Yes, I’m doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge again this year. It helped me last year to have a list of books to read, and I got a lot of the books finished (but not all). I’m so glad I did that, so I’m trying it again. [This post was originally published December 30, 2016. I’ve been posting updates throughout the year.]
The score as of 10/10/17: 16 books read and 6 in progress: Joni (paperback), Crime and Punishment (Kindle), David & Goliath (audio), Blue Highways (paperback), Too Blessed to Be Stressed (paperback), and How to Pray For Lost Loved Ones (paperback).
October reality check – there’s no way I’m going to finish reading this list of 51 books before the end of the year, so some of them will have to wait, perhaps to be on my 2018 reading list. I do hope to read the books I have copies of – but there are other books on this list I don’t currently own, and if I was to buy them it would cost me about $150 which I can’t afford right now. Somehow saving for payment of taxes in April seems wiser than spending money on more books. However, whenever I get to them, these books are on my TBR list now. I’ve finished 16 books and have 6 in progress and own several others I can read before the end of the year.
1. A book recommended by a librarian
I have no decision on what to read for this yet. When I go to the library next time, I’ll ask my favorite librarian to recommend a book.
UPDATE, January 23, 2017 – I asked a librarian for a recommendation yesterday. He recommended anything by Malcolm Gladwell, and mentioned this book as one of his favorites. I identify with the idea of battling giants because of the work I do to help families at FightCPS.
2. A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long
This was on my 2016 list and I didn’t get to it. Also, A Thousand Splendid Suns was the first book I ever added to my TBR list at Goodreads.com – way back in January, 2012. I have a paperback copy of this novel. For some reason I have a much harder time getting through a paperback, than through an audiobook or Kindle book. Well, I listen to audiobooks when doing things like hiking or housecleaning – and I read Kindle books while trying to fall asleep at night. But when do I ever have time for a paperback? It takes much more effort to find time for them these days. Nevertheless, this book looks delicious. I want to know about life in Afghanistan. Right?
Update – 10/15/17 … what an amazing book! Once I finally started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down. This is a wonderful story that caught me off-guard. I’m so glad I read this novel!
3. A book of letters
A book full of letters to author Juliet Ashton from the residents of Guernsey, an island near England… and her responses.
UPDATE – May 1, 2017: I finished this great epistolary novel and recommend it. The novel, written in a series of letters, covers the distress and trauma of residents of Gurnsey during World War II.
4. An audiobook
This is easy. I listen to audiobooks all the time. I get them from Audible, where I subscribe for 2 credits per month.
I listened to two chapters last month, but I’m officially starting to listen to this audiobook on March 28, 2017. From what I remember, A.J. Fikry is a lonely bookstore owner whose wife died tragically. To compound his grief, an extremely rare book he planned to sell to fund his retirement is stolen from his home. I guess you could say – the first two chapters were a bit depressing… but I look forward to what’s coming next. I think a baby is involved.
UPDATE – I finished this book a while back – maybe about the 3rd of April? It was a great read and I recommend it to everyone. Oh, it probably isn’t the greatest book ever, but it has endearing, deep characters and is well-written: a true slice of American life. And if you like books, so much the better, because A.J. Fikry is a bookseller.
5. A book by a person of color
I’ve got this covered. I also have a list of children’s literature I’ll be reading this year – and this book is on that list.
Started reading on March 26, 2016 during my “artist’s date” . . . I went to a cute little bookstore in Coeur d’Alene, called The Well-Read Moose, and bought this book. After that I went to the Azteca Southwest Grill for lunch where I celebrated my aloneness by starting to read this novel, and spent a little time after lunch writing in my Leuchtturn journal. By the way, the food at that restaurant is amazing… not your typical Mexican food fare, but a cut above without an increase in price. This was my second time there – the first was during lunch hour for a women’s ministry retreat, held at the hotel across the street.
UPDATE – 4/21/17: I finished the book almost a month later. Sorry it was not an absolute page-turner for me but then, I’m not a middle-grade aged child either… and that’s who the novel was written for. I kept it on my nightstand and read a chapter or two each night before sleeping. It was strong on 1960’s Oakland Black Panther history, but not on Oakland geography, because the mother of these three girls was not motherly and didn’t want to take them anywhere. She seemed very emotionally injured and unable to respond as any normal mother would. Sad! But the main character of the book, Delphine, age 11, took over as a mother-figure for her younger sisters, and they got an intense Black Panther education from their mother’s friends.
Here’s my review: Book Review: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
6. A book with one of the four seasons in the title
I intended to read this last summer. Hopefully I’ll get into it in 2017.
I read this while I was traveling in January. I started it while on the plane to Texas, and finished it while driving home. It was a comfort to read, each night before sleeping… on my Kindle.
7. A book that is a story within a story
I have no idea what to read for this goal. I’ll have to ask around to see if I can get some recommendations. Maybe someone on the PopSugar Reading Challenge Goodreads Group can help me.
UPDATE – May 23, 2017: I just finished this book and indeed, there’s a story within the story.
8. A book with multiple authors
Again – I’ll decide later!
After writing that Hillbilly Elegy review, I think I need this.
9. An espionage thriller
I read an excerpt from this book a long time ago, so I know it is a page-turner. To get through this long list of books, I’ll need page-turners. Thus, it is an easy choice!
UPDATE – I read this book in September 2017… it was not my kind of book…. too much violence and a sex scene I could have lived without. I will probably not read another Ken Follett book. The violence was horrifying. It is chilling to think that there are people that sociopathic and uncaring for the well-being of others.
10. A book with a cat on the cover
This book is on my children’s literature reading list. It comes highly recommended, and the cat is gorgeous.
11. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
This book is a collection of the short fiction of James Tiptree Jr. – a popular science fiction author whose real name was Alice Bradley Sheldon.
12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read
From the “Mysteries and Thrillers” genre – here we go again. I didn’t get this one read during 2016, so I’ll try to make room for it in my life during 2017.
13. A book by or about a person who has a disability
I’ve had this on my TBR list practically forever and have two copies of the book. One is here at my desk. I must read.
14. A book involving travel
This was on my 2016 list – and I didn’t read it. So strange. So – maybe in 2017.
15. A book with a subtitle
I still want to finish reading this. I enjoyed what I’ve read so far.
16. A book that’s published in 2017 I will decide later, after I see more of what’s published in 2017.
Update – I read this awesome non-fiction book, first published on March 7, 2017.
17. A book involving a mythical creature
A thoroughly modern weather scientist named Victoria meets Norse gods while stationed on an island near Norway. Okay, I’ll try it. It took a while to find something suitable. I am avoiding dragons.
18. A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile
Don’t know………. yet. I’m considering Cheaper By the Dozen. I read it in 7th grade (yes, a few years back!) and remember finding it hilarious at the time. I just have a problem with reading books twice. There are so many books in the world – why not read something new and different instead? I rarely read a book twice. The number of books I’ve read more than once are probably less than five.
19. A book about food
I want to finish reading this – even though I’ll probably never be able to eat like this man does.
20. A book with career advice
Because it is on my bookshelf . . .
21. A book from a nonhuman perspective
I love the cover art. Shout-out to Charles who I know has read this. A pretty cover is rarely forgotten.
22. A steampunk novel
After having read Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, I do not think I can read another modern-day steampunk novel. It is a favorite of those who love the steampunk genre… but definitely, not my thing. I liked (even loved) Westerfeld’s Uglies series, but Leviathan was not a happy read for me. So . . . for this challenge, I chose a classic of the steam era – which combines travel by train, steamship, sailing boat, sledge and elephant. Sounds like fun. This might take the “punk” out of steampunk, but if so, so be it.
23. A book with a red spine
When I find one I’ll let you know.
I’ve decided to read The Worst Interests of the Child: The Trafficking of Children and Parents Through U.S. Family Courts – not only does it have a nice bright red spine – but I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now, as it concerns the topic of my website, Fight CPS.
24. A book set in the wilderness
I’ve read the three books in her Julie of the Wolves series, but not this one. This will help me along with my goal of reading Newbery Honor Books.
25. A book you loved as a child
I don’t often re-read a book because there are so many other books calling to me – but I’ve already decided to re-read this one for the Children’s Literature Challenge, so I’m listing it here too.
26. A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited
I thought about reading this book last year – but didn’t do it. Maybe in ’17. The author is from Finland.
27. A book with a title that’s a character’s name
I love the cover art of old Rip walking out of the Catskills after his extended sleep. It reminds me very much of my ex, whose name is Bob.
28. A novel set during wartime
Another must-read classic that I haven’t read yet.
29. A book with an unreliable narrator
I hope this book qualifies. I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time now. It is described as a “penetrating novel of an intellectual whose moral compass goes haywire.” Sounds fairly unreliable to me.
30. A book with pictures
I plan to be reading this biography of a graffiti artist.
31. A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
I still haven’t read this – it was on my list last year. She’s Cuban. I have a copy of the book on the table across the room.
I read this book in only 4 days, during October 2017. I managed to get through it quickly because it is prose-poetry and many of the 185 pages were blank or nearly so. I’m normally a slow reader, so I was happy to notice, when I picked up the book, that it wouldn’t take me long to get through, especially since I’m so far behind on this list of books to read in 2017. Anyhow, it was a sweet story of a woman whose mother is Cuban, and whose father’s family came from the Ukraine. They lived primarily in Los Angeles and made trips back to Cuba to see relatives. The story in poetic form served to tell about the author’s divided childhood as she struggled to find her place in the world. Being Cuban during the Cold War was a difficult thing, and Margarita tells her story to remind us of those times.
32. A book about an interesting woman
This is fiction about a woman without a memory. It is romantic suspense.
UPDATE: April 15 – I recently finished listening to an audiobook copy of Burying Water – and though the writing is good and the plot a bit intriguing, I wasn’t happy with what I considered to be several gratuitous sex scenes. I don’t mind reading a brief sex scene that’s absolutely necessary to the plot – but beyond that, I’m not happy with reading them. I’m not much into the romance genre, I guess you could say – but even a romance can be written without gratuitous sex. I like the location of the novel – in Bend, Oregon, and Sisters, Oregon. That had a part in my choice to read the book.
33. A book set in two different time periods
Not sure yet what I’ll choose for this. However – I’m reading one like this right now… it is called Shadow Over Avalon. I’m hoping to finish it before the end of 2016.
UPDATE – April 16: I finished reading A Man Called Ove – which takes place both in the present and in the past before Ove’s wife passed away. GREAT BOOK . . . this is highly recommended.
34. A book with a month or day of the week in the title
This is a children’s novel on the Newbery list. I choose this book for one very important reason – I already have a copy.
35. A book set in a hotel
What else – but Hotel, by Arthur Hailey… said to be a page-turner. I hope so.
36. A book written by someone you admire
I’ll try to get to this one again. I didn’t get to read it in 2016.
UPDATE – April 15: I’m very happy with my rapid progress on reading this book. I’m already on chapter 9… so close to the end as there are only 12 chapters (or 12 weeks as she says.) I’m loving my artist’s dates this time around.
UPDATE – April 27: I finished the book already! I very much enjoyed this. Ironically – while I’m reading a book about life and art after retirement – I’m about to start looking for a job. Life’s strange.
37. A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017
I have no idea what books will be movies in 2017.
38. A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
It is hard to find a book about another holiday – unless you like Halloween.
39. The first book in a series you haven’t read before
This is the first of David Pelzer’s books about his sad childhood of abuse at the hands of his insane, alcoholic mother. I finished reading this in February.
40. A book you bought on a trip
I’ll let you know after I buy it.
UPDATE – While traveling through Texas in January, I bought a devotional – Too Blessed to be Stressed– three minute devotions for women.
UPDATE – April 15: I’ve been reading this – but not quickly. It is a devotional and I often pick it up to read in the morning during my writing desk time. Every morning I make my coffee, pray to the Lord, then sit at my desk doing “morning pages” journaling for about 1/2 hour. Next I might pick up this book and read a page or two. Then I read my current “Artist’s Way” type book. Right now, it is “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” by Julia Cameron. Then I read the Bible – currently reading/studying the Gospel of John.
41. A book recommended by an author you love
Not sure yet what I’ll choose.
42. A bestseller from 2016
Based on a World War II maritime tragedy, as told by four fictional teenagers.
UPDATE – April 23, 2017: I just bought this book at The Well-Read Moose, a nice independent bookstore in Coeur d’Alene – I like to support indie bookstores in hopes that they won’t go away, even though I buy more of my books at Amazon because I’m an internet kind of person. A matter of convenience! However, indie bookstores are so much fun to visit during my “artist’s dates.” Anyhow, I read the first few pages of the book today. It was heartbreaking. The author sets you down right in the middle of World War II in Northern Europe somewhere – and with brief chapters from several points-of-view, you feel like you’re right in the action. So tragic, what happened there! This is one of those books that will remind you – no matter what’s going wrong in your life, it isn’t THAT bad.
43. A book with a family-member term in the title
“Loved Ones” is a family-member term, right? Well, this book is about praying for my family, and I want to read it…
44. A book that takes place over a character’s life span
45. A book about an immigrant or refugee
April 18, 2017 – I just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis and have decided to place it here. Author J.D. Vance is a refugee from hillbilly culture. His grandparents moved to Ohio from the impoverished hills of Eastern Kentucky. He managed to survive life as the son of a mother with many problems – and after time in the military, attended Ohio State, and then Yale. He’s now an attorney living in California. He wrote this book to reveal the secrets of his childhood and culture of origin.
Here’s my review: Hillbilly Elegy – BookLady’s Review
46. A book from a genre/sub-genre that you’ve never heard of
47. A book with an eccentric character Undecided.
UPDATE – April 21, 2017: I’ve decided to read this book that’s been in my audiobook collection for a long time – since 2011 when I was living with an angry, controlling, and dare I say, eccentric man. I guess I bought the book then but never got around to reading it. Now that I’m over that relationship I thought it might be interesting to listen to. I was so impressed by the introduction – I’ve decided to read the entire book.
UPDATE – May 3, 2017: I am not a fan of the audio narration but it is the fastest way for me to get all the information. I’m about half-way through this. About what turns a man into an abuser – Bancroft says it isn’t related to childhood abuse – it is actually a learned attitude about women – a belief they are inferior and should be controlled. An abuser feels entitled to do whatever he deems right to control the other person. In the case of the man I used to live with – it took the form of verbal tirades that were abusive verbally, emotionally, mentally and psychologically. Like many women in this kind of situation, it took me a long time to figure out that I was being abused. Bancroft says this is common when the abuse isn’t physical.
UPDATE – May 6, 2017: I finished the book yesterday. I’ll probably post a longer review than I could place in this spot. The book tripped my switches, especially the chapter on “Abusers as Parents” – I had many emotionally hurtful remembrances of the way my ex-husband used our children to hurt me after our divorce. Painful stuff!
48. A book that’s more than 800 pages
Undecided. Seriously – I might never get around to reading this. lol
49. A book you got from a used book sale
50. A book that’s mentioned in another book Undecided.
I finished reading The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains in January. (It was on my 2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge List.) Lovely book. This cowboy adventure morphed into a cowboy romance with his sweetheart, Molly Wood, trying to encourage her cowboy to read. One book she suggested, Emma, by Jane Austen, was definitely not a favorite of his. In fact, he pretty much refused to read it after getting a little taste of Jane Austen. However I’m reading it – and enjoying it somewhat. Emma is a meddler in the romances of others, and seems rather ignorant too… but she’s only seventeen. She’ll learn. I’m writing this as I’m 17% into it via Kindle.
UPDATE: Fini! – I finished reading Emma on March 28, 2017. What a saga! At first I didn’t even like Emma, and that’s a warning sign – not liking the main character, but she mellowed over time and corrected her mistakes. The ending was typical of Jane Austen. I’ll leave it at that.
51. A book about a difficult topic
A near-fatal, traumatic car accident brings greater faith to a woman’s life. (Christian memoir)
52. A book based on mythology
Happy reading, everybody!
Here’s the link to the PopSugar Reading Challenge for 2017.
The entire list for the PopSugar Reading Challenge, 2017, in case you need it…
This book doesn’t fit into any of the empty categories, but I want to read it. A captain. Year 1870. Gives a ride on his horse (I guess) to a girl going from Wichita Falls to San Antonio. I must read.