Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 Reading Challenges Update #2

Apparently, I was a reading MACHINE this spring! This is mainly due to my parents buying me several books that I had on my Amazon book wishlist, the quick nature of reading a comic or graphic novel, listening to audiobooks on my runs and long commute to work, and finding a novel I genuinely couldn't put down (isn't it the best when that happens?). I really put a big dent toward my GoodReads goal of reading 20 books in 2016 and managed to find some fun books to go along with the PopSugar reading prompts! Check out my quick reviews of each title below, and check out what I'm currently wrapped up with at the very end of this post!

GoodReads Yearly Reading Goal: 12/20
PopSugar Reading Challenge: 12/40

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell
PopSugar Category: A dystopian novel
Audiobook, 4/5 

This is the second George Orwell novel I have read in the last twelve months. I had heard of my friends reading this in their lit classes in high school but it was never assigned to me, so downloaded this to my phone to listen to on my commute. It is so freaky how many parallels you can draw from "Animal Farm" and apply to our present-day government and society, and as dystopian novels often make you feel, it is depressing! This book is another reflection of how important it is for everyone to stay informed and have the capacity to form their own opinions on the world around them.

"My Dog: The Paradox" by Matthew Inman
PopSugar Category: A book under 150 pages
Hard copy, 5/5

This is a cute little graphic story all about Matthew Inman's (creator of The Oatmeal) dog. Anyone who has owned a dog at some point of their life can 100% relate to it. Dogs are those lovable doofuses that make life so much better and this story perfectly illustrates what it means to have a four-legged pal that will love you unconditionally.

"Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants" by Matthew Inman
PopSugar Category: A book you can finish in a day
Hard copy, 5/5

A collection of comics from the Oatmeal that will make you literally laugh out loud an want to show all of your friends, it is so easy to devour this book in one sitting. This isn't a book that follows one plot line, but that seems to be the general norm whine comes to comics. This is definitely a book to pick up on a day you're feeling down. It will cheer you right back up with its truthful silliness.

"How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You" by Matthew Inman
PopSugar Category: A book written by a comedian
Hard copy, 5/5

This wraps up the three Oatmeal books my parents got me for my birthday! Another great and light hearted comic that had me laughing the whole time. This one is all about cats and how being a cat owner can be a real love/hate/fear relationship because you can never quite know what's going on in their tiny heads.

"Starsruck" by Yael Levy
PopSugar Category: A book with a blue cover
Kindle eBook, 2/5

This book was not great. It is about a woman in a loveless marriage who is trying to save that marriage but also trying to solve a mystery and at the same time taking care of a celebrity in her own home that she hit with her car on accident for some reason? The writing in this book is light enough that it's almost forgivable that the plot is so jumpy. It seems that this book was trying to be just too many things at once and if it just stuck with one story line it just might have been okay, but honestly it was hard to take this book seriously.

"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio
PopSugar Category: A New York Times bestseller
Audiobook, 3/5

"Wonder" is about a little boy named August that has a physical deformation and his first year of going to public school. He and his family faces many challenges based on his appearance, but the main character and the family perseveres. This book has a wonderful cast of characters that I would have loved to learn more about. I believe that the author has created several "spin off" stories featuring some of the supporting characters of this book which I would be interested in reading. It seems that the characters around August are really what gave this book depth, but I understand why those characters aren't explored more. Being a middle grade book made this particular title hard to connect with, but that's to be expected. It wasn't written for my age demographic! It's a perfect book, though, for middle schoolers and I can understand why it has done so well in the middle grade genre.

"Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy" by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen
PopSugar Category: A graphic novel
Hard copy, 4/5

"Lumberjanes" is a series of comic books that was introduced to me by one of my favorite booktubers and I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of the first four books! It's a very cute story about five female friends who are all Lumberjane Scouts and kick total ass in the wilderness. I would love to collect more of these comics and introduce them to little girls around the world because these characters are awesome! The art is beautiful as well, which is totally something that I can really appreciate.

"Greyhound" by Steffan Piper
PopSugar Category: A book about a road trip
Kindle eBook: 4.25/5

This was definitely my favorite novel that I read over the last few months. It's about a little boy who's flighty mother sends him away, alone on a Greyhound bus, to live with his grandparents across the country. He runs into trouble along the way but meets a trusty companion that sticks by his side and gets him out of several "jams" along the way. The only reason I didn't give this book a perfect rating is that there were a few loose ends that did not get tied up. I needed the satisfaction of knowing what happened! Otherwise, this is a wonderful book which I would definitely recommend.

Currently Reading:

"A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin - Brett and I have been reading this aloud off-and-on since last summer and have only just come to the end of the equivalent of the first episode! I'm sure we'll be trudging through this guy for a while but I hope to have it done by the end of the year to tick off the "A book that's over 600 pages" category. (Currently on page 107 of 835)

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien  - This was actually my November 2015 book club selection that got put down and picked up in short periods throughout the winter. I'm determined to finally get through this story once and for all before the fall rolls back around! (Currently on page 87 of 366)

"Sick in the Head" by Judd Apatow - Another book club selection, this time December 2015, that got put down in the middle of the winter and never picked back up. It's a book of interviews so it's been hard for me to sit down an devour the whole thing, but it's a wonderful relax-outside-and-kill-a-couple-hours kind of book so I'm sure I'll be able to get through it by the end of the summer. (Currently on page 109 of 489)

"The Paper Magician" by Charlie N. Holmberg - This series was on sale in the Kindle book store and I thought it would be an interesting to read a fantasy series as part of the "A book and its prequel" prompt! I only just picked it up after finishing "Greyhound" but I'm enjoying it so far. (And you can't really beat cheap books, amirite?!) (Currently on page 14 of 224)

"We're All Damaged" by Matthew Norman - My current audiobook that I only *just* started listening to this week. I'm having a hard time deciding if I like the main character - a guy who is angry at the world after finding out his wife cheated on him - or if his attitude annoys me. The story telling is honest and humorus, though, and I really enjoy that so far. We'll see how it goes!  (Currently on Chapter 5 of 46, 7 hours and 46 minutes remaining)

If you have any book recommendations, please let me know in the comments! I especially always look for book stop listen to on my runs, so please let me know if you have any good audiobooks to share. Happy reading!

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