Still here…honest

I can’t quite believe that Autumn is here already, where has the time gone? I feel like recently I’ve being full of good intentions and yet all I’m delivering is apologies. Despite having many wonderful books that I want to tell you all about, time quite literally seems to be alluding me. Every time I sit down to share my thoughts I instead find myself astonished by how much time has elapsed since my last post.

So as the dark nights start to draw in and winter begins to envelop me I’ve made it my concerted effort to sit down with my laptop a lot more and keep you all updated on what I’ve being reading. Off course I know how busy these next few months will be so I can’t make any promises, nor can I set myself unrealistic goals.

What I will do though is start to catch up on some long overdue reviews that I want to share with you. After all I’m still yet to tell you all about the tragic love story buried in Evan Mandery’s Q, or the shocking story of  Warm Bodies, not to mention the other books I read last month, like The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha, or The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. All books that fascinated me for different reasons and thankfully all books I’d love to recommend to my readers.

It’s probably helpful really then that I’m experiencing a reading lull, that should surely  free up some much-needed time to write. Usually I hate reading lulls, I always panic, how long will I have these luke warm, apathetic feelings to a pastime I usually can’t live without? But after a two-week holiday of quite literally doing nothing but reading, I actually feel I need a break just so I can remember how much I love reading.

So it’s time to put my books aside this month and catch up with my readers. But whilst I’m having a break from books, what have you all being up to? Have you been having a reading lull? Or is there a book, or several books that you’ve being fully immersed in? I’d love to hear about what you’ve being up to and which books have being keeping your attention.


August rounded up

I must apologise if it has been a quiet month here at I Hug My Books, despite plenty of reading fun behind the scenes, it seems I’ve had little or no time to share my thoughts. On a positive note though, this means that I have many upcoming reviews soon to be published and I can’t wait to let you all know about the great books I’ve recently discovered.

I started August by finishing How To Be A Woman by Caitln Moran, a book I absolutely loved and which had a huge impact upon me. It made me truly rethink so many of my principles and although I didn’t agree with all of Moran’s opinions it did remind me of the importance of nurturing and acknowledging my own feelings.

I then moved onto The Hunger Games, a book totally different to How To Be A Woman but one I still deeply enjoyed. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a book that you can just get your teeth stuck into. I couldn’t put it down from page one and frankly that’s sometimes all I want from a book.

I then moved onto a book I probably would never have read had it not being chosen for my book group. The book in question was Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and my review is soon to be published. I enjoyed this book, but in the midst of a month of brilliant reading, this book finds itself firmly at the bottom of the pile.

Last, but by no means least, I read The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This book links beautifully with Zafon’s other two novels The Shadow Of The Wind and The Angels Game and it took me no effort at all to become addicted to this story. So much so that no sooner had I started it then I had finished it. I must say it’s definitely spoilt my reading appetite, nothing I’ve picked up since seems quite as worthy. Fingers crossed it wont be too long till Zafon’s next offering.

So that was August for me. I’ve just started Q by Evan Mandery, I do hope the story picks up soon, because even though I’m only fifty pages in the story is really dragging. But what about everyone else? What did you read in August? Anything you could recommend? Anything that really got you talking? And what do you have planned for September?

Gold by Chris Cleave

It’s 2012 and the London Olympics are imminent. Athletes from around the world are preparing for the biggest game on earth. Amongst them are long time rivals Zoe and Kate who share an intense friendship complicated by years of fierce competition. This will be their last ever Olympics before they must come back down to earth.

Kate has always sacrificed gold for the ones she loves, now her daughter is terminally ill but this is her last chance for the Gold medal which has always eluded her. And Zoe is a born winner whose desperate to outrun her past, but as the competition grows closer old daemons refuse to be ignored and she is forced to realise how empty her life is.

So much is at stake, but who should win?

With confidence and poise Chris Cleave unfolds this clever and witty story. He slowly peels away the layers of his characters revealing the true fears and hopes at their centre. Nothing is rushed much to the books merit, instead you will find yourself gradually drawn in, unable to put down this mesmerizing tale.

As the novels wears on we learn just how inextricably tangled both Kate and Zoe’s lives have become. Cleave taps into the true humanity of his characters and cleverly explores and challenges our idea’s of morality. On paper Zoe is surely a villain? taking any opportunity no matter how cruel to beat even her best friend. Whilst Kate the ultimate giver appears beyond reproach. But Cleave proves that nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

I actually thought I might loath a book about sports, after all my idea of physical exercise is re-arranging my bookshelf. However this book isn’t so sport heavy as to annihilate it’s reader and there really is much more at it’s heart.

For someone thus far underwhelmed by the prospect of the London Olympics my interest has being somewhat piqued after reading Gold. Cleave shone a new light on the unimaginably tough lives of top athletes showing that it’s not always what happens on the track that is the hardest.

April Rounded Up

While the weather outside might have being pretty miserable in April there was a silver lining in that it created the perfect setting for a month of reading hibernation. Don’t you just love it when the rain is beating down outside and the wind is howling but inside your tucked up with a great read, immersed in a completely different world?

I began the month by reading Home To Roost by Tessa Hainsworth. This non-fiction delight charts Hainsworth’s real life transformation from busy business woman in London to a post lady in rural Cornwall. The book is a charming and transporting story which may even inspire it’s reader. I soon forgot our own gloomy weather and felt lost in Tessa’s world on the beautiful Cornish coast.

Next up I stuck with the Cornish theme reading what is now firmly one of my all time favourite books. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.  It seems that it wasn’t only my favourite, judging by everyone else’s reactions you all loved this book too. I now can’t wait to read some more Du Muarier titles. Thanks everyone for your recommendations.

I was fortunate enough that the next book I picked up was another true gem. Getting into the 2012 Olympics I read the powerful and moving Gold by Chris Cleave. Please keep an eye out for my review which will appear very soon. I can’t wait to share my thoughts on this unique and engrossing story.

Finally I finished of the month reading Night by Elie Wiesel. The tone was certainly more sombre and at times difficult to digest, but then aren’t these books sometimes the best? I’ll be posting my review soon and look forward to sharing my thoughts on this one also.

So that was April for me, what about everyone else? Did you read anything special? And what about May any big plans? I don’t have any solid plans. There’s too many books, too little time. But fingers crossed it will be just as exciting a reading journey as April.

Happy Reading Everyone.

March Round Up

They say variety is the spice of life and that’s certainly being the case this month for me. From crime fiction to spiritual prose to Swedish Literature and classic English novels. March definitely wasn’t dull.

I began the month by reading By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie. This is the first book by her that I’ve read which is foolish really because the minute I opened the book I knew I should have tried her stories much earlier. I had this discussion with a friend recently in whom I share similar bookish tastes. We both agreed that there was something about her writing that had always put us off. I’m now a convert and advise anyone with reservations to give her a go.

Next up was a book wholly different, The Buddha In The Attic by Julie Otsuka. The book is more of a novella, condensed to a sparse two hundred or so pages it broods on the collective lives of a group of Japanese women who cross the Atlantic in search of the American dream. Otsuka has a dreamy lyrical voice and I felt transported and mesmerised by her prose. This is unlike anything I’ve read in a long while and it made a welcome break from the norm.

I then moved onto the classic Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee, a book that soothingly tells the charming story of Lee’s life growing up in the rural countryside in a more simple and peaceful time. It made the perfect accompaniment to the lovely weather we have being having. This book was this months book group and I can’t wait to meet up with the gang to discuss it later this week, my review will follow shortly. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

I then went back to crime but with a twist in the form of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. You can probably tell from my last review that I loved the book and I now can’t wait to read the next two. What does everyone else think of the millennium Trilogy?

And lastly I started but haven’t yet finished The Lord Of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon and Home to Roost Tessa Hainsworth. The Lord of Misrule has being long listed for the Orange Prize this year and so far I have conflicting thoughts on the book so will hold back before I make my mind up. Home to Roost is a transporting story set in idyllic Cornwall and I’m already detesting rainy Manchester and dreaming of the beautiful Cornish coast.

So what did everyone else read last month and do you have any plans for April? Any recommendations or books that’s stood out for you last month?

I don’t have any solid plans however I do plan to get a bookshelf for my new house which is very exciting as my poor books have been stacked in musty boxes for the past two years. it will be my pride and joy and I’ll definitely post pictures.

Happy Reading everyone.

Happy Birthday To I Hug My Books

Happy Birthday To My Blog….

I can’t believe it’s being a year ago today that I started my blog and posted my first review. In many ways it seems like life times ago that I began trying to circumnavigate my way around the blogging community, getting to grips with the way things worked. But in many ways it seems only yesterday that I decided to begin blogging. Either way I’m delighted to say that I Hug My Books is a year old, it’s being such a wonderful experience and for someone quite capricious in my hobbies I would say a year was pretty good, fingers crossed there will be many, many more.

Off course the blog wouldn’t be half as fun if it wasn’t for all of the people who take the time to stop by, comment and like my posts. It really makes a huge difference knowing that your posts are being read and fingers crossed enjoyed. I’ve also discovered some brilliant blogs along the way, started a book group I love and had some amazing book suggestions sent my way.

Thanks everyone for stopping by! And please stick around for what will hopefully be many, many more years of I Hug My Books.

Goodbye January….Hello February

Yikes is it really already February? Where does the time go? If things have been a little quiet at I hug my books recently it’s thanks to hectic schedules and nasty college deadlines. But thankfully I’ve still managed to squeeze in some brilliant reading, some I’ve shared with you, some I’m looking forward to sharing soon.

I began the month with The Particular Sadness of Lemon cake which I enjoyed despite it really not being my usual kind of book. I hadn’t given it too much thought after reading and reviewing it until a friend asked me my thoughts just the other day. It made me re-asses my feelings and realize just how much I’d liked this book in spite of the unusual and unpredictable turn that it took.

Next up was another book that I probably wouldn’t normally read, Ask The Dusk by John Fante. Thanks to a work colleague insisting I try it I was soon immersed in the wonderful world of Arturo Bandini, enjoying another novel set in the heart of L.A. A setting that doesn’t usually show up in the books I read but one that fascinates me.

I then read The Secret Life of bee’s which was given to me as a gift. I’m yet to post my review so I’ll remain quite hushed up on this one for now. Also I haven’t quite made up my mind on this book. I enjoyed it, in the momentt, but it was one of those books that once finished seems to vanish from your memory almost immediately.

And lastly a book I’m not likely to forget anytime soon is The Shadow of The Wind which I read just the other day as part of my book group. Again I’m yet to post my review but once I do I’m sure you’ll find I was enthralled by Zafon’s magical story  and the mesmerizing world he has created. I’ll also be posting the thoughts of my fellow book groupers. There will also be a small quiz posted on this book in the near future with a chance to win a free book. More details to follow shortly.

For now I don’t really have any solid reading plans other than reading The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks which I’ve finally managed to get a copy of from my local library. I’m also going to be reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay as part of a book blog tour, more details of that to come soon.

So what about everyone else? Read anything god this month? Got any plans for February? I’d love to hear what you’ve being up to reading wise.