2019 Book Overview (Part 1)
This is Part One of Three for my 2019 Book Overview for Booktober.
My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019 was 15 books, but I upped the number to 20 this August. I was hoping I would be creating more of a challenge for myself, but I ended up devouring a large stack of books this year. Don’t ask me how… okay so I listened to a lot of audiobooks on my commute; don’t judge me. So that is why this post will be in three parts.
As you read through this overview, keep in mind that I believe no book is ever truly perfect. I rate books based on overall quality and enjoy-ability from my perspective. I may feel a book wasn’t written very well, but still give it a good rating because it had great characters, or I just really enjoyed it.
A person can love a certain book/series while another hates it, so please be courteous of people’s right to their own opinion.
Without further ado, here is an overview of the books I have read or listened to from January to May:
1/20: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
My Rating: 5 of 5
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Not only are the characters likable and the world vast, but the writing is super approachable and immersive. I found myself blown away by the world Bardugo has created.
Additionally, the aesthetic of this book, physically and in terms of writing, is astounding. I would recommend reading this book in the winter due to heavy snow landscapes or summer due to the town being a coastal one.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a well built fantasy world with flawed yet relatable characters and a dark tone and dark elements. This book is not as plot heavy as one might expect, because it focuses a bit more on characters and world building, but I thought the book was well balanced.
The plot was not mind-blowingly awesome, but I have no complaints at all about it. I really enjoyed this book for its depth of characters and world building. For anyone concerned about sensitive content, there are themes of violence, torture, prostitution, human trafficking, and slavery in this book.
Would I read this book again? Yes, maybe sometime in the future when I have forgotten the plot and need some dark fantasy.
Will I pursue the sequel, Crooked Kingdoms? Yes, I would love to read the rest of this series when I get the chance.
2/20: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
My Rating: 3 of 5
I read this book for a class I took on pirates in Literature. I was super excited about this book, but ultimately the pacing was a bit slow for my taste, and the perspectives of the characters were not ones that align with my own. That said, I think the book is a good representation of the time period and popular beliefs of the time. In addition, I think that it is pretty well written and the style is quite relaxed. I would recommend reading this book during the summer months when islands and beaches are the mood.
I think this book is good in an educational setting and for those who want a relaxed read with historical notes. I don’t think there is anything too bad in this book in regards to sensitive content; there are cannibals (but no showing of them eating people), slavery, and someone gets shot. This book does bring up a good question about whether ignorance truly is bliss or not.
Would I read this book again? I don’t think I would read this book again, unless I was reading it with my children or for a class/research.
Will I pursue the sequel, The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe? I don’t think so. This is just not my style of writing/book.
3/20: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
My Rating: 5 of 5
Can someone please explain to me how I missed this book as a child? If you like things like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or The Page Master, then I think you will probably enjoy this book. The whimsical writing style and metaphorical representation of the world is a real soul pleaser. Not to mention it is a nice twist on a children’s adventure story.
The main message of the book, do something with your life instead of sitting around doing nothing, is a great one for any age. This is obviously written towards younger audiences, but I enjoyed it as an adult. There are numerous educational elements and positive messages in this book alongside some vivid and beautiful images within the writing.
This book is an evergreen read, enjoyable during every season. I highly recommend this to everyone who enjoys reading, writing, whimsical stories, and puns.
The metaphors are strong with this one.
Would I read this book again? Yes, I have a feeling I will revisit this book several times in my life and read it to my children in the future. Its re-readability is pretty on point due to the nature of the story; there will be different reactions based on different stages in one’s life.
4/20: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Rating: 4 of 5
I don’t have much to say about this book, because it is good. I don’t have any complaints, although it isn’t perfect. I enjoyed it, but I am not raving about it. If you like pirates, you will probably enjoy this book. Not to mention the Disney movie from 1950 is pretty good for an old movie.
We chose this book for our Movie Book Club with the library, and all of the kids loved it! They found the action to be compelling and the adventure to be exciting. They were laughing the whole movie, so I will take that as enjoyment.
The pacing, in my opinion, doesn’t have any major issues. The characters are pretty good, and their development is actually very interesting since some characters turn on others. Great summer read, because it is about pirates… obviously.
I would recommend this book more to kids than the average adult, since the main character is a child and the writing is fairly approachable for young audiences. There is violence but only implied, never shown.
Would I read this book again? Just like with the previous two, I would only revisit this book with my children or for educational purposes. It is not exactly my style of story, so I don’t think I will ever be itching to pick this book up again, even though it is a good read.
5/20: Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
My Rating: 4 of 5
I won’t spend much time on this book, because it is like the previous one. I enjoyed this collection of stories and the author’s note on the writing of this book. It is a good read with some really good and more average stories. This book didn’t wow me, but it was enjoyable.
I just don’t have a lot to say since it was fine. I wouldn’t say every story is a hit, but none of them were a miss for me. If you want some good Celtic fairy tales, I recommend you give this book a try. I would put this as a book for Fall, Winter, or early Spring. It is a “read by the fire with a hot cup of liquid” type of book.
Would I read this book again? Maybe. If I needed some Celtic Fairy Tales or to have some of that material to study, then sure. On the other hand, there are plenty of other fairy tale collections out there.
6/20: City Terrace Field Manual by Sesshu Foster
My Rating: 2 of 5
I read this book for a class. It was okay, but the poetry just didn’t click for me. I did not find myself enjoying this read, I actually dragged my feet getting through this one. I don’t have much more than that to say about it.
I personally didn’t connect with this book, and I found myself avoiding picking it up. If you like poetry with dark themes and death, then this is the poetry book for you. City Terrace Field Manual is full of violence, crimes, and death, which is just not my type of read; I stick to more positive pieces.
Would I read this book again? No. Not for me at this point in my life. Maybe one day I will connect with readings like this, but now is not that time.
Thanks for checking out my reading overview for 2019!
-Knight of Cups ❤
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