A Reading Challenge and Books for the Beach

Even though I was up to my eyeballs in graduate work at the beginning of 2015, my daughter challenged me to work through Popsugar’s Reading Challenge with her this year.  I accepted the challenge because: 1) the categories were interesting and reasonable, 2) the list gave me a reason to chip away at my cumbersome to-be-read pile and 3) 52 books does equate to a challenge (hence the name), something I can’t seem to turn down.  Considering the state of my life during the first half of the year, I made commendable progress, finishing 14 books by the second week of May when I finally completed my degree.   (Hallelujah Chorus commences.)

Since finishing graduate school, I have been reading with abandon.  It’s been delightful to lose myself in a story without experiencing the “I should be doing something more productive” guilt I’ve felt for the last two years any time I tried to do anything that wasn’t school or work related.  Several of the books I’ve read in the last two months have been the best of the year.  I now find myself at the end of July with 23 books under my belt and 29 to go to complete the Challenge.

Books for Popsugar’s Reading Challenge 2015 (with date completed and my rating out of 5 stars):

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (January 2015)  4 stars
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (January, 2015)  4 stars
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (January 2015)  4 stars
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley (February 2015)  5 stars
  • Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasan (February 25, 2015)  3.5 stars
  • Thickety by J.A. White (March 3, 2015)  3.5 stars
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill (March 19, 2015)  4.5 stars
  • The Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength) by C.S. Lewis  (March 23, 2015)  4 stars
  • Stephen King on Writing by Stephen King (March 26, 2015)  5 Stars
  • Dr. Sleep by Stephen King (April 1, 2015)  3.75 stars
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (April 12, 2015)  4 stars 
  • Shogun by James Clavell (April 15, 2015)  4 stars
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (May 1, 2015)  2.5 stars
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (May 15, 2015)  4 stars
  • Elegy for Eddy by Jacqueline Winspear (May 19, 2015)  4 stars
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear (May 28, 2015)  4 stars
  • Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah (June 1, 2015)  4 stars
  • The Golum and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (July 5, 2015)  4.5 stars
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (July 11, 2015)  5 stars
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (July 11, 2015)  4 stars
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (July 13, 2015)  4 stars
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (July 20, 2015)  3.75 stars

Note: At this point, I’m hesitating to assign books to the Challenge categories.  I’m finding my reading choices often fit into several categories OR after reading a book, I realize it doesn’t fit into the category I thought it would.  For instance, Dr. Sleep wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and Me Before You didn’t turn me into the blubbering mess I expected.  We’ll just have to wait until the end of the year to see how things match up. In a few days, I’ll be settling in at the beach for a glorious week of sunshine, saltwater, family shenanigans and reading.  Lots and Lots of reading.  When my husband saw my pile of books for the beach, he asked me (with considerable snark) if I planned on doing anything like eating, sleeping or engaging with other humans during our vacation.  I did the mandatory eye roll thing and then explained my need for a  selection of books so I can choose what to read based on my mood.  The truth is, with sharks behaving badly in the Outer Banks this summer, I’ll probably be spending less time in the water and even more time than usual reading under an umbrella.  Considering the circumstances, a small suitcase full of books seems quite reasonable. This is what I’ll be packing:

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I’ve heard great things about these books so I’m excited to get started.  It’s going to be a fantastic week at the beach! Have you read any of these books?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and any other book suggestions you have.  

4 thoughts on “A Reading Challenge and Books for the Beach

  1. Beaches were pretty much made for reading, good list you’ve got there 🙂 I’ve followed, I’m a writer myself, and if you have the time I’d love for you to check out my small blog. Atm its mainly short stories and a bit of poetry, but I’m working on a novel (Prologue is on my blog). Feel free to check it out on http://www.kasimskorner.com , keep blogging and have a good day 🙂

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