WWW Wednesday (5 April) What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This is such a great book, I’m really happy to have my reading mojo back after a wobbly few days and to be able to dive straight back into this novel.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I’m listening to this on audio at the moment and really enjoying it. It really subverts male and female roles, which makes for a thought-provoking read.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

I’m hoping to be able to finish this book this week. It’s had to be put to one side over the last week or two as I haven’t managed to hold a print book to read but I’m really keen to know how the rest of the novel’s going to go so am going to aim for reading a chapter at a time and see how I cope.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

I pretty much read this in one sitting yesterday, it just grabbed me straight away and kept me hooked. I’m on the blog tour for this on Saturday so I’ll be sharing my review then so look out for that.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

This has been on my currently reading list for a few weeks now but I’ve been struggling to read more serious non-fiction. A couple of days ago I decided to get the audio book version as I thought listening to it might be better for me and I’m glad I did. I finished the second half of the book in just two days. It’s a really hard subject matter but such a well-written book. I originally got a NetGalley copy of this a couple of years ago but I had to DNF it as it wasn’t the right time for me to read it. I then bought my own copy to try again so I’m thinking I may still try and review this.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

This is such a great read. It’s one of those novels that really got under my skin, and there were parts that made me really uncomfortable and yet I couldn’t stop reading. It’s a book that will really stay with me and I recommend it. I was so pleased that it made the Baileys prize short list this week.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

I accidentally got this from NetGalley (when I mistakenly clicked on a link in an email from them) and decided I would give it a go. I will review this with it being from NetGalley but I’m not sure that I particularly recommend it as there wasn’t as much analysis of the film as I would have expected.

What I plan on reading next:

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

I’ve had this on my review book TBR for a couple of months now and just haven’t felt in the right mood to read it. Hearing the buzz around it now it’s made the Baileys short list this week has made me want to read it asap as it does feel like it could be a book that I will love.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I bought this with my birthday money last month and have been keen to pick it up ever since. I wanted to finish One of Us first though as having two long non-fiction books on the go at once felt a bit daunting. I’m really looking forward to starting this.

 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

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March Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


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The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up (2 April)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week has been a bit rubbish if I’m honest. The effects of reducing my pain meds have really kicked in and I just feel horrid a lot of the time. I was meant to be going to a gig in the week with my husband, and we’d had the tickets for ages, but there was no way I was going to manage it. We stayed in and treated ourselves to a takeaway instead, which was lovely but I still wish we could have gone out.

I’ve barely managed to read anything all week – the two books I have finished are the ones I managed to pick up again just yesterday and were books I’ve been reading on and off for a little while now.

I’m going to be starting a new treatment soon, which is more experimental, but I’m going into it with a positive mindset and am hoping that it helps me.

This week I’ve finished reading two books:

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I found this to be such a compelling read, it really drew me in. Some of the things that happen hit a nerve with me but it’s so well written that even then I didn’t want to stop reading. I love books that make me uncomfortable but still have me under their spell, and this one was definitely one of those. I definitely recommend this.

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison

I didn’t notice who this book was by when it arrived so it was only when I started reading this that I realised. I wouldn’t have picked this up had I have known but once I had the book I was intrigued to know what he had to say. I do think it’s important to hear all sides but in this case, when the police have been held responsible after so many years, it does feel like there’s nothing more to be heard from them that can add anything. Having said that, I do think it’s wrong that officers can take early retirement in order to get out of facing an investigation into their alleged wrong-doing, and that, because the other officers involved did this, Bettison bore more of the criticism in his career. I wouldn’t recommend this.

This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Monday: Review of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Tuesday: Review of The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Thursday: A guest post by Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, all about how he speaks up for the voiceless in his short story collection

Friday: Review of The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

I just started this book last night and it’s got me hooked already so I reckon, concentration span permitting, that this may be one of those books that I finish in one sitting!

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

This is a really interesting look at the film Dirty Dancing and what the backdrop to the film was in terms of politics of the time it was made, and the time it was set. It’s a short book so I hope to be able to finish it this week.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This is a brilliant novel, I’m really enjoying it. I actually missed this book when I had a few days of not being well enough to read this week so I’m really looking forward to picking it up again.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a great read. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t managed to read anymore of it this week due to lack of concentration but also due to horrible lack of dexterity in my hands meaning print books aren’t the easiest to read at the moment. I’m so keen to see where this story is going though so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it this week.

One of Us by Asne Serierstad

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week and am really hoping that my brain power will be back to full(ish) strength soon so that I can finish this book. It’s such an interesting book but I wish I could have managed to read it in fewer sittings.

 

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Update on my TBR… 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1895

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts:  23

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 2

Books I’m currently reading: 5

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1913

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. I’ll be posting my monthly wrap-up for March on here tomorrow so please look out for that! 🙂