2020 Reading Challenge | Third & Fourth Quarter Update

2020 Reading Challenge | Third and Fourth Quarter Update | life of Dahlia

You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Third Quarter update when I was supposed to, that’s because I really struggled with reading in the middle portion of this year. Things were a bit slow so in the end I just decided to do a long post towards the end of the year instead, so I advise you to go grab a cup of tea or coffee which ever you prefer, you’ll need it because this is a long one. I have split it into two parts so that it’s hopefully easier to digest, the first will be my reviews for the third quarter and part two will be my forth quarter reviews and conclusion.

As far as how my reading challenge actually went, let’s just say around November I decided to venture away from my reading list, I was just feeling like what I had on my list just wasn’t really vibing with me at that time, so I made the decision to venture of the list and read something else instead. The whole premise behind this challenge was to read more and mostly read what I already had on my bookshelf, with a few newer books thrown in there; So, I didn’t feel to guilt about choosing something else to read. But other than that, I felt it went okay, like I said I did struggle a bit for about 3 or 4 months in the middle of the year but I still managed to read around 20 or so books from my list and a few that weren’t on my list, so overall I’m pretty happy with that.

In the past I’ve struggled to read more than a few books a year, but in the last 2 or 3 years I’ve been getting back into reading and I am really enjoying it. I do have plans for another ‘Reading Challenge’ next year but I’m changing things up a bit to make things a bit easier but also a bit more fun, I’ll let you know more about that in my dedicated post in the new year.

For now, I’m going to share my mini reviews on what I have read in the Third and Fourth Quarter of this year.

What I read in the third quarter of this year:

2020 Reading Challenge | Third and Fourth Quarter Update | life of Dahlia
Journey to the center of the Earth by Jules Verne, Photo by Erin Applebee.

Journey to the center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Being a longtime fan of science fiction, reading some of Jules Verne’s works has been on my reading bucket list for quite a some time, which is why I decided to add ‘Journey to the center of the Earth’ and’20,000 leagues under the sea’ to my reading list this year. Though I have seen the modern movie adaptation of ‘Journey to the center of the earth’ I still really had no idea what to expect when I actually read the book.  I certainly went into it with no expectations though I knew being an older book it may take some time to get into it.

I had also decided to purchase the audio book to go with the paperback version I currently own, I thought that it might help me with the older writing style, I was quite excited because the version I picked out is narrated by Tim Curry. However, I ran into a bit of a problem because clearly the version being narrated differed slightly from the version I was reading. I did listen to a bit of the Audio book but ended up just reading my paperback without it. Though from what I listened to I will defiantly keep it and listen to it another time, because I thought it was quite entertaining.

Now getting onto the story itself, In the introduction included in my paperback copy of the book, it mentioned that this style of writing can be quite longwinded and I defiantly found this to be quite true. In the end of the book, it mentions that though some of the science stuff mentioned throughout the book may have been relevant at the time of publishing it has obviously been quite disproven since. Though to me science fiction is just that fiction, does it really matter at all if it is based on actual science, to me it’s about imagining the possibilities even if they aren’t actually possible, if you know what I mean.

The story is written from the perspective of ‘Axel Lidenbrock’ the nephew of ‘Professor Otto Lidenbrock’, who is a somewhat eccentric scientist and also Axel’s Uncle and guardian, it is written in part as Axel’s journal entries.

The journey starts with a secret note in an obscure book (left by a long-deceased Icelandic alchemist) purchased by the Professor, and after some time they discover the sypher to this note and thus then plan a journey to Iceland to climb ‘Sneffels’. Axel is somewhat reluctant for most of the journey, though towards the end I think he quite seemed to enjoy it.

The book follows their travels from Hamburg to Iceland, as well as their journey up the volcano and into. It also obviously shares what they discover below which is possibly the best part of the story and then making their way back to the surface towards the end. Its defiantly as I said earlier quite long-winded and the chapters are set out quite different from the way modern authors typically do, they are quite short in comparison and you can be reading the same scene for up to three or more chapters.

While in the end I did quite enjoy the story, I found that most sections of the story could have been quite a lot shorter, and If you are interested in reading this book, just know that there are also a lot of use of Latin and very scientific terms, which was something that I did struggle with. I am glad that I did tick this one off my list because I did in the end quite enjoy it and I could defiantly see myself reading it again.

2020 Reading Challenge | Third and Fourth Quarter Update | life of Dahlia
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, Photo by Erin Applebee.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

It’s been some time since I’ve read one of Dan Brown’s books, I mean I had only actually read ‘The DaVinci Code’ but I do quite enjoy the movie adaptations of three of his ‘Robert Langdon’ novels. Anyway, my mum re-read some of Dan Brown’s ‘Robert Langdon’ novels earlier this year and I have been meaning to read them for a while, so after talking about the books with her it gave me the push to add them to my reading list this year, though like most of the books on my list I didn’t get to reading them all but that’s okay.

Originally, I was going to start with ‘Angels & Demons’ or ‘The DaVinci Code’ but in the end I decided to go with ‘The Lost Symbol’, I loved the idea of setting of Washington, DC and links with the Freemasons, it just sounds like a fascinating combination to me. As with most of Dan Brown’s novels the story is set over a 24-48-hour period, so it’s quite fast-pasted. This book also has a few religious aspects to it but also delves into quite a bit of science to.

The story like a few of his other novels is centered around his character ‘Robert Langdon’ who is a Harvard Professor and Famous Symbologist. It starts off with him being asked to give a lector at an event at the Capital Building in Washington, DC, by someone who he thinks is linked to one of his close friends. But when he gets there that’s when things start to go sideways, with in minutes of Langdon’s arrival, a gruesome object is discovered at the center of the Rotunda, which is encoded with five symbols that are associated with an Ancient Invitation that summons the recipient towards a world of long-lost wisdom. 

Langdon discovers soon after, that one of his friends and mentor ‘Peter Solomon’ has been kidnapped and that the only way to find him is to accept said invitation. This leads him into a world of secrets, unseen chambers, temples and tunnels that lay beneath this famous and powerful city. Thus, drawing him to discover a concealed past where Masonic secrets and revelations lead him to a place of impossible truths.

What I like about Dan Brown’s novels is not only the way he weaves in bits of historical fact but also the twists and turn in the plot that leave you, thinking ‘well I never saw that coming’ and this book is no different. This book has an interesting story line and there are quite a few twists that left me with my jaw on the floor so to speak, it’s a great read and I highly recommend it if you like fast-pasted stories or crime mixed with history then this is something that you might like.

It took me a while to get started with this one but that wasn’t because of the book its self but rather me, once I got started though, I couldn’t put it down It was that good. I also had the audio book and was occasionally listening to that along with the book but mostly I read with out, I sometimes choose do this because of my chronic fatigue and fibro brain fogs, it just helps take some weight of my brain If I’m finding it hard to concentrate or am low on energy.

2020 Reading Challenge | Third and Fourth Quarter Update | life of Dahlia
Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe, Photo by Erin Applebee.

Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

Body Positive Power is a fantastic read for those who have body image issues or who have been a frequent dieter.  This isn’t my first time reading this book, though it’s my first time reading it in a traditional format as the first time I listened to it on Audio Book. I want to preface that this time around I did struggle to finish the book and only because there were certain parts towards the end of this book that I myself found triggering, so I was unable to get to the end. However, as it’s not my first time reading this one and because I read most of it, I still feel like I can give you bit of a review on it.

Megan is a great ambassador for the body positive movement and when you read this book you will understand why. This book gives you lots of insight into the diet industry and diet culture, as well as being mixed with personal stories of her struggles with body image, dieting and how that lead her to developing an eating disorder, but also how she eventually discovered the body positive movement and how that has helped her move forward and develop a positive view of her body.

She has also included stories from others who have had body image issues and I think this really helps you understand that you’re not alone and that people of all walks of life can have both similar and also very different feelings towards their own bodies.

This book as well as similar books that I have read leave me with a lot of different feelings, it leaves me feeling hopeful because it can help me move towards body positivity or neutrality but also, I know it could help so many people out there with similar feelings about their bodies, that their self-worth is not defined by its shape, size, ability or colour.

It also leaves me with feelings of sadness and maybe even anger that our society defines us by these things and makes us feel negativity towards ourselves but also lets others treat us in negative ways because of these things. Sometimes these things can be subtle (like how to get your body bikini ready for summer or here are some lotions and potions to smooth out those stretch marks and cellulite.) and sometimes they can be a little more obvious like negative comments or ideals of what bodies should look like.

I feel like this book can also open us up to seeing how others should be treated with kindness too but also that we are allowed to love ourselves and that we don’t have to allow others to treat us in ways that are unkind.

When I read this book, I was planning on doing a bigger review but I had a hard time doing that mainly because there is a lot covered in this book, I even used sticky tabs to mark important parts in the book which I’m sure you can see in the photo above.

 If I could recommend any book out of the ones I’ve read this year, this one would be in my top 5 because I feel like it holds a lot of substance, it gives a lot of eye-opening information on diet culture but also, I think it will leave you questioning all that you have been taught to dislike about yourself and that you are worthy of self-love and that your body does not define you.

I recommend this one to everyone no matter who you are, books like these can be so helpful whether you have struggled with body image issues or not, it might just teach you some valuable lessons.

Continue to part two for my fourth quarter reviews…

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