How To Read More

Photo from Daniel Horacio on Flickr.

Photo from Daniel Horacio on Flickr.

A long time ago someone asked if I could write some tips on how to read more, it took me far too long but finally here it is.

The first thing I need to say is this, reading is not a competition. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others, you shouldn’t feel like you need to read more just because other people do. No one cares if you read 3 books or 300 in a year. I mean just a few years ago I only read 2 or 3 books in a year and I was totally okay with that because I was reading the books I wanted to read. It just happened to be a time where reading wasn’t a priority for me.

That is the best piece of advice I can give you, make reading a priority. Set aside a time every day where you sit down for an hour and just read. Nothing else. But you can also look for times during the day where you could read, if you get a bus or train to work/ school read a book instead of playing games on your phone. If you drive a car listen to audiobooks while you drive. Look for times during your day where you could fit reading in.

The next thing I have to say is, it doesn’t matter how fast you read. There are websites that can tell you your reading speed and ways to improve it but I’ve found that the more you read the faster you get. You also have to take into consideration how long the book is. Its going to take someone far longer to read a 1000 page book than a 100 page graphic novel. You also need to remember that some books are easier to read than others. For example, you’re probably going to read a Harry Potter book faster than a Jane Austen novel.

I’ve also found its best to not make a TBR list every month (I know this is very popular in the book blog/tube community). If you decide at the start of the month that you want to read a particular book you could possibly change your mind by the time you actually get around to reading it. You’re going to get through a book you want to read much faster than something you’re forcing yourself to read.

Finally there are some methods that can help you concentrate on the book when you do decide to sit down and read. First, music, on or off depending on your preferences. Where you sit, or to be more specific the things around you are important too. I like to pick somewhere quiet and preferably not looking out a window. Hiding your phone/ laptop helps too. Don’t just turn them on silent mode, actually move them so you can’t see them while you read. If you can’t see your phone you won’t be tempted to check Twitter/ Facebook etc.

That is all the tips I can give. Just remember that no one will judge you based on the number of books you read (that’s if you actually read books, if you don’t read anything then yes we are going to judge a little bit!).

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

What I Read In August

What I Read In August | bluchickenninja.com

Airframe by Michael Crichton. I read the description for this and immediately went out and bought it:

“The twin jet plane en route to Denver from Hong Kong is merely a green radar blip half an hour off the California coast when the call comes through to air traffic control:

‘Social Approach, this is TransPacific 545. We have an emergency.’ The pilot requests priority clearance to land – then comes the bombshell – he needs forty ambulances on the runway”.

It started out good but the conclusion was really kind of disappointing.

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. This is partly a handbook for those with depression/ anxiety and partly Matt Haig’s account of his experience with depression. Really good, a must read for people with depression.

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I read this years ago, probably around the time it came out (which means I must have been about 10) and it was really interesting to read it again. I had forgotten large parts of it and must not have quite fully got all the references to the bible. If you read the His Dark Materials series as a kid I would highly recommend reading it again.

Reawakened by Colleen Houck. I can’t stand insta-love and bad history. This book was a mix of the two. See my full review here.

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I enjoyed this and will read the next book in the series however I didn’t think it was quite as good as Jemisin’s other books. See my full review here.

The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. This book was basically an episode of Star Trek and it was amazing and I love it. See my full review here.

(Not pictured because ebooks are a thing.)

The Ship by by Antonia Honeywell. I was actually going to buy a copy of this so I’m glad I found it on Netgalley. It could have been a really interesting dystopia but was ruined by an annoying main character. See my full review here.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. This book was amazing. Its like The Martian but longer and on the International Space Station. Also the first line is “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason“. See my full review here.

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald. I love this book. Its set on the moon and it’s about a family who run a helium mining operation. Its fantastic and I have a copy on pre-order. See my full review here.

Thanks for reading.
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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. JemisinRating: 3 / 5 stars
Format: Trade Paperback
Published: 4th August 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter.

Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance.

And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with The Fifth Season. It just wasn’t as good as what I have come to expect from NK Jemisin. I mean, I did enjoy it, and I will definately buy the sequel. It just didn’t have that spark that made me love The Killing Moon and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

But I did enjoy this. I like the diversity of the characters in Jemisin’s books. I like the way she explores sexuality, she is one of the very few authors I’ve read that has more than just straight pairings. I liked the powers these characters had – basically the ability to control thermal, kinetic and other forms of energy (like earthquakes). I thought it was really interesting how these characters were treated because of their powers.

But the writing style threw me off. Part of the story is narrated from a second-person point of view. I guessed the link between the three main characters before it was revealed which was slightly annoying. There also seemed to be a number of strange gramatical errors. At one point a character talks about catching pregnancy. Look, it was good, I did enjoy it and I can’t wait for the sequel. It just wasn’t quite as good as Jemisin’s other books.

Buy The Fifth Season on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
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On Turning 25

On Turning 25 | bluchickenninja.com

So I turned 25 this month which is kind of terrifying. Because I have to admit that I’m a proper adult now, I’m not just some teenager pretending to be a grown-up. But the problem is that even though I am technically considered a “responsible adult”, I don’t feel like one.

I’ve always thought of adults as people with responsibilites like jobs and houses and cars. And I don’t have any of those things. I mean I could try and use the CFS as an excuse. But I’ve only had that for just under 2 years. I’ve spent most of my 20s not doing anything and even though I had a job for most of that time, it still felt like I was just pretending to be grown-up.

I am trying to fix some of that now, I’m finally going back to the course I tried to start 2 years ago. I’m going to start driving lessons. I’m trying to be more outgoing and do things I want to do (even if it means I have to do them on my own). But I don’t know if these things will make me feel like I’m a proper adult. I don’t know if anything will make me feel like a proper adult. Maybe its some secret my parents never told me, that no one knows what it means to be an adult.

Could someone please let me know if everyone is just pretending they know how to be an adult or if I missed the owl with my “totally now an adult” certificate.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal StephensonRating: 5 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 21st May 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

What would happen if the world were ending?

When a catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb, it triggers a feverish race against the inevitable. An ambitious plan is devised to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere. But unforeseen dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers…

This is the first Neal Stephenson book I actually liked, though it did take me a while to get into it. I think I fell in love around the 40% mark and read the remaining 500 pages in the space of 3 days. In fact I was reading it on a train at one point and literally had to put the book away because otherwise I would not have wanted to get off the train.

The first thing I love about this book is the very first line: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason“. At no point in this 900 page book do we find out why the moon blew up, it just did. And I love that because why the moon blew up isn’t the important thing. Seveneves is all about what happenes next because the moon blew up.

If that first sentence is enough to make you want to read this book, stop reading this review right now. Seveneves is the type of book where its best going in knowing as little as possible. Go buy the book and come back after you’ve finished it.

The first 60% of Seveneves takes place directly after the break up of the moon. We see scientists realise that the huge chunks of rock that were previously the moon are going to start breaking up and falling to earth – which the scientists refer to as hard rain – causing the atmosphere to burn and making the earth uninhabitable for thousands of years.

In a way the first part of Seveneves is very similar to The Martian. But instead of Mark Watney you have the entire human race trying to figure out a way to not die. The result is a colony of the smartest people on tiny ships surrounding the International Space Station. We see everything these people go through trying to get to a safe place in which they can start to rebuild the human race.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the second part of the book but it takes place 5000 years after the moon’s breakup and deals with the consequences of the decisions made by the original members of the mission.

I cannot say this enough, I loved this book. I love that we get to see the consequences of one characters action thousands of years later. I love that this whole world feels so fleshed out. I love the artwork made for the second part. I love that this is about evolution and natural selection and genetics. But above all, even with all the super technical sciency stuff, I love that this book is primarly about people and the choices they make

Buy Seveneves on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

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