Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge discussion

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2018 Weekly Checkins > Week 23: 5/31 - 6/7

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message 1: by Nadine in NY (last edited Jun 07, 2018 04:51AM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6968 comments Mod
I hope everyone has had a nice week of reading! The weather WAS summery here in NY, but it's gotten quite cool again. So cool that this morning I thought about turning the heat on!



Admin stuff: I've got nothing new! Our optional June monthly read has started (Middlesex), nominations for the last months will be soon.



This week I finished three books, one for this Challenge. I am now 42/50.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - this was good but not great. I will probably read the rest of the series. I used this for "book that involves a bookstore or library" and I think it fits quite well. The Library in question is not a traditional library, but rather more of a secret spy agency spanning worlds, devoted to acquiring (literally) All The Books.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones - This book blew me away. Five stars!! I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, because it is, after all, about werewolves, and werewolves can be messy and grim and violent (really violent), but if it looks interesting to you, give it a try. Mongrels is the most gritty and real werewolf book I've ever read (admittedly, I don't read THAT many werewolf books, I'm more of a zombie gal), just as District 9 was the most real alien movie. There's no glitz or glamor here, no alpha-male bullshit, just gritty, raw life.

The Firm by John Grisham - oy! this book! I needed to read a "medical or legal thriller" for Around the Year, and while I read lots of thrillers, I'd never read a medical or legal thriller. I assumed I would enjoy it. I researched, browsed lists, and picked one of the most popular books I saw. Hah! This book sucks! It's so clunky and boring. ("Boring" is just the Cardinal Sin of thrillers!) This was my first Grisham and will also be my last.



Question of the week

Who are some trendy authors you've read in the last few years that you were surprised to find you really enjoyed?



I think it was the 2015 challenge that had the category "title with antonyms" - I read Big Little Lies for that and I wasn't expecting much, I thought Liane Moriarty would be fluffy, boring chick lit, but I LOVED it! I identified so well with every woman in that story. I've read several more books by her since then (but not Truly Madly Guilty because that has gotten poor reviews). I'm interested if anyone wants to recommend similar "sorta chicklit but not really" authors to me!!

At around the same time, I started listening to audiobooks, and discovered that I really enjoy the action/suspense/secret agent books by authors David Baldacci and Vince Flynn. I've always liked ridiculously over-the-top action movies (Jason Statham and Bruce Willis stuff) so it should not have been a surprise to discover I also like ridiculous (but well-crafted!) action books, but it was!


message 2: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 427 comments Woo I'm here early this week! This week I finally finished a book that I have been working on for months, The Power of the Dog which takes me to 23/50.

Wow! This was my biggest surprise of the year. I've never read a book about the drug trade before and at first this wasn't holding my interest but about 40% of the way though it really started to pick up and then I was hooked! So many great characters, exciting action scenes (not usually something I think about much in books) and intricate political plots and scheming, The detail in this book blew me away and the violence was both bloodcurdling and matter of fact. The only thing I was disappointed in was that there was only one female character amongst a sea of men. I understand that this criminal world is very male dominated but it would have been nice to hear the story from the perspective of at least one more woman. Nevertheless, a fantastic story. Please Netflix, HBO or Amazon pick this up for a series! This will be my book with an animal in the title.

I am currently reading two books, both for book clubs of sorts.

Middlesex for the book of the month for this challenge. I don't really know where the story is going but I'm enjoying the ride. I like that the discussion has been split up to discuss a different 'book' in the novel each week. It puts less pressure on me to finish it quickly.

Brick Lane for the feminist orchestra book club. I can't believe it has taken me so long to read this. I'm really enjoying it and having visited Bangladesh last year it is reminding me of my time there.

QOTW

I'm not really put off by 'trendy' authors. If a book looks like something I would like I will read it and I go in with the mindset that it must be popular for a reason. I'm not ashamed to have loved The Girl on the Train, for example, even though it was hyped.

I suppose the closest to this I have had recently is reading The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern. I knew that she writes 'chick lit' and her most popular book is P.S. I Love You which I have not read but have seen the film adaptation. I didn't like the film because I found it to be an over-sentimental romance so I wasn't expecting much from The Time of My Life, I just wanted to fulfill the song lyrics prompt. I'm not going to say it's one of my favourite books, but it did surprise me in it's humour and quirky premise.

I have a Wilbur Smith book lined up for the 'set at sea prompt' and I'm not expecting much, mainly because he has mostly been recommended to me by people whose tastes don't really align with mine in most things (no offence to my father in law) but I'm willing to give it a go!


message 3: by Sara (last edited Jun 07, 2018 04:40AM) (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Good Morning All! It's the first full day of summer vacation here...which means nothing to me as I still have to work, but my girl sure is excited ;) She has to read two books for summer reading. Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition and a book of her choice - she's leaning towards Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. We will probably read the first one together. While I'm not opposed to reading Miss Peregrine's as well, I really need her to read on her own sometimes so that mom can read her own books too! :)

Books finished:

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. I really loved this book. I have read a handful of her books and I love the way she weaves a little bit of magic into everyday life. This prompted me to reread some other books by her (see below in my currently reading). Using this for a book by an author with the same name (less the spelling difference).

ETA: I'm also finishing up an audio reread of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone this morning.

Currently reading:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. This is a reread for me, this time on audio. This was the first SAA book I read and I really do love it. I'm enjoying this reread as well.

A Court of Thorns and Roses. I decided to read this after several friends raved. I'm at almost 20% and still waiting for it to pick up. I will keep going and I hear the next book in the series is really good. We will see :)

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I loved this movie growing up. The book is good but moving along slower than I'd like.

QOTW

This goes back close to 15 years, but if I'm being honest I didn't expect to like JK Rowling and the HP series. The first book was published the year I graduated from high school, and I think I was out of college before I really knew much about it. I thought it was just a series for kids (I was at that stage of late adolescence/early adulthood when you want to distance yourself from "kid stuff"). Picked up a copy of the first book on a whim before a long international flight in 2004 and it was all over! I couldn't WAIT to get back into the country to buy the next book :)


message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Nadine wrote: "I needed to read a "medical or legal thriller" for Around the Year, and while I read lots of thrillers, I'd never read a medical or legal thriller.

If you want to try again, I remember really loving Fourth Procedure when I was in college. It's a medical thriller. I haven't read it since then, but it was good :)


message 5: by Tricia (new)

Tricia | 121 comments Hello from Brisbane Australia. Slow reading week for me.

This week I finished

Scar Tissue (A book with two authors). I really loved the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in my youth so this book did take me back in time. Having said that though, I did find this a tough read with his constant cycle of drugs, rehab, girls and occasionally making music. I did find it a bit monotonous after a while.

The Woman in the Window (Not for the challenge – though would be a good option for the mental illness prompt or the book published this year) Loved it. I thought I knew what was going on, and I did guess part of it, but really had no idea.

Currently reading:
The Zookeeper's Wife (A book about a real person) Still working my way through this one. I am finding it a bit dull in places.

Birdman (female with male psydonym)
Mr. Murder ( a best seller the year I graduated high school)
The Snowman (Nordic Noir)

QOTW
My Sister's Keeper surprised me a lot. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.


message 6: by Katy (new)

Katy M | 790 comments I finished up Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton last weekend as the book given to me as a gift. I gave it back to him and told him he had to read it, too. Still don't know what I did to deserve that book.

Then I read The Girl on the Train as my previous Goodchoice winner. I can see why it won. Sooooo good.

Now, I'm reading Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World as my book that I meant to read in 2017. Very interesting so far, but I'm only about 100 pages in.

QOTW: I don't usually pay attention to book news, I guess, so I don't know what's trendy and what's not. I just read what I want.


message 7: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1297 comments The weather's turned terrible now and I have a few days off for my partner's birthday. Just typical! Hopefully the rain will hurry up and move on by the end of today.

I read Six of Crows for a heist book (although it's a prison break, it says heist on the cover and it has plenty of heist elements; is a prison break just a heist where the stolen goods are a person?). I liked this more than the Grisha triliogy as it's low on romance, even if it does still suffer a little from pairing up syndrome. Will definitely read Crooked Kingdom.

Listened to Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I'm torn with this series because I want to know what happens but it can be so slow to get places. I found some of the voices the narrator does irritating, especially the singing. I don't think audiobook narrators should be allowed to sing! I'm not going out of the way to get an audiobook of the last unless my library gets it in, I'd rather read it.

Currently reading Legendary but it's not keeping my attention like Caraval did.

Listening to Red Clocks for favourite colour in the title.

QOTW:
When I think of trendy authors, I think of all those domestic thrillers with girl in the title and I gave up reading those quite early on as they are just not my thing. I don't mind a Jodi Picoult novel now and then, does that count? Who is even on trend at the moment?

I wasn't sure Joe Hill would be my cup of tea but loved The Fireman. Jay Kristoff, N.K. Jemisin and Sabaa Tahir were all authors I had heard loads about but for some reason thought their books wouldn't be for me, then I read them and now love them all. They're only trendy in certain circles though :D


message 8: by SadieReadsAgain (last edited Jun 07, 2018 04:43AM) (new)

SadieReadsAgain (sadiestartsagain) | 767 comments We are being so spoiled for weather here in the west of Scotland. I don't think we've ever had a summer this good, it's been weeks of sun and warmth. I grew up in the south of England, and this is more like the summers of my childhood. Definitely the best summer I remember having since we came home to Scotland 20 years ago.

We've got a holiday booked in France in July, but realised this week that we totally forgot to get the baby his passport. So there's been some last minute scrambling over that this week!

Still, I managed to finish one, continue one, and start two (though one isn't for the challenge). My count is now 25/50 (23/40, 2/10) which means I am HALFWAY THROUGH!! And ahead of schedule, so that's pretty nifty.

The book I finished was The Trick Is to Keep Breathing for prompt #16 about mental health, and had been sitting on my shelf for far too long. I think I chose exactly the right time to read it though, because although my depression has thankfully not been triggered by anything as traumatic as Joy's experiences, I could relate to a character who is in freefall and trying to save herself. It's a powerful book, but not overpowering. There's not a lot of action but there is so much depth, and I loved the fact that there were no buzzwords or cliches to trip the flow of the story up. And the writing is flawless - I could actually feel the cold and smell the mould in the air of Joy's abandoned cottage, a cottage which is so symbolic of her mind and journey. (view spoiler)


Who are some trendy authors you've read in the last few years that you were surprised to find you really enjoyed?

Never in my life have I been down with the kids, so I'm not actually sure who is trendy. But I have been surprised by books that lived up to their hype (from this year for example, I'm thinking Big Little Lies, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West). And I second the Jodi Picoult shout. I'm struggling with this question though - is there a list of trendy authors?!


message 9: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6968 comments Mod
Sara wrote: "This goes back close to 15 years, but if I'm being honest I didn't expect to like JK Rowling and the HP series. ..."

Good one!! I am a little older than you, so I was a single and childless adult, not opposed to reading fantasy or YA, but generally I never liked any of the buzzed-about books (I blame Oprah - I generally never like any of the books SHE picks, and I guess I confused that with "books that people are talking about"). I ignored Harry for the first five books. Then someone bought the boxed set of the first four for me. They were fantastic!!


message 10: by Anne (new)

Anne Happy Thursday! 39 of 50 down. I lost power over the weekend; great reading opportunity once I acclimated to the native heat and humidity of South Carolina.

Completed:
49.) The Third Targetby Joel C Rosenberg is my problem facing society today. This novel is focused on the increasing criminality of ISIS and Muslim extremists throughout the world. It’s a thriller and the details are great – I just couldn’t warm up to the protagonist. He’s a recovering alcoholic and a bit too focused on that. (Perhaps as a second problem facing society, we could add in that throughout the world, social interactions typically ‘require’ alcohol.) The book ended with a cliffhanger and I honestly don’t know if I’ll read the second book.

45.) The Coincidence of Coconut Cake for my fruit in the title. Thanks to the readers here, I am braced for a love story about Milwaukee. I do love a travelogue and all I know about Milwaukee, I learned watching the early seasons of Laverne and Shirley. It’s really basically a Hallmark TV movie waiting to happen! It was harmless.

I received an ARC for The Death of Mrs. Westaway – this could work for others for #50 as I do recommend it, #7 fascinating country if you like England, #10 death (clearly!), or #44 ancestry, if you are of British heritage. Loved it! Old school gothic novel modernized. If you like Rebecca, Northanger Abbey, or My Cousin Rachel, this book is for you! I handed it to my Dad, who, well, doesn’t really like it. Your mileage may vary!

Marinating in Murder by Linda Wiken – a light summer cozy mystery for another challenge. Sadly, I had the killer pegged far too early on, I was just missing the motive.

When Tides Turn, a fun Christian nautical WWII romance that checks a bunch of boxes for another challenge.

For my 50 states, I breezed through Mary Kay Andrews Savannah Breeze, a frothy cozy/ chick lit book about a woman who gets taken by a con man and then, with her Grandpa, best friend, and new romantic interest, goes after the guy for her money. It’s summer here and chick lit seemed the way to go for Georgia. Lots of time on a boat if you want an easy 'at sea'.

Currently reading:
15.) Feminism – Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca is the biography of the first female DA in New York and a missing persons case she solved.

Bimbos of the Death Sun for another challenge – I kind of wish this could work for cyberpunk, but that would be a very big stretch. It’s hysterical! Set in the mid90s, it’s a spoof of sci fi conventions. As someone who has worked in IT for 20 years, it is a caricature of EVERY employee I’ve ever had – those who needed the same week off every summer for SCA; those who participated in sword battles and made their own armor; those who would come in complaining that their sewing machine ate their corset; those that needed a day off to see the new release of because they were going at midnight and again to the first matinee to make sure they didn’t miss anything; and those that threatened coworkers within an inch of their life is they spoiled the latest Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Etc….

Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke, because I needed something while I was waiting at the Dr.’s office. This series has become too cliche.

QOTW - trendy authors
Unlike Nadine, I do love my Grisham – but he is sooo slowly Southern. I love Baldacci, Flynn, Clancy, Rowling (my only YA love), even Catherine Coulter. Danielle Steele and Scott Turow are really my only blahs – I’ll read them, but there are options I would prefer. And no to Science Fiction. Just not my cuppa.


message 11: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 427 comments Sarah wrote: "We are being so spoiled for weather here in the west of Scotland. I don't think we've ever had a summer this good, it's been weeks of sun and warmth. I grew up in the south of England, and this is ..."

Is Wicked a hyped book? The musical is hyped but in my experience most people don't even know that it is based on a book.


message 12: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta | 695 comments It's summer! Been gorgeous this week. Not much going on with me because sleep pattern went upside down again, which is even more of a nightmare at this time of year. So. Bright. Curse you, sky-circle.
Have managed to source most of the parts for my Voltron Pidge cosplay for later in the month, which is really exciting. Wig just arrived, glasses and jumper should be here within the week. 😁🤓
Also went to the cinema to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yesterday. It was absolutely daft but highly enjoyable - much better than the first one.

As far as books go, I temp-DNFed King Lear and finished 4 books this week:

Annihilation - This was... very odd. I enjoyed it but I'm really not sure what to think of it, if that makes sense. Must get around to watching the movie on Netflix.

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir - prompts fulfilled: Reading Women Challenge #13, "a book by an African-American woman about civil rights" - I think I read this too quickly to absorb it properly but it was... a lot.
This will sound awful but the last few weeks, I've just been so grateful that I'm in Britain - I honestly don't think I'd survive in America (or a lot of other places but it's America that's really in the spotlight right now). And heck, I'm white enough to be just about transparent, so I wouldn't even have to fear the racial profiling. There's so much I've just never had to deal with or fear and I'm simultaneously grateful for that and want to break down crying because nobody should have to deal with it.

Moonstruck, Volume One: Magic to Brew - Oh this was a glorious antidote to fear and negativity. SO CUTE. Fluffy werewolf girlfriends! Nonsense plot about a centaur losing their butt! DID I MENTION IT'S EYE-BLEEDINGLY CUTE. I love it so.

Children of Blood and Bone - prompts fulfilled: Reading Women Challenge #2, "a fantasy novel by a woman of colour", + Read Harder Challenge #16, "first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series" - This was a bit of a surprise. Went in with very low expectations because it's a YA fantasy and my impression of the current state of that genre is not good. This was actually a solid novel. Has a fair amount of clichés and eyeroll moments but I could overlook them in favour of the good stuff, and the ending seems to indicate that the next books will be something quite different. Plus I'm just happy that there is this diverse-book explosion happening at the minute - where was this when I was a teen?! (Although I wish said explosion would ripple out beyond YA some more.)

Just started Like Water for Chocolate as a group read, only read the first chapter so haven't formed any opinion yet. Today I might start The Song of Achilles, again a group read, or The Call of the Wild, which just arrived.

QOTW: Who are some trendy authors you've read in the last few years that you were surprised to find you really enjoyed?
I can't really think of any. I just don't read the "trendy" kind of books (my baseline for this being what gets stocked in your average train station WHSmith [disclaimer: I like WHSmith]). When I do try them out, as for example in the case of a lot of popular YA authors, I tend to either be let down or have my expectations met but not exceeded.
I guess The Girl With All the Gifts, The Essex Serpent and Homegoing might count.
Oh, and there's Celeste Ng. Contemporary is really just not my thing, but I've liked her books.


message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen | 127 comments This week I finished Karen Miller's The Innocent Mage, for book by author with same first/last name. I enjoyed it, by it cut off right at the cliff hanger, so I'll need to read the awakened mage next, which won't fit in any of my remaining categories.


message 14: by Brittany (new)

Brittany | 187 comments Morning all!

So I'm really close to finishing off the challenge - only 3 more prompts to go! I was kind of tempted to try to do it all this week but didn't want to rush through just for the sake of finishing. Plus I'm sure I'd get a migraine doing that.

I finished off 3 books this week. I was having trouble finding a local author for my area (it's a pretty small community) so I extended it to Houston, which is pretty close and realized that the author of Moxie is from Houston. I read that book for the Feminism prompt so I decided I would rather read another book about feminism and I went ahead and switched Moxie to the local author prompt.

Because of that, I went ahead and read Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions which I thought was wonderful. Really short as it's a letter written by the author to a friend that had just given birth to a baby girl and who requested her suggestions on raising a feminist. I don't often reread stuff but this one would be an easy reread and something I'll remember if I ever get pregnant.

Next, I finished The Phantom Tollbooth for the Allegory prompt. I had already DNF'ed a book for this prompt earlier and honestly, all the other ones I was finding really were not sounding great so I went with this one. I don't remember reading this in grade school although I imagine I must have at some point. It was ok, the story itself I wasn't really interested in but I did think that it was exceptionally creative. I enjoyed all the puns and the usage of phrasing like how you get to the Island of Conclusions by jumping.

And lastly, I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for a book that is also a play or musical. I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I was going to. It wasn't the most thrilling of books and I rather quickly figured out what had likely happened but still it kept my interest all the way through.

I'm currently reading Camino Island for my first ever book club! I just joined and am really looking forward to it. The first meeting is this Saturday. I even tentatively joined another one which is pretty big considering I have anxiety issues.

QOTW:

So the only one that I really remember being surprised about is the Harry Potter series. I was avoiding that series in high school because it was trendy and then the first book was actually available in the library and I hadn't found anything else to read so I thought what the heck. I read the first book and was instantly obsessed. I had books 2 and 3 finished two days later and stood in line at every midnight release from that point on.


message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol Roote | 116 comments Good morning!

At:
Regular: 26/40
Advanced: 2/10

Finished this week:

Never Let Me Go for
#28 A book with song lyrics in the title
(Moved I Know This Much Is True to #32 A book from a celebrity book club -- Oprah's book club)
When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it was about. All I knew was that Kazuo Ishiguro had won the 2017 Nobel prize in literature. When I started reading and found out what it was about, I loved it! I'm a sci fi/fantasy lover at heart, but I broaden my horizons by participating in book clubs and reading challenges. This turned out to be sci fi! I'm not going to say anything about the plot, because the less you know about it, the more it will shock you when you find out gradually.

Citizen Vince for a RL book club
I can't think of any categories where this fits.
It was okay, but I was disappointed that it wasn't more suspenseful. It was unique, though, and the integration of politics was funny.

Currently Reading;

#5 Nordic noir
The Girl in the Spider's Web
I'm really enjoying this so far. It's very suspenseful, because the reader knows things that the characters don't and can't wait for them to figure it out.
I didn't expect to like this book, because Steig Larsson had planned to take the series in a whole different direction before he died. Mikael Blomkvist was not even supposed to be in this book. But, I'm fascinated with savants, so I'm willing to forgive Lagercrantz,David

#37 A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to:
Dog Whisperer
We're getting another puppy in a week and I want to train him better than we've trained our current two year old.

Advanced #5 A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title:
Cherry
Reading this for a new #Readwomen book group I've just joined.

QOTW:
I had to look up a list of "trendy" books on Goodreads to find out what that meant and the answer is yes! I've read many books by John Green, the The Maze Runner Series, Divergent Series Complete Box Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset, Harry Potter Boxset, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire,The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Camel Club Series Set: Hell's Corner / Divine Justice / The Camel Club, and many books by Dan Brown, not to mention Big Little Lies and The Girl on the Train. I've loved them all. They are just fun reads and a great break between more serious literature and nonfiction.


message 16: by Johanna (new)

Johanna Ellwood (jpellwood) | 234 comments 33/52

I officially have a high schooler now! I feel so old!!!!!

Completed Prompts

I finished one book this week.

A book mentioned in another book: I read The Virgin Suicides. It was mentioned in Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life. For the second week in a row, I was kind of disappointed. I love Jeffrey Eugenides writing, but thought there would be more to this than there was.


On my nightstand:
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. This was under a librarian pick at the library. It is so funny and unbelievable. I keep laughing and reading parts out loud to my family. And I'm working again on Elizabeth is Missing.

QOTW: I've really enjoyed reading Elin Hilderbrand. (Is she a popular author?) And of course the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.


message 17: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 07, 2018 06:12AM) (new)

Elizabeth Rainbow (erainbow) | 25 comments I've been so bad about updating here! Rather than update for the whole month, I'll just update for this week:

Finished:

A7: A book by an author with the same first or last name as you - I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I really liked it and hope to add a copy to my class library next year! It reminded me of the YA version of The Alice Network, which I also read this year and loved.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. You could definitely read this for the feminist prompt, but I filled that one in ages ago. I really liked this one as well! Very character driven, but I found it thought-provoking and interesting to read.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This is a fluffy YA love story about Dimple, a non-traditional Americanized only daughter of traditional Indian parents, and Rishi, a much more tradition oriented young Indian-American man. There parents want to arrange a marriage between them, but they mess it all up by actually falling for each other. I thought it started strong, but by the final 1/3 was all over the place and felt random. I wish it had ended as well as it started!

Challenge Update:
31/40 and 6/10 for a total of 37/50

Currently Reading:
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. Again, I could use this for the True Crime prompt, but I already have that one filled. It's really good but definitely not for the faint of heart / easily scared!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - could be used for celebrity book club prompt. Very good so far! I'm about 60% done and enjoying it.

QOTW:
Well, I tend to like "trendy" books. I follow a lot of reader accounts on Instagram, so I feel they're always promoting current and popular books that inevitably get added onto my TBR list. I follow a lot of celebrity book clubs - Oprah, Reese Witherspoon - so that inevitably leads me to things that are or shortly become popular/trendy. I also love fluffy, chick lit for summer reads or just easy reads between all of the dark, gruesome, depressing, thought provoking stuff, so I love Sophie Kinsella and Jane Green for that. I also love Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult for toeing the line between quick read and actual thought provoking content - even if it is in the more "mainstream" category.

I feel like people think that "trendy" reads are automatically shallow or bad, but I tend to subscribe to the mindset that if a lot of people like them or relate to them, there is usually something there! It may or may not be my exact taste, but it is interesting , in and of itself, to read something that is being read by millions of other people.

So, back to the actual question - one "trendy" book that surprised me was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It is NOT my genre at all and I figured it was going to be one of those YA sci-fi same story with different names situations, but I loved it! I put it in my class library like a month ago and 5 of my students have devoured it already. I haven't seen the movie yet - don't even know if I want to - but I really enjoyed the book!


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Finished Reading:
When God Says "Wait": Navigating Life's Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind Finally finished this! Overall I liked the thrust of the book despite disagreements with a lot of small/side points that she made.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal I enjoyed the story on this one but found her powers and how she got them to be weird and confusing. Still not *the* comic to get me hooked on comic books, but three stars.

Once Upon a Happy Ending: An Anthology of Reimagined Fairy Tales Enjoyed all but story in this, which is pretty good for an anthology!

The Plastic Magician This was my original plan for a book that came out in 2018, though I've now already filled that prompt. It's set in the world of The Paper Magician trilogy, which I loved. It took me a bit to adjust to the new main character but then she really grew on me quickly and I ended up loving the story. If anyone's looking for a sensible, math and numbers loving, mechanically inclined heroine, read this book.

Currently Reading:
Here's Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math This book has been on hiatus for an embarrassingly long time, and I'm not even sure why because I enjoy it. I guess it's one of those books I read slowly to make sure I'm absorbing everything, and if I read too slowly I get distracted.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity I think it might take me a couple rounds of library checkouts to finish this audio book. It's good, but it feels heavy, so it's slowish going. Plus, I'm in the eugenics chapter right now, which is just hard to hear about.

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen I saw this was free to read on kindle through Prime Reading so I decided to try it out, but it's only okay. There's nothing I specifically dislike about it, it's just not making me care a whole lot either. (Except, of course, when (view spoiler)

DNF:
Snow, Glass, Apples Went to read this short story free online and ended up mostly skimming it because of all the sexual content and how disturbing it was. I love Neverwhere, but I guess I should stay away from Neil Gaiman's actual horror stuff.

QOTW:
At first I wasn't sure how to answer this question, since the books that get super hyped are usually ones I have no interest in reading. (I'm looking right at you 50 Shades...) Once Harry Potter came up though, I realized I'm also in that camp that avoided it and then loved it when I finally read it. I was 18 or 19 when I read it, and the 'kid's book' factor didn't bother me at all, I just had to have a friend convince me that the hype about how evil it was was overblown.

The only other one I can think of was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I just wasn't super interested until someone sent it to me in a book swap and then when I read I discovered it was actually good.


message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherbowman) | 722 comments I've had another slow reading week. This time I can't blame it on vacation fun. I just really missed my Netflix while I was away.

Reading
The Good People - I've only read two chapters so far. I'm sure I'll love this book when I give it my full attention this weekend.

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are - I picked this one for my next professional development read. It's lighter and more fun than my usual selection. I've somehow found a summer read for professional development!

I'm also listening to LeVar Burton Reads during my lunch hour. So far, I've listened to him narrate Kin and The Lighthouse Keeper. I really enjoy finishing a short story at lunch. I get bored listening to audiobooks over several weeks or months so this podcast is perfect for me.

QOTW
I'm not sure who counts as a trendy author. I suppose that might mean James Patterson, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Danielle Steele, and the like? I've either never read or didn't like their books. There are plenty of books I resisted reading for awhile and ended up loving, but I'm not sure their authors are trendy.


message 20: by Dani (new)

Dani Weyand | 303 comments Good morning from Columbus! I tried to cram a lot of reading in this week because now I have birthday party prep and then a few activities planned next week.

The Song of Achilles a book for goodreads summer challenge, the lgbt prompt. I was exited to pick this up because I really loved Circe. This book did not disappoint, but it was a bit more heavy-handed with the detailed sex descriptions than what I typically care for. I always loved the story of Achilles, especially the movie Troy. So this was just another layer of detail and personality to add to my Achilles bank.

Mr. Fox I recently started seeing a lot of people talk about this book. I saw that it also is based on a fairy tale (Bluebeard) so this also works for the goodreads summer challenge. I... have mixed feelings. On one hand, this book is beautifully written and I enjoyed all of the stories. On the other hand, I have no idea what was going on? How the stories were related? Reviews are telling me that the various stories are written by Mr Fox and Mary Foxe. I don’t know how they came up with that, or maybe the physical book makes it clearer than the audiobook? Idk. At some point I stopped trying to figure it out and just enjoyed the individual stories for what they were.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer another goodreads summer challenge pick. A reread from school, it’s a solid three stars for me. Not amazing but still enjoyable.

Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell another goodreads summer pick. Okay whoooo else was super into the Dear America series when they were a kid? I was going through old boxes at my mom’s and found like, 20 of them. I decided to use this one as my great wide open pick.

So this brings me to 96 books read this year, still at 34/40; 1/10.

QOTW: I was surprised at how much I loved Liz Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love.


message 21: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 745 comments School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the summer -- and the fact that our library gets used as a "free daycare" during the summer while parents still have to work, things have gotten a bit nuts. Thank goodness I have a vacation coming up next week and can get some quiet/reading time in...

Books finished this week:

Spindle's End -- for the "favorite prompt from 2016" prompt -- "book based on a fairy tale." Robin McKinley is quite a fine author, and while I wouldn't call this one her best (Deerskin and The Blue Sword vie for that distinction in my mind), it was a refreshing new take on the "Sleeping Beauty" story.

Manipulate -- not for the challenge. A bit flawed but a quick and fun read, if you like alien-invasion stories.

Be Prepared -- not for the challenge. A graphic-novel memoir about the author's experiences at a summer camp for Russian kids. If you like Smile or anything else by Raina Telgemeier, you'll like this one.

DNF:

The Outsider -- not for the challenge. I usually like King, but learning that I had to read the "Mr. Mercedes" trilogy before reading this one made me drop it. Might pick it up again once I've read that trilogy, but honestly, King, do you really need this huge shared universe for all your books?

Currently Reading:

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things -- for the "book with an ugly cover" prompt
Streetlights Like Fireworks -- not for the challenge
The Ordinary Princess -- not for the challenge
And still chipping away at Lovecraft...

QOTW:

I tend to avoid trendy novels like the plague, though the PopSugar challenge has prompted me to read some of them and I've found I actually enjoyed them. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the best example in my mind.

Outside the challenge, I found myself actually liking Leigh Bardugo's "Grisha" trilogy and her Six of Crows duology. Can't wait for next year's King of Scars!


message 22: by Megan (new)

Megan (mghrt06) | 542 comments I finished 2 and started 1.

Finished Matilda for childhood classic and then I watched the movie. I enjoyed it - both book and movie were cute.

Finished Dear Martin for problem facing society today. This fell flat to me. It was so short I wish the author would have went back through and developed more of the points better. Her writing style was not really for me and I wish more letters were present. I can see how its compared to The Hate U Give.

Started Love & Luck. I loved her other book so much so I wanted to read it. At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to use it for any categories but a quick google search I found out its song lyrics!! Jimmy Buffett for the win!

18 regular, 5 advanced, and 4 non-challenge books.


message 23: by Heather (new)

Heather (heathergrace) | 94 comments Good morning! I shut myself inside and did some reading last weekend (because I started my book club read on Friday and the meeting was Monday... yikes!) and also got a lingering non-fiction off the "currently reading" pile!

Finished:
Leah on the Offbeat. If you loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, run, do not walk, to read Leah's story ASAP.

Manhattan Beach. The aforementioned book club book. LOVED this and now I intend to read Jennifer Egan's previous book.

The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke. This ended up totally being a microhistory! (Yay!) It was a fascinating deep dive into the Lost Colony AND the obsession people have with solving the mystery.

Currently reading:
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (tabled last week to read Manhattan Beach). I adore this series and kind of don't want it to end.

Too Wilde to Wed because it came in at the library and it's Ripped Bodice Summer Romance Bingo season so bring on the romances!

QOTW: I can't really think of anything for this! I assume hype comes from SOMEWHERE and don't pick up a hyped author expecting not to like the book.


message 24: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 793 comments Hi Everyone!

Weather's all over the place here. Was super hot last week, then dropped to pretty chilly. Now it's creeping back up to summery weather.

This week I finished:

Lock In - not for any challenge, just looked interesting and I like Scalzi.

Head On - not for any challenge, second book in the Lock In series. I like the series a lot

Mech Cadet Yu Vol. 1 - counting for Read Harder's comic not published by dc/marvel/image, it's Boom studios. Kind of Iron Giant meets Pacific Rim, fun!

Things Fall Apart - For Read Harder's colonial/ postcolonial literature. It was kind of a grey area since colonial literature is usually set during colonization, but is from the perspective of the colonizers. This was set during colonization, but was from the perspective of the colonized. It was a good book, if not my usual style. Also counts for ATY's book from the Amazon's 100 books to read in a lifetime list.

Currently reading:

I had a bit of a stumble trying to find something to read. I was going to read Red Sparrow but while it overall had high reviews, the top review showing was a 1 star review, and a lot of the things they listed sounded like I wouldn't like the book at all. So decided to skip it for now. I also started A Promise of Fire which was going to be my fire book for ATY, but I really disliked the writing style from the first few pages. I read some low reviews for it and again decided that it wasn't for me. So I finally went back to The Gate to Women's Country even though it's not a library book, because it at least counts for a challenge, author with the same first or last name as me. I like it ok, but it's kind of offputting in parts. I'm almost half through, so I can tough it out.

QOTW:

I do read trendy authors sometimes, if they look interesting. I read Gone Girl and loved it. I'm in the same boat with Harry Potter as a lot of you, I ignored it when it first came out because I was in high school and "too old for kids books". Then my grandma had to read it for a book club, and gave me her copy because she knew I liked fantasy. So I figured that since I had it, I might as well try it...and then begged for the next three books for my birthday.


message 25: by SarahKat (new)

SarahKat | 163 comments Good morning! I've really slowed down on the popsugar challenge because I don't have that many more prompts to fill so I have to read very specific books. I've been focusing on other quarterly challenges and group reads.

I finished The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket on audio with my kid.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle on audio alone. I do not recommend audio for this book unless you're really focused. It's too short to spend time focusing on who all the characters are.

Working On (none of these fit the challenge either)
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon slowly slowly.
The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket - aloud to my kid.
The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon on audio
The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket on audio with son. Tim Curry is one of my favorite narrators.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Just started.

QOTW:
I agree with Nadine. Big Little Lies is the first thing I thought about when reading the question. Picked it up for a group read and wasn't expecting much but a bit of fluff. It was amazing! Definitely top 5 favorite books ever.


message 26: by SadieReadsAgain (new)

SadieReadsAgain (sadiestartsagain) | 767 comments Would you say that there is a difference between trendy, popular and cult? I see a lot of authors mentioned that I'd think would be popular but wouldn't necessarily say were trendy or cool...?


message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane  Lupton | 136 comments Hello everyone! I don't know why I feel happy that it's summer but I do. I no longer have kids in school and I live in summer weather year round so it's kind of weird that I'm happy it's here. Maybe it's the new grill we bought.

I haven't finished any books this week but I have started Dracula. It is so good. I'm having a hard time putting it down but life must be lived. I have never read this before so I am surprised how much I love it.

QOTW
I don't think I even know any trendy authors. I read The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset, Divergent Series Complete Box Set, and even Fifty Shades Trilogy because they seemed to be trendy at the time. I hated 50 Shades, couldn't get passed book 1 of Divergent, but enjoyed both the Hunger Games and Twilight.

I tend to pick my books from a list I started making years ago. Whatever fits the next prompt is what I read so chances are its not currently trendy.


message 28: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefullercoxnet) | 203 comments Hello All! We are having beautiful summer in Omaha and I have really enjoyed spending time reading outside.

I read five books this week, but two of them hardly count because they were so short. I am counting them anyway because I enjoyed them. I read:

We Were the Lucky Ones- Wow. Based on a true story and that is what makes it fabulous. It won't be for everyone but I really enjoyed it.
We Should All Be Feminists- I agree completely with what Adichie said and am glad it was required reading for my son. He really enjoyed this book too. I think I will look up the TED talk now.
The Little Prince- how I missed this when I was younger is anyone's guess. I really enjoyed this book even if the ending made me want to cry.
The Sisters Brothers- I enjoyed this book as well. It is not something I would normally pick up so I was surprised I liked it. This book is absolutely going to my dad.
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult- I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was not it. Instead of talking about reading children's literature in general, Hardy picked specific books and talked about them. The material was interesting, I was just a little disappointed.

I am currently reading Before We Were Yours- this is a Goodreads winner and the jury is still out.

QOTW: I don't read a lot of trendy authors. I don't actively try to avoid them, I just don't usually pick them up. I did have the same experience with Harry Potter that a lot of you described. I have also had only OK luck with a lot of trendy authors. For example, I really loved The Hypnotist's Love Story by Moriarty, but the next one of hers I picked up I didn't really like. The same thing happened with Moyes.

Happy Reading this week!


message 29: by Tara (new)

Tara Nichols (tarajoy90) | 167 comments Thanks for the jet lag tips last week! After a week and a half I think I'm finally recovered.

Finished
Rabbit, Run Originally had this book slotted as author with the same name because my maiden name is Updike, but moved it to the sports prompt. I'm glad I finally read my first John Updike, after sharing his name for many many years. And I'm glad I read it now versus when I was young, because I don't think I would have liked it then, and I did appreciate it now. I kind of liked it despite myself. The main character wasn't likable and I'm pretty sure that John Updike doesn't think real highly of women, but I was still so drawn into the story and the writing. It felt masterful.

Lion: A Long Way Home (didn't get to in 2017 prompt) This is one of the those rare cases of "the movie is better than the book." The book isn't bad, and I did enjoy it, but the story is really the star here, not the writing. The writing is very matter of fact and linear, but I did enjoy learning some of the details that the movie didn't include. And it really is a phenomenal and truly unique story. If you haven't seen the movie yet I highly recommend it.

How to Set a Fire and Why I read this for my IRL book club. I didn't love it, but I'm looking forward to discussing it. It's narrated by an angtsy teenage girl who recently lost her parents and is interested in burning things down.

Progress
38/52 completed (33/42 regular, 5/10 advanced)

Currently reading
Us Against You This is the sequel to Beartown and just came out in the U.S. this week. I absolutely love Backman, and though Beartown was my least favorite of his novels, I still really trust him as an author and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes the story.

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York This is a long non-fiction account of the history of immigration in New York, and I'm using it for the book tied to my ancestry prompt. Several years ago I learned that my ancestor in the Updike line came to the U.S. in the early 1600's and settled in New Amsterdam. This book goes that far back, and it's been really interesting to read about what life might have been like at the southern tip of Manhattan way back then.

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids I'm really enjoying this and looking forward to reading some good books with my kids this summer. The book has lots of great tips and recommendations for reading with kids.

QOTW
Like many of you, I was also surprised to really enjoy Big Little Lies. I read it for my IRL book club, and didn't have high expectations, but was really drawn in by it. I don't know if I was surprised to really like John Green, but I do. And I don't know if Fredrik Backman would be considered "trendy," but I kept hearing about A Man Called Ove and I thought it looked so boring, but then there was a cheap Kindle deal for it, so I bought it and read it. And oh my goodness. It's probably my favorite novel of the last five years. I very quickly read everything else by him I could get my hands on, and enjoyed all of them.


message 30: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 731 comments My morning began, instead of with a slow read of this thread (which I anticipate happily all week), with a three year old wailing “I’m so sad” because she was woken by a bleeding nose. Happily it has stopped flowing and everyone is happy again.

I read a bunch of stuff in the past week and have a bunch of stuff in progress as well. It’s been a more scattered reading week than usual.

Dracula - for ATY gothic novel. This was so damn good! I can’t believe I didn’t read this back when I went through my vampire phase - kicked off by reading Twilight because all my students were. I listened to the audiobook and I just loved it.

If This Is a Man - I read this because it was off the 1001 list and in the group I’m in there’s a themed read each month - back in March it was Jewish lit but I just finally got to this one. I’ve decided to give the Goodreads Summer Challenge a go so this went in there under translated book. I have to say, with all the news about the detained children and the horrible conditions and care they are receiving, this was a timely read because it seems so clear to me that the two parallel terrifyingly well.

A Brief History of Feminism - this was a random pick when I saw it displayed at the library. It’s a short graphic novel covering a lot of ground and it is more from the perspective of German and French feminism than American, which was a refreshing change but also meant there were parts I found a bit confusing since I don’t have as much background in European feminism. I don’t recall where I slotted this in, if anywhere, but it was worth a read.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye - this was a read with my girls but it seems worth a mention here because it’s quite cute and was a big hit with them. I have decided that if any of our reads of picture books work for the summer challenge, I will slot them in happily, because otherwise I don’t have a hope of finishing, considering all the other things I have going on. Sadly it didn’t fit in.

Garfield Vol. 2 - why do I keep torturing myself??? I guess because I put them on hold and I keep trying to understand why these ever got so big when they are so dumb. Vol 1 is still to come. Sigh.

Clover - this was a read for Comic Con - I read All The Birds in the Sky last year and so I’m mostly left with her short stories. Though I’ve discovered she wrote Choir Boy and I’ve ordered a used copy to hopefully arrive in time to get it signed. May not have time to read it before though, because the shipping range cuts it pretty close.

The Glass Arrow - another Comic Con read and I really liked it. A librarian friend had suggested her earlier book, Article 5, but it’s languished on my TBR. This is basically a YA The Handmaid’s Tale, but I found it a really entertaining audiobook. Plus, it’s nice in SFF to read something that’s a stand-alone.

The Stonekeeper - another Comic Con read, and it slotted nicely into the BR prompt as a start to a middle grade/YA series. I liked the art and that there’s a dark element to the story. There’s a lot of loss and I think kids need help from literature to process things like that. I will totally read the rest of these, especially since it’s basically an hour reading time.

Right now I’m reading everything, it feels like. I’m halfway through The Bear and the Nightingale, I finally picked up Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold, I need to get back to Wuthering Heights and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is almost done on audio. I’m not really reading much to fill prompts, which I should try and do.

QOTW: as a teen/early twenties, I avoided anything trendy with the artitufe that I wasn’t into popular anything - music, books, TV, movies, whatever. Then I moved to South Korea where I just had less access to the trendy books when they first came out. I mostly shopped at a used bookstore, so my purchases were all serendipitous rather than seeking out specific books. Now that I’m in the US and have access to English libraries, I’ve been reading books sooner after publication than ever before and my views have shifted. I think there is something to be said about reading the “it” books that everyone likes because it’s interesting to see what people like, generally, and I often find them enjoyable.

My most recent example is that I finally read my first Stephen King. I wasn’t avoiding King for any particular reason, though I had heard the middles of his books tended to drag a bit and that might have been a bit off-putting. I just seemed to have missed devouring them in early high school, which seems to have been when all my bookish friends discovered him. I read Sleeping Beauties and though I thought the ending was a bit rushed and sudden, I generally enjoyed it. It was a RL Book club pick and the discussion was awesome, which really added to it for me.


message 31: by Ali (new)

Ali (aliciaclare) | 153 comments Hi all! It's a bright and sunny Thursday after a couple of days and rain and cooler weather, so I'm feeling pretty good! I'm also planning to go see the RBG documentary tonight which I am super excited for.

This week I finished 2 books, only 1 of which counted towards the challenge.

Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Barielles. I had this on audiobook, which was fun because Sara sang from all her songs that were album titles. It was really short (under 4 hours!) but very charming.

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, which I counted for my book set in a country that fascinates me, Nigeria. Since this is a short story collection, there are quite a few settings, but Nigeria links all of the stories. Arimah herself is Nigerian and uses the country and culture as a lot of inspiration. This collection was WONDERFUL. I absolutely loved it. The titular story was read on the Levar Burton podcast, which I definitely recommend as well!

Currently reading: A Most Unlikely Duke which I'm liking so far! I just checked out a bunch of LGBTQ+ books from the library so that I can read some for Pride Month. Not sure what I'll pick up first, but I'm looking forward to trying out a couple new authors.

QOTW: I feel like I end up picking a decent amount of trendy books mostly because they become popular for a reason. Some of them I really loved (Gone Girl, and the Harry Potter series), and some of them I didn't like (The Girl on the Train and the first book in the Raven cycle series). It's kind of a mixed bag, but I'll try them especially if the description is really intriguing, or people I know are raving about it.


message 32: by Lauren (last edited Jun 07, 2018 11:00AM) (new)

Lauren Oertel | 764 comments I just finished listening to Flowers for Algernon. It definitely pulls at the heartstrings, but sometimes I was unsure about how "right" it is to write from the perspective of someone with an intellectual disability. But I recognize there might not be many books written by those with lived experience, and it's still important to get that perspective out there.

I also finished the audio version of To Kill a Mockingbird this week. It was tough to get through, with so much use of the N-word and the repulsive overt racism of that time. Of course, little has changed in the outcomes we see today, which is probably the hardest thing about this book. I look forward to discussing it with a friend in prison, who is Black and said it may be the best book he's ever read. I'm curious about how he perceived the "white savior" theme that often appears in novels that deal with racism...

I'm currently listening to Lincoln in the Bardo thanks to all the hype, but I am struggling! There are some gems I'm able to catch, but otherwise, the format is pretty confusing to follow. I'm hoping I can stay connected.

I'm reading The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups from the Next Big Idea Book Club and it's going well. I didn't realize how awesome the coach of the Spurs is!

I'm reading The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row on my kindle, and I just love this man. His writing is excellent and his story will break and warm your heart at the same time. Thanks to him I sent out cards to the men on death row in my state who have executions scheduled. It's such a barbaric practice and I can't believe we're still letting states kill people. :(

QOTW:
I define "trendy books" as the ones that everyone is talking about, are on the must-read lists, and that pop up in places like Goodreads a lot. I don't think it needs to have a negative association, but could see how terms like "pulp fiction" would be more on that end. I try to keep up with the popular books and love adding books to my queue based on what people are reading on here.

I think my favorite "trendy" reads would be: Children of Blood and Bone, An American Marriage, Beartown(I can't wait for the sequel on this one, and wasn't expecting much from the first), A Man Called Ove, Little Fires Everywhere, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, The Hate U Give, The Book Thief, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, etc. Ok I recognize that I'm just listing my favorite books that also happen to be really popular, haha.

The ones I wasn't expecting to care for but ended up loving (or at least really enjoying) would be Gone Girl, The Shadow of the Wind, The Girl on the Train, and The Hunger Games series.

I also like Jodi Picoult novels, and used to read some Catherine Ryan Hyde books that had a similar feeling for me.


message 33: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Finally have some Popsugar progress to report!

The Hobbit (heist prompt). Calling it a book with a heist might be a bit of a stretch but close enough. I know I this just last year but it is one of my favorite books and I’m not over saturated yet. This time I read it along with Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbitwhich was fun. I certainly have a better appreciation for the songs and poems which I skimmed over before.

I also read a bunch of books that were not for this challenge: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Goldie Vance Vol. 1, Cry, the Beloved Country, Everything I Never Told You, and Emily, Alone.

QOTW- As I mentioned earlier this year I read and liked The Snow Child which was unexpected. I don’t usually get along with books with a strong natural setting.


message 34: by Eujean2 (last edited Jun 07, 2018 11:52AM) (new)

Eujean2 | 249 comments A 2-week check-in. I got a lot of great reading in by A/API authors in May and I’m off to a good start with my June Pride reading.

FINISHED:
Paper Girls, Vol. 2 –#23: time travel - So loving this. I can’t wait to read the next volume.
Mae, Volume 1 – #37: meant to read in 2017 - Interesting world and character building. I will happily read more.
Little White Duck : A Childhood in China – #36: set in the decade you were born (1970’s) - A great snippet of life in China. Extra interesting because the author is about my age and it really highlights the differences between growing up in California & China.
Princess Princess Ever After – (no prompt, but it is LGBTQ+) - A sweet, positive story of princesses rescuing themselves & others.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – #19: sports - I read my book about sports. (Please, no more of these prompts.) There were some nice moments and I liked the author’s voice, but as a non-athlete, most of this was lost on me. Runners & writers might appreciate it more.
The Golden Gate – ATY unique format book – The author really commits to the novel in verse format. It had a few nice moments, but over all it felt too forced for me. I never settled into the rhythm.
Every Heart a Doorway – (no prompt, though it does feature twins and a LGBTQ+ protagonist) – I loved it. Great Ace representation and a fun look at the children who come back after spending time in fairylands. I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

IN PROGRESS
Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood – I’m excited to be back in this world!
The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales – I borrowed this to read “Seasons of Glass and Iron” (For ATY award winning short short) which I loved. Now I am slowly reading a few more selections in the book. It is great fairytale re-tellings that lean towards girl power & LGBTQ+ positive. And it is filled with sci-fi/fantasy type authors who’s work I enjoy.
In Other Lands – Just started it. I’m reading it for a book set a sea, so hopefully we’ll get to some water soon. It does have a mermaid on the cover.

QotW:
Lately my reading is not very trendy, not because I am against it, but because my TBR list is so long and filled with things I really want to read. I get a lot of recommendations, but they are from geeky (as opposed to trendy) sources. I started the Harry Potter series relatively early on because my friend worked at Scholastic Books at the time. I either haven’t tried or haven’t enjoyed most of the other authors/books I see listed as trendy.


message 35: by Theresa (last edited Jun 09, 2018 12:20PM) (new)

Theresa | 1882 comments I finished two more challenge books this week! That puts me at 34/50.

Blackfish City - my cyberpunk (all the elements of cyberpunk are present in it, it's just not being promoted that way). Often reminded me of the movie Blade Runner as I read it, and it has fabulous cover art! This is a promising young author, new to this genre, and while engaging, easy and enjoyable read, it is flawed. Set on a floating city near the Artic Circle, story opens with what sounds like a folk story: a warrior woman arrives at the city accompanied by an orca and a polar bear. Then we hop to another viewpoint and we're in the midst of this teaming city where the haves and have nots co-exist restlessly. Lots of interest here including some human/animal bonding, a bit of a thriller and detective story, and gender choices are varied. However, the end seemed rushed, lots of plotting leaps, and many questions left unanswered. Easily could be a start of a series or a world in which other stories occur, but no real indication of that. If you are having trouble with the cyberpunk category, as I was (not my genre), this is likely a good option for you. Also might fit other catogories like grief/mourning and LGBTQ.

The Secret Garden - this was my childhood classic never read. I absolutely adored this! OMG, how had I not read this before? If you have not read this, drop everything, grab a copy and read it! You will not be sorry.

Currently reading:

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo - originally not for challenge (as any category it would fit has been filled), I'm now going to bump my earlier read for book with twins and substitute this. It's just too good not to be on my list for this challenge! A young Egyptian American, with a Jewish mother and an Arab father, receives an ancient document posthumously from his father. He ultimately embarks on a trip to Cairo to trace the mystery behind this document and his family's ties to a ancient synagogue and its document library in Old Cairo, where his father had been the last watchman. Alternating with his contemporary story is the story of Ali, the first of his ancestors to serve as watchman 1000+ years ago, and Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Smith Gilbert, twin sisters who were involved with the document library in 1896. This is an absolutely 5 star read! Fits any number of prompts.

QOTW: Trendy authors - yes there have been a few:

Ann Patchett - while I had her Bel Canto in my TBR piles since it was first published, I never read it until Pop Sugar 2016 nudged me into it and I have read several of her books since.

Tana French, Lee Child, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Galbraith, Deborah Harkness, Amor Towlesand Patrick Rothfuss, just to name a few.

One of the books that but for this group and the challenge I would never have encountered was The Hate U Give - truly one of the best books I've ever read.


message 36: by Eujean2 (new)

Eujean2 | 249 comments @Cendaquenta
What is the Reading Women Challenge? (I tried to look it up in Good Reads Groups, but a lot of things come up in that search.)


message 37: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 273 comments Hi everyone!

I didn't finish any books for Popsugar this week, so I’m still at 35/52 for this challenge. I'll have at least 1 more prompt finished by next check-in, though.

Books I finished:
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This was a cute YA romance about 2 Indian teenagers at a tech conference. Rishi comes from a wealthy background and is the eldest son with very traditional Indian values. Dimple is free spirited, with a distaste for marriage, and the opposite of Rishi in most ways. During the 6 weeks of the conference they get to know each other and learn how to be less rigid. I agree with the other person who read this book this week: It started off great, but the ending was rushed and not quite as good.

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie. I liked this one, and it even surprised me with a couple of the reveals. The story is about 3 women in alternating POV a year after a building collapses in Chicago from a gas explosion.

I am currently reading:
Circe by Madeline Miller
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris for a book with a time of day in the title (8).
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

QOTW: I admit to being surprised when I liked the books of Robert Galbraith, Tana French and Liane Moriarty. Probably also Kristin Hannah. There was either too much hype (as was the case with Galbraith/Rowling) or they write a genre I don't usually read, so the enjoyment was a pleasant surprise.


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Theresa wrote: "The Secret Garden - this was my childhood classic never read. I absolutely adored this! OMG, how had I not read this before? If you have not read this, drop everything, grab a copy and read it! You will not be sorry. ."

I have read it a long time ago, but I've been wanting to re-read it soon. I re-read A Little Princess last year and LOVED it at least as much as when I was little.


message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sezziy) | 897 comments Hi everyone. My shifts have been chopping and changing so much this week that I barely even remembered it was Thursday.

This week I finished Zorro. I think the title should have been "Zorro grows up" because it was all about De La Vega's childhood with very little Zorro-ness. It was a very enjoyable read but I needed more of the actual hero.

DNF The Night Circus. I normally enjoy books from multiple perspectives but this one didn't give you enough time with each character to get to know them before it switched.

Currently reading: A Closed and Common Orbit. I love these books! I want more!

Also reading The Princess and the Suffragette. I loved A Little Princess when I was a kid and this is a continuation. I hope it lives up to it.

QOTW: I'm not really a trend follower so I am not sure whether my reads are trendy or not. I do remember reading The Hunger Games because of all the hype the film was getting and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.


message 40: by Chandie (last edited Jun 07, 2018 01:51PM) (new)

Chandie (chandies) | 283 comments I think it’s been a month since I checked in. But when I went through the books I've read, I managed to tick off a lot of prompts.

Books that tick off prompts:

Someone in public reading: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. I saw three people in the airport reading this when I flew last November and there were lots of recs on here for it, so I decided to buy it but I didn’t get around to reading it until now. When I started, I was very meh about it but by the end, I was crying. It was delightful and lovely.

Heist: Artemis by Andy Weir. This would also work for the antihero/villain prompt but I used a different book for that one. I am using it for the female sci-fi protagonist for Read Harder. It wasn’t as good as The Martian but I would read more novels with Jazz as the main character.

Nordic Noir: Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson. Young police officer takes a job far north. I know a lot of people on here have used this one for this prompt. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. I would read more from Jonasson about this cop.

Meant to read last year: Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I love magical realism books but this one really didn’t do anything for me. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I lost a lot of interest when there was so much focus on the farmer’s market.

Villain/Antihero: The Talented Mr. Ripley. Enjoyed it.

Feminism: Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Super quick read but I loved it especially the parts about the power of language and labels.

Local author: Can’t Let Go by Gena Showalter. While Hate to Want You down below is everything I love, there was very little I liked in this one. The hero is an alphahole and never changes. I hated the dialogue. There was very little romance in the book, in fact, I don’t think the “hero” even likes the “heroine”. Also there’s this (view spoiler) I don’t understand how it has such high ratings on this site. Skip this.

Ones that don’t tick off prompts:
The Power by Naomi Alderman. Girls suddenly discover they have power to electrically shock people. I found this book to be very meh. And in a book with a lot of female characters, the only character I really cared about was the male journalist.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. YA book about a girl with cancer who decides to tell everyone what she thinks and/or get revenge before she dies and then she goes in remission. I didn’t really like this one mainly because I did not like the main character at all. However, I did love Murphy’s Dumplin’.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich. This could work for the prompt about death or grief but I’ve already ticked that one. A woman is married to a man who is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s/dementia and he suffered a tragedy when a daughter died. The book moves back in forth in chronology and I think I would have liked it more if some loose ends were tied up.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman. Found files/Sci fi YA. I really enjoy this series. This one would also work for the female sci fi protagonist for Read Harder.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai. This would work for the romance novel by/about a person of color for Read Harder and I loved it. It was everything I could want in a contemporary romance. I’ve seen it rec’d a lot and finally picked it up. It deserves it’s good reviews. I went ahead and bought the next two in the series.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. The book goes back and forth in time when the main character as a kid found a dead body and the present. I expected something supernatural even though the synopsis doesn’t explicitly point to something like that but I was getting that vibe and then it wasn't. It was pretty good and the ending made me cringey but not in a “I hate this book” way. Would work for the female author/male pseudonym prompt.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. I did not enjoy this book much. The author gives credit to The Talented Mr. Ripley (which coincidentally was next on my TBR pile) but after reading Ripley it feels more like a blatant ripoff of it. Also, I think the reverse chronological order didn’t work so well in this book.

QOTW:
Probably Liane Moriarty as well. I read Big Little Lies prior to watching it and really enjoyed it and I picked up The Husband’s Secret because I did not pack enough books to get me through a recent road trip and I really enjoyed it as well.


message 41: by Chandie (new)

Chandie (chandies) | 283 comments Kenya wrote: "School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the summer -- and the fact that our library gets u..."

I was just thinking about Pizza Hut's Book It program the other day. I also loved my library's summer reading program. We need some programs for adults to win prizes for reading. (I'm only semi-joking).


message 42: by SadieReadsAgain (new)

SadieReadsAgain (sadiestartsagain) | 767 comments Chrandra wrote: "Kenya wrote: "School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the summer -- and the fact that our ..."

I would love a library reading challenge. Maybe we should encourage our local libraries to hook up with Popsugar!


Chinook wrote: "My morning began, instead of with a slow read of this thread (which I anticipate happily all week), with a three year old wailing “I’m so sad” because she was woken by a bleeding nose. Happily it h..."

Oh no, how heartbreaking. I hope she wasn't too traumatised! And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who looks forward to a wee Thursday update!


message 43: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Morrison | 145 comments I finished 4 books this week and all of them were for the challenge.

A Study in Scarlet for #21 a book with my favorite color in the title (I figured red and scarlet are close enough).

The Girl from Everywhere for #25 a book set at sea. I got this book through kindle unlimited because I was just looking for something to fill this prompt and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Norse Mythology for #40, a prompt from 2015, 2016, or 2017. I listened to this as an audiobook, and an audiobook was a prompt from 2017. This started out rather slow, but by the end I was very invested in the gods.

I read From Twinkle, with Love for prompt #30 a book with twins. This is something I had wanted to read anyways that just happened to fulfill this prompt.

QOTW

A couple of years ago I picked up The Ocean at the End of the Lane on a suggested by the librarian table at my library. I had never read Neil Gaiman before this, but can now say that his is one of my very favorite authors. About a year and a half ago I took a fantasy literature and film class, and we had to read Preludes & Nocturnes. I knew I loved Neil Gaiman by this point, but had never picked up a graphic novel. After reading that book I have been more open to graphic novels and have read several this past year.


message 44: by Christy (new)

Christy | 351 comments Hello all! I finished a couple books this week, bringing me to 23/52.
Lonesome Dove--I had high hopes for this book because my mother and two of my aunts loved it, and I was not disappointed. It's such a compassionate, but unflinching, look at humanity. I highly recommend it!
Brighton Rock--This one I was a bit disappointed in. Possibly it suffered in comparison to Lonesome Dove. I think Greene's project was interesting, and the ways in which various people lied to themselves and to others were interesting, but it never quite arrived for me.

Currently reading:
Lorna Doone (audiobook)--This is really fun on audiobook because of the Somerrrset accents and the silly dialogue. I do feel a bit like it's being narrated by my friend who Cannot. Stop. Digressing, though. "This immensely important thing that changed my life happened to me! So first I saw a duck--do you like ducks? I like ducks because..." Jeezy creezy man, just tell the story.
Remnant Population (fits for on another planet, ugly cover, and probably book about feminism)--I'm about 150 pages in, and this is finally getting interesting. Up to this point it was pretty paint-by-numbers feminist scifi, but hopefully it'll get a little more complicated now.

QOTW: I expected to hate The Cider House Rules. It sounded like such a nostalgia-fest, ignoring all sorts of societal ills and imagining that everyone was just Better Back Then (this impression may have been solely based on the movie trailer), but that's not what it was at all. Like, at all. So then I got all excited and read A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was absolutely awash in treacly nostalgia. Win some, lose some, you know?


message 45: by Britta (new)

Britta | 91 comments This week I finished
#1: Book made into a movie I've already seen: Orlando by Virginia Woolf
and
#37: meant to read in 2017: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

OQTW:
Nope, I got nothing.


message 46: by Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) (last edited Jun 07, 2018 03:39PM) (new)

Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Chrandra wrote: "Kenya wrote: "School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the summer -- and the fact that our ..."

Our 'almost local' library (I technically live in a 'village' that's been more or less absorbed by the city next to it--my library card works in both places, but I have to renew in the village) includes adults in the their reading program, but my actual local, in walking distance (in the village) library doesn't. I could drive every week to check in and do the reading program, but in a one car household it's just not worth it for some cheap prizes and a 'reading party' at the end that my husband and I as introverts would probably not even enjoy.

I do wish my actual local library would include adults though... It would be fun to participate if I didn't have to put in quite so much effort.


message 47: by Christy (new)

Christy | 351 comments Raquel wrote: "Chrandra wrote: "Kenya wrote: "School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the summer -- and t..."
Oh my goodness, I am so very into the summer reading program at my local library! We log our books and library activities, and if we do enough (not very much) we get a free tote bag (different each year, collect 'em all!) and a voucher for a free book from the library book sale. It's the perfect confluence of reading, checklists, libraries, and prizes to make my little heart glad, and I would be gutted if I couldn't participate. This internet stranger stands by you and thinks your village library should let the adults in!


message 48: by Cornerofmadness (new)

Cornerofmadness | 463 comments I didn't get much done for the challenge because I'm STILL bogged down in the long fantasies.

I did read ハイ☆スピード! High Speed! by Kouji Ouji for the prompt A book about or involving a sport. It's the light novel that the hit anime Free! was based on. It's about a school swim team. The first part wasn't bad but the latter half is non-stop swimming which just wasn't that interesting (The visuals with the anime is much more engaging).

I read a few things that weren't for the challenge. Twisted Vine by Toby Neal which wasn't a bad mystery. I also read the short novella Saint Brig by Ian Lewis which is LGBT about a teen being thrown out of his Mormon family (I wasn't all that interested in it. I'm not a contemporary reader.

QOTW Honestly I'm not sure I'd know who is a trendy author so I can't really answer this. I just read what appeals to me and I don't worry about trends.


message 49: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (seejessread) | 239 comments Hello from Vegas!!!

It is taken everything to keep me motivated to read. I've been in a movie mode lately which is taking it's toll on my reading time, buut I've seen some good films this week. Anyway I'm pretty much stagnated at the same place as last week.

24/52

Finished:

A Literary Tea Party Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and Book Lovers Everywhere by Alison Walsh
This didn't fit either of my challenges but it was fun to read through the recipes and descriptions as a sort of break.

Currently Reading:
Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1) by Veronica Roth
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) by Roald Dahl
Small Country by Gaël Faye

QotW;

Who are some trendy authors you've read in the last few years that you were surprised to find you really enjoyed?

I really enjoyed Frederick Backman I tend to avoid trendy things so I don't really know what I would have read and enjoyed that fit that mark. I have been loving the book of the month club which in itself is kind of trendy.


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Christy wrote: "Raquel wrote: "Chrandra wrote: "Kenya wrote: "School is out here, and that means the library is CRAZY! Between our Summer Reading Program -- where kids can read books to earn prizes throughout the ..."

Oh, I love the free book voucher idea! The one year I did the adult reading program at the nearby library it was things like measuring tapes and coin pouches that actually weren't *that* useful. A free book from their book sale would be more exciting, and not that expensive for them.


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