Book Stack · Discussion

Hay Festival

Over the weekend I went to the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Wales.  I last went two years ago and really enjoyed myself.  It helped me realise that I should study English at university, and two years on I have just finished my first year of studying English.  It was therefore time to return to Hay.  Whilst there, I managed to buy 10 books (oops) from the festival bookshop, the onsite Oxfam charity bookshop and a bookshop in the town of Hay itself.

Hay on Wye is famous for its bookshops and there are loads! We reserved one day for exploring the town and that definitely wasn’t enough.  I hope to return another time between now and the next festival simply to explore each bookshop in good time.


The first book I bought was Making Sense by David Crystal, his new book all about English grammar and how it has come to be what it is.  I bought this during his book signing after the lecture he did about grammar.  As someone who enjoys language and linguistics, I found this talk fascinating.  David Crystal is a leading linguist in the UK and a real inspiration for me.  This was the third time I had heard him talk, and the third time I had attended a book signing of his.


Also at the festival bookshop, I bought Everywoman by Jess Phillips, a politician in Birmingham who has written a book about the importance of feminism and women’s rights; Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz; and Creation by Adam Rutherford, about the origin (and future) of life.  After buying the Horowitz book, I joined the queue for the book signing.  I waited just over an hour but it was worth it.  Anthony Horowitz is a great author and very generous with his time.  Although the majority of the queue was made up of children reading the Alex Rider series for the first time, a few were older and had read it years ago like me.  It was amazing to see people of so many different ages all queueing for so long (even in the rain) to meet the same author.


I then went to the onsite Oxfam shop and bought a book on British short stories, Middlemarch by George Eliot and Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway.  The charity campaign said that buying three books could buy school equipment for a child in Africa.  I love nothing more than helping someone else whilst buying more books for my collection!

Lastly, I went to a lovely second hand bookshop in the town.  It had three floors and lots of little side rooms and corridors.  That’s where I bought Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (to complete my collection of Austen novels), Work Suspended by Evelyn Waugh and A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick.

My time in Hay on Wye was once again amazing.  I adore the town and I love attending an event with so many people who are all passionate about reading and books.  I hope to go again next year too.

Book Stack · Discussion

September TBR

I am taking part in the September Instagram challenge called #booktemberGR.  Follow me on Instagram (@eloiseisreading) to check out my posts over the month.  I’m very excited to share some of these photos with you!

So I thought that I would give you all a little more information about my post for day 1, my September TBR.


Up first is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I love Pride and Prejudice so this one was obvious.  This copy was given to me as a present by my friend, Jules, so thank you Jules!  I started it this morning and so far it is great.  I have already watched the film so I know the plot but so far the book seems a lot funnier than the film.  Watch out for a review when I finish reading this one.

Next up in the photograph is Quiet by Susan Cain.  This is a non-fiction book about how introverts can use what they have to succeed in life.  As someone who feels often introverted (according to Cain, in an interview I watched about the book, there is a spectrum), I am intrigued to see if this book can actually help me.  It is also the only non-fiction book I have on my TBR because one of my latest personal reading goals is to read more non-fiction alongside fiction.

Then there is Two Summers by Aimee Friedman.  To be honest, I do not know much about this book.  I won in it a Twitter competition help by Chelley Toy, an amazing blogger and supporter of UKYA.  I know September isn’t really the summer anymore but right now, as I am writing this, there is sun shining through my window so who knows!

The next book I hope to read is Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.  I got and the other 2 books in the Spinster Trilogy for my birthday (which was a month ago today).  I want to read at least this one before the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October where hopefully I can get tickets to see the feminism talk Holly Bourne and a couple of other YA authers are holding.  Due to exams, I didn’t get to go to the Hay Festival this year so hopefully I can go to Cheltenham this year instead.

Lastly I hope to read We Were Liars.  This book is really popular but I just haven’t read it yet.  I am borrowing this copy off a friend because she told me just had to read it.  Like Two Summers, I know very little about the plot of this one so I’m intrigued to find out.

I am also hoping to participate in the Banned Book Week later this month after I was horrified how many hugely popular books get banned in schools and libraries all over the world.  I am not setting a target for this challenge yet but I’ll probably make a blog post just before it with a week TBR.

So that is my September TBR.  I will be sticking mainly to Instagram for this challenge but I will probably do posts for my September haul and wrap up photographs at the end of the month.  I should be hopefully reviewing a few of these books too.

Eloise 🙂


Book Stack · Discussion

Holiday Reading


I’m back!  I’ve been on a lovely holiday to Devon for these past two weeks.  That’s why this blog has been very quiet recently; I haven’t really had the best internet signal (and I also felt I needed a break from the non-stop social media intake we have these days).  Being away from my computer for two weeks meant I was unable to blog properly and despite being relatively new to blogging, I really enjoy it and find it hard to go a day without thinking about it.  I’ve really missed the process of drafting and publishing blog posts for you, my readers and followers.

The great thing about being on holiday without brilliant internet signal is the vast amount of time left for reading.  In these two weeks, I have read a total of four books.  Three of those books I took with me and one I bought when I was out there.  The books I took with me were:

  • Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

I really enjoyed reading these three books on the beach, out in the countryside and in cafes.  They may be very varied in genre and topic but I enjoyed each one quite equally.  I hope to write reviews on these three books soon on my blog.


The fourth book I read whilst on holiday was Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.  One day in the two weeks, my family and I went to a lovely town called Bideford.  Whilst exploring the shops there, I stumbled upon a tiny second-hand bookshop so obviously I had to go in.  To my delight they had a beautiful collection of vintage Penguin books.  I wanted to buy them all!  Luckily I settled on two books, both by one of my favourite authors, Jane Austen.  I hadn’t read Mansfield Park but I had heard great things about it so I knew it was an obvious buy.  I have previously read Persuasion (the other book I bought) but I couldn’t help but think of a collection I could start so I bought it too.  It’ll mean more trips to second-hand bookshops to find all the Austen novels in this edition.  I thoroughly enjoyed Mansfield Park so I am sure I’ll be writing a review of that soon too.


Now, I’m an absolute sucker for bookshops so the two Jane Austen novels were not the only books I bought when I was away.  I also bought The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being by Alice Roberts (my favourite scientist – if you haven’t heard of her and you like science, check her out now) and Asking For It by Louise O’Neill.  As I will be attending the event by O’Neill on Tuesday 2nd August I thought it was best to get a head start and read Asking For It.  It was a gripping and eye opening read and a book I started and finished at the weekend.  I’ll be writing a review of it as soon as I have attended the event and it will be on my blog on Thursday.


My normal blogging schedule has now returned!  I’ll be posting book related content every Monday and Thursday.  If you enjoy what I’m doing let me know.  If you have any suggestions of posts you would like to see me write also let me know.