Wednesday, 15 August 2018

30 Books You Should (Apparently) Read Before You Turn 30

As mentioned in my Sunday post, I have an aim and a goal and a purpose for life (ok maybe not that last bit) which is to read all of the books on the abovementioned list before I'm 30, which, I hate to admit, is less than 8 months away ahahaha how did I get so old please someone stop me.

I don't know exactly how I feel about such lists because AS IF there are even 30 books that all people need to read before they reach a certain age, but I'm always up for trying to complete a list of books even though I never knowingly have. This particular list, also, seems a little less high-minded than some of the '30 before 30' lists I've seen (am I actually ever going to read Siddharta or Ulysses? I am probably not) and so more achievable, you know, maybe.

Also I've already read nearly half and some of the other books I already own, so totally achievable! Yes!

Let's look at the list, shall we? You can find it here, in its original form, and also below with my commentary...

1. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams - I own this! I haven't read it to my complete SHAME. I agree with the list, it is time. (read 5th October 2018)

2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - IT IS AMAZING and I am completely not against reading it again before I'm 30, if my friend ever gives me my copy back... (re-read 18th October 2018)

3. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin - I haven't read any Ursula K Le Guin but this sounds GREAT so I'm here for it (read 2nd October 2018)

4. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai - I am 100% here for Malala's book (read 6th December 2018)

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I also would read this again any time. Obviously.

6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou - Done and done.

7. The Mothers by Brit Bennett - Another one I haven't heard of but I am also here for. There's a reason I want to complete this list, and it's because everything sounds GREAT

8. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris - I am ashamed to say that I haven't read any David Sedaris, but pleased to say that I do own this so yeah, I'm gonna read this for sure (and at last!) (read 28th August 2018)

9. Wild by Cheryl Strayed - I mean, duh. I love it, you should also read it before you're 30, or after.

10. Bossypants by Tina Fey - Yup.

11. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - This sounds so tragic that I almost can't even, but I do want to so yeah. (read 14th October 2018)

12. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Very pleased that this made the list because it's excellent. I do have a couple of other books by her, so perhaps I shall read one of those instead of this one.

13. The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir - I own this already so I know how dense and challenging this is, so maybe this will turn into 29 before 30, but I want to give it another try!

14. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller - I have been meaning to re-read this for a long time since I read it when I was about 15 and didn't really understand things and stuff, so yeah.

15. The Rules do not Apply by Ariel Levy - I feel like I've heard about this and don't know much about it, but ONCE AGAIN, the description sounds great so I am also here for it. (Read 10th November 2018)

16. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff - I own this! Hooray! I feel like I read something good about it and in a fit of passion (ooer) put it on my amazon wishlist where I believe Bex bought it for me, so thing I read that I can't remember, you'd better be right! *stern face* (Read 25th August 2018)

17. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - I also own this! What could go wrong?! (read 22nd December 2018)

18. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien -  Eh, this is fine but I'm not sure it really deserves a place on this list. Just put all of Lord of the Rings on it, dammit (or, you know, not...)

19. Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - I have, once again, not heard of this because I am an ill-educated swine, and once again it sounds pretty great.

20. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden -  This is, without question, one of my favourite ever books and a quick search just told me that I haven't even read it since I started blogging. THIS MUST CHANGE.

21. Slaugherhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut - I'm not overly enamoured with Vonnegut, but I have read this. It's fine.

22. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison - I haven't read any Toni Morrison, to my eternal shame, so this'll be a good way to kick me off and actually read the two books of hers I own as well.

23. One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul - Word.

24. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - ALL THE PRAISE HANDS (Read 24th June 2018)

25. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead - OK FINE I'll read an award winning book I guess, are you happy now?

26. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel - This is soooo very good - I can't remember if I ever reviewed it because I think I read it when I was doing my MA (oh wait, yes I did and no I didn't) but dystopia + Shakespeare = Dreamy.

27. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - I have extra never heard of this, and just as much am convinced that it sounds great. (read 18 November 2018)

28. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - It's another one that I read ages ago but that is fabulous. AGH this is making me want to read AND re-read...

29. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - Heartbreaking, beautiful, incredible writing - do I need to go on?

30. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett - Finishing off the list with another one... I've never heard of. Ann is pretty solid though, as I understand it, so what's the worst that can happen? (Read 8th November 2018)

ISN'T IT A GOOD LIST?! I've got 8 months and 16 books to go - as long as I remember to read these exact books, what can go wrong? I think I"m going to come back to this page and update it when I've read books from it, and if you'd like you can come back and check my progress - 8th April 2019 is my cut off point, so I'll let y'all know if I've been successful after then!

Are you currently undertaking any book challenges?

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Sunday Sundries: A Coupla Things I'm Gonna Do

Good... ok, Afternoon, wow, and a happy Sunday one and all! I've had an interesting Sunday morning of waking up early and then falling asleep trying to read my book a couple of hours later, and then waking up THE GROGGIEST EVER, so here I am, waking myself up with blogging, and you are so welcome!

Here are some things I have been up to:

My sister's wedding was last Friday which was lovely and exhausting and I pretty much needed the next two days to recover from it, so in spite of my mild irritation that it was on a Friday (but my annual leeeeeave), in the end that turned out to be a good thing!

Workity work work. We're in a really busy phase at the moment which has been fine but also kinda tiring so I'm really glad that the next 3 weeks in a row are 4 day weeks (best feeling!) plus I have a week off (kinda) coming up in September which is obviously the actual best.

Yoga! I have been doing some! I don't even really know what has happened this past week (and it has just been this past week) but I guess that on Monday I got tired of not doing things and decided to... do a thing? This is partly because of one of my 30 before 30 goals to make my evenings more purposeful (and to do some kind of regular exercise!), I guess, but I really don't know where my specific motivation came from on Monday, and I'm pretty happy not to examine it too closely! The point is, yay yoga! I've been doing Yoga with Adrienne and have started off one of her 30 day challenges (if you're interested, I believe it's one from 3 years ago?) and omg I am so sore, but so pleased with myself for the 6 days IN A ROW I have already done (including after drinks with work friends on Wednesday, and before going round my friend's for dinner on Friday!)

Wow, that was a lot of talking about yoga, huh? I'm just REALLY PROUD OF ME OK?!

Moving swiftly onwards, let's talk about BOOK THINGS! I really do have a couple things I'm gonna do, and please allow me to tell you all about them.

Firstly, THE MINITHON is back for its... X number time and after X number of years, ok look it's the minithon so we like to keep things a little loosey goosey when it comes to numbers and stuff ok? The premise of the minithon is to keep things small (short books, short stories, stories with children in... it's pretty much 'make your own adventure' time) and tiny snacks are encouraged and also adorable. It's also mini in that it's 8 hours long, as opposed to the 24 hour readathon, and you can sign up here and why wouldn't you? Exactly.

FINALLY - From the start of this year, all I've been able to do is scream I'M GOING TO BE 30 NEXT YEAR in abject horror
(this, when I was a mere 28 years old). I think that realistically I'm actually ok with it, but it's fun to be dramatic about how ancient I am. What I also think is going to be fun is trying to complete this list  of 30 Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30 that I saw on Book Riot yesterday because yay book lists! I was just gonna whack the whole list in this post and then talk about it, but actually this has gotten pretty unwieldy so I think I'm going to make a whole new post for it I KNOW DON'T GET TOO EXCITED! Or do, I'm not the boss of you.

So yeah. Exciting book things and general life happening. Go me, and go you too! Please tell me about your week/month/year, I'll be thrilled to hear about it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Things I Read in July

Oh HAI again, internet folken! That's right, my things I read in July post is right on time and in tip top condition, look at me go! I guess I covered this somewhat in my very very late things I read in June post, but July basically consisted of me being off work for two weeks due to some (keyhole) surgery (nothing to worry about, but it was ow), and then going back to work and being very very very busy. Although I had two weeks to read to my heart's content, I mostly watched Six Feet Under and felt reasonably bad for not being at work (and read a few books), and since I've been back at work I've been doing a few extra hours here and there to help out, and consequently have been (almost) too tired to read, like, ever. HAVING SAID THAT, I did in fact finish 9 books in July, but having said THAT, three of them were totally comic books and one was a children's book. Why yes, I was comfort reading, why do you ask?

Here they are though, and honestly they look like an impressive bunch!

Let's delve a little deeper, shall we?

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
This is not, as you may know, my first time reading this book, but it was maybe my most therapeutic. When you wake up from day surgery, after you've been in recovery (where they have the goooood drugs), they make you sit on the ward for two hours to make sure you're not going to keel over or whatever, before they let you go home. I am not a very good waiter and I'm especially not a good waiter in hospitals, and I didn't really want to hold a book that could fall onto my stitches and what have you, so I opened my trusty kindle app where I keep a copy of Attachments, in case of emergency. Attachments saw me through that two hours, and when I woke up in the middle of the night because of general anaesthetic sleep, it saw me through until morning, too. Thanks, Rainbow.

Moomins Vol 2 by Tove Jansson
Ah, the Moomins. I basically think about the Moomins every day and am even considering getting a Moomin tattoo, but whilst I love them and find them adorable and know their basic philosophies (and love that a cartoon even has a philosophy), I haven't actually read many of their stories. I started to rectify that this month, first with this volume, which is made up of about 4 or 5 comic strip stories, ALL OF WHICH are fabulous. I enjoy being validated of my love of moomins, by actually reading the Moomins, ya know?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
You've probably read this already. Everyone else seems to have done, but I, as always, had it on my shelves for ages, but avoided it like the plague because have you SEEN the size of it?! This was foolish because this book is unbelievably good. By good, I mean, obviously, that it ripped its hand into my belly and pulled my guts out, then squeezed my heart until it broke, and, you know, I won't labour the point- it's really really really sad. I can't tell you anything, obviously, but I did spend the last 100 pages softly weeping, and it was only soft because it was about 1am at that point and my boyfriend was asleep next to me. This book is truly an emotional journey, and I am both mad at it for breaking me, and in awe of it for the same. Read it if you want to remember what it feels like to wholly inhabit a fictional world, and to care for characters as if they're (your own) flesh and blood.

Moomins Vol 3 by Tove Jansson
I'm pretty sure I read this to come back up from the A Little Life low, and hey, it worked. There's nothing like the Moomins to cheer you up, it has to be said.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
Oh hey, it's the second book in the quadrilogy that I really liked when I started it in June! I believe I started reading this pretty much straight after My Brilliant Friend, but it fell by the wayside a little post-op. This was still great- a more mature narrator means that things get much more complicated for her and her brilliant friend, and I am all over the whole thing, if I'm honest. I feel like I definitely need to write a whole post about these books once I'm done with them, because feeeeeelings, I have tons of them!

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
I've written before about my love for this book (it was my everything as a child) and it's one of the books that has made it to pride of place on the 'vital books' shelf next to my bed. I felt like reading it one day during sick leave, and by golly that's what I did. It took me about a morning, and it was a beautiful and nostalgic slice of loveliness. *dances off into the sunset*

Something New by Lucy Knisley
Have I mentioned that it's WEDDING SEASON in my life at the moment? Because it is and aghhh (2 DAYS TIL MY SISTER'S!!!) Something New remains my favourite thing I have read about weddings, and it will take a lot of beating - it's essentially the story of Knisley's own wedding, interlinked with various wedding traditions and why they're a lot of nonsense. It makes me sad that both 1) I didn't go to her wedding which seems ace, and 2) we're not best friends already, cause honestly I think we could find a LOT to talk about. Still, I will have to be satisfied with following her on instagram and counting down the days until her next book (Kid Gloves) comes out - I'm sure THAT will become my favourite book on having babies, T.B.H.

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
Oh Paul Auster. I don't think I've ever been disappointed by Paul Auster, but this one did feel especially good to me. I'm not sure how many of his novels I've read over the past... I'm gonna say 8 or so years when he was first introduced to me at university, but there are some things I've come to expect from him and The Brooklyn Follies hit all of those, and hard. The references to books and art, the plucky young man, even the very capable older man, the strange things happening and fortuitous circumstances... Have I mentioned that I love Paul Auster yet? I'll say this for this month of reading - I usually try to get rid of a few of the books I've read in the month (because, you know, space) but this month I just can't bear to part with any of them, so yeah- it's been that kind of reading month.

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
I was determined to finish this in July, and by jove, I totally managed it! I managed it so well, I even had to read something on my kindle on the bus home yesterday because I'd run out of book to read. This is (you may have guessed) the third book in the Neapolitan series, and I mean, just... I feel like a part of me is expecting the quality to drop with each book, and it just isn't happening. IT IS SUCH A GOOD SERIES, I mean, just YES. I would add that the end of this one is probably more cliffhangery than the other two, which means that I will be starting the fourth book today, and just YES I am so glad these books exist in the world.

And that was July! I really did do a ton of comfort reading, and it was exactly what I needed at the time so I'm not even a little bit sorry. August will bring who knows what (other than a wedding and another hen do, AM I DONE YET?!), but I know for sure that I am going to Bristol one weekend which involves a lot of train reading time so squeeeeee *bounces excitedly*. How about you guys?