Last Year I Read Almost No Books.

I sit here after just over a year of silence and I wonder what I should write. I am currently sipping a lovely pomegranate green tea as I contemplate a title and direction for this post.

Last year I read almost no books. I’m not totally sure what happened, I just never seemed to find the time to read, it always seemed like too much effort. It was possibly the biggest reading slump of my life. I suppose I need hardly mention that it has been a tumultuous few years. I have been feeling off balance, guilty and not myself for quite a while, but I am now coming out the other side. I have read four books this last month, the same amount as I read during the entire of last year.

In times like this, I find it helpful to return to comforting, well know reads. I am a lover of young adult fantasy, my bookshelves are stacked with it, and I often return to these books. It feels to me like coming home.

I am now almost done with The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix, perhaps some of my all time favourite books. Reading them has been like a warm hug. I know the characters well, I love the world in which they live and even now the books still keep me captivated. I was fortunate enough to receive the latest book (Elinor and Terciel) for Christmas, which I devoured before new year, so I cannot count it towards this year’s total.

I have set myself a goal to read 22 books this year, over on Goodreads. I would also like to get back into reviewing and writing. I got 44,000 words into my first draft of my novel last year and totally lost motivation as the end drew closer. I think its time I started doing more of what I enjoy. Watch this space, if you are interested, for new reviews this year. I might even review The Old Kingdom books, though its not hard to guess from this post what I might say about them.

Anyway, this is is a rambling way of holding myself accountable. I will write this year. I will read this year. This tiny corner of the vast and seemingly infinite internet is my witness.

A Little Break…

A break from the norm with this post. I haven’t written a blog post in about two months, and I thought I would talk a little bit about why that is.

The long and short of it is, until yesterday I hadn’t managed to read a book all the way through. For some reason, I have been in a HUGE reading slump since August. If I’m honest with myself, I think it was down to this ridiculous, anxiety inducing year getting on top of me. Things really are just mad at the moment but frankly, its the same for everyone the world over.

My motivation is slowly returning to me, and I have begun a writing project of my own. I’m currently working hard on my first draft of my first manuscript and I’m feeling hopeful. Attempting to write my own novel has given me a new appreciation of the books I read. The amount of work and soul that goes into crafting a readable and enjoyable novel is staggering. It really is no mean feat to even complete a draft, let alone get it to publishing stage. All published authors, self or traditional, I take my hat off to you!

The book that has finally lifted me from my DNF slump was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was a fantastically atmospheric read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to incorporate some of her skill in setting mood into my own work. While this isn’t a particularly in depth review of the book, I definitely recommend it if you are looking for an excellent haunted house story. Also, don’t be put off if you (like me) watched the Netflix adaption first. They are completely different and I thoroughly enjoyed both.

This year has been the oddest of my life. We are witnessing societal change on a global scale, and not just due to the pandemic. People are finally beginning to call out systematic racism (although there is a hell of a long way to go here); people are finally becoming aware of our devastating impact on the natural world(again, a long way to go); a virus has changed the way we all life and travel, possibly forever. Historic events are coming at us left, right and centre and its time to start drawing inspiration from it, rather than feeling overwhelmed.

How is everyone else coping with 2020? Has anybody else hit a wall recently?

A Book and A Teacup

Five words that pretty much sum up my ultimate happy place. A good book is priceless on its own, but accompanied with the perfect cup of tea, transcendent.

I have been an avid reader all my life. There is a joy specific to reading that enriches the soul and expands the mind beyond the mundanity of every day life. A good book, be that fiction or non fiction, can shape you as a person, and have a profound effect on how you see the world. This has happened to me on countless occasions. Books have enriched my life and my thinking, and they continue to do so. Which brings me to the reason for starting this blog. I thought I would use it as a way to air my thoughts on a recent read. I love to talk over a novel once I have finished it. To think on its implications and meanings. To digest and discuss the intricacies of a plot line or a character. As sad as it sounds, I always enjoyed writing about the books we would study in school.

As you may have also guessed, I enjoy a good cuppa. I am a self proclaimed (perhaps slightly obnoxiously) tea connoisseur and I enjoy almost all the teas I have tried, with the exception of Lapsang souchong. That just tastes like a forest fire to me. However, nothing can replace a good cup of builders tea in my heart, strong, just a splash of semi-skimmed milk and absolutely no sugar, just as nature intended.