Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Nonfiction November | My Year in Nonfiction... So Far


Last year one of my favourite bookish events here in the blogging community was Nonfiction November; it was my first time taking part but I quickly fell in love with it, for many reasons. Concluding the month, I just knew I had to take part again next year... And here we are!

This year I will be taking part in the weekly post prompts (on a Wednesday), as well as posting reading record posts each week (on a Monday). My intention for the month of November is to work through some of the unread nonfiction titles currently sitting on my shelves, and to read more nonfiction books within the month than fiction.

For those unfamiliar, the weekly post prompts are linky style, and hosted by one of the five hosts of the event. You can see the host of this week's prompt written below, and all five hosts linked at the end of this post.

WEEK 1
YOUR YEAR IN NONFICTION hosted by JulzReads
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions - What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you've been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven't read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

All the nonfiction books I've read so far this year (+ Goodreads links)


Going into the year, I had hopes of reading at least one nonfiction book a month - aside from the month of May when I set myself a challenge to read only from my unread middle grade books - and I have successfully achieved that. 

I've read some wonderful nonfiction this year - books about books (The Enchanted Hour + Why You Should Read Children's Books...), books with heart & strength (The Choice + No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference), books with lifestyle at the centre (The Minimalist Home) and books that have stirred wanderlust (Trekking Beyond + Around the World in 80 Trains + Tip of the Iceberg). I have enjoyed each and every one of the nonfiction titles I've completed so far this year.

There is one stand out book within the list of sixteen that I not only connected with the most, but would recommend the most - The Wild Remedy: How Nature Heals Us - A Diary by Emma Mitchell. You know those books that just speak to you on a different level, and you can relate to in many ways, The Wild Remedy has been that for me this year.

One area of nonfiction I do wish I had made time for this year is the topic of witches, witch hunts in the UK, and also the Salem witch trails. I have actually read a couple of fictional books surrounding these topics this year, but I haven't read any nonfiction. 

So that pretty much concludes my year in nonfiction so far. I don't have a specific TBR for the coming month of November, however I do have a significant stack of unread books already on my bookshelves that I'd like to make my way through. 

I've already shared my intentions for Nonfiction November above, but I would also like to add to that I am looking forward to meeting some new to me bloggers (I met so many last year!) & building my nonfiction wishlist.

To you all, happy reading this month!
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NONFICTION NOVEMBER HOSTS
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Monday, 21 October 2019

Reading Record | Spookathon (My Lovely Wife + The Terror)


This past week I have been taking part in Spookathon, a week long readathon hosted by Kayla (of BooksandLala). I have taken part in Spookathon a couple of times now and it is such a fun event timed well, being so close to Halloween. 

Spookathon has been running for a good few years now, originally beginning to highlight & promote thriller books in the booktube community as they were not as widely read and recommended back then. Of course the book community has expanded greatly since then, however I love that Kayla keeps this event running as it is a great time to pick up some books that are slightly darker in nature. 

There are challenges in place, however this is quite a low pressure event, with reading a thriller being the overriding challenge. Going into the event I knew I would not meet all of the challenges outlined, however I did use them to form my TBR.

CHALLENGES
1. Read a thriller
2. Read a book with red on the cover
3. Read something with a spooky word in the title
4. Read something with a spooky setting
5. Read something you wouldn't normally read

READING RECORD
MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER
Today I made a start in two books - My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (102 pages read) and also The Terror by Dan Simmons (94 pages read). For now I am focusing on these two books as my TBR books, however I do have a third book I'd quite like to get to if possible... However, The Terror is nearly 950 pages, so we'll see how that goes!

My Lovely Wife is being counted towards the challenge of 'Read a thriller' and The Terror is being counted towards the challenge of 'Read something with a spooky word in the title'.

TUESDAY 15TH OCTOBER
I focused solely on making progress in The Terror today and read to page 289, so nearly 200 pages read in total today. I think I could be further in this mammoth book by this point - even so early on in the readathon - however I'm happy to be reading at a steady pace with it, given I have been reading slower than usual for me lately. 

For those who may not be familiar with The Terror, it is historical fantasy horror fiction, focusing on the historical event of the failed 1845 Franklin Expedition to explore the Arctic, with a fictional spin. I chose this as my book with a spooky word in the title, but I would say the setting of trapped isolated ships & the polar regions, with it being unimaginably cold, is not only atmospheric but spine chilling & spooky too.

WEDNESDAY 16TH OCTOBER
Wednesday is usually my busiest day of the week, so I anticipated getting little to no reading in today, however a number of things didn't quite go to plan today - just one of those days - which meant I actually got a really good amount of reading done.

I read over 100 pages in The Terror this morning, with my bookmark now sitting at the 400 page mark. I also picked up my thriller - My Lovely Wife - a couple of time throughout the day; I managed to read 136 pages on and off, now being on page 238 in the book.

THURSDAY 17TH OCTOBER
I read a further 50 pages in The Terror & finished reading My Lovely Wife - book one of the readathon complete. YAY!

I feel quite conflicted in my thoughts of My Lovely Wife. 

The book follows a husband & wife who are murdered woman for pleasure, whilst continuing with their seemingly happy, normal life with a nice house, good jobs, and two teenage kids. Obviously I picked this book up because I was intrigued by the premise, but I had also heard a lot of positive feedback surrounding My Lovely Wife. 

I'm conflicted because I figured all the plot points (main points & sub plots) out along the way, quite a while before reveals, and I was also a tad unsure about the actual ending - I feel like elements were unrealistic/glossed over. However, I loved the writing of Samantha Downing - absolutely amazing for a debut novel - and did feel engrossed in the unfolding story. 

I am happy to have read this book though, and experienced it for myself.

FRIDAY 18TH OCTOBER
Today I read just 20 pages of The Terror. I just wasn't in the reading mood, and I think it is so important to honour your feelings when it comes to reading - especially during a readathon!

SATURDAY 19TH OCTOBER
Just two days left of the readathon and I have quite a big chunk of The Terror left to read. I did work out that I would need to read 233 pages each on both Saturday & Sunday to finish this book by the end of the readathon... Knowing that, I actually didn't end up reading my 233 pages for the day. I started on 470 and ended on 589. Bear in mind there are 936 pages in this book. I am a little worried about completing this solely tomorrow, but I am determined to finish The Terror during the readathon - whilst still giving it quality time - so I predict a BIG reading day tomorrow.

SUNDAY 20TH OCTOBER
I did it! I finished The Terror - book two of the readathon complete! I had a couple of pretty intense chunks of reading time throughout the morning, and ended up finishing The Terror in early afternoon (much earlier than I would have anticipated).

Not only am I so happy to have finished this book during spookathon as I had hoped, but I feel a sense of achievement in general to have finished such a large book. I don't usually read chunksters - with this definitely being one of the longest books I've read - however I did find myself well invested in The Terror.

Despite the size of the book, the length of time in which passes throughout the book, the large cast of characters, and the varying POV that the story is told from, I did find The Terror to be an easy to follow read, with the plot holding me throughout. I didn't feel like any of the book was filler, with every chapter having its place and purpose. The multiple POV's really lent to a wider understanding within the book, and gave the plot great depth.

If you're someone who doesn't read horror books but is interested in starting, I think The Terror would be a good place to start.

BOOKS MENTIONED
(Goodreads links)
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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

LibraryLoves Book Tag


Throughout the month of October I'm taking part in the Library Loves challenge - an event hosted by Jess (of Read by Jess) and a number of co hosts. The concept behind this month long reading event is to encourage those within the book community to show their local libraries some love & support. Here in the UK, libraries just don't have the support & funding they once did, so as a big library user myself, I'm all for showing the library love.

As part of the event, Jess has come up with a new book tag - you can watch her video here.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST GO TO THE LIBRARY/GET A LIBRARY CARD?
I don't know exactly, but quite young. I have such fond memories of using the mobile library (remember those?) during my childhood; it stopped at the end of our road and me & my sister would go along together.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE YOUR LIBRARY?
Pretty regularly - more than once a month, but not quite weekly. It all depends on my reading pace & how many books I have out.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A LATE OR LOST LIBRARY BOOK?
Yes... I've had late fees a couple of times - this is only when I've got the return date muddled and gone over by a day or two, so a few pennies or so.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOUR LIBRARY?
Our local library is quite a small one, only open three days a week, but it has really good services on those days and brings the community together. There are great groups for all demographics (I have been to many groups with my son for varying kids ages) and there is just a lovely welcoming atmosphere whenever you pop in.

ARE YOU A BROWSER OR DO YOU PLAN WHAT YOU'RE TAKING OUT?
A bit of both. Often times I'll have reserved a book or two online and then browse when picking them up - this is at my local library. We have another library that is a couple of villages away in a town and I love browsing in that library as there is much more choice.

NAME A BOOK YOU TOOK A CHANCE ON FROM THE LIBRARY.
For this question (and the next) I thought I'd just focus on books I've borrowed this year. My answer would be All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry.

WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU'VE READ FROM THE LIBRARY?
Again, honing in on just this year, I have two: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry & The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain.

HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN THE SAME BOOK OUR MULTIPLE TIMES?
I don't believe so.

There was a time when a short story collection I was reading felt so familiar - like I'd read those stories before - but there was no record of me having borrowed that book before so I think it was just a case of the same stories being grouped together in more than one collection. I didn't finish that book though as I knew everything that was happening, so stopped after the first five stories or so.

HAVE YOU READ A GOOD BOOK SET IN A LIBRARY?
Not that I recall... Any recommendations would be welcome!

HAVE YOU USED YOUR LIBRARY'S EBOOK & AUDIOBOOK OPTIONS?
I actually haven't, no. I'm much more of a physical book reader, so those are the ones I borrow. I think it is great that books are available in varying formats though.

WHICH IS THE BEST LIBRARY YOU'VE BEEN TO?
I honestly haven't been to that many libraries in my life... For the most part just small local libraries.

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU USE YOUR LIBRARY MORE?
Our immediate local library (the village over from ours) is quite small and is only open 3 days a week, so if it was open more I'd probably use it more often - especially if it was open on weekends.

I don't often do tags, but I enjoyed this one. I'd love to hear about your library usage in the comments below!
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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Currently Reading | Start of October


With a new month now here (how is it October already?!), I thought it would be the perfect time to sit down and talk about the books I'm currently reading and just general reading plans for the upcoming month.

I have four books (pictured above) that I'm reading at the moment - three fiction and one nonfiction. Of the four books, two are from my own shelves and the two are from the library.

For the month of October I'm taking part in #LibraryLoves, which is a month long event run by YouTuber Jessikah (of Read by Jess) and a number of co-hosts... If you're interested in the event, then you can find the announcement video here. As the title suggests, the concept of this reading event is to show libraries some love and encourage others to do so too. I'm a regular library user myself, and love that they are being shown more support in the bookish community. 

Given that I read a number of books a month from the library, naturally there would be some library borrows that I'm currently reading.


The Witchfinder's Sister is a totally new to me book that I picked up on a whim when browsing the library. I have read one Kazuo Ishiguro before (Never Let Me Go), and have heard good things about The Buried Giant, so picked that up when I saw it shelved at the library. I'm in the early stages of these books, but first impressions are proving to be positive. 

Next up I have the two books from my own bookshelves.


I've owned The Wolves of Winter for a little while now, having heard some good feedback in the book community regarding this title, and started reading it on the back of finishing a book similar in terms of being post apocalyptic (Moon of the Crusted Snow). I would say of the three fiction books I'm currently reading, The Wolves of Winter is my primary read.

Last, but by no means least, is my current nonfiction read. I quite enjoy nonfiction that relates to travel, our environment, and nature, with Arctic Dreams being quite a renowned book in this area, especially if you enjoy reading about polar settings (which I do). I have been reading this book for a good few weeks now, and am at the 119 page mark. My plan is to focus a little more on it now, given that I have more than half way left to go, as I intend to finish it before the arrival of Nonfiction November next month.

So there you have it, my current reads. What book(s) are you seeing the new month in with?
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