Happy New Year!

Let me preemptively wish everyone a Happy New Year! We’re heading into a new year, and this leads to a new chapter and a new challenge.

As I have now completed my studies (or hello, TEFL Course!), I’m going to put a little more effort into my reading. I want to be better read, and a better reviewer.

So, I’m setting myself a few challenges, of which you are welcome to join!

The first challenge:

Book Riot posted their annual Read Harder Challenge, I will be attempting this challenge throughout 2019. I’ll try and separate Book Club from Book Challenge, but some crossing’s over may happen.

I’m also setting myself a goal of reading 50 books this year. This may not seem like a lot to some of you avid readers out there, but considering I only read some 21 books this year, this is going to be a challenge for me. I used to read all the time, and I love reading, but I’ve been so snowed under with reading for courses, that reading for pleasure has slipped to the wayside and reading books quickly is not a thing I am currently able to do.

Now that we’ve got the challenges out of the way, let’s see some stats!

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This blog has managed to get 1,032 views from 554 visitors with 499 likes and 47 comments. How awesome is that?

My top blog post was:

My Book Review on Teresa Driscoll’s I Am Watching You!

This review earned 71 views! How exciting!

Hopefully, 2019 will be just as exciting a year as 2018 will be. Though, with 50 books to read, I can already see me madly trying to catch up as the year progresses. Hopefully you’ll all like to stick around and see how it goes!

Happy New Year, everyone!

[Book Discussion] The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall

the christmas forest

The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall is a Christmas tale of love and friendship. Enid has Asperger’s Syndrome and has been talking via letter to a man called Fred.

The story focuses around Enid planning a trip to Australia to finally meet Fred for Christmas, supported by her sister Bess. But will it happen? That is the big question that hangs for a large part of the novel. Enid’s friends are unsure, Enid is sure, Fred is sure, but who will win out?

Despite the short nature of the novel, The Christmas Forest is a pleasantly good read. The plot moves fast enough to keep you interested, and Rebecca Boxall writes wonderfully. Asperger’s Syndrome does take a centre role in this novel, and Boxall handles it with care and it is well researched.

The narrative is sweet, and is definitely one I would recommend for the Christmas season.

It is interesting to note that Boxall has written Enid with Asperger’s, as a lot of research shows that it Asperger’s is usually diagnosed in males. Boxall is bringing to the forefront women with Asperger’s and allows the reader to submerge in Enid’s plight and characteristics.

All in all, I would definitely recommend The Christmas Forest. What did you think? Have you read it?

Let me know what you thought in the comments!

[Book Club] January Reading!

I hope everyone is excited for the new year and a new month!

This month, there was no theme, and as such our book choices for next month are:

I hope you all like the choices and find one that you would like to pick up! I’m excited for a new month of reading.

My Top 17 Reads of the Year

Ironically, I’ve only managed to finish 17 books this year (I’m discounting all books related to my MA which I’ve read this year), and this is how I would place them in terms of favourite. Most of these weren’t published this year, but I hope you enjoy it either way!

17) Red Phoenix by Larry Bond

16) Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

15) I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

14) The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall

13) That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

12) And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

11) Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

10) The Shining by Stephen King

9) Born Lippy: How To Do Female by Jo Brand

8) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

7) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

6) Release by Patrick Ness

5) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

4) 1984 by George Orwell

3) House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

2) Becoming by Michelle Obama

1) The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

 

This was potentially the hardest list I’ve done this year, it was so hard to choose and I moved a few of them around a lot! It was especially difficult between 2 and 1, but The Travelling Cat Chronicles was an amazing novel, and it really touched me and a book I still think about today. Becoming is an equally amazing memoir, and I love Michelle Obama. The choice was so hard!

What’s your favourite books that you’ve read this year? Let me know in the comments!

[Book Review] House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

house of leaves

House of Leaves is interesting. It essentially follows three narratives. One , the subject of the novel (per say) which is The Navidson Record and it’s house on Ashe Tree Lane. Two, Zampano, as the author of the the writing. Three, Johnny Truant and his stories and his time assembling the notes left by Zampano.

The amount of layering in this novel is actually quite incredible to me. The novel is definitely not easy. The main body of text is sometimes all over the place, leaving an eerie and haunting feeling. The footnotes are extensive, sometimes making you follow two narratives at the same time.

But, the effort is definitely worth it in the end.

At the heart of the tale, House of Leaves is a love story. There’s Navy and Karen, Johnny and Thumper, but it is also one that is scary. The house on Ash Tree Lane provides us with many creepy instances, brought along by the skill of the author and the text placement, at times leaving you feeling claustrophobic.

Despite taking me a long time to get through House of Leaves, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and found in the instances I was reading it, I couldn’t put it down (despite the heavy weight of the novel!). I would definitely recommend it purely based on the interesting structure of the novel.

From reading upside down to back to front, House of Leaves left me waiting to see what twists and turns followed on the next page. I loved it! Have you read House of Leaves? Let me know what you thought!

 

House of Leaves was one of our book club books for October. You can find my partial review of the novel here

When Do You Decide To Give Up A Book?

This is a hard question for me. I don’t like not finishing a book, but there are occasions when you just have to stop.

This could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is you just aren’t getting along with the novel you have decided to pick up.

I hate giving up a book, I always carry on thinking ‘I’ll like it soon’, ‘it’ll get better, I just have to find that part’, and sometimes, it’s not even the books fault. I’ve picked it up, thought it sounded really good, the book is written wonderfully and it’s masterful at the tale it’s presenting, but it’s just not working for me.

And that makes me feel guilty.

So, how much of a book do you read before you decide it’s probably not going to ever work for you?

I’m trying to start a 25% rule, and if I’m still not getting along with a book by a quarter of the way through, then I’m probably never going to like it.

Do you have a rule? Or do you power through to the very end?

Let me know what you think!