Lifestyle: Recently Read #2

I read a lot over summer; I was rarely seen without a book. I regularly had to beg a lift from W to pick up something else to read. I managed to get through virtually a whole bookcase of books I hadn’t read, ones I’d been saving to read for the last four years.

 photo Recently Read_zps3vat7q15.pngOver summer I stuck to actual, physical books. My Kindle was hugely neglected, I even lost it at one point, but it meant I was able to get through the vast amount of books accumulated since I started university. I read anything and everything. Chic-lit. Crime. Psychological thrillers. Murder mysteries. Historical novels. Teen novels. You name it, if it was on my bookcase, it got read. Here’s just some of the highlights….

Behind Closed Doors (B.A Paris). One of the best thriller books I’ve read, infinitely better than Gone Girl in my opinion. The first time I read this I literally had no clue where the book was going for a good half of it, and even in the last chapter I was still guessing the final ended. The writing is excellent, the storyline complex but so believable. A must read.

 photo Recently Read Post Two 9_zpsbg7zj5z4.jpg photo Recently Read Post Two 6_zpsz8f3uool.jpgMe Before You, and After You (Jojo Moyes). The books to read in 2016 it would seem! I definitely enjoyed Me Before You, it’s on the verge of being more chic-litty than I would usually go for, but it was definitely gritty enough to keep me gripped – and of course I cried towards the end! However I absolute HATED After You. I found the story hugely ‘fake’ and the writing seemed as though the book was rushed out. That said, I’d never thoroughly enjoyed a Jojo Moyes until Me Before You, so maybe her writing style just isn’t for me. Oh, and the film was good too, though I preferred the book. The film made me cry was too much.

The Beachcomber (Josephine Cox). One of the older books I read, this is a romantic novel cross murder mystery set in, I believe, the fifties. I find romantic novels from this era so lovely to read, it’s all about the relationship without any smut! Difficult to say much about this one without giving it all away, but if you like romance with a bit of ‘grit’ then this is worth picking up.

Coming Home (Rosamunde Pilcher). Ah, this is one of my all-time favourite books. I have this in hardback and at around 800 pages it’s not exactly a comfortable one to sit and read. That said, the story is so, so lovely. Set in wartime Britain, down in Cornwall, it follows the life of a girl called Judith as she grows into a young woman. It’s not got an overly strong storyline, but rather each character has their own plots. It’s a book I can really lose myself in on a rainy day.

 photo Recently Read Post Two 7_zps7e94bxcu.jpgAn Absolute Scandal (Penny Vincenzi). I treated this a little like prep for worth, perhaps not the best idea! It’s based on Lloyd’s of London collapsing and when I read it a few years ago I loved it. Now, having worked in insurance, it irritates me slightly as it’s inaccurate. Guess I’ve spoilt this book for myself!

The Girl From Nowhere (Dorothy Koomson). I love love LOVE Dorothy Koomson’s books, in fact a good amount of them would feature in my ‘favouritest ever book list’ if I were to write one. I’ve felt some of her later reads were a little flat but I really enjoyed this one. A couple of plot turns, interesting characters and something a bit different from her usual storylines.

 photo Recently Read Post Two 13_zpse1u2khkx.jpgReading an actual book, as opposed to a Kindle, was at first a delight. I loved the more physical feel, it felt as though it slowed my reading pace down and I really appreciated the book. Then it became annoying. Trying to fit a book into my bag although with everything else was both tight and resulted in a sore shoulder. Not having anything to read immediately having finished a book. The wrist ache from trying to read in bed. Now fully reunited with my Kindle (though with it being four years old, it seems to need replacing sooner rather than later) I’m still reading at a ferocious pace. I’m making the most of my commute before I start studying and revising on the tube!

Are you a reader? What books do you recommend?

Student Summer: What to Take to University #4

I really hope these posts have been useful to you! I know I’d have loved blog posts like this when I started university, but for some reason I only really started reading blogs well after starting this one. Strange I know! Today I’m going to witter on about stationery to take to university. So grab a pen and paper (aha!) and we’ll begin…

 photo 2014-09-11174233_zpse91a20d3.jpgPaper and pens. I have to say this is quite important to me. I’m a leftie so a decent pen is a must or I will smudge everything to an illegible smear. It’s happened before, even with biro. Pilot Frixion erasable pens are my weapons of choice, being able to rub out makes my lecture notes so much neater too. I’m also not a huge fan of colour until I revise, so I stick to black. But it’s up to you. I also like doing rough work in pencil, so I always have a handful of those on the go. As for paper I go for Ryman’s giant refill pads, bought on 3 for 2 with student discount they are the best value I’ve found, and the quality is high enough so you don’t get that dreadful scratchy sound when you writ.

Now, I’d just go with the organisational basics until you get started and learn what the module layout etc is going to be like. Pick up a single folder and some plastic wallets; buy more as you go. I have a system now (as an actuarial student) of one folder per module, with that upgraded to a lever-arch it the module is a thirty-credit one. My original plan of one lever arch per year is far from achievable; sometimes I fill a lever arch with a module!

 photo 2014-09-11174312_zpsbf6cbb15.jpgNext up is a diary. This is so, so, so important – you will absolutely have deadlines to write down. By all means use your phone if it works for you, but most people I know have to write it down physically. Me? I couldn’t live without my Filofax. I was bought a Pink Personal Malden for my A-Level results (over two years ago!) and I’m virtually never without it. Not only does it look pretty (and matches my satchel) it’s also so, so functional. I’ll be doing a post specifically on how I use it for university soon, if you like, but I do highly recommend a Filofax if you’re a stationery geek like me. With only the inserts to buy (or make) after the initial purchase you have a full customisable diary for a relatively decent price. Mine is always by my side or in my bag, it genuinely keeps my life on track!

Stapler, hole punch, ruler, rubber, pencil sharpener, scissors. Basics that are just handy to have around – you’ll probably need to secure coursework together at some point so a stapler is a must.

Now, a printer is something I’m unsure about. I had one in my first year, then sold it in the carpark whilst packing up as it was that one thing that didn’t quite fit. In my second year we shared one. I *think* I’ll pick up a cheap one for my final year as it’s just so much easier to have one. Printing on campus is extortionate in my opinion, and I can rarely bring myself to do it. I’ll admit though, most of my printing is saved up til I’m at home and then someone else foots the ink bill!

 photo 2014-05-09174211_zpsc2453d48.jpgBooks. No doubt you’ll have a long list of ‘recommended’ books that you ‘have’ to purchase at the ‘reasonable’ price of 10 billion pounds…sarcasm is a strong point here. I’d leave off ordering any until you get there and work out what’s in the library, and whether you actually need them. In terms of recommended books, I’ve only bought one in two years (and it was worth it), and borrowed one from the library. My tip is to google your module name and find other books on Amazon (quite often just older editions of what you need) – you’ll find similar books, and quite often you’ll get used copies for a fraction of the price. I bought loads and loads of books for second year this way, I paid around £40 for 10 books including delivery. Great for when I was recovering from my operation that summer as it gave me something to do! Even though the books can be quite old, they are normally fine though I’d avoid if you’re doing a degree with changing information..I was quite amused when one book came not with a CD, but a floppy disk…

 photo 2014-09-11174422_zps284c6e51.jpgIn terms of revision gear, I’d recommend buying it when you need it. But I use erasable highlighters, erasable colour pens (sensing a theme here?), post-it notes, record cards and lots and lots of paper.

What stationery do you use at university/college/school/work?