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2014 Reading Challenge – Harry Potter

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I’ve never read Harry Potter, for a long time I just refused to countenance reading this craze that was happening when I was around 13-14. I vowed at that point that I’d never read them or see the films, it’s something that sounds cool and edgy when you’re a teen. It is a bit sad when you come to think of it as a mature almost 30 year old dad with a professional qualification, to discount something without having read it or seen the films.

It was when part 2 of the last film came out that I broke, the Mrs was desperate to see it and had no one to go with. I said I’d go but we had to buy the DVDs we didn’t have so that i could watch them in order and subsequently actually enjoy watching the final part.

Well, I did enjoy the films, the story, the characters and the world that Rowling created. So this year, due to them all being on television again, I think I should actually read these books and see what I’ve been missing.

While I’m in the doing things I said I wouldn’t mood, as the Mrs does not own the first book, I’ve purchased it on Kindle for her, so that I can try out reading a book on Kindle for the first time. The Kindle being another thing I swore I’d never use.

So far, once I sorted the line spacing and font issues and thus preventing myself from needing to click next page every five seconds, I’ve been enjoying the book and have found the reading experience better than i thought. I still want a larger screen though, Amazon take note.

So this year, 2014, as well as reading the 40 books I challenged myself to on Goodreads (46 last year), I will read all the Harry Potters, and then I might give that Game of Thrones set I was gifted a while back a read.

What are your challenges for the year?

The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

The Garden of Burning Sand

Title: The Garden of Burning Sand
Author: Corban Addison
Pages: 320
Buy: Play; Waterstones
Source: First Reads
Rating: 4 Stars

***I recieved this book for free under the Goodreads First Reads giveaway scheme in exchange for an honest review.***

When I found I’d won my first book under the giveaway scheme after entering dozens I was excited but this was slightly dissipated when I read what book I had won. Then when it arrived a few weeks later and it was a hefty hard-cover I thought, how am I going to lug that in my briefcase to and from work on the train?

I put it off for three maybe four books but I shouldn’t have. I was wrong to be disappointed. It is a very good story that carefully, skilfully, and compassionately explores the issues affecting women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, and how the decisions we make as relatively rich westerners, who have access to healthcare, a relatively corruption free justice system (some police officers aside) and education, affect those who have none of these things and a lot less beside.

The story follows a rich young American female, the archetypical ‘sploilt brat with a trust fund’ trying to do good in the world and help those less fortunate than herself. Except that she doesn’t come across as spoilt, or a brat.

The exposition of the justice system in Zambia, the difficulty to achieve convictions, the superstitions that surround medical science as practiced in the west, and the horrors that AIDS and HIV has on societies in Africa are eye-opening, evocative, and effective.

The main character is developed well, others not so much, it is a first person book written in the third. I enjoyed it, it was interesting and informative. The story was good with a great deal of suspense, mystery, and twists that did mean the ending was not a foregone conclusion.

I heartily recommend it and will probably be purchasing have just received Mr Addison’s first novel, A Walk Across the Sun to see if it is just as good, or better.

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