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Reading Challenges Galore

Many people decided to set themselves reading challenges for the new year. I’ll be honest, it was a little overwhelming seeing all the different ideas. I wasn’t sure which one would work for me; I wanted a challenge that would actually challenge me (not just “read a book outside your traditional genre” because just reading one book technically could have fulfilled that challenge). Well, I finally found one.

The challenge was different because it had steps that I have done before and I knew I would enjoy, so it wouldn’t feel like I was failing a challenge because I knew I could do at least part of it. The Ultimate Reading Challenge allowed for new experiences while also reminding me of some types of books that I used to like. It seemed to cover the most variety of the many challenges I saw. I just started it, but I’ve already been able to cross some of the challenges off the list. Here are some of the ones that I’ve completed (or plan on completing for the challenge):

A nonfiction book:

good nurse

The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber is a  book about Charles Cullen, a nurse who altered medication and wound up killing some people in a variety of hospitals.
This book was actually recommended to me, but if anyone likes non-fiction somewhat murder mystery I would pick it up. I’ve always struggled with non-fiction because to me it feels as though it drags, but this one goes pretty fast.



A book with antonyms in the title:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is about three women who need to make major decisions

big little liesin their life all while trying to figure out if what has happened is a tragic accident or a murder that needs to be solved.
I have not read this one yet, but I do want to, and my mom wants to as well….and I’m hoping she loves it so that I can check off two books on the challenge while reading just one….that’s not cheating is it?





A banned book:

chocolate warThe Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is a book about a boy who is trying to find his way in a new school. This means struggling with bullying and hazing and still maintaining his grades.
Banned books themselves are another reading challenge for me. I am determined to read each one on the list but I’m not limiting myself to a year to do that. I enjoyed The Chocolate War because I thought it was an interesting take on the struggles that come with being in school. The entire book resonated with me.

Some of the books are more difficult to find, I struggled with coming up with some titles that had antonyms in them, but I hope that the challenge inspires some people to try new books, and if anyone has any recommendations please feel free to leave it in the comments. I look forward to expanding my reading horizons!


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2015 Reading Resolutions: Onward and Upward!

With another year of books under our belts, it’s time to look ahead. To bring the blogging year to a close, some Eleventh Stackers have chosen to share their reading resolutions for 2015. There’s nowhere to go, but up, and our team has aimed high — check it out!


Every time someone asks for a mystery recommendation, I cringe. Despite my love for serialized crime shows (Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, Murder She Wrote…), I just have a hard time with the genre in book form. 2015 is the year I step up my game and have some titles in my back pocket for the next time I’m put on the spot. I have Anthony Hororwitz’s Moriarty on my list (I read The House of Silk last year for our Tuesday book club, and liked his take on Sherlock). And a regular patron suggested the Ian Rutledge series, by Charles Todd. Readers, if you have any must-reads, maybe some non-historicals that are maybe a bit John Grisham-y, please send ’em my way.


Unfinished business.

Unfinished business.

I’m going to finish some books in 2015. This year, for whatever reason, I’d get almost to the end of a book and stop reading it. It didn’t matter whether I liked the book or not: I just stopped. I don’t know if this is a sign of mental illness or a newly shortened attention span. Here is a sampling of the books I started, thoroughly enjoyed, and never finished. Feel free to tell me the endings.


In 2010 I started Stephen King’s It. “Started” being the key word here.  That book is thick, yo.  Maybe 2015 will be the year I finish it.  Or maybe I’ll focus on the classics that I missed out on for one reason or the other, like Animal Farm or Moby-Dick.  Maybe I’ll go back to the books of my childhood, like the Narnia books. Or, since I just started re-watching Gilmore Girls, maybe I’ll focus on a Rory Gilmore reading list.


I’ve never had much use for audio-books, but I recently discovered how much I like listening to them on long runs. So my reading resolution for 2015 is actually more of a listening resolution: to delve into the library’s collection of super-portable Playaways. I just started listening to Runner.


I plan to read some more Anne Sexton. I am also slowly re-reading all of the Song Of Ice And Fire novels using the eCLP format.

Leigh Anne

I like to play along with formal reading challenges, to make sure that I regularly step out of my favorite genres and formats to try a little bit of everything. Luckily the magical internet is filled with such opportunities, most of which I find via A Novel Challenge, a terrific blog that collects news and info about different reading games. Of course, I always load up on way too many challenges, and rarely finish any of them…but I sure do have a great time trying!

Here are some challenges I’ll be signing up for in 2015:

The Bookish 2015 TBR Reading Challenge. I have two bookcases at home filled with books I own that I haven’t read yet (I blame the Library, both for being so excellent and for fueling my book-buying habit). It’s getting a little bit out of hand, so I’ve decided to dive into those TBR shelves and decide whether to keep or regift what I’ve got.

It's not bragging if it's true.

It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Janet Ursel’s We Read Diverse Books Challenge. It’s no secret that the publishing  industry is still predominantly white, which means there are a lot of stories out there untold or overlooked. This bothers me both professionally and personally, so I’m on a constant mission to make sure my own reading and reviewing is as inclusive as possible. This challenge was inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign of 2014.

The 2015 Ebook Reading Challenge. Ebooks are an important part of the reading landscape these days, and I really should be looking at more of them (Overdrive READ is my friend right now, until I finally decide which tablet I want). Ebooks are also sometimes challenging for me because of my vision impairments, but I’m hoping Consumer Reports , a little web sleuthing, and input from other users (maybe you?) will help me pick out the tablet with the best accessibility features. Thanks in advance!

The 2015 Graphic Novels & Manga Challenge. This one’s kind of a cheat, as I adore comics of all kinds. The problem is, I rarely make time to read them, mostly out of guilt because they’re so much fun and there are many other Terribly Serious Things I should be reading dontcha know. However, this means I missed a lot of good stuff in 2014, so I’ve decided to ditch the guilt and spend 2015 savoring the fine art of comics. Woohoo!

Four challenges is do-able, right?  I’ll report back regularly in upcoming blog posts.

Melissa F.

Browsing the historical fiction section

Browsing the historical fiction section

I’ve become a little too comfortable insofar as my reading habits go. On one hand, I don’t see any problem with this, since reading is something I do for fun and entertainment. Still, there’s something to be said for expanding one’s knowledge and horizons.

In 2015, I’m planning to do more of my reading from the World Fiction and Historical Fiction sections on the First Floor of CLP-Main. I’m not setting an actual numerical goal for this resolution, just challenging myself to read more from these areas (which I admittedly tend to overlook while perusing the new fiction, nonfiction, and short stories).  Your suggestions are most welcome.

And there you have it! Do you have any reading recommendations or advice for the Eleventh Stackers? Do you set yourself reading goals or just let the books fall where they may? Share the wisdom, leave a comment!


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