Friday, 30 January 2015

Unhaul - January 2015

Hello friends!

Having recently posted a lovely Christmastime book haul, I thought it was about time I posted one of these too... That's right, it's an 'unhaul', in other words, a post about the books I'm getting rid of to make way for all my shiny new ones! 

Inevitably, especially since my tastes have changed so much since starting blogging and watching BookTube videos (seriously, there is so much literature out there!), there are some books on my shelves that I'm just not excited about reading any more. I did a pretty sizeable clear-out last summer after I moved back from France, but these are some more books that, on further consideration, just didn't make the cut!

These first four are ones that I've had for years and years. They're all children's books that I don't think I'll ever get round to reading, so I've decided to give them a new home and allow others to enjoy them!

I'm sure they're great books, but I just don't think they're for me! 

The next bunch are ones that I've read (or, in the third one's case, started reading) and just didn't enjoy enough to want to keep. They were fine, but I won't be re-reading:

Next up, there are a couple that I bought purely because I loved the covers (I even mentioned the second one ages ago in my Opposites Book Tag post for that very reason):

Although they would both work for my Travel the World in Books challenge, I just don't have enough enthusiasm for them any more. 

The same goes for the final two:

I was excited about these when I got them, but my interest has gradually waned, and it's about time they were re-homed so they can be with someone who appreciates them!

So there you have it, all the books I'm getting rid of this January! 

What books are on your unhaul list? How do you feel about getting rid of books? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays - Books to Read with My Bookclub

So, for today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted, as always, by The Broke and The Bookish), we'll be looking at:

Top Ten Books to Read with My Bookclub

Now, I don't actually belong to a bookclub, so I've decided to take it in a hypothetical sense, and choose books that I think would benefit from discussion with a group of other people (or just books that I love talking about!). 

1. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

I know I just wrote a review of this, but I'm so intrigued to see what people think of the (almost) main character Holly Golightly. I find her so fascinating, that, although I'd be worried people might spoil my view of the book by liking it less than me (this actually happens to me and I hate it!), I'd be willing to risk it just for a great bookish discussion on the matter.

2. Look We Have Coming to Dover by Daljit Nagra

This collection of poems about the Indian immigrant perspective is something that I feel would benefit from group discussion, as I always find I get more out of poetry that way!

3. Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Having only just reviewed Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as part of a readalong, I'm itching for more classic book discussion! I actually started reading Villette at the start of the academic year, but uni work quickly piled up and I put it down in favour of lighter and easier reads. It wasn't that the book wasn't good (quite the opposite!), but it was a book I felt deserved my full and undivided attention. I'd love to read this with a group and discuss all of its wonderfulness together!

4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

This might be my favourite book by Agatha Christie, and it might also be her most accomplished. I'd be so interested to see if anyone managed to work out whodunnit before the big reveal.

5. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This is another that I started reading last term and ended up putting down because of work commitments. Plus I had loads of other books on the go at the same time, and The Luminaries is HUGE, so I knew I wouldn't get the satisfaction of finishing it any time soon! I've heard mixed things about this book - some people absolutely adore it and others, like the flatmate I borrowed it from, were less impressed. And what better way to ensure lively discussion than picking a book that divides opinion!

6. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

This is the last of Jane Austen's main novels that I haven't read, so I'd love to get to it soon. Plus, I know I could discuss Jane Austen for hours! And people often have quite different opinions on her characters, so I'd be interested to compare thoughts.

6. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is another book that I've been meaning to read and would love to have an excuse to get to! I feel like I've heard nothing but great things, but I'd still be interested to compare what I think to the opinions of other group members.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I know a lot of people who studied this in school, but I never did. There's got be something fuelling all those classroom discussions!

8. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

I first read this back when I was about 19 and working full-time in a coffee shop, and I would read it on my half-hour lunch breaks. I never wanted to go back to work afterwards because I was always so engrossed in the book! But even though I was so in awe of the amazing writing and blown away by how evocative it all was, I don't think I understood half of what was going on! This is definitely a book that would benefit from a re-read and a thorough discussion with other people.

9. Jonah's Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston

I read Their Eyes Were Watching God last summer, and couldn't make up my mind what I thought of it at first. But it was a book that I couldn't stop talking about (to my mum, my friends, my boss in France), and the more I thought about it and talked about it the more I realised how much I liked it. I'm really really hoping this other novel is the same!

10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I know this is totally cliché and there probably isn't that much more to say about it that hasn't been said a million times already... But nevertheless, I don't think I'll ever get tired of talking about this series! And I'd love the chance to talk about it with a new group of people :D

So there you have it! My Top Ten Tuesday list for this week. :)

What do you think of my list? What are your top ten choices for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's

I read a library copy of this book a while ago (pre-blog) and loved it. But since then my tastes have really changed and I've been desperate to get my own copy and re-read it to see if it lives up to my memory. So I put it on my birthday wishlist and was super excited when my brother bought it for me.

Breakfast at Tiffany's


Truman Capote


Novella, character study (though that's not really a genre...)

One-sentence summary:

The unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter and subsequent friendship with Holly Golightly, and the various quirks, flaws and mishaps that make her who she is.


This was one of the first books I read at the start of my getting-back-into-reading phase (I think I was about 18...), where I was just beginning to discover the variety of beautifully-written, strange and wonderful books out there. I got a load of books out of the library before a week's holiday and ploughed through at least a book a day! This was one of the first of those books, all of which really opened my eyes to the world of reading as an adult. And not only that, but the book itself turned out to be so much more than I expected! Judging from my vague notions of the film (which I've never seen), I had imagined a fluffy, light romance with Holly Golightly as the quirky and fun main character. But what I got was so much more than that, and I'll never forget my first experience of the book for those reasons. That was probably why I was a little apprehensive about my re-read. What if I didn't love it as much as the first time? What if it ruined the book for me?

Well, I'm glad to say that I loved it just as much, if not more, this time around. Holly's character is deeply flawed and completely infuriating at times, but I found her fascinating just as the narrator does. The book touched on some interesting points about taking people as they are and not expecting them to change, which somehow sounds quite simplistic as I write it, but is delivered with beautiful subtlety through the narrator's (and reader's) oscillation between being fascinated by her character and infuriated by it.

There are some truly poignant moments where Holly is trying to figure out where she belongs in the world, and you get glimpses of her past which hint at a much bigger back-story. You never know exactly what she's thinking, but you get to know her as the narrator does - through a series of social interactions, and much speculation. She's just one of those characters that you can't stop thinking about, and can't work out whether you really like her or not. She's so interesting that she completely eclipses the narrator himself, which is something I didn't notice so much the first time around. He is so fascinated by Holly and her struggle to find herself, that he avoids looking at himself too closely.

Final thoughts:

Just as I can't work out how I feel about Holly, I'm finding it hard to pinpoint my feelings about this book. I know that I loved it, but I'm not sure to what extent. I think the complexity of Holly's character and my complicated feelings towards her are signs of an accomplished novel (or novella!) - over-simplistic characters aren't like real people! I still feel hesitant about recommending the book though, because I think people won't feel the same as me, especially if they've seen the film first!

How about you? Do you prefer the film? What do you think of the book? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I received this book from my brother for Christmas, and it was the first book I read in 2015! What a great start to the year!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I now own two Neil Gaiman books, though I've only read Ocean.


Neil Gaiman



One-sentence summary:

A man returns to a childhood haunt and some long-forgotten memories of supernatural events resurface.


Having never read any Neil Gaiman before (I know, right?), I was going entirely on other people's opinions. So I was pretty sure I would like this book, but a little apprehensive that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. But I'm happy to report that it absolutely did! In fact, it surpassed them.

Right from the start, there was something weird and wonderful about this story. It begins with a middle-aged man heading to a childhood haunt and beginning to relive childhood memories of things that happened there. It's interesting, while reading the story and realising how extraordinary it is, to remember the man's attitude at the start and how fuzzy his memories have become. I felt that, while it was presented in a supernatural and fantastical way, the essence of the man's relationship to his memories is the same as our own. The events that seem so monumental to us in childhood begin to lose their power as they become transformed into distant recollections of the past.

Another facet of this story that I enjoyed was how the narrator - in the flashback to his childhood - relates to the adults around him and how he perceives adulthood. He sees adults as infallible and undefeatable, something which, as adult readers, we know to be untrue, and which his adult self knows to be untrue as well. 

The majority of the story is completely fantastical, and it's obvious that Gaiman really let his imagination run wild to concoct all the bizarre creatures and scenarios. But, for me, it is the human interactions that really make this book. The narrator's friendship with Lettie Hempstock (in contrast to the one he has with his sister), is really endearing, while the powerlessness he feels in the face of the adult world is much more threatening than any supernatural monster.

Final thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, partly because it is so imaginative and fantastical, and partly because of its human dimension. I know this is a lot of people's favourite Gaiman, so I'll be interested to see how it compares to his other works.

What did you think of The Ocean at the End of the Lane? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments!

Update: Check out this brilliant review by Girl with Her Head in a Book - she just captures the book so perfectly! :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wuthering Heights Readalong - Some Rambly Thoughts

Post updated to include links to other readalong participants' reviews!

Today I had my last exam (until May)! Hurrah! So it's probably about time for a post about the Wuthering Heights readalong that I've been doing with Susie @ Girl with her Head in a Book (who is hosting the readalong with Kirsty @ The Literary Sisters). Susie posted her thoughts quite a while ago, but I've been deliberately holding off on reading it until I can get my own, uncontaminated thoughts onto (virtual) paper. (But I will definitely be checking out her post right after writing this!)

I mentioned in my post announcing the readalong that I first read Wuthering Heights a couple of years ago whilst on holiday in Yorkshire (appropriate, right?), and wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it! I think my initial doubts were mainly due to my mistaken impression of what the story would be about. I expected a gothic love story, a bit like Jane Eyre. But that's not what Wuthering Heights is really about at all!

So what are my thoughts this time around?

***Warning! These thoughts will most definitely contain SPOILERS!***

Hooray for free kindle editions!

This time around, I discovered that Wuthering Heights is so much more than I gave it credit for the first time. I guess this is probably the reason I couldn't stop thinking about it, but there is so much more to this book than meets the eye.

One of the main themes that really struck me, that I didn't notice the first time around, was that of fate and the control that external forces have over our lives. In so many cases, the characters start out full of promise but are tainted or destroyed by other people's treatment of them. Heathcliff is, of course, the prime example; though the first Mr Earnshaw treats him well, he is subsequently despised by Hindley and treated horribly when Mr Earnshaw dies. Plus, there are recurring hints that Heathcliff's character was doomed from the outset by his dubious provenance. 

To be honest, my opinions of (almost) all the characters were less than favourable for the majority of the book. I oscillated between feelings of sympathy and murderous rage, and at some points I literally had to put the book down because I hated the characters so much and couldn't stand them any longer. That might make it sound like I didn't enjoy the book, but I actually found it completely fascinating how much I could love a book whose characters were so repulsive! I didn't know that was possible!

Throughout the book, the question of how much control the characters have over their own destinies continues to resurface. This was possibly what made my relationship to the characters so confusing, as no matter how much I hated their actions, there was always the vague notion that they weren't completely responsible. Linton Heathcliff is probably the prime example, and though he is probably the character I hated the most in the whole book (and that's saying something!), he arguably has the most excuse for his horrible actions. He's sickly and spoilt his entire childhood, then cruelly treated and manipulated by Heathcliff, so even though he is completely horrible by the end of the book, it's not clear how much of it is his character and how much is the result of external influence.

Heathcliff and Nelly talk about Linton's character. But what causes him to behave the way he does?

As a contrast, it was interesting (and very frustrating at time!) to experience the impotence of the household's servant and part-time narrator Nelly Dean, whose best efforts to remedy potentially harmful situations never seemed to be enough. Powerlessness, both in terms of one's own life and that of other people, was a pretty huge theme throughout, and I found it super interesting! The themes of revenge and forgiveness were also pretty prominent, especially since it is the whole reason for Heathcliff's hateful actions towards the other characters.

I was also fascinated by hints at the supernatural, and not just through Cathy's ghost in the dream and in Heathcliff's mind, but also through the extremes of human nature (especially Heathcliff's!) and the generally oppressive and haunting atmosphere of the Heights. Basically the whole thing is full of atmosphere actually! It really made the book for me.


(Wow, so that looks a teensy bit like a mini essay... Can you tell what I've been doing with my time lately?)

But what were my *concise* overall thoughts?

It's actually pretty hard to pinpoint exactly how I felt about this book. I most definitely enjoyed it a lot more this time around, partly because I knew the plot already so I could concentrate on some of the other stuff, and partly because I know how much it has haunted me and will continue to haunt me... I think having a long-standing relationship to a book is essential if I'm ever to consider it a favourite.

The most amazing and fascinating thing for me is how this book can inspire such incredibly strong emotions in me, and how it can create such a haunting atmosphere. I don't really know what else to say, except that I loved it!

Please check out these posts by the other readalong participants:
...and please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Christmas (ish!) Bookhaul

Firstly, this is super late (woops). But, secondly, I don't really care... So hopefully no one else will either! Because I still get to show off some fabulous books to you guys. Hooray! Please let me know in the comments if you've read any of these and what you thought of them!

Right, let's start with the books my brother got me! He originally bought me a DVD that I already had, so as a replacement he got me these two lovely books from my wishlist.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I've actually already read Ocean (it was actually the first book I read in 2015!), and I can't wait to post my review and tell you my thoughts! 

These next two were from my parents, and they both came from my wishlist too:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

I'm super excited for both of these!

Next up, these are a few that I ordered using some Christmas money:

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Howards End by E.M. Forster
The Giver by Lois Lowry

I've know nothing about the first one, but I was completely intrigued by the plot summary, so I can't wait to get to it! And I've heard such great things about the other two. I know The Giver is Bear Allen (at Black White and Read Books)'s favourite book, and I think there's something so amazing about reading someone else's favourite book(s)! (Maybe that's just me :P)

Anyway, here's a pretty picture of all of those in a pile ;)

Next up, I have a not-strictly-Christmas-related purchase, that I made with a giftcard that I got in exchange for the duplicate copy of Hyperbole and a Half that I got for my birthday!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I dithered for such a long time and must have browsed Waterstones about fifty times before I actually settled on these two books, but I'm so glad I did! I've heard nothing but good things about these books. In fact, I actually already read Persepolis too (I finished it on the train the day I bought it!), so I look forward to posting the review for that too!

Finally, this is another book that I bought because of the plot summary (and also because it's an interesting addition to my Travel the World in Books challenge):

Aisha by Ahdaf Soueif

This book is set partly in Egypt, which is a part of the world that I am not familiar with at all, plus it got great reviews! Super excited to dive in :)

So there you go! I'm rather excited to have such lovely new books on my shelves to enjoy in 2015.

What new books did you get for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 8 January 2015


This was one of the books I received for my birthday, and I actually started reading it quite a while ago but deadlines got in the way! So I thought I'd take the opportunity to finish it while it's still the Christmas holidays. Though I'm posting this in 2015, I actually finished this at the end of 2014 so it wasn't my first book of the year. You've still got that to look forward to ;)

Today's review is about:



Jo Baker


Historical fiction, classic retelling

One-sentence summary:

The familiar cast of Pride and Prejudice may experience some emotional ups and downs in their story, but behind the scenes the servants' lives are no less tumultuous as they experience love, loss and the past coming back to haunt them.


Being a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, I wasn't sure what I would make of this retelling from the servants' point of view. I think I was mostly worried that it would either not live up to the original or worse, would even ruin the original for me.

I'm happy to say, though, that I did really enjoy this book despite my reservations. I thought the writing style was great, and the choice of language really fitted with the time period without feeling too weird or forced. 

I particularly enjoyed the reference to all the parts of daily life Jane Austen wouldn't dream of mentioning, dirty laundry and chamber pots for example! I also enjoyed the slightly different slant on many of the characters. Mr Bennet doesn't come off quite so well as he does in the original, and Mrs Bennet's actions become understandable, even reasonable. Though on a couple of occasions I did think the author had used a little too much artistic license on Austen's characters, for the most part the fresh perspectives were really interesting. I also enjoyed how the events of the book lined up with those of the original, but with a completely different slant. It really threw into sharp relief the disparity between the classes, as well as raising bigger issues about the stories and perspectives an author chooses to present (and why).

This was the perfect book to curl up with at my grandma's.
A couple of things did get on my nerves a little, like the almost-love-triangle at the beginning which I just felt didn't really serve any purpose apart from to prolong the moment until the real love story kicks in. Plus, there is a sizeable chunk describing life in the army, which I felt didn't really gel with the rest of the book. It was mostly interesting and clearly well-researched but I just couldn't help feeling that it wasn't what I signed up for when I picked up the book! 

My mum also read this book recently and had a good long moan about the inaccuracies and anachronisms that she found in it. She's particularly fond of books written in this time period and has read quite a few that give specific details of daily life, so these things were a lot more obvious to her. I can't say they bothered me too much though... Anachronisms normally do bother me, but I don't think the ones in this book are particularly noticeable (unless you're a real stickler for minute details like my mum!).

Final thoughts:

Despite its (relatively minor) flaws, I really liked this book. In fact, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I found it particularly interesting as someone who has already read most of Jane Austen, including Pride and Prejudice, but it might also be interesting to get the perspective of someone who hasn't read the original.

What did you think of Longbourn? Do you agree with my review? I'd also be interested to hear what you think of this type of spin-off book - there seem to be a lot around at the moment, especially of Jane Austen's books. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - New-To-Me Authors for 2015

So today's Top Ten Tuesday hosted (as always) by The Broke and the Bookish was about my top ten releases of 2015. But since I don't generally read books as they come out and most of the books I read were published years ago, I don't really have many anticipated book releases for 2015.

I wasn't going to do a post for today, but then I stumbled across this post by Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library, and thought I'd take a leaf out of her book (metaphorically, that is).

So today's list is going to be:

Top Ten New-to-me Authors I'd Like to Read in 2015

1. Neil Gaiman - I own The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Smoke and Mirrors, but a friend of mine has been trying to get me to read Neverwhere for years. This year is the year I find out what all the fuss is about!

2. Alexander McCall Smith - I actually own quite a few books by this author, and my mum owns the entire No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, so really I have no excuse! I don't know why I've never picked up one of his books, but I'm excited to do that this year.

3. Zadie Smith - I bought White Teeth in a recent book haul, and have heard great things about it (though mixed reviews of her other books...), so I'm keen to get to it this year.

4. George R.R. Martin - My brother gave me A Game of Thrones last year for my birthday (in 2013!!!) and I got about three chapters in before having to head back to Germany where I was living at the time. And that book's not exactly the one you wanna lug through Europe on the train... But I really want to get back to it this year, and maybe read the rest of the series if I enjoy it! I know I'm probably the last person to read this book on the entire planet...

5. Junot Diaz - I put The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in a TBR post for autumn 2014*, and needless to say I didn't get round to reading it! I got very close to starting it a few times, but studying just got in the way, sadly. I'm very keen to get to it this year though, and I'd love to explore more of his writing.

6. Donna Tartt - I've been hearing people raving about The Secret History (which I really want to read but am slightly intimidated by, due to its size!) and The Goldfinch, which won the Pulitzer Prize last year I believe. I'm hoping to get to one of those books this year.

7. Elizabeth Gaskell - I've heard some amazing things about North and South, which would probably be where I would start with her... But I just love discovering new 19th-century authors, especially women!

8. Octavia E. Butler - I mentioned in my 2015 resolutions post that I'd like to be more adventurous with my genres and that I'd bought a sci-fi (ish) book to kick-start that plan. Well the book I bought was Kindred by this author. I've heard some really fab things about her and can't wait to discover her for myself.

9. Marjane Satrapi - OK, so this one's kinda cheating because I already read one of her books (Persepolis - review coming soon!), but I read it this month so she still counts as a 2015 debut-for-me author. She's done a couple of other graphic novels that were listed in the back of Persepolis, and I'd love to read them in the original French if I can get hold of them!

10. Alice Walker - Finally, I'd love to read The Color Purple this year, as well as discovering what else she has to offer!

*Fun fact: That post was also my very first Top Ten Tuesday! Ah, memories ;)


So, that's all folks! Feel free to link me to your TTT post for today, whatever the topic, in the comments below! 

Who are the authors you'd like to get started on in 2015? Let me know in the comments :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

2014 - A Year in Reading!

This year has been a pretty exciting one when it comes to bookishness. I started this blog in June, I discovered BookTube (my new favourite place!!!), and I feel like I, and my reading tastes, have grown hugely over the course of the year.

This dive into more purposeful and conscious reading choices has overall been very positive. But it has made me realise that I don't really know where my tastes lie. I feel as though, almost subconsciously, I've been on the hunt for a new favourite book, or at least one that I can say with confidence that I really really love, but this wasn't the year that I found it! 

When I reflect on it, most of the books I would consider to be favourites are children's books, and therefore books that I have a long-standing relationship with because I read them so many years ago. Maybe that's the answer, then. I'll just have to wait years and years and see what books from this year stick with me!

Even though I'm not sure if any of my reads from this year will end up being all-time favourites, I've drawn up a couple of lists of favourites for this year anyway, both bookish and non-bookish. Enjoy!

Top 5 Books (plus a couple more!):

These books are just in chronological order rather than order of preference, but they are:
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - Beautiful and haunting, plus it was a perspective I knew hardly anything about.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - Apparently this is a children's classic but I only just discovered it! Loved it!
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster - Another haunting one. I can't stop thinking about it!
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - A truly epic read.
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - Poignant, thoughtful, interesting, different... Such a gem of a book!

I also felt I should give an honourable mention to Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, which I re-read recently but didn't read for the first time in 2014. It was still one of the best things I read in 2014 though. And I should also mention Emma by Jane Austen, which was a pre-blog read so I'm not sure what my exact thoughts were, but I know I loved it!

Authors of the Year Award:

This is basically an 'award' for the authors that I discovered, rediscovered, or were just significant in my reading life in 2014. I really tried to narrow this down to one author, but I couldn't make my mind up! And they are:

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez - I'm super excited to read more of his books!
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi - She's not a new-to-me author, but I re-discovered her this year when I read Americanah and I can't wait to read more of her stuff
  • Joan Didion - I read The Year of Magical Thinking recently and it's made me really keen to get into her writing

Other stuff that happened in 2014:

2014 was an eventful year! Here are just a couple of other things that I thought were worth mentioning:
  • This one's pretty obvious, but I started this blog! Huzzah! This isn't my first foray into the blogosphere. I had a WordPress blog before, and another blogger one waayyyy back when I was still at school, but those ones never stuck. I also blogged about my travels and adventures living in Germany and France on a blog that I no longer post content to (since I'm no longer living in Germany or France!), but you can check it out if you're interested! :P
  • Following on from that last point, this summer marked almost a full year of living and working abroad as part of my degree, an experience that I am immensely proud of and grateful for. The year had its ups and downs, but I grew as a person an enormous amount and wouldn't change a moment of it!
  • September 2014 was back to reality with the start of my final year at university. Studying is especially hard this year, but I've managed to make things even harder for myself by taking on loads of extra-curricular stuff too! I play in the uni wind orchestra, am on the CU sub-committee for working with international students (which involves volunteering at weekly lunches, organising events, etc.), attend extra-curricular language events, and train with the ultimate frisbee team twice a week... Oh, y'know, and try to read books and write this blog. I emphasize the word try here because I am aware I haven't always kept on top of everything!
  • 2014 was also the year I realised my own shortcomings. I mean, I knew about some of them before obviously, but this was the year they were really brought to the fore and displayed for my scrutiny (and very often that of other people). Not a fun experience. But it's made me aware of just how reliant I am on God and my identity in Him. It doesn't matter when I fail in the eyes of the world! My identity is secure - Hooray!! :D

Phew! I think that's enough to be going on with! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favourite books, authors, and events of 2014! I certainly enjoyed living them :)

Let me know in the comments what your favourite books/authors/moments of 2014 were. And feel free to post any links to your 2014 wrap-up posts. I'd love to read them!
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