Books make the best gifts!


Saw this yesterday on the Foyles website. A bit too cute to ignore!

Also – Foyles were the only online bookstore I could find that was willing to let me buy 3 books, and wrap them all together (as in, I was buying 3 books for the same person as a Christmas present and didn’t really want to give them 3 individually wrapped books, because that just looks silly). Amazon insisted on wrapping them individually and charging nearly £3/book to do so, Waterstones wouldn’t wrap anything. So well done Foyles!

The Sunday Salon – Final countdown…


Two weeks left at work. Feels like forever and nowhere near enough time, simultaneously.

I’ve rejected quite a few books this week, so it’s not been a great week for reading; I finished The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy (OK, not as funny as I thought it would be) and I am a fair way into Lizzy & Jane which I nearly gave up on in the first few pages but I persevered and am enjoying.

A couple of my friends have been doing these travel maps on Facebook and I thought I would give it a try. The number of countries is lower than I thought it would be, and that’s even with claiming UAE, Thailand and Malaysia where I am a connoisseur of their international airport but have barely set foot outside it! A couple of interesting omissions… New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, anywhere in Africa or South America…

Yvann’s Travel Map


Opera in 6 words

As I got off the Tube yesterday, I saw an advert for La Boheme at the English National Opera. I won’t be going, because Italian opera was made to be sung in Italian, but it reminded me of a cultural trip that three of us made to the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year to see La Boheme there.Boheme

Ever verbose, the Rower summed it up as “Boy meets girl, girl dies anyway”. Which is entirely true, if ignoring the beauty of the music somewhat.

Anyway, thinking about this, I came up with a couple of other “opera in 6 words” on my walk home last night. They’re all Italian operas, though not all by Verdi. Answers/guesses in the comments please!

  • Girl meets boy, girl dies anyway (this is totally different to “Boy meets girl, girl dies anyway”)
  • Witches, ambition, madness, hallucinations. Much death.
  • Ambition, jealous, handkerchief, murder. Much regret.
  • Girl interrogated. Fake execution real. Shocker.
  • Father finds lost daughter. Dies anyway.
  • Jealousy everywhere. Easter Chorus. Mamma! Dead.
  • Circus affair, lovers dead. Comedy over.

Go on then…

Booking Through Thursday – Quantity

Last week’s Booking Through Thursday:

How much do you actually read? Few of us get as much time as we’d really LIKE for reading, but do as much as we can, so … how many books do you read? How many hours a day?

As I said in my monthly round-up of November, I’ve read 32 books in 2014 up to the end of November, and am hoping for 40 by the end of 2014 overall. I read in big clumps on holidays:

March holiday in Sydney: 4 books in 10 days

June holiday in Opatija: 3 books in 5 days

October holiday in Rome: 6 books in 6 days

So if you take out my holiday reading, I’ve actually only read 19 books in 11 months. I do blame the much shorter commute and a lot of Baby RWT-related tiredness. I’m now making more of an effort to read on the commute – even though my commute is usually only about 10 minutes on any one train, that’s 10-15 pages, twice a day, plus maybe a bit at lunch and a little bit in the evening if I go to bed early enough… on a really good day for reading, I might clock up an hour of reading.

Looking back on November, looking forward to December

Wow has it been a long time since I did one of these posts.

As at the end of November, I’ve read 32 books in 2014. I was aiming for 100 when I started the year, which is obviously ludicrous, but I’d be pleased to make it to 40 by the end of the year. That feels like a good number.

In November, I read 4 books:

Anne’s House of Dreams - L. M. Montgomery – a much-loved re-read

The Racketeer – John Grisham – review

Cocaine Blues and Flying Too High – Kerry Greenwood – reviews coming in the next few days.

I wrote about my winter TBR the other day, but specifically in December, I am hoping to read:

Some Alcott for Advent with Alcott...

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy

The Stud Book by Monica Drake.

We’re not really sure what we’re going to do for Christmas yet, so I may have a few long train rides, very short plane trips, or just restful afternoons at home to get through a fair bit of reading!




Review copy amnesty

As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, some strange instinct is making me want to get rid of unread books. I’m going through my review shelves and casting a critical eye over the books that have sat there for at least 6 months. I’m going to post here a few books at a time to see if there are any that I might get rid of that I definitely shouldn’t… otherwise they’re on their way out the door. Particularly the massive chunky hardbacks which don’t fit in my handbag.

review copies

The Orchard of Lost Souls – Nadifa Mohamed. I know Black Mamba Boy did very well and I’m a little hesitant to bin this one, but I just read the blurb and put it down 10 minutes ago and have already forgotten what it was about.

Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews – a Cold War thriller. ?

A Ghost at the Door – Michael Dobbs. Thriller of some variety. Seems to have been an unsolicited copy.

The Last Conquest – Berwick Coates. This is a retelling of the Battle of Hastings. This one I did at least tell the publisher I’d be willing to read, but I just haven’t got anywhere near it and it’s huge. This is probably the one I’m most likely to hang onto of these 5.

In Malice, Quite Close – Brandi Lynn Ryder. This seems to be a Lolita retelling, which is lost on me because I haven’t read Lolita and am unlikely to in the next year, so this book is taking up space until I read its cousin. I’ve had it at least 2 if not 3 years.

(and a cup of decaf tea. Because it’s an essential component of a book photograph.)

2014-11-24 20.25.07

A couple more (I think you can read all the titles and authors here). These are all paperbacks so I’m less openly prejudiced against them… They all sounded interesting when they were pitched, but for one reason or another I haven’t got to them.

Anyone out there love any of these? Or can I get rid of them in clear conscience?


I acquired lots of Margaret Atwood books in preparation for Advent with Atwood last year, and I didn’t really love the books I read:

The Penelopiad – 8/10 (this was good)

The Edible Woman – 2/10 and DNF

The Blind Assassin – 6/10.

I have so many more on the shelves, but in my current spirit of GET RID OF ALL THE THINGS, I’m thinking of giving Atwood one more book to convince me and then get rid of the rest. So – what should I read first? I have Oryx and Crake, Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lady Oracle, Life Before Man and Alias Grace.

Atwood lovers out there, you get to pick one to convince me!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 705 other followers