Do You Keep ALL Your Books? | downsizing my book collection

An author I love shared a post on Twitter/Instagram lately, showing off her bookshelf in her new house. Yes, book SHELF, singular. And I saw that, and looked at my four (!!!!!) bookshelves, and kinda screamed.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten rid of about 50 books in total, but I still have a heck of a lot. I reckon about 2/3 of them are unread, which is an unbelievable amount – maybe nearing on 200 books in all.

my uni bookshelf 

Considering that, so far this year, I’ve read 78 books, it would take me two to three YEARS to actually read all of the books on my TBR shelves! That, I think, is insane, scary, and I really don’t want those kinds of numbers in my bookish life anymore.

I know that there are some readers out there who keep all of their books, but seeing this author have “only” one shelf of literature, and then my shelves kind of overflowing with paperbacks, it made me lean far more to the one-shelf kinda book lover than in the opposite direction.

If I don’t like a book, I will get rid of it (and sometimes pretty soonish). Personally, I don’t understand why readers keep even books that they don’t like on their shelves (if you do this, I would love to know why), because I don’t want to be constantly seeing something that makes me want to punch a wall!

But I will only definitely get rid of books if I don’t like them. Now, to really make my book collection (because that’s what it is!) far smaller, I really need to also get rid of books I read once, and perhaps even gave 4 or 5/5, but will not read again, and I know that there are maybe around 50 books on all of my shelves that I would actually choose to read over and over again. Those, the ones that I love to read again or the ones that I can’t bear to part with, are the only ones that I think I should be keeping.

I’m really interested in minimalism (I can actually hear my mum laughing at me writing that), and although I am nowhere near a minimalist and probably never will be, I like the ideas behind the movement – ie, keeping only what you love. Despite the fact I’m a huge reader, and love being surrounded by books, I know that I could get rid of probably hundreds and instead of regret, I’d feel relief that my TBR isn’t physically looming over me anymore.

Sure, I might regret the amount of money I spent on books that weren’t read by me – but they’ll be read (and hopefully loved) by someone else… so isn’t that worth reducing my collection?

I would honestly love to hear if you keep all of the books you read, if your TBR is as scary as mine, and what you think about only keeping the books that “earn” their place on the shelves by being ones that you truly love. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on anything in this blog post!

Until the next time,

Hx


A couple of resources on this topic that I found really interesting:

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge | day one

I did this challenge a couple of years ago, and I was nominated again by Louise from A Little Fool Reads, so thank you very much for nominating me!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day).
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

Image result for francesca zappiaFor day one, I’ve chosen this quote from Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia:

I think [writers] always do [have an ending], somewhere in our hends, even if we don’t seriously consider them. Like life, what gives a story its meaning is the fact that it ends. Our stories have lives of their own – and it’s up to us to make them mean something.

ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS by Francesca Zappia 

To me, this quote is really powerful, and I truly love it, especially the final two sentences. It means a lot to me, and really hit me in the chest when I first read it. I had to pause and reread the quote a couple of times, and after I finished the book I typed it up on my typewriter and carry it in my journal with me, and it takes a lot for a quote to rattle around my brain constantly like this one does.

I nominate:

Thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check back tomorrow for another quote!

Until then,

Hannah

10 Books To Read To Get To Know Me

If you’ve been about on Twitter recently, you might have seen the viral tweets that normally follow the lines of ‘share 5 books/films/songs to consume to get to know me’. Books are so important in my life, and I thought I would share 10 (because I couldn’t fit it to 5!) to get to know me as a writer, reader, and person.

1.First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton – this is the series that got me into reading, and I am so thankful to both Enid Blyton and Darrell Rivers! Not only do I highly recommend this series, but it’s definitely the basis for me as a reader.

2.Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Harry Potter – I know I put HP in some form or another on basically every list I do, but I owe so much to this series. I’ll write a whole post (read: essay) on this series and what it means to be sometime, but book 3 was the turning point from like to love for me so that’s why this one is on the list.

3.Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – similarly to HP, this series needs its own essay! But I recommend it all the time and honestly Percy Jackson (the series and the character) mean so much to me.

4.Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce – HP may have turned me into a writer, but Sisters Red was the series that made me go, “This. I want to write something like this.” And also, it’s a great book series!

5.The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen – this book evoked a huge love of historical fiction, my favourite genre. I’ve reread it so many times (and actually perhaps I should reread it again soon…).

6.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer – recently I’ve been getting into WWI and WWII literature and Guernsey is a fantastic example. I love this book (and the film, btw, is very good too).

7.A Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens – this series sparked my love of crime and thriller novels. I loooooove it.

8.Moonstone by Sjón – this novella made me realise how much I want to both read and write novellas. It’s so beautifully written too.

9.Saga by Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan – this is a graphic novel series but I think it deserves a place anyway! Saga is one of the best things you’ll ever read. It’s a sci-fi fantasy series and honestly? I love it so much.

10.Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – like The Lady in the Tower, this book was the turn of two things: my renewed love in historical fiction, and my introduction to faction novels, a type of novel I want to both read and write! And, like every single book on this list, it’s a fantastic read.


So here are 10 books that have changed my reading and writing life (and my life in general) in one way or another. All of these pieces of literature hold a special place in my heart!

There are so many pieces of literature that I wish I could’ve added to this list, such as Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, but I just couldn’t fit them in and feel like they didn’t have the profound affect some of these books did. It’s hard to narrow it down!

What’s on your list? I’d love to know in the comments!

Until the next time,

Hx

Turning the Page #5 | a lotta monsters

Turning the Page is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. In it, I talk about what I read during the week with a Tweet-sized review, and what I’m planning on reading next week, as well as what you might’ve missed on the blog. You’re very welcome to join in if you’d like! Just make sure to link back.

This week I read…

I read two books this week, and thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

  1. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi – this is the first in a new mythology series, and the first from “Rick Riordan Presents”. I loved the character of Aru, the whole plot, and the mythology, which is based on Indian mythology and contains, of course, plenty of monsters and gods! Can’t wait for book 2!
  2. Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – this was such a good read! All about the internet, content creating, friendships, and anxiety and depression. I really loved the entire thing, and it was also great because it has comic illustrations throughout, which is something I would love to see more of in novels!

Next week I want to read…

I have a couple in mind…

  1. Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager – I’m 67% through this book right now (thanks kindle!) and hopefully I’ll finish it tomorrow. I’m LOVING it so far!
  2. The Glass Magician by Charlie M Holmberg – I read book 1 of this series in, like, 2015, and always wanted to finish the trilogy but never did! I recently bought the last two on kindle so would love to finish the trilogy.
  3. The Master Magician by Charle M Holmberg – book 3 in The Paper Magician series.

On the blog…

Two posts went up this week, in case you missed them!

  1. I wrote about my favourite reads of the summer….
  2. And reviewed a book I read on holiday – Save the Date by Morgan Matson

How was your week in lit?

Happy reading! Hx

Book Review | Save the Date by Morgan Matson

34839193For Charlie Grant, this weekend is way more than just her big sister’s wedding: it’s the first time in years that she and her siblings will be under the same roof. Desperate for one last, perfect weekend before their house is sold, Charlie focuses on trying to save every problem that goes wrong. A neighbour bent on sabotage, an alarm that won’t stop ringing, an unexpected dog turning up, the groom’s missing tuxedo… and that’s only the beginning. In one chaotic weekend, Charlie will learn more about her family than she thought, and realise that, sometimes, living in the past means missing out on the future. 

If I had to sum up this book in three words, it would be messy family fun. This book was just so enjoyable to read!

Watching everything go wrong in the wedding gave me a huge sense of Schedenfraude – it was both hideous and hilarious reading about everything going wrong all the time! I think that a wedding, where we all know that everything pulls together in the end, was the perfect set up for this huge, messy family.

Charlie is a teenager in her last summer before university – although she hasn’t exactly decided where she wants to go yet. I related so much when she said that she wasn’t really that bothered about university – don’t get me wrong, I love where I am now, but if you’d told 16 year old me how happy I’d be, I would’ve laughed. I feel like I relate to Charlie so much! I also loved how fiercely protective she was of her family, but the thing I liked most was that, even though the book only takes place over three days (plus an epilogue), she had so much character development.

The “romance” wasn’t really a romance, which I absolutely adored – normally in a book like this, the character would fall in love in a matter of days. But it was just so realistic! The guy was cute, and I think that Matson played it really well between the both of them.

I also loved how Matson had cameos from her other novels! I’ve only read The Unexpected Everything, and when one of the characters from there appeared in this book, I squealed a little! I LOVE books that exist in the same universe but are disconnected from one another, and it was so well done, so casual! If you me to go all literature degree reading on you, I would say how it shows that you are the protagonist in your own story, but only a background character in other people’s etc. etc., but let’s not get into that right now…!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Save the Date and would definitely recommend it. I loved the characters, the location, and the plot, and although it was fun and lighthearted it was also realistic and dealt with actual real-world issues. I would love to pick up more of Morgan Matson’s novels in the future!

Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Waterstones


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (film review)

Image result for to all the boys i've loved before

Turning the Page #4 | a new favourite book?

Turning the Page is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. In it, I talk about what I read during the week with a Tweet-sized review, and what I’m planning on reading next week, as well as what you might’ve missed on the blog. You’re very welcome to join in if you’d like! Just make sure to link back.

turning the page banner

This week I read…

I read two very thought-provoking books this week, and loved them both.

  1. Image result for the tobacconistThe Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler – this was a just a really brilliant book set in Vienna in 1937/38. Through the view of a young man, Seethaler explores subjects like love, family, truth, and freedom. I’d so recommend this book to everyone, and it’s a new favourite.
  2. Secrets for the Mad by dodie – this is the kind of book I would love to write. I love reading Dodie’s views on love, life, and mental health. She’s so relatable, and doesn’t hide from the truth. I really enjoyed this memoir.

Next week I want to read…

I don’t really have a set TBR for next week, but I think I would like to get to…

  1. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – two mental health books so close together might be pushing it for me, but I’d love to read it soon!
  2. something fantasy – I haven’t decided what, exactly, yet, but I’m in a fantasy mood right now.

On the blog…

Image result for rebel of the sands

I posted one of my all-time favourite blog posts this week, and it was…

  1. A review of the entire Rebel of the Sands trilogy (sans spoilers!) by Alwyn Hamilton. It’s around 1000 words, so quite lengthy, but I loved writing it!
  2. I also wrote about some totally bingeworthy book series that you should really give a chance!

So that’s my week in books! How was yours?

Book Series Review | Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton

This review will be SPOILER-FREE of all three books, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the entire series. I read them so close together, I actually think I’d have a hard time separating them into separate books! There will be a (large) spoiler paragraph towards the end, mainly probably talking about my bae, Sam. ❤

26047310Dustwalk is a deadly, unforgiving town, and Amani would do anything to escape it. When a stranger gives her that chance, she takes it without second thoughts. But dangerous creatures lurk in the night, the handsome stranger she escaped with isn’t all he seems, and Amani may be hurtling towards something bigger than she ever imagined she could be apart of. 

It took me a while to get into the first book – probably about 50 or 100 pages – but once I did, there was no way I was putting this trilogy down.

The first book had so much rich world-building, and I think that this brought it down a little. There was a lot of info-dumping of the myths, and I actually think that Hamilton could write and publish a separate book of all of the myths of Amani’s world. I would definitely read it, because she’s created some truly interesting stories, and they sound so realistic, too, as if they could be in any mythology in our world.

31574408Like I said, this series was a slow start. I’d tried to read it a couple of times before, but kept putting it down because I just wasn’t gripped at all. The writing style wasn’t particularly unfriendly, but there just seemed to be no real hook until Jin arrived. (Side note: JIN I LOVE YOU FOREVER.)

The actual story line can’t be taken much further than the first book without major spoilers, but I will tell you that it’s concerned with a Rebel Prince and a civil war. I think that civil war – which is what this boils down to – is something that happens surprisingly often, and so it was a great plot line for a fantasy world, linking it to our own real world.

Hamilton’s writing is refreshing because, and this isn’t an insult, it’s quite simple. There are no long metaphors, particularly, or epithets, and the lexis she chooses is simplistic but powerful enough that it evokes a really strong sense of location in the reader. I wanted to feel the sand between my toes, a sheema across my face, and a gun in my hands.

35406534The characters were just brilliant, because they’re all so different. I think that Hamilton showed really realistic relationships and connections – Amani and Jin are the typical YA couple, but even then they had a relatively slow-burn relationship. But when you’re in an environment as harsh as Amani’s, and you’ve saved each other’s lives a couple of times, it’s understandable that you form a strong connection.

ALSO, there is quite a large time jump between books 1 and 2 – a year. I think that this really helped move the characters along, establish the war in a lot more detail, and also helped with characters and their romantic relationships, and friendships. I really dislike it when books have unrealistic timelines, ie ones that seem to happy too quickly to be conceivable. Hamilton did a great job with the timescale in this series, I think.

Jin and Ahmed, his brother, had such a great relationship too, because it was a real sibling relationship, but with the added power imbalance too. I won’t say why they had this power imbalance (you work it out pretty quickly), but there were other really strong sibling relationships in this series as well. It’s a nice refreshing relief to know that not every character has a romantic partner (coughthroneofglasscough). AND FRIENDSHIPS! Can we talk about Amani and Shazad? Their friendship was my all time favourite thing.

Image result for rebel of the sands fanart

An example of the gorgeous new covers. I read the originals, so decided to share those in this review, but these are stunning and evoke a lot more of the books, I think!

Okay so this is going to be the spoiler paragraph, for ALL THREE BOOKS! Firstly, let’s discuss my favourite character – Sam. I don’t know if it’s because I have a weakness for men named Sam (don’t ask) or because he was just so broken and cute and clever and questioning himself and his morality or… wait, no, it’s because of those. I wish so hard that he’d survived the final book, and gone on to live a really happy life with Shazad! Secondly, speaking of Sam’s death, let’s talk about others. Hamilton didn’t mince the deaths in this book, and yes, it was cliche with Amani and Jin coming back, but I actually kinda liked it. I liked that it showed the Djinn, god-like creatures, had some of the humanity they breathed into the models of people they created in their own likeness.

The ending of this trilogy was so well put together that it a) brought tears to my eyes and b) has inspired me so much. I would love to write a trilogy like this, and the happiness that this series brings me is immense! I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s my favourite trilogy of all time, but it’s definitely staying on my bookshelf, and I’ve recommended it so much since finishing it a couple of weeks ago.

If you haven’t read Rebel of the Sands yet, I would highly recommend picking it up, and if you’re unsure about continuing the series, take my guarantee that books 2 & 3 are way better. I really hope that you enjoy this series as much as I do if you choose to read it!

Ratings: Book 1: 3.5/5 ; book 2: 5/5 ; book 3: 5/5

Goodreads book 1 ; book 2 ; book 3
Source: Book 1 bought from Waterstones, books 2 & 3 from Amazon


If you enjoyed this series, you may also enjoy… The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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8 Totally Bingeworthy Book Series

looooove binging book series, and if you’re reading this blog post I guess you either love it, or you want to start too. I’ve suggested 8 book series below, all of which I’ve binged, or read pretty close together, and one point or another. They’re all fantastic, I recommend them highly, and only, like, 2, are series that you would see on every single other blogger’s list… yes, they’re totally Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments. 

  1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling (7 books) 
    Image result for harry potter seriesOf course this has to make the list, despite being the most cliche recommendation on here. When I first read the series, I read them all back to back within about 3 weeks! #WorthIt
  2. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (6 books) 
    Image result for the mortal instruments seriesThis is a series that I don’t think I actually binged, but I forget details so quickly it’s basically necessary to binge. They’re not too long, so perfect to snuggle up with and just pick up one after the other!
  3. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (3 books) 
    Image result for rebel of the sands trilogyI binged this trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s definitely worth binging this series because you will be in agony knowing if your favourite characters are going to live or die…!
  4. Fairytale Retellings by Jackson Pearce (4 books) 
    Image result for fairytale retellings jackson pearceI frickin’ adore this series, and it definitely doesn’t get the hype it deserves! All of the books are interlinked in a way that you’ll only notice if you’re perceptive (it’s so satisfying realising that though!) and this is definitely a series that made me want to be a writer. It’s brilliant, and I can’t recommend it enough!
  5. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens (6+ books) 
    Image result for murder most unladylikeEarlier this year, I spent about a week reading one of these books every night, and it was brilliant. The 7th comes out pretty soon, so right now is the perfect time to binge books 1-6 before Death in the Spotlight is released.
  6. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (3 books) 
    Image result for the infernal devices seriesI don’t know why TMI is earlier on this list than TID, because I preferred this series wayyyy more, and I so wish it’d been 6 books too. Jem, Tessa, and Will are three fantastic characters and the setting is one of my favourites – steampunk Victorian London! If you’re hesitating reading these hyped books, pick up the first, and you’ll be desperately wanting the rest.
  7. Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco (2+ books) 
    Image result for stalking jack the ripper seriesThis might be my all time favourite series. I LOVE these books so much, and would actually scream it from the rooftops if I could, but I think the neighbours would call the police on me. *ahem* It’s fantastic. Book 3 comes out soon, so there’s only 2 books for you to binge before then!
  8. The Young Elites by Marie Lu (3 books) 
    Image result for the young elites seriesI feel like this series should be way more hyped than it is. Maybe it was when it first came out in 2014, I don’t know, but it’s a fantastic, short fantasy series, and I would highly recommend binging the lot. They’re short enough that they could probably be in a bind-up, and would be the size of all these fantasy books of a monstrous size that are beginning to appear (read: Sarah J Maas…).

I hope that these series have given you some ideas to binge read in the future! As I said, I love all of them, and can highly recommend them all.

What’s a bingeworthy series you love?

Turning the Page #3 | I forgot to press ‘publish’…

Turning the Page is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. In it, I talk about what I read during the week with a Tweet-sized review, and what I’m planning on reading next week, as well as what you might’ve missed on the blog. You’re very welcome to join in if you’d like! Just make sure to link back.

turning the page banner

A book blogger’s nightmare happened – I forgot to press the “publish” button! Therefore, we have TWO WEEK’S WORTH of #TurningThePage to catch up on…

Last week I read…

Last week I read 4 books! I had some lush pool days and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

  1. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton – oh my GOSH I LOVE JIN AND SAM SO. FRICKIN’. MUCH. #SamDeservedBetter #ILoveHim #FightMe #IShouldveReadThisSeriesSooner #ILoveIt Ahem. (Series review coming soon.)
  2. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – I’ve never related to a character more in my frickin’ life. Read my full review here! This book was so fuckin predictable, but so bloody cute too. (Sorry for all the swearing. I’m excited.)
  3. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne – #triggerwarning which sent me spiralling for a couple of days but golly I loved this book. The sentiments were just… so good. Review coming.
  4. Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu – um hello THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME. It wasn’t as good as Moxie by Mathieu, but tbh I don’t think anything will beat that. I got this as an arc (I’m so luckyyyy) so review definitely coming soon!

You can tell I loved everything by my excessive use of caps lock.

This week I read…

I had a slower reading week, and read 1 book.

  1. Howards End by EM Forster – this is the third Forster novel I’ve read, and it didn’t capture my heart in the same way as A Room With A View but I still thoroughly enjoyed it, as I had expected.

Next week I want to read…

I have a really busy week lined up, so if I read anything I’ll be happy… but I’d like to get to:

  1. Eureka! by Peter Jones – uni’s coming up, and I should probably start hardcore researching my dissertation…!
  2. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmitt – I downloaded this from my library onto my phone. I’ve wanted to read it for a while.

On the blog…

Next week, I will endeavour to press ‘publish’ on time and not accidentally forget to do so! I actually don’t know how it happened… whoops!

Anyway, I hope you’ve had a fantastic (two) weeks, and I’ll see y’all in the next post.

PS – I’m no longer going to be doing monthly wrap-ups and TBRs, in lieu of these posts instead. If you want to see what I read for an entire month etc., you can check out my Goodreads which I update pretty religiously!

Book Review | Howards End by EM Forster

15822373Revolving around the theme of “Only Connect”, Howards End concerns love, lies, death, and living. From the feisty Schlegel sisters, Helen and Margaret, to the upper-class Wilcoxes, Howards End also sees to the struggling Basts amidst discussions of social convention, wealth, charity, and relationships. In this turn-of-the-century novel, widely regarded as Forster’s best, Margaret is our strong-willed, independent protagonist, who refuses to let her husband’s smugness and closed-mindedness affect her own life. 

This book is unequivocally English. Unlike Forster’s other novellas I have read (A Room With a View and Where Angels Fear To Tread) which both take place predominantly in Europe, Howards End takes place entirely in England, mostly in the rolling hills of the south, where I live.

I really loved the Schlegel sisters. For 1910, when this book was written, they would be seen as incredibly forward-thinking. Something I do love about EM Forster is his writing of women, because it’s not like the modern-day romance writer. Forster writes about women as real people, and Margaret and Helen have some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and life-changing parts in the book. They are both catalysts for many of the events, and even in marriage, when a woman would be expected to submit to her husband, Margaret frequently stands her own ground and knows when she should and shouldn’t forgive her husband for doing something wrong.

The actual story, aside from ongoing thread of “who will inherit Howards End?” wasn’t entirely interesting, but something that carries Forster’s novels for me is the beautiful description. Whenever I open one of his books, I feel like I’ve jumped into the pages. The whole world melts away, and I just live the literature.

It may help that I actually live where much of the novel is set. The Schlegel sisters are from London, which was completely different in the turn of the century than now, but they often travel to Swanage, where I spent many summers, and to Hertfordshire and around the South Downs in general. I’ve read some criticism of the book that it wasn’t “universal” enough (whatever that means; when is a book ever “universal”?!) but for me, it was. It was like I’m standing on the same soil, just 100 years ago.

Whilst the main question of the story is “who will inherit Howards End?”, when we view the larger picture we end up asking, “Who will inherit England?” Forster uses three families, representing three different tiers of class in 1900s England – upper, middle, and working, and in many books, you’d expect these classes to remain separate. However, Forster mingles them with intermarriage and interbreeding. By the end of the novel, within the marriages and births and deaths, there are no clear cut “classes”; no one clear cut class ready to inherit Howards End – or England, as the metaphor goes.

I thoroughly enjoyed Howards End. It’s a book that I may not remember the exact story line of, but I am satisfied when I turn the last page.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: Bought from Waterstones