Book Chat

2017 Reading Challenge: Third Quarter Update

via Modern Mrs. Darcy
via Modern Mrs. Darcy

This year I’ve joined Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge to give me a bit more structure in my reading life. The third quarter of the year just ended, so let’s check in for a status update on the Reading for Fun challenge, shall we?

Checked Off in the Third Quarter:

A book you chose for the cover:
The Nightingale, by Kristen Hannah

The cover of this WWII novel is so striking, especially on the hardcover jacket, and it’s been recommended to me over and over again. I ended up listening to the audiobook and it was so, so good! For a couple weeks, it was all I could think about.

Full review here.

A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read:
The Life-Changing Mana of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondo and illustrated by Yuko Yuramoto

I didn’t know what to expect from the manga spinoff of the iconic guidebook that launched a million “does it spark joy?” questions, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m still gearing up to go full KonMari on my papers and photos, but now I get what all the fuss is about!

Full review here!

A book in a genre you usually avoid:

Love Letters, by Katie Fforde

I asked a friend who loves Romance to recommend a favorite, and this one was a lot of fun! It played out every book-lover’s fantasy of falling in love with a wild Irish writer, and it was full of bookish adventures.

Full review here.


Books Read in the Second Quarter:

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This series completely took me by surprise; the retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale was so much fun when you have a badass protagonist and hedonistic fairy warriors battling it out. The first book is so-so, but it sets the stage for an AMAZING second book, and the third book is on my TBR list… I’m just waiting for my library to wise up and put it on the shelves!

Full review of Book 1, A Court of Thorns and Roses, here, and a full review of Book 2, A Court of Mist and Fury, here


A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able:
Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel

A story of ancient alien artifacts and the geopolitical race to figure out where the technology came from (and why), told in a series of mysterious interviews, was indeed un-put-down-able. Unfortunately as soon as it was over, it was also a bit forgettable… although I was eager to read the sequel, it went back to the library un-finished because too many other good books came along instead.

Full Review here!

A book about a topic or subject you already love:
No Scrap Left Behind, by Amanda Jean Nyberg

I love Crazy Mom Quilts’s blog, so I treated myself to her second book for my birthday, and it didn’t disappoint! I love her scrappy, happy style that fuses modern and traditional quilting, and there were a number of quilt patterns that are calling my name now!

Full review here!

Books Read in the First Quarter:

A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit:
In the Woods by Tana French

This murder mystery that takes place in Ireland fit the bill perfectly! It had just the right amount of atmosphere and small details that made it feel suitably Irish, although if I do get to visit some day I hope the grisly murder is not included! I loved most of this book, but the unresolved ending really bothered me. Fortunately, the sequel was much stronger, and I’d still put myself in the Tana French fan club.

Full review of In the Woods here, and a review of the sequel, The Likeness, here.

A juicy memoir:
You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

Every time I think I’ve grown tired of the female comedian memoir genre, I read another one and am reminded of how much I appreciate a good laugh. Comedians can usually write well, and actually have something to say, which is a plus!

Full review of You’ll Grow Out of It here.

This category is definitely in my comfort zone… I had a few other titles in mind, and I ended up reading all of them!

Full review of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer here, as well as Talking as Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham, here!

A book about books or reading:
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

I listened to this on audiobook and it was a fascinating deep dive into the making of the first Oxford dictionary, and the compelling stories of two men involved: one, a prominent editor; the other, a prolific contributor who also happened to live in an insane asylum.

Full review here!

A book in the backlist of a new favorite author:
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

By reading this pleasantly intriguing romance, I finally read all of Liane Moriarty’s backlist! What Alice Forgot is still my favorite, but it’s hard to go wrong with Moriarty. The characters and dialogue are always fun, and this one was no exception. Sometimes a tidy ending is just what you need.

Full review over here.


Still to read:

Only one category left: A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet

This is a hard one for me! I’ve tried to whittle my TBR shelf down to a manageable load, but I keep picking up books I’m excited to read… and then never getting around to them.

Last summer I picked up a stack of books from a visit to McKay Used Books… and I’ve made a couple more trips since then…  but they are still waiting patiently to be read! One of the books stands out, though: Kazuo Ishiguro just won the Nobel prize for literature, so I’m moving Never Let Me Go to the top of my list.

I also have a bad habit of never finishing the last book in a series… I don’t know why! Maybe I’m scared that it won’t end well, or maybe I just hate goodbyes.

Whatever the reason, here are a couple last-book-in-a-series that I want to read for this category:

The Magician’s Land, Book #3 of the Magicians series by Lev Grossman

A Court of Wings and Ruin, Book #3 of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Only one more book to go in the last quarter of 2017, but I’m going to try to focus on reading the books that have been sitting unread on my bookshelves. Stay tuned for the final update at the end of the year!


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