Book Lists

Reading Challenge Update #8

I realized it’s been almost two months since my last Reading Challenge Update, so it’s about time for another check in.

My current total stands at 37 categories (38 books read), but I’m getting to the point where I’m dreading these last few categories. Is that terrible? I just really don’t want to read a graphic novel…



  • A book with more than 500 pagesThe Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss – So many pages but so good. I’m already distressed about finishing this book since it means I won’t be living in this world and going on adventures with these characters any longer. Luckily there’s a third part to the trilogy that’s supposed to be released in 2016!
  • A classic romanceA Room With A View by E.M. Forster. A young English girl meets two men while on a tour of Italy and must choose between them.


CATEGORIES REMAINING:dark-question-3-1444328

These are a few of the categories I have left and have absolutely no clue what to read. Suggestions are very welcome!!

  • A book with bad reviews
  • A graphic novel
  • A book set in high school



  • A book with antonyms in the title – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty– Not my favorite Liane Moriarty novel. I think the school mom drama was a bit too much for me. The plot revelations toward the end of the book helped, but not enough for me to recommend it.
  • A book that made you cry – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – I flew through this story about two sisters in Nazi-occupied France in a few days. It’s a great conversation starter. Join in on my discussion page here!
  • A book a friend recommended – Caught by Harlan Coben – A typical murder mystery that is definitely not my usual style. The ending was unexpected, but this just isn’t my favorite genre. If you’re into mysteries though, my friend highly recommends Harlan Coben!
  • A book published this year – Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. I can’t even remember where I first heard about this book, but I was excited enough to read it that I bought it new. Mistake. I never cared enough about the characters to enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visitThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Another book that didn’t meet my expectations. The concept about a young German boy who befriends a Jewish boy in a concentration camp sounds intriguing, but it was a slow read. It is meant for a young reader, so I guess I should keep that in mind.
  • A trilogyThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Aliens have invaded Earth and decimated the human population through a series of “waves.” A few teenagers are fighting to stay alive and get their world back. It started a bit slow, but I was hooked by the end and am eager to get my hands on the second book.
  • A trilogy – The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. These books aren’t complicated or terribly well written, but I’m still reading them extremely quickly and dying to know how the story ends and what happens to the characters. Classic YA trilogy here.
  • A nonfiction bookOn Writing by Stephen King. A fantastic memoir/writing instruction manual that is packed with fascinating stories from Stephen King’s past and useful tips for any writer.
  • A book you started but never finishedBrave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’m always up for a dystopian novel, but this didn’t draw me in and hook me like others have. I found the most interesting parts were descriptions of the human manufacturing process and the rules for their society.
  • A popular author’s first book – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. First of all, I must warn you this book is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of sex, rape, and violence and it’s pretty explicitly described. However, I still tore through it and am waiting impatiently for the library to get me the second book! At the heart of the book is a fascinating story of a woman who is thrown into an unfamiliar time and must adapt to stay alive. It brings up questions of loyalty, right vs wrong, and what lengths you go to save those you love.
  • A book with a number in the titleCocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham (pen name for Sophie Kinsella). Typical chick-lit about three best friends with vastly different lives. It was fairly predictable and not one of hers that I’d recommend.
  • A book you own but have never readThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. This was a strange combination of time travel, interaction with book characters, and murder mystery. I liked it? I think? It is a series, but I’m still deciding if I want to continue on.
  • A book with a color in the titleAnne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery. One of my favorites from this reading challenge. I’m eager to start the next book and continue Anne’s adventures. P.S. This box set is totally on my Amazon wish list : )
  • A book with nonhuman charactersCinder by Marissa Meyer. Another recommendation from Modern Mrs. Darcy that I loved (she’s just the best). The first book in the Lunar Chronicles series follows a cyborg mechanic in a loose interpretation of the Cinderella story.
  • A book with a love triangleThe Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Another typical Moyes novel, but slightly more appealing to me since the plot centers around handwritten letters and missed connections. I was often surprised by the plot twists and touched by the story overall. Worth a read if you’re a fan of hers.
  • A Pulitzer Prize winning bookThe Road by Cormac McCarthy. A novel about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The writing was shockingly simple yet the content of the man’s musings still went over my head. I enjoyed the plot and found the ending terribly sad yet hopeful.
  • A book more than 100 years oldGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens. Hmm, what to say about this classic. I honestly thought I would like it more than I did. I had high hopes from the author of A Tale of Two Cities, but never felt any sort of connection to the characters and thought the story was a bit boring.
  • A book you can finish in a dayBefore I Go by Colleen Oakley. This was a page-turner about a young women dying of cancer who struggles with her relationship with her husband and the desire to find someone to take care of him after she’s gone. Not the deepest book, but you’ll want to find out what happens to the couple.
  • A mystery or thriller – Timeline by Michael Crichton. I admit…I’ve read this before which means I’m breaking my own rules a bit. However, I love Michael Crichton and this one has the added appeal of time travel.
  • A banned book – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, banned in Georgia. It’s finally done!! Sheesh, this took forever to read. Parts of it were fascinating and parts were extremely dull. Can’t say I’d recommend it.
  • A book set in the futureReady Player One by Ernest Cline. I just found out this is being made into a movie and couldn’t be more excited! I’m planning to reread this since I absolutely gobbled it up the first time and know I missed some nuances. I highly recommend this for anyone who likes a good treasure hunt/action story, 80’s pop culture, or video games and virtual reality.
  • A funny bookWhy Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. If you like Mindy, you’ll like her writing. She makes reading feel like you and her are drinking wine on a couch swapping stories. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but charming and delightful.
  • A memoirGarlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read thus far on this challenge. It was a fascinating peek behind the curtain of a restaurant critic’s mind. Who knew nonfiction could be this interesting?
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read listA Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. I was thrilled to finish this book because it meant no more skimming through pages and pages of college student philosophizing. Let’s just say I wasn’t a fan.
  • A book of short storiesDifferent Seasons by Stephen King. Although technically a collection of novellas, I’m using it for this category anyway. I did end up liking the short story format and thought these were on par with the rest of his writing.
  • A book with a one-word titleRoom by Emma Donoghue. This book started a bit slow but it quickly changed course. I highly recommend it for the unique perspective on the outside world from a child that’s never experienced it.
  • A book written by a female authorWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I rearranged Mrs. Dalloway so I could fit this book into my challenge. Once again, Moriarty knocked it out of the park. An intriguing character study of how a person can change over the course of her lifetime and how it affects her relationships.
  • A book by an author with your same initialsMurder at Wittenham Park by R. W. Heber. Well, this was probably the best of my options (turns out the selection of authors with the initials R.H. is pretty slim), but it was still awful. Standard dinner party murder mystery weekend turns into an actual murder plot.
  • A book that became a movie – Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (The Hours is based on this book). This was sitting on my bookshelf, so I decided on a whim to make it my next work book. It’s one of those classics that I know I ought to read and so far it’s been a pleasant surprise. The sentences are long and descriptive, but not as hard to follow as Hawthorne’s…so, I think I have at least a vague idea of what’s happening?
  • A book with magicThe Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This book was another favorite and I’m thrilled that there are still two more in the series to get through!
  • A book that came out the year you were born (1989) – Number the Stars by Louis Lowry. I never read this in school and was eager to dive into another Lowry story. It’s a simple but heartfelt read and I finished it very quickly. I loved learning more about another country’s methods of standing up to Germany and how they sheltered Jews.
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yetThe Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This was a bit of a struggle to get through. I was disappointed after my experience with Morton’s other books. There was the signature twist at the end, but it didn’t make up for my lack of interest in the plot or the characters.
  • A book that takes place in your hometown – A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Fisher. This is exactly the feel-good novel you’d expect from Amish Christian Fiction. It kept my attention and had enough depth to keep it interesting.
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’tThe House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. My only motivation for finishing this book was the fact that I’d get to visit the actual house on our New England trip. It was worthwhile for that purpose, since bits and pieces of the house matched the story. I probably give this less credit than it deserves, but I doubt I’d pick it up again.
  • A book that scares youThe Shining by Stephen King. I really enjoyed the book… and then watched the movie and was disappointed by how different it was.
  • A book based entirely on its coverAll’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St Amant. A cheery romance about a woman in her mid-20s who is entered into a TV cupcake competition by her close, male friend, who she then brings along as her assistant. As I began reading, it also became clear that this was a faith-based novel, which is an added bonus! A light, airy, and fun read!
  • A book based on or turned into a TV showWhen Calls the Heart by Janette Oke. The second season of this show just wrapped up on Lifetime. The show is loosely based on this book series, but at least captures the essence of a city girl who accepts a teaching job in the Canadian West in the early 1900’s. Needless to say, I adored both the book and the TV series.
  • A book set in a different country (Australia)The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. This novel drew me in quickly and I finished it in just three days. The highlight is the relationships among the large cast of characters and how their individual, sometimes seemingly immaterial, decisions impacted each other’s lives.

I’m linking up with Show Us Your Books this month!

*Full Disclosure – I receive a small commission for any books purchased through the links above. Thanks for supporting my reading habit!


  1. Kate DiCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses is a wonderful graphic novel (with lots of text too)- MG to YA but full of fantastic characters and deep themes. It also has a lovely audio version (and yes, they read the comics as well.)

    1. Ah I’ve heard of her but didn’t realize she had any graphic novels. Thanks for letting me know!

    1. That’s terrific – I’ve been getting into more memoirs lately so I’ll check out your page. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I’m trying to finish Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and I still have the graphic novel left as well. I have Through the Woods by Emily Carroll on hold at the library, but I’m having second thoughts. It might be a little tooo creepy for my tastes. But it does have good reviews!

    I listened to the audio version of Brave New World and somehow made it to the end. I don’t think it was meant to be funny, but the whole thing was pretty ludicrous. Perhaps the “orgy-porgy” wasn’t meant to be read aloud.

    1. I’m going to check out the suggestions from Ann and Beth above, so maybe you can find something there too! Also, I can’t imagine listening to Brave New World hahaha…I’d be laughing too.

  3. I’m reading Garlic and Sapphires right now! It’s great! You’ll be just as delighted with the second book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I’m hoping to read the third book sometime soon. It just feels right to read those books in the spring. I’ve been tempted to read Outlander but just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve heard so many great reviews. Maybe one day.

    1. Completely agree about reading Anne of Green Gables in the spring! Honestly I couldn’t even finish the second book in the outlander series because it was boring ha, so if you never get around to starting I wouldn’t worry about it : )

  4. I am a self-professed book challenge junkie. For a book set in high school, these came to mind: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (Australian high school), The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. These are all fairly popular, so it’s quite possible you’ve read them.

    Can’t help on graphic novel.

    A book with bad reviews…technically, hugely popular books like “Gone Girl” even get bad reviews. I’d recommend The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. It is a thought-provoking book with polarizing views. Or The Dinner by Herman Koch for the same reason. Although, I just looked, and they are both rated 3+ stars, so I don’t know if they’d count.

    Good luck!

    1. I have read Eleanor and Park but none of the other ones you suggested! I’ve heard of The Dinner but never had the motivation to read it so I think that’ll be my pick for bad reviews. Thanks so much for your ideas : )

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