We’re halfway into the year, so it’s time for a quarterly report-out on challenges. You can see current progress on all my challenges here.
For the TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 5 of 12, which isn’t terrible halfway into the year, but isn’t great either. I always love this challenge because it forces me to read books that have been on my TBR for a while, and those books are nearly always worthwhile. For this challenge I’m happy to have read:
- Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
- Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
- What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
- Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
- Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
Of these, my favorite was Doomsday Book, but Ghostwritten is an amazing work of fiction (as are most of Mitchell’s). And I’m really glad I finally read LeGuin.
For the Doing Dewey Nonfiction Reading Challenge, I’ve only read 7 of 25 nonfiction books (with two in progress). This is more nonfiction than I often read in a year, but not as much as I meant to read.
- The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally
- Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
- We Fed an Island by Jose Andres
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
- Dopesick by Beth Macy
- The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
Of these, my favorite was The Library Book but Dopesick is definitely worth your time. And All You Can Ever Know and Line Becomes a River are thoughtful and interesting. I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about with Heart Berries.
Where I’m falling down is in the Back to the Classics challenge. I’ve only read four books this year that can be called classics: Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie, Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin, and The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. And three of the four are pretty light reads. I’ve got a lot of classics on my TBR list, like Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and The Warden by Anthony Trollope, but I just haven’t been picking them up. Still, I’m finding that it’s hard to read diversely and read a lot of classics. It’s not impossible, just more difficult. What do you think, is that a good trade-off, or just an excuse?
I’ve done pretty well reading books about other countries, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to add a lot of new countries to my Around the World list. I’ve read a lot of books set in Ireland, Nigeria, China, and England. New countries I added to my list this year are Czech Republic, Malaysia, and Switzerland. My goal is ten new countries a year, so I’m only 3 of 10. Any suggestions for favorite books set in other countries? I found a helpful list here: http://taleaway.com/world-reading-challenge-books-around-the-globe-2019/ so I can add some new countries to my list (except my TBR list can’t really bear any more additions).
I’m doing really well on Read Harder (15 of 24 categories completed) and Reading Women (18 of 24). Of course some of the hardest categories are left, like manga, a book written in prison, a book about a female athlete, a book about nature, and a collection of poetry published after 2014.
I deliberately stacked my 20 Books of Summer list with books that meet these challenges. I’ve only read 5 of those so far, but I’ve actually started another 5 (don’t ask me why I’m reading so many books at one time). If I finish that list I’ll make good progress on all my challenges. I’ve got less than two months to read 15 books, so time to get moving!