June Wrap Up

My reading picked up again in June with sixteen books finished – although eight were picture books!

The books I finished in June were:

Another good month. Scythe and Thunderhead were particularly amazing, and I can’t wait for the third book next year.

Heart’s Blood – second in the Pit Dragon’s Trilogy re-read (although now it’s a quartet, and I’ve bought the fourth book to read in sequence), and still as wonderful as I remember.

Skulduggery Pleasant: Midnight – I’m still loving the return of Skulduggery Pleasant, and will devour these as soon as they come out. In Midnight, Valkyrie’s sister is kidnapped by Gant, and there are omens galore for the future. Looking forward to how this develops.

The Lost Plot – Fourth in the Invisible Library series, I love this series, and the ending of this one made me very happy! I’ve got the fifth on pre-order already!

Little Mole is a Whirlwind – Anna Llenas’ art is wonderful. We adore Colour Monster. In this, Little Mole has ADHD, which is sensitively covered. Full review also overdue. Review copy.

In Other Lands – I saw this on YouTube and it sounded perfect. Thirteen year old Elliot is a cynic but he has the ability to see the border between worlds so ends up at magic camp learning to defend the border between magic and reality. He is sarky and snarky, and a bit of a git to start with, but he develops throughout. I think this book should be read by all teens because it is very diverse, throws some gender stereotypes on their heads, and has a deep message of consent. Perfection.

Scythe – Another YouTube recommendation I’m glad I tucked into, Scythe is about a perfect future world where there is no war, no hunger, no poverty, and no death. Almost all deaths can be recovered from, but to keep some population control there are Scythes, who are tasked with killing. This follows two young people on their journey to train as Scythes, in this far from perfect utopia. It is brutal in parts, compelling, and the world building is perfect.

Dark Matter – I read this while waiting for my order of Thunderhead. It was supposed to be an amazing twisting thriller, but it was standard SF stuff and a bit lame really. Okay, but not amazing.

The Last Chance Hotel – I’ve been waiting for this book for so long. Written by the ex-owner of my local indie, obviously I’d get it. It’s a bit of a worry reading a book by someone you know – what if I didn’t like it? I needn’t have worried, Nikki has created a magical world with believable characters you want to know more about. Seth the kitchen boy and his cat, the magical system, the strange hotel setting, the murder mystery… I was completely pulled into the world and the end left me hungry for more. I think there will be a sequel, this really needs to be a series.

Thunderhead – One of those rare sequels that are even better than the first. More world development, more of the Thunderhead, more danger and twists. The third book seems so far away!

May Wrap Up

May wasn’t a great reading month for me, I was in a bit of a slump. It took me two weeks to read The Gospel of Loki even though I loved it! I finished six books, although technically I DNF’d The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.

These are the books I finished in May:

Quality over quantity this month with The Gospel of Loki, The Testament of Loki and My Box Shaped Heart being wonderful.

The Gospel of Loki – A re-imagined version of Norse Mythology, told from the perspective of Loki. I found this far more readable and enjoyable than Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and felt like I learnt more. Harris has taken liberties with the original texts, but they are only fragments written from a Christian viewpoint, and I utterly respect that she learnt ancient Icelandic so she could make her own translation of the Eddas, so her version is much closer to the oldest texts available. Loki is of course wonderful, and hilarious.

The Testament of Loki – It’s not necessary to read The Gospel of Loki before The Testament of Loki if you have a vague knowledge of Norse Mythology, but it’s worth it. The Testament of Loki jumps from the mythology to modern times, providing a bridge to Runemarks. I’ve not read Runelight to see what happens next, but I really need to. The entire Rune series is wonderful, and I’m branching out into more of Harris’ writing. Received via NetGalley, and I bought in hardback.

My Box-Shaped Heart – Racheal Lucas’ second YA novel, and although not as appealing to me as The State of Grace, it was a heartwarming read I thoroughly enjoyed. Received via NetGalley, and I bought in paperback.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde – DNF’d at page 81. I didn’t care for the modern day female character and wasn’t interested in the history. I read some spoiler reviews to see if I’d care what happened, but I didn’t. Received via NetGalley.

Mary, Queen of Scots – a short funny read of historical facts, a read aloud for my 9yo who loves history.

Moon Mourning – second in the prequel series for Samantha Moon. Now the origin tale is told, I can’t see me bothering with this spin-off if there are more in the series.

April Wrap Up

In April I finished ten books, but they were mostly quick reads dominated by 1000+ pages of Saga graphic novel that I’ve only recently discovered.

These are the books I finished in April:

Obviously my favourites of the month were Saga Books One and Two (collecting volumes 1-6, or issues 1-36), followed by a childhood re-read of Dragon’s Blood.

The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day – Not quite what I was expecting from the title. Beautiful and heartbreaking. I deducted a star because of a throw away autism line (“Your sister’s such a freak. She’s practically autistic.”) because I’m a sensitive snowflake, otherwise it would be 5 star.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Fun read, I’ll probably read the sequel at some point.

El Deafo – My 11yo’s favourite book. I eventually got around to reading it and it is wonderful. Based on the author’s childhood experiences of becoming deaf and her “superhero” talent due to the electronic ear she needed to use to hear more.

Dear Ijeawele – Lovely short essay on bringing up feminist children. I adore Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

New Moon Rising – First in the prequels for Samantha Moon series because I’m up-to-date on the rest. My “guilty” reads”

The Wiggle Woshers and their Stolen Hearts – Picture book about an alien who steals the hearts from other aliens but eventually learns love. Beautifully illustrated by an autistic and learning disabled young man, this is let down by the writing. I appreciate what the aim was, and hope the illustrator does more work based on this, and I recommend it to support him, but it ultimately falls flat. Detailed review well overdue. Review copy.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do – Sadly I only found this an okay read. Following the lives of three very different young women around the period of the First World War and achieving votes for women. I wanted to like it more than I did, but can’t put my finger on what didn’t work for me.

Saga Book One – Collecting the first three volume (eighteen issues) of Saga, Book One is a beautiful hardback tome with extra information and artwork. Saga is hard to describe. It’s about a baby born to parents on opposite sides of a war, set in space across a large variety of worlds, with a huge diverse cast of characters.

Dragon’s Blood – Start of a re-read of a series of books I borrowed from the library hen I was about ten, and searched for until I found them to buy in my early twenties. Set on a planet with dragons, Dragon’s Blood tells the story of Jakkin, who steals a baby dragon in order to raise money to free himself. Wonderful world building, and stuck with me forever. Will always be 5*.

Saga Book Two – The next three volumes of Saga, another beautiful hardback tome. I can’t wait for Book Three. I could read Volume 7 and Volume 8 but I’m waiting for the collected edition (so I literally can wait I suppose!) Then after that, a year hiatus for the creators, so a very long wait for any more. Sob.

Two Months Later…

I’ve been listening to too much YouTube, I can only hear the title in a fake French accent.

Not sure where all the time was. I’ve gone from four posts behind plan to thirteen. Oops.

I have several in draft, so I’m off to do my monthly wrap-ups to catch up a bit.

Yes, this is a very short post to make me feel better about my post count 😉

Ramble

My plan this year was to have one post per week on both blogs. I’ve done nothing on Chaos Castle, and I’m about seven (ish, I think) behind on Child-Led Chaos. I have two drafts that I need to finish (one on autism, one my April book wrap up) and I haven’t got the brain capacity to finish them at the moment. Then there’s the May book wrap-up due, which at least is short because I’ve not been reading much.

I’m writing this blog for me at the moment, so apologies if you’ve wandered across it and it’s boring. I’m trying to get in the habit (not doing great at that) because I do enjoy blogging and reviewing. I’m so out of touch with picture books now, which saddens me, but there are so many new things and I think I’ll focus on what I already have when I actually put things on Chaos Castle again.

There seems to be a trend of books being published, raved about, then disappearing quickly. That’s not a professional opinion, just a sense I’m getting from reading old reviews of picture books and then seeing they’re out of print already. I could be completely wrong. I’m guilty of keeping buying new books and having a far too big TBRs then culling older books I’ve not got round to, so I really need to slow down myself. I just want to read all the books.

I’ve been trying to satisfy my cravings for books by getting Kindle books when they are on sale. I also have got into the habit of choosing “no rush delivery” on Amazon orders because we have Prime and you get a £1 digital voucher so I’m effectively getting free books which don’t take up physical space. That I’ll probably never read 🙁

I’ve planned my library in my head, even though I haven’t the money to buy the bookcases that I need for it. And I have still to tidy up the garage to make this even vaguely possible. I think two of these (in a different configuration) might house all our books, but I need to work out dimensions and whether it’s physically possible.

We currently have 5 bulging bookcases, that might be slightly smaller than full-size Ikea Billy but they’re stacked full. Plus boxes and piles of books all over the house, which is why I’m trying to catalogue them all so I can work out how much bookcase space I need.

I’m slightly obsessed. And yet I’ve not done anything about it other than in my head because I’m useless. Or autistic with executive functioning issues.

Anyhow, I guess I should go and do something useful…

Updated TBR

It’s three months since I wrote a planned TBR for this year, and it appears I’m definitely not a TBR person!

Of the 31 books I planned to read, I’ve read two, despite having read 33 books since making the list.

I’ve also already culled/unhauled five of the books on the list, and will probably cull at least one more.

Most of the rest aren’t in my sights for reading in the near future either.

My current TBR plans are probably:

The Gospel of Loki (currently reading)
Moon Mourning (Kindle borrow)
The Testament of Loki (Netgalley)
Heart’s Blood
Heart Shaped Box (Netgalley)
A Sending of Dragons
Scythe
Dragon’s Heart (don’t own)
Children of Blood and Bone
Midnight (11th Skulduggery, published end of this month – will jump ahead in list when arrives)

Well, three of them are still the same! I started re-reading the Pit Dragon trilogy so will continue but I also need to get some review books read, and have added a quick read for light relief. To finish the now Pit Dragon quartet I need to buy the fourth book, and I so don’t need more books. But this series is special to me so I will.

I’m starting to get my head around getting rid of more books from my TBR piles that I’m unlikely to read in the next few years, and planning to cull as I progress with my “books wot i own” project.

I will hopefully end up with a library of just books that I love, plus Mr Chaos’ and my girls’ books of course. I’m writing this from a self centred view but MG & DG have books that I wouldn’t cull because they love them (I’m looking at you, Rainbow Fairies!) and Mr Chaos only has about three shelves of books, being less of a book person, all of which are meaningful to him.

Books Wot I Own #2

This is going to take a very long time…

Other posts in this series: bookswotiown 

I do have a habit of getting carried away with things when I get something into my head. Listing every book in this household is going to take a while. I have so far gone through the two boxes I have, plus 2/3 of one bookshelf, plus added most of this year’s gained books (I have already culled some of this year’s gained books – the book cull total rose to 230 by the end of April) and my total owned books on Goodreads is now 451.

Hmm. I’ve not really got through many at all. I’m going to estimate 3000-4000 books in total, let’s see what happens…

Scanning books with the Goodreads app is painfully slow. It might be my phone, but that’s fairly new, or the age of the books, or that I have UK editions? I don’t know, but it’s easier to search Goodreads where I have a series, add them all, and then edit the edition to the one I actually have. This might come under autistic obsession…

For my records, here is box two. The bulk of my Terry Pratchett collection, plus some Neil Gaiman, and a random Paul Gallico because it fit.

Right, I’m having a break for a few days, and a think about how stupid this plan is and whether I’m going to continue.

I really want to have this list though. Being obsessive sucks sometimes.

Books Wot I Own #1

I’d really love to have a “library” with all our books in one place. Partially because I love books and just want a nice peaceful spot surrounded by my beauties and partially because I’d like to have them all in one place instead of spread in every room in the house.

We have a large garage that we currently use as storage, mainly of junk. The roof was redone less than two years ago, and although it needs decluttering and cleaning, and probably new doors (front and back standard doors, not the garage door) and window, it could probably be converted into a library with minimal cost.

Mr Chaos wants it for a cinema room, but I think his plans will involve more expense than mine, because all I really plan to do is clean the place out and add some bookshelves.

It won’t be ideal, with books getting cold in winter but with some dehumidifiers and a heater for when actually inside in winter I don’t think it needs any actual structural changes.

Whether this will actually happen or not depends on whether I can manage to throw away clutter, and whether I can save up for bookshelves (and an offcut of carpet, and I was wondering whether I should cover the bare brick walls with something to help insulate, and whether I need to replace the doors…) but whilst dreaming about it I thought I need to know exactly how many books we do actually own.

Therefore I’ve decided to do a snapshot of the books we currently own. This will probably take me several weeks to collate in between all my other jobs, but I started yesterday with the first 65ltr box I have of books I love but don’t have shelf space for so put in a box.

I’m scanning them into Goodreads, and trying to match up the covers with the versions I actually have, but it’s not accurate in a few cases because some covers weren’t on as other editions. I also don’t have a few “mini” books that were in this box – I found four out of six mini Peter Rabbit boxes as one edition (they’re not) but not the mini Winnie the Pooh, or Joke books, or Puffin Poets, or a couple of others. Just mentioning them for completeness, but I can’t be bothered to actually add them to Goodreads or take pictures!

“Box 1” as I’ve called it has 103 items on Goodreads. You can find all of my owned books (at time of writing this, 103, but will increase as I continue my project) on my “owned books all” shelf.

This is very much a “vanity project” but it’s my current obsession so I may as well write about it!

Here are the books in picture format, screen printed from Goodreads:

Oops, just done all this and realise I forgot to add The Brightonomicon by Robert Rankin because I have an arc. I added it to Goodreads but not going to get another screenprint because I don’t care for the book much. I culled all my Robert Rankins except the Armageddon trilogy and my signed Rankins. I should cull The Brightonomicon because I DNF’d it but it is personalised for my 30th birthday so I haven’t.

Book Cull / Unhaul

For the last two years, I’ve tried to reduce the increase of books in my household. For the two or three years prior to that, I had a net gain of around 400 books per year. This is understandably not sustainable.

And I only have five years worth of data on my book buying habits, so no idea what it was like before that.

In 2016 I think I managed to cull / unhaul more books than I gained. I culled over 500 books. Yay.

In 2017 I think there was a slight net gain, but I did cull 320 books.

So far in 2018 I’ve gained 152 books. 102 physical and 50 digital.

It’s the physical books that I’m counting for net gain and culling, because they take up physical space. I did cull 200+ Kindle books last year too, because they were all free ones I got when I was being overzealous on collecting Kindle books, and I’m never likely to read them.

I currently have 373 Kindle books; plus another 6 eBooks that I need to find the files for (emailed from indie book shop); plus 51 NetGalley books; plus 20 from Humble Bundle. These 450 books take up no space at all. My husband loves them 😉

However, I have no idea how many physical books we have. Most are mine or kids books (that are mostly mine too, to be fair). There are 5 bookcases full to bursting. Plus two 65ltr books packed tightly. Plus quite a few piles of books around the house. Hmm, at an estimate maybe another 8m of books? I’m not very good at estimating though.

It’s quite a lot of space taken basically. So I need to reduce the books a library.

Okay, I need to reduce the books.

And a library.

I’d also like to know exactly how many books we have now. Because I really have no idea.

Yesterday, a whole 40 books left my house. My first cull / unhaul of the year. Woohoo!

I also have another pile of books to cull, and a box I sorted last year that I haven’t got out of the house yet (not counted in my cull, I only count them when they have physically left the building!) I mean to post some out to people, and sell some, then donate what’s left. Hopefully I’ll do some of that this week so I can get this year’s net gain down to negative.

And then the four physical books I’ve already  ordered / pre-ordered won’t count as a gain. Cough.

Words, Words, Words

Do you have favourite and least favourite words? I don’t have synesthesia so I don’t have a reason to like and dislike words, but I do anyhow, and I don’t know why.

I don’t think it’s a particularly autistic thing, but probably more common with people who think too much sometimes!

My least favourite word is plethora.

plethora
NOUN
A large or excessive amount of something.

I don’t like the sound of it, but also the ‘taste’ is wrong. It’s not a word that should be particularly offensive, but I internally shudder when I hear it!

I don’t have a problem with moist. Lots of people seem to have this as their least favourite word. It’s inoffensive to me, I don’t have much of an opinion on it!

My favourite word is perspicacious.

perspicacious
ADJECTIVE
Having a ready insight into and understanding of .

I’m not sure why my favourite and least favourite words both begin with the same letter! Perspicacious ‘tastes’ better, it’s interesting, I like the definition. I don’t have a real reason to love perspicacious, but I just do.

Yeah, I could do with writing some proper posts but I felt like writing this, so here it is.

Short, isn’t it?!