2018 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2016 > Amanda R's going for 75 books in 2016

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message 1: by Amanda (last edited Nov 05, 2016 09:53PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Here's my challenge for 2016. 30 books. I'm looking forward to it!
It's July and I'm now going for 60 books, September 70 books, November 75 books


message 2: by Kadijah Michelle, Group Organization (new)

Kadijah Michelle (Kadmich) | 1812 comments Welcome! What are you planning to read first?


message 3: by Amanda (last edited Jan 07, 2016 11:29PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Hi, I've just started reading The Martian by Andy Weir on ebook for the January read and I've also just started The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. Happy New Year when it comes! What are you reading?


message 4: by Kadijah Michelle, Group Organization (new)

Kadijah Michelle (Kadmich) | 1812 comments I'm reading The Martian too, and Persuasion.


message 5: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments I've finished my first book. Well, a short story really. A free download. It is Shopaholic on Honeymoon by Sophie Kinsella. Finished today 6th January. I love Sophie Kinsella. I've read 6 of the Shopaholic series, well 7 now! There is another to read on my shelf which I'm planning in for this year: Shopaholic to the Stars. Looking forward to it. I read Shopaholic on Honeymoon for the challenge The Small Yearly Challenge - A Book you can Finish in One Day.
What I would say about the book is that it's nice for Shopaholic fans to read a little bit more about Becky. The only downpoint is it stops rather abruptly. It feels like there was more of a story to follow. I give it 2 stars for that reason.


message 6: by Megan (new)

Megan (LahaiRoi) | 4271 comments Congrats on finishing your first book in 2016!


message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Thanks Megan!


message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments I've finished my second book of the year. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. I read this book as a Buddy Read which was fun. The first one I've done. It's a way of encouraging each other to read further in the book and I would definitely recommend it. I read this book for 3 challenges! The Around the World in Books Challenge - the author is from Australia; The New 2 U Challenge and the Mystery, Crime and Thriller Challenge.
It is the story of Grace who was a servant in the House at Riverton. She is now in her nineties and reflecting on her life at the house. Family secrets and a suicide are intertwined with the goings on in the servants' quarters and the upbringing of the three children of the house. The First World War also adds to the drama. If you like a good story with identifiable characters, then this is the book for you. The pace picks up towards the end which calls for an interesting and exciting read. I gave it 4 stars.


message 9: by Amanda (last edited Jan 14, 2016 11:15PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments My third book finished 13/1/16 is The Newton Letter by John Banville. It's a story of 80 pages about a writer who wants to finish his book on Isaac Newton and rents his house in the countryside to get some peace and quiet to do this. Through other distractions his book does not get completed. That's all I'm going to say. I read The Sea by John Banville and I really enjoyed it so was keen to read something else by him. He writes in a beautiful way. Here is a quote from the book: "By the force of my unwavering, meticulous attention she would rise on her scallop shell through the waves and be." So poetic.
This book is the third in The Revolutions Trilogy.They focus on men of science, the other two stories being about Dr. Copernicus and Kepler. John Banville is also known as the crime writer Benjamin Black. I haven't read the other two stories or a crime novel by Black. Something to add to my TBR!
I rated The Newton Letter with 3 stars.


message 10: by Amanda (last edited Jan 17, 2016 10:05PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments My fourth book completed is The Martian by Andy Weir. I finished it on 16/1/16.
I have to admit space, science fiction, it's not the genre I would choose. However, Matt Damon is in the film and I think he's a great actor so when a group read for The Martian was announced, I thought, right I'm going for it. I read it on my iphone. Also a newish experience - I've done it once before. Oh yeah, and I read it in Dutch. I'm Scottish but I live in the Netherlands so do tend to read books in Dutch as well as English. The first five chapters were very technical and I wondered if I was going to survive but then the story kicked in and it wasn't just Mark Watney's (the astronaut) logbook. The background is that Mark has been left for dead on Mars by his crew but he is actually alive. His character is likeable, he makes a lot of jokes and tries to make the best of the situation. The ultimate question is, will he ever get rescued? While he encounters many difficulties, as a reader I was willing him not to give up hope. Next stop the film!
I rated The Martian with 4 stars.


message 11: by Megan (new)

Megan (LahaiRoi) | 4271 comments Amanda wrote: "My fourth book completed is The Martian by Andy Weir. I finished it on 16/1/16.
I have to admit space, science fiction, it's not the genre I would choose. However, ..."


Glad you enjoyed the story, despite the techie stuff! Highly recommend the movie! Matt Damon definitely deserved his Golden Globe!


message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments I'l need to watch it sooner now :)


message 13: by Brendon (new)

Brendon (bmsoltis) | 16 comments Amanda wrote: "My fourth book completed is The Martian by Andy Weir. I finished it on 16/1/16.
I have to admit space, science fiction, it's not the genre I would choose. However, ..."


oooooo The Martian has been on my list since it was published. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it, particularly because it is outside your genre of choice. I hope to read it this year as a part of my challenge too.


message 14: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Go for it Brendon!


message 15: by Liene (new)

Liene (rasaslase) | 105 comments The Martian is on my to-read list too. Not sure if i`m going to read this year, because i have so much to read, but you never know.


message 16: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments A good book will never go away!


message 17: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 5. Completed The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky on 19/01/16.
For lovers of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger this is definitely a book to recommend. It is a coming of age story about Charlie written in the form of letters to "a friend". Charlie is a bit of an outsider and his life picks up when he meets Patrick and Sam who help him through his many teenage trials. It's a life where mixed tapes, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, parties and family relationships play a key part together with book recommendations from his teacher. It is written in a candid way, in a Charlie way which makes you feel like you really know what he's going through.
I raced through this one. My rating is 5 stars.


message 18: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 6. My next book read is a Dutch book 't Jagthuys by Merijn de Boer. I finished it on 24/01/16. The blurb on the back of the book misled me a little. It said that the character Vera was a nurse but on reading it, I discovered that she was actually someone that was hired to have sexual relations with Binnert, the autistic man in the book. I think the Dutch do tend to have more sex in their books and films than the British, or at least it's more explicit and not so arty. I found the ending quite sudden and I had to re-read it to make sure I had understood it properly. I felt like the story would have been better if Vera was a nurse who came in to help with Binnert and fell in love with him. It would have been less sexual and more of a love story. I gave it 2 stars.


message 19: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 7. One City by Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh.

This book was brought out in support of the OneCity Trust which campaigns for social justice in Edinburgh. The 3 writers all live in Edinburgh and each wrote a short story about Edinburgh. Homesickness, magic and a tiger are what drives the stories. My favourite was by Alexander McCall Smith. I really love this author. I've read more books by him than by anyone else. The The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the 44 Scotland Street series, The Sunday Philosophy Club series are all brilliant. I have yet to begin his Corduroy Mansions series and have some of his one-off novels to read. He writes in a very pleasant manner, a kind of cosy on the couch with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon pace. Ian Rankin is one of the kings of crime, inventor of the Inspector Rebus series. I have a book of his in my pile to read so there'll be more about him later. Irvine Welsh is famous for Trainspotting. His characters speak in Edinburgh dialect and are quite often hippy and trippy. Three very different writers in one book. I rated it 3 stars.


message 20: by Amanda (last edited Feb 15, 2016 05:52PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 8. Mangaman by Barry Lyga

I enjoyed it. I loved the mix between manga and western comics. I liked when Ryoko and Marissa came out of the panels and all the problems that Ryoko had as a manga character in a western comic eg having to clear up the rain from his storm clouds and the janitor sweeping away his speed lines. It was good that there was a glossary at the back to explain some terms. It was well drawn. There was great attention to detail, even the speech bubbles were drawn differently dependent on whether Ryoko or the other characters talked.
Read 8/2/16 Rating 3 stars


message 21: by Amanda (last edited Feb 15, 2016 06:11PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 9. New Toddler Taming: A parents’ guide to the first four years by Christopher Green

Tips and advice about bringing up of toddlers. Behaviour, sleep, eating, toilet training are amongst some of the main topics dealt with. It's written in an easy-to-read manner together with examples which Dr Green has encountered as a professional.
Read 9/2/16 Rating 3 stars


message 22: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 10. L'étranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus

Meursault is a rather detached individual whose prospects change in a blink of an eye and is regarded by all for his actions and indifference as a condemned man.
Read 10/2/16 Rating 3 stars


message 23: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 11. The Laying On Of Hands by Alan Bennett

Clive has died young and at his memorial there are many celebrities and many household names. There is great unease as to why Clive has died, even the vicar taking the service is in a quandary as he also knew him. Through sharing their thoughts and memories of the dead man, the congregation's questions are answered.
Read 11/2/16 Rating 2 stars


message 24: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 12. Knots and Crosses (Kat & muis) by Ian Rankin

This is the first book in the Inspector Rebus series which is set in Edinburgh. Ian Rankin has become famous because of this series although he has written stand-alone novels such as Watchman.
Rebus is a policeman who is investigating the abduction and murders of two girls. His own personal life is very much under the spotlight. He is ex-SAS, drinks too much and is estranged from his wife. Then messages begin to appear: knots made of rope and crosses made of matches. Will Rebus be able to decipher these messages and catch the killer?
As it is based in Edinburgh and I have lived there, I thought it was about time I started writing Rebus. I enjoyed it and would like to continue reading the series. It's not just about the crime but also about the characters which adds to the story. I'm sure we will see Rebus develop as the stories continue.
Something which thrilled me was that a cinema I worked in when I was a student was mentioned in the book (The ABC in Lothian Road). I didn't see that coming!
Read 19/2/16 Rating 3 stars


message 25: by Amanda (last edited Feb 29, 2016 08:49PM) (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 13. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

When I thought of Frankenstein and what it meant to me, I thought of a monster with a big head and a bolt through its neck, well it´s not like that at all. It is a gothic novel with a creator nearing madness and a monster who has a conscience.
Read 20/2/16 Rating 3 stars


message 26: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 14. The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland - For a Little While by Catherynne M. Valente

This was my first encounter with Catherynne Valente. This is a short story as an ebook. I found the characters very interesting however there was so many new concepts to deal with that I found it a bit difficult to follow. I wondered if this had maybe been written after some of her other books where readers already understand what her world is all about and can easily follow it.
Read 23/2/16 Rating 2 stars


message 27: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 15. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Wow! What a book! It's a big one at 800+ pages. It's the story of Sugar a prostitute in Victorian England. OK, so the subject matter could be a little explicit at times so if that's not your thing, don't go there. It is however so much more than that. It's a great story about someone wanting to better themselves despite the bad start they've had in life. The descriptive passages are gorgeous leading you right into the heart of Victorian London. The poor areas in contrast with the rich lifestyle. The characters are from all ends of the scale. I agree with Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones who says "When a book is this big it had better be good - this one is. Dive in. Enjoy!"
Read 29/2/16 Rating 4 stars


message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 16. Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) by Franz Kafka

This is a creepy short story about a man who wakes up one morning and discovers he has changed into a bug. He still thinks as a human but cannot communicate. His family are disgusted by him, only his sister brings him meals. They depended on him for money and now that he is vermin, they have to fend for themselves. It's a story that stays with you after you've finished reading. Will Gregor change back or is he condemned to be a bug forever?
Read 2/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 29: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments I'm doing a Books to Films Reading Challenge. Here my comments on the first two books and films I've compared.

Books Read: 2/10

1. The Martian by Andy Weir Completed 16/01/16 Rating 4 stars
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Completed 19/01/16 Rating 5 stars

Films Watched: 2/10

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I preferred the book to the film. The film was good. The book was better. I loved seeing the character of Patrick on film.

2. The Martian

Really enjoyed this film. In fact I enjoyed the film more than the book. The book is quite technical and has to explain a lot. With the film you can see what everything looks like. When I was reading, I tried to imagine the space equipment etc that was being described and with the film it all there in front of you. The first five chapters of the book were technical, in the film ten minutes in that's all been dealt with. Matt Damon was great as always. The effects were amazing. Even if you're not into science fiction, check this out. It's funny too. I give the film five stars.


message 30: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 17. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This book touched me. It's a memoir of the author's upbringing. Not only did she have to live in poverty but she and her siblings had to deal with her dysfunctional parents: her alcoholic father and her mother who would much rather paint than take responsibility for the children. In parts it's shocking and it makes you realise how lucky you are.
Read 9/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 31: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5895 comments Congratulations on reaching the halfway point! You're doing great. :)


message 32: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Thanks Cassandra!


message 33: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 18. Walking On Glass by Iain Banks

Iain Banks was a Scottish writer who wrote both novels (under the name Iain Banks) and science fiction under the name of Iain M Banks. He would write them alternately. I have read quite a few of the novels. My favourites so far being The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory. I haven't read any Iain M. Banks books but maybe that will come one day.

Walking On Glass was a re-read for me. Having said that, it was a while since I read it so I couldn't remember the story too well. It's about 3 different individuals: Graham, Steven and Quiss. Their stories are told in different chapters and do not seem linked at all. Graham's story is about a girl he has fallen in love with; Steven is paranoid and thinks that They are out to get him and Quiss is playing impossible games in a castle which he cannot leave until he has solved a riddle. I read the stories on a separate level, it is easy enough to switch from one character to the next. Continue reading and you will see that their stories ultimately collide in an unexpected fashion.
Read 14/03/16 Rating 3 stars


message 34: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 19. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

This year is 400 years since William Shakespeare died. I had never read A Midsummer Night's Dream before. All I knew was that there were fairies in it and that there was a character named Puck and a character named Bottom. It's all about love and a bit of mischief. It's a short play so if you are intending to try some Shakespeare, it would be a good start. There's a lot of comedy too. I realise that a play is intended for stage so I feel like I really need to see it to appreciate the fairies, the costumes, the visual aspects of comedy. I am intending to see the film so will come back to this review after that to add my comments.
Read 18/03/16 Rating 3 stars


message 35: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 20. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

This is the Costa Book of the Year for 2015. The Lie Tree is a tree which grows according to how great the lies are that it is fed. In exchange the fruit can be eaten to show visions of truth. Faith, the main character in the book, believes that her father's death was not suicide and uses the tree to try to establish what really happened. It has been categorized as a children's book but I didn't feel that this was the case at all. It is not a coincidence that this book has been chosen as the Costa Book of the Year beating all other books, including those aimed at adult readers.
Read 24/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 36: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 21. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago this year. I have decided to read some of his books this year to celebrate this. His children's books are sometimes creepy, sometimes mean, sometimes sad, sometimes cosy and sometimes cute. This is one of the cosy and cute ones. It is the story of love and tortoises.
Read 27/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 37: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 22. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Jung Chang has written a family history written around the lives of her grandmother, her mother and herself. It begins with traditional China, through the rise of Communism and the reign of Chairman Mao and ends with the author's acceptance of the West. It is not for the faint-hearted and it can be quite explicit. The stories that are told are full of courage and tragedy. I found it read like historical fiction so it's not too heavy a read. Having said that, it took me 3 months to read. It's nearly 700 pages of non-fiction. I find that when I read non-fiction, I want to concentrate more to digest the facts so I tend to have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. To understand China, it is a very important book.

This is what Jung Chang had to say about the first twenty-six years of her life and this sums it up:

"I had experienced privilege as well as denunciation, courage as well as fear, seen kindness and loyalty as well as the depths of human ugliness. Amid suffering, ruin, and death, I had above all known love and the indestructible human capacity to survive and to pursue happiness."

Read 28/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 38: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5895 comments Wild Swans is one of my favorite nonfiction books! It's so fascinating to see how much China changed in just a few generations.


message 39: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Hi Cassandra, it seems unbelievable the changes China has gone through. So much tragedy and loss. It makes you realise how lucky we are growing up where we come from. Have you come across any other great non-fiction books on your travels?


message 40: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5895 comments I really like Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. It reads like historical fiction too, because it has a narrative style. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is super interesting as well, but is pretty sad.


message 41: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Thanks for the tips! The first one is on my TBR.


message 42: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 23. The Twits by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl wanted to write a book about beards. My husband has a beard and without giving away too much, I may now look more closely at his beard after reading this book. The Twits, that is Mr and Mrs Twit, like to do pranks on each other, in fact they're quite mean. They're horrible to birds and dislike children with a passion. The Muggle-Wump monkeys and the Roly-Poly bird decide to take a stand.
Read 30/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 43: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments 24. George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

"George couldn't help disliking Grandma. She was a selfish grumpy old woman. She had pale brown teeth and a small puckered-up mouth like a dog's bottom."

George doesn't like his grandma very much so he decides to make her some special medicine to teach her a lesson.
Read 31/03/16 Rating 4 stars


message 44: by Kadijah Michelle, Group Organization (new)

Kadijah Michelle (Kadmich) | 1812 comments Amanda wrote: "5. Completed The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky on 19/01/16.
For lovers of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger this i..."


I know I'm about two months late checking in on this, but if I had seen this in January, I would not have been able to comment. I just finished these books back to back myself a few days ago. I read them The Perks of Being a Wallflower first and then The Catcher in the Rye as a resultThe Catcher in the Rye. And I agree with you. These books are companions, and if assigned to students, should be read together. I've been struggling to write my reviews for both of these books because the pain the boys are suffering is the plot of these books. It's amazing that even after 50 years, emotions stay the same.


message 45: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Hi Kadijah Michelle, Thanks for your great comments. Holden and Charlie are very similar characters. I found them both likeable, they bear their souls, they've had difficult and painful experiences and they are hurting. I gave both books 5 stars. I think when a character gets in your heart, the writer has written a great book. My favourite is Catcher in the Rye. I read it first when I was a teenager and I identified with Holden. Re-reading it years later, it's still a great book. Have you got any books that have made a big impression on you to recommend?


message 46: by Kadijah Michelle, Group Organization (last edited Apr 03, 2016 07:18PM) (new)

Kadijah Michelle (Kadmich) | 1812 comments The Bell Jar is a book I can really relate to. I have dealt with some serious bouts of depression and explaining how things spiral is always difficult, but since I have found this book, I don't have to, I just lend them my copy. Another great book that I just love to read over and over again is Summer Sisters. It's not quite as deep as the others, but it's a book that will run you through your emotions.

By the way, I love the Netherlands! Lived there for 3 years in the 90s and my husband and I are making plans to go back in the next few years.


message 47: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Thanks for the tips! I've got The Bell Jar on my TBR so will definitely read it and let you know. The other book sounds interesting too. Will take a proper look. I wish you lots of strength with your health and good luck with your possible return to the Netherlands.


message 48: by Emily (new)

Emily (emilyesears) | 456 comments I totally agree with your comments about The Martian! I finished the book last Monday and then rented the movie this past Friday night. I liked the movie a lot more than the book because of exactly what you said--they show you all the science stuff instead of telling you. It was one of the few times I would say the movie is better. (Though I didn't appreciate the ending being changed--it was dramatic enough in the book!)


message 49: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments Great to hear your comments, Emily. Any other films you prefer to the book or books you found much much better than the film?


message 50: by Amanda (new)

Amanda R (fairyteapot) | 1130 comments I'm taking part in a Books to Films challenge in another group. Here's what I thought of the film Victor Frankenstein.

3. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley Completed 20/02/16 Rating 3 stars

Victor Frankenstein

What really drew me to watching the film was the actors in it. James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe and some actors from the BBC Sherlock Holmes series especially Andrew Scott. It is told through the eyes of Igor, a hunchbank who is rescued from his current life to become Victor's partner. Victor becomes a mad scientist and it was great seeing McAvoy's depiction. We also have an inspector judging Victor in the eyes of God and Igor wondering if he is also going too far. Maybe sometimes the pace of the film goes a little fast and it is for this reason that my rating is 3 stars.
Book and film on level pegging with 3 stars.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Martian (other topics)
Persuasion (other topics)
Shopaholic on Honeymoon (other topics)
Shopaholic to the Stars (other topics)
The House at Riverton (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Sophie Kinsella (other topics)
Andy Weir (other topics)
Kate Morton (other topics)
John Banville (other topics)
Benjamin Black (other topics)
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