Beat The Backlist: thoughts on my Backlist

Currently Reading: three books, only one counts as a backlist book it is: Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks.

My backlist is here it’s mainly books I’ve bought over the years and haven’t got around to reading.  There may be more to list but I have to sort through my books (at the moment my nasty cold has zapped my energy so it’s something I have to put off again).

Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver and Three Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris are examples of books I’ve bought in bulk which I wanted at the time but never really felt like reading them!

The Poldark series and Song of Ice and Fire series are books I am looking forward to and would’ve read anyway.

But the main challenge for me is reading the books I keep piling up but never want to read, usually one’s I’ve bought at the same time that I really wanted but never got in the mood to read for whatever reason. Impulse buys?

It might seem silly because I could just give them all away but… I can’t do that!  It’s like an addiction.

There are two books on this list I’m not sure of:


I bought The Alchemist because it’s one of those ‘must-read’ books and I’m concerned that it won’t live up to the hype. I thought about reading it but never actually sat down and committed to it beyond reading the first page to see if it hooks me.

I have mixed thoughts about Diary of a Young Girl, it seems wrong to criticise this book but again I’m wondering if I’ll enjoy it so it’s one I have put off. That and I know it’s going to be a sad book to read, however it’s something that I really want to read.

Sometimes I feel like I need to get myself in the mood to read books like reading the positive reviews or watching the film/tv adapation and then just stick with it. I do read books I’ve bought straight away sometimes: usually when I’ve read the first page and can’t put it down so have had to buy it. I had that with Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg last year (there’s be others in the past too).

Maybe if I read two I can treat myself to a book off list, I keep meaning to read Catcher in the Rye or maybe reread a favourite! That’s a good incentive, as long as I use the library and don’t buy more!

Do you have any books you’ve bought but for some reason have not started reading? Any thoughts on my backlist?



Review: How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

I’m guilty of not waiting until the new year to read this book to add it to my Beat the Backlist challenge. But like a typical bookworm I  could not let this book sit in a shop and not give it a home -it’s easier to not go shopping- but I could also not let this book sit on my bookshelf- or stack, because I don’t have room on my bookcases anymore- without starting it.

A co-worker told me about Sarah Millican and since then I’ve watched all her comedy shows (on the telly, I haven’t seen a live one yet) and she is hilarious! I missed having a funny autobiography to read in January (Lee Evans, John Barrowman, Miranda being read in previous Januarys) so after waiting a while and trying not to buy another book I just bought it (I’m not buying anymore, I promise).


My Review

Obviously- if you’re a fan you’ll know- this book is hilarious. It’s described as being for those who have  “… ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.” 

and it’s exactly what it says it is. It’s a book you can relate to if you’ve been bullied or shy or a person. I laughed out loud and felt like someone understands what it’s like to not be the confident person in the room who doesn’t like having their photo taken (hence no photos of me on my blog). It is definitely a pick-me-up book, a book to read when you’re not having a good day etc and a must if you’re a fan. It’s an honest autobiography of a very funny lady.

My favourite part of the book (it’s all my favourite really) is the recipe at the end, if only all recipes were written this way “Put the oven on. It’s the cupboard that gets hot” the only danger is in laughing so much that you might not be able to make the cake.

Reading this book is like having a conversation with your friend, Sarah is funny, down to earth and .. go get yourself copy I’m stopping before I start rambling. It’s just so good!



My Year In Books

I read 37 books in 2017 37 which is 10 more than in 2016. See my year in books on goodreads here:

I read more ARCs this year and read them fairly quickly in order to review them. That may be why I read so many. I haven’t decided what my goal should be this year, aiming for 40 might be too much.

Least favourites/books I didn’t finish

  • The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley- started reading in January and I enjoyed it at the start but then got bored and hated the outdated idea of witches. The Satanism plot was just absurd, but would’ve been perfect for people during the era it was written.
  • The Cellar by Richard Laymon- I’ve read some by Laymon that I’ve enjoyed. This one didn’t hold my interest and there were scenes involving child abuse which I just couldn’t read.
  • Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley- I loved The Loney and couldn’t wait to start reading this book but it wasn’t as good. It seemed more of a yarn than a horror and meandered on until I lost interest because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
  • Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte – didn’t hold my interest not as good as other classics I’ve read. Wondering if I should try it again one day.

Disappointing/average reads:

  • The Blackhouse by Peter May- I read it expecting a crime novel but it was more of a drama or biographical story, although it was good the end disappointed me and I have not continued with the trilogy. I loved the setting.
  • The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill- I love her novels but her short stories are disappointing.

Sometimes I might be in the wrong mood for a book and that might mean I don’t enjoy it, or if it’s a slow read that needs a lot of attention and I’m reading something more adsorbing I might lose interest in that book. Other times you just have to think this book wasn’t for me and move on.

Books out of my comfort zone:

  • The Little Beach Street series by Jenny Colgan. I am now a fan.
  • Did you see Melody by Sophie Hannah- enjoyed it but I think I prefer slow paced novels rather than this brilliant fast paced, can’t stop reading or take a breath until it’s over book. Great crime thriller and I’d read more but not all the time.

This could actually be a lot longer list. And it would take awhile to add all the amazing books I’ve read this year, and I can’t pick one that is my favourite.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Little Beach Street Bakery

New authors discovered: Jenny Colgan, Diana Gabaldon,

FoxloweDragon's Green (Worldquake Sequence, #1)The Coffin Path

Eleanor Wasserberg, Scarlett Thomas, Katherine Clements.


Series Continued:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R.Martin, Poldark by Winston Graham and the Morganville series by Rachel Caine -but not finished.

Books that were different:

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I enjoyed new books by: Jesse Burton, Anne Rice (new Lestat book) Elizabeth Kostova. I could go on and on about the books I’ve enjoyed but my blog and Goodreads year in review should say it all!


Plans for 2018:

To read more of my tbr doing the Beat The Backlist challenge, more on that to come.

Outlander series: I’ve got back into the tv series thanks to my mother 🙂  (who has bought the books! I’ve only read one) and I am itching to read the next but not yet.

I’m putting it on here for all to see: I can’t buy anymore books!

So looking ahead to 2018 I don’t know if there’s any new books that I’m looking forward to reading, I want to continue the series I’ve started and read more of my to be read list, don’t buy any books for a few months!!!!!!!

How many books do you think I should read in 2018? Higher challenge or lower? What did you think about these books? Happy Reading 🙂


Hogfather by Terry Prachett 

This was one of my Christmas reads. You can’t deny that Terry Prachett’s books are funny and very imaginative. I enjoyed this book but I’m not sure when I’ll read more.

I like the humour and the unique world but I never really knew what was going on and there seemed to be parts I didn’t understand -in the bathroom at the end?- unless that’s the point! 

There are a lot of Discworld novels and I have a lot of books to read so no plans to read more yet.


Christmas Reads Update

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery: The best feel good festive read this Christmas by [Colgan, Jenny]

I’ve just finished one of my Christmas Reads: Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery is a heart warming novel, with just the right mix of realism and feel good fiction. It was like catching up with old friends. I love the Little Beach Street books and I recommend them!

I am still reading Hogfather by Terry Pratchett and enjoying it, it’s bizarre but funny,  I’m surprised that I’ve got into the story and have no idea how it’s going to end.


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I’m getting into the Christmas spirit now I’m looking forward to watching my favourite Christmas films: Miracle on 34th Street and Elf.

On Christmas Eve I watch The Muppets’ Christmas Carol and that film is the best for getting ready for Christmas.

I don’t know if I’ll have chance to post on here later this week, with work and then Christmas so I’d like to say:

Thank you all  for reading this post and if you’re a follower/have read my other posts thank you 🙂

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I hope you have a great Christmas. And get some lovely books to read

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Howards End by E. M. Forster

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This isn’t my copy of Howard’s End, I had my copy from a charity shop in Truro in July. I’m surprised that I’ve actually now read two books I bought in July, usually they end up on my shelf for a while unless I start them straight away. This is my copy:


I love buying old classic books. I bought this  because I liked E. M. Forster’s other book A Room With A view. I only started reading Howard’s End because there was a tv adaption on the bbc recently and I got sucked into it and really enjoyed it. My only problem was at the end I was left wondering what was the point of the story?

My Review of Howard’s End by E. M. Forster

Reading a classic book is akin to wrapping up in a favourite blanket, with a hot soothing drink and a gorgeous fire burning in the grate. (I don’t have a fire but you catch my drift.)

Reading Howard’s End I enjoyed the characters and the themes and like A Room With A View there’s a lot of reading between the lines. The novel feels like a theory or a lesson about life, our life or maybe life as it was during Forster’s time? However it’s completely organic and it’s not a novel written just for the sake of the message/theme, it’s also an engaging drama/story.

The language is very poetic and the story, while not seeming to have a definite plot, has drama and problems enough to keep me reading on until the last page. And I cared about the characters and wanted to read on to see what happened next.

The tv series was almost an exact replica of the book, give or take a scene. It is very faithful but as with most adaptions it can never really capture or reproduce the ambience, the mood of the book. The ending of the series left me confused, I didn’t get it. But the ending of the book made perfect sense to me, everything just seemed to come full circle.

Will you enjoy this book? I love classic books. This is a book about characters, there’s no racing blockbuster plot but it’s also not a yarn with excessive description. E. M. Forster writes naturally a story with characters that live off the page and a tale that seems to write itself.



Beat The Backlist 2018

I heard about this through Cassie Winters and I’m doing this challenge next year. I have so many books on my tbr and it never gets smaller. This challenge was started by NovelKnight  and the rule is that you can only read books published prior to 2018.

I’ve compiled a list of books but I only read what I’m in the mood to read so it’s not a rigid plan more of a guideline really. (I’m imagining Captain Barbossa as I write those words)

I’ve read quite a lot of books this year so I should able to read a good amount of  books from my tbr this year as well as reading others, maybe another challenge. I’m thinking maybe I’ll read 20 and that gives me about 10 outside the challenge or off this list I could read.

Here’s my list so far, it’s very much a work in progress:

  1. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  3. Eragon by Christopher
  4. Uncommon type by Tom Hanks
  5. Three quarters of the orange by Joanne Harris
  6. Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver
  7. Assasins’ Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  8. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
  9. The Fry Chronicles
  10. The Black Moon by Winston Graham
  11. Morganville series next books when I figure out which ones I’ve read (2)
  12. A Dance of dragons 2: After the Feast by George R. R. Martin
  13. Raven Black by Anne Cleeves
  14. Ink Death by Cornelia Funke
  15. The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland
  16. A Parrot In A Pepper Tree by Chris Stewart (ebook)
  17. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  18. Dickens
  19. The Chisellers, The Granny by Brendan O’Carroll (2 ebooks)
  20. Affinity by Sarah Waters
  21. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte? Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy?
  22. The Last Runaway by Tracey Chevalier
  23. The Brontes (non fiction)
  24. That Elusive Something by Sam Kates
  25. Secret Santa book
  26. and other books

I have these Dickens books: David Copperfield, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosty Shop (ebook).

So there we go. Looking forward to it, I just need to convince myself to read them in 2018 now because I always find something else I want to read more.

I’ve signed up and I’m in the Dewey Dragons group!