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Reading challenge accepted

UPDATED: December 26, 2015

namastefreund posted a challenge on their FaceBook page:

the first person to complete this challenge (and tag namastefreund on twitter, facebook, or instagram with each book as they are crossed off the list) before this time next year (September 18, 2016) will win a custom designed bookmark and a gift certificate to get a second one to give away as a gift.

  1. a book you own but haven't read

  2. a book that was made into a movie

  3. a book you pick solely because of the cover

  4. a book your friend loves

  5. a book published this year

  6. a book by an author you've never read before

  7. a book by an author you love

  8. a book at the bottom of your "to be read" pile

  9. a book with a colour in the title

  10. a book set somewhere you always wanted to visit

  11. a book you started but never finished

  12. a book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe

  13. a book with a female heroine

  14. a book set in the summer

  15. a book of poems

  16. a book you learned about because of this challenge

  17. a book that will make you smarter

  18. a book with a blue cover

  19. a book you were supposed to read in school, but didn't

  20. a book "everyone" but you has read

  21. a book with a great first line

  22. a book with pictures

  23. a book from the library

  24. a book you loved. read it again

  25. a book that is more than 10 years old

  26. a book based on a true story

Books I Read
As I read books in this challenge, I'll update this post. I'll cross items off the list above, and provide details here.

a book you own but haven't read - Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Finished reading April ?, 2016. I don't remember exactly when I finished this book. I've had this book a while, and it was recommended to me. I really liked the first parts of this book and the research into how people think. There were some sections that didn't interest me so much about economics, but overall the book was worthwhile.

a book your friend loves - Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Finished reading January 1, 2016. One friend really enjoyed this book and suggested that I read it soon. And while it was next in queue in my TBR pile, a couple of other friends posted that they really disliked this book. I went in not knowing what to expect. It turned out to be a fun fast romp, set in the future but filled with pop references to 1980s pop-culture (along with some 1970s and 1990s references), especially arcade games and early computer games, but also movies, tv, and pop music. The opening scenario hooked me, which kept me slogging through the next 50 or so pages until it really took off for me. But then I couldn't put it down.

a book by an author you love - Shattered Pillars, by Elizabeth Bear. Finished reading November 14, 2015. I love so much that Elizabeth Bear writes, although she often writes something new and different from what she previously wrote. Shattered Pillars is the middle book in her epic fantasy trilogy, set along a reimagined silk road. I prefer Elizabeth Bear's science fiction, but this story is gripping. I especially enjoy the animal characters - Hrahima, a tiger, and Bansh, a horse.

a book published this year - House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard. Finished reading December 25, 2015. This story is poignant, haunting, and unusual. House of Shattered Wings is set in an alternate Paris. Fallen angels populate the city. They can perform magic, and their body parts can be used by mortals to perform magic. Paris is in ruins from a great magic war in the early 1900s. Woven into this tale are the colonial subjects from Viet Nam, subjugated by the French but with their own magic. The world is much larger than this book, and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

a book by an author you've never read before - What Matters in Jane Austen? 20 Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan. Finished reading February 11, 2016. This is a book for fans of Jane Austen. I'm not sure it would make much sense without great familiarity with her novels. However, if you do love her novels, this book is great fun. Each chapter asks a question. Some chapters focus more on aspects of her writing (which significant characters never speak? how experimental was Austen's writing?) while other chapters focus more on the period (what do people read? what games to people play?).

a book with a blue cover - The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. Finished readin February 24, 2016. This light romantic comedy is from the point of view of a man who is possibly on the autism spectrum. It's very funny, and the characters are both likable and interesting.

a book with pictures - The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking through Science, by Kenji Lopez-Alt. Finished reading January 30, 2016. This near-thousand-page tome is a combination of textbook and cookbook. The term "textbook" is entirely too dry. This book covers lots of theory, along with the results of Kenji Lopez-Alt's experiments to discovering better ways of cooking - where better might mean faster, more efficient, or with a tastier outcome. Much of this book is light-hearted and funny. And filled with lots and lots of pictures. Not just of the finished results, but sometimes all steps along the way.

a book from the library - Locked In, by John Scalzi. Finished reading March ?, 2016. I've been very bad about updating this list, so I'm not 100% sure when I finished this book. I didn't get the physical book from the library. I did, however, visit the library to get my library card. Then I signed up with OverDrive, so that I can check out e-books from the library. This is really convenient. And I like the idea of reading books without having to own them. This is a science fiction book that deals with virtual reality, disability, and identity. It's fun and fast-paced.

Books I read that don't fit the challenge
Because I enjoyed The Rosie Project so much, I ready the sequel The Rosie Effect in less than a week. There were parts of this book that I didn't enjoy as much as the first book, but overall, it was fun. If another sequel comes out, I'll read that, too.

I just had to read The Goblin Empereror, by Katherine Addison. This is the pen name of Sarah Monette, who wrote some excellent but disturbing fantasy novels. The Goblin Emperor has wonderful characters and a richly built world. Although there is pain and danger in this book, there is also hope. I highly recommend this book.

I needed something light and upbeat and turned to Exploring Calivin and Hobbes, an exhibit by Bill Watterson. The essay and interview were interesting. The cartoons are always fun, and the curation enjoyable.


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