My Reading Life: A Semester Report (1)

Semester 1 is finally over. Completed are the assessment tasks from school and finished are the various school tests for different subjects. But what has also past now is a whole semester’s worth of reading…

In a previous post, I’d discussed about my shortcomings and struggles to find time to read in previous semesters of my life, especially in my early years of high school (year 7 and 8).

Having promised to make an extra and surplus effort to increased and maximise the amount of reading done this semester, I am pleased and to be frank, proud to announce that I’ve read a total of… 8 books this semester.

Yes. 8.

Now most “Matilda Wormwood”s and “Elizabeth Bennett”s reading this will probably scoff at this and start re-enacting a perfect rendition of the infamous abbreviation utilised in texting known as “ROFL”.

Sure its 8. Not a big number. Its not even double digit. But for me its a major improvement. How much did I read last semester?

3.

Yeah. The 8 doesn’t seem that bad does it now? In fact its more than double the amount of 3. And it is for this reason that I can satisfyingly say I’m proud of my 8-books reading endeavour this semester. Sure it isn’t colossal but I will settle to view it as a small stepping stone towards a brighter reading future.

So what were the 8 books I submerged and dived into this semester?

  1. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (A book that’s a 100 years old or more)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was the first book I finished this year. Despite being one of the shortest I’d read, the story is far from being defined by its length. It was an absolute delight to have the privilege of reading this famous classic and marvel at Stevenson’s ingeniousness and creativity, knowing he was also responsible for other classics like Treasure Island.

2. World War Z by Max Brooks(A book you chose based on its front cover)

I’d already finished this book back when I wrote the first book and was absolutely chilled and traumatised by. Having already watched the film, I enjoyed reading the book more as despite this being a cliche in reviews, the book revealed so much more to the story and added more depth to the story which only added to how chilling the story due to how realistic the beginning of the epidemic was and how people and governments reacted to it.

3. Trapped by Irene Hannon (A book by a female author)

I discovered this book in Koorong way back in early 2017 and after having purchased it, I found myself neglecting it and not revisit until early this year when I moved houses and foudn it while sorting through items. After giving it a read, it was arguably one of my favourite reads of this semester due to how coherent all the subplots and main plot ran together. I have already purchased the other two books from Koorong and look forward to giving them a read!

4. Worst Case by James Patterson(A book recommended to you)

James Patterson was always an author I’d heard about and was aware of, but never actually read from. That changed this year when a friend recommended me to give his books a go.

After having a read of Worst Case by Patterson, it was easy to see how he formed his reputation of being a literary genius in writing crime and mystery stories. Being a story about a man who goes on a kidnapping spree of children from powerful families that makes the placing down of the book a seemingly impossible task, I am wholeheartedly grateful that I heeded my friend’s advice and will be sure to trust his judgement and taste in books even more than I already do!

5. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown(A book over 500 pages long)

Dan Brown had long been one of my favourite authors of all time. Having already feasted my eyes upon two previous works of his, the controversial Da Vinci Code and thought-provoking Inferno, giving Digital Fortress a read was an easy decision. While the stakes aren’t seemingly as high as the previous two books, Dan Brown still successfully weaves a complex and highly engaging story that made the 500+ paged masterpiece feel inadequate in length. Now, next Dan Brown book: “Origin” here we come!

6. Tintin and Red Rackham’s Treasure by Hergé(A book that is a graphic novel)

Tintin was a graphic novel character I was already familiar with from the countless comics I’d come across and the 2011 film I’d watch with my family. Seeing as it ticked off the “graphic novel” section and I’d just finished two lengthy books , I decided to treat myself to a far more relaxed and simplistic story like “Tintin and Red Rackham’s Treasure and boy did I have fun breaking out in fits of laughter of shameless volume!

7. Dark Disciple by Christie Golden (A book that belongs in the fantasy genre)

As a child and preteen, I was introduced to the Star Wars franchise through my now all time favourite nostalgic “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. I was beyond devastated and experience the epitome of “heartbreak” when it was cancelled in 2014 due to Disney’s purchase of the franchise. To add insult to injury, I found out that two extra seasons, each containing approximately 26 episodes, were planned and were already well into production at the time of cancelling and they were now something that my eyes would never be able to feast upon.

Desperate to find any leaks about the potential plots of the unreleased episodes, I found myself stumbling over this book named Dark Disciple. Dark Disciple was basically what would’ve taken place over the course of 8 episodes placed on paper with confirmation from Lucasfilm itself on how credential it was. Getting my hands on this gem suddenly became an absolute must for me. Unfortunately, after half a year of passionate hunting, I found myself unable to locate it in any library or bookstore. That all changed this year when I was browsing the store on my newly bought Kindle for a new book only to come across none other than Dark Disciple.

Neglecting The Lowlands (the 8th book), I buried myself straight into this lost tale and found myself feeling content in being able to experience the different moments in the story at times while also feeling bitter that I was not able to see what would’ve been visually stunning fight scenes on screen and in animated form.

8. The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri (A book that has association with the Pulitzer prize)

The Lowlands, to be frank was one of the most challenging and as a result, tedious book of the 8 books I’d read this semester. While I’m sure there are many others out there that disagree with me, especially the people that nominated it for the countless awards it won, I personally could not enjoy the book. Another factor that perhaps lead to my lack of enjoyment in this piece was due to my lack of interest in what the whole story was about (the plot).

While I have yet to finish this book and is tempted to give up, I hope I shall be able to strive though it and hopefully learn to comprehend and see what the critics see in it.

Now that a whole semester of reading has been complete, up comes the question of what’s next?

To be frank, I have absolutely no idea. Being in my first year in my new school Melbourne High School, I can only forecast what is to come through what I’ve been told and rumours from here and there. And unfortunately, they all suggest a more stressful and tight schedule due to yearly exams in the next term.

While this probably suggests a more toned-down reading life, I have made a personal goal to at least complete the Lowlands and finish two other books, or at least, have started the second new book.

Ultimately, the future remains cloud. For all I know, I can end up reading more than I have this semester or unfortunately end up on the polarizing end of the spectrum and not even have finished The Lowlands by the end of next term. With my fingers crossed that it is the former that comes true, we shall find out!

Yes, that’s a Lyrebird on my profile pic.