Top 5 Wednesday: Books featuring witches

It’s time for a new Top 5 Wednesday. In case you didn’t know, Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group run by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes that gives a topic every week for your Top 5 lists, be it on your blog, youtube, instagram, tumblr, etc. This week’s topic is your favorite books featuring witches.

This topic was a little challenging for me to narrow down. When I first started thinking about it, I could only think of two books/series that had witches in them. But as I went digging through my goodreads shelf, I realized that it’s a genre I frequent. I did try to narrow it down to some series that I haven’t seen get a ton of attention, barring one. In no particular order, we have:

5. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness – Each of the books in this series are a chunker and it tends to be fairly divisive, but I’m solidly in camp I-thought-it-was-fantastic. Part urban fantasy, part historical fiction, some time travel, and a healthy dose of Romance made it great for me. Diana Bishop comes from a long family of witches, but she wants nothing to do with anything magical herself. While researching for her newest academic presentation she accidentally calls up a lost alchemical manuscript, setting off a chain of events that ropes her back in to using magic and digging up family secrets. Sure, there’s some cheese factor and a healthy suspension of reality required for some things, but it was good enough that I read through all 3 books in about a week. And at 500+ pages each, that is no small feat.

4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – This was probably my favorite book I read last year and I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. Seriously, we need a pub date announcement now or I may explode of anticipation. I digress. Labyrinth lost is the story of Alex. Alex is a bruja, and probably the most powerful bruja in generations, but she just wants to be normal. At her Deathday celebration to accept her full powers, Alex tries to cast a spell to rid herself of her powers, only the spell backfires. Her whole family vanishes and she goes on a journey to Los Lagos to find and rescue them. The book is unapologetically Latinx, and there’s some fantastic bi rep. It’s not just about accepting who you are, but also about how family can both help and hinder that quest.

3. The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson – I originally picked this book up because I am a huge Buffy fan and I really liked another book series that Amber Benson was narrating. When I searched to see what else she had narrated this popped up and I couldn’t resist. Urban Fantasy with witches set in a city I’m really familiar with? There was no way I was passing that up. It turned out to be way better than I was expecting. I haven’t read the rest of the series, but they are on my TBR. Our main character is Lyse, a witch living a fairly mundane life in Georgia, who comes back home to Echo Park, California upon learning her great-aunt Eleanora is deathly ill. Once she’s back home, Lyse discovers a whole world of secrets her great-aunt was keeping from her. Danger, secrets, and a coven full of interesting characters makes this a great read if you’re a fan of witchy books or just UF in general.

2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – What list of witches (and wizards!) isn’t complete without The Dresden Files. Part detective story, loads of funny sidekicks, and a somewhat bumbling, incredibly snarky wizard put this right up there with my favorite series ever. With 14 books in the series there’s plenty to catch up on as well. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Harry Dresden is a private detective/wizard for hire in Chicagoland. Pay him enough and he’ll investigate whatever you want, while also occasionally working with the Chicago P.D. and breaking pretty much any tech devices he comes across.

1. The Line by JD Horn – One thing people should know about me is that I’m a sucker for Southern Gothic style books. This series is no exception. Mercy is the non-magical half of a set of twins in a powerful magical family. When things in the family go haywire and the Taylor family matriarch dies, Mercy finds out exactly how important her family is to Savannah and just how many secrets her family members have been keeping. If you like your witch stories with a little southern flair, this is definitely a series to check out.

 

Well, there’s this week’s top 5. What are some of your favorite books about/featuring witches?

September Wrap Up

Hello again friends! I’m sorry about the radio silence lately, but between a vacation, a cold, 2 training sessions at work, and a new position at work, I’ve been insanely busy for most of the month. I made it through all of one book! (I did read a little of the half dozen other books I am in the middle of, but I only finished one.) So, onward to my review!

Sourdough by Robin Sloan – 4.5 stars. I liked this book a LOT. As in, I finished it and brought it with me on vacation so I could shove it at a friend is normally 3000 miles away from me so she could read it too. Let me start off by saying that this is a weird, quirky, contemporary book, so if that is not your style you definitely won’t like this one. Our main character is Lois. She’s a stressed out, overworked programmer in San Francisco, putting in 80+ hours a week at her job and hating things. One day she comes home and finds a menu from a new place on her door. She calls and orders dinner and falls in love with the food. When the owners of the restaurant have their visas revoked and have to move back to their homeland, they gift Lois with the starter for their sourdough bread. She starts baking her own bread and quickly learns that there is more to the starter than meets the eye. Hijinks ensue, all the while poking fun at the bay area, tech companies, liquid food, and the culture of work needing to be the most important thing in your life.

As I have a lot of friends in the tech industry (and am tangentially in it myself) I adored the portrayals of tech bros, the pressure to work every moment of your life, and the idea that hobbies are weird things no one should have unless they can profit from them somehow. The kind of hipster food trends also get lampooned a fair bit and that was always good for a laugh too. There are some good ideas on finding things that make you happy and taking time for yourself to take away. If you are a foodie, getting some of the science on how starters work, and the best ways to make bread were fun too!

Overall, if you’re looking for a lighter read, some hilarity, and a sourdough starter with a mind all of its own, I highly recommend Sourdough.

August 2017 Wrap Up

August was a pretty productive month for me. I read five novels and three graphic novels for a total of eight books. Thanks library card for giving me deadlines and upping my reading. If there are any books you’d like a more in depth review on, let me know in the comments!

  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (5/5) – This book. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I checked it out from the library and now it’s on my Buy-This-ASAP-to-Annotate List. The story takes place over a period of 4 days with flashbacks to the last year. Our main character Marin has left her hometown in the Bay Area of California for college in New York and has isolated herself from everyone. At it’s core it is a book about grief changes us and our relationships before and after something big. I saw so much of myself in Marin and I already want to reread this.
  2. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (3/5) – This was an enjoyable, if slightly predictable contemporary novel. I have a total weakness for books about books and/or bookshops. I guess it’s my bookseller heart still. It was cute and fluffy and an easy to read in one shot book. The writing was beautiful at parts, but suffered from some “oh he’s rude, he likes me!” and a plot you saw coming from a mile away.
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5/5) – I was a little worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it did. I have a mini review of it in my weekly progress post, but suffice it to say if you haven’t read this book yet, you need to.
  4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (4/5) – This book also has a mini review on my progress page but it was a cute YA contemporary featuring two Indian-American teens. I listened on audio and both narrators were solid. The plot had some wonkiness in parts, but overall it was so stinking cute that I was willing to overlook things. It was also nice to get a perspective that isn’t seen often.
  5. Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna (4/5) – This was a reread for me. I picked up this volume digitally through a humble bundle about a year ago. Now one thing you have to know about me is that I absolutely LOVE robots and androids in pretty much any form. If there’s a robot or android in a movie it will probably be my favorite character. This story is set in a not too distant future where Alex has been given an android by his grandmother. These androids are so lifelike they can only be identified by their tattoo. Alex soon realizes he wants more than a perfectly compliant android and he finds a way to alter her programming to make her sentient. It’s a solid start to the series and I was left wanting to read more.
  6. Alex + Ada, Volume 2 by Jonathan Luna (3.5/5) This was a pretty decent follow up to the first volume. It follows Alex and Ada after Ada gains sentience and their relationship navigating the world after bans on android/robot sentience has been banned. There were some weaker parts to this volume and it kind of suffered from 2nd book syndrome but overall it was still enjoyable and I definitely wanted to finish the series to see where it wound up.
  7. Alex + Ada, Volume 3 by Jonathan Luna (4/5) The last volume in this comic had a lot to say about tech and AI and where is the line of personhood. I won’t spoil anything but I enjoyed the wrap up even if parts of it broke my heart a little.
  8. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (5/5) – I was looking forward to this book so much. I read Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson last year and it was one of my favorite novels. I didn’t love this book quite as much. but it was still a solid showing. It is set in the nearish future but parts of the story take place in the past as well. Our main-main character, Adri is a teenager who is getting ready to be shipped out to help colonize Mars after America has suffered the effects of climate change. She gets sent from her hometown of Miami to Canaan, Kansas to stay with her elderly aunt, who is her last remaining family member before her journey. She finds correspondence in the home from the owners in the 1930s and starts diving in to who these people and how they fit in with her and her family. It was a solid story and a good luck at how important knowing your history can be.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Bromances edition

 

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that gives a topic every week for your Top 5 lists, be it on your blog, youtube, instagram, tumblr, etc. This week’s topic is your top 5 favorite bromances.

 

This topic took a bit of digging back through my read list. I know of and enjoy a lot of female friendships in my novels but not so much bromances. At least not bromances that tip over into the full on romance scales. Without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite bromances (in no particular order).

Mikey and Jared in The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – This is just a lovely friendship and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. Mikey doesn’t care that Jared is gay and there’s none of that “OMG HE MIGHT HIT ON ME AND THAT IS GROSS” posturing that is so typical with straight guy/gay guy relationships in any form. Jared is supportive of Mikey and tries so hard to make him feel better when his OCD spirals. It’s just so touching.

Locke and Jean Tannen in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch –  If you haven’t read this yet, the first thing you should know is Locke will do pretty much anything for his friends. You don’t fuck with them if you aren’t looking for some serious hurt. His friendship with Jean Tannen is amazing and hilarious. Jean Tannen is basically the long suffering straight man to Locke’s crazy antics and I love them both so much.

Harry and Bob in  The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This is the one friendship on this list where I was a little unsure about adding it. I mean, TECHNICALLY Harry owns Bob. Either way, the interactions with Harry and Bob are some of my favorite parts of these books. I love the snarky back and forth between them and Bob’s love of romance novels cracks me up.

Will, will, and Tiny in  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – Ok, first off, Tiny is one of my FAVORITE characters. Yes, he is somewhat problematic in his being kind of a stereotype of the fabulous gay man, but he reminds me so very much of my friends Anthony and Keith in high school. Both of them were amazing, wonderful, fabulous, out gay men. They were both a little over the top despite getting a metric fuckton of shit for it because this was high school *mumbles* years ago. I digress. Tiny’s friendships with both Wills are great, but let’s be honest, Tiny would be the greatest friend to anyone and this book should just be about him.

Ethan and Link in The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Ethan/Link – Since I’m currently on a re-read of this series, this bromance is still fresh in my mind. Link is the best. He deals with his batshit DAR-loving Mom, the fact that his best friend wants to tank their popularity by hanging out with the one person everyone in town hates, and the fact that his best friend kind of does that shitty thing where he ditches Link when for a girl. Despite Ethan being kind of douchey to Link for the first part of Book One, Link still loans his car, sticks up for Ethan, and hangs out with him even though it is socially disadvantageous. Ethan definitely wises up by the end of Book One and they go on to have a glorious friendship despite the supernatural shenanigans that happen.

Weekly Reading and Finished 8/28/17

Last week wasn’t exactly the most productive reading wise since I was training at work and couldn’t read for half my shift like I normally do. I still managed to finish two books, and I loved both of them.

  1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – I started out listening to this on audio but when my digital check out from the library expired and I couldn’t renew it because of the hold list, I swapped to the ebook. I highly recommend both but the audio is particularly well done. It’s also great because you don’t have to stop and google search how to pronounce the Hindi phrases that pepper the book.I loved Dimple and her act first, think later, somewhat bitchy personality. Rishi is essentially a precious cinnamon roll too perfect for this world.  The book is an adorable read, with some insight into living your truth even if you’re afraid your family won’t like it. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of YA contemporary.
  2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – This book. I almost don’t know how to put into words how I feel about this book. Despite many, many sources telling me it was amazing and the 13 house auction it went through to get published, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It so did. It’s important and I only hope the movie does it justice. I read the ebook, but I really want to listen to the audio as well at some point. Starr was so well written and the depiction of PTSD that sadly often happens to most kids who grow up in bad neighborhoods witnessing horrible things. If you’re looking for something to show you how these horrific things affect a community and how the people who witness them are forced to deal with them, then I can’t recommend it enough.

Currently reading; Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (audio, reread)

Immediate TBR: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Stephanie Brown Batgirl trades by Brian Q Miller, and Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna

 

What about you? Has anyone read any of these, if so, what did you think?

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Books of Fall

Even though I struggle to get through books in the fall and winter due to not always feeling well, there are a few titles I’m excitedly awaiting.

  1. Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss. I don’t have words for how excited I am about this book. History of Love is one of my favorite books ever. I’m just hoping that either the bookstore in my local airport or the one in Orlando has it because I am going to Disney World the day that this is released.
  2. The Living Infinite by Chantel Acevedo. This historical fiction novel is about a rebellious princess, the Chicago World’s Fair, and a visit to revolutionary Cuba. What’s not to like?
  3. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. I imagine after the success and acclaim of A Visit from the Goon Squad, this will be on all the must read lists and I can’t say that I blame anyone. I am always interested in books on The Great Depression as I grew up listening to stories from my grandmother about her childhood.
  4. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is one of my favorite essayists and I loved Beyond the World and Me so much. I bought multiple copies and shipped them to friends who I felt needed to read it (and then felt slighted when they didn’t respond about whether or not they loved it, naturally). I’ll be picking this up on audio for sure.
  5. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Despite the unending amount of shit I get for being a John Green fangirl, I steadfastly remain a John Green fangirl. I preordered this as soon as it was announced and I absolutely cannot wait for this teenage detective story with a neuroatypical heroine.

Honorable Mentions:

  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • They Both die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Remember Me Always by Renee Collins
  • Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
  • Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi
  • Artemis by Andy Weir

All I can say is with a list like this, I am hoping for some serious bookstore gift cards for the holidays!

Mid-Year (ish) check in

Since I am in the process of moving things over from other sites to this one, please bear with me. I decided having one spot for everything books and knitting was infinitely easier than having 3 blogs that almost never updated. PROGRESS.

Anyway. on to the books since presumably that’s why most people would be here. Due to Real Life being Real Life, I set my Good Reads goal at 52. I’m coming out a little ahead of the game so far this year. I’m up to 35 with only one book that I’ve DNF’d. So far my top three books of the year are:

  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  2. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
  3. Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows**

We Are Okay may be short, it is only 234 pages of a smaller hard cover book, but it packs a huge punch. It’s primarily a grief novel about how sometimes we push people away even if they only want the best for us because things are too hard. As someone with cptsd I related to this so much and spent half the book in tears. If you don’t mind a darker book that depicts grief in a way that it usually isn’t then I highly, highly recommend it.

The Love Interest is part spy novel and part romance with a whole lot of trope subversion. Love Interests are assigned to people the agency deems important. These can be geniuses, athletes, influential people, etc. The agency sets up a love triangle and whichever Interest loses the battle for the target’s heart is killed. Things don’t go exactly as the agency plans and the classic love triangle trope is turned on its head.  Action, espionage and a very sweet romance put this one on my top list.

Dead Little Mean Girl is a grief novel and mean girl trope subversion in one. Emma’s step-sister Quinn is your garden variety mean girl. She terrorizes the school, Emma, her mom, and pretty much everyone she comes in contact with. When Quinn dies, Emma has to deal with grieving for someone she hated and who did awful things, while learning that there may have been more to Quinn than met the eye. It hits you hard even while you’re laughing and gives you a lot to think about.

 

** Disclaimer: I know and am friends with Eva Darrows but my copy of DLMG was purchased by me and I legitimately love the book and have foisted it upon people of my own accord.

2016 Book Wrap Up

So my posting got bricked in 2016 because I was sick for most of the year, but I did manage to hit my GoodReads goal of 52 books. Barely. The last two I was finishing up on NYE. I even came really close to finishing the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge too. I got through 20 of 24 tasks on the list. Here’s what I read last year. Bolded titles were my top books for the year.

  1. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  2. Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
  3. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  4. Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone
  5. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
  6. The StoneKeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi
  7. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  8. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
  9. Anatomy of A Misfit by Andrea Portes
  10. Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
  11. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  12. Fuck Love by Tarryn Fisher
  13. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  14. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
  15. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  16. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  17. Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  18. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  19. The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms
  20. Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
  21. One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
  22. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  23. Used & Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Goldstone
  24. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  25. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  26. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  27. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
  28. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  29. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
  30. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  31. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  32. Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
  33. All Involved by Ryan Gattis
  34. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
  35. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
  36. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  37. Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
  38. Everyone Leaves by Wendy Guerra
  39. The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
  40. Spinster by Kate Bolick
  41. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  42. The Disappearance of Melody Dean by Alexis Sugden
  43. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  44. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  45. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  46. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  47. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  48. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
  49. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  50. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
  51. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
  52. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

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!