Tag: book love

Discussion Post – How Many Books is Too Many?

How many books is too many?

Naturally this will differ for everybody. How do you know how many is too many for you?

This number can change over time, just to make things more difficult. I have varied from reading 2-3 books one year to 72 another since leaving school. I’ve been consistently nearer the top of that range in recent years, but it could go the other way again later down the line.

So, how do you decide how many is too many, and what to do if you get close to that limit?


Storage Space

Physical space is probably one of my biggest restrictions when it come to paperback or hardback books. I have a little more space now compared to when I lived in my flat. However, it’s still a relative premium.

I have less restriction when it comes to e-books and that reflects in the number I have. It’s my largest collection by far, and always will be greater than my physical collection by nature. The only possible competitor here is audiobooks for the same reason of digital formatting. However, I typically read less in this format (at least right now).

Admittedly, I probably have too many physical books at the moment. My bookshelves, such as they are currently, are overflowing. However, this is something I manage periodically and I’ll donate unwanted copies. Even still, I’ll have to have a long hard think about picking up any more physical books until my next clear down!


Time to read

Depending on why you are collecting your books, there’s a good argument to keeping your collection proportionate to a realistic expectation of being able to read them all. That’s not always the case, though! If you’re collecting them just because they are of high-value, a specific collection or look pretty, then you do you! Have as many as you like.

A lot of readers fall into the trap of acquiring so many books that they will struggle to get to them.


If I’m honest, I think I’m nowhere near this bad. I do have several hundred books across all formats, but those include the ones I’ve read too. I’m not far off a 50/50 split comparing read/unread books. 

If I were to go on a complete book buying ban and focus only on the owned unread copies I have, my reading list is about five years long… but, I’m young and I have plenty of time to read them yet!

At least, I hope so…

 

The Plan

The Plan. Capital P.

After my most recent book haul in Liverpool, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to put a lid on my spending (full stop, but especially when it comes to books). I had a great time doing it, but I do need to focus on reading the books I have rather than getting copies of new ones.

As I’m not reading for blog tours or specifically acquiring new books for many reasons at the moment, this shouldn’t be a difficult task. The only exception here is our new book club at work, but I’ll always try libraries or alternative ways of getting books first.


How many books do you own? Are you on a book buying ban?

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Monthly TBR – July 2024

Given we’re about a third of the way into July, I’m overdue sharing my monthly TBR, no?

In today’s post I have a great range of books to share that I plan for read in the next few weeks. You’ll have seen a good few of them before as they are carryovers. At the same time, I have a few new faces too, so let’s get stuck in!

 

Fixed Reads


You Coach You

My last current read and carryover is You Coach You by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis.

As of this monthly TBR I have actually just finished this audiobook this morning. However, I spent at least a couple of hours this month getting to that point so it’s going on this TBR to mark that progress effort.

I’ve enjoyed this audio so much and see the value in its content that I’ve just ordered a paperback copy to refer back to and re-read in future!


Master of Sorrows


Master of Sorrows is on yet another monthly TBR… but not as a non-starter this time!

I’ve been trying to read the book since February and I finally started it last month. It is, however, a current read so it makes it onto July’s monthly TBR as a carryover. Can I say, may it please be the last?!

I’m about halfway through the book, so there’s no reason I won’t be completing this soon!


Obsidio

Another carryover from my June TBR is Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

I started this last book in the Illuminae files trilogy last month after accidentally leaving Master of Sorrows at work. It’s been a refreshing change to read a mixed media book again! It’ll also be even better to be able to mark this series as complete once I’ve finished it. I’ll be sad to see it end, but there is another sci-fi series they’ve co-written I could pick up…

As of this post, I’m around a third of the way into the book. It’s a quick read, so again, I expect to finish it before long.


Mood Reads


The Other People

The only book on my June TBR I didn’t get to is The Other People by C.J. Tudor. It’s mum’s favourite book of hers so far, so I’m really looking forward to reading it this month instead.

I haven’t picked up a mystery novel at all this year, so it will make a refreshing change! I’ve enjoyed two of C.J. Tudor’s books already, so I have high hopes for this one!


Defiant

With my Mid Year Check In and Summer TBR posts still fresh in my mind, I’m adding a book to this monthly TBR that will earn me another series completion.

Defiant is the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series. Honestly, I’ll be sad to get to the end of it, but I also want to see how Spensa’s story ends. For a series to which I’m not the target demographic, I’m getting on with it really well. Equally, I haven’t met a Sanderson book I’ve disliked…

Let’s hope I’ve met jinxed it!


The Power of Habit

Another selection with my 2024 reading goals in mind is a recent acquisition. The Power of Habit is both a non-fiction book and will, with any luck, help towards my blogging goal of using social media more!

In theory this is a win-win read, but we’ll see how that works out in practice.


Summary

July’s monthly TBR reflects a reading month in which I plan to catch up with ongoing reads. However, there are also a couple of new books I’m introducing here. I’m not planning a long list that I think is unachievable, so here’s to a productive month! 

 

Have you read any of the books on this monthly TBR? Do you have any tips on how I can get better at making social media a habit?

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2024 Mid Year Check In!

Hello friends – after a week off it’s great to be back! In today’s mid year check in post, I’m taking a look at progress against my 2024 reading resolutions…

When I set my 2024 New Year Resolutions, I was ambitious in my goal-setting. I had a fresh start, plenty of reading motivation and a stack of great books. I still have that fab stack… and the motivation, but what I have encountered is a change of circumstances in the time I have available.

In January I read a whopping eight books, if that gives you an idea of the mindset I was in. However, at the beginning of February I started seeing my boyfriend. As such, my time available and priorities changed from then on. I’m still reading and blogging as they are hobbies I love. But, simply put, I don’t have the same amount of time for it.

And that’s okay! As you’ll see below, I’m still very happy with the amount I’m reading; I’ve not had to compromise the blog schedule yet either. But, I’m naturally not in a position to push myself in the same way as I anticipated at the beginning of the year.

Let’s take a look at the goals I set myself and check in on my progress against them.

 

Reading Goals: –

Goal: Goodreads Challenge – 60 Books

Current Progress: 23/60 Books Read

As of this mid year check in post, I am a little behind with this reading goal. But, given the change in circumstances I’m very happy with how much I’m still reading.

In some ways I have adapted my reading style in order to keep up. I’m listening to more audiobooks compared with last year and making the most of time available to listen. For example, I listen to a lot of audio whilst driving in the car, or even when pottering around the house cleaning or tidying.

Another change is that I’m not taking part as many blog tours as I was before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however. With the amount of books I have on the back list, it’s sensible that I am now looking to prioritise that over new releases. It also works well with another reading goal I feature in this check in… but I’ll cover that later.

 

Goal: Read >15 non-fiction

Current Progress: 5/15 NF Books Read

Although I am also a little behind on the reading of non-fiction for this year, it’s interesting to note that the percentage progress is not dissimilar to that of my Goodreads Challenge. In short, if I was reading enough books to get completion in that challenge by the end of the year, I would also meet this one.

As of drafting this check in update, I have completed five non-fiction reads this year. In addition to those, I am also currently listening to You Coach You by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis. So, I’m fast approaching 6/15.

The good thing about covering these reading goals is that it gives me the opportunity to adjust how I am tackling them. Now that I know I’m a little behind schedule, I’ll make more time to pick up non-fiction more frequently than I do currently. It won’t be a dramatic change, but it is a change I can control.

It works in my favour that I have been adding and picking up more non-fiction books to my TBR of late. I have plenty to choose from and get stuck into!

 

Goal: Finish 10 series by the end of the year

Current Progress: 5/10 series up to date or finished

I thought my progress against this goal would be terrible, but I find myself surprised. In order to assess myself against this goal in this check in, I am including completion of finished series (obviously), but also current ongoing series that I’m up-to-date with.

For example, I have been reading the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles by M.J. Porter in the last few years. As of this check in post, I have read all five of the five currently published books in the series. I physically cannot read any more of the series right now, so that counts as a point.

As of this post, I have caught up-to-date with, or have completed, five out of ten series. That puts me right on track! As a bonus, I will soon complete Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s The Illuminae Files. I don’t think any adjustments need to be made with regards to how I’m approaching this goal – I just need to keep it in perspective when setting my monthly reading lists to make sure it remains a priority.

 

Blogging Goals: –

Make Social Media a Habit

In my resolution post, I set myself a brand-new goal for the year, and I confess this one has fallen off a cliff.

With the change of circumstances and all that, I have not been very good with social media this year. In truth, I haven’t seriously considered my Instagram account since late February and I’m just as pitiful on Threads, Facebook et al.

This is something I do want to get back to, but I need to be more realistic about how I fit this in. When I set myself this goal I wanted to try to structure and curate my content a little more artistically and thoughtfully.

If I’m honest with myself, I need to be more realistic in my expectations for the time commitment I can put into social media. As of right now, this is a prompt for me to try and get back on social media full stop. Low expectations, no drastic plans for improvement or anything like that. Get back to posting on the platforms more regularly.

I’ll take that as a win if I can achieve that by the end of the year!

Thanks for reading today’s mid year check in!

What reading goals did you set yourself in 2024 and how are you progressing towards them?

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First Lines Friday – 28/06/2024

Welcome to another First Lines Friday post! In my Sunday Summary post last week, I shared that I was keeping the subject of this First Lines Friday feature open to a decision nearer the time.

I’ve decided for this post to share an upcoming read. As of this post, I have read three out of the four books in the series, with just this last one to catch up on until I can mark the series as complete!

So, without further ado, let’s get into this First Lines Friday feature shall we?


I floated in a void of nothing.

And felt like I belonged there.

So strange. I was a creature of flesh and blood. I knew that. Yet my soul – part of it at least – felt more at home here. In a vast void of meaningless time. The nowhere.

 


Defiant- Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Science fiction

Pages: 415

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 21 Nov 2023

Goodreads – Defiant

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes the final book in an epic series about a girl who will travel beyond the stars to save the world she loves from destruction.

Spensa made it out of the Nowhere, but what she saw in the space between the stars has changed her forever. She came face to face with the Delvers, and finally got answers to the questions she’s had about her own strange Cytonic gifts. 

The Superiority didn’t stop in it’s fight for galactic dominance while she was gone, though. Spensa’s team, Skyward Flight, was able to hold Winzik off, and even collect allies to help with the cause, but it’s only a matter of time until humanity–and the rest of the galaxy–falls. 

Defeating them will require all the knowledge Spensa gathered while in the Nowhere. But being Cytonic is more complicated than she ever could have imagined. Now, Spensa must ask herself: how far is she willing to go for victory, if it means losing herself–and her friends–in the process.


My Thoughts…

Defiant is on this year‘s Summer TBR as I want to catch up with and finish this last instalment of the series.

For just a couple of months last year, I was up-to-date until Defiant was released in November. I’m not mad though! I am really enjoying this series to date even though I’m older than the target audience. Angsty teenager is a difficult character type to get right and for me to get on with. I’ve always been a bit of an old soul so I’ve struggled to relate to this kind of character before.

Not Spensa though. Is she incredibly feisty, spontaneous and a little bit reckless? Absolutely. Is this kind of person I would normally jive with? Not really. However, she works really well for me.

To be fair, there isn’t a Brandon Sanderson novel yet that I’ve not loved. I hope I haven’t jinxed it, but I’m quietly confident this will be another fantastic read.


Thanks for reading today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Defiant yet?

 

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Book Review: Invisible Women – Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez is a book that will naturally gravitate to more of a female audience. However, I would stress the importance of everybody reading this book. There is a lot of content in here that puts into perspective the female experience and why we are on the back foot of society.

From women in poorer countries being afraid to use the communal bathroom at night for fear of assault, to female crash test dummies not being regularly used when developing safety features in cars, there’s a lot to unpack!


Invisible Women – Caroline Criado Perez

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 411

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Portfolio

Publication Date: 12 Mar 2019

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Goodreads –  Invisible Women

 

Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives.

HELL YES. This is one of those books that has the potential to change things – a monumental piece of research’ Caitlin Moran

Imagine a world where…

· Your phone is too big for your hand

· Your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body

· In a car accident you are 47% more likely to be injured.

If any of that sounds familiar, chances are you’re a woman.

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences. Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the profound impact this has on us all.


My Thoughts

If you feel women are under represented in society, then Invisible Women will reinforce that belief. The book focuses on data bias and how women are pushed to the background by an absence of data.

If you’ve ever wondered why speech recognition software picks up and understands the male voice better than a woman’s, it is because the data provided to the software in development is skewed by data bias. Sample data used features the male voice compared to female representation.

In the same example of vehicles above, car safety standards do not account for female differences in bone density and anatomical differences. In the past, women have been represented in tests with a scaled down male dummy. And even then, only until recently, in the passenger seat only…

It is these examples and more beside that should make readers angry. Although a non-fiction book, I found Invisible Women interesting and provocative in the right way. It made me want to advocate for my rights as a woman and for all the others out there who are currently not treated fairly.

The book covers a wide range of topics. From  personal to the workplace, and far more besides. There is something we can all relate to in this book. It goes a long way to stress that the problem is not limited to a small subset of the population. It affects all women.


Summary

I have gone on to recommend Invisible Women to a few people now, and it is out on loan at the moment to a friend of mine. Here I recommend it to you. Although it will naturally gravitate more towards women in the audience it attracts, I stress it’s important for everyone to read this book.


Have you read Invisible Women? Does it grab your attention and make you want to read it?

 

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First Lines Friday – 14/06/2024

Last time I shared a First Lines Friday post I featured a non-fiction novel coming up on my TBR. For this post, I deliberately wanted to feature a recent fiction book I purchased by an author I’ve enjoyed re-reading recently.

I found this book at Waterstones unintentionally, but I loved the synopsis and I’m confident I’ll really enjoy the story. The opening lines below only reinforce that.

Let me share that with you now –


They kill my father first.

Shiny boots ring on the stairs as they march into our cell, four of them all in a pretty row. Blank faces and perfect skin, matte grey pistols in red, red hands. A beautiful man with golden hair says they’re here to execute us. No explanations. No apologies.

Father turns towards us, and the terror in his eyes breaks my heart to splinters. I open my mouth to speak to him, but I don’t know what I’ll say.

The bullets catch him in his back, and bloody flowers bloom on his chest. My sisters scream as the muzzles flash and the shadows dance, and the noise is so loud, I’m afraid I’ll never hear anything ever again.

 


Lifel1k3 – Jay Kristoff

Genre: Post apocalyptic fantasy

Pages: 417

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 Jun 2018


Goodreads – LIfel1k3

It’s just another day on the Scrap: lose the last of your credits at the WarDome, dodge the gangs and religious fanatics, discover you can destroy electronics with your mind, stumble upon the deadliest robot ever built…

When Eve finds the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend and her robotic sidekick in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, battle cyborg assassins, and scour abandoned megacities to save the ones she loves…and learn the dark secrets of her past.


My Thoughts…

I picked up this book entirely because it is written by Jay Kristoff and I have confidence in his writing. After looking at it for content for this First Lines Friday post, I may end up picking it up soon for a refreshing change.  

I’m intrigued by the post apocalyptic setting as this is something I have read in the past, but admittedly, I don’t read a lot of. Combine this with the evident tech that has a place in this world, and we’re in for an interesting mashup!

If I go onto enjoy this first because as much as I think I will, then what a shame that it’s the first part of a trilogy. I’ll just have to conclude the series, right?!

Do you like the sound of Lifel1k3? Have you enjoyed this First Lines Friday post?

 

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Audiobook Review: Ordinary Heroes – Joseph Pfeifer

Ordinary Heroes by Joseph Pfeifer is a harrowing read for its subject matter. The 9/11 terror attack at the World Trade Centre is an event even I can just about recall seeing on TV. I wasn’t yet old enough to understand what terrorism was, but the significance of the event still shapes our lives today.

 

Ordinary Heroes – Joseph Pfeifer

Genre: Non-fiction /memoir

Pages: 256

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Portfolio

Publication Date: 07 Sept 2021

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Goodreads –  Ordinary Heroes

From the first FDNY chief to respond to the 9/11 attacks, an intimate memoir and a tribute to those who died that others might live

When Chief Joe Pfeifer led his firefighters to investigate an odor of gas in downtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11, he had no idea that his life was about to change forever. A few moments later, he watched as the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Pfeifer, the closest FDNY chief to the scene, spearheaded rescue efforts on one of the darkest days in American history.

Ordinary Heroes is the unforgettable and intimate account of what Chief Pfeifer witnessed at Ground Zero, on that day and the days that followed. Through his eyes, we see the horror of the attack and the courage of the firefighters who ran into the burning towers to save others. We see him send his own brother up the stairs of the North Tower, never to return. And we walk with him and his fellow firefighters through weeks of rescue efforts and months of numbing grief, as they wrestle with the real meaning of heroism and leadership.

This gripping narrative gives way to resiliency and a determination that permanently reshapes Pfeifer, his fellow firefighters, NYC, and America. Ordinary Heroes takes us on a journey that turns traumatic memories into hope, so we can make good on our promise to never forget 9/11.

 

My Thoughts

If you are looking for a detailed and personal account of one of the chief firefighters on the ground during 9/11 then Ordinary Heroes is the perfect book to pick up. Starting from the beginning of that fateful day, Joe recounts his perspective of the disaster unfolding and the fallout of the terror attack.

Ordinary Heroes is just one perspective in a huge event in recent history. However, it is a prominent perspective and very personal and insightful. I have watched several documentaries about the event but never have I come across this kind of perspective before. Admittedly, I had also never really realised how long the aftermath of the event was felt by New York more locally, but also the world. I was only a young child when this happened. As an adult I have taken an interest in the subject from time to time, but there is still much I do not know. I have no doubt that there is much that will never be known about that day and the lives of the people affected.

Ordinary Heroes honours those who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also proudly gives thanks to the innumerable service men and women in every emergency services department who sacrificed and in some cases lost their lives trying to protect others. I already have a lot of respect for people like Joe who put themselves in the firing line and risk their lives. After reading Ordinary Heroes, that’s even more the case.


Summary

If you’re looking for a non-fiction book that memorialises a prominent period of history in a respectful manner, together with unique insight, Ordinary Heroes is a book I strongly recommend. I thoroughly enjoyed the perspective and I learned a lot that I didn’t know previously.

It’s not the easiest of reads (or listen if you go for the audio as I did), but it’s worth it!

 

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Monthly TBR – June 2024

Good afternoon fellow readers and welcome to one of my favourite posts of the month – my monthly TBR. It’s a post of future plans and looking ahead at exciting books coming up on my immediate reading list!

This month I have a few carryovers (current reads and ones I didn’t get to in May) but also some new titles to feature.

So, shall we get into the details of my monthly TBR?

 

Mood Reads


The Long Earth

The first book I feature on this reading list is actually one I finished last night.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter was a carryover from May as I hadn’t quite finished the book by the end of the month. Ironically, I have just finished it. So whilst I did technically read some of it in June, I’ll only be talking about it in this week’s Sunday Summary post.

I enjoyed this introduction to the series and I’m curious to see where the later books pick up from this first novel. I’ve gathered the scope gets quite a bit bigger just on the titles alone. I have those books in e-book format so I can pick them up whenever I’m ready!


Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes 

My second carryover from May that is working progress is Terry Pratchett’s biography, A Life With Footnotes.

At the moment I am around 50% through this audiobook, so I’m well on the way to completing this before the end of June. I’ve already enjoyed the first half of this audio, looking at Terry‘s early life, career and establishing himself as an author. We will inevitably move onto the less pleasant side of his later years, his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and ultimate passing, soon. I’m still looking forward to listening to this despite the difficult topic.

I admit I’m curious to see if Terry’s Alzheimer’s affected him in ways that are familiar to me through a family member suffering with the disease also. I’m also interested to see what impact it had on his career. I know in the end he was dictating his books to Rob, but also what other potential impacts there were that we haven’t talked about yet.


Master of Sorrows

I have a couple more carryovers from my May TBR, but these are books I did not get to start.

Are you surprised that once again, Master of Sorrows has been kicked down the line? Well, not anymore! It’s the first physical book I am going to pick up in June now that I’ve finished The Long Earth and nothing. will. stop. me. I have been trying to read this book since February – I’ve waited long enough!


Obsidio

The final carryover from my May TBR is Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

Obsidio is the last book in the Illuminae files trilogy. I want to get to it to both finish the series, but also see how the two storylines we’ve enjoyed so far intertwine.

I anticipate Obsidio will be a relatively short read. Although it’s a good few hundred pages, the book is written in mixed media format. It has a lot of imagery so whilst there are some pages of solid text, there are plenty where there are not. I’ve really enjoyed into the world of mixed media from a variety of genres, but I do particularly like it in the science-fiction young adult series. It makes it very approachable to all readers and especially so to those who may be picking it up for the first time.


The Other People

Mum has been making her way through books written by C.J. Tudor after I introduced her to The Chalk Man and The Taking of Annie Thorne. She has recommended The Other People to me as her favourite book so far. Naturally, I want to see what it’s about!

Especially as I’ve not dabbled in the genre for a little while, I’m looking forward to seeing this book is about. This synopsis sounds as good as ever and I trust my mum’s judgement that I will really enjoy this one as she did!


Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

In an effort to keep up with my non-fiction reading this year, I’ll be picking up the e-book Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots. This has been on my reading list since 2017 so is long overdue a read. At under 300 pages, this is also really achievable for me to pick up and make light work of.

I’ve already started this e-book as it was a convenient one to pick up after finishing a physical read of The Long Earth. I want to read on my Kindle for a bit! Aside from audiobooks, I’ve picked up a lot of physical read lately.

In just the half hour I started this last night, I am already well into the first chapter and intrigued as to where this book will take us.

If you are unfamiliar, this is a non-fiction book about how treatment for individuals in the UK and Ireland with mental health issues has changed in the last 200 or so years. By all accounts, we start this book with a lot to be desired in terms of treating people humanely and with dignity.


You Coach You

The last book on this monthly TBR is also a non-fiction and a book I intend to pick up via audio after finishing Terry Pratchett’s biography. The book is You Coach You.

I want to pick up this book for a couple of reasons. The first of these is that coaching is a skill I’m working on personally this year. I totally understand that not everyone is interested in personal development, but I’m still young and haven’t lost interest yet at the very least. On a serious note, I’m the kind of person who believes there is always more to learn. I can always improve.

So, coaching is a skill I want to work on. The other reason I want to pick up You Coach You in particular is because I listen to Helen and Sarah‘s podcast, Squiggly Careers. I already love their content and their style, so picking up their book makes infinite sense! They also narrate the audiobook, so I know exactly what I’m getting into when I start listening to this.

I can’t wait!


Summary

With a few shorter books on my monthly TBR, and a plan to pick up Master of Sorrows as a priority, I have confidence that June is going to be a productive reading month!

That’s all for my Monthly TBR post.

What are you reading?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – May 2024

Welcome readers to another monthly wrap-up post! How are we at the end of May already? If you love motorsport and enjoy the TT (which is ongoing at the moment locally), then hats off to you. As a local driver though, I’m less than a fan of the disruption and increased traffic…

As usual, I didn’t get to all the books I planned to read in May. From my May TBR, Master of Sorrows and Obsidio remain yet untouched. Soon friends I promise! However, I have managed to read a great selection, so without further ado, let’s take a look!

 

Books Read


The Icepick Surgeon

As of my last monthly wrap-up post, I was 70% into the audiobook of The Icepick Surgeon. In truth, it didn’t take me long to finish this audio. With just a few hours left until the conclusion, drove in and made all haste to get to the conclusion.

I really enjoyed this historical science novel and the variety of topics featured throughout. From ancient history through to modern day, the book features numerous famous (or infamous) individuals throughout history and the ways they have shaped science for good or ill.


F*ck No

I picked up this audiobook by Sarah Knight on the recommendation of my piercer, Lindsay. As someone who struggles to say no sometimes, particularly at work, I thought picking this up would be a useful way of getting myself familiar with ways in which I can set expectations and not just agree to everything.

At just over five hours long, this is a really quick listen and for anyone looking for real practical advice, I strongly recommend this book. Sarah‘s funny stories about her own real life scenari(no)s really add to the narrative to give it a personal touch.


Empire of the Damned

I picked up Empire of the Damned this month after just finishing Empire of the Vampire. I read that first book of the series once again as a reminder of what has happened to date. Plus I also had a new special edition copy, so why not?

Empire of the Damned took us on a storyline that I didn’t expect from the first book, but in a way that I really enjoyed. One of the big selling points for these books is the narrative style, and it is present once again in this book, but with a twist. I enjoyed the second and challenging perspective we get as it adds a lot of dimension to the characters we have initially met through Gabriel’s retelling. No names and no spoilers because where is the fun in that?

The only sad thing about finishing this book is that I’m now going to have to wait for the sequel, and God knows how long that will take. It’s a good job I have plenty of books to keep me going in the meantime, right?


Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes

Audiobooks feature heavily in this monthly wrap-up post because I spent a good deal of time listening to them this month. I started A Life with Footnotes earlier this month and as of this monthly wrap-up post, I am about 50% into the audio.

In this first half of Terry Pratchett biography, we are looking at his early life and career. From school days and the influence of his parents to starting his career in journalism and in writing, we’ve already covered so much about young Terry‘s life.

I’m interested to see how the story progresses and really learn about the life of one of my favourite authors of all time. I know I will struggle to listen to the end. His ultimately fatal illness and the recounting of final days will resonate quite strongly with me on a personal level. My gran also suffered with Alzheimer’s. However, I am looking forward to it on some level as well. I watched the documentaries on BBC and enjoyed those.


The Long Earth

Another Terry Pratchett related novel that I have picked up in May is The Long Earth, co-authored with Stephen Baxter. As of this monthly wrap-up I am 258 pages in, or 65% through this science-fiction book. The timing of picking up the science-fiction novel was apt as I had just started listening to the section of his biography which talks about his attendance of science-fiction conventions and his love of the genre.

Initially I had reservations about picking up this book as I have had less success with books he has co-authored in the past. However, as I’ve gone into this one with only a little knowledge and sample of Stephen Baxter’s writing, it hasn’t impacted my enjoyment in a negative way. Quite the opposite, I think their’s is a fantastic combination; we get elements of humour from Terry but there’s still a good deal of science-fiction behind it. So far I’m really enjoying this physical read and as it’s a relatively short one, I’m hoping to get this finished in the next few days!


Summary

I’ve enjoyed spending a month reading books that I have been looking forward to for a little while. It’s been fun to focus on the backlist and make my way through a highly anticipated sequel, as well as return to and about one of my favourite authors.

Have you read anything this month? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Discussion Post: How to Make More Time to Read

Today’s discussion post is a topic that’s been on my mind for the last few months – how to make more time to read. It’s shaped a change of my reading habits and has helped juggle my favourite hobby at a time when I’ve experienced a lot of change.

One of the frequent comments I hear when I talk about my reading and blogging as a hobby is “I wish I had time to read.” Well, I hate to break it to you guys… but I’m pretty sure you do. Either that, or it isn’t enough of a priority for you to make more time to read.

I said what I said.

And I can tell you this from a perspective of someone who now has a lot more to juggle. I started dating in February and now suddenly a lot of my free time is spent either with my boyfriend, or catching up on all the necessary things I’m not doing when I’m spending time with Shane.

So, if you want to make time to read but have a busy lifestyle, here are a few tips from someone who’s had to have a long, hard think and implement some changes herself. Here’s my best advice on how to make more time to read! 


Make a Habit: Set Aside Regular Time

It seems obvious, but if you aren’t going to make time to do a task, whether that’s necessary or recreational, then it’s not going to get done. Setting aside time for reading is a life changer. Previously I used to do most of my reading in the evenings at home. However, that time is largely taken up. So, now I find I’m doing more of my reading during my lunch hour at work.

Sure, sometimes I need to pop to the shops or do something else. However, I try to set aside at least 20 minutes of my lunch hour every day to pick up my book. There are plenty of days I don’t intend on going out and so can use pretty much the full hour at my leisure. If I do have to go and run an errand, then there’s always audiobooks to keep me company on the way!


Reading Format: Physical, e-book or audio

In the last few months I’ve discovered that I have less time to sit down and read in the same way I used to. With this in mind, I have started listening to audiobooks more to capitalise on time I’m on my own, but doing other things that prevent me from sitting down with a book or my Kindle.

Whether it’s whilst I’m driving to and from work, or doing housework, audiobooks have given me the chance to keep making progress with my reading list whilst not compromising on the daily schedule.

Different formats work best for different people and only you can be the judge of what’s best for you. Try them out and see which helps you make more time to read.


The Books: Read What Interests You

It may sound daft, but one key piece of advice I would give to anyone looking to read more often is to try and pick up books you know you will enjoy. As an avid reader, I have spent my time picking up books that I have wanted to read, but also picking up new or previously undiscovered reads for review purposes, for example.

Whilst I have fulfilled some blog tour obligations that I signed up for at the beginning of the year, I have almost stopped signing up for them as of right now. This is so I can dedicate my time to my backlist.

I’m not saying I won’t sign up for any more, but I will be more selective. For example, I will continue with blog tours for authors I have already discovered and feature repeatedly. At the same time, I’m less likely to take on anything completely new as I prefer to read my backlist (of 200-odd books).

Even then, I may start looking at this list with a new pair of eyes. I’m always prepared to stretch myself, but I will be keeping my efforts to books I genuinely want to pick up in the moment and not trying to force anything. I guess what I’m saying is I’m going to try and be more of a mood reader. That way I’m not setting expectations that result in a reading slump. I won’t have to force myself to make more time to read if I’m actively looking forward to it in the first place. The same goes for you! 

I hope these tips help all you aspiring readers to make more time to read and pick up your next book!

What book have you always wanted to read but not quite got to?

 

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