BBC Top 200: 2015 update

Yesterday I went to the local library and checked out copies of The Cruel Sea and Shogun, and put a hold on Papillon (which is ready for collection now).

BBC Big Read Top 200I’ve been reading an e-book version of Bleak House, and have given up trying to find a copy of They Used to Play on Grass (so I’ll be googling it and seeing if I can find a synopsis somewhere), which means that I am almost finished the BBC Big Read Top 200 list that I started in 2007.

Finally.

Reading Without Pressure

Since deciding to abandon a time frame for finishing my BBC Big Read challenge, I have, typically, rekindled my interest in getting through those last few books. At the library a couple of weeks ago, I checked out three from the remaining nine, and have finished one already, leaving just eight to go. (I’ve now crossed The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy) off the list. I enjoyed it, more than any other Hardy I’ve read, even though it was filled with typically melancholic Hardy moments.)

It’s amazing what removing a little pressure can do, right?

Ms Oh Waily feels the same way; she and I both lost our 1001 Books mojo in the second half of 2014, but a third pair of hands coming on board has given us both a renewed sense of reading purpose for 2015. That’s not to say we’d turn down any other reviews/reviewers…..hint, hint, HINT.

Oh hi, 2015

A few weeks into the new year and I feel like I’m owning it already. Yesterday, I was crossing things off lists like a woman possessed, and today…well…today, my brain is busy with a plethora of ideas, tasks and plans.

Tomahawk Beach, Dunedin NZ Last year, my main goal was to finish the final dozen or so books left on the BBC Big Read. I didn’t finish them, and by the end of the year, I didn’t care. I will finish it, but there are so many other good books I want to read, so I’ve decided not to put a time frame on it. Seriously, when someone as awesome as Angela says, “You should read this…”, you can’t say no.

NYE 2014This year, my goals are a bit more complex and perhaps not as quantifiable. Among them are the usual culprits of saving money and budgeting better (or in my case, just “budgeting”, something I am completely rubbish at). There’s the obligatory fitness goal, however instead of vowing to exercise more, I’m simply hoping to maintain the good health and level of fitness I ended 2014 with. I also have little goals like making contact with friends I don’t (or can’t) see very often, and saying “No” without worrying I’m missing out on things (this relates directly to the saving money one).

NYE 2014On a loftier level, I want 2015 to be the year I do something important. I have various ideas swirling around my head, and I hope this will be the year I can make one (or some) of those ideas into reality. My boys are growing up (see below) and I’m not going to be a stay-at-home mum forever (sadly).

NYE 2014On a more philosophical level, I want to embrace the changes that 2015 is going to bring. Recently, I had a minor drifting-off-to-sleep freak-out over Tiny starting school in roughly 12 weeks time, and Pickle starting kindy in less than two weeks. I can not stop my children growing up, so why am I resisting these things?

Waikouaiti Races, Dunedin NZSo bring it on, 2015. I’m going to throw myself at you….once I’ve dug my way out of the pile of washing I need to get through.

BBC Top 200 Update

With a month-and-a-half to go until the end of the year, I’m stuck with 12 books left on the BBC Top 200. That’s a couple of books a week…yeah, I don’t think it’s going to happen!

I’m okay with that though. We’re coming into the silly season and already my calendar is bursting with social stuff (that sounds a bit wanky, but it’s not meant to), and the weather is mostly gardening-weather, not reading-weather.

Who knows, maybe I’ll surprise us all and get through the last dozen like a hot knife through butter…but don’t hold your breath.

Reading and Reviewing

I’m not going to lie to you…I’ve been neglecting my BBC Big Read challenge again (bit like the ol’ blog, really). My goal was to finish the remaining books by the end of this year, and I’m starting to think I might not make it, despite having so few left. Time for a library visit, methinks!

The last Top 200 book I read was The Wasp Factory, which was an intriguing, disturbing, compelling read. The main character was likeable and a little horrific, but the story was told in such an interesting way that I couldn’t put it down. It tells the story of Frank, who lives with his father on a Scottish Island; his older brother has escaped from an institution and is making his way home, while Frank reminisces over the three young relatives he has killed.

I’ve just finished The White Masai and Back From Africa, both by Corinne Hofmann. The first was an intriguing true story, and while Hofmann isn’t a particularly talented writer, her story is fascinating and a really interesting read. She tells her story of falling in love with a Masai warrior and her subsequent move to Kenya to be his wife. Her life in Kenya was fraught with illness and adventure, making for a compelling novel. The second is a sequel, and I found it very self-indulgent and not as interesting as the first; I doubt I’ll seek out the other “sequels” she has written since.

Reading Right Now

So….I’ve been sidetracked from the last dozen-or-so books I’ve got to read from the BBC Big Read Top 200….by The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

Having loved The Secret History, I knew it was risky starting such a big novel at this point in the challenge, but now….I can’t put it down.

Unsurprisingly, it is good. Sooooo gooooooood.

Could this be my undoing?!?!

Reading and Reviewing: a BBC Top 200 update

A month-and-a-half ago, I had 25 books left to finish my BBC Big Read Top 200 challenge. Now, there are just 14 titles left to cross off the list, and I’m pretty excited to see the number reducing so quickly. It seems that leaving a lot of the young adult books to last was a wise move; I’m whipping through them at lightning speed, which is helping motivate me to achieve my goal.

Of the past 11 books, my favourites were Johnathan Livingstone Seagull’, which I read in an hour one afternoon while Pickle and Tiny had some quiet time – such an uplifting, interesting little fable, full of humour and inspiration – and ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’, which was fantastic. I loved the way it was written, the way it began (with the conception of the narrator, no less!), the way the story unfolded, the truths that were eventually uncovered, and the way the past was interwoven into the present.

I’ve already worked out where 13 of the last 14 can be found at the library; the last is proving quite difficult to find, but find it, I shall!