June has been a bit of a blur month for me. I don’t quite know where it went, how I was so busy and why I’ve felt so tired for the most of it. But it has passed us by and now we’re into July which is also my birthday month (ahhh) and I have two fabulous weeks off work to enjoy (yay!).
This month I went to PicnicYA which was really good fun. Got to meet some new people, some people I’ve been following on twitter for a while and enjoy the little sun we did have on that day!
I also went to the Walker FictionFest where I heard about all the new titles Walker are publishing and got to meet up with a whole bunch of bloggers I hadn’t seen in a while which was great fun!
The day after that I went to the book lovers meetup which was good fun. Met some new people, talked about books and other exciting things and just generally had a great day – mostly in the company of the fantastic Katie.
Aside from that, I also participated in the Race for Life 10K which, while sadly not managing to run the entire 10K due to damaging my ankle, among other factors, I did manage to run 8.5K and walk 1.5K which I’m pretty pleased about. And if you want to sponsor me, you still can on my Just Giving page here; JustGiving.
Blog wise I hosted the LGBT Readathon and the UKLGBTChat both of which were successful and fun and I’ll definitely be hosting these again in the future so keep your eyes peeled!
This will be my last monthly wrap-up. To read further wrap-ups, sign up to my new newsletter here. This will include exclusive content, competitions and behind-the-scenes info! And it’ll only come once a month so no clogging up your inbox!
I have had the worst reading month for a very long time. Somehow I only managed to read three books this month. I am in the middle of five other books but I just couldn’t find the motivation to read this month which is very sad. However, I am hoping to read a lot more in July as I’ve got some holidays booked just to do that! I’m excited to get back into the grove of things.
Last month I had the brilliant Daniel as my blogger spotlight and it’s been great being able to highlight more about him and his blog and I hope you have visited his blog and twitter.
I wrote a full review of this book this month which you can read here. But here’s just a little recap: This book was such a great read. I loved the use of the main character’s unwillingness to speak. I thought it made the character more powerful as you were living more inside her head. I loved the relationships between all the characters and how they all progressed in the story. There was a brilliant build-up of tension in the story as well and I thought the plot was intriguing and unique and was full of brilliant twists and turns you weren’t expecting. It was addictive, powerful and easy read that has a very interesting theme and messages running through it. Also the beginning was incredible powerful and the whole book was super addictive and easy to read!
The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt; I had really wanted to love this book after hearing so many good things about it but I really struggled to get into it. I found I couldn’t connect with the main character and some of the scenes just didn’t feel right to me. It was an interesting read but not one I’d go back to again.
The Lost and The Found by Cat Clarke; This is a book that I had heard many things about so I was excited to dive into. It was addictive, had Cat’s distinctive flair and was a very intriguing story that I enjoyed reading about.
Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton; As mentioned above I very much enjoyed this book and would happily read it again. I loved the characters a lot and how addictive this read was as well.
How Was Your June? Did You Read Anything Amazing? Have You Got Any Great Books You Want To Read In July?
Today I have the lovely Cat Clarke on the blog with a great guest post that I think you’ll all enjoy!
I Heart France
My favourite character in The Lost and the Found is a Frenchman named Michel. He’s the sort-of-stepdad to main character, Faith. Michel and Faith’s dad have been together for years, and he’s the one person who Faith feels she can confide in. He’s a vet, a big fan of the French rugby team, and also happens to have been inspired by my French publisher, the wonderful Glenn Tavennec. When I was writing Michel, I always pictured Glenn. So, in honour of Michel, here are a few of my favourite French things…
Of course. You didn’t really expect me to say anything else, did you? My latest French cheese obsession is Pié d’Angloys, which is soft and creamy and ridiculously delicious.
2. This video
Shiny shirts FTW! Fans of Take That may notice a striking similarity between this track and a TT classic.
Particularly salted caramel ones. It’s no coincidence that Michel is a master macaron-maker. We’re lucky enough to have an amazing macaron shop here in Edinburgh, and I visit as often as I can. The latest flavour I’ve tried is Irn-Bru, which is AMAZING.
4. Romain Duris
I adore this incredible actor. If you haven’t seen Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur), what are you waiting for? And if you’re a fan of Dirty Dancing, you have to watch this movie IMMEDIATELY.
5. My wife
She’s the one to blame for introducing me to numbers 2 and 4 on my list. And I adore her too. Obviously. :)
When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith’s childhood was dominated by Laurel’s disappearance – from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister.
Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans’ old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that’s lost can be found again…
Have you read this fantastic book yet?
It seems insane to me that the LGBT Readathon is already over. Maybe next time I’ll have to make it a two-week long readathon as a week just doesn’t seem to be enough time, does it?
I wanted to read two books this week.
Unfortunately I didn’t even manage to finish one book, let alone two! I was very busy and also had a bit of a reading slump so even when I did have time, I just couldn’t get into the book I was reading. This was quite sad for me but I’m hoping to finish the two books I started this week.
While not as busy as last time, I was still really happy with how the chat went! Keep an eye out as I’ve decided that I’ll be hosting this chat monthly. Dates of the chats (and the next few Read-a-thons) to be announced on the blog shortly!
How did you do this week
In the feature I won’t mention everything I received, nor every post I wrote during the week but will simply feature a selection of things I wish to spotlight a second time around.
Today is the day that I am running in the Race for Life! I’m writing this the day before and I feel very nervous and a little scared but also excited and just hoping that I do well! I’ll let you all know how it goes on my social channels, so keep an eye out if you’re interested.
Last week I asked if I should keep this feature running and I ended up with zero comments. However, I have decided that I will keep it going because I really like being able to share the links I found and enjoyed each week. Instead, I have decided to scrap my monthly wrap-ups. To replace these, I’m going to be setting up a monthly newsletter so keep your eyes peeled if you want to sign up for that!
Anyway, onto the posts…
I posted ONE review this week;
Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton (FOUR HEARTS)
I wrote a post about how I trained for the Race for Life which included some tips for anyone who is a new runner or wants to start running. You can read that post by clicking here.
Yesterday I told you all about my Food Weaknesses and shared other peoples too. To find out about my weird food loves, read this post.
LGBT Readathon 2.0
This week was the second LGBT Readathon! (Which coincided nicely with the news on Friday that the US now allows gays to marry in every state.) It’s not been a great one for me as I’ve been super busy and also hit a bit of a reading slump – I haven’t even finished one book, but I think it’s still a success and I will definitely be hosting more.
I’ll be doing a full wrap-up post on this tomorrow. But if you want to take a look at my updates, you can do so here.
I had the honour of posting a great guest post by Daniel this week. He talked about TBR’s and how we can feel/be made to feel guilty for buying new books when we already have masses of books to read at home. If you want to read all of his thoughts and join the conversation, you can click here to do so.
Around The Blogosphere
This week Michelle has written a great and powerful post on the importance of books showing economic diversity. You should definitely check out the post which is here.
Do you use Instagram? Want to make your photos pop a little more? This week the amazing Daphne, who shoots gorgeous photos, has shared one of her tips. To see how she makes amazing backgrounds, click here.
Are there any blogging things that you’re not particularly good at? Amber has told us some of hers. To read them and share your own visit this page.
This week Mel is asking when spoilers stop being spoilers by looking at Classics and recent fiction. Read her thoughts and add your own in this post.
Amy looks at “health shaming” this week. You can read her fantastic post here.
Finally, this week Kayleigh was very honest about her weight and her new weight-loss journey. To read the brave and inspiring post, click here.
Now I normally only highlight the books I receive each week but as I’m starting to get a few products to review, I’ve decided I’ll share these with you too. And as a massive surprise – I didn’t get ANY books this week!
Jumbo Storage Bag; I was sent this bag for review and I’m excited to use it. The idea is to get creative with it and I’ve already got some good ideas. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Thanks to Receptional for this product.
Aloe Moisturizing Lotion and Aloe Scrub; Both of these products have been provided by my sister (though this will not make my review of them bias) and I have tried the moisturizer so far but not the scrub, and I would definitely recommend it. Full review to come soon!
And there you have it, my Weekly Highlights!
What Did You Get This Week? What Cool Blog Posts Did You Stumble Upon? What Are You Reading This Week?
(*Please note* I do not like food that has too much flavour and thus my recipes are likely to be more bland/basic to some recipes you see but trust me when I say they still taste amazing.)
One of my all time favorite foods is Bolognaise, and in line with that, Lasagna. But as I’m trying to cut back on the carbs I’m eating, I have been trying to come up with some pasta-free dishes. Thus my friend Caroline told me about using courgette instead of pasta (she has has a cool pasta maker too!) and I went one step further and wondered what it would taste like with Aubergine. So obviously, I decided to try it. I have since tried it in both variations and I think they both taste amazing. I’ve also made it with lamb mince and beef mince and I’m fairly certain it would taste amazing with quorn mince too!
To make this recipe gluten-free, I also made one with just cheese sprinkled on the top with no white-sauce which wasn’t quite right but I do know you can make white sauce with gluten-free flour but I would need to research that more before putting it in a recipe but if you know how to make a gluten-free white sauce, you definitely should for this!
Anyway… here’s an incredibly tasty dish that is good for all the family!
(Cooking for one)
50 – 150g Mince (beef or lamb)
1/2 tin of sliced carrots
1/2 tin of sweetcorn
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 clove of Garlic
25g Plain Flour
250ml (1/2 pint) Milk
50g grated cheddar
What You’ll Need
1 Chopping Board
1 Tin Opener
1 Frying Pan
1 Fish slice
1 Oven Dish
1 Measuring Jug
1 Set of Scales
- Turn the oven on to about 180C/350F/Gas 4
- Add a little vegetable oil to the frying pan and allow it some time to heat.
- Dice the onion.
- Peel and slice the mushrooms.
- Chop the garlic finely.
- Slice the aubergine/courgette into slices.
- Add the mince to the heated pan. The amount you add will depend on how many vegetables you plan to add.
- Cook the mince until it is brown all over.
- Add the onions, cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the mushrooms, cook for another few minutes until they all start to turn brown.
- Remove from frying pan and pour into the largest saucepan.
- Add the carrots, sweetcorn, chopped tomatoes and garlic, give it all a stir.
- Add the tomato puree and a little bit of hot water, stir it all in together.
- At this point you can also add a little Worcestershire Sauce, stirring it all in.
- Leave the pan to simmer.
- Melt the butter in a new saucepan.
- Take off the heat and pour in the flour, mix until you make a nice paste.
- Add in a small amount of milk, just enough to cover the bottom of the saucepan and stir in well.
- Return saucepan to a low heat, keep adding the milk little by little, continuously stirring throughout. Do not worry too much if you have lumps, but using a fork or whisk can help this.
- Stir continuously until the mixture comes to the boil and has thickened.
- The white sauce is the hardest part of this dish but it is easily corrected. The measurments should work but if the sauce doesn’t thicken, add a little more flour.
- Add a nice helping of grated cheese and stir in, this will help make the white sauce even thicker.
- Once satisfied, leave to once side and put your frying pan back onto the heat with a little olive oil.
- Add your aubergine or courgette and lightly fry on both sides.
- Get your oven dish and put a layer of mince, then a layer of white sauce, a layer of courgette/aubergine, mince and white sauce. Repeat until you run out of ingredients. You want to finish with a white sauce layer.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Place in the oven and cook for twenty-thirty minutes until the cheese is golden brown in colour.
If there is one thing that I am certain everyone has, it is food weaknesses. Whether this is food that you feel you cannot live without, food you wish you didn’t have to live without, or just not wanting to eat food at all. As food is something that is a major component in everybody’s lives whether they’re eating it, controlling it or avoiding it, it’s easy to see why we might have weaknesses surrounding it.
Personally I have some odd food weaknesses. And upon spending a few weeks thinking about this topic, I came up with a list of foods that if I was told I couldn’t ever eat again, I would cry. But, to build the suspense, I’m only going to share three with you today and three with you next week! These are foods I enjoy and some foods I simply eat for comfort.
I thought I’d start off with the oddest one. I am a mushroom fiend. I love them. If there is a way to put mushrooms into a meal, I am damn well going to do it. If mushrooms are offered as a side, you can bet I’ll be adding it to my meal. I don’t know what it is about these pesky fungi but I have a full blown love for them and would struggle not to eat them. (And really, I know I shouldn’t eat them but I just don’t think I can stop!)
Who doesn’t have an obsession with cheese? (*cough*lotsofpeople*cough*). When thinking about cutting back on the cheese in my diet I really struggled to come up with dinners that didn’t involve cheese. The few I did come up with were a roast dinner and sausage, chips and beans. I’m sure there are more too, but in my life cheese is so prevalent that cutting back would be incredibly difficult!
So I had to give this up last year when my doctor thought I might have a sensitivity to it and could potentially have celiacs. And it was TOUGH. I could have bread three times a day without a problem (and I was). Bread works for a snack if you just want something to nibble on. It bulks up food. It tastes amazing and really, why would you not want to eat bread. (*cough*becauseitcankillyou*cough*) I’ve gotten better with my bread because I do think I have a sensitivity to it but that doesn’t mean I could give it up entirely unless I REALLY had to.
Fellow Blogger Weaknesses
But enough about my weaknesses. To make this post a little more lively, I asked some other bloggers about their food weaknesses and here are just some of the responses (I’ll do a post next week with the rest);
Amy at The Smallest of Things said; My weakness is biscuits and cake! Chocolate cake mainly.
Samantha at Coco Butter Blog said; My biggest weakness is pizza! I always crave it for dinner and because it’s so quick and easy to cook and I’m busy I can never resist one!
Bel at Journey’s Are My Diary said; I have so many but pizza and cheese are definitely my biggest.
Kirsty at Kirsty Ralph said; fried chicken, texas bbq pringles and sprinkle doughnuts!
Lindsay at Scottish Outlander said; Chocolate digestives, I could eat a whole pack! And of course pizza, pizza is always a good idea!
Emily at Emily Davies Writes said; Mine is lattes. I could write a book on my weakness for a good latte!
Charlene at The Life of Leesha Starr said; I have so many weaknesses when it comes to food but my main is KitKats, Cheese Strings and Meat Feast Pizza with extra meat and cheese haha.
Lordine at Show The Bride said; biggest weakness is food in general but specifically white chocolate cookies, biscuits and hot chocolate. My blog caters to brides and brides to be who love glamour!
Lauren at Modest London said; Chicken wings and avocado (not together, obvs) – I am CONSTANTLY thinking about them.
Jade at Raising the Rings said; Chocolate. I’ve got a serious post pregnancy craving that I just can’t shift! And any junk food in general. I love being naughty behind the other half’s back hehe.
Sarah at Run, Jump, Scrap said; Completely random but I’m addicted to almonds! That crunch is just heaven!
Jess at Tantrums to Smiles said; My biggest weakness is Pic a mix!! I just cant help but indulge every now and again lol.
Helen at Beautiful Things said; Marshmallows lol, one of my recent posts was about just this!!
Elizabeth at Where Roots and Wings Entwine said; My weakness is cheese, pasta and bread. My other half jokes that all I eat is pasta.
Sarah at The Girl with the Winged Liner said; KFC chips, chicken nuggets and chips from mcdonalds, pasta and sweet corn….. Hmm *drools*
Stacey at Mummy M’s Memories said; Pizza… Or melted cheese in general. Cheese an onion paninis cheese on toast of 4 cheese pizzas with extra cheese added. wink emoticon oh and fresh bread, the fresher the better… No wonder I’m the size I am.
Carolyn at Carolyn Blogs said; Most of my specific ones are chocolatey weaknesses, chocolate buttons straight from the fridge, peanut M&Ms and mint machmakers. If there are any hiding in the house they don’t last long against my skills for sniffing them out.
And then pretty much anything with lime or coconut in it, so whether that’s all the round wheel sweets in a packet of liquorish allsorts or a sneaky mojito / caipirinha on a night out or more realistically these days with baby in tow it’s gallons of Belvoir lime and lemongrass cordial, yummy.
Aimee at Aimeee Jayneee said; I’m suffering from what I call post – pregnancy cravings – mines irn bru, frazzle crisps and jaffa cakes but stale ones!!!
Laura at My Life as a Mummy said; Cheese and mints. Obviously not together.
Laura at Laura Hadley said; Chocolate, cake and milkshakes! Such a sweet tooth!
Rachel at Rachel Bustin said; Chocolate, cake and any desserts
What are some of your food weaknesses?
When I first came up with the topic for this post, I was convinced that it would be fully positive and I’d be gearing up for a great race to happen on the Saturday. Unfortunately, however, this is not going to be the case as last Tuesday, while on my final run before the big day, I twisted my ankle and went down, fast. Bruised and in pain, I had to hobble back home. I then changed the date of my Race for Life run because I knew there was no way I’d have been able to run on my ankle on that Saturday. I still haven’t run on my ankle but am planning to do so tonight to see how it goes but I’m worried and sad as I’m fairly certain I may not be able to run the 10K which I have been training for since February. But I promise to let you all know how it goes.
As I don’t want this to be a Boo Me post, I will talk about my training and how well I was doing and how proud of myself I was and hope that my words may be able to help someone who may find it a bit of a struggle to keep motivated and moving.
The Couch to 5K
When I first started running in 2009, I did so because I stumbled across the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts. I thought they looked simple enough and so I tried them out. It took me a while to get started, I’d make it to a certain week and then get busy at and then feel incapable of starting where I left off and so returned to week one or week two. I finally finished the podcast in 2012 but I never continued with it further and went straight back to the old routine. Then in February I decided to up my game and try to run 10K instead of the 5K I had always trained for. So this time I knew I needed to get to the end of the podcast, No excuses.
I started at around week 4 because I had been running previous to that quite well. Then I got a knee injury (unrelated to running but it did halt my progress) and was struggling to walk, let alone run. A week later things were looking up so I went back to week 4 and tried again. Then I continued through the weeks as I should have done at the start. After I set a date for the 10K with my sister, I realised that I needed to up the ante a little bit and so instead of doing three runs the same, I started only doing two until I finally reached week 9. I can not tell you how proud I was to reach the stage where I could run 30mins without stopping. However, I soon found that wasn’t even 5K so I still had a long way to go.
Getting Past the Podcasts
Without the podcasts, I had to find a new way to get myself running for longer distances. There are many ways to achieve this but I decided that I would increase my running time by three minutes. At first, I continued doing the same run twice and then changing it but as we got closer and I had a few missed days under my belt, I changed my tack and increased it by three minutes each run. The minute that I reached 5K, I grinned like an idiot. It took me 45minutes at a pace of 8.32mins per KM but I was doing it. When I ran for an hour without stopping, I was exulted. Never in all my life did I think I would be able to manage that.
Then when I reached 7K, I realised that I was rapidly running out of time before I needed to be running 10K. So I changed my training again and decided instead of increasing my time, I would increase my distance. So I aimed to increase by 0.5km for each run. I made it to 8K but then I had a bad day and only managed to make it to 3K before I had to stop. This left one run before the race and 2K to cover. So, having heard that it is sometimes better not to run the distance before the main event, I decided to run to 9k on my final run before reaching 10K.
But, as mentioned above, instead of reaching 9K, I ended up injuring myself within the first kilometre. But I think, even if I don’t manage to run the full 10K on Sunday, I am still staying proud of myself because I made it to 8K and one hour and fifteen minutes of running without stopping. A feat which I never in a million years thought I would ever achieve.
So today I am going on a run to test my ankle and then on Sunday I will be faced with my first ever 10K run and only time will tell if I’ll be able to run the whole thing.
My Advice To You
If you’re a new runner, or a mediocre runner, I just wanted to give you some small tips that I came across along the way. What you eat will affect your running. If you want to keep your energy up, carbs the day before (if you run in the morning) or the day of (if you run in the evening) will help your performance as your body will burn this to keep itself on track. Protein after your run will keep your energy levels high and stop your body from completely crashing. And, if you’re running for longer than an hour it is adviced to have carbs while you run, which for me meant drinking Lucozade Sport. This will replace the things you lose in your sweat while you run.
Everyone has bad days and bad runs. Even professional athletes will have a run which isn’t up to their speed but just don’t let the bad run stop you from getting back out there. If you feel you need to, take a few days off and then get back onto the horse again. Don’t let a bad run define you.
Endurance is key. In the NHS Podcasts it definitely teaches you how to build up your endurance but the idea is that even if you feel yourself flagging, to continue running just a little bit further. Slow your pace down but don’t stop completely. This will help you in the long term as you increase your time and speed.
Stretch before and after your runs and always have a warm up walk (5mins) and a cool down walk (5mins). This is to allow your muscles to deal with the different temperment you put them through and stop them from pulling and to lessen the chance of causing an injury.
And, if you can help it, avoid paths where the pavement isn’t flat or you may end up twisting your ankle like I did.
But most importantly, don’t give up. Have some faith. I am certain that you’ll reach the end of the podcast and feel triumphant. But even if you don’t, feel proud of yourself because you’re not sitting on that couch anymore.
That’s all from me today.
Wish me luck for Sunday maybe?
And if you wanted to donate to my cause, you can do so here.
Megan doesn’t speak. She hasn’t spoken in months.
Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan’s head – things that are screaming to be heard – that she cannot, must not, let out.
Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can’t quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter.
Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?
How Do You
I initially heard about this book last year when the contract was announced and I have been waiting patiently to read the book ever since. With my excitement so high, it took me a while to read the book as I was just a little worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations but fortunately that did not happen. I latched onto this book quickly and loved the narration. It was fast-paced, emotional, and was full of wonderful characters that I instantaneously loved. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for anything else that Abbie Rushton writes.
If there was one thing that I loved about this book it was the fact that Megan doesn’t speak. That sounds odd but it really worked with the narration of the book. I loved being inside her head, especially when you knew what she wanted to say but also knew that she just couldn’t. I also adored that Jasmine spoke enough for the both of them. Aside from that, the plot of this book was intriguing. There was a little bit of tension as you weren’t sure what was really going on but kept getting little hints and then it all came bursting out at the end. I enjoyed where this book took you and where it eventually ended up. I thought it was all very well done.
I really loved the characters in this book. I thought Megan was really unique and had an awful lot to deal with. I thought she was caring, loyal and incredibly sweet. She worried an awful lot and carried a lot on her shoulders but I think this just made her that much stronger as a character. But it was Jasmine that I found the most fascinating and readable. She was a character that talked a lot and made it seem like she was confident and together but this was just a facade. Underneath it all she was vulnerable, worried and just wanted to feel loved. I loved this about her character so much and thought it made her such an interesting character to read about.
Afraid To Speak
This book was a lovely, heart-warming and emotional read that I really enjoyed. There were a few things that didn’t feel quite right and in some parts it felt a little rushed but for the most part, it was a really great read. I loved all of the characters, loved all of the tension and I really enjoyed the ending as well. It was really lovely and cute. So if you’re looking for a book that is quick but full of depth and involves a dark, deep secret, then I highly suggest reading Unspeakable!
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **
Today I have the wonderful Daniel taking over the blog! Here’s here to talk to you all about TBRs. It’s such a brilliant post that I hope you enjoy!
Hello to anyone that is reading this! It is I, Daniel from The Blogger’s Bookshop, and today I come to you on Faye’s wonderful blog to discuss my thoughts on whether we as readers should feel guilty over large TBR piles, and also in relation to this – whether we should feel guilty prioritising our own books over ones for review.
So I’m not one to deny that I buy a lot more books than I actually read. Anyone who knows me will know that this is an issue I struggle with. Am I bothered by it though? No, not at all. I am one of those readers who can walk into a bookstore knowing he has over 150 books to choose from on his bookshelf and can happily walk out with 5 more. Do I feel guilty? No, why should I? I often get told that due to the amount of books I have sitting there on my shelf that I should feel grateful that I have them at all, so why do I go out of my way to buy more books? Surely it’s just disrespectful if I’m not reading the ones I currently have, especially if some of those books were originally gifts. To this, I really only have one thing to say and that is that book priority shouldn’t necessarily be done based on when you buy the book, but in my mind should be focused on what you as a reader are in the mood for. I see too many people fretting over the issue that they’ve bought an x number of books but they’ve already got tens and hundreds sitting on their shelves at home and they feel guilty because in a way they are betraying their books.
For a minute lets examine this scenario by utilising our imaginations and picturing that books could actually form opinions. Would jealousy and rivalry occur between them? Quite possibly, but at the end of the day surely it’s better to have lots of friends than none at all? This is the way that I see my unread books on my bookshelves and I tweeted this out quite a lot in one of Lucy’s #ukyachat’s. I personally see each of my books as an adventure that can be explored. I know that sounds extremely childish but hey, I’m a teacher it’s my job to think of corny and childish comments. However, what I say is true, or to me it is at least. For me, books are an escape from reality – sometimes you just want to picture yourself in a world where life isn’t always that tough and even when it is, there is a definite ending. In life we’re on a constant journey and who knows where we’ll end up in the future – this uncertainty is what drives my passion for reading. Having a structure really reflects the lack of what we have in the real world. In our lives we have a beginning, middle and end but in the present there is an aura of uncertainty about that and in my opinion books can be there to reassure us of the fact that the future may be uncertain, but we need to make the most of today to make it happen.
Okay, enough of the philosophical ramblings and back to the topic in hand. Guilt over buying books. Should we have it? I’d like to argue no. As readers we treasure the stories we’re told – otherwise why would we be so fond of reading? To be exposed to such a large quantity of material it allows us the freedom to choose exactly what we want. We all love a good bookshop right? It’s the same principle. This is one of the reasons I’m slowly trying to build up my own personal library from the comforts of my bedroom. At the end of the day, we as readers are accomplishing an awful lot. Besides the reading community online, I don’t see that many people who can say that they openly have read 50-100 books in a year. Thanks to Goodreads I can keep on track of this. In my opinion that is something to be proud of! Books won’t ever go out of fashion as long as there are people there to admire them, and with a community this large there is definitely potential for it to stay in fashion indefinitely. Why should we feel guilty about keeping passions alive? Yes it might be nice to fly through your TBR shelves and to be able to say you don’t have a single unread book on your shelves, meaning you can go out and buy more.
Frankly this notion scares me! In life we’re not always given the opportunities (especially in my case) where you can go out and buy books all of the time. Money constraints, jobs ect. There are always reasons. So to limit yourself to only enjoying the one book you’re reading and not having the freedom to simply pluck another off of your shelves if you don’t like it – well why would we ever want to limit ourselves?
I know this guest post is getting a tad lengthy but another topic I want to explore is whether we should feel guilty for prioritising our own books over that of review copies. This is a tricky one to discuss and I’m sure there are people out there who would prefer to agree and disagree with one particular side. However, in this instance I’m going to argue for arguments sake that we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You see the theme here? No guilt! I understand that review copies of books are important in the publishing world as it allows bloggers (whom most publishers trust wholeheartedly) to spread the honest truth about a publication. I also understand that in the case of review copies there is also an unwritten time scale in which you should really have the book read and reviewed by. In a lot of cases this is usually by publication date but as most bloggers know, this isn’t always possible. With such lengthy TBR piles, I have found in the past, both from observation and own experiences, that bloggers’ tastes will vary a lot and you can’t always commit yourself to reading a particular book in a particular genre. You’ll find that quite often this can subtly reflect in your review and half of the time you probably won’t even notice it. You can be reading a Sci-Fi novel, having read a steady stream of Sci-Fi over a long period of time, but really be in the mood for a light and airy contemporary. Are you really going to enjoy the book as much if you’re not in the mood for it? Food for thought. In the past I’ve found publishers respect bloggers for their love of reading and are patient when it comes to constructing your thoughts on a particular title, and quite often if that means relaxing with one of your own books that you know you’re going to enjoy (especially if that book is a re-read or a favourite) then who are they to say we’re wrong?
So I’ll cap it off there because unfortunately you’ll have me talking forever about the topic of book guilt. I could also talk a lot about guilt in terms of writing reviews and whether writing an impartial and not always truthful review for good publicity is the right thing to do. This was a topic that came up in a #ukyachat and oh I could argue that point again and again. Hopefully Faye will allow me the opportunity to discuss that at another time. So until next time guys, stay awesome and be proud of your lengthy TBR’s! The adventures are out there for you to explore, never limit yourself to the endless possibilities.
What do you think? Should we feel guilty?
You can follow Daniel on twitter here.
It has started again!
Yay! It is finally the first day of the second (this year anyway) LGBT Readathon! Are you joining in this time? You can sign up here.
I have a very busy week ahead of me so I’m actually only aiming to read two books this week, but I’d still be happy with just one. I’ve given myself a choice of three books but who knows, I might stray somewhere else too!
So these are the books I’ll be choosing from:
I’m going to start with Read Me Like A Book and go from there!
I’m going to try to remember to pop back to this post at the end of each day to update how it’s all going. My apologies if I don’t!
I had a very busy day today and just wasn’t in the reading mood, unfortunately. But I did finally manage to get some reading done.
Read Me Like A Book
I read two chapters, 23 pages.
I definitely hope to read more tomorrow.
Last time I held the chat on the last day of the event. This time I’m incredibly busy on the sunday so instead this chat will be on;
Saturday 27th June at 8pm BST
Hope to see you there!