Wednesday, 26 October 2016

30 Day Challenge: October

For the month of October I set myself the challenge to read at least two books and learn a song a week on the guitar and piano. The aim for this challenge was to help me tend to my much neglected creative side and breathe some life into it.

I loved this challenge for many reasons. When it came to reading the books, I found that once I started a book I really enjoyed, the time I complained I didn't have to read started materializing at all different times of the day. I began reading before going to bed, something I hadn't done since I started working two years ago and my bed became reserved for sleep and binge watching mindless television.

Over the month of October bus journeys to and from work or college became my top reading time. These journeys have been predominantly filled with my hands and eyes glued to the screen of my phone, writing draft blog posts, updating my Facebook page, Instagram, twitter etc. reading other blogs, replying to comments etc. It is a great way to remain productive and use time efficiently, especially when some of my bus journeys last up to two hours! But after all the comments are replied to, posts read and blogs written till I've hit my writer's block for the day I'd be at my destination having saturated my time with technology and rushing off to a lecture or work.

Also in October was my trip to Belgium, my third country in my Four Countries, One Year challenge.You can read up on my time in Brussels and Ghent if you haven't already read them. Since I was based in Brussels for my week in Belgium, I would travel by train or bus to the different cities I wanted to visit which meant a lot more reading time which I took advantage off. By the end of the month I had managed to read four books instead of the initial two and started rereading a fifth one which I'll tell you about when I am done. But for now let me tell you about the once I finished, in order of preference.

1. Me Before You

The first book I read was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes recommended to me by my supervisor at work after hearing about my challenge. I actually started this book in the last week of September and finished it before the 1st of October so it's a bit of a cheat book but I was really excited to read it. 

What I loved about this book was the fact that it was not the love story the movie trailers make it out to be. I hadn't watched the movie before starting the book so I didn't know much about it except that a man in a wheelchair falls in love with his carer and they have massive adventures together. After finishing the book I started watching the movie, started being the key word. I stopped barely halfway through it because it just had nothing on the book.

So would I recommend this book? Yes definitely. Read it if you want to feel like a puppet with Jojo Moyes, Lou and Will pulling at your heartstrings. I cried. On the bus from Walsall to Birmingham Airport, was where I finished this book and I cried.

2. Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman is the sequel to If I Stay which if you've seen the movie you know the general gist off but I'd also recommend reading the book itself. I had already read this book a few years ago but when I saw it in the library and went to reminisce of it I realized I actually couldn't remember anything that happened in it at all. I remember the warm feelings I got from reading it but no details so I picked it up to refresh my memory.

What I loved about this book and generally all of Gayle Forman books is that her stories and style of writing are always realistic with a touch of surrealism. It's almost like she takes reality and warps it into something completely out there. I'd recommend this book if you've read the first obviously as it basically has all the answers left unanswered but it felt like it dragged in some parts as well as if she was just trying to fill pages.

3. I Was Here

So this book, I Was Here is also by Gayle Forman as is the fourth book. After walking out of the library that first day I saw that all the books I had checked out were by Gayle Forman and just rolled with it because for a good year she was my top reading author. From reading this book I realized why some books are written for Young Adults. It seemed to me so obvious some of the turning points in this book that it almost felt as though I was waiting for my guesses to be confirmed by the book, which they always were. However that didn't take away from me enjoying it.

I wouldn't recommend this book unless you're under the age of 16 purely because it's so predictable and doesn't have much to hold the adult imagination. The subject matter however is anything but childish, it is a deep and raw representation of love, grief, and discovering the true natures of the people around us even those we thing we know more than ourselves. Were it not for the writing I'd probably be more ready to recommend it.

4. Just One Day

Just One Day, also by Gayle Forman is just no. I'm a massive romantic but this book  just seemed to be taking the piss or something. You've an incredibly insecure, lacking independence, confidence etc. protagonist running of with a stranger to Paris and living the time of her life. A plot which might have drawn me in when I was like 12 but now seems absurd.

For some reason I just did not enjoy this book at all, it was probably the protagonist. So many times I just wanted to slap her and tell her to get over herself. It goes without saying that I loved nothing about this book. It was a totally failed cliche and would not recommend it to anyone. There is a sequel which I will most definitely be skipping, Sorry Gayle, I love you but I just can't justify this book.

Overall from my month reading, aside from becoming reacquainted with my love of reading, I've also realized that it may be time for me to graduate to the Adults section of the library and leave the Young Adults behind me.

Sadly the second part of this challenge was to learn a song a week on the guitar and piano because I can't even remember the last time I picked up my guitar or piano. That, did not happen. I was so often out of the house and then traveling to England to visit family and then to Belgium that I barely had time to play a single chord. Therefore for the month of November, I will be taking another shot at this part of the challenge and try to learn a song a week of the guitar and piano.

What are your favorite books and authors? And what books would you recommend to me? Let me know below in the comments!

Till next time my pretties xxx

3 comments so far

  1. I'll definitely need to pick up Me Before You. I'd like to read it before watching the film, but I know I should grab the tissues first.

    1. Definitely! It's such a beautiful book, the movie doesn't even come near it but pick up the tissues, you'll need it lol

      Ama xxx

  2. I loooved Me Before You! And it's sequel, After You. I did enjoy the movie, but, yeah, I agree, it had nothing on the book. I've never heard of Gayle Forman, I'll have to look her up! I find that, if I'm at a complete loss as to what to read I can wander into the YA section and maybe find something. There are a few writers that I trust to a certain extent (John Green usually surprises me!) but I mostly stay in the Adult section now, too.

    Erin | Explore, Refresh


Thank you so much for commenting. I love hearing from you! <3

Albatroz & Co. © . Design by FCD.