books

Sci-Fi Month is here!

IMAGE CREDIT: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash. QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

November is Sci-Fi Month. I’ve seen talk about Sci-Fi Month on the twittersphere in previous years, but I’ve never been prepared enough to take part – this year is different though! Hosted by Dear Geek Place and imyril Sci-Fi Month is for celebrating all things sci-fi. That’s books, comics, films, TV shows – anything! It’s an excuse to catch up on the sci-fi things you’ve been meaning to get around to watching/reading and it’s a chance to meet fellow sci-fi fans.

There’s no requirements or goals to take part in Sci-Fi Month which I really like as sometimes too much pressure from challenges can put me off taking part. See imyril’s blog for more information on Sci-Fi Month and follow @SciFiMonth on Twitter and use the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth to take part in all the chats.

I had a look at my physical TBR, and I don’t actually have many sci-fi books on there. In fact, I just have four, Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, Dune by Frank Herbert, Area 51 by Bob Meyer, and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

My two main bookish aims will be to read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (funnily enough a recent #NinjaBookSwap gift from Dear Geek Place) and Dune. There’s going to be a readalong of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet during Sci-Fi Month which is always a helpful incentive – more info on the readalong is here. I have a physical copy of Dune but as that’s huge and intimidating, I used one of my Audible credits to purchase the audiobook. It’s a long audiobook at 21 hours but I should be able to listen to and complete it during the month on my walk to and from work every day (generally I can listen to at least an hour of an audiobook each working day).

When it comes to films, I’m going to make watching sci-fi films a priority in November. I really like science-fiction films, I like how they can be futuristic or bleak, can be action-packed or more thoughtful. There are so many subgenres of science-fiction which means there’s so many different stories to tell.

I’ve had a look through my watchlists on both Netflix and Amazon Prime and here’s just some of the sci-fi film I’d saved: The Discovery, Next Gen, The Beyond, Mute, Hardcore Henry, Arq, The Zero Theorem, Gattaca, Approaching the Unknown, The Colony, Psychokinesis, Stasis, Advantageous, Beyond, and Guardians. (Yes, there’s a film called Beyond and a different film called The Beyond – one’s on Netflix and the other’s on Prime and I’m intrigued)

Some of these have been on my watch list for ages so I’m not entirely sure what first drew me to them but that’ll make watching them even more fun.

If you fancy checking out the sci-fi books and films I’ve reviewed before on my blog click here.

Let me know if you are going to take part in Sci-Fi Month, I think it’s going to be a cool experience and I love it when events like this give me the push to finally read or watch something I’ve been meaning to read or watch for ages. Also, let me know what some of your favourite sci-fi books and films are, I’m always looking for recommendations.

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Books of 2018

Here are all the books I’ve read this year. This year, to make things interesting, I’ve signed up for a few challenges; these are Beat the Backlist, A to Z Reading and Monthly Motifs and you can find out more about the challenges here. I will also continue to make my way through my Read the World Challenge this year and once again I’ve set my goal to read 50 books and to review at least half of what I read. You can find out more about what I’m reading on my Twitter or Goodreads.

Without further ado, here’s what I’m reading in 2018! Any titles with asterisks are rereads and if it has a link that goes to my review.

January:
Artemis – Andy Weir
City of Clowns – Daniel Alarcón and Sheila Alvarado
So Long a Letter – Mariama Bâ
Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish – Richard Flanagan
A Certain Woman – Hala El Badry
Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

February:
And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
Zorro – Isabel Allende
Heidi – Johanna Spyri

March:
All Day at the Movies – Fiona Kidman
– The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
Reading the Ceiling – Dayo Forster
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami
The Hotel Tito – Ivana Bodrožić
– Animal Farm – George Orwell
– The Life and Loves of a He Devil – Graham Norton

April:
The Devils’ Dance – Hamid Ismailov
Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman – E.W. Hornung
– The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness
The Nowhere Girls – Amy Reed
Boy: Tales of Childhood – Roald Dahl
– Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness

May:
Othello – William Shakespeare
Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde
One Day I will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
Goldfinger – Ian Fleming
Love, Hate and Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

June:
Bleak House – Charles Dickens
I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjork
– The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
– The City of Brass – S.A. Chakraborty
Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash – Eka Kurniawan
Who Runs the World? – Virginia Bergin
A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews
– Nyxia – Scott Reintgen
Kartography – Kamila Shamsie
– I Stop Somewhere – T.E. Carter
– Light Years – Kass Morgan

July:
DeNiro’s Game – Rawi Hage
Smaller and Smaller Circles – F.H. Batacan
The Last Gift – Abdulrazak Gurnah
Summer Is My Favorite Season: A Memoir of Childhood and War in Kosovo – Ilir Berisha
Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World – Christina Rickardsson

August:
– The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
Fish Soup – Margarita García Robayo
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Thirty Days – Annelies Verbeke
Negative Space – Luljeta Lleshanaku

September:
La Bastarda – Trifonia Melibea Obono
– Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
– I Capture the the Castle – Dodie Smith
One Would Think The Deep – Claire Zorn
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe
Tales of Suspense: Hawkeye & the Winter Soldier – Matthew Rosenburg, Travel Foreman, Rachelle Rosenburg

October:
– Be a Sloth – Sarah Ford and Anita Mangan
Jessica Jones Volume 1: Uncaged! – Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth
Fables: Cubs in Toyland – Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and Gene Ha
The Power – Naomi Alderman
Lala – Jacek Dehnel
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Sad Part Was – Prabda Yoon
1984 – George Orwell
– Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

November:
The Nimrod Flip-Out – Etgar Keret

Currently reading:
– Dune – Frank Herbert

Books Read: 66/52
Books Reviewed: 49/26

Book titles in italics are just suggestions for now as to what I might read for the challenge – it’s not set it stone.
The A to Z Reading Challenge is to read a book beginning with each letter of the alphabet during the year.
A – Artemis – Andy Weir
B – Boy: Tales of Childhood – Roald Dahl
C – City of Clowns – Daniel Alarcón and Sheila Alvarado
D – The Devils’ Dance – Hamid Ismailov
E – Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
F – Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh
G – Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish – Richard Flanagan
H – The Hotel Tito – Ivana Bodrožić
I – I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjork
J – Jessica Jones Volume 1: Uncaged! – Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth
K – Kartography – Kamila Shamsie
L – Love, Hate and Other Filters – Samira Ahmed
M – The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe
N – The Nowhere Girls – Amy Reed
O – Othello – William Shakespeare
P – The Power – Naomi Alderman
Q – Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde
R – Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman – E.W. Hornung
S – Smaller and Smaller Circles – F.H. Batacan
T – The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
U – Uprooted – Naomi Novak
V – Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash – Eka Kurniawan
W – Who Runs the World? – Virginia Bergin
X – ???
Y – The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Z – Zorro – Isabel Allende

Book titles in italics are just suggestions for now as to what I might read for the challenge – it’s not set it stone.
The Monthly Motif Challenge is to read a book that fits a set theme each month of 2018.

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading
Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.
So Long a Letter – Mariama Bâ

FEBRUARY – One Word
Read a book with a one-word title.
Zorro – Isabel Allende

MARCH – Travel the World
Read a book set in a different country than your own, written by an author from another country than your own, or a book in which the characters travel.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami

APRIL – Read Locally
Read a book set in, or a main character from, your country, state, town, village
Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman – E.W. Hornung

MAY – Book to Screen
Read a book that’s been made into a movie or a TV show.
Goldfinger – Ian Fleming

JUNE – Crack the Case
Mysteries, True Crime, Who Dunnit’s.
I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjork

JULY – Vacation Reads
Read a book you think is a perfect vacation read and tell us why.
A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews

AUGUST – Award Winners
Read a book that has won a literary award, or a book written by an author who has been recognized in the bookish community.
Negative Space – Luljeta Lleshanaku

SEPTEMBER – Don’t Turn Out The Light
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal creeptastic, horror novels.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe

OCTOBER – New or Old
Choose a new release from 2018 or a book known as a classic.
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

NOVEMBER – Family
Books where family dynamics play a big role in the story
???

DECEMBER – Wrapping It Up
Winter or holiday themed books or books with snow, ice, etc in the title or books set in winter OR read a book with a theme from any of the months in this challenge
???

My Reading in 2017 and Goals for 2018

It’s the first week of January so that means it’s time to look back on the reading I did last year. In 2017 I read 70 books (beating my goal of 50) and reviewed 51 of them, beating my goal to review 25 of them – you can find all the books I read here. There were some pretty great ones too, so you can find my top ten books of 2017 here.

I had some other reading-related goals that I mostly completed. I put £1 in a jar for every book I read so I finished the year with £70 to put into my bank account – it’s going towards fun stuff like rent. I also continued with my Read the World Project with 29 of the books I read in 2017 being for that project.

I did want to finish 2017 with 50 books or less on my TBR but that didn’t happen. I started the year with 87 books and finished it with 100. Oops! This was from a combination of subscription boxes and generally poor impulse control when there were deals on either in a bookshop or on Amazon.

Now this wasn’t a goal or anything, but I do like to have a look at who’s writing what I read. I generally aim to have an even split between male and female authors and in 2017 I read slightly more books by women. The 10% both come from a mixture of short story collections and graphic novels.

Now I’m looking towards the future and my reading goals for 2018.

I’m keeping them relatively simple, though this year I’ve signed up for a couple of reading challenges as well to keep me on my toes.

Broadly speaking, I want to read at least 52 books in 2018 and review at least half of them. I’m going to continue to put £1 in a jar for every book I read so I can have a nice bonus at the end of the year again and once again I’m going to say I will try and get my TBR down to 50 books. I think I need to be a bit honest with myself about some of my books, if I don’t think I’m going to read them I need to send them on to a new home, whether that friends or a charity shop. I’d like to also keep a 50/50 split of male and female authors read in 2018, but if I read more books by women I wont be too annoyed. I will also being continuing with my Read the World Project. I’m going to have to be reading more books from around the world this year if I want to complete this task in the next four years – I’ve got about 160 countries left to go!

As I mentioned before I’ve signed up to some reading challenges this year – three of them. They are the Beat the Backlist, where the aim is to read as many of the books sitting on your shelves that were published before 2018, the A to Z Reading Challenge, where you’ve got to read 26 books that start with every letter of the alphabet, and the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge which is to read a book each month that fits the theme set. You can find out more about all these challenges here.

So those are my reading goals for 2018. Do you set yourself yearly reading goals? If you do, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you read some awesome books this year.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week the topic is all about those key words or phrases that will make me want to read a book. I feel like the following ten words and phrases will give you a great look into my tastes. So, in no particular order off we go!

Heists/Cons
I love stories about heists. I love the planning of them and then the reveal of how it’s all done and I definitely love all the types of characters you get when it comes to heists. There the grifter, the hacker, the distraction, the money guy, the patsy, the driver, the inside man and many, many more. I love it when characters fit neatly into these tropes and when the subvert them.

Spies
I love the intrigue that goes with spies, figuring out who’s telling the truth and all the gadgets and skillsets that comes with following a spy character. Like with heists, I love all the tropes that come with stories about spies, the gadgets, mission control. It’s just the best.

Family of Choice
This is my favourite trope in any type of media. Maybe my love for it comes from the fact I have a very small biological family and my friends are closer to me than some of my family members. I just love the idea of finding and choosing the people you consider to be family, those you’d do anything for and love unconditionally. (more…)

Books of 2017

Here are all the books I’ve read this year. My reading goals for this year are to read 50 books, review at least half of what I read and start on the Read the World Project. You can find out more about what I’m reading on my Twitter or Goodreads (which I am getting better at updating).

So without further ado, here’s what I’m reading in 2017! Titles with an asterisks are rereads and those with links go to their reviews.

January:
– Green Tea – Sheridan Le Fanu
– March Book One – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
– March Book Two – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
– March Book Three – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

February:
Old Rosa – Reinaldo Arenas

March:
Hiding in Plain Sight – Nuruddin Farah
How I Came to Know Fish – Ota Pavel
– The Fix Vol. 1: Where Beagles Dare – Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber, Ryan Hill and Nic J Shaw
– Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain – Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk and Ibrahim Moustafa
Letters to Eloise – Emily Williams
Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays – Rebecca Solnit

April:
Dubai Tales – Mohammad al Murr
Nineveh – Henrietta Rose-Innes
The Keeper of Lost Causes – Jussi Adler-Olsen
Poe Dameron Vol. 1: Black Squadron – Charles Soule and Phil Noto
Monstress Vol. One: Awakening – Majorie Liu and Sana Takeda
A-Force Vol. 0: Warzones! – G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Molina
– Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars – Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

May:
– The Language of Dying – Sarah Pinsborough
The Accusation: Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea – Bandi
Looking for Trouble – Roque Dalton

June:
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia
Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky
The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena

July:
The Bollywood Bride – Sonali Dev
The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah
Even This Page is White – Vivek Shraya
– Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
– Kaptara Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien – Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod
Sirius – Jonathan Crown
The Fat Years – Chan Koonchung
The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson
Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward – Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu
– Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill

August:
The Gunslinger – Stephen King
Electric Souk – Rose McGinty
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
Death Going Down – Maria Angelica Bosco
– The Punisher Vol. 3: Last Days – Nathan Edmondson, Mitch Gerads, Moritat and Brent Schoonover
– Black Widow Vol. 3: Last Days – Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto
Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

September:
– Bubblegum – Sari Taurez
Let Them Eat Chaos – Kate Tempest
Frangipani – Célestine Hitiura Vaite
Mexico 20: New Voices, Old Traditions – Multiple Authors

October:
Papi – Rita Indiana
– Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel
Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town – David Walker, Sanford Greene and Flaviano
The Open Door, and the Portrait. Stories of the Seen and the Unseen – Margaret Oliphant
Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film – Edward Ross
Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
Black Moses – Alain Mabanckou
The Reader on the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
– Saga Volume 6 – Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
– Saga Volume 7 – Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

November:
Nasty Women – Multiple Authors
Street Without a Name – Kapka Kassabova
– One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus
One of Us – Åsne Seierstad

December:
Freelove – Sia Figiel
The Blue Fox – Sjón
When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon
The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper
– Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume Three – Brian K. Vaughn, Adrian Alphona, Mike Norton, Zeb Wells, Stefano Caselli, Joss Whedon, Michael Ryan, Christopher Yost and Takeshi Miyazawa
– Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume Four – Terry Moore, Kathryn Immonen, C.B. Cebulski, Chris Yost, James Asmus, Humberto Ramos, Takeshi Miyazawa, Sara Pichelli, Phil Noto and Emma Rios
– Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm – Charles Soule and Phil Noto

Currently reading:
– Artemis – Andy Weir

Books Read: 70/50
Books Reviewed: 51/25

My Reading in 2016 and Goals for 2017

So this is kind of a little late compared to when I normally post this sort of thing but it’s still the first week of January so let’s go with it.

My reading in 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag. I started very strong, reading 4-6 books each month but towards the end of the year I couldn’t really get into any book I was picking up and I started a new job so I had to figure out my new day-to-day work/life balance.

Still, I read some great books in 2016 and you can check out my ten favourite books here.

I had some reading goals for 2016, some I completed and some I didn’t. I surpassed my target of reading 40 books and I in fact read 58 so I was very happy with that and I reviewed 34 of those books, beating my target of 26 reviews.

I signed up to the Bookish Bingo Challenge hosted by The Girly Geek at the start of the year and while I enjoyed the challenge I only completed 24 of the 35 squares. That’s still over half and to be honest, I didn’t really base my reading around the challenge, I read what I liked and then had a look at the bingo card every now and then to see if anything fit on a square. I don’t think I’ll be signing up for any challenges like that this year, but I will be starting the Read the World Project – a wonderful challenge you can find more about here.

(more…)

Why I Love… the Ninja Book Swap

It’s autumn so not only does that mean it’s getting a bit colder and the leaves are starting to turn brown but it also means that signups for Ninja Book Swap are open!

autumn-swap

The Ninja Book Swap is a lovely thing where you can send and receive bookish goodies to people. This Autumn there’s the regular swap where you send one book (or more if you wish) and some goodies to someone and get the same in return from someone completely different, and there’s the Trick or Treat Swap where you can send someone a book from a genre they’d like to read more of. For more info on both swaps, check out the Ninja Book Swap blog.

I’ve signed up for the Ninja Book Swap about three times now, this Autumn Swap will be my fourth, and I’ve loved putting together gifts for people and then the surprise of getting something in the post in return is wonderful. It’s really interesting looking through someone’s book wish-list, as well as spending ages picking out some books to send to them, I nearly always discover new books and genres that sound great and then I add them to my own wish-list.

img_3804

My first ever Ninja Book Swap package I received from an awesome buddy in Germany

Probably the hardest thing about the Ninja Book Swap is finding the goodies to send to who you’ve been given. It does depend from person to person, but it really does help if when you sign up for the swap you give a good list of the things you like and don’t like. Even if it’s broad thing like saying you love Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, it gives the person who’s got you more scope to find some cool things to send you. I know in previous swaps I’ve only listed like four things I like and this time when I signed up for the swap I tried to list as many things as possible, just to (I hope) give the person who ends up partnered with me an easier time in finding goodies. Also you can totally get crafty and make some goodies to send – I have little to no crafting skills so that’s something I’ve yet to do but I’d definitely love to receive something that someone has spent some time and effort on, it makes it all just a little bit more special.

I personally often kinda suck at the community aspect of blogging (I am so sorry about how it usually takes me days to respond to a comment) and sometimes find it hard to find, follow and interact with new blogs so Ninja Book Swap is definitely a great way to meet new people and find some great new blogs or Twitter accounts to follow. It’s always nice to have people who you can gush about books to and the Ninja Book Swap is all about spreading the love and joy of books.

I really would recommend signing up for Ninja Book Swap. If you like books, have a presence on any social media whether that’s a blog, Twitter or Instagram, and say hi to the creator Bex (just so she knows you’re a real person) then you can sign up and share the love of books and meet new likeminded people. It’s a fun thing to do and it’s always great wrapping up presents, and receiving a parcel that you have no idea what’s in it is always a nice surprise.

Sign-ups close at midnight on Sunday 2nd October so you’ve got to get in there quick! For all the info you need, check out the FAQ and if you think it sounds as awesome as it is, then do sign up – you never know, I could be the one sending you a parcel and if I am then I apologise in advance for my love of sellotape!