Tag: science

Sunday Summary – 19th May 2024

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary catch-up post. It’s good to see you here! I hope you’ve had a good week?

Weather-wise it’s been a pretty good one and I was out making the most of it yesterday. It’s weird to think there are parts of the Island I live on that I’ve not really been to before. Well, there’s one less now!

There is only one other post I’ve shared with you so far this week and that was my review of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. This is the second book in the Farseer trilogy and a great sequel to Assassin’s Apprentice. If you haven’t checked out that review already or are interested in the series in general, I recommend checking that out. I’ve even made it easy for you…

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Damned

I started off this week already 185 pages into Empire of the Damned. As of this week’s Sunday Summary, I can share that I’ve picked the book up further and I am now 318 pages in, or 48%.

More recently, I do most of my reading during my lunch hour at work. Reading and eating at the same time is fine if you have a sandwich, but this week I decided to be good and make salads. Reading a chunky hardback book is a lot more difficult to do at the same time. I also went out on an organised walk on Wednesday lunchtime with colleagues.

Consequently, reading progress was affected by less time spent reading. That’s not any reflection on the book. I absolutely love this second book and how it’s deviated from the first. It feels like a much more rounded narrative and I am at decisive point in the story. I can’t wait to see what happens next. The good news is that once this post goes live tonight, I’ll have time to dive back in!

 

Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes

Over the course of this week I have listened to the first 1 1/2 hours of Terry Pratchett’s biography, A Life With Footnotes.

As a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s writing, reading his biography has been on my radar for some time. Given that I get on great with non-fiction in audio format, this was a no-brainer. I love that the audio is also narrated by the author, Rob Wilkins. Rob was Terry‘s personal assistant and has very intimate knowledge of his career and personal life. This reflects in the narrative already and I can’t wait to hear more about Terry as I progress through the audio.

 

Books Discovered

Whilst my bank account will be happy that I haven’t made any purchases this week, I have added one book to my reading list. The Chaos Machine by Max Fisher is a non-fiction about how social media has affected our brains and society. From the sample I read, it sounds very investigative and factual as opposed to radical. I’ve watched documentaries on the same topic before (The Social Dilemma on Netflix is a goos example) and really enjoyed them. With this in mind, I want to give the book a go!

 

Coming Up…

Keeping a two-post schedule is suiting me at the moment, so I’m sticking to it next week. My midweek post will go live on Tuesday as I like the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday instalment – Author’s I’d Love a New Book From.

I’ll then take a few days off before sharing a Sunday Summary next weekend. With any luck I’ll have more reading progress to share with you… hopefully I can finish if I push myself a little 😊

What are you reading at the moment?

 

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Sunday Summary – 12th May 2024

Hello fellow readers and welcome to this week’s instalment of my Sunday Summary weekly update.

Broadly, things have been back to normal scheduling this week. I’ve shared two posts with you so far, and here’s a recap of what they were in case you missed them!

The first of those was my Monthly TBR for May. I’ve done my usual and set myself an ambitious list. However, although some of the books are longer in length, their format means they are going to be very quick to read. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. Based on previous experience, that’s what I expect. If you haven’t seen that list yet, here’s a link so you can go and check it out.

My next post was a return of my Friday feature, Shelf Control. In this week’s post I feature a mammoth anthology made up of big name writers that I want to pick up and try. Admittedly, I’ll probably have to read it in bits as it’s over 1000 pages long! Have you heard of this one? Does it sound like something you want to read? Go and check out that post to find out.

 

Books Read


Empire of the Vampire

I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with just 80 pages left of Empire of the Vampire. With the motivation to not still be reading the book when I published my May TBR, I sped through these last few pages quite quickly!

I enjoyed Empire of the Vampire the second time round as much as I thought I would!

I also got to appreciate my special edition copy by picking it up again, so it was a win-win situation. This got me up to speed with events of the first book again, so I am able to pick up the sequel. You’ll see more on that below!

I love the narrative style employed in these books as we flip between a present day Gabriel looking back and recounting his story. I love the snippets of hindsight, but also start contrast of attitude and experience the character has versus his younger self. It’s a narrative style I will come back to again and again!


The Icepick Surgeon

Another intended quick finish to talk about in this Sunday Summary is my listen of The Icepick Surgeon by Sam Kean. As of my last update post, I had just about an hour left of this audiobook to get to completion.

The Icepick Surgeon is a great read or listen for anyone who likes to explore ethics and morality around science practice throughout the ages. This book covers a wide array of periods, circumstances and individuals. From rumours of malpractice conducted by figures such as Cleopatra to modern day scientists facing backlash for their own malpractice, there’s a lot to explore here.

I learned plenty of things about the profession that I didn’t know before. Personally, I also enjoy looking at the morality side of things, so this book was perfect for me. I will also strongly recommend the audiobook as it was an engaging listen and very easy to follow.


Empire of the Damned

After publishing my May TBR, I had a bit of internal debate as to whether to read Empire of the Damned straight away. However, I ultimately reasoned that I’d read the first book in the series to catch up on events, and what better time to start reading then immediately afterwards?

Therefore, I’ve spent this week starting Empire of the Damned and as of this post, I am 185 pages in. I actually like that I’ve picked this up straight away. I’m familiar with characters and their motivations, but the story is also taken a bit of an unusual turn. Therefore it doesn’t feel to see me to what I read in the first book. I’m intrigued as to how events are going to pay out and the inevitable conflict that will take place. Hopefully I can make good progress with this book in the next week and have a bit more to tell you in that update.


F*ck No

After finishing The Icepick Surgeon, I moved on to listen to a book called F*ck No. If you are unfamiliar, it is a self-help guide to help overachievers, pushovers or anyone who struggles to say no, to adapt their mindset and ability to stand up for themselves.

As I’m sure you will expect from the title, this book is witty and entertaining as well as informative. I really like Sarah Knight’s style and I love that she narrates the audiobook herself. Stories are helpful in showing how the tips she shares can be put into practice

F*ck No is only a short audiobook and I just finished listening to it this morning whilst out gardening.

 

Books Discovered

It’s another quiet week in terms of acquisitions or books added to my reading list this week – there are none to share with you in this Sunday Summary!


Coming Up…

This week I plan to share a review of the second book in a series that I have come to love. Robin Hobb is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of all time. In this post, I will review the second book of the Farseer trilogy, Royal Assassin!

As always, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary at the end of the week to catch you up on the books I’ve read, and I’ve picked up over the last week and to recap the content I’ve shared.

I hope you can check out any or all of these and until then, I’ll see you around!

Happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 5th May 2024

Good evening and welcome to another Sunday Summary update post!

I’ve been a little hands off on the blog this week due to personal circumstances. I attended a funeral yesterday and I knew blogging towards the end of the week wasn’t feasible. I’ve also not read a lot since Friday (although I am listening to my current audiobook as I type).

The only post I’ve shared so far this week is my Monthly Wrap-Up for April. Although I’ve read fewer books, I was picking up some with a chunkier page count. Find out what I’ve been reading over the last month in that post.

Now, find out what I’ve been reading over the course of this week!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

Having gotten my reading obligations out of the way last week, I picked up Empire of the Vampire once again. I’ve done pretty well with progress too!

I started off the week at 384 pages into this book. For stats nerds, that’s a little over 50%. I’ve read exactly 250 pages this week, so I’m now on page 634. It’s been great to dedicate some time to this re-read once again. With the action ramping up, it’s been really easy to pick this up in my lunch hours and dive into the narrative. Less easy is convincing myself to go back to work afterwards… 

With just 80-odd pages until I’ve completed this book, I’m going to try my best to finish this (again) tonight! Wish me luck…

 

The Icepick Surgeon

Progress in my audiobook listen of The Icepick Surgeon is steady. In last week’s Sunday Summary post I shared that I’d listened to 5 hours of the audio. I’ve managed to do pretty much the same again this week.

I am loving listening to this book so far. It tackles very different topics of unethical behaviour and malpractice in science. I would strongly recommend this to anybody with any interest in the subject. It’s really easy to listen to and I find the content really engaging.

That means I only have just over an hour to go. I’m going to make an effort to finish this book very soon too! I confess as of drafting this post I’ve not even thought about books I’m going to read in May yet. It will be nice to tackle that list without having these two on it as carryovers.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve kept my head down this week so I have nothing new on the reading list to report to you  in this Sunday Summary update.

 

Coming Up…

The first post that will be making its way to you in the next few days is my reading list for May. As I’ve said above, I haven’t really put much thought into the books that are going on it yet. However, I have some freedom in that I have no obligations to factor in. I have plenty of books I have been looking to get to soon, so I suspect a few of those will end up there. Stay tuned to see which books I end up picking up!

There is every intention to go back to a usual blogging schedule this week. With this in mind, I’ll be back with another Friday feature – this time a Shelf Control post. If you are unfamiliar with this series, I take a look at books on my reading list and share why I’m excited to get to them. Hopefully, you can check that out later this week.

As always, I will be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update post for you. I hope to be in a position where I’ve completed my ongoing reads as of this post and having started some of my May reads too.

Until then, I hope you have a fantastic week and I will see you in the next post! Happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th April 2024

In this week’s instalment of my Sunday Summary update series, I recap my reading progress over the course of this last week! But first, I recap the blog posts I’ve shared over the course of the week. Let’s check it out: –

My first blog post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I shared my top 10 books I am looking to get to reading soon. I have quite the mix on that list, and there is quite some variation in the length of the books as well. I have some chunky ones (as can only be expected). I’ll have to make sure I space those out when I get to them.

My next blog post went live on Saturday as I had agreed to review The Maiden of Florence as part of the recent blog tour. If you enjoy historical fiction novels, or strong character driven stories, it’s one to check out!

 

Books Read

 

The Maiden of Florence

My priority of the week has been completing my read of The Maiden of Florence ahead of the blog tour post that went live on Saturday.

It took a few chapters to get into this book and the setup of the story. However, once I was invested in the characters, reading this became a doddle!

Whilst this book is about one individual woman’s story of abuse at the hands of powerful men, it is also in part an exposé of how women were treated generally in the period. Guilia’s story, whilst her own, is also more than just hers. She is one of many women who lacked the power to take their lives into their own hands and prevent their suffering.

If you want to find out more about the book, I strongly recommend checking out my review post.

 

The Icepick Surgeon

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I had only just started The Icepick Surgeon by Sam Kean.

Whilst I’m not in the same boat as last week where I’m sharing that I’ve completed an audiobook in record time, I can say I’ve made significant progress. Over the course of the week I’ve listened to about five hours of this audio. It’s a lot more than I would listen to normally so I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made.

I’m also really enjoying the book; so much so, I’ve already recommended it to one person already! I love how the different chapters touch on different periods of history and topics in which the boundaries of ethics have been crossed in the history of science. I appreciate this book won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s really highlighted to me how much knowledge we have today is owed to less ethical practices.

Next time you go to a doctor, it’s worth appreciating that their anatomical knowledge is in part owed to the efforts of predecessors who had to resort to grave robbing instead of working on live people.

 

Books Discovered

I mentioned above that I recommended The Icepick Surgeon to somebody earlier this week. I ended up having a bookish chat with my recent ear piercer of all people. Turns out, she’s an avid reader too! In turn, she recommended two books to me that I liked the sound of – F*ck No and Betty.

 

Coming Up…

The end of the month is fast approaching, so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what’s coming up on the blog. I’m actually only going to share two posts next week. With my personal schedule next week, it’s just going to make things a little bit easier for me.

I plan to share my monthly wrap-up for April around Wednesday or Thursday next week. This will be my first post of the week.

At the end of the week, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary, which is basically a weekly wrap-up… Next week is one of recaps apparently!

Until then, I hope to see you around. If you have any book recommendations for me as well, I would love to hear them!

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st April 2024

I stepped back on the blog schedule this week to give myself some breathing space and get back to reading. In today’s Sunday Summary, you’ll see why that’s worked out for me compared to reading in previous weeks!

As a consequence of making that decision, I shared only one other post this week. That was a discussion post, in which I shared five reasons why we should re-read books. If you haven’t checked out that post already, or have your own ideas as to why re-reads are the best kind of reads, then I’d love you to hop over there and have a chat with me about it!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

Having only read 100 pages of Empire of the Vampire in the last two weeks, I wanted to step up my reading game and make more progress in this book over the course of this week. I have read more this week than I’ve managed in the last fortnight; as of this Sunday Summary, I’m now on page 384.

I am slower with re-reads anyway, but changes in my lifestyle mean I don’t have as much time to read. When I’m picking up a chunky book such as this, it’s naturally going to take a while!

I was hoping to have this read by now and not to have to set it aside for another reading obligation, but such is life. I have one last commitment coming up in a week’s time that I need to prioritise. So, I will have to put this book down for a bit. Maybe the break will do me good so that when I come back to it refreshed I can dive back in.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

It’s wild how much progress I’ve made on audiobooks in the last week! For my least favourite form of reading, it’s currently working out really well for me.

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 25% into the audiobook Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith. I had approximately 6 hours of audio to listen to in order to finish the book. I listened to the first couple of those when doing gardening and pottering around the house on Tuesday. The remainder of the book was devoured in one sitting yesterday, whilst doing housework and a craft project!

Needless to say, the speed of how quickly I listened to this audio tells you how engaged I was with it. I love this subject matter and I found it both easy and interesting to listen to. I can also see it as a book that I will revisit again in future. It is the kind that can be used as a reference again and again.

 

The Icepick Surgeon

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also started a second audiobook this week. The Icepick Surgeon is an interesting read about how those in the scientific field have blurred the lines of morality in the name of science and ‘doing good’.

So far I have only listened to the first couple of chapters in full and 75% of the third, but I’m already interested in the subject. I can already tell that this is going to be another easy and engaging listen. So, hopefully I’ll have as good an update for you next week as I did with Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

 

Books Discovered

Non-fiction reads are working really well for me right now. That’s partly the reason why I have added another to my reading list this week.

I was introduced to an article and individuals by a colleague at work around a condition she suffers from. It is one that is often swept under the carpet and little known about. Even to date, there are people who are bed-bound, unable to feed themselves or even tolerate any form of contact as a result of the condition.

That condition is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for short, or also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition is being talked about a little more now as a consequence of the pandemic and a result of a long-Covid sufferers experiencing similar symptoms. It’s hoped that research into this will ultimately help ME suffers, but they have waited far too long.

The Puzzle Solver is a biography of one family’s experience of the condition, and it is awful to realise many exist this way. I don’t say live for a reason, because many don’t have a proper life at all.

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to share a Top Ten Tuesday post for the first time in a few weeks. This week’s topic is ‘unread books on my shelves that I hope to pick up soon’. God knows I have a lot (and less time to read these days), but I still want to try!

Next Saturday, I will be reviewing The Maiden of Florence as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. This is the obligation for which I need to put down Empire of the Vampire temporarily! This is a historical fiction novel based on a true story. I love the sound of the setting and I think female characters and rights are going to be very prominent in this narrative; I’m looking forward to picking it up!

As always, I’ll be back this time next week with my Sunday Summary wrap-up update. I hope you can stay tuned for that!

Until then, see you around!

 

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Sunday Summary – 27th August 2023

Welcome to my Sunday Summary update post this August bank holiday weekend. I hope you’re having a good weekend whatever you’re doing. My time off work is coming to an end, but I’ve made good use of the time!

Aside from reading, I’ve been keeping to my usual blogging schedule. My first post of this week went live on Tuesday; I shared several books I unhauled earlier in the week. It’s not a common post I share, but it felt apt as I’d just gone through my shelves to make some room anyway!

Next, I shared my regular Friday feature post – Well, I Didn’t Know That! For this week’s feature, I shared some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned taking an online course on social media marketing. If you want to improve visibility and engagement on your posts, why not give some of these a try?

 

Books Read

 

A Brief History of Time

I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary having read 25% of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. If you haven’t read this book, it’s quite a technical science book about space, time, and the theories as to the history of the planet and universe as we know it.

I’m not a science geek, so I ended up reading and understanding the concepts in the book on a superficial level. It was easy enough to follow, especially as Stephen Hawking helped explain some of the principles of the theories in approachable, everyday terms. I was initially sceptical of the later chapters being a bit difficult. But, the way the book has been written means that what we’ve read and understood previously helps us understand these later concepts!

I enjoyed this non-fiction book, not only for the subject matter but also for the change of pace. It was a stretch out of my comfort zone, but I wouldn’t rule out reading similar books in future!

 

Leadership & Culture

I jumped out of one non-fiction book into another, and quite a different subject matter entirely! Leadership & Culture concerns management in the workplace, and how different management styles can affect the work dynamic, trust and ultimate success of companies. The book mainly targets current managers, however, can easily be read by aspiring managers too. I’d argue if you want to get into a position like that, you want to learn this before you start on the wrong foot!

The authors of the book both have extensive leadership experience. They draw upon techniques and real examples of how leadership vs. management impacts employees and companies, as well as suggesting exercises to identify where improvements can be made by the reader in their own environment.

Leadership & Culture was a very quick read to pick up. It had a nice tone and easy-to-follow narrative style that I enjoyed. Should I find myself in a management position in future, it is a book I will revisit to implement the strategies detailed within.

 

Wizard and Glass

The final book I started this week is Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. This is the fourth book in The Dark Tower series -one I have really enjoyed to date!

Getting into Wizard and Glass has been a breeze. Since I’ve not left it so long since I read the last instalment earlier this year (compared to the four-year gap starting The Waste Lands in May), I’ve been able to pick up where I left off without a recap. The events of the book pick up exactly where he Waste Lands finishes. That book had a really interesting cliffhanger of a conclusion, so it was great to get straight back into that and resolve what was happening early doors.

As of this Sunday Summary update post, I am 159 pages into Wizard and Glass. Overall, I’m still a little behind schedule to finish my reading by the end of the month. However, I’m not too far behind and what I’ve read of Wizard and Glass has gone really quickly. I found this with the prior book in the series as well. If I remember correctly, I read that in just a handful of days! I’m hoping for a similar experience here!

 

Books Discovered

Having read a great recommendation/review earlier this week, I have added a book called Among Thieves to my TBR. I even did myself a favour and made a note of the link to that post, so you can go and check it out for yourself!

After reading the review and the synopsis of the book, I have every faith that I’m going to enjoy it. I have read similar books and themes previously and got on with them really well! here’s hoping I have the same experience with this book!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post next week is going to be another book review. As I’m sure you won’t find it difficult to believe, I have quite a list of books to catch up with and share my thoughts on. Next week’s featured book is one I read even though it is a genre I don’t read a lot of. I decided to pick it up purely because I enjoyed the Netflix series, (against all odds I hasten to add!) If you haven’t guessed already, it’s The Duke & I by Julia Quinn.

On Friday, we will be officially in the month of September! With the coming of the new month, I’ll inevitably be kicking off with a wrap-up of the books I read throughout the month of August!

As always, I will be sharing another Sunday Summary update with you next weekend and going over the latest books I’ve picked up, any I’ve added to the reading list, and a schedule of what you can expect content-wise the following week.

That’s a wrap for this Sunday Summary post! Let me know in the comments what book you are currently reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th August 2023

Don’t Sunday evenings roll around so quickly? You know the day, and you know the time, so you know that we are back with another Sunday Summary update!

I’ve enjoyed this week off work! It’s been great to spend some time catching up on jobs around the house, as well as taking time for reading and other hobbies. I’ll get into what I’ve been reading very shortly. First, let’s recap what’s been going on with the blog this week.

My first post of the week was a review of the first book of a series I started last year. I read this book as it was recommended to me. Although it isn’t something I read a lot of, I enjoyed it very much. If you want to check out my thoughts on Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, you can find a link to that post here.

On Friday, I shared the next instalment in my regular First Lines Friday feature. In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I challenged myself to pick this week’s feature from my physical TBR. If you want to check out which book I ultimately featured, there is a link to that post above as well.

 

Books Read

 

Ship of Destiny

I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary update having read just over a third of Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. As I shared in that post, I was a little bit behind as of that point. However, I was optimistic I’d catch that back up in my week off.

I mostly did; I made steady progress with the book throughout this week, although I did end up speeding up at the end of the book. I expected this would happen! I’m the kind of person who can’t leave the ending. If I’m watching a series, I can’t leave the last episode for another sitting. It’s become a bit of a joke in my family. The same can be said for Ship of Destiny.

At the point of just 100 pages left in the book, all the events of the trilogy come together to the final conclusion. There was absolutely no way I wasn’t binge reading it! I’d already read almost all my daily allocation by the time I got to that point. I carried on regardless! It was a fantastic ending to a long and well built-up trilogy – I’m not surprised that it became an easy, five star rating!

I finished Ship of Destiny just one day behind schedule, and even then, I was only about 70 pages behind target.

 

A Brief History of Time

The next book I picked up this week is a complete change of pace. In an effort to read more non-fiction this year, I have finally picked up this interesting yet very science-based book. Just a little bit of a change from a large fantastical work of fiction…

As of this update, I am a quarter of the way through A Brief History of Time. If I’m honest, I’ve dropped the ball in the last day or so. I didn’t read any of the book yesterday and so far, I haven’t read any today either. I will be looking to pick this up again before I go to bed for the night to recover some of that gap though.

My experience of this book so far is that generally speaking, I am able to follow it. There are some very scientific elements to the book already. I’m trying to understand it only on a basic level and then move on as opposed to digging into the science. I don’t have a science brain, and I’m not going to try! There are some basic principles which I’m able to follow (such as the Doppler effect etc). But, when you start to get into quantum mechanics, you might as well be talking a different language!

I’m undecided as to where this book is going to go in terms of complexity in the later chapters. I have a feeling that we might end up being a little bit more technical later, but I’ll deal with that then.

 

Books Discovered

Given that I’ve spent the week mostly at home and enjoying the books I have, I haven’t discovered anything new this week!

 

Coming Up…

I’ll be starting off the week with an uncommon but opportunistic post on my blog. However, as one of my jobs whilst I’m off work is to go through my bookshelves and clear out any books I no longer want, I’ve decided to share which books I’m unhauling with you and why!

On Friday, I’ll be back with another Well, I Didn’t Know That! feature post. One of the things I want to look at from a personal perspective is social media marketing. I want to do that for myself as I am trying to get more involved with Instagram and posting on social media more generally. It’s not something that’s natural to me, and it’s something I have to make a very deliberate effort to do. As I want to try and make the most of those efforts, I’m going to try and bolster my skills. With this in mind, I may group this into this regular feature post and teach you some of the techniques I learn over the course of the week!

The final post I will share at the end of next week is the one and only Sunday Summary! I’ll be back with even more reading progress to share with you, as well as details of any books, I’ve discovered over the course of the week, and of course, what are you can expect on the blog the week after!

That draws to a close for this week’s Sunday Summary update!   

What was your last five star read?

 

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Monthly TBR – August 2023

Hello readers – welcome to my monthly TBR post for August!

You would think having not completed a few month’s lists by now that I would slow down the pace. You would be wrong! I will be setting myself a list as ambitious as ever. On the plus side, I do have some annual leave coming up at work… so you know what I’m going to be doing with it, right?!

I have two goals for this month’s reading – the first is to get around to some of the books I’ve not made it to in previous monthly TBR’s. Secondly, I need to up my non-fiction game. In my mid-year review of my goals, identified that I was a bit behind on reading non-fiction in order to achieve my goal of reading more than 15 non-fiction books by the end of the year.

As a result, this monthly TBR is a little unusual. I have seven books on the reading list. Four of those are under 300 pages, which is very short for me. I have two books that are knocking on 900 pages, which is far more like what I usually pick up. Lastly, I have one solitary book in the no man’s land between… and that’s the book I’ve started the month with. It’s going to be an odd experience flitting between the two extremes!

 

Fixed Reads

This month’s set of fixed reads of the non-fiction books that I need to read to get back on track with my reading goal, plus the book that I drew out of my TBR Jar!

 

A Brief History of Time

I had every intention to get round to A Brief History of Time last month, but it wasn’t meant to be. So, I’m making it a priority read for this month. I’m of two minds as to which way this book is going to go. It’s under 300 pages, so it could be a relatively quick read. However, I understand that it can be a bit dense and mathematical. If I don’t get myself too bogged down in that, it shouldn’t be too bad. To be honest, I don’t think I will because I’m not too interested in that. There is absolutely no chance I’ll be able to follow the numbers anyway, so what’s the point?!

 

Spike: The Virus vs. The People

The second non-fiction I am looking to pick up this month is a reasonably topical read. If it’s still too early for you to be reading or talking about the pandemic, then maybe this book isn’t for you. However, I’m intrigued by the synopsis of the book. I’m willing to dive into our recent history to learn a little bit more about an event that quite literally changed our lives overnight.

 

Leadership and Culture

My final non-fiction read of the month revolves around personal development. I haven’t read any books in this vein recently, so when I saw this available for download on NetGalley, I decided to pick it up.

Whilst I am not a manager, it is a role I hope to be considered for in future. Not only that, but I’m sure the skills outlined in this book can start helping me within the workplace, even from a non-leadership perspective. Already, I am a senior member of my team and I am a regular point of contact with other departments. Aside from my day-to-day job, I also head up a newly established sustainability committee in our local office. I also drive the social committee. I’m looking to use these avenues to develop my skills and demonstrate my abilities in the long run. The tips in this book can only help me in this!

 

The City of a Thousand Faces

This month’s TBR Jar pick is The City of a Thousand Faces by Walker Dryden. I actually received a copy of this book to review from the publisher Orion. I confess it’s taken me a little while to get around to the book, but now I’ve picked it up, I am invested.

The City of a Thousand Faces is a historical fantasy that evidently has a lot of political machinations throughout. There is plenty of conflict from the get go in this narrative! As of drafting this monthly TBR post, I’m 120 pages in and I’m intrigued by the events so far. This book has made a solid impression from its introduction and I can’t wait to read more!

 

Mood Reads

 

Wizard and Glass

After reading and devouring The Waste Lands earlier this year, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I picked up the series once again. Keen to avoid another four-year long hiatus, I’m jumping back in this month with the fourth book, Wizard and Glass.

It’s hard to say what to expect from a series like this, but I definitely didn’t expect the events of the last book. However, that worked out really well. I have absolutely no idea what could possibly happen next, but I’m all for finding out!

It’s great to get back into a series that allowed me to explore Stephen King’s writing whilst still sticking to my fantasy roots. I have since gone on to read several other books by him, but this was really the series that sold him to me. That and The Green Mile.

 

Ship of Destiny

I have been hoping to start Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb for the last couple of months, but not quite gotten there. This is a series I also want to make sure I keep progressing with. Not only does that work considering my goal of reading sequels for the year; but, it also means that I stay on top of what has happened before and I am still familiar with events when I pick up the next book.

The books, the series, and the world they are set in are grand. In order to appreciate them fully, you can’t leave it too long in between. It suits me because I have really enjoyed keeping up with this series. Robin Hobb is an author who was recommended to me by my friend Rachael. I am so glad she did! Robin Hobb has fast become one of my favourite authors, and for a very good reason!

 

Lost Solace

The last book I’m picking up in August is a science-fiction novel that I have been wanting to get round to for the longest time!

I have already read a number of books by Karl Drinkwater. Those were short stories set in the same universe as Lost Solace. Now, I’m finally getting around to the main series. Whilst I’ve been trying to stick to continuing ongoing series as opposed to starting new ones, I do want to make a start on this one. Karl has been very kind in providing me copies of several books from this series for the purpose of providing a review. Naturally, I don’t want to keep him waiting forever for me to start!

Lost Solace is the shortest fiction novel on my August TBR. By the time I get round to it, having such a short fiction novel may prove to be solace… in every sense of the word.

I’ll see myself out… 

 

Stretch Goal

Sometimes I like to set myself a stretch goal! However, since I’ll need to read about 107 pages a day as it is, I’m deliberately not setting one here. If I do (by some way of a miracle) get through this TBR, then I’ll decide whether and what I pick up there and then. I’ll either read on a whim, or if I want a break, take it guilt free. 

 

Summary

As you can see, I have a wide variety of books on my August monthly TBR. Have you read any of the books I’ve featured on today’s monthly TBR list? Are they already on your reading list, or have I inspired you to add them?

Let’s chat!

 

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Shelf Control #66 – 16/06/2023

Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s Friday feature – my Shelf Control post. This week, I’m excited to feature a book that made it onto my 30 Before 30 list. It’s also a book I plan to pick up very soon!

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s 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.

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking

 

Genre: Non-Fiction / Science

Pages: 226

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Bantam Books

Publication Date: Sept 1998

 

 

Goodreads – A Brief History of Time

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.

 

My Thoughts

Revised and re-published 10 years after the original book, this edition of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is read that I am looking forward to picking up.

Generally speaking, I’m not an overly scientific or mathematically minded person. However, I’m not going to let that stop me reading this book! I may not be science orientated, but I am always looking to push my boundaries and explore new things. I’m a learner. You don’t have to be smart, brainy, or anything like that in order to be a learner. What’s important is the motivation and drive… And of that I have an abundance.

Stephen Hawking and I may be on completely different planes when it comes to intelligence, but we are clearly both learners. I’m hoping that commonality is something that will help me through this book. Whilst it is not overly long, compared to other reads I pick up, it is going to be a completely different tone from what I’m used to.

A Brief History of Time is a well-known book. Picking this up soon helps with my goal of reading the book from my 30 Before 30 list, and also as a non-fiction read in 2023. There aren’t very many academic non-fiction is on my TBR, so this book will be unique in that sense!

Have you read A Brief History of Time? What did you make of it?

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That! #7

If you are interested in the science behind habits – the good and the bad, then today’s featured ‘bookazine’, Understanding Habits, will be of interest to you.

Before we jump into today’s post, you can check out the introduction to this series here to learn what it’s all about.

This post is coming to you a week later than intended. It’s a little bit ironic given that I’ve been trying to make this post a weekly habit, but there we go. The truth is, I wouldn’t have been able to feature just a small section of Understanding Habits; it’s all one cohesive piece rather than a typical collation of separate but loosely related articles. It is a 128 page ‘bookazine’ with chapters about the science of habit-making, as well as tips and tricks on how to reinforce good habits and break bad ones. 

 

The Science

Even if you are not driven to understand the science behind habits, I would recommend still reading this section. If nothing else, this section of Understanding Habits helps to explain how habits are made biologically. Not only that, but we also learn why we can struggle with breaking bad habits here. No, it’s not just a lack of willpower. There is science to prove that humans will regularly slip back into old habits!

There are aspects of science thrown in the mix throughout the ‘bookazine’. The biological element is explored near the beginning, with case studies featuring later on. Some of the studies featured in the article, which I found interesting, are as follows: –

  • Studies on twins separated at birth have indicated characteristics such as dress sense, hobbies and interests have a genetic link.
  • Social media uses the habits of friends and family to predict our habits.
  • Streaming platforms tailor recommendations – as we all know. However, some will customise everything up to and including thumbnail and imagery to appeal and encourage the habit of using their streaming service.

 

Good Habits

If you’re looking for help with creating and reinforcing good habits, Understanding Habits has plenty to offer. Without going into too much scientific detail, there is a basis for justifying providing yourself with a reward for performing a good behaviour. Even if that reward doesn’t necessarily seem conducive to the habit you are trying to build in the short term, you can eventually take away that reward and maintain the behaviour without it. Over time, the positive reinforcement will have made the behaviour a habit. When you take away that reward, you will still maintain the behaviour. 

If you are looking to try to build up a new habit, do so after well-established habit or routine. Some examples are drinking a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning, or driving to the gym instead of going home after work on certain days of the week.

And of course, the building of a habit needs to be a conscious effort. Based on the timelines indicated in the ‘bookazine’, you can expect to spend a couple of months building a habit. So, don’t be frustrated if you don’t get there straight away. Persevere and give yourself a chance.

 

‘Bad’ Habits

There are a number of ‘bad’ habits outlined in Understanding Habits, alongside advice on how you can break them. I don’t like to admit how many of these bad habits I have. Personally, I didn’t find all the advice particularly useful. Using nail polish with a bitter taste to prevent nail-biting has never deterred me. Equally, it doesn’t matter how conscious I am at meal times, I wolf my food. Just telling myself to slow down isn’t going to help me, especially when my stomach is protesting like my throat’s been cut.

Just because some of these haven’t worked for me, that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t good advice. As with all things, everybody is unique and individual. What works for me won’t work for others, and vice versa.

 

Summary

I’ve touched on a very small fraction of what the ‘bookazine’ Understanding Habits has to offer. If you’re intrigued from the highlights of today’s post, then I was strongly recommend getting yourself a copy and going through it. There is plenty to learn from it. There are techniques I will try to help continue building and maintaining good habits.

Let me know if you have enjoyed today’s Well, I Didn’t Know That! post. If there is a topic you would like to see me feature in future, please let me know in the comments.

 

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