Tag: bookaddict

Book Review: Midnight in Chernobyl – Adam Higginbotham

In today’s blog post I’m going to be sharing a book review for a non-fiction book I read at the very beginning of 2021. I believe I carried this over from December 2020 to finish it, so it’s been quite a while since I read it. However, it made a lasting impression on me! I thought the book was really good and it’s about a subject that I wanted to learn more about as a result of a TV series I watched.

The events around and following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster are harrowing to read, but I think the book does an excellent job of informing the reader in a way that keeps them engaged and entertained. I certainly learned a lot from it!

 

Midnight in Chernobyl – Adam Higginbotham

Goodreads – Midnight in Chernobyl

The definitive, dramatic untold story of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, based on original reporting and new archival research.

April 25, 1986, in Chernobyl, was a turning point in world history. The disaster not only changed the world’s perception of nuclear power and the science that spawned it, but also our understanding of the planet’s delicate ecology. With the images of the abandoned homes and playgrounds beyond the barbed wire of the 30-kilometer Exclusion Zone, the rusting graveyards of contaminated trucks and helicopters, the farmland lashed with black rain, the event fixed for all time the notion of radiation as an invisible killer.

Chernobyl was also a key event in the destruction of the Soviet Union, and, with it, the United States’ victory in the Cold War. For Moscow, it was a political and financial catastrophe as much as an environmental and scientific one. With a total cost of 18 billion rubles—at the time equivalent to $18 billion—Chernobyl bankrupted an already teetering economy and revealed to its population a state built upon a pillar of lies.

The full story of the events that started that night in the control room of Reactor No.4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant has never been told—until now. Through two decades of reporting, new archival information, and firsthand interviews with witnesses, journalist Adam Higginbotham tells the full dramatic story, including Alexander Akimov and Anatoli Dyatlov, who represented the best and worst of Soviet life; denizens of a vanished world of secret policemen, internal passports, food lines, and heroic self-sacrifice for the Motherland. Midnight in Chernobyl, award-worthy nonfiction that reads like sci-fi, shows not only the final epic struggle of a dying empire but also the story of individual heroism and desperate, ingenious technical improvisation joining forces against a new kind of enemy.

 

My Thoughts…

Considering that the disaster only took place in recent history, I went into this book with only vague knowledge of what had happened. I had briefly covered the subject in school in terms of its relation to the breakdown of the Soviet Union in my studies of the Cold War. In addition, I had some idea of the lasting effects of the disaster as a friend of mine’s family have previously hosted a child visiting the Island where I live. There is a charity called ‘Friends of Chernobyl’, who give children who live in areas still affected by radiation the opportunity to visit places such as where I live for an extended period for the benefit of their health. My friend’s family used to look after a girl in the summer holidays. Aside from that, the rest of what I knew about the disaster came from the TV series Chernobyl.

That’s not very good really in my opinion, and that’s why I wanted to look into this further for myself. I’m glad I picked up Midnight in Chernobyl to do this. There is a lot of interesting detail in the book, but it’s delivered in such a way that it is entertaining to read as well as informative.

I liked the way this book is written out. Each chapter is documented with a time and date and follows in chronological order, so it’s easy to follow what happens. I enjoyed how the book covers the whole history of the plant and nearby town Pripyat as opposed to just focusing on the disaster. Naturally, this takes up the majority of the book but seeing how and why it was built and the consequences of how Chernobyl came to be the place it was at the time of the disaster was interesting.

If you can also appreciate a little bit of science then I think you will also enjoy reading the explanatory narrative about how the reactors were designed to work. It was a little bit of a technical section, but not horrendously complicated and it went a long way to helping me understand what ultimately went wrong on that fateful day.

I think even if you know what happened, it’s only when you read the intimate experienced of each individual involved, and the loss of their loved ones, that it hits home.

I’m not overly surprised at the events of the disaster given the reasons it happened, but also how it was responded to. There was a ridiculous amount of secrecy around events such as these in the USSR. Chernobyl is one of the most well-known disasters, the truth is that there were a lot of smaller-scale disasters at other nuclear plants throughout the USSR in the period. But, like me, you probably didn’t know about these. Just like the scale of the Chernobyl disaster at the time, the powers that be were determined to hush it up and underplay it as much as possible. It’s despicable really when you think about the human cost.

Midnight in Chernobyl is a great read if you want a balance of information and an interesting read. I think the author does a very good job of informing readers about the event but also doing it in a way that highlights individual stories and personal consequences with dignity, with a view to outing the truth after decades of secrecy.

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Sunday Summary – 23rd January 2022

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update post to round off this week. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week?

I began this week by sharing a book tag post with you all. The Bookaholics Anonymous Book Tag was really fun to get involved in and to share my answers for. I like these posts because they’re quite casual, but also give you the chance to learn a little bit about me. If you haven’t checked out that post yet you can do so using the link above, and if you’d like to take part I’d love for you to link to me so I can see your answers!

My Friday feature post this week was a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book is one from a genre I don’t read much of. That said, this author is also a bit of a go-to for me and I won’t hesitate to read any of his books even if they’re not normally my cup of tea. He’s a household name and I’m sure if you haven’t read the book yourself, you’ve probably watched a film based on it!

 

Books Read

I don’t know what happened this week, but the amount of reading I’ve done compared to recent weeks is off the charts!

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was just over 200 pages into Dune by Frank Herbert, which equates to 38%. I finished the book on Wednesday! I must’ve just hit a point in the narrative where it clicked for me. It was perhaps a little bit slow to start, or at least, there was a lot of groundwork needed before the action began. My progress up until this week was getting through that, but once the action started I was in and hooked! I enjoyed reading this book – it’s been on my shelf for five years nearly and I can finally tick it off the list!

In addition, I have been reading a further two books side-by-side this week. I started with reading The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm,  translated by Jack Zipes. This is a collection of the original versions of folk and fairytales collated by the brothers and published in 1812. Even from the few I’ve read so far, the tales have changed dramatically since they were originally published. The majority of these tales were previously passed down orally, which is apparent from the way they’ve been documented. Originally, the brothers aimed to maintain as much fidelity to the oral tales as possible. They lack polish, some of them are incomplete or have alternative endings and there are some significant changes from the fairytales we know today. I like how the book includes well-known fairytales, such as Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, but equally, there are so many other stories that we don’t know. As of this update post, I’m 79 pages into this book.

I’m finding that it’s a book to pick up in short bursts, however. With that in mind, I have also started reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. It’s nice to have a blend of short stories that I can pick up and put down very easily, and also a longer story that is easy to take in. This particular book is a re-read so I’m fully familiar with the story, but I’m still enjoying all the same! That is obvious by my progress; I’m 124 pages into this book already.

I have listened to a very small amount of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin this week. It’s almost not worth mentioning because it’s probably only a couple of chapters, but it’s better than nothing right?!

 

Books Discovered

 

I’ve made two additions to my TBR list this week.

The first book I’ve added is The First Binding by R. R. Virdi. It is due to be published in August this year and I like the sound of the narrative based on the synopsis. To me, the narrative sounds like it could be very reminiscent of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles books. We shall see on that front, but I’m always open to new authors and this sounds like it could be a great fantasy series!

The second addition to my TBR is Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, the sequel to Dune. There are quite a few books in the series and it’s one that I would like to continue with and chip away at over time.

 

Coming Up…

I have prepared a book review to share with you next week. I’ve been looking back through my list of books read and decided that I’m going to share a review of Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I don’t read much in the way of non-fiction, but I really liked how this book balanced the entertainment of reading element, but also managed to inform and educate me as a reader. I went into this book with very little knowledge of the disaster, but that didn’t matter. If you want to check out that post, that will be going live on Tuesday.

My regular Friday feature is a First Lines Friday post this week. For this post, I’m setting myself the challenge of featuring a book I read as a teenager in my pre-blog days. I’ve read so many great ones and there are several that I would like to go back to again. I feel like this post is probably going to encourage me to do this even more! You’ll have to check out my post on Friday to see which book I’ve chosen to feature.

And last but not least, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary update.

What have you been reading this week? Do you have any recommendations for me?

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Shelf Control #41 – 21/01/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Today’s chosen book is a little unusual in that it is from one of the genres I read the least. Not the very least (cough cough romance), but pretty close. It is a well-known story written by a prominent author of the genre; even if you haven’t read the book, chances are you’ve watched the film. Although, I have to confess I haven’t… but my parents have! it

So, do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

Carrie – Stephen King

Goodreads – Carrie

A modern classic, Carrie introduced a distinctive new voice in American fiction — Stephen King. The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge, remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of all time.

Make a date with terror and live the nightmare that is…Carrie

 

My Thoughts…

I have read a few novels by Stephen King now, and despite the fact I don’t read horror very often, I will always be prepared to give his books a go! His writing style is one of my favourites, and the diversity between the different stories he writes keeps his books fresh and interesting to read.

I have a very vague idea of the character Carrie and the storyline, but not very much at all if I’m honest. I’d like to keep it that way though because it means I can enjoy the book all the more. I’m looking forward to picking this up and reading something out of my comfort zone. I have every confidence that I’ll enjoy it, and it will make a refreshing change to pick up something different.

It will also be a good one to pick up because it’s quite a short read. Sometimes a shorter story can be a good break from the 500 pagers and above I have a tendency to pick up! 

Have you read Carrie, or watched the film? Do you like the story? Let me know in the comments!

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The Bookaholics Anonymous Book Tag

I saw a really fun book tag post over on Love13Reading’s blog and I’ve decided to take part in the tag myself today! It’s just for a bit of fun and in addition, you also get the chance to learn a little bit about me!

I hope you enjoy today’s post and if you want to take part yourself, consider yourself tagged now!

 

What do you like about buying books?

Where do you even begin with a question like this? I love being in bookshops. I love acquiring new things. I love the uncracked spines and pristine pages, but above all, the smell of a brand-new book. Booksellers have mastered the art of displaying books and it just makes me want to read them all!

 

How often do you buy books?

I’m quite sporadic when it comes to buying books. I am more regularly adding them to my TBR than I am purchasing copies, but it really depends on whether I have any vouchers or gifts that enable me to get some. Or, sometimes I wander to a bookshop in my lunch hour ‘just for a look’ and well, the rest is history.

 

Bookstore or online book shopping – which do you prefer?

Absolutely going into a bookstore is my preference, although ordering online does have its benefits. Bookshops just have an atmosphere that can’t be replicated anywhere else. The experience of going and browsing is just as rewarding for me as the final purchased item itself! There are very many shops I will say this about, but I love bookshops for that reason. You will never catch me in a supermarket just hanging out for the vibes in the same way, put it that way!

 

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

I tend to shop in Waterstones more than any other bookshop, however I wouldn’t rule any out. In September last year I popped into a lovely quaint bookshop on the seafront in Port Erin (Bridge Bookshop) and it was refreshing to visit a small, locally run store as opposed to a chain.

I will also buy books from other stores such as The Works or WHSmith, but it really depends on what’s around at the time as to where I’ll go.

 

Do you pre-order books?

Very occasionally I’ll pre-order a book if I know I want to read it, but more often than not I’ll wait. In the last four years I have only pre-ordered two books – The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. When you consider the number of books I’ve read in that time, it’s obvious to say that I don’t pre-order very many at all!

Do you have a monthly book buying limit?

No, I don’t. I don’t buy books that regularly – as I’ve said before I tend to be a bit more sporadic. If I have bought a few books in any given month I might make myself wait until pay day again to get any more, but this is rare.

 

How big is your wishlist?

I don’t really have a Wish List, but if you were to use my Goodreads TBR as a substitute then I have around 200 books on my list.

I won’t be getting bored anytime soon… put it that way!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post – The Bookaholics Anonymous Book Tag! If you want to take part in the tag yourself then please do and tag me so I know you’ve done it and I can read your answers!

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Sunday Summary – 16th January 2022

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a fantastic week whatever you have been up to?

I have been keeping busy this week. I’ve been doing quite well in working towards getting blog posts written a little bit more in advance compared to last year. I have managed to get myself organised nicely so this will be continuing going forward. It’s a little bit more work in the short term, but in the long term, I will be drafting posts in the same kind of frequency, just a week in advance!

The post I shared at the beginning of this week was a book review for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It’s one of those books that you start to review and honestly question whether you can do it justice! I enjoyed this book and I hope that comes across in my review; if there is anyone who dismisses reading classics because they read them at school or they think they’re boring and stuffy then I’d ask you to please give them a chance. Of all the books I’ve read, I would say Brave New World is a great one to try. It is easy to follow and it’s a relatively short read as well!

My Friday feature post this week was a First Lines Friday post. In that post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a non-fiction novel. This week’s excerpt is deliberately short because the scene depicted gets a little bit graphic after the opening paragraph. In the interest of not upsetting anyone I’ve excluded it, but the first paragraph gives you an idea of the content of the book. I am personally excited to read this one!

 

Books Read

As of last week‘s Sunday Summary update I was 62 pages into Dune by Frank Herbert. Dune has been my main area of progress this week, with a further 140 pages read.

I’m really enjoying the storyline, however in terms of what is going on and the writing style I find it quite dense. It’s the sort of book that is good to read, but is best picked up little and often. I usually find I get about 30 odd pages through before I have to put it down again to digest what I’ve read. It doesn’t detract from the story or anything at all; I am really enjoying it. I just can’t read it in large quantities! Having said that, the last time I picked up the book I think I managed to get around 40 or 50 pages through before I had to put it down. Maybe I’m getting used to it, or maybe it was just an exceptionally good part. I am looking forward to picking this up tonight once this post has gone live and continuing this over the next week!

As well as reading Dune, I’ve also been continuing to listen to A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin this week. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I haven’t listen to as much of this audiobook this week as I wanted to, or should have. That’s okay though! The important thing is to read and listen at a pace I’m happy with and what I have listened to has been really good.

 

Books Discovered

For the first time in a few weeks I can happily say that I haven’t added anything else to my reading list this week!

 

Coming Up…

Early next week I am sharing a book tag on my blog. It’s one that I saw completed by another blogger and I thought it would be fun to take part in! It’s been a little while since I’ve done anything like that. I really enjoy reading these posts because you get to learn a little bit about the person behind the blog. But also, they’re fun to write. This particular tag is called The Bookaholics Anonymous Book Tag and I hope you can check that out in the coming days.

My regular feature on Friday is going to be a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book is a good one and slightly different from the usual content of my blog. There’s only one author I would read without hesitation who frequents the horror genre – Stephen King. I’m excited to be featuring one of his books later this week – but you’ll have to check my post out on Friday if you want to find out which book I’m talking about!

And as always, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary post.

Until then, I hope you have a great week! Are you currently reading or listening to any interesting books?

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First Lines Friday – 14/01/2022

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening paragraph from a variety of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about! Sometimes I set myself a challenge for these posts, but other times I leave it open to feature whatever catches my eye. 

For today’s post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a non-fiction book. At first, I was going through my list of non-fiction books on my TBR to find one to feature, however, today’s book is one I discovered in Goodread’s lists or recommendations whilst I was browsing around.

Can you guess what today’s featured book is?

 

There would be plenty of time for questions later.

For now, the nurses and security were intent upon breaking the lethal nine-hour barricade inside the little corner of hell that resident murderer Robert ‘Bob’ Maudsley had created. Bob and his companion, David Cheeseman, had sealed themselves inside with a third patient, David Francis, a known paedophile. He had apparently riled Bob and David Cheeseman by conducting a homosexual attack on one of their friends. Inside sources had a reason to believe, though, that their preference if opportunity had presented was to ‘go for a member of staff’.

 

 

Inside Broadmoor – Jonathan Levi & Emma French

Goodreads – Inside Broadmoor

Broadmoor. Few place names in the world have such chilling resonance. For over 150 years, it has contained the UK’s most violent, dangerous and psychopathic.

Since opening as an asylum for the criminally insane in 1863 it has housed the perpetrators of many of the most shocking crimes in history; including Jack the Ripper suspect James Kelly, serial killers Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper), John Straffen and Kenneth Erskine, armed robber Charles Bronson, gangster Ronnie Kray, and cannibal Peter Bryan.

The truth about what goes on behind the Victorian walls of the high security hospital has largely remained a mystery, but now with unprecedented access TV journalist Jonathan Levi and cultural historian Emma French paint a vivid picture of life at Broadmoor, after nearly a decade observing and speaking to those on the inside.

Including interviews with the staff, its experts and the patients themselves, Inside Broadmoor is the most comprehensive study of the institution to-date.

Published at the dawn of a new era for the hospital, this is the full story of Broadmoor’s past, present and future.

 

My Thoughts…

Doesn’t that extract draw you in straightaway? Now, I appreciate that today’s snippet is quite short, however that is deliberate. Something unpleasant happens to David Francis next, and in the interest of keeping my block neutral and not risking upsetting anyone with graphic scenes, I’ve left the rest out. So there is a warning to you – if you’re not squeamish and you want to find out what happens next then you’ll have to pick this up for yourself!

Obviously I have read it and although it’s unpleasant i’m not sensitive to things like this. Naturally growing up you’ve heard of Broadmoor. When studying performing arts in high school one of our plays involved a child who had links to Broadmoor. That said, I wouldn’t say I know that much about the institution or about the people incarcerated there. The thing I like about non-fiction is that it gives you the opportunity to learn something new, and I have much to learn here. As a former student of psychology as well I am interested in the people involved from that perspective as well. Every day is a school day, so they say!

Have you read Inside Broadmoor, or anything like it? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review: Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Since it has been about a month since I last shared a book review I’ve decided it’s time to get my thinking cap on and share my thoughts with you on a previous read. When perusing through the list of books I’ve read I discovered that I hadn’t yet reviewed Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I confess that my first thought was along the lines of ‘where do I even begin reviewing this?’. But, I’m going to do my best to do the book justice!

Since classic novels are typically taught in school I think a lot of people have the misconception that they’re going to be dry, dull or that no one in a million years would want to spend their free time reading them. After I left school I said the same thing. I have a whole host of opinions on how the education system doesn’t promote reading, but that’s for another day. However, they do need to be given their due. Classic novels can be great reads. I’ve even gone back to books that I read and hated at school and I enjoyed them. I wish they were given more of a chance, and if I were to suggest you pick up any, Brave New World is a great one to start with!

And, if you’re not sure, there is a TV series based on the book on Now TV. You could always give that a try first? Although it’s not 100% true to the book (but covers the main topics and concepts well), I still enjoyed it regardless!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society that is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

My Thoughts…

Not only is the plot of Brave New World interesting, but it’s one of the shorter classic books I’ve read at just over 260 pages. This is why I think it’s a great place to start; it’s not intimidating and it has plenty to offer despite the reduced page count.

Some of the undoubtedly futuristic elements in Brave New World (considering it was published in 1932) are not so wild in the present day. One of the groundbreaking elements of the book is that humans are not born traditionally, but are genetically modified for desirable qualities, fertilised in vitro and are effectively incubated until birth. Whilst we don’t exactly have a designer baby thing going on, treatments such as IVF are now available and can involve an element of this.

Equally, the clinical aspect of birth control was in its infancy in the 1930s. Yes, for thousands of years there have been home remedies and techniques to prevent it. Even giving birth control advice was only allowed in Britain in 1930. It’s strange to consider because prescriptions for it now are so commonplace.

I find it fascinating to compare the ideas that authors had decades ago as to what was futuristic to them at the time and what similar theories we as a society have now about the next few decades. What I wonder the most about is whether the ideas written by these authors have given birth to the reality, or whether they did have an inkling of human capabilities and technological advancements that were within reach of mankind. Kind of like the chicken and egg argument.

There may be similarities between the societies of Brave New World and the modern-day, but there are also very distinct differences. For example, Brave New World has a completely different social class system, based on intelligence, to the one we used to. Citizens are effectively controlled by the use of ‘feel-good’ drugs and activities. There is no such thing as sadness or lack of purpose. Everybody has their role and they fulfil it to the best of their ability. They don’t have to think, they just have to do as they’re told. On the surface that might sound good, but I think it would be hell.

I’ve read plenty of other reviews that suggest this is a good read for anyone who has or has suffered from depression. It emphasises the point that feeling good all the time isn’t where it’s at. To appreciate the highs, sometimes you need to take the lows that go with it. And I can see that. It makes sense. If you always had the same thing you have nothing to compare it against.

Have you ever read Brave New World? Would you recommend it or would you be prepared to read it based on recommendation? As always, you can let me know in the comments or via social media.

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Sunday Summary – 9th January 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to my weekly Sunday Summary update. It’s been a busy week since my last post! Not only have I been working towards my goal of preparing blog posts a little bit earlier, but I’ve also been reading a lot more than I have been for several months.

At the beginning of this week, I shared my Monthly TBR post. Yes, I’m back to sharing reading lists, but with a little more flexibility than before. Instead of giving myself a completely fixed list for the month, I’ve decided on a compromise and I’m only setting myself a couple of books on each TBR. That allows me some time and space to pick up any other book(s) I want to read once those are done. This way I think I get the best of both worlds. I get the structure of having a couple of fixed ones, but also the flexibility to be able to pick up anything on a whim!

Later in the week, I shared a Shelf Control post with you. This week’s featured book is one that I’m excited to pick up. From what my mum has told me this is the start of the series that my grandad used to enjoy reading. I’m looking forward to picking it up and seeing if we have a commonality in enjoying this particular series. And it sounds good and I trust his judgement so I’m sure I will!

 

Books Read

As of last week‘s Sunday Summary update post I was 75% through reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I had every confidence that I was going to be telling you I had finished this book this week and I’m pleased to tell you that is the case! I finished this reasonably quickly after sharing my last update with you! The narrative has a lot of different elements and I loved how it brought them together. It was a real mix of genres and I enjoyed how they were blended together.

Next, I decided to pick up The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper. This particular book is only a couple of hundred pages long and I wanted to capitalise on my newfound motivation. I’m glad I made this decision because I managed to finish The Feedback Loop within a couple of evenings. It was really easy to read, full of action and there’s plenty of plotline to keep the reader invested for those couple of hundred pages. From my experience of the first book I’m not sure I’ll go on to read the rest of the series, but it was a perfectly adequate standalone novel to pick up for a quick read!

And then last, but not least, I have made a start reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Given that there’s been a film released recently I’ve seen a lot of people getting copies of this book or even reading it as well. I had actually intended to read this earlier, but last year was a bit of a strange one for me and I didn’t have motivation to pick it up in earnest. However, that is not the case now! I’m currently 62 pages in so I’ve made a solid start. I’ve gotten further than I ever have before into giving this ago and I can’t wait to see how the plot unfolds. It seems like it’s an interesting science-fiction that’s going to have an underpinning element of politics between the characters. I i’ve really enjoyed these kind of elements in previous books (Game of Thrones being the obvious example) and so I can’t wait to see how this works within a science fiction!

Speaking of A Game of Thrones, I have also been listening to my audiobook, A Storm of Swords, as well. One of my plans to help get through this particular audiobook was to listen to it (at least) during my morning and evening commute to work. I didn’t quite do that every day, however I did it for most and I also managed to sneak in an extra hour or two here and there throughout the week. I’m pleased with how far I am through at the moment and I think I’m on track to be close to finishing this by the end of the month.

 

Books Discovered

I added a good few books to my TBR recently. In last week’s Sunday Summary update I shared a fair old list. Whilst I would love to say that I haven’t added any more because frankly I already have enough, I’d be lying. I decided to go for a look in our local Waterstones on Friday (as I had some vouchers that were obviously burning a hole in my pocket), and well, you probably know what’s coming. I bought myself a couple. Shock!

Now technically, only one of the books I bought is a new addition to my TBR. After the release of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff, I promptly added this to my list to be read. I have really come to love he’s never night series and I knew straightaway that I wanted to pick this up. Having seen a gorgeous hardcover copy in Waterstones, I had to. I just had to!

The second book I purchased is Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. It’s the second book of the Skyward series; I already have the first book upstairs. Brandon Sanderson is a go-to author for me. I absolutely love his works and the variety between them and so this was a no-brainer to pick up. I was, however, surprised to see that although I had a copy of Skyward upstairs already, I hadn’t added this first book to my TBR. A slight oversight on my part, but now both Skyward and Starsight are safely on the list to be read.

At some point.

 

Coming Up…

Early next week I will be sharing a book review with you all! It has been about a month since my last one and so I felt it time to start sharing them again. If I’m going to be reading more than before I’m going to have to step up the number of reviews I’m sharing. I also have a bit of a backlog, so you can expect to see more of these soon. For this week’s feature, I am sharing my thoughts on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I really enjoyed reading this classic novel and given that it’s a reasonably short one I think it’s a great one for anyone to pick up.

Later in the week I’ll be back with a First Lines Friday feature. Whilst I haven’t christened the particular book I’m going to be featuring yet (and I will be deciding and preparing this post imminently) I have decided that I’m going to set myself a challenge of featuring a non-fiction book. I hope you can join me on Friday to check out what this week’s featured book is!

And as always, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary update and sharing with you all my reading news.

 

Until then, I hope you have a great week! Are you currently reading or listening to any interesting books?

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Shelf Control #40 – 07/01/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I’m excited to pick up this next book on my list because it’s a series my grandad enjoyed reading. I didn’t know this at the time I added it to my TBR, but my mum mentioned it afterwards having seen it on my blog. In its own way, I’m looking forward to picking it up so I have something in common with him… a reminder of him. Sadly none of my grandparents are still alive, but I still have connections to them through the memories and the things they taught me. For me, enjoying this series (I hope) is a way of connecting with him in a way I haven’t before.

So, do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1) – Lee Child

Goodreads – Killing Floor

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

 

My Thoughts…

The synopsis of Killing Floor appealed to me even before I knew of my grandad’s interest in the series. I think it will be a fun and intriguing read. In a way, I like the vagueness of the synopsis. It encompasses the crux of the novel without going into too much detail. For a reader it allows the imagination to run wild and there is so much possibility with this book.

This will be my first read by Lee Child so I have no prior knowledge or expectations for this book. It’s a blank slate; I enjoy reading books by new authors and trying something new. I’m looking forward to moving a tad out of my comfort zone a little to try this one!

I’m also hoping I enjoy this first book because if I do, then I have a long series to look forward to continuing with. I had no idea there were that many books in the series when I added it to the list but I’m not daunted by it in the slightest! If it’s good (and I have every faith that it is) then I won’t be short of reading material for a very long time…

Have you read Killing Floor, any other book in the Jack Reacher series or any others by Lee Child? Let me know in the comments!

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Monthly TBR – January 2022

It has been a long time since I drafted a TBR post but I’m really excited to be here and sharing my TBR for January 2022 with you today! If you have checked out my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post you’ll know that this year I am back with sharing TBR’s at the beginning of the month, but with some tweaks. Not only do I anticipate reading less than previous years (my goal is 40 books in 2022), but I’m also going to be incorporating the element of mood reading that I enjoyed in 2021. So, as a result, I will be setting a couple of fixed books on my monthly TBR, but I will also be leaving myself time and flexibility to pick up any mood reads.

So, what am I planning to read this month?

 

Books

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

I have tried to pick up Dune casually before but not really taken the time to invest and start it properly. It is probably fairer to say I’ve sampled it. That changes this month! I received a copy of it for my birthday back in February 2017 and given that I’ve owned it for so long and not read it, its way overdue!

I’m also really excited to pick this up. From what I have sampled I think this is one I’m going to really enjoy. It’s a science-fiction classic, and if you have read my blog you’ll know that I’m have been picking up more science-fiction. I like the concept of the synopsis and with the new lease of life I’ve found within myself I think it’s the right time to challenge myself to this one.

 

The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

Goodreads – The Feedback Loop

Whilst I haven’t officially set myself the goal of clearing down my TBR, it makes sense that I continue this endeavour. I have nearly 200 books on my list, and unless I read them or take them off they are not going away!

The Feedback Loop is one of the oldest on my list and at around 182 pages, this is a another science-fiction that should be very easy for me to digest. Depending on how I get on with Dune, I may even end up reading this at the same time or as a little bit of a break. Equally, I might not. I’m not ruling anything out. If I have learned anything from 2020 and 2021 it’s that if I’m not in the mood to read something then there is no point in forcing it. I’ll go with the flow… but I fully expect to enjoy both of these.

 

Audiobooks

A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Storm of Swords

I’ve decided that I will also be adding the audiobooks I intend to listen to onto my monthly TBR posts. I quite often find myself in a position where I will binge-listen to audiobooks and then I’ll completely fall off the wagon and not listen to any. So, I making it a regular feature to include these in order to regularise my habits.

I started listening to A Storm of Swords right at the end of December and my goal is to listen to as much of this as possible in January. A Storm of Swords is over 47 hours worth of audio, so I’m not going to beat myself up if it takes me a while. However, I will be making a deliberate effort to start listening to these on a more regular basis.

For example, I probably spend about an hour every weekday commuting, so this would be a good opportunity to pop an audiobook on. One of the other activities I have taken up fairly recently and will be doing in 2022 is Pilates. Again, it’s a great time to be able to listen to something – especially as I’m sure I’ll be desperate for a pleasant distraction whilst I’m doing it! But honestly makes it sound like I don’t enjoy it, which isn’t the case at all, but man does it hurt when you don’t have any abs…

Having done some maths I think I can get through most of the audiobook just by listening to it when doing these activities. However, if I can put in some extra time to get it finished then I’ll be a very happy bunny!

 

Mood Reads!

Whilst this section of the TBR is very much fluid and subject to change I have a couple of ideas in mind as to what I think I would like to pick up later in the month. It also depends on how I go as to how many I fit in; I may get round to both of these if I have a good month.

I’m currently torn between continuing my Harry Potter re-read with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, or alternatively reading The Original Folk & Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. They are both very different choices and I’ll leave it until I finished both of my ‘set’ reads before I decide fully. I may even change my mind completely in between now and then, but I think it’s a good idea to give you an indication of what I think I’d like to read.

You are always welcome to change my mind; if you have a book recommendation you think is absolutely fantastic then I’d love to hear it!

 

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know!

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