Friday, July 15, 2016

Reading Challenge Update #1

If you remember from this spring, I had set myself two reading challenges for this year. One a generic anything I want to read challenge of 35 books. The other was a little more interesting. You can read my earlier post here if you're interested in the full details, other books on my challenge list, or my thoughts on challenges in general.

This year it took me longer than normal to get to reading. I was halfway through the year with only two books read, neither of them challenge books and one of them my own book.

Despite the slow start, I'm still hopeful that I'll finish both challenges.

Smack dab in the middle of July, I have completed my first two challenge books and once I finish the book I'm reading currently, I'll be starting on my third.

When it came down to choosing what books to read first from my challenge list, I got into this really scientific method that involved planetary alignments, weather patterns, and the rate of corn growth in the area. Okay . . . so maybe I had three bored children that I dragged to the adult section of the library and grabbed the first three books on my list that I could find on the shelves.

My husband has been reading one of them, so I picked the one I've never read in any form, Pride and Prejudice.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. I've watched the BBC mini-series as I mentioned in my April post and I LOVE it. I've watched it over and over and over.

I tend to be very lengthy in my reviews, so I won't copy the review here. But I'll share the link if anyone is interested.

So my first book was a success. I flew through it. Loved it. Gave it five stars. Absolutely loved it and I'm so happy that it was on my list and that it didn't ruin the mini-series for me.

Full review here.

Next up came Little Women. It must be said that I grew up with an abridged version of Little Women and watched the movie as well several times. Neither of which prepared me for the reality of the original, unabridged, very lengthy book.

Simply put, I HATED Little Women. I will never ever, ever pick up that evil book again. I had the combo version of Little Women + Good Wives. I never knew the stories weren't originally one. My childhood version rolled them together and therefore I know the overall plot of both books.

But since I had only mentioned the one as a challenge book, I let myself off on a technicality and quit after Little Women. The book was shockingly boring, overly preachy, and so dry I think you could throw it in a full-size pool and it would suck up every drop off water and still not be soaked.

But, but Jo! I can hear you say it now. Yes, like you, and every other girl who read the book(or version of it), I grew up thinking I was Jo and we were bosom buddies. I have 3 sisters and I gladly found matches for them in Jo's sisters.

Turns out, yep, as I said, every single one of us did that, ladies! I can guarantee we're not all Jo's. I now know that I'm not a Jo, nor was I ever Jo. She was simply the best of the worst.

I had to force myself repeatedly to go back and keep reading the book. I fell asleep several nights while reading. I can't imagine how this book ever became popular, then or now. I wonder how much of its popularity is based off people like me who remembered reading the story(abridged or not) as children and zeroing in on Jo as the character we were.

Again, I have my full review here if anyone is interested in some more details thoughts into my dislike of the book. I gave it two stars.

Next up is The Count of Monte Cristo. I've read the abridged version of that, but never the original, so I'm both nervous and excited to see what's in store for me.

What have you been reading this summer? Any challenges you've tackled? What's been your favorite book so far this year?


  1. Yep, my challenge was to get through FSOG which I picked up for 99p. I failed, and quit at 43% after discovering it really was as bad as they say.

    The next book on my list is a fantasy called Empire of the Saviours. It's an actual physical book too. My brother lent it me and said it was good.

    1. Haha, that is quite the challenge. I've never read either, though you'll have to tell me what you think of Empire of the Saviors when you're done. I may like that one!

  2. BOOOOO.

    Just kidding, love you!

    1. I know, I know. You're over there wearing your "I love Little Women" t-shirt just to spite me. :P

  3. Wasn't a huge fan of Little Women myself. Pride and Prejudice, but I'm not a huge fan of its genre (I do love the Guinea Pig abridged version, though!)

    The Count of Monte Cristo is my sister's favorite classic so I grew up learning to enjoy it as well. I've lost count of how many times she's made me watch the movie with her...

    1. Yes, I would say they're very similar genres. So if you can peg that it's the genre you're not fond of, then it's easy to avoid all books that fall into that category.

      I think the hard part for me is I like some of the genre, and I don't know until I try which books I do or don't like.

      I started the Count this morning! I'm liking it so far. I'd say this falls more into adventure, historical fiction, than more of a "daily domestic life", historical fiction.

      Maybe I should watch the movie sometime, I've never seen it.

  4. I forgot Little Women, but I like Jo there. Now reading this post, I think I want to read it again and see if I'll like Jo again.

    I like Pride and Prejudice and I do love the Count of Monte Cristo.

    1. It was a very different experience reading it now vs. watching the movie or reading it as a child. I'm interested to see if people often find their opinion of it changes as they become adults or if it stays the same.

      I really liked both the Count and P&P. I'll have to add more books of that nature to next years challenge.