12 books in 12 months challenge 2020 discussion

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Progress Threads > Ian’s 12 in 2020

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments • a book written by an author with a first, middle, or last name that matches your own.
• a book with a STEM theme.
• a cozy mystery with a theme that interests you.
• a book available from Kindle First Reads for any month in the year 2020.
• a book that is a modern retelling of an old and familiar story.
• any book recommended to you by someone under the age of 15 or over the age of 35.
• a book you asked an adult to read over and over to you when you were a child.
• a book featuring your favorite animal/creature.
• a book about a self-care or wellness topic.
• a book about books.
• a book that has a party in it.
• a book title or series name with one of the 5 Ws in the title.


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments I’ve just finished “WTF?” by Robert Peston which could be the last category in this challenge.

It’s not really a profanity, it’s a serious book written by an economics journalist in the UK about the current state of British, and partly US, politics. Brexit here, and the election of Donald Trump. It’s an easy read and just his opinion on things.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments It’s strange but I’ve fancied reading something by Ian McEwen for a while. That would be for the first category.

The funniest thing is I find his full name is Ian Russell McEwan. I didn’t know that before. So that’s two names shared!


message 4: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "I’ve just finished “WTF?” by Robert Peston which could be the last category in this challenge.

It’s not really a profanity, it’s a serious book written by an economics journalist in the UK about t..."


"WTF?" book definitely counts for #12! I am sort of interested in it--I don't read a lot of nonfiction, and certainly never anything about politics or economics, so it might be a good one to take me out of my comfort zone.

And haha, WOW two names shared?? That is going above and beyond!


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments Sorry, I’ve had a lot going on at home and the lockdown thing too.

I have finished Middlemarch by George Elliot, my book choice recommended by someone over 35. It was long and boring to be honest, not my thing at all.

Hoping for something more exotic, I’ve picked an Amazon UK First Read for no.4 - “A Man” by Japanese author, Keiichiro Hirano, translated of course! It’s the first I’ve heard of him but I guess that’s the idea of First Reads. 🙂


message 6: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "Sorry, I’ve had a lot going on at home and the lockdown thing too.

I have finished Middlemarch by George Elliot, my book choice recommended by someone over 35. It was long and boring to be honest,..."


Totally okay, Ian! I think we are all in that same boat. :) Sorry your over-35 pick was so tedious, but at least you made it through! And I also got "A Man" from First Reads--I am really curious what you think of it if you give it a go.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments A Man came as light relief after Middlemarch.

It is Hirano’s first Japanese to English translation, and I gelt its Japanese style bleeds through the translation somewhat; I’m undecided as to whether that’s a bad thing or not. But it’s easy, unlike George Elliot’s excessive wordiness.

Hirano seems like a sensitive writer. The understory is intriguing, about illegal identity exchange, individuals escaping their past and family ties. And there’s identity racism too, from a Japanese-Korean perspective. It’s an interesting story, worthwhile though not quite a page turner.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments Cosy Mystery: After reading your blog post on cosy mysteries, Jillian, I feel more informed now!
I’m not sure but intrigued about this category. Is it like Sherlock Holmes, I wonder? But I’ve read all those so I’m going for Poirot, never having tried Agatha Christie but having watched a few episodes of David Suchet’s telly dramas before - it is cosy.

I’m going for Poirot’s introduction novel, Mysterious Affair at Styles, which I’ll begin tonight.


message 9: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "A Man came as light relief after Middlemarch.

It is Hirano’s first Japanese to English translation, and I gelt its Japanese style bleeds through the translation somewhat; I’m undecided as to wheth..."


This one sounds really promising and actually readable in a genre I normally don't spend much time in.


message 10: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "Cosy Mystery: After reading your blog post on cosy mysteries, Jillian, I feel more informed now!
I’m not sure but intrigued about this category. Is it like Sherlock Holmes, I wonder? But I’ve read..."


Oh, I am glad it was helpful! :D Sherlock and Poirot are more like classic mysteries. Cozy mysteries tend to be more modern (starting in the mid-90s or so). But, having said that, I love Christie, and Poirot could be considered cozy (I think more so than Holmes) because she is really good at creating atmosphere and drawing you in. I will be interested in what you think of your first read from her! If you like it and want to try more, my favorites are: Death on the Nile (#1 fave), Hallowe'en Party, Evil Under the Sun, and Dead Man's Folly.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments For the STEM category, I just picked up “The Brain” by neuroscientist David Eagleman. Just £1.49 from the Kindle store via Bookbub.


message 12: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "For the STEM category, I just picked up “The Brain” by neuroscientist David Eagleman. Just £1.49 from the Kindle store via Bookbub."

Oooo, nice!! Last year, I read a book about a women who suffered a a brain trauma and how she worked to regain to her life and memory and skills back. It was fascinating.


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments I’ve finished my Poirot and it’s better than I imagined and Jillian, I’ve just seen your choice “Hallowe’en Party” so I could have killed two birds with one stone! lol.

Talking of birds, I’ve picked up The Birds by Aristophanes on Kindle, going for a song! Though I’m not an ornithologist, I do like birds so it’ll be my favourite animal choice. It may be a bit weird for me as it’s a play not a novel, and an ancient Greek comedy.

But for now I’ve begun reading The Brain, The Story of You, about human brain function and identity. I’m already a little annoyed with it as it isn’t a long book but so far there’s a lot of repetition in the text, almost word for word, within boxed graphics. Still, some amazing facts, like,

As many as two million new connections, or synapses, are formed every second in an infant’s brain, and by two years, it has twice! the number of synaptic connections as an adult does. Apparently, as we grow up, the brain discards the connections which it “considers” haven’t been much use - I wonder if that’s why we don’t remember much of life before we were four years old.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments Browsing through past Kindle monthly deals, I picked up The Party by Elizabeth Day for 99p. It doesn’t cost much to read, does it? lol.

I don’t know this author but the blurb suggests it’s like Brideshead Revisited, which is okay. It features a 40th birthday party so obviously it’ll be my choice for that category.


message 15: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "I’ve finished my Poirot and it’s better than I imagined and Jillian, I’ve just seen your choice “Hallowe’en Party” so I could have killed two birds with one stone! lol.

Talking of birds, I’ve pick..."


I'm so glad you liked Poirot and are finding other picks for this challenge! The brain book sounds fascinating! The part about the brain "discarding" the connections that don't seem to be used much is especially fascinating, I think because you know how they are always saying we only use 10% of our brain or whatever, well maybe that is why, because when we are so little the brain is already deciding what we need and don't need??


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments Yes, there are some really interesting things which come out in the book, especially after people experience brain trauma. Like he mentions a woman who literally is unable to make the simplest of decisions, like what to have for dinner, after that part of her brain was lost. Difficult to imagine being in that position.
I think I read that the 10% brain usage is a fallacy, though it doesn’t explain why some people seem smarter than others. lol. I’ll go back and check that one out.


message 17: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments “The Brain, the story of you” is recommended. Anyone interested in identity and human behaviour and psychology, as well as a bit of neuroscience. It isn’t at all heavy and has some amazing facts and strange medical cases.

I’m going to begin “The Party” by Elizabeth Day next. I also picked up “The Bookseller of Kabul” as a kindle store bargain offer, for the book about books. I remember this book from way back, and the subsequent controversy, though I haven’t previously read it.

And I have “The Birds” to read for my favourite animal - I haven’t really got a particular animal as a favourite but I like wildlife, and the birds!

This should be two-thirds of the challenge for me! I’m optimistic now. :)


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Russell | 21 comments The Party wasn’t to my taste at all. One of my worst reads (sorry to any of her fans out there but I don’t get the appeal - lots of five star reviews. Eh?)

I’m on The Bookseller of Kabul (a book about books). So far, it’s a return to what I expect from a book: eloquent and engaging.

I’ve also opened The Birds by Aristophanes but as it’s a play - a short one - it needs more concentration so I’m leaving it for the right moment.


message 19: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (wordcauldron) | 90 comments Mod
Ian, you are making great progress! :D I have surpassed my reading goals for this year, but need to work on doing more books that fit into this challenge. :)


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