As a former child who regularly killed it during library summer reading challenges, I have to admit that I’ve missed participating in that sort of thing. So I was excited to jump on board when Modern Mrs. Darcy posted her 2015 reading challenge at the start of the year: 12 books, 12 categories, 12 months. You can see the full challenge HERE and read all about it.
I loved that her categories gave some structure, but left plenty of wiggle room to choose books I was most excited about. I’m actually nearly done with the challenge already (I’m sure the idea was to tackle one category per month, but I got ahead of myself, as I often do when books are involved), so I thought I’d post an update on what books I’ve read to fit into each category, and what I’m planning to read for upcoming categories.
1) A book you’ve been meaning to read: Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell). I read this in high school, but have been meaning to re-read it for years. I finally finished it this month and loved it. I’m not sure I actually remembered anything about it from my initial read-- it felt brand new. More to come at the end of the month in my reading recap post.
2) A book published this year: First Frost (Sarah Addison Allen) I generally don’t keep up with new releases (too overwhelmed by my current to-read list to keep an eye out for new ones!), but I loved Garden Spells and have been excitedly waiting for a sequel. I reviewed First Frost HERE.
3) A book in a genre you don’t typically read: The Devil in the White City (Erik Larson) I think it’s safe to say that historical non-fiction is entirely out of my typical reading zone. I read this for a book club recently and loved it. I reviewed it HERE.
4) A book from your childhood: planning to read Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) I haven’t started yet, but I was so sad to hear about the death of Jonathan Crombie (who played Gilbert Blythe—my first love!), and re-reading Anne just seems like the right thing to do.
5) A book your mom loves: I am torn between To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) and The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett). When I asked my mom for recommendations, she rattled off about 5 classics, so I have a bit of narrowing down to do in this category.
6) A book that was originally written in a different language: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne) I struggled to find a book to fit this category, then it fell into my lap as a book club selection. Buuuut I did not care for it at all.
7) A book ‘everyone’ has read but you: The Gifts of Imperfection (Brene Brown) I saw this book reviewed and recommended over and over again on blogs and from friends, and I felt like I must be the last person to pick it up! I thought it was a great book with lots of amazing insight, although it left me feeling a little lost—like all my issues had been spread out on the table for me to analyze and fret over, but I wasn’t sure what to do to fix them. I think I need therapy. Full book review HERE.
8) A book you chose because of the cover: I don’t have anything chosen for this category yet. Waiting for something to jump out at me during a library visit!
9) A book by a favorite author: Alias Grace (Margaret Atwood) I’ve loved Margaret Atwood since being bowled over by The Handmaid’s Tale in high school (and again more recently!), and have read quite a few of her novels (some with greater success than others). I had mixed feelings about Alias Grace—you can see my review HERE. I also picked up Birds Without Wings from the library this week—it’s a perfect fit for this category, too, since I love with a capitol L Corelli’s Mandolin. I’m excited to start it!
10) A book recommended by someone with great taste: Summers at Castle Auburn (Sharon Shinn) Two of my very well-read cousins gave this book great reviews on Goodreads, which made it a perfect fit for this category. With a little magic, a little romance, and a little castle intrigue, it was right up my alley. See my review HERE.
11) A book you should have read in high school: I’m undecided here . . . considering Brave New World or The Great Gatsby. Other recommendations welcome! I’m finding this category a little intimidating, mostly because ‘should have read in high school’ instantly makes me think, ‘dodged a bullet by not having to read this in high school.’
12) A book that’s currently on the bestseller list: The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) Reminiscent of Gone Girl (but with significantly less stick-with-you creep factor), this was fast and exciting and hard to put down. See my review HERE.