Well, 2017 was not a 100% success. I was unable to finish my personal reading challenge, aka the Shameful Book Club. I read 10 out of 12 books, leaving 2 in the dust of yester-year. I’m even more behind on posting my thoughts on the books I did manage to read. I learned a lot, however, and will be tackling 2018 differently. This personal challenge has evolved quite a bit over the three years I’ve been attempting it, so eventually I will get it to a place that is manageable.
I had a lot of favorites this year, including The Princess Bride, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Practical Magic, but the one I can’t stop talking and writing about is The Haunting of Hill House. Just ask my friends who were over on Halloween for a movie night…I cannot and will not shut up about this book. It really grabbed me and meshed with a lot of other books I was reading at the time; the right book at the right time. I’ve been very attached to Shirely Jackson lately, and this book really spoke to me.
I did not enjoy Outlander, however, and my opinions definitely got a response from many of my Outlander-loving friends. If you love Outlander, go for it. It’s a wonderful world and the characters are interesting, but I had some serious issues with it that I couldn’t get over. I love the TV show and will continue to watch that, but I think I’ll be retiring the book series. Perhaps one day I’ll return, but right now it’s not what I’m interested in reading. I also, surprisingly, did not enjoy Mists of Avalon as much as I expected to. It has many things I love, but it’s so long and sprawling (and in some places off-putting) that it was hard for me to stay focused. That’s why it took me 9 months to listen to on audiobook. I mean, it’s 50 hours (850 pages), but still.
I think the book that most surprised me was A Wrinkle in Time. It wasn’t what I expected, and I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I wanted to. The message of resistance is very relevant to today, and I would absolutely encourage any young kid (especially girls) to read it, but I’m also not always 100% on board with the #LoveTrumpsHate vibe that it gives off. Just wait until I read Motorcycle Diaries next year and you’ll get more unsolicited feelings about that than you ever could have wanted. I still think I’ll read the rest of the series, and I really cannot wait for the movie, but I was a bit let down by this book.
In 2018 I have introduced the #NoNewBooks rule with the intention of focusing on the books I already own. Because of this, all my Shameful Book Club Read are books I have in my apartment right now, with the exception of the recommendation from a fellow librarian. Because I’ll only be reading books I own and won’t be participating in as many book clubs, I’ll hopefully be able to focus on my own shame. I’m determined to finish this time! I’m also going to stop assigning the genres to specific months. I have a list of genres that must be fulfilled, but the order in which I read the books will be up to me. This way I can be more spontaneous with my reading, read what I feel like reading when I feel like reading it, let go of super scheduled reading, and hopefully be more successful with the challenge.
My books for 2018 are:
Backlist (unfinished 2017 reads):
Comedy and Humor: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Romance: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Science Fiction: The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Fantasy: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Non-Fiction: The Motorcycle Diaries by (my true love) Ernesto “Che” Guevara
Librarian’s Recommendation: Paradise Lost by John Milton (thanks Kira!)
Historical Fiction: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Adventure: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The “Classics”: The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath
Horror/Gothic: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Young Adult: Harry Potter. That’s right. I’ve only ready up until half of book five. This year I will do a full re-read and finish the entire series AND STOP LYING TO MY LOVED ONES ABOUT IT!
Mystery/Thriller: Stranger on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
This list is making my mouth water. I am viciously anticipating drinking all the red wine and eating all the brownies, completely covered in blankets while reading these books. I have a few New Year’s Resolutions, and every single one of them is focused on putting my mental and physical health first. It means saying No to a lot of stuff and saying Yes to different stuff. People will probably see a lot less of me, and I will probably do a lot more activities alone. Staying in on weekends to read is number one on my list. So get ready to be destroyed, Shameful Book Club Challenge 2018!
Which of these are on your shameful list? Have you read any of these books? What did you think?