Shelf Swap with Katherine Webber


I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Katherine Webber, author of Wing Jones, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT KATIE WANTS TO READ

Who Runs the World by Virginia Bergin
Okay, full confession, I went off of some of Stacey’s wishlist shelves for this because I’d read quite a lot of what she’d read. I am SO excited for this feminist dystopia by Virginia Bergin. I hugely enjoyed The Rain and I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I heard about the premise.

Release by Patrick Ness
New Patrick Ness. OF COURSE I WANT IT. And has there *ever* been a better pitch than Forever meets Mrs Dalloway?

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
*hides head in shame* I can’t believe I’ve never read this! It seems like everyone absolutely loves it. I feel like it is a big hole in my classic kid lit knowledge!

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
I’ve absolutely loved everything I’ve read by Ryan Graudin but I think this might be my most favourite yet just based on the premise. Time travel romance adventure? Yes, please!
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
I hadn’t heard of this one but it sounds absolutely lovely. It says it is for fans of Wonder, The Curious Incident o the Dog in the Night-Time, and Walk Two Moons – all books I really love. And I love the whole concept of a book about a boy recording things on earth to send to space for other life forms to learn about humans. It sounds charming and smart and sweet, all things I love in MG.


5 BOOKS FROM KATIE’S SHELVES THAT STACEY SHOULD READ

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamara Pierce 
I actually found this surprisingly tricky because I think that Stacey and I have similar taste – so I knew she would have already read lots of my favourites and visa versa! Although I strongly disagree with her rating of A Wrinkle In Time, one of my childhood favourites. Another childhood favourite is the Alanna books by Tamara Pierce. I love the whole quartet, but of course she’d have to start with The First Adventure. This book inspired me to be a feminist from a really young age. Alanna is a complex, interesting character and I’ve always admired her. And I’m still madly in love with George Cooper *swoons*.

Stacey says: I think this is where mine and Katie’s tastes diverge – she loves fantasy and I really struggle with it! However, I am intrigued by feminist characters… 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This was a recent read for me and I ADORED it. Definitely one of my favourite contemporaries (although it is technically set in the 80s…) I know Stacey loves wonderful contemporary books, and I think she’ll love this. It’s beautiful and raw and funny and heartbreaking and life affirming.

Stacey says: I removed this from my Goodreads wishlist recently because I figured I was never going to get round to it, but it’s one I’ve always heard such wonderful things about. *puts back on wishlist*

Ash by Malinda Lo
This is a jewel of a book. I know Stacey usually reads contemporary, but I think she’ll enjoy this Cinderella retelling. It is such a fresh take on Cinderella, and the fairy tale tropes, that anyone who is familiar with the classic fairy tales can enjoy it. I love everything Malinda Lo writes, but this was the first thing I read by her so I always try to recommend it.

Stacey says: Ah, I usually avoid fairytale retellings *hides from Katie*. I asked my housemate Charlie whether she’d read it and she loved it too. Maybe I can be convinced? Maybe…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I loved The Graces and I can’t wait for Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, and both of those books have shades of The Secret History in them. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but I think I’m due a reread. The Secret History is technically adult, but in a lot of ways it feels like a YA coming-of-age/thriller. I’m really curious to see what Stacey thinks of it!

Stacey says: I have a copy of The Secret History! I cannot believe I haven’t read yet as it’s super popular. Boarding school + mystery = sold.

Bel Canto by Anne Patchett
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I can still vividly remember exactly where I was when I read it, and how I felt when I finished it. It is a book I push on everyone. It is one of those books that is so vivid and real, you feel like you are reading about something that really did happen instead of fiction. I think Stacey will appreciate the complex and changing relationships between the characters, and the humour woven throughout the drama. The writing is also impeccable and each sentence is a joy to read.

Stacey says: I’ve never read anything by Anne Patchett before but this one is on the Rory Gilmore Reading List…!

Thank you, Katie, for swapping shelves with me!

Which of these books sounds great to you?

Shelf Swap with Katie Clapham from Storytellers, Inc.

Shelf Swap with Katie Clapham from Storytellers, Inc.
I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Katie Clapham (@storytellersinc), from Storytellers, Inc. bookshop, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT KATIE WANTS TO READ

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Or Landlines. Or Eleanor and Park. I haven’t read any of them! I don’t even really know how it’s happened but she’s one of those authors that I didn’t read pre-buzz or even in the early buzz and then I completely missed the bandwagon and I never caught up. I’m also a tiny bit apprehensive because people raved about Dash and Lily in the same way and I did read that one and it left me cold and a bit annoyed. Anyway, I do still intend to read one of her books so maybe you can tell me which one I should go for. Fangirl might not be the best one to start with – I don’t like Harry Potter either… Shall I just let myself out?

Lockwood & Co. 2 and 3 by Jonathan Stroud
I’m terrible for reading one book of a series and then never going back to any of the sequels. I just hardly ever do it and I know for lots of readers it’s the later parts of series that really shine. There are just too many other books to read than go back to a world I’ve already explored! However, I really enjoyed the first Lockwood & Co. novel so I’d be willing to give this a try, but to this day I don’t think I’ve ever read a sequel that I’ve enjoyed as much as a first part. Could Lockwood change my mind?

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This has been on one of my wishlists for ages. The true crime/journalistic form really intrigues me and although I’m not really sure what to expect, from what I’ve heard it’s as intense and gripping as any fiction. I remember being suitably creeped out by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote interviewing one of the murderers in the film, so I guess this is as much about Capote’s view and his writing as it is the grisly subject.

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Lots of people have asked if I’ve read this and I haven’t. In fact, until I just read the synopsis on your Goodreads page (which by the way is the most unfathomable website ever and makes me feel 100 years old), I didn’t even know what it was about. But it’s set in a bookshop and that’s enough to get me through the door. Also, I love San Francisco. It sounds like it goes into a scavenger hunt…which just makes me think of Dash and Lily again, those pesky brats, but I’m going to get over that because it’s almost guaranteed to be nothing like that at all and we all need to move on sometimes.

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
My dad reckons this is one of the funniest books ever, and from the odd line or two he read aloud I feel sure he’s right. He just bought a beautiful Folio edition, so it might be time for a long-term loan. There are so many classic books I haven’t read, but then I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, so I don’t get too hung up about it. I told my university professor at my application interview that I hadn’t read very many classics at all, that I was excited to read them on his course, and that up to that point my favourite book was still Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. His course was limited to 10 places only, and I got one of them so never let anyone make you feel guilty about having not read something important… you just haven’t got around to it yet!

5 BOOKS FROM KATIE’S SHELVES THAT STACEY SHOULD READ

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
It’s a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, which I know in theory sounds awful, but it’s Curtis Sittenfeld and one of the greatest stories of all time so I had high hopes and you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s an absolute joy! It’s so smart and witty and with all the rush of love and excitement you get from the original – you know what’s coming, of course you do, but it still sweeps you along entirely. I couldn’t put it down.

Stacey says: I actually do want to read this! I’ve read Prep (which is due a re-read) and I’m intrigued by this… Maybe when it’s out in paperback!

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
One of my all-time favourites and one of the few books I re-read. It’s very short, which helps, and it never fails to absolutely chill me to the bone. If you’ve seen the film, discard that entirely from your mind because it really does not come close to that masterful little book. It starts on Christmas Eve, which is the perfect night to read it (you won’t sleep!) and it’s a real classic gothic ghost story, despite being written in the eighties. The west-end play is also very good – and truly terrifying – but I think the novel itself is perfect. Coincidentally, A Christmas Carol is another of favourite books – who’d have thought ‘Ghost Stories set at Christmas’ would be such a winning genre?

Stacey says: I have a soft spot for ghost stories and Christmas stories, so I might pick this up this year…

Nicholas by Goscinny & Sempé
Now this is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Nicholas is a school boy and each brief story tells of one of his little adventures, either at school with his playmates or at home with his parents. Really, not much happens at all in each story, the boys usually end up fighting with each other or Nicholas gets in trouble, but they are so hilariously written and the little illustrations are so wonderful, it’s just a brilliant book. It’s perfect to dip into when you just have a few minutes and need cheering up. I love Nicholas!

Stacey says: This sounds adorable! I love really old school stories.

Hostage Three by Nick Lake
I think Nick Lake is one of the best YA writers around, I look forward to a new novel of his with the same anticipation as a new Patrick Ness or Marcus Sedgwick. Hostage Three was one of the first books I gave to my Crossover book club (adults reading teen/YA) and they still talk about it four years later. It really defies expectations – and although the synopsis and cover was off-putting to a lot of readers, it was a huge hit across the group. It’s about a spoilt girl whose yacht gets taken by Somali pirates while she’s on holiday with her parents – but it’s also about hopes and dreams, storytelling, love, growing up and everything in between. It’s a brilliant holiday read, but it’s much more than a beach book.

Stacey says: I’m still yet to pick up a book by Nick Lake, but I have There Will Be Lies and Whisper to Me on my shelves.

This Is All by Aidan Chambers
I’m usually not a fan of huge tomes, but This Is All is really worth every moment. I only discovered Aidan Chambers a few years ago and I’ve only read this particular book once, but I was absolutely floored by it. I hope I can read it again one day, but it is a serious time investment (and it’s too heavy to hold in bed!) – this story of a young girl’s first love is such a beautifully written, touching story. I think about the characters so often, remembering little moments of the book almost as if they are my memories sometimes. It is quite incredible to think this sensitive, in-depth portrayal of a teenage girl came from a writer in his 70s. I thought his 2012 novel, Dying To Know You was also remarkable. I hope he writes something new soon.

Stacey says: Woah. 800 pages! It’s probably a bit too chunky for me, but I like the sound of the story being told from age 16 to 20.

Thank you for swapping shelves with me, Katie!

Which of these books sounds great to you?

On My TBR / February 2017

On My TBR / February 2017
It’s the first week of February and I’ve read 7 books so far this year. I’m pretty happy with this as it means I’m ahead of schedule – I challenged myself to read 52. I still have two book left on my January TBR – I’ve just started re-reading Wolf by Wolf and I’ll pick up Blood for Blood after – but soon I’ll be ready to start a new TBR.

For February, I picked one that I’ve been wanting to read for a while: Radio Silence. I’ve yet to read a book by Alice Oseman (Solitaire is also on my shelves), so I’m excited to finally discover this. I appear to accidentally be reading one non-fiction book per month (I already know which one I’ll be reading in March) and this month I chose Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl. I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz about this book on social media and I’d like to read more about mental health this year (last month I read Furiously Happy). In keeping with the mental health theme, I think it’s time I read All the Bright Places.

On My TBR / February 2017

I received All About Mia and History is All You Left Me for review last month, so I want to read both soon. I’m immensely looking forward to both of these books but All About Mia is one in particular I’ve been waiting months for, even since I read The Art of Being Normal.

I’m thrilled about the books I’ve chosen this month. If I get time, I want to read Forever Geek – the last book in the Geek Girl series – which I have on eBook. And lastly, I’ve started listening to the audiobook of Six of Crows, after finishing Fangirl. I’ve been loving listening to an audiobook before going to bed, and I’m curious about my first Leigh Bardugo.

Have you read any of these books?

On My TBR / February 2017