My 2015 Reading Challenge

Reading was one of my personal goals for 2015, and Goodreads‘ Reading Challenge was a great way to keep track. I kept it very realistic, considering how much time I actually can spare myself after work, kids, and keeping a healthy relationship with my husband (read: dates). I decided to set a goal of 12 books for the year, which means I need to read at least 1 book a month. Thankfully, I completed the challenge successfully.

In order of date read, here are those 12 books:

  1. The Eyes of the Dragon, by Stephen King
    Re-read on March 29, 2015

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    “Did they all live happily ever after?

    They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say. They had their good days, as you do, and they had their bad days, and you know about those. They had their victories, as you do, and they had their defeats, and you know about those, too. There were times when they felt ashamed of themselves, knowing that they had not done their best, and there were times when they knew they had stood where their God had meant them to stand. All I’m trying to say is that they lived as well as they could, each and every one of them; some lived longer than others, but all lived well, and bravely, and I love them all, and am not ashamed of my love.”

    This was one novel I’ve read a long time ago, when I was still in high school. I remembered that it was more of fantasy in genre, rather than the horror/suspense stories that Stephen King was known for. I only vaguely remembered some points in the plot, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it as if it were the first time.

     

  2. If Tomorrow Comes, by Sidney Sheldon
    Re-read on April 24, 2015
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    “…You can’t con people unless they are greedy to begin with.”

    Anyone who knew about my love of reading, knew that Sidney Sheldon is easily one of my favorite authors. I started reading his novels when I was in elementary school (which was hardly appropriate, given the content), and “If Tomorrow Comes” was the first one I read, the novel that started my Sidney Sheldon collection. I literally shed tears when I found out he passed away.The cover above, by the way, was the exact version of the copy I had.

  3. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
    Read on April 28, 2015
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    “Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.”

    I picked this up before, put it down, and then read through it again. Though I am a fan of Neil Gaiman, in general, I had to force myself through the first few chapters before I started being hooked. At the end of it, though, I still much liked his other works.

  4. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks
    Read on June 09, 2015
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    “You have to be the bravest person in the world to go out every day, being yourself when no one likes who you are.”

    This is a novel I picked up at the bookstore on a whim. The title and premise seemed interesting and refreshing, but I’ve never heard of the author or the book in any way before. It was a pleasant surprise, and I found that I enjoyed reading it. Now it makes me wonder whether my kids will have imaginary friends of their own.

  5. Siblings Without Rivalry, by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
    Read on August 02, 2015

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    “To be loved equally,” I continued, “is somehow to be loved less. To be loved uniquely—for one’s own special self—is to be loved as much as we need to be loved.”

    This novel stands out as the only non-fiction on my list. You guessed it — I was preparing for becoming a mother of two. During my pregnancy, it was my only concern — on how to handle the adjustment from having a single child to having two princesses. This book definitely presents ideas that seem smart. I’m keeping notes, for when my kids grow older.

  6. The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami
    Read on August 29, 2015

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    “There are some things about myself I can’t explain to anyone. There are some things I don’t understand at all. I can’t tell what I think about things or what I’m after. I don’t know what my strengths are or what I’m supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I’m not such a wonderful human being.”

    This book cemented my opinion that short stories are not for me. Some of the stories are great, with wildly imaginative premises, but they’re simply too short for me. I find myself cut off from immersing myself in their worlds.

  7. Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry
    Read in October, 2015

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    “Take pride in your pain,” her mother had always told her. “You are stronger than those who have none.”

    “The Giver” was one of the books I read from the previous year, and even I surprise myself I didn’t read the rest of the series immediately after. I found myself surprised that this particular novel was set in a seemingly different universe from the first one, and I kept wondering what the link was.

    As a standalone novel, I didn’t find it too great. It seemed to me like one of those books that are great for discussions in English class, but not really for my own personal enjoyment. I found it lacking in the climax.

  8. Messenger, by Lois Lowry
    Read in October, 2015

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    “It was an illusion. It was a tangled knot of fears and deceits and dark struggles for power that had disguised itself and almost destroyed everything. Now it was unfolding, like a flower coming into bloom, radiant with possibility.”

    Despite being disappointed by the previous book, I continued reading the series.Again, I found myself wondering what the link is to the original “The Giver “story, since this one clearly picks up after “Gathering Blue.”  I did, however, find this one much better in terms of being enjoyable.

  9. Son, by Lois Lowry
    Read in October, 2015

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    “It be better, I think, to climb out in search of something, instead of hating, what you’re leaving.”

    The last book in the series finally rewarded me with the link to the first book of the series. Although it still seems to me as if the series were written with the intention of being read in English class (moral lesson, anyone?) this book was still very much enjoyable. I especially loved reading about Claire’s experience on the beach community.

  10. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    Read in October, 2015

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    “But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot.”

    I actually glimpsed the movie adaptation of this novel way before I picked it up, so I had an idea of the premise. There were parts I were impressed with and parts I didn’t enjoy. In particular I had an issue with the premise (I mean, how realistic is it that such a culture change would happen so fast?). Other than that, I think it was quite well written.

  11. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami
    Read on November 3, 2015

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    “…Two people can sleep in the same bed and still be alone when they close their eyes.”

    Now this Murakami novel, I liked. A lot. It seems I like Murakami’s work the best when he writes more adventure-driven novels.

  12. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Read on November 4, 2015

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    “Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”

    I picked out this title from a bestsellers list of young adult fiction. When I did, I didn’t realize that ‘Indian’ here referred to native American indians; I thought it was Indians from India, haha! Nonetheless, this was thoroughly enjoyable for me. I especially liked how the protagonist is unapologetically weird.

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