Category Archives: reading challenges

Bout of Books Days 4&5 Updates

There was a bit of a drop-off in my Bout of Books participation during Days 4 and 5 compared to the first few days, because work. But! I still managed to read two more graphic novels and start two other books–one is a bind-up of two novellas and an actual book on my physical tbr shelf, and the other is the first book in a romantic post-apocalyptic YA fantasy series.

I’m continuing to fail very hard at my goal of reading my own books, but as I haven’t yet posted about my reading goals of 2017, I’m deciding that it doesn’t count yet. I ended up going back to the library on Tuesday because I literally could not resist, and picked up four books–the next volumes of Alex + Ada and Giant Days, as well as Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (because I decided I was really in the mood for a new YA series) and Lord of the Flies by William Golding (because I have no idea how I haven’t read this book yet). So far Poison Princess seems like it’s a mash-up of like 18 different genres and like it’ll probably be a bit of a mess, but hopefully in a fun way. And for a classic, Lord of the Flies strikes me as a faster read and maybe something I can finish this weekend. So, I’m probably going to be putting the whole #readmyowndamnbooks thing on the back burner until Bout of Books is over, since mood reading seems to pair well with readathons for me.

Here are my stats for days 4 and 5:

Giant Days, Vol. 2 by John AllisonAlex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna

Day 4

Pages read: 136

Books started: Giant Days, Vol 2

Books finished: Giant Days, Vol 2

Day 5

Pages read: 158

Books started: Alex+Ada, Vol 3, Poison Princess

Books finished: Alex+Ada, Vol 3

 

How is everyone else doing with Bout of Books so far?

Bout of Books Days 1, 2, and 3 Updates :)

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So far, Bout of Books is going wonderfully, and as always, this readathon really comes at the perfect time. I was out of town visiting friends in New York for New Years’ weekend, so I started Bout of Books on Monday on the plane ride home by finishing a re-read of Ilona Andrews’s Magic Shifts, the 8th book in her Kate Daniels series, and starting the newest and penultimate book in that series, Magic Binds. Tuesday was a long day back at work; unfortunately it was one of those 12-hour workdays that never seem to end, but I picked up Thai food on the way home and settled in with Volume 2 of Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, a graphic novel series set in the near future that focuses on robots and ethics. I also read a bunch more of Magic Binds, which I was able to finish this morning since it’s my day off. I actually had a really productive reading day and was additionally able to finish the first volume of Giant Days, a graphic novel about three friends in their freshman year of college by John Allison and Lissa Treiman and Relish by Lucy Knisley, a graphic memoir about the author’s relationship with food. I also started So Much for That Winter by Dorthe Nors, an unconventionally formatted novella collection.

I always have these intentions of reading a bunch of books on my physical TBR shelf for readathons, but it usually doesn’t end up happening and I end up seduced by library and ebooks instead, since they tend to be my faster reads. For the first part of the readathon at least, I’ve really been in a graphic novel mood and I’m even tempted to return to my library to look for the next issues of Giant Days and Alex + Ada, so we’ll see how that goes.

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan LunaMagic Binds by Ilona AndrewsGiant Days, Vol. 1 by John AllisonRelish: My Life in the Kitchen

Here are my stats for the readathon so far:

Day 1

Pages read: 171

Books started: Magic Binds

Books finished: Magic Shifts

Day 2

Pages read: 246

Books started: Alex + Ada, Vol 2, Relish

Books finished: Alex + Ada, Vol 2

Day 3

Pages read: 456

Books started: Giant Days, Vol 1; So Much for That Winter

Books finished: Magic Binds, Giant Days Vol 1, Relish

Is anyone else participating in Bout of Books? How is the readathon going for you? Let me know!

I Finished the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge!

Time to celebrate! For the second year in a row, I’ve finished the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge! *parties*

I definitely was cutting things close here by finishing at the end of December; last year I was much more on top of my game. Oddly, the challenge task that I found most difficult was reading a middle-grade novel; I’ve had the rest of the challenge finished for over a month, but I just couldn’t find a middle-grade novel that really interested me. I actually ended up loving my choice (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente) and am really grateful to the Read Harder Challenge for making me pick it up. Other highlights from this challenge for me were Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (essay collection), The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (historical fiction set before 1900), and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (book featuring a main character with a mental illness).  My least favorite book of the challenge (because you can’t love everything, unfortunately) was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play), which was basically just a huge disappointment. It’s probably my own fault for not branching out more with that challenge task.

So, here’s what I read for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge:

✓ 1. Read a horror book
Fledgling by Octavia E. ButlerFledgling by Octavia E. Butler
✓ 2. Read a nonfiction book about science
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
✓ 3. Read a collection of essays
Bad Feminist by Roxane GayBad Feminist by Roxane Gay
✓ 4. Read a book out loud to someone else – I actually don’t know the name of the picture book I read out loud to my baby cousin. It was about a fancy dog who goes to visit a farm. That’s all I remember!
✓ 6. Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
Notorious RBG The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin CarmonNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
✓ 7. Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann AguirreEnclave by Ann Aguirre
✓ 8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (1980’s)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
✓ 9. Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award
Bossypants by Tina FeyBossypants by Tina Fey
✓ 10. Read a book over 500 pages long
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) by Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
✓ 11. Read a book under 100 pages
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins GilmanThe Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
✓ 12. Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
✓ 14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia
Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1) by Zen ChoSorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
✓ 15. Read an historical fiction book set before 1900
The Passion by Jeanette WintersonThe Passion by Jeanette Winterson
✓ 16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi OkoraforBinti by Nnedi Okorafor
✓ 17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years
Nimona by Noelle StevensonNimona by Noelle Stevenson
✓ 18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better. (Spoiler alert: both were bad.)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy FowlerThe Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
✓ 19. Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
✓ 20. Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette WintersonThe Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
✓ 21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction)
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3) by Elena FerranteThose Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
✓ 22. Read a food memoir
Yes, Chef by Marcus SamuelssonYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
✓ 24. Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysWide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Now that I’ve finished the 2016 challenge, I’ve started looking ahead to the 2017 Read Harder Challenge, which looks really interesting. Several of the tasks are pretty specific, but the Goodreads group has been a really helpful resource for finding ideas for each task, so I’m not too concerned. I’ve generally been able to complete the majority of the tasks without really trying to because I tend to read a pretty good variety of books; this year, though, it may not be so easy. But that’s why it’s called a challenge!
Did anyone else participate in the 2016 challenge, or are you thinking about joining in 2017? Let me know!

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI Sign-Up and TBR

RIP XI

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI takes place from September 1st, 2016 through October 31st, 2016. It’s a low-key reading challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings focused on completing different tasks (called “perils”) all focused on reading within the following genres:

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Gothic
Horror
Dark Fantasy

For more info, check out the link above!

In general, I always like to do some Halloween-themed reading during the fall, which to me usually means horror or dark SFF (last October I read Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire), so this challenge feels perfect for me. I also have a bunch of books on my TBR that seem like they would fit really well into these categories. I’m planning on participating in two of the perils, but I hope to read even more books in these genres if possible–it’s just more fun to read this type of book in the fall 🙂 This will be my first time participating in the challenge.

ripnineperilfirst

For this peril, you need to read four books from any of the six suggested categories (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror, or Dark Fantasy). There are so many awesome-sounding books on my TBR that would work for this peril; the only problem will be picking which ones! Some of these are on my physical TBR shelf and some I might try to get from my library, depending on how things go. I’m probably most excited about finally reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang, which I’ve heard so much talk about, and Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, an author I’ve yet to try but think I’ll love.

The Daylight GateThe VegetarianIn a Dark, Dark WoodLet the Right One InBird BoxCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)OutWhite is for WitchingMiserere: An Autumn TaleCold HillsideDeathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Dreams of Shreds and Tatters

 

ripnineperilshort

For this peril, all you need to do is read a short story that fits one of the above categories. I love short stories, so this peril is perfect for me; Kelly Link’s blend of horror and fantasy in particular fits in really nicely, and I also have Margaret Atwood’s short story collection on my TBR. I also think that Alyssa Wong’s Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers sounds really intriguing after hearing about it on Bina’s blog post about horror and women of color. Sharlene at Real Life Reading also posted a lot of great diverse suggestions for the RIP challenge.

Pretty Monsters: StoriesStone Mattress: Nine Wicked TalesHungry Daughters of Starving Mothers

 

Who else is participating in this challenge? Let me know and feel free to link me to your post!

Bout of Books Days 5, 6, and 7 Updates and Wrap-Up

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Bout of Books is complete, and I am super late with this wrap-up post! Overall, this was such a fun week of reading for me; I always love the bookish community aspects of readathons, and having more of a motivation to devote myself to books really helped with the craziness I’ve been having at work. Here’s how the last 3 days of the challenge went for me:

Day 5

  • Audiobook time: 40 minutes
  • Pages read: 249
  • Books started: none
  • Books finished: Everbound

Day 6

  • Audiobook time:  228 minutes
  • Pages read: 23
  • Books started: none
  • Books finished: none

Day 7

  • Audiobook time: none
  • Pages read: 57
  • Books started: Love Poems
  • Books finished: Love Poems

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And here are my overall totals for Bout of Books!

  • Books read: 5
  • Audiobook time: 586 minutes (about 9.8 hours)
  • Pages read: 958

I’m honestly super impressed with the amount of reading I got done; I’m already looking forward to the next Bout of Books from Jan 2-8. For more info, check out the Bout of Books site: http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/

Bout of Books Days 3&4 Updates

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And Bout of Books continues! I’m a little late posting this update, but here’s how days 3 and 4 went for me:

Wednesday was my day off from work, so I was able to sleep in and read in bed that morning. Morning reading is such a luxury and is getting to be rare for me, so it felt really nice to just be able to delay responsibilities for a bit and focus on my book. After running some errands (and hitting a library used book sale) I read on the roof for awhile in the sunshine, another thing I haven’t done in awhile but that I absolutely love. I was able to finish both my audiobook, The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg, and Everneath by Brodi Ashton; I ended up liking Everneath so much that I stopped by the library and got both sequels (Everbound and Evertrue). I’m heavily on Team Cole, although I have a bad feeling about how it will all go down in the end. Has anyone else read these books??? I would love to chat about it in the comments 🙂

Anyways, on Thursday I wasn’t in an audiobook mood; I downloaded the Suicide Squad soundtrack and was listening to that during my commute instead. I did start Everbound, the second book in the Everneath trilogy, and am really enjoying it so far, although the beginning was frustrating as I really wanted the action to get going.

So, I always do this thing where I tell myself I’m going to #readmyowndamnbooks during readathons, and then I end up getting hooked on a new series and reading a bunch of library books instead. I tend to get quicker reads (especially YA) from the library rather than buying them because it’s hard to justify spending money if I’m going to read something so quickly and am not planning on re-reading it. I’m trying not to feel guilty about abandoning my goal; I’ll have plenty of time to #readmyowndamnbooks after I finish this trilogy 😉

Here are my stats:

Day 3

  • Audiobook time: 73 minutes
  • Pages read: 314
  • Books started: Luckiest Girl Alive
  • Books finished: The Underground Girls of Kabul, Everneath

Day 4

  • Audiobook time: none
  • Pages read: 109
  • Books started: Everbound
  • Books finished: none

 

I hope everyone’s Bout of Books is going well! I’m hoping to get a bunch of reading done this weekend and finish strong.

Bout of Books Days 1&2 Updates

Have I mentioned how much I love Bout of Books?

I had such a stressful week last week, and so far the readathon has really been helping me to relax after work. I’ve been listening to an audiobook during my commute, and last night, although I went for a walk with some friends after work (OK, fine, we were hunting Pokemon) I ended up getting a bunch of reading done anyways.

 

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On Day 1, I was able to finish Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld, which I really loved–I’ve always been into sharks, and I loved how her graphic memoir dealt not only with her literal shark obsession but also with sharks as a metaphor for dangers lurking below the surface of things. I also started Everneath by Brodi Ashton, which is a YA book that I had actually started reading a year or two ago and had put down, I can’t remember why. During my recent BookTube binge-watching, I saw that Thoughts on Tomes had mentioned she’d read it, and although she wasn’t a huge fan, I was reminded that I’d liked the plot idea and decided to give it another try.

On Day 2, I spent a lot of time listening to my audiobook (The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg) and only a little time reading physical books. This book is at times devastating, but I’m also amazed by the strength of the women that Nordberg writes about. I started Pretty Monsters, a short story collection by Kelly Link, that night, but didn’t get very far as I was super sleepy. The fact that I fell asleep was not at all related to the awesomeness of the story, which is about someone digging up the wrong grave.

Here are my stats for the first two days of the readathon:

Day 1

  • Audiobook time: 58 minutes
  • Pages read: 190
  • Books started: Everneath, Everything is Teeth
  • Books finished: Everything is Teeth

Day 2

  • Audiobook time: 187 minutes
  • Pages read: 16
  • Books started: Pretty Monsters
  • Books finished: none

Wednesday is my day off, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a lot of reading done then. How is everyone else’s Bout of Books going so far?