Halfway through the year means time for another challenge check-in. I don’t think I’ve been paying enough attention to crossing things off this list, so as I’m starting this off I have no idea where I currently stand. Let’s find out.
Strikethrough font means I’ve completed the task, (parentheses) means I’ve designated a book for the slot but haven’t finished reading it yet.
Here is the first set of challenges: individual books.
- A book you didn’t get around to in 2017 =
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
- A book with a blue cover =
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
- A Stephen King book = (The Outsider)
- An illustrated Harry Potter book = (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling)
- A book you’ve loved in the past =
Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
- A book at least 1000 pages long =
It by Stephen King
- The last book in a series = (Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
- A book recommended by a friend = (Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi- currently reading)
- A prize-winning book =
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- A non-fiction book =
Night by Elie Weisel
- A book picked up on a whim from the library =
Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard T. Chizmar
- A book at the bottom of your to-read list = (Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)
- A book with a strong female lead =
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
- A book from the staff recommendations display at a bookstore = (Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan)
- A book in which a beloved character dies
- A Shakespeare play = (King Lear by Shakespeare)
- A book that takes place in space = (The Martian by Andy Weir)
- A book by a new-to-you author =
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
- A new book by an author you already love =
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
- A book of short stories
- A memoir =
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- A true-crime book =
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- A book with a five-word title = (Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor)
- A book set in another country =
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- A book of poetry = (Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur)
And for the second set: the big categories. Books that count for this part of the challenge can also be counted for a category in the set above or below.
- Twelve classics
Emma by Jane Austen Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide by Robert Louis Stevenson)
- (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)
- (The Odyssey by Homer)
- (The Waves by Virginia Woolf)
- (The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
- (The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas)
- (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle)
- (Dracula by Bram Stoker)
- (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)
- (King Lear by Shakespeare)
- Twelve books within a month of their publication dates
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner The Philospher’s Flight by Tom Miller Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan Red Rising Sons of Ares by Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin, and Eli Powell Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall Still Lives by Maria Hummel The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
- (The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager)
- (Dark Age by Pierce Brown)
- The rest of the A Song of Ice and Fire Series
- (A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- currently reading)
- (A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin)
- (A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin)
- All of my unread Book of the Month Club books
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- (Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich)
- (Artemis by Andy Weir)
The Power by Naomi Alderman
- (Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King)
- (Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- (Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane)
- (One Day
We’ll All Be Dead And None ofThis Will Matter by Scaachi Koul)
- (All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood)
- (Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller)
As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
- (The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne)
The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan The Oracle Year by Charles Soule Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
- (The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya)
Still Lives by Maria Hummel The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
- Nine books by Victoria/V. E. Schwab
- (The Archived)
- (The Unbound)
- (This Savage Song)
- (This Dark Duet)
- (A Darker Shade of Magic)
- (A Gathering of Shadows)
- (A Conjuring of Light)
Final set: some specific titles I definitely want to read in 2018. These can also count in the sets above.
- The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
- The Martian by Andy Weir
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
- Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman
Finis. So here’s where I stand:
- I’ve read 38 books that count for this challenge.
- I would need to read at least 92 books to fill every slot in this challenge.
- That’s about 41% completion at this point.
- I’ve read 61 books so far this year, which means
- I’ve read 23 books that don’t count for this challenge.
- I need to read at least 54 more books to fill every slot left.
I can work with that. Looking at these numbers, it would technically be possible to complete this challenge still by the end of the year. But I know I’m going to be reading more books that don’t count here.
And honestly, I’m okay with the fact that I might not read all of these books within the year. I chose the books I did to push myself to pick up unread titles from my shelves, and I have been. But I’ve also been focusing on reading quality over quantity this year, which means reading books that inspire me and teach me about the world instead of just reading a ton of titles that are easy to cross off a list. Overall, I’ve been really happy with the change in my reading this year as far as quality goes. I’ve been taking chances on trying new things, and I’ve been finding some phenomenal titles that I didn’t necessarily know to look for when I first constructed this challenge. I dont want to change the way my reading has been going this year just to finish this challenge, because in the end enjoying what I’m reading and learning from what I’m reading is more important to me than crossing titles off a list.
With that in mind, there are some categories here I’m sure I’ll finish before the end of the year, and some I probably won’t. The first set, with 25 individual books, should be fairly easy. Even if I don’t stick to the titles I’ve been plannnig, I’ve been having fun matching what I’m reading to the categories of that set, and I’m over halfway through that bunch.
The second set, the groups of books, I’m not so sure about. I’m way behind on classics, but I’ve been reading a lot of modern classics from the Penguin Modern collection; at some point I’ll decide how many of those short volumes equal one classic, and I think I’ll end up close to my 12-book goal.
I’ll definitely read more than 12 books within a month of publication; I’m not going to stop reading new publications when I reach that goal.
I don’t mind extending my Song of Ice and Fire read into next year, as long as I make some progress this year.
I would really like to catch up on my BOTM selections; that list is going to keep growing as I acquire more of their books throughout the year, but I think at some point (maybe this fall) I want to do a BOTM marathon to try to finish off that list.
And then we have Victoria Schwab. 9 of her books now seems a bit excessive, when really I just wanted to push myself to get started on reading them. I read one Schwab short story last year and I think I’m really going to like her books, but as long as I try a couple I really don’t mind not reading all of the Schwab books I’m interested in within 2018.
And finally, the last set, the specific books. I really wanted to be able to cross these ten off my TBR this year, but I just keep not reaching for them. My priorities have changed in the last 6 months, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to get to all of these or not. Some of them are more tempting than others at this point.
But whether I can complete the challenge or not, I think it’s accomplishing what it was meant to: I’m reading unread books from my shelves, and I’m reaching for books I think I’ll really enjoy instead of books that I can finish quickly. I’ll update again in three months, and your guess is as good as mine as to where I’ll stand at that point. But so far, I’m having a great reading year, and I’m not going to let any lists bog me down.
Are you working through a reading challenge this year? How’s it going? Have your interests changed throughout the year?
The Literary Elephant