Sunday, December 18, 2016

2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

The Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge involves reading a book whose title starts with each letter of the alphabet. I always have fun with this one! I don't make a list ahead of time. I just fill books in as I go and then spend December panicking to fill in my missing letters! :D

I'll list the books I read for this challenge below:

A: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
B: The Birthday Party of Dread (Fangbone, Third Grade Barbarian, #3) by Michael Rex
C: The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass
D: Darkwood by M.E. Breen
E: The Egg of Misery (Fangbone, Third Grade Barbarian, #2) by Michael Rex
F: Firelight (Amulet #7) by Kazu Kibuishi
G: The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike
H: Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass
I: The Island of Dr. Libris
J: Jughead, vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson
M: Mooncake by Frank Asch
N: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
O: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
P: Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill
Q: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon
R: A Recipe for Bees by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
S: Shade's Children by Garth Nix
T: Twin Spica, vol. 6 by Kou Yaginuma
U: Until Midnight (Alienated
V: A Vision of Fire (The Earthend Saga #1) by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
W: Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange #1) by Lesley Livingston

2017 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

I will once again be starting out the Mount TBR Reading Challenge by aiming for Pike's Peak: 12 books off my TBR pile. I've reached that peak the last two years so I know it's achievable. I'm hoping that this will be the year when I'm finally able to upgrade to a higher peak. We'll see! I am also joining the Goodreads group for this challenge this year, in hopes that the group atmosphere will further encourage me.

I will list the books I read for this challenge below.
  1. The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
  2. Elfangor's Secret (Megamorphs #3) by K.A. Applegate
  3. The Surprise Party (Fear Street #2) by R.L. Stine
  4. Anishnaabe World: A Survival Guide for Building Bridges between Canada and First Nations by Roger Spielmann
  5. The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass
  6. The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass
  7. The Reunion (Animorphs #30) by K.A. Applegate
  8. The Overnight (Fear Street #3) by R.L. Stine
  9. Blood of the Dead (Undead World Trilogy #1) by A.P. Fuchs
  10. Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange #1) by Lesley Livingston
  11. The Epic of Gilgamesh
  12. Mooncake by Frank Asch

2016 Reading Challenges: How Did I Do?

In 2016, I participated in a total of 11 challenges that span the calendar year, with my usual mixed success, but overall I'm happy! I finished school this year and that allowed me to read more than I've had time for in recent years. I'm still getting used to the whole concept of having free time, so I'm hoping to make time for even more reading in 2017!

Let's see how I did in each of my 2016 challenges:

First, there was my own challenge, the Anne Rice Challenge. I brought it back this year after taking a year off from hosting, and only one other person joined. (Yay Carol of Open Page! You rock!) So the lack of interest drained my own enthusiasm and I didn't even end up getting to any of my Anne Rice books.
Original goal: 6 to 10 books
Read: 0 books
Next, there's the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by My Reader's Block. I've been doing this challenge for the last 5 years (wow!) and didn't succeed in it until 2015. Well, in 2016, I passed with flying colours! Hooray!!
Original goal: 12 books
Read: 18 books
A new one for me this year was the Read the Books You Buy Challenge, hosted by The Book Date. This was always going to be a tough one for me because I tend to buy a lot of books and not get to them any time soon. (Hence my 800+ book TBR pile...) But I have been buying fewer books lately so I thought maybe I could improve. Nope.
Original goal: read 40-60% of the books I bought this year
Read: 5% of the books I bought (2 out of 38)
One challenge that I always think I'll do better than I actually do on is the Finishing the Series Challenge, hosted by Bea's Book Nook. I did end up reaching my goal, but didn't actually finish any of the series that I planned to (though I did get further in them than I was!).
Original goal: finish 3 to 6 series
Actually finished: 3 series
Next up is the Dystopia Reading Challenge, hosted by Cornerfolds. This is one of those challenges that I totally could have completed had I just tried to complete challenges instead of reading willy-nilly.
Original goal: 6 to 10 books
Read: 5 books
This year I did the NetGalley Reading Challenge, hosted by Fictively, in hopes of getting my NetGalley score up to snuff. I didn't do very well, but on the bright side, my NetGalley score didn't go down, either! :D Ultimately I've resolved to only take one NetGalley book at a time and make sure I review it, which will ensure that my score will slowly creep up.
Result: FAIL (but at least I did something)
Original goal: read and review 5 to 10 NetGalleys
Actually accomplished: read and reviewed 2 NetGalleys
I also did the Banned Books Challenge, hosted by Buckling Bookshelves. I think I was doomed to fail this one simply because it's too specific. I know there are a lot of banned/challenged books out there but I just don't happen to read very many of them in any given year.
Result: FAIL
Original goal: 3 to 5 books
Read: 2 books
Next up is always a favourite of mine: the Alphabet Soup Challenge, hosted by Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book. I was SO CLOSE! I even had X. I ended up missing just 6 letters, and I even own books for all those letters and just didn't squeeze them in in time. Next year I'll beat this one! I've actually set aside a pile of books starting with the less common letters to read early in 2017 to improve my chances. :)
Result: FAIL
Original goal: read a book for every letter of the alphabet
Actually accomplished: 20 letters, just missing J, K, Q, V, Y, and Z.
I was surprised by how badly I did on the LGBTQIA Challenge hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews. I only read two books with an LGBT+ main character, though minor characters appeared in a few others.
Result: FAIL
Original goal: 6 to 12 books
Read: 2 books

I always participate in the Women Challenge, hosted by Peek-a-booK! As usual I completed the highest level of this challenge no problem, but I did notice that this year only about 40% of the books I read were written by women, down from a bit over half in past years.
Original goal: 20 books
Read: 34 books
One big area of improvement in my reading this year is in the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge hosted this year by The Englishist. In a way I almost feel like I cheated, since my high number of books for this challenge is because of several graphic novel series, but still, a full 25% of the books I read in 2016 were by or about people of colour!
Original goal: 7 to 12 books
Read: 21 books
In summary, I completed four challenges and failed seven. Honestly that's pretty typical for me, but I have fun tracking the books I read for them anyway. :) And I did beat my Goodreads reading goal for the first time since 2012: as of now I'm at 84 and I hope to squeeze in a few more by year's end! Now I'm off to sign up for a bunch of 2017 challenges!