Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September’s Reads

Yay, it’s October, officially my favourite month! Though I’m biased, it being my birthday month and all. Let’s get cracking on September’s Reads.

Behind the Scenes of the Museum of Baked Beans An Odd-sey by Hunter Davies

Behind the Museum of Baked Beans

I picked this book on a whim while in Manchester at the beginning of the month, I knew I’d need some reading material and I like quirky books like this. Hunter Davies travels around the UK, visiting odd and unique museums. There’s the British Lawnmower Museum, The Pencil Museum, The Laurel and Hardy Museum and of course The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, amongst loads others. I’ve actually even been to one myself, Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Notting Hill, which I highly recommend. The book was an interesting read, you get to see what inspires people to start these, often small, museums. You’ll discover loads of quirky ones too, and some sound very interesting (I like the idea of the Pencil Museum myself!)

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger


This is the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, set 8 years into the future. Andy is now not only BFFs with Emily, once her superior and nemesis at Runway magazine, but also her business partner in their high fashion bridal magazine, The Plunge. But Andy starts having nightmares the night before her wedding, which brings back the horrible memories of working for Miranda, her Runway boss (and also the Devil). Which turns out to be a premonition of sorts, as Andy finds herself running into Miranda more often than she’d like and all of a sudden, Miranda is back in her life. How will Andy cope with this, along with trying to keep her marriage on track? Personally, the book didn’t wow me. I was interested to see what had happened to the characters from the first book and how things had changed. While reading the book, while the writing didn’t blow me away, I did enjoy reading it (most of the time anyway, except when Andy was overly anxious), but more because I just wanted to get to the end and find out what happened. If you are a big fan of Miranda from the first book, then you might be disappointed as she actually isn’t around too much, it’s more her lurking in the background, causing the anxiety. If you liked the first book (more so than the film really, as I think I prefer the film to the book), then you’ll probably enjoy this book for what it is, a nice, easy read.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain


This book has been on my radar for a while, I actually had it checked out from the library last year but never got around to getting past the introduction. It wasn’t until I read my friend Julia’s post over on January Day about the book that I went off and ordered it again from the library, determined to finish it. Being an introvert at heart, it was fascinating to learn about how we tick and not just hear about introverts from just a negative angle. It’s great for introverts to learn more about themselves and great for extroverts to learn more about their introverted employers, employees, children and partners. It has helped me understand myself a whole lot more, especially the bit about being a highly sensitive person (which extroverts can be too! Just a head’s up, the rest of this paragraph is about why I believe I’m a HSP. If you’re not interested in reading that, I’d suggest just skipping it). It means that people who are highly sensitive like to have order in their lives to help minimise surprises; sensitivity to sounds, smells, lights, pain and/or coffee; overwhelmed by too much stimuli; rich and fulfilling internal lives; tendency to process things at a deeper level and feeling very strong emotions. I know some people might roll their eyes at this, the two other people I’ve mentioned it to in real live reacted similarly, but I really do think it applies to me. In the book, Cain mentions that a HSP might feel perfectly happy to drive hours without listening to anything. And that is me to a tee. If I’m in the mood, I’ll put on radio or some music, but 70% of the time I’m happy to sit in silence as I drive. I think it also explains why I detest when my boyfriend decides to flick through different channels while listening to radio or watching TV. If I’m watching a programme, I generally just leave it play during an ad break while my boyfriend ALWAYS changes the channel or go in search for another song on the radio. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend, he said ‘No, it’s just because you hate not being in control’, but honest I think it’s just because it can overwhelm me on a subconscious level. I also hate when he has the radio too loud in the car, and I remember whenever I stayed at my cousin’s house, she’d have one of those plug in pest controls that emitted a noise that apparently only pests could hear. Except I could hear it too and it used to drive me nuts at night. She didn’t believe me until someone else stayed in the room and said they could hear and then she changed the frequency. I’m not a huge fan of surprises in my life, the idea of a public proposal makes me feel sick and I hate the idea of a huge wedding. Not the part of having all my friends and family around me, I love that idea, but the thought of having everyone’s eyes on me and being the centre of attention! On my laptop I have installed F.lux, which changes the screen brightness when the sun sets in your area, it’s been a god send. I really hate having the screen at normal brightness at night since installing this, it throws me off. I’m perfectly content with my own company and always have been. Living in a huge family, I now realise that being around a lot of chaos would unsettle me and that’s why I would love to spend time by myself, to recuperate and relax. Also, boy do I feel strong emotions! I can cry at the drop of a hat, I often well up just reading or watching a sad or touching story. Anyway, I could probably go on about this, so I’ll just leave it at that for now!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

This book has been on my radar for a while, I’ve seen it mentioned a lot this year, so I decided to give it a shot. When Harold Fry gets a letter from an old colleague Queenie, he rights a reply and walks down the road to a post box. When he reaches it, he decides to walk onto the next post box, until he suddenly gets it into his head that he will walk up the length of England to deliver it in person, with just the clothes he’s wearing, his unsuitable yachting shoes and a credit card, no mobile phone! It was an interesting idea, Harold meets some lovely characters along the way (and some not so great ones). While he walks, Harold has loads of time to reflect on his past. We learn a bit more about the state of his marriage, his family and the mistakes he’s made. Some bits dragged here and there and slowed the story down but overly it is a sweet, touching novel. I really enjoyed Harold as a character, even if once or twice he did frustrate me slightly!

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)


Getting my hands on this book as been a bit of an ordeal and slight mystery too! The second I heard that this was written by J.K. Rowling, I requested my library buy it. The books were delivered and processed a month and I ordered it as soon as I could, one of 5 copies available from 5 different libraries in the county. One copy from library A was sent out and I waited patiently for it to arrive the next week. It didn’t, but I thought ‘Hey, sometimes it takes 2 weeks’, but next week it still wasn’t delivered, despite the status of the book being ‘In Transit’. This continued for a few weeks until I mentioned it to my local librarian. She put a hold on a copy from library B. When I arrived the next week, neither had been delivered yet so we assumed the copy from library A had been lost so we cancelled the hold on that copy. The next week, I get a phone call from the library saying the book has been delivered. It’s the copy from library A. But since we had cancelled the hold on that copy, the computer wouldn’t let her scan it out for me as it had a hold on it by another person. However, the librarian kindly gave me the copy without scanning it out (I’m a very trustworthy person!) as the book couldn’t be delivered to the person until the following week, I just made sure I had finished the book before collection date. The librarian and I have no idea what happened to that book, it took about 6 or 7 weeks to be delivered. We reckon it must have been borrowed along the way. It has a return stamp on it yet when she checked the record there was nobody recorded as already having that copy out! Like I said, a bit of a mystery. But was it worth it? Yes, I believe it was!

Private Detective Cormoran Strike is the almost unlikely hero of the book. At the beginning of the book, we find him down on his luck. He’s just ended his tempestuous relationship with his fiancée and as a result he finds himself homeless, living in his office of his failing company, deeply in debt and also missing a leg due to service in Afghanistan. However this changes when John Bristow, brother of famous supermodel Luna Landry, comes and ask Cormoran to investigate the death of his sister, who had fallen to her death from her apartment 3 months earlier in what the police believed was suicide. John however believes otherwise and asks Cormoran to investigate for him. Along with the help of his newly appointed temporary secretary Robin, Cormoran is delved into a world of the rich and famous, of models, designers, film producers and rock stars, as he tries to unravel the truth. I really enjoyed the story, a tiny bit slow to fully get going, but once it did I was hooked. Again, like The Casual Vacancy, it’s a slow burner, mainly developing characters and full of rich descriptions of the plot and characters, instead of an action packed thriller. But it does come to a pretty satisfactory climax. I love that Cormoran has his flaws, it stops the story from being too cheesy, makes him more of an anti-hero than hero. And I LOVE the none romantic relationship between Cormoran and Robin, it’s very refreshing. I do hope there’s a follow up book, I don’t often read a lot of crime or mystery novels but I really enjoyed this so I might branch out more!

September Stats

Number of books read- 5
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 3:2
Number of eBooks- 0
Number of books borrowed from library- 4
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 0

And that’s it for September! Not many read, partly because when I was in Manchester, I got hooked on watching TV shows that I normally don’t watch (Jeremy Kyle Show, Pointless, early 2000s Home and Away repeats, antique shows and pretty much anything on Dave!), as well as Game of Thrones once I got back from Manchester. I’ve kinda lost my reading mojo, I haven’t started another book since finished The Cuckoo’s Calling on Sunday. Which I know was only 3 days ago, but usually I close one book and then open another straight away!

January’s Reads

February’s Reads

March Reads

April’s Reads

May’s Reads

June’s Reads

July’s Reads

August’s Reads


  1. Very nice and varied reading list!

    With regards to the small museums, you should visit the Butter Museum in Cork city. All about butter production in the city in the late 19th century- talk about specialised!

    I also read some other book on introversion (can't remember the name at all!) and it made me realise an awful lot about the way I behave. I am an introvert by nature and like you, I don't like high amount of stimulation. I like only having one event planned for a day, only listen to the radio or music when I feel like it instead of having it as background noise, and generally have friendships as one on one interaction rather than in large groups. It also made me realise that I can adapt some of my introversion to be able to go to parties/ events as long as I have an escape plan!

    1. I have an electic taste in books, to say the least!

      Can you believe I studied Food Sci in UCC for 4 years and never made it to Butter Museum?! Dreadful really, I must make a trip some day.

      I like to call myself an extroverted introvert, that I'm an introvert at heart but I can be pretty outgoing and loud when I want to be! Though if given a choice between going out or staying in, the vast majority of the time I would chose staying in. If I'm not particularly looking forward to having to go out, I always tell myself I can leave at any time if I'm not enjoying myself, that I'm in control. It helps put my mind at ease. And of course, half the time I end up enjoying being out once I'm out! I do hate packed places, it can trigger my anxiety if I feel uncomfortable in those situations (like, I can usually managed a crowded bar if I can get a seat and distance myself from standing in the crowds). I also prefer places that don't have really loud music in pubs, be it live or just playing in background.


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