Books of the year so far

 

Books are my favourite things ever. I often think that if I’d lived in the times before writing, I’d have either broken the rules to learn it or would have sat around the fire every night to listen to the tales of the villagers. Today we have an extreme amount of choices for reading and sometimes it doesn’t make things easy. Some books take long to read, others never get read and some others cause so much joy, they get read every now and then again and again.

Behind the curtain @MFA Photos (me 🙂 )

But let’s talk about this year. The first half of the year I didn’t read as many books as I planned. I pledged to read 103 books this year on GoodReads (very optimistic since I managed about 86 in 2016) and having done the count just now, I’ve read 19 in these 6 months. Ouch!

Books I loved

Tuck Everlasting  by Natalie Babbitt

A delightful read of immortality told by a headstrong 10-year-old  presented in beautiful writing.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

The writing feels like this August week, slow, quiet, pensive. But it’s a thought-inspiring story that will make you consider family, love, time, greed and choices:

“You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I read it based on a recommendation of a blogger friend and I did not disappoint. It’s a wonderful story of a young love, starting slow, with frequent setbacks until it shines so bright our young heroes want to see nothing else. Unfortunately their circumstances don’t allow this happy ending so they fight, for themselves, for each other, for their own happiness. Beautifully written, real, sensitive, emotional.

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

While My Eyes Were Closed  by Linda Green

Very interesting book, discussing inner emotions of the narrators, of which we have 3: two mothers and one of their sons. It’s a tale of loss, and a tale of healing with beautiful, slow prose that allows time to really feel their pain, their love, their joy and their struggles.

“I have quite forgotten what it feels like to be smiled at like that. As if someone has installed central heating in my bloodstream.”

“The art of reading is to know and understand the things which go unsaid. There is as much to be learned from the spaces between, the empty lines, as there is from the words on the page.”

The Creative’s Curse  by Todd Brison

Perfect for when you need some motivation to go for your dreams, to keep at it, to never give up. It’s short and sweet, with useful exercises, information and positive reassurance.

“Do no create content. Create art. Do not create like a business man. Create like a human being. Do not create with your brain. Create with your soul.”

 

Books I enjoyed

In addition to my before-mentioned favourites, I had the pleasure to encounter other lovely books as well that I would definitely recommend.

Crooked House by Agatha Christie

I haven’t read many stories from Agatha Christie even though I love the genre of crime. She just feels like an old aunt that you can visit when you need to slow down, not someone that you see every day. This story kept me guessing and I enjoyed the characters and their relationships.

The Black Mage series by Rachel E. Carter

It’s one of those fantasy series that you want to read one after another. I loved almost everything about it, the world creation, the setup, most of the characters. I especially appreciated that our heroine did not become the best by having born with her talent but through perseverance and hard work. There should be more heroes and heroines like this.

Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft (Jane Madison #1)  by Mindy Klasky

It was a lovely read – easy, light-hearted, a spice of fantasy and a very real heroine. It’s simple entertainment and very good at that.

“I’d heard there were two things you never wanted to witness being made: sausage and legislation.”

Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris.

Technically I didn’t finish this one but only because it didn’t apply to me but it IS a good book. I enjoyed reading it and it mixes the right amount of personal experience with general theory and for I can see how it would help those who struggle taking time out for themselves. I, for one, excel at that – maybe too much 🙂

Maids of Misfortune (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #1) by M. Louisa Locke

A historical setting, a strong heroine who is NOT looking for love to complete her life, a mysterious death and some investigating. The strength of the novel is the characters, who keep the story interesting.

Books I fought my way through

Trigger (Origin #1) by Scarlett Dawn

A dystopian future with shape shifter. I feel really cheated with this book because I totally adore the setting and would love to read about the world but not about these characters and not in this style. Characters are very important for me, and the ones in Trigger have no depth or variety. I’m not big on sex scenes and it has plenty of them. I will say this though: if you like basic romance with long sex scenes and flawless people, you will like this book.

Sign Off (Caught Dead in Wyoming #1)  by Patricia McLinn

A crime solved by reporters. I struggled with this book because the crime thread was really good and well-built – it kept me want to read on. Even some of the characters were a pleasure to meet  (Diana, the tough, clever camera woman who knows her way around office politics) but sadly they were minor characters. The main ones did not draw me in, especially not our narrator.  I never warmed to the style of writing that felt forced and unnecessarily complicated: “she hoisted a handbag so large its leather could have upholstered my car, and proceeded regally to the door, with Mike and me in her train.”

Brainrush (Brainrush #1) by Richard Bard

Good things about the book: a main character who is easy to like, his strong friendships, steady qualities. The premise is exciting: our lovely hero accidentally acquires super-mental powers.

Bad things about the book: the rest. It features a one-dimensional villain, the usual damsel-in-distress, a hard-to-believe set of rescuers and an unnecessary line of terrorism.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)  by Sarah J. Maas

It’s one of the books where the heroine starts out strong, then meets a guy and loses everything that makes her outstanding. Not something to aspire to!

Next steps

If I want to reach my goal of 103 books by the end of the year, I will have to read 84 books in 6 months. In other words, 14 per month or almost 4 a week. I read fast when I put my mind to it but it still sounds rather unrealistic.

I remember we had this constant debate with my AIESEC team at university about goals: should they be attainable or should we aim for higher in the hope of reaching more than we think we can? I was in the former group: I prefer goals that I can reach and then can celebrate.

So I now have reformed my goal: I will read one book a week for the next 26 weeks, giving me a total target of 45. It’s a lot less than my original goal (or even my last year) but it’s something I know I can achieve. If I surpass it, even better!

Reader question:

Did you set out a target for books to read in 2017? How are you doing so far? What were your favourite reads?

 

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. scr4pl80 says:

    I have been doing the Pop Sugar reading challenge the past couple of years. I like matching books to different categories and it gets me out of the habit of reading constant mystery stories, which I would do. I set my goal for 25 this year and I am on book 12 so I may make my goal. Great post, Miss Andi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miss Andi says:

      Well done, you’re right on schedule! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. QP and Eye says:

        I haven’t heard of the Pop Sugar challenge but it sounds like fun. I set mine up with Goodreads but will check yours out too. 🤗 Linda

        Like

  2. QP and Eye says:

    I am in awe of the challenge you set yourself. I’m in kindergarten having set 15 as my challenge with so much else going on. Liked the critiques so loved this post Miss Andi and I’m checking out Tuck Everlasting on Kindle. 🦄 Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miss Andi says:

      Thank you Linda, I’m glad you found a book to check out and I’m sure you’ll like that story.
      As for the challenge, I believe the number only holds significance for us since we all have different priorities and circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AimeeKay says:

    I’m trying the goodreads challenge. I gave myself a goal of 50, I’ve read 14 and am apparently 11 behind where I should be now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miss Andi says:

      I’m sure you can make up for it if you want! ☺

      Like

  4. AK.Prowling says:

    Hey Andi! Hope you are doing well. Thank you for your recommendations; I’m going to definitely read the ones that you loved. I have nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award (and I also happened to see your comment on one of my posts, so thanks for the nomination as well!).

    https://akprowling.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/i-won-an-award/

    Love,
    Anjali

    Like

    1. Miss Andi says:

      Hi Anjali, you’re welcome and glad you’re back, hope you’ll write again on the blog! ☺

      Like

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