Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reading Challenges: Done and Done!

At the beginning of the year I took on three reading challenges.  The first was a Goodreads challenge to read 60 books in 2013.  Though I got behind for awhile, overall this was an easy challenge.  In fact, I am now  on book 62.  Next year I may aim for 70 or 75 books.  That would be a real challenge for me.

I have forgotten the details of the second challenge, as the person or group that was hosting it disappeared.  At first I was disappointed, but then I stumbled upon the Literary Exploration genre challenge.  The idea was to read books from 12 (easy), 24 (hard), 26 (insane) different challenges.  The genres were picked by the moderators of the Literary Exploration book club, but individual readers chose what books to read.  In case it isn't clear below, to complete the hard challenge for example, one would read books from the 12 genres in the easy challenge plus the additional 12 books in the hard challenge.  I started off with the easy challenge but then started reading genres from the other two challenges before I had even finished the first one.  In the end I just decided to read all thirty-six.

The best part about this challenge was that I discovered genres I had never read before, like steampunk and cyberpunk, and was re-introduced to genres I hadn't read in a long time, like poetry and drama.  The hardest genres for me were horror and true crime.  I've never been much of a horror fan and did not love the book I chose, but would be willing to try another horror novel.  As for true crime, I was afraid true crime books were all movie-of-the-week books about whatever sensational crime was most recently in the news.  Luckily I found a true crime story that didn't involve murder.  While the book I read for this genre was fine, I still can't say I'm a fan of the genre.  Perhaps that's ironic since I love mysteries, but true crime just isn't as fun or interesting to me.

Now that I have completed this challenge I'm looking forward to a month of what I'm calling "free reading," which basically I'll be reading without having a challenge dictate what kind of book I read next.  This mostly like means I'll be reading romance and mystery books, two of my favorite genres.

Here's What I read for the 2013 Literary Exploration genre challenge:

  1. Adventure – The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
  2. Auto-Biography/Biography – Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls
  3. Chick-LitWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
  4. Children’s Book – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
  5. ClassicsHouse of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  6. Cyberpunk Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  7. Drama Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  8. Dystopian – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  9. Educational –  The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley
  10. Erotica – Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning
  11. Espionage Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  12. Fantasy – A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  13. Graphic Novels – Captain America (Volumes 1 & 2) by Ed Brubaker
  14. Gothic – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  15. Hard-Boiled – The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  16. Historical Fiction – Sacre Blue by Christopher Moore
  17. Horror – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  18. Humor – Earth the Book, from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show
  19. Literary Fiction In One Person by John Irving
  20. Magical Realism – Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  21. Mystery – Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
  22. Noir – Toronto Noir edited by Janine Armin and Nathaniel G. Moore
  23. Non Fiction – Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr
  24. Paranormal Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  25. Philosophical – Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale, edited by James B. South
  26. Poetry – Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  27. Post-Apocalyptic – World War Z by Max Brooks
  28. RomanceA Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
  29. Science Fiction – The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  30. SteampunkThe Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
  31. Supernatural The Secret Circle by L. J. Smith
  32. Thriller – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  33. True Crime – The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
  34. Urban Fantasy – Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
  35. Victorian The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
  36.  Young Adult Looking For Alaska by John Green

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