January 2018 marks the beginning of my fourth year doing reading challenges! When my sister first brought these nifty lists to my attention I was immediately hooked, and they really have helped me expand my reading interests. I’ve discovered some fantastic books along the way. That being said….I never actually finished all of my challenges in 2015. By the end of that first year, I had one book left in Book Riot’s Read Harder and ten books left in PopSugar.
First, I said I wouldn’t start my 2016 challenges until I finished the ones from 2015. NOPE. The siren call of new books and new spreadsheets was too strong.
Then, I said I would finish the 2015 challenges before the end of 2016 – which was almost successful: I managed to read 9 of the 10 books leftover from PopSugar, leaving that final book and the one from Read Harder.
Finally, in 2017, I wrapped up that year’s Read Harder in July and Popsugar in October. With that done, it was time to defeat these last two hangers-on, these ink and paper albatrosses that had been weighing me down for almost three years.
Reader, I finished them.
Actual footage of me when I closed that last book for the last time:
Without further ado, here they are:
Read Harder 2015 Task 9: A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture.
The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden – This book was beautiful and brutal. And I mean brutal. I wasn’t able to read through this novel without stopping frequently and walking away. It’s full of strong but conflicting emotion, as the story is told through the point of view of a captured young Iroquois girl, resentful of the loss of her family; her captor, Bird, a powerful Huron warrior concerned about the white European newcomers; and Christophe, a French missionary traveling with Bird and struggling to bring his god to an alien people. Boyden’s elegant prose brings 17th century North America to life with a stark, violent intensity.
PopSugar 2015 Task 21: A book your mom loves.
Storm, by George R. Stewart – This book was a straight up challenge. It was quaint but somehow ruthless at the same time. Dated and a bit boring, but occasionally fascinating and horrifying. I didn’t particularly care for it by the time it was done, and it took me weeks of slogging and whingeing to actually finish it. But, I can appreciate why it’s beloved by many – the various vignettes depicting the effects of the massive storm system, the description of how meteorology was actually done before fancy electronic instruments, and the fact that it originated the idea of naming significant storms. I respect it, but I don’t like it.
And finally, here is the second half of my 2015 PopSugar task list (books read in 2016 in blue):
2) A classic romance: Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
8) A funny book: Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory
16) A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet: Beauty, Robin McKinley
18) A Pulitzer Prize winner: All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
21) A book your mom loves: Storm, George R. Stewart
22) A book that scares you: Locke & Key Vol. 1-6, Joe Hill
24) A book based on its cover: Uprooted, Naomi Novik
25) A book you didn’t read in school: Night, Elie Wiesel
26) A memoir: You’re Never Weird on the Internet, Felicia Day
29) A book set somewhere you want to visit: The Carnival at Bray, Jessie Ann Foley
30) A book from the year you were born: Fried Green Tomatoes, Fannie Flagg
31) A book with bad reviews: Armada, Ernest Cline
34) A book with a love triangle: Re Jane, Patricia Park
37) A book with a color in the title: Black River, Josh Simmons
39) A book with magic: The Library at Mount Char, Scott Hawkins
42) A book you own but have never read: The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World, Brian Allen Carr
43) A book that takes place in your hometown: First Grave on the Right, Darynda Jones
44) A book written in a different language: Blood on Snow, Jo Nesbo
45) A book set during Christmas: Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh
46) A book by an author with your initials: At the Water’s Edge, Sara Gruen
47) A play: Macbeth, William Shakespeare
48) A banned book: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
49) A book based on or turned into a TV show: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1), Jennifer Graham
50) A book you started but never finished: Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear