A New Year, and a Book Challenge

Hello everybody! It’s been a long time, I know, and things have been a bit hectic and slow on my end, but I’m going to attempt to rectify that and actually update my blog. I’ve found myself missing my leisure reading as of late now that I’m starting to fall into a comfortable routine with my job, and although I’m too busy to stick to quite the regimented routine I had previously, I don’t think it means I have to have complete silence.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to journey with you all through my 2015 reading year. A friend of mine showed me a reading challenge for the year that challenges you to read 26 books that fit certain specifications, and while I’m doing it with a group of fellow readers, I also wanted to do the challenge by myself. Here’s the challenge, and here are the books I’m reading (though not in this particular order):

A book you own but haven’t read yet:

Push by Sapphire

Precious Jones, a illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem’s casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as Precious learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it her own for the first time. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Because it’s a book about a black girl growing up in America. Because the movie won awards and the story sounds heartbreaking. Because I read the first couple of pages already and I’m intrigued by the story.

A book you pick solely because of the cover:

In this debut novel, the García sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía—and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents sets the sisters free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home—and not at home—in America. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? This one I’m going to be incredibly honest about. Actually, for the most part I’m going to be honest about my choices for all of them. I initially picked this book up because I thought the cover was beautiful, and it absolutely fit the criteria for this book challenge. Mostly, however, I want to add diversity to my reading. We need diverse books, and I can’t in good conscience push for diverse books if I’m not reading them myself.

A book with pictures

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages. (Via goodreads.com)

Why? This one’s easy. I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and I found it wonderful, and then I started Hollow City and never finished it. I’m not sure why; it’s likely I was experiencing an overdose of this world with the peculiars and needed a break to read something else, but I’m ready to return to that world again.

A book by an author you love

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what. (Via goodreads.com)

Why? Neil Gaiman. I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman. From Good Omens to Coraline, I’ve never found an author able to do to books what Tim Burton loves to movies–and I don’t mean that ironically. There’s always a morbid spin on all of these stories, but even so most of them are humorous. More than that, Neil Gaiman is the kind of author I wish to be someday. More than just successful, he’s a man who continuously engages with his fans and respects them.

A book at the bottom of your TBR pile:

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Truman Capote is an author that, as an English teacher, I really should read. In Cold Blood is a classic that I really should have in my repertoire. More than that, I actually enjoy murder stories with a sick fascination that is only heightened by my desire to write. So why is this at the bottom of my pile? Because after reading a bunch of classics over the summer, I’m at my wit’s end with classic American male authors.

A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit:

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake. The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps. The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? They go to Rome. I’ve always wanted to go to Rome. And on the list of fictional places I could go, Camp Half-Blood honestly isn’t the worst place (I’m looking at you Westeros and Panem!). Could you imagine being a demigod in the age of the internet and modern music? Honestly, this book covers two places I wish I could travel, and that puts it squarely on this list.

A book you started but never finished:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly 20 years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Morrie visited Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final class: lessons in how to live. This is a chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? This book is another classic that any self-respecting English teacher should have under their belt, which was why I started reading it in the first place. The reason I never finished it is a complicated one, but it’s one that deserves to be shared. When I was in eighth grade, I had an English teacher named Mr. Hess who, in a time of awkward middle school years where I felt like an outcast and was severely depressed, brought out my love of reading and writing. He is one of the few teachers that I continued to keep in touch with–through high school, through college, and even post-graduation into my adult years while I struggled to find a teaching position. This man is the main reason that I wanted to become an English teacher, so that I could reach students the way he had, and share my passion for books with others. In short, Mr. Hess was a hero, and I was fortunate enough to know him. Not everybody gets to meet their heroes.

Mr. Hess was diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disease that is horrific, and I hope you never have to experience it. It was difficult watching my strong hero being dragged down by a monster I couldn’t fight, and harder still when he eventually succumbed to it. Tuesdays with Morrie explores the relationship between a writer and his dying professor, and for me that’s a story that hits incredibly close to home. Now it’s time I finish it.

A book you loved… read it again

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Why do I love To Kill A Mockingbird? There isn’t enough time in the day for me to paint my love of this book for all of you, so I will try to keep it short. This book portrays the failings of the justice system in a racist society through the naive eyes of a young southern girl. We watch through Scout’s eyes as the justice system she was taught to believe in fails Tom Robinson, despite her father Atticus’s bests attempts to help him. There’s more to this poignant story, but know that this was the first book I ever got to teach, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

A book that will make you smarter

In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community — and all of us – -to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I think this one’s an important one to read. In light of the non-indictments in the cases of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, in light of the murder of young black folks across this country at the hands of those in power, and in light of the systematic racism still alive in this country I feel it’s important for me to read, to learn, and to be an informed member of this society so that I can fight and justice can prevail. Simple as that.

A book with a blue cover

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways. What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Despite this cover being purple, the one I have at home is blue, so it actually fits this category. Toni Morrison is, to me, an absolute genius. More than just a talented writer, she has a knowledge of history the descends above and beyond the comprehension of most people. She understands and can deconstruct social constructs and make it look easy. Seriously, if you haven’t read any Morrison, you need to.

A book you were supposed to read in school… but didn’t:

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…. A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? See my reasons for In Cold Blood.

A book “everyone” but you has read:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready? (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? It sounds like an interesting story, and most of my friends have read it. It’s time for me to.

A book with a great first line:

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.” His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Technically this is a re-read. I’ve read Catcher in the Rye in high school, and I found Holden to be whiny. I think I should give him another chance as an adult–but I’m not holding my breath.

A book from the library:

Half sketches create a story in pictures too, relevant history. Real last-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès collected mechanical robot-like automata, and, impoverished, worked at a toy booth in a Paris railway station. Here, orphan Hugo fixes his late father’s automata, and meets Méliès through his god-daughter Isabelle. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? This book’s concept is amazing to me. A book with pictures, but not pictures that compliment the story. They’re pictures that continue the story. Pictures and words are equally important in telling Hugo’s tale, and I’m so excited to embark on this adventure with him.

A book that was made into a movie:

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade. Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Everything is going to change. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. Remember. Survive. Run. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Back when the buzz first began around this novel, I wanted to read it. Due to time restrictions and a lack of funds, I was unable to. Now I can, now there’s a spot on my list, and I have to be honest the movie left me with so many questions that I feel like only the book can answer for me.

A book based on a true story:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I’m a feminist, and I’m proud of it. I know that word has bad connotations in the world right now from people trying to slander its meaning, but I am for equality amongst the sexes, and for that to happen we need to lift women up to where men already are. Malala fights hard for education for girls, and she is such a strong individual that I want to know more about her.

A book published this year:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.  With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I looked up what books were being released this year, and the summary of this one caught my interest. This book can either be wonderful and empowering, or it can be a train wreck. I can’t wait to read and find out which.

A book with a color in the title:

Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes–each its own universe with its own laws, its own dangers, and its own hard lessons to be learned–becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? On a flight to Hawaii when I was in tenth grade, White Oleander was one of the movies we could pick to watch. I fell in love with the story of Astrid and her relationship with her mom that was poisonous but also beautiful. Fast-forward 13 years to this challenge….

A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe:

Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “witch-hunts” in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing, “Political opposition… is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.” (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? You can’t talk witches without talking Salem, and I think the idea of fear mongering is a good theme to read about in the age of fear mongering media. From the portrayals of Ferguson to the radicalization of all Muslims (instead of the select few extremists), fear mongering is a way of control and nobody covers it better in play form than Arthur Miller.

A book with a female heroine:

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called “Gobblers”—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person’s inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Because I’ve always wanted to read this series. I saw the movie and wasn’t very impressed, but from what my friends tell me the series sounds wonderful in book form. I’m going to assume it’s another case of Percy Jackson and the Olympians; a fantastic series that Hollywood just can’t get right.

A book set in summer (June-August):

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I looked up best books set in the summer, and this one popped up and sounded intriguing. I come from a background of reading books like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Baby-Sitters Club and this just seemed right up that alley. A coming-of-age story.

A book of poems:

For the first time, the complete collection of Maya Angelou’s published poems-including “On the Pulse of Morning”-in a permanent collectible, handsome hardcover edition. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I could have picked Robert Frost or T.S. Eliot, both poets that I greatly admire and quote often, but when I think of poetry I always thing of Maya Angelou. Her talent for prose needs to be read at least once by everybody.

A book by an author you’ve never read before:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? Okay, honesty time: This was a superficial pick. I wanted to read her because we share a last name. Also, my friend Amanda told me the book is really good, and I greatly trust her.

A book that is more than 10 years old:

The haunting, humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, The Virgin Suicides, now a major film, is Jeffrey Eugenides’ classic debut novel. The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? This one’s similar to White Oleander. I saw the movie, and I can’t forget the melancholy story of Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, and the sad group of beautiful sisters in a smothering house. I want to read the book to get the full picture that the movie just couldn’t convey.

A book your friends love:

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I love graphic novels. Anybody who knows me can testify that I am 100% a comic geek. While superheroes are generally my forte in this endeavor, I have dabbled in other genres with books such as Maus and American Born Chinese. I read the first part of Persepolis in my graphic novels course in college and I was so impressed by her honesty. I want to read the whole thing.

A book you learned about because of this challenge:

Charlie, a senior, isn’t looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom. But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he’s the only one who gets her. She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush. In this stunning debut, Jessica Alcott explores relationships-and their boundaries-in a way that is both searingly honest and sympathetic. (Via Goodreads.com)

Why? I was looking up books specifically for this challenge that are released this year, and this one popped up. I never would have heard about it if it weren’t for this challenge, so it qualifies for this category. Mostly I’m excited for this book because it sounds intriguing.

So that’s it, my friends. Those are the books I’m going to read (hopefully) by the time the clock strikes midnight and brings us into 2016. Feel free to join me! You can read the same books so that we can have discussions, or you can put your own into the categories to make the challenge your own. Either way, I hope you read a lot in the months to come.

Happy reading!




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3 responses to “A New Year, and a Book Challenge

  1. lovebooksandblush

    You’ve got a great list of amazing books here. Good luck on your reading journey!

    • Thank you! I’m really excited to read them. I’ve already started on White Oleander. My ultimate goal is 50 books for the year on Goodreads, so if you have any suggestions I’m completely open to them!

  2. Welcome back! You have an interesting diversity of books and I love it 🙂

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