Welcome to another edition of sorting out the shelves! Today, I’m looking at my “popular” books from the 90’s/00’s
(I imagine this is how I would look if I won some kind of popularity contest)
So, lets begin by looking at some of the most popular books of all time and then move on to some pop psychology/sociology…
It’s time for Own or Re-Home!
Harry Potter. Need I say more?
You might recognise these covers…
I have a complete set of the paperback versions of the HP books, some of which are first editions (but worth precisely zilch because the print run will have been so huge). This took supreme effort from me – when the final book was released I waited a whole year to read the paperback so that I didn’t mess up my bookshelves with a random hardback. They take pride of place in the middle of my bookshelves along with some other HP paraphernalia (like my picture of me on a broomstick flying over Hogwarts). I love these books so much that I’ll never part with them.
A selection of pop psychology/sociology/anthropology mostly written by TV media types…
It was just a phase…
I still love books that teach me about other cultures (including my own) or people, especially if they’re written in a humorous way. There seemed to be loads of them out in the mid 2000’s – I bought most of these for my train journey to and from work from WHSmiths on New Street Station. However, as interesting as they were I don’t treasure them or feel like I’ll ever return to reading them again (I can still pretty much remember what they said) so off to the library used bookshop they go!
Do you have a selection of similar books from a specific period in your life? Do you have any bookish phases that you’ve been through? What do your Harry Potter books look like? Let me know in the comments!
So, we previously looked at The A-Z of Me Part One – lets take a look at what the rest of the alphabet says about me!
N is for National Trust
I’m a member of The National Trust and a passionate supporter of British heritage. I love visiting historic houses, especially if they have nice gardens. We try to visit somewhere once a month to really get the most of our membership.
O is for Organic Fruit and Veg
I grow my own vegetables organically – the picture above is last year’s strawberry patch (every flower will turn into a fruit). I grow everything from soft fruit to root vegetables and I always try something new – 2019 is the year I try cucamelons!
P is for Police Force
I used to work for British Transport Police in their HR team. I learnt so much and met some fantastic people. It also gave me a real appreciation of the police force, especially with regards their commitment to equality and diversity.
Q is for Quidditch
I am a self-professed Harry potter nerd – here’s a photo of me flying on a broomstick on the HP Warner Bros Studio Tour. I love everything about the books and will forever be Team Slytherin.
R is for Reading, obviously
I have always been a bookworm and love reading, talking about books, blogging about books, buying books, smelling books… above are some of my Virago Modern Classic Designer Collection which are my all time faves – fabulous stories and just so, so pretty!
S is for Silverstone
We go to Silverstone every year to watch the British Grand Prix (that’s Formula One car racing to the uninitiated). Obviously we support Lewis Hamilton but I also have a soft spot for Kimi Raikonnen and I think Max Verstappen is going to be a future champion – he’s so exciting to watch!
T is for Tortoises
Awwww! These are my pet torts Tabitha (the big one) and Voldetort (the baby). Contrary to what you see in the photo, they have a lifelong feud and will attack each other if we let them get too close. We keep them in separate pens where they silently plot their revenge from afar.
U is for Unemployable
Since giving up on my career in HR I’ve done bits and bobs but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m basically unemployable by big companies. Self-employment is definitely the way forwards for me.
V is for Vintage
I love anything vintage and will happily dress up in 1940’s/50’s clothing. This is me and my best friend Juliet on our way to a burlesque night a few years ago. I also love vintage interiors and would much rather buy old furniture/ornaments than new stuff.
W is for West Midlands
I live in the West Midlands in Coventry, which is the City of Culture 2021. I am genuinely excited to see what Cov can pull out of the bag after years of under-funding and decline (the Special’s song Ghost Town was written about us for a reason!)
X is for X-Ray
This is me in my roller derby gear, a few months before I broke two bones in my leg and snapped my ankle bone off on either side of my foot. I’d love to say I did this performing an apex jump but in reality I just slipped. So now my leg has two metal plates, a big bolt through my ankle and a load of pins holding it all together.
Y is for Yoga
Since stopping roller derby I took up the safer option of yoga and absolutely love it! Just 20 minutes in the morning is enough to really make a difference and although I do it in fits and starts it never takes long to get back into it.
Z is for ZZZZZZ’s
Oh my gosh I love sleep! Nine hours if I can get it but I struggle to function on anything less than eight. Once asleep I’m dead to the world and can nod off anywhere – including once when I was in the middle of an assessment centre!
So, that’s the A-Z of me! Can any of you relate? Would you like to write one of these posts too? Let me know in the comments!
I saw this great little post on Dave@espressococo‘s blog and thought that it would be really fun to try! I love a good getting to know you post, so let’s see what the letters A to M say about me!
A is for Antiques
I love antiques and I’ve been collecting them for a few years now. In particular, I like objects from the arts and crafts movement, like this copper jardiniere.
B is for Blogging
Well, obviously! I’ve been blogging for three years now and my little corner of the internet remains small but perfectly formed (well, as perfect as I can make it anyway).
C is for Comedy
I love seeing comedy live – I usually go to a few gigs per year. Favourite comedians include Sara Pascoe, Jon Richradson, Hannah Gadsby and Rachel Parris – I saw Jon last year for the third time and I’m hoping to see the others soon.
D is for DIY
I love DIY and I’m currently refurbishing a house with my partner. I’ve learnt loads of new skills and so far I’m still enjoying the process, even though it’s gone on for a lot longer than expected.
E is for Eating
Who doesn’t love eating? I really enjoy cooking my own food and have been known to whip up some tasty treats, such a lemon meringue pie from scratch (including the lemon curd) and I always do a big Sunday roast for me and the non-hubs.
F is for Feminism
I’m a feminist and proud! I listen to lots of feminist podcasts, like The Guilty Feminist, Standard Issue and even good old Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 (which is way more radical than you’d think!) I became interested in the movement after reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Girl, which is an incredible book that everyone should read.
G is for Gardening
If there’s one thing that gives me almost as much pleasure as reading it’s gardening. It all started when I met my boyfriend (who is a plant scientist) and he basically roped me into helping him sort his garden out after having the kitchen extended. I got completely hooked, to the point where I now grow most of my own veg on my own allotment. It’s hard work but so, so enjoyable.
H is for Human Resources
I have an MA in Human Resource Management, as well as a degree in Business and membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Despite all this, I gave up my career because…well… I hated it! If you have a HR team in your workplace, please be nice to them. It can be a pretty thankless job dealing with people’s problems day in and day out.
I is for Injury
My leg is mostly made of metal having broken it in four separate places. Some of the pins in my ankle stick out a bit and you can feel the plates in my leg (weirdly it’s made my leg thinner, so now my calves are different sizes). I also have a pretty cool scar!
J is for Jaguar
We have an old Jaguar car that we take out a few times a year to shows and events (or just to show off if we’re going to a wedding lol). I don’t really get it but the non-hubs loves it and our house is full of his Jaguar tat memorabilia.
K is for Knitting
I love making things and knitting is one of those hobbies that I intermittently try my hand at. I’m still at beginner level but I’ve made so pretty nice things, including a lace knit scarf and an old-fashioned tea cozy for a friend. My long term goal is to knit an advent calendar – I’m thinking 25 individual mini-stockings that I can string up like bunting and fill with chocolates/sweets/tiny presents.
L is for Library
I’m a library volunteer for one of my local libraries (since the council completely cut all funding) which is really, really fun. I recently mentioned online that I’m on the lookout for donations of books (used or new) to help replenish out stock, or possibly be sold in our used giftshop and people have been so kind – it’s really restored my faith in humanity!
M is for Music
I love music, especially weird indie-pop, 80’s and 90’s stuff, rock, metal, death metal… and Kate Bush. I collect vinyl records too and I’m always mooching about in charity shops and record fairs.
So, that’s the first part of the A-Z of me! Do we have any hobbies or interests in common? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for part two – coming soon!
Welcome to another edition of sorting out the shelves! This week it’s a special feature – cookbooks!
I have tons of cookbooks because EVERYONE buys them for me despite having, you know, the internet to find recipes on. So, I’m overrun with the bloody things and I need to get rid.
Lets play own or re-home!
Vintage cookbooks inherited from my mother-in-law plus New Covent Garden Soup recipe books
Cookbooks should be battered and covered in stains…
I mean, look at the state of the Be-Ro book – that tells you everything you need to know about how useful it is. Seriously, it’s my most used recipe book by far, even though it must be forty years old. It also houses a number of handwritten recipes from my non-husbands since-departed mother and possibly his ex-girlfriend, all of which I’m very grateful for (even though the non-hubs always complains when I use them to make something it don’t taste as good as when his Mum/ex made it). The Marguerite Patten cookbook is even older – it must be getting on for fifty but again I use it all the time. I love how simple the recipes are and how there’s an easy “blueprint” guide, with variations to try once you’ve mastered the basics. There’s also a brilliant “what to do when it goes wrong” section at the back that’s absolutely indispensable when you’re first learning to cook. The soup books are lovely, easy to follow and even though all of the recipes are probably available online I always find it’s easier to use a hard copy book than try to keep a tablet/phone open when you’re in the middle of cooking. They’re all definite keepers!
A totally random assortment of cook books
I’ll just use BBC Good Food…
Clearly, at some point someone found out that I’d bought a slow cooker and got me some recipe books to go with it – failing to realise that there’s really only three things you can make in one and the recipes are all just variations on a theme. There’s also a jam/chutney making book (I might look at this once a year when I have a glut of allotment veg but I’d rather look online) a veg cookbook (too weird) a couple of “British” cookbooks (fancy versions of what’s in Marguerite Patten) a Delia Smith How to Cook book (again, Patten does it better) and a “Mediterranean” book (featuring ingredients that I never own). Off to the charity shop you go!
Do you have a million recipe books that you never use? Are any of them quirky, old or unique? Do you have any treasured inherited recipes that you can’t make as well as your relatives did? Let me know in the comments!
A bit late this week but welcome back to my new feature, where I try to Marie Kondo my massive collection of books that I’m fast running out of room for. I hate getting rid of them but needs must, so bring on the binbags! *Side note: obviously I’ll be donating my books to the charity shop, not actually chucking them away. I’m not a monster.
This week’s selection features some beautiful vintage hardbacks that have sentimental value and some popular paperbacks that I’ll probably never re-read – plus a bonus book that somehow escaped the first cull!
My Grandad’s 1950’s Encyclopedias
I could spend all day looking through these…
I know it’s hard to believe, but back when I was at school the internet was not a thing and we had to rely on encyclopedias to obtain information. If you couldn’t find the topic that you were looking for… tough. Dark times indeed.
These encyclopedias were printed in the 1950’s when books were luxuries that most ordinary people couldn’t afford, so quite how I managed to inherit these is something of a miracle (my Grandad died with 22p in his pocket and zero savings – he’d even cashed in his funeral plan). I guess he must have thought that they would be useful to my Mum and Uncle so found some money from somewhere? My Mum thinks that he got them from a door to door salesman so probably bought them one book at a time, which would have helped with the cost. Considering my Mum grew up with very little, I love the idea that my Grandad prioritised her education over all of the other household expenses.
The books themselves are beautiful, in fairly good condition considering their age and have some gorgeous colour illustrations (?) (I’m not entirely sure what they are, they look like paintings but they’re so realistic they might be black and white photographs that have been coloured in). They’re fascinating to look through and a real slice of history, as seen through a very British colonial lens (i.e. racist). Despite their problematic language I love what they represent to my family and I could never throw them away.
The Millennium Trilogy plus a stowaway Eclipse book.
Read them, next…
Bleurgh, look at the stickers…
I enjoyed reading the Millennium Trilogy and although I like the look of the spines all sitting in order on my shelves, I’ve read them, I’m not re-reading them, they have to go.
Also, although I admire the tenacity of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, how did it manage to hide itself when I was chucking out all the Twilight books last week? It was right next to them! Whatever, I can’t really remember what it was about, I’m not going to look at it again, It’s just taking up space. Bye Felicia!
Do you have any inherited books that you just can’t throw away? Do you own any unique books that have sentimental value? Can you remember what The Second Life of Bree Tanner is about? Let me know in the comments!
I’m on a bit of a mission to sort out my house at the moment but the one thing that always gets missed is my bookshelves. I have three Billy bookcases in my spare room and they’re basically full, so time to (sob) get rid of some books.
I’m sure you’ll all understand how hard this is, so I’ve promised myself that each week I’ll choose one series or group of books to keep and one to throw away (I say throw out, I obviously mean charity shop).
This week’s selection features the two most obvious choices that jumped out at me as soon as I looked at my bookshelves. They are…
My selection of Virago Modern Classics
I actually wrote a post quite a while ago about how much I adore these books and I’ve been adding to my collection ever since. I love them sooooo much so they’re definitely staying.
The Twilight Series (is that what it’s actually called?)
These books do not spark deep joy…
Now, I can’t deny that these are pretty books. You can’t tell but the middle two books have a special blood red edge to the pages that works so well with the predominantly black covers. Unfortunately, I hate the content and I know I’ll never read them again so these have got to go. Also, what possessed me to get the final book in hardback when the previous three were paperbacks? Urgh. I must have assumed that they wouldn’t make it to my bookshelves, or picked the final book up for cheap somewhere (it does look secondhand). Begone!
Do you have overflowing bookshelves? Have you been inspired to have a clear out? Which of your books would you definitely keep or get rid of? Let me know in the comments!
Last year, I took part in Nick’s Chapter-a-day read-along of Les Miserables and enjoyed it so much that I’ve signed up to his 2019 challenge! I know that I would never have had the patience to get through Les Miserables without the read-along and I enjoyed seeing everyone else’s thoughts as we were working our way through the novel. This year, I’m hoping to expand my horizons even further!
So, by popular demand, Nick has chosen four books to read in 2019 which in total have 365 chapters. They are:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes #quixotereadalong
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas #montecristoreadalong
Lillith by George McDonald #lilithreadalong
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens #curiosityshopreadalong
Although the idea is obviously to read one chapter a day, last year I found it easier to read in larger chunks. The beauty of this challenge is that you can structure it to whatever suits you – you can read on ahead or catch up whenever you get the chance!
I’ve copied the below from Nick’s original post about the read along, so if you want to join in you’ve got all the information that you need:
How to Participate in the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-Along
Get a copy of each of the four books.
If you have your own blog, write a welcome post explaining why you are joining the read-along and what you hope to gain from it. Leave a link to your post in the comments section on Nick’s original blog post. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave your information in the comments section as well.
Commit to reading a chapter a day. If you get behind or race ahead, no worries. Life happens.
If you feel like it, post a line a day from the current chapter on social media, using the hashtags listed above. Nick will be posting to Twitter and Facebook each day and would love to read your thoughts, too. When you post, please respect the reading experience of those who may not know the full story. In other words, no spoilers!
Be sure to subscribe to Nick’s blog to receive any read-along updates.
The 2019 Chapter-a-Day Reading Schedule
Here is the broad outline of the year:
Don Quixote: January 1 to May 8 (126 chapters plus 2 prologues = 128 days)
The Count of Monte Cristo: May 9 to September 2 (117 chapters = 117 days)
Lilith: September 3 to October 19 (47 chapters = 47 days)
The Old Curiosity Shop: October 20 to December 31 (73 chapters = 73 days)
Nick’s blog has more information including sign up information, graphics and links to where you can get hold of copies of all the books listed so please check it out – and join us!
Gosh, I’ve just been flicking through my blog posts from this year and I can’t believe how fast 2018 has gone! I started the year not being particularly serious about blogging, with about 150 followers and no other social media presence. I’m ending the year with over 350 followers, 240 Twitter followers and a far more regular blogging schedule, plus more varied content and participation in the wider blogging community. Oh, and I’m finally writing my posts on a laptop instead of tapping everything out with one finger on my Kindle Fire! I can actually resize images!
I also bought myself this nifty little trolley from Ikea and turned it into a Book Blogging trolley (which the good people of Twitter seemed to really like). I love it so much!
In terms of reading, I’ve read and reviewed 62 books on my blog this year and had several rated five out of five. I was actually surprised at how many poorly rated books I read – something that I’m planning to change in 2019. No more Foxhole Court! I was also surprised at how few books I’d read – I think reading Les Miserables took up quite a lot of time and should count for at least five!
I’ve already talked about my favourite books that I read as part of the Read Harder challenge but I’ve got a few other honourable mentions from my reading total:
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a wonderful novella with layers of symbolism that I found completely enthralling.
Bitter by Francesca Jakobi was a fantastic, twisted book about what happens when a mother’s love becomes obsessive. I was totally engrossed from start to finish by this clever, atmospheric novel.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata was wonderful. I loved the sheer weirdness of this short book – again, the novella was completely multi-layered, packing a huge amount into what initially appears to be a simple story about a woman happy to work in a simple job in a convenience store.
The Lido by Libby Page was a lovely book that feature a rare appearance from a main character who was actually older than sixty! I loved the relationship between the characters and seeing how the community all came together was lovely. It also made me want to take up swimming again!
However, there was one other book that really stood out for me this year that I’m officially naming as my favourite…
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic time last night drinking, dancing… going to bed early with a good book. However you celebrated, it’s time to push those hangovers/novels aside and think about priorities for the New Year.
Last year, I was incredibly laissez-faire about setting out plans for my blog and yet it grew far more than expected, so this year I’m going to be a bit more targeted in my approach to see if I can keep that momentum going. I’ve outlined ten (!) objectives that I’m hoping to achieve during 2019 which, as a thoroughly non-ambitious person is already making me feel queasy but I’m feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Well, for January anyway…
Make my peace with Goodreads and use it properly. I dislike everything about the site but it’s a fantastic resource that I only semi-engage in. I want to at least log and give a star rating to every book that I read. I’m even going to set a reading target of 100 books – wish me luck!
Smash my NetGalley backlog out of the park. Oh, book that I requested three years ago and still haven’t even started, I will get to you this year, I promise.
Consistency is key, Lucinda. Basically, stop f#*king about with your “unintentional hiatuses” and post according to a proper schedule. Have the blogging equivalent of an emergency frozen pizza in your drafts so that you don’t get caught out.
Keep going with the varied content. I published far more discussion style posts in the last half of 2018 and really enjoyed writing them, so…yeah. Keep it up.
Branch out into other forms of social media. I’m now on Twitter but I also have a fun idea for Pinterest that I want to try out.
Get more involved in other people’s stuff. I’ve tailed off with the blog hopping recently so I need to get back on it.
Complete Read Harder 2019. I’ve done the last three so this shouldn’t be a problem – it equates to reading two books per month so it should be easy.
Complete the Chapter-a-day Read-along. This is hosted by Nick at nicksenger.com and as I had so much fun reading Les Miserables last year I’m taking part in the new FOUR BOOK challenge!
Just…try to make a dent in your physical TBR. Now that I’ve got all of my unread books together I can see how many I have to get through. Oops. I’m determined to get the pile down. It’s currently 26 so should be achievable (this is just my physical TBR, I’m not even going to attempt to get my digital one down).
Mumbles *something about getting 500 followers*. I’ve always been very much against the idea of counting followers but it is more fun when lots of people respond to what you’ve written. So, 500 is the nominal target. Wish me luck.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous New Year to you all!
What are your plans for 2019? How did you do with your 2018 resolutions? Let me know in the comments!