I thought since we are half-way through the year I would do a little reading wrap-up and look-ahead of the books that I have read and p...

Mid-Year Reading Wrap-Up

Thursday, July 04, 2019 BookBairn 2 Comments

I thought since we are half-way through the year I would do a little reading wrap-up and look-ahead of the books that I have read and plan to read in 2019. 

The books which have impacted me most:

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegel: Having read this book at the beginning of the year, I realised that simply recycling some of the plastic that we bring into the house isn't enough anymore. We need to try to stop it crossing the threshold. And we have made big improvements, which you can read about in my blog post 'Reducing our Family's Plastic Consumption'. This book was a huge influence on how I tackled the plastic in our home and I found the way it blended fact and advice that I could learn from and put into action a really easy (though in some ways troubling) read. If you are interested in this topic this is a great book to read to get you motivated!

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita GillI was so moved by this book I got literal goosebumps whilst read, cried tears and think it is perhaps the most powerful collection of poetry and best thing I have ever read! Putting a feminist twist on fairytale characters as well as empowering poems about life. I am going to re-read this one again soon and I'm also going to start reading some of them poems aloud to BookBairn as I want her to absorb these wonderful messages.

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde: this book is probably not a book that I had particularly high expectations of but I found it fascinating and gripping! It's a Middle Grade (ages 8-12) dystopian story where the vocabulary of the population is limited to fewer and fewer words. Following an ecological disaster, the people who survived and gained entry to the 'Ark' are controlled by a enigmatic leader who sees language as a huge problem and sets out to limit words in order to limit protest, expression, and even free-thinking. And he's planning something even bigger. I loved this and found the way the story unfolded truly masterful. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: I have wanted to read this one for quite a long time as I'm a bit of a neat-freak and I enjoy decluttering but I feel like my job is never done. And following the TV show I picked up the book and got reading and organising. It's something that I feel I can do to make our home a tidier, cleaner and calmer space. And has made me think about what I value and what 'sparks joy'.

Last year I managed to read over 100 books but this year I decided to slow things down and take the pressure off (although last year I didn't push myself to reach 100 until December when I knew I could squeeze a few extra books in just to reach the target) and it's just as well because this year I haven't been reading nearly as much, and if I'm honest I haven't been enjoying the books I am reading as much as I did last year. I'm not quite sure why that is but my concentration for reading has waned over the last couple of months. So I've decided to take my own advice from a blog post I wrote last year, Finding Time to Read as a Busy Mum, and make sure I prioritise reading rather than just reading when I'm really tired and ready for bed. And also by choosing to read books which I am really excited for!

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton - my lovely friend BookLoverJo sent me this for my birthday and I cannot wait to read it! An important book with a powerful message for young readers and a subject area that I find myself extremely concerned about at the moment.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison - coincidentally also sent to me by BookLoverJo but I mostly want to read this one because of the beautiful cover, and I know Jo totally knows my book taste so it's bound to be wonderful!

Wild Embers by Nikita Gill - having been so moved by her Fierce Fairytales mentioned above I immediately went out to buy her next collection of poetry. I have waited to read this one as I want to sit and devour it in one sitting without any interruptions.

I also have to sections of my bookshelf stacked full of books that I haven't yet read. So I'm trying to work my way through those as I want to have that section in half by the end of the year and that also means not buying new books if possible - though I'm making an exception for one of the books below! 

I also thought that in order to boost my love of stories again I would re-visit some old favourites!

An Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg - I read this one last year and I really adored it. I loved the clever twisting of original creation stories and other myths and legends, I loved the artwork and I cannot wait to read it again. I had borrowed this one from my library as graphic novels can be quite expensive if you aren't sure you are going to love it so I will be buying a copy to sit alongside One Hundred Nights of Hero by the same author-illustrator.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker & Jon Klassen - I really loved this MG novel about a boy and his pet fox and how they are torn apart when his country is ravaged by war. It's an astounding story of friendship and one that I feel the need to revisit. 

Chocolat by Joanne Harris - I have loved this book for a long long time. It is perhaps the very first grown-up book that I actually loved an appreciated and I studied it for my Specialist Study in English. And I read that Joanne Harris has written a fourth book starring these same characters and I really want to read that. It feels like the right time to read it again. (Also it's a perfect cosy read with a hot chocolate in the autumn!)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I remember really enjoying reading this one when I read it for a book group several years ago and I'm just really drawn to the story again so I have bought the audiobook using my Audible Subscription so I can listen to it on the go.

So that's my plan for the rest of the year! Well of course I do plan on reading more than just these eight books but I want to give myself more flexibility to read things that I really appeal to me at the time. I find that helps me to read more. 

What is on your 'To Be Read' pile? 

Happy Reading,

BookBairn's bookshelf: read

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil
Home Fire
A Keeper
No. More. Plastic. What you can do to make a difference
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter
I'll Be Gone in the Dark
The Wordsmith
Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
The Burning
Book Love
Don't You Forget About Me
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste
The Wonder
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
A Boy Made of Blocks

BookBairn's favorite books »

Disclaimer: these are all my choices and bought with my own money or borrowed from the library. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to Amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on Amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.


  1. I don’t know how you find the time to read all these lovely books. I’m lucky if I manage 3 or 4 in 6 months!

    1. Haha! I started book number 50. I'd blame the mother if I were you!