By now you’ve heard that Anne is doing a reading challenge, and who doesn’t want to join someone like her in something so fun? Probably just people who don’t like to read. I don’t trust those people.
I shared on Instagram a draft of what I was thinking of reading for each category, and I’m here today to set it in stone. And by that I mean I will do really whatever I want at my own discretion because it’s my life. Stop telling me what to do.
Without further tapping:
A Book I’ve Been Meaning to Read
The Expats: I’m not quite sure where I heard of this book, but the idea of a new stay-at-home-mom moving to a small European country and having to confront the various secrets lives of herself and those around her – well, that just sounded interesting and exciting.
Update: And it was. Definitely some small, graphic parts, but nothing this wimp couldn’t handle. Even though I’ve finished this, I find myself thinking, “Ooh, I can’t wait until bedtime so I can pick it back up again.” And then I remember I finished it, and a little wave of disappointment washes over me.
A Book Published This Year
Formerly Fingerman: This is one of those categories subject to change. It is only April after all. But, this book fits my requirements for what seems to be an enjoyable book: a fresh plot line that isn’t about coming of age, sisters becoming friends, children dying/being hurt, or illness. I feel like I have read all of those stories over and over.
Update: So, I changed my mind on this one and decided to read Almost Famous Women. I read about half of it and returned it. Not my kind of book. It’s a book of short stories about real women who have brushes with fame but their stories remain untold. So, the author decided to fill in the blanks with her own rendition of what their lives may have been like – historical fiction, if you will. Sounds fun, right? Each story left me sad and empty much like the lives of each story’s subject. Not only were the stories hopeless and often lewd, they were also written in such a fashion that grasped at poetic and came up sounding like an art student was trying too hard. Gosh, can you tell I didn’t like this one?
A Book in a Genre I Don’t Typically Read
Hands Free Mama: I tend to shy away from self-improvement type books. I find them to be overwhelming, and often I finish feeling bad about myself – thinking I should be more. But, I challenged myself to read this one since it is so light and easy.
Update: I went into it remembering to be kind to myself, and I came out of it with an overall desire to spend more time enjoying the quiet moments with my family. Not a bad outcome. There were also a lot of instances where I had to disagree with the author, but often they were differences in opinion over specific situations and not overarching ideas. So, keep in mind that she is writing about her journey, and take her wisdom and apply it to your life as you see fit.
A Book from My Childhood
Anne of Green Gables: I’ve never actually read this before. I have tried many times and been sidetracked by something newer and flashier. So, I suppose this is not really one from MY childhood. But, I am not a person to reread books – never have, never will be. So, I decided to make this the year I read it. More than likely I will read this chapter by chapter with Ellen at night – after we finish The Children of Noisy Village.
Update: Ok, this book was adorable. I am actually upset that I was never introduced to it when I was younger. I’m sure I would have loved it. Charming. I’ve tried reading a few books lately that I’ve surprisingly never read before (P&P, Lord of the Flies), but this was the most pleasant experience of them all!
A Book My Mom Loves
The Secret Life of Bees: My mom and I couldn’t have more different taste in books (or anything else for that matter). So, this is a hard one for me. Her favorite books include this one, The Kite Runner, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Red Tent. Honestly, I have specifically avoided all of these books even knowing full well that they are extremely popular and well-received. I thought about picking one of my dad’s favorites, but I’ve read all of those already. Sorry, mom.
A Book Originally Written in Another Language
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared: Mandi from Life Your Way has this book in this category. This was the hardest for me to pick because it’s not normally a factor I pay attention to. I know of some heavy classics that fit, but that’s not my style. This one seems quirky enough to work.
A Book “Everyone” Has Read but Me
The Rosie Project: You’ve probably heard of this because everyone has read it. I’m looking forward to it, and I might just be delving into this one next. A did hear that the sequel left much to be desired, so I imagine I will stop with this first book.
Update: This was the perfect book to read when I found myself drained. I had just finished a few books that were on the heavier side, and I was feeling unmotivated to pick up a new book. This was light and fairly predictable, but the characters are so wonderful that you are pulled all the way through. Think Sheldon Cooper and When Harry Met Sally.
A Book I Chose Because of the Cover
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: This got mixed reviews, but I have been looking for a mystery that isn’t gory or too slow moving. And, I liked the cover for some reason. Also, if I’m going to be really honest with you, I ONLY ever pick books based on the cover. It’s my M.O.
Update: I’m not sure why this got mixed reviews. After reading it and talking about it with people, this series seems to have a pretty steady cult following. I loved the mystery aspect of it without being overly gory or gratuitous. I actually found myself laughing in a few parts, and I was able to stay up late with it just to see what happens – and it didn’t even spook me to do so, baby that I am. And, having littles, I usually end up reading books that have a more contemporary language feel to them so I can plow through easily. The writing in this book definitely had literary merit, but I felt I was still able to read through it with kids underfoot.
A Book by a Favorite Author
The Undomestic Goddess: You got me. I loved the The Shopaholic Series. I blew through it one summer in about a month. And, there is a new short story out in the series that I am itching to read. I’ve read others of Kinsella’s (as well as some of her Wickham books), and they are always the entertaining fluff I need when I am in a reading slump. I will probably save this one for summer.
A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste
Unbroken: This is the last book left on Anne’s book rec list she made up just for me. Everything else she told me to read was knock-out-of-the-park wonderful, so I am imagining this one will be as well. It’s been getting a lot of buzz lately because of the movie. I was told that the book focuses more on human strength and resilience while the movie picks out the suffering and struggles (perhaps because that makes for better drama?).
A Book I Should Have Read in High School
Lord of the Flies: This was never on any of the reading lists for my classes in high school. Again, I’ve read those and don’t really want to reread. But, I know this is a popular book in a lot of English classes – one that I never taught either (I used to be a high school English teacher). So, it will be brand new to me. Plus I have it sitting in the basement already.
A Book That’s Currently on the Bestseller List
Station Eleven: Post apocalyptic, Great Lakes and Shakespeare? Sign me up. This again hits my marks for a readable book. Is it just me or do people get sick of reading books about a character coming of age, a terminal disease or a heartbreaking event?
Update: Turns out this one does hit on a lot of my triggers mentioned above. And actually pretty hard. I thought it would be a little less challenging in that department, but there are a lot of moments from the book that have stuck with me, haunted me even. But, despite some of the more heartbreaking moments, this was so well-written (and compelling enough) that I had to read to the end. Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world if a book makes you question things long after you’ve read it…
Are you doing the challenge? What’s on your list? If not, what are you reading anyway?