Posted in Books

2021 Reading Goals

Happy New Year! We made it to 2021, phew! I’m not one for resolutions but I do like setting some goals for the upcoming year and thinking of this time as the chance for a reset. One of the things I really want to do is to read more because, despite all the extra time at home that 2020 brought, I really didn’t read that many books last year. So, to help myself out, I’ve come up with a 2021 reading goal and a bingo card of some types of books I really want to give a go this year.

So, first thing’s first, I want to aim to read at least 25 books this year, that works out to a bit more than one every two weeks which I think should be manageable whilst still being an uplift on 2020.

Reading goals to get me out of my comfort zone:

  1. A book that’s less than 200 pages

I never usually read books less than 250 pages or more than 500 so I’m challenging myself to find a concise story I’ll enjoy.

2. A thriller

This is probably my least-read genre but I know thrillers are really popular so I want to give them a decent try this year.

3. A book with a film/TV adaptation (or upcoming adaptation) that I haven’t seen yet

If I see the film first, I won’t read the book so I’m going to force myself to get reading so I can watch any adaptations I want.

4. A book that has been recommended to me by someone else

I’m awful for neglecting recommendations. In fact, I’ve noticed I’m often less likely to read or watch something if it’s recommending to me somehow… clearly, I’m such a great friend!

5. A book that has been on my shelf for at least a year

Everyone buys books they end up not reading right away but I have quite a big backlog now that I need to get through.

6. A book I started but never finished

This is a callout post for my worst reading habit of abandoning books once I’ve started them.

7. A classic that is at least 100 years old

I read loads of classics when I studied English Literature at uni (and started quite a few I didn’t finish) but I haven’t read many since and that was three years ago – time to change that.

8. A book published in 2021

There are so many books already published that I’ve been meaning to read, I don’t want to lose sight of ones newly out this year.

9. A book set in a country I haven’t been to or read about before

I love reading books set in cultures I know nothing about so I want to have some fun with this one. Also, I wanted to set myself an extra task here of not just a country I haven’t yet visited but one I have never even read a book set in before.

Let me know your reading goals in the comments!

Posted in Books

Tag: The Outstanding Blogger Award (Kinda)

My lovely friend from The Last Book on the Left (a fabulous book and writing blogger, give her a follow if you don’t already) tagged me in The Outstanding Blogger Award tag and I’m excited to answer the questions she’s set me. As I only made my big ole blogging comeback this year, I’m not going to play by the rules because, to put it simply, I don’t really think I’m worthy of the award. Maybe some day I’ll feel more worthy but I need to up my blogging game first. So, if you want to check out the rules and how the tag really should be done, take a look at M.T.’s post.

So, without further ado, onto M.T.’s questions…

1. Do you like listening to music while you read?

If I’m at home or on my own then no but if I’m around other people e.g. on a train or in a coffee shop (thinking more of pre-Covid times here) then I do tend to. I’ve gotten quite good at zoning out of whatever is playing to focus on reading so if I am listening to music it’s more to mute out the world than to listen along as I read. I feel like fellow introverts will relate to me, right?

2. What is the best book you’ve read in 2020 so far?

I have to admit, despite lockdowns, I really haven’t read that much this year. I did read Little Women for the first time though and really loved it. I adored the film when I saw it way back at the start of the year and was so relieved I enjoyed the book just as much. Even though parts of it feel a bit dated (and even a bit preachy in places), it has a strangely modern feel and the focus on female family relationships is so heart-warming.

3. What is the best movie or TV show you’ve seen in 2020 so far?

Well, my personal favourite, if I can bring it up yet again was the new Little Women film which I saw way back on 11th January… what a different time that was! I also watched Schindler’s List this year and, although it was an incredibly hard watch in places, I thought it was a really important story which I feel richer for knowing.

4. Are there any sequels you liked more than the first book?

I’ve been reading more stand alone adult books recently but a couple that come to mind would be nearly all The Mortal Instruments sequels and Clockwork Princess in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. I’m so out of the Shadowhunters loop these days but I really loved those books as a teenager. Also, I love an epic finale in a series so The High King from The Chronicles of Prydain (a severely underrated children’s high fantasy series!) is a great ending and probably my favourite of the five books. Plus, The Order of the Phoenix is my favourite Harry Potter book (even if I’m not such a J.K. fan these days).

5. Besides reading, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Well, I think my blog makes it quite clear I love the theatre. I’m definitely not a performer but pre-Covid, I was going to a lot of shows and my most used playlists on Spotify are my musical theatre ones. I also enjoy making up stories and I would love to one day publish a book. There’s a children’s series idea I’ve been working on through the lockdowns which I might do blog post about at some point but it’s a very research-heavy project so it’s slow progress currently.

6. What book is underrated but you wish more people knew about?

Not to be repeating myself again but The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander deserves just as much hype as the likes of Narnia! Also, keeping on the children’s book theme, my favourite book growing up was The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner and I always felt that was underrated.

For an adult fiction pick, I’m surprised there aren’t more people reading My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It was longlisted for the Booker Prize but I haven’t seen as much hype around it as I feel it deserves because it is so so good.

7. What is your most anticipated 2021 release?

Well, my most anticipated 2020 release was Troy by Stephen Fry which has only just come out! However, as for 2021, there is one book that comes to mind. I’m really looking forward to reading Reputation by Lex Croucher. I’ve been subscribed to Lex on YouTube for a long time because I really enjoy both her takes on the world and key social issues and her brilliant sense of humour. Reputation is a Regency comedy-drama which is being described as one for fans of Mean Girls and Jane Austen, both of which I love so I’m down.

Thanks so much M.T. for tagging me in this, it has been really fun answering these questions. This tag was started by Colton Beckwith and you can find the original post with the lowdown on how the tag is supposed to go here. Just to be clear again, I answered these questions because I was tagged but not to properly enter myself in for the award 😊.

Thanks for reading, bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober, Books

Blogtober Day 3: Books to Read This Halloween

Hey fellow book nerds! For Blogtober Day Three I thought I would share my favourite spooky reads with you and let you know what is currently sitting on my Halloween TBR.

The Classics

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula might not have been the first ever literary vampire but he’s certainly the most well-known. There’s no better time to sink your teeth into this classic and transport your mind to nineteenth century Transylvania (for the first few chapters anyway!).  

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

When it comes to Halloween classics, you can’t miss out one of the first ever works in the horror genre! The Creature is the original zombie and one with a heart, not that it will stop him from going on a rampage for vengeance. It’s creepy and a total must-read for any horror or Halloween fan.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Jane Austen might not be known as a spooky writer but she did indeed dabble in the Gothic. Inspired by the most popular creepy reads of her time, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey parodies classic Gothic stories. The book features heroine, Catherine, as she finds herself in a creepy old house with a few chilling secrets to reveal… unless, of course, Catherine has just been reading one too many Ann Radcliffes.

Recent Recommends

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

This is a work of historical fiction that I fell in love with last year. The story follows young Fleetwood Shuttleworth as she becomes determined to defy her doctor’s estimations and make both her and her unborn baby survive her latest pregnancy. She enlists the help of a mysterious midwife with unusual remedies but as the Pendle Witch Trials grip the county, Fleetwood realises her new friend might need saving too.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’m not usually a thriller reader but something about the title of this book sucked me in and I am glad it did. When Korede gets a call from her sister, Ayoola, asking her to help clean up a murder Ayoola committed in self-defense, Korede runs to her sister’s side. That was the first time anyway. Now Ayoola is three murdered boyfriends down and Korede is getting suspicious. It’s when Ayoola starts dating Korede’s colleague that the bond of sisterhood is truly put to the test. If you like your thrillers with a slice of dark comedy, this is definitely the read for you this October.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This book is basically a masterless in how to write a modern Gothic story. After Daniel is taken to the Cemetery of Lost Books and told he may choose only one to cherish forever, he picks up a copy of The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. After finishing the book, he aims to discover what happened to the elusive author but nothing is as it seems and when a figure with a sinister resemblance to the villain of the book starts following him, Daniel realises he might be in too deep.

TBR

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

All I know about this book is that it’s a YA reimagining of the Weird Sisters or Brides of Dracula from Bram Stoker’s original novel. That’s all I need to know, I’m sold!

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

Ok, I know, it’s another Draucla-themed book but this one sounds great too! Dracul is a Gothic retelling of the life of Bram Stoker and if you clocked the authors’ names, you might be interested to know that Dacre Stoker is a descendent of Bram himself!

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

All I know about this is that the cover is beautiful and it’s about a haunted house. Quite frankly, I don’t need to know anything more, it’s secured its place on the list.

What are you reading this Halloween? Let me know in the comments.