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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reading Challenges

Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 Third Quarter Check In

Reading Goals NEW

Hello everyone, I am here will a bit of a late Third Quarter check in, but I wanted to check back on my goals so I didn’t lose track of them. If you wanted to look at my initial goals post and my previous check ins, I will link them here for your connivence.

I have to say, that I am really happy with my progress over all, there are just a few goals I have been putting off because I am such a mood reader and I have not been in the mood to read particular books on my shelf. I am hoping that over the next few weeks this turns around and I can get all of these taken care of.


-My 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
    • My backlisted books are here.

-My Updates-

  1. Reading a backlist is both my favorite and least favorite challenge. I am having a series love hate relationship with it. I have previously did a catch up post with this goal, Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist 2019, since this post, I have read more of these books, in fact I only have 1 left! So, I am very much on track to hitting this goal. I am planning on reading it in November. Fingers crossed!
  2. I am still in need of reading 3 more continents. This one is another challenge that has been very much affected by my mood reading. I have picked for each of these continents, but I just have not been in the mood.
  3. I have surpassed this goal! I have read a total of 87 books at the time of writing this.
  4. At this point in time I have read 31,931 pages, which means I have also met this goal! It is so nice to be able to check some of these off.
  5. At this point in time I have read a library book every month and I am so happy to be able to support my local library as well as getting to know some of my librarians. It is a wonderful feeling.
  6. At this point in the year I have read at least 16 non-fiction books, so I met this goal as well!
  7. So, this goal was one I was iffy about. I decided since I set the goal of reading one book recommended by someone I look up to, I did do that, but did not enjoy it in the slightest and it stinks.
  8. I have finished War and Peace and I have to admit, I liked Anna Karenina a lot more. It was not bad, but I was not blow away by it.
  9. So, beat the backlist was a huge success for me. As of October I read every book I bought before the start of 2019. I really was not sure if I was going to meet this one, but I am so excited that I did.

-Completion Status-

  1. ✔️
  2. ✔️
  3. ✔️
  4. ✔️
  5. ✔️
  6. ✔️

I can’t believe I only have 3 more goals to work on this year, I am proud of myself for sticking with a lot of these throughout the year instead of putting a lot of them off, which would have been very easy to do. At this time I need to read a total of 4-6 more books to reach each of my goals. I am hoping I can get them all done before December so I have some breathing room and time to do some goal planning for 2020. It is mind blowing to already be writing the year 2020.


How are your 2019 goals going?

Do you have any ideas for your reading goals for 2020?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reviews

Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist 2019

revisiting

Hello everyone today I wanted to share my progress with one of my 2019 goals/challenges. We are in the 5th month of the year, I can’t hardly believe it. I thought it was time to do more of a in-depth look at this goal because it is a bit more than a checklist type goal to me. I see it more as an experience or an experiment of sorts. I personally have never much been one to follow book awards and let them dictate my reading or sway my reading choices. This year I kinda wanted to see if I had been missing out because of this. If you want to see my reasoning for why I picked this reading award, you can see that in my original post; Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist.

Without more of a delay here are my reviews and my reflection on this experience so far!

Divider 2

-Reviews-

Washington Black

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is such an adventure, it starts with a young boy, age 11. Sadly, he is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados run by two brothers. The author wrote a beautiful book that shows the ugly that is slavery. It talks about awful psychological games played by owners and the bad treatment many had to endure unfairly. I also like how the author showed abolitionists and aspects of the underground railroad. The dangers of faced by those who escaped and freed those who did not belong to them. I also really enjoyed the science, art, and almost steampunk elements. I am honestly not doing this book justice, but I will say it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and it is well deserved. I also have to agree with the quote on the front of my book calling it a masterpiece.

View all my reviews


MilkmanMilkman by Anna Burns

I wont give this book a star rating because I could not finish it, it was not for me in the slightest. I picked it up and I was bored nearly right away. I can see how other might enjoy this book, but I did not.

View all my reviews


The Mars RoomThe Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

I can’t give this book a star review, because I did not finish reading the book.

I had such high hopes for this book for a few reasons. The first being the description sounded amazing and it seemed like something I would normally gravitate towards. The second reason being is that it was short listed for the man booker prize as well as other noted literary awards.

The main reason this fell short for me was that it didn’t really capture my attention. That is not to say it was not dramatic, because it very much was, but it just was not something I wanted to pick up again after putting it down.

Don’t get me wrong, this book had a lot going for it and I was rooting for it. It had a great concept of critiquing society and how economics have such an impact on individuals lives. I also felt horrible for the main character because no one should have to go through what she and some of the other women went through. I am glad light was shed on a lot of issues in this book. But, a main character that doesn’t really seem in the story, a plot that jumps around too much, and it all left me looking to do something else.

View all my reviews

Divider 2

-Reflection-

So far my reading has been mixed with this experiment 1 book has been a win and one has not been a win. I am sitting at 1:2 or 33% success rate. Not the best of scores. I am hoping that it will rise higher the more I read. At this time I have 3 more books to go so there are a lot of chances for me to get a good reading experience.

I am expecting it to go up not just because I have more  books to read, but also because I am fairy interested in 1 of them and I already picked it up. So I am hoping since I own that one I like it. I feel like if I do not like this next one I am going to abandon this goal for 2019. I seem to not really like the types of books that they picked for their winner or their shortlist at this point. Fingers crossed this next one is a winner!

-Remaining Books-

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

The Overstory by Richard Powers – Owned

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Divider 2

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? How do you think this experiment will go?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reading Challenges

Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist 2019

Reading Goals NEW

Throughout the year I hear about book award and short lists from time to time. One I hear about most often would have to be The Man Booker Prize. It is a literary award that has been around for nearly 5 decades. Over that time works that are published in English are eligible to win. Translated or originally published in that language, I cannot say for sure if that was always the case, but I know that now it is. Some of the notable authors that have been honored are Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, and George Sanders to name a few.

Well, like I said I have been hearing a lot about this award from fellow book bloggers and even on some literary interviews. So I looked more into it and I thought I would also challenge myself a little bit in the upcoming year. In 2019 I want to read the entire shortlist from 2018. Obviously, I would be a year behind, but I thought it would be interesting to see what I think about the books that this well known book award and their judges deem to amazing books.

Divider

The Short List

Milkman by Anna Burns

Milkman

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

The Long Take

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Everything Under

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

Divider

I guess, if you want to be technical, I am making this shortlist my 5 books I want to read in 2019. But, I think this will be a bit more interesting than picking books I already want to read. I think reading these 5 titles will  get me out of my comfort zone in some aspects and maybe even expand me reading tastes. Who knows, I might even find a new favorite author. Wouldn’t that be a great outcome? I am really excited about this experience and I will update you all as soon as I read these 5 novels.

What book award do you wait to be announced each year?

SignOff12:17

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads