Around the Year in 52 Books discussion

117 views
2018 Plans > Rachel's Year of Series 2018

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments **Apologizing in advance if this is the wrong place to post, since I'm including ATY and all my other challenges in this one thread. It's impossible for me to keep up with tracking my progress in too many different places, and like I did in 2017, I'm intending to post my monthly updates on all my challenges together. Mods, feel free to move this if it is the wrong place.

Any books that are listed are the tentative plan for now, and still might change. Anything left blank means I have no idea, and please feel free to offer some suggestions!

Around the Year 2018
1. A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title - Autoboyography
2. A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list - Looking for Alaska
3. A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards (link) - King's Cage
4. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...) - Satellite
5. A book about or inspired by real events - Keep You Safe
6. A book originally written in a language other than English - The Hangman's Daughter
7. A gothic novel - Gretel and the Dark
8. An "own voices" book* - We Are Okay
9. A book with a body part in the title (heart, bones, teeth, skin, blood, etc) - Heartless
10. An author's debut book (their first book to be published) - The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
11. A literary fiction
12. A book set in Africa or South America - The Memory of Love or Things Fall Apart
13. A book with a plot centered around a secret (forbidden love, spies, secret societies, etc) - 99 Red Balloons
14. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #2 Fire - Little Fires Everywhere
15. A book with an unique format/writing structure - Gemina
16. A narrative nonfiction - Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
17. A book you expect to make you laugh - Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting
18. A book with a location in the title - Firefly Lane
19. A book nominated for the Edgar Award or by a Grand master author (books & authors) - The Ex
20. A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends - Ignite Me
21. A book written in first person perspective - Reached
22. A book you have high expectations or hope for - The Raven King
23. A medical or legal thriller - Most Wanted
24. A book with a map - Days of Blood & Starlight
25. A book with an antagonist/villain point of view - Vicious
26. A book with a text only cover - Big Fat Manifesto
27. A book about surviving a hardship (war, famine, major disasters, serious illness, etc) - Every Note Played
28. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #3 Water - Into the Water
29. A book with a "Clue" weapon on the cover or title (lead pipe, revolver, rope, candlestick, dagger, wrench) - Throne of Glass
30. A short book - Every Heart a Doorway
31. A book set in a country you'd like to visit but have never been to - The Last Anniversary
32. An alternate history book - That Inevitable Victorian Thing
33. A book connected (title, cover, content) to a word "born" in the same year as you (link) - The Takedown (related to the word "cybersecurity")
34. A suggestion from the AtY 2018 polls, that didn't win but was polarizing or a close-call (link) - A book whose title or author's last name starts with Q, X, Y, or Z - Eliza and Her Monsters
35. A book featuring a murder - The Guilty One
36. A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before (*Thinking of dividing this one into a 3-book prompt, one per year)
2016 - Keep Me Posted
2017 – Friend Request
2018 – Folded Notes from High School
37. A Women's Prize for Fiction winner or nominee (link1, link2) - Where'd You Go, Bernadette
38. A science book or a science fiction book - Crosstalk
39. A book with a form of punctuation in the title - Dumplin'
40. A book from Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list (link) - The Wind in the Willows
41. A book by an author with the same first and last initials - Landline
42. A book that takes place on, in, or underwater - The Seafarer's Kiss
43. A book with a title that is a whole sentence - They Both Die at the End
44. A ghost story - Nyctophobia
45. A book that intimidates/ scares you - The Dead House
46. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #4 Air - Oxygen
47. A book where the main character (or author) is of a different ethnic origin, religion, or sexual identity than your own - Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged
48. A book related to one of the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth) - The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
49. A book from one of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month lists (link) - Little & Lion
50. A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer)
51. An award-winning short story or short story collection
52. A book published in 2018 - What If It's Us
53. Wild Card - A book involving the arts or performing arts - Noteworthy


message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments PopSugar 2018
1. A book made into a movie you've already seen
2. True Crime - My Friend Dahmer
3. The next book in a series you started - Requiem
4. A book involving a heist - Six of Crows
5. Nordic noir - The Snowman
6. A novel based on a real person - Possibly I Was Anastasia
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you
8. A book with a time of day in the title - Bright Lights, Dark Nights
9. A book about a villain or antihero - And I Darken
10. A book about death or grief - Letters to the Lost
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym - The Silkworm
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist - Meg & Linus
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical - Pygmalion
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you - Lucy and Linh
15. A book about feminism - Moxie
16. A book about mental health - The Boy Who Could See Demons
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift - Flame in the Mist
18. A book by two authors - The Night That Changed Everything
19. A book about or involving a sport - Beartown
20. A book by a local author - The Heart Goes Last
21. A book with your favorite color in the title - Blue Lily, Lily Blue
22. A book with alliteration in the title - The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
23. A book about time travel - If I Could Turn Back Time
24. A book with a weather element in the title - War Storm
25. A book set at sea - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
26. A book with an animal in the title - Starfish
27. A book set on a different planet - Obsidio
28. A book with song lyrics in the title - The One That Got Away
29. A book about or set on Halloween
30. A book with characters who are twins - Beside Myself
31. A book mentioned in another book - We Have Always Lived in the Castle
32. A book from a celebrity book club - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
33. A childhood classic you've never read - The Velveteen Rabbit or Beatrix Potter Illustrated Collection
34. A book that's published in 2018 - Those Other Women
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner - A Court of Mist and Fury
36. A book set in the decade you were born - Annie on My Mind
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to - Two By Two
38. A book with an ugly cover - I Hate Everyone But You
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library - Words in Deep Blue
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges
- 2015 – a book with a one-word title – Guilty
- 2016 – a YA bestseller – Crossed
- 2017 – a book with a family-member word in the title – The Silent Sister
41. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school - Nineteen Minutes
42. A cyberpunk book - Warcross
43. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
44. A book tied to your ancestry - The Bear and the Nightingale
45. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title - The Mango Season
46. An allegory - The Last Battle
47. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you - Probably You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone
48. A microhistory - Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate
49. A book about a problem facing society today - Dear Martin
50. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - Meddling Kids


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (scharle4) | 94 comments Love your choices! I need to figure out my Popsugar Challenge the rest of the way too


message 4: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Due to the sheer number of books I want to read, I'm thinking of extending the timeline on a few of my challenges. My goal for ATY and PopSugar is to complete all prompts by December 31, 2018. I'm not sure yet about BookRiot, but it likely will be by the end of December also.

BookRiot 2018
1.A book published posthumously - With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (Book #8 in the series)
2.A book of true crime
3.A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) - Most likely something by Agatha Christie
4.A comic written and illustrated by the same person - Big Mushy Happy Lump
5.A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) - The Unexpected Son
6.A book about nature - Tales from Gombe
7.A western - Most likely Little House on the Prairie
8.A comic written or illustrated by a person of color - Level Up
9.A book of colonial or postcolonial literature - Half of a Yellow Sun
10.A romance novel by or about a person of color - Let's Talk About Love
11.A children’s classic published before 1980 - Tuck Everlasting
12.A celebrity memoir
13.An Oprah Book Club selection - The Pilot's Wife
14.A book of social science - 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You
15.A one-sitting book - Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real (if I can find a copy)
16.The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series - Three Dark Crowns
17.A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author - Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 or Spare and Found Parts
18.A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image - Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max
19.A book of genre fiction in translation - The Book Jumper
20.A book with a cover you hate - OCD Love Story
21.A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author - Monday's Not Coming
22.An essay anthology
23.A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24.An assigned book you hated (or never finished) -


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments I've never done one of the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenges before, but the 2017 seemed very interesting. I wanted to wait until the 2018 list came out and possibly tackle that one instead, but I found that list very underwhelming. I'm planning for this challenge to be finished by March 2019, since it's more of an "extra."

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017
Reading for Fun Challenge
1. A book you chose for the cover - The List
2. A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able - The Dream Thieves
3. A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit - The Silver Chair
4. A book you’ve already read - The Magician's Nephew
5. A juicy memoir - Maybe Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
6. A book about books or reading - Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life
7. A book in a genre you usually avoid - With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (Book #7 in the series)
8. A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read - To All the Boys I've Loved Before
9. A book in the backlist of a new favourite author - More Than This
10. A book recommended by someone with great taste - Not Your Sidekick
11. A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet - Our Dark Duet
12. A book about a topic or subject you already love - Who R U Really?

Reading for Growth Challenge
1. A Newbery Award winner or Honor Book - Bridge to Terabithia or Rules
2. A book in translation - With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (Book #6 in the series)
3. A book that’s more than 600 pages - Dreams of Gods & Monsters
4. A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection - Cyrano de Bergerac
5. A book of any genre that addresses current events
6. An immigrant story - The Book of Unknown Americans
7. A book published before you were born - The Horse and His Boy
8. Three books by the same author - With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (Books #3,4 and 5)
9. A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author - Under Rose-Tainted Skies
10. A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending - Maybe Words on Bathroom Walls
11. A book nominated for an award in 2017 - Turtles All the Way Down
12. A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner - Brown Girl Dreaming


message 6: by Rachel (last edited Dec 31, 2017 02:38PM) (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments In 2017, I thought I'd be able to read a few extra books toward my Rejects Challenge. Aside from reading the Buffy Season 8 series, it was a huge failure. I decided to narrow it down and pick only the prompts I voted for that didn't make the final list, eliminating any that were repetitive, or already in one of my challenges. Since this is another "extra" challenge, I'm giving myself until March 2019 to finish it.

ATY Top Picks
1. A book with a pronoun in the title - Even When You Lie to Me
2. A book written in second person perspective - All the Truth That's in Me
3. A love story - Almost Like Being in Love
4. A book about or involving a child - Just What Kind of Mother Are You?
5. A book featuring a person or people with special abilities - Glass Sword
6. A realistic fiction book
7. A book (fiction or nonfiction) about a subject that made headlines - Girl Made of Stars
8. A coming of age novel - I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
9. A book with a plot centred on technology and/or social media - Copycat
10. A chick-lit book - Love and Miss Communication
11. A book on one of the seven heavenly virtues - Immaculate
12. A book with a major plot twist or twist ending - I Let You Go
13. A book with a title that contains a unit of time - The Year We Turned Forty
14. A science fiction or fantasy standalone - This Monstrous Thing
15. A genre you feel will take you out of your comfort zone
16. A book with a supernatural character
17. A book with an artistic cover
18. A book with a title that is four letters or less in length - Bang
19. A book related to social justice - Tyler Johnson Was Here
20. A book with a celestial body as part of the title or author name - Of Fire and Stars
21. A book with an orphan character
22. A book that takes place in a school setting - The Big F
23. A book where a character goes by a higher, honorific or professional title - The Elite
24. A book with a black cover - Tash Hearts Tolstoy
25. A book where the main character is in another age category than you - Drama


message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments Wowie! Very ambitious. And no need to apologize for posting everything together. I agree, it's much easier to track in one place.


message 8: by Rachel (last edited Feb 03, 2018 09:00PM) (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments January Update
Wow, I can't believe the first month is over already! When I made my plans for the year, I was so eager to get started and thought that the list as a whole was my most exciting one yet! I ambitiously decided to take on a total of 5 challenges this year, which might be a bit much. To complete everything within the year, I would need to read 15 items per month. Last year, my goal was 13 per month and that was a struggle, so to be realistic, I decided to extend my timeline for a few of my challenges and expect those to be done by the end of March 2019. That brings me back to an average of about 12 or 13 items per month. Ideally, I'd love to complete everything within the year though.

Around the Year 2018
A book with a location in the title – Firefly Lane
A narrative nonfiction – Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
A book from Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list (link) – The Wind in the Willows
A short book – Every Heart a Doorway
A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends – Ignite Me

PopSugar 2018
A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to – Two By Two
Nordic noir – The Snowman
A book set in the decade you were born – Annie on My Mind
Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges (2015 – a book with a one-word title) – Requiem
A microhistory – Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate

BookRiot 2018
A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Level Up

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet – Our Dark Duet
A Newbery Award winner or Honor Book – Rules

ATY Top Picks
A book written in second person perspective – All the Truth That's in Me

Overall:
Overall, I think I had a great start to the year. I finished a total of 14 items, leaving me one book short of what is needed to be on track to finish everything within the year. I was especially impressed with this because my first four books of the month were all quite lengthy (450 pages or more), which I thought would slow things down. To be fair, I read quite a few shorter books the rest of the month which helped to balance things out.

I also decided to use a similar strategy to last year, where I purposely read some of the books/prompts I was most dreading upfront to get them out of the way. I'm glad to get my narrative non-fiction and microhistory out of the way, since nonfiction rarely interests me much. I purposely picked books that seemed most interesting, and both of them were 4 star reads for me. I'm also glad I made decent progress on both ATY and PopSugar since those are the two challenges that are highest priority for me. I was a bit surprised that I only read one book for my "Top Picks" challenge since that list had some of the books that I was most excited for, but at the same time, it's more of an extra challenge so in a way it makes sense that I didn't put much time into it yet.

My other priority for the month was to read some of the books that I meant to get to last year and ran out of time for. 4 or 5 of the books I read this month were ones I had in mind for last year's challenges but didn't read either because of time constraints or because (in the case of Don't Kill the Birthday Girl) because my first choice for the prompt became available instead.

My one biggest regret for the month is that I didn't read Our Dark Duet first like I originally planned, since I had all day on January 1 free to read. I decided to prioritize Two By Two instead since I thought I'd have an easier time reading Our Dark Duet after work. I ended up a bit annoyed about reading Our Dark Duet over several days since I was so into it, and didn't like having to keep putting it down for the night to go to bed on time for work. I wish I would have planned my time better and chosen days where I could have read it straight through (or at least half of it). It was still definitely a 5 star read, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read it properly.

Like last year, I noticed that I was a bit hesitant to pick some of the books I was most excited for. When I went to release some of my library holds, it was almost like I was so excited for so many books, that it was hard to decide. I ended up choosing based on what I thought would best fit the time I expected to have to read, and I always try to spread some of the books I want most through the year so I have something I'm really looking forward to every month. Overall, it was a great first month and a fantastic start to my new year or reading challenges!


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2312 comments You had a great month of reading, Rachel!


message 10: by Anna (new)

Anna | 982 comments Great month of reading, Rachel, congrats!


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments February Update
February always feels like a bit of a slump-y month to me, which I think is partly because of the generally gloomy weather and partly because it is a shorter month. Since I typically read one book every 2-3 days, having two or three less days compared to other months naturally means I tend to read 1-2 less books than other months. I've actually taken the time to compile a graph of how many books I read for challenges (excluding any rejects challenge books) over the past 2 years. I didn't include 2015 since that was a much smaller overall number of books, and I didn't think it would fit the trend very well. In any case, both years so far, February has been on the low end. In 2017, I read only 9 books in February, and in 2016 I read 11 (which actually was not the lowest). I was surprised to find that this year, I was pretty much on par with how many books I'd planned to read, since I finished a total of 13!

Around the Year 2018
Wild Card - A book involving the arts or performing arts – Noteworthy
A book with a form of punctuation in the title – Who R U Really?

PopSugar 2018
A book about or involving a sport – Beartown
A book mentioned in another book –We Have Always Lived in the Castle
A book from a celebrity book club – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
The next book in a series you started – The One

BookRiot 2018
A western – Little House on the Prairie
A children’s classic published before 1980 – Tuck Everlasting

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending – Words on Bathroom Walls
A book about a topic or subject you already love – The Addams Family: An Evilution

ATY Top Picks
A book where the main character is in another age category than you – Drama
A book with a black cover – Tash Hearts Tolstoy
A book where a character goes by a higher, honorific or professional title – The Elite

Overall
To be honest, I think the only reason I managed to read as many books that I did this month because I read quite a few shorter ones. Realistically, all but 2 of my books this month were YA or children's books, or the Addams Family book of the original comics. I'm sure that was a huge factor in why I've been able to maintain my progress. According to Goodreads, I'm currently only 1 book behind, although I think at the actual end of February, it was 2 books behind. In any case, that puts me still on track to finish all challenges by the timelines I set, and only slightly behind finishing everything within the year.

Another thing I started paying attention to this month is the proportion of each challenge that I'm finishing off. Instead of looking only at the overall number of books, I'm also interested in seeing how much progress I'm making toward each individual challenge I'm doing. I didn't record the calculations, but I am pretty much on track with where I "should" be for each challenge for this time in the year. I'm sure this will fluctuate through the year though. I'm a huge mood reader, and a big part of why I like doing so many different challenges is because it lets me pick from a huge variety of books that interest me. I'm loosely trying to prioritize a few of my challenges, but as long as I'm making decent progress on each, I'm happy.

I'm also glad that I'm making progress on my yearly goal of finishing off several of the series that I still have in progress. Last month, I finished two series, and read the third book in the Shatter Me series, leaving me with only one left (so far) to complete that series this year. This month, I finished off the last two books of The Selection trilogy, which I am counting as finishing the series. I'm aware there are two other books, but since those follow a different character, I'm counting them separately and they are not a priority for this year.

Overall, it was another great and productive month. Looking ahead to March, I'd love to balance my reading a tiny bit more between YA and adult-level books, but since I have so many more YA books on my list, I'm sure it will always be a little unbalanced. I think by now I've read books for many of the prompts that I was most dreading, which is great because it leaves me with some of the books and prompts that I'm most excited for. Like I said last month, I'm still having a bit of a hard time choosing which books to release from the library next since there are so many I want to read, and I definitely want to space them out throughout the year. Overall, it was another great month!


message 12: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments I'm so impressed with how organized you are! This is my first year doing challenges so I feel like I am all over the place but it helps to see how everyone else keeps track.

Hope March is a great reading month for you!


message 13: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Rachelnyc wrote: "I'm so impressed with how organized you are! This is my first year doing challenges so I feel like I am all over the place but it helps to see how everyone else keeps track.

Hope March is a great..."


Thanks! I'm a little obsessive about making lists, otherwise I would have no idea which prompts I still have left or what books fit where. The graph of how many books per month took forever to set up though, just because I'm terrible with Excel.


message 14: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Rachel wrote: "Rachelnyc wrote: "I'm so impressed with how organized you are! This is my first year doing challenges so I feel like I am all over the place but it helps to see how everyone else keeps track.

Hop..."


I'm terrible at excel as well so I've decided to steal templates from the spreadsheet thread so I can become more organized!


message 15: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Williamson (willo1) | 3 comments Best of luck to you! Just looking at all these lists is intimidating for me... kudos to you for reading 10+ books per month!

What's been your favorite read thus far?


message 16: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 22 comments You're so organised! Good luck on getting it all done!


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Olivia wrote: "Best of luck to you! Just looking at all these lists is intimidating for me... kudos to you for reading 10+ books per month!

What's been your favorite read thus far?"


Good question! It's hard to pick just one, but I'd say Our Dark Duet. Beartown also really surprised me since I wasn't expecting to like it much at all, but it was great!


message 18: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments March Update
I can't believe the first quarter is over already! March is always a fairly hectic month for me since we have one of our biggest events at work toward the end of the month, but there is a lot of work to do before that (plus the evening itself means little to no reading). I also had a pretty rough start to the month which triggered a general reading slump, so there were a couple of books that took quite a bit longer than I think they really should have. In the end, I was glad to see that I managed to pull it back together and finished the month with 14 books, which is on par with how much I've read each month this year so far.

Around the Year
A book featuring a murder – The Guilty One
A Women's Prize for Fiction winner or nominee (link1, link2) – Where'd You Go, Bernadette
A book you expect to make you laugh – Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting
A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list – Looking for Alaska
A book that takes place on, in, or underwater – The Seafarer's Kiss
A book with a plot centered around a secret (forbidden love, spies, secret societies, etc) – 99 Red Balloons

PopSugar 2018
A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title – The Mango Season
A book about feminism – Moxie
A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym – The Silkworm
A book about a problem facing society today – Dumplin'

BookRiot 2018
A one-sitting book – How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You
A book about nature – Tales from Gombe

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner – Brown Girl Dreaming
A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read – To All the Boys I've Loved Before

ATY Top Picks
Nothing this month!

Overall
Oddly enough, although it was a generally productive month overall, I also found it a little underwhelming. I didn't outright hate anything I read (I rarely do, actually) but the majority of the books were 4 star reads, and the few that did reach 5 stars were generally books that were mostly pictures (Tales from Gombe and Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting). In the last week of the month, I was lucky enough to read three books that were 4.5 or 5 star reads, but I was a little surprised to have so few overall. There's nothing wrong with 4 star books of course, but I was hoping for something to really blow me away. That may have just been because I started the month in a huge slump though.

One thing I started doing this month is actually keeping track of the proportion of books I've finished for each challenge. I mentioned last month that I'd calculated it just to get an idea, but this month I actually went back and recorded the percentages for each. Basically, I wanted to see how close I was to being on-track for each challenge individually, in addition to my overall total. What I discovered is that I am completely on track for ATY, PopSugar and Modern Mrs. Darcy. I am a little behind (21%) for BookRiot, and very behind (only 16%) on my ATY Top Picks challenge! In a way, this makes sense since the Top Picks challenge is the lowest priority and I've technically given myself until next March to complete it, but it's also a little ironic since that's the list that I put together specifically because it was books and prompts that I'm most excited for.

This month, I think I may have stuck a little too closely to my strategy of knocking out some of the books I was less excited for. It was definitely not a good idea when I was already in a slump, which led to some books taking a very long time and probably not interesting me as much as they could have (The Silkworm, but also Where'd You Go, Bernadette). I purposely picked up quite a few shorter books as well to try to balance things out. I really need to get past this odd mental block that's making it hard for me to choose which books to release from the library, and actually pick up some of the books I'm most looking forward to.

Overall, the first quarter has been very productive and I've read some excellent books. I'm currently only 3 books behind where I should be to finish all of my challenges within the year, which is not too bad. I'm definitely meeting my goals of finishing off series (or at least all the books currently available in a series...it seems many of the series I intended to finish are now adding more books). I'm definitely glad to be rid of some of the longer and less motivating books so I can focus on more exciting ones instead. I'm definitely hoping to be out of my slump in the next quarter!


message 19: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments April Update
This year is definitely going by way too fast! One thing I noticed in general is that I seem to be quite far ahead from where I was at the same point last year. The only reason I know this is because I post updates on my Facebook page, so last year's posts keep coming up as one of those "A year ago today" type messages. At this time last year, I had read somewhere around 45 books or so, and I'm currently on book 56 for this year. I had another productive month, finishing 14 books in total. It is slowly starting to add up that I'm technically one book behind each month, so I'm now 5 books behind where I "should" be, but there's still plenty of time to catch up!

Around the Year
A book written in first person perspective – Reached
A book nominated for the Edgar Award or by a Grand master author (books & authors) – The Ex
A science book or a science fiction book – Crosstalk
A book with a body part in the title (heart, bones, teeth, skin, blood, etc) – Heartless

PopSugar 2018
A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist – Meg & Linus
A book with characters who are twins – Beside Myself
Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges (2016 – A YA Bestseller) – Crossed
A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you – Lucy and Linh

BookRiot 2018
A comic written and illustrated by the same person – Big Mushy Happy Lump

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book about books or reading – Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life
A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection – Cyrano de Bergerac

ATY Top Picks
A realistic fiction book – Big Fat Manifesto
A book on one of the seven heavenly virtues – Immaculate
A book related to social justice – Tyler Johnson Was Here

Overall
I think this month has to be my favourite so far overall! This was the first month where I purposely prioritized reading some of the books that I was most excited for. I realized I'd gotten a little too heavily into my strategy of knocking out some of the prompts that I was dreading, and I was avoiding many of the books I really wanted because I wanted to "save" them for later on in the year. This month, I decided to go the opposite direction and pick up some of the books that I really wanted, and I'm so glad I did! Heartless and Crosstalk both very quickly became favourites!

One thing that I noticed this month that's a little ironic is that the books I've picked so far for my ATY Top Picks challenge, as a whole, have been a bit disappointing. It's ironic because this is a list I made myself of the prompts I voted for that didn't make the final cut, so I would have assumed that these would end up being some of the books that I would like best. It might just be the specific books I picked so far that haven't been too exciting. I just thought it was a a bit funny that the challenge I thought would easily be the best books has been a bit disappointing. It just goes to show that it's really more about the book you pick than the specific prompt.

One minor annoyance this month is that I realized that I'd been calculating my percentages incorrectly. The Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge has a prompt that requires 3 books by the same author, but I was counting toward my reading goal as one book, even though when I read them I would enter them into Goodreads separately. This threw off my totals (luckily not too much!) and forced me to go back and double check all my challenges again to make sure I had the right number of books. Another small annoyance -- for the second time in a row, I forgot a book I wanted for one of my challenges from my Book Outlet order! Could have sworn I had it in my cart, but apparently I didn't.

In terms of making progress on my challenges, I'm still pretty well on-track for ATY and PopSugar, and I've definitely caught up on my other three. I've also finished off another of the series I wanted to complete this year. I'm getting to the point now where I'm trying to start looking ahead to the prompts I still have open in all my challenges and plugging in some books that I want for them. There are quite a few prompts where I'm a little stuck, some because there are too many books and I don't know what to pick, and others just because I haven't found anything I really want yet.

I know it's super early in the year for this, but I've also (somewhat accidentally) started looking ahead to next year and realizing that I have quite a few lengthy series that I may want to fit in. I'm planning on trying Throne of Glass and City of Bones later on this year, and both of those lead into very long series (assuming I enjoy the first book). I also really want to re-read Harry Potter next year since I'm long overdue -- I haven't read any of them except Cursed Child since 2015! I definitely don't want my entire year next year to be stuck on fantasy series, so I'll have to figure out how to balance that out. It's also made me realize that my goal of finishing off some of the series I have in progress may not work so well since many of them (ACOTAR, Shatter Me, etc.) are adding more new books! I've at least decided for this year that I will get up to date as much as possible on those series, and save most of the series I'm starting until closer to the end of the year so I can still remember them by the time I continue them next year. I know it's way too early to start looking ahead to this, but once it hit me the other day, the planning instinct took over!


message 20: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2312 comments I alway enjoy reading your thoughtful posts, Rachel. They make me evaluate my own reading plans in a new way.


message 21: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Kathy wrote: "I alway enjoy reading your thoughtful posts, Rachel. They make me evaluate my own reading plans in a new way."

Thanks! Here I was thinking people wouldn't read mine because they are too long, lol.


message 22: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments May Update
May is always one of the busiest months for me at work. We have two major events toward the end of the month, which usually means at least 2 days where I can't read much (if at all). This month felt like it got off to a very slow start, but picked up quite a bit toward the end. I said last month that April had been my favourite reading month so far, but May was even better! I still managed to finish 13 books, and I had quite a few 5 star reads.

Around the Year
A book by an author with the same first and last initials – Landline
A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before (2018) – Folded Notes from High School
A book about surviving a hardship (war, famine, major disasters, serious illness, etc) – Every Note Played
A book with an unique format/writing structure – Gemina
A book about or inspired by real events – Keep You Safe

PopSugar
Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges (2017 – a book with a family-member word in the title) – The Silent Sister
A book with song lyrics in the title – The One That Got Away
A book set on a different planet – Obsidio

BookRiot 2018
A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image – Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book nominated for an award in 2017 – Turtles All the Way Down
A book recommended by someone with great taste – Not Your Sidekick

ATY Top Picks
A book with a title that is four letters or less in length – Bang
A love story – Almost Like Being in Love

Overall
This month was definitely my best one overall in terms of enjoyment. Of the 13 books that I read, 8 were 5 stars and the remaining were 4 stars. In a couple of cases, the rating was really a 4.5 so it was kind of a judgment call of whether to round up or down. I tend to be relatively generous with my ratings in general, so it's rare for me to rate anything 3 stars let alone less than that, unless I really had a hard time with it. This month I purposely picked up several of the books that I was very excited for, and almost all of them lived up to the hype!

In terms of progress toward each challenge, I am definitely on track for ATY. I've read a total of 22 books for that challenge alone over the year, so I'm pretty much exactly on track with where I should be. I've also read 20 books toward PopSugar, so I'm just slightly behind on that one. Unfortunately, I have not had as much luck with my other challenges, since I'm still quite behind on all three of those. It makes sense since ATY and PopSugar were my top priorities anyway, but I may need to balance things out a bit better. I think one of the reasons this happened is because many of the books for those 3 challenges are books I have at home, and I'm currently prioritizing library books before my library closes for renovations.

I'm definitely making progress toward my goal of completing series. I finished off the last two books of the Illuminae Files this month (and loved both of them!). Of the 12 series I had listed to finish off this year, I've currently finished 6 of them although I realized after I made my list that Restore Me was coming out this year, so I guess I can't consider that one complete just yet. Even if that makes it 5 out of the 12 series so far, that's still great progress toward that goal.

One small annoyance in the past week -- one is that Goodreads seems to be having problems with their tracking system. I finished Not Your Sidekick on May 31, and it is not showing up at all, even after I went back and set the date again on when I finished it. There's a note on the My Books page saying that they are aware of this issue, but it's a little frustrating. I also happened to find 2 other 52-week prompt-based challenges this week, which may have been a mistake since my mind started automatically plugging in book ideas for each prompt. I definitely do not have the time to squeeze in any more books to this year!

By the end of May, I was at 7 or 8 books behind schedule. It was hard to tell exactly since one did not get counted properly. Although I've read 13 or 14 books every month so far, which is just slightly behind the "ideal" goal of 15 per month to complete all challenges within the year. I know I have some quicker reads coming up over the next couple of months when the library closes, including the rest of the Narnia series and a manga series, so I'm hoping to make up some time then. Even though I've been really enjoying everything I read this month, it sometimes felt like the books were taking much longer than expected. Now that work has eased up a bit, we'll see if that improves.


message 23: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy | 730 comments Rachel— that sounds like a terrific month. Congratulations !


message 24: by Rachel (last edited Jul 01, 2018 09:35PM) (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments June Update
Wow, halfway through the year already! This year, I seem to have become pretty consistent at reading the same number of books every month, on average. This month, I finished a total of 14 books (compared to 13 last month). I put together an Excel spreadsheet this year to compare how many books I read each month each year I do challenges just for interest's sake, and this year has definitely been the most consistent. June is generally a very good reading month for me since it is when work tends to slow down -- and this year was no exception.

Around the Year
A suggestion from the AtY 2018 polls, that didn't win but was polarizing or a close-call (link) - A book whose title or author's last name starts with Q, X, Y, or Z -- Eliza and Her Monsters
A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer) – Let's Talk About Love
A book set in a country you'd like to visit but have never been to – The Last Anniversary
A book from one of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month lists (link) – Little & Lion
An "own voices" book* -- We Are Okay

PopSugar
A book that involves a bookstore or library – Words in Deep Blue
True Crime – My Friend Dahmer
A book that is also a stage play or musical – Pygmalion

BookRiot 2018
A romance novel by or about a person of color – The Wedding Date
A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60 – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A juicy memoir – Where Am I Now?
A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author – Under Rose-Tainted Skies

ATY Top Picks
A book (fiction or nonfiction) about a subject that made headlines – Girl Made of Stars
A book with a plot centred on technology and/or social media – Copycat

Overall
This was another solid month overall in terms of quality, although I think I may have read a few too many YA contemporaries too close together. I love the genre and I enjoyed all of the books I picked, but by the end of the month, I found myself a tiny bit burnt out on them and wanting a break. This is definitely something I will have to balance out better for the rest of the year since I still have quite a few YA contemporaries still on my list for the year. To be fair, the contemporaries I read were all ones that I was really looking forward to, so I'm glad I read them. Looking ahead at what I still have in my pile from the library and even further into other books I have in mind for the year, I definitely have a better mix coming up and I'll have to make sure to vary the order a bit better.

In terms of progress on individual challenges, I'm still standing at about the same point as last month. I'm at 49% for ATY with 27 books out of the 55 I have planned, so just about where I would expect to be for the halfway point of the year. I'm slightly behind on PopSugar with 23 out of 52 books (44%), which is still great progress. I've read 11 books for each of Modern Mrs. Darcy (42%) and my ATY Top Picks challenge (44%), which are pretty great improvements over last month, despite reading only 2 additional books for each. These are challenges that need fewer books in total though, so it makes sense that just a few books would up the percentage quite a bit. Where I'm most behind is on BookRiot, where I'm currently sitting at only 9 out of 24 books (37.5%). BookRiot always tends to be the challenge I have the most trouble with since their prompts are quite specific, but I may need to prioritize this one a bit more.

In terms of other goals, I think most of them are going pretty well. One of my biggest goals was to finish off 12 of the series I have in progress. I haven't finished any more series this month, but I'm still at 6 out of 12 so doing well so far! I have some of my most highly anticipated series still remaining, and although I really want to read them, I've been hesitant to pick them up until I have enough time to devote to some of the lengthier books. I have 2 weeks off work coming up in July, so I'm hoping that will help a bit, and I also tend to have a few long weekends in the fall. I may have to strategically plan to tackle some of these books during those, although I don't necessarily want to wait that long!

As of the end of June, I was still at 8 books behind schedule, which is about the same as where I was at the end of May. I'm hoping to eventually be able to catch up, but at least I've been reading pretty consistently each month. I definitely don't want to be in a position where I'm scrambling to finish everything in the last month, but I'll have to try and remember not to put too much pressure on myself.


message 25: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments July Update
This was another very consistent month, with a total of 13 books finished. In July, I had two weeks off work and another 2 weeks where we were in training/planning, which is in some ways less tiring than working with the participants (and in some ways, often much more stressful). I always tend to overestimate how much I will read when I'm on vacation, and this month was no exception. I went away for a week, and brought 4 books with me because I thought I'd get a lot of reading done on the train, and ended up reading only 2 of those during that week. In general, it felt like a much slower month than most of the others even though I read about the same total.

Around the Year
A book with a map – Ruin and Rising
A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title – Autoboyography
A book where the main character (or author) is of a different ethnic origin, religion, or sexual identity than your own – Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged
A book originally written in a language other than English – The Hangman's Daughter

PopSugar
A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place – Still Me
A book with a weather element in the title – Siege and Storm
A book that's published in 2018 – Leah on the Offbeat
A book set at sea – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

BookRiot 2018
A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author – Monday's Not Coming
A book of colonial or postcolonial literature – The Memory of Love

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book of any genre that addresses current events – Dear Martin

ATY Top Picks
A book with an orphan character – Shadow and Bone
A book with a major plot twist or twist ending - I Let You Go

Overall
This month was generally another solid one. After last month, I was a little burnt out on YA contemporaries because I had read so many in a row, but I read three this month that really blew me away. I expected to love Autoboyography, and was so glad to see it completely lived up to the hype! I was worried about Dear Martin after being a little disappointed with Tyler Johnson was Here, but this one was incredible. I was especially impressed with Monday's Not Coming, which I went into not expecting much at all and ended up loving.

Unfortunately, this was also the month where I ran into two of my biggest doorstops. On the one hand, it's pretty impressive that I've made it all the way to July without any huge doorstops in the first half of the year. The only one that came close was The Last Anniversary last month. This month, my two biggest struggles were The Memory of Love, and to a lesser extent, The Hangman's Daughter. To be fair, each book took me 4-5 days to read, which is not unreasonable for a book of their sizes, but they just felt so slow! I found myself trying to force myself to keep reading so I could finally move on to something else.

I didn't make much progress on my goal of finishing off series I have in progress, but I did manage to squeeze in an entire extra trilogy. I decided to read Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy since I'd heard it was a good idea to read it before Six of Crows, so I had to rearrange things a bit to fit all three in. Toward the end of the month, I started to worry a bit about when I would fit in the rest of the series I want to read. I still have 6 that I'd like to finish by the end of the year!

Also toward the end of the month, I somehow got completely mixed up and thought I had only 4 months left, so I was worried about being able to finish everything. I had 87 books left to read, and in four months that would mean 22 books each month! Even with 5 months left, it's still a hefty 17 per month, but of those, there are the remaining 4 Narnia books and the rest of a manga series, which should both be pretty quick reads.

Looking ahead at the rest of the year, my biggest concern is actually some of the books I was most looking forward to. I still have lengthy books remaining in 4 of the series I want to read. Luckily, I have some personal days off work that I need to take before the end of this month, and I will also have several days off in September when my work will be closed for a few days. I've decided to use up some of my remaining personal days to give myself long weekends, where I should have plenty of time to read. As of the end of July, I was still about 10 books behind schedule, which is even further behind than the past few months! I'm still hoping to catch back up.


message 26: by Rachel (last edited Sep 02, 2018 08:34AM) (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments August Update
This was my most productive month so far! I managed to finish a total of 17 books this month (well, really 16 completed and 85% of the remaining, but that was close enough to the end that I decided to count it anyway). I was very impressed with myself for reading 6 books in the span of the week toward the end of the month! Looking at my spreadsheet for how many books I've read per month over the past few years, August is often one of my more productive months, which is a bit strange because I usually have no time off in August. I think what helped this year is that I had some personal days left to use up before the end of August so I gave myself a few extra long weekends with the intent of reading more.

Around the Year
An author's debut book (first book to be published) – The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
A book set in Africa or South America – Aya

PopSugar
A book with an animal in the title – Starfish
A book about death or grief – Letters to the Lost
A book set in a country that fascinates you – Guilty
A book by an author with the same first or last name as you – Well, That Was Awkward

BookRiot 2018
A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) – The Unexpected Son
An essay anthology – Everyday Sexism
A celebrity memoir – Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness
A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) – A Murder Is Announced
An Oprah Book Club selection – The Pilot's Wife
A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author – Wires and Nerve

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit – Those Other Women

ATY Top Picks
A coming of age novel – I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
A genre you feel will take you out of your comfort zone – Gone Rogue
A book with a title that contains a unit of time – Days of Blood & Starlight
A book with a supernatural character – Dreams of Gods & Monsters **(Counting as an August read because 85% was read by August 31)

Overall
I definitely can't complain about the fact that this was my most productive month so far. I think it helped that I read quite a few shorter books, and I was actually hoping to hit 20 books by the end of the month. I was a little annoyed that I had purposely set aside one of my long weekends to read the bulk of both Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters, but it didn't work out the way I wanted. I ended up having a big project for my boss to do over that weekend which ate up 2 of my days, and was roped into helping out at an event that week as well so I had one evening with almost no time to read at all. Dreams of Gods and Monsters ended up taking me almost a whole week to finish, and even though I was really enjoying it I found myself wishing I could get through it faster.

I still have three series remaining that involve lengthy books, and I'm hoping to read two of them within the next month, since it just so happens that I have many more long weekends coming up. I literally do not have a full week of work until mid-October. I'm hoping I'll have better luck budgeting my time to read those series, since they were some of the books I'm most excited for and I want to focus on them properly. I find it difficult to spread out my reading over many days since it ends up feeling disjointed. To be fair, Dreams of Gods and Monsters is just over 600 pages, and it took me 6 days to read so it wasn't an unreasonably long amount of time at all.

I have to say that the read-a-thon that happened this month was the least productive read-a-thon I've ever had! I actually feel bad that I couldn't contribute to my team more, even though as a group we are doing very well. It bothered me that I couldn't cross more items off my Individual Bingo card, since that is usually one of my favourite parts of any read-a-thon.

I also somehow managed to strongly (and completely inadvertently) prioritize my BookRiot challenge this month. I read 6 books toward BookRiot, which made me leap from only 45% of that challenge complete to 70%! It is now the challenge I am closest to completing fully. I am still quite behind on Modern Mrs. Darcy, but that is because the majority of the books remaining for that come from the Narnia and With the Light series that I haven't had a chance to pick up yet. I'm on track for my ATY Top Picks challenge, but getting a little behind on both PopSugar and ATY itself. It's funny because those are the two challenges (aside from BookRiot) that I really want to complete by the end of December, so it's a little ironic that those are where I'm behind. I think part of the reason for this is because I've been prioritizing library books, and those two challenges are the ones that include many of the books I own, so I just haven't gotten to those yet.

I currently have 70 books left to read by the end of the year to finish everything, which means I need to read 17 per month. I think August has set a precedent to show that it is possible, but I'm hoping to really read a lot over the next two months so I can ease up a bit in November/December when I start looking ahead to next year's challenges. Once I get past the lengthier series, I don't think I have anything else that is very long so I'm hoping to be able to finish everything!


message 27: by Tracy, Constellation Mod (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 2542 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "August Update
This was my most productive month so far! I managed to finish a total of 17 books this month (well, really 16 completed and 85% of the remaining, but that was close enough to the end ..."


I noticed that I was prioritizing Book Riot inadvertently also, Rachel, and for the same reason. Most of those prompts I had to fill with library books and I kept checking them out and felt I had to read them to get them back on time. The graphic novels I used I ended up buying with a gift certificate I was given just so I could add some to my collection. I may actually end up finishing that challenge this year, although I'm putting it on hold for now ( Ugh, but I have my Western checked out from the library and due back the end of the month and its also a book group read ). I want to start plowing through my ATY challenges so I can finish my adult version again this year, and I'm confident my picture book version will get completed also. The middle grade version I would love to complete, but I'm not sure thats going to happen... We'll see if I can keep my beast mode speed up until the end of the year :-)

Such bookish problems we have, lol

Good luck with the rest of your challenge ! :-)


message 28: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Tracy wrote: "Rachel wrote: "August Update
This was my most productive month so far! I managed to finish a total of 17 books this month (well, really 16 completed and 85% of the remaining, but that was close eno..."


I purposely got my western out of the way very early on in the year. I knew it was something I would dread reading, and leaving it until late would just kill any motivation I had for it.


message 29: by Tracy, Constellation Mod (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 2542 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "Tracy wrote: "Rachel wrote: "August Update
This was my most productive month so far! I managed to finish a total of 17 books this month (well, really 16 completed and 85% of the remaining, but that..."


Yea, I was planning on All the Pretty Horses ( I wanted to try Lonesome Dove but it seemed too long), but I just got involved with a new book club and their first pick was Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West...UGH! Lots of men in the group. Not looking forward to it.

What did you read for this one?


message 30: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments Tracy wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Tracy wrote: "Rachel wrote: "August Update
This was my most productive month so far! I managed to finish a total of 17 books this month (well, really 16 completed and 85% of the rema..."


I cheated slightly (possibly?) and just read Little House on the Prairie, which I found incredibly boring.


message 31: by Tracy, Constellation Mod (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 2542 comments Mod
That was a brilliant interpretation 😂.


message 32: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments I literally couldn't find anything else that interested me at all, and Book Riot tends to have a lot of "challenge police." I also stretched my essay anthology with Everyday Sexism, which I'd say is essays but is definitely not an anthology. But, my local library is closed so I had to work with what was available.


message 33: by Tracy, Constellation Mod (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 2542 comments Mod
I took myself out of both the Book Riot and Pop Sugar groups here on the site because of the policing going on.... I just make my lists and Track them in my ATY thread. For the essays I used Radical Hope... can’t link right now because I’m on the app. It was rough. That was the prompt I tried to get out of the way early, and I’m definitely glad I did.


message 34: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments I haven't had a problem with challenge police in PopSugar, but then I don't really follow the discussions too closely either.


message 35: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments September Update
I don't know why, but I felt like I was in a bit of a slump this month. It may just be because I came off of my most productive reading month in August, so reading fewer books than that would naturally feel a bit slower. I was hoping to read a lot more this month since I had so many days off work, so I was initially a bit disappointed when I got most of the way through the month, and thought I'd be lucky to barely finish 10 books. I ended up reading 13. Like last month, the last book I read in September was mostly finished by the end of the day on the 30th, but since I had only about an hour of reading left to complete it today, it seemed to make more sense to count it toward September. To be fair, I read two of the longest books of the year this month though, so by page count it was probably on par with other months, if not more.

Around the Year
A book with a title that is a whole sentence – They Both Die at the End
A book with a "Clue" weapon on the cover or title (lead pipe, revolver, rope, candlestick, dagger, wrench) – A Court of Wings and Ruin
A literary fiction – The Mothers
A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards (link) – King's Cage

PopSugar
A book about time travel – If I Could Turn Back Time
A book by two authors – The Night That Changed Everything
A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner – A Court of Mist and Fury

BookRiot 2018
A book of true crime – Newtown: An American Tragedy
A book of social science – 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book that’s more than 600 pages – War Storm

ATY Top Picks
A book featuring a person or people with special abilities – Glass Sword
A book that takes place in a school setting – The Big F
A book with a pronoun in the title – Even When You Lie to Me

Overall
I ended this month feeling like I'd been in a bit of a reading slump, and I think there are two main reasons for that. The first is that several of the books I read were very long. I finished off both the ACOTAR series (excluding Frost & Starlight) and the Red Queen series, which were about 3000 pages in total just for those 5 books alone! I loved the two ACOTAR books I read and didn't really feel like they took too long, but when I read the last three books of the Red Queen series, I started to feel that the books were taking "too long" even though they actually took a completely reasonable amount of time each. I think a big part of that was because that was the third huge fantasy series I'd read in about 3 or 4 weeks. I'd finished the last two Daughter of Smoke and Bone books right at the end of August, ACOMAF and ACOWAR during the second week of September, and then the three Red Queen books last week. I'm definitely feeling a little burnt out on fantasy and want to take a short break from it before returning to my current library stack, which unfortunately consists of quite a bit of fantasy.

The other reason I think it felt like a bit of a slump-y month is because aside from the series and one or two other books, there weren't any that really stood out. I think I only had 2 other five star reads (The Mothers, and They Both Die at the End), but aside from that everything was fairly mediocre, and there was one book (36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You) that just barely made 3 stars. I tend to feel like it's a reading slump most when I'm reading things I'm not enjoying, even more so than when I'm not reading at all.

By the end of the month, I was really glad to have crossed off two more series from my goal of completing 12 of the series that I had in progress by the end of the year. I still have three series remaining, including Narnia and With The Light which shouldn't take long. The last remaining series is The Raven Cycle, which I'm really looking forward to, but also want to delay a bit until I'm over my fantasy burnout.

I ended the month steady at 11 books behind, which is a little intimidating since we are already 3/4 of the way through the year. I was surprised to find that I'd made quite a leap on my ATY Top Picks challenge, jumping from 68% to 80% complete by the end of this month. I'm doing decently on both ATY and PopSugar, but I still have about 18 books left to read one each of those! I'm lagging quite a bit behind on Modern Mrs. Darcy, but that challenge is my lowest priority so I'm not too worried about that one. BookRiot is pretty much on track, currently at 79% done.

I currently have 57 books left to read by the end of the year to finish everything off by December 31. That would mean a whopping total of 19 books per month! Looking ahead, I've now made my way through the vast majority of my longest books so I don't anticipate there being anything else that will take as long as ACOWAR or War Storm, but there are still a few books that are close to 500 pages. I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about whether to switch things out, or stick with my plan and possibly finish a little late.


message 36: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments So out of curiosity, I went back and calculated approximately how many pages I'd read each month so far this year. I used the page count showing on Goodreads, which may not be 100% accurate to the version of the book I had, but it should be close enough.

Here are the numbers:
January – 4419 (14 books) (average – 315.6)
February – 3823 (13 books) (average – 294)
March – 4267 (14 books) (average – 304.79)
April – 4777 (14 books) (average – 341.2)
May – 4734 (13 books) (average – 364.15)
June – 4286 (14 books) (average – 306.14)
July – 4981 (13 books) (average – 383.15)
August – 5805 (17 books) (average – 341.47)
September – 5605 (13 books) (average – 431.15)

So even though September felt like a slump-y month to me, in reality it wasn't at all. I read the second-most number of pages that I had all year, and by far the highest average number! Not really surprised to see that February was so low considering it's a few days shorter than other months.


message 37: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments October Update
October was another month that felt a bit slump-y, even though I read about the same number of books as every other month. I'm starting to realize that I'm more likely to feel like it's been a slump if none of the books especially stood out. Of all the books I read in October, only 4 of them were 5 stars, one of which was a re-read. To be fair, most of the rest were 4 stars, which is still very good. I also purposely saved a few specific books for October because I thought they were fitting for Halloween. I was a bit disappointed because I'd set myself a tentative TBR for the month that I didn't finish.

Around the Year
An alternate history book – That Inevitable Victorian Thing
An award-winning short story or short story collection – Through the Woods
A book connected (title, cover, content) to a word "born" in the same year as you (link) – The Takedown
A book that intimidates/ scares you – The Dead House

PopSugar
A novel based on a real person – I Was Anastasia
A book with a time of day in the title – Bright Lights, Dark Nights
A book about mental health – The Boy Who Could See Demons
A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – Meddling Kids
A book tied to your ancestry – Anya's Ghost

BookRiot 2018
Nothing this month!

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book you chose for the cover – The List
A book in the backlist of a new favourite author – Throne of Glass

ATY Top Picks
A book with a celestial body as part of the title or author name – Of Fire and Stars
A science fiction or fantasy standalone – This Monstrous Thing

Overall
In all honesty, I feel a bit underwhelmed by this month in general. There were many books here that I expected to be easy 5 star reads (Of Fire and Stars, The Dead House, The List, for example) and was disappointed to find that they weren't quite there for me. I enjoyed them all, but not as much as I thought I would and I also found several of the books took me much longer than I had planned to read. I also had a couple of days toward the end of the month where I barely did any reading at all due to personal reasons, which was frustrating. I know that these kinds of days will happen, but it was two in a row and particularly frustrating because those were days that I had planned on doing a lot of reading and ended up reading only about 30 pages each.

It's funny because looking back at last month, I'd also commented that I felt like I was in a slump because few of the books stood out, but this month I had about half the number of 5 star reads than I did compared to September. I think part of the slump feeling is also coming from feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much I have left if I want to finish everything by the end of December. I still have 42 books to read, and even though 10 or so of those are short or quick to read, it's still a lot! I'm currently 14 books behind schedule.

The only challenge I'm currently on track to finish is actually my "Top Picks" rejects challenge, with only 3 books remaining to finish. I'm between 75% and 80% on ATY, PopSugar and BookRiot, which is pretty good. I made some good progress on both ATY and PopSugar this month, so I'm expecting to be able to finish those in time. I also realized that on both of those challenges, I had a prompt that I had split into 3, which means 4 extra books total across those two challenges that aren't *technically* a part of the challenge. I don't think I'd feel too bad if those were the books I ended up not finishing.

I've also started to be a bit more open to switching out some of my books for other (often shorter) options. I tend to make my plans in advance, so it's no surprise that if I keep putting off reading a book for almost the whole year, it might have lost my interest by the time I get around to it. I had a couple of books for sure that I had only tentatively penciled something in, so those are books that I can easily switch for something else without feeling like it's cheating. I know it's my challenge and literally no one else will care if I make changes, but I tend to feel like I've committed to the books I pick during the planning stage, so it feels weird to me to switch.

I'm anxiously awaiting the PopSugar list before I really start planning anything for next year. I wish they would at least give us some indication of when we could expect that list. As we were voting this year, I had specific books in mind for many of the prompts, but I'm always interested in the puzzle aspect of trying to squeeze in as many of the books that I really want to read across different challenges. I've also been very interested by Bookish's KillYourTBR challenge from this year, which I only discovered partway through the year. I'm debating taking it on next year as well, depending what I decide for PopSugar and BookRiot. It's another list of 52, but it fits very well with what I'm already interested in reading and I can fulfill many of the options with short books or graphic novels, so it's extremely tempting! Is it possible to be addicted to filling in challenge lists?


message 38: by Tracy, Constellation Mod (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 2542 comments Mod
Its definitely possible to be addicted to filling in challenge lists😉


message 39: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments November Update
November was simultaneously a very productive month, and also a bit frustrating. There were a few books that I had intended to read over the summer while I had some time off work (specifically the Narnia and With the Light series), but ended up putting off because I wanted to prioritize my library books. It ended up bothering me a bit that I'd waited so long to get to these, even though it really shouldn't have since I still got to them in time. I also had a whole bunch of Halloween-themed books that I wanted to finish by the end of October, and didn't quite get through those either. I've pretty quickly learned that I don't do well with making myself a TBR for the month.

Around the Year
A book published in 2018 – What If It's Us
A book you have high expectations or hope for – The Raven King
A ghost story – Nyctophobia

PopSugar
A book about or set on Halloween – The Fifth Petal
A book involving a heist – Six of Crows
A childhood classic you've never read – The Silver Chair
An allegory – The Last Battle
A book with your favorite color in the title – Blue Lily, Lily Blue
A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift – Archival Quality

BookRiot 2018
A book published posthumously – With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child

Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book published before you were born – The Horse and His Boy
A book you’ve already read – The Magician's Nephew
Three books by the same author - With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child and With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child
A book in translation – With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child
A book in a genre you usually avoid – With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child
A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able – The Dream Thieves

ATY Top Picks
A book about or involving a child – Dawn and the Impossible Three

Overall
In the end, November was a very productive month but that was mostly because of the abundance of graphic novels, manga and shorter books that I read. I read a total of 19 books in the entire month, and most importantly I accomplished one of my yearly goals of finishing off the last 3 items on my list of series I wanted to complete by the end of the year! I kind of wish I'd read The Raven Cycle books a bit earlier on in the year since I was so excited to try them, but they were definitely worth the wait! I also really loved Six of Crows. I can't really compare this month to October in terms of the overall quality since the kinds of books I read were so different, but I'm definitely impressed by the number of books that I finished.

In terms of progress toward my challenges, I'm still quite behind on both PopSugar and especially ATY. I've decided that the main reason these fell behind was because I was using books I owned for those prompts, and I was mostly reading my library books. I still have 11 books to finish for ATY, and 7 for PopSugar! Those two challenges are now my top priority since those are the two that I am most strongly invested in finishing by the end of the year. With that said though, I made a ton of progress on PopSugar in November, with 6 more books crossed off the list. I also made a huge amount of progress on Modern Mrs. Darcy, jumping from 65% complete as of the end of October to 96% complete by the end of November! Frustratingly enough, I have just one book left to finish that challenge, but I've put it off for now since it is a lower priority challenge overall. I have just 2 books left for my "Top Picks" rejects challenge, and 4 for BookRiot. That leaves me with an overwhelming total of 24 books remaining if I want to finish by the end of December!

I was also very excited to see the new PopSugar list out this month, and another challenge that I'm considering on a blog called Mommy Mannegren. I'm still waiting for BookRiot and Bookish to put out their new lists this month so I can make a final decision about which challenges I want to do. My immediate reaction when I first saw PopSugar was that it looked incredibly difficult and wasn't too exciting, but as I started actually going through and filling in options, I was surprised to find it actually fit really well with many of the books I was already interested in reading.

I was also a bit surprised to realize that I found the process of working on my lists for next year a bit less fun than in the past. I'm definitely not burnt out on doing challenges since I'm excited to do them again next year, but I was finding the process a bit less interesting. I suspect a big part of that was because many of the books I'm choosing are from my BookOutlet stacks of books I own, so there is less of the "hunt" to find options. I was also a little frustrated at first that I couldn't fit in several of the books I really wanted to read, which is something I've never had a problem with before. I soon realized that it was partly because the overall total number of books I had in the challenges I was filling in was quite a bit less than my total this year, so it's no surprise things wouldn't fit. I'm a little stressed about finishing this year's challenges and still trying to figure out the logistics of overflowing to next year if needed, but I'm looking forward to next year!


message 40: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2713 comments December Update
This month felt like a case of good news/bad news. The good news was that I finished my two highest priority challenges plus the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge by December 31, and I also read some amazing books. The bad news is that I felt quite rushed by the end of the month, and I started the month with a ridiculously high number of books remaining for both ATY and PopSugar! Even though I ended the year with a ton of books completed (176 in total), I couldn't help battling a little disappointment that I didn't finish all the books I wanted to read.

Around the Year
A book with an antagonist/villain point of view – Vicious
4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...) – Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too
4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #4 Air – Oxygen
4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #3 Water – Into the Water
4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #2 Fire – Little Fires Everywhere
A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before (2017) – Friend Request
A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before (2016) – Keep Me Posted
A medical or legal thriller – Most Wanted
A gothic novel – Sanctum
A book related to one of the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth) – Nimona
A book with a text only cover – Want to Go Private?

PopSugar
A book with an ugly cover – I Hate Everyone But You
A cyberpunk book – Warcross
A book about a villain or antihero – And I Darken
A bestseller from the year you graduated high school – Nineteen Minutes
A book with alliteration in the title – The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
A book made into a movie you've already seen – He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys
A book by a local author – Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don't Care

BookRiot 2018
Nothing this month!

Modern Mrs. Darcy
An immigrant story – The Best We Could Do

ATY Top Picks
Nothing this month!

Overall
Technically, December was a very productive month with a total of 19 books completed by the end. I finished off the ATY challenge on December 30, and both PopSugar and Modern Mrs. Darcy on December 31. I decided to add the two remaining books from my rejects challenge to my 2019 rejects challenge instead, since both are books that I still really want to read. I ended up scrapping the last 4 books from BookRiot because none of them were particularly motivating, and all of them would involve prompts I'd already done this year (and one re-read of a book I'd read in school). Even though I'd given myself until March 31 to finish that challenge, it completely lost my interest.

This was the first year where I really felt like I was struggling to finish the challenge, and ended up picking some short options that didn't particularly interest me (He's Just Not That Into You, for example) just to finish things off. It is definitely not an approach that I want to take next time! I think the biggest signal that something wasn't working well was the fact that I still had a full 1/5 of my ATY challenge still unread by the beginning of December. ATY is always my highest priority challenge, and while I'm fine with having a few books remaining by the last month, this seemed really excessive. I also had 7 books remaining for PopSugar, which was my second-highest priority.

Looking back at my year as a whole, the one message that keeps hitting home is the need to balance my reading much better. I definitely want to prioritize ATY and PopSugar next year, which means I'm going to try to make more of an effort to read those books earlier on. It's a little frustrating that I had so few books left on my two remaining challenges, since I easily could have finished with just another week or so in total. I feel like in general, a lot of people have complained that they felt slump-y this year, and I think the same was true for me. At least when I look back on my goals for the year, I realized that I'd actually accomplished the vast majority of them! It definitely makes me feel better about a disappointing final month, but I'm ready to move on to another year of challenges!


back to top