Tag: bookworm

Shelf Control #34 – 20/08/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on Reviewsfeed 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.

I try to share these Shelf Control posts regularly. By doing so I can continually review the books on my TBR to decide if I still want to read them, or whether my reading case has changed and it’s no longer for me. I have taken a few books off this list by doing these posts. It’s a productive exercise and gives me some bookish content to share with you. And who knows, by featuring those books I still want to read, maybe I can introduce you to something that will take your fancy as well!

This week’s featured book is: – 

 

Children of the Revolution – Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution

Goodreads – Children of the Revolution

A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot.

The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early ’70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye – for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I’m one of those people who has a bit of a hangup about reading a book from the middle of a series. I just don’t like the idea for the most part. However, Children of the Revolution is the 21st book in this particular series and I’m determined to read it because I love the synopsis. I’m hoping it’s the kind of book where having read around it is beneficial… but not essential. I don’t fancy reading 20 books to even get to this one! I think it will be fine – I will make it fine with me!

As I said, I like the sound of the synopsis of this book. I really enjoy mystery and my attention was caught by the predicament our victim is in from the synopsis. It’s an unusual scenario and it already has me thinking about possible motives and what bearing his history and circumstances have on the event. It’s also set in Yorkshire which has a bit of a personal connection as I have distant family that live there. The few times I’ve been I have enjoyed it and I imagine it will make an interesting setting with colourful characters.

I haven’t read any books by Peter Robinson, however, I’m always willing to try something new and experience a narrative from a new author. Everyone has their unique style and if I go onto enjoy this book, I may just go back and read the previous 20! Who knows – I’ll see how this one goes!

Do you like the sound of this book? Have you read it before, or any other books by Peter Robinson? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Places to Read

Hello and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

I’ve had my eye on taking part in this post for a couple of weeks. When I saw this week‘s topic I knew I wanted to share my top ten places to read. It’s one of those really personal things so not only does it give you the opportunity to learn a little about me, but also I would like to hear what your favourite places are and see how we differ!

Shall we jump into the list?


Home – The Living Room

This is by far my favourite place to read. Sat on my sofa on a cosy evening, cup of tea in hand, candles lit and curtains drawn. Maybe even wrapped in a blanket. This is my ideal reading spot. I don’t know why, but reading always appeals to me more as the nights are drawing in earlier, so September-November is the ideal time of year for me.


Home – In Bed

My second favourite place to read is in bed just before settling down for the night. This is actually where I got back into reading on a regular basis several years ago. It was cold, it was January and with being out for most of the day at that time, I was coming home to a cold flat. As such, I decided rather than putting the heating on for half an hour or so before turning in, I’d just go straight to tucking myself up in bed instead. I wasn’t in the mood to watch anything on TV as I was tired. However, picking up a book could be as much or as little as you wish… And well, the rest is history!

Someone who loves to read before bed, I don’t read in the mornings. For me it’s a ‘before bed’ thing and that’s it.


Home – The Garden

Since moving into my new place I’ve enjoyed going and sitting out on the decking with a book. It’s probably happened more last year with lockdown (ironically when I didn’t have a garden furniture to go and sit out on!) But I still do go and take the opportunity when I feel like it. Over here it’s also severely weather permitting too… And most of the time it isn’t!

This does come with the caveat that as long as I’m not surrounded by bees or wasps I’m comfortable. I have been known on several occasions to put headphones in just to make it a little bit easier to ignore the things. I absolutely hate them!

 

At Work – Lunchtime Reading

One of the ways I like to wind down at lunchtime is to pick up a book. If I want to switch off it’s a good way to distract my mind and enjoy some downtime, even for a short while. And I was reading is more than enough for me. I’m not a marathon reader by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t need to sit for long sessions. So, this suits me to a T.

 

Commuting

A hobby such as reading is great when you have to commute. I must admit I drive most of the time, but I have been known to listen to an audiobook whilst I’m driving.

Reading on buses (or trains for those who have access to them) can be a great way to pass the time. I would only ever do it on a very familiar route however, because I would easily get too engrossed, lose my bearings and inevitably miss my stop. I was born blonde and though looks maybe deceiving, I haven’t lost that trait! The best place for me to commute and read is on the plane – because you really can’t miss your stop!

 

On Holiday

Whenever I go on holiday I can guarantee that my kindle is one of the first things I think to pack. Since getting an e-reader I tend to stick to taking that on holiday, but that’s not strictly the case. Last time I went on holiday (all that time ago…) I took a couple of paperbacks with me as well, because they weren’t too big.

I’m not one for getting in the pool too much, but sitting next to it with a book in hand is one of the most relaxing things that I will do on holiday. And with all that time to do nothing at all, there’s plenty of opportunity to bury my nose and indulge. I go on holiday with my family and whilst others may not read as much as me, we all read on holiday. So, it suits us all.

 

Coffee Shops

If I’m in the right frame of mind, sitting in a coffee shop is a great way to enjoy your book. I say in the right frame of mind because sometimes background noise can be distracting for me. Equally, sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all. I can’t say I frequent coffee shops very often alone (and I won’t read whilst in company), but I do enjoy doing it when I am on my own. I think the last time I visited a coffee shop with a book in hand was around a year ago. I think I was out Christmas shopping if that tells you anything about how long ago it was!

 

Bookshops

There’s something about being in the company of others who appreciate books that makes for a lovely atmosphere in a bookshop. I wouldn’t say I’m a big reader in this sense, but you always have to try but before you buy right? The last time I read in public (as above), was in a café in a coffee shop. Win-win if you ask me!

 

Libraries

If the noise of a coffee shop is offputting then the library is the next best alternative. I like the ability to choose anything to read. It’s a great place to try something new and if you really want the peace and quiet to take your time with it, it’s a great place to go.

 

Airports

Airports are by far not my favourite place to be, but with all that waiting around they are perfect venues for picking up a book. Again, like commuting, I’m very wary about doing this. I’m paranoid about missing my flight so whilst I have been known to read whilst waiting, I am checking the board frequently and listening to every tannoy going. Do you get the vibe I don’t trust myself?

 

So, those are my top ten places to read, and I would love to hear yours! Please let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 15th August 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a great week?

In terms of blogging, my week didn’t go quite as planned. I was hoping to share a review of The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn earlier this week. However, whilst I made a good start on it, I wasn’t able to finish it in a way that I was happy to share it. I’ve still got what I’ve done so far and this will be coming to you shortly!

I did manage to find a book to feature for this week’s First Lines Friday post. The book I featured is one I read as a teenager. I really enjoyed the book at the time, however, I didn’t go on to finish the series. I got a good way through it (I was on book 3 I believe) but whether it was because I tried to read it all at once or because it definitely felt targeted to a YA audience, I just couldn’t finish it. I was in the target audience age bracket at the time, but it’s not a genre I read a lot of anyway. And it did feel a little bit… Not childish, but I certainly felt like I was too old to appreciate it. I can’t say if I’d agree now, but it’s worth a look and if you like fantasy then it may just be for you anyway!

 

Books Read

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that reading progress has been very light this week. And by light, I mean that so far, I’ve read a single chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I did that this morning because I felt conscious of the fact that I haven’t picked it up all week.

I will be rectifying that tonight. There isn’t a particular reason why I didn’t pick this up all week; I’ve just been enjoying doing other things. After sharing this post, however, I will be picking this up and even taking it up to bed with me tonight!

 

Books Discovered

For the first time in a couple of weeks, I can say that I haven’t made any acquisitions or added anything to my TBR!

Hoorah!

 

Coming Up…

I like the idea of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic. This week’s post will be all about my favourite places to read. It’s one of those subjects where it’s interesting to see how well other people’s answers compare to your own. So, please take part in the comment section after I share that post because I would love to know what your favourite places to read are!

Later in the week, I’ll be back to sharing another Shelf Control post. In case you aren’t familiar with this series, the aim is to share details of the books on my TBR and why I want to read them.

Last, but not least, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary post to round off the week.

That is, however, all from me this week. I hope you have a fantastic one and I look forward to seeing you around.

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First Lines Friday – 13/08/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

Today’s feature is a book that I read in my teenage years. I didn’t go on to finish the series, however, the first book made a distinct impression on me! If I’m honest I think I felt I had outgrown series by the time I had gotten a few books in. It may just be that I got a little bored of it; I wouldn’t rule out picking this up again! Put it this way, I loved it so much that I frequently spent my break time “monitoring” duties (making sure the younger kids in school behaved) reading at every opportunity.

Here is today’s opening. Any ideas as to what the book might be?

 

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes.

He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here. Or was it a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, “Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes. Stop whoever is coming… or die.”

Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.

The Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail. It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip between a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armour.


Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Goodreads – Eragon

One boy…

One dragon…

A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.


My Thoughts…

Despite not finishing the series at the time, I did enjoy this book. I’ve rated it 5* on Goodreads. In particular, I think this introduction captures our attention. Who are these creatures and who are they after? Why are the stakes so high?

If you are a fan of fantasy novels then I hope this appeals to you. There are some very common fantasy tropes in these books but the nature of the genre is you can’t get away from these very easily. As I’ve grown older and read a lot more of the genre, I find that I can only stand there being two or three common ones. Any more than that just makes the story feel regurgitated and uninteresting. If you like this then it definitely won’t be an issue for you but is something to bear in mind.

If you have read them already then I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the series as a whole. Is this something I should pick up again? I think my problem was that I tried to binge read the lot all in a reasonably short time. There are elements of the story that I felt real little immature and combining that with reading them or ones, I think I just lost interest.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post!

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Sunday Summary – 8th August 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome back to another Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a lovely week, whatever you have been doing! I have had a good one, albeit run-of-the-mill – work, home, eat and sleep… oh, and read!

In addition to that, I have shared a couple of blog posts with you. My first post of the week was my monthly wrap up for July. I can’t believe it’s August already! I feel like I say this all the time but honestly, where is this year going? In that post, I shared all the books I’ve been reading (and there have been a lot more than of late) as well as the posts I shared last month.

On Friday I shared my first Shelf Control post for a little while. It was lovely to go back and look at my TBR and talk about why I can’t wait to read the next book on my list. This week’s featured book was a non-fiction novel called Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots, and looks at the history of psychology and how patients were treated in the 19th century.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I was around two thirds of the way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Although longer than its predecessors I didn’t struggle to make progress with this at all. I love these books and the series and I’m glad I took the plunge with reading this one. It’s encouraged me in that I know I can pick up something longer and not lose momentum. You’ll know that I haven’t been reading as much so far this year as I’ve been giving myself a little bit of a break. I’m just now getting back into the habit of reading more regularly and this series is helping me do so!

This book is so good that I finished the final third in one sitting. Yes, you read that right. Around 220 pages were read over a few hours on Tuesday evening to finish the book. It was a bit of a marathon session but it got to the point where I was so close to the end that I didn’t want to put it down! It was brilliant; I love the change in tone from the previous books. It’s a lot darker and a lot more interesting given that I’m now a slightly older audience than I was when I first read the book.

I loved it so much that I have dived into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix already. Again, this is significantly longer than the Goblet of Fire, but I’ve already made a dent and gotten around 75 pages in.

 

Books Discovered

I met up with some friends earlier this week for a catch-up and my friend Natalie has kindly loaned me a book that she has talked about with me before. A few months ago she started reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and she was keen to hear what my opinion was on the book. So, I’ll probably be picking this up shortly so that I can return it to her in good time.

 

Coming Up…

This week I want to share with you a book review for something I read last year. I’m gradually chipping away at the books I still owe reviews for and this week’s feature book is going to be The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn. I enjoyed the setting of this book and the action within so I hope you can join me for my review and find out all my thoughts on the book.

Later in the week, I will return with another First Lines Friday post. As of writing this post, I haven’t got any particular book in mind, but I will come up with something during the week and fingers crossed this will appeal to you if you haven’t read it already!

Last, but not least, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary post to round off the week.

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Shelf Control #33 – 06/08/2021

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on Reviewsfeed 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.

I like to share these posts on a regular basis as it gives me the opportunity to continually review the books on my TBR. I can also decide if I still want to read them, or whether perhaps my reading taste has changed and it’s no longer for me. A lot of the early books on my list were added several years ago now; that’s quite a lot of time for my opinion to change. What I have found, since doing the series, is that I have taken a few books off this list. It’s a productive activity, and it gives me some bookish content that I can share with you. And who knows, by featuring those books I still want to read, maybe I can introduce you to something that will take your fancy as well!

This week’s featured book is a non-fiction novel. In the grand scheme I’d say these are in the minority on my list, however there are certain subjects that I will go back to again and again. Psychology is one of them. I studied psychology at school and having really loved the subject, I’ve always kept in touch with a little. It’s not an exact science and I love all the history of the ‘science’ of dealing with mind. That is particularly important for today’s featured book, as it looks at how psychology and mental illness was treated in the 19th century.

 

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots: A History of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Ireland – Kathryn Burtinshaw & John Burt

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

Goodreads – Lunatics, iImbeciles and Idiots

In the first half of the nineteenth-century treatment of the mentally ill in Britain and Ireland underwent radical change. No longer manacled, chained and treated like wild animals, patient care was defined in law and medical understanding, and treatment of insanity developed.

Focussing on selected cases, this new study enables the reader to understand how progressively advancing attitudes and expectations affected decisions, leading to better legislation and medical practice throughout the century. Specific mental health conditions are discussed in detail and the treatments patients received are analysed in an expert way. A clear view of why institutional asylums were established, their ethos for the treatment of patients, and how they were run as palaces rather than prisons giving moral therapy to those affected becomes apparent. The changing ways in which patients were treated, and altered societal views to the incarceration of the mentally ill, are explored. The book is thoroughly illustrated and contains images of patients and asylum staff never previously published, as well as first-hand accounts of life in a nineteenth-century asylum from a patients perspective.

Written for genealogists as well as historians, this book contains clear information concerning access to asylum records and other relevant primary sources and how to interpret their contents in a meaningful way.

 

My Thoughts….

To an extent I touched on some of the topics I expect to be in this book as part of my course. With that in mind, I would say it’s probably not for those of the faint-hearted. Early psychological treatment was barbaric. I’m sure it seemed innovative at the time, but back in the day there was very little understanding of how the mind actually worked and how it could be treated (other than by brute force). I leave it at that, in case any of you are on the squeamish side I don’t want the details!

To think how far along treatment has come in just a comparatively short time, there is a lot that can be covered in this book. It will build upon the topics that I enjoyed at school and I’m also interested to see how changes in the law impacted the subject.

It’s a slightly unusual one, but I’m really interested to see what this book has to offer and I’m looking forward to learning something new!

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2021

Hello everyone! I’m back with another monthly wrap-up post. Honestly, where is this year going? I’m not kidding you when I say that as part of the social committee at work I’m starting to make preparations for the big party event at the end of the year (you know the one) and it doesn’t feel like it should be coming round this quickly. But, it is, whether I think it should be or not!

This is my seventh monthly wrap-up, having started taking this approach at the beginning of the year as opposed to sharing a TBR at the beginning of the month. I’ve enjoyed the change of pace and having the flexibility to pick up what I want and when I want. Not only has this suited me was taking a step back, but it also proved not to be a hindrance getting back into it. And it’s fair to say compare to recent months, I’m back in the game. I’m really pleased with the amount of reading I’ve done over the last month, which you can find out below.

 

Books Read

The beginning of this month started with a number of short stories. I was taking part in blog tours for both Clarissa and Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. In part, I think having the deadlines for each of these helped encourage me to pick up the books quickly, but also being quite short these were very easy to read a as well. I read and loved previous books of the series before, so I was confident these are a safe bet when I signed up for them.

Starting with these two definitely helped motivate me, because I then picked up a short story that I was loaned by our CEO. He is also an avid reader and he wanted my thoughts on the particular book he recommended (and loaned) to me. I’d had it for a little while but as I hadn’t set aside time deliberately to read it, I found I would start it, put it down, not pick it up again for a bit and then consequently end up starting again. After reading two short stories already, I felt I was in the mood and that it was time to set aside time specifically for this book. Not that it took long. I read this within a couple of days too – my reading streak was definitely a record for this year at that point already.

After reading these three short stories, and generally feeling good about my progress, I decided to pick up something a little longer. Having looked at my bookshelves for a bit, and even trying a couple of chapters on a kindle book that I’ve DNF’d before (but then decided against for the sake of preserving my newfound motivation), I decided to pick up The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J Tudor. I had read and loved a previous book of hers, The Chalk Man, and so I felt it was a reasonably safe bet. This decision paid off as well because I loved this book! It was everything I expected and utterly enthralling. I don’t think I could have chosen better.

And still, after all these books, I’m not quite done. My next read was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I didn’t quite finish this before month-end, however, I was well over halfway. Given that this portion of the read was about as long as The Taking of Annie Thorne, I’m pleased with this progress! Another book I started and was (and still am) making progress on was Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic. It’s not the sort of thing that I imagine is everyone’s cup of tea, but given that it loosely relates to my job role and I enjoy reading around the subject, I thought this would be a good place to start. Only got to around 20 odd percent of this one before month-end.

So, as you can see, I’ve definitely read a lot more than in previous months this year. At the end of last month, I set myself a goal to try and pick up reading more regularly again. I used to read nearly every night, but in taking a bit of a break this year, this scaled back quite a lot – maybe to once or twice a week at an absolute push! I’m still not reading every night now, but picking up a book is a more frequent occurrence, and long may that habit continue.

And after all that reading, I can’t forget the audiobook progress I’ve made this month as well! After several months, I finally finished listening to A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. I really enjoyed listening to this as I love the series. I did, however, decide after finishing that audiobook that I needed a break from the series. So, I decided to listen to something completely new – A Suitable Lie by Michael J. Malone. As of the end of July, I was around a third of the way through this audiobook. It’s nowhere near as long as A Clash of Kings, and so progress should be a lot quicker.

 

Blog Posts

As always, I like to recap the posts I have shared over the last month so then if you happen to have missed any, you can check them out with a handy link from here! In addition to all this reading this month, I’ve also shared the following:

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s wrap-up post for July. I feel really good about the progress I’ve made over the last month and how I’m getting back into reading more often. Being able to give myself the freedom to pick up what I want and what I want is really suiting me – and encouraging me to get back into it more. I hope this bit of news excites you, as that means I’m going to have more bookish content to share with you in the long run.

Are there any good books you have picked up in the last month, or is there even something you’re currently reading that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st August 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s weekly wrap-up Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you’ve had a wonderful week wherever you are and whatever you have been doing!

This week I opted for a slightly lighter schedule, and I’m glad I did. I chose to do this as I have recently taken part in a couple of blog tours in reasonably quick succession. It also turned out to be beneficial as I started learning some new things at work this week – I’m in the middle of changing my job role and I have a lot to learn! Generally, I don’t take work home with me, but I will admit with learning the new stuff, it’s been on my mind a lot.

Despite this, I still managed to share the planned discussion post with you. In that post, I share the character types I feel are very underrepresented in books, particularly in the fantasy genre. If you haven’t checked that post out already, you can take a look with this handy link.

 

Books Read

Last week I started reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and as of last week’s Sunday summary update, I was around a third of the way through the book. I’m pleased to say I’ve made an equal amount of progress this week, putting me at 440 pages (roughly) through. I’m enjoying it so far and despite at length, there is no drag or difficulty with getting into it. Sometimes if books are a little bit longer and I’m not quite in the mood, I can get bored… but this is not the case here! I’d forgotten how much I loved these books. The difference between the first three and the Goblet of Fire in terms of content and tone is quite big. I’m loving this later book more and so I think I will be jumping into the rest of the series and finishing this quite quickly!

I also started a second book this week, which I wasn’t particularly planning on! I was having a browse through the e-books my library offers and I found something that loosely relates to my job. Without going into too much detail, my job is investment-related. I took a qualification that I completed in February this year and through that, I enjoyed reading around the subject.

The book that I picked up from my library is Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic. I appreciate a lot of you probably find that quite a dry reading subject, but we all have different things that float our boat. I’m currently around 20% through this one and I will be continuing to read this over the next couple of weeks – at least I should be because that’s when my loan runs out!

 

Books Discovered

I have a small confession to make. I decided to go to my local bookstore at the beginning of this week. It’s recently been payday, and I was in the mood to have a browse. Needless to say, that resulted in my being in the mood to buy, and I treated myself to three new books.

My argument/justification is that this first book was already on my TBR. It’s also one of the older books on my TBR, so I’m likely going to be picking this up before long anyway. Those of you who read my blogs or follow what I’m reading will know that I am fascinated with World War II and the Holocaust. A weird subject, I know, given the unpleasantness surrounding it– however, I find the subject as interesting as it is harrowing. I’m confident that I’m going to love it and so I decided to pick this up in paperback.

The second book I picked up is a recommendation from my sister’s boyfriend Chris. We are both regular readers and judging by our bookshelves, we have a very similar reading taste. Chris has recently read both Barack Obama’s A Promised Land and Michelle Obama’s Becoming and recommended the latter to me as it’s less heavy on the political side. So, when I stumbled across this in the buy one get one half price section, I had to! I swear that section gets me every time.

The last book I picked up was also from the section, and it’s called Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes. Having touched upon Greek myth in a couple of books I’ve read, it’s plain that women are portrayed as the lesser sex or just outright evil. This is the topic of Pandora’s Jar, and I’m interested to see what perspective it has to offer.

 

Coming Up…

Somehow it is August already, and so my priority for the week will be to share my wrap-up post for July. I’m feeling really good about sharing that post as I met my goal of spending more time reading than I have of late. I’ve read quite a few books (short stories and full-length novels) and I’m feeling really good about the habit I’m getting back into. But, more on that in my post next week.

Later in the week, I’m going to get back into my regular Friday feature. This week is the turn of a Shelf Control post… in that, I’ll be sharing the next book on my TBR and why I can’t wait to pick it up! as always, I hope you can join me for either of these posts.

And last, but not least, I’ll wrap up the week as usual with my next Sunday Summary update.

That is, however, all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update. What have you been reading? Have you treated yourself to any new books this week?

 

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Discussion Post: Under Represented Characters in Books

There is a particular type of character I feel is seriously under represented in books, considering that the vast majority of people will probably relate to this type of person in one way or another.

I think this is most prevalent in fantasy books; I feel like I notice this more because it’s the genre I read the most of. That’s not to say that these characters are not present in other genres, because that’s definitely not the case either. So you are probably thinking, what character type am I thinking of exactly? Well, the simple answer, is realistic ones!

Let me explain it from the opposite end of the spectrum. Fantasy novels are full of altruistic protagonists. They may come from any background and any kind of advantage or disadvantage, but their prime motivator is doing right by other people. Risking their skin to save others. Sound familiar? If you read fantasy I should definitely hope so. But how many people realistically put others before themselves unconditionally? I wouldn’t say very many.

Don’t get me wrong, we can all pick our moments to do the right thing. Whether it’s baking for the charity cake sale or helping someone when in need, everybody has the capacity to consider other people and act in the other person’s interest from time to time. But when it really matters, when it’s fight or flight, human nature is to be selfish. It is to look after yourself above others, that’s just survival instinct. So why is our basic human nature so under represented in novels? As I say, for the fantasy genre particularly, it is littered – chockablock full of altruistic protagonists, but realistically, that doesn’t represent us at all.

That’s not to say that they all have their perfect protagonists though. There are a few authors in the genre that are not afraid to build their narrative around more complex and realistic characters. To name a few off the top of my head, Jorg Ancrath of Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series, or Ryhalt in Ed Macdonald’s The Raven’s Mark series are standout examples. Why do they stand out? Because I loved them. I loved their flaws and how they still made great characters despite them. Ryhalt uses alcohol as a coping mechanism and runs away from his problems. The ghosts of his past haunt him and he lives with constant guilt. Does that make him a bad person? No!

Whilst I’m not saying that there are far more alcoholics or cowards than altruists in the world, I think it’s fair to say that flawed characters are far more relatable to us as readers. We all make mistakes – we can all be selfish, and there are even times where it’s not a bad thing to be so. Characters with these deep personality flaws are not only more realistic, but I also find them far more interesting. A lot of thought has gone into them; their history and motivations derive from a personal background that we may not know at the time, but the author has invested time to create and use these to build into the character’s development. It makes them more rounded people.

Now perhaps having very altruistic characters can be argued as promoting model behaviour to readers. I can, in a way, agree with that. Yet by having characters with diverse personality traits, good and bad, we can learn from their behaviour. Their inclusion isn’t necessarily promoting the bad stuff. I’d say there is a much similar argument about the media and body image. Yes, being thinner and healthy is recommended, but having images of extremely skinny people around us everywhere isn’t always healthy for people’s body image – it can be harmful too. The same could be said of promoting model behaviour; yes it is good to teach it, but flooding the market with it too much could lead to negative effects if people feel they have to live up to that expectation, and can’t.

As with everything, I think a healthy balance is the best approach, and so I would like to see more characters with less than honest/perfect intentions. Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish. Putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing. Saying no to someone doesn’t make you a bad person. We are not all people-pleasing ‘yes-men’ who’ll stick our necks out on the line for the benefit of others, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly okay to not be perfect. 

I’m not sure if this is just something that I think about as I really enjoy reading about characters with less than desirable habits or traits. Is there something you have noticed to? Or do you have a different opinion to me? If so, let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 25th July 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a brilliant week wherever you are? It has been a good one here; we’ve had some gorgeous weather… and because my Internet was down on Thursday night, I took the opportunity to go out and sit in the garden after tea to read. And it was wonderful! 

On blog related matters, I have shared a couple of posts with you so far this week. My first post was a Top Ten Tuesday post, and the subject was Books I Have Read in One Sitting (Or Would if I Had the Time). I did have to stretch that definition a little bit, as I quickly ran out of short stories that I’d finished in one sitting (genuinely). I opened it out to books I’d read within a 24-hour period, and this enabled me to finish my list!

My second blog post of the week was another blog tour review for Karl Drinkwater. Last week I took part in the blog tour for the third book in his Lost Tales of Solace series; this week’s post was for book four, Ruabon. If you really enjoy science fiction, or are just interested in giving it a go, and please check out any of my reviews for this series so far-I hope they encourage you to give them a go!

 

Books Read

After finishing The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor last week, I wanted to pick up a longer book than I have read recently. But, I also worried that the book choice had to be the right one to make sure I keep up momentum. At first I had an inkling to try and restart reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I picked this up and made a very good attempt at it previously, but ultimately I DNF’d this book at 70% because I was struggling with it. My friend absolutely loves the series and I was kind of gutted that it wasn’t working for me when I picked it up.

I had quite a serious urge to give this a go again, so much so that I read the first couple of chapters. However, I will admit that I think the timing of trying to pick this up again might not be right. As I said, I don’t want to lose momentum and I’ve just started reading more regularly! With that in mind, I put this down again for now and instead I have picked up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I am re-reading the Harry Potter series this year, and given that this book weighs in at just over 600 pages, I felt it was the right book to pick up next. So far, it’s really working for me. I’m currently around 220 pages in and I’m absolutely loving it! I’m also planning on reading some more tonight before I go to bed, so that figure will technically go up after this post. 

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been really good again this week and I haven’t added any new books to my To Be Read pile.

 

Coming Up…

Having taken part in a couple of blog tours recently, I’m planning on a two-post schedule on my blog next week. Because I’ve been sharing reviews, I think I’m going to share a discussion post mid-week, and follow-up later with my usual Sunday Summary update for variety.

For my discussion post, I want to talk about the types of characters I want to see in books more. I have one definite idea in mind at the moment, but I’m going to have a think about this over the next few days and share all my thoughts with you about characters I would like to see more of in that post.

That is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post however! What have you been reading? If you have any ideas for my discussion post, what characters would you like to see more of in books?

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