Monday, 29 October 2018

Nonfiction November | My Year in Nonfiction (So Far)


Throughout the month of November I'm taking part in the bookish event of Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to, and encouraging the reading of, nonfiction titles. 

There are a number of content creators who host events surrounding this initiative to promote nonfiction in the month of November, and I'm combining (& taking part in) two. One of which is hosted on YouTube by booktuber abookolive - I have compiled my TBR using her challenges. Secondly, I'm taking part in an event hosted here in the book blogging community by five wonderful bloggers - Katie at Doing DeweyRennie at What's Nonfiction?Julie at JulzReadsKatie at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves. Each week I will be sharing a new post that relates to the topic of nonfiction books, with the post prompts being provided by those five bloggers I've mentioned above.

This is my first time taking part in Nonfiction November, and I'm super excited to be doing so. 

PROMPT
Your Year in Nonfiction So Far hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

Totalling it up, so far this year I've read 17 books that would be categorised as nonfiction - these come from varying subgenres of nonfiction, including titles that would be deemed coffee table books, essays, nature writing, memoirs and more.

Links in this list will take you to Goodreads
1. The Color of Pixar by Tia Kratter
2. The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
3. The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
4. Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
5.The Light Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World's Happiest People by Meik Wiking
6. Britain by the Book: A Curious Tour of Our Literary Landscape by Oliver Tearle
7. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
8. Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer by Wendell Berry
9. Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Ian Nathan
10. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
11. The 50 Greatest Train Journeys of the World by Anthony Lambert
12. Spring: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons by Melissa Harrison
13. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee
14. One Woman Walks Wales by Ursula Martin
15. Summer: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons by Melissa Harrison
16. The Joy of Forest Bathing: The Mysterious Japanese Art of Shinrin-Yoku by Melanie Choukas-Bradley 
17. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

Looking at that, on the one hand I'm surprised I've already read so much nonfiction this year, and on the other I'm not - reading more nonfiction was one of my reading goals for 2018, and I can clearly see I've been succeeding in that.

Something this list of books tells me is that I'm picking up more nonfiction relating to nature and the great outdoors, which I love & am so happy about. Prior to this year, I read a lot of nonfiction that related to people and also books, so it is great to be branching out into another area that brings me joy in my day to day life.

All of these titles I would rate quite highly, and in all honesty, I would recommend them all for very different reasons. If I had to pick just the one though, I think it would be Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge - I know this book isn't for everybody, especially based off the mixed reviews on Goodreads, however there was just something about this book that truly spoke to me & I connected with it. I definitely think I read it at just the right time in my life, when I needed it, but also that it makes a great start of the new year read (which is also when I read it). Silence: In the Age of Noise is a collection of thought provoking essays - the kind that really make you aware and wonder, allowing (& pushing) you to take a deeper look at your own life. 

I'd love to hear about any nonfiction titles you love recommending to others - in particular, one you've read this year.
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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Nonfiction November | TBR


This November I'm taking part in Nonfiction November - I know of a few events and readathons (across social media platforms) associated with promoting the reading of non fiction titles in the month of November, and I've chosen to take part in an event hosted by BookTuber abookolive.

WHAT IS NONFICTION NOVEMBER?
Nonfiction November is a month long reading initiative, with the aim of reading more non fiction than you typically do. Personally, I read non fiction titles fairly frequently - at least one every couple of months - and so my personal aim for Nonfiction November is to read more non fiction books than fiction within the month of November. 

Whilst the main focus of Nonfiction November is encouraging readers to pick up more non fiction, there are also four challenges that add an extra element to the event. There is no one specific way in which to interpret them, there is no need to fulfil a certain amount of challenges, there are no requirements surrounding the challenges at all - they are simply in place to add a fun dynamic to Nonfiction November.

THE CHALLENGES
1. Past time/Pastime
2. Self/Shelf
3. Wander/Wonder
4. Micro/Macro

Even before the announcement of Nonfiction November, I knew I was interested in taking part (having been aware of it from previous years) and already had a few books I hoped to put towards my TBR. When first seeing the challenges, what I did was look at how I could work those titles I had into the challenges provided... I was successful in doing so.

MY TBR
Past time - I'm choosing to read a book that focuses on an event that took place in the past

Self - I'm choosing to read a book that says something about myself

Wander - I'm choosing to read a book that explores our world through wandering

Micro - I'm choosing to read a book that hones in on a micro part of an individual's life

As well as these four titles, I have one book that I would call my main read for Nonfiction November, as well as one book I started a month or so ago and still has a bookmark in.

Bookmarked

Main read (not pictured above as I have been waiting for paperback version - which comes out Nov 1st)

I'm super excited to get stuck in to these books next month! If you're taking part in Nonfiction November also, I'd love to know what you plan on reading. 
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Saturday, 20 October 2018

READING RECORD | Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon


Today I'm taking part in Dewey's 24 hour readathon - YAY (I love this bookish event). This post will be my master post for the readathon, and will follow the format of my usual reading record posts, except that it'll be times that I check in as opposed to days. 

Being in the UK, we're reading in a different zone, meaning the readathon begins at 1pm here and will run into the next day. I've spoke about this before, but I do love that - I admire & applaud all of you who power through the 24 hours, but that isn't for me; I need a good nights sleep!

The picture opening this post is my readathon TBR. I don't anticipate completing all three titles, but I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them. I've gone with variety in my reads, including one fiction novel (Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter) , one non fiction book (Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar), and a short story collection (Ghostly by Audrey Niffenegger) - all of which already have bookmarks in. 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU SURVEY
What fine part of the world are you from?
South Wales, UK

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

The other two books within my stack are titles I'm reading for Spookathon (a week long readathon I've been taking part in this week), but I picked out Dead Mountain specifically for the 24 hour readathon.

Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Does a beverage count? Because all the tea!!!

Tell us a little something about yourself!
Erm… I spent a good couple of hours before the readathon putting together Lego packs. I find putting together Lego super relaxing.

If you participated in the last readathon, what's one thing you'll do differently today? If this is your first readathon, what are you most looking forward to?
I have taken part in Dewey's before, but it has been a while - so actually putting aside the time to read & participate is doing something differently! More specifically than that though, having variety in my TBR.
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HOUR 1
Kick starting the readathon with Pretty Girls, of which I'm currently 184 pages into.

HOUR 4
We're coming up to the end of hour four now, so I thought I'd share a little update. Of the four hours, I've read for a total of two of those, now finding myself on page 384 in Pretty Girls. The book itself is pretty intense and dark, and I'm enjoying the pacing. At 533 pages, I shouldn't have too long until completion of the book. I have been reading on & off, as my amount of time read shows, with the next hour being taken away entirely from books for a food break.

HOUR 5
Turns out I had a half hour food break, and read a short story within Ghostly at the very end of hour 5.

HOUR 7
I completed my first book - YAY! Pretty Girls was a lot more dark & disturbing than I had anticipated, but happy to have finally experienced Karin Slaughter's writing for myself.

HOUR 8&9
I've been working through Ghostly, with a further three stories read within these hours. Ghostly is a collection of short stories centred around ghosts, the paranormal and such. I've really been enjoying the variety within, and have yet to come across a short story that I have read elsewhere in another collection (something I often find to be the case with short story collections of this nature).

It is close to 10pm here in the UK now, and I'm calling it a night on the readathon - for now... Looking forward to the morning in which I hope to get a lot more reading in.

HOUR 18
6.40am UK time. Bleary eyed, but jumping back into the readathon - after an almost 9 hour break - with Dead Mountain.

HOUR 24
Although I jumped back into reading during the morning - now finding myself half way through Dead Mountain - I did actually bow out from the readathon at about 10ish UK time, so three hours early... Enjoying family time instead.

I've had great fun taking part in Dewey's this time around, and once again I've come away with so much love and fuzzy feels for the book community.

I tracked my reading with a timer this time, seeing how long I read for within the 24 hours as opposed to page count/book count; I read for 411 minutes and 44 seconds - so 6 hours and 51 seconds. I'm happy with that outcome, and my overall readathon experience.

To everyone else who took part in Dewey's, and just bookish people in general - you are amazing!! 
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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

READING RECORD | Fraterfest


I started sharing reading record posts this year, documenting all things reading and bookish in my life, posting them on a weekly basis - moving forward with this style of post, they will be shared typically on a monthly basis, however readathons & occasionally specific books will have their own dedicated reading record.

Fraterfest took place between 11th-16th October.

THURSDAY 11TH OCTOBER
Starting Fraterfest readathon with The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. Regular readers of my blog will know I've been branching out more in the world of YA this year, having finally discovered my niche/genre of choice within that area. Typically, I enjoy YA books with a family focus and tend to avoid love being a central plot element... Having said that, going into The Wicked Deep I was aware of a potential love story, and yet still found myself really drawn to this book, with the premise having me intrigued. 

Two centuries ago, in small, isolated Sparrow, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned in the waters surrounding the town. Now, each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls and seeking revenge by dragging boys to their watery deaths. 

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the town's fate. Then, on the eve of the sisters' return, Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything...

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty rain-soaked streets. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Given that this book is set in summer, and we're very much in autumn now, I was unsure if I was picking this book up at the right time - despite the season it is set in, there is a distinct cosy feeling to the story so far (I'm writing this whilst on page 94 of 308). I think the setting of Sparrow, as well as the dark and unsettling nature of the Swan sisters story, lends to that feeling.

FRIDAY 12TH OCTOBER
Yesterday I whizzed through The Wicked Deep, having completed the book by the end of the night - the plot gripped me, I fell in love with Shea Ernshaw's writing style, and I found myself picking the book up at every opportunity. 

There is a lot I like about The Wicked Deep - how the plot pieced together, the way in which the story was told with excerpts from the time of the Swan sisters also, the town of Sparrow and main character Penny's home of Lumiere Island, the relationship between Penny & Bo, but most of all I came to thoroughly enjoy the writing style and story telling of Shea Ernshaw. Below I'm sharing just one extract that I particularly enjoyed. 

'Memories can settle into a place: fog that lingers long after it should have blown out to sea, voices from the past that take root in the foundation of a town, whispers and accusations that grow in the moss along the sidewalks and up the walls of old homes.

This town, this small cluster of houses and shops and boats clinging to the shoreline, has never escaped its past - the thing it did two hundred years ago. Ghosts remain.'

You know those books that you read and just get the warm fuzzy feels throughout your reading experience - The Wicked Deep was that for me. My copy of this book was actually borrowed from the library, and I've already decided I'll be buying my own for my YA shelf at home. 

Upon finishing The Wicked Deep I learnt two things that pleased me... Firstly, Shea Ernshaw has another book in the works that I'm super interested in (Winterwood - Goodreads link) and is likely to be released next autumn. Second, I couldn't help but think throughout my reading of The Wicked Deep, as it played out in my mind, how great this story would translate to screen - turns out that Netflix have acquired the rights to the book; I only hope they do the story justice. 

Great start to Fraterfest!


SATURDAY 13TH OCTOBER
I was awake super early this morning (5am) and begun my day by starting my second book for this readathon: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. I had hoped to start this yesterday, given that I read The Wicked Deep in the one day, however I was still processing my thoughts on The Wicked Deep and just knew it was too soon for me pick up another book. Sometimes you just need that breathing space when you finish a book you've had a really positive reading experience with.

So, His Bloody Project - I read a total 127 pages, which is a little under half way as the book itself is 280 pages in full. The story is about Roderick Macrae, a young man, who in the summer of 1869, committed a triple murder within the small Scottish community he has always lived. The book is really cleverly written, as the author tells the story in a non fiction format - having discovered this crime whilst reaching his own family, and is presenting the memoir of Roderick Macrae alongside other articles and documentation regarding the crime and its subsequent trial. The story itself is a work of fiction, but reads very much as fact.

SUNDAY 14TH OCTOBER
I finished the remainder of His Bloody Project today. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am glad to have finally picked it up after it having been on my radar for a while now.

Having briefly shared the plot above, I just wanted to make note of a couple of things I really enjoyed in His Bloody Project - firstly, the presentation of the story was quite unique and something I haven't come across or read before, I liked the way the documentations put forward to the reader leave you feeling conflicted, unsure, and really makes you think about the psychological aspect of the crime that has taken place, and I also liked the historical aspects within the book too (particularly learning about the Highland settlement on which Roderick grew up, and the justice system at that time).

Given the nature of His Bloody Project, the story is pretty gruesome at points, especially when detailing the crime scene and such, but overall a book I would recommend to avid readers of crime who are perhaps looking for something different, and also regular readers of true crime looking to pick up a fiction novel.

MONDAY 15TH OCTOBER
Today I've tried reading the third, and final, book on my original Fraterfest TBR - The Haunting of Henry Twist - but I'm just finding that I can't quite get on with the writing... For that reason, I've chosen to bow out of Fraterfest a little early. Of course I could have just picked up another book fitting the readathon theme, however with the readathon itself ending very soon, and with me beginning another readathon for this coming week, this just seems to be the logical decision.

I've had a great time taking part in my very first Fraterfest! A big thank you to host Kimberly over at Caffeinated Reviewer.
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Thursday, 11 October 2018

READING RECORD | Rereading Susan Hill's Ghost Stories


I started sharing reading record posts this year, documenting all things reading and bookish in my life, posting them on a weekly basis - moving forward with this style of post, they will be shared typically on a monthly basis, however readathons & occasionally specific books will have their own dedicated reading record.

Today I'm sharing all about my recent experience rereading Susan Hill's ghost stories.

THURSDAY 4TH OCTOBER
Adding to my already rather large TBR for the month of October, I've decided to reread all the Susan Hill ghost stories that I own. I have a bind up of five ghost stories that have been individually published, as well as a collection of four short stories. I'm starting this reread of mine by returning to one of my favourite ghost stories of all time: The Woman in Black. 

This evening I read a really good chunk of The Woman in Black, more than half the story, and will admit that part of the reason I didn't read further was because my husband went up to bed and I got a little creeped out reading alone (lol!). In my (scaredy cat) defence, I was at the point in the story where Arthur is at Eel Marsh House, all alone, and set up to start working on the organising of papers when he hears noises and the woman in black is alluded to. It is all very atmospheric, and I found myself getting the chills being on my own (okay, downstairs on my own) in my house.

SATURDAY 6TH OCTOBER
Finished reading The Woman in Black, and upon closing the book, I couldn't help but think about just how much I enjoy this story. I don't know if enjoy is entirely the correct word, as I do find it to be pretty haunting, but as a ghost story I think it to be really well written, mapped our perfectly, and it works that perfect balance of being so simple and yet so dark - the kind of story that really stays with you. 

If you're unfamiliar with Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps recounts the supernatural encounter he happened upon when a young man. Working in a London based law firm, he was tasked with organising the papers of now deceased client Alice Drablow, who lived in the countryside in an isolated house - Eel Marsh House. He is met with hesitation, suspicions and general unease by most of the locals in town when mentioning his business, and he is soon the learn, first hand, exactly why that is.

'I've always known in my heart that the experience would never leave me, that it was now woven into my very fibres, an inextricable part of my past, but I had hoped never to recollect it, consciously, and in full, ever again.'

'I was growing impatient of the half-hints and dark mutterings made by grown men at the mention of Mrs Drablow and her property. I had been right, this was just the sort of place where superstition and tittle-tattle were rife, and even allowed to hold sway over commonsense.'

'But out of the marshes just now, in the peculiar fading light and desolation of that burial ground, I have seen a woman whose form was quite substantial and yet in some essential respect also, I had no doubt, ghostly.'

'I had seen the ghost of Jennet Humfrye and she had had her revenge.'

Through play, film and word I've experienced the story of The Woman in Black, and yet I never tire of it. It is worth mentioning that the 2012 film adaptation, starring Daniel Radcliffe, does deviate from the written form on a few elements of the plot. 

I definitely feel like I have formed some sort of tie/bond with The Woman in Black, hence why I talk about it so strongly and passionately, however it is a ghost story I would recommend checking out.

Having finished The Woman in Black during the morning, I decided to read one of the shorter stories within the bind up I own, that being The Man in the Picture.

Not a ghost story per se, but a tale full of foreboding and darkness, we learn of a story within a story within a story, with an old painting being a central character almost. 

SUNDAY 7TH OCTOBER
Today I completed rereading The Travelling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill. I had actually read the title story - The Travelling Bag - yesterday evening, and so today I read the other three stories within the collection - Boy Twenty-One, Alice Barker and The Front Room. This short story collection makes great material for reading within the one day, even allowing for breaks in between to fully absorb the stories within. 

After completing this collection, I looked back over my initial review (via Goodreads) and interestingly enough, my thoughts still hold regarding the four stories... With the last story, The Front Room, being my favourite.


TUESDAY 9TH OCTOBER
This morning I finished the last few chapters remaining of my Dolly reread. I honestly didn't remember too much about this book, except that it features a creepy china doll, which the title eludes to. 

Told in four parts, Dolly is the story of Edward, and it spans from an occurrence in childhood and ends with the consequences of such in adulthood. Alongside Edward there is another prominent character - Leonora, Edward's cousin.

In part one we are introduced to Iyot House, and learn why Edward has now returned to a house that holds many childhood memories for him.

The second part explores these memories and in particular, one summer spent at Iyot House with his cousin, Leonora. Often memories of summer in youth are of fond and happy times, however that isn't the case for the one in which Edward is recalling. 

Part three continues from the first, as we see Edward and Leonora reunite in adulthood under unfortunate circumstances - their aunt, who Iyot House belonged to, has passed away and they are back to hear the reading of her will... Which doesn't quite go as some had hoped, namely Leonora. 

Concluding in part four, we read of saddening and tragic circumstances that befall Leonora, and in turn Edward's own family.

I realise that's a pretty vague description, however it is one of those story's in which it is best to not know the details going in - I will say that there is a focus throughout on china dolls and them not being all that they first appear to be... So if you're of the many who is creeped out by china dolls, or has a fear of them, then this definitely isn't the supernatural story for you. 

Whilst rereading Dolly, I once again came to admire how Susan Hill writes the settings and landscapes in which her stories take place. They are rich in description, and yet subtly haunting. I love that. 

I'm choosing to end my notes on Dolly with an unsettling quote from the book - 'I was acting alone and under the urging of something quite other.'

WEDNESDAY 10TH OCTOBER
My last Susan Hill reread is now complete - that being The Small Hand. There is another story within the bind up I'm reading from, having read four of the five, however I did actually reread that particular ghost story (Printer's Devil Court) just earlier on this year, so see little point in rereading it again so soon. 

Anyway... The Small Hand. Of my rereads, this wasn't the best one. I remember this previously being my second favourite Susan Hill, and upon rereading I think I'd bump it down to third, with Dolly now taking second place. It could be the story, it could be the mood I was in when reading (most likely), but that's why I enjoy rereading so much - because whether a negative or a positive, each reading experience is a new one. You could read a book a million and one times, with none of those experiences being the same. I love that about books & rereading. 

So, back to the book... Having said The Small Hand is now my third favourite, I would like to clarify that I did still enjoy it as a story. 

In The Small Hand we meet Adam Snow, a rare book dealer, who finds himself lost on route to a client, and ends up in an overgrown garden that he found himself drawn to. Whilst there, he experiences something he can't quite explain - the feeling of a small hand clasping his own, despite being there quite alone. This incident leads to some more unsettling ones, long after leaving the house and gardens, and ultimately ends in tragedy.

Something I really picked up on in this story, although present throughout all of Susan Hill's ghost stories, is the suspense and fear she creates through foreshadowing. For example, the quote below is a passage from very early on in the story...

'I hardly recognise the person I was at the beginning of that journey. It is true I had had a strange encounter and been touched by some shadow, but I had pushed them to back of my mind; they had not changed me as I was later to be changed. I was able to forget. Now, I cannot.

I see those few days in a sunlit France as being days of light before the darkness, days of tranquillity and calm before the gathering storm. Days of innocence, perhaps.'

There are many great elements to a Susan Hill ghost story, as shared throughout this reading record of mine, but without a doubt, the way in which she pieces together a story is my favourite. 

It is no secret that I love a Susan Hill ghost story, and I'm glad to have made the time to pick up and immerse myself in some of them once again... And thankfully, I finished my reread just in time for some upcoming readathons I'm really looking forward to - Fraterfest & Spookathon. 
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Thursday, 4 October 2018

READING RECORD | September


I started sharing reading record posts this year, documenting all things reading and bookish in my life, posting them on a weekly basis - I have made the decision to now make my reading record posts on a monthly basis (& for specific readathons). 

On to the bookish goodness for the month of September!

SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER
Starting the month by picking up Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I read Little Fires Everywhere over the summer, and very promptly purchased her other novel - I'm technically reading Celeste Ng's books in reverse release order.

TUESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER
Finished reading the last 40 pages of Everything I Never Told You this morning. Having now read both of Celeste Ng's novels, I can confidently say I thoroughly enjoy her story telling and writing style. I especially love the way she writes family dynamics, and in particular, the fragility of a family unit. 

In the afternoon I started & completed The Joy of Forest Bathing - a book I was provided for review purposes. As someone who greatly enjoys, appreciates, and garners a lot from time spent outdoors and in nature, I found this book enlightening. By learning about the activity of forest bathing, I have in turn learnt of ways in which to enhance my own experiences of being immersed in nature.

WEDNESDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER
I took a trip to the library today, and also saw my sister there by coincidence; I enjoyed chatting recent reads and exchanging book recommendations with her. I came home from the library with 4 books.

SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER
After what felt like quite a lengthy slog, I finished reading Our House (a book I received for review but that is already released - I'm playing catch up where I didn't read any review books over the summer). I was quite looking forward to this mystery thriller, and whilst there were some really good plot points, my time with the book was dampened by the length of it. I was invested in the unfolding story, so continued reading regardless, but the size of the book did feel unnecessary. 


MONDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER
With a fierce wind blowing outside, wrapped up in the cosiest blanket ever (as we have dubbed it in our house - an official title), I started the next book in the seasonal nature anthology series I've been working through: Autumn. Whilst summer is still trying to hold on a little here, autumn is giving it a good fight to take reign. I'm looking forward to the full arrival of autumn; it is my favourite season, and here in the Welsh valleys the landscape transformation is just beautiful. 

THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER
I've never been a book crier - but wow - I've just finished Only Child, and can confirm the falling off tears. What a poignant, powerful and incredibly well told story.

SUNDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER
Over the weekend I started, and finished, Thin Air by Michelle Paver. I had been thinking about wanting to read a ghost story, and when looking at my shelves I was being drawn to this particular book - despite the fact that I only actually read it for the first time at the very start of this year. I don't usually reread a book so quickly, but a familiar read and the atmosphere that envelopes when reading Thin Air sounded like just what I wanted on a cosy, gloomy weekend at home. 

I really enjoyed returning to this haunting mountain expedition. Just as I often find myself rereading The Woman in Black by Susan Hill when in want of a good ghost story, I see Thin Air as being a regular alternative to that. Although the plots differ greatly, the two are actually similar in a few ways - with the stories being set in a time period many years prior, both being narrated by males after an event, and being told (well, written) in a simple, subtle manner that can be incredibly atmospheric. Not your bump in the night kind of ghost stories.


MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER
I have been reading, just haven't had much to note down - concentrating on finishing up a few books I was partway through as I'm looking to have more of a reading focus... I tend to read multiple books at the one time, and with plans to start a chunky fantasy book very soon, I'm hoping to try and get back in a habit of reading just the one book at a time.

I have been thinking about my reading plans for the month of October - there are a number of readathons I'd like to take part in and a list as long as my arm of books I'd like to read!

WEDNESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER
Super excited about a book bargain I found yesterday. I've been eyeing this specific Art of Harry Potter book book for nearly a year now, but with it retailing at pretty much £50 it remained on my wishlist. I had found it on Amazon for a reduced price of just over £30, but that's still quite a bit of money for the one book. Well, whilst running errands and picking up a few bits in the supermarket (ASDA for any UK readers who may be interested), I came across the exact book at the cost of £20. £20!!! That's less than half the retail price - so of course I had to have it. I'm happy to now have the book in my Harry Potter collections, and of course, I've already read it from cover to cover.

I love 'Art of' books from films I enjoy - seeing how everything progresses and transforms from start to finish. I own a few of these for various films, mostly animated though. 

SUNDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER
I finished a high fantasy book (The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson) - and loved it! You can read more about that experience here.

READ IN SEPTEMBER

MINI REVIEWS OF BOOKS READ IN SEPTEMBER

Happy reading!
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Exploring New Genres | I Read A High Fantasy Book


A couple of weeks ago I shared an introduction post for my participation in the 'Exploring New Genres' blog hop, in which I spoke about my want to read a high fantasy book, as well a couple of reasons why I was hesitant to explore this genre of books more. Well, today I'm here to say: I finished a high fantasy book, and loved it!!

In this post I'll be sharing some thoughts on the book I picked - The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Book 1 of the Mistborn series) - and also talking a bit about where I hope to go from here.

THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL EMPIRE
Intially I was going to share my thoughts on this book as I would typically review a book, however I don't want to wholly review here as I would like to review the series as a whole when I do complete it. So, having said that, I thought I'd share a couple of things I did enjoy about The Final Empire.

Brandon Sanderson has created a detailed world in The Final Empire, with an interesting hierarchy and a magic system that makes use of metals. Both of these elements require a lot of depth and knowledge, even before adding in the vast cast of characters, however Brandon Sanderson writes in such an easy and accessible way. The characters were all varied, especially the crew in which main protagonist, Vin, ends up working with. I really liked Vin as a main character, especially how she progressed throughout the book and the way in which certain plot elements altered her at times. The plot itself is quite a simple premise, but is so well written, with a moment or two that left me surprised. All in all I found The Final Empire to be a really solid start to a series.

MOVING FORWARD WITH FANTASY FICTION
As noted above, the book I have just reviewed is the first in a series, and I definitely intend to finish said series (I'm thinking before the end of the year). Not only do I hope to complete this series, I'm keen to read more books written by Brandon Sanderson that are set in the Cosmere universe.

Continuing (& completing) a series is something I often struggle with, and have come to learn that I do best when picking up a series that is already fully published... Which is why I hope to pick up some other series I have been wanting to try for a while - I have a pretty long list to pick from, but I definitely want to get to The Lord of the Rings series, and The Hobbit, in the new year. My husband and I have been rewatching the films this autumn, so that combined with this blog hop & such a positive experience with a book set in a fantastical world, I now know that I can get lost in a fictional world, without being entirely confused. Haha!

Don't get me wrong, the reasons why I've been hesitant to pick up high fantasy fiction before still stand - I am often put off by the size of the books, the fact that they're in a series, the concentration & focus to keep up with the characters and world building - however, I know from experience that I can overcome those bookish worries in order to read some truly amazing stories... I just need to get out of my comfort zone a little, push myself in terms of reading, and know that whilst I do enjoy these types of books, I can't read the same as other books I pick up (more concentration required, typically needing to focus solely on that one book as opposed to reading all over the place with more than a handful of books on the go at one time - but this is something I'm working on in general; more focused reading).
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Participating in this blog hop has been a lot of fun, and again I'll leave below the links to the other lovely bloggers who also took part.

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If you have a favourite fantasy series that you've read & would recommend, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.
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