I know I said that I wouldn’t try another book challenge when I re-launched this blog in January but now find myself drawn to the idea of a book challenge….oh fickle Pinterest, why do you send so many through my feed?
I came across one this past Friday from Bustle.com-21 books every woman should read by 35– and was immediately drawn in. Why, I’ll be 35 in a little over a year! And shiny! What a fun mix of books. Fiction, non-fiction, old classics, new classics, books I probably should have read by now and others that I’m excited to read because they are outside of my normal genres, et cetera.
I’m not sure if I am simply experiencing some sort of weird mid-30’s crisis but for whatever reason, I feel like 35 is going to “a year” and that I need to accomplish something meaningful. A book challenge (plus finishing my MBA if all goes on schedule) seems like a good lead-in but part of me still wants to do something epic like hike Mt. Kilimanjaro with a bunch of other bad-ass (or crazy depending on how you want to look at it) women in 2018. Or maybe I’ll go the less expensive route and finally get around to training for a marathon….
Potential existential crisis aside, another reason I like this particular challenge is that I’m already off to a great start and have read two of the books on the list. I’m not enough of a purist (aka: lazy) to re-read those books simply for the sake of the challenge, even though the book were great reads and one, Lean In, is still a topic of conversation at my work, but hey! look at that? Only 19 more books to go…I’ve so got this.
If I can figure out how to embed a countdown timer in WordPress, or even if I can’t, head over to the fancy new page devoted to this challenge and help keep me accountable to finishing this one! And be on the lookout for some future book reviews from titles off the list.
PS: In the spirit of more book list (Thank you, Pinterest) here are a few other links that may be of interest. Happy Reading!
The Book Nerd’s Guide to Surviving a Dystopia
11 Books to Read if you Love “The Handmaid’s Tale”
20 Life-Changing Nonfiction Books That You Can Finish In A Day
OK, maybe this is bit of bandwagon joining and post- New Years resolution setting but after talking with a friend about book challenges and her desire to try and organize/track the massive list of books she wants to read, I realized that I have never participated in a book challenge. Well, not since I was a wee one participating in the county library summer reading challenges, which I totally rocked for the record! “How is that possible?” inquiring minds probably aren’t asking but oddly enough, it hasn’t crossed my mind previously to attempt a guided reading journey, so why not this year? Life is already predicted to be crazy moving forward (grad school?) and I am trying to challenge myself to expand my literary horizons. The book club I formed with two friends last year has done wonder in this area (still recovering from Carsick by John Waters although he was incredibly entertaining at the Christmas concert we saw about a month ago) and I look forward to the many reading adventures yet to come but along the way, why not throw some additional challenges into the mix and also help prevent this blog consisting of many novels of similar genre and scope?
A quick search on my beloved Pinterest resulted in a few different challenge “lists” floating around the interweb. While I didn’t find one that perfectly fit what I was looking for (which if I thought more about it, finding a list that perfectly suited my desires and literary likes would be defeating the purpose), I did come across the below list from PopSugar which looks like it has been recycled for a few years but hey! still relevant for this year.
Now, it looks like some people assign crazy rules to their challenges: read a book every week for the entire year until finished or don’t pick books that you have already read and re-read them, only physical books, no audio or kindle versions etc. I am going to take a much looser interpretation of this list and say that my goal is just to read a book in every category, in whatever order/format that may take before the end of the year and (hopefully) blog about a fair number of them for your entertainment. Head over to the 2016 book challenge page to see what I will be reading for each category (listed below) and also keep an eye on the 2016 Book Count page as I can only imagine that I will be reading other novels that don’t fall into one of the 40 below categories.
If you are interested in joining this challenge, please comment often and let me know what you are reading for each section and how you are progressing overall. The more, the merrier in the book world!
2016 Reading Challenge as posted on PopSugar.com
- A book based on a fairy tale
- A National Book Award winner
- A YA bestseller
- A book you haven’t read since high school
- A book set in your home state
- A book translated to English
- A romance set in the future
- A book set in Europe
- A book that’s under 150 pages
- A New York Times bestseller
- A book that’s becoming a movie this year
- A book recommended by someone you just met
- A self-improvement book
- A book you can finish in a day
- A book written by a celebrity
- A political memoir
- A book at least 100 years older than you
- A book that’s more than 600 pages
- A book from Oprah’s Book Club
- A science-fiction novel
- A book recommended by a family member
- A graphic novel
- A book that is published in 2016
- A book with a protagonist who has your occupation
- A book that takes place during Summer (why summer?)
- A book and it’s prequel
- A murder mystery
- A book written by a comedian
- A dystopian novel
- A book with a blue cover (why blue?)
- A book of poetry
- The first book you see in a bookstore
- A classic from the 20th century
- A book from the library
- An autobiography
- A book about a road trip
- A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with
- A satirical book
- A book that takes place on an island
- A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy
As my excitement to re-enter the blogging world increases, my mind has been whirling with books I want to review-some that I have recently finished and others that are on my (long) “to-read” list/stack. But one topic that keeps popping up is an idea to track all the books that have “defeated” me. What do I mean by defeated? Well, I apply this term to those special books that I enter into with a determined mindset to make it through to the very last page but, for one reason or another, just cannot continue to force myself to finish. Do we all have this category of books or am I just special? Even now, a few such books, which should have a “I defeated the reader” bookmark inserted at the last endpoint, stare at me with mocking spines from various locations on my bookshelf. I console myself that if I were to list every book I have read vs. those that I failed to finish, that the numbers would be heavily slanted towards the former category. Ha! Take that Wuthering Heights!!
So, for prosperity (sounds much more important then saying “for no reason at all”), I have created a page where I will list my personal “Defeated” books and the reasons why. I would love your comments on the books I list or to see what your own personal “defeated” books might be.
Least any of you think that a “defeated” books makes this rarefied list without effort on my part, I would like to hit upon the other half of this blog post title: The 100 page rule. I’m not sure how I developed this rule or if it was something I was taught to do back in my early, voracious reading days but with every book that I pick up, I try to get past the first 100 pages. This seems like a fair number of pages to allow for the magic of the plot and characters to capture my interest and hell, with books of 700+ pages, I’ll even generously increase this rule to 200 pages. After I hit the page mark, If I still feel like I would rather be waxing my own body hair (don’t ever attempt this unless you have a penchant for self-inflicted pain) or listening to hipsters talk about their beards over continuing to read said book, then I usually call it quits with clear conscious that I gave it my best.
With the “defeated” books, this can be some of the most painful 100-200 pages of reading a person ever does. It’s a singular kind of pain to attempt to get through a book that you really, really want to read for some random reason (don’t discount the power of personal glory and edification through conquering literature or the even more potent power of “you have to read this book!” peer-pressure) only to fail miserably and then be stuck with a half-read book along with now having to question the merit of you bibliophile status and place in the universe. 😦 Or again, is this just my reaction?
To end for today, I hope you visit the “Defeated” books page. It’s short at the moment but I’ll keep adding I as remember other attempted titles. There has to be a least a dozen right?