3 Dec 2016

IT'S A 2016 BOOK CHALLENGES WRAP


Apologies for the variation in font size. A problem Iam unable to correct myself and the IT department (otherwise known as Mr T) has the week-end off. TT

Having now finished all three of the challenges I set out to complete this year I thought a joint wrap party was in order sooooo, in the order in which I finished the challenge, I bring you .... 

My thanks to Charlie over at The Worm Hole for not only arranging the What's In A Name? 2016 Challenge but also for being such a gracious host.

Whilst I always challenge myself that bit further with this challenge (I refuse to buy books that fit the categories, only using books I already have) I found myself challenged even further this year when I realised that our shelves only contained two books (hi-lighted in red) that made the criteria. But, Mr T dispatched to the local charity shops in search of suitable reading material - Something that turned out to be somewhat of a challenge on its own...
  • 'A book with a country' in the title ... 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith: Yet to find an Alexander McCall Smith book that was to my liking I was delighted that in this, '44 Scotland Street' (the fourth book read for the challenge) I discovered not only a McCall Smith read that I enjoyed but also what turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the challenge.
  • 'A book with an item of clothing' in the title' ... Roman Mask by Thomas M.D. Brooke: The third book read for the challenge. 'The Roman Mask' ... whilst a fictional story with a true event at its core is hardly anything new, I was impressed by the Roman war hero with what is obviously PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). 
  • 'A book with an item of furniture in the title' ... Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: Book five and by far my favourite read of the challenge. Despite the fact that I'm not that big on Sci-fi  AND my promise to myself not to begin any more books that formed a series (unless its one already on my TBR pile OR I'm asked to review it) 'Game Of Thrones' (the first A Song Of Ice And Fire books) proved to be one series I simply have to continue with.' * 
  • 'A book with a profession in the title' ... The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse: A book began with some trepidation. I had read several of the author's books previously and hadn't particularly found them to my taste but a 'Gothic' novel surely I'd enjoy my second choice for the challenge, 'The Taxidermist's Daughter', but alas, atmospheric, macabre and with many of the components that should have made a good Gothic read (magpies, an asylum for the insane, etc), I found it lacking.
  • 'A book with a month of the year in the title' ... The Ides Of April by Lindsey Davis: An OK read but, with a female protagonist I didn't really buy into, ultimately I found the 'The Ides Of April' a rather disappointing sixth read.
  • 'A book with the word 'tree' in the title' ...   Tree And Leaf, Smith Of Wootton Major, The Homecoming Of Beorhtnoth by JRR Tolkien : Having searched the shops to no avail, it came to Mr T that we actually already had a suitable book for what was to become the first book read for the challenge already on the shelves. 'Tree And Leaf, Smith Of Wootton Major, The Homecoming Of Beorhtnoth' proved an interesting enough read though as you can imagine, given that it had three 'stories' within the one book, some aspects proved more so than others.
And so onto ....

Not even sure I had six books of 600+ pages on our shelves (and certainly not six I particularly wanted to re-read) or my TBR mountain, I would however like to thank the wonderful Kelly of Kelly's Thoughts & Ramblings for throwing the gauntlet down and asking me to join her in her Tome Challenge which saw me reading the following six books (the first three of which were read for at least one of the other challenges) or, put another way, 4,058 pages ...

  • Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (780 pages).
  • Shadowfall by James Clemens (672 pages) ... 'A book I had started to read several times before but hadn't made beyond the first few chapters and the rather graphically described rape of a young girl. I finished it this time on the recommendation of a friend who swore it got better.'
  • Roots by Alex Hayley (636 pages) ... ''A book I'd once have recommended as a read that 'told it how it was' (or as much as the original oral storytelling as supposedly passed down by Kunta Kinte allowed anyway). If asked now I'd say read it if you so desire but only as the work of fiction it has been proven to be.'
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (614 pages) ... 'Harsh of me perhaps but left feeling manipulated, I can't help but feel that rather than exploring events, the historical and political turmoil, through the eyes of the characters, the author had her own agenda and wasn't afraid to preach it.'
  • A Question Of Integrity by Susan Howatch (680 pages) ... 'One of those novels that if asked you'd have difficulty pinpointing just why you'd enjoyed it so much. Despite its many flaws oddly enough I thought A Question Of Integrity a compelling read that I found myself still reading well into the wee small hours.'
  • This Charming Man by Marian Keyes (676 pages) ... 'Characters I didn't care for, writing not to my taste. With its themes of addiction and domestic abuse darker, much darker, that I had expected. If this book had one redeeming feature it would have to be its mix of pathos and occasional humour.'

And at 550+ pages, the ones that almost made it ....
And last but by no means least ... 

The 2016 Reading Challenge which saw me read the following books (the books marked with an * having been read for at least one of the other challenges)...

  • (A book published this year) ... Redemption Song by Laura Wilkinson: 'A bit of a slow burner to begin with but, oh my goodness so, so well worth sticking with.'
  • (A book published the year you were born) ... * Tree And Leaf, Smith Of Wootton Major, The Homecoming Of Beorhtnoth by J.R.R Tolkien.
  • (A book you can finish in a day) ... The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket: 'Yes, older than the intended audience but by no means adverse to the reading of 'children's books'. I can normally at least put myself in the place of a child and recognise what it is they'd like in a book but alas in this instance I'm even struggling with that.'
  • (A book you've been meaning to read) ... Kitty Goes To War by Carrie Vaughn: 'With two strands to the story, it took for the two to combine before I was fully won over but, combined with the return of a favourite character of mine, won over I eventually was.'
  • (A book that was banned) ... Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: 'A book perhaps made notorious (and arguably the reason for its huge popularity) by it being included on the list of books to have been banned at one point or another. Whilst I shouldn't really compare the two, give me George Orwell any time.'
  • (A book that intimidated you) ... * Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
  • (A book you own but have never read) ... The Taming Of The Queen by Philippa Gregory: 'Vibrant, regal, dramatic, shocking (Oh my goodness! The fate of Anne Askew who found herself on the rack) - the minutiae of the Tudor court is captured perfectly.'
  • (A book you previously abandoned) ... * Shadowfall by James Clemens.
  • (A book you've read at least once) ... * Roots by Alex Hayley.
  • (A book your partner recommended) ...The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett: 'Not entirely finished at the time of his death, there is a point in this book when both I and Mr T noticed a subtle shift in narrative. Nothing drastic or too obvious, for me at least, I couldn't always 'feel' the author (if that makes any kind of sense) in the words.'
  • (A book you should have read in school) ... The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: 'Perhaps a novel read 'at the wrong time' in so much as read at another time I may well not have found it all so, well, relentlessly depressing, so totally unsparing in its oppression of women and horrific in its depiction of the horrors of life at this time in China's history.'
  • (A book recommended by your local librarian/ book seller) ... We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: 'a pity that it came across that Ms Shriver herself cared little for her characters or their plight, seeming to rely on the shock factor.'

9 comments:

Gina R said...

Way to go! Reading challenges always sound like so much fun but I'm afraid I prefill my calendar a tad much to generally partake.

Brian Joseph said...

These re neat challenges.

It is also impressive that you choose books already in the house.

The fonts on my blog are a nightmare. I am not crazy about the way that Blogger works.



Kelly said...

Well done, Tracy! I enjoyed going through this wrap-up and noting your achievements. Thanks, too, for joining me in my challenge. It prodded me to read a couple that had been on my shelf for decades and thankfully, there wasn't a true dud out of my six.

Here's to more fun challenges in the coming year!

Nikki-ann said...

I've fallen behind on my reading this year. I've pretty much either read Terry Pratchett's Discworld books or Ann Cleeves' Shetland books :)

Suko said...

Wow! Great job, Tracy! I am in awe of the amount of reading and reading challenges that you do. I have only read a couple of the books on this "list".

Enjoy your weekend!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Congrats on finishing all of your challenges! Wow, six books over 600 pages? That's awesome!

-Lauren

Anne Bennett said...

I am impressed by how many big books you read. i like a lot of the categories you got covered, too. Congratulations. I finished all my 2016 challenges, too and I am feeling proud!

Barbara Fisher said...

Those font sizes are pesky aren't they? It happens on Blogger too and half the time I don’t notice until the post is ‘live’.
The What's In A Name? challenge was certainly challenging! You have my utmost respect for finding and reading so many books. As for six books of 600+ pages – wow – did get time to eat and sleep?
A question of integrity and Redemption song are on my TBR list, and I want to read them even more now.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I only had one challenge and failed this year. :(

Looks like you did well! I like your challenges too.