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My First Blog Post

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”

– Lena Dunham

I’m not really sure how to start my first post, but I suppose hello and welcome to my blog!

I’ve finally done it. I’ve thought about blogging for quite some time, and not just book blogging. I first wanted to start a blog some years ago – I wanted to be one of those lifestyle bloggers with titles like 5 Ways to Sleep Better and the 10 Benefits of Green Tea! Only, I’ve never really cared about tea, and my sleeping pattern definitely shouldn’t be copied from! So I abandoned that idea, but I’ve always admired bloggers, and wanted one myself. And then in the summer I made my bookstagram on a whim, and my passion for reading has fully reignited. Some of my captions are so lengthy they may as well be blog posts, and I thought I might as well create one.

I have really enjoyed documenting the books I have bought, and the books I am reading over on my instagram, and I am looking forward to sharing my (very long, sorry!!) reviews on this blog. I am also hoping to share my 2020 reading goals, TBRs and book hauls. I am really looking forward to following lots of other book blogs and becoming even more obsessed with books and reading.

I really hope that you enjoy reading my posts, and would like to follow me as I embark on the journey of blogging. They’re also linked at the top of my page (hopefully, as I’ve still not quite got the hang of this!), but I will leave my insta and Goodreads below in case you want to follow me there as well – I’d love to chat.

Thank you x

Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebookishlinguist/

Find me on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/thebookishling1

Let’s be friends on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/100567570-thebookishlinguist

Love for Imperfect Things – Blog Tour

Title: Love for Imperfect Things

Author: Haemin Sunim

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Non-Fiction (Self Help)

Firstly, I would really like to thank Penguin Random House for sending me this copy of Love for Imperfect Things in exchange for a post on their blog tour.

In a wonderful case of irony, I am highlighting my acceptance of my imperfection by admitting that I haven’t had chance to finish reading this book yet. So, this is less of a review and more of an overview of this beautiful self-help book.

What I can tell you is that this is the book I have been unconsciously searching for for some time. I don’t think a book has been quite so targeted towards me than Love for Imperfect Things, which is a novel about acceptance in a world of perfection. I have struggled with perfectionism since forever, and I suspect it will be an issue that I will continually battle against. I can’t completely remove my tendency to strive for perfection, to see everything I do as not quite good enough, and to berate myself for the smallest error or inaccuracy, but I can attempt to accept myself and realise that perfection is unattainable. It is an illusion.

People say that comparison is the thief of joy, but I have always thought that perfectionism is a close second. Comparison involves comparing yourself to other people and falling short. Perfectionism involves comparing your expectations of yourself with your actual self, and you can never quite live up to your own perception of how you should be. By definition, you are always going to be disappointed.

This book teaches you that being yourself is enough. More than enough. That whatever you are searching for, striving for, that will make you complete, is a falsehood. Because you are already a whole. Sunim uses beautiful prose, thoughtful quotes and stunning illustrations to argue that by being accepting of yourself, you can enjoy far more fulfilling relationships with yourself, your family and the people around you.

Love for Imperfect Things is a novel about learning to accept yourself for who you are, and provides strategies for recognising perfectionism and overcoming it. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of life where imperfection is necessary. Sunim looks at self-care, courage, healing, acceptance and more in this stunning self-help narrative. It is filled to the brim with compassion and understanding, is utterly moving and almost guaranteed to change your outlook. And if the writing isn’t beautiful enough, the illustrations throughout the book are absolutely stunning.

The photos really don’t do it justice

I am really looking forward to finishing this book (and providing a full review!), and learning about how to be more accepting of myself in defiance of perfection. Letting go of perfectionism is something I really need to work on, as I find it so easy to fall short of my own expectations, and to hold on to little insecurities and worries. I hope that after reading Love for Imperfect Things, I will be far more understanding and accepting of myself.

If you struggle to accept yourself, or constantly strive for the unattainable, then this book is for you. If you are looking for a way to develop your relationships with yourself, your family and your friends, then this book is for you. If you are looking for a beautiful read with wonderful prose and stunning illustrations, then this book is so you. Basically, this book is for you and you should definitely read it.

Have you read this one? Or any of Haemin Sunim’s other works?

5 Ways to Read More Books

Most book lovers want to read more books. It’s not all about the numbers, but when there are hundreds of books floating around social media – from the ones that have been published for years and are earnestly loved by many book bloggers to the ones just about to be published. This creates a never-ending list of books that you need to be reading. There’s no way you can read all of the books that are published every year, and what about all the ones you didn’t read the year before, and the year before that? And everyone around is reading 20 books a month or reaching 365 books a year and you’ve just finished your 2nd book and it’s the 23rd of the month and now you feel like a fake book lover. What do you do?

1. Don’t Stress

Don’t let the pressure of book media get to you. Someone is always going to have read more than you, and there are always going to be more books than you can ever hope to read. If you let that worry you, you’re more likely to hit a reading slump because “what’s the point?“. Reading is first and foremost something you do because you love it, not so you can proudly announce you’ve read 30 books this month. If you have, that’s great and definitely be proud of that achievement, but it is more important to enjoy the process of reading.

2. Create a Possibility Pile, Not a TBR

Now, I did not come up with the name ‘Possibility Pile’ – I definitely saw the term used elsewhere and then it starting circulating on bookstagram like wildfire (if it was you that came up with it do let me know) – but I love the term far more than I love monthly TBRs. A TBR is a to-do list, whilst a Possibility Pile is a opportunity to chose some of the books you’d like to read in a given month, without the adding pressure of feeling a need to read them all in that time. It makes your TBR a little less overwhelming than choosing between all the unread books on your bookshelves, but doesn’t limit you to a strict pile of 10 books from which you cannot deviate.

About halfway through the month I start to think about what books I might like to read in the following month, and put together a rough list. It makes me really excited for the next month of reading, and it makes me want to read more than if I just spent the month staring at my piles (yes, plural) of unread books or getting stressed because I am only halfway through my TBR for the month by Jan 29th.

3. Vary your Books

This depends on your personal preferences, but if you read multiple genres through multiple mediums (physical, audiobook, graphic novel), make sure you have a mix of these to read each month. If you have a list of ten 500 page classics, you probably won’t get through those that quickly, and it won’t motivate you to read (unless you just adore long classics, in which case carry on!). I love a mix of genres – historical fiction, contemporary, thrillers and romance – and I also love audiobooks as well as physical books, and have recently got into graphic novels. If you can have an audiobook, a physical book and a poetry collection on the go at the same time, or even in succession, you are far more likely to finish more books that just trudging through a very similar reading list.

I also really like to alternate between short and long reads. If I’ve just read a 400 page novel, I tend to then opt for something shorter. And if I’ve just read a really light, cheesy romance, I’ll then go onto something a little darker or more serious. This just helps keep me motivated to read, and stops my reading feeling repetitive.

4. Have a Reading Routine

I am an ultra-planner, so I have everything I am going to do in a day mapped out from beginning to end. If it uni work, my part-time job, writing a blog post, seeing friends, reading, shopping or anything in between – it’s in my planner. But, I have set times where I almost always make time for reading, and it just means that I don’t get to Saturday and realise I haven’t read all week. Usually, I read during breakfast as I’m always up before my housemates, and also just before I go to bed. For how long depends on what I’ve been doing that day, how much work I have or if, say, I’ve been having a movie night with friends. It doesn’t happen every night, but I have a routine that almost certainly guarantees I’ll fit in some reading during the day.

5. Read What you Want to Read

This sounds like a really obvious one to end with, as it would be pretty silly to read books you don’t want to, surely? But actually, especially if you spend a lot of time in the book community, it’s surprisingly easy to get swept up in the hype of a book and buy it just because everyone else loves it, and convince yourself that you’ll love it too. I don’t like horror. I don’t like horror films, and I don’t like the idea of horror books – even though I’ve never read one. But when I see horror books on bookstagram that are getting tons of 5 star reviews, I become tempted. I have to remind myself that I wouldn’t actually want to read it, and wouldn’t have picked it up in a book shop.

Similarly, if you’re someone that has the option of receiving an ARC, it can be so easy to say yes because you’re just thrilled that a publishing house or an author want you to review their book, or you think oo, free book yes please. It doesn’t matter that it’s not your usual thing, you’ll enjoy it. But reading things you’re just not that interested in can easily put you in a reading slump, and you possibly won’t even realise you’re doing it until you have 5 horror ARCs to read in a month and you don’t even like horror! (Don’t worry, I haven’t actually done this – yet).

So, they’re my 5 main tips for reading more books. I am by no means someone that reads hundreds of books in a year, and if you’re aiming to do that you probably need someone else’s blog post!! But, I have really increased the number of books I get through on a monthly basis, and baring these things in mind has definitely helped!

And the most important tip: whether you read 1 book a month or 30, if you love reading you are a book lover.

What would be your tip for reading more books? Do you have a similar blog post – I’d love to check it out?

Lullaby – Review

Title: Lullaby

Author: Leïla Slimani (translated by Sam Taylor)

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Rating: ★★★.5

“The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.”

Lullaby was a different take on the traditional thrillers that I am used to. From the very first page the crime has been committed and the killer is known. There is no mystery in a sense, nothing to solve. Except for why. The rest of novel explores the events leading up to the murder of two children by Louise – ‘the perfect nanny’ – and how her time with the Masse family led to her slow descent into madness.

As the outcome of this novel was known from page one, the tone was sinister throughout. Every little detail and small event gave insights into Louise’s state of mind. This is translated fiction, and has short, snappy sentences, which I think really complimented the tone and pacing of the novel. I really enjoyed the writing style and the insights into the minds of the different characters. I particularly liked the slow reveal of Louise’s background and early life, which helped to explain her situation and also presented her as a more sinister and unhinged character. As someone dangerous.

I felt quite detached from all of the characters within the novel and I didn’t really empathise with them, but I didn’t think that this was a detriment to my feelings about the novel. In fact, it was as though the reader was just an onlooker, observing the facts and events that led up to the crime, but without the emotional interference. As a result, Lullaby was more chilling and intrusive, navigating the lives of ordinary people whilst all the while knowing the inevitable conclusion.

My only complaint about the novel was the ending. I found myself wanting more from the conclusion. The entire novel is spent in anticipation of the final act – the murder of the two children – and the events of that tragic day. But you don’t get it. It is quite morbid of me to feel annoyed by this, but I wanted to see the culmination of Louise’s descent from perfect nanny to murderer, and instead the events were only described briefly by a police officer. I would’ve preferred to have been inside Louise’s mind on that day, in keeping with the sinister tone of the novel, even if it ended just before the deaths of the children. It was almost too detached, and I didn’t find it very satisfying.

Have you read The Lullaby? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for books like this?

How I Plan to Cut my TBR in Half in 2020

Before joining bookstagram in July 2019, I had exactly no books on my TBR. A big fat zero. I received a couple of books for my birthday as I knew I wanted to get back into reading, but I had already read those before starting my bookstagram page. I remember ordering And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and posting it as my first bookstagram photo, intending to read it immediately. Ironically, I still haven’t read it.

When I started following hundreds of amazing bookstagram pages, all recommending and loving different books, it was difficult not to add them to a list, and even harder not to buy a few whenever I was out and saw them. After all, I was trying to build up a collection of books that I would love.

I definitely achieved that goal. 6 months down the line – I can hardly believe I’ve been part of this community for over half a year – and I have amassed a collection of over 100 physical books on my TBR. Most of these have been from charity shops, so my collection hasn’t exactly broken the bank, but a substantial amount are new and several have been kindly sent to me by publishers and authors. I am assuming I will continue to acquire more books this year through various means, and so my TBR will only continue to grow.

Unless I can read faster than I can collect books.

So, I have decided to tackle my giant TBR head on, and am aiming to reduce it from around 100 to around 50, regardless of how many new books I acquire this year. I’ve set myself the goal of reading 100 books this year, so to maintain a physical TBR of 50 or less I have allowed myself 50 books that I don’t already own to come into my life. Whether I read all 100 of the books I currently own, or 50 I currently own and 50 new this year, it doesn’t matter. My TBR will have shrunk considerably, rather than staying around the same size, or, worse, growing in number.

Saying No to Arcs and Requests More Often

I am always honoured whenever a publisher or author reaches out to me and asks me to review their work. Writing a book is such an incredible achievement, and I am always so grateful whenever anyone contacts me that I almost always agree to read their work. Unless it is a genre I definitely will not enjoy (think sci-fi or horror), or I know that I am too busy to take on a request, I tend to accept a review request.

This year, I need to be a lot more selective with my review requests. I really struggle to say no, but I am going to have to practice. I am hoping that my review policy on this blog will help to narrow down the requests I do receive, and I am aiming to only accept ARCs for books that I want to buy when they are released anyway, or books that sound like something I’d love, not just something I might enjoy. Hopefully, this will reduce the number of books entering my tbr, and will also give me more time to read books I already own.

Buy Less in Charity Shops

I tend to go a little crazy in charity shops. Through bookstagram and blogs, I have been exposed to hundreds, maybe even thousands of books, and so when scanning titles in charity shops it is very easy to find books that I have seen, and because they are so cheap, I often buy them without a thought. I really love charity shops and I can’t commit to a book buying ban or a charity shop ban, but I just need to be a bit more thoughtful about my purchases, and not just pick up books I wasn’t looking for because they’re 50p!

I have made a list of authors and books whose work I would like to read in my notes on my phone. When visiting charity shops, I aim to stick to this list and only buy books that I wanted to read anyway, and try to resist the urge to buy books I’ve never heard of.

Using Audiobooks

I thought I hated audiobooks, but at the end of last year I gave them another go and I actually really enjoy listening to them. I am still quite picky, and if I don’t like the narrator’s voice I won’t listen to it, but otherwise I really like them. Listening to audiobooks has helped in upping the number of books I read each month, as I have plenty of commute time on the bus to uni or walking around campus that I can use to listen to audiobooks. I have a list of audiobooks I can download from my library for books I already own a physical copy of – listening to the audiobook instead of physically reading should hopefully increase the number of books I read and reduce my tbr.

Setting Goals and Challenges

I am quite a competitive person, but I don’t like feeling pressured to read. If I feel stressed or pressured into reading, then it stops being enjoyable, and I end up in a reading slump. To compromise, I am trying to set low-pressure challenges. My first aim is to read every book on my shelf (at university, not at home!!) before mid-February. In February, my family are coming over to Lancaster to visit, and we are going to visit a massive secondhand bookshop in Kendal where every book is £1. I’ve only been once, but I left with 7 books and could have easily left with a lot more! I am going to visit it regardless of how many books I have read, but my aim is to have a fully read bookshelf before I inevitably fill it with a ton more books that I haven’t read. I then plan on setting similar challenges, like my aim to read 100 books this year, to keep me motivated to read.

So, these are a few of the main strategies I will be using to try and reduce my tbr. The most obvious one is obviously to read more, but I think that is both fairly obvious and also something that I am already achieving. I have a pretty good routine going for when I read, and I managed to reach my January goal of reading 10 books.

Are you trying to reduce your tbr? How are you hoping to achieve it?

Before the Coffee gets Cold – Review

Rating: 3.5 stars

I thought the concept of this novel was amazing, and unlike anything I have read before. I had seen some amazing reviews and recommendations for this, and I think I let the hype lead my expectations too far, and so the novel fell a little short for me.

It is a short novel, but it provides a really interesting concept of time travel. When sat in a specific seat in a little cafe, a person has the ability to travel backwards in time to a time of their choosing. They cannot leave the cafe, and so can only meet people that have been there, and they only have as long as it takes for their coffee to turn cold. Most importantly, nothing that is said or done in the past has the ability to change the present. This presents some interesting challenges for the people wishing to travel, and is central to the plot.

However, there were just a couple of aspects that let me down. I’m not sure how much of it is due to it being a translated fiction, or whether it the more traditional/typical Japanese style, but I found the writing to involve a large amount of telling, and very little showing. There wasn’t a lot of description, and I didn’t feel as though you learnt much about the characters personally. I wanted to connect more with the characters, to really understand their reasoning for travelling to visit someone in the past, but I didn’t feel this. I also found it a little repetitive – in each story it recapped the rules and effects of the coffee, which although new to each character, were well-known to the reader. I would also have liked it to be longer, as I really liked the waitress and owners of the cafe and wanted to learn more about them.

I really enjoyed learning a bit about some aspects of Japanese culture, as I know very little about Japan and its customs. It is my first translated fiction and I am hoping to continue to diversify the authors and subjects that I read about. I am glad I read it, and I thought it was a really interesting novel and I loved the exploration of time travel. I will look out for further works by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and am hoping to read more translated fiction in the future.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

The Nightingale – Review And Buddy Read

“In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

Rating: 5 stars

This novel was devastatingly beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. It was a tale of love and loss, and it blew me away. This book was never on my radar until it was suggested as the January buddy read with the fourteen perfect strangers book club, and at first I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. After studying WW2 during my A Levels, I haven’t really had an interest in reading historical fiction set during wars. I wasn’t really looking forward to this, and was a little skeptical through the first 100 pages. However, I was soon completely swept away by Kristen Hannah’s beautiful prose and heart-wrenching plot.

Hannah’s writing style is incredible. Through a dual narrative following the lives of two sisters during World War Two, Hannah intricately weaves a story of strength and bravery and pain and sadness. Above all, it is a story of love. The love between siblings, between parent and child, between best friends and lovers, and the love for complete strangers. There are mothers torn from their children and husbands from their wives, villages separated by religion and destroyed by soldiers who killed without mercy. Hannah’s beautiful and vivid imagery, of beautiful landscapes and cozy towns, is sharply contrasted in subsequent pages by depictions of fear and grief, of war-torn streets and malnourished children. If it wasn’t so devastating it would be the most beautiful book I’ve read. My heart was so destroyed by the end of the novel that I actually cried. Cried!! I barely ever cry when reading. A book that is able to move me to tears is almost certainly going to be a 5 star from me.

I loved the inclusion of elements of the war that are often overlooked in textbooks and novels. I particularly liked the exploration of the German soldiers who were reluctant to fight in France, those that were ashamed of their actions and were being forced to follow orders. It was an interesting angle to portray against the suffering of the French women and children, and yet I still felt sympathy for him, and I really liked Hannah’s inclusion of this aspect of the war. Most importantly, I loved the exploration of women during the war, and how their importance and ability was so easily overlooked by enemy forces. There were several occasions where the role of women was completely disregarded, but it actually played to the advantage of the resistance, and I found that to be a wonderful case of irony. Women were underestimated, and because of that they were able to cause even more damage. I loved it.

I would highly, highly recommend this novel. Even if historical fiction isn’t usually your thing, I think this is definitely worth a go. It is soul-destroying and a difficult read, but it is so beautiful and intricate, and the writing is incredible.

Were there any books you were reluctant to read but ended up loving? Have you read this book? Or have any recommendations for other Kristen Hannah novels?

My Best Charity Shop Finds #1

For me, there’s nothing better than finding cheap books, and donating to charity at the same time! Not long after discovering bookstagram, I discovered that quite a lot of people bought their books from charity shops. I thought I would give it a go, and quickly fell in love with browsing rows of previously loved books and finding new reads in a brilliant condition for no more than £1. A few months down the line, and I am completely incapable of walking past a charity shop without going inside and having a look at the books. I have found so many bargains, and have been on a couple of trips solely because of the great number of charity shops nearby!

So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite charity shop finds, and I’ve labelled it #1 because I’d love to do a whole series of these posts – if people like them that is.

Ink by Alice Broadway

This was a complete cover buy, but who can blame me? The cover is stunning, and this was an absolute bargain at just 40p! 40p! It doesn’t even look like it has been read, but hopefully I will change that soon. I don’t know much about this series, other than something about all of your actions appearing tattooed on your skin, which sounds intriguing.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K Rowling

I love this film. Controversially, I prefer it to the Harry Potter films, and I had really wanted to read the Screenplay but couldn’t justify the price. Then, I found it in a little Caring for Cats shops where all paperbacks were £1, and all hardbacks were £1.50. Another absolute bargain, and it is a really wonderful edition. It has really stunning illustrations in it, and I really enjoyed reading it.

Something to Live for by Richard Roper

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this for £1 in a charity shop in Kendal. The title intrigued me, and then when I pulled it off the shelf I noticed that it was a Waterstones exclusive edition. It is signed and has sprayed edges that look like a train track! It is a lovely edition, and even though I still haven’t got round to reading it yet I am hoping I will enjoy it!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

This was another bargain at £1.50, in an untouched condition. And then, when I opened it, an Asda receipt slipped out. It had been purchased a month earlier by the person who donated it for £10. I really appreciated the person who donated it, I just hope it wasn’t because they didn’t enjoy it!!

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The charity shop closest to my university house has to be my favourite ever charity shop, and I probably visit it fortnightly whilst at uni. All of their books are 3 for £1, and I often walk out of their with 6 books or more! This is one of my all-time favourite finds, as it worked out at 33p for a beautiful hardback. I keep it without the dust jacket on because the wave design is just too pretty not to display! I have recently enjoyed a Christmas Jenny Colgan read, so I am hoping I will love this one just as much.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

And now for my favourite find. I found a stunning first edition of The Night Circus in a Sue Ryder charity shop for £1.25 and couldn’t believe my luck! I have just purchased The Starless Sea because of the hype surrounding both of Morgenstern’s books, so I was thrilled to find this edition. The sprayed edges are gorgeous, and the clock embellishment under the dust jacket is equally stunning.

Do you buy books from charity shops? If you do, tell me about your best finds. I love hearing what other people have found whilst charity shopping.

Red, White and Royal Blue – Review

For my first review, I felt it had to be a book I really loved, and there’s no book that I’ve loved more than Red, White and Royal Blue.

Rating: A MILLION STARS

You know those books that you think about constantly even when you’re not reading? The books that make you get up half an hour early so you can squeeze in some more reading? The books where you can’t wait to keep reading but you’re also terrified of finishing because then it’s over and that’s it?

Red, White and Royal Blue was that book for me. Without a doubt, one of my favourite reads of all time! I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If I wasn’t reading it, I was counting down the hours until I could pick it up again. I wanted to re-read it immediately, but I will be adding it to my re-read pile, which I’m hoping to get to later in the year.

I don’t even know where to start. I loved every single one of the 418 pages. I don’t think I have ever smiled and laughed so much whilst reading a book before. It was a thoroughly heart-warming read, and I have recommended it to pretty much everyone since reading it.

This book begins in an alternate version of our reality – one where the successor to President Obama is female. Her 2020 re-election is approaching, and the novel centres on the feud between her son, Alex, and the Prince of England, Henry. After an incident threatens diplomatic relations, they are forced to feign friendship. They transition from can’t-bear-to-be-in-the-same-room-as-you to can’t-bear-to-be-apart-from-you, and their love for each other becomes clear. I loved the romance in this more than any romance I’ve ever read. I haven’t read a lot of the enemies-to-lovers trope but it worked amazingly (and now I’d love some recommendations for more!). Alex and Henry are there for each other when no one else is, and understand the difficult position they share as children of public figures. It is a difficult time for both of them, but together they face the challenges that come their way, and prove that love conquers all.

I loved both Henry and Alex, (and everyone else!!), and I would absolutely love a retelling of this exact story but from Henry’s perspective (looking at you Casey McQuinston with pleading eyes). They are both such wonderful characters, and I adored how their friendship transitioned into romance, and how they expressed this through texts and emails. The letter writing was such a beautiful part of the novel, and I am a little annoyed at myself that I was so consumed with reading that I didn’t stop to note down all the amazing quotes and parts I loved! Though I will definitely be tabbing this book when I reread it.

The range of diversity and representation in the characters of this novel was equally wonderful. I loved the way McQuinston commented on a range of issues, from sexism and racism to the stigma surrounding the drug abuse, the lack of representation in positions of power and homophobia. It really challenges the idealisation of the ‘glamorous’ lives of royalty, and highlighted that the reality is a lack of freedom, rigid principles and the inability to be yourself.

I am so excited to read more of her work, though I will have to wait until 2021.

What book could you not get out of your head?

Books I Want To Get To In 2020

2019 was the year that I really renewed my passion for reading. I’ve mentioned it before, but I really lost my passion for reading over the last few years, due mostly to the compulsory reading I was forced to do for GCSEs and A Levels. Although I really did enjoy A Level English Literature, it did take the fun out of reading, and it also created an aura of guilt around any books that I wanted to read for fun. As I sat down to read a book I wanted to, I could see my copy of Emma, Shakespeare and The Handmaid’s Tale staring at me, taunting me, daring me to carry on reading my fantasy series instead of revising Act 2 of The Taming of the Shrew. If I had time to read, I had time to be revising. So I stopped reading.

Over the past year (6 months!!!), I’ve amassed a rather (very) large collection of books, and I have only managed to read a small proportion of them. Most of them are from various charity shops, so they haven’t cost me a fortunate and were bought for a good cause, so I don’t feel too bad about making my parents create a new shelf for me and stand by as I fill more and more of my room (which I don’t even live in half the time) with more and more books! Anyway, I had a bit of a count at the end of the year, and have about 100 unread books, excluding my Netgalley books, audiobooks and any currently sat on wish lists or coming out next year, and my main goal for 2020 is to cut this tbr in half. I read 70 books in 2019, the majority from July onwards, so I think that’s pretty realistic.

There are some books that I’d like to get to sooner rather than later, those that I don’t want to leave gathering dust until 2021 as I keep passing them over in favour of a new release or the latest ARC I’ve been kindly sent. And everyone knows that if you write your goals down, they’re more likely to come true! So, the books I really want to get to in 2020 are:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

This was one of the first books I bought last year because I had heard so many great things about it, but I just never got round to reading it! I am still really excited for it, and I hope that I really enjoy it.

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell is an author that I only discovered through #bookstagram, and last year I managed to read two of her books: Eleanor & Park and Carry On. I know Carry On is the fanfic from Fangirl, but I really wanted to read it, whereas I’ve heard mixed things about Fangirl! Hopefully I get to it early on in the year and really enjoy it!

Furious Thing

I was lucky enough to win an instagram giveaway and chose this as my prize, but I never got around to reading it when I received it.

Girl, Woman, Other

After this received the Booker Prize 2019, I knew I wanted to read it. It is another book that I just didn’t get round to, but I am really intrigued by, and really want to get to early this year.

If you’d seen the length of my TBR, you’d know that I have a LOT more than 4 books that I would really like to read, but these are the ones that I absolutely will read in 2020.

What books are you certain you’ll read this year?

2020 Reading Goals

I know some people are against New Years’ Resolutions, but I actually really enjoy goal-setting at the beginning of the year. Is anyone else the same? The new year is a great time to think about what you have been enjoying, what you’d like to do more of, and even what you’d like to do less. I’ve made quite a few goals for this year, and several of them concern reading and bookstagram. I also find that writing them down helps to keep yourself accountable (and makes sure I don’t forget any!).

Read 100 Books

Quantity isn’t everything, and although I think this is an ambitious goal, I think it should be possible. I won’t be stressing out about it though, and it’s not all about the numbers. The main aim of this goal is to ensure I am prioritising reading over, say, endlessly scrolling on instagram and twitter, refreshing my feed on loop instead of picking up my current read!

Cut My Physical TBR in Half

Since entering the wonderful world of bookstagram, the number of new books I have been exposed to has dramatically increased, and has directly correlated with the number of books I’ve been buying. On top of that, I have discovered the amazingness (is that a word?) of charity shops, and have found many absolute bargains! This means my physical TBR has entered worryingly high double figures, and if I carry on in 2020 as I have in 2019, that number will only grow! So I am committing to reading as much as possible, and resisting the urge to buy more books, particularly new ones (how could I resist 50p books in brand new condition?!).

Be Selective About Accepting Review Copies

Following on from my previous goal, I need to be a bit more selective about the books I request and accept to review. I am very grateful to have been able to receive some wonderful books from several publishers, and I am always so honoured whenever an author contacts me that I find it difficult to say no. Not to mention Netgalley! But it has meant neglecting my TBR in favour of review books, and led to feeling a little overwhelmed by all the unread books! This year, I need to ensure I only accept books that I really, really want to read, and to not get overexcited about the prospect of receiving so many wonderful books!

Read a Graphic Novel

The next couple of goals all concern widening the genres and styles I read, and the one I am most excited for is reading more graphic novels. The ones I’ve seen have such beautiful artwork, and I have my eye on quite a few! I only own one though – The Handmaid’s Tale – and I am really looking forward to reading this book in graphic novel form.

Read More Middle Grade

Another genre I’d really like to read more of is middle grade. I have seen some series and standalone books recommended on bookstagram and booktube, and would really like to read some. I recently bought The Girl Who Speaks Bear and the first in the Nevermoor series using some vouchers I received for Christmas, and I will hopefully read them early this year. I am hoping they will be quick and fun reads whenever I’m in the mood for something lighter.

Did you set any reading goals for 2020? What are they?