top ten tuesday · weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

The Sanctuary of Zeus, Bookish Characters, Extraterrestrials, and WWW Wednesday

I have finished doing the research for my end of semester assignment. I currently know far more about the history of the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, and the metopes and pediments of the Temple Of Zeus than anyone could possibly want to know. I am now filing the information away and letting my brain cogitate on what’s relevant for my argument. Tomorrow, I start putting it on paper

But for now, it’s time for some blog hopping fun!

Firstly: Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is ‘Bookish Characters and I ended up doing from media in general, rather than just books, because there were a few I just couldn’t leave out when it came to this topic!

Hermione Granger – Is it even a list of fictional bookworms if it doesn’t have Hermione in it?
Hallie Winstone – Hallie wins her dream bookstore and and finds secret love letters in the books
Nina Redmond – Nina is a bookworm who, when her beloved library job ends…. moves to the Scottish Highlands to open a bookstore!
Robert Langdon – He writes and teaches symbology and… c’mon, he wears tweed! LOL
Cather Avery – Cath is a dedicated reader, fangirl and fanfic writer who fantasises about being trapped in a library overnight (is she me?)

Now… this is where I leave the world of books and travel to film/TV bookworms:

Belle – Again, is a list of fictional bookworms complete without Belle? I’m still jealous of that bloody library and it’s pretty muchdefinitely Life Goals
Aurora Teagarden – I absolutely love the Hallmark movies but didn’t get on with the books. Roe is a crime-solving librarian!
Eloise Bridgerton – The books are still on my TBR but I adore Eloise in the Netflix show. She much prefers reading to attending balls
Willow Rosenberg – I could ramble at length about my love for Willow and the amazing impact she had on my life But for the purpose of this list… she’s generally found in the library
Daniel Jackson – In my fandom, this is the geek! He’s an awkward, nerdy, passionate, archaeologist and linguist with allergies. OK, he takes a crash course in badassery, but never really loses the nerdiness.

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge this topic is Do you believe in aliens? Why or why not? Absolutely 100% I do, and not just speaking as a sci-fi loving person. Considering how many exoplanets we’ve already discovered, and how many other stars out there that probably have planets we haven’t yet found, it seems baffling to me that we would be the only place to develop life. Do I think life on other planets would be humanoid, carbon-based or something we necessarily recognise as life? No. Do I think they’re travelling to us? I’m not sure. That’s a whole nother issue LOL But just look at some of the extremeophile organisms on this planet – acidophiles, halophiles, psychrophiles, and radiophiles. And then, of course, there’s tardigrades. So yes, I completely believe in aliens.

WWW Wednesday
What are you currently reading? Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Ancient Greece by Paul Cartledge.
What did you recently finish reading? Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
What do you think you’ll read next? I’m really hoping to finish some of the books I’m currently reading, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax, The Cruel Price by Holly Black and A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas.
book reviews

Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Photo of the book Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig on an orange backgroundTitle: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author: Matt Haig
Dates read: 01/05/22 – 07/05/22
Rating 4.5/5

Publisher: Canongate
Number of pages: 310
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: health, mental health, philosophy, psychology

Book blurb:

The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

How I discovered or acquired this book: I picked it up off my betrothed’s bookshelf after reading The Comfort Book.

Notable quotes “Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”

My thoughts I have anxiety, I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember and for the second time in a decade it has tipped into agoraphobia. Pretty much the whole world is making me anxious. So what better to pick up and read?

I read Haig’s ‘The Comfort Book’ the other month and found it really calming, so picked this one up off my betrothed’s book shelf because it seemed quite fitting. And I found it very helpful. It’s not preachy or claiming to know how to ‘fix me’, like so many mental health memoirs can be. Again, I found it very calming, little nuggets of wisdom about the world, about Haig’s experiences, suggestions on ways to work with the world, with technology and social media because these things are needed but with ways to stop them stressing us out. I find his voice soothing and there were so many great ideas that I’ve made a note of to try, to remember… to be.

4.5/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

book blogger hop · promotion

Book Blogger Hop: Book Tours

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013.

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

The Question of the week is: Have you ever participated in a book tour?
I have not, and before a couple of days ago, I didn’t even know what one was. I’d seen them around, seen other bloggers posts with the phrase in the title but didn’t really pay much attention or know what it was.

But then, on Friday, my friend Jaimie Admans posted the cover reveal for her newest book The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove
Having moved into her mum’s spare room after a disastrous break-up, Kayleigh Harwood is desperate for a fresh start. When she sees an opening for a new beekeeper at the old manor house at Elderflower Grove she jumps at the chance – despite not knowing a thing about bees…

The abandoned house holds a mystery of its own – the previous owner vanished years ago – and locals have been inventing stories about the manor ever since. Unable to resist the urge to look around, Kayleigh is shocked to find drop-dead-gorgeous gardener Carey living inside!

Carey explains that the house and surrounding land is at risk of being demolished, endangering the bees, and he has been staying there to protect it.

Convinced the secret of the house holds the key to saving Elderflower Grove’s bees, Kayleigh is prepared to do everything she can to help. But is she ready to find her own happy-ever-after too…?
It’s out on July 15th and the link to pre-order is https://amzn.to/3MODJRw

Bringing it back to the topic of book tours, there was a tweet announcing one and, as it’s Jai, I was interested but didn’t know what it was. So I asked the question, Elaine @ Splashes Into Books kindly explained “You’ll be given an e-copy of the book and a date on which to share your review. Near the time of your agreed date you’ll be given access to materials to help you create your post – you can sort them to suit your blog, add your review and schedule it to post on your date. Done!”… and now I’m quite tempted to take part!
books · weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Benedict Cumberbatch, Fictional Mothers & WWW Wednesday

I finished reading This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch last night and it left me feeling quite disappointed. I was really looking forward to reading this, the subtitle of the book professed it was about ‘the joy of loving something – anything – like your life depends on it’, and I am a shameless fangirl who has always passionately loved their fandoms. So this seemed like it was going to be my kind of book

However, I found that the author spent far too much time being angsty, ashamed and guilty over their love for Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch. She didn’t know how to reconcile herself with her random obsession and honestly I found myself feeling SO sorry for her. Imagine not allowing yourself to love something? But I do recognise that I’ve been in fandom – both on and offline for the best part of 25 years, and pretty much everyone I know is also likewise engaged. I can’t wrap my head around the concept of not passionately and unashamedly loving the things I love (seriously – never ask me about Raintown, Riley Smith or Stargate or you will never get me to shut up. Just ask Jaimie LOL) so I struggled to empathise with Carvan’s point of view. She got there eventually, but I spent a lot of time thinking ‘the muggles are not ok, are they?’

I give it 2.5 out of 5, a cross between ‘meh and ‘it was…alright’ with a side of thinking how much better it could have been

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge this topic is Best Mother in a book, movie or TV show and my answer to this is Molly Weasley from Harry Potter who is a quintessential mother figure, practically adopting Harry even though she has seven children of her own. She’s kind, stern, forgiving, patient, loving, protective and to me was a really good role model.
Li suggested Janet Fraiser from Stargate SG-1 but looked slightly deer-in-the-headlights when I asked her why. Although I do agree with her: Janet adopted an alien child who was the lone survivor of a virus, even though Cassie actually turned out to be a bomb designed to blow up the SGC. But Janet still did everything in her power to save Cassie, and oh did she go mama-bear when that girl was threatened!

WWW Wednesday
What are you currently reading? Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, Ancient Greece by Paul Cartledge, Summer At Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax.
What did you recently finish reading? This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan
What do you think you’ll read next? I’m really hoping to finish some of the books I’m currently reading, and then work on finishing Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Cruel Price by Holly Black and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
top ten tuesday

One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

Jana is also challenging us to leave the review at one word and not explain anything about that word. Oh boy, this is going to be tricky

This week’s topic is One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read

The Lost Continent – self-deprecating
The Body – fascinating
Greek Mythology – pretty
The Prison Doctor – preachy
A Court Of Thorns and Roses – unexpected


The Lost Apothecary – re/discovery
The Comfort Book – comforting
Beyond The Gender Binary – thought-provoking
Pilgrimage – long-winded
The Topping Book – informative

And that was even harder than I thought it was going to be – I really wanted to justify the words I chose, and explain the reasoning, what I meant for some of them.
books

Reading Intentions

For the last couple of years, I’ve been in a serious reading slump – combined with the guilt, I suppose, that every time I picked up a book to read for fun, there was a little voice in my head saying I should be studying (I’m doing part-time distance learning, Feb-Sept 2020 was my foundation year, Oct 2020-May 2021 was my first level 1, 60 credit module, and I’m just now coming to the end of my second level 1 60 credit module). In 2021 I read 14 books, in 2020 I read 12. Compare that to the 70-80 I used to read and it’s been quite the drop!

This year, I knew I wanted to read more. I’d also discovered booktok, bookstagram and the rest of the online book community at the end of last year and people sharing their love for reading definitely inspired me. I rejigged my TBR (it had gotten a little stale), dusted off my library card, downloaded Libby, set myself a goal of 25 books… and dived in!

I’ve already read 24 books. I’ve increased my reading goal for the year to 50, and tracking still says I’m like 8 books ahead of schedule, so may need to increase it again. And yet… my TBR hasn’t moved. I haven’t read a single book off it. If anything, it’s grown. If I’d read 24 books off my TBR, that would have cleared one of the two piles of books on my coffee table.

And so I’m setting myself some firm goals/intentions for my reading for the rest of this year:
1) Finish the books that are on Libby and don’t check any more out – unless they’re the next in a series I’m reading
2) Finish the pile of books I have checked out of the library and don’t check any more out – unless they’re the next in a series I’m reading
3) Spend the second half of the year focusing on my TBR – both physical and electronic. My physical TBR is one bookcase, another shelf and 4 or 5 piles of books on the floor/tables. There’s also almost 3000 books on my Kindle and my Goodreads ‘to read’ shelf has over 2000 on it.

Wish me luck?
monthly wrap up

April Wrap Up

April has been incredibly stressful, I’m not going to lie. My mental health hasn’t been great but I’m powering through and y’know, I’m still alive and kicking so there’s that. I’ve started therapy which is much more work than I thought it was going to be and we’re already working a few things out… but it’s exhausting.

I have been pretty consistent with reading – even if not blogging about it quite as regularly as I would like. I’m contemplating maybe pre-writing some of the weekly link-up answers, I don’t know. But I am pleased with myself for keeping going for four months and have bought myself a domain name as a reward. My betrothed is going to host me (and maybe design me a layout) and we’re hoping that should happen later this month.

But the books I finished in April were:

And I’m impressed seeing it laid out like that, I read more than I thought I had. Go me!

I DNFed:

I spent a great portion of the month reading but not finishing:

but I’m on track to finish reading in early May

Looking back at my April goals:
finish 4 books I finished 5, hurrah!
submit assignment 5 – due on the 7th, 800 words of plan for my independent investigation I submitted it on the 6th April and got 96% which, as you can imagine, I’m thrilled about
lose 6lb I did lose weight but not that much, just under 4lb – I comfort eat and I’ve been stressed. I’ve been pretty good at getting out and walking though… just need less chocolate!
sort out my morning routine. Hah! Nope, not at all. I’m still not sleeping great so I’m struggling to get out of bed – I eventually fall asleep around 3, so when the alarm goes off at 7, I hit snooze, sleep until just before 8:30, roll out of bed and start work. Although, frustratingly, I do know that sorting out my morning routine can help with the sleeping thing.

My goals for May
* Write, edit and submit my End Of Module Assignment – 2500 words on ‘How can the study of ancient places help us to better understand religion in ancient culture?’ I’m using Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi and Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia as examples, and arguing that the lived experience of religion was the same across poleis.
* finish 4 books
* lose 4 lb
* start practising daily mindfulness and gratitude
* figure out using tiktok

How was your April and do you have any goals for May – bookish or otherwise?
weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge & WWW Wednesday

I am so discombobulated right now. Time is definitely doing that whole ‘wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff’. I blame the Bank Holidays. As much as I love having that long weekend off work over Easter and two short weeks, and there’s another Bank Holiday and short week next week, and then the week after that I’m off work… but at the same time, I do not know if I’m coming or going!

But! I got a 96% on my most recent university assignment – and it was a pro-forma plan for my end of module assignment so I’m feeling pretty confident going into that. Although struggling a little with motivation and procrastination – it’s due on the 19th, so ADHD brain is all ‘nah, we don’t need to start yet, it’s not due for aaaages yet’. It’s my first extended essay and first long deadline and I’m not quite sure how to handle it. So I’ve got a call with my tutor tomorrow where I’m going to ask her for some help!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge this week asks Book, movie or TV show you can’t wait for and oh… please allow me flail in a fangirling manner over my sheer nerdy excitement for Jurassic World Dominion. I was 12 or so when I first saw the original Jurassic Park, got the book and fell even more in love. I think I saw JPIII in the cinema like 3 times in 48 hours. I still grin like a fucking insane person at just the theme music, my jaw still drops when we first see the dinosaurs in the park and I will randomly blurt out ‘we have a T-Rex’. I am actually having to pause typing this to stim, because thats how excited I am. I am completely spoiler-free which is my preference, I know nothing about it going in other than that Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are in it. I have cried with joy at the trailer.
Did I mention that I’m a complete geek? LMAO

WWW Wednesday
What are you currently reading? A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan and Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
What did you recently finish reading? The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson
And I DNFed Crocodile On The Sandback by Elizabeth Peters
What do you think you’ll read next? Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, Summer At Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain or A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax.
stacking the shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve had quite the large, eclectic, and exciting haul this week!

Ebooks – Free

Libby

Library

New Books

Second hand books

I’m quite excited to start some of these – although my TBR is ridiculously large so I don’t know when I’m going to get to them LOL And I have in fact already started reading This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s about the joy of loving something – anything – like your life depends on it. I’m about 1/3 of the way through and I am LOVING it!

book reviews

Drive-by Mini-Reviews, the second

I keep telling myself I’m going to get better at writing proper reviews as and when I finish a book but… it’s not going very well. I’m still not completely confident at writing them, if I’m being honest, but I can already tell I’m improving when I look at the difference in my post about The Lost Apothecary compared to some of my earlier reviews.

And, once again, my habit of reading too many books at a time (back up to 15 again!) means I’ve finished a bunch all at the same time. So you get another round of mini-reviews of them

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
4/5, fae. fantasy, romance, young adult
This… this is not my normal sort of book. I hold up my hands and say I don’t like fantasy. But this is one of those books that EVERYONE loves. It’d been on my TBR for a while, probably a couple of years, but I wasn’t prepared to buy it, in case I didn’t love it. But then this year I’ve started using the library again, signed up for Libby and was able to get the book that way. And… and OH! Yes, I can absolutely see why everyone loves this book. The world-building didn’t feel all encompassing but actually just part of the story, we discovered the world as Feyre did and because we were seeing it through her eyes, there weren’t 7 pages about a blade of grass, y’know? I loved how the vivid and tangible Prythian feels and the characters are very real – interesting, annoying, frustrating, with genuine interpersonal relationships. It didn’t go where I was expecting it to and I ended up loving it more because of it. I got A Court Of Mist and Fury straight out of the library!

The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown
3/5, health, memoir, non-fiction
I picked this one up from the library because the title and summary intrigued me – a memoir of a doctor working in some of our most infamous prisons. I mostly liked it. Some of the anecdotes and stories she told were moving and heartbreaking – and some funny. But I was getting a sense of ‘holier than thou’ from her tone, she felt a little preachy in places and there was a lot of time spent reiterating how wonderful all these hardened violent criminals thought she was.

Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert
4/5, history, mythology, non-fiction
I love Greek Mythology. I have loved Greek Mythology for well over 30 years at this point, and I’m currently doing a Classical Studies degree. I also have friends who love mythology and recommended Liv’s podcast to me. I’ve listened to a few episodes but sadly podcasts and I are not friends – I think it’s my ADHD, I just zone out when people are talking at me. But when I heard she had a book, based on what I’d heard, I knew I had to have it. I was right. It’s a great overview of the characters and stories that feature in the mythology – just enough information to give a good feel for each one but without being overwhelming. The art is stunning (seriously, I want a print of the Zeus artwork) and the book has a informal, friendly tone.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
5/5, biology, health, history, non-fiction, science
I don’t know where to start with writing about this book. I fucking loved it. I adore Bill Bryson’s style of writing and human biology/anatomy/physiology has been a fascination of mine since school biology lessons. I definitely wasn’t let down. It wasn’t a deeply scientific book but it also didn’t talk down to the reader and was filled with fascinating anecdotes and trivia that I had to share with my betrothed as I was reading – and our tagline became ‘but we don’t know why’. It’s both fascinating and horrifying how damn much we don’t know but at the same time, I loved re/learning the history of how we discovered what we do know.

I am still trying to read about 15 books (trying to get it down to 8) but mostly focusing on 5 of them:
Holly Black – Cruel Prince
Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Mist & Fury
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Certain Dark Things
Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm
Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled