Mid Year Progress

Well, the first half of this year kicked my ass health wise and along with it went all my beautiful plans of blogging, but such is life with a chronic illness. On the bright side, I got lots of reading done and a fair amount of knitting too. I figured I’d take a look at what I’ve read so far this year and see what I’ve enjoyed, what I’ve not enjoyed and see how I stand on my challenges.

  1. Belzhar – Meg Wolitzer 3.5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book with a main character with a mental illness.
  2. Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Meghan Ciana Doidge 4/5
  3. Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman 4.5/5
  4. Normal Gets You Nowhere – Kelly Cutrone 1/5 (DNF)
  5. Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book about politics
  6. Amulet: The Stonekeepers – Kazu Kibuishi 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a middle grade novel
  7. This is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper – 5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book adapted to a movie and then watch the movie. Debate which was better. I’m going with book, though the movie was quite good for this one, especially if you were a fan of Arrested Development.
  8. Illusions of Fate – Kiersten White 5/5
  9. Anatomy of a Misfit – Andrea Portes 4/5
  10. Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Meghan Ciana Doidge 4/5
  11. Me Before You – JoJo Moyes 2.5/5
  12. F*ck Love – Tarryn Fisher 4/5
  13. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath 5/5
  14. Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins 3/5
  15. Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson 4/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book over 500 pages
  16. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman 4/5
  17. Curio – Evangeline Denmark 1/5 (DNF)
  18. The Walls All Around Us – Nova Ren Suma 4/5
  19. The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane – Kelly Harms 3.5/5
  20. Shakespeare: The Word as Stage – Bill Bryson 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a Biography
  21. One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies – Sonya Sones 5/5
  22. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng 4/5
  23. Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World – Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone 3.5/5
  24. The Fireman – Joe Hill 5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a dystopian/post apocalyptic novel
  25. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz 1/5 (DNF)
  26. The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan 4/5
  27. The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan 4/5
  28. The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan 5/5
  29. Unbreakable – Kami Garcia 3/5
  30. The Disappearance of Melody Dean – Alexis Sugden 5/5 (There was a kickstarter for the printed trade paper book of this webcomic so I got to read the whole thing already :P ) – BR Challenge – Read a non Superhero Comic debuted in the last 3 years

Overall I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read so far this year, with only a couple books that I’ve given up on. I’m 30 out of 52 on my yearly goal of books read and only 8 out of 25 of the Read Harder challenges, so I guess I’m really going to have to step those up for the latter half of the year. I’m in the middle of a few more Read Harder challenges, but I’ve not gotten much reading done in the last couple weeks. I’ll do a more detailed breakdown on what I’ve read and my thoughts on the books in the next post!

Read Harder Challenge

While I participate in the Goodreads Challenge every year, one of the things I regret from last year is not actually trying to do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. So when they released this year’s list, I jumped on it. I’m aiming for titles that multi-task, just because I know that there are other titles that I want to read this year and other things will come out that I will inevitably want to read. Right now nothing is set in stone, but I’m just kind of batting around ideas about what I might want to read for some of the challenges.

Read a horror book – This one is pretty easy for me. I love horror novels, so right now it’s all about narrowing them down. Strong contenders are: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.

Read a nonfiction book about science – I’m kind of excited about reading something in this category. I used to read a lot of nonfiction in general and a lot of science specially, but it’s been a number of years since I’ve read anything. Strong Contenders:  The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Read a collection of essays – I like essay collections so I have a few lined up for this. Strong Contenders: Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone, I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosby, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris, and Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

Read a book out loud to someone else – I’ll probably read something out loud to one of the pets since I don’t have any little kids around that I can read to. I have a few picture books lurking around the house, as well as some poetry collections that should do nicely!

Read a middle grade novel – This is really convenient as I’m in the middle of a middle grade series right now! The winner is: Exile (The Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) by Shannon Messenger

Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography) – This one was a little harder for me because usually I lean towards memoirs or autobiographies. Strong Contenders: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of A Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemon, and The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney.

Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel – This is another easy category. Dystopian is such a popular category and I usually enjoy it. Strong Contenders: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Cinder by Marissa Meyer and The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Read a book originally published in the decade you were born – This means that I have to read something from the 1980s. I found a plethora of titles of I was interested in but I think I’ve narrowed things down some. Strong Contenders: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985), The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982), The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989), Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1984)

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award – I’m a big fan of audio books so I was glad to know that some of the ones I owned and that were on my wishlist were Audie winners. Strong Contenders: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, The Graveyard Book (Full Cast Recording) by Neil Gaiman, Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Read a book over 500 pages long – Reading a lot of audiobooks made this category a bit of a challenge because I don’t see the number of pages on books until I start them or look them up on GoodReads. Strong Contenders: The Passage by Justin Cronin, American Gods by Neil Gaiman (this might be cheating since I’ve been reading it for 2 years now), The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and The Diviners by Libba Bray

Read a book under 100 pages – I had a really hard time with this one and had to troll GoodReads for books under 100 pages. And then I discovered I already owned one! The winner: Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender – I’ve had a few books on/about the subject in my queue for a while now so it’s the perfect time to make sure that I read at least one of them! Strong Contenders: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronin-Mills, Boys: An Anthology by Zach Stafford and She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Read a book that is set in the Middle East – I really want to read fiction, but not the Kite Runner, so I’m totally open to suggestions. Right now, my only thought is nonfiction and it’s Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia – This gives me a few options author wise. Especially because I’ve been wanting to read something by Haruki Murakami. Options: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, Piercing by Ryu Murakami and Bengali Girls Don’t by L.A. Sherman

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 – As soon as I saw this challenge I knew exactly what I’d read. I’ve heard nothing but good about this book and it’s been on my TBR for a while. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Read the first book in a series by a person of color – I thought I knew what I wanted to read for this one, but in checking the GR group, I found another book that I totally forgot about. Options: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

Read a non superhero comic that debuted in the last three years  – This one is pretty easy as I have a metric shitton of comics at home and in digital that don’t have superheroes. Some options are: Saga Volume 3 by Brian K Vaughn, Ody-C Vol 1 by Matt Fraction, Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi, The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Trees Vol 1 by Warren Ellis

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better – I’ve got a few options for this category. I love watching movie adaptations though.  Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky and This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes – I’m ok with this ok mostly because I loved How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran so much. But I’m a little worried that some books may be too tumblr feminist for me. Men Explain Things To Me – Rebecca Solnit, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, and maybe Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon (though I’m not sure if this one applies. Maybe?)

Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction) – I haven’t read anything religious based in quite a while. I think the last one might have been Dharma Punx back when I was in high school? The Strong Contenders are:  The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, Lamb by Christopher Moore, and Trans-gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith by Justin Edward Tanis

Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction) – This is one category that I’m not sure I’ve ever read. As much as I love politics I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally read a book about them, fiction or non. The options are:  The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez or Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Read a food memoir – I think that this will wind up being the hardest challenge for me. Even though I love cooking, I have EDNOS, and thus some serious issues with food, so reading about it can cause some problems. Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell and Blood, Bones and Butter: Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Read a play – I have a collection of Shakespeare and a few audio that I can pick from so right now I’m leaning towards As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and in non-Shakespeare, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard and Henry Popkin

Read a book about a character that has a mental illness – A-ha. Another challenge that isn’t a huge challenge for me. My favorite book last year dealt with mental illness (It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini). The Contenders this time are: Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen, Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson and Made You Up by Francesca Zappia.

 

If you have any other suggestions or thoughts on things I could read, let me know!

 

 

2016 and future plans

I know that by now most people are at least passingly familiar with The Spoon Theory. That feeling of borrowing spoons from the next day to just get through that day at work means that unfortunately a lot of my hobbies and plans get left by the wayside. I’m ok with letting some things go, but I’ve come to realize that I really miss writing. It feels like another lifetime ago when I was writing about anything and everything and was never far from my notebook. With that in mind I’ve decided that I want to take up blogging again. I’m not sure how often my regular schedule will be put I’m aiming for at least a couple of times a week.

Since my main loves are books, geekery, knitting, make up/skin care, and cooking, expect to find a little of all of that here. Though I’ll fully admit that photography isn’t my strongest suit so don’t expect any fancy foodie pictures and we’ll be good. All I ask is to cut me a little slack if the schedule gets out of whack due to a lack of spoons, I’ll be back as soon as I’m feeling better!