Reading Journal #1

Ellie at Musings of a Bookshop Girl is trying out a new feature and it sounded so great that I thought I’d hop on the train. Choo choo!

She’s calling it her Reading Journal – we all have times when we’re too busy, exhausted or fed-up to write lengthy, coherent reviews, so what better way to keep up with blogging than to write a few (or more) sentences every day about what you’ve been doing/reading/whatever you like.

It’s win-win! Your readers get to know you a little better, and you get to feel like you’re still up-to-date with your blog. God knows I could do with that feeling sometimes…


Paperback book cover of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeI actually got through about 40 pages of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell today, which is a way more impressive feat than it actually sounds. It’s a huuuuuge book that I’ve been reading for… *checks*… 17 days now. God. Didn’t realise it was that long. And yet, I somehow have so little to say about it that I haven’t filled a page of my review notebook yet.

Still, I’ve been crazy busy. I do really wish I was reading something lighter, but I won’t let myself until I’ve finished this one.

In other news, today is the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, and as such I bought myself two special commemorative editions.

I’m the Branch President of Leeds BPP Law School (amongst other things) and today a girl came to me to ask how she went about deferring her exams. I asked her about her reason and do you know why? Because she’s stressed. Stressed. She has two exams more than a month away and she’s stressed.

Do you know what I did today, bitch?

Got up and promptly threw up, due to lack of sleep. Went to class, with the work completely prepared and questions answered. Met with people to go through a plan of action for tomorrow’s pro bono project. Wrote two references. Sent four e-mails. Wrote two progress evaluations. Ran a mooting competition, including tracking down last-minute replacement judges. Went home. Baked cookies for a bake sale I’m running tomorrow. Skyped with the Women’s Centre I volunteer at. Studied for tomorrow’s class (made notes on three chapters of practitioner texts and applied to two pages of questions). Wrote a blog post.

I did all that whilst THROWING UP and to the ever-present background of Lupus and ME/CFS.

And yes, yes. I know everybody has different stress levels and they show mental health problems differently, etc etc. But I know this girl. She arrives late (if at all) and whenever she’s in the library does nothing but giggle and talk on her phone. She’s never prepared for classes and participates in nothing.

But I didn’t say that, obviously. Just guided her to the relevant forms and advised her to get a doctor’s note.

I’m a fucking saint.  


I cannot wait until I’ve finished this book. I really want to read something else. I had figured that I might be able to read a little while sat behind a bake sale table today, but I had too much work to do. End result = no pages.

I had a class 9am to 10:30, then I sat at the bakesale until 1:15pm when I had another class. I made £38 though, so that made it all worth it. After that we went to a school to mentor them in a Mock Trial competition they’ve entered. I did not punch the small child that I desperately wanted to, and then I went home to do tomorrow’s work.

 No book. Sad face. Have a photo of me looking grumpy instead. 


Another school visit! This one involved us actually doing the trial ourselves – the whole thing, from witnesses to clerks. The girl who usually plays the prosecution barrister was ill today though, so I stepped in and had a ball.

Because it was in front of children, we could really ham it up so I had a great time questioning the defendant. He told me afterwards he pretty much wanted to hit me, I was annoying him that much. The mark of a good barrister, I’m sure!

No books again though. Not even a single damn page.


Does anybody remember the Chuckle Brothers? Barry and Paul Chuckle, with their kids TV programme and subsequent game show? I ask, because one of their catchphrases can sum up my day very neatly – 

“Oh dear oh dear oh dear!”
I’m still on that Advocacy Weekend in York. I actually considered bringing an extra book because clearly I’d have so much free time that I’d not only finish Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell but make decent progress into another as well.
I’m not sure if messages got mixed up along the way somewhere, but most of the people here somehow knew to prepare work in advance. They have all come along with complete examination plans, closing speeches and pleas in mit, but yet none of the Leeds people have done anything of the sort.
As a result, we all look kind of stupid. 
It doesn’t help that I was the only Leeds student in my group and subsequently the only unprepared one. I had to spend every spare minute dashing off some rubbish speech that naturally got ripped apart because I didn’t want to be the whiny one who bitched that she didn’t know she was meant to prepare.
I’m so so tired though. It’s just activity after activity, topped off with a formal meal that lasts for hours.
Grouchy? Moi? 


Oh oh oh, I actually got some pages read today! About 40 or so, which leaves me with approximately 90 to go. The end is in sight people!

So what have I learned from this week? Let’s see… 

  • I get frustrated with long, heavy books
  • I take too many photos (in my defence, I take them for the BPP newsletter) 
  • I am in charge of way too many projects
  • I get grouchy when I have to be around people for an extended period of time with no reprieve
  • I should not trust that the organisers of training events will adequately inform me of the required preparation


  1. Book Dragon says:

    I agree, here is your halo! You did so good not to laugh at her.

    I hope the doctor doesn't have appointments until after her exams!

  2. Ellie says:

    You ARE a saint! It's people like that who make it harder for people who have genuine issues to get support and help. Sounds like maybe your girl might be LESS 'stressed' if she'd actually done her work properly each week like everyone else… 🙁

    I'm so happy to have another RJ to read! It's far more fun to talk books and life and rant a little bit every day, rather than save it all up for a mega-post later. Kind of like chatting with your book friends over coffee, without the coffee part. 😀

    P.S. Do we get to see the commemorative editions sometime? Y'know, just in case some of us were thinking of *cough* getting a nice new copy sometime?

    1. Hanna says:

      I spent the rest of the day snarling "I HAAAAATE YOOOOOO!" in my head everytime I saw her… Grudges? Me? Naaaaah. That's just it though! I DO have sympathy with people who are over-worked and stressed, but absolutely not when it's your own fault.

      The only problem is that it's now Friday and I'm only just updating Tuesday! I'm BEYOND useless this week.

      You do 🙂 But I'm waiting until they arrive so I can show you properly!

  3. Do you know what I can't understand about people like that? That they actually think that they'll be able to do the job that they're flipping well training for! If she can't cope with two exams in more than a month that she's probably known the date of for *ages* and SOMEHOW she actually thinks that she's going to be able to cope with actual trials with an actual judge with actual clients relying upon her? I think not…

    Also, you bake cookies? Saintly is dealing with all of that without cookies. With cookies? Chuffing Goddess-like!

    ALSO, do you like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell even though it's long? Because it took me pretty much the whole of last August to read but I still loved it a lot 🙂

    1. Hanna says:

      Exactly! Assuming they get there in the first place, considering they'll need references from the people whose lessons they AREN'T turning up to :/ I wouldn't be happy if I was expecting a competant solicitor to represent me and SHE turned up.

      I bake everything! Not often, mind, but I didn't have much of a choice this week.

      I'm not sure. It's taking too long. Like, I don't mind if a book takes a while if it pays off, but I'm not entirely sure than JS & MR N actually is. It's okay, but nothing more really.

  4. Well done for not mixing that young woman into your cookie batter! (That would, I suppose, ruin the cookies.) Yes, stress is tough, but guess what? Law careers are stressful! There was a boy at my high school who would sit in the back of his classes playing computer games on his laptop, and he used to boast of how he was going to be a highly-paid lawyer. I wonder where he is now. I've a pretty good guess about what he's NOT doing for a living…

    I salute you for your productive day, especially with the illness as well. Go Hanna!

    1. Hanna says:

      Haha, my cookies would taste whiny and bitchy so I doubt I'd sell many… although the thought of battering her with my spatula is entertaining!

      Why don't people understand that you have to put effort IN to get anything out! It kills me that I work SO hard and then people think they're the only ones who are stressed. She's not a snowflake – we're ALL stressed.

  5. Ellie Warren says:

    I understand the grumpiness when having to spend a long time with people and actually interact with them. I find it draining, especially as I am used to having evenings to myself and whilst I work with people I do a lot of my work by myself. So when we have team building things or even going away with people for a few days, my brain just screams at me to escape into a corner!

  6. Dot says:

    I have to admit that I really struggled with that book, I made my husband read it at the same time so that we could encourage each other!

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