December 30, 2012

Goodreads Challenge 2012: So Close Yet So Far

This year I decided to set myself the challenge of reading 20 books in a year. It seemed doable, nothing too crazy. Unfortunately though, I did not manage it. Instead I read 18 which, to be honest, is still pretty good seeing as it was double the amount I read in 2011. 

I'm not going to make excuses. There were times when I was sat on tumblr, endlessly scrolling for no real reason instead of reading. However, I should note, I am reading the Harry Potter books in German which takes a hell of a lot longer than if I was reading them in English. It also takes more motivation to actually pick the book up in the first place.

Anyway, instead of focusing on what I didn't do, I'm now going to focus on what I did and go through the 18 books I managed to read in 2012. 

1. Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

A lot of people love this book and I really wanted to but I just didn't. Funnily enough though I absolutely loved the film which makes me think that the reason I didn't like the book too much is that there's a lot of 'reading between the lines' involved which I'm really bad at. The film just spells it out for you. I do want to re-read this now that I've seen the film, as I think I might enjoy it more now that some of the plot has been explained.

2. Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

This wasn't some groundbreaking work of literature but it does what it says on the tin. A 18 year old guy on the day of his A-Level results finds out he's a dad. Like I said, it's not mind-blowingly clever and it is pretty predictable but it's a nice light read. I definitely enjoyed it but it's a one time read and nowhere near as good as Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses series which I absolutely loved! 

3. Mealtimes And Milestones: A Teenager's Diary Of Moving On From Anorexia 
by Constance Barter

This is a non-fiction diary of a teenage girl as she recovers from Anorexia. Throughout my life a lot of the people around me have had issues with body dismorphia in some form or another so I found it really interesting to be able to see it all from their perspective. It definitely helped me to understand what goes on inside their minds. 

4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

After reading Mealtimes And Milestones and having read The Hunger Games I really wanted a light-hearted non-distopian book to read so I decided to give Just Listen a go. In the end it wasn't quite as light-hearted as I'd expected, in fact it deals with some pretty deep issues but it doesn't get depressing which I greatly appreciated. The main characters had a lot of depth and were really relatable within what was a very enjoyable story. 

5.  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I went into TFIOS with very high expectations as my sister kept raving about how amazing it was. Although I did really enjoy it as is evidenced in the fact that I read it in about 3 days, I'm certainly not as crazy about it as my sister and many others like her. I did really liked Augustus though.

6. Matched by Allie Condie

Matched is another novel that's set in a distopian future. I didn't dislike this but it wasn't great either. If I'm brutally honest, it was a bit boring. I really liked the world Condie created but she didn't do much with it. I just felt a bit meh after it. I certainly wasn't counting down the days until I could get my hands on the sequel.

7. Elixir by Hilary Duff

Well. Where do I begin. On a scale of one to shit this falls just shy of shit. The thing that stops it being completely shit is the beginning. It gives you so much hope. Clea is a photographer that keeps noticing a mysterious man in all of her pictures which causes her to want to discover who said mysterious man is. So far so good. Then it descends into crazy ville. Near the end she meets a woman who I couldn't help but imagine like the weird monster thing in Pans Labyrinth. The writing was nearly as bad as the plot and felt like a dodgy fanfiction. Sorry Hilary. I loved you in Lizzie McGuire and I love all your albums and really wanted to love this too but...well, let's just say, stick to your day job.

8. Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban by J.K.Rowling

What's to say really? It's Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter and I love German so it's win win.

9.  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Now this is a good book, like a "I really should be working on my assignment but I must keep reading" good book. I loved the five factions and the whole world Roth created in general. Some people felt that Tris's initiation took up too much of the book but I actually loved that part and was actually kinda bummed that it had to end. Four is just awesome. I need a Four in my life. If you like dystopian books, this is without a doubt a must read!

10. Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe

This took forever to read. It's absolutely jam packed with information and pictures from the filmmaking process of the Harry Potter films. The amount of detail that went into the films is just incredible! If you aren't able to go to The Making of Harry Potter at Leavedson this is a pretty good substitute as the tour does tell you a lot of what is in the book but obviously on the tour you get to see all the props and thing in person. Even if you're not a huge fan of Harry Potter but are interested in filmmaking then I'd definitely recommend this book.

11. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is the second book in the Divergent series. I'd say it's not quite as good as Divergent but I think that's mainly because it's doing a lot of setting up for the third and final book. It's still a great book and it leaves you with a f*ck off cliffhanger so you'll be dying to get your hands on the yet unnamed third book.

12. Planet Word by J.P.Davidson

This book is a companion to the Planet Word series on the BBC that was presented by Stephen Fry. I study Linguistics at University and this was basically the first semester of my degree compacted into one book. I thought it was well written and easy to follow but then I may be biased having studied a lot of what is covered in the book already. However, if you're interested in linguistics or language in any way then give this a read.

13. Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch by J.K.Rowling

I hadn't read Goblet of Fire in a while and I'd forgotten how fecking long it is. Add to that the fact that I was reading it in German, it took me nearly 4 months to get through this bad boy! It's still Harry Potter though and therefore still awesome.

14. Crossed by Allie Condie

This is the follow up to Matched and although I didn't love the first book, I did like it enough to want to know what was going to happen. I feel that Crossed is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is actually an improvement on the original. It's still no Hunger Games or Divergent but it is better nonetheless. The middle does drag a little but unlike with Matched, the ending makes up for it. Although I'm not dying to read Reached, I fully intend on doing so.

15. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Another (sort of) series. This follows Anna and the French Kiss which I really enjoyed so I had pretty high expectations for this. Luckily, it lived up to my expectations. I can't pinpoint exactly what I loved about this book, I just really enjoyed it. My only gripe with it was the names, I mean, Cricket? Really? Just, no.

16. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When I decided to pick up AoK I was craving a stand alone book. I'd read so many sequels that I just wanted one that was self contained. I absolutely loved AoK. Again, I don't really know why, I just did. The three main characters were brilliant, especially Hassan. A lot of people feel like this is one of John Green's weaker novels but I have to disagree. Maybe I just like to read different things to the majority of other nerdfighters?

17. Looking For Alaska by John Green

This is another example of me not agreeing with the majority of nerdfighters. I didn't dislike LFA but I don't get why everyone loves it so much. The first half of the book is counting down to some big event and I just felt it was pretty predictable as to what this said big event would be. I guess, because I kind of knew it was coming, it had less impact. This is probably my least favourite of the three John Green books that I've read.

18. To Marry A Prince by Sophie Page

I love the Royal Family and I'm a sucker for a fairytale. This book combines the two so naturally I enjoyed it. It focuses on Bella Greenwood who falls for Richard who, unbeknownst to her, is The Prince of Wales and current heir to the throne of Great Britain. I think this is one of those books you either like or you don't. If you're into royalty and love the whole story of a commoner becoming a princess then I'm sure you'll like this book. 

There we have it. Those were the 18 books that I managed to read throughout 2012. Hopefully next year I'll manage to actually complete my challenge of 20 books!

Do you agree or disagree with anything I've said above? 
Got any recommendations for what I should read in 2013?
Let me know in the comments below!

MeganShaelyn x


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