Reading Challenge Update

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That was the sound of January zooming by. Groundhog Day has even passed, not that anyone in Houston was paying any attention because we basically haven’t had any winter so no one cares if it continues or ends. But it IS time for a Reading Challenge update because everyone cares about those. Everyone being me.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 4 books this year which keeps me just on track for my goal of 52 books this year.

First, I finished reading Chomp by Carl Hiaasen. I really have enjoyed all of Hiaasen’s books for young people, Hoot, Flush, Scat, and now Chomp, which doesn’t come out until March. Like his adult books, all these novels take place in Florida and they all have an environmental/conservation theme to them. In Chomp, Mickey Cray, a wildlife wrangler, and his son Wahoo are hired by the crew of the Expedition Survival reality TV show to help film an episode in the Everglades. But Wahoo realizes that making the pampered and egotistical star look good and stay alive won’t be easy, nor will keeping his Dad in check long enough to earn the money. It’s a fun read. I actually read most of it in December, so I’m not counting it for my trimester reading challenge.

Next I read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner for book club. It was definitely difficult to get through, especially the first half, but when all was said and done, I did enjoy it, I’m glad I read it, and I can appreciate what Faulkner was trying to do with it. I am also glad that I was able to discuss it with other people at book club. Well, mostly glad. I was the only person who had any empathy for one of the characters. Someone summarized Jason with a simple, “and he was just bad” to which I replied that I didn’t think he was all that bad and that he was actually put in a pretty difficult spot and maybe he made some choices that seemed just mean but was that really an unreasonable way for him to act? Boy, did I get jumped on. I didn’t do a very good job of selling my position, but I still don’t think the man was evil at the core.  Anyway, Sound and the Fury fulfills task #8, Old Stuff Day. It was written in 1929.

My third book was The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. All those years of encouraging my kids to read and “pushing” books on them is coming back to bite me. D#2 insisted that I read this one. It was a good call. Twelve-year old Ren, missing his left hand for as long as he can remember, is living in an orphanage in pre-civil war New England. One day, a young man named Benjamin arrives at the orphanage to take Ren away, claiming that they are long-lost brothers. Benjamin is a drifter and a con man who makes Ren a member of  the team, doing everything from running scams to digging up bodies. The book has been described as Dickensian, which sounds good to me, whatever it means. AND it has a green cover, so it fulfills the St. Patrick’s Day task (#9). Well, half fulfills, I still have to drink a green beer.

My final January book was The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges. This is a just released, first in a series, Young Adult book. Here is the review I posted on Goodreads:

A YA novel of Imperial Russia, historical fiction meets the folktales of Eastern Europe. The Tsar and his family, light and dark forces, vampires and other beasts, and at the center a young Russian aristocrat who dreams of being a doctor like her father and rebels against her mother’s dreams to marry her into a good family. I enjoyed this novel, though keeping the characters all straight was a bit of a struggle.

I know it sounds a bit convoluted, but actually Bridges pulls it off nicely. The good/dark sides reminded me a bit of The Eight, an oldie but goodie by Katherine Neville. It was useful to the bookstore that I read it, but I actually picked it up because it fulfilled task #7, National Weatherman’s Day because the title contains the word, storm.

Aside from arguing with the husband about what does and doesn’t fit the tasks, I think this is going to be a good and possibly successful challenge. Is anyone else playing along?

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