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.

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