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Category Archives: Books

{Wrap Up} Books I read in June and TV series I watched

Last month I binged 3 different TV series. Three. My eyes are somewhat square to say the least! I can’t remember the last time I watched 3 different TV series in a month. Possibly never: my mother was very much of the opinion that fresh air was king. So naturally I missed out on all the cool TV series of my youth.

I also read three books last month. Hardly any, I know, but I don’t feel that I missed out as the three I did read were very enjoyable. I’m not sure whether it is the same for you, but my reading tends to ebb and flow throughout the year. Right now I’d rather be enjoying a walk in the summer rain than curled up under a blanket with a book.

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Tadoku Reading Challenge 3 (May 2021) – introduction

Tadoku Reading Challenge 3 (May 2021) – introduction

At the start of the year I posted to say that I was planning on possibly taking part in a couple of Tadoku reading challenges in 2021. Today the third Tadoku challenge of the year starts, and I am thrilled to be cracking open another book in a non-native language.

In case you’re new to Tadoku let me explain the principal.

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{Wrap up} Books I read in April, including L’Origine by Milgrom, and Hello World by Fry

{Wrap up} Books I read in April, including L’Origine by Milgrom, and Hello World by Fry

April has been a quiet month for reading: in total I’ve read only seven books!

It’s also been the hardest month of unemployment since COVID/ lockdown 1.0 began, and I am barely limping on. I miss London, and my family there so much that I wake up having dreamt of wandering around there with them. Hopefully the worst of the homesickness and missing folks has passed (foolish optimism, sustain me!) and I will be back to reading lots, getting back to work, and seeing loved ones soon.

Hilariously I rediscovered the Classics Club (with 3 months to go until my original time slot expired) this month. Instead of trying and probably failing to cram in 50 classics in 3 months, I sent a message politely asking them whether they could update my challenge time-frame so that I could officially restart from 0.

Now on to this month’s reading wrap up!

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Posted by on April 30, 2021 in Books

 

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{Readathon Wrap Up} The London Bookshop Crawl – 2nd April- 5th April 2021

Apologies for the late post about this. Last month I changed internet provider and have been repaid for this with a month of intermittent internet. It’s been down for several days now, and I’m at my wits’ end.

Over the last Bank Holiday weekend, I participated in The London Bookshop Crawl’s Readathon. I went into it with heady hopes of reading 5 books as mentioned in my introduction. Then life happened, and I got distracted by a book a friend sent in the post and spent a day reading that instead.


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Posted by on April 9, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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{Review} Mousseline La Serieuse by Sylvie Yvert

{Review} Mousseline La Serieuse by Sylvie Yvert

This is one of two books that have loomed unread for no good reason since January’s Tadoku challenge.

Mousseline La Sérieuse tells the story of Marie-Therese Charlotte de France (Mousseline La Sérieuse was her nickname). Born to Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, Marie-Therese had a life of luxury until the French Revolution which started when she was ten years old. She and her family were placed under house arrest and eventually imprisoned in Temple Tower.

Gradually her parents, aunt, and younger brother were separated from one another, and for two years she was imprisoned alone. The silence of her days punctuated with the sound of her 9 year-old brother’s cries as he was beaten. Of her family, she was the only one to survive. This retelling of her incredibly tragic life follows her from youth to old age, but dwells on the horrors she endured during the Terror.

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{Half-way check-in} French Tadoku Reading Challenge 2 (March 2021)

It’s half-way through March, which means there are only 15 days left in this month’s Tadoku challenge! If you’re not sure what Tadoku is, then this is a link to my introduction post.

My reading goal for this challenge was to read L’inconnu du donjon by Evelyne Brisou-Pellen, and try to finish Mousseline la Sérieuse by Sylvie Yvert. My overall goal was to consume 1000 pages of French-language material.

So far, I’ve completed L’inconnu du donjon, and am a third of the way through Mousseline la Sérieuse. With a decent few days of reading, I *should* hopefully be able to finish Mousseline and end this month feeling like a champion.

My overall page count so far is 702.6, which puts me 15th in the challenge. Not too shabby for someone whose reading speed in French has dropped to a drunken snail’s pace. Providing I keep gaming in French (and reading, of course) it looks like I will easily reach my 1000 page goal.

Even though I am frustrated by my reading speed, by making time to consume French content my reading fluency has picked up a little. If I keep this up, then by the end of the year I almost be back up to my old reading speed.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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{Book Review} Pride by Ibi Zoboi

{Book Review} Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Hello, my name is WildNightIn, and I have an addiction to retellings of Jane Austen novels. If you’ve gone out on a limb and guessed that “Pride” is a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice“, then you are 100% correct. But if you think you already know how this story is going to pan out then you, my friend, are going to be pleasantly surprised.

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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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{Book Review} “Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life” by Paul Dolan

{Book Review} “Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life” by Paul Dolan

This book was put under the “self-help” category of BorrowBox. So I began it thinking that there would be a lot of navel-gazing and sheets to fill in somehow. Instead, “Happy Ever After” turns the self-help genre on its head by taking many of the areas in which people want to “improve” their lives by changing their own behaviours to follow a dominate social narrative. Each chapter is devoted to one area in which people often want to transform their life or their behaviour. Everything from marriage, higher education, and higher salaries at work, to weight, free will, and euthanasia is covered in 229 pages. It’s quite a whirlwind!

Dolan begins each chapter by asking two simple questions: would you rather be X, which is the more socially prestigious option and miserable, or would would you rather choose the less socially prestigious option and happy. He then asks which of these options you would choose for your friends. Dolan is keen to emphasis that there is no right or wrong answer to either of these questions, whilst encouraging the reader (or listener, in my case) to think about what motivated them to choose their answers. The rest of the chapter was taken up with statistics and a discussion on what those statistics might be measuring without realising. Then each chapter would end with him saying about what other people had chosen in response to the questions that had been asked at the start of the chapter, and examine how their answers compared to the data given earlier in the chapter.

The thing that really lifted “Happy Ever After” to the next level for me was the fact that Dolan tackles head-on some of the points of class tension, and classism in the UK. The concept that working class people’s successes should not be judged by popular social criteria dictated by the middle classes should not be revolutionary, and yet I know that for some readers this may absolutely shock them. I read some reviews after finishing the first chapter, and found a fair amount of pearl clutching among some reviewers both because of this point of view, and because Dolan swears in his writing.

Once again, people being horrified at hearing a man say “bloody” as a way of emphasising a point perfectly illustrates a difference between middle class values and judgements of what is acceptable vs working class values and judgements of what is acceptable. Less horror, gentle readers, and more acceptance of different groups’ speech patterns please.

Another thing I enjoyed about “Happy Ever After” is that Dolan himself is happy to show where his own points of view have changed in the process of researching this book. The main example of this is in the chapter about euthanasia. Whilst he gives an incredibly balanced view of a controversial subject, he also shows how his own views have changed as he encountered various statistics. This injected a real sense that Dolan practices what he preaches in examining and challenging his own biases to form new opinions.

Overall: An excellent book that will certainly encourage you to think about some dominant social narratives, and whether aiming for them will indeed create your own happily ever after. His plea that we should not only choose the paths in life that make us happy, but should also be equally happy for those who decide to tread different paths to find their own joy is one that has real value.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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{Read-a-thon} Bout of Books, Day Two

{Read-a-thon} Bout of Books, Day Two

Hello all!

Today has been a surprisingly productive day for reading, and knitting.

Book count: 1

Today I’ve finished my first audiobook of the year: “Happy Ever After” by Paul Dolan.

I’ll post a review for it tomorrow. It’s a self-help book that challenges you to think of the bigger picture. Dolan read the audiobook himself, and listening to his accent made me feel incredibly homesick after 11 months spent away from my family in London.

Yesterday I read the first couple of chapters of “Mousseline la Sérieuse” by Sylvie Yvert. It’s a historical fiction novel that imagines what Marie-Antoinette’s daughter’s life was like, as the only member of her family to survive the Terror. It’s interesting but incredibly sad at the same time.

Reading in French is going so incredibly slowly that I’m finding it frustrating. Time was when I’d have been able to read fiction in French as easily as fiction in English. Hopefully by the end of the novel French will be a little more familiar.

Fingers crossed!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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2021 Reading Challenges

2021 Reading Challenges

I originally thought I was just going to sign up for two reading challenges, then I thought about it some more and realised I’d signed up to a third without thinking about it. Then I thought about it even more and realised that 4 reading challenges sounds even more fun than 3 reading challenges, and found another that looks really exciting. I’ll keep this list updated as the year progresses.

Cold Winter Challenge

This winter-themed reading challenge is guaranteed to keep you feeling cosy until the 28th February when it melts away until December 2021. There are 15 different prompts to choose from, and this year I’m aiming to read 4 books to achieve the Flocon de Neige level.
Hosted by the fabulous L’Enluminée, if you’re interested in hearing more about it you can watch her introduction video for this year’s challenge.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Last year I read a few more than the 52 books I’d signed up to read. This year I’ll be aiming to read a cool 52 again. As I’m planning to read more books in languages that I’m not so strong in, this should be a real challenge. Fingers crossed that it broadens my mind, and introduces me to some authors I’d never otherwise have read.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

It will be the first year I take part in The Intrepid Reader’s Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! I found it last night when I was catching up on indecently wonderful book blogs. The challenge is simple: read any genre of book as long as it is set in a bygone era.
I’m going to aim to read 15 historical fiction books this year, which should net me the Medieval level. Knowing my current obsession with Pride and Prejudice fanfic I should easily reach this level…

HPOOTP: Flourish and Blotts Challenge

Another old favourite! This friendly group of fellow Harry Potter fans aims to read as many books as we feel like that are based on 52 Harry Potter-inspired prompts. I’ve completed all 52 prompts in the last 2 years, so this year I’ll aim to read 52 books that tie into all 52 prompts.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2021 in 2021 Challenges

 

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