Tuesday, February 2

reading challenge ideas and recommendations for 2016.

Reading challenges have gotten more and more popular over the past few years, it seems. I started tracking my reading progress on Goodreads in 2013 and checked out the challenges from Modern Mrs. Darcy and Popsugar for the first time last year. This year, I have four reading challenges on my TBR pinterest board! I'm also trying to work my way through the previous Newbery Medal Winners and the AP novel list. I don't try to check every single box - I never want reading to feel like a chore - but these lists are a great source of inspiration when I'm stuck in a reading rut or wandering aimlessly around the public library. Here are a few books I'd like to read in 2016 and my recommendations for you (titles link to Goodreads), inspired by these challenges.

From The Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading ChallengeA book you can finish in a day

  • My pick: The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips (180 pages) - this one was on so many recommendation lists last year and Helen Phillip's writing has been compared to Margaret Atwood's.
  • My recommendation: If you've never read The Outsiders, what are you waiting for? S.E. Hinton basically invented the YA genre when she was 17 years old in this modern classic about a group of teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks whose rivalry with the rich kids goes too far, and the sensitive loner who gets swept up in it all. At 192 pages, you can certainly handle this one in a day.

From Popsugar's 2016 Ultimate Reading ChallengeA book based on a fairy tale
  • My pick: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman - it's been over a year since I read anything by Neil Gaiman, which is completely unacceptable and must be remedied immediately. This story blends elements of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and has been controversial because of a female-female kiss; it sounds awesome because this time around it's a young queen who sets out to save an enchanted princess.
  • My recommendation: Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I've written several posts about my love of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, which takes on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White in a science fiction setting.

From Stxrybooks' 2016 Reading ChallengeA non-fiction book about something you've always wanted to know more about
  • My pick: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland - One of the first biographies I can remember reading growing up was about Anna Pavlova, and as a young dancer it was so fascinating to read about the history of professional ballet. Even though my own days en pointe are behind me, I'd love to learn more about what it's like to work as a dancer and especially Misty Copeland's challenging road to fame.
  • My recommendation: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kernan - You probably don't think of minimum sentencing laws, the prison system and its treatment of women as something you actually want to learn about, but I highly recommend Kernan's book - it was interesting to read about the real people the television show's colorful characters are based on, but the book also made me think about personal strength, survival, and the relationships between women.

From Worthington Ave.'s 2016 Reading ListA book from Rory Gilmore's reading list
  • My pick: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - This one's been on my radar since Seth Cohen was reading it on The O.C., and now that I've gotten more into superheroes myself I think I'll appreciate this story set during the golden age of comics.
  • My recommendation: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - An autistic young man sets out to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog and his investigation helps him make sense of the world around him. This was one of my favorites in college.

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