2018 in reading…

Yay! I read 97 books in 2018!

  1. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire 
  2. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver 
  3. A Mighty Dawn (The Wanderer Chronicles #1) by Theodore Brun 
  4. Letters Home by Sylvia Plath 
  5. Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1: 1940-1956 by Sylvia Plath 
  6. The Sun Is Also a Star Nicola Yoon 
  7. Secrets for the Mad by Dodie Clark 
  8. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  9. Idiot Verse by Keaton Henson
  10. You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want by Sarah Knight
  11. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  12. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella 
  13. The Keeper of Lost Things Ruth Hogan 
  14. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent 
  15. The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen 
  16. Everything Wrong with You is Beautiful by Tina Sederholm 
  17. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong 
  18. Burnings by Ocean Vuong 
  19. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen 
  20. The Suffragettes by various
  21. Equal Power: A Handbook for Men and Women by Jo Swinson 
  22. The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen 
  23. To Be Read At Dusk Charles Dickens 
  24. Places I Stopped on the Way Home: A Memoir of Chaos and Grace by Meg Fee 
  25. The Real Peter Pan: The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies by Piers Dudgeon 
  26. The Art of Not Falling Apart by Christina Patterson 
  27. Midnight Sun by Trish Cook 
  28. Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World by James Ball 
  29. This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay 
  30. Only Ever Yours by Lousie O’Neill 
  31. The Child by Fiona Barton
  32. The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale 
  33. Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson 
  34. The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath by Ronald Hayman 
  35. Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder 
  36. The Aladdin Trial: A Burton and Lamb Thriller by Abi Silver 
  37. Mind Platter by Najwa Zebian 
  38. 11 Missed Calls by Elizabeth Carpenter 
  39. She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox 
  40. Letters of Ted Hughes by Ted Hughes
  41. Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath – A Marriage by Diane Wood Middlebrook 
  42. Ted Hughes: Poems Selected by Simon Armitage by Ted Hughes 
  43. Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters by Erica Wagner 
  44. Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses
  45. Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath by Paul Alexander 
  46. Sylvia Plath by Peter K. Steinberg 
  47. The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm 
  48. Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath 
  49. Sylvia Plath: A Critical Guide by Tim Kendall 
  50. The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath by Jo Gill 
  51. American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson 
  52. Crossing the Water by Sylvia Plath 
  53. Sylvia Plath and the Mythology of Women Readers by Janet Badia 
  54. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath by Anita Helle 
  55. That Was When People Started to Worry: Windows into Unwell Minds by Nancy Tucker 
  56. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell 
  57. Normal People by Sally Rooney 
  58. Lullaby by Leila Slimani 
  59. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith 
  60. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay 
  61. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite 
  62. Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill 
  63. Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. by Malcolm Duffy 
  64. How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo 
  65. Asking For It by Louise O’Neill 
  66. This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl 
  67. Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir by Gerald Hughes 
  68. The Letters of Sylvia Plath Vol 2: 1956-1963  by Sylvia Plath 
  69. Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together by Arden Rose
  70. Sunrise by Jessie Cave
  71. Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim 
  72. Scrapbook of an Unfound Songstress by Vicky Nolan 
  73. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 
  74. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh 
  75. Africa’s Tarnished Name by China Achebe
  76. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton 
  77. Hopeless Romantic by Dolly Alderton 
  78. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton 
  79. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling 
  80. The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson 
  81. The Veiled Woman by Anais Nin 
  82. Lance by Vladimir Nabokov 
  83. P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2) by Jenny Han 
  84. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  85. It’s Not Summer Without You(Summer, #2) Jenny Han 
  86. We’ll Always Have Summer(Summer, #3) by Jenny Han
  87. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
  88. Ted Hughes: Poems Selected by Simon Armitage by Ted Hughes
  89. Lucky by Alice Sebold
  90. Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero by William Makepeace Thackeray
  91. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane 
  92. Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart
  93. The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace
  94. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
  95. The Child by Fiona Barton
  96. The Necessary Angel by C.K.Stead
  97. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

How was your 2018 year of reading?

What was your favourite book?

Can you recommend any for me?

10 ways to overcome a book slump…

Recently I have been in a bit of a bookish slump, I  keep picking up books – reading a bit and then putting it down. Urg, I hate myself for doing this…come on Shannon – just read the darn book.

So, to motivate myself and you – I am going to reveal my top tips for getting out of a book slump.

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1. Stop reading the book you are currently reading:

This might sound like a strange thing to say but sometimes the book is just not right for you at this time in your life. It is stopping your progression, slowing you down and hindering your ability to move on – so put it down and pick another book.

2. Start a smaller book:

Size does matter! If you’re feeling the dread of a big book, do not rush your reading experience and force yourself to read it quickly. We all know there is no better feeling than finishing a book, so go and pick up a smaller book or an easy read because you will feel fab-u-lous once your read that last page. You will feel like your reading mo-jo is back, embrace it and let it motivate you.  Even if you just read one of the £1 penguin modern classics – reading is reading.

3. Switch genre:

You might not be feeling the genre anymore, so mix it up and try something else. This is also a good time to explore a completely new genre that is outside your comfort zone. Go for it!

4. Pick up an old friend:

This is where I would be whacking out one of the Harry Potter books for comfort (probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) or The Bell Jar. Sometimes you just have to return to an old favourite and remind yourself why you love reading so much. For me, in my hectic life – I just need to zone out sometimes and lose myself within books.

5. Start or join a bookclub:

I have failed at this more times than I should admit – I have the best intention of going and then I don’t or me and my friends organise our own , read the book and then never discuss it. But I will join a bookclub soon, I will!

6. Set your own goals:

If you are an introvert like me and not fond of the bookclub idea, set your own goals to motivate yourself. Easy or hard goals will act as a reminder to you – this is why I love the Goodreads Reading Challenge because I can track what I have read and achieved so far and how far I have to go.

7. Reorganise your bookshelf:

If you’re anything like me, this tip will help you live your most organised life while also familiarising yourself with books you have forgotten about. We have all been there haven’t we? Moved a book and discovered a forgotten hidden gem.

8. Go book shopping:

I love a good bookshop! They are cozy, warm, full of wonderful people and of course, books! What more could you want? Go and motivate yourself with some new reads and grab a cup of tea if they have a coffee shop.

9. Watch a book to film adaptation:

Sometimes you just want/need a break from reading…do not judge yourself too harshly and just relax with a good movie.

10. Listen to a bookish podcast or audiobook:

This may be a podcast by your favourite author or a podcast about books! Like tip number 9, be kind to yourself and seek comfort in other forms. Some people do not view audiobooks as reading but it is – do not be ashamed of listening.

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  • What are you book slump tips?
  • Do you agree with any of mine?

Bookstagram

I am becoming a frequent user of instragam, especially on my book page. I think you should go and check out my page and maybe give me a cheeky follow.

Let me know if you follow me from this blog and I will follow you back!

My Instagram is – Captivated_by_Fantasy    …here is a sneaky peak. 📚🤓💫🍂🍁👑📝


Guest Post: The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Lightning Books for sending me this marvellous book to read and thank you so much to Abi Silver for writing me a guest post. I am half way through this book and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT, please go check it out. So, without further ado – welcome to my place on the blogging tour:

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Title: The Aladdin Trial
Author: Abi Silver
Pages: 368 pages
Blurb:

When an elderly artist plunges one hundred feet to her death at a London hospital, the police sense foul play.

The hospital cleaner, a Syrian refugee, is arrested for her murder. He protests his innocence, but why has he given the woman the story of Aladdin to read and why does he shake uncontrollably in times of stress?

Judith Burton and Constance Lamb reunite to defend a man the media has already convicted. In a spellbinding courtroom confrontation in which they once more grapple with all-too-possible developments in artificial intelligence, they uncover not only the cleaner’s secrets, but also those of the artist’s family, her lawyer and the hospital.

A new Burton and Lamb legal thriller with an AI twist from the author of the acclaimed The Pinocchio Brief.

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Guest Post:

Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land…love them as you love yourselves’: Leviticus 19:33-34

#These are a few of my favourite things – part two

It always takes time for my ideas to bed down, sometimes months, sometimes years. That’s the nature of the beast called #amwriting, I suppose. Some days I overhear a snippet of conversation on the underground, I make a mental note and use it that very night. More often, I squirrel it away for a wintery day, when it suddenly and unexpectedly becomes relevant. Other times, ideas flood in at night and I thrash around, attempting to tame them, before scribbling them on a notepad I keep by my bed. Sadly, there have been occasions when I’ve been unable to decipher my scrawl in the morning – enough said!

But throughout 2015, the refugee crisis was featuring most nights on the News and it could not fail to stimulate my interest and evoke my sympathy. Overloaded boats of all shapes and sizes were taking to the water and promptly sinking, with tragic consequences. Our inspired response? To cease patrols of the Mediterranean, in the hope that would stem the flow.

Camps of destitute migrants were expanding at Calais; our answer was to tear them down. Young, desperate men were storming lorries bound for the Channel Tunnel in the hope of reaching England before arrest, so we increased security and threatened drivers with prosecution. Further East, Hungary closed its border with Serbia, ceased all railway crossings and mounted-police patrolled barbed-wire fences, forcing families to take long and often treacherous journeys on foot, to reach their desired Western European destinations. I watched and gawped and felt totally and utterly powerless.

Then I realised there was something I could do, something I often do when I am trying to make sense of what is going on around me; I could write about it. And as the focus slowly shifted from exclusion towards ‘integration’ and our then PM, David Cameron, committed the UK to accepting 20,000 migrants from Syria over the following five years, I began to reflect on my own immigrant past.

Just over a century ago, all four of my grandparents arrived in the UK, fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. As with many of today’s refugees, we don’t know the route they took, how long they were travelling or how they managed to travel so far. They certainly didn’t talk about it to me; Kitty, Joe (my maternal grandparents), Bernard and Esther (on my father’s side), not their real names of course, but the closest approximations in English to their birth names. They didn’t get to keep their long, difficult-to-spell surnames either, being lumped in with the people in front in the queue, suddenly creating a whole new artificial, extended family.

There were not many clues for my younger self to my grandparents’ foreign past. They spoke English, apart from the odd Yiddish word, which tended to escape from their mouths in moments of tremendous angst, when there really was no English substitute (I challenge you to find an appropriate synonym for ‘Oy a Clog!’ – sort of OMG but imbued with centuries of bondage, woe and affliction).

Grandma Kitty loved the Queen (‘I think she’s marvellous’ she would say) as she munched on Ryvita with cottage cheese for breakfast, Grandpa Joe liked to write long, almost illegible letters to Margaret Thatcher (he had only spent three years at school) and never missed an episode of Hawaii Five O and Grandad Bernard, who had worked as a tailor, was ‘a frustrated artist and musician’ (apparently he had played the violin as a young man but I never saw any evidence of this; I do, however, have some of his paintings up in my house today, so that part of his history, at the very least, must be true).

But as I watched the modern-day refugees on TV, disembarking on our shores, I wondered what life had been like for my grandparents when they first arrived, clutching a few personal possessions, dispossessed even of their names, knowing no one and saturated, no doubt, with a wealth of traditions and culture which most English people would have found strange and frightening.

And so with the inspiration of my grandparents firmly in mind, I created Ahmad Qabbani; a recent arrival on English soil, considered fortunate to have found cleaning work at my fictional St Mark’s hospital, but ultimately unlucky to have chosen to befriend an elderly patient who ends up dead, eleven floors below. Ahmad becomes the prime suspect in her murder and Judith and Constance, our accomplished double act, have to work hard to craft him a defence, in circumstances where the media has already judged him to be guilty; nothing like real life then, I’m pleased to say.

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Thank you once again to Abi Silver for writing such a wonderful piece.

Go buy the book here : https://amzn.to/2xv8CZB and to find out more about Abi and her writing go check out her website: www.abisilver.co.uk

To see more about the influences for The Aladdin Trial check out Shaz’s Book Blog, @ShazsBookBlog on 21 June and The Book Bag, @TheBookBag on 26 June, both part of The Aladdin Trial blog tour.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes.

If you know me personally or have been following this blog for a while, you will know I am a sucker for a good quote. I am that friend that has loads of motivational plaques in her bedroom! Oh huns, if you need some cheering up or some inspiration…just pop to my bedroom and read a few quotes. *Maybe I should create a motivation museum.* 

Anywho, back on track… it has been AGES since I did one of these posts but I love them so I am making an effort this week (and maybe, just slightly I am procrastinating from uni work but shhhh…)

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1.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

‘We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.’

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2.

On the Road by Jack  Kerouac

‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.’

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3.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 

‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’

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4.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr.Seuss 

‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where you go…’

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5.

Wide Awake by David Levithan

‘Do not just seek happiness for yourself. Seek happiness for all. Through kindness. Through mercy.’

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6.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green 

‘I just want you to be happy. If that’s with me or with someone else or with nobody. I just want you to be happy.’

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7.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

‘There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.’

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8.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

‘Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.’

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9.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 

‘I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.’

 

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10.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

‘I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.’

 

 

2017 reading so far…

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Dissertation Books- 

  1. Adult Children: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by John C. Friel
  2. Twentieth- Century Suspense: The Thriller Comes of Age by Clive Bloom
  3. Thriller: Genesis and Structure of a Popular Genre by Jerry Palmer
  4. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History by Cathy Caruth
  5. The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction by Martin Priestman
  6. Crime Fiction from Poe to the Present by Martin Priestman
  7. Trauma and Survival in Contemporary Fiction by Laurie Vickroy
  8. Too Scared to Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood by Lenore Tear

University Books- 

  1. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
  2. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  3. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  4. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  5. Close Range by Annie Proulx

Books I read for fun-  

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  2. The Girl Before by J.P.Delaney
  3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  4. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
  5. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  8. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
  9. My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger
  10. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  11. The Book of You by Claire Kendal
  12. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  13. Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon
  14. Twist Me by Anna Zaires
  15. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  16. This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  17. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
  18. Ordeal by Linda Lovelace
  19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  20. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
  21. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

So, that is 34 books so far this year…not great but it was a challenging academic year.

Oops I forgot…

 A while back I forgot my password for my  bookstagram account and because I had my everyday insta account I let it slip. 

but I am now back 🙏🏻🙋🏼 

Go check out my Instagram account over at @book_captivation.  I love good book chat, so head on over and talk to me! 

Here is a preview of my account, do you like what you see? 😏 oi oi follow follow! Feel free to comment on my posts and I’ll definitely check out your Instagrams. 

 

Let’s stay connected…

I did a post similar to this a while back linking you guys to my Goodreads and I thought I would do it again but with some other social networks. Let’s stay connected and be friends.   

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Click the logo below to follow my twitter.   

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Click the picture below for Goodreads.

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Click the ‘Bloglovin’ below for my account.    

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So, I am going to be honest here and say I don’t use twitter and bloglovin as much as I would like to, but it is because I don’t have you awesome guys to motivate me and chat to. If you would like, leave your details in the comment section and I will check them out.  I do want to get an Instagram for my blog, but I don’t want to log out of my everyday account…and then I don’t want to bore you guys with my everyday posts (or should I…would you care?  Please go and give me a cheeky follow, I would love to chat to you more and you never know…one day this might have a link to my YouTube channel which I said I would create about a year ago and then got scared.

**update** I’ve joined bookstagram!!! Search ~ Book_Captivation. Follow me ☺️