2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - COMPLETE

Ok for real, it's about fucking time I finished this challenge. To be fair, I didn't begin until March 2016 (because I was too busy trying to finish the 2015 challenge) so a bit of a late start but it still took me 18 months to read all 41 books. To be honest, I didn't enjoy this challenge as much as I did the 2015 challenge & I think part of that has to do with the categories. There were so many books I wanted to read, but wasn't able to fit them into the categories this time around.  So I'm pretty excited to take the next couple of months off & then I'll decide if I want to do the 2018 challenge.  I also just started a book club with a few coworkers, so I might sit out another challenge...we'll see.  In the meantime, here's the complete list of books I read!

Category: A book based on a fairy tale
Book Read: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
Verdict: LOVED! I'd heard really good things about the Lunar series but was skeptical because cyborgs aren't generally my thing. However, I really loved this book & read it quickly. I even read the next two books in the series for another category in the challenge. 

Category: A National Book Award Winner
Book Read: The Round House Louise Edrich
Verdict: Good!  Ok so I was really intrigued by the plot & overall I did enjoy the book.  But it took me quite a while to get into & overall was a bit slower than I normally prefer.  But hey, it won the National Book Award, so wtf do I know?

Category: A YA best seller
Book Read: Me, Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Verdict: GOOD.  I really liked this book. The premise was sad, but overall I enjoyed this book.

Category: A book you haven't read since high school
Book Read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Verdict: LOVED! I forgot just how good this book was. I actually saw the movie as a kid before I ever read the book, but I just love this book & was excited to re-read it.

Category: A book set in your home state
Book Read: South of Superior by Ellen Airgood
Verdict:  Pretty good.  This book is of lighter fare, but nonetheless pretty sweet. For a light & easy read, I'd recommend it.

Category: A book translated to English
Book Read: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
Verdict: Good. For a book where not a lot happens, it was actually pretty good.  =

Category: A romance set in the future
Book Read: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Verdict: LOVED! This was a total surprise. I'm not much a gamer outside of Mario, but I really got into this book.  I'm a bit nervous about the movie, but I gotta have faith in Spielberg!

Category: A book set in Europe
Book Read: After You by JoJo Moyes
Verdict: Good. I liked Me Before You better. I did find myself really missing Will in this book, but I enjoyed where they took the story line. If you read Me Before You, I'd definitely read this.

Category: A NY Times bestseller
Book Read: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Verdict: Good! I really liked this book, more than I expected. It's a sweet story & I found myself really liking the characters. I don't read a ton of YA, but this was one book I got into. So much that I read the sequel for another category. Now I'm waiting for the 3rd book to come out in paperback so my trilogy will be complete.

Category: A book becoming a movie this year
Book Read: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Verdict: GOOD! I really enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed this book so much I don't want to see the movie because the movie looks way cheesier than the book actually was. A unique story that held my attention the entire time.

Category: A book recommended by someone you just met
Book Read: The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon
Verdict: Good!  This was a real easy read & could be considered "chick lit" thought I really hate that term.  I bought this book while in the airport in Dubai, so my choices were limited. But the salesclerk recommended it & I finished the book before we landed back in LA.

Category: A self-improvement book
Book Read: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Verdict: Meh.  I had really high expectations for this book, but everything the author suggested just seemed kind of meh. I didn't find it that groundbreaking or full of new ideas. 

Category: A book you can finish in a day
Book Read: The Stranger by Albert Camus
Verdict: Ehhh.  This was an odd book, in my opinion.  I'm sure there was some greater story or theme that just went straight over my head. But ehhhhh is my verdict.

Category: A book written by a celebrity
Book Read: This Fight is Our Fight; The Battle to Save Our Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren
Verdict: Good.  While I don't think this book was super groundbreaking in terms of all that is Elizabeth Warren, the fact that I got this book while listening to her speak makes this book extra special. Reading this book was a reminder that there is SOME hope for those in D.C.

Category: A political memoir
Book Read: Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion by Jean H. Baker
Verdict: Ok.  I had higher hopes for this book but it was often slow & full of repetitive details. It did paint an interesting picture of Margaret Sanger

Category: A book at least 100 years older than you
Book Read: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Verdict: THE BEST!  It's been a really long time since I've read this book so I decided to re-read it. I just love Anne Shirley SO much. So so good.

Category: A book more than 600 pages
Book Read: Somerset, by Leila Meacham
Verdict: LOVED! This was a total surprise for me.  I've never really read a ton of historical fiction for fun & I could not put this book down.  I began it while on our honeymoon & finished it SO quickly. I'm anxious to read the rest of the series!

Category: A book from Oprah's Bookclub
Book to read: She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
Verdict: Loved. I've wanted to read this book for so long but never got around to it.  I really really enjoyed it.  There were times I wanted to hit the main character, Dolores, but overall I couldn't put it down.

Category: A science-fiction novel (this one is a slight stretch)
Book Read: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Verdict: Pretty good! I know the books get way better as the series goes on, so I'm ready to continue reading!

Category: A book recommended by a family member
Book Read: All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
Verdict: Loved!  I really loved this book. Another historical fiction book that sucked me in.  I've heard some of my fellow book nerds didn't love this book like I did, but I found myself unable to put it down.  

Category: A graphic novel
Book Read: Hot Dog Taste Test, by Lisa Hanawalt
Verdict: Meh.  This book was silly. I'm sure there is more to it than I got out of it, but for me, it wasn't anything special.

Category: A book published in 2016
Book Read: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Verdict: Good! I enjoyed this book. It's a bit lighter but still an interesting story. An easy but delightful read!

Category: A book with a protagonist who has your occupation
Book Read: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin
Verdict: Good! Working in production, there was a lot I could relate to in this book & I think some of it was based off of real life events, so it made the book more fun.

Category: A book that takes place in the summer
Book Read: Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan
Verdict:  Good.  This was a really sweet book that kept my attention throughout the entire thing. My boss recommended it & I'm glad she did.

Category: A book & its prequel
Books Read: Scarlett & Cress by Marissa Meyer
Verdict: Loved!  These two books are also part of the Lunar chronicles. I love these books because the story lines are creative & so different than what I'd normally be drawn to. I mean, CYBORGS.

Category: A murder mystery
Book Read: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark
Verdict: Ok. Mary Higgins Clark is my girl. Her books are the reason I started reading for fun. However, I have to say, her books are becoming a bit predictable & there is always a damsel in distress. Just once I'd like the female to be the one to save a male! But as always, her books are fun & I enjoy the plots.

Category: A book written by a comedian
Book Read: Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
Verdict: Ehh Ok. So I may be out on a limb by myself with this one, but it felt like Jenny Lawson was trying too hard to be funny.  I don't know, the humor just didn't seem as natural as other authors of similar memoirs. I look at Jen Lancaster who writes similar books, yet hers seem so much funnier than this one. I was disappointed.

Category: A dystopian novel
Book Read: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Verdict: What did I read??  Yeah, this is one of those books that definitely has a deeper meaning & the meaning went straight over my head.  I think I need to read it again to know fully what I read.

Category: A book with a blue cover
Book Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Verdict: Good!  I'm always down to read stories revolving around the relationship between man & dog.  This book did not disappoint. It was sweet, captivating & overall an enjoyable read.

Category: A book of poetry
Book to read: Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
Verdict: LOVED.  I absolutely loved this book. Poetry & I don't always mix, though I am working on it.  I really loved this book & found it incredibly insightful & raw.

Category: The first book you see in a bookstore
Book Read: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Verdict: Good!  I began reading this book on the plane & found it was a bit slow in the beginning. But once I got further into it, I really enjoyed the story & gained an expected love for Ove.

Category: A classic from the 20th century
Book to Read: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Verdict: Good!  This was another book I haven't read in maybe 20 years so it was fun to re-read it.

Category: A book from the library
Book Read: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Verdict: Good! This was a pretty good follow-up to her first book (see above). A sweet story with lovable characters...for the most part.

Category: An autobiography
Book Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Verdict: LOVED.  I cannot believe I waited until now to read this book. In our current times, it's an important book to read. Maya Angelou is a beautiful writer & I need to read more of her books.

Category: A book about a road trip
Book Read: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Verdict: Good! I really liked this book. I had zero expectations going into it, but really enjoyed the story. An easy yet intriguing read.

Category: A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with
Book Read: I Am Malala by Malala Yousaifzai & Christina Lamb
Verdict: GOOD! I've wanted to read this book for a while & I figured now would be a good a time. Malala is something else. She's incredible & reading her story brought me to tears more than once.

Category: A book that takes place on an island
Book Read: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Verdict: Good!  I was warned this book was a little out there & it did not disappoint.  I purposely didn't read any synopses before reading this book & well, it definitely entertained.  There were parts that were a bit hard for me to understand, but a quick re-read did help. Don't read this book when you're tired.

Category: A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy
Book Read: She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Verdict: LOVED! I absolutely adored this book. I first learned about Jennifer Boylan when she appeared on I Am Cait...yes, the story of Bruce transitioning to Caitlyn. What I loved about Jennifer on the show was her realness & willingness to call out Cait when she needed to be put in her place. Not gonna lie, I developed a little bit of a girl crush on her while watching the show, so reading her book about her transition was so enjoyable & educational.

That's all she wrote folks. Goodbye reading challenges...for now.

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