Books · Down The TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole #2

This is my second installment of Down the TBR Hole, which was created by Lost In A Story. I have actually picked up three of the books from last week’s post. (Even though I was on a self-imposed book-buying ban… OOOOOOOPS!). I hope to read them soon.

A lot of us end up with large unwieldy lists of books we have added as to-read on Goodreads. This is the solution!

Web

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if feeling adventurous!) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: Keep or Go?

So, let’s have a look what we have…

The Books:

The Sun Also Rises

1. The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)

Definitely one I still want to read!

Verdict: KEEP

 

Raven Son2. Raven Son (Nicholas Kotar)

This supposed to be based on Russian folklore. I was so going to get rid of this, as I did not remember saving it to my to-read, but it sounds good.

Verdict: KEEP

The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life (Learning to Live, #2)3. The Wisdom of the Myths (Luc Ferry)

This is about Greek myths. The stories themselves and what we can learn from them. It sounds interesting, but for now…

Verdict: GO

 

Conflicted (Secrets and Lies #1)

4. Conflicted (M M Koenig)

I do not recall this book at all and the synopsis does not look THAT interesting. Easy decision!

Verdict: GO

A Monster Calls

5. A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)

I heard so many good things about this book and I really want to read it!

Verdict: KEEP 

 

Conclusion:

Two books gone! I am quite happy with that.

I think I will be definitely be continuing with this cleansing of my Goodreads TBR. The good thing is that it reminds me what I actually have on my TBR, so I can actually start picking up all these books at some point, so they do not remain on there forever!

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Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Fools and Mortals (Bernard Cornwell)

Cornwell, Bernard - Fools and Mortals

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Fools and Mortals
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
First published: October 2017 by HarperCollins
Edition: E-book courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

A story told from the point of view of Richard Shakespeare, brother to playwright William, who is part of a group of players who stage plays at The Theatre.

Richard, our narrator, was very likable as a young man who wants to be taken seriously by his older brother and as a player. The tale is well written, and Cornwell manages to bring 16th century London to life. And yet I did not love this book as much was I wanted to. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first. The plot was ok, but it did not quite grab me. I did enjoy the book, but I simply felt that something was missing.

Overall, this is a very well researched and crafted book that most historical fiction lovers will enjoy.

4 out of 7 stars (second half is close to a 5-star!)

 

 

Books · Currently Reading

‘Currently Reading’ Update #14

Just finished reading Thornhill by Pam Smy today. I really enjoyed the combination of the two stories told in different formats, one in diary entries, one entirely by illustrations.

That means I am only reading two books at the moment, one on my Kindle app and a physical book.

Cornwell, Bernard - Fools and MortalsOn my Kindle app I am reading Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I got a copy via NetGalley for review. I am not quite sure what to think of this novel. It’s well written and I like Richard, the main character, who is William Shakespeare’s brother. For some reason though I am not loving the plot. I should, because I love the period in which it is set. Maybe it is the subject matter. Not sure, but the story is not quite gripping me so far.

The physical book I am reading is the Dutch translation of The Pegasus Secret by Gregg Loomis. This is a book I picked up very cheaply in my local charity shop and was always Loomis, Gregg - The Pegasus Secretdestined for my guest library, but I figured I might as well read it first. From the blurp it sounds like it’s a rehash of any Dan Brown-book, but I don’t mind that. The only Dan Brown book I have read is the Da Vinci Code and I enjoyed that one enough. Problem is, I hardly ever read translations of books originally written in English and I am now reminded why! I am very familiar with the English language, especially British English, and sometimes it is too clear what the original English sentence was, but the Dutch translation just seems… strange. I have had that a few times with this book already and it is distracting me from the plot. Either the translator was lazy, or my mind works in strange ways these days. Anyway, I am just over 70 pages in and I am not quite able to let go of that yet. I hope I will…

The only physical book left on my October TBR is Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I might get it done! As far as e-books are concerned, I have Dracula (Bram Stoker) left on my TBR and I have also have a Joni Mitchell biography I would like to get to! We will see. 🙂

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Thornhill (Pam Smy)

Smy, Pam - Thornhill

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Thornhill
Author: Pam Smy
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Middle Grade
First published: 2017
Edition: Hardback, published by David Fickling Books in 2017

I was not sure what to expect from this book. I had seen it a couple of times on blogs/Youtube and I was intrigued by the idea of this book.

The book consists of two storylines, one in 1982 told by way of diary entries, and a second in 2017 told solely in illustrations.

Eventhough this book has about 530 pages, it is a quick read, partly due to the amount of illustrations, but the text chapters are simple and sometimes sparse. I love the atmosphere it manages to create. Very eerie indeed, which makes it a perfect October read.

The story is simple, but I feel that serves the format well. The story gripped me enough and I really enjoyed this book.

The illustrations are suitably eerie. The gardens and the house are wonderfully done. I found the drawings of people a little crude, but that did not take away from the story for me.

I love the physical book as well. It’s a hardback without a dust jacket. The slightly embossed image on the front reflects the story well.

Overall, if you want a quick eerie read, this could be for you.

5 out of 7 stars

Books · Randomness

Hardback or Paperback?

1710 physical formats

Do you have a preference?

I was watching some Booktube videos on YouTube the other day and realised there is quite a bit of snobbery going on when it comes to the physical book format, mainly in favour of the noble hardback.

Is a hardback really that much better than a paperback? Or worst of all, the humble mass market paperback? I have to admit, I own various examples of both, and they all have their strong points in my opinion.

1710 physical formats2Sure, hardbacks, or hardcovers, tend to look good on your shelf and I admit, I like the weight of them and how they feel in your hands, but man, is that dust jacket annoying! Therefore, my favourites are the clothbound ones, without a dust jacket that flaps about or gets torn or that needs to be put away somewhere safe while you are reading the bare book.

1710 physical formats1Then there are plain old paperbacks, usually out months after their hardback cousins, but they take up less space on your shelf and are lighter and far more flexible. Much easier for reading in bed, as I like to do.

Oh, those poor mass market paperbacks, ostracized for their small size, small lettering and admitted, sometimes poor quality. ‘Proper’ book lovers would not be caught dead with these ugly ducklings on their shelves. I own whole series in mass market paperback and actually, I really like them. Yes, they crease and even tear a bit, but for me they are a good size for reading. Several of my favourite books are in this format and after numerous re-readings they are still bearing up quite well. Maybe I even like the creases. They look loved.

So I guess my favourite is the clothbound or other hardbacks that come without a dust jacket. To read I do prefer a good paperback. But really, to me a book is a book and their format is neither here nor there.

The design of the cover however…. But that’s a post/rant for another time…

1709 Harry Potter books
My mix ‘n’ match Harry Potter series
Music

Tag Time – The Concert Tag

As seen on Abby Williamson’s Youtube channel , I thought I would do the Concert Tag today.

No books, but music! What? How? Why? Well, I went to a concert last week, so thought it would a be an appropriate time to do this. Plus I do love my music as well as books… and other things.

Be warned, the bands I mention show my age a bit! 😀

1. What was the first concert you attended?

That would be New Kids on the Block 1991 – I was 12! And yes, now you can work out my age…

2. What was your most recent concert?

I saw Sigur Ros just over a week ago in Amsterdam. They were good, stripped back to a three-piece producing an enormous amount of sound. The loudest gig I have been to for sure. I think the acoustics were pretty bad and for the first time I wished I had ear plugs. They were pretty awesome nonetheless.

3. How many concerts have you been to?

No idea, maybe 70 or 80?

1710 Ash

 

4. Which artist have you seen the most live?

Ash – they are my favourite band in the word 🙂 (because they are awesome)

 

5. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a concert?

1710 WASI am patient, so I tend to just wait until a gig is nearish to me. The furthest from my current home that I have been to see a band was We Are Scientists in Portsmouth, but we decided to go and see them as we happened to be nearby at the time.

 

6. Best opening act you’ve seen?

Difficult! I remember seeing Cast opening for Pulp in the 90s and I much preferred Cast 😀

7. Have you met any bands/artists at concerts?

I met Ash, but they are a very sociable band anyway. It’s not like you have to make an effort to say hi to them! Very nice guys. And I bought some merch from Keith from We Are Scientists when he was working the merch stall. Met some of the support bands as well, all lovely social people (for the most part). I do like the opportunity to say ‘thanks for a great gig’ and maybe get an album signed. Only really happens at small gigs. I would never wait outside for hours on end.

8. Have you met internet friends at concerts?

Nope.

9. Have you ever caught a guitar pick/drumstick or setlist?

I have a couple of guitar pics. One is Tim Wheeler’s from Ash. He’s my favourite guitarist by a mile, so that’s kinda cool. He signed it for me. I have another one, but I can’t quite remember whose it is, but it was from way back in the 90s. It could be Paul Draper’s from Mansun, but I am not 100% sure. I’m forgetful like that.

10. Best concert you’ve been to and why?

Lots of great gigs. It’s hard to compare. Thinking about this year only Alvvays were amazing, so good! But I also loved seeing Emmy The Great at a tiny sit-down venue. I think the capacity was 70 or something ridiculous. It was so relaxed and fun. She signed my album. 🙂 I like gigs that are a little out of the ordinary.

 

If you enjoy going to see live music, consider yourself tagged!

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ( J K Rowling)

Rowling, J K - #1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

★★★★★★☆

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Middle Grade
First published: 1997
Edition: Paperback, published in 1998 by Bloomsbury

I finally decided to re-read the Harry Potter series. I read it only once before, this particuarly one almost twenty years ago, so it was about time.

I enjoyed Philosopher’s Stone a lot this time around. This is such an incredibly charming book. The characters are wonderful, the story is pure magic and it is simply a phenomenon of its time. So many people grew up loving this series that is hard not be a little bit biased.

The one thing that bugs me about this first book in the series is that if Dumbledore is so clever, how does he not realise how oddly his teachers are behaving? Surely he would have noticed and investigated? And how does he let Snape get away with behaving like a spoiled brat in general and being so petty? I just do not get it and seriously, it annoys me a little…

Apart from that, this is a wonderful book and I am sure my daughter will love reading it in a few years’ time.

I am looking forward to re-reading the rest soon.

6 out of 7 stars