Hi friends, how are you all doing? Reading anything interesting?
Today’s post is one that I have been so incredibly excited for and one that took a bit longer than I anticipated to complete! Hence the delay in posting it!
If you’ve been on my instagram (WHICH HAS NOW BEEN HACKED WHAT THE FUCK, more on that at a later date), you know that I have been in a sort-of reading slump for most of the month of April, which has not been a fun experience at all. I find that when I do pick up a book (which has mostly been 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒐𝒏 𝑹𝒆𝒃𝒐𝒓𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏), I am loving every second of it; but I find myself so tired in the evenings that all I want to do is watch youtube or a tv show and read fanfiction. Which is not conducive to reading actual novels on my tbr.
However, I did somehow finish the books required of this little reading challenge! It’s a miracle!
I completely took this idea from booktube (BooksandLala mostly, because she is an icon) and I thought it would be a fun thing for me to do. The purpose of reading the 5 highest rated books on my physical tbr is to obviously work through the frankly ridiculous number of books that I own and have not read yet as well as see if my rating sort-of matches to the average rating on Goodreads. And yes, I will be using Goodreads for this challenge – I don’t know how to filter average ratings on Storygraph? So Goodreads it is!
I keep a ‘physical tbr’ shelf on Goodreads and I am anal about keeping that updated. Mind you, I don’t place my classics on this Goodreads shelf because I have a whole separate category for those (my brain works in mysterious ways, don’t judge me). So all of these books on this shelf are either fantasy, sci-fi, literary, conetmporary, some young adult, non-fiction, poetry, etc. So, in order of the highest rated book on my physical tbr to the fifth highest book:
A really great top five actually! I have a nonfiction memoir novel, a poetry collection, two fantasy novels in series and a nonfiction collection of essays/memoir. And all are books that I had been wanting desperately to read, but they got swallowed up by the abyss that is my physical tbr. I do have to say, overall, my experience reading these books was great. I didn’t give any book lower than 4 stars and I enjoyed every one of them for different reasons, obviously. So, let’s begin! I’ve put them in order of when I read them!
𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒌𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑱. 𝑴𝒂𝒂𝒔
I think I have mentioned before in my februrary reading wrap up that I had complex thoughts on 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒌𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑱. 𝑴𝒂𝒂𝒔. Upon reread of 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑬𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒅, I realised that I couldn’t ignore the glaring issues with how it was written! The pacing and the honestly lacklustre worldbuilding was just something that meant my original rating had to go down from a 5 star to a 4 star. When I began 𝑯𝑶𝑺𝑨𝑩, I made sure that my expectations were not high. I was scared! Terrified that I would hate it!
I’m happy to say that I did enjoy it. It definitely didn’t need to be as chunky as it was as I felt that, although it’s over 700 pages, what happens in this book and the world-building, didn’t require that length. The world building was extremely better than 𝑯𝑶𝑬𝑨𝑩 in that it existed (haha) but we do see some development, some questions are answered. Maas realised that she could interweave world building naturally within the narrative itself instead of dumping it at us in expository form. I feel that Maas’ first books in every series she writes are always historically terrible. I don’t know why, but that’s a fact. You have to read on to at least the second or third book before things get better. 𝑯𝑶𝑺𝑨𝑩 was better. What else can I say? I was surprised that Hunt was kept on as the romance lead and interest as I was truly expecting Bryce to get another viable love interest as I’m not the biggest Hunt fan but I thought the development of their relationship was actually really great. I enjoyed their dynamic – although there was a shit load of them thinking about sex. All the time. Which, totally get – but this WORLD IS SO INTERESTING I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING. The side characters were so much more fascinating than Bryce and Hunt. I wanted more of them!!! Not the almost constant pining for sex between Bryce and Hunt.
The ending however, was good. I am enjoying the Sarah J. Maas multiverse. It felt so incredibly rushed though. All of a sudden, all this shit happened and the book ended. Maas needs to work on her pacing with this series! But I enjoyed it and gave it 4.5 stars (but I think now it’s more of a 4 star) and will be speed walking to the bookstore to buy the next book when it comes out. I think by nature, sequels have higher average ratings as only those who enjoyed the first novel would generally go and read the sequel. So I do understand the high average rating and I align quite closely to it in terms of my own reading experience!
𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝑫𝒂𝒎𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝑮. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏
I don’t know how to describe my feelings for 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝑫𝒂𝒎𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝑮. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏. You know that feeling when you read a book that impacts you so deeply and articulates things that you were unable to actually voice because you had no idea how to? Well, that’s how I felt about this book.
𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝑫𝒂𝒎𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝑳𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝑮. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 is part memoir, part an essay collection – it’s a personal exploration of the impact of colonisation on the author herself being a Noongar woman, a First Nations Australian from Noongar country in Western Australia. I read this both physically and with the audiobook, purely because I didn’t want to stop reading it. 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏’s voice is unparalleled; she writes with such emotion and authority, whilst also being incredibly enagaging and at times, quite funny. The focus is on both the continual impact of colonial trauma on Indigenous peoples as well as the systemic oppression and institutional racism inherently built into the foundation of Australia which is observable today.
𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 encapsulates the frustration, the deep sadness and the fury of our Aboringinal people. Our government is steadfast in their feigned ignorance and refusal to actually do anything necessary to change or even acknowledge the fact that the legacy of Australia is one rooted in genocide, in slaughter and in the dehumanisation of Indigenous communities.
𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏 also intersects race, culture, sexuality and feminism in Australian society as well as exploring media (books and film) and the very real connections to real life and the attitudes of women, but especially of Indigenous women. Truly, I wish every Australian would read this book. It is in my top 3 of my favourite memoirs of all time because of how exceptional it was. I obviously gave this a full 5 stars and it honestly should have a perfect 5 star rating everywhere. Read it!
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒆𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑲𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒚 𝑱.𝑹.𝑹. 𝑻𝒐𝒍𝒌𝒊𝒆𝒏
I’ve been slowly reading through the 𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 over the past two and a half years. I remember reading 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒃𝒃𝒊𝒕 in May of 2020 and really loving it. Bilbo Baggins will forever hold a place in my heart, he is the bi plant daddy we all need and deserve. I then moved on to 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑻𝒘𝒐 𝑻𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒔, which I read in October of 2020 and September of 2021 respectively. Again, I enjoyed 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒊𝒏𝒈 but I really did not enjoy 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑻𝒘𝒐 𝑻𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒔. That book was incredibly boring for me and I did not get on with it at all!
When I started reading 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒆𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑲𝒊𝒏𝒈, I honestly thought, ‘oh no, it’s the Two Towers all over again,’ purely because the beginning of it did not grab me. I didn’t really want to read it and it became a chore for me to have to pick it up. I was uninterested and I honestly considered putting it aside and completely disregarding this entire challenge as I wanted to DNF it.
Something awesome happened.
Sam and Frodo and that entire lead up to Mount Doom. I was incredibly on board with it. I couldn’t stop reading – finally, I said to myself, things are happening. That could also have been a direct result of the fact that Sam is my favourite character in the trilogy. He has such a pureness to him that I adore. His love for Frodo is so immense, and he is so selfless and wonderful. Every time he was on the page, I was excited! But I also felt that the lead up to Mount Doom and then the actual scene at Mount Doom and the aftermath was just perfect Tolkien. I don’t know how else to explain it! The last 100 or so pages were absolutely exceptional. I couldn’t stop reading! Sam and Frodo at Mount Doom, the aftermath of the fight, the crowning of the King, seeing Bilbo again at Rivendell, the return to the Shire and that whole situation that occurred – it was fantasy writing at its best. I even teared up a little bit because Bilbo.
I am so happy that I finally read it and I am in complete agreement with the average rating! Not that my opinion was needed but I gave 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒆𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑲𝒊𝒏𝒈 4 stars. And I am planning on possibly re-reading the series (including 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒃𝒃𝒊𝒕) somewhat soon? At least 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒃𝒃𝒊𝒕 sometime this year as it re-emphasised how much I love Bilbo Baggins.
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒙𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝑬𝒔𝒕𝒊 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒅𝒚𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒖𝒔 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒙𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝑬𝒔𝒕𝒊 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒅𝒚𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒖𝒔 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔 is a poetry collection split into three parts. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬, 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐚. The nature of 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔’ poetry lends itself to the more abstract – there were some that went way over my head but i understood the vibe. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬 was structured as seven hymns (I think) to mimic the seven days of creation in the Christian Bible. It spoke of this half-mythical figure of man/God, of him being created and of the world. It feels hazy, when you read it, like you’re watching through clouds. There’s an innocence to it and a beauty. This changes in 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 speaks of 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔’ experience with war: the Greek Civil War, Turkish Occupation and German and Italian occupation in WW2. It’s where the innocence of a man dies and is confronted with evil. 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔 had these fragments of prose interspersed throughout and they were so heartbreaking, I cried. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐚 is the aftermath. Of Elytis and of humanity trying to find the beauty and glory in this “small world the Great”.
I really adored this collection and will be attempting to find more by 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔! So I definitely think the higher average rating is warranted!!! I would have rated it a 5 star if I was more intelligent (lol) and was able to further understand or interpret his poetry in a way that punctured the richness of its meaning. I really want to read more from 𝑬𝒍𝒚𝒕𝒊𝒔 and I am now on the hunt for more work by Greek authors in translation. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
𝑲𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝑴𝒚 𝑵𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒆𝒍 𝑴𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒓
The reason as to why this post was so delayed in being posted was because it took me longer than I anticipated to read 𝑲𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝑴𝒚 𝑵𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒆𝒍 𝑴𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒓. I was in a reading slump in the midst of completing this challenge and picking up this wonderful but very emotionally intense memoir was not a good idea. But I finished it! Remind me to not read incredibly heavy books when I’m already struggling to read! Please!
I completed this book last night and not many books literally render me speechless, but this one did. I was struck by the way in which Chanel Miller writes. When I tell you that every single word, ever single line of this memoir is deliberate, a reconstruction of Chanel’s experience, life, emotions. This kind of writing was/is on a level that I have not really seen before. The only one that comes to mind is 𝑰𝒏 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒂𝒓𝒎𝒆𝒏 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒂 𝑴𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒅𝒐, my favourite memoir I have ever read. Chanel charts the course of her life immediately before being sexually assualted, the immediate aftermath, the lead up to the trial and of the trial itself as well as the aftermath of the assailant’s sentencing. Chanel, with tenacity and raw strength, shines a beacon on the patriarchal justice system which essentially does not care at all about the victim. The perpetrator of Chanel Miller’s sexual assault was given 6 months (but served only 3) because the judge and those around him in the justice system, thought the impact of this incident on his reputation and on his future, was too hard on such a ‘great young man’. Chanel’s trauma was not even a consideration.
I honestly consider this mandatory feminist reading. Read it. I cried for most of the second half – especially after chapter 9. I don’t think I will ever actually be able to articulate all of my thoughts on this memoir, but it is definitely one of the best that I have read. I gave 𝑲𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝑴𝒚 𝑵𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒆𝒍 𝑴𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒓 a full 5 stars and I am honestly surprised that this doesn’t have a perfect 5 star rating. I love that I have written that more than once in this post! What a time to be alive.
I did it! I read the five highest average rated books on my physical tbr! And I think for all of them, I am in agreement with their average rating. Does this mean I have incredible taste in books??? Haha.
I also want to apologise for the delay in posting this as it was supposed to go live last Saturday but this kind-of reading slump I’m in is literally the worst thing ever. At least I have been reading though!
If you haven’t been on my twitter, I should let you all know that my instagram account has been hacked. So if you follow me there, please report the account as pretending to be someone else. I have no way of getting that account back, unfortunately, and my only hope is that people report it so that it can get closed down. So please do so if you follow that account. I will be announcing soon! Probably later this week or early next week. I’m enjoying the instagram cleanse!
Anyway, I hope you are all having a wonderful week! What are you reading? What is the highest average rated book on your physical tbr? Let me know!
I hope you enjoyed!
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,