It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the journals I’m using and what I’m using them for. I’ve always loved a notebook and gravitated towards the stationary section in the shops, but this year especially my notebook collection has become a bit ridiculous, but I’m here for it.
If I count them, I’m currently actively using 12 notebooks, and pretty much all of them are used for different bookish reasons.
These I use to track my reading and thoughts on books. I basically use these as notes for reviews I write for my blog. I keep the pink one for fiction and the ‘powerful women’ one for non-fiction and poetry collections.
Both of these books are full of book titles that I someday hope to read. The bigger one is just general lists of books, and the going places one is my plans for the Around The World Reading Challenge. In it I’ve listed ever country, and I hope to one day be able to say I’ve read a book from every one of them. I should probably get started…
Journals For Specific Books/Authors
This is something I’ve started this year, but will definitely continue whenever I fancy. Basically the two smaller notebooks are dedicated to two of my favourite writers, Jane Austen & Shakespeare, and their works. I’ve really loved how this has allowed me to go into more detail about my thoughts on what they wrote and I definitely think I’ll do this for more of my favourite authors. The bigger one at the back is dedicated to Mythology and Classic Literature.
And then there’s these. I have a notebook for all of my hobbies. One is just my normal diary for thoughts and feelings. I have one for blog planning, recipes, TV Shows and Movies, and knitting (which is a more recent hobby, but of course I had to get a notebook for it).
I feel like some people might call this… excessive. But I love organisation and I’m also just a very visual person. I can’t have notes on my phone, I need them written down somewhere. I can’t be the only one, right?
I was originally planning on not posting on a Sunday, but then that just made my blogmas feel incomplete. So instead every Sunday of blogmas I’ll be posting a tag! I don’t do enough of these and it’s always fun to answer the bookish questions, so it seemed perfect. This one is the End of Year tag which I try to do annually (although sometimes forget). We haven’t got long to go, but there’s still time to read some new books!
Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? I started my reread of The Lord of The Rings books I think in January, and I got maybe two chapters into Part One. I want to finally finish these books in December.
Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year? I might be a bit late for this question, so let’s go with Winter read. One book which has always screamed Winter to me, is The Little Princess. The movie adaptation is a childhood favourite and it only seems right to finally read the book that inspired it.
Is there a new release you’re still waiting for? Honestly, no. But there are a lot of releases that came out in 2021 that I was excited for, and just never got to. Perhaps I’ll have to do a post and hopefully I’ll get to them next year (she says doubtfully).
What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? How about six? A series, in fact. In December I’m hoping to finally get to The Chronicals Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I’ve wanted to read this series for years, but I put it off and then put it off again. It’s time to end that pattern!
Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year? Mmm I’m not sure. Honestly I’ve already written my favourite books of 2021 list but I’m not against adding to it. Maybe one of the Narnia books could make it, maybe A Little Princess. Or maybe The Railway Children by E. Nesbit will surprise me and will become that favourite book I’ve let sit on my shelf for 10 years!
Have you already started making reading plans for 2022? Of course. I have a whole journey with reading lists to last me a lifetime and I know exactly what ones I want to get to in 2022. I’m looking forward to 2022 becoming the year of classics for me! One that’s top of the list is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
I won’t tag anyone in this, because I think I’m already late myself getting to this one! But let me know, is there a book your excited to get to in 2022?
| Published: 1937 by Allen & Unwin | | Genre: High Fantasy/Childrens Classic | | Themes: Adventure, Dragons, Elves, Hobbits & Dwarves | | Length: 322 Pages | | Source: Own | | My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |
Hi Readers, Welcome To Blogmas Day 4!
This was a recent reread of mind and I noticed a lot of my opinions had changed this time around, so I’m rewriting this review and I’m bumping it up from three to four stars!
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, introduces the reader to Middle Earth. A place where Goblins, Elves, Wizards Dwarves and, of course, Hobbits lived in abundance. In this we follow a Hobbit who is hired by a band of dwarves to travel with them to their home on the Misty Mountain, which has long been occupied by a hungry, gold loving dragon.
Bilbo Baggins, a typical Hobbit who enjoys his homely comforts but secretly longs for an adventure, is such a lovable main character, and I absolutely fell in love with him. He’s very relatable and funny, and almost reminded me of an old English gentleman (maybe he’s based on Tolkien himself?) and his courage and loyalness makes him one of the best and most unlikely heroes in literary history.
This book is more aimed at children than it’s sequel Lord of the Rings; It’s more light hearted and can be a bit silly and quirky at times. But the writing and world-building was absolutely captivating. The descriptions of middle-earth were so detailed, it gives a brilliant picture of a whole world that he imagined and even the history of it.
I’m sure you would have watched or at least heard of the films by now, but I implore you to give this book a go. It’s such a worthwhile read, and it’s a great introduction into Middle Earth.
Would I Read Again? Yes! (and I have) Would I Recommend? Absolutely!
When I shared my November TBR with you I talked about how November is a weird month for me and I usually just spend it waiting for December to start. I wanted this year to be different, but I can’t say it was. I did read six books, two were rereads and one I’m not sure really counts as a book, but I’m going to anyway…
November was really the month of hobbies. I really got going on something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, and I did a whole lot of planning for blogmas and content for 2022 which I’m so excited about. There are also some great albums and movies I enjoyed in November I wanted to share.
So, without further ado, here’s my November Wrap Up
Siege and Storm & Ruin and Rising by Leigh Berdugo ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Even though I read these earlier this year, I got the urge to reread them this month, so I did. You’ll see why in a little bit. Even though I was more excited about these characters than I was the first time around, I still just don’t think these are that great. The Six of Crows duology remains superior. I had every intention of going onto the Kind Of Scars duology after this, but I ended up DNFing 100 pages into the first book. I’ve never been more bored in my life…
A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Does this count as a book? Techinically it’s an essay of two lectures Woolf gave in 1928 about Women & Writing so it’s not a novel, but it’s in book form, and it took me three days to read, so I’m counting it. This blew me away, and I shared my full thoughts with you yesterday in a review.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ This really wasn’t in the plans, but towards the end of November I was so ready for Christmas, and these books about Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Dragons just make me feel so cosy and festive, so I decided to pick up the book that started it all… again.
Survive the Night by Riley Sager ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I received this from the publisher because it’s getting published in paperback in December, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just as I heard this coming through the letterbox I was so stuck on what I should read and this saved me from only having four books to talk about! I’ll share a full review later this month.
All the Spider Man Movies I’ve been drawn in by all the No Way Home rumours and I figured, just in case all these past Spider Man’s end up being in that movie, I should probably know they stories too. I watched the first Andrew Gardfield movie but I never watched the sequel because someone spoiled the ending and I was never going to be emotionally prepared for that (and that moment with MJ in the new No Way Home trailer is giving me nightmares).
The original trilogy I had never seen, and I never want to see them again. Mary Jane (the original) is the reason I spent years so against these superhero movies. They just did not get how to write a good female character. Honestly, these movies were torture… But I can not wait for the one coming in December!
Bratz Oh boy was this a ride. I don’t know what made me want to watch this. It was on Netflix, it was a Sunday, nothing else was going on, and apparently I wasn’t in the mood for anything better. Honestly though, I remembered this being so good. I was obsessed with Bratz as a kid/pre-teen and I think I must have watched this film at least once a week for a solid year. Watching it now, it was cringy and just a plain bad stereotypical teen movie.
Twilight I really went down the nostalgic route in November without even meaning to. Again, these were on Netflix and it’s been years since I watched any of these films. I was shocked at how bad they really are. Was I seriously obssessed with these movies as a teen? How? Why?
Also, I think I only ever watched the last one, BD Part 2, once, so that was a journey of emotions. Honestly I think I spent the whole film laughing at completely the wrong moments. That baby Renessmee is really something, huh? I really don’t know how the actors made it though.
Tick, Tick, Boom As I was watching this movie I really wasn’t sure what I thought, but then I found myself just uncontrollably sobbing and was so moved and now I think this is one of the most special movies I’ve seen in a while. Andrew Garfield was incredible and had better get an Oscar nod, and no one could have directed this better than Lin Manuel Miranda. Also, RIP Stephen Sondheim.
Red (Taylor’s Version) Specifically All Too Well (Ten Minute Version). I love that she’s going these rerecordings not only because it means she now owns the music she made, but because we get the opportunity to listen to the songs that were ‘put into the vault’ and never released. Nothing New, Message In A Bottle and I Bet You Think About Me are now some of my favourite songs!
Tick, Tick, Boom! Soundtrack Some of these songs are VERY musical theatre but 30/90, Louder Than Words and Come To Your Sense have been on repeat!
This is a book I always knew I ‘should’ read. It seems like a staple book for any feminist and I also found myself falling in love with Woolf this year, so it felt wrong to still have this on my TBR. Honestly I don’t think I was a page in before I knew this essay/speech was going to blow my little mind.
A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on the 24th of October, 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928.
As I said, I’ve felt for a while now this is something I ‘should’ read. But I was always put off reading it, namely because of one criticism I’d heard over and over again, that it’s outdated. That this doesn’t reflect feminism of our time and is no longer a necessary or critical read. Having finally read A Room of One’s Own I completely disagree with that critique, and would go as far as saying that’s a very privilaged way of looking at this book and what Woolf is saying.
A Room of One’s Own is all about connecting Women’s Writing and having a room of their own to write in. A room would require money, money would require work, work would require education. Woolf looks at these three things and sees if it effected women’s literature throughout history. She, and myself, came to the conclusion that it did, hugely.
She chose to explore this by using a fictional character, and imagining Shakespeare had a sister. Some say a woman could never have written as Shakespeare did, and Woolf agrees. And she goes on to explore what would have held this fictional sister back. And I think it’s impossible to read this book without getting incredibly angry, or incredibly sad.
‘She was as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school.’
Woolf also uses her own story of becoming financially independent after her aunt leaves her money to see how that basically freed her and allowed her to become a writer; ‘Indeed my aunts legacy unveiled the sky to me’. And yes she also looks at female roles historical, but I definitely still think this is a relevent arguement to this day for certain women. So I still think this book is essential reading.
But not only is it essential, I think it’s incredible. She will often meander and seem like she’s getting off track, but then, amongst her ramblings, there’ll be this nugget of genius which would honestly blow me away and I can’t count the amount of times it made me ohh and ahh. Never have I underlined a book so much!
‘When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist.’
‘One does not like to be told one is inferior to a little man.’
Something I’ve always enjoyed about Woolf’s writing is her literary criticisms, and she took the opportunity here to look at women’s roles in literature and how they differed from those in real life.
‘She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history. She dominates the lives of kings and conquerors in fiction; in fact she was slave of any boy whose parents forced a ring upon her finger.’
There are also these moments where her personality shines through the page. She’ll crack a joke that I can just imagine had the whole room laughing.
‘The poet was forced to be passionate or bitter, unless indeed he chose to ‘hate women’, which meant more often than not that he was unattractive to them.’
Of course there’s also a lot of criticism of Woolf’s take on Women and Writing, which I find just as interesting as the book itself and I definitely want to research the response of this lecture more. But the main one I’ve seen was from Alice Walker who pointed out that there are female writers who didn’t need a room or money or even freedom to write their stories.
Whilst that’s true, and I totally respect that take. I still think Woolf is giving a voice to so many women, past and presant, who have been held back from following their dreams, from writing down what’s in their minds.
‘Literature is open to everybody. I refuse to allow you, beadle though you are, to turn me off the grass. Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt, that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’
Would I Recommend? Yes! You have to read this. Would I Read Again? I reread so many passages I already feel like I read it twice. But I would definitely read it again.
I feel like I’ve been quite up and down with my blogging in 2021. This year has kind of been a difficult and scary one and that definitely took my time and attention away from some of the things that I love, blogging being one of them. But I really don’t want to let it, so I’m joining in with blogmas to hopefully get back to doing what I love.
December is that time of year where I just want to read books that have a cosy, nostalgic feeling to them. This year, that seems to mean childrens classics. I’ve owned a lot of childrens classics since I was a kid, but I honestly just never read them. It’s time to get some of these famous titles off my TBR.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgsen Burnett I’m a huge fan of the movie adaptation. I watched it all the time as a kid and it always brings back a wave of nostalgia. But I’ve never read the book and I know it’s very different, so I can’t wait to finally read it. This author also wrote one of my all time favourite books, and one of the first books I ever actually read, The Secret Garden.
The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis Finally, finally I will read this fantasy series. I’ve read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe so many times and I’ve also read The Magicians Nephew before, but I never continued. Time to remedy that!
The Morrighan Crow Series by Jessica Townsend I’ve had these checked out of the library since October, but something about them screamed cosy, so I’ve been saving them for December. I have already started the first book, and it’s definitely living up to it’s hype.
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit I couldn’t be more excited for this one. I feel like anyone who knows this story, either from reading the book or from watching the movie, has such warm, happy memories attatched to it, and I want some of that!
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien I reread The Hobbit in November, and now I have the overwhelming urge to read The Lord of the Rings series. I actually never read the third part Return of the King, so hopefully I’ll get to that one as well.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Again, a reread, and I will also have my coloured pens at the ready! It’s actually been a while since I’ve read this so a reread is definitely needed.
I do have a lot more childrens books on my shelf TBR I’d love to read. I have Pinocchio, The Children of New Forest, Ballet Shoes, and so many more. I just don’t think I’ll get time because I also have a bunch of Christmas books I want to read!
12 Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson I read this collection of festive short stories and recipes a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to revisit it again this year.
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig I read this a few years ago, but the movie adaptation has been released and I’d like to reread this before watching it. I also think I’ll continue with the series as I think there’s a couple a haven’t read yet.
The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffman I just got this out of the library and unfortunately I don’t have this edition, but the one I have also has the Alexander Dumas version, which I believe is the one the ballet is based on, so I might end up reading both.
What’s one book you definitely want to read in December?
Catherine Morland should know better. She’s the very ideal of a nice, normal girl. But Catherine is cursed with an overactive imagination. She is also obsessed with lurid Gothic novels, where terrible things happen to the heroine. Which gets her into all sorts of trouble…
When Catherine visits Bath and meets funny, sharp Henry Tilney, she’s instantly taken with him. But when she is invited to the Tilneys’ home, the sinister Northanger Abbey, fantasy starts to get in the way of reality. Will she learn to separate out the two?
Northanger Abbey was possibly the first full length novel Jane Austen wrote, but the road to publication was not an easy one. The first time she sold this book, it was for £10 to a book seller who failed to publish it. Years later her brother bought the book back for the same sum and Jane presumedly made some alterations to the book for later publication, which she didn’t live to see.
Despite the struggle for this novel to be published, it’s still being read a talked about over 200 years later. It’s best known for it’s satirical take on the gothic literature, a genre so popular in Austen’s time, and the main character’s (whose likeness is supposed to be that of Jane herself) love for books and overactive imagination.
Northanger Abbey is one of the earliest published novels that Austen worked on which just shows how natural her quick wit and sharp tone developed into her writing. Whilst I think you can tell she was young when she first wrote this story, as the plot doesn’t feel quite as strong as her later novels, her irony is never more presant. Northanger Abbey shows her cheeky, humerous side with it’s mock take on gothic tropes and drama, and basically points out the obsurdity of those books when compared with real life.
The wind roared down the chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows and everything seemed to speak the awfulness of her situation.
Catherine is the youngest of all her protagonists. Being just seventeen, she’s still a teenager and has an obvious naivety and innocence which definitely shows her age. Her opposite, for example, is Anne from Janes final novel Persuasion. Anne, the oldest of Janes protagonists, is mature, self-aware and very observant. Catherine has ‘a mind as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is,’ and must overcome the rather awkward situations her poor judge of character and rash decisions put her in.
The side characters were as well built as Catherine. The beginning of this novel finds Catherine being thrust into high society wholly unprepared. There she meets Isabelle Thorpe, who quickly takes advantage of the young and ignorant Catherine by befriending and influencing her. The love interest Henry Tilney, whilst being a bit more plain than his Austen counterparts, has an endearing side with his shared love for Catherines books.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
This might be the least well plotted of Austen’s novels and did lag a bit around the middle, but there’s still so much to love about Northanger Abbey and is well worth a read for anyone looking for a lighter take on the gothic genre.
Would I Read Again? Yes (already have, a few times now) Would I Recommend? Yes
We are half way through November, have 40 days until Christmas and only 15 until Blogmas starts!
I’ve taken part in Blogmas for three years now and I look forward to participating again this year. But if you’re new to blogging or have just never done it yourself before, but think you might like to give it a try this year, here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Blogmas?
Blogmas is a Christmas themed challenge for bloggers to post on their blogs every day up until Christmas.
You can choose whether you start on December 1st and post the full 24 blog posts (until Christmas Eve), or you can do the 12 Days of Blogmas in honour of the twelve days of Christmas.
What Can I Post?
It’s totally up to you and what content you like to post on your blog. Being book bloggers you can include book tags, book recomendations, book reviews. Whatever you feel like posting really!
But if you’re really stuck, here are some ideas from a serial blogmasser…
Review Festive Books Christmas TBR Books That Make Perfect Gifts Bookish Gift Ideas Favourite Festive Book Covers Christmas Colours Book Stack (Green, Red, Gold, etc) Christmas Decorations Christmas Traditions Christmas Playlist Top 10 Christmas Movies
Or, if you’re not feeling overly festive, you could get a start on the end of year rush.
End of Year Book Tag Best Books of 2021 Biggest Disappointments of 2021 Best New Releases of 2021 Books I Didn’t Get To In 2021 2021 Book Stats Best Moments of 2021 Book Series I Finished In 2021 Anticipated 2022 Releases Reading Goals For 2022
So there you have it. Hopefully now you have everything you need for a successful blogmas. Have fun and I can’t wait to see your posts!
I know, this wrap up is getting to you a little late. I won’t lie, I started November just feeling a bit slumpy and had no motivation or energy to blog. October was the beginning of it I think. I didn’t post all the blog post ideas I had, I didn’t read nearly as many books in October as I planned to, and those that I did read I felt no inspiration to write a review for, so I didn’t.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a book and just didn’t write a review for it. But so many of these I just felt nothing for and had nothing to say about. So I’ll give you my brief thoughts here and hopefully November will be better.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager So, saying all that, October actually started out as an amazing reading month, because I started it with a Riley Sager book. This man never disappoints and this was another brilliantly twisty and compelling thriller.
Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo Just like that, I’m now obsessed witht the Grisha verse. Before I hadn’t really understood the hype and my first reading of Six of Crows did not do it justice (I need to learn I really can’t speed read). But now I love these characters so much and am finally watching the Netflix adaptation.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux The musical this book inspired is one of my favourites and the book I’m happy to say is just as dark and gothic. Brilliantly told, it borders the line between detective and supernatural.
The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier Probably the last good, thrilling story I read in October. I read this during Dewey’s and it’s a short horror story that has left me definitely wanting to one day read more by Maurier. I was so impressed by how isolating and horrifying this was.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Another one I read during Dewey’s. This was an incredibly quick read and does have, I think, a good twist. I’m glad I’ve read it and finally know what everone’s talking about, but I wouldn’t say it’s good.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum Honestly, this was not my favourite children’s book that I’ve. I appreciate it, but this might be one of those rare occasions where the movie just made it what it is…
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote Read for the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I was hugely disappointed by this and honestly I think reading this just proved to me that true crime really isn’t my thing…
The Woman In Black by Susan Hill Another disappointment. You can see why I entered November feeling quite flat because my last reads of October just didn’t give me that sense of thrill I expected from them, this one especially.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen I also spent a lot of October rereading this and annotating it. I loved my reread of this and will post a full review with all my thoughts soon.
First published in French as a serial in 1909, The Phantom of the Opera is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully.
All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster.
The musical inspired by this book was the first musical I ever experienced. I still remember watching the 25th anniversary special for the first time. The dramatic music and beautiful costumes transported me and still does every single time I watch it. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found that musical was based on a classic French novel.
As beautifully dark and gothic as it’s musical, The Phantom of the Opera is part detective, part supernatural and tells the ‘true’ story of the Paris Opera house when it was haunted by the opera ghost. Full of the dark events of mysterious murders, and the kidnapping of one Christine Daee, performers and owners alike have begun to blame every misfortune that falls upon the opera house on a ghost.
It’s told in a unique way that makes it hard for the reader to tell between what is fact, and what is fiction. He weaves Parisian history, and uses the real Paris Opera House as the setting to make the reading of this novel an even more compelling and immersive experience.
‘In Paris, our lives are one masked ball’
If you’re a fan of the musical, then the book is still a must read for you. I loved reading how the original scenes played out, like the masquerade ball, the chandelier falling, the ‘notes’ from O.G. Most of the characters were recognisable and it gave me so much appreciation for how the musical is written and performed.
‘Oh, tonight, I gave you my soul and I am dead!’
The book however does something the musical just couldn’t do, it gives a lot more background for those key characters, especially the opera ghost, who’s given a name in the book, Erik. The musical always makes me cry but having more background on Erik, understanding where he came from and what he went through, makes me so much more sympathetic for him!
‘I am dying of love for her.’
I had so much fun reading this book in October I ended up reading it twice. The first time for just for fun but when I finished I just had to go back to the beginning with my pack of pens in hand ready to annotate. It will probably be reread annually every October now, just like the musical is rewatched annually…