This year I participated in my first yearly readathons, I actually got involved in two. One of them being, like the title suggests, the Out of Your Comfort Zone Readathon.
This readathon was created by Caro @ The BookCheshire Cat. The point of this readathon was to read books that aren’t what you would usually read, whether different age group or genre. Thank you SO much to Caro for hosting this readathon.
I really loved this idea as I think you can get a lot out of trying new things and this definitely encouraged me to do so. Through doing this, I was able to find a lot of great reads and I highly suggest getting involved in this readathon as it is so flexible and fun to do. You can find the 2021 sign-up sheet here.
So, let’s see how I did….
How many books did I get to ??
49 books !!
What badges did I receive ??
For reading over 40 books outside of my comfort zone, I got the ….
For reading The City of Brass with a total of 533 pages, I got the….
For reading the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, I got the….
For reading King and The Dragonflies, a new favourite of mine, I got the….
For reading five different genres (sci-fi, historical, non-fiction, mystery and literacy fiction), I got the….
I do quite like historical fiction, even though I sometimes jump to the conclusion that they are boring. I think there are lots out there and they can cover a lot of different interests as it is so vast. They can be hard to write but when you find a good one, it is good.
The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee// I liked the funny side with the unlikeable qualities in the main character and the situations. It made for a quick read but I felt like the plot was a little weak and dragged out. I kind of lost interest in the end. It did make me smile with the tone but looking back the plot or characters wasn’t very memorable to me.
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf//★★★★★// I loved this book. It was poignant, well-written with characters that you really cared for. This book took you on a journey and delivered emotions at each stage expertly.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein//★★★//A unique narration voice for an emotional story but ultimately parts dragged and the plot and character development felt too minimal for me.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls//★★★★//A real life story surrounding the witch trials as we navigated the community and choices of this time. A slow story which was able to reflect multiple layers of the time.
I’ve barely read horror, so I need to read more. I think I prefer fast ones with a focus on the supernatural, but I’ve got some exploring to do.
The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale//★★★// This was quite a slow horror but I liked the use of storytelling to give you more background to the ‘monster’ and how it built up over time. It was creepy with a different approach to the ‘normal’ horrors, so I enjoyed it for that. I do think I would have preferred a more fast paced, action horror but I’m glad I tried it out.
I NEED to read more sci-fi. I do see it as slightly daunting as I’m not really interested in the science-y part per say but adventures in space do sound really cool so I would like to explore the genre more.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon//★★★★// I REALLY loved this book in the end. I thoroughly loved and felt for the characters. It was also really clever at incorporating real life issues. I just wish I felt like the plot was stronger as sometimes I didn’t know where it was heading, and the ending didn’t feel satisfactory. It was just a small thing as I did enjoy this book a lot.
Not Your Sidekick Series by C. B. Lee (3 books)// I read the first three books in this series. I really loved the characters and incorporation of superheroes and media in the books. They were really fun books to read, even if I think the pacing needed to be improved as certain things felt really dragged out.
ahh… I struggle with mystery so much. The twists are never satisfying or entice me enough. I often try to come up with the craziest twist I can think of and I usually prefer my twist. I say trying not to say too arrogant. The books just always end up being a little disappointing. Plus, I can never get attached to the characters which is sad.
Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill//★★★//The plot twist was predictable and to me an overly done twist that I never liked BUT the writing was interesting, and I LOVED the last line.
Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarter//★★★//Different to typical mysteries through the events that unfold. I like that we were closer to the characters and enjoyed the writing, but in the end, it was too slow and never really delivered on what I wanted from a story like this.
Sadie by Courtney Summers//★★★//A very hyped book which fell short for me. I expected a cleverer plot with more intertwining links, but still the use of storytelling and development was really good. Just not for me in the end.
I mostly feel too stupid for this genre (often why I don’t rate them). They can be very wordy and looking at my selection, they have all been audiobooks so maybe I would be better reading them. There are a lot out there so I think I will have better luck with it one day.
10 Minutes, 38 seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak//I liked how this was able to highlight not only the injustices of society, but the way the injustices are handled thereafter. It shone a light on the problems of society, so it was a devastating read in many ways. It was also mixed with different layers to make you feel an array of emotions.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong// Beautiful writing with the ability to touch on a wide variety of things in his life with a delicate but purposeful care. Unfortunately, I felt like I wasn’t able to appreciate it all as things went over my head.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang// You can take a lot out of this book as a mirror for society, so I think it was very clever how it used the story to do that. However, I didn’t get much enjoyment out of the story itself and it lacked a cohesiveness I would have liked, but that could be me missing points etc.
Written In Verse/Poetry
I do want to get into poetry more, but I know I will probably never be a poetry lover. I do enjoy stories told in verse, they can be very compelling and engaging with beautiful language.
Toffee by Sarah Crossan//★★★//I don’t think this was my type of plot at all and it didn’t feel very satisfying to follow but it was still a quick read with good writing.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo//★★★★// I loved following Xiomara’s life as we got to see a variety of things in a short space of time. I thought the writing was stunning and it was able to craft emotions effortlessly. A very powerful read. My only problem was that the ending seemed to wrap up too quickly.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta//★★★★.5// I really loved this story. It was once again powerful and breath-taking. I thought it was structured in a really good way and I felt like I could feel every one of Michael’s emotions.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo//★★★★// The writing was remarkable. I was in love with it. Plus, I really enjoyed how it explored family, grief and money. The only issue was I felt like it took a while to get going.
My first time trying out graphic novels and I really enjoyed it. Definitely something I want to check out more. They are fast paced, and you get something different from them than you would your average book so it took a little adjusting but I love them.
That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy//★★★★//A fun, light-hearted read which can be educational to some so I highly recommend.
The Avant Guards Volumes 1 & 2 by Carly Usdin//★★★//I liked the art and I love how each character was distinct as we got to know them all. I found the plot and pacing slightly lacking though.
Heavy Vinyl Volume 1 by Carly Usdin//★★★//I really liked the characters and plot. It was a really fun, captivating read but felt too short for me to get truly invested into it.
Fence Volume 1 by C. S Pacat//★★★★//I think this has been the best graphic novel in terms of pacing and knowing where I’m going with the story. I think the competition and rivals makes it easy to get invested. the art style is quite simplistic though.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen//★★★★//The largest graphic novel I have read, and it was stunning. The art is distinct and magical. Plus, the story itself was full of themes of stories, identity, family and more. It was really good, so many people will love it.
I wanted to read more non-fiction this year and for some reason, I really prefer them via audiobook so it can limit my selection a bit. Non fiction books are interesting and make you think more. You can get a lot from them and I always remember my sociology teacher telling me to read more non-fiction and I’m finally doing it.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo Lodge//A good introductory book to talk at race in Britain as it dissected different parts such as history, the system and intersectional identities.
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig//I like that it felt like an honest, open book based on Haig’s life, but as much as it is a strength I think it can limit the conversation. It was quite a simple book as it often short little passages which does work for me as they can be powerful, but I didn’t get as much as I wanted from it in the end.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo//I read the BBC dramatisation which means I didn’t get every detail but I can begin to see why it is such so powerful and heart-breaking story.
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson//This was a good book for looking at American’s past and the ways the present is strongly tied to it. I didn’t know too much about America really, so this was a really important read.
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch//This was a really good book that was written with the right balance of factual points mixed with personal details. It talked about a lot of different things so it could begin to capture the vastness of the conversation. It talked about slavery, relationships, privilege, Brexit, Muslims and more. It was a really good read.
Me by Elton John//I’m not going to lie Taron Edgerton being the narrator did sway me a bit, but I knew Lais @ The Bookish Skies (please follow her) loved it too. I really did enjoy seeing the personal anecdotes and how Elton grew as a person through the years. He is very self-aware which makes it even more entertaining, so I enjoyed it.
The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga// I liked how the dialogue made this book effective at discussing ideas as it could deal with many points and challenges quickly. It was interesting to learn about Adler’s ideas and it gave me something to think about even though I’m not sure I agree with everything.
I used to be so convinced I would never read middle grade books again but that was stupid. I really enjoyed checking them out this year. They can be really good especially when you’re looking for fun, emotional, fast-paced reads which are some of my favourite qualities in books.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry//★★★//I didn’t love this one, but I appreciated that it was cute and captured an unique child-like innocence that definitely appeals to adults. I just didn’t love it.
King and The Dragonflies by Kacen Callender//★★★★★//A really great middle grade that examined grief and intersectional identities with a lot of emotion and heart.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (5 books)// Aditi recommended me to this series, and it was a really fun read full of adventure, love and mythology. You can see my full thoughts here and PLEASE make sure you are following Aditi.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letters To The World by Ashley Herring Blake//★★★★// This was an emotional middle grade that was equal parts sweet and important. I really liked how it was able to incorporate so many different aspects in a well-balanced way.
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes//★★★// I liked the sports side of this book and the conversation that were brought up alongside the plot. It was quite an easy, quick read but I didn’t particularly get emotionally invested in the characters, so it only remained a good read.
Rick by Alex Gino//★★★// I’m so happy to see books like this and I think it was a great middle grade book. I just think I was past the age where it could have the biggest emotional impact on me, so it only remained a good read. I would definitely encourage all young children to read it as it is so important and well delivered on its messages.
I know these are two genres, but I included them together as I’ve only read two books total. I really need to be in the mood for these kind of books as they aren’t my go-to, but they are great when I want them. I can often read them quickly and the good ones do make you feel happy, so I love that.
Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert//★★★★// It was so fun to try out a romance, especially when it has a cat on the cover. I really liked how it was able to explore deep emotions whilst still being a lot of fun. I thought the romance was good and it was nice to read a happy book like this.
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik//Unfortunately I barely remember this read and it went over my head. I just wasn’t in the mood and kind of forced myself through it, so it didn’t really entice me at all. But I don’t think my opinion is the best because of how I was feeling so probably read some other reviews.
I 100% am on a mission to read more adult fantasy as I really enjoy them. There are so many I want to get my hands on. They often go a lot deeper than YA fantasy as different language, traits and situations are allowed to be explored so I really, REALLY enjoy it,
A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab//★★★★// I think I always overhype Schwab’s books so they end up a little disappointing, but I did enjoy the magic, characters and writing in this one. I think I was expecting something really unique though. I am still excited to see how this series goes though.
All The Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders//★★★// I loved the writing and I was really interested to see how this story ended up. It had quite a lot weird parts with a few slow parts. A few things I loved whereas a few things fell short, it was one of those reads, you know.
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri//★★★★// A slow fantasy built heavily around a romance. It had beautiful writing and whilst I do the thing the plot could have been improved; it didn’t necessarily affect my enjoyment.
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty//★★★★// I really enjoyed this book. I would say the second quarter dragged quite a bit but after that I was really into the plot and characters. I think there is a lot of interesting characters and history surrounding them. Plus a few things were just building up in this book so I can’t wait to see where it goes.
And to think this mile-long post is actually me restraining myself.