Challenges of a Reading Challenge

It sucks to realize that you, well, suck at something.

I sucked at completing my reading challenge last year. Around this time last year, I posted about a reading challenge that I had found on another blog. If that blogger was giving grades for challenge completion, she would have given me a big, fat, slightly hungover, “F” for failure.

I keep track of the book I read on my Goodreads app. If you are a reader and you have never checked out this app, I highly recommend. You can keep running lists of the books you’ve read, want to read, etc. You can also rate the books you’ve read and leave reviews for other readers to check out. I’m not very good at writing reviews, so don’t be disappointed if you hop on the app and become my friend. It is a great way to find out what other people think about a book before you click “Buy It Now” on Amazon and it is on your doorstep in 2 days.
According to my Goodreads list, I read 30 books in 2016. Impressive right? I guess it all depends. My friends who aren’t readers are thinking, “That’s crazy!” My friends who are devoted readers might be thinking, “That’s a nice effort. Better luck next year.” Along with the reading challenge I found on the blog I mentioned, I also set a reading challenging on the Goodreads site as well. This challenge allowed you to set a goal for the number of books that you want to read for the year. My goal was to read 40 books. So, yeah, I failed that one too. But still! 30 books!
Here was the challenge from last year and what I actually ended up reading.

a book published this year: This one is easy. There will be many books published in 2016 that I’m sure I want to read, but I already have a few picked out. The Year We Turned FortyThe After Party, and The Nest all look good and will most likely be downloaded to my Kindle when available.

So I did read The Nest. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. But that wasn’t the only book published in 2016 that I read. I did pretty well on this particular part of the challenge. I also read: 

  • My Name is Lucy Barton
  • How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living
  • The Dinner Party
  • Modern Lovers
  • Lily and the Octopus (hated, couldn’t finish)
  • The Hopefuls
  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
  • Truly Madly Guily
  • Girl in Pieces
  • Commonwealth (loved!)
  • Today Will Be Different (meh…)
  • The Children
  • The Magnolia Story.

a book you can finish in a day: I’ve already started this one. American Housewife is a collection of short stories that you can devour in one sitting. Of course, it’s taking me a day or three due to children, housework and sleep getting in the way, but I’m still counting it.

I don’t know if I actually finished it in a day, but it was damn near close. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book in one day. I read too many books at once. Right now I’m currently reading 15 books according to my Goodreads list. Not kidding.

a book you’ve been meaning to read: Oh this list is long. Stupid long. Like, I could go without buying a new book for the next three years and have plenty to read long. But if I have to pick one (for sake of time), I’ll go with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s waited on my shelf long enough. There’s also A Prayer for Owen Meany who has been patiently waiting and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry that I bought at my favorite indy bookstore last fall looks soooo good.

I didn’t read any that I listed above, but there were others that I finally read:

  • Orphan Train (listening on
  • Running with Scissors (crazy! but good)

a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller: Whenever I go to my favorite indy bookstores, I love reading the handwritten recommendations by the workers at the store. However…I have trouble with recommendations. Every reader is different. We like what we like and what we like might not be what others like. So, I’m not sure that this will be a challenge that I will be able to meet. We’ll just have to see.

I receive a lot of recommendation by listening to the podcast called, What Should I Read Next. There have been several books discussed during this podcast that I have gone on to read or have in my gigantic, ever-growing to read pile. If you haven’t discovered podcasts yet and you are a book lover, I highly recommend.

a book you should have read in school: Well, I’m sure there are plenty that I should have read in school, but I’m going to go with a classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I’ve never read Twain that something about that feels sacrilegious.

Tom’s gonna have to wait for another year.

a book chosen by your spouse, child or bff: My husband knows better than to make any recommendations for me, and I really don’t want to read any Star Wars books that my children might pick out. My friends are good at recommending books so this one might have to be their choice.

Again, the WSIRN podcast was my go-to for recommendations.

a book published before you were born: This would be before 1973. I’ll have to do a little research on this one.

I  never did any research on this one.

a book that was banned at some point: Apparently Tom Sawyer was banned at some point so that one will count twice.

Tom lost out again.

a book you previously abandoned: This is not a challenge that I’m going to mess with. Life is too short to read books you don’t like. Not gonna do it.

And I stuck to my word. Too many books to waste time on bad ones.

a book that you own by have never read: Oh there are so many. I’ll go with California and The Children’s Crusade. There’s also My Southern Journey that I can’t wait to read and In the Unlikely Event that I would be embarrassed to tell my hero Judy Blume that I have not read yet!

Yep, so I still own all of those books listed above and haven’t read any of them yet. Even though I read 30 books, the to-read piles in different corners of my house only continue to grow bigger and bigger. I read something once that this reader wanted all of the publishers to stop publishing books for at least a year, maybe two, just to give her time to catch up. That’s how I feel. Let me catch up people. And now it’s a new year which means there are lots of new books coming out. In fact, I think I have one that I pre-ordered from Amazon arriving on Thursday.

a book that intimidates you: I adore author Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s also on my hero list. I just finished her book Big Magic and it made me crazy happy to read. Her book The Signature of All Things has been on my shelf ever since it was published. I bought it because of my clear adoration of the author, but the subject matter less than thrills me. Okay, it really doesn’t interest me. At. All. The book doesn’t intimidate me as much as it doesn’t excite me. I think we can still count it.

I didn’t read anything this year that I found intimidating. I read whatever I was in the mood for. I don’t need pressure from fat intimidating books.

a book that you’ve already read at least once: I’m not into this one. Unlike my son who has read the entire Harry Potter series twice (and some of the books even three times.) But me? Once I’m done with a book I’m done. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book more than once. So I think this is another challenge I will choose to pass on.

Which is exactly what I did. Passed.

So here we are. After reviewing my failures, dare I attempt another reading challenge? You betcha!

Reading for fun. That’s me. Although it looks like there are some challenges on here that are very similar to last year, damnit. But there’s also this one…
I think I’m going to take a little from each and go from there. We’ll see what happens! One thing I know for certain. I will definitely be reading this year. That’s one challenge I happily accept.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.