Oh hello there! Catch-up incl. Taylor Swift & #IBW2015!

It has been a while. Guess what I’ve been doing? Working, mostly. Other interesting things too, but working is most important! Last Friday I finished off three months at Penguin Random House, after two weeks of work experience at Transworld I was asked to stay on as a temp for another five weeks. Then I popped over to Cornerstone for another five weeks as they were a bit busy (understatement) and had some holidays coming up they needed cover for. Not going to lie… probably the best three months of my life. Also some of the busiest. Since then I’ve been looking after my niece, and have now just moved back to my mum’s in Liverpool – until I get a job!

So yes, I haven’t managed to post on this blog, but I was doing the whole 9-5 thing (okay, longer than that, but in the most optional way!), and then coming home and helping out with my niece, not to mention all of the reading I’ve been doing. So I haven’t really reviewed anything in almost six weeks, but sometimes you’ve just got to let life happen, or make life happen, and forget that you have a blog for a while. Blogging as a hobby is supposed to be fun, and if I’d been worrying about keeping to another schedule I’d have probably gone a little insane. Now that my time has freed up, however, I’ll be reading and reviewing as much as I can.

Other than working, and being the best auntie in the world, I’ve still managed to get up to a few things – some down to the dream job, and some while being an excellent aunt. For an unknown reason (laziness), none of these things include updating the blog. Sue me.

Where in the world have I been, you ask?! London. Yeah, still London. With a bit of Liverpool. But it turns out there’s a hell of a lot to do there and I’ve taken advantage of that a little bit more than I usually do. Warning: picture heavy post about to commence!

While at Transworld I got to take part in the Penguin Random House & DK charity Walk For Mind, around Literary London!

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I popped to a couple of talks at Greenwich Book Fair, walking there and back (about an hour each way) while listening to Yes Please! by Amy Poehler. A great book to listen to, I’m glad I chose to use an Audible credit on it. I went to the panel on emotions in fiction, chaired by Cathy Rentzenbrink (Bookseller Books Editor, write of The Last Act of Love), with panelists James Hannah (The A to Z of You and Me), Lucy Foley (The Book of Lost and Found), and Lindsay Hawdon (Jakob’s Colours). I also attended the panel about Booktube, with Sanne Vliegenthart (booksandquills), Leena Norms (justkissmyfrog), and Jen Campbell (writer, and booktuber).

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I read The Paying Guests, which won The Independent Bookshop Week Award.

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And then of course, I got involved with IBW in the best way possible – by visiting Indie Bookshops and buying as many books as I could afford!

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I popped to my local indie back home, Pritchards, to pre-order Go Set a Watchman on the 20th of June. Then Broadhursts in Southport, to pick up a book for me and a birthday present for my sister. Then News from Nowhere in Liverpool on the Sunday, to buy a vegan cookbook for my sister. I met my lovely friend Vic at Daunt Books on the Monday and splashed out on some things for me – Nell Zink’s Misland and The Wallcreeper, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, in print. And of course a Daunt bag, which I haven’t stopped using since.

Then the lovely Books Are My Bag team sent me a book bundle for getting involved on Twitter!

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I also ate some scrumptious food:

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Vegan roast at The Egg, Liverpool

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Vegan red velvet cake, Ruby’s of London (Greenwich market)

While everyone else was enjoying the actual IBW book crawl on Saturday 27th, I was celebrating my sister’s birthday in the best possible way. At a Taylor Swift show. Specifically, British Summer Time in Hyde Park. It was one of the best nights of my life. She’s an angel.

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It was quite hard to find any food (why would they need three popcorn stands, but nowhere for veggies? Really?) but eventually we found this lovely paella stand who had a categorically vegan option. It was delicious as well as filling. Win win.

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Then there was this stupidly misogynistic ostrich pun at an ostrich burger stall, which made me get all militant on Twitter, shouting at Barclaycard, BST, and tagging Taylor in case she was interested (she wasn’t).

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After that, I had my final week at Cornerstone. Needless to say, it was fantastic, I got to do some really great work, and I was rather sad to leave. The publicity team there are amazing, simply put. They embraced me as one of their own while I was there, and seemed just as upset to lose me as I was to lose them – they got me some lovely cards, a vegan cupcake from Lola’s, and then sent on a Waterstones giftcard because apparently it is obvious how much I love to read. Amazing people. It has been a week and I’m still missing them!

After spending last Friday evening being incredibly social and setting up my sister’s Goodreads account, I thought I’d better do something a bit more outside-the-flat on Saturday. I popped into the city to meet up with the bestie for a little bit. We wandered around (Waterstones, Trafalgar Square, and Foyles, Charing Cross Road, because to me, wandering = bookshops), ate Chipotle (still not as good as Barburrito, but better than Tortilla, Benito’s Hat, and Mi Casa, in case you were wondering), and ended up spontaneously going to Top Secret Comedy Club then dancing the night away in Camden Barfly. Excellent!

Last Sunday was a day of looking after my niece, so we watched Charlotte’s Web (one of us cried, not saying who), waited in all day for a package for my sister, and then went to the park! I don’t have any photos because it’s difficult to play football, chase after an escaping 20-month-old, keep an eye on a pram that you’ve just had to run really far away from, and whip your camera out all at the same time. Trust me when I say we looked adorable though, and everyone else was jealous of all of the fun we were having. And all of the steps my Fitbit was counting. (Yes I won the weekend warrior challenge, thanks for asking).

On Tuesday I popped back into the city to go for Thai food with friends (it’s hard being vegan and going out for Thai food, but not impossible). On Thursday I got to see Bridget Christie and Rhys James at the Laugh Out London festival in Islington, both doing their Edinburgh Fringe previews. I had just finished A Book For Her by Bridget Christie, which I would more than recommend – it is fantastic, she totally gets feminism and its intersections, without alienating her audience. She makes feminism funny, by laughing at the oppressions women face without laughing at the victims of them. It is brilliant. Her show was similarly so, if a little rough around the edges – but that’s exactly what you expect from a preview – it was actually quite endearing to see the process of putting together a stand-up show, especially after reading about her journey to becoming the ‘feminist comedian’ in her book. Rhys James was also really funny! He’s that guy on Twitter that I followed for ages because he said quite hilarious things – turns out he’s loads good in real life too. There were a couple of jokes I was crying at straight away that took the rest of the audience a little while to catch up to. Excellent stuff. If you’re in Edinburgh for Fringe, do go and see both of them.

I moved back home yesterday, Saturday 11th, and basically went straight to sleep, before waking up and finishing Ready Player One, a book I bought my sister’s boyfriend for Christmas – but he hasn’t yet read it, and probably never will, so I finally picked it up and read it. Ernie Cline’s Armada is due out next week, so that’s something to look forward to!

I spent a good few hours of today with my nan, and I’ll be seeing her again tomorrow morning as it’s her 81st birthday! Then off to town to spend my Waterstones gift card (haul post incoming!). Tuesday is Go Set a Watchman day! Then who knows? Jobhunting. Probably jobhunting.

Well done to anyone who got this far!

What have I been missing in the book blogging world? Please link me to any interesting posts or reviews on your blog so I can catch up!

xx Amy

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A little catch-up on a lot of life, but not enough lit.

So it has been about two weeks since I last posted to my little blog. A bit disappointing on my part, but I’ve been very busy!

I popped back up to Liverpool for a few days to see my mum, my nan, some friends, and do some pretty cool ssecret cinematuff. I went to a Secret Cinema screening of Dead Poets’ Society, in aid of Mind and CALM. It was emotional, to say the least. We ripped out pages of a lovely zine that was put together for the showing, we stood on our chairs at the end and shouted “O Captain, My Captain!” while crying. I went out in my home town, went to a party of a friend, and then… packed up all of my essentials and moved down to London properly. I actually have a bed now, and at least some of my clothes, most importantly… a whole bunch of my TBR pile made it down here with me. 

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I’ve spent a lot of time with my sister and my niece, which has been lovely. My niece is growing up so quickly, it’s terrifying. She’s so smart and funny, such a little character, and I don’t even mind when she wakes up at silly times. I don’t want to wish her life away, but I really can’t wait until she can read. 

Last weekend I also got to volunteer at Reading Festival with my best friend Vic, as bar staff. Our wages went to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and we got to see quite a lot of our favourite bands, so that was nice. And tiring! Since then I may have been suf15681_10152604367370831_6269350970672148116_nfering from a bad bout of fesival flu. I have since managed to get myself a part-time job at the local co-op, which means I have a bit of wiggle room and can afford to do unpaid work experience. 

Speaking of… on Monday I’m starting a week of work experience, so I’m likely to be busy, but I’m hoping to get some reviews written tonight and tomorrow, and will be reading on the commute anyway! I’m quite excited to start getting experience in the world of publishing, but also really looking forward to some ARCs I have, and reviewing those for anyone interesting in hearing what they’re like. 

I’m going to do almost a whole month of #bookaday catch up to post tomorrow, on the last day of the challenge! Hopefully next week I’ll be better at keeping up with it day to day. 

The horrible black hole that is my sister’s London flat. (A life update, #bookadayuk catch-up, and photos galore)

So, you may or may not know this, but I’m planning on moving down to London properly as soon as possible. I’ll be sleeping on my sister’s couch, until we can bring down my mum’s spare fold up bed (it’s actually quite comfortable) to stick between the couch and the TV. That’s going to happen between now and September, but until then I’m just sleeping on the couch and trying not to get in the way.

The problem is: something happens when I’m here that means I end up just not doing anything I want to do. I get into long conversations about trivial things with my sister or her boyfriend, watch hours of Pocoyo with my niece while she crawls all over me, or… as I have managed to do this time… start off a Marvel Cinematic Universe watching spree. Don’t judge me, judge my sister: she hasn’t seen any of them since Iron Man back in 2008. I’m educating her so that I can take her to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Mainly because it was so good and I want to go back and watch it again.

So basically, I’ve just not blogged at all. I’ve barely even read. I ended up buying all of the Guardians of the Galaxy comics from the 2008-2010 series and got through quite a lot of them. So Solitaire has been on hold. I’ve also been a bit ill and just haven’t been willing to pick up a book. When I was younger I used to relish my sick days because I could lie on the couch, eat soup, and read all day. Not any more. It’s sleep-catch-up-with-Marvel-interludes-time.

Nonetheless, I’ve still been keeping up with #bookadayuk on Twitter to keep my mind on books somewhat.

Day 2 – Best pairing of words & pictures

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with illustrations from Sir. John Tenniel. My great-grandma gave me her copy of the complete illustrated collection of Carroll’s work, we used to read it together, and after she passed I read it with my dad. I’m definitely going to get one of these illustrations tattooed on me one day.

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Day 3 – Favourite collection of short stories

Adam Marek’s amazing Instruction Manual for Swallowing, published by Comma Press.

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Day 4 – Best graphic novel

This is the hardest one to choose because there are so many. (Also I’m not a fan of the term graphic novel but let’s not get into that one right now). I went with Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. I can read it over and over again, it’s wonderful and lovely, and so, so, smart. I gave my sister a copy for Christmas, I’m pretty sure she hasn’t read it yet. *sigh*

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Day 5 – Classic hero/ine or anti-hero/ine

I went for the anti-heroine Raoul Duke from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a novel I read while at university. Not much to be said other than Hunter S. Thompson is amazing. And he died on my thirteenth birthday. OoeoeoOoeoeE.

Day 6 – Best for a bedtime story

Anything by Beatrix Potter, I can’t wait to introduce my niece to Peter Rabbit! And then later, the world of Harry Potter. Exciting.

So… I’ve also bought a couple of new t-shirts:

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And somehow I’ve managed to win two book competitions in the last two days. So thanks to Bloomsbury’s YA Facebook page Hooked on Books, and the Books Are My Bag Twitter, I’ve got a bunch of books on the way to me. Which means there will be reviews of them as soon as I get time! Bloomsbury are sending me Mark Walden’s Earth Fall, Sarah Crossan’s Apple and Rain, and Simone Elkeles’ Better Than Perfect! And Books Are My Bag are sending me Kate DiCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, which I am really looking forward to. They’re also sending me one of their bags, which is great because my local indie store had run out. I love totes and book, so it makes perfect sense I should have one, finally!

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So yeah, that’s my little update on what’s been going on. I’ll be uploading reviews of FangirlSolitaire, and Begin Again as soon as I can.

Also, I’ve set up an account on Bloglovin. Getting the hang of this ol’ blogging thing I think!