Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A lot of life updates // a book haul

It's been so long since I did a life post, recap, or book haul that I've forgotten how. I do have these blogging crises sometimes, when I'm like, what am I doing, why do I spend so much time writing about myself and taking photos of books, nobody cares. And then I remind myself that I love reading other people's writing about themselves, and looking at their photos of books, so why shouldn't I do it, too?

I could dwell on my angst further, but instead let's plunge into THE BOOKS (that's why we're here!).

So, this is what happens when you don't do a book haul post from December until August. OOPS.

// lobster pots are fun. And this edition is so pretty I could cry.
These four -- Shadow and Bone, Finnikin of the Rock, A Darker Shade of Magic and Neverwhere -- were all Christmas presents from my great brother. (My family has finally figured out that I want books for presents. It's taken nearly nineteen years but it's happened and it's wonderful.) There are all super pretty and, more to the point, the entire blogosphere is OBSESSED and throws them all at my head. (Maybe not so much Finnikin (which is in the picture with Shadow and Bone, hiding), but the other three? Pftt. I can't leave the house without the bloodthirsty chant of “Schwab, Schwab, read some Schwab!" rolling into my ears.)

Have I actually read them yet? Considering I've owned them for eight months? Hahaha. As if. I need a healthy four years to make it through my TBR ... (I hate myself.)

 Despite being Scottish, do I ever read Scottish literature, ever? Nope. I could count on one hand the number of Scottish books I've read IN MY LIFE! (I mean, I would need about twelve fingers. But let's not bore ourselves with the details.) So here's two Scottish books.

Trainspotting was a Christmas present from my lovely friend Cat (along with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings). It's an iconic book about the Edinburgh drug scene. According to a friend who has read it, The Goldfinch alludes to it. So I'm there! (Metaphorically there. Literally, who knows when I'll read this book. I'm a travesty of a sham, asphyxiating under a TBR pile.)

Nil Nil is a poetry collection by Aberdonian poet Don Paterson. I got this book last December from an incredible place in Oxford called The £3 Bookshop. They sell NEW BOOKS for £3 EACH?!! How does that business make money? I HAVE NO IDEA. When I go to Oxford, will I fritter away my life's savings in increments of £3 and buy everything from the entire shop? Yeah, probably!

Also bought in The £3 Bookshop! What a place. This is one of my FAVOURITE BOOKS EVER and I can't wait to reread!

A Further Stack // the university edition

Yup, these books are all new (to me) for the purposes of my degree! Ahahahaha. Who needs education, right? I think I'll pack it in, move to Paraguay and herd alpacas. I do love South America ...

I got my reading list for Oxford a month ago. It is ... what's that word? Long. As you can tell from those books! I'm meant to read all those by October?! As well as Great Expectations and Moby Dick, (not pictured because I already owned them)?! The alpacas look more and more inviting ...

I did have a small crisis when I got the list. Suddenly the next three years of my life lay stark before me: read through the list. Go to uni. Study, write essays, die a little. Get reading list for next term. Go home for Christmas holidays. Read through list. Return to uni. Study, write essays, fall further into Tartarus. And repeat for three years??

You hear people say it, don't you, that studying books ruins the love of books. Allow me to be a massive narcissist for a minute and quote myself. This is what I said on this blog on 1st October, 2016 (which is actually not far off a year ago. WHAT IS THIS THING WE CALL TIME):
I'm currently going through the uni application process again.  I have unexpectedly had to navigate people telling me a) not to apply to the uni I want to go to and b) even more bafflingly, not to apply for English Lit ... 
my exact face
"But, Emily, studying English means studying books and thinking about books and writing about books and criticising books and you've not been taught it in school the way it will be at uni! AND YOU'LL STOP LOVING BOOKS!"

I'm not trying to be an annoying 17y/o who disregards adults' advice and generally yells "YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM*" ... but equally, don't patronise me and tell me that what I think I want is not actually what I want?! In fact, I know what I want. And I'm not expecting uni to be the same as school, obviously, and even if I do get there and hate studying English I can always drop out and still like reading, it's not as if I'll be like "SHAKESPEARE IS A LIE AND GATSBY NEVER HAPPENED!" 
*To clarify, it's not my actual mom" who has said these things. She's a great lady. 
So you can see, my past self was mighty convinced that this Stopping Loving Books thing would DEFINITELY NEVER HAPPEN. "Don't patronise me and tell me what I think I want is not actually what I want?!" I said in a rather angsty way. I STILL STICK BY MY ANGSTY PAST SELF. But I did have that moment of horror where I wondered, what if I could find my degree a grind?

I don't think so, though. Because I've had such a great time with the books so far. I've read Moby Dick, which was blimming great, and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction -- fascinating -- and some great poetry by Browning, and I'm now really enjoying The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so I can confirm that I do not hate books. And anyway, since getting the list I read The Mark of Athena. I'm not going to stop reading YA and fantasy. That just isn't going to happen. I WILL ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR PERCY. (Gosh, though, my Percy emotions are running high at the moment. SOMEBODY HOLD ME.)

I'll leave the angsty rant there for today, but send me good vibes for getting through the reading list!

Peter LiversidgeΓ’€™s-everythingisconnected:
In Life


Ashley! As in the blogger behind [oddly novel title], the co-hoster of Footnotes, the beta reader of my first novel, and my great friend of several years! 


throwback to when I had dreads
My mother was very concerned. She kept saying things like "but are you SURE she's a real person?" and "don't get in a car with her!" There is quite a lot of stigma surrounding internet friendships -- firstly, the assumption that the people we talk to online are definitely secretly 50y/o men, and the idea that "internet friendships aren't real friendships". It was absolutely wonderful to meet an internet friend face to face! We had such a nice afternoon. Unfortunately we spent it in a rather down-at-heel small town north of Glasgow -- I wished Ashley could have seen better parts of Scotland than that! -- but in spite of the less than inspiring setting, it was pretty delightful. Have you ever met an internet friend? Don't forget to hit me up if you're ever in Scotland!


Basically, 90% of our friendship is based on Sherlock gifs. Ashley is a better person than me and has actually read some of the books, instead of just watching the BBC series (side note, I still haven't finished series 4?! It came out while I was in Kenya!), and is encouraging me to do the same!

Such a good day, folks!

In July I went to Dublin!

I went on holiday with my Kenya team and it was really lovely. I have always been very attracted by the celtic magic of Ireland, the myth and the music. Dublin is a great city, both exciting and traditional. We got lost around the cobbled streets; walking out in the long July evenings live music would float from the beautiful pubs and bars. Once I did a bit of impromptu ceilidh dancing in the street, to the tune of a busking fiddler. There was so much character in each lovely Georgian building, and the River Liffey, winding through the city's heart, was gorgeous.

I always think there is something so atmospheric about straight beams of sunlight, something divine. The glory of the Lord descending through clouds.
It was a hilarious holiday of art galleries and museums, of cooking pasta in a youth hostel, of walking until our feet blistered because we refused to pay for public transport. Sitting drinking wine by the Liffey, reminiscing about Kenya, wondering about the future, laughing about the present.

One glorious day we walked to the beach. I love cities by the sea.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, ocean, cloud and outdoor
It was so nice to spend time with these girls. Ft. the fun skirt I got made in Kenya.
Of course, no holiday would be complete without some secondhand book-buying! Because I really have nothing to read .... *ahem*

Chosen because The Road by McCarthy is one of my faves.

It was a great holiday! (I spent a lot of time looking out for Derek Landy, who lives in Ireland, but somehow didn't manage to spot him. It's so fun, though, seeing the place where your fave books (in this case, Skulduggery) are set!)

In Writing

I am redrafting Stay In the City!

No but seriously! It was November when I finished the first draft of this book! That's like half a year ago! Heck, that's like nearly a whole year ago! It's just SO NICE to be jumping back into the story with my beloved team of characters. I loved working on the first book in May/June/July, but I always had this knowledge that their story had continued past that book, and they needed me in the future! Now it is the future. If that makes sense.

If you want to know more about the book (bless you) you can click here.

This morning I finished reading it and made a Redraft Action Plan. I'm very professional, me.

This is only the second book I'll ever have redrafted! It's a learning curve, right? Right. Ahahahaha.

Seriously, though, I'm excited.

So, I was going to talk about stuff I've been reading recently, but I think I may die if this post gets any longer, and goodness knows how you're feeling! If you actually read this, you're a hero. Anyway, TELL ME ALL THE THINGS: what are you writing? What are you reading? Have you been to Dublin? Do you ever have blogging crises? Are you an internet friendship success story like I am? Have you ever been to the setting of your favourite book and got stupidly excited? Any recent book haul excitements? Share it all!

I'll leave you with this, my most recent favourite thing.

I want this life a painful amount

Until very soon!



  1. THIS IS SO WONDERFUL AND AMAZING!! And sooo awesome you met Ashley! I've been reading her blog for years and ajdfkslad internet friendships are wonderful. Honestly my very closest friend is online and I've never met her, and like that's so cool??? That you can have never seen someone face-to-face but still be super close to them?! I love the internet.

    Also these books ARE SO PRETTY. Especially that edition of The Hounds of Baskerville! 😱😱

    And good luck with the editing and redrafting!!😱 That's always a slightly scary thing, I think, but soooo worth it. It's always amazing to see writing change and develop and get stronger.😍 I'm about to start rewrites and kind of excited too tbh. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I just love the internet, too!

      I KNOW RIGHT?? Books, man. They've got their aesthetic sorted.

      Thank youuu! I'm having a good time, it's so wonderful seeing your story come out of its shell, as it were. I think of it as bringing the diamond from the lump of coal XD

  2. You met Ashley! I am so jealous, I was laughing at your mom's reaction because my mom is the exact same way. Every time I mention internet friends she is like, they are probably all secretly men.

    All these lovely photos and books, I love update posts! I also now want to live in a lighthouse.

    1. I know! <333 But, Skye, they probably ARE all secretly men! How do you know I'm not secretly a man? Maybe I am!

      (KIDDING, I'M NOT. Am I?)


      I'm so glad you enjoyed! I love reading and writing them too, even though I have these crises of feeling like a narcissist. I have actually thought about the lighthouse thing so much, I'm so keen .....

  3. "And then I remind myself that I love reading other people's writing about themselves, and looking at their photos of books, so why shouldn't I do it, too?" Life posts are nice- they remind me of conversations over coffee.

    So many lovely books! I'm especially envious of that 'Neverwhere'.
    I semi-recently finished Great Expectations. It was high time for me to read another Dickens, and this one was good.

    that's awesome, being able to meet another blogger! I've never met another blogger, but I had the pleasure of doing business with one via mail. She commissioned a needle-felted mouse.

    1. Aww, thanks, Blue! That is very encouraging.

      Neverwhere is gorge, isn't it? I just want to read it! I love Great Expectations a lot. It's high time for me to read another, too ... (I've only read GE and Tale of Two Cities, both of which I love.)

      A needle-felted mouse? That sounds wonderful!

  4. 1. Sherlock Holmes is great. I have the complete works in audiobook, and I've listened to the first two novels plus some short stories.

    2. How was The Mark of Athena? I'm starting it soon.

    3. See, it's the whole "not stopping personal reading" that makes Uni reading seem ridiculous, haha.

    4. I'm writing an epic fantasy novel, but my progress has slowed.

    5. I'm reading Clariel by Garth Nix, Frankenstein by Shelley, and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.

    6. I'm not a big city person. Maybe Dublin some day, but for now I've never been to your side of The Pond.

    1. 1. Excellent! I really want to read some.

      2. SO GOOD. I posted a review on Goodreads if you're interested? https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1291052976?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

      3. I am LOVING my uni reading, but so glad to be keeping up with non-uni reading, too! (Currently reading Winter. SO GOOD.)

      4. Wonderful! Have you ever posted about it?

      5. Keen to read Frankenstein, and I really want a LotR reread! I've never touched Nix.

      6. Dublin is great, hope you get to come over one day!

    2. I beg you, if you want to try Nix, start with Sabriel or his YA sci-fi. Clariel is a disappointment. I've finished LotR, and the latter parts were really good. Yeah, I have one post about that WiP (https://intotheravenousmaw.blogspot.com/2017/06/new-novel-start.html). It's currently stalled out for a while though due to school. I'll be writing short fiction for my Advanced Writing Seminar though.

    3. Sorry to hear about Clariel! LotR is a classic and it definitely warms up as it goes! I'll pop over and have a read :)

  5. Wow you've had such an eventful time! Shadow and Bone is really good! And I've heard good things about Neverwhere! So awesome that you got to go to Dublin! And I've met many internet friends in person at this point. Yes they are real humans or are not middleaged men. XD Haha!


    1. I have! And I'm so glad to hear that, because I can't wait to start it! I just finished reading Winter which was WONDERFUL and I am BEREFT that the series is over. I also recently read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and was massively disappointed. So I think it's high time to start a good new fantasy series, to make up for my Taylor woes and (try to) fill something of the TLC hole in my life ... as if anything could!

  6. Oh, hey! That's my face! XD Seriously though, so glad we got to meet.

    And that Sherlock gif! ALKDJFADF! Why is it that hardly nobody uses Sherlock gifs anymore? Sherlock is not like a fashion that goes out of style.


    I hear you about the Schwab chant. I fall asleep to it every night after I toss and turn for hours in the shadow of my rising TBR. That reading list though IS HUGE! And it's only for one term? Like what do they think you are? A computer that one just plugs into the wall? That is a bit daunting. I can totally see why you'd wonder if there was something in what that lady had told you last year. I do hate when someone else chooses what I read. But I still love reading.

    Dublin sounds like it's a lot of fun! I glad you had a great time. I'd really like to travel around Ireland sometime. But maybe around the countryside more? I don't know. I have a love/hate relationship with the city. It's fun to visit because there's so much to explore and see, but after a while I need the country back and my trees. Although cities by the sea or ocean are always awesome!

    Huzzah! So happy about the SitC redraft! Also, that last pic made me laugh. XD

    1. It totally is! And yes, same <3

      I feel that?! I might watch some Sherlock tonight, you know ...

      Hahahaha, yes! So I just finished Winter a couple of hours ago (and I am OBSESSED and IN LOVE and EXUBERANT and JOYFUL and HEARTBROKEN THE SERIES IS OVER???) and I can't wait to dive into a new series. (Not right now, obviously, because of the reading list, but y'know, soon.) Schwab, Shadow and Bone and Finnikin of the Rock are the three main contenders at this point.

      “Like what do they think you are? A computer that one just plugs into the wall?" This made me laugh! I am doing ok with the list. For one thing, I got an email from my college mum (Oxford and a few other British unis do this thing where you get “married" to one of your friends and then when you're second years you adopt first years and kinda show them the ropes, so I have a mum, a dad, and a few siblings, AND, my college parents' names are the same as my real parents'! Is it a sign??) where she was like “pfft I'd read half the books on the list when I arrived, no one has read them all". The good thing is I have really, really REALLY enjoyed 97% of what I've read so far, so the risk of stopping loving reading is getting lower and lower ...

      It really was! I wished I could've seen the countryside, though.

      I'm so happy about it, too! Like I cannot WAIT for you to read it. And I have been thinking A LOT about lighthouses recently. This isn't a joke ....

    2. Ugh, yes. I'm anxious to start a new series too. But there's so much reading for college. :/ I want to start The Lost Hero soon, but yeah. Sorta reading The Murder Complex instead. And Finnikin of the Rock is good! I loved the world when I read it (it's been a while). For some reason I read only a few chapters of the second book? But I think I was just in a mood or something. XD Still, awesome writing.

      Wait, your college "parents" have the same names as your real parents? That's great! And strange? But you know, small world and what not. XD I really need to write you because way too much has happened since last I wrote. But time, man. Where's the time?

    3. "Not right now, obviously, because of the reading list, but y'know, soon." Wow, my past self was disciplined! Since that comment, I have read A Darker Shade of Magic, Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (Georgia Nicolson #10) and yesterday I started Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5). I don't know why?? I don't even like Throne of Glass??? I just want to have an opinion! And I only do things when I'm not supposed to, so all summer that I've been like "Emily read Empire of Storms" I've not wanted to, but of course, yesterday, with legit four days before I leave, and the fact I'm also reading a Henry James novel, it seemed like a great idea. I hate myself.

      The Lost Hero is GREAT. Although it has three new POV charries so you have to open your heart to new folk. Which I struggle to do because all I want in life is Percabeth and I can't be bothered with anyone else. But the new POV charries are cool (especially Leo! He's my fave!) and you'll like them and it is a GREAT book. And then The Son of Neptune ... oh man.

      Time, man. I feel that very strongly! (Kind of? Except I've also *kind of* had two weeks doing nothing, but not, seeing people, trying to read the reading list, stressing, whatever, but not anything structured. So I do sort of have time right now. Sort of. But I don't. It's been a weird two weeks. I kinda just want to start already!)

  7. How is Everyone coming to Ireland and I have absolutely no idea? o.O

    I have never met another blogger before even though I know another one that lives in Ireland o.O I guess it's because I only go out in the morning? Around 9 am.

    1. It was so great! And you defs should if you get the chance, it was fab <3

  8. I'd love to visit Ireland some day! Plus, meeting your internet friends in real life could be cool, but I expect my family members may not have the same opinion. Good luck with your classes, the redrafting, and happy reading! I hope you enjoy Schwab! XD

    1. It was great! Thank you for this lovely comments with all its good vibes! <3

  9. Okay um, I am confused. You're a year younger than me? And at uni??? And you've been to Kenya???? Ya gotta clear this up for me my dude, my brain is going crazy (when you're back from the island... why is your life so eventful?).

    And omg yaaas to meeting internet friends! I think I've met one or two and it's been great! The first one I met was male and me mam was like "you're going to get sent back to us in pieces" but his dad came for like ten minutes and hurrah, I didn't get murdered.

    And Dublin <3 <3 <3 Man I miss it! It was so beautiful, and the accents!! Like hot dang, I could get used to those accents rather than the boring English ones I've had to put up with for a while.

    1. I think so? I'll be 19 this month. So basically Scottish people do one fewer years school than England (and, I think, Wales) ... because we're so intelligent ;) So we go to uni a year earlier. Lots of Scots are 17 or recently 18 when they start uni. So if I'd started uni last year upon finishing school, instead of doing a gap year, I'd have been 17-nearly-18. Whereas now I'm 18-nearly-19. Whereas all English people are 18 when they finish school, I think.

      Hahahaha your mum sounds like mine!

      Isn't it great? I loved reading your post about the ROI. And the accents oh maaaan!

  10. Hearing about and imagining your uni reading list is one thing, actually SEEING that mountain of books is another! o.o But I'm glad you're mostly enjoying them so far! Man, I wish Business Admin involved a novel or two... *stares mournfully at accounting equations*

    You'll have to let me know if you like Schwab! I've heard so much about Schwab books but have no real idea if I'd like them or not...

    And you met Ashley! So cool! Obviously you just read my Realm Makers post, so you know all about my recent meeting-internet-friends-experience. :)

    DUBLIN. Okay, Ireland is right up there near the top of my list of Places to See. And it just so happens that Aileen and Josiah have a brief jaunt through an airport in Dublin, so...! Wait. Do they? *thinks* ...It's been so long since I worked on TPK, I don't remember 100% for sure. D: Either way, it sounds like you had a lovely time!

    "Cinematic depression." XD

    1. I KNOW RIGHT. And several books weren't even featured there! But yeah, they are mostly pretty good!


      I knoooow! It's the best <3

      IT WAS SO GREAT. Hahahah, I will look out for that scene and be able to critique it as someone who has been to that very airport!


Thanks for commenting! :)