Do I Still Want to Read the Books on My Wish List?

When it comes to adding books to my wish list, I can be extremely impulsive. I sometimes do it only because I read a positive review and the plot sounds vaguely appealing. The problem is that what readers consider to be a gripping plot or an outstanding writing style is not always the same. This later has an impact on my reading experience, as I end up picking up books that others loved but that were not the best fit for me, something that I could have avoided if I had done a more in-depth research before buying certain books.

Since I’ve recently been DNFing many books, I decided to go through my wish list on Goodreads (which doesn’t solely consist of the books that I have on my physical to-be-read pile anymore but all of the ones I hope to read in the future) and ponder if I really want to read them. Result: I removed various books from it, some just after reading the blurb again and others after reading a couple of initial pages available for preview online. I’ve also decided not to read books that feature certain elements that I’m not a massive fan of.

I assume this is a normal action for various readers. So, why am I writing this post? There are various posts in this blog about books that I was planning to read and it bothers me to have written them and then deciding not to read some of those books after all without mentioning it. Is this ridiculous? Very likely! Nevertheless, not only have I decided to write a post about all the books I removed from my wish list based on four main reasons, but I’m also inclined towards avoiding writing further posts about the books I may possibly read in the future, as for me that feels too much like a commitment. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer 2022 – How Did I Do?

2022 was the first year I took part in 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy of the blog 746 Books. The challenge is simple, albeit not necessarily easy to achieve – read 20 books during the three summer months (it’s also possible to read only 10 or 15). As in a way I was already expecting to happen, I didn’t manage to read the 20 books I had selected at the end of May. I only read in their entirety eleven books, decided not to finish three and am still currently reading one (Human Acts by Han Kang).

Although this challenge allowed me to finally pick up books that had been on my wish list for a long time, I don’t think I’ll participate again next year, since it was far more taxing than I had anticipated. I thought that having a set number of books to read within a short space of time wouldn’t be a weighty pressure, but it ended up feeling like it. I usually only read one to three books a month (depending on the size), so I found it stressful to have to push myself to read more than usual. Well, I didn’t have to… but, particularly in July, I tried really hard to. Having only picked up short books also rendered the reading experience in a way monotonous.

Below is the list of books that I had set for the challenge, featuring links to the reviews of those I read and mentioning the ones that I DNFed. Continue reading

2022 Mid-year Resolutions’ Evaluation

Back in January, I listed the five bookish resolutions that I have for this year. The second half of June is the perfect time to evaluate whether I’m on track to fulfil those goals or not. Spoiler alert: I’ve already failed one of them!

Let’s start with one resolution regarding which there’s still hope, though. I want to read 35 books until the end of the year. So far, I’ve only read 10 books, which would be worrying if I didn’t plan to read far more books in the second half of the year, thanks to the reading challenge 20 Books of Summer.

Taking part in more reading challenges or initiatives is another of my goals. Not only am I participating in 20 Books of Summer at the moment (I’ve only finished one book so far, mainly because almost two years and a half later COVID got me and I felt poorly), but I also took part in Reading Ireland Month, during which I read One by One in the Darknessby Deirdre Madden and DNFed Normal People by Sally Rooney, and Daphne du Maurier Reading Week, having started reading at the time The Flight of the Falcon, a novel I ended up only finishing some days later.
The time hasn’t yet come for me to try to fulfil my third resolution, though. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer 2022 – Reading Plans

Summer is coming and with it a reading challenge that I’ve never taken part in, but that I have been tempted to try for a while – the 20 Books of Summer, hosted by Cathy of the blog 746 Books. The goal is to read 20 books (or fewer) from our TBR during three months. This year’s edition runs from 1 June to 1 September, and I’m joining in! Besides endeavouring to read 20 books, it’s also possible to choose to read “only” 10 or 15 books. So why have I, as a slow reader who only finishes around two or three books per month, decided to read 20 books? There’s no reasonable explanation!

I do have a plan to try to be successful in this challenge, though. I’m not reading any books a few days before the beginning of 20 Books of Summer. The reasoning behind this is that I hope I’ll miss reading so much that I’ll feel like reading more pages a day than usual. Moreover, when making the list of books I plan to read during this period, I only selected short ones. I don’t think any of them is longer than 250 pages.

Although I don’t have a huge pile of unread books to pick from, since I’ve only been buying books as I read them, I do have more than 200 books on my wish list. From the ones that have been on that list for more than a year, I selected various short novels (some may even be classed as novellas), a graphic novel, plus short story and poetry collections. Four of them are translations of books written by women, because I also want to participate for the first time in Women in Translation month during August. Continue reading

Book Genres – Biggest Delights and Pet Peeves

The magical power of the written word can be found in a variety of book genres. Some of my favourites are literary fiction, fantasy, dystopian and historical fiction, but I also read other types of books. That doesn’t mean I like all the books within a specific genre, though. In fact, while some of their most common characteristics give me great joy, others are a source of great irritation. There are four book genres regarding which I can pinpoint my biggest delights and pet peeves.

 

Literary Fiction

Books that can be classified as literary fiction don’t usually shine because of their compelling and gripping plots. The characteristics that I find the most appealing about this genre are the importance placed on character development and the impactful prose. The writing style doesn’t have to be full of linguistic flourishes, but it has to help readers form an emotional attachment to the story, message and characters. Having said that, I love how some authors awe me with their lyrical prose as if stringing words together was a magic trick.

One characteristic that I don’t tend to like about some books in the literary fiction genre is their fragmentary nature. Books that are almost only a compilation of vignettes or snippets, when short scenes and descriptions are not well connected, usually annoy me. As almost everything in life, there are exceptions, though. I enjoyed Ema by Maria Teresa Horta and Lanny by Max Porter, for example, despite their more fragmentary prose and structure. Continue reading

Books I’ve Added to my Wish List during #readingirelandmonth22

My first time taking part in Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy, is not being as productive as I anticipated. I’ve only recently started reading my first book for it (One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden, which I’m enjoying) and have not followed the posts by other bloggers as closely as I hoped. Nevertheless, I’ve still added various books by Irish authors to my wish list since the beginning of March.

Almost all the books below were written by authors whom I’ve never heard of before to my great shame. They are novels, novellas and a collection of short stories mostly focused on families or personal experiences, which also paint a picture of life in Ireland at various points in time.

 

Foster by Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan is an Irish author whose name I was already familiar with. Her book Small Things Like These has been on my wish list since late last year. Thanks to Reading Ireland Month, it now has the company of Foster, a novella about a young girl who is sent to live with a foster family on a farm in rural Ireland. Her life begins to improve while in their care, but a revelation changes everything once again. The emotional depth of the book is supposed to be outstanding. Continue reading

Authors I Wish I Had Added to My List of 100 Women Writers to Read in My Lifetime

Back in 2016, the year I started blogging, I curated a list of 100 women writers that I wanted to read during my lifetime inspired by Jean from Jean Bookishthoughts. At the time, I was reading far more books by men than by women and was eager to change that. I’m pleased to inform that I’m now reading significantly more books by women! And I’m not even forcing myself to tick names off that list (I still haven’t read the vast majority of them). I’ve been reading and cherishing books by authors that aren’t on the list, thanks mostly to other bookish content creators introducing me to great female writers.

When I decided to pursue that long-term reading project, Jean’s own list was my starting point. I just included some other authors that I had already read and a couple of Portuguese writers. While I didn’t enjoy the books that I read by every single one of the authors on the list, I’ve read books by other talented women that I now wish were part of it. International Women’s Day seemed like the perfect time to mention them!

 

Maria Judite de Carvalho

When I curated my list of 100 women writers to read in my lifetime, I hadn’t heard of the Portuguese author Maria Judite de Carvalho, who was born in 1921 and died in 1998. Her work only came on my radar around three years ago. I’ve recently read Os Armários Vazios, Empty Wardrobes in the English translation. It’s a novella with an unreliable narrator that tells the story of how three women let their lives be influenced by men. Another book I’m interested in by her is Tanta Gente, Mariana. Continue reading

Books by Irish Authors – What I’ve Read So Far

Ireland is an island booming with talent. When it comes to books, I haven’t been admiring it properly, though, since I’ve only read six books by Irish authors, two of them by the same writer. Having such a short sample to pick from, it wouldn’t be fair to choose favourites for my first post during Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy throughout March. Instead, I’m sharing a summary of my experience reading books by Irish authors.

 

The Glorious Heresies and The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney

The first book I read by Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies, follows five characters: Ryan, Maureen, Jimmy, Tony and Georgie. Their paths cross when Maureen accidentally kills a man. Throughout the book, various topics, including religiosity, prostitution, dysfunctional families and drug dealing, are engagingly explored. The characters also feel genuine.

The Blood Miracles, on the other hand, is not as impressive. Despite Ryan being the sole protagonist, his feelings are not as poignant and thoughtful as in the previous novel. Too much focus is placed on drug trafficking and nightclubs. Continue reading

My Choices for Reading Ireland Month

March is just around the corner and with it comes Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Although this is the 6th year of The Begorrathon, as it’s also known, I haven’t taken part before. One of the reasons why I didn’t participate in previous years is that I never happened to have unread books by Irish authors on my shelves. For the 2022 edition I wanted to be prepared, so I bought two books ahead of time.

Sadly, I still won’t be able to write posts based on all the four prompts suggested by Cathy, since I haven’t read enough books by Irish authors, in order to write interesting content. Nevertheless, throughout March, my plan is to write about all the (few) books I’ve read by Irish authors so far and the new Irish books that I will certainly add to my wish list close to the end of Reading Ireland Month. Moreover, I will also review the two books that I will be reading. They are:

 

One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden

In One by One in the Darkness, Deirdre Madden tells the story of three Northern Irish sisters. The book comprises two timelines. One is set in 1994, a week before the IRA ceasefire, the other takes place during the sisters’ childhood in the 1960s and the 1970s. The praise for this book is immense, and my expectations are certainly high. Continue reading

Authors I’m Apprehensive about Reading a Second Book by

Sometimes relishing reading a book by an author new to us is not enough to leave us excited about picking up a second one. Some of the reasons why that may happen are that the author’s other books may not sound as something we will enjoy as much, they may be from a completely different genre, or they may not be as universally loved as the one we’ve already read.

There are three authors whom I’m apprehensive about reading a second book by. Two of those authors I don’t even have other books by on my wish list. The other one I do, but I’ve been hesitant about finally reading one of them for a couple of years.

 

Maggie O’Farrell

Last year I read and utterly adored Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. It’s a fictional story about the death of the son of William Shakespeare, who is not even once mentioned by his name. Grief oozes from the pages, as the characters’ emotions, namely those of Agnes, are intense and tangible. I haven’t since added any other of O’Farrell’s books to my wish list, though. Why? I have a little voice in my head telling me that all of her other books are a far cry from Hamnet, both in terms of genre and writing style, and that I probably won’t enjoy them, which may well not be the case. Continue reading