Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Blogtober #13: The Autumn Reading Tag



First of all, I just want to say thanks to the lovely Emma from Howling Reviews for tagging me to do this post. I've never done a tagged post before, and talking about my autumn TBR pile is DEFINITELY a good way to start! 

However, I will admit that recently, I've definitely been slacking on the reading front. I started this year with the idea (and the Goodreads challenge) to read 100 book in 2016. Right? I know. But at the time, it honestly didn't seem too much of an ask. I read pretty fast and was getting through two or three books a week (because I was unemployed) and I just thought, hey, why not. 

But life gets busy very quickly. I've now moved my Goodreads challenge down to 80 books, and I've read 65. I also haven't actually picked up a book in two weeks, because a) I've been busy with my new job, and b) I just kind of... got sick of it. I was having to read much faster than I wanted to and so I just wasn't enjoying it as much. 

So, yep, I've been on a reading break lately. But that's all about to change! 

Hannah x

Are there any books that you're planning to read over the autumn season?

So many! I've just ordered Mara's Wilson's Where Am I Now? , which I'm insanely excited to read. Not only is Matilda one of my favourite films of all time, but Mara Wilson, as an adult, is one seriously cool person. She's smart, funny, perceptive, isn't afraid to call out bullshit when she sees it and generally just great, so I'm excited to learn about what shes been up to as an adult.

My mum is sending up my copy of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which the lovely Amy sent me a couple of months ago, so I finally get to read that, after seeing so many great reviews of it. I'm going to be reading Swing Time by ultimate literary bae Zadie Smith when it comes out next month, and You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson. 


Picture credit: Penguin Random House

I really want to read more fiction in the last few months of 2016, so I might also try to grab a copy of The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. I read A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing as part of one of my university modules and loved it, so I'm hoping I feel the same this time round.


My boyfriend works in an Oxfam Bookshop, and yesterday he brought me back a proof copy of Tallulah Riley's book Acts of Love. I've been pretty in love with Tallulah Riley since I saw her in that E4 TV show Nearly Famous (which was never brought back for a second series, sob) with Aaron Johnson, so I'm interested to see what her writing is like.

Finally, my friend Kat lent me her copy of The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf about four months ago, and I still haven't got round to starting it, so I'm going to commit to starting it soon... before she sees this post and asks for it back.



September brings back school memories: what book did you most enjoy studying? And what were your favourite and least favourite subjects?
I studied The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Lord of the Flies by William Golding for my English Literature GCSE and absolutely adored both of them. I've always been interested in superstition and magic, and The Crucible covers both of these, racism, sexism, religion, bigotry and more so well. Lord of the Flies, if you don't know it, is about a group of young boys who find themselves alone on a deserted island after a plane crash and have to essentially, start their own society to survive. It gets pretty dark, but it really keeps you gripped and I'd definitely recommend it to anybody. For A Level, I studied Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov and The Collector by John Fowles. I'm pretty sure everybody has heard of Lolita, but The Collector isn't as well known, and IT NEEDS TO BE. It's amazing.



My favourite subjects were English, Drama and...wait for it... Maths. Yep, I'm one of those weird people. Something about Maths really appeals to my brain. I think because books are always based on opinion and evidence which isn't clearly right or wrong. Sometimes, it's nice to deal with numbers, and not emotions. I definitely couldn't have done Maths at university though.

My least favourite subject was probably German. I also didn't like History that much, because my teacher in secondary school was a massive egoist. I regret now, because I think I would've really enjoyed History GCSE. I know a lot of people who did History at university, and some of the modules they studied sounded amazing. 

October means Halloween: Do you enjoy scary films? If so what are some of your favourites?

I am a massive wuss when it comes to scary films. I have a very active imagination and feel like things affect me in scary films more than they should. I'm also absolutely awful with jumpscares. I think the scariest film I've sat all the way through was honestly Black Swan.
Picture credit: Giphy
So, no, I don't like scary films. Sorry. 

With November it’s time for Bonfire Night and firework displays. What’s the most exciting book you’ve ever read that really kept you gripped.

Oooooooh. Ever?! Ever is a big statement. I read High-Rise by J.G. Ballard earlier in the year (BEFORE the film came out) and that really, really kept me gripped. It's about a high-rise building (duh) that forms into its own little private society with ranks and levels and power struggles, and, in the end, a LOT of violence. And sex. It's great. If you don't fancy reading the book... Tom Hiddleston's in the film. Just sayin'.

The other book I've read recently that was really exciting was The Hate U Give by A.C. Thomas, which is out in March 2017 (to quote Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street: yup, you're all shit out of luck. Mwahaha.) I talk about this book ALL the time on Twitter but it's because it's so. damn. good. It's topical, it's current, the characters and dialogue and plot are amazing and I really can't say anything else because I don't want to give anything away, but you're all in for such a treat when it gets published. Honestly.


What book is your favourite cosy comfort read? 

This is a weird one, because I would say The Bell Jar, because I've read it so many times. But, obviously, The Bell Jar isn't very... comfy. It's actually really depressing. So, in terms of a feel-good book? I'd have to say One Day by David Nicholls, or The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (who has just announced that she's writing her second book in 20 years, SCORE). 


I'm going to put a cookbook in here, too, because I love food and these recipes literally make me so happy every time I look at them. This book, Veggie Comfort Food, is amazing if, like me, you prefer veggies to meat, but don't consider yourself a particularly good cook.
Curled up with a good book, what is your hot drink of choice?
So here's the thing - I don't drink tea. I have NEVER drunk tea. I think I must be the only British person over the age of 18 who has never had a cup of PG Tips. I love (and drink) black coffee probably more than I should, but I can't get on board with regular tea.

The one exception to this is green tea. My favourite green tea bags are Tetleys, beause they come in unbleached bags, and taste more natural than I've found unbleached ones do. But, if you're looking to get into drinking green tea, I'd really advise splashing out and buying a steeper. You can get them on Amazon for less than three quid, and loose leaf green tea tastes about a million times better. Try it with a couple of cardamoms in it.

So long story short, green tea is my drink if at home. If I'm reading in a coffee shop somewhere, I'm getting coffee. Or hot chocolate, if it's past 5pm. I met my friends in Costa last week and had a tiny bit of a Toffee and Apple hot chocolate and... wow. It was great.   

Any plans you’re looking forward to over the next few months?

I actually have a photoshoot with the amazing Alex Cameron booked next month. She's shot everybody from Emma Gannon to Zoella, to lovely Fiona from An Escapologist's Daughter, so I'm pretty excited for it. Here's some of her work:



All pictures: Alex Cameron
I also have tickets for Zadie Smith's sort-of launch of her new book Swing Time. She's going to be reading from it and hopefully signing books. Maybe I'll be able to not talk about the time this happened and I totally freaked out.

I'm also planning on binge-watching Good Girls Revolt when it comes out. If you haven't heard of it, it's about a group of women working in an American news magazine who begin a campaign for gender equality in the 1960s. And it's based on a true story, so I'm definitely looking forward to watching it!

As I've mentioned before, my boyfriend Ludo is Italian, and we might be going to Rome for New Year's to visit his family and see the sights of Italy. He's constantly jet-setting off to exotic places (not bitter at all) and I haven't got out of London in ages, so it'll be good to get to go with him for once! It's definitely going to be an amazing way to finish off what has been a truly, really great year. 

Now... Who to tag? My choices are:


Feature image  © Hannah Billie Perry

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