Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019

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Did I just decide to take part in another reading challenge for this year? Why yes. Along with the Audiobook Challenge, I have decided to take part in th Year of Asian Reading Challenge, also known as YARC 2019. This challenge is hosted by Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads.

The aim is simple: read as much books by Asian authors as you can! I will keep track of my reading progress on a new shelf on Goodreads, and obviously in my monthly reading wrap ups.

As it turns out, one of my first reads of the year was Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman, and it matches the challenge perfectly! The January prompt is family, which is one of the theme of Starfish from my point of view. This book was an emotional roller coaster, and I absolutely loved it. I will have a review coming up soon. [TW: abuse]

In addition to monthly prompts, you can attempt to reach a level by the end of the year:

  • Philippine tarsier: 1 to 10 books read
  • Indian cobra: 11 to 20 books read
  • Malayan tapir: 21 to 30 books read
  • Giant panda: 31 to 40 books read
  • Asian elephant: 41 to 50 books read
  • Bengali tiger: More than 50 books read

badge_cobra

I’m aiming for the cobra level. Considering the amount of books I read per year (something between 80 and 100 these past few years), that seems like something I can reach!

The challenge will also host events as the year goes by, and I guess I’ll figure it out as I go!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Disappointing Reads of 2018

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


These were not necessarily my least favourite books of 2018, but rather books for which I had built up high expectations, and which ended up disappointing me. I know I shouldn’t get my expectations high, so that would only leave me room for a good surprise, but sometimes you simply just hear too many great things about one book, and you can’t help but thinking you will like it as well. Here’s my list!

Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy

A classic! I don’t read that many classics, unfortunately, but this one had been on my TBR for quite some time, especially since I had hear many great things about it from the Bookstagram community. I don’t know if I simply didn’t get the message this book was trying to give, or if it simply wasn’t the book for me. But I ended up disappointed.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This is another book that had been on my TBR for quite some time. I was planning on reading the book and then watching the movie (years after everyone else). One of the main reasons I wanted to read & watch the story was because I really like Shailene Woodley. The book was also really hyped when the movie was released, and I wanted to see what it was all abaout. Now maybe I waited too long, and maybe I grew too old to enjoy this kind of YA book. But really, honestly, I couldn’t stand the main character, and didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. I don’t think I’ve ever been this disappointed in a book to be honest.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

This is another book that has been receiving a lot of hype recently, partyly because of the fact that the author is an anonymous figure. It’s a historical fiction set in Italy in the second half of the th century, and it’s supposed to cover the life of two friends from their childhood to their old age. I was really looking forward to reading this book, first of all because I heard many great things about it, and second of all because it just seemed right up my alley. Well, it wasn’t. I still read the second book in the series, and will probably finish it one day because I’m still curious about a few things, but I can still feel the bittersweet taste of disappointment in my mouth when I think about this book.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

I hadn’t read any Murakami book before, and I felt it was time I did. One of my friends had recommended me Norwegian Wood, so I figured I might as well start with this one. While I did like the concept of this book, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. Many parts made me feel uncomfortable – especially when it came to the mental illness rep – and I know that I definitely built my expectations to high for this book. In the end, I was just disappointed.

The Hit-Girl comic book by Mark Millar

The concept of this comic series really got me curious. I also had read and enjoyed another comic by Mark Millar earlier this year, and figured I should give this one a shot. I should have read the reviews on Goodreads first before buying it, because that would have prevented me from such a waste of my time. I honestly feel that this book really let me down, and I’m very disappointed.


That’s it for today! Thanks for reading, and feel free to share some of your favourite or least favourite reads of 2018 in the comments!

Audiobook Challenge 2019

2019 Audiobook Challenge
Join Hot Listens and Caffeinated Reviewer for the 7th year of audiobook fun.

This is my first year actually doing this challenge, and I thought it might be fun! I used to listen to audiobooks more often, like, back in 2016, but haven’t really been listening to them this past year, and I have decided to change that for 2019!

I am currently listening to Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, which she narrated herself, and I REALLY enjoy it.

Anyway, here are the challenge details:

  • Runs January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. You can join at any time.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2019 than you did in 2018.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the challenge.
  • Updates plus a giveaway will be posted twice during the year. The first update will be June 30, 2019, and the last update will take place on December 15, 2019.

Achievement levels:

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multitasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  • Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+

I renewed my audible susbcription at the beginning of the month, which means that I will have at least one audiobook to listen every month, but maybe I will try other things (like a Scribd subscription? I don’t know, we shall see what happens). My plan is also to listen to longer books. I was considering picking up the sequel to Outlander but I’m not sure yet as I had mixed feelings on the first book (see my rant). I will also look for more books narrated by Davina Porter because she is a FANTASTIC narrator, and I can’t get enough of her.

In terms of my goals I’m aiming for the “Stenographer” level, because it matches my idea of listening to at least one audiobook each month and also because I can definitely listen while multitasking, I do it all the time, mostly while driving, cooking, or folding my laundry. So hopefully, that helps me listen to more audiobooks!


And that’s it for today’s post, feel free to join as well on Caffeinated Reviewer’s Blog!

Latest Netflix Bingewatch: YOU

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I’m sure by now you have probably heard about Netflix’s new show YOU, which was released on the platform at the end of December. Truth be told, I read an article about it a few month ago, and I was waiting for Netflix to upload it, because I was really curious about it.

CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Abuse, Violence, Substance abuse, Death and more

The plot:

Basically, YOU is told from the perspective of Joe, your typical bookstore manager who has a meet cute with a customer and develops a crush on her. Except Joe is a psychopath. He starts stalking her, stating he “will do anything to protect her”. And when he says anything, he really means her. That includes breaking in, stealing her phone, and obviously, killing people because why not.

netflix you disappointing

Thoughts:

I got to say, as obsessed as I am with social media, it’s always a little bit scary to see shows such as YOU. But as scary as the portrayal of twitter, facebook and the likes of it can be in YOU, that portrayal is also very accurate: they really open the door to anything. Some people do think like Joe, and it’s kind of scary. (i.e. “Oh she told me her name and her instagram profile is public which means she wants to fuck me, obviously” Please can you not? But I know some people’s minds work like that. So again: Can you not?) And the whole checking-one-out-on-social-media thing is only the slightest part of Joe’s mastermind plan to get Guenivere Beck to be his girlfriend. That plan also involves following and stalking her pretty much everywhere she goes, stealing her phone, killing her ex, breaking into her place, stealing her underwear and other personal belongings, reading pretty much all of her texts, more following her, and more killing. Oh and eventually framing her thereapist for a murder you committed.

And yes, Beck was not necessarily a good person. She did some not so good things, like cheating. She was messed up in her own ways, but aren’t we all? That doesn’t mean she deserved any of that. And I’ve seen some people saying that the characters in this show are not likeable (which I’m going to object immediately because first of all, Ethan and Blythe are absolutely adorable, and second of all, how can you not like Paco? Or Karen for that matter?), but that’s not really the point of the story. It’s a show through the POV of a psychopath, who wears the face of an angel – kudos to Penn Badgley for such a fantastic performance. Even his name is kind of boring: Joe, that’s such a plain, random name for such a psychopath. But that only makes it more interesting: the psychopath is the person you least expect to be.

YOU was such a fascinating show. It did make me uncomfortable sometimes, but I kept wanting to know more. It’s so creepy and interesting, partly because it’s told through the POV of a psychopath who keeps justifying himself, and partly because if it were not for how intense and stalkerish and murderous he was, that is, if we actually didn’t get his own point of view, his story with Beck was actually pretty cute in the beginning. But what’s even more disturbing is that I couldn’t help but empathy with him sometimes: he had a terrible childhood, and was trying his best to help the kid neighbour not have a terrible childhood for example. For the most part, he was a bad person who also happened to do good things, and that just shows how complex the human psyche can be. And here comes the other disturbing aspect: if you kill bad people, can’t you just say they deserved it and move on with your life? I’m not saying all the people who were killed by Joe where bad people, but come on, did anyone like Benji? That guy was a human trashbag. Did he deserve to die like this though? No he didn’t, and yet I was so sure that this was how he would die, and it was kind of satisying! (It’s fine, it’s just a show, I’m not a psychopath okay).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this show portrays a psychopath and a murderer, but attempts at the same time to make the viewers empathy with him, while showing the events through his own perspective, and it is so utterly, disturbingly fascinating.

Joe Goldberg is a terrible person. But he is also fascinating. His mind functions in the scariest ways and yet it makes me curious. So overall, I would definitely recommend this show if you don’t mind the abuse and violence, and are fascinated by morally complex characters. And bonus: all the scenes set in the bookstore. They couldn’t have picked a setting more perfect than this one.


netflix you books

Book recommendations:

I could not write this article without including book recommendations. First of all, you have to know that this show is based on the book You by Caroline Kepnes, which also has a sequel called Hidden Bodies. I haven’t read either of those but I’m definitely planning on doing so, because obviously I really enjoyed the show, and I’m also curious as to how such a perspective would turn out through a written POV.

And while we are talking about books, I also wanted to recommend the YA novel Stolen by Lucy Christopher, which takes place in the middle of the desert in Australia, and follows the relationship between a teenage girl and the man who kidnapped her. It is a surprising novel which deals with Stockholm Syndrom and I found it absolutely fascinating. It gives off a vibe similar to the one in YOU, and if you liked the show then I would definitely recommend you check it out!

My Favourite Reads of 2018

2018 was a great reading year for me, although I definitely read more at the beginning of the year than I did at the end. I have discovered new authors, and picked up audiobooks again. I have also met some of my favourite authors, and it was such an amazing experience! In terms of what I’ve read, there is still a lot of Young Adult fiction, but I also started reading (and loving!) more literary fiction, and essays, which surprised me in the best possible way. I’m still trying to read more and more diversely. I have read a total of 90 books, which is less than what I read in 2017, but still a decent amount of books, and I am perfectly happy with that!


Here’s a list of my ten favourite reads of 2018!

Non-fiction

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Poetry:

Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen

Literary Fiction:

Crudo by Olivia Laing

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Young Adult:

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

New Adult:

The Image of Deception by Charlotte Anne Hamilton


There is still so many books I wish I had picked up this year, so many titles sitting on my shelves unread, and hopefully 2019 will be the year I finally pick them up. Who knows? Cheers to a New Year full of opportunities, and may it be filled with amazing books!

December Wrap Up

Hi readers, and happy new year from Berlin! I can’t believe it’s already 2019, I feel so old. Anyway, I wish you all the best for this new year, and obviously all the books! Now here comes my short December wrap up.

Books I read:

Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lou! vol.8 by Julien Neel ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hit-Girl vol.1: Colombia by Mark Millar and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz ⭐⭐

La Route Des Coquelicots by Véronique Biefnot and Francis Dannemark ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Blade So Black by L. L. Mckinney ⭐⭐⭐

Currently reading:

We Should All Be Feminists by June Eric-Udorie (which I started many weeks ago and will hopefully finish soon)

Romanesque by Lorant Deutsch (a book about the history of the French language)

December Watch List:

The Hook Up Plan (thoughts), Call My Agent season 3, Friends rewatch, Timeless series finale, and probably more!

My last book review:

Tess of the D’Ubervilles

I have read something between 80 and 90 book in 2018, which is quite decent. Cheers to another year of reading! 🍻🎉

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Didn’t Get To In 2018

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

I feel like this book has been sitting on my bookshelves for years, and every January I tell myself that this is going to be the year I read the goldfinch and every December I realise I didn’t read one bit of it. Maybe 2019 will be the year? Cheers to that!

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

I got this book for Christmas last year, and I REALLY wanted to read it as I love Pillars of the Earth and Ken Follett books in general. As it turns out, I didn’t have a chance to start it, and one of the reasons is obviously that the book is huge and I cannot carry it around with me. Hopefully, I manage to do that next year!

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I bought this really gorgeous of Peter Pan a few years ago at a bookfair and have been meaning to read it ever since, as I never actually read the story of Peter Pan and his lost boys. Unfortunately, 2018 wasn’t the year it seems. Unlike the two book I just mentioned, Peter Pan is not a huge, enormous book so I have higher hopes that I will actually manage to read it soon.

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

I really wanted to get this one as soon as it was released, and basically binge read it, because Vicious was so great, and I’m still eager to know what will happen next. In the end, that just didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what happens next, because trust me I do! (No spoilers though!)

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

And last but not least, The Vegetarian is another book that has been sitting on my TBR for a long time, I even bought a gorgeous copy of it when I was in Brussels, and yet I still haven’t read it. If you remember that insane bookhaul video I did back in March or April, The Vegetarian was part of it and I still haven’t read it. So again, hopefully that’s a book I will get to read in 2019!

And sadly, the list of books I wish I’d read in 2018 doesn’t end here…


That’s it for my last Top 5 Wednesday of 2018! I honestly can’t believe the year is alredy coming to an end. As for this bookish meme, I’ve done it for about two months now, and I really enjoy it so far. It helps me be more active on this blog, and I missed it! I think I’ll keep doing it for a while, and we shall see what happens in the year to come!