Reading Challenges

2021 Mid-Year Check-In

Hello lovely people and welcome to my 2021 mid-year check in for my goals. If you would like to see my origional post you can find that here, Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals. I went kind of easy on myself this year, but to be honest the 2020 was a bit hectic in quite a few ways. I wanted to really tailor my goals to what I truly wanted and not try to compete with anyone.

Use Library Monthly

So far I have stuck to this goal very well. Even if I owned a book I used my local library to read the book digitally when on the go or used the library as my only copy of a book. I am still not comfortable going to borrow a physical copy of books just yet, so I am using their digital services at this point of the year,

Twelve Non-fiction Books

I am actually ahead on this goal, which thrills me honestly. I have read a total of 9 non-fiction books at this point. The books I have read that meet this goal are; A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant, White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer, The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

Read 50 Books

I am excited to say I am also ahead on this goal as well, at the time of writing this I have read a total of 42 books! If you want the most up to date read count for the year you can check out my goodreads challenge page.

This is where my goals kind of take a turn. The past few ones I have been pretty on top of, but from here on out I have made progress in almost each of the goals, but have not quite on track. Ooops.

Read International Booker Prize Shortlist 2020

The good news is I have read two books from this list, you can see a more detailed post talking about Hurricane Season and The Memory Police here: Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update. The bad news is I have 4 more to read. I will say, I am glad I have 6 months to read 4 books, that is very doable and I plan on continuing to work towards achieving this goal.

Read The Farseer Trilogy & Liveship Traders Trilogy

Once again, I have read two books towards this goal. I have read the first two books of The Farseer Trilogy, which I really enjoyed so I cannot wait to continue. I do have all the books either physically or digitally to meet this goal and I plan on doing just that.

Reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilology

This is where I start to hang my head in shame. I have not attempted to pick up these books at all so far this year. I love them so much, but the mood has not hit me at all the first half of the year. I am hoping that this changes very soon.

Keep TBR under 10 Books

Last year I got my TBR down to 0 books. I wanted to keep my owned TBR under 10 books going forward, but I am at about 30 books as of writing this. I am not totally happy with it being this high, but I am really happy that it is not as high as it once was. This is what happens when you have some holidays, birthdays, and sales.

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update

Hello and welcome to my first checkin for one of my largest reading challenges of the year where I read the shortlist for the 2020 International Booker Prize. If you would like a breakdown of my challenge you can do so by reading my post, Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals. Even though it is already February, I have already read 2 of the 6 books on this list so I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on these books before too much times has passed and the details begin to get fuzzy. Anway, on to the reviews!


The Books

The Memory PoliceThe Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not a huge fan of dystopian novels and have not been for a long time. I read this novel mainly because it was part of my challenge to read the shortlist for the 2020 International Booker Award. I have to say I am thrilled it was on this list because I loved it. It was a dystopian novel, but was more. It had elements of science fiction and fantasy as well. The writing was grand and I give huge credit to the translator because it seems a lot of the magic of this novel remained in the tale.

View all my reviews

Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting read. The murder of the witch is told through the POV of multiple people. With each perspective you learn more about the past and the murder itself. I liked how it also was a social commentary with a mixture of a thriller.

View all my reviews


Overall, I am feeling very good about the books on this list so far. I enjoyed both of these books and even enjoyed loving one of them. Starting off the list by finding a 5 star read is just phenomenal. Last year, I didn’t have the best start to this challenge so this is a great contrast. I have very high hopes for the rest of these books and I am loving that my enjoying percentage is 100%!

Liked: 2

Hated: 0



Have you read either of these books? Would you add either of these to your TBR?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | BuzzFeed’s “Which Book Perfectly Matches Your Personality?” Picks My Read

Hello and welcome to a post where I let a BuzzFeed Quiz pick one of my reads. This is a cobiination of having some fun, challenging mtself to read a book I didn’t think I would read and how accuraet thtis little quiz could be. I took this quiz in either July or August of 2020, as you can see it took me a little bit to get around to getting the book and reading it, but I did it! Anyway, here is the link to the quiz if you want to take it yourself: Which Book Perfectly Matches Your Personality?. It was a quick and fun quiz for me personally.


The Outcome/The Book

The book the quiz picked for me was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It mainly picked this due to my imagination and I am fond of exploring. Which, from seeing the animated movie years and years ago I can see how this book could tie into this assumption of me. Now the question is, will I enjoy reading the book? Also, how accurate is this assumption?


Now, this review is just going to be for Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland even though I also read the second book in the series because I had a bind up edition. I have to say, I have watched the movie quite a few times as a child, the 1951 version, and it was still very clear in my head many years later. While reading I was very vividly able to picture what was happening, with the occasional switch up due to the adaptation. I will say, while I was able to imagine everything I still was bored a bit by it.

I think this happened for a combination of things. I think the way the story is told, it was a bit dry even with all this outlandish and silly things happened. I think it did not personally mesh well for me. But, I will say I think this is because it is a classic and it was written for the time. We don’t really talk like we did in 1865 and this novel was written for that time and I feel like it would have been more natural then. I also felt like being so familiar with the plot also added to this. It didn’t have the magic of being totally random and outlandish like the story truly is.

This is not to say that I did not enjoy the adventure. It was fun to see characters I have not seen in year and years. The Mad Hatter and the Rabbit were always my favorites. It was also fun to see if the Cheshire Cat was as terrifying as I remembered. Also, if you really want to be terrified… look at the original illustration for the Cheshire Cat. Obviously, this book is a classic written in 1865, so it has its voice and such reflect that. It is interesting to picture a child reading this book during this time period and comparing it to the books I read as a child myself.

Overall, I ended up giving three stars. I did enjoy it, but it was just an average read. I think if I want this story ever again I will just watch the 1951 film again. I will say, I thought this was a fun experiment to try and I want to give these types of quizzes a try again.


What did you think about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | Books I Want to Read in 2021

Hello and welcome to a list or challenge of sorts. I wanted to share some of the many, many books I want to read in 2021. I thought it would be fun at the end of the year to look back and see if I ended up reading this books or if I ended up liking them. I will be completely honest, there is a reread on this list of one of my favorite books so that one I know I will already love. Anyway, on to the books!


The Books


What books do you really want to read in 2021?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals

Hello and welcome to a quick post to showcase the reading goals I have for myself this upcoming year. This year I am keeping some of the same I have had for year and others are new. I feel like it is a good mixture to challenge myself, but keeping in mind the unexpected nature 2021 will most likely have.


The Goals

Use the library once a month – I plan on using the digital resources that are part of my library membership this year. I want to use it at least once a month, but I hope to use it more.

Read 12 nonfiction books – I love reading non-fiction and I want to ensure it stays part of my reading rotation because I know as 2020 went on I read less and less of it because I wanted a bit of escapism.

Read 50 books – I do this goal every year, this is just to ensure that I read a book a week, but also some leeway if life gets in the way.

Read the International Booker Prize – I read a shortlist every year and this year I decided to read this one. I dedicated an entire post to it, Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021, where I went over all the books that I plan on reading for this one.

I want to read 2 trilogies by Robin Hobb – I want to read both The Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Traders Trilogy this year because I hear such wonderful things about her works. Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, I have the first two books of The Farseer Trilogy in the illustrated editions!

Reread The Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring Trilogy – I love these books and it has been quite a while since I last read them and I feel like I have forgotten so much. It is time to remedy that!

Lastly, keep my owned TBR under 10 books – in 2020 I was able to get my owned TBR to 0 and I want to keep it under 20 books. I will give myself exceptions to this around gift giving holidays and my birthday because I always get books as gifts.


What reading goals do you have for yourself in 2021?

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Reading Challenges · Reviews

Reading Challenge | MyTBR.co Issue 1

Hello and welcome to a new quarterly series on my blog where I get reccomedations from mytbr.co and read and review them to see how well they can guess my reading tastes from me filling out a huge form non their website. I will not hesitate to say I got this idea from watching Books and Lala over on youtube and seeing her trying the same book service and I wanted to try it for myself.


This is to go over the first recommendation letter I received them from. In this letter I was recommended The Hunger by Alma Katsu, The Incarnations of Susan Barker, and The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. I will say that my first reaction to this recommendations were, “Wow, these sound amazing”. So far, this service is off to a really good start.

The Reviews

The ChangelingThe Changeling by Victor LaValle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book ended up being so much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. It was beautifully written and surprising. I expected the story to be one thing, but it transformed into something magically different in the best way possible. I really enjoyed the rollercoaster of emotions this book put my through as a reader as well as a family legend that ties into myths.

View all my reviews

The HungerThe Hunger by Alma Katsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very intriguing, imaginative and haunting horror. Not only was this horror atmospheric, but it mixed “real world” horror and monster based horror. This mixed with history only made it just seem even more real. The writing was well done, the pacing, characters, and relationships were all done so well. I will be trying more books from this author in the future.

View all my reviews

The IncarnationsThe Incarnations by Susan Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was just something outside of the genre it was labeled as. It is a thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction all mixed into one. This book follows a cab driver in Beijing and the story goes through time as you learn about his past lives as he does. Each life had its own chapter where you explored the lives of these two souls, the lives they lived varied quite a lot and they endured a ton as well (violence, sexual violence, and suicide to name a few). The writing itself was beautiful, and the way the author organized the book was perfect. At no point did I think the pacing was off or was bored. I was glued to this book when I was able to find time to pick it up. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the author intertwined these stories with Chinese folklore, classic, and history.

View all my reviews


Overall, I would say that this service did a really wonderful job in picking books for me for this round. I ended up giving every book a 4 or 5 rating and when I did get to pick up these books I tended to read them for long periods of time. I very much look forward to my next recommendations.


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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | 2020 Reading a Shortlist

Hello and welcome to the final installment of my Reading a Shortlist Challenge where I read the 2019 Booker Prize Shortlist. This is the second time I am challenging myself to this challenge, and wont be the last. This year I set a challenge to read the 6 books, but I will be honest at this point in time I decided not to read one in part because I don’t agree with the outcome of this award in 2019. I will explain this a bit more, but here are my thoughts on the 5 books I did read!


Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.

For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.

Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.

View all my reviews

Girl, Woman, OtherGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.

Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.

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QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres.

View all my reviews

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

View all my reviews

An Orchestra of MinoritiesAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this is a very imaginative story. I really loved the premise of the tale and I really enjoyed that it was narrated by a guardian spirit called a chi. The writing itself was really wonderful and I think the author has a gift for sure. I would really like to see what else they have written because the writing is that good.

Unfortunately there were a few things I personally could not get over. The use of a really inappropriate word that honestly has no business being in a book published in 2019, so many other words could have been used to get the point across with ease. Secondly, this was said to be an interpretation of the Oddesey and I did not pick up on it personally, but I am very open to being wrong about this. If you have read it and I just missed it, please let me know.

Also, this book was filled with female objectification and I can only hope that the authors purpose in this is to bring light to this. The main character cannot take any responsibility and is pig headed. He commits a horrible act who hurts someone he is meant to “love”. I put it into quotes because it isn’t love. The women in this novel are nothing more than their use to the main character. I had such high hopes for this novel, while I did not like this tale at all I will be checking out the authors other work because their writing itself was done very well. I plan on picking up The Fishermen in the next few months and very much look forward to it.

View all my reviews


Now, for the book I decided I did not want to read, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I decided not to read this for a few reasons, but the most propionate being I really think Bernardine Evaristo should have been the only winner. The second being I have tried multiple times to try and read The Handmaid’s Tale and I could not get into it at all, the writing bored me.

Overall, I am really happy with this years challenge, I ended up liking a majority of the books. Plus an authors whose writing I liked and will give another try since the book itself, plot wise, was not something I enjoyed. In previous years I was not so lucky. I have also recommended quite a few of these to friends and family and loaned them out, which is a huge complement to any book in my eyes.

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021

Hello and welcome to one of the first posts where I go through some of the goals I have for myself in 2021. One challenge I have for myself is reading a shortlist. This past year I did the Man Booker Prize, which is not just the Booker Prize. I will be posting a wrap up to that tomorrow, so keep an eye out! This year I decided I am going to read the International Booker Prize 2020 Shortlist.


I decided to do the international edition of this literary award so I read more from around the world and read some more translated works. I realized in 2020 I do like translated books quite a bit and I thought this would be a great way to learn about new authors.

The Shortlisted Books


After reading the description of each of these books I can honestly say I think this year is the most I have been excited to complete this reading challenge. These stories sound wonderfully written, unique, and they all sound like something I would be interested in if I was not doing this challenge. I already picked up Hurricane Season to get started on this in January and I will continue from there.

Do you have any book awards that you follow or keep tabs on?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 9 Month Check In

Reflection

Hello and welcome to a post where I check in with my 2020 reading goals. I cannot believe that we are already in the final quarter of the year so it really is go time to get these goals finished. So, I am really hoping I have done a good job keeping up and getting some things done!


The List

  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019 (4/6)
          • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
          • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
          • ✔️Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
          • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (Owned)
          • ✔️Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
          • ✔️10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. ✔️Read 50 books, 91 books read. 
  3. ✔️Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all.
  4. ✔️ Read 30,000 pages.
  5. ✔️ Read 16 nonfiction books.
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 9 so far. 
  7. ✔️  Read a book from each continent 
          • ✔️North America: The Dutch Houseby Ann Patchett
          • ✔️South America Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
          • ✔️ Europe: Crime And Punishmentby Fyodor Dostoyevsky
          • ✔️Asia Before the Coffee Gets Coldby Toshikazu Kawaguchi
          • ✔️ Australia: The Secret River by Kate Grenville
          • ✔️Antarctica: The Magicians by Lev Grossman 
          • ✔️Africa Don’t Touch My Hair byEmma Dabiri
  8. ✔️Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
          • ✔️Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, (9/12)
          • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
          • February: Othello
          • March: Hamlet
          • April: Macbeth
          • May: The Taming of the Shrew
          • June: Twelfth Night
          • July: The Tempest
          • August: A Comedy of Errors
          • September: Much Ado About Nothing
          • October: Julius Caesar
          • November: The Merchant of Venice
          • December: King Lear

Reflection

Overall, I am doing pretty well with the goals. I am a bit worried about my reading a shortlist one because I really do not want to read The Testaments, but I am still on the fence about doing it because I set out to finish the shortlist. We shall see what happens! Another goal I am a little iffy about is reading books from the library. My library is still limited when it comes to browsing and such and I have holds for digital stuff, but since everyone is using the digital resources currently I have not gotten a ton in. This one might be out of my hands, but I am still going to try.

As for all of the other goals I have already achieved or I am well on my way. I am surprised that I have kept up with my Shakespeare challenge this year that there are only 3 more plays left.


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 2

Reflection

Hello and welcome to my second check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In my first check in, Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 I reviewed and talked about the books entitled Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. In this post I am going to be talking about the next two books I tackled on this list, which are Quichotte by Salman Rushdie and 10 Minuets, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. I am very excited to be talking about these two books, so without further delay, onto the reviews!


QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres. This one really really took me for a ride, I honestly really enjoyed this read. This novel is the reason I do this challenge every year, I always end up finding a few gems and this is one of them.

View all my reviews


10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

View all my reviews


There you have it, my second installment of this year long project of reading the Man Booker shortlist. I have to say that these two books were both really enjoyable, this year I am really enjoying this challenge more than I did last year. I think at this point last year I only liked 1 book I read and this time around I have enjoyed 3! Now, I have two more books to read from this list and I am very curious about them. I will be honest. I did not enjoy the Handmaid’s Tale, so I am not too excited about The Testaments, but I am very interested in An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.

Liked: 3

Hated: 1


Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?

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