2016 Reading Challenge Round-Up

At the end of last year 2015, I stumbled upon a reading challenge for 2016 (thanks Booklr!). It looked interesting and I like challenges (until I remember how bad I am at them), so I decided to try it out.

Looking back now, I don’t think I did too badly, all things considered. In the end, it was less about me finding books that fit the criteria of the list and more me fitting books I’d read into the list, but…. I honestly did pick up a few books I otherwise might not have read thanks to this challenge.

I also got into audio books this year, which helped immensely. Though I did learn that my job and audio books really don’t get along.

In addition to this reading challenge, which was intended to expand one’s reading experience, I did a reading challenge on Goodreads, which is purely a challenge to see how many books one can read in a year.

2016 Reading by the Numbers:

  • Goodreads Reading Challenge:74 out of 72 books read.
  • Popsugar Reading Challenge: 34 out of 41 books read.
  • Books I Wouldn’t Have Read this Year Without the Popsugar Reading Challenge: 12
  • First Time Reads: 49
  • Of Those, New Sequels to Old Favorites: 3
  • New Authors: around 35
  • Books Read This Year Which I Now Want to Own: 10
  • Books Read Which I Borrowed from the Library: 46*
  • Audiobooks Completed: 6
  • Books Read Which Were Published in 2016: 5
  • Books Read Which Were Made into Movies in 2016: 3
  • Books Read Which Have Already Been Made into Movies/TV Shows: at least 9
  • Book Titles Which Begin with “The Girl…”: 5
  • Books I Did Not Finish: 8
  • Books I Shouldn’t Have Bothered to Finish: at least 9

*I definitely borrowed more books than this which I never got around to reading, or which I put down without finishing.

Surprisingly, I didn’t read nearly as much dystopian fiction as I have in recent years. Guess I found all the good ones already. I also learned that I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction, and I’m very picky about young adult fantasy. Oh, and I hate young adult contemporary romance with a passion which burns greater than that of their Hallmark romances.

By the end of the year, I’d read so many books that I could barely remember what I’d read a few months previously, which was kind of sad, because I knew I’d enjoyed some of them. I’m rather impressed that I managed to make the majority of the books ones I’d never read before.

2017 Bookish Goals:

  • Read more books outside of my preferred genres; especially more non-fiction.
  • Listen to more audiobooks.
  • Stop forcing myself to finish books I don’t enjoy, because life is short and my to-be-read list is growing by the day.
  • Stop getting so many books at a time from the library. It’s one of my bad habits.
  • Re-read the entire Fairyland series, now that I own all of them (except the prequel).
  • Save enough to buy myself a few favorite books.
  • Clean out my shelves instead of holding onto books I don’t like.
  • Read 52 books this year – fewer than 2016 so I don’t feel the need to read more than one book at a time (it doesn’t really make things go more quickly). However, considering I have several series on my list to re-read, there’s a good chance I’ll go over this number.

You can follow my reading progress on Goodreads, if you’re so inclined. No, I will not be attempting the 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. I may refer to it if I get in a reading rut and need to change things up, however.

And now, mostly for my pleasure, a quick-ish summary of all of the books from the Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge:


Book One: A Book Based on a Fairy Tale

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley – read 1/1 to 1/8img_3641-1

I didn’t used to be a Robin McKinley fan. The first book of her books I read was Beauty. I’m a huge Beauty and the Beast fan and didn’t enjoy this retelling. Then Fay loaned me Chalice, which was better, but different. And then…I discovered The Blue Sword. I am now a McKinley fan.

Spindle’s End could be a tad slow and thick at times (those paragraphs, man!), but it was also clever, sharp, and entertaining. I really enjoyed the twists McKinley put on the original fairy tale. I want this one on my shelf got this for Christmas.

Book Two: A National Book Award Winner

Holes by Louis Sachar (winner of Young People’s Literature) – read again 12/20 to 12/23

Like the lady at the (sadly now closed) used bookstore in town, I picked up this book after watching and loving the movie adaption. Unlike the lady at the bookstore, I do not have a mom crush on Shia what’s-his-name.

It’s probably because I watched the movie first, but I don’t mind the differences between this book and the movie (not that they’re many). Sure, it’s middle grade fiction, but it’s an easy, enjoyable read.

Book Three: A Young Adult Bestseller

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – read 1/11 to 1/20

img_3716This book was a lesson in why it’s a bad idea for me to read reviews on books while reading the book. But even if I hadn’t read the reviews which helped shape my opinion, I doubt I would have enjoyed this book any more.

I don’t understand why this is a best seller. I don’t understand why everyone on Booklr seems to love it so much. I don’t understand why it was made into a movie (and I’m sorry to Jo and Nina for being so outspokenly against said movie).

I hated the main character. He was a shallow, underdeveloped whiny moron. The biggest plot twist was when he made it to the end of the book alive with all his limbs intact. At the least, he ought to have been socked on the jaw for being so infuriating.

Also, the writing style seemed to switch half-way through, from moody teenager to educated adult. Whatever that was about.

I don’t care what happened to the children. I’m just glad they’re gone.

Book Four: A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School

Firebird by Kathy Tyre – read again 3/15 to 3/17

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The last Fairyland book was the other book I got for that birthday.

I got this book for my last birthday, after I only put books on my wishlist. This book was one that stuck with me long after I read it based on a recommendation from Deb. I had the biggest crush on Brennan for the longest time. For a while I was convinced I would name my firstborn son after him.

Now I’ll probably name a dog after him.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite live up to my memories when I reread it. It’s still good, but the first time I read it was close to 10 years ago and I likely missed a lot of what was happening. Even so, it remains a book that helped shape me.

Book Five: A Book Set in Your Home State

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – read 12/27-12/29

I had given up on this item on the list because I wasn’t finding a lot of options that sounded interesting. I counted my “home state” as the state in which I was born, even though we only lived there for about a year and a half after my birth. (The options for Nebraska, where we lived for 8 years, were even more dismal.)

Then I found an article on Goodreads about books to help people complete their reading challenges in the last few days of 2016, and this book was there. At first I put it on my reading list simply because it sounded interesting; then I saw “New England” listed as the location. Wait, what?

Cue rush to see if the library had it and, when they didn’t, requesting it through transit.

The creepy vibes are strong with this book, and it could have done double-duty as the murder mystery item, because I’m dense. It’s not within my normal realm of reading preferences, but I still enjoyed it. The narrative is clever and complex; the characters are brilliant; and, of course, the storyline itself is satisfyingly disturbing. The entire time I was reading it, I couldn’t shake a vague sense of dread, which was rather a new experience for me as far as reading goes.

Book Six: A Book Translated into English

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – read 11/11-11/12

I…didn’t really get this book. I guess I can see why it’s such a classic, but I…just no. I’m not sure what I read. It started out with the lyrical style I like, but at the back of my mind was this nagging sense that there was a message I was completely missing.

Also, the snake? Weird.

Book Seven: A Romance Set in the Future

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – read 4/23 to 4/27File Jan 07, 11 42 49 AM.jpeg

I need this book. I bought this book. Yesterday. It was at Target for just under $7.00. I don’t care if it’s paperback.

I’ve already told y’all about why I love these books so much, so I’ll defer my raptures for another time. So good. So pretty. Retellings.

Also, there’s going to be a graphic novel about Iko, and I’m excited.

Book Eight: A Book Set in Europe

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – read 5/16-5/26

See above.

I read surprisingly few books set in Europe. As this one was set (mostly) in France, it took this spot on the list. Scarlet and Wolf aren’t my favorite couple in the series, but they’re still stinking adorable.

Book Nine: A Book That’s Under 150 Pages

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman – read 1/26

Another Sleeping Beauty retelling. Eerie illustrations, a cool heroine, and a nice little twist at the end. I’d like to own this one just because it looks so pretty.

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Book Ten: A New York Times Bestseller

The Martian by Andy Weir – read 9/11 to 9/14

I would recommend this book to everyone if it wasn’t for the language. That was my biggest disclaimer when I told a friend at Bible study that I’d read this book. The story was so good. The science was right at the edge of my comprehension, which made me feel smart. The action was sharp, the stakes were high, the twists were good. The biggest twist for me was how quiet the ending was.

My biggest issue (outside of the language, but what do you do?) would have to be the sheer amount of people introduced. I’m still not positive who most of them are.

Book Eleven: A Book That’s Becoming a Movie This Year

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – read 5/4 to 5/10

  1. Had no idea it was being made into a movie until after the fact.
  2. Was not at all what I was expecting.
  3. I don’t know how I survived it.
  4. The ENDING!?!
  5. This wasn’t the only zombie book I read this year….
  6. The cover is so pretty, though.

Book Twelve: A Book Recommended by Someone You Just Met

I don’t talk to strangers about books, oddly enough. My coworker recommended some weird contemporary mystery books to me a few weeks after we met, but they aren’t my type of books (I know, I know, that’s the point). I meant to ask visitors at Bible study for book recs, but I always forgot. And that seems weird.

Book Thirteen: A Self-Improvement Book

Incredibly difficult to find. Turns out I don’t like self-improvement books. I tried reading Thrive by Mark Hall, but I couldn’t get into it. I wanted The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, because who wasn’t reading that book, but the request list at the library is crazy-long and, after a few months, I lost interest.

Book Fourteen: A Book You Can Finish in a Day

The Tales of Beadle the Bard by J.K. Rowling – read 2/16

Somehow, using this book for this item on the list feels like cheating…. But the stories were interesting.

Honorable mention: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – read 10/23

Another book Booklr seems obsessed with. Again, I had that vague feeling there was more to the story than I was getting. I didn’t really get the creepy vibe. I did have whoa moments, but I suspect they weren’t as big as other readers’. (Most captions described floods of tears and gasping for breath. If anything, I grunted.) Bonus: this book could also be: a book being turned into a movie this year. I ended up with a lot of those….

Book Fifteen: A Book Written by a Celebrity

The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling – read 6/18 to 6/19

Another book I’d like to own. I don’t go in for non-fiction. I really don’t go in for autobiographies. And when Jo and I saw “written by a celebrity”, we both groaned. I’m not the type of person who cares about celebrities (besides Viggo Mortensen, who’s awesome…and Dwayne Johnson).

Then I saw this book. Bonus: it was published this year. I kind of knew who Lindsey Stirling was, thanks to Eli and Nina having a fangirl moment over one of her cosplay music videos. I hadn’t listened to much of her music, but I figured she was a safe bet if I had to read something by a celebrity.

And dude, this book. It. Was. Good. Sharp, poignant, hilarious, honest, bold…. I was crying at points (especially when I saw the dedication in the back). I am also now a huge fan of Lindsey’s music.

Book Sixteen: A Political Memoir

Ew. Nothing about this one was appealing to me. I don’t like memoirs, and political ones don’t sound the least bit intriguing to me. I had a few possibilities on my list, but as the year drew to a close, I gave up what vague hope I had of struggling through one. Thanks, but no thanks.

Book Seventeen: A Book at Least 100 Years Older than You

Again, I had a few on my list (The Jungle Book and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, both of which I’ve read and own) but I wasn’t feeling literature this year. I started Pride and Prejudice at the end of December, but only to distract myself when I didn’t feel like reading more poetry, and I haven’t finished it yet.

Book Eighteen: A Book That’s More Than 600 Pages

Dune by Frank Herbert- read 6/6 to 7/5 (audio book)

If I hadn’t “read” this as an audio book, I never would have finished it. This one started out cool, but when the author started to twist Biblical analogies, I was so over it and its pretentious self. I didn’t like any of the characters. I was ticked every time the narrator read character lines instead of the good voice actors reading them. (Why did they only voice portions of the dialog?) And it was so long. What was the point?

Book Nineteen: A Book from Oprah’s Book Club

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – read 10/10-11/16 (audio book)

file-dec-22-3-14-56-pmAnother book where I’d previously seen the movie adaption. This book was miserable, but I didn’t hate it, oddly enough. Part of that was thanks to the superb narrator. Unfortunately, his voice was so soothing and the story was so steady that I kept falling asleep. I’d wake up and suddenly they’re in a new city or scavenging on a boat and I didn’t know how they’d got there.

This was also the book I was reading when life hit hard. I “put it down” at a very dismal point and took a while to pick it back up.

This would have been more difficult to read than listen to, I’m sure, because in all the people we meet, only one character is named, and he’s very minor. The main characters are “the man” and “the boy”.

Interesting, but I wouldn’t readily recommend it.

Book Twenty: A Science Fiction Novel

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – read 12/4 to 12/15

I have such mixed feelings about this book! It probably wouldn’t have gone on my reading list as quickly if I had first discovered it with the cover I ended up with, which screams sci-fi. When I first saw it, the cover was calmer and had the look of a contemporary romance or something equally quiet, and the title is catchy, so I checked into it.

The pros:

  1. It feels very much like Firefly, minus the weapons. (The captain is a pacifist.) Of course, half the crew is alien, but the dynamics are there. So maybe a blend of Firefly and Star Trek, because aliens and a relatively peaceful government.
  2. The dialogue is witty.
  3. The many different, colorful worlds and other settings.
  4. The steady action.

The cons:

  1. Sundry ethical and moral issues. I guess that’s what you get when you pick up a book with realistically-diverse alien species set in the far future. Sure, people should read to expand their worldviews and develop their own opinions, but I know where I stand with a lot of the questions raised in this book.
  2. The language. Always with adult sci-fi and dystopian, the language.
  3. The whole “man is stupid and they destroy everything” angle. I never could stand this one.

Book Twenty-One: A Book Recommended by a Family Member

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen- read 12/17 to 12/21file-dec-22-3-11-06-pm

This is another piece of proof that Nina and I have very different tastes in books. She loved this book. She kept recommending it to me. I saw it in a used bookstore and bought it for her because I knew she loved it so much.

But it just isn’t my cup of tea. If I had picked it up on my own, without knowing she liked it and wanted me to read it, I would have put it down inside of 3 chapters. It did get better as it went on, but still not my style.

Not to say the story isn’t good. The writing is sharp enough and the plot doesn’t have any gaping holes. It was a little predictable, but a neat concept.

Book Twenty-Two: A Graphic Novel

Digger by Ursula Vernon – read again 7/31 to 8/16

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Who’s surprised?

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I swear, I had other graphic novels on my TBR list, but our library selection is poor at best and I never got around to requesting any through the transit system. Next year: more graphic novels, non-fiction, and poetry.

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But this year I needed me some down-to-earth womabt. And Ed. And Shadowchild.

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Why won’t any of my friends read this book?!

Book Twenty-Three: A Book that Was Published in 2016

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – 10/26 to 11/2

Yes, I am easily drawn in by any books that start with “The Girl Who”. Other books published in 2016 that use this ploy: The Girl who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home and The Girl from Everywhere. Fine, the second doesn’t quite work.

Anyway. Good book. My favorite part was how none of multiple points-of-view quite line up with each other. Like real life. They all disagreed, and the best parts of the book were sorting fact and fiction.

Never thought I’d love a swamp monster as much as I loved Glerk. I adored how the author employed magic. The world-building was superb. And the story was smooth, lyrical, thought-provoking, and endearing. This, people, is why I prefer children’s fiction.

Book Twenty-Four: A Book With a Protagonist Who Has Your Occupation

The only books I could find with protags who are administrative assistants or secretaries are smut books. Yes, I’m mad. Yes, now I kind of want to write a book with a main character who has a job like mine.

So frustrating.

Book Twenty-Five: A Book That Takes Place During Summer

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden – read 3/25 to 3/27

‘Nother “I saw the movie and had to read the book”.

Dad turned on this movie one night when he didn’t know what else to watch. I came in near the end. I wanted to know what it was. Pretty soon, I’d watched the whole thing for myself.

Then I got Jo addicted. I can’t count how many times we’ve seen this movie. Eventually I had to read the book (once I realized there was a book).

Up until the last bit, the movie is very similar to the book. It’s a tad out-dated, but that didn’t really bother me. I loved the characters, and the plot was decent. I haven’t got around to reading the sequels yet.

In this case, I actually prefer the movie. Watch it. You might understand why.

Books Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven: A Book and Its Prequel

Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix – read 1/31 to 2/8 and 3/3 to 3/11img_3841

This series was originally recommended to me by one of the first friends I made after moving here. (Spoiler alert: we’re not friends anymore.) As I knew something of her taste, having read other books she recommended, I thought I wouldn’t like Sabriel and so didn’t pick it up for years.

Then I saw it on a list of book recs and figured I’d give it a try.

I never thought I’d so enjoy a book about necromancers. The world-building was splendid: one kingdom with something of a steampunk vibe, and the other – separated by a wall marking a magical boundary – a place where modern inventions don’t work and the world is run by magic. Their seasons aren’t even synchronized!

And I have to admit I had a crush on Touchstone. I won’t apologize.

The sequel wasn’t quite as fantastic. Still good (libraries and dogs made out of magic), but it had less of Touchstone in it. And there was that whole…thing…about Lirael’s lineage. Which I called, but still didn’t enjoy.

There are two other books I haven’t got to yet. However, I would eventually like to own at least Sabriel.

Book Twenty-Eight: A Murder Mystery

One of these days I’ll finally read something by Agatha Christie. I used to be more into mysteries (hello, Nancy Drew), but lately I haven’t been inclined to pick up any.

Book Twenty-Nine: A Book Written by a Comedian

Diary of a Jackwagon by Tim Hawkins – read 10/23 to 10/25

This was like me trying to find a book by a celebrity. I don’t like most comedians enough to want to read their books. Then I thought to see if Tim Hawkins had written anything and, lo and behold, he had! Of course I had to get it through the transit system.

I did enjoy this book. It wasn’t anything especially brilliant, and some of the material was familiar thanks to my Tim Hawkins addiction from a few years ago. Still, in true Tim Hawkins style, there were passages that made me grin and chuckle to myself because he gets it, and he explains it just right. And that’s what I appreciate about Tim Hawkins.

Book Thirty: A Dystopian Novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – read 1/20 to 1/26

Ness is one of those authors Booklr as a whole strongly recommends. I had no idea what I was in for going into this book, and I was pleasantly surprised. The narrative style was interesting, but the premise more so. I went on to read the second book in the series, but I put the third one down without finishing it. One day I’ll get back to it.

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Some thoughts:

  1. The villain took his own sweet time dying. When you get your face half-ripped off while being mauled by a pseudo-alligator and still don’t die, I have a problem with you.
  2. THE DOG. Why? I cried. After I spent so much time laughing, that happened and I lost it.
  3. The pages of people’s uninhibited thoughts strewn all over the place. Very unique – and intriguing – approach.
  4. Yay! Young adult protagonists I can care about. Young adult protagonists with mixed motives, who make real mistakes and for whom not everything turns out perfectly.
  5. It took me a while to realize this fit the dystopian bill, simply because it’s set on another planet. But yes, this society is whacked, so there you go.

Book Thirty-One: A Book with a Blue Cover

Avielle of Rhia by Dia Calhoun – read 11/28 to 12/4

This book is one Fay recommended to me a few years ago. I kept asking her about it, but only just got around to ordering it through the transit system.

It’s the sort of obscure fantasy book I enjoy: a cool magic system, decent politics and world-building, relateable characters, good character development, things that turn out to be not-quite as they seem, and characters with uncommon hobbies. The main character is a disgraced princess in the shadow of an evil ancestor she happens to resemble. In this regard, it kind of reminded me of The Thirteenth Child, even though that main character doesn’t have an evil ancestor to add weight to her burden.

As for the uncommon hobbies and jobs: Avielle is a weaver, and she is surrounded by artisans and craftsmen, including people who make candles and windows. This book isn’t about what happens when a kingdom is attacked and its government thrown into disarray; it is very much about Avielle coming to grips with herself and finding her place in the world. And! no romance. How relieving.

Book Thirty-Two: A Book of Poetry

Plath: Poems by Sylvia Plath – read 11/28 to 12/31

The last time I read a book of poetry was Robert Louis Stevenson when I was…10? I have always struggled with poetry. There’s so little of it that I “get” enough to appreciate. I think the style I most prefer is haikus, and only because I admire how much can be said in so little.

Even Nina, who is the poem-lover of the family, looked bemused when I handed her this book to thumb through. She was impressed with the rhyming choices, though.

Technically, I finished this book on January 1st, but it was 2:00 AM and I had 30 short pages left to go. So I’m counting it.

Book Thirty-Three: The First Book You See in a Bookstore

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – read 12/16 to 12/17

file-dec-22-3-10-56-pmSo I kinda sorta cheated here. Jo did, too. She closed her eyes and had me lead her to the teen section of our local Barnes and Noble. Since two girls walking with their eyes closed isn’t safe in any store, I had to keep my eyes open. One entrance is lined with cookbooks and the other with self-help books and biographies and the like. So I skimmed over those and only read titles when I got to a section I actually liked.

I ended up with Salt to the Sea, which is another big one on Booklr. It’s so pretty. Then I found it in our town’s (now closed) used bookstore and figured I’d buy it.

Cue at least 6 months of this book sitting on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read, while I repeatedly grabbed multiple books from the library.

But I did finally get to it after I came home from a Christmas party. It was late but I wanted to read before bed and I had just finished up the last book I was reading. After some debate, I picked up Salt to the Sea. If I had picked it up earlier in the day, I would have finished it within a day; as it was, I read 40 pages that night and finished it by 2:00 the next afternoon.

This book is the rare exception of historical fiction I can actually enjoy, up there with All the Light We Cannot See. The narrative was quick and smooth, most of the characters easy to sympathize with, the stakes clear, the action sharp, and the emotions high. I would happily recommend this book to friends, and I plan on checking out the author’s other books.

Book Thirty-Four: A Classic from the 20th Century

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – read 11/17 to 11/27

I hear so much about this book – or maybe about the anime adaption. I’m not sure. In any case, I knew I needed to read it. Then, while reviewing my challenge list and wanting to mark off as much as possible, I checked to see when this book had been published. It’s a classic, right?

Ok, so maybe I’m stretching the rules here. By this point, I was beyond caring.

This book reminded me of Robin McKinley’s writing style. The story was serious, but the characters still felt real rather than larger-than-life. The main character is down-to-earth and takes things philosophically as they come. The romance isn’t heavy or contrived. I think the biggest twist would have to Howl’s origins. And, naturally, my favorite character is Calcifer the fire demon.

Book Thirty-Five: A Book From the Library

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce – read 3/28 to 4/6

The majority of what I read is from the library. However, for the sake of choosing a book, I picked one that wasn’t like much else I’d read. I’m pretty sure I picked up this book just because it looked nice. I don’t remember seeing it recommended anywhere, unless it was under “fairy tale retellings”.

Until this book, I’d never read a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. A Curse as Dark as Gold isn’t some deep, daring adventure of a story. It has a steady historical romance feel to it, with some solid world-building, lovable characters, a cool setting (a mill) and relateable stakes. I appreciated how this story was less about the main character getting the guy (they get married half-way through) and more about saving her family. And you gotta love practical heroes and heroines.

Unfortunately, this is a book I tend to forget about until I see it on my Goodreads list. However, I remembered it long enough to decide I should get it for Fay for Christmas. Because she and I share similar reading tastes, and it’s pretty.

Book Thirty-Six: An Autobiography

Non-fiction, the bane of my bookworm existence. I suppose The Only Pirate at the Party could work here as well. I had several books, including The Diary of a Young Girl, on my list of potential options but, again, never got around to them. Next year: more biographies.

Book Thirty-Seven: A Book About a Road Trip

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex – read 7/19 to 8/6

Hey, guess what? I saw the movie adaption first. And again, it took me a while to realize there was a book.

Ever seen the movie Home? With the aliens with funny speech mannerisms? I did, once. Or twice? Then I found this book on an old “books that look interesting” list of mine, started reading the summary, and realized it sounded familiar.

This book was quirky and amusing. Surprisingly, Tip was not an annoying protagonist. I would probably read this one again when I need something light to distract me.

Book Thirty-Eight: A Book About a Culture You’re Unfamiliar With

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – read 11/4 to 11/9

I had to venture into the adult section for this one. I don’t remember where I came across it and decided to put it on my reading list, but I love reading about rarely-used mythological creatures, so I set out to get this from the library.

I loved the approach, and I loved the historical aspect. The unfamiliar culture would have to be the different neighborhoods in Manhattan at the turn of the 20th century. The narrative was colorful and the characters – even the inhuman ones – realistic.

But then, I did find this in the adult section after all, and it has a mythological man with superhuman good looks and no sense of human relationships.  So I wouldn’t openly recommend it to people. Because it’s me.

Book Thirty-Nine: A Satirical Book

The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – read 3/17 to 3/24

This one must be an acquired taste, because I didn’t enjoy the story while reading it. I only stuck around for the witty dialog. Even now, I’m not sure how I feel about it. At least now I get some cultural references that used to go over my head.

Book Forty: A Book That Takes Place On an Island

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – read 6/3 to 6/21file-dec-22-3-07-11-pm

I was going to be clever about the island bit and say “every book I read that was set in England”, but…. In the end, we’re going with The Girl From Everywhere, which takes place briefly in New York and other locales but spends most of its time on a Hawaiian island.

This book kind of fell flat for me. We were toodling along all find and dandy, just a crew of swashbuckling, time-traveling pirates from all manner of cultures, and BAM! Love triangle!

Did you have to?!

Other than that it was decent, though I won’t bother with the sequel. The big reveal about a major character’s origins was a proper surprise, and I loved the different legends that came into play.

Book Fourty-One: A Book That’s Guaranteed to Bring You Joy

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente – read 4/9 to 4/13

file-dec-22-3-10-12-pm

This was going to be my “published in 2016” book and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland was going to get this spot, until I read several other books  published in 2016 (thanks, Booklr!). Because I have to admit, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland was a break from the characters I knew and loved *cough*Saturday*cough* so I had mixed feelings when I picked it up.

But this. Not only guaranteed joy, but guaranteed heartbreak. It’s the last one! All I have left to read is the prequel, and September isn’t in it.

And it lived up to all of my expectations and more. Even the resolution, though bittersweet, was perfect. I’ve never met a book with such a large cast of characters which didn’t end up driving me crazy because of the substantial cast. I’ve never met a book that blends together so many mythologies so seamlessly. I’ve never met a book that elicits so many emotions from me.

Did I tell you how I bawled my eyes out when it was over?

Now I have the whole series and I fully intend to read them through without interruptions come January or February.

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