Thursday, 29 January 2015

'Book of' books

I totally didn't realise until I got them home, but I went charity-shop shopping on the way back from the gym, and it looks like I have a serious weakness for books with the word 'book' in the title. They all looked so pretty and interesting and I just couldn't resist.

We have:

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric
The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick
The Book of Fines by Jane Borodale

I'm almost done with Bel-Ami, and got to the point where my reading speed is improving and I don't usually have to refer to a translation app, which is such a change from when I started and was out of practice. Always nice to feel progress!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Would-be author

This week's Booking Through Thursday is:

If you were going to write a book, what kind of book would it be? (And if you’re an author already, what kind of book would you LIKE to write that you haven’t written yet?)

I have so many ideas for novels - I keep a notebook full of mini-ideas, stuff that needs to be added together around a storyline, and I've been forcefully attacked by a few fully-formed novels that just come together in my head and sit there until I get them out.

In spite of my English Literature and Creative Writing degree, I still can't get past the first 3 chapters of any novel I try to write. I know the idea is still good but part of me is just so sick of working away at the same thing that I start feeling like I never want to see it again. It would be kind of cool in theory to be a novelist, but at the same time I just don't have that creative spark, that need to express myself, and I definitely don't have the stubborn persistence needed to make it all happen.

I think I'll stick to my pedantry and remain one of life's editors.

Friday, 9 January 2015


This week's Booking Through Thursday is:

Do you ever weed out unwanted books from your library? And if so, what do you do with them?

Anyone who's ever seen the state of my room would assume that I never get rid of a book, ever, but actually I do have a system (although it's a system that means I do keep most of my books...)

I'll always hang on to a book if I enjoyed it enough to consider recommending it to a friend or to take pleasure from seeing it on my shelves, and I'll also hang on to it if it's older than 70 years or so, or rare and out of print. Oh, or if it's part of a series that I have yet to finish reading.

So that basically leaves one-off novels I didn't enjoy very much that were printed after about 1960 - or duplicates, if I've somehow ended up with two copies and one or more of them is newish. I have two copies of a couple of 1800s poetry collections but they're both so beautiful that I really can't bring myself to let them out into the wild.

In the area I live in, leaving something on the wall outside your house means that it's free for anyone walking past to take - it's great, sometimes you'll find a t-shirt or a chair and get to just take it home on the spur of the moment. On may way home from work today I actually found a bedside table that just needs a clean out of the drawer and it'll be perfectly fine. Once I've finished reading a book, if I decide I don't want to keep it I'll put it on the wall outside, and wait for someone else to take it (and pray it doesn't rain, I feel terrible leaving even bad books in the rain!)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Best of 2014

This week's Booking Through Thursday is:

What was your favorite book (or books) for 2014? What reading really caught your attention? Sparked your interest? Changed your world? Made you laugh?

Looking through my reading list from 2014, there have been some great novels, but the ones that really stuck with me and made me think about things differently were The Kite Runner and The Time Traveller's Wife.

The Kite Runner is brutal, moving, intense, and full of every human emotion you can imagine. It also gave me a fresh perspective on how lucky I am to live in a country untouched by war within living memory, and what suffering some people I've known for years as family friends have experienced and escaped from.

The Time Traveller's Wife is obviously based on a science-fiction premise, but told in an incredibly original way. We've all seen or read time travel adventure stories, but Niffenegger's novel approaches the theme in a completely original way. The focus is on Clare's experiences as Henry's wife, and her story is brought to life by the considerations of practical implications on everyday life. It was incredibly refreshing to read about time travel as more of an affliction than an adventure, and as well as being very cleverly structured, the novel is told with empathy and depth of feeling.

I very much recommend both of the above novels, and may 2015 bring many more!

How about you, any great reads from 2014?