Monday, July 3, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017

Finished up The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead this week (week 8's theme: a book written by a person of color).  I can see why this one was picked as an Oprah reading group choice, as well as a NY Times bestseller.  It explores a lot of the racial prejudice mid-19th century, and looks ahead to the difficulties in assimilating the population of freed slaves into the country's workforce - not just difficulties with a white/black tension, but the difficulties within the groups of African-Americans as well.  There was a section of the book (just past the halfway point) where I got bogged down in it.  It was a slow go for a bit but the last several chapters are thought-provoking and well-written.  Not an easy read by any description, but an interesting one.

I've started the audiobook of Pride and Prejudice  as my week #23 book - a book from the BBC's "The Big Read".  A nicely done version of it which I'm enjoying quite a bit.

I also zipped through 2 other books over the holiday weekend:
Wool by Hugh Howey for week 29, a book published outside the 4 major publishing houses.  Disclaimer that this book and the others in the series, since this is more like a novella, have now been republished by Simon and Schuster, I believe.  Originally, however, it was published by Broad reach.   Let me just say that I'm glad this book was only 58 pages.  It really has nothing to do with wool (sorry to disappoint - there's a small reference to wool in the story, but if you are looking for sheep, they ain't here.)  A dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale.  I wasn't into it, but I finished it.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, for week 19, a NY Times Bestseller.  The quickest synopsis of this book is Sheldon Cooper Takes a Wife.  I had this book in my to-read list from the library for a while, although I wasn't sure I would engage with it, but I found it charming, sweet, funny and engaging in a quirky way.  The main character has Asperger's and while that tends to be a positive in terms of his analytical mind (he's a genetics professor at a university in Australia), it tends to be a negative in terms of his social interactions.  The story of how he finds the perfect woman (for him) despite himself and his highly scientific questionnaire, and the ability to strive for happiness was wonderfully told.  Nicely written, well paced, with great characters (and without hitting the reader over the head about anything to do with Asperger's), I really enjoyed this one!  A surprise, but a good one.  :)

I'm at 24 of 52 books read for the year here at the halfway point - 28 to go!  I haven't decided what I'll pick up this week for reading - I've got a few I want to see if I can find at the library and I'll decide once I see what's available.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location

April 2018 WIPocalypse Update

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