Summer 2014 Reading Challenge

I read a lot. No, that’s not a humble brag. Books have always been as good of friends to me, as you know, actual friends. I’d rather sit around reading than almost anything and that’s a habit that started when I was very young. It probably was a contributing factor to my chubbiness in elementary school. If you haven’t been so engrossed in a book that you have to keep reading until you finish it, through the night if you must, then you have never truly loved. 

But I read a lot of junk. And YA literature. In an effort to refine my reading list (at least temporarily) I’ll be joining Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life in her Summer 2014 Reading Challenge. (Nicole from Treasure Tromp will be participating as well)
The challenge starts May 1, and there are 12 categories that you need to fulfil to have completed it! 

reading books out loud

In case you ever had any desire to see a candid shot of me reading aloud to Sam, your wish has been fulfilled. 
5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.
“The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain. It’s about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife and their years in Paris and the dissolution of their marriage.  (Finished on May 6)
10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.
“Howards End” by EM Foster.
10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn’t finish the first time around. (You must have at least 150 pages left in the book.) (finished july1)
I’m look at you “The Luminaries.” I’m going to finish you once and for all…or die trying.
10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of a library or bookstore.
Technically, I read children’s books every day. But I never read any of the “Anne of Green Gables” books as a kid and I’d like to now. (Finished on May 2)
15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times’ Best Sellers List.
Sadly, the only book on the list that remotely interests me is Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch.” This saddens me a little as I thought “The Secret History” was so pretentious it made me want to rip my hair out.  (Finished May 31)
15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.
“Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather. It takes place in the New Mexico territory in the mid 1800s. I mean, I am vaguely shocked this wasn’t required reading at school.
15 points: Read a book another blogger has read for the challenge. (That means you have to wait till the first check in in June to see what other people have read already.)
?????? Ooohhhh a surprise!
20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s),” or “child(ren)” in the title.
“The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Potzsch.  I know this book was popular a few years back but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon then. There’s always time to correct that potential mistake. 
20 points: Read a book that will be/was adapted into a film in 2014.
“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. It has better ratings than “Gone Girl” which I devoured by was also enraged by. I hate read it.
25 points: Read a book by a blogger.
“The Sweet Life in Paris” by David Lebovitz.
25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.
“The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary” by Simon Winchester. 
30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the title.
I’m a bit stuck here. Any suggestions? I can’t think of two books that have antonymous titles that I strongly desire to read. I got great suggestions so I’ll be reading “Life after Life” and “The Brief History of the Dead” 
Points as of July 1:  40
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  • The Luminaries….ugh. I’m with you on that one….I really do want to finish it! I like this challenge! I’ve got the Goldfinch next….

  • I love reading as well I may have to join in on this challenge. Joining a book club has been one of the best things I have done since moving to Iceland!

    • Please do! Or at least let me know what you’re reading for book club because I always value book suggestions! x

  • O I loved The Paris Wife! This sounds fun and a bit challenging as I could already check of tons of the list so I would need to find new things for it.

    • Everyone picks there one books for the various categories- those are just the ones I picked out. If you check out other people’s lists from Megan’s post it might give you some awesome ideas for some feature reads! x

  • amitygardens

    The antonym one is incredibly hard to think of one. I’m trying but not sure overall.

  • This challenge sounds amazing.. I may need to join in! Although the only book I can currently think of that I’ve started but not finishes is The Silmarillion and I’m convinced that’s actually impossible to read! I’ll have to check my bookcase and see if there are any others.

    Errm, I read Lost and Found by Tom Winter a while ago. It’s not my favourite book, but it wasn’t bad and the idea for the story is really interesting. Other than that I can’t even think of a book I’ve read with antonyms in the title.

    Edit: Never mind, I’ve just realised I misunderstood the last one. The books are supposed to be antonyms of each other…

    • I had to think about what that last one meant for awhile as well. I was really over-thinking it at first! I’m excited to have you join in and see what everyone is reading! x

  • Oh cool! I wish I had time for this. Damn my dissertation work…

    • Yea, I didn’t have time to do any fun reading when I was doing mine either. I totally feel your pain 🙁 x

  • i read the hangman’s daughter and i liked it (but didn’t love it). Let me know what you think of dark places. I sorta loved/hated gone girl too ha.

    • Haha, that’s not the best endorsement for the hangman’s daughter, but i suppose I can’t give a very good endorsement for gone girl. What’s with all these super popular books that are only…okay… x

  • I love reading too! I always read growing up, but as I have entered adult life, I let other things take priority. I am reading Scar Tissue at the moment and am tottaly enthralled!

  • You could read the His Dark Materials books (YA — The Golden Compass and its sequels) and then read something with “Light” in the title. Here’s the Amazon results for “Light”:

    • I’ve read His Dark Materials before (it’s one of my favourite series actually) so it won’t fit the rules, but thank you for the suggestion! And I’ll definitely still search “dark” “light” so see if I can come up with other interesting pairs.

      I take it you’ve read His Dark Materials? The ending DEVASTATED me…. Literally sobbing alone… Is that embarrassing? x

      • I KNOW, RIGHT?! Not embarrassing. Relatable. I’m such a book cryer. Half my books have blurry stains from my tears. ESPECIALLY The Fault In Our Stars.

        • I finished The Fault in Our Stars late in bed one night after Sam was already asleep and my crying woke him up. Which was super awkward! x

          • Haha! Yeah that movie is gonna do me in for sure. Gonna have to make sure I go see it with friends so I don’t spiral into an instant depression.

  • This challenges sounds brilliant. I am very tempted to do it too. I loved the ‘you’ve never truly loved’ lined. So so true. x

    • It was a bit tongue in check and a bit I actually mean that… Haha. I wish I could take credit for the idea. Alas it’s all Megan’s! x

  • This sounds like fun!! I’m quite tempted but not sure i want to commit 🙂 I can’t think of a book I did not finish though I felt like I would never make it through “Great Expectations”. This may not be opposite enough but I really enjoy both Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore books– you could read “American Gods” and “Practical Demonkeeping “, or is it suppose to be one book with an antonymous title?

    • Oohh I’ve read “American Gods” but “Practical Demonkeeping” looks amazing. I’m definitely adding that to my list and going to find a book to be it’s antonym. Thanks for picking that one out for me! x

      • Glad I could help 😉 “Practical Demonkeeping” is one my favorite Christopher Moore books:) Have you read “Neverwhere” by Gaiman…that is my favorite of his. I realize it is suppose to be two books but I just remembered one that would work if it wasn’t two: “Death: A Life” by George Pendle, it was good/funny.

        • Yes. Done. I’m stealing the idea of “Life after Life” and “The Brief History of the Dead”. Did you every watch the “Neverwhere” tv show? I really enjoyed it which means I should probably read it! x

          • No, I think I started watch one episode and couldn’t get into it or forgot about it 😉 I should go back and try it again. Neverwhere (the book) has a darker “Alice in Wonderland” feel to it.

      • Oh just thought of one…”Life After Life” and “The Brief History of the Dead”

  • we’ll have to discuss The Goldfinch once we’re both done with it. I’m unfortunately only half excited for it. The book, not our discussion.

    • Hahaha it doesn’t bode well that we are both only so-so excited for The Goldfinch. But I am excited for our discussion 🙂 x

  • Ah! I didn’t even know about this challenge, and I have a post up today about books I want to read in the next few months. Many of them fit the bill for points. The competitive streak in me is really showing right now, because I want to earn all the points!!

    • Hahaha do it! earn all the points! I just read your list and with a tiny bit of fiddling it really could work almost perfectly! x

  • Ummm this is one of my favourite things ever. I wanna join! I’ll look at it further when I finally make it back to London…tomorrow? Weather permitting… And I am with you on Gone Girl, I still get into a rage when I think about it. It makes me so angry at her portrayal of every single woman in the entire book. I would say I even hate this book more than Casual Vacancy…and that’s a lot. x

    • Come back to meeeeeee!!!!!!! I know your feelings about Casual Vacancy so you must REALLY hate Gone Girl. I hated it to, but I’m still going to see the movie. Maybe I’ll hate that less? xx

      PS- Have a safe flight!

  • Ooh, I am in. I read all the time!

  • Love this idea!

  • Ha, maybe we can get through it together 😉 x

  • Selina Boullin

    I want to do this!! Dark places would be my book that I haven’t finished yet. It got a little too dark for my over active imagination 😉


  • Michele Smith Cravens

    Have you read A Discovery of Witches? It is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. I love this book.

    • Yep! The second one they go back in time right? I read them awhile ago so I can’t remember all the details but the third one comes out soon doesn’t it?

  • I want to participate but I know I’m going to be reeally busy this summer, so I’m not sure I can commit. I’ll be thinking of antonymous titles for you though!

    • What are you most exciting summer plans? x

      • We’re moving back to the States but we have no idea to where! We’ve been applying for jobs and doing interviews, so it will be exciting to see where we end up!

        • Holy cow! That is really exciting! Do you have somewhere that you’d like ti be if you could choose? x

          • I’d probably like to be either in Southern California close to my family or Northern California close to my friends. But if those options don’t work out then I’d be really excited if I got a job I applied for in North Carolina. (Other possibilities include South Dakota and Houston, but those aren’t top of the list). Honestly we’d like to avoid CA because cost of living is so high, but it’s where all my family and friends are, so I’m torn!

          • Good luck with it all! I’ll have my fingers crossed for you! x

  • Gone Girl – a total hate love read! I was so annoyed and intrigued all at once. In the end, I was more annoyed than anything else.

    I have a kindle and my Auntie buys hundreds of books and then puts them on a disk and sends them to me. I have 2000 books to look through.. to put on my kindle. I do about twenty at a time.. but I often have to read reviews on each book to find out what it’s about. I was reading a review and it said something along the lines of; “I’m no longer a virgin book thrower. I ended up tossing this book clear across the room.” Needless to say; I’m not reading it.

    I like the idea of this reading challenge although I’m not good at following guidelines when it comes to reading. I don’t like everything, and some of those challenges would be painful for me to complete. Like the historical one.. !!

    Anne of Green Gables; I have the whole series but I don’t think I ended up reading all of them. For shame!

    • Yea was so angry at everyone in Gone Girl by the end of it. They were all horrible people and it made me so ragey! Oh well! I’d love to have that many books on my Kindle! Lucky girl! Haha I’d imagine Anne of Green Gables was a Canadian girl must when you were little. Like reading Little House on the Prairie in America. xx

  • This list is awesome. I’ve been lagging on my reading. this is such a good push

    xx Sarah | Loser Girl Wins

    • Exactly! For me it’s motivating me to expand my reading list beyond the usual things I pick out! x

  • Haha, I bet everyone has similar summer 2014 reading lists! x

  • Oh I love reading too! If I was reading a good book I would sit in my room all day, which would prompt my parents to call me antisocial. I’m currently reading Norfolk Mystery – I haven’t decided yet if I like it or not.

  • I am a reading addict too! I also love the YA books haha. I’m doing the Goodread’s book challenge for 2014 but am very tempted to do this one too

  • Janie Young

    The Good Earth and Bad Monkey? Heart of Darkness and The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Light in the Ruins? In Cold Blood and Is Everyone Hanging OUT without Me? Devil in the White City and Orange is the New Black? The Old Man and the Sea and The Sorrows of Young Werther? House of Leaves and Beautiful Ruins (might be a stretch)? This is fun. Too bad you can’t read it all in one book, I’m reading The Sisters Brothers and it’s great!

    • Janie, I wish I could just have you rattling off books whenever I am at the library. My problem is that the *rules* of this challenge state that you can’t have read the books before. In in all those parings I’ve read one but not the other. Ha! But I really, really appreciate your suggestions!!! Are you still doing book club? I miss you guys! And I’ve been especially jealous seeing photos of you and Lis in your zany getup! What’s Sisters Brothers about? (Or I could just look it up and not be lazy…)

      • Janie Young

        Yup, we have three-person book club. Right now we are “reading” Anna Karenina (it’s kind of clobbering us–that’s what we get for trying to be smart). Pretty sad since the one theme our club is built on is actually reading the book. Sisters Brothers is about two outlaw brothers on a hit mission–it’s kind of an old western, which sounds unappealing (at least it did to me), but with lots of humor and well-drawn characters.

        • I worked my way through Anna Karenina because I felt I had to since it was a “classic”. Ugh. It’s just not enjoyable (to me at least). Good to know about Sisters Brothers because I’d probably never willingly pick up a western on my own!

  • Ahhh I think I am going to have Luminaries for that same category! I started it a few weeks ago and only got like 10% in and then it had to go back to the library, so I’m waiting for it on hold again and am going to TRY and make it through a little faster! I also have Anne of Green Gables and the Goldfinch for those other categories!

    • Hahaha what a small world that we have so many books in the same categories! Maybe by egging each other on we can finally get through The Luminaries together…maybe… x

  • This is a great idea! I’ve started reading a lot more again lately, I think it’s because I enjoy reading in the sunshine and outside and the weather has gotten nicer. We should start an online book club with chats about the book every couple of weeks.

  • I love to read myself and this challenge seems like a good one to get into. I also read a bunch of junk and I’m forever telling myself that I need to update my reading list, so why not now? Thanks for the encouragement, gonna check things out on Megan’s blog. 🙂

    • Please do! She came up with this brilliant plan and there’s quite a few book recommendations on the link up! x

  • “Hate read.” LOL! That’s a good way to describe the process of reading Gone Girl. Dark Places is actually my favorite Flynn book, so I think you’ll like it! And I’m so glad you’re joining in! (Although junk and YA literature are definitely welcome in my challenge! Haha.)

  • I’m participating as well!! I did really well the first month, but slacking this month! Love the choices.