An Undecided Thursday Thirteen

For this week’s Thursday Thirteen I thought I’d write a list of Thirteen Things I could write about.  Several of them are things I thought about writing a list of but decided against. Some of them I’ve written about before and thinking about it I’m not sure there’s enough change to make a new list worthwhile. One I started writing but got bogged down in.

And basically I was just undecided. So here’s the vague list (with a few added to round it up to 13) in case it’s useful for me or anyone else in the future.

Thirteen things I’ve could have written about today but didn’t.

  1. Things I have knitted
  2. Things I’ve crocheted
  3. Favourite authors
  4. Places to visit
  5. Ideas for stories
  6. Books I loved as a child
  7. Musicals I’ve seen
  8. Films I like
  9. Favourite foods
  10. Favourite websites
  11. Best blog entries
  12. Favourite places to eat
  13. Reasons to read.

Some of these might be future Thursday Thirteen lists. Others are blatently reaching and not worthing spending time on!

Thirteen Things I’d Like To Do This Year

I’m linking up today with Thursday 13 which I think was one of the first ever big memes on the Internet.  I used to post to it every week when it first started (in 2006 or maybe 2005) and I’ve dipped in and out of it ever since.  It’s one I love but I often lose momentum with.  Which is ridiculous because it’s super easy – just post a list of 13 things and then share the URL of your post in the linky which is currently hosted here

Here is my list of 13 things I’d like to do this year

  1. Have a go at decopatch
  2. At least once a week go and write in a coffee shop/the library
  3. Go to Mamma Mia the Musical
  4. Visit somewhere I’ve either never been or haven’t been to for more than 10 years
  5. Spend less time online
  6. Donate at least 50 of the books I’m finished with to charity
  7. See either Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the musical or Sister Act the musical for a second time (or both)
  8. Spend an hour a day writing fiction for six weeks
  9. Try something new
  10. Have a “day out” once a month
  11. Read all the books I got for my birthday or for Christmas before the next ones
  12. Get some photos printed
  13. drink less coke and eat less chocolate

I think most of those have a reasonable chance of being achieveable (for example the musicals are ones that I know are coming somewhere I can go easily and have someone who will probably come with me) but still proving a challenge.

Thirteen Books I Loved But Won’t Reread

There are a few books that I absolutely 110% adored but am refusing to reread in case doing so ruins them for me.  Some of these have sequels too which I’m refusing to read for the same reason (and in two of the cases I have the sequels but it seems they’re destined to remain on my bookcase forever unread).  And other books that I liked but just don’t think I’ll reread for whatever reason.

1) I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. I read it once, I loved it and I bought the first of the sequels.  I keep thinking I’ll re-read the first one before reading the second but I can’t make myself.  I’ve not seen the film either

2) The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (I have read the sort of sequels to this though)

3) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  One of my friends posted on facebook earlier this week that she was reading this and it was predictable. She lied.  It was epic. But I’m not so sure the story of Hazel and Gus would be as good second time round.

4) If I Stay by Gayle Foreman.  This was quite possibly one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read.  The will she or won’t she stay question keeps going until the very last moment culminating in one of the most touching endings I’ve ever read.  Would I enjoy it as much knowing what happens? I don’t know.  A huge part of the power of If I Stay came from the what if? so I doubt it.  The sequel is on my bookshelf.  I was very excited to spot it in the supermarket last year.  But the idea of actually reading it. No thank you. I don’t want my fond memories of an amazing book ruined by what came next.

5) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I loved loved loved the musical of this.  I liked the book a lot.  Although frankly the fact I booked tickets 10 days before going to see the musical and then decided I needed to read the full, unabridged book before going to see it might be why I didn’t love it.   I finished the book. I wouldn’t read it again but if I could get an abridged version of just whats in the musical I’d happily give that a go.

6) The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy.  Brilliant, brilliant book. And then the ending made me really uncomfortable and even squicked me out a bit.

7) A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell.  This sits on my book case and frequently catches an eye.  As does another of the author’s unrelated books.  But the little voice suggesting those moments that took my breath away made me say “yes!” and think how well it portrayed disability might not be there the second time round stops me actually picking it up.

8) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  Several years ago I did a creative writing class.  In the first session you had to introduce yourself to the person next to you who then introduced you to the group.  At least four people either answered the questions “what’s your favourite book?” with this or didn’t but then added in when this came up that they loved it too. I listened to the audiobook of it and loved it.  I’d happily give a copy as a gift but so far I’ve no desire to relisten to it. And I doubt I’d enjoy the print version as much.

9) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Another one I was introduced to by that creative writing class.  One of the times we did that “introductions” exercise (I did several terms of the course and each term started with it) the person next to me said this but I’d not heard of it.  Someone else lent me a copy and I was hooked.  It wasn’t my first ever dystopia (that was The Handmaid’s Tale) but it was the one which made me love the genre.

10) Fever by Mary Beth Keane.  I reviewed this book last year.  It’s not one I would have chosen for myself but I saw it at a blogger event and thought it was worth a go because I knew people who would love it if I didn’t.  So far I’ve read it and so have two of my friends. All three of us loved it.  It might be the best book I read last year.

11) The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk.  Because it was good but really, really weird (the author and his wife appear as characters in it). And sometimes weird is best left alone.

12) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  I’ve read and loved several by her sisters.  I can’t really explain what this is about.  I couldn’t even do it when I was in the middle of reading it.  I finished it and was like “I think I liked it but I definitely didn’t understand it.”

13) The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris.  The best chicklit book I’ve read in a long time and a massive weepy. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to read that again.

Thirteen Reasons Why I Like Book Blogging

I was going to call this thirteen reasons why I like reviewing books on my blog.  I’d never really stopped to think about why I like it and what it is that makes it a good fit for me but once I did it became obvious I should call it thirteen reasons why I like book blogging.  Because a lot of these reasons are about what I post on my blog but not all of them.  There are a few other reasons come to mind but those are more tenuous and harder to explain without giving them an entry of thier own.  Being that this isn’t just a blog about books if I wrote a list of “thirteen reasons why I blog” it would be somewhat different.

1. Free books. One of my friends said it’s like my hobby pays for itself now. She clearly doesn’t know me well enough because I still buy books and I buy loads of them but I do love getting free ones and it does help pay for my hobby.
2. It makes me read things I wouldn’t otherwise have chosen.  I can think of at least two occasions when I’ve received a parcel of books and gone “yeah, I don’t read this stuf.” but then tried it and loved it.
3. Sometimes I get ARCs or Advanced Reader Copies which means I get books before they come out. This is particularly exciting when it’s a book I’m desperate to read (Model Misfit by Holly Smale for example I was desperate for and had a week or two before release. It’s safe to say my level of checking netgalley became somewhat obssessive once I’d submitted my request and was waiting for a response.).
4. One of the books I received to review was Fever by Mary Beth Keane. I loved it. Very possibly in my top books read in 2013.  I then passed it onto a friend who loved it and raves about it. And then to another friend who also loved it and raves about it. That moment when you recommend a book to someone and they love it that much is really cool. Especially as Fever wasn’t an initially “me” book by the look of it.
5. The sound of post coming through the door with the extra loud thump which signifies a parcel is a cool one to wake up for especially when I’m not expecting any parcels (conversely it’s disapointing when the post makes the mother of all noises hitting the floor and it turns out the postman just really thumped it through)
6. I discovered one of my favourite new to my authors of last year – John Green – because of hearing so many other book bloggers and tweeters rave about his books, particularly The Fault In Our Stars. Before I started reviewing on my blog I’d never made much of an effort to find blogs specifically about books.
7. Sometimes I get to talk to authors on twitter, email or once even in person and ask questions about their books or their writing or whatever. That’s always very interesting.  I particularly like to ask what the best and worst things are about being a writer.
8. It makes choosing presents easier.  I bought The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for my mum for Christmas last year.  It’s a pretty hefty book and I’m not sure it’d have occurred to me to look at it for her because I’d not heard of Donna Tartt before and at I think 700+ pages the size can be off putting for some readers.  But I must have heard more than ten different people rave about it and I knew through the bookish communities and blogs I follow that it had won a big award. So I picked it up and read the back on one of my many wanderings into Waterstones**. And I thought whilst I might like it I suspected my mum would. So she got it for Christmas.
9. I can rant about the books I didn’t like and rave about the ones I did as much as I want without putting off the non readers in my life.
10.  I can always, always, answer the questions “what are you reading?” and “have you read any good books lately?” and if people want recs I can give them and then share my blog address.
11. I rarely lack material for my blog or anything to do when I’m at home.
12. Knowing I’m going to review a book means I think more about it and prolongs my enjoyment than it otherwise might.  I make an effort to file away quotes and moments that would be worth mentioning in the review.  One of my favourite ever quotes from a book never made it into the review though.  I can’t remember the exact wording but the gist was “You’ve invited Colm Meaney to the wedding? I don’t know him.”  “of course you do, you’ve watched Deep Space Nine, haven’t you?!” from Postcards from the Heart by Ella Griffin
13. It’s another example of the way one small thing can change things in your life completely and bring things you wouldn’t have considered not just into your life but as a relatively big part of your life (I first started reviewing books after answering a tweet from Waterstones in 2010 which simply said “let us know if you like Dorothy Koomson books.” I said yes and they offered me a copy of The Ice Cream Girls to review. The rest as they say is history…)

A Bookish Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Reasons Why I Read

Last week when I was checking out some of the other blogs who take part in Thursday Thirteen, I came across Amy from A Simple Love of Reading’s list of Thirteen Reasons why she reads.  Some of her reasons are very different to mine and I thought it would be fun to do my own list this week. Coming up with thirteen was an interesting challenge because in some ways it was too many – I could sum it up in one very broad reason which is – I just love it.  But also when I started getting into specifics narrowing it down to just 13 reasons was a challenge. I realise my saying 13 was both too many and too few reasons makes little sense but it’s true.

Thirteen Reasons Why I Read

  1. Because it’s relaxing and a way of escaping from the drudge and stress of everyday for a while
  2. As long as I’ve got something to read with me (and thanks to my phone and the Kindle app I have even on one of the rare occasions I don’t have an actual book on me) I’m never bored whilst waiting for friends, before appointments, on the train etc.
  3. Reading is a way of dealing with the demon depression when it gets bad. Years and years ago I remember saying to a counsellor that all I could manage to do was read a book – escaping into it was something I could do all the other things I needed to be doiing I couldn’t. She told me that was a good thing if I could concentrate on a book because she had many other patients who were so bad they couldn’t manage that. So now even if I feel bad and all I’m doing is reading I don’t beat myself up about that because it’s not as bad as it could be.
  4. Books take me places that I’ve never been or allow me to return to the places I’ve been and loved but can’t physically revisit. Australia, I’m looking at you.
  5. Biographies and memoirs are ways I can share the experiences of those who walk a similar path to me and let me know that I’m not the only one. I can also learn about those who lived before in a way that history can’t teach me and I can share the experiences of people who’ve done things I could never imagine achieving myself.
  6. The smell of a book.
  7. Bookshops. I can and I have whiled away many an hour hunting through a bookshop for something new and different that catches my eye.
  8. The sense of history when you go to the library or a charity shop or sometimes even just someones house and discover a really, really old book. It’s just magical (I wrote about more about that – with pictures – here
  9. Because, frankly, between actual books and my Kindle I have over 100 books I’ve not read but I still want more. I always will.
  10. The moment when I’m gifted a book (or sent it to review) and my heart sinks because it’s something I would never pick for myself like a paranormal romance but then when I make myself give it a go “for a few pages” and my heart lifts and I absolutely love it.
  11. There’s nothing better than going to a film (or watching a DVD) you know nothing about, loving it, and getting to the end seeing the words “based on the book by…” and picking it up. The book is always, always, better. Unless it’s Les Miserables. The musical was so much better than that book. Mostly because the edited all the extraneous crap out of it. But that was the exception that proves the rule.
  12. Rainy days with nothing to do snuggled under the duvet listening to it pour and experiencing another world or another time.
  13. Spending hours discussing books with friends and discovering new favourites or rediscovering old favourites with them.

Why do you read?

A Bookish Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Books I Plan To Read Soon (ish)

I really enjoyed last week’s Thursday Thirteen so I thought I’d do it this week as well and continue with the theme of books

Here are thirteen books I plan to read soon (ish).  I have to say soon ish because we all know that quite frankly something else is bound to catch my eye and change that order before I actually manage to read all thirteen.  But that said I did venture into Waterstones today and venture back out again without buying any books.  Shockingly enough I wasn’t even tempted.  Then I had a phone conversation about going somewhere where there’s a promise of a goody bag full of books so you know there is no need to worry about a potential lack of new reading material in my life!

  1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  This is the last of John Green’s books that I have to read so I’ve been putting it off but I’ve decided to stop doing so.
  2. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg. This caught my eye in Waterstones a few months ago. It’s said to be very funny I don’t know just struck me as something a little different to what I’ve been reading lately.
  3. Star Trek: The Fall – Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward. Actually, this is first on my list I think. Because it’s Star Trek and most importantly because it’s TNG and I loved the four earlier books in the series.  I’ve got to read the last one!
  4. An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. Because Chris Hadfield is awesome and if you don’t follow him on twitter you really should be. That said I’m a bit disappointed it’s not got any of his awesome photos from space in it.
  5. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. I’ve read this several times.  I caught sight of the DVD in HMV earlier today and I thought “I’d like to watch that again.” and then I thought “actually I’d like to read the book again.” it deals with some tough subjects but it’s such a lovely book for kids and adults alike.
  6. Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Making a start on reading Dickens as I said I would last week. No particular reason why I picked that one.
  7. An Accidental Love Story by Claudia Carroll. Because it’s been sat on my bookshelf for ages and it keeps catching my eye with it’s bright purple pages. And it’s chicklit. This list wouldn’t be complete without any chicklit on it!
  8. Patently in Love by Rhoda Baxter. Rhoda just sent me this to review and we’ve been having an interesting email chat. Plus, I’m trying to keep more on top of my review books this year.
  9. The Courage Tree by Diane Chamberlain. She’s one of my favourite authors but strangely I didn’t read any of her books last year. I just bought tons of them in the Kindle sale so I think she’ll feature heavily in my reading this year. I picked this one to read first because I really like the title – it caught my interest.
  10. Finding Mother by Anne Allen. I’m taking part in her blog tour in early February. It’s a book with a secret, some travel and mentions of the second world war. I’m looking forward to it!
  11. The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. Ok that’s two books but they follow each other and they link into his Thursday Next series of books which I discovered last year was absolutely hooked by.  I think this is going to be pretty different to the Thursday books but I hear it’s hilarious.
  12. White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Another one that’s been sat on my shelf for ages. I picked this up because it’s on the 1001 books to read before you die list (which I use for inspiration and I plan to focus on more this year) and the goodreads group for the list is about to discuss it so it seemed like a good time. I really enjoyed her On Beauty.
  13. The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing.  This is the only one of these books I don’t have at the moment. I’ve never read any of hers but I saw some old interview clips with her when she died and I thought “you kick ass, I should read some of your books.” Plus, this looks awesome and it’s also the 1001 books list.

And finally before reading those I plan to finish the two books I have on the go at the moment Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope (enjoying it a lot and it’s sort of making me want to reread the original Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility) and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (started that on the train today and I suspect I’m going to fly through it before bed tonight)

Thirteen Authors I’d Like to Read More by in 2014

I love to read. I love new books and new authors but I also love to return to old favourites either new books by authors I’ve enjoyed before or rereading books I’ve read before.

I also love reading blogs and am partial to taking part in the occasional blog meme. So we have the first in what I hope to make a regular series. I’m calling it A Bookish Thursday Thirteen. This is thirteen authors I’d like to read more of this year. It’s in no order other than how they came to mind.

Holly Smale – Geek Girl and Model Misfit were two of the best books I read in 2013.
Haruki Murakami – his books are brilliant. Usually weird and in places hard going, they mess with your mind and make me think but are enjoyable.
Charles Dickens – because I feel like the classics are an area of my reading I neglected in 2013 and I’ve not really read any Dickens
Peter David – he basically writes the best Star Trek books
Elinor M Brent-Dyer – she wrote my childhood favourite series, The Chalet School. I still haven’t read some of her obscure works and I’d like to reread some of the chalet school too
Diane Chamberlain – I didn’t read a single thing by her in 2013 which is strange because she’s one of my favourite authors. I’ll have to rectify that because I just bought several of her books in the 12 days of Kindle sale.
John Green – I’m torn here. I read five of his six books in 2013. And I loved them. I’ve got the only one I haven’t read and I really, really want to read it. But at the same time I don’t because I don’t want to have read all of his books.
Roald Dahl – I’ve read pretty much all of his children’s books (I’ve not read Henry Sugar I think and I suspect I’ve missed others) but having discovered he wrote for adults too I’d like to try one and see how it differs.
Marina Lewycka – this is probably a sign of how behind the times I am but on Christmas Day I borrowed A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I blew through it before I returned to my parents house for Boxing Day lunch less than 14 hours later. Plus mum has some of her others so I can borrow them which is a win.
Sarah Addison Allen – I’ve read and loved all of her books. I’m not sure if she’s got any more coming but she’s the one I’ve been keeping the closest track of (shed be tied with John Green but frankly if he had another book out half of twitter would scream with joy so I’ve no need to obsess there)
Lisa Genova – because both of the books of hers I’ve read has been unputdownable
John Steinbeck – several years ago an acquaintance lent me Tortilla Flat. I liked and read some of the others of his which were on the 1001 books to read before you die list. I liked several of those more and ended up on a John Steinbeck kick. I’ve not read any by him for a few years, I think I’d like to see what I’ve missed (I hear East of Eden is brilliant)
Ali Harris – because a girl needs her chick lit. And she writes some of the best I’ve read.

I’ve been wondering…

A Thursday Thirteen list of things I’ve been pondering lately:

…who invented chips?
…does anyone ever use just one piece of loo roll?
…why does one of my powerchair tires have zero tread left but the one on the other side still has a little?
…why are knickers called knickers?
…when will John Green bring another book out?
…how long is too long to wear a bra before washing?
…will I ever get sent another appointment to see my neurologist if I don’t chase him?
…what shall I read next?
…what does mono printing involve exactly?
…do I need my antidepressant dose increasing?
…how long my soon to start second course of iron supplements will be?
…why does it always rain on me?
…should I do NaNoWriMo again this year?

Answers on a postcard please!

Thursday Thirteen

Long, long, long time since I’ve done one of these Thursday Thirteen entries or even any sort of meme. But I just fancied it and given that it’s Thursday and T13 always was my favourite meme I figured why the hell not?!

Thirteen Books I’m Looking Forward To Reading

Dear Thing by Julie Cohen
Empire of The Sun by J.G. Ballard
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Wish List by Jane Costello
Love, Anthony by Lisa Genova
The Night Rainbow by Claire King
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Villette by Charlotte Brontë
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
Stolen Child by Laura Elliot.

It’s quite a mixed bag but then my reading tastes have always been eclectic. I always say I’ll try any book but I’m not a fan of horror. I read loads too – so far this year I’ve read 52 books! My goal is a probably unrealistic 150.

I’d love to hear book recommendations and/or opinions of the books I’ve listed.

>Thursday Thirteen #1

>OK so it’s not my first ever Thursday Thirteen but I’ve not done one in forever (maybe not at all last year) so I’m calling it #1.

Thirteen Things I Hope To Do In 2012

1. Lots of writing. Fiction mostly but I’d like to give poetry another shot too.
2. Lose a little weight. I have a lot to lose but I’d like to do it slowly as I think it’s more likely to stay off.
3. Swim. I really miss swimming regularly.
4. Go to the seaside. I’ve not been by the sea for a couple of years which is a huge shame.
5. Meet up with uni friends in Birmingham. We tried and failed to meet up last year and I miss the laughter and the pizza and the hugs we share when we do meet up.
6. Have at least one article published. I had 1 published in both 2010 and 2011, I’d like to continue the trend.
7. Read Emma by Jane Austen. I love her books and it’s the only one of her full novels I’ve not read completely.
8. Take my meds regularly. I really struggled with this last year.
9. See a Shakespeare play. I’ve read a couple when I was at school but never seen one on stage.
10. Get a new powerchair. Self explanatory really but it needs to happen soon ish.
11. Try a new craft. Perhaps pottery although knowing me I’d end up mega messy.
12. Have a decent attempt at the first draft of a novel. Because novel writing isn’t just for November.
13. Be a better friend. I feel like I neglected a lot of my friends towards the end of 2011 due to my depression and that’s unacceptable.