Well, so far I’ve managed to stick to the challenge, as outlined here, and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself!

My books for the months were Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away so I’ll attempt to be brief and vague enough about them to not spoil them for anyone who hasn’t read these books. Elizabeth Is Missing is an absolutely beautiful book but, not gonna lie, I had to take a break every few chapters because it made me so, so sad. Having a narrator / heroine of a book with dementia is definitely unusual but it works. If you’ve ever known someone who has experienced dementia / Alzheimer’s then you couldn’t fail to find this book tugging on the heart strings. Not only does it give a moving account of how it feels to experience dementia, it’s also a great detective story that you don’t want to put down.

Clearly I was aiming to really bum myself out with my book choices in January but The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is definitely worth a read, once you get over the implausibility of the plot (as an early reviewer of the book said “Note to the reader: There were no 9-year-old Jewish boys in Auschwitz – the Nazis immediately gassed those not old enough to work.”). I can understand the frustration felt by some that the sense of censorship in the book detracts from the horrors of concentration camps however this *is* meant to be a children’s book and is written from the point of view of a nine year old child. But all of that to one kind and you’re left with a moving story of an unlikely friendship between two boys in truly horrendous circumstances and a reminder of man’s capacity for inhumanity.

My third book was picked at the insistence of a friend who has always been Team Brontë whilst I’ve been firmly in the Team Austen camp and she was right, this is a fantastic book. Power through the first chapter because the rest of the book becomes a definite page turner. Anne Brontë probably deserves to take the title of “first feminist novel” for this book – it’s far more kick-ass than I expected and without the guaranteed comfort of a happy ending.

Finally, I read Gone Girl as I’d bought the book around the time the film came out to read before watching it so expect the film to pop up on my watched list sometime soon. It’s hard to really touch on the plot of the book without giving anything away but if you haven’t read it, I’d really recommend it. Flynn is an excellent writer who manages to have you completely invested in the outcome of the story despite two phenomenally unlikable main characters.

As for films, I watched The Theory of Everything, Behind The CandelabraCinderellaInterstellar, A.C.O.D (Adult Children of Divorce), Fury, The Big Short and Dallas Buyers Club. A fairly mixed bag and I really enjoyed them all. Trailers are below if you fancy checking any out…



just read another book challenge

At the start of the year a friend of mine posted on Facebook about a challenge that she was setting herself for 2016; ‘Just Read Another Book’.

Challenge Rules

  1. Read one new book every fortnight for the year. Completing at least 26 new books by 31st December 2016.
  2. Watch one new film each week for the year, totalling 52 new watched films by 31st December 2016.

I absolutely loved the idea of the challenge – I’ve often thought that I really should make time to watch all these films that are winning Oscars and I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve bought but haven’t got round to reading yet (the pile is probably reaching crush injury levels now…)

I’ve always considered myself a prolific reader but, as I get older, I’ve definitely fallen into the habit of only finding time to read before bed and therefore just picking up an old favourite that has probably been read twenty times before. The same is true for watching films – when I actually have the time to watch a film I’m usually so tired that I end up avoiding anything new that requires even a little bit of concentration. So, in an attempt, to combat this and actually make time for myself and reading I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and attempt to complete this myself.

I’m not planning on blogging every week about this but I will probably try to do a monthly update post. Mainly because I think keeping a track of what I’m reading / watching will help keep me focused on completing the challenge.

Here goes…

You can take a look at my completed books and films here.