2015 Reading Challenge

So, for the last three years now I have been embarking on an intentional reading challenge. In 2012, I made it a goal to read either 100 books or 80 books plus The Silmarillion (I ended up doing the latter). In 2013, I read only a handful of books because of finishing my MA exams. Then, for 2014, I made the goal of reading 75 books but only ended up reading 57.

This year, my goal is to read 50 books while keeping up with my PhD work. Part of this is because I know it is important for my mental health that I continue to do fun reading. Part of it, however, is practical: I have piles and piles of books that I want to read, but not necessarily keep. If I can get them read, I’ll be able to make more space. And besides, as a Literature fellow, I really do need to be reading some of the more modern fiction books as well as the classics so I can participate more in conversations within the department (I’m a great books girl in a non-great books world).

As a reader of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, I am also looking at the MMD reading challenge. This challenge involves reading a book in each of the following categories:

·      A book you’ve been meaning to read
·      A book published this year
·      A book in a genre you don’t typically read
·      A book from your childhood
·      A book your mom loves
·      A book that was originally written in a different language
·      A book “everyone” has read but you
·      A book you chose because of the cover
·      A book by a favorite author
·      A book recommended to you by someone with great taste
·      A book you should have read in high school The Giver by Lois Lowry
·      A book that’s currently on the bestseller list

As you can see, I’ve already finished a book from one of the categories. Today I read The Giver, which I’ve been meaning to read since before high school. It was a good read and I’m glad I can now say I’ve read it. A lot of people have been talking about it lately because of the movie and I’m glad I finally caved into the pressure.

Now, on to the next book! I’m not sure yet what it will be, but I’m trying to enjoy this last little bit of time before classes begin by reading as much as I can.

2012-- 100 Book Challenge

I finished!!!! FOUR DAYS LATE, but I DID IT!!!!!

From my blog at the beginning of 2012:

"So, my resolutions? Well, to explain the first, I want to share a statistic I read in the December/January issue of Natural Health: “According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the average American only spends 12 minutes a day reading.” (It goes on to say that studies show that regular readers are more likely than non readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities.) This made me think back to the good old days of Mrs. Meusch’s reading class at St. Pats and the 30 minutes a night we were required to read (or 30 pages, since she assumed we could all read at least a page a minute—I mean, it’s not like we were reading Proust). I also thought back to the number of books I successfully completed reading last semester outside of class: 1. It was a book Fr. Jeff asked me to read because the freshmen were reading it and it took me almost the whole semester (as in, I started in August and finished in December) to read it. I mean, sure, I reread five chapters of Henry Adams, intermittently read Pride and Prejudice and The Marble Faun (neither of which have I finished), and read a ton of magazine articles (hence the article mentioned above), but I didn’t actually read books. Now, some of you might not be shocked to hear this, but I was shocked to realize it. For those of you who remember the girl who plowed through fifty to sixty books each semester in Mrs. Meusch’s class, you can see the problem. And I have felt myself getting less and less grammatically correct (truly, I feel myself growing less intelligent by the second sometimes). So, therefore, I need to read books. So my first resolution is to read 100 books in 2012."

So, I'm reading books. A lot of books. If you have recommendations, please let me know.

Here are the ones I've read so far...
1. The Invisible Man by HG Wells
2. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
3. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
5. Joshua by Joseph Girzone
6. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
8. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
11. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
12. The Way of Ignorance by Wendell Berry
13. Living Your Strengths by Albert Winseman
14. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
15. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
16. Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry
17. Welcome to the Arc by Stephanie Tolan
18. The Flight of the Raven by Stephanie Tolan
19. Dairy Free and Gluten Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine
20. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
21. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
22. The Suicide Club by Robert Louis Stevenson
23. One by Dan Zadra
24. The Shadow Thieves by Ann Ursu
25. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
26. Five by Dan Zadra
27. Gluten-Free Desserts by Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso
28. The Rule of Won by Stefan Petrucha
29. The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecelia Galante
30. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
31. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
32. In Wisdom's Path by Jan Richardson
33. On Job by Gustavo Gutierrez
34. Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner
35. Where Things Come Back  by John Corey Whaley
36. Praying the Psalms by Thomas Merton
37. Emma by Jane Austen
38. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
39. The Singer by Calvin Miller
40. The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
41. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
42. The Fall by Garth Nix
43. The Siren Song by Anne Ursu
44. The Five Fakirs of Faizabad by P.B. Kerr
45. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
46. The Epic Tale of Bartkowiak
47. The Light Princess by George MacDonald
48. Castle by Garth Nix
49. Aenir by Garth Nix
50. Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor
51. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
52. The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan by P.B. Kerr
53. Above the Veil by Garth Nix
54. Into Battle by Garth Nix
55. The Violet Keystone by Garth Nix
56. Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Greg Boyle
57. Here by Wislawa Szymborska
58. Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
59. A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
60. Five Practices of Fruitful Living  by Richard Schnase
61. Five Practices of Fruitful Living: A Leader Guide by Richard Schnase
62. Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
63. Immortal Fire by Anne Ursu
64. Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
65. Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo
66. Leavings by Wendell Berry
67. Politically Correct Holiday Stories by Finn Garner
68. Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga
69. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo
70. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
71. Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by Jenny Nimmo
72. Crystal Line by Anne McCaffrey
73. Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo
74. Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo
75. Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo
76. The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
77. The Hobbit by J.R.R.T.
78. My Sisters, The Sanints by Colleen Carroll Campbell
79. Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo
80. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
81. The Silmarillion by JRRT (I made a deal at the beginning of the year that if I read the Silmarillion, I could count it as 20 books... so I finished!)

Books by C.S. Lewis: 6
Books by Wendell Berry: 3
Books by Tolkien: 2
Books by Austen: 4 (bonus: 1 book about Austen)
Cookbooks: 3
Series read (beginning to end): 7

I'd say it was a good year!

100 Book Challenge—Books #19-26

I’ve fallen behind in my blogging, so I thought I’d give a quick update on my reading challenge.

100 Book Challenge—Book #19 The Dairy and Gluten Free Kitchen  by Denise Jardine

Aunt Marie bought me this cookbook for my birthday this year and I loved it! It helped me find a lot more ways to cook gluten free. I’ve marked several recipes and hope to make them soon.

Book #20—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

How can anyone not love Little Women? I’ve never read it before, but I had seen the movie as a child. The book far outstrips anything a movie could give. I love the moral lessons and the religious nature of the novel, I hadn’t expected quite so much of it. I now see why it’s a classic book for little girls to read.

Book #21—Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Again, I hadn’t read the book before, but I’d seen the movie. It was my favorite movie as a kid (introduced to me by my Hannah) and that movie was my first introduction to Austen. I love Austen and am in a quick way of being a most devout fan. I’m now reading Pride and Prejudice.

Book #22—The Suicide Club by Robert Louis Stevenson

I had read this in high school, but the content had become fuzzy. A short novel, it’s a compilation of three short stories. It’s quite good and a fun read. A little confusing because of so many characters having code names, but I was reading it in the hospital while Dad was sick, so that might contribute to the confusion.

Book #23—One: How Many People does it take to make a difference? by Dan Zadra

Someone bought this for me for graduation and I finally got to sit down and read it through. This is a fantastic book, a good book to read when you’re down or questioning your importance in the world. It helped remind me that God made us all for a reason. I loved the book so much that I bought another book by the same author. See below.

Book #24—The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

This was a book that has been sitting on my shelf for some time and I finally got around to reading it. It’s like a precursor to Percy Jackson (really, I have to wonder if Reardon got some ideas from Ursu). It features a set of cousins who must venture into the underworld to save the world. Great book, highly recommended.

Book #25—The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I have been wanting to read this book for sometime. I started it as a kid and never finished it. Finally got around to it and LOVED it! It’s a great mystery story. I had a lot of fun figuring out the ending. Lots of twists and turns, great characters, and a good story of redemption and giving back. Well written children’s book! Recommend.

Book #26—Five: Where will you be five years from today? by Dan Zadra

I loved this one just as much as One. I recommend it for those who are currently trying to discern their future. It helps focus. Also, great inspiration for making your bucket list.