50/50 Reading Challenge Update: October Books

I have a confession to make.  Up until a few days ago, I was in a horrible reading funk.  The entire month of October was just brutal.  I only opened books because it was necessary to meet my goal for the 50/50 Reading Challenge.

Normally, I am an emotional reader.  I choose a book based on the mood I’m in at the time.  Because of this, I keep a very long “to-read” list with a variety of genres to use as a reference.  My list has over 200 titles on it at the moment and I’ll still forsake it if I find another book that suits me better.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, moved me in October.  Not my to-read list.  Not suggestions from family or friends.  Not strolls through B & N.  Nothing!

A complete break from reading is what I really needed (and wanted).  However, that slave driver called The 50/50 Reading Challenge wouldn’t let me rest.  My choice of books over the course of October perfectly illustrates my spiraling reading mood.  Looking back now, it’s pretty funny.  I started October with a Man Booker Award winner and ended the month with one of those little square gift books on display in the Starbucks section of Barnes and Noble.  The worst of it all is that I’m not sure if my opinions of these books are truly reflective of the books themselves or my foul mood while reading them.  Take everything with a pinch of salt and then decide for yourself.

October Books

Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Life of Pi is the tale of Piscine (Pi) Patel: his life as a zookeeper’s son in Pondicherry, India, his 227 day ordeal of survival on the open sea, and his recovery and life afterward.  Although I found some of the descriptions to be graphically gruesome and felt that the book dragged a bit during the middle section, I believe Life of Pi is a very powerful story.  I haven’t had time to really think through all the layers yet, but just the experience of reading this unusual book made it worth my time.  (4/5 stars)

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.  In this very long novel, Ms. Morton addresses the story of Milderhurst Castle, the Blythe sisters who live there, and the mystery surrounding the youngest sister’s fall into madness.  I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as The Forgotten Garden (which I loved).  The book seemed overly long for the story and I just didn’t care as much about the characters even though I felt they were well-developed.  (3.75/5 stars)

The Peach Keeper by Sara Addison Allen.  This is another interesting story by Ms. Addison – infused with magic and love and offering very little substance.  Sometimes this is the perfect type of reading for me – pure entertainment with no mental effort.  Of the three Sara Addison Allen books I’ve read (The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells are the other two), the Peach Keeper is my least favorite but still good.  (3.75/5 stars)

1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They leave Home by Harry H. Harrison Jr.  I almost feel guilty putting this in my list because it was such an easy read.  However, it’s a book and I read it, so it counts.  Believe it or not, there are great little pieces of advice tucked in this book for parents of teens.  Kudos for the laughs, too.  (3.5/5 stars)

It’s hard to believe, but by the end of October I had read 39 books.  Only 11 more to go!  I’m happy to report that I’ve moved beyond the literary apathy I was feeling and am back on the reading track.  I just read Memoirs of Geisha in two days and will be starting The Thirteenth Tale tonightAfter that, who knows?  I’ll just have to wait and see what kind of mood I’m in.  Perhaps, it will be time for some non-fiction.  I wonder if cookbooks count….

5 thoughts on “50/50 Reading Challenge Update: October Books

  1. I think I was a little disappointed – probably a better word is dismayed to hear that you forced yourself to read… reading – unless your in school should be for enjoyment… to force yourself to do so just to meet a self-imposed 50/50 Reading Challenging was upsetting to me – and I don’t even know you! Reading challenged be damn… read to make yourself happy, to commiserate when you need it, to laugh, to relax, to refocus on something else… You will not be punished for not meeting this goal – read more another month… I read about 68 books a year and there are months for me that nothing grabs me, but while I’d love to beat the #, I don’t sweat this… there are bigger things to worry about than meeting a reading challenge.

    1. Jodi,
      I’m sorry for causing you any dismay! And I agree with you hundred percent! I actually love reading. But I have come to realize that reading challenges are not my cup of tea. I like time to ponder what I read, especially some of the deeper things of faith and the literature that really illustrates the human condition in whatever aspect. This year, I’ve come to realize how much I hate reading on a schedule. However, I’m also the type of person that loves a challenge and hates leaving things unfinished. It would drive me nuts if I got so close to accomplishing this goal and then just gave up. I just want to let you know I’ve made peace with it all. I’m enjoying great books once again and am also on track for completing the 50/50 Reading Challenge. I do know that I will probably never do another reading challenge and I am just fine with that piece of enlightenment. I simply don’t care how many books I read a year. It’s more important to me that they are meaningful to me in one way or another. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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