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100 Books, One Year

Reading books can change your life

We apologise for the interruption to our transmission…

I’m so far behind in my blog posts it’s no longer funny. Actually, maybe it was never funny, but it’s getting to the stage where I can’t remember the book I’m supposed to be writing about because I read it so long ago. Truth is, I’d much rather be reading than writing! I do love writing and I’m trying to get better at it, but reading is far less…hard work!

I’m up to book 19 out of 100 in my blog, but I’ve already gone past half way in the reading. So, so pathetically far behind. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to whoever, if anyone, is out there actually giving a damn.

Anyway, as of now to try to make this much less just another ‘book review’ blog and a bit more about the journey of 100 books, I’m going to include a ‘What’s the lesson’ at the end of each post, where I’ll talk about how the book has affected me, if at all. That ok? I’m trying, dear readers (whoever you are). Really, I am.

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A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, by Alain de Botton

I quite enjoy books that give you an inside view of things that you don’t normally think about. I think that’s why my reading list so far is pretty biography/memoir and non-fiction heavy. I’ve once been to London, and have very fond memories of my time there, so I love to learn about one of my favourite cities in the world. I landed at Heathrow airport, as millions do, and distinctly remember standing behind an African family in the customs line. The mother (of what seemed about 800 noisy children but was probably really only five) did not appear to have a passport, and I listened to her desperately try to convey to the customs personnel, in broken English, and grabs of an African language I couldn’t place, that she did not know where her passport was. Maybe she meant it was lost in transit, maybe she never had one. I’ll never know, but I’ve never forgotten the look on the face of her kids as it became increasingly clear that the lack of a passport was going to be a problem. This was the kind of story I thought I would read about in this book.

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Unbroken, by Alex McKinnon

The prize for worst proofread book I’ve ever read goes to this one. Granted, it seems to have been somewhat self-published by a small publishing house, but still. Good freelance proof-readers are everywhere! For a published book, there’s really no excuse.

Aside from my gripes about poor proofreading, this wasn’t a bad read. There seems to be a whole genre of books under the category of ‘famous person who’s had stuff happen who gets someone else to write their story’ but the writing is often the forgotten part of the equation. Great story, who cares about the writing. In the case of Damien Thomlinson- incredible story, you can forgive the writing. This one, a fairly inspiring story, writing too basic and unpolished to be ignored. Sorry.

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Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee (or, how to shatter an illusion)

During my time of vision loss, this book was published, and I was devastated, as I couldn’t read it, and the audiobook was to take some time to be released. I must preface this by saying I am a massive fan of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s first novel from some forty years ago. I first read it in high school, and fell in love with the characters and the growing awareness the central character, Scout, develops of the racial tension going on around her. Her most patient and civilised father, Atticus, the local lawyer, helps her to navigate the complexities of small town Alabama. 

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Roald Dahl Classics: Esio Trot, & Fantastic Mr Fox

One rainy Sunday afternoon, I procrastinated doing the housework and read instead. I wanted something light and quick, with my intention being to only read for a short time then get back to what I should’ve been doing! I long ago found a full set of Roald Dahl books at a second hand bookshop for a stupidly cheap price so of course I bought them, but never actually got around to reading them. Esio Trot seemed like the perfect fit for the day. Short, relaxed, fun, nothing too heavy. And it was a funny, delightful little book. Cute. A little old man in love with his downstairs neighbour, brought together by a tortoise. 

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The Carrie Fisher-fest: Wishful Drinking, and Shockaholic, both by Carrie Fisher

Yes, I’m a secret Star Wars nerd.

Not one that knows every weird factoid or reads Star Wars fan fiction or anything, but I do love those films. Harrison Ford is one of my favourites; Han Solo and Indiana Jones in one wry rugged package? Awesome!

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The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Some years ago, a very-respected colleague of mine was going through a rough patch at home. She told me at lunch how she was using Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now to help herself through it. At the time I was studying for my masters, so there was no time for ‘leisure’ reading. I mentally put it on the ‘I shall read that one day’ list, and there it has stayed, until now. 

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Looking for Alaska, both by John Green

Given my enjoyment of Paper Towns, I decided to see if lightning would strike twice. Or, rather, three times, as I basically purged the local library of all of its John Green stash. And you know, for better or worse, I think Green is about to go on my ‘favourite authors’ list. Don’t get my wrong; after a lifetime of avid reading and a literature degree, it’s a pretty long list, but having said that, after a lifetime of avid reading and a literature degree, I can be pretty discerning. Continue reading “Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Looking for Alaska, both by John Green”

How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran

Ok, I’m sorry. I’m really behind in my blog posts. This was book number eight that I read, only I’m well and truly into book thirty now. The idea for the blog came after the renewed excitement to be reading again. So I wish I could share with you all the beautiful, poignant, witty remarks that Moran makes about being female. But I can’t, because I can’t remember them all, and I could never hope to capture her ideas so wonderfully as she does in this book.

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