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2017 Reading Challenges

I may have overextended, or at least overestimated, myself when I decided on what book challenges to take on in 2017. I chose the PopSugar Reading Challenge, since that’s always fun, as well as the Read Harder Reading Challenge, because I did want to “read harder” and thought I could do better than I did in 2016 (spoiler alert: I did much worse). I also took a look at Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge, figuring that I could easily fit my read books into those challenges without having to actively tackle them, and committed to the Mount TBR challenge. This last one I actually completed, having unambitiously committed to the lowest level. MMD went forgotten throughout the year, so it won’t be mentioned here (again), and I did so poorly with the Read Harder challenge (5/24. Pathetic.) that it’s not really worth listing either.

So, like last year, I’ll list the challenges and books I read to complete them, only for the PopSugar challenge. Bolded titles were highly enjoyed and are recommended and italicized are what I intended to read to complete the challenge. Complete reading list with ratings to follow in a later post.

A book recommended by a librarian: Bird Box – Josh Malerman
A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
A book of letters: The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
An audiobook: The Portrait, Ian Pears
A book by a person of color: Everything, Everything, Nikola Yoon
A book with one of the four seasons in the title
A book that is a story within a story
A book with multiple authors: Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan
An espionage thriller: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy – John Le Carre
A book with a cat on the cover: We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym: When Did You See Her Last? – Lemony Snicket
A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read: milk and honey – Rupi Kaur
A book by or about a person who has a disability
A book involving travel: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith
A book with a subtitle
A book that’s published in 2017
A book involving a mythical creature: The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of The Trials of Apollo series) – Rick Riordan
A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
A book about food
A book with career advice
A book from a nonhuman perspective: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
A steampunk novel
A book with a red spine: Push – Sapphire
A book set in the wilderness: White Fang – Jack London
A book you loved as a child: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited: A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
A book with a title that’s a character’s name: Silas Marner – George Eliot
A novel set during wartime
A book with an unreliable narrator: The Dinner – Herman Koch
A book with pictures: Shouldn’t You be in School? – Lemony Snicket
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you: Space Dumplins – Craig Thompson
A book about an interesting woman: Bossypants – Tina Fey
A book set in two different time periods: The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
A book with a month or day of the week in the title: Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
A book set in a hotel
A book written by someone you admire: A Fighting Chance – Elizabeth Warren
A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017: The Circle – Dave Eggers
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas: Liberty – Garrison Keillor
The first book in a series you haven’t read before: Who Could That Be at this Hour? – Lemony Snicket
A book you bought on a trip: Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan 

Advanced Challenges

A book recommended by an author you love
A bestseller from 2016
A book with a family-member term in the title: My Uncle Oswald – Roald Dahl
A book that takes place over a character’s life span
A book about an immigrant or refugee: The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
A book from a genre/subgenre that you’ve never heard of
A book with an eccentric character: Mary Poppins Comes Back – P.L. Travers
A book that’s more than 800 pages
A book you got from a used book sale: Pilgrims – Elizabeth Gilbert
A book that’s been mentioned in another book: Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl
A book about a difficult topic: Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
A book based on mythology

For the Mount TBR Challenge, the lowest level was Pike’s Peak – to read 12 books that you already own. Of the 34 books that I managed to finish, 16 were already on my shelves. A few were rereads, but I hadn’t read them since I was a kid, so they absolutely count.

This year, I’m planning on doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge again. I don’t really expect to finish it anymore, but it’s fun trying to find titles that will complete the challenges and being able to check them off. Plus, I might read a book that I otherwise wouldn’t have in trying to complete a challenge. Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenge also seems fairly simple, so I might try to tackle it more directly.

Finally, I came across a challenge on Instagram from @theunreadshelf, which, like the Mount TBR challenge, is to get through as many of your unread books as you can. I feel like this is the most worthwhile challenge, because I have SO MANY books that have literally just been sitting on my shelves for YEARS, nearly untouched. The first step to the challenge was to count how many books are currently unread on your shelf. I chose to skip that step because, frankly, it scares me. I know I have far too many. So instead, I’ll just take a tip from Whitney, the creator of the challenge, and be more mindful about my book-buying and limit myself more strictly. To give myself some credit, I feel like I did make an improvement on that count in 2017. I’ll also try to limit the number of books I check out from the library and plan out trips to the bookstore ahead of time so that I don’t get anything on an impulse (like that copy of The Book Thief I got about a week ago while I was meant to be buying a present for a friend. To be fair, I did get the present for that friend. Also, it was a signed copy. So get off my back).

I know that my attempt at blog-keeping last year was miserable (you could argue non-existent), and I will make a greater effort this year. Complete reading list, with ratings and favorite books, to follow.


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