Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015 Summaries

This year I actually didn't finish one of my challenges. I've never done that before. But I felt like a couple of the lines on My Friend Sarah's Reading Challenge (also known as the Popsugar Challenge) weren't fair. I was feeling a ton of pressure at the end of the year to finish and two of the categories--A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't and A play--were ones I just really didn't want to read. I read the vast majority of what I was supposed to in school and the ones I didn't read, I really have no intention of reading. And plays just aren't something I believe anyone sits around and reads for fun. I was dreading fulfilling these last categories, and finally I decided I just wasn't going to read them and it was okay. These challenges are supposed to be fun, not torture, after all. I actually didn't get to 4 books for that challenge. I did finish the other two that were year-long challenges (Chunkster and Books in Translation) and I made an excellent dent in the State by State challenge, setting myself up to finish that one in 2016 as planned.

Chunkster Reading Challenge 
Wondering what’s a chunkster? A chunkster is an adult or YA book, non-fiction or fiction, that’s 450 pages or more.

Here’s the rules for this year’s challenge:
Audio books and e-books are allowed. You want to listen to a chunkster on audio? Be my guest. Essay, short story, and poetry collections are allowed but they have to be read in their entirety to count. Books may crossover with other challenges.
Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog. Feel free to leave your progress on the monthly link-up posts.  You don’t have to list your books ahead of time. Graphic novels don’t count. Reading a chunkster graphic novel isn’t the same as reading a non-graphic chunkster.

Carin says:
I've decided to do the Chunkster every year. The one year I didn't, I really missed it. Plus, when all my other challenges are focusing on quantity, the Chunkster helps me to not just read short books. I'm going for 5 books this year, as you just set your own goal.
1. Hawaii by James A. Michener 1036 pages
2. Keeping the House by Ellen Baker 560 pages
3. The Children by David Halberstam 785 pages
4. Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History by Andrew Carroll 500 pages
5. Early Warning by Jane Smiley 476 pages
6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 530 pages
7. Capital Dames: the Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts 494
5/5 as of 5/16/2015 DONE!

The Southern Literature Reading Challenge
Read a book(s)--non-fiction or fiction of any genre, for any age group--written by an author from the South and set mostly in the South. Definitions of the South are flexible, so I've decided to define it the way I want. That's the fun of hosting your own challenge, right? :-)

The states:
South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Florida

Please keep in mind that this is a Southern literature challenge. It's possible to find books set in each of these states that are not Southern in nature or feeling. Use your best judgment when choosing your books.

Carin says:
I'm signing up for Level 3--Have a glass of sweet iced tea, honey. Read 5-6 books. I am missing 5 southern states for the State by State Challenge (below): Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas. And I am Southern, and I find that while I like Southern Lit, I don't read it often. Although I do have some issues with Southern Lit, particularly how broad a category that is and how a lot of the books within it don't lump together well. I discussed that here.
1. Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce (Texas)
2. The Children by David Halberstam (Tennessee)
3. The Promise by Ann Weisgarber (Texas)
4. Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle (North Carolina)
5. Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle by Kristen Green (Virginia)
6. Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo (Tennessee)
6/6 as of 10/21/2015 DONE! Although I did not succeed much in broadening the Southern books I read.

2015 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
The goal is obviously to read translations of books, from any language into the language(s) you're comfortable reading in; they don't have to be in English.

Carin says:
For the last two years in a row, I've read no books in translation. That's just not right. I don't know why I haven't read any translated books recently as I have really liked the ones I've read in the past. I need to rectify this. I'm going to make a list on Goodreads right now, so I know which translated books I have already on my TBR list. I don't want to go crazy so I'm just signing up for Beginner: Read 1-3 books in translation. 
1. Police by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett 
2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, translated by Cathy Hirano 
3. Siegfried's Murder by Anonymous, translated by A.T. Hatto
3/3 as of 10/13/2015 DONE!

My Friend Sarah's Reading Challenge
This is a long list of wide variety! My friend Sarah is trying to read more books in 2015 so she found this challenge and has created a closed FB group for discussion. I am thrilled to help her try to read more, and I like these random-type of challenges as I read very randomly and the one I did last year was fun and easy. This one is very long, so it won't be as easy, particularly with categories like a book with antonyms in the title, and a book that takes place in your hometown. Sarah found the challenge here.

A funny book: She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
A book by a female author: Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin
A mystery or thriller: The Way of All Fish: A Novel by Martha Grimes
A book with a one-word title: Hawaii by James A. Michener
A book of short stories: Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle
A book set in a different country: Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
A nonfiction book: All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai
A popular author's first book: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: I Regret Nothing: A Memoir by Jen Lancaster 
A book a friend recommended: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
A Pulitzer-Prize winning book: March by Geraldine Brooks
A book based on a true story: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber 
A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A book your mom loves: The Natural History of a Yard by Leonard Dubkin
A book that scares you: Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick
A book more than 100 years old: Siegfried's Murder by Anonymous, translated by A.T. Hatto
A book based entirely on its cover: Good Grief: Life in a Tiny Vermont Village by Ellen Stimson 
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: 
A memoir: The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop by Steve Osborne
A book you can finish in a day: Here Is New York by E.B. White
A book with antonyms in the title: Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History by Andrew Carroll
A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion
A book that came out the year you were born: 
A book with bad reviews: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
A trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga) by Jane Smiley
A book from your childhood: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A book with a love triangle: The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton 
A book set in the future: Armada by Ernest Cline
A book set in high school: Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian
A book with a color in the title: Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith
A book that made you cry: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
A book with magic: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
A graphic novel: Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
A book by an author you've never read before:  Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
A book you own but have never read: Keeping the House by Ellen Baker
A book that takes place in your hometown: The Children by David Halberstam 
A book that was originally written in a different language: Police by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett 
A book set during Christmas: Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford
A book written by an author with your same initials: Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo
A play:
A banned book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
A book based on or turned into a TV show: The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel 
A book you started but never finished: 
39/43 as of 12/30/2015 DNF!

State by State in 2014-2016
Ever thought you would like to read your way across America?
The USA Fiction Challenge asks you to do just that.
Read just one book from each state - you choose whether the link is the setting or the author.
You choose whether you confine yourself to a particular genre or not.

Carin says:
I am extending this challenge over multiple years. I am picking setting (I think often where an author's from is wildly irrelevant to a book) and I am not confining myself to a genre. I had hoped to have 35 books done by the end of my first year but I only had 22. I am not confidant I can finish this next year, but I'm going to try. Finishing 2016 is the plan. 2015 is the middle year. I am marking in blue the books read in 2014.

Alabama: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
California: The Longest Date: Life as a Wife by Cindy Chupack
Columbine by Dave Cullen 
Connecticut: The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic by John Putnam Demos
DC: All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai 
Florida: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani 
Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley Jr.
Hawaii: Hawaii by James A. Michener
Illinois: Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen
Indiana: She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
Iowa: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn 
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
Maine: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin
Massachusetts: Defending Jacob by William Landay
Michigan: You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life by Pamela Smith Hill
Montana: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
New Hampshire
New Jersey: 
Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas 
New Mexico
New York: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
North Carolina: 
My Accidental Jihad by Krista Bremer
North Dakota: Nothing to Do But Stay by Carrie Young
Ohio: The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
Oregon: Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark
Pennsylvania: The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
Rhode Island: 
In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me about Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love by Joseph Luzzi 
South Carolina
South Dakota
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
Texas: Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
Utah: The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
Vermont: Good Grief: Life in a Tiny Vermont Village by Ellen Stimson
The House Girl by Tara Conklin
Washington: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
West Virginia: Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
Wisconsin: Keeping the House by Ellen Baker
Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith
22/51 in 2014
15/29 as of 9/15/2015
Leaving 14 for 2016!

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