2022 & 2023 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2018 > El's Elms & Elks ✦ 48 books in 2018

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message 1: by El (new)

El | 145 comments So it was either this or El's Eleven Electronic Elegies but I didn't really feel like reading a dozen sad poems on my Kindle for the sake of alliteration. And I do happen to like trees and animals.

I'm El from Australia, short-time lurker and first-time poster on this group. After an Internet outage left me without Netflix for weeks, I had no other choice but to turn to some old friends for entertainment purposes - books. Next thing I know I've set myself a reading goal of 24 books for 2018!

This group looks really exciting and I hope to participate in a few challenges to help me smash that goal and widen my reading horizons (YA Fantasy I'm coming for you).

I shall document my progress in this topic.


message 2: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Hi El, welcome! Wishing you the best of luck with your reading goal (I should watch less tv series and engage less on GR to read more too lol) & happy reading! Looking forward to your updates!


message 3: by El (last edited Feb 26, 2019 03:06PM) (new)

El | 145 comments So here goes...

1. The Vegetarian ★★★☆☆
2. On Chesil Beach ★★★☆☆
3. The Sellout ★★★★☆
4. Since We Fell ★☆☆☆☆
5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo ★★★☆☆ 💛
6. Demi-Gods ★★☆☆☆
7. Annihilation ★★★☆☆
8. Solar Bones ★★★★☆ ❤️
9. Call Me by Your Name ★★★★☆
10. The Library at Mount Char ★★★☆☆ 💛
11. News of the World ★★★★☆ ❤️
12. Sleeping Giants ★★★☆☆
13. All the Bright Places ★★★☆☆
14. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ★★★☆☆
15. Le Collier rouge ★★★★☆
16. The Underground Railroad ★★☆☆☆
17. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night 🗭 ★★★☆☆
18. Travelling in a Strange Land 🗭 ★★★★★ ❤️
19. A Single Man ★★★★☆
20. The Reluctant Fundamentalist ★★★★☆
21. Sing, Unburied, Sing ★★★☆☆
22. A Monster Calls ★★★★★ ❤️
23. Saga, Vol. 1 ★★★★☆
24. Pachinko ★★★☆☆ 💛
25. The Ensemble ★★☆☆☆
26. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda ★★★★☆ ❤️
27. The Poppy War ★★★☆☆
28. Saga, Vol. 2 ★★★☆☆
29. The Ice Palace ★★★☆☆
30. The Kiss Quotient ★★★☆☆
31. A Place for Us ★★★★☆
32. Circe ★★★☆☆
33. Saga, Vol. 3 ★★★★★ ❤️
34. A Gentleman in Moscow ★★★★☆ 💛
35. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine ★★★★☆
36. Saga, Vol. 4 ★★★☆☆
37. Tin Man ★★☆☆☆
38. Fever Dream ★★★☆☆
39. ✖️
40. ✖️
41. ✖️
42. ✖️
43. ✖️
44. ✖️
45. ✖️
46. ✖️
47. ✖️
48. ✖️ War and Peace 🗭 (I was aiming to finish this in 2018, but although I probably read the bulk of it then, I only got around to finish it in February 2019. Towards my 2019 Reading Challenge it goes!)

〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰
📑 Currently Reading
❤️ Year's Favourite
💛 Special Mention




message 4: by El (new)

El | 145 comments Susy wrote: "Hi El, welcome! Wishing you the best of luck with your reading goal (I should watch less tv series and engage less on GR to read more too lol) & happy reading! Looking forward to your updates!"

Thanks Susy! I'm finding Goodreads quite addictive so I hope it doesn't become my new Netflix!


message 5: by Blagica (new)

Blagica  | 12050 comments Hi El wishing you the best of luck with your challenge. I hope you have fun turning pages and reading books with us and of course joining challenges. Please look around and join whatever looks like fun.


message 6: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) El wrote: "Thanks Susy! I'm finding Goodreads quite addictive so I hope it doesn't become my new Netflix! "

Lol, good luck! Too late for me I'm afraid :)


message 7: by El (new)

El | 145 comments Blagica wrote: "Hi El wishing you the best of luck with your challenge. I hope you have fun turning pages and reading books with us and of course joining challenges. Please look around and join whatever looks like..."

Thanks Blagica, I will!


message 8: by El (last edited May 26, 2018 09:07AM) (new)

El | 145 comments 🗭 War and Peace 🗭

I've just finished Volume III of War and Peace and I continue to be in awe of Tolstoy's depth of psychological insight. He describes his characters' inner workings with so much precision, truth and lack of judgement. How was he able to render so justly such a wide range of emotions, from such diverse characters? The ring of truth from some passages is uncanny - I've found myself thinking "I've felt this exact same way before!" more than once.

I want to clear some books off my TBR first before getting back into it with Volume IV.


message 9: by El (last edited Jun 01, 2018 06:28PM) (new)

El | 145 comments 🗭 The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night 🗭

👍🏻 I decided to read this collection of short stories as I really enjoy its author Jen Campbell's YouTube channel. Some dark themes are explored here with both restraint and lyricism. I particularly loved the use of ellipses and how their absence of words haunted the stories.

👎🏻 I failed to see past the metaphors and to grasp the meaning of some of the other stories. "Little Deaths" left me lost and confused, and I found that the poetic touches in "Bright White Hearts" didn't work for me. Then again, I don't usually read poetry so I might not be best placed to judge.

Favourites stories:
Plum Pie. Zombie Green. Yellow Bee. Purple Monster.
In the Dark
Margaret and Mary and the End of the World


★★★☆☆


message 10: by El (last edited Jun 01, 2018 07:28PM) (new)

El | 145 comments 🗭 Travelling in a Strange Land 🗭

👍🏻 Er... Why isn't this book getting more attention?! I randomly picked it up from my local library as it was one of their latest additions, not knowing much about it apart from the blurb inside the cover, and now it might have become one of my all-time favourites:

The world is shrouded in snow. Transport has ground to a halt. Tom must venture out into a transformed and treacherous landscape to collect his son, sick and stranded in student lodgings. But on this solitary drive from Belfast to Sunderland, Tom will be drawn into another journey, one without map or guide, and is forced to chart pathways of family history haunted by memory and clouded in regret.

The superb writing style somehow reminded me of Mike McCormack's Solar Bones, with its long sentences developing straight out of the narrator's thoughts. However David Park does use punctuation and more "traditional" grammar structures.

There are many descriptions of snowy landscapes yet each one feels new and true and calls on all human senses to transport you right into the scenery:
"Then we lapse into a moment's silence and stare at the trees and the spindrift that falls from their branches when the wind stirs them.
There is a sudden cold sweep of stillness amongst the trees that feels absolute and which seems to reach right to the very edge of us."


The story and its themes are timeless yet David Park infuses its text with cross-media references which I found enriched and expanded my reading experience further. He mentions art photography which you can easily Google, recent film references and geographical landmarks. An award-winning photographer has collaborated with the author to create a "personal response" to the book, and the cherry on top - there is an official Spotify playlist for the book with the songs mentioned during the narrator's road trip.

I'll end my review with this praise from Joseph O'Connor on the depth and precision of the narrator's inner turmoil: "Somehow he writes with both grace and muscularity, and every page resounds with the sort of truthfulness that stirs deep recognition."

★★★★★


message 11: by Blagica (new)

Blagica  | 12050 comments “I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” With summer coming I hope you find a corner in Paradise!


message 12: by El (last edited Jun 02, 2018 05:55PM) (new)

El | 145 comments Blagica wrote: "“I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” With summer coming I hope you find a corner in Paradise!"

Thanks Blagica! I live in Australia so it is winter for me now, but 5-degree nights are perfect for snuggling up in bed with a heatbag and a good book!


message 13: by Blagica (new)

Blagica  | 12050 comments I will do better next year to know who is from where so I get my weather comments right (lol) happy snuggling and coco El


message 14: by El (new)

El | 145 comments Blagica wrote: "I will do better next year to know who is from where so I get my weather comments right (lol) happy snuggling and coco El"

Haha all good!


message 15: by Blagica (new)

Blagica  | 12050 comments Hows the winter this year? Hoping July is full of page turners.


message 16: by El (new)

El | 145 comments Blagica wrote: "Hows the winter this year? Hoping July is full of page turners."

Thanks Blagica, I'm getting so much reading done in the Australian winter that I have to change my reading challenge!


message 17: by El (new)

El | 145 comments Updating my Goodreads Reading Challenge from 24 to 48 books! I never thought this challenge would motivate me to read this much.

My favourite reads in the first half of the year have been:
Solar Bones
Call Me by Your Name
Travelling in a Strange Land
A Monster Calls


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