Yeah, I said I was done. I know I shouldn't sign up for any more reading challenges this year, but I found a really fun one that I couldn't resist, and then I figured I might as well sign up for the one I was on the fence about while I was at it. So two more. Then I'm done. (Or am I?)
This one is hosted by Book Dragon's Lair, and you can find all the details here. The goal is to complete the alphabet using the settings of the books you read. It can be the country, state, or city. It can even be fictional! In the past, I've loved the challenge of completing the alphabet for titles or author's last names. This is a brand new twist, and I'm really excited to try it!
This challenge is hosted by My Reader's Block, and you can find all the details here. This is a challenge I've participated in a couple of times in the past, but I skipped it last year. Now I find myself scanning my shelves to see what I have for titles involving color words, so I figured I should participate this year!
Time to sign up for more reading challenges! I'm always looking for new and fun challenges to participate in, and I certainly found some this year. For now, these are all the challenges I'm signing up for this year, but I reserve the right to change my mind and add a few more!
This challenge is hosted by Book Date, and you can find all the details here. The object is to fill in as many squares on the game board as you can. I'm aiming to get them all!
This challenge is hosted by Rose City Reader, and you can find all the details here. This is a challenge I love participating in every year. I'm going for the Five Star level, which means I need to read 5 books set in different European countries. I love books about Europe, so this usually isn't too much of a struggle for me. The challenge is reading outside of my typical United Kingdom, France, and Italy!
This challenge is hosted by Becky's Book Reviews, and you can find all the details here. I am beyond excited for this challenge, because I have a lot of picture books in my future. Now they can count towards a reading challenge! This is also a good excuse to bring home even more piles of books from the library. There are three options for this challenge, and I'm going to try to accomplish the checklist. It's 102 items long, so I won't post it here, but you can click on the challenge detail link to see them all. This is going to be so much fun!
Last but not least, my own challenge! You can check out this post to get all of the details. I'm aiming for the Spinelli level, which means I need to get 30-44 points. I'm slowly accomplishing my goal of reading all the Newbery winners, and this challenge certainly helps with that!
'Tis the glorious time of year when we get to sign up for all new reading challenges! I love reading challenges. I'm always scouring people's blogs to see what they're participating in, so I can maybe add more to my list. Now that I've got a little guy around (recently on the move!), I'm trying to be realistic about what reading challenges I can complete without stressing myself out. So far, I've picked seven (but I haven't necessarily stopped there if something else grabs my attention!).
The three I'm signing up for in this post are all challenges that will help me read my own books, rather than the shiny new ones at the library (although I know I'll be reading a fair amount of those this year, too).
This challenge is hosted by Book Date, and you can find all the details here. I participated in this one last year for the first time, and it really helped me to only buy books that I knew I would read soon, rather than letting them languish on my shelves forever. I'm aiming for the Making Inroads level, which means I need to read 21-40% of the books I buy in 2017.
This challenge is hosted by Chapter Break and Second Run Reviews, and you can find all the details here. This challenge is designed to help you read books you've bought before 2017. I have a lot of those (boy, that's an understatement), so I'm hoping to achieve the Give Your Shelves a Warm Friendly Hug level. That's reading 21-30 books from my own shelves, which I had better be able to do!
This challenge is hosted by Novel Knight, and you can find all the details here. Beat the Backlist is about reading books published before 2017, which I will have absolutely no problem doing. That's already most of my reading (especially if I'm reading off my own shelves). But I just had to participate in this one because there's a Harry Potter House Challenge! You get points for your house for posting reviews of the backlist books you've read. There are also scavenger hunts and Instagram challenges and all sorts of other fun things to participate in. You set your own goal for this challenge, so I'm going to aim for a minimum of 30 books published before 2017. I'll probably go way over that, but since I don't know how much my little guy is going to affect my reading this year, I'm trying to keep my goals manageable. I'm so excited for this challenge!
So a couple of weeks ago, I posted about finishing my reading challenges for 2016. One of those challenges was to read the books I bought this year. I marveled at the fact that I had only bought 23 books in 2016, which was way under the amount I normally buy. Of course, I had only read 8 of them, but that was enough to surpass my minimum percentage of 20% to complete the challenge.
And then. . . a Christian bookstore near me was going out of business, so they had really good sales. And I visited the wonderful bookstore by my mom's house when we were there for Christmas. Suffice it to say that I have no longer bought just 23 books in 2016.
I'm coming clean and confessing my splurge to all of you. But I'm also still counting my Read the Books You Buy Challenge as complete for this year. My percentage has dropped, and I won't be able to read enough books to get it back up by the end of the year. I guess I'll just count buying these books with no pressure as a Christmas present to myself. 'Tis the season, right?
I did indeed complete all six of the challenges I signed up for this year, and I'm rather surprised at how well I did. I had no idea how my reading life was going to change once I had my baby in April, so I didn't sign up for as many challenges as I usually do. Now that I'm gathering a list of challenges I want to try in 2017, I have a feeling I'm going to have an even harder time reining myself in than I did this year.
Here is round two of the challenges I completed this year!
Hosted by Chapter Break
Goal: Give Your Shelves a Warm, Friendly Hug (21-30 books)
1. So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson
2. Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce
3. Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans by L.M. Montgomery
4. Lost in Rooville by Ray Blackston
5. The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
6. Tisha by Robert Specht
7. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
8. The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert
9. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
11. The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley
12. The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
13. The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport
14. Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford
15. Irresistible North by Andrea di Robilant
16. A Walk Through Wales by Anthony Bailey
17. Seven Seasons in Siena by Robert Rodi
18. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk
19. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler
20. Right from the Start by Shirley Morgenthaler
21. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
Okay, so I just barely made this one. I was really hoping I would do better. It's my goal to get a couple more books of my Circumreading the World journey read by the end of the year, so the number may go up by a couple. This is definitely one I'll try again next year and hopefully work even harder at!
January: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
February: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
March: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
April: On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
May: On the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
June: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
July: Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
August: These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
September: The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
October: On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
November: West from Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
December: A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
I petered out on the reviewing part, but at least I read them all! This is the first time I've read the Little House books, and I'm so glad I finally did. What took me so long?
Hosted by: The Introverted Reader
Goal: Explorer (6-10 books)
1. So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson
2. Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce
3. Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness by Robert Specht
4. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
5. A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford
6. Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman
7. The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller
8. Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe
9. Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President by Eli Saslow
10. The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert M. Kaplan
11. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch
12. The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell
13. The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue
14. Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah
15. The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession by James Ward
16. The Mommy Group: Freaking Out, Finding Friends, and Surviving the Happiest Time of Our Lives by Elizabeth Isadora Gold
17. The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting by Philip Hensher
18. The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett
19. How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
20. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
21. Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder
22. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court by Sandra Day O'Connor
23. The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Joan Aiken Hodge
24. God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible - A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal by Brian Moynahan
25. What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
26. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
27. Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin by Ann Patty
28. Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time. by Ed Stafford
29. Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers by Andrea di Robilant
30. A Walk Through Wales by Anthony Bailey
31. Seven Seasons in Siena: My Quixotic Quest for Acceptance Among Tuscany's Proudest People by Robert Rodi
32. West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder
33. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk
34. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler
35. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
So, um, yeah. I read a lot more nonfiction than I was anticipating. Next year, I'll set my goal a bit higher for this challenge!
'Tis the season for finishing up reading challenges. I participated in 6 challenges this year, which is way less than usual but slightly more than I originally planned. I'm pleased to say that I have completed all of them! Three of them, I'm even still making progress on, so I'll put those "challenge complete" posts up later in the month. Here are the three I've completed so far.
Hosted by Book Date
Goal: Making Inroads (20-40%)
Books Bought in 2016
1. Cress by Marissa Meyer (read in February)
2. All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani (read in February)
3. In Scotland Again by H.V. Morton
4. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
5. Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan (read in April)
6. Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein (read in July)
7. Winter by Marissa Meyer (read in April)
8. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
9. Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
10. A Hilltop in Tuscany by Stephanie Grace Whitson (read in October)
11. Cross Country by Robert Sullivan
12. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
13. On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz
14. Irresistible North by Andrea Di Robilant (read in November)
15. The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
16. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne (read in August)
17. Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
18. Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
19. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
20. A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman
21. City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling
22. Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
23. The Highlander's Last Song by George MacDonald
Percentage Read: 35%
This is the most effective thing I've found yet to curb my book buying. I bought 23 books in 2016?? That's a third of what I bought in 2015, and a fifth of what I bought in 2014. Apparently my solution to keeping my percentage within the goal range was not to read more books, but to buy less. Hey, whatever works, right?
Hosted by Smiling Shelves (that's me!)
Goal: Spinelli (30-44 points)
1. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (3 points)
2. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (2 points)
3. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2 points)
4. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2 points)
5. The High King by Lloyd Alexander (3 points)
6. The Giver by Lois Lowry (3 points)
7. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2 points)
8. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (3 points)
9. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2 points)
10. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2 points)
11. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (3 points)
12. Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (3 points)
13. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (3 points)
Point Total: 33
Hosted by: Rose City Reader
Goal: Five Star (5 books)
1. The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert (England)
2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (France)
3. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Italy)
4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)
5. The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley (Norway)
6. Irresistible North by Andrea di Robilant (Iceland & Greenland)
7. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
Welcome to the fourth year of the Newbery Reading Challenge! Newbery and Caldecott books are fun to read - whether it's our first time experiencing them, or we're revisiting them from our childhood. If you want to challenge yourself to read more Newbery and Caldecott books this year, then you have found the right place!
Here are the rules:
Each book you read is worth points. You get:
In addition to that, you pick a level to aim for:
You can get to this level with any combination of points you want. You can read all Newbery Medal winners. You can throw in a few Honor Books. If you want, you can even read 75 Caldecott Medal winners! How you get to your point level is totally up to you.
Also, anywhere in the point range for your level counts as completing that level. So for example, if you signed up for the Avi level and read 46 points' worth of books, then you have completed that level!
To join the Newbery Reading Challenge:
Sign Up for the Newbery Reading Challenge 2017
I never got a chance in April to share my thoughts about On the Banks of Plum Creek, which was the April read for the Little House Read-Along. So I thought I would write up my thoughts for both books this month.
Farmer Boy is the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's future husband, Almanzo, as a child. It was interesting to see the similarities between the two. There is still a lot of time spent describing the food they ate (it made me hungry), as well as all the work they did to survive. The differences were pretty interesting also. Since Almanzo's family lived near a town, they weren't in pure survival mode. There were stores that were still a bit of a trip away, but decently convenient. And they had neighbors to visit with - even a parlor in which to receive them!
What struck me most, though, was the innocence of Almanzo. He was a nine-year-old boy. I teach fourth grade, so I'm fairly familiar with nine-year-old boys. They're not like that anymore. It was refreshing to see Almanzo treat his parents with such respect and obedience, even when he got up to some boyish shenanigans. I think this is one of the reasons why the Little House books are still so beloved. They not only give us a picture of a lost time; they give us a picture of a lost childhood innocence.
I told myself that I would limit my reading challenges this year. With a baby arriving next month, I really didn't want to over-commit because that would just make me stress myself out. So I was really good in January and only signed up for 4 reading challenges. (Compared to last year's 15, that's pretty good.)
But I just can't take it. It's not enough. Surely there are other reading challenges out there that I can fulfill without driving myself crazy. So I found two more. . .
The European Reading Challenge is hosted by Rose City Reader. This is one I've participated in every year since I started blogging. I'm signing up for the Five Star level, which means I need to read 5 books set in 5 different European countries. Looking at the books I've read so far in 2016, I've got a great start. Surely I can find time to squeeze in a couple more books to finish this one up!
The Nonfiction Reading Challenge is hosted by The Introverted Reader. This is another challenge that I've participated in frequently, and it's usually been really easy for me to blow it out of the water. Nonfiction is a typical part of my reading diet. Looking at what I've read so far in 2016, it's a part of my reading diet that has been lacking this year. And I find myself gazing longingly at the nonfiction books on my shelves. I'm signing up for the Explorer level, which means I need to read 6-10 nonfiction books this year. I'm hoping for more, but I'm still trying to set my sights realistically.
Okay, I promise I'm done. Six challenges. That's it. (I think.)
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.