All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

April Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 19
Fiction: 15
Non-Fiction: 4
Library Books: 8
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 13
Male/Female Authors: 2/17
Kindle Books: 0
Audiobooks: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 0
Favourite Book(s): Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly and Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Least Favourite Books: Trick Of The Light by Fiona McCallum
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 14

April was again, a really nice reading month. I think part of that was because, for April which should still be a pretty nice month weather wise, we actually had a lot of really cold and crappy weather. Days to stay inside and get lots of reading done – which I did! I read 19 books for April, 15 fiction titles and 4 non-fiction titles. I utilised my local library a lot this month, reading 8 books from there, 6 in print and listening to 2 audiobooks via Borrow Box. I still have a large amount of books checked out from the library so I expect the total for next month to be pretty generous too. However I’m still not going great with ebooks – another month where I read 0 on either my kindle or iPad. Whoops. I have books on there I want to read, just find myself picking up print books instead, especially after it felt like I was getting a lot of headaches when trying to read on a screen.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 31/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 4/6

Reading Women Challenge: 0/28 (honestly might as well just abandon this one now)

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 15/25

Good progress made in my other 3 challenges though – 8 books for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, 3 books for the Read Non Fiction Challenge (so despite getting off to a bit of a slow start, I’ve made up a lot of ground there) and 5 more books completed for the Historical Fiction Reading challenge.

For those who remember my huuuuuuuge TBR pile for April – I almost finished it. I read all but 2 books on it, which I’ve added to the shelf of “books I didn’t get time for during their release months but still want to read”. One of them is my online bookclub choice for May, so I’ll do my best to fit that in this month, which should be doable as the pile this month is considerably smaller than that last one!

Here’s my May TBR:

As mentioned, apart from this pile I still also have quite a few library books checked out. I’ve also bought a few book recently and thanks to watching Shadow And Bone on Netflix (and loving it!) I’ve been rereading Six of Crows and I’m planning to finally read Crooked Kingdom straight after – by the time this post goes up, I should’ve actually finished both of those. I also picked up King Of Scars and Rule Of Wolves to read but I have yet to finish the original Shadow and Bone trilogy. I’ve read the first book but never got around to reading 2&3. I do have them, but part of the problem is that book-Mal bores me so much. I just need to push through to meet the relevant characters so that I can move on to the other duology. I also bought a copy of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint and I’m looking forward to reading that too, hopefully this month.

Hope that you all had a fun reading April and that you have some exciting things to look forward to for May. If you’ve read anything from my pile, be sure to let me know.

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December & 2020 Yearly Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 8
Fiction: 8
Non-Fiction: 0
Library Books: 1
Books On My TBR List: 2
Books in a Series: 6
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 1
Male/Female Authors: 0/8
Kindle Books: 1
Books I Owned or Bought: 5
Favourite Book(s): Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (audio), The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black (audio)
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3/5 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 2

Okay, so December was definitely kind of a bust, reading wise. I only actually read 6 books and I listened to two on audiobook, one of which (The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black) I’ve read in print multiple times. So overall, there wasn’t really a lot going on. I ended up contributing no more to the challenges I had hoped to finish in December and actually, didn’t even get close to picking up any one of the books I needed in order to finish them. I don’t even really have that many excuses for not reading except that mostly, I didn’t want to! A little way through the month I just decided to completely go with it and mostly take December off and hope that I’d be refreshed and ready for 2021!

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 87/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 11/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 23/26

As you can see, no progress made from November! Overall I’m pretty happy with my results in the challenges I took part in – I deliberately lowballed my AWWC total and easily surpassed it. Originally I signed up for the mid-level of participation in the Read Non Fiction Challenge, which I completed and then I tried to finish all the categories and made it to 11 out of the 12, which is pretty good. And I did get to 23 of the 26 prompts in the Reading Women Challenge which is not too bad either.  I’m taking part in all of these challenges again next year, but I can’t say I expect to improve on my totals here. I had a lot more reading time, having experienced about 20-24 weeks of lockdown of some description or other that we hopefully will not have to do again in 2021.

And the yearly reading wrap up…….

Total Books Read: 241
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 114
Male/Female Authors: 31/210
Kindle Books: 82
Library Reads: 65
5-Star Reads: 34 (I include 4.5 and 5-star reads in this total)
Most Prolific Reading Month: April & July – 26 books
Least Prolific Reading Month: December – 8 books

Thanks to the spreadsheet I use to track my reading, I have access to a whole bunch of other fun stats as well, so some of those are….

  • I read 208 fiction books and 33 non-fiction books
  • 200 were classed as adult, 39 as young-adult and 2 as middle grade or children’s
  • books were audiobooks – something of a record for me!
  • Although most books (226) I read are classed as prose, I also read books of poetry, novellas, graphic novels, essay collections and short story collections.
  • 26 books by an author of colour
  • books in translation
  • re-reads
  • 110 books were received from the publisher for review
  • 111 books were published in Australia first, followed by 92 from the US and 29 from the UK
  • I spent $331.94 on books I purchased and read in 2020 – this does not include books I purchased in 2020 that I have not read yet!
  • In the break down of why I read books, 114 were read for ‘fun’ which means they were something I wanted to read, 110 were read for ‘work’ (which is how I classify ARCS), 15 I read for personal development and I read solely because they were a choice for a book club I’m in
  • General fiction was my most read genre with 70 titles followed by romance with 43 and then mystery/crime with 34 and historical with 33. The spreadsheet only allows me to choose one genre so many of these probably cross over and I just pick what I feel is the primary one in order to classify it
  • My most popular rating is 4-stars – I rated 103 books that way in 2020
  • I rated books 1-star and books 5-stars so I’m stingy with both my effusive praise but also my disdain! It’s rare that I choose a book for myself that I hate – one of my 1-stars was an ARC, the other an audiobook where I hated the narration. That audiobook was also my only DNF for the year
  • Overall I read 82,139 pages and spent 3 days, 10hrs and 54 minutes listening to audiobooks
  • 107 books were between 300-400 pages. I read books greater than 700p and books that were less than 100p

I read more books in 2020 than in 2019, but obviously a large part of that was basically not leaving the house for months between late March and late September. I don’t usually set reading goals or resolutions and I have no idea what 2021 is going to bring (I feel things are still a bit precarious) so I’m not going to note down any here.

Here’s my January TBR – it’s bigger than I expected it to be, a few of these turned up right on the last day we got mail before Christmas.

Hoping 2021 brings the return of my reading mojo!

 

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November Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 14
Fiction: 12
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 4
Books in a Series: 6
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 7
Male/Female Authors: 4/10
Kindle Books: 3
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow, A Promised Land by Barack Obama and The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald
Least Favourite Books: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthal (a DNF for me)
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 5

Well I’m calling it early this month. Usually I don’t post my wrap up post until the first of the next month but I haven’t read a book in a week and I don’t see myself picking one up today so I’m posting this! My total is significantly down on previous months and I guess there’s a few reasons for that but mostly the first one is, Melbourne came out of lockdown. Like we have no restrictions on our movements anymore, we can visit pretty much anywhere now (except WA, hi WA) as by the time this goes up, most of the borders will be open. We have freedom of movement throughout the state as well, as the barrier separating Melbourne’s metropolitan area from regional Victoria was also removed. Cafes, restaurants and shops opened back up for eating in and browsing and we can start socialising again! Since the lockdown stages lifted, we have been back out to brunch every week at our favourite cafe, have had several of my stepchildren and their families if relevant, over for dinner or lunch and we even took a drive to a nearby city to buy something at a local business. We haven’t really done a lot of things so far though and masks are still required indoors. But Victoria has had 0 cases for 30+ days now, which is technically considered to be “elimination” from the community which is an absolutely phenomenal effort from the days where we had 700+ cases. The lockdown was tough, but it worked.

I also had a lot of headaches the last month or so, which could be from either hayfever season (I am a chronic sufferer) or needing new glasses. I was due an eye test and so I booked in for one a couple weeks ago and ended up with new glasses. So far things are ok – I’m still getting dull headaches but I feel they are sinus pressure related and they don’t occur when I’m reading so I’m pretty confident the new glasses (which I’ve actually only had about five days) are going ok so far. I got an anti-glare coating on my reading glasses for using the computer/laptop and reading on my iPad which will hopefully be beneficial.

So I read 14 books in November, most were good reads, some were really good. I also finally gave up on an audiobook I’d been struggling through, marking my first offical DNF of 2020. I’ve read a lot of books this year (thanks covid!) and to only have one DNF is pretty good I think.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 85/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 11/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 23/26

I have four books to read to complete all my challenges this year. I need to read my final book for the Read Non Fiction Challenge (which I actually have, it’s just very sciency and I’ve fried my brain with a lot of heavy non fiction lately, so need to be in the mood) and also 3 for the Reading Women Challenge. The 3 for that are the 2 bonus prompts, which are read a book by Isabelle Allende (I do have one I haven’t read on my TBR shelf), read a book by Toni Morrison (I own Beloved) and also read a book by a new to you or favourite publisher, which is a bit of a puzzle. Not sure what to do for that one yet. I’m finished with my Australian Women Writers Challenge – I did intend to try and reach 100 titles but I don’t think I’ll make it now, seeing as my reading has dropped off significantly.

Here’s my December TBR:

As you can see, it’s probably by far the smallest one I’ve posted all year. The Monica McInerney I actually had in a previous TBR and never got to it. It’s the December selection for the online bookclub I’m in, so it’s my intention to get to it this month before that discussion. The other 2 are books I received from the publishers – I actually did not make any requests this month and just decided to leave it to the review gods to see what appeared and I’m quite happy with the fact that it’s a {very} small selection because it’s not an amount of books where I feel pressured. I still have some library books checked out and also some books that I’ve purchased recently that I’m hoping to get to over the summer break. Plus, there’s Christmas haha. Christmas always brings books.

I’m actually really excited for Christmas this year. Lockdown was good for one thing – I did quite a bit of online shopping to pass the time and because of that, I’ve been pretty much finished Christmas wise, for a while now. Everything has already arrived and is stashed in various hiding places and I was able to be pretty sneaky. I don’t need to go out to the shops at all, which is good because malls at Christmas time always give me anxiety.

 

I hope you all had a great reading November and stayed safe. If you’ve read anything on my pile (small as it may be), let me know.

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October Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 21
Fiction: 16
Non-Fiction: 5
Library Books: 5
Books On My TBR List: 2
Books in a Series: 7
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 13
Male/Female Authors: 5/16
Kindle Books: 8
Books I Owned or Bought: 6
Favourite Book(s): Beach Read by Emily Henry, Flying The Nest by Rachael Johns
Least Favourite Books: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, Christmas At Claridges by Karen Swan
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 9

October brought some light to the end of the tunnel for those of us in Melbourne! My kids went back to school, we had restrictions ease in multiple ways. On the 8th November, most of the last few remaining rules (don’t travel more than 25km from home and the divide between metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria) will be removed. People are still advised to work from home when they can, wear masks, keep their distance. There are still some rules about the amount of people you can have to your house and indoor gatherings are restricted in number (including restaurants, cafes, bars, indoor sports venues etc) but we are experiencing much more freedom than we’ve had in months. Having said that, I have only been out twice, to a smaller local shopping centre rather than the really large one. Still, it’s good. There’s a feeling of having accomplished something, through all the hard work and struggle, because you look at places in Europe, who had the same numbers as us a few months ago and see where they are vs where we are.

I read 21 books in the month of October, 16 fiction and 5 non-fiction. I actually finished all my requested review books with time to spare so I sat down one day and went through what I had to do to finish the challenges I had signed up for and did my best to source some books that would fit in with the prompts I had remaining. Last month I still had 5 books to read to complete my 2020 Non-Fiction Reader Challenge and 10 to read to complete the Reading Women Challenge. I have already finished the third challenge I signed up for, The Australian Women Writers Challenge. I am actually very pleased with the progress I made in the latter part of October:

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 82/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 11/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 20/26

So now I have just one book left to complete all the prompts for the Read Non-Fiction Challenge (and I have a book ready to go for it) and 6 books left to read to complete the Reading Women Challenge. I do have several books ready to go for that too but there are still a couple of the topics that are giving me grief!

Here’s my November TBR:

Quite a small pile this month (and it’s actually smaller already, because I read 2 of these over the weekend). But that’s good because it will give me some time to hopefully finish the non-fiction challenge and also contribute a few more books towards the Reading Women Challenge. I’m not 100% confident I’ll finish that one but I should go close.

Hopefully you all had a really enjoyable reading October – if you’ve read anything from my TBR let me know

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September Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 25
Fiction: 24
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 3
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 8
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 4.5/20.5 (one book is by a male/female pairing writing under one name)
Kindle Books: 10
Books I Owned or Bought: 8
Favourite Book(s): Elsa’s Stand by Cathryn Hein, Road To Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie, The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker & The F Team by Rawah Arja
Least Favourite Books: Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere, The Lying Life Of Adults by Elena Ferrante
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 14 (12 individual titles, 2 qualified for 2 different challenges)

Life…… Stage 4 lockdown continued throughout the month of September (until the 28th, where we entered the “next stage” but the new steps don’t affect us for a couple weeks) which means I didn’t leave my house really which means I did a lot of reading! My husband was home for the entire month (well almost, he went back to work on the 29th) recovering from the operation he had and my kids were also on school holidays for the last portion of September as well. The last week of school was a plethora of half days as they had zoom parent teacher interviews on two of the days and had half days for that and the last day of term is always a half day. But we do have some good news here in terms of Melbourne and its battle against corona – my kids will return to face to face schooling the week beginning the 12th October although it’ll probably not be full time and they may not even attend on the same days. Still waiting for more information there. And we have done amazing work getting the case numbers down so hopefully on the 19th October, we can move out of this and get back to some sort of “normal” life, although what that looks like I don’t know. Seems like whenever a place feels like it’s getting back to normal, a resurgence in the virus occurs, so we’re always going to have to live with some sort of concession to it I think, until there’s a vaccine. If there’s a vaccine.

So of the 25 books I read in September, 24 of them were fiction. I did manage to squeeze in one non-fiction title right towards the end of the month, which was Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I thought was beautifully written and very blunt in terms of describing a black man’s life in America and a lot of the complexities, grief and anger surrounding that. It’s written as a letter to his adolescent son, all the things he wants him to know. I’ve been mulling it over for a few days, it’s one of those books where I find it very hard to review!

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 75/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 16/26

Not as much progress as I would’ve liked in September! I did read 2 books towards my Reading Women Challenge but I didn’t read anything for the Non-Fiction Challenge. I’m still finding it hard to source what I am after there, as the online non-fiction selection through my library isn’t great and my library was closed throughout all of the month of September. I did see they’re gearing up to return to click & collect and also their delivery service, which I was taking advantage of before it had to cease when we entered Stage 4 restrictions, so hopefully I can use that in the future. I read 11 books towards The Australian Women Writers Challenge but that one is never an issue! It’s going to be pretty hard to finish both of these now, with only 3 months left in the year, so I’ll have to see how I go.

I did finish all the books I set for my September TBR, even The Thorn Birds! 

Onto my October TBR:

No 735p behemoths in this pile!

Lots to be excited about though. Definitely looking forward to reading Monica McInerney’s new one and I’ve read the first couple of chapters of The Mother Fault and was loving it so I’m keen to get stuck into that one too. Also have a new Rachael Johns book and that’s always a guaranteed good read. I’m part of a publisher-organised blog tour for Letters From Berlin so look out for my post for that one on October the 14th. I’m also really curious about the Dash & Lily book – it’s been a long time since I read the first one (and there’s actually been one since, which I’ve not read) but it’ll be cute to revisit them before the Netflix series begins. I’m a bit on the fence about the Alice Hoffman – it’s apparently a prequel to Practical Magic which I’ve not read, nor seen the movie but given it’s a prequel….it’s probably not so bad.

Hope you all had a good reading September. The end of the year is coming up quickly, quicker than I’d like, it doesn’t feel like I should soon be preparing for Christmas. I’ve no idea what Christmas is going to look like this year, hopefully by then we can maybe snatch a couple of days away within the same state somewhere, which would be nice. If not, some day trips I guess? And visiting some people we haven’t seen since last year!

 

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August Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 22
Fiction: 19
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 6
Books On My TBR List: 12
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 3/19
Kindle Books: 10
Books I Owned or Bought: 0
Favourite Book(s): The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannah, The Secret Life Of Shirley Sullivan by Lisa Ireland, The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy, A Nanny Called Alice by Barbara Hannay and The Bush Telegraph by Fiona McArthur.
Least Favourite Books: I Give My Marriage A Year by Holly Wainwright
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 16

August was a mixed reading month! In the first 10 days, I had read 11 books. But in the 11 days after that, I read only 3. My husband went in for surgery on the 11th and remained in hospital for that 11 days and I found a lot of it quite stressful and I couldn’t really relax enough to read. The day he had the operation, it ended up lasting over 8 hours when for some reason, I thought that it would be much shorter. It wasn’t a very serious operation as such (other than all operations are serious and carry with them inherent risks, etc) but it was a very precise one with a plastic surgery and reconstruction component that ended up taking about 6 hours after the orthopaedic component. Because there was a huge risk of infection, his hospital stay had to be lengthy so he could be closely monitored and to avoid having to go back if anything did happen. Thankfully his recovery has been textbook, he’s been home for about 10 days now but I’ve had less time than normal to read because he’s not really able to do anything. He’s in a full leg brace and on crutches although his mobility is improving every day. So I did still read a lot of books for August, but mostly because I read so many in the first third of the month! Also a lot of the books I read were quite short – I’d say probably more than half a dozen were under 200p and there was probably almost nothing over 400.

We are still in Stage 4 lockdown here. Only allowed out for essential items like food/medical supplies and we can’t travel more than 5km from home for them. To be honest I pretty much haven’t gone anywhere. I arranged for some groceries to be delivered and I’ve made one trip to a supermarket for bread and milk. The weather has been slowly improving (today is the first day of spring here in Australia!) but we’ve also had some last kicks of winter too and it’s been all too easy to stay inside. We have about 2 weeks left of this Stage 4 implementation and the numbers have really been falling steadily although they will be cautious in lifting restrictions, I’m sure. They don’t want things to escalate and get out of control again and I’m 100% supportive of that even though it’s inconvenient and I know I’m coming from the lucky position of no one in my household having lost their job. There are many other people doing it a lot tougher.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 64/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 14/26

I’ve fallen slightly behind on the bottom two challenges, I only read one book towards the Reading Women Challenge in August and nothing towards the Non-fiction challenge. I think that was largely because I was seeking a certain type of read in August and those types of reads don’t count towards those challenges. I did however, read 15 books that count towards The Australian Women Writers Challenge which means I’ve achieved my goal of 50 books read in 2020 although I’ll continue to count the books I read that qualify. I did deliberately pick a low number for that in terms of what I knew I’d read because I knew the other two challenges would be “more” of a challenge and require more time devoted to finding books that qualified. I’m going to need to read 3 books a month that count to finish the RWC and another five books in 4 months to complete the Read Non-Fic.

Here’s my September TBR pile and it’s a bit of a tower!

The pile on the left are ARCs for the month and the one on the right, The Thorn Birds is for the Rachael Johns Online Book Club September read. The club has almost 3000 members and there’s a dedicated book each month that we read and then there’s a discussion at the end of the month. Usually we choose a newer book but I think one of the choices was pushed back in publication because of covid so we ended up with a free month and there was a vote and this retro title won. I’ve never read The Thorn Birds although I have owned this copy for a few years and have intended to read it for ages. It’s a very large book though and as you can see, I have a lot to read throughout the month so my plan is to break it down into chunks and devote each weekend to reading a certain amount of the book.

Hope your July was productive and/or enjoyable! If you’ve read anything on my TBR pile, feel free to let me know – likewise if you see something you’d like to read. Stay safe everyone 🙂

Little reminder: you can follow my blog on Facebook here now.

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July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 26
Fiction: 21
Non-Fiction: 5
Library Books: 10
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 9
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 5/21
Kindle Books: 14
Books I Owned or Bought: 10
Favourite Book(s): Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie, The Farm At Peppertree Crossing by Lèonie Kelsall.
Least Favourite Books: Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10 (technically 7 books but one counted towards 3 challenges)

Well, July was a month. We had about three weeks of June, where my kids went back to school and things began slowly opening up, with restrictions. The kids finished school and went onto winter break and as they did, the numbers of COVID cases began to escalate as it escaped into the community. From July 8, I think it was, greater Melbourne (which is where I am) went back into lockdown, essentially Stage 3, with only 4 reasons to leave your house: essential supplies, to give or receive medical care, work if it cannot be done from home and exercise within your suburb. The kids were granted an extra week of school holidays and then remote learning was to begin again. They’ve done two weeks of that so far and it’s a lot more face to face this time around, with zoom check ins every day and focus groups of 3/4/5 also doing zoom calls for things like reading and maths.

So I read a lot. The numbers are grim at the moment – Victoria has registered 3 days over 500 recently, including a 700+ and my postcode is the one with the highest amount of cases currently. We are staying very much inside here. My husband still goes to work, but his job is a solitary one and his industry has no confirmed cases. He travels in his car to work, he works alone in his room, he comes home. And for some overseas those numbers are tiny, I definitely get that. But they’re not tiny for us. It’s crept into aged care in Victoria and as everyone knows, once that happens it’s very difficult to get back under control and unfortunately the fatalities increase as those are some of the most vulnerable people in the community. This second stage of lockdown was originally scheduled for 6 weeks but given we are halfway in and registering our highest numbers of this whole illness being a thing, it’s pretty much a guarantee that lockdown will be extended and probably even tightened. (Edit #1 – Yesterday it was announced after I had written this post that we would enter stage 4 restrictions here in Melbourne for the next 6 weeks – there’s a nighttime curfew, restrictions on how far from home we can travel for food/essentials, how many people can go shopping/exercise etc).

My husband was supposed to be having surgery on August the 4th but last Tuesday the government announced that all surgery other than Cat 1 and the most urgent of Cat 2 would be suspended. My husband is Cat 2 but we don’t know how urgently they class it. Probably not very but at the moment getting an answer about it seems to be almost impossible. I suspect he’ll be told it’s been cancelled on the day, so right now we are in a bit of limbo about that. (Edit #2 – it will go ahead we found out this morning, but next Tuesday August 11th).

Reading is my escape and I certainly escaped plenty. I read 26 books in July, which is my equal highest total for the year (I also read 26 books in April). Well technically I read 24 books and listened to 2 audiobooks. I’ve been utilising my library a lot, both physical copies and those I can borrow electronically. The library has been excellent for allowing me to read books that fit with the mood I have at the moment, which is ‘please give me all the good feels’. However I’ve also been doing a bit of non-fiction reading as well though, which was one of the things I wanted to accomplish this year.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 49/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 13/26

And with that in mind, and how much I’m turning to books at the moment, I have a lot of books to choose from, for August.

These were mostly sent to me and the top one was a purchase I made myself. As well as these books, I have been taking advantage of the fact that we can still request books through our local library system (even though it is shut) and if you fill out a form, they will collect and deliver your holds to you each week. I received a pretty decent sized delivery from them on Friday:

Quite a stash! Plenty of Karen Swan books, in order to continue my project of reading all her backlist. I’m finding her books quite comforting at the moment. Also grabbed a couple of Connie Willis books but I think there’s some others I should read before these – my library didn’t have them, so I will have to hunt around. I’m really interested in Ronan Farrow’s book as well. I requested the Kiley Reid way before even the first lockdown – for now, we can keep library books until like October or something, but you can return them if you like. Someone must’ve just recently returned this one.

I also have a significant number of eBooks, including about 6 or so review copies for the month of August also also some books I’ve borrowed electronically from my library. This month is also the month of the Melbourne Writers Festival, which I normally attend every year. This year it’s 100% online and anyone can attend – and the best thing is you can pay whatever you can afford, for tickets. If you can afford to make a donation, excellent. However if times are tough, most events (not sure about the workshops) can be booked into for free, which is an amazing thing at this time. A lot of people will be doing it tough, having lost jobs or put onto JobKeeper or had reduced hours so the fact that there are things that can be enjoyed for relatively little to no outlay, is awesome. I have booked into quite a few sessions and some of the eBooks I’ve borrowed from the library relate to those.

If you’re in Melbourne like me, or another area where the numbers are still a concern, then I hope you’re staying safe & at home as much as you can. If July was a good reading month for you, let me know – and also, your reading plans for August!

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October Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 29
Fiction: 26
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 12
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 4/25
Kindle Books: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 11
Favourite Book(s): I Am Change by Suzy Zail, Guest House For Young Widows: Among The Women Of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni.
Least Favourite Books: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

October was a big reading month.

I’m not 100% sure why I managed to get through so many books – a combination of having a lot of good books to read, making more reading time, especially at night when I’d usually be watching mindless TV and also joining the Mate-A-Thon Challenge, which had set challenges but all pages read counted towards your overall total, so I was motivated to read more and add more pages for my team! I read a lot of really solid books in October, but there were two real stand outs for me. Both of these titles tackled women’s issues and being women in difficult situations. In I Am Change, the main character is a young girl in rural Uganda, struggling to break tradition and get herself an education so that she might become a writer. This was an amazing, eye opening book, often difficult to read at times. And Guest House For Young Widows was also difficult too, in lots of ways, challenging thinking about women who left in some cases, safe and secure countries to go and be a part of something new. I only had one book that I didn’t really enjoy that much for October, which was an audiobook. Actually the only audiobook I think I have listened to this year. It’s not really my preferred format but it suited my situation at the time.

This is my November ARC pile. It’s actually relatively tame but I do have quite a lot of other books I hope to read this month. I’ve got a few out from my local library at the moment plus I’ve bought some recently that I am looking to make time for as well. I am definitely trying to read more books that I own, rather than just moving them to my unread shelf! I’m attempting to make my way through the Leigh Bardugo Grisha books – I read Shadow & Bone this month, which was actually a re-read but it’s been 6 or so years since I’ve read it! Hopefully I’ll move on to Siege & Storm this month. I also have to read Smoke In The Sun to round out that duology and considering I have In Darkness Visible in my ARC pile, I picked up the first book, The Twentieth Man from my local library. In October I also bought The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth and I also have Scrublands Silver by Chris Hammer which I’d like to fit in too. I’ve heard really amazing things about both of those and I want to see what all the fuss is about! Last month I got through all of my ARC pile except one so that rolls over to this month too, I need to fit it in because it’s the December read for my online book club.

The year is beginning to wind down, we are getting pretty close to the end now. We will be heading away in mid December or so, trekking north for Christmas and I won’t be taking any books away with me, although I’ll have my iPad and access to everything that’s on there. Ideally I’d like to be finished with my challenges by then, and just take the three weeks that I’m away to read purely books that I’ve had on my iPad for a long time and fluffy holiday type reads. So November is my ‘ticking things off’ month, where I hope to finish my Goodreads challenge and try and get to 80 books read for my Australian Women Writers Challenge.

Hope you all had a great October!

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August Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 16
Fiction: 12
Non-Fiction: 4
Library Books: 5
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 1
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 11
Male/Female Authors: 1/15
Kindle Books: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 3
Favourite Book(s): Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
Least Favourite Books: The Most Difficult Thing by Charlotte Philby
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

August was both a success and a fail, reading wise! In terms of numbers, I’m pretty happy with how many books I managed to read throughout the month. My parents were visiting for two weeks, which coincided with my oldest son’s 11th birthday and so I didn’t really do a lot of reading while they were here, just a couple of afternoons when the weather was a bit crap. So to read 16 books for the month, check off quite a lot towards challenges and also explore 11 new authors was, I feel, a really good reading month. I had 1 book that I didn’t really love but mostly it was a solid reading month with lots of 4 star books.

I was less successful in getting through my August TBR pile. Of the 10 books, I still have 4 I haven’t read, nor have I read the 3 I didn’t get to from July’s pile! So there’s quite a lot of books building up there…..oops. They’ll all go onto my Not Right Now TBR pile to hopefully dig out in some quieter months. I did quite a bit of reading from my local library this month, with 5 books and I still have a couple checked out to read, all of which are to help me with my Reading Women Podcast Challenge, which I made good progress on.

Here is the September TBR pile:

Am I the only one weirded out by the fact that I’m writing September? This year has just gone so ridiculously fast. My kids are nearly on school holidays again (they only have three weeks to go) and it feels like we just came back from the previous set of school holidays. Anyway, this is what I’ll be (hopefully) reading this month.

I’m really excited and also quite sad about The Rich Man’s House by Andrew McGahan. He died earlier this year and although this book is complete, there’s a note at the beginning of it that addresses that he was critically ill when he was editing and that it’s probably not perfect.

The only book not received from the publishers here is The Chain by Adrian McGinty, which I bought myself recently. I have heard so many amazing things about it and the story surrounding its writing/publishing is really quite interesting.

Those are not all of my plans for the month. I also have the library books I mentioned before – 3 of them, all of which are for prompts in my Reading Women Podcast Challenge. If I can get those ticked off, I will definitely be on the home stretch for that challenge with a few months left to complete some of the more difficult prompts, like read a play (I don’t like reading plays) and read a book translated before 1945 which I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with.

And then of course there’s these……

I read the first book, The Seven Sisters last week and although I definitely won’t read all of these in September, I do hope to read perhaps 2 of them. The bottom one is book 2, which was sent by the publisher a few years ago, which is why it’s a different format to all the rest, although at least the covers match.

Later this month my youngest son turns 8 and we are also going away, just for four days, back to Phillip Island. We went in March for the first time and loved it so much that we had to go back. It’s just such a beautiful place, amazing scenery and beaches, lots of lovely cafes and the like as well. We plan to visit the penguins of course but nothing else – just relax and hopefully get some good weather but Phillip Island can be wonderfully moody too. So I am thinking about what book to take for that and I think either one of the Lucinda Riley’s or the Andrew McGahan would be perfect. A big chunky book.

What I’m reading at the moment: err, nothing. I finished my last August book on Saturday and it’s time to choose something new. I’m not sure what I’ll pick actually. Maybe The Breeding Season.

Hope you all had a great reading month for August!

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July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 19
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 0
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 2/17
Kindle Books: 4
Books I Owned or Bought: 5
Favourite Book(s): Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Bowraville by Dan Box.
Least Favourite Books: Just like last month, nothing below a 3/5 this month!
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

I feel as though July helped bounce me back into a bit of a reading rhythm. I spent the first 2 weeks on holiday taking my kids to see my family. My grandmother is 90 this year, my brother and his kids are there, my parents too and I don’t get up there as often as I used to these days, with both kids in school restricting my visiting times, flight costs etc. But it was great to get away from a Victorian winter – the weather was glorious up there. About 20*C every day and a bit more sometimes, there were 2-3 days of on/off rain and the rest was brilliant sunshine. My kids even swam at the beach! We did quite a bit of walking along the river/ocean break wall, a bit of beach walking and my oldest went whale watching in this wave runner boat and got to see humpbacks making their northerly migration. And while I was there, I read 8 books and a 9th going home on the plane.

Since I got back, I read another 10 books to give me a total of 19 for the month, which helps after last month’s low total. It was also a really great reading month. I rated just one book 3/5 on Goodreads and the rest were 4 with 2x 5-star reads. I absolutely adored the book Red, White & Royal Blue and if the movie rights for that have not been snatched up yet then it will make the most amazing rom com one day, in the right hands. It’s funny and sweet and the two characters have great chemistry and contrast. Also great was Bowraville by Dan Box, a look into the disappearance and murder of three Indigenous children from Bowraville, a small town on the mid north coast of New South Wales, actually just over an hour away from where I spent the first 2 weeks of the month. That book was an eye opener for sure, in many different ways.

Moving on to August. Okay my plans for this month, they feel a bit intimidating.

Here are the review books! I don’t know much about any of these, most arrived while I was away and I really haven’t even sat down and had a proper look at most of them yet. I am excited about the new Barbara Hannay though, I love her books. I’ve heard great things about A Lifetime Of Impossible Days which was sent to me by the author (thank you Tabitha!) and also The Boy With Blue Trousers which gets a great review from my fellow blogger Theresa Smith. The Burnt Country looks interesting and I’ve read Kate Furnivall before and enjoyed the book. It’s been a long time since I read Philippa Gregory so curious to see what that’s like. Taking Tom Murray Home is the winner of the (inaugural) Banjo Prize, a Harper Collins award for an unpublished manuscript. So, lots to dive into here.

But! There’s more haha. I also have a couple of books that I didn’t quite get to last month, so they’re still on the pile.

Also I’ve requested a bunch of books from my local library to help me catch up a bit on my Reading Women Challenge. After getting off to quite a good start early in the year, I’ve slacked off over the last few months and I hadn’t read anything for a while. I did manage to complete two books in July that count toward it and so I’ve been searching for recommendations and plugging them into my library’s catalogue to try and knock off some of the trickier prompts where I don’t really have anything in the pile that fits. I’m also trying to read a good mix for that challenge as well, so fiction and non-fiction, women authors of colour and books set in places I don’t read about a lot. So I have to go pick up some books that have come in today so you can see how things this month look a bit ambitious! Also my parents will be visiting during the month for Child #1’s 11th birthday and I obviously read less when I have visitors! I haven’t been to the library in a while but I’m lucky that my local one is very good and it’s a convenient way to be able to flesh out this challenge.

What I’m reading at the moment: A book from my shelf that I’ve had for years that I’m going to be counting towards the Reading Women Challenge – The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is actually eligible for several of the prompts so I’ll decide later which one I decide it’s for, depending on some other reads.

Hope you all had a wonderful reading July! If you’ve read anything on my pile, let me know!

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