Tag Archives: Long Awaited Reads Month

Long-Awaited Reads Month Update #1

Reading wise, January is off to a great start for me. I have not read this much in ages. Really, this past year I was lucky to make it through two books a month. But in January, the counter is now at six, including one which I started back in 2015. Even luckier, I have thoroughly enjoyed the books I have picked up thus far, even though not all of them have been as stunning as I had anticipated. Long-Awaited Reads Month, indeed:

Caddy's World Hilary McKayCaddy’s World by HIlary McKay

The Casson Family series deserves its own post really, but I know what I am usually like in these cases: I plan to write the post and then procrastinate endlessle. So instead, let me tell you why I love these books, this last book (because I do think this should be read last, though it is a prequel) included: the sense of family and comradeship despite difficulties, the acknowledgement of strains in family relationships but in a friendly manner, the book’s ability to acknowledge the good and bad in all people without judgement, the slight quirkiness of the whole Casson family, the utterly lovely characters which you grow to love throughout the series, and particularly Rose and Indigo, the attention paid to the different manners in which people engage with music and art as important forms of self-expression, and the general readability of course.

This one follows oldest-sister Caddy and her group of friends as they navigate confusing times in their lives. The focus is, of course, on Caddy who is trying to come to terms with the addition of Rose to the family. It is interesting to see how Caddy navigates the conflicted feelings about not wanting another baby in the house, but also being desparate for Rose to survive the complications stemming from her early birth. And this, of course, in the midst of her friends’ problems as well as the rearrangement of family dynamics at home. McKay does this wonderfully well, as always.

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars is the latest book by E. Lockhart, the author who gave us the likes of the amazing  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the  lovely Ruby Oliver books. In it, we follow the recent years of Cady Sinclair and her family, and particularly the times directly before and after ‘the accident’. As we follow Cady puzzling together the truth of what happened during one of her family’s summer stays in Martha’s Vineyard, we are introduced to the world of the Sinclairs, a rich white family, and ‘the liars’, a group of four cousins and friends of which Cady is one.

We Were Liarsranked high on many of my favourite bloggers best-of list a few years ago, and so I could not wait to read it myself. But perhaps it was the hype.. because even though I enjoyed the book and definitely found it engaging, it failed to convince me that it was stellar. Perhaps it was that I saw most of the twist coming about half-way through, but generally that does not bother me so much. Or perhaps it was that the characters felt rather flat at times, which meant that instead of allowing room for the reader’s deconstruction of the character’s circumstances and behaviours, the book felt more focussed on plot-progress. This is not to say that you should not read the book. It is still a very good book, and I definitely felt lots of feelings while reading. Perhaps it is just that I had expected more? Sometimes these kinds of books hold up better when you read them at the time of their release and the initial enthousiasm about them, than they do a year or so later.

Jem and the HologramsJem and the Holograms: Showtime by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell

A graphic novel series about a girl band in the 80s, the protagonist of which is too shy to perform in front of an audience, so instead they use hologram “Jem” to be able to perform. While this story provides a lovely mix of music, friendship, love, and true human relationships between women instead of hollow stereotypical versions of it, plus “girly-girl” imagery mixed with serious issues without one undermining the other -and as such offers lots to love- I also did not feel as special a connection to it as I had anticipated. Perhaps it is the comic format? I notice that with both this one and Lumberjanes (which I personally enjoyed much more) I really love the story, the underlying ideas and messages, but I just cannot quite become as absorbed in them as I would in a regular fiction book? I don’t know.. this is a question I will have to puzzle out over time..

10 PM Question De GoldiThe 10 P.M. Question by Kate De Goldi

The 10 P.M. Question tells the story of 12-year-old Frankie and the monumentous changes brought to his life when he befriends the new girl at school, Sydney. While this book also explores a quircky family in which different persons have to address daily difficulties and strains, it’s tone is more serious than Hilary McKay’s. However, the books share the respectful tone at which personal and familial problems are addressed, nowhere reducing a problem or a person’s ability or inability to deal with it to a caricature. This, as well as its engaging characterisation and style, is what made De Goldi’s novel so particularly strong, for the subjects with which she deals are not small, eg. mental illness. And yet, the manner in which she addresses Frankie’s anxiety’s and his mom’s inability to leave the house, as well as the issues faced by other characters, simultaneously draw them out of the corner of mental illness which places it apart, but instead normalises it to a very realistic extinct. Additionally, there is something refreshing about reading a book about a boy’s self-doubt, when it is unfortunately so often only girl characters who are portrayed in this manner. I would definitely, then, recommend The 10 P.M. Question. It is utterly readable, enjoyable, and fun. To this is added the a humane and gentle understanding that is utterly admirable.

A Company of Swans IbbotsonA Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

This is typical Eva Ibbotson romance, but as always, it is good. Telling the story of Harriet Morton, who is raised by her father and aunt in a very protective, strict, and sober environment, but when given the chance runs away to follow her dream of performing in a ballet company while they tour the Amazon. While there are questions to pose about romantic interest Henry and his friendly colonial entrepeneurship versus that of his rivals, Ibbotson’s usual black-white portrayal of good vs. bad parents and innocent children, and the romantic imagery about the Amazon, I nonetheless enjoyed A Company of Swans immensely. Somehow, there is something about Ibbotson’s rose-coloured glasses that makes her books quite irresistable. Perhaps she leaves just enough room for realism and criticism to get away with it? I wonder.. Or perhaps it is simply that enjoying a work of fiction does not mean unapologetically condoning all of its portrayals? And yet, writing about Ibbotson’s romance novels always makes me wonder if she has a quality that allows us to jump a little too easily to the “oh, it was just lovely!” description instead of posing the more difficult questions, and if there is a danger in that. For it is true, I did wonder about some of the representations here, but mostly, I was too caught up in the fairytale to care.

I also, of course, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but since I have already written about that here, I won’t repeat my thoughts.

Meanwhile, I have begun to read Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell. This one is another that falls into the “comfort reads” category for me, having so much enjoyed her High Rising in 2014. Reading it seems to be taking a little more time than the rush I felt in the previous 2 weeks. But who knows, maybe I will get to pick out another book before January is over.

What have you been reading in January thus far? Any books that stood out to you in particular?

Long-Awaited Reading for January

After Christmas, at least where I live, January and February offer cold and darkness without the joys of holidays to look forward to. As a remedy, Ana and I thought up the idea of a Long-Awaited Reads Month years ago. This year, we decided among the two of us to have another one in January – albeit a little late to turn this into a major event or to even announce it before now. But the idea was always simple, and so it shall remain:


During January, we will be reading those books that we expect will bring us comfort and joy. Generally, these tend to be books that have lingered on our shelves or wishlist for a while. You know, the ones you tend to save for a special occasion when you could use a book to cheer you up, to make you think, to make you feel, or whatever you require from a book to bring you comfort ang joy (I know for me, the month’s reading usually consists of a mixture of those).

You are more than welcome to join us. Actually, we would very much appreciate the company! You can say hi using the LARM hashtag on twitter or instagram, write up a reading list, or just quietly join in: it is up to you.

So what will I be reading? Well, I have to admit that I do not have a definite plan yet. However, I started January with finishing the last of the Casson Family books I had not read (Caddy’s World), and now I am reading We Were Liars alongside The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (New year’s resolutions and all that). After these, I will probably end up browsing my YA and fantasy shelves, as my go-to comfort books. But who knows, I might just end up picking up something like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

It is January & thus it is Long-Awaited Reads Month

Due to some personal circumstances (which appear to be completely okay right now) I have not been very present in the blogging world. So, first things first: I wish you all a wonderful and very happy 2014! 

Being absent also meant that I never got to post about the beginning of Long-Awaited Reads Month. An event that is well under way, it already being the 11th of January.

LAR Button Final

As I wrote in an earlier post, the rules for this event are simply:

  1. Read books you’ve been excited to read for a long time but never seem to get to in January. You can do this exclusively for the whole month (my approach), you can do it for just one week, or you can simply try to get to one or two of these books in January. Your level of commitment is entirely up to you!
  2. If you’re taking part, you can come back to one of the posts about Long-Awaited Reads Month on the blogs of Ana or me and leave us a link to a LAR-related review; you’ll then be entered in a giveaway for a book you’ve always wanted to read that is up to $15/€11/£10 on BookDepository (open worldwide).
  3. If you want to talk about the event on Twitter, the hashtag is#LARMonth.
  4. Have fun!

Personally, I have not had a lot of time to read this month. However, I did finish Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, and am currently in the middle of John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night.

Have you read or started reading anything for Long-Awaited Reads Month yet? Are you enjoying it?

Long-Awaited Reads Month 2014

LAR Button Final

Like last year, Ana and I will be organising another Long-Awaited Reads Month in January 2014. When Ana asked if we should organise this theme month again, I was super excited. January 2013 was a month of wonderful reading; some of my favourite books of this year were read during that month. It is very satisfying to finally get to those books you have been looking forward to for forever, and then actually enjoying them. Certainly, Long-Awaited Reads Month helped me conquer some of my January blues. Moreover, seeing other bloggers join in and enjoy it as well was an amazing feeling. So, let’s hope January 2014 will be as good.

The rules for this month are very simple (as explained by Ana earlier today):

  1. Read books you’ve been excited to read for a long time but never seem to get to in January. You can do this exclusively for the whole month (my approach), you can do it for just one week, or you can simply try to get to one or two of these books in January. Your level of commitment is entirely up to you!
  2. At the beginning of January, Iris and I will post something signalling the official start of Long-Awaited Reads month. If you’re taking part, you can come back to these posts and leave us a link to a LAR-related review; you’ll then be entered in a giveaway for a book you’ve always wanted to read that is up to $15/€11/£10 on BookDepository (open worldwide).
  3. If you want to talk about the event on Twitter, the hashtag is#LARMonth.
  4. Have fun!

We certainly hope you will consider joining us! For to us, sharing great reading with lovely online friends is the best thing in the world.

Now, I do have a great many plans, and I know from last year’s experience that I will probably end up reading many different titles, but I cannot help but give you a short glimpse of the titles under consideration at the moment. Actually, I have a particular shelf that has held many of my Long-Awaited Reads over the past year:

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I think this book was first recommended to me back in the days when I spent a lot of time on the Silverchair forums as a fourteen-year-old. Now that I am studying mission history, I think it is high time I finally read this one.
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy: A few years ago I gave The Long Song to a friend of mine and immediately bought Small Island for myself. This book sounds right up my alley.
  • Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine: This book truly seems to have been on my list for forever. In reality, I think it might have been two years. But every day occurrences, and certainly Ana’s conviction about this book, makes me desperate to read it. Yet, I never actually sit down to do so.
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This year I read Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie for Long-Awaited Reads Month and once more became convinced of her genius. In 2014 I’d love to read Adichie’s other novel, before turning to her Americanah.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Another one of Ana’s recommendations (I think I bought it on my first visit to her?). At the same time, this is another one of those titles that came to me through online friends years ago (another forum? livejournal?). Long-awaited, indeed.
  • The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt: Another one where I’d like to follow this year’s example. After reading Possession, I’d love to finally read The Children’s Book; a title I have actually owned longer.
  • Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson: This was on my list last year, but I did not get to it. I’d love to get to it this year.
  • The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner: I read the first book in this series from the shelves of Ana on my visit to Cambridge. I now own them all and would love to read them during this month as she did last year.
  • A title by Frances Hardinge: I have both A Face Like Glass and Fly By Night on my shelves, and even though they have only been there for a little over 6 months, I’m still super excited about them and really want to love them.

I think I’ll stop there. There are so many exciting titles on my shelves that I could go on and on, but you get the idea right?

Hopefully Ana and I will see you sharing your LAR reading on twitter, your blog, or our blogs in January🙂

Wrapping Up Long-Awaited Reads Month

I wish January was not over yet (who would have though I would ever say that?) but alas it is. Therefore, Long-Awaited Reads Month has also ended. I hope you enjoyed delving into some long-awaited books with us, I know I certainly did!

LAR Button Final

Ana has the final linky list of posts for this month. Please let us know if you have not been included in either my earlier list or hers and we will remedy it.

As for the giveaway of a book you’ve always wanted to read but don’t own yet that is up to $15/€11/£10 on Book Depository, we have decided to give you another month to leave links or comments on our posts (for Iris on Books: preferably this one or the one posted at the beginning of January) with your links to reviews, and/or if you have not written a review with a comment telling us about which book you have read to participate. Ana and I will then select two winners and will contact them (so make sure we can find your email address when you comment).

My own January reading was all kinds of wonderful. I only managed to read five books (Thank Heaven FastingThe Brides of Rollrock IslandComet in MoominlandThe House of Mirth, and Half of a Yellow Sun), and then finished another one in February that I had started as a long-anticipated read: Cranford. I was rather lucky in that I actually loved (almost) all of my long-awaited reads, even if I have not written about all of them yet. I feel inspired to pay more attention to the books that have been lingering on the TBR pile and/or wish list for too long for whatever reason (mostly because of fear of not liking them after wanting to like them so badly), and I would certainly love to organise something similar again. In the meantime, I hope to devote a little time each month at least trying to read more of my anticipated reads.