Book Challenge Update #3

One of my goals for 2015 was completing this reading challenge. My previous two updates about the first 7 categories I completed can be found here and here. Now I’ve checked off the last five categories!

  1. A book you should have read in high school: I read Fahrenheit 451 (by Ray Bradbury). There is dystopian fiction, and then there is terrifying dystopian fiction. This is definitely terrifying, and very dark. I knew the basic storyline before I read the book, but the prose and some of the plot elements all combined to make this one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. There are quite a few quotable lines and discussion points, and I loved the ending.
  2. A book “everyone” has read but you: I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (by Marie Kondo). With all the press this book has gotten I figured it was perfect for this category. I found most of it really interesting and I intend to try out some of the tidying strategies covered in the book. However, the tone of it was weird at times. Perhaps it was due to the translation from Japanese, but some of the passages felt like a used car salesman trying to sell me on the KonMari Method. There were a few too many promises of how her method of tidying will miraculously make every other part of life SO much better. She also assigns emotions to possessions and houses which was maybe meant to be cute but read more like she actually believes all those things have feelings. Overall, I’m glad I read it, but for me it didn’t quite live up to the hype.
  3. A book originally written in a foreign language: I read The Count of Monte Cristo (by Alexandre Dumas). Yes, it took me 5 months to read this, but it is one of the best books I’ve ever read and definitely worth the 1000+ pages. I already plan on re-reading it again in a few years. I knew the basic plot from movie adaptations but the book is orders of magnitude better than I expected and I’m so glad I read it.
  4. A book my mom loves: I read Wish You Well (by David Baldacci). An enjoyable (if slightly predictable) story. I understand why my mom liked it so much; very strong themes of love, family, and loyalty.
  5. A book I’ve been meaning to read: I read Project-Based Homeschooling (by Lori Pickert). I got this book for Christmas last year as it’s been on my to-read list for a while. Sadly, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I found it to be very repetitive, and I think it would have been better named Art-Based Homeschooling. It seems like the author had a system that worked well for her children, but this book really only talked about arts-and-crafts projects (and how “imperative” it is to spend lots of money on expensive art supplies). There wasn’t much info for kids who learn in other ways. I think this could be a very useful book for people who learn and homeschool in a way similar to the author, but for people with other learning styles it wasn’t very helpful.

I’m so happy I completed this challenge. It really encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and devote more time to reading than I have the past few years. So far I’ve read 34 books this year, and most of those were books I would never have tried a few years ago (when I was shackled to Christian fiction as the only “acceptable” genre). My to-read list is longer and more diverse than when I started the year, and I’m excited to continue challenging myself new reading goals.

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