Reading Diary – Autumn/Winter 2018

2018 is the first year I’ve set a reading goal to be achieved by 31st December. I’ve done it on Goodreads and it’s currently telling me that at 30 books read so far, I’m two books behind schedule. I’m aiming for a total of 35 but at this rate I’m not going to make it.

I like having the incentive to read and I’m trying to catch up. I know a lot of people switch to short books if they’re falling behind at the end of year. I might resort to that.

 

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A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The BBC’s modern day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is one of my favourite TV programmes. I felt I should therefore get round to reading the stories and started at the beginning with A Study in Scarlet. I enjoyed seeing Watson and Holmes meet for the first time and the latter’s deductions were as brilliant as I’d expect. Reading about Victorian London was also a joy. However, when we went back in time to America, I felt a bit thrown and the characterisation of the Morman community was nothing short of horrific. On top of this, the way the name of the culprit was discovered was less than thrilling so it finished on a flat note for me. I don’t feel compelled to read the next in the series but if you think I should, please let me know in the comments. 3/5

 

12 Rules for Life by Dr Jordan Peterson

Dr Peterson must be the most controversial intellectual in the world today. His views relating to women frequently make me absolutely livid. However his knowledge and research in the field of clinical psychology is formidable. This book does largely stick to the personal development theme and once I got past the long section about lobsters (yes, really) I found much of value. Its message of the importance of personal responsibility and meaning are both concepts that resonated with me and what I’m going through right now. I even found myself in the pages at one point and it was a stark reminder of why I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone despite the anxiety it causes. 4/5

 

The Mistborn Trilogy – Books 1 & 2 by Brandon Sanderson

This epic fantasy series has been majorly hyped so it was always going to struggle to live up to expectations. It’s set in a world where some people can consume one of a number of metals which will give them a corresponding power. Then there are the Mistborns who can consume all the metals and therefore have all of the powers. It’s the most well thought out magic system I’ve come across and the plotting is great. I could have really done without YET ANOTHER female assassin, but that’s just me. I have to say though, I preferred the world created in the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab and liked the characters more. All the same, this is top quality high fantasy. I will finish the trilogy and probably continue with series at some point now more books have been released. 4/5

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’ve never read this classic and decided to rectify that for Halloween. I had no idea about the personal anguish the protagonist, Viktor Frankenstein, goes through. Or for that matter, his monster. It’s a highly emotionally charged book as well as a horror story. The depiction of despair and torment experienced by both the man characters was intense to the point of melodrama. I had a tough time suspending my disbelief at times even though it’s a fantastical story. How did the monster manage to follow Victor from Switzerland to the Orkney Islands unaided and unobserved?!  I was hooked all the same. 3.5/5

 

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Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

I’ve been putting off reading this classic in the field of psychology for over 20 years. I’ve  always avoided anything connected to The Holocaust, however it’s time to ditch this naïvety and read what people had to endure in the Nazi death camps. The first half of this slim book details Frankl’s experience in Auschwitz in relation to the way he and others reacted and coped psychologically with the terror and daily deprivations of life in the camps. The second half is a meditation on how his experiences informed his professional practice of “logotherapy”. He was a remarkable individual and it’s hard to feel you can’t find meaning in your own suffering when Frankl and (a few) others managed to achieve this in the harshest of circumstances imaginable. 4/5

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

I loved Miller’s Song of Achilles and I ate up Circe with a spoon. What a treat. I love the Greek Myths and Circe interacts with many of the well known gods and heroes. It was particularly enjoyable to observe her relationship with the ever-fascinating Odysseus. She starts out a timid youth, craving the attention of her father (Helios) but her character transforms once she’s exiled. It’s an archetypal hero’s journey but with a woman as the protagonist. The exquisite writing is a beautiful bonus. 5/5

 

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Have you read any of these? Do you set an annual reading goal? How are you getting on?

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Reading Diary – Autumn/Winter 2018

  1. Hahahaha, I was going to say you should find a short book but I see it’s a general thing to do when you’re lagging behind. 🙂
    I wish I had a list of books I read this year, I seem to be getting slowly back into the reading groove, off the top of my head I think I read at least 20. It would be easier if I checked them on Goodreads, I could count them easily. I’m glad that I discovered a new author that I love K.F. Breene – had so much fun reading her series.
    Btw, I’m adding M.Miller now to my list – you got me intrigued. 🙂

    Like

    • Hey Ines,
      I’d recommend setting a goal on Goodreads next year, even it’s a very low one, so that it keeps track of your total and can give you a breakdown at the end of the year.
      I’m a big Madeline Miller fan now. Hope you like Circe or The Song of Achilles if you read them.
      Finding a new author and/or a great series is a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. matty

    I’m going to ask at my library about Madeline Miller books

    Like

  3. Do go ahead with Sherlock Holmes, a study in scarlet is not his best. Also, most of the others are short stories, and as far as i remember they are better than the novels anyway.
    The reason I don’t do a list on goodreads, is that most of the books I manage to read, are substitutes for social media and tv series, ie truly easy stuff like classic mystery and thrillers, and those are not the ones I *plan* to read 😀
    The ratio is: I just finished one book Irene Nemirovsky Suite Francaise, to 5 (ok, that’s more than usual) mystery books. The 5 were from the classics library and all Christmas thriller/ mysteries from before 1955, which I ordered especially for the season.
    I can truly recommend the Nemirovsky book, especially based on your thoughts about Man’s search for meaning, which in turn I might give a go, if I dare.

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  4. Wow, respect for reading as much as you have! And your taste is much more varied than mine, making me think I should branch out into other genres. I have a Barbara Pym on the go and though I love it and am nearly finished it has taken me an absolute age.

    And now I want to know more about the lobsters!

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    • Thanks, V. I follow people who read several books a week on YouTube so it didn’t seem that much in comparison but I’m pleased, really. You’ve had such a busy year with travel, house and knitting projects, it’s no wonder you haven’t gone through many books.
      I worry that my reading isn’t varied enough actually. Mostly fantasy and self-help with some YA and historical fiction thrown in, but trying to read a classic a month this year broadened it out a bit. Still not one for mysteries/thrillers, horror, sci-if or literary fiction.
      Ah the lobsters 🙂 Basically, studies of lobsters show us that how we hold ourselves is integral to how others view us and is deeply rooted. Rule 1 is “Stand with your head up and your shoulders back”.

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  5. Hey there Tara,
    Circe is on my Kindle and ready to read once I get through the current SHITE gay book I bought. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sounds wonderful and I’ll add that to my list also.
    Thanks,
    Portia xx

    Like

  6. Tara C

    I don’t keep track of my reading, but it’s gone down drastically since I opened a facebook account. The Frankl book has been on my list for years but I haven’t got round to it, maybe this year. In general, I only read books in French, to keep my skills up, unless it’s a classic that was originally written in English.

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    • Tara C, I have so much admiration for you only reading books in French. I wish I were that person.
      FB is a time sicker but I’m starting to feel Instagram is worse. I always waste a lot of reading time on YouTube.
      The Frankl book is pretty astounding.

      Like

  7. Hayley

    Ooh I too want to read Circe it’s on my Christmas list and would now like to read her first book too, thank you for the recommendation. I’ve upped my reading game but haven’t set a target. I’m currently reading A discovery of witches. I sort of like it for the magic and Oxford descriptions which make me overlook the eye rolling manly man vampire descriptions!

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    • Hi Hayley,
      I loved The Discovery of Witches trilogy (and the TV adaptation!). Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy these things 🙂
      You’ll have fun reading Circe over Christmas and I highly recommend The Song of Achilles too.

      Like

  8. I enjoyed all the Sherlock Holmes, I too love the Benedict Cumberbatch series and found that I enjoyed the books even more. I bought The hound of the Baskervilles in a Paris at Shakespeare and Co! I recommend Call me by your name. I recently read Rebecca and watched the DVD 1944. I read Frankenstein years ago it’s a great book too xx

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    • Okay, I feel encouraged to keep going with the Sherlock Holmes stories, thanks. Love that you bought one in Paris. We could always go to the museum when you come to London if you fancied it.

      I LOVED Rebecca and really want to see the film!

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  9. Ingeborg

    I haven’t read any of these. Thirty books in a year, that hasn’t happened since my childhood. I’m impressed to see you manage to read whole novels when there’s so much happening in your life. I will read a book or two over Christmas, there’s a whole stack of books waiting.

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    • Thanks, Ingeborg. When the moving anxiety got really bad a few weeks I did stop reading whole novels. I’m posting about it on Monday. However I did do well this year, especially considering I didn’t read a thing the 3 weeks I was in Australia. Hope all is well with you.

      Like

  10. Hamamelis

    Hi Tara, I haven’t read any books of your list but will try Circe. I just finished the Kingdom of the Blind, the last of the Inspector Gamache series which I love, and would recommend anyone to try for its humanity.

    Like

    • Hi Hamamelis, nice to see you.
      Circe recently won one of the categories in the Goodreads 2018 awards. Definitely worth checking out.
      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look it up.

      Like

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