It’s New Year’s Eve and everyone is taking a look back at 2018 and what they’d like to achieve in 2019. I’m looking at my Read the Year challenge.
Personally, 2018 was a mixed year for me, the year started off with me facing homelessness, but at the last minute I managed to secure my lovely flat. It’s been tough financially but, I’m coping.
Elsewhere, my position at work was secured as permanent and I’m still thoroughly enjoying writing articles, dealing with media and other elements of my job. It’s all still very much a learning curve but I’m enjoying the new lease of life it gave me.
Having spent 6 years with the same company doing the same job I’d done since I left college, it was the fresh challenge I was well overdue.
In 2019, I’d like to further challenge myself in my career, get a firm grasp on clearing debt and concentrate more on Life can be Toff.
The biggest achievement for Life can be Toff this year, was going self hosted and I really enjoyed working with the brands I have this year.
A personal challenge I had set myself with my new found spare time since moving in February, was to read more.
I had really missed reading the last few years having spent all my spare time working and I wrote about my love of books here.
The Read the Year Challenge
So, not a traditional read the year challenge. I set myself a target of reading 20 books in a year (so technically I still have 2 months left as I started in late Feb…) and I’m sad to say, I’ve not quite met up to the challenge at this point.
I have read 15 books, I’m currently reading my 16th and 3 of those were unfinished. Shame on me!
However, what I am going to do is share with you the ones that really stood out, or not!
The one that is my favourite read of 2018
Starting out with the absolute best of the bunch and one I couldn’t put down.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. A novel based on the extrodinary true story of Lale Sokolov, a love story like no other.
Heather spent several months with Lale hearing his stories of his time as tattooist at Auschwitz and how he met his one true love, Gita despite the atrocity they were subjected to in the concentration camp, they fell in love.
A completely compelling read, I cried and I laughed. I read it in a day. Any time anyone is looking for something to read, I recommend this book.
It was completely out of genre for me, I wouldn’t normally read a true story, but I’m so glad I did.
It was written so beautifully by Heather, she really captured Lale’s memories and put them into words.
The one I should’ve read years ago
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 2018 saw the 80th year of this landmark novel by Daphne du Maurier.
A Gothic novel that was a best seller and has never gone out of print since it’s release in 1935. I picked this book up prior to a work trip to Cornwall, but didn’t have the time to read it.
I finally settled down with it in November and my God had I wished I’d read it years ago. Fantastically written and easy to see why so many authors have used Rebecca as their inspiration.
I watched the movie of one of Daphne’s other books, My Cousin Rachel and look forward to reading others. Ideally, I’d like to pick up some older copies of the books.
The one that’s not my usual genre
I really enjoyed The Cows by Dawn O’Porter. A complete escape from my usual thriller and I’m glad that I picked it up after seeing a review on Goodreads.
This was a funny and slightly relatable book that I read quite quickly but it has stuck with me since I read it early in the year.
Definitely worth a read if you don’t mind Dawn’s “no holds barred” attitude to life and her writing. Follow her on Twitter – she’s so honest and *relatable!
*Married to a Hollywood movie star!
The one I’m glad I persevered with…
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman.
This book started a little slow for my liking, it was outside my usual genre and I found the main protagonist a little annoying.
But that was part of her charm and I’m glad that I persevered with this book.
Eleanor is awkward and unsocial, she lives her life by a timetable but this all changes when she starts to build a friendship with the guy from IT.
Once I got into this book I really did enjoy the writing style and started to find Eleanor quite likeable in all her weirdness.
The one I couldn’t put down!
The debut novel from C.J. Tudor was an absolute corker! A chilling thriller that was twists and turns galore.
It was easy to read this book in a matter of hours, staying up until 1am to finish. I literally could not put it down.
I look forward to picking up a copy of C.J’s second novel, the Taking of Annie Thorne.
The one I didn’t finish…
I’m sorry to say that I read about a third of the way through, but didn’t finish The Great Gatsby.
Yes, yes, I know it’s a classic and all that and Leonardo Di Caprio made it a hit movie (I’ve not seen this either) and people love to do fancy dress Gatsby style, but I just didn’t get into this book.
I tried to read it, but, I couldn’t.
The one I preferred the movie/TV series…
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.
A hit TV series this summer and a real must watch show. I thoroughly enjoyed the tv series with Amy Adams cleverly playing Camille Preeker.
The show followed the book which was written a decade prior. There were some differences easily noticeable from one to the other – the TV show casting Amma as a teen, in the book she appears to be pre-teen.
The book did answer some questions and went into more detail that the show didn’t. But, I just preferred the dramatisation of the TV series over that of the book.
I still enjoyed the book however!
The one that was an impulse pick at the library!
Violet Hill by Henrietta Mckervey.
A duel narrative, set in post-war and present-day London, the book makes links between its two investigators in often unexpected ways.
A compelling read with excellent story telling and a very satisfying ending.
The one I’m currently reading
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern.
I’m currently about 8 chapters in and quite enjoying this book. We follow Kitty, a TV and magazine journalist who manages to epically f**k up her TV career as well as suffer the loss of her mentor and greatest supporter.
Before she died, Constance gives Kitty access to a list of one hundred names for which she must write a story. She never gets the angle from Constance before she passes so Kitty must investigate and research the names for herself in an effort to write the piece.
I picked this book up as a Christmas/New Year read. So far the characters are engaging and the story well written. I look forward to finishing it!
The one most anticipated for 2019!
I have a number of books on my TBR shelf including a a whole load of Tess Gerritsen books I’ve picked up from charity shops over the years but never quite got around to reading.
The one I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on in 2019 is the new release from Alexander McCall Smith – The Department of Sensitive Crimes.
A prolific and well known author (although I must admit I’m not sure I’ve read any of his previous novels) the latest release, due in March is a lighthearted comedic novel about a Swedish police department tasked with solving the most unusual, complicated, and, often, insignificant crimes.
It sounds completely different and entertaining from my usual genre. I might just have to pick up a couple of other of Alexander’s novels from the library prior to this one’s release.
Read the year challenge 2019
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all the different books in 2018 and definitely want to read as much, if not more in 2019.
I’m figuring I could set myself a 2 book a month challenge and see how it goes.
Once I’ve finished my current read, I have 3 others from the library ready to start the New Year on a reading high!
Happy New Year to you all!