Books | 2017

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Whilst I am utterly useless at writing book reviews I wanted to share all of the books I read in 2017. The above montage is what I read each month. I read just 17 books the year before and so I made more time to read last year. I racked up 46, and read everything that was on my bookshelves at the beginning of the year.

I refilled the bookshelf by buying 53 books throughout the year, but that just gives me another challenge for the year ahead.

I've imposed a ban on book buying (excluding books needed for my reading challenge), but I find it so hard to read a book review, and not immediately want to read the book myself. I'll have to be restrained. I don't hold out much hope, but I might surprise myself!

Last year I spent £104.03 on books - mostly second hand - so perhaps I can incentivize myself? Maybe if I succeed on my book buying ban I can treat myself to something pretty, perhaps of the paperback variety in early 2019?

Anyway, the books, I'm here to talk about the books.

I accidentally fell into a habit of reading books in colour order when I read a pile of blue books in March. I carried it on from there, with the odd deviation, but it helped me to narrow down my choice of what to read next, I'm normally so indecisive (I know I'm not the only person to do this). I was able to walk up to my bookshelf and take the next book without having to give it any thought. It was a good system, despite the odd look my brother gave me when I explained it to him. And who doesn't want to spend some time organising their to-be-read books into a pleasing rainbow on their bookshelves?

If I had to pick a favourite of them all it would be the Sylvia Jorrin books, I particularly enjoyed the first one, so if you're going to hold me to picking one favourite Sylvia's Farm would be it. With The Improbable Shepherd being a very close runner up.

I loved Sylvia Jorrin's writing style, and the way she talked about farming really resonated with me. Not that I'm a farmer, but when you live in close quarters with one, you get to understand the lifestyle. Because it is a lifestyle, it's not a job, it's not something you can walk away from at 5pm, switch off from at weekends, and take two weeks holiday away from each summer.

But more than that I loved the way she lived, how she organised her time, how she strived, each day, to make small improvements towards a larger plan. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I know I'll read them again.

I also enjoyed the Rosie books by Graeme Simsion - funny, sweet and insightful, A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart - heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Brown - interesting, informative and thought provoking, made me want to visit Guernsey, The J.M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society by Barbara J. Zitwer - heartwarming, feel good, made me want to try wild swimming, and call all my best friends, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher - sweet and funny, and Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian - heartbreaking, tear jerking, heart warming, and feel good.

To make time for reading, I read for a little while first thing in the morning which is something I've never done before. I'd take note of how many pages the book had and worked out roughly how many pages I needed to read each day in order to read a book a week. It didn't always work but it was fun to keep track and see my-books-I've-read pile start to grow. I also tried to read in the time after I finished work for the day and before Andy arrived home. I used to just switch on the TV but I get a lot more from reading than watching yet another repeat of the Big Bang Theroy or The Goldbergs.

I used to think that I read more in the winter but it's actually the warmer months when I get through the most books, I love being outside with a book, or if it's a little chilly I sit in my greenhouse to keep warm.

So this year I have a bit of a challenge ahead, I need to read even more than last year. I have 54 in my to-read pile, which is everything I purchased last year, plus some books I have been given as gifts. And I need to get my hands on 7 books to be able to complete my reading challenge for this year - a challenge within a challenge, that's not like me (yes it is). Which means I have to read 61 books. Yikes, for me that really is a challenge.

The question is, what the hell am I doing sitting here writing this when clearly I should be reading!

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  1. I always enjoy reading posts like this :)

    I definitely read more in winter as I like to come home from school adn then sit and read for a couple of hours when it's dark early. In summer, I'm more likely to be outdoors in the evenings and for longer at weekends.

    I'm going to try to clear my backlog of unread books this year too. I've done it before, I can do it again, haha! Seeing your buyers archive posts and those on other blogs, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I spend on books. I very rarely buy clothes so spend very little there (I just wear the same old things all the time and only buy when I need to!) but books are my spending weakness for sure so I'm going to keep a record of all my book buys from now on and I've done my best to piece together my book spends of last year... Not including second hand books as I haven't a record of those, I've found £322.52 of book spends, and I know that's not complete! I have also bought books this weekend after declaring that I wouldn't buy books until after I've moved house, haha! I might include a monthly book spends total in my book blog posts this year. £21.40 so far!

    1. I was surprised to see how little I read in the winter months, I'd always assumed I'd read more. I do take any excuse to get outside with a book though :)

      I generally buy second hand books so when I see one I tend to buy it. The remedy is not to look, but I need some books for my reading challenge! There is nothing sadder than a book unread which is why I want to read them all, and pass them on to be read again, and again. I'm the same with clothes, I want to wear them all but have too many! The Buyer's Archive has helped to curb my spending, so maybe it'll help you with your book purchases too?

      Thanks for stopping by again.

    2. Ah, I love Louise's idea of doing a buyer's archive for books! May I steal this idea, Louise? I buy nearly all my books secondhand (perk/downfall of being married to a charity bookshop manager), but still end up spending loads of money on them!

  2. Hi I love your blog! Ive been reading a lot lately because I broke my ankle very severely and couldn't do much for quite a long time. I always read but lately more so. I've checked out some of the books you have read and will add some to my list. Thanks
    Arlene from NJ (US)

    1. Hi Arlene, thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I hope your ankle is on the mend.
      Let me know which books you read, I'd love to know!

  3. The Literary Potato Peel Pie Society book was a good one my blogging buddy Anne sent me a few years back, Goodnight Mister Tom is such a wonderful classic. You have set yourself quite a challenge. I am obsessed with all things Scandi at the moment: Hygge, Lagom etc., decor, health, you name it Scandinavians do it better! Most of my books are from the library - we have a really good one luckily. I have resurrected my membership of Book Crossings, it's a great way to give unwanted books away and delight someone else, you just log the book, leave it in a phone box or something and someone else finds it with a Book Crossing label inside explaining the idea of the game.

    1. Goodnight Mr Tom had me in tears so many times - happy and sad!
      I think I might've over stretched on this one but it's not called a challenge for nothing I guess :)
      Have you read The Year of Living Danishly? I was fascinated by it, it seems they really do do everything better!
      I found a book last year in a phonebox with a Book Crossing label, I started but didn't finish the book, love the idea though!

  4. I've vowed to read more books this year, but don't think I will ever reach 46. I've always been an avid reader but lately it has fallen a bit by the wayside. But I'm about to start my third book of the year (ok, I admit, I started number one during the Christmas break), so that's not bad. I'm always having a problem choosing a new book from my pile, so maybe I should give reading books by colour a go ;-) I've read some of the books shown in your collage - To Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time favourite of mine - while others are still in my pile. Good luck with your challenge.

    1. I think it's easy to fall out of the habit of reading. I made a conscious effort to read more and the result is 46 books, I'm a little dubious about reading 61 this year, but we'll see!
      I'm only on my first book of the year so you're already ahead of me.
      As I say my brother looked at me like a crazy person when I said I read in colour order but the more I think of it, the more I think it makes sense, especially when you have a lot of books to chose from.
      Happy reading


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