44. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (100 book challenge)

I expected bleak, and bleak was what I got. I think I’d been warned by someone a few year’s ago who read it, or I’d seen the previews for the TV series… so I knew full-well this wasn’t going to be a fun, light-hearted read.

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43. Life of Pi – Yann Martel (100 book challenge)

After Moby Dick, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another 200-odd days at sea. But this time the journey was shared with a tiger and a few other zoo animals and only talked once about whales.

I had actually planned to add a bit of non-fiction to my reading list, and I asked a few key people at work for recommendations on inspirational books they’d read lately. I was expecting a bit of Simon Sinek or Brené Brown… when my trusted mentor answered, without hesitation, ‘You have to read the Life of Pi.’

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42. Moby Dick – Herman Melville (100 book challenge)

‘Have they seen the whale yet?’

So this post needs a big SPOILER ALERT! I have something I’d like to complain about and if you’re planning on reading Moby Dick any time soon (which you should, by the way) you might like to stop right here.

I’ve warned you, right? Now I can go on.

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41. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (100 book challenge)

I’d never understood the appeal of fantasy. I’d read just a handful of fantasy books in my life, and pretty much all of them left me rolling my eyes and scoffing, “as if that would ever happen!” Sure, I enjoyed the storylines and that feeling of adventure, but I couldn’t see how the addition of a goblin or a wizard was adding anything to the story. When I critiqued an early version of my friend’s brilliant and now published novel Game Bird, I (embarrassingly) wrote in the margin in red pen, ‘It’s a great story… but could be better if you just took out the dragons.’ I’m glad he completely disregarded that one!

When I came to The Hobbit in my 100 Book Challenge I didn’t have high hopes. And then everything changed…

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The Next Ten: my COVID-19 panic buy

I have a confession to make. I got caught up in the COVID-19 panic-buying that happened in late March. But mine wasn’t toilet paper or hand sanitiser: it was books.

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I remember the day clearly. We’d had dinner, I’d put the kids to bed. I thought I’d check my phone one last time before heading upstairs (never a good idea) and saw that all museums, art galleries and LIBRARIES would be closed… indefinitely.

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40. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell (100 book challenge)

What a clever example if meta-fiction and different narrative voices: Cloud Atlas is creative in both story and structure. I loved the subtle connections between each of the chapters and the interwoven themes discussing subjugation and conflict. This is an amazing book that I know I need to read again to appreciate its full effect.

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

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Top ten books loved by my (other) 3 year old

Our little 3-year-old has grown so much in the year since I posted Top 10 books loved by my (other) 2 year old. She’s understanding much more complicated storylines, and has an amazing attention span when she’s curled up listening to her favourites books.

She’s started recognising words and sounding out letters (watching her older brother go through kindergarten last year has definitely helped her with that!) and I’m pretty sure she’ll be reading by herself before my next post next year. Her favourite books were hard to pick – there’s been so many in the last 12 months – but the below selection have really stood out.

Harry in a Hurry - Pan Macmillan AU

1. Harry in a Hurry by Timothy Knapman

The 3-year-old still loves rabbits as much as she did when she was two, and I bought this book for her when I was away travelling with work. Harry the hare races around on his scooter so fast that he misses the destruction he’s leaving behind… until he crashes into a pond and is rescued by the super. slow. tortoise. Tom (who takes all afternoon just to blow his nose).

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39. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon (100 book challenge)

It was an intriguing title that sounded light and fun, and I thought it might be just what I needed after 5 weeks of the dense emotional roller-coaster of Love in the Time of Cholera. It didn’t disappoint: I enjoyed reading every word.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon ...

In the book, teenage Christopher tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog. As we read on, it’s clear that he sees the world in a unique way – through numbers and facts – and that he struggles with most human interactions.

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38. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez (100 book challenge)

I started reading this one in February 2020, coincidentally at the exact same time that our lives were flipped upside down because of COVID-19. ‘Love in the time of COVID’ became my private little joke as I made my way through this first (of two) García Márquez books listed in my 100 book challenge.

Love in the Time of Cholera

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Top ten books loved by my 6 year old

Just when I thought reading with my son snuggled in bed was never going to happen again, it returns! The world’s recent events have meant slower mornings for us. After a quick trip downstairs to put on Bluey for the 3-year-old, I slip back in bed to read. And lately, the 6-year-old – and his favourite chapter book – have been joining me.

And that’s because he can now read! Just over a year of school and he can read entire books by himself. Last year, I was reading the chapter books, and this year it’s all him.

The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (9781760559144) - PaperBack - Children's Fiction

1. The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

This time last year we were only just introduced to these books. A year on and we’ve read every one of the series twice – the first time with me reading a chapter aloud every night, the second time my 6-year-old reading them to himself before bed (and sometimes staying up way too late to get to The Last Chapter).

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