The first day at my new job, back in July, I sat in the staff room eyeing up the bookshelf. It was packed with brand new book proofs of all genres, from all publishers. I was practically salivating over them, but I had to tell myself “No. Be cool for once in your life.” Because I knew that if I didn’t tell myself that, I’d be leaving work that day, my first day, with my arms full of books, and although I’d come across as enthusiastic to my co-workers, I probably wouldn’t seem very professional… So I restricted myself to one book. One shiny new book. I bet you can guess which one I chose.
Okay, so I’ve been pretty busy this month and at times it’s felt like my brain just won’t stop going over and over all the things I should be doing. But I just haven’t had the time. Alongside heading to Valencia for a hen do and then attending my brother’s wedding on the 15th, I also started a new job as a bookseller! As a result of all of these factors, as well as my frequent nervous breakdowns, I’ve spent most of my free time feeling completely exhausted. Which is why my June reading update is being posted at the end of July. I know. I hate myself for it too.
I have to say though, June was a weird reading month for me. I’ve been focusing a lot on reading some graphic novels (which I’d like to discuss in a separate post) as well as a lot of art books (which I won’t mention here) because I want to try out reading lots of different styles. As a result, the only fiction novel I read in its entirety in June was The Virgin Suicidesby Jeffrey Eugenides. Now don’t get me wrong, The Virgin Suicides was a great book. It’s a book I’ve always read bits of but never fully, despite owning the book for at least 10 years, but I don’t really want to focus this entire post on it. If you haven’t heard of this book, in summary it tells the story of the Lisbon sisters, five teenage girls who, one by one, commit suicide. It’s told from the perspective of the teenage boys across the street who have been obssessing over the girls throughout their lives and, years later, try to understand why the sisters did what they did. It’s gorgeous, heartbreaking, darkly funny and a relatively quick read. But as I said, this book isn’t the main focus today. Instead, I’ve decided to turn this post into a mid-year reading update, instead of just a June update, where I can talk about my progress. Continue reading →
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years exactly since Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone came out in 1997 and changed the world. It’s mad to think that a little book about a boy wizard has gone on to become one of the most well loved and read children’s books of all time.
In the past 20 years, a lot has happened. For starters, I’ve aged a fair bit, had numerous disastrous haircuts and hundreds of misadventures. But, like most of us, I’ve always gone back to Harry. For comfort, for solace, for a friend. These books mean an awful lot to me. Settle in friends, it’s about to get emotional.
Slightly late, slightly shorter edition of What I Read this month! I went on holiday in May which is why I am only going to be featuring 2 books in this post. The rest of my May books (and trust me, there are a lot) will be coming at you in a future holiday reads post! So without further ado, welcome to May…
When I was 18, my main concerns were perfecting my eyeliner and making sure my fringe wasn’t wonky. The only thing I’d ever voted for was Kerry Katona winning I’m A Celebrity. I remember being 11 years old, sitting in my pyjamas on the sofa, and voting five times on a Siemens A60 that had a weird version of the Friends theme tune as its ringtone. I loved the small act of voting. Of sending my opinion out into the universe and feeling like I somehow mattered. When the person I’d chosen won, I was ecstatic. I’d picked the winner! It wasn’t something that mattered much, but it mattered to me back then. And winning felt pretty nice.
After two weeks at Penguin Press, I acquired over 20 books, either receiving them from my supervisor and other staff members who kindly gave me a book they thought I might enjoy, or by scavenging through the pulp pile. The pulp pile at Penguin is a pile of books from all the different imprints that are no longer needed, or are taking up too much space in the office area, so they’re set out for anyone to take on their way home for the evening. Now that I think about it, I feel like I may have made up that it’s called a pulp pile at Penguin… any publishers out there feel free to correct me! But in general, there will be piles or shelves of books at publishing houses that are fair game at the end of the day. And as a pretty hardcore book hoarder, the whole concept of ‘free books’ got a little bit dangerous… Continue reading →
Welcome to my third monthly reading update! I am shocked that I’ve managed to keep this up to be honest with you. With 20 out of 35 books for my 2017 Goodreads challenge completed so far, I think I am well on my way (hopefully) to smashing that target. This month I read 5 books (!). I’m probably not going to discuss all of them in detail below, but just the highlights!
Before I get started, I want to say that I realise ‘What I Read’ isn’t a particularly catchy title for a monthly blog series, and what I’m doing here is pretty much a ‘wrap up’. But I just hate the phrase ‘wrap up’, for some weird unknown reason, in the same way that I hate the phrase ‘marketing mix’… or the word ‘moist’. (I think everyone hates that word though to be honest.) So I’m sticking with ‘What I Read’, and this is what I read in the month of April…
There’s a trend of books coming out at the moment that I’ve been reluctant to try. Not because they’re badly written. I’m sure they have been very important books for people who aren’t me. But I’ve been seeing a lot of books lately that seem to be promoting something that I’m not particularly interested in hearing about right now.
Like the Hygge invasion of 2016, we are being inundated by books about how to become an adult. Becoming grownups. Adulting. There seems to be a general need right now for people to be told what to do beyond school and university, maybe because no one seems to know what the hell is going on.
I laugh weekly about the fact that, “Holy shit. I’m an adult.” And yet there are still so many things in my life that I don’t have sorted out. I still feel like I should be heading off to school each morning with a marmite sandwich, lovingly made by my mum, and a packet of crisps. I should be forgetting to do my science homework and getting in trouble for leaving my PE kit at home.
When people tell me how to be a grown up, it feels like I should be pouring myself into some kind of one size fits all mould, sacrificing the things that make me happy to make way for a newer, sleeker, cooler and generally more together me. I don’t like it.
Welcome to the second instalment of What I Read, which I’m hoping to make a monthly series (if I remember) all about what I’ve read each month, ranging from mini reviews to general recommendations. I like this idea because often I feel pressure to write long reviews about everything I’m reading, but the thing is… I don’t really like to read detailed book reviews. Why should I write them? I’m excited to carry on with this series and have more time to write about my broader interests, such as art and film. Catch my February post here.
This month I read a lot, I’m not even including everything in this post! This month was also inadvertently themed around a pretty big subject: anxiety. Each of the following books has a main character that deals with anxiety in various ways. The books are also, as usual, about love.