Bóka blog / A literature blog.

Happy New Book Year!

I’ve always been a book lover, ever since I can remember. The library was my refuge as a child. I wanted to spend as much of my time there and lose myself in the books’ fairytale worlds rather than trying to get to know other children in the playground. I was never necessarily good at communicating and socializing with other humans; however, the characters on the pages of the books I read, never demanded as much of me. 

When I was but 11 years old, I had read all the children’s and young adult books in the library. I then turned to adult literature. Barbara Cartland’s erotic love stories were the first to be chosen, and those books opened up an insight into a new world to me, the world of adults. I then went on to read all of Isabel Allende’s books, by then there was no turning back. I started to read any literature I came across that interest me, and the world of books increased for me, as I am and always will be obsessed with literature. I simply love reading.

When I was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of 2016, I was determined to use my time well during cancer treatment and spend it reading all the books I wanted to read but hadn’t had time to read thus far. Due to my treatment, I soon found out that I did not have the memory or the focus to read anything. I spent most of my time in front of the TV, watching shows and movies on Netflix. The less intellectually demanding the TV show was, the better.

After cancer treatment, in 2017, I began to seek rehabilitation from various mental and physical challenges, such as hiking and meditation. However, my brain was lost somewhere in a fog of amnesia and attention deficit, and I could not read and enjoy books as before. So I enrolled in university again to study political science at the University of Iceland, in an attempt to train this vital muscle that the brain is. The most important muscle, in my opinion.

I’ll never forget the first lecture I attended although I don’t remember anything that was said during it. I felt like crying and quit the studies because what was the point of me being there if I could not remember anything. However, I did not give up even though I had to record all the lectures and listen to them again to write down notes. After all, I could not write notes during the lectures because I had forgotten what the teacher said as soon as he/she had said it. And even though I had to read every sentence in the textbooks repeatedly until I remembered them, the work was worth it. The grades may not have been as good as when I was younger, but they were always good enough for a first grade and have been rising ever since. Slowly, I began to see progress. Eventually, I did not have to record the lectures anymore because I started to be able to take notes and did not have to read sentences many times to remember them.

It was a great victory for me when I finally read an entire novel without giving up; I nearly cried with joy. The success was achieved in May 2019, when I managed to read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer all away through. I subsequently signed up for Goodreads, a social network for bookworms where you can register the books you are reading, monitor your results and save your interest. I only read 16 books that year, but it changed my life to discover audiobook apps like Storytel and Audible. I now mix it up a little, I use the time when I am cleaning, walking, cooking or resting to listen to audiobooks, but I read books the usual way in between.

Maybe I was just so thrilled and grateful to enjoy books again, and perhaps I was little ambitious when I set myself a 50 book reading goal on Goodreads for 2020. I achieved that goal by the summer, so I had to set new goals repeatedly. In the end, they became 105, and now I have set another similar goal for this year: 2021.

Here are the following, in my opinion, the ten best books or book series out of the 105 I read in the year, 2020 (I have no particular order of this):

  1. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond 
  2. Let the right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker 
  4. Silvan bookseries by R.K. Lander 
  5. Things we didn’t talk about when I was a girl by Jeannie Vanasco 
  6. The night circus by Erin Morgenstern
  7. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman
  8. The Shades of magic bókaserían by V.E. Schwab  
  9. Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson 
  10. The bone witch bookseries by Rin Chupeco 

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