Welcome to our new challenge!
The simple purpose of this challenge is to share our love of reading.
Why do we read?
Everyone has their own reasons for reading. My main reason is for relaxation, escaping to other worlds, stress relief and a love of words.
I love travelling to different times, past and future, through books, learning about other cultures, history and seeing the world through different eyes. I am in awe of the clever authors who manage words, plots, personalities, all the while weaving stories for us to lose ourselves in.
There isn’t much I won’t read and I love getting recommendations from others. Goodreads is a great way to see what others are reading and what’s been enjoyed and why – are we friends there yet? I sometimes leave reviews and always rate books based on my personal rating system.
The rating system I use:
1* = did not finish/terrible; 2* = OK; 3* = enjoyable; 4* = really good; 5* = excellent
You can see the full list of books I’ve read so far this year, complete with my ratings, here: Reading Challenge for 2021 – I love challenging myself to read a variety of genres, although I draw the line at some!
If I’ve read a really intense book which I adored, say like Hamnet, I might choose a softer read next to mix it up a little and give myself a break from the intensity. I often have a few books on the go at once, depending on how I’m feeling. I read quite fast and can lose hours, do you do that too? I definitely count ‘listening’ to books as reading, I’m not a huge fan of audio books but I find I’m better if I’m driving or walking.
Book Clubs x 2
I’m currently in two book clubs (one is local, and the other is online is with my co-hosts).
Since early January 2021, Sue, Donna, Jo and I have been reading our way through the Brontë sisters. So far we’ve read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Agnes Grey by AnneBrontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and currently we’re working our way through The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. They are all so different, diverse and way more interesting and engaging than I’d first thought!
The way we do it is to divide each book into three or four sections, then read, discuss, read, discuss, read, discuss and then we bake! We usually take a few weeks/months for our reading and discussing, over Zoom for an hour or so at a time. After we have finished reading and discussing each book, Jo (who is a very talented author, blogger, baker and photographer) leads us in baking something from the time period of our novel, again over Zoom. So far we’ve made Crumpets, Soda Bread, Fat Rascals and for our current novel, it will be Bakewell Tarts, which may be interesting as I’m not known as a particularly good cook. It’s just so much fun cooking with friends that I forget my inadequacies and just do what Jo says!
My local book club is a lovely mix of 10 women, who have been meeting in each others’ homes once a month for over 25 years. I’ve been involved for many years and just love the friendship we have. It’s a very sociable group and lots of catching up gets done as well as talking about the current book – although the Mathematician doubts that! He’s been known to time our discussions on the actual book and compare it with our time socialising – how rude!
Just a few weeks ago, due to lockdown restrictions, we met in the local park for an afternoon tea to catch up and discuss some of our recent books. We arrange the books with the help of the library (we pay an annual fee), who provide each of us with a copy of the chosen book and a set of questions to help the discussion along. Our current book is Danger Music by Eddie Ayres, which is quite fitting due to what’s going on in Afganistan at the moment. At the beginning of each year we get a list to choose from and each select a book, we never know what we’re reading next, it’s usually a good surprise!
Are you in any bookclubs too?
So what’s on my bookshelf?
For the first WOYBS, I’m going to have a look back at my ‘most…’ books so far this year. So without further ado:
Most surprising – The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison by Meredith Jaffe. Given my background as an Education Manager in a Men’s Prison this was right up my alley from the start. A great read!
Most intriguing – The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. This had me on edge all the way through and I just couldn’t put it down. A lot of history was incorporated.
Most fun – Spring Clean for the Peach Queen by Sasha Wasley (and her subsequent books in this series).
Most inspiring – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.
Most scary – The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks. Why? It was based on a true story and that makes it very scary!
Most Historical – The Good Wife of Bath: A (mostly) true story by Karen Brooks (based on Chaucer’s work). I hadn’t read Chaucer so don’t think you need to have that background, it was a really good read!
Most compelling series – The Joseph O’Loughlin series by Michael Robotham – easy to read, intriguing, suspenseful, scary but not too bad, full of psychological twists and turns. I’ve been working my way slowly through these and always enjoy a good thriller.
I’m now reading Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache series and they are proving to be compelling too. A Canadian Detective series which is quite gentle and easy to enjoy!
Book of the Year (so far) – Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – yes that’s a big call but I loved it!
What am I currently reading?
- The Huntress by Kate Quinn – because I enjoyed The Rose Code so much
- Just Between Us by Cathy Kelly – see above about light easy reads between deep and intense books
- Danger Music by Eddie Ayres (local bookclub)
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (online bookclub)
Up until last month, I was in the habit of writing a Friday Fiction post towards the end of each month, but from now on, I’ll be joining my friends to share What’s on your Bookshelf instead – on the third Friday of each month. Reading, like life, is always more fun with friends. Hope you enjoy our offerings!
What’s on your bookshelf guidelines:
What: What’s On Your Bookshelf #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere).
Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.
Who: This linkup is open to everyone.
How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. Include the special hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge so that we can find you and include your link in our posts.
But Wait, There’s (Even) More!
To show our appreciation to all participants, contributors are welcome to display this badge on their blog, website or social media. Cool, Huh?!
Simply take a screenshot of the image below, and follow these easy-peasy instructions here. Prefer a jpg? Drop me your email, and I’d be happy to email one to you.
Now it’s over to you, will you join us?
Sue, Donna, Jo and I hope that you will join us in this new series! If you have any questions just ask us. You can also link to any, or all of our posts, with a pingback, that way we get to see your posts quicker!
Don’t forget to tell me about the book(s) you’re reading at the moment!
Also joining us are:
- Thistles and Kiwis
- Carol – Reading Ladies
- Natalie the Explorer
- Michele Somerville
- Deb the Widow Badass
- Retired Introvert
- Travels with Ali
- Joanne from Slices of Life
- Lydia – Where the Wild things were
- Julie – Eat, Play, Live
We’re all in this together 🙂
You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.
A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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