2014 Real Book Challenge: December Roundup

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

I finished the year on a strong note with six real books (yay!) – pretty impressive considering all of the holiday prep (decorating, shopping, baking) I also did in my spare time. This brings me to a grand total of 59 books, or 118% over my goal of 50.

I had so much fun doing the Real Book challenge that I plan on participating again in 2015, and am also adding a few new reading challenges to my roster. See you next year, y’all!

 

  • The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith (2015); review coming soon
  • Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1) by Aimee Carter (2013); reviewed here
  • Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #2) by Aimee Carter (2014); reviewed here
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (2011)
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015); review coming soon
  • Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne (2009)

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: November Roundup

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

    This was a pretty slow month, real book-wise: I only read two of the suckers. There was also a children’s book in the mix (Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart) as well as one DNF (Lucy Lied), neither of which I included since it feels a little too much like cheating. Seeing as I’ve already passed my goal for the year, there’s no need to fudge the numbers anyhow! (wink, wink)

     

  • The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (2014); reviewed here
  • To Find a Mountain by Dani Amore (2014); reviewew coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: October Roundup

    Saturday, November 1st, 2014

    The bad news: I only read three “real” books this month.

    The good news: I’ve already surpassed my revised goal by one whole book!

    That, and I have a bunch of physical books for review slated to arrive soon (including The Walled City, which I’m super-excited about!), so November is sure to be a busier month, real book-wise.

     

  • My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki (2003); reviewed here
  • The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings (2014); reviewed here
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: September Roundup

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I read four whole “real” books this month! I know, I know; so sad. But I was sick for the good part of two weeks, preoccupied with VeganMoFo, and doting on two foster dogs who were soon on their way home. Full plate, I had one. Still 11 books ahead of schedule though. 50 books, I will beat you yet. As in next month.

    By the by, if you have a chance to read The Underground Girls of Kabul? DO IT! It’s easily one of the best books of 2014.

     

     

  • The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg (2014); review coming soon
  • Swan Wreck by Casey Renee Kiser (2007); review coming soon
  • Zenia by J. Gallagher (2014); review coming soon
  • Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet by Jenny Ruden (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: August Roundup

    Sunday, August 31st, 2014

    All nine of my reads this month were “real” books; this puts me at 44 for the year, which means I surpassed my original goal of 39 books. Yay me! Since I already bumped up my total goal to 101, I decided to increase my Real Books goal to an even 50. Still ahead of the game, yo!

     

  • The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott (2014); reviewed here
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (2014); reviewed here
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (2014); reviewed here
  • The Wraith (Welcome to Christmasland #1-6) by Joe Hill and Charles Paul Wilson III (2014); reviewed here
  • Fault Line by Christa Desir (2013); reviewed here
  • The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White (2014); reviewed here
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno (2014); review coming soon
  • The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi (2014); review coming soon
  • The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: July Roundup

    Friday, August 1st, 2014

    Just two real books to speak of this month. I know, so sad! I have a stack of ’em lined up for review in August, though, so I’m sure to do better this month!

     

  • The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney (2014); review coming soon
  • Umbral Volume 1 by Antony Johnston, Christopher Mitten, John Rauch, and Jordan Boyd (2014); reviewed here

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: June Roundup

    Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

    Six books down, with just six more to go! I might have to raise my goal, like I did with my Goodreads challenge. (Hint: it was 78.)

     

  • The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi (2014); reviewed here
  • Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon (2014); reviewed here
  • She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (2014); reviewed here
  • The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood by Henderson Smith (2014); reviewed here
  • Retaliation: A Novel by Yasmin Shiraz (2007); reviewed here
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014); review coming in September
  • fwiw, The Ugly Princess and City of Stairs are both pretty awesome. Do check ’em out of you’re a fan of a) feminist fairy tales or b) dark fantasy with epic world-building.

     

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    2014 Real Book Challenge: May Roundup

    Sunday, June 1st, 2014

    Four books down in May, with just 12 more to go for the year!

     

  • Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (2014); reviewed here
  • Parable of the Talents (Earthseed #2) by Octavia Butler (1998)
  • Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (2012); review coming soon
  • The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: April Roundup

    Thursday, May 1st, 2014

    I only read three “real” books this month but, in my defense, I committed to reviewing a bunch of books through Library Thing, all of which were ebooks. Plus Peedee’s blood work came back wonky, he was diagnosed with cancer, and then he had his chest cracked open to remove said cancer, all in less than three weeks, so there’s also that. But he’s going to be okay! We think.

    I’m totally looking forward to putting April behind me, is what I’m saying.

    This month’s reads:

  • Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey (2014); review coming in June
  • Katusha Book Two: The Shaking of the Earth by Wayne Vansant (2013); reviewed here
  • Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia Butler (1993); review coming soon

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: March Roundup

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    With a little help from my shiny new book jar (container, but hopefully I’ll upgrade soon!), this month I plowed through seven “real” books (and nine ebooks, but who’s counting? Oh that’s right ME!)

    According to Goodreads, this puts me 27% over my goal. Good thing, since I’ll probably get less reading done once the weather starts to warm up. I’ve got dogs to walk, fallen branches to pick up, and a burned brush pile to sift through. (Now that we’ve finally hit the bottom, we found a ton of junk the old homeowners dumped in it. I KNOW RIGHT.) Chores, ugh.

    Except for the dog walking. I love those little buggers.

     

    This month’s reads:

  • The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (1969); reviewed here
  • The Abyss: A Journey With Jack The Ripper by David Ruffle (2013); reviewed here
  • The Well’s End by Seth Fishman (2014); reviewed here
  • Total Knockout Fitness by Martin Mckenzie (2014); reviewed here
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1989); review coming soon!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 3 by Eric Powell and Joe Bennett (2008); review coming soon!
  • Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1) by Bethany Griffin (2012); reviewed coming soon!

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: February Roundup

    Saturday, March 1st, 2014

    So the bad news is that I only read five “real” books this month, down from eight in January. The good news? I still read more books in total. They just happened to be ebooks! That’s okay, though, I’m still ahead of the game as far as the 2014 Read Book Challenge is concerned. 15%, yo!

    Also this month: I started a book jar and added (extensively!) to my original list of hope-to-read books.

     

    This month’s reads:

  • Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy #3) by Mira Grant (2012); reviewed here
  • 30 Days of Night: The X Files by Steve Niles (2011); reviewed here
  • Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (2013); reviewed here
  • Project Utopia: A Novella by Pam Mosbrucker (2013); reviewed here
  • Joss Whedon and Religion: Essays on an Angry Atheist’s Explorations of the Sacred edited by Anthony R. Mills, John W. Morehead, and J. Ryan Parker (2013); review coming soon!

     

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  • no Whammies no Whammies no Whammies!

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

    2014-02-26 - The Book Jar - 0006 [flickr]

    Hey everybody, I made a thing! Specifically, a book jar thing!

    (Technically it’s a plastic food canister, but whatever. Next time I’m out and about, I’ll pick up something fancier. A fish bowl, maybe? I briefly considered using my Kill Bill lunch box, but then you can’t see all the pretty book titles inside.)

    My book pile’s gotten so big – and its owner, so indecisive – that I finally decided to give ye ole book jar a try. The idea is simple: just write the names of a bunch of books you’d like to read on scraps of paper and, when it comes time to start a new title, draw one at random. I’ve been thinking about this for some time now – ever since I first spotted a book jar on (where else?) tumblr – and Sunday night finally provided the push I needed. I must have spent twenty minutes standing at my bookcase (and not one of the larger ones in the library – rather, the mini shelves in my bedroom!) poring over books, scrutinizing synopses on back covers, in a very slow and angst-ridden attempt to choose a new read. (I finally settled on The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood. So much Atwood, so little time!) So the book jar it is. Unless I have a book in need of review, then it gets bumped to the front of the line.

    Anyone care to guess how many slips of paper I ended up with? 50? 75? Try 115! I surprised myself, actually. I made four trips to the paper cutter before I was done; each time I underestimated how many more slips I’d need. And that’s not 115 books, either; I included series on the same slip, so there are way more than just 115 titles in that jar. Even at my current pace, it’ll take years to get through them all. I can’t believe how big my to-read pile has gotten!

    After I was done combing through my own library, I had a few slips left, so I finished them off with books from my wishlist. When I pull those I grant myself permission to buy another book. Luckily, there’s a rarity – just six out of over a hundred.

    Of course, this all begs the question as to how I’ll replenish the jar in the future. Add a new book every time I subtract one? Power through half the jar and then refill it? Read most of them? All of them? Add to it once a year, or as desired? SO MANY CHOICES! (Which is funny considering that’s what led me here.)

    After the jump: my brand-spanking new to-read list. I guess this also qualifies as my new 2014 Real Book Challenge list, though some of these are electronic books (designated (e) a the end of the entry). My goal of 39 books is in fate’s hands now.

    Well, that and mathematics.

    (More below the fold…)

    2014 Real Book Challenge: January Roundup

    Friday, January 31st, 2014

    So the first month of the 2014 Real Book Challenge has officially drawn to a close, and I’m proud to say that I read a grand total of eight books during this stretch, all of them “real.” According to Goodreads, I’m 6 books (or 14%) ahead of schedule. (I suspect this buffer will be rather handy come summer!)

    I was afraid that my numbers would be down, on accounta I finally began fostering this month – after years of wanting to and months of waiting for my application to go through (the holidays, yo!) – and they were initially; our first foster, a pony of a dog, is silly and friendly and quite the handful. But I quickly learned that he doesn’t so much want to play with you as he wants you to watch him play with a toy. (Not big on sharing, this one.) As it turned out, we spent many an afternoon relaxing in bed or chilling on the couch, his ginormous head resting in my lap as I devoured a book – and he, roughly half of our dog toys, in rapid succession. It’s a good thing we stocked up over Christmas!

    So here’s the rundown:

  • Invincible Summer: An Anthology by Nicole Georges (2007); reviewed here
  • Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1) by Mira Grant (2010); reviewed here
  • The Carvings Collection: Ten Stories of Horror and Suspense by Drake Vaughn (2013); reviewed here
  • The Ink Slingers Guild Presents Into the Abyss (2013); reviewed here
  • The New Hunger (Warm Bodies #0.5) by Issac Marion (2013); reviewed here
  • Suicide Girls, Vol. 1 by Brea Grant, Zane Grant, and Steve Niles (2011); reviewed here
  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (2013); reviewed here
  • Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy, #2) by Mira Grant (2011); review to be published here
  • I especially enjoyed Feed (Deadline was a bit of a letdown), The New Hunger, and Not a Drop to Drink. And before you judge me for Suicide Girls, just know that it was a cent on Amazon and I COULD NOT RESIST! (The verdict? About what you’d expect.) For those keeping score, Suicide Girls is also the only title not on my original list.

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    The 2014 Real Book Challenge

    Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

    So it’s kind of funny that I decided to join the “Real” Book Challenge this year, since one of my resolutions is to make better use of my Kindle. I’ve been resisting for years – psychologically, I just haven’t been able to make the leap – but reality is forcing my hand, as it so often does: I just don’t have much space left in which to cram more books! Even stacked in double rows, my bookshelves are just about packed full. Also, I feel bad about using all that paper, even as I chase down every company and nonprofit which dares to send me unsolicited junk mail. I’ve been assuaging that guilt by buying used whenever possible, but even this strategy has its limits. (See: my previous point about lack of space.)

    This year I set a goal of 78 books on Goodreads (three more than 2013’s goal, but eight less than I actually read; it works out to about a book and a half a week), and I figure that at least half of these will be physical copies; maybe more if I can keep one of my other resolutions, not to buy any new books until I get a handle on my existing book pile. (Yeah right!) So my goal for the Real Book Challenge is 39 physical books, landing me smack dab in the “Real Book Aficionado” tier. Personally I think I’m more of a Hoarder, but I guess we’ll see how things go.

    This isn’t a definitive list of what I hope to read; more of a rough outline. So far this year I’ve already read Invincible Summer: An Anthology, Volume 1, by Nicole Georges, as well as Feed, the first book in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy; I’m also well into the first book on the list below, The Carvings Collection.

  • The Carvings Collection: Ten Stories of Horror and Suspense by Drake Vaughn (2013)
  • The Ink Slingers Guild Present Into the Abyss (Volume 2) (2013)
  • The Abyss: A Journey with Jack the Ripper by David Ruffle (2013)
  • Joss Whedon and Religion: Essays on an Angry Atheist’s Explorations of the Sacred, editd by Anthony R. Mills, John W. Morehead and J. Ryan Parker (2013)
  • Deadline (Newsflesh, Book 2) by Mira Grant (2011)
  • Blackout (Newsflesh, Book 3) by Mira Grant (2012)
  • The New Hunger: The Prequel to Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (2013)
  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (2013)
  • Seed to Harvest by Octavia Butler (2007)
  • Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (2013)
  • Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (2010)
  • Savages by Shirley Conran (1987)
  • When She Woke: A Novel by Hillary Jordan (2012)
  • Wormwood, Nevada by David Oppegaard (2009)
  • The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero by Marla Rose (2012)
  • Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (2012)
  • Tankborn (Tankborn Trilogy #1) by Karen Sandler (2011)
  • Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (2012)
  • Dualed by Elsie Chapman (2013)
  • Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance by Jason Hribal (2011)
  • The first four items are actually books I accepted for review, so I’m locked into those. I also hope to finish up the Newsflesh series, and at least begin The Lunar Chronicles, Tankborn, Masque of the Red Death, and Dualed – though if I finish any of them, it’ll probably be on the Kindle, since I currently only own the first book in each series. I didn’t include them here, but I’d also very much like to dive into the ginormous piles of Margaret Atwood, Joanna Russ, and Anne McCaffrey books I’ve amassed.

    There are also a ton of graphic novels on my list: Firefly, The Runaways, Marvel’s The Dark Tower and The Stand series. Maybe Joe Hill’s Locke & Key and 28 Days Later, too. I should really put off buying those until I finish the rest of my two shelves of comics. Yes? (No!)

    I’ll be posting updates at the end of every month if you’d like to follow along. Better yet, join me!: You can find instructions and further details here. The cutoff for signup is December 1, 2014, so you’ve got plenty of time to mull it over.