October TBR

My TBR pile is getting long (I’m not divulging how long because it’s shameful) so I think it’s time to start writing monthly TBR lists so that I can schedule my reading a little better.

So here’s what I’m looking forward to reading in October.

Good Me Bad Me | Ali Land

I’ve been meaning to read this for months now and it wasn’t until I saw someone talking about it on Twitter that I’ve finally started it. I’m only a little way into it so far but it’s already incredibly gripping and the plot is really unusual. I’ll have more updates later in the month!

My Absolute Darling | Gabriel Tallent

YA has fallen off my TBR list for a long time, years even, but since I read the blurb for My Absolute Darling, I’ve been desperate to read it.

I Am Behind You | John Ajvide Lindqvist

This is the book I’m most excited about reading this month. I’ve (ashamedly) never read Let The Right One In but I have seen the film and really need to read the book at some point. Supernatural isn’t usually my thing but I’m more than willing to give it a go.

But My Brain Had Other Ideas | Deb Brandon

Usually my monthly reading is a few fiction books and a non-fiction so this month I want to read But My Brain Had Other Ideas. I’m really fascinated with brain injuries and it’s a line of work I’d love to go into one day, so I’m looking forward to getting into this memoir.

What books are on your October TBR?

Rachel x-x-x

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The Written Word is Everything

Ask me my hobbies and I’ll tell you a few. Depending who you are I’ll tell you that I love music, reading and fitness. If I’m feeling like sharing, then I’ll tell you a bit more. I love playing the ukulele, learning languages, yoga and seeking out petting farms so I can find a cow to brighten up my day. If I trust that you won’t laugh at me for it, then I might tell you that I have a blog, that I mostly write about mental health, wellbeing, lifestyle, that kind of thing. But what I’ll never ever tell you is that I love writing.

As a child the job I wanted most was to be a writer. I adored Jacqueline Wilson, poured over every page of the Harry Potter books (well the first 5 at least) and read the same collection of Shirley Hughes poems over and over until I knew every word. But I didn’t just love reading. I too wanted to create beautiful words on the page. I wanted other children to read what I’d written and so I wrote ferociously, filling notebook upon notebook with short stories, character descriptions and poems. I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

And then it all stopped.

The writing came to a halt and the passion died. It stopped when reality hit that being a writer wasn’t a smooth path as I had thought when I was younger. It stopped when it became more important to play computer games than to invent stories in my head. I know that it stopped completely when I moved house at 15. Whilst moving, the notebooks full of stories got packed away into drawers, and were never opened again. My priorities had simply changed.

Fast forward a few years to sitting my A-Levels. I’d already applied for a languages degree at university and whilst I loved reading, I still hadn’t got back into writing. I was reading A LOT. Doing that existential thing that teenagers do, searching for poetry that meant something to me, over-dramatically reading Shakespeare aloud, alone in my room (Was that just me?) I knew I wanted to write but the words weren’t coming and I had more important things to worry about, like English A-Level coursework.

Coursework that when I handed in, I received a 7/70 due to poor content and bad grammar and spelling. Coursework that when redrafted and handed in got me an A in A-Level English but had taken away any scrap of confidence I had regarding writing.

Throughout my languages degree, I constantly second guessed myself when I wrote essays. I would spend hours after finishing them up a week early, going over and over sentences, losing my mind over whether the sentence could be structured better or checking that I hadn’t made a spelling error.

Then two years ago I started blogging, and last year I started this blog, my baby, No Space for Milk and my confidence soared. The writing will never be perfect (although I still check like hell for spelling mistakes!), the sentences might be too long or I’ll do terrible things like split infinitives, but I’m writing.

Blogging has given me the confidence to write daily and not feel too worried about the final product. I’ve tried different styles, written for others and had people actually tell me that my writing is good. But most recently it’s done something for me that I haven’t been able to do in a long time. Write fiction.

For me, fiction has always been an escape. Something that has let me hide away from the world in the bad times and relax and enjoy in the good. And in my heart of hearts I’ve always wanted to pursue fiction writing. So now I am writing. And I am proud to say it.

Rachel x-x-x

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Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.

I feel as though I start all book reviews like this, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this novel. I absolutely loved both Matt’s Reasons To Stay Alive and his previous fiction book, The Humans, but after reading the first few chapters of How To Stop Time, I felt a little bit like I was reading a historical fiction novel, which really isn’t my thing usually.

But I persevered and I loved it so much.

How to Stop Time in essence is a love story, but it’s also so much more than that. Despite being slightly put off at first by the history content, I ended up learning a lot, especially having my memory jogged about things I’d learnt years ago at school. But the part of the story I loved most was the protagonist, Tom. Flawed yet sweet, Tom had an air of someone who had both lived for hundreds of years and was learning how to do life, just like the rest of us.

The novel felt like an experience more than anything else and it’ll definitely be one that I re-read – which is one of the highest accolades from me because I rarely re-read books. I really, truly did not want this book to end and when it did, it left me with so many thoughts about life, love and the complexities of time.

I have so much more to say about this wonderful novel, but really I just want you to read it and love it as much I do.

How To Stop Time is a beautiful, thought-provoking read that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Getting Out Of A Reading Slump

So far this year I’ve read 12 books in about as many weeks. But the last few weeks I just haven’t felt like reading. It’s easier to stick Netflix on sometimes, right?

Reading slumps are hard to overcome. Sometimes I can go weeks or even months without opening up a book and then I panic over all that wasted time because there’ll never be enough time to read every book in the world??? (Is this just me?)

I can firmly say that I’m back on the reading wagon now so here are my top tips for getting out of a reading slump.

Incentives

I’ve decided to put away £2 for every book I finish this year, which means that I’ve already racked up £24. Not a huge amount but it definitely gives me an incentive to read when I’d rather just watch Fuller House. I think we all know what’s a better use of my time…

Switch Books

If I’m not loving a book by the time I’m a third of the way through, I ditch it. Life is too short for rubbish books so switch it up and find something else you’ll enjoy. Reading shouldn’t be a chore!

Try Something New

As most people do, I stick to the same genres time after time. Usually I read thrillers and non-fiction and not a lot else however recently I’ve started a historical fiction novel and I’m really enjoying it. So, find a book you wouldn’t normally read and give it a go. Or get a recommendation from a friend and just go for it!

Reread

Rereading is a great way to get back into reading. Choose something you loved as a child or just an all time favourite novel. It will be a nice mix of nostalgia and a way to get you reading again.

Short Stories

If I ever feel like I just can’t be bothered to start a new book, I’ll read a short story, or even some poetry. Reading is such a nice relaxing activity but it doesn’t need to come with the stress of not having time to read a whole novel!

What have you been reading recently? What’s your go-to way to get out of a reading slump? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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