You know the deal by now. Back in January, Kayla, Megan, and Carly embarked on a reading challenge for the new year. Each month, they try to read some books that fall into very specific categories from a list put out by POPSUGAR, and check them off on their own copies of the list, until they’ve read them all by the end of 2015. So let’s see what progress our heroes have made in their journey since February:
A book with more than 500 pages– Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman — This did NOT at all go where I expected it to. At all. The jury’s still out on this sequel to Seraphina. Expect a thorough review soon.
A book written by a female author — Nightbird by Alice Hoffman– This book was great! See my full review here. I’m still feeling the warm fuzzies from this sweet novel.
A book with a love triangle– The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani– I can not put words to how angry this book made me. The first book in this trilogy was wonderful, and this was perplexing and upsetting all the way through. Again, I have a review for the series in the works. Stay tuned!
A book with a love triangle/A book based on or turned into a TV show — Outlander by Diane Gabaldon — This book took me a long time to get through, but not because I wasn’t enjoying it – it was just long. As a fan of the TV series, it was cool to both read the book version of what I’ve already seen in the first half of season one, and get an idea of some of the excitement to come in the latter half of the season. Claire made just as compelling a heroine on the page as on screen, and I’m definitely planning on checking out the next book in the series, Dragonfly in Amber.
A nonfiction book/A book that was originally written in a different language — Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke — I feel like Letters to a Young Poet is one of those books that gets mentioned a lot as being really amazing for writers to read, but I’ve never actually sat down to read it until now. There were definitely parts of it that I found very powerful, and there were many moments of sheer beautiful prose, but on the whole I wasn’t overcome with the power of the book. Some of the letters were definitely more powerful than others, and for a collection with so few letters to begin with…well, you get the idea. I’ll probably try reading it again at a future date, because it was definitely a text with a lot of layers that I will get something new out of each time I read it.
A book published this year — Uprooted by Naomi Novik — This book isn’t actually out yet; it’s scheduled to be published in May. Advance copies are available through various marketing outreaches, however, including NetGalley. In this beautifully-written original fairy tale, a wizard known as “the Dragon” whisks off a young village girl for unknown purposes every ten years. Agnieszka is the girl who is chosen this year, and she finds herself embroiled in a fight against the evil that seeps out of the nearby forest to prey on the townspeople and corrupt them into things dark and twisted. My favorite part of this book is the romance, or should I say near-lackthereof. I was waiting all novel for the inevitable romance between Agnieszka and the Dragon, but when it did occur, it was brief, not distracting or essential to the plot. Love is a part of Agnieszka’s life, but not the whole of it. She does not let it change who she is or what her goals are, and she maintains a fiery independence and sense of agency through to the end. If you like magic and strong female characters, I highly recommend this book when it comes out.
A book with antonyms in the title — Glory O’Brian’s History of the Future by A.S. King — ‘History’ and ‘future’ are antonyms, right? Close enough. This bizarre novel recounts the story of Glory O’Brian who gains the power to see the future and past from creation to death of any object or person she looks at. Strangest of all, she gets this power by drinking a mummified bat dissolved in beer. Minus the magic, it’s a story about a girl trying to deal with the fact that no one will talk about her mother’s suicide; that everyone, including herself, are afraid she will do the same; that her dad hasn’t been the same since; and that her best friend isn’t that great of a friend. Then you add the visions, which piece together a story of an apocalyptic future that deserves its own book, where the country is divided by a second civil war, women are enslaved by the government, and Glory and her descendants are part of a resistance movement. There’s a lot going on in this one book, but it’s a very interesting read.
Got any suggestions for books in our remaining categories? Or maybe just words of encouragement? Want to share your own progress? Please talk to us in the comments below!