At the start of 2017 I came across a post on Facebook about a reading challenge. I had seen things like this before and never felt the urge to join in. I’m still not sure why I did this time, actually. But I am so glad I did and I am even considering doing a similar challenge in 2018. So, I thought I would share the books I read for the challenge with you, as well as mini-review of each. The best thing about doing this challenge was reading books I would not otherwise have read. It really dragged me out of my comfort zone!
- A Book You Read In School – Lord of The Flies by William Golding. This was great to revisit. I had actually been meaning to re-read it again at some point, as the post-apocalyptic YA series I have planned has some similar themes. If you’ve not read it, this chilling adventure story of what happens when a group of kids become abandoned without adults on a deserted island, is well worth a read.
- A Book From Your Childhood – King of The Vagabonds by Colin Dann. To be honest, I would have chosen Watership Down by Richard Adams, as this is my absolute favourite childhood book, but I had already re-read it the year before. I couldn’t quite recall the title and author of this book about a pet cat who wants to live with the ferals in his neighbourhood, but a bit of Googling soon helped me out. I ordered the paperback and thoroughly enjoyed a little trip down memory lane. I was probably about ten when my oldest sister bought me this book for Christmas. I wrote similar stories myself after reading it and drew pictures too.
- A Book Published Over 100 Years Ago – The Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allen Poe. I had high hopes for this, but I really didn’t like it! I enjoyed the first one, The Tell-Tale Heart, and I thought The Pit and The Pendulum was also excellent, but the rest? I kept skim reading them. They totally lost me. I was bored.
- A Book Published In The Last Year – The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engels. At the start of 2017 my friend author Kate Rigby asked me to join a Facebook group called Book Connectors. It’s an awesome group made up of authors, bloggers, readers and reviewers. Because of this group, I am constantly adding more books to my to-read pile! This was the first one that caught my eye due to so many people reviewing it in the group. A dark tale about the twisted lives of the enigmatic and tragic Roanoke girls. I couldn’t put it down.
- A Non-Fiction Book – How To Keep Ducks. I’ve had ducks and chickens for years and have three chicken books and not one duck book. So I decided to tick this one off by buying a duck care book! It was very interesting!
- A Book Written By A Male Author – History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. I would like to read more by this author, but this book didn’t exactly thrill me. Brilliant plot, excellent characters and dialogue. It was just all a bit too tragic and depressing.
- A Book Written By A Female Author – Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby. I was a fan of Kate’s before we became friends, and I am slowly working my way through her many books. This tale of a working-class disabled boy who falls in love with an able-bodied middle-class girl is just classic Kate Rigby. I just want to cosy up with her books and immerse myself into the little world’s she creates so lovingly. I always fall in love with her characters.
- A Book By Someone Who Isn’t A Writer – Coreography by Corey Feldman. This was a bit of a challenge, as if you think about it, anyone who has written a book is a writer! But I interpreted it to mean someone who is better known for something else, and I had wanted to read this book for ages, so it was a good opportunity to tick another off the challenge. I was a massive fan of Corey Haim back in the day, fancied the absolute pants off him, if truth be told. Me and my sister obsessed over Corey films. The Lost Boys, Dream a Little Dream, Licence To Drive and so on. This book is eye-opening in the most tragic of ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse behind the scenes of classic films like The Goonies and The Lost Boys, but everything else Corey Feldman had to reveal was rather disturbing and I truly hope the two Corey’s get justice one day for what was done to them.
- A Book That Became A Film – Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Random Riggs. I think this was the first book I read in 2017! I bought it for one of my kids for Christmas and ended up reading it before she did. Brilliant book, and although they alter things a bit, it’s also a brilliant movie!
- A Book Published In The 20th Century – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood. One I had been meaning to read forever! And yes, I stupidly watched the TV show first. I was disturbed by it, yet could not stop watching. The same thing happened when I read the book. I think her writing style is superb and I desperately want to read more by her!
- A Book Set In Your Home-Town/Region – Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett. Half set in Dorset, half in France, I absolutely loved this YA magic realism novel. It’s a fantastic story about a girl who can bend trees. Really special.
- A Book With Someone’s Name In The Title – Searching For Ethan by Robert Cowan. I discovered Robert Cowan when I reviewed one of his books for Underground Book Reviews. I’d been meaning to read another one for some time, as I really liked his style and content. This book was great. Gritty coming-of-age!
- A Book With A Number In The Title – The Six Train To Wisconsin – Kourtney Heintz. One I picked to review for Underground Book Reviews. A really interesting and unique story about a woman who can read the thoughts and feelings of others.
- A Book With A Character With Your First Name – A Little Bit Of Chantelle Rose by Cristine Hodgson. I was really struggling with this one, until a fellow Book Connector author posted about her book in the group. This is not the type of book I would normally read, but I actually really enjoyed it.
- A Book Someone Else Recommended To You – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. My daughter read this book because the librarian at her school recommended it to her. She then recommended it to me. It was utterly brilliant. An extremely moving and complex story about family secrets.
- A Book With Over 500 Pages – The Bachman Books by Stephen King. I may have cheated a bit with this one. I had already read all the books in this collection, except for The Road. So, I just read The Road. (Compelling YA dystopian plot about a Hunger Games-esque contest that sees teenage boys walking until they drop)
- A Book You Can Finish In A Day – The End by Justine Avery. Another one picked for Underground Book Reviews, this novelette was extremely short and also unputdownable. A fast-paced story about a man who witnesses his own death on his Go-Pro camera before it has happened.
- A Previously Banned Book – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I had a great reaction on my Facebook author page when I asked for recommendations for a banned book to read. In the end, I chose this one and I’m really glad I did. The story of a murdered family and the subsequent manhunt and trial of their killers, is written in such an extraordinary way, I can’t help but think it would struggle to get published these days. You know who did it from the start. The plot is all about the killers, their lives, and attitudes, and the authorities attempt to catch them. Fascinating read.
- A Book With A One Word Title – Bloq by Alan Jones. Another book I had picked to review for UBR. This gritty tale of a missing girl and her father’s desperate attempts to find her was shocking, brutal and also very moving.
- A Book Translated From Another Language – Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais. I came across this in the Book Connectors group. One of the lovely bloggers had reviewed it and it sounded like something I would enjoy. Three girls are voted as the ugliest in their school in a Facebook contest. How they react to this makes one hilarious and inspiring story.
- A Book That Will Improve A Specific Area Of Your Life – Rise Of The Machines: Human Authors In A Digital World by Kristen Lamb. A great book for indie writers just starting out. I wish I had read this before I started!
- A Memoir Or Journal – How Not To Be An American High-School Girl In The 70’s by Gail Spencer Choate. Another book I picked to review for UBR. I really enjoyed this; a cringe inducing recollection of awkward teenage moments. Great fun.
- A Book Written By Someone Younger Than You – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I saw this in Book Connectors, bought it, devoured it and promptly passed it to my daughter who did the same. One of those books you think about for a long time afterwards. I urge everyone to read it. A powerful portrayal of racism and class in modern America.
- A Book Set Somewhere You’ll Be Visiting This Year – The Butcher Of Glastonbury by David Bowker. We went to Somerset in April, and there are a fair few books set in that region, but this one seemed so bizarre I just had to pick it. It’s the story of a girl who returns home one day to find her entire family brutally butchered. She then helps the local detective try to solve the case and catch the killer, but she knows it was not a human who dismembered her family. This book gets more surreal with every page, but I really enjoyed it! A strange and satisfying little find.
- An Award Winning Book – Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz. I absolutely loved this book. The tender story of two lonely boys who become best friends and have to face their true identities and desires. My daughter just read it and she loved it as much as me. Short, snappy chapters, more dialogue than narrative. First person narrative. It’s beautiful.
- A Self-Published Book – Uncivil Wars by Wendi Kelly and Deborah Dorchak. Another UBR pick, I have been reading this series for a while now. Not a genre I would ordinarily pick, (shape-shifters, werewolves, vampires and more) I’ve been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the character development and complex plots. Brilliant sutff.
So, that’s my list! My 2017 Reading Challenge. It’s been tremendous fun seeking out bookt so fit the criteria and meet the challenge. I’ve discovered some amazing new authors and read some books that will stay with me forever. I am pretty sure if I can find a good challenge for 2018, then I’ll do it. How about you? Have you read any of these books? Any take your fancy? Have you ever tried a reading challenge and if so, how did you get on? Please feel free to share and comment!
8 thoughts on “My 2017 Reading Challenge”
Good grief, I have only read one of these on your list; the first one ‘Lord of the Flies’, which I read at school of course. What with all the time you spend writing, blogging, keeping your family ticking, living like Barbara Goode feeding your livestock how do you manage to fit in so much reading time? I think that your days have twice as many hours in them than everybody else’s or you put everybody else in the world into a state of hibernation for days and then do your reading before you magically awaken them again and pretend nothing happened, leaving them to wonder where the stack of obviously opened and read books by your chair came from. Am I close?
Haha! I usually read before bed, Ian. The day is kids and animals, the evening is writing, and just after that for about an hour or so is reading!
What Ian said!
I’ve never done a reading challenge as it would be too much pressure for me! But of the ones you’ve listed, I think I read the tales of Edgar Allen Poe years ago, but I only remember the two stories that you mentioned. There might have been one called The Premature Burial also? I don’t know if I ever read Lord of the Flies but I have seen the film several times, first time at school. Again with Margaret Atwood, I’ve never read The Handmaid’s Tale but seen it televised twice. I have read some of her other work though, the most memorable one being Cat’s Eye. I read In Cold Blood when I was 16. I didn’t realise it had been banned, I found it on my parent’s bookshelf! I have of course read Thalidomide Kid LOL. Thank you for including it, I’m honoured! Ducks have a special place in our family, and my sister is nicknamed the Duck! Last year, I think it was, I read a book called Four Ducks On A Pond, that was given to my sister so I read it after her. It was quite charming.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Kate! I’m really looking forward to doing another challenge next year 🙂
I loved this post – I’d love to do this sort of thing next year. Now intrigued by Corey Feldman’s book too…
Thank you Emma! Yes, it’s a fascinating book, especially if you were a fan of films like The Goonies and The Lost Boys. Lots of interesting behind the scenes kind of stuff! But the story of his childhood and how they were both preyed on in Hollywood was really heartbreaking.
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The Lost Boys was the first video cassette (ahem) I ever owned!
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I had it on video tape too! Got it on DVD now though. I also had the tape cassette for the soundtrack!