Most Anticipated Reads for 2021

1: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Milk Fed deals with an unexpected love story alongside the sharp edge of body image, considering what it means to break the calorie-counting habit and an obsession with food as a means of maintaining control. This is a novel that is described as ‘scathingly funny’ and a ‘heart-breaking story of self-discovery.’

Release Date: 4th March

2: Friends and Dark Shapes by Kavita Bedford

A group of young housemates navigate relationships, work and loss and are confronted with their own privileges in the process. This is a debut novel that is thoroughly modern through its exploration of burnout and what it means to be young today.

Release Date: 2nd March

3: Women of a Certain Rage by Liz Byrski

This book is collection of writings about rage by 20 different Australian women from varying backgrounds, races, beliefs and identites. This is set to be a deeply insightful look at the relationship women have anger.

Release Date: 2nd February

4: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Melinda Lo

In the midst of the Red Scare, Lily is falling for a girl in her class while her immigrant dad comes under scrutiny by the government over suspected ties to the communist party.

Release Date: 19th January

5: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

When Jane meets Eddie she can’t believe her luck; he’s rich, handsome and recently widowed, whereas she’s a broke dog-walker who’s new in town. Eddie can give her everything she’s ever wanted, but there’s a mystery around his wife’s death that just won’t stay buried. This novel sounds like a perfect mix of dark humour, twisted love and suspenseful murder.

Release Date: 29th April

Comfort Reads

As I’m writing this it’s the 8th January 2021 and the UK is back in lockdown so in response I’ve decided to compile a list of my favourite comfort reads. I’m not one to read books about very light-hearted topics but I’ve done my best to come up with some books that, in the simplest terms, I just really enjoyed reading. Reading them just made me happy. So whether

1: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

As one of my all-time favourite books, Little Women is probably my ultimate comfort read. I first read Little Women as a child so I’m sure that there is an element of nostalgia found in my love of the book but it is unfailing in it’s ability to make me feel warm and happy. Following the lives of the March sisters, as they transition out of childhood and into adulthood, learning what it means to be a woman in the 19th century, Little Women will never to cheer me up.

2: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I read this novel during the first UK lockdown back in May and it was a perfect form of escapism at the time. I’ll be the first to admit that fantasy is not my go-to genre, but when I was finishing my degree in the midst of a pandemic, entering a whole other world was the ideal antidote and Morgenstern creates and incredible world. A universe seeped in magic combined with a truly intriguing plot makes this book a perfect read to tackle lcokdown/January blues. See my full review here.

3: Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood

This was a spontaneous purchase by my girlfriend that turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books that I read all year. If you’re a fan of a Sherlock/Watson pairing or an Agatha Christie style mystery, this the book for you. This a classic mystery novel brought into the modern day with some first-class LGBTQ+ and disability representation. I read this hilarious novel in two days and I’m desperately awaiting the sequel.

4: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This brilliant book follows the whirlwind rise and fall of 1970s rock band ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’. The book is written in the form of interviews with each of the band members and various people close to them at the time, all of which are interweaved to reveal the reasons behind the band’s infamous break up. This book is so well-written that you can’t believe that the band doesn’t exist. This is such an incredible way to craft a story like this and was an amazingly fun read.

5: Loveless by Alice Oseman

I read this novel last summer in about two days and it was a genuinely pleasant surprise. I’m not a big reader of YA so I still had a very fixed idea of YA being the same as what I read when I was younger, and so it was really interesting to see the evolution it’s made as a genre. This easy-read explores what it means to be 18-years-old and figuring your sexual and romantic orientation in a truly authentic way. See my full review here.

So those are my top 5 recommended comfort reads to help you get through lockdown, or just try to beat the January blues. These are all fun reads that will bring a person joy no matter the situation you’re in.

New Year, New Books: My 2021 Reading Goals

It’s the start of a new year and I’ve been thinking about my new reading goals over the next twelve months. I managed to read 50 books last year, including trying out some new genres and books I wouldn’t normally read. However, I am nervous to set myself a similar goal for next year as I had significantly more free time in the past twelve months than normal, leaving me conflicted over what goals I want to set myself. Despite this, I think I’ve finally settled on what I want to achieve over the next year when it comes to reading.

1: Read between 45-50 books

This is because I would ultimately like to read 50 books again but have decided to give myself some room to land a bit under and be realistic about how busy I might be with a full-time job and part-time masters degree.

2: Read 4 Classics

In 2020 I set myself the challenge to face my fear of reading classic novels and succeeded in reading both Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion by Jane Austen (and quite enjoying them). Whilst I don’t think classic novels are ever going to be a go-to genre for me, I would still like to keep reading a few of them each year. I’ve also found that the audiobook versions are great to listen to if I’m having trouble sleeping.

3: Buy fewer books (Take with a pinch of salt)

I love buying new books and I really loved it in 2020 but this means there are a lot of books on my bookcase that I haven’t read yet so I am going to try my best to cut back. Instead of buying every other book that I want to read, I am going to focus on reading the books I already own which will hopefully save me some money without slowing down my reading.

4: Make time for reading

Finally, I just want to make time to read. This year I want to always make reading a priority because it is something that I desperately enjoy. Regardless of whether I complete any of the above goals, I definitely want to achieve this one because no matter how busy I am, I want to keep reading.

To Study or To Not Study? That is the Question!

Choosing a Master’s in Publishing

So when it comes to completing a masters in publishing, there is much debate surrounding whether or not they help you to get into the industry. Since there is no requirement to even have an undergraduate degree when applying for an entry level job in publishing, it can seem unnecessary to study up to master’s level prior to starting work. And it is unnecessary. Many people have very successful publishing careers without and MA. However, this does not mean it’s not helpful or beneficial, and so I thought I would talk through why I’ve made the decision to begin studying an MA in publishing in January 2021.

One of the main benefits of studying a master’s is the opportunity to network, meeting others looking to enter the industry and specialists currently working in the industry. The publishing industry is very focused on networking, with the ability to do so very often being listed as a crucial means of entering into this competitive industry. Making these connections will be a lot easier when studying publishing alongside others pursuing a similar career path and having the chance to attend panels, events of workshops hosted by experts.

Another benefit of studying a master’s is that I will gain a more thorough understanding of the industry. I currently only have a bare-bones understanding of the different roles within publishing, based on the different departments, so studying a master’s will also help me to gain a clearer idea of specific roles that I would like to pursue. I, like many others, am drawn to working in editorial, however this is a competitive section within a competitive industry and I definitely wish to learn more about other roles before committing myself to what is essentially, the most ovbious choice.

Additionally, a master’s course will hopefully equip me knowledge and skills I will go on to use throughout my career. For instance, one of the modules I will study is The Business of Publishing which will, among other things, teach me how to write a business plan so that if I at some stage wished to set up my own press, I would know how to go about it. I will learn how to put together a marketing strategy, editorial plan and book proposals, all of which a key in pursuing publishing.

Finally, I should say that key contextual factors have pushed me to start my master’s sooner than initially planned. After graduating I originally planned to apply for jobs and internships in publishing for a year and then consider studying a master’s if I were consistently unsuccessful. However, both COVID-19 and the current recession mean that unemployment is up and the job market is oversaturated with people more qualified than I am. Therefore, rather than waiting to start a master’s I’ve decided to start it on a part-time basis in January 2021 and hopefully, once I finish in 2023 I will be more equiped to enter the job market and stand a better chance of being able to get into such a comeptitive industry.

Overall, when it comes to the decision of whether to study a master’s in publishing, it really is an individual decision, and there is no right or wrong answer. There is by no means a requirement to have a master’s, or a degree of any kind, in order to get an entry-level role in publishing so if it’s not the route for you then do not worry, it won’t stop you pursuing a publishing career. However, if you are struggling to kick-start your career or get that first internship it might be an option to consider, particularly if, like me, you enjoy academic study and feel that the extra knowledge would increase your confidence in your own abilities.

Goodreads vs. The Storygraph

So I was recently introduced to The Storygraph, a new platform comparable to Goodreads but without being owned by Amazon, through Leena Norm’s Youtube channel (which you should definitely check out) and having now used The Storygraph for a couple of months, I thought I would review how The Storygraph and Goodreads compare and whether I’ll be switching for good. The answer to which is…maybe.

My overall experience of the two websites is that The Storygraph is a resounding success. My favourite feature is the more in depth review options, beyond a rating out of five stars. The reader can review the pace of the book, character development and key words that would describe it. This provides more insight into what the user is reading, which was particularly useful when looking for more things to read.

The one aspect of The Storygraph that I disliked is not being able to track your progress as you’re reading a book. On Goodreads, you can input what page you’re on and see how far through the book you are, there is no such option on The Storygraph. However, it is still in beta so perhaps that is something that will be developed going forwards.

Despite this, I have much preferred using The Storygraph over the last few months. You are able to mark if you own a book, in addition to the usual ‘read’ and ‘want to read’, which, as a frequenter of libraries, I appreciate. The layout of the site is also both easy to use and aesthetic. There is now an app version, which is major bonus, as I would often forget to use it before this was created.

Overall, I would definitely recommend that every book lover tries out The Storygraph. You can transfer all of your Goodreads data across so you need not go back to square one, you can simply make a very easy switch across.

 

October 2020 Round Up

It’s the end of another month and despite the chaos of moving house and starting a new job, I’ve still managed to squeeze some reading in so please enjoy and happy Halloween!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe

  • Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi
  • Publisher: Picador, 2020
  • Summary: Following on from Kawaguchi’s debut novel, this delightful sequel returns the reader to a little cafe in Tokyo that can transport customers back in time and explores how we’d go to see the ones we love.
  • Rating: 4/5

The Other Mother (Audiobook)

  • Author: Jen Brister
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Summary: Stand-up comedian, Jen Brister, recounts the trials and tribulations of raising twin boys as a same-sex couple, and being the ‘other’ mother.
  • Rating: 3/5

After the Silence

  • Author: Louise O’Neill
  • Publisher: Riverrun, Quercus, 2020
  • Summary: The infamous murder of the Crowley Girl has been talked about on Inisrun for the past years, but now a pair of Australians have arrived to make a documentary on the case and old wounds start to reopen.
  • Rating: 5/5

The Silent Patient

  • Author: Alex Michaelides
  • Publisher: Orion, 2019
  • Summary: Alicia was living what seemed to be a perfect life until the day she shot her husband 6 years ago and no one knows why. And she hasn’t spoken a word since.
  • Rating: 3/5