Book Challenge by Erin 10.0

23 Jan

As you may know at the end of last year, I discovered an online reading challenge on Facebook. The group is run by Erin (hence, the name). The challenge is very easy. There are 10 different categories and you have to read a book from each category to complete it.

As I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment, I managed to finish the challenge in 21 days – yes, 10 books in 21 days. I surprised myself. I’ve been motivated by reading 68 books last year and I would like to better it this year if that is possible. Obviously, I have given myself a great start to the year.

Here are the categories and the books that I read for the challenge:

Freebie (any book that is more than 200 pages long) – How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carniege

I decided to read a non-fiction book for this category. I have had this book on my “to read” shelf for a long time. It was an interesting book about human psychology and the basic premise of the book is “be nice”. That’s so of it really. By being agreeable, people will want to spend more time with you or do business with you. It seems logical that people who are easy to get along with will have no problem finding friends. However, I wonder if you did follow all of the advice in this book if you would end up feeling very unsatisfied with life. You would just end up doing what other people want and forfeit a large part of your personality to get along with people. Having said that, I will follow some of the advice that the book gives, especially because some of the examples that were given did ring true to me and I think the advice could help me in some areas.

Book that was turned into a Movie – Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This was a long book (my edition was 884 pages long) but was a great read. Set during the American Civil War, it is essentially a story of love and loss, focused on the main character Scarlett O’Hara. Throughout the book, I was wondering how on earth the story could keep going and going, but there was always a clever plot twist to stir things up again and leave the reader wanting to read on. I haven’t seen the film but I wonder how the whole story can be possibly cut down to the length of a film without losing part of the great story. I’m so glad that I stuck with this book and read it until the end.

Set in Europe – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

So many people have been talking about this book recently that I thought I just had to read it. At times it was an unpleasant reminder about the horrors of Nazi Germany but there was also a huge sense of hope and love. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who wants to read it by revealing what happened but it is well-written and poignant. I would recommend that you give it a read as well.

A Newberry Award Winner – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

I read this children’s book in a few hours. It was a lovely story about Wilbur the pig and his friend, Charlotte, who is a very clever spider. This book was popular when I was growing up but I never read it. I was glad that I did. It is a story about relationships and how working together can help improve everyone’s lives. The ending was sad but in a nice way.

A Friend’s Favourite – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I was a bit sceptical about the book when I first started reading it. It took a while to get my head around the structure of the novel and the reasons for that structure. The book is six stories, spanning different eras woven into one. Each of the stories has a connection to the previous one. The stories were so different, not only in terms of narrative voice but also in the format; one was a diary, one was an interview etc. It showed a vast amount of skills to write with such complexity and authenticity. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others but overall it was a great read.

Written over 100 years ago – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I had no idea that this book was based, at least partly, in Switzerland and that it is nothing like the Frankenstein monster horror story that have come out of Hollywood. It is a poignant story about human interaction and the need to be accepted in society. The figure of “the monster” is a lonely, misunderstood figure, who has had no part in his design or creation, and tries to take revenge on his creator after he refuses to help him find happiness.

Title with 6 Words – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Another book from the Nazi Germany era. The worst part of this book is seeing the dates that the diary entries were made knowing that the hope of them being free isn’t going to happen. The contrast between the musings of a teenage girl (complaining about classmates etc) and the description of the harsh conditions is mind blowing.

Cardinal direction in the title – East, West by Salman Rushdie

This was a collection of 9 short stories. I really liked how the narrative of each of the stories was so different and the subject matter was so varied. A lot of the stories made me quite reflective about life. I haven’t read any of Rushdie’s book before but I am going to make an effort to do so in the future. This was a good introduction into how well he writes.

Originally in another language – The House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende (Spanish)

This was a joy to read. It’s the story of four generations of an eccentric family in Chile and charts the tragedy, hilarity and surreality of their lives in an ever-changing world. One minute I was laughing out loud, the next silent in shock at the events that were unfolding in the story. I would go as far to say that this was one of my favourite books that I have ever read. This was another long read but I doubt it will be long before I am re-reading it once again.

Begins with the letter N – Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Surprisingly, in this book the narrator is a unborn foetus, who is overhearing the destruction of his parents’ marriage and his mother’s subsequent relationship with his uncle. It was fascinating to read – the narrator can’t see everything that happens in the story but tries to infer all the details from his experience and from other senses. As with all McEwan novels, there is a sinister twist to the story and the foetus attempts to interfere with events that are happening around him.

There will now be a bonus round, where I have the opportunity to read another 10 books, but that part of the challenge doesn’t start until 1st February. In the meantime, I will have to find some other books to get stuck into!

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8 Responses to “Book Challenge by Erin 10.0”

  1. Chomeuse with a Chou January 23, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

    How on earth did you manage to read all those in 21 days? Especially Gone with the Wind! The film is pretty long…long enough at any rate that there is actually an intermission put into it, where the screen freezes and music plays.

    • ourgirlinzurich January 24, 2019 at 6:13 am #

      First of all, I am a quick reader! Then it was a combination of me being on holiday for the first days of January and then when we got back our tv broke so reading was the only form of entertainment!

      Gone with the Wind took me the longest but I read it at the same time as I read some of the smaller books because otherwise I would be so demotivated by the lack of progress. The film is almost 4 hours long – I need to watch it as part of my film challenge. I’ll need to put aside a whole day to watch it!

      • Chomeuse with a Chou January 24, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

        I love the film! Hope you do too or you’re in for a long day 😉 My Granny learned how to speak English through reading Gone with the Wind with an English-Czech dictionary back in the late ’40s so it’s a very special book in my family.

      • ourgirlinzurich January 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm #

        Wow! I’ve always heard of people learning languages just by reading a book and using a dictionary but I never thought it was true. That’s a great achievement 😁

      • Chomeuse with a Chou January 24, 2019 at 6:09 pm #

        To be fair she really had no choice, but still a great achievement. She had just escaped Soviet Czechoslovakia to marry my grandfather in then British Nigeria and had to learn English asap in order to speak to anyone.

  2. Confuzzled Bev January 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm #

    Aaah! You beat me. Congratulations. I’m reading The Woman in White for my published over 100 years ago category and it’s taking me forever!! The Tattooist of Auschwitz will be my freebie – my mum lent it to mention so I have too read it before I see her at the beginning of February.

    I loved Charlotte’s Web when I was little. Pretty sure I cried at the end though. My poor little 8-year-old heart was broken. I need to get it from my dad’s and read it again.

    • ourgirlinzurich January 24, 2019 at 6:16 am #

      Thank you! Is The Woman in White also on the BBC good read list? Gone with the Wind did take me forever – at one point it felt like I wasn’t making any progress at all!

      The Tattooist of Auschwitz won’t take you long – it’s a pretty hard to put it down. And I wish I had read Charlotte’s Web years and years ago. It’s such a lovely book.

      • Confuzzled Bev January 24, 2019 at 6:35 am #

        Yes, The Woman in White is on the BBC Big Read list. I’m really enjoying it, but it’s over 600 pages and I still have to work, cook, clean, etc. I’ve been reading it since the 12th! I think I’ll have to take a break from it to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz so I can give that one back to my mum.

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