A Year in Books

31 Dec

This year, I tackled a book challenge with an awesome friend of mine. The challenge wasn’t by number of books (I did the 50 book challenge in 2013 – I made it, but I was super stressed); instead it was by categories. Look how I did!


Overall, this was a fun new way to think about my bookshelves. I really enjoyed filling in the categories and finding books that interested me at the same time.

Some highlights:

  • The Mistborn trilogy (a book with more than 500 pages, a book with magic, and a trilogy). The first book had been sitting on my shelf for a year or two before I decided to try it out, and I think without the challenge I would have been missing out on it for another several years to come. I wrote a previous blog post about feeling emotionally invested in this series, and the ending of the trilogy found me sobbing. Incredible.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (a book from your childhood). I had started it with my mom when I was a kid and never finished it – even though when we started reading it, she flipped ahead to the end and gasped because she remembered the ending from when she was a kid, but could never remember which book it was. Loved having an excuse to get back to it and find out what that ending was.
  • Neverwhere (a book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet). I have a distinct memory of staring intently at the pages while sitting at the kitchen table of my old apartment when I had finished dinner but couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it too.
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (a funny book). Charming!
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (a book that became a movie). Just fun.

I never planned on finishing the entire challenge, since it asked for 50 books and I had no intention of reading that many. But I think 36 is a pretty solid number and I’m proud of it. I had plans for some of the categories, and I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to them. Some unfinished business:

  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: All The Light We Cannot See
  • A book based on a true story: 1776
  • A book written by an author with your same initials: The Dragon Queen (happened to see it sitting on my shelf, written by a fellow AB)
  • A book you started but never finished: Dune (a friend of mine has a theory that everyone reads less than 100 pages of it and gives up, then years later reads it and loves it – I’ve done step one…)

And there were a few categories I had no aim to fulfill:

  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t. I read every book I was supposed to in school. (I guess I could have read a book other classes read that I never did, but still. I was a good student.)
  • A book that scares you. I have a book I’m scared of because it’s a massive hardcover (The Crimson Petal and the White). I’m less scared of the content and more scared of the shoulder pain I’ll have from carrying it around in my purse.
  • A book with bad reviews. Life is too short, man.

I also had an excellent encounter this year for which I can thank this challenge. I read Every Day Is A Holiday, and thought I could finagle it into the “a book with antonyms in the title” category, but it was debatable. The author is self-published and mentioned in the book (which was a very fun read) that he enjoyed receiving emails from readers. So I emailed him for his opinion and we had a lively debate in which I presented my case Supreme Court-style, and as judge, he ruled against me. He pointed out that “every day” is not “everyday” and that I might as well try to argue “each ice cream flavor is different” is comprised of antonyms. Fair point, George. Fair point. Into “a book set in a different country” for you.

Overall, this was a fun year of reading. May 2017 bring good books for us all. (And some other nice things too, please.)


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