2016 Bookish Resolutions Recap

Today we are re-visiting my New Years’ Bookish Resolutions from last year – see here for more details!

Let’s dive right in with my 2016 Resolutions & Results:

Bookish Resolution 1: Read more Classics – minimum of 5!

Result: Success (kind of!)

So I did read 5 classics – some of them modern! Does that count? Well let’s list them:

Emma by Jane Austen

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Matilda & The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

So Plath and Dahl are a bit modern but then they’re also modern classics! So I’m kind of counting them. I could have done with another Dickens or Bronte on the shelf but it’s not appalling!

Bookish Resolution 2: Read a minimum of 10 poetry collections – at least 5 must not be Carol Ann Duffy

Result: Failure!

Hahaha! To think I read 3 poetry collections – 1 by Carol Ann Duffy – and 1 novel in verse. I didn’t succeed in reading poetry this year! Oh well!

Bookish Resolution 3: Read a Graphic Novel

Result: Success!

I read 4! Woop Woop!

Bookish Resolution 4: Read 5 short-story collections

Result: Success

I read 6! Some were definitively short stories across different themes and characters other were short stories of familiar characters in books and some were fairy-tale retellings! Quite a nice mix!

Bookish Resolution 5: Read more diversely

Result: Success/Failure

I think in some respects I did – I read thrillers, horrors and suspense novels this year but I feel I need to read more diversely in terms of author now!

All in all, out of 5 resolutions I have achieved 3.5 out of 5. (a success/failure = .5 to me) so not that bad!

I never really looked back on my resolutions over the year, but left it to spontaneity, so looking at that I have actually done rather well!

Check back soon for an in-depth review of what I’ve read this year, with genre tags, star ratings and links to reviews!

Let me know if you set any Bookish Resolutions for 2016 or 2017! I’d love to know what kinds of resolutions you’ve set for yourself!

Happy Reading x

December Book Haul

I got a few books for Christmasshocker.

I may also be getting a few books in the December Sales but I think I’ll do a separate blog post on that simply because I got quite a lot of books in December as it is! 

Let’s just jump straight in!

Before Christmas:

Just a note – I was incredibly lucky this month and actually won 4 giveaways this month! 4! And so the first few books I got this month were entirely prizes – which was amazing!

The Boy Called Christmas & The Girl Who Saved Christmas
by Matt Haig

I was so incredibly lucky to win this prize on Twitter! A box-set of both of Matt Haig’s Christmas books for children which were not only signed by himself but also by the Illustrator Chris – who also did a unique design in both books as well as doodles of some of Elves on the wrapping, the box cover and within the books themselves! Utterly amazing! Beautiful books!

The Girl Who Saved Christmas
by Matt Haig (audiobook)

Prior to winning the giveaway I actually bought the audio version of the Girl Who Saved Christmas as I was reading the book on my phone and I enjoy reading along with the audio book on the train so that I can carry on ‘reading’ when I’m walking to and from my trains! So that was great luck!

The Bird’s Child
by Sandra Leigh Price

I won this book on Jenny from Neverland’s Giveaway – so thanks so much Jenny! – I haven’t actually read much into this novel yet as I’ve been so busy with Christmas but I’ll let you when I jump into it!

Talking As Fast As I Can
by Lauran Graham

When I heard that I won this I was ecstatic! I may have disliked the reboot of Gilmore Girls but I loved the original and I’ve always liked the actors/actresses so I was looking forward to reading about the experences of Lauren Graham on set and before. I’ve started reading this and I am about halfway through and it is really enjoyable so far! Full review to follow in the New Year!

by Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge)

I won one of the 12 Days of Christmas surprise wins run by Trapeze on Twitter –which was fabulous as I love Trapeze!  Next to Virago they are my favourite imprint so that’s always good. I’ve never really read any of Steve Coogan’s altar ego books but I did love the acknowledgement which was simply: I don’t have anyone to acknowledge at this time, so I won’t.

That’s it for the books I won this Christmas. I think the only other book I bought prior to Christmas was:

Living Dolls: Return of Sexism
by Natasha Walters

I am also currently reading this and so far enjoying it. It has a lot to say on the sexism of the seedier places in world – lap dance clubs, stripping etc – I’m hoping it gets more relatable soon but it has a point and makes it well!

RightChristmas present time:

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

I have this on kindle but I never got it in Hardback as I knew my brother was going to give me his copy for Christmas. He’s not the best at surprises but I didn’t mind waiting as I saw the show and he didn’t. Sorry, Nick. Although I didn’t enjoy reading the script the show was incredible, so I’m glad I got the script in hardback so that I can re-live the show in my head when I read it!

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated)
by J.K. Rowling & illustrated by Jim Kay

It is traditional now that at Christmas I get the next illustrated edition of Harry Potter! This is going to go until I am 26 years old I’ve just realised. Hahaha! Fan-Girl much. But I love it! Of course I opened it up on the pages of spider illustrations but still, beautiful.

Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (audio)
by J.K. Rowling & narrated by Stephen Fry

My sister had a stroke of genius at Christmas and realised I have read the Harry Potter books numerous times but I had never listened to the books. Now I can listen to them on the train during the summer! Woop Woop!

I think that’s it for Harry Potter books – not present's though. I’ll be doing a post on my grad blog of the Harry Potter gifts I got for Christmas soon!

The Woman in Black
by Susan Hill

I’ve seen the stage show of this and quite frankly I don’t think I’ll ever grow the tits to actually read the novel as it was so bloody terrifying. But my mum found this book, and the one below, in a charity shop and they’re red-spine vintage classics and I collect those. So she had to buy it for me for Christmas.

Far From the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy

Another red-spine vintage classic. I’ve never read Hardy as quite frankly I think he’s a misogynistic writer but I did enjoy parts of the Far From the Madding Crowd movie so I may give this classic ago.

More books I collect: The Penguins Little Black Classics. I got 6 this Christmas.

No. 113: Is This a Dagger Which I See Before Me?
by William Shakespeare

This is the small collection of Shakespeare’s soliloquies! I can’t wait to flick through and read it as I love Shakespeare and the soliloquies are part of the best bits about his work!

No. 94: The Suffragettes

This is a collection of speeches, pamphlets, posters, newspaper articles and letters to do with Women’s Suffrage across the early 20th Century. Very interesting to me!

No. 119: Only Dull People Are Brilliant For Breakfast
by Oscar Wilde

I love this little Black Classic! It is a book of Oscar Wilde’s witticisms and he had so many and they’re all hilarious! I love it! The proper basis for marriage is mutual misunderstanding.

No. 100: Nonsense
by Edward Lear

This is a small collection of some of Lear’s best-loved poems. I don’t actually know many of Edward Lear’s poems so this could be a really good introduction!

No. 81: Lady Susan
by Jane Austen

I think one of my regrets of 2016 was not going to see Lady Susan in Cinema. This is the Jane Austen’s small novella/play she wrote as a young woman about a devious, adulterous heroine! No wonder it took until 2016 to be published/performed!

No. 116: Matilda
by Mary Shelley

When I think of Mary Shelley I automatically think of Frankenstein. I think a lot of us forget about her other works so it’ll be interesting to read Matilda – a dark story of a bereaved man’s disturbing passion for his daughter! Dark and incestuous. Shelley was a little disturbed methinks.

No. 89: Tyger Tyger
by William Blake

I know a few of Blake’s poems but not many. This is a small collection of some of his best romantic age poems! Well worth a read.

Last but not least, I have bought a few books today which I’ll include in this list as well, lest I forget I bought them!

The Bronte Story
by Margaret Lane

I’ve read quite a few Bronte Biographies being a major fan and a part academic of their lives. I am greatly looking forward to To Walk Invisible on the 29th of this month on BBC and I just know that it will make me want to read into their lives again! So seeing this in a charity shop for 50p was a sign!

The Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry was wonderful enough to let us know on Twitter that her worldwide bestseller was 99p on kindle and so I had to buy it. I’ve no idea what it’s even about but I’ve been meaning to pick it up as everyone I know in Publishing is raving about it!

But there we go! I’ve bought/received/got some great books this month! I can’t wait to just dive in and read them all!

My Goodreads challenge will be renewing soon and I want to read 70 books in 2017 so the more I read the better! Can’t wait!

What books have you got this month? Share your posts in the comments bar below, I’d love to know!

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Books of 2016

2016 has been a mixed year – politically and personally – but my reading year has gone well!

I beat my Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 60 books by reading 64 books – possible 65 by the end of the year – but I have read some great books this year as well as some meh ones.

But here are my top ten reads of the year – in no particularly order!

The Opposite of Loneliness
by Marina Keegan

I read this collection of short stories and non-fiction essays at the start of 2016 and it moved me so much. Mostly because Marina was tragically killed in a car crash and her work was published posthumously as a result. She was clearly talent and would have made a wonderful long-term writer had she survived. It is always difficult to read and judge a book when the author is no longer around to defend their decisions or answer your questions. But this book has stayed with me all year and that stands to mean something.

by Sue Perkins

I loved this! This autobiography is the best I’ve ever read! It made me laugh, cry and want to call my mother! Sue Perkins is one of my idols – and I’ve known of her work long before the Great British Bake Off (thanks to my mother’s eclectic taste in comedy) and her writing is equally as funny and clever. My mum and I attended one of her book launch performances and it was fantastic! Her intelligence and crowd control is staggering! Read this book if you haven’t already!

Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige

This book is a bit hit and miss for me – although I think the writing is actually fairly weak the story and the re-telling of Wizard of Oz really drew me in! Now I’m slightly addicted to this series! The first book definitely remains the strongest of the series but it was well worth a read.

by Jane Austen

I started reading Emma when I was 18 and in France on the worst holiday of my life and I stupidly let my friend borrow it too read. As such I lost my place and I just gave up on reading it. I put it on my Classics TBR for 2016 and finally returned to it. Thank God!  It’s now my favourite Austen book! It was romantic, clever, witty, funny, sweet and just all around fun! Move over Mr Darcy, I’m all for Mr Knightley!

The Bees
by Laline Paull

I was really interested in reading this book and I finally picked it up and it was incredible. It is told entirely from the perspective of a Bee. A Bee! Not only was it a deeply gripping and thrilling story it was also an intelligently informative book on the life of bees. It’s a work of genius which, at times, was a little dry hence it hasn’t been picked up more I think, but it is well worth a read!

by Sarah Crossan

This book was slightly on my radar when I picked it up but I couldn’t put it down when I read it. It’s a brave and timely story about a set of conjoined twins who, due to an awful medical reason, have to be separated. It’s a great look at the life of twins such as this as well as the people who surround them in life. Told entirely in verse, which I worried would over complicate the story, it was a work of genius. No wonder it has won so many awards.

Girls Will be Girls
by Emer O’Toole

Anyone that has been following this blog for a while will know that I really got into my Feminist Literature in 2016 and this was one of my favourites. Told from the perspective and experiences of Emer it’s an in-depth look into the life of a normal female in the 2000s, asking interesting questions about women’s lives such as: why do we have to shave but men don’t? I couldn’t put it down.

by Daniel Cole

I was sent this book for review and it’s possibly the best book I read this year. It is a thriller, mystery, police-drama and more! Set in the city in today’s time a body made up of several people’s body’s part brings an old case back into the limelight. It’s the beginning of the series – I hope – and is incredible. I couldn’t put it down. It is the next Paula Hawkin’s.

Where Am I Now?
Mara Wilson

As a major fan of Matilda and Miracle on 34th Street I’ve always wondered what Mara Wilson has done since – as I knew she retired from acting. I was thrilled to see she had released this book. It is a memoir of her time as an actress, after and now. It is a poignant telling of the loss of her mother, discovering she had OCD at the age of 12 and more! It’s great writing and well worth a read!

Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick

For a person who will quite happily admit to not having read many memoirs I’ve read quite a few this year and really enjoyed it! I really enjoyed Anna Kendrick’s book – possibly not as much as Sue Perkin’s – it was very funny and a great look at being an actress in modern-day Hollywood. It isn’t like reading a ‘celebrity memoir’ either. It’s a down-to-earth look at a Girl-next-door-done-good. She happily admits to the truths of house-sharing, binge watching box sets and eating take-outs whilst getting on private planes from the Oscars with Ben Affleck. Spot the odd-one out.

Some great reads this year! I hope next year is just as good, if not better! Take a look at what I read last year and watch out for my Bookish Resolutions and list of Books I read this year with genre tags and ratings!

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Feminist Books

I have read quite a few Feminist books this year, which makes me incredibly pleased and only more interested in reading more!

To make it easier for those budding feminists out there, here are my top ten Feminist suggestions:

Girl Up
by Laura Bates

Possibly one of my favourite Feminist books of this side of 2010. It is a funny yet informative book aimed at young girls more than young women. It holds all of the basic information, that you’d think we'd all know yet surprisingly don’t, about female rights, everyday sexism and more! With great illustrations, a no-hold-back attitude towards the topic of sex and relationships and an interesting argument for each topic it’s brilliant!

Girls Will be Girls
by Emer O’Toole

I loved this book. It was intensely honest. Focusing on the author rather than an overview of feminism and sexism itself. This is a book about Emer’s own experience of Everyday Sexism and Feminist discovery. It details her experience of stopping shaving and going on national TV to explain why. It tells of her growth in ideas of ‘what is feminism’ and the reaction she got from it. It was a brilliant, in-depth view of one person’s experience of feminism. Great if you’re just getting into to feminism.

I Call Myself a Feminist
by Various Authors

This is a collection of short non-fiction stories about several women’s own experience of feminism and sexism. From experience of rape to experiences of being of a different race and religion and how this affects their treatment as women. It discusses various topics, is very moving and easy to read, drawing light on subjects we wouldn’t necessarily put with feminism.

 Everyday Sexism
by Laura Bates

I’ve mentioned the term Everyday Sexism a few times and this is the book that informed me what it is. Slightly more academic, and angrier in comparison to Laura Bates’ other book Girl Up, Everyday Sexism is a non-fiction book which details the Everyday Sexism that occurs regularly in female’s lives. With quotes and anecdotes from women, and men, who have experienced everyday sexism and shared it on the Everyday Sexism twitter account and website. It is an honest revelation about the treatment of women in public and in private which goes by unnoticed and uncalled out, even when it is illegal. It’s fascinating and terrifying to read. I was counting off the experiences which I had had and realising that several were against my own civil rights!

The Vagenda
by Holly Baxter & Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

The Vagenda was previously a feminist website created by Holly and Rhiannon, which has sadly now closed but not before spawning this book! The Vagenda aims to bring to light the anti-feminist reality of Women’s Magazines. It may sound odd and against your opinions of Women’s Magazines which I previously thought feminist in some cases, but I promise once you read this book you’ll never read a woman’s magazine again. It’s an angry yet calm book which really gets going in the second half! 

Men Explain Things to Me
by Rebecca Solnit

Now I wasn’t a fan of the book but I was a fan of the essay from which the book gets its title. The first essay in the book details Rebecca’s experiences of being told things by men rather than being involved in a conversation. One example was that a man told her about an essay written of feminism, and she was the woman that wrote it. He continued to tell her about it, not believing that that was the case. Good argument, well worth a read.

The Trouble With Women
by Jacky Fleming

Who says Feminism can’t be funny too. This small non-fiction book details the silly rules men have had for women over the years as well as detail the inventions created by women whose names we don't remember. You can read it under an hour and it’s a funny read which’ll inform you about feminism as much as entertain you.

Published in 2010, some say that this was the book that re-started the call of Feminism in the 21st century. It details all of the truths which had previously been ignored in the new century and I think there was only one bad review of it upon publication. That shows how much it was needed as much as how informative it is.

Bad Feminist
 by Roxanne Gay

A collection of essays by Roxanne Gay about numerous topics and their links to feminism: politics, religion, race and more. A great read, easy to get into and a good start for any budding feminist.

Fifty Shades of Feminism
by Various Authors

Fifty essays from numerous writers, celebs and more. A book on feminism in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey endemic which spread across the world. Is that book a true portrayal of ‘love’ or a sexist, anti-feminist detailing of abuse on women? This book holds short essays on many topics and can easily be read in short bursts or in one go.

I hope this list helps you develop your feminist knowledge and interests you!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Happy Reading x

Harry Potter Gift Guide | Christmas

So I’m a big Harry Potter fan – who isn’t! – I think this has been established. Because of this, this Christmas if anyone is stuck to buy me a gift (I doubt it with my mother!) they know they can buy me anything Harry Potter related and I would be happy.

I’ve actually started a collection of HP items (unintentionally) and it is forever growing! I love it!

But I find a lot of people always ask me: what can I for people that’s different or I know they’ll like.

Getting the books and films is all very well but Harry Potter with a twist is even better! Hence, instead of a standard Gift Guide for Christmas, I’ve decided to make it Harry Potter themed instead!

(Forgive me if this is more female-orientated, it’s just because of my own gender!)

All rights to Literary Emporium
You can personalise this necklace on the Literary Emporium with your house colour! So mine would be Hufflepuff! Go Hufflepuff! It’s only £15.50, sterling silver and unique as I don’t know many people who have Sorting Hat necklaces – a lot of people have Deathly Hallows so go for something a bit unique!

An oldie but a goodie – particularly if you are willing to spend out on the authentic scarves from the Warner Bros Studio tour (eBay bargains are also fine!) You can get one in your Hogwarts house and they’re useful as well as pretty – they also don’t immediately come across as fan items as well so if you’re looking for subtle utility they’re perfect!

Another oldie/goodie – Wands! The best ones are from Warner Bros Studio tour but you can get them almost anywhere! I have my wand: Sirius Black’s hence I have linked it to that one above! Some people like to collect all of the wands others, like me, prefer only one (they’d only have one wand after all!) Well worth checking before you splash the cash on an inanimate object!

Now this is an item I suggest you get off of eBay. I’ve yet to see a direct comparison of the more expensive time-turner necklaces to the fake ones, but mine cost £2 from China and it’s great! I wouldn’t wear it (too chunky) but it’s awesome to spin and have hanging around your room! They’re also quite pretty!

I got this as a gift my Harry Potter mad cousin and she loved it! The kit we purchased included the Hogwarts letter, 9 ¾ ticket, Knight’s Bus ticket, school shopping list, money and more! They’re ephemera pieces of happiness and make a great gift for people! Particularly if you can get a kit with a personalised name and envelope – it makes it feel all the more cheesy/awesome!


All rights attributed to BokaPrints

Now everyone can get the calendar and the posters of the movies but I think some of the prints on Etsy are fabulous! They’re almost like 1950s advert signs! My latest favourites, and soon to be purchased I think, are these two: the Knights Bus print & the Quaffle slogan print! I love it! There are a load on Etsy as well so it’s well worth shopping around for something unique and again, not too fan-like!

I love this. I need this. I will buy this for my life. It is the perfect gift for those lesser-tidy Harry Potter fans!

I first saw these at MinaLima and was itching to buy one. At £19.50 they are pricey for a notebook but they are also really interesting! There are three to choose from and they contain notes from either Harry, Hermione or Ron. So in Ron’s there are doodles of Quidditch paraphernalia and notes to Harry and in Harry’s there are doodles of Hedwig and replies! Unique, fun items that are always nice to add to the collection!

I’ve only recently seen these and they’re the perfect Secret Santa for a HP fan or an early Christmas present! Unfortunately, they only seem to come in Griffyindor or Slytherin (that is House-ist!) but hey, Harry Potter Christmas Stockings!

Another girly gift. Hogwarts headbands! For those girls going through the Hermione Granger staged of Book 1-3 these are the perfect accessory! They come in all four Hogwarts houses and aren’t that expensive at £5.95. A pretty little gift for someone getting started!

Of course, you can always get the books! There are now about 4 different versions of the book – US & UK prints and reprints as well as the illustrated editions now coming out yearly, the extra books which have been re-issued several times. Also, the Fantasic Beasts Screenplay, Cursed Child Script, three HP colouring books and also the additional film texts: Page to Screen, Film Wizardry, Locations, Creatures and more! Double check before you purchase but every HP fan needs the books – sometimes more than once!

That’s plenty to be getting on with but there are so many great shops to buy LOADS more Harry Potter Fan items! So I include them below:
And then Etsy, eBay, Amazon and any bookstore on the planet!

Let me know if you buy anything! And please share if you have any Harry Potter Collections up on your blog! I’d love to have a nose around!

Happy Reading x