2019 Reading Challenge

So, in an effort to a) expand my reading and b) prompt me to write more about the books I read, I decided at the start of the year to sign up and actually use the Good Reads site – ok, i’ve been on there for 7 years apparently but this year is the year i’m really challenging myself to be better.

I’ve set myself a challenge to read 40 books this year. To be honest, that isn’t that many, so longs as I get the time to read and have the impetus. Those who have read previous blogs know that I have many issues with writers block so I wanted to do a total I could hit, as opposed to setting myself up for failure.

I think for this blog, I’ll list the books I’ve read so far and a little bit about each one, I am aiming to properly blog about some books which have specifically stuck with me but for now, simply as it’s been so long since I did any consistent blogging.

I decided that the easiest way to break myself in would be to write about what I’ve read so far and give a basic idea of what I thought:

  • Googlewhack Adventure –  not a new read for me, but still a good one, especially when suffering from insomnia as I need books I know well to be able to drop off – reading a new book whilst not being able to sleep is a definite no no for me, the yearning to find out what happens would mean I’d never sleep! Following on from Too Much Information, this shows the comic genius of Dave Gorman and also makes me feel that my stupid challenges to myself are really not that bad!
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – This was a really wonderful book. As a book lover, the fight people put in to make sure such wondrous items were available in such a dark place in our history, made me feel quite emotional. I know that there is a certain amount of creative license in this book but the story was engaging, deep, emotional and affirming.
  • The Fifth Elephant – another classic from my collection. Pratchett holds a very special place in my heart and there are so many themes he has hit on and managed to put things into a story which actually reflect well the world around us, but with a bit of Terry’s special magic.
  • The Shepherds Crown – The last Discworld novel, so one I had been putting off for years. A good read and despite the sadness that the book itself carries, it has some wonderful storylines, views and is quintessentially Pratchett.
  • LA candy – a book by Lauren Conrad. Ok, I’ll admit it, this was bought for a quid in the local poundland when I was looking for something to read on a bus journey. Turns out, didn’t even take that long! I quite enjoyed this, despite it basically being her writing about her time on “The Hills” with new character names thrown in.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole – a memoir by Holly Madison. Another guilty not guilty pleasure! I came to the Girls Next Door series relatively late (6 months off work and pretty much unable to walk will do that to a woman!!) so to read a book by one of the main characters really appealed to me. I’ll be honest, I think a lot of cleansing has gone on (that or the author is trying to sell her side as much less sleazy then it was) but for me, I found the book interesting. I know that there are a lot of negative reviews out there about this, but I will do my best to not just rip it to pieces.
  • Jingo – ok, I’m seeing a pattern developing here. I always have a Pratchett on the go, no matter what else I’m reading as sometimes I just want to slip into a comfy read and then just let the familiar comfort wash all over me! Yet another excellent example of Terry taking a common theme here on Earth and applying it to the Disc. Here, racism and war is looked at through the Turtle shaped lens.
  • I am Pilgrim – I first read this book a few years ago and it is a great thriller. I feel it’s one of the “Da Vinci Code”-esque style of books, terrorism, science, religion and a lot of contrasting views each of which has good and bad points. I would recommend this to anyone who is after a book to read on the beach somewhere. There’s enough there to get you through a week and plenty of drama to keep you hooked – I even found upon multiple reads that the story has so many different things to take in, each read gives you something new to think about.
  • Meg – When this film came out last year it automatically ticked a lot of my boxes – massive animals, Jason Statham punching stuff, drama, thrills etc. I still haven’t actually seen the film but when I saw this book in a charity shop, I just had to grab it. It was actually more interesting than I thought it would be, some science which seems to make sense and some interesting facts that make me go “oooooh” whilst reading. I’m not going to say the story is the most believable but it was a good old romp of a book that once I’d finished it did make me want to hunt out the rest of the series!
  • I shall wear Midnight – I decided before Xmas that I would read the final Tiffany series from the Discworld. I’d been putting them off for a long time so these books were a long time coming but I feel glad to have done so, they were kept for their rightful time.
  • Chavs – I’ve been a fan of Owen Jones for a really long time and have wanted to read this book for years, for whatever reason I haven’t been able to find it and when I tried to read non – fiction before, my short term memory wouldn’t allow it – nothing more frustrating than starting a book and having to re read each page about 4 times before it went in! – anyway, I have finally read it and it made some really good points as to the state of the world we are currently living in! I know not everyone would agree but there were a lot of points he had used which makes sense to me and I feel this helps me formulate and cultivate my own ideas and views and gives me more reason to fight for the things I do.
  • Wintersmith – A really special Terry Pratchett book, probably my favourite of the newer books I hadn’t previously read. A very interesting and compelling story and another book where Terry showed what a brilliant story teller he was. In “Wintersmith” Tiffany makes a mistake that draws the attention of the elemental who controls winter. The beauty in this is that it’s not the sort of plot motivating accidents and serendipity guiding series like Harry Potter, where characters are essentially powerless and shuttled through circumstances beyond their control. This entire story comes about because Tiffany screws up and must deal with the consequences. I would heartily recommend this book to a fan of Pratchett, maybe not as a starter story but definitely they’re heading in a new direction.
  • A Hat full of sky – This is more of the same for this subseries – which is a good thing! More adolescent witch adventures, more growing up too fast, more dry humour with teeth underneath.
  • The Shakespeare Secret – A book in the Da Vinci Code style of writing, but set in the Uk (mostly) and chasing up the lost plays of Shakespeare. I’d say this is a book that came about simply due to the popularity of the DVC, it’s a good thriller, with some interesting historical parts and it does bring up points that make me think more about the authors named within the story itself. Another possible beach page turner I think.
  • The Antipope – Robert Rankin is one of those authors I discovered around the same time as Pratchett, but Rankin is odder, more random and dryly funny, more humour is found in his style of writing as opposed to puns and observational humour. I find his writing tickles me in silly ways, and his use of language is amazing.  It is Rankin’s first novel, and the first book in the Brentford Trilogy (which, as of July 2010, consists of 9 novels – see what I mean? Mad a box of frogs!! but brilliant fun too) and a book I am happy to go back to and restart the madness again and agin.

So there you have it, a little bit about what I’ve read thus far in 2019. Not as many as I would normally have read but as |’ve previously said, the reading is the easy part about having a book blog!

Have you got any reading challenges this year? Let me know how you’re doing and how you’re finding it, we can all spur each other on!

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