My reading goal for 2019 was to read 20 books. I read 20 books in 2018, so figured that was doable. But then the new Harry Potter Wizard Unite mobile game came out in June and I subsequently spent most of my commuting time for the rest of the year doing that rather than reading. It may also have been due to the fact that I was reading two textbooks at the time, and textbooks aren’t ideal to read on transit, because (a) they aren’t quite as compelling to read as other books, and (b) I always want to take notes of things as I’m reading in a textbook, which is challenging to do on transit, especially if you don’t have a seat.
Anyway, when I looked at my GoodReads account to see how dismally I was doing on this year’s goal, I saw that I needed to read 10 books in 5 days to get it accomplished. And then I tweeted this:
But then Cath made this excellent point:
Which is how I ended up reading this pile of books last night:
That brought me up to 19, and I was almost done reading a novel, which I ended up finishing this morning, so now I’ve officially completed my goal!
However, I noticed that my goal was actually more than just to read the books. It also specified that I need to have “blogged about each of them.” So here goes!
I finished off two more seasons of the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast, which means that I listened to two more books in the Belinda Blinked series. Written by the father of one of the podcasters under the pen name “Rocky Flintstone”, these books are hysterical and made even more so by the hilarious reading and commentary done by Jamie, Alice, and James.
Belinda Blinked 4;: An erotic story of sexual prowess, sexy characters and even bigger business deals whilst the darkness increases; was the last of the books that Rocky Flintstone had written before the podcast started and thus is the last book where Flintstone was not potentially influenced by trying to write ridiculous things for the podcast audience. As you may recall, there was a bombshell dropped at the end of book 3 in that a plot point happened. Book 4 had some chapters where it seemed like they might not have remembered the plot, but then other chapters do and the final chapter actually has a big reveal from the cliffhanger ending of book 3. I can’t believe I’m writing about the “plot” in this series.
Belinda Blinked 5: Belinda Blumenthal, worldwide Sales Director of Steeles Pots and Pans is in big trouble. Can the sexiest girl in sales continue to remove her brassiere whilst the evil grows…. might be the most ridiculous title for a book ever. And while this book was started after the podcast started, and thus Rocky could have been influenced by the podcast’s success to write things that are even more ridiculous, I am choosing to believe that the ridiculous is completely naturally. There continues to be some plot, death (RIP Spoons), and this book ends with another big cliffhanger! I can’t wait until Season 6 comes out!
I decided to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale because I wanted to read the sequel that just came out (The Testaments), but it’s been many years since I last read the Handmaid’s Tale and I wanted to have it fresh in my mind1. This book was just as good as I remembered it – and it’s one of my favourite books. It’s actually quite chilling to read it now, given what’s going on in world – all the xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia that is erupting these days makes Gilead seems far more plausible that I thought it was when I read this as a teenager in the 90s.
Now we’ll begin the children’s book that I read last night to make sure that I would reach my goal.
My aunt got The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A complete reference guide to every spell in the wizarding world for my nephew, Thomas, for Christmas. It literally just lists all the spells that are mentioned in the books, the movies, and/or various Harry Potter games, including their pronunciation (when known), etymology, wand stroke (if known), and other fun facts. Thomas and I read through the book and he cast various spells at me with his Harry Potter wand, that he also received from my aunt for Christmas.
Junie B. Jones 4: Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying. I did not like this book at all. The book is written from the point of view of the main character, who is in kindergarten. But the author writes it so that she constantly makes that the grammatical error that kids make where they instead of saying “ran” they “runned.” But in like every sentence. It’s really annoying.
Mortimer is a Robert Munsch book about a kid who likes to make a lot of noise and everyone yells at him to be quiet and they even call the police on him. And then they all fight and forget to tell him to shut up and he falls asleep. Seriously, that is the entire plot of this book.
Zoom! was a more entertaining book than Mortimer. It’s about a girl who goes to get a new wheelchair and she wants a really fast one. And then she gets to test the fastest one and then she needs it to get her brother to the hospital and hooray for the fast wheelchair.
Now we are getting to some real easy books.
LEGO® City: Detective Chase McCain: Save That Cargo! Quite honestly, this book wasn’t very good. The detective prevented one bad guy from doing crime and then he prevented another bad guy from stealing a top secret package, which turned out to just be an apple pie. Not much character development.
Batman Classic: Reptile Rampage is a story of Batman and Robin chasing Killer Croc who has kidnapped a doctor who made an antidote that would cure him. I feel like Killer Croc got a raw deal in this story. He just wants a cure!
Spidey Strikes (The Amazing Spider-Man Board Book). This is is a board book, so it was like 10 pages long and pretty much nothing happened. For the record, I only read the one on the right in this photo, as I didn’t see the other one on the bookshelf (and I was too lazy to take a photo of the book, so I found that image on the Internet).
Justice League Classic: I Am Aquaman was the thrilling tale of Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all visit Aquaman under the water and then some shark bad guy comes and they all fight to defend Aquaman’s home and then they win. The End.
This last one of the kids books is really was phoning it in. The Twelve Days of Christmas (Little Golden Book) was a book that just had the lyrics to the twelve days of Christmas written in it, along with illustrations. But it was in book form and I read it, so it totally counts.
And finally we have The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long awaited sequel to the Handmaid’s Tale. I have to say that while I found it compelling enough that I didn’t want to put it down, the plot was just way too convenient. I mean, what are the odds that a manuscript of a handmaid is discovered and then a couple of years later, manuscripts from two of the people who brought down Gilead are also discovered who just happen to be the two daughters that the aforementioned handmaid was separated from. Also, Gilead is brought down by a teenager who spent a solid weekend of training and a woman who was raised in Gilead and basically just didn’t like her stepmom. I liked the origin story of Aunt Lydia – it started off with the same situation that Offred faced in the Handmaid’s tale – all the women’s accounts were shut off and they were fired, as it was made illegal for women to own anything or have jobs. But since Aunt Lydia was a judge and she was too old to bear children, she was subjected to some torture and then tested to see if she’d be willing to kill other women to save her own life. It was a believable origin for her character and makes you think about what you would do to save your own life, if put in such an extreme situation.
But it seemed a bit of a stretch that she decided to bring down Gilead and collected documents that showed the crimes of all the leaders (and that people just believed the documents when they were released) and that she served as a source for May Day. And then her manuscript also just happened to have been found and aligned perfectly with the other manuscripts.
And then one more thing that bugged me – and this is so minor really – but in the academic conference proceedings at the end of the book, the conference chair does a land acknowledgement, whereas in the academic conferences proceedings at the end of the Handmaid’s Tale, she does not. Now, I know what in the thirty years between when these two novels were written, land acknowledgements have become common at the start of conferences, but in this books, there’s only two years between them and they are set nearly 200 years from now. And it seems odd to me that in 2019, traditional land acknowledgements are typically done at conferences, but in 2195 they aren’t, and then somehow in 2197 they remember them again? And it’s the same character at both conferences, so it’s not like it just one person does them and another doesn’t. Like I said, it’s a minor thing, but it bugged me.
So there you have it! I read – and blogged about – 20 books in 2019! GoodReads was so kind as to have provided me with this nice image of all the books I read:
And also showed me that the longest book I read was also the most popular book I read, and the shortest book I read was the least popular.
- I have watched season 1 of the TV series, but there are some differences between that and the book, so I wanted to make sure that I knew what was specifically from the book. [↩]