Bookish Discussions

2019 in Books: Favourite Reads I

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Like everybody else, I’m here to wrap up my year of reading. I thought I’d kick it off with my favourite reads of 2019. Despite not having the best reading year, with lots of disappointing and frankly quite boring reads, I’ve managed to find a fair few favourites. I’ve had to split this up into two parts – hope you don’t mind!

I haven’t any order to this really. I’ve just listed the books in the order that I read them. I have one definite favourite which I’ll make clear in part II. Let’s kick if off with the first few months of 2019:


Up first is Ruth Goodman’s How to be a Victorian – a fantastic non-fiction looking at the daily traditions, rituals and codes of conduct that the Victorians lived by. It was *sooo fascinating* to learn the routines of my favourite period, getting a look at how both the working- and middle-class lived.

Goodman is very passionate about history, which comes across in the writing of this book, making every page a pleasure to read. I couldn’t get enough of this one.

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Reading Update #2:

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These past two weeks have been a little hectic…

I’ve been working a lot. I’m in my day job basically everyday for the next two weeks; I had to take some time of last week to do a last minute work experience placement at UCLan Publishing. I had such a ball! I worked on manuscripts, wrote press releases, scheduled social media posts and completed some market research! As with most of my publishing experience, I want to write a lil post about it, so expect that some point this week!

Busy schedule means very little time for reading, unfortunately. I’ve also been in such a weird reading mood. I didn’t want to read at all, but, because I don’t do anything else with my spare time, it was the only thing to do. At one point, I had started three books, but wasn’t getting through any of them.

In the past two weeks, I have managed to read three books and have also started another two.

First up was Rena Rossner’s  The Sisters of the Winter Wood. Liba and Laya live a very sheltered life, but when their parents travel to visit a dying relative, their world soon changes. They discover they can transform into a bear and a swan. Can this strange ability protect them from the mysterious band of men who visit their village? This book is heavily inspired by Jewish mythology, Slavic folklore and Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’.

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Bookish Discussions

Witchy Book Recommendations:

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It’s spooky season and I want to talk about it.

I thought, because I love witches so much, I would do a post tailored to witchy reads.

Admittedly, I haven’t read that many. I started making a real dint in witchy books this year thanks to my dissertation, but I have stumbled across enough to have found myself some new favourites.

Not all these are spooky, but they all look at the witch in some way. All of them question how we view the witch, and how the witch falls into a long line of literary traditions.

At the top of my list is William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It was one the very first texts I read that involved witches. It’s full of tension, prophecies, greed and despair. It may be Shakespeare’s shortest play, but I think it has the most to it. It’s so enjoyable, both on page and on stage, and I can never get enough of how the Bard depicts the witches. They are powerful forces of nature, who chant around cauldrons, thrive of the environment, and who are essentially evil.

There is no goodness to Shakespeare’s witches.

Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in response to King James’ suspicion of witches. He hated them, wanted them exiled from his land, and Shakespeare catered his depiction towards this sentiment. They represent chaos, darkness and despair. They foretell the future, but we don’t know if they control Macbeth’s fate or are merely agents in it. I think Shakespeare does some interesting things with the three witches, especially considering the historical context. Honestly? A must read.

Carrying on in the same vein, we have two books set during King James’ reign, Stacey Halls’ The Familiars and Tracy Borman’s The King’s Witch.

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