My Reading Challenge 2016

Oh hey Internet Peoples! I hope you’re all as beautiful and gorgeous as EVER!

Reading books is a very different experience for different people. For some, it’s a way of learning- a necessity for classes, for exams, to learn a new skill. We absorb the words, so we can either blurt them back out through in inky pen, with only an hour to do so in a suffocating exam hall, or put the theories into practice. For others, reading is therapy. It is relaxation, pleasure, escapism.

For me, in recent times, reading has been a little bit too much the former, and not enough of the latter.

Back in January, my boyfriend and I set up a “competition”- we both wanted to set ourselves the goal of reading 40 books by the end of the year. However, to make it more interesting, we’ve also said that the person who reads the least books has to buy the winner a present of the value of £50.

At only 11 books by July, I need to step it up, guys! If you’re reading this, Chris, I love you and I love buying you presents, but I am also too competitive to let you win.

So I thought I would share with you guys the books I’ve read so far, giving a tiny review of each. HOPEFULLY, with some luck, I’ll get back on my game, and then I can do a little update maybe every other month? Sound good? LET’S GO!

Just realised how much I need a cup of tea. Two ticks.

MUCH BETTER. HERE WE GO!!!!

  1. Dubliners, James Joyce
  2. Girl Online, Zoe Sugg
  3. Girl Online: On Tour, Zoe Sugg
  4. The Little Paris Bookshop, Nina George
  5. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
  6. Knocked Out by my Nunga Nungas, Louise Rennison
  7. Dancing in my Nuddy Pants, Louise Rennison
  8. Away Laughing on a fast Camel, Louise Rennison
  9. Then he ate my Boy Entrancers, Louise Rennison
  10. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  11. The Meanwhile Adventures, Roddy Doyle

 

  1. Dubliners

I kicked off the year on a good note. Dubliners is a selection of short stories by James Joyce, one of my favourite authors. I read Ulysses last year for class, and fell in love with everything about it- his style, the references, the psychogeography, Molly Bloom- everything. While people may be put off by the size of Ulysses, Dubliners is much more accessible. If you’re new to Joyce start here.

I’m not going to give anything away here, and it’s hard to sum it all up because it’s short stories, but think Ireland, late 1800’s early 1900’s. Rural versus city life. The role of men and women, class issues, the working man, life and death. It’s hard to pick a personal favourite, but I really enjoyed Joyce’s perception of women and their role in society during this time; the spinster, the young unmarried woman, and the wife stuck in an awkward relationship with no getting out.

A solid 9/10 from me (not a ten because NOTHING will ever compare to Ulysses.)

 

2. Girl Online

Taking a leap in an entirely different direction, I read a book I vowed I’d never read, with low expectations. I told myself I was much to old to dive into Zoe Sugg’s teen romance novel, but I devoured it in two days, and loved every second. This is the book which sparked my rekindling with Louise Rennison’s Angus Thongs series later on! It’s a very good quick or light read, with a very relatable main character.

We meet Penny, a young girl from England who is shy, reserved, and a bit of a misfit. On a holiday in the states with her parents, she meets Noah, with whom she instantly falls in love. He’s a little bit mysterious, and while she feels like they’re a perfect match, he’s not being 100% honest with her about who he really is…

I’d give this a 8/10- good story, relatable protagonist- would be really great for someone of about 15 i.e. the same age!

 

3. Girl Online: On Tour

Immediately after reading Girl Online, I just HAD to know what was going to happen to Noah and Penny next. Admittedly, I much preferred the original- this one has a really frustrating middle-to-end part which made me want to scream and shake both main characters for all I was worth. But by the ending, everything is  (seems to be) okay. However, Zoe DID leave room for a possible third instalment… We’ll see what happens! I did enjoy the other two so much I would like to read a third!

In this novel, we see Penny go on tour with Noah, and all of the pressure and strain this adds to their relationship. Seeing as I’m not giving away much about the first book, that’s all I’m saying about number two… Let me know in the comments if you’ve read either of them, and what you thought!

7/10 from me.

 

4. The Little Paris Bookshop

Now, this book took me AGES to get through. I just could NOT get into it at the beginning. However, I decided that, in March, I had to read SOMETHING to get my mind out of France and “french-mode, so I kept going with it.

It’s the story of Jean Perdu, who lives in Paris and owns the “literary apothecary”- basically, a book shop in a boat. He has mourned the love of his life, Manon, who snuck off and left him 20 years ago, leaving only a letter on the table of their apartment which Jean could never bring himself to read. However, after a somewhat steamy night with a new neighbour, he finds the strength to read the letter, and gets the shock of his life. He then sets out on an adventure to find Manon after all this time, with the help of a young local author, on his book boat.

By the end of the book, I was glad I’d read it. It was a little bit cringey, a little bit cheesy at times, and oh so frustrating. However, i think most people would enjoy this book. It’s a good story, but I never really connected with Jean. If you like things like One Day, I think you’d love this.

7/10.

 

5-9. The Angus Thongs series

I’m grouping these together because they are a wonderful YA series by the seriously talented Louise Rennison, who sadly passed away two days after i got back into these books! I started reading these when I was about 14, and I used to buy one per week, every Sunday from ASDA, and spending my week laughing away at the mishaps of Georgia Nicholson. I think, however, reading these at 21, when I’ve got a little bit more worldly experience, is ten times better. SERIOUSLY, if you’ve already read these, read them again, now! I think it’s so hilarious because you remember all of the awkwardness of adolescence- first kisses, worrying about the size of your boobs, spots, school, friends, and everything in between.

We read the diary of Georgia Nicholson, whois experiencing all of these things for the first time. She’s a sassy teenager, with the craziest dating life and a mad bunch of mates. I imagine it’s hard to not fall in love with this girl- I definitely wasn’t like her when I was 14, but maybe at like 17, I can reeeeeaalllly empathise!

9/10 for all of them- i cry laugh like a maniac when I read these!

 

10. Yes Please

A hilariously honest and lovely account of Amy Poehler’s life. It’s not like the average biography, where you start at the beginning and work your way through to the present day- it’s more like dipping in and out of her life according to certain themes? And you’re not inundated with every single detail of her life. Poehler was someone I didn’t really know before reading this book, but I really loved it so much so, that I think I’m going to start watching Parks and Recreation!

10/10. I laughed out loud till tears came out on the plane on the way home. People thought I was crazy. What more recommendation do you need?!

 

11. The Meanwhile Adventures

THIS IS A KIDS BOOK BUT I DON’T CARE. I first discovered Roddy Doyle when was 8 years old, and my mammy bought Rover Saves Christmas to read as my bedtime story. I fell in love with him, and immediately went out to read his first of the “Rover” books, The giggler Treatment. I suggest you start with that, then RSC, and finally, this. The tales focus around Rover the dog, a super intelligent pupper from Dublin, who belongs to the Mack family. Doyle tells us crazy, laugh-out-loud stories about this strange family, often with a touch of scatalogical humour (thanks for that word, Shazza Flynn!). It’s so ridiculous, far-fetched, and funny- a perfect read for kids or for adults in need of a good laugh.

8/10. These books will forever be my pick me up.

And that’s all so far! Right now, I’m working my way through Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which is already AMAZING!

What are you guys reading right now? Based on what I’ve read, is there anything you’d recommend?  I need some good readin’ fuel!

A Bientôt,

 

Amber xx

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