2016 Reading Challenge Progress

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We’re halfway through the year and I’ve only managed to check off two boxes in this year’s reading challenge. Readers, help a girl out!

2016 Reading Progress - aumbleplace.com

Admittedly, my reading choices so far this year have been more out of necessity rather than trying to partake in mother culture or feed myself intellectually. I’ve needed no-brain-required stuff mainly because I haven’t had a brain at times to consume anything beyond “fluff.” Admittedly, I’m a little embarrassed by some my 2016 reading list so far….

2016 Reading Progress - aumbleplace.com

I seem to have been relying heavily on two authors in particular, one of which is one of my “fluffy” authors (and the other is a YA author), which says a lot about where my mental capacity has been lately. I can give myself some grace here and say that it has been somewhat of a stressful year so far, but I’d like to ease back into a habit of well-written books that get me ruminating. I need to get organized and I need recommendations!

Here are the categories of the challenge….

A book published this year

Done! I just checked this one off this month with My Name is Lucy Barton which was a quick, enjoyable novel. The audiobook narrator is actually one that I don’t normally care for, but she did a fantastic job with this one.

A book you can finish in a day

Being the ever helpful blogger that she is, Anne Bogel offered up a list of 20 life-changing non-fiction books that you can finish in a day. There are so many on this list that appealed to me (The Quotidian Mysteries, Gift from the Sea, A Room of One’s Own, and The Getaway Car), but because I’m pretty limited by time constraints (and whether or not a book is available as an audiobook), I chose to go with the shortest one I could find: Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott.

When I was in college, one of my art classes had guest artists/authors each week who would have us do random exercises in their chosen vocation, and one of the authors was a huge fan of Anne Lamott. She had us watch a documentary about her, then do 20 minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing. I’ve been intrigued by her ever since, though I’ve never actually made it through one of her books. At just under 2 hours, I’m hoping I can make it through this audiobook (read by her) in less than a day.

Any other recommendations for quick reads out there?

A book you’ve been meaning to read

I’m currently working my way through Playful Parenting, which I added to my Goodreads to-read shelf on July 28, 2010 (before I was, in fact, a parent). It’s actually been very insightful and I’m glad I decided to tackle it for this category, but it’s definitely going to take me a while as it’s a regular old paper book and my time to read those is few and far between these days.

A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller

When I picked up my library card at the new library, the woman helping me mentioned that the Inspector Gamache series (starting with Still Life) was really good, so I may take that as my librarian suggestion. I’m not sure how “dark” these books are considering at least the first one is about a murder, but I know of at least a few people who have really liked them.

A book you should’ve read in school

I think I’m going to put To Kill a Mockingbird in this category. For whatever reason, my independent fundamentalist Baptist high school did not include this in their reading list, but I think most everyone else has had to read it at some point. E and I watched the movie sometime last year and though the storyline was incredibly frustrating (not how it was written, but what happened), I really liked the characters (especially Scout who I could relate to on so many levels, and, honestly, how funny and random is ham?). With all the hype surrounding Go Set a Watchman, which I should probably also read, it might be good to better acquaint myself with this story in Harper Lee’s own words rather than on the screen.

What books did you read in school that you especially liked?

A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF

E isn’t much of a reader (I’ve been trying to get him to read Station Eleven for over a year now….), so I chose to ask my BFF, Adrienne, for a book suggestion. For this category, I will be reading The Singer by Calvin Miller. 🙂

A book published before you were born

In Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Madeleine L’Engle mentioned that she read and reread Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery and ever since I learned that, I’ve been wanting to read it (and it was published in 1923, so it meets the category requirement by a couple of years). I read all of the Anne books very, very late into the night for about a week one summer when I was in high school (I was a pretty boring teenager) and I always associate Montgomery with summer reading now. I’m working on this one now.

A book that was banned at some point

For this one, I’m completely at a loss. The only one I can really think of (without stretching my Google skills) is The Catcher in the Rye which doesn’t really interest me.

Internets! What banned book should I read?

A book you’ve previously abandoned

Done! I had every intention of attacking this challenge head-on at the beginning of the year and managed to get Gilead under my belt, which I had given up on two years ago. You can read what I thought of it here.

A book you own but have never read

I managed to get a Penguin Classics version (with the pretty cover!) of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Admittedly, I have tried to read it before, but didn’t get far. Hopefully I have more luck this year.

A book that intimidates you

This is far too broad a category for me to narrow down on my own. Pretty much any book I haven’t read intimidates me. What books intimidate you?

A book that you’ve already read at least once

I asked E what he guessed I might read for this category and he guessed correctly… Surprise! This one will be Station Eleven. 🙂 I told him me reading it again gave him the perfect opportunity to read it along with me so we can discuss it! How thoughtful of me! (Though I highly doubt there will be any Humble family book clubs happening.)

Audible is offering a free trial with two free audiobooks and I’m thinking I may just have to take them up on that offer to grab the audiobook version of this.

I think if I set a goal of every other book I read/listen to fitting into one of these categories, I should be able to check all of them off by the end of the year!

Is anyone else doing her reading challenge? What have you inserted into the various categories?

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  1. If you’d like to kill two birds with one stone, I’ll recommend Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. If you haven’t read it already, I mean! I hadn’t until this year, and while I probably would have liked it more when I was younger, it fits your Banned Book category.

    Also don’t read Go Set a Watchman. It’s not a sequel, it’s more like a reimagining of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird where they lose all the charm that made you love them in the first place. I wish I’d skipped it!

    This comment box makes me feel like I’m yelling 🙂 I’m not, I swear!

    Bonus sci-fi book recommendation: Seveneves. So good!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I don’t know if I can do The Bell Jar….I have a hard time reading books about suicide and depression (regardless of how well they may be written!). Is it heavy in those themes?

      I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Go Set a Watchman (though I thought maybe I should?…..maybe not?). I did actually read a post someone had written a while ago explaining that it was her original draft for Mockingbird? And then her editor told her to change it. I think, if I remember correctly. Either way, it didn’t sound like something I’d actually want to read.

      I changed the text in the comment box. 🙂 Confession: I had no idea what it looked like. I should probably test that when I switch themes!

      I am adding Sevenes to my list!

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