Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Goodreads Challenge

One of the good things about 2020 is that there was more time to read. My goal was to read 36 books this year and I read 39. I read an assortment of books, including many I’ve wanted to read for a long time – classics, contemporary, children’s and books of poetry and short stories.

Check out my report from Goodreads.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2020/2916220

They were all good. My reviews of the books I completed can be found on Goodreads.

Here are a few of my favourites:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not a 5 it is a 10!! It is one of the best books I’ve read, up there with One Hundred Years of Solitude and A Fine Balance. It is a story within a story. It is complicated, full of many interesting and complicated characters. But I was never confused. Barcelona is the perfect place to set a story like this; a tale of books, writers, history, lovers and mystery. The author uses words so well – “Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” I loved every word.

Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book dear to my heart. It is the history of the area near where I was born and raised, told by someone who lived there as a child when it was just being settled. It is so cleverly written, in a narrative that makes history come to life. He tells the good, the bad and the ugly of prairie life in the early 1900s. The writer returns to the small prairie town 40 years later and this is what he says, “Things look the same, surprisingly the same, and yet obscurely different.” Things haven’t changed that much in these places. The smells, tastes, heat, cold, and sounds of the prairies are all there between the covers and brought back vivid memories. The descriptions of blizzards, cyclones and drought are so real. My favourite line and there were so many, is this one. “I may not know who I am, but I know where I am from.” Reading this amazing book, masterfully written, reminded me of where I’m from.

The Hermit by Jan L. Coates


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book for kids and those of us who think like kids. I loved this book. When Danny and his friends discover a hermit living in the woods, they are intrigued. Danny is determined to find out more about him. He also needs to find a way to stop land developers from building condos on the soccer field. Plenty of action, believable characters and real-life situations. The kidspeak was perfect. I liked the main character, Danny, kids will identify with him. The events unfold in a timely fashion with a satisfying ending, and there is a loveable dog in it! I highly recommend this book.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An incredible book by the incomparable Toni Morrison. The reader is taken on the fantastic journey of one man´s life, with prose that pulls you in, as he tries to find his place in the world. The importance of family, even a dysfunctional one, and the relevance of knowing where you come from is woven in with a cast of diverse and quirky characters and intriguing settings. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, one that will stay with me for a long time.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this classic tale. It took me to another time and place; to a coal mining village in South Wales at the end of the 19th century. The writing is so descriptive I felt I was there with the Morgan family. Every sense is used so that you can taste the food, smell the earth, feel the grime of the coal dust, see the verdant valley, and hear the singing of the choir. The feelings and emotions of young Huw Morgan, the main character and point of view, are so vividly described that you laugh and cry along with him. The book was written 80 years ago, so some of the words are old and unfamiliar, but it doesn´t matter. In fact, the lovely Welsh way of speaking comes through and makes the story even more endearing. If you are looking to read a classic, I highly recommend this book.

Good Mothers Don’t by Laura Best

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would you do if you were a mother and felt you were losing your mind? This incredible book introduces us to Elizabeth, a wife and mom in the early 1960s who is grappling with her sanity. Then something happens to push her over the edge, resulting in a family that is torn apart. This well written, gripping story is told by Elizabeth and those affected by her. I have enjoyed everything Laura Best has written in the past, but she has outdone herself with this story. She has created characters so believable you begin to think you have met them somewhere before, perhaps a neighbour or a family member. I felt the pain, the hope and most of all, the love. I closed the book and wanted to start reading it all over again. This story will stay with me for a long time. Thank you Vagrant Press for the ARC.

Fragments of a Dream by Ruth Larrea

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A well-written story about love, regrets, and possibilities. The story takes place in Greece for the most part. I like how the author skillfully incorporates the sights and scenery within the story of Rosie and Angelo without info-dumping. Both characters are believable and well developed. It is a story of cultural differences and misunderstandings, family and friends. I highly recommend this enjoyable read that will keep you turning the pages wondering what will happen next. This is more than romance, it is about complex relationships in a captivating setting.

Perhaps you will be inspired to read some of these books. I would love to hear about your favourite reads from 2020.







 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

I joined the Goodreads Challenge last year and set my goal at 30 books. I was pleased to end the year having read 34. Many bloggers have listed the books they read in 2019, so I decided to do the same. I’ve included links to Goodreads where I’ve left a review for most of them. There may be some you´d like to read.

  1. Notes from a Small Dog by Sue Vincent 
  2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield 
  3. Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl by Marian Longnecker Beaman
  4. The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie 
  5. The Pilates Class by Stevie Turner
  6. Philomena by Christene A. Browne
  7. The Road by Cormack MacArthy
  8. Baggage by Wendy Phillips 
  9. The Emissary 2:To Love Somebody by Marcia Meara
  10. Where or When by Anita Shreve
  11. The Coldest December: A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion
  12. Broken Mould by B. J. Darling
  13. Shooting Caterpillars in Spain by Alex Browning
  14. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan 
  15. The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella by Marcia Meara
  16. The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry
  17. Coffin for Cash by Nic Morton
  18. All the Better Part of Me by Molly Ringle
  19. Partners in Time by Stevie Turner
  20. Understanding:An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events complied by Stevie Turner
  21. The Rise of Winter by Alex Lyttle
  22. The Moon is Wearing a Tutu by Joy Lennick and Eric Lennick
  23. From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle
  24. Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead
  25. The Gathering by Anne Enright
  26. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  27. Roam by C. H. Armstrong
  28. The Poet’s Dog by Patricha MacLaughlin
  29. Fire in the Vineyard by Christa Polkinhorne
  30. The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross
  31. The Big Book of If by Evelyn McFarlane
  32. Pure Trash by Bette A- Stevens
  33. Winter Draws On: Short stories by members of Writer´s Ink
  34. Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by Darlene Foster

In 2019 I read many great books and a good variety. It´s hard to say which was my favorite but the top three would be, Becoming, Baggage and The Bonesetter´s Daughter. It´s just a coincidence they all start with B.

So many books, so little time

My goal for next year is 40. I will not live long enough to complete my TBR pile but I sure want to make a dent in it in 2020. Wish me luck.

Happy reading to all of you!!


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