Reading Challenge: February 2019

It’s the first of February, and, across the UK, the new month has been welcomed in with a spattering of snow. Yet despite all the excitement, it is still time for me to talk about the books that I hope to read this month. As I mentioned in yesterday’s reading wrap up, I managed to read seven books in January – a total I was really pleased with. This month, however, I plan on being even more ambitious with my challenge! This February, I plan on reading not six, not seven – but eight books.

February 2019

#1 – Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (physical book).

Around the World in Eighty Days.jpgBlurb: One ill-fated evening at the Reform Club, Phileas Fogg rashly bets his companions £20,000 that he can travel around the entire globe in just eighty days – and he is determined not to lose. Breaking the well-establised routine of his daily life, the reserved Englishman immediately sets off for Dover, accompanied by his hot-blooded French manservant Passepartout. Travelling by train, steamship, sailing boat, sledge and even elephant, they must overcome storms, kidnappings, natural disasters, Sioux attacks and the dogged Inspector Fix of Scotland Yard – who believes that Fogg has robbed the Bank of England – to win the extraordinary wager.

This classic is one of three that I plan on reading this month. It’s a part of my required reading for university this term, but it’s actually one that I’m really excited about; a lot of people adore this classic, so I’m interested to read it.

#2 – The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (audiobook).

The Diary of a BooksellerBlurb: Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky.

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to try to read more non-fiction books. I’ve only really ever read two non-fiction books before, and I really want to explore the genre a little more. I think The Diary of a Bookseller will be a great one for me to try.

#3 – How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (audiobook).

How to Stop TimeBlurb: A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history – performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

I’ve heard a lot about Matt Haig recently, but I didn’t know he had written any fiction books. When I discovered How to Stop Time, I assumed it was written by a different author of the same name. Now that I know that it is not, I’m really keen to read this one.

#4 – Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop (eBook).

Peter Green and the Unliving AcademyBlurb: Fourteen-year-old Peter Green can’t remember how he died. All he has are his pyjamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs. Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. But that’s all he needs: the Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement. And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.

This eBook was sent to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It’s a YA book that sounds like it might be quite interesting; from the reviews, it sounds like a mixture between a thriller and a comedy. Either way, it has me intrigued!

#5 – The Shining by Stephen King (physical book).

The ShiningBlurb: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote… and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

I first read The Shining last year, and I really enjoyed it. Before I picked it up, I had essentially been in a five-year reading slump. I had forgotten what reading for pleasure felt like, but The Shining reminded me. I’m rereading it now because the story means a lot to me (also, I’m hoping to refer to it in my university dissertation).

#6 – The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (physical book).

The Story of an African FarmBlurb: This pioneering work was a cause celebre when it appeared in London, transforming the shape and course of the late Victorian novel. Lynall, Schreiner’s articulate young feminist, marks the entry of the controversial New Woman into nineteenth-century fiction. From the haunting plains of South Africa’s high Karoo, Schreiner boldly addresses her society’s greatest fears: the loss of faith, the dissolution of marriage, and women’s social and political independence.

This is another classic that I need to read for my university course. I’m certainly intrigued by this one, at least partially because it is the first book about British imperialism I have heard of that was written by a woman.

#7 – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (physical book).

Treasure IslandBlurb: Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Treasure Island has enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson’s most famous book. With its dastardly plot and motley crew of rogues and villains, it seems unlikely that children will ever say no to this timeless classic.

The third classic that I plan on reading this month is also the one that I am the most excited about. Last year I picked up a beautiful set of illustrated classics, and it included Treasure Island. This has given me a huge motivation to read this infamous adventure narrative.

#8 – The Visitor by Ti Ca (eBook).

The VisitorBlurb: It’s Christmas Eve but the furnace has gone out, the breaker needs to be reset, and the cupboards lie empty. As Mrs. Langstrum shivers in her cold, dark house, waiting for her husband to arrive from his quick trip to the store, an impending snowstorm descends in earnest. Realizing her precarious situation, Mrs. Langstrum decides to get help. But who should she ask? Neither the Millners nor the Wylers appear to be home, either caught by the storm or other unforeseen events. Just as she determines to make her way into the town, a knock arrives at her door. It’s a visitor.

I recently received a free review copy of this short eBook. At the moment, I’m about halfway through it, and I’m feeling a little sceptical. It’s really interesting, but the writing style is very unusual and it’s taking me quite a long time to read it.

Thanks for reading! Check back at the end of the month to find out how many of these books I managed to read.


11 thoughts on “Reading Challenge: February 2019

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  1. How to stop time is such a brilliant novel, I hope you like it! It’s the first and only time I’ve seen science fiction and mental health in the same novel and it’s an interesting mix.

    Liked by 1 person

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