Category Archives: Book Challenges

2015: My Reading Year in Review

2015 was a great reading year for me. I branched out into different genres while digging deeper into genres and authors I know I love. My top ten list for the year contains books that will become some of my all-time favorites (see my earlier post!). And, here, I’ll attempt to organize some stats about my reading year for the first time ever!

Total number of books read: 73

Total number of pages read: 23,167

Longest book read:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (722 pgs)

Shortest book read: (technically a short story)

Forbid the Sea by Seanan McGuire (20 pgs)

Average book length: 317 pgs

Most popular book I read this year (according to Goodreads): The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, with 481,331 other readers

Least popular book I read this year (according to Goodreads): Verses by Ani DiFranco, with 440 other readers

Average rating: 3.3 stars

Number of live author events attended: 3 (Kelly Link, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Dinaw Mengestu) (all were awesome)

Number of states I purchased books in: 4 (Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Louisiana)

Number of library used book sales attended: probably around 10. I tried to count, but I lost track.

Number of books I bought: infinity, approximately

Number of audiobooks I listened to: 4

Plays I attended (plays are similar to books…): 3: Book of Mormon, Twelfth Night, Spring Awakening

 

meta-chart

meta-chart(1)Reading Challenges:

✓Participated in Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon

✓Read more than 60 books

✓Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

read-harder-finisher-2015

✓Colorful Book Covers Challenge: read 3 books for each color

Red Cover
The Mime Order (The Bone Season, #2) by Samantha Shannon A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Me Before You (Me Before You, #1) by Jojo Moyes

Orange Cover
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5) by Ilona Andrews Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2) by Ilona Andrews The Martian by Andy Weir

Yellow Cover
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Green Cover
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3) by Ilona Andrews All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost A Novel by Lan Samantha Chang

Blue Cover
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) by China Miéville

Purple Cover
Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

Pink Cover
The City & the City by China Miéville Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Black Cover
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter Small Gods (Discworld, #13) by Terry Pratchett Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

White Cover
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Gray Cover
The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass Smoke and Mirrors Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye, #9) by Seanan McGuire

Brown Cover
Forbid the Sea (October Daye, #0.4) by Seanan McGuire Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2) by Neil Gaiman Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Colorful Cover
Euphoria by Lily King The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Here’s to even more awesome reading in 2016!

Bout of Books Reading Challenge!

 Bout of Books 15 is COMING!

One of my reading goals for 2016 is to participate in more reading challenges, so I’m kicking off the year with a week-long, low-pressure reading challenge: Bout of Books. I heard about this challenge after I participated in the Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon last year and was looking for similar challenges. So, while I’m still working on compiling my breakdown of my reading in 2015 (spoiler alert: there will be pie charts!) I’ll be working on reading more books than usual this week. Let me know if you guys are participating as well!

Here’s more information about the challenge:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Complete!

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I’m usually not a huge book challenge person. It’s surprising, since I’m obsessive and book nerdy in all other ways, but I don’t typically set challenges for the year and expect myself to finish them. I will pick an arbitrary number to set as a challenge on Shelfari and Goodreads, but I also cheat by continuously adjusting the numbers throughout the year depending on whether I’m feeling stressed about being behind on my reading or complete it early and feel like I should’ve set a higher goal for myself. But this year I discovered the Book Riot blog, which posts book reviews, lists, and bookish news, and their insightful and intriguing challenge to “read harder” in 2015–to challenge ourselves by reading more widely and pushing our typical genre boundaries. I was hooked. I even bought a “Read Harder” mug. And last week, I finally finished the 24-book challenge.

read-harder-finisher-2015

And I’m so glad I did! I loved finding books to fit the categories–most came directly from my own TBR shelf, and a lot of them I most likely would have read anyways, but some were books that I’ve been meaning to read for awhile and now had a deadline-induced reason to pick up sooner.

Favorite reads of the challenge? So many of them! The best for me were probably Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, and All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang. But there were so many other great ones–a lot of my favorite books of the year came from this challenge.

I was probably most surprised by the audiobook category–I’ve always been best at absorbing information through reading, not listening, and tend to zone out a lot. But the audiobook of Ready Player One was fantastic, and the story transcended the medium in which it was told. I went from being an audiobook snob who thought that listening to books would never work for me to a frequent audiobook listener who uses the books to liven up my commute.

The biggest stretches for me were poetry (because I like reading and thinking deeply about the occasional poem but am not a big fan of reading a lot of poems one after the other) and, surprisingly, a book written before 1850. I used to read a lot of classics (although, in retrospect, this may have been because when I was younger there wasn’t Shelfari or Goodreads and most of my book recommendations came from written lists in my school library) and this challenge really showed me how behind I am on my classics reading. I ended up choosing Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen’s first novel, which is sort of a satire on Gothic romance novels as well as a typical Jane Austen romances, and really enjoyed it. One of my bookish goals for 2016 (blog post for that is upcoming) will definitely be to read a few more classics than in the past years.

Least favorite book of the challenge? Weirdly, this was for the award-winning book category: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. I bought this at a library used book sale and thought it sounded like an interesting, intelligent read; what it actually was was pretentious. I hated it. I got it, but I felt like the entire book was just about the author celebrating how smart and tricky he was. I also was not a huge fan of The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, which was my pick for the “retelling of a classic story” category. This was the only book that was a real disappointment for me–the idea of feminist fairy tale retellings sounds right up my alley, but other than the title story, I didn’t really enjoy any of them. They weren’t as creative as I expected, and tended to be very repetitive read one after the other.

Here’s my challenge in its entirety:

✓ 1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
The Mime Order (The Bone Season, #2) by Samantha Shannon The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

✓ 2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion  The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

✓ 3. A collection of short stories
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

✓ 4. A book published by an indie press
All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang

✓ 5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

✓ 6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) by China Miéville Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

✓ 7. A book that takes place in Asia
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

✓ 8. A book by an author from Africa
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

✓ 9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
Euphoria by Lily King Euphoria by Lily King

✓ 10. A microhistory
Stiff The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

✓ 11. A YA novel
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

✓ 12. A sci-fi novel
Cloud Atlas by David MitchellCloud Atlas by David Mitchell

✓ 13. A romance novel
Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

✓ 14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

✓ 15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela CarterThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

✓ 16. An audiobook
Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Cline

✓ 17. A collection of poetry
Ani DiFranco Verses by Ani DiFrancoAni DiFranco: Verses by Ani DiFranco

✓ 18. A book that someone else has recommended to you
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1) by Jasper Fforde The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

✓ 19. A book that was originally published in another language
The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

✓ 20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind
Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

✓ 21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure
I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson

✓ 22. A book published before 1850
Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

✓ 23. A book published this year
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

✓ 24. A self-improvement book
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Now that it’s over, I’m a little sad–and extremely pumped for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge. Bring on the categories, Book Riot! I’m ready to go!