2019 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

Remember all those reading challenges for 2019 I was so excited about back in December of 2018? Turns out, 2019 had its own special set of challenges for me. Still, let’s take a look back and see how things went.

12 Children’s Classics for 2019 (hosted by Book Hippie)
Goal: 12 books (pre-selected by challenge rules)
Result: 1/12 (8.3%)

January: Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Finished: March 8)
February: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
March: Goody Two Shoes by McLoughlin Brothers
April: The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston
May: The Tale Of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
June: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
July: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
August: Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes
September: Tales of Mother Goose by Charles Perrault
October: Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie
November: Raggedy Ann & Andy by Johnny Gruelle
December: Nutcracker and Mouse-King by E.T.A. Hoffmann

2019 Middle Grade Reading Challenge (hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews)
Goal: 6 or More Books with optional checklist
Result: 10/6 (166%) (I know there were more, but I seem to have forgotten to log them somewhere in the middle of the year.)

  1. a Newbery Winner: Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (finished February 11)
  2. a Newbery Honor: The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (finished February 14)
  3. realistic/contemporary: Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (finished February 23)
  4. Author beginning with C: Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (finished March 7)
  5. nonfiction: Camp Panda by Catherine Thimmesh (finished March 8)
  6. children’s book published in the 1880s: Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (finished March 8)
  7. historical fiction: Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransom (finished March 13)
  8. mystery: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (finished March 28)
  9. fantasy: Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (finished December 3)
  10. any book in a series: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (finished December 21)

Back to the Classics (hosted by Books and Chocolate)
Goal: 12 books
Result: 2/12 (16.67%)

  • 19th Century Classic (1800-1899): Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (finished March 8)
  • Classic in Translation: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Marie Borroff (finished December 28)
  • 20th Century Classic (1900-1969)
  • Classic by a Woman Author
  • Classic Comic Novel
  • Classic Tragic Novel
  • Very Long Classic
  • Classic Novella
  • Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean)
  • Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia
  • Classic From a Place You’ve Lived
  • Classic Play

Georgian Reading Challenge (hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews)
Goal: 4 books
Result: 0. Just didn’t happen.

Victorian Reading Challenge (hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews)
Goal: 20 books
Result: 1 (5%) – Little Lord Fauntleroy was the only one here.

Cruisin’ Thru The Cozies (hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews)
Goal: 10 cozy mysteries
Result: 4 (40%)

  • Paranormal: Fatality in F by Alexia Gordon (finished June 28)
  • Based outside the US: A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (finished February 8)
  • Career-based: Reading Up a Storm by Eva Gates (finished May 30)
  • Travel: Savasana at Sea by Ava Dunne (finished March 24)
  • Culinary
  • Animal-related
  • Craft-related
  • Historical
  • Holiday based
  • Freebie

Read Harder (Book Riot)
Goal: 24 Books
Result: 13 (54%)

  1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters: To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer (finished December 20)
  2. An alternate history novel
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (finished January 2)
  4. A humor book: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (finished July 28)
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
  6. A book by an AOC set in or about space: The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum (finished April 24)
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads: Savasana at Sea by Ava Dunne (finished March 24)
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Marie Borroff (finished December 28)
  11. A book of manga
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
  14. A cozy mystery: Fatality in F by Alexia Gordon (finished June 28)
  15. A book of mythology or folklore: Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson (finished January 27)
  16. An historical romance by an AOC: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole (finished January 9)
  17. A business book
  18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author: Hurricane Child by K. Callender
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime
  20. A book written in prison
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator: Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (finished December 18)
  22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009: Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora (finished February 13)
  23. A self-published book
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014: Wait for Me: The Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage by Judith Viorst (finished December 18)

Reading Women (Reading Women podcast)
Goal: 24 Books
Result: 9 (37.5%)

  1. A mystery or thriller written by a woman of color: Fatality in F by Alexia Gordon (finished June 28)
  2. A book about a woman with a mental illness
  3. A book by an author from Nigeria or New Zealand
  4. A book about or set in Appalachia
  5. A children’s book: Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (finished February 11)
  6. A multigenerational family saga
  7. A book featuring a woman in science
  8. A play
  9. A novella
  10. A book about a woman athlete
  11. A book featuring a religion other than your own
  12. A Lambda Literary Award winner
  13. A myth retelling: Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson (finished January 27)
  14. A translated book published before 1945
  15. A book written by a South Asian author
  16. A book by an Indigenous woman: We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell (finished March 8)
  17. A book from the 2018 Reading Women Award shortlist
  18. A romance or love story: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole (finished January 9)
  19. A book about nature
  20. A historical fiction book: The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (finished January 19)
  21. A book you bought or borrowed in 2019: A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat Howard (finished February 4)
  22. A book you picked up because of the cover
  23. Any book from a series: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates (finished May 24)
  24. A young adult book by a woman of color: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (finished January 2)
  25. BONUS: A book by Jesmyn Ward
  26. BONUS: A book by Jhumpa Lahiri

Official TBR Pile Challenge (Roof Beam Reader)
Goal: 12 (pre-selected) books
Result: 1, but I didn’t post about it. Whoops.

Did I perhaps overcommit myself on challenges for 2019?

Mmmmm, possibly.

Am I going to let that stop me from signing up for more challenges in 2020?

Of course not. But more on that another time.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews
wearing pretty florals and a soft smile.
They got combat boots and a mouth silent
until it’s sharp as an island machete

At 15, Xiomara Batista is having trouble figuring out where she fits among the roles everyone seems to want to cast her in. Her mother is a deeply devout Catholic who sacrificed her own dream of becoming a nun to marry and emigrate from the Dominican Republic, and she finds Xio’s questioning of the teachings of the church incomprehensible. Her twin brother, a gentle genius Xio has always protected and defended, is suddenly distancing himself from her. She’s just starting to notice a boy she might actually like, after years of unwanted attention from grown men on the block, and despite her parents’ rules against her dating at all.

Xio is jut on the edge of figuring out who she is and who she wants to be, what kind of life she wants to live, and what she wants to do. She’s asking difficult questions and realizing that, sometimes, the answers just aren’t there.

While that could describe many teens in many different situations, the book grounds itself in the experience of a young woman of color, and a first-generation American, in the early 21st century, caught between cultures and trying to grow into an adult without growing up too fast. Xio deals with casual racism and sexual harassment as everyday occurrences. When someone finally says to her, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” it’s a revelation.

When has anyone ever told me
I had the right to stop it all
without my knuckles, or my anger
with just some simple words.

The book is written as a novel in poems, reflecting both Xiomara’s development as a poet and Acevedo’s background as a noted slam poet herself. It’s probably really great on audio, and I possibly just don’t get slam poetry, but most of the poems didn’t come across to me as poems so much as prose cut into short phrases and surrounded by white space. Despite my issues with the form, though, this book is a powerful emotional experience and a great addition to contemporary YA literature.

Source: Checked out from my public library

Challenges: Read Harder Task 3: A Book by a Woman and/or Author of Color that Won a Literary Award in 2018 (National Book Award); Reading Women Task 24: A Young Adult Book by a Woman of Color

Reading Challenges 2019

low angle photo of tower of books
Photo by Ajda Berzin on Unsplash

I’m still working on a 2018 Reading Challenge wrap-up, but I’m already looking forward to these new challenges. This year, I’ve created separated pages to keep track of most of the challenges, all linked up there in the menu bar.

Children’s Literature Challenges

Genre- and Period-Based Challenges

Expanding My Reading Horizons Challenges

  • Read Harder comes from the fab folks at Book Riot. Some of the 24 tasks are going to be more challenging than others, but I’ve got #14 covered.
  • The Reading Women challenge comes from the Reading Women podcast. It also has 24 tasks, and some of these will definitely be challenging.
  • The Official TBR Pile Challenge is hosted by Roof Beam Reader. I’ve already picked out my list of 12 books (plus 2 alternates). I completely forgot about the check-in posts in 2018: another thing to improve on in the new year!

Outside Category Challenges

  • Blogger Shame Challenge: Hosted at Herding Cats & Burning Soup, this is a challenge meant to nudge those of us who read advance review copies to actually, well, review the books. I’m hoping to improve my NetGalley feedback rating a lot.
  • Reading Challenge Addict Challenge: If you’ve made it this far down the list, you already know why I’ve signed up for this one. My goal is “On the Roof” (6-10 challenges entered and completed.
  • Classics Club: I’ve put this in “Outside Category” because it’s a multi-year challenge. I have a list of 50 books that I plan to read before the end of 2023.

How about you? Are you doing any of these challenges? Or different ones?