Reading round-up March 2018

photo of The Gurugu Pledge and a chocolate egg

I am currently halfway through my Easter read-a-thon and bang on schedule: I’ve finished three of the six books I’m hoping to read before the end of Monday. But I am also full of cold and feeling a little rubbish, so the Netflix and Youtube breaks have been getting longer…

Much like this bank holiday weekend, March as a whole has been a mixed bag. It snowed twice, which was pretty but the one time we went out in it further than the local park I twisted my ankle. And that meant I didn’t run for almost a whole month, which makes me worry a little bit about that pesky 10k race in six weeks’ time.

On the plus side we did an awesome gyoza cooking class arranged by a local cafe called Eatchu last weekend and now our freezer is full of tofu, mushroom and spinach dumplings. Surprisingly it seems to be the cooking them part that is defeating us so far but that might be because they require a 100% non-stick pan, not ones where not only the non-stick but all the materials appear to be peeling off in places. I think we need new frying pans.

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Easter read-a-thon – Sunday and Monday

Easter Read-a-thon with Nose in a book

As the long weekend approaches its end, I am sure you are all eager to know how my read-a-thon went for the past two days. Frankly, not as well as the first two days, at least if it’s number of books read that counts here.

On the other hand, I continued to have a good time and read more than doing anything else, so that’s a win as far as I’m concerned! I spent both days reading Dead Air by Iain Banks, which was a slower read than the other three I got through this weekend but still enjoyable. And when I finished it a couple of hours ago I decided it was time to stop and just think about (or start writing reviews of) those four books. And also spend some time with Tim who I’ve not seen much of this weekend despite us both being home! (He had a bunch of old friends visit. They took over the living room, I holed up in the library.)

I also squeezed in our usual pub quiz last night and more Easter chocolate than is healthy! I hope you have all had lovely weekends and found time to read some great books.

Easter read-a-thon – Saturday

Easter Read-a-thon with Nose in a book

So today has been a bit up and down, both on the holiday front and the read-a-thon front. By which I mean I haven’t felt entirely well and therefore wasn’t able to tuck into a bottle of wine, as I had been planning to do. I have had quite a lot of tea, of various kinds, which is also nice.

Today I finished reading The Small Hand by Susan Hill, which is a ghost story set in the current day but using the tropes of classic Victorian ghost stories. I enjoyed it but wasn’t at all scared, I must admit. I then read all of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which I had heard a lot about thanks to the film. It’s a very sweet, honest book about being a teenager and I am annoyed with the edition that I have, because it both a film tie-in (never a good move) and it has a quote on the front comparing it to Catcher in the Rye, which it’s nothing like and which gets referenced in the novel. But I suppose I never like quotes.

What else have I been up to today? Well, there was a brief trip to the local pub, or at least brief for me because I felt unwell and came home. I indulged myself for a few hours with a hot water bottle, Pretty in Pink and Gilmore Girls, before deciding to stop wallowing and get back to the books. I also helped Tim feed the five thousand (or however many guests it is he has) with an oven full of jacket potatoes.

Potatoes

Now I’m weighing up whether I’m awake enough to begin book four – Dead Air by Iain Banks or if I should just go to sleep.

Easter read-a-thon – Friday

Easter Read-a-thon with Nose in a book

I meant to blog this update last night but it was a bit of a late one. So far the read-a-thon is going well. I’ve read one and a half books – Room by Emma Donoghue and a chunk of The Small Hand by Susan Hill. Both disturbing, in different ways.

One of the reasons for this read-a-thon is that Tim has visitors all weekend. They have basically taken over the house but I have created myself a book cave in the dining room. It’s pretty awesome. I have fairy lights, a reading lamp, some cushions and all of the books. If we’d already got round to buying me that special reading chair we’ve talked about, it would be perfect.

Reading corner

Really, I don’t think I would have left my reading corner at all yesterday except that we had tickets to see Eels. Oh yeah. So we nipped out for that. It was a fantastic gig, supported by a singer called Nicole Atkins who I’d never heard of but who was excellent. The band did lots of hugging on stage and mostly played their rockier stuff, which I don’t know so well but completely suited the mood of the crowd. They squeezed in a cover of “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces and a mash-up of “My beloved monster” and “Mr E’s beautiful blues”. And my favourite moment was when we were ever-so-slowly shuffling out toward the exit and the band came back on stage, Mr E said “Fuck it” into the mike and they played a third encore with house lights up and the roadies clearing the stage around them.

Anyway, enough reminiscing over yesterday, time for more reading! How are you all doing?

Easter read-a-thon: Ready? Set?

Easter Read-a-thon with Nose in a book

Just a quick reminder to anyone who’s interested that I’m doing an Easter read-a-thon, from Friday morning to Monday evening (ish), and anyone is welcome to join me. I hesitate to say I’m hosting it because I’m not doing any fancy linky or giveaway business but if you want to join in, feel free to add a link in the comments and I’ll come and cheerlead for you at some point!

In a foolhardy moment I gave Tim first pick on what I should read this weekend, which has resulted in a slightly odd combination of books from the TBR. I’m not necessarily going to stick to this pile. Maybe I’ll consider it the starting point. Really, this weekend is all about reading just for fun, so if a book starts to feel like hard work I will probably put it down and come back to it another time.

Read-a-thon

The sort-of shortlist is:
Dead Air by Iain Banks
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Claudine and Annie by Colette
Room by Emma Donoghue
Small Hands by Susan Hill
Hell’s Angels by Hunter S Thompson

But what to start with? I may have to roll a die. Handily that list is six long…

Happy Easter and happy reading!

Sunday Salon: Easter read-a-thon anyone?

The Sunday Salon

Lately I seem to have spent a lot of my free time planning various holidays, which has got me thinking about what makes the perfect holiday. The thing is, my favourite way to relax is with a book, but when it comes to holidays I always want to go somewhere new, to see and learn new things, which tends not to leave masses of time for reading, or really relaxing.

If I could take longer holidays, of course that wouldn’t be a problem, we could go somewhere long enough to sightsee and have whole days off reading. But being average folks who can usually only take a week off work at a time, we’re trying to figure out where we can go with enough amenities so we have food choices and some culture, plus beautiful surroundings so that if we do take a few days to chill and read, we can call it enjoying the beauty around us. I’m thinking maybe lakeside?

But in case we do plump for an action-packed city break later in the year, I figure I should make the most of any empty weekends at home to do lots of reading from the comfort of my sofa. Now as it happens, over Easter I have six days off work and plans on only two of those days. And Tim’s busy for most of the weekend, so that leaves me a lot of free time.

Easter Read-a-thon with Nose in a book

Which gave me a brilliant idea – an Easter read-a-thon! Okay, it wasn’t strictly my own idea. The primary school I volunteer at once a week issued a challenge to the kids to read six books over the Easter holiday. Now, they have two weeks, whereas I have four days, but I still think I can meet the challenge. Anyone want to join me?

I’m not going to set any rules, this is strictly for fun. But if you want to join in, feel free to use my button and have a fun weekend of reading. I’ll blog later in the week with my choice of books to tackle.

Yay, Easter read-a-thon!

NB The button was made using a Creative Commons photo by Ian Britton/freefotouk and a bit of fiddling in Photoshop.

The Sunday Salon: Day of chocolate

The Sunday Salon

Ah, four-day weekend, piles of chocolate, plenty of time with my books. What could be better? Oh, and I threw in a bit more culture with a trip to the theatre just for good measure.

After spending Good Friday being thoroughly lazy reading and watching films, yesterday my Dad and brother came to visit and get me out of the house! We went to see the Bristol Old Vic’s excellent Pinter/Beckett double bill A Kind of Alaska/Krapp’s Last Tape. I didn’t know anything about either play but I figured with writers like those you can’t go wrong. Glad to say it was a brilliant show. Both plays are meditations on ageing, in different ways. Both had touches of humour but were overall contemplative pieces. The small cast (three in the first play, one in the second) was fantastic and the Old Vic’s little Studio space was ideally suited.

Yummy churros

Today, friends told me there was a chocolate fair being held in the city centre so we headed down there and enjoyed a few free samples before pigging out on churros and hot chocolate.

While we were in the area, we had a quick browse of the weekly books, arts and crafts market on the harbourside, where obviously I could not help myself buying a couple of books (really I am proud it was just two. I was sorely tempted to pick up handfuls of secondhand PG Wodehouse). My TBR will never get smaller, will it?

Browsing

And there’s still a day and a half stretching out before me with little to do other than read and sleep. Perfect.