Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Challenge Picks: Read My Books and Semi-Charmed Summer 2016 Book Challenge

It's the first of June, which also means it's the start of two of the three book challenges I'm participating in this summer!

The first challenge is co-hosted by Erin and Dani. This is a very simple, straightforward challenge: no point system, no categories, no minimum number of books to read. The only real requirement is that you stick to reading only books you already own during the month of June. No library books, no books borrowed from friends.

This is perfect for people who aren't usually into book challenges or for people (like me!) who get distracted by all the amazing books at the library and neglect the books that have been sitting unread on their shelves. (You can read Erin's latest post about it here, if you haven't already checked it out.)

In honor of this challenge, I had Eric take some pictures of me a couple of weeks ago (when I actually had makeup on!) with just a few of my unread books:

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After taking those pictures, I realized I'd forgotten a couple that I really wanted to try to get through. So I made him take another one:

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And yes, I realize these are silly and I'm a huge dork for taking them.

There are a few other unread books on my shelves, but these are the books I'm going to try to get through in June. (And, quite honestly, I'm not sure I'll be able to read all of them in a single month ... But I'll definitely try!)

The second challenge kicking off this month is hosted by Megan. (The official rules for this challenge can be found here.) I missed out on completing the Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge by only one book, so I'm really hoping I can finish this time around!

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1. Freebie! Any Book That Is At Least 150 Pages Long - 5 pts

This is clearly the broadest category in the challenge, so I knew I'd be picking a book I already own. Since I actually want to finish this challenge and get through as many of my own books as possible, I tried to overlap as much as I could. These broad categories are usually difficult for me because there are just so many books I want to read, but the need to overlap really helped me narrow it down. (And, at 326 pages, my pick definitely satisfies the 150 page requirement!)

My pick: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

2. A Collection Of Short Stories Or Essays (Either By The Same Author Or Different Writers)  - 10 pts

I have to be in the right sort of mood to read short stories/essays, so I'm glad this category will actually force me to pick up at least one of the collections on my "To Read" list. I was torn between a couple of books, but, since I loved White is for Witching when I read it last year, I decided to go with Helen Oyeyemi's most recent work.

My pick: What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

3. An Adult Fiction Book Written By An Author Who Normally Writes Books For Children - 10 pts

I had a difficult time with this category because I initially thought books that fell under the "YA" category would be considered "children's" books for the purpose of this challenge. After I saw Megan's response to a question about this, though, I realized I was mistaken ... So I had to scrap my original pick. I wound up choosing another short story collection for this category, though that was mostly because I wanted something that was readily available at my library.

My pick: Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life by Roald Dahl

4. A Book Set In Appalachia - 15 pts

Cormac McCarthy has been on my radar for several years, but, for whatever reason, none of his books have ever made it to the top of my "To Read" list. After reading Erin's review of this book, I knew I had to read it eventually. And when I realized it was set in eastern Tennessee, this category became the perfect excuse to finally check out one of McCarthy's novels.

My pick: Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

5. A Book With A Cover I Personally Find Unappealing - 15 pts

I'll admit it: lately I've been adding a lot of books to my "To Read" list based solely on their covers. Thankfully, I own at least a couple of books with less than beautiful covers so I was able to overlap books for this category! I chose a book I'm really excited to read (despite the terrible cover) ... Hopefully it doesn't disappoint!

My pick: Hillary: Tail of the Dog by Angel Gelique

6. A Book I've Previously Only Seen The Movie Of - 20 pts

This was a tough category for me, but only because I was having a really hard time choosing only one book! I prefer to read the book before watching the film adaptation, but that doesn't always happen. When I was thinking about possible picks, I realized I've seen a lot of movies that made me want to check out the books that inspired them. I finally decided to go with the book that inspired a movie I absolutely loved (and I'm referring to the original, not the American remake ... I haven't seen that version) by an author I've previously read and enjoyed.

My pick: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

7. A Book With A Punny Title - 25 pts

There are a lot of books that would work for this category. Unfortunately, I have no desire to read at least 95% of them. I finally settled on this book when I was searching for a book for the previous category. (And, if you were wondering, I have seen the movie but haven't read the book.)

My pick: Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley

8. A Microhistory - 30 pts

I hadn't heard the term "microhistory" prior to this challenge, so I was a little intimidated by this category at first. Once I looked it up, I realized I've read a couple of books that fall under this category. Although I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction, I actually enjoyed those books ... So I decided to go with yet another book by the same author.

My pick: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

9. A Book With A "Good" Word In The Title And A Book With A "Bad" Word In The Title  - 30 pts

I liked that this category was so open-ended because I was able to work in two more books I already own! I went with more general "good" and "bad" words here ... Not necessarily something I enjoy (or dislike), but words that simply seemed positive and negative.

My picks: The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter (good) & Wreckage by Emily Bleeker (bad)

10. Two Books Containing The Same Word In The Title, One Singular And One Plural - 40 pts

I considered just going with two books with "girl/girls" in the title because it would be ridiculously easy to come up with multiple options from my "To Read" list. (Seriously, why do so many books I want to read have "girl/girls" in the title?) After looking through my list, though, I realized I could actually use a more unique word for this category. Both books have been on my list for at least a couple of years, and I almost used one of them for the movie category until I realized I could use it here.

My picks: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides & The Virgins by Pamela Erens

I'm really excited to get started with both of these challenges! I'll be posting yet another book list in a few weeks when I figure out what I want to read for Erin's next challenge. (If you're interested in participating, it starts July 1 and the rules/categories can be found here.)

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Here's to a great book-filled summer!


  1. Interesting list! I, too, am participating in all 3 challenges. It will be interesting for certain!

  2. I almost picked "The Silent Wife" for Erin's other challenge. It's been on my to read list awhile.

  3. Child of God - yes!! I like the pictures, but I also call myself a huge dork. Ha!!

  4. You have some really interesting picks!
    I recently read The Magic Toyshop and found it so, so weird.

    The movie category is mine - I mostly picked when I realised Papillon is a book on the BBC Big Read, and I had no idea it was a book before it was a film. I usually try to read the book first, but sometimes I just don't know there even is a book.

    Good luck with the challenges! I'm doing both too :-)

  5. I am a huge dork too so I love those pictures.

    I have virtually no idea what is on my books I own list. I shoved them on a shelf a few months ago and plan to just pick from the top when I'm finished with my library books!

  6. hahaha bring on the dorky pictures! but seriously, how tall are you? either you are teeny tiny, or those books are huge. i am doing the challenges as well! so many books, so little time, right? i always get distracted and that is why i have like 50+ books on my shelf, and like 100 ebooks on my kindle. i couldn't even read all of those in a year, let alone a month lol

  7. I'm reading my own shelf as well for June! I am using it as an excuse to try and read The Pillars of the Earth. It may be the only book I get through since it's so massive!