Books

2016 Book Challenge: COMPLETE

I did it! Okay, well technically I didn’t do all of it, but I did manage to read 40 books which is a number I’m very happy with, especially given that I went back to college during the year and I don’t have as much free time as I used to. I may have cheated slightly by including both comics and children’s books in this list but in my defence the majority of the children’s books were fantastic and like 3 of the comics were good. I’ve compiled them all into a list which you can see below.

 

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  1.  Holy Cow – David Duchovny
  2.  Room – Emma Donoghue
  3.  We Should All be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4.  Milk & Honey – Rupi Kaur
  5.  Moomin & the Sea – Tove Janson
  6.  Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  7.  Asking for It – Louise O’Neill
  8.  Cat Diary – Junji Ito
  9.  Mindfulness for Everyday Living – Christopher Titmuss
  10.  Gyo – Junji Ito
  11.  The Importance of Being Ernest – Ernest Cline
  12.  Girl Comics Anthology
  13.  Paper Girls vol.1 – Brian K. Vaughan
  14.  No Dead Time – Brian MacLachlan
  15.  Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  16.  Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  17.  Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
  18.  Comet in Mooninland – Tove Janson
  19.  Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  20.  Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  21.  The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  22.  A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  23.  Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  24.  The Beach – Alex Garland
  25.  The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  26.  Animal Farm – George Orwell
  27.  The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  28.  Crash – J.G. Ballard
  29.  A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  30.  Holes – Louis Sachar
  31.  A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
  32.  The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  33.  Brooklyn – Cólm Toibín
  34.  The Cement Garden – Ian McEwan
  35.  Moomin Falls in Love – Tove Janson
  36.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
  37.  The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  38.  The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  39.  Panti Bliss, Woman in the Making – Rory O’Neill
  40.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

 

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  1.  Rebecca – I’d wanted to read Rebecca for years and it was one of the first books I read as part of my 2016 challenge. It captivated me from start to finish and I could hardly put it down. The mystery never lets up until the very end of the book and it’s definitely going on my re-read list.
  2.  The Little Prince – The Little Prince is a much loved children’s classic and it’s not hard to see why. I read this book in one sitting and it was so beautiful that I cried and immediately read it again. It’s completely quotable, full of gorgeous illustrations and can be equally enjoyed by adults and kids in different measures. It has become one of my solid favourites.
  3.  A Christmas Carol – God bless us, everyone! It was recomended that I save reading this book until Christmas which turned out to be solid advice. Few things can get you into the Christmas spirit quicker than Charles Dicken’s famous book about redemption and forgiveness. However, seeing as I first saw the Muppet’s movie adaption I now read it completely in Gonzo’s voice…
  4.  A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki’s novel is a hard read for anyone who has had to live with depression. It goes through two narratives – a teenage girl writing to her diary in Japan and the woman who finds the diary washed up years later after the 2011 tsunami. The book deals with loneliness, war, depression, recession, Buddhism and the supernatural, which sounds like a cluster f*@ck, but it juggles them all magically.
  5.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey’s classic made me laugh and cry continuously. I first saw the movie adaption but that did not take away from the conclusion at the end of the novel. It’s a story about patients in a male psychiatric ward in 1960s America and how they fight back the oppressive authority residing over them to regain their body autonomy.
  6.  Room – Emma Donoghue’s novel is based on the Josef Fritzl case and centres around a kidnapped young woman and her 5-year-old son. The story focuses on their reaction to the world beyond their room when they are eventually found and released.
  7.  Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur’s debut book of poetry and illustration is a beautiful collection of work from a young woman dealing with love, loss and self appreciation and acceptance. So much of her poetry struck a chord with me that the majority of my copy of the book is dog eared so that I can quickly find my favourites again.

 

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  1.  Brooklyn – The only reason I wanted to read this book is because Domhnall Gleeson was cast in the movie adaption and I love him. The book (and movie) was so boring and none of the characters are remotely like-able save for the main character’s sister and love interest back in Ireland, who both feature for about 10 pages. So not worth it. I didn’t care where Eilis ended up or who she ended up with, I just wanted it to end.
  2.  The Life of Pi – The only reason I wanted Pi to find land was so that the book would finally be over. Spiritualism can only entertain so much when almost the entire book is set at sea.
  3.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – This book is narrated by a 15-year-old autistic boy named Christopher trying to solve a mystery by himself. It gives a phenomenal insight into what living with autism (from a first person and outsider’s perspective) is like, which is why I found it so hard to read. I was so emotionally drained on completing this book that I had to lie down and do nothing in order to process it for a few days afterwards.
  4.  Asking for It – I was looking forward to reading this book for so long due to its strong message of consent and its consistent praise. However, I unfortunately have to say that I hated it. I understand that it raises an enormously important discussion on what sexual consent is and that that it’s written in a way so as to be widely accessible but I just found it very poorly written with too many characters, a bad layout that didn’t differentiate between current/past events or an internal monologue. It was confusing at times as it tries to use too much unnecessary content without first introducing it properly or wrapping it up afterwards. I really didn’t like it.
  5.  The Importance of Being Ernest – A book compilation of a self confessed geek’s slam poetry. If you’re going to call yourself a geek do it once. Twenty times is not necessary. Contains a poem that was unsurprisingly sexist, yet still annoying.
  6.  No Dead Time – This comic had some really interesting art, but also had grammatical and spelling errors on every second page which consistently took me out of the story.
  7.  Girl Comics – The feminist in me wanted to love this. The boring stories and art styles made me hate it.

 

So there it is. I feel a little mean looking back over the critics I have for the books I least enjoyed in this challenge but the amazing books I was fortunate to read throughout this past year made the bad ones look so much worse by comparison. I started this challenge to add to my reading library, make a start on the mountain of books I hadn’t read and also to make a start on some critically acclaimed work that I’ve been meaning to read for years. I’m really happy with the amount I was able to get through, but I’m going to set a more realistic goal for 2017’s challenge. I’ll post this year’s reading list at a later date.

It’s so nice to be back blogging again on my winter break from college before school starts up again. I hate setting New Year’s resolutions as I find they never work – if you want to make a change in life you should start it whenever you want to, not just in January. Having said that, I hope I can find a balance between college work and self motivated work in the next few months. Fingers crossed!

Until next time, Happy New Year!

Cíara C

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