Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reading Challenge Updates

Well, guys, that's a wrap!  I've finally finished my 2016 reading challenge.  Here's the final few books that I finished!  I'll also get an "overall" post up on the 31st with some brief thoughts about the total books for the year, and how the challenge went as a whole.

-A National Book Award winner.  For this, I pulled up the list of National Book Award winners and selected The Shipping News.  It's a strange book, with a lot of different elements that I'm not sure always work together, but I really did like the writing style, and I enjoyed reading it overall.

-A book of poetry.  I reread a book for this: I Was the Jukebox by Sandra Beasely.  I am not a poetry person in general but Beasely has this really striking poem that I think is the gem of the entire collection, "A Cast of Thousands," that I loved.  I still enjoyed it a lot rereading that, but on the whole I am reaffirmed in my position that poetry is not for me.

-A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller.  I hate talking to people and therefore didn't actually ask for a book in this category, but lucky me, I got one anyway!  A local bookstore always puts bookmarks in the books you buy, and for their 40th anniversary this year the bookmarks are printed with book recommendations from some of their sellers past.  From this list, I got Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.  While I do believe what everyone says about it being an important book, I didn't enjoy reading it.

-A book you should have read in school.  In tenth grade, every English class in my school was supposed to read The Odyssey.  However, my teacher never got around to assigning it to us because she was too busy going gaga over the Hero's Journey in Star Wars and having us make heraldic crests.  (Why?  I don't know.)  So I finally got around to it this year!  It's a classic tale of heroes and gods and monsters, but I'm not sure my translation was the best, and the tale in general is so repetitive.

-A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF.  My boyfriend selected The Samurai's Tale for this category for me.  While I didn't find the story itself to be that good (it was highly unrealistic, I had a lot of problems with suspension of disbelief) I can definitely see how it might serve as a "gateway book" to other books about the time period in question, like James Clavell's Asian Saga.

-A book recommended by someone you just met.  I asked the NaNoWriMo Facebook group what they thought I should read this year and got a reply of The Machinery.  It has a good premise and strong world but stars above, it was boring.  Nothing happens in this book.  I do not at all feel compelled to read its sequels.

-A graphic novel.  Though I originally intended to read a Sandman volume, my boyfriend directed me to Bone, Vol 1: Out from Boneville instead.  This was a cute, quick read, and while I don't feel compelled to read further I think this is a series that could have some appeal for a wide age-range because of its mild but amusing content, quirky characters, and light dialogue with a bit of adventure and mystery mixed in.

-A book you previously abandoned.  I finally trudged through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for this one.  I'd had the book for years and had never gotten very far in it, but was hoping for a different outcome this time.  Well, I read it, and finished it, but it never really pulled me in.  I've started watching the BBC adaptation on Netflix and am enjoying it much more--I would definitely recommend watching over reading for this one.

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