It’s November! The end of the year is getting closer and that means that’s I’ve been thinking about my reading plans for the rest of the year. Like last year, I didn’t set a Goodreads reading challenge for myself. Not having the pressure of seeing “you’re three books behind schedule” every time you open Goodreads is a really freeing feeling, I can tell you.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a goal in mind, though. In my head, I put my reading goal at 50 books. Luckily, I’m way too bad at maths to quickly figure out how far behind or ahead I am. As the year went on, I did realise that I was doing pretty well, though. In fact, I reached my goal of reading 50 books almost two weeks ago! If I try my best, I might even manage to read 60 books this year, which would be an absolute record for me.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion in the bookish community about what’s ‘better’; buying books or borrowing them from the library. For a long time, there’s been this common misconception that being a book blogger or a BookTuber means you have to own a lot of books, preferably hardbacks. Of course, that isn’t the case at all and I’ve also seen a lot of people assuring others that you can start a blog or a BookTube channel with very few books (or none!) as well, which is great.
However, now it seems like some people have moved over to the other extreme: if you’re only buying books and not borrowing from the library, you’re doing it wrong. They might not put it in those explicit terms, but I’ve seen multiple tweets judging people for buying books instead of borrowing them from the library, or for buying too many books because how can you ever read that many books? That rubbed me the wrong way, so I decided to write a blog post about it. In fact, I decided to do so over a month ago and here we are now with me finally doing it. Story of my life.
Anyway. There are two parts to this discussion: 1) accessibility and 2) preference and I’m going to talk about both.
Freida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions—wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative—life as a concubine—is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty—her only asset—in peril.
And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future—even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
First published: 2014
Content warning: eating disorders
‘I heard him before I saw him: his battle cry ringing round the walls…’
When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She goes from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the godlike warrior Achilles as a prize of battle. She’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long, bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
As told in The Iliad, the Trojan War was a quarrel between men. But what of the women in this story, silenced by their fates? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?
In this magnificent novel of the Trojan War, Pat Barker summons the voices of Briseis and her fellow women to tell this mythic story anew, foregrounding their experiences against the backdrop of savage battle between men. One of the contemporary writers on war and its collateral damage, here Pat Barker reimagines the most famous of all wars in literature, charting one woman’s journey through it, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.
First published: 2018
I love writing mini reviews! It gives me a way to review all of the books I read in a month but doesn’t add the pressure of having to write a full-blown review if I don’t want to. Short and sweet! Or salty, depending on how I liked the book.
Amazingly, I managed to finish seven books in April. I think I mostly have the Magical Readathon to thank for that (you can read more about that here). I do want to try to stay in this flow, though, so I’ve already picked out some books I want to read in May. Hopefully, I’ll get to them all!
But first, let’s talk about all of the books I read in April!
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ★★★★☆
This series just keeps getting better! After reading the first volume, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue the series, but I’m glad I did because I already liked volume 2 a lot better, and volume 3 was even more fun. I’m finally truly invested in the characters and their fates and some of the events in this volume had me on the edge of my seat. Shit gets crazy in Saga, that’s for sure. I like how we’re getting to know more about the crazy world and society the story takes place in and I’m also enjoying the new characters. I definitely want to keep reading this series, but these volumes are rather expensive, so I’m not sure when I will pick up the next one.
Usually, I feel like the months simply fly by, but the start of April seems like such a long time ago! I had quite an ambitious plan for April: I was going to participate in the Magical Readathon and try to write 30,000 words for the novel I’m working on during Camp NaNoWriMo. Those two events happened to be in the same month and instead of being sad about having to choose one of them, I decided to do both. Spoiler: I only succeeded at one and failed quite spectacularly at the other one. But that’s okay because we’re all about having fun here at Books Baking and Blogging, and I did have a lot of fun! So much so that I decided to tell you all about it. I don’t normally write wrap-ups, but I figured this month deserved one!
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
While January seemed to go on for ages, February felt like it was over in a heartbeat. I blame it on those three days we didn’t have. I didn’t read as much in February as I did in January, but I did have a ton of fun reading! I read what is now a new favourite classic, and I finally read Landline, which had been sitting on my shelves for a good long while.
I also really enjoyed doing these mini reviews wrap up style last month, so I think I’m going to keep on doing that! Although, I’ll still be doing occasional full-length reviews for books I really have a lot to say on (I’ll be finishing On the Come Up by Angie Thomas later today – you can bet I have a lot to say about that!).
Anyway, on to the books!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)
After my fantasy-heavy rotation in January, I really felt like reading a light contemporary novel at the start of February and Landline was the perfect pick. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers, but I have to say I’ve loved her YA novels much more than her adult ones. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both favourites of mine, but Attachments and now this one, while definitely enjoyable, weren’t that memorable to me. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, especially her dialogues and she also writes amazing characters. They’re always interesting and Georgie and Neal in Landline were so well-rounded and vibrant. I loved getting to know them and their relationship better throughout the book. It was a wonderful, flawed, realistic love story. Apart from the magic phone – that’s the one thing that just didn’t really do it for me.
As most of you will know, setting monthly TBRs (To Be Read) is a thing in the book blogging world. I love seeing what other people plan on reading that month, either on Instagram, their blogs or YouTube. It’s always fun to see people get enthusiastic about books they really want to read.
I rarely ever set monthly TBRs for myself, though. However, lately, my feelings on TBRs have changed a little.
The first month of the year is already over! Well, I say “already”, but January definitely felt like it was longer than 31 days, didn’t it? Have we uncovered a conspiracy here?
One of the reasons why I think January was longer than most months is that I managed to read six books this month! That’s pretty crazy for me – even though two of the books were graphic novels/comic books. It was a wonderful month, reading-wise, and I figured a good way to update you on all the books I read is by doing another round of mini reviews.
So, since we’ve got six (!) books to get through, let’s get to it!