Thursday, January 19, 2017

Summary of 2016 Reading Challenges

 Well, it's January 19 already. I had hoped to sum up 2016 sooner, but this is still 2 weeks earlier than last year, so I'm counting it as a victory!

As in 2015, I joined 6 Reading Challenges in 2016, plus I added two shorter seasonal challenges in the summer and fall. Here's what I joined, what my personal goals were, and how I did. You can see all the details, and my lists of books on my 2016 Reading Challenges page.

Read Your Own Damn Books hosted by Estella's Revenge
I have an entire bookcase of books waiting to be read! In 2015, I managed to read 24 TBR books off my own shelves, so in 2016, I wanted to beat that and read at least 25 of My Own Damn Books.

(drumroll please)....Oh! I only read 23 TBR books from my own shelves - missed my goal by 2 books. But still, 23 books that I already owned is pretty why is my TBR bookcase still overflowing??

2016 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge hosted by Girlxoxo

I was glad to see a new challenge hosted by one of my favorite blogs in 2016! The idea was to read one book a month from each motif. This was fun! I managed to read within the monthly motifs all but 2 months, which is pretty good. I would have done even better if I'd have remembered to LOOK at the motifs at the beginning of every month :)

JANUARY- Who Dunnit?
     The Art Thief by Noah Charney
FEBRUARY- New Releases
     This Side Of Wild by Gary Paulsen
MARCH- Take a Trip
     Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Canada)
APRIL- Best of the Best
     The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (won many awards!)
MAY- Story of Survival
     Oddly, every one of the 7 books I read in May fits this motif! Here is one example: My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter
JUNE- Girlxoxo Recommends
      Yikes, forgot to look at this one until after June was over! But I did read The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, and Girlxoxo recommended the first in the series, The Raven Boys. That counts, right?
     Oops - I didn't read anything even remotely funny in July! All six of the books I read were on very serious topics. Fail.
AUGUST- Genre Jumble
     Not sure if this counts, but I read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and it was only the 2nd classic I'd read all year (and very few last year).
SEPTEMBER- Steampunk, Science Fiction, and Fantasy
     Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (sci fi)
OCTOBER- Things That Go Bump in The Night
     The Drowning by Rachel Ward
NOVEMBER- Fiction Takes A Break
     When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
DEC- That’s a Wrap
Finish a series you’ve been meaning to finish or read the next book in a series you started but never finished. - Oops - Fail. I did start a new series - does that count? The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

I signed up for the Explorer level (6 - 10) & was hoping to read more than the 8 nonfiction books I read in 2015. And...I read 11 nonfiction books last year! That's quite a lot for me and definitely a win. Here are the nonfiction titles I read:
  1. This Side Of Wild by Gary Paulsen 
  2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  3. How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide by Toni Bernhard
  4. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano 
  5. Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
  6. Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho 
  7. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi 
  8. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo 
  9. Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton 
  10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi  
  11. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

This challenge was to read one classic a month, which I definitely did NOT manage! I ended up reading 4 classics (the same number I read in 2015), but joining the challenge definitely motivated me to squeeze in those four, so it was well worth while for me. Here's what I read:
  1. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka 
  2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 
  4. Tales of Mystery by Edgar Allen Poe 

Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge hosted by Mom's Small Victories, another of my favorite blogs. I signed up for this one back in 2014, so this is a continuation - it is an ongoing challenge, rather than an annual one. I read 21 books set in other countries/cultures in 2015, and...30 international books in 2016! I really enjoy traveling through my books and learning about other places. Some of the new places I traveled this year included Burma, Bosnia, East Indies, Ukraine (where my family came from), Poland, Prussia, and more! Visit my 2016 Reading Challenges page for the full list of 30 books/places.

Bookish Bingo hosted by Chapter Break - not really a challenge per se, but a fun game that I played most months (except for January and December). I think my best Bingo month was 20 squares!

States Where I Am Reading: 
There was no official Where Are You Reading? Challenge last year, but I still wanted to track which states my books take place in (in addition to those with an international setting for Travel the World in Books, above). In 2015, I read books set in 23 different states, and in 2016, I visited 27 U.S. states through my books! That's in addition to 20 different countries in 2016 (see the
Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge above).

Big Book Summer Challenge hosted by Book By Book (me!)

This summer, for my own annual Big Book Summer Challenge, I read 5 books with 400+ pages between the end of May and the beginning of September:
  1. The Marvels by Brian Selznick, 665 pages (middle-grade)
  2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, 507 pages
  3. The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer, 444 pages (YA)
  4. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, 438 pages (YA)
  5. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, 460 pages

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (R.I.P) Challenge, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings
And, in the fall, I once again enjoyed the R.I.P. challenge and read 8 creepy, spooky books (same as in 2015):
  1.  The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer
  2.  They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  4. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel 
  5. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  6. The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
  7. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
  8. The Drowning by Rachel Ward 

R.I.P. Reviews 


  1. Wow you rocked your challenge - even if you didn't complete them all :-) I think more than half the fun is picking out the books!

    1. Yes, you are right, Tanya. I think I need to participate in reading challenges more mindfully - now, I tend to do it retroactively At the end of the month, I look back to see what I read and how it fits into my challenges! I should do more planning ahead :)

  2. You did great with all of your challenges, what's even more impressive to me is you posted a review for nearly every one of them! I still haven't done my recap yet...or signed up for 2017 challenges yet. Glad your travel the world in books is still going strong!

    1. Yes, I do review everything I read, Tanya! The ones missing links were reviews written for another publication that wants its reviewers to remain anonymous.

      Glad to hear I am not the only one!! I still need to do my overall 2016 sum-up & sign up for 2017 challenges, too!

  3. Oh my gosh, so many challenges! I haven't done any since 2011. Yikes. This year I am doing the YA award winner challenge, but I also like the theme one you did so I may do that one as well

    1. The YA challenge sounds great! The monthly motif one was a lot of fun, and they ARE running it again this year. Have fun!