Women’s Prize Longlist: Plans and Thoughts

Hi Readers

Last week the Women’s Prize for fiction’s longlist was announced and this year it is a very exciting and diverse one. 

When the longlist was initially announced I considered reading the entire list, and to be honest I still kind of want to. But now I’m being a bit more realistic with my plans. I’ve already read two of the longlisted books, I plan on definitely reading another 9. So, I do still have ambitious plans but I think it’s doable. 

Image result for 2018 womens prize longlist


Red: Read
Blue: Will Read
Green: Won’t Read Unless I Have Time/Makes the Shortlist


H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker: This is the only sci-fi novel. Described as a Post-Apocalyptic Alice In Wonderland in a world that sounds very Utopian and questions whether we would be happy in a perfect world. This one hasn’t got the best reviews but the premise is so intriguing I have to give it a go.

The Idiot by Elif Batuman: This is a very worldly book following a student at Harvard who is the daughter of Turkish immigrants, befriends a Serbian and a Hungarian and spends the summer teaching English in Hungry. I am interested in this one but it’ll be one I get to if I have time. 

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon: This starts with 84 year old Florence who has fallen over in her care home and is waiting for someone to find her. Whilst she’s waiting she’s reflecting on her life and a secret she fears will be revealed. I’ve heard amazing things about this and was planning on reading this anyway.

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig: This follows a family in Burma struggling to survive through war and colonialism. This sounds like such a layered story set in a part of the world I know little about. I do want to read this but I don’t think I’ll be able to as my library doesn’t have a copy. 

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan: This follows a women who’s working in a navel yard during the war in Brooklyn. I’ve seen some very bad reviews about this book but it does intrigue me so if I have time I may try it.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar: This follows a ship owner who’s ship was sold for a mermaid. He decides to display the mermaid to earn back the money and this leads him into a social circle which will change his life forever. I’ve read and loved this. Very glad it made it to the longlist. 

Sight by Jessie Greengrass: I don’t know much about this other than it’s a look into parenthood. I actually saw someone predict that this will win the manbooker so that’s definitely what peaked my interest.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: My favourite book so far this year. This follows Eleanor who’s kind of an outsider and doesn’t fit in with her work mates. It’s about loneliness and breaking out of your shell. I love this book. 

When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy: This is about a woman who marries her professor. He quickly becomes violent with her and treats her as if she is his property. This sounds like a tough read but one I definitely want to read.

Elmet by Fiona Mozley: This is about a family and how they struggle to find their place in a world they don’t fit into. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now and I’m very much looking forward to it.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy: I don’t really understand what this is about. I’m sure I’ll only read this if it makes the shortlist but honestly the reviews don’t inspire me to pick it up otherwise. 

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: A story that captured the worlds attention, this follows the murders of Lizzie Borden’s parents and is a fictionalisation of the events. This sounds very interesting.

A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert: This tells the story of an increasingly occupied Ukraine and what happens when a local see’s Nazis taking Jews to a concentration camp. This one just didn’t capture my interest. 

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie: Following two Muslim families in the UK this sounds like a very current novel that I can’t wait to read.

The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal: This follows a doll maker. Each doll she makes is significant to her past, which we come to learn about. This is one I’m most excited to read. 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward: Another that is about family. This is about the ugly truths of the american story. This is one of the more popular novels on this longlist I think and is one I’d definitely heard of before. 

I know I’m being ambitious but a lot of the ones I am interested in quite short (under 300 page) and I’ll be taking part in a readathon early April. So, maybe it’s possible.

Let me know your thoughts on the longlist and what you’re plans are. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X


Down the TBR Hole #2

Note: Created by Lost In A Story.

Hi Readers

This is the second edition of Down the TBR Hole where I look through my Goodreads ‘Want To Read’ shelf and decide what I want to keep and eventually read and what I want to delete.

Eon by Alison Goodman – I like the premise of this, it’s just getting round to it. Keep.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Cotton – I don’t know when but I do want to read this. Keep.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela – Keep.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – Keep.

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult – I’m debating getting rid of this but for now. Keep.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini – Keep.

Before I Die by Jenny Downgham – Delete.

Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – It will probably take years but I do want to read these. Keep.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I think I’ll read these after the TV Shows finished. Keep.

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin – Keep.

Quite a lot of keeps in this one. The next won’t be so kind. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Books I Want To Give Another Chance

Hi Readers

I’m quite easy going when it comes to DNFing books. If I’m not enjoying one I just consider carrying on anyway as a waste of time.

However, sometimes something changes my mind and makes me think I should give it another try whether it’s something I’ve heard about he book that’s sparked my interest or, looking back, I didn’t give it enough of a chance. Here are those books:

Birdsong by Sebation Faulks: When I first read this I was just a little sick of world war stories but now I’ve regained some interest in them so hopefully I’ll enjoy this more the second time around. 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: This is probably one of the most intimidating books ever written and I don’t know when I’ll get to giving it another go but I think it’ll be worth it. 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: This is a book you have to be patient with and I enjoy books like that now more than when I first tried to read this book.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: This just wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting zombies and action. But this is really about the characters and I think now I know that I could enjoy it more. 

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes: When I picked this up I did it with the aim to read it in 3 days. I can’t remember why but that was the time I gave myself and seeing as it’s a 800 page book that was a little silly of me and was probably a big part of why I couldn’t get into it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: This book I did actually finish but I think I didn’t take in a lot because I can not for the life of me remember how it ends so I lost interest in continuing the series. 

Let me know what books you’ve DNFed but think deserve another chance. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Spring TBR

Hi Readers

This is one of my favourite posts to do because I love planning and I love lists and I am so excited to get to so many of these books. These are the books I want to read within the next three months so this may seem like an ambitious amount of books but I do have three months to complete them. (But let’s be honest I won’t get to half of these.)

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Waters: Yes, I want to read this in Spring because of easter. It probably has nothing to do with easter. I don’t care. From the sounds of it this is about childhood and how simple everything was when you’re a kid (#relatable.)

Watership Down by Richard Adams: Again, yes, because it’s Easter and Easter means BUNNIES. I did try reading it last year but I didn’t make it more than 50 pages. I would really like to finish it this year.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: (Hides my head in shame.) Yes, this is probably the forth consecutive seasonal TBR I have put this on. No, I haven’t started it yet. It will happen IN SPRING.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: Same.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters: Same.

Circe by Madeline Miller: I am very excited for this new release. I love how she retells mythology and I’ll probably be picking this up the day it’s released.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: I love the premise of this book and I really want to read more from Atwood. 

Feminism Is For Everyone by Bell Hooks: This is the Feminist Orchestra book club pick for March and April. This is quite a short read but I’m intrigued to see what I think of it as I’ve heard mixed things.

1Q84 by Haruki Murikami: I’m intrigued to see what I think of Murikami because a lot of poeple say his books are hard to get into so I don’t really know what to expect.

Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher: I feel like diving into a epic fantasy. Can’t wait to start this.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: So far I haven’t actually enjoyed any of his books. I think this is his most beloved one so I have low expectations but high hopes.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: Definitely her most famous book and I’m so excited to read it as I loved Winter Garden. 

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: What people are saying about this book is making me so hyped for it. Plus, the premise is so intriguing. 

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: This randomly got put back on my raider after I lost interest in reading it ages ago. I don’t want to lose interest again so I definitely should read this soon. 

The Womens Prize for Fiction Longlist:

This year I want to be more involved with UK book prizes and this is one of my favourite prizes as they pick a wide range of books that I’m actually interested in. This I’ve actually already read (and loved) two of the longlisted books and I’ve been meaning to read a few of the others. I’ll update you on how I go and hopefully do a shortlist predictions post before the shortlist is announced in April. 

I honestly could add more but I think that’s enough for now. 

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you think I should get to first. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X



International Women’s Day Book Recs and TBR

Hi Readers

A lot of people may be excited for tomorrow as it is the release for season 2 of Jessica Jones. But tomorrow is special for two reasons as it is also International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the women’s rights movement.

I will be doing this the best way I know how, by reading. If you want to do that too, here are some recommendations. I also have a small TBR to make my way through.

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood: This may seem like a fairly obvious one but if you’re reading this and you still haven’t read this book make tomorrow the day you read it. You will not regret it.

Women and Power by Mary Beard: This is great if you want something you can start and finish on IWD as it’s a very short read. Yet not a page is wasted and it touches on a lot of subjects and references a lot of modern day and historical moments.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Another short one that can easily be read in a day. his book for me is the ground work of feminist literature and probably the perfect starting point.

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante: Every chance I get I will recommend these books because I love them that much. We don’t know who the author or what their gender is are as they write under a pseudonym. But this is definitely a feminist novel. It highlights the cruelty women endure from a males hand in the poorer areas of Naples, Italy. 

My TBR for International Women’s Day:

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou: For years I have been meaning to read this. I’m very excited to finally get to it.

Ariel by Sylvia Plath: I’ve only ever read one collection of poetry before but I don’t think I really appreciated it. I’m going into this with an open mind.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: Another one I can’t quite believe I haven’t read yet. I feel like this is the book that every feminist book lover should read.

Let me know what you’re reading for International Women’s Day. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X



Month of Reading: February 2018

Hi Readers

This month was a weird reading wise. I just could not work out what I wanted to be reading. Everything on my TBR just didn’t fit what I wanted to read at the moment and when that happens I tend to gravitate towards books I’ve already read. So this turned out to be a month of rereads.

Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab – 69/100 ***

I started out loving this series so I ended up practically binge reading it. But when I finished I felt so meh about it. I loved the world building and characters initially and it’s been a while since I’d felt so invested in the characters lives. But then as the novels continued there was a significant lack of plot and there were times when it felt like the books weren’t progressing at all. 

Anne Frank’s Diary

I haven’t read this since I was 10 and I’ve been meaning to read it again for years. Finally did and it still made me very emotional but I also noticed and understood things I didn’t notice before (or my teacher didn’t let me read before.) 

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – 71/100 ****

I got sent this by the publisher and did a full review of this which you can find here: Mermaid and Mrs Hancock Review.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This was the first pick of 2018 for Our Shared Shelf, a feminist reading group on goodreads. However this one, as you can probably tell by the title, focuses more on race. Being white I feel like I shouldn’t criticise this book so I won’t. I will say that my favourite thing about this book is the title. It’s provocative and head turning and very very clever.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Thus finishing my reread of the Shatter Trilogy. I am now ready for Restore Me which is coming out tomorrow! It wasn’t hard to become invested in these characters again but I did find the book to be quite uneventful for a large portion of this book.

Women and Power by Mary Beard – 80/100 ****

I love this book so freaking much. I’ve done a full review here: Women and Power Review. But basically, I recommend you all read this. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

I snowed quite a lot the last week of February, and for me, there’s no better book to read while you’re stuck inside because of the snow than HP.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – 56/100 ***

This caught my attention when I saw the amount of  5 star reviews it had on Goodreads. The synopsis didn’t really interest me as it’s about a Hockey crazed town and I’ve never been one to care about Hockey (I mean, it’s brutal.) But the reviews intrigued me enough to give it a try. 

I’m glad I did because it definitely was not what I was expecting. However it did turn out to be a story I know all too well and it didn’t really give any fresh perspective on it. 

I do hope I get to more books that aren’t rereads in March. I plan for it to be female/feminist heavy seeing as it is Women’s History Month here in the UK. So, TBR for that coming soon. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Weekend Reads: 24 Hour Readathon TBR

Hi Readers

Tomorrow, March 3rd, Zoe from ReadbyZoe is hosting a 24 hour readathon and I’m going to be casually taking part. However I do still hope to get through multiple books.

You may have heard but the UK is currently experiencing blizzards and 10 feet of snow (slight exaggeration but that’s what it feels like.) So, all of these books have a very wintry setting. 

To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey: I loved her book The Snow Child and I did actually try reading this before but I DNFed it. Time to give it another go.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: This is a very famous YA book that I’ve owned for ages but never got to. 

Ariel by Sylvia Plath: This is a poetry collection. Normally I hate poetry but I want to give it another chance.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher: I think this will be one I hopefully at least start during the readathon. 

 Let me know if you’re taking part in this readathon. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X