Tag Archives: literature

What I Read in 2016

26 Dec

I’ve been looking forward to doing my reading round-up for a while. I made it to 51 books this year (so far – I’m sure I’ll squeeze in another before the very end), not beating my 2015 score of 64, mostly because I was driving to work for a few months. It’s the usual mix of literary, YA and trash – but I’ve also really got into non-fiction lately and read some absolute corkers.

As always, I’ve bolded those I’d particularly recommend. It’s quite a few this time.

  1. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
  2. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (A devastating look at rape culture. Everyone needs to read this)
  3. Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman
  4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (A super fun fantasy YA – sharpshooting in the desert)
  5. The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
  6. Iron Council by China Mieville (I always think about CM’s books for years after reading them. Iron Council no exception. Fantasy with poison barbs) Continue reading
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Summer Reading List

4 Aug

loungercrete

Hello all! I’ve just spent a lovely week in beautiful Crete. As a massive Hellenophile, a holiday in Greece is just my idea of perfection: sun, sea and souvlaki. I also got loads of reading done, which is good because I’ve been a bit behind this year and definitely won’t beat last year’s total score. I got through a book per day, and without planning it, ended up reading exclusively female authors.

 

Some thoughts (in reading order):

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What I Read in 2015

27 Dec

I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of the year – and time for my reading round-up. It’s a bumper edition of 64! I’ve read a really good mix of things, including some literary classics, some acclaimed adult fic and, of course, some cutting edge YA.

As per usual, absolute favourites are bolded.

The List: What I Read in 2015

Between the Shadow and the Soul by Susanne Winnacker

The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox (fascinating non-fic about Alice Kober and her contribution to the decipherment of Linear B)

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

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What I Read in 2014

20 Dec

I know the year isn’t over yet, but it’s around this time that I usually do my reading round-up post and I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself. This year I managed 43 books! I know that’s nothing compared to some of you out there, but it’s five more than 2013 and 2012. A longer commute and part-time work are probably to thank! I also feel like I read some amazing things this year, with very few duds and quite a nice variety in genre. The number of YA books decreased somewhat, to make way for a few more Adult reads and even a few non-fictions. My absolute faves are bolded.

The List: What I Read in 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Deathless by Catherynne M Valente (stunning Soviet fantasy – does for 20th century Russia what Pan’s Labyrinth did for the Spanish Civil War)

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (thought-provoking and utterly absorbing sci-fi set on a distant planet without an external light source)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Vicious by Victoria Schwab (super-powered antics with a pleasing lack of certainty over who is the true hero)

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YALC Round-up!

18 Jul

Last weekend saw the inaugural Young Adult Literature Convention, held as part of the London Film and Comic-Con at Earl’s Court. I ended up attending both days – and I had the *best* time.

Saturday was a little overwhelming. I arrived at Earl’s Court at 11am clutching my pre-paid Standard Entry ticket, only to find a mass of people and a host of different queues. By a stroke of luck, I managed to join a fairly fast-moving one and got into the building in about ten minutes. Inside it was a bit of a crush, but eventually I managed to make it to the Book Zone, which was a an oasis in the insanity!

Immediately, I was struck by the range of visitors. There were lots of older YA fans, like myself, but also a lot of actual teenagers (some visiting as part of the Siobhan Dowd Trust scheme). I even ran into a couple of ex-pupils in the Rainbow Rowell queue, which was so lovely.

Everyone was incredibly friendly – because I was there on my own, I decided to be brave and strike up conversations with the people around me. I made some great friends on both days, including book bloggers, authors and even a couple of dedicated mums helping their daughters collect signatures.

It took me a while on Saturday just to get my bearings, so I was a bit slow on the uptake for talk tickets, meaning I only managed to get one – for the Doctor Who panel featuring Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick amongst others. It was interesting to hear about how they approached the task of writing for such a popular show, especially their individual takes on each Doctor. I also took some time to gather a lot of book swag for my classroom display and chat to the publishers on their stands. It was also great to get some autographs and signed books from authors like Will Hill (of the Department 19 series), Natasha Ngan (The Elites) and Patrick Ness. Patrick’s queue was enormous (I think I was in it for an hour and fifteen minutes) but totally worth it – he’s so nice. In a little non-book detour, I met one of my favourite actors, Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica. He was incredibly sweet and also very tanned!

Sunday was much calmer and I felt a bit more like I knew what I was doing! I went straight to the ticket table and picked up a docket for the last talk of the day, a conversation between Sally Gardner and Holly Black. It was awesome – both are very interesting ladies with a lot to say about fairy tales, mythology and the power of the oral tradition. I also signed up for the ‘Meet the Agents’ workshop and was lucky enough to get a place, meaning I got the chance to pitch my work. It may have gone pretty well…

The best thing about Sunday, however, was getting to meet Meg Rosoff, Sally Green, Sally Gardner and James Dawson. They were all lovely and wanted to know about my writing and were then very supportive. In turn, I was able to tell them how much I have enjoyed their books! I also took a quick celeb-spotting recce round the actual con, only to notice that Edward James Olmos (also from BSG) had no queue, so I nipped in to meet him and pretty much died when he blew me a kiss. I turned round to go and realised I was crying – didn’t know I was that much of a crazed fangirl, but obviously I am!

Overall, it was a fabulous weekend. It was wonderful to be sharing my love of books with so many other fans, and encouraging to see as much enthusiasm for authors as for the many film and tv stars at the con. I only hope there will be another edition next year.

‘Spreading privilege’: Why Gove is taking us back in time

25 May

mockingbird

The internet is abuzz this morning with news that Michael Gove is set to remove popular U.S. texts such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘The Crucible’ from Britain’s GCSE English Literature syllabus. To those of us who have been following developments in English closely, this comes as no surprise. Last year I submitted an essay for my M.A. on this very topic: to what extent does the Government’s current ideology of the literature curriculum seek to impose an ‘official culture’? I offer here a highly edited version, which I feel is pertinent to today’s debate. In a nutshell: it’s all about official culture, and that culture does not belong to the ordinary people.

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Holiday Reads

8 Sep

Today has been the first really autumnal day of the year and I have had to put my jacket on for the first time in months. Brr! September is in full swing and so is school, making the holidays seem like a distant dream.

I was lucky enough to tag along on my parents’ trip to the lovely Portugese resort of Sao Martinho, on the central ‘Silver Coast’. It was a very relaxing break where we pretty much just read, swam and ate delicious food like feijoada de gambas (bean stew with prawns) and grilled snapper.

I got through:

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