Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | 2020 Reading a Shortlist

Hello and welcome to the final installment of my Reading a Shortlist Challenge where I read the 2019 Booker Prize Shortlist. This is the second time I am challenging myself to this challenge, and wont be the last. This year I set a challenge to read the 6 books, but I will be honest at this point in time I decided not to read one in part because I don’t agree with the outcome of this award in 2019. I will explain this a bit more, but here are my thoughts on the 5 books I did read!


Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.

For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.

Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.

View all my reviews

Girl, Woman, OtherGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.

Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.

View all my reviews

QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres.

View all my reviews

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

View all my reviews

An Orchestra of MinoritiesAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this is a very imaginative story. I really loved the premise of the tale and I really enjoyed that it was narrated by a guardian spirit called a chi. The writing itself was really wonderful and I think the author has a gift for sure. I would really like to see what else they have written because the writing is that good.

Unfortunately there were a few things I personally could not get over. The use of a really inappropriate word that honestly has no business being in a book published in 2019, so many other words could have been used to get the point across with ease. Secondly, this was said to be an interpretation of the Oddesey and I did not pick up on it personally, but I am very open to being wrong about this. If you have read it and I just missed it, please let me know.

Also, this book was filled with female objectification and I can only hope that the authors purpose in this is to bring light to this. The main character cannot take any responsibility and is pig headed. He commits a horrible act who hurts someone he is meant to “love”. I put it into quotes because it isn’t love. The women in this novel are nothing more than their use to the main character. I had such high hopes for this novel, while I did not like this tale at all I will be checking out the authors other work because their writing itself was done very well. I plan on picking up The Fishermen in the next few months and very much look forward to it.

View all my reviews


Now, for the book I decided I did not want to read, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I decided not to read this for a few reasons, but the most propionate being I really think Bernardine Evaristo should have been the only winner. The second being I have tried multiple times to try and read The Handmaid’s Tale and I could not get into it at all, the writing bored me.

Overall, I am really happy with this years challenge, I ended up liking a majority of the books. Plus an authors whose writing I liked and will give another try since the book itself, plot wise, was not something I enjoyed. In previous years I was not so lucky. I have also recommended quite a few of these to friends and family and loaned them out, which is a huge complement to any book in my eyes.

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s