Monday, 21 September 2015

#UnderHypedReads TBR

Forgive the radio silence, life things got in the way. I'm sure you know how it is. It can be tricky to find the time, and even occasionally the motivation, to dedicate to doing the things you really want to do. The #BookBuddyAthon finished last Monday and although I didn't manage to read everything on my TBR list, I was pretty happy with how my first readathon went. They always seemed so daunting. I'm very much a mood reader; picking up whichever book takes my fancy whenever I feel like reading, and I thought I might simply not feel like reading anything. But thankfully that wasn't the case.

A couple of days ago Bee, who was my book buddy for the last readathon, posted her TBR for the #UnderHypedReads readathon and it sounded like something I really wanted to join in with, so here I am! I like the freedom of this readathon, you can even interpret what an under-hyped book is in your own way. I've chosen unread books from my shelf that have under 3000 ratings on Goodreads, but you could go for books with under 5000 ratings, or under 500 ratings even. Or you could ignore Goodreads entirely and choose a book that you haven't really heard anyone mention or talk about before.
The readathon starts today, so if you want to join in do let me know what you'll be reading over the coming week in the comments below, and here are the books I'm hoping to pick up over the next week.

Music for Torching by A.M. Homes (2685 goodreads ratings)
"Paul and Elaine have two boys and a beautiful home, yet they find themselves thoroughly, inexplicably stuck. Obsessed with 'making things good again', they spin the quiet terrors of family life into a fantastical frenzy that careens well and truly out of control."
This was part of my #BookBuddyAthon TBR and unfortunately I didn't quite manage to squeeze it in then, but I'm determined to read it this week. I actually picked it up this morning and read about 50 pages, which were thoroughly brilliant, so I'm hopeful it'll continue to be an enjoyable read. 

Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963 by Susan Sontag (1359 goodreads ratings)
"A self-portrait of one of America's greatest writers and intellectuals. We watch the young Sontag's complex self-awareness, share in her encounters with the writers who informed her thinking, and engage with the profound challenge of writing itself, all filtered through the inimitable detail of everyday circumstance."

I've been interested in Susan Sontag ever since I read On Photography back in college but oddly have never picked up any of her other work. Why? I have no idea. But it's time to change that. When I saw this copy of her journal for just a few pounds I had to pick it up and I'm intrigued to see what's inside. 

The Incarnations by Susan Barker (550 goodreads ratings)
"The story of a Beijing taxi driver whose past incarnations over one thousand years haunt him through searing letters sent by his mysterious soulmate."

After sitting on my shelf unread for too many months now, it's time for me to delve into this world. It sounds like such an intriguing and immersive story, I really have no idea why it has taken me so long to finally get around to picking it up. 

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry (2083 goodreads ratings)
"New York, 1895. Sylvan Threadgill, a night soiler cleaning out the privies behind the tenement houses, finds an abandoned newborn baby in the muck. Odile Church and her beautiful sister, Belle, were raised amid the applause and magical pageantry of The Church of Marvels, their mother’s spectacular Coney Island sideshow. But the Church has burnt to the ground, their mother dead in its ashes. A young woman named Alphie awakens to find herself trapped across the river in Blackwell’s Lunatic Asylum. 

As these strangers’ lives become increasingly connected, their stories and secrets unfold. Moving from the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, a spectacular human circus to a brutal, terrifying asylum, Church of Marvels takes readers back to turn-of-the-century New York—a city of hardship and dreams, love and loneliness, hope and danger." 

I started this a little while ago, got to page 100, and then stopped reading. And I can't remember why. It definitely wasn't because I wasn't enjoying it though, I remember being really into the world because of the rich descriptions and interesting characters. I'm going to start over, or at least skim the part I've already read just in case I've forgotten anything important, but I'm looking forward to finally finding out what happens! 

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones (1242 goodreads ratings)
"Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite."

A bit of non-fiction that I must say I'm looking forward to getting thoroughly annoyed at and having a bit of a grumble at as I read. I don't know how much new information will be in here, but I picked up a copy one day on a whim and I hope to at least make a start on it sometime this week.

What are you going to be reading this week? 

- Jennie


Sunday, 6 September 2015

#BookBuddyAthon TBR

Mere seconds after I had finished watching a #BookBuddyAthon TBR video and thinking 'that looks like a really fun readathon to take part in and I totally would if I had a buddy' the wonderful Bee from Vivatramp asked me to be her buddy and I'm so excited about it! Bee is one of my favourite internet ladies, I think we've been friends for something like 5 years now and I can't believe we haven't met in person yet! If Vivatramp isn't part of your blog subscription list and you like books and creative lifestyle posts, you must must must subscribe!

I haven't read a whole lot since finishing A Little Life, which I'm still totally hung up on, but I have a feeling this readathon will be the thing to finally push me to move the eff on. So here are the books I'm hoping to finish during my very first readathon...

1. Choose 3 books and get your buddy to pick one for you to read.
I gave Bee the choice of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Chimes by Anna Smaill and Music for Torching by A.M Homes. She chose the latter, which I was the one I was hoping for so those telepathic thoughts totally worked. She chose it because she'd never heard of it and the blurb she read included the words 'throbbing washer' and I was hoping she'd choose it because as I was quickly flicking through the pages (to get some of that unread book scent, please tell me I'm not the only one that does this!?) the sentence that jumped off one of the pages was 'I shaved myself'. So I'm hoping this is going to be hilarious in parts to offset some of the misery I'm told lies within.  

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2. Buddy read a book. 
We're going for White Oleander by Janet Fitch. We've both started this book before and ended up putting it down for reasons we can't remember. I'm not even sure whether I liked it but put it down because I needed to spend time doing other things, or if it annoyed me. The amount of tabs that are in my copy lead me to believe the writing is utterly beautiful, so I'm quite looking forward to starting over again, even more so because I get to read it with Bee! From what I remember it begins during a hot summer, something we haven't had much of this year in these parts, so we're going to read it to try and pretend we did. But I may also be completely wrong and totally mis-remembering the start of the book. We'll see!

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3. Read a book with your buddy's favourite colour on.
Bee's favourite colour is purple so I've chosen Silence in October by Jens Christian Gr√łndahl. 'After eighteen years of marriage, the narrator's wife has left home. In the silence of his Copenhagen apartment or on his travels, he recalls not just their lives together, their first meeting, children, friends, careers, affairs, but re-evaluates himself so that moment by moment, the puzzle of his life takes shape.' I think this might be cheating a little but I started reading it at 1am this morning, just before going to sleep and I'm not very far in but I completely agree with a lot of the praise that suggests it is an introspective evaluation of the human condition told masterfully. 

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4. Read a book your buddy gave 5 stars. 
Using the readathon as an excuse to buy a new book I've chosen What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. A copy is currently in the post, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it arrives in the next few days. I've heard a lot of fabulous things about this collection, and if Bee gave it 5 stars I think I'm pretty safe in thinking my high hopes will be more than met.

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5. Read a book you want to...just because. 
Finally for this challenge I'm going to go with The Chimes by Anna Smaill. This is the only other book on the Booker long list I own other than A Little Life, so I definitely want to get to it before the shortlist is announced. I don't know very much about it, but I have a feeling that's the best way to approach this novel. It's received a lot of praise from people whose opinions I really value so I'm hoping for good things.

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The #BookBuddyAthon was created by Cold Tea & Crumbs and Elena Reads Books. It starts on the 7th and runs through until the 13th & the aim is simply to read as much as possible and have a good ol' chat about it along the way. Yay for books and yay for reading! Let's do this!

Will you be taking part? 
Have you read any of these books before? 

- Jennie