Reading List 2016

I’m really proud of all the lovely books I managed to read in 2015 and also pleased I read eight out of the 12 that I set myself last year. I really enjoyed reading non fiction books too so I’ve decided for 2016 that I’ll keep to my challenge of half fiction/ half non fiction from my list. I always read beyond the scope of my lists but I’ve outlined a few that I’m really keen to read in the coming year.

Fiction Books for 2016


  1. Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch (recommended by my boss)
  2. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell (recommended by my cousins in Fife)
  3. Chicken – Chase Night (The Minimalists‘ publisher)
  4. The Bees – Laline Paul (one I just been wanting to read for ages, also a Christmas present)
  5. The Hourglass Factory – Lucy Ribchester (Edinburgh writer and next book group read)
Non Fiction

Non Fiction

  1. Zen Habits – Leo Babauta (I really enjoy Leo’s blog, Zen Habits, and kickstarted this book at the end of 2014)
  2. Destructive Emotions and How to Overcome Them – Daniel Goleman (terrible title but interesting read about Dalai Lama and meditation practices)
  3. The Spiritual Teachings of Yoga – Jo Manuel and Mark Forstater (from last year’s list!)
  4. The Organized Mind – Daniel Levitan (a book I’ve seen people reading all over the place!)
  5. Spectacles – Sue Perkins (Christmas present)
  6. Just Kids – Patti Smith (been wanting to read for ages and ages)
  7. Night School – Richard Wiseman (very lucky to have been given this book by Richard Wiseman himself and looking forward to reading about getting better sleep – I love sleeping!)

The other thing I’ve decided for 2016 is that I’m not going to buy any, and I mean any, books in 2016. The main reason for this is to try and save a bit of money but the other reason is that I suddenly realised that my house is stuffed with books I haven’t read yet! I’ve a proper addiction to buying books – a get them in charity shops, online, in book shops, for my Kindle – just all over the place! I’ve literally hundreds of books I’ve not read yet. So this year, as an experiment, I’m going to only read from what I already have. I’ll also use the library too, if I get stuck.

Do you have a reading list for 2016? Or any resolutions? Would love to hear them!

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List – 2015 Books

Some of the Books I've read in 2015

Some of the Books I’ve read in 2015

I’ve head another great year of reading and am really pleased to have made it to 41 books. I’ve listed them below:

  1. Everything That Remains – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
  2. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  3. Good Kings Bad Kings – Susan Nussbaum
  4. Knots and Crosses – Ian Rankin (book group read)
  5. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin (book group read)
  6. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  7. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  8. Divergent – Veronica Roth
  9. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
  10. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
  11. Travelling to Work: Diaries 1998-1998 – Michael Palin
  12. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  13. Science of Breath – Swami Rama
  14. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (book group read)
  15. The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  16. Fierce Medicine – Ana T. Forrest
  17. Did You Spot the Gorilla? – Richard Wiseman
  18. How to Be Both – Ali Smith (book group read)
  19. Big Brother – Lionel Shriver
  20. The Magicians – Lev Grossman
  21. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
  22. Anne of Avonlea – L. M. Montgomery
  23. Anne of the Island – L. M. Montgomery
  24. Anne of Windy Poplars – L. M. Montgomery
  25. Anne’s House of Dreams – L. M. Montgomery
  26. Anne of Ingleside – L. M. Montgomery
  27. Rainbow Valley – L. M. Montgomery
  28. Rilla of Ingleside – L. M. Montgomery
  29. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
  30. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  31. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
  32. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
  33. The Undertaking – Audrey Magee
  34. Gillespie and I – Jane Harris
  35. Gutbliss – Robynne Chutkan
  36. Forever – Judy Blume
  37. Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull
  38. A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin
  39. Wildfire at Midnight – Mary Stewart
  40. The Gabriel Hounds – Mary Stewart
  41. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

Things I’ve noticed about my past year of year – I’ve read a lot more none fiction – nine books in total. I *did* make a plan to do this in my 2015 reading list (I read 3 of the 6 I set myself) and really enjoyed branching out a bit. You’ll also notice I had a major binge on nostalgia, re-reading all of the Anne of Green Gables books was a total indulgence. Incidentally, I read 5/6 of the fiction books I set myself – best I’ve done yet!

There are two books, both from non-fiction, that have, and continue to, change my outlook on life. The first Everything Remains by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, which I read at the beginning of the year has inspired a major overhaul of my possessions and my thoughts on them. I even collaborated with a friend, Sarah, to put together a book group on Instagram about the book which was a lovely experience. Then, right at the end of the year, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo which reinvigorated my thoughts again about my possessions, and how I look after them – it’s only been a week since I’ve read this book and I’m still re-sorting drawers and shelves and even more “stuff” has been cleared from our wee flat!

Finally, I had two favourite fiction books of 2015 aswell. The first – Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, which was a departure from my normal books, but thoroughly engrossing and the second being Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – I love a good post apocalyptic drama and this one was of the highest quality.

Did you keep a list for 2015? What your best reads of the year? I really would love to hear them as I love a bit of reading inspiration from others!

The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up was one of the most inspirational books I've read this year.

The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up was one of the most inspiring/ motivating books I’ve read this year.

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2015 Edinburgh Festivals

Going Viral at Northern Stage

Going Viral at Northern Stage

This time of year, I always write a blog about the shows I’ve seen during the festival season. 2015 has been an interesting season because it’s the first since 2008 that I’ve not been working within the festivals and so I’ve not been in the thick of it all, completely absorbed in the work and play of the Fringe.

One thing for sure, I saw fewer shows than I have in previous years (2014: 28, 2013: 30, 2012: 28, 2011:37, 2010: 30, 2009: 19) but, for the first time in a long time, I had time for things outside the Fringe and the festivals. I went to the cinema (twice), visited friends outside of Edinburgh, met friends for shows and dinner, made dinner for myself (this is super unusual in August!) and, well, I had a life! I was very glad to have some time and space to myself I also felt that I got a chance to absorb the work and take it in, rather than rushing around to either another show or to work.

My 2015 list of shows are:

  1. The Harmonium Project
  2. Puddles Pity Party
  3. 4×4 Ephemeral Architectures
  4. Booking Dance
  5. The Encounter
  6. Going Viral
  7. Andrew Doyle
  8. Simon Munnery – Fylm School
  9. Funmbi Omotayo: Legal Immigrant
  10. Miss Behaves’s Gameshow
  11. Beauty of the Beast
  12. Light Boxes
  13. The Big Cabaret Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
  14. The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
  15. Polyphony
  16. Fake It til You Make It

If I were to pick out some stand out work it would be The Encounter (exquisite theatre) and Fake It til You Make It (heart-wrenching and thought provoking). I also thoroughly enjoyed hanging out, but not really going to anything, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival – it’s so chill at Charlotte Square!

So, a different year for me – some good, some bad – but all in all a great experience for 2015!

What were your favourite shows of 2015?

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Ah Bologna!

Last month husbandface and I took our first trip to Italy together and had the most epic time in Bologna. I was inspired by the Tripadvisor Three Days in Bologna post and thought I would jot down some tips in case it inspires anyone to take a similar trip.

Two Towers in Bologna

Two Towers in Bologna

Firstly, I’ll state that Bologna is a great city to visit. It’s not too touristy (or not too touristy with British or American tourists) and has lots to see that are easily accessible. Our main aim was eat, drink and be merry – and that was perfectly achieved!

Hotel – we had some free stay nights to use up with so we booked Al Capello Rosso through their site. We wouldn’t normally do this as I like to book local but this hotel was lovely! It’s a theme based hotel and we ended up in the Jimmy Carter room – which was lovely and huge, with amazing air conditioning (thank god!) and a lovely big bath and shower. It also had the benefit of being really close to the centre of Bologna which meant we walked everywhere really easily.

Lovely touch to the theming in our hotel

Lovely touch to the theming in our hotel

AperitivosLe Stanze – a fav place of a friend’s son to go. If you haven’t tried aperitivos then you’re missing out – snacks with your drinks!

Pizza – the most epic pizza ever – I completely forgot to take any pictures – but needless to say I’m not sure I’ll ever eat pizza anywhere else again! Everyone should go to Alce Nero Berbere for pizza when in Bologna.

Pasta al ragu – our friend recommended a place, but it turned out it was closed! We yelped and found Osteria dell’Orsa which was utterly lovely and incredibly cheap for pasta al ragu (never ask for bolognese!).

Dinner – the most amazing hidden gem – Libreria Coop Ambasciatori – a book shop with three separate restaurants – part of the slow cooking movement – we had the most amazing salads and wine. Heartily recommend!

Epic salad

Epic salad

Gelato – our friend recommended Cremeria Funivia which we duly attended and it was definitely very lovely. Another friend, through Instagram recommended Galleria 49 – literally a hole in the wall – and we found this to be utterly awesome – definitely worth a walk slightly out of town to get to.

Best gelato in Bologna!

Best gelato in Bologna!

Coffee – we found the coffee culture quite different in Bologna – but still very enjoyable. We enjoyed great coffee at Caffe Pasticceria Zanarini and Caffe Terzi respectively. The tradition is very much sit in, but sit in quickly! Most people only staying 5-10 mins but take out was a definite no-no!

Cappuccino from Terzi Caffe

Cappuccino from Terzi Caffe

Park – we headed, mostly because of the TripAdvisor ratings to Giardini Margherita – a lovely huge park in the middle of Bologna – we lazed around, ate more gelato, drank more coffee – it was bliss!

If I had more time…

  • The Fontana del Nettuno was not lit while we were there as a open at film festival was taking place nearby – would have loved to have seen this!
  • Santuario di Madonna di San Luca – it was 35 degrees when we were there so a little hot for a few kilometres walk up a top of the hill (and all the guides say it’s hard to find water to buy!) so next time we’re there, in the cooler climates, I’d love to take this walk.
  • Towers of the Asinelli and Garisenda – we saw them lots and lots and used them to pinpoint our locations but it would have been great to climb them too!

So that was our trip, I’ve made a map on Google so you can look up and know directions if needed.

Have you been to Bologna? Any tips for us for future visits?


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