But I missed reading.
I also discovered the Modern Mrs. Darcy. Anne Bogel's recommendations were just what I needed at the time to help me discover where literature had evolved. Her reviews gave me a real understanding of how many great stories there are to be read right now with a starting point in my personal journey.
This year she had 2 reading challenges, and after my personal success with the 2016 version, I was determined to do both. Some of the choices from this list were my favorites for the year with others being ones I had to shelve unfinished. For me, the challenge was to stretch myself and learn a little more about who I am and who I want to become.
I've got titles, authors and a blurb about most of my choices. Feel free to friend me on goodreads to see my reviews. Looking over my list, I am seeing that "fun" and "growth" seem to irrelevant, and I've messed up a few of the categories as well.
Reading for Fun:
(but isn't it all?)
(but isn't it all?)
A book you chose for the cover
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
I chose this book because it had birds on the cover. This was often a difficult book to read due to the story told about kidnapping and abuse. The only thing that kept me going thru it was knowing it was autobiographical. I figured if she had the strength to tell the story then I should find enough to listen to it.
A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I'm not sure I'd put it in this category if I did things over.
A book set somewhere you've never been but would like to visit
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I was expecting a bit more from this one due to all the hype I heard.
It was still a quick, fun read.
A book you've already read
Ice Palace by F Scott Fitzgerald
I have regularly re-read this book for the last last 35 years.
A juicy memoir
Just Kids by Patty Smith
I'm not sure what to say about this one. I was not familiar with Patty Smith or Mapplethorpe prior to reading. It was a story to be told of a certain time and place with relationships that were made real.
A book about books or reading
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
Great on audio.
It was an odd topic, the writing of the OED, but this book brought it to life.
A book in a genre you usually avoid
Considered a sci-fi "Space Western" read by Levar Burton in his podcast. Haunting.
A book you don't want to admit you're dying to read
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Okay, I made quick notes for each category on the challenge list, and I had left out the "don't want to admit" part. I was dying to read this one, but had no issues with admitting it.
A book in the backlist of a favorite new author
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
Same as the above. I omitted the "new author" part. I have always enjoy Stephen King, but hadn't read this from his backlist. Plus by his standards, it is short.
A book recommended by someone with great taste
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Recommended on Modern Mrs Darcy. I listened thru audible channels for free and it was hilarious. I will admit that I did keep looking it up on wikipedia to make sure I was understanding it as I wasn't sure it was supposed to be that funny.
A book you were exited to buy or borrow but haven't read yet
Confusion of Languages by Sioban Fallon
I got this one on kindle from the library and had been anxiously watching for it. It was good, but not great? Maybe the letdown was in anticipation?
A book about a topic or subject you already love
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller
My secret dream in life is to hike the AT.
Reading for Growth:
A Newberry Award winner or Honor book
21 Balloons by William Pene duBois
Not my norm and maybe there's a reason? I know many enjoy reading children's literature, but I'm not sure that it's for me. Or maybe I just do kids' lit for homeschool already and want my reading to be mine.
A book in translation
The Second Bakery Attack by Murakami
I also listened to this on Levar Burton Reads.
A book that is more than 600 pages
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Probably my favorite book on the list. It was a great, massive story that is both funny and real. The characters are interesting and it leaves you hopeful about life in general.
A book of poetry, a play or an essay collection
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
I bought a kindle copy but the audio of this is amazing and just brings it to life. One of y favorites that is timeless.
A book of any genre that addresses current events
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
I'm kind of over the politics of the year so I went in a different direction with this audiobook that my teen son and I listened to. It was thought provoking and discussed the process of end of life issues.
An immigrant story
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
This is fiction/chick lit but was so much fun and a great story.
A book published before you were born
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I listened for free with audible channels. Kenneth Branagh was the reader and brought this to life. I'm pretty sure I'd never make it thru the print version.
Three books by the same author
I was just lamenting earlier today that I'm out of Tana French books in her Dublin Murder Squad series. She just keeps getting better and better, and I am ready for another.
Same with Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling and the Cormoran Strike series. I'm ready for the next. The Strike series just gets better and better as it goes.
A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Okay. This is the one I couldn't finish. I did have to google what the # categories were, and while I have no issues with diversity this one didn't work for me. Here's a link to my Goodreads if you really want to know why. It has nothing to do with transgender, but with parenting.
A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending
We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I thought it was slightly odd to go into a story knowing that the narrator might not be reliable, but this one was a good choice that took you to a strange place, but in a good way?
A book nominated for an award in 2017
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Probably the most meaningful book I've read this year with a story that gut punches me even months after reading it.
A Pulitzer Prize or NBA winner
Barbarian Days by William Finnegan
I don't even like the water that much, but this book on Surfing Life is really about so much more.