Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: New to My TBR List

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s topic asks us to share books that we’ve recently added to our TBR lists. Lately I’ve been trying to listen to more audio books, which has introduced me to a whole new gackle of texts. Here are a few that I’m really looking forward to reading:

What books have you recently added to your TBR list? What do you think of the ones on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2018

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share the top ten authors we read for the first time in 2018. Largely due to all the books I had to read for my coursework, I was lucky enough to have been introduced to a plethora of brilliant writers this past year. As I made this list I was thrilled to see that so many of them are women of color–who also wrote some of my favorite book of 2018. 

What authors did you read for the first time in 2018? What do you think of the ones on my list? Any recommendations of books by them that I should read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Jurassic Park Book Tag

It’s no secret that I adore Jurassic Park. Not only is it my favorite movie, but it’s also one of my favorite books. You can imagine my excitement when I learned that such a thing exists as a Jurassic Park Book Tag. I wasn’t tagged in this at all, but Camillea Reads showed me this post from the Literary Phoenix and I knew I had to do it, too!

“Spared no expense.”  ~John Hammond || A series that seems to go on forever. 

The longest series I’ve read recently is A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It takes some dedication to wade through all thirteen books! Fortunately they’re quick and easy to get through, so they don’t take that long to read.

“Life finds a way.”  ~Ian Malcolm || A book with amazingly intricate world-building. 

I’m only halfway through The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, but it’s already clear that the world-building here is incredible. I love the way the novel is formatted as stories told within this larger story. It’s easy to forget that all of this happens in such a short span of time.

“Hold on to your butts.”  ~Arnold || What’s the fastest you’ve read a book, and what book was it?

I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith in one sitting in Heathrow Airport as I waited for my flight from London to Boston over winter break, which was pretty fast. I was stressed about traveling and definitely grateful for the distraction!

“Mr Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.”  ~Alan Grant || A book you refuse to read (or finish).

There are few books that I would flat-out refuse to ever read, so I can’t say that one even comes to mind.

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”  ~Ian Malcolm || A book that left you going ‘Why?’

I love this question–so many books can apply! I’m going to go with How to be Both by Ali Smith, which I had to read for a tutorial last term. This book is so bizarre that you can’t help but wonder why she makes the writing decisions that she does.

“We need more teeth!”  ~Gray Mitchell || A book with no human MCs. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell. I’ve only ever read the Spanish translation of this book, but I love it all the same. It’s one of those books that haunts you long after you finish the final page. I’d love to read the original English sometime.

“The kids? This will give the parents nightmares.”  ~Simon Masrani || A book that terrified you.

Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve read this book twice now and both times it has made me think twice about the direction in which our society is currently heading. I haven’t seen the TV series yet, but I can only imagine that it’s just as terrifying!

“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.”   ~Henry Wu || A book that changed your perceptions on an issue/culture, etc.

I’ve talked about this book a lot on this blog, but I adored reading Girl Up by Laura Bates. It’s such a hilarious, fun, empowering read!

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think of mine? Do you like Jurassic Park, either the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

MAY 2018 | Wrap-Up

You know what they say: “April showers bring May flowers…” Well, this past month of May was certainly in full bloom! From making it over halfway through Trinity term, doing the usual summertime-in-Oxford activities, and hosting friends and family when they come to visit, I’ve barely had time to breathe lately. May was a whirlwind of so many twists and turns that I won’t soon forget. Here’s what I was up to in May:

In May I read a total of 4 books:

  1. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
  2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  3. How to Be Both by Ali Smith
  4. Grant by Ron Chernow

As you can see, I definitely read fewer books in May than in recent other months. Not only have I been incredibly busy writing essays and doing all the fun things that Oxford in summer has in store, but I’ve also dedicated most of my audio book time to finishing the 48-HOUR LONG audio book of Grant by Ron Chernow. I’ve been listening to it off and on since Hilary term (February maybe?) so it feels like such an accomplishment to have finally finished it. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoyed Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton biography!

+ MOVIE: This isn’t technically a movie, but my favorite thing I watched this month was definitely John Mulaney’s new comedy special Kid Gorgeous. I’m not usually one for stand-up comedy, but for some reason I find John Mulaney absolutely HILARIOUS. Not only are his stories simultaneously relatable and oddly specific, but the way he delivers them always cracks me up. Plus, he gets bonus points for having a bit involving an epi-pen!

+ MUSIC: Shout out to Bastille for FINALLY releasing new music! They released their new song “Quarter Past Midnight” earlier in May with an album likely on the way. I was ecstatic to hear that this is a surprisingly upbeat song by Bastille standards–yet another great song to belt out as I dance in my dorm room!

+ FOOD: Probably fish and chips because I ate it SO OFTEN when my brother visited me for a week. I’ll miss it when I go back home!

+ PLACE: This may sound random, but I think my favorite place I visited in May was the Emirates Stadium in London, home of Arsenal FC. I’ve written an entire post about it that will be posted in the coming weeks so I won’t go into too much detail here, but touring this stadium was AMAZING.

So much happened in May that I don’t even know where to begin. My college’s semester ended back home, which not only means that all of my senior friends have actually graduated (so. many. emotions.) but also that all of my college friends are now on summer break. It sort of feels like summer here–the weather has been gorgeous, particularly by British standards!–but there are still plenty of books left to read and essays left to write. Lately I’ve been trying to balance fitting in last-minute Oxford things with doing school work and prepping for the summer and senior year, but it’s a tricky balancing act to sustain. Here are some photos that will capture my last month better than the my loss of words can:

May Day celebration on May 1st in front of Magdalen College (it was 6am).
A visit to Blenheim Palace.
Croquet is my new fave!
PUNTING!
My favorite view in the city.
I was lucky enough to have my brother visit me for an entire week!

 Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:

How was your month of May? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Goodreads Book Tag | 2

There’s nothing quite like hearing a new friend say, “Wait, you’re on Goodreads, too?!” I’ve used Goodreads for years and it’s definitely my preferred way of tracking what I read. You can imagine my excitement when I learned I had been tagged in the Goodreads Book Tag– two of my favorite things rolled into one! Thanks so much to Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction for tagging me!!

{Also, I schedule all of my posts in advance so these updates may be outdated by three days or so. I’m just going to let it slide!}

What was the last book you marked as “read”?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling. I listened to the audio book version narrated by Eddie Redmayne (!!!) and it was a really fun read. Would highly recommend!

What are you currently reading?

Grant by Ron Chernow, which is a biography of Civil War general and US president Ulysses S. Grant. I’ve been listening to this for AGES because the audio book is around 48 hours long (1074 pages) but now I’m finally over halfway through. This book has reminded me of how much I enjoy reading biographies!

What was the last book you added to your TBR shelf?

How to Be Both by Ali Smith, which I’ve been assigned to read for one of my tutorials this term. I’m really excited to read it because apparently some editions of it have a certain section first and others have the second section printed first. This seems like such an interesting bookish experiment and I can’t wait to see how it plays out in actuality.

What book do you plan to read next?

Oooh, such a difficult question! I usually don’t decide which book to read next until I’ve finished the one I’m reading, but I’d really love to read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. So many people have recommended it to me recently and the blurb makes it sound really interesting.

Do you use the star rating system?

Nope! I decided to stop using the star rating system about a year ago and I have never regretted the choice. It’s so freeing! I never have to worry about projecting my opinions onto a five-star system or deliberating over what I’ll rate it on Goodreads. You can read more about why I did away with it in this post. 

Are you doing a 2018 reading challenge?

Yes! My goal was to read 24 books this year, which I’ve actually already done?!?! I’m not quite sure how I managed to complete my reading challenge as early as February 19, but somehow it happened! As of the time I’m writing this post I’ve read 54 books this year.

Do you have a wish list?

Nope! I’m really trying to buy fewer books, so I never keep a wish list of what I’d like to purchase next.

What book do you plan to buy next?

Again, I’m been trying not to buy a lot of books recently so I don’t really have any in mind.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

SO. MANY. One I stumbled upon recently while reading T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land for my Virginia Woolf in modernist contexts tutorial is: “In the mountains, there you feel free.” It reminds me of the gorgeous mountains I saw while traveling in Salzburg, Austria.

Who are your favorite authors?

Again, SO MANY. I’ll just list a few: J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, John Green, Michael Crichton…

Have you joined any groups?

Technically I’ve joined a handful of groups, but to be honest I never check their pages or keep tabs on what they’re doing. I love the idea of participating in Goodreads groups– like a sort of online book club!– but I have so much reading for classes that I can never stay on top of what they read on a regular basis.

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? What are your thoughts on Goodreads in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY