Reading Challenges The Isolation Reads

Read the Rainbow Challenge

Hi! If you are new here, welcome! I am Hannah, a bookworm with a book buying problem. I am also a workaholic and on annual leave during a global pandemic so I’ve decided to jazz up “shopping” my To Be Read pile.

The task: to read at least one red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink (indigo and violet were impossible) book in one week.

I have made my colour distinctions on the basis of the spines of books but you do you on that. Amazingly, I have a surprisingly large selection of material available to me although I have almost double the amount of blue books (17) and half the green books (5) in comparison to the other options. I hope to read a range of genres, geographical locations, and styles of book but I am not imposing any other restrictions.

My goal: one of each colour. At least 10 books read.

In order to make this fun and manageable, I am not going to write “full blogs” about each book but I will update this post with the titles and some details in the following format:

  • Details:
  • Impression [delete as appropriate]: OMG amazing / I really enjoyed! / Yeah, it was good / Eh, it was fine / I would not buy this if I were you / It’s not for me but ….
  • Summarise in five words:

May the odds be ever in my favour!


Onjali Q. Raúf. The Boy at the Back of the Class. London: Orion Children’s Books. 2018
OMG amazing
Brilliant kids challenge refugee crisis


Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ. Black Star Nairobi. Brooklyn: Melville House. 2013.
I really enjoyed it.
Compelling, pacy, perilous international thriller.

Johny Pitts. Afropean: Notes from Black Europe. London: Penguin Books. 2019
Yeah, it was good.
Social cultural scrapbook with tunes
Geek note: I made a Spotify playlist of songs that are mentioned, are by artists who come up in the book or I really rate. You can find it here.


Amrou Al-Kadhi. Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen. London: Fourth Estate. 2019
I really enjoyed it.
Queerness, family, faith, home, tussling.


Alice Oseman. Heartstopper Vol. 3. London: Hodder Children’s Books. 2020
OMG amazing
Pure queer teen emotional intelligence.


Mary Jean Chan. Flèche. London: Faber & Faber. 2019
Queer agony fencing with words.

Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye. London: Vintage. 2016.
I can’t call it “OMG amazing” because I’m not gushingly enthusiastic: Brilliant and beautiful.
Bittersweet stories of neighbourhood pain

Alice Oseman. Heartstopper Vol. 2. London: Hodder Children’s Books. 2019
OMG amazing
Pure queer teen romance feels.


Marina Benjamin. Insomnia. London: Scribe Books. 2019
It’s not for me, but the insights on insomnia (as lived experience) are legit.
Rambling pretentious sleep-deprived whimsy


Guy Gunaratne. In Our Mad and Furious City. London: Tinder Press. 2019.
OMG amazing
Brutal London tensions burning hot.

How the Blog Works I Need To Talk About This

Intro: I Need To Talk About This

This is a blog thread that might be about a section, quote, theme, or particular thing I have read and have a big reaction to. For example, when I read Candice Carty-Williams’ novel Queenie, I found myself cackling on a train while reading one of the conversations about dating and money. I photographed the page and sent it to my friend, Furaha, who I had had the exact same chat with not a week previously. I might write something about dating, money, and conversations between women of colour about these things. Alternatively, I might write a very heavy piece about a particular aspect of the new His Dark Materials novels that really frustrates and disturbs me. I might also write something about Pullman’s code-breaking academic Hannah who likes hot chocolate, lending books, and recommends Poirot to people (#narcissism). This is a react thread.

Do The Reading How the Blog Works

Intro: Do the Reading!

Although this might sound like a chore to some folx, I am probably most excited about this part of my reading challenge. I am on a mission to get familiar with a ton of literature that I feel I should have read. In almost all cases, these are also titles I want to read. You will not find the complete works of Dickens here (although The Pickwick Papers is on the To Be Read pile). We are looking at everything published by Toni Morrison and Bernardine Evaristo, authors on the Jhalek prize, essay collections by Juno Roche and Roxane Gay, autobiographies and collections of letters.

Often I have read a chapter of the book or listened to the author in interview but have had to put aside “personal reading” for urgent/important research. This will be a balance of recently published or “new” work and literature that I have arbitrarily decided is essential for me and my thinking.

Disclaimer: I will be listening to audiobooks as well as “reading”. Audiobooks are books as far as I am concerned. I am dyslexic and dyspraxic and will not have my love of books contained by word fatigue after a week at work. I will “declare” when I have listened to an audiobook

Books That Didn't Make It How the Blog Works

Intro: Books That Didn't Make It

So I debated whether to include a “negative” thread in The Book Blog. However, I find it interesting to talk about why we don’t buy certain books or abandon them. Although I am fairly inclined to finished things because of social conditioning, I also think that this can be a waste of time. So this part of the blog covers books I opted out of and why. This does not mean they are objectively bad or that you won’t love them. It means they weren’t for me and I though it was interesting to talk about why.


  • The Details: What is the book? Who wrote it?
  • How far did I get?
  • Why did I abandon it?
  • Will I pick it up again?
  • Who might like it even if I didn’t
  • Any other random thoughts.