30books30days: Books 11-20

I started the month well having read 10 books in the first 10 days, unlike my previous attempt at this challenge my early success did not effect my enthusiasm. After finishing The Ghastling Book No 6 I decided to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer by reading its final instalment, Winter. The Lunar Chronicles is a series of YA novels each a sci-fi retelling of a different classic fairytale. Winter is a retelling of Snow White, as suggested by the cover. Its predecessors are retellings of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. The characters from each novel overlap as they share the same supernatural world, Winter is my favourite character in the Lunar universe and I wasn’t disappointed in the series ending. Despite being over 800 pages long the action packed finalé was a really quick, easy read.

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I then decided to pick up another classic, my first Children’s classic of the month, Heidi by Johanna Spyri. I was inspired to read at least one children’s novel as part of the #readkidslit movement lead by WordsofaReader on Youtube. I grew up watching the 1995 adaptation of Heidi directed by Toshiyuki Hiruma and Takashi Masunaga, a movie that I adore, therefore I had very high expectations of Spyri’s classic novel. While I was not disappointed I do agree with the common criticism that the novel is, at times, sickly sweet. Nevertheless I believe this novel is under appreciated, with its heroine too often being overshadowed by Montgomery’s Anne. Personally, I prefer Heidi’s protagonist and found the setting of this novel far more captivating.

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Heidi was followed by my most disappointing read of the month, The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is Fitzgerald’s only unfinished novel as he passed away before its completion. As he is in fact one of my favourite authors, I have previously read and loved each of his completed novels, from my favourite to least favourite these are: This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night.  The Last Tycoon did not live up to any of these novels, as can be expected! However I feel it would be wrong to give any other criticism to the novel so will say no more on the matter.

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Having read a couple of classics back to back, I then reached for Tokyo Ghoul Volume 8 by Sui Ishida. I enjoyed this instalment more than the last and am looking forward to completing the now finished series.

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As I am borrowing the instalments for both Tokyo Ghoul and Naoki Urasawa’s Monster from my sisters I quickly picked up Volume 3 of Monster as my 15th book of the month. I enjoyed this volume as much as the previous two and wanted to immediately pick up the next instalment. This series differs from Tokyo Ghoul as it is less gory and more suspenseful, there is also fewer main characters. However I compare them I am definitely enjoying reading both series alongside each other.

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After having read two fast-paced manga volumes I did not want to dive into another classic or binge read some of the non-fiction books I have been savouring. As a result I found myself picking up a contemporary children’s novel; A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I first read Ness last year including More Than This and The Rest of Us Just Live Here which fast became one of my favourite YA novels. Both of the novels I have previously read have been incredibly unique which drew me to pick up my third of his works, A Monster Calls. I would now happily work my way through his bibliography as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel reading it in only a couple of hours. Surprisingly I cried only once while reading this novel as early on as page 29! This will surely become a modern classic. I also recommend the movie adaptation which varies slightly from the novel but is equally as brilliant.

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I then finished my first Non-Fiction book of the month: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly which chronicles the lives and achievements of many black women who contributed to NASA research and the American Space Race and whose work has previously been overlooked in history books and documentaries. This book is not only well-written but extremely effecting, it made me care deeply for each of the ‘main characters’ including the most commonly known Katherine JohnsonDorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson,  as well as many others. I have yet to see the Oscar-nominated adaptation though I assume it is these women who are portrayed here (by Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer) on the cover of the book and the centre of the film. The highlight of the book is the successful launch of John Glenn into orbit, though it is not his personal achievement that has you, the reader, cheering. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Space.

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Having read two novels by some of my favourite writers, Fitzgerald and Ness, I decided to continue the trend by reading my second Murakami novel. One of my reading goals for 2017 was to read more novels by newly discovered authors, I met this challenge with A Monster Calls and my next pick, Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun. I read Norwegian Wood in 2015 which became one of my favourite novels of all time (of which there are currently 23.) As a result I have been eager to read more of Murakami’s fiction. I found this novel however, rather dull. My main issue was with Murakami’s narrator who, though you are not supposed to like, I found completely unbearable.  I did not care for any of the characters and saw no sign of character development, subsequently I will not be in a hurry to pick up any more Murakami novels in the near future.

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I moved back to manga afterwards as I suspected the following volumes of Monster to be far more enjoyable and found them to be reliably so, I have gave every Volume so far five stars.   I have therefore read 20 books so far throughout this challenge and hope my success continues!

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I hope you’re having a good reading month and as always,

Wish me luck!

 

Sophie

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30 Books in 30 Days, Books 1-10

The first book I read this month was a collection of short stories, Legoland by Gerard Woodward. One of my reading habits I hoped to change this year was my reluctance to read short story collections, I won this collection on Goodreads last year and ended up rating it four out of five stars. There are stories covering a range of topics including divorce and identity theft as well as some stories dealing with the supernatural. I really enjoyed Woodward’s writing and my favourite stories were ‘The Family Whistle’ where a man returns from War to find his friend has taken his identity and is living with his wife,  ‘The Flag,’ a neighbourhood dystopia and ‘The Unloved’ on the subject of separation.

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The first novel I read this month was The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner. This was my second Faulkner novel having previously read As I Lay Dying. I think I will be haunted by this novel for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed the immersive reading experience as the story is told by four different narrators, each a relative of the Compson family, who have a habit of jumping back and forth between the present and various family memories at any given time. Thus you have to be alert when reading the novel and to a certain extent put clues together to work out what is happening. The characters are three dimensional, very unreliable and in some cases extremely disturbed, our opening narrator Benjy is mentally handicapped. The plot covers some dark topics including incest and racism. I found the first two parts of the four-part novel to be the most enjoyable with Benjy, Caddie and Quentin being my favourite, though extremely flawed, characters. I found Jason’s narrative particularly difficult to read due to his aggressive, hateful nature. I rated this novel five stars as I loved Faulkner’s writing and found the characters seemed, if anything, all-too real.

 

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I then had the privilege of  diving back into Sui Ishida‘s world Tokyo Ghoul. I’m surprised this is the only volume I have read thus far in 2017 having read volumes 1-6 last year. I, as usual, really enjoyed this volume giving it four out of five stars on Goodreads. However I found this instalment to be less complex than the others, sadly volume 7 seems to act as a filler in the series. Nevertheless I enjoyed being back in the world of ghouls and catching up with all of the characters that I loved. This volume in particular focused on torture and the human psyche.

 

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I read the first Volume of Monster by Naoki Urasawa on Halloween this year and was desperate to read more. After reading Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul I decided to pick up Volume 2 of Monster. I was challenged to read the first instalment by my younger sister who has a slight obsession with the series and I was not disappointed. This is a supernatural detective series based in Germany with the main character being a top surgeon turned unemployed independent investigator, Tenma. So far it is a cat-and-mouse chase between good and evil. What’s not to love? I gave this volume five stars and loved the new characters who were introduced.

 

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I then read The Waves by Virginia Woolf. This was also a very immersive reading experience as we are constantly reading different people’s perspectives, Woolf’s novella centres around a group of friends, the narrative voice switches between these characters after almost every paragraph. While I enjoyed this novella, I prefer To The Lighthouse. I look forward to reading more of Woolf’s novels in the future. I left this novella unrated as although I enjoy the book and its experimental form, I did not enjoy all of its characters finding some, particularly Bernard, rather boring.  

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Having read a short story collection, some classic novels and some Manga, I decided to broaden my reading by including some YA novels in this challenge. They are also faster to read which may have been an essential part of my reasoning.  I decided to finish off a series by reading the third and final instalment in The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken: In The Afterlight. This trilogy is basically X-Men except there are only five possible power groups and everyone who has mutated is of the same generation, the trilogy begins in one of the prisons set up to home these children and young adults and keep them apart from normal, less dangerous, society. While the trilogy is flawed in terms of the writing style and certain clichés littered throughout the storytelling,  I enjoyed the power system and the portrayal of friendship and found the messy ending realistic and appropriate.

 

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The second Young Adult novel I read this month was another recommended read by another younger sister, Angelfall by Susan Ee. This is another dystopia where Angels have come and tortured our mortal world. The novel is set in a ruined-cities, fight and steal for your food world in which the main character Penryn scrounges with her family: her mother and her disabled younger sister. At the beginning of the novel Penryn witnesses an unfair fight between Angels, her sister makes a noise that draws attention to her family so Penryn is forced to help the outnumbered Angel, by giving him back his weapon, so that the fight can continue and her family can escape. This fails and her sister is taken by one of the other Angels so Penryn forces the wounded, outnumbered Angel to take her to the home of Angels to retrieve her sister. While I enjoyed this novel I will not be continuing with the series.

 

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Having read some YA, I returned to Classic novels by reading another recommended novel, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. I loved this novel! What I loved about this novel was the relatable, every-day-life lens in which we gain insight into this completely foreign (to modern readers) nightmarish world of Auschwitz. I found that this was done really well with the book opening in 1947 with our narrator, Stingo being fascinated by his neighbour Sophie and her toxic relationship with Nathan. Therefore we first see Sophie outside of the War and outside of herself as we only ever see her as Stingo sees her. Although her choice is obvious to modern readers, it is not revealed until, I believe, the last fifty pages of this over 600 page novel. Similarly to Frankenstein, I did not go into this novel blind, having always known some aspects of the plot and yet I also found this novel to be nothing at all as I expected it to be. Central unexpected themes of this novel include Sex and Drugs and Poverty. I also gave this novel five stars on Goodreads.

 

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The ninth book I read this month is Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I picked this novel up due to the heavy themes in Sophie’s Choice, I thought it best to read something more fast paced (although I read Sophie’s Choice in two days) and less complex. However, this novel is unexpectedly layered.

Night Film is a multi-media thriller with perhaps supernatural elements? The novel opens with the apparent suicide of a 24 year old girl named Ashley Cordova, daughter of illusive cult-horror film director Stanislas Cordova. Cordova’s films have spawned true-crime and as a result are banned, they are sold illegally and watched underground. There are many myths and legends surrounding the family. The narrator’s career in journalism was ruined when sued for slander years previously by Cordova himself.  At the beginning of the novel he decides to investigate the death of Cordova’s daughter as an opportunity to learn more on the family and is joined by two secondary characters, both with connections to Ashley, in his quest for the truth. There are some scenes in the novel that could be classed as Horror however the novel is primarily detective fiction, the ending is ambiguous and the subject of controversy. The novel also has interactive elements, different video clips etc you can access on your smart phone.

Personally, I enjoyed the ambiguous ending and have my own preferred theory which I obviously will not disclose here. There were some parts of the novel where I felt the pacing was wrong and one or two theories I felt were out of place however I enjoyed the fact that this is a somewhat messy read, if you like stories and relationships to be rounded off perfectly I would avoid reading Night Film. I will definitely be reading more of Pessl’s fiction, I gave this novel four out of five stars.

 

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Then I purchased and read the latest volume of The Ghastling: ‘Tales of the Macabre, Ghosts and the oh-so Strange’ edited by Rebecca Parfitt.  I would highly recommend this collection especially for this time of year! There are nine spooky stories in the collection, each vastly different in content and atmosphere. My three favourites are ‘Heartwood’ by Carly Holmes about a mother who is part-tree, this one I found to be one of the less scary stories in the collection but loved the Gothic-fairytale feel, ‘At The Stroke’ by Laura Maria Grierson which is a family tale about a broken Grandfather clock and a dying mother, this has a creepy, haunting undertone to the narrative and ‘The Last Laugh’ about an arcade worker and a laughing clown machine which is as menacing as it sounds. Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable anthology that can be revisited in the future.

 

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So far I’ve had a very fortunate experience with this challenge, I am doing well with the number of books read so far. More importantly, the quality of the books have been high. I hope this continues throughout the challenge and that it remains enjoyable. Wish me luck,

 

Sophie

March Wrap Up

In total last month I read seven novels and six graphic novels. I only read one classic which will hopefully never happen again for the remainder of 2017. My book of the month was Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which is in fact the one classic of March. You can find a review of my book of the month here. My favourite graphic novel was Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Fraction and Zdarsky as it was the most original of the six. The Honourable mention of March goes to Cress by Marissa Meyer which I can’t say much about as it is the third book in a series.

 

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Since its publication in 2003, nearly 7 million readers have discovered “The Kite Runner.” Through Khaled Hosseini’s brilliant writing, a previously unknown part of the world was brought to vivid life for readers. Now, in this beautifully illustrated graphic novel adaptation, Hosseini brings his compelling story to a new generation of readers 

The Kite Runner Graphic Novel by Hosseini, Andolfo, Valsecchi and Celoni. I have previously read the original novel which is one of my all time favourites so this was a reread for me. It was adapted well although it took a while to get into as I felt that in the beginning too much of the story was missed and it felt patchy. This is of course not a problem readers who haven’t previously read the novel would have. I really enjoyed the artist’s interpretation of the characters and liked the colour palette.

 

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“Y” is none other than unemployed escape artist Yorick Brown (his father was a Shakespeare buff), and he’s seemingly the only male human left alive after a mysterious plague kills all Y-chromosome carriers on earth. But why are he and his faithful companion, the often testy male monkey Ampersand, still alive? He sets out to find the answer (and his girlfriend), while running from angry female Republicans (now running the government), Amazon wannabes that include his own sister (seemingly brainwashed), and other threats.

Y: The Last Man by Vaughan, Guerra and Marzán Jr. This was my first Vaughan graphic novel and while I know it won’t be my last I don’t think this one is outstanding. Nevertheless it was entertaining and I enjoyed the art therefore I will be continuing with the series. That being said, having only read this volume I cannot see myself buying the series, I will try and request Volume Two from my local library.

 

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‘Elizabeth is missing.’ Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten. Still, the notes about Elizabeth nag at her. When was the last time she spoke with her best friend? It feels like ages ago…

Frustratingly, no one seems willing to help Maud find her: not the police nor Elizabeth’s son – not even Maud’s own daughter or granddaughter. It’s like they’re hiding something.

Maud resolves to take matters into her own hands, and begins digging for the truth. There are many clues, but unhelpfully, they all seem to point to another unsolved disappearance: that of Maud’s sister Sukey just after the war.

Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance lead Maud to the truth about Elizabeth? As Maud’s mind retreats into the past at a frightening pace, alienating her from her family and carers, vivid memories of what happened over fifty years ago come flooding back to give her quest new momentum.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. This is a book that had lots of hype. I enjoyed the novel although perhaps enjoyed its sub-plot the most. The characters are memorable and while it will not be making my 2017 favourites I would recommend this book to others. Especially those who enjoy unreliable narrators. It was a fast and entertaining read.

 

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Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

The Girl in the Red Coatby Kate Hamer. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Healey’s crime novel. I found the characters less memorable and while Hamer’s novel was entertaining overall, I found myself getting bored about halfway through.

 

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The classic bestselling book the subject of a play, a movie, and a song that tells the darkly fascinating story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Read more here!

 

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Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Another hyped novel, this book read like a classic and has some memorable characters, although in my opinion Chbosky’s novel has stronger male characters than female. Nevertheless The Perks of Being a Wallflower made my list of Top 10 YA novels.  You can read more about my thoughts of the novel by clicking the title link. I also watched the movie adaptation this month which I also really enjoyed, especially the dance floor scene.

 

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From the author of The Sky Is Every­where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying – all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. If only I’d read that Goodreads blurb before reading, “For fans of John Green” I agree with this comparison. This was a hyped novel that I honestly found underwhelming, I found it full of clichés, I did not like the relationship between the two main characters or even the characters themselves. While I did enjoy Noah’s narrative more I still did not particularly enjoy Nelson’s YA novel. It is also really long so overall an unfortunately disappointing read.

 

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Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, another book I did not enjoy this month which I’m deeply disappointed by as it is one of my reading goals to read more non-fiction, memoirs included. However I will not be reading any of Moran’s other works, the humour was not for me.

 

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The Definitive Deadpool by  Fabian NiciezaJoe MadureiraJoe KellyTony MooreDaniel WayRob LiefeldPaco MedinaAlé Garza , Brian PosehnGerry Duggan

This was as I expected it to be, some of it was entertaining and witty and other parts I found boring. The problem probably stemmed from the fact that while I enjoy certain superheroes I am more a fan of X-Men and Batman than other Marvel characters or in this case individual Marvel characters. I am not an Avengers fan for instance as I think they always try too hard to be funny. Therefore I guess I’m trying to say take my words with a pinch of salt.

 

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Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by the black Crosses.
Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.
In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.
And then the bomb explodes . . .

The long-awaited graphic novel adaptation of one of the most influential, critically acclaimed and original novels of all time, from multi-award-winning Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses Graphic Novel by Blackman and John Aggs, another reread for me. I enjoyed the graphic novel and found that the story flowed better in this adaptation than it did in The Kite Runner: A Graphic Novel however I liked the art less. I would recommend the novel over the graphic novel. 

 

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Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks. A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here!

Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Fraction and Zdarsky, a highly original and funny graphic novel. I can’t go into it without spoilers but I will vaguely say that I had an issue with the characters introduced at the end of the novel and what they were there for. I will also try to request Volume Two from my local library.

 

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Cress by Marissa Meyer. I can’t insert a blurb for this one as it is the third in a series. However, I will be doing a spoiler review of The Lunar Chronicles once I have read the final novel Winter.

 

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Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman, a family history of the holocaust. This graphic novel is deeply effecting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My Year in Books: 2016

How many books did you read this year?

93 books which was pretty good considering my reading dramatically decreased after April.

What was your number one TOP FAVORITE of them?

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The Magician’s Nephew by C. S Lewis, fantastical and hysterical, what’s not to love? Also I actually forgot I read it last year until doing this post so my 2016 favourites post is factually inaccurate, I apologise.

Favorite new-to-you author that you discovered this year?

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Best new-to-you book by an author you already liked?

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I love Hemingway’s writing and was surprised to find this novel a romance! It made me cry on its last page and I’m a huge fan, he also remains one of the only writers to make me care about setting.

 

What book were you surprised to like?

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I was surprised to like this novel simply because I didn’t know too much about its plot, ultimately I’m glad this was the case and I’d like to watch the movie this year.

 

What was the funniest book you read this year?

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I love Mindy Kaling’s humour and how down to Earth she remains. I did a review of this audiobook which you can read here.

What book made you cry?

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It is far too easy to make me cry. In the end it was the relationship between the sisters Rose and protagonist Eilis in Brooklyn that made me cry.

What was the most beautifully written?

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I loved Dostoyevsky’s writing, I also have a review of this novel that you can read here.

 

Most thought-provoking or life-changing?

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Sky Burial by Xinran which also has a beautiful cover.

 

Most unputdownable?

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Fruits Basket was far too charming and lighthearted to want to put down.

 

Most shocking or disturbing?

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And not in a good way.

 

Most imaginative?

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This made my top 10 reads list for last year. Ness’s novel is about a group of teens at a local high school who are not ‘the chosen ones.’ It’s hilarious.

 

Who was the most memorable character of the year?

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People are probably tired of hearing me talk about this fictional character but Leo Denton was my favourite character of the year.

 

Most memorable friendship or romance?

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The Six of Crows gang!

 

What genre or subject matter did you try that you normally don’t read?

Celebrity Autobiography.

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I own more autobiographies and they are mostly by musicians. Bruce did not disappoint!

 

What book can you not believe you waited this long to get to?

1984

 

What books did you read based mostly on recommendation or peer pressure?

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Which of your reads did you recommend most to others?

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Did you start or finish a series?

I started and finished A Song of Ice and Fire, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games. I finished The Mortal Instruments at the beginning of the year and started reading The Infernal Devices at the end of the year and the latter was quite frankly a waste of my time. I also started Tokyo Ghoul which is AMAZING, Fruits Basket which is good though I prefer Ishida’s series. In addition I began The African Trilogy by China Achebe, The Poirot Mysteries and The Richard Hannay series by John Buchan. As previously mentioned I also started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia. Clearly it was a year of series for me in 2016.

 

Shortest book?

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Longest?

Probably one from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series if not an instalment in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. 

 

Favorite cover of the year?

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What was your favorite reading spot?

The Scottish Highlands on Honeymoon.

 

Did you read anything published within the year?

No

 

Did you watch a movie based on a book you’d read?

I watched all of The Hunger Games films as well as The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I also watched the film adaptation of Cirque Du Freak and although I LOVE John C Reilly it left me underwhelmed, if only they put as much time into this series as they did with Harry Potter.

 

Which books were re-reads?

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What are you most excited to read next year?

So many Classics!

 

And lastly… THE LIST! All of your reads from this year, ready, go!

  1. Jan 4th City of Bones- Cassandra Clare
  2. Jan 7th City of Ashes- Cassandra Clare
  3. Jan 10th City of Glass- Cassandra Clare
  4. Jan 10th City of Fallen Angels- Cassandra Clare
  5. Jan 13th City of Lost Souls- Cassandra Clare
  6. Jan 13th City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare
  7. Jan 17th A Game of Thrones- George R R Martin
  8. Jan 21st The Magicians Nephew- C.S Lewis
  9. Jan 21st A Clash of Kings- George R R Martin
  10. Jan 24th A Storm of Swords 1- George R R Martin
  11. Jan 27th A Storm of Swords 2- George R R Martin
  12. Jan 29th A Feast for Crows- George R R Martin
  13. Jan 3oth A Dance With Dragons 1- George R R Martin
  14. Jan 31st A Dance With Dragons 2- George R R Martin
  15. Feb 1st My Antonia- Willa Cather
  16. Feb 8th Notes From Underground- Dostoyevsky
  17. Feb 11th The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey
  18. Feb 17th The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
  19. Feb 17th A Farewell To Arms- Ernest Hemingway
  20. Feb 18th Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins
  21. Feb 20th Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins
  22. Feb 21st The Maze Runner- James Dashner
  23. Feb 22nd The Last Summer of Us- Maggie Harcourt
  24. Feb 24th The Revenant- Michael Punke
  25. Feb 25th Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
  26. Feb 26th A Tiny Feeling of Fear- M. Jonathan Lee
  27. Feb 26th Sky Burial- Xinran
  28. Feb 28th A Spool of Blue Thread- Anne Tyler
  29. Feb 29th Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud- Andy Lane
  30. Feb 29th The Old Man of The Moon- Shen Fu
  31. March 4th Paper Towns- John Green
  32. March 7th Oryx and Crake- Margaret Atwood
  33. March 10th The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd
  34. March 12th The Purgatorium- Eva Pohler
  35. March 15th The Mysterious Affair at Styles- Agatha Christie
  36. March 15th The Scorch Trials- James Dashner
  37. March 15th The Death Cure- James Dashner
  38. March 21st The Year of the Flood- Margaret Atwood
  39. March 22nd The Pilgrims- Mary Shelley
  40. March 26th Scarlet- Marissa Meyer
  41. March 29th Tokyo Ghoul 1- Sui Ishida
  42. March 31st Tokyo Ghoul 2- Sui Ishida
  43. April 1st The Radio- M. Jonathan Lee
  44. April 1st Tokyo Ghoul 3- Sui Ishida
  45. April 4th Cirque Du Freak- Darren Shan
  46. April 4th The Vampire’s Assistant- Darren Shan
  47. April 5th Tunnels of Blood- Darren Shan
  48. April 5th Through the Woods- Emily Carroll
  49. April 5th Fairest Vol 1, Wide Awake- Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes
  50. April 6th Vampire Mountain- Darren Shan
  51. April 7th Trials of Death-Darren Shan
  52. April 8th American Vampire Vol 1- Scott Snyder, Stephen King, Raphael Albuquerque
  53. April 9th Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell
  54. April 13th The Vampire Prince- Darren Shan
  55. April 14th Gate7 Vol 1- CLAMP
  56. April 21st Wolverine and the X-men Vol 1- Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw
  57. April 21st We Need New Names- NoViolet Bulawayo
  58. April 24th The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo Graphic Novel – Denise Mina, Andrea Mutti, Leonardo Manco
  59. April 27th Hunters of the Dusk- Darren Shan
  60. April 28th Allies of the Night- Darren Shan
  61. April 28th Killers of the Dawn- Darren Shan
  62. April 28th Tokyo Ghoul 4 by Sui Ishida
  63. May 4th The Lake of Souls- Darren Shan
  64. May 4th Lord of the Shadows- Darren Shan
  65. May 6th Sons of Destiny- Darren Shan
  66. June 2nd Tokyo Ghoul 5- Sui Ishida
  67. June 7th Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo
  68. July 11th Tokyo Ghoul 6- Sui Ishida
  69. July 13th Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks
  70. July 14th Wolf- Ales Kot, Lee Loughridge, Matt Taylor
  71. July 19th More Than This- Patrick Ness
  72. July 20th Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café- Fannie Flagg
  73. July 20th Catch 22- Joseph Heller
  74. Aug 6th Throne of Glass- Sarah J Maas
  75. Aug 6th The Man in the High Castle- Philip K Dick
  76. Sep 22nd And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini
  77. Nov 8th Brooklyn- Colm Toibin
  78. Nov 8th: Me Before You- JoJo Moyes
  79. Nov 9th: Poison Study- Maria V. Snyder
  80. Nov 15th: Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
  81. Nov 22nd: Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen
  82. Nov 25th: The 39 Steps- John Buchan
  83. Nov 30th: The Art of Being Normal- Lisa Williamson
  84. Dec 1st: The Pact- Jodi Picoult
  85. Dec 7th:The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult
  86. Dec 13th: A Little Princess- Frances Hodgson Burnett
  87. Dec 14th: 1984- George Orwell
  88. Dec 14th: We All Looked Up- Tommy Wallach
  89. Dec 20th: A Possible Life- Sebastian Faulks
  90. Dec19th: Clockwork Angel- Cassandra Clare
  91. Dec19th: The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness
  92. Dec 20th: Fruits Basket- Natsuki Takaya
  93. Dec 23rd: Clockwork Prince- Cassandra Clare

 

 

Library Haul

Today I joined my local library and went a little bit crazy. I ended up carrying 17 books all the way home, only four fit in my bag so it turned out to be quite the work-out as some of the books are quite heavy. I went looking primarily for Graphic Novels, unfortunately I only left with three as the others I had read before or the first volume was missing.

I left with 13 fiction novels, one non-fiction and, of course, three graphic novels.

The three graphic novels I picked up are:

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Adolfo. I class Hosseini’s novel as one of my favourite books therefore I’m excited to see how well it’s adapted.

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I then picked up The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman which “memorialises Spiegelman’s father’s experience of the Holocaust- it follows his story frame by frame from youth to marriage in pre-war Poland to imprisonment in Auschwitz” (Independent) This graphic novel was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and I am so excited to read it. The illustrations are in black and white and it is very reminiscent of classic comic-strip style.

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The final graphic novel I checked out is Y: The Last Man which has a huge fan base. It was made by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr. Inside it is much more colourful than its title page but I’m excited to form my own opinion on this series. I believe this one is about a plague.

Onto the novels I picked up…

I have a deep love and respect for any novel that can make people laugh and have heard that this novel is exceptionally funny…

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I don’t believe I’ve read a Muriel Spark novel before and as I would like to read more literature from my home land this year I am highly anticipating this one.

 

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Another extremely popular novel I picked up was Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey which is a thriller narrated by a character with a mental illness. The concept alone is intriguing and I have heard that it is a very quick and easy read, as one would expect a thriller to be.

 

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I have a follower on Instagram who enjoyed both Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer which I also picked up so I assume if you like one you’ll like the other. This is also a thriller or psychological drama and is supposed to be best read in one sitting. Challenge accepted.

 

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Sebastian Faulks is a novelist I believe I read for the first time last year. I have read Birdsong and A Possible Life and thoroughly enjoyed both. To be honest I picked this one up purely because I want to read more of his work. The blurb does not give too much away but it will go through various time periods I think trying to tell a family history though I am unsure. I’m hoping I will enjoy it as much as Birdsong.

 

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Similarly, I have also read Lloyd Jones before and have always meant to pick up another of his novels. I read Mister Pip years ago and I enjoyed it so I was pleased to find Hand Me Down World hidden in the shelves. Again, the blurb is crazy and leads me baffled so I guess I’m going into this one blind.

 

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In contrast, I have also read a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and, as you may know from my Unpopular Opinions Book Tag post, I found it bland and predictable. However I never rule out an author until I have read at least two of their novels. Picking up this book from the library allows me to give Ishiguro’s writing another chance and means that even if I don’t enjoy it at least I didn’t pay for it. Are you a fan of Ishiguro? and if so what is your favourite novel? Is there anyone who loves him but didn’t enjoy Never Let Me Go?

 

My next selection is also Japanese Literature and is Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. She is one of Japan’s most popular and contemporary novelists and I have wanted to read this book for such a long time! so excited I finally have a copy! This novel is about Tsukiko who finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass they come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly towards love. I want to read a novel of each genre this year and this sounds like the perfect choice for romance.

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The next novel I picked up was winner of The Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. Its author Téa Obreht was born in the former Yugoslavia and was raised in Belgrade. The novel is of course The Tiger’s Wife.  I will insert the blurb as I think it’s enchanting. I have high hopes for this one.

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My grandfather never refers to the tiger’s wife by name. His arm is around me and my feet are on the handrail, and my grandfather might say ‘I once knew a girl who loved tigers so much she became one herself.’ Because I am little, and my love for tigers comes directly from him, I believe he is talking about me, offering me a fairy tale in which I can imagine myself- and will, for years and years.

 

Now for the only non-fiction novel I picked up. In all honesty it is my least anticipated read because I do not know anything about the author, Caitlin Moran. Also the two quotes on the book cover are from Nigella Lawson and Jonathan Ross and I unfortunately trust neither. However it is highly recommended on social media and is supposed to be very witty.

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Back to the fiction…

I also carried home Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw. I have only just now remembered how I know the author’s name….I have been challenged to read another of his novels this year! (see Annual Reading Challenge) This novel was long listed for the Man Booker in 2013 and is set in Shanghai and centres on five newcomers who hope to make their fortunes and find their way in the big city.

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Now for a 613 page novel which did not make it easy for me to carry all of these books home…

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This book is also very well known and I believe largely well liked. I would also prefer to go into this one blind.What intrigued me about The Bone Clocks was that I have heard from people who have read it that it is difficult to place into a single genre, and while that might be said of all novels I remain interested.

 

Up next is the 2014 winner of the Man Booker Prize and I now realise this blog post is also an unintentional pop quiz. It is of course Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North which I have actually been told not to read because it is so bad. However in a really odd way it is this strong opinion of Flanagan’s novel that makes me want to read it. So if I don’t enjoy this novel then really I can only blame myself…

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And finally the last two novels I picked up are The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which I am sure you have seen all over bookstagram and booktube lately. And The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon which I believe is a fantasy/sci-fi series written of course by a female author.

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Obviously I don’t know how many of these books I will get to but at the moment my intention is to read all of them…

Wish me luck!
Sophie

 

 

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

This one has been done and done again and I love it. I’ve actually done this tag before which you can find here. Here we go again….

(1) A novel that everyone else likes but you hate..

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I am unsure where the twist is in this novel? Because I did not read one. The blurb describes the school in the novel as idyllic or maybe even ‘seemingly idyllic’ I can’t remember. It was way overhyped in my opinion and I found it bland and predictable as previously mentioned.

 

(2) A novel everyone else hates but you like….

Amongst my friends this novel is very unpopular but I truly love it. Criticisms are that its boring and too scientific but I find it moving and completely unique.

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(3) An OTP that you hate

Real controversial…

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When I read this novel I did not believe Elizabeth and Darcy were well suited other than the fact they’re both kinda shitty people. Yes I am very eloquent.

 

(4) A popular genre you rarely reach for…

Sadly this answer hasn’t changed, it’s still romance. Any recommendations?

 

(5) A popular character you hate…

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Dimitri from the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead, he started off well and he got so very boring and stereotypical.

 

(6) A popular author you can’t get into

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(7) A popular trope you are tired of seeing…

The Chosen One or the person who becomes better than their teacher at something straight away aka The Chosen One. I feel like the novels Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Throne of Glass and Poison Study and of course Harry Potter though this is done well here. As a refreshing view on this trope I would recommend..

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Yes this is a novel about the non-Chosen ones.

 

(8) A popular book or series you have no interest in reading.

Anything by J.K Rowling. I loved (and now love slightly less) Harry Potter, it’s magical. However J.K Rowling puts me off reading more of her novels. I feel like I will read it and then she will tell me how I was supposed to read it and how diverse it was after leaving no clues to how diverse it was in the book itself. I don’t think she needs to be so quick to defend herself all the time when the popularity of her books prove how well loved they are regardless. Stop trying to prove you’re a good person as that was never in question, also stop getting into twitter wars.  It’s the old death of the author debate.

 

(9) What adaptation do you think is better than the book?

Most recently it has to be The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. I am yet to see all of the first series but what I have watched I loved and I hated the novel. The adaptation is completely different and I would recommend it (so far.)

What are some of your unpopular opinions?

 

Sophie

Adaptation Wishlist Book Tag

This tag was created by the wonderful SheMightBeMonica. As you all know we are both huge fans of adaptations- in particular movie adaptations therefore we were drawn to this tag and its unique concept. There are five categories for adaptations and we will both attempt to give an answer for each one.

First up is movie adaptations; what book do we want to see on the big screen?

D: I would like to see a modern movie adaptation Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. If I could choose the cast I would like to see Ryan Gosling as the lead. I believe this is a novel that would benefit from the technological advancements of today.

S: I would like to see Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, I like what are to me similar movies Dangerous Minds and Coach Carter and believe this kind of tale works well on screen. For a more unique movie I would like to see The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson because the characters are very real and Leo Denton is one of my favourite fictional characters of recent times and the world needs to meet him.

 

What book would we like to be adapted into a TV show?

D: I think Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay would be well suited to TV. Especially due to the fact his works are connected therefore there could be different series based on different novels.

S: I would also like to see The Darren Shan Saga as a (obviously well-adapted) tv series. I would also enjoy TV series based on Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series and Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

 

Interestingly the next category is what book would we like to see as a cartoon?

D: My selection is The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken as I think it would be difficult to master the special effects needed for a movie adaptation.

S: I would like to see Dr Seuss’s works as modern cartoons. I also think a children’s cartoon of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer would be great as fairytales never grow old.

 

What would we like to see adapted into a comic book or graphic novel?

D: I would like to see a Graphic novel adaptation of Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events due to it’s dark nature and memorable quips.

S: I’d like to see Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente as a Graphic Novel as the novel is full of imagery. I also think The Martian by Andy Weir would work well as a comic due to its wit and humour and I would like to read a science fiction comic.

 

The next category is book to play. Which novel do we think would translate well on stage?

D: Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is the novel that I believe is best suited to the stage. I think it would be appropriate due to the dialogue and subject matter.

S: To be honest I don’t know enough as I’d like to about plays which may be reflected in my choices. I hope to not only watch and read more of them this year but learn more about plays too. For this category I seemed unable to choose just one novel. As I mentioned I would like to see more plays and here is a list of a few I would like to see… Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald as it is differs from his other works, at least in my opinion and the relationships between characters would make an interesting drama. I would also like to see Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle stop Café by Fannie Flagg on stage and believe the plot to be if anything more fitting to the stage. I can picture the setting now. Deathnote by Tsugumi Ohba would also be absolutely incredible to see on stage. If they have been adapted in this form before then please let me know in the comments. Finally, my last wish is for Nella Larsen’s Passing to be shown in theaters, I loved this novella when I read it for University and believe the characters and plot would shine on stage.

 

The final category is musical…

D: I think Kerouac’s On The Road should be adapted into a jazz fuelled musical.

S: For some reason my gut is telling me The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald although this is one of my favourite novels and while it could be terrible, it has the potential to be great. Other options popping into my head are Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

 

We tag: TeaPartiesatAnteiku and TheGingerBlogster