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.
‘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
That’s right, I have joined the land of YouTube! I contemplated starting a YouTube channel for a really long time and on Tuesday I finally filmed my very first video after planning on doing so for a few weeks but each time chickening out for various reasons. It was quite exciting and a little bit scary. I talk all about it in the video, so I won’t just rehash all of that right here.
Just to clarify: me starting a YouTube channel doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon my blog: I plan on doing both because I still love blogging a lot too. It just felt like I needed a new challenge – I’ve been doing this blogging thing for over five years already, after all. YouTube seems like a fun way to try something new and develop some new skills, so I’m giving it a try! As for content, it’s going to be mainly books and hopefully some baking at some point too.
I don’t know yet whether I’m going to post all of my videos on here as well, so if you’d like to see more of them, I’d love it if you subscribed to my channel! I’m excited for you guys to see the video and I’d love to know what you think, so please leave a comment, if you like!
Anyway, enough intro: here’s my very first YouTube video!
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!
I’ve seen a lot of people make lists of their most anticipated books coming out in 2019. I love seeing people all excited about new books! Some of them have me doing a happy dance as well (On the Come Up, anyone?), but I have to admit I’m not very up to speed on what books are coming out when. I’m still trying to get to books that came out in 2017 (and way before that).
In other words: I tend to be more of a backlist reader (backlist = books that haven’t come out recently). That doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about (finally) getting to read some of the books on my shelves, though, so I figured I’d share with you the ten books I’m most excited about reading in 2019.
Let me tell you; it was hard to keep it to just ten! There are easily twenty books on my shelves I would love to be reading right now. I also kind of told myself I need to read more of the books that are already on my shelves before I can go out and buy a ton of new ones. There are a couple exceptions, of course. Some books you just have to get, ya know? There’s no way I’m instating another book buying ban – that’s no fun!
Anyhow, let’s get to my list!