I am absolutely loving reading again and I have broadened my literary landscape and come to find that I loved books I never would have picked up before. Sure I read some not so enjoyable ones, but overall the variety of books kept me interested and excited about reading.
I am so excited to set out some reading goals for 2016 now! Seriously if you want motivation to fall in love with books again or just the challenge of a fun way to choose new books to read it’s not too late to start ticking off categories for Popsugar’s 2016 Reading Challenge!
While I didn’t technically finish within the year time frame I still feel like it was a great challenge and achievement to finally bring it to close. So without dragging it on any longer, here are the final six books from the 2015 Reading Challenge categories (yes I left the hardest to last).
A book with a one-word title: Candide by Voltaire
My mum was firing off titles off a list on the internet trying to help me fill my final categories and for some reason this book stuck in my head. It probably has something to do with a fascination with philosophy and I think that is why I enjoyed reading this. It is so ridiculous I can’t even begin describing the plot of the story only that it flows so well despite the twists and turns the protagonist takes. I read this book really quickly and found it easy to read despite the fact it was first published in 1759 and translated from French! Quite controversial in its time, this novella deals with religion, romance and government under the veil of philosophical satire. A very interesting read!
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Turn Right At Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
I found this a particularly hard category to fill because I want to visit everywhere! But I settled upon this story not because of the fantastic recommendation by Nomadic Matt, but also because it talked about the journey to fulfil an innate need for self-discovery through the wonder of travel. It is a book that makes me want to book the next flight to Peru while at the same time opened my eyes to a country that I really knew nothing about despite wanting to visit it. It does push a hike along the Inca Trail to the top of travel wish list and further inspires me to learn about the history of places we visit and the importance of their place in the world.
A book with antonyms in the title: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
I don’t even know why I picked up this book. I was at the Lifeline Bookfest and overwhelmed by the hundreds of copies of The Da Vinci Code that I became curious and picked up its prequel as I thought it sounded a little more interesting. And it was a little interesting through the exploration of science vs religion in the beautiful setting of Rome. I loved the historical aspect of the novel but as for the story line I was not overly intrigued. I found it weird and pointless in parts and was not consumed by the mystery of it all. Definitely not a favourite and one I wouldn’t recommend.
A graphic novel: V For Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
This was a hard category to fill. The only book that I had read that would be classified as a graphic novel is Shaun Tan’s The Arrival which I studied at uni so I found it difficult to find something that I would want to read. After a few suggestions from friends I decided that the dystopian world depicted in V for Vendetta was more likely to be something I was interested in. I found the comic combination of pictures and words to just be confusing and I found the story difficult to get into. The overall premise of the story was interesting but not enough for me want to try another graphic novel. At least I gave it a go!
A book that scares you: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I was a bit unsure about this category; I mean I don’t really enjoy being scared so why would I put myself through that? The obvious choice was something by Stephen King but as I have never had the slightest desire to read something that would terrify me I landed on the first book in the Millennium Series. The reason I felt this book would be suited to this category is that I am pretty scared of violence and was really unsure what kind of novel I was picking up and the unknown is pretty scary. I am very surprised to say that this book is brilliant and I couldn’t put it down! There were a few passages which did freak me out and I found quite disturbing but overall the thrilling mystery of it all was enough to keep me hooked. I think I have found a new interest in crime novels throughout the course of this challenge which is a bit surprising but I think it comes down to great writing that makes you want to ignore everything else in life and just keep reading. This book certainly did that and I think I will have to add the remaining novels to my list of books to read in 2016!
A book you started but never finished: Rome by Robert Hughes
I bought this book when planning my Italian honeymoon to get excited about visiting Rome and that’s exactly what it did. I loved reading about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire as we journeyed on planes and trains. I did find it a struggle to get into though as I would be constantly pausing to Google the references to expand my understanding. I got probably just over half-way through the book before arriving in Rome and found my experience was made more interesting because of the information learned in this book. However once arriving home the book got put away due to its intensity of information and I moved onto lighter, entertaining reads. I do not usually start a book without finishing so in terms of a short-list for this category it was either this or The Hobbit, and well if you read my last update you will know how that went!! In the end this book still took me a long time to get through and I found the second half which focused on a more modern side of Rome less enjoyable than the tales of the ancients.