Over the past 8 months I have been absent, and I promised I wouldn’t be absent, but I was so there it is. My first A- level year was officially a success, and from it I’ve been predicted solid A’s and possible A*’s in all of my subjects. All I can say was that it was hard work and intense dedication and that I’m only halfway there. Let’s hope I can reproduce the results for next year. Fingers and toes and any other body part crossed please!
Although I have been absent from book-blogging shenanigans, I have never read more than what I have this past year. It has been such a liberating and mind opening experience to read so many books and really feel like I’ve come a long way. My book-ban-challenge shelf, as it is so named on my Goodreads account, has been hovering around the 100 book-mark for what feels like eternity and is currently at 106 books unread. I put myself on a book buying ban around Christmas last year and it hasn’t worked so I’ve essentially given up on resisting my urges. I’m an addict but hey, at least its not cocaine,right?
Anyway, to the books!
I’ve read some pretty amazing books these past months, ranging over some diverse genres and have touched on so many influential themes. From the last embers of my YA fiction days to 5th century BC war strategies; from Hogwarts, down the River Nile and into the West of England, I’ve done a lot of traveling. Ironically, I’ve been to all of these places physically this year! I’ve been a Southern Belle with Scarlett O’Hara, shared a life boat with a tiger and Pi, and walked the streets of London with Ben Judah.
In my next posts I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books I’ve read throughout this hiatus, along with how I’m saying farewell to YA fiction, the books I recommend to anyone venturing into medical school as well as feminist novels and memoirs which have empowered me tenfold. As part of my English A Level Coursework I’d like to share some of the required texts and my thoughts on travel writing as well as plays and books which share parallels with Wide Sargasso Sea, Twelfth Night and A Streetcar Named Desire.
I treated myself this month to a raid on charity shops. I’ve been doing quite well at college and I thought “treat yo self”. So I did.
Safe to say, me and my bank account are ignoring each other. Ignorance is bliss.
I also received my first Willoughby Book Club subscription this week! As if I wasn’t spoiled enough! I truly love how my surprise book arrived!
Books in the haul of February… ta daaa (someone has to confiscate my bank card please I beg you.)
Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux (Now this I bought purely because we study an extract from this travelogue in English Language and Literature A Level. Safe to say the title ‘Riding the Iron Rooster’ would not spark my interest under any other circumstances)
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (I REMEMBER WATCHING THE FILM OF THIS ON V I D E O!!)
Structural Inorganic Chemistry by Wells (says what it does on the tin.)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (this copy was BEGGING to be bought. Its currently living on my windowsill being pretty and old. I imagine Will Herondale reading this addition, woo-ing Tessa and the rest of the fandom into oblivion. If you know you know.)
Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (gotta love a bit of Fitz.)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré (MY GRANDAD LIKES THIS BOOKS SO I’LL GIVE IT A GO.)
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (I have no idea why I picked this up. Honest. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (my nan told me to read it.)
Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I really wanted to read this as I have recently been admiring the author on her stance on feminism.)
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (why not? Daniel Radcliffe is on the cover.)
Blood Brothers by Willy Russell (I’m taking one of my best friends to go and see this for her birthday next month!)
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (I spied this on my Auntie’s bookshelf and couldn’t help myself when I saw it today!)
The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett (This is going to sound really weird by I am a huge fan of Bennett without reading a scratch of his work. He’s like a Northerner Grandad Teddy Bear. I watched the film of this on Christmas Eve and loved it as an English student. It left my dad a tad baffled though. Plus we’re studying an extract from his diaries in English as well.)
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (I’ve heard so much about this!)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (The cover is pretty)
Room by Emma Donoghue (My best friend read this recommending it to me as it is a really interesting concept for a novel.)
The Lightning Tree by Emily Woof (This was my Willoughby Book Club book! I’m so excited!)
Its been a while. I’ve been neglecting. I’ve been feeling guilty for ages. Update on the whole A Level situation; A grades do not achieve themselves. It’s got to the point I start quoting chemical formulas and equilibrium equations whilst eating my dinner. Good news is that it hasn’t been for nothing! Predicted A’s! You’ll find me dancing in the corner where the food is.
BUT. I do love blogging and I’ve been procrastinating recently about study so I thought I might as well do it properly and blog about it. I have been reading non stop also! As you can see. These are the books I’ve read but just not blabbered about. I’ve probably missed out a few but hey ho.
A lot of Harry Potter went on… J.K is forever a Queen.
A bit of Percy Jackson (I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M READING THIS I’M NOT THE BIGGEST FAN BUT I’VE STARTED IT NOW SO I’VE GOT TO FINISH IT AAHH)
Finished His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Now I’ve got to dedicate this to my lovely Uncle who handed me a beat up copy of Northern Lights when I was about 9. Almost 10 years later I finish the series. Subtle Knife was AMAZEBALLS. Amber Spyglass a bit blah.
Elizabeth Is Missing, I thought was really sweet. The use of perspective in this novel was very clever and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Stephen King’s Revival was actually very very good, slow starting but very much worth the wait because wow. Jessica’s Ghost I bought and enjoyed purely for the title. It was mandatory. But it was a really sweet Tweeny story. Tad on the morbid side like The Last Leaves Falling which I shamelessly sobbed over in my blanket fort. Tiger Lily… Hmmm. I honestly bought and read the book for a flowery, airy fairy romance. But DAMN.WAS I WRONG. I really rated this for Girl Power. I loved it. Just read it. Completing my Dan Brown collection was satisfying with Deception Point which I was engrossed in. Thrillers are rarely my thing and most of the time I get a bit bored them because I figure out whodunit before the protagonist does. But Dan Brown always keeps me reading because WHO KNOWS WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN. However finding out that he’s got a new book coming out in a few days Origin made me sigh heavily because now I’ve got to buy books when I’m on a book ban at the moment. On the other hand, I read the much reviewed and raved about The Girl On The Train. It was alright. The entire book kinda gave me anxiety because train delays. God. Should’ve been called the Southeastern Experience. The story was alright, but a tad overrated.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins took me weeks to read. It was very good and the scientist in me was boggling and lost in the theory. I loved it and was immersed in it. but it’s heavy reading. Tales of Adventure and Medical Life by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was probably one of my favourite books I’ve read recently. I laughed, teared up a bit, was lost in it. Love good doctoring.
My Classics Catch Up has been going well. Can we please appreciate Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire? I mean dear Baby Jesus is that even legal?
I adored to my core The Colour Purple and searching frantically for the film in charity shops! God damn empowering that! Maya Angelou… well. We’re studying a passage from Mom & Me & Mom in A Level English so I thought it would be nice to read a little more about her. This woman was amazing and I want everything she has ever written.
I read the Great Gatsby! Yay! It was quite a lovely moment actually. I remember trying to read it a few years back and just couldn’t understand what was going on! Now I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it! Growth that! Beautifully written and now I want to see the film. On The Road I thought was beautifully written, real talent. But I hated the characters. I couldn’t stand the pretentious “Oh yeah I drink and smoke and have sex a lot and I’m deep and all because I’m hitchhiking and yeah America”. I really am sorry but ugh. Gulliver’s Travels was okay… dragged a little. Anthony and Cleopatra I kinda got but fell asleep about three times on the sofa whilst in the middle of reading it…Take from that what you will.
I educated myself a bit on Gandhi. Closely followed my I Am Malala by complete fluke. MALALA GIRL YOU ARE AMAZING. Your story honestly opened my eyes. An inspiration. If you’re going to read anything this year, read that.
I recently read The Penguin Lessons by tom Mitchell. I don’t think I can express my love for this little book. Spoiler alert it involves a penguin. If you’re not sold at that you need to sort your priorities out because PENGUINS ARE CUTE.
2016 admittedly was quite shite. I mean what was that? Bowie, Prince, Rickman AND Carrie Fisher? PRINCESS FRICKEN LEIA? I think the most 2016-ish thing to happen was George Michael going ON CHRISTMAS DAY. I guess you could say it was his Last Christmas…
Not to mention Brexit (yay) Trump (I MEAN… THERE ARE NO WORDS) As well as many other quite shitty thing to happen.
2017…please be good to me. Cherry on top.
It is my New Year’s Resolution to keep up the blog, its very very therapeutic. I’LL DO IT. I really will… honest.
I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely, hilarious Brontë’s Page Turners who is actually a star. Love you loads.
I’m quite new to this awarding business, but I’ve googled it thoroughly since my nomination and I think I can rock it.
So, there are rules to this. Oooh riskaay…
- Acknowledge the person who nominated you and display the award.
- Answer the questions that the blogger gives you.
- Give eleven random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 11 blogs who you think deserve it.
- Let the bloggers know you’ve nominated them.
- Give your eleven questions to the nominees.
The rules are normally subject to change and twists but you follow.
So I’ll get onto answering the questions! (This is exciting isn’t it?)
1.What made you start blogging?
Well… I’m still a bit of a blogging baby, having only started my blog back in June. I started on a whim, having just finished a set of exams and reading a huge pile of books I had accumulated over the academic year which had been neglected by exam season. After reading a load of them, I realized I wanted to talk about them and get out all the heartbreak, frustrations and thoughts on these books. I turned to blogging to vent about books. That’s the reason and my motive actually lies with my Liebster nominator whose book blog got me reading (and giggling) and offered the real inspiration for the book blogging scene. You da bomb.
2.I have to purchase every book I read. Do you?
YES. I completely do this. I buy books whenever and wherever I go adding them quite happily to my to be read shelves. Even if I read a book online electronically (a rare occasion but has happened in desperate times) and enjoy it just moderately its being bought. Standard. I have this theory that all the books you read are a part of growing; the books I love and the books I hate have all had an impact on who I am. That’s why the first thing I look at in someones house is their bookcase; you expect the good and the bad.
3. I have a spreadsheet of all of my books to guard against theft (aka borrowers not returning items) and other calamities. Do you?
Um… I find this fact impressive. I can’t say I spreadsheet my books, but keep a very VERY mental note of where my books are and with which people. For example I know a book series is being borrowed by a friend (has been for the entire summer) and yeah… I’m waiting patiently. I do have this habit of piling up all my to be read books on their particular shelf (classic/biography; science/general reading; series [which then graduates to the series bookshelf; yeah this is a serious business]) with there pages facing out and their covers facing down so I have no idea what I pick up next to read, only the possible genre. Its like a mystery read every time, and I’m always satisfied. I also have a method. I read a classic, and then as classics are usually quite hard reading or heavy ideas and so on, I give myself a breather by graduating down to general reading. I then move up (ooh shake up) to a pile of books that are related to my a level courses and can range from Shakespeare to Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. I then move down to series (I read too many series for my own good). And then the process begins again.
4. I run yearly maintenance on my books, giving them a good airing and checking for damp. What lengths do you go to to care for your books?
I don’t do this, but its a great idea! I’m quite hesitant towards lending out books to people if I know a page is slightly lose in the book, or the glue of the spine is crackly or its really old. Just… no. I do this because I remember once I was reading a book borrowed from a friend and was reading whilst eating dinner at the table. My mother got quite annoyed by this and snatched the book out of my hands, ripping half of one of the pages. I felt absolutely horrible. It wasn’t my book! I think I bought her a new copy but it still isn’t the same. That guilt has never left me and yeah, I’m just quite sad when it comes to books. To be fair I’m actually quite bad; I write my name in my books and break the spines at crucial points in the story. They are loved that way!!!!
5. To paraphrase the poet Barry Manilow…Questions 2-4 show How Deep Is My Love for books. Can you tell me something that demonstrates How Deep Is Your Love for books?
Quite deep. I love books. Always have, always will. When I was learning to read I remember reading Little Red Riding Hood as a bedtime story. Being a little rebel who didn’t believe in bedtime, once my parents would leave the room, light off and all I would pick up Little Red and lean quite close to the window so I could read in the dim light. I remember one night there was no light and I was turning the pages the pitch black, but had memorized each word of each page. And so I can read in the dark.
6. Do you have a favourite song based on a book?
I can’t say I listen to much music based on books. Maybe I have without knowing. But in my angsty teen days (slowly fading) I remember listening to Youtubers who had composed songs based on (QUEEN) Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. Fantasy, teenage forbidden love, the author of The Mortal Instruments (I will definitely be dedicating an entire blog to this lady soon). I’ve read the series so many times. But yes, angsty songs were made and when I’m in the car with headphones in and its raining the songs come out. Fire and Ice was fab.
Getting onto some fantastic facts about Jess.
- I am left-handed! #LeftiesUnite
- My favourite color is green although you’d hardly find me wearing it.
- I can speak German and Arabic (rusty) along with English my mother tongue.
- I make a banging cup of tea.
- I grew up in Hurghada, Egypt. Google it, its really beaut.
- I want to visit the Marshall Islands before they disappear.
- I once bumped into Albus Dumbledore at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. I kid you not. He was having a fag.
And so my tantalizing questions!
- Which book has made the greatest impact on you?
- If you could meet two authors dead/alive who would you choose?
- Are there any other books you’ve got your eye on reading next? Which and why?
- Which book do you feel is entirely underrated?
- What is your favorite quote (doesn’t necessary have to be book related)?
- What was your favorite childhood game?
- If you could change one thing about the world what would you change?
- Do you have a special place where you read? If so, where?
- What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- What’s the best part of your day?
- What would be the first thing you did if you won the lottery?
I should not be allowed within reach of charity shops…
Maya Angelou- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Jean Rhys- Good Morning Midnight
Victoria Aveyard- Glass Sword
This Is London-
William Shakespeare- The Taming of the Shrew
George Orwell- Down and out in Paris and London
Conrad- Heart of Darkness
Orhan Pamuk- My Name is Read
William Shakespeare- Hamlet
Maragret Mitchell- Gone With the Wind
Michael Morpurgo- War Horse
John Steinbeck- The Grapes of Wrath
William Shakespeare- Romeo & Juliet
Leroux- The Phantom of the Opera
The Voyage of the Beagle- Charles Darwin
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
The Time Traveller’s Wife- Audrey Niffennegger
Tales of Beedle and Bard- J.K Rowling
Haven’t been blogging as much; in the middle of a house move, studying for the GODDAMN UKCAT, and having a fortnight away in Norway visiting a friend. So actually it’s a pretty good reason.
But yes, Norway is amazing! If you haven’t been; go. Worth it worth worth it!
Yesterday we climbed up Pulpit Rock, doing the whole tourist stuff.
I proudly accept my tourist-ness. It was so much fun!
I’ll just leave these here…
As I hang my head in shame as the very few digits in my bank account waggle their finger at me in disdain.
I buckled; I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be saving for my Norway trip and I had to go into town to get dad some weird lip suncream stuff and Boots is RIGHT NEXT TO WATERSTONES.
I wasn’t going to buy anything, I really wasn’t. But I’ve been feeling kind of down and have been told recently I read really childish books.
So to throw in their face WAR AND PEACE.
WAR AND PEACE, PEOPLE.
Dear Lord and Baby Jesus what have a signed myself up to?
I’m a little scared.
But I’m of course looking forward to getting immersed into these books once I get the chance.
Burger’s Daughter looks good as well!
Also Little Penguin Classics are lethal in a book shop because they are so cheap and so small and cute and then I’ve picked up four and oops.
How have your recent book hauls treated you?