Book Challenge 2021

13 books

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I heard about the book only because I’d seen a trailer for the movie starring 2 of my favorite actresses (Glenn Close and Amy Adams). Interesting read on hillbilly culture, and for much of the book the author tells his memoir at a good even pace. It was only at the end that the story felt off and muddled as he attempts to bring everything to a close.

A Promised LandA Promised Land by Barack Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Scratch that. This book is a 10+++

Being the first book of his that I’ve read, I found ‘A Promised Land’ beyond all expectations. What a fantastic and engaging memoir of Obama’s time in office, told from a point-of-view that is indeed, presidential in more ways than I can enumerate. A must-read. I can not wait for the 2nd volume.

Where the Lost WanderWhere the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As far as historical romances go, I’m not a big fan. But set it against an untamed landscape on a wagon train headed out through the ‘Wild West’ and you’ve got an extremely hard to put down read. I found the passages regarding horses, jacks, and raising mules particularly interesting. There is some violence and a rape scene (not overly explicit), but despite that, I would happily read Where the Lost Wander over again.

The Lost VillageThe Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This is not a historical romance. This is a Lifetime Movie reject in print. Nitwit main character. Cliches right and left. Italian words/phrases thrown in to pimp the pages. And one too many typos. The plot twist that several have mentioned at the end…oh mio dio! Dumbest.thing.ever. Hint: Beware of little old italian grandmas.

Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the U.K. to AsiaTrans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the U.K. to Asia by Matthew Woodward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Woodward’s Railway to Heaven and wanted more of the same. This read was just as good. Love his writing style and humour.

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Trevor Noah (I live in Italy) until coming across him on Instagram. His no-holds-barred style of narrative kept my interest until the very end; his descriptions of certain scenarios so vivid that you can’t help but go WTF?! Exceptional read.

The Song of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Better than the film Troy, where Patroclus was protrayed as Achilles’ younger cousin?! I appreciated how the story is told from Patroclus’ point of view; a completely different feel from what I’d have expected regarding a central character like Achilles. There are so many beautifully quotes in this book, one of which poetically closes to a bittersweet end.

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”