Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Gold Fame Citrus

Gold Fame Citrus is a strange tale.  Although they are already damaged when we are introduced to them, no-one in this speculative tale survives the journey unharmed.

Upon reading the first few pages, I was completely intimidated by Watkins' use of language.  However, once I settled into the rhythm of her prose, I found Watkins choice and structure to be completely on-point, with each sentence actualising and emphasizing the arid, desolate, land that her story takes place in.

The characters are well drawn, with their flaws on display for everyone to see.  The sections that take place within the cult are more disturbing than the description of how the American government allowed  the South West to be devasted by drought and the sand storms that followed.  Although when reading, I felt as lost as Luz, I was also angry at her for falling for Levi and the rest of the commune.

The ending does not provide any real resolution, and I was not expecting one as this is not the sort of book to provide any closure for the reader.  If you like dystopian tales with a more literary slant and unlikeable characters, then Gold Fame Citrus will be the book for you.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Bookshop Book Haul

I had a couple of weeks post-Christmas break where I didn't pick anything up from the bookshop, with my 2 damaged paperbacks per week allowance going unused. Unfortunately for Matt, the dry spell didn't last long and I blew through my allowance this week and I have surplus books on the reserved shelf behind the till waiting to be taken home.

 My first pick of the week was Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman which I picked up because I loved the cover. Yes, I am shallow.  Look at how blue it is!  Although I also picked Challenger Deep because the of the split blurb, with the main character living what I assume to be a dual life between his inner self and outer self.  I had a look on Goodreads and Challenger Deep has quite a few high ratings so this may be my next fiction read.

The second pick of the week was Planetfall by Emma Newman.  I've heard of Emma Newman, and I think my mum has read Newman's The Split Worlds trilogy published by Angry Robot, but I've never fancied reading one of her books myself.  This was until I read the back of Planetfall, saw the words "3-D printer engineer" and took the book straight to the till to be stamped.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Reading Plan for 2016

I shouldn't really make plans or have goals.  I can stick to them for about five minutes, and then decide that as they have been self-set it doesn't matter if I break them.  Take for example that this morning I was supposed to get to page 100 of the book I am currently reading.  I got to page 86 and decided it was close enough and that I could actually be playing Lego Dimensions instead - shhh, don't tell Matt!

However, I do have a vague reading plan for 2016 that I would quite like to stick to.  It's pretty basic, and will probably fizzle out by March, but my main aim is to alternate between reading fiction and non-fiction.  Don't get me wrong, I love getting lost in new fictional worlds, but I'd quite like to learn more about other people's experiences/gain a different perspective on a topic I am interested in.  I've managed to stick to this plan so far, with two fiction and two non-fiction books read already this month and I've already got a couple of more non-fiction reads lined up for the future.

My other goal is not to be intimidated by big books and finally read Stephen King's The Stand.  The whole point of finally caving and getting a proper Kindle was so that I could read that sucker without hurting my poor little t-rex arms.  Side note: I was also going to get  IT on the Kindle too, but I ended up purchasing an old copy from the Oxfam on Magdalen Street - so my arms will eventually have to do a little bit of exercise.  I finally purchased the Kindle copy before my flight on Christmas Eve and have been slowly making my way through, making it my bus and lunch book for work.  It perhaps wasn't the best idea to start reading in cold and flu season, but I'm enjoying it so far.

I've also set 50 books as my read goal for this year - it's pretty high considering I want to read a broader range of topics, yet I still think it's achievable, and it's not the end of the world if I end up decreasing the number later in the year.

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Emma has read 4 books toward her goal of 50 books.

So, those are my plans/goals.  I think they are pretty fair - I wouldn't be able to stick to a plan with 10 points anymore; life and my general catatonic state in the evenings does not allow for it (this is another thing I want to change, but work is still kicking my ass.  I felt a bit better about everything this week - and trust me, things got a lot worse from when I wrote my last blog post - yet I'm not completely on board with everything that is happening).  A three-point plan is much more my style these days, and I'm hoping I'll be able to stick to it.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


I am having a tough time at work.  If I'm completely honest, I've been having a tough time at work all year.  When I first started just a little over two years ago, I couldn't imagine finding a better job - surronded by books, could I ask for anything better?

 However, a lot can happen in two years and I find myself getting to that weird point of should I stay or should I go?  The bookworm in me says "stay, you'll never find anything better" but I find that I'm continually anxious going into work every morning, even on my days off.  It's Saturday, and I'm sitting here with my stomach swirling and I can feel the small tremors throughout my body thinking about work.  I'm counting the weeks until my next holiday, but at the same time I know that will be over before I know it and I'll have another long stretch of being desperately unhappy, and feeling like I'm the worst employee in the world.

A combination of the system and how we are being continually let down by it, plus my own incapabilities and not knowing how to improve them are massive points of stress and contention.  Plus feeling like I don't fit in because I'm awkward and quiet - not to mention the judgey mcjudgersons always seem to have the loudest voices.

I get that not everything can run smoothly, but I feel like a complete failure at all times.  I never do anything right, I always let things slide, I don't keep track of things as well as everyone else, I always half ass everything, I might as well just not do anything at all because that's how much use I am to everyone.  I'm continually beating myself up every day and I can't stop.

These feelings aren't going go away anytime soon, but I read Felicia Day's "You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost)" this week and this quote has really stuck with me:

"Weathering the rough times requires a lot of self-confidence outside of the things that you can't control, like career and what other people think of you.  You need to be able to feel proud of yourself even if you were living in a tiny hut in the middle of nowhere, taking care of goats.  You are unique and good enough JUST AS YOU ARE.  As a theoretical goat herder."

The chapter the quote comes from is a really honest insight into Felicia's struggles with anxiety and depression.  While reading this chapter, it felt like she was speaking directly to me - I felt less alone and my own anxiety didn't feel so trivial.   My goal is to keep repeating goat herder every time I feel those negative thoughts start creeping in, or when something that isn't going my way - I just have to own everything no matter what -  and by doing so I hope that this in turn eases the pressure I feel about work.

I feel better for getting this off my chest.  I'm going to go read now - I've got a massive stack of library books and I treated myself to a brand new copy of Marissa Meyer's Winter on Monday so I've got plenty to choose from.