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Open Discussion > Toronto Public Library Reading Challenge 2019

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message 1: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Share your progress on the 2019 Challenge here.
Ask questions, offer recommendations, get suggestions.
What categories are you most excited about?

Please note:
Book Buzz is not moderating the challenge this year, but I'd love to hear about how it's going for you.


message 2: by M (last edited Jan 07, 2019 04:25PM) (new)

M | 58 comments My plan is to complete as much of the challenge as possible by reading graphic novels. A couple of the categories may be tricky--like a book I should have read in school but didn't--maybe I can read a GN adaptation of a classic?

So far I have completed:
4. A book set in Toronto: Young Frances by Hartley Lin is a really good book about a young woman working as a law clerk for a high powered law firm.
5. A book by an author in a visible minority: Tina's Mouth by Keshni Kashyap about the teenage daughter of Indian immigrants who has found Satre and is questioning her life.


message 3: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Ooh this is great! Now we can discuss the books as we go along. I am finishing the first one on my list and will chime in again when I finish it. (I'm lucky it's one we're doing for French book club this month with TPL.)


message 4: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
gourmetkat wrote: "Ooh this is great! Now we can discuss the books as we go along. I am finishing the first one on my list and will chime in again when I finish it. (I'm lucky it's one we're doing for French book clu..."

I was going to say that you're "killing two birds with one stone" but there was recent discussion on Twitter about using language that has less violence towards animals and we should use the phrase "feeding two birds with one scone".

In any case, I applaud your efficiency.


message 5: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Ha! that's funny about the birds and the scone.

I just finished a book for number 13, a book that has been turned into a movie. The book is La promesse de l'aube (Promise at Dawn) by Romain Gary. It was made into a movie twice, once in 1971 and again in 2017. This is a novel based loosely on the writer's life. Romain Gary was a very prolific writer. He won the Prix Goncourt twice, but only because one of the books was written under a pseudonym. (The rules say you can only win the award once). He was also an aviator during the second world war, and a diplomat. Quite an interesting guy, and until I read this book I knew nothing about him!


message 6: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Talking about expressions that show violence to animals, I wonder if the French are revising some of theirs. The expression "I have other fish to fry" usually gets translated as « J'ai d'autres chats à foutter » - I won't give you the exact translation of that, but I'm sure you can look it up if you are interested. Anyway my cat would be horrified if she understood it!


message 7: by M (last edited Jan 11, 2019 02:16PM) (new)

M | 58 comments 18. A book you previously tried to read and gave up on.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This one is a questionable inclusion because I never "gave up" on it. I just had to restart it a couple of times. The plot is complicated and there are a million characters in it and I just couldn't get through it but I always knew I'd get there in the end.

If anyone's is looking for a twisty mystery with a science fiction twist, I recommend this one.


message 8: by Raven (new)

Raven (birdy0127) | 2 comments A book set in Toronto: I'm reading The Hidden Keys by André Alexis. I read his other award winning book Fifteen Dogs and took a guess that The Hidden Keys would also be set in Toronto, since that is where Alexis lives.

Sidenote I'm also interested to know his personal background as my family has ties to Trinidad and also the last name Alexis. We may be relatives! haha


message 9: by A. (new)

A. B. Neilly (abneilly) | 5 comments Nutshel for the library Bookclub. I guess that counts as recommended by a librarian.


message 10: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
A. wrote: "Nutshel for the library Bookclub. I guess that counts as recommended by a librarian."

Yes, that counts! Other ways to get staff recommendations include the blogs we post on our website, printed booklists available in branches, and book displays.

Twitter is another good way to get recommendations. Every Thursday between 12-1 pm, library staff from all over North America will give suggestions using #AskALibrarian

TPL also has 4 staff twitterers:
@TPLBRNDN
@TPLChristie
@TPLWendy
and me, I'm @TPLMaggie

We will be happy to give personal suggestions.


message 11: by Margot (new)

Margot | 3 comments On my second book of the challenge. First was A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - an LGBTQ+ author. It was fabulous! Now reading Washington Black, my book by an award-winning Canadian author, Esi Edugyan. Loving it so far.


message 12: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Ah Washington Black! I was so lucky last year. As soon as I heard Esi Edugyan had written another book I put a hold on it while it was on order at TPL and read it back in the Fall. It's always great to get a book that's brand new and something you really want to read.


message 13: by Chantel (new)

Chantel King-James (ceekingjames) | 1 comments Hello Everyone! I have joined so many challenges I must complete this one.

So far I have completed #13: A book that has been adapted into a movie/show: BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman.

I have to admit this book was much better than the movie. Half of the really good parts were taken out and that of course has to deal with budgeting. Honestly, I was underwhelmed.

Please if anyone has a suggestion for a non-prose book, please send it my way! Thanks everyone!


message 14: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments I don't know if I will also try to do the advanced challenge. But if I do I have a dilemma. I CAN'T read a book I should have read in school but didn't! English and French were my favourite subjects in high school. In university I studied mainly French, German, and more English and a lot of that was literature. I read everything assigned! I didn't love all the books but most I at least liked. Is there a possibility of an alternate category maybe with a slight similarity to the original?? I noticed we have to cover ALL the categories.


message 15: by A. (new)

A. B. Neilly (abneilly) | 5 comments You could read one you should have read if you had studied in another country, I can give you some suggestions from Spain, like The Quixote, or One hundred years of solitude.


message 16: by A. (new)

A. B. Neilly (abneilly) | 5 comments Does anybody have this challenge in excel format. I would like to sign whenever I complete one book.


message 17: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Just finished category 3, award winning Canadian author: Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind. This is not one she has won any awards for (so far) but it's her latest and the category wasn't that specific so for now I am counting it.


message 18: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments A. wrote: "You could read one you should have read if you had studied in another country, I can give you some suggestions from Spain, like The Quixote, or One hundred years of solitude."

A., I have read both already. Reread Solitude in the Fall. But I could try another country... It's a great suggestion!


message 19: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
gourmetkat wrote: "I don't know if I will also try to do the advanced challenge. But if I do I have a dilemma. I CAN'T read a book I should have read in school but didn't! English and French were my favourite subject..."

I was interpreting this one as a book that would have been good to study in school but *wasn't* assigned for whatever reason (because the assigned reading was dominated by dead white men, because the book hadn't been written yet, because we only read 1 Shakespeare play a year...etc.)

Read a book that would have been meaningful to you in your school years and tick this one off the list.

I don't want to be too subversive but rebellion is in my nature. This is *your* challenge. Engage with it in a way that is worthwhile to you.


message 20: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Chantel wrote: "Please if anyone has a suggestion for a non-prose book, please send it my way"

The Long Take by Robin Robertson is a novel written in verse. It was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize last year, so it's probably a good place to start.

There's a list of novels in verse here on GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/...


message 21: by Sara (new)

Sara G | 1 comments I’ve been busy this year. So far I’ve read:
A book set in Toronto: The Ward, edited by John Lorinc.
Non-prose: The Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire.
Read Indigenous: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice.
Award winning Canadian Author: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.
I recommend all of them! Currently reading Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson which could be a recommendation from a librarian (on the January book list on TPL’s site) or a book by an author in a visible minority. If you are looking at Trickster Drift, you MUST read Son of a Trickster first or it will make no sense.


message 22: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments aha! a book that I should have read in high school but it wasn't on the list! That's great because it's doable and I don't even have to bend the rules!


message 23: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
I was stuck on the bus this morning and finished reading Relish by Lucy Knisley. She's a graphic novelist who writes autobiographical books. Relish is about her lifelong relationship with eating and cooking, aided and abetted by her chef mother and foodie father.

I've read a few books by Knisley and they're all enjoyable.

I don't think I can fit this one in to a challenge category but recommend it if you're looking for a graphic novel.


message 24: by Jessi (new)

Jessi | 2 comments ok Just reading about this challenge today.... better get started. any recommendations?


message 25: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Watson (widowwatson) | 1 comments Challenge accepted! I just found the checklist, but so far, I've read:

a graphic novel:
Ripley's Believe it or not! - Tony Isabella (ARC copy through NetGalley)

A book on mental health:
a Danger to Herself and Others - Alyssa Sheinmel

a book on a topic I know nothing about:
Wicked Bugs - Amy Stewart: which was awesome, btw. Recommending for anyone looking to check off this item on their challenge list

...I have a long commute... :p


message 26: by Jessi (new)

Jessi | 2 comments Shirley Jackson's The Birds Nest could this be considered a book on mental health?
I got it out cause I like the haunting of hill house but I also want it to count for one of the reading list books because it may take me a while to read it.


message 27: by Sel (new)

Sel | 1 comments Hello every one!
I am participating in the challenge for the first time this year and i decided to start with the advanced one! I know what you are all thinking but I really like reading so I think I can pull it off.

Do you have any suggestions for me? So far I read nothing that fits in. Just please keep in mind that I am a teenager, like YA novels, Teen, Scifi, and pretty much anything except historical fiction.

Drop your suggestions below and I will make sure to read them and respond too!

Peace and love
to all.


message 28: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments For this category; 10. A book on a topic you know nothing about, just finished The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
by Brad Meltzer (Goodreads Author), Josh Mensch (Goodreads Author)
A very interesting read. Written by a writer of thrillers, who somehow discovers there was a conspiracy against the colonial army and George Washington near the start of the American Revolutionary War. Since a lot of the information was not recorded and/or covered up to protect the colonial army, the writer did a bit of digging to come up with the info. And then he presents it in the way you would expect by a bestselling thriller author, i.e. not dense and difficult to read like a lot of history books. Enjoyed it a lot.


message 29: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Sel wrote: "Hello every one!
I am participating in the challenge for the first time this year and i decided to start with the advanced one! I know what you are all thinking but I really like reading so I thin..."


See my message below about history that doesn't read like history


message 30: by Abbi (new)

Abbi (saltkin) | 2 comments Sel wrote: "Hello every one!
I am participating in the challenge for the first time this year and i decided to start with the advanced one! I know what you are all thinking but I really like reading so I thin..."


Hello Sel! For the books by a visible minority category, may I suggest the work of Angie Thomas? Her books: The Hate U Give and On the Come Up are both YA, are focused on teenage girls and are in my opinion, excellent! The former also works for the adaptation category as well.

Another YA/teen novel I'd suggest for the LGBT+ author category is They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Like Thomas I really admire that his characters actually speak and feel like real human beings. It also ticks that sci-fi/speculative fiction box as it takes place in an alternate world in which humans are told when their last day on Earth is.

Best of luck with the challenge!


message 31: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments 16. Book about being a newcomer/refugee/immigrant. I read Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue about immigrants in the US in 2008 who came from Cameroon. I listened to the audiobook, and it was fantastic! Starts with a song and the actor who reads has to speak with a Cameroonian accent and in pidgin English. The main character works as a chauffeur for a guy working at Lehman Brothers the year of their bankruptcy.


message 32: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Jessi wrote: "ok Just reading about this challenge today.... better get started. any recommendations?"
Hi, Jessi
Welcome to the challenge!
Are you looking to complete a specific part of the challenge?
What sorts of books do you enjoy?


message 33: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Jessi wrote: "Shirley Jackson's The Birds Nest could this be considered a book on mental health?
I got it out cause I like the haunting of hill house but I also want it to count for one of the reading list book..."

Hi, again
Definitely The Bird's Nest counts. She was a bit annoyed that it was marketed as a psychological horror instead of literary fiction.

Jackson experienced some of the symptoms of the main character, Elizabeth. She had anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, and backaches. Towards the end of her life, she had agoraphobia and was more or less home bound.

Shirley Jackson was such a wonderful writer, it's a shame that she died when she was only 48.

Have you read We Have Always Lived in the Castle? It's my favourite of hers.


message 34: by Book Buzz (last edited Feb 16, 2019 12:53PM) (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Sel wrote: "Hello every one!
I am participating in the challenge for the first time this year and i decided to start with the advanced one! I know what you are all thinking but I really like reading so I thin..."


Suggestions for
4. A book set in Toronto

Acceleration by Graham McNamee
I loved this crime thriller about a teen working in the TTC lost and found department who finds a journal that may be connected to recent serial killings.

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
About a supernatural creature loose in Toronto--this works for the author in a visible minority category also.

Past Tense by Star Spider
Someone just mentioned this to me today. It's set around The Beach/Beaches neighbourhood about a high school student whose mother is suffering from a mental illness. It checks a few of the boxes: LGBTQ+, about mental health, and set in Toronto

If you like graphic novels, the Scott Pilgrim books by Bryan Lee O'Malley have cameo appearances from 2 Toronto libraries and all kinds of local landmarks--this works as an adaptation too.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki (graphic novel)
--works for LGBTQ+ and visible minority author categories.

Ugh. I just realized you wanted suggestions for the Advanced Challenge. Will try again.


message 35: by Book Buzz (last edited Feb 20, 2019 12:09PM) (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
Abbi wrote: "Sel wrote: "Hello every one!
I am participating in the challenge for the first time this year and i decided to start with the advanced one! I know what you are all thinking but I really like readi..."


Here's a good list of books by authors with disabilities:

Books by Disabled Authors

I didn't realize that Octavia Butler had dyslexia. She's a wonderful science fiction author and I'd recommend Kindred to anyone who hasn't read it.

I didn't see him on that list but one of my favourite SF authors, Terry Pratchett, had Alzheimer's Disease for the last several years of his life--Good Omens, the book he wrote with Neil Gaiman, is wonderful--and qualifies for the adaptations category as well.

If you haven't read anything by Seanan McGuire you might give her a try. Every Heart a Doorway is the beginning of the Wayward Children series--it's really good and is considered YA.

(Edited to add the link to the disabled authors list.)


message 36: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments For 9. A book in translation, I read Les Transparents by Ondjaki. A few weeks ago I was listening to Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel in conversation with the author. He is an Angolan and his novel Os Transparentes has been translated into English as Transparent City. But then I saw that the French translation won an award. Also even though TPL only has one copy there were no holds and it looks brand new. A very interesting book and quite different from anything else I've read.


message 37: by M (new)

M | 58 comments I had a bit of a reading lull but I've completed another book for the challenge--thanks to insomnia for making all of this possible.

It is My Brother's Husband, Volume 2.

It fits into so many categories!

2. A Graphic Novel
5. An author in a visible minority
6. An LGBTQ+ author
9. A book in translation
13 A book adapted for TV or film
19. A book set in a country you'd like to visit: Japan

Now, a technical question: Gengoroh Tagame would be a visible minority in Canada but not in his native Japan. Does he still count for that category?

In the end I'll probably use it for 19 in any case.


message 38: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments 19. A book set in a country you'd like to visit:
Just finished another of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Books, Precious and Grace. I'm fairly certain I will never visit Botswana, but I have spoken to 2 people who have been there and loved it, so it certainly is a place I'd like to visit, and who knows, maybe one day I will!


message 39: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments 7. A book about mental health. I decided to use The Silent Patient for this category. I think I saw it as one of the librarian's recommendations a while ago, so thought about using it for that (although I no longer see it listed there), but then I thought about how two of the characters have mental health issues.


message 40: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments For 5. A book by an author in a visible minority, I listened to A Cutting Season by Attica Locke.


message 41: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
gourmetkat wrote: "For 5. A book by an author in a visible minority, I listened to A Cutting Season by Attica Locke."
I keep hearing good things about her books but I haven't tried one yet.
Did you enjoy it?


message 42: by Book Buzz (last edited Mar 30, 2019 11:35AM) (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
My latest read was The Witch Elm by Tana French. It's a stand alone-- not part of her Dublin Murder Squad series.

Toby is a man recovering from an assault (head injury) who goes to stay with his uncle who has terminal cancer and also to get his own strength back.

During his stay, a skeleton is found in the back yard and identified as a classmate of Toby's who had gone missing many years earlier.

Toby's memories of the time are unclear so he begins to conduct his own investigation of sorts.

It's a really good book with lots of twists and turns. The chapters are too long, but it was a fast read.


message 43: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
gourmetkat wrote: "7. A book about mental health. I decided to use The Silent Patient for this category. I think I saw it as one of the librarian's recommendations a while ago, so thought about using it for that (alt..."

I wonder if I recommended it at some point. That ending is something else.


message 44: by M (last edited Apr 16, 2019 08:59AM) (new)

M | 58 comments I'm marking 2 more categories complete today and they're both a little sketchy. If there were a judging panel, I'm not sure they would be acceptable.

13. A book adapted into a movie or TV series
Flawed by Andrea Dorfman
It's actually graphic novel adaptation of Dorfman's NFB short film--nominated for an Emmy award.

I've got the category backwards, but I think it fits the spirit of the challenge.

20. Two books with same or very similar titles.
The Party by Elizabeth Day
The Party by Robyn Harding

Technically, I finished reading Elizabeth Day's book in December.

The nice thing about a year long challenge is that there is still time to read books that will be more suitable.


message 45: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments 1. Recommended by library staff. Le bonheur conjugal by Tahar Ben Jelloun. Since it was chosen by librarians for the library's French book club, for the May session.


message 46: by Book Buzz (new)

Book Buzz (book_buzz) | 188 comments Mod
I have been reading thrillers lately but I've decided to take a break from that and catch up on my non-fiction.

I moved close enough to work that I can walk now but I miss reading on the subway. I'm experimenting with eAudiobooks.

So, I am listening to Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. It's fascinating and a little terrifying.

On those rare occasions when I am in my car, I'm listening to Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina Longworth. I enjoy her podcast You Must Remember This--a scholarly look at Hollywood scandals--and this book is so interesting and well researched I almost wish there was a road trip I could take so I could listen to more.


message 47: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Book Buzz wrote: "gourmetkat wrote: "For 5. A book by an author in a visible minority, I listened to A Cutting Season by Attica Locke."
I keep hearing good things about her books but I haven't tried one yet.
Did yo..."


Sorry BBH I haven't commented for a while, didn't see your questions. Yes, I did enjoy it.


message 48: by gourmetkat (new)

gourmetkat (goodreadscomgourmetkat) | 45 comments Book Buzz wrote: "gourmetkat wrote: "7. A book about mental health. I decided to use The Silent Patient for this category. I think I saw it as one of the librarian's recommendations a while ago, so thought about usi..."

I'm not sure who suggested it, but it might have been a librarian!


message 49: by Ilham (new)

Ilham Alam (ilhamalam) | 2 comments Hi All! Can’t believe I just found out about this group. As an avid and longtime TPL user, I’m happy to know Book BuZz exists.

As for the Reading Challenge, the following are what I’ve covered:

1.) A book by an author in visible minority: “The Night Tiger” by Yangtze Choo. One of the incredible stories I’ve read. It’s historical fiction, magical realism, romance, murder mystery, coming-of-age story, folklore, Colonial fiction and family drama. A lot happens in this book, yet it’s so fast moving, so moving and I’m amazed that the author came up with a such a brilliant story. It’s set in 1930’s Malayasia, when this country was still under British rule.

2.) A book about mental health: Currently Reading “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. Set in Alaska in the 1970’s, it centres on the Allbright family and their close-knit yet isolated community, which is torn apart by abuse and violence due Ernt Allbright’s severe PTSD and alcoholism, as a result of being a POW during the Vietnam War. Alaska is described in breathtaking and vivid prose but the treatment of mental illness, I am finding is too simplistic. Or that could be because it’s in the POV of a thirteen year old.

3.) A book set in a country you’d like to visit: Have read Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” set in England, especially the English countryside. Always have wanted to see the verdant English countryside with its historical abbeys, houses and castles. If I ever went to England, I’d say I’m more inclined to see the countryside and spend more time there than in London.


message 50: by Ilham (new)

Ilham Alam (ilhamalam) | 2 comments Just adding in from my previous comment. I looked over my Read list on Goodreads and realized that I can add a few more books into the TPL 2019 Reading Challenge.

- A book that has been adapted into a movie or tv show: “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. This book pretty much invented the true crime genre in books. Capote builds up the dread and tension and foreshadowing, doesn’t shy away from describing the gory and sad details of the actual crime itself nor does he skimp on describing the impact of the horrific murders on the small community. The ending is bittersweet too, as people are shown as moving on with their lives, as those who had been murdered, just lie, mouldering, in the ground below.

- A book that is a translation: “A Man Called Ove” originally published in 2012 in Swedish. There’s already a Swedish movie adaptation of this and a Hollywood adaptation starring Tom Hanks, as the curmudgeon old widower Ove with a sad & lonely life story, will be happening. This is a funny and heartfelt story, in line with the legendary Animation movie, “Up”.


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