Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing my Books #28: May 2023

I knew there was going to be a month in which the scales would tip unapologetically the wrong way. This is it. May 2023 was THE month when everything went tits up – and yet, I am oddly happy about it. So, what the hell happened?

Last month my physical TBR went up by one book – this month it went up by TOO MANY books. A couple of pre-orders came in, I dropped into a couple of charity shops, I bought a few books in a couple of series, a few poetry collections… All in all, it was a lot more than I meant to, but I am surpisingly ok with it. So, I added 19 books to my TBR.

As for my digital TBR, I ended up buying 7, all for 99p in some sort of Kindle deal or other. All were books that were already on my radar that I was waiting on a good deal for. Sometimes all your ships come in at once. Thanks to a couple of DNFs at least my digital TBR did not get bigger!

I may do a book haul for the past month, or I may not – not sure yet.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2023: 343
1 April: 340
Acquired: 19
Read: 6 + 1 DNF
Balance: 352

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 175
1 April: 178
Acquired: 7
Read: 5 + 2 DNF
Balance: 178

I will see how things go in the next couple of months. I am trying not to buy any books until a UK trip in August, as I am sure I will peruse some charity shops whilst I am there.

***

MAY READING REVIEW

  1. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Pablo Neruda) 8.14 (4*) paperback
  2. Small Worlds (Caleb Azumah Nelson) 9.86 (5*) e-book
  3. The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton) 7.93 (4*) audio/paperback
  4. His Bloody Project (Graeme Macrae Burnet) 8.36 (4.25*) audio/e-book
  5. Ship of Destiny (Robin Hobb) 8.86 (4.5*) paperback
  6. Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Heather Fawcett) 6.71 (3.25*) e-book
  7. Black Foam (Haji Jabir) 20-22 May 7.79 (4*) e-book
  8. Go Ahead in the Rain (Hanif Abdurraqib) 9.71 (4.75*) audio/paperback
  9. The Dragonet Prophecy (Tui T Sutherland) 8.57 (4.25*) paperback
  10. The Makioka Sisters (Jun’ichiro Tanizaki) 8.64 (4.25*) paperback
  11. Legends & Lattes (Travis Baldree) 8.07 (4*) e-book

Most of my reads were from my May TBR, but a couple were current popular reads that I ended up picking up because I see so many people talk about them I tend to pick them up in Kindle Daily Deal sales. Neither of these, (Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries and Legends & Lattes) quite hit the right spot and thought they were fine reads they did not end up among my favourites of the month. There was nothing that I finished that I rated under 3.25* . I did however end up with a record 3 DNFs. I have gotten much better at putting down books I am not enjoying and I feel it really helps me keep the mojo alive.

The books I DNFd were:

  • Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare) – paperback – This one had been on my shelf quite a while and I actually DNFd within a couple of chapters – I just wasn’t interested in anything that was going on. The book went on my Unhaul pile.
  • Suite as Sugar and Other Stories (Camille Hernández-Ramdwar) – e-book – this was a NetGalley eARC that I hoped I would enjoy, but I pushed until 35% in and realised I just did not enjoy the tone of the stories.
  • A Shade of Vampire (Bella Forrest) – e-book – I think I went into this one already knowing that the chance of DNF was high. It had been sitting on my Kindle for years and I don’t really tend to enjoy vampire stories at the best of times. I hated the tone and DNFd at 25%.

However, I also had some amazing reads!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

I read another Hanif Abdurraqib book that I loved and the conclusion to the Liveship Traders trilogy was very good as well. However, Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson was a proper 5* book. Great writing and it hit just right. One of my favourite books of the year so far. I will get myself a physical copy.

LOOKING FORWARD TO JUNE

I have some very exciting books on my TBR in June. I have a few books I need to read to complete my Spring TBR, but considering the books they are it won’t be a chore to do so. I hope I will have time to catch up on some stuff as well.

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Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing my Books #27: April 2023

This month was not a great month from a personal point of view and my reading suffered as a result. My brain was too scattered to concentrate for much of the month. I still managed to read some good books though, so it’s not all bad!

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2023: 343
1 April: 339
Acquired: 8
Read: 7
Balance: 340

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 175
1 April: 178
Acquired: 4
Read: 3 + 1 DNF
Balance: 178

So, progress in bringing my TBR down is clearly not going well. All my intentions of buying fewer books seemed to have fallen by the wayside. Having said that, I did buy a way fewer books than I did in the first quarter last year.

Considering my reading was down this month because of reasons I am quite happy that I read as much as I did.

APRIL READING REVIEW

I managed to read 10 books, which seems like a decent amount, but I read a lot of shorter books, sneaking in a poetry collection in the final day. In the end I read a bit of everything. A variety of non-fiction books, a graphic novel, some poetry, a time travel romance, a classic, a medieval mystery and even a vampire novel!

  1. Second Star (Philippe Delerm) 7.93 (4*) e-book
  2. Entangled Life (Merlin Sheldrake) 9.00 (4.5*) audio/hardback
  3. A Good Scot is Hard to Find (Angeline Fortin) 7.93 (4*) e-book
  4. Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell) 6.21 (3*) audio/paperback
  5. Silver Under Nightfall (Rin Chupeco) 9.36 (4.75*) hardback
  6. Drinkers of the Wind (Carl Raswan) 9.86 (5*) hardback
  7. James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes (James Acaster) 8.14 (audio/ebook)
  8. The Apothecary Rose (Candace Robb) 8.00 (4*) paperback
  9. On A Sunbeam (Tillie Walden) 8.79 (4.5*) hardback
  10. District and Circle (Seamus Heaney) 6.36 (3.25*) paperback

I DNFd one book, which was Dragonfall by L R Lam. I felt bad as it was a NetGalley one, but I simply was not enjoying it and life is too short. I got about 25% in when I gave up.

I unhauled Cranford.

Silver Under Nightfall was the first vampire book I enjoyed that I can remember. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is out later this year.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Surprisingly, or not as the case may be, my favourite book I read this month was the one that had been on my TBR for about twenty years. Drinkers of the Wind is a wonderful account of travel in the Arab world in the 1920s. I thoroughly enjoyed that one. I need to find this author’s other books!

LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY

Because April was not at all the reading month I had imagined I am carrying a few books forward that were on my April TBR.

I am currently reading Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson. I am not far in, but I am loving it so far. I am listening to The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I am quite enjoying that one as well. It took me a little time to get into it, but so far so good. I am not quite halfway in that one.

I am also carrying ovcr Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. I just did not have the energy to read a big fantasy book. Hopefully in May!

I will be setting the rest of my TBR later today or tomorrow. I will try and be kind to myself.

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing my Books #26: March 2023

March was a stellar reading month quantity wise. Quality wise it was a really mixed bag with some really strong reads mainly during the middle of the month, but quite a few ‘meh’ reads as well.

Anyway, let’s balance things up, shall we?

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2023: 343
1 Feb: 339
Acquired: 14
Read: 11 + 1 DNF (+ 2 extra unhauls)
Balance: 339

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 175
1 Feb:179
Acquired: 5
Read: 6
Balance: 178

I bought way more books than I meant to this month. More than the five I was allowing myself in any case. There were a few special edition pre-orders for a start… I read two of the books that came in March and I hope to make a dent in April. I planned in time to read these books, so fingers crossed I can justify these purchases. I read the first in a series of which I had the first three books. I did not like it enough to continue, and I have unhauled all three books, which luckily meant I was able to balance those books! There was also DNF right at the start of the month.

As for digital books, I read one more than came in (though one of them I also owned in physical form, so it was a double whammy). I did request a couple of NetGalley books, but neither of them are due this month. I am enjoying getting back into NetGalley, but I am careful not to overdo it. I spent €2 total on three Kindle books, all of which I am excited about!

I am ok with things this month.

MARCH READING REVIEW

I read 16 books! That is a lot for me. To be honest, I did a lot of reading to alleviate stress this month, and I have never been more grateful for my books. As usual I read quite a variety of books across March. I am enjoying my fantasy at the moment and I actually read two books from the same series, which is something I rarely do in one month. I also read some sci-fi, some romance, some natural science non-fiction, some classics and some excellent literary fiction as well.

  1. Zofloya, or the Moor (Charlotte Dacre) 8.43 (4.25*) audio/paperback
  2. The Little Book Café: Tash’s Story (Georgia Hill) 8.07 (4*) eBook
  3. The Elves of Cintra (Terry Brooks) 7.71 (4*) paperback
  4. To The River (Olivia Laing) 6.57 (3.25*) audio/eBook
  5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman) 9.00 (4.50) paperback
  6. Alone With You in the Ether (Olivie Blake) 9.43 (4.75*) hardback
  7. Violets (Alex Hyde) 9.43 (4.75*) eBook
  8. A Fortune for Your Disaster (Hanif Abdurraqib) 8.50 (4.25*) paperback
  9. An Immense World (Ed Yong) 9.86 (5*) audio/hardback
  10. Skyward (Brandon Sanderson) 9.14 (4.5*) paperback
  11. My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologises (Fredrik Backman) 7.64 (3.75*) eBook
  12. Daggerspell (Katharine Kerr) 6.57 (3.25*) audio/paperback/eBook
  13. The Gypsy Morph (Terry Brooks) 8.43 (4.25*) paperback
  14. Fictions (Jorge Luis Borges) 7.57 (3.75*) paperback
  15. The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) 8.00 (4*) audio/hardback
  16. Ship Wrecked (Olivia Dade) 5.64 (2.75*) eBook

I also DNFd one book 150 pages in, which was An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. It wasn’t bad, but it just was not for me. I unhauled four books in total.

I continue reading several audio books a month, usually once that are on my shelves and utilizing the books that included in my Audible Membership. For example The Wind in the Willows, To The River and Daggerspell were all included. I used credits for Zofloya, or the Moor and An Immense World.

Using my TBR game to read a wide variety of books from my shelves has been very helpful. There was one book from my March TBR I did not get to, but I plan to read that one in April or May, depending how things go. I am ok with that. I read a couple of other books instead. I am doing ok with my 2023 TBR, so I am not feeling any pressure. It helps that I am genuinely excited about the books on that TBR.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

An Immense World by Ed Yong was incredible – loved it! So educational and yet very easy to understand. Fascinating stuff. A shout out to Alone With You in the Ether and Violets as well. I loved both of those so much!

LOOKING FORWARD TO APRIL

I have started three new books today, all of which will roll over to April of course. First of all my main read is Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco. It’s been a while since I read a vampire book and this one I have seen highly recommended. Besides, I was sold by the cover!

My first NetGalley ebook of the month is a little quaint book called Second Star: and Other Reasons for Lingering by Philippe Delerm. It has little musings on every day things and I am hoping it is my kind of thing. It’s only short, but I hope I will get something out of it. It’s one that has been translated from French.

Finally, I picked up Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Mind & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake. How The Last of Us is that? Anyway, I have the lovely hardback of this one, but decided to listen to it on audio, whilst leafing through the hardback to look at the illustrations. After that one I will probably pick up a classic of some sort on audio.

Apart from that, I have a small TBR for April that leaves room to get to some of the books that have come into my home in the past couple of months. I am looking forward to all of those. I do have Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb on my TBR in April as well and that one is a 900 page book, so I may not have as much time as I think I have.

I am excited about April. Are you?

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing my Books #25: February 2023

February has actually been a pretty good reading month. I did not quite get through my TBR, but I am happy! As for whether my books have balanced? Let’s find out…

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2023: 343
1 Feb: 342
Acquired: 5
Read: 8
Balance: 339

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 175
1 Feb: 178
Acquired: 5
Read: 3 + 1 DNF
Balance: 179

So I bought five books. That’s fine. I read more books than I bought, so I am happy with that. I also acquired 5 e-books, one of which was a NetGalley eARC. The others were 99p or less each on Amazon and are very much books I want to read soon.

Of the five physical books I bought, two are on my TBR for March. Three of the books are a series. One of them is a poetry book I am currently reading. By the end of March I will have read three of the five, so I am happy.

As for the e-books, there’s a fantasy book, a romance, a Greek mythology retelling, a medieval mystery and a time travel novel. The latter is a NetGalley e-book that is not due for a while, so no pressure.

So, I have added 10 books to my TBR in total, but I read 12, so I can’t complain.

FEBRUARY READING REVIEW

The books I read in February were a really mixed bag, in enjoyment as well as the type of book I read. I mostly read from February TBR, but I sprinkled in a couple of others. I did end up DNFing one book.

Let’s start with the books I actually completed:

  1. Shield Maiden (Sharon Emmerichs) 6.93 (3.5*) NG e-book
  2. Mudlarking (Lara Maiklem) 8.35 (4.25*) audio
  3. All the Horses of Iceland (Sarah Tolmie) 8.93 (4.5*) paperback
  4. The Tiger and the Wolf (Adrian Tchaikovsky) 6.71 (3.25*) e-book
  5. The Angel’s Game (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) 8.86 (4.5*) audio/paperback
  6. The Tea Dragon Society (Kay O’Neill) 8.48 (4.25*) hardback boxset
  7. The Fires (Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir) 6.29 (3.25*) e-book
  8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S Thompson) 7.36 (3.75*) audio/paperback
  9. The Hurting Kind (Ada Limón) 8.71 (4.25*) paperback
  10. My Family and Other Animals (Gerald Durrell) 8.86 (4.5*) audio/hardback
  11. The Mad Ship (Robin Hobb) 9.36 (4.75*) paperback
  12. Specters (Radwa Ashour) 7.71 (3.75*) paperback

I DNFd my Science Fiction read, which was Meru by S B Divya (e-book). I just did not get on with it and after about 50 pages I decided to just stop. I think it was mainly the writing. It was not compelling me in anyway.

Aside from that, it really was a mixed back this month. I read some historical fiction, some fantasy. a couple of poetry books and a couple of non-fiction books that were a blend of fiction and non-fiction. I read a modern classic and I finally continued in the Cemetery of Forgotten Book series. I ended up reading four books on audio. I also read the three graphic novels that comprise the Tea Dragon Society boxset. I only counted them as one. They made a nice change throughout the month.

Quality wise it was a decent month, which really had only one new favourite, but a lot of books I really liked. There were a couple that really weren’t for me and obviously one DNF, but overall, It was pretty good.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Easily my favourite book of February was The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb. I just love the Liveship Traders series and I am looking forward to finishing that trilogy in April.

LOOKING FORWARD TO MARCH

I am carrying three books into March. The first is Zofloya, or The Moor by Charlotte Dacre. This was one I started early on audio, as it was already on my March TBR. I was ready for a new audio book and I figured I may as well start that one. It’s a great listen! Very gothic.

From my February TBR I am taking Coraline by Neil Gaiman into March. This really has no bearing on the rest of my reading as I am reading it with my daughter at bedtime. It’s a lovely experience reading it together.

Finally, I am taking A Fortune For Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib into March. That one is a poetry book. It was not on my February TBR and I am taking my time with it.

Apart from that I have already set and posted my March TBR. I am hoping for another good reading month.

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing my Books #24: January 2023

I am very happy with where my reading has taken me this January. I needed the distraction to be honest. It hasn’t been the best start to a year, but hopefully onwards and upwards!

Anyway, the book stuff.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2023: 343
1 Jan: 343
Acquired: 10
Read: 11
Balance: 342

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 175
1 Jan: 175
Acquired: 8
Read: 4
Balance: 178

So, I was supposed to buy only 5 books per month (new), but yes, I botched that rule by buying 10. To be fair one was a late arrival from 2022. Five are novels or non-fiction, with the others being poetry and one graphic novel set as well. A few of the purchases were for my goal of reading some South American classics this year. I did already read one of those and two of the poetry collections. One of them is on my February TBR. I am not too upset about it, especially since I still read more physical books than I bought, but hopefully I can resist temptation in February and bring those numbers down a chunk. I do tend to buy more books in January than any other month. However, I would be so proud of myself if I didn’t buy any in February!

As for my digital TBR, it went up a bit, but I spent a total of 3.96 on those 8 books. Four of those are NetGalley eARCS, all publishing dates nicely spread out over the coming months and four were 99p purchases. I will read at least two of those in February, possibly more. I am not sure how many I will buy/request in February. I haven’t put a limit on my digital buys, but I will still try and be a bit restrained. Last year I did not request many NetGalleys, but I just saw some good ones. I try not to request more than one per publishing month. I can do without the pressure.

Anyway, overall I am happy with my first month.

JANUARY READING REVIEW

This was a really solid reading month. I found a couple books to add to my favourites list. I did also DNF two books and I ended up unhauling four books.

Let’s see what I read first. I have added my CALSPIE scores and my 5* equivalent:

  1. The Golden Mole (Katherine Rundell) 8.36 (4.25*) e-book NG
  2. Migrations (Charlotte McConaghy) 8.86 (4.5*) paperback
  3. Snow Like Ashes (Sara Raasch) 7.71 (3.75*) paperback
  4. A Little Devil in America (Hanif Abdurraqib) 10.00 (5*) audio/paperback
  5. The Marriage Portrait (Maggie O’Farrell) 9.79 (5*) hardback
  6. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) 8.93 (4.5*) audio/ebook
  7. Armageddon’s Children (Terry Brooks) 8.79 (4.5*) paperback
  8. Sound Mind (T J Singh) 7.14 (3.5*) paperback
  9. The Visitor (Katherine Stansfield) 9.29 (4.75*) ebook
  10. The Penguin Lessons (Tom Michell) 8.79 (4.5*) audio/ebook
  11. Carmilla (J Sheridan Le Fanu) 7.93 (4*) audio/paperback
  12. Green Rider (Kristen Britain) 6.93 (3.5*) paperback
  13. A Ghost in the Throat (Doireann Ní Ghríofa) 7.57 (3.75*) audio/paperback
  14. Near to the Wild Heart (Clarice Lispector) 8.00 (4*) paperback
  15. Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms (Marcel Price) 8.50 (4.25*) paperback

The average length of book was about 300 pages. I read four books over 400 pages, which is pretty good for me, but I also read some shorter ones, as I read a few poetry books. The longest book was Green Rider at 560 pages and the shortest was Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms, which was only 82 pages.
I unhauled Snow Like Ashes, Green Rider and A Ghost in the Throat. I also DNFd and unhauled Luz by Elsa Osorio. Finally, I DNFd Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning after about 100 pages. I just couldn’t torture myself any longer.

I have carried two books over into February, both of which I hope to finish today.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

I had two standouts. My favourite book of the month was A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib. It was so, so good. I always love Hanif’s writing, so it wasn’t a surprise.

My honourable mention is The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell. It’s historical fiction and I pretty much loved it from start to finish.

***

How was your January reading? Please link your wrap-up post if you did one!

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #23: December 2022

I can’t believe that’s it for 2022. In a way I am glad it’s over. It was not the best year for me lifewise and I am ready to move into 2023 wholeheartedly.

But first things first, let’s look what happened in this final month of the year readingwise. It was an interesting month. I had some reads to finish up for my 2022 and Classics TBRs and I ended up reading mostly e-books.

I had hoped to end the year on a lower number of book on my TBR than I started with. Unfortunately that certainly did not happen for my physical TBR, but I think I am ok with that. I am confident I will do better next year. I have learned a few lessons this year for sure.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2022: 300
1 Dec: 340
Acquired: 6
Read: 3
Balance: 343

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 177
1 Dec: 179
Acquired: 4
Read: 8
Balance: 175

I guess that it’s good that at least my digital TBR went down, even if only by 2… I am pretty sure things will be different in 2023. Like I said, I have learned some lessons about my book buying habits and I intend to be less…. impulsive.

DECEMBER READING REVIEW

I ended up reading 12 books in December, which I am very happy with. Eight of those were e-books, two I read physically and two on audio, one of which I also owned the physical copy of.

Ratings wise it was a pretty average bag. I only gave three books a 6-star rating. The others were mostly fives and and a couple of 4 stars. It wasn’t a bad reading month quality wise, but it wasn’t great either.

  1. Fingersmith (Sarah Waters) 5* ebook
  2. The Christmas Bookshop ( Jenny Colgan) 5* ebook
  3. Lost Boy (Christina Henry) 4* ebook
  4. The Curse of the Raven (Nicholas Kotar) 6* ebook
  5. Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) 5* ebook
  6. Stay Another Day (Juno Dawson) 6* ebook
  7. It Ends With Us (Colleen Hoover) 4* ebook
  8. I Have More Souls Than One (Fernando Pessoa) 6* paperback
  9. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) 6* audio/paperback
  10. The Christmas Lights (Karen Swan) 5* ebook
  11. Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (Peter Hook) 5* audio
  12. Children of the Alley (Naguib Mahfouz) 5* paperback

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Easy. Anna Karenina. It felt such an achievement finishing that book and I actually really liked it, despite some slow bits here and there. I am sure I will be reading more Tolstoy in 2023.

January Reading Plans

I am still finalizing my January TBR believe it or not. However, I am bringing one book over into the New Year, which is The Golden Mole by Katherine Rundell. This is a non-fiction book that I got a NetGalley Arc of that I should have read earlier! I am enjoying the short interesting chapters on all sorts of animals that live on this beautiful planet.

Other than that, I am not entirely sure what book to kickstart my New Year with.

***

I will be continuing this post in 2023 as (despite appearances) it has been very useful to me. Seeing my TBR creep up over the months has made me realise I need to be more selective when bringing books into my home. We will see how it goes in the coming months. I’m quietly excited about all the great reads on my TBR for 2023. Now, let’s make a dent.

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #22: November 22

Similar to last month – I flew through books the first half of the month and then sort of came to a standstill. It was a busy second half of the month though with lots of social stuff and events happening, so I will cut myself some slack.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2022: 300
1 Nov: 342
Acquired: 3
Read: 5
Balance: 340

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 177
1 Nov: 178
Acquired: 5
Read: 4
Balance: 179

At least my physical TBR has dropped by 2! I am not too mad about my digital TBR increase, as I bought three novellas that are a series and a Christmas romance to read in December. The other one is a non-fiction NetGalley eARC. I can’t see myself buying books in Decmber, though I guess I may receive some for Christmas as gifts, which obviously would be out of my hands!

There are a few e-books on my December TBR, so I reckon I will end with a lower number than I started with this year. Somehow I don’t think that will be the case for physical books – I failed miserably there!

NOVEMBER READING REVIEW

November really was a month of two halves. In the first half I managed to read quite a bit and the second half just kind of deflated. I had a good month on a personal level and I have been seeing people and seeing live music, which has been nice. There even was a trip to Paris, which was looooovely!

I read 9 books in total, but most of them were under 350 pages, so my overall page count was on the low side. The quality of the books I read was pretty good, though I did not find any new favourites. There were no books I disliked, which is always good! I made decent progress on my 2022 TBR. I also ticked a couple of books off my Back To The Classics TBR.

  1. In Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin) 4* audio/paperback
  2. Orange Horses (Maeve Kelly) 5* paperback
  3. Beowulf (Seamus Heaney) 5* audio/paperback
  4. Neom (Lavie Tidhar) 6* e-book (NG)
  5. Cleopatra’s Daughter (Jane Draycott) 6* e-book (NG)
  6. Clean (Juno Dawson) 6* e-book
  7. Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen) 6* audio/hardback
  8. Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) 5* e-book
  9. Waterlog (Roger Deakin) 6* audio/paperback

BOOK OF THE MONTH

I had a good amount of 6* books, but the one I enjoyed the most was Clean by Juno Dawson. It ended up being a really quick read for me. I flew through it and it was just what I needed at the time. I will be reading more by this author for sure.

DECEMBER READING PLANS

December is already three days in and I haven’t finished anything yet. My big project is reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, which I am listening to on audio book. It’s a long one, so will likely take me most of the month. I am enjoying it a lot so far!

I have a few books left on my 2022 TBR and I also have a couple of Christmassy reads that I am looking forward to. It’s a lot of e-books this month! I don’t expect to read everything I had hoped to read by the end of the year, but hopefully the next few weeks will be a bit better for reading!

***

What are you still hoping to read until the end of the year?

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #21: October 2022

For the first half of the month I honestly thought I would get a ton of books read. Unfortunately the second half of October had other ideas. Still, it was a decent reading month and I can’t complain. Well, apart for maybe the amount of books that came into my house. Ooops! Blame it on charity shop trips with my bestie.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2022: 300
1 Oct: 329
Acquired: 18 (Oh dear, this went of the rails – blame cheap used books!)
Read: 5
Balance: 342

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 177
1 Oct: 174
Acquired: 7
Read: 3
Balance: 178

Yes, this did not go well this month. Or this year for that matter. As far as cost per book this month, it was very low – most of it were used books under €2, most of them €1 or less. The e-books were either under €1 or free. I caved and requested a few NetGalley ARCs for the first time in ages. I forgot how tempting it is. Lesson learned though and I will probably stay away from that website for the time being, until my TBR is a bit more manageable. It really doesn’t help. Still, having these monthly tally-ups to see my situation is actually really good for me and I have made firm plans to reduce things over the next months/year. I actually feel pretty positive about it. To be honest, there’s far worse to be addicted to than books!

Anyway…

OCTOBER READING REVIEW

It really was a decent reading month, though I got distracted by life and other things in the second half, which put reading very much on the backburner. I am hoping to rectify that this month.

Quality wise my reads were decent with no total flops. There were a few books that just did not add much to my life, even if they were ok. However, I did find two new favourites, which is always exciting, plus I started a new series that I am loving so far.

  1. Kindred (Octavia E Butler) 7* paperback
  2. Room (Emma Donoghue) 5* e-book
  3. Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) 7* hardback
  4. The Salt Path (Raynor Winn) 4* audio
  5. The Wife Between Us (Hendricks & Pekkanen) 5* e-book
  6. The Chalk Man (C J Tudor) 4* e-book
  7. Travels with my Aunt (Graham Greene) 6* audio & paperback
  8. The ABC Murders (Agatha Christie) 6* audio & hardback
  9. Ship of Magic (Robin Hobb) 6* paperback

BOOK OF THE MONTH

I think this is a hard one. I think I expected to love Kindred, whereas I expected to not like Mrs Dalloway very much as I had not been a fan of the only other Virginia Woolf novel I had read. However, against all odds I absolutely loved the smallness of this story. So, because it was so unexpected, I will call Mrs Dalloway my book of the month!

NOVEMBER READING PLANS

The first thing I am doing is reading the books I was still reading at the end of October. I am hoping to finish both In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin (audio) and Orange Horses by Maeve Kelly (paperback) tomorrow. I definitely want to read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters as well, as that was the final book on my October TBR. The biggest book I really want to read in November is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, but that really depends on how my reading is going. It is on several of my reading challenges and it would be great if I could tick it off. I am not sure how likely that is though!

So, for November… No to buying new books, and YES to more reading time! I feel like I am playing catch-up, but I think I am actually ok with that. There are lots of exciting reads this month and I can’t wait to get through some of them.

***

What was your favourite book you read this month?

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #20: September 2022

It’s has been a patchy reading month, but overall it was an enjoyable one!

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2022: 300
1 Sep: 331
Acquired: 4
Read: 6
Balance: 329

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 177
1 Sep: 174
Acquired: 3
Read: 3
Balance: 174

I really need to make a conscious effort to make those TBRs go down, down, down!

However, I can’t complain.

SEPTEMBER READING REVIEW

I read a total of 10 books in September. I read three books from my Kindle, four in physical format and three audio books, of which two of them I also own in a physical format. I am quite happy with that. At least my buying books did not exceed me reading them, which is all I ask for (though I have a lot of corrective work to do in terms of the two months that went before). Quality wise it was not the best of months. Although there were no books I actively disliked, with 3 books at 4/7*and another 3 at 5/7*, it was a weakish month. Most of my 6 and 7* books came towards the end. All my audio books rated highly. I read two non-fiction (both on audio) and 1 poetry book (also audio). The fiction books were a real mixture with one short story collection and actually two decent contemporary young adult books, which is a bit unusual. Of the six physical books I read, I unhauled three.

  1. Sarum (Edward Rutherford) 5* e-book
  2. Did I Say That Out Loud (Fi Glover & Jane Garvet) 6* audio
  3. A Shot in the Dark (Lynne Truss) 4* hardback
  4. Night Owls (Jenn Bennett) 5* e-book
  5. Shit Cassanda Saw (Gwen E Kirby) 4* paperback
  6. Marriage Most Scandalous (Johanna Lindsey) 5* paperback
  7. Awakening (William Horwood) 4* hardback
  8. Wonderland (Brett Westwood & Stephen Moss) 6* audio/paperback
  9. One of Us is Lying (Karen M McManus) 6* e-book
  10. Four Quartets (T S Eliot) 7* audio/paperback

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Well, just read at the finishline, it has to be Four Quartets by T S Eliot. Beautiful poems. Very smart, but not overly complicated. It is definitely a collection I will listen to again (and read).

OCTOBER READING PLANS

I actually have a rather ambitious and strict TBR for October, which does not have much to do with it being the spooky month unfortunately. Actually there may be a thriller/murder mystery or two on my list, so hopefully I will get to those.

I am currently in the middle of Kindred by Octavia E Butler, so I have to finish that one before even starting my October TBR.

The main book I want to read in October, which I am hoping I will love, is Ship of Magic, the first book in the Livetraders Trilogy by Robin Hobb. It has been on my tentative TBR for the last few months and I still haven’t gotten round to reading it. It’s a big one though, and may throw off the rest of my TBR completely!

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #19: July & August 2022

I completely forgot to do July and I think I was a bit ashamed about how my books came in opposed to being read! I got over that 🤣. Anyway, let’s combine the two months.

PHYSICAL TBR:

Start 2022: 300
1 July: 311
Acquired: 35 (!!!!!!!!!! – How the hell did that happen? It’s ridiculous!)
Read: 15
Balance: 331

DIGITAL TBR:

Start 2022: 177
1 July: 168
Acquired: 11
Read: 5
Balance: 174

Clearly, something went wrong the last couple of months. I think I need some self control! To be fair, I bought a lot of cheap used books. It’s ok. It’s only books. Still. Compared to last year, I have bought a lot more books this year. I can’t really pinpoint why. I am reading more as well. I think that’s part of it. When I am excited about reading, I tend to read more. The problem is, I am running out of space and I really don’t want to add bookshelves, so my priority will have to be reading and getting rid of books.

I will try and restrain myself the rest of the year. I have two pre-orders coming. The problem is…. I am supposed to go to a charity shop with my friend next week…. Restraint, girl, restraint!

JULY & AUGUST READING REVIEW

My reading is back to normal after a few slow months, which is nice. August especially was a really strong reading month. Quality of reading was decent as well and I read a good variety of books.

JULY:

  1. American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 5* e-book
  2. The Reader (Bernhard Schlink) 6* paperback
  3. Wildwood (Roger Deakin) 7* audio/paperback
  4. To Kill A Kingdom (Alexandra Christo) 4* e-book
  5. The Summer Queen (Elizabeth Chadwick) 6* paperback
  6. My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante) 4* paperback
  7. Better Than Fiction (anthology) 5* paperback
  8. Big Panda and Tiny Dragon (James Norbury) 6* hardback
  9. Samarkand (Amin Maalouf) 6* paperback

AUGUST

  1. Malibu Rising (Taylor Jenkins Reid) 5* e-book
  2. The Turn of the Key (Ruth Ware) 4* e-book
  3. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) 5* audio/paperback
  4. The Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson) 7* paperback
  5. Don’t Look Now and Other Stories (Daphne du Maurier) 4* paperback
  6. Our Wives Under The Sea (Julia Armfield) 6* hardback
  7. The Jasmine Throne (Tasha Suri) 5* paperback
  8. A Bookshop in Algiers (Kaouther Adimi) 6* paperback
  9. Skin Deep (anthology) 5* hardback
  10. Love is a Mix Tape (Rob Sheffield) 6* paperback
  11. One Summer in Nashville (Mandy Baggot) 4* e-book
  12. No Time Like The Future (Michael J Fox) 6* audio

BOOKS OF THE MONTH:

JULY: I adored Wildwood. I listened to it, but it’s a great combination of travel writing, part memoir and nature writing. It was right up my street. Hence I ended ordering another (earlier) book by the author.

AUGUST: My favourite read was The Hero of Ages, the last book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I enjoyed it start to finish, which is good cause it was a big one!

September Reading Plans:

I am hoping to continue as I was. I am reading Sarum by Edward Rutherford. It’s a big one, so it might bring my final tally down. I am 250 pages in with 3/4 still to go. It’s commitment!

I have a few books I’d like to read this month. There’s a few left on my Summer TBR. We’ll see how it goes.

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Happy reading!