Posted in Reading Challenge

Book Challenge 2020

So having surpassed my own expectations of reading 50 books in 2019 and moving house, I have now realised the actual ton of books I own which have been sitting pretty on shelves and not getting read. Thus, I have set myself a new challenge! I’m still doing the goodreads 50 book challenge, however I have made some rules to try and get through my massive TBR pile.

No buying any new books in 2020

But of course there are exceptions.

1. The only ‘new’ books I can get are if they are gifts, but my birthday and Christmas are the only times this really happens and are ages away.

2. I can continue my subscriptions to Audible and Kindle Unlimited. Though if I can read the books I currently have with KU I might get rid of it and save myself £8 a month.

3. The only major exception to buying a new book is if Peace Talks by Jim Butcher comes out or if there’s suddenly a new Harry Potter book or if Dante is brought back to life and writes a scathing epic poem about the current world situation.

So there, I’m in February already and I’ve only read 3 books, apparently I’m one book behind – but I moved house and I’m working tons. I’ll catch up 😉

Anyone else got their own book challenges going on this year?

I might post a list of all the books I’m hoping to read this year, as ever it’s subject to change based on my mood.

e x

Posted in life, University, Writing

Dissertation Update #9

I guess I forgot to write this on submission day, but it’s been all over for more than a month and I’m just now feeling the relief that it’s all finished. My university career is over! Wtf?!

The last few weeks before October 3rd were awful and some of the worst in my life, and yet I somehow managed to pull together enough to still write, edit, and revise the most important text I’ve ever submitted. I don’t know if I can say it’s my best work given how ill I was, but perhaps it’s better than it would have been as I was able to give my inner editor/critic a swift vaffanculo because I just did not have time for that negativity.

I’m relieved but starting to grow a bit anxious, there’s still a month to go before we get our results back. I just hope it’s enough to get my solid pass mark, I don’t care where everyone else’s marks get them to, I’m just happy to pass well. One of my submissions this year, a shitty essay, really messed up my average and I’m well aware that my tutor doesn’t particularly like anything I’ve written though I had stellar feedback from others on my course. I never said I was James Joyce, I’m happy to be in Jim Butcher’s league.

Alas, I’ve been away from here thanks to real life swinging back into play. I started a new job on the 7th of October and it’s been non-stop since with training and then getting familiar with the new role. I’m enjoying it so far, there’s definitely been a steep learning curve with the material but everything else is all stuff I’ve done before. It’s a good environment, a good team, and supportive co-workers. Plus the office is toasty warm, great for those 8am starts when it’s dark and minus-one outside.

More updates to follow, now that I’m free from studying. I’ve been on edx and udemy again flexing my Italian, Latin and Classical muscles. And I bought a Korean grammar book!

e x

Posted in Books, Education, Writing

Currently Reading – August 2018

I’m slowly trying to work my way through the reading list for my MA course. I’ve never been a fast reader – unless I’m completely absorbed by what I’m reading (see Harry Potter) so when it comes to reading technical books or deep literature then it’s going to be a bit of a slog.

Pictured above is two of my newest additions to my rampant collection. The Self-Editing for Fiction Writers book, by Brown and King, I already know will be an invaluable resource so I’m trying to take notes and read it carefully enough to get as much out of it as possible (and so I don’t struggle to reread it before assessments). It was highly recommended by someone on our course and I promptly picked up a copy on amazon, reasonably cheaply.

The second book Searches and Seizures by Stanley Elkin was a bit of a challenge to locate a copy of! I managed to find an old second-hand copy on amazon again but it was sent from Better World Books in Mishawaka, Indiana! The book has travelled further than me. Also, I’m certain I ordered another book off them before. Alas, this book was recommended through another book on my reading list: Reading like a writer by Francine Prose. The Elkin book is three novellas, but the Making of Ashenden is the one Prose suggested to read… about a man who falls in love with a bear. Odd, but interesting. I’ve only glanced at the first page but Elkin has a unique style of writing and description.

I finished reading Brief Cases by Jim Butcher, the newest collection of short stories from the Dresden Files world. It’s helped a little to ease the pain from waiting so long for Peace Talks to come out, but I understand the author has had major personal happenings in the last few years, so I won’t add to the complaints. I’m likely to do a more in depth review of Brief Cases, as I want to start doing for more books I read – simply because I have a terrible memory after I’ve read something, reviews would be a good way to keep track. The short version is Brief Cases was amazing – especially the original novella Zoo Day – brought Maggie into much sharper focus, not just as a character (finally) but what may come of her in the future.

I’m still reading On Writing by A.L. Kennedy from the reading list last year. It’s a very interesting insight into one of Scotland’s cult (?) writers. I like how she describes her own process as lasting years but a constant slog, even while travelling and ill. Most of the book is blog posts lifted straight from her site, so I enjoy just reading a post or two at a time, hence why it’s taking me so long to get through it.

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White must be top-of-the-list for all writing students whether English Lit, Composition, or Creative Writing, like me. But it really ought to be top-of-the-list for everyone who ever uses English. Ever. It’s a short volume, but concise and definitely something I’ll refer back to time and again.

Other than these, I’ve been working through my new Italian books for my course starting mid-September. They are A1 beginners books and while I do already know all of this stuff, it doesn’t hurt to revise the basics. Language learning is more of a wander than rushing straight to the final destination. Plus, it’s been 3 years since I did my C1 classes in Spain -_-

e x