Reading List: Powell’s staff’s best books of 2016

Powell’s just released their Staff Top 5 Picks of 2016 yesterday. I crunched the numbers* and calculated their “consensus” Top Ten. Presented in order of most to least total points, they are (links take you to Powell’s, because that seemed appropriate):

PowellsBestOf2016

  1. The Lonely City by Olivia Laing (20 points)
  2. The Girls by Emma Cline (17 points)
  3. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (12 points)
  4. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (12 points)
  5. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (11 points)
  6. What Is Obscenity? by Rokudenashiko (10 points)
  7. The Fireman by Joe Hill (10 points)
  8. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (10 points)
  9. LaRose by Louise Erdrich (10 points)
  10. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (10 points)

What I love about this list is that there are so many books on here that I’d not heard of before. Sure, I knew that The Girls and The Fireman were getting a lot of buzz. I’ve also been hearing great things about Commonwealth. I’ve already started Homegoing and the first few chapters are great. But, other than that, the rest are completely new to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I trust Powell’s staff recommendations. So, I’ve added these to my to-read shelf and created a separate PowellsBestof2016 Goodreads shelf to keep track of them. I’ve already started Homegoing, but if you’ve read anything else on this list, or are planning to read anything else here, let me know what you think/recommend in the comments.

 

* In case you’re interested, here’s how I came up with the total points… I did some good old “copying and pasting” of all the lists into a spreadsheet. Then I assigned points to each mention of each book based on where it appeared in each list (5 points for first place, 4 points for second place, etc.). Then I made a pivot table and sorted the results by total number of points in descending order. There was an obvious cut-off after the first ten books. After that, there were a bunch with 9 points each. So I capped the list at ten books.

I did this same analysis last year for the Powell’s Staff Top 5 Picks of 2015. You can check out that post here if you missed it. You can also check out my shelf for those books on Goodreads, where I’m keeping track of what I’m reading.

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Mid-year Progress Update: Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge

Even though I said I wasn’t going to do any book challenges this year, I have been tracking progress against Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge, a list of 24 reading tasks to be completed in 2016.

I’m still trying to find a good way to keep track of the tasks and which book I plan to read for each. I created a new Goodreads shelf, and I’m thinking about printing out a copy of their form. But, for now, I’ll just re-post the list of tasks below along with the book I selected for each. Bold means I’ve completed that task (6 done so far), and blue means it’s on my TBR for July.

Below is the list for 2016 (book selections are in parenthesis):

  1. Read a horror book (Slade House)
  2. Read a nonfiction book about science (Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves)
  3. Read a collection of essays (The Empathy Exams)
  4. Read a book out loud to someone else (Information Doesn’t Want to be Free)
  5. Read a middle grade novel (The School for Good and Evil)
  6. Read a biography, not a memoir, or an autobiography –> Kingpin
  7. Read a dystopian or post apocalyptic novel (The Harvest)
  8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (To Ride Pegasus <–technically a re-read, but I’d intended to re-read it anyway)
  9. Listen to an audio book that won an Audie Award –>Yes Please
  10. Read a book over 500 pages long –> A Court of Mist and Fury
  11. Read a book under 100 pages –> Binti
  12. Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender (George)
  13. Read a book that is set in the Middle East (Escape From Baghdad!)
  14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia (The Ghost Bride)
  15. Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 (Hild)
  16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color (the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy)
  17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years –> Bitch Planet
  18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie (The 5th Wave)
  19. Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes –> Lean In
  20. Read a book about religion, fiction or non-fiction (No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam)
  21. Read a book about politics in your country or another, fiction or non-fiction (maybe Our Kids or North Korea Confidential)
  22. Read a food memoir (An Embarrassment of Mangos)
  23. Read a play (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
  24. Read a book with a main character who has a mental illness (The Boy Who Went Away)

Is anyone else participating in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge this year? If so, what are you reading?

The Goodreads Book Tag

When I saw this on Zezee with Books blog yesterday, I thought it looked fun and wanted to give it a go. I’m a big fan of tracking my reading, and of Goodreads. It feels like I’ve been tracking my reading on Goodreads since the dawn of time. But, according to my profile, it appears I’ve only had an account since October 2008. I guess that sort of is the dawn of time in internet years… Anyway… Enough with the babbling. On to the questions!

goodreads

1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman — my husband and I listened to this during our vacation road trip.

PaddleYourOwnCanoe
2. What are you currently reading?

Over the weekend I (finally) started Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds. He is one of my favorite (living) sci-fi authors, but so far this novella is just not sucking me in. I’m going to stick with it and see if it gets better.

SlowBullets
3. What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

Over the weekend, I noticed that two books I’d been wanting to read went on sale: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Since I added them in that order, I guess that makes the answer to this question:

ClockworkAngel
4. What book do you plan to read next?

A few months ago I got the second book in the Neapolitan Novels (The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante) from the library, but I never got around to reading it before the loan ended. I had to put it on hold again and it’s just become available. So, I think that’s probably what I’m going to read next.

StoryOfANewName
5. Do you use the star rating system?

Yes, but I rarely give anything less than three stars.
6. Are you doing a 2016 Reading Challenge?

Yes. My goal is to read at least 50 book-like things this year. I count audiobooks, novellas, and comic trades against that total. That works out to about one book a week and so far I’m right on track to hit my goal.
7. Do you have a wishlist?

Yes. I track that on Amazon, but I also have some wishlist books on my “to-buy-borrow” shelf.
8. What book do you plan to buy next?

Do pre-orders count? Because unless one of my wishlist books goes on Kindle sale between now and the 5th of July, my next planned book purchase is This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. This will be the second book I’ve read by her, but I loved Vicious so much that she instantly became an “auto-buy” author for me. I still need to read her more popular series, but I’m waiting until the final book comes out and saving it for a time when I can really savor it. In the meantime, I’m eagerly looking forward to this book landing on my Kindle in a few weeks.

ThisSavageSong
9. Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

These are some of my favorite book and book-related quotes:

quotes
10. Who are your favorite authors?

There are so many authors I love, I’m sure I’ll forget someone… But, as I mentioned above, Victoria Schwab and Alastair Reynolds are definite favorites. So are Rainbow Rowell, Sarah J. Maas, John Scalzi, Kristin Cashore, Erin Morgenstern, Scott Hawkins, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert, Madeleine L’Engle, and Anne McCaffrey… just to name a few… 🙂
11. Have you joined any groups?

I’ve joined three groups on Goodreads: Book Riot’s Read Harder ChallengePowell’s City of Books fan clubTop 5 Wednesday, but I’m not really active in any of them. I honestly haven’t quite gotten into the groups function in Goodreads.

11. Who do you tag?

If you haven’t done this and you think it looks fun, consider yourself tagged! And post a link to your blog in the comments so I can go read your post.

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things I Love about The 100 (tv show)

toptentuesday

Trying something new this week… I thought I’d give the Top Ten Tuesday writing prompts a go. This week’s topic is: “Ten Reasons I Love X.” Since I just finished watching the season finale of The 100, that was immediately what came to mind when I saw this prompt. So, I give you…

Ten Reasons I Love CW’s The 100 (tv show):

  1. The writers are consistently and equally cruel to all the characters. — No one likes to see bad things happen to their favorite characters, but good writers know you have to make your characters suffer in order for the really good moments to be emotionally satisfying. What’s great about The 100 is that no character is exempt from this rule. I can’t name one that hasn’t lost someone that they deeply cared about (usually in some horrific way, and sometimes at their own hand due to some awful choice they had to make that had no good solution).
  2. No character is 100% “good” (or 100% “bad”). — Similar to reason #1, I love it when books, movies, and tv shows can pull off sympathetic characters that are morally all shades of grey. This is one of the reasons why I love Game of Thrones, and I think The 100 does this equally well.
  3. The languages are fantastic. — I love that the same guy (David Peterson) who did all the languages for Game of Thrones also did all the languages for this show. Every once in a while you catch an almost-English word in the Grounder language and it sounds like something that really could have developed over generations in a post-apocalyptic future which makes it feel really authentic. I heard this guy speak about how he comes up with these languages and he is amazing. Seriously. Check out this video if this is at all interesting to you.
  4. It’s hard to predict what will happen next. — I love trying to guess plot twists. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But the writers of The 100 do such a great job keeping me guessing, or doing the complete opposite of what I expect will happen, that I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out where they’re going and I’m just enjoying the ride.
  5. I wasn’t expecting (and really enjoy) the AI backstory / plot development. — This is a good example of reason #4, above, and it’s probably a spoiler if you haven’t watched past the first two seasons. I had no idea this would be a thing, but it makes so much sense. When they finally did the flashback shows this season and it all came together, I just loved it.
  6. The adults have a lot to learn from the “kids.” — At nearly every turn the adults seem to find a way to mess things up. The original 100, or at least what’s left of them, worked so hard to put a life together on the ground. Then the adults came down and screwed everything up because they thought they knew better. It’s infuriating, and perfect.
  7. The Grounders are badass. — Sure, they’re brutal, but that’s how they survived. And did you see Lexa fighting in the season finale? I mean… badass.
  8. Lexa. — Speaking of my favorite Commander… Lexa is awesome. RIP.
  9. Clarke. — While part of me wishes I could be as badass and coldhearted as Lexa, deep in my heart I know, in terms of leadership, I’m basically Clarke. I know this just like I know that, because of my tendency to put a premium on loyalty, integrity, and “doing what’s right,” I’d definitely be “House Stark” (and probably ended up like Ned and/or Robb). I can totally relate to Clarke and 9/10 times I’d probably make the same (flawed) decisions that she’s made.
  10. The diversity! — I know it’s not perfect, but have you seen the diversity on this show? And it’s not a “thing,” it just exists, just like humans exist, in all their colorful and varied forms, abilities, and sexual orientations. Characters aren’t stereotypes. They’re human and multi-dimensional. I don’t really know of another show, or movie for that matter, that’s doing this as well as The 100 does. If you do, let me know. And again I’ll state, they aren’t perfect, but they’re doing a lot of things right and I appreciate that.

I will freely admit that the first season was a little hit or miss, and I don’t really know what exactly kept me watching. I know plenty of people who’ve bailed out and stopped watching it. Probably nothing I say will change their minds. But I’m so glad I stuck with it. This is definitely one of my favorite of all the currently airing tv shows.

Progress Update: Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge

Even though I said I wasn’t going to do any book challenges this year, I have been tracking progress against Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge, a list of 24 reading tasks to be completed in 2016.

I’m still trying to find a good way to keep track of the tasks and which book I plan to read for each. I created a new Goodreads shelf, and I’m thinking about printing out a copy of their form. But, for now, I’ll just re-post the list of tasks below along with the book I selected for each. Bold means I’ve completed that task (5 done so far), and blue means it’s on my TBR (6 on deck) to read between now and June.

Below is the list for 2016 (book selections are in parenthesis):

  1. Read a horror book (Slade House)
  2. Read a nonfiction book about science (Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves)
  3. Read a collection of essays (The Empathy Exams)
  4. Read a book out loud to someone else (Information Doesn’t Want to be Free)
  5. Read a middle grade novel (The Neptune Project)
  6. Read a biography, not a memoir, or an autobiography –> Kingpin
  7. Read a dystopian or post apocalyptic novel (The Harvest)
  8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (To Ride Pegasus <–technically a re-read, but I’d intended to re-read it anyway)
  9. Listen to an audio book that won an Audie Award –>Yes Please
  10. Read a book over 500 pages long (Poseidon’s Wake)
  11. Read a book under 100 pages –> Binti
  12. Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender (George)
  13. Read a book that is set in the Middle East (Escape From Baghdad!)
  14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia (The Ghost Bride)
  15. Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 (Hild)
  16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color (the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy)
  17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years –> Bitch Planet
  18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie (The 5th Wave)
  19. Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes –> Lean In
  20. Read a book about religion, fiction or non-fiction (No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam)
  21. Read a book about politics in your country or another, fiction or non-fiction (maybe Our Kids or North Korea Confidential)
  22. Read a food memoir (An Embarrassment of Mangos)
  23. Read a play (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
  24. Read a book with a main character who has a mental illness (The Boy Who Went Away)

Is anyone else participating in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge this year? If so, what are you reading?

A reading list for January 2016 (and beyond)

I ended 2015 reading non-fiction.

Between the World and Me

And the first book I finished in 2016 was also non-fiction.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

So, I thought I might run with the non-fiction theme in this first month of 2016. To that end, I created a January TBR of all non-fiction books.

January TBR

Here are some more details and thoughts on these books:

  • The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck (audiobook, library) — I started this audio book during our holiday travels, but didn’t get very far. It’s a LONG audio book. It’s entertaining, but dense with details on basically everything you never knew you wanted to know about the Oregon Trail: mules, wagons, people, routes, etc. And I’m only 25% done. Phew.
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (hardcover, signed) — I’m already about half finished with this book. So far I think it has several things in common with Felicia Day’s book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), but I’m not enjoying it as much. Possibly it’s because I’m just more of a Felicia Day fan than an Amanda Palmer fan (even though I like both of them). Possibly it’s because I can relate more to Felicia Day. I don’t know. I may have more thoughts on this after I finish the book.
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Kindle) — As I mentioned in a previous post, I purchased this book in July 2014 but still haven’t read it, and it was the book most recommended to me by friends and family in 2015. Time to get reading.
  • Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free by Cory Doctorow (hardcover, signed) — This is a short book about copyright laws, a topic of great interest to me. I’ve listened to Cory Doctorow talk about these issues on several occasions, and if his book is anything like his talks, I think I’ll really enjoy this one.
  • Deep by James Nestor (Kindle) — Ever since I watched The Big Blue in a high school French class (in French), I’ve loved the idea of free diving. Nestor’s book talks about the science behind this sport that fascinates me so much.
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg (Kindle) — This is the book I least want to read on this list. But, it’s short. Based on what I’ve read about this book, I’m not sure I buy into her advice, but I know a lot of people think highly of her and the advice she dispenses in this book. So, I’m going to read what she has to say.

And more about the one I finished:

  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (Kindle) — I picked this up because it was on sale and I have a vague awareness of Mindy Kaling as someone I think is cool even though I’ve never seen The Office (yeah, I know…) or her show on NBC (It’s on NBC, right? I can only watch TV on my computer, so I don’t pay attention to networks these days.). In general, I don’t watch a lot of sit-coms anymore. But I enjoyed the book. It’s funny. In a few places it is even laugh-out-loud funny. It made me like her even more, and maybe want to watch her shows. Or at least read her latest book.

In general, my intention for 2016 is to read books I already own, since I own about 100 books that I haven’t read yet. If I really want to read something that I don’t own, I’m trying to get it from the library before I consider buying more books. The exception to this plan is going to be for 2016 new releases that I am super excited about. So excited that I can’t wait for them to go on sale or for a library hold, and must read them immediately upon release.

Some examples from my pre-orders shelf on Goodreads:

2016 Releases

As you can see, several of these don’t even have titles and/or official covers yet… but they’re due out this year and I’m so excited to read them! About half of these are written by what I would consider to be my “auto-buy” authors (Alastair Reynolds, Sarah J Maas, Laini Taylor, Victoria Schwab, Curtis Sittenfeld). The rest are either the next in a series I enjoyed (Sabaa Tahir’s book), or debut novels by PitchWars mentors that sounded like books I would love. There’s one more that should be on this list, but Goodreads seems to think comes out in 2017, even though I’m pretty sure it’s a 2016 debut novel: The Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves.

I know I already said no book projects or challenges in 2016. I’m sticking to that. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and not follow through with any of these plans. 😉

Reading List: Powell’s staff’s best books of 2015

I don’t read a lot of literary fiction, but when I do it’s almost always because it was a Powell’s staff pick. Maybe it’s our shared Pacific Northwest sensibilities, but if Powell’s staff loves something, it’s highly likely that I will also love it. That’s why I subscribe to their Indiespensible box. It’s also why I pay close attention to their end-of-year best of lists. These lists are extra special because every staff member does a “top five” list of their favorite books read in that year. And you know how much I love top five lists.

Last year, I posted about how Buzzfeed created an uber “top thirteen” list using their “top-secret scientific algorithmic process” to determine the best of the best for the year, according to Powell’s. After I saw that list, I created a Goodreads shelf to track these books and keep them on my radar for future reading.

This year, Powell’s staff’s top five lists were posted on New Year’s Day, and I’ve been waiting for another summary post from Buzzfeed. So far, nothing. So I decided to do my own analysis and create my own uber “top thirteen” list.

I’ll be more transparent with my “super secret algorithm” and go ahead and tell you that I did some good old “copying and pasting” of all the lists into Excel. Then I assigned points to each mention of each book based on where it appeared in each list (5 points for first place, 4 points for second place, etc.). Then I made a pivot table and sorted the results by total number of points in descending order. There was an obvious cut-off after the first fourteen books, and one of those books was published in a previous year (Station Eleven). So I dropped that one off this list and capped the list at thirteen.

And the result… Here are the thirteen books that received the most points (mentions) on the Powell’s staff lists:

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (50 points)
  2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (40 points)
  3. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (38 points)
  4. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (18 points)
  5. A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin (16 points)
  6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (14 points)
  7. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (12 points)
  8. H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald (12 points)
  9. A Kim Jong Il Production by Paul Fischer (12 points)
  10. M Train by Patti Smith (10 points)
  11. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (10 points)
  12. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (10 points)
  13. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (10 points)

So far, I’ve only read one of these (Between the World and Me). But several others were already on my “to buy/borrow” list. And there were a few where I had an instant reaction of “no way, I’m never going to read that,” even though they come highly recommended by Powell’s staff.

For example, everyone seems to be in love with A Little Life. It’s the number one book on this list, by far. But every review I’ve read talks about how sad this book is. Here’s an example from one of the Powell’s staff:

Tremendous. Devastating. Torturous. Hard-to-take hurts-your-heart scenes of the deep and dark sides of humanity.

Basically every review I’ve read, or heard in a podcast, says the same thing. But devastating, sad, torturous books are not my jam. The only thing I like less than a tragic sad book is a super scary book. Blood and gore I can handle, but scary stuff creeps me out. As an example, I have never read a Stephen King book. I’m probably missing out, but I just don’t like being scared, or sad. Life is already sad and scary enough. So, even though A Little Life was the clear winner, I will likely skip that one.

Overall, I think this year’s list is a bit heavily weighted towards the non-fiction and memoir categories. Last year’s list felt like it had more novels on it. Regardless, I’m tracking both lists in Goodreads and I’ll be checking them when I’m looking for ideas about books to read. Here’s a link to my 2015 shelf if you want to follow along.

What do you think? Are there books on this list that you’ve read and highly recommend? Do you think you can convince me to change my mind about A Little Life? Which book on this list are you most excited about reading?

#ABookishHoliday Day 31: Ring in the New Year

Nothing like a top five list to “ring in the New Year,” right? (Yes, I’m taking some liberties with today’s #ABookishHoliday theme…)

For today’s post I give you my list of the top five popular sci-fi and fantasy series that are now complete, but that I haven’t read yet and plan to read in 2016 (listed in the order in which I will most likely read them):

  1. MagiciansThe Magicians series — I’m so late to the party on this one that it’s soon to be a series on the SyFy Channel… I bought the first book back in August 2014, but never got around to reading it. This will be rectified in 2016.
  2. SelectionThe Selection Series — I have the first book in this series, but I haven’t read it yet. I guess the series is still going if you count the “next generation” books. But the original series is complete, and it’s a hugely popular series, so I’m including it here.
  3. LunarThe Lunar Chronicles — I own the first three books in this series, but I’ve only read the first book (Cinder). Now that the two companion books (Fairest and Winter) are out, and the series is complete, I probably should just binge-read my way through these.
  4. InheritanceThe Inheritance Trilogy — I bought the whole series on Kindle back in August when the price dropped to $9.99. Basically, the cost of one “normally priced” Kindle book.
  5. AncillaryThe Imperial Radch series — Probably better known as “all those books with Ancillary in the title”… The first book has been on my TBR for a while, but I didn’t own it and there was a long wait at the library. Then the first book went on sale last week for $1.99 on Kindle, and now I have no more excuses.

So that takes care of at least fifteen books of the fifty or so I plan to read in 2016….

Happy New Year! Here’s to another great year in reading!

Reading List: Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge

About half-way through this year, I decided I would participate in Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. You may remember, this is a list of 24 reading tasks, meant to be completed in 2015, each intended to broaden your reading horizons.

Results: 21 down and 3 to go… (see also: my Goodreads shelf)

Completed tasks:

  1. A book published by an indie press — Sword
  2. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ — Afterworlds
  3. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own — The Bone Clocks (plus a lot more…)
  4. A book that takes place in Asia — Fire Horse Girl (plus a few more…)
  5. A book by an author from Africa — Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah
  6. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.) — The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
  7. A YA novel — The Raven Boys (plus a lot more…)
  8. A sci-fi novel — Fortune’s Pawn (plus a lot more…)
  9. A romance novel — The Duchess War
  10. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.) — A Court of Thorns and Roses
  11. A book that someone else has recommended to you — Handmaid’s Tale
  12. A book published this year — Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not To Have Kids (plus a few more…)
  13. An audiobook — The Rosie Effect
  14. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind — Ms. Marvel vol 1 (plus a lot more…)
  15. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over) — re-read Suddenly Royal
  16. A microhistory — Astoria
  17. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade <– All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  18. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65 <– Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
  19. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”) <– You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
  20. A book that was originally published in another language <– My Brilliant Friend by by Elena Ferrante
  21. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25 <– Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Unfinished tasks:

  1. A collection of poetry <–I’d planned to read The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems. I bought it. I read the first few poems. Then never finished reading it.
  2. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people) <– I was thinking I’d either read Magic for Beginners (which I got in an Indiespensible shipment this year) or I would finish Hieroglyph (which I started reading with my hubby, but stalled out somewhere in the middle and never finished.) I ended up reading neither.
  3. A book published before 1850 <– I’d planned to read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas as a “buddy read.” We started it. Neither of us got very far. Then we decided to bail on it. I think I’ll try again at some point, but I don’t know when.

I may still finish these last three tasks in 2016. But I’m not committing to anything because I already decided that I wasn’t going to do any reading projects or challenges in 2016. So, we’ll see what happens.

Reading List: Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge

Book Riot is doing another Read Harder Challenge list of 24 reading tasks to be completed in 2016. I’m tempted because I’m a sucker for a challenge. But I already said I wasn’t going to do any reading projects in 2016. So, I’m officially not doing this challenge.

But… just for fun, I am going to track how the books I do read off my TBR in 2016 match up with the tasks on this reading challenge list. I’ve already tagged some books and added them to a new Goodreads shelf. I probably won’t check off all the tasks, but I am curious how many I can check off without really trying.

Here is the list for 2016 (and selections from my TBR are in parenthesis):

  1. Read a horror book (Slade House)
  2. Read a nonfiction book about science (Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves)
  3. Read a collection of essays (The Empathy Exams)
  4. Read a book out loud to someone else (Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free)
  5. Read a middle grade novel (The Neptune Project)
  6. Read a biography, not a memoir, or an autobiography (Kingpin)
  7. Read a dystopian or post apocalyptic novel (The Harvest)
  8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (To Ride Pegasus <–technically a re-read, but I’d intended to re-read it anyway)
  9. Listen to an audio book that won an Audie Award (Yes Please)
  10. Read a book over 500 pages long (Poseidon’s Wake)
  11. Read a book under 100 pages (Binti)
  12. Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender (George)
  13. Read a book that is set in the Middle East (Escape From Baghdad!)
  14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia (The Ghost Bride or The Garden of Evening Mists)
  15. Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 (Hild)
  16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color (the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy)
  17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years (Bitch Planet)
  18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie (The 5th Wave)
  19. Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes (Lean In)
  20. Read a book about religion, fiction or non-fiction (No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam)
  21. Read a book about politics in your country or another, fiction or non-fiction (maybe Our Kids or North Korea Confidential?)
  22. Read a food memoir (An Embarrassment of Mangoes)
  23. Read a play (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
  24. Read a book with a main character who has a mental illness (The Boy Who Went Away)