Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 Reading Challenges Wrap-Up

Since January is almost over, I guess it's about time I finally wrapped up my 2014 Reading Challenges!

I chose a nice mix of reading challenges last year and really enjoyed them. With some, I didn't meet my goals and with others, I far exceeded my goals. A good reading year, in any case! Check out my Top Ten lists of best books I read in 2014.

You can see all the detailed lists of the books I read for each challenge on my 2014 Reading Challenges page, but here is a brief summary:

Big Book Summer Challenge: This was the third year that I hosted my own challenge, Big Book Summer Reading Challenge, and I plan to host it again in the summer of 2015. I love this challenge because it gives me some incentive to finally read the larger books that tend to pile up on my TBR shelves. You can check out my Big Book Summer Wrap-Up post. Here are the 5 Big Books I finished this summer for the challenge:
  • Emma by Jane Austen, 487 pages (I had never read a Jane Austen before!)
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, 538 pages
  • Good Fortune by Noni Carter, 482 pages
  • Unsouled by Neal Schusterman, 404 pages
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, 771 pages

I enjoy this challenge every year. I read books this year that took place in 27 different states (same as 2012 and 2013!) and 9 different countries. You can see my full list of states and countries and books on my 2013 Challenges page. She is hosting it again this year if you want to join the fun!

 This is the challenge I most need each year because I don't have a TBR pile but an entire TBR bookcase! However, I fell short of my goals this year. I signed up for the First Kiss category (21-30 books), but I only read 13 books from my TBR shelves! No wonder they get more and more full. Pretty dismal, since I managed to read 26 TBR books the year before.

2014 Audio Book Challenge, hosted by The Book Nympho
In contrast, I rocked this challenge last year! My goal was to listen to 10 -15 audio books in 2014 (Stenographer level), but I ended up listening to a whopping 26 audios! Woohoo! In 2013, I only listened to 14 audio books, so this was a huge improvement. Much of the increase is due to the switch from mostly CD-format audio books to digital downloads. With my iPod and ear buds, I can listen while walking or cooking or doing dishes, etc.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2014, hosted by The Introverted Reader
I signed up for Explorer level (6 -10 nonfiction books) and ended up reading 8 in 2014, so mission accomplished! I would still like to read more memoirs because I enjoy them so (and have a bunch collecting dust on my TBR shelves!).

The Classics Reading Challenge 2014, hosted by Thoughts At One in the Morning
I always want to read more classics but have trouble finding the time, so this challenge was right up my alley. I read 4 classics this year. That's not a huge accomplishment, but a couple of them - Emma and Frankenstein - I'd been meaning to read for many years, so I was glad to finally get to them.
  1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  2. Emma by Jane Austen 
  3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Travel the World in Books Challenge, hosted by Mom's Small Victories
Back in September 2014, I added this new challenge which runs through December 2015. My goal was to read 10 books set in other places/cultures, and I have already read these 5, so this one is going well so far:
  1.  The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
  2. The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata (immigrants, Japanese culture, transient workers)
  3.  Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (takes place in Switzerland, Germany, France, Russia, and the Arctic)
  4. Haunters by Thomas Taylor (UK and Switzerland, WWII) 
  5. Hild by Nicola Griffith (England 7th century)

I enjoyed my reading challenges in 2014. Now comes the fun part - choosing new challenges for 2015! I better get moving...

What challenges did you enjoy in 2014 and which ones do you recommend (or host!) for 2015?


  1. I hope to do a better job on the WHERE are you reading challenge this year. I start out well but when summer gets busy I fall off keeping up on it ;)

    1. Sheila, that's hilarious! It's your challenge! lol I would have guessed you aced it each year ;)

      I don't really TRY too much with that one - I use it more just to record where I'm reading, just for fun! I've gotten into a routine now - at the end of each month, I do a monthly summary post and that's when I update all my challenges on my challenge page. BTW, I gave up on keeping up the map for Where Are You Reading years ago! Now I just keep a list.


  2. Great job on the challenges. You did great on the audio and traveling the world in books! I want to listen to more audio this year.

    1. I listened to almost 30 books on audio this year, Tanya! They really help me get to more books than I otherwise could. And I enjoy having something to occupy me while I'm cooking, doing dishes, or filling our medicine boxes...and driving, too, of course!

      Lots more to come with the Travel the World in Books Challenge! I;m enjoying it.

  3. Great job! I enjoy reading challenges too, but I never join any TBR pile challenges because I don't trust myself to finish them. What a terrible lot in life to have so many good books you don't know where to start! Some days those I really wish I could just fly by the seat of my pants and choose to read whatever I feel like from my shelf.

    1. Ah, well, I've noticed you do a good job of fitting in newer books, Heidi, and I am always behind on those (often by a year or two!). I stopped accepting review books many years ago (other than kids/YA which I still do) or committing to deadlines for reviewing books. Too much pressure. I read what I need to for my 3 book groups and otherwise choose whatever sounds good to me at the time!

      No matter how you slice it, it comes down to too many good books and too little time to read them all!