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2015 Reading Challenge Update #5

Reading Challenge update 6This has probably been the hardest update to get through. The months are moving by so quickly I cannot work out if I realistically will complete this mammoth reading challenge (I have 20 books left…)!

So much happens at this time of year. Remember how I started this challenge before I enrolled in uni again? Well it was mega assessment block so instead of completing my really huge assignment before the day it was due, I read The Martian… #priorities

An added challenge is the categories are starting to get pretty difficult to fill! I seem to spend a lot of time researching books that I would like to read to assess their relevance to the remaining categories. I am really not looking forward to the graphic novel and play…

Anyway, here is the next pile of books I have managed to tick off my list over the last couple of months!

The Book Theif

A book that made you cry: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is one of those books that I am not quite sure why I hadn’t read it before. Apart from everyone I know telling me that I just had to read this book what really encouraged me was the movie adaption. Now most people (and I am one of them) will tell you that the movie is never as good as the book. In this case however I think they can stand as equals, as two different representations of the story, both powerful in their own medium. This book is written in a very different way, not just in the narration but in how the ending is almost told to you throughout the story and you are given little hits and encouraged to put all the pieces into context. There was a point towards the end, and I am not going to say which part, but it got me in the movie as well and I just had to put the book away for a couple of days because it was too consuming. When I finally got the courage to finish the tears streamed down my face as I turned the last few pages in a wave of emotion that has never hit me so hard through simply the power of words. I’m not sure I could put myself through this story again but wow, it is truly an amazing one.

Paper Towns

A book with bad reviews: Paper Towns by John Green

Now this is another tricky category as I did not want to end up reading something that I wouldn’t like, that feels like such a waste. I had wanted to read Paper Towns since finishing Looking For Alaska (which I LOVED!) and while looking on Amazon and Good Reads I found that there were a significant amount of bad reviews for Paper Towns and a lot of them were from typical John Green fans. This only encouraged me to read it more so that I too could have an opinion! I realised something just after passing the half way point in this book and it is that I am not sure I like the actual content of a John Green book. What I love is the way he tells the story and the greater understanding of emotion and of life that he highlights. He has so much control over the words he chooses to tell the story with. This is what makes his books so great and why you do not have to be in high school to understand what is going on. I think the negative reviews are central to the storyline on a basic level but fail to understand the greater meaning behind John Green’s words. So yeah, I’m still a fangirl! Bring on the next one!

the wolf of wall street

A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

I found this a particularly hard category to interpret. I felt it seemed silly to read a book that I didn’t actually want to read so I decided to read a book I was really interested in but had been avoiding. I had wanted to read the crazy tale of Jordan Belfort before I saw the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was after hearing an interview with him on radio, the way he spoke was amazing, I sat in my car in the carpark at work just waiting for him to finish before going in. He is a very interesting man. What put me off reading the book was that I was worried about the glorification of the drugs and the long long list of despicable things that he did in such a short amount of years. I really didn’t want to like him. And after reading his book I cannot say that I do, but I still find him fascinating. I don’t think there is a moment in this book when he is talking about himself at his worst that makes it sound like it was ok but it is a very honest account. I felt quite detached from this book while reading, like I could finish a chapter and put it down and it wouldn’t really bother me if I didn’t pick it up again which is very strange for me. But I am glad I finished it.

The Martian

A book a friend recommended: The Martian by Andy Weir

I saw the trailer for the movie adaption of this book and watched my husband’s eyes widen with excitement while mine rolled and I thought ‘not another sci-fi movie’! Now I don’t tend to have a very open mind when it comes to sci-fi but I agreed that I would see the movie with him because, well Matt Damon. But before we booked tickets I caught up with friend and fellow blogger, Bryanna from Discovering New Skies who had just finished the book as well as seeing the movie. She talked so passionately about Mark Watney that I couldn’t help it, I wanted to know him! Then I realised something…she loves sci-fi as much as my husband! I was not going to like this story. Curiosity got the better of me and I bought the book. One line in and I was hooked. I spent every spare second reading! I felt like Mark was a real person and that this was a memoir, which of course is craziness considering he is on Mars…My reluctance to read this book would not have been overcome without that recommendation from Bryanna, and I am so grateful to her for sharing it with me as I think I just found a serious contender for the best book I have read all year! (I did end up seeing the movie and enjoyed it, but seriously read the book; it gives such a different perspective to the story).

The Scarlet Letter

A book with a colour in the title: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I don’t have any particular reason to have picked up this book. It fit a category and I hadn’t read it. It is quite an interesting tale of a woman’s shame and empowerment all at once. The story is told very well and it reads beautifully. I’ll keep this one short and just say I found it interesting as it explores the strong themes of sin and guilt.


A trilogy (book one): Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Series)

This has been in my to-read pile since it was released. Seeing the trailer for the movie adaption actually put me off it a bit, yet everyone I know who has read these books tells me I should. So what better time to finally do it than during this challenge! I loved the Hunger Games and was really just expecting a repeat of events, so while I thought I would like it, I didn’t really have high expectations. The intensity level of this book is very high and I found that I didn’t want to put the book down. So much happened in such a short space of this one book I started to think what could she possibly put them through next??


A trilogy (book two): Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Series)

I quickly picked up the second book without a moments delay, however I found after power reading them (2 books in 4 days) I was exhausted from the story so I thought it best to get a little distance before continuing on with the third. Having always been a fan of dystopian future stories these books really are quite entertaining. What Roth is putting these people through, particularly children is incredible! She has created a world so separate from our own that highlights the negative sides of humanity. What is celebrated in our society is quickly suppressed in theirs. Very Hunger Games crossed with Brave New World, but a very well detailed and developed story. As so much happened I kept waiting for Roth to run out of ideas but the story doesn’t slow down at all in this book. What will happen next??

SO much reading to do in so little time!

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