opinion, the story slowed down a little bit in the middle, but it has just started to pick up again and gain momentum. Knowing what I know about the story so far, I’m eager to see what happens next.

Despite being a book about very intelligent students with an emphasis on their classical learning, The Secret History is an easy book to pick up. It may be academic in its setting, but it is by no means a challenge for a reader. You don’t have to know too much to enjoy the story as it is. I am not knowledgeable on classics, and there may some clever references in here I’m not getting or appreciating. But, that doesn’t matter! I am really enjoying this book at face value, and I can’t wait to finish it and see what happens.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I have no new additions or book purchases to report in this week’s update!

 

Coming Up…

Over the course of the coming week, I plan to share a total of four blog posts with you.

The first blog post of the week is a book review. It’s been a few weeks since I shared my last review, so it’s time to feature another book I have read and share what I thought of it. This week, I am going to be sharing my review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series in 2021/2022, having not read these books for a long time. I wanted to see how these books compared when reading them from a more mature perspective. From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we start to see the wider storyline open up and these are the books I enjoyed the most. Check out my review this week for all the details.

The next blog post I will share will be going live on Wednesday. That post will be the first of my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. In this post, I am featuring an article I read in Writing Magazine’s October 2022 edition. That article is all about how recently developed finance technology may be implemented in the publishing industry.

On Friday, I will share a First Lines Friday feature. I am going to choose the book I feature in a new way – I’ll pull a book out of my TBR Jar to read next month, (and that will also be the feature for this post). I hope you can stay tuned for that.

As always, I will be back at the same time next week to share my reading updates and for us to have a general catch-up in my Sunday Summary post. I hope you can join me for that!

For now, that’s all from me today. Tonight’s plan is to continue weaving in a multitude of yarn ends on pair of socks I just made, and then take The Secret History and a cuppa to bed with me.

What are you reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 8th January 2023

I have a lot to catch you up with in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you are sitting comfortably with a cup of tea for this one.

Having just crossed the line of a brand-new year, I have been publishing a flurry of posts this week. On Monday, I shared my monthly wrap-up post for December 2022. In that post, I took a look at the books I read throughout December and catch you up with my thoughts on those. This post was the first of many this week!

Next, I shared my 2023 Resolutions with you on Tuesday. As you have probably gathered by the title, I share what my reading resolutions are for the upcoming year. Some of them are similar to those set in previous years, but I also have some new ones. If you haven’t checked out that post already, there’s a link for you to do so.

I was back on Thursday with my January 2023 TBR. Similarly to last year, I have set myself both fixed and mood reads so I have flexibility with my TBR. This month’s list has worked out approximately half and half. Normally I have fewer fixed reads on my list. But, since I’d already started a book on my December TBR, I wanted to carry forward another, and I wanted to take part in a book club read, it’s just the way it’s panned out this month. I’m excited to pick up everything on my list. Again, if you haven’t checked that post out yet, there is a link provided above.

My last post of the working week was shared on Friday and was my review of my 2022 resolutions. Overall, success with these resolutions was mixed. I can safely say that I had a good go at absolutely all of them. One was a resounding success, and two others were achieved differently from how I envisaged it at the beginning of the year. There is one last goal that I have carried forward into 2023 because it is one that I didn’t quite achieve in 2022. If you want to find out what worked and what didn’t, you can find out by following the link.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary post, I was 11% through my read of The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle. I had just started this book at the end of 2022, knowing I wasn’t going to finish it to count towards those stats. I picked it up because I was in the mood to read non-fiction. If you like books about books, especially about lesser-known ones, then The Secret Library is definitely one I would recommend to you. 

I really enjoyed the structure of the book and how each chapter tackles a different setting or time period. Literature goes right back to ancient times. It may have only experienced a boom since the invention of the printing press and books becoming more widely available, but that’s not to say that literature hasn’t always been a big part of history – from ancient times to modern. The book covers its full history. 

Each section is also broken down nicely into a certain topic or featuring a certain author. This makes it really easy to pick up and put down as it’s cleverly organised and each section is relatively concise. We cover 99 topics across these 250-odd pages – if that gives you any idea as to how short each section is. Naturally, I made my way through this book quite quickly, finishing it on Friday.

Next, I moved on to my current read, The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I appreciate the titles are incredibly similar, but they are very different books. I picked up and loved a book in a similar genre to The Secret History last year – Babel by R.F. Kuang. Given that I enjoyed that book so much, I am optimistic that The Secret History will be just as much of a hit.

One of the elements I really enjoyed about Babel is the focus of language. In that way, The Secret History is working for me because classics and in particular, learning Greek, is prevalent throughout the narrative. We also have the same kind of setting – a very small but incredibly talented group of students. Whilst I can’t really comment on the events the narrative focus on at the moment and how it compares, it is promising. As of this Sunday Summary update, I am 130 pages into my 628-page edition. Given that I have read this much already and just a couple of days is good, and I will be further along by the time I go to bed tonight.

The Secret History is a book that I look forward to picking up and reading. I can only hope that it makes up to the expectations I have!

 

Books Discovered

This section is going to be short and sweet because I haven’t added anything to my reading list. Given that I added three books the week before, I certainly don’t need any more!

 

Coming Up…

I’m looking forward to a slightly more relaxing week next week; the blogging schedule is going to be more manageable than this week has been! I’m still going to be posting one more blog post but I would typically share in an average week, but I’m looking forward to drafting every single one of my features!

I am beginning the week with a post sharing my favourite reads of 2022. I’m all about encouraging reading, so I’m looking forward to talking about the best books I picked up in the year.

On Wednesday, I am introducing a new series on my blog. The crux of this series is to help with my goal of reading more non-fiction this year. Also, I’ll pass on tidbits of knowledge I pick up along the way that I find interesting. However, the point of this feature is to address that all reading is reading. For a number of the features I’ll share in future, I will be including reading material other than books, such as magazines etc. I will of course also be sharing books from time to time too, but I won’t be restricting myself to them either!

On Friday, I will be sharing my next Shelf Control regular Friday feature. If you are unfamiliar with this feature, I share a book on my reading list and go into some details as to why I’m interested to read it!

Lastly, I’ll be back with my typical Sunday Summary post to round up the week!

That was a bit of an epic Sunday Summary post, so if you’re still with me, thanks for reading!

What is your current read?

 

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Reviewing my 2022 Resolutions!

Hello everybody and welcome to my review of my 2022 resolutions. This week I have shared my monthly wrap for December, my 2023 resolutions, and my January TBR. We are ending the working week with a review of my resolutions set for 2022, whether I succeeded with those goals and if I can do anything better.

At the beginning of last year, I set myself three goals – to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, to take a more flexible approach with the reading lists I was setting myself every month in 2022, and lastly, to work on the admin side of managing my blog, and being more effective at doing so.

Let’s take a look at how I did over the course of 2022!

 

Goodreads Challenge – Read 40 books

In 2021, I deliberately didn’t set myself a reading goal as I was burned out. I didn’t want to compound that by constraining myself with a target. I had every intention of reading just as much as I would in any other year. Somehow, I was surprised when that didn’t happen. I read approximately 25 books in 2021. Don’t get me wrong, that’s more than a lot of people. But, if I’m completely honest with myself, I knew I could have done more.

With that in mind, I decided to resume taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022. So as not to overwhelm myself, I set myself a modest target of 40 books. I wanted to give myself a number that I could work towards, but not set so lofty a goal that I set myself up to fail. Ultimately, my aim for this year was to read more whilst maintaining a healthy balance of doing other things I love as well.

As of the end of the year, I had read a total of 47 books. Not only did I meet my target, but I did surpass it slightly. For a brief while, I entertained the notion of pushing it to 50 books, but I’m glad I didn’t. In December, I read some very chunky fantasy that meant that I didn’t get around to the volume of books, even if I was reading a significant volume of pages!

All in all, I got my reading motivation back in 2022, which is what I wanted. However, I didn’t do it at the expense of anything else.  I’ve given myself the time and flexibility for other hobbies and activities. This is exactly what I wanted from this resolution. So, in my opinion, it was a resounding success!

 

Reading Lists

In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal of being more flexible with my reading list. Historically, I set myself an entirely fixed list for the whole month. At the beginning of 2022, I changed this stance slightly. Instead, I set a mostly fixed reading list, with the option of one or two mood reads at the end of the month. This was a good idea in theory, but more often than not, I was only just getting to the end of the fixed list by the end of the month, if at all, so I never actually got the benefit of allowing myself mood reads. I decided to stick with this approach though to give it a fair chance.

It wasn’t until June that I changed my stance again. When setting my June reading list, I couldn’t decide what to read. I kept changing my mind. In the end, I decided to accept the mood I was in and set just one fixed read on my TBR, keeping the rest as mood reads. Finally, I got to see the benefit of the flexibility I was trying to allow myself. June, in theory, should have been one of my worst reading months, as I sat an exam at the end of that month. However, it was one of my best reading months of the year. Naturally, it was at this point of the year that I took the decision to allow myself more flexibility again, changing my reading lists to just a handful of fixed reads, and the majority being mood reads.

Having looked back at my reading progress throughout the year, I read 23 books prior to the end of June, and 24 more by the end of December. In terms of book count, that’s a fairly even split. However, I read slightly chunkier books in the second half of the year. Whilst the end result may be very similar, I was definitely happier with my reading in the second half of the year. There is no tangible evidence that reading was better in the second half of the year other than my subjective opinion that I enjoyed it more. That’s enough for me!

I’m really happy with the approach I’ve taken throughout the year and the changes I’ve made. What I have learned since starting my blog is that I work differently at different times. In the past, having a totally fixed list has worked for me. There are times when it hasn’t. There are times when I’ve allowed myself complete flexibility, and that has worked. Again, there are times when it hasn’t. More recently, I’ve taken this hybrid approach and that is currently working for me. I need to be flexible with myself and understand what mindset I’m in as to which approach is best at any given time. None of them are wrong. If I need to change the way I’m doing things in the moment, I need to just do it.

 

Blog Post Writing

In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal to be more organised with writing my blog posts. The aim was to draft blog posts approximately one week ahead of schedule. This would give me leeway to get post out to you on time. In my midyear review, this was the goal I hadn’t made much progress towards, but I was determined to turn this around.

I did get myself to a point where I was drafting blog posts ahead of schedule. It was really handy if something came up, or I just wasn’t in the mood to blog on a particular evening. My blogging schedule wasn’t compromised by this. What I didn’t foresee, however, is that logistically, some posts can’t be drafted ahead of time. For example, my month-end wrapups have some degree of last-minuteness to them. Even if I was drafting the majority of these posts ahead of time, I was having to finish them off last minute anyway.

Another thing I didn’t consider was that drafting things ahead of time was going to be confusing. Particularly when I was drafting my Sunday Summary posts, I would get confused with what was coming up in the following week compared to what I’d just drafted, as that was for the week ahead of that.

Ultimately, it has its benefits and its drawbacks. I have now reverted back to drafting blog posts in the week they are due to go live. Personally, I find this easier to manage. However, I have started being more forward-thinking to make sure my posts go out with fewer unforeseen changes to the schedule. Rather than drafting blog posts on the night they’re going live, I’m more likely to draft them a day or two ahead of time. It is a compromise, but equally not a perfect approach either. I have had a blog post delayed slightly since going back this way. But, for the most part, things go out as expected.

Overall, I would say that I have made progress towards this goal somewhat, even if it is not in the way I envisioned at the beginning of the year. And, it’s one of those things that will be constantly evolving. Sometimes, it will be a benefit to draft the week ahead of time, and I will do so. Likewise, sometimes it’s not possible and I will just have to manage my time and roll with it.

 

Read more Non-fiction

An additional goal I added to my resolutions in July 2022 was to read more non-fiction. You know me, I am very heavy in the fantasy and science-fiction genres. I really enjoy reading these, as well as other fiction novels. However, I like to learn new things. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. Naturally, these are the kind of itches I can scratch with a non-fiction novel. When I drafted my midyear review in July, I set up my intention to add at least one non-fiction novel to each month for TBR, which I did.

However, I didn’t always read a non-fiction book in each month up until the end of the year. In a lot of cases, my chosen non-fiction read was downloaded in audiobook format, which is my slowest way of reading. As a result, it often took me longer to finish my non-fiction reads than I anticipated. At the end of the year, I succeeded in reading three non-fiction novels. An additional novel I had started by the end of the year, but not finished, was Queen of Our Times by Robert Jordan.

Admittedly, in the second half of the year, I read as many non-fiction books after setting the goal as I did before I set it. However, I did have more non-fiction books on my TBR; picking them up was a more conscious decision. It was something I was deliberately making time for rather than just allowing to happen naturally.

I wasn’t so successful in completing this goal. If you have read my 2023 resolutions post, you will know I have set myself a similar, but slightly different goal towards this end. This is something I can definitely work on more, and that is my intention in 2023.

 

So, those are my thoughts on how well I did (or didn’t) do in completing my 2022 resolutions! Did you set yourself any resolutions last year? How did you do? Have you set any goals for this year?

 

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Monthly TBR – January 2023

I’m very excited to be sharing my very first TBR with you of 2023! January is always a good month for reading as I’m excited by the clean slate.

This year, I’m starting my January TBR with a book I’ve carried over from December last year. It’s quite a short read and one that I’m making good progress with already despite the number of blogging hours I’ve put in this week! And, there are plenty more to come.

As I started doing last year, I’m going to set myself a few fixed reads that I would like to get through in the month. I’m also going to set some mood reads that will be a reflection of what I want to pick up when I draft my TBR, but I can change in the month if I wish. I’ve found this approach really works for me, as it focuses me on the things I need to read, but also allows that bit of flexibility if and when things change.

Enough preamble – let’s get into the books I plan to pick up in January!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

The Secret Library

The Secret Library was on my December 2022 TBR, but I only got around to it right at the end of the month. As I have done in previous months, I underestimated the amount of time it takes to make progress with books in the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb. As a result, I didn’t get anywhere near finished with my December TBR.

I started January having read the first of nine chapters in The Secret Library, and this is my current read as of drafting this post. I am already just over halfway through the book and it is a compelling read. If you like books about books (especially little-known books), then the tidbits of knowledge in this book will appeal to you as they do to me.

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

The Secret History was also on my December TBR, as a TBR Jar pick. I decided to set this jar up as a means of randomising my reading list a little bit and to encourage me to pick up books at times when I wouldn’t necessarily do so by choice. It’s a means of broadening my horizons.

So, I didn’t get around to it in December for the same reasons above. That is why The Secret History is on the fixed side of my January TBR. I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time, as I have heard great things from multiple sources about it. Having read other books within the same genre last year and really enjoyed them, I’m excited to see what this book holds.

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a fixed read on my reading list as it is the featured book in Ezeekat’s online book club this month.

I joined this club in time for last month’s read of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and that proved to be a fantastic read. Whilst it wasn’t on my reading list as yet, it was on my radar and I probably would have read it at some point anyway. I really enjoyed this book, so naturally, I’m excited to see what this next read brings.

Having read the synopsis of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I really like the sound of it. As someone who enjoys gaming as well as reading and crafting and everything else I do, I have something in common with the main characters. I’m hoping that relatability will add to my enjoyment of the overall book.

I have seen this book around on social media, but I wouldn’t have picked it up unless it was part of the club. It will be interesting to see what my perception of the book is after I’ve read it, as this is a true test of using online book clubs to push my reading boundaries… because this is exactly the scenario I’ve been looking for.

 

Mood Reads

 

After You

It was a conversation with my friends before Christmas that inspired me to read this book in January. I threw myself a curveball a few years ago and picked up Me before you by Jojo Moyes. It is not the kind of book I would normally read, however, it was great. It made me cry bucketloads, but it was a really, really good book.

I didn’t know much about this second book of the series, After You. It was the discussion amongst my friends that enlightened me as to what this book is about. It’s a difficult one to talk about without letting on the events of the first book, but to explain as briefly as I can, this book deals with the aftermath and the conclusion of the first book. Given the way that it ended, and how this second book has been explained to me, I feel like reading this as a follow-up will be a good way of resolving my feelings about the first book. It also ties in nicely with my goal this year of finishing series!

 

The House of Fortune

Speaking of that goal, here is another book towards that end! One of the open series I have at the moment is The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I read the first book a good few years ago now (and if I recall correctly, it was around Christmas/New Year as well). I have been aware that there has been a follow-up book to pick up, but I just haven’t gotten around to it since its publication last year.

This month, I am making that effort. Once I’ve read this book, I can happily tick a series off my list!

 

The Chimp Paradox

I’m also working towards another reading goal in this last pick for my January TBR. The Chimp Paradox will be my second non-fiction read of the month, making for a very good start towards my goal of reading more than 15 non-fiction books throughout the year.

I have seen this out and about quite a few times of late. I even considered picking up a copy of this book during my recent trip to Waterstones. However, as it is a new book by a new author, I ultimately decided to either borrow the book or get a copy on my kindle instead.

Based on the synopsis and flip through in the bookstore, I’m interested to see what angle this book takes and whether I find anything in it useful in terms of personal development. I’ve seen recommendations for it, so I am optimistic that it will be an insightful read!

 

So, those are the six books on my January TBR! A few of the books I picked for this list are on the shorter side, so I’m optimistic to make good progress in this TBR.

Have you read any of the books on this list, and would you recommend? What are you reading right now? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

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2023 Reading Resolutions!

With the beginning of a brand-new year, it is prime time to talk about my reading resolutions for 2023!

With the exception of my blog, I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. Frankly, I don’t stick to them. However, since reading is a big part of my life, setting myself targets within this is a lot easier for me to do rather than begin a new habit from scratch.

I’m going to be talking about my reading resolutions from last year in a post later this week – today’s post is all about what I’m looking to do in the next 12 months!

Let’s dive in!

 

Goodreads Challenge – Read 50 Books

Last year I succeeded in reading 47 books over the course of the year. It’s not the most I’ve read in any one year, but it is significantly more than I read in 2021 (approx. 25 books).

In 2021, I suffered from burnout. When I set myself my reading goal of 40 books for 2022, it was to get myself back into the habit of reading, but at a pace I could sustain. My burnout was in part caused by the pandemic, moving house, changes at work and being overzealous with prior reading goals.

Over the course of 2022, I found that I was more than able to reach that goal whilst not compromising on other things I want to do. I’ve had plenty of time to study and extend my qualification for work. I have enjoyed a number of creative projects, such as knitting and cross-stitching. Most importantly though, I’ve spent time with friends and family. Overall, it has been a very good, healthy balance.

Do I think I could have read a little bit more? Well, obviously. I have done in the past without causing harm or burnout. This year, my reading resolution is to stretch myself a little, but maintain the exact same balance that I am enjoying right now. If I can read anywhere near this amount then I’m happy… whether that’s over or under. Obviously, I prefer it to be a little over – I’m trying to stretch myself just that little bit. But, not so much that I burn out again. It’s not worth it.

 

Read >15 non-fiction books

This resolution is probably the greatest stretch of this year. In the second half of 2022, I set out to start reading more non-fiction. I was aiming for one book a month, but I didn’t quite achieve that.

This year, rather than committing myself to one a month, I am being a little bit more flexible in when I can read the books. But, I still want to make a commitment to read them. So, I’ve set myself a challenge of reading a minimum of 15 non-fiction throughout the year. I have a number on my TBR that I really need to get around to and read. It is the genre (that I consider myself to read) that gets the least attention from me. I want to change that.

The non-fiction books I have read so far are useful and insightful. In 2022 I enjoyed the change from reading the same or similar genres all the time. I’m hoping by committing myself to read non-fiction more that I can learn a lot of new things that I don’t know already. You never know, these facts might come in handy for future pub quizzes I end up in. Probably not knowing my luck…

 

Read 30 Minutes Daily

This is a goal I am setting, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t do it every single day. The purpose of setting this goal is to help build up and maintain a regular reading habit once again.

I used to read pretty much every day without fail. More recently, I am more likely to read for slightly longer sittings, but only 3/4 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that’s a lot more than most people do. However, I want to try and get myself back in the habit of reading on a daily basis – even if I can only commit to 30 minutes. This is what I used to do back in the days when I was just getting back into reading. I was taking a book with me before bed.

It all adds up!

 

Finish Book Series

Another of the larger commitments I am making to myself about my reading is that this year, when I’m not reading non-fiction, I’m going to chip away at book series I have already started but I’m yet to finish.

Previously, I have read what I liked, when I liked. This has meant that to date, I have approximately 30 book series which I’ve started but not finished. For a handful of these 30, I am up-to-date. However, I know there is going to be a future book or books and so the series is staying on the list, even though I can’t make progress right now. That’s more because I don’t want them to get forgotten about. And if I’m painfully honest, it’s not that many (4?).

So, you will find that this year, I am going to be spending more time reading sequels than I am ‘new’ books. That’s not to say I’m not going to let myself start anything new at all this year. However, before I allow myself to start a new series, I have to take at least one series off the list (be that by completing a series in full, or by reading all the books published to date). Maybe even at this starting point, I’m going to say that I have to take two off for every new one I start to make sure it starts going down!

I can work out the logistics of how I manage this as I go. However, for the purposes of this reading resolution post, my resolution for the end of this year is to have fewer than 30 ongoing series as I have right now. No pressure Rebecca!

 

So, as of the 3rd of January 2023, those are my reading resolutions for the upcoming year. As in previous years, I will review these goals on a regular basis to measure my progress against them, and also decide if any of them are no longer relevant, or if I want to add anything!

No matter how big or small, setting yourself a goal can be all the motivation you need to try something different.

Have you set yourself any reading resolutions or goals for 2023?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – December 2022

Today begins the start of a very busy week, catching up with my month and year-end reviews for 2022, as well as introducing my 2023 goals and reading list! Today’s post is my monthly wrap-up for December 2022. As usual, I’ll be recapping the books I read throughout the month.

Whilst I was hoping to have read around five books in December, it didn’t pan out that way. I should’ve known when I put a Robin Hobb on my TBR that it was not going to be a quick read. I always underestimate how long these are going to take!

Let’s dive into my monthly wrap-up in earnest and check out which books I read in December.

 

Books Read

Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan

The first book I read in December was Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. I read this as part of Ezeekat’s online book club hosted via Fable. I had been considering joining one for some time as I want to stretch my reading and start picking up books I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself. Having followed his Instagram for a while, there are plenty of overlaps with the books I read, but also enough variety that I get the stretch I’m looking for.

As it happens, this month’s pick – Daughter of the Moon Goddess – was already on my radar. It wasn’t on my TBR as yet, but I think it would’ve ended up being on it.

I’m glad I picked this up! I read a lot of fantasy, however, it tends to be very westernised fantasy. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is entirely different in that the fantastical world behind the events are based around Chinese mythology. It was a completely different setting that I was used to, and a lot of the characters and their development was very different. It was a refreshing change to read a book from a completely different setting and it’s something that I am going to try and do again!

 

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb

The next and last book I completed in full in December was Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. I really enjoyed this first instalment of The Liveship Traders trilogy. Having read and enjoyed the Farseer trilogy earlier this year, I knew I wanted to keep up the pace with reading the Realm of the Elderlings series.

But, as with all Hobb books I have read to date, they are quite the marathon. They are not small books in any case, but they are also very dense. There is a lot going on, and you cannot race through them. With every single book so far, I have underestimated the amount of time it was going to take me to read. Ship of Magic is 880 pages long, and in the average week I was reading somewhere between 200 and 300 pages. I think the only reason I succeeded in completing this book before the end of the year is because I had the week off work prior to Christmas. In that week, I read the last 360 odd pages – quite substantial! In context, I could be reading that number of pages as a whole book in itself!

 

The Secret Library – Oliver Tearle

The last book I started in December was very late to the party. I started this on the evening of the 31st of December, more because I was in the mood to pick it up more than anything. I knew I wasn’t going to be finishing the book for my December wrap-up or have it count towards my end-of-year reading total. But, that doesn’t matter. I only read a small amount of this book as a means of introduction to it – the first chapter, or approximately 10%.

So far, it’s an interesting little book. If you, like me, or a fan of books and are interested to learn a little bit about literature itself, then I’d recommend this book to you already. It’s one of those books that will be a very quick read, but there’s still plenty to learn from it!

 

So, that’s the end of my monthly wrap-up post – you’re up to date with my December reading! Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be back again tomorrow with another blog post all about my 2023 resolutions – I hope you can join me for that!

Until then, happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st January 2023

Happy New Year friends! Welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year as I did.

In previous years, I have taken the time off between Christmas and New Year from blogging. However, I decided not to do that this year as I didn’t feel like I needed it. So, business was very much as usual.

On Thursday (slightly later than the planned date of Wednesday), I shared my review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. As I said, I was hoping to get this out on Wednesday. However, by Wednesday evening I felt the review needed a little bit more work and polish before it went live. In the grand scheme of things, I thought it was more important to allow the extra day for that to happen. If you’re interested in my review and haven’t checked it out, there’s a link above for your convenience.

On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. I featured the sequel to a young adult fantasy series I started in 2018. The motivation behind this post was to get excited to pick up this sequel later this year. Having read the opening lines and the synopsis, that is definitely the plan! If you want to check out what that feature was, you can find a link to that post here.

 

Books Read

Despite having family over a couple of days after Christmas, and then going back to work, I’ve still made really good reading progress. Last week I was just over 500 pages through Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. For the most part, progress with this book has been slow but steady. In my opinion, these aren’t books that you can ingest at high speed. They are dense, and there is a sizable page count to go with that.

This week, I had just over 360 pages to the end of this book, and I read every single one of them! It’s the most progress I’ve made on this book in any one week since I picked it up; I’m really happy with myself for that. Overall I really enjoyed the book. If I had one comment, I would say that it doesn’t need to be 880 pages long.

Then, yesterday, I started The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle. I already knew that I wasn’t going to be finishing this book in 2022. Although it is relatively short at 250 odd pages, that’s too much to read in one evening. Not impossible, but not likely either. Nevertheless, I decided to start it anyway as I was in the mood.

As of this Sunday Summary, I am one chapter in, equating to 11% and I am enjoying it so far. It’s full of interesting tidbits of knowledge related to literature, and I’m intrigued as to what I will learn from the rest of the book. Given that I managed to read this small section in a relatively short amount of time, this will be a quick read. Compared to Ship of Magic, it will be a very quick read! And, my first read of 2023!

 

Books Discovered

I was a very lucky girl and received a book voucher for Christmas from my mum and dad.

Needless to say, I was down at the bookshop at (almost) the earliest opportunity to spend it. As I was coming to the end of Ship of Magic by this point, I knew I wanted to try and get my hands on the next books in the series – The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny. Thankfully, Waterstones had both of these books in stock for the first time since I started looking for them. Needless to say, I promptly whisked them both off the shelf.

On my way down from a browse of the self-help section upstairs, I came across a few sale items they had left. One book in that section caught my eye. It’s a contemporary novel, which as you know, isn’t really the sort of thing I pick up on a regular basis. It was the title that grasped my attention; In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström. After picking it up and reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to give this a try.

 

Coming Up…

The first week of January is always manic for a blogger like me, and this week coming is no exception!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my monthly wrap-up for December 2022. As usual, I will recap the books I read throughout the month and share links to the blog posts drafted and published in that period.

On Tuesday I am back with another post – I will be sharing my reading resolutions for 2023. With the exception of reading, I’m not one for setting resolutions. However, I prepared a list of things I would like to achieve in my 2023 reading about a month ago and I haven’t changed my mind on any of them. So, those are going to be my reading goals and I look forward to sharing them with you on Tuesday.

Thursday’s post will be my January 2023 TBR. We are already a few days into the month at that point and I may well have finished my first book at the time I share this post. However, I have a number of fantastic books on the reading list and I’m excited to share them with you!

On Friday, I will be publishing my review of 2022. In that post, I’ll be talking about the reading goals I set for myself this time last year and how I feel I completed them. I will also be talking about what worked and what didn’t so well so that I can take that feedback on board for a better reading year in 2023.

And as if that’s not enough already, I’ll be back at the same time next week with my Sunday Summary update! I’m hoping to make some reading progress amongst all the blogging, but we’ll have to see. Join me next week to find out!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary.

What are you currently reading? Have you set yourself any reading goals for 2023?

 

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Sunday Summary – 25th December 2022

Good evening everybody – I hope you have had a lovely Christmas if you celebrate it, and a lovely day otherwise if not!

Whilst this post is intended to go live on Sunday, I do confess to drafting this week’s ‘reading progress’ as of Saturday night. If I’m honest, I’m not expecting to make any real reading progress on Sunday that will materially impact this post as I’m hosting our family Christmas celebrations this year!

Before we jump into this week’s reading progress, let’s quickly recap the posts shared with you this week! On Friday (admittedly a little later than initially planned), I shared my take on the 20 Questions Book Tag. I thought this post would be a fun way to share something of myself, but also it would be a nice and easy post to draft ahead of Christmas. Because I’ve been off work, my routine was off and that contributed to the lateness of this post. This also meant that my planned regular Friday feature post didn’t happen.

Then yesterday, I shared a short and sweet festive post. I just wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge the festive season and how fortunate we are to be together at this time.

 

Books Read

My primary focus this week has been to make further progress with reading Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was around 270 pages into the book. This week, I’ve squeezed in a good deal more reading and I am now a healthier 519 pages in! I’ve been doing a lot of preparations this week for Christmas, so I’m happy with the amount I’ve read. These books are chunky and quite dense, so there’s a lot to take in from what I’ve already read. In terms of managing my own expectations on reading pace, I need to learn these aren’t books you can read quickly. 

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been very lucky to receive some bookish gifts today. I received two books for Christmas this year (in addition to a book token that will very gratefully be spent sometime soon no doubt!)

Both books received are already on my TBR, so thankfully, my reading list isn’t getting longer. I received both Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is the last week of 2022. In previous years I have taken a break from blogging between Christmas and New Year. However, I’ve decided not to this year. Instead, I’m going to be posting as normal.

On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my last book review of 2022. In that post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. Having concluded my re-read of the book series earlier this year, it’s about time I got on with my reviews of it!

Later in the week I’ll be back with my usual Friday feature. This week’s post ended up getting missed, so I’ll be posting it next week instead.

As always, I’ll conclude the week with my first Sunday Summary of 2023!

Have you had a good Christmas?

 

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Sunday Summary – 18th December 2022

Good evening everybody and welcome back to another Sunday Summary update post. I cannot believe that we are just one week away from Christmas day! Are you ready for it?

Earlier this week I shared my first audiobook review in quite some time. In that post, I shared my thoughts on the first book of the Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell, Traitor’s Blade. If you enjoy fantasy with in-depth world-building and lots of action, then I can certainly recommend Traitor’s Blade. I would especially recommend the audio as it is performed very well!

For this week’s regular Friday feature, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post, I discuss a historical non-fiction novel on my TBR. I’m looking forward to reading this one as it will help me fill a gap in my knowledge of British history. It sounds like it’s full of interesting facts that will give me the opportunity to view England in a completely different light. If you’re intrigued to find out what the book is, you can find a link to that post here.

 

Books Read

I had a fantastic reading week last week. That’s not to say that this one hasn’t been a good one, but rather, I’ve had bits and pieces to do to get ready for Christmas and that has impacted my reading time.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I was 136 pages into Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This week, I have read a similar page count, taking me to chapter 12 which is 271 pages in. It’s not the most progress in the world, but I have really enjoyed this book this week. I am also going to be reading some more of the book tonight before going to bed, so I will have some more progress by the end of the night.

I expect to make a significant amount of progress with this book next week as I have the week off work! Whilst I will be getting the house ready for Christmas, you can bet that I will be making time for reading and relaxing ahead of the big day. I can’t think of a better book to do it with!

 

Books Discovered

Over the last couple of week’s I’ve added a number of books to my TBR. That is not the case for this week (thankfully!) I think I’ve added enough recently, and inevitably, I may be adding a few more very soon.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve decided to share something a little bit different this week. I am winding down a bit for Christmas, but I thought it would be fun to take part in the 20 questions book tag. This covers everything from book format preferences to how and where I like to read. It’s a fun post that will give you the opportunity to get to know me a little better!

On Friday, I’ll be sharing a First Lines Friday post. At the moment I haven’t christened how I’m going to decide next week’s feature – I’ll just see how I go! This will be my last FLF feature of the year. That’s a scary thought…

I also have an additional surprise post going live on Saturday. I’m giving nothing away about this one, so you’ll just have to check out the blog to see what it is.

Given that Sunday is the big day, I may or may not get around to sharing a Sunday Summary update with you. I’ll probably try and draft most of this ahead of time and chuck it out into the world if I have the chance. If not, I might publish it a little late on Monday instead.

For now, that is all from me! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and look forward to seeing you in the next one!

 

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