Books · Currently Reading

‘Currently Reading’ Update #20

My reading slump is still ongoing. I am still reading way less than normal, but I am ok with that.

Law, Lucas K (editor) - Where The Stars RiseI have started reading Where The Stars Rise, which is a collection of Asian fantasy and sci-fi short stories. I have read a couple of the stories and I am enjoying them so far. The hurdle is much shorter with short stories as I can just read one at a time. I read the second storu, which was ‘The dataSultan of Streets and Stars‘ by Jeremy Szal, yesterday and I thought it was pretty good. It was set in Istanbul in 2078 or some such.

Maas, Sarah J - Throne of GlassI thought long and hard about the kind of book I should be reading to make my reading life a little easy on myself. I wanted something that was not too complicated or taxing to read. I figured some YA may do the trick. I found Throne of Glass on my shelf, which I got a used copy of a couple of months back. I figured that may just be the kind of book that will read away easily enough. I am a few chapters in and I am enjoying it so far. The story seems interesting so far and though I am not THAT impressed with the writing, I am liking the plot. I promised myself not to be too critical. I just want to enjoy this book for what it is. So many people love it!.

What are you reading?

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Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Genre: Fiction / Classics
First published: 1847
Edition: Clothbound hardback, published by Penguin Classics in 2008

It is never an easy thing rating or ‘judging’ a classic. With Jane Eyre, such a well-loved book, I found it even harder than normal. I picked up this book just as I was entering a reading slump, at a time when I was generally tired and distracted. Maybe this was not the book to read at such a time, but I initially liked it too much to put it away, even though I was only reading a few pages each day.1711 Jane Eyre

Certainly the first half of the book I liked a lot. I loved Jane’s character and followed her eagerly from Gateshead to Lowood to Thornfield. I connected with her person and her thoughts and was enjoying her journey through life.

However, I found myself getting a bit annoyed with Jane as she swooned after Mr Rochester. She lost a bit of the sensible character I had liked so much. The way he treats her and the way she treats him frustrated me and I found their relationship a bit irksome. I felt like Jane was turning into a person I no longer connected with.

Her actions following the discovery of Mr Rochester’s actions I did not quite understand and I am sorry to say that I never did regain my connection with her.

I did like the ending of the book, but it did not make up for the loss of sympathy for the main character.

A note on the rating. I based this on how much I enjoyed the book. I will say that this was probably not the best time to read this book, so I hope I can re-read it in the future at a time when it may suit my mood better.

And another note on this Penguin Classics clothbound edition; It is an absolutely beautiful book, but rather unwieldy to read.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Memes · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 6 December 2017

WWW Wednesday time! This is a meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

So, here I go!

What am I currently reading?

Two books that could not be more different. I have been reading Jane Eyre for about three weeks now, which is a long time for me! I started out loving Jane and now I am not even sure I like her anymore. We will see! I just started Where The Stars Rise, which is a collection of Asian fantasy and sci-fi short stories. I finished the first short story, which was ok. Hopefully I will discover some wonderful authors in the collection.

What did I recently finish reading?

Watkins, Sarah-Beth - Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

Not much! I finished Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots on Monday. I really enjoyed this biography about Henry VIII’s older sister. I did not know a thing about her and it turns out she was pretty interesting!

What do I think I will read next?

I need a book that reads away easily and pulls me in. I still have not read Throne of Glass and I am thinking of picking that from my shelf to read.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots (Sarah-Beth Watkins)

Watkins, Sarah-Beth - Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots
Author: Sarah-Beth Watkins
Genre: Non-Fiction / History
First published: 8 December 2017 by Chronos Books
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

I already knew a fair bit about Henry VIII, but I knew next to nothing about his older sister Margaret, who became Queen of Scots. This is a thoroughly researched, well-presented account of her life, which was surprisingly eventful and interesting.

I found the writing style informative, but fairly easy to read, apart from the original correspondence texts. Having said that, those fragments of letters were fascinating in their own way, seeing how people communicated in the past.

I would thoroughly recommend this biography to anyone interested in British history or ‘kings and queens’.

5 out of 7 stars

Book Haul · Books

November Haul

1711 haul November

Is there anything more beautiful than a sofa full of books? I felt strangely happy when I set up the above image. So much reading to be done. So many good books yet to discover.

USED BOOKS

I will start with the used books I accumulated this month. I did a Haul Post on most of those earlier in the month, so I will just list them here:1711 haul secondhands

  • The Penguin Book of Satirical Verse (various)
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train (Agatha Christie)
  • Feed (M T Anderson)
  • Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
  • Wilde Rozen (Lulu Wang)
  • The Memory Game (Nicci French)

The only book added to these is The Thread by Victoria Hislop, which my mum gave to me the other day. No idea where she got it. I forgot to ask. I am pretty sure I have read The Island by the same author before. I can’t remember though whether it was any good. I do not seem to have that book anymore…

NEW BOOKS

In general I do not buy a tremendous amount of new books, but I have bought quite a few in the last couple of months.

1711 haul HP+BS The first one is the Ravenclaw anniversary version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When I did the house sorting on the Harry Potter website I was actually a Gryffindor, but I liked this blue Ravenclaw one better, so went for that one.

I also got The Black Stallion and the Shape-Shifter by Steven Farley. Walter Farley, Steven’s father, wrote the original The Black Stallion series, which  I absolutely adored growing up and when I saw this title I had to get for nostalgia sake.

1711 haul hardbacks

Jen Cambell is one of my favourite Booktubers and her short story collection The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night sounds like right up my street. I ordered a signed copy from her. It’s a gorgeous book to look at as well. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

I also decided to get the new naked hardback edition of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I just fell in love with the cover and it is a classic!

The final hardback I got is The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper, which is a non-fiction/natural history book about… well… otters. It just sounded enchanting and I am looking forward to reading it.

1711 Book paperbacks

I actually bought Illuminae for my husband, but I am sure I will read it when he is done with it. When I saw The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for only €2.99, I figured I needed to buy it, as I have heard so many good things about it.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Leslye Walton) has always intrigued me. The cover is beautiful and the story sounds so interesting.  Snow Like Ashes (Sara Raasch) and Cinder (Melissa Meyer) and All The Crooked Saints (Maggie Stiefvater) were books on my Wishlist that I found on sale and I could not NOT buy them.

1711 haul bugs

The last couple of books are a bit different. The first is the Bugs Brittanica book. It’s a big beautiful book all about insects and spiders and the like. My daughter loves creepy crawlies and this book seemed perfect for us to peruse together. 1711 haul Storm

Finally, I got the graphic novel version of one of my favourite stand-up comedy routines by Tim Minchin. It is called Storm. I was so excited when I realised a comic had been made from it!

Hope you all have a good week and I will leave you with a video of the said ‘Storm’ routine. Hope you love it as much as I do. I think we have all met a Storm, or maybe you are Storm?

 

Books · Currently Reading

‘Currently Reading’ Update #19

Just thought I would do a quick update on what I am reading at the moment.

It feels like I have been reading Jane Eyre FOR-EVER! And I guess since I started it about 1711 Jane Eyretwo and a half weeks ago and I am only just past halfway, it is taking me a long time. Despite that, I did actually enjoy the first half quite a bit. I do not why, but now Jane has accepted Mr Rochester’s offer it is starting to drag a bit. Both characters are annoying me a bit. I know there is upcoming drama, so I am sure it will pick up again. That is the thing with classics; you usually have an idea of the story arc because you have either heard people talk about it or seen an adaptation…

I also started a non-fiction book yesterday. It is the only ARC I feel I HAVE to read this Watkins, Sarah-Beth - Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotsmonth, but I am actually really enjoying it. It’s Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots by Sarah-Beth Watkins. I love history and have a fascination with kings and queens through history, so it is right up my street. Considering it is taking me such a long time to get through Jane Eyre, this is a breeze for some reason. I am just over halfway. Granted, the book is only just under 170 pages long, but still!

I am definitely getting over my reading fatigue, so yay for that!

Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

November 2017 Wrap-Up

It’s been a strange month, both reading and mood-wise, which I guess are somewhat related. I always find it tough when the cold weather sets in and the wet grey days outnumber the blue-skyed ones. But this year the transition was extra hard on me for some reason. And then I got some awful winter bug as well to top it all off.  So in short, I have not been reading much, I have not been paying enough attention to my blog and I certainly have not been giving all the wonderful blogs out there the attention they deserve. Sorry for that!

It all caused a terrible reading slump these last couple of weeks, in which I barely read at all some days, which is very unusual for me. I just could not concentrate on the pages, no matter how good the book was. As a consequence, I did not read the books I meant to read this month, but you know what… I have deiced that’s fine! It does not matter. It was only a tentative TBR after all… A wishlist of sorts.

But, it’s getting closer to Christmas and I love Christmas and I can already feel my mood lifting, so I should be back to normal pretty soon I reckon. I actually ended this month by reading a collection of short stories based around Christmas. If The Fates Allow was just the right amount of romantic and heartwarming to make me feel a little better. What I loved was that the stories revolved around gay main characters, but the love stories were so ordinary. Does that make sense? It was not about the characters being gay, it was about the characters falling in love. I feel that sometimes being gay is the subject of stories involving LGBTQ characters, here the subject was love and beautifully done.

I ‘only’ managed to finish eight books this month. I say only, but eight is still a good number, but I think I read five or six of those in the first two weeks or so. My reading slowed down significantly in the second half of November. Six of the books I did read were NetGalley ARCs, which I think I previously mentioned were way too many and a result of bad planning on my side! Well, I have learned my lesson and I am far more sparse in my requesting titles to read now. One or two a month at the most. I do wonder whether this enforced lot of reading at the beginning of the months made me run out of steam towards the middle of the month. The issue certainly was not the quality of the books I read this month, which was really quite good.

I read the following books:

It is sort of unsurprising to me that both 6-star books were non-fiction. I have noticed that I tend to rate non-fiction books higher. I guess I am more critical when I am reading fiction. You cannot make non-fiction more than the subject, whereas with fiction you can go wherever your imagination lets you. I feel a subject for a future post there!

All fiction I read, I liked. No bad books at all this month, which is brilliant. I have spent the last couple of weeks reading Jane Eyre and I am still only halfway. Not because it is a bad book though, as I am really enjoying it when I do read it. I am just having a hard time reading for longer than a chapter or two.

Apart from that, it has been a pretty quiet month. This was also the first month I did my bullet journal. I will be making some changes for December, as I found I did not use all of the charts I made, which I kind of expected. I found my weekly chore and goal lists very useful. It also told me I am a champion procrastinator, which I sort of already knew. 🙂

I am looking forward to seeing your monthly wrap-ups.