As 2017 approached, I took ideas from other reading challenges and developed “Janet’s 2017 Reading Challenge.” If you took my challenge, [Want a reading challenge for 2017?] I commend and thank you. I had some success with this challenge, but I fell short in many areas.
Here’s a recap of Janet’s 2017 Reading Challenge, and a report of sorts on how I did.
- A book of poetry – I did well with this for a few months. I read a poem every day, but then I missed a few days and this fell off my radar. The book of poetry I chose was A Little Book of Cherished Poems, compiled by Kay Anne Carson. Reading poetry is supposed to help me be a better writer, even though I’m not a poet.
- A Sci-Fi book – As I said in my blog on December 26, 2017, I’m not a sci-fi fan and this didn’t happen.
- A nonfiction book – I read several, but the one I’ll list here is Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann.
- Books by 12 authors I’ve never read – This one was easy. Of the 63 books I read in 2017, 43 of them were written by authors I’d never read before. The following are 12 examples:
The Body in the Snow (A Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery), by Christoph Fischer;
The Underground Railroad: A Novel, by Colson Whitehead;
If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss;
A Mother’s Promise, by Sally Hepworth;
Right Behind You, by Lisa Gardner;
Irena’s Children, by Tilar J. Mazzeo;
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr;
The Magdalen Girls, by V.S. Alexander;
Grief Cottage, by Gail Godwin;
The Midnight Cool, by Lydia Peelle;
The Nightingale, by Kristen Hannah; and
Hatteras Light, by Philip Gerard.
- A novel set in each of the seven continents – I read the following:
North America – too numerous to list here;
South America – State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett;
Europe – There were many good ones, including The Saboteur, by Andrew Gross; The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, by Jennifer Ryan; and The Magdalen Girls, by V.S. Alexander; and The Orphan’s Tale, by Pam Jenoff.
Asia – I started reading The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa Lee. I didn’t get it finished. It’s still on my “want to read” list.
Africa – The Lost History of Stars, by Dave Boling;
Australia – The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman.
Antartica – I wanted to read In Cold Pursuit (Em Hansen Mysteries), by Sarah Andrews. I didn’t get around to it.
- A novel by a North Carolina author – This one was easy. There are an abundance of good writers in North Carolina. To name just two novels I read by North Carolina authors in 2017: The Silent Sister, by Diane Chamberlain and Chasing the North Star, by Robert Morgan.
- A novel set in North Carolina – The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain, and The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash, to name just two.
- Re-read a favorite book – I couldn’t decide between The Help, by Kathryn Stockett; Roots, by Alex Haley; Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain; and The Adventures of Huck Finn, by Mark Twain, so I didn’t re-read any of them. There were too many new books I wanted to read.
- A book written in the 1700s – I never got around to this one.
- A book written in the 1800s – I never got around to this one.
- A book written in the 1900s – I can’t believe I never got around to this one. It seems like just yesterday it was 1999. I did read Bird-by-Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott, 1994; but my intention was to read a novel written in the 1900s.
- A biography, autobiography, or memoir – In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, by Yeonmi Park. (I highly recommend this one.)
- A book about a religion other than my own – I wanted to read If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, by Carla Power, but didn’t get to it.
- A book that might change my mind – I read Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This book helped me to see homeless people in a new light. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, by Michael Eric Dyson, gave me a lot to think about and helped me be more cognizant of the advantages I’ve had in my life in America due to white privilege.
- A book just for fun – I read Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich and Hardcore Twenty-Four, by Janet Evanovich. Both were disappointing because after this many books in the Stephanie Plum Series, the plot is too predictable. The next time I want to read an entertaining book, I might go with Mark Twain.
- A book that will teach me a new skill – Since I am losing my hearing and don’t know what the future holds, I thought it might be a good idea to learn sign language. I soon discovered this was easier said than done at the age of 64. I have sporadically studied The American Sign Language Phrase Book, by Louie J. Fant.
- A book that was originally written in a language other than English – A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.
- A book written in Spanish (a language I haven’t studied since 1973) – I started re-reading Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes, in January. That’s as far as I got.
- A book published in 1953 (the year I was born) – It’s not easy to find books that old! Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin, was on my list. I didn’t get it read.
- A book that is the first in a series I haven’t read any of before – I started reading Death of a Gossip, by M.C. Beaton, but it didn’t grab my interest.
- The second book in a series of which I’ve read the first book — Everything Over Glory, by Kathleen Grissom
- A book written by an author I’ve met – The 13th Target, by Mark de Castrique.
- A book of short stories – Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories, by Ron Rash.
- A book published in 2017 – I read several, but one I haven’t mentioned yet for this challenge is Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck (a.k.a. Stuart Neville.) I thought this was a terrific thriller.
- A book about the craft of writing historical fiction – I intended to read The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction: Researching and Writing Historical Fiction, by James Alexander Thom. I started reading it and taking notes. Somewhere along the way, I misplaced it. Still looking for it. Surely, it’s here somewhere.
- A Nobel Prize winner – Well, this is embarrassing. <crickets chirping>
- A political thriller – The Quantum Spy, by David Ignatius.
How did you do?
If you participated in a reading challenge in 2017, how did you do? This isn’t a competition. I just hope you enjoyed the books you read.
Until my next blog post
I wish you a Happy New Year!
I wish you many good books to read. I’m reading The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham.
If you’re a writer, I wish you quality writing time and publication.