Category Archives: 100 book challenge

46. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell (100 book challenge)

One of the best things about this 100 book challenge is rediscovering books that I read years ago. Books like 1984 were on the mandatory reading list at high school, and for me they were always a struggle to get through. I never liked reading, and this dislike continued well into my adult life. At high school, I remember reading the first few pages, getting distracted, then going to the library to read the Spark Reading Notes summaries instead. This was generally enough to get me through class discussions and tests.

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45. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë (100 book challenge)

I’d always thought that Brontë’s Jane Eyre would be something along the lines of an Austen story… long, tedious and based solely around trying to win the man (my previous reviews of Austen haven’t been the most glowing).

And yes, Jane Eyre seemed to start along those lines, until page 130 when the mysteriousness of Mr Rochester’s attic was introduced, followed by eerie wailings and laughter at all hours. Suddenly, we had a story worth reading!

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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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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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