February 2015

February was a real struggle for the Reading Challenge. I started many books, but between school getting into full-swing and catching up with work from missed snow days, I’ve felt rather scattered.  Every weekend has been rather social, despite the weekly snow storms. Also, things like laundry haven’t been as much of a priority due to general winter lethargy. Instead, I spent much time obtaining audiobook versions of the books I currently own, importing them to my computer, and transferring them over to my phone in preparation to listen. Of those, most of them are quite lengthy: 1Q84 (Murakami), The Night Angel Trilogy (Weeks), 11/22/63 (King), Revival (King), Incubus Dreams (Hamilton)…

So, although I wasn’t able to cross very many off the list this month, I should be able to make up for it soon. We’re also only 9 weeks into the year, meaning my average has been two books a week! Here we go — completed books in February:

discovery of witches deborah harkness
A book with magic: A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
the magician king, magicians, lev grossman
A book with nonhuman characters: The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
hatchet gary paulsen
A book written by an author with your same initials: Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
the hours michael cunningham
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: The Hours, by Michael Cunningham

 

I quite liked each of these books, actually… each for different reasons. Though Hatchet wasn’t my favorite, I now understand why it’s so popular with schools. Though, Paulen has a habit of repeating the same thing three-times over throughout the book…

A Discovery of Witches made me think of a grown-up version of a lot of teen paranormal romance books.

The Hours was beautiful, as was the film. I’ve always loved Michael Cunningham’s writing.

The Magician King may have claimed the highest rank this month. I read through it pretty quickly compared to the others, and I think I enjoyed it more than the first. The Magician’s Land is another that I have queued up in my audiobooks, but I don’t think I’ll count that one. I’ve found so many trilogies that I wanted to count, however, I had read the first installment prior to this year, so I’ve ruled them out…. Which is a real shame. That said, I was able to get a hold of audios for The Night Angel Trilogy which I’ve had since high school, so I’m looking forward to finally knocking those out!

 

Other’s I’m currently reading for the challenge include:

  • Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo
  • The Way of the Shadows – Brent Weeks
  • The Kiss of Deception – Mary Pearson
  • Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

 

January 2015

With the 2015 Reading Challenge constantly on my mind, I shot out of the gate last month, taking things head-on. I read 14 (and halves of two) books, accounting for just over a quarter of the entire challenge list. Knowing that my final semester of grad school is now underway, I wanted to make a dent in this list before I got too wrapped up in other things. These 14 books have (mostly) been great — I’ve enjoyed titles I never thought I would. Others… Well, I read them, and that’s that. Below is a compilation of these first 14 titles and which challenge requirement they satisfy.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard jk rowling
A book of short stories: Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling
the land of the pink pearl
A book that takes place in your hometown: The Land of the Pink Pearl, by L.D. Powles
The Walking Dead
A graphic novel: The Walking Dead, volume 1, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
The Little Prince
A book originally written in a different language: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
the house on mango street
A book you can finish in a day: The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
the tempest
A play: The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
A Separate Peace
A book you were supposed to read in school but never did: A Separate Peace by John Knowles
the scarlet letter
A book with a color in the title: The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Hobbit
A popular author’s first book: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Swimming-Pool Library
A book that came out the year you were born: The Swimming-Pool Library, by Alan Hollinghurst
I Am Not Myself These Days
A memoir: I Am Not Myself These Days, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Black & White
A book with antonyms in the title: Black & White, by Dani Shapiro
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore
A book that made you cry: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce
mortal heart his fair assassin
A book set in a different country: Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers

Top Two:
Mortal Heart — This title is the last book in the His Fair Assassin’s Trilogy, and I have absolutely loved the two previous entries. This one had several little moments that were great surprises and revelations that I greatly appreciated. Though, this was not as action-packed as the previous entries, I was rather satisfied with how things ended. AND, there was quite an extensive amount of research done for historical accuracy! I wouldn’t quite call this a fantasy, but there are fantasy bits to it. Though… Paganism/Religious/Magic… don’t all the lines blur after a while?

I Am Not Myself These Days — I’ve had this book on my shelves for years and years and years. Honestly, I think I bought it at a Barnes & Noble as a buy-two-get-one-free deal. I only really bought it for the cover back then. I had no idea who Josh was, and that was way before The Amazing Race or The Fabulous Beekman Boys. In 2013 I was able to meet Josh and his partner Brent when they came to a local bookshop for their cookbook tour. So, of course, I brought my copy of his CRAZY memoir along and he enthusiastically signed it. Several friends have mentioned that they’ve read it and loved it, and I’ll say that this is definitely up there with all the other books I really enjoyed. This book is filled with drag queens, drugs, and generally inappropriate things — which was a little cringe-worthy at times, but absolutely hilarious.

Bottom Two:
The Scarlet Letter — This was torture to read. Complete torture. I can’t believe kids had to read this in school. They still do, don’t they? I tried on this one, guys… I really did. I know people out there love Hester, but I’d rather just watch Easy A with Emma Stone. The 19th century writing style was verbose and unnecessary. The Land of the Pink Pearl, another book I completed in this month, was also written during the same time period, and was so, so much better. Sorry, I’m gonna boot this one.

The Tempest — It’s Shakespeare. That’s enough.