Winter is here dear readers and that means Christmas is only days away, along with my 30th birthday and the end of 2012. It also means that the Fall into Reading challenge hosted by Callapidder Days has officially ended!
I challenged myself to read 10 books this fall and the results are in! I finished my 10th book on the 18th of December after staying up WAY too late to do so. I really should have gone to bed and finished it the next night, but you know when a book gets to that sweet spot near the end and you know there is NO way you are putting it down until its done? Yeah, that happened. Regardless, I’m super proud of myself for finishing the challenge! The titles that I read changed a tad from my original posting, but my goal was more about number of books than actual titles and I did read a LOT of the original books I listed.
Here is what I read:
- Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller – Finished September 24, 2012 – This was one of those books that I read at just the right time. While I didn’t always agree with the author’s views, I did see myself in a lot of her stories – I think most parents will see themselves in a lot of their stories. And anyone who has ever struggled to live in the moment, relax and just be – this is a book for you.
- Divergent by Veronica Roth – Finished October 7, 2012 – I really liked this story – the plot and the dystopian setting were fascinating and the main character was very likable even in her most naive moments. While her love story occasionally irritated me, the main storyline of the book kept me reading on late into the night until I’d finished it. Looking forward to book two! – full review –
- Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – Finished October 11, 2012 – I have to say, I did not enjoy this book as much as I’d been hoping – perhaps because I’ve seen the movie version so many times. Perhaps because I was expecting it to be as amazing a read as Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers. Either way, I did feel a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the book is not bad by any means, it’s just not amazing. The book while essentially similar to the movie, had a lot of major differences which I know is common but what is less common is that I found myself preferring the movie version which seemed much more cohesive and well thought out, the characters more likable and the story a bit more exciting.
- The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang (October Book Club Pick) – Finished October 23, 2012 – I really loved this book – I knew next to nothing about the Hmong people and their struggles and found this book to be an excellent way of learning about them. Yang’s writing is vibrant and compelling, her story and the story of her ancestors was fascinating. There were a few moments in this book that just struck me as odd, but on the whole I really enjoyed it. Yet another example of a book I might never have read if not for my book club, that I’m really really glad I got the chance to read.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – finished October 28, 2012 – I definitely liked the book, but I’m not sure I loved it as much as I was expecting to – I had a hard time settling into the story if that makes any sense. Maybe because of the constant changing of topic and the many, many made up words. Which I understand the reason for, I just personally struggled with it. I definitely plan to keep reading the series though and I definitely found it really funny.
- How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – Finished November 6, 2012 – This book had a lot of Laugh of Loud moments and a truly insightful look into the world of women, feminism and life. There were also a lot of uncomfortable, pervy, crass moments. Caitlin Moran tells it like it is and has nothing to hide – so brace yourself. But on the whole, I did really enjoy this book and would recommend it with caution to anyone who is or will be a woman.
- The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (November Book Club Pick) – Finished November 27, 2012 – I really enjoyed both the concept of this book and the author’s writing style and humor. It was fascinating to read about the way of life in so many different countries – and what makes the people there happy or unhappy, what makes these places tick. And despite being a self professed “grump”, I found the author terrifically funny and his writing easy to enjoy. – full review –
- The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman – Finished December 6, 2012 – This was a much darker story than I anticipated reading, but it was beautifully written and quite moving. I did feel that the ending left much to be desired – this was not, at any point, a “feel good” kinda story but it has definitely left a lasting impression on me. – full review –
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Finished December 14, 2012 – This was such a different Austen experience from previous books of hers that I’ve read. It was fun to read her poking fun at essentially her own usual genre in this very satirical and light hearted novel – and I definitely found myself rooting for the heroine, despite her major naiveté. My only complaint with the book is that all of the major obstacles in the book were resolved almost as soon as they were brought up – everything tied neatly with a bow. I’m sure that this was her intention, being a light satire and not her usual literary endeavor, but I much prefer her “usual literary endeavor” – this was a fun, light read and I enjoyed it, but by no means adored it as I have her other works.
- Home For the Holidays (Mother Daughter Book Club #5) by Heather Vogel Frederick – Finished December 18, 2012 – This was a nice easy winter read, perfect to be read around the holidays. The girls in the Mother Daughter Book Club read the Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, which of course I am now dying to read myself. There is a LOT of boy drama and best friend fighting but it all gets worked out in the end with plenty of interesting things on the horizon bringing us into the next book in the series. I cannot recommend this series highly enough for tween or even teen girls. So refreshing and I love how the author ties the books they are reading into the plot of the story.
I mentioned in my original post that I may or may not include Momma Zen in my challenge given that I started it before the challenge began. Well given that including Momma Zen means I can pat myself on the back and say I finished my challenge kinda makes me want to include it. But if you aren’t happy with that bit of number fudging, feel free to mentally subtract one book from my total if it makes you feel better. I’ll continue to stick my fingers in my ears and sing “la la la I can’t hear you, I’m so awesome!” though, okay?
Books I didn’t get to from my original list:
Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra & Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner : I still definitely want to read both of these books at some point, but they were both fairly dense books in terms of page count and / or writing style and I knew that reading either would be throwing in the towel on hitting my goal of ten books. I added in three extra titles not on my original list, so all told, I’d say I did pretty well staying on task.
How about a bit of superlative fun?
Best book read this fall: It’s a close call, but I’m giving that honor to Divergent by Veronica Roth. I do love me some dystopian YA fiction and this is a very promising story. I’m very impatient to read Insurgent now!
Worst book read this fall: I enjoyed all the books I read for the most part this fall, but I would say Hitchhikers Guide was the biggest disappointment because I was expecting to LOVE it and only liked it.
Biggest surprise read: I was thoroughly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang and by how much I learned reading it. I didn’t know anything about the Hmong people at all before reading this and I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in that!
Thanks again to Kat @ Callapidder Days for hosting this reading challenge, I always enjoy it so much!
Did you participate in the Fall into Reading Challenge? How did you do? What was your favorite book from the fall?