Tuesday, 2 June 2015

May Secondhand Book Haul | Books with Bee

secondhand book haul book blog vivatramp

After using up all of the bookish gift cards for my March and April book haul, it was back to charity and secondhand book shopping for me during the month of May. Interestingly, the majority of my books are secondhand purchases, usually ranging from around 50p to £1.75. I like to think that explains why my library is so bountiful...

I've been in a bit of a reading slump, as some would call it, of late. I've devoured graphic novel after graphic novel but I haven't really had the patience for novels for a long long while. I think I might take my own advice r:e how to get out of a reading slump and read some short stories first. 

charity shop purchases

revolutionary road book haul blog uk vivatramp

Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright young couple who are bored by the banalities of suburban life and long to be extraordinary.

I have had a few of Yates' books on my 'to buy' list for years so I swiftly wrestled an old woman out of the way to nab this copy when I saw it nestled away in a dark corner. Yates is one of those authors that is renowned for their incredible character development, or so I've gathered, and I'm looking forward to meeting the Wheelers for the first time. I'm not exactly jumping for joy at this cover, compared to the Vintage Classics one, but it's what's inside that counts and for a mere quid I'm not going to complain...much! 

One fateful night, Tristan promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star from her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years [...] But Tristan bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. 

I have read 3 and a bit books by Gaiman so far and I have had mixed reactions. I really liked Neverwhere, didn't like Ocean At The End of the Lane, liked Coraline and so far Smoke and Mirrors has been alright. However, I'm a sucker for anything Victorian and I love me a weird ominous wall (niche interests, granted) so I'm hoping this will be another one that I get along with! I read around thirty or so pages of it on the train the other week and liked it so I'm feeling hopeful. I found this copy for £1 in a charity shop closing down sale. 

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the diving-bell and the butterfly by jean-dominque bauby
Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle [...] By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem [...] Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see [...] he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time [...] In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this book. 

The Diving-bell has been on my radar for a long time, but it has always been a book that I resigned to finding in a charity shop for cheap. Thankfully, the bookish Gods granted my wish and I found this in the kids section (!!!) of one of the local charity shops for just 75p. I read it as soon as I got home, naturally. As someone with an illness, I always take comfort in the experiences of others where their own illness is concerned and, in particular, the dark sense of humour that often comes with being on the receiving end of a chronic or debilitating diagnosis.  Bauby shared his own beautifully. It was moving, funny and wonderfully honest. I'll review it soon, I'm sure. 

the name of the wind vivatramp

the name of the wind by patrick rothfuss 
This is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of travelling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story.

I have already discussed this book a little in my Organising Your Holiday Reads post, explaining that I don't usually read anything from the Fantasy genre and yet I'm really excited to pick this up. I found it for £1 in my local charity shop and I'm hoping it'll fill the fantastical void that Game of Thrones will soon leave once the season is up. 

the luminaries eleanor catton vivatramp uk book blog

the luminaries by eleanor catton 
It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the NZ goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events [...] Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. 

Big books intimidate me. There. I said it. This beautiful copy was in pristine unread condition for a mere pound, and I'm pretty sure that heavily influenced my purchase. This tome is bloody huge but I'm hoping it is going to be one of those stories that just captivates me from the off. If the opinions of my friends on Goodreads are anything to go by, I should really enjoy it. 

secondhand book shop 

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brideshead revisited by evelyn waugh 
Brideshead Revisited tells the story of Charles Ryder's infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in partiular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognise only his spiritual and social distance from them. 

My local secondhand book shop had an influx of beautiful old pastel modern classics in so I decided to pick a few up for my expanding collection. Brideshead Revisited is, again, one of those books that has been sat on my Goodreads 'to buy' shelf for quite a long time so I was happy to find this tucked away on the shelf. I've now got quite the unread Waugh collection, as I also own A Handful of Dust and The Loved One. I think I'm going to start with the latter as it's a novella and it sounds right up my street! 

secondhand book haul book blog vivatramp

the waves by virginia woolf 
Tracing the lives of a group of friends, The Waves follows their development from childhood to youth and middle age. Separately and together, they query the relationship of past and present, and the meaning of life itself. 

Virginia and I don't get on particularly well. I have tried to finish Mrs Dalloway. I have tried to finish To The Lighthouse. However, this is the first time I'm going to be picking up one of her books outside of academia, so I'm pretty hopeful. Remember that time I read Hamlet of my own accord and actually came to enjoy Shakespeare after more than a decade of being like 'what the fuck?!'.  It may be too soon to say but I think this may be the one to break our poor relationship. We'll see...

penguin modern classics collection

nausea by jean-paul sartre 
Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence [...] he ruthlessly catalogues his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which 'spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time, the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain' 

I have no idea who recommended this book to me, if they did at all, but I stumbled across this copy for £1 and decided to make it mine. I honestly have no real expectations here, I'm just more looking forward to reading some more translated fiction. 

secondhand book haul blog

the lost decades and other stories by f. scott fitzgerald 
A collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories from towards the end of his life.

The Great Gatsby is an absolute masterpiece and one of the most incredible novels ever written, and yet I still haven't read anything else by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Whilst this little collection of stories written later on in his life probably isn't the second thing you should read by him, I'm glad that it is in my possession. There's something really beautiful about that cover and I'm pretty sure this book is no longer in print, at least not widely, so it was a happy little £1 purchase for me. 

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? I'd love to know what books you've been buying lately in the comments 


Saturday, 23 May 2015

Organising Your Holiday Reads & My Summer TBR | Books with Bee

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The people at Penguin Random House recently got in touch to ask whether or not I wanted to read this summer's top holiday read 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty, and it got me thinking three things: 1. What would I like to read this summer? 2.  What's the best way to create a tentative summer holiday reads TBR? 3. Why am I not on a beach somewhere hot with a virgin mojito in my hand?

Deciding what to read whilst on holiday / over the summer break can be an absolute nightmare for people like me that have quite a lot of choice and a complete lack of ability when it comes to making bookish decisions. Thankfully, I've come up with a handful of tips for us all to organise our holiday reads somewhat. I'm also here to share some of the books that I may read over the summer. 

tips for organising your holiday reads:

1| Work out whether you want quick fun reads or books that challenge you
2| Plan in advance so you have time to switch it up 
3| Mix up your genres for books to suit every mood
4| Take wild cards!
5| Be realistic about how many books you'll read 
6| Raid the charity shops for cheap paperbacks that you can then leave for other people
7| Read a book set where you're holidaying 
8| Take a book that someone else has picked out for you 

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books i might read this summer...


the secret history donna tartt uk lifestyle book blog how to organise your holiday reads

the secret history by donna tartt  
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever. 

The Secret History is one of those books that everybody talks about and that everybody loves. It has been patiently sat on my shelf unread for two years now because I was waiting for a perfect time to read it free from university and distraction. That time has come my friends, and you better believe that I am already reading it. I think I'm going to love it. I am very glad that Rosie decided to gift it to me all that time ago! 

lonesome traveller jack kerouac lifestyle book blog vivatramp how to organise books to take on holiday

lonesome traveler by jack kerouac 
As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac records, in prose and pure poetry, the life of the road.  

Kerouac's books lend themselves to hot summer days. However, he is one of those writers that can leave me feeling a bit disillusioned at times. I get him, and sometimes I like him, but sometimes I can't help but think 'wow, you must've been a shitty dinner party guest'. We shall see how quickly I can get through this one. It may take me the summer! I believe I picked this up from The Last Bookshop in Bristol for £2 a few years ago.

liane moriarty big little lies uk lifestyle book blog vivatramp holiday tbr

big little lies by liane moriarty  *sent for review*
Big Little Lies is a take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Penguin sent this little number my way not so long ago and I'm hoping to finish it sooner rather than later. It's not something I would instantly reach for, I won't lie. However, I liked the promise of mystery that I got from reading the blurb and I'm looking forward to seeing where the plot takes all the characters. Also, lots of people read her other effort, The Husband's Secret, and liked it so I'm expecting good things. 

j california cooper homemade love uk lifestyle book blog vivatramp

homemade love by j. california cooper 
J. California Cooper tells exuberant tales full of wonder at the mystery of life and the hardness of fate. Awed, bedeviled, bemused, all of Cooper's characters are borne up by the sheer power of life itself. 

You may remember that I featured this book in a secondhand book haul, after finding it in my favourite bookshop for £1! I love short stories and I'm feeling extremely hopeful about this collection.

the name of the wind patrick rothfuss uk how to organise your holiday reads tbr vivatramp

the name of the wind by patrick rothfuss
This is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of travelling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story. 

Whilst I spend my life in a fantastical state of mind, I don't actually read a lot of fantasy books. This is something that I am thinking about changing somewhat. I have heard so many people talk about this book, so when I saw it second hand for £1 I thought why not? I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into this one, if only for the promise of adventure. 

Do you have any advice to add r:e organisation of holiday reads? Please let me know what you're planning on reading during your holiday or summer break in the comments below


Friday, 22 May 2015

On Wearing Glasses & Bespectacled Suitors

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I am of the belief that glasses make people's faces way more interesting. I say 'of the belief', but it is actually scientifically proven* that those that wear glasses are just much better people than those that don't wear them. Complete asshats, the lot of them. 

The aforementioned scientific fact is music to my ears when the alternatives are popping contacts in my eyes (no thanks! nopety nope) or laser eye surgery *short pause whilst I wipe the vomit from my chin*. I've been wearing glasses for around 7 years now and, if I'm honest, I've had nae bother with them and I've even grown out of accidentally sitting on them almost monthly. 

girls wearing glasses

These London Retro Mason frames haven't left my face since the moment I got them in the post, so you may be familiar with them if you frequent my Instagram page. They were sent to me for review purposes, and my review is nothing but positive. They're good quality, scratch resistant and work well with everything in my wardrobe. I say that last bit as if it actually matters to me whether things go with things or not...I would genuinely, and very highly, recommend Glasses Direct for buying glasses online. They offer a diverse range of frames for a mix of prices, and they also offer a 7 day home trial service that lets you pick out four different frames to try on at home so you can get everyone's opinion which is ridiculously handy. They're also one of those rare bands that use their email newsletters wisely and are always offering discounts and special deals. Great stuff. 

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I have taken it upon myself to share some photographs of my prospective husbands wearing glasses, just because I can. I am drunk on an incredibly small amount of power right now. Also, isn't it overwhelming just how plausible it is that I could settle with one/all of the following?!

on wearing glasses james spader uk lifestyle bloguk lifestyle blog vivatrampvivatramp uk lifestyle blog


I would love to know what frames you swear by if you wear glasses, as I'm always on the look out for more to add to my collection. Hey, maybe one day I'll own a pair that aren't tortoiseshell print and relatively square... 

*I don't know science. 


Sunday, 17 May 2015

March & April Book Haul | Books with Bee

After a billion years of stopping and starting, I have finally finished my degree! That's right guys, miracles do happen! As university work took up all of my time over the past few months, I'm here to share my belated March and April book hauls with you...in the month of May. My January - May mini book reviews will also be with you in due course...

gift card buys 

I had been sitting on £35 worth of bookish gift cards from Christmas and last year's BAMB campaign and, in need of a little retail therapy, I thought I'd spend them and take a day off from writing to read quietly from the comfort of my armchair. I ended up reading three out of the four of my purchases within the space of an afternoon. Bliss!

saga brian k vaughan book haul graphic novel book review vivatramp bee uk lifestyle book blog

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

Everybody had been telling me how great this graphic novel series was but I resisted the temptation for years because I am an absolute idiot. I'll let you know a bit more about this one in the near future but rest assured that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT AND YOU NEED TO GET YOUR HANDS ON IT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT'S GREAT! 

outcast robert kirkman graphic novel book reviews blog book lifestyle blog vivatramp bee uk book haul

Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it. 

I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead so when I heard that Robert Kirkman had embarked on a new graphic novel series, I knew I had to give it a try. Demonic possession? Bucket loads of inner turmoil? What's not to love. The cover art may have swayed me...More on this one in my upcoming review but I think it's something that I'll be carrying on with. 

vivatramp bee book blog book review lifestyle blog top book blogs uk lawrence ferlinghetti a coney island of the mind book haul

a coney island of the mind by lawrence ferlinghetti 
Written in the conservative post-war 1950s, his poems still resonate, as they will continue to resonate, with a joyful anti-establishment fervor that beats a rhythmic portrait of humanity. Ferlinghetti sings of a world in which "the heart flops over / gasping Love" [...] where "we are the same people / only further from home / on freeways fifty lanes wide"

I'd heard Matthew talk about this collection a while ago and I felt inspired to pick it up. I have little to no expectations because I have no idea what Ferlinghetti's work is like, really, or where it sits but I kinda like that!

vivatramp book blogs uk the wicked and the divine review graphic novels lifestyle blogs

the wicked + the divine by jamie mckelvie & kieron gillen
Everyone 90 years or so, twelve gods incarnate in the bodies of the young. They are charismatic and brilliant. They stand before crowds, speak in tongues, and send them into rapture. They're rumored to perform secretive miracles. They saw people's lives, either metaphorically or literally. They are loved. They are hated. They are brilliant. Within two years, they're dead. 

Everyone had been talking about this graphic novel, and the stunning art work completely sold me on the idea of owning it. Unfortunately, I wasn't crazy about it but, again, more on that soon! 

saga volume 2 vivatramp book blog

I enjoyed the first volume so much that I went straight out and ordered the follow up. After a two day wait, I had it in my hands. Thank you, Waterstones click and collect! What a time to be alive, people. This was just as incredible as the first volume and, again, well worth the purchase! 

sneaky purchases 

I didn't intend to spend any of my own money on books throughout March and April but I did anyway because yolo. I need to be stopped...No I don't, I'm incredible. 

patti smith complete book haul

Patti Smith Complete is a living commemoration of Smith's unique contribution to music and the empowerment of people through her message of work, love and charity. 

Just Kids is one of my favourite books ever, so this collection seemed like an ideal follow up purchase. It's full of lyrics and stories and photographs and I imagine it'd make a beautiful coffee table tome. I'm going to leisurely flick through this beauty on days where I'm having a bit of a creative lull.

vivatramp book bloggers book haul uk wastelands

Wastelands delves into this bleak landscape, uncovering the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the genre's core. 

I had been writing a post-apocalyptic collection for my final major project at university so I thought this would be a useful collection to have at hand. Unfortunately, again, I'm a bit of an idiot and didn't get round to reading any of them prior to my hand in. Top student, me. However, I'm intending to do so soon. It seems like there is quite a diverse range of tales in this volume so it might be a good one to pick up if you're a fan of the genre.  

reasons to stay alive matt haig book haul

reasons to stay alive by matt haig
In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could've added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself starting at a cliff edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn't, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It's also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how to live better, love better, read better and feel more. 

If you read my post the other day for #MHAW, you'll know that I have dealt with mental health problems for nearly all of my life so I thought I'd give this a read whilst I had a few spare afternoons. Interestingly, I actually have a teeny tiny cameo in this book (and they mistyped my twitter handle but we'll let that go...)

saga volume 3 book haul book blog vivatramp uk

saga volume 3 by brian k. vaughan and fiona staples 
After being introduced to the Saga world in March, I had to buy the next volumes the following month. I should probably try and string some coherent opinions together about Saga but I just can't. Pick it up from your local library or buy a copy or find someone kind to lend you their copies because it's great! 

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saga volume 4 by brian k. vaughan and fiona staples 

ARE YOU BORED YET?! Saga just seems to get even better as it goes on, and that's coming from someone who has rated all of the volumes 5* so far! It's fun, fast paced and packed full of fascinating characters. I'm upset that I don't have any other volumes to read but I'll try and persevere...

leena's care package 

My friend Leena had heard that I was going through a bit of a rough patch so she sent me a care package of books and chocolate to make me feel a bit better. She works for Icon Books, so I knew I was in for a non-fiction flavoured treat. I met Leena last year at an event and I can confirm that she is a lovely human being with great hair so you should check out her channel, justkissmyfrog and subscribe if you are interested in doing so! 

the year of living danishly book haul top uk book blogs lifestyle uk vivatramp bee

the year of living danishly*... by helen russell  
Denmark is officially the happiest nation on Earth. When Helen Russell is forced to move to rural Jutland, can she discover the secrets of their happiness? Or will the long, dark winters and pickled herring take their toll? 

Travel writing is something that I really love to delve into over the summer months, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this book in the package. I've always been interested in the Scandinavian countries, particularly in relation to things like happiness and wellbeing, so this should be an interesting read. 

the time in between nancy tucker book review top uk book blogs lifestyle vivatramp bee uk book haul

the time in between* by nancy tucker 
When Nancy Tucker was 8...her class had to write about what they wanted in life. She thought...she wrote: 'I want to be thin'. Over the next 12 years, she developed anorexia nervosa...

I have seen this book everywhere lately *well done, Leena* and from what I have heard so far it is for a good reason. I'm not sure when / if I will read this one, as I'm a little bit wary about reading things that discuss disordered eating. However, if I don't feel up to it, I'll be sure to send this to a loving home that will give it the attention it deserves. If you'd like to know more about Nancy's experiences, Leena actually did a video with her not long ago that you can go and check out. Handy! 

vivatramp book haul lifestyle blogs uk
- lolling so much at how perfectly straight this photograph is

how to be a knowledge ninja* by graham allcott 
How to be a Knowledge Ninja is a fun, accessible and practical guide on how to get the most out of your studying and love the quest for knowledge again 

I kind of hope this book doesn't miraculously cure all of my bad habits and procrastination because I have just finished my degree and that would just be a complete kick in the face. There's always time to fix bad habits though, I guess. Graham has worked with some pretty huge companies so I'm expecting big things! Leena also filmed a video with Graham so you can check that out too! 

Have you read any of these books? What should I read next? I'd love to know what books you've bought lately. I've decided to try and dedicate an afternoon a week to reading over the next few months so you should see lots of reviews here in the future. Check out my January book haul and my February book haul if you fancy it!