I signed on to two reading challenges this year because I'm a flipping masochist. Also, I find the more I read, the more I'm motivated to write. While I may not publish anything this year, I'll have plenty of words tucked away for later use. I find, too, that I can go into a reading challenge with the best of intentions - planning ahead and choosing books - and come out with a completely different list. It's like playing the Telephone Game. You start by saying I have tickets to the opera and the last person in line hears Death to the infidels.


I started the Book Riot Reading Challenge in January, and as of this moment I am one book and change away from finishing. Not bad, completing it halfway through 2015. To give you an idea of how far I strayed, here's the list:


Book published this year

ORIGINAL PICK: Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

WHAT I READ: Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt FINISHED 1-21-15


Book published before 1850

ORIGINAL PICK: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

WHAT I'M READING: Indiana by George Sand


Graphic novel

ORIGINAL PICK: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

WHAT I READ: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel  - FINISHED 1-4-15


Book originally published in another language

ORIGINAL PICK: Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes  

WHAT I READ: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - FINISHED 1-17-15


Book of Poetry

ORIGINAL PICK: Delirium by Drew Hoffman

WHAT I READ: Delirium by Drew Hoffman FINISHED 1-6-15



ORIGINAL PICK: Doctor Who – The Last Voyage by Dan Abnett (David Tennant, narrator)

WHAT I LISTENED TO: I Must Say by Martin Short (Martin Short, narrator) FINISHED 1-26-15



ORIGINAL PICK: Flapper by Joshua Zeitz  

WHAT I READ: Flapper by Joshua Zeitz  FINISHED 3-5-15


Book by or about indigenous people

ORIGINAL PICK: Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington

WHAT I READ: Tangled Roots by Giselle Renarde FINISHED 5-14-15


Book by an author from Africa

ORIGINAL PICK: Island Bound by Kiru Taye

WHAT I READ: Black Soul by Kiru Taye FINISHED 5-6-15


Book set in Asia

ORIGINAL PICK: The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

WHAT I READ: The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal FINISHED 3-13-15


Science Fiction Book

ORIGINAL PICK: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

WHAT I READ: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert FINISHED 3-5-15


Book written by author who identifies as LGBTQ

ORIGINAL PICK: High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown

WHAT I READ: High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown FINISHED 1-24-15


Book of short stories

ORIGINAL PICK: The Stories of John Cheever

WHAT I READ: Magnificent Bastards by Rich Hall FINISHED 2-4-15


Book written by author under the age of 25

ORIGINAL PICK: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

WHAT I READ: That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton FINISHED 1-9-15


Book written by author over the age of 65

ORIGINAL PICK: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

WHAT I READ: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott FINISHED 1-11-15


Self-help / improvement book

ORIGINAL PICK: The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

WHAT I READ: The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey  FINISHED 1-7-15


Romance Book

ORIGINAL PICK: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward 

WHAT I READ: Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods FINISHED 1-16-15


YA Book

ORIGINAL PICK: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

WHAT I READ: Wonder by R.J. Palacio  FINISHED 1-8-15


Book published by an indie press

ORIGINAL PICK: Strings and Bones by Kim Talon

WHAT I READ: Ghost Love by Nellie Rees FINISHED 1-28-15


Guilty pleasure book

ORIGINAL PICK: Scruples by Judith Krantz

WHAT I READ: The Rancher's Dream by Kathleen O'Brien FINISHED 4-6-15


Book based on a fairy tale or classic story

ORIGINAL PICK: Cress by Marissa Meyer

WHAT I READ: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED 3-29-15


Book by author of opposite gender

ORIGINAL PICK: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

WHAT I READ: Searchlights and Shadows  by Martin Turnbull FINISHED 2-1-15


Pulitzer, Booker, or National Book Award Winner from last decade

ORIGINAL PICK: American Lion by Jon Meacham 

WHAT I PLAN TO READ: Just Kids by Patti Smith


Book recommended by a friend


WHAT I READ: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn FINISHED 3-9-15


The reasons for switching up during the challenge vary. In the case of Brown Girl Dreaming, I got the book in December and couldn't wait to read it, so I finished it in 2014. Therefore, I couldn't really count the book toward this challenge, else I could have used the book in place of Just Kids and I'd be done with the challenge tonight.


For a while, I couldn't get a copy of Look Who's Back because it wasn't made available in the US until recently, so I moved Kitchen  from the Under 25 category to the translation category. I still plan to read the Blume and Ward books, but since both aren't out until next month I found books in their respective categories to read.


In other cases, like with A Clash of Kings  and John Cheever, I went with books that weren't the size of Rhode Island.


The second reading challenge, from POPSUGAR, I joined and simply ticked off books I read that fit. No planning ahead here. Of course if a Book Riot read overlapped I counted it:


  • Book over 500 pages - TBD
  • Classic Romance - TBD
  • Book that became a movie - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book published this year - A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with a number in the title - A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book written by someone under 30 - That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton FINISHED January. 2015
  • Book with non-human characters - Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods FINISHED January, 2015
  • Funny book - Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book by a female author - Unfaded Glory by Sara Arden FINISHED January, 2015
  • Mystery/thriller - The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith FINISHED February. 2015
  • Book with a one-word title - Wonder by R.J. Palacio FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book of short stories - Magnificent Bastards by Rich Hall FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book set in a different country - The Marriage Game by Alison Weir, FINISHED February, 2015
  • Non-fiction book - The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey FINISHED January, 2015
  • Popular author's first book - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins FINISHED APRIL, 2015
  • Book from an author I love but haven't read yet - Searchlight and Shadows by Martin Turnbull FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book a friend recommended - Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister FINISHED February, 2015
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning book - TBD
  • Book based on true story - Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book at the bottom of my TBR - Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes FINISHED MAY, 2015
  • Book my mom loves - TBD
  • Book that scares me - Revival by Stephen King FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book more than 100 years old - TBD
  • Book based entirely on its cover - Flapper by Joshua Zeitz FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book I was supposed to read in school but didn't - TBD
  • Memoir - I Must Say by Martin Short FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book I can finish in a day - Alpha, Delta by RJ Scott FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with antonyms in the title - TBD
  • Book set somewhere I've always wanted to visit - Ghost Love by Nelli Rees FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book that came out the year I was born - TBD
  • Book with bad reviews - [REDACTED] FINISHED March, 2015 (not going to list it)
  • Trilogy - TBD
  • Book from my childhood - TBD
  • Book with love triangle - The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book set in the future - Children of Dune by Frank Herbert FINISHED March, 2015
  • Book set in high school - TBD
  • Book with color in the title - Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book that made me cry - The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book with magic - The Awakening by Kally Jo Surbeck FINISHED February, 2015
  • Graphic novel - Fun Home by Alison Bechdel FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book by an author I've never read before - Guitars and Cupcakes by Ella Grey FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book I own but have never read - TBD
  • Book that takes place in my hometown - The Look of Love by Crystal Bright FINISHED May, 2015
  • Book originally written in another language - Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto FINISHED January, 2015
  • Book set during Christmas - TBD
  • Book written by author with my initials - TBD
  • Play - TBD
  • Banned book - TBD
  • Book based on or turned into TV show - Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris FINISHED February, 2015
  • Book I started but never finished - High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown FINISHED January, 2015


I already have Roller Skates (childhood), The Chosen (high school read) and Indiana (100+ years old) open. Choosing the rest will be...a challenge.