About a year ago I signed up for my first ever bookish challenge, via Ellie at Musings of a Bookshop Girl. The idea was to diversify one’s reading prospects. It really pushed me to read more, after I finally picked up on reading. And, strangely, I was happier this year. My grades improved. I started going “out there” and having fun. I think books, like always, pushed me to do better.
Challenge length: 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012
- Cookery, food and wine
- Modern Fiction
- Graphic Novels and Manga
- Crime and Mystery
- Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Poetry and Drama
- Journalism and Humour
- Science and Natural History
- Children’s and Young Adult
- Social Sciences and Philosophy
- Measuring Jug: 1-4 categories
- Cupcake Mix: 5-8 categories
- Mixing Bowl: 9-12 categories
- Two-tier Cake: 13-15 categories
- All the trimmings and a Cherry on top: 16 categories
My plan (which I achieved!) was to aim for a two-tier cake of 14 categories. I got lots and lots of advice from readers of my blog who suggested books to me. I wrote reviews for each of the books I read. Click on the titles to read my reviews.
Classics: Dracula by Bram Stoker – not a fan of the paranormal, I actually really enjoyed this one. Initially I was like, What, this isn’t scary at all! but eventually I slept with my nightlight on!
Biography: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I did not enjoy this one at all! I think as a biography, Isaacson did a pretty thorough job. It just didn’t grip me at all, and Jobs really annoyed me. Even though I feel terrible about being annoyed with a dead man.
Cookery, Food and Wine: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (thanks to SolitaryDiner for the suggestion) – mh, I was a little ambivalent about this one. Bourdain is really witty and says a lot of interesting things about food. I guess me not being a foodie just took away from it.
History: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (thanks to both SolitaryDiner and Ellie for the suggestion) – ooooooh. This year was definitely a year where my interest in oncology was revived! Emperor is really well written, but as non-fiction it did take me a while to complete. When I am qualified and wiser, I’ll probably re-read this one.
Modern Fiction: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – meh. I did not like this one at all. I’m in the minority though… it seems nearly everyone adored this book. I felt it was ridiculously long, with a bunch of loose strands. No, nope.
Graphic Novels and Manga: Orchid Volume 1 by Tom Morello – way out of my comfort zone, but I loved it! If graphic novels weren’t so expensive, I’d be a collector. I want to read further volumes, actually. It’s not a super original premise, but the art is great and the sub-plots are original.
Crime and Mystery: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – I found this to be a little verbose, and watching the film first probably wasn’t the best idea. I actually thought the movie was better in this instance. I didn’t think I would read the other books, but recently I’ve actually had the desire to read more of Lisbeth. She’s so hardcore.
Romance: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I was pleasantly surprised by this one and ended up reading Lola as well. It’s not treacle-sweet, it’s just lovely.
Science Fiction and Fantasy: Feed by Mira Grant – this was a pleasant surprise too! It was a little misleading though, in that it’s a lot more about politics and back-stabbing and journalism and blogging (cooooool!) than about zombies. I drew a lot of HIV-parallels. I definitely want to read the sequels!
Travel: The Moon, Come to Earth by Philip Graham – nope, didn’t like this one much either. It was just… not wrapped up. It is quite creatively written though, beautiful and lyrical. Just… more a personal journal than what I was expecting.
Journalism and Humour: American Chick in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson – this was more journalism than humour, and a super-short read. It was nice. Not really too special, but it was about the Middle East, which I love.
Science and Natural History: The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge (thanks again, SolitaryDiner) – wow, I wish I had this book when I did neuros in third year! It’s super interesting and inspiring and just… wow. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in health, be it from a medical or a rehabilitative perspective, or anyone remotely interested in science, research and/or biology.
Children’s and Young Adult: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld – it was an amazing premise that just fell flat for me. I hear this is one series that gets better as you go along, so I might complete the series.
Social Sciences and Philosophy: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – I felt this one was a waste… the review explains it all. Should have read something a little more… substantial.
I’m super glad I did this challenge! I ended up reading quite a few more books in many of the categories. I’d do something similar again for sure! Check out everyone’s wrap-up posts here.
I am quite happy to see that you enjoyed both of the books I recommended! I had forgotten about both of those books when I was thinking back on what I’ve read lately. I think I may need to keep a record on my blog, as apparently I’m more literate than I thought. (Although I read the Brain that Changes Itself more than two years ago, so that doesn’t really count as “lately”.)
They were awesome recommendations!
Also, if you’re struggling to keep track of your books, you can check out GoodReads. It works quite well 🙂