2019 Book Challenge

3rd year in a row, my dad and I are doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge.

Here’s how I’m doing so far:

Category – A book becoming a movie in 2019

Book 1: Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Ok, so first book of the year, and I couldn’t find a suitable category for it to go in. Technically it is  is not being made into a movie as it is already a brilliant TV series but the book was fantastic and I really enjoyed it – interesting characters and it kept me guessing to the end.

Category – A book about a family

Book 2: The Lost Man – Jane Harper

Another fab book by Jane Harper – I loved her first novel, The Dry, and her second novel Force of Nature was ok, but this one was as good as the first. Gripping and well-written, it also kept me guessing and the descriptions of the Australian outback are brutal and very vivid. An excellent read.

Category – A book featuring an amateur detective

Book 3: Shelter – Harlan Coben

This was just utterly awful in every way. A dreadful book. Don’t read it.

Category – A book with a two-word title

Book 4: Spook Street – Mick Herron

The 4th book in his spy series, and I have loved every one so far – all of them are fab – quick and easy reads with likeable and funny characters.

Category: A book about someone with a superpower

Book 5: How to stop time – Matt Haig

This one was ok – not the best book I’ve ever read, but certainly not the worst, and DEFINITELY not as bad as a previous book of his I have read (The Radleys, which I hated). It was an interesting reflection on what it would be like to live forever, or at least for several centuries, and the unique pain and sadness that would go along with that. It certainly made me think.

Category: A book told from multiple character points of view

Book 6: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

This was recommended by several people – a strange murder mystery in which the narrator wakes up in the body of different guests at a party, reliving each day over and over again while he attempts to solve the crime. It was VERY weird, a bit too long in my opinion – there’s a lot of plot, some of which was a bit unnecessary and it got very confusing. I slogged through it, and it was ok, but not quite my cup of tea really.

Though it is perfect for a Netflix series and I would probably enjoy it more on tv (it’s a little bit Black Mirror-esque)

Category: A book recommended by a celebrity you admire

Book 7: How not to be a boy – Robert Webb

I saw Robert Webb promoting this on TV and thought it sounded really interesting. It was a fantastic read – a memoir with a difference, as he goes back to his childhood to try to unpick the moments when things had damaged him. It’s a fascinating reflection on feminism and toxic masculinity which I found helpful as it’s a topic of interest to me at the moment, as is of course also very zeitgeist-y!

Category: A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover

Book 8: What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

This was a fun and frivolous chick-lit style book. Easy read, interesting but nothing to write home about.

Category: A book with a plant in the title or on the cover

Book 9: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland

While I loved some parts of this book (the flower theme running through it, the elements of fire and water woven into the narrative) I also found parts of it too fantastical, and the author clearly doesn’t like men, which came across as bitter and left all of the male characters rather flat and one-dimensional.

Category: A novel based on a true story

Book 10: A really good day – Ayelet Waldman

This was fascinating and interesting, lots to think about and dwell on, but also the author was extremely irritating and came across as a neurotic, paranoid woman which rather affected the narrative voice and ruined it a little for me.

Category: A book written by an author from Asia, Africa or South America

Book 11: Sick, A Memoir – Porochista Khakpour

This was also interesting and different. A memoir of a woman with a severe and complex disease that was undiagnosed for years, combined with lots of misdiagnoses, drug and prescription dependencies and more. An interesting and different read – not my usual type of book, but nice to be outside of my usual comfort zone once in a while!

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 12: Don’t let go – Michel Bussi

This was ok – a standard thriller/mystery, set on the island of Reunion. I suspect it may have been better in the original French rather than as a translation (which I read in English).

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 13: The Lauras – Sara Taylor

I enjoyed this one – it was an interesting read, and the main protagonist was deliberately genderless, so you never knew if the narrator was male or female, which added an interesting twist and commentary on transgender issues.

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 14: The Rough Guide to Green Living – Duncan Clark

In a bid to reduce plastic and my C02 emissions I have found this book fantastically helpful and interesting! Whole separate post coming soon about it!

Category: A book revolving around a puzzle or game

Book 15: Believe Me, JP Delaney

This was AWFUL. I bought it because I read her previous one (The Girl Before) which was good but this one was just terrible and I hated it.

Category: A book about a hobby

Book 16: Royal Horticultural Society – The Practical House Plant Book

Loving this book – it will help me keep more of my plants alive in future I’m sure!

Category: A book published in 2019

Book 17: Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Amazingly this is my 3rd book by this author this year. I am very mixed on this author – I LOVED Big Little Lies, I LIKED this one, and What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret, and I HATED The Last Anniversary. This one was ok – good but a little odd. I raced through it.

Sadly it’s also not quite published in 2019, but came out near the end of last year so I am counting it anyway.

Category: Your favourite prompt from a previous Popsugar book challenge (A book with an animal in the title)

Book 18: The Unexpected Truth About Animals – Lucy Cooke

Just finished this – it was a fantastic combination of history, fun animal facts and science, the author looks at some of the myths about certain animals, where those myths came from and how it has impacted on our culture and environment. Highly recommended – I loved it.

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 19: Tell me I’m wrong – Adam Croft

This one was pretty mediocre and not at all as exciting a thriller as I had hoped.

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 20: Calm Parents, Happy Kids – Dr Laura Markham

Nothing massively new in here, but it’s a good reminder of what was in my parenting courses and good tips on attachment theory and so on.

Category: None (can’t find one that fits)

Book 21: Once and Then – Morris Gleitzman

This was technically 2 books, the first two in a wider series. They are young adult books – the story of the holocaust told by a young boy ages about 9 or 10. It is very well done, with moments of horror mixed in with moments of innocence. Very sad in places but deals with tough subject matter in an accessible way for children.

Category: A book you think SHOULD be turned into a movie

Book 22: VOX – Christina Dalcher

This book was good – it had a LOT of potential and the ideas behind it were exciting and scary – all the hallmarks of excellent science fiction. However the plot was either too thinly there or badly edited, I can’t tell which, but there were several key moments in the plot that weren’t clear or didn’t make sense. It could have done with some things being more clearly padded out as it felt a bit rushed, especially at the end. It would however make an EXCELLENT movie if someone tightened up the script a bit.


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