Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bookmarks and Book Marks.

I first saw this tag over on Winterelle, written by the wonderful Alannah, and I thought it was fabulous. It's taken me a ridiculous amount of time to finally get around to writing my answers but let's do this!

What are you currently using as a bookmark?
Some of the free bookmarks from past Book Depository orders - I love them, but they rarely include them in my orders anymore *sad face*! 

Best thing you've used? Weirdest thing you've used?
I'm combining my answer for these questions because I think they're both covered by the fact that I may sometimes use the Elder Wand as a bookmark. And I think it's amazing and weird and totally impractical all at the same time!

Do you ever write in books? Why or why not?
Sometimes, although I've recently taken to using mini post-it notes instead. It makes it easier to find the parts that I love again, but I suppose it takes away from the surprise of rereading a book and stumbling across some notes you've written previously and forgotten about.  

Which books in your collection have been written by someone named Mark?
The only book in my collection written by a Mark is the fabulous Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett. Front man of Eels, Mark has had a bit of a crazy life. Despite feeling he's not worthy of having a book about his life published, I'm so glad that he wrote it because 1.) he absolutely is worthy, and 2.) it's charming, inspiring and the story about John Legend still makes me chuckle whenever I think about it.

Which book has made the biggest mark figuratively on your life?
This is a really interesting question and the more I think about it, the further I get from an answer because I suppose I've taken little parts of lots of books and tucked them away to revisit or think about on a rainy day when I need some inspiration or encouragement. Choosing some recent inspirations, Allen Ginsberg's poetry and The Listeners by Leni Zumas have both prompted me to really think about the medium of writing itself and how the boundaries can be pushed and experimented with to produce incredibly immersive work. Experimentation is the key to brilliance, I'm sure of it.

What books have you marked on you?

In your opinion which book(s) have made the biggest impact on your generation? 
Harry Potter immediately springs to mind of course. What a phenomenon and it's so overwhelming to think about how many children grow up with Harry as part of their lives, with the books to comfort them and escape into. Harry is such a special gift to the world of children's literature. I also think that The Perks of being a Wallflower is pretty special too.

I tag you! 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Currently Reading: May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

I'm trying to learn how to read for pleasure alongside studying. It's tricky because I'm not used to only being able to pick a book up for half an hour or so each night. Usually I love to read during my lunch hour and just generally whenever I have a few spare minutes, but when I'm writing an essay about a particular text I can't read anything else because I get in a huge muddle! A book takes a long time to get through this way and for me I can only do it if it's the right kind of book - one that's easy to dip in and out of.

May We Be Forgiven is the perfect book for picking up and putting down constantly. The main character, Harry, is on a bit of a journey after suddenly finding himself in charge of his brother's two children and trying to navigate through all the absurd things that are being thrown his way, and it almost adds to the experience reading a novel that takes place over a period of time, slowly. Or perhaps I'm really just not that into it? At this point of essay induced confusion it really could be either!

p. 376/480


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Unread books on my shelf.

I'm not one to feel any pressure from having a stack of unread books, mostly I just think that I'll get to them eventually but I do feel a little guilty if there's a book on my shelf that I know I probably won't ever pick up. That has encouraged me to be quite particular about the books I choose to buy. I mean, there are so many great novels out there that I think I'll adore, so why would I invest time & money in those that just sound like they'll be okay? I'm always tempted by titles that are incredibly discounted but if I know I'm unlikely to read it any time soon, there's no real need for it to sit on my bookshelf unloved.

A couple of days ago I donated some books I knew I was unlikely to ever get around to and I felt much better about my 'to be read' shelf. I like to have some variety on there at any given time because I'm very much a mood reader. I can't really pick out a stack of books at the beginning of the month and say that I'm going to read them because I might fancy something different when the time comes.

There are currently 25 books (well, I had to buy something boring from amazon & to reach the free delivery minimum spend I thought I'd buy a book I'd been wanting for a little while, so it's actually 26 now) on my to be read shelf. There are a couple of books I have to read for University on there, a couple I've started but put down for another time, a couple I'm currently dipping in and out of, and some that I'm really looking forward to getting to. When the winter sets in I have a bit of a love for crime novels, they're mostly ones I've bought for my Mum (she generally only reads crime novels) and I've kept hold of the ones she quite liked so I know I'll be picking those up soon.

I don't really want it to get too much bigger so I'm thinking of going on a temporary book buying hiatus, or maybe I'll tell myself I have to read a certain amount of books before I can buy a new one. I'm not sure, we'll see!

Do you have a large 'to be read' shelf? 
Or do you prefer to buy a book, read it, and then go and buy a new one?


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Would You Rather: Book Edition

1. Would you rather read only trilogies or only stand alone novels?
Stand alone novels will always be my ultimate favourite. Sometimes trilogies end with everything too neatly tied up at the end, or are so much longer than they need to be and I suppose I just like having a complete story in a single book.  

2. Would you rather read only male or female authors?
I don't think I could ever choose. 

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?
If I had an unlimited book buying budget, I would always shop in actual bookshops. You can't beat the joy that comes from wandering the shelves and discovering something unexpected.

4. Would rather books became films or TV shows?
Films, I think. My pet peeve with TV shows is that they always drag things out for too long and I end up losing interest. So I think I would prefer having to have bits left out of a film to having things added into a TV show. 

5. Would you rather read 5 pages a day or 5 books a week?
Five books a week. More is more! 

6. Would you rather be a professional reviewer or an author?
I would love to write a book even though realistically I probably only have one good (maybe mediocre) novel in me. Maybe one day!

7. Would you rather read your favourite 20 books over & over or only read books you've never read before?
The joy that starting a new book brings is something I couldn't live without.

8. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
I may hold distant dreams of opening my own independent bookshop one day, so a bookseller for sure. 

9. Would you rather only read your favourite genre or every genre except your favourite?
That's a very good question and my answer is probably a bit of a cheat because I don't think I have a favourite genre. I like literary fiction but I suppose if I had to read only that it would be a bit much, so I guess I'd read every genre except my favourite in that case.

10. Would you rather read only physical books or ebooks?
I'm all about the physical books and so far haven't been able to get used to reading ebooks.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Charity Shop purchases

As I dropped off a couple of books to my local charity shop I couldn't resist having a little look at the shelf to see if anything stood out. When books are 50p each or 3 for £1 I just can't seem to help myself. Their selection isn't hugely varied, it's mostly crime novels that have found their way there because my mother reads a lot of them, but this time I found a couple of gems.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli | **
The neon pink cover initially caught my attention and I vaguely recognised the title so I thought I would give it a go. It's undoubtedly a sweet little book about being different, how changing yourself to fit in probably won't work out, and how being more accepting of people's quirks can teach you completely new ways of seeing the world. I flew through it, and I can see why it's fairly popular with its simple prose and nice message, but it's not one of my favourite young adult/children's books. I love children's books, but I've read a few incredible ones in recent years so I think I just have ridiculously high expectations, which is probably a little unfair.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne | **
I'm not sure how I managed it, but I made it to my mid twenties without reading this book. I feel like everyone has either read it or seen the film, but beyond the basic premise I had absolutely no idea what it was about. The message is an important one and I appreciate what Boyne was trying to do, but I'm not convinced it was as effective as it could have been.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
This is a novel I know very little about and I suppose that's a decision I've consciously made. I've heard a lot of wonderful things about Zadie Smith as a writer and got the impression that there's a very good chance I'll adore her work, so I've avoided any detailed reviews of her novels. Not knowing what to expect from a book and just opening it at the first page & seeing where it takes me is one of my favourite things. All I know is that this is the story of two North London families, the Joneses and the Iqbals, and themes of friendship, love, cultural identity and hope.

Do you enjoy perusing the book shelves in charity shops? 


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Hello, again!

Dear The Book Journal,

I must apologise greatly for neglecting you these past few weeks. I definitely underestimated the additional work that would come with writing a second blog and I've learned that I need to greatly improve on my time management skills because they seem to have wandered off somewhere. I know I have enough hours in the day, I just need to make them all count and not spend so much time doing very little when I could be doing something fun!
I hope you can forgive me. I've dusted off the cobwebs, had a little tinker with your layout and I'm ready to fill your metaphorical pages with lots of book related goodness. You're my place to escape to, to talk until my heart's content about one of my favourite things in the whole world, so let's do this!

Love from,
(a very apologetic) Jennie