2016 Reading Challenges – Final Update

We’re coming up on the end of a very long, very strange year, in which I did a lot of reading.  So let’s get down to it!

Newbery Medal WinnersPicture
Goal: 15 Newbery Medal Winners, to bring myself to half of the total list
Host: Smiling Shelves

This has continued to be my most successful challenge in terms of numbers.  These are mostly fast reads, and so convenient to listen to on audiobook (and not every type of book is) that I’ve blown right through my target number and read 22.  That brings me up to 54 total, out of 95 Newbery Medal Winners.  So that means 41 to go…because my secret goal of course is to read all of them.  Just, not within one year…

  1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1990)
  2. The Grey King by Susan Cooper (1976)
  3. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (2013)
  4. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (1950)
  5. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (1967)
  6. A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (2001)
  7. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (2014)
  8. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (1962)
  9. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1991)
  10. A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos (1980)
  11. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (2012)
  12. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (1992)
  13. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (2002)
  14. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (2000)
  15. Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (1937)
  16. It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville (1964)
  17. Criss-Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (2006)
  18. Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (1993)
  19. The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (1923)
  20. Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (1926)
  21. Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (1925)
  22. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2015)

Parallel Universes
Goal: 12 books

This challenge was probably the most successful in terms of sheer fun.  I continued all year to be fascinated and intrigued by this niche sub-genre that still managed to be distinctly diverse and varied.  Pivot Point and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August were my favorites, though I loved the reading the origin of it all in Sidewise in Time.  And this all gave me ideas for my parallel universe writing too.

  1. Pivot Point by Kasie West
  2. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  3. Parallel by Lauren Miller
  4. Here, There and Everywhere by Chris Roberson
  5. Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  6. The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  7. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
  8. Sidewise in Time by Murray Leinster
  9. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  10. A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence
  11. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  12. How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove
  13. Relativity by Cristin Bishara

Diversity On the Shelf
Host: The Englishist
Goal: 18 books

I’m glad to have exceeded this goal, although I wish it had been by more.  I began this hoping that it would prove to be easy, and my experience of the year was that it was not.  Which says some pretty depressing things!

It’s remarkable–or perhaps not–how varied “diversity” books can be.  My reads this year represented some twelve different ethnic groups, in different time periods and different countries.  For some racial issues were a major focus; for others it was a minor one; and for some it was a non-issue, because the book was set in a time and place where everyone was non-Caucasian.  I’m not sure my point here, except possibly that this demonstrates that this goal should have been easier than it was!

  1. Otherbound by Corrinne Duyvis (Hispanic)
  2. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (African-American)
  3. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (Unspecified Asian)
  4. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Indian)
  5. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (Pakistani)
  6. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana (African-American)
  7. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (Indian)
  8. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham (African-American Muslim)
  9. Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee (Chinese)
  10. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Native American)
  11. Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen (Vietnamese)
  12. Join by Steve Toutonghi (various)
  13. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Korean)
  14. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (African-American)
  15. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi (African-American)
  16. The Kite-Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean (Chinese)
  17. Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie (really!) (Egyptian)
  18. Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Chinese)
  19. Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Latin-American, various)
  20. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (African-American)

The Bardathon: Shakespeare Plays
shakespeare400Host: Samantha Lin
Goal: 5 plays read or seen (but ideally, read 5 comedies, read 5 tragedies, and watch 5 movies)

No more Bard this quarter, I’m afraid, which means I reached my primary goal but not the larger goal.  I did identify why I struggle with this one though.  I’ve always been good at fitting reading into the cracks and corners of my busy life (Newbery was so successful in part because audiobooks are so easy to fit in).  But Shakespeare feels like an event.  I feel like I have to set aside an evening to read an entire play, or watch a (usually fairly long) movie.  And that’s a bit harder to manage!  I still want to do more Shakespeare in the future, but I need to rethink a strategy…

  1. Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon production)
  2. Comedy of Errors (read)
  3. Comedy of Errors (BBC production)
  4. Measure for Measure (read)
  5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1996 production)
  6. Coriolanus (Gerard Butler production)
  7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (live performance at the Globe)

On the whole, I’m very happy with my reading challenges for the year.  I read a lot of good books, and I like the goals they supported.  How did your reading go for 2016?

I’ll be back soon with my favorites, and with reading challenges for next year!

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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3 Responses to 2016 Reading Challenges – Final Update

  1. Jemima Pett says:

    These are seriously impressive challenges and put mine to shame. Keep going, Cheryl! Happy new year 🙂

  2. You’ve done a great amount of reading, well done! 2016 was good for me too, I was down on my numbers but not on quality 🙂 I look forward to seeing what your favourites were and what your new challenges will be.

  3. dianem57 says:

    I agree that some books more easily lend themselves to reading in short bursts (especially nowadays when many have short chapters or breaks within each chapter). But you can’t do that with Shakespeare. He didn’t write his plays to be read in bits and pieces. You have to plan to read them in their entirety to get the full effect – not easy in our busy world. Good luck with that next year!

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