Hello March. (Which is just around the corner.)

I might have picked too many books to read in my February  and got myself stressed about reading them all. I’ve always had that problem. I used to stumble out of the library with a pile of books the length of my arm. Then I would have continually renew them online. Note to self: make attainable reading goals. This month I’ve cut it down to only three books. But they are brilliant brilliant books. Oh, and you should definitely add these to your Waterstone’s basket.

March Book Haul

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami

T loves Murakami. I’ve read 1Q84  but it put me off a little. The writing was stunning, the plot was intriguing but the ending. I thought it was left unfulfilled.  However I’ve been persuaded to try again. I’ve picked Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

March Book Haul

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

Apparently upon asking the question should you read this book? To quote Jack Kerouac himself, “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.” I’ve not read Kerouac but I’ve heard that On The Road isn’t that great. (S O R R Y.) But, T bought this for me when we lived long distance. We had a habit of buying books with covers we liked. The idea was that when we moved in, we would have a collection of sublime books – which we do. Now, I need to read this one.

Big Sur’s humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a superior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished—others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco’s poets & recognize hero Dean Moriarty ten years after On the Road.

March Book Haul

The Syme Papers by Benjamin Markovits 

It was the cover of this book that really drew my attention. I’m thinking this year I want to focus my attention on more nitty-gritty books. Reviews have  commented whether the book discusses the narrowness of academic research. Or whether it reflects on scientific knowledge changes. Either way I want to learn more.

Teeming with comic detail and fierce intelligence, The Syme Papers recreates a time when to question the world and the origin of creation was the greatest project a scientist could undertake. It is a novel of genius and failure; of a man who thought he could prove the world was hollow, and in the glorious process of discover, broke his own heart.

Have read any of these tales? Let me know in the comments. Oh, and what should I add to my April haul?

I like a list. I really like a list if it helps me improve something.

You may wonder – at the ripe old age of 23 reading should be second nature. Or first nature with the number I read. But I’m a sucker for habit. I also don’t have a TBR. Don’t scream – there’s a post to come soon explaining why, but it means my reading can be quite samey. Or structured around one genre. I’ve come up with some goals/tick-boxes to add diversity to my reading list.

Memoirs (read at least 3.)

I L O V E a documentary. It could be about wine/sport/drugs/prisons/cats/dogs/cheese I will watch it. But, I don’t read any non-fiction. T is a sucker for politics and I sometimes feel I need to learn more. But I’m not quite ready to throw myself into the whirlwind of non-fiction. I think memoirs might be the stepping stone in-between.

Diary, Book all there ever is and E light.

Be more aware of POC authors

I don’t pick my books based on the author. Male, female any country of origin or race it doesn’t tend to influence me. I’ll read anything by anyone. But, looking through my recent reads they have tended to be less diverse than I thought they were. This year I want to be more aware.

Read Boldly

I had a habit during 2017 of referring back to easy reads. Very simple crime novels or smulchy romance reads. I want to read more grit this year. Bukowski style grit. I’ve discovered that you can get some books terribly terribly wrong. I thought Moby Dick was this tough sea hysterical book full of knot tying and woe is me sailing. It’s not. It’s basically gay erotica. Plus I’m bloody loving it.

Stop Hatin’ on Goodreads

Diary, Book all there ever is and E light.

I have a hate/hate relationship with Goodreads. I struggle to remember to update it. The book I’m ‘currently reading’ on my profile I finished at least 8 months ago. Clever. I feel like Goodreads could help with all these goals but as always – means getting organised. I’ll link ya if you fancy being my friend.

Recommend a book

This is when you G E T  I N V O L V E D (if you so wish.) What books do you think I should add to my list for this year. One that fits with the goals above if poss? A book that made your belly warm because it was so on the mark. Or a book that made you snort until milk came out your nose. Link a gal up?

Diary, Book all there ever is and E light.

I am a cola addict.

It’s one of the bad habits from my University days that I haven’t managed to shake. If you bump into me reading/blogging/writing there will be probably be a can of the good stuff nearby. When Juicy Cola DM’d me I had to accept their offer to fuel my cola fix but maybe a little more naturally.

Juicy Fuel Cola is described as a sparkling cola made from fruit juices. All the ingredients are grown, it contains Kola nut extract and Grape Fruit to sweeten and Lemon juice is used instead of scary citric acid and barley malt to add colour. The cola doesn’t contain preservatives either. It’s sounding good. Based in Poynton Cheshire The Juicy Shed Company are said to be the first people to produce cola from fruit juice. (Or Juicy Fuel.)

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

Fruity and natural!

Last week a lovely box appeared filled with a couple of cans of their original cola flavor and the cherry flavour to try. I was a little apprehensive they wouldn’t taste of cola (I’m used too) but I popped them in the fridge to chill. Later for dinner I cracked two open for T and I and was delightfully surprised. It doesn’t differ (too far) from the cola I’m used to and it didn’t have an after taste. It has a fresh, light taste and I can taste the citrus coming through.

The Cherry flavour is a mash up of Pepsi Max (my favourite cola) and Dr Pepper. I liked the fact it didn’t lose its fizz and it didn’t have a slight metallic taste. I find that Diet Coke with Cherry tastes a little like sucking a penny. The cherry flavour is bold and there’s also the taste of grape. It’s a well-balanced flavour.

Oh and I forgot to add.

It’s 50Kcal per 100ml and 1 of your five a day.

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

O N E   O F  Y O U R  F I V E  A  D A Y!

I wouldn’t recommend drinking one of your five a day every day but I think every once in a while this is a wonderful, slightly more natural compromise. See, the Juicy Fruit cans also have no added sugar, no added sweeteners and no e-numbers. I mean cutting out the terrifying names of chemicals I find on the back of Coke Cans sounds alright to me.

There is one wobble. The Juicy Fuel Cola does include an incredible amount of sugar. Yes it’s a natural alternative but it’s still a high-ish amount. As someone that is fairly relaxed but follows a healthy(ish) diet I don’t tell myself off for the occasional fizzy drink or chocolate fix. But I wouldn’t have these every day. My teeth might cave in on themselves.

I really enjoyed both of the cans. The original just pipped it for me. I’m not the most enthusiastic cherry cola fan but it was still delicious. Pick up a couple of cans today and juicy fuel your day. (I’m sorry – I’m blaming the cola.)

The Juicy Shed Company Twitter – Facebook 

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

*Cola gifted by the Juicy Shed Company
(If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog it!) 

February, is maybe my least favourite month. The flat has been the coldest space I’ve ever lived in and the most expensive to heat. I’m constantly picking up new blankets/scarves/hats to keep me and T warm. Knitting is definitely going to help with that. Today I have a book haul for you.

I might make this a monthly thing – books I intend to devour through that month and any bookish purchases I’ve made. Let me know if it is of interest. Let’s dig in shall we.

February Book Haul

The Haul

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Baby I’ve been waiting to read this book for months. I adore Sue Perkins. She’s a brilliant lady with a sense of humour that sits very close to my own. At the moment I’m a little obsessed with documentaries, especially memoir style documentaries. If you sign into my Netflix it is full of sports documentaries that I’ve been binge watching. But bookwise – it’s going to be fekking cool feminists. Like Perkins. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

“A beautiful, funny and heart-wrenching story of love, brokeness and the purest form of bravery: giving in and asking for help.”

^ This.

I think books that deal with real issues will be the foundation of my reading during 2017.  I’ve felt drawn to autobiographical novels but books with real issues is where I want to expand my reading during 2K17. Toten’s books tend to revolve around a real-life problem. Something that can teach something to all of us and I’m looking forward to learning more. The sometimes crippling insecurities of OCD could be a good place to start.

February Book Haul

1000 Life Hacks by Dan Grabham

“Clever Ways to make your life easier at home, work and play.”

There is definitely a theme here. Life hacks have taken over the Internet this year and now I have a handy book full of exactly a 1000 of them. There are hacks for fashion, food, fitness DIY and home cleaning hacks. Some you’ll know – like frozen grapes cool but don’t water down wine. Everyone know’s that one. But, the cleaning hacks are brill. Who knew you could do so much with bi-carb. I’m probably going to read this cover to cover – so I’ll link ya.

The Girl with the lower back tattoo by Amy Schumer

2016 was a tough year. I think we could all agree with that. Trump, brexit, Sainsbury’s discontinuing their chicken and sweetcorn soup. It’s been a toughie. I was going to buy Lena Dunham’s biography but – we all know the story there. Instead I thought I would explore the life of Amy Schumer who to this point I’ve found pretty goddamn funny. Wanted to start 2017 off with a giggle.

Seraphina and the Black Cloak

Interesting one this one. I went for an interview with the publishers of this said book. It was an incredible experience and although I guttingly didn’t get the job I did get a book to read on the way home. I’ve yet to pick it up but this month it’s on my radar to get finished.

February Book Haul

February is shaping up to be a good reading month. What’s on your list?

When I was living in Stoke and T I were dreaming of a house together – we both knew we needed one thing. A bookcase, (or in our miracle world – a room we could convert into a library.) It’s something that I don’t think is impossible but for now, we have one, already pretty full bookcase and I thought I might talk you through it. It’s covered in bits and bobs we’ve both collected over the years and I’ll point out any special books too; because I’m just that nice.

Our New Bookcase

Top Shelf

Currently this a mix of our more non-fiction books. Here I have all of my colouring books including my Alice and Wonderland Colouring book and my Millie Marrotta book. There are also a few other (really uncomplicated) colouring books when I’m just not in the right mind to concentrate. We also have a real mix of cooking books on this shelf; T is a vegetarian who doesn’t really like cheese so we have; The Thug Kitchen Book (vegan,) a number of Counting Calorie books (WHICH ARE SO GOOD,) perfect for when you still want to eat but not pile on the pounds. The photo-frame you see is from one of my close friends who made this for me when my blog kind of became more of a big thing for me. It’s covered in comments and is really goddamn motivating when I can’t find the time to blog. It’s a very special gift.

Our New Bookcase

Second Shelf

The second shelf houses a lot of my books, OUT, The Girl on the Train, The Last lecture. It also holds the only two penguin black books Tom and I own (FOR NOW.) The yellow Instax Mini 8 was a present from T for Christmas. If you want to buy someone special for Christmas that the will always treasure that isn’t CRAZY EXPENSIVE I would pick this. Plus it comes in LOADS of different colours.

Our New Bookcase

Third Shelf

On the third shelf I’ve started to mix T’s book in; it houses mainly ARC books that have been sent to me but also a couple of classics, As you can see Bill Bryson, The Fault in our Stars etc. I also have my gorgeous Read More Books Photo frame which I received as part of my Christmas Blogger Box Swap. The blogger I swapped with sent me a really lovely bookish box. My money box is also on this shelf; not that I’ve ever reaaaaaaally used it. But it’s super cute so!

Our New Bookcase

Fourth Shelf

The second last shelf has a number of my favourite ever books; my Dorian Grey Penguin copy with a suede cover, the book only Love twice that Tom and I read to each other when we first go together, and . My Sex and the City Box set also sits here and there are a number of DVD’s because when you can’t read DVDs are a pretty good swap. It also has the cutest bunny card wishing us a lovely new home from two of my favourite people.

Bottom Shelf

Our New Bookcase

It’s my book suitcase! When living in shared accommodation there was never a bookshelf. NEVER. I don’t know whether people just don’t keep books anymore but apparently it’s not a necessity in shared accommodation. I obviously disagree with this, but to try and keep my books in a slight order I invested in a suitcase to hold them all. It will now sit here probably until we move again (hopefully never – the flat is just, perfection.) but it’s a sentimental item of my days sharing housing in the beautiful Stoke (cough.)

The bottom bottom shelf

Here sits T and ours only board game  and to be honest with you it’s brilliant. Once again if you’re looking for a board game for Christmas or for the family it’s perfect. Sherlock and Cluedo mixed into one: here’s a link. 

I’ve tried to link as many things as possible from my bookcase in this post because so many of them could make brilliant christmas presents. How does your book case stack up?