Well, I can tell you two things without even checking: first, I was much (much) better at tracking my reading and second, it’s like I didn’t even try to stop buying books. But, let us look at the cold hard facts.
I participated in so many challenges this year. The Goodreads Reading Challenge, The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, The Book Riot Challenge, The Beat the Backlist Challenge, The When Are you Reading Challenge, The Audiobook Challenge, and the No-Book-Buying Challenge. How did I do?
Goodreads Reading Challenge
My goal was to read 100 books this year and I read 123! Success! According to Goodreads I also read 35,318 pages and my most often read author was the romance writer, Penny Reid. Which brings me to a confession: I don’t log every single book. If I am embarrassed by the cover (not the story, just the cover) I won’t log it. So, all of those long sleepless nights that were brought to me by insomnia were accompanied by books borrowed from the Kindle Free Library. The Kindle Free Library is deeply populated by books with weird covers. If I am embarrassed I will just elect to not log it. Shameful, because those books sat with me all night long. In addition to faithfully logging books I am promising to log ALL books for 2019. Either you are all going to see a lot of weird covers or I will plan ahead enough to have regular books ready to go on my kindle.
When Were You Reading Challenge
Sam from Taking on a World of Words not only hosts my favorite weekly roundup (WWW Wednesday!) but also a historical fiction reading challenge. I did…..poorly. I have come to the realization that I only enjoy historical fiction when the story grabs my attention.
- The complete challenge will include 12 books from the following eras:
- Pre 1500
- 1800-1899 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
- The Future Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot
I did far better with this challenge and completed 14/24 goals. The ones I didn’t finish were, if I were being honest, books that I would never read. Books about nature / westerns / anything on Oprah almost universally disagree with me. Also, while I am sure I read a few books that would fit into the missing categories my biggest problem with this challenge is how persnickety some participants were. If you follow the Goodreads chat boards on this challenge some people were serious about what qualified and what did not. This is not my mentality when participating in a reading challenge and so I never posted anything. Still, this challenge found me finally reading Pride and Prejudice which was absolutely wonderful. I can’t believe I waited so long!
1) A book published posthumously
2) A book of true crime Heist by Jeff Diamant
3) A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
4) A comic written and illustrated by the same person – Witch Boy
5) A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
6) A book about nature
7) A western
8) A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Pashmina
9) A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10) A romance novel by or about a person of color – When Dimple Met Rishi
11) A children’s classic published before 1980
12) A celebrity memoir W. Kamau Bell
13) An Oprah Book Club selection
14) A book of social science Grit
15) A one-sitting book – I Work at a Public Library… by Gina Sheridan
16) The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series – Every Day by David Leviathan
17) A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author Just One Damned Thing After the Other by Jodi Taylor
18) A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image The Sandman, Volume 1, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
19) A book of genre fiction in translation
20) A book with a cover you hate 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer
21) A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
22) An essay anthology
23) A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24) An assigned book you hated (or never finished) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Audiobook Challenge from HotListens.com
I did it! I wanted to get the stenographer level (10-15 audiobooks) and I listened to 15! And, I fell deeply in love with audiobooks. Now, if I don’t have an audiobook ready to go I don’t even know how to drive! Here are the audiobooks I enjoyed this year.
1. Fahrenheit 451
2. Artemis Fowl #1 by Eoin Colfer
3. Canada by Mike Myers
4. Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik
5. Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen
6. How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell
7. Heist by Jeff Diamant
8. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer
9. So that Happened by Jon Cryer
10. Today I Will be Different by Maria Semple
11. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
12. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge
Success here! Modern Mrs. Darcy puts out a reading challenge every year and, if memory serves, there were some options for 2018. I enjoy her reading challenge because there aren’t so many categories that you are overwhelmed but they are varied enough to actually expand your reading repertoire.
- a classic you’ve been meaning to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- a book recommended by someone with great taste The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
- a book in translation Classic Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen
- a book nominated for an award in 2018 Circe by Madeline Miller
- a book of poetry, a play or an essay collection Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
- a book you can read in a day I work at a Public Library
- a book that’s more than 500 pages Iron Gold
- a book by a favorite author Circe by Madeline Miller
- a book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- a banned book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexi
- a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction Stuff Matters by Mike Miodowski
- a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Beat the Backlist Challenge
This one is hosted by Novel Knight and was a great inspiration for reading all the wonderful books I already owned. However, I could not figure out how to log my participation. So, while I kept track I did absolutely no good for my team, The Dewey Dragons. Sorry Dragons!!
I really like emphasizing my books, I just wish I could have more fully participated. Still, look at how many wonderful books (22!) I read off my own shelf.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappinfield
The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertini
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Problim Children by Natalie Llyod
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Wishtree by Katharine Applegate
Lord of the Rings, Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien
Book Buying Ban 2018
This was my biggest failure. The less I felt like I was “allowed” to buy, the more I wanted to buy buy BUY ALL THE BOOKS. I even stopped keeping track of my beautiful purchases because I was embarrassed. This is how it went (roughly because I am still sure I bought more and was too ashamed to admit it).
January: Owl Crate delivery: The Cruel Prince
February: Owl Crate delivery: The Hazel Wood
March: Birthday Books! Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, Let’s Talk Spanish, 50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know by John Bridges, Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight, Toasts by Paul Dickson, The Real Rock Book, Stupid Historyby Leland Gregory, Uppity Women by Vicki Leon, The 2548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said by Robert Byrne.
April: Things have gone sideways…..
May: I stopped trying. I need books! Don’t try and stop me!
June: Back on the wagon. I received two new books from subscriptions (OwlCrate and page Habit) and purchased only 1, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Huang.
July: Purchased Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella and Find Your Adventure by Nicole Larue in Montreal. Also, two French/English dictionaries.
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, Canadaby Mike Myers, two Jodi Taylor books, Wish by Deborah Bladon and 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer on Kindle. I had insomnia!!! The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, The Invasion of Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller.
Owlcrate My Plain Jane
PageHabit The Real Michael Swann
August: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente. P.S. I Still Love Youby Jenny Han and Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han.
September: Major personal upset. Books bring me solace and so I buy as many as I want.
Challenge Wrap Up
All in all, I LOVED the challenges. The only one I wound have been disappointed about not finishing successfully was the Goodreads challenge. All of the others were there to encourage me and push me outside of my usual reading. I am not sure yet which ones I will do again but I am so happy looking through all of the ideas.
Also, I know now that if I am really going to challenge myself to vary my reading I need a better plan. It is not enough to hope that my own books and interests will fulfill the required slots, I need a cohesive reading list for all the categories. So, this year I am looking carefully at the categories so that I am not stuck with an insurmountable one.
I think it is safe to say that the Book Buying Ban is falling squarely into the “never again” category. This challenge made me just want all the books. It was like being on a terrible diet and suddenly everything I owned looked gross and diet-like. This year I will certainly try to enjoy what I own but if I see a book I want to read I am absolutely going to buy it.
Tell me, please!
How did your challenges go? Any you recommend?