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What I Read in August 2017

I'm FINALLY back reading again, just in time for me to go back to university and start my dissertation. Brilliant. I haven't read lots this month, but I've read more than last month - and that's all that matters!

Doing It! by Hannah Witton
I spoke about this a few weeks ago in another post and went into more detail. But in essence, it's a brief book about sex, relationships and everything associated with those fields.

Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O ... Let's face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don't know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends and fellow YouTubers to talk about their sexuality, too.
We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let's do this ...

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
I bought this book back in July and kept putting off reading it! (I have got a review of this book in a couple of weeks - keep your eyes peeled for that one.) I really enjoyed it overall though.

"You'll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde!
Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely. After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life! A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . ."

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman
Again, there is a full-length review coming of this book in September. So not to give any spoilers or make my post a waste of time. This is a teen thriller about a girl who grows up in a psychiatric hospital, owned by her Father, where she lives a 'healthy lifestyle' with daily exercise and meal plans. But everything she knows to be true is a lie.

"Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous"

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
TECHNICALLY, I haven't finished reading this book. But it felt a bit small only including three books in this list. I am over half way through though. It's a nice, cosy and slightly predictable book about Anna who has an accident at work ends up in hospital/recovery and reunites with an old teacher, Claire. Anna loses her job as part of the accident settlement, so Claire finds her job in Paris with her old lover.

"As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.
It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed."

Well, that is everything I have read in August! Now that I'm going back to uni this month, the posts are going to go down to once a week - on a Sunday. Mostly because I'm not going to have as much time to read for fun and also, I'm worried about not having enough time to write two posts a week.

- K.B

College reading list

Although I used to LOVE reading and studying literature, I fell out of love with reading. That was because of situations and lecturer's, which shows how fragile students are to the way their lecturers/teachers teach. Fast forward 3/4years and I'm enjoying reading again. Hurrah. 

I'm slowly making my way through books I read in 'high school' (secondary) and college (sixth form) and thought it would be nice to make a collection, while I still remember, of the books I read while in education. I do still read books in university, but they're on the boring side and are textbooks that way me down to and fro from the library.

GCSE Literature:
Blood Brother by Willy Russell
A play about two brothers. Separated at birth. And mixed up in superstition. They meet again when they're older and make a pact to be 'blood brothers'. The play follows their life and death together. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A group of private school boys end up alone on a deserted island. It follows the story of them creating leaders, wars, and fighting to survive. A book that explores the survival of mankind and our animalistic instincts. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Two brothers are working their way through the great depression in the America, following their time together on one plantation. 

Mid-Summer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare
A play about four interconnecting plots that are all connected by the celebration of a wedding. It's set in a wood land, the realm of Fairyland, under the moon light. 

Poetry was a selection chosen by the examination board from a large selection of authors.

Books I've read of the syllabus after my GCSEs:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte
Following the life of Jane Eyre, from living with her Aunt & Cousins, going onto school, learning to be a teacher, falling in love, running away, and coming back again. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A novella that, Orwell says, discusses the lead up to the Russain Revolution in 1917. A revolution of a farm, from being run by a man and taken over by the animals. How a revolution can take place for the better and the worse. 

AS/A2 Literature:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Following Tess' life from poverty, finding ancestors who might be wealthy, motherhood, love, and showing the juxtaposition of female & male rights during the 1800s. 

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald 
A story that revolves around the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his obsession and love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. 

King Lear by William Shakespeare
Following King Lear's descent into madness after he splits up his kingdom to two of his three daughters, based upon their flattery to him. After the kingdom is split a tragic sequence of consequences happen, creating a civil war in his kingdom. 

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Two young men, Ennis and Jack, are hired to look after sheep for the summer. They form an intense emotional and sexual attachment, but part ways at the end of the summer. Over the following twenty years, their separate lives play out with marriage, children, jobs and reunite throughout for remote camping trips. 

Kindertransport by Diane Samuels
A play about the kindertransport that got children to safety in Germany at the start of WW2. Examining the life, during and after world war II and afterward, of the Kindertransport children. It is based on many real kindertransport stories.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles 
While Oedipus is young, his parents receive a prophecy, that he will become King, kill his father, and marry his mother. The King orders for Oedipus to killed, but he is instead given to a shepherd who returns the child to his King. The King takes Oedipus in, looking after him as if he is his own. The play then follows Oedipus' life and fulfilling the prophecy that his father had tried to prevent. 

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is the subject of an oil painting by Basil Hallward, a painter who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and is soon obsessed by the aristocrat's hedonistic worldview, 'that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life'. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade. Dorian has a desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the painting will age and fade, instead of himself. The wish is granted. Dorian goes onto live a free and varied life, while his portrait ages and records every sin.

Poetry I studied was by Sheenagh Pugh, Robert Frost, and Carol Ann Duffy.

I've attempted to write my own synopsizes about the books without giving too much away about the stories. I recommend that you go online and read what is written about these books for more accurate and articulate synopsizes. 
- K.B

magazine favourites

I'm a lover of print. Printed words. Printed photographs. Printed words and photographs together. There is something so special about holding a physical magazine in your hands, full of stories and beautiful imagery. My first step into magazines (aside from trash-mags and my little pony) was during my A-levels and I've been hooked ever since. Although I would be lying if I didn't say, my mum used to buy me cosmopolitan from the ages of 15-18. And although you wouldn't catch me reading a cosmo now, there is something glamorous about a glossy magazine.

Oh Comely: 
Perhaps my favourite. Or at least the only magazine that I'm subscribed to. I adore the imagery and illustrations in Oh Comely, it is so pure and almost nostalgic. Also, they run a wonderful hashtag #onegoodthing and it keeps my love for Oh Comely in-between issues. Oh Comely comes out bi-monthly, allowing the pages to be full of rich and fascinating stories. In general, each magazine works around a theme (examples: the body, secrets, strength, awake, touch, passages, and so on). What Oh Comely says about their magazine:
...a curious, honest and playful independent magazine. It’s a place to meet strangers, hear their stories and look at life a little differently – where our readers are our writers and our models, too. Each issue we pick a theme and see where it takes us. We try something old, something new and something that scares us a bit. Then we present our findings in a beautiful, artbook style, putting new writing, photography and illustration talent at the heart of it. We believe good things come in threes. We began as the bedroom project of three pals at university and we’re now produced by a small publishing house started by another set of three friends. You can find us all over the world in small newsagents, indie mag shops and cafes. 
I struggle to find Frankie magazine where I'm currently living too, it was so easy to get hold of it in Exeter but in Cornwall... not so much. So I don't have recent copies to rave about. Only my small archive. I first discovered frankie in 2013, during my A-levels, while deciding what the hell I wanted to do at university. This was the first 'indie' print that I got my hands on. I found it tucked away in WHSmith and bought it before looking inside. Frankie is an Australian magazine and publishes bi-monthly. The covers of frankie are, quite frankly, works of art. I bloody love 'em. They look at design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, home, life, and much more. Also they have a brilliant website, where you can find articles too, very cute and perfect for young adults. 
What frankie says about their magazine:
frankie magazine is a national bi-monthly based in Australia, aimed at women (and men) looking for a magazine that’s as smart, funny, sarcastic, friendly, cute, rude, arty, curious and caring as they are. We cover design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, interiors and real-life stories – we aim to surprise and delight readers with every turn of our beautifully matte pages, and have a good old laugh while doing so.
I slightly pricier 'indie' mag. But beautiful. I originally bought Cereal on a whim. I enjoyed it but I wasn't going to rebuy, originally. Then I listened to Filler podcast and they interviewed Rosa Park and I was obsessed with Rosa & Cereal magazine. Looking specifically at Travel & Style, mostly travel, it's a wonderful coffee table magazine. You can just flick through and read it at a leisurely pace. They didn't briefly produce the magazine monthly, but they've gone back to bi-annual publications now. Many of these magazines work so well because they aren't quickly massed produced every month. They take the time to create artbooks essentially. Alongside the Cereal magazine, they also create, city guidebooks and recently a photobook 'A Portrait of the British Isles' (here). 
What Cereal says about their magazine:
Cereal is a biannual, travel & style magazine based in the United Kingdom. Each issue focusses on a select number of destinations, alongside engaging interviews and stories on unique design, art, and fashion.

I fell in love with this magazine as soon as I saw the gold foiled 'bedboat' in my postbox. Their message is to 'live fearless' and I find reading these magazines so inspiring. Beautiful imagery, beautiful words, and the added bonus that a lot of the content creators are local. It's amazing to see my friends and people I know being shown off in print. They aren't a very regular magazine, but you can still get hold of the first issue now and I believe they're going to be publishing issue 4 soon!
What bedboat says about their magazine:
Live Fearless.

Bedboat is an independently published lifestyle magazine based in the UK. Our aim is to inspire readers to live fearlessly and creatively by promoting incredible people, places, and ideas.
We set out to produce an honest publication that shares stories, photos, and illustrations from makers and creators with a real passion for what they do.
We work broadly and cover all elements of lifestyle. Our rule is simply that we must be truly enthusiastic about everything we cover. We understand that our excitement for our content connects us deeply with our readers, and that they in turn become a part of who we are. We talk about food, fashion, music, human interest, travel, history, and so much more. Our mantra to live fearlessly has never meant jumping out of planes, or strutting naked down the street. To us, living fearlessly is about pursuing those social and lifestyle opportunities that come to us, and following the dreams we have without apology.
We love print, which is why we don’t currently offer an online version. We believe in the value of owning something that has been carefully curated. 
Other magazines/zines:
Negative Feedback (here)
splash and grab (here)

Links to where you can purchase these magazines:
Oh Comely Website (here)
Frankie Website (here)
Cereal Website (here)
Bedboat Website (here)
Splash and Grab Website (here)
Negative Feedback Website (here)
WHSmith (here)
NGNG (Exeter) - (here) The main place I used to buy my magazines, if you subscribe to their magazine 'club', they'll reserve your magazines when you come in AND you get a free soya latte when you collect! (Only reason I don't buy from them now is that I rarely go to Exeter anymore).

What magazines are you drawn towards? And are there any missing from this collection that you think I would love?
- K.B

Review: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Look who is FINALLY back with a book review. It's a real kick in the teeth when you realise that by having a reading slump you won't have any books to review for your blog. But we're starting off the reviews with some non-fiction. I'm a sucker for life/well-being/ways to change existence books. When The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up first hit the mainstream, I was straight on it! And I've done the same thing with The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. 

The main reason I bought this book was that it was less than £5 on Amazon (link to the book here), and it had been on my book wishlist for a little while. And I do not regret it. 

Synopsis: "Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge. 'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...' You know hygge when you feel it. it is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. From picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating a hygge emergency kit and even how to dress, Meik's beautiful, inspiring book will help you be more hygge."

It's a perfect little book. 

Encompassing everything you love about being cosy/safe/relaxed into your day-to-day life, but also explaining why you feel this way, as well as including ways to make your life more hygge.

P.S. You pronounce 'hygge' as 'hooga'. FYI.

- K.B

Side Note: This was my 50th post since creating this new and 'improved' blog! Oh yea!

Mid/Late Summer TBR

After my last TBR post, I've made some decent headway. But now I have a whole new list of books that I want to read, from my own bookshelf. Some of these are from my last TBR, others I've bought since. I am slowly, but surely, trying to read every book on my bookshelf. Here is what I currently have left to read:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Susie Salmon, murdered at age fourteen is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, while back on earth her grief-stricken family is unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy. This phenomenal #1 bestseller is a novel celebrated at once for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world. 
I've had this on my bookshelf for a few months now. I'm not sure why I haven't picked it up yet, it appeals to me and I have heard raving recommendations. I'm hoping to pick this one up before I go back to university though!

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
After Oliver Twist asks for more food, he has to flee the workhouse for the streets of London. Here he meets the Artful Dodger, who leads him to Fagin and his gang of pickpockets. When a thieving mission goes wrong, Oliver narrowly avoids prison and finds himself in the care of kind Mr. Brownlow. But Fagin and the brutal Bill Sikes go in search of the young orphan, determined to drag him back...
I have read this book before. I know exactly what happens. But I *really* want to read it again, now that I'm older and perhaps more appreciative of the Classics. 

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman
Mae's grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where teens get the help they need from Mae's psychiatrist father. The Creek monitors every aspect of residents' daily life for optimal health and well-being, and everyone must follow strict rules. But after Mae is caught breaking the rules, she starts to question everything about how she lives. And at the Creek, asking questions can be danergous. 
I picked this book at the beginning of the summer. I saw it in Tesco but held off buying it, and by luck found it in a charity store for pennies of the original price. Winning. 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed... On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true. As Nella uncovers the screts of her new household she realises the escalating dangers they face. the miniaturists seems to hold their fate in her hands - but does she plan to save or destroy them? 
I've had this book for so long, I'm starting to forget what my bookshelf was like before buying this book. I want to read it. But I never pick it up. I almost bought another book by Jessie Burton, but stopped myself after remembering how I still haven't picked up The Miniaturist!

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Maud is forgetful. She mades a cup of tea and doesn't remember drinking it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...
I bought this book 3 summer ago, I started to read it, and then forgot the book existed. I keep meaning to pick it back up. Hopefully I will, before the year is out.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn to the Shadowhunters, a secret group of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.  
I'm so behind with this book and series. I keep seeing other book posts talking about books further along in the series! I've not been drawn to vampires/werewolves/etc in books, but so many people speak about The Immortal Instrument series.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactir - these form a series of events that changes the orphaned Pip's life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dicken's hautning late novel depcts Pip's education and development through adversuty as he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'. 
A classic that I'm yet to read.

Emma by Jane Austen
Emma Woodhouse 'had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her'. but during the course of this, the wisest and most disturbing of Jane Austen's novels, she at last reaps her share of the world's vexations, with consequences both comic and surprising. In this perfect comedy of manners the heroine learns to come to terms with the reality of oter people, and with her own erring nature, but in the process the small town of Highbury is convulsed by Emma's ill-judged schemes. 
Admittedly I bought this on a whim one day, from a charity store. If I don't read the classics on this list this year, I might, emphasis on the might, make next year the year of the classics for myself.

According to Yes by Dawn French
Manhattan's wealthy Upper east Side has its own rigid code of behaviour.One strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family. Emotional displays - unacceptable. Unruly behaviour - definately not welcome. Fun - no thanks. So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric primary school teacher from England, bounces into this fortress of restrint with a heart as big as the city, the family quickly disocvers that she hasn't read the rule book. After a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying... yes?  
I have NEVER read any of Dawn French's novels. I know she hasn't written a fair few at this point, so hopefully this will be good and will lead me onto wanting to read the others.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday
When he is asked to become involved in a project to create a salmon river in the highlands of the Yemen, fisheries scientist Dr Alfred Jones rejecrs the idea as absurd. But the proposal catches the yee of severel senior British politicians. And so Fred finds himself forced to set aside his research and instead figure out how to fly ten thousand salmon to a desert country - and persuade them to swim there... As he embarks on an extraordinary journey of faith, and diffident Dr Jones will discover a sense of belief, and a capacity for love, that surprises himself, and all who know him.
I'm not sure when I bought this book, but it's on my bookshelf and eventually I will read it!

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. 
I lent this book to my Mum almost a year ago, completely forgot I had even owned. Until the other day when it was returned to me. I've held off watching the film, with the intention to read the book. Hopefully, it will happen soon!

- K.B

Driving - Theory

Good news, the wimpiest driver (possibly this century) has FINALLY sat her theory test and passed! *round of applause* *standing ovation* Thank-you. Thank you.

As a driver who REALLY lacked confidence, I feel that I'm in a decent position to give some tips on a) getting into driving, and b) passing your theory. I'm yet to have my Practical Driving Test - although the date is booked and ever-looming (please send good vibes and keep your fingers crossed for me). 

First of all, find a driver you actually like! I had to change driver instructors because they didn't teach in a way that worked for me. They were a lovely person, but not the person who was meant to teach me to drive - which is fine. Ask for recommendations, even in small towns there are SO many instructors to choose between.

Second-ly, I would recommend having some lessons before you book your theory. That way you will know the bare basics of driving and will be able to picture the situations that get explained. Also, you'll be able to think about what you would do in that situation - as a driver. 

Third-ly, set a date. I set my test date to give myself a month of revision. I, also, chose to do my theory test over the summer break (that way I didn't have any other looming deadlines to stress over). My instructor recommended revising for it like any other exam, set a goal date and work towards it. Side note: you can put your test back, you might get a week before the exam and think you need more time - that's ok!

Fourth-ly, revise. I found that reading the book (here) and answering the questions allowed me to absorb most of the information. Then, about a week before the exam, I went online and started answering mock tests and working on my hazard awareness. I'm not sure if this is open to everyone, but I really recommend Theory Test Plus (here) - my instructor gave me a free login for it, see if yours will too! 

Fifth-ly, on the day of the exam, I was terrified! But I knew that one of my biggest struggles was hand signals and 'no stopping'/'no waiting' signs (constantly getting them mixed up), so in the morning I quickly re-read about them and had them fresh in my memory (they didn't come up in my tests though). 

What you need to bring: either you photographic driving license or paper driving license with your passport. You cannot take anything into the test room (except license and key) so you'll put everything into a locker - leave your watch in there too!

If you pass A-MAZING, if not REBOOK! 

I put a lot of pressure on myself to pass the first time. It had been a few years since I last sat an exam and everyone I had spoken to had said how easy the test will be for me. Which neither helped ease the pressure of possibly failing an exam. But, at the end of the test, there was only one question that I wasn't sure of an answer for. 

A small tip is to book your tests via the Gov.uk website, I've been told that other sites may charge booking fees! 
- K.B 

Reading Wishlist #1

I am about to start a new job, which means I'll probably end up buying a nice pile of books again. But, until then, I wanted to make a small (very small) collection of the books that I'm currently lusting over.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I've been meaning to buy this book for years, I enjoy Kinsella's 'women's fiction', I enjoy YA novels, I should -logically- enjoy Finding Audrey then. Also, the cover art is so simple and effective - I especially love the hardcovers green stripes!
Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella's first novel for teens, sure to appeal to her legions of adult and young adult fans all over the world. Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house. Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable. Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
I first heard about this book from Jess' book haul (here) a couple of months ago, and since I keep seeing it in book shops. Although I wasn't interested the first time I heard about The Underground Railroad, I'm now thinking about getting a copy.
If you want to see what this nation is all about, you have to ride the rails. Look outside as you speed through, and you’ll find the true face of America. It was a joke, then, from the start. There was only darkness outside the windows on her journeys, and only ever would be darkness.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North. 

In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.
A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggen

Every so often a children's book appears and I get a little bit jealous that I'm 'too old' to read it. But this book looks gorgeous, the illustrations and the message behind it seems wonderful!
They've got their eyes on you…Violet hates living in Perfect. She doesn’t want to have to be neat and tidy and perfectly well-behaved all the time, where’s the fun in that?Then Violet starts to question other things… Like why does everyone have to wear special glasses to stop them going blind? What are the strange noises in the night and why is Mum acting so weird?Then Dad disappears and Violet is determined to uncover the truth with the help of the mysterious Boy. But returning normality to Perfect is a battle they never imagined...

Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
At this point, I feel like everyone and their mum has read Kaur's first poetry book milk and honey - which I loved! So when she announced, a few weeks ago, that she was going to be publishing another collection of poems I was overjoyed.

this is the recipe of life/said my mother/as she held me in her arms as i wept/ think of those flowers you plant/in the garden each year/ they will teach you/that people too/must wilt/fall/root/rise/in order to bloom/ 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 
I didn't read this while I was in education, so it's only since being made into a TV series that I've heard about it. I'm planning on reading the book before I watch the series though, which is very difficult with it being spoken about so much.
A chair, a table, a lamp. Above, on the  white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the centre of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. There must have been a chandelier, once. They’ve removed anything you could tie a rope to.Offred lives in The Republic of Gilead, to some a utopian vision of the future, a place of safety, a place where everyone has a purpose, a function. But The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed.If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

What have you got on your reading wishlist? Anything I'm missing? Or that you recommend? 

- K.B

Currently Reading #1

When I'm struggling to read, I start so many books within a short space of time but don't finish any! Because of this, I have no reviews to write and now I have no posts to publish. 

Instead of a TBR or wish list (which might be a future post), I thought I would write a post on books I'm currently hoarding on my bedside table.

Currently Reading: Fiction:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (link)
Annoyingly this was the book that started my struggle with reading. I finished a book before it, went to start reading this after and found a note in the front that made me feel guilty for owning a book that was meant to be a loving gift. I haven't *really* started reading this book yet either, I'm just carrying it around. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (link) 
I hate this book. It is over-hyped. I don't enjoy the format and find the overall book very boring. I am only halfway - although if it gets better PLEASE TELL ME, I'm begging!

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland (link)
I could have easily finished this book in the first day! I bought it for a mere £5 in Tesco (link). It appears to be enjoyable, perhaps a little jumpy in places. If you enjoy chick-lit/Sophie Kinsella/Giovanna Fletcher/any other authors along this category then you'll enjoy this book. It's easy to read and isn't anything too difficult to emotionally handle. 

Currently Reading: Non-Fiction:

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (link)
I had heard a LOT about this book and took it to be the next Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (link). It's more and better. Also, you are not required to tidy up. Such an easy flick through book, exploring the idea of Hygge [pronounced: hooga] and what makes people happy. If you already enjoy lighting candles and being content, you'll enjoy reading this book. Bonus, it's got a beautiful cover.

Doing It! by Hannah Witton (link)
I remember when I first hit puberty my Mum bought me some 'child-friendly' books to explain what was happening to my body, and another one specifically on periods. They were good. Cannot remember what they were called though. This is the next level up. Discussing everything someone growing up in the 21st century needs to know about sex. It doesn't tell you how to have sex. But it discusses Healthy Relationships, Bad Relationships, Virginity - how this is a made up concept used to make females feel guilty for sex, Sex Education, LGBTQ+ community, Consent (!!!), Masturbation, Porn (the good, the bad and the ugly side of porn), Bodies & Body Image, Sexual Pleasure, STIs (and other sexually transmitted 'problems'), Sexting, Sex Shaming and much more. 

Let me know if there are any book related posts that you're interested in reading this summer! Your wishes shall be my commands.

- K.B