The Seasonal Reading Challenge discussion

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BEST & WORST BOOKS OF... > Best Books You Accidentally Read

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message 1: by Bridgit (last edited Mar 09, 2010 02:12PM) (new)

Bridgit | 384 comments What are the best books that you have read SOLELY because of a Seasonal Challenge task? I'm not talking about something you had on your TBR for a long time, and finally had the kick-in-the-butt you needed to read it.

What are those gems that would have gone undiscovered otherwise?

For me - Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto - Fall 09 Foreign Language
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Spring 09 epistolary task
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Spring 09 - Spring animal
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time - Spring 09 - Title of 12 words or more

Admittedly, most of the books that I have read that were not already on my TBR for the challenge were...shall we say 'poopy' to be PC...

But I would love to hear if anyone has discovered some real keepers just because they needed a book with a picture of a pencil holder on the cover or because it had the word hairdryer in the title


message 2: by Petra (last edited Mar 09, 2010 02:56PM) (new)

Petra Great question, Bridgit!
I've found some pretty good books through the Challenge....as well as some "poopy" ones.
Some of the good finds were:

Middlesex
Ursula, Under
The Tomorrow File
Heartsick
Ender's Game
O Pioneers! (I've avoided Willa Cather since University days when forced to read My Antonia....a book I'll have to revisit)
The Root Worker
Grendel
and I second your find, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal


message 3: by Jennifer (last edited Mar 09, 2010 04:07PM) (new)

Jennifer D (DawsonOakes) This is a very good question Bridgit! I just finished a book that doesn't merit being mentioned...all because it had trees on the cover (Task 10.1, Spring, 2010). LOL!

For this challenge, I have only read a few books, but finished A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Task 25.4 (b) same name) and found it really engaging. It is a YA novel but I have had in in my TBR pile for several years. I would highly recommend this book for anyone over 13 (it does cover a couple of heavy subjects). It was interesting and well written.

I also read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for the Fall '09 challenge and really loved it a lot.

In the winter challenge (Task 10.6 - Time) I read Day After Night: A Novel and was happy to have discovered this story.

Petra - I would highly encourage you to re-read My Antonia. I love the novel and only read it a few years ago, for the first time, as part of my in-person book group.


message 4: by Jayme(the ghost reader) (last edited Mar 09, 2010 04:37PM) (new)

Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments I liked
Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's Syndrome
What Jamie Saw
The Stupidest Angel

Those are the ones I could remember that were not on my TBR list. I read "Three Cups of Tea" for my bookclub.


Petra Jennifer wrote: "Petra - I would highly encourage you to re-read My Antonia. I love the novel and only read it a few years ago, for the first time, as part of my in-person book group...."

Thanks, Jennifer, for the endorsement. I think I will see if I can find a copy. I'll let you know what I think about it. I really enjoyed O Pioneers!.


Katie Petra wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Petra - I would highly encourage you to re-read My Antonia. I love the novel and only read it a few years ago, for the first time, as part of my in-person book group...."

Thanks..."


pssst...Petra, Death Comes for the Archbishop was really good, too. :-)


Petra Oh, dear.....thanks, Katie......my TBR list just keeps on growing.
Death Comes To The Archbiship really does sound good. I guess I'll be looking into Willa Cather's books afterall.


Melissa | 198 comments I have found quite a few very good books that I would never have read but for the SRC... here are a few:

A Changed Man: A Novel by Francine Prose
Shutter Island - this type of thriller is not my usual thing, but I really enjoyed it. However, I have tried and been unable to get through Mystic River.
New Found Land: Lewis & Clark's Voyage of Discovery
A Northern Light

and yet more Willa Cather, I too would probably never have picked up O Pioneers! without the SRC. Looks like I will have to take a look at Death Comes for the Archbishop too!


Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments I don't know if I'd call it accidental, but I FINALLY got around to reading A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass (Fall 2009, 50.1a), after "meaning" to read it for about 5 years, and it was AWESOME!


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Definitely Shutter Island
Also Neverwhere

But the best one I would never have thought I would like wasLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I liked it so much, I bought my own copy of it.


Usako (bbmeltdown) | 1334 comments There's some reads I never would have found without the recommendations by other Seasonal Readers.

A Mango-Shaped Space

This one I selected myself randomly for the Christian Fiction task. I wasn't expecting all that much and was VERY surprised how much I enjoyed the FREE read!
Fireflies in December


Felina I remember reading My Antonio in junior lit class in highschool and I loved it...I can't remember why. Its been 10 years and all I remember is just visuals of hayfields. :) I don't know why I never read anything else by Cather. I'm going to pick up the Archbishop.


Dlmrose | 7292 comments Mod
Felina wrote: "I remember reading My Antonio in junior lit class in highschool and I loved it...I can't remember why. Its been 10 years and all I remember is just visuals of hayfields. :) I don't know why I never..."

If you haven't selected something for the ANZAC/WWI task yet, my RL book group loved One of Ours Cather won the Pulitzer for it in 1923.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments Lyn M wrote: "Definitely Shutter Island
Also Neverwhere

But the best one I would never have thought I would like wasLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I li..."


Seriously? Leaves of Grass? I hated that book.


Nicole | 733 comments Jayme wrote: "Lyn M wrote: "Definitely Shutter Island
Also Neverwhere

But the best one I would never have thought I would like wasLeaves of Grass by [author:Walt Whitma..."


Hence the saying, to each their own! Not everyone can love everything. I, too, am a Whitman fan and also a huge fan of poetry in general.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments I love poetry just NOT Whitman. I wanted to burn Leaves of Grass.


Angie | 76 comments For the spring challenge I read Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Homeby Kim Sunee and Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China by Jen Lin-Liu. Both are "foodie" books that I ended up LOVING! I never would have read them if not for the challenge.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Jayme - Seriously. I love the way the words flow, and the pictures it makes. I expected to hate it, but ended up loving it.


message 22: by Cassandra (last edited Apr 05, 2010 01:22PM) (new)

Cassandra Anathem- Over 900 pages.
The Chosen- Jewish.
The Crystal Cave- Mythopoeic award
The Clan of the Cave Bear- Started it for the bears task.

My TRL is probably 95% authors that I've discovered reading the completed tasks and planning. I stopped reading for a while because I was too embarrassed to check out YA at my age, and didn't know anything about adult books. Practically every adult book I read I discovered through the challenges.

Edit- I have to add Spring Torrents for the spring fling task.


Bridgit | 384 comments Ok have to addThe Art of Racing in the Rain - just finished it for Helen's Animal POV task. It was wonderful. Never really heard of it and def would not have picked it up - ESPECIALLY after having my heart broken by Marley and Me.


TMBookluvr (tmb1981) | 243 comments A few that I probably never would've read if I didn't join this challenge are:
For the Fall challenge:
Shutter Island
For the Winter Challenge:
Magic Hour (listened to it, but it was great)
For the Spring Challenge:
Alice I have been (not done with it, but so far, it's really good)

I probably would not have picked these up if it weren't for this challenge, which is really the whole point of why I joined the challenge anyway. Now my TBR list is big and I'm reading books I never heard of or would've read otherwise!

It's Great!


Manday | 311 comments House of Leaves <-- read this one for the library-recommended task, it was awesome

Tenth Circle<-- because it had a number in the title and was relatively short!! (I had a color book that was long and I really wanted to read for the color by number task)

Hard to Be a God <-- russian author I believe was the task? not sure how I picked it, but its really hard to get your hands on, and very fascinating.

Bridge of Sighs <-- chose it by its cover!


Cait (caitertot) I'll have to revisit past challenges at another time, but I have 2 for this challenge. Funnily enough they are both from Roseanne's Spring Fling task.

I read two different short story collections, Demons in the Spring by Joe Meno and Throw Like A Girl: Stories by Jean Thompson. Both were awesome!


message 27: by Ashley FL (last edited Mar 17, 2010 09:40AM) (new)

Ashley FL | 732 comments I don't know if it "accidental" exactly, but as part of this challenge I read Shutter Island and really enjoyed that. I was definitely inspired by seeing it was a group pick for a challenge before I joined the group.

Also Private and that whole series by Kate Brian, was one I got from the "friend of a friend" task. I had never heard of it and I LOVE this series.

I also have now read several Jennifer Crusie books, and I got her name from reading "Beyond Heaving Bosums" for the task where you have to read a book, and then a book that is referenced in the first book.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I haven't participated in a Seasonal Challenge since last Spring. There are two I remember from that challenge that were wonderful:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, for a task that required a title of 12 words or longer

A Town Like Alice for Anzac Day. If some of you are looking for a book for that task this year, I can heartily recommend it.


Megan Anderson (Ms_Anderson) | 1350 comments For the Spring Challenge:
Adam Canfield of the Slash for the journalism task

The Bell Jar for the friend/friend of friend task

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook, which I never would've discovered if someone hadn't recommended it for the character references task

For the Winter Challenge (my first)
Megan for the Canada task

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist for the Clue task (I used the version with the purple cover)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon for the World of Books task (the additional stuff part)

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio for the Librarian's Pick task

Those are the best of the ones I've read, but I'd read some pretty good ones (four-star) that I never would've picked up otherwise, too.


message 30: by Jennifer (last edited Apr 11, 2010 11:46AM) (new)

Jennifer (pearlady) | 36 comments A Departure from the Script - not really my reading genre--only chose it because of the challenge topic after a search--but was a good read (and not too uncomfortable, considering the controversial subject material)

Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer - not sure if I would've ever found this gem would it not have been for a seasonal challenge (book about a teacher)

Same goes for Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love, gave wonderful insight into another world (senses task - saw it recommended in our SC forums and went for it)

I've also found some neat YA books like the now infamous The Hunger Games (LOVE the whole series), the sweet Passport to Romance, and the heroic Captain Nobody (the last of which makes a good audio-book for the road)


message 31: by Julie (last edited Apr 17, 2010 08:51PM) (new)

Julie  | 82 comments Definitely The Hunger Games, which led to me purposely reading Catching Fire!! I can't wait until Mockingjay comes out! August is SOOO far away!


Usako (bbmeltdown) | 1334 comments Julie, that's why I'm holding off reading Catching Fire until June or July.


message 33: by Jennifer (last edited May 21, 2010 08:54PM) (new)

Jennifer  (jml_417) | 324 comments I've been participating since the Summer 2009 Challenge and I can't remember which challenge/task my "accidents" belong to - I'd have to look it up in my file - AND, they were all borrowed from the library! ;)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
Matchstick Men: A Novel About Grifters with Issues by Eric Garcia
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I bought my own copy after reading it!
Apollo 13 by Jeffrey Kluger and Jim Lovell - I loved it so much my brother gave me a copy for Christmas!
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron - and this is saying alot since I'm not a cat person! ;)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier


Kathy G. | 1648 comments I read The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama and it was such a tender story. If you ever need to read a book set in Japan, this is a great read. I recommended it to two friends and they both loved it. I picked this book completely at random and was glad I did.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments So far this challenge I liked:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
One For The Money by Janet Evanovich
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Songs of the Humpbacked Whale by Jodi Picoult
Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gail Parkin


NickiUK | 284 comments Books I've purely read (and then loved) because they fit the challenge include:

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Mr Darcy's Diary by Maya Slater
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

And new authors I've discovered that I really like include:
Janet Evanovich
Charlaine Harris
Jennifer Chiaverini


Caity (adivineeternity) Bah, I haven't participated in any challenges yet (just joined the group), but I did accidentally read Elantris by Brandon Sanderson because I needed something to read on the plane between Newark, New Jersey and Frankfurt, Germany. Ended up loving it.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments I liked "The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time"


message 39: by Donna Jo (last edited Aug 13, 2010 06:45PM) (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 2698 comments Thanks to the Portuguese author/book task I read The Maias by Eça de Queirós, a classic I'd never heard of before, and I fell in love with it. If you like long, slow descriptive novels you might like this one.


TMBookluvr (tmb1981) | 243 comments I'm currently reading Where Angels Fear to Tread by Thomas Sniekgoski (ok, not sure if that's spelled right) and I just picked it up at the library on the recent section. It's the 3rd in the series, and I haven't read the rest, but this is a good book. Kinda of a paranormal mystery type book.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 1896 comments I read "Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac"


Liz I really enjoyed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I probably wouldn't have read before this challenge. It was hilarious & very quirky.


Sue T (SueTinge) | 1150 comments I'd never heard of Ella Minnow Pea before this challenge and it was definitely one of my favorite reads.


Megan Anderson (Ms_Anderson) | 1350 comments Sue T wrote: "I'd never heard of Ella Minnow Pea before this challenge and it was definitely one of my favorite reads."

I second this. I had a different book planned for this task, but when I saw lots of people reading Ella Minnow Pea, I decided to check it out. This book is amazing!

This season I discovered the comic "Unshelved," and read the first volume...then spent hours going through the rest of the archives. Hilarious comic about working in a library and highly recommended.


Donna Jo Atwood | 2698 comments Ms Anderson, I have signed copies of the Unshelved books--some of my favorites, and so often true to a librarian's life.


Megan Anderson (Ms_Anderson) | 1350 comments Donna Jo wrote: "Ms Anderson, I have signed copies of the Unshelved books--some of my favorites, and so often true to a librarian's life."

Ooooo...my only signed comic is a Lead I Could Do one. But ya, parts of Unshelved reminded me of things that happened when I worked at my college's library. It was fun, but man were some of those patrons crazy!


message 47: by Heidi (last edited Aug 27, 2010 05:34PM) (new)

Heidi (Heidi422) I read The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. She was the suggested author for MM of Summer. I really enjoyed her writing style and I am a big fan of all things Egypt. I have NEFERTITI on my TBR shelf. I hope to make it a task for the Fall Challenge.


Erin (NY) (erin_p) | 481 comments Heidi wrote: "I read The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. She was the suggested author for MM of Summer. I really enjoyed her writing style and I am a big fan of all things Egypt. I have ..."</i>
Oh! I just read [book:Cleopatra's Daughter
amd I really enjoyed it! You should check it out!



Sue T (SueTinge) | 1150 comments I read Cleopatra's Daughter for the summer challenge and really liked it. I'm trying to figure out where to put another of her books in this challenge.


Meera | 83 comments I recently read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, which I loved. I had seen the cover of the book and had ignored it before but it was the Bookmarks task that made me actually read the review and read it.


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