Top Ten Tuesday (19)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.


This week’s list is: Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More. Now I’ve got quite a few of these. Either because I just haven’t had time to read any of their other books, or sometimes simply because subsequent books haven’t been published yet. Either way, I definitely want to read more by these authors soon. As usual, these are in no particular order.

  • Elizabeth Chadwick
    So far the only book by her that I’ve read is The Summer Queen, which is the first part in her Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy. The second volume, called The Winter Crown, came out a few days ago, so hopefully I’ll get to that one soon!
  • Deborah Rodriguez
    I read her book The Little Coffeeshop of Kabul over Christmas, and I absolutely adored it. I definitely want to read more from her.
  • Markus Zusak
    Like most people I’ve read and loved The Book Thief, but I’ve not read any of his other novels. I’ve heard that I Am The Messenger is quite good as well, so naturally it’s on my to-read list.
  • Sara Farizan
    I was so impressed by her novel If You Could Be Mine that I ended up using it as one of the case studies for my Master’s dissertation. I could hardly believe that it was her debut novel! So here’s to hoping she’ll publish another novel in the near future, because I would love to read more from her.
  • Laura Andersen
    Last year I read this book that I requested through Netgalley, called The Boleyn King. This novel centres around the idea of what would’ve happened if Anne Boleyn had given birth to a live son rather than a stillborn baby. Super interesting and again the first part of a trilogy, so I’m eagerly awaiting the other instalments.
  • John Green
    I’ve only read The Fault in Our Stars, and unlike many people I wasn’t very impressed. But I do really like John Green as a person, so I definitely want to give his books another go. Maybe TFiOS just wasn’t for me.
  • Stephen Fry
    It’s no secret that I’m a huge Stephen Fry fan, but so far I’ve only read one of his books. Making History was brilliant, very cleverly written, so I would love to read more of Stephen’s books. I do still have his autobiography, which I started reading some years back but still haven’t finished. Perhaps I should start that one again.
  • Orhan Pamuk
    I read My Name is Red a couple of years ago, and people are right to call it a masterpiece. It’s so well written and engaging, which is why I was so disappointed when I tried to read The Silent House and it just didn’t manage to hold my attention for more than a few pages. But I do want to read more of his works. I might give The Museum of Innocence a go next.
  • Azar Nafisi
    After reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I loved, here’s to hoping she’ll write more!
  • Dawn French
    She’s one of my favourite comedians, and her debut novel A Tiny Bit Marvellous was, for lack of a better word, marvellous. So funny, and it left me wanting more. Dawn has since published another novel, Oh Dear Silvia, which is still on my wishlist.


Which author(s) would you want to read more of?

Book Haul (14)

It’s been months since I last did a book haul, and even though I didn’t buy that many books over the summer, I’ve still amassed enough to show them to you now.

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Philippa Gregory – The King’s Curse
Kader Abdolah – The King
Randa Abdel-Fattah – Does My Head Look Big In This?
Alaa Al-Aswany – The Yacoubian Building
Ruby Wax – Sane New World

I’ve already finished reading The King, and a review of that will be up soon on the blog. What I can say about it right now is that it’s an absolutely beautiful novel. This is also the first of Abdolah’s books that I’ve read in translation, and the translator’s done a wonderful job because they’ve really managed to capture his unique and poetic style of writing, and in my view it works just as well in English as in the original Dutch.

I’m currently reading The King’s Curse, the last of Gregory’s Cousin’s War series of books. I’m about halfway through and, as with all her books, I’m enjoying it immensely. The events described in this book aren’t new to me, but they’re told from a different perspective which is really interesting.

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Does My Head Look Big In This is still waiting to be read, but my mum’s already finished it and she absolutely loved it. And since we’ve got a pretty similar taste in books I’ll take her word for it, so that’s one I’m definitely looking forward to reading.

I’ve heard a lot about The Yacoubian Building, but not everyone I know who’s read it has been very enthusiastic about it. So we’ll see. I’m definitely intrigued though.

And last but not least, I saw Ruby Wax’s show Sane New World as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it was just amazing. Really funny, but serious and very informative at the same time. After that I just had to have her book and read all about it, so I’m hoping to get to that soon.

So this is my latest book haul. Have you bought any new books recently?

Top Ten Tuesday (18)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.


This week’s list is Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in X genre. So for my list I have chosen ten underrated – in my opinion – authors and books in the category of Middle Eastern fiction. As usual, they are in no particular order.

Kader Abdolah – The King


Elif Shafak – The Gaze


Jenny White – The Sultan’s Seal


Andrea Busfield – Born Under a Million Shadows


Sara Farizan – If You Could Be Mine


Dalia Sofer – The Septembers of Shiraz


Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya – The Storyteller of Marrakech


Zoë Ferraris – The Night of the Mi’raj


Frances Kazan – The Dervish


Sulaiman Addonia – The Consequences of Love


So this is my week’s top ten. What’s yours?

A Return to Blogging

So I said I would be on semi-hiatus because of university. That was about a year ago. And my last blogpost was well over three months ago (oops). Due to everything that was going on in my life it turned into a full-on hiatus instead, and for a while I wasn’t sure I even wanted to continue blogging at all. I spent all summer in Edinburgh writing my Master’s dissertation, which took up most of my time, and caused me to read so much that I couldn’t bring myself to read anything for pleasure. But now that I’ve been back home for nearly two weeks my entire outlook on reading and blogging has changed again, you could say it has reverted back to normal, and I’m ready to get back to blogging regularly and, most importantly, reading for fun again! In the short time that I’ve been home I’ve already finished three books, and this is only just the tip of the iceberg. 

As you can see I’ve changed the blog’s theme, and I’m ready for a fresh start! So stay tuned for new book reviews, random book ramblings, and stories of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival!

xox Philippa

Book Haul (13)

Okay so it’s been a while since I last bought any books. I have that thing that most other book addicts have, which is OCBB (obsessive compulsive book buying), but I have been forced to resist this most of the time in the past nine months since I’ve been away at university abroad. Knowing that I will ultimately need to fly home with a maximum of two suitcases has stopped me from buying books, because I just won’t be able to take them all home with me. And also the fact that I’ve been insanely busy with hardly any time to read for fun has been an important factor in all this. It’s a bit disappointing, especially because Edinburgh has so many wonderful small bookshops and I would love to explore them all. I’ve even got this very lovely app on my iPhone which is called ‘Edinburgh Bookshop Trail’, which uses GPS to tell you the location of the nearest bookstore at all times. Pretty useful for a book geek like me. So a few days ago I went for a nice walk through the city centre of Edinburgh and decided to stop off at a secondhand bookshop that I’ve been passing on the bus for months now, but had never actually visited. It’s so crammed full of books that the council has threatened to close it down several times now, and it is absolutely wonderful. It’s just shelf upon shelf full of books, and there were so many that it actually made my head spin. I could’ve easily left with a whole pile of books, but I decided to be sensible and limit myself to just two. I’m not sure how long I was in there, but it must’ve been at least half an hour. I went back and forth looking for titles and authors that are still missing from my collection and it was so difficult to decide which ones to buy. In the end these were the ones I picked up:


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Five Quarters of the Orange – Joanne Harris
A View From the Bridge/All My Sons – Arthur Miller

I’m a big fan of Joanne Harris’ books and I’m slowly but surely trying to collect and read all of them, so I was really happy when I saw this one and it was only £2 so an absolute bargain. The other one contains two plays by Arthur Miller, and although I don’t actually read plays because they only really come to life when they’re performed on stage. But at the beginning of the month I went to see a production of A View From the Bridge at the Young Vic theatre in London and I was blown away by it. It was so well put together and brilliantly performed by the entire cast, but it was a lot of information to take in in just two hours with no interval. So I love buying scripts of plays that I’ve seen, so I can read back through it and relive some of the moments. This one was only £3 so again a bargain, and then on top of that I got a 20% discount so I ended up paying just £4 for both books. It’s been a few days since I bought them but I haven’t had time to read either of them yet, so I’ve got something to look forward to.

Did you buy any new books recently? Leave a comment and let me know.

Top Ten Tuesday (17)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.


The topic this week is one I really love and can definitely relate to. Book covers are very important to me, and some of them are just so breathtakingly beautiful that I wish I could decorate the walls of my bedroom with them. Which is why this week’s topic is perfect, as it is Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art. As usual they are listed in no particular order.

the-summer-queen-by-elizabeth-chadwick shadow-of-the-wind 17345741

2049640 DIVERGENT_B_Format_UK.indd 17832311

1618 lollipop 9780670918805 houseofmosque

Would you ever considering framing book covers and putting them on your walls? If so, which one(s)?

Top Ten Tuesday (16)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.


It’s been a while since I last did one of these! This week’s topic is an interesting one, and one that really forced me to think about which books to recommend: Top Ten Books If You Like X tv show/movie/comic/play etc. I chose a top ten of books you’d probably love to read if you like historical period dramas such as The Tudors, The White Queen, and The Other Boleyn Girl. In no particular order:

  • Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Court novels (which includes The Other Boleyn Girl. Much better than the film!)
  • Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War novels (includes The White Queen)
  • The Summer Queen – Elizabeth Chadwick
  • The Lady Elizabeth – Alison Weir
  • The Boleyn King – Laura Andersen
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel (which I haven’t actually read yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it)
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier

Have you ever recommended books to people based on their taste in films/tv series etc? Let me know in the comments below!

My excitement knows no bounds

When I was casually scrolling through Twitter a few days back there was one thing that stood out and made my little bookish heart beat a little faster: Elif Shafak is coming to Edinburgh this month! Not only is she one of my favourite authors, which is enough to make me really excited about this, but it also gives me something to look forward to that’s wholly separate from this constant grind of studying, going to classes, and essay writing. I know it sounds like something insignificant to get so excited about, but when your life revolves pretty much around studying non-stop, something like this can really take the edge off. Sometimes it’s the little things, and we need to appreciate them more I think.

6542440In case you’re thinking: wait, who is this, and why are you so elated? Here’s a brief summary:
Elif Shafak is a Turkish novelist and political scientist, and has written 13 books including 9 novels. She writes both in Turkish and in English. Her novels include The Forty Rules of Love, The Bastard of Istanbul, The Gaze, The Flea Palace, and Honour.

 8322746 The-Gaze 2049640 honour-elif-shafak 9780670918805

She’ll be giving a talk on Politics, Women, and the Art of Storytelling at the University of Edinburgh on the 25th of March, and later that day she’ll be doing a reading at the Looking Glass Bookstore as part of their Istanbul Review Night. And best of all? Both events are free! (yes this is my inner student coming through right there). If it wasn’t already clear from my rambling I am BEYOND EXCITED, and will be blogging about it in detail afterwards.

And I will definitely be bringing my copy of The Flea Palace,  so I can (hopefully) have it signed.

Excited fangirl signing off now. More about this towards the end of the month :D


Have you ever met any of your favourite authors? What was it like, and was it anything like you expected it to be? Share your experiences below.

February in Review

Hi all, and apologies for abandoning the blog again for so long. I had three deadlines this month, and in addition to that my mum came to visit me for a few days so it’s safe to say that I’ve been pretty busy. It’s such a shame that whenever things get busy the blogging immediately gets put on the back burner, but it’s just really difficult to find the time to blog regularly. Not to mention finding the time to actually read a book. Who would’ve thought a master’s programme would be so hectic?

February is the shortest month of the year and it definitely felt as if it was over in a flash. To me it still feels as if we’ve only just had Christmas, but it’ll be the 1st of March tomorrow, and we’ve only got 4 weeks of teaching left this term! This is scariest of all, because that means I’m only 3 essays and a dissertation away from graduating. And after that I’ll have to start looking for a job and pretend to be a mature and responsible adult, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that much responsibility.

Anyway, February was a reasonably good month. I visited 2 museums:

The Scottish National Gallery

The National Museum of Scotland

And in spite of everything I even managed to read to read 4 books!



I’d wanted to read this book for quite some time now, and I am even planning on using this novel for my dissertation. I really enjoyed reading it!





I had to read this for one of my modules and write a book review for it. It was not the most exciting read ever, but I love reading about Al-Andalus so it was still enjoyable.





Again I had to read this for a module and write a review about it. This book was amazing! Really interesting, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about Saudi Arabia and its gender politics.





Last but not least: this was more of a guilty pleasure read. It was nice to get my mind off things and read something light and completely different from what I normally read. I really enjoyed it.



So that’s all for now and I will really try and blog a bit more regularly, but unfortunately I can’t make any promises.

What did you read this month?

Top Ten Tuesday (15)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.



This week’s TTT is: Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry. I have to admit that I cry easily, over books, series, films, and even ads on TV if I’m honest. So you’d think that compiling a list of ten books that made me cry would be easy for me, but it was surprisingly difficult. So, without further ado, here are my picks:


Which books make you bawl your eyes out?