Friday, December 31, 2021

My Year in Reading

 Here are my results for reading in 2021.

I am now ready to start again tomorrow as 2022 begins. Not sure yet what my first read of the new year will be. 
In July I got 31 books, and 34 in December, the most I can recall in a single month. A lot of my December books were short ones, including several holiday picture books. 
I am now anxious to see what my longest and shortest books next year will be. I knew I would not get anything longer than 1,084 pages this year.  I did not (and do not ever) envision reading two 1000+ page books in one year, though I did get several books that were 400 or more pages. Most picture books and some poetry books and ebooks and audiobooks were done in one sitting. 

There are a few challenges for 2022 I am still waiting on, to see if they will happen. No word yet on the Newbery, Dystopian, Back to the Classics, or NJM challenges. I'm also waiting on the Foodies Read, though that one usually gets posted on January 1. If none of these happen, there are others I will consider. I was sad to learn that two I have been doing will not be happening next year. The Reading Women podcast has closed down, meaning its reading challenge will no longer happen. I really liked that one. I did find something similar, though, for next year.  And I got an email from the Modern Mrs. Darcy site that her challenge will not be offered next year. That too, was a little upsetting. But I have plenty others I can do.
Still no retelling challenges happening that I have seen, although the Fairy Tale challenge comes close, as reading a retelling of the tale-of-the-month is one of the options.

The Nerd Daily’s 2022 Reading Challenge

 Decided to do this one again. Last year was my first time.

  1. Book with a red spine: Kamala's Way--Dan Morain
  2. Debut author: The Cactus--Sarah Haywood
  3. Bookstore recommendation: Salt to the Sea--Ruta Sepetys
  4. Title starts with F or S: Summer on Blossom Street--Debbie Macomber
  5. Mystery or middle grade: The Coldest Case--Martin Walker 
  6. NY Times bestseller: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--John Berendt
  7. Set in summer: The Summer of Jordi Perez--Amy Spalding
  8. Bought based on cover: Smoke and Mirrors--K.D. Halbrook
  9. Anthology: Meet Cute--Jennifer L. Armentrout & others
  10. Recommended by family/friend: Dragonfly in Amber--Diana Gabaldon
  11. Part of a series: The Rivals--Daisy Whitney
  12. 2022 movie adaptation: Conversations With Friends--Sally Rooney
  13. Reviewed by Nerd Daily in 2022: Lessons in Chemistry--Bonnie Garmus
  14. Author starting with R: Tell the Wolves I'm Home--Carol Rifka Brunt
  15. A retelling: Cinderella is Dead--Kalynn Bayron
  16. YA or sci-fi: Never Always Sometimes--Adi Alsaid
  17. Released in February 2022: This Woven Kingdom--Tahereh Mafi
  18. Under 350 pages: When You Trap a Tiger--Tae Keller
  19. Four-word title: Out of My Mind--Sharon M. Draper
  20. Fantasy or romanceListen to Your Heart--Kasie West
  21. A book you never finished started when you planned to: Jemima J--Jane Green
  22. Purple on the cover: Kamala: Feminist Folktales From Around the World--Ethel Johnston Phelps
  23. Reread: By the Shores of Silver Lake--Laura Ingalls Wilder
  24. Recommended on social media: Arsenic and Adobo--Mia P. Manansala
  25. Protagonist starts with B: Here to Stay--Sara Farizan
  26. Standalone: Eight Hundred Grapes--Laura Dave
  27. 2022 TV adaptation: Station Eleven--Emily St. John Mandel
  28. An author new to you: A Curse So Dark and Lonely--Brigid Kemmerer
  29. Released in July 2022: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow--Gabrielle Zevin
  30. #ownvoices author: Angel of Greenwood--Randi Pink
  31. A questionable cover: The Coldest Winter Ever--Sister Souljah
  32. Author starting with G: Call Us What We Carry--Amanda Gorman
  33. A book gifted to you: The Switch--Beth O'Leary
  34. Protagonist starting with T: Twice in a Blue Moon--Christina Lauren
  35. In your TBR pile: Sleeping With Anemone--Kate Collins
  36. Non-fiction or audiobook: Kitchen Confidential--Anthony Bourdain
  37. #booktok recommendation: The Guncle--Steven Rowley
  38. Bought based on cover: Tokyo Ever After--Emiko Jean
  39. Setting: where you'd rather be: Bridgerton: The Duke and I--Julia Quinn
  40. Written by a fave author: The Homewreckers--Mary Kay Andrews
  41. Features a journey: Journey Under the Sea--R.A. Montgomery
  42. Start a new series: The Mockingbirds--Daisy Whitney
  43. Number in the title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore--Robin Sloan
  44. Released before you were born: Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio--Pu Songling
  45. Picked at random: Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife)--Christina Stead
  46. Quoted by an author you like: Peril in Paperback--Kate Carlisle
  47. Illustrated cover: Silverworld--Diana Abu-Jaber
  48. One-word title: Moloka'i--Alan Brennert
  49. Bought on holidays: Girl Online On Tour--Zoe Sugg
  50. Book with blue spine: Easy Crafts for the Insane--Kelly Williams Brown
  51. Multiple perspectives: Life's Too Short--Abby Jimenez
  52. BIPOC author: Black Buck--Mateo Askaripour
Challenge completed on December 5

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The 2022 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

This is my third time doing this challenge. In 2020, I picked Baker's Dozen as my goal, but upgraded to Fortnightly. I chose Fortnightly again in 2021, then just kept going to see much farther I could get with the list (I ended up covering all the categories, including all the Wildcards). This is how I will approach the challenge for 2022. (Click the link above to see a larger image of the categories graphic).

A to Z
Book with the letter Z in the title: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald--Therese Anne Fowler
Author whose name starts with A or Z: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow--Gabrielle Zevin
A "comprehensive" book: The Anthropocene Reviewed--John Green

The Same, But Not
Book with the color red or word "read" on cover: All About Love--bell hooks
Author whose last name could be a first name: The Red Queen--Philippa Gregory
Retelling of a classic: Hansel & Gretel--James Marshall
A "He said, she said" book: Unfriended--Rachel Vail

What's the Dish?
Book with a mug or cup on the cover: Black Buck--Mateo Askaripour
Book that includes recipes: Caramel Pecan Roll Murder--Joanne Fluke
Book about food from another culture: Arsenic and Adobo--Mia P. Manansala

Author whose name you remember easily: The Fixer Upper--Mary Kay Andrews
Book with the word "remember" in the title: Remember the Ladies--Cheryl Harness

Back to Basics

Time is Ticking
Book to pass the time while your favorite author finishes their next novel: Beach House for Rent--Mary Alice Monroe

'Til the Fat Lady Sings
Book about body image: I'll Be the One--Lyla Lee
Book with word "over" in the title: Layover--Amy Alderson & Emily Meyer
Book about a singer/musician: River of Time--Naomi Judd

It's All Relative
Book about animal families: The Whale Family Book--Cynthia D'Vincent
Book that relates to an interest you have: Lit--Mary Karr
Book about finding family: The Summer Deal--Jill Shalvis
Book with "aunt" or "uncle" in the title: The Guncle--Steven Rowley

Book by an author who sounds like a geek: She Drives Me Crazy--Kelly Quindlen
Cover that reminds you of a video game: Several People Are Typing--Calvin Kasulke
Book about an obsessive hobby: The Last Chance Library--Freya Sampson
Book about fandom or a fanfic: Death Comes to Pemberley--P.D. James

Workin' for a Living
Book by an author whose name is a trade or profession: Three Stations--Martin Cruz Smith
Memoir focused on author's profession: Lean In--Sheryl Sandberg
Protagonist works in field similar to yours: The Lies That Bind--Emily Giffin
Nonfiction book about workers' rights: The Radium Girls--Kate Moore

Cover Up
Cover with someone who could use some clothes: Jemima J--Jane Green
Book with multiple fonts on cover: Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife)--Christina Stead
Book with the author's name above the title: Vanilla--Billy Merrell

Taking the Plunge
Book with a cliff or ocean on cover: Salt to the Sea--Ruta Sepetys
Book by author you've always wanted to read: The Lost Apothecary--Sarah Penner
Book over 600 pages: Glass--Ellen Hopkins
Book someone dares you to read: 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life--Joyce Meyer

Book set somewhere you might wear shorts: The Summer of Jordi Perez--Amy Spalding
Book under 150 pages: Retro Rhythms--Francesca Damkar
Book wider than it is tall: Book Fiesta!--Pat Mora

Book with "attic" or "kitchen" in the title: Kitchen Confidential--Anthony Bourdain
Book by an author who lives in another country: The Cactus--Sarah Haywood
Book about a movie being filmed on location: The Safety Net--Andrea Camilleri

TBR Guilt
Book dusty from waiting to be read: Eight Hundred Grapes--Laura Dave
Book someone gave you that you haven't read yet: Call Us What We Carry--Amanda Gorman
Book you've been meaning to read: Castle Rackrent and The Absentee--Maria Edgeworth
New release you feel guilty reading because TBR list is so long: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama--Bob Odenkirk

Book with a devious villain: How the Light Gets In--Louise Penny
Book about a craft you do or would like to learn about: Easy Crafts for the Insane--Kelly Williams Brown
Book with a craft-related pun in title: Postcards From the Dead--Laura Childs
Book known for an unexpected twist at end: Apples Never Fall--Liane Moriarty

People We Should Know
Book about women's issues: Willow Weep for Me--Meri Nana-Ama Danquah (reread)
Book by BIPOC author: Out of My Mind--Sharon M. Draper
Book with LBGTQIA+ protagonist: Jay's Gay Agenda--Jason June
Book written by immigrant: The Wind in My Hair--Masih Alinejad

Nonfiction book about someone you admire: Kamala's Way--Dan Morain
Book with "feet" or "clay" in the title: The Clay Marble--Mingfong Ho
Book with a cape or cloak on cover: The Last Kids on Earth--Max Brallier

Crossing Over
Book with "bridge" in the title: Bridgerton: The Duke and I--Julia Quinn
Book that crosses two genres: Timeless--Gail Carriger
Book with X or cross on cover: The XX Brain--Lisa Mosconi, PhD

Childhood Days
Reread a childhood favorite: By the Shores of Silver Lake--Laura Ingalls Wilder
Book about the circus: Smoke and Mirrors--K.D. Halbrook
Book set within 10 years of your birth: Tell the Wolves I'm Home--Carol Rifka Brunt
Coming of age story: Moloka'i--Alan Brennert

Book about a mythical creature: Unicorn on a Roll--Dana Simpson
By an author you consider amazing: The Homewreckers--Mary Kay Andrews

Book with alternating timelines or narrators: A Song Below Water--Bethany C. Morrow
Book that features a classic car: Firekeeper's Daughter--Angeline Boulley
Book that takes place on both land and sea: Martin Eden--Jack London

Musical Inspirations
West Side Story--a tragic love story: Punk 57--Penelope Douglas
Sweeney Todd--book about revenge: Poor Unfortunate Soul--Serena Valentino
Phantom of the Opera--book about a hidden world: Silverworld--Diana Abu-Jaber
Chicago--set in jail or prison: Native Son--Richard Wright

Other Lands
Book translated from another language: My Invented Country--Isabel Allende
Book by author from country you'd like to visit: The Switch--Beth O'Leary
Book set in area geographically different from your home: The Power of One--Bryce Courtenay
Book with "land" in the title: The Island of Sea Women--Lisa See

Timely Topics
Book about a pandemic: Station Eleven--Emily St. John Mandel
Book about climate change: Saving Us--Katharine Heyhoe
Book about a social movement: Angel of Greenwood--Randi Pink

Stories with Grit
Book with a desert on the cover: First Trip--Cheryl Taylor
Gritty detective story: The Coldest Case--Martin Walker 

Book with an orange cover: Caramel Pecan Roll Murder--Joanne Fluke
Book at least 20 years older than you: Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio--Pu Songling
Book about your favorite animal: Cat Me If You Can--Miranda James

Challenge absolutely complete on December 27

Happy Stay Home for New Year's Eve

With new cases of the virus occurring, people are now being advised to avoid large gatherings on New Year's Eve. Just like last year, I'm prepared to stay home. Even before COVID hit, I had pretty much given up on going out for New Year's Eve. So I was somewhat prepared.

I don't think I'll be missing much by staying home. But I do hope it will be safer to go out to celebrations next year. I really did miss being out for Halloween this year. That's one I want to be out for. I have been hesitant this past year about such celebrations since I will not know who has been vaccinated or not, and may encounter people without masks. Like everyone else int the world, I'm awaiting the day this will no longer have to be true.

Monday, December 27, 2021

2022 PBN Reading Challenge

 Doing this one again, at Professional Book Nerds.

My books:

  1. "Classic" You Weren't Assigned in High School: Castle Rackrent and The Absentee--Maria Edgeworth
  2. Author Indigenous to Your Country: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me--Sherman Alexie
  3. 2021 Debut You Didn't Read in 2021: Black Buck--Mateo Askaripour
  4. Nonfiction Book by a Woman in Tech: Lean In--Sheryl Sandberg
  5. Deals With Mental Health Issues: Out of My Mind--Sharon M. Draper
  6. a) A historical fiction novel about a person: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald--Therese Anne Fowler and b) a biography about the same person: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald--Linda Wagner-Martin
  7. Book by a trans author: It Never Goes Away--Dr. Anne L. Koch
  8. A musician's memoir or autobiography: River of Time--Naomi Judd
  9. Romance: The Wyndham Legacy--Catherine Coulter 
  10. Recommended by #Booktok: The Guncle--Steven Rowley
  11. Written in Second Person: Journey Under the Sea--R.A. Montgomery
Challenge completed on July 1

Friday, December 24, 2021

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Last Christmas

It's now Christmas Eve and the world is facing nearly the same thing as last Christmas. The virus is still looming, with the new variant. Even though we now have vaccines, which we didn't have a year ago, there are still people refusing to get them. And now hospital workers are preparing once again to treat COVID patients.   

I have been hesitant to get out, worrying over the size of the crowds and not knowing who has been fully vaccinated, and possibly seeing others without masks on. As much as I would have liked to see the the local production of Beauty and the Beast Jr., (which had been postponed from March of 2020 following the initial COVID shutdown), I was hesitant to do so. And I skipped going to the bar celebrations for Halloween since I had only received my booster less than two weeks prior. I don't count on going out for New Year's Eve, though, since I have not done so in years, even before the coronavirus hit. And I have nothing big planned for Christmas tomorrow, something that has been true for several years now, again even before COVID. 

Now it seems we're heading into a two-year pandemic. Who knows how much longer this will go on. 

Whatever you are celebrating, have a happy holiday, whatever you plan to do.

2022 Book to Movie (and TV) Reading Challenge

 Doing this once again.

My books:

  1. The Time Traveler's Wife--Audrey Niffenegger
  2. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--John Berendt
  3. Station Eleven--Emily St. John Mandel
  4. Dragonfly in Amber--Diana Gabaldon
  5. Fast Food Nation--Eric Schlosser
  6. Voyager--Diana Gabaldon
  7. Anne of Avonlea--L.M. Montgomery
  8. Bridgerton: The Duke and I--Julia Quinn
  9. The Hating Game--Sally Thorne
  10. Native Son--Richard Wright
  11. The Last Kids on Earth--Max Brallier
  12. Conversations With Friends--Sally Rooney
  13. Molly's Game--Molly Bloom
  14. Wishful Drinking--Carrie Fisher
  15. White Noise--Don DeLillo
  16. Mr. Miracle--Debbie Macomber
Calling challenge complete on December 23

Thursday, December 23, 2021


 I'm doing this one again, getting as many books as possible.

WHAT COUNTS AS "EUROPE"?: For this challenge, we use the standard list of 50 sovereign states that fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, and Italy), Scandinavian countries, the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Balkan, Baltic, and former Soviet states. Please see note below about the UK in particular. 

These 50 European sovereign states are:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
NOTE: Even with Brexit, the United Kingdom is still one country, part of Europe, that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. One book from any one of these four counts as your one book for the United Kingdom. Challenges should be about fun not about rules, so I'm not going to be the Challenge Police about this. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries counts.


Participants can read as many books as they want and are encouraged to visit as many European countries as possible. The Jet Setter Prize will go to the person who reads (and reviews) books from the greatest number of different countries (see below).

Not everyone wants to compete for a prize, review books, or read a lot of books. You can "complete" the challenge by reading one to five books from different countries. If you want to do more, read more books and compete for the prize.

To participate in the challenge, sign up at the levels below. If you want to go on to compete for the Prize, keep reading!

  • FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.
  • FOUR STAR (HONEYMOONER): Read four qualifying books.
  • THREE STAR (BUSINESS TRAVELER): Read three qualifying books.
  • TWO STAR (ADVENTURER): Read two qualifying books.
  • ONE STAR (PENSIONE WEEKENDER): Read just one qualifying book.

My Books:

  1. The Red Queen--Philippa Gregory (UK)
  2. Salt to the Sea--Ruta Sepetys (Lithuania)
  3. Dragonfly in Amber--Diana Gabaldon (Scotland)
  4. Dogs in the Dead of Night--Mary Pope Osborne (Switzerland)
  5. Hour of the Olympics--Mary Pope Osborne (Greece)
  6. The Little Paris Bookshop--Nina George (France)
  7. Vacation Under the Volcano--Mary Pope Osborne (Italy)
  8. Three Stations--Martin Cruz Smith (Russia)
  9. Conversations With Friends--Sally Rooney (Ireland)

Calling challenge complete on November 19

The Feminist Reading Challenge 2022

I was sad to learn that the Reading Women podcast is ending this year and as such, so is the Reading Women challenge. As such, I was glad to find this new one, by this Instagram user:

My Books:

  1. Short-story collection: When It Happens to You--Molly Ringwald
  2. Historical Fiction by an African Writer: The Red Queen--Philippa Gregory
  3. Graphic Novel: Dancing at the Pity Party--Tyler Feder
  4. Audiobook: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach--Carmen Agra Deedy
  5. Middle grade by a black writer: Out of My Mind--Sharon M. Draper
  6. Poetry by a Black Writer: Call Us What We Carry--Amanda Gorman
  7. Feminist Nonfiction by a Writer of Color: Ace--Angela Chen
  8. Feminist Lit Beyond UK/USA: Kamala: Feminist Folktales From Around the World--Ethel Johnston Phelps
  9. Memoir in translation: My Invented Country--Isabel Allende
  10. About immigration/written by a refugee: The Wind in My Hair--Masih Alinejad
  11. Memoir by a Muslim writer: Daring to Drive--Manal Al-Sharif
  12. Asian writer in translation: The Island of Sea Women--Lisa See
  13. A book by bell hooks: All About Love
  14. About queer joy: The Summer of Jordi Perez--Amy Spalding
  15. Published by an indie press: The Girl Who Drank the Moon--Kelly Barnhill
  16. East African Writer: Half a Yellow Sun--Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  17. Mythology retelling set outside of Ancient Greece: Poor Unfortunate Soul--Serena Valentino
  18. Non-Binary Writer: Pet--Akwaeke Emezi
  19. Caribbean Author: Breath, Eyes, Memory--Edwidge Danticat
  20. About Climate Change: Saving Us--Katharine Heyhoe
  21. Latinx Author: With the Fire on High--Elizabeth Acevedo
  22. Jhalak Prize Nominee: Queenie--Candice Carty-Williams
  23. About disability: The Kiss Quotient--Helen Hoang
  24. Indigenous writer: Firekeeper's Daughter--Angeline Boulley
  25. South American Writer in Translation: In the Midst of Winter--Isabel Allende
Challenge completed on November 16