Reading Challenges

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 9 Month Check In

Reflection

Hello and welcome to a post where I check in with my 2020 reading goals. I cannot believe that we are already in the final quarter of the year so it really is go time to get these goals finished. So, I am really hoping I have done a good job keeping up and getting some things done!


The List

  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019 (4/6)
          • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
          • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
          • ✔️Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
          • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (Owned)
          • ✔️Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
          • ✔️10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. ✔️Read 50 books, 91 books read. 
  3. ✔️Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all.
  4. ✔️ Read 30,000 pages.
  5. ✔️ Read 16 nonfiction books.
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 9 so far. 
  7. ✔️  Read a book from each continent 
          • ✔️North America: The Dutch Houseby Ann Patchett
          • ✔️South America Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
          • ✔️ Europe: Crime And Punishmentby Fyodor Dostoyevsky
          • ✔️Asia Before the Coffee Gets Coldby Toshikazu Kawaguchi
          • ✔️ Australia: The Secret River by Kate Grenville
          • ✔️Antarctica: The Magicians by Lev Grossman 
          • ✔️Africa Don’t Touch My Hair byEmma Dabiri
  8. ✔️Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
          • ✔️Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, (9/12)
          • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
          • February: Othello
          • March: Hamlet
          • April: Macbeth
          • May: The Taming of the Shrew
          • June: Twelfth Night
          • July: The Tempest
          • August: A Comedy of Errors
          • September: Much Ado About Nothing
          • October: Julius Caesar
          • November: The Merchant of Venice
          • December: King Lear

Reflection

Overall, I am doing pretty well with the goals. I am a bit worried about my reading a shortlist one because I really do not want to read The Testaments, but I am still on the fence about doing it because I set out to finish the shortlist. We shall see what happens! Another goal I am a little iffy about is reading books from the library. My library is still limited when it comes to browsing and such and I have holds for digital stuff, but since everyone is using the digital resources currently I have not gotten a ton in. This one might be out of my hands, but I am still going to try.

As for all of the other goals I have already achieved or I am well on my way. I am surprised that I have kept up with my Shakespeare challenge this year that there are only 3 more plays left.


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 2

Reflection

Hello and welcome to my second check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In my first check in, Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 I reviewed and talked about the books entitled Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. In this post I am going to be talking about the next two books I tackled on this list, which are Quichotte by Salman Rushdie and 10 Minuets, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. I am very excited to be talking about these two books, so without further delay, onto the 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. This one really really took me for a ride, I honestly really enjoyed this read. This novel is the reason I do this challenge every year, I always end up finding a few gems and this is one of them.

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


There you have it, my second installment of this year long project of reading the Man Booker shortlist. I have to say that these two books were both really enjoyable, this year I am really enjoying this challenge more than I did last year. I think at this point last year I only liked 1 book I read and this time around I have enjoyed 3! Now, I have two more books to read from this list and I am very curious about them. I will be honest. I did not enjoy the Handmaid’s Tale, so I am not too excited about The Testaments, but I am very interested in An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.

Liked: 3

Hated: 1


Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 6 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my 6 month 2020 goals check in. I cannot believe that wee are halfway through 2020 already. Anyway, I am going to keep this short and sweet and just get into the goal. The thing is I wanted to give you a bit of a heads up. I am writing this blog post in advance so my numbers might be a tad bit higher in real time.


The List

  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Not really excited about this one…
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • ✔️Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie Owned
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak Owned
  2. Read 50 books, 55 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 10.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 20,068 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 8 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 7 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
    • ✔️North America: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
    • South America
    • ✔️ Europe: Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • ✔️Antarctica: The Magicians by Lev Grossman 
    • Africa
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet
    • April: Macbeth
    • May: The Taming of the Shrew
    • June: Twelfth Night
    • July:
    • August:
    • September:
    • October:
    • November:
    • December:

Reflection

  1.  I read two of these books and did a review here:Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1. I picked up two more I am veery excited to get to. Two I still need to buy or get from the library. One I am really not looking forward to it The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I read the first book and I did not like it at all. I am technically a little behind on this one, but I am not too far behind.
  2. Did it!!
  3. I only have 10 more books to go, so I am very excited about that, I thought I was going to have a lot more left on my TBR.
  4. I am more than halfway to my page goal, yay! This is always the goal I am more worried about since I can’t just read short books, manga, or graphic novels to just pump up my numbers. I need to put in the reading work for this one.
  5. I am exactly at the halfway mark for reading 16 non-fictions books. I am really happy to be on track for this one. I have been really in the mood to learn lately and I feel like I will have this goal done very soon.
  6. With everything going on with a pandemic, my library was closed for a very long time so I was not able to borrow from them too much. I could request ebooks, but the ebook waits have sky rocketed since that is the only option for many people. I am not too worried about this goal though since I am not too far off.
  7. I am halfway through this one so I am very much on track. I also have the 3 books in mind I am going to be reading. So, I think this is another “win”.
  8. I picked the book I am going to read and purchased it, I just need to get my butt in gear and actually read it.
  9. As for this year long challenge I am very much on track. I was kinda worried I would have given it up at this point.

How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Reading Challenges

Challenge | One Week Reading Before Bed

challenges

So, the first half of may has been a reading mess. I only read 22 pages on May first and it is now May 10th and another page has not been read. Then I came across an old video of Ariel Bissett’s called “i tried reading before every day for a week’ and I was inspired to give it a go and maybe jumpstart my reading again.


The Video


Reading Journal May 10th-May 16th, 2020

5/10: 25 pages of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

5/11: 344 pages of Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

5/12: 41 pages of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

5/13: 30 pages of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

5/14: 20 pages of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

5/15: 15 pages of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

5/16: 22 pages of mystery book


Reflection

So,  there are a few things I noticed throughout this process. First, I got back into the habit of reading and enjoying it. The main point of this was to help with me get back into reading. Like I said in the intro, this challenge came into being because I went a long time without reading that was not the cause of a slump. Well, I am happy to report I am reading constantly again. Plus, I wasn’t even feeling forced or pushed into reading, which I was a bit worried about if I am honest.

The second thing I noticed is I found I wanted to read at other points of the day as the challenge continued. At the start I didn’t have the urge to read throughout the day. But, since I was getting back into the habit and as I got closer to the end of this challenge, I would want to read in the afternoon and had to hold off. I feel like scheduling time to read or restricting when I can read, doesn’t fully work for me. Apparently my mood reading isn’t just restricted to what I want to read.

I think I am going to continue to make reading part of my nighttime routine. I enjoyed how relaxing and calming it was. Overall, I really had fun giving this a go. I love reading challenges and I would like to do more in the future. But, I think this one will have a bit of a lasting impression on me. I just need to make sure my nighttime reading is away from a screen and not read too late into the night.


Do you have a consistent reading habit?

Do you normally read a particular time of day

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1

Reflection

Hello and welcome to my first check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In this post I am just going to be talking about the first two books I have read off of the shortlist of the Man Booker 2019 edition. In this installment I am going to be talking about my thoughts on Ducks, Newburyport and Girl, Woman, Other. This challenge is one of my favorite I do each year because it exposes me to books I would not have read otherwise and I always find a gem of a new author to read. Without further delay, onto the reviews!


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


There you have it, my first two reviews for my read a shortlist challenge. One a personal dud and the other a wonderful and powerful read by an author I need to read more of ASAP. This often is the case for the Man Booker Prize, there are always books I end up hating and others I end up loving. At this point the score is 50/50 and I hope the loving score keeps going up.

Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 3 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post reflecting on my 2020 reading goals! I am excited to take a bit of a dive into my goals and see where I need to focus and where I am doing well. At this point of the year it is so early I am not too worried about anything just yet, but I feel like if I don’t keep an eye on it they will fall to the way side. So, here are my 2020 reading goals and where I currently stand on them.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo Started
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books, 21 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 27.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 7,661 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 5 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 5 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet

Currently, I am feeling pretty good about my goals. I have at least made some little progress on every single one. The one I am currently the most concerned about is reading a book from each continent. A lot of the time when I pick up a book I have no idea where it is going to take place so this is the one that is more of a guess for me. I should search for a few books that I know for sure take place in the continents that remain, Antartica is always a fun one to try and do.

If you have any suggestion for books set around the world and Shakespeare places I would love to hear them. I have a bit of a list on Shakespeare from a few people. So, don’t worry if you have made a recommendation, I have written it down!


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Goals | 2020 Edition

Reading Goals NEW

Hello and welcome to my 2020 reading goals. I am so excited about writing this blog post.  I am not sure why, but I feel like 2020 is going to be an amazing reading year. Like last year, I am going to be keeping my goals pretty general, but also challenging. Some will be repeats, but I also changed a few up as well.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all
  4. Read 30,000 pages
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books
  6. Read 16 books from the library
  7. Read a book from each continent
    • North America
    • South America
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Antartica
    • Africa
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.

So these are my goals reading wise for the upcoming year. I am excited to jump in and I am very much motivated. I feel like this year I might have the hardest time with my continent challenge because of needing to find another book that takes place in Antartica. If you have any suggestions let me know!


What are the goals you have for yourself in 2019?

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Reading Challenges

Year in Review | 2019 Final Check-In

Year in Review!

Hello and welcome to my little review of 2019. I love these types of posts, being able to reflect and look back on what you have accomplished. This post will be broken down into two parts, the first being reviewing my goals and the second will be my yearly stats, which will be taken from the data given on December 29th. So, with all of that information being packed into this post, lets jump right into it.


Goals

  1. ✔️Read all of the short listed books for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
  2. ✔️Read a book set in each of the 7 continents
  3. ✔️Read 50 books
  4. ✔️Read 30,000 pages
  5. ✔️Read at least one book per month from the library
  6. ✔️Read 12 non-fiction books
  7. ✔️Read a book recommended by someone I look up to
  8. ✔️Read my classic of 2019, War and Peace
  9. ✔️Take part in 2019 Beat the Backlist

Yearly Reading Stats

Books Read: 106

Pages Read: 38, 421

Nonfiction: 17

Fiction: 89

Money Saved Using Library:

Average Rating: 4.0

Shortest Book: Quidditch Through the Ages

Longest Book: Death Note All-in-One

Most Popular:Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Least Popular: Independence Haul and the Liberty Bell

Highest Rated on Goodreads: Good Omens

If you would like to see all of the books I read in 2019, you can find all that information over on goodreads here: Bookish Luna’s Year in Review.


Yearly Blog Stats

Views: 13,872

Comments:1,226

Followers: 783

Likes: 3,724

Posts: 148

 


How did you do with your 2019 goals?

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Reading Challenges

Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge

Reading Goals NEW

Hello and welcome to a little my little chat about one of my goals for 2020. In the past I have been adamant about hating Shakespeare. I never enjoyed any of his plays that I read, I found them dull and just boring honestly. But, the last time I read one of his works, any of this works honestly, I was always told to read them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but even though I am a book lover and avid reader, the fastest way to not get me to read a book is to make it required. I hate being told what to read. In fact, I didn’t read this much until I went to college, high school made me hate reading because they were never anything that interested me. Now, that is an entire other discussion I can get into another time. For now, let’s get back to Shakespeare.

So, I am not sure why, but I want to give Ol’ Shakespeare  another go and see if my tastes have either changed or simply not making his work required changed me view.

While going to my local indie bookstore I was looking at the classics, my go to there for some reason and I saw a bunch of Shakespeare’s plays. For some reason the idea for this challenge hit me. Currently, I think this is a wonderful idea. In the future, past me might be a huge jerk. Only time will tell. So, this is my plan, every month I will read 1 Shakespeare and review it. Nice and simple right? Wrong, I honestly have no idea what plays might be interesting. I picked up the ones pictured above because A Midsummers Night Dream was one I was able to tolerate reading all those moons ago and the second, Twelfth Night I have never even heard of and I thought I would give it a go.

So, there is my year long classics challenge for myself. If you have a favorite play or work by him please comment below the name and why you liked it. I could really use the help!

Also, I will be starting off with reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thanks to those who voted for the first month! Also, please feel free to join me in this challenge. It would be a ton of fun to read along with you! In fact, I created a goodreads group so we can all connect and you can see which plays are coming up, you can find that group here: 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.


Which one of Shakespeare works did you enjoy reading?

Which one did you detest?

Have you read any of his works?

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Reading Challenges

Revisiting | Short List 2019 Continued and Wrap Up

revisiting

Hello everyone and welcome to another update on one of my bigger 2019 goals. Reading the entire shortlist of the 2018 Man Booker Prize. If you want some more information on this goal, you can read my first on the topic here: Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist 2019.

Anyway, this past year I have been slowly reading the 6 books on this short list and I previously shared my reading experience of the first 3 books I read, which were Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Milkman by Anna Burns, and The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. You can find my full thoughts on these books on my first update post called; Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist 2019. But, for the abrivated verson I will say I really enjoyed Washington Black, but was not thrilled by Milkman and The Mars Room and I was kinda starting to question this challenge/goal I had for myself. But, since I already owned two more of the books on this list, I decided to continue on. On the to the reviews and reflection!


Everything UnderEverything Under by Daisy Johnson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is going to be a really weird review. I liked the story, but the way it was portrayed irritated me. There are no ” marks, “You” is used so much, the POV was personally aggravating to read. Now all of these are personal preference and does not in any way mean that the book is bad, but it was very much not for me. Also, why do chapters have the same names? I didn’t know these things mattered go much to me until now.

If you read the first chapter of this book or a sample I feel like you will know right away if this book is for you or not.

View all my reviews


The OverstoryThe Overstory by Richard Powers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very interesting read for sure, I can see why it has won awards and shortlisted for others. The idea is very thought provoking, involving individuals who have a very strong with nature and more specifically the trees. At first all these stories seem unconnected, more like a short story collection, then slowly they start to come together as the need to protect the forest grows larger.

I have to say, I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second half. The first half has so much of a personal connection with nature and trees and it was great learning about all of these families and individuals. For me it started to get less interesting when things got mushed together. I am not sure if it is because it seemed to be more “preachy” or the individual stories that drew me in kinda for the most part fell to the side and were only a plot device instead of the story. It seemed to loose the magic and the soul of the story.

With that aside the writing was done very well, I am curious to get into other works of this author.

View all my reviews


The Long TakeThe Long Take by Robin Robertson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that this is one of the better books shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2018. I really enjoyed the format being utilized, it really set the feeling of the story for me. This book really talks about a very difficult topic that many have to deal with PTSD and having known someone who suffered with it first hand, I feel like the author did a great job portraying how it can affect some people. PTSD affects many, but can affect each person differently.

This book really had a feel to it that I think sticks to a reader, I feel like I will bee thinking about it for sometime. It is encompassing and consuming in a way. I also like how the author portrays the internal feelings struggles of the main character to the external society/city. It was veery interesting to read. There are many dark topics in this novel/poem, so if PTSD, drug use, and other dark themes are something that can bother you, I would stay away. If that is not the case it is a powerful read for sure.

View all my reviews


-Reflection-

I feel like this second bunch of books from the short list I had a bit more success with over all. My last post I couldn’t even give star ratings to two of the books. I would say that  in this group there are now two books I would recommend to people, The Long Take and The Overstory, but I would have to feel confident in the fact I know their likes and dislikes when it comes to reading. I feel like that is a pretty decent turn around. I find it ironic that I liked the books I put off more than the ones I was excited about.

That being said I would 100% do this challenge again, in fact I already added a lot of the books from the 2019 short list to my TBR and put in a wishlist at my local library. One thing I learned from this challenge is that I should get these books from the library. While  there is no denying that they are well written books, I cannot say that I will enjoy the content every time. So, while I enjoy exploring new things, the library is my friend when it comes to this challenge.


Have or would you read any of these books?

Are you excited about the 2019 Man Booker Shortlisted books?

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