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2016 Weekly checkins > Week 42: 10/14-10/20

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message 1: by Juanita (last edited Oct 20, 2016 06:49AM) (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments Week 42 ended up being pretty fascinating in the history of our group. For those of you who have been disconnected from the interwebs, we've reached out to Popsugar about our group and they've in turn expressed an interest in collaborating with us to help develop the 2017 list. Cue He-Man quote: "I have the power!" Totally kidding. But from the more than 100 messages in the thread created for this topic you can see that this has generated a lot of interest from our nearly 1,900 (that's right) members!

Be sure to check out 2017 Popsugar Challenge prompt recommendations.

Now to the moment you've all been waiting for, the official weekly checkin!

I've actually got progress to report. I finished a book AND it fills one of my remaining 5 prompts. I read Breathe, which was recommended by my 18-year old niece. It is a dystopian novel that imagines a world in which we've cut down all of our trees and are beholden to a corporation to provide us with synthetic air. It was mildly entertaining but more so just formulaic. And by the end of the book the author blatantly stole dialogue from the film A Few Good Men so ... I won't be reading the second book in the series.

That brings me to 37/41. I borrowed Lolita from the library because I need a road trip book but am having difficulty getting into it. I also need a satire, a book from the 20th century (thinking Mrs. Dalloway) and "first book you see in a bookstore." I may save the latter for December and read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because ... I think it's a safe bet that I would see that in a bookstore if I ever went to a bookstore.

Which brings us to the famous ...

Question of the week: Which prompt (from 2015 or 2016) would you like to see repeated in 2017? You can only pick ONE prompt that you'd like to see included from the original list. Next week we'll do a "new prompt" for the QoftheW. Maybe we can winnow some of these ideas down for our friend Tara at Popsugar.

For me, it would be "book from the library". I love the freebie categories mixed with the one-million-page-book prompts. As I said on the thread, I use these to fit in a book club pick when there are no other prompts that work since I have 12 of those to manage a year.

Now it's your turn. (And I'm behind schedule so I can see several of you out there hitting REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH ...)


message 2: by Sara (last edited Oct 20, 2016 07:26AM) (new)

Sara | 1508 comments It has certainly been an interesting week seeing all the prompt recommendations roll in! Some very interesting ideas were given, and I can't wait to see what the final list will be!

And Juanita - I love your notation about the part from Breathe that copies A Few Good Men! I could hear Jack Nicholson reading those words out :)

I have put my nose to the grindstone these last few weeks trying to finish off my remaining books. I'm at 40/41 and 36/41. I have pretty much given up on all reading that does not meet a prompt...at least for now. I finished an additional 3 books for the challenge this week:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I remember hearing about this book in one of my college English classes, but I don't think I read it (was I supposed to or maybe it was just brought up in discussion? I have noooooooo idea). Interesting premise and mostly a good read, but the ending was just like running full steam into a brick wall. It.just.stopped. I don't need all the strings neatly tied up to make a good ending, but please do SOMETHING! This was my second dystopian book.

Night by Elie Wiesel for my second Oprah book. Not an easy book to read, but an important one. Sometimes we as a society can get a little to blase about the past. We "remember" the atrocities of the past, but we don't have an emotional connection to them. It's dangerous...

Keep It Pithy: Useful Observations in a Tough World. Quick read to check off one of the two political memoirs. Still working on the other.

I am trying to read another book set in my state of Virginia. First, there aren't a tremendous number of choices. Second, a lot of them don't interest me. Third, of the two books I settled on I just can't seem to make enough progress. I'm switching between America's First Daughter and Absolute Power until one of them catches. The first book is much more in my wheelhouse, but progress is slow. The second is a faster paced story, but I don't really want to read it :(

I also have The Light Between Oceans and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft waiting in the wings.

Question of the week: This is hard! I can easily narrow it down to a few, but picking just one??? I think the book based on a fairy tale has been my favorite. I love exploring old stories both in their original format and new spins!


message 3: by Megan (last edited Oct 20, 2016 07:26AM) (new)

Megan (mghrt06) | 540 comments I had a good reading week finished two books, DNF'd one book, and made progress on another. That said, I don't think I checked off any prompts for popsugar so I'm holding strong at 35/41. And now I'm at 36/52 for around the year.

I finished Meant to Be. A cute, quick read. Using it for around the year.

Only Ever You - this would have been good for set in my home state but I ended up using it for around the year: a crime story. I enjoyed this but I have to say the end dragged a little bit. Maybe if this category comes up again I'll read one of her other books.

The Crane Wife - I was going to use this for Culture I'm unfamiliar with but I couldn't get past the writing. It wasn't for me. After listening to the audio-book at work for what felt like forever, I had only made 14% progress in it. It was that moment when I knew I couldn't push through. Now I need to look over the forums to see what else catches my eye for this category.

The Wedding Dress - I'm about 35% through this. Its due back at the library soon so hopefully that'll motivate me to finish it quickly. I like it so far, I didn't realize it had so much religious aspects to it. That's not a negative, I was unaware.

Next week I'm on vacation!!! I hope to finish The Wedding Dress and start and finish In the Woods.

QOTW Wow - Only one favorite! I think I'll go with New York Times Best Seller because that's broad and you can go with a current best seller, or use the website and find an oldie but goodie.


message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Megan wrote: "The Wedding Dress - I'm about 35% through this. Its due back at the library soon so hopefully that'll motivate me to finish it quickly. I like it so far, I didn't realize it had so much religious aspects to it. That's not a negative, I was unaware."

Yep, I had a similar reaction to the book. Didn't realize all the spiritual aspects of the story until I read it. Still enjoyed it. I think I've read another of her books too.


message 5: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Ok, I'm excited! One of the obstacles I have come across this year is that I just don't get enough time sitting down to read a paper or ebook. I usually turn to audiobooks to fill the gap, but I can't get any of my remaining prompt books from my library on overdrive (CDs just don't work for me). I was browsing the website just now, and I happened to see that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was available. I checked the location of the story, and it turns out she was from Virginia! So now I have a new book to listen to which will also complete a prompt for me. I still want to read America's First Daughter, but I am returning Absolute Power.

Yay me!


message 6: by Fannie (new)

Fannie D'Ascola | 418 comments Happy for you Sara.

Last week I read 3 books but only one for this challenge. I am now at 36/41.

For the autobiography prompt, my dad lend me one of his books: L'instinct de mort. It was written by Jacques Mesrine a notable killer and bankrobber who acted in France and in Québec. I like the book, but not the guy.

And for fun I started a new graphic novel serie: Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft. It's very good.

Now I am reading a book for the national book award: The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. It seems like a fun book so far. An easy read.

QOTW: It's a hard one, but I really liked the fairy tale's prompt from this year challenge.


message 7: by Lindi (last edited Oct 20, 2016 09:31AM) (new)

Lindi (lindimarie) I only finished one book again this week, but yay progress!

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts for a book that takes place on an island. My last book was a first read from Stephen King and this next one is my first read by Nora Roberts! I have to say I was much more impressed by the former. I enjoyed this book, but I really expected more from it. I feel like there was not enough build up to the romance or her discovery of being a witch. I will still finish the trilogy (and hopefully it picks up more), but might not pick up anything by her again.

Question of the week: Which prompt (from 2015 or 2016) would you like to see repeated in 2017?
Personally, I'm not a fan of the repeats. Just because there are so many good prompt ideas on the other thread I feel like there is no need.

That being said I actually really liked a book written by a celebrity/comedian. I know this wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I have so many on my TBR/bookshelf at home it was almost a freebie. I also really liked a murder mystery. I enjoy these books very much, but I'm usually not inclined to pick them up unless everyone is talking about it (The Girl on the Train).


message 8: by Nadine in NY (last edited Oct 20, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 5886 comments Mod
I have had several books lingering that I've just been chipping away at, and this week I finished three of them! I am done with Popsugar and I've decided to do Around the Year too, so I managed to fit two of my reads into that challenge.

My Dog Does Not Read Plato - a quirky book of modern poetry from Cathryn Essinger that didn't fill any category for me.

The Raven King, the disappointing finale of Maggie Stiefvater's disappointing YA series, The Raven Cycle. This series had so much potential. But it never really delivered for me. I think I need to just stop reading her books. I filled the "previous suggestion" category with this book (animal on cover).

The Nightingale - I used this for "book everyone is talking about" and I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed it.

Juanita - have you tried the audiobook version of Lolita? Jeremy Irons reads it, and he is amazing. I loved listening to him. He really brought out the dark humor in the story (I had no idea a story so twisted could even be funny!) I've had a little crush on him ever since he was in Brideshead Revisited.

QOTW - it's so hard to pick ONE favorite, but the one category I definitely want to see repeated is "published this year" - I don't always read the latest books and this category inspires me to "stay current."


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I'm at 33/41.

This week I finished two books for Popsugar and one book for Around the Year:

For my science fiction novel I chose the short novel (only 96 pages) Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I rather enjoyed it and still see scenes from it in my head.

I read Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke for the 20th century classic. Another short book (109 pages), the author talks about the importance of solitude.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - I read this for Around the Year for a book I'm embarrassed to read in public. I enjoyed the character of Sookie Stackhouse very much.

QOTW: I liked the 20th century classic prompt the best. So much to choose from.


message 10: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments Nadine: Great tip! I love Jeremy Irons and I have an audible.com credit.


message 11: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Question of the week: Which prompt (from 2015 or 2016) would you like to see repeated in 2017?

A National Book Award winner


message 12: by Catharina (new)

Catharina (_nekoi) | 93 comments I'm at 40/41 and didn't finish anything for the challenge this week. I did read If You Were Me which works for "Set in Europe" but I really can't recommend it (and I usually enjoy Sheila O'Flanagan). It was just so... I don't know, not good.

Currently reading Spells and Scones which when finished will bring me to 41/41 as it was published this year. I love these cozy crimes.

I'm also doing well in reading through my TBR and am currently down to 10 and going strong.

QothW: It's really hard to pick only one favorite. What enjoy most about these challenges (this is my second Popsugar year) is that they really do challenge me. Political memoirs, autobiographies etc

But if I'm to choose a favorite I really enjoyed it's "A book with a blue cover" so it would be fun with a different color for 2017. It was fun to interpret!


message 13: by Tanelle (new)

Tanelle Nash | 128 comments I'm plowing through a book on my TBR pile before I try to read the last few books to fill my prompts.

QOTW: I don't know which one I'd like to see back. Not dystopian or fairy tale. As much as I love both these genres I think that they're overdone at this point. The Graphic Novel prompt helped push me to read a book that had been on my bookshelf for a couple years and is a genre that I rarely ever read so perhaps that one


message 14: by Jessica (last edited Oct 22, 2016 08:57AM) (new)

Jessica Holbrook (jessicalh08) | 88 comments I'm at 34/41 after finishing Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life for my graphic novel.
Working on The Girl on the Train as well.

I have to agree with Juanita. I loved the freebie categories. It allowed me to read some books on my TBR that wouldn't have had time for otherwise. I don't get a whole lot of time to read and I wanted to physically read all the books for this challenge, so reading 41 books was a challenge in it self and I didn't have time to read extras. I've had time for a few audio books too fortunately, but like I said I'm not using those for prompts.


message 15: by poshpenny (new)

poshpenny | 1764 comments Still at 31/41

I forgot Station Eleven at work when I went on vacation, so instead of finishing that one I am now also halfway through Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film, as well as the audiobook of Dracula with Alan Cumming and Tim Curry amongst it's narrators.

Even though I'm really enjoying my books I'm hitting a progress wall again since I'm back to my wildly varying work schedule and keep falling asleep (and six new episodes of Black Mirror dropped!).

QOTW: I'd most like to see the book award winner prompt return, with a new and exciting award. Caldecott, maybe? Man Booker?


message 16: by Anna (new)

Anna (annaholla) | 172 comments I've knocked off a few prompts, leaving me at 37/41:

I finished The Girls for my "set in summer" book and The Three-Body Problem for my sci-fi book. I started The Book of Phoenix for the prequel half of that prompt (it goes with Who Fears Death, which I read back in August).

Outside this challenge, I finished The Argonauts and started the audiobook of Bossypants and The Vegetarian.

Things will probably slow down a bit this week, as my move is kicking into high gear.

QOTW: I really, really love the "translated" prompt. I tend to read way too many American, British and Canadian writers, and this pushes me to read something from somewhere else.


message 17: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 5886 comments Mod
Anna wrote: "I've knocked off a few prompts, leaving me at 37/41:

I finished The Girls for my "set in summer" book and The Three-Body Problem for my sci-fi book. ..."


How did you like The Three-Body Problem? This has been on my TBR for a while now.


message 18: by Fannie (new)

Fannie D'Ascola | 418 comments I was going to ask the same question. We read it in another group and it was 50/50. Personnaly i loved it and read the second one as well. The third is waiting for the end of this challenge.


message 19: by Anna (new)

Anna (annaholla) | 172 comments Nadine wrote: "How did you like The Three-Body Problem? This has been on my TBR for a while now."

I really, really liked it. It's not a light, breezy book: Some of the technical stuff gets quite dense, and there are lots of Chinese historical references that require footnotes. But if you like hard sci-fi and/or Chinese history, give it a go.


Thegirlintheafternoon Y'all! This update is SO LATE, but I finished some books for this challenge last week, bringing me to 38/41!

I finally finished The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream for a political memoir (good but hard to read in this election season), and I read What in God's Name for a satirical book (complete throwaway).

QOTW: Book from the library for me, too, Juanita!


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