*Sighs* this might be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday post so far. The actually topic is Ten books that would be on your syllabus X 101. Examples include YA, fantasy, classic literature, feminist literature, you get the idea. I’ve picked ‘life 101’ and I mean it, not in a literal way, but more of the way in which books teach you something. These books include teaching you how to pick yourself up, get over heart-break, family strains. These are the books that have given me something back.
1) The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch
This book, honest to the word, has helped in ways that I could have never expected it to. It talks of life in such an honest, wonderfully light and subtle way, but it talks of death, love and family too. The fact that author is dying as we read along makes it feel all the more destructive but it has a calming presence. It talks of never wasting time, living every day the way we want to and to take control. I haven’t really looked back since finishing this book.
2) Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
I’ve never reviewed this book for mylittlebookblog, but I think I might soon. The book follows the main character as he comes to terms with his sister’s death from anorexia. It highlights the struggle of family life, the tough decisions we have to make, and the loss of people close to us. It’s a tale that I always dip into now and again and it’s written in a wonderfully lyrical style. My and sister and I rarely got on a couple of years back but now we’re a solid pair of besties. She’s one in a million.
3) ‘Giovanni’s Lover by James Baldwin
When I first started this book I didn’t think I would finish it let alone make its way onto this list, but this book taught me that there are some things, we cannot take back. I went through a lot of time not caring how I made other people feel because I barely cared about myself, at all. This book taught me that our decisions, our words, our actions towards others can be detrimental to people that we love. I know it seems trivial but I needed this to speak to me and tell me I needed to stop being an ass.
4) Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Maybe a controversial choice, but this book helped to change the perception that I needed to plan out, almost exactly, how my life was going to pan out. I panicked about too many different elements in my life; relationships, career, where I was going to live etc. The mother bought this and told me to read it, get some perspective and calm the hell down. This was the starting blocks to letting go a little more and trusting me more.
5) Remember to breathe by Simon Pont
I have written about this book many, many a time but reading this really helped to break through my wailing and make me think that the collapse of my relationship was merely a blip in the road. I’ve met someone who is miles better for me, and just gets me and this book helped to smooth over all the feelings that were raging at the time.
6) Factotum by Charles Bukowski
Another maybe, odd choice? I’ve always worried a lot about where I’m going to be, in terms of career and this book made me think. I know that what I’m doing right isn’t right for me, it’s not challenging me but the main character in this book is all over the place. He’s changing jobs every second, turning up late, drunk, forgetting things falling asleep. Although quite obviously isn’t the way to do it, the way that you can change your life and do something else, even something polar opposite, made me positive that I’m never stuck. I can always go a different way.
7) The Fault in our stars by John Green
This also wasn’t going to make the list but I thought, fuck it. It’s a book about adoration, love, belief and pain. But it’s a tale that teaches us that pain and hurt exist, but to live in the present, in the moment you might say if you’re feeling all gushy. This book is worth a bloody read.
8) The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson
I know this appears in all my lists but I couldn’t help myself once again. As I’ve come to terms with my anxiety many things I thought were ‘control-freak,’ tendencies were in fact my anxiety. I’ve struggled with losing friends in the past, holding on despite deceit, awkward silences and their brush-off manner. This book taught me it is okay to lose people, not because you want to but because it’s better, often for both of you.
9) Pearshaped by Stella Newman
Another tale about relationships but taken from the other side this book looks at the problems of unhealthy, manipulating and downright awful relationships. We are allowed to say when something is not up and stand up for ourselves. This books says that, loud and clear.
10) Finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
I picked this because, some of the quotes features are so profound and special. I often like to ask people if they would like to be friends with Alice or be Alice, because her sudden change in perception is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are so many twisted bits of knowledge woven in and we see Alice grow as a person. It’s a classic book that means a lot to me and many readers and I’m glad it’s made the list.
I wrote a lot more here than I thought I would surprisingly but I thought this was a list where you really needed to explain why they made the list. This isn’t an extensive list (obviously) and when I read Wild, which I will do, I might have to include that as a bonus book because I think it might just change my outlook on everything but we’ll see. Another day another book.
I do love it when people comment and ask me and the choices, the reasons, and just hearing what you would add so if you have anything pop in down in the comments below. Lots of love and hugs, lizzy. X
annnnd for those that don’t know what Bout of Books is… here you go:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
I’m not quite sure how many books I will get completed but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 105
Total Read: 105
Minutes Read: Lots of little bits so I’m not too sure.
Notes: I participated in the Fictional World Travel Challenge and I’m currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which I am really enjoying.
Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 67
Total Read: 172
Minutes Read: I forgot to time this as before
Notes: Ended up going for a raucous night out with the lovely people I call my friends up in SOT so I failed a little on the reading count. If I finish Little Women and get more stuck into 1Q84 I’ll be a happy bunny.
Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 145
Total Read: 317
Minutes Read: Couple of hours
Notes: Feeling much better about the challenge as of today although still have lots to get read. I’m reallly enjoying little women but I understand totally why I struggled so much with it as a younger reader. An evening in with T I didn’t get quite as much done as I wanted but hopefully Thursday we get a bit more done!
Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 655 (325)
Total Read: 642
Minutes Read: A few hours
Notes: I still haven’t finished a book because I switched and instead read The Death of Danny Daggers by author Haydn Wilks (@.) I’m really enjoying Little Women but it is a bit full on and I fancied something a bit lighter in terms of the language used. However, because TDODD it’s an ARC and a PDF copy the writing seems to be super big so although I did read 655 pages, I’m not sure this is a fair showing of how many pages so I’ve divided it by two. Which brings my total so far to 655 #holla.
Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 330
Total Read: 972
Minutes Read: A few hours
Notes: Today I finished reading The Death of Danny Daggers by author I Haydn Wilks (@.) I’m really just got into it, got my head down and polished it off. Brilliant book with some superb writing, characters and a really gritty feel. I also finished Little Women, I think I was in such a daze reading it that I didn’t realise I had only one chapter to go, so on the way home to Milton Keynes I finished it off. Pretty perfect.
Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 170
Total Read: 1142
Minutes Read: An hour or so
Notes: Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend. I was at home for the weekend celebrating my sisters birthday and I just didn’t have a minute to get this updated. I didn’t have a lot of time for reading but I started reading ‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor. It’s beautiful so far.
Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 249
Total Read: 1391
Minutes Read: Just over two hours
Notes: After a busy weekend, T and I travelled home for a good rest and although I was so very tired I just about managed to polish off the last of What Milo Saw, and I was so close to tears. I need to write the review up today before I forget how beautiful it all was but yes, three books, read lots more than I thought and I’m tempted to write a close up piece to this challenge. Maybe, we’ll see.
So, it’s Sunday and the end of this celebration of mylittlebookbookblog. I’m going to keep it short because I’ve waffled enough this week.
I’ve learnt a lot blogging and I’ve learn a lot about myself in doing so and to be honest with you, I think that this blog has ultimately saved me from a number of cripplingly scary moments. My life right now is a little in limbo and it’s terrifying. I’m not sure what I want to do let alone where I want to be and in the last ten months I’ve seen the worst of myself and the panic that comes from graduating and feeling a little lost. But this blog has brought out the best of me.
I have felt so wonderfully supported and this blog has been a life saver and I just wanted to really say thank you. From my mushy emotional and slightly whimsical heart. Because you are the best people that I could have ever wished for. All the authors, the bloggers, the tweeters, the likers the commenters and the emailers (these are not words) but all of you. Thank you. Thank you so much and here’s to another year of this pretty goddamn wonderful tiny space of the internet that I have found I’m able to call home.
So today I’m sick, sick, sick. I’ve just managed to pull my hacking body out of bed and into the living room and I found this bookshelf tag post on a lovely blog called The Book Coop I’ve been following for a little while and thought it was an adorable post to fill out for you. I’m going to split the answers between my two book shelves. Most of you know that after attending university in Stoke-on-Trent I stayed around, got an internship and have been here the past almost four years now. Many of my books are back in Silvy however the number in my rented room is growing higher each day so I’ll try and work it for both. If you fancy tagging yourself and writing your own book shelf post a comment below or tweet me @littlebookblog1
1. Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from.
So at home I have eight shelves, stacked on top of each other. The shelves are heaving but I’ve run out of space for any more and they’re starting to get piled on top of each other on the shelves. Book storage is a constantly battle.
In my rented room in Newcastle under Lyme space is even more limited but the solution is rather adorable. Six months ago I was at a market and bought an adorable vintage leather suitcase. It’s now stuffed full of review copies of books, a couple I’ve given in and bought and my library copies.
2. Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?
Nope, haphazard is the best way to describe my book organisation although trilogies or sets of books I try(ish) to keep together.
3. What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?
I guess it would have to be a throw up between Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that’s a pretty hefty number in terms of pages, or I recently got given (to borrow) by a friend three books all sandwiched into one paperback by Murakami. I haven’t picked it up to read yet but I remember thinking it was pretty daunting.
4. What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?
I think some of my Roald Dahl classics are quite thin in terms of pages. I know I have quite an old copy of Charlie’s Marvellous Medicine that has a really beautiful cover and doesn’t have that many pages. It’s still a wonderful read!
5. What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?
I have a pocked sized copy of Alice and Wonderland through the looking glass which I have never read, it’s a really lovely book and it’s so goddamn cute I think I’m going to have to go find it and read it.
6. What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?
It’s going to have to be one of my non-fiction books; I have book full of photographs of animals in the wild and it’s a giant weight of a book. My non fiction shelf is right at the bottom of the line of shelves because I’m terrified it’s going to fall of the wall; mainly because it’s stacked full of books like this one. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a photography style book.
7. Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?
Being a book blogger lots of my books come from friends, but a really thoughtful book given to me for my 21st Birthday was If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. It’s a very stylish and lyrical book that I loved and it means a great deal that it was given to me with such understanding of my bookish favourites.
8. Most expensive book?
I honestly have no idea; in terms of me buying books I tend to get them from Amazon or I buy sporadically from Waterstones or independent book stores. Saying that for Christmas last year I received a non-fiction book on all things Titanic and it’s a whopper of a book, I think it may have cost around £25.00 so I’m going to go with that.
9. The last book you read on your shelf?
Oh, that would be If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, but I’ve already spoken about that one so I’ll go for Breakfast at Tiffanies by Truman Capote. It’s not actually mine but one I borrowed from the library but it’s sat in my little suitcase after being read a week or so ago; actually is that due back now? *groans*
10. Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?
So many books have come and gone from my book shelves but I think it would have to be Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. It came about in 2002 and I would have been ten then. I know that there are obviously books that came before that but maybe the first I read myself, that’s still on the shelf, would be this one.
11. Do you have more than one copy of a book?
Intriguing, I think I must do but for the life of me I cannot remember. I went through a stage of thinking I should rebuy copies of books because mine get so bent and creased but then it only means that they are loved. Thinking about it I’m not sure there are any more, I think I passed them onto friends?
12. Do you have the complete series of any book series?
Yes, three I believe. Quite obviously the Harry Potter series, I think I have all of the Lord of the Rings books and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
13. What’s the newest addition to your shelf?
I try not to buy too many books because I already have so many to read, but I think it would have to be ‘How to be a woman, by Caitin Moran.’
14. What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?
I have so many books that lots of them have been there forever, I think it would have to be Eva Ibbotson’s Monster Mission. It’s cramped on a shelf right at the end nearest to the window and it’s becoming a little blanched in the sunlight.
15. What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?
I think it would have to be Elizabeth is Missing by
Emma Healey published June 2014.
16. The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?
I think I have an old and withered copy of What Katie Did which on researching was published in 1872. I’m 100% sure my copy is not that old however it’s looking a little tired and I assume it’s the eldest.
17. A book you won?
I’m not sure I’ve ever won a book; that’s a little sad.
18. A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?
An interesting one because I do like to lend out my books and let other people read and discover them for themselves. I think one that I would always like to keep near me is On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. I bought it at a book fair for around fifty pence but it is one of my favourite romance style books; it’s a wonderful little book and it’s one I would hate to not be able to get my paws on when I needed a little pick me up.
19. Most beat up book?
My copy of The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson; I’ve read it so many times including in the bath which it’s been dropped in a number of times and it’s looking a little wearied. However its wear and tear only goes to show how much I love it as a novel.
20. Most pristine book?
Most of the books give to me by my darling parents or by friends. I do have a copy however of Any Human Heart by William Boyd that I loved so much whilst reading that I made sure to have bookmarks at any given point as in to stop me from folding the pages over. It is still a very neat and tidy book.
21. A book from your childhood?
As a child I loved the stories of Little Mollie Mandy. I think my parents still have nightmares about the inane stories told however I thought they were wonderful and the tales are still propped up waiting to be told.
22. A book that’s not actually your book?
I have a number of books on my shelves that aren’t mine because I’m always squirreling them away with me but at the moment in my book suitcase I have a copy of The Good Plain Cook by Bethan Roberts which is actually my sisters that I am yet to read. I think it was on a Monday morning when I needed something to read on the train home but ultimately feel asleep and therefore I never got round to; I will give it back Char I promise!
23. A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?
Not that I know of?
24. A book that is your favorite color?
Although I love pink, I think a mix of duck egg and turquoise blue is my ultimate favourite colour and the book Elsewhere has a wonderfully blue sea on it which is almost the perfect colour so I’m going to go with that.
25. Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?
The Philip Pullman His Dark Materials books; I wrote a post about this over a year ago now (nope they’re still not read!)
26. Any signed books?
As a book blogger every so often authors sign the fronts of the books with a little message to me which is rather darling. I think Diary of an intuitive by Vera Gibson was almost definitely signed and that has an utterly beautiful cover also.
So a rather long post on my bookshelf from yours truly. If you do write your own please let me know, would love to hear your answers.
Afternoon readers, a little news from my little book blog. On the 29th of April 2015 I will be celebrating the two year official anniversary of mylittlebookblog.com. I can not believe how much this blog has given me in terms of confidence in my writing and reviewing, the sheer number of authors, readers, publishers and book bloggers I have met who have been such a joy to get to know and the number of books I’ve read and been introduced to. I will be celebrating the two years blogging between the dates of the 29th of April and the 3rd of May and would love as many of you to get involved as possible. Whether that’s a guest post, helping me with a give-away in terms of prizes or just sharing my blog posts on the day. If you would like to get in touch please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Sunday readers, I’ve had a wonderfully busy weekend and I’m snuggled up on the sofa watching The Big Painting Challenge and I thought I’d bring you something a little different. It’s an A-Z of all things book blogging.
A is for assortment: I am a true believer in variety in blogging, especially book blogging. Different genres, publishers and authors amongst others help to bring mylittlebookblog to as many readers as possible. This also includes different posts including quotes, images, guest posts, Q+A’s etc.
B is for bed: My favourite place to read is snuggled up in bed, with a hot chocolate, lots of blankets and pyjamas. I also favour the bath but the number of times my books get destroyed through my clumsy nature it’s better to stick to the latter
C is for classics: Recently I have got over my irrational dislike of classic literature and thrown myself straight in at the deep end reading as much as a I can get my hands on. So far it’s been rather eye opening
D is for Doyle: As a young reader, Arthur Conan Doyle was pivotal to the increase of my interest and love of reading. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes mean a lot to me sentimentally as a reader
E is for Email: My most useful tool in contact and communicating with authors, readers, bloggers and publishers. Setting up a separate email was a big step for me in my journey as a blogger and set this apart as being more than a hobby for the weekends
F is for Folded over Corners: I have a terrible habit of folding over the corners of pages when reading. I’m constantly losing bookmarks so often train or bus tickets are my go to. I try not too but it’s a habit I seem to have got into!
G is for Guest Posts: Some people are terribly against guest posts, I’m all for it if done well and if it helps both blogs/authors/publishers reader base. Don’t just do for the sake of it I guess
H is for Hard Work: I know I’ve mentioned this before a couple of times but blogging is sometimes hard work. It doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it, not at all, but there is so much more that goes into blogging than just reading and reviewing.
I is for Ink: When writing reviews I tend to tap them out on my old and tired red Dell ‘brick’ laptop. If I have time I like to plot out the review on paper and then type it up from there. It’s sometimes lovely to pen the words out first, to see how the review fits together
J is for Jigsaw: Book blogging is on the whole a little like a jigsaw. I am continually playing with the pieces finding different ways to put the different types of post together. Does this guest post work well next to this review, does this quote fit with the blog as a whole, will this review create some controversy? It’s a constant challenge!
L is for Lengthy journeys: The perfect time to get a chunk of reading completed. I love reading on the train down to Milton Keynes; it’s my time to de-stress from a busy week and get myself completely immersed in another world
M is for Messy: When I’m blogging I like to be fully submersed in what I’m doing. Books will be strewn around me, the notes on the book sitting in little piles, post-it notes stuck in the books, different pens in different colours pooling round me; for me it just helps the creative process.
N is for New Authors: There is nothing better than discovering a new exciting author with bags of potential and then going out and purchasing everything they’ve written and devouring it.
O is for Organisation: Despite saying I like to be messy, I am going to be a little bit of a hypocrite. Book blogging in terms of planning needs to be organised; emails need to be answers, posts written to fit with deadlines of releases, or cover reveals.
P is for Proof reading: I am terrible for this, because I’m often half asleep or in a rush when I post my reviews so there are sometimes grammatical errors (my spelling is normally pretty good.) It’s so important to proof read posts to get the message across coherently
Q is for Quality: Consistent quality across the board in terms of posts is really important. Each review is unique and to let the ball drop is a constant fear for me as a blogger.
R is for Review Requests: One of the best things about blogging is receiving requests for book reviews. It’s a tiresome task sometimes going through them all and picking which to read first but the elation of coming home and seeing the books sat by the front door is such a pleasure
S is for Spreading the word: Whether it’s for readers or writers, book blogging is ultimately about recounting what you’ve read good or bad. It’s one to always remember when blogging because once you’ve said it, it’s very difficult to take it back
T is for Tired Eyes: Even now at twenty one, and knowing my tiredness limit I still cannot resist the temptation of staying up all night to finish a good book
U is for Unbiased: This goes without saying; honesty must be followed to the T.
V is for vocabulary: Wonderful, vivid, chilling, distressing, worrying, content, ardent, notable, dire, splendid, unquestionable, thrilling, astounding, wretched, poignant, clement, blissful, sulky, gritty. Make sure you colour your book blogging with adjectives of every sound.
W is for Well-wishers: I kept running out of letters and quite quickly had to start using the thesaurus. Blogging is all about community feel and although some claim that blogging can be lonely I am yet to feel that way. Since I started the support has been wonderful and the people I come into contact with have been lovely lovely people.
X is for Xanthippe: Now stick with me, this is a word. It actually means ill-tempered woman. Now obviously this isn’t pivotal but I think what is, is that you want to make everything as real and as brilliant as possible. If I can’t get the right feel to a review, or the post doesn’t sit well with the blog it only goes to show (male or female) that it really means something to you
Y is for Yearning: The constant and unending search for new incredibly books written by even more incredibly authors
Z is for Zero: The amount of time I wish that I wasn’t, reading, writing, blogging or making notes about books. Books just are everything to me
So there you go, a little book-ish post about book blogging. If you have any comments, questions or queries as always pop them in the comments box!
Good evening readers, hope you’re all well unlike me, a little sick bunny. It seems I have caught a tummy bug which left me rendered completely useless yesterday. After being rudely awakened by my housemate, I heaved myself out of bed to go and purchase whatever it was she was complaining about. Hauling a sick ridden body out of bed dressing it in patterned black, red and white leggings, an orange t-shirt and a pair of blue fabric pumps and a massive coat with a fur hood I must have looked comical. I cannot wait to move away from the drama of where I live. Before I get too off topic there are a number of reviews that were supposed to be posted days ago but I’ve been so sick I haven’t had any time to sort them and amongst packing for the move last week. I’m hoping to get them written up ASAP so if you’re waiting for a review it’s on its way I promise. So, without further delay onto today’s review.
Lawrence Fyre and Marin Strang aren’t like other people. He is the eccentric owner of failing Sargasso Books in the Brighton Lanes. She is an ex-Jehovah’s Witness and isolated Spanish teacher. If they live together in his illegal, beautiful, rope laddered lock-up; can their love overcome their losses? Original, sexy, very funny and deeply moving. An author in complete control of a number of unforgettable characters and emotional highs and lows, Jenny Morton Potts leaves the reader breathless, and wanting more.
So as the blurb suggests Marin Strang is a Spanish teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way she wanted it to; having to live on a wage from numerous temporary teaching contracts and coming out of a rather painful breakup she’s in a bit of a sticking point; in limbo as to what she should do next. An ex-Jehovah’s witness but with ties to her father who remains a loyal member, Marin finds her days wandering The Lanes in Brighton a shopping spot and ends up in the a café named Number 8. Here she meets Lawrence Fyre, the owner of the (failing) store Sargasso Books. The two, after a number of chance meetings enter into an intense relationship but a number of hiccups including his sister and the intriguing Nina could force their relationship to fail. Will their relationship rise or flounder? You’ll have to get hold of a copy to find out!
So, there’s the book in a nutshell; now you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a rather stereotypical boy meets girl style plot-line but it’s more than that. Firstly I have to commend the author for getting the feel of Brighton down so very well. I could feel the blustery wind and see the cobbled lanes full of brightly painted houses, it’s incredibly evocative of the little seaside town. The writing style is wonderful although a little difficult to get into to start with. It reads almost like a stream of consciousness, which we don’t experience all too often as a reader and when mixed with dialogue and narrative it was a little different at the start. However as you get more stuck in the words rise and fall in a very smooth almost lyrical prose which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In terms of plot line it is the perfect mix of both tragedy and love story and the whirlwind mix throughout is both tender and comedic. The two main characters are wonderfully written both quirky in their own rights but written with a real feel of human warmth and understanding. They come alive with each other and the conviction of their relationship is maddeningly exciting and euphoric. The pace is fast and forward thinking, it ricochets off with such breath taking speed that I found myself reading chapter after chapter without noticing.
I think what makes this book is the style; it is a unique and unforgettable writing quality that is both quirky and gripping. It also allows for the highs and the lows of the novel to really come alive and punch the reader in the jaw which is exactly what I wanted from this novel. It is a love story but it also intertwines personal growth, the pressure to conform to society or religion and trust in the relationships we have. It really made me sit up and listen and made me think about my own place in the world that I find myself in. Overall a stylish and quirky read that was a wonderful mix; thoroughly enjoyable.