State of the TBR – December 2017 #amreading #books


Hm, a thing of beauty or a thing of horror? With Christmas and birthday coming up, as I said the other day, I like to get the TBR down a bit. Not sure that’s quite happened this year …

I’m currently reading these two biographies. The Angela Carter one is nearly done, and it has taken me a while, although it’s generally good. Mo’s is excellent but I’m not very far in yet. Anyone read these?

Next up of course will be my next Iris Murdoch – “The Flight from the Enchanter”, and the next portion of “Cartography for Girls” – I’m reading 17.5 pages of that a month alongside the IMReadalong. Read about Enchanter here and the project page is here: it’s never too late to join in!

The start of the TBR looks like this, however I’m really not sure how far I’m going to get into these this month! Oh dear! One of my friends has just read the Springsteen book and it’s apparently really good, and a fellow book blogger has been enticing me by reading “The Year of Living Danishly”. I might pick off that and the Perkins as a palate-cleanser between big hardbacks, I have to admit.

Anything here catch your eye? What are you up to reading-wise for December?

State of the TBR November 2017 #books #amreading


Well, I have to say that very weirdly, the TBR is looking almost exactly the same as it was last month: just “The Pie at Night” has gone from the very front. How did this happen, especially as there have been – ahem – a few book confessions this month? Well, basically, when we went on holiday at the beginning of October, I pulled BookCrossing books out of the TBR so I could leave them in our holiday cottage easily. The new books I’ve acquired fitted into those spaces, with just a couple moving around to the front row, or else are to be read very soon, (my current reads) so have joined the piles at the front. I read 12 books in October but obviously only one from the start of the TBR!

I finished Danzy Senna’s “New People” yesterday but have yet to review it – in fact, I’m not sure what I actually thought of i t – and this morning finished Robert Webb’s “How not to be a Boy” which Mr Liz enjoyed more than I did (he read the audio book).

I’m currently reading Coleen McCullogh’s “The Ladies of Missalonghi” for Brona’s Books’ Aus Reading Month. I’ve only read a little of it, but I’m enjoying the world that’s been created and the interesting characters, all trapped in their roles in an effectively one-family town.

Next up are these lovelies. I’ll be starting my Great Iris Murdoch Readalong with “Under the Net” (read about it here) and shhh, but Mr Liz might be reading it on audio book, too! I created a page for the project today, too. As part of the project, I’m going to read 1/26 of Carol Sommer’s amazing “Cartography for Girls“, which is a collection of things written about the consciousness of women in Murdoch’s novels, and I think I’m going to create my own random and invisible artwork by either reading it silently in a place where I am or reading it out loud to no one during each month. Well, one way to respond to a work of art is with more “art”, right? I’m going to do 17.5 pages a month and I think I’ll do them in order.

Next up next week is Angela Thirkell’s “The Headmistress”, for the Undervalued Women Novelists Facebook group’s reading week. I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be reading this alongside Ali – she’s blogged about it here and supplied my lovely new copy, reading her own elderly Penguin!

And coming up after those is pretty well the same stuff as last month – but this time I will read at least some of these. Very non-fiction based, but I have some novels from NetGalley and generally on the Kindle, as well as the fiction mentioned above, so should have a decent mix. I’m aware it’s Non-Fiction November but I just don’t have the time and resources to take part in everything – I’ll merely read the same amount of non-fic as usual, I’d imagine!

What are you planning on reading in November?

State of the TBR – October 2017 #amreading #bookconfessions


Well, here’s the state of the TBR, and you know what? I don’t think that’s too bad.

Of course we’re going to ignore the unopened Book of Running a Marathon, aren’t we …

I’m currently reading these two. Lynsey Hanley’s “Respectable” is a book about class, seen through the lens of her own life, born a few years after me and growing up on a council estate in Chelmsley Wood. It’s a hard read, both because you have to concentrate (it mixes background information, her life and sources to good effect, but it’s still quite dense) and because if you’re solidly middle-class, you can’t help feeling a bit guilty (even though she’s at pains to point out that all classes are bound by their edges, by traditions, etc.). And because I obviously need reminding what running a marathon is like, I’m reading a book by a man who’s run 25 of the things. I’ve done his first one with him now, so not that far in, and already I REALLY want to run London. Hm.

Up next are these lovelies, I think mainly from birthday and just afterwards – I remember buying Mo, Bounce and Springsteen at the end of January, and these actually seem to have got out of order, as apparently I picked up Stuart Maconie’s “The Pie At Night” on the same day, via BookCrossing, so it should hop past Angela Carter and “The Games” really.  Sue Perkins was picked up in The Works, I believe. These are all non-fiction, even if some of them are quite light, so I suspect I’ll be popping ahead in the TBR to grab some fiction, or reading that on the Kindle (more on the horror of NetGalley wins later).

Now for a few confessions. Matthew and I got really excited about reading this book together – Robert Webb’s autobiography but also musings on gender. I’ve enjoyed his pieces in the New Statesman on the topic and this is very readable – in fact I picked it up idly when it arrived and couldn’t put it down. Matthew’s going to read it on audiobook, read by Webb.

When I went to save this image in my Book Confessions folder, I thought, “Oh, gosh, the only book acquired this month, aren’t I good”. Then I thought to look at my NetGalley wins. Oops. So I should confess that the following all arrived this month:

Allison Pearson – “How Hard Can it Be” – I hadn’t realised this was the follow-up to “I Don’t Know How She Does It” until I read that on a blog, and even though I read that aeons ago and don’t remember any of the characters, I had to go for it.

Helen Thorpe – “The Newcomers” – non-fiction about a group of refugee girls at a school in Denver, charting their first year there.

Indu Balachandran – “The Writers’ Retreat” – three Indian writers go to a writing retreat on a Greek island – looks like a fun multicultural novel.

Bill McKibbon – “Radio Free Vermont” – a novel following a group of Vermont patriots who think their state might be better off independent.

Connie Glynn – “Undercover Princess” – YA novel about swapped identities which looks quite fun.

I’ve also won this one from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Susan Ryan – “The King of Lavender Square” – a group of disparate folk, from African mother and son to an advertising whizz-kid live in a Dublin Square – what will bring them together into a community?

Well, there we go, a smaller physical TBR and a bigger electronic one (I’m slightly gutted that I just won the Allison Pearson because I was at 79% reviewed on NetGalley and they recommend 80% and give you a BADGE) but not too bad. Have you read any of my upcoming print or ebooks? What have you got to confess and how’s your TBR looking?

State of the TBR – September 2017


Well the TBR is as large as ever but I have made progress on it since August – it’s shuffled up a lot but a few have joined at the end. I did pull out the Persephones for All Virago / All August and #20BooksofSummer but I’ve also read quite a lot in August – hooray (11 books, which is quite high for me these days)

I’m currently reading Gladys Huntingdon’s “Madame Solario” which is set in Cadenabbia on Lake Como, a place I have actually stayed. It’s very absorbing and gossipy, like being in a hotel and watching the other residents. This is Book 20 in my #20BooksOfSummer project – you can see my progress here and even though I am not actually taking it away with me to the Iris Murdoch Society Conference (too bulky – I’ve popped Alexei Sayle’s “Stalin Ate My Homework” in instead), I should get it finished by the September 4 deadline for the end of 20Books. I’m about to start (and have packed) Daniel Tammet’s “Every Word is a Bird we Teach to Sing”, which is about language – I’m reviewing it for Shiny New Books and very much looking forward to reading it.

Coming up next on the shelf are these lovelies. I have the NetGalley TBR down to 10 books now (and have won my 25 books reviewed badge, which you should be able to see on this blog; I think I have two books to go until I’m back at 80% reviewed, too) so should get to a few of these. I know Ali has the Angela Carter bio so we might read that together. These represent the end of Christmas and the beginning of my birthday books – so I’m finally reading books I acquired this year, which always seems like a bit of a triumph!

What does your September reading look like? How’s the old TBR?

State of the TBR – August 2017 #amreading #books


Well, here’s the current state of the TBR and it’s, erm, about the same as it was last month? I’ve actually got round to adding things up now, and I read 13 books in July … but I acquired 12 (Oh, I’ve reviewed 11, don’t worry. The Marian Keyes I read has to be reviewed next month and the Stuart Maconie will come out on Shiny New Books in a few days and then on here, too). The print ones all appear under the Book Confessions tag, but I do appear to have snuck some through on the e-book side, too – you can see which ones I downloaded in July from NetGalley in the photo below, plus I can confess to having bought the e-books “The KLF” by John Higgs and “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike” by Phil Knight. Oops. No wonder this picture is similar to July’s!

Moving on hastily, these are the two books I’m currently reading. I’m kind of toying with “Run for your Life” as it’s not really what I expected, being a plan for sorting your problems out while running which isn’t coming at the right time for me really, but it does have some interesting points, for example on how to listen while running, so I will persevere. “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” is a well-written and intelligent delight, it really is – with references to Angela Thirkell – yes, it is a romance, but there’s plenty more detail about running a bookshop, etc., and a range of interesting characters. I bought this because I won the sequel on NetGalley and I’m really looking forward to that now.

Coming up, well, here’s the paper version. I will be going against my “read in acquisition order” policy here, although actually all of the front row of my TBR apart from “Eat & Run” arrived for Christmas or Birthday or was bought with a book token in January, so they’re not exactly widely spaced out. Anyway, thanks to the 20 Books Of Summer project, and All Virago / All August, which is a challenge done in the LibraryThing Virago Group online, once I’ve read “Eat & Run”, I will be picking off the two Virago books and three Persephones before the other books by other publishers. Shocking, I know, but fortunately I do do this every August. I also suspect I’ll be saving the Simon Armitage for when I’m in Cornwall again later in the year. Other books that will feature this month are Linda Gillard’s two in my Pile so I can get them all shared out via BookCrossing.

And here’s my NetGalley TBR, in publication order – if you can see this (can you expand it?), you will see that I haven’t had the older ones for ages but downloaded them fairly recently.  I will make a big effort to read the ones that are being published in August or are just published, and will I’m sure push on to the second “Little Bookshop” volume.

How’s your TBR?

State of the TBR – July 2017 #amreading


Apologies for the shoddy photos this month – I’ve been at the athletics all day (the British trials for the World Championships) and got back a bit late for the light. Anyway, here’s the state of the TBR, and it looks quite bad (the front shelf ends with the big red Angela Carter bio) but actually my mid-June one looked a LOT worse (see the post where I exposed it here). I read just nine books in June (way down from May’s 22!), four non-fiction and five fiction (one not yet reviewed) but finished one this morning.

I’m currently nearly at the end of Francis Brett Young’s “The Black Diamond” and starting a quick crime novel for some light reading while I think about my Shiny New Books review of “ReWild”.

Up next on the shelf are these lovelies:

However, I do appear to have added Paul Flynn’s “Good as You” (about 30 years of gay Britain from the 80s onwards), “The Shadow District”, which I requested AGES ago and forgot about, first in a series about Arnaldur Indriðason’s Detective Erlendur in his early years, and Naomi Klein’s “No is Not Enough”, about direct action to take in these difficult world times, all from NetGalley. I might get my 25 Reviews NetGalley badge soon but will take a while to work back up to my 80% reviewed status! So a mix of e and paper books this month, I expect.

Plus I’ll be reading those three Cornwall books on the Pile soon enough, as I have a weekend in Cornwall with my photo-a-day group coming up. Exciting!

Not taking part in the LibraryThing Virago Group read this month (Rumer Godden – I like her – she’s not on my TBR) means I can concentrate on #20BooksofSummer. And having added two  books I’d forgotten to link, I’ve now read books from 67 of my 100 years in my Century of Reading!

What are you planning to read in July? Are you doing any challenges?

State of the TBR June 2017 plus MORE buys plus an article I’d love you to read #amreading #books


Well, the TBR has ended up about the same size as it was last month, but there’s a big difference in the books that are on it. If you have a look at the May post, that first Persephone was a good seven books in, and the PILE had ten books in it rather than the four it has now. I had a massive reading month in May and it’s nice to have brought some new and exciting stuff round to the front.

I actually moved Jon Kalman Stefansson’s “The Heart of Man” onto the Pile as it’s the third in a trilogy and that’s where that kind of thing that I can’t read immediately goes. But, erm, having noticed that and moved it, I seem to have ordered the first two. Oh well, they’re set in Iceland so they fit in the collection management policy, right? I also ordered Amit Katwala’s “The Athletic Brain: How Neuroscience is Revolutionising Sport and can Help you Perform” because someone was talking about it in a running and reading group I’m in, and had a fit of Kindle-clicking and bought Shion Miura’s “The Great Passage” from an Amazon advanced reads offer (a Japanese novel about writing dictionaries? Yes, please!). Handily, there was nothing I wanted out of the six for this month in the email newsletter I signed up for.

I’m currently reading the excellent “The Professor’s House” by Willa Cather – I’m nearly done and the dual setting of the Midwest and New Mexico just seems to encapsulate everything I like about her writing in one book.

I’m then set to start on my #20BooksofSummer challenge and you can see my pile for that here. Most of the books in this pic are part of that. Lots of bloggers I read already are taking part in that and I’m looking forward to being in that special community of readers over the summer months.

I published a post on my professional blog today which I’d love some of you to pop over and read if you have a moment. It’s about responding to comments on blogs, and I’d really like to hear your opinions on whether that’s something that matters a lot to you in the blogs you read. Please pop and have a look and comment there if you have a min. Thank you!

What are you reading on this (sunny here) first day of June? What variety have you got coming up?

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