Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | August

Hello and welcome another check in for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you would like to learn more you can look at my initial post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. This month I read The Comedy of Errors and errors there where!


This book is just a mixture of mess ups and miscommunication. It kinda reminded me of the exaggerated outcome of the telephone game, if you are familiar with that. The main aspect of this play is mistaken identity, which has been present in quite a few of his other plays that I have read this year. In this play in particular it it comes from not one, but two sets of twins and their loved ones having no idea who is who and let the mayhem begin.

I have to admit, that this is one of the better plays when it comes to mistaken identity. There were a few times where I giggled to myself while reading this, which is great because not a lot of his comedies have actually made me laugh or feel humor. Maybe I am finally getting Shakespeare’s sense of humor? Either way, without giving away too much, there is a lot of misunderstandings, surprises, and puns galore!

This review isn’t that long due to the fact that I feel like a lot of the humor would be removed from this play if it is really discussed as much as I normally do. I would rather you read it for yourself and truly get the laugh out of it than being ruined by my review. But, overall I think this is one of the better comedies as I said earlier. I think it is worth checking out if you like his other plays or even has not read any of his comedies before.


Next month I am reading another comedy by William Shakespeare called Much Ado About Nothing, I have heard a great deal about this one so I am excited!

What are your thoughts on this play?

What is your favorite play by Shakespeare?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | August 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my Middle Mark post for August! This month has started off on a great note. I have read quite a bit and I hit a few of my year long goals as well. I finally hit 30,000 pages for the year as well as finished up reading a book from every continent. Now, to continue to chip away at the others! Any-who, here are the books I have read so far in August.


Read 2

Fever DreamFever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just the perfect eerie book I wanted to read. I actually got quite a few chills reading this horror and I am glad I happened to find it. The whole book felt heavy and it continued to get heavier as I read it. It is one of those rare books that really pulls you into the story and you almost feel like you are in it yourself.

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The DeepThe Deep by Rivers Solomon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As many other reviewers have said, this is a very unique read. It was imaginative, creative, but also painful. I say painful because it deals with a grotesque history of slavery and does not sugar coat it or hide some of the more horrendous actions. In addition, the main character battles with their peoples history, I don’t want to say too much because spoilers. I very rarely say this, but I feel like I would have enjoyed this story more if there was more of it. I wanted to explore this community in more detail and learn more about many of the characters. I feel like this was done on purpose though and when you read it that statement will make a bit more sense if it doesn’t now. But, I will say this, I am going to be looking into other works by this author.

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The Secret RiverThe Secret River by Kate Grenville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is very apparent that this author knows a lot of about the history of Australia the movement of deportation of those not wanted in England. This book deals with social hierarchy, laws, exploration, as well as the stealing of lands of its native people. While this book as a lot of academic value, even though it is historical fiction and not non-fiction, it was difficult to get into. I felt like the authors writing style was just blah for me personally. It read more like a textbook than an actual textbook, I had to really push myself. For me, this is a bit out of the ordinary because I love reading non-fiction and rarely have to push myself to read them.

I will say, this book is best read with someone else, this book brings up quite a few topics that are best explored and discussed. As said, it has great academic value and I feel like it show cases society in London/England as well as the early settlement of convict in Australia and the impact on the indigenous inhabitants.

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Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and IllusionsSmoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good and wide ranging collection of short stories. They are just a bit out there and at times a bit of a horror feel. I felt that every time I finished one I just wanted to read another one. I always find it hard to review a collection as a whole, but overall I enjoyed a majority of these tales.

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You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-AcceptanceYou Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance by Chani Nicholas

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don’t feel like this is a beginner book, it does have a good amount of information, but if you are using this book just for yourself, most of the information is not usable/applicable. If you are going to do a chart for everyone and their mom, much more useful. Also, bring a protractor.

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The Comedy of ErrorsThe Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here is a little preview of my review. Overall, this was an average play. I didn’t see anything that really stood out and I can already feel the details of this one slipping away. There is quite a few mistaken identities, which we have seen a bunch of times already from his works time and time again, just with another bow.

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Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & YouGmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shel Silverstein esc type pep talks that I just adored! I will be picking this up from time to time, I can see it.

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After the QuakeAfter the Quake by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoy Murakami’s writing style, the short stories were varied, but tied together nicely. Some I liked more than others, but there was not one I disliked. I normally don’t enjoy short story collections, but there is something about hims writing that I enjoy very much.

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Currently Reading 2

As of writing this, August 12th, I am currently reading quite a few books. I was doing so well with reading one book at a time, for some reason this month I am having trouble doing that.

I just started reading me eArc of One by One by Ruth Ware that I received via netgalley. I am really enjoying it so far, I mean I expected to since she is one of my auto buy authors!

I am also 44% through Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer the newest addition to the Twilight books. Honestly, so far I am enjoying learning more about the Cullens and their family dynamics.

Last, but certainly not least I am currently reading Conjure Women by Afia Atakora. I am about 13% into this book. Conjure Women is a magical realism and historical fiction novel balled up into one. It follows a young girl from a young age until she is older, whose mother can do magic and she follows in her foot steps and acts as a healer for her community. The time frame and location are in the south during slavery and following after it. So, we get a story that not only of a family that is separated by slavery, but also a look into the practice of slavery. The author holds nothing back in their magical story telling and I appreciate that.


Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | June & July

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to my check in for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you would like some more details about the challenge you can find that in my post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I would like to apologize I missed posting this last night, but better late than ever. I decided to combined the past two months instead of making two separate posts. Anyway, here are my thoughts on Twelfth Night and The Tempest!



Twelfth Night

So, like many of his works, this one starts with a bit of a tragedy. I think this is one of my “ugh” things when it comes to Shakespeare, he reuses a lot of the same plot points, but dresses them up differently if that makes sense? Anyway, more on this specific play. This play was packed with mistaken identity, disguises, and of course a love story of sorts. This play really thrived on a bunch of misunderstandings and a lot happened that I don’t want to go into it because of spoilers. I will say this is not near the low bunch of the plays I have read by him. I cannot say no to some magic into a story, so that alone won some points for me. I also was not completely disappointed as to how it ended as well.

The Tempest

There are a few things I really liked about this play in particular the first being a ship wreck that reminded me of Odyssey in a way. I am not sure if this was the purpose, but I enjoyed the connection I made. I also liked that in this play there was also magic and magical creatures. As I said about Twelfth Night, I am always a sucker for it. I ended up giving this play 4 stars because I was a bit more into actually reading this and it kept my attention for than Twelfth Night did. It is one of the Shakespeare plays that I actually would not mind reading for a second time, I think Macbeth is the only other one on that list.


Next Month

What is your favorite work by Shakespeare?

What are you thoughts on these plays?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | May

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the fifth installment of my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge! If you would like some more details about the challenge you can find that in my post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. It feels so long since I started this challenge and I have found some I really loved and some I really didn’t enjoy. May was an interesting one fore sure. Before we jump into this review/discussion/rant I just want link to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. And yes, I said rant this time around.


The Book

This months story The Taming of the Shrew. The title alone had me a bit apprehensive about this book, but my twitter followers picked it so I was going to follow through and read it. According to a quick search this was written around 1950.


My Review

I am going to honest, I am kind of torn on this one. This is really a cruel story in quite a few ways.  A well off man tricking a man into thinking he is a lord just for the fun of it. Taming a woman and making her not herself like she is an animal. Just all around manipulation in this book. I will say it was imaginative and like nothing I have read personally.

This starts off with a noble man of sorts feeling like they have so much power and influence they can just totally mess with someones life with fun. It put a really horrid taste in my mouth. I am really hoping Shakespeare was attempting to ridicule higher ups in society, if that was not the case I might actually hate him. The fact that this privileged person felt they could just do that was irritating and I was so irate while reading this. Everyone just went along with it like it was normal! I don’t understand.

Now the whole title of this play had me worried, like I mentioned earlier. Lexico describes one of the definitions of this word as “A bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman.” I will also put forward when I hear the word tame, I think of a pet or animal, not a human being. So, I was kind of waiting for someone treating a lady as less than. Well, I was correct. The shrew in this story was treated like a jerk, only married to get her out of the way so others could marry her younger sister. While she was not nice I liked that she was strong willed and knew what she wanted. Well, her “husband” and I put it in quotations for a reason, he just was hired to marry her to get her out of the way treated her like garbage and manipulated her into being brainwashed and subservient. It honestly made me super mad and I hated every moment of this.

The more I write about this story and think about it, honestly the more I dislike it. Now, don’t get me wrong I know this was written around 1590, women had no place in society and her not seen as equals and it is apparent in many of Shakespeares plays where the father and husband have the final say and such, but I felt like this play just took it to a whole new extreme. IN the past plays I have read women were still allowed to be themselves and were not manipulated in the same manner and just seen as a creature that need to be moved out of the way so men could get to eh more desirable sister.

I really don’t want to say much more because I feel like this is already a rant. I really am hoping deep down that Shakespeare wrote the play with these two very troubling plot lines where two people are just totally manipulated as social commentary and didn’t just write it because it would be “fun” and “enjoyable”.


Next months pick is Twelfth Night, a huge thanks to those who voted in the poll!


Have you ever read The Taming of the Shrew? If so, what were your thoughts?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | April

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the April edition of the 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.This has been the best month for Shakespeare so far here in 2020. I will warn you, this month might just be a gush fest, which I never thought would have happened when I dreamed up this challenge for myself last year. Before we jump into this review/discussion I just want link to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. Now, on to Macbeth!


The Book

This months story Macbeth in my eyes is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It is referred too so often, even by those who have never even heard the play because it has continued to be a part of pop culture. This play is thought to be first preformed around 1606, so it is quite old.


My Review

So like I said, this review is going to be a huge gush fest and I am not sorry. I honestly never thought I would be gushing about a Shakespeare play, but here we are. I annotated this book up and down and I think it is one of my most written in books that I own.

What I really liked about this book was all of the subtle references to various gods/demons that you may not normally know unless you know their symbols and such. There is an obvious mention of Hecate and Beelzebub, but there is also hints to The Morrigan. But, with both of these if you are not familiar with their stories a lot can be lost. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, moon, and ghosts. Which, in this play are very common themes that were very interesting and engaging.

Two things t really stood out to me, is the use of use of three and the paradoxes used in this play. The three witches, saying things three time for effect such as the Second Apparition and Macbeth in Act 4, Scene 1, Doctor and Lady Macbeth  in Act 5, Scene 1, and Macbeth in Act 5, Scene 5 just to name some outside of the witches themselves. Now, the paradox’s in this play are throughout, but a few of the examples I can easily find are Macbeth and his wife being great and wonderful hosts and then murder someone, Porter in Act 2 Scene 3 and Lady Macbeth in Act 2, scene 2. These writing methods really pull the story together and give it a particular feel.

There is one more thing that really stood out to me and it was the witches say with words. They were very playful with their words and what they said was borad, yet specific. One of the instances that stand out to me is their clue at who would kill Macbeth. They said that Macbeth cannot be killed by someone born by a woman, which you would think is impossible at first, but it is very possible. C-sections now a days happen all the time, but in the past babies were also removed from their mothers. It really shows that you must pay attention, very close attention to the words in the play. I feel like I would get even more out of it if I were to read it a second time. I also saw a parallel between the way you interpret these witches and fae in popular books. They can never lie, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be tricky.


Next months pick is The Taming of the Shrew. I know absolutely nothing about this play so I am a tiny bit worried, but I have high hopes as well because of the success of Macbeth in my book. Thanks to those who voted in the twitter poll!


Have you ever read Macbeth? If so, did you enjoy it?

Which play do you think I should look into for June?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | March 2020 Haul

Read 5, Buy 1

Hello and welcome to another check in for my Read 5, Buy 1 challenge. I don’t know about you, but I have really had the itch to buy as of late and I will admit it, I went a bit above my Buy 1, but thankfully not by much! The ones I did go and buy that were not covered by my Read 5, Buy 1 were all Shakespeare plays for my Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. So, they were books I would have had to buy anyway. Anyway, here are the books I read and the books I bought in March!


The Breakdown

Alexande Hamolton by Ron Chernow

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepety

Bought: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silvere

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarpA Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Bought: The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Full Thottle by Joe Hill

The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller

Bought: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas


Extra Books – Shakespeare 2020 Challenge

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Overall, I don’t think I did too badly with this challenge. I read 15 books, but I only added 9 books so my Owned TBR as a whole has gone down this month. A win in my book! I am hoping with the OWLs in April I will be doing even more reading, but so far I have done a bit of ebook buying this month. So, we shall see how this social distancing affects my book buying and my TBR.


Are any of these books on your TBR?

What is the last book you added to your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | #AnimalCrossingReadathon Wrap Up

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to a hybrid of a book post. This is my Middle Mark post, but also my wrap up for the Animal Crossing Readathon I decided to take part in last minute. Which, I ended up doing better than I thought I was going to do. What really helped me was the fact that I decided to do a bit of a personal readathon on March 14th. Anyway, on to the books!


Read 2

Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this second book in the series, it had a different vibe to it, but I very much enjoyed seeing the characters again.

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Imaginary FriendImaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so much enjoying this book for the first 400 pages or so. Then it just started to feel like there was a. huge ending coming, but there were 100s of pages left. I feel like this book went on for way too long and the pacing was just all messed up. I liked it less and less as it went on and it is a shame because I really was loving this book at the start.

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Animal Crossing Readathon!

HamletHamlet by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come.

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Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Ruta Sepetys and I am kind of mad it took my this long to read a book by her. The writing is just wonderful, but I don’t want to say this book is wonderful it is powerful and eye opening. The topic that is covered in this book is just heart breaking. I knew about the history, reading detached non-fiction during my studies, but this book just makes this story so much human than I have come across it in the fast.

This book felt like I was hearing the story of a young girl and the fight/spirit she had in her when she was surrounded by horrid things. Her story was heart breaking, but I cannot get over how power and strong she is. It really makes you think of all the people who wee affected and mistreated during this time period and the events are rarely talked about or discussed. It is a tough read, so I would research the topics and events that happen in this book because I feel like it might be triggering to some.

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A Knife in the Fog (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle #1)A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as wonderful on the reread. If you want to read my full review from my first read, you can see that here: Blog Tour Review | A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper.

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Queen's GambitQueen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very wonderful sequel to A Knife in the Fog. I continue to enjoy the authors well researched writing, plot, and characters. It was a very enjoy ride and I read it in a single day I was so pulled into it. Will be keeping an eye out for more books from this author!

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Promp Recap

✔️Resetti: Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper DONE

✔️K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys DONE

✔️Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare DONE

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

✔️Animal Crossing Gamecube: A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper DONE


Four out of the five prompts in my book is not bad at all. I really was lacking on reading The Magicians. It isn’t that I am not liking it, I just want to read it when I can’t be distracted. It is too good for its own good! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this readathon.

I am a bit sad that I preordered the game in a physical store and they are closed, so I wont be playing today or for a while most likely. But, I am glad that everyone is being safe. It is just a game and I will get my hands on it as soon as I can. It is always nice to have something to look forward to.


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TBR

To Be Read | #AnimalCrossingReadathon

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to a very last minuet post. I was scrolling through twitter the other day and came across the Animal Crossing Readathon hosted by @ambooklife, @medusareads and @paperbackjedi over on twitter from March 9th-20th. I am very much looking forward to this game so I wanted to give it a shot! If you wanted to check out the twitter account for this readathon you can see that here: @acrossingread Now on to my TBR!


Prompts

Image

Resetti: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Animal Crossing Gamecube: Leaving Open


Thankfully a lot of the books that were already on my monthly TBR for challenges and such fit into this readathon, which never happens to me. The only prompt I am at a loss for is Animal Crossing Gamecube. I am not sure if I want to reread something or read a the book I have had sitting on my shelf the longest. But, I figure I have time to make a decision and it will allow my mood reading a choice in the matter.


Are you excited about Animal Crossing?

Are you taking part in this readathon?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | February

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the second month of 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. The first month went so well, I ended up really loving I also have a goodreads group going if you want to join in on the challenge, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


The Book

This months book was Othello, chosen via a poll on my twitter account. This play is thought to be written around 1603. I will say, this is one of the play I am more nervous about this book because I have read this before and I did not enjoy it very much. Going into this I was really hoping that my view on it has changed.


My Review

So, coming into this month I felt both better and a bit worried about reading Othello. I felt a bit more at ease because I really enjoyed a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I remember reading Othello and really disliking it. So, I really saw things going either way.

I have to say, the start of this book kind of made me feel like The Count of Monte Cristo. It starts off with a man feeling wronged by not being promoted and is newly married. Very much sounded very familiar, which for Othello is a good thing because I loved The Count of Monte Cristo. Another work I made a connection to is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The father in A Midsummer Night’s Dream was so upset and would not accept his daughter marrying for love and was so dramatic about it. The same happened in this story pretty much, which was kind of annoying. Only two books into this challenge and already recycling characters in a way.

But, with that aside I will say I did enjoy this one more so than I remembered the first time I read it years ago. What I did like about this was how it was organized and how it created such a villain. Even at only about 40 pages in I already hated a character and I wanted him to get lost at sea or something. The fact that I felt so much in that way saved this play in my eyes. If I didn’t dislike that person so much I would have rated it a lot lower honestly. Also, the ending is just so tragic and I felt so horrible for the jerks wife, she knew she was doing wrong, but not as wrong as she actually did. She most likely felt sole responsible for what occurred.


Next months play is going to be Hamlet as voted on by my wonderful twitter followers! If you want to join in with me please do by jumping into the conversation here or over on the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


What did you think of this play?

What play do you think I should add to the poll for April? 

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TBR

To Be Read | February 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to my February TBR! This year is leap year, which means we get an additional day in February to read. So, this month I am thinking about taking on some of my larger books, with one in particular being a goal.


Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann is my Man Booker short list book of the month. As I am writing this I have not finished Girl, Woman, Other, but I am putting the next one on the list on my TBR. This one is truly a hefty book, I could probably use it as protection against a bad person. It is a bit intimidating, but the description sounds really interesting and I am excited to jump in.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta, is on my list this month due Reg picking it out for me to read for my relaunched Someone Picks My Books series. In January I read a book recommended by my aunt, Where the Crawdads Sing and it was a total win, I think this one is going to be as well. If you want to check that out, you can do that here: Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

Othello by William Shakespeare, this is another book I am reading for a series this year. Othello is going to be my Shakespeare play of the month. I have decided this year to read a Shakespeare play a month and really determine if I hate his works because I was forced to read them, or they truly are not for me. Last month I read A Midsummers Night’s Dream, you can see my thought on it here: 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | January

The Langoliers by Stephen King, last but not least is a horror I picked up in January and I am very excited to read it this month. Something about the setting being an eerie train just pulled me in. It also just feels like the classic scary monster vibe I have been missing as of late.

While I have only picked four books for my TBR this month, I am planning on reading more, but these are my priority. After I get through these my mood reading can really take off!


Bonus Books

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, this was a leftover from last month, I started it and still have to finish it, but so far so good! 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I was meant to read this last month, but I ran out of time sadly so I want to get to it this month.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, I am buddy reading with Jenna and Reg, which I am super excited about. I have been wanting to read it for a long time now and I finally get the chance to read it with two awesome people. 

 


What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are you currently reading?

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