Monday, 31 August 2020

Reading Wrap Up | August


In the month of August I read 10 books in total... I've found my reading pace slow down this month, however I'm not viewing this as a negative, in fact I've leaned in to it and enjoyed savouring some of the beautiful books I was able to experience in August.

I did DNF one book in August - the newest Emma Donoghue: The Pull of the Stars. I DNF'ed simply because I just don't have the mental capacity to read a book about a pandemic during a pandemic, and apparently this wasn't evident to me until I'd actually borrowed the book from the digital library service... I managed like 20ish pages, and just knew now was not the time for me to be reading it, so swiftly returned.

On to the books that I actually did read...

Links below will take you to my review of the book on Goodreads


Happy reading in September!
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Monday, 24 August 2020

A Day of Reading | Thursday 20th August


CURRENTLY READING
The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare - 32 minutes of 10 hours 38 minutes

My only aim for today is to make progress with these books.

The way my reading has been lately, these books are likely to see me until the end of August - I have been reading at a slow but steady pace. I am in the early stages of all three books, and enjoying them all so far... I'm looking forward to seeing how they all pan out.

7.50am | I wanted to start my day by reading some of Once Upon a River, but I was having trouble loading the library app (this happens often), so I picked up Where the Crawdads Sing instead, reading 30 pages.

There is such a beauty & fragility to this story.

10.30am | I read a further 22 pages in Where the Crawdads Sing, pausing at the start of part 2.

So many emotions when reading this book... And the rawness of Kya as a character is just SO WELL WRITTEN.

11.25am | Got the library app working - hurrah - and read 25 pages of Once Upon a River. 

7.10pm | Yep, a big jump in time, with no reading done all afternoon. 

I listened to 35 minutes of The Iron Trial whilst in the bath, meaning I have passed the hour mark of this audio. 

One thing I'm finding a little bothersome about listening to this book, as opposed to reading it, is the main characters name... He is called Callum, which I would read as 'Cal-lum' but it is being read as 'Call-um', with the nickname 'Call' and it just feels all wrong to me. Random thing to note.

8.30pm | Last bit of reading for the day, spending thirty minutes with Once Upon a River and reading a further 22 pages.
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THOUGHTS ON MY CURRENT READS SO FAR
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a while now, and was honestly hesitant to pick it up due to the LARGE amount of praise it was receiving (I know I'm not the only one that is a little intimidated by hyped books)... But so far, I can see it was all indeed true & deserved. I know Delia Owens has published some nonfiction works previously, but I'm kind of blown away by the fact that this is a DEBUT NOVEL.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
Although less than 100 pages in, I feel like this book really embodies storytelling... I realise this probably sounds a bit weird if you haven't read the book, however I feel like perhaps it would make perfect sense to those who have.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
This is the first book in a five part series (Magisterium) following a boy who ends up attending magic school... I enjoy magic books, particularly those of kids learning to do magic, so I'm enjoying it so far. There are a lot of Goodreads reviews stating this book is a HP rip off - but I mean, there are a lot of books out there within the MG/YA realms of kids going to magic schools, so I don't know... I've gone in open minded.
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Some days you read a lot, some days you read nothing, but a lot of my reading days look like this with snatches of reading here & there and that slow but steady pace I mentioned in the opening of this post.
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Monday, 17 August 2020

Recommended Reading | Books Featuring Museums


My recommended reading posts have always been a way for me to highlight the books I've read within a year and want to recommend to all to pick up too... I'm keen to expand this series of mine now, featuring throughout the year (not just at the end), to include recommendations based on specific topics.

Today I'm taking a look at three books that feature museums... I have a whole list of topics I'm keen to cover in this series, with this museum topic being one I stumbled upon having read, and loved, a few books during the first half of this year that had museums central to the plot. So whilst this topic wasn't on my original list for this series, it is a post I am happy to have curated with titles I hope others will enjoy too.

All the books featured in my recommended reading posts I have read myself and would, of course, recommend.

In this book we see the unfolding relationship between Tina Hopgood & Anders Larsen, with the two 'meeting' via letter. Tina writes to a professor at the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark, however unbeknown to her this professor is now deceased, and so she receives a reply to her letter from Anders, a curator at the museum. The two initially discuss Tina's letter and the Tollund Man, who plays a prominent role in the story, but soon find themselves opening up to one another more and welcoming each other in to their lives.

This book is told in an epistolary format, with the letter correspondence between Tina & Anders feeling simple, intimate, reassuring and hopeful; they are experiencing similar seasons of life, and it is just precious watching how they help each other and the growth of them both as characters.

Taking place during WW2, Hetty Cartwright is in charge of the evacuation, and subsequent safekeeping, of a number of animal exhibits from the Natural History Museum... These animals are to find refuge at Lockwood Manor, a country house that has opened its doors to the museum. After arriving at Lockwood Manor, it isn't all plain sailing for Hetty as she encounters run-ins with Lord Lockwood and soon finds her stuffed animals going missing.

There is mystery to this historical fiction novel and also a female/female love story.

Whilst the previous two books featured real museums, the one found in Where We Belong is fictional - Hatter's Museum. 

After much hardship and loss, Cate and her son, Leo, are set to stay at Hatter's Museum temporarily; a place that has been in the family for years, but one that the pair of them know very little about... Hatter's is owned by Richard's family - Richard being Cate's husband & Leo's father, a man who is no longer in their life. They arrive to a frosty reception from Araminta (who currently runs & takes care of the museum) with little knowledge of not only the building, but this familial past of Richard's also.

As history and long held secrets reveal themselves, we see a transformation in all the characters - including the museum, as Hatter's feels very much like a character in its own right.
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This is a short list for books featuring museums, but one that includes three gems. 

All of the books mentioned make for wonderful reads, with well developed characters, atmospheric settings, and plots that keep you engaged, but it is probably worth noting that I did also find them all to be books best read at a slow pace, savouring the stories and appreciating the finer details.

If you have any recommendations to add to this list, be sure to leave them in the comments below!
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Monday, 10 August 2020

A Weekend of Reading | 300+ Pages Read


I'm starting the weekend with bookmarks in three books: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (page 133 of 343), The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack (page 198 of 332), and Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (page 180 of 281).

I have been steadily reading these books since the beginning of August, and it would be nice to finish one of two of them this weekend.

SATURDAY 8TH AUGUST
During two sittings today I finished reading Endurance, a nonfiction book detailing Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to Antarctica. Whilst an expedition account, this is also a survival story; the men onboard the Endurance found themselves stranded in the polar region when their ship became locked in ice, eventually being crushed. For over a year they attempted to journey back to civilisation, and an arduous ordeal it was. The story of the crew onboard Endurance is an incredible one and it has been pieced together perfectly by Alfred Lansing. If you enjoy books about polar region travel or survival stories, then Endurance is a must read.

In the afternoon I returned to The Valley at the Centre of the World, reading a further 50 pages. I haven't picked this book up in a couple of days now and so it took me a good few pages to warm back up to the dialect used, however I soon fell back in to the story. I don't usually get on well with dialect in books, but I'm fine with it in this book.

Although I'm attempting to finish up some books, I did also start a new one before going to bed this evening, reading 41 pages of The Titanic Detective Agency by Lindsay Littleson.

Of course it would've made sense to just pick up one of my current reads, but I didn't feel in the mood for them... I'm very much a mood reader, and over the years I have learnt that listening to my mood makes me a much happier reader... Yes, even with multiple books on the go!

SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST
This morning I read the remaining 80ish pages I had left in The Valley at the Centre of the World, concluding an overall enjoyable reading experience. I didn't know much about this book going in to it - I hadn't heard others talk about it, and kind of just stumbled across it really - but it proved to be a gem of a read.

The book itself has no real plot, taking a look at the lives of the residents living in a valley on the Scottish island of Shetland. Well written, with fascinating and faceted characters - I didn't want this book to end.

In the evening I spent a little bit of time with Remarkable Creatures, reading to page 172.
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Happy to have ended the week with two books finished, and progress made in others.
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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Reading Ambience | Rain Sounds


Recently I have really taken to putting on some background sounds whilst reading, using the plethora of ambience videos you can find on YouTube. Although not being about books specifically, it is reading related and so I thought I'd share about that a little more here on my blog.

I have a whole list of topics I want to cover within the realms of ambience videos, with the focus today being on rain sounds. One of my favourite sounds is that of rainfall, and I find myself turning to these types of videos often. 

All links will take you to YouTube


Enjoy!
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Monday, 3 August 2020

Reading Wrap Up | July


In the month of July I read a total of 17 books - 14 fiction and 3 nonfiction. July was a good reading month, especially as I completed my first 7 in 7 reading challenge. 

Looking back on July through my reading it also feels like it has been an incredibly long month... The books I read at the start of July, I found myself questioning 'I read that in July?!?' - it feels like I read them so long ago.

Links below will take you to my review of the book on Goodreads


REREAD

Happy reading in August!
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