This Book Challenge starts with a little story. About 4 years ago I decided to look up the “Top Ten Books of All Time” and, to my shame, I hadn’t read any of them. So I decided to buy all ten and promised to read them next. However, they ended up on my ever growing TBR pile ( plus another 3 classics I’ve picked up along the way!) for far too long and, in four years, I’ve only read 6 out of 13. Until Now!

I’m challenging myself to finish the final seven by the end of the year and you can follow as I do over on my Instagram- staceyblogs. To kick off, I’m going to do some reviews of the 6 I have read so far, let’s dive in!

Book Challenge 2020 – Read so far

1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

This came in strong as number one on most of the best book lists, and I can tell why. It is the epitome of a love story. Little did I realise, until I’d finished reading, that this was a trail blazer, leading the way for so many of the romantic pairings we still see today in novels, films and TV. The meet cutes, the lovelorn angst, the will they won’t they – so many mirror this narrative written all the way back in 1813. So, if you want to see where the original love story began (and meet Mr Darcy for the first time) this is the book for you. 9/10

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813

2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

I only finished this book earlier this year and I was not disappointed. It is split into two parts and, whilst it took me a little while to get invested, by part two I could not put it down. A tale told through the eyes of a young girl, the story of racism, prejudice and hypocrisy is a shocking and upsetting one. It is an important, sometimes rightfully uncomfortable, read that will have you gripped. 9/10

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960

3. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

This is a story of a struggling teen set over a couple of days. It is a heavy read and despite the protagonist being just a boy of 16, it deals with many hard hitting issues. This isn’t a book for everyone which is why opinions of it vary hugely. My viewpoint is that it is a story of a teenager who is struggling hugely with where he fits in to the world, something I think most teenagers, or even adults, could relate to. The writing captivates you whist reading but personally, it isn’t a story that stuck with me long enough to recommend to others. 6/10

I am always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger, 1945

4. 1984, George Orwell

This book is unusual in that it is referenced so many times in modern culture that I already new much of the premise before reading the first page. Perhaps controversially I didn’t actually find this that easy to read and it felt like it took a long time to get going. Having said that, there are some paragraphs that you find yourself re-reading just because of how uncomfortably accurate some of the predictions are. Although set in 1984, it was written in 1949 and it’s highly interesting to see how relevant it still is today. Think Black Mirror in print. 7/10

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

1984, George Orwell, 1949

5. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Only 120 pages, this is a short, gripping story that even the most reluctant of readers could finish in a day. I loved this book, a true tale of solidarity, friendship, brotherhood and longing for better. I read it years ago but I still could recite the whole plot to anybody, it is a story that I will remember for always and I recommend you all read it. 9/10

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, 1937

6.The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

4 years I have had this masterpiece on my shelf and it was only last month that I finally read it. A travesty in itself because it is by far my favourite on this list. It is humorous but also sometimes tragic, moving and powerful. I could not put it down and implore anyone to read it. I have already passed it on to my sister and friend who I’m certain will both enjoy it hugely. A story of female solidarity and kindness that highlights racial tensions in the US through the 1960’s, this is a highly important read. Loved it. 10/10

When you’re unsure of yourself… when you start pulling back into doubt and small living, she’s the one inside saying “Get up from there and live like the glorious girl you are.”

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd, 2001

So there we have it, 6 down 7 to go. I’ll be reviewing the next 7 individually on my Instagram so keep an eye out for that. The seven left to read in the book challenge are:

  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • Noughts & Crosses, Malorie Blackman
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Next up; Jane Eyre!

If anybody has any recommendations for books I should add to the book challenge let me know and also let me know if you agree/disagree with my scores so far.

Thanks for reading.


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