I signed on to two reading challenges this year because I’m a flipping masochist. Also, I find the more I read, the more I’m motivated to write. While I may not publish anything this year, I’ll have plenty of words tucked away for later use. I find, too, that I can go into a reading challenge with the best of intentions – planning ahead and choosing books – and come out with a completely different list. It’s like playing the Telephone Game. You start by saying I have tickets to the opera and the last person in line hears Death to the infidels.

I started the Book Riot Reading Challenge in January, and as of this moment I am one book and change away from finishing. Not bad, completing it halfway through 2015. To give you an idea of how far I strayed, here’s the list:

Book published this year

ORIGINAL PICK: Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult
Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt FINISHED 1-21-15

Book published before 1850

ORIGINAL PICK: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Indiana by George Sand

Graphic novel

ORIGINAL PICK: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel   FINISHED 1-4-15

Book originally published in another language

ORIGINAL PICK: Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes  
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto FINISHED 1-17-15

Book of Poetry

ORIGINAL PICK: Delirium by Drew Hoffman
Delirium by Drew Hoffman FINISHED 1-6-15


ORIGINAL PICK: Doctor Who – The Last Voyage by Dan Abnett (David Tennant, narrator)
I Must Say by Martin Short (Martin Short, narrator) FINISHED 1-26-15


ORIGINAL PICK: Flapper by Joshua Zeitz  
Flapper by Joshua Zeitz  FINISHED 3-5-15

Book by or about indigenous people

ORIGINAL PICK: Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington
WHAT I READ: Tangled Roots by Giselle Renarde FINISHED 5-14-15

Book by an author from Africa

ORIGINAL PICK: Island Bound by Kiru Taye
WHAT I READ: Black Soul by Kiru Taye FINISHED 5-6-15

Book set in Asia

ORIGINAL PICK: The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
WHAT I READ: The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal FINISHED 3-13-15

Science Fiction Book

ORIGINAL PICK: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
WHAT I READ: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert FINISHED 3-5-15

Book written by author who identifies as LGBTQ

ORIGINAL PICK: High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown
WHAT I READ: High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown FINISHED 1-24-15

Book of short stories

ORIGINAL PICK: The Stories of John Cheever
Magnificent Bastards by Rich Hall FINISHED 2-4-15

Book written by author under the age of 25

ORIGINAL PICK: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
WHAT I READ: That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton FINISHED 1-9-15

Book written by author over the age of 65

ORIGINAL PICK: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott FINISHED 1-11-15

Self-help / improvement book

ORIGINAL PICK: The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey
The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey  FINISHED 1-7-15

Romance Book

ORIGINAL PICK: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward 
Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods FINISHED 1-16-15

YA Book

ORIGINAL PICK: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Wonder by R.J. Palacio  FINISHED 1-8-15

Book published by an indie press

ORIGINAL PICK: Strings and Bones by Kim Talon
Ghost Love by Nellie Rees FINISHED 1-28-15

Guilty pleasure book

ORIGINAL PICK: Scruples by Judith Krantz
The Rancher’s Dream by Kathleen O’Brien FINISHED 4-6-15

Book based on a fairy tale or classic story

ORIGINAL PICK: Cress by Marissa Meyer
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED 3-29-15

Book by author of opposite gender

ORIGINAL PICK: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Searchlights and Shadows  by Martin Turnbull FINISHED 2-1-15

Pulitzer, Booker, or National Book Award Winner from last decade

ORIGINAL PICK: American Lion by Jon Meacham 
Just Kids by Patti Smith

Book recommended by a friend

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn FINISHED 3-9-15

The reasons for switching up during the challenge vary. In the case of Brown Girl Dreaming, I got the book in December and couldn’t wait to read it, so I finished it in 2014. Therefore, I couldn’t really count the book toward this challenge, else I could have used the book in place of Just Kids and I’d be done with the challenge tonight.

For a while, I couldn’t get a copy of Look Who’s Back because it wasn’t made available in the US until recently, so I moved Kitchen  from the Under 25 category to the translation category. I still plan to read the Blume and Ward books, but since both aren’t out until next month I found books in their respective categories to read.

In other cases, like with A Clash of Kings  and John Cheever, I went with books that weren’t the size of Rhode Island.

The second reading challenge, from POPSUGAR, I joined and simply ticked off books I read that fit. No planning ahead here. Of course if a Book Riot read overlapped I counted it:

  • Book over 500 pages – TBD
  • Classic Romance – TBD
  • Book that became a movie – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book published this year – A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with a number in the title – A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book written by someone under 30 – That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton FINISHED January. 2015
  • Book with non-human characters – Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods FINISHED January, 2015
  • Funny book – Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book by a female author – Unfaded Glory by Sara Arden FINISHED January, 2015
  • Mystery/thriller – The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith FINISHED February. 2015
  • Book with a one-word title – Wonder by R.J. Palacio FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book of short stories – Magnificent Bastards by Rich Hall FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book set in a different country – The Marriage Game by Alison Weir, FINISHED February, 2015
  • Non-fiction book – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey FINISHED January, 2015
  • Popular author’s first book – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins FINISHED APRIL, 2015
  • Book from an author I love but haven’t read yet – Searchlight and Shadows by Martin Turnbull FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book a friend recommended – Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister FINISHED February, 2015
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning book – TBD
  • Book based on true story – Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book at the bottom of my TBR – Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes FINISHED MAY, 2015
  • Book my mom loves – TBD
  • Book that scares me – Revival by Stephen King FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book more than 100 years old – TBD
  • Book based entirely on its cover – Flapper by Joshua Zeitz FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book I was supposed to read in school but didn’t – TBD
  • Memoir – I Must Say by Martin Short FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book I can finish in a day – Alpha, Delta by RJ Scott FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with antonyms in the title – TBD
  • Book set somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit – Ghost Love by Nelli Rees FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book that came out the year I was born – TBD
  • Book with bad reviews – [REDACTED] FINISHED March, 2015 (not going to list it)
  • Trilogy – TBD
  • Book from my childhood – TBD
  • Book with love triangle – The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book set in the future – Children of Dune by Frank Herbert FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book set in high school – TBD
  • Book with color in the title – Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book that made me cry – The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with magic – The Awakening by Kally Jo Surbeck FINISHED February, 2015
  • Graphic novel – Fun Home by Alison Bechdel FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book by an author I’ve never read before – Guitars and Cupcakes by Ella Grey FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book I own but have never read – TBD
  • Book that takes place in my hometown – The Look of Love by Crystal Bright FINISHED May, 2015
  • Book originally written in another language – Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book set during Christmas – TBD
  • Book written by author with my initials – TBD
  • Play – TBD
  • Banned book – TBD
  • Book based on or turned into TV show – Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book I started but never finished – High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown FINISHED January, 2015

I already have Roller Skates (childhood), The Chosen (high school read) and Indiana (100+ years old) open. Choosing the rest will be…a challenge.