Author’s Note: I wrote this post a long time ago, but apparently I lost it in my draft post pile. This should have been posted around June 20, whoops. Either way, I’m still happy I finished a challenge and wanted to post about it.
HOORAY! I finished my first reading challenge ever — the Spring Reading Thing 2009 hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. This is momentous because I had a zero percent reading challenge completion rate up until now.*
The challenge was pretty straightforward: write a list of books you want to read between March 20 and June 20, try to read and review all of your books, then post about your experience during the challenge sometime in June.
I participated in the Fall Into Reading 2008 and faily miserably, so I didn’t have much hope for this challenge. However, I buckled down this week and finished two pretty intense books — The Year of Magical Thinking and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — and completed the challenge in the nick of time!
My reading list for this challenge was pretty varied — I tried to include books from many genres. Here’s my list, with links to the reviews when I wrote them.
- Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Across the Room
- Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman (91/100)
- Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (99/100)
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (95/100)
I ended up not reviewing Sailing Alone Around the Room because I wrote about Billy Collins so much for National Poetry Month. Anyone who is a regular reader of the blog knows that I’m a Billy Collins fangirl and loved the book immensely. I also haven’t posted my review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close yet, but, spoiler, I thought the book was awesome.
Katrina had a few question she suggested we could answer in a wrap up post, so here are my responses to a few of them:
- What was your favorite book that you read this spring? Least favorite? Why?
I honestly don’t think I could pick a favorite and a least favorite because the books were so vastly different. I deliberately chose books from different genres so I would be motivated to read them. I liked all of them in different ways. I guess if you went by my current ratings, The Professor and the Madman had the lowest and, so far, The Year of Magical Thinking had the highest.
- Did you discover a new author or genre this spring? Did you love them? Not love them?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close pulled me out of my comfort zone because the book is so strange. Foer used pictures, writing, and pages with just a few words to try and help the reader experience some of the the things the characters talked about. Some of the sections were also in letters, and others were basically stream-of-consciousness. It was challenging to get into, but once I started I didn’t want to put the book down.
- What was your favorite thing about the challenge?
I guess my favorite thing was forcing myself to read some books I’d been putting off — particularly The Year of Magical Thinking and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I kept putting them off because I always felt like they were too sad or too emotional for me to read. I just didn’t feel up for it, if that makes sense. Luckily, I found that both books were actually uplifting and the feelings I had reading them stuck with me for awhile. I’m glad the challenge convinced me to read them because they were both so good.
* That’s because I’ve only entered one other reading challenge. I don’t enter often because my reading choices are so fickle that I never think I’ll finish and don’t like not finishing things.
Read any of these books? What did you think? How do you feel about reading challenges — too easy, too hard, too many to keep track of? Do you think I should stop being such a stick-in-the-mud about challenges and sign up for a few more?