Wow, I can’t believe it. I just finished my Goodreads reading challenge. Okay, I set it at 30 books, which is below the average on Goodreads, but one year ago I wouldn’t even have read one book a month, and now I’ve read 30 in six months and three days. So I think it’s time for looking back on the developments of the last six months
Oh yeah! Looking back on the 30 books I’ve read (oh, and don’t panic: it’s not like I’m going to stop reading now. I mean, I even can’t …), I’m quite pleased.
These were the first ten books I read and I think only Death Comes to Pemberly was a slight letdown. It was okay and I enjoyed reading about one of my favourite literary characters again, but as I had expected it to be as genius as Austen’s own writing (and because I had read two of her novels, including Pride & Prejudice previous to that), I was a little bit disappointed. It was still fun, but not great.
I also really, really enjoyed reading the Dutch classic De Stille Kracht (translated as The Hidden Force) by Louis Couperus. There’s something thrilling and exciting about reading a classic because it has proved itself over and over again, but reading a Dutch classic for a change was an eye-opener as well. Dutch literature has so much to offer! You can check out Couperus’ books here.
Roald Dahl’s children’s books were a treat as well. When I was a kid, I used to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its sequel over and over again and The BFG was my and my brother’s favourite animation. I’d seen the movie adaptations of Matilda and The Witches, but I’d never read the books themselves. I loved reading them and they reminded me immediately as to why I loved his books when I was younger: they’re dark and witty and rebellious at the same time. Dahl knew what children wanted! Oh, and to be honest: The Witches still scared the creep out of me!
There are some classics in the next ten books as well. I loved reading Persuasion by Austen, one of her books I’d never read before. It was a real surprise. Beforehand I thought that Anne wasn’t really my kind of girl, but this novel was just perfect. I loved it from start to finish. The other classic, Under the Greenwood Tree, was a nice one as well, although I thought that the Hardy version of the character of Fanny Fay turned out worse than the movie adaptation of Fanny Day. However, I’ve come to like Hardy’s writing so I’m really looking forward to reading Far From the Madding Crowd (I’ve already ordered the book at the local bookshop, but it’s taking ages to arrive. EDIT: it has arrived!)
The first major disappointment was Geachte Heer M by Herman Koch (Dear Mr. M.). It was a bit of a mess, the characters weren’t really speaking to me and the ending was, in my opinion, a little cheap. I still want to read Het Diner (The Dinner) though, his most famous novel, and I’ve already borrowed a copy.
Another two letdowns in these last ten books, including When God Was A Rabbit. I thought the storyline was wobbly and it only became better towards the ending of the novel. It was okay in the end, but I had expected so much more. My first encounter with Sarah Waters wasn’t a great read as well. I had to fight my way through it and though the writing was good at some points, most of the times it was just straight on cliché.
I loved reading The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen, however. It inspired me to add her collected letters on my TBR. She’s so terribly funny in her letters to her sister and other family member. That woman knew how to write! I also really enjoyed reading Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling. I’m a huge fan and I had already seen her speech, but it was good to read the paper version of it (and see the speech again, ’cause now my mom was curious as well. Couldn’t hold back the tears. Of course).
Last but not least: the 30th novel, All The Bright Places. It was good. It was beautiful. It was sad. I believe that’s what I posted on Goodreads. When I tried to rate the book, I had to think of this video of Mercedes in which she talks about rating. I recognized the feeling that I often have when rating a book on the basis of two things. First, on how much I enjoyed reading it and second on how I thing the writing was. I can admire a novel that I consider well written and good literature, while I did not particularly enjoy reading because it was sad or dark or whatever. This was the other way around. I was drawn in by the characters and I loved reading it very much (although it’s sad), but it isn’t great literature. That doesn’t really matter, but I just wanted to point this out.
How’s your Goodreads Challenge coming along?