Sunday, May 19, 2013

50 Book Challenge

The fact that we are halfway through May and this is the first time this year I've mentioned the 50 Book Challenge should clue you in to how that's going. I had a flurry of activity early in the year and then the last couple of months has been slumperama. I keep starting books, reading 20 pages, deciding it's boring, and moving on. I have several hundred on my Kindle and iBook, so maybe it's just because I have too much choice. I did go through and delete a bunch that I knew I'd never get around to reading yesterday but there are still way too many looking back at me.

Now, last year I did meet the challenge but most of what I read was trash - lots and lots of crime novels that I didn't really have to think much about, or horror novels just to have a page turner. My goal this year was to go for quality. Results so far have been mixed. By quality I don't mean anything super high-falutin', but definitely books you'd find in the 'Literature' section of the book shop rather than 'Fiction A-Z by author', if you know what I mean.

Anyway, here is my paltry offering for this year so far. I am fairly confident I can pick up the slack - I just need one good page turner to get me back into it.

1. This Is Where I Leave You - Jonathan Tropper
I heard someone talk about this book on a podcast and it sounded interesting. It's about a dysfunctional family (is there any other kind in fiction?) who are forced to sit Shiva for their dead father when they haven't been in the same room together for years. It's pretty much what you would expect - lots of wry Jewish humour. Not a huge amount happens but it's still an interesting read. I liked it enough to seek out the author's other books, which I will eventually get around to reading.

2. Penpal - Dathan Auerbach
I believe it was Rachel who recommended this one, and apparently it began as a story on Reddit. It's a bit clunky - quite obviously a first novel and could have used a fairly rigorous pruning - but the story is quite riveting. It's about a young boy who appears to have been followed by someone his whole life, and it's creepy as hell. 

3. My Mad Fat Teenage Diary - Rae Earl
I adored the TV adaptation of this book, and I had to read it. I think I liked the TV show better, but that's probably just because that's what I saw first. It's still a great read - it's written for teen girls but it's not one of those insufferably dopey dreamy kind of YA novels.

4. Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
I had read this years ago as I'm a long time Sarah Waters fan, but I didn't remember much about it. It's about a young girl brought up in a thieving family in Victorian England and her part in a plot to defraud a wealthy young girl. If you read this it's best to know as little as possible going in.

5. 314 - A.R. Wise
A horror book that I read about 3 months ago and have largely forgotten already. It was a page-turner and I enjoyed it but it's basically literary popcorn. Erm, a young girl has repressed memories about a creepy town that has been shut down and... that's as far as I can recall. It's free on Amazon so if you like horror books, it's worth having a look.

6. Six Years - Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben's latest novel about someone who turns out to be living a secret life for years and people who were thought to be dead are not dead and blah blah blah. Highly readable but also forgettable.

7. Mister Sandman - Barbara Gowdy
Dysfunctional family! That's pretty much all there is to it. I enjoyed it.

Hmmm. So I have 7 months or so to read 43 books. I think I'll have to make only half of them 'quality'. Especially since I've already got at least 3 on that list so far that don't meet that standard.

Currently reading: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.


  1. I can't remember if it's one of two books I've read this year. I'm failing massively too if that makes you feel any better.

  2. I spend to much time reading fanfiction to ever again manage 50 real books in a year... I think, I haven't counted layely. I might have read ten books so far this year... Probably a million words of fanfiction though! ;D

    1. I think I just spend way too much time watching television.

    2. Yeah... I have recently deveoped a bad case of Netflix addiction... so I know what you mean!

  3. I need to pick up Fingersmith again, I'm living on manga and comics lately lol

  4. I struggle with the quality/quantity thing too. I feel so overwhelmed as there's just SO MANY books I want to read but I look back at the books I've read and some of them I barely even remember. That being said, I'm kicking my 50 book challenge's ass at the moment, because it appears all I do is read.

    1. I'm getting back into a slump, annoyingly. I need to find a page turner to kick me into gear!