Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Goals for 2015

So here we are, back again for another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Click here for this week's linkup!

This week's title is:

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015!

I'm super excited about this because I was going to do a similar list anyway, but now I get the chance to have a peek at other people's posts and chat about their goals, which is loads more fun! A lot of these are book/blogging-related, but there are a few personal ones slipped in there too! So anyway, let's get cracking with the list.

1. Read more diversely

This has been something that I've been focussing on a lot recently with my posts on the Reading Diversely challenge and the Travel the World in Books challenge, so I fully expect to continue with it in 2015. I might even set some specific goals for the year, or even a fully-fledged TBR, who knows!?

2. Buy fewer books

This one is a no-brainer for me as I have so many unread books on my shelves! I know there are loads of people who are worse than me for this, but I still don't like the idea of having so many books I haven't read, and won't even be able to read in the near future because there are so many of them... I might take a leaf out of Susie's book (over at Read Susie Read, on BookTube) and start a Read 5 Before I Buy challenge (or similar).

3. Have a cull!

This one leads on from the previous one - basically I want fewer unread books on my shelf. I don't want to feel pressure to slog through all the books I'm not enthusiastic about before being able to get to the ones I want! I want to be able to read the books I buy immediately rather than feeling bad about reading them before all the others on my TBR! I already had a small cull in the summer, but there are definitely more I can get rid of. I'll just have to be strict with myself.

4. Blog more regularly

I'm pretty sure the coming semester will be even busier than the last one, so I'm not sure how doable this is going to be, but I would love to post more regularly. I don't necessarily mean more often, but I just don't want to disappear for long periods of time (i.e. over a week!). We'll see how that goes shall we...?

5. Read the Bible more

Basically, what I'm discovering is that I'm terrible at doing things regularly! I always end up getting behind on it and thinking about giving up. But this one is really important, so I'm going to make much more of an effort this year to read the Bible more regularly and in more detail.

6. Stop with the comparisons!

This is a personal one rather than a bookish one, but I am so bad at comparing myself to others! I do it all the time and it's so unhelpful! 

7. Don't neglect uni work

Pretty sure this one speaks for itself, but this is definitely a priority for me this year. I graduate this summer, so this is the home stretch!

8. Get adventurous with my genres

This one's another bookish one. It's a pretty spur-of-the-moment type goal, but last night I had a mini Amazon-window-shopping binge and drooled over loads of sci-fi books (I only bought one though! Go me!). And this has inspired me to branch out a bit more and read a wider range of genres. I have pretty varied tastes anyway, so this isn't me forcing myself to read something I don't want to! I just think it's nice to be intentional about mixing it up once in a while ;)

9. Read more foreign-language books

This may seem similar to the first goal, but is actually more to do with reducing my unread books (and helping improve my languages along the way!). I have so many foreign-language books (mostly French and German) that I haven't read, and that really needs to change. Besides, nothing beats the feeling of having read a whole book in another language!

10. Forgive myself

Bit of a contrast with the previous couple of points (heavy alert!), but this one is also super important to me. I'm forever dwelling on all the things I've done or not done that I'm not happy about. This goes for seemingly unimportant things as well - I'm always beating myself up for not reading enough, etc. This is supposed to be fun! 2015 will be the year I stop with all that. (Well, I'll try anyway!)

Here's to a great 2015!!!

What are your goals for 2015? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Wuthering heights readalong (+ MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!)

So I know I've been more than a little absent on the blog these past few weeks, but I have an exciting post to share today (finally...)! But first and foremost, let me start by wishing you all an joyful Christmas! What could be better than celebrating God coming to earth and weakening himself so he could save us..!? NOTHING! That's what! :D

Anyhoo, now that we've got my excitement out of the way, let's get down to business! This will be a quickie post (it is Christmas eve after all... Who hasn't still got some wrapping to do!?), and it is one that I most definitely should have done earlier (you'll see why in a mo). I'll probably do another post with a bit more detail about what I've actually been doing with my life instead of blogging (hint: it involves a lot of not-fun-reading and essay-writing). But, for now, let's just get on with what we came here for!

As you may have guessed from the thoroughly uncryptic post title, I'm participating in a readalong of Wuthering Heights with Kirsty at The Literary Sisters and Susie at Girl With Her Head in a Book. This is the readalong for December (hence why I should have started earlier... oops!), but since it's the holidays and I have marginally less essay-writing/revision I should be doing, I decided I would still take part. I'll just be a little late with it (what's new, eh?).

I read this book for the first time about three years ago when I was staying in Whitby, Yorkshire (appropriate, I know!), and it has stuck with me ever since. In fact, I'm pretty sure I put it in my Top Ten Tuesday post about books I want to re-read. And now just seemed like the perfect opportunity, especially since I always associate this book with winter.

I'll be reading this copy on my Kindle that I downloaded for free (thank you Project Gutenberg!!!).

But to be honest I'd much rather have a beautiful edition like this:


So that's it! I'll update you with my progress and probably post a review/thought-splurge in early January :)

How about you? What are you reading at the moment? Are you taking part in any readalongs? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Year of Magical Thinking

I don't know what my thing is with books about grief lately, but here's another one! I saw this in a second-hand bookshop and was inspired to pick it up having seen it mentioned in several videos by Ashley at climbthestacks. Usually I'm not the type to go for sad or depressing books. But for some reason, when I spotted this on the shelf in that bookshop in Canterbury, I just couldn't let it be. And even after I bought it, I wanted to try and read one of the other books I'd bought as part of my Travel the World in Books challenge. But I just couldn't leave it! I wanted to pick it up immediately. And since I'm going to try and have a more immediate relationship with my books rather than just buying them and leaving them sitting on my shelf, I thought I might as well give in to the urge.

The Year of Magical Thinking


Joan Didion



One-sentence summary:

Joan Didion describes the year following her husband's sudden death and her daughter's hospitalisation.


I wasn't really sure what drew me to this book, and I didn't really know what to expect, but from the outset I found myself completely hooked. It's probably a bit strange to say that the author's struggles with loss and grief were gripping... But reading about such intense events and emotions and how she coped, and all written so beautifully, was so engaging. 

The way she described her thought processes following the death was really fascinating, especially her concentration on irrational things. She has researched her daughter's medical condition, as well as the symptoms or grief, all with the underlying idea that more knowledge equals more control. She recognises this to be untrue, and she sees the irrationality of these thoughts, but that recognition doesn't stop her from thinking them. Nor does it stop her keeping all her husband's shoes because he will need them when he comes back. 

One thing that this book highlights is the fragility of life and the suddenness and seeming randomness with which it can all change. Strangely, though this is seemingly an unsettling and depressing thought, I still found the book to be oddly hopeful. I think seeing the depths and extremes of human emotion is, in a lot of ways, more comforting (even if those experiences are extremely bad) than books which are completely devoid of emotion. Some books make me feel sort of hopeless, whereas this one was sad but in a sort of powerful and almost cathartic way... Maybe that's weird, I don't know!

Final thoughts:

I really loved The Year of Magical Thinking and found it completely fascinating, heartbreaking, beautiful and memorable. The writing style was so engaging and I zipped through the book in just over a day. Reading about an experience like this in such a detailed way really opened my eyes to another person's point of view, and the author's struggles and her honesty about her thought processes really touched me. I haven't experienced bereavement in the same way as the author, but I can imagine that if it does happen to me this book will be a great insight and source of identification, if not comfort.

Have you read The Year of Magical Thinking, and if so, what did you think? What are your thoughts on sad/depressing books? Let me know in the comments?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wow, this book review was supposed to go out about two months ago but I somehow forgot to publish it... Oh well, better late than never! Also, since the majority of this book is set in the West Indies and the author also lived there/is from there (I forget...), it counts towards my Travel the World in Books challenge. Bonus!

This next book was one I bought on a day trip to Oxford to see my lovely friend Zoe, so you might have seen its face around my blog before. I bought it because I was completely intrigued by the premise; it tells the story of a character from a classic novel (Jane Eyre) whose past and whose perspective are completely unrepresented. Besides, I'm always on the lookout for brilliant but under-hyped books, and I haven't really read or watched any reviews of this book anywhere, so I was hoping that might be the case with this book! 

And the book is:

Wide Sargasso Sea


Jean Rhys


Modern classic, historical fiction

One-sentence summary:

Antoinette Cosway, Jamaican Creole heiress, struggles to come to terms with her fragile sense of belonging in a country where she is hated, and in a world where life brings her nothing but misery.


I had such mixed feelings about this book. I was so intrigued by the idea behind it - telling the untold story of a misunderstood character from a classic novel, in this case Jane Eyre - but I didn't quite know what to expect from the writing. Of course, I was hoping it wouldn't ruin Jane Eyre for me, but I was also really hoping for my perception to be challenged. And it was, to a certain extent.

A key theme in this book is the distance between the 'reality' and what reaches the reader, which I find fascinating as a concept. In Wide Sargasso Sea, you begin with Antoinette's perspective, but in parts 2 and 3 this changes, which means the perception of characters and events changes too. Even events that happened in the first part of the book become distorted, so you're not quite sure what 'really' happened. Of course, this 'reality' is complicated still further by the fact that the book is fictional, so the objective truth only exists in the mind of the author (if at all!). I suppose this was a commentary on whether objective reality actually exists outside of how it is perceived by people (sort of related to the question: 'if a tree falls in a forest and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound?'). Interesting stuff.

Another thing that I felt really strongly throughout this book was a sense of the injustice of forcing people into categories based on arbitrary, inherited factors such as wealth, skin colour, or family reputation. Antoinette's life is profoundly affected by a past that she was not involved in and that is never spoken about, but which underlies how people perceive her and treat her to such an extent that she cannot escape it.

So intellectually this book was fascinating, and I had a lot to mull over while I was reading it. But on a personal level I didn't really like this book at all. Though the writing style was interesting and the descriptions were evocative, none of the characters or dialogues felt real to me. I just couldn't imagine anyone really saying any of it, which I suppose could have been aiming to distance the reader from the story as yet more commentary on the unreliability of perception (etc), but I just found it kind of frustrating.

Final thoughts:

As I said above, I felt totally torn about this book. I admire what the writer was trying to do on an intellectual level, but didn't connect emotionally (except during the fire in part 1). I guess I could say that I thought it was a good book, but that I didn't like it. Not sure if that makes sense, but there you go! Why don't you give it a try yourself?

Bonus: Earlier, I watched a YouTube video by kyliecoyote10 about how villains are portrayed in books, plays and films, focussing initially on Wicked by Gregory Macguire, which is definitely worth a watch!

What did you think of Wide Sargasso Sea? Do you agree with my review? Did reading WSS change your perception of Jane Eyre? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Young Visiters

I have a complete gem to share with you today!

While my family and I were staying in my aunt's house in Newcastle recently, I came across this book on one of the shelves. I have read it before, but a long enough time ago that I don't remember it well, and that I was too young to really appreciate it at the time.

It's The Young Visiters [sic] by 9-year-old Daisy Ashford, and it's a pretty hilarious but also surprisingly detailed depiction of upper-class life in late-19th-century England. She apparently rediscovered The Young Visiters  as an adult and it was published in 1919 (though this lovely illustrated edition comes from 1949).

As I was reading it, I couldn't resist taking pictures of the funniest quotes. It's so full of comic gems! Here are just a few:

'...an elderly man of 42...'

'...the egg which Ethel had so kindly laid for him.'

'...she has a most idiotick run.'

'...a hose thing for washing your head.'
'...getting rarther flustered with his forks.'

'...ancesters do turn quear at times.'

'...I will get you a pair of knickers tomorrow.'

'...ladies of every hue...'

'...and how is the dear Queen...'

'...take care of your gout and the silver...'

'I am stopping with his Lordship...and have a set of compartments in the basement so there.'

'...while imbibing his morning tea...'


'...taking the bull by both horns he kissed her violently...'

'...Mr Salteena sadly threw a white tennis shoe at them...'

'She had very nice feet and plenty of money.'

'...his wife was a bit annoying...'

The edition was also full of beautiful line drawings and illustration plates:

I've already raved about how much I love pretty books, which was probably a major part of why I loved this edition so much, but reading it was also filled with nostalgia for me (as well as providing a good few laughs).

Anyway, I hope I didn't get too carried away taking pictures of funny quotes! As you can probably tell, I recommend this book to anyone who would like something short and amusing to read. I think it's especially funny if you've read a few other books from that time period, but that's definitely not a prerequisite!

Let me know if you've ever read this book (I don't think I've ever met anyone outside my family who had!) and what you thought of it! Do you have any other recommendations for random, little-known-but-well-worth-it reads that I could check out?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Canterbury Bookshops + Birthday Haul!

Last week I had reading week at university, so no lectures (hooray!). So of course I jumped on the opportunity to enjoy a little bit more free time, and hopped on a train to visit my brother in Canterbury! 

That city is so gorgeous! I didn't get nearly enough photos of it... But I did get a couple of good ones!


Lovely old tudor house <3

Beautiful cobbled square in the town centre

Old building and such...

Of course, we know from experience that I can't spend a significant amount of time in any city without checking out the bookshops. And I stumbled upon a pretty awesome one!

You might not be able to see well in this picture (I think it's the angle - sorry!), but the door of this bookshop is completely wonky! You have to lean at an angle to step inside! Even the windows are tilted. Oh, old buildings! How wonderfully quirky you are!

Mmmm books :D

I spent so long browsing the shelves that the shop assistant was surprised when I emerged from the back room as he'd completely forgotten I was there! (Oops...)

I may also have purchased a couple of books (guilty as charged):

I ended up getting these three books from the wonky-door bookshop:

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (to help boost my progress on my Travel the World in Books challenge!)
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (which may well also count towards said challenge)
and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (which I've actually already read - review coming soon!)

So yes, thanks Canterbury (and my bro of course) for a great trip!

This past week was also my birthday (huzzah!), and I acquired some lovely books from that as well!

First up, my mum and dad sent me these:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
and Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

I'm super excited to read these - I've already started Miss Jean Brodie and it's so great! It reminds me of my mum so much <3

The next couple of books were from my sister:

Longbourn by Jo Baker
and Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

The first of these is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants' point of view, which sounds really interesting. And the second is a book by the author of a brilliant blog, also called Hyperbole and a Half, that I got addicted to during my A-levels (procrastination at its best...). I've already read this one too, so review will also be coming soon.

Finally, I also got some books from my brother. These were ones he picked off my amazon wishlist (he needs a little help in the present department):

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (already read a while back and loved)
and Look We Have Coming to Dover! by Daljit Nagra (pushing the boat our here with some poetry!)

I also received this present, which isn't a book but is most definitely book-related, from my lovely flatmates here in Bristol.

Look at this! Isn't it brilliant!? It's a Harry Potter-inspired Ravenclaw scarf!

Love it!

So there you have it! A little update on what I've been doing, as well as all the lovely books (and book-related things!) I acquired over the last couple of weeks. 

Let me know if you have read any of the books in this post and what you thought of them!

Thursday, 13 November 2014


This next book is one that I borrowed from my housemate (instead of doing what I should have done and reading one of the books on my ever-growing TBR pile). The other week, we were in Waterstones looking at all the books (as you do), and she commented on the fact that she only seems to go for books with blue covers and that she fancied a change. Cue this next book:



Banana Yoshimoto


Short story, Japanese literature

One-sentence summary:

Three short stories set in Japan in which two girls learn to cope with losing someone they love, and helping others who have also lost loved ones.


I basically didn't have a clue what to expect from this book, and only decided to read it on a whim because I had a train journey ahead of me and it looked really short! It took me a few pages to get into the writing style (it's translated from Japanese and the style can be quite abrupt) but when I did I found the story really engaging. The characters are not completely developed as the stories are pretty short, but they each have their own quirks and display their own unique humanness, especially when dealing with grief.

I am quite strongly affected by sadness and despair in books and need to pace myself and spread them out to avoid getting too depressed. So I think if I'd known what this book was about before reading it I probably would've thought twice about picking it up. But now that I've read it I'm totally glad I gave it a chance. This book is sad but in a cathartic and hopeful way. The grief feels very raw and is not smoothed over with false optimism, but it still has a strong sense of hope.

I think the story that I found the hardest was the second one, as it deals not only with personal grief but with trying to help someone else through their grief. This comes across as being even more difficult for the narrator because not only is she suffering, but she also has to watch someone she cares about suffer without being able to do anything about it. But even this story has a distinct upswing of hope.

Food is an important aspect in all of these stories. I wouldn't exactly call it a theme, but it provides a thread of consistency to the stories, almost as an antidote to the grief. It's something quite mundane, but which is important to the two narrators; I think for them it is something that connects them to life and to a world from which they sometimes feel really detached. I guess that fits in pretty perfectly with the title, Kitchen.

Final thoughts:

This book really surprised me, in a good way! I didn't know what to expect, but I ended up really liking the stories and really enjoying learning about the characters. There were a couple of bizarre, magical-realism-esque moments which I found a bit confusing... But in general I found these stories really interesting and engaging, and they were quite different to anything I'd read before! I would definitely recommend these!

Have you read Kitchen? If so, what did you think of it? Do you agree with my review? Do you have any other recommendations for Japanese books? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Travel the World in Books - Diverse Reading Goals

Continuing on from my Reading Diversely Tag post yesterday, I thought I would just take the chance to make my reading goals more official (in a super-informal, very laid-back, not-at-all-pressurey kind of way!), and link up with the Travel the World in Books reading challenge hosted by Mom's Small Victories, I'm Lost in Books and Savvy Working Gal.

Basically, my (very relaxed) goals are as follows:


My life

Number of countries:

As many as I possibly can

Number of books:


There, that was easy! OK, so I might need something a little more immediate than that for the time-being... Let's just say my short-term goal will be to read one 'diverse' book a month (i.e. one from a country outside of my normal areas of choice) for the rest of the academic year (i.e. until next June). That gives me nine months (including this one) to read nine diverse books. Not too pressurey, right?

Are you taking part in the Travel the World in Books reading challenge? If so (or even if not!) what are your reading goals? What country would you most like to visit in a book?

Let me know in the comments! :)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Reading Diversely + Birthday Wishlist

So I've been watching a lot of BookTube (basically a bookish corner of YouTube!) videos lately about Reading Diversely and being more deliberate and more mindful about the variety of stories you consume. I find this topic really interesting, because although I would like to say I'm a diverse reader (that's at least a little bit true in my genre choices), I don't think that's actually true.

Let me explain myself. I watched quite a few YouTubers lately doing the Reading Diversely Tag, which is basically where you take each of the six continents (we're not counting Antarctica here because, hello, there's only one type of Penguin books, am I right?) and say your favourite book from that continent and also another book that you would like to read. And as I got to thinking, I realised that I really have not been reading diversely at all!

So I thought I'd do the tag on here to show just how woefully lacking (at least geographically) my reading has been, as well as hopefully raise a bit of awareness of this issue and get others to be more purposeful with their reading choices. The aim of this post is certainly not to make anyone feel guilty about their reading though! Everyone is entitled to make their own book choices and shouldn't feel like anyone is judging them for the type of books they read. I only want to provide a little food for thought, as well as spur myself on to pick up something a little different for a change!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the books I've chosen for this tag:


Let's start here since it's where I live! For my book recommendation, I'm going to choose The Diary of Anne Frank. Not only do I think this is a really interesting perspective that is not often seen (i.e. the actual words of a young teenager, not just about her, not to mention the uniqueness of her situation), but I also think it is really important as a piece of human history.

While I think I have probably read the most books from this continent, they are almost all from Britain, so I definitely need to branch out a little (a lot!). While there are loads and loads that I need to read, I'm going to go with this book from my autumn TBR listThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It was originally written in Czech and is set in Prague, which is a place I haven't read about before, so should be really interesting!


Onto our neighbouring continent: Asia! This one was a real struggle I definitely have not read nearly enough books from this continent! The only one I could think of was The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan. This book is set partly in China and partly in the US, and I enjoyed the parts set in China much more. They were just so poignant and beautiful and heartbreaking! I think this might actually be the ONLY book that I have read set in Asia by an Asian author (though she is Asian American). I have also read A Passage to India, which is beautiful and nuanced in its own way, but it's written by a British author, so I'm sure the perspective is different. Another Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, is also firmly on my TBR list so I shall have to get to that one shortly.

I had a really hard time choosing this, but I think I'm going to go with The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee. I've heard good things about this so hopefully it will live up to them. I would also love to read The Kite Runner, as well as more books by female Asian authors.


This is another one where I really struggled to find any books I had read at all. I could only think of two by the same author, and I read one of them so long ago that I don't have a clue what happens. So for my recommendation I'm going to have to go, by default, with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I really did enjoy this book and it was so interesting to get the main character's perspective when she moves to the USA and then back to Nigeria. I would love to read Adichie's other work, Half of a Yellow Sun, as well.

I think for my book I would like to read I'm going to have to go with another one on my TBR, which is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I already own this book so I should be able to get to it relatively soon. But, to be honest, I just really need to get to more books from this continent!

North America:

I've read quite a lot from this continent too, though overwhelmingly from the USA. For this recommendation, I've decided to go with one of the first books I reviewed on this blog and a book that has really stuck with me since then, which is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. For me, this book really highlights the purpose of this reading diversely tag, since it offers a perspective that is quite alien to my own, and shows a different side of US culture.

The book that I would like to get to is another one which is (I think) on my autumn TBR list, and that is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This is the story of a boy from a Dominican family living in the US, which I'm hoping will show me another facet of immigrant life and subculture in America.

South America:

This continent was another difficult/easy one for me, difficult because I really haven't read many books from here and am not really familiar with the history or culture of these countries, but easy because I have only read one book from this continent, so choosing one to recommend was a no-brainer! The one I've chosen is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, which I read earlier in the summer. I had mixed feelings about this book, not because it was bad in anyway - I thought it was beautiful and haunting! But the reason I had mixed feelings is because it made me feel really unsettled and strange, simply because it exposed the fragility and temporary nature of human life. I think it is really important to be shaken up by books once in a while, but the sensation is not necessarily enjoyable. I would, however, highly recommend this book to anyone!

Choosing the book I would like to read next was a little more tricky. I have not really heard of any other authors apart from Márquez so I had to resort to googling South American authors for recommendations. I found quite a few lists of books to choose from, but what struck me the most was that on the vast majority of these lists (some of them with 15, 20 or even 50 books on them) only one of the featured authors was female! I found this pretty shocking, and it has made me even more determined to find more books by women from this continent. But in the meantime, I will go with the only one I seemed to find from a superficial search, which was The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I know next to nothing about this book, but am excited to get my teeth into it.


This was another continent I had trouble with (surprise surprise!), and the only book I could think of was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, an Australian author. I am almost hesitant to count this book because it doesn't take place in Australia, but I don't have anything else, so it'll have to do. 

Once again, I was determined to find something by a female author to go on my TBR pile, and once again I really struggled. I also wanted something from a country other than Australia and New Zealand (not that there's anything wrong with those places of course! I just wanted something from a completely new place that I'd never read about before!). While the majority of books I found were actually by English (or other western) explorers who settled in the South Pacific (which is also an interesting perspective but not exactly what I was looking for!), I managed to find the book Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel, a female writer from Samoa. I literally know nothing about this book or author, but I'm hoping to get hold of this book soon so hopefully I'll learn something new!


So there you have it! Six continents with six recommendations and six new (or old) books on my TBR! 

Basically, doing this tag has made me think about the books that I read, and has made me really excited to try out books that are from a perspective completely different to my own.

And to get me started, since my birthday's coming up (and my mum's been asking me for present suggestions), I thought I'd make a wishlist on Amazon with a few more diverse choices on there. Not all of these are 'diverse' reads, but I have tried to incorporate more of them than I would have done otherwise. Also, I got a little carried away clicking stuff (what's new?) so the list is a little long... But anyway, here it is!

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Howard's End by E.M. Forster
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • "Middleman" and other stories by Bharati Mukherjee
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Ways of Sunlight by Sam Selvon
  • Look We Have Coming to Dover! by Daljit Nagra
  • The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
  • Where We Once Belonged by Sie Figiel
  • A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Aya: Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

Phew! What a list!

If you want to do the Reading Diversely Tag, then consider yourself officially tagged! Leave a link to your post below and I'll be sure to visit and comment :) 

Are you bothered about reading books from around the world? What's the most exotic book (i.e. from the most unusual/far-away country) you've ever read? 

What do you think of my wishlist? What books are on your wishlist at the moment??? Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Want to Re-read

Today I'm going for another Top Ten Tuesday, as always hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is:

Top Ten Books I Want to Re-read

Some people never re-read books. I am not one of those people. I have books that I re-read quite regularly (though not so much now I'm a blogger) and, to me, the sign of a great book is that I want to re-read it.

So without further ado, here are the books that I would most like to re-read:

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This is obviously Charlotte Bronte's most famous work, and although I didn't read it that long ago, it was before I began reviewing books in a meaningful way, and I find it hard to remember what exactly my thoughts were about it. I feel like writing reviews of books solidifies my thoughts on them, as well as making me think about them in a more focussed way while I'm reading them, so it's sometimes hard to compare my reading pre-blog with my reading now.

2. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

This is a very similar reason to the one before. I read A Passage to India this summer and fell in love with Forster's writing all over again. Like Jane Eyre, I remember absolutely loving it, but the specifics escape me. I definitely want to reread it in a more focussed way and document my thoughts about it so I can remember them more clearly.

3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I've seen this book all around BookTube, and it seems to be the only Christie book that people have actually read (or at least the only one they ever talk about) which is a shame as she's written so many great books. Having said that, this might be my favourite of her books as it's so ambitious and unique. I would love to reread it in a reviewing frame of mind and pick out exactly why I fell in love with it.

4. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngosi Adichie

This book, unlike the others on this list so far, was one that I read when I was much younger and don't really remember anything about. I still have it on my bookshelf and was considering getting rid of it, but having recently read Americanah and come to appreciate how subtly special Adichie's writing is, I would love to reread this as an adult and assess it properly.

5. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

This was one of my absolute favourite books as a child, and probably still makes the list of my most-loved books. Part of the reason it makes this list is because I lent out the book to a friend and am doubtful about ever getting it back... And they say absence makes the heart grow fonder! Basically, not only does this book mean a lot to me for sentimental and nostalgic reasons, but it also stands up to scrutiny as a brilliant novel that merits ALL the rereads!

6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This book probably shouldn't make the list because I never really read it properly in the first place, but hey ho. This was one that I studied briefly in school for my GCSEs, but we didn't have time to read it properly. I remember vaguely appreciating that it would be an important book for me to read properly, since obviously it's been so influential and has held up so well over time, but I just never got round to it. So many books, so little time!

7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Another Bronte! I read this one just after Jane Eyre and at the time didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much. I'd gone into it with certain expectations, namely that it was going to be this amazing gothic romance, but anyone who's read it will know that it's not actually all that romantic. In fact, it's kind of twisted. I don't actually have a problem with that, but since it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I was completely thrown by it and this probably influenced my opinion at the time (I think I was also confused by the way it's narrated). Since then, though, the story has stuck with me in such a powerful way, which has made me want to reread it and re-judge what I really think of it.

8. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

This book was my first Chesterton (who is now one of my absolute favourite authors), and at the time I had no clue what on earth this book was about. I remember being thoroughly confused the whole way through, especially since I had just finished reading The 39 Steps, which is quite a straight-forward read. Basically, I completely missed all the symbolism and just couldn't get my head around it. So I'd love to read it again with a clearer head and with my reviewer brain in action to see what more I can get out of it.

9. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Basically, this book is hilarious. And I can always do with something on hand to lift my spirits!

10. Persuasion by Jane Austen

This book was my first Jane Austen (I think I picked it because it's the smallest...) and is a bit of an unconventional choice as a way of getting into her writing. I don't think it is a particularly good place to start with her, as it's actually quite different to her other novels. It's quite subdued and less lively, and it's a little sadder and more thoughtful. There is none of Austen's trademark wit, and the fact that this book was her last really shows through. Now I've read much more of her books, I would love to reread this one with a fuller knowledge of her style so I can compare it more thoroughly.

So I'm going to be cheeky and add in a sneaky number 11, because I just thought of another book that definitely needs to be on this list!

11. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

Not many people know that the author of Winnie the Pooh wrote a murder mystery novel. I certainly didn't until I randomly spotted it in a charity shop and just had to snap it up! I read it a couple of years ago and remember absolutely loving it. But I'd love to re-read it with my new-found reviewer's brain and see what I make of it.

I found it in this beautiful vintage classics edition too!

Phew! I hope you enjoyed my list! What are some of the books you want to re-read? I'd love it if you let me know in the comments, or linked me your post if you did one too. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

So here we are again with another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish,

Today's list, as you can see from the title, features places that books have made me want to visit, be they fictional or real. So without further ado, let's get on with the list!

1. Hogwarts

Yup, I'm starting with the big one... Basically, this place is pretty much my dream. A magic school in a castle with moving pictures and secret passageways and four-poster beds and fires and an awesome library and feasts and towers and a creepy forest and WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE???

2. Vienna

This is the first place I ever remember wanting to visit from a book. When I was in primary school, I was part of a group chosen to read the shortlisted books for the Smarties book prize (I think!) and say what we thought of them. One of the books was The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, part of which is set in Vienna, and I was absolutely enchanted by the descriptions of the place. I remember there were some especially brilliant descriptions of cakes...

3. Yorkshire

This is another place inspired by a children's book! This time it's The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I actually love the descriptions of the Yorkshire moor in this book so so much!

4. Bath

The city of Bath features in a lot of Jane Austen's novels, and though the city itself is never described in much detail, I was still inspired to go there by her writing. I've now been to Bath many times, and it definitely lived up to my high expectations.

5. Macondo

This is the fictional* South American village/town in Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Despite the fact that a lot of pretty awful things happen in this place, it still has a certain magic about it that I found irresistible when reading the book. There is also something so intriguing about a newly founded place where all its inhabitants are making a completely fresh start.

6. Greenery Street

I think I've mentioned this book a couple of times before in other posts, but I love the book Greenery Street by Denis Mackail. It's basically the story of a young couple who buy their first home in the idyllic Greenery Street, and is just a humorous portrayal of their daily lives. But there is something so beautiful and charming about the setting in that book that I really wish it was real. (Who knows, maybe it is..!)

I think that's about all I can think of. Sorry that's not ten places! If I come up with any more I'll let you know! Until next time, friends!

What do you think of my top ten (well, top six)? What would your top ten bookish places be? Let me know in the comments!

*Wait... Is it actually fictional?
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