27 books: The Extra Ones

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I have mentioned before that I set myself the challenge of reading 27 books in my 27th year. Well I actually managed to surpass that goal and squeezed in 10 extra books, which made my final total 37. Not bad, but I could have read a lot more! I reviewed the 27 books in these two posts: 27 books: 1-11 & 27 books: 12-27

I thought that I would review the extra 10 as there were some right crackers in the mix and one or two that I would recommend that you give a miss.

Remember that you can always follow me on Goodreads which is linked here.

28. Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Fiction/LGBT/Romance

“Perhaps it was freedom itself that choked her.”

I really hate to start with a negative review but I did not enjoy Carol at all. I have heard people rave about the book and I wanted to read it in preparation for the film coming out and so I thought I would give it ago. Luckily I had the time to read it quickly. I think I disliked it so much as I just couldn’t bring myself to like the two main characters. Therese came across as nothing more than a petulant child who had a weird fixation on somebody that she hardly knew at all. I don’t understand the swooning over Carol when, to me, she’s written so nebulously that it’s almost as if she isn’t even present in the novel, let alone present in the relationship with Therese. I find both of them wholly unlikeable. I have heard that the film is better so I will try and give that ago sometime soon if I can bring myself to do it. I would give the book a miss if I was you.

29. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Nonfiction/Adventure/Biography/Travel

“I now walk into the wild.”

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This book is a little different to others that I have picked up in a long while and I really did enjoy it. It is of a story of a young man who left his friends, family and material possessions to head out into the Alaskan wilderness where he perished and was later found dead. Even though you know from the very start how the story ends I found myself gripped from the very beginning. Readers seemed to be divided with this story. Some admire McCandless’ daring and idealism; other say he was stupid, reckless and arrogant to have gone to Alaska without sufficient preparation. I think he was  a human being with faults and merits. I found that his story left me craving adventure- not as extreme as his own- but to explore and visit new places. To become less stagnant. I think the greatest tragedy of his life was his conflicting feelings toward human intimacy and relationships- particularly with his parents who did not share his beliefs. If I take one thing from this book it is to be bold. To get out there. But not to forget those that love you.

30. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Fiction/Young Adult/Contemporary/Mental Health/Romance

“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.”

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What a gorgeous book. I have started to read more and more Young Adult books in the past year and this is one of the best that I have picked up. I honestly think that all parents should sit their children down and make them read it- most will enjoy every single page. Then the parents should pick it up and read it themselves so that they can have important discussions with their children about the serious content that this book deals with. Mental Health, teen suicide, grief….to name just a few. I know that this would have helped me a lot as a teenager and it is great to see Jennifer Niven bring these issues to the forefront of YA fiction because it is becoming so vitally important today’s teenagers know all that they can about it. That we don’t hide them away. That we say look this stuff sucks, but it exists, lets talk about it and please, please, please don’t keep these feelings, if you are having them, to yourself. I am a big fan of this book. Read it now but make sure you have a lot of tissues to help you get through it!

31. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Nonfiction/Mental Health/Psychology

“I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt.”

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I was looking for a super quick read and I am so glad that I picked this from my bookshelf. It is a beautiful little book that has been put together by a man who at the age of 24 found himself standing on the edge of a cliff preparing himself to jump. This is the story of why he didn’t and how he recovered. It deals with huge issues, such as anxiety and depression, but does so in an upbeat, joyous way that gives the reader hope. I was needing a little bit of this hope whilst reading the book and I found that it refocused my mind and helped me to shift my perspective at the time. This book makes a lot of sense and is easy. There aren’t big scientific words to battle your way through and I found myself sat there nodding along whilst I was reading it.

32. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Fiction/Crime/Historical

“And killing don’t need no reason. This is ghetto. Reason is for rich people. We have madness.”

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I got this book for Christmas from my little sister and I found myself waiting for just the right moment to read it. I picked this up in April and I devoured every single page. At first I was a little like-‘wooooh what is going on here’. I found the language tough and it took a good 50 pages to get the hang of it but once you do Marlon James literally picks you up from your reading spot and transports you to Jamaica. I actually felt that I was there watching the plot unfold before my eyes. You get so rewarded for sticking with it so please do promise me that you will. I wouldn’t say that it is ever an easy read-there are  whole chapters written in Jamaican dialect and brutal murders and mutilations being described in minute detail. Steinbeck once said ‘I’ve done my damndest to rip reader’s nerves to rags’ well James, my nerves are shot! He won the Man-Booker in 2015 for this book and I whole heartedly believe that no other author has been so deserving. A good novel holds your attention for a couple of hours, a great novel teaches you something. New cultures, new languages, new people. Well done Marlon James. It is safe to say that this is my star pick from this blog post. Read it. I am sure that you will fall in love with it too.

33. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fiction/Young Adult/Romance

“Because I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.”

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After the heaviness of ABHO7K I decided that I needed an easy read in my life and Fangirl was just that. Another Young Adult book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to everybody- old and young. I think that a lot of young girls, and boys too, will relate to the main character Cath and the journey that she goes on! I wasn’t so keen on the fan fiction writing that is woven in throughout the novel. I think maybe it’s because I am a little older than its intended reader. I did not grow up in the phenomenon of fan fiction. I have never read the stuff, let alone written the stuff. It was interesting to immerse myself into it a little but I won’t be a fan fiction fan girl anytime soon!

34. Moranifesto by Catlin Moran

Non Fiction/Feminism/Essays/Humour

“My general rule of thumb is that you´re always a little bit closer to the conditions that led to the outbreak of the Second World War than you think you are.”

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This is the first Catlin Moran non fiction book that I have read and I loved it…well I loved moments of it. I love Catlin Moran for her humour. She can be talking about the most serious, world changing political affair and have me in slapping my knee, tears streaming down my face, difficult to breathe type of laughter whilst still keeping it a serious piece about world changing political affairs. This booked lacked a little of that. It is a collection of her writing and she covers everything from Margaret Thatcher to FGM and I loved the mix of topics. I would say that if you are super conservative than you will hate this and whilst I don’t agree with 100%  of what she has to say I appreciate her saying it because it starts interesting discussions and debates and makes me sit down to think what my view points are. I think that is why I like Catlin Moran…she reminds me to form my own opinions and gives me the courage to know that they matter. Cheers babe!

35. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Fiction/Young Adult/Mystery/Romance

“Someone once wrote that a novel should deliver a series of small astonishments. I get the same thing spending an hour with you.”

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You can definitely tell that I have gotten into the Young Adult fiction thing recently. I adored this book. It has a huge twist that I feel that I should have seen coming, but I didn’t at all.  I think the thing that I adored the most about this book was the way in which Lockhart put it together.  She uses a very odd narration with fragmented sentences and strange descriptions, but its what makes this book unique and different to the other YA fiction that I have been reading lately. It added a very creepy layer on top the existing oddness. It makes you question the main character, her account of the incident and the entire book. It forces you to question the power that a narrator can have over you as a reader and the last time I thought so much about this was whilst reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement which is one of my favourite books of all-time. Well played Lockhart. I cant wait to see what you bring out next!

36. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Non Fiction/Travel/Memoir/Spirtuality

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”

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So apparently this book came out 10 years ago and I think I have put myself off reading it for pretty much all of that time. I watched the film with Julia Roberts in and absolutely hated it so I though that I would hate the book too. But I had to read it for my book club and I took my sulking feet to the bookshop to buy it and sat down in a coffee shop to begin reading it. I actually found myself enjoying it. I think that my biggest hang up about the book was that I would find it too wanky. But then I realised that I actually like a little wanky in my life. So this book, which is wanky, was right up my alley and I found myself inspired to travel, to write and to go on my own spiritual adventure….how wanky of me!

37. Eat Pray Love: Made Me Do It by Elizabeth Gilbert

Non Fiction/Short Stories/Memoir

So whilst in the bookshop I picking up Eat, Pray, Love I picked up the Made Me Do it one too. I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as the original but it was alright. I think the problem with it was that it was a collection of short stories of people who had written about how Eat, Pray, Love had changed them or shaped their lives in someway but because you only got a few pages of each story you couldn’t invest in the people who had written them so I found myself not really caring at all! Give this one a miss but if you too like things to be a little wanky then read the original.

 

So there you have it the extra books that I managed to read in my 27 book challenge. Have you read any of them too? If you have then let me know what you think? Don’t worry if you loved the ones I hated, or hated the ones that I love. We are all allowed to have different opinions. Catlin Moran taught me that don’t you know!

I am working on a new book challenge for the new year. It wont be birthday related but will instead begin on the 1st January. I can’t wait. The thing that I have loved most about 27 books is that it has fully gotten me back into reading once again. Bring it on Matilda…I’m your biggest rival!

 

 

 

 

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