Reviews: A December Assortment

December was a pretty interesting month (as I’m sure it was for you as well), but I managed to read all the books I’d needed to finish both my 2014 reading challenges. I’ll be putting together a wrap-up posts of sorts in the next few days, but for now, here are the books I read this past month:

53. Robert M. Pirsig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (6 Dec)
54. Arnošt Lustig – Lovely Green Eyes (14 Dec)
55. Marcus Pfister – The Rainbow Fish (15 Dec)
56. Barbara Kyle – The Queen’s Captive (25 Dec)
57. Emily Gillmor Murphy – You & I (26 Dec)

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Reviews: November (Xenophobes, Dumas, and more chick lit)

November was, in short, an insane month on my end. I took the last week off to “catch-up” with “life things” (such as going to Belgium and doing NaNoWriMo and reading), which was when I managed to read these books (few as they are). Anyway, books!

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Reviews: July to October, with quite a bit of YA (and some “classics”)

Hihihihiii from Belfast! I know it’s been aaaaaages since I’ve posted, but things have been rather hectic with the move from Sydney back to the UK. In addition, I had quite a few writing projects going on during August (hence no books were read then!), and I’m now back to my PhD, which comes with its own set of eyeball-killing books… Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading over the last few months–some amazing titles, and some awful ones (unfortunately).

39. Lauren Oliver – Delirium (2 July)
40. Elizabeth Harrower – In Certain Circles (17 July)
41. Alice Munro – Dear Life (31 July)
42. Kim Harrison — Dead Witch Walking (12 September)
43. Natsume Soseki – Kokoro (trans. Meredith McKinney) (14 September)
44. Lois Lowry – Gathering Blue (20 September)
45. Lauren Willig – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (28 September)
46. Classical Literary Criticism (3 Oct)
47. Cath Crowley – Graffiti Moon (4 Oct)
48. Anne Bishop – Written in Red (10 Oct)
49. Claudia Carroll – A Very Accidental Love Story (25 Oct)

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Reviews: Fall On Your Knees and The Hours

Happy Australian Financial New Year! On this monumental day, we have reviews of the two books I’ve been enjoying over the last two weeks or so!

37. Ann-Marie MacDonald – Fall On Your Knees (26 June)

I don’t remember when I got my copy, but I think I purchased it after hearing about it on Oprah’s Book Club over a decade ago. Anyway, I finally picked it up, and…wow.

37 - Fall On Your Knees

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Reviews: A little semi-mid-June update (with 3 YA books!)

I’ve been sitting on this update for aaaaaages, and, it being a Sunday evening, thought it’ll be a good idea to post this before a new week begins. I’m the lead (read: only) writer for Regency Love, a Regency-set iOS game/interactive novel, and have been working on new content for the app. It’s great fun, but significantly cuts down my reading time!

30. Gabrielle Zevin – The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry (19 May)
32. Amanda Hocking – Wake (1 June)
33. Annie Proulx – The Shipping News (7 June)
34. Jo Riccioni – The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store (15 June)
35. Lois Lowry – The Giver (18 June)
36. Aeschylus – The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides (trans. Robert Fagles) (19 June)

(In case you’re wondering, 31 was The Theban Plays, about which I’ve already posted.)


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Ancient May-hem: Sophocles’ Theban Plays and Wrap-up

Alas, I was unable to get through as many Classics as I would’ve liked in May, and only managed to finish one more book after the Aristotle. But hey, just because the month is over doesn’t mean the Ancient Awesomeness has to stop!

31. Sophocles – The Theban Plays (trans. E. F. Watling, Penguin) (23 May)

31 - Theban Plays

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Reviews: 5 fantastic books from April! (Mistry, Green, Denfeld, Jin, Gogol)

April was a rather quiet reading month with only five books, primarily because I was busy with the third draft of my manuscript, which is now complete and with my trusty beta-readers (yay!). By some stroke of luck, I enjoyed every single book I read, even if some of them took a while to complete—all of these have garnered at least a 4/5!

24. Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance (10 Apr)
25. John Green – The Fault in Our Stars (12 Apr)
26. Rene Denfeld – The Enchanted (15 Apr)
27. Ha Jin – In the Pond (18 Apr)
28. Nikolay Gogol – Dead Souls (Penguin Classics, trans. Robert A. Maguire) (3 May)

(Yes, the Gogol technically belongs to May, but I’m going to leave this month free for responses to my Ancient May-hem Reading Challenge.)

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Bibliophilic swappity swapsies

A few weeks ago, after the twentieth trip to pick up goodies from the post office, I started to realise that my book-buying habits were starting to get a little out of hand… But my to-read mountain was diminishing at an alarming rate, and when the number of new titles had descended to 70, I decided something had to be done. If only I could get more books without having to fork out moolah; if only I could swap the books in my collection I no longer wanted for new and exciting titles…

Oh wait, there’s an idea!

And so I organised my very first book swap event and invited anyone in Sydney who might’ve possibly have an interest in books, or in getting some new reading material, then asked them to spread the word about the free-for-all shiny bibliophilic extravaganza. Despite the rain, we had a small and cosy turnout, and many books were swapped. Our wet weather plan also worked beautifully! (The instruction was: “Bring an umbrella.”)

Bookswap01

Bookswap02As for my haul? Six new titles to provide hours of fun!

Bookswap03

Yes, cookbooks will indeed provide hours of (edible) fun!

I certainly had a great time at the book swap, and I plan on organising a sequel in around two months. It’ll once again be an open event, so everyone is more than welcome to join the fun. Feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get updates and whatnot!

Reviews: 9 books from March! (Gabaldon, Kafka, Leroux, Gregory, James, etc)

Another batch of “reviews”! (I will always refer to these as “reviews” because I feel they more closely resemble ramblings.) I read 9 books in March, and, once again, they’re from a range of different genres, eras, and countries. Here’s the list:

14. Anne Maria Nicholson – Weeping Waters (1 Mar)
15. Diana Gabaldon – Outlander (3 Mar)
16. Diana Wynne Jones – Fire and Hemlock (6 Mar)
17. Franz Kafka – Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics, trans. Michael Hoffman) (10 Mar)
18. Gaston Leroux – The Phantom of the Opera (Dover, trans. Alexander Teixeira de Mattos) (13 Mar)
19. Philippa Gregory – The Other Boleyn Girl (13 Mar)
20. David Gaider – Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne (17 Mar)
21. Kate Quinn – Mistress of Rome (22 Mar)
22. Henry James – The Golden Bowl (26 Mar)
23. Janet Fitch – White Oleander (31 Mar)

And now, the “reviews”:

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Reviews: 13 books from Jan/Feb! (Heyer, Zusak, Dickens, Nietzsche, McEwan, Rushdie, Tolkien, Austen, etc)

I started my little bookfest in late January, and didn’t think it would go far—until, a week and five books later, I realised that hey, I can read books for funfunfun! In an attempt to have some sort of structure in these reviews, I’ll be organising my thoughts about fiction into four categories, which is essentially adapted from Aristotle’s take on tragedy in his Poetics (yes, I’m boring and completely unoriginal—thank goodness for the basics!).

So, here’s a list of the books I read in Jan/Feb (with finishing dates):

1. Georgette Heyer – Arabella (30 Jan)
2. Julian Short – An Intelligent Life (1 Feb)
3. Georgette Heyer – Cotillion (2 Feb)
4. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief (3 Feb)
5. Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics, ed. Richard Maxwell) (7 Feb)
6. Mark Haddon – A Spot of Bother (10 Feb)
7. Friedrich Nietzsche – Ecce Homo (Penguin Classics, trans. R. J. Hollingdale) (11 Feb)
8. Ian McEwan – Solar (13 Feb)
9. Sarah Rees Brennan – Unspoken (14 Feb)
10. J. D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye (21 Feb)
11. Salman Rushdie – Midnight’s Children (24 Feb)
12. J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit (24 Feb)
13. Jane Austen – Persuasion (Penguin Classics, ed. Gillian Beer) (27 Feb)

And, my thoughts on them (with the cover images corresponding to those of my copies):

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