Shelf Control #59, Reading Right Now 25/03/20 & Life Update


Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post, here.

6101718The Magicians
by Lev Grossman

In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price …

Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead – but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined.

The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last – and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected…

This seems to be a completely Marmite book. I have no idea what I’m going to think of it, but I found a copy in a charity shop for around £2 so I’m keen to give it a try and see what I think myself.




I’ve been in the mood to be comforted recently, and got a very pleasant surprise last week when the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone arrived on my BorrowBox app – I completely forgot I’d reserved! It’d been so long since I last read the Harry Potter series that listening to it almost felt like reading it for the first time all over again, and it reminded me of everything I love about these books. I’m planning to re-read the whole series via audiobook throughout the rest of the year.


I’m taking part in the #Elderlingalong to finally cross some Robin Hobb off my TBR, and March’s read is Assassin’s Apprentice. I’m just over a quarter of the way through the book now and I feel like I’m finally starting to get into it and I’m looking forward to picking it up again whenever I put it down. Hopefully I can finish this one up in the next few days!


I received an eARC of The Scapegracers through NetGalley and started it almost two weeks ago, so I’d really like to finish it before April and the O.W.Ls begin. I’m loving it so far – I love Clarke’s writing – so I’d like to get a review scheduled asap.

Life Update

Well, 2020 has got off to a pretty crazy start, hasn’t it?

First thing’s first – I hope you’re all safe and well and are able to stay at home, and a huge, huge thank you to all of our key workers, whether you’re a doctor or a nurse or a teacher or behind the counter in a shop or a delivery driver. Thank you for making it possible for the rest of us to take the right precautions while knowing that patients can still be looked after and food can still be bought.

I live in a house share, but I made the decision around a week ago to drive back to my parents’ and hole up here with them. Frankly, one of my housemates doesn’t know how to keep the kitchen clean so I can’t trust that he’s washing his hands, and I want to be here in case my parents need anything and it’s too dangerous for them to go out and get it. Thankfully my parents are very healthy, but they’re both in their 60s and my dad had a heart attack back in 2011, so anything I can do to make sure they’re not at risk makes me feel better.

I’m also glad to be with my family right now because, unfortunately, my family’s had a rough start to the year.

Thankfully none of my family have contracted the virus, and I’m so grateful for that, but around a month ago my parents rang me to let me know that my Grandma was in hospital. Now my Grandma is in her 80s and was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, so she’s on our minds quite a lot anyway, but this time we were waiting on tenterhooks to see if we needed to dash up to the hospital to say our goodbyes.

My Grandma has a pacemaker and she was admitted to hospital because she had a build up of fluid around her heart and her lungs, where the doctors revealed that it’s only thanks to her pacemaker that her heart’s still beating. It was quite a shock and, even though I know she’s elderly and very poorly, it still didn’t seem right to me that she might be leaving us. I’ve been incredibly fortunate so far in that I’ve never lost a family member – both of my grandfathers died before I was born, but my Grandma and my Nana are still going strong – so knowing my Grandma was so close to passing away hit me hard.

Thankfully, my Grandma’s a tough cookie. They managed to drain away the fluid and she was sent back home.

Then earlier this month my parents rang again to tell me that my brother-in-law had been rushed to hospital with what they believed to be a collapsed lung. Within a day of being in the hospital we discovered he had sepsis and pneumonia and he was put into an induced coma so that the hospital could help him breathe and give his lungs a break.

He’s been in hospital for almost three weeks now and, while he does seem to be making progress, he’s still quite poorly and the doctors still aren’t sure what’s caused all of this in the first place. My poor sister’s stressed and upset, her two little girls don’t quite understand what’s going on, and now because of the virus their school is closed (which, of course, is for the best) but it means my sister’s trying to keep a nine-year-old and a four-year-old entertained while worrying about her husband.

At one point we were very concerned that my brother-in-law wasn’t going to pull through, and it was then that we received a phone call from my auntie to tell us that my Grandma was back in hospital with fluid around her heart and lungs again. In other words, it feels like 2020 has decided to punch my family in the nuts.

I’m pleased to say that, once again, my Grandma was sent home and she seems to be doing okay. The reality is this is going to be her new normal when her pacemaker is the only thing that’s keeping her heart beating, but as long as she’s comfortable and she isn’t frightened that’s all I care about.

And over the past couple of days, one of my wisdom teeth has started hurting like a bitch which I could really do without. But hey-ho – there are worse things!

How’re all of you doing?

8 thoughts on “Shelf Control #59, Reading Right Now 25/03/20 & Life Update

  1. Lisa says:

    Oh boy, Jess, sounds like your family has been put through the wringer already this year. I’m so sorry to hear about all the worries — I hope your grandma continues to do well and that your brother-in-law gets well soon. It sounds like a really smart decision to move back with your parents, both for their sake and for your own!

    On a happier note… I really liked The Magicians (and the other two books in the trilogy). The books are weird, but so good. Definitely worth a try! (and the TV series is terrific! It takes the story in really different directions, but I love it.)

    Enjoy your reading this week! How fun to be revisiting HP! I started an audio reread a few years ago, and somehow got sidetracked after book 5, so at some point I need to get back to it. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lisa says:

        They’re really different, especially after the first season, so you can definitely experience each one independently. And there are certain characters who are just 1000x better in the TV version!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. dinipandareads says:

    I think 2020 has seen a lot of hellish starts for so many people. A lot of it to do with illnesses and then now this pandemic comes along too… What a year it’s been! I’m so sorry to hear that your family has gone through so much. Your nan sounds like a tough cookie though! And that’s really scary what’s happened with you BIL (especially without knowing where it came from?!) but I hope that he recovers quickly. Big virtual hugs to you, Jess! Hope reading can help take you away from reality for a little while.

    Liked by 1 person

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