In terms of reading, 2018 was a beautiful year for me. It was the year I rediscovered the library and with that reinvented myself a little bit. As a young girl I’d been a massive bookworm, but I lost this trait when over the years school/uni work piled up. Slowly in my early twenties I started to get back into reading – but then the brilliant services of the public library pushed me into a metaphorical pool of books. It was wonderful. Once again, I have become the bookworm I so much cherished as a little kid. Here’s how I did it.
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Library services in the UK
As I mentioned, 2018 was the year I rediscovered the library. It’s not that I didn’t know it was there, I just didn’t know that in the UK it was free to access. In The Netherlands, you see, you have to start paying contribution from the age of 18. So since this age, I basically hadn’t bothered to visit a library at all.
At some point, however, I found out about the Sheffield library services. These libraries can be found all over town, which makes them easy to access, but they also have a lot to offer. Apart from physical copies of books, films, and CDs, they give you the freedom to borrow magazines, audiobooks, e-books, graphic novels and/or comics online. Needless to say, they keep me thoroughly entertained.
How I did it
In 2018, my reading challenge was set to 12 books. I ended up reading 28 – which is a big deal for me! A few things helped me a long way here.
Harry Potter audiobooks
Upon recommendation to listen to the Potterless podcast (great tip, by the way), I started rereading the Harry Potter books. The Stephen Fry audiobooks were a massive help with this. I can now read whenever and wherever I go – plus, Stephen Fry is an awesome narrator. I might even prefer it over reading the words myself.
Fine, let’s do a proper shout-out to Potterless: it a great show. If you’re a Harry Potter lover or even if you’re not (yet), this is the right podcast for you. It follows the reading adventures of Mike Schubert, who didn’t start reading the books for the first time until his mid-twenties. This podcast always has me looking forward to the next chapter. I can relate to it, too, because I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until I was 17.
Access to comics
With help from the library I was able to access comics on my phone. Comics are an easy read and perfect for when you have to kill some time. I tend to read them when I’m in a waiting room, for example. There is so much choice too! My favourites were How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You by Matthew Inman, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung, and Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen.
Note: Debbie Tung has just come out with a new comic book called Book Love, a very suitable read for book lovers!
A few books really stood out from the crowd. I have picked three that I would love for other people to read. Sadly I only own one of these books myself, but I am seriously considering purchasing the others for my bookshelves later!
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book changed me. It starts out fairly casual, following the daily life of a seemingly simple woman named Eleanor Oliphant. Soon you catch on that Eleanor is, in fact, no ordinary woman. I can’t say too much about it without spoiling, so I strongly recommend you just read it – because it is really really really good. I found this story surprisingly inspiring and even empowering.
Warning: this book may contain triggers including trauma, abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, suicide, PTSD.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Adult, science fiction
In September 2018 Hank Green published his debut novel: a story about a bunch of mysterious statue-like creatures appearing all over earth. My library had it labelled as sci-fi, making it the first book of that genre I have ever picked up.
This story was almost perfect to me. It was exciting and intriguing – it kept you on the edge of your seat at all times. An additional thrill for me was that this book covered the story of a female 23-year-old, just like me! It can be a struggle for me to find entertaining books, because I am not that interested in Young Adult anymore (too much whining), and I don’t always care for proper adult literature either (too much sex). This book offers middle ground: there is just right amount of whining and it doesn’t go into details about sex. A pretty solid reflection of my life, I’d say.
I would recommend this book to people of my generation. That’s pretty broad, but I think this story is suitable for a lot of readers. It’s not super nerdy or heavy on the alien stuff, so I guess millennials and people in their late teens will probably like this. It covers topics such as relationships, present-day society, and the media. The only note I have is that Hank Green didn’t always hit the “#girlstruggles” very well (see my Goodreads review).
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Young Adult, drama
I was lucky enough to be able to read a book and watch the film come out in the same year. Both impressed me very much.
This was very well-written. I had no trouble picturing the events as if they were already playing in front of me on a movie screen. THUG covers regular teen drama, but adds topics of discrimination and police brutality. This makes it more than a good read. Angie Thomas’ story is important and educational, and I hope it will make many school reading lists.
Warning: contains triggers for racism, police brutality, murder
Of course I have set new plans for 2019, but all of that wouldn’t fit into this post. Look out for another post soon where I go into details about my next reading challenge. For now, I am open for suggestions!
What were your 2018 favourites? What should I read next? I would love to hear from you!