So what seems like a long time ago-and what is actually a long time ago, 8 months ick-I made a post about the 12 challenges from the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge that I was going to complete in 2015. And then promptly forgot about it among the twists and turns of the year. I finally managed to climb back into the blog world last week and thought I should turn this weeks blog into a let’s see how many of the challenges I have manged without actually being aware of it.
And the answer is EIGHT – almost NINE – of the 12 challenges.
Which is not bad really. I thought I was going to be spending the next few months scrambling around to make it over the line by the 31st December. Well I can save that panic for one of the other resolutions that I haven’t managed to get under control this year.
And how many of them where the books that I had predicted I would read….. that would be three. This is not surprising as I have been reading a number of books for a new review site I am working on with my friends and they are all new releases that I had never heard before picking them up. The fact that I have managed to still hit eight of the challenges might mean that I choose challenges which already match my reading interests and not actual challenges that change what I read. Something to keep in mind for picking similar challenges in 2016.
2. A book that is written by someone whose gender is different to your own.
The Vagrant by Peter Newman
Not the authors that I had flagged (Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson) but still genre books (The Vagrant is marketed as SciFi but reads to me like fantasy with sci fi elements so according to my brain the same genres). Though it had a few issues this book really grew on me and I ended up really enjoying it – mainly the world building and the companionship among the main characters (it was in part a quest novel). I will be interested to see what Newman writes next.
3. A YA novel
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This was actually the book I had planned to read for this challenge (I have read a few other YA’s this year as well). I had no real idea where this book was going so when I got to the end I was actually
a bit quite traumatised. Really well written with excellent tension building as the narrative progressed – which had me up late one night to get to the end of the story.
4. An audiobook
Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen
Again the actual book I had planned to listen to. I really enjoy this series, it is lighthearted but still engaging and the audio narrator is excellent.
5. A romance novel
The Shadows by JR Ward
The same author but later book in the series – so almost! This book is another good, if controversial, addition to this series but definitely start with the first book or else it will make little to no sense.
6. A book written by someone over 65
Almost! I listened to Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis which was released in 2010 when Willis was 64. I adored these two books.
7. A book that was originally published in another language
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
Translated from Spanish to English. This book was an interesting collaborative effort between the author and a group of Mexican factory workers. I enjoyed it but had some issues with the portrayal of women which left a slightly bad taste to mar the overall enjoyment.
8. A graphic novel, memoir or collection of comics
Ms Marvel Vol 1 and 2 by G. Willow Wilson
Volume 1 I had assigned to this challenge and also read when I first blogged about the Read Harder Challenge. I know next to nothing about comics but have enjoyed these two volumes.
9.A book published this year
The Lives of Women by Christine Dwyer Hickey
Not the book I selected but one of the books I have enjoyed immensely this year. I am still getting my review of this book together but it was a really interesting twist and turn of family relationships.
12. A book that is a retelling of a classic story
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
I picked this book up at Clunes Book Week this year. It was shortish (and perhaps YA?) but really absorbing retelling of the Briar Rose fairytale set in World War II Europe.
The Challenges Yet to Be Completed:
1. A collection of short stories
I have been slowly working through The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF which I have had on the go since 2013 and will definitely be finishing this off by the end of the year.
10. A book set in Asia
11. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture
For ten and eleven I would still like to tackle the books listed in the original post (The Makioka Sisters and The Swan Book) and just need to keep them at hand when I reach for my next book. Part of the reason for The Swan Book not being read yet is that I haven’t had my kindle out much this year and I tried starting it on my phone but it wasn’t nicely formatted and so skipped on to starting something else.
I wonder how everyone elses Read Harder Challenges are going? I should mosey over and check out the Goodreads group at some point or point me towards your own achievements so far for 2015.