Friday, 30 September 2016

WHAT I READ | Reading Roald Dahl In September (Update)

This month's 'What I Read' is going to look a little different to previous posts as I'm going to be talking about how I found the challenge I set myself for the month of September, as opposed to just listing the books I read and sharing my thoughts.

At the start of September I challenged myself to read the Dahl books sitting on my shelves. With September being the author's birthday month, and this year marking 100 years, I thought it a fitting time to reread some childhood favourites by Roald Dahl, as well as delve in to his adult fiction; something I hadn't done previously.

I shared a TBR of books, however going in to this challenge I knew all of those wouldn't be completed! I made a good dent in the 18 book long list, even finishing one volume of his short story collection, which is 600 pages long!

Boy: Tales of Childhood
Going Solo
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two

Overall, I completed eleven books in total, including a collection of ghost stories that is curated by Dahl, although not written by him. I will be reviewing that collection very soon, so be on the look out for that.

I started out my challenge by reading my all time favourite Roald Dahl book - Matilda, and ended it reading another favourite, The Witches. A couple of titles completed I actually read out loud to Alexander, which was quite fun, especially seen as the next time I revisit Dahl's work will most likely be when my son is old enough to read some of the longer ones.

Unfortunately, I did miss out on reading some of my favourite titles - The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however those books weren't touched as I was working through the first volume of Roald Dahl's collected short stories aimed at an adult audience. This was my first time reading Dahl for adults, and I adored his writing even more so than his children's books. The stories are very much in the tone Dahl produces children's books - dark, enthralling, and influenced by real life but full of imagination. I'm super excited to get stuck in to the second volume which currently sits on my unread shelf.

Two books I was really keen to revisit were Dahl's autobiographical novels - Boy and Going Solo. I think both of these books tell you a lot about Roald Dahl in his youth and beyond, and you can also note snippets of inspiration for some of his most well loved children's books. If you enjoy Roald Dahl's writing, as a child or otherwise, and haven't read Boy or Going Solo, then I highly recommend doing so - there are some extraordinary tales to be found inside!

September has been a delightful reading month, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the writing of one of my all time favourite authors.


Monday, 5 September 2016


(I am reading Roald Dahl books for the month of September - you can read more about it here)

What are you reading this week?


Saturday, 3 September 2016

My September Reading Plans

I'm not typically one for monthly TBR's... Don't get me wrong, at the start of each month I have some what of a tentative TBR, but given that I'm such a mood reader it often alters greatly and so I don't share those here on the blog. This September is different however... I've been excited for my reading material in the month of September for a good few weeks now, and I can't wait to delve in.

September 13th is the birthday of one of my all time favourite authors - Roald Dahl. This year marks what would have been Roald Dahl's 100th birthday... And whilst in previous years I've just read books by the author on his birthday specifically (also known as Roald Dahl day), this year I wanted to do something a little different, a little special given the celebration, and so I am reading the works of Roald Dahl for the entire month of September! And I couldn't be more excited!

I have such fond memories of Roald Dahl's fiction from my youth, and many of the film adaptations include as my favourite films of all time. Roald Dahl's writing is creative and fun, and even with the darker undertones, so uniquely magical at captivating a reader.

Whilst most known for children's stories, Roald Dahl also penned a number of short stories during the course of his writing career, and so I will also being enjoying those, as well as a ghost story collection he curated. I know the ghost story collection doesn't technically count as his writing per se, but I've had the book on my shelves a while, and he sourced the ghost stories, so what better time to delve in.


There is no order in which I'll be reading the above titles, and I'll be updating every so often with how I'm progressing. Also, it is worth noting that I don't HAVE to read all of these books, in fact I think it's unlikely I'll have completed both short story collections in this time frame as they are chunksters; the plan is to just have fun with a dedicated month of reading.

I hope you have a wonderful September!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

WHAT I READ | August (Part 2)

To recap on what I read in the first half of the month, you can check out this post.

Joe O'Brien is a Boston cop whose stamina and methodical mind have seen him through decades policing the city streets. When he starts making uncharacteristic errors, he attributes them to stress until, finally, he agrees to see a doctor and is handed a terrifying diagnosis: Huntington's disease.

Not only is Joe's life changing beyond recognition, but each of his four grown children has a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease. Observing her potential future play out in his escalating symptoms, his yoga teacher daughter Katie wrestles with how to make the most of the here and now, and connect with her dad, who is, inside, always an O'Brien.

I have shared a full review of Inside the O'Briens - you can find it here.

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness...

The Woman in Cabin 10 is a mixture of a whodunit + thriller, taking place, for the most part, on a luxury boutique cruise ship. The story starts out fast paced, and continues to be for the entire book. I expected to read The Woman in Cabin 10 a lot quicker than I did, although I did finish it in a total of three days. The characters are varied and mysterious - I found main character Lo to be a bit of an unreliable narrator, and at times that did frustrate me a little. Although I rated The Woman in Cabin 10 as a three star read, it is a book I'd recommend to others.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up. She graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily; and the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all too human characters, “It Ends with Us” is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

I'll start of by saying that Colleen Hoover's writing is very much outside of my reading comfort zone, but having heard a lot of positive feedback surrounding her work for quite some time I decided to pick up her newest novel, It Ends With Us. Wow - just wow! It Ends With Us is an intensely emotional novel and tackles a sensitive subject in the best possible way. If you've ever thought about picking up one of Colleen Hoover's novels but hesitated, then I urge you to go do so. I see more of the author's work in future reading.

Throughout the making of the eight Harry Potter movies, designers and craftspeople were tasked with creating fabulous chocolate-fantasy feasts, flying brooms, enchanted maps, and much more, in addition to numerous magical items necessary in a wizard’s everyday life—for example, newspapers with moving photos, vicious textbooks, and Howlers. Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault chronicles the work of the graphics department in creating vibrant and imaginative labels for potions bottles, brooms, and candy; the creation of Quidditch Quaffles, Bludgers, and Golden Snitches, lovingly crafted by the prop making team; and the stunning inventiveness used by the entire crew to create a rich, bewitched filmic universe.

Accompanying the captivating text are never-before-seen art and design concepts, unit photography, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive. This striking full-color compendium includes two exclusive bonus inserts—Gilderoy Lockhart’s classroom questionnaire and a Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes catalog—as well as many more surprises.

If you like behind the scene glimpses of your favourite films, and you love Harry Potter, then this is the book for you. The Artifact Vault takes a look at a vast number of the props found in the various Harry Potter films, and details a little about how they came to be. I think for many this kind of thing could ruin the magic of the films, however I find it to be quite the opposite.

What did you read in August?
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