Summer 2016 TBR

Last summer, I published a reading list of all the books I wanted to read over the summer. I often find it difficult to decide on which book to read next, so it really helped me to have a set list to reach for. Admittedly, I didn't stick to it rigidly and did veer away from my list at times, but by the end of the summer, I'd read most of my choices (although there are still three that I still haven't picked up a year later!) As it worked so well last year, I've decided to do it again. 
Summer reading goals

The main problem I had last year was that I chose 13 books in 10 weeks. I knew it was optimistic at the time but, for some reason, I still went for it. This year, I'm allocating more time for my reading and going for 15 books in 15 weeks. Lately, my reading has really upped its game- I'm currently 3 books ahead of schedule- so I'm feeling really positive about getting all of these read.


I've been meaning to read this book for the longest time but, since I bought it in October, have just never really felt like I'm in the mood for it. It's a topic very close to my heart- how our understanding of medicine has changed the way we die. From what I've read, it seems to question whether it's really right to keep putting death off and how we can make the end of life better for everyone involved. I think it's going to be very thought-provoking for me.

Buy Being Mortal here


This is one of a couple of re-reads on the list. I read it about 10 years ago after my Grandma passed it on to me and really enjoyed it. I remember a fair bit about it too, which is unusual for books I read so long ago. Margaret Forster, the author, was inspired to write this book after reading the diaries of an old woman who had documented her whole life. Although Forster wasn't given permission to use the original diaries, she used them to write fictional accounts of a young girl who grew up during WWI. I can still remember how absorbed I was in this book, so I hope I'll have the same experience this time.

Buy Diary of an Ordinary Woman here


Around 2009, I took out Tipping the Velvet from the library and absolutely loved it, so I decided to read Fingersmith shortly afterwards. I'm not entirely sure why I bought a copy as I was a poor student and all about the library back then but, nevertheless, it's sat on my bookshelf for the past 7 years. I did read it and remember really liking the way Sarah Waters wove Victorian history into her story of a thieving orphan- a bit like Oliver Twist but with lesbian sex. I'm only sad that I have this cover and not the pretty ones that are used today.

Buy Fingersmith here


Forensics was an exhibition in London that I really wanted to visit but, as often happens with me, time slipped by and, before I knew it, the exhibition had finished. Instead I put this book on my Amazon Wishlist and Rich bought it as a Christmas present. As the name suggests, Forensics looks at how forensic analysis is used to determine the different aspects of crime and to catch those involved. It's got really great reviews so it looks like a very accurate, well-researched text.

Buy Forensics here


My Dad gave me this book when I visited him last summer and I've been meaning to read it for the longest time. It's an autobiography of sorts, written by Keith Simpson who was the Home Office Pathologist and worked on some of the most notorious cases, such as John Christie, John Haigh and The Krays. I've read a bit on Bernard Spilsbury, Simpson's predecessor, so it will be very interesting to see how the two men's careers compare.

Buy Forty Years of Murder here 


This isn't a book I would have chosen myself. It was part of a collection of books that my Grandma passed on to me after she'd read them and, for the past 10 years, has sat gathering dust on my bookshelf in my old childhood bedroom. Recently, I scooped up a bunch of books from that bookcase and, inside this one, I found a note that my Grandma had written for herself. I'm intrigued to see whether the note has anything to do with the story or if it was just a coincidence. The Girls is a story about conjoined twins and their attempts to lead an ordinary life. I know my Grandma really enjoyed it and she had great taste!

Buy The Girls here


I received this book as part of a bookish Secret Santa, where I'd mentioned that I loved Japanese fiction. Needless to say, I was chuffed when I unwrapped my present and found this inside. The Goddess Chronicle is apparently a story of love, sex, murder and "bittersweet revenge", which, I kid you not, was the name of the emo band I "created" when I was 16. It consisted of only me and Marie, although neither of us could sing or even owned an instrument, let alone play one. We mostly wrote songs with terrible lyrics revolving around blood as a metaphor and designed CD cover art.
Buy The Goddess Chronicle here


Like The Girls, this is another book that I rescued from my childhood bedroom. My Grandma gave me this book in the height of my emo days, really enthusiastic about how much I was going to love it. I read the first chapter but it didn't particularly grab me, so I put it away and didn't touch it again until 2016. Now, however, I'm really excited to read it. The blurb, and all the glowing reviews printed inside the cover, explain that this is a modern retelling of Dracula. Since I have now read the Victorian classic, I think I'll have more success with The Historian this time.

Buy The Historian here


I picked up this book on a whim. I'd bought three books in Waterstones, all of which were part of the Buy One, Get One Half Price promotion, and the woman behind the till asked me if I wanted to buy a fourth at half price. I know I ended up spending more, so it wasn't really that much of a deal, but once she'd asked, I just had to get one. The Loney was sitting on the till in a choice of two covers- white or black- and it reminded me so much of when The Black Parade was released that my hand just automatically reached out and grabbed a black copy. You can take the girl out of the emo... To be perfectly honest, The Loney probably isn't a book I would have chosen otherwise but I know it has really great reviews and I'd just finished Gone Girl so was open to the idea of another novel on the darker side. Hopefully it will live up to my expectations!

Buy The Loney here


My favourite film ever is Oliver! and I've started the original Dickens novel a few times but somehow never managed to finish it (unless you count the child-friendly abridged version that I read when I was at uni). For Christmas, my mum bought me the most beautiful Dickens box set which is filled with six Clothbound Classic editions of his works. I've yet to start them so this seems like the perfect place to begin. 

Buy Charles Dickens Boxed Set here


Yep, this was on last year's summer TBR. Oops! Since I still haven't touched it after a year, I'm determined to finally get it read this summer. The Slap follows the consequences of one action- a man hitting a child- and how it affects the lives of those who witness it. This was a book that my Grandma would never stop talking about so I really need to finally tackle it and see what all the hype was about.

Buy The Slap here


I am so excited to read this but also so, so intimidated. It seems very technical with lots of statistics and analysis which I have no doubt will be incredibly interesting but I'm worried it might be difficult to plough through. However, the subject matter is something that really interests me so I'm intrigued to find out what the Great British Class Survey reveals about our perception of class in modern society.

Buy Social Class in the 21st Century here


I tried so hard to read Trainspotting a few years ago but it was a real struggle. I like to think I'm pretty good reading books that aren't written in straightforward English- A Clockwork Orange is one of my favourite ever books- but I really found it difficult getting to grips with the dialect in Trainspotting. Because of this, I've been quite intimidated by it and it's always been at the bottom of my pile but I'm determined not to let it beat me!

Buy Trainspotting here


Way back in the summer of 2006, I picked up We Need To Talk About Kevin to entertain me on a long train journey and was completely sucked into the story of a young murderer and how his mother blames herself for his crimes. The subject matter is something that I find fascinating and the novel deserves all the praise that it has received in the past 10+ years. I'm very much looking forward to picking it up again.

Buy We Need To Talk About Kevin here


Another Christmas present from Rich, The Worst Street in London is an exploration of the since-eradicated Dorset Street in Spitalfields, which was a breeding ground for prostitution, murder and theft. Victorian social history- especially surrounding crime- is my thang so I just know I'm going to absolutely love this book. 

Buy The Worst Street in London here

I'm really excited about my summer reading. I'm pretty certain I can actually get this lot read over the next 15 weeks, even if there are some chunkier texts in there, and I think it's going to be a great achievement for me!

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  1. Fantastic picks, you've just double my summer reading list! Your grandma had wonderful taste, I've read The Girls and I really enjoyed it, ideal lounging round the garden/pool reading that's for sure!

    Sarah :)
    Saloca in Wonderland

  2. Fingersmith is so, so good! I'm actually jealous that you're about to read it for the first time. I really enjoyed Forensics too.

    Liz x
    Distract Me Now Please

  3. Good luck with your reading challenge! I used to be able to read 1 book a week. Not anymore. Haha. Forensics and Trainspotting are on my to read list, too. We Need to Talk about Kevin was a brilliant read! I'd love to reread it now, years later! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  4. I remember reading The Historian when it came out and everyone was raving about it. I remember I really loved it, but realise I can't remember a single thing about it now. I know I tried reading Dracula afterwards and couldn't get into that, so I imagine you'll get more out of the Historian than I did for having read the source.

    I need to read The Worst Street in London, I used to live in East London and would trudge up and down Commercial St every single day so I'm definitely intrigued!

  5. I read We Need To Talk About Kevin recently, I really enjoyed it too.

  6. Forensics is such a good book! I didn't like the slap however aha. You've got a good selection.

    Emma x

  7. The note you found in The Girls sounds like a really good incentive to read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as your Grandma did. Good luck with your reading challenge.

    Raise The Waves

  8. I have never read any of those books, but now I am definitely going to check some out for some new reading! I love the summer reading list idea, I have always loved a good read but have fallen out of the habit due to being away at college and being busy with school and clubs.

    I love your blog, I look up to you and it! I hope mine can eventually be as great as yours!


  9. I've had we need to talk about kevin on my tbr list for longer than I can remember! Might finally get around to it this year


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