2022 Reading Challenges and Last Year’s Recap

Every year I report on my reading challenges and set the plan for coming year. I didn’t do that well this year. I have been in a reading slump for much of the year. 

First, the Recap of 2021

I signed up for the same three challenges I did in 2020, the Goodreads, the King County Library’s 10 to Try, and BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge. 

For Goodreads, I set it to 110 for 2021. I technically did finish this, but only because I counted picture books, which take 10 minutes to read (often less), so they really don’t count. I checked against my spreadsheet where I track my reading, and I actually did do better than I thought: I read 87 non-picture book books. So I didn’t hit the 110, but I seriously thought it would be way lower than that. I didn’t finish either of the other two challenges, though I made decent 

For the KCLS 10 to Try, I read the following:

  • Makes you laugh - Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
  • About the future - The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
  • Epistolary novel (Written in letters, emails, etc.) - Dear Rachel Maddow: A Novel by Adrienne Kisner
  • Set where you were born - Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  • Published this year - Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy
  • Re-read an old favorite - The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
  • About pop culture - The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

But failed on the following:

  • Recommended by staff - You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson
  • Non-human characters - Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • By a Black author - Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

I’m disappointed in myself. If I had tried, I could have done it, especially the two YA ones. I read many other books instead. 

For the Read Harder Challenge (which is a lot harder than the others) I managed to complete only 8 books of the 24 on the list (pitiful!):

  • Read a non-European novel in translation - The Disaster Tourist: A Novel by Yun Ko-eun and Lizzie Buehler
  • Read a genre novel by an Indigenous, First Nations, or Native American author - Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and Rovina Cai
  • Read a middle grade mystery - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Read an SFF anthology edited by a person of color - Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker
  • Read a realistic YA book not set in the U.S., UK, or Canada - Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  • Read a children’s book that centers a disabled character but not their disability - Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls
  • Read a food memoir by an author of color - Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
  • Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader - Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff 

I failed on the following:

  • Read a book you’ve been intimidated to read - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 
  • Read a nonfiction book about anti-racism - White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • Read an LGBTQ+ history book - Queer: A Graphic History by Dr. Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele
  • Read a fanfic - A Wattpad story based on Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirl (https://www.wattpad.com/story/61458965-coffee-kisses-a-cather-and-levi-fanfic)
  • Read a fat-positive romance - Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel by Talia Hibbert
  • Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author - Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
  • Read a work of investigative nonfiction by an author of color - Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias by Pragya Agarwal
  • Read a book with a cover you don’t like - Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Read a memoir by a Latinx author - Children of the Land: A Memoir by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
  • Read an own voices book about disability - Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Mariene Nijkamp
  • Read an own voices YA book with a Black main character that isn’t about Black pain - Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
  • Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist - The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Read a book of nature poems - The Radiant Lives of Animals by Linda Hogan
  • Read a book set in the Midwest - The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
  • Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness - Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  • Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die - Vicarious by Paula Stokes

I did start one of them (Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel by Talia Hibbert) but I just haven’t been able to read much romance this year for some reason. I liked what I read so far, but it’s on my nightstand. I haven’t been reading too much at night. 

Now, the Plan for 2022

Okay, I’m going to go easy on myself. I’m going to scale things back and skip the Read Harder one this year. So Goodreads and KCLS 10 to Try is all I’m going to do. 

This year I’m going to count picture books and set a goal of 200 total books on Goodreads.That’s basically 100 picture books and 100 others, at least in my head. 

For KCLS 10 to Try, here are the categories and my intended books: 

  • The cover is your favorite color - The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Set somewhere you've wanted to visit - Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats
  • The main character is over 50 - Gray Hair Don't Care by Karen Booth
  • By an Asian or Asian American author - Anna K by Jenny Lee
  • About a library or set in a library - Suggested Reading by Dave Connis
  • Set in another century - Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
  • A one-word title - Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  • Recommended by a friend - Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Has won an award - Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
  • Recommended by staff - Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach

2021 Reading Challenges and Last Year’s Recap

I’ve decided to do several reading challenges each year and part of that is announcing to the world that I’m doing them, as well as reporting on the success of the prior year’s.

First, the Recap of 2020

Last year I signed up for three: Goodreads, King County Library System’s 10 to Try, and BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge. I succeeded in completing the first two (though I had to fudge a little on the Goodreads one), but I did not make on on the Read Harder one. 

On Goodreads, you set your own goal of a number of books to read. Last year my goal was 110, which I met partially by reading about 20 picture books.

For the KCLS 10 to Try challenge, I read the following:

  • Retelling of a fairytale or myth - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • Teaches you a new skill - TED Talks by Chris Anderson
  • About a journey - The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
  • With a friend - Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • About a person you’d like to meet - Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton (I’m aware she’s dead)
  • About nature - Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
  • About music or a musician - Total F*cking Godhead; The Biography of Chris Cornell by Corbin Reiff
  • About current events - The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark
  • Recommended by KCLS staff - On Writing by Stephen King
  • By an author whose gender is different from yours - Fables: The Dark Ages (Vol. 12) by Bill Willingham

For the Read Harder Challenge (which is a lot harder than the others) I managed to complete only 17 books of the 24 on the list:

  • A YA nonfiction book - The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
  • A retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color - Pride by Ibi Zoboi
  • A mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman - Fake ID by Lamar Giles
  • A graphic memoir - Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
  • A book about a natural disaster - Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
  • A play by an author of color and/or queer author - How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
  • An audiobook of poetry - SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The LAST book in a series - The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
  • A debut novel by a queer author - Texts from Jane Eyre by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
  • A memoir by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own - Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
  • A romance starring a single parent - Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
  • A sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages) - “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
  • A picture book with a human main character from a marginalized community - The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan and Tom Knight
  • A middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK - The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
  • A book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non) - Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • A book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author - #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
  • A book that takes place in a rural setting - Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

These were the seven categories I failed in:

  • A historical fiction novel not set in WWII 
  • A food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before
  • A book about climate change 
  • A doorstopper (over 500 pages) published after 1950, written by a woman
  • A book by or about a refugee 
  • A horror book published by an indie press 
  • An edition of a literary magazine (digital or physical) 

Now, The 2021 Plan

For Goodreads, I’m going to account for the fact that I know I’m going to be reading a lot of picture books this year but have otherwise slowed down, so I upped it only to 120.

For the KCLS 10 to Try, here is the list and my planned book:

  • Makes you laugh - Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
  • Non-human characters - Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • About the future - The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
  • Epistolary novel (Written in letters, emails, etc.) - Dear Rachel Maddow: A Novel by Adrienne Kisner
  • By a Black author - Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Published this year - TBD (I’m sure I’ll manage something…)
  • About pop culture - The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
  • Re-read an old favorite - The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
  • Set where you were born - Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  • Recommended by staff - You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson

For all of these I managed to choose YA books, which helps me make sure I can get them done, since I have limited time and an obligation to my blogs…

For the Read Harder Challenge, here are the 24 categories and my planned books:

  1. Read a book you’ve been intimidated to read - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 
  2. Read a nonfiction book about anti-racism - White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  3. Read a non-European novel in translation - The Disaster Tourist: A Novel by Yun Ko-eun and Lizzie Buehler
  4. Read an LGBTQ+ history book - Queer: A Graphic History by Dr. Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele
  5. Read a genre novel by an Indigenous, First Nations, or Native American author - Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger and Rovina Cai
  6. Read a fanfic - A Wattpad story based on Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirl (https://www.wattpad.com/story/61458965-coffee-kisses-a-cather-and-levi-fanfic)
  7. Read a fat-positive romance - Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel by Talia Hibbert
  8. Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author - Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
  9. Read a middle grade mystery - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  10. Read an SFF anthology edited by a person of color - Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker
  11. Read a food memoir by an author of color - Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
  12. Read a work of investigative nonfiction by an author of color - Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias by Pragya Agarwal
  13. Read a book with a cover you don’t like - Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  14. Read a realistic YA book not set in the U.S., UK, or Canada - Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  15. Read a memoir by a Latinx author - Children of the Land: A Memoir by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
  16. Read an own voices book about disability - Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Mariene Nijkamp
  17. Read an own voices YA book with a Black main character that isn’t about Black pain - Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland
  18. Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader - Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff 
  19. Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist - The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  20. Read a book of nature poems - The Radiant Lives of Animals by Linda Hogan
  21. Read a children’s book that centers a disabled character but not their disability - Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls
  22. Read a book set in the Midwest - The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
  23. Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness - Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  24. Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die - Vicarious by Paula Stokes

I managed to make 12 of them YA, plus one middle grade and one picture book. I feel much more confident about finishing this year’s than I did last year. Now I'm off to my indie book store to start buying them!

Reading Challenges (2020)

Pride book coverNormally I’d post something about my writing, but there isn’t much to report so I thought I’d announce to the world my commitment to a couple of additional reading challenges for 2020 (I always do the Goodreads one—last year and this I committed to 110). One I started a while back (King County Library System’s 10 to Try), but the other (Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge) I just started.

For the 10 to Try, here are the categories and the books I’ve either already read or plan to read for it:

  1. Retelling of a fairytale or myth - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  2. Teaches you a new skill - TED Talks by Chris Anderson
  3. About a journey - The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
  4. With a friend - not sure yet
  5. About a person you’d like to meet - Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton (I’m aware she’s dead)
  6. About nature - Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
  7. About music or a musician - Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracy Thorn
  8. About current events - The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark
  9. Recommended by KCLS staff - On Writing by Stephen King
  10. By an author whose gender is different from yours - Fables: The Dark Ages (Vol. 12) by Bill Willingham

SHOUT book coverFor the Read Harder Challenge (which is, in fact, much harder), here are my planned (and one already read) books:

  1. A YA nonfiction book - The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
  2. A retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color - Pride by Ibi Zoboi
  3. A mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman - Fake ID by Lamar Giles
  4. A graphic memoir - Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
  5. A book about a natural disaster - Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
  6. A play by an author of color and/or queer author - How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
  7. A historical fiction novel not set in WWII - The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn
  8. An audiobook of poetry - SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
  9. The LAST book in a series - The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
  10. A book that takes place in a rural setting - Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen
  11. A debut novel by a queer author - Texts from Jane Eyre by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
  12. A memoir by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own - Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
  13. A food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before - Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine by Edward LeeThe 57 Bus book cover
  14. A romance starring a single parent - Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
  15. A book about climate change - Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  16. A doorstopper (over 500 pages) published after 1950, written by a woman - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  17. A sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages) - “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
  18. A picture book with a human main character from a marginalized community - The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan and Tom Knight
  19. A book by or about a refugee - How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana and Abigail Pesta
  20. A middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK - The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
  21. A book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non) - Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  22. A horror book published by an indie press - We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
  23. An edition of a literary magazine (digital or physical) - not sure yet (I have several to choose from)
  24. A book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author - #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Whew. I’ll let you know at the end of the year how I do.