2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2018 > Aly's 40+ Reading Challenge

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message 1: by Alexandra (last edited May 18, 2018 10:46PM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Alexandra
I've set myself a goal of 40 books in 2018, but I'm ahead of schedule so hoping to squeeze some more in. Currently I'm always reading two books at a time; ebooks that I'm interested in, and trying to shop my bookcase for physical books I've bought but not read.

When I'm reading I'm usually listening to music as well, so starting from the books I'm currently reading I'm going to note down a song I was listening to when reading a book that seemed to tie into the story (or just one I was really enjoying at the time).

So far I've read:

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt (4.5 stars)
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (5 stars)
A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates (5 stars)
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (3.5 stars)
Come Sunday by Bradford Morrow (3 stars)
The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047 by Lionel Shriver (2.5 stars)
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (5 stars)
A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson (4 stars)
Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen (3.5 stars)
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (3.5 stars)
The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen (4 stars)
Madness is Better than Defeat by Ned Beauman (4.5 stars)
Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood (5 stars)
The Greek Wall by Nicolas Verdan (3 stars)
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (4 stars)
The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus (3.5 stars)
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (5 stars)
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (4 stars)
The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea (5 stars)
Maria in the Moon (4 stars)
Infected (3 stars)
Lullaby (4 stars)
About Grace (4 stars)
Beartown (5 stars)
Autonomous (3.5 stars)
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (5 stars)
You Were Never Really Here (4 stars)
A Lovely Way to Burn (4 stars)
Hydra (2 stars)
Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father-Warren Jeffs-Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult (4.5 stars)

Currently reading:
ebook: Block 46
Hard copy: Bark


message 2: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Good luck with your goal Aly, sure looks like you’re off to a great start! Happy reading!


message 3: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Thanks Susy!


message 4: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments Hi Aly welcome to the group again. You are off to a great start on your goal. I hope you enjoy every book you read this year and your time with our group!


message 5: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 19, 2018 04:42AM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 11: The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen. 4 stars. A really enjoyable book with some (good) absurdist elements; a great experience for my first Finnish novel. The conclusion of the whodunnit was a little unsatisfying but I enjoyed the narrative built around it.

A song to go with it: Red Line by Geordie Kieffer.
Oh, my friend, you seem upset
What’s on your mind?
You got something you want to say?
Well look me in the eye
If you lose your cool, maybe I’ll lose mine
You draw the red line
I love crossing red lines


I can imagine Jaakko driving around the circular city of Hamina on a sticky summer day, blasting this song with his arm out the window.


message 6: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Kristin wrote: "Ooh! Looks like you've found some great books to start off the year. About 1/3 to half are ones I'd like to read but a lot of them are new to me. Any that you would recommend over others?"

Depends what you enjoy! If you like offbeat humour then you'll enjoy the Patrick deWitt books and The Man Who Died. Priestdaddy has me laughing out loud and Madness is Better than Defeat is really enjoyable, if a bit long.

For rich storytelling, American Martyrs and For Whom The Bell Tolls are great. The Breakdown would be good if you wanted a weekend read.


message 7: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 24, 2018 05:02AM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 12: Madness is Better than Defeat by Ned Beauman. 4.5 stars. A rich, densely layered story that hops across time periods and locations. The premise is outlandish and I'm not sure the explanation entirely justifies it, but the characters are very well fleshed-out and the writing is a joy to read.

A song to go with it: Hope for Something by Panama
I know it can be so hard to let it go
Take your victories where you may
You should know something good takes time anyway
Looking back at mistakes I made long ago
Now the dogs are barking at the door
They're out for blood, I'm sure



message 8: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 13: Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood. 5 stars. Not many books make me actually laugh out loud, but this one did. I'm usually a fan of fiction only, but Priestdaddy may have just changed my mind. The family members the author writes about are warm and human and complicated, but in the end, delightful (apart from maybe her father). I also enjoyed the connection the author, a lapsed Catholic, has to her religious upbringing; she clearly has a lingering fondness for it.

A song to go with it: The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows by Gang of Youths
There’s a sky full of lights and none of them stars
But each white, silvery flicker’s a faithful reminder to us
Of a weight that’s in youth that makes a dick of us all
If it happened today, then it’s probably happened before
In a crowd unfamiliar, I just wanna touch a familiar face
And make friends at the parties I’ve feared the likes of an age
To be wanted with truth and make formidable love
See light in myself that I see inside everyone else I know



message 9: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 29, 2018 02:51AM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 14: The Greek Wall by Nicolas Verdan. 3 stars. An intriguing concept but the execution was not great - I'm not sure if it was the translation, but the dialogue was poorly written and stilted. I also felt like nothing was happening until well after halfway through the book, and the policework seemed far too easy. It was hard to connect with the protagonist; I found it easier to connect with the suspect, whose chapters were far more interesting and well-written (probably because they were less prose, more dialogue). I also didn't like leaving the entire explanation to an epilogue. Despite this, I thought it tied in well with global events and has a great premise.

A song to go with it: Skeleton Park by KASADOR
The house is on fire, the air it fills my lungs
Satisfy desire by watching all you run
The house is on fire, you can hear the sirens scream
My hands hold the ligher, it fits so naturally



message 10: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 29, 2018 02:57AM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 15: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. 4 stars. I devoured this book in about three sittings, it had me hooked from the outset. I think the structure did throw me slightly, as well as the podcast element. As a fan of true crime podcasts, I probably wouldn't listen to this one because the narrator irked me. Also another book where I didn't love the dialogue, which was difficult at times because this is mostly all dialogue. However, the story was compelling enough to move past this, and the twist and ending were fantastic. A truly enjoyable read.

A song to go with it: The Valley by Okkervil River (one of my favourite songs of all time!)
I hear a breeze that wheezes through the tips of the pines,
Where there's laughter and screaming to the rafters in the night.
The moon rolls dreaming through the late spring sky,
Where our friend lies bleeding through his jacket and tie.
A slit throat makes a note like a raw winter wind.
We were piled in the river with the rock and roll skinned.
Like the water loves lapping at the skin of the shore, hear
Our friend come tapping at the latches on the door. Like a
Foot slips, slapping on the ladder's last rung, we were
Thrashing in the clatter of the rock and roll hung, minus one.



message 11: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Finished book 16: The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus. 3.5 stars. A fantastic concept, well-written but ended up smothered in somewhat meaningless introspection. After complaining about dialogue in the last two books, this had barely any, as the premise hangs on the toxicity of speech. I wanted more of an explanation as to why certain events have occured, but I did like the open-endedness of it.

A song to go with it: Passenger by Noah Kahan
Now all of the debts that I owe
Oh they keep me useful, my head held tall
Now I can't accept what I lost
You can make me balanced, but you can't make me whole



message 12: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. Looks like you have had some awesome dreams this year. I hope that April brings you many more five star reads. I love your songs with each book!


message 13: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments “Reading brings us unknown friends” While the warm weather is coming I hope you make some new friends in May!


message 14: by Alexandra (last edited May 18, 2018 10:43PM) (new)

Alexandra (alycat_) | 12 comments Whoops, really need to update this:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (5 stars): I expected this to be overrated but I loved it so, so much
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (4 stars): a heartbreaking reason behind a family tragedy, and a protagonist who is difficult to identify with
The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea (5 stars): haunting stories of everyday life from inside North Korea. Lifts the lid on the unimaginable horror of day-to-day living.
Maria in the Moon (4 stars): slow to grow on you, but truly beautiful in the end, a story of a lost woman trying to reconcile her past and present
Infected (3 stars): interesting concept but not well executed, threaded with the male gaze (why is so much scifi like this?)
Lullaby (4 stars): shocking and incredible, but I wanted more in the form of epilogue
About Grace (4 stars): winding and padded with thick prose, but a beautiful story with rich characters
Beartown (5 stars): I can't get this book out of my mind. An incredible and heartbreaking story told so beautifully
Autonomous (3.5 stars): fantastic premise and great characters, but falls into the trap of forsaking narrative for worldbuilding
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (5 stars): what can be said that hasn't already. The most well-written true crime I've ever read
You Were Never Really Here (4 stars): a two-hour read that's dark and shocking
A Lovely Way to Burn (4 stars): fast-paced page turner that's wholly satisfying
Hydra (2 stars): a seriously disappointing follow-up to Six Stories. Almost unreadable, full of red herrings, overwrought backstories and an unbelivable "twist"
Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father-Warren Jeffs-Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult (4.5 stars): incredible true story about growing up in the FLDS, written in a matter-of-fact tone and with a warm and uplifting conclusion


message 15: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments “I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” I hope you find a corner in Paradise with some great books!!


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