Books

How do you prioritise your reading list?

A while ago The Little Red Reviewer talked about how she prioritises her reading list. This might not sound like a huge deal, but if you have as many TBR (‘to be read’) categories as I do it quickly becomes a challenge.

I read books for several reasons: I want to; they’ve been sent to me for free in exchange for a review on the blog; a client is paying me to review them; I need to read them for an academic research project; I need to read them for some other reason; they’re in a foreign language and I’ve resolved to read more of those; I picked them up in a charity shop because they looked interesting; they represent gaps in my reading list… honestly I could probably go on. But you get the picture: there are lots of reasons why I read books, and therefore lots of TBR piles. Continue reading “How do you prioritise your reading list?”

Books

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

I’ll admit that I agreed to review this book because the protagonist is a swimmer, and I was hoping for some passages about how wonderful swimming is. Something like Jessica J. Lee’s Turning: A Swimming Memoir.

If you’re buying it for that reason, you’ll be disappointed at the lack of swimming-related content. But you won’t be disappointed by the book itself, which is excellent. It was so gripping that I got angry with myself for not being able to stay awake long enough to finish it in one go.  Continue reading “The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong”

Books

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

A house burns to the ground while the family who live in it stand outside and watch. All bar two, that is: the absentees are the father, who is away at work, and the youngest daughter Izzy. Everyone knows it was Izzy who burned the house down, because that’s just like her: ever a wild child, impossible to control, Izzy has been the family’s unpredictable rebel practically since the day she was born.

Continue reading “Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng”

Books

Weekly Reading List #5: Ships, Shadows and Little Fires Everywhere

I know, I know, it’s not so much ‘weekly’ as ‘sporadically’ at the moment. I’ve had a couple of weeks when I couldn’t really read anything because I had no brain due to my internal organs falling apart.

But I’m back on track, so here’s the latest reading list update.

Continue reading “Weekly Reading List #5: Ships, Shadows and Little Fires Everywhere”

Books, Poetry

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

~ Emily Dickinson

Continue reading “Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter”

Books

How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

At the moment I’m writing a novel. The protagonist is a teenage boy. His name is Anthony and he’s dealing with a lot of things in his life, one of which is the underlying current of societal expectations of masculinity. This isn’t exactly a huge theme in the book, but I think it’s probably an important part of any boy’s upbringing, so I want to get it right. I decided therefore to read some things about what it’s like to grow up male.

I am not, and nor have I ever been, male. However I have always empathised with expectations of masculinity. I’ve been the breadwinner in every household I’ve lived in since a young age, and I’ve been surrounded by people and situations that made showing any kind of emotion discouraged. Growing up, I felt pressured to swallow whatever I might have been feeling and essentially ‘man up and get on with it.’ Despite not knowing what it’s like to be a boy, therefore, I have perhaps an above-average level of empathy for the challenges brought on by society’s expectations of masculinity.

Enter Webb’s autobiography.

Continue reading “How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb”

Books

Weekly Reading List #4: Artistry, Masculinity, Lisbeth, And House Of Leaves

I knew there would eventually be a post in which this gif would be sadly relevant.

Continue reading “Weekly Reading List #4: Artistry, Masculinity, Lisbeth, And House Of Leaves”