Around the New Year, I saw lots of blog posts, tweets and all sorts going round about the GoodReads 2016 Reading Challenge. Basically, you say how many books you aim to read in a year and track them as you go. I realised that I have no idea how many I should aim for. How many do I read? Not a clue. So rather than set a target, I decided to track all the books I read using the GoodReads app.
Admittedly this app isn’t the best in my opinion. I find it hard to organise my ‘shelves’ through the app itself, so I usually just use the app for updating progress and login on the computer to organise things. Also, I should point out that it’s not ideal when using a site like NetGalley (more to come in another post) where you receive pre-release books… but eh. I’m making the best of it.
So far, I’ve read 30 books this year.
To be honest, I thought I would make it through more than that.. but in the last few months I’ve slacked off a little. I like to take a break now and again, and listen to podcasts or blogs instead. Here are my favourites out of the 30 I’ve read so far.
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This is a memoir by the actor, Alan Cumming OBE. You may know him better as Eli Gold in The Good Wife (I certainly do). I don’t quite remember how I came across this, but read some reviews and decided to download it. I’m not a fan of memoirs or autobiographies of celebrities – most are ghost-written, irritating, show-off pieces of crap. This is so different. Cumming’s voice is evident throughout, and the story is so engrossing. It tells of his involvement in the show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and revisiting horrendous childhood at the hands of his abusive father. It really is a both harrowing and, at times, hilarious read. Well worth checking out if you’re a fan of his or not.
Another day, another dystopian reality, another strong female lead – except the twist with this one is that it is set in an alternative 1940s. Amity is a peace fighter, a pilot who fights in air battles with other world peace fighters in order to pass international law. There’s a rising power which slowly starts to affect her and those she loves. I wasn’t too sure how I’d feel about this novel, but by the end I was hooked. The plot was unique, the characters interesting, and the ending to the first book… well, you’ll see. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
The same genre as the previous, The Last Girl follows Zoey, who we learn has been isolated as part of a medical programme; a virus has swept the world, causing only male babies to be born. Zoey becomes more and more suspicious of what she’s been told, and is left with no option but to try to escape. Some parts were a little ‘out there’ but overall I enjoyed this book and will pick up the rest of the series.
OK, so I think just about everyone read this book this summer. I was intrigued by the plot – in 1960s California, a lonely girl gets involved with a group of older, ‘cooler’ girls, who it turns out are part of a cult – as it seemed to be ripped completely from the Manson Family. Spoiler: it’s not far off. But, hearing it first person was fascinating. The prose is heavy and over the top in places, and I can imagine some people giving up. I enjoyed it, though it wasn’t my top read.
I’ve talked about how much I’ve loved Rachel Abbott’s books before in Recent Reading #2 and when I saw this had been released I snapped it up and I really wasn’t disappointed. Maggie’s husband Duncan disappears, leaving her two children at home alone. At the same time, women are being murdered who look remarkably like a victim from 12 years previous – as well as Maggie and Tom’s ex-girlfriend Leo… Maggie learns her husband is not who she thought he was, and Tom has a race against time to solve the murders, and save the women. As we move through this series the character of Tom Douglas continues to develop and the writing is still just as intoxicating. I’ll be following Rachel Abbott’s career closely, as she’s easily my favourite crime writer now!
I only found out afterwards that this was written by an ex-Met Police detective, and now it explains so much. This is an expertly written crime debut. Sean Corrigan is an intriguing character – despite a difficult childhood, he is seemingly well functioning, with a good career, wife and two kids. However he has an uncanny knack of getting inside the head of a criminal, as he connects to his own dark side. I really enjoyed this, and having learnt there are others in the series (this was published in 2013) I’ll be looking them up too.
Jack and Grace seemingly have the perfect life: successful, good looking, powerful. But behind closed doors things are not what they seem.. I won’t give away any spoilers as it really helps to know little about the story line, but it’s a fantastic psychological thriller. I found some parts really emotional and I’m not sure I’ve ever hated a character so much! The characters are really well formed and rounded, though I could perhaps say some parts are a little far-fetched. However, it’s a cracking read if you’re willing to just go with it.
I’m not a big fan of historical novels, so this – set in WW2 – is a bit of a departure for me. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I loved the title and the cover artwork, and the description sounded OK, so thought I’d give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed; quite the opposite in fact – I’d not read the reviews, so I didn’t know it was a NY Times bestseller or a Pulitzer Prize winner, but it’s easy to see why it is both. The writing is simply beautiful. The storylines of Marie-Laure, a young blind girl from Paris, and Werner, a bright young German soldier are deftly woven together. I’m enjoying reading it so much that I don’t quite want it to end…!
Check out my previous Recent Reading posts:
Recent Reading #1
Recent Reading #2
Let me know your thoughts on the books featured!