Back in January, I decided that 2019 would be the year in which I finally reach that elusive target of reading fifty books. Almost three months on, and I’m roughly on track, although I haven’t yet read anything that has absolutely blown me away. As expected, this term at uni has been hectic, which is why I’m coming at you with a joint wrap-up of January and February’s reads… almost at the end of March. I feel like I throw this phrase around a lot over here, but better late than never!
Book #1: Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides
This was the first of my set texts for my Greek and Latin Literature module, and it was the perfect place to start. The story follows Agamemnon in his moral struggle of choosing between sacrificing his daughter, Iphigenia, in order to please Artemis and aid his troops, or allowing Iphigenia to live and thereby sacrifice his men’s faith in him. This play was short and incredibly accessible to read, with all of the drama and bloodlust that you’d expect from an Ancient Greek text.
I found myself fascinated by the focus that we took on this text in the seminar, namely the questions that we have over what Euripides himself actually wrote. It’s widely believed that he did not write the beginning or the ending, but rather that it was filled in by successive performers of the play after his death. It’s not even certain whether he actually finished it at any point, or whether the ending was left uncertain at his death. It’s questions like these that make studying the classics such a troublesome but enjoyable time!
My rating: 4/5 stars Continue reading “Reflection: January & February 2019 | Uni Reading Takes Over”
The new year is an exciting time. The Goodreads challenge slate gets wiped clean and the new books look at you from across the room just crying out to be read. As always, one of the best parts of January (let’s be honest, the best part, because it’s January) is looking back over all the reading that got done in the previous year. And 2018? It was a good reading year for me…
Favourite Fiction Book
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
I don’t think this one needs too much explaining, because I don’t think it will come as a surprise in the slightest. Sarah J. Maas is one of my favourite authors, and Kingdom of Ash was without a doubt one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2018. I loved how the characters that we have been following independently for so long became entwined with each other, and how each was integral in a small or large way to the eventual outcome of the series. It has been a long while since I read a series that I have fallen in love with as much as Throne of Glass. Continue reading “Reflection: 2018 | 40 Books Later…”
With the ever-present Goodreads goal looming – and me, as usual, being several books behind in it – I knew that December needed to be a big month of reading if I wanted to meet it. Luckily, I finished uni quite early, and after essays were done and submitted I could spend a lot of time reading. I managed to read eight books this month, which I’m genuinely so proud of! It was also a good month for film, because those cold nights in the lead up to Christmas just lend themselves to curling up and getting comfy with something to watch and something hot to drink. Here’s what I read and watched!
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I did a full review of this book here!
My rating: 4.5/5 stars (on reflection I think I’d change this to a five)
On Writing by Stephen King
I can’t even express how much I loved this book. Not only was it a fascinating insight into King’s own experiences with breaking into the writing and publishing world, but it was broken into sections with tips in plain language that could easily be referred back to depending on what it is you’re looking for. Every time I picked it up I just felt a flash of inspiration and I know that I will continually be re-reading this over the years.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Admittedly it was the gorgeous cover which first endeared me to this poetry collection, but when I saw that it was about female power and spirituality I bought it straight away. There were a lot of poems in this that I really enjoyed – “Dark Matter”, “The Truth About Art”, “Belonging” to name a few – but a lot of them fell slightly flat for me. I think a lot of the problem was that I don’t tend to err towards poetry, so it has to be something truly original to win me over completely.
My rating: 3/5 stars Continue reading “Reflection: December 2018 | The Most Books I’ve Read In A Month!”
I was recently tagged by the lovely Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction to do the Jingle Bell Book Tag, which was created by Richard @ The Humpo Show. I was feeling as though my blog needed a little festive assistance, so this came at the perfect time!
“All I want for Christmas is you…” | What book do you want to see under the Christmas tree?
I’ve requested Voyager by Diana Gabaldon in my attempts to slowly but surely work my way through the Outlander series. It’s already taken me three years to get through the first two, but I do love them and I have no plans on stopping reading them, even if I am forty by the time I’m done!
“Simply having a wonderful Christmas time…” | What book that you have read this year did you enjoy the most?
Ooh this is a sneaky one as I could be giving spoilers for my 2018 Reflection post! That being said, if you follow any of my social media at all you could probably guess that it is of course Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. I plan on going into this in more detail, but I just felt as though every single part of this world came together in the most intricate and fitting way and I absolutely loved every second of reading about this cast of unforgettable characters!
Continue reading “The Jingle Bell Book Tag”
Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young village woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind.
Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she’s everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it’s not Kasia he takes.
Year of Publication: 2015
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Page Count: 438
Spoiler-Free Review: Yes
Uprooted was the most magical book that I have read in a long time.
Easily the best part about this novel was the clear influences that were drawn from classic fairy tales. There’s a quote on the back of my copy by Gregory Maguire which sums this up entirely: “Like a lost tale of Grimm newly come to light…bewitching.” Honestly, I haven’t read another book which captures the sheer darkness, but also the whimsicality, of those tales in such a powerful way. Novik creates the most incredibly sinister atmosphere throughout the book, and this is always shown to be a precursor to something terrible which will occur involving the Wood. Continue reading “Uprooted by Naomi Novik: A Review”
November was largely made up of a lot of essay reading… and not a lot of novel reading. I guess that’s the way it should be for this time of year. I read a total of two books this month: one for my course and one for myself. I’ve made it my goal for this academic year to involve myself in as many extra-curricular activities as I can, so that’s what has been taking up a lot of my time as well! I’m really beginning to get into the Christmas spirit now though, and as I’m at home at the moment I will have time amongst the work that needs doing to get through lots and lots of pages!
The Book of Margery Kempe by Unknown, translated by Anthony Bale
Yet again, this was another text for my medieval literature module (and the final one which will feature on here now that the module is over!) The staging of the seminar for this text could not have been more perfect: it was held in a twelfth-century church with stained glass that dated precisely from the fourteenth-century period in which this biographical text is set. The story itself follows Margery Kempe, a medieval pilgrim and mystic, on her travels through England and across Europe as she attempts to spread her divine message and show her devotion. In that alone it is a revolutionary text, and I did find myself enjoying it in parts, especially when Margery was interacting with other influential figures of the time. I chose to divide up the reading into manageable sections, however, and I don’t think that I would have been able to finish it (or definitely not so quickly) if I hadn’t done so. It wasn’t compelling, and it got very, very repetitive in parts, but as a text of historical note it was interesting and important. Continue reading “Reflection: November 2018 | Greek Myths and Medieval Mystics”
As soon as October rolls around and a lot of students start going back to school/university, blogs tend to fill up with reading wrap-ups that are full of obscure sounding texts that most of us haven’t ever heard of. I have to confess that this post is no different – and that I had never heard of most of these books before this month. I also have to confess that I love these sorts of posts, because for whatever reason I’m always fascinated to hear about what is on other people’s reading lists. This month, I managed to read three books, all of which were for my medieval literature module, so there’s something of a running theme that’s going to emerge in this post. I also re-watched some previously beloved films, which gave me a chance to look at them anew…
The Lais of Marie de France by Marie de France
This book is a collection of twelve short stories (lais) written by Marie de France in the late twelfth-century, and I would honestly recommend it to anyone with an interest in either fantasy or fairy tale literature. It has everything: gallant knights, bewitching fairy queens, werewolf statesmen, enchanted ships… Honestly, this is one of the few medieval texts that I’ve studied that I think could be appreciated in the mainstream of literature if it was given a bit more promotion, rather than as an academic-but-not-necessarily-riveting read. Although this is in translation, so I can’t speak for the original, the language is incredibly accessible and most of these tales are wild. I genuinely found myself wanting more, because to me they really captured the quintessential feel of what you’d imagine a medieval adventure to be. Continue reading “Reflection: October 2018”