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2020 Plans > Marin's 2020 Plan with Bonus Challenge!

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message 1: by Marin (last edited Dec 29, 2020 10:36AM) (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments I'm going to start by posting the 12-book bonus challenge that my husband wrote for me, because I think he took a really interesting approach that will get me out of my comfort zone and I am DEFINITELY going to need help with some of these (Gen Z?!):

"This challenge is designed to let readers explore where we’ve been and where we’re going. You’ll get to contrast the perspectives of authors who were born in different generations, immerse yourself in a city that’s about to experience a lot of change, and look ahead to what that future might be.

Then you’ll take some action by reading in different settings and exploring some eco-friendly travel or transit options, learning a new skill, and digging into some of the reasons we all have for optimism."

•1 - 6: Read a book by an author from each of the six living generations. For reference:

◦Greatest generation (1901 - 1926)
An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood
◦Silent generation (1927 - 1945)
China Men
◦Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964)
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
◦Generation X (1965 - 1980)
◦Millennials (1982 - 2000)
◦Generation Z (2001 - present)
The only thing I can find on this is a book of Greta Thunberg speeches: No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, which would be on-theme, but not sure speeches would count...

• 7: Read a book set in one of the 5 cities that will see the most change from sea level rise. Reference:
Alexandrian Summer

•8: Read a climate-focused speculative or sci-fi book.

•9 - 10: Read a book while riding on two of these three environmentally friendly types of transit:
◦Boat / ferry
I have a train commute, so that's easy, but I'm thinking I'll do a short story collection for the other one -- easy to put down for a long time and come back to.
Currently laughing hysterically at the above note because we've been under quarantine since mid-March. This challenge will be completed next year!

•11: Read a non-fiction book with a positive outlook on the future. Examples: Ramez Naam’s The Infinite Resource or More Than Human
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

•12: Read a book that will teach you a skill that could be useful in a number of possible futures.
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

message 2: by Marin (last edited Dec 29, 2020 10:35AM) (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments And as for the ATY list, last year I planned almost all 52 books in advance and just barely finished the challenge, despite reading over 100 books in the year. This year I'm planning monthly and giving myself a LOT more room for spontaneity. Still reading mostly in order, though:


✔1. A book with a title that doesn't contain the letters A, T or Y
✔2. A book by an author whose last name is one syllable
Broken Harbor
✔3. A book that you are prompted to read because of something you read in 2019
Little Women - Movie reviews made me want to see the movie, which made me want to reread the book.
✔4. A book set in a place or time that you wouldn't want to live
To The Bright Edge of the World - 19th century Alaska was a pretty unforgiving environment
✔5. The first book in a series that you have not started
Magpie Murders (this one feels like a bit of a cheat since the second in the series isn't out yet, but it should be out this year)

✔6. A book with a mode of transportation on the cover
The Fox Was Ever the Hunter
✔7. A book set in the southern hemisphere
An Antarctic Mystery - set on my antipode
✔8. A book with a two-word title where the first word is "The"
The Bestiary
✔9. A book that can be read in a day

✔10. A book that is between 400-600 pages
The Time Traveler's Wife
✔11. A book originally published in a year that is a prime number
Kornél Esti
✔12. A book that is a collaboration between 2 or more people
The Talisman
✔13. A prompt from a previous Around the Year in 52 Books challenge (Link)
House of Leaves - From last year's "a book not written in traditional novel format."
✔14. A book by an author on the Abe List of 100 Essential Female Writers (link)
Burger's Daughter - antipode return: South Africa

✔15. A book set in a global city
Temporary People
✔16. A book set in a rural or sparsely populated area
The Purple Violet of Oshaantu - antipode return: Namibia
✔17. A book with a neurodiverse character
The Boy from the Woods
✔18. A book by an author you've only read once before
The Imago Sequence and Other Stories

✔19. A fantasy book
The Eye of the World
✔20. The 20th book [on your TBR, in a series, by an author, on a list, etc.]
The Wordy Shipmates - 20th book on TBR when I put this list together
✔21. A book related to Maximilian Hell, the noted astronomer and Jesuit Priest who was born in 1720
The Book Of Fathers - set in 1700s Hungary
✔22. A book with the major theme of survival
Guerillas - antipode return: Trinidad and Tobago

✔23. A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ character or by an LGBTQIA+ author
Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga
✔24. A book with an emotion in the title
✔25. A book related to the arts
Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's Choice
✔26. A book from the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards
The Silent Patient
✔27. A history or historical fiction
Doña Bárbara - antipode return: Venezuela

✔28. A book by an Australian, Canadian or New Zealand author
✔29. An underrated book, a hidden gem or a lesser known book
Summer Lightning and Other Stories - antipode return: Jamaica
✔30. A book from the New York Times '100 Notable Books' list for any year Wild Card!
Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food
✔31. A book inspired by a leading news story
The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

✔32. A book related to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Japan
Uzumaki - this is set in Japan, and spirals are kind of like rings
✔33. A book about a non-traditional family
The Girl With All the Gifts
✔34. A book from a genre or sub genre that starts with a letter in your name
The Sea Captain's Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century (nonfiction) - antipode return: Cayman Islands
✔35. A book with a geometric pattern or element on the cover
Woman of the Ashes

✔36. A book from your TBR/wishlist that you don't recognize, recall putting there, or put there on a whim
American Rust
✔37. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #1
No Country for Old Men - antipode return: Texas
✔38. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #2
City of Girls
✔39. A book by an author whose real name(s) you're not quite sure how to pronounce
The Ruined Wife

✔40. A book with a place name in the title
✔41. A mystery
The Third Pig Detective Agency
✔42. A book that was nominated for one of the ‘10 Most Coveted Literary Prizes in the World’ (link)
The Garden of Evening Mists
✔43. A book related to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
Among the Lost - antipode return: Mexico
✔44. A book related to witches
The Silver Chair

✔45. A book by the same author who wrote one of your best reads in 2019 or 2018
Tenth of December
✔46. A book about an event or era in history taken from the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire"
The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon - moon landing
✔47. A classic book you've always meant to read
Frankenstein: The 1818 Text
✔48. A book published in 2020
The Cactus League (antipode return: Arizona)

✔ 49. A book that fits a prompt from the list of suggestions that didn't win (link)
The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 - Rejected in poll 1: A book originally written in a language other than English or your mother tongue
✔ 50. A book with a silhouette on the cover
The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories
✔ 51. A book with an "-ing" word in the title
Swing: A Mystery
✔ 52. A book related to time
The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More

message 3: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments January 31 update:

The year has just started and already I'm off-track (I've been spending my free time on movies lately), so hopefully I'll be able to catch up a bit over these next couple months. On the other hand, the books I finished in January were all really good!

ATY books finished:
Eggshells - 4*
Broken Harbor - 4*
Little Women - 5*
To the Bright Edge of the World - 5*

Bonus challenge books finished:

I'm pretty excited about the February reads I've scheduled, and with the leap year prompt I really should be able to get more on track.

message 4: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments New Challenge:

I came up with a new challenge within the ATY list, which I'm calling the antipode return challenge. Since I am reading a book set on Kerguelen Island (the landmass closest to my antipode) for the southern hemisphere prompt, I decided to spend the rest of the year doing an "antipode return challenge." I drew a line from there to my home in California and am reading a book that is set in each country and US state it passes through in order. They also have to fit an ATY prompt for that month, which was a little challenging. The list is:

Feb: Kerguelen Island
Mar: South Africa
Apr: Namibia
May: Trinidad and Tobago
Jun: Venezuela
Jul: Jamaica
Aug: Cayman Islands
Sep: Texas
Oct: Mexico
Nov: Arizona
Dec: California

message 5: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments February 29 update:

Still off to a bit of a slow start -- lots of family and work obligations early in the year. Some travel in Spring should help.

ATY books finished:
The Fox Was Ever the Hunter - 4*
The Bestiary - 3* (but I had the Kindle edition, which doesn't have the illustrations, so I'm not sure I can give a very fair score)
Normal - 4*

Bonus challenge books finished:
An Hour Before Daylight - 4*

ATY books in progress:
An Antarctic Mystery - 25% (slowed down because I felt like I had to read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket first and I found it to be a slog)
The Talisman - 50%
House of Leaves - 24%, but who knows really?

message 6: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy | 697 comments Love your antipode challenge! Good luck with that one.

message 7: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments Mini-update 7/27: I was coming along ok with my challenges, and then the pandemic hit and my area went under a shelter-in-place order, which means no train commute and sort of a constant state of despair, especially as numbers are way higher this week where I live. The main thing, though, is that we are dealing with a violent neighbor who seems to be escalating, so I am in a state of constant vigilance and therefore unable to focus.

We are hoping to move soon, which has its own stresses but will get us away from a serious threat, so I don't want to throw in the towel on ATY just yet. But I probably won't sit down to write a real update until the end of August.

message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2200 comments That's sounds awful, Marin! I hope you are able to move soon.

message 9: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments September 18 update:

The good news is that the situation with the neighbor got resolved, but I ended up moving anyway because we already had that process in motion, and I'm kind of loving the new place. I'm also happy for my old neighbors and whoever replaces me that they won't have to deal with that nightmare.

The bad news is that I still haven't caught up much on this year's challenge (I still have unfinished prompts from May, and I'm supposed to be reading in order). I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet! But I'm switching out some longer reads I had planned for shorter ones or audiobooks or some side reads that I need to pull in to complete the list. Anyway, here we go...

ATY books finished:
Magpie Murders - 4*
An Antarctic Mystery - 3*
The Time Traveler's Wife - 4*
Kornel Esti - 4*
The Talisman - 2* (I love Stephen King. I've only read one other book by Peter Straub and I liked that. I do not think they bring out very good habits in each other).
House of Leaves - 4.5* (Loved this! But it is not for everyone).
Burger's Daughter - 4*
Temporary People - 4.5* (Another one I loved but couldn't recommend to everyone).
The Purple Violet of Oshaantu - 5*
The Boy From the Woods - 4*
The Imago Sequence - 4*
Blackwater - 4*
The Silent Patient - 4*
Uzumaki - 4.5* (see 4.5s above)
The Girl with all the Gifts - 3.5*

Bonus Challenge Books Finished:
China Men - 4*
Just Mercy - 5* (I try to avoid declaring that everybody should read a book, but seriously everybody should read this).

I am throwing in the towel on the bonus challenge. The mass transit prompts are unlikely to happen this year, at the very least.

message 10: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (new)

Robin P | 1759 comments Mod
For either Gen Z or Milennials, I recommend #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line. David Hogg was born in 2000 and his younger sister Lauren who is Gen Z cowrote the book with him. It's very short and is good on audio, where they narrate it themselves

message 11: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments Robin P wrote: "For either Gen Z or Milennials, I recommend #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line. David Hogg was born in 2000 and his younger sister Lauren who is Gen Z cowrote the book wit..."

This is a great suggestion, thank you!

message 12: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments October 27 update:

I don't think anyone's 2020 is going as planned. Not wanting to think about next year until I was decently caught up on the challenge, I missed the entire selection process for next year's prompts! I haven't even looked at the list yet, and personally I'm kind of excited to be surprised with an entire list, but I miss the sometimes contentious but almost always well-intentioned discussions that went into making it.

And also, the Goodreads Choice Awards are out already. How is it suddenly late October already?! Not that I've ever read enough of the nominees to make an informed vote. Has anyone?

Well, I'm catching up, and (more importantly!) really enjoying getting back to reading...

ATY books finished, with mini-reviews because I don't know when I'll get around to writing real ones:
The Eye of the World - 4* Getting lost in a fantasy world (with occasional cosmic horror) turns out to be exactly what I needed this year.
The Wordy Shipmates - 3* Some fascinating information about US history and a nice conversational style, but I wish it had had more structure.
The Book of Fathers - 4.5* I had to force myself to keep going with the first few chapters because there is so much violence (that doesn't change throughout the book -- it is a historical novel covering some horrible history), but it is so good! I wish I could read it in the original language.
Guerillas - 3.5* Prose is excellent, subject is disturbing. Definitely not for everyone.
Dona Barbara - 5* Steinbeck crossed with Dostoevsky. Can't argue with that.
Quarantine - 3* Interesting ideas, but couldn't totally get into this and it ends a bit abruptly. Would probably read something else by this author.
Summer Lightning and Other Stories - 5* The stories are really engaging, and the author does really interesting things with language. Hard to find a copy but worth it if you like short stories.
Feasting Wild - 4* More of a travelogue than a book about food, but I found it hard to put down and easy to get lost in the writing.
The Spy and the Traitor - 4* This has a slow start but ended with me on the edge of my seat.
The Sea Captain's Wife - 4* This is based on a collection of family letters that was a great find, and the writer adds a lot of interesting context. The title made me think I was in for a more narrative nonfiction, and this is not that.
American Rust - 3* I think the abrupt, too-neat ending brings this rating down, but I thought the writing style was interesting.
Florida - 5* Starting to wonder if I have a bias towards short stories. This collection is doing something very interesting, in that many of the stories feel like they have the same or similar narrrators, and the other stories end up demonstrating how myopic those narrators' views are. It's fascinating.

message 13: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments December 10 update:

I would say I am pretty well caught up. For the most part, this was a really good run of books!

Acceptance - 4* This was a really difficult one to rate -- as a standalone I'd say 4, but the trilogy overall is pretty uneven and disappointing, so hard to recommend.
Chew - 4* This whole series is an emotional rollercoaster, but surprisingly entertaining given how much cannibalism there is.
Woman of the Ashes - 5* This was great -- I like that it allowed the characters to be weird individuals, rather than flat symbols.
No Country for Old Men - 4* Honestly, I'd probably have rated this higher if the movie weren't so good.
City of Girls - 3.5* This takes a while to get where it's going, but I liked the overall themes.
The Ruined Wife - 2* The characters in this book were so frustratingly dumb! I might just need a break from this genre. But I listened on audio, so I did find out how the author pronounces her name (first syllable stress, mine is on the second syllable).
The Third Pig Detective Agency - 3* This was a fun read, but I don't think it's going to be interesting to anyone who isn't already into the premise.
The Garden of Evening Mists - 5* This was excellent. It was not an uplifting read by any means, but it was so good.
Among the Lost - 5* This was genius. Also not an uplifting read in any way. It's very similar to Lincoln in the Bardo in terms of style and themes, but the overall feeling it leaves you with is kind of the opposite.
The Silver Chair - 4* This is a fun adventure story.
Tenth of December - 4* This has a couple stories that will stick with me and is definitely worth the time to read.
The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon - 5* This was an Audible original, but long enough that it would be over 100 pages in book form.
Frankenstein - 5* Okay, I can see why this is a classic. And why people who know me have been telling me to read it for years.
The Cactus League - 4* This began and ended strong, and I liked the structure. The characters felt more like "types" than people, though.

Four more to go. I've started 2021 planning.

message 14: by Marin (new)

Marin (marinbeth) | 175 comments The End!

ATY 2020 is complete! This was a difficult year, and I'm very happy to put it to rest, but I definitely got to some great books.

My favorite thing this year was the antipode return challenge I set up for myself. It led me to read some books that I might not have heard of otherwise (The Purple Violet of Oshaantu and Summer Lightning and Other Stories), or books that were on the TBR but that I might not have gotten to this year (Doña Bárbara and Among the Lost). I have a time zone challenge planned for 2021 and am already pretty excited about what I have planned for that.

There are so many other books I enjoyed this year, with my average rating being 4. 13 books, exactly a quarter of the ATY challenge, were ones I gave a 5 or 4.5. That's pretty great!

One disappointment is that I had to turn my husband's bonus challenge into a 2-year challenge (hard to read books on transit this year, for one thing), but I did get back to reading books for it.

Another disappointment is not being more involved in ATY threads, read-a-thons, challenges, etc. Hopefully I can change that in the new year.

ATY books finished:
Arabian Nights vol. 2 - Just like with vol. 1, I have no idea how to rate this. Some of the stories are great, and some are very tedious! This volume includes Sinbad the Sailor, which is particularly good. I'll be finished with vol. 3 in October 2021.
The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories - 4*
Swing - 4*, definitely recommend on audio
The Power of When - 5*

Bonus Challenge Books Finished:
An Everlasting Meal - 4*

Thank you for reading this far! Have a happy new year!

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