Books · Currently Reading · Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 3 July 2022

Happy Sunday!

What are you up to/What have you been up to this weekend? I am finally having a relatively quiet weekend, which is nice! The week ahead is pretty busy though…

Here is some book stuff, TV stuff and music stuff that has been keeping me busy!

READING

I am reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It was one of the books on my 2022 all-ebook TBR. It’s been living on my Kindle for a while, ever since I picked it up for like 99p or something. I have read a couple of Neil Gaiman books and thought I’d give this one a go, because it sounded so weird. We have tried to watch the Netflix show, but never got past the first episode. Mainly because I had no idea what was going on. I am just over halfway in the book and I still have no idea what’s going on. I think I am enjoying it. It does take quite a bit of reading for me. You know how you sometimes fly through the pages of a book? This is not one of those for me. I have to read it quite consciously. Maybe that’s a good thing. I am not sure, but it makes it quite slow going. The book is almost 675 pages long, so I hope there is a pay-off in the end. However it ends, I think I will be glad to tick this one off my TBR.

Have you read American Gods? What did you think?

The only other book I am reading at the moment is Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin. I have this one in a lovely Penguin paperback, but I decided to listen to it on audio, which I think was the right decision. The narrator is doing a great job and I am enjoying the subject and the way the author chooses to talk about these trees. It’s very much part travel writing and nature writing, which I love. I find nature based books like this very relaxing to listen to.

Incidentally, both American Gods and Wildwood have an average rating of 4.11 on Goodreads.

I am already looking at what I might be reading next and I think I may pick up The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. I picked that one up from a charity shop at some point and I think I may be in the mood for it. That may change though… We’ll see…

The other options is a big fantasy book, but I am reading a big fantasy-type book now, so I feel like I need to read something different inbetween. Though American Gods mainly has a contemporary setting and is kind of more magical realism feel I guess.

As for my next audio book when I get to it – I hope this week – I think I may actually take a deep breath and dive into Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I have always been really scared of Dickens, but I found a version narrated by Matt Lucas and I think he would do a good job.

TV & FILM

What have I been watching? I have not watched many movies at all. The only movie I watched was Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which is a French movie and it was a gorgeously shot slow movie. I liked it a lot. It reminded me of Call Me By Your Name in the way the natural sounds was utilized. It is set in 19th century France I think. I enjoyed it a lot.

Series wise, we have recently finished a few. We watched The Time Traveler’s Wife, which both me and my husband enjoyed quite a bit. I haven’t read the book and I don’t think I have any interest to, but the series was a fun time.

We also finished watching Obi-Wan Kenobi. We both enjoyed it a lot. I thought Ewan McGregor was great as Obi-Wan again. I love him so much as an actor. I though the focus of the series was interesting and the actress that plays little Princess Leia was fantastic!

We still have one episode to go of Stranger Things, I think, and we just watched the first episode of The Umbrella Academy.

If you can recommend some series that are on Prime, Netflix or HBO please let me know!

MUSIC

I went to three gigs during June and they definitely guided what I listened to these past few weeks.

The first one I saw was Arooj Aftab. I saw her in beautiful venue in Amsterdam, which used to be a catholic church, but is no longer functioning as such. She was amazing. She had one guy with her who played double bass and a lady who played the electric harp, who was suitably electric!

Then I saw two gigs in a row and both happened to be Belgian musicians. The first was a young Belgian guy called Tamino. He was absolutely fantastic – so so good. It was the first time seeing him in live and I already bought tickets to see him in the autumn. He was incredible live, as was his band, which includes Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood. I was going to put a live video here, but they are all quite old, as he only just appeared from the Covid abyss again. Instead I will stick in the video for one of his new songs – and a beautiful video it is too!

Finally I saw Belgian band Balthazar for the third time this year. I never meant to see them three times, but it just ended up that way. It looks like they will go on an extended break after the summer so despite three times being a bit overkill, I enjoyed every single time, as they are just such a fun time live. I always come away feeling completely destressed and happy. Afterwards me and my friend ended up sitting outside in a square for a couple of hours just having some cocktails, snacks and chatting. It was a late night, but a fun one! Always good when you combine live music with time spent with good friends.

I also binged quite a lot of the Glastonbury and Pinkpop Festival content.

Here are some of my favourites from that:

Kendrick Lamar

Little Simz

Sam Fender

Phoebe Bridgers with Arlo Parks

Inhaler (who I saw live a month or two ago)

***

I will leave things here for now. These were the cultural things I needed to get of my chest!

Is there anything you want to share? Music you have been listening to? Books you think everyone should read? A series or movie you really enjoyed?

SHARE AWAY!

Books · Currently Reading · WWW Wednesday

WWW: What I am reading on 18 May 2022

WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

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

***

Again, I have not been reading very much. I don’t feel slumpy – I have just been doing other things. We have been hanging out with friends a lot over the last week, so a lot less time for reading. It was a lovely week, but now I am back to the normal more antisocial animal that I am!

What did I finish reading?

Only one book! I read Gold Dust by Ibrahim al-Koni. It was a good read, but my mind was drifting a lot, which says more about my state of mind at the time of reading than the book itself. It’s definitely a book I will re-read in the future as I am not sure my reading it at this time did it justice.

What am I currently reading?

I made little progress in either my audio book (The Life of Olaudah Equiano) or my anthology (Spring, edited by Melissa Harrison) this week. I have started reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, which is on my 2022 TBR. I am just over halfway and I am intrigued. I am not quite sure whether I will end up loving it, but I am definitely interested in what I am reading.

What will I read next?

I am not sure. My spring TBR reads are not going well – I have been way too slow reading this month and I have three really big books on there! We’ll see. A lot can change. I may read tons in the next two weeks. Who knows?

Books · Currently Reading · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 6 October 2021

Just typing this up whilst listening to some Lana Del Rey this morning. It’s very autumnal outside and I am in a Lana kind of mood.

My reading is up and down and I am just letting it rollercoast as much as it wants to!

***

WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

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

***

What am I currently reading?

I hvae just started two books and I am about to start another on audio today, which I will add here as well. I have started Salt Slow, which is a short story collection by Julia Armfield. I have only read the first story so far and it was wonderfully odd and kind of gruesome. For my regular novel I have started A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carré. I have never read his books, and I figured it’s about time. I put this one on my 2021 TBR as an impetus to read it. I am only on page 20 and I am not sure I will get into it. I hope I will!

Finally, my new audio book will be The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics by Diarmuid Ferriter, another book that is on my 2021 TBR. I mainly put this on this year’s TBR, as it partly deals with current affairs (Brexit) and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the longer I put it off, the less relevant it will become. I do find it an immensely interesting subject, so I am actually excited to find out more.

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished my audio book yesterday, which was Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer. That one is a memoir of someone exploring the world of competitive memory training. It was interesting.

I also read The Memory Game by Nicci French. That was just ok for me. I would read more by them. I knew a few people who are addicted to their books, including my mother!

Before that I read Deerskin by Robert McKinley, which is a fantasy novel that deals with some rather dark subjects. It was just ok for and did not quite work in my opinion.

What will I read next?

I am not sure. I will roll the dice in my TBR game and see what will come up. I have a few more books on my 2021 TBR that I need to fit in before the end of the year,but apart from that I have no fixed plans!

Books · Currently Reading · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 17 February 2021

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

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

***

What are you currently reading?

I am reading Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. It has been on my shelf for ages and I have heard good things about it. I am about 100 pages and I am enjoying it so far.

I am listening to Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, which is ok so far. I am not blown away by it, but there are times when his turn of phrase is gorgeous. His overall manner of telling his story is not grabbing me though. Sean Penn is doing the narration. I wonder whether it is the narration I am not connecting with. I have the paperback, so I could pick that up instead… But I need an audio book…. Oh well…

What have I recently finished reading?

It’s been a good reading week quantity wise, not so much quality wise… I finished three books, which were A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke (5/7*), Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (4/7*) and finally my audio book There Goes Gravity by Lisa Robinson (5/7*). I liked all of them, but did not love any of them, which is always disappointing. That has been pretty much been the trend this whole February.

What will I read next?

I will start reading Your Song Changed My Life by Bob Boilen (from NPR Tiny Desk Concerts) at some point this week as my next musical book, probably at the weekend. For my next physical book I want to pick one up from my 2021 TBR. I am thinking either Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell or Flames by Robbie Arnott. I need a book to love!

Books · Currently Reading · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 18 November 2020

I have really been enjoying reading again lately, partly helped by reading some books I absolutely adored.

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

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

***

What am I currently reading?

I am just over a quarter into In Lucia’s Eyes by Arthur Japin. It’s a fiction book that follows Casanova’s first love Lucia. I like it so far, but I doubt it’s going to make more than 5 out of 7 stars for me. We’ll see.

I am also still listening to I Wanna Be Yours, poet John Cooper Clarke’s autobiography. I am really enjoying that one, but it’s a big book and is taking me a while!

What did I recently finish reading

I read two novels; Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman and The Power by Naomi Alderman. Call Me By Your Name was an enjoyable atmospheric read, which did not quite blow me away. Unfortunately I really did not enjoy The Power very much and that one will disappear from my shelves. I did not hate it, but it just did grab me.

I also read The Broken Wings ,a lyrical novella by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese writer, which was first published in Arabic in 1912. Only 44 pages, but it was one of the most gorgeous things I have ever read! It completely broke me though, leaving me in floods of tears. I can’t wait to read more of Gibran’s work.

Finally, I read Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass by Lana Del Rey, which is a poetry book. I really enjoyed the experience of reading this. I loved the poems and the design of the book.

What will I be reading next?

I am not sure yet. I am just mood reading at the moment! I have a few books I would like to get to before the end of the year, so….

Books · Sunday Summary

Sunday Reading Summary: 8 November 2020

I have been feeling a bit off this last week and I dont really know why. Suffering from busy-brain-syndrome I think. I have been fine for six months, but right now I am feeling a little down in the dumps. Not quite sure what has changed. Hopefully I will start feeling a little better soon.

I read a nice light chick lit novel in Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot in the hope that it would hit the spot. It was ok and kind of did what it needed to do, but it was not quite as good as I had hoped.

I have been listening to John Cooper Clarke’s autobiography, I Wanna Be Yours, which has been a blast so far. I love listening to him tell his stories. I pre-ordered a signed hardback, which is fun to have, but I am glad I decided to listen to this one. He has such a distinctive voice and being a performance poet he knows his way around words and how to tell his life story out loud. I am over halfway.

Finally, I am halfway through The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak and I have to say, this book is perfect for me right now. It is thought provoking in a gentle way and I have a feeling I will have a lot of feelings about it in the end. It sort of harks back to a fascination for the Middle East that I have had since I was a child. I have always loved the sounds, such as the singing and the music and even the Arabic language itself. Then there is the beautiful architecture and the writing. So far I am really loving this novel. It tells the story of a housewife in the 2000s as well the the story of Sufi poet Rumi and dervish Shams in the 1200s. It is making me want to read some Rumi, which I have been meaning to do for too many years.

What have you been reading? And how have you been feeling during this still trying times?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 12 July 2020

Hey fellow bookish peeps!

How has your week/weekend been?

Reading

This has been a slow reading week. Actually the first two weeks of July have been pretty slow. This is partly because I am just distracted and partly because I am reading Wolf Hall. It takes a lot of reading for some reason. I am enjoying it, but it’s simply slow going. Where I would normally read books at about 100 a day, if I get to 30 a day on this one I am doing well. I think it’s just the writing style. It feels dense and slow. That does not mean it’s not good though. It is a very impressive piece of writing, so I am ok with the fact it is taking me a while.

Because of that I decided to listen to a lighter audio book and because of a book club i follow was reading this I chose Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars by David Hepworth (who also narrates the audio book). It basically gives you a very concise biography of one rock star per year from 1955 to 1994. At the same time it gives snap shots of moments of time. It’s very cleverly done and I am really enjoying listening to it. I love the tone in which he tells about all these people. I am on the David Bowie chapter at the moment.

I have also been reading Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab at about a pace of a chapter a day (when I go to bed). I am enjoying it a lot and I think once I finish Wolf Hall, I will likely speed through it. I just know if I start favouring it over reading Wolf Hall, I will stop reading Wolf Hall.

However, I have set time aside to day to actually to get through as much of Wolf Hall as I can, since I have about 150 pages to go. I hope to have finished it in a day or two.

TV & Film

We have been making a concious effort to watch more movies with my husband in the evenigs, which of course is also eating into my reading.  We have started a project, which is to watch every Johnny Depp movie we can find. Mainly because every movie Johnny Depp has been in is interesting, even if they are not very good. We have watched three JD movies this week, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (three times because my 8-year-old daughter loves it so much), Once Upon A Time in Mexico and Black Mass, all courtesy of Netflix. Our theory so far has held up. Even if the latter two were not my favourite kind of movies, they were definitely interesting! We still have Donnie Brasco and Public Enemies to go on Netflix, after which we have to find them elsewhere. In the meantime for fun we also watched Grease (which I hadn’t seen for 20 years and its so bad and ridiculous it’s kind of fun) and yesterday we watched Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was entertaining enough, even if it was not very good.

We also finished up watching White Lines on Netflix this week.

Other

I have been enjoying writing a bit – just for fun. A bit of poetry, a bit of randomness, whatever I felt like. It is something I enjoy quite a bit.

I had obstacle training with my yearling colt yesterday, which was a lot of fun. He’s a pretty cool cucumber when it comes to things like umbrellas, flags and tarps and stuff. He’s a little superstar. I am so grateful that the place I am boarding him whilst he is growing up organises these sort of events.

Today we went for a nice walk on the roads with the two ponies I keep at home. My Shetland pony has had some health problems and we have not been able to do much with him, but he is finally doing ok again, so fingers crossed. I am having a mobile vet clinic out soon to take some x-rays of his hips and feet to see if there is anything obviously wrong with him.

*

That is about it for my life at the moment. Not very exciting I know!

What have you been up to? Has anything exciting happened in your life?

 

 

Currently Reading

Currently Reading & Reading Plans

CURRENTLY READING…

I am still only 150 pages into A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, the final book in The Wheel of Time series. For some reason I am finding it hard to concentrate on this one at the moment. It just needs a bit more brain power than I have at the moment. Between home educating my daughter whilst the schools are closed and the nice weather, I feel like I need easier reads at the moment. But… when I do read a few pages, I do enjoy it, so I will just continue and nevermind the slow pace.

I am also still listening to Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. I am enjoying the listen, but I have it at normal pace as I enjoy listening to Alan Rickman reading the story more than the actual story. I just want to give every character in this book a good slap. Hardy’s descriptions of the heath are gorgeous though…

I just finished The Punishment of Ivy Leavold (Markham Hall #3) by Sierra Simone, which is a rather smutty book. It was ok. I ended up giving it 4 out of 7 stars. I will do a mash-up review at some point. It was ok with some really excellent writing here and there, but completely over the top smutty!

READING PLANS

I was just thinking about what my strategy is going to be for my future reading. I have been very good at buying books (both digital and physical) in the last couple of years, but my book acquiring greatly outpaced my reading! These days my book buying has slowed down significantly, but I am still buying – oops!

I am making a conscious effort to read books more quickly, so at the moment I am prioritising recent acquisitions. For example, of the 20 Kindle books I have bought so far this year (most at the bargain price of 99p), I have read 5, and of the 10 physical books I have bought, I have read 4.  which is not too bad. I definitely want to keep concentrating on those and buy less. I keep reminding myself that I do not need more books!

The second thing I want to do is concentrate on my 20 for 20 list and my Series in Progress list.  I haven’t ticked any off yet this month!

Also, I haven’t read a non-fiction book in a while, so that will be a priority. I will probably choose a non-fiction book as my next listen.

Books · Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 15 March 2020

It’s been a sort of week, that’s for sure. With Corona virus restrictions firmly in place now everything seems to have slowed down somehow. My husband is working from home for the forseeable future and I have been having a cold, so I have to try and restrict my contact with others, even though I am pretty sure it’s NOT the freaking virus! I have also just been told my daughter’s school is closing for the next three weeks and there will be some sort of home education. We will see what happens.

Luckily, my local supermarket was still pretty well stocked and people around here do not seem to be hamstering’ much. I only noticed there was a distinct lack of eggs and tissues. Surprising, the toiletpaper situation seemed to be fine

The endless rain seems to have finally given way to a drier spell. which I am soooo happy about. Now, if only we would have a few sunny days to help dry out the land – that would be awesome!

READING

I have been mood reading via prompts this month, but the quality of my chosen reads has been very patchy. I may forgo using prompts for the rest of the month and just mood read, concentrating on more recent purchases. I am not quite sure yet.

Also, I finished a series, so I can start a new one! I have been thinking about which one to start. I want to hold off on the Mistborn series for another couple of months, so I have narrowed it down to either the Hyddenworld series by William Horwood, the Raven Son series by Nicholas Kotar, the Lockwood & Co series by Jonathan Stroud or The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. I have the first books in the latter two series and I own the complete Hyddenworld series because I love William Horwood! I have the first two books of the Raven Son series on my Kindle as well. I am really excited about all of these. so which one to start? I will decide after finishing my current reads.

 

I am about 50 pages into Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and so far I am into it! It gives me a headache to be fair, but I am so curious to see where this story is going to take me.

I have also tentatively started A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, which is another adult romance that I have heard lots of good things about. I started it on a whim on my Kindle and I am only a few pages in.  I hope I will like it!

I think I will be finishing Educated by Tara Westover in the next day or two, which I have been listening to on audio. It’s been an good listen, even if it has not been quite as interesting as I expected.

OTHER

 

 

Books · Currently Reading

Reading Update: Friday, 28 February 2020

I had kind of an odd week. It has pretty much been raining all week  (all month??) and man, am I fed up with it! My daffodils are out, but they certainly have not seen a lot sunshine this year… I am so ready for spring to bring some sun to warm my face!

My daughter is on her half term holidays and obviously I spent lots of time with her and less… well, reading! Plus, for most of the week I simply was not in the mood for reading and if I learned one thing from my recent slump, is just to take a few days to not read so much and get back to it when you feel a bit more energized.

Rowling, J K - Harry Potter 5 and the Order of the PhoenixSo that is what I did, but because I am a bit OCD at times I prefer to finish physical books by the end of the month. I am reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the moment, which is a 900+-page book and I had about half the book to go when I woke up this morning. So, with about 500 pages still unread. I figured I had little or no hope of finishing it by the end of tomorrow. If I read 150 pages in one day, it’s good going for me.

For once my daughter, who is 7, was busy doing her own thing. She has been copying the pictures in The Cat In The Hat, which still is one of her favourite books. I am actually impressed with how well she was able top copy those drawings!

Anyway, her being busy with that, meant I could try and get lots of reading done today. I actually exceeded my own expectations and read about 300 pages today, which is a ridiculous amount for me! It has actually been a joy to read again. I only read it once before not long after it came out, so I think it’s safe to say that it has been ‘some’ years. 

If I am able to read a bit more tonight, I have a small hope to finish it tomorrow. I would like a nice clean slate to go into March, so that’s a good incentive. The extra day helps!

Rubenhold, Hallie - The FiveHowever, I am not planning on finishing my audio book before then. I am listening to The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. I have four hours left on that and I tend to listen to it whilst doing chores only and I am not planning on doing masses of chores tomorrow. I am really enjoying the listen though.  It is such a fascinating listen. The actual murders are actually only briefly touched upon. Instead it focuses on the victims and their lives. It is a very interesting insight into the lives of poor women in the Victorian era. Let me tell you it certainly was not a walk in the park. 

Throughout March I have only two books on my TBR. The rest of it I will be mood reading, probably using a game to choose my next reads. I have decided to call it Mood March! 🙂