Books · Reading Diary

Weekend Reading Diary: 5-7 March 2021

Friday, 5 March 2021

16.17 – Yes, I think it’s time. I have three books on the go and about to start another one, so I figured it could be an interesting one (for me to look back on at least, even if it may be boring for you, the blog reader!).

Ok, so I am currently listening to (appropriately) Listening to the Animals by Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. I have the hardback, which was a gift from my mother-in-law, but decided to listen to the audio book. Eventhough the way he reads it is sometimes a bit overdramatic, I think it is the right choice. I am enjoying that one whilst doing chores, like the horse poop scooping which I will be doing in a moment!

I am over halfway in a small non-fiction book called On Connection by poet/rapper Kae Tempest. It is saying lot of things about the idea of connecting in the world around you and yourself, a subject that I find myself thinking about a lot. I am getting a lot out of reading this one, even if it is only small book. I have about a third to go and I will probably finish it sometime tomorrow

I have started reading some poetry as well, which is Why Did You Leave The Horse Alone? by Mahmoud Darwish. I was recommended Darwish by a friend. I am only a few poems in. Though I have to say I have not found the rhythm in the poems yet, something about them is speaking to me. I will read a bit more later tonight when I am by myself in a quiet house and I can whisper them to myself. Call me weird.

Finally, I have finished my fiction read Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose this morning, so I have just chosen a new book one. I am going with State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. Now, this is a first book in a series and I had promised myself I would not start any new series before finishing an old one, but it was calling to me from my bookshelves, telling me it is time. It has been there a few years, so if it is calling now, I have to heed that call. It is YA and considering the book I have just finished and the book I will probably be reading next YA fantasy seemed the right way to go. I am likely to start this one later tonight. The only problem if I like the book is that I will have to buy the next in series… With a bit of luck I won’t like it. 😂

18.13 – Just had dinner. A simple omelet on a Friday evening. No-Fuss Fridays 🙂 – About to take my ponies in for the night and enjoy a little more Noel Fitzgerald during clearing the paddock of poop. Oh, the glamour of owning equines! Before dinner I managed to read a bit more of Kae Tempest’s book. Eventhough I am familiar with them, I never really paid much attention to their work. I bought this little book because its subject matter spoke to me. I am glad I did. I am nodding a lot whilst reading it, which must be a good thing. I have about 35ish pages to go. I may finish it tonight or savour it until tomorrow. I don’t want to rush through it. It’s family boardgame time first though, so until later!

20.40 – So I ended up finishing On Connection after all. It was an easy read that touched on themes close to my heart. I’m a HSP (highly sensitive person). Emotion is my middle name (un)fortunately. It can be both a blessing and a curse. I recognise it in my daughter as well and for her, as with me, life can be extraordinarily beautiful or it can be overwhelming. Numbness, which is something the book touches on quite a lot, is a feeling I dread. Luckily these days I have my coping mechanisms, but there have been times where it threatened to swallow me. Anyway, I really liked this little book. The only reasons why I gave it five stars and not six or seven is because I felt there simply was not enough of it and a slight lack of coherence.

I will take a little break from reading for a while, though I will probably start State of Sorrow when I go to bed. For now, I will spend a little family time.

00.06 – Technically it is Saturday already, but I will leave this as my final update before bed. I read a few more pages in Why Did You Leave Your Horse Alone? and I am definitely starting to get a better feel for the prose in this. I actually came close to crying already! There is something about Middle Eastern writing that has that effect on me. Maybe it is because the stories are often tragic and maybe because there is a certain kind of passion behind the words. There is an aesthetic to the words, if that makes sense, and it is one that seems to connect to me. This book was published in the mid-90s in Arabic and translated maybe a decade later, so it’s what I would consider modern poetry. It deals with Palestine and is at least semi-autobiographical. The writing and imagery is beautiful and does appear to hark back to older poetry and prose I have read from that region (and that I want to read more of).

By the way, the answer to the titular question is “To keep the house company, my son. Houses die when their inhabitants are gone…”. Isn’t that beautiful?

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Night night!

Saturday, 6 March 2021

08.30 – About to go to do a grocery shop, but just thought I’d do a quick update. Not that there is much to update…. I only read two pages of State of Sorrow when I went to bed in the end. I was too tired. I was going to say I will try and read it over the weekend, but it’s a 450-page book – so very unlikely I will manage that! I don’t want to rush through the book either. I just hope I will enjoy it.

11.09 – I stole a bit of time to read when I got back from the supermarket. I read the first 30 pages of State of Sorrow while having a croissant and coffee. So far I am not that impressed with the writing or the set-up of the story. It simply has not piqued my interest yet. Fingers crossed that will change. After all, I have only read the first two chapters. Also, I have not read that much YA recently, so it may take me a while to get used to the tone of YA. I did read The City of Brass recently, which kind of read like YA, I guess. Anyway, I will not judge just yet.

I am off to do some chores before I have lunch. I should have some time to read later. I will probably keep Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry for quiet late evenings, so I can read the words without distractions.

18.52 – It’s been a strangely busy day not doing very much. Where has the time gone? I have not read an awful lot today and I am on page 55. I am ok with the book so far. I am not living it. The writing style feels a bit uninspiring. It’s not bad by any means, but it is simply not doing a lot for me. But this is a book written for younger adults, so I am not judging it for that. Just noticing. It feels very fairytale-like and that is a vibe that I often struggle with. I am curious to see where this goes. I hope to read till at least page 100 today, but we will see where we get to (royal plural).

20.16 – On page 90 now, about 20% in. The first big twist was expected and I am kind of glad the author chose to play that particular card early. Otherwise I would have been waiting for it the whole book. Now the card has been played I can just see where the rest of the packs falls.

00.17 – Time for bed. I read a couple more poems from Why Did You Leave Your Horse Alone? and I am really enjoying them. I don’t want to rush through them, so I will read on tomorrow.

We had a couple of hours of zoom chat with some of our friends in England, which was fun. It was nice to see their faces and just chat about random stuff. Fingers crossed things will be back to relative normality here by the end of the year and we will be able to visit our family and friends overseas.

I am about to start chapter 11 on page 112 of State of Sorrow. The title of the book clearly has several meanings, but which one is most appropriate? Maybe all of them. I am not falling in love with the book yet, but it reads away easily enough. I just am not getting sucked in by the characters or the story itself. I still might…

Anyway, it’s definitely time for bed. Tomorrow is Sunday. We don’t have a ton to do, but I do still have my taxes to sort out. Hopefully I willl be able to get a good chunk of reading in.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

09.32 – It’s Sunday morning. I have a few chores to do, but it’s a quiet sort of day hopefully. I have read a few pages in State of Sorrow. I started around page 120 this morning. I have put it down to watch some YouTube videos. I just need to do something mindless for half an hour.

13.07 – I passed the 200 page mark. I am enjoying it ok, but not loving it. None of the characters are quite floating my boat for some reason. I am not sure. It is not because they’re supposed to be teenagers, but just because I find them a bit ‘meh’. At this moment in time I doubt I will continue the series, but this could still change, like it did with Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House recently. I really thought I was going to leave it there and then the ending got me. I guess this book could do that, but I doubt it somehow. I hope it proves me wrong… or do I? After all, I have enough series I need to read without wanting to continue with this one! 😂

Anyway, time for a late lunch and after that, who knows? It’s my birthday tomorrow, so my husband and daughter are making a brownie cake for me, and I will probably end up bossing then around ‘supervising’. I will be forty two tomorrow and it oddly feels like a milestone. I am not sure why it feels different than previous birthdays. Maybe because unconsciously in the past year I have been on a journey of self-discovery and I actually feel more myself than I have been in years. I feel the urge to document my 42nd year somehow; the thoughts, sights, sounds and feelings that I discover over the course of that year. I think I will keep a notebook, like a diary, but I want it to be quite focussed. I will brainstorm with myself later. I have a nice notebook I could use.

As for State of Sorrow, If I could get to page 300 it would be amazing, but 250 I would be happy with. That should be easy, as I am on page 210 now.

22.54 – I have been so rubbish updating today! In the end I did not do that much reading later in the day. I am currently on page 240 of State of Sorrow and I think I will reach 250. I am still enjoying reading it, but my opinion so far has not changed. It still could!

I did listen to a chunk of Noel Fitzpatrick’s Listening To The Animals (Becoming The Supervet) whilst doing some chores. I have less than 100 pages to go in that one which translates to a couple of hours on audio. Again, it’s a book that I am enjoying, but not loving.

What I am loving though is Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry. Although I cannot pretend to understand half the metaphores he is using in Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?, it somehow resonates in me. It’s rather odd. The use of language (even if its translated) is so beautiful that even if large parts of the meaning pass me by, I am still enjoying it immensely. I think I will just read it now and look into the author’s story/background later and read some of the poems again. That seems backwards, but I want to find out whether finding out more about the author will give me a different perspective on these poems. It’s a beautiful book by the way, with the English translation on one side and the original poem in Arabic script on the other side. It gives something extra for sure. I am glad they decided to publish it like that. I will probably read a couple more poems tonight and leave it there. I don’t want to rush through it, which is too easy to do with poetry, I find.

I am off to bed. Hope you have a great reading week!

L. x

Books · Reading Diary

Reading Diary: 13-15 February 2021 (mainly Ninth House)

WARNING: pretty frustrating, but boring reading blog ahead! 😂🤣

SATURDAY, 13 February 2021

08.37 – Well, it’s a wintery weekend. It’s very cold outside. The fire will be roaring pretty much all day. I think it’s time for a weekend of lots of reading.

I am reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. I am about 100 pages in and I am not loving it, so I need some motivation to keep going. If it does not improve soon, I will have to DNF it, but I hate DNFing books! It feels like a waste of my reading time if I don’t finish a book, especially if I am already over 100 pages in. I did enjoy Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy, so I still have a flutter of hope I will end up liking it.

I may pick up a poetry book alongside, or some short stories. I’ll see.

Finally, I should be finishing my audio book today, which is There Goes Gravity by long-time music journalist Lisa Robinson. It’s been a good one, if a bit smug at times.

But first I will take my two ponies outside into their winter wonderland and go for our weekly shop.

10.54 – It’s finally time to get some reading in. My aim is to read about 150 pages of Ninth House today. I really hope I will start enjoying it a bit more.

12.21 – I did not get a ton of reading done so far, about 30 pages. It is picking up a bit, so I am hopeful now 🙂 ! I am getting more of a feel for our main character now a bit more of her history is explained. The first 100 pages of this book though…. Not strong. I guess it’s supposed to make you intrigued, but it just made me feel uninterested. Anyway, there is a chance I may like this after all, so fingers crossed. It really depends on where the author takes the story from here.

It’s lunchtime. We have a few outdoor chores to do after lunch, but I am hoping to read quite a bit later.

18.23 – It’s been a while since my last update earlier and I am afraid not THAT much reading got done. We spent some time cutting back trees and bushes from the ice now the water surrounding our house is frozen over. After that I did a bit of skating with my eight-year-old daughter. Dinner is in the oven now and I just had twenty minutes of reading. I think I started on page 104 this morning and I am on page 163 now, so there definitely is some progress! The story has definitely gotten a lot more interesting, but I am certainly not in love with this story yet. It’s fine. I just find the characters way too uninteresting for some reason. Neither Alex nor Darlington are floating my boat in any way and the story so far is… mediocre. There is still time to win me over!

23.38 – I am about to go to bed. I clearly overestimated the time I would have for reading today. It has been a busy, tiring day and I am off to bed. I enjoyed today, but I only managed to get to page 174 so far. It’s still 70 pages, which is not to be sniffed at! But alas, I had planned to read double that! I guess tomorrow is another day, but my goal to finish this book on Monday is very unlikely now. It does not matter of course, but still. Fingers crossed for a better reading day tomorrow. I will try to read a bit more once I am in bed, but I feel pretty shattered.

Nighty night!

SUNDAY, 14 February 2021

9.32 – Good morning, folks! Oh, gawd, it’s Valentine’s Day… I have never liked Valentine’s Day. Me and my husband have never celebrated it. What’s romantic about overpriced Valentine menus and oversweet cards? It seems couples can argue like cats and dogs the rest of the year as long as you buy a bunch of roses onVD…. No thanks. It’s supposed to be for secret lovers anyway, not established couples. Just mean to say, today is like any other day in the James household. We love and respect each other and show it every day of the year.

Anyway, grump and part-lecture over! Let’s get back to the books. I am definitely finishing my audiobook today. I will go back to Chronicles by Bob Dylan after that for now.

I did not end up reading much in bed last night. I was soooooo tired. I will start Ninth House on page 182 and I will see how far I get today. I don’t have a lot on and I plan to just relax, so who knows, if the story starts to grab me I might read quite a bit.

13.45 – I read a bit. I on page 243 right now, so I read 60 pages so far today, which is pretty good. Guys, I am still not quite feeling this book. It feels like the build and the characterisation are all out of sync. I know people love this book, so it must work for a lot of people, but it’s not working for me. But I am halfway, and I am not hating it, so I will continue. It’s just… so far I am disappointed.

15.05 – Got some good reading time in. I got to page 299. I am frustrated with this book still. The story is so interesting but it feels so fractured! Considering the story, maybe it is meant to feel that way, but it is not working for me. Grrrrrrrr!

18.17 – About to have dinner. I am making a Indian type fish curry with rice. Yum! Just a quick note that I finished There Goes Gravity by Lisa Robinson. Another read (listen in this case) that I did not quite love. That seems to be the pattern this month. I have not read one single book yet I truly loved. And given how I feel about Ninth House right now, that one will get stuck and 4 or 5 stars as well. Where are my 6 and 7 star reads this month? Hiding? January was such a good reading month and this month everything is just falling a bit flat. Clearly I have been picking the wrong books! I have a few books that I suspect I will absolutely love, so I am tempted to pick up one of those up once I finish Ninth House.

MONDAY, 15 February 2021

11.37 – NOW PLAYING: BBC 6 Music (radio)

I was supposed to finish this blog post yesterday, but I was so tired I did not end up doing so. Oh, well, an extra reading diary day it is. I have already taken my daughter to the dentist this morning and just took the ponies to their wet snowy paddock. The snow has been on the ground for a week, but it is raining pretty much all day today and it’s disgusting out there. I am about to read for a bit until lunch. I am starting on page 351 today. I have a small hope I can finish the book today. Looks like I have about 120 pages to go, so it’s doable. I hope it finishes strong.

15.24 – NOW PLAYING: Someone New (album) by Helena Deland – I LOVE this album!

On page 391, so not too bad. About 80 pages to go. I cannot help think this book could have been so good if it did not feel so bitty! I am enjoying the overall plot, but not the flow of the book. The flow seems completely off to me. And the whole Yale setting seems underexplored. I wish I could love this book more. I feel like I am being very negative. I don’t mean to be, and I certainly don’t dislike the book. I just feel it underperforms, if that makes sense… Probably not… Most people seem to love it a lot more than I do! I must conclude it’s just me. 😂

17.57 – NOW PLAYING: Young Chasers (album) by Circa Waves – This one makes me happy!

Well, I have finished Ninth House. Drat, it had an ending that means I want to read the next book. Well played, Leigh Bardugo! To be fair, I did warm to the novel as it went on, even if I did not end up loving it. I probably will continue the series. I will go and write my thoughts on it in a moment. I think it will be 4 out of 7 stars in the end, which is not too bad. There was so much to like, but it also made me feel frustrated. It did get better along the way.

I will leave this blog here. I will probably not read anything more until I go to bed now. Anyway, I added the music I was listening to throughout today. Just because… you know… It sets a mood 😉

Have a good week y’all!

Reading Diary

New Year’s Eve Reading Diary 2020

I had all sorts of grand plans for posts in this final week of 2020, but life got hectic (I DEFINITELY do not mean Animal Crossing!) and it simpy did not happen.

00.15 – Midnight has been and gone, which means it is now officially the last day of the year. I have two books I am trying to finish before the final seconds of 2020 tick away, so I can start 2021 with a clean slate. It is a goal at least!

I have an hour left on my audio book, which still is Black and British: A Forgotten History. I have two hours left to listen to, but I do listen on a speedier setting, so I may get this done if I listen to it whilst doing some much needed chores. It has been such an eye opening listen.

I have about 180 pages left in Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff, which is the last book in the Nevernight Chronicles. I am enjoying this one much more than the middle book, so I am hopeful!

I am about to go to bed now and will get a few more minutes of reading in once I am in bed, but otherwise I hope to get started on these books bright and early tomorrow morning.

Finishing both of these books is a challenge, but I believe it is doable if I don’t get distracted by other things.

Until tomorrow!

09.09 – I am up, I have taken the ponies to their soaking wet paddock – I think it’s time to start some reading. I got to page 374 of Darkdawn yesterday, so I have about 160 pages left, which I think is doable. I like this book, but there are some things about it that are a little irksome (I love that word). There are some plot devices that just too easy!

Since it is a very quiet New Year’s Eve for us (though we do have some champers for later), today will be a reading day.

14.26 – Today is more chore heavy than anticipated and not really chores I can do with my audio book on as they are chores I am doing together with my husband and I am not quite THAT antisocial. It is not a bad day outside. It’s cloudy, but there’s no wind. Hence we took the opportunity to rake the pony paddock a bit. It has been very wet lately and the paddock has turned into a quagmire. I have listened to half an hour of my audio book whilst mucking out the stables. Once back inside I read another 40 pages of Darkdawn. I have just over 100 pages to go in the latter, which is definitely doable, especially with staying up way after midnight tonight. Still hopeful!

18.26 – Ok, I did not manage to read that much mroe since my last update. I am on page 451, so still 80 pages to go. It’s going to be a tight one! I am more like to finish Darkdawn than my audio book, but I am still aiming for both. I have 45 minutes left on my audio book and I am doing a few chores after dinner, but they won’t take that long. I’ll figure it out!

I have just put dinner on. We’re having salmon and pesto pasta – yum! This year is the first year that my daughter (8) is allowed to try and stay up until midnight. This may result in a massive tiredness tantrum – we will have to see! I promised her she can play Animal Crossing for a while to catch the fish and critters that she normally does not have a chance to, because they only appear after her bedtime. That may keep her quiet. 🙂

20.21 – I have been quietly making progress in Darkdawn whilst my daughter and husband are watching the Paddington movie. I am on page 491, so only just over 30 pages to go. I should be able to manage that. I am still enoying the book, but I am not quite sure I am loving the turns the plot has taken. I just sort of feel it ran out of steam about two thirds in. Let’s see how it ends, shall we?

20.57 – Wow, those final pages went by quick. Now the the whole Nevernight Chronicle is done. I have thoughts. I think overall reading this series was worth my time, but I cannot help but feel that it did not quite live up to my expectations. I will go and write a quick summary of my thoughts on this one.

I still hope to have time to finish my audio book tonight, but we’ll see. 🙂

23.45 – Well, 2020 is almost over and I managed to finish my final two books today. I am very pleased with that. Starting a new year with a clean slate is always a good feeling. I hope 2021 will be less newsworthy than 2020! Fingers crossed COVID will decide to do a runner early on in 2021, so we can get back to some sort of normal life.

I will leave you with wishing you very happy and HEALTHY 2021. May it be filled with love and all the best books.

See you next year with my thoughts on Black and British: A Forgotten History.

Books · Reading Challenges · Reading Diary

The Reading Rush: day 6-7

SATURDAY, 25 Juy 2020

10.55 – Day 6 of The Reading Rush and it’s raining. Yuck! Well, chores are mostly done. I have been to the supermarket, I have fed and cleaned the pony paddock. I just had a coffee with my husband (not that that’s a chore!) and now I am ready to sit down with The Dinner. I am quite curious to see where it’s going. There has been mention that they found out something about their sons, but what is it? I am not sure what I would call this book? It’s very slow and mundane, but there’s an edge to it. I am not bored at all!

Koch, Herman - Het Diner17.47 – Funny how as I try and document my reading daily, my updates become further apart! I am on page 203 of The Dinner. I found out what awful thing the sons did. Vile people, all of them. The narrative  is starting to drift all over the place and it is losing me a little. I have about a third to go.

I was thinking that I want to read some fantasy once I have finished this one. I am craving some fantasy for some reason. I may continue the Blackthorn & Grim series by Juliet Marillier.

23.59 – I have finished The Dinner. I decided I wanted to finish it before bed and I managed! I am pretty proud of myself.

I will decide tomorrow whether to read a fantasy book or one of the other two books that I had on my Reading Rush TBR. After all, I have completed all the challenges with the four books I have already read. I think I chose well this time. I enjoyed all four books and they were all very different. I ticked three books off my TBR that had been on my shelves a while.

It is pretty much 26 July now, so I will take it easy these final few days of the month and not concentrate on reading so much.

Night night!

SUNDAY, 26 July 

10.04 – I finished my four books of The Reading Rush, which complete all the challenges, and I have decided not to read any more of The Reading Rush TBR.

I had been reading It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne in bed the last few nights. I like a light read before bed that is easy to dip in and out of. I am enjoying it, so I have decided to continue with that time for a bit this morning before picking up Tower of Bourne, Holly - It Only Happens in the MoviesThorns by Juliet Marillier, the second book in the Blackthorn & Grim series that I have been meaning to continue for yonks!

My Airbnb guests are leaving today and I have new ones arriving tomorrow, so I have some cleaning to do today and I want to exercise my Shetland pony as the specialist vet confirmed he is a bit overweight. We need to sort that out. The problem is that he has been lame and I have not wanted to force it, but he is a lot better right now, so I need to up his exercise.

15.22 – I am loving It Only Happens in the Movies so much I can’t stop reading it! So Tower of Thorns will be put off until I finish this one I am afraid. This is the kind of YA I love. It’s basically a romcom, but I just love the characters and there are serious issues being discussed. On a side note, I also love how it talks about losing your virginity in real terms. I think it’s good for teenage girls to read books like this that give a realistic view of what it’s like and romanticised versions. I am 53% in right now. I could finish this today, but I think it will probably roll into tomorrow. I am really enjoying it though!

MONDAY, 27 July

08.53 – I forgot to update and post yesterday. The Reading Rush has officially ended. I completed my four books and I am very pleased with how the week has gone. My absolute favourite book I have read was The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart. I LOVED that book. However, I liked all all my books. My ratings were as follows:

Untitled

The ratings got steadily worse! I did like The Dinner, by the way. I just had some issues with it. The above four books completed all The Reading Rush challenges.

On a side note, I discovered that this copy of About A Boy, which I picked up for 1 euro in the charity shop is actually a first edition. I kind of like that!

I am currently still reading It Only Happens in the Movies, which I hope to finish today. I have also got Tower of Thorns down from my upstairs shelves, so I will probably start reading that today. I won’t have a ton of time for reading today and since I have read a lot in the past week I am going to take it easy!

If you participated in The Reading Rush, let me know! Back to normal now!

Have a great week, peoples!

Books · Reading Challenges · Reading Diary

The Reading Rush: Day 3-5

WEDNESDAY, 22 July

Challenges finished:

  • read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart -> Australia)
  • read a book that starts with the word ‘the’. (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart)
  • read the first book you touch (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart)

Challenges in progress:

  • read a book completely outside your house (Hyperbole and a Half)
  • read a book in a genre you’ve always wanted to read more of (Hyperbole and a Half – graphic novel)
  • read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen (About A Boy)

IMG_20200723_120938_121.06 – Can’t believe this is my first update today, but it has been a pretty busy day. I did post my WWW Wednesdays post earlier today and I also wrote up my review for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Holly Ringland). I finished that one this morning and I absolutely loved it! It got a full 7 stars from me!

I read a bit more of Hyperbole and a Half in the hammock down the back of the garden, but really did not have that much time for reading outside today. Fingers crossed I can cross that one off tomorrow, as after that the weather is supposed to be a bit wetter again.

I have started About A Boy (Nick Hornby) for the movie challenge. I coincidentally picked the harback up in a charity shop for €1 a couple of weeks ago.  I am about 60 pages into that one. I can so see the movie characters whilst I am reading this! It’s a pretty easy read and it is under 300 pages. Since I don’t have so much on tomorrow, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to finish it tomorrow. My aim is to get to page 100 tonight. I am on page 60 now, so fingers crossed!

THURSDAY, 23 July

09.02 – Right, I am fully planning on finishing About A Boy today, and Hyperbole and a Half. The latter I definitely want to finish, as it’s my book for reading outside and today it is the warmest day for a while. It’s only 24 celcius, so it’s not even that warm!

I don’t have a lot of chores on today and only one errand towards the end of the afternoon, so in theory I have lots of time for reading. Unfortunately, I am also feeling really low on energy… If I did not have a child to look after, I would be curled up in bed right now! I don’t know why I am feeling so tired. I only got up an hour ago.

200722Anyway, I am having a coffee right now. Hopefully, that will help me!

13.26 – I haven’t read as much as I would have liked (of course). I spent quite a bit of time with my ponies this morning. I did sit with them and read a bit of Hyperbole and a Half, so that counts. My girl has a horse riding lesson later today, so I will hopefully finish that book whilst she is doing that. I have about 70 pages to go, but it’s a graphic memoir, so should be pretty quick. I am enjoying it a lot!

I am not even halfway in About A Boy, so I doubt I will be able to finish it today. I will try though!

18.29 – Pizzas are in the oven, but I thought I would write a quick update. I just finished Hyperbole and a Half about five minutes ago. I swear I recognised far too much of myself in that book! It was a fun time, a recognisable time, but definitely a fun time.

Let’s race against the clock and see whether I can write my thoughts down before the pizzas are done!

FRIDAY, 24 July

00.37 – I am about to go to bed, but technically it’s Friday. Did I manage to finish About A Boy? Of course not! I am on page 205 and have about 70 pages to go. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day! Or today… Whatever…

I can’t complain with the amount I have read so far, so I won’t. I don’t think I have much on tomorrow, so fingers crossed I can get About A Boy read in the morning, so I can start my final read, which will probably be The Dinner by Herman Koch.

08.28 – Just had my breakfast and a big coffee and I am about to start reading. Like I said, I am hoping to finish About A Boy today, so I can move on to The Dinner, which would complete my final prompt. That is also the one that intimidates me the most as I know how polarizing that book is!

11.13 – I finished About A Boy and just posted my thoughts on it. It was an enjoyable read! After lunch I will start reading The Dinner by Herman Koch. I will be reading the original Dutch version (Het Diner), which will be weird, as I hardly ever read books in Dutch. Am I apprehensive? Yep!

16.48 – I have had a bit of a funny afternoon. I have been doing some macrophotography in the garden and I started feeling all weird. Kind of light-headed and nauseous, so I took IMG_20200724_172713some time out to lie down, which seemed to have helped. Once I started feeling a little better I started reading some more of The Dinner. I am 80 pages in and I am really enjoying it. It reads far more easily than I expected and the Dutch is not an issue for me. In fact, it is a very Dutch book and I can’t imagine reading a translation. The Dutchness also make me wonder whether that is an issue for a lot of foreign readers. So far, so good.

23.24 – About to go to bed. I managed 107 pages of The Dinner, which is more than I expected. It puts me in a pretty good place for finishing my four main books for the Reading Rush. The book is exactly 300 pages.

Unfortunately I also went on Abe Books tonight, mainly because I have a problem, and I ordered 18 books! Oh dear! To be fair, this is the first time this year that I went a bit crazy. I have been very restrained with my book buying this year, and I am allowed a treat! They were all relatively cheap (mostly) out of print books, so I think that’s fair enough.

Challenges finished:

  • read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart -> Australia)
  • read a book that starts with the word ‘the’. (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart)
  • read the first book you touch (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart)
  • read a book completely outside your house (Hyperbole and a Half)
  • read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen (About A Boy)

Challenges in progress:

  • read a book in the colour of your birthstone, which is aquamarine (The Dinner)
Books · Reading Challenges · Reading Diary

Off The Grid Reading Diary – Day 3

Off The Grid Readathon – day 3 of 3 (Sunday)

08.14 – Hello, fellow book friends! Already fed my ponies, though I still have to go poop scooping (glamorous, I know!), but I am having breakfast first whilst watching some Booktube videos.

I also have to prepare my Airbnb cottage for guests arriving this afternoon this morning, so though I will have some time to listen to my audio book, which is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Andalou, which is heartbreaking!

I hope to get a bit of Queenie in this morning, but it may be the afternoon before I start reading it. I will be starting on page 239 when I do.

Have a great day!

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14.01 – Right, cottage ready for new guests. Just had lunch and did a bit of reading. I am about to start page 362. There are only 30 pages or so to go, so I should finish easily today. Probably some time this afternoon. I have loved reading Queenie. It deals with so many important issues that need more attention; mental health, racism, self image, family dynamics. At the same time, it is so readable and I am simply rooting for Queenie. I just want to give her a big hug (even though she doesn’t like hugs).

15.09 – Done! I loved this book so much. The ending as just perfect to me. I think we all recognise parts of Queenie in ourselves, whatever colour or sex we are. We all need to appreciate the things that make us unique, that make us who we are. Because we are all that… unique and special. I will go and right my thoughts on this book and slip it back on my shelf with a smile on my face.

22.15 – I gave Queenie 6 out of 7 stars in the end. Really enjoyed it.

Wane, B J - Submitting to the RancherI have been reading Submitting to the Rancher to fill the gap to the start of The Reading Rush. To be honest, it’s not floating my boat at all. The writing is not entirely bad, but I almost DNFd it about 40% in. I am clearly only comfortable with the BDSM aspect up to a certain point.  I am 75% in now and I am sure I will finish it, but I doubt I will ever read a  true BDSM romance again. Not… my…. thing.

23.35 – About to head to bed. I finished Submitting to the Rancher. I ended up giving it 2 stars. It not that bad, but it was simply not for me. I had some issues with the way sex was used to solve ANY issues. I mean, what? No!

I will post a brief review of that one alongside a couple of other adult romances soon. I really don’t have much to say about them to be fair. I did already post my review on Goodreads.

The Reading Rush is up next – exciting! I am aiming to read 4 books.

Books · Reading Challenges · Reading Diary

Off The Grid Readathon Diary – day 2

Off The Grid Readathon – day 2 of 3 (Saturday)

Carty-Williams, Candice - Queenie11.13 – I have done the grocery shopping earlier. It’s a warm day today, so I am hoping to be able to read in the sun today inbetween chores.

I started on page 27 of Queenie this morning. I am bout to start chapter 4 on page 63. I really like it so far! I like how it glimpses to earlier events in her life and relationship a bit at a time.

Because it is a hardback and I hate reading those in bed, I started an adult romance on my Kindle last night. It is called Submitting to the Rancher by B J Wane. No idea why I ever got this, because it’s a BDSM romance and am Wane, B J - Submitting to the RancherI into that kind of kink? Not really, but if I don’t like it I will happily DNF it. I am only about 20 pages in and it’s not too bad. I needed a third book for my 3 adult romance mini reviews and it kind of fits with two I have already read, which were historical fiction with BDSM in it. Maybe it is like ‘Try A Romance Genre’. I was not too impressed with the first two to be fair. I doubt this one wil float my boat particularly, but you never know! I may discover something new about myself… 😂 At least it will be another book read off my Kindle TBR. What romance genre should I try next? Regency? Highlander? Aliens? Contemporary? Let me know if you have opinions!

Anyway, my hubby just made me a coffee and I will go back to reading Queenie. Laters!

13.03 – I am on page 115 and really enjoying this book. Queenie is both relatable and makes me angry for being such a pushover! My plan is to get at least to page 200 today, as the book is 390 pages.

I am also enjoying not looking at my phone at all. No Facebook, no twitter (which to be honest I hardly ever check anyway), no Instagram, etc. I did watch a couple of YouTube videos earlier. Is that allowed?

Anyway, today is all about getting some house chores done and reading this book that I am loving so far. I am feeling good. About to pick some wineberries with my daughter. The bush in my garden is suddenly starting to burst with them.

17.01 – About to start preparing dinner. We’re having picnic dinner, because of the nice 200718aweather, so not cooking, though some assembly required.

I did some gardening and then sat outside reading for a bit. Also, me and my eight-year-old daughter spent some time photographing butterflies in the back garden. Good times!

As for the book, I really like it, but man, I want to give Queenie a good shake. She really needs to grow a backbone. Of course, I am still waiting for some background information, so who knows what she’s been through already. I do find myself really rooting for her.

21.15 – I have done well. I got to page 213, so I got to my goal of page 200 and surpassed it for once. Yay! At least I am over halfway. I started this morning on page 27, so if i can get to page 227 before I go to bed I would be very happy.

We are about to sit down and watch a movie. We decided to watch Murder Mystery, a Netflix movie starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. I hope it’s decent!

See you on the other side!

23.14 – About to head to bed. I will try and read few more pages of Queenie before I do so.

What have you been reading this weekend?

Books · Reading Challenges · Reading Diary

Off The Grid Readathon Diary, day 1

Off The Grid Readathon – day 1 of 3 (Friday)

08.21 – Just had breakfast (only a breakfast bar as I am not at all hungry this morning) and I am about to go and feed my ponies and to clean their paddock. After that, I will start my reading day. The timing of this Readathon is great, as I do not have much on this weekend! I have guests coming in my Airbnb, so I will be listening to some of my audio Marrs, John - The Onebook whilst preparing it. My audio book at the moment is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings my Maya Andalou. I really enjoy listening to that, but audio books take me a while, so I have not put it on the Readathon TBR.

The first book I have put on my TBR is The One by John Marrs. I started it yesterday afternoon and already managed to read a third, so I hope I will be able to read the rest today. It’s such an intriguing concept. I think literally all the characters make me feel unsettled in some small or big way.

The other book is Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, which is on my Summer TBR. I have heard such good things about that one.

My daughter has school until noon today, after which she is on her summer holidays. We meant to go and visit family and friends  in England during the holidays, but due to COVID we have decided not to for now. That makes me kind of sad, but we will do our best to make her holiday fun anyway.

I will update once I had the time to do some reading.

10.03 – I got to around the halfway mark in The One. Still enjoying it. It is interesting to see the choices the characters are making. I wonder where these individual stories will go. I have not read a thriller in a while and though so far this is not immediately 200717‘thrilling’, it is definitely ominous and has a undercurrent of unpleasant tension.

Just having a coffee and I will read a bit more. I do need to train my ponies as well, so I am just trying to figure out whether to do one this morning and one this afternoon or leave both till after lunch.

14.00 – It’s chore time, so I am stepping away from the book – I repeat, I am stepping away from the book! Truly, this book is compulsive reading! I am 81% in and I am confident I will finish it today, but I have done enough reading for now. I need to get some sh!t done today.

My opinion at 80% is that this is a pretty awesome book. Maybe it won’t make my favourites list, but it’s definitely a good read. I am curious to see how it wraps things up in the end.

17.25 – I just finished the book! The ending pretty good, though it did not blow my mind. Now I need to decide whether this is a 5-star or a 6-star book. It was definitely a good one… But how good?

17.54 – I decided on 5 out of 7 stars for The One in the end. I really enjoyed it and it was a very compelling easy read, but I do not think it will stay with me for a long time. We will be having dinner in a moment and after that I will probably make a start on Queenie by Carty-Williams, Candice - QueenieCandice Carty-Williams.

21.40 – I have started reading Queenie – I am only 25 pages in, but so far I really like it. I am very curious where the book is going. I may not read much more tonight. I am about to do a post on my TBR for The Reading Rush, which starts on Monday. Yep, back-to-back readathons!

22.33 – Leaving it at this today – I am very happy that I managed to finish The One today.

On a side note, we have been having fun watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air for the first time in 25 year or whatever and man, it’s still funny. Sadly, episode six of the first season, where Will and Carlton get stopped by police in their dad’s lawyer friend’s Mercedes is still way too relevant today… Carlton’s realisation at the end of the episode that he had been stopped because of the colour of his skin was pretty heartbreaking.

It’s 25 years later and not enough has changed…

Goodnight. L x

Reading Diary

Sunday Reading Diary: 28 June 2020

08.53 – I have already listened to some of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (narrated by….) whilst clearing out the pony paddock. It’s a fun listen for sure. I am on chapter 8. I never get tired of Bill Bryson’s dry humour, but to be honest it has been a few years since I read one of his books. We have a few on our shelves, including this one I am listening to.

I am about to pick up Mo’ Meta Blues by Ahmire ‘Questlove’ Thompson. Yes, he of Jimmy Fallon’s band. I randomly saw someone mention this book and I thought it sounded fun. Plus it has a funky cover – though I am reading it on my Kindle. I am only on page 20 or thereabouts, but I like it so far. It’s about music, so it’s easy to like!

The physical book I am reading right now is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which is a book that I have owned for years, but that I have always felt intimidated by. Since I have been having a really good reading month, I felt now was the time to pick it up. I am about 50 pages in and though I like it, it has not won me over yet. I do tend to like books set in the Tudor time period, so I am pretty sure it will grow on me.

I don’t have an awful lot to do today (besides going to visit my parents as they have a new puppy that we need to meet) and felt today would be the perfect day to try and read as much as I can. It’s a Sunday after all!

If I can read about 200 pages in total I would be very pleased. I will update you as and when I feel I have made some progress.

This was my starting point this morning:
A Walk in the Woods: page 118
Mo’ Meta Blues: page 23
Wolf Hall: page 58

***

12.15 – I haven’t made the progress I had hoped for and there will be no reading for a few hours! I have made it to page 141 of A Walk in the Woods and page 63 of Mo’ Meta Blues.

Pages read so far: 23 + 40 = 63.

I had hope for more, to be honest! I have not even touched Wolf Hall yet. I am enjoying Mo’ Meta Blues quite a bit. I like Ahmir’s way of telling his story. I love music, so seeing someone as passionate as obsessive about music as it is possible to me is a true joy!

Bill Bryson is Bill Bryson, a light listen and a lot of fun.

More reading after playing with my folks’ new puppy!

***

18.13 – We were away longer than we meant to! The new puppy was way too cute and we stayed at my parents for way too long!

I did listen to a bit more of Bill Bryson’s book when I got back whilst doing some chores.

So I am on page 153 of A Walk in the Woods and page 70 of Mo’ Meta Blues.  No progress on Wolf Hall so far!

37+ 47 = 84 pages read. Not as good as I wanted, but not too shabby either! Hopefully I will make a bit more progress tonight once the child has gone to bed.

***

21.00 – Read a bit of Wolf Hall. I think my hubby is going to watch some television together soon. I am having a bit of trouble concentrating as well. I am not quite sure how I am going to get on with this book. I like it, but it is a bit drier than I expected, which makes it a little hardgoing. I read about 25 pages of it, so definitely not quick progress.

***

23.43 – I am going to call it a day. Not quite the reading day I had imagined (as usual), but I made some decent progress.

Final count:
up to page 155 = 37 pages
Mo’ Meta Blues: up to page 79 = 56 pages
Wolf Hall: up to page 107 = 49 pages

Total= 142 pages

I have just decided to pick up another (4th book), as I want to read a little bit in bed, but I don’t fancy any of these books for bedtime reading. I need something light and fluffy.

Good night!

Books · Reading Diary

(Reading) Diary: 3 February 2020

200203a

MONDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2020

10.31 – Man, I feel crap. I was sick over the weekend – a mild flu only, but I still feel like death warmed up. My daughter started with a temperature late on Thursday and stayed home from school on Friday and by the end of Friday I knew I was going to be next. So, yes, sore throat, feverish and a cold were all part of the fun. Now I am mainly blocked up, which is just making me feel horrible! I am not good at being sick, I must admit.

Anyway, not being able to much, did let me do a fair bit of reading. Not as much you would think, as my eyes were tired quickly, but I still managed to get a good chunk into Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (book 13 of The Wheel of Time series). I love these last three books in the series that were finished by Sanderson. There is more urgency to them and really elevate the series. It’s worth reading the whole series just to get to them.

I am listening to How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant. It is the audio book that I have owned the longest, so it’s about time! It’s only short and I had a few days to bridge until I could purchase a new one. I imagine I should finish 200203blistening to it in the next few days. I love listening to David Tennant – he has a fine voice for audio books!

Finally, I started Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag last night. It has been on my Kindle a couple of years and I wanted something not too taxing for when I went to bed. I think it fits the bill. I am only about 10% in. It’s a bit whimsical and the characters are a bit stilted so far. I think I will enjoy it, but I doubt I will end up loving it. It could surprise me though!

On a non-reading note, I have started using the idea of modules in my wardrobe. Each module consists of one top layer (cardigan or jacket), two bottoms (skirt/trousers) and three tops. You can also add some shoes or bags if it helps finish an outfit. I was finding I wore the same stuff all the time, because it is simply easiest to grab a pair of jeans and a jumper in the morning. Hence, I was not fully utilizing my clothes. It was not even about comfort zones, but simply about laziness. I am finding the visuals useful. Even just having created them is enough, because I remember….

For example:

Module 2 (yellow trousers)

I am quite a visual person, so these do help me know what it is in my wardrobe and which items I can wear it with.

I need to create some more!

15.19 – Blegh – still feeling rubbish! I did manage to read about 60 pages of Towers of 200203cMidnight and I listened to a bit of How To Train Your Dragon as I struggled with my daily animal chores. I am about to go and feed the ponies outside, so maybe five minutes of fresh air will do me good.

I took my little girl (not so little anymore – she’s 7!) to the dentist today for a check-up and she was very good despite being nervous. I am very proud of her as she has been known to freak out at stuff she is worried about.

Once I have taken the hay out I will have a cup of tea and read some more.

I have been binging Next In Fashion on Netflix the last few days in the evenings and I am looking forward to watching some more this evening once Ro is in bed. It’s a bit like Project Runway, but without the added drama, and I think I actually prefer it that way. It’s a great mindless show to watch when your brainpower is incapacitated.

21.57 – I did manage to read over 100 pages of Towers of Midnight – yay! I spent a few minutes with my ponies Freda and Pippin, but I left them to their own devices most of the time today. Freda is the piebald gypsy vanner and Pippin is the Shetland pony.  They are both grumpy at the moment, so argue a lot. I don’t think they like winter that much. Or just grey weather…. They always much happier and less grumpy when the sun is out. They are also both very shaggy and dirty at the moment, especially Freda, as she liked to lie in her poo at night – yuck!

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I did finish watching Next in Fashion, which was fun and now I feel exhausted, so I will be off to bed soon. I HATE being ill!!!!

This was a bit of a crappy reading diary – I will try again on better day!

xx