2021 Reading Challenge discussion

ARCHIVE 2015 > Stephanie's 2015 Book Goals- 24

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments So, I thought I posted this about a week ago, but I can't seem to find the thread now, so I am re-posting. Apologies if this is a repeat post but I honestly couldn't find it and I wanted to update it.

Essentially, I am coming to this challenge late in the year, so I decided on 24 books for 2015. I have been reading off and on throughout the year. It will be a push for the finish though.

As of today, I have read:

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
3. Cress by Marissa Meyer
4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
(all of the above were read over the summer)
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
7. The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
8. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
9. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
10. Horns by Joe Hill
11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
12.. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
13. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
14. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
(All of those were read in October)
15. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The books that I wanted to update are:

16. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
17. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Obviously, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" was so good I had to finish out the series.

I have just begun "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr and with any luck will be done with that in a few days. So, I am chugging along. I still need to read 8 books in about five weeks, so that will be the challenge and this new book is very long, so we will see what happens, but I am pretty determined to do it.

message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 93 comments I have read the first 2 books of ransom Riggs.
Can't wait to read the last one!

message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments You will not regret it. :) They are so good- even better than I had hoped they would be. Ransom Riggs is a talented man. The only sad part now is that I have no books to look forward to now. The third one might be the best one of the three and I LOVED the first book. You will have to let me know what you think when you get done with it. There are so many layers and shades of gray, ambiguous characters- really good stuff.

message 4: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Welcome to the group! I wish you luck on finishing your challenge before the end of the year.

So you would recommend the second and third books in the Miss Peregrine's series? I read the first one and liked it, but I wasn't sure if I should read the next two.

message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments Cassandra wrote: "Welcome to the group! I wish you luck on finishing your challenge before the end of the year.

So you would recommend the second and third books in the Miss Peregrine's series? I read the first one..."

I would most definitely recommend the next two books in the Miss Peregrine's series. The second book fell a little shy of the first book- it took me a little longer to get into it than the first book. The third book is on par with the first, I would say. The imagination in that series is staggering. If anything, the character development in the third book is even better than in the first book- lots more shades of gray, less absolutes.

I am actually thinking about buying the entire series (in physical book form, hard cover), that's how much I liked them. Seeing as there is very little shelf real-estate in my house, that speaks volumes. :)

message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments Read another one. Starting to get worried that I am not going to make it to the end of the year with even the small goal that I set, but that's okay. I just finished:

18. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I had heard a lot about this book before I read it- the author visited my library a while back and it was a pretty big deal. I live in a tiny town that happens to be the county seat, so we get better than we deserve sometimes.

Many, many times I have been disappointed by books that everyone raves about. This one, although not a five star for me, was very enjoyable. I was particularly impressed because it actually made me sympathize with the Nazi side of things, at least the regular soldiers who were simply forced to fight without participating in the cruelty. I did find the format of it a little strange- it felt very choppy in the beginning, but once I got used to it, it was fine.

Now, onto the next. I have several that I have checked out from the library to choose from. Decisions, decisions.

Does anyone have any opinions? I want to start one of the following:

1. World War Z by Max Brooks
2. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
3. The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
4. City of Bones by John Connelly
5. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (two different authors)
6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The first week of December I am going to start:

20. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

But I wanted to read something smaller in between. I have never read any Agatha Christie books which is why there are two of them. I think I am leaning towards one of them. Input is appreciated, but I will be reading the next by tomorrow. :)

message 7: by Cassandra (last edited Nov 27, 2015 02:42PM) (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments The only book out of your list I've read is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. This is the short review I wrote about it after I finished it:
First of all, I have very little interest in zombie stories, but this was recommended to me by a friend with good taste. This book was excellent, though, because it wasn't about zombies. It was about individuals and governments - how they reacted to the initial disease outbreak, how they were overrun by zombies, how difficult it was to form secure safe zones, and the fight to reclaim the Earth. I can't say enough how much I loved the format of this book. It was written like an in-world non-fiction book, with pieces of interviews with survivors all over the globe. Taken separately, each story makes you start to understand how terrifying this must have been for them. Taken together, they provide a pretty comprehensive picture of how the world reacted to World War Z.
Hope that helps a bit!

message 8: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments Cassandra wrote: "The only book out of your list I've read is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. This is the short review I wrote about it after I finished it: First of all, I have very litt..."
It does! Thank you. It sounds like the kind of thing I was hoping it would be. The format intrigued me when I paged through it at the library. Glad to see that you enjoyed it. I think you have sold me.

I will read all of the books in my little library list, of course, but with so many to choose from it was causing me to stare and gape.

It's sort of like when I am going through my "To-Read" List (with well over 5,000 books on it) and I go, why did I pick so many? Which is why I had to spend hours trying to figure out which books I was going to try to read in 2016. I am going to try to do some more challenges this upcoming year and I feel like I have to plan every move.

Thanks again.

message 9: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments You'll have to let me know what you think!

My to-read list is just under 1000 books, but I end up choosing books most frequently based on what I already own or what fits into challenges. Then sometimes I will just browse through the library and grab whatever calls out to me.

message 10: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 19. World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

That book went way faster than I had anticipated. It wasn't the greatest book I had ever read, but I feel like my eyes just ate the words off of the page. The format really helped with that, I think. It made it feel like a real work of history soon after something happened. I liked the fact that it dealt in memories as opposed to real time accounts.

That said, it wasn't the greatest book I ever read. I wouldn't buy it. It may have convinced me to watch the movie (which I hadn't really had an interest in before this because Brad Pitt). The characters didn't stand out to me as much as the events and I still can't figure out if that bothers me or not. Usually I like a book that is driven by characters and less than events, but for this book it seemed very appropriate (probably because it was a book meant to be about an event). So, it was good. And it was quick.

You know what that means, don't you? I am going to squeeze John Connolly's "The Book of Lost Things" in before I start the behemoth on December 1st. It's a little shorter than World War Z and I think it was written as Young Adult and those always breeze by.

message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 20. "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
So, it turns out that "Sometimes a Great Notion" is going to be 21. This was such a fast read, I pretty much just picked it up last night and read it. It reads VERY quickly. I feel like I blinked and it was over, but I was extremely engaged the entire time- from the very first paragraph. This one is definitely worth a look at. It's a modern day fairy tale that I believe will appeal to both adults and middlge grade children. I might be looking to add it to my book collection soon.

message 12: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 21. "Sometimes a Great Notion" by Ken Kesey
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

So, I finally finished this bad boy a few days ago. I have moved on to "The Murder at the Vicarage" by Agatha Christie which is much shorter. I should be done by the end of this weekend with it. I am really coming down to the wire here. :)

message 13: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 13, 2015 07:05PM) (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 22. "The Murder at the Vicarage" by Agatha Christie
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

I wasn't sure if I would like this or not since it was written so long ago, but I really adored it. I did not predict the murderers. It was all good.

Two more to go until goal and two and a half weeks until 2016! Can I do it? We shall see! (I think I can).

message 14: by Winter, Group Reads (new)

Winter (winter9) | 4528 comments Stephanie (R-A) wrote: "20. "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
So, it turns out that "Sometimes a Great Notion" is going to be 21. This was such a fast read, I pretty much..."

I liked this one too!

message 15: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 14, 2015 05:11PM) (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 23. "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book is so freaking adorable. I basically read it in one night. Loved it.

Also...one book away from my October made goal! Go me! I still have two weeks to go, so yeah, I will definitely make it!

message 16: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Yay! Early congratulations to you for reaching your goal. :)

message 17: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 24. "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" by Agatha Christie
Curtain & The Mysterious Affairs at Styles by Agatha Christie

I really liked this book, but not as much as I liked Murder at the Vicarage. After having read two books, I do believe that owning the entire Agatha Christie collection would be a lovely addition to my house. If anything is a classic mystery, it is this book (these books, really). I look forward to reading more, later.

Perhaps because I had read the Miss Marple book, this book was far more predictable than the last, but still very enjoyable. It depicts England in the middle of WWII which was really interesting to me. Things like, they couldn't take as much sugar in their coffee stood out and were really fun to read about. The family is high class, so certain social norms weren't broken despite the stories circumstances. All of that was very interesting.

The mystery itself was interesting enough. However, I suspected someone would be poisoned before they were. Then, I suspected both individuals who committed the crime for the entire story. So, I enjoy being right, but I think the distractions in the Miss Marple book were better as they actually threw me off the scent, so to speak.

Four stars.


I did it! I wasn't sure if I was going to make it in the middle of "Sometimes a Great Notion" but I plowed right on :) I still have a couple books I would like to read before 2016 starts and my crazy list begins: City of Bones and The Three Musketeers. We will see what happens, but the goal I have set is complete and I am really happy about that, as failure is never an option for me.

(My yearly goal for 2016 is 52, however to complete all of the challenges I have set for myself that number will be closer to 115. Yikes. Because failure is not an option, although I may alter my book choices as the year progresses, it makes me a little nervous. Still, I am excited to read more and be a better example to my daughters about things to do that do not involve TV's or computers.)

message 18: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 25. City of Bones by Michael Connelly

City of Bones (Harry Bosch, #8) by Michael Connelly

This wasn't the greatest mystery I have ever read, but it was decent. I did not understand the point of the love story in this book at all, even by the end, it seemed to have no real meaning. Also, the end concerning the crime and Detective Bosch's career choices seemed very strange to me. It was entertaining enough, though. So, if you're bored and you like detective stories you might consider picking it up.

3 Stars

(Is there a way to do actual stars on this website? That would be awesome).

Also, I just have to point out, 1 above goal for the year. Now, I can focus on "The Three Muskateers." As it gets closer to Christmas the more doubtful I become that I will finish it, but it's been on my list for a long time (and I own it) so I really feel like now is the time to tackle it before I begin an ambitious 2016.

message 19: by Adriana (new)

Adriana | 3888 comments Awesome! Congrats on beating your goal Stephanie (:

message 20: by Megan, Challenges (new)

Megan (lahairoi) | 6240 comments Congratulations on conquering your goal!

message 21: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 31, 2015 11:29AM) (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments Thanks! I appreciate it.

I also want to point out that for the month of December I can spell out a Christmas word! For 2016, one of the monthly challenges I have set out for myself is to spell words I associate with that month. I was just trying to figure out if I can do it this month and I think I figured it out:

S- Sometimes a Great Notion - 12/8/2015
T- The Three Musketeers 12/31/2015
A- Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie- 12/12/2015
R- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- 12/14/2015

I was hoping for a bigger word, but hey, I will take what I can get.

message 22: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments After watching tonight's Doctor Who episode, I am convinced that The Husbands of River Song needs to be a book. Steven Moffat! Why do you do this to me? That ending though...sigh.

Sadly, I am only 1/3 of the way through The Three Musketeers, going to be doing a lot of driving/riding tomorrow, so hopefully that will help. Otherwise I may not be able to polish it off. Crossing my fingers.

message 23: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 976 comments 26. The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

First, let me say...I did it! Not a day too soon. It helps that my girls stayed at Papa and Grandma Cyndy's house last night. It turns out, 700 pages or so of antiquated language takes a long time to read.

For the first 200 pages "The Three Muskateers" is really slow going. It is hard to say if this is because I find it difficult to adjust to the antiquated language or if it is because the story is a little boring. Maybe both. However, D'Artagnan's first adventure from France to England in the first third of the book picks up the pace considerably and by the end of the book you really are on the edge of your seat to see what happens.

So, make sure you have a lot of time available when you read this one, but it is worth reading at least once in your life.

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