Once again my Dad and I are embarking on the Popsugar Reading Challenge, though unlike the previous years I will be aiming for 25 books this year rather than 40 as not finding as much time for reading this year! If you want to see my previous year’s challenges they are here: 2019, 2018, 2017.
Book 1: Life Story Books for Adopted and Fostered Children – A family friendly approach, by Joy Rees
Category: A book that has a book on the cover
This one is mainly homework for me, as now that the Adoption Order has gone through I will soon be getting my daughter’s life story book (compiled by the Social Workers as a record of her life story) and there are some interesting research findings on the way these books are structured and the best way to introduce a child’s potentially troubled history to them in a non-traumatic way. A very simple easy read and lots of great tips for me to think about.
Book 2: Invisible Women: Exposing Data bias in a world designed for men, by Caroline Criado Perez
Category: A book you meant to read in 2019
This book is fascinating – I started it in 2019 but didn’t manage to finish it! Some of the research is terribly compelling and really eye-opening. however it’s an awfully long book to slog through and by the end starts to feel a little repetitive. Occasionally the author also tries for dramatic effect to throw in statistics that are one minute discussing a particular problem in in a specific country and the next referencing global stats for women worldwide, which can be a little misleading (eg on how many women drive, where the global average may not be applicable to a developed country such as Sweden!).
However it’s certainly an interesting read, and as I generally read very little non-fiction this one held my attention well. Some shocking things in there to make you think twice about how our world is structured and how we perceive gender bias for sure.
Book 3: Identity Crisis, by Ben Elton
Category: A book about or involving social media
This one was a nice easy read, but although it is clearly a satire it is so thinly veiled and so close to the truth that it was a little unnerving. Made me feel a bit freaked out that in spite of the exaggerations, this is basically the world we are living in now and it is really quite terrifying.
Book 4: Outspoken – 50 speeches by Incredible women from Boudicca to Michelle Obama, by Deborah Coughlin
Category: An anthology
This book was fascinating and very interesting – lots of interesting and amazing women across history, and a strong reminder that many women have been written out of history when their contributions are very important.
Book 5: London Rules, by Mick Herron
Category: A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics
This was a great easy read. I love his books and this is number 5 in the series. All of them are quick, easy, fairly cheesy, and gripping.
Book 6: All the light we cannot see, by Anthony Doerr
Category: A bildungsroman (a novel dealing with one’s formative years or spiritual education)
This was a very thoughtful and beautifully written book. The characters are well-developed and it drifts gently along nicely. In spite of the setting (WW2) it is optimistic and largely hopeful, showing the war through the eyes of two children/teenagers, a blind french girl and a german boy conscripted into the Hitler Youth programme. It deserved the Pulitzer that it won.
Book 7: Various Quilting Books
Category – None
This one is cheating slightly, as it’s multiple books, but I felt having read most of them it was worth at least a passing mention but I have lumped these together as one book. I got a load of these quilting books out of the library to source some ideas for new crafty projects, and photocopy any patterns I really liked or might try one day. Lots of fun, and I got loads of creative ideas, thanks to my local library.
Book 8: Twas the nightshift before Christmas, by Adam Kay
Category: A book with a pun in the title
My dad says this is not a pun, so doesn’t count in this category, but I can’t think of anywhere else to put it so am squeezing it in a bit! This was very short, a follow-up to the brilliant “This is going to hurt”. It was very funny but I wish there was more of it!
Book 9: Dear Girls, by Ali Wong
Category: A book by a Woman of Colour
This was a little crass for my taste, though funny in places. I like her stand-up comedy and enjoyed her reflections on her heritage and culture and what it means to be an Asian American (and reflecting on both the Asian and American aspects of her identity).
Book 10: Will my cat eat my eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty
Category: A book on a subject you know nothing about
This was fascinating. Some would say morbid (it certainly is) but covers a wide range of interesting questions about what happens to our bodies after we die, and deals with the topic with humour and grace. They are mostly questions that children have asked, so some of the questions themselves are funny, and I learned an awful lot about the body’s decomposition process and the types of things morticians need to do to allow families to have dignified goodbyes.
Book 11: Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata
Category: A book with a three-word title
This was quirky and odd – it certainly was a rather scathing look at life for an unmarried woman over 30 in Japan, and the social pressures and need to conform. I enjoyed it, but it was also a bit of a weird read.
Book 12: Born a crime: Stories from a South African childhood, by Trevor Noah
Category: A book with more than 4 star rating on Goodreads.
This was a very easy read – fascinating and interesting, he writes very well and it was light-hearted even while dealing with complex topics like apartheid. I love his comedy and work on the Daily Show, so was really intrigued to learn more about him and his family, as well as learning a lot more about the realities of growing up under apartheid.
Book 13: The Daily struggles of Archie Adams, Aged 2 1/4, by Katie Kirby
This one was really just for a fun break while I was too overwhelmed to start any proper books! Lovely and silly and a great read while currently raising a toddler!
Book 14: Boy Swallows Universe, by Trent Dalton
Category: A book with a bird on the cover
This was a hefty book, pretty grim in places, but also a very gripping read. It reminded me of another book I read last year, Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak, Both are set in the suburbs of Australian cities, both stories are centred on brothers raising themselves without much parental supervision, and on brotherly love, and both have a very fantastical way with prose. However while Bridge of Clay was gentler, and softer, this one is far more gritty and intense. I really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed how the story matured along with it’s central character.
Book 15: Parenting in Transracial Adoption, by Jane Hoyt-Oliver
Book 16: The Binding, by Bridget Collins
Category: A book recommended by your favourite blog, vlog, podcast or online bookclub