#HarryPotter20

Monday 26th June 2017 marked twenty years since the original publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Everywhere you turn online, someone is telling you what they love about this series, so I’m sure you’ve heard everything I can say on that subject elsewhere already. Instead, this is a mini shelf tour of my Harry Potter collcetion. In itself, this shelf is evidence of my love for the series.

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Review: Another Brooklyn the Jacqueline Woodson

I picked this up on a bookshop browse a few weeks ago in the new fiction section. I hadn’t heard of the book itself, but had heard of Woodson’s memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. After reading the first sentence, I fell a little bit in love and couldn’t leave without it…

For a long time my mother wasn’t dead yet. 

Do you ever pick up a book and get a tingly feeling of fate? A little funny instinct that somehow this story will be important to you.

Another Brooklyn is the story of a friendship between four girls, as August looks back to growing up in the 1970s. It is rich with beautiful and brutal moments which connect into a richly moving novel.

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Review: Free Love and Other Stories by Ali Smith

I first read Ali Smith when I was in University. On a Waterstones wander I picked up the newly published There but for the. I read it in almost one sitting and was completely entranced by writing so different to anything I’d read before. I’ve since made quite a collection of Ali Smith’s books – there are now nine on my shelves, and yet for some reason I haven’t read most of them. Why? I have no idea.

A few weeks ago I saw Ali Smith speak at Bath Festival, which was a amazing. As a reader and as a writer, I was inspired by everything she said – the passion and enthusiasm she spoke with. It was at that event where I bought a copy of Free Love and Other Stories, which was Smith’s first published book. I started reading on the train home and, as I was with There but for the, I was completely swept away by the beauty of the prose. Read More »

Summer 2017 Top ‘TBR’

As a rule, I don’t like to write prescriptive TBRs. I usually don’t manage to stick to them. But I have so many unread books on my shelves at the moment that it’s starting to feel like a little bit of planning might be necessary to be sure I’m paying attention to the things I really want to. Having so many books around the house makes me very happy, but it also means that browsing as an activity is split between bookcases and rooms.Read More »

May Wrap Up (2017)

May has been a slower reading month, and that’s because for the most part it was a writing month. The other factor was reading A Court of Wings and Ruin and needing quite a while to recover from the trauma. So the theme of the month then became rereading YA fantasy. I’ve also been dipping into the Throne of Glass series again, but I’m not recording them as it’s more of a skipping between favourite scenes. I am also slowly reading a collection of short stories by Ali Smith, but that is being savoured, one story at a time…Read More »

Literary Festivals and Expectations

Until a couple of weeks ago, I’d been to fewer bookish events than I would like this year, mostly due to focusing on my MA course. However the arrival of Bath festival was a brilliant chance to get back out and hear some really amazing authors interviewed by amazing people. My health unfortunately meant I didn’t get to everything I wanted – but I did have a great week at what I was able to do.

All of this got me thinking about what makes a good literary event – what is it that we’re looking for when we turn up and take our seat? Someone I know commented on an event being directed towards readers rather than other writers – which surprised me, because that’s what I had expected from this kind of event. But what you walk in expecting will influence how you feel about whatever it actually is.

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Stage ready for Ali Smith at Bath Literary Festival, May 2017

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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

I was so excited for the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin that I accidentally pre-ordered it twice. Then when it arrived at the beginning of May, I had to wait to start reading because I had a lot of uni deadlines. But once I finally handed that work in, I immediately picked up ACOWAR.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third in a trilogy by Sarah J Maas – you can find my previous review of A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury here.

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Review: Clade by James Bradley

This book is the last of my university reading for this term. It’s been an up and down collection of things I’ve loved and things I didn’t get on with. Fortunately for a last book, Clade was interesting and surprising.

It follows scientist Adam Leith, beginning while he is working in Antarctica and his partner Ellie back in Australia is waiting for their latest IVF treatment results. Each section jumps between perspectives, using both third and first person, in present tense except for sections which fill in backstory. There is a lot of story layering in the first few chapters, of backstory interspersed with the present moment, which creates an interestingly textured narrative. Every aspect of this novel is layered and faceted – everything has a meaning, an impact beyond the surface level.

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April Wrap Up (2017)

This month has been an improvement, reading-wise. I’ve got into a better rhythm and felt properly engaged with at most of the books I picked up. More importantly, I feel motivated to read again for reasons other than uni or meeting my reading challenge goals. Whisper in case it hears, but the sort-of reading slump might be in retreat…Read More »