The Bookish Side of Life #5 ~ TBR

Library Haul

If you’re a reader, chances are you have a TBR pile. For the unitiated, TBR means ‘to-be-read’. For some people, this is a small pile of books on your bedside table, maybe in the order you’d like to read them. For others, along with that pile, there might be another pile somewhere else in the house. And then for others, there’s an entire bookshelf full of books that you have acquired that you definitely want to get around to reading.

Reading isn’t a competition, so it doesn’t matter if you’re in the first camp, or the third, or you fall somewhere different altogether. But I’ve been thinking about my own TBR pile recently – there’s a pile on the floor of my bedroom that I definitely want to read, so I don’t want to donate them to charity, or give them away. But that doesn’t stop me from picking up at least one book at the library every time I go, or scouring the shelves of a charity shop, or popping another book into my online basket when I get the chance.

That’s because I’m a reader, and as much I would like to pretend that I want to get through my TBR pile, secretly I just want to add to it. I just want to be surrounded by books, so that when I put one down, I have a multitude to choose from to read next. And I think that most readers would probably say the same. We might put ourselves on book buying bans, but we don’t really want to get to the bottom of the pile. We just want more books to read, all the time.

Just Jane

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In trying to come up with some new post ideas, I toyed with the idea of a ‘Facts About Me’ style post. This blog has been on a downward trajectory for a while, because I haven’t had any inspiration about what to write, so I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing, I just want to try writing as much as possible – throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Anyway, trying to come up with ten or twenty or fifty facts all at once isn’t easy, so I’ve decided to start a series of sorts, in which I’ll just introduce myself over and over again. We’ll see how well it works, given that I’m notoriously bad at series of any kind on this blog!

I’ve been blogging for something stupid like twelve years, though here on this particular blog for just ten years (my ten year anniversary on this particular blog is approaching this week!). My first blog was at MSN Spaces – remember those? When someone first mentioned Myspace to me, I remember saying confidently, “Oh yeah, I have one of those.” Then I realised that Myspace was a different thing entirely, and immediately got one. I blogged there for a while, before setting up this bad boy, and I’ve stayed here ever since (with a name change in 2012).

I’m 35, with no clear idea how I got to this age, because last time I looked I was 22. My ethos on age is not just that it’s a number, because it’s not. More that we should wear our age like a badge of pride; the alternative to not getting older is one that most people, even those who hate the idea of ageing, wouldn’t want in a million years. I try to pass this on to everyone, but most people are happier to wallow in their “I can’t believe I’m turning xx” feelings.

I’m currently taking part in Veganuary; an initiative that encourages people try going vegan for January, and see where it takes them. Two weeks in, I’m surprised by how easy I’m finding it. I’ve gone from being a meat and dairy eater to cutting everything out, and so far I’ve had no slip ups. Expect a blog post at the end of the month letting you know how I got on.

Blogging life, age and dietary preferences; that’s me in the beginning of a nutshell. See you back here again soon.

Photo an Hour #46 ~ May 2017

My May Photo an Hour was a bit of a non-event – I couldn’t join in on the day that we set for it, because I was working at an event, and primarily sat in one place for most of the day. So I joined in on the following Monday, but I just looked through the photos, and found that I only started at 10am, I finished at 6pm, and I missed an hour!

But now, nine months later, I am struck with the urge to get up to date with my Photo an Hour posts, and so here it is, for all your viewing pleasure.

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10am ~ On the way to the office, despite having a day off. I’d still managed to have a bit of a lie in, however!

11am ~ Whilst at the office, waiting for someone to arrive (which took forever), I had cuddles with Hector. Because why wouldn’t you?

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12pm ~ Still waiting.

1pm ~ Finally away from the office, in the car back home.

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2pm ~ In the car again, this time on the way to London. The Monday after the show coincided with my monthly trip to the Southbank to see Mark Kermode’s regular show at the BFI. Usually I get the train, but as she was also work, Hannah decided to drive into London.

4pm ~ The missing hour of 3pm was almost certainly spent inside Westfield Stratford, but by 4 o’clock I was on the bridge heading over the river to the Southbank.

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5pm ~ I met up with my friend Chloe, who is the one in our group who books the tickets each month (thank goodness for her!), and we spent a very short time sitting on the balcony at the Southbank Centre having a drink. it was so very, very hot this day, we had to retire inside fairly quickly!

6pm ~ Finally at the BFI, at NFT1, for the May edition of Mark Kermode in 3D. The guests were Mike Figgis, Hope Dickson Leach, and Michael Smiley.

So that was May – a Photo an Hour Monday for a change. It’s so odd writing about a day that was so hot and unpleasant when I’m sitting here complaining about the cold. But I suppose that’s what you get when you leave posts waiting to be written for months; the seasons change!

The next Photo an Hour is taking place on Saturday 20th January, if you’d like to take part, you’re more than welcome! More information can be found here.

Three Reasons to love January

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January is a bit rubbish, but in the spirit of trying to find the good in all things, here are three reasons to love the first month of the year.

  • It’s the start of the year, and whether or not you believe in New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a great time to set some new intentions. You can’t escape that fresh start feeling; the whole of the year is ahead of you, and almost everything seems possible.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to spend the entire month essentially hibernating. The weather is rubbish (in the UK, at least), so it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. There’s also loads of good television, and even if there’s not, there’s Netflix. And all ten series of Friends are on there.
  • On the 21st January, it’s National Hug Day. What’s not to love about a month that includes a day like this? (Unless you don’t like being touched, I suppose.) Take the chance to give someone you love a hug. It’s good for your health!

Three Reasons… is an ongoing series.

December 2017 Books

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I didn’t actually realise that I hadn’t read anything in December that wasn’t a festive story, but they all were! I was trying to tick off ‘Read five Christmas books’ from my 36 Before 36 list, and with these and Last Christmas in Paris that I finished in November, I’ve ticked it off!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
This has been on my Christmas reading list for years, but somehow I have just never got around to it. This year, I reserved it at the library nice and early. In age old Poirot fashion, the story involves the murder of a wealthy old man, whose family have convened at their old family home for Christmas. It’s not the best Poirot story that I’ve ever read, but as ever, it involves a convoluted plot, plenty of red herrings and imposters, and a clever reveal. It’s well worth adding to your festive reading list for the future.

Christmas at the Dancing Duck by Daisy James
With a specific festive book goal in mind, I resorted to Kindle bargains when some of my library reservations didn’t arrive in time. This was one of those bargains, though that word suggests a piece of quality work for a small amount of money. I hate being overly negative, but this book was not for me. Granted, you have to expect a certain type of book when you’re dealing with a cover like this, but it was sloppily written, had annoying characters, and a silly conclusion that I saw coming a mile off. It wasn’t for me, sadly!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Horniak
Christmas books so often revolve around family coming back together, and not getting on, and that’s exactly what happens here. When Olivia returns home from Sierra Leone, where she’s been treating victims of Haag Disease, she has to go into quarantine with her family for a week. This is a family with secrets, who don’t actually seem to enjoy spending too much time together, so the forced proximity is not welcome. We get alternating points of view throughout the novel, so we are able to empathise with the family members, even if I spent most of my time wanting to knock their heads together. This isn’t a criticism however; I don’t have to like a character to find them well-written and engaging.

The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver
I bought this at the same time as Christmas at the Dancing Duck, and after that one failed to set my world on fire, I didn’t hold out great hopes for this one either. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s the story of two sisters who have grown up mostly separately after the divorce of their parents saw them living apart. Ella has forged a successful career in London and lives well with her upper class husband, while Maddy, the younger sister, has lived in Greece with her mum, living a simple life as a waitress, but dreams of fame as a singer. Through a contrivance of events, the sisters swap places for Christmas, and have to work through their own issues, which thankfully are not all relationship and men related. It’s a predictable ending, and the story won’t stay with me, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it.

Books in 2017 – 41

36 Before 36 – Read five Christmas books

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