Revisiting my 2013 writing challenge

Hello! 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! I am in a holiday-sized bubble of Christmas cosy at the moment. Harvey’s visiting for the holidays, I’m at home with my family, we’re all shrouded in soft pyjamas and old cartoons and more Christmas food than anyone should ever eat. It’s great. 

As we’re reaching the end of 2018, I’ve taken a look at my Goodreads 2018 reading challenge, and I figured I’d make a post about that next week, as we’re rearing closer to the end of the year. For now, though, I wanted to revisit my 2013 reading challenge, to see how it went five years ago!

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I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved books. Ever since I was a kid I just couldn’t get enough. 2013 however, at the age of 17, was when I proper started recording what and how much I read. It was my first year of using Goodreads as a way to keep track of my books, and it was when I started setting myself reading challenges to complete.

First of all, my goal for 2013 was 40 books, and I managed to read 38. I’ve decided to sort these books into three lists, the ones I remember reading, the ones I have no recollection of, and the ones I’m pretty sure I didn’t read and might have added just to up my number on the challenge. Embarrassing, but hey, it’s years ago.

Total of books: 38

Books I read and remember to this day: 28

-Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
-An Abundance of Katherine’s – John Green 
-Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
-The Fault in Our Stars – John Green 
-Looking for Alaska – John Green 
-Paper Towns – John Green
-The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom 
-A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learnt while editing my life – Donald Miller
-Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs 
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
-The Island – Victoria Hislop
-Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan
-Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – David Levithan
-Naomi and Eli’s No Kiss List – David Levithan
-Eighty Days Blue – Vina Jackson
-Eighty Days Yellow – Vina Jackson
-A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
-The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
-One Hundred Names – Cecelia Ahern
-Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
-The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
-To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
-City of Bones -Casandra Clare
-Dear John – Nicholas Sparks
Every You Every Me – David Levithan
-The Lovers Dictionary – David Levithan
-Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
-Søskenkjærlighet – Katarina von Bredow

Safe to say it was the year of John Green and Young Adult fiction, but it was also the year I found my favourite author, David Levithan, and my  all time favourite book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and realised that I didn’t just have to stick to the YA romances. 2013 was also my first time dipping my toes in the classics and the advent of buying books online; i.e, asking the cashier in the bookstore to order books that you could never get in my little Norwegian town, otherwise. 

It’s also interesting to look at what you read at a certain point, because I feel like it can show what you were thinking about at that point in time. Your taste in books can’t really define you, but it absolutely shows what you care about, and offers pointers at what was important to you. 

Books I have no recollection of reading: 3

Boy meets Boy – David Levithan 
I’m so sure I’ve never read this, but I can remember starting it so many times. Not sure why I never got through it, maybe it was just the one Levithan book I couldn’t get into?

The Book of Tomorrow – Cecelia Ahern
I cannot for the life of me remember this one! All I can remember is the fact that I bought it on my first ever trip to a Waterstones and read it on the plane back from my second time ever in London. 

I Don’t Know How She Does it – Allison Pearson
So, I added this book to the list twice, but I’ve no clue what it’s about. I just know that I read it on a beach in Mallorca, and eventually forgot it at the hotel room. 

Books I’m 100% sure I didn’t read and just kind of pretended to have finished: 6

Evig søndag – Linnea Myre
This book was a Christmas present if I can recall, but I have not read this. I think I wanted to be cool and say I’ve read it though, because it was kind of “the book” of my year in school that year. 

Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Yeah, I remember actively putting this book away after the opening pages. This was one of those books that really weren’t what I was expecting, even though I knew nothing about the book before starting it, and it just didn’t sit well with me. I’ve wanted to pick it up again so many times, but just never get around to it. It felt like a very “grown-up” book, though, and I wanted to be able to say that I’d read and loved it, I remember..

The Reader – Bernard Schlink 
Same situation, I have never read this book. It was very adult-y, and historical and quite gritty, though, so saying I’d read it felt impressive. Goodness me, sixteen-year-old me was a mess.

Will Grayson Will Grayson – John Green
I remember my sister loved this book, but I just couldn’t get into it! It also didn’t help that I didn’t get that the two Will Graysons are two different people, either, but to be fair, that’s my bad. Maybe I should give this a go again, 5 years later.

James Potter and the Hall of Elder’s Crossing – G. Norman Lippert
Okay, I’ve done my googling. What is this book? Not that I’ve got anything against fanfiction at all, but I’m very certain that it’s never been in my bookshelf, and I’ve no clue why I’d put it on my “read-shelf”.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
I never finished this, I didn’t get along with the narrator’s voice, I think. 

As I’m back at my parents’ for Christmas, I had a little look around for how many of these books I actually still own. We all know I’m a bit of a book hoarder, but I was surprised to find that 36 of these are still on my shelves (and the other two I can remember borrowing from a friend) which basically means that I’ve never been very good at throwing books away, huh…

But I figured it could be a bit fun to have a look at some of the ones I’ve still got!

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2013 was the year I felt desperately and irrevocably in love with David Levithan’s writing, a love affair that to this day is still churning in the pit of my stomach. I remember ordering these at the bookstore, as online shopping wasn’t really as easy an option as it is today, at that time in my town. Well, it all began in 2013, but to this day, I still have all of David Levithan’s books on my shelf, he’s got his own one as he has quite a lot of books published. His stories embody the feeling of home, safety and comfort even in the sadder tales, a warm cup of cocoa written in between the covers.

img_7055This copy of The Great Gatsby was the first classic I ever properly read because I wanted to, and also the first time I realised I could make notes and highlight in my own books. After this, I finished To Kill a Mockingbird, and to this day those are the two only classics I’ve ever really gotten through on my own. 

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The beginning of a long and true love story; Mitch Albom, my designated November reads. 

img_7061-1.jpgThe year of all the John Green books in both Norwegian and English, and a rather large school assignment based on (among many others) John Green’s books and his characters. “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, could she exist?” I think it was called. 

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This copy of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses has been read to absolute pieces, and surprisingly enough it also showed up on my uni set list for a Children’s fiction module, in 2017! 

This post got a bit list-y, but it was fun to have a look through. Like I said, I hope to make a little walk through my 2018 reading challenge, plus I want to write a post about New Year’s resolutions and a bit more about 2018 and its lessons learned. I want to update the blog more and have got some fun ideas I’d love to work on more in the new year. 

So, do you do Goodreads reading challenges? Did you read any of these when you were a teenager or a young adult? And have any of these been, or are some of these maybe still, a favourite? 

Hope you have a wonderful day, 

-Andrea

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WWW Wednesday 14/11-18, Poetry and Quiet Nostalgia

I’ve been really getting back into poetry lately; I love the little breathing space it provides in an exam-centric week. I’ve got my first of five exams this semester in about two weeks, and the nerves are starting to properly set in! To combat the stress, however, I’m trying to schedule one hour of reading time every day, either in the morning before uni or at night before I go to bed. So far it’s been working, and it’s provided me with a couple of books to talk about in this week’s WWW Wednesday post!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and anyone can join the fun! All you have to do is answer three simple questions (“The three Ws”):

-What are you currently reading?
-What did you just finish reading?
-What are you planning on reading next?

I am currently reading
Date & Time by Phil Kaye

I started following Phil Kay’s poetry in 2014 but have only now managed to get my hands on the physical copies of his books. I love the cover on this one, and in it is written so many of my favourite poems of his. It’s a quiet collection, yet incredibly inventive and strong. It “explodes with imaginative scope, intelligence and feeling” and is one of those collections that you want to read slowly so it never has to end.

Blurb:
Date&Time is a vulnerable exploration of the distance between memory and lived experience, between the speaker and the reader, between how we see ourselves and how we see our lovers, our friends, and family. Through poems that are as wry as they are heart-breaking, Phil Kaye’s work is unflinchingly honest as he considers the chronology, or rather achronology, of love and loss.
“Phil Kaye does not simply walk us through the door of the past, he asks the reader to assist him in taking the door of its hinges. I am so thankful for this collection. It gives us all a new vocabulary with which to consider who we have been and who we are becoming.” -Clint Smith

I just finished reading
A Light Bulb Symphony, Poems by Phil Kaye

A mesmerizing choice of words, sentences that sing themselves off of the pages, emotions too big to fit the 10p font. This is Phil Kaye’s first poetry collection, and it’s just as strong as his later works. His writing is elegant and sincere, as he writes about his memories and his life, family and loved ones, the small things and the big things and all the things that make up a life well lived.

Blurb:
The book doesn’t have one, but I want to show you some excerpts from one of the poems in it:

“Ayekaye – For Aurora”
It’s days like this I wonder what I’m doing
3,000 miles away from the only person
whose skipping stone heart
leaves ripples that sounds just like mine
when they lap against the shore.

[…]

I keep all your cards
like Magic Marker prayers.
I hang them up around my days
like Post-It notes that read, “Live.”
Because you made me believe in ice cream for dinner
and Disneyland on a school day.

[…]

So the nights I need you the most
I take a pocket full of skipping stones
And off the New York coast
I listen to you breathe.

Next, I’ll be reading
the five people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Ever since 2013, every year when November comes around I have to pick this book up. It’s been read and thumbed through, thrown in my bag and forgotten on the bus multiple times, dropped in the bath and accidentally splattered with tea more times than I can count. There is something in this story that I always gravitate back towards, something quiet and intimate, something kind and forgiving. A book about how everything we do affect something or someone somehow, how our actions can change someone’s life without us even knowing it, and how small acts of a stranger can have a massive impact on our own lives. It’s a celebration of the goodness in people, something I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time, and therefore I make sure to read it once a year, at the time when the days are darkest and the weather the most dreary. A book I really, really recommend.

Blurb:
All endings are also beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time… An enchanting, beautifully crafted novel that explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.

So a week heavy with poetry and nostalgia; it’s wonderful all the stuff books can make you feel.
Have you read any of these? Or any of Mitch Albom’s other books?
If you’ve written a WWW Wednesday post today, please leave it in the comments, I’d love to have a read! Or if you just want to chat books, I’m always here for that, too!

Have a wonderful day, until next time,
-Andrea