Reading Challenge Update

May has come and gone, which means that the Goodreads Seasonal Reading Spring Challenge is over. I read 18 books and 6636 pages to complete 16 tasks and earn 190 points. I think that is the most tasks I’ve ever completed, although most of them were 5- and 10-point tasks. I find it difficult to jump into another major reading challenge immediately, so I’ll be sitting out the Summer Challenge, but will likely participate again in the fall.

For my book-a-week in 2011 goal, I’ve read 27 books, which apparently puts me 5 books ahead of schedule.

Most importantly, in the Thoughts From the Back Summer Reading Challenge I got off to a great start in the first month:

For July 14 is Bastille Day, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, which takes place in both England and France during the French Revolution.
For Longest Day of the Year, I read Eona at 637 pages.
For May 9 is Lost Sock Memorial Day, I read What Alice Forgot in which Alice loses her memory.
For August 10 is National S’mores Day, I read Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck.
For Back to school sales tax holiday, I read Midnight Palace which was an ARC copy from the bookstore.

So I’ve already completed 5/10 tasks with 3 months to go! But I have no idea what to read for the remaining 5 tasks. I’m open to suggestions.

I haven’t posted many book reviews lately, but I would definitely recommend two of my May reads.

What Alice Forgot  by Liane Moriarty was surprisingly enjoyable – I didn’t have high hopes for it, despite the blurb that called it, “a smart woman’s beach read.” Alice Love has it all: three elementary-age children in a myriad of activities, over commitments to school and other volunteer causes, strained family relationships, and a crumbling marriage. She awakens one day, after hitting her head falling off a bike in spinning class, with no memory of the last ten years. Alice begins to wonder what happened to that young Alice as she pieces together the puzzle of current life. Neither Alice nor the readers are sure what the new picture of Alice’s life will look like. I’m sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it not too heavy, not too light, a perfect summer read.

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a young-adult novel with great cross-over appeal for adults. The story opens with the terrifying rescue of two babies from a mysterious menace. Jump ahead to 1932 Calcutta where a group of friends who have grown up together are all reaching the age of 16 when they will leave their orphanage home and set off to find their futures. But first, a mystery from the past demands to be solved. In this, his second novel for teens, Zafon shows us a glimpse of his writing style that will develop later into his adult best-seller, Shadow of the Wind. I read Shadow of the Wind years ago and loved it. I never got around to reading his second adult novel, Angel’s Game, but I heard great things about it. When his young adult novel, Prince of Mist, came out a year or so ago, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was really disappointed. It was simplistic and predictable and I thought, “Wow, he can’t adapt his writing style to a younger audience at all.” Hoping he had figured out the formula, I gave Midnight Palace a read and I loved it! Then I looked at his biography. Apparently he started out by writing for kids, but it was his adult novel which was translated and brought to America first. Now I understand how his writing has developed, first with the rather flat Prince of Mist, then the much more complicated and satisfying Midnight Palace, and then with the bestseller, Shadow of the Wind. I have got to move Angel’s Game up higher of my to-read list. If he keeps getting better, I’m in for a real treat.

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