Books, books and more books!

Just going to put this right here - if you're not a fan of books then you may want to wait for another eternity until I post about something else! If however, you are a book geek*, like me, then step on in and enjoy!

I have been an absolute book geek since I was tiny. My Mother always proudly told anyone who'd listen how I was reading from the age of 3 and basically I haven't stopped since. My favourite thing to do as a child was to curl up somewhere quiet and bury my head in a book. My top three reading spots of choice would have been on top of the coal bunker, up the tree over the road or sitting on the bench a bike ride away down the quietest country lane where I knew I wouldn't be disturbed. (Also an excellent place for covert meetings with boys or a sneaky under age cigarette.) (Mum, if you're reading this, let's never speak of this again.)

Nowadays, I don't have a coal bunker, I am far too old and inflexible to climb trees and, having given up on the sneaky liaisons with unsuitable boys and the odd cigarette, I prefer to stick to what I know. My big old armchair in the corner of the lounge. Preferably with a cup of something nice and some peace and quiet.

A few years ago I purchased a Kindle and ventured into the world of having hundreds of books at my fingertips, no bookshelves, no piles of books all over the place - minimalist book-loving at its best! I read every day without fail, actually can't get to sleep without reading so I've always got a book on the go.

Recently though, I've been very excitedly curating a (rather large) TBR pile. (That's "To Be Read" for those of you not in the know.) I have become That Person at birthdays and Christmas to request book vouchers. To me, there is no greater thrill than receiving a book token, to use the old fashioned phrase, knowing that you now have a legitimate excuse to spend a few hours pottering around a book shop in order to spend it.

But, lockdown happened so I had to do my pottering online. Still thrilling but not quite the same buzz of enjoying the peacefulness of a book shop, the smell and the utter excitement of the spoils yet to be found. I know, I know, I'm probably sounding crazy......

And my TBR pile is now pretty large, to say the least. I'm still using my Kindle to read at night as I have several on there waiting to be delved into, the physical paperbacks are the ones for me to devour on a weekend when I can snatch an hour to myself. Last weekend I read the first of my paperbacks, Matt Haig's "The Midnight Library" and I can honestly say it was possibly one of my favourite books I have ever read. A pretty bold claim but sometimes a book comes along and hits you between the eyes and makes you question everything, it stays with you like a favourite memory and you just want to tell everyone about it and convert them. Jesus, I sound like David Icke but if you know you know.

So now I've spent all of the book tokens and more, let's have a little run down of what we're working with and, if you've read and loved any of these then let me know which one I should dive into first!

  1. The mind of a murderer, What makes a killer? Dr Richard Taylor.

I LOVE a bit of true crime, pop me in front of a true-crime documentary at any time of the day or night and I will be hooked. This book is a "glimpse into the darkest corners of the human mind, from one of the UK's most experienced forensic psychiatrists." This is a big old book so it's going to take a while but I am really looking forward to this one.

2. A Promised Land. Barack Obama.

I adored Michelle Obama's book - "Becoming" so when I saw this I knew I had to add it to my collection. I am not a political person by any stretch of the imagination but find the Obama's fascinating and I have heard this is a fantastic read. Again, definitely not one that will be read quickly but there's a lot to go in to!

3. Blue Ticket. Sophie Mackintosh.

I think this will be my next read, purely on the basis of having no patience whatsoever and NEEDING to get into this! The premise of this book is on the day of a girls' first bleed, they report to a station where they are given a ticket. White gives you children. Blue gives you freedom. This whole concept gives me chills as someone who struggled to conceive and I can't wait to explore it.

4. Clothes... and other things that matter. Alexandra Shulman.

When I saw this advertised on the Waterstones website I knew it would be something that I would be interested in. It looks at how our clothes reflect our lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the wider world. Alexandra Shulman was the former editor of British Vogue, so knows a bit or two about fashion. Plus, this is a signed copy, so I got a bit excited about that.

5. Hamnet. Maggie O'Farrell.

Inspired by the story of the son of William Shakespeare, this book was the winner of the Women's prize for fiction 2020 and a Sunday Times bestseller. Fun fact, I am extremely distantly related to Shakespeare so I can pop this down as a bit of family research surely?

6. On Writing. Stephen King.

The cover shows King at his desk, with his dog underneath so I liked it immediately. Part biography, part masterclass in writing, I'll have a bit of that!

7. People of abandoned character. Clare Whitfield.

An original take on the story of Jack the Ripper, this is written from the perspective of a wife who suspects her husband could be that very person. Having read quite a few Ripper books, this appealed to me from the new point of view of the main character.

8. Writers and Lovers. Lily King.

A New York Times bestseller, this one was recommended to me by the fabulous lady in Waterstones when I did manage to get in there in person! A romantic novel, she compared it to "Normal People" and films by Richard Curtis so yes please!

9. The Essential Rilke.

An actual book of poetry and the first I've bought probably since I did A level English a hundred years ago. I watched the film Jojo Rabbit last year and an utterly gorgeous quote from a poem by Rilke was featured right before the closing credits. "Let everything happen to you / Beauty and terror / Just keep going / No feeling is final." Fun fact - this book doesn't even have that poem in it. But hey, it looks good on my shelf.

10. Jog on journal. Bella Mackie.

I read her previous book "Jog on" and loved it. It explains how running helped with her anxiety and this book is a sort of diary where you can record your own journey to help with your own mental health. No, I've not been for a run since I bought it and no pen has touched a page. Yet.

11. Bird by bird. Anne Lamont.

"Instructions on writing and life." Apparently a book for serious writers and writers to be. Let's see, shall we? Ask me in a year how that goes.

12. Start writing your book today. Morgan Gist McDonald.

See above. And cross your fingers.

13. The Goldfinch. Donna Tart.

Again, recommended to me by the lovely lady at Waterstones saying she couldn't put it down. Criminal underworld, mother issues, survivor of a catastrophe, all things that sound a jolly good page-turner.

14. Miss Benson's Beetle. Rachel Joyce.

I loved her previous book - "The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry" so decided to pick this up. A novel about second chances and heartfelt friendships. I thought I might need something light after some of these choices!

15. The other Bennet sister. Janice Hadlow.

If you like Pride and Prejudice, (hello Colin Firth) then apparently this is one to delve into. This follows Mary Bennet, the sister that tends to be overlooked. Looking forward to this one.

16. The Children's Writers and Artists Yearbook 2021.

Full of publishers details and tips for writing your first children's book. Watch this space.

17. How to bullet plan. Rachel Wilkerson Miller.

This was a gift from a friend who knows I am not only a book geek but a planner / journal / diary geek. This sort of stuff genuinely makes my heart happy. Sad but true.

18. The Sanatorium. Sarah Pearse.

According to the front cover, Richard Osman himself says this is a "spine-tingling must-read." This was good enough for me so it went straight in my basket. Not my usual choice of genre, this is classed as a Gothic thriller but it sounds interesting and hey, it's good to swerve out of your comfort zone occasionally right?

Have you read any of these? What did you think? I'd love to know! And, if you need me, I can be found under a pile of books. (I wasn't even able to write this post without being sucked into reading a few pages of some of these, took a while, let me tell you!)

Happy reading fellow geeks! xx

* the use of the word geek is meant in the nicest way possible, so don't come at me for being offensive!

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