Wednesday 21 December 2016

My Year in Books

At the beginning of this year, I set my yearly reading goal at 20 books. This was a lot lower to my 55 2015 target. That’s over half! There was a reason for this, though: exams. I knew I’d be spending a lot of time studying in 2016 as I was taking my GCSEs in the early summer and starting my A Levels in September. I’m glad I set this low target as I felt really relaxed about the number of books I was reading and wasn’t feeling pressured to read loads during my exams. In fact, I had nothing to worry about as I completed my challenge near the end of October and ended up reading books.


1. Every Day by David Levithan

I read this book very quickly, I think it was only a day or two. I picked it up one evening after school and sat in Costa reading it for about an hour. It’s a good, easy to read YA. The concept isn’t very complicated but I think I found the main character slightly annoying at certain parts. This was nearly a year ago now so I can’t quite remember everything I thought about it!

2. The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher

This book is hilarious. I have Verily, A New Hope, which I haven’t read yet but will probably read next year. This series retells the Star Wars franchise in the form of Shakespearian scripts. I recommend these highly!


3. Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Emma is my second favourite Austen novel. I love the characters and the storyline, which never fail to make me laugh! I picked this book up expecting to react similarly, and I did, however, the original is still superior for me. Always will be!


Oops! I didn’t read anything in March. I did start reading one of Caitlin Moran’s books which I’ll mention later on, though.


4. Not Quite Nice by Celia Imrie

I visited Nice with my secondary school in February. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on and I honestly believe that the days I spent in Nice and Monaco were some of the best of my entire life. It captured my mind and heart. I love Nice to pieces and so needed to read this book when I saw it in my local library. The language was a bit too simple for my liking sometimes and some of the plot twists just kind of irritated me, but I can see how this would be a great holiday read, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about places I had been to just weeks prior to reading this.


5. Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy

This year has been the year that I’ve properly gotten into poetry, and this was the first poetry book I think I ever bought. My favourite poem studied at GCSE was one of Carol Ann Duffy’s and I couldn’t wait to find some more of her work. I love this so much! I’m a sucker for a good love poem.

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I had been reading many times over in preparation for my English exam in May and previously some of my coursework for GCSE. I got bored of it just because of the number of times I read it. I do remember really enjoying it when I read it the first time - just, not the 15th.

7. An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley

This was also included in my English exam. I didn’t read this as many times, so didn’t get so irritated with it. I would love to see this in the theatre as it’s meant to be viewed.

8. Darcy’s Story by Jane Aylmer

This book was great for me. I picked it up in one of my local charity shops and really enjoyed it. As an adaption of my favourite book, I could follow it easily and quickly. I helped relax my mind during the exam period. Lovely to get a different sort of Pride and Prejudice dose.


9. Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher

I actually met Gi Fletcher the day after I bought her book. I read a few chapters in preparation for her book event that I planned to go to with a friend of mine. I am a huge fan of Gi’s books and her in general, so it was absolutely amazing to meet her face to face. She was lovely to me and could probably tell how nervous I was! Always With Love isn’t my favourite book of hers (I think that’ll always be Billy and Me) but it was quite relaxing, which is what I needed then.

10. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

I started reading this book in March, so you can probably tell that this is not one you can really read in one sitting. I found that incredibly difficult anyway. The book is essentially a collection of Caitlin Moran’s columns for The Times, and as someone who often picks up the paper specifically for that, it was a great read. It was useful as I was taking exams, as each column only lasted a page and I could read one or two here and there.

11. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I didn’t really get the point of this book. I could understand how others enjoyed it and thought it amazing, but I just didn’t really get it myself. I can see how bits were funny but the protagonist just appeared as quite irritating to me and ‘the Dying Girl’ (or Rachel, as is her actual name) felt really two dimensional. Just was just the ‘dying girl’ most of the time, and I would have loved to have gotten to know her better.


12. The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

I’m normally a massive fan of Cecelia Ahern’s books, but this one dragged for me until nearly the end of the book when I felt the story actually got good and the whole concept came together.


13. On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I love Carrie Fletcher. She’s one of my favourite humans and is the YouTuber I’ve watched faithfully for the longest (the first video I saw of hers was three years ago). I’ve watched her grow creatively and absolutely loved her first book, All I Know Now, so of course I had to read her debut novel! I lve this so much. I read it quickly and the story was sweet and the characters loveable. Something to go back to if I don’t want to concentrate too hard but still have a great storyline.

14. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

I know I’m not the first and definitely won’t be the last to say that I was a bit disappointed with this. The plot seemed quite weak to me, and frankly a bit ridiculous at points. Before reading it, I had built it up in my head as this amazing follow up to my favourite book series. Now, I actually don’t like to consider this as canon Potter. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to see it on stage, as I’m really intrigued by some of the stage directions and how some elements would be carried out.

15. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Short and sweet. Some bits were kind of pretentious and irritating, but I loved reading the section at the end all about V-Day and I have to say that that section was very inspiring.

16. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

This book. This damn BOOK. So good, I can’t. I wrote a review on it earlier this year, go and have a look for more coherent thoughts of mine.

17. What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan

Absolutely perfect for any Janeite.

18. This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire

I fell in love with this book completely (pun most certainly intended). I read it within a few hours, so incredibly light reading. However, during those few hours, I laughed, I cried, I shouted ‘OH DAMN’ at its sass. It is so poignant, I would recommend it to anyone no matter of relationship status (as someone who is one of the most single out of all my friends I can tell you that it’s incredible).


19. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

This is another one that took me a while to read. The language was quite complicated at times and is not something you can read very quickly. Having watched the musical a year and but earlier, I have to say that I prefer the musical’s story. The narratives are very different, though, so if you’ve seen the musical still read it. Also, can I just add that I’m seeing Wicked again in December!! AAHH!!


20. Ariel by Sylvia Plath

I’d read some of Plath’s poetry on Pinterest (my poetry goldmine) and had wanted to get my hands on some more of it. My parents kindly gave me this book for my birthday and it wasn’t long before I had devoured all of the poems in it!

21. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is one of the books I have to read for my current English Language & Literature A Level and I had to get it completed before November, so that was one of my main jobs for half term. I don’t particularly like it that much as I don’t feel that it has much plot, but I have to stick with it for another two years anyway.


22. Winters’ Snow by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I loved this novella from Carrie, I thought it was so cute. A lovely follow-up to On the Other Side.


23. The Odyssey by Homer

I’ve been reading this from October for my Classics A Level and finished it in early December. It would have been less time but when you have to write summaries for a book, it takes so much longer! We’re now studying it in class and I am actually enjoying it.

That is all I have read so far, but there is still little over a week to finish more books and I’ll make sure to update this post!

Since publication I have read: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay by J.K. Rowling and And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.

If you liked this post you might like: 5 Things That Should Have Been in the Harry Potter Films

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