I’d never done a book challenge before, but decided to try one last year. And in the process, I discovered something about myself- I don’t like reading from someone else’s list. I take a more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach to reading, apparently. But nevertheless, it was a good challenge to do, because I read a few things I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I didn’t quite finish the challenge, which I like to blame entirely on having to plow through one of the longest and dullest books I’ve ever read. (cough*War and Peace*cough) Also, my personal rule was that if a book fit more than one category, I could count it for both. But let me show you what I did read…
- The Owl in the Attic and Other Perplexities- James Thurber (short stories)
- Anne of the Island- L.M. Montgomery (young adult novel)
- The Scarlet Pimpernel- Baroness Emmuska Orczy (color in its title)
- Pudd’nhead Wilson- Mark Twain (more than 100 years old, about immigrants, sort of)
- Do Over- Jon Acuff (picked based on its cover)
- Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris- Paul Gallico (set in a place I want to visit)
- Till We Have Faces- C.S. Lewis (based on a fairy tale)
- Oh, Boy! Babies!- Alison Herzig and Jane Mali (national book award winner)
- Mrs Mike- Benedict and Nancy Freedman (set in a forest, sort of)
- On Writing Well- William Zinsser (under 200 pages)
- War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy (over 400 pages, translated, adapted to a movie)
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet- Madeleine L’Engle (fantasy novel)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God- Zora Neale Hurston (author of color)
- Cooking for Mr Latte- Amanda Hesser (female author)
- Versus- Ogden Nash (poetry)
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- Mary Ann Shaffer (about a historical event)
- The Secret Garden- Frances H Burnett (child narrator)
There you have it. I missed four categories, but maybe I’ll read those this year just so I can see all the little boxes neatly checked off. (Yes, I’m a list freak.) In total, I read 39 books last year, so I did do a fair amount of reading, if not exactly for the challenge.
Oh, you say you want to know which of my reads you should read too? I’m so glad you asked!
- On Writing Well was a pleasure. Who knew a book about writing could keep you up at night?
- Agatha Christie and I met last year, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my snobbery about her was completely unfounded. I was completely shocked at the ends of both her mysteries I read, and look forward to trying more to see if she can continue to trick me.
- The Curated Closet was one of the more refreshing takes on fashion I’ve ever read.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People was just so sensible. I loved it, and would like to reread it every year till I memorize it.
- Pudd’nhead Wilson is actually the first whole Mark Twain book I’ve read, and it was hilarious! Also, the ending has the most satisfying turning of the tables.
- Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris just charmed me, from the quaint cover to the heartwarming story line about a charwoman who had her heart set on a Christian Dior dress.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel finally snagged me, after years of Philip telling me I needed to try it. He was right.
- Pilgrim’s Inn was delightful enough to make me want to quit my job and move to the English countryside. Elizabeth Goudge sure has the knack of cozy writing.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God is probably the eeriest book I’ve ever read. It is gripping, and heart-wrenching, and you should read it too.
- Till We Have Faces broke my brain a little. Is it an allegory? Is it just a fairy tale? It was my second time to read it, and I’m not sure I understand it any better. Somebody explain it to me please.
- Finish is Jon Acuff’s latest book. He’s one of the few business authors who I can read without keeling over with boredom. He’s funny and insightful, and I’m applying some of his principles in this book to my resolutions for this year.
Now, I’m off to plow through the unread selections on my bookshelf. We’ll see if I am any better at doing that challenge than last year’s. How about you- have you done reading challenges, and if so, which ones?