How do you read two books at once?

imagesSo, I accidentally started reading two books at once. Accidentally you say? Well, sort of. My husband had left a book lying around for a few months and it looked interesting so I picked it up just to quickly look at it. It turned out it was pretty good so I carried on reading it even though I was in the middle of another book.

Before this I have actively tried to read two books at the same time just once and I gave up pretty quickly. In that case I wasn’t really enjoying the book I was in the middle of so I thought starting another one would be a nice break and allow me to go back and enjoy the first one more. In the end I gave up on the first one pretty quickly after starting the second one. So, this leads me to wonder, how do people read two books at once regularly?

The online book community shows that a lot of people read multiple books at the same time really frequently but how does it work out? If you pick up two books, any two books, the chances are you will like one more than the other, so what stops you just giving up on the one you like the least like I did? Do you try to pick two you think you will like equally? If so how do you go about that? There are a couple of Mitch Albom books I would say I like equally but then there are a couple I like less than those ones, so even with the same author it can be hard to find books of equal interest to you. Read More »

June Reading Wrap-Up

June has been another not so great reading month for me. I haven’t had any less time to read lately, I just haven’t been doing it is much as before, I haven’t even managed to get to my book subscription book from June yet. Technically I have still been reading, but I have been reading blogs more than books.

Unfortunately none of the books I actually did manage to read really stood out. I think that is part of the problem really, I keep ending up reading books that are just meh, so I’m less enthusiastic about reading in general.

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Book Review- The Lie of the Land

34349197Title- The Lie of the Land
Author- Amanda Craig
Published-  June 15th 2017
Genre- Contemporary, mystery
Length- 432 pages
Rating- 2.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.

Mud, mice, and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.

Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.

A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

I expected a lot more mystery/thriller elements to this story and was left disappointed. This book basically has you following a bunch of characters as they go about their pretty mundane lives. If these characters were real, and you stalked them, the information in this book is exactly what you would come away with. Read More »

Book Review- Hidden Figures

25953369Title- Hidden Figures
Author- Margot Lee Shetterly
Published-  December 2016
Genre- Non-fiction, History, Science
Length- 349 pages
Rating- 3/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.

Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives – and their country’s future.

Review- I think how much you enjoy this book will depend on how many sittings you read it in. I think most people would struggle to read it in one sitting, but three or four would be ideal.

The book covers parts of history that most people know nothing about, despite the entire world knowing about the moon landing. The story itself is interesting, and eye opening in terms of the extent of segregation, and particularly the behaviour of the Virginia school system. Personally I wouldn’t have dealt with things as well as these women! There is a lot of discrimination where I work and it makes me incredibly angry but these women just got on with it and managed to change things!Read More »

Why do so many adults read YA?

12232938Personally I usually don’t really like YA (young adult), but I know a lot of adults do, why?

Now generally a book is considered YA if the main characters are adolescents, so in the book they are doing things that adolescents do. So, why do adults like reading about what kids are doing? Is it a nostalgia thing? Is it an escape from “adulting?”

The language in YA is usually very simple, so they are generally pretty easy reads. If you are reading for enjoyment you likely don’t want to slog through difficult text so it’s understandable to want something simple. Simple language also often makes things a quicker read which I guess could be another appeal. Adult books can be pretty easy reads too though so that can’t be the only reason some people choose YA?Read More »

Book Review- All the Good Things

32792758Title- All the Good Things
Author- Clare Fisher
Published-  June 1st 2017
Genre- Contemporary, literary fiction
Length- 240 pages
Rating- 4/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing. What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

This story is told from Beth’s perspective, mostly as if she is talking to her child. The majority of it is told in the past tense but that is interspersed with present day therapy sessions and time in prison. It is well done and easy to follow.Read More »

Book Review- Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between

30253864Title- Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
Author- Lauren Graham
Published-  2016
Genre- Biography
Length- 205 pages
Rating- 5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Review- I loved this book!

Whenever I consider reading the biography of an actor it is because I really like them in one particular role, so I basically ignore the fact that it’s the actor, and not the character writing the book. In this case I love Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls obviously, because I’m not a weirdo. Who doesn’t love her? My fiancé that’s who! “Why do they talk so fast?” Err, because they’re amazin!! Anyway………although the stories in this are those of Lauren Graham, in terms of style, this book might as well have been written by Lorelai Gilmore! I guess Lauren and Lorelai are similar and that’s why the character is so great! Read More »

Book Review- Emma

IMG_4164Title- Emma
Author- Jane Austen
Published-  1816
Genre- Classic
Length- 392 pages
Rating- 3.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

Review- I think with classics like this there isn’t really a lot to say. Overall I liked it. I thought it was better than Sense and Sensibility, but not as good as Pride and Prejudice. The movie Clueless is apparently based on this book. Knowing that going in I did see the similarities, but if I hadn’t been told beforehand I don’t think I would have picked up on it.Read More »

Does age matter when reading?

Vector silhouette generation women.

Does your age matter when you are reading? Now by that I don’t mean should you only read at certain ages, I mean does how old you are have an impact on your enjoyment of reading particular books? Of course, adults aren’t going to love books meant for toddlers, but I’m talking about “proper” books.

Most books have a target audience, at least in terms of age, so if a book is aimed at people older or younger than you does that mean you wont enjoy it? Personally, I usually don’t like YA or “new adult” and of course I am not the target audience there. How about classics? They are forced on most kids at some point during school and “average” kids often don’t like them. Why? My guess would be the language. Usually it is more difficult than with modern books so can be an effort to get through to get to the actual story. When people go back to read classics as adults however, those same people often enjoy them. Why? By that stage they have been exposed to language a lot more so perhaps they just automatically find the language easier to understand and can focus on the story? So, that would suggest age really does matter.Read More »

What do you look for in a book cover?

IMG_4186So, I recently did a post about judging books by their covers, because lets face it, a lot of us do it. What is it though that you are looking for when you do that?

Another recent post was about different editions where I said that I basically pick the edition that is prettiest, but what makes a book “pretty” or not to you, what matters? Big words? An unusual font? Bright colours? Realistic pictures? More cartoon like pictures? Is it more just the general overall look rather than a specific thing you look for?

I think for me it’s more the overall look that makes me like a cover. I guess I wouldn’t be very helpful in a publishing focus group! If I compare the books I have with covers I love they are all actually really different. Most of them are all quite colourful but the colours really vary, as does the general artistry. There is one thing they have in common though….none of them have photos of people on the covers. The only ones that have people in any sense are the Penguin deluxe editions of the classics and some of the Harry Potter books.Read More »