Read-eh-thon Wrap Up

(If you haven’t seen it already, you can find my Read-eh-thon TBR post here)

Hello!
It’s the end of Read-eh-thon! Thought I’d just update you on how it went…

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So I started off with The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill and absolutely loved it! 100% of my favourite books I’ve read this year.

I enjoyed the format where every other chapter was about Pierrot or Rose (the two main characters) – their lives running parallel to each other. Without giving too much of the story away, it’s so satisfying when you can piece together clues in each other’s story about where the other person is and what they’re doing, but they have no idea. Don’t you think?

I found the ending really well done and I didn’t expect it, and I would highly recommend this one.

I also had a look on Goodreads afterwards to see what other people thought and soooo many people thought it was an awful, crass story but I think it’s just reminiscent of the era it’s set in. I loved it, did I say that already?

 

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Next up was Murder on the Canadian by Eric Wilson. Now I’m well into my cosy crime and thought this was a really great short story – I know it’s meant for children but I think it’s definitely worth a read if you can squeeze a 94 page book into your TBR.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more in this series because it was well-written, the ending was somewhat unexpected and I read it in one sitting. Always a plus.

 

 

Then I realised I needed to read a library book that was due back on the 6th and I couldn’t renew it because someone else decided they wanted to read it too! How dare they. It was The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti if anyone is interested – which I found readable enough, it just lacked a bit of spark to me, there was not enough of a story and maybe a bit too much talking about mountains? I don’t know, I still thought it worthy of 4 stars.

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Back to my Read-eh-thon TBR, I read Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel which I didn’t realise was post-apocolyptic/speculative fiction. Because I hadn’t read the blurb. Now, speculative fiction normally isn’t my jam, whatsoever, however I found Station Eleven so readable and interesting that I must have read it just over 24 hours – when I had been at work for 8.5 hours, and slept for about 8.5 hours of that. Basically, it’s good! Even if you don’t think its your cup of tea, you should definitely give it a go!

 

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By this point (Saturday evening), I had of course realised I probably wasn’t going to get to Life of Pi and decided to try and find an audiobook on BorrowBox instead, that was written by a Canadian author etc. and I found Margaret Atwood’s Good Bones, Simple Murders and the Tent, which is a collection of teeny short stories. I will admit, it’s Monday now, the readathon finished last night and I haven’t quite finished this one but I am enjoying it! I love me some tales about misunderstood fictional people telling their stories.

 

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I also managed to get to Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland, which was fine, but certainly didn’t live up to the hype. I also went into this one not realising it was a bit post-apocalyptic, but just felt that Station Eleven was far more interesting? I don’t know, maybe its just because I read that one first.

Girlfriend in a coma was fine, and you should give it a go if speculative fiction is your jam but this one just wasn’t for me. I think it was written in a bit too much of a teenage voice for me? However the character development was good and the girl-being-in-a-coma-for-17-years was somewhat interesting as a plot device.

 

So all in all, I managed to read 5 and a half books in eight days, bringing my 2018 total to 63 so far! And I enjoyed nearly all of them – yay! Considering early last year I didn’t read anything besides non-fiction for my dissertation I am very proud of myself.

What did you read for the Read-eh-thon if you took part? Also, have you read any of these books & what did you think of them? I definitely want to read more Heather O’Neill and Emily St John Mandel after this week.

Let me know your thoughts!

Amy x

My Pre-Holiday/Library Book TBR – July 2018

So I have accidentally managed to accumulate quite a few library books over the last couple of weeks that I need to/want to return before I go on my holidays. I also have some proofs/ARCs I need to return to work so as not to be the greedy bookseller who borrows all the good proofs and goes on holiday, haha.

So, I have 9 days to read six library books and three proofs. Now, I have a feeling I’ll be DNF’ing one or two of the library books anyway because I’m just not feeling them right now, and because 9 books in 9 days seems a bit impossible.

But we’ll give it a go!

So, I have…

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
  • When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  • My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout
  • Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly

 

  • The Water Cure – Sophie Mackintosh
  • Normal People – Sally Rooney
  • The Mystery of Three Quarters – Sophie Hannah

 

Wish me luck!
Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts on them?

Laters,
Amy x

My Read-eh-thon TBR

I’ve decided to participate in my first readathon!

As a regular viewer of BooksandLala on Youtube, I found out about the Read-eh-thon that’s happening between the 1st July (tomorrow) and the 8th July (a week tomorrow) and decided its about time I do one of these things.

The Read-eh-thon is all about celebrating Canadian authors and literature with these five challenges:

• Read a book with red on the cover
• Read a book by a Canadian woman
• Read a book with “E” and “H” in the title
• Read a book by an indigenous author
• Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited

I will be honest – I just could not find a book by an indigenous Canadian author that I wanted to read and would have arrived in time, but I do still have five books to read this week!

And so, my TBR…

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Heather O’Neill
• Read a book by a Canadian woman
• Read a book with “E” and “H” in the title
• Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited

I bought this back when it first came out in paperback just because I thought the cover was so nice – I’m glad I finally have an excuse to read it!

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Murder on the Canadian
Eric Wilson
• Read a book with red on the cover
• Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited

Love a bit of cosy crime! So glad this one is only 94 pages though because reading five books in 8 days might be a bit unrealistic otherwise, haha. It’s also a children’s book and has illustrations, we might do it!

 

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Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mantel
• Read a book by a Canadian woman
• Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited

Haven’t even looked into what this is about, it just keeps catching my eye in the bookshop so I had to squeeze it into the read-eh-thon didn’t I, once I found out the author’s Canadian.

 

dc-girlfriend-in-a-coma-2Girlfriend in a Coma
Douglas Coupland
• Read a book set in a province you’ve never visited

Another one I’ve been meaning to read because it keeps catching my eye in the bookshop – it also got recommended to me by another bookseller once so now’s its chance!

 

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Life of Pi
Yann Martel

This one’s been sitting on my shelf for a while waiting to be read so since finding out Martel is Canadian, I’ve decided to add it into this week’s TBR – yay! Even though it doesn’t seem to fit any of the challenges – we’re doing this thing our way!

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So that’s it! That’s what I’m reading this week (hopefully) – let me know if you’re participating in the Read-eh-thon and/or what you’re reading this week!

Amy x

I’M BACK! & My May Playlist

Hello friends!

I’ve been neglecting my blog.
Sorry.

Adjusting from student life/summer holidays to moving house and starting a new full time job meant I stopped blogging – oops.

But it’s nine months later and I’ve started making a bit more of an effort to be productive in my spare time and so here I am!

I have some more ideas about posts I want to make but there’s definitely going to be more of a focus on books and illustration and tattoos and vegan stuff and whatever wants to come out of my brain, I guess.

If that sounds good, please stick around!

And just to give you a treat – here’s some music I’ve been particularly enjoying this last month – would recommend!

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Amy x

Books I got in October (2017)

The last month or so I’ve really tried to get back into reading, and working in a little indie bookshop has definitely helped!

I also decided around a month ago that I want to look into doing a Masters next year, and found a course that sounds really good in Cardiff. It’s an MA in Art and Design, which then has seven different pathways. Although they have an Illustration pathway, I am leaning more towards the Philosophy or Ecologies pathways, to explore contemporary illustration from a different angle.

That led me to decide I wanted to learn more about philosophy, so I bought some books! I started off with an AS Philosophy textbook that I got used off Amazon for a penny (the only reason I use Amazon is for books that I can get for pennies and cope with a used copy of) while I waited for Teach Yourself’s Philosophy: A Complete Introduction to be delivered to the bookshop.

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Now, I haven’t got around to reading much of the textbook yet but the Complete Introduction to Philosophy is AMAZING. The information in it feels so digestible and each chapter briefly covers a philosopher and their ideas, ending with a bit of a multiple-choice quiz to test how much you’ve understood. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to understand someone like Aristotle but this book has led me to buy his Nichomachean Ethics, which I am quite excited to read!

I also picked up a copy of Plato’s Symposium because of that book, and luckily it’s one of Penguin’s beautiful Great Ideas series. Having only picked it up yesterday, I haven’t had chance to open it yet – but it’s going to be one for the weekend I think.

Speaking of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, I also picked up their versions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and Chuang Tzu’s The Tao of Nature and I am excited about growing this collection! I feel like the size of the books (they are pretty short) will mean they are easier to digest and can be read while commuting, or over breakfast, that kind of thing.

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I thought I’d also include library books in this post, as I recently became a member of my new local library and I think they’re great! I’m leaning towards borrowing fiction books from the library over buying them, generally, because I think fiction is a lot more personal, and I feel I’m more likely to dislike a fiction book than a non-fiction. Maybe?

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I’ve started reading Meet Me in the In-Between, and being about halfway through, I am enjoying it. I heard/read a lot of mixed reviews on this book before reading it but I think it’s a good book, and definitely worth a try.

The Lesser Bohemians is a book I noticed in the bookshop and I was intrigued by the blurb so thought I’d give it a try – looking forward to that one.

Stay With Me is another one I’m excited about! I’ve heard so many good reviews, can’t wait to give it a read! I found out about it from watching some Booktubers’ videos on the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, specifically SavidgeReads and Reads and Daydreams (with Jen Campbell).

On the topic of Jen Campbell…

IMG_5770I also got this beautiful book of hers, illustrated by Katie Harnett, called Franklin’s Flying Bookshop in October. It’s a beautiful story and I’d definitely recommend it for a kid (little or big) in your life. I mean, it has copper foiling. Oof.

And that wraps up my October book haul!
I’ll let you know my thoughts on these books when I’m a bit closer to reading them…

Thanks for reading!

Amy x

What I Got Max for His Birthday (2017)

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Max had a birthday and I got him presents and I thought I’d show you what I got him! Almost everything is from small/independent companies/artists and he loved it all which is great!

First up (his favourite) was this cassette from Art is Hard Records, where different artists on the label covered Pavement songs.

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I also got him this single from Art is Hard, because he was obsessing a bit over Trust Fund around his birthday and noticed they had done a record for AIH’s Postcard Club. We don’t have a record player yet but I’m sure he’ll love it when we do get around to getting one!

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Next up is this postcard from Claire de Lune which I actually bought back in June/July…. I just love getting people presents, ok? I love the colours in it, thought they were very “Max” and it does now live on our studio bookshelf, so he must like it.

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Another piece of art I got him was this print from Yuk Fun that still hasn’t been framed yet… I love this so much and I think he does too? Again its pride of place on the studio bookshelf at the moment.

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I also got him a pin from Yuk Fun, because I want to inflict my love of pins onto Max and he did love this one!

 

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He’d hinted a couple of months ago that he might like an enamel mug to use in the studio as a ‘work mug’ so I found this one from Pirrip Press which is so nice I wish I bought myself one too! But they’d sold out of the other design in this range.

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As a bit of an extra little something, I also found these pushpins in a bargain bin in Waterstones that I thought would be nice for the cork board he’s nicked off me.

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After opening presents, we had a pretty chilled out day, made cat friends and drank hot chocolate.

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A couple of days later we also went to Bath and had such a nice day out (I also surprised him with a Hard Day’s Night spa treatment at Lush which he loved! Might do a separate blog post on that?)

Thanks for reading, and do check out all these amazing creative businesses I’ve mentioned!

Amy x

Filling the (not so) new house with art… (Part II)

I seem to have not blogged in over a month (oops). I got a new job and then struggled a bit to readjust my routine around it but now I’m feeling positive and excited about blogging and illustration again so you’ll hopefully be reading/seeing a lot more of me!

Continuing on with my last post about filling our new house with art, I’m now going to show you around the porch and upstairs rooms – starting with the bedroom:

This is a print I got from Dick Vincent years ago which I absolutely love! We had it in the bedroom in the flat but I think it fits so much nicer in the new house with all the exposed timbers.

That’s actually the only artwork we have in the bedroom – the room is a bit of an odd shape because it slopes on two sides and then opposite the wall in the photo is a shower and a cupboard with a toilet and sink in it…

The Studio

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One of my favourite things about the studio is having this magnetic noticeboard by my desk. I like that I can change it around if I want to but I can also have lots of art in one place without having a poke a billion nails into the wall.

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First up is this print I got recently from Annie Dornan Smith, (well Max got it for me when I told him about it, because I can’t be my own(?)). Isn’t he a sweetie.

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Another recent print is the storm in a teacup one by Stephy Draws who just set up an etsy shop – check it out! The postcards above were from her too, aren’t they beautiful!

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I’ve got this postcard on there from Lush Spa Poole that my friend Ceire got me when she went there – the first Lush shop in the world! Not sure who it’s by, sorry!

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Underneath that noticeboard is my little zine zone. I used to keep my zines in a box somewhere but the good thing about having a house is having more space and being able to keep cool things out in the open.

There is a selection including: The Printed Peanut, Tuesday Bassen (from Rope Press), Kristyna Baczynski, Thomas Colligan & Memohelen.

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Then we have the bookshelf! I love love love that we got a built in bookshelf in the studio (although we may need to invest in an extra one at some point!)

It needs a bit of reorganising as books just got a bit chucked on there when we were unpacking, but it makes me really happy.

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This print is a postcard I got from Andsmile studio quite a few years ago now, needs reframing, I think.

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This is one of Max’s zines from his fave, Mogu Takahashi.

There are some more prints on the shelves that I got Max for his birthday but there’ll be another post about what I got him for his birthday soon.

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When we moved in I snuck one of Max’s old paintings that I love on this little nook, he hates it now but I don’t think he can be bothered to move it, haha.

The Porch

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This print I got especially for the new house when I was getting a bit fed up of looking for houses, so it makes me feel happy when I see it – not only did we manage to get a house, but a really nice one! All the effort was worth it! It’s another one by Annie Dornan Smith.

Thanks for reading, and I promise it won’t be another month before I write another post.

Amy x