Category Archives: Community/Weekly Events

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR

Planned reading is not at all my thing right now. I mostly just grabs whatever suits my fancy, and I usually end up discarding about 3 books before I finally settle down to read one that feels right. However, I do enjoy making lists. And summer always feels a little more relaxed despite still having to do a lot of work. So why not enjoy the thought of summer by attempting to compose a list.

So, here goes: 10 books I imagine I’d like to read in the upcoming months, barring a few more specific ideas that I am pondering at the moment and that will probably mess this all up again:

top10 Summer TBR

(I am still coming to grips with Picmonkey, so hopefully my collages will start looking better in due time).

From top left to bottom right:

  • The Long Song by Andrea Levy
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
  • The Favorites by Mary Yukari Waters
  • Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons
  • The Madwoman on the Bridge by Su Tong
  • Frangipani by Célestine Vaite
  • The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice
  • The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Basically, this is a mix of books that have been on my shelves for a good long while and that I have meant to read for forever, but that I somehow never get to. It also involves a test of whether I should keep them on my TBR at all (e.g. Mr Rosenblum), and attempts to face illogical awe-of-status that turns into fear-of-reading (e.g. Siri Hustvedt, Amitav Ghosh). Generally, I just picked books that make me happy by just thinking of reading them. That should serve as a good point of departure right? Only drawback? I think the Eva Ibbotson looks a little bit more like a winter than a summer read if we go by its cover, but I know Ibbotson is the kind of writer who I generally like at whatever point in time.


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and encourages sharing lists of books around a certain theme or topic each week.

Currently… #1

I have seen these kinds of posts appear on other blogs regularly, although I am not sure where I first saw one and thus do not really know who to credit with the idea (if anyone knows, please tell me!) I thought this might be a good way of returning to blogging without constantly feeling I should first give the whole blog a makeover (on which I have many thoughts, perhaps I might formulate them all coherently soon?)

So anyway, here goes..

Reading: I finished reading Miss Buncle Married last night and am currently debating whether I should read the third installment right away (because I so enjoy these books by D.E. Stevenson), or if I should wait considering I enjoy them so much and I won’t have any new Miss Buncle books left after I finish The Two Mrs Abbotts.

Listening to: If I do find the time to listen to music it is mostly to one of these two new releases: Noel Gallagher’s Chasing Yesterday and Death Cab For Cutie’s  Kitsugi. These are safe options, yet providing new-to-me music.

On planning & projects: this is what my office wall currently looks like.

On planning & projects: this is what my office wall currently looks like as I aim to organise the last 19 months of my PhD.

Feeling: Happy but also super stressed most of the time. I know, I know… it’s the first year as a parent. No one is surprised. But it is still true. At times I feel I can barely keep up. Actually, I do not think I am keeping up at all.

Thinking About: Planning and Projects, to put it all into two words. Right now, thinking along these lines and trying to see everything as a project which enables planning helps me to feel a little on top of things. In the middle of the chaos that is my life right now (motherhood, last 1,5 years of my PhD, a house that still requires a lot of work), it seems the safest bet to not feel constantly overwhelmed. I’d like to share more on this soon, but it also involves thoughts on blogging.

Blogging: Well, not much, as we have seen. I am seriously debating changing this blog to suit my current life more, which, lets face it, does not include tons of reading anymore. But then, I am loathe to do away with my Iris on Books, since it gave me such joy over the past years. And I do still love books very much. Then again, I’d also love to refashion it into something a little bit more “alive” than this blog is currently. But it would mean a make-over of some kind. And well.. where would one find the time for that?

Pim (picture taken by my father)

Pim, busy with his favourite pastime: “flying”, or pretending to do a “free fall”.

Eating: I wish I could say it was healthy. Or that I was being mindful about it. Instead, I am basically eating whatever. Another point of change, hopefully.

Happy about: Pim. I know I seem to be mostly complaining here, but having had Pim is genuinely a source of joy. Seeing him making progress as he begins to become more mobile and seeing his discovery of the world in giant (for a baby) leaps is amazing. Also, his smile whenever he sees that Bas or I are there to take care of him, or better yet both of us, always translates itself into instant happiness and lessening of all the worries playing in the back of my mind.

What are you currently reading, doing, eating, thinking, loving, and/or worrying about?

Persephone’s “A Book a Month”


At the beginning of this year I treated myself to a 12-month subscription to Persephone Books. Two weeks later I had forgotten which books I had picked out to be delivered to my doorstep. And so, once a month I am surprised but happy to find a new Persephone in the mail.

Pictured at the front are the books I have received thus far. Have I read each of them as they came in, which is what I pictured when I bought the subscription? If you know about my current reading habits (which you do not, since I fail to write about them so spectacularly) you know the answer is a resounding no. I have read 14 books in 2015, including quite a few small picture books, where I usually would have read 30+ by now. But does it matter really? Persephones are pretty on your shelf and you know that once you pick them up, you are in for a treat.

And so, since this week I have been reading the very first book that came through the mailbox this year: Miss Buncle Married. And I was right: it is a treat. Miss Buncle is lovely as ever. This is the perfect book to pick up once Pim is in bed (and he seems to have decent bedtimes now, let us keep our fingers crossed that this sticks), after a long day of writing and more writing on my thesis.

Should I bother? (#1)


In my most recent attempt to declutter the tbr-piles as well as the books I have read and have held on to for uncertain reasons, I am once again going through my bookshelves looking for books I might get rid of without regret.

My question to you is simple: out of this small selection made while going through the first of many shelves, are there any books I should read before getting rid of them?

(Ah, yes, I shall return to the blog soonish with an actual post & updates on, for instance, my children’s books project)

The Month that Was: January

Another radio silence, I know.

This one was due to suffering from mastitis during the second half of January. It was horrible. I keep telling people that I think I preferred giving birth to the pain and general illness that comes with mastitis. Then again, at the end of labour you know you have a child to look forward to, so that probably takes the edge of the pain & Pim’s birth was relatively easy anyway. Nursing has not been that easy. And yet, I have difficulty saying goodbye to it. During mastitis you have to continue nursing or the infection will get worse and so you have no choice. And now that it is actually over I am still feeding. Despite all the issues I have had, I also really love these moments with Pim?

Reading wise, I didn’t really do much since I became ill. And so, January counts a lousy 4 books, only two of which I have written about thus far:

  1. Finding Violet Park – Jenny Valentine
  2. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman
  3. The Night Fairy – Laura Amy Schlitz
  4. Vera – Elizabeth von Arnim

More annoyingly, I was in the middle of reading The Wonderful Adventures of Nils for the Children’s Book Project when I had to return it to the library. Hopefully, I can get it back again soon.

I also did not meet a few of the goals I set for reading in 2015. Perhaps February will be better?

I am currently reading the third book in the Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart, which I find highly enjoyable.

What was your January like? And what are you planning to read during February?