The first week of 2018 is almost over, and I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start! I’m coming at this year with a positive outlook, and while I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, I do have some personal, professional and blogging goals in mind. To have a successful book-related blog, of course, it requires lots of reading.
As such, I’ve committed to two reading challenges this year - because what better way to read more than to be (somewhat) competitive about it? Now, both of these challenges are intended to be low-key, low stress and not really all that competitive. But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to do my best to succeed at the challenges I set for myself. So, I wanted to share a bit about them with you (accountability and all that). And, if you’re interested, there’s still time to join both of them, so you too can enjoy the benefits of reading more in 2018. 🙂
Book Challenge by Erin (8.0)
Duration: January through April 2018
Challenge: Choose 10 books across specific categories and read as many of them as you can during the first 4 months of the year
All books must be 200 pages or more and you each book can only be used for 1 category. If you’d like to include a book you’ve already read, you can only do so once but you must actually re-read it for it to count.
You’re supposed to pick your 10 books up front, but it’s no big deal if you change your mind and want to read something else for that category instead! Most of all, this challenge is supposed to be fun - I personally am using it as a motivator to read a bunch of books on my TBR list, and I pulled the titles using as many books as I could from those I already own.
5 points (Freebie): Read a book that is at least 200 pages - The Secret Life of Bees
This was the third book I read this year (after MAUS I & II, more on that below), and I loved it. Great way to start the challenge!
10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “L” - Love & Gelato
This has been on my TBR for a bit now, and while I don’t own it, the library has it readily available. I picked it before I joined the challenge from A Literary Feast, but it fits for the February pick, so it’s conveniently going to do double-duty for me.
10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) red cover - Red Clocks
This is one of the books I’m most looking forward to this year, and I was so excited to see that BOTM had it as one of their January selections! You can bet I scooped it up, so there will be no library waitlists for me this time. I can’t wait to get started on it.
15 points: Read a book with a character’s name in the title - The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
This was a BOTM sometime in the middle last year, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since. I’ve heard amazing things about it, though, which is why I’ve kept it, and now I have a great excuse to pick it up and experience it for myself.
20 points: Read a book from Book Riot’s list of 100 Must-Read Books with Plot Twists - The Book of Unknown Americans
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book through my office’s Diversity Book Club, but was unfortunately not able to attend when the time came (due to meetings and all that). I was surprised to see it on this list - not exactly a book I was expecting to have a big plot twist. Now I’m all the more excited to finally be able to check it out.
20 points: Read a book with the words “house” or “home” in the title - The Two-Family House
Another book from my TBR, but not one I owned until this past week - thanks to a very fortunate book swap! I had a few books I could’ve chosen for this category, but this one has intrigued me from a distance for long enough.
25 points: Read a book by an author whose first and last name begins with the same letter - The Mothers by Brit Bennett
When I was perusing my shelves for alliterative authors this is the first one that caught my eye. I got it in a book swap last year (seriously, where would I be without book swaps?) and don’t know a ton about it, but I’m sure it’ll be worth the read.
30 points: Read a book that was originally published in a different language than your own - Britt-Marie Was Here
Britt-Marie was originally published in Swedish by the wonderful Fredrik Backman, who has written a couple of my favorites (such as My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry), so naturally I was excited to dive into his charming writing again. It’s the second book I decided to tackle from the challenge and I'm about a third of the way through. So far, so good!
30 points: Read a book where most of the action takes place on a form of transportation (i.e. bus, boat, car, plane) - Life of Pi
Such an interesting category! My first thought was of the movie Speed, but that wasn’t a book and so obviously I couldn’t pick that. I remember loving Life of Pi when I read it before, but it’s been so long now, that I don’t recall much of the specifics - except that it takes place mostly on a raft. Perfect for this challenge! And another book already on the shelf 🙂
35 points: Read a book with a character that suffers from a debilitating physical illness - Tell the Wolves I’m Home
Full disclosure: I don’t know much about this book, except that when I was googling around trying to find a book for this category that I hadn’t already read (since I used my re-read for the previous category), it popped up. It was on my TBR and the library had some copies, so here we are. I’m looking forward to it, and also a grateful that I don’t have any high expectations to hamper my reaction.
Have you read any of the books above? What would you recommend picking up next?
If you're interested in joining Erin's challenge, stop by her Facebook page here. There are typically three challenges per year, each lasting four months.
2018 Reading Challenge from A Literary Feast
Duration: Entire year
Challenge: Read a book in each appointed category, which changes each month
My kindred spirit in the book blogging community, the lovely Grace of A Literary Feast, started this challenge and I'm excited to be able to support her and participate. I only chose the first few months, since even summer seems so far away in these frigid temperatures! I’ve outlined all the categories below though, so you can get a feel for what the rest of the year will bring.
January: A book that was published in your birth year - MAUS I (and MAUS II)
MAUS I has been on my TBR list for several years now, and conveniently it was also published in 1986! The second one was published a few years later, but together they’re still pretty short - and as graphic novels, quick to get through. These were the first books I picked up in 2018 because the library was super quick on their interlibrary loans, and I finished both on January 1.
February: A book that has a food in the title - Love & Gelato
I already mentioned the double-duty this book is doing, which is awesome in and of itself. I’m also excited about the prospect of making gelato. (Ice cream has no season, so I don’t care that it will still be unbearably cold outside when I do it.)
March: A book that was made into a movie you’ve already seen
I haven’t chosen a book for March yet, and I’m all over the map for this category. Initially, after a quick search, I was leaning towards The Green Mile because I enjoyed the movie… but I’m super terrified the book will be scary where the movie wasn’t really. Then, while watching Funny Farm over the holidays, I discovered it was actually based on a book and thought maybe I’d pick that because it’s more light-hearted. I don’t know, guys… I’ve seen a lot of movies but I’ve also read a lot of books-turned-movies, so I’m trying to find one I’ve seen but not read yet. Looking for suggestions!
April: A book set in a country that intimidates you
May: A book that you saw a stranger reading in a public place
This would’ve been amazing when I lived in NYC and rode the subway all the time. I think I’m going to have to start hanging out in some coffee shops or airports between now and then.
June: A book about a mid-life crisis or finding your true self
July: A childhood classic that you’ve never read - The Little Prince
This is the lone book I chose past February, mostly because as soon as I saw this category, I knew what it had to be. The Little Prince is one of my coworker’s favorite books, and after hearing all of her praise about it, I’m looking forward to finally reading it too. That being said, I’ll probably have to get it out of the library since her copy is in French.
August: A book that you’ve loved and read before
I don’t usually re-read so this will be a welcome change of pace.
September: A book that was published in 2018
October: A blind date book (someone else chooses for you)
I’m going to let Deanna pick this one for me, since I am constantly forcing her to read books I recommend, and I know I can trust her to pick a good one.
November: A book with an ugly cover
Because you should never judge a book by its cover.
December: A book set in a cold climate
Obviously looking for recommendations for the book/movie category, but if you have suggestions for the others I haven’t chosen yet, please comment below! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂 If you're interested in joining the 2018 challenge from A Literary Feast, there may still be time - check out the original post here.