Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

This week's topic is an interesting counterpart to last week's list of things that automatically make me want to read a book... It would be tempting simply to invert those notions - what would turn me off a book? Unconvincing characters, inauthentic relationships etc... and yes that would be true. But a little bit of a cheat perhaps! That said, my wife came home from work yesterday with conjunctivitis which she has merrily shared, so my vision is a little blurred right now... tonight, I am not averse to the concept of a short cut! My other issue is that I do read widely and whilst I will offer some of the themes and tropes that may discourage me from reading a book, none of these will necessarily stop me from reading it. They may, however, make it an uphill job for the author to grab my attention. I wonder what examples of these I can come up with that I did read...

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

According to Jana, this week's theme has been lovingly stolen from A Cocoon of Books during freebie week and invites us all to share those things that get in the way of our reading. I mean we would all love to read a little more, wouldn't we, but that thing called life does just have the habit of getting in the way!

Top Ten Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed from My Shelf

I am going to rely on the computer to select the ten books for this list, taking out all the physical and human limitations on randomness - the fact that I would be least likely to pick books from low shelves because my knees ache.... I did show my class the other week my Calibre library of ebooks and they estimated how many I had. "Twenty, sir?" "Thirty-five sir?" They seemed flabbergasted - as if they could not believe so many books could exist - when I scrolled to the bottom to show the 3,006th book! Not all read, obviously. A lot of classics. A vast and overwhelming TBR in digital form! Let's see what I thought of this random selection, and whether I remember why I bought it... And why is this strangely nerve wracking?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Audiobook Narrators

I do love a good audiobook! Half an hour commuting to work each way five days a week; half an hour running three times a week; one or two longer runs at the weekend; whilst cooking, along in the kitchen... I will often be found listening to an audiobook. Quite often, more of my reading is audiobook than traditional print or e-book... Anyway, let's turn to my favourite narrators. There are some who inhabit the characters and narratives so well that, even when I return to the print version, I am still hearing it in their voice inside my head!

Top Ten Tuesday: Non-book Freebie

This week’s topic delves out of the bookish realm and is described by Jana as a chance to Take this time to let your readers get to know you a little! But the thing is, when you know what a person reads and enjoys, the sort of worlds and characters that inhabit their imagination and give them solace, when you know when a person seeks comfort in their reading and when they seek to be challenged, you already know so much about that other person! Yes, I am the sort of person who, when invited into someone’s house, is instantly glancing around for bookshelves; I am the sort of person who on a crowded train chooses who I sit next by their reading matter…!

Top Ten Tuesday:Titles with Animals In Them and/or Covers with Animals On Them

This week's theme comes courtesy of Rachel @ Sunny Side who is obviously a girl after my daughter's heart who loves animals! In fact, my daughter has an avowed ambition to live in the wild in order to look after the wild animals - taking inspiration from Katya Balen's wonderful October October, perhaps. But only if there is wifi. In the wild.

Top Ten Tuesday:  Indie/Self-Published Books

This week's themes comes courtesy of submitted by Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits and is a celebration of those pioneers of literature, the self-published and independently published authors. In the world we live in, the access to blogs and to self-publishing opportunities and small independent houses means that the range of books and publishing has blossomed without the influence of the Big Five publishers. Without self-publishing, we might have never had the whimsy of Beatrix Potter or of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Liked Tana French

This week's theme poses its own challenge. I love the idea of recommending books similar to a favourite author, but which author to focus on? Do I pick an author I find comforting and warm, or an author I find challenging? Do I find an adult author or young adult? Do I focus on classics or on modern writers? I want to pick my favourite author and rave about them... but again I have so many favourites...

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2023 To-Read List

As I have said on this blog before, I don't really do to be read lists. Whilst I may intend to tackle a certain set of books, I am more than happy to pick up this other one that caught my eye in Waterstones or the library, or that one that I began and put down six months ago, or this book that a friend recommneded, or that one which is all over social media, or - let's face it - sometimes this random one which I opened on my kindle by mistake! But this time of year coincides with the release of the Women's Prize for Fiction and I do try to read along with that longlist each year - to varying degrees of success - and so this week I offer you that longlist which I hope to have read some or most of before the 14th June when the winner is announced.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish People I’d Like To Meet

This is a nice whimsical topic: the bookish people I'd love to meet... but there are so many of them! Authors we could have to a dinner party, or meet at a book festival; characters who might be able to step from the page like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, bloggers and reviewers... Let's think...

Top Ten Tuesday: Genre Freebie

This time of year is also the time when I indulge in these genres - just before we start on the tradmill of the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Booker longlists and the more self-consciously literary offerings. Do I see or recognise the distinction between genre and literary fiction...? I'm not sure that I do at all to be honest. Isn't it all just a marketing tool? All I recognise really is the ability of books to transport and entertain and challenge me in some way. Anyway, let's pick... crime as a genre for the purpose of this list after a somewhat lengthy preamble. And I offer to you my ten favourite crime books... prepare for murder, deception and violence.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Heroines

This week's topic asks us to turn a spotlight on our favourite heroines. Whilst casting around for an angle - do I really want to trot out Jane Eyre, Jo Marsh or Lizzie Bennett again? - I was distracted by reading my daughter her bedtime story. And whilst Mesdames Eyre, Marsh and Bennett would all fit the topic - or more kick ass heroines like Lisbeth Salander, Arya Stark or The Priory of the Orange Tree's Ead or Tané - the power of literature to inspire young minds is so powerful that I thought I would focus on inspiring female heroines in the books she has been reading because there are many.

Top Ten Tuesday:  Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie

In terms of reading, romance is not my preferred genre - my imagination tends towards the darker areas, gothic and crime and literary fiction... Of Gooderads 100 best Romance novels of the last three years, I have read, well, one! I have read more romance recently than at any other time in my life, and in fairness thoroughly enjoyed them. But it is still with some trepidation that I embark on a list of my favourite romantic pairings from recent reads.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About

This week's theme is a look forward to debut authors that have already piqued our interest - which does require a little research... and also a solid publicity campaign behind those authors. So the following list is drawn from various sources, selected by reason of their covers, their blurbs, the endorsements and of course the inherent interest I have in the themes and genres they represent.

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Fictional Readers

This week is a freebie week and I am in the midst of listening to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, her first novel and written around 1798, albeit not published until after her death. It is part of my half-formed intention - a vague idea and inclination perhaps - to try to re-read Austen, returning to an author that I did not gel with as a teenager at university. Certainly, it is much funnier and more wry than I remembered Austen to be. Which bodes well. Anyway, the point of this preamble is that I love the way Catherine Morland becomes obsessed with The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe - to the extent that she would prefer to curl up at home with the novel than venture out into Bath's social scene, has limited conversation save for her love of the novel, and is desperate for her life to emulate the thrills and passions of the novel. So I thought I'd use this as a springboard to explore bookworms in fiction.

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

This week is a look back again at 2022 and those authors we met for the first time last year. And isn't it great to meet new favourite authors year after year. Of course there are the old favourites, the reliable familiar authors who we just know we are going to enjoy, but new authors add some extra spice and variety... and often then become some of our new favourites!

Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays

A book the teems with potential - an academic setting within a gothic museum, an unreliable narrator, intense relationships within the scholars, murder, tarot - and yet it somehow fell a little flat and slow.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

Overall, 2023 looks like almost all of my favourite authors have new books coming out! A fantastic array of exciting new novels from a parade of wonderful writers! It's looking like a good year!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2022

And there we have it: Christmas has come; Christmas has gone again. The new school term looms at work - feeling like it is hot on the heels of the festive period this year - and my daughter and I are sharing last-day-of-the-holiday jitters! We are in the midst of the annual negotiation about when the Christmas Tree should come down: my wife wants her living room back from our rather expansive tree; I want my money's worth from the rather expensive tree; and twelfth night superstitions... Anyway... this month on TTT is a combination of looking back at 2022, and looking forward to 2023, and this week's topic is a list of my favourite books from 2022. I have already listed on my lookback on the year post my 5* reads which you can review here... but it does raise the question of whether a book needs to be a 5* read to be one of my favourite reads of the year...

2022: A Year in Books

And as the year draws in its final breaths, it leaves me only to say fare well and thank you so much for contributing your time, your comments and your thoughts on the blog. I am truly humbled and have a fantastic new year!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Merry Christmas to you all! I do hope everyone had a lovely Christmas this week, with plenty of time with families, plenty of peace and goodwill, and not too much over indulgence. In the Book Lovers' home Christmases are quiet and wonderful times...

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings This Year

Anyway, this week's Top Ten list is, seasonally enough, books I wish Santa would leave for me... which is a little tricky: I do tend to treat myself to books far too often and my wife refuses to buy me any, arguing that I'll already have read them! Which is true, but somehow misses the point: someone browsing a bookshop and thinking of me is a gift in itself regardless of the book finally bought; and books that I may have electronically or in audiobook format I will still enjoy as a physical copy too!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter 2022 TBR

It is clearly winter now here in the UK: sub-zero temperatures, no working heating in the house; the smell of mince pies I've been baking in the kitchen; struggling through the last days at work - definitely not on a countdown - under the effect of a nasty cold and cough; daughter flying high on the adrenaline of her school Christmas play... Yup, definitely winter time! The sort of time of year where curling up with a good book - and a pot of tea and, yes, one of those mince pies - is a real pleasure. So this week's theme, a quick recap of the books I am looking forward to in these months, is a delight. I will preface these lists, though, as I always do with the caveat that I am very much a mood reader and will, over the winter, pay probably no heed whatsoever to this rather nominal list.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in the Interwar Years

This is also a week when I have noticed a strange coincidence in my current reading: three of the books I am currently reading are set in the interbellum years between the two World Wars: the roaring twenties and the increasingly ominous 1930s as war encroaches. And as this is a Freebie week, I thought this might be an interesting focus. It is an interesting time: in hindsight the urge towards modernity and optimism and hopefulness - to a jazz soundtrack of course, in an art deco ballroom populated with flappers - looks just a little desperate and hollow but still strangely compelling.

Top Ten Tuesday: Cosy Reads

There was a time when I would have derided cosy reads - yes, I confess it - because surely books should be disquieting and challenging, shouldn't they? And yes, of course they should. But they should also be heartwarming and sweet and create that feeling of being wrapped up in a warm blanket in front of a fire with a cup of tea (and of course a book) on a winter's night...