TBR Update and Recent Reads | August 2018

by: MercysBookishMusings

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hey guys I'm here today to do a bit of a random catch health video this may be a bit of a longer video because what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna talk about where I'm at with my reading goals which were mainly focused on reducing my TBR at this point in the year and then I'm gonna talk about how I'm feeling about my reading and channel and I'm gonna talk about a few books I've read recently say one and I do just want to quickly say I don't know if you guys can hear this but just in case you can and my arms rustling I'm just that I tattoo and I have to have cling film on it wallet while it heals and it's making lots of rustling noises which are really annoying me so I hope you guys can't hear that even me talk anyway so I probably should have done like a mid-year update but everything was so sort of up in the air with life and also like what was happening with my reading what my plans were for the year I didn't so very briefly my startup year plans were to reduce my TBR down to 100 unread books I had 208 a minute each month I needed to reduce it by nine books and I gave myself a couple of rules in order to sort force myself to do that which meant that if every month I didn't reduce my tyria by nine books I had to get rid of some books to make it up to nine and also I wasn't allowed to haul a book and have one read on my shelf for longer than six weeks now initially I was doing quite well for the first few months and then it just took a nosedive and I stopped following those rules so it's a weird thing because overall I still believe in the outcome I still want to only have a hundred books but I guess I don't believe in the outcome enough to be super strict for myself about it it's just not in my nature so I don't feel it's all annoyed with myself for not fulfilling the guy lines I set out I'm just going to see how the rest of it takes me and I'd like to have some form of production both it's not maybe what it should be so anyway well I'm going to briefly talk about is the the numbers very quickly so in terms of new books I haven't read it's got massively out of hand because I have 40 and read new books and if if I had six weeks of work nothing to do I couldn't read four books in in six weeks and loads of those have been sitting around since March like the six weeks deadline has been and gone then in terms of what I've read I've read 45 books so far this year which is my slows reading isn't I've had the channel and as I said that towards the second half of last year my reading just slowed down I think a lot of it for me is habit making and breaking I think I've solved broken the habit of reading as much as I did previously and also just had a lot going on the last couple of months with family stuff to just haven't found that as much time to read so how many at forty five books which for me is a bit of a shame because I do like reading a lot more than I've been and I've been doing and I'm hoping that towards the second half of year that will change I always tend to read more in the autumn in the winter because it's just my happy time so as that and out of those 45 only 13 of those books with books I owned prior to the start of this year 24 were new to me book so because I hold and read and then there were eight other books which are rather things like audiobooks lighter books or rereads which don't really count - and the other two options so again I've been leaning towards reading new books rather than and my TBR I will say that a lot of my TBR books I think I'm much more focused on colder season so I have lots of books that are saying cold countries all in colder months and I don't like reading those old books during the warm weather so it just has sort of meant that those books have been backtracked until the end of the year but I think I'll be much more focused on my TBR overhauled books and once we get to September there is that so to start the year I have 208 books at the moment without the books I've hauled I have 167 but once you add the fortieth haul I have 207 so I've only released my TBR buy one book in just over seven months go me um but the reason I managed to get down to 167 is because whilst only read 13 of my books of my shelf I also unhaul 28 and a lot of those books I started in dnf'd and a few of books I just realised I wasn't that interested in anymore so I I did and I unhold them so yeah it's not brilliant but it is what is it's been a bit of a odd year for me and I'm just accepting that this is what's happened and just saw cracking on so when I made all these plans one of the big changes and for you guys I guess who watch my channel is that it changed the way I did videos I decided to stop doing monthly wrap-ups I found that a lot of my videos were really long and whilst people seem to enjoy long videos I really enjoy long videos and they still get a you know a similar amount of use to other videos and I just started to feel a bit anxious about the fact that lots of my videos in there in 20 minute mark and so I decided to pull back from doing the monthly wrap-ups I also hope that would stop me having such an attitude of having to fill numbers in a month and read this amount of books in a next month or whatever um and I guess it has in that sense I'm way less aware of how I don't know how many books I read in a month on average anymore but I think it's lessened my enjoyment of my channel because I've stopped doing book calls which is all nice easy videos the duty and I stopped doing monthly wrap-ups which again are quite nice videos to do and instead I do lots of tag not tags I do lots of reviews and which are just generally harder videos to do and have to be in the right mind so I have to think about them a little bit more before I film them and I'm just missing having more variety in my channel I guess and also there's some books that I don't necessarily want to talk about more in depth but they never don't review them I'm never gonna mention them so effectively I'm trying to say I don't think the way I've been doing has been working for me and I don't think it's been working with a channel I but because I've not been uploading anywhere near as much and some of that's been to do with various things have been going on but also somewhere that is just because I will be like okay I like to do free I like to review free books in one video and if I review free TBR books in one video and I have to wait until I've read three and which could take me six weeks because I could so let me focus on the new books and so it's sort of I found that the way I film my videos is guiding my reading and I wanted to be the opposite I want to get a bit more relaxed about how I do things so bearing all that mind what I've decided to do is I had a few books that were sitting waiting for me to review them and for various reasons I hadn't because I was waiting to read other books alongside them so I could talk about them I've decided to let all of that go this month set up at five books I'm gonna talk about here and I read all of these I don't even know last month it could have been a month for fall I don't remember and I'm gonna talk about them all and then I'm gonna just do the rest of them on how I feel like it what I think I might do this month is do a half month wrap-up and then an end of the month wrap up because and I'm reading quite a good pace for me and then I think from September onwards I might just start doing doing things old school and I may do a book cool if you guys want to see I'm not going to do one now because I did just fill my newts TBR and which I showed it off my new books and I'll link that up here in case you haven't seen it and you want to see lots of money books though I thought I might do is at the end of the month whatever books I have left there are no books I haven't shown you guys yet I thought I might just do a little bit of a book call an update so you guys know what I might be reading in the coming months and then moving forward just just take it each video at a time so yeah those are my plans so I'm going to review the five books now so the first two novels are books that I've owned for a while and I only just got round to reading this one is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett this is the third book by unpatch I've read and I'll definitely go on to read more so this is her most famous book I reckon and I think most of you will know what this one's about bacon case you don't this is set in a unnamed Latin American country in the vice president's house where a birthday meal is being hosted for a very important Japanese businessman and at the meal to celebrate his birthday people from all over the world have been invited and also a famous opera singer has been invited to perform for his birthday very first chapter of this novel terrorists enter the house they put it on lockdown and the rest of the book is about this hostage situation all these people there's about 40 guests and quite a lot of terrorists as well in this and how they they live together for quite a prolonged period of time now I've heard loads of people rave about this novel I knew so many people enjoyed it and I knew that it was a slow character focused novel which is what I enjoy and that's certainly what I got from this this novel has two big focuses which I've heard a few people say they didn't like one of them being music the opera singer is kept in the house with the others and she performs quite often and there's lots of discussions and of people's connections with music and or what we love free the love of music and I didn't mind that and so the other theme is love itself there's two relations the relationships begin to blossom in this book I didn't like that as much I found that a little bit heavy-handed to begin with I enjoyed it and I liked all the characters and towards the end yeah I just thought it was a little bit over the top and sort of took over the novel a bit so I really enjoyed this novel but I guess I just found the relationship aspects ruined it a little bit I really didn't like the final chapter which I won't spoil but I think it could have ended the chapter before and I also had an issue with one of the relationships in that one of the people in the relationship is a lot older than the other one and also they're in a position of power because of their level of wealth and education and I didn't really feel like that was address than the novel and I've read lots of people's reviews and I only saw another couple of people mention it but I read this relationship feeling really uncomfortable like I was reading a relationship between a child and an adult and I'm not sure if the author was going for that or whether she just didn't think it was an issue but I found it quite uncomfortable and that's all spoil the novel a little bit for me so I really enjoy unpatch I can see where so many people love this novel but it was just a couple of bits that stopped me from from really loving it so there's that one next one is euphoria by Lily King about this one for a few years and been convinced always that I'd really really enjoy this is about three anthropologists in New Guinea in the 1930s our main character is called Nell Stone but she is based on Margaret Mead who I knew nothing about Nell Stone is traveling with her husband fen and may have been out in New Guinea for a while and they are leaving a group of people who they've been studying because things have gone a bit awry and got a bit dangerous and they're trying to find a new group of people to study when they run into let me check and Bankson and Andrew Bankson has been out there for a while himself and we find it very quickly that he's very lonely and depressed and a little bit mentally unstable and he very quickly offers for them to study a another group of local people that are quite near to Him because he's hoping he can visit them quite often and have some contact with people who can speak his language and understand him very easily and the rest of this novel really follows a very bizarre triangle between the three of them and their relationship with these people they're studying and I really really enjoyed this book I think it's really well written I found the characters completely engrossing thinking about it now I know it's if I could want to reread I really loved nel and Andrew really disliked fen and all the feelings I was supposed to have I did have and I've really liked all the discussions of anthropology in that they talked about the fact that when you study people you have to be present to do that and by being present you change the actions of those people so you can never really get a true reflection of a group of people because they're always changed by you being there and I thought that was really well discussed throughout the novel and I just really really wanted it to go a certain way I felt really tense at the end I really recommend this no but I don't think it's for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it I only criticism I have that stopped me from completely loving this book is that I think it wrapped up a bit too quickly at the it was quite a slow novel and then all of a sudden there's lots of things that happened in the last 40 pages that I felt should have been given more time and in a way I understand why that happened because I think we were supposed to feel as shocked as the characters by these events and not really be given time to properly let them percolate but I think I would have preferred a bit more time given to them so I'd really recommend this one that's you forward by Lily King and then I have three recent books that I have hauled obviously not showing you guys so I have a nonfiction book to talk about and that is affected poverty and profit in the American city by Matthew Desmond so I've seen loads it will talk about this because this one the 2017 Pulitzer Prize as you can see so we follow matthew desmond as he lives for several years in milwaukee and studies the rental population so he gets involved with a group of landlords and with a group of renters and tells us their story for out the book now I didn't know before going in was the way this would be told and what I really enjoyed is that Matthew Desmond keeps himself entirely out of the story he never says I he never acknowledges his presence in a room and it just feels like this story being told but yet you know from the prologue where he does explain a little bit that he's not making this stuff up what I really hate in nonfiction is when an author doesn't acknowledge how the day it was collected but then they'll tell you things like so-and-so wore a green top with the yellow logo on it and you think well that's you know very detailed but I don't know how you know that or if you were there or how this happened and so the strongest thing I can say about this novel just in terms of and forgetting what it's about and just in terms of writing style is that for me this is the way niece or stories should be told matthew desmond lived with these people for many years and the information he collected was firsthand but he does not intercept insert himself into the story and let the story become about his own experience because he could have done really could have been much closer to memoir he could have commented on how a moment made him feel and he really really doesn't and I really admired that so I think this is fascinating you know it's a book that I think is enlightening wherever you're from but I think if you're American it's particularly important I'm British and our rental situation is entirely different so I've Luton rental property since I was 11 so for a long long time and and you know there's this stuff about it but nowhere near to the degree in the US and even and discussions of the benefit system I was horrible as my phone I was horrified I completely appalled at the way benefits are distributed and the the caps on them and the fact that I don't know like you look at the world and you know I guess I've been told from my whole education that the US and the UK I liked are two world powers with the wealthiest countries in the world some of the modern countries in the world and that's been changing more recently but we've been raised to believe that and then to be told that like 85 percent of someone's income goes on their rent and they have like 15% which could be like 80 dollars to pay for everything else with the rest of the month and that's completely legal and accepted and if those people can't pay their bills they're evicted it makes no sense that it's not acceptable anywhere in the world but it's particularly not acceptable in a country that you know celebrates itself as being a country where anyone can do anything and make anything of themselves it's just crazy so I think this is well worth the read I think if you don't read nonfiction and you find intimidating this really is and this is a story about people you get to know these people and there are facts and statistics but they're really woven into the narrative and I highly recommend this book it was excellent the next book I'm going to talk about is the only short story person I've read so far this year which is a really sad fact because I used to read two or three every month and now we've got to a point where I've read one in seven months so I need to change that very quick and so the book is Florida by Lauren growth now in some ways there's bits of this that are excellent but there's a lot of stuff that's just yeah so long grass right folks in theories it's quite a well-known book I really enjoyed it and I really liked her writing style and I was so happy and excited when I need it she had a short story collection coming out that was focused on Florida I find Florida a really fascinating place and and that's just something I feel like Florida if there's such a thing as places being at the border of this world and another I feel like Florida would be one of those places that's like a borderland because there's just something a bit weird about Florida and so I was really excited about this collection so the positives there's a few stories in this that I thought was phenomenal one of those being the first one so you know this is where you can tell people have different tastes cuz I'm gonna read you a bit here it's a few Oh probably think whatever inside you'll probably think as I did oh my god this is gonna be amazing so this is the one of the first paragraphs on my nighttime walks the neighbors lives reveal themselves the lip windows domestic aquariums at times and the Silent Witness two fights that look like slow dance and without music it is astonishing how people live the messes they sustain the delicious whiffs of cooking the carriage of the street the holiday decorations that slowly seep into daily decor all January I watched a Christmas bouquet of roses on one mantle diminish until the flowers were a blighted shrivel and the water green scum who shanked on a stick still beaming merrily out with the Bruins window after window nears freezes with its blue flock of television light or its couple huddled over supper of pizza holds as I pass then slides individual gotten I think the way water gathers as it slips down and icicles length pauses to build its glassy drop becomes too fat to hang on plummets down so yeah I think she has a glorious wave of words and when that first story is about a woman who goes on nighttime walks through her neighborhood in Florida and is the thing she sees nothing really happens but I just thought it was beautiful and there's another story this collection I think it's called at around edges of the world I loved it it sort of historical story about a young boy who grows up in a big mansion and then we'll of nowhere that's overrun by snakes his father's really abusive and just collect snakes and bring them into the house and it's about this man and growing up from being a small boy to an old man himself and the way that habitat changes and I thought it was really eerie and I loved it but and this is a big part and something that I find really disappointing especially you know it's 2018 so nearly all of these stories feel like they're about the same woman they're nearly all I think are one or two about middle-class white women who are from Florida they all feel like the same woman they're all quite interchangeable some of them are mothers some aren't but they all yeah they blend together and I felt like we are being told about the same experience again and again and it saddened me but this is a collection called Florida and so you feel like you're gonna get the chaos of this this place and all the different types of lives that can be led there and then you don't really and I get that the author is talking from her perspective and that perhaps you can't come on another lives led there and yeah I just it just was a bit of shame and I always feel the collections that are a little bit longer so this is an let me just doll check 270 pages which is quite long for a short story collection and I just think they should have cuts them out and it would have been a stronger collection with a few less stories about middle-class white women doing the same thing so yeah wasn't a massive fan of this a few really excellent stories but most of them I've forgotten about already so it's that one and then the last book I want to talk about is the valley at the center of the world by Malachy talaq hope I pronounced that correctly now this is a book for a certain type of reader I am all of those certain types of readers so I really enjoyed it but not everyone would this is about a group of people who live in a small Valley in the island of Shetland Shetland is an island off the coast of Scotland and it's one of the more well-known islands but these group of people live in quite an isolated area in Shetland and there's like five houses in this one little valley the novel opens with us finding out that a relationship has just broken up and the daughter has left to go back to the mainland and she has left her partner in a house they were renting and that her parents owned was a bit of an uncomfortable situation her parents decided to continue to to treat him like the sort of son-in-law and they offer him work and continued today in the house so it's sort of his story and there's and then there's a lady who comes from England who has moved to Shetland and to write a book about the people there after the loss of her husband what she's struggling to get over and then there's also a younger couple who move into one of these houses from and one of the towns in Shetland and sort of the I think from their perspective it's sort of a comment on the separate lives that can be led even on a place like Shetland wait you know as someone who lives on on mainland I guess you'd call it and you assume that places like Shetland everyone who lives there is sort of it's really rural and everyone lives quite separate lives but actually you get in these communities and there's even degrees of separation in every community to the smaller and smaller scale and this is a slow novel focused around these people not a ton happens and you move from chapter to chapter within each of their homes and focusing on what's going on there and how these small things that happening in their homes affect the others and yeah really it's just a comment on these people what it's like to live in a valley like this and the lifestyles they lead and so most of these people are also add Croft is so they own a Croft and they they look after the Sheep and they look after their own land and so you hear a bit about that so yeah it's hard to describe this novel because not much happens I think it's really great I love books like this I love but on Ireland's very slow focused character studied this is beautifully written the descriptions of the weather and the landscape our affection and I 100% read more of this authors work all of his other books and nonfiction about Islands so I really want to read those but I'm also really hopeful that he'll bring and more novels out because I really enjoyed this and I think if you enjoy books about islands or focused on I select communities or rural lifestyles then I think you should give this one go so those are all the books that I wanted to chat about and give you guys a bit the catch up on apologies that this video is very very long but I hope you enjoyed it and do feel free to comment down below anything you have to say about the books or how my reading is going or anything like that and do let me know if you've read any of these books or if you have any other recommendations for me down below thanks for watching see you the



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Feel free to purchase these books using my Book Depository link to help me make more videos: Bel Canto: https://www.bookdepository.com/Bel-Canto-Ann-Patchett/9781841155838?ref=grid-view&qid=1534191065979&sr=1-1

/?a_aid=MercysBookishMusings Euphoria: https://www.bookdepository.com/Euphoria-Lily-King/9780802123701?ref=grid-view&qid=1534191088627&sr=1-1

/?a_aid=MercysBookishMusings Evicted: https://www.bookdepository.com/Evicted-Matthew-Desmond/9780141983318?ref=grid-view&qid=1534191103940&sr=1-1

/?a_aid=MercysBookishMusings Florida: https://www.bookdepository.com/Florida-Lauren-Groff/9781785151880?ref=grid-view&qid=1534191117253&sr=1-2

/?a_aid=MercysBookishMusings The Valley at the Centre of the World: http://www.malachytallack.com/the-valley-at-the-centre-of-the-world.html

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