Friday, 9 October 2015

Moby Dick Read-along: WHAT AM I DOING?

Back in Spring, a troop of readers fought our way through War and Peace, valiantly led by Hanna at Booking in Heels.  It actually turned out to be not quite as much of an ordeal as I think we'd all feared and I will admit that knowing that I've read such an unwieldy classic is kind of cool.  So when Hanna posted about another read-along last month (ish - I lose track...), I was keen to face down another classic.

But Moby Dick, Hanna and Hanna's Voters?  Really?!  You people are cruel.  To be fair, I actually know next to nothing about Moby Dick.  I know that it features a white whale that is being...hunted?   And that it's long but not as long as War and Peace.  And that Matilda is reading it to Miss Honey at the end of the film version of Matilda.  I know.  I'm practically an expert.

SO, although I reserve my right to grumble, I'm in.  It would seem there are very few limits on what I'll read just because Hanna says so!

Let the whaling commence!
Want to sign up for a couple of months of whale hunting (possibly...I haven't a clue, really)?  You know you do and you can do it HERE.

Monday, 5 October 2015


Wow.  What a trip.  Even after a good few days back in chilly Yorkshire, I still don't really know how to articulate just how wonderful it all was.  It's Boyfriend's 30th this year and we wanted to do something different and something really memorable to celebrate.  After much (oh so much) deliberation, he settled on the Singapore Grand Prix.

Singapore Grand Prix circuit
(image credit)
The experience was unbelievable.  Singapore is a beautiful, beautiful place full of kind and welcoming people that take such pride in their country.  I know that everybody says it but it really is so clean and we felt completely safe everywhere.  The race itself was spectacular.  It's a city-based night race so we were able to walk to the track and amble to our seats past iconic buildings and incredible monuments.  We saw Maroon 5 after qualifying and Bon Jovi after the race (I preferred Maroon 5 but both were such good fun).  We went to the National Museum of Singapore, a sculpture garden, a WWII fort/PoW camp (Fort Siloso), ambled around Chinatown exploring stunning temples and ate our way around Little India.  It was an incredible few days and I didn't stop feeling super lucky that we were able to do it.  
Kek Lok Si (image credit)

Since we'd flown all that way, we tacked on a week in Penang, Malaysia before coming back.  And the FOOD!  Oh, the food.  I've eaten such gorgeous, local food and it was heavenly.  Malaysia felt a little rough and ready after Singapore but we had a wonderful time exploring the island and eating basically everything and having a few days to just unwind.  Kek Lok Si Temple was the real stand out for me.  It's apparently (according to our guide) the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia and it was like nothing I've ever seen before.  Something I'll remember for years!

And the books lived up to the trip!  

I finished Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas on our first flight, a fact that may have caused Boyfriend to moan about lugging it around with us for the rest of trip a few times.  It was outstanding, obviously.  The series is one of my favourites and if you haven't started it yet, you're missing out.

After Queen of Shadows came A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  I should not have finished reading it in public.  I know that now.  I should have known it the moment that I read the introduction and learned that Ness wrote the book based on an idea conceived by Siobhan Dowd while she was herself terminally ill.  There were tears.  Many of them.  The book is beautiful and sensitive and haunting and you should absolutely read it.

When we made it to Malaysia, we had more time on our hands and I fancied some fantasy.  I've been seeing Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series everywhere recently so I decided to go with The Final Empire.  It was...perfection.  I adored the world and the magic system was sophisticated and layered without being completely confusing.  It's based on metals and the powers that can be drawn from them.  The characters were charming and I loved spending time reading about them.  And while the world is being built and the characters developed, Sanderson manages to tell an action-packed story.  I'm really looking forward to carrying on with the series.

Next up was Let's Pretend This Never Happened:  A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson.  It was as funny as I'd been led to expect and I guffawed and spluttered my way through the pages.  I made a fool of myself and it was totally worth it.  The last full book I read was Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten.  It was...ok.  It was readable and I definitely wanted to keep reading to find out what the heck was going on but there was something a bit off about it.  It's a YA 'girl's former best friend apparently kills herself but former best friend is convinced that it's murder and starts up her own investigation' story.  I was disgruntled about the absent parents.  It just seems lazy now to have teenagers running around town investigating murders unchecked because their parents are alcoholics or workaholics and not around to look after their children.  It's a page-turner but nothing particularly memorable.  Not counting the WTF ending.  That bad boy will annoy me for a while.

I finally got round to starting The Passage by Justin Cronin on the plane on the way home and it is brilliant so far.  I haven't really got a clue what's going on but it's dark and ominous and perfect for autumn.

Tell me what I've missed.  Tell me everything!!  Hope you've had a wonderful few weeks, friends :)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Holiday time!

You would be entirely justified in wondering why I'm bothering to tell you that I'm going away on holiday for a couple of weeks when posts have been so sporadic this year but I'm doing it anyway. Maybe because it'll make me feel better about spending the next couple of weeks doing nothing much more than wandering around in Singapore and Malaysia, watching the Grand Prix and then reading, eating, drinking and relaxing. It'll be a doosy! 

See you in a couple of weeks :) Happy reading!

Ps. In our first flight to Frankfurt, I finished Queen of Shadows and it was amazing. You all need to get on that! 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Bout of Books 14.0: Goals and Updates from Monday to Wednesday

Bout of Books


I hadn't actually planned on joining up to do Bout of Books 14.0 but, as usual, I saw everybody getting started with the hashtag #boutofbooks on Twitter and decided to join in! It was my birthday yesterday and I'm really excited about the books that I got from Ellie, Katie and Laura so I'm using their lovely and thoughtful gifts as my pile for the week (which I'll include a picture of when I can wrestle the laptop back from Boyfriend/work out how to format one on the tablet...)! First up, though, I'll be finishing off The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J. W. Ironmonger, which I'm about halfway through and really enjoying. I'm going to keep the goals to strictly reading because I'm not sure how much time I'll have. Ideally, I'll do a couple of challenges and plenty of blog hopping but we'll see. 

I'll be updating this post until I feel like it's got long enough and on Twitter as @litaddictedbrit - let's do this!


Day 1: Monday 17th August

Audiobook % Listened To: 12.4% of The Lost Library by A. M. Dean
Pages Read: 23 pages
Books Read FromThe Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J. W. Ironmonger
Totals so far: 12.4% of The Lost Library; 23 pages of Max Ponder

Thoughts from Monday:  The page count might not be high but I'm planning on getting some more reading done after I've posted this. Max Ponder is remarkably chipper for a book about a man decapitating his dead best friend and there's something so irresistibly charming about the narrator's memories of Max. And the writing is fabulous. A good way to start a read-a-thon!

Day 2: Tuesday 18th August

Audiobook % Listened To: 13.1% of The Lost Library by A. M. Dean
Pages Read: 3 pages...
Books Read FromThe Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J. W. Ironmonger
Totals so far: 25.5% of The Lost Library; 23 pages of Max Ponder

Thoughts from Tuesday:  I'm posting a bit earlier today so that I can slink off and get curled up with my book! I'm flying through my audiobook so at least some progress is steady!  The Lost Library is a kind of Da Vinci Code-esque, professor-turns-investigator thriller focused on the history of the lost library of Alexandria. Occasional info dump aside, it's fun and the quality of the narration is excellent. The narrator manages to flick between American, British and other accents seamlessly and to nail a number of British dialects, which makes the whole book seem so much more...alive!  It's one I'm definitely glad I've listened to rather than read!  Now. Off to read some more Maximilian Ponder :) Hope you've all had a super day 2!

Day 3:  Wednesday 19th August

Audiobook % Listened To: 20% of The Lost Library by A. M. Dean
Pages Read: 20 pages
Books Read FromThe Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J. W. Ironmonger
Totals so far: 45.5% of The Lost Library; 46 pages of Max Ponder

Thoughts from Wednesday:  Wow.  I am not at all reading quickly!  To be fair, I'm writing this on Thursday morning because I spent Wednesday evening catching up on Great British Menu and watching Great British Bake Off so it's not a surprise, as such, but it's still not great...onward and upward!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Read Authors

Look!  A post that includes more than a passing reference to books! Things are looking up.

I've seen responses to this week's Top Ten Tuesday and the idea of checking out my most read authors intrigued me.  I knew a few off the top of my head but for the rest, I headed to GoodReads to fill in the blanks.

1.  Charlaine Harris (12 books) - I've read most of Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series so this didn't surprise me very much.  I'm not sure that I'm exactly pleased about Harris being my 'most read' but the stats don't lie.

2.  Robert Jordan (11 books) - Another that wasn't a surprise.  I've read 11 out of the 13 Wheel of Time books and it's my absolute, hands down favourite fantasy series to this day.  I almost never re-read but I love this series enough to start at the beginning again so that I can get the most of reading the final couple of instalments.  Jordan being on this list makes me happy.

3.  Maria V. Snyder (9 books) - I've actually read all 9 of these books during the lifetime of this blog, which is pretty nifty.  I've read Snyder's Study series, Glass series and Healer series.  The Study series is easily still my favourite of the three but I feel like I can rely on Snyder to deliver very readable fantasy.

4.  J. K. Rowling (7 books) - Obviously.  I also own A Casual Vacancy and the first two Cormoran Strike novels so Rowling's place on this list is pretty much guaranteed for some time to come.

5.  Lian Hearn (5 books) - Ah, another opportunity to extol the virtues of Hearn's Tales of the Otori series.  I can't remember where or how I came across the first in the series (Across the Nightingale Floor) but I quickly hunted down the next two in the trilogy, the epilogue and the prologue (in that order, which I think is the publication order but could just have been me being impatient and reading whatever I found first).  The series is genuinely wonderful - the Japanese setting, the almost-but-not-quite magiclal abilities, the characters, the sprawling plot.  All wonderful.

6.  Stephenie Meyer (5 books) - The Twilight series and the very lacklustre The Host.  Not great literature but somehow addictive.  Meyer's books are widely derided but they got an awful lot of people reading so I don't begrudge her presence on this list.

7.  Gail Carriger (5 books) - I think I only discovered the Parasol Protectorate series because of blogging and could well be the only series where I've reviewed every book individually (starting with Soulless an embarrassingly long time ago).  I know that not everybody gels with the series but I really enjoyed it.

8.  Agatha Christie (5 books) - I'm surprised that Christie didn't feature higher up my list.  Christie is one of my top 'go to' comfort writers; if I'm feeling in need of something that's easy to get swept up in, a Christie mystery never fails to disappoint.  And Then There Were None is one of my favourite books.

9.  Trudi Canavan (4 books) - The Black Magician trilogy is another of my favourite fantasy series.  On the face of it, it's fantasy by numbers, with a haughty magician's guild full of secrets and an untrained mage that could destroy the world if she can't be taught to tame her power, but it's just so good.   I'm still disappointed that Thief's Magic (the first in Canavan's Millennium's Rule trilogy) didn't live up to my admittedly lofty expectations.

Aaand, that's where I'll call it a day.  After Canavan, I have about 17 authors at 3 books each, including Stephen King, Rainbow Rowell, Brent Weeks, Sarah J. Maas and Rick Riordan.

Who are some of your most read authors?  Share, share, share!