#BetterWorldBooks Challenge: ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë and ‘Panic’ by Lauren Oliver

A while ago, I posted about the first two books I read for the 2017 BetterWorldBooks challenge. And, surprise! It’s time for me to talk about another two challenges on the list that I’ve fulfilled recently.

The third challenge I opted to complete was to read a book that is more than 100 years old. I do actively try to read books written in various decades and centuries, so picking a book that was over 100 years old was as easy as going to my bookshelf and finding one that I’d maybe been putting off a bit.

In the end, I settled for Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Brontë. I feel like I would’ve enjoyed this a lot more had I not had preconceived notions and expectations for this novel. I wanted this to be my new favourite, you know? I wanted to love this as much as I’d loved Sense and Sensibility and Middlemarch (and we all know that I really loved them).

…I sort of hated it. Okay, okay. ‘Hate’ is putting it way too strongly. It’s a love story. A love story that goes very, very wrong. And even though that’s the sort of summary that usually piques my interest, I just couldn’t get into this. I didn’t connect with the characters, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the writing style, and the plot didn’t blow my mind.

So sure, it was all right. I know there are so many people out there who love this book. It just wasn’t for me.

img_4943It only seemed right to pick (what is, in my mind) the complete opposite of an ageing classic for the next challenge: to read a young adult novel. And yeah, I know that YA isn’t the newest genre on the planet, but no one can deny that its definitely picked up its pace in the past few years.

I decided to pick up Panic by Lauren Oliver. When this book came out, I was stupid excited. I don’t even know why I was excited. Anyway, I was super excited and so, unsurprisingly, I didn’t bother to read it.

The story follows a group of friends. All in their senior year, they have the opportunity to participate in a game: Panic. The game is essentially an extreme version of Dare, and the winning prize is over $60 000. As the game gets more and more dangerous, relationships become more strained, and each character begins to reveal their motives for participating.

It’s an interesting premise and I can see why there was so much hype when this book first came out. My issue was just that I didn’t buy it. The whole competition seemed bizarre to me. With the exception of the money (and to be honest, how the money was acquired also seemed strange), I couldn’t figure out why the hell anyone was bothering with it.

Besides that, I wasn’t invested in the characters at all. So while I appreciate that it was a quick and easy read, it wasn’t one that really thrilled me.

Let me know how your challenges are going! I hope you’re all being pushed out of your reading comfort zones and finding new treasures.


#BetterWorldBooks Challenge: ‘Lust’ by Roald Dahl and ‘The Roots of the Olive Tree’ by Courtney Miller Santo

I’m not a huge fan of challenges, to be honest. Sure, I set a goal on goodreads like everyone else, but I don’t typically go for the others. This year, however I came across the BetterWorldBooks Challenge and thought I’d give it a shot.

On a side note, I want to be very clear: all the books I’m picking for any challenge that I choose to do has always been picked specifically for that challenge. It’s not me picking up a book and realising three weeks later that it conveniently fits a category. I want these challenges to push me to read things I might not have, and I don’t think that convenient way of thinking allows me to do that.

Anyway, enough with that. Here are the first two books that I read for the challenge!

The first challenge I picked was to read a collection of short stories. For this, I chose Lust by Roald Dahl. Penguin recently decided to release some of his short stories in four anthologies: Cruelty, Deception, Lust and Madness. I was pretty excited to read this, chiefly because I’ve only ever really read his work aimed at children.

There were a stories that I did really enjoy, but there were also a few that didn’t resonate with me. My absolutely favourite was The Great Switcheroo. It tells the story of two devious men of similar physical attributes who decide to see if they can get away with sleeping with the other’s wife. It’s a bizarre (and sort of disturbing, to be honest) premise, I know. But it was actually a great (…and, again, disturbing) read, and I got a real kick out of the final lines.

So there were some hits and there were some misses. In the end, it just wasn’t the best collection of short stories that I’ve come across. I much prefer Margaret Atwood’s collections, The Tent being one of my all time favourite books.


The second challenge, I found slightly peculiar: to read a book with a colour in its title. For this one, I opted to browse my bookshelf to see if any of the books I hadn’t read that fit. I wasn’t actually expecting anything, so was pleasantly surprised to see The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo.

The book follows a family that comprises of five generations of women. Set on the olive farm that they all grew up on, this story really hopes to expose the complexities of family life. I liked the idea of the multiple generations and I understand that it has a personal significance to the author. However, I also felt as though having so many central characters in a relatively short novel might not have been the best choice.

There isn’t a lot I can say without spoiling the novel, but it was essentially a nice look at five characters who have complicated relationships with each other. It also addressed people’s desire for immortality. Or, at the very least, a bloody long life. It was a nice read overall, but it didn’t really excite or capture my attention the way I’d hoped it would.

And there you have it! Let me know how your challenges are going. I hope you’re all finding some great reads.