3 Quotes Challenge & a Bookish Memory | Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is my second day of the 3 Quotes Challenge, I was nominated for this challenge by A House of Books blog. As with yesterday’s post, I’m also using this as a chance to continue my Bookish Memories series that I started when I first began blogging.

Today my quote comes from another favourite book of mine – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.


Fahrenheit 451 © 2016 Paul Carlyle

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

Many years ago I was a member of Bookcrossing and as part of a UK email group people used to lend each other books. One day I saw a book being talked about called Fahrenheit 451 and initially it didn’t interest me as it’s classed as sci-fi and it’s not one of my most favourite genres. A fellow bookcrosser persuaded me to give it a go when she explained it’s about a dystopian society where books are banned! I’m so glad I gave it a go as after one reading I knew it was going to become a real favourite of mine.

The Government of the day has banned books, and fire fighters exist to burn any books that are found – hence the title as paper burns at 451 degrees fahrenheit. Montag is a firefighter who one day cannot resist the lure of books and he ends up in serious trouble. He goes on the run and ends up in a place where books are being saved, perhaps not in their current form but still saved nonetheless.

Even though this book was originally published in 1953, it relates so well to the modern world. The thought that big brother is always watching and monitoring us through TVs or computers, the fear that ebooks will kill print books when really it’s the words in the books that matter not the medium in which they’re read. I would encourage all book lovers to grab a copy of this book and read it as soon as possible!

The quote I picked stands out to me in this book because it’s so beautiful and true. It’s a quote I often think about because it’s both a comfort when you’ve lost loved ones but also a reminder that if you do anything with a passion then you are making a difference. There are many other wonderful quotes that I could have picked from the book but this one is my favourite.

I bought a battered second-hand copy of Fahrenheit 451 soon after I sent the borrowed copy back to its owner. I’ve read it so many times that it was falling to pieces and being held together with tape! For my birthday a few years ago my husband bought me this beautiful clothbound hardback copy which I love! I think I would go as far as to say it’s my favourite edition of all of my books.

I have to give credit to my husband for taking the fab photo of my copy of the books used in this post, I love the way ha got the effect of flame around the book – it’s so fitting to that the novel is about. Please note that no flames were actually used and the book is safe! 🙂

Please feel free to join in with the 3 Quotes Challenge. The challenge is just to post one quote every day for three days – the rest of this post is just what I chose to add.

3 Quotes Challenge & a Bookish Memory | After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

To take part in the 3 Quotes Challenge all you have to do is thank the person who nominated you and link back to their post. Post a quote on your blog every day for three days. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

I was nominated to join in with this a really long time ago by the lovely ahouseofbooks and I just never got around to doing it. I keep seeing the tag around and really want to join in so thought I’d do it now.

I want to link my 3 Quotes Challenge to a series I started called Bookish Memories that I started when I first began my blog but have neglected for ages.

My first quote is from After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell


“What are you supposed to do with all the love you have for somebody if that person is no longer there? What happens to all that leftover love? Do you suppress it? Do you ignore it? Are you supposed to give it to someone else?” 

I lost my best friend in 2000 and I was heartbroken. I had gone through bereavement before but it was nothing like how this felt. We were only a few months apart in age and the idea of someone my own age and so full of life dying at the age of 20 was beyond my comprehension. I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t read and I was in a really bad place.

One day I was flicking through a magazine my mum had given me and I saw a tiny review for a book called After You’d Gone. I’d never heard of the novel or the author but in the review was the above quote and it just made me want this book like I’d never wanted to get hold of a book before! I just felt that this book would help me, the quote just got to me so much because those were the questions I needed answers to.

I immediately rang my local book shop to ask if they had it in stock but they told me it wasn’t released for another few days. So, I pre-ordered a copy and on release day I waited outside the shop for it to open. The very second I got the book I started reading – I literally walked to the bus stop while reading, I carried on reading on the bus journey home (even though reading on moving vehicles makes me feel very sick). I finished the book in three hours and in that time I cried and cried but by the end I felt soothed. Even though the loss in After You’d Gone is a different loss to the one I was going through, the emotions and reactions were so similar and I connected with this book so strongly.

I started reading After You’d Gone again that night but this time around I read it slowly, I savoured it and I had a pack of post-it notes next to me so I could mark all my favourite paragraphs (there were a lot!). It’s honestly not overstating to say that After You’d Gone saved me.

I’ve treasured my copy of this book for all these years since and it’s one of very few books that I re-read every couple of years. It’s my go-to book when I need to be consoled and comforted.

I’ve pre-ordered every single Maggie O’Farrell book since then, I never need to read the synopsis because I trust her – I know that her writing will never let me down and it never, ever has. Just last week I read her latest book, and it’s a masterpiece (my review is here if you’d like to read it. I love all of her books – particularly The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and her new one, This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell started off her career as a novellist with an incredible book and then somehow has got better with every book that follows but I will always say that After You’d Gone is my favourite book by her because of my strong emotional attachment to it.

About the Book

The groundbreaking debut novel from Maggie O’Farrell, After You’d Goneis a stunning, best-selling story of wrenching love and grief.

A distraught young woman boards a train at King’s Cross to return to her family in Scotland. Six hours later, she catches sight of something so terrible in a mirror at Waverley Station that she gets on the next train back to London.

After You’d Gone follows Alice’s mental journey through her own past, after a traffic accident has left her in a coma. A love story that is also a story of absence, and of how our choices can reverberate through the generations, it slowly draws us closer to a dark secret at a family’s heart.


Do you have a strong emotional attachment to a book? Please tell me your story in the comments, I’d love to hear.


I nominate any who’d like to take part in this challenge. Please note that the challenge it just to share a favourite quote every day for three days, everything else in this post was just what I chose to add.



Reading Habits Book Tag

Reading Habits Book Tag copy

I recently spotted this Reading Habits Book Tag on BookBoodle‘s blog and immediately felt compelled to ask if I could join in!

Here are my reading habits…

Reading Chair pic 2

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not as such, I just read wherever I happen to be at the time. Having said that, we have also just re-organised the spare room so as you can see in the photo I have a very comfy recliner chair with a tall reading lamp behind and a window to the side, so it’s the perfect place to read. But I mostly read on my Kindle Voyage now (which is front lit) so I don’t necessarily need to be by a lamp anymore. I do like reading in bed before I go to sleep, I’ve done that ever since I was a small child and I can’t see that ever changing. The Kindle Voyage is perfect for reading in bed.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Random bits of paper! I love bookmarks and I have some gorgeous ones but usually they’re never to hand when I need a bookmark so I just grab any scrap of paper to hand! Often when I’ve finished reading a book I forget to remove the paper that I’ve used as a bookmark so whenever I have a clear out of books I always have to make sure there’s no scraps of paper left in. This can often be a wonderful trip down memory lane though as I discover old postcards, even a letter occasionally, that I’ve used as a bookmark.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop at the end of a chapter/a certain amount of pages? 

I stop wherever I am at the time, I never feel that I need to read to a certain point before stopping. Although if a book is particularly gripping I will do the whole “I’ll just read one more chapter…” thing and before I know it it’s 4am!

Kindle Voyage

Hands-free reading on my Kindle!

Do you eat or drink while reading?

I do if I’m reading on my kindle as it’s easy to prop that up while I’m eating, it’s not so easy with a print book. After my spinal surgery a few months ago I found a device that attached to my kindle and made it hands-free, this was brilliant as it meant I could still read while lying down without causing harm to my neck. I still use that sometimes but usually I just keep my Kindle in its case which allows me to prop it up.

Multitasking: music or TV whilst reading?

It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I have to read with complete silence around me otherwise I get distracted but at other times I can actually watch TV and read at the same time while managing to follow both plots. I don’t tend to put music on while I read but if my husband is in the same room and wants music on it doesn’t affect my reading at all.

One book at a time or several at once?

I usually have four or five books on the go at once. I used to just read one at a time but then when I went to Uni a few years ago to do an English Lit degree I often had to read four novels a week, plus wider reading, so I quickly had to learn to hold multiple stories in my head at once. Since then I’ve always preferred to have lots of books on the go. I try to keep them to different genres so that I don’t get storylines confused. I think I read more books over the course of a year since I stopped reading one at once; I’m sure it’s because if one book isn’t quite holding my attention because I’m not in the right mindset then I can just pick up a different one that I’m already in to and carry on where I left off.

Read at home or everywhere?

I read anywhere and everywhere. I’m that person you see reading in the long queue at the Post Office! I hate to waste time when I could be reading. I think one of the things that helped convert me to Kindle was the fact that with the app on my phone it meant I always have a book with me and because it syncs with my Kindle my book is always in the right place. Before I got a Kindle I’d so often forget to pick my book up and then would get to, for example, a doctor’s appointment only for the doctor to run half an hour late and I’d be kicking myself for the time wasted when I could have been reading! I also read during the ad breaks while we’re watching live TV. Having said all of this, there is nothing quite like curling up with a book at home and knowing you have the whole afternoon ahead of you to just read.

Read aloud or silently in your head?

I read silently in my head.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I never read ahead, why would I want to risk spoilers?!

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

Ooh this is a tough question! I never, ever, ever used to break spines on books. For me, a book had to be treated well and kept in pristine condition – I’ve never turned a corner over on a page; if I was taking a book out with me I’d wrap it up in a separate bag before putting into my handbag to try and prevent the corners getting scuffed. I was obsessive about my books being kept like new. These days I mainly read on my Kindle as I have a disability which affects my dexterity but I do still read print books sometimes. I have to break spines now because I don’t have the strength to hold a book open otherwise and I have to admit that I’ve discovered that there is something really satisfying about quite literally cracking open a brand new book! (Eeeeeek! I can’t believe I just admitted to this!!)

Do you write in books?

The only time I’ve ever written in books is when I’ve bought a book for studying, I’d never write in any other book. If I want to note a favourite passage I use post-it notes or take a photo on my phone.

I’m not tagging anyone but if you’d like to join in please feel free to answer the questions on your blog and share your links in the comments below (or link back to my blog so I can read your answers). If you don’t have a blog feel free to chat to me about your reading habits in the comments. 🙂 

The TBR Book Tag


I recently saw the TBR Book Tag on CleopatraLovesBooks and thought it looked like fun so I’ve decided to have a go at answering the questions myself. I don’t know who originally started this tag but if anyone knows please tell me and I’ll amend this post to credit them.

I’m a bit nervous of joining in with this tag because I know how big my TBR but it’ll give you an insight into just how much of a bookaholic I really am! I know people define their TBR differently but for me, a TBR book is one I already own and doesn’t include wishlist books.

goodreads logo

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I started my Goodreads account many years ago and from the day I signed up I’ve always added every book that comes into my possession onto there. I make sure to keep it up to date as it’s great to have an accurate record of all the books I own and all the books I’ve read.

Kindle Voyage

Is your TBR mostly print or ebooks?

These days it’s mainly ebooks. I used to own literally thousands of books (it was over six thousand at one point). Around five years ago my husband bought me my first Kindle. I had always been against ebooks, I was a purist and I was always going to keep my print books but the lure of having any book I wanted instantly began to appeal to me, and then when we went away not having to take a massive suitcase on a three day trip just so I could take some books with me was liberating. These days my disability means it’s much easier for me to hold a Kindle. I can read print books but it’s harder for me to do because my hands no longer work properly so having a kindle means I can still read. This year my husband surprised me with the new Kindle Voyage for my birthday and it’s brilliant, the front-lit screen means it’s perfect for reading during the night when I can’t sleep too.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Before I was a blogger it was as case of whichever book caught my eye as I scrolled through my kindle. Since I started receiving ARCs I keep these separately from my other books and I always prioritise review books. I read them in order of publication date but if I receive them after the publication date then I read them in the order that I received them, or to a date agreed with the publisher or author. I always have 4 or 5 books on the go at once, all different genres, so I try to have a book I’ve bought in the mix too.

the posionwood bible

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

I’ve had The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver on my TBR for about a decade.  Every time I have a clear out of my books I spot this one on my bookcase and I always keep it because I really want to read it… and yet it’s still a TBR! Maybe one day…

the marble collector

A book you recently added to your TBR?

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern. She is one of my favourite authors so I couldn’t resist buying this on publication day on Thursday!

Fahrenheit 451 clothbound  tess clothboundA book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

I’ve never bought a book strictly because of it’s cover. Having said that, now that I mainly read on Kindle, I find myself drawn to beautiful editions or special editions of books that I’ve read as an ebook and I do buy those for my bookcases. So it’s not strictly TBR books but it is still buying books for their beautiful covers. Fahrenheit 451 is my favourite book so I treasure my beautiful clothbound hardback edition that my husband bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago, it really is stunning. I also have some of the Penguin clothbound classics, my favourite of those is Tess of the D’Urbervilles as it’s another of my favourite books and this edition is gorgeous.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

Ooh, that’s a tough question! I think in my last big clear out a year ago I got rid of all the books I knew I’d never read. Actually, having said that, I did keep just a few of my mum’s books after she died, purely because they were precious to her. They’re not really my taste though and I probably won’t ever read them, that’s not to say that I don’t treasure them.

The Widow my pic Look At Me my pic

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited to read?

There are so many books I could mention but I think it has to be either The Widow by Fiona Barton, or Look at Me by Sarah Duguid.

the night circus

A book on your TBR that everyone has read except you?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I love the sound of this book and I really do intend to read it one day but I’ve just yet to get around to it. It does seem to be a book that always pops up on lists and it’s one people still talk about so much and I really do feel like I must be in the minority of readers to not have read it yet.

the accident season

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

A lot of people have told me to read The Accident Season recently and I love the sound of it, I just haven’t got around to reading it yet. It’s definitely one that I must try and bump up my TBR mountain soon though.

The Winter Wedding my pic

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements, I received a copy in the post this week and I cannot wait to start reading it! I’ve loved all of Abby’s previous books and her Christmas novel Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is one of my favourite ever Christmas books; I try to read it every Christmas as it never fails to get me in the festive spirit! So I’m hoping this new one will become another favourite!

How many books are in your goodreads TBR shelf?

I divide my TBR into three sections:

audio TBR

audiobooks TBR (31)

print TBR copy print books TBR (91)

ebook TBR

ebooks TBR (4400),

So added together my TBR has 4522 books on it. I used to have a real fear of running out of books to read, I’m now at the stage of thinking I’m never going to be able to read all of the books that I want to!

Reader Problems tag


I recently discovered the Reader Problems Tag on Into The Bookcases and immediately wanted to take part. I have so many reader problems – too many books to chose from so end up wasting loads of time trying to pick and the age-old so many books, so little time! So this seemed a perfect tag for me to join in with.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

With great difficulty! Ha! Seriously, my TBR is around 5000 at the moment and that is books that I own, if I were to add all the books on my wishlist to that it’d easily be over 7000! I mostly read on Kindle these days and I have all my books in categories and sub-categories so it makes it easier to narrow choice down if I know what type of book I’m in the mood for. The time when it becomes impossible is when I’m not sure what I feel like reading, then I just sometimes feel quite overwhelmed. I’ve recently made a list of all the books I own that I absolutely have to read soon, so now I just start at the top of that list and see what catches my eye! I’ve only started reviewing books recently so I keep a list of my arcs with publication dates and always prioritise those above my own books.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

This is such a hard question. I’ve always found it completely impossible to give up on a book once I’ve started reading but nowadays I usually have 3 or 4 books books on the go at once so if one of them is not grabbing my attention it can fall by the wayside. I don’t look on it as quitting, just putting a book on pause for a while (but if I were to be honest some books never get picked up again).

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Yes I always try to catch up. If there was still a few weeks left of the year I would just re-prioritse my life and maybe watch a bit less telly, if it was down to a few days I would read some novellas. It kind of feels like cheating but if the novellas were already on my TBR then they were obviously books I planned on reading sometime anyway so not really cheating. I wouldn’t be too upset if I didn’t complete the challenge though, it’s just one of those things.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

This only bothers me if it’s a favourite series. I prefer my series books that I’m going to keep forever to match so I would try really hard to find the matching cover to the ones I already had. If that wasn’t possible I’d have to grin and bear it until such a time I could afford to re-buy the whole series in one go to guarantee matching covers. This is one benefit of reading on an ereader – you don’t have to look at the covers on a shelf all the time so it doesn’t matter if they don’t match.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

It all depends on if I can find someone who also disliked the book! Otherwise it tends to be my lovely mum-in-law as she’s a bookworm to so she understands.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I try to avoid reading books that are likely to make me cry when I’m in public, but if I get caught off-guard I just try to avert my head so people can’t see me so easily, and just have to hope it doesn’t turn into noisy, ugly crying!

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book?

Ideally I would re-read the book but it’d depend if I had the time. I usually end up googling or looking through reviews of the previous book to try and refresh my memory.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I’m very particular with my books and like to keep them immaculate so I really don’t like lending my books to anyone. I’m very open and honest about the fact that I don’t lend my books to anyone so people usually know not to ask me. I find it quite easy to say no because I only keep my most precious books now and there is no way I’m risking them being damaged or getting lost.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Reading slumps usually happen to me when I’m either under a lot of stress or when I’m not well, so I just have to ride it out. If it’s getting me down that I can’t get into a book and it’s been a while I’ll go back to one of my old favourites that is like a comfort read. Sometimes I’ll treat myself to a wish list book that I’m desperate to read but haven’t been able to justify buying and that usually gets me reading again.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

It depends how much spare cash I have at that particular time! I’ve been known to buy 6 or 7 books at once on a big book release day. I add books to my Amazon wishlist all the time so whenever I have any spare money I just scroll through the list and pick whatever jumps out at me at the time.

Please feel free to share links to your Reader Problems Tag questions in the comments box, I’d love to read them.