Book chat · TBR

Book Chat: September 2020 TBR

It turns out that my TBR for August wasn’t as overly ambitious as I thought it would be. In September, however, I’m starting a new job so all bets are off as to how much ‘fun’ reading I will actually manage to get done. With this in mind, I’m going to temper my expectations a little bit… (but not too much, eh, because where would the fun in that be?)

  1. Oathbringer – Brandon Sanderson.

Anyone who has kepts up with my recent TBRs and wrap ups will know that I have recently been taking part in #Stormalong2020, a readalong run by a few BookTubers which aims to bring readers up to date with the series in time for the release of the next instalment in November. Click here for a playlist of relevant videos put together by the organisers. Basically I loved the first two books in The Stormlight Archives and plan on carrying on with the series in September. Going how long it took me to finish the first two chunksters in the series, I think I’ll have this done by the end of October, giving me a bit of a break before starting Rhythm of War on/around release date. It’s a cliche at this stage, but I think if you are a fan of Sanderson or epic fantasy, you owe it to yourself to pick this up – don’t let its length put you off!

2. The Bible.

Erm. Well. I’ll start this by saying that I am neither religious nor a militant atheist; but I am reading this purely to gain a grounding in ‘essential’ literature as I try to become more widely read. I have never read the Bible in its entirely before (though I attended quite a Christian primary school and related club which saw us engage with child friendly retellings). I plan on following the reading guide of Steve Donoghue (a dashing 28 year-old book reviewer, world traveller, and probably the most widely read person currently alive). This ‘Western Canon Starter Kit’ provides me with what I think are absolutely foundational pieces of literature that impact modernity in so many ways that they cannot be counted – and thankfully Steve has a series of videos explaining why this is the case, his favoured formats and editions etc. I know that reading the Western Canon is not fashionable but at the end of the day I don’t see any issues with what is included (of course, the lack of diversity is an issue but this will be tackled at a later date) and I trust Steve’s judgement. In terms of the Bible itself… I’m currently reading Kings and have realised that it is all very formulaic and it’s definitely a struggle to get through. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress (I have already encounted numerous stories previously unknown to me) but I don’t think I’ll be returning to it any time soon once completed.

3. The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern.

I read Morgenstern’s previous novel, The Night Circus, a few years ago and basically fell in love with it – it wasn’t faultless, but the worldbuilding and the magic and the… well maybe I should write a review for it as it has left a significant impact on me. Anyway, I loved the author’s previous novel and then spent a few years waiting and hoping for a further books from her – lo and behold, The Starless Sea was announced. Now, I did actually purchase a very fancy edition from Goldsboro Books (though I can tell you now that I did not pay anywhere near £180 for it!) but it has remained on my bookshelf, still in bubblewrap, since publication date. I saw that paperbacks were recently in my local supermarket, Sainsbury’s, for £4.50 and eventually bought a copy from them. I’m glad I did because I’m about 40ish% of the way through it at the moment (using it to off-set the sheer length of The Stormlight Archive books and the… Bibleness of the Bible) and really enjoying it. A review will certainly follow but my experience thus far has been largely psoitive.

4. As yet undecided.

  • I have found that having a ‘blank’ spot on my TBR has been quite useful these last couple of months so I’m going to carry on with this in the future (for the time being, at least). There’s something reassuring about giving myself a few options to pick between as I still feel like I’m chipping away at the ultimate/lifelong TBR and thus being productive. Having said that, the first two books above are both well over 1200 pages each (making them some of the largest that I ever will have read) so I’m not too confident about whether or not I will actually get around to this pick. Anyway, the most promising options at the moment are:
            • Piranesi – Susanna Clarke. Yep I’m fully caught up in the hype for this, even though I have not read Clarke’s previous novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (though I did watch the BBC Miniseries adaptation, which I loved). The blurb for this sounds excellent, Clarke is well-regarded, and it could be a good break from the chunksters planned for this month.
            • SPRQ: A History of Ancient Rome – Mary Beard. I’m a Classical Studies graduate and have read lots of Beard’s works (both aimed at popular market and the academic sector) as well as watched a lot of her documentary work, and I’ve had a copy of this sat on my book shelf for far too long. This could also potentially be put off until Non-Fiction November, though, so let’s see what actually happens…
            • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett. I’m still plodding on with my Discworld reading (the aim being to read all books in the series at some point in my life) and this will be a reread. Death is one of my favourite characters in this series and I remember liking this when I first read it a while ago so this could prove to be a nice relaxing read.
            • The Silence of of the Girls – Pat Barker. I do love a good mythical retelling and I’ve had this for a year without reading it (yet). The reviews aren’t overly stunning for this novel, but I want to get to it in 2020 and it could serve to be a good break from the heavier books I’m reading.

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