All The Books I Can Read

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Wrapping Up……2019 Challenges

on December 30, 2019

And so it is the end of another year. 2020 will be rolling in in less than 2 days and so I figured it would be a good time to wrap up how I went in my {2} reading challenges this year.

The challenges I took part in were the Reading Women Podcast Challenge and the Australian Women Writers Challenge. The Reading Women Challenge was new to me but I’ve taken part in the Australian Women Writers Challenge every year since it’s inception except one (2018, the year of no challenges). The Reading Women Challenge had 26 reading prompts and I had pledged to read 80 books by Australian women writers for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I have to admit, I was always a bit skeptical if I’d manage to complete the Reading Women Challenge. There were a few prompts that I realised just weren’t going to be easy to do and a couple that actually didn’t interest me at all. So let’s see how I did!

  1. Mystery/Thriller by a WOC – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. My review
  2. Woman w/ a Mental Illness – Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee. My review.
  3. Author from Nigeria or New Zealand – Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi. My review.
  4. About or set in Appalachia – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. My review.
  5. Children’s Book – How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. My review.
  6. Multi-gen or family saga – Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. My review.
  7. Featuring a woman in science – H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. My review.
  8. A play
  9. A novella – The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. My review.
  10. About a woman athlete – Alone In Antarctica by Felicity Aston. My review.
  11. A book featuring a religion other than your own – Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. My review.
  12. Lambda literary award winner – Hunger by Roxane Gay.
  13. A myth retelling
  14. A translated book published before 1945
  15. Written by a South Asian author – Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. My review.
  16. By an Indigenous woman – Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko. My review.
  17. From 2018 Reading Women Award shortlist – Educated by Tara Westover. My review.
  18. Romance or love story – Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal. My review.
  19. About nature – The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. My review.
  20. Historical fiction book – The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber. My review.
  21. Bought/borrowed in 2019 – The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. My review.
  22. Book you got because of the cover – The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Choksi.
  23. Any book from a series – The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. My review.
  24. YA book by a WOC – A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tehereh Mafi. My review.
  25. Book by Jesmyn Ward
  26. Book by Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. My review.

So from the 26 categories, I read books for 22 of them. I am a little disappointed with myself that I didn’t finish the myth retelling category or the Jesmyn Ward category, because I had books for those that I owned, I didn’t need to look for anything. I just kind of ran out of time and as leaving for holidays approached, I did almost no reading at all. Of the 22 books I read, I reviewed 20 of them. I feel as though this is a success, even though I didn’t finish the challenge. I read a lot of books I would not normally have read and explored a few new genres and authors and types of books. That’s why I decided to do this challenge, to push myself out of the comfort zone I tend to spend a lot of time in. It’s good to have to search for titles that fit the prompts and request them in from the library. I really enjoyed taking part in this and I shall be doing it in 2020 as well!

My other challenge was what I would describe as something that’s firmly within my comfort zone. I read a lot of Australian women authors naturally and I also receive a lot of books from Australian publishers that are by women authors for review. Originally I had pledged to read 80 and review at least 50 – and at the time, that seemed like it would be quite an easy feat. However I was only in the early to mid 70s at the beginning of December and with holidays coming up all of a sudden it was going to be a scramble to get to that number! Then however, I went in to my Read in 2019 page and I realised my record keeping had been a bit lax and that I’d actually listed two separate books as #60 and also as #69. So I was actually 2 books ahead of where I thought I was, sitting on 79 on the 24th of December, so I knew then that I was going to be able to make my goal. As for reviewing at least 50, I had reviewed 77/79 by the 24th so I only didn’t write a review for 2 of the books I read for the challenge {I’ve since read a couple more and I probably won’t be reviewing any of them and will next write a review for the first book I read in 2020}.

I wasn’t going to list all the titles I read for The Australian Women Writers Challenge but then I thought…..why not? Even though it’s rather a mammoth exercise….here’s the 81 titles I read this year that qualify for the challenge:

  1. The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper. My review.
  2. How To Be Second Best by Jessica Dettmann. My review.
  3. Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander. My review.
  4. Zebra by Debra Adelaide. My review.
  5. Lawson’s Bend by Nicole Hurley-Moore. My review.
  6. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Spence. My review.
  7. What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume. My review.
  8. Not Bad People by Brandy Scott.
  9. The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers. My review.
  10. The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan. My review.
  11. Bluebottle by Belinda Castles. My review.
  12. Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee. My review.
  13. Vardaesia by Lynette Noni. My review.
  14. Man Out Of Time by Stephanie Bishop. My review.
  15. The House Of Second Chances by Esther Campion. My review.
  16. The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo. My review.
  17. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte. My review.
  18. Home Fires by Fiona Lowe. My review.
  19. Islands by Peggy Fres. My review.
  20. The Death Of Noah Glass by Gail Jones. My review.
  21. The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson. My review.
  22. A Life Of Her Own by Fiona McCallum. My review.
  23. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean. My review.
  24. The Gift Of Life by Josephine Moon. My review.
  25. The Aunt’s House by Elizabeth Stead. My review.
  26. The Mother-in-law by Sally Hepworth. My review.
  27. The Place On Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta. My review.
  28. Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley. My review.
  29. Home At Last by Meredith Appleyard. My review.
  30. True Blue by Sasha Wasley. My review.
  31. In A Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor. My review.
  32. The True Story Of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl. My review.
  33. Shauna’s Great Expectations by Kathleen Loughnan. My review.
  34. How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox. My review.
  35. Under The Midnight Sky by Anna Romer. My review.
  36. Love Song by Sasha Wasley. My review.
  37. The Cinema At Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair. My review.
  38. Little Stones by Elizabeth Kuiper.
  39. Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell. My review.
  40. The Forgotten Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn. My review.
  41. A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty. My review.
  42. All That Impossible Space by Anna Morgan. My review.
  43. The Accusation by Wendy James. My review.
  44. The Ex by Nicola Moriarty. My review.
  45. Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie. My review.
  46. The Long Paddock by Alissa Callen. My review.
  47. The Red Dirt Road by Alissa Callen. My review.
  48. The Round Yard by Alissa Callen. My review.
  49. Mr Right Now by Karly Lane. My review.
  50. Something In The Wine by Tricia Stringer. My review.
  51. Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern. My review.
  52. Fake by Stephanie Wood. My review.
  53. The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur. My review.
  54. Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko. My review.
  55. The Postmistress by Allison Stuart. My review.
  56. Meet Me In Venice by Barbara Hannay. My review.
  57. From Here On, Monsters by Elizabeth Bryer. My review.
  58. The Surprising Power Of A Good Dumpling by Wai Chim. My review.
  59. The Breeding Season by Amanda Niehaus. My review.
  60. Matters Of The Heart by Fiona Palmer. My review.
  61. Eddie & the Show Queen by Cathryn Hein. My review.
  62. The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green. My review.
  63. Heart Of The Cross by Emily Madden. My review.
  64. Undara by Annie Seaton. My review.
  65. The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide. My review.
  66. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett. My review.
  67. I Am Change by Suzy Zail. My review.
  68. Bruny by Heather Rose. My review.
  69. Just One Wish by Rachael Johns. My review.
  70. Weapon by Lynette Noni. My review.
  71. Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden. My review.
  72. Long Way Home by Nicola Marsh. My review.
  73. Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss. My review.
  74. Up On Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu. My review.
  75. The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth. My review.
  76. The Weekend by Charlotte Wood. My review.
  77. Return To Stringybark Creek by Karly Lane. My review.
  78. The Lost Summers Of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland. My review.
  79. The Last Paradise by Di Morrissey
  80. The Bee And The Orange Tree by Melissa Ashley
  81. Bye Bye Baby by Fiona McIntosh

All in all, I am quite happy with my challenge results this year…..I think sometimes taking part in challenges can put pressures on your reading. I used to sign up to a lot but now I keep it quite simple – a couple of all year ones and then 1-2 shorter, more specific challenges throughout the year. Helps keep things feel fresh but without feeling bogged down.

If you participated in any reading challenges for this year, I hope you did well!

4 responses to “Wrapping Up……2019 Challenges

  1. Congratulations on an epic AWW reading year. I hadn’t heard about the Reading Women Podcast Challenge, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. It was interesting to read the prompts. Doesn’t Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi count towards a Myth Retelling?

    • Thanks!

      I chose to count each book to only one prompt and I ended up putting Gingerbread towards the Nigerian author prompt….BUT they were pretty particular and I think it’s actually a retelling of a fairy tale, rather than a myth, even though they often seem to overlap, definition wise. Retelling of a fairy tale was a prompt in the challenge the previous year and the 2020 challenge has a folklore prompt. To be honest, I’m not that strict on definitions and no one really checks it or anything, but there were definitely people making distinctions between books based on fairy tales and those on myth! lol

      I also could’ve used Home Fires by Kamila Shamsie, which is a retelling of Antigone BUT I used that for another prompt. I should’ve used that for the myth prompt and picked something else for South Asian author because I think I had other books that would’ve definitely counted. Poor organisation on my part! I should always put a book towards the hardest prompt but I don’t think I knew that Home Fires was a myth retelling until quite a bit after I had already read it and counted it towards something else. Myths are not really my thing!

      • That all makes perfect sense, but I’m not that strict either. But all that ‘faffing’ to get a book to fit a prompt is probably why I don’t participate in challenges like this. I’d rather spend time reading reviews, checking out catalogues, replying to review requests and of course reading and reviewing than mucking about trying to get this jigsaw of books & prompts to work out 🙂 Having said that, I’m participating in Theresa Smith’s Book Bingo for the first time this year, so wish me luck!

  2. Lloyd Russell says:

    It looks like we may not be totally simpatico in our reading choices. In your Top 25 I read 2 – Educated and Everything I Never Told You – and didn’t like either one of them much. I also tried to read H Is for Hawk and couldn’t get through it. But I also think I’m in the minority on all of them.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 3:02 PM All The Books I Can Read wrote:

    > 1girl2manybooks posted: “And so it is the end of another year. 2020 will > be rolling in in less than 2 days and so I figured it would be a good time > to wrap up how I went in my {2} reading challenges this year. The > challenges I took part in were the Reading Women Podcast Challe” >

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