Tag: non-fiction

Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2023

Hello everybody and welcome to a very hastily finished off monthly wrap-up post for January 2023! If you want to refresh yourself on the books I intended to read throughout the month, here is a link to my TBR post. 

I would normally shared my monthly wrap-up post tomorrow. However, as this month it falls on a Wednesday, the day in which I publish a regular series, I’ve decided to fast track my monthly wrap-up and publish it tonight. To accommodate the change, I prepared most of my monthly wrap-up post ahead of time, and added the last updates on my current read late this evening.

So, buckle up and let’s dive into my January reads!

 

Books Read

 

The Secret Library

The first book I picked up in 2023 was a carryover from last year. As of the end of the year, I had only made a very brief start on The Secret Library (10% ish). I took the decision not to include that book in my 2022 stats, as I felt more appropriate that it be reflected in 2023.

The Secret Library is a nice short read that covers books shared throughout history – those well known, but more importantly, those lesser known. If you like your facts and tidbits of information, then this is the kind of book that will appeal to you. It was really easy to read, well organised with concise chapters, and the pace was just right for the type of book it is.

The Secret Library was a solid start to 2023!

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

Next, I picked up The Secret History – not to be confused with the previous book I just read!

Unlike The Secret Library, The Secret History is a fictional novel with a dark academia theme. In this book, we follow a group of talented language students and the trouble they manage to embroil themselves in. I had really high hopes for this book based on recommendations from other readers (bloggers and in person), but also, because I really enjoyed my introduction to the genre last year.

I really enjoyed this book overall, although I did find a section in the middle to be a little slow-paced… and I’m not sure about the ending. It wasn’t really how I expected it to end. That said, the narrative is compelling and easy to read, if a little graphic in places. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me, but just a disclaimer that if you prefer your fiction to be less… bloody, maybe pick up a different book.

 

After You

I wanted to pick up After You having read and enjoyed its predecessor, Me Before You some time ago. This isn’t the type of genre I usually reach for, so this made a significant change from my typical TBR.

Again, After You was a hit. If I’m honest, I don’t think it was quite as good as Me Before You. However, as I’m sure you will agree, those are very big boots to fill. I enjoyed that book for the difficult topics it handled. That’s specifically why I wanted to pick it up back then! After You isn’t just an airy fairy love story – this one also deals with topics that may be difficult to address. Grief, loss and moving on are the main themes of the book. I enjoyed how well-rounded it was. Despite the themes of the book, there is plenty of humour to lift the mood throughout!

 

The Chimp Paradox

I am ending the month with my current read, The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. As of publishing this post, I am 72% through this one, although I will be taking this book to bed with me and trying to finish it by the end of the night. 

I have already learned some useful information from this book. If you are interested in a basic overview of psychology and how the mind works, this will probably interest you. If I’m honest, I am personally not a fan of the narrative style. That’s not to say it is difficult to read or anything – I would suggest the opposite! Perhaps it is because I’m a former psychology student with some knowledge in the subject, but I find this narrative really oversimplified. That said, the target audience for this book is probably somebody who has very little knowledge at all. I’m not that person.

To me, it reads like the author is talking to a four-year-old. The narrative is repetitive, as well as oversimplified, and it grates on me a little bit. That’s not to say I haven’t been able to take anything away from this book, because that would be a lie. However, I will admit that I am reading this book to get what I can from it and move on.

 

DNF’s

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Another less successful book on my January TBR was Ezeekat’s book club pick, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Thankfully I had grabbed a digital copy of this book from my library!

Having read the small amount that I did before I put this back down, I’m glad I didn’t get my own copy! I didn’t enjoy the narrative style at all. That can be a big make or break for me. Additionally, I didn’t have any great love or interest in the characters, and I thought the opening events of the opening chapter to be bland. All-in-all, disappointing. 

Needless to say, the copy was returned to the library rather quickly!

 

So, those were the books I picked up throughout the month of January. I hope you have enjoyed today’s monthly wrap-up!

What have you been reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 29th January 2023

Good evening all and welcome to today’s catch up post – my Sunday Summary update! As always, I hope you’ve had a brilliant week.

I have been keeping myself busy as usual. I started off the week with a Top Ten Tuesday post, in which featured my top ten new-to-me authors discovered in 2022. It turns out I read quite a few books by authors I haven’t tried before last year. If you want to find out who my favourites were, you can take a look at that post by following the link above.

On Wednesday, it was the turn of my new regular feature, Well, I Didn’t Know That! In this week’s post, I took a look at an article recently featured in New Scientist magazine. The feature of teh article is an experiment in using AI in a courtroom to defend against a speeding ticket.

On Friday, I shared a Shelf Control post. If you are unfamiliar with this series, it allows me to review the books on my to-be-read list and share why I’m excited to read them. This week’s feature is a short sci-fi crime thriller novel that I can’t wait to try.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was coming up to 25% of the way through After You by JoJo Moyes.

Contemporary romance isn’t my typical read. However, after reading Me Before You and discovering it was a series, I knew I wanted to continue. After You is a funny read, even though it deals with grief and loss. I thought the book balanced this out really well to tackle the subject. At the same time, it doesn’t drag the book down. In this particular book, Louisa is struggling to cope. Throughout the narrative, we see her attending group therapy in attempt to move on. But of course, this isn’t the only drama going on. Life doesn’t stop after all.

Personally, After You wasn’t quite as good as Me Before You. However, those were very big shoes to fill. After You was still a solid four star read. For the type of book I don’t pick up very often, it left me a satisfied reader.

I then went on to pick up my current read as of this Sunday Summary post – The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is a non-fiction about mind management that deals with some of the psychology behind how and why we do things (or not), experience inner conflict, and how this can be managed effectively.

As of this update, I am 27% of the way through this book. It is proving an interesting read so far. I think there are elements I can take away from it. If I have one small gripe, it is that a lot of the psychology is oversimplified. For the average reader, I would say this is fine. As a former psychology student, I would personally prefer to see less simplification and a little more of the technical side. But, that’s a personal preference, and it’s certainly not going to make me put the book down.

 

Books Discovered

All is quiet on the reading list front this week –there have been no new additions to the mountain of books I already intend to read!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post next week will be a monthly wrap-up for January. In order to fit this in with my usual schedule, I will be sharing this post late on Tuesday evening, so I can fit in as much progress as I have made as possible!

Then, on Wednesday, I will be sharing the third instalment in my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! For that post, I’m taking a look at an article I recently read online. From this article, I discovered several potential reads that I would not have discovered anywhere else.

On Friday, I will be sharing my February TBR. Some of the books on February‘s list are slightly shorter, so I’m being ambitious and sharing six reads I hope to pick up throughout the month. I hope you can check out that post when it goes live.

Then, last but not least, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update to catch you up on all the books I’ve read over the last week, in the usual format.

For now though, that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post.

What have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations?

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That! #2

Could AI become a one-stop-shop tool when you’re in need of legal defence?

That is the feature of today’s post as part of my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! and a recent article in New Scientist magazine (issue 3421, pg.10).

To stress, the scenario featured in this article is about a trial. Of the AI. Obviously there is also a legal trial – this one about a speeding ticket.

 

New Scientist – AI Will Advise a Defendant in Court

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic lately. You may have had a play with ChatGBT which has become popular recently. Or, you may have seen discussions around the inter-web about digital art, or artificial intelligence being used in ways in which it could replace human creations.

The idea of artificial intelligence being clever enough to do even more than it already does is a little bit frightening. Now, for the first time ever, artificial intelligence is being tested in a brand-new scenario – the courtroom. Normally, such technology is not permitted. You won’t find yourself defended by anyone other than a lawyer anytime soon. However, a company behind artificial intelligence has found somewhere in which a device supporting AI can be used… and is taking the opportunity to do so.

 

What’s happening?

The firm behind the artificial intelligence, DoNotPay, are trialling the use of its technology in defending against a speed ticket. The company has promised to pay any fines in the event that the AI does not succeed in its defence. In order to represent the defendant, a smart phone is being used to listen to proceedings and advise the defendant on how to respond via an ear piece.

As this case is not due to take place until next month, we won’t know how successful AI will be in this scenario. It was originally developed and trained to assist with legal issues by sticking to factual statements. In a courtroom scenario, the best course of action could be different. That is clearly why the company want to expose their artificial intelligence to this situation. It relies on data. Currently, it has no data of how to respond to this scenario. After this case, that will change.

 

What could it mean?

If we ever see artificial intelligence playing a significant role in legal issues, it is a long way off. In order to get this first trial, the company have had to search long and hard to find somewhere it would be permitted. They are able to implement the technology as a defence tool under a technicality that isn’t really in the spirit of the rules. If AI were to become mainstream, there would have to be significant changes in the law to permit it to be used.

The article in new scientist suggests that AI may instead be used to assist lawyers, rather than replace them. However, at this stage, who can say? Until we get an idea of how well it performs and if the attitude of society changes, we won’t know if it has any permanent role in the courtroom.

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That! #1

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s first ever post of my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! For today’s post, I’m sharing information I learned from an article in Writing Magazine (October edition, pg. 5) that indicates how financial technology have future impact the publishing world.

If you want to find out about the series, you can check out the link to the Well, I Didn’t Know That! introduction post. I’ll also be keeping an index there of historical posts in the series, as well as update it with future topics. Of course, if you’d like to take part in Well, I Didn’t Know That! for yourself, I’d be thrilled. Please just link to my introduction page so I can check it out and readers can find out about the series.

Whilst the article of today’s feature focuses on textbooks sales (as they are more expensive than most books and frequently sold on after use by students), it is clear the whole publishing world will latch onto this idea if it works.

The article title is listed below if you wish to read it for yourself.

 

Textbook Publishers Plan Tech to Control Secondhand Market

If you are familiar with the financial market, you may have heard of technology called blockchain. It’s commonly associated with the likes of digital art or cryptocurrencies. I won’t go into any of the boring detail, because I’m not going to pretend I understand the ins and outs of it. I will, however, try to summarise simply so you get a feel for how the technology publishers wants to use works now.

Cryptocurrencies are unregulated investments, and the trading of these digital assets is done through blockchain. Blockchain, put simply, is a decentralised system that records transactions. In order to record these transactions, the digital assets being re-registered need to have a non-fungible token (NFT) – in basic terms, a unique identifier which certifies proof of ownership. This is the technology publishers want to harness.

 

Why?    

Publishers lose out on second hand sales and exchanges of digital assets. Whilst it is certainly not encouraged, there are currently no restrictions on sharing digital copies of books with others. That could well change if publishers can successfully harness this technology.

By embedding NFT’s – the unique identifiers – into ebooks and any other digital asset, it is possible to restrict access to just the individual recorded as the owner of the digital asset. With this change, publishers can prevent unauthorised access to these documents. They cannot be shared as is currently possible.

 

What do publishers gain?

These changes will inevitably have an impact on first-hand sales, as these digital assets can no longer be owned and accessed by more than one individual at a time. However, it appears from the article that they are primarily targeting second-hand sales too. How will they do it?

With the use of the unique identifier, digital assets are registered to a singular owner. If an individual wanted to transfer their ebook etc to another person, it would need to be re-registered at a decentralised location to enable the new owner to access it. The publisher benefits as they can impose fees to do so. By imposing these fees, they can set minimum re-sale values of their books and in taking a cut, gain a source of revenue that they are currently not tapping into at all.

 

What does it mean for us?

If the technology proves successful and publishers decide to outlay the costs necessary to implement the technology, it will inevitably mean paying more for second-hand assets. As digital books don’t degrade or have any wear-and-tear as physical ones do, it’s justifiable that the cost of such an asset should be a lot closer to retail value. And the trouble is, publishers will have the power to dictate that.

Arguably, this would take time and money to implement. And, for the majority of books, we’re not talking mega bucks. It is more exaggerated in the case of textbooks, because they are pricey to begin with.

I doubt we will be seeing this change coming into force anytime soon. However, I found this article interesting in that it shows how the publishing world flouts it’s stereotypical ‘traditional’ image by embracing new, developing technology.

 

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That!

I have wanted to create a series on my blog for some time that encouraged me to read more non-fiction. The other defining feature I wanted for this post is to emphasise that all reading is reading.

Yes, I read a lot of books. But, that’s not an exclusive requirement. There is far more reading material out there – magazines, online articles and reference sites, periodicals etc. They are a great starting point for touching upon or discovering a new topic of interest. Most importantly, they are more accessible to read.

I’m all about encouraging reading – any kind of reading! Whilst I feature books heavily on my blog already, Well, I Didn’t Know That is a series that makes dedicated space for other mediums.

Of course, if you like the idea of this post and want to post your own spin on it, please do! The aim is to encourage reading in all ways – I’d only ask you link back to this introductory post so anybody else interested can take a look at how it works!

I’ll be starting the series in earnest on 18th January 2023. Today’s post is merely the introduction! If you want to look back at previous features, I’ll keep an index below as a reference. If you have read something interesting and you’d like me to feature it in a future post – get in touch with me and let me know!

 

Well, I Didn’t Know That!

 

Upcoming Posts

25/01/2023 – AI – could it replace the role of lawyers in future?

 

Previous Posts

  1. How FinTech could give publishers more control over their digital assets than ever before

 

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Sunday Summary – 8th January 2023

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your current read?

 

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Monthly TBR – January 2023

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

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

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

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

 

Fixed Reading List

 

The Secret Library

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

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

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

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

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

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

 

Mood Reads

 

After You

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

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

 

The House of Fortune

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

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

 

The Chimp Paradox

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – December 2022

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

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

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

 

Books Read

Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan

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

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

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

 

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb

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

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

 

The Secret Library – Oliver Tearle

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

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

 

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

Until then, happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st January 2023

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

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

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

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Shelf Control #58 – 16/12/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s Shelf Control post! This week, I’m featuring yet another historical non-fiction novel. This one, however, is a lot closer to home than my previous feature. Before we jump into the details of that, here is a recap of what Shelf Control is all about.

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Now, let’s dive into today’s featured book!

 

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer

 

 

Genre: Non-fiction / History

Pages: 319

Audience: Adult

Publisher: The Bodley Head

Publication Date: 02 Oct 2008

 

Goodreads – The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England

Imagine you could travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see, and hear, and smell? Where would you stay? What are you going to eat? And how are you going to test to see if you are going down with the plague?

In The Time Traveller’s Guide Ian Mortimer’s radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that’s the life of a peasant or a lord. The result is perhaps the most astonishing history book you are ever likely to read; as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling.

 

My Thoughts

The main reason I want to pick this book up is that my knowledge of British history is shockingly lacking. Considering this is something I should have learned throughout school, I know very little about British history in general. My school curriculum focused on far more world history, rather than local. 

From my understanding, life in Britain back in the 14th century was vastly different compared to today. Whereas it is more common in modern society for couples to marry and start families from the age of 30, most people wouldn’t even make it to the age of 30 in the 14th century. This is just one example of how stark the differences between life then and now are. Clearly, the difference 700 years can make is a massive one!

This is a time period of history that I’m not familiar with. The British history I have studied and read about in my own time generally picks up from the 1500s (the Tudors) onwards. I’m looking forward to stepping back even further and seeing the world from a different and more primitive point of view.

Do you read a lot of books about British history? Does this book appeal to you? If so, why?

 

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